‘Lover’ or hate her, just don’t silence her

ALIVIA GILES
STAFF WRITER

11/7/2022

Following the release of Taylor Swift’s latest album, ‘Midnights’, the singer is facing criticism for “fatphobia” in her music video for the song, ‘Anti-Hero’. For years, Swift was silent about her eating disorder. We owe it to her and to countless others to not silence her again.

At one point in the ‘Anti-Hero’ video, we see Swift standing on a bathroom scale, another “version” of Swift peering over her shoulder. The scale reads one word: Fat. The original Swift’s shoulders drop in dismay as the other Swift shakes her head, disappointed.

Twitter users were quick to bring attention to the scene, calling out the singer for her use of the word “fat” and for implying that she is afraid of being viewed in this way. Less than a week after the video’s release, the scene was edited so the word “fat” is no longer visible.

It is not fair to say Swift cannot or should not speak about body image and insecurity simply because she is a thin person. No matter how others might perceive her, her experiences with insecurities and disordered eating are valid.

When Swift revealed she had struggled with an eating disorder in her Netflix documentary Miss Americana, even people who had not considered themselves fans responded with empathy. And yet, the ‘Anti-Hero’ video was met with backlash.

So, is Swift only allowed to discuss her eating disorder in a way that we are all comfortable with? She was considered strong for bringing attention to this issue until she didn’t bring attention to it “right.”

Swift should not have to discuss her eating disorder and insecurities in a way that everyone can relate to or understand for it to be deemed acceptable for her to talk about them. We cannot expect people with platforms to draw attention to difficult topics and then police how they do it.

Many critics of the music video argued that Swift’s use of the word “fat” in a negative way was offensive to them because they choose to identify with the word in an indifferent or even positive way. This perspective is valid, but it simply does not align with Swift’s experiences.

In an interview with Variety, Swift explained that she does not view herself as an expert on the topic of eating disorders or body image insecurities in general and she understands that she cannot speak for everyone.

“I’m not as articulate as I should be about this topic because there are so many people who could talk about it in a better way. But all I know is my own experience,” said Swift.

In the Miss Americana documentary, Swift describes the way she reacts to the public’s criticism of her body. “It’s not good for me to see pictures of myself every day,” said Swift. “[The pictures and criticism] just trigger me to just starve a little bit—just stop eating.”

Like Swift said, she can only speak on her own experience, and that’s what she has done. Some people relate to these experiences, some people don’t. And that’s okay.

By censoring Swift, her message is lost. This is harmful not only to Swift, whose experiences are being diminished and even dismissed but also to the people who relate to these experiences.

When Swift discusses her history of disordered eating, my heart breaks for her, but I also feel incredibly seen. Having grown up with Swift’s music and influence, hearing her speak on serious issues that have impacted me is very important.

I know not everyone can relate to what Swift has gone through. And Swift knows this, too. But in many ways, I do feel that I can understand and relate to Swift’s experiences, and I know I am not alone in this.

Even if Swift’s message is not one everyone likes or can relate to, she deserves to have this message heard. So, let’s not silence her. Her experiences are valid, and she deserves to share them how she wants to.

Alma College football remains undefeated

KYLE SCHECK
PHOTOGRAPHER

ALIVIA GILES
LAYOUT EDITOR

11/7/2022

Following a 30-10 victory against Adrian College on Nov. 5, the Alma College football team remains undefeated.

Coming back from their 5-5 record in the 2021 season, the Scots have won all nine of their games so far this year. This is the first time Alma College football has gone 9-0 in the program’s 128-year history.

If the Scots win their tenth game on Nov. 12 against Albion College, they will guarantee their spot in the MIAA Championship.

Jason Couch, Alma College head football coach, is happy to see his players’ and coaches’ hard work paying off.

“I think it means a lot, not only to our players but our alumni and campus community.  For the players and coaches, it validates the countless hours of commitment they have given since our last game in 2021,” said Couch.

For Couch, their success this season extends past the Alma College community. “Gaining respect within the conference [is important] and our players do a great job motivating one another,” said Couch.

“There are days I’m tired but when I get out to practice and feel the energy of others I’m rejuvenated. Attitudes and energy are contagious and I love the atmosphere of our practices.”

Zachary Riepma, assistant coach – offensive coordinator is proud of how hard the team has worked toward their goal this season.

“It has never been about the destination, but the process and the journey of ‘climbing the mountain.’ CLIMB stands for Commitment, Leadership, Intensity, Maturity and Belief,” said Riepma.

Finishing his career as a Scot, William Hampton (’23) is excited to be a part of Alma College history.

