Second Semester Class Registration

As second semester creeps around the corner, students begin to plan out their course selection for the winter term. As part of course regulation, students are required to have 68 general course credits to graduate. These credit mandates bring both positive and negative emotion among students around campus.

“General education requirements can give you a range of decisions as to what you want to major in. However, they can also be a waste of time,” said Andrew Ludden 24’. “Your GPA is at risk of dropping for a class that has no correlation to your major. It seems unfair.”

General education requirements, more commonly known as gen eds, in some students’ minds delay their academic process by steering them off track of their intended major course load.

“The requirement is unfair and is honestly a waste of money for some students. I consider myself one of those students. I still have a ton of gen ed classes to get out of the way and won’t be able to start any classes specific to my major [IPHS] until the end of my junior year. I don’t feel prepared,” said Grace Warmbier 24’.

Having a magnitude of options to choose from with limited time to complete them, students can get overwhelmed during course registration.

“Being a student athlete, taking over 16 credit hours is too hard of a burden. I must make sure I’m on track to finish my gen eds while also exploring possible career paths. They are important in a certain light, but there are too many to complete in four years,” said Amelia Lane 25’.

In response to the negative response of general education classes, students have created new ideas for a different structure to how they would like their education to be modeled after.

“I would really like our education at Alma College to be set up in the way that we start to take only our classes for our major right away, and not have any general education classes implemented . The more we know of our major the better we will be able to perform in our adult life and at our jobs, “said Warmbier.

However, some students do believe in the importance of these courses.

“Taking courses in the general education sequence should never be approached through a check the boxes mentality, as that trivializes and undermines the intended purpose,” said Brain Hancock, assistant professor of education. “Instead, it’s important for students to set a schedule that allows for time and space to truly think and engage in each course—including those in their majors and minors.”

“Each high school has different standards for things such as English and math. Giving a baseline course at college ensures that all students are on an even playing field to understand the bare

minimum [in regards to] these courses. Which in turn gives them the knowledge to ensure that they are successful at higher level classes,” said Austin DeRocher 24’.

The goal of these courses is to offer students the opportunity to become well-rounded in a multitude of different subjects.

“These courses are important to develop a broad base on which to grow socially, emotionally, and intellectually, and push students to think in ways that might feel foreign,” said Hancock. “Education, broadly, is about expanding and improving human existence.”

Police Chase Ends Outside Campus

Aishwarya Singh

Local

October 21’ 2021

On October 18, panic ensued on the Alma College campus as the administration rushed to tell students to not leave the buildings they were in and issued a campus wide alert of a police chase that had ended right outside of the campus chapel. As students and professors peered out of the windows of their classrooms, a convoy of police cars with blaring sirens could be seen on Superior Street.

“This is the Alma College Campus Alert System. THIS IS NOT A TEST. The area along Superior Street from Wright Avenue to Philadelphia Street will be considered an active crime scene by state police until further notice. The suspect is in custody and the area is safe. There is NOT an active shooter. But please avoid this area until further notice”, said the campus wide alert.

Initial confusion and panic were caused by rumors that someone from the Alma College campus was involved since the incident seemed to have transpired very close to campus premises. As videos of the incident, showing an armed man in a confrontation with multiple armed police officers circulated among the student body, students waited for more details to determine whether or not moving around campus was safe.

Later in the day, the campus administration as well as the Michigan State Police came forward to clear out the details of the incident. The chase involved a 28-year-old armed man, by the name of Tyler Monero, with no connection to the college. As Alma Police were leaving their headquarters located towards the end of Superior Street, the suspect was waiting for them outside, next to his car, with a loaded weapon. Upon witnessing an officer leave, the suspect began to fire on them leading the officer to retaliate with gunshots from his end. The suspect eventually got into his car and a chase ensued with multiple cop cars following him, ultimately ending outside the campus chapel at around 11:30am.

During the chase, Monero was flailing his gun inside his car while also randomly shooting at people along the street, leading one pedestrian to call 9-1-1 and say, “A man just shot my truck.” More gunshots were fired outside campus premises leading the perpetrator to be injured. However, no police officers were injured in the confrontation. The injured suspect was eventually taken to be treated for his gunshot wound before being sent to the Gratiot County Jail where he will be held until further investigation. For the remainder of the day, the officers closed off the roads, starting from Wright Avenue all the way to Philadelphia Street including Superior Street on which multiple campus buildings are located.

