Athletes rock on at annual Jock Rock

ALYSSA GALL
SPORTS WRITER

On Friday, January 31, Alma College athletics hosted the annual Jock Rock event. This friendly competition was started 11 years ago and takes place once a year, where student athletes and their teams go head-to-head in various performances.

It was formed by Andria Baker, who is a former Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President and member of the Alma College Volleyball team, as a way to bring athletes together.

Each team puts their best skills and wildest talents to the test in order to win an award at the Scotty awards in the spring.

“Jock rock is an Alma college tradition where every sports team on campus creates their own skits, and performs it in front of each other and designated judges. The judges then vote and the winner is announced at the Scotty awards at the end of the year,” said sophomore co-host of the event, Alexandria Loonsfoot (’22).

As one of the hosts, who was nominated by the members of SAAC, Loonsfoot is expected to keep the event moving smoothly and the crowd of students entertained between performances without any bumps in the production.

The overall goal of Jock Rock is to not only have fun and bring the sports’ teams together, but to show just how creative Alma’s student athletes can be. Because at Jock Rock, there is no idea that is too out of the box.

At past Jock Rocks, sports teams have done everything from choreographed dance routines, dodgeball games, lip syncing, jump roping, and impersonating other teams or celebrities.

Senior SAAC member, Jennifer Kowalczyk (’20), said, “One of my favorite performances was when women’s Lacrosse had giant fat head masks of all the coaches and danced around as the coaches!”

Anything students can think of can fly at Jock Rock with only a few minor rules and limits to hold them back, such as time limitation, no use of glitter, and no damaging of the gym floor. With these rules in mind, athletic teams are left to form a routine to not only impress the crowd, but the judges as well.

At the end of the day, no matter the level of creativity and originality a team uses in their routine, the winner of the Jock Rock award at the Scotty awards comes down to the decision of the judges, who hold familiar faces on campus, especially in the Sports realm at Alma.

“This will be my first year as a judge, which I am very excited for. The judges will be judging on choreography, costumes, originality, energy and entertainment value, and overall impact,” said Athletic Director Sarah Dehring.

This year the judges consisted of Zach Russo, who is the Director of Sports Information, Head Athletic Trainer Brad Smith, Andrew Pomerville, who is the Chaplain at Alma College, and Dehring.

Each of these judges were selected by the members of SAAC, who nominated faculty and staff members from the college. A fan favorite judge from past competitions has always been Nancy.

“Our SAAC members vote on faculty, and staff from the college to be our judges for the night. Nancy is always a favorite judge, as she does not play favorites when it comes to deciding who wins!” said Kowalczyk.

Regardless of who the judges are, each team aims to not only put on a good show, but to enjoy their own performance and the event as a whole.

Jock Rock is a different opportunity for athletes to show their fun side and to interact in a different element outside of sports and school.

“I love the energy in the arena during Jock Rock. Even though it is a competition, all of the teams are very supportive of each other. I think it is a great event to build camaraderie among our athletics programs,” said Dehring.

Campus festivities for MLK day

KARA DENIKE
STAFF WRITER

The third Monday of January marks Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in honor of the infamous late civil rights activist. Alma College observes the holiday by cancelling classes that take place between noon and 6 P.M. There is a short chapel service every year in which the Alma Choirs sing and the chaplain gives a sermon.

This year’s chapel service was based on Dr. King’s “Drum Major Instinct” sermon that he gave exactly two months before his assassination. The service included direct quotes from the sermon and the chaplain gave his own sermon about doing what is right rather than what is expected.

The choirs also sang multiple spirituals in honor of the holiday, such as “The Storm is Passing Over” by Charles A. Tindley and “Way Over in Beulah Lan’,” a traditional spiritual. “I feel any music whose texts reflect the human desire, and struggle, for a life free from racism, poverty, and violence would be fitting for a concert or service honoring Dr. King,” said Will Nichols, professor and conductor of the Alma Choirs.

