Wrestling coach inducted in to the National Hall of Fame

By John Durga

Staff Writer

Alma College Wrestling is a decades old program that has seen vast amounts of success through the last 10 years. Many of those years were coached under Alma wresling coach Todd Hibbs.  

Hibbs built Alma’s wrestling program up to a frequent top 25 team in division three peaking in sixth in 2016 according to d3wrestle.com. 

Hibbs also molded his team in to an elite program academically. The Scots were recognized three times by the NWCA with a team grade-point average of 3.5 or higher under his coaching.  

As a former assistant coach under Coach Hibbs I was able to observe the ins and outs of building and maintaining a successful program,” said Jeremiah Tobias. “I feel fortunate to have him as a mentor and friend.” 

Throughout his coaching career, Hibbs posted a dual-meet record of 106-53-2, only posting a losing record in his first season at Alma College. 

“Coach Hibbs was able to truly put himself in his athletes’ shoes,” said Taylor Mcphail (’18). “Having been a Division 3 wrestler, he knew what I was going through in my highest and lowest points of the season.” 

Hibbs also played a big part in Alma College’s athletic facilities advancing. He worked with the Alma College Advancement Office raising nearly $4 million for the new additions to Alma College’s athletic facilities. It included the Hatcher Wrestling Room, the Sherman Strength and Conditioning Facility, a new area for the cheerleading and STUNT team, as well as new coaching offices and a coaches’ locker room. 

“Coach Hibbs has spent many years supporting the sport of wrestling through his coaching, writing and announcing,” said Tobias. 

“He has helped rebuild and re-establish a program here in the state of Michigan. By doing this he was able to provide guidance for many young men as they transitioned into adult hood.” 

Coach Hibbs was a success at other schools as well. His career at Mount Union College produced two NCAA Division three All-Americans as well as three Ohio Athletic Conference Championships. He was also inducted in to Mount Union’s Hall of Fame. 

Hibbs has coached at conference rival Olivet College. He rebuilt their program to a top ten team nationally. He was also a candidate for NCAA Coach of the Year in 2006 when his team notched a 16-1-1 record. He was eventually promoted to the vice president for institutional development from 2009-2011. 

Hibbs is to be inducted in to Michigan Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and has been awarded the Lifetime Service Award. He has received numerous other awards from the individual colleges that he has coached at. 

“Regardless of coach being in the hall of fame,” said Mcphail, “he will always be on my personal wall of fame of people I want to be like.” 

For those wanting to attend the ceremony it will occur during the chapter’s annual banquet at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor on May 20. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Student Athletic Advisory Council hosts Jock Rock

By Joelle Fisher

Sports Writer

Students, faculty and friends gathered together for an evening of laughter and self-inflicted embarrassment in the Hogan Center for the 7th annual Jock Rock this past weekend. Jock Rock is an event that is organized and hosted by the Student Advisory Council (SAAC).  

The acts during the events are put on by student-athletes and the athletic department faculty; however, anyone in the community is welcome to attend.   

“Jock Rock is a great time for athletes to get together and have some fun, and enjoy a night of great laughs,” said Michelle Sabourin, head cheer and stunt coach.  “It’s always a blast to see student athletes out of their normal roles and this event really serves as a great event for all involved,” said Sabourin.  

The rules of Jock Rock have been quite the same over the years. All participating sports teams are required to put on a skit and/or music parody in under 5 minutes. Three judges will score each routine based on its creativity, costumes, audience response and overall impression.  

The winning team will receive a trophy to hold onto for the year as well as bragging rights.” 

My freshman year we got everyone from our team involved which was an awesome excuse for more bonding time together,” said Kristina Berklanz (‘19).  

“We had so much fun the whole time while choreographing a dance and even ended up getting placed in the top five,” said Berklanz.   

The judges this year were Nancy Gagerfrom Hamilton Commons, Pete the custodian and John from the Registrar’s office.  

SAAC picks these individuals based on a voting system within the club. Judges are typically chosen because of their presence on campus and impartiality to the event.   

