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Wittenberg outlines Protocols for COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation

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A student walks up the central staircase in Hollenbeck Hall on Aug. 16, 2020. The staircase has been designated as the only upward staircase in the building due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to reduce contact between students. (Trent Sprague/The Wittenberg Torch)
A student walks up the central staircase in Hollenbeck Hall on Aug. 16, 2020. The staircase has been designated as the only upward staircase in the building due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to reduce contact between students. (Trent Sprague/The Wittenberg Torch)

As schools around the country return to in person learning only to shut down due to positive tests as occurred at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Michigan State and Drexel University, Wittenberg still aims to complete the semester in-person; however, it is only a matter of time until the virus is brought onto campus, for a student at Cedarville University, just 13 miles down the road from Wittenberg, tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 15. As the possibility of a student testing positive for COVID-19 increases, The Wittenberg Torch sought out local and university officials to layout a step-by-step overview of Wittenberg’s protocols for when a student tests positive.

The first step of Wittenberg’s COVID-19 response protocols starts with how students, faculty and staff can report concerns to university officials. These concerns can range from social distancing protocols being ignored to potentially symptomatic students, faculty or staff. To report a concern, students can email covid@wittenberg.edu with their concerns. The other option available is to complete a concern form located on the Wittenberg We’re In This Together webpage at wittenberg.edu/together.

Both options are received by Wittenberg’s COVID-19 response team which includes Casey Gill, Dean of Students, Gary Williams, Director of Athletics and Mary Beth Walters, Director of Human Resources. Once a concern is received, Gill, Williams and Walters use the information provided to determine what the concern regards and what actions are necessary. If needed, the group would contact the Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD) to begin the process of moving a student into self-quarantine or isolation.

According Charles Patterson, Health Commissioner for CCCHD, the threshold for ordering an individual into self-quarantine would be being within six feet or less distance for 15 minutes or more with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19. Also, this threshold applies to both masked and unmasked individuals.

If a student were to meet the criteria outlined by CCCHD, they would be ordered to self-quarantine or isolate, both having different meanings according to Sherri Sadowski, Associate Dean for Residence Life. Quarantine housing at Wittenberg is meant for individuals who think they have been exposed to COVID-19 but have no symptoms. Those who would fit these criteria include students waiting for test results to return from CCCHD. Isolation housing is meant for individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or those that have tested positive.

Wittenberg worked with CCCHD to identify spaces on campus for students to quarantine and isolate. Students who are required to self-quarantine will be able to enjoy a stay at Polis House, located next to Tower Hall. Meanwhile students in isolation will enjoy a stay in the Witten’Burbs according to Sadowski.

Polis House, the quarantine housing location for Wittenberg students, is seen on Aug. 23, 2020. Wittenberg is using the residence hall to house quarantined students until testing results return from the Clark County Combined Health District. (Trent Sprague/The Wittenberg Torch)

While students are being moved into quarantine or isolation housing, the CCCHD will be conducting contact tracing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contact tracing is the process in which public health officials discover those who potentially came in close contact with infected individuals and having them tested or moved into quarantine.

“We ask that all students and faculty be as open and honest with the contact tracers as possible,” said Patterson of the CCCHD contact-tracing efforts. “Our intent is to help us understand who else has been exposed.”

In order to be released from quarantine and isolation, students have to meet a criteria which Wittenberg released in July. The criteria that students who test positive and exhibiting symptoms must be fever free for three days, Wittenberg considers a temperature higher than 99.9 F to be a fever. In addition, symptoms must have improved while a minimum of ten days have need to have passed since symptoms first appeared to be released from isolation.

Symptoms of the coronavirus according to the CDC. Graphic by Atticus Dewey ’24

Student who test positive for COVID-19 but do not show any symptoms must have ten days pass since the positive test before they are allowed out of isolation, if they continue to be symptom free.

Students who who was found to been in contact with an infected individual through the CCCHD contact tracing procedure while be required to self-quarantine while waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test. If a negative test occurs, students will be allowed to resume daily activities, while a positive test will be moved to isolation housing.

Students who wish to be tested for COVID-19 can receive testing should visit the Clark County Combined Health District website at ccchd.com for an up-to-date list of testing locations in Springfield. Additionally, CCCHD is hoping to push a new testing procedure to local health practices including the Wittenberg Health Clinic soon.

The procedure is known as a supervised self-administered swab. A student would be given a large swab which they would rotate in both nostrils and then place in a container while a physician monitors to ensure the sample is collected correctly. This test procedure would enable more clinics around the county to test as it doesn’t require a high level of personal protective equipment such as N95 respirators.

COVID-19 Pandemic Leads to Academic and Residential Shake-Up

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A communication classroom at Wittenberg University is seen with socially distanced desks on Aug. 7, 2020 ahead of the 2020-21 academic school year. Wittenberg begins the year on Aug. 17, with in-person classes. (Trent Sprague/The Wittenberg Torch)

The COVID-19 Pandemic caused major changes to student routines as far back as March, when the spring semester moved online. As students return to campus for the fall semester, they face mandated masks, social distancing requirements and many other stresses in their daily lives on campus. In the five months since students were last on campus, many campus entities have been working on returning students to campus safely.

Changes to Academics

Academic courses this year have undergone major changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic as professors adapt to the possibly of teaching students from across the country or in quarantine. The sudden change to online learning in the spring forced the university to change how they prepared for the fall semester.

“I’ve encouraged faculty to put as much of the course materials as possible on Moodle,” said Provost Michelle Mattson. Moodle is Wittenberg’s learning management system and allows for professors to provide course handouts and quizzes.

Ness Auditorium in Hollenbeck Hall is seen with socially distanced desks on Aug. 8, 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Wittenberg University begins the 2020-21 academic year on Aug. 17 with a mix of in-person and virtual classes.
Ness Auditorium in Hollenbeck Hall is seen with socially distanced desks on Aug. 8, 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Wittenberg University begins the 2020-21 academic year on Aug. 17 with a mix of in-person and virtual classes. (Trent Sprague/The Wittenberg Torch)

Students will be attending classes in-person one or two days a week with half their class, as classroom sizes have been reduced to aid in social distancing. While students are not attending in-person, they might be working on course materials located on Moodle.

“You’re trying to keep that face-to-face contact by concentrating the time you have [in-person] on activities that work better face-to-face than they do online,” said Mattson. Students will also be using Microsoft Teams for synchronous teleconferences as Wittenberg does not possess an institution Zoom license. Wittenberg is aiming to hold less than ten percent of classes fully online and has created a request system for faculty to teach fully online.

Another academic change occurred inside Thomas Library, which will look different this year as library staff have halved seating in aid of social distancing according to Library Director Douglas Lehman.

“The tables are six feet long, so we can put a chair on either end to achieve [social distancing],” said Lehman. In places where separating chairs by distancing was not possible, the library staff placed dividers between the seats. Library staffers stored the removed chairs in the group study rooms as there will be no group study rooms available for check-out.

Two chairs are socially distanced on the third floor of Thomas Library on Aug. 10, 2020. Thomas Library has removed nearly half of its chairs in aid of social distancing and installed dividers in locations which are unable to social distance. (Trent Sprague/The Wittenberg Torch)

“They’re pretty full of furniture to be honest. We left just enough space so that if COMPASS needs to have a student take a test, they can,” Lehman said. The rooms are closed to mitigate the increased risk of infection in smaller spaces.

In addition to less seating, the library hours have changed to eight a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday thru Thursday, eight a.m. to five p.m. on Fridays, noon to five p.m. on Saturdays and five p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays. These new hours allow Alpha & Omega Building Services additional time to clean the library as well as reducing the time that students spend near each other while studying.

Changes to Residence Life

Residence Life has also undergone major changes in order to help students stay safe during the fall semester. Common area microwaves have been removed from residence halls and use of ping-pong, pool tables and board games will be limited as that equipment is difficult to sanitize. Residences will be able to use a common microwave located in their hall RA office which will be available during office hours.

Additionally, residents have been assigned bathrooms in order to keep the load on bathrooms manageable once the residence life scheduling system launches in the next week. Students will be able to sign up for a time to use the bathroom in the mornings and evening for predictable uses including showers. This scheduling was required to limit the number of users in a single bathroom at a time as some tasks including shaving, showering and brushing teeth require the removal of face masks.

Alpha & Omega Building Services has changed their cleaning procedure due to COVID-19 and will be cleaning common spaces more often. According to Sherri Sadowski, Associate Dean for Residence Life, bathrooms are cleaned twice daily, while lounges, laundry rooms and exterior doors are only cleaned once daily. Additionally, Residence Life is distributing “sanitation stations” which consist of sanitizing spray, paper towels, and gloves. Students are asked to wipe down any surfaces they touch after using the restroom with the sanitizer spray.

The Weekly Tiger: Summer of Stress

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A view from the shore of Lake Michigan offered much needed stress relief. Photo by Meghan Nadzam '22.

When we are young, in middle school and not old enough to truly appreciate education, we dreamt of a never-ending summer vacation, or at least one that is longer than two and a half months. This year, Wittenberg students did not return to campus after spring break, for spring break turned into a breakout of pandemonium and stress.

Words like quarantine, loneliness, loss, depression, binging, excessive shopping, stress, dogs, essential workers, “Mask Up” and the ER defined my summer, and I am sure some of them are very relatable. So much went on in a small amount of time that it has become a task to even think of processing it all. Every time I received another problem on the docket, I just wanted to curl up in a sunlit corner of my house with my dog and fall asleep. It seemed so hard to think of a normal state, the times before COVID-19 beginning to appear like a calm sea; so beautiful, so perfect.

The storm of a summer that drearily dragged on brought a lot of pain, physical and emotional. Constantly worrying about the safety of my family and friends was a daily stress. Developing a new fear of food processors was a surprise to me and the tip of my middle finger, but hey, why not add a big, red cherry on top of a messy pandemic?  

Each day, I felt a little bit more of myself grow more and more tired. I grew tired of wearing a hot mask on my face. I grew tired of my hands being raw from the repetitive washing and sanitizing. I grew tired of stubborn people not following basic safety guidelines. I grew tired of being stuck at home with nothing to do but work at my boring job. I grew tired of just scrolling online and ended up buying multiple paychecks worth of things I probably didn’t need. I grew tired re-watching ­Friends, so I finally watched Rick and Morty, laughed with Community and How I Met Your Mother and sang along with every Disney movie.

Taking a hot minute to destress was very important this summer. I found multiple ways to do so, such as keeping my hands moving when I am sitting still. I realized that while I sit still watching Netflix or something, my hands shake and become restless. I did puzzles, painted canvases, knit a scarf or two, bought rings to play with around my fingers and wrote more of my novel. When my head became too clouded, I took my dog for a walk. I went for runs in the early mornings at a local park. I browsed Instagram, viewing my aunt’s travel pictures of her and my uncle in New Zealand and daydreaming that I was with them.

Learning more ways to cope with stress was the biggest thing to come out of this summer for me, despite all the negatives. So, now that we’re back, please do your best to manage your stress in smart, safe ways while you’re on campus. Together, we can do this, six feet apart.

Returning to My Indie Music Roots

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A spattering of high school acquaintances crowd around a record player to listen to a new release. Photo by Braeden Bowen '21, ca. 2015.

My journey through the world of music has led me to shed light on some odd corners and experience countless genres of music, new and old. Through 100 gecs’ bizarre, anarchic and cacophonic “1000 gecs” project, Poppy’s irreverent blend of synth pop and Black Metal on “I Disagree,” or GRLwood’s screaming punk EP “Daddy,” I regularly find myself waist-deep in the strangest and most boundary-pushing sounds the music industry has to offer. But the constant stress of the COVID-19 pandemic has led me back to a field of music I never thought I would find myself in: the indie scene.

I first began a serious interest in music in 2014, when my high school best friend purchased a copy of Akron-native blues-rock duo The Black Keys’ record “Turn Blue” on vinyl. We sat in his grandfather’s living room, crowded around the player and swaying to the beat of the cluster of hypnotic tracks across the record.

Later that year, I joined the then-fledging music streaming platform Spotify, and suddenly found myself with a near-limitless supply of albums, playlists, and singles to sink my teeth into. The algorithm quickly directed me from my interest in The Black Keys and Motown pop outfit Fitz and the Tantrums to alternative and indie projects like the Bad Books’ 2012 record “II” and Two Door Cinema Club’s ubiquitous 2010 album “Tourist History.”

In 2015 I stumbled across an NPR interview with the Athens, AL-based soul and blues rock quartet Alabama Shakes on their forthcoming record “Sound & Color,” an album which still holds a special place in my heart. Just a week later, I sat in on a listening of Lord Huron’s indie-rock odyssey “Strange Trails.” I was officially hooked.

From there, my interest in new music exploded and spilled over into other genres like Hip-Hop, R&B, and my native Kentuckian bluegrass. Today, there are few genres I explicitly exclude from my music catalogue, notwithstanding oddball projects like 100 gecs and GRLwood. But being relegated to the bedroom of my teenage years during quarantine this spring and summer led me to revisit the indie staples that gave way to my fascination with music over the last six years.

Much to my surprise, I stumbled across dozens of artists still making indie music that embraces the traditional atmosphere of the genre while still experimenting with more modern production and sounds. Here are a few of my favorites.

