Gossip Squirrel 3/2/21

Dear GossipSquirrel,
I have a lot of questions and concerns for allot of the policies and rules at Alma but don’t really know how to address them.
-trying to ask the school

Dear trying to ask the school,
I would make sure you are searching out all possibilities to be able to talk with the school. Make sure you know when town hall meetings happen with President Abernathy and also be aware of when he hosts his office hours. You can find this in the emails the administration sends out. I’d also have conversations with students and faculty so you are all aware of concerns and can share concerns if you are able to relate.

Dear GossipSquirrel,
I feel like there’s nothing going on during the pandemic on campus. I want to have fun but I’m trying to be safe and follow guidelines. What should I do?
-boredaf

Dear boredaf,
It can get hard not being able to do everything that was allowed pre-covid but the school and students are doing their best to give the students a great time at Alma with events throughout the semester. Follow ACUB on social media so you are aware of all the super fun events they are hosting. Also be on the lookout for events that clubs are having and fun fundraising events that Greek life is having!
-GossipSquirrel

Host of The Bachelor under fire for racism

JORDYN BRADLEY
SPORTS EDITOR

Chris Harrison, the host and face of ABC’s The Bachelor franchise, is under fire following racist comments he made regarding a contestant on this season of The Bachelor.

Harrison, who has hosted the show and its spinoffs since the start of the franchise, was in an interview with the show’s first black bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, on ExtraTV on Feb. 9.

In the interview, Lindsay asked Harrison about his opinion regarding racist allegations that were brought up surrounding a contestant on this year’s season of The Bachelor, Rachael Kirkconnell. Since her appearance on the show, photos have surfaced of Kirkconnell attending an antebellum-plantation-themed ball hosted by a fraternity who embraces Confederate General Robert. E. Lee as its “spiritual leader.”

The fraternity, Kappa Alpha at Georgia College and State University, throws their annual ball during what they call “Old South Week.” This week celebrates the confederacy and was previously held on southern plantations.

Harrison comes to the defense of Kirkconnell, stating the photos are old and that they do not speak for Kirkconnell’s character.

Lindsay tells Harrison that the photos are not a good look, to which Harrison asked, “Is it [not] a good look in 2018, or is it not a good look in 2021?” as if the times were different. However, these photos were taken less than three years ago, and Kirkconnell has also since liked photos of her friends with Confederate flags in the background.

Following the drama between Harrison and Lindsay, Kirkconnell issued an apology on her social media, but only after being pestered for weeks by fans of the show.

“I think Rachael’s [prolonged] silence speaks volumes, and Chris defending her was pretty disappointing because he didn’t have to defend her to this extent,” said Sarah Sheathelm (‘22).

Fans of The Bachelor franchise quickly came out to ridicule Harrison for telling people to show Kirkconnell “a little grace, understanding and compassion” despite her past. Rather than condemning her actions, Harrison made Kirkconnell seem like a victom of a cyberbullying.

Harrison also spoke over Lindsay throughout the entirety of the interview. She alleged that he didn’t listen to what she had to say—he only cared about what he wanted to say next.

On Feb. 10, Harrison released what fans called a cop-out of an apology where he promised to do better and apologized to Lindsay for, “not listening to her better on a topic she has firsthand understanding of.”

As someone who reportedly has an annual salary of $8 million, Harrison has every resource to learn about equity and how to respond to situations such as this one. He has been the host and face of The Bachelor franchise since 2002, which means the things he says and does directly represent the show, even if it is unintentional.

Some people have been praising the franchise for including more BIPOC leads and contestants, but to many, this seems like the bare minimum. As mentioned previously, the first Black lead was Lindsay, and that did not come until 15 years after the start of the franchise.

This season of The Bachelor had the most diverse cast in the show’s history. The lead, Matt James, was the franchise’s first Black bachelor, and 25 women who identify as BIPOC were contestants.

However, this is not enough when the rich, white man who hosts the show spews off his ignorance, then tries to issue a disingenuous apology to save his career.

“I kinda feel like he’s hiding from it instead of admitting what he did was wrong, which is disappointing,” said Sheathelm.