“I love that Jock Rock is embarrassing, but in a funny, nonjudgmental way,” said Miller.  “My favorite memory from last year was when one of the baseball players serenaded Nancy,”said Miller. This year’s Jock Rock was hosted by Katie Bush (‘19) and Laura Kastler (‘19).  

This is their second year in a row hosting together, and their third year involved in SAAC.   

“Jock Rock is one of my favorite events that SAAC runs every year,” said Bush.  

“Student athletes are given a chance to compete in a new atmosphere that is based more on creativity and humor rather than skill and strength,” said Bush.  

“Thinking of something creative as a team and going through the process of putting it into a skit is my favorite part of Jock Rock because you get to see a side of your teammates that you don’t normally see on the field,” said Ally Ray (‘20). 


The top five spots this year were dominated by women’s teams. Women’s lacrosse, soccer, basketball, softball and Cheer & STUNT were among the top five. 

The winning team will be announced in the weeks to come and will be able to pick where they wish to sit at Scotties.  

“Win or lose, this is always such a fun time for our student athletes on campus,” said Bush. “We love to see how involved everyone can be and how enjoyable it is to come together as a community.” 

Winning is right up the bowling team’s alley

By Hank Wickley

Sports Writer

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On Jan. 28, the women’s bowling team won first place at the American Heartland IV tournament in Kent, Ohio.  

The team put up a total of over 7,000 points in the tournament, beating three of the top 15 teams in the country.   

“This is a very young team but a very good team,” said head coach Kyle Woodcock. 

“They have been bowling with these higher ranked teams all season,” he said.  

Woodcock continued by saying, “On Sunday they maintained the level necessary to get the win for the entire day.” 

The girls also recognize how big of a deal it is to beat teams of that caliber. “As a team, finishing first is a big deal because we have such a young team compared to others,” said Brianna Pitre (‘18). “We never focus on who were bowling, only our own performance.”  

Focusing on themselves seems to be working, considering this significant team win.   

Another significant aspect of the bowling team’s win was the performance of two bowlers.  

Freshman Kasidey Easlick (‘21) surpassed her previous season-best average of 174.8 by scoring an average of 213.25.  When asked how she accomplished this feat, Easlick said “I’ve been working on a lot during practice, helping with consistency and balance.” 

Easlick continued to say, “This tournament made me feel more confident in my skills.” 

Pitre also put up a new season high at the tournament with a score of 233.   

“Putting up season highs is always a great feeling,” said Pitre.   

When asked about her individual preparation, Pitre said, “Like any athlete, my practices consist of making adjustments to my game and performance.” 

As far as what is to come next, the team has hopes to continue winning as much as possible.  

“As a team, we have been progressively finishing higher in tournaments and team bakers,” said Pitre.   

She continued, “With our biggest tournament, the Hoosier Classic, approaching, we need to stay focused and keep our team energy up.” 

Sometimes the little things make a huge difference.  

“Now that we have done what we’ve been working to do all season, we can see that the simple things like communication between the team and coach helps give us the boost we need,” said Easlick.   

“Going forward, the ladies now know that they can bowl with the best in the country,” said Woodcock. 

Students and staff reflect on Black History Month

By Nathaniel Fryer

Staff Writer

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United States on February 1970, at Kent State University in Ohio. Six years later, it was given federal recognition by President Gerald R. Ford.   

Black History Month has been celebrated at Alma College now for several years.  Black History Month is the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which happened on  January 15.   

Over Martin Luther King Jr. Week, presenters such as Naomi Tutu (daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu) were invited to speak at the college, and the Alma Choir and a few dancers performed in the chapel.  

Over the course of this month, there will be a number of student-led events that will be held on campus. The Multicultural Student Union, in collaboration with the Psychology Club, will be showing “For Colored Girls”, on February 15 at 7:30pm.  