Phoebe Bridgers- Punisher (2020)

The Los Angeles-based singer’s sophomore LP, “Punisher” offers a visceral take on daily life in the late 2010’s, exploring Bridgers’ hyperbolic fending off of white supremacists on “Garden Song” and tackling toxic masculinity on “Savior Complex.” The album’s closer, accompanied by breathtaking orchestral instrumentation, wrestles with acceptance of death, especially in 2020. Bridgers’ indie vocals and meticulous melodies dance around baroque pop, but still land comfortably in her indie element.

G Krish- Life Off the Tracks EP (2019)

An artist I originally stumbled across on the popular short video app TikTok, Gaurav Krishna Surampudy, known by his stage name G Krish, ditched his nine-to-five lifestyle in pursuit of a music career in early 2020. His voice, seemingly of solid gold, belts out stunning chords across the EP, just 13 minutes long. His light, guitar-led instrumental style leans heavily on indie influences, but the combination of his buttery-smooth vocals and haunting guitar backing is irresistible. His criticism of work-oriented life comes in strong on “Two : Thirty,” and I can’t help but sway along.

Sylmar- Self-Titled (2017)

The Cincinnati, OH-based Sylmar released their self-titled debut LP in 2017, but it feels just as relevant three years later. Lead singer Bran McCullough tears up melodies and leaves them hanging on tracks like “Even Now,” letting them fade into the plucky electric guitars in the background. Dreamy acoustic pieces like the record’s opening track “I Love Everything” would feel at home on a Grouplove or Bronze Radio Return record. Harder-hitting songs like “Punk Song/Coup de Mayo” layer wailing guitars over McCullough’s sailing vocals, while “Waste Away” offers a tongue-in-cheek criticism of Donald Trump.

Vista Kicks- Booty Shakers Ball (2017)

My younger sister, who is currently enjoying her own renaissance of 60’s-inspired folk and surf rock, offered up the Sacramento-native quartet Vista Kicks’ 2017 record “Booty Shakers Ball,” which drives home the nostalgia factor for a decade that closed out 30 years before I was born. The beachy vibes on “Alice” and “Gimme Love” feel ripped straight from a Beach Boys record, while tracks like “Love & Paranoia” and “Fight the War” would land comfortably on an Iggy Pop or LOVE record. No matter the mood or the decade, “Booty Shakers Ball” is a blissful, retro trip through indie landscapes of the past.

Music of any genre may offer a much-needed escape from reality in these trying times. I hope that you will find music that gives you the strength and comfort to keep on keeping on, as it were.

2020 Alma Mater and Alma Lux Nominations

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The Alma Mater and Alma Lux are selected on the basis of character and integrity, service to the community, concern for others, and high levels of scholarship representing standards of excellence on campus.  Five junior women and five junior men from the class of 2021 have been chosen as finalists for these honors.

Alma Mater Nominations

Elaina Adams         

Adams is majoring in biology and minoring in health science. The Livonia, MI native has also been involved in Alpha Lambda Delta, Beta Beta Beta, Chi Alpha Sigma, Emerging Leaders, Gamma Phi Beta, PanHellenic Council, Advisory Council for Student Athletes, Student Senate and Wittenberg Softball. On top of this, Adams has worked as an orientation assistant and student involvement coordinator.

Saylor Frye             

Frye hails from Bluffton, SC and is currently double majoring in history and political science, while also minoring in women’s studies. She has been involved in Alpha Lambda Delta; Alpha Delta Pi, where she has been historian and president; the Green Club; History Journal; Honor Council; CABLE Business Leadership; Pick-N-Pen and Union Board. Frye has also worked as a peer mentor and orientation assistant.

Abby Glass              

Glass keeps herself busy through her involvement in Common Ground, Emerging Leaders, Kappa Delta, Lutheran Student Movement, programming for Union Board, Weaver Chapel Association and the Wittenberg Math Club. She has also worked as a Resident Advisor. Originally from Signal Mountain, TN, Glass is a double major in environmental science and religion.

Charlotte Hurst                   

Originally from Athens, OH, Hurst is majoring in international studies with a focus of Peace Corps. Preparation, while also minoring in Spanish and religion. She has been a member of Alpha Lambda Delta; Alpha Phi Omega; Emerging Leaders; Sigma Kappa, where she is a President; Ivy Ring; Lesotho Nutrition Initiative and Pick-N-Pen. Hurst is also a secretary for Student Senate and Union Board, as well as a peer mentor.

Zori Parker                      

Parker grew up just down the road in Columbus, OH, and is currently majoring in accounting and finance. She has been involved in Build a Better Wittenberg; CABLE Business Leadership; Concerned Black Students, where she is the treasurer; Common Ground; Imani Gospel Choir; Residence Hall Association; Shades of Pearls; Union Board; Witt Invest; and she is also a Resident Advisor.

Alma Lux Nominations

Blake Atwell                       

Atwell arrived to Wittenberg from Lewis Center, OH. He is majoring in accounting while minoring in business. Atwell is currently a Resident Advisor, is the Programming Chair for Beta Theta Pi, and is the treasurer for Residence Hall Association. He also spends time on the Lesotho Nutrition Initiative, Tau Pi Phi and Union Board.

Caleb Austin               

Hailing from Harrod, OH, Austin is a biology major with a minor in education. Outside of his studies, he has also been involved as an admissions tour guide and a Witten’Burbs Resident Advisor, as well as a member of Chi Alpha Sigma, the athletic honorary; Emerging Leaders; the Green Club; Kappa Delta Pi, the education honorary; Wittinvest; Wittenberg Soccer and Wittenberg Track and Field.

Nathan Baulch              

A major in music education, Baulch is originally from Nashville, TN. He is a member of Chi Alpha Sigma, the athletic honorary; Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association; brass quartet; symphonic band; Student Athlete Advisory Committee; National Association for Music Educators and Wittenberg Tennis.

Braeden Bowen            

Bowen came to Wittenberg by way of Lexington, KY. He breaks his free time with Phi Eta Sigma, Pick-N-Pen, College Democrats and “The Wittenberg Torch.” Bowen is also a resident advisor, while also majoring in political science and computer science with a minor in Russian.

Deion Woodson            

Originally from Westerville, OH, Woodson is a double major in marketing and art. He has also been involved with CABLE Business Leadership, Phi Kappa Psi, where he worked as the historian; the Interfraternity Council, as lead in public relations, and Wittenberg Men’s Volleyball. He also is a tour guide for admissions.

Track Teams Finish Top in NCAC Championships

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Wittenberg Track and Field hosts the Steemer Showcase on Feb. 22, 2020.

This past weekend the Wittenberg men’s and women’s track teams traveled to Denison University for the 2020 NCAC indoor track Championship meet. Both teams had a strong weekend. The women’s team finished with a total of 129 team points, setting a record for the most points scored at this Championship by the women’s team in Wittenberg history. The women’s team also saw four athletes qualify for the NCAA Division III Championship meet in Winston-Salem, NC. Meanwhile, the men took fourth place, racking up 72.25 team points of their own.

Before the meet even started, the men’s and women’s teams had already earned points. On Sunday Feb. 23, Zachary Guyer (’21), Stevie Plikerd (’22) and Taylor Barnhisel (’21) traveled to Denison to compete in the combined events of the heptathlon for the men and the pentathlon for the women. Guyer gave the men’s team a huge boost with his second place overall finish earning eight points. In total, he finished with 4,363 points in the combined event. On the women’s side, Plikerd also tallied 2,867 points to finish in fourth place. Barnhisel closed out the Tigers’ performance with an 11th place finish overall.

The Tigers continued this momentum this past weekend. On the women’s side, “shined bright.” Alexis Johnson (’21), Alexis Walker (’22), Alexis Gray (’20) and Plikerd gave their team a huge boost.

Johnson had a tremendous day in the field events. She finished first in the long jump with a jump of 5.53m, second in the triple while leaping to 11.39, and took sixth in the high jump. Plikerd also had a strong day in the high jump, landing herself in fourth place. Both athletes currently have a top 20 mark in Division III and are preparing for Nationals.

Walker, Johnson and Plikerd swept the 60m dash, taking positions one through three to own the podium. Walker also won the 200m dash with a time of 25.56s, which is the 14th fastest mark in Division III.

Gray topped the field in the 800m run, finishing in a blistering time of 2:11.60s. Her time beat her own Wittenberg record, but it also set the Championship meet record for the event. Gray is currently seeded at third in the nation with this time.

These four athletes were not the only Tigers to help their team. For the field events, Skylar Edwards (’23) and Leah Vogt (’23) finished fifth and seventh in shot put. Meanwhile, Preslee Rolf (’21) tied for fourth place in pole vault.

The runners also took care of business. Ryelee Clary (’21) took second in the 60m hurdles with a time of 9.19s. On top of this, she crossed the line in the 200m dash in fourth place. Barnhisel competed for the Tigers in the 400m dash and took home sixth place. Elizabeth Canright wrapped up the individual scoring with a fifth place finish in the 5,000m run.

The 4x200m relay of Plikerd, Rolf, Tiffany Moss (’23) and Seraye Bray (’23) took fourth place, while the 4x400m relay team of Walker, Barnhisel, Gray and Maxine Wishman (’22) closed out the meet for the Tigers with a second place finish.

This all translated to the a record number of team points and a third place finish for the women’s team, which finished behind Ohio Wesleyan and Oberlin.

The men also had a strong conclusion to their indoor season. The relay teams really added some punch to the men’s day and overall score. The 4x200m relay team of Tyler Branton (’20), Austin Albanese (’21), Ezekiel Bennett (’23) and David Haake (’21) took third place. To end the meet, the 4x400m team, consisting of Ian McCandlish (’23), Deven Ramsey (’23), Albanese and Bennett crossed the line in second place.

The 400m saw McCandlish, Albanese and Bennett finish in the top eight. Ramsey narrowly missed out on the podium individually by crossing the line in fourth place during his 800m run. Hurdlers Garrin Bachinski (’20) and Guyer both ended the meet in the top eight for the 60m hurdles.

In the field portion of events, Jonathan Seay took third place in the shot put with a toss of 14.56m. Paul Varnadoe (’22) and Jaycee Perry (’20) each added a second place finish in the long jump and high jump.

The men took fourth place, falling behind Wabash, Ohio Wesleyan and Denison.

Most Wittenberg track and field athletes will now begin preparing for outdoor season. However, Gray, Johnson, Plikerd and Walker will all prepare for Nationals on Mar. 13.

The Weekly Tiger: A Father/Daughter Date

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The dynamics of Father/Daughter dates are different for everyone. For myself, my dad and I have never been particularly close, for I’ve been historically closer to my mom. I’ve never had a bad relationship with my dad per say, but our personalities are so similar that anyone who didn’t know us might think we hated each other.

Unlike many people, my dad and I are both comfortable in each others’ silence. We don’t feel the need to fill the void with mindless conversation if we don’t have anything meaningful to say. We’re both rather introverted, of course, so we tend to spend a lot time together in silence, just enjoying each others’ company.

This past weekend, that dynamic changed. While I was home for the weekend, my dad and I went to a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game together. The ride there was nothing out of the ordinary, as we lightly exchanged nerdy utterances to each other about thing’s we had learned recently, but other than that, the ride into the city was quiet.

We eventually made it to the stadium and found our seats in the club level. I got up to get myself a beer and we sat together waiting for the game to start. Other than commenting on a few notable sightings, we sat together, people watching.

Once the game started, we watched with intensity as the Jacket’s started off slow, going into the third period down 1-3. My dad got up, got himself a beer and some peanuts and while finally started to heat up, as did our conversations.

As I said earlier, my dad and I usually don’t talk much as we introverts are often perfectly comfortable in each others’ silence, but something changed during that third period of the Blue Jackets game. Maybe the flowing beer or the increasing intensity of the game was encouraging to us, but we we’re chatting it up.

Some kind of mutual social barrier between the two of us had been broken and we chatted openly with other fans around us as we watched the Jacket’s rack up the score to eventually pull off a 5-3 win in the final minutes of the game. We jumped up, hands in the air screaming for our team, we chatted excitedly like old college buddies and giggled at each others’ stupid drunkenness.

Something about that third period changed our relationship, even if the change was small.

We walked back to the car in silence. We listened to the radio commentators discuss the game we just saw and made the same side eyes to the reckless drivers we encountered on our way home. We once again sat enjoying each others’ company, but this was a new kind of company, one with hidden secrets of previous conversations and special out of character rowdiness that would forever lie dormant in the silence we shared.

Founders Trivia Week is a Blast for Every Class

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Julie Fisher (‘23), Lilia Moorman (‘23) and the rest of their team try to name the types of fabrics for the visual round of trivia. Photo by Meghan Nadzam (‘22).

Wednesday, Feb. 26, Founders Trivia, located in Founders Bar, was a blast for every class.

Founders holds a trivia game night for students to come and enjoy their time answering questions on topics like current and past events, and have a drink or two. While some find way to wind down mid-week by playing video games or watching movies in Dopplegängers across the hall, some students decide to engage in mental challenges by partaking in weekly trivia.

Last week was no slump as contestants went head-to-head answering questions on the Presidency and world history, Pixar movies, artwork and artists and even hands-on questions testing the teams’ sense of touch with a round of fabric questions.