Some students, such as Elizabeth Pechota (‘22) did not receive the day off in observance of MLK Day in high school. When asked about her previous experiences and her thoughts on Alma College’s observations of MLK Day, Pechota said, “Coming from a school that does not celebrate MLK day I am very grateful that we do choose to observe the day, but I think we can do more.”

Other students received the day off in high school, such as Arieanna Eaton (‘20). “My hometown observes MLK Day by closing the schools and offices, but there aren’t that many community events. This is why I’m grateful that Alma College opens the events to not only the campus but also the community so everyone can participate,” Eaton responded when asked about her high school experiences.

Despite the gratitude towards the college for its chapel service and other small events put on for the campus and the community, many believe there is room to do more in honor of Dr. King. “I believe that MLK Day should be treated similar to Honors Day. We have a few presentations in the afternoon but taking the entire day to observe and having the students being even more involved would make up for the classes that would be missed,” said Pechota.

Eaton felt the same way when asked. “I would like to see MLK day structured like Honors Day with student-led events and conversations and presentations in line with the topic of Dr. King’s message. It should be promoted like Honors Day where professors will advertise certain events as extra credit, or make it mandatory for students to attend a number of events,” Eaton said.

Some professors felt similarly as well. “If the college wishes to honor and recognize Dr. King, and wants our students to feel the relevance of his life’s work to our lives today, I would wish professors with interest and expertise in the civil rights movement, the war on poverty, the anti-war movements, voting rights, and nonviolent civil disobedience would plan an afternoon of lectures and programs centered on these subjects,” Dr. Nichols responded.

Scotlight Presents: Dr. Andrew Pomerville

CHELSEA FABER
STAFF WRITER

Welcome to the Scotlight! A raw, unedited conversation with an Alma College Faculty or Staff member about their experiences and how they fit into the Alma College experience.

This week I sat down with Chaplain Dr. Andrew Pomerville, to talk about the Chapel as it exists now and the future he would like to head towards. We met in his office on Sunday Afternoon, here’s what we talked about:

Chelsea: Let’s talk about you first, you’re an Alma grad, who returned to campus, what was your ‘sandwiched’ between two Almas experience?

Dr. Pomerville: I graduated in December ’01 and ended up going back to Alaska, I had spent the previous two summers up in Alaska doing Alma related stuff. When I graduated, I briefly worked as a law clerk in Michigan for two and a half weeks thinking I might do that and hated it, I learned I did not want to be a lawyer. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do, so I went back to Alaska to work but I drove every time, I stopped on the way saw a lot of friends across the country, I was gone for many months. I worked on a boat, did some drywall, worked in a gas station, lived on people’s couches I never really had a place to stay while hitchhiking across the state. Then I got in a car accident and it scared me, so I came home. When I got back, I started a job as a youth minister at my home church in Brighton, at the time I had a nasty long beard and shaggy hair, but it was a great experience. I did that for two and a half years and during that time I got accepted for my Master of Divinity at Princeton to go on to maybe keep studying religion or maybe be a pastor. I fell in love with being a pastor while I was out there. My wife and I went back to Alaska and we got married during that time, married to an Alma girl. After that I went to Northern Michigan after I graduated in ’07. We had our first kid at that point, my daughter Denali, she’s 13 now. I served in Bellaire, MI at a church called Church in the Hills, I really fell in love with it, it was amazing, very good people. I did that for four years, during that time I started something called ‘Spirituality Untapped’ with another pastor and the owner of Shorts Brewery, at the time no one was going into the brewery, so he would give us whatever night we wanted. We would show up, get a bunch of beers and appetizers for whoever would want to come, and we would talk about something. I think our first one was the very cliché ‘why do bad things happen to good people’? We invited anyone who wanted to come talk and got a whole bunch of people from Atheists, Catholics, Jewish people, Pagans, we really had anyone come to drink beer and talk about what they believed about the world. Then we took it on the road and would start to go to other breweries on occasion and talk about this thing. It got a lot of press which resulted in me getting some attention from a church in East Lansing, the People’s Church, they asked me to be their senior pastor, I had no experience, I was just a guy who liked to talk about faith stuff. I liked my little church in Northern Michigan, so I said no. They came back six or seven months later and said we really think you’re supposed to be our guy so we will give you the tools and teach you how to do it, so we moved to East Lansing in 2011. We had our son Bryce in that time period. I was there for seven years, during that time I finished my doctorate with the University of Aberdeen and Pittsburg Theological, I would fly back and forth to Scotland, the church was amazing about it. I did all my studies there and a pulpit swap, where I would go to a pastor’s church and he would go to mine for a while.