In addition, the Diversity and Inclusion Office will be holding a series of events throughout the month, including two movie screenings on February 13 in SAC 113 and DOW L4 at 6:30pm. There will also be Black History Trivia on February 7 in the Thistle Room in SAGA from 11:30am-12:30pm.   

Many people know about important black leaders like Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr., but not many know about people like George Washington Carver, Sojourner Truth or Congressman John Lewis. For that reason the Center  for Student Opportunity will have a display case that will feature less known (but equally as important) black politicians, artists, painters and athletes. This display will be up up throughout the month. 

“I feel like in today’s society, you have to have recognition for the events that blacks have participated in. Regardless of your race, it is a good idea for people to take a step back and look at our collective history as a nation,” said Khalee Simpson (’20). “Celebrating this month allows for people to take a minute and think about black history.”  

In the past, the advertisement of Black History Month was lacking. Since the new Diversity and Inclusion Director, Candy McCorkle, took office around a year ago, the advertisement has increased.  

“When I came last year, I don’t think [Black History Month] received the advertisement it should have gotten. Since then, I’ve been able to develop relationships with the local paper, and advertised about it,” she said. 

“In my role, I am working to make these events inclusive to everyone on campus, which is important because black history is America’s history.”   

Since the advertisement of these events has increased, attendance has been up. Some professors have been giving their students extra credit to attend these events, and athletes have also been encouraged to attend by their coaches.  

“I think that considering we go to a predominately white college it’s important to celebrate Black History Month so that people of color can celebrate their history,” says TiKilah Turner (’19), the Vice President of the Multicultural Student Union.  

“Black History Month is about unity within the black community, and giving recognition to our blackness. Our blackness is beautiful.”

Piloted Google technology allows for interconnectivity courses

By Aline Batawi

Staff Writer

New technology pioneered by Google was used for the first time this semester by faculty and students at Alma, Albion and Calvin. It allows for classes to be taught across the three campuses.  

“This technology enables Alma to reach students on other campuses and for students to take classes not offered at their institutions,” said Justin Fonley, learning technology coordinator.   

The three colleges are the first to pilot some aspects of this technology. 

The courses offered are all 300 level classes and include “Earth, Art, and the Environment” offered through Albion, “Visual Sociology” at Calvin and “Media Theory and Culture” taught on Alma’s campus by New Media Studies Assistant Professor Anthony Collamati.  

“Especially with advanced subject matter it’s hard to offer a class as often as it needs to be offered because faculty are trying to cover the basics for students,” said Collamati. “This is a way for students here to take courses that aren’t offered at Alma.”  

This pilot technology was coordinated through the Michigan Colleges Alliance. With Google support, this is the first time this technology has been piloted in education.   

“This is a first,” said Fonley. “Alma hasn’t often gotten to be a first in working with new technologies and the technology is unique which makes it exciting.”   

“To be the very first to be piloting Google technology at Alma College of course, is exciting,” said Andrew Bare, assistant director of instructional technology. “For someone who works every day with technology in teaching and learning it doesn’t get more exciting than being able to test new Google technology.”   

The most unique aspect of this how the classes function is an interactive whiteboard called Jamboard, developed by Google. This is the first time the Jamboard has been used in an education setting.   

“What makes this whiteboard special is you can connect it to other Jamboards at the other schools,” said Bare. “So we have our Jamboard connected with a Jamboard at Albion and Calvin during classes: you can have someone write something on the screen at Calvin and it appears here at Alma.”   

“You can connect the Jamboards through an app and you can use that app on tablets, touchscreen computers, and Chromebooks and you can connect into the same session that the Jamboard is in,” said Bare. “From those tablets you can add things on to the Jamboard.”   

“The Jamboard brings so many advantages of digital instruments,” said Collamati. “It can archive things, it can connect to the internet, you can clip images and pages and drag them in, the ability to do more hands-on exercises is easier.”   

According to Bare, that aspect of the Jamboard is what has never been piloted before. Other institutions have purchased Jamboards and may or may not be using them but Alma, Albion and Calvin are the very first pilot of the Jamboard in education.   