Trivia game night originated in Yellow Springs, OH and eventually made its way to Wittenberg University. Chemistry professor Ray Dudek is to thank for the trivia nights as he is the overall director and creator of these fun times. Having a PhD in chemistry doesn’t keep him away from partaking in fun and events with the students.

Trivia has three rules that must be followed to receive prizes: no shouting out answers, the team needs to have at least four members and no “millennial” technology can be used such as laptops, cellphones, etc.

There were four rounds and each round consisted of five questions: round one’s category was New York Times, round two’s category was Pixar, round three’s category was fabric and the final round’s category was naming the artist of a piece of art.

These young professionals had a nice range of expertise were broken up into four teams. The teams were eloquently named by the team members, or perhaps just made up on the spot, but nevertheless there names were Team Goldfish, Kathy’s Jacket, Blue Razz and Political Data. It was an intense battle with Team Goldfish and Political Data closing in on the top two spots. Team Political Data walked away with the victory. Political Data added this victory to their previous 20 victories, having not lost at Trivia yet. The students highly enjoy these trivia sessions and it’s a wonderful way of relaxation.

“We hold our own as freshmen,” several students competing said. “Since we are younger, we are at a disadvantage so it’s feels good to compete.”

Another group hanging out were a couple of sophomores who just happened to have the night off. Several of the students weren’t as familiar with the trivia as the others but they knew Dudek from their First Year Seminar (FYS) class and dropped by for some trivia fun.

Founders Trivia is a wonderful way to blow off some steam throughout the semester. Every trivia night has different themes, so don’t be a stranger and feel free to stop by to enjoy some mentally stimulating content.

Men’s Basketball Receives Bid to host NCAA Tournament Games

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James Johnson ('21) drives into the paint during the NCAC Championship on Feb. 29, 2020.

This past week, the men’s basketball team played in three different games in Pam Evans Smith Arena and advanced all the way to the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament Championship game against the College of Wooster. Unfortunately, the Tigers fell short Saturday, Feb. 29, against the Fighting Scots and lost 87-63.

The Quarterfinals

On Tuesday, Feb. 25 the Tigers hosted the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan University. This was the thirty-first Quarterfinal game for the Tigers since they joined the NCAC back in 1989. The red and white beat the Battling Bishops, 69-55. Connor Seipel (’20) lead in points with 18 and in rebounds with 25, this was his 16 double-double this season. Jake Bertemes (’20) lead in assists with four.

The Tigers shot 38.8 percent from the hardwood, managed 41 rebounds and 18 assists. There were 14 points put up off of turnovers, 22 points in the paint and 20 points from the bench. This victory lead Wittenberg to the Semifinal game against the Yeomen of Oberlin College.

The Semifinals

On Friday, Feb. 28, the Yeomen traveled to the Pam Evans Smith Arena to play against the Tigers. The red and white beat out the Yeomen, 67-47 and that victory would put them in the Championship game. Going into the game, Wittenberg was ranked as fourth, Division III team in the nation by D3Hoops.com.

James Johnson (’21) lead in points for the Tigers with 22 and in rebounds with nine. Landon Martin (’21) lead in assists with three. On the floor the red and white shot 42.3 percent, managed 36 rebounds, eight assists and 13 points off of turnovers. There were 28 points in the paint and 15 points from the bench.

The Championship

On Saturday, Feb. 29, in the red and white’s eighteenth appearance in the NCAC Championship game, the stands were filled with Tiger and Fighting Scots fans alike, the atmosphere was electric. “It’s a great atmosphere,” Brian Yontz said, Associate Professor of education. Going into the game, the Tigers were the number one seed in the NCAC tournament while Wooster was seeded third.

Prior to this game, Wooster and Wittenberg had faced off twice, once in Wooster, OH and a few weeks ago in the Pam Evans Smith Arena. The Tigers fell in the first match-up but managed to beat out the Fighting Scots in their second go-round.

The Fighting Scots were quick to jump out ahead of the Tigers. The first points of the night went to Bertemes who drew a foul and was sent to the free throw line, putting the Tigers on the board 7-2. The red and white were finally able to catch up to Wooster when Rashaad Ali-Shakir (’21) attempted a three-point shot that nicked the rim, but thankfully Johnson was in the paint and rebounded the ball to turn around and put up a jumper, tying the game 12-12.

At the half, Wittenberg was trailing Wooster 37-34. This was the fourth time that the Tigers have been down at the end of the first half. Coming out of the locker room, Johnson managed to close the gap again after anther three-pointer, 39-39.

Slowly, Wooster managed to lengthen the gap and Wittenberg never managed to catch up. The Tigers put up their last points when Levi Boettcher (’22) managed a layup with 2:50 left to play. The Fighting Scots scored four times after the Tigers layup and rounded out the score, 87-36.

Seipel was the lead scorer for the Tigers putting up 18 points and managing eight rebounds. Ali-Shakir and Seipel tied for the lead in assists with three apiece. The Tigers shot 46.3 percent from the floor, pulled down 22 rebounds and had nine assists. There were 34 points put up in the paint, 16 second chance points, 13 points from the bench and 18 points scored off of turnovers.

At the conclusion of the game, the Fighting Scots were named the winners of the NCAC Tournament, with the Tigers NCAC regular season champions. Seipel and Johnson were both named to the NCAC All-Tournament team.

Up Next

On Monday, March 2, it was announced that Wittenberg will be hosting rounds one and two for their pool in the NCAA Division III bracket. On Friday, March 6, the Tigers will be facing the Red Hawks of La Roche University at 6 p.m. in the Pam Evans Smith Arena. Prior to that, the Eagles of Benedictine University will be playing against the River Hawks of Susquehanna University at 3:30 p.m. The victors of both of these games will go on to round two and will face off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 7.

A Look at Lacrosse

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Katurah Emery ('22) is bumped into by a Capital defender on Feb. 19, 2020. Wittenberg Women's Lacrosse lost to Capital, 22-14 on their first game of the year. (Trent Sprague/The Wittenberg Torch)
Katurah Emery ('22) is bumped into by a Capital defender on Feb. 19, 2020. Wittenberg Women's Lacrosse lost to Capital, 22-14 on their first game of the year. (Trent Sprague/The Wittenberg Torch)

Men’s Lacrosse

On Saturday, Feb. 29, the men’s lacrosse team hosted the Pioneers from Transylvania University and after four quarters emerged victorious, 21-8. During the game, Noah Moderwell (’20) scored seven goals and had two assists which named him the All-Time Points record holder in Tiger history. Over the past four years, Moderwell has scored 129 goals with more of his senior season left to play.

The Tigers started off strong and went into halftime ahead, 9-4. But it was the third quarter that pushed the red and white out of the Pioneers reach as they put up eight goals and Transy went scoreless, rounding out their lead 17-4.

Not giving the Pioneers a chance to catch up, the Tigers scored four more goals and sealed their 21-8 victory.

Moderwell lead in points for the red and white with seven, Connor Rice (’21) lead in assists with three. Keeper, Max Cavellier (’21) had 12 saves in between the pipes and Tony LeBarge (’20) picked up 15 ground balls.

The Tigers will be heading out of town for spring break and will be facing off with Whittier College and Kean University on March 12 and 14.

Women’s Lacrosse

This season has started off rocky for the women’s lacrosse team as they have lost a few players to injury. On Wednesday, Feb. 26 the Tigers took a tough loss in The Steemer to the Blue Streaks of John Carroll University, 25-12.

Wittenberg snagged the lead with 29:01 left to play when Gabby Zysik (’20) snuck the ball past the Blue Streaks’ keeper and lead 1-0. After that John Carroll managed two goals but Faith Meads (’20) got the ball and scored tying the game up, 2-2. The Tigers scored six more times in the first half but trailed at the half, 14-8.

The Blue Streaks quickly grabbed control of the game and the red and white struggled to catch back up. But in the second half, the red and white managed to score four more times with goals from Zysik, Libby Wadds (’23) and Sophie Weintraub (’23). Ultimately, Wittenberg fell short and lost, 25-12.

Overall, the Tigers managed 25 shots, picked up 10 ground balls, cleared the field 16 times and took six free position shots. When it came to drawing control the Tigers weren’t far behind the Blue Streaks with 18 to their 21. Starting goalie Abby Sammons (’21) had 10 saves in goal and the lead scorers for the red and white were Rachel Bernard (’20) and Zysik.

Up next, the Tigers will hosting Calvin University Knight’s on Friday, March 6 at 4 p.m. After that, the team is hitting the road for spring break and will be playing in Georgetown Texas against St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame, IN and Southwestern University on March 10 and 11.

Israeli Adventurism and Human Rights

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While acknowledging the shortcomings of Trump’s recent Israel/Palestine peace plan, author Micah Goodman wrote in a recent op-ed for the New York Times, “Instead of rejecting the plan – we should think again about what it can and should realistically achieve. That’s the way to break through the deadlock, minimize suffering and forge a new reality.”

This seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the conflict – that as it stands, it rests at a deadlock. The current occupation of the Palestinian territories is advantageous for the U.S., Israel, and the multinational corporations that profit off this status quo. While the 50-plus-year occupation may seem uneventful, the abuse that Palestinians endure in the face of that occupation is an everyday reality on the ground.

The Camp David Summit of 2000 sparked an era of U.S. media coverage blaming the Palestinian leadership for failures to make peace. Feigned frustration over Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat walking away from Camp David overlooked what exactly Arafat was walking away from. The offer put forth by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Clinton would have divided the West Bank into three, leaving no contiguous state, while separating East Jerusalem from the West Bank entirely. A security zone on the eastern border of Palestine and Jordan would have remained under Israeli military control. Finally, the refugee question, the issue of the right of return for the millions of refugees in the Middle East, was never settled. Former Israel foreign minister and negotiator at Camp David, Shlomo Ben Ami, wrote about the negotiations, “If I were a Palestinian, I would have rejected Camp David.”

Though it gives even less to the Palestinians, Trump’s plan resembles what was put forth at Camp David. What this sham peace process masks is the brutal conditions of the occupation and Israeli military adventurism in the region. On February 25, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu pledged that Israel would build 3,500 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank. This came a week after he announced the unfreezing of a separate project to build 3,000 settler homes. On February 16, Israel strengthened its blockade of Gaza, reducing the zone in which Palestinian boats are allowed to fish and canceling 500 commercial permits. On the same day, Israeli air strikes hit Hamas targets in Gaza. Justifying the seemingly unprovoked aggression, the Israeli military alleged two rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel—for which no group claimed responsibility.

Speaking on the topic unironically, Netanyahu said, “We won’t accept any aggression from Gaza. Just a few weeks ago, we took out the top commander of Islamic Jihad… and I suggest that Islamic Jihad and Hamas refresh their memories.” What he is referring to is unprovoked air raids against Islamic Jihad in November 2019 that killed Commander Baha Abu al-Ata and 33 other Palestinians. Without providing evidence, the Israeli military claimed Abu al-Ata was planning an attack.

On Feb. 23, the Israeli military again presented no evidence against a man killed by Israeli snipers, who was accused of attempting to plant a bomb near the Israel/Gaza fence. Footage by a local journalist documents blatant, coordinated necroviolence undertaken by the Israeli military. After the man was killed, an Israeli bulldozer began approaching. People can be seen running to retrieve the body but retreating after coming under fire. After multiple attempts, the bulldozer scoops up the body and carries it towards the separation fence. To my knowledge, this event was entirely unreported in the Washington Post or the New York Times.

Elsewhere in the region, Israel has acted aggressively. Even American foreign policy operates within certain constraints. Outside of two strikes targeting Syrian military installations and the killing of Iranian leader Qasem Soleimani, U.S. confrontations with the Syrian and Iranian states have been limited. The Israeli military, however, has carried out military assaults that would have much further-reaching implications if conducted by the U.S. Most recently, in the Syrian-controlled portion of the Golan Heights, the rest of which is occupied by Israel, a Feb. 27 drone strike killed a civilian driving home from work. On Feb. 24, in the Syrian city, Damascus, air raids killed six alleged Iranian and Syrian militants as well as Palestinian members of Islamic Jihad. Israel also targeted Islamic Jihad in Gaza, injuring four.

These recent attacks are part of a wider pattern of Israeli aggression in the region. In mid-February, seven Iranian and Syrian nationals were killed by Israeli air strikes. In July 2019, Israel targeted Iranian-supported militias in Iraq, killing 47 people. In January 2019, Israel acknowledged air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria that killed 11 fighters. These actions function to challenge Iranian and Russian influence in the region, in effect furthering the influence of the U.S. and its allies.

The Israeli military has been cultivated and funded by the U.S. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Nixon airlifted military aid to Israel while deploying ships off the coast of the Arabian peninsula to discourage Soviet interference. The next year, military aid pushed two billion dollars; a bench mark exceeded since. In 2016, Obama signed a $38 billion-dollar military aid deal to be distributed over 10 years. Due to this support, the Israeli military is the fourth largest in the world, functioning as a surrogate of American foreign policy.

The conflict only seems at a stalemate because, for corporations profiting off the U.S./ Israeli alliance, not much changes, which limits media coverage of the conflict. Bilateral trade between the two, according to the U.S. Embassy in Israel, exceeds $34 billion yearly. American military and tech companies have deep connections in Israel where some of the newest cutting-edge advancements are being made. Recently, the UN released a list of companies with links to illegal Israeli settlements, among them Airbnb, Expedia, Motorola, and General Mills. While the deadlock furthers corporate profit, the region is terrorized and Palestinians face regular human-rights violations.