Chelsea: Wow, that’s really different, I’ve never heard of that.

Dr. Pomerville: Yeah, I wish other jobs did it, it’s cross cultural. There were certain things that were different obviously I didn’t have the same relationships, but it was great. That led to here, we had a house fire in 2015 that I always talk about, it devastated us but made us think about what we do. I

finished my doctorate in 2017 and didn’t really know what was next. I never planned on leaving the People’s Church, but the position came open at Alma and President Abernathy had a new idea for how the position would be designed, I very attracted so I threw my hat in the ring and now I’m here! It’s a long answer but there was a whole bunch of stuff in between.

Chelsea: Since you’ve been here there’s been a lot of changes within the Chapel and the structure, so if you could talk on that, what have you seen that’s been really exciting?

Dr. Pomerville: I knew the previous Chaplains, and having graduated here in ’01, I was familiar but even at that time I had a Chaplain I really liked but there couldn’t have been more than ten people showing up to Chapel events, it just wasn’t a big deal. It went down to almost an afterthought, people knew it was here and they valued it but there was no emphasis on it. President Abernathy was a good friend to me as an Alumnus and I trust his vision, he wanted to see spiritually and faith integrated more into the Liberal Arts education, so we talked more about what that could look like and we formed a position that has some overarching reach into the community. You should be everywhere, you should have standing, people should trust that you’ll show up, that you’re not there for any ulterior motives, you’re simply there to be their Chaplain to be available to be someone they can trust to talk about spirituality or anything else. He let me be the Chaplain for all the sports teams and the preforming arts, that’s a big deal, so I try to get to everyone’s events. I’m on campus everywhere, I teach, I have dotted lines to every department on campus but I’m not technically under any department. I help with admissions, I love recruitment, I also love fundraising, so I work with advancement as well. I joke that I’m kind of like a mascot with a doctorate, that’s who I am.

Chelsea: Dr. Scotty!

Dr. Pomerville: Yes! Dr. Scotty! It’s better than ‘Chappy,’ that’s what the football team calls me, but that is a good one too. I have a chance to try to redesign what we do here but also stay true to what we believe which is letting people explore and learn what it is like to do interfaith work.

Chelsea: Very cool stuff, building off of that, what are some goals you have or visions you have about inclusivity in the Chapel, and what you guys do, what you want to see happen here?

Dr. Pomerville: So, the Chapel is scheduled to be renovated, we are just at the end of raising all of our money, hopefully that will be completed very soon! Very exciting for me personally I think because it will be more reflective of who we are, I want it to be a space that is safe for all people. I am proud to be a Christian, I’m a Presbyterian, but there are lots of other ways to worship, I’m glad to offer a multidenominational Christian service that will always be there, there are different ways of experiencing religion, but I think we need to have other opportunities to be whatever we are, here in the Center for Spiritual Life. We will have a separate multifaith worship space coming in here in the basement, takes over the whole East section. It’s safe, it’s warm, it’s inviting. I want this to be a place that students regularly think to come to, I don’t want it to be a place they say they’ve never been in or have no experience there. It has nothing to do with faith at that point, I want every person to have thought of their faith and their spirituality before they graduate, I would love to help with that and help them understand who they are.

Chelsea: Is there any initiates that the Chapel has done or maybe special projects that, perhaps not a lot of people know about or you want to talk about?