Since then, the college administration as well as multiple professors have reiterated to the student body that mental health services and safe spaces are available all throughout campus in the event that the incident was troubling to some students and they need assistance in dealing with it.

An issue like this brings up an ever-present debate within American political discourse- that of gun control for the sake of a safe society versus the right to bear arms for the sake of self-defense. Much like the American populous, the campus body remains divided on the issue but

despite which side of the political spectrum one falls on, an incident like this is capable of destabilizing a community and creating concerns for student safety on campus.

Possible Elimination of Michigan’s Menstrual Tax

Claire Hipps

Features

10/20/2021

Earlier this month, Michigan’s House of Representatives advanced legislation that eliminates the “tampon tax”: the 6% sales tax that is currently applied to menstrual products, which are currently considered “luxury items”. If this legislation is both passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Whitmer, Michigan will join the 20+ other states who have either ended menstrual taxation or never taxed those products in the first place. This list of states includes Ohio and Minnesota, according to AP News.

Although the tax brought in more than $7 million in government revenue annually, Gov. Whitmer has stipulated that this money will not be taken from the School Aid Fund. The state does not tax various other types of medication or other medical supplies.

This tax is great news for menstruating people everywhere, who do not choose menstruation, as pointed out by Claire Wittlieff, ‘24.

“I feel that this will majorly benefit [people who menstruate] because it will lower the cost of products, and yet it may lead to a bigger conversation around the importance of said products.”

Similarly, lifting the tax “will benefit women greatly” and that this is “a great move towards financial equality” for women, said Kate Stymiest, ’22.

“There is no reason there should have been a tax on menstrual products to begin with, so I’m happy to see this happening,” said Stymiest.

Although the lifting of this tax is a step in the right direction, there is still plenty of work to be done.

“While getting rid of the 6% tax is a great step in the right direction, we can’t deny that the regular price of menstrual products can be absurd,” said Wittlieff, who also mentioned education has a barrier for people who menstruate.

“While students typically learn sexual education in middle school/high school, I believe there should be a more in-depth focus on periods. There is a lot of misinformation that is spread about menstruation,” said Wittlieff.

People who menstruate, especially people of color who menstruate, still face considerable barriers to financial and medical equality.

“For women of color, sometimes it’s even harder medically speaking because our body functions in a different way than others, which makes some health issues very common for us but might not be common for women who are not of color.” said Prarthita Nath, ’22.

“Women in poor countries often have to choose between buying menstruation products and medications or food.” said Marwa Assiad, ’24, highlighting the financial barrier.

The legislation passed in the house by a bipartisan vote of 94-13 and is supported by several organizations including the MI Department of Treasury and the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Alma College Venture Program

Campus

Megan Neeley

October 19, 2021

Alma College provides students with the opportunity to travel, serve and explore by financially contributing to their personalized journeys provided by the Alma Venture Program.

In order to apply classroom experiences to the real world, a minimum of $2500, and sometimes more, is allotted to each applicant who seeks an individualized experience on- or off-campus. In fact, over 1.5 million dollars has been awarded to students since 2015.

These awards often fall into two categories within the Alma Venture Program. The first is the Junior Year Applied Experience. This is a clinical experience, research opportunity, or study abroad adventure that consists of a minimum of 150 hours.

The second category is listed as the Serve Generously, Lead Purposefully, and Live Responsibly Venture Awards. Eligibility under this category includes: volunteer experience at a nonprofit organization; presenting research at a conference; or an internship experience that allows students to explore the next steps in their personal or professional life.

There is no maximum number of times that one student can apply for a Venture grant. Many students apply multiple times and have used these Venture grants in a wide variety of ways. Some students stay on campus and some travel overseas. Kyle Kansman ‘17 used his Venture grant to help offset the cost of the Animal Rehabilitation Internship at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida.

Kansman insists that “the experience reassured [his] passion for animal rehab.” In further reflection of his Venture experience, he mentioned that he has always had a love for wildlife, but “now that [he’s] had this experience, [he] knows this is where [he] belongs.”

It is evident that the Alma Venture Program provides students with the opportunity to explore career paths and passions. This program is just a small part of how Alma College aids students in the process of living up to the college’s mission to “prepare graduates who think critically, serve generously, and live responsibly as stewards of the world they bequeath to the future.”