Unlock the Mystery Behind the Netflix’s “Locke & Key”

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Netflix’s newly released supernatural thriller series “Locke & Key” is turning heads, and possibly even opening them. 

Inspired by the “Locke & Key” comic written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, the series has been in development for nearly 10 years. “Locke & Key” was originally intended for the Fox Broadcast Network and was screened at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2011. Ultimately, setbacks from the network prevented the show from airing, and the show was granted new executive directors in 2014. The series premiered on Netflix on Feb. 7, 2020 and is receiving great praise from audiences, many of whom are comparing it to the largely successful 2019 Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy.”

Following the murder of patriarch Rendell Locke, the series follows the remaining Locke family members to Matheson, MA where the secrets of Rendell’s mysterious past begin to emerge. The focal point of this strange heritage is the Locke family home, which has been nicknamed “Key House” by the townspeople. The Gothic architecture and archetypal taxidermy in the estate encaptures the interest of the Locke children: Tyler, Kinsey and, in particular, young Bode. The children, unbeknown to the world of magic prior to their arrival in Matheson, soon realize that they possess the ability to locate keys hidden throughout the house. These magical keys, among other things, allow the children to enter into their own minds by means of a curious passageway. However—like every classic magical television drama—the children soon realize that they are not the only ones longing to discern the potential of these keys. Complete with demons, rocky road ice cream and curious tattoos, this 10 episode season sends viewers on a chilling hunt to unlock the truth hidden in “Key House.” 

On top of providing audiences with a unique interpretation of the supernatural, “Locke & Key” has also been praised for the casting choices. One of the series’ main characters Rufus Whedon, the endearing autistic groundskeeper of “Key House,” was played by Coby Bird, an autistic actor. Bird took to Twitter to express his excitement with landing the role.

“Being Autistic myself, I was so honored to play this role. Rufus is just who he is, Rufus. He has a job and cares about the people around him” Bird said.

The decision to cast Bird made by the casting crew of “Locke & Key,” speaks to the larger issue in the film industry where able-bodied actors are often selected to portray characters with mental or physical impairments. From Tom Hanks’ role in “Forrest Gump” to Freddie Highmore’s role in “The Good Doctor,” able-bodied Hollywood actors have historically been praised for their performances of disabled characters. While Bird was not chosen solely to increase diversity, his authentic portrayal of an autisic character helps raise awareness.

As the first season of “Locke & Key” concludes with a cliff-hanger ending, viewers are left speculating the fate of the show. As of yet, Netflix has not renewed the show for a second season. However, it is not uncommon for Netflix to wait at least a month from a show’s release date before unleashing information about the renewal status. Despite this fact, “Locke & Key” writers have already begun to make preparations for season two.

During an interview with Collider, co-executive producer Carlton Cuse said that the possibility of a second season is promising.

“We’re in the middle of writing season two, so we’re optimistic and hopeful that we’re gonna get a chance to make season two,” Cuse said. “We very much know what it is because Meredith [co-executive producer] and I are in the middle of overseeing the writers’ room and we’re working on that right now.”

Regardless of whether “Locke & Key” gets a shot at a second season, the possibility of magical keys remains both intriguing and dangerous. If you held the key to unlock your mind, would you use it?

Women’s Basketball Falls in NCAC Semifinal Heartbreaker

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Wittenberg Women's Basketball faces Wooster on Feb. 15, 2020 for Senior Day. The Tigers won 67-36 over the Fighting Scots and head to Oberlin Saturday, Feb. 22 on a five game winning streak.
Wittenberg Women's Basketball faces Wooster on Feb. 15, 2020 for Senior Day. The Tigers won 67-36 over the Fighting Scots and head to Oberlin Saturday, Feb. 22 on a five game winning streak.

Women’s Basketball returned to the Pam Evans Smith Arena last Tuesday, Feb. 25, to face Oberlin in the first round of the NCAC Tournament. The Tigers beat Oberlin, 46-36 to advance to the semifinals where they ended their season with a 60-52 loss to Denison.

The Quarterfinals

The Tigers opened the NCAC Tournament ranked third in the conference and hosted sixth-ranked Oberlin. The Yeowomen had defeated the Tigers, 71-54, the previous Saturday, Feb. 22, causing the Tigers to seek revenge.

The red and white began the first quarter on the attack as Korynne Berner (’20) placed the Tigers on the board early before Oberlin tied the game, 2-2, in the first minute. The Tigers shot thirty percent, outshooting the Yeowomen’s 8.3 percent in the first quarter. The Tigers ended the first quarter leading Oberlin, 8-4.

“Our focus was defense, when we played them last Saturday [Feb. 22], we were not very good on either side of the ball, that usually doesn’t happen to us,” head coach Kelly Mahlum said. “Our focus was making sure that we were really good defensively and that would help us create some offense.”

The Tigers used their defense effectively as they totaled 30 defensive rebounds with Berner notching nine total rebounds into her belt, while Riley Culver (’20) ended with ten rebounds and 11 points for a double-double.

The Tigers held off the Yeowomen for a 46-36 win and punched their ticket to the NCAC Tournament semifinals last Friday to face second-ranked Denison at DePauw University.

The Semifinals

The Tigers traveled to Greencastle, IN to face Denison at the NCAC Semifinals on Friday, Feb. 28. The Tigers stuck first as Berner snagged a missed shot from Culver to complete a layup in the paint. The Red and White held the Big Red scoreless until a free throw with 6:50 remaining in the first. Denison then went on a scoring run to lead the game 5-4, before finishing the first quarter with a 15-10 lead over the Tigers.

The Tigers started the second quarter with an attack early as Berner completed a fast break layup to bring the score within three. Denison led 15-12. Yunker would follow in Berner’s footsteps and complete a layup of her own. Delaney Williams (’21) helped create scoring opportunities as she led with eight rebounds and six assists. The Tigers headed to the locker room leading the Big Red, 29-22.

The Tigers opened the third quarter with a battle as Denison fought to reduce the red and white’s lead to one point as they led 31-30 with 6:32 left to play. Williams and Kalis helped keep the Big Red at bay as they completed layups to increase the lead to 35-30. The Tigers would end the third quarter leading the Big Red, 44-36.

The red and white opened the fourth quarter stumbling as Denison scored six straight points to cut the lead down to two. Denison then tied the game at 46 with 5:07 remaining off a free throw caused by Kalis. Denison pulled ahead to lead the Tigers 50-49 with 2:43 remaining, and nailed the coffin shut on the Tigers season. Denison defeated the Tigers, 60-52 in the NCAC Tournament Semifinal.

The Tigers spent a lot of time at the free throw line as Denison recorded 18 fouls against them. The Tigers shot eight of 13 from the line for 61.5 percent. Berner led with 16 points and seven rebounds in her final collegiate game while Culver accounted for six points and six rebounds. Jenna Bluemlein (’20) did not get many minutes against Denison but contributed with an offensive rebound to complete her career at Wittenberg. The Tigers ended their season with a 19-8 record for a 0.704-win percentage, the team’s best since the 2014-15 season.

Witt’s Financial Restructuring Could be Slowed by Potential Manual Violation

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Recitation stands tall against a bright blue sky. Photo by Meghan Nadzam (‘22).

Wittenberg’s plan for financial restructuring is on the fast track, with the newly formed Academic Program Futures Committee working to make recommendations to reduce $2.5 million in academic program expenses per year by the 2021-22 academic year. However, this new committee’s intervention may violate the university’s Faculty Manual.

The manual exists as a contract between faculty and the university, outlining processes such as program discontinuance and faculty contract nonrenewal. While the processes are separate, both involve the Committee on Education Policies (EPC).

For program discontinuance, the EPC holds forums for considered programs, makes recommendations to the faculty and the faculty must move to approve them. This process was seen in action last semester, and the faculty did vote to recommend the discontinuance of the dance and French majors.

This process does not apply to the nonrenewal of faculty lines. While the manual says that the ultimate power to not renew faculty lines “rests solely with the President, the Provost and the Board of Directors, and not with the faculty, whose constitutional authority is limited to a right to participate in such decisions,” it also states that the EPC should review all proposed changes in a department’s total number of faculty members, consider the effects, and make their own recommendations to the President or Provost.

While Frandsen said that the Academic Program Futures Committee is still charged to connect with the EPC, the ultimate recommendations for both program and faculty discontinuance will be made by the new committee, not by the EPC or by faculty vote. Not using the channels specified by the manual to alter academic programs will result in violation of the manual.

Despite this potential violation, the bylaws of the Board of Directors state that the board has authority to create this committee. According to the bylaws, “the Board of Directors may appoint certain members to act as a standing or special Committee or Committees and may delegate to such Committee or Committees powers to be exercised under the control and direction of the Board.” The Academic Program Future Committee forms a gray area between the manual and bylaws in which these disagreeing governing documents are both correct.

Rev. Eilert responded on Tuesday night that this section of the faculty manual is a separate document within the manual and that “the ‘document’ refers to the ‘Bylaws of the Wittenberg University Faculty and Student Government.'”  The sentence that was quoted means that the Constitution and the Bylaws of the Board of Directors takes precedent over the Bylaws of the Wittenberg University Faculty and Student Government, if they are in conflict.

However, Eilert noted that the manual still states in regards to the nonrenewal of faculty lines that “faculty personnel decisions and the policies that govern them are subject to the authority of the Constitution of the University, the Bylaws of the Board of Directors, and the Bylaws of the Faculty.”

According to Frandsen, the Academic Program Futures Committee is necessary because the current channels outlined in the manual were not working quickly enough. Page nine of the Faculty Manual states that in the case of a committee having inadequate time to meet its goals, ad hoc committees can be created. Ad hoc committees should be established by the faculty on the recommendation of the involved boards or committees, although the members of the Academic Program Futures Committee are appointed by President Frandsen based on recommendations from the Provost and in consultation with the Faculty Executive Board.

A committee bearing several similarities to the Academic Program Futures Committee is also called for in the faculty manual if the university enters a state of financial exigency, an extreme financial crisis that could threaten the existence of the university. If the university were to declare this, an ad hoc committee on Termination Due to Financial Exigency is formed. It is this committee’s responsibility to prepare recommendations for reduction in faculty while minimizing distortion of academic programs. The Academic Program Futures Committee is called to recommend reductions in the academic budget while maintaining the core of liberal arts programs.

Additionally, the committee during financial exigency would report its recommendations to the Provost, the President and the faculty. After receiving the committee’s recommendations, the Provost and the President would make their decisions. Similarly, the Academic Program Futures Committee will report its recommendations on May 1. The board, President and Provost will make their decisions based on these recommendations.

Box Scores: Feb. 24-March 2

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Baseball

2.29.20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Runs Hits Errors
Wittenberg (0-1) 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 1 7 12 3
Albion (1-0) 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 6 x 11 12 1
3.1.20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Runs Hits Errors
Manchester (1- 0) 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 6 11 11 2
Wittenberg (0-2) 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 8 3
3.1.20 12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 RunsHitsErrors
Benedictine (0-2) 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 49 1
Wittenberg (1-2) 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 12 2

Men’s Basketball

2.25.20 – NCAC Quarterfinal 1 2 Final
Ohio Wesleyan (12-14) 22 33 55
Wittenberg (25-1) 37 32 69
2.28.20 – NCAC Semifinal 1 2 Final
Oberlin (15-12) 22 25 47
Wittenberg (26-1) 30 37 67
2.29.20 – NCAC Championship 1 2 Final
Wooster (21-7) 37 50 87
Wittenberg (26-2) 34 29 63

Women’s Basketball

2.25.20 – NCAC Quarterfinal 1 2 3 4 Final
Oberlin (9-17) 4 12 2 18 36
Wittenberg (19-7) 8 11 14 13 46
2.28.20 – NCAC Semifinal 1 2 3 4 Final
Wittenberg (19-8) 10 19 15 8 52
Denison (19-8) 15 7 14 24 60

Men’s Lacrosse

2.29.20 1 2 3 4 Final
Transylvania (1-2) 2 2 0 4 8
Wittenberg (2-2) 3 6 8 4 21

Women’s Lacrosse

2.26.20 1 2 Final
John Carroll (1-2) 14 11 25
Wittenberg (0-3) 8 4 12
3.2.20 1 2 OT Final/OT
Adrian (0-1) 3 4 0 7
Wittenberg (1-3) 3 4 1 8

Men’s Track and Field

2.29.20 NCAC Track and Field Championships Points
1 Wabash 207.791
2 Ohio Wesleyan 115.625
3 Denison 92
4 Wittenberg 72.25
5 Oberlin 60
6 DePauw 48.125
7 Wooster 43.4583
8 Allegheny 43.25
9 Kenyon 19.5

Women’s Track and Field

2.29.20 NCAC Track and Field Championships Points
1 Ohio Wesleyan 175
2 Oberlin 167
3 Wittenberg 129
4 Allegheny 67
5 Wooster 56
6 Kenyon 46.5
7 DePauw 41.5
8 Denison 19

Men’s Volleyball

2.29.20 1 2 3 Final
Wittenberg (6-12) 26 25 25 3
Medaille (7-9) 24 21 16 0
2.29.20 1 2 3 Final
Wittenberg (7-12) 25 25 25 3
D’Youville (1-15) 13 11 23 0

Water Polo

2.29.20 Final – OT
Wittenberg 17
Grove City 15
2.29.20 Final
Wittenberg 4
Mercyhurst 16
2.29.20 Final
Wittenberg 8
Gannon 17
3.1.20 Final
Virginia Military Institute 19
Wittenberg 2

Faculty Letter to the Editor

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Dear Students,

We, your professors, write to you today to commend you on your recent activism and efforts in pushing Wittenberg to reach its full potential. We are incredibly impressed by all of you who are pouring your hearts into defending and protecting our institution. You have stepped up to advance issues on diversity, transparency and fiscal responsibility, and have made us proud to be a part of this community.

