Who deserves the COVID-19 vaccine?

COURTNEY SMITH
STAFF WRITER

Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, all of humanity has been searching for a light at the end of the tunnel. That light, for many, arrives in the form of a vaccine. The state of Michigan has administered COVID-19 vaccines for the past six months; however, due to limited availability of vaccines, healthcare administrators released the vaccine in tiers according to age, occupation, and health status.

“Since December 2020, COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan became available for front line workers such as healthcare workers and first responders in congregate settings, and those aged 65 and older,” said professor of integrated physiology and health sciences, Hyun Kim. “Pre-K-12 teachers, school staff, and licensed child care workers were also vaccinated after these groups. The state of Michigan has been expanding vaccination eligibility for those aged 16 and older with disabilities or medical beginning March 22nd, and starting April 5th, everyone over 16 will become eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The public as well as the campus community have expressed mixed opinions on what groups of people deserve to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before others. Much controversy has arisen from the exclusion of college students from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine before the general public, as they live in communal settings in which the virus spreads rapidly.

“Since last year, health inequity has been the topic in the area of public health,” said Kim. “One of the ethical principles of COVID-19 vaccine priority groups was to promote justice and to mitigate health inequities. Alma College is one of a few higher-educational institutions who has opened the campus for in-person learning while many others, especially large state universities, have not. I think the student population cannot be prioritized due to these reasons mentioned above unless they have high-risk underlying conditions or work at the healthcare settings. Again, I believe vaccine priorities should be given to those, no matter if they are students or faculty members, at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection.”

Another source of controversy arose when Alma College faculty members were offered the COVID-19 vaccine prior to students, even though many of these faculty members had opportunities to receive the vaccine at prior dates.

“The COVID-19 vaccine was provided first to the faculty of Alma College,” said Kim. “There were a fair number of faculty members with underlying health conditions who did not get vaccinated due to delays in vaccination scheduling in Michigan. I think this was why COVID-19 vaccine was offered prior to students.”

Although many felt that college students should have qualified for the COVID-19 vaccine at an earlier date, various different factors were considered in determining vaccine eligibility.

“Mortality and morbidity data of COVID-19 in the United States has shown that individuals aged 65 and older or with high-risk health conditions have been significantly affected by severe complications such as trouble breathing, heart problems, and additional bacterial infections,” said Kim. “Based on this evidence, I personally think the vaccine could have been offered to students at the same time to faculty, but to those with underlying conditions prior to everyone,

because we, as a campus community, have been working together diligently to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus.”

At the end of the day, each vaccine administered in our campus community brings us one step closer to bringing the COVID-19 pandemic to a close.

Harry and Meghan expose the Royal Family

JORDYN BRADLEY
SPORTS EDITOR

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, exposed the Royal Family for failing to protect them and their son, Archie.

Before Archie was born, Meghan was told by a member of the firm (as she referred to it in the interview) that he would not have a title, which would not grant him security.

When asked why her son–a great-grandchild of the Queen–would not have a title when the rest of the children born into the family did, she received no response.

However, many speculate that this is due to Archie being biracial.

An undisclosed immediate member of the family even voiced concern directly to Prince Harry about how dark his son’s skin would be, fueling a whole new narrative regarding the agenda of the “firm.”

After the interview with Oprah was released, the Royal Family has been criticized for these racist remarks, but Harry refused to divulge who specifically said them, as it would “destroy” their life.

Since Harry and Meghan’s relationship went public, British tabloids were quick to fault her for even the most normal behavior. This put in question the double standard between her and her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, and many wonder if it is due to Meghan’s race.

During one of Kate’s pregnancies, DailyMail praised her for, “tenderly [cradling] her baby bump.”

However, when Meghan was photographed the same way, DailyMail’s headline was, “Why can’t Meghan Markle keep her hands off her bump?” and asked whether it was “pride, vanity, acting–or a new age bonding technique.” This is just one of the many examples where British tabloids compared the two and portrayed Meghan negatively. Media have also accused Meghan of trying to take Harry away from his family and criticized her for her behavior, as she should have understood what she “signed up for.”

However, nobody can say what an experience is like until they are experiencing it. It is easy for commoners to say we would adjust a certain way when we will never have the opportunity to be in someone else’s shoes.

“I think if there are issues [about the Royal Family] that the public doesn’t see, it is good for it to be brought out to the public,” said Madee Hall (‘23).

The Royal Family’s inability to stand up for Meghan when inaccurate headlines about her were published is something else that has bothered her throughout her time as a member of the family.