Despite Columbus Day being the well-known national holiday, people around the world have turned to celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 11th. The purpose of this is to educate the public on Native American history and culture, as well as reject the racist history of Christopher Columbus.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day also raises awareness of the United States’s long history of discriminating against its Native Peoples. It calls attention to the losses caused by warfare, disease, massacres, and forced assimilation in the past as well as how these things are still very present and ignored today.

Alma College Students have the privilege of studying among a very diverse student body and should be aware of the secret history behind Columbus Day and the existence of Indigenous Peoples’ Day to promote their social and political consciousness.

Campus Housing Limitations Extended

Aishwarya Singh

National

October 19’ 2021

As of October 6, the Alma College Office for Residence Life has extended the housing limitations mandate which prevents large gatherings within small, on campus housing such as fraternity and sorority houses for the sake of containing the virus and preventing an on campus spread.

“Due to the continued spread of COVID-19 in Gratiot County, and with guidance from local health officials, we ask that no large gatherings take place in small houses until Nov. 1, 2021”, said Sandra A. Gadde, Vice President for Student Affairs.

This announcement came in light of the fact that while Gratiot County recorded 0 new COVID cases on September 30th, there was a 70-case rise recorded just one day after that, on October 1. Consistently after that, about 75-80 new cases have been recorded every single day in the county with a population of just 40,000 people. This brings the total number of positive cases in the county since the start of the pandemic to 8,399.

This announcement came as a disappointment to students living and involved in the events of small housing on campus, especially since this became the third time the mandate has been extended. A direct consequence of the mandate was students’ inability to hold gatherings on homecoming weekend, their inability to practice age-old tradition related to fraternity and sorority recruitment of new students and now, their inability to celebrate Halloween and hold related events inside small housing.

For fraternities, there were no formally held runouts after they were cancelled for the second year in a row. For sororities, all events during recruitment week were held outside at various venues across campus.

A student, member of a fraternity on campus, came forward to talk about his experience of being involved in a fraternity during COVID. The student, who chose to be anonymous, said, “We understand why the campus does what it does. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been hard on all students to try and put up with the mandates. To many students, it continues to feel like their college years are passing them by while there is not much they can do to truly live the college life they thought they were going to get. Obviously, it’s nobody’s fault that we are in this situation and that we have these rules. Hopefully we can return to normal soon.”

As of October 18, the campus has 55 positive cases including faculty, staff and students with 77% of the student body and 92% of the faculty and staff fully vaccinated. That is still enough positive cases on campus for the college administration to lift or relax mandates with a lot of caution. Moving too swiftly in going back to normal may put unnecessary strain on campus resources leading to worse consequences in the longer run.

By December of this year, we will complete two years of living under the pandemic. Many hope to see more normalcy by then, in and off campus. As students will return for winter semester in January of 2022, many hope to have no mask mandate on campus anymore and hope to be able to be involved in more vibrant on campus events as more students get vaccinated and we near the end of life under the pandemic.

Laundrie’s remains confirmed as those found in park

Alivia Giles

News

Oct. 20, 2021

On September 11, 22-year-old social media personality and travel vlogger Gabby Petito, was reported missing while on a road trip. On September 19, Petito’s body was found in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.

On October 13, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue ruled Petito’s death a homicide and it was reported she had died by manual strangulation.

Petito’s fiancé 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, whom she had been on the trip with, returned to his Florida home without her. Laundrie disappeared after refusing to cooperate with law enforcement.

On October 21, 38 days after Laundrie was reportedly last seen by his parents, human remains discovered at the same area where officials found his personal belongings were confirmed to belong to Laundrie. The items had been recently submerged under water.

“A comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found [on October 20] are those of Brian Laundrie,” Amy Jewett Sampson, public affairs specialist for the FBI, said in a statement.

A backpack and other items consistent with those Laundrie had in his possession and skeletal remains were found at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, which connects to Florida’s Carlton Reserve. This has been a primary search location for investigators.

FBI agents and North Port police were directed to the location by Laundrie’s parents Chris and Roberta Laundrie, who had accompanied law enforcement to Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park to search for Laundrie.

The FBI Tampa Evidence Response Team will likely spend several days investigating the area as well as the items and remains found at the location.