We share your deep concerns about the current state of affairs at Wittenberg. As you continue to embody Wittenberg’s mission and values by “combin[ing] an awareness of suffering with a desire to respond,” we want you to have the details of this complex situation.

As we discuss Wittenberg’s challenges, you will see the term “fiscal year” (FY) used. This is the year according to our accounting procedures. At Wittenberg the fiscal year starts in July and ends in June. Thus, FY22 begins in July of 2021and ends in June of 2022. We are currently in FY20.

Financial Situation

1. There are three main financial issues facing Wittenberg: our structural deficit and two large but separate pieces of debt. We currently project yearly structural deficits of about $5-6M on a $48M budget. That is, the operational budget, excluding debt service, for this year has $48M in expense but only $43M in revenue. This imbalance arises from the day-to-day operations of the university. Such deficits have been ongoing for years, are unsustainable and must be addressed immediately. They affect our accreditation and our ability to run the university.

2. In 2016, we refinanced several pieces of debt, including debt taken on to build Hollenbeck and renovate Kuss, into one package. We negotiated a payment structure whereby we would only pay interest until FY21. The interest payments are currently being paid, and principal payments start next year. Both of these are in addition to the structural deficit.

3. To complete the Health, Wellness & Athletics Complex (HWA), Wittenberg took out $34 M in loans in 2018. We are currently paying interest on those loans and have principal payments due in FY20, FY22 and FY23. We have secured $20 M in pledges, donations, and tax credits, enough to cover the first two principal payments on those loans. The last payment is not yet accounted for. The yearly interest and FY23 principal payment are in addition to the structural deficit.

4. The consequence of this debt is that our creditors are given certain legal rights negotiated when the bonds are signed. Unless significant progress toward balancing next year’s budget is made, they are permitted to begin to make changes to personnel and the academic curriculum, as they see fit. This can be done with little faculty, staff, administrative or board input.

5. Separately from our creditors, we will be visited this fall by our accreditors (from the Higher Learning Commission). The HLC will perform a comprehensive evaluation of our status as an institution of higher education. Finances are a consideration in accreditation, and were a concern during HLC’s last visit in 2016 when they required us to make progress towards a balanced budget by this fall.

Origins of the Problem

6. The most egregious and financially damaging decisions at Wittenberg occurred before 2018.

7. The board of directors has ultimate fiduciary responsibility for the institution, and those who served on our board in the decade prior to 2018 bear significant responsibility for our current financial situation. However, fiduciary responsibility does not mean that aboard is obligated to personally cover any financial issues created from acting on behalf of the institution.

8. Senior administrators manage the institution, and those who worked for Wittenberg in the decade prior to 2018 bear significant responsibility for our current financial situation.

9. Faculty hold oversight responsibilities for academic programs and thus also share in the responsibility for aspects of our current financial situation.

10. Tenure is not the cause of our problems. However, it does constrain the way in which colleges and universities can address financial or staffing issues. Prior to attaining tenure, probationary faculty may be dismissed at the discretion of the school. Tenured faculty, however, are protected from dismissal under most circumstances and unless the department they teach in is discontinued.

11. Wittenberg has lacked consistent fundraising efforts. Our last comprehensive capital campaign ended in 2001, while our peer institutions hold 1 –2 of these fundraising events per decade. We are now in the silent phase of a comprehensive campaign to begin within the year.

12. President Frandsen arrived at Wittenberg with the HWA project already underway. He was handed an incredibly difficult situation to sort out, and ultimately faced a choice between halting the project mid-way, which would have left millions of dollars wasted in planning and construction costs and incurred penalties for allowing associated tax credits to expire, and seeing the project through despite having only 60-65% of the project funding covered.

13. The senior administrators responsible for overseeing years-long erosion of our finances, including those primarily responsible for the HWA project, no longer work at Wittenberg. We have a substantially new senior team, which collectively has more finance and administration expertise than Wittenberg has seen in decades.

14. Board members who served prior to 2018, some of whom remain on the board today, decided that no operating or endowment money would be used to finance the HWA project. This turned out not to be true.

15. President Frandsen’s decision to switch enrollment management companies likely contributed to the small entering class last fall. The size of this class adds to our challenges, as does our retention rate for the last three cohorts, and increases the urgency with which we must reduce our deficit.

Academic Program Futures Committee.

16. At its last meeting, the board commissioned a task force (the Academic Program Futures Committee) to evaluate options for finding $2.5 million from the academic budget. We must reduce academic program expenses by $2.5 million per year beginning no later than FY22. In addition, we must have larger incoming classes and increased retention in the future.

17. Faculty representation is guaranteed on the Futures Committee. However, this task force’s recommendations are likely to circumvent faculty governance procedures due to how quickly we must make progress on our deficit reduction plans. This is not to be taken lightly. Only in extreme circumstances would a university entertain the idea of suspending its faculty manual.

18. Moreover, the faculty body was asked to make cuts, using our governance structures, three times in the last eight years. This extremely difficult task was done with substantial effort and hard work, and twice resulted in the painful loss of programs and colleagues. Unfortunately, that process did not yield the amount of reduction needed for a sustainable model with our current and projected student enrollments. In fact, despite these cuts, our 11:1 student to faculty ratio is the same now as it was in 2012. It did reach a high of 14:1 in 2016, but has decreased progressively as we’ve hired new faculty and admitted fewer students. A sustainable model for Wittenberg includes increasing the student to faculty ratio from 11:1 to 13:1.

19. Although we deeply lament the need for the Futures Committee, we hope for a model of shared governance. Some faculty view the Futures Committee as a way to have representation and voice in the upcoming cuts. Some disagree and do not want any faculty to participate. Signing this letter are faculty representing both perspectives. Know that we maintain respect for each other regardless of these differences. We recognize we all want Wittenberg to succeed, and each of us is pursuing the path we think will be most successful.

20. All of us prefer the Futures Committee to work through processes and committees outlined in our manual, but the board must balance this desire with their fiduciary responsibility and the need to move with urgency.

Diversity Issues

21. Wittenberg has struggled with recruiting and retaining diverse faculty. The most recent cuts reduced the already-low number of African-American professors on campus. This is an important issue that faculty and students agree cannot be dismissed. The impact of this loss on the entire student body, but especially for Black students on campus, must be acknowledged. We are committed to moving discussions of these issues toward policy solutions, particularly through faculty committees that set rules for tenure &promotion and awards, in order to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in our ranks.

22. Our board must do better when faced with opinions that differ from their own. The behavior from some board members in reaction to some student protesters recently was unacceptable, and we appreciate the chairman of the board coming to campus to publicly apologize on the board’s behalf.

23. Since his arrival, President Frandsen has added six new members to the board. We welcome the increase in diversity and fresh perspectives represented by these recent additions. We are starting to build a better board.

24. The board is still lacking in representation from women. This is a systemic problem in the United States, as women collectively hold a small minority of seats on corporate boards. Our board should be concerned with solving, not contributing to, this problem.

Addressing these issues will involve painfully difficult decisions. More faculty will be let go. The personal and professional toll this will take, has already taken, is impossible to overstate. Ultimately, however, we aim to make Wittenberg thrive again. We are dedicated, along with you, to pursuing knowledge and truth with both moral courage and reflection, as our mission asks us to do. You, the students, will remain the focus as we work to make sure that Wittenberg is passing on light for the next 100 years.

Never stop demanding the best of Wittenberg administrators, board members, staff, alumni and us—your faculty. The freedom to question authority is a cornerstone of democracy, and your willingness to use your voices only makes Wittenberg stronger. As you ask questions and draw conclusions, embrace the liberal arts principle of seeking multiple viewpoints. For our part, we pledge to ensure you access to clear and accurate information to the best of our ability as we navigate our way through these challenging times.

Signed,

Doug Andrews, Professor of Statistics

Sally Brannan, Associate Professor of Education

Clifford Brown, Professor of Psychology

Amber Burgett, Associate Professor of Biology

Sheryl Cunningham, Associate Professor of Communication

Kelly Dillon, Assistant Professor of Communication

Ray Dudek, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Ed Hasecke, Professor of Political Science

Sunny Jeong, Assistant Professor of Business

Sarah Jurewicz, Assistant Professor of Practice of Health &Sport Studies

Stephanie Little, Chair and Associate Professor of Psychology

Mike Mattison, Associate Provost and Associate Professor of English

Michelle McWhorter, Associate Professor of Biology

Lindsay Meermans, Assistant Professor of Business

Adam Parker, Chair and Professor of Math & Computer Science

Richard Phillips, Associate Professor of Biology

Crispin Prebys, Associate Professor of Art

Kathy Reinsel, Associate Professor of Biology

Katie Warber, Chair and Associate Professor of Communication

Brooke Wagner, Associate Professor of Sociology

Jim Welch, Chair and Professor of Biology

Jeremiah Williams, Chair and Associate Professor of Physics

Rachel Wilson, Chair and Associate Professor of Business

Nancy Woehrle, Associate Professor of Psychology

Brian Yontz, Chair and Associate Professor of Education

Witt’s Financial Complexities and Present Situations

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Students at the forum two weeks ago on Feb. 13 heard President Frandsen say that the current state of the university is the result of 20 to 30 years of poor financial decisions. What they did not hear were the details of these decisions, the trail that led Wittenberg to the brink of crisis. When the history is unraveled, the complex contributing factors prove there is no singular person, decision or building to blame.

“It is a storm of multiple things,” Adam Parker said, professor and chair of the Budget and Compensation Advisory Committee (BCAC). “It will require us solving several problems simultaneously.” These several problems include: enrollment, retention, the cost of Health, Wellness & Athletics (HWA) facilities and millions in loans that are due within the next few years.

One of the immediate issues pressing the board is the debt that is projected to compile even after the cuts the university has made this year. The deficit from normal operating activities was projected to be $5.3 million this year and nearly $22 million over the next five years. The total cash shortfall for this year (the operating deficit plus debt servicing deficit) was projected to be $10 million, which Frandsen announced at the student forum.

Frandsen also mentioned several contributors to this shortage. Student retention (the percentage of freshmen who return for their sophomore year) has been a particular struggle for the university in recent years. One of the largest drops in retention happened from 2015 to 2016, from 77.8 percent to 71.6 percent. Current retention is 70 percent.

In addition to the ongoing retention issue, the incoming class this year was devastatingly small.

“For the freshmen coming in 2019, an enrollment of 600 would be beyond expectations, 550 would be holding steady, 500 would be weak and 450 would have been disastrous,” Steven Landgraf, professor of economics, said. Wittenberg enrolled 344.

The gap of 150 students (multiplied by the net tuition and room and board fees) resulted in a net loss for the university of approximately $3 million.

According to the minutes from a September 2019 faculty meeting, the biggest factor behind this low enrollment was Wittenberg’s lack of communication during the recruitment process. The minutes state that President Frandsen holds himself responsible for this oversight.

However, one year of miscommunication was not the sole culprit. One of the most imposing threats for Wittenberg’s finances is the millions in bonds and notes (long-term loans) that the university must repay in coming years.

In 2016, Wittenberg restructured its debt with $45 million in bonds.
These loans were justified by recruitment numbers. Karen Hunt, Wittenberg’s executive director of admission in 2016, told the Springfield News-Sun, “We are experiencing a record level of applications to Wittenberg this year, proving that the university continues to be a top-choice school for prospective students and their families.” Despite record-setting admissions, the bond issuance was still accompanied by $6.5 million in cuts across the university that year.

From 2016-2021, Wittenberg has been paying only interest on these loans, and  2016 Vice President for Finance and Administration Randal Freebourn told the Springfield News-Sun that the money would not be used for the $40.5 million HWA, “which is being paid for solely through fundraising and tax credits.” The interest on the HWA debt this year was projected to be $1.9 million.

In 2019, new notes were incorporated into this current debt, totaling $34 million, and The Steemer began to play a larger role in the crisis. The intermediary for the loans, Oppenheimer, reported that “proceeds of the [2019] issue were used to finance the rehabilitation of the historic fieldhouse and athletic facilities located on the University’s campus.” The principal of this note is due in three installments in 2020, 2022 and 2023.

The Steemer has been regarded among many students as one of the leading causes of Wittenberg’s financial issues.

“Everybody talks about The Steemer like it’s this monument to our problems, and it totally is,” Landgraf said. “But even if that wasn’t there, we still would have this huge financial hole.”

Still, the loans issued for The Steemer contribute to this hole. While the $12 million due in 2022 is currently covered by donations and donation pledges, the final $14 million of the HWA debt due in 2023 currently has no source of funding pledged to pay it.

“We got way out of control,” Parker said in reference to The Steemer’s financial situation, “either because some crazy unexpected event happened, or they just negligently did not understand what the costs were going to be. They broke their promise that they weren’t going to use general University funds and they weren’t going to borrow.”

