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Self-love and a Little Love for Others, too

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Love was in the air at the “Feelin’ the Love De-stress Event” sponsored by the Honors department last Wednesday. Students were rejuvenated by coloring giant coloring pages, decorating heart-shaped cookies, painting canvases and performing yoga poses to the beat of hit pop songs at the Matthies Honors House. 

The Matthies Honors House, located on Alumni Way, hosts a variety of events for honors students and the larger Wittenberg community. Members of the University Honors department have 24-hour access to the house and frequently visit to complete homework assignments, meet with study groups and indulge in complimentary coffee and hot chocolate drinks. Recently, tutors from the Writing Center and the Math Workshop have begun holding weekly walk-in tutoring sessions at the honors house. 

While the event was sponsored by the Honors department, the event was open to the entire student body. The Director of the University Honors Program, Molly Wood, explained how the department is actively trying to involve non-honors students.

“The idea is to grow our honors community by inviting other students into the honors space, as a kind of outreach so that honors students and non-honors students have more opportunities to engage with each other,” Wood stated. “Since the Matthies Honors House is not open to the public, honors students will, if they choose to, invite a friend and accompany them to the Matthies House for the event.”

On top of reviving themselves through the countless self-love activities, students were also encouraged to help others in need. In the upstairs computer lab, attendees were able to create and send Valentine’s day cards to patients at various children’s hospitals. Jenny Larrick (‘20) expressed how heartwarming it felt to cheer up hospital patients with a simple card. 

“If it makes a kid’s day, then that makes me feel good,” Larrick said. She explained that she was able to choose between four unique drawings created by current patients at Dayton Children’s Hospital. While she loved all the drawings, Larrick expressed her favor for a drawing of a narwhal offering an adorable proposition: “‘Whale’ you be my Valentine?” Senders will also receive pictures of the children opening the cards if they provide their emails. 

Peyton Ernst (‘22) sent many customized cards to children at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She worked diligently to draw hearts on all of the cards she sent. 

“I just want to be helpful and make people happy,” Ernst said. 

The value of inclusivity that is shared by these two students is also valued by the Honors department. Assistant Honors director, Beth Hallauer, explained how she believes the program fosters a sense of community for Wittenberg students. 

“The Program is also concerned with building community – not just the Honors community, but the Wittenberg community,” Hallauer said. “Just as coaches seek out ways to support their player’s physical and athletic pursuits at the highest level, Honors seeks to offer opportunities and support for students to excel academically.”

Student Athlete Spotlight: Jackson Tyler

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Senior outside hitter Jackson Tyler helped the men’s volleyball team secure an AMCC regular season conference championship last year. This year, he’s hungry for another conference title along with the program’s first National Championship. 

Born and raised in Noblesville, IN, Tyler’s love for volleyball didn’t develop until he was older. 

“My background in volleyball started after I was cut from a Chicago basketball team in eighth grade because of being undersized,” Tyler said. “That’s when I tried volleyball. I fell in love immediately because I could jump pretty high.” 

Standing at 6’2”, he is the perfect size for an outside hitter. During his senior year of high school, he not only became team captain, but was also named to the all-state and all-academic teams. 

A key component to a great volleyball team is a consistent outside hitter, and Tyler excels in this area. This season, Tyler has nearly three kills per set, a .215 hitting percentage and 58 digs under his belt, and he is showing no signs of stopping. 

Last Saturday, the Tigers beat Mount St. Joseph in a close five set win, with Tyler getting 17 kills. In the fifth set (a game to only 15, win by 2 points), Tyler brought the team to an 11-11 score after being down. These stats clearly indicate the long hours Tyler has committed on and off the court for the Tigers. 

Tyler has had a history of injuries during his career, but he learned to become a great teammate through his injuries.

“It’s a joy to have Jackson on our team. He’s a great teammate and volleyball player,” Collin Buelow, an outside hitter and teamate of Tyler’s, said.

Tyler thought it was an easy choice to commit to Wittenberg. A division three school provides a balanced life for a student athlete and he took advantage of this opportunity. Tyler is majoring in finance with a minor in marketing. He’s also involved with Greek life. Balancing activities on campus can be difficult, but Tyler prioritizes education and volleyball.  

Back in a 2018 spotlight with The Torch, Tyler said that he believed volleyball is the reason he pushes to be excellent in all aspects. He says that through volleyball, he’s become mentally stronger, committed to his priorities, and keeping it persistent. 

As three-year letterman in volleyball, Tyler clearly has shown his key role on the team. He accomplished his goal back in 2019 of securing the school’s first AMCC Championship. Now, he and his team are hungry to win the conference again and secure a bid for the NCAA Division III tournament in April. Until then, Tyler and the Tigers will host the Raiders of Mount Union on Tuesday, Feb. 18. 

Slam Poet, Jamal Parker, Kicks off Black History Month

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Jamal Parker presents a spoken word poetry slam in Post 95 on Feb. 10, 2020. The event was sponsored by Concerned Black Students as part of Black History Month.

To kickoff the beginning of CBS week and as a part of Black History Month, CBS hosted slam poet Jamal Parker this past Monday to entertain and educate the Witt community about individuality and identity. 

Parker got his start to writing with a love for comic books and by writing his own comics. It wasn’t until his junior year of high school that he was introduced to and fell in love with spoken word poetry. 