Ultimately, on Feb. 13, Harrison posted on his Instagram that he would be taking some time away from the show and would not be appearing on a segment of the show that airs after the finale, titled After the Final Rose. Harrison said he will use the time away to educate himself more about the weight his words can have.

It is uncertain whether or not Harrison will return as the host for future seasons, and many fans think it is time for the franchise to find a more diverse host who could add much more to the show.

“He’s been such an icon to Bachelor Nation for so long but he really trashed his reputation,” said Sheathelm.

“He let down a lot of people and offended even more.”

Only time will tell what’s in store for the franchise, but here is to hoping for some positive, more diverse change.

Tension rises in the Supreme Court

JORDYN BRADLEY
SPORTS EDITOR

With the Presidential Election drawing near as well as Supreme Court elections and re-elections, Capitol Hill is a scene of tension.

Following the death of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump moved forward to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to take Ginsburg’s seat. This has brought an abundance of controversy, as Ginsburg’s dying wish was for her seat to not be filled until the next president took office.

When Justice Antonin Scalia–whom Barrett clerked for and called her “mentor”–died in 2016 while serving on the Supreme Court, President Barack Obama received backlash from Senate Republicans. They refused to hold confirmation hearings for Obama-nominated Judge Merrick Garland, claiming it was improper to do so in an election year.

President Trump–the then-Republican presidential nominee–pushed for Obama to not make any major decisions regarding the Court at the end of his presidency.

The day after Ginsburg’s death, President Trump contacted Barrett regarding the vacancy. He formally offered her the position on Sept. 21.

“I think the timing is disgusting,” said Salem Gray (‘23). “[Ginsburg’s] final wish was that the next president be the one who chooses the next Supreme Court Justice. If Trump respected her at all, he would have left the choice to whoever won the election.”

Others hold similar beliefs regarding the timing of Barrett’s nomination.

“I think that Donald Trump refusing to wait until after the election to pick someone is suspicious since he insisted on President Obama waiting to recommend when the last justice died,” said Amelia Earl (‘22).

The quick turn-around following Justice Ginsburg’s death isn’t the only thing that has brought tension to the Court. Barrett’s views have also been controversial.

“[Barrett] holds very controversial and conservative views, especially about abortion and a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body,” said Gray. “I think that she’s a threat to a woman’s bodily autonomy and minority rights.”

Many people are concerned that if Barrett is appointed to the position with the Court, her views will largely affect the Court. As of right now, five of the justices were appointed by Republican presidents and three by Democratic presidents.

“While I appreciate that [Trump] is recommending a woman, her views are the opposite of [Ginsburg’s] and I think she will make the Court too uneven in terms of political alignment,” said Earl.

Trump vowed to appoint justices that will be ready to overrule Roe v. Wade, the decision made in 1973 that states that a pregnant woman has the Constitutional right to an abortion if she so chooses. Barrett’s record shows that she votes almost uniformly conservative when it comes to her views on gun rights, healthcare, discrimination, immigration and, as previously stated, abortion.

Not only is Roe v. Wade potentially threatened by Barrett’s nomination, but Barrett has also been vocal about her qualms with the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate Judiciary Committee began its confirmation hearing with Barrett on Oct. 12. While here, Barrett was questioned heavily on her views of the Affordable Care Act, as she was quoted in 2017 saying that Chief Justice John Roberts “pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.”

Barrett was quick to say that she has no hostility toward the Affordable Care Act, and that she will judge independently and without a personal agenda. Still, Senate Democrats use her public personal beliefs as a driving force against her.

Barrett’s confirmation hearings are set to commence with a vote to come, but Senate Democrats are hoping to push the vote back to Oct. 22.

NYC labeled “Anarchist Jurisdiction”

COURTNEY SMITH
STAFF WRITER

Last Monday, President Trump’s Department of Justice declared three major American cities, New York City, Portland and Seattle, as ‘Anarchist Jurisdictions,’ alleging that these three locations contribute to lawlessness, violence and destruction.

Although the label of ‘Anarchist Jurisdiction’ sparks strong sentiments by itself, some believe it fails to accurately represent the current state of these three cities.