But at the end of the day, this is bigger than The Steemer. It’s bigger than recruitment, retention, and low enrollment. It’s bigger than the board. It’s bigger than Frandsen. Anyone looking to point a finger to a single source of blame will not find what they are looking for.

“Some of the people to blame are no longer here,” Parker said. “Some have apologized. Some don’t know they are to blame. And some people we think that are to blame are actually probably innocent.”

This story is part of a series of investigations on the current financial crisis. The Torch is following up with members of the Wittenberg community to report additional details regarding the future as well as the 20-30 years that led Wittenberg to this point.

Men’s Basketball Claims NCAC 2019-2020 Championship

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No. 5 Wittenberg Men's Basketball faces Hiram College on Feb. 22, 2020 for Senior Day.

On Saturday, Feb. 22 the men’s basketball team was fresh off their win against Wabash College last Wednesday, defeating the Little Giants 78-69. The Tigers celebrated senior day before defeating the Hiram College Terriers, 93-65. Prior to tip-ff the Tigers honored Jordan Pumroy (’20), Jake Bertemes (’20), Mark Fair (’20), Tanner Cowgill (’20) and Connor Seipel (’20) for their dedication and hard work they have put into the program since joining the team in 2016. Each senior was escorted onto the court by family members and then had the opportunity to start the game.

“Good to be back for our last regular season game,” Head Coach Matt Croci said before the game. “Really excited to honor our five seniors and kind of thank them for everything they’ve done for the program the last four years.”

The Tigers struggled to gain control of the game as the Terriers jumped out to a 7-1 lead. With 17:01 left in the half, Pumroy knocked down a three-point shot with an assist from Bertemes and clenched the lead for the Tigers, 8-7.

The Terriers were on the Tiger’s heels for most of the first half. There was 12:02 left in the half when Levi Boettcher (’22), drove a layup to the basket and increased the lead to 11 points, 13-24. There was a three-minute lapse where neither team was able to hold control of the ball and make a basket. With the clock ticking down, the Terriers were able to put up enough points to regain the lead with 2:09 left. They didn’t get to hold onto the lead for long, Bertemes came in with a jumper followed by a layup from Ridge Young (’22) that gave the Tigers a little breathing room, 41-37.

With four seconds left, James Johnson (’21) sank a three-pointer with an assist from Rashaad Ali-Shakir (’21) that gave the Tigers a five-point lead, 44-39, going into halftime.

Coming out of the locker room, the Terriers had possession of the ball and attempted a layup, but Seipel pulled down the rebound and passed the ball to Bertemes who landed the layup. That was followed by four more points from Bertemes as well as a three-pointer from Johnson that increased the Tiger lead to 52-39.

With 6:21 left in the game, and a 82-49 point lead, the seniors all rejoined the floor and played together for four minutes. With all five seniors on the floor, the Tigers managed to put up six points and smiled a lot. When the team subbed out at 2:09, the gym erupted with applause as the seniors exited the floor together.

With the seniors off the floor, the Terriers attempted to close the gap and make a comeback with a three-pointer and four missed layups. But the Tigers’ weren’t releasing their hold on the lead. Will Swartz (’22), Adam Porter (’21) and Cooper Lewis (23) managed seven points between the three of them and kept the Terriers at bay cinching the 93-65 victory that was win 24 for the Tigers this season.

Looking at the statistics, Bertmes lead in points with 22, Seipel lead in rebounds with 15 and Bertemes snagged the assists lead with five. The Tigers pulled down 40 rebounds, managed 30 points off of turnovers had 48 points in the paint with 46 points from the bench.

This season the Tigers went undefeated at home and lost only one game on the road to Wooster back in January. They average 82.4 points and 36.4 rebounds per game. They are currently shooting 49.1 percent from the floor, 76.4 percent from the free-throw line and 37.4 percent from behind the three-point line.

Up next, the Tigers will be hosting Ohio Wesleyan University for the NCAC Quarterfinals on Tuesday, Feb. 25 with tip-off slated for 8 p.m. If the Tigers win, they will move on to NCAC Semifinals and play the victors of the DePauw University and Oberlin College game.

Box Scores: Feb. 17-Feb. 23

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Men’s Basketball

2.19.20 1 2 Final
Wittenberg (23-1) 29 49 78
Wabash (16-8) 32 37 69
2.22.20 1 2 Final
Hiram (7-18) 39 26 65
Wittenberg (24-1) 44 49 93

Women’s Basketball

2.22.20 1 2 3 4 Final
Wittenberg (18-7) 16 11 16 11 54
Oberlin (9-16) 19 20 19 13 71

Men’s Volleyball

2.18.20 1 2 3 4 5 Final
Mount Union (8-1) 25 25 17 21 15 3
Wittenberg (5-10) 14 21 25 25 11 2
2.21.20 1 2 3 4 5 Final
Wittenberg (5-11) 23 25 18 25 12 2
Geneva (12-6) 25 22 25 17 15 3
2.22.20 1 2 3 Final
Wittenberg (5-12) 25 23 22 0
Hiram (7-5) 27 25 25 3

Men’s Lacrosse

2.19.20 1 2 3 4 OT Final
Wittenberg (1-1) 0 2 3 3 0 8
Otterbein (1-0) 3 2 2 1 1 9

Women’s Lacrosse

2.19.20 1 2 Final
Capital (2-0) 15 7 22
Wittenberg (0-1) 7 7 14
2.23.20 1 2 Final
Wittenberg (0-2) 5 4 9
Otterbein (2-1) 5 9 14

Water Polo

2.22.20 Final
Witttenberg (0-3) 11
Gannon (3-6) 26
2.22.20 Final
Wittenberg (1-3) 19
Grove City (0-2) 16
2.23.20 Final
Washington & Jefferson (1-2) 12
Wittenberg (2-3)                15
2.23.20 Final
Penn State-Behrend (0-4) 7
Wittenberg (3-3) 23

Women’s Basketball falls to Oberlin, 71-54

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Wittenberg Women's Basketball faces Wooster on Feb. 15, 2020 for Senior Day. The Tigers won 67-36 over the Fighting Scots and head to Oberlin Saturday, Feb. 22 on a five game winning streak.
Wittenberg Women's Basketball faces Wooster on Feb. 15, 2020 for Senior Day. The Tigers won 67-36 over the Fighting Scots and head to Oberlin Saturday, Feb. 22 on a five game winning streak.

Women’s Basketball fell to Oberlin, 71-54, on the road last Saturday, Feb. 22 in their last regular season game.

The Tigers battled Oberlin early in the game as neither had team established a decisive lead in the first quarter. The Tigers kept the score within one point for much of the first quarter. Oberlin capitalized on five Tiger turnovers in the first quarter alone however, and closed the period with a 19-16 lead.

Oberlin controlled the second quarter with an iron fist as they pulled out a 29-21 lead with 5:21 left in the half. The Tigers field goals often came up short as Oberlin out shot them 7-1 in the second quarter. The Tigers spent a lot of time perfecting their free throws, earning nine points, as they took advantage of Oberlin’s six personal fouls in the second quarter. The Tigers would go to the locker room trailing Oberlin, 39-27.

The red and white returned from the locker room unchanged as they committed a turnover and personal foul within the first 25 seconds of the second half. Riley Culver (’20) placed the Tigers on the board in the third quarter as she completed a layup from the paint. Oberlin led the Tigers, 40-29. The Tigers continued to battle as they recorded 29 total rebounds for the day. Abigail Yunker (’21) would lead the Tigers in assists, accounting for three of six total. The Tigers closed the third quarter trailing Oberlin, 58-43.

The fourth quarter opened with a bang for the Tigers as Culver and Delaney Williams (’21) scored on layups in the opening minutes. Williams stood as the Tigers leading scorer for the fourth quarter, completing five points on five field goal attempts. Korynne Berner (’20) stood as the Tigers leading scorer for the entire match, with 18 points on five completed field goals and seven free throws. Head Coach Kelly Mahlum also gave freshman Mone’t Allen (’23) playing time in the fourth quarter, as she played for little over 90 seconds and earned two points at the line.

Oberlin’s offensive production stagnated in the fourth quarter as they missed every shot in the last three minutes allowing the Tigers to claw back some dignity in an otherwise blowout loss. The Tigers would fall to Oberlin, 71-54. The Tigers were outshot 24-16 from the floor. Oberlin also created more scoring opportunities as they outrebounded the Tigers, 39-29. The Tigers failed to compete from beyond the arc, as they only drained three of their 15 three-pointers, while Oberlin sank eight of their 16 attempts.

Women’s Basketball will face Oberlin College again on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the NCAC Women’s Basketball tournament. The Tigers are currently ranked third in the NCAC, behind the Tigers of DePauw University and the Big Red of Denison University. The Tigers ranked below the Big Red due to splitting their series with Ohio Wesleyan University. If the Tigers win on Tuesday, they will likely head to Greencastle, IN to complete in the Semifinals on Friday, Feb. 28 against the Big Red or the Ladies of Kenyon College.

Vinyl Returns Amidst Dominance of Digital Streaming

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Vinyl was supposed to be dead. A clunky, fragile and expensive medium, the format of pressing music and spoken word faded with the years as the 1980’s brought new, more effective technologies. In the 2010’s, though, a curious trend emerged: vinyl sales exploded in popularity. In 2019, vinyl outsold CD’s for the first time in 30 years.

The rapid resurgence of this decade’s old medium is due at least in part to a desire for a musical experience beyond that which the current landscape offers. The physical record offers a unique alternative to the increasingly digital predominance of music streaming.

The alternative that vinyl presents is threefold: first, many albums and songs are studio-mixed to specifically interact with vinyl. Whereas digital audio is largely mixed to be played through headphones in a confined, single-person space or on massive concert venue speakers, vinyl is designed to be played through smaller, in-home speakers in an intimate yet public setting. Vinyl is about ambiance: headphones don’t do justice to the soft crackle of the grooves and the echo of the notes off of apartment walls late at night. The medium offers a richness and warmth of sound that digital, for all its advantages, just doesn’t.

Vinyl is also about atmosphere. Dusty, cramped record stores offer infinite exploration. The turntable motor whirls and the speakers crackle before the record’s sound begins to drift through. Sifting through a shelf of records at home to pick out just the right sound for the moment is a genuinely enjoyable experience. The previously mentioned ambiance that vinyl-mixed records offer also play into this feeling, enhancing the richness of the atmosphere in which the record is spinning. At the risk of sounding like a baby boomer, there’s no scrolling, no screens and no distractions- just music in one of its most prolific forms.

The third alternative that vinyl provides is, unfortunately, elitism. In a perverse sense, vinyl is a method of music for musical elitists: only people who have an ear out for mixing and a desire to experience music in a more vibrant format will care to invest in it. And the investment is great- a high-quality turntable and speaker set could cost upwards of $400, with some sets being as much as $1000. Most records sell for anywhere from $15- $35. Apple Music and Spotify, where a user can listen to and download as much music as they want, is only $10 per month. Owning and expending a vinyl collection is a boast of both prosperity and a higher appreciation for culture and arts, or perhaps a certain quirkiness. I am not in this camp of vinyl die-hards, but I understand their stance.

Some of the best records to listen to, though, don’t require budget-breaking subwoofers. Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut record is one of the purest, most relaxing records I own. Maggie Roger’s “Heard it in a Past Life” is a beautiful, endlessly-replayable piece of indie pop. Songs on Mac DeMarco’s sleepy “This Old Dog” drift seamlessly between each other, crafting what feels like a single, 45-minute-long ballad.

Although I have almost 40 records in my personal collection, I am surprisingly picky when it comes to deciding what records I want. I prefer to stumble across the records I want to buy, rather than buying them online or going to a shop with the express intention of purchasing a specific album. Of course, it plays into the atmosphere of the medium.

My primary method of music is still digital streaming, so I most often pick out records based on albums that I already know and enjoy. Certain tunes and rhythms may sound better than others in the ambiance of vinyl, so I pay close attention to that. I maintain a list of albums that I keep my eye out for any time I’m in a record shop. But I rarely end up chipping away at that list. Instead, I get lost in some other record and end up picking up much more than I can realistically afford.

That is perhaps the fourth draw that vinyl offers: it is deeply addictive. Finding a record that you love tucked away in a hole-in-the-wall venue is a dopamine-soaking experience, and it draws me back for more. I love listening to a wide variety of sounds, genres and artists, many of which, like Drake and Travis Scott, might not at first seem congruent with the very classical method.

I am glad that I made the plunge to begin experiencing music through vinyl. In a world of fleeting digital downloads and month-to-month subscriptions, it is a new- and very, very old- experience to hold my music in my hands and feel it around me in a personal but shareable way. If the digital world of music is too flighty and overwhelming for you, the slow-paced ambiance of vinyl might be your home.

Track and Field: The Steemer Showdown

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Wittenberg Track and Field hosts the Steemer Showcase on Feb. 22, 2020.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, The Steemer Showcase welcomed Division I, II and III athletes to Wittenberg’s new indoor track for the first time in history. The Tigers also said goodbye to 11 seniors as they head into their final NCAC indoor championships. The honored seniors, consisting of Hannah Eley, Alexis Gray, Ashley Highfield, Katie Hodson, Madison Nadler, Garrin Bachinski, Tyler Branton, Brandon Johnson, Jaycee Perry, Aaron Rutherford and Jonathan Seay were honored at the finish line for their hard work and contributions to the team. 