Parker, a recent Temple University graduate, hosted several poetry workshops and performed some of his own poetry on campus. At both the workshop and the performance, Parker told the audience that he prefers his presentations to be more conversation based and interactive for the audience. He started both presentations by introducing himself, giving his prefered pronouns and telling the group his astrology sign and then asked the audience to do the same. 

At the workshop, Parker was able to get a feel for the audience after everyone had introduced themselves and he went on to talk about his personal history. As a member of a military family, he traveled for most of his childhood and has lived all over the world, both of which have helped his writing significantly. Parker showed a short video of a spoken word poem performed by Malachi Bird entitled, “Secular Prayers.” The poem was about Bird’s connection with his now late father and his troubles finding ways to continue to communicate and connect with him after his passing. 

Parker noted that for a lot of young African American men, including Bird, emotional expression was frowned upon socially. However, that poetry was a useful outlet for expression, especially for such serious and traumatic events. Many of the traumatic experiences in the black community are unique to their community and poetry is an effective way to communicate the emotional hardships associated with these social injustices. 

“Writing was a form of communication that people like myself use to express those emotions otherwise not accepted in my urban community,” Parker said. 

Following the Bird spoken word performance, Parker switched gears to discuss hip hop. 

“Spoken word and music are inherently linked,” Parker said. “Hip hop artists are doing performance poetry whether they admit it or not” 

The class watched and analyzed the hidden messages in Mac Miller’s “Self Care” music video with the characteristics of spoken word poetry in mind. Parker chose to analyze Miller specifically because he was not only an incredible artist, but also a revered introspective writer in the hip hop community. 

“I showcase this video because it relates to the realm of identity,” Parker said. 

“Self Care” was released not long before Miller’s recent death in September of 2018 and Parker pointed out to the class the signs of Miller’s internal struggles and depleting self worth present in the video. For example, in the video Miller is stuck in a wooden coffin and yet, he lights a cigarette, which would cause suffocation under normal circumstances.  

Later that evening at Parker’s performance in Post 95, he started off with an original poem about his relationship with his three older brothers. “We labeled our fights baptisms…” he started. The poem compared the physical fighting between brothers as a form of love, a metaphor to fighting hunger and even as a coping mechanism for one of Parker’s step-brother’s whose father died due to gun violence. “Our brotherhood was having eachothers backs… even if at one point we tried to break them,” Parker finished. 

Parker tackled other issues of inequality and injustice in the world with his poetry. Through his admiration for Will Smith growing up, Parker recalled the backlash when Smith’s son, Jaden, posed for a photoshoot in a dress. Jaden’s actions inspired Parker who wrote and performed a poem about the ludicrous idea of gendered clothing and personal memories of trying on his mother’s heels when he was young. 

Next, Parker performed a piece about comics, an ode to his origins in the creative writing field. In the poem, Parker compared some of the issues various superheroes face to that of the struggles he and his family have faced. 

“You have to remind someone about someone’s trauma before you can be invested in the story,” Parker said, regarding Batman’s story in connection to his brothers.

Parker’s moving performance and sage words of advice remind us of the importance of expressing yourself and embracing the things that make up your identity. Parker was able to use an art form as a way to not only express himself, but to also tackle social justice issues and cope with personal trauma and life experiences. 

Men’s Basketball Packs the Pam against Wooster

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No. 5 Wittenberg Men's Basketball faces Wooster on Feb. 15, 2020.

On Saturday, Feb. 15 the men’s basketball team hosted their rival the College of Wooster and secured their 88-81 victory. This was the 121 meeting of the two teams and, earlier this season, the Tigers travelled to Wooster and were defeated 98-86, so the red and white were out for blood. Prior to the game, champions of the past were honored as it was Champs Night. Pam Evans Smith Arena was packed so full for the Code Red game with families, friends, fans and alumni that there were even courtside seats added to fit everyone.

One of the champs honored prior to the game was Steve Moore (’74) who is the current head coach for the Fighting Scots of Wooster. Moore was presented with original hardwood flooring from the 1929 gymnasium by Vice President of Athletics Gary Williams.

With 1:01 left in the game, Jake Bertemes (’20) joined many Tigers before him in the 1,000-point club. Prior to tip-off Bertemes was 19 points away from point 1,000 and he hit point 19 while knocking down free-throws in the second half.

The tip-off started in favor of the Fighting Scots but was quickly stolen by Bertemes who took the ball to the hoop for two-points and quick lead for the Tigers. Connor Seipel (’20) followed that up with two layups in the paint and a jumper from Bertmes to put the red and white ahead 8-4.

“You can expect both teams to be getting after each other,” Matt Croci, head coach, said. “Guarding [really] well, rebounding the ball, running their stuff, I expect both team’s top players to be playing well.”

The Fighting Scots scrambled as the half ticked down with layups and three-point shots but fell short. At the half, the Tigers were comfortably ahead 35-30.

It wasn’t until the second half that the Tigers let the lead slip into the hands of the Fighting Scots. With a layup Wooster tied the game up 38-38 followed by a free throw after Landon Martin (’21) fouled. But James Johnson (’21) regained the lead 40-39 followed by a three-point shot from Jordan Pumroy (’20).

As the game wound down Bertemes and Johnson made appearances at the free throw line. Johnson made the red and white’s last two points. The game’s final shot and points came after a layup from the Fighting Scots and then the buzzer sounded. The gym erupted into cheers as the Tigers had secured their victory.