To Oprah, Meghan said the firm was, “willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.”

The Duke and Duchess’s purpose for doing the interview was not to destroy lives or expose anyone in their family; it was to speak their truth after being ridiculed for the decisions they have made over the last year to step down as senior members of the Royal Family.

This did not mean that they wanted to leave their family or that they didn’t want to be royals; they did not want as much responsibility as senior members are supposed to hold.

This decision is what they believed was best for their well-being.

Meghan confided in Oprah about her mental health struggles during her pregnancy with Archie. It got to the point where Meghan did not trust herself alone, and told Harry she frankly did not want to be alive anymore.

When the couple asked members of the Royal Family if she could receive inpatient care for her mental health and take some time away for treatment, they told her it would not be a good look for their family.

These are supposed to be her family members. Yet, they cared more about how they looked to the public than how much she was struggling.

“Meghan is a part of the family and they need to treat her more like it,” said Hall.

“I don’t think Meghan and Harry are getting enough credit for doing what they have. [They] are people, too.”

The couple now have a farm in California and are expecting a baby girl this summer. They still actively talk with Queen Elizabeth, but expressed how relationships with many other members of the family will need time to mend.

Ultimately, they made the best decision for themselves and their family.

Grammy Awards update

ALIVIA GILES
EMILY MCDONALD
STAFF WRITERS

WESTON HIRVELA
GRAPHIC CREATOR

Due to Covid-19 precautions, this year’s Grammy Awards looked very different from that of previous years, but the show still managed to produce plenty of historic, controversial and memorable moments.

As pre-show coverage began, many viewers were excited to see what their favorite performers were wearing. Pop artist, Dua Lipa graced the red carpet in a Versace gown, while Taylor Swift opted for a floral Oscar de la Renta mini dress and Louboutin heels.

For Alma College Fashion Club president, Karmella Williams (’23), the red carpet looks were a very important part of the event, “Dua Lipa and Erin Lim were the best-dressed artists. My top favorite was Dua Lipa.”

The event kicked off with a monologue from host, Trevor Noah. English Harry Styles sang his pop hit, “Watermelon Sugar,” followed by performances by Billie Eilish and Finneas and HAIM.

Williams felt that all the artists featured gave strong performances but was partial to Harry Styles’, “I liked the ‘Watermelon Sugar’ performance, [but] I did not dislike any of the performances.”

Among the night’s biggest winners was Beyoncé. Alongside her nine-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy and WizKid, the music icon took home the award for Best Music Video for “Brown Skin Girl.”

Beyoncé went on to win three more awards over the course of the night, including Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance and Best R&B Performance. With 28 wins, she broke country artist Alison Krauss’ record and made history as the most-awarded woman in Grammys history.

Actress/comedian Tiffany Hadish received her first Grammy for Best Comedy Album for “Black Mitzvah,” while television host and political commentator Rachel Maddow won Best Spoken Word Album.

Bad Bunny won Best Latin Pop or Urban Album for his debut album, “YHLQMDLG.” Accompanied by Jhay Cortez, the Puerto Rican star performed his hit single “Dákiti.”

Megan Thee Stallion was awarded Best New Artist, making her the first woman rapper to win the award since Lauryn Hill in 1999. She also took home Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B took the stage to perform their hit “WAP” for the first time on television. The racy performance garnered a fierce response from viewers as well as conservative news sources, such as Fox News.

The Grammy for Song of The Year went to Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas for “I Can’t Breathe,” while Harry Styles took home Best Pop Solo Performance for “Watermelon Sugar.”

Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande received the award for Best Duo/Group Performance for their song “Rain On Me,” while Fiona Apple was awarded with Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rock Performance and received a nomination for Best Rock Song.

K-Pop group, BTS received their first Grammy nomination for their hit “Dynamite.” While the group had presented at the show in 2019 and made a cameo in Lil Nas X’s performance last year, this year marked the first time a South Korean act had ever performed one of their own songs at the Grammys.

Miranda Lambert was honored with the Grammy for Best Country Album for “Wildcard,” while Dua Lipa won Best Pop Vocal Album for “Future Nostalgia.”

Taylor Swift, accompanied by collaborators Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff took home the Grammy for Album of the Year for their album “Folklore.” The win made Swift the first woman to win Album of the Year three times, having previously won for her albums “Fearless” and “1989.”