“I can’t even begin to put in words what a MIAA Championship will mean to me, this program and this community,” said Hampton.

Hampton is proud of the Scots for surpassing expectations. “We were picked preseason to finish 6th in the conference. Alma football hasn’t won a conference championship in 18 years so it would be special,” said Hampton.

Hampton feels that the team owes a lot to Couch for their success this season. “Knowing that I was a part of Coach Couch’s first recruiting class and to get him a Conference Championship would mean the world to me,” said Couch.

“He’s a great coach but, an even better man that wants to see his players not only succeed on the field but as well as off the field,” said Couch. “This would mean so much to past, present and future Scots.”

Sage Kraai (’23) does feel a sense of pressure to finish the season strong, but uses this as motivation.

“Being undefeated is a lot of fun, but it places a large target on us. Everyone wants to beat us and is doing everything in their power to beat us,” said Kraai. “I don’t think it creates too much stress for us players. We like to have the chip on our shoulders. We have been preparing for this moment.”

Title IX concerns at Alma College

ALIVIA GILES
LAYOUT EDITOR

10/24/2022

While several Alma College students have voiced concerns about how the college handles Title IX cases, it is also important to consider how misuse of the Title IX system causes victims to suffer. 

One student who chose to remain anonymous has seen their peers resort to filing Title IX cases in instances where they felt it may not have been appropriate. 

“I have witnessed many situations in which friends [or people in relationships] find themselves in an argument . . . and instead of solving these issues interpersonally or even through third-party mediation, one person will choose to file a Title IX case. This usually leads to the second person counter-filing a case.” 

This person believes fewer students would misuse the system if the college was more transparent about what Title IX really is. 

“[The college should teach students] the severity and weight of Title IX. These situations are not jokes, petty fights or minor disputes,” they said. “These are cases of genuine discrimination or abuse.” 

Another student who filed a Title IX case and wishes to remain anonymous also commented on misuse of the system. 

“When students abuse or manipulate the system for their own gain or advantage, it makes it so that legitimate cases are not taken as seriously and are more heavily stigmatized,” they said. 

“I can remember shortly after . . . my Title IX investigation…[people believed] I was lying . . . just for going to Title IX,” they said.

Aware of these students’ experiences, Alma College has made significant changes to the Title IX system. The college recently announced a partnership with Grand River Solutions and appointed a new Civil Rights/Title IX coordinator, David Blandford.

The college also expanded from two to four Deputy Title IX Coordinators: Alice Kramer, Kelley Peatross, Jonathan Glenn and John MacArthur.

“I oversee the process and make sure that we are doing our best to provide supportive measures, ensure the process is fair and timely and I also assign investigators, hearing officers and advisors as needed,” said Blandford.

Blandford wants students to know that they have options when filing a Title IX case. Students filing Title IX cases can choose to undertake a formal investigation, alternative resolution or seek supportive measures without formal action.

“. . . Alternative resolution, which isn’t always appropriate, brings people together to agree on a resolution and requires the parties to work together,” said Blandford. “Formal investigation is a long process that can require people to retell their story and is often the hardest; it is also the option that holds the greatest accountability and has the least amount of flexibility.”

While Blandford does not see misuse of the Title IX system as a major problem at the college, he understands why some students have concerns about it.

“I do not feel this is currently an issue on campus, but I can understand why students may feel that way,” said Blandford. “The process is very prescribed on handling false information and retaliation, and those things are taken very seriously.”

“This process also does not allow for any punitive measures to be taken against a responding party until [a verdict has been reached] at the end of a hearing,” said Blandford. “It does allow supportive measures to be put in place at any time to help support both reporting and responding parties.”

“All complaints filed with the Title IX office must be followed up on, and we will take every report seriously, regardless of what else is happening. We also investigate claims to make sure they are valid,” said Blandford.

For more information about the Title IX system, students can talk to Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator David Blandford in the Center for Student Opportunity (CSO).

Controversy surrounding movie Don’t Worry Darling

DARCY DAENZER
ALIVIA GILES
STAFF WRITER

10/3/2022

The anticipation of the release of Don’t Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde and starring Harry Styles and Florence Pugh, has been fraught with controversy. Any doubts the movie would do poorly on its opening weekend, however, were quickly cast aside as it rose to number one at the box office.

The discourse surrounding the movie touches on a wide range of things from Shia LaBeouf’s involvement to Styles’ acting, to the relationship between Styles and Wilde.

Some have even gone so far as to suggest the controversy has been used purposely by the film’s creators to promote the film and increase its potential viewership.