Dr. Pomerville: Absolutely, so the biggest one is the interfaith connections, so my dream was to have something else on campus that was not just a Sunday evening service, but have a carved-out time for faculty, staff and students to come together. It could be worship but it also could be an educational time to know what your neighbors believe and interact with each other in a way that is loving, and grace filled. We’ve been doing that on Thursday mornings at 11:20-11:45, it’s short, we have different speakers. For example, we had Murray Borrello come in and talk about his faith in the midst of the studies that he does, we’ve had Rabbis, other faith leaders from inside Alma and beyond, talking about these things. I think it’s an incredible opportunity for all of us and I wish we had a more carved out time during the day, that this was a normal thing. It’s safe and I hope it continues. Our students are doing a ton of outreach and community engagement, so service and community building activities, it’s great. We have lots of student workers who offer the best of themselves in worship leadership, but they also do organization and social media, things like that. They’ve become the outreach arm of the Chapel and it’s exciting. We added a chapel house last year so that’s kind of new, it’s interfaith and accepting. We want to bring together those who think differently and what does that look like in the greater community.

Chelsea: Yeah, that is really interesting. Did you have any parting thoughts or other topics you would like to cover before we’re done?

Dr. Pomerville: I also want people to understand the Chapel is not just one monolithic belief system or that it is homogenous in the people. All people should be welcome here, full stop. I mean I think all should feel like they can walk in, but I also think all people should be able to participate however they want to. You can come and simply watch something without singing, standing, praying. Or you can dip your toe and see what it’s all about. We’re trying to design especially our Sunday night stuff to make it fit more into the schedule. We try to match it up to Greek life, preforming arts, and other events. We added a Catholic Priest and Nun, who are offering Mass on Sunday nights at 9. But my goal is to work to all student’s needs, if they say they want a Greek Orthodox Priest, then I’ll go find one and bring them in. If they’re interested in exploring whatever their background is, I want to help them do that.

Ruckus in the Royal family

JORDYN BRADLEY
SPORTS EDITOR

In early January, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex negotiated a deal with Queen Elizabeth II to become financially independent from the Royal Family. With this, Harry and Meghan will surrender many of their royal “privileges” to instead spend the majority of their time in North America.

Prince Harry will be forced to renounce his honorary military rankings, and he and Meghan will no longer be considered Commonwealth Young Ambassadors, a title that they both hold very close to their hearts. Buckingham Palace also announced that Harry and Meghan will be repaying at least $3 million in taxpayer money that they used to renovate their residence at Windsor Castle. The couple also will sacrifice their most well-known title: His and Her Royal Highness.

With this deal, Harry and Meghan will still be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as that was the title enthralled on them by Queen Elizabeth II when they were married in 2018. Harry will also remain a prince, and 6th in succession for the crown, after his father, Prince Andrew; his older brother, Prince William; and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children: George, Charlotte, and Louis.

Because they are part of the royal family, Harry and Meghan received funding from taxpayers. Because they are becoming financially independent, this will no longer happen. Still, the couple has a large sum of money to fall back on. Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, left him a trust. He also earned quite the sum by being a caption in the British Army. As for Meghan, she is said to have earned over $3 million for starring in the television series, Suits.

Still, Harry and Meghan will not be financially supported by public funding anymore, which equates to the majority of their earnings. It is believed that they will be funded by Prince Charles through his private estate, the Duchy of Cornwall. It is unsure how long the Prince of Wales will be privately supporting them.

As for who will be paying for the couple’s security while they are in North America, that question is still up in the air. Buckingham Palace has yet to comment on this.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been in the public eye since the two went public about their relationship. Tabloids have even compared Meghan to her sister-in-law Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, for years.

“You can definitely see the bias when papers and media outlets talk about Meghan versus Kate,” said Carolina Reagan (‘20).

Meghan was scrutinized for resting her hand on her pregnant stomach while in public when Kate was praised for being a great mother. Kate was looked at as elegant and cutting-edge when she suggested having her favorite scented candles at her and

William’s wedding ceremony. When Meghan wanted air fresheners at her and Harry’s ceremony, she was called “dictatorial” and the royal staff declined her request. At this point, the media was just looking for something to scrutinize her for.