Laundrie was not charged in Petito’s death, rather his arrest warrant was issued for the illegal use of Petito’s debit card to withdraw money after she had died.

Although both Petito and Laundrie shared pictures and videos on their social media platforms of what appeared to be an idyllic relationship, it appears that in recent months conflict had arisen between them.

On August 12, police in Moab, Utah responded to reports of a physical fight, which had escalated from an argument between Petito and Laundrie. According to audio from the Grand County Sherriff’s Office, the 911 caller told dispatchers they had seen Laundrie hitting Petito.

Another witness told police they saw what appeared to be Petito and Laundrie arguing over a phone. The witness went on to say Petito hit Laundrie in the arm, before climbing into the driver’s side door as if Laundrie had locked her out of the van.

The report described Petito as “confused and emotional” and Officer Daniel Robbins called the events of August 12, the result of “a mental health crisis.” No charges were filed.

Laundrie’s parents have chosen to remain mostly quiet throughout the search for their son. “Chris and Roberta Laundrie will wait for the forensic identification of the remains before [commenting],” Bertolino said on October 20.

“Gabby’s family is not doing interviews or making a statement at this time,” Rick Stafford, a lawyer for the Petito family said following the identification of Laundrie’s remains, “Gabby’s family will make a statement . . . when they are emotionally ready.”

Zodiac Killer Possibly Identified

Ella Bright

News

October 20, 2021

In a press release a few weeks ago, an independent group of cold-case investigators called the “Case Breakers” have allegedly found the identity of the Zodiac Killer: a man who died three years ago living in the Sierra foothills named Gary Francis Poste.

The Zodiac Killer was linked directly to five murders in Northern California in the years 1968 and 1969, but his actual number of victims could be much more. From the years 1969 to 1974, he taunted police and sent threats to various newspapers.

One such letter, addressed to the San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle and Vallejo Times-Herald with no return address, began with this statement: “Dear Editor: I am the killer of the 2 teenagers last Christmas at Lake Herman.” The letter went on to describe the murders in detail that only the killer would know, along with the threat of more killing if the crimes weren’t published on the newspapers’ front pages.

Each letter ended with the symbol of a circle with a cross through it. The letters were also each accompanied by one part of a three-part cipher that he claimed contained his identity. These ciphers were decoded and revealed to say, “I like killing people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest because man is the most dangerous animal of all.”

In all, the serial killer claimed to have killed 37 people and even would send bloody bits of clothing to try and prove the crimes in his letters. He abruptly stopped sending threats in the mail in 1974, and the case has been cold ever since.

Until, on Wednesday, Oct. 6, the Case Breakers released their findings.

The group, a team of 40 former law enforcement investigators, claimed they identified the Zodiac Killer through pieces of forensic and physical evidence, as well as testimony from eyewitnesses. They also filed court affidavits and acquired decades of photos from their suspect’s former darkroom.

“He lived a double life,” said the alleged killer’s neighbor in an interview with the press. “As I’m an adult thinking back, it all kind of makes sense now. At the time when I was a teenager, I didn’t put two and two together until I got older. It hit me full-blown that Gary’s the Zodiac.”

Poste was arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse in 2016. The same neighbor told reporters that his spouse would only sleep on the couch and that she saw Poste take out his aggression on her.

Where the Case Breakers linked Poste to physical and forensic evidence, some Internet users linked him to more digital footprints. In a screenshotted 2018 Facebook post, shortly after Poste’s death, he posed with a man named Glynn Barnes, who wrote “My last visit with old man! Gary Poste! Zodiac?” in the caption.

“That Facebook post is the weirdest bit of evidence to me,” said Olivia Clark (‘24). “That’s what gives me hope that they found the right person.”

Despite the press release, the Case Breakers have not been able to link DNA evidence to Poste, and the FBI and the San Francisco Police Department have told the press that the case is still very much open.

“The Zodiac Killer case remains open,” said the FBI in a statement to CNN. “We have no new information to share at the moment.”

“I thought it was confirmed that they actually identified [The Zodiac Killer], so hearing the FBI say the case is still cold is disappointing,” said Clark. “This should be a priority for the FBI and the police, even if the killer is already dead or close to dead. In the end, many people were needlessly murdered and there needs to be justice for them and their loved ones.”

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