Whatever the case, most conversations are now centering around Styles’ and Wilde’s relationship. The age difference between the two, how it may have caused tensions on set and how distant they seemed to be from each other throughout the premiere in Venice are just some of the topics being discussed.

In a male-dominated field such as the film industry, female directors like Wilde may face more scrutiny just because they are women.

It would not be surprising if Wilde has faced more criticism as a woman. “[I]t makes sense…that a woman would experience more backlash for a movie like this since they are constantly under a microscope,” said Amelia Price (’24).

On a similarly note, Wilde faces more scrutiny as a female director. “[S]he will continue to be confined by her sexuality, as [the] film exists in a patriarchal society,” said Haden Gross (’23).

Furthermore, male film directors have had a long history of dating their female leads. Some instances included a notable age difference and still received little to no criticism.

Even if Wilde is facing more criticism simply because she is dating one of the world’s most famous male singers right now, it is still important to consider the gender biases that may be in effect.

Wilde’s directorial debut, Booksmart, was received very differently by critics, attaining an admirable 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and a solid seven point one out of 10 on IMDb.

Perhaps, some critics of Wilde have a problem with the subject matter of her newest film. This includes the constraints women of an idyllic 60s-era society are facing.

The movie, however, has not suffered any repercussions from the bad press. CNN reported they “opened to $19.2 million in North America [the weekend of September 23 and] …notched $30 million worldwide so far.”

While Don’t Worry Darling has only received 39% on Rotten Tomatoes and six point three out of 10 on IMDb, it has, nevertheless, pervaded our lives with the sheer amount of press surrounding the actors and creative team.

Whether more people will see the movie is up for debate. “As much as I want to see it, I do not want to support Olivia Wilde, financially or in general, so I will be watching it, but in a less conventional way,” said Price.

When it comes to movies these days, especially with social media, it is no surprise that a movie this heavily promoted with A-list actors and one of the world’s most famous singers could have caused this amount of contention. However, it is evident that some of the topics being discussed are not essential to determining the actual merits of the film.

While it may be fun to discuss all of the drama Don’t Worry Darling has caused, in the end, it really does not matter.

Hopefully, in the future, we can judge movies by their actual content and not the drama surrounding them.

Alma College celebrates homecoming

EMMA FIGLEWICZ
PHOTOGRAPHER

ALIVIA GILES
LAYOUT EDITOR

10/3/2022

The Alma College community celebrated homecoming with a week full of traditions and activities for current students, families and alumni.

Throughout the week of homecoming, the Alma College Union Board (ACUB) hosted a campus-wide scavenger hunt for all current Alma College students.

The weekend festivities started with alumni events on Friday, Sept. 23. Current Alma College students were invited to meet with graduates for the Student and Alumni Networking Night.

Over the course of the day, the college hosted graduating class reunion events across campus. The cheer and dance teams performed at Art Smith Arena for an official “Homecoming Kick-Off.” The Percussion Ensemble and Pipe Band had a concert in Heritage Center.

On Friday night, ACUB hosted a homecoming dance for current Alma College students at Elks Lodge. The event included a cash bar for students over 21 and free shuttle services to and from Heritage Center.

On Saturday morning, the college held a Chapel Memorial Service and celebrated the Installation of Reverend Alissa Davis at the Dunning Memorial Chapel.

Other Saturday activities included Fraternity/Sorority alumni and current member events all day, the annual Scot Trot 5K race and a parade featuring student organizations on campus.

Ruby Lovasz (’23) helped organize the Scot Trot. “The event went really well,” said Lovasz. “We had a lot more people register than in previous years . . . about 80 to 90 people [ran].”

Following the parade and the event at the chapel, the college hosted a Food Truck Lunch event in the Heritage Center parking lot.

On Saturday afternoon, the Alma College football team played against Martin Luther College. The Scots won the game with a final score of 69 to 0.

Following the football game, Model United Nations and the Academic Department held receptions on campus. Alma College president Jeff Abernathy invited alumni and guests to attend the President’s Reception and Awards ceremony on Friday evening at the President’s House Tent on campus.

The Alma College Choirs performed a concert at Heritage Center on Saturday night, as the Kiltie Marching Band celebrated its 100-year anniversary with a reception at the Dow Science Center.

Abigale Whitford (’25) did not participate in homecoming festivities as a freshman last year but was happy to be a part of it the celebration this year. Whitford was happy that the college was able to hold homecoming events with fewer covid restrictions.

“I wasn’t around for homecoming last year, but I am sure with some covid protocols being lifted this year, homecoming looked much different this year,” said Whitford.

Whitford participated in events with current members of her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, and enjoyed connecting with alumni throughout the week.