Johnson posted a career high of 31-points against the Fighting Scots and wrapped up a double-double with 10 rebounds on the night. Bertemes lead the Tigers in assists with seven himself. The red and white were 50% from the floor with 36 points in the paint, 15 points off turnovers, 14 second chance points, 31 rebounds and 12 assists.

Coming up the Tigers are hitting the road to take on Wabash College on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. The red and white are returning home on Saturday, Feb. 22 to host Hiram College for Senior Day at 3 p.m.

Students Walkout on “I Heart Witt” Day

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Students march in solidarity across campus towards Recitation Hall. Photo by Braeden Bowen (‘21).

Wittenberg’s campus on the morning of Friday, Feb. 14 was quiet, cold and sunny. Recitation Hall sat amidst the snow, an “I Heart Wittenberg” banner in view at the bottom of the hill, and no hint of the excitement that was to come.

Meanwhile, in Hollenbeck Hall, a group of students and faculty were amassing in the atrium. They were creating signs and printing out papers, preparing for a campus walkout in response to the ongoing dispute about faculty cuts made by Wittenberg’s administration to address the school’s financial crisis.

A week before, Nathan Schwartz (’20) sent out mass emails informing the entire student body of the walkout and urging them to attend to “make our support of the university clear, and deliver a list of requests to this administration.”

About an hour before the walkout, Olivia Riddle (’21) sent an email to students with a list of demands compiled mostly by herself and Schwartz to be made to the president and board of directors.

“Our university is in crisis,” the email read, a sentiment that has been repeated multiple times in the past several months.

At 12 o’clock on the dot, students began to march out of Hollenbeck towards Recitation Hall, loudly chanting “Our Professors Matter.” As they marched, more students joined from around campus, growing to about 60-70 people in size.

At the front steps of Recitation, Riddle stood with a megaphone and read aloud the list of demands.

The list first demanded that the administration and board of directors prioritize addressing systematic injustice on campus, a demand directly influenced by CBS’ lists of demands made to administration last year.

The list then demanded transparency from the president and the board of directors regarding the newly created Academic Programs Futures Committee, and requested equal board, faculty and student representation on the committee, which is confirmed to currently have no student representation.

Transparency was also demanded regarding the budgets for the future Koch Hall renovations and the athletics department and ensuring enough quality course offerings for future students, especially in the English department, which will take heavy losses in faculty.

The list also demanded that the entire Board of Directors return to campus and participate in an open forum, similar to the one held on February 13, to allow students to directly express their concerns about Wittenberg and present their own contributions to the board.

Finally, the list demanded that the Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, “prepared by the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion and adopted by the Wittenberg Board of Directors,” either be amended to indicate that the statement is an aspiration, not a statement about the university’s current reality, or be completely removed from Wittenberg’s home page where it is currently made available.

After the demands were read by Riddle, the group made their way into Recitation and up the stairs to President Frandsen’s office. The president was not present, so the demands were attached to his door, directly echoing the nailing of the 95 Theses to the doors of churches in Wittenberg, Germany.

The protestors then moved out of Recitation, took up their chant again, and gathered in Commencement Hollow to take photos and share a few words before dispersing.

Students voiced their frustration and concern about the situation, but also their gratefulness to one another in their ability to gather together and take action for what they believe in.

Riddle asserted that the protesting students were not under pressure from faculty in their organization of the protest.

“We’re not ignorant of [these] problems,” Riddle said. “The faculty are not feeding us lines.”

“The faculty are the reason we’re here, the value of our education…if anything else…at least those faculty, whose lives are being threatened, will know that we care.”

Riddle also said that the walkout was not the last step that would be taken by the protesting body and that there would be more future action.

Women’s Basketball Sweeps Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster

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Wittenberg Women's Basketball faces Wooster on Feb. 15, 2020 for Senior Day.

Women’s Basketball posted a 2-0 record this past week with wins against Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster. The Tigers returned home after a two-day road trip last week where they swept Hiram and Allegheny before returning to the Pam Evans Smith Arena to face Ohio Wesleyan.

vs Ohio Wesleyan

The Tigers opened their week facing the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan in a tough conference matchup. The Tigers went into the evening with a firm grip on third place in the conference while the Bishops sat in fourth place. The Tigers looked happy to return to home court after their road trip the previous weekend and came out strong early. Delaney Williams (’21) put the Tigers on the board early with two consecutive layups in the paint. Wittenberg led the Bishops, 14-8, at the end of the first quarter. The Tigers continued to pressure the Bishops as six of 24 total defensive rebounds occurred in the second quarter.

“When you have defense and you finish defensive rebounds, good things happen,” head coach Kelly Mahlum said. Good things certainly happened as the Tigers held the Bishops to a halftime score of 31-19.

The Tigers continued their momentum into the second half as they outscored Ohio Wesleyan in the paint, 46-20.

“[Williams] sets the [defensive] tone for us, so she won’t talk about it, but I will, because how she plays defense and the reason we scored so much in the paint is [because] of her,” said Mahlum.

Williams lead the team with 14 points, six assists and four steals, while Kristie Kalis (’21) achieved double digit rebounds, with two offensive and eight defensive rebounds. The Tigers defeated Ohio Wesleyan, 64-43, and avenged their overtime loss on the road in January.

vs Wooster

The Tigers returned to the court last Saturday to celebrate the senior class of Riley Culver (’20), Jenna Bluemlein (’20) and Korynne Berner (’20) in a final regular season match-up against Wooster.