Prince Harry has often spoken about the similarities between his wife and his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana constantly received media attention–both positive and negative–due to her impact on the world before her untimely passing in 1997, when Harry was 12. Harry, along with many others, contributes his mother’s death to the paparazzi, who were chasing her, her partner, bodyguard and driver, who ultimately lost control and crashed their car, killing them all except for her bodyguard.

Though Meghan and Harry aren’t followed to that extreme, the tabloids still seem to be on her for everything.

“It’s eerily similar to how Diana was treated, in my opinion,” said Reagan.

What the media fails to cover about Meghan is her contribution to conservation and humanitarian work. Meghan has spent time in Rwanda, Malawi, Delhi, and Mumbai with various charities, and she recently sealed a voiceover deal with Disney, understanding that they will then donate to an elephant conservation fund.

Nonetheless, Meghan was an established woman before marrying into the royal family. She’s an American biracial actress who was raised by her single mother, which goes completely against the typical face of a royal. The royal family is built on tradition, and the Duchess of Sussex breaks that mould. Because of this, Harry and Meghan have had enough, and are choosing to step away.

Title IX Visibility

ATULYA DORA-LASKEY
STAFF WRITER

The Almanian Hears YOu

In the coming weeks, the Almanian will be asking the students and employees of Alma College about their experiences with the Title IX system in order to complete a comprehensive and fully independent student-conducted report. You can DM your stories to us on Twitter at @Almanian_news or email us at editor.almanian@outlook.com. And if you prefer encrypted/anonymous communication, you can contact us on Signal at +1 937-768-3045.

The Almanian recognizes that it may be difficult to share your stories for many reasons, and as such we promise to treat them with sensitivity and confidentiality.

You may choose to share your story solely over electronic communication, or you may message us to arrange a meeting with one of the Almanian’s reporters at a location where you feel most comfortable. You may also choose to take a break at any time during the process.

The Almanian guarantees that your story will not be shared without your consent. You will be able to choose whether you want your story to be detailed in the report or whether you want your story to simply inform the overall picture that our report paints of the Title IX system.

If you choose to have your story detailed, you may also choose whether to be anonymous or named. We will provide you a final look at what your story looks like before we publish so you have the opportunity to change your mind.

The Almanian is doing this report because we believe that there are problems with the Title IX process and other pathways to justice. These are not problems merely limited to Alma but ones that exists everywhere and at every level. These are also not problems that can be placed on one person, but are instead the combination of various institutional, legal, and cultural factors.

Perhaps the most prolific and recent example of these problems was the infamous People v. Turner case, better known as the Brock Turner story. Turner admitted to sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in an alley on his way to a party, but demanded leniency in his sentencing due to his “potential” as an athlete and a student. The judge agreed and Turner only faced 6 months in jail.

Although the injustice in this case may seem overwhelming and symbolic of so many other evils, the bright spotlight placed on this problem led to changes to address it. The judge that presided over Brock Turner’s case was stripped of his position in the following election and the state legislature passed laws to prevent an outcome like this from happening again.

Like everywhere, Alma College has problems in regards to how it seeks justice. Experiencing those problems can feel isolating because so much of the Title IX process relies on secrecy. This can make us feel alone despite many of us experiencing similar issues. The Almanian believes that sharing these stories––whether anonymously or plainly––can help us both feel less alone and identify common problems as a community.

Maybe you didn’t report. Maybe you reported but feel like the college did not take the situation seriously enough. Maybe you reported and feel like the college did properly address the situation. Maybe you had a different experience entirely.

No matter what your story is, the Almanian is here to listen.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Female appointed lawyer at Vatican

EMILY HENDERSEN
STAFF WRITER

This January marks a huge shift in the history of Vatican employment. Pope Francis appointed the first ever female lawyer into the Vatican’s diplomatic division.

This division, known as the Holy See, has never had a woman working within it, but that all changed this past month.