According to Fonley, the three schools are able to connect via Google Hangouts, which is a communication platform developed by Google that acts much like FaceTime.   

So far, the execution of the technology has been smooth and with the help of Google Support has been an easy use.  

“We’re in contact regularly with the Google techs who are working with us and they’re looking for our input and feedback on this,” said Bare. “They’re looking for feedback from our students and I feel the excitement from the students who are in the class because I think they’re getting the idea that this is something big.”   

According to Fonley, there have only been minor glitches and no major issues. The fluidity of the classes has not been effected and has been executed seamlessly.   

Although this technology is still in the early stages of use, there is an air of promise that surrounds it.   

“I think everyone sees potential in it,” said Collamati. “I want to give the best shot I have of trying to bring out the best that it has to offer. We want to use it to enrich the time students have here and to give them more options.”  

“I think faculty and students have a lot of ideas about how they can use this technology in different courses and that’s exciting,” said Collamati  

“I think one goal with this is strengthening course offerings,” said Bare. “It is a way of sharing strengths between campuses.”   

According to Fonley, the classes right now are small but in the future, it could expand across campuses.   

Ultimately, this new piloted technology could change the way education is approached and hopefully create a more interactive and diverse way of learning for students and faculty.   

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Grammy Awards receive backlash over snubs

By Paige Daniel

Thoughts Editor

In case you don’t exist somewhere on the internet where people talk about music, collective heads rolled in outrage after the 60th annual Grammy Awards were held on Jan. 28. Usually I concede and watch the ceremony despite its continuously disappointing three hours of television. This year, however, I abstained from watching it at all.   

I could not have known that this would end up being more an act of rebellion than the act of laze that it was initially. It is hard to care about the Grammys when its praise has been misplaced time and time again. Even Adele acknowledged how out-of-touch the awards had become when she won the Grammy for Album of the Year last year, expressing a sentiment shared by many: that Beyoncé should have won the very Grammy Adele was holding.   

Then again, perhaps it is silly to put faith in a ceremony that gives its biggest awards to the most financially successful mainstream pop music. It has always been an issue that the ceremony just takes itself too seriously – why pretend that the interests of the Grammys lie outside of chart popularity when most of their logic around naming nominees and giving awards is based on that system?    

There is a certain attitude amongst particular groups of music listeners and critics that the Grammys are rigged, but nonetheless they still view and participate in discussion about them in the hopes that maybe, things will be different next time. The backlash against the Grammys this year, however, was tinged with the politics of an issue currently garnering attention.   

In light of the recent #MeToo movement attempting to confront the widespread issue of sexual assault in various industries, artists at the Grammys wore white roses to signal their alignment with the cause. This proved to bleed through to what viewers had expected of the awards ceremony; there were a wealth of women nominees – but only three women ended up going home with an award from the main award categories presented on the televised show.   

Watching the backlash unfold on Twitter was basically like viewing the show itself with an endless commentary loop, and people vocalized their discontent about the Grammys snubbing almost all of the women who had been nominated in their respective categories.  

There was an expectation amongst the audience pooled on my own social media that this year had to be different – that the considerations of gender and diversity as of late would have to have some bearing on the outcome of the awards ceremony.   

Tweets about these snubs and the outrage that followed racked up hundreds of thousands of engagements in the form of likes and shares.  

How could Kesha, a woman who had just recently confronted her abuse by pop producer Dr. Luke both in court and in song form (which was Grammy-nominated), lose to Ed Sheeran, an artist that admitted his winning song was created specifically for the charts?  

How could only three women (Alessia Cara and the country group Little Big Town) win Grammys when many women had been nominated in all of the categories? These types of questions were asked at length by the audience I witnessed online.   

It was in the shadow of these considerations that my choice to not invest time or energy in either watching the Grammys or caring about them took on a pallor of protestation. One question from the audience I follow was louder than the rest: Do the Grammys have a gender problem?   