With tough competition trailing not too far behind, the Tigers kicked it into high gear for their final indoor home meet in 2020.

“There’s definitely some great athletes here,” Ryan Zimmerman (’22) said. “We have teammates on every stretch of the track to support each other.” 

For the women, Eley threw 14.29-meters in the weight throw to secure ninth place. Gray, outside of her usual 800-meters race, placed first in the 1,000-meters with a time of 2:53.11. Johnson placed seventh in the 60-meters dash in the finals with a time of 8.13. 

“I’ve never run before. Jumping is more my thing.” Johnson said laughing. 

Ryelee Clary soared to fourth place in the 60-meters hurdles with a time of 9.08 seconds. Tiffany Moss, trailing closely behind, finished seventh with a time of 9.77 seconds. 

For the men, Deven Ramsey (’21) ran a 1:06.03 time in the 500-meters for a third place finish. Gene Nobles (’22) and Paul Varnadoe (’22) both flew over the high jump at 1.78-meters to tie for fourth place. On the opposite side of the Steemer, Varnadoe placed seventh in the long jump with a distance of 6.35-meters. 

The next big trip for the Tigers is the NCAC indoor championships in Granville, Ohio on Saturday, Feb. 29. The indoor championships are already looking bright for our athletes. For the women, although Alexis Walker (’22) didn’t compete in the Steemer Showcase, she dominates the NCAC in the 60-meters and 200-meters. Stevie Plikerd (’22) ranking high in a multitude of events, including the 60-meters, long jump, triple jump, shot put and pentathlon. Alexis Johnson (’21) soars to the top in the 60-meters, long jump, triple jump and high jump. Gray ranks first in both the 400-meters and 800-meters. For the men, Zachary Guyer (’21) ranks second in the NCAC in the heptathlon. He also is in the top running for high jump and 60-meters hurdles. Seay soaring in the shot put and weight throw. Many more Tigers are on the top list for NCAC indoor championships, but you’ll have to see for yourself who comes out on top.  

Glenn Greenwald’s Brave Stance Against Brazilian Authoritarianism

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In 2013, journalist, Glenn Greenwald shocked the world by reporting in The Guardian, Edward Snowden’s revelations of a global surveillance apparatus. This earned Greenwald a Pulitzer and a movie portrayal by Zachary Quinto. Greenwald later cofounded The Intercept, an internet news outlet on the forefront of reporting on evidence of governmental wrong-doing.

On Feb. 6 a Brazilian judge, Ricardo Leite, ruled against criminal prosecution for Greenwald for reporting on Brazil’s Operation Carwash, a purported anti-corruption task force that used its powers for partisan gains. According to The Intercept’s editor-in-chief, Betsy Reed, “the ruling is narrow and procedural.”

“There remains enormous pressure to prosecute [Greenwald] in retaliation for his work on The Intercept’s Secret Brazil Archive series,” Reed said.

Greenwald’s reporting on Operation Carwash revealed a slow-moving coup against Brazil’s Worker’s Party (PT), elevating authoritarian, Jair Bolsonaro, to the presidency. In April 2018, PT leader, former president and presidential hopeful, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, began a twelve-year prison sentence based on dubious charges of corruption brought about by the Carwash taskforce.

Lula de Silva had twice served as president, leaving office with an 87 percent approval rating after lifting millions of people out of poverty. All polls predicted a landslide win for him. But his imprisonment came six months before the election, clearing the way for far-right Bolsonaro.

Greenwald and The Intercept’s reporting reveals bias by the prosecutorial team, illegal collaboration between the task force and Judge Sergio Moro, and flaws in the evidence against Lula. After the discovery of a 2010 article in Brazilian newspaper, O Globo, suggesting Lula owned a seaside apartment matching the description of one allegedly given to him as a bribe.

“I’m so horny for this O Globo article from 2010,” chief prosecutor, Deltan Dallagnol, wrote to other prosecutors. “I’m going to kiss whichever one of you found this.”

The apartment that O Globo mentions is near the apartment Lula is alleged to have accepted—but is not the same one.

Faulty evidence is even admitted to in the prosecutors’ private messages. “The indictment is based on a lot of indirect evidence of authorship,” Dallagnol wrote to Judge Moro, ” but it wouldn’t fit to say that in the indictment and in our communications we avoided that point. It was understood that the long exposition on command of the scheme was necessary to impute corruption to the former president.”

This was not the only time Moro spoke with Dallagnol about the case, a violation of Brazil’s Judiciary Code of Ethics. He also gave Dallagnol advice on courtroom tactics and handling sources. The partisanship is clear. They’re documented saying things like, “I remain very worried about the possible return of PT, but I have prayed frequently for God to enlighten our population and for a miracle to save us.”

Bolsonaro has praised the Brazilian military dictatorship of 1964–1985; “we want a Brazil that is similar to the one we had 40, 50 years ago.”

His minister of economy, Paulo Guedes, who plans to “privatize everything,” formerly worked under the U.S.-installed Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. This suggests frightening prospects for both Greenwald and Brazil. In 1962, democratically-elected Jão Goulart expropriated the Hanna Mining Company, an American corporation that controlled much of Brazil’s iron and silver markets. Two years later, Goulart was overthrown in a military coup entirely funded and organized by the CIA.

On the day of the coup, there was a menacing U.S. Naval presence off the coast of Brazil. The American Ambassador, Gordon, called the coup, the “single most decisive victory for freedom in the mid-twentieth century.”

From 1975 to 1977, the Brazilian regime, joined by other South American dictatorships, took part in Operation Condor, a campaign of political terror and repression aided and funded by the United States. According to Columbia University professor John Dinges, “Political police—described even by sympathetic US military observers as ‘Gestapo-like’—rounded up countless thousands of people who were suspected of affiliation with radical leftists.”

In Brazil, as many as one thousand people were executed for their political beliefs and tens of thousands were detained. A recently declassified CIA document shows collaboration and approval from U.S. Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, for the execution of “subversives.”

In 2014, a truth commission launched by then-President Dilma Rousseff accused more than 300 members of the military dictatorship of human-rights violations, documenting along with political executions, the killing of thousands of Indians. The Commission also documented U.S. complicity in training Brazilian officers to torture. Persecution was predicated on speech while the press was entirely censored.

Recent events suggest Bolsonaro’s rule continues this authoritarianism, making efforts to prosecute Greenwald alarming. Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, is the only LGBTQ+ member of the Brazilian Congress. His LGBTQ+ predecessor fled the country due to death threats. Greenwald and Miranda have been attacked on social media while Greenwald was physically assaulted during an interview by a pro-Bolsonaro journalist, who had called for Greenwald and Miranda’s kids to be taken from them.

In 2018, Marielle Franco, a black LGBTQ+ city councilwoman from Rio de Janeiro and a friend of Greenwald and Miranda, was assassinated by far-right ideologies likely tied to Bolsonaro’s family. Evidence suggests they may have also been planning to murder Greenwald and Miranda.

In the favelas, Bolsonaro has openly called for an increase in police killings. In the first five months of 2019, 731 people were killed, a 20% increase from the first five months of 2018.

The U.S. has been on Bolsonaro’s side as they were on the side of the military dictatorship. Trump stated upon meeting Bolsonaro, “They say he is the Donald Trump of South America.” Bolsonaro’s candidacy was endorsed by the Wall Street Journal. He cut funding for Brazil’s largest environmental agency by 24% while allowing American companies free reign over the Amazon, likely contributing to the fires of 2019. In this case, Greenwald’s stance against fascism is also a stance against American empire, a formidable foe.

Cultural Perspectives on Multilingualism

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When I was in high school, I did a presentation in the style of Pecha Kucha, in Spanish. It was all about the idea that monolingualism is the illiteracy of the 21st century. To continue in that line of thinking, I decided to ask a Wittenberg Spanish professor about her views on learning another language from the perspective of being an American.

Dr. Mary Zuidema, also known as Dr. Z., Director of the LLC. She told me that it’s important to learn a language for so many reasons, not just because it opens you up to so many different perspectives.

“Language is like music,” Zuidema said. “When you speak one language, it’s like you’re only playing one instrument. It’s still beautiful, but when you can speak multiple languages, you start to hear a symphony.”

She told me about an experience she had in Spain. She was homesick and a little depressed, but she saw someone she’d never met reading a book in Spanish that she’d just finished in English. She started talking to the woman who was reading the book, and was so happy to have someone to talk to about it. It made her feel like she wasn’t alone in the foreign country.

I asked her what she thought about tourists who spoke the language of the country they visited, and she said that it could show the natives that there’s still hope for humanity.

I then shared an experience from when I visited France. We were given free ice cream, and I was the only one – or at least the first – to order in French. It was simple, just three words, “Mint chocolate, please” but I could tell that it surprised the people giving us the ice cream.

Yes, there are cliche phrases around the idea of learning other languages. “It opens up so many doors!” and “It’s a great way to understand what the ladies at the nail salon are saying!” but it’s so much more than that. By learning another language, you start to become immersed in a completely different culture from your own.

Yes, Wittenberg has a statement about us becoming global citizens, but by learning languages and history, we do so much more than just that. We have the ability and responsibility to pass that knowledge on to others and to refuse to allow history to repeat itself. We are the next generation to go into the workforce, whether we go to college or not, and we need to be better than the generations that have come before us.

Tigers Stomp to the Beat: Chicago Footwork Lecture

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In a time when words are often left without responses, perhaps it is time to converse through a more unconventional form of communication: dance. 

A crowd of about 60 students and faculty assembled in Bailey Auditorium to listen to a lecture by ShaDawn Battle, professor of English, last Tuesday, Feb. 18. The event titled “Praisesong and Chicago Footwork: Locating a Black Diasporic Spiritual Heritage,” was part of a two-day Chicago Footwork showcase at Wittenberg. Following a presentation of Chicago Footwork and a workshop on Monday evening, the lecture was an opportunity for Battle to preview her upcoming manuscript and documentary about Chicago Footwork. 

Battle was introduced by Julius Bailey, the Wittenberg director of African and Diaspora studies and associate professor. 

“As colleagues, we appreciate her honesty,” Bailey said. “Today, though, she is here as a scholar.” 

Battle began the presentation by describing the history of Chicago Footwork, as well as her personal experience with the art form. 

“[Footwork] is an urban dance style characterized by multiple combinations of rapid, improvised, syncopated movements of the feet, often accompanied by symmetrical hand gestures,” Battle said.

Chicago Footwork took its first steps in the 1980s. Flowing from the inner-city, Chicago Footwork was initially believed to be an “inferior” form of dance. Now a global phenomenon, Chicago Footwork has stomped out discriminatory expectations at the unified tempo of 160 beats per minute.   

Battle’s documentary, “Footwork Save my Life: The Evolution of Chicago Footwork,” will highlight the gravity of footwork on the lives of many performers including her own. Battle explained that her aspiration with the project is to give audiences an “insider’s perspective” and delineate “the evolution of the art form.” 

“As the art form continues to spread beyond the confines of the South and West Sides of Chicago, it is important that the genealogy is made clear, and that the cultural and environmental conditions that led to its birth remain a part of the conversation,” Battle said. 

One aspect of Chicago Footwork that Battle is especially interested in is its communicative potential. As both a focus in her manuscript and the documentary, Battle analyzes Black vernacular and the ways Chicago Footwork can serve as a language. In a similar light to the way a wave signals a hello, footwork steps can be combined to tell a story through movement. Battle provided an example by playing a clip of a famed footworker demonstrating the way he has used Chicago Footwork to convey events. 

Many footworkers have turned to YouTube to display their skills and post Chicago Footwork tutorials. The YouTube video “How to Footwork Step by Step Tutorial Starring King Charles X Pause Eddie” provides viewers with a few Chicago Footwork steps including “Skates,” a step that involves rapidly crisscrossing the feet and arms, and “Mikes,” a step performed by turning the feet in and out with increasing speed.  

Greg “LG” McLendon , the executive producer, assistant director and music director of the documentary, said that he believes Chicago Footwork has the potential to “speak” diversity to communities.

“Diversity inspires innovation and innovation pushes societies forward. Dance is a form of art and art is one’s expression of its perception,” McLendon said. “To learn is to understand a variety of perceptions.”

The documentary is currently in the filming process and will be released in the next few years. This multiple-year project will do more than simply provide viewers with a presentation of Chicago Footwork. This documentary, and the conversations it fosters, can entice viewers to debate one important question: what form of art has changed their lives? 

The Weekly Tiger: A Portrait of a Nervous Interviewee

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It was merely a Skype interview, so I could get away with wearing jeans, right? They would only see me from the waist up so I should be safe. But what if they ask me to stand up for some reason or I need to get up to get something in the middle of the interview? Maybe I should just email and postpone the interview so I have time to run home and change. What’s the name of the program again? 

The countless interview-help websites that we all visit before a big interview will all tell you the same things: don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” to a question, practice your elevator speech until you’re blue in the face, have good eye contact and practice a firm handshake. This was my first “big kid” interview and I read every tip and trick these websites had to offer at least twice. 