Francesca Di Giovanni is the first woman to ever be appointed into a position within the Vatican, as the new Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs.

The Holy See works with foreign relations and international affairs with other intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations, and is essentially the central government of the Roman Catholic Church.

Di Giovanni has worked in the Secretariat of State for 27 years, and has been working in refugee and migration issues as well as international human rights, the position of women, tourism and much more.

“I think it’s great that they’re starting to have more women in [higher] positions, but I do understand why women can’t hold some positions. [Catholicism] is a very traditional religion, so that’s why things like that don’t really change,” said Bridget Eshleman (‘20).

Many women groups, especially a group known as the International Union of Superiors General, have been calling for the Vatican to allow more women to hold positions, as they feel they are underrepresented in the religion they make up a large part of.

While Di Giovanni may now be the highest ranking woman working for the Roman Catholic Church, there are other women working within the Vatican, and this news gives hope to more women who wish to be either represented better within the Church, or would like to one day work among it.

The Catholic Church currently only allows men to become ordained priests, so the allowance of a woman to be in such a high-ranking division of the Vatican is a rare and intriguing feat for Di Giovanni to have accomplished at the ripe age of 66.

Pope Francis has been no stranger to shaking up the Vatican since his Papal inauguration. Not only is the Pope attempting to integrate more women into high-ranking positions within the Church, he also leans more progressive with his views on same-sex marriage and the celibacy of priests.

Pope Francis, in past speeches, has discussed his views on the importance of women becoming more involved in everyday workings at the Vatican, and he claimed that women were “mediators of peace” and that their talents could be utilized to create a more united and peaceful space.

While this new position may begin to excite many women of faith, they also remain cautious of these changes, because while opportunities for women may begin to arise, gender roles are still very much being pushed.

“With any political position, or anything like that, I honestly believe that regardless if it’s a man or a woman, whoever is best suited for the job should get it. I don’t necessarily know if they should give [a position] to someone just because they’re a woman, especially if it’s out of pity,” said Eshleman.

Di Giovani, in an interview with the Vatican news, also commented on her new position, discussing her thoughts on being a working woman so high up in the Vatican’s political system. She also stated that she had no idea that the Pope was going to call upon her to take the position.

The world now looks to the Vatican and the Pope, all itching to see what progressive decision he will make next.

Virginia ratifies the ERA

SYDNEY BOSSIDIS
STAFF WRITER

On Jan. 15, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in a House vote of 58-40, and, in the Senate, by a vote of 27-12.

The Equal Rights Amendment states, “Section 1: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” according to the Congressional Research Services. If ratified, this would make it unconstitutional to discriminate against anyone based on their sex.

“That doesn’t mean it would magically end all sex-based discrimination,” said Kristin Olbertson, associate professor of history. “It would simply give those who want to challenge such practices (firing workers for being pregnant, for example) a vehicle with which to do so.”

There is no protection for women against discrimination on a national level at this time. A case could not be brought before the courts because of this.

“The amendment, if ratified, would mean a step toward breaking the divide between the sexes in the larger world today,” said Spencer Berry (’22).

Currently, it is not in violation of the national constitution to discriminate based on sex. However, 21 states have clauses that make it illegal to discriminate against gender identity or sexual orientation in public or private areas.

“I think that people believe that discrimination does not happen because a lot of rights are protected already,” said Grace Schmidt (’22). “It’s important for people to be aware.”

For an amendment to be ratified, it first must be proposed and approved by either two-thirds of both the Senate and House of Representatives or through a special convention proposed by two-thirds of the states. It then must be ratified by two-thirds of all state legislatures which would be 38 of the 50 states.

“The deadline was established on a bipartisan basis by supporters of the ERA as a way to keep the amendment from being indefinitely tabled,” said Olbertson. “It has already been extended once and there is no constitutional or legal reason why it could not be extended again.”

The amendment was approved by Congress in 1972 and given a seven-year deadline to be ratified by the states. In the first five years, 35 states approved it and there was a two-year extension that led to the deadline being in 1982.