“For a few weeks during the protests there was a group in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle that did create a self-governed zone, but that was a tactic to de-escalate conflicts with the police, not a claim of fundamental jurisdiction,” said Dr. Benjamin Peterson, professor of history and political science. “In other words, while the police might have stepped back a bit from the area to avoid confrontation, the people in the area did not gain any kind of immunity from city laws, let alone becoming some kind of anarchist mini-state.”

Because none of these three cities display true examples of anarchy jurisdiction, many suspect this label by the D.O.J. involves more to do with election-year politics than the actual state of the cities.

“If you look at the recent messages from the Trump campaign, they are all about Trump being the candidate of law and order,” said Peterson. “These kinds of law and order campaigns have a long and frankly racist history in the United States, but people run them because they are often effective. The concept of an anarchist jurisdiction existing, and the president’s opposition to it, obviously supports that underlying campaign message.”

Although these labels may represent nothing more than election-year politics, the D.O.J. could implement serious penalties against these three cities based on allegations of anarchy.

“This is another instance in the complicated dance that is federalism in the United States,” said Peterson. “The Trump administration means to assert that if a local government fails to respond to a protest in ways that they find suitable, the executive branch can punish them–in this case by withdrawing money. While a state government could clearly intervene in a city’s affairs, it is more striking for the federal government to do so.”

The loss of federal funding for these three cities would drastically change the way these cities operate, especially because cities all across the country are already under financial stress due to COVID-19.

“The funding of local governments comes from a dizzying array of local, state and federal grants, funds and sources,” said Peterson. “The D.O.J. has many programs which provide direct funding to the local police, often through a block-grant structure. Potentially the removal of that money will decrease police protection and readiness, defund drug treatment programs, and disrupt the operation of city governments.”

Although labeling cities as ‘Anarchy Jurisdictions’ is not a common occurrence, the federal government often places pressure on state and city legislators to operate according to the status quo.

“We might see this as the administration attempting to usurp elements of state sovereignty and essentially step between the state legislature and the city,” said Peterson. “While that may

sound shocking or highly aggressive, these sorts of conflicts are constant in our government as the practical lines of federal, state and local authority are always shifting.”

The year 2020 brought about many unprecedented events, but the transformation of New York City, Portland and Seattle into anarchy jurisdictions simply is not one of them.

Softball wins big over break

ALYSSA GALL
SPORTS WRITER

For many athletes, spring break is a time for training and practice before their conference season. For Alma College’s Softball team, it was a time for the team to shine and set the pace for their upcoming conference season.

Over spring break, the Softball team traveled to Florida to compete in a total of eight games. While in Florida, the Scots were given the opportunity to put their skills to the test. They were able to practice outside on a field rather being confined to a gym.

“Having the opportunity to travel to Florida over Spring Break is really important because it allows our team to get out into some warm weather and play games. The weather in Michigan doesn’t typically allow us to play until mid-march and taking advantage of spring break to travel somewhere warm and play 8-10 games every year really helps us prepare for the rest of our season,” said outfielder Bryanna Chapman (’20).

Hence, the Softball team took advantage of this opportunity and the weather. While competing in Florida, the team faced teams from not only Florida, but Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania as well. Each game gave the Scots an opportunity to compete and put their expectations and goals to the test.

“Our expectations going into the spring games was to win. We all knew what our team was capable of and we were excited to be able to show people what we are going to be made of this year,” said second baseman Cassidy Tucker (’20).

With those high expectations, the Scots managed to walk away from the tournament with eight straight wins out of eight total games.

In each game, the Scots managed to win by a substantial amount of points with their closest scoring win being 5-4 against Capital University and their biggest wins being 22-1 and 18-0 against Northern Vermont-Johnson University.

Each win solidified their season expectations and brings them one step closer to conference season.

“Finishing 8-0 was really exciting for our team. We know we need to continue to work hard to be successful this season and going 8-0 was a great start and really made us all excited for what this team is going to do this season,” said Tucker.

Not only did the team walk away from their spring break with a successful record, but some players walked away with some personal achievements as well.

Freshman pitcher Daniella Little earned herself the title of being the MIAA Pitcher of the Week for her performance in Florida. She pitched two complete games against Hanover College and Capital University, where she struck out 12 batters in 14 innings and only allowed one earned run.