It seems odd to ask for an award show to dole out justice in the form of shiny gold trophies. Should we expect these institutions in media to reflect perfectly the concerns of the time?  

Don’t get me wrong – of course, women should be nominated for and win awards. But should hopes for gender parity be rested on or expected from an institution like the Grammys, one that has been losing its cultural credibility slowly for a while now?   

I don’t think there is an easy answer. There is a counterargument, too: the Grammys are supposed to award the “best” music in each category. Are the Grammys truly “snubbing” women artists if they awarded the “best?”  

Is it possible that none of the women nominated had music worth awarding? A rebuttal to this would take some time to flesh out the dynamics of the issues women have faced in the music industry, and we would be here for far longer than the space allotted. It would also have to be a given that the Grammys’ criterion for what is worthy of an award are completely sound and fair (which I am sure can be contested).   

The outrage had something to do with the taste of the audience I saw responding; they clearly skew toward women artists in general, but that doesn’t discount the fact that there were viral tweets about the problem perceived. This suggests a wider audience online than reflected in my relatively small sample size.   

This response showcased the Grammys’ audience – but what about the people running the Grammys? What did they have to say to that audience? Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy in charge of the Grammys, definitely had something interesting (or rather, ridiculous) to say.  

His response to questions of why so few of the nominated women were awarded goes like this: “It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level,” he said. “[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome.”  

This quote exemplifies a fundamental misunderstanding of the very industry Portnow has a prominent position in.  

Do we want to get into how women have been explicitly discouraged from becoming music producers? Do we want to get into the testimonies from countless women that upon expressing the desire to start their music careers, they were told by their label that they must change their image or appearance? And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  

It is not a question of wanting or not wanting on women’s behalf, and to pinpoint that as the issue is profusely ignorant.   

Following his statement, 20 women from the music industry penned a letter calling for Portnow’s resignation from his position. Before their letter, though, the outcry from others had caused Portnow to issue an apology for his statement.   

Their letter was released around the same time that Portnow announced a new initiative at the Recording Academy – a task force for the advancement of women in the music community.  

Hopefully this is not just lip service, but I don’t think anyone should hold their breath. In the meantime, I will continue to care less about the Grammys.   

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Best of both worlds: How Greek life and athletics mix

By Brittany Pierce

Copy Editor

With rush week ending, the buzz on campus has turned to the difficulties students face who want to pursue both Greek life and athletics. According to a random survey of students, many feel that if they are participating in a sport, then they cannot participate in Greek life as well because of schedule conflicts or from possible coach discouragement.  

“Most students and coaches would be worried about the time commitment if a student wishes to participate in both. Greek life isn’t as big as a time commitment as people think it is,” said Alpha Gamma Delta member Alexia Miller (’20).   

Because of the misconception that students have to choose between one or the other, some students may be missing out on opportunities.   

“I do believe it is possible to join a Greek life organization and participate in a sport,” said Miller. “I know of at least one person [who was discouraged from participating in Greek life]. She talked about how her coaches strongly advised players to not join a Greek organization.”  

However, some of the coaches have different views.   

“If one of my players came to me with a desire to join a fraternity, we would have a discussion about making sure he can balance and fill the requirements between school, basketball and the fraternity,” said Head Men’s Basketball Coach Samuel Hargraves.  

“If he felt he could, I would fully support his desire to be a part of the Greek system. I wish there were more athletes in the Greek community at Alma. Of course, the coaches and athletes like it when students attend our games, it makes for such a better atmosphere. 

“The Greek system can be the most influential part of that student atmosphere. Also, and this is the main benefit, I think it would bring our campus and students even closer together. There are so many life-long relationships that would come from athletics and Greeks getting to know each other better.  

“Sometimes we tend to just stay within our group or team in college.  A couple of my current best friends from college were guys that I didn’t play basketball with, and I was fortunate to get to know them another way. That is what can come from more of a joint relationship between Greeks and athletes,” added Hargraves.   

However, Head Softball Coach Dennis Griffin has an opposing view.  