Since then, Nevada ratified the ERA in 2017 as well as Illinois in 2018. Then most recently, it was Virginia. All of these have occurred after the stated deadline.

“The deadline should be extended,” said Schmidt. “There should be a fair chance for it to be ratified.”

Berry agrees with this sentiment and believes that if a majority of people feel a certain way then the deadline should not matter.

While there is the chance that the deadline could be extended both the Trump administration and the Department of Justices office of legal counsel say that it could not and will not be ratified at this time. For there to be an extension, there would need to be bipartisan support.

In the past, there have been amendments that have been on the floor for years before being ratified. For example, the 27th amendment—dealing with Congress’s compensation. It was originally proposed in 1789; however, it was not ratified until 1992—over 200 years later.

The ERA was originally proposed by Alice Paul in 1923 following women gaining the right to vote. It was to guarantee that women would have the same rights as men.

“It’s important to know the history and the context to for this amendment,” said Schmidt. “You can’t understand it’s meaning without both.”

It is unclear whether the proposed amendment will be officially included at this time; however, it is a step in a direction for equality. This would provide a national protection that currently does not exist in the United States but does in other modernized countries.

“There’s never a bad time for equality,” said Olbertson. “Moreover, nations score higher on virtually every measure of well-being—family stability, childhood health, education, economic prosperity, strength of democracy, etc.—when there’s greater equality for women. Why wouldn’t we want that for our country?”

Kaitlin Bennett “Gun Girl” stirs up online controversy

BAILEY LANGBO
DISTRIBUTION MANAGER

Kaitlin Bennett, dubbed as “gun girl” on Twitter, first became prominent in 2018 when she graduated from Kent State University. Normally, times like these are cause for celebration, but Bennett received mostly negative publicity from across the world when her graduation pictures went viral because she was shown carrying an AR-10 rifle on the university’s campus.

Since then, Bennett’s name has continued to show up across social media for a variety of reasons. According to Bennett’s Twitter, which boasts 275 thousand followers, she is quoted as saying, “My haters memed me into a lucrative career that lets me travel the world, do what I want, and have a platform to be heard.”

Along with being a social media personality, Bennett was once the president of Kent State University’s chapter of Turning Point USA, a conservative non-profit organization that visited Alma’s campus last fall.

Following an incident on Kent State’s campus last year during “Free Speech Week,” Bennett sent in a flaming resignation letter, which is quoted as saying “I am in disbelief at how I went from being so upbeat, enthusiastic, and passionate about the organization to being disgusted, frustrated, and embarrassed to have invested my entire senior year into an organization founded by a college dropout who hires some of the most incompetent, lazy, and downright dishonest people I have ever encountered.”

Since resigning from this position, Bennett has taken on a position with InfoWars, a website dedicated to “seeking the truth and exposing the scientifically engineered lies of the globalists and their ultimate goal of enslaving humanity,” according to the online biography of their founder, Alex Jones.

Bennett also has spent her time protesting at popular rallies and interviewing other attendees. Recently, Bennett made appearances at the Women’s March, both in Chicago and Washington, D.C. At these events, Bennett has taken to asking about the political beliefs of others in attendance, as well as asserting her own.

“Whatever points she tries to make just fall so flat [that] it’s hilarious.” said Allison Boulware (’20). “Obviously I do not share any of her views or beliefs, but regardless of that, she…represents everything wrong with modern conservatism.”

Back in January 2019, at the Women’s March, Bennett reportedly harassed a father and his young child in attendance about abortion, saying that it was the number one cause of death for children in the United States. The interaction was caught on video and posted to Bennett’s Twitter and Instagram but has since been deleted.

Although Bennett continues to spread her beliefs through social media, rumors about her credibility have begun to circulate. One girl, in particular, shocked Twitter with the accusation that Bennett bought her nude pictures, including screenshots from Venmo to show the transaction.