“I already get emotional when I talk about senior day, doesn’t matter what seniors it is,” Mahlum said in an interview following the Ohio Wesleyan game.

The Tigers harnessed their emotions as they controlled the game start to finish, ending the first quarter with a commanding 24-8 lead over the Fighting Scots.

After recognizing the seniors for both Wooster and The Tigers, the entire senior class took the court as the for their final regular season game. The experience was especially important for Bluemlein as she was a starter for the first time in her Wittenberg career.

“It was special for her, because she doesn’t get that opportunity normally, so she took full advantage of it, Mahlum said. “[Saturday morning] during shoot-around, she just thanked her teammates for giving her the opportunity. It’s a combination of coaches decision, but also a teammate has to give up a starting spot, and the team was totally ready to do that.”

Bluemlein took advantage of her starting role, grabbing seven rebounds to go along with four points and two assists. Not to be outdone, Culver fought through an illness to earn 10 points and seven rebounds and be the “the steady force we needed to be there,” Mahlum said.

Berner had an impressive senior day as well, as she led the team with 18 points and eight rebounds.

“The thing that encapsulates Korynne is that she just works, it doesn’t matter what is happening on the floor. She’s done that for four years, and to have a great senior day to encapsulates her senior year is just awesome,” Mahlum said.

The Tigers followed the lead of the senior class as they outshot Wooster 28-12, and outscored the Scots 32-10 in the paint. The Tigers defeated Wooster, 67-36 and now look forward for their final regular season road trip to Oberlin on Saturday, for a 1:00pm tip-off.

Spring Sports Preview

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Spring sports are in the process of springing into action. Let’s take a look at last year’s statistics and see what the Tigers have been up to in the off season.

Men’s Lacrosse

Last season, the red and white went 4-11 on the season. They managed 169 goals in 15 games and averaged 41 shots per game. Out of those shots, they averaged 11.27 goals per game and walked away with 88 assists on the season. At the conclusion of the 2019 season head coach Jay Owen and assistant coach Danny Shields said goodbye to five seniors: Michael Carluccio, Cooper Swenson, Jerry Coyle, Jack Vierra and Beau Brewer.

The men’s lacrosse team has already kicked off their season at home with their first official game in The Steemer against the Colonels of Centre College. The Tigers captured their victory, 9-8 with Andrew Ellis (’21) making three of the nine goals.

Six new players have joined the team this year: James Fuller, Sam Francis, Mitchell Steinker, Thomas Jewett, James Pederson and William Martin. When the 2020 season comes to an end, the Tigers will say goodbye to seven seniors: Quinn McConkey, Tay Morton, Tony LeBarge, Matthew Welch, Patrick Wiley, Noah Moderwell and Jack Wolfe.

The Tigers are hitting the road to face Otterbein on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 5 p.m.

Women’s Lacrosse

The 2020 season was an even split for the Tigers as they went 8-8 on the season, and they ended the season on a two-game win streak. The red and white walked away with 217 goals under their belts and 83 assists. The Tigers averaged 13.56 goals per game off of their 35.19 shots per game. At the conclusion of the season, head coach Margaret Wolford and assistant coach Casey Ryan had to say goodbye to the seniors: Gretchen Burkey, Madeline Stock and Emily Wadds.

This year the women’s lacrosse team has welcomed seven freshmen to the team: Mya Wolfe, Cecelia Critchfield, Libby Wadds, Katie Wadds, Hannah Feder, Sophie Weintraub and Jillian Connelly. There are four seniors on the team this season: Sami Skelly, Rachel Bernard, Gabby Zysik and Faith Meads.

The Tigers will kick off their season at home on Wednesday, Feb. 19 in The Steemer at 7 p.m. against the Pioneers of Transylvania University.

Baseball

Last year the baseball team knocked a winning season out of the park, going 19-16 overall. The Tigers went 9-9 in conference competition and scored 251 runs throughout the season, with 24 homeruns. The season ended with the team graduating four seniors: Greg Vanerstrom, Jace Barga, Matt Baker and Brandon Beegle.

This season head coach Brian McGee and the coaching staff have welcomed eleven freshmen: Maxwell Monachino, Joe Horoszko, Chase Whisner, Dylan Jackson, Jacob Boyd, Jake Hutchins, Carson Rengel, Nick Cunningham, Justin Maynard, Connor Goss and Matt Moore. There are currently 1o seniors on the team: Ryan Probst, Patrick Kenny, Justin Bargar, Michael Flynn, Adam Mays, Andrew Shanor, Chase Carpenter, Aaron Fasano, Andrew Hammond and Jacob Muhleman.

The Tigers are kicking off their season on Saturday, Feb. 29 in Westfield, IN against Albion College, the first pitch is set for 11 a.m.

Softball

Last season, the Tigers went 10-27-1 overall and were 5-10-1 in conference play. The red and white scored 160 runs during the season with 10 homeruns. The Tigers sent four seniors into the real world at the conclusion of last season: Lauren Buelow, Missy Lee, Elyssa LaBine and Abby Curnutte.

This season head coach Shannon Schaub and coaching staff welcomed seven players to the Tiger field in August: Cecelia Phillips, Sydney Wade, Samantha Lindsey, Fayth Hill, Audra Ledbetter, Samantha Casteel and Hannah Weymouth. While it is always exciting to welcome new blood to the team, at the conclusion of the season they will have to send off: Briana Gibson and Victoria Toetz.