I reprinted my resume four different ways and sat them on the table in front of me trying to decide which was visually the best, even though the differences between the four were so minute you’d have to spend at least 10 minutes trying to find them like some strange version of “Where’s Waldo?” I was unnecessarily over-prepared for the interview. It was just a preliminary “get to know you” interview and I had 4 pages worth of typed notes about the program and talking points I wanted to be sure to bring up. Of course, the interviewer only asked me three questions and I totally disregarded my notes and spoke candidly on the subjects, so much for preparation. 

Before my interview, I wondered if my interviewer was nervous too. Do they frantically flip through pages of notes with sweaty palms glancing at the clock every 20 seconds? Do they practice their “sales pitch” for the company or school they represent? I could never interview someone for an important position like that. I think knowing how nervous the interviewee probably was, I would offer an alternative to every question. “So tell me some strengths that you have, or not that’s cool too,” I would say.

Graduate school interviews are different than other interviews. Interviewing for a part-time retail job in an disorganized back room in the only two fold out chairs available isn’t nearly as stressful. Most of the time, at least in my experience, there’s a good chance you’ll get the part-time job on the spot or will get a call the next day asking when you can start and that’s that.

There are so many more steps with “big kid” interviews; you have to send a follow-up email thanking the interviewer for their time, bring copies of your resume to the interview itself and do background research on the program/company. I wish I could’ve interviewed in the back room of the Target I work at back home for my graduate school interviews. 

After a 30 minute long graduate school interview, I hung up and sat in complete silence. My fight or flight response had been activated for the entirety of the interview and I needed my pit stains to stop growing in size before I could critically over-analyze every word I said during the interview.

The Dirty Blonde Diaries: The Myth of Senior Year

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So you did it, you are finally in your senior year of college. You have taken countless classes, made tons of mistakes and a whole lot of memories. It’s downhill right? Wrong. Senior year is not easier; it is not as fun and not lighthearted.

“You take easy classes,” that is a myth. Shout out to all our student teachers and overachievers. We all know our classes are not easier and our workload is not smaller.

“It is less fun,” come on. We are 21 and top dogs on the best campus in the world, how could it not be more fun? “It is lighthearted,” myth, myth and may we say it again? Myth. It is our last year of being young, dumb adults. If we are not drunk or overwhelmed then we are crying about the thought of having to be a big girl soon and leaving the most cherished campus on earth.

Watching movies has created this ongoing opinion that senior year is the best year yet. They are correct in the terms “best year yet,” but they are wrong in so many ways. Now you may be thinking, “okay, if I made it this far it should be easy.” Well my friend, you forgot to factor in job searching, applications, thesis and other projects that professors think are funny to throw your way. But it’s okay. We have constructed a fool proof plan that can help you, yes, we mean you, survive the best year yet. 

First off, some people have to be taught how to say no, and we are always told to say no to peer pressure. But sometimes, we need the pressure of our peers. Say yes. Don’t worry, we understand too, we have been drowning in our workload and our other responsibilities. This article is just as much of a wake-up call to our fellow classmates as it is to us. When in doubt the answer is not “no, I have homework” or “no sorry, I am too tired.” It is “Yes, let’s do it.” This is the time when the dumbest things and best memories come from saying one word, “yes.”

After you have changed your negative mindset to a more positive one, you then need to stop worrying. So what if you have an exam the next day, so what if your bank account is approaching the negatives. News flash, employers are not looking for grades, they are looking for completion. And your bank account? Don’t you worry, a big ol’ salary job is coming your way.

“But Dirty Blondes, I am so overwhelmed.” Good thing a Station One beverage can change that feeling to a warm bubbly happy state. This means we want more overnight slumbers in the Hollow and less Hollenbeck all-nighters. If you see an opportunity to streak the trifecta, do it. You have put in the work to make up for the past three years. Go out, have fun, be yourself and remember now is the time to make mistakes and jump. An old wise person once told me “I am not here for a long time, but I’m here for a good time.”

Let’s have a wild rest of our last semester, seniors.

Sincerely,

Your Dirty Blondes 

Book Review: The Wise Man’s Fear

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Before I tear this book apart, I have to get something off my chest… Mr. Rothfuss, we get it. We get that Kvothe is the best musician, the best sympathist, the best arcanist and is already a living legend at age 17. We also get that Kvothe is basically your fantasy self-insert. We know. But spending one page telling us this kid sucks at math (and who doesn’t?) is not enough to make Kvothe a believable character. You’re lucky your prose are absolutely impeccable, or you might have lost me. 

Now, let’s begin.

“The Wise Man’s Fear,” book two in the Kingkiller Chronicle, begins with Kvothe taking a break from the university because he made the wrong people a little bit too angry. Which, knowing Kvothe and his smart-alec tendencies, is not surprising whatsoever. He receives an invitation to the Maer’s mansion on the literal opposite side of the world, and he only has a week to get there. The Maer isn’t the King, but he’s so rich that he might as well be. Think Jeff Bezos in relation to the President of the United States. So of course our penniless hero Kvothe jumps at the opportunity to not be an inch from starvation for once in his life and heads off to live with the Maer for a bit. 

Sounds like the start to a great book, no? Surely my man Kvothe will partake in an interesting adventure that moves the plot forward? If you thought any of those things, you would be wrong. This book is supposed to be the second out of a trilogy, it’s literally almost one thousand pages, and nothing gets accomplished. We follow our favorite snarky arcanist into the woods on a fool’s errand for the Maer and then he ends up learning martial arts for some reason, goes home and the book ends. That’s it.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still a pretty good book. The action scenes, while sparse, are unmatched. Although I’m annoyed at his perfection, Kvothe continues to make just about anything seem interesting. However, I take back everything I said about this series being better than “The Lord of the Rings,” because Kvothe spends entirely too much time wandering in the woods in “The Wise Man’s Fear.” Also, I take back what I said about Rothfuss making quality female characters, because our love interest, Denna, is just terrible. How can a living legend like Kvothe still find this girl so hopelessly unattainable? At first it was a nice slow burn, but you mean to tell me that I’m around 1,600 pages into this series and absolutely nothing has happened between these two? Give me a break. 

So now we’re left to wait for book three to get pretty much every answer we’ve been wanting since book one. I finally understand why Rothfuss is taking nine years to write the next book: the poor guy can’t figure out how to end the series. He dug himself into too deep of a hole by having Kvothe go off on his little bender for the entirety of “The Wise Man’s Fear”. There’s a rumor that book three is coming out this summer, but I honestly don’t know what to believe anymore.  At the end of the day, I will be reading the next and final book, “The Doors of Stone,” when it comes out, probably some time in the next 50 years at this rate. I will not be purchasing it, but I will be reading it. I feel like Kvothe deserves at least that much. 

Collectivize the University

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Students protested outside of Recitation Hall after walking out of class. Author Ethan Bochicchio (‘23) can be seen above the crowd. Photo by Braeden Bowen (‘21)

Many were shocked and frustrated at the forum last Thursday, Feb. 13 when President Frandsen informed the student body that the newly created task force, the Academic Programs Futures Committee, tasked with making $2.5 million in cuts, will not have any student representation, while faculty representation will amount to a minority; four out of eleven, and will be appointed by the president.

In justifying this lack of representation, President Frandsen told us the work of the task force would not affect the everyday lives of students. Cuts affect our academic lives. It might then be considered that The Board of Directors the vast majority of whom were absent Thursday, is not the most fit body to determine these cuts. The everyday lives of students are most intimately known by students and professors, so it should not be controversial to say that students and professors should be making these decisions. We need a radical democratic restructuring of our university.

Theories of directly democracy, not just in politics but in the economy, span hundreds of years. In their pamphlet, “A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England Directed To… Lords of Manors,” the Diggers, a democratic peasant movement espousing pre-anarchical thought in the seventeenth century, wrote the following, “the earth was not made purposely for you, to be Lords of it, and we to be your Slaves, Servants, and Beggars; but it was made to be a common Livelihood to all.” This sentiment was echoed in the nineteenth-century by John Stewart Mill, himself a titan of classical liberalism, when he wrote, “The form of association… which if mankind continues to improve, must be expected to predominate, is the association of the labourers themselves on terms of equality, collectively owning the capital with which they carry on their operations, and working under managers electable and removable by themselves.”

As Noam Chomsky points out, the proposition put forth by Mill and other classical liberal thinkers, such as Wilhelm Von Humboldt, is remarkably similar to radical ideas put forth by the socialist left. Compare Mill’s quote to what collectivist Anton Pannekoek wrote in his seminal book Workers’ Councils, “When life and work in community are natural habit, when mankind entirely controls its own life, necessity gives way to freedom and the strict rules of justice established before dissolve into spontaneous behavior.” He envisioned that “self-government… in the times to come will replace the forms of government of the old world.”

It wasn’t until “left communist” and “syndicalist” thinkers opposed to bureaucracy in both government and industry, such as Pannekoek, Rosa Luxembourg and Rudolf Rocker, put forth a comprehensive path towards democratic restructuring of institutions, that this consensus spanning classical liberal and socialist thought was put into practice. In 1930s Spain, during the Spanish Civil War, industry and land were successfully collectivized on a large scale. The success of this collectivization is proven by the fall of the anti-fascist portion of Spain following the communist government’s Stalinist subversion of anarchist organization. Prior to the destruction of worker cooperatives, anti-fascist success in the war against Franco seemed likely.

Today, within many capitalist systems, collectivist efforts have succeeded. Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis’ documentary, “The Take,” tells the story of workers occupying and effectively taking over factories in Argentina. In the Basque Country, the Mondragon Corporation, a federation of worker cooperatives, employs tens of thousands of workers. In Mexico, the Zapatista Revolution has successfully controlled territory since the 1990s, structuring society on libertarian socialist principles.
Neo-liberal globalization and capital flight broke the back of worker organization in the U.S. as factory jobs either left or the owners of factories used the threat of capital flight to undercut the power of unions. Unlike factory workers, however, professors cannot be outsourced as students receive education directly from them. In a university, the professors comprise a sort of academic proletariat and the means of production is the class room. If we accept what Mill and Humboldt and the collectivists assert, the professors should not only have administrative control, but should also be the sole proprietors.

As Pannekoek writes, “The great task of the workers is the organization of production on a new basis. It has to begin with the organization within the shop.” He continues, “Collaboration of equal companions replaces the command of masters and the obedience of servants… Instead of the passive utensils and victims of capital, the workers are now the self-reliant masters and organizers of production.” As to the substantive organization of ‘the shop,’ “The ruling body… is the entirety of the collaborating workers. They assemble to discuss matters and in assembly take their decisions. So everybody who takes part in the work takes part in the regulation of the common work.”

How different would the lives of professors be under organization of this sort? Is it not the case that they already collaborate as equal companions? Do they not spend exorbitant amounts of time addressing the ills of the university? The only difference is the suggestions our professors make to the board are just that; suggestions. It’s not as if more hours would be added to their work load if professors made decisions instead of suggestions? For the good of the students and the good of the professors, the professors should be the proprietors and administration should be entirely democratic.

Student Athlete Spotlight: Alexis Gray and Alexis Johnson

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Alexis Gray ('20) poses for a portrait on Feb. 7, 2020. Gray is currently No. 1 in Division III for the Women's indoor 800-meter dash.

The women’s track & field team has seen two Tigers ranked in the top five nationally. Alexis Gray (’20) is currently second in the Women’s 800-meter indoor rankings with a time of 2:12.69 and Alexis Johnson (’21) sits in third place on Women’s Indoor Long Jump performance list with a 5.81-meter leap.

Both Gray and Johnson’s performances qualified them for the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championship in March 2020.  In addition to qualifying for the National Championship, Gray shattered a Wittenberg record in the Women’s Indoor 800-meter.

“I just went out and raced the best I could and just thought about catching the person in front of me the whole time,” said Gray of her record time. In addition to shattering the school record, Gray also smashed her previous personal best time of 2:19.92, set in February of last year.

Gray aims to finish on the Dean’s list, which requires a 3.5 GPA and be an All-American in the 800-meter.

Meanwhile, Johnson has soared in the Women’s Indoor long jump. Johnson’s jump at the Joe Banks Invitational landed her at first in the nation. She has since been knocked down to third place in the weeks since the Feb. 1.

Johnson took care of her back by “cross training allowing [her] to still get hard work in, but not put all the stress on my back.”

Johnson was previously first on the performance list following Wittenberg’s first meet in The Steemer in December, where she jumped for 5.68-meters.

“Going into [the Joe Banks Invitational] I already knew I had business to take care of, so seeing that [mark of] 5.81-meters that day I got to cheer with my teammate more [than] ever before. But the first thing I did was walk back to [the] runway because I knew I could do more,” Johnson said of her performance.

Both Gray and Johnson credited their success to the rest of the track & field team.

“The support of the track team and friends helps me push to run faster because of everyone cheering and telling me I can do it,” said Gray.

“This year I can say that this is the best group of girls, and guys, on this team and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Johnson added. “We always have a huge crowd of people right there to help you get out of that slump and keep going. Or vice versa if we are killing it and being the team that you should be looking out for, I promise you will see a swarm of red making sure everyone around knows what you just did. I wish that everyone has this support that I have because I don’t think I could compete the same without it.”

According to Gray, the girls will be preparing for Track and Field Championships in March by, “doing what anyone else would do, we are going to classes and making sure we are getting it done in the classroom, going to track practice and making sure we are getting it done on the track and weight room.”

Gray and Johnson compete this weekend as the Track & Field team splits between The Steemer Showcase on Saturday.