“Honestly I did not expect to be named MIAA pitcher of the week. I just went into spring break trying to do my best and help out my team. I, of course, could not have done it without my teammates supporting me and having my back,” said Daniella Little (’23).

Even as a freshman, Little currently leads the team in strikeouts and has only allowed 10 hits in a total of 15 total innings. With not only Little’s performance, but the performance of other underclassmen, the Scots, especially the seniors, look hopeful for what is in store for the predominantly young team.

“Our freshmen were fearless in Florida, looking at our team you’d never know that many had never played in a collegiate game before, and that was super inspiring to just leave everything on the field and give it all we had. Leaving my last spring break behind was easy knowing we still have so much to look forward to,” said Chapman.

With a current overall record of 10-3, the Scots keep prepping for their conference season with the goal of getting better every day.

Although they have had a successful start to their season so far, they still have plenty of season left to grow and keep moving forward.

“We were definitely excited about what we were able to do in Florida this past Spring Break, but we are definitely not satisfied. We have big goals for this season and we know those games are over and it’s time to focus on what’s next,” said Chapman

Senior art show featured in gallery

COURTNEY SMITH
STAFF WRITER

Starting March 16th, the senior art show commences in the Flora Kirsch Beck Art Gallery of the Clack Art Center here on campus. This show features the artistic pieces that the senior art majors have worked on diligently throughout the course of several years. It also serves as an opportunity to spotlight the hard work and dedication of these artists before they leave Alma College.

Each senior’s portion of the gallery showcases different themes and explores their individual inspirations and interests through their work. Some seniors chose to address important societal issues through their pieces. “My work generally, as an overview, interrogates consumer choices like mass production and my biggest interest is animal agriculture, mostly factory farming.” said Calum Clow, ‘20.

Many of the senior art majors drew inspiration from their personal experiences and backgrounds while constructing their artwork.

“I am making work based on specific difficult experiences and relationships that had a huge impact on who I am, how I accept myself, and how I love and value those close to me. I specifically take inspiration from night terrors I had as a kid, and combine that sense of fear with these specific experiences, which was kind of therapeutic and healing throughout my process.” said Paige Shaw, ‘20.

Others constructed their art projects with innovative, practical usage in mind — totally repurposing the way we appreciate art as a society.

“The idea that I had throughout working on my show is how we can potentially incorporate sustainable living into our homes through dual-use furniture. My favorite part of my show is the plausible implication of it into functioning homes.” said Ivy VanPoppelin, ‘20.

Working on the senior art show was not just a senior-year project for these artists. Many of the senior art majors have been working on these projects for the past several years, and they have spent even longer planning for it.

“I knew I wanted to do something with animal agriculture from the time I was a freshman, it’s something I’ve always been interested in making my work around. The recycling I’ve been implementing into my work over my four years here. Overall, I would say I actively started working on my senior show over the past two years.” said Clow.

Although constructing the senior art show involved countless hours of hard work from these senior art majors, they certainly enjoyed themselves throughout the process.

“My favorite part of working on this show was making works of art specifically for me. I also loved seeing my art family everyday. I’m going to miss them like hell next year.” said Shaw.

In addition, putting together this major show served as a learning experience for these artists, and they grew a lot as artists through the process.

“I figured out what I like and what makes me tick through working on this show. I know I like working with vibrant, technicolor stuff. I like more expressive mark making. I developed my own artistic vocabulary, and I feel like I learned about myself while working on this show.” said Clow.

Although the senior art show is a pleasure for all attendees, there are greater implications to viewing and appreciating the arts in the present day.

“With a lack of funding for the arts, this is a time more than ever that we need creative thinking. I always encourage people to come out and see the art.” said Clow.

With all of the hard work the seniors have put into this show, students can show their appreciation by visiting the gallery any time between March 16th to April 17th.

“I think all the senior art majors have done an amazing job on pieces and I hope everyone enjoys it!” said VanPoppelin.