Bennett has publicly stated that she feels she is in the political minority of her generation. Most are inclined to agree. “Kaitlin Bennett knows exactly what she’s doing when “expressing” her beliefs.” said Jordan Jackson (’21). “She uses transphobic rhetoric and stereotypes for shock value and comes off as a complete idiot.”

In addition to her beliefs about guns and abortion, Bennett has also expressed her ideas regarding controversial Halloween costumes on her Instagram. For the past two Halloweens, Bennett has posted pictures in Native American garb. Her Instagram also notes that Bennett has dressed in disguise at least twice to gather public opinion about politics or herself.

No matter age, gender, or political affiliation, it seems that a large majority of people disapprove of Bennett’s actions since she rose to fame. Despite this disdain, thousands of people across the world wait to see her name splashed across social media once more so they can read about what she’s doing next.

Adoption ban begins in Tennessee

DYLAN COUR
STAFF WRITER

On the morning of January 17th, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a bill that will allow religious adoption agencies to deny any service to LGBTQ+ couples. The law took effect immediately and allows any and all adoption agencies the right to refuse to take place in child placement if doing so would violate the agencies written religious or moral conviction policies.

In an interview with USA Today, Governor Lee’s spokesperson Gillum Ferguson stated, “This bill is centered around protection the religious liberty of Tennesseans and that’s why he signed it.” The bill was signed even after several groups including the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union urged the Governor not to.

The Reverend Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, the executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, also weighed in on the situation. “Other states, including Michigan, have implemented similar laws and had them halted in court,” said Beach-Ferrara in an interview with USA Today.

“This law is clearly discriminatory,” Beach-Ferrara continued. “As long as the LGBTQ+ community continues to be targeted by discriminatory laws, we will turn to the courts for recourse.”

In 2015, shortly after the Supreme Court legalized Gay Marriage, Michigan legislature passed a law that allowed adoption and foster care agencies to cite religious convictions when refusing to work with LGBTQ+ couples who wanted to adopt.

In 2017, however, two couples filed lawsuits challenging the Michigan health and human services department contract with taxpayer-funded and state-contracted agencies that refused to work with same-sex couples.

Business is a large part of the agencies as a whole, so some students discussed it with business ethics in mind. “I think the bill is fair,” said Micah Schultz (’22). “I believe that it allows businesses to have that religious freedom in business, but I think it’s a bad way of doing business because they are actively discriminating against a particular group.”

Attorney General Dana Nessel, who was the first lesbian to be elected to statewide office in the state of Michigan, is most well-known for her representation of the 2015 Supreme Court case that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage

Nessel was a large reason that the bill in Michigan was revoked in the first place. “Limiting the opportunity for a child to be adopted or fostered by a loving home no only goes against the state’s goal of finding a home for every child, it is a direct violation of the contract every child-placing agency enters into with the state.”

However, state senate majority leader Mike Shirkey was not in agreement with the decision against the bill. “I’m just disappointed,” said Shirkey in an interview with USA Today. “This proves our point that the attorney general is unwilling to defend the laws in this state.”

Later on Shirkey also stated, “Faith-based adoption agencies will have to stop operating in Michigan because of the lack of taxpayer-funded support.”

Many students have had a lot to think about when it comes to the topic. “I think if we are going to have religious freedom, we need to have freedom based on people’s family types too,” said Brandon Nicholson (’21). “I think it is unfair to base a families ability to parent based on who they spend the rest of their life with. Their parenting ability should be based on how they parent, not who they are with.”

Some students have been taking a more legal stance when considering “Tennessee was not the first to have something like this, so the recent signing of this bill might add to the increase in similar bills throughout other states,” said Kennedy Sutton (’23). “There might be an appearance of a few more laws, but I doubt that it will become a majority situation.”

While the bill may be legally sound, many still believe that morally it is unjust. “Personally I think the bill, although legally just, is morally wrong,” said Jordan Jackson (’21). “Discriminating against LGBT+ couples under the guise of religious expression is discrimination and outright wrong. Agencies are legally in the right but that does not mean LGBT+ couples are any less capable or qualified to care for and make a home for a child. Love is love no matter what.”

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