The final award of the night, Record of The Year, went to 19-year-old pop artist Billie Eilish for her album “Everything I Wanted.” Eilish dedicated her acceptance speech to Megan Thee Stallion, who she felt “deserved” the honor, before ending by thanking the Academy.

Positive Updates 3/29/21

LIZZY DERMODY
STAFF WRITER

Last weekend, the Loyola Ramblers beat the Illinois Fighting Illini 71-58 in the biggest upset of the tournament, all due to their biggest fan, and who the team considers their MVP, Sister Jean. Sister Jean, the 101 year old nun, made sure she had her vaccine and was able to attend the March Madness game, where she led the Loyola Ramblers in prayer and ultimately to victory. Social Media has gone crazy over Sister Jean’s pregame prayer which included a very analytical argument as to why the Ramblers deserved to win, highlighting their percentages of three-pointers and layups. Though the end result was a bracket buster for many, you got to hand it to Sister Jean for her unwavering support for the Ramblers!

Other upsets of last weekend include:
Oral Roberts vs Ohio State 75-72
ACU vs Texas 53-52
Oregon St vs Oklahoma St 80-70
Oregon vs Iowa 95-80

Let’s hear it for the underdogs!

Outrage over Everard’s death

AISHWARYA SINGH
StAFF WRITER

Sarah Everard was a 33 year old marketing executive for a digital media agency working in Brixton Hill, London, United Kingdom.

On Mar. 3, at around 9:00pm, she was walking home from a friend’s house. As she was walking back home, she had a 15 minute long conversation with her boyfriend, agreeing to meet him the next day.

The next day, on Mar. 4, Everard’s boyfriend contacted police to inform them that he has been unable to make contact with Everard since the night before and that she didn’t show up for their meeting that day.

Pink posters with the words “missing” on them quickly swarmed the streets of London as efforts were made to hopefully find the woman alive.

Six days after her disappearance, on Mar. 10, The Metropolitan Police reveal they’ve arrested officer Wayne Couzens, a 48-year-old man with a wife and two children, serving in the force’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. They claim he was not on duty at the time of Ms Everard’s disappearance.

Detectives soon begin searching two locations in Kent including properties close to Couzens’ residence. A day into their search, they find human remains were found in a builders bag in Kent, which were identified to be belonging to Everard via dental records.

Everard’s death has since let to an outcry across the world, with women standing up against an unsafe environment where an act as simple as walking home at night is one that must be marred by caution and safety precautions.

Downloads for women’s safety apps increased tenfold in the aftermath of Everard’s death, pointing to a culture where great strides need to be made by legislators to effectively make streets safer for women. An eye opening statistic by United Nations Women also began making the rounds of social media, which says 97% of all women claim to have been sexually assaulted with 96% of those never having reported their experiences to the authorities because they thought it wouldn’t lead to any change and was an added hassle.

A vigil for Everard took place on Clapham Common on Mar. 13, quickly becoming the biggest vigil in her honor with hundreds of protestors and mourners attending. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, also attended, with Kensington Palace releasing a statement saying that the Duchess “remembers what it was like to walk around London at night before she was married”.

However, cops quickly descended on the vigil, arresting attendees for violating the Coronavirus Act of 2020 which gave the cops emergency powers to handle public gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus.

The way the cops handled the event drew widespread criticism from all sides of the political spectrum, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying he was “deeply concerned” after seeing the footage of the event.

Post heavy criticism, police response has changed dramatically. On 14 March, when more than 1,000 people marched from New Scotland Yard to Parliament Square in protest, the police response was described as “hands-off” and “markedly different” to that on Mar. 13.

Currently, Couzens’ trial is set for October 2021 and the acts of the police during the protest are waiting to be reviewed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, which oversees the police. However, no matter what the verdict of the trial, it is clear that Everard’s death has quickly turned into a movement for women’s safety which seeks to bring to women in a western liberal democracy a very basic right— the right to walk on the streets without fearing for their lives.

Senior farewells

To the Almanian,

Working on the staff of the Almanian for the past three years has truly been a good time. I began as a sophomore writing articles every week and soon held the position of layout editor, where I’ve stayed until now. I’ve enjoyed seeing how the perception of campus has changed over the years based on the articles we’ve written. We once wrote about clubs and spaghetti dinners, but now we look at presidential elections, climate change and racial and social injustices. Article topics may have changed, but I’ve found the staff have remained the same, hilarious people they were when I joined. I truly will miss spending Sundays in the office having minor meltdowns when the computers won’t start up, or Adobe Illustrator refuses to work or any of our regular issues comes up yet again. Although annoying when they happen, I’ve found I’m rather fond of those times. After I graduate, I will take a gap year and work as a rehabilitation technician before applying for occupational therapy schools. While this ultimately may have little influence on my career and my intentions in life, I will say with certainty that the Almanian has provided a new perspective on writing that I never really intended to have. I will miss you all and this newspaper greatly.