Whitford was also excited to have the opportunity to represent her organization in the parade. “This was my first year being involved with homecoming festivities and participating in the parade with [Gamma Phi Beta],” said Whitford.

Whitford viewed the homecoming parade, not only as a fun activity for her and her sorority sisters to be a part of, but as an opportunity to show other students what programs such as Fraternity/Sorority Life have to offer.

Noah Schnapp faces campus safety concerns

ALIVIA GILES
LAYOUT EDITOR

9/19/2022

Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp recently began his first year at the University of Pennsylvania. Concerning images, including screenshots of what appear to be other students’ private conversations about Schnapp, have surfaced on Twitter. This has caused fans to worry about the actor’s safety.

Since starting school, images of the 17-year-old Canadian actor, best known for playing Will Byers in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, at fraternity parties have circulated online.

In a recent video uploaded to Twitter, Schnapp can be seen jumping off a small bridge into a pool at the Bamboo Bar near the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

While some social media users are happy to see Schnapp appearing to have fun at college, many fans expressed concern. Fans of the Netflix star have also shared screenshots of other University of Pennsylvania students’ supposedly leaked conversations. 

Some of the leaked messages seem to reveal that Schnapp’s friends are using him because of his fame and some students have taken pictures of the actor to sell to paparazzi. Other messages indicate much more sinister intentions.

According to anonymous Twitter user @burner4noah, who claims to have a friend who attends the University of Pennsylvania, Schnapp has been pressured to engage in dangerous acts such as using hard drugs. Other messages suggest that other students have discussed committing acts of physical and sexual violence toward Schnapp.

When Schnapp revealed on his Tiktok account last winter that he had been accepted into the University of Pennsylvania, many fans took to social media to share their excitement for the actor. 

Schnapp called going to college “the biggest transition [he will] ever make in [his] life, but . . . very exciting.”

While most college students don’t face the same kind of scrutiny as the Netflix star, Schnapp’s situation brings up important questions about the reality of many students’ college experience.

  Wiley Delisa (’24) is the president of Phi Mu Alpha at Alma College. Delisa believes that, while Schnapp’s fans may be acting out of concern for the young actor, they should not take to social media to weigh in on his decisions.

“. . . I am very conscious of the fact that having fun also means being responsible. However, I feel that fans are taking way too much active participation in Noah’s life,” said Delisa.

“He’s a 17-year-old college student. He’s allowed to go to parties and enjoy his time, he’s allowed to choose who he hangs out with and, most importantly, he’s allowed to make mistakes,” said Delisa.

While Delisa feels that Schnapp may have behaved recklessly, he also acknowledges that many college students have made similar mistakes and he does not want to see Schnapp penalized on social media.

“Many of us make bad choices, that’s what college is for, but very few of us have to experience those choices being watched by millions of people who think they know what’s best for us,” said Delisa. “. . . It saddens me to see that his teenage choices are being put under a microscope by fans.”

Despite fans’ concerns, Delisa is not convinced that the supposed leaked messages indicate any real threat to Schnapp’s safety. Delisa believes the posts are most likely the work of someone using Schnapp’s fame to gain attention. 

“. . . If this anonymous Twitter user was really concerned about his safety, they would have and should have reached out to the proper staff members at their college or the Title XI office,” said Delisa. “Posting something like this on Twitter is clearly just an attempt at clout or an attempt at riling up his fans.”

Alma College community reacts to rumors of Scotty removal

KYLE SCHECK
PHOTOGRAPHER

ALIVIA GILES
LAYOUT EDITOR

9/19/2022

This semester, rumors have spread across campus that Alma College may be in the process of removing the school’s longtime mascot, Scotty. Although the rumors remain prevalent, it appears that the college does not have plans to remove Scotty entirely any time soon.

While some students, faculty and staff are upset about the idea of removing the figure, others are open to the idea of finding a new mascot to represent the college.

Hank Wickley, a 2020 Alma graduate who now serves as Assistant Director of Admissions addressed the rumors.

“There has been talk about changing our mascot, but not getting rid of Scotty completely. A lot of the plan seems to be more use of the big tartan ‘A’ that you see around campus [and] on athletic uniforms. I don’t know when or how the college plans to make any of these changes,” said Wickley.

“We don’t want Scotty to go away, but we might want to have a mascot that more students and student athletes can identify with. Not everyone on campus looks at a big muscular white guy and feels connected to him, so I think the goal is to make something more relatable for everyone,” said Wickley.

Wickley believes that Scotty will always have a place at Alma College, but explained that the college has discussed letting its students select an additional figure to represent Alma College.