The Tigers are starting off the season by hitting the road and heading to Marietta College on Saturday, Feb. 29 with the first pitch slated for 11:30 a.m.

Track and Field

Last season, the track and field team competed at 27 meets. The team currently has three coaches and two graduate assistants. Paris Hilliard was named head coach in the Fall of 2019, stepping into the role after Craig Penney’s final year on staff. Hilliard is assisted by Brandon Litz as head distance coach and Joel Drake as an assistant coach.  

Last season, the Tigers said goodbye to 10 men’s track and field athletes and three women’s athletes: Leah Hilley, Kyla McGee, Samantha Mitchell, Brad Arledge, D’Anthony Dorsey, Matt Entsminger, Kyle Farnbacuch, Ryan Hale, Curtis Quimby, Charles Rodeheffer, Charles Samuel, Evan Schreiber and Tyler Swanson.

This season there were seven men and 11 female athletes welcomed to the track and field teams: Zeke Bennett, Evan Cordle, Austin Fickeisen, Ian McCandlish, Deven Ramsey, Evan Sugrue, Caden Zellner, Caroline Arndt, Macy Berner, Amya Brown, Hannah Hayes, Alyssa Jones, Tiffany Moss, Claire Muia, Kara Owens, Alina Palombi, Chloe Turner and Leah Vogt.

At the conclusion of this season there will be four women and six male athletes graduating: Alexis Gray, Ashley Highfield, Katie Hodson, Madison Nadler, Garrin Bachinski, Tyler Branton, Brandon Johnson, Jaycee Perry, Aaron Rutherford and Jonathan Seay.

The Tigers will next compete at home in The Steemer for The Steemer Showcase on Saturday, Feb. 22.

Women’s Water Polo

In their first season as a varsity sport on campus, the red and white went 8-13 overall and were 4-7 in conference. The nine-woman team graduated one senior at the conclusion of the 2019 season: Emily Sarver.

This season, head coach Sivan Pardon has welcomed three freshmen to the team: Savannah Morgenroth-Cross, Meghan Lythgoe and Kailey Cordova. The team will graduate one senior at the end of this season: Savannah Phillips.

The Tigers have already started their season and will compete next against Gannon University in Washington, PA on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 11:10 a.m.

Letter to the Editor

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Dear Students,

Hello, my name is Emmanuel Thombs. This evening I write to you as a regular, run-of-the-mill student here at Wittenberg with an average GPA and a lot of passion for passing light on to others.

As many of you know, we are standing face-to-face with a tumultuous period as a campus community – a storm that may or may not pass, depending on whom you ask. The past week, I have spent a lot of time hearing different perspectives; concern, fright, apathy and confusion, to name a few. Often, I have attempted to remain neutral in this face of the conflict, as to not appear as if I am favoring one group over another. However, the more people that I have spoken to, the more my perspective has changed. Honestly, I realize that this situation is direr than I thought. But, not for the reasons that you’re thinking.

If I’m being completely honest and vulnerable with you, I’ve had trouble even understanding how I actually feel about everything that has been going on. As the Vice President of the Student Senate, someone whose major is under review and former athlete of two months turned NARP, I’m being pulled in many different directions. So, in order to step away from the chaos and really understand how I’ve been feeling, I have reflected upon three questions.

Why did I come to Wittenberg?

Why have I stayed at Wittenberg?

Why should I even care?

Like some of you, Wittenberg wasn’t necessarily my top choice. If I’m being honest, I came here because I wanted to study abroad, play a sport in college, and avoid severe, crippling debt. Realistically, I didn’t “feel at home once I stepped foot on campus” as many people say. However, as I’ve built relationships with other students, faculty and staff, I’ve come to realize what Witt is really all about. Here at Wittenberg, I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone, not only to lead but to interact with a diverse group of people and challenge my thoughts and perceptions of society and its issues.

I never thought that I’d have the opportunity to pursue my dreams in another country – but Wittenberg gave me that experience. Wittenberg was one of only two schools to give me a chance to run track, and while I decided not to continue as a student-athlete, I am forever grateful for that opportunity. I never thought that I’d join a fraternity, but I’ve actually found a home, and I love my brothers. I never thought that I’d sit face-to-face with a state senator, and tell him all the things that I am telling you right now – but Wittenberg gave me that opportunity.

What I’m trying to get at here is: no matter how you ended up here, this place is sacred. The collective experience of every single student who has attended this university since 1845 has made this place sacred. This is our home.

Maybe you met the first teacher that actually cared about you, had the privilege to play the sport you love, found love and or heartbreak, found a home in a group of like-minded individuals, jumped out of your comfort zone and did something crazy that you’d never tell your parents. All of these things are things that are essential to the Wittenberg experience. That is why you should care about what is happening. Division between groups is cutting through campus like a hot knife, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

It doesn’t matter what “side” you’re on. Each and every single one of you has an opinion, a question, a concern that matters. In the end, this isn’t about The Steemer, about the professors, the protests, this is about us as students and our experience here. Seniors: this is about leaving Wittenberg better and more open than when you came. Freshman, sophomores and juniors: this is about using our voices now, no matter our opinion, to ensure that we will always have that voice.