With love,
Kate Westphal

Dear Almanian readers,

As I reflect on my time as a staff writer for The Almanian, I’m able to also retrace the steps of my life here at Alma. I began my journey with the paper during my sophomore year, needing the extra cash and feeling as though I would be able to get some writing experience out of the gig. Writing for The Almanian was much more rewarding than I ever thought it would be. The experience of seeing something you worked incredibly hard to create on the front page, scattered around campus was quite thrilling. I’ve written everything from Campus Comment and stories on new clubs to political pieces and more. Each time I was given the opportunity to write something out of my comfort zone was an opportunity for personal growth. I’m thankful for my time here at The Almanian. Working for the paper allowed me to have a deeper connection to campus life, as well as giving me a space to write about important topics often overlooked by the mass media. I appreciate The Almanian’s willingness to choose topics that may be controversial, allowing us writers the chance to spark change across our campus community. I also have a sense of admiration for the paper’s push to remain an honest and unbiased source of information, as we oftentimes aren’t given something as simple as that by larger media outlets. I hope that students continue to pick up the paper and learn something, be it about campus, the world or even themselves. Fast forward to senior year, and here I am writing my farewell to The Almanian. Although I never would have dreamt that my time here at Alma would be ending during a global pandemic, I wouldn’t have wanted my last stories to be different than they were. Not only is my time writing for the paper coming to a close, but that chapter on my undergraduate career is nearing the final pages. I’d like to thank all of the Editor-in-Chiefs I’ve had at my time at The Almanian. I’d also like to thank all of the editors, who were kind enough to accept my articles late more often than not. Lastly, I’d like to thank all of those who read my articles; I hope you enjoyed them.

Keep on reading,
Emily Henderson

Dear Almanian,

When I was hired as “sports editor” of the paper, I mistakenly thought I was hired as a sports writer. While grateful for my first paid writing opportunity, this triggered my fight or flight response; I didn’t know enough to write about sports for every edition! I was certainly not qualified to do that. Once the then editor-in-chief informed my naive self that I was instead responsible for editing the layout of the sports page, that thought of impending doom went away and I was excited to get to work. My time working as a writer and layout editor for The Almanian has felt like it lasted for six years, but also six minutes. So many stories have been written and so much feedback has been received, yet it hasn’t felt like enough. In the last three years, I’ve written articles about anything from Alma conspiracy theories, on-campus events or popular culture, to more investigative works where I was in conversation with administration regarding larger campus issues. Throughout my time as a writer and layout editor, I have worked under three incredible editors-in-chief: Jelly, Brittany and now Bailey. These strong women have helped me grow into a more confident and capable writer and I appreciate their willingness to help me whenever I feel lost and ask silly questions. Our staff advisor, Matt Cicci has also been an immense help to me. He always sends his edits and opinions with some sort of witty comment and doesn’t judge me too hard when I send him emails with no files attached. Matt has guided me through a tumultuous senior year, which I am grateful for. I look forward to Sundays when we’re in the office because it is the only time I get to catch up with the other editors. We bond over reading Sorrow-Scopes when they come out, impatiently wait for Joe’s to open together and scream over every minor inconvenience that comes up while editing the pages. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Though I will not be missing the awful formatting issues on page 5, InDesign’s inability to be user-friendly or when my mouse says it is not charged after being plugged in for literally weeks at a time, I will miss these aforementioned things. The Almanian has given me an outlet for the last three years. Yes, it has given me journalistic experience and some extra cash, but moreso, it has given me a place where I can speak out about issues that I feel are important. This position has shown me time and time again why I want to be a journalist, and the people attached to the position are making it hard to say goodbye. To our current staff members and those who join in the future, know that the work you are putting in is important, and for the love of God, make sure to hit 3000 characters without spaces.