Scotlight: Meet Dr. Harwood

CHELSEA FABER
STAFF WRITER

This week I sat down with Dr. Harwood, Environmental Science and Biology professor, to chat about her work with research students and her role fostering retired greyhounds. Here’s the chat:

Chelsea: What was your pre-Alma experience, what lead to what you’re doing now?

Dr. Harwood: I did my bachelors degree in a small liberal arts college in Illinois. I joke that it was also very Alma-like, we were also the ‘Fighting Scots’ so I had pre bagpipe exposure, tons of plaid stuff already, I have some stuff from my old days that I could probably still wear here! But yeah, same principle of a small liberal arts college, then I did my masters and PhD at Southern Illinois University, became a toxicologist and then taught at a small liberal arts college in Springfield, IL. They actually ended their undergrad programs, so I ended up at Alma! This actually worked out much better because it was more of what I wanted for a long-term goal.

C: I know you do a lot of work with students, what is this research that you do, and how are students involved?

H: One of the reasons I want to be at a place like Alma is because I wanted to – my favorite thing to teach, I love classroom stuff, but I love to teach students how to do science. The best place to do that is with their own projects. My research is very student driven. I have a couple of main areas now, those being working at the Superfund site, doing research with predicting bioavailability. The other big one is road salt, I try to do community based, it might not be something we think about in Alma but it’s something we should be thinking about in Michigan.

C: I know you do a lot of work with Greyhounds, lets dive into that:

H: I do! I got into greyhounds a little over two years ago, actually my first greyhound’s gotcha day is March 17th, so two years ago. I was 100% skeptical, because there is a large fraction of them that are 70 pound cats honestly, very aloof, they kind of do their own thing, I was very skeptical. But my husband really likes sighthounds because his sister had a borzoi, but we wanted one we could adopt. That’s my style, all my dogs are pound dogs. The group that I volunteer with, Allyies for Greyhounds, they have these things called meet and greets, where you can go and meet the dogs, the last one I went to there was 15 dogs there. I learned that there is a much bigger range of personality, it is narrower than most dogs, they aren’t all as laid back, but they mostly are very calm, very well mannered. When we did our adoption, they brought three dogs to our house and you ‘bachelor style’ pick one, that one stays at your house and the other two go back with them. I asked them to basically send the three craziest ones because I wanted a very high energy dog. About a year into us having him, they put a call out for people to be foster homes. I thought, well should we try it? And we’ve been fostering for about a year now. Our strategy is that we don’t mind the high energy dogs, where most people want the super chill side of things, we talk to the adoption coordinator, and say ‘who needs to get out of the kennel’, and we go pick them up. We keep them in our house and teach them how to be a house dog until they get adopted! Another thing I do with greyhounds is give information and be an advocate for the breed. For example, one of the most irritating things about this is that people often ask if they’re a rescue, where we don’t say they’re a rescue, we say they’re retired. Once I started meeting trainers and people who have been to the track and been to the kennels and have now met hundreds of dogs, they are not abused. So, we don’t say they’re rescued, they’re retired. When they get injured, which happens to many athletes, they get retired. That is another thing, informing people how they are not this abused dog, they are a professional athlete who is no

longer doing that. Once you get into these groups you realize they are so tightly knit that you will never see a racing greyhound in a pound, because if one gets there, a group will come pick it up and bring it back into a foster home. They have a higher placement than your average golden retriever, they’re so regulated. A lot of people think they’re forced to race but you can’t force a dog to do anything, you certainly can’t force them to run as fast as they can. You’ll never see a retired racehorse run for fun, my ex-racing dogs run for fun every day! They love it, you can’t stop them.

C: What opportunities are within your department, and then at Alma as a whole that you don’t think enough students know about, that more should take advantage of?

H: I think students should take as many research opportunities, and summer research opportunities as they possibly can get away with. And another thing people often don’t realize is that you can do research during the school year. If you have to have a summer job, you can do research during the school year and you can get credits for that. The other thing is to try to get into research early, then if you have a few years of experience, some of your professors will take you to a conference. So, if you start with me as a sophomore you’re almost guaranteed to go to a conference.

C: Following up on that, if a student wanted to start research with you or any other professor, how should they go about that?

H: Knock on their door! Send them an email! That’s usually how most do it but know that they fill up fast!

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