So here’s my call to action:

If you are concerned, scared, frightened of what’s happening at Wittenberg, let that be known. If you feel like everything is okay, let that be known. If you just want to listen, speak out anyway. If you care, or don’t care, say why. And when you do, remember that this isn’t one side of campus versus another, this is each one of us coming together as a student body to better the collective Wittenberg experience.

But don’t stop there. Come to a Student Senate meeting and voice your concerns. And for students who don’t feel as if Student Senate is an effective venue for change, please know that we hear what you’re saying, and we’re always strategizing more effective ways to represent you.

If you have any questions, concerns, or opinions you’d like to tell me directly, feel free to email me at thombse@wittenberg.edu. My line is always open, and I’m always here to listen and relay your thoughts to the administration and other students.

I love you, Wittenberg. Thank you for sharing with me your light and I hope that I can pass that on to others.

Sincerely,

Emmanuel Thombs

Wittenberg Student

Student Body Vice President

Letter to the Editor

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To the Editor: 

As a student with less than 100 days left at Wittenberg, I think I have enough experience to comment on our campus culture. I came here excited and hopeful, mesmerized by such an active college campus. Since then, I’ve been riding this rollercoaster that includes disappointing lows. 

I feel that a significant proportion of “activists” on campus function strictly under performative methods. Wittenberg’s issues with finances and community members of color came to life long before The Steemer was even a thought. Instead of trying to insert themselves into Board conversations before things got out of hand, students decided to climb onto any raised surface in Geil Lounge with Witt-y posters, yelling about firing professors. Of these participants, how many will follow through and attend any forums on the issue? How many will “care” when they leave campus at the end of the semester? 

Wittenberg’s culture perpetuates the thought that one big protest or statement will create change. While these types of actions may draw attention to issues, they only bring temporary solutions from the administration, solely created to “throw a bone” to those ruining the university’s clean image. Students need to involve themselves in and support activities that serve as foundations for the affected groups. When the 50 anniversary of the CBS walkout came around, The Torch “honored” the event with a measly two pictures. When the Chapel’s pride flag was stolen twice, students “responded” with saying that the flag is what makes LGBTQ+ students feel welcome on campus – not the actual way these students are treated.  

It is not enough to speak out in sporadic bursts. It is not enough to only care when it makes you look like the people’s protestor with your friend’s iPhone camera perfectly poised for that Instagram-worthy in-action shot of you shouting your carefully constructed catchphrases just to go home and feel like you’ve done enough for the future of our campus. We, as students, need to really get involved with our campus. Let’s go to any of the open Board meetings. Let’s go to campus events that support diversity. Let’s all be truly well-rounded students so that future Tigers don’t need to see your brief presence in bad times because they’ve already seen your continued presence through the good ones. 

Sincerely, 

Kayla Cull, Class of 2020 

The Dirty Blonde Diaries: Camp Wittenberg

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If you have ever experienced a Witt spring then you will understand what we are about to talk about. If you are a freshman and have yet to experience this phenomenon, then get ready and get excited. Wittenberg is one of the prettiest campuses out there.

If you have walked around campus in the fall then you can enjoy the burst of color swirling around you and the nice cool breeze. If you have walked around campus in the winter, you can see the Wittenberg sign dusted with a blanket of white, the campus glowing as the sun reflects off the white snow. This place is picture-perfect in all seasons, but get excited about the spring because that is when it comes to life. 

Welcome to Camp Wittenberg. Ever since we were little freshmen we would step outside of our dorms on a nice spring day and remark, “it feels like camp.” Camp as a child brought the excitement of friendships and games, the allure of the outdoors, the smells of a cafeteria dining hall and the fun of a bonfire. Well, Witt might not have a bonfire, but we do have the excitement of spending our time with our friends and that nice smell wafting from the CDR across campus.

This is the time that the signature red chairs are out, and Witt students are fighting to get a good spot. Freshman, it is musical chairs, fight your way into one of the Adirondack chairs and you will not regret it. Our sophomore and junior yeara were spent doing homework and getting some sun in between classes in those very red chairs. 

Throughout Camp Wittenberg you will feel your relationships with your friends strengthen, the excitement bursting and the sun rays soaking into your sun-deprived skin. The campus is painted with Eno’s and hanging hammocks, students sitting on blankets outside listening to music, talking and studying.

The warm sun, cool breeze, green grass and bustling atmosphere work together to create the perfect community. The stress of your studies evaporates as the campuses warmed up from the sun. But, we highly suggest keeping your eyes peeled because disc golf is in full swing.

I love the way that words can be used to describe things, but I honestly feel that Camp Wittenberg is an experience that cannot be described with words; it has to be lived. The day that Camp Witt begins, you will feel it.

We challenge you to step outside when the time comes, hang up those hammocks, layout those blankets, grab your backpacks and a few friends and let the magic of campus do its thing.

We also encourage you to invite new people with you, this is the time to strengthen the relationships you have already made, but it is also the time to open your heart to something new! It is one of our most beloved times at Witt and we will cherish our last time attending Camp Wittenberg.

We will see you on the red chairs.

Sincerely, 

Your Dirty Blondes 

P.S

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Open Forum with President Frandsen—Killing with Kudos

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Carly Schneider (‘20) holds a poster sporting a quote from President Frandsen to her at the forum. Photo by Braeden Bowen (‘21).

One week after the board mixer protest, no students were chanting. They were not holding signs. Instead, they were sitting silently across from President Michael Frandsen, waiting to speak with him face-to-face at the open forum at 5:30p.m. Thursday night in Shoulvin 105.