“I discourage it during the season. If they want to pledge I tell them to do it in the fall. In my opinion it is a time issue. My players are here to get an education and graduate. In the spring semester, my players have their classes and 2-3 hours per day of practice. Adding another time-consuming event like Greek life is too much,” said Griffin.   

Discouraging participation does not mean that the person does not like Greek life or find it invaluable.   

“I think Greek life is a great opportunity for students to build an even stronger network with other students and alumni,” said Head Football Coach Jason Couch.   

“It (whether or not an athlete should participate) depends on the individual student athlete. In most cases, I would support it, as long as they are able to balance all of their responsibilities,” said Couch.    

On the other hand, some coaches are completely neutral.   

“Greek life is an excellent way to build a support group in college, to give back to the community and to have a network of friends both on the local and national level for life,” said Head Men’s Lacrosse coach Michael Kinney.   

“I’m neutral on it (participating in both athletics and Greek Life). It’s an individual choice for a guy, but lacrosse comes first, and my guys understand that,” said Kinney.   

Students, faculty share thoughts on cheating

By Caden Wilson

News Editor

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Sunday night is usually the busiest night of the average college student’s weekend. Whether Friday and Saturday are for friends and family, homework isn’t always put first. By the time the early hours of Monday morning roll around, people can get desperate and cheat.   

Three-hundred and thirty-six current students and 62 members of the faculty responded to an anonymous Almanian survey, in which 16 percent of the students stated they had cheated, plagiarized, or copied other’s work at least once. Of the faculty, 84 percent  confirmed having caught a student cheating.  

Response  from the student survey summed up three major categories explaining why students cheat.   

Primarily, there are the students who were concerned about the negative effects of a low grade on their GPA. In response to the survey, some students stated that they had cheated as a result of being in a prerequisite class or class that wasn’t required for their major.  

As a result, they simply needed the class to fill a credit to graduate and placed importance only on their letter grade. For many campus programs and groups, it is important for members to maintain a certain GPA, resulting in many students using alternative methods to inflate their grades.   

Some responses stated that cheating had been the result of an information gap, where students claimed either that the questions on tests were more difficult than the covered material or simply hadn’t ever been addressed by the professor.   

In an anonymous response to the survey, several professors stated that while students may be put into a position where cheating is tempting, it is ultimately their choice to break student conduct policies.   

“They are pushed to the limit, often in terms of time and stress, and just want to, or need to, get the assignment done in a hurry.  They willingly take the risk of being caught and either don’t think they will or don’t care if they do,” said one faculty member.   

On the other hand, some students admitted that often it was simply a matter of what was easier. While a few simply didn’t study or do the assigned work, many others felt so overwhelmed with their homework that they felt it was their only option.   

Roughly one-third of all student responses stated that they did not have time to complete the assignment they cheated on, in addition to other reasons.   

No responding faculty believed that there was any time where cheating would be acceptable.  

Cheating and plagiarism are covered by the college’s Academic Dishonesty policy. This also includes the act of assisting someone in doing either, which 30 percent of the surveyed students admitted to doing. Students who are caught cheating face consequences designated by the provost,  which may result in failing the class in question or even a hearing with the campus conduct committee, which could lead to expulsion.  

A minority of faculty members believed that punishments for cheating should increase in severity, encompassing 46 percent of those surveyed. 52 percent believed that the current system is effective as is and 2 percent of the questioned faculty agreed that punishments should be less severe, with most agreeing that the punishment should be based on the actions of the student in question.   

“Can there be situations where a professor makes unreasonable demands of their students? Absolutely!,” said Steuard Jensen of the physics department. 

“We’re human, we’re enthusiastic about our subjects, and we can misjudge things. We probably misjudge things more often than we’d like to admit. But those are reasons for a student to contact the professor about the issue and look for some way of resolving it.  

“As a professor, I’ve definitely made changes to assignments after conversations like that, often for everyone in the class. Nothing that a professor can do is worth giving up your honor for.”   

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