“There has been talk about providing a bunch of choices and then putting it up to a vote for students to decide,” said Wickley. “Again, nothing is official and all of those could very well never happen, but those are some things I have heard about. I think either way, Scotty won’t go away and will still be a part of our identity.”

Natashia Swalve, Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology and Sociology would like to see the school consider a new mascot and she even has some thoughts on what it should be.

“I have been and will always be pro-highland cow,” said Swalve. “They are woolly, friendly, have horns and are cholesterol-friendly – everything you could want in a mascot.”

Andrew Pomerville, Director of the Center for College and Community Engagement and Senior Chaplain embraces what Scotty represents but understands that other members of the Alma College community feel differently and believes those voices should be heard.

“A mascot is an opportunity to demonstrate who we are and what we believe. I do not believe our current mascot is the only way to do that,” said Pomerville. “Hearing critique from students, staff, faculty and alumni about ‘Scotty’ helps me understand and support the idea of revisiting the idea of a new mascot. I love the involvement of the students in this process.”

Adam Short (’24) understands how some people may view Scotty as an offensive figure. “I do feel Scotty could potentially be a problematic stereotype of Scottish people, though I am not myself Scottish and can’t fully speak to this personally. I have heard discussions around campus that many Scottish exchange students have mentioned Scotty being a poor representation of Scottish people,” said Short.

Although Short feels that students’ concerns about Scotty are valid, he does not entirely agree with one of the points some students have made about the mascot.

“Some people argue he represents toxic masculinity. While I can sympathize with this point, I think the fact that Scotty does wear a kilt helps counter this slightly. It gives Scotty a mix of feminine and masculine traits,” said Short.

Like many members of the campus community, Short has thought about what kind of mascot might be a good fit for the college and has even considered different ways the college could choose this new figure.

“Alma could poll the student population on [whether] they think Scotty should be replaced and what he should be replaced with. I have heard people around campus suggest either the Scotty Terrier or a Highland Cow, since it does not impact Alma as ‘The Scots,’” said Short.

Short also thinks it could be useful to consult with Scottish college students to choose a new mascot. “Doesn’t Alma also have a ‘sister school’ in Scotland? Maybe they could work with that school to make a new mascot, considering they are actually Scottish students,” said Short.

Luke Losie (’22) is in favor of keeping Scotty as the college’s official mascot and enjoys learning about the unique mascots Alma College has had. “I think [Scotty is] great. He was elected in the 1920’s, replacing the fighting Presbyterians,” said Losie. “If they change it again, they should go back to them.”

Madeleine Kim (‘25) does not believe Scotty should be viewed as different from other mascots representing specific ethnic groups, comparing the use of the figure to Central Michigan University’s longtime use of “Chippewas.”

“I believe that it is completely fair to judge our ‘Scotty’ the same way one might judge Central’s ‘Chip,’” said Kim. “It would only be fair to have all mascots that depict an ethnic group be removed – whether or not that mascot depicts a minority ethnic group.”

Kim does not want the concerns surrounding the mascot to be taken lightly. “If someone is offended by something, they [have] a valid reason for it and there are likely others who feel the same way,” said Kim.

It is [evident] that these mascots are based on stereotypes and whether or not those are ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ stereotypes shouldn’t matter,” said Kim. “What matters is that because stereotypes are formed by outsiders, they are not a way to represent a culture or heritage.”

Weekly Horoscopes 9/9/2022

Aires: that bump in the road was for the best, learn from your challenges, Aries. Sometime the hardest moments lead to the biggest successes.

Taurus: Friends are not always what they seem. Check your circle and trust your instincts. Your energy deserves to go to people who build you up.

Gemini: Rest up for the week ahead, Gemini. You will be faced with decisions that may lead to powerful outcomes.

Cancer: Nothing can stop you this week, Cancer. You will have many opportunities to thrive in social environments.

Leo: It can be easy to feel like you are on top of the world, but make sure to stay grounded in the weeks to come. Built other people up too.

Virgo: take some time to celebrate what you have accomplished before moving on to your next goal, Virgo.

Libra: You might feel like your social battery is always full, but you will have to take some time to recharge.

Scorpio: The closest people to you can be the easiest to share your emotions with. This can overwhelm your friends so always be aware of how this adds to their own burdens.

Sagittarius: Honesty is a virtue, but remember, it is a double-edged sword. Don’t let your candor hurt others.

Capricorn: Slow down, Capricorn. Create boundaries that will provide you with time to relax. This much needed rest will keep you fueled up and goal-oriented.

Aquarius: Although you want to be self-reliant, you can’t do everything yourself. Allow other people to help you along the way.

Pisces: You have so many creative ideas. take a chance and share one, you never know what could happen.

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