Frandsen, Rev. Eilert and Provost Mattson gave students a more complete picture of the budget crisis and what the board plans to do about it, providing updates from the board meeting last week.

“We need to reduce our expenditures,” Frandsen said. “And that means cutting. We’re going to have to do that. Period.”

A budget projection back in October estimated a 10 million dollar loss for next year. With low enrollment, low retention and high debt driving the crisis, Frandsen said actions must be taken so that the budget can be balanced within the next two years.

To help solve this immediate crisis, the board created two committees. The first is focused on financial restructuring and debt reduction, and the second is charged to reduce academic program expenses by 2.5 million dollars by the 2021-22 academic year.

Frandsen said the faculty lines not renewed last fall account for 30 percent of the committee’s goal.

“It gives you an idea of what the magnitude of the additional change might look like,” he said.

Frandsen will appoint the members of these committees based on recommendations from the Provost and Faculty Executive Board. There will be no student representation on either committee.

“This is really about how we structure the finances. It should have no impact on what the student experience is here,” Frandsen said.

Several students voiced their disagreement. “It sounds like one of these committees is the literal grim reaper of our academic programs,” Ethan Bochicchio (’23) said. “Obviously cutting stuff is going to affect the day-to-day life of students, so I don’t accept that.”

Frandsen said that the committees will work through the Educational Policy Committee, which does have student representation, and Student Senate is still the best avenue for students to voice their concerns.

In addition to the committees, the board is building a future foundation through the current comprehensive fundraising campaign that will publicly launch next homecoming. The goal is to raise 100 million dollars before 2023. To date, they have slightly under 35 million. Frandsen said this campaign is long overdue, as the last campaign ended in 2001 and was started more than 20 years ago.

The priorities of the campaign will be infrastructure, scholarships and programs and faculty support. Students had lots to say on Wittenberg’s infrastructure, particularly regarding the athletic complex.

“Here we are building The Steemer, while our music department is failing,” Ben Strommen (’20) said. Several students nodded and snapped their fingers when Strommen said Krieg was “falling apart.”

Carly Schneider (’20) also spoke on the accessibility issues that students with disabilities face daily on campus. “People like me can’t come here unless they want to fight every day, and I’ve done it, and people shouldn’t have to,” Schneider said.

“Kudos to you for making those sacrifices,” President Frandsen answered. He reiterated that Wittenberg’s needs were great, especially with accessibility. In terms of buildings, the campaign will target the historic heart of campus.

Aside from these needs and cuts, Frandsen made it a point to highlight the strength of the academic program.

“I believe that all of you are having a great educational experience,” he said. “Sure, there are places where it might be better here or there, but you are all having a good experience here at Wittenberg.”

Faith Scully (’22) tested this statement. Scully asked all students who have considered transferring from Wittenberg to raise their hands. The vast majority of the room shot a hand into the air.

“I’m sorry we’re all here in this moment,” Frandsen said. “I’m especially sorry that you students are here in this moment.”

The other apology of the evening came from Reverend and Board of Directors chair Jonathan Eilert, who apologized to the students on behalf of the board for “things that may have been said or were said” during the board mixer last Thursday.

The final question of the forum asked Frandsen what sacrifices he and the board had made during this crisis.

“I certainly have made sacrifices and I’m not going to go into the details of what those are,” Frandsen said. “I think the board has been asked to respond where it has the ability to increase its financial support to the institution or its time devoted to the institution moving forward.”

“President Frandsen and I were actually late getting down to that reception that night because we were involved in further discussion with folks that we need to be about a lot of these financial matters,” Eilert said.

The forum ended after nearly an hour and twenty minutes, with several students still waiting to ask questions. Student Senate Vice President Emmanuel Thombs (’21) encouraged students to continue the conversation at Student Senate meetings.

Student protesters did not wait until the Senate meeting to continue conversations. Riddle told every student who came, “Kudos to you,” and solidified plans for future protests, including a walkout on Friday at noon.

Box Scores: Feb. 10-Feb. 16

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Men’s Basketball

2.12.20 1 2 Final
Wittenberg (21-1) 36 41 77
Ohio Wesleyan (11-11) 31 30 61
2.15.20 1 2 Final
Wooster (17-6) 30 51 81
Wittenberg (22-1) 35 53 88

Women’s Basketball

2.12.20 1 2 3 4 Final
Ohio Wesleyan (12-10) 8 11 11 13 43
Wittenberg (17-6) 14 17 17 16 64
2.15.20 1 2 3 4 Final
Wooster (6-17) 8 8 15 5 36
Wittenberg (18-6) 24 13 15 15 67

Men’s Volleyball

2.15.20 1 2 3 4 5 Final
Wittenberg (5-9) 23 25 20 25 15 3
Mount St. Joseph (6-4) 25 21 25 22 11 2

Men’s Lacrosse

2.15.20 1 2 3 4 Final
Centre (0-1) 1 3 3 1 8
Wittenberg (1-0) 1 2 2 4 9

Men’s Track & Field

2.15.20 All-Ohio DIII Track & Field Championships – 18 Events Scored Points
1 Mount Union 155.5
2 Otterbein 96
3 Case Western 84
4 Ohio Northern 58
5 John Carroll 56
6 Ohio Wesleyan 47
7 Heidelberg 35
8 Marietta 32
9 Wittenberg 28.50
10 Capital 25
11 Denison 22
12 Wilmington (Ohio) 20
13 Bluffton 19
14 Oberlin 10
15 Baldwin Wallace 6
16 Wooster 4
17 Muskingum 1