With love,
Jordyn Bradley

Dear Almanian,

I can’t believe how fast the years have gone by. I became the Web Editor of the Almanian at the end of my freshman year and have been managing the website ever since. Through these past three years, I have learned countless things by working on the Almanian staff. I have managed teams of people, social media accounts and a website. It was an amazing opportunity that has given me skills to prepare me for graduation, which is quickly approaching! I have seen so many amazing staff members come and go. To the staff who I have had the pleasure of working with: I truly enjoy reading and viewing your content every week; it’s the best part of my job. The editors have done an amazing job taking the Almanian to a whole new level over the past few years, and I have loved to watch it grow. After three years, I say my final goodbye to the Almanian and my fellow staff members. I can’t wait to keep up with Alma happenings by reading the website! I know that the Almanian is in good hands with all of you.

Your friend,
Chapin Kartsounes

Dear fellow Scots,

The past four years here have flown by with many challenges and positive memories that I will always remember. During my first initial visit on campus, I could tell there was small family feel between students, faculty and staff. From every organization and club that I have been a part of, this family culture was centered around each one. Upon my reflection on my time here at Alma, I want to thank my fellow wrestling teammates and coaches who fought with me, laughed along with me and stayed hard with me. I want to thank my professors who pushed me to take on challenges, but always believed in me every step of the way. I want to thank the people that I may have not known but have allowed that family feel to exist throughout Alma College. I also want to thank my many close friends that
have helped me develop into the person I am today. Finally, to the underclassmen, keep on the traditions, take on challenges and keep Alma College as a close-knit community.

Sincerely,
Zach Jandereski

Atlanta shooting and anti-Asian hate crimes

ALIVIA GILES
STAFF WRITER

Eight people are dead following shootings at three Atlanta-area spas. Six of the victims were identified as Asian American women, raising concerns that the murders were racially motivated.

The first shooting took place shortly before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16 at Young’s Asian Massage located in Woodstock, Georgia, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta.

The individuals killed have been identified as Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan and Daoyou Feng, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim and Yong Ae Yue.

A GoFundMe has been made for Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, the only surviving victim of the attacks. He is reportedly in intensive care after being shot in the forehead, lungs and stomach.

Authorities arrested a suspect, 21-year-old, Robert Aaron Long. According to the agency, the FBI was “assisting the local investigations.”

Long was a customer of at least two of the massage parlors he attacked. Capt. Jay Baker of Cherokee County brought to light the murderer’s self-described “sex addiction,” and his claim that the attacks were not linked to racial motivations.

Baker faced criticism for appearing to sympathize with Long, stating that the attacks had been the result of “a really bad day for him.”

Long has been charged with eight counts of murder as well as one count of aggregated assault. He is being held at the Cherokee County jail.

Anti-Asian hate crimes continue to be on the rise in the United States, the UK and Australia. Tensions rose as politicians – most infamously former president Donald Trump – placed blame for the COVID-19 outbreak on China.

According to the research forum Stop AAPI Hate, there were nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents – including shunning, slurs and physical attacks – reported over the past year. At 68 percent, women make up the majority of the reports.

Growing up Asian-American, Kristina Her (’22) has often felt surrounded by racism. Her serves as the president of the Chinese club and was president of the International club for two years. She is also currently working on an Anti-Asian debrief panel with faculty members from the college.

The first time Her remembers experiencing racism was when she was in the first grade. In high school, Her noticed that her teachers were quick to insinuate her good grades were due to her race, rather than her studying habits.

Over the years, Her noticed how often her friends would joke that she was “rich” or “perfect.” “These stereotypes that seem inherently complimentary implied I do not struggle and live a perfect life,” Her said.

When Her first began her time at college, she wasn’t sure Alma was the best place for her, “Personally, I felt like Alma College did not offer anything for Asian students and was seriously considering transferring because I felt so alone.”

Her feels the best way to be an ally to the Asian community is by listening to your Asian friends and family, “Let them know you are aware what is going on [and] offer support … Give space and time for Asian Americans to mourn, to process everything that has happened [and] heal.”

“I advise you to become more self-aware of how you view Asian Americans,” Her said, “Do not wait for a person of color to teach you about white terrorism, Anti-Asian violence, xenophobia etc.”

Her’s next project is starting an Asian Student Union here at Alma. Her encourages anyone interested in joining to reach out to her. “To my fellow Asian students, do not allow others to minimize and invalidate your feelings,” Her said.

On March 24, Alma College President Jeff Abernathy sent out a statement via email in support of a message put out by the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board and Women’s Issues Advisory Board.

“We must, as a country and as a community, condemn hate and violence against one another,” Abernathy said, going on to add “Every member of our community is valued, and I am committed to ensuring Alma College is a welcome and safe place for all.”

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