Women’s Track & Field

2.15.20 All-Ohio DIII Track & Field Championships – 18 Events Scored Points
1 Mount Union 119.50
2 Otterbein 104.75
3 Baldwin Wallace 74
3 John Carroll 74
5 Ohio Wesleyan 60
6 Oberlin 58.50
7 Wittenberg 42
8 Ohio Northern 32.50
9 Case Western 29
10 Capital 24
11 Heidelberg 23
12 Kenyon 19
13 Marietta 16.75
14 Defiance 8
14 Wooster 8
16 Bluffton 6
17 Muskingum 2
18 Wilmington (Ohio) 1

Men’s Swim & Dive

2.15.20 NCAC Swim & Dive Championships – 298 Events Scored Points
1 Kenyon College 1913
2 Denison University 1765
3 Wabash College 1264
4 DePauw University 1022
5 College of Wooster 900
6 Allegheny 768.5
7 Ohio Wesleyan University 670.5
8 Oberlin College 494
9 Wittenberg University 412
10 Hiram College 8

Women’s Swim & Dive

2.15.20 NCAC Swim & Dive Championship -298 Events Scored Points
1 Denison University 2044
2 Kenyon College 1787
3 Allegheny College 1138
4 DePauw University 1086
5 College of Wooster 1013
6 Ohio Wesleyan University 816
7 Oberlin College 575
8 Hiram College 332
9 Wittenberg University 331

Analyzing the Failures of the Trump Impeachment Trial

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On Feb. 5, 2020, the United States Senate voted to acquit Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment presented by the House of Representatives. The vote followed Senate refusal of witness testimony, veiling in secrecy what, as even many of the Republican arguments conceded, was Trump’s likely illegal withholding of congressionally-allocated military aid to the Ukrainian government in hopes of receiving dirt on Joe Biden, a political rival.

Consider the first article; “Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States presidential election.” In Trump’s defense, we have heard, from Senator James Lankford, for example, “I do actually think he’s concerned about corruption.” According to Lankford’s argument, Joe Biden threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine unless they fired a prosecutor investigating gas company, Burisma, for which Biden’s son Hunter worked. Because Biden had familial financial interests in the prosecutor’s firing, withholding aid was fundamentally corrupt.

If the Democrats only accepted this logic, the charge of the first article would be undeniable. If Donald Trump withheld aid from Ukraine in order to investigate a political rival, even if his reasoning was to fight corruption, it would still be a conflict of interest and corrupt. But it appears the Democrats would rather defend Joe Biden, a darling of the Democratic Party, than remove Trump from office.

To a broader point, submitting only two articles of impeachment is laughable when considering the fundamentally criminal nature of the Trump administration. According to Article VI of the Constitution, “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land,” meaning that the treaties that the U.S. signed at the 1949 Geneva Conventions banning “collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism,” are the law.

Before the end of Trump’s first year in office, some 3,000 civilians were killed by drone and air strikes across the Middle East and Africa. Between the start of operations to take the Syrian city of Raqqa in June 2017 and the recapture of the city from ISIS in October, coalition air strikes killed more than 1,800 civilians. Raqqa was flattened, its destruction comparable to that of Aleppo or Damascus.

On May 26, 2017, air strikes on a building allegedly containing two snipers in an ISIS-held city in eastern Syria killed 106 civilians, forty-two of them children. If less than two percent of casualties are militants, it is hard not to deem this a “collective penalty.” The day before, the U.S. acknowledged over a hundred people had been killed in a U.S.-led coalition air strike on Mossul, Iraq in March. Amongst the body count were family members of ISIS, including forty children.

Air strikes in Afghanistan continue to rain terror, death and destruction on the civilian population. In 2019, US forces killed some 1,400 civilians—more than the Taliban. In Somalia in 2017, the number of US caused civilian deaths reached double digits, according to a Guardian investigation. While the military claims just two civilians have been killed in ten years of operations, Amnesty International found, “in just five of the more than 100 strikes in the past two years,” fourteen civilians were killed.

Articles concerning war crimes were never put forth likely due to the fact that Democratic and Republican administrations alike commit them. By the end of Obama’s tenure, some 4,000 civilians had been killed by drone strikes. Bush Jr.’s foreign policy was undoubtedly criminal as he lied the U.S. into a war in Iraq. When Nancy Pelosi was asked in 2014 about why she didn’t pursue impeachment against Bush, she replied, “I do think people could have made a case about President Bush, but I did not want to go down that path because of what it would mean for the American people.” Twenty years after the fact, the precedent that could have been set is missed as she took the American people “down that path” and failed.

During the impeachment, I was reminded of Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman’s analysis of the Watergate scandal and its effective removal of a sitting president. In 1988’s Manufacturing Consent, they wrote, “[The aggrieved] Democratic party represents powerful domestic interests, solidly based in the business community. Nixon’s actions were therefore a scandal. The Socialist Workers party… represents no powerful interests. Therefore, there was no scandal when it was revealed… that the FBI had been disrupting its activities by illegal break-ins and other measures for a decade.” They go on to cite Nixon’s secret bombing of Cambodia, COINTELPRO, and FBI complicity in the planned assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton as impeachable offenses scarcely reported in the media let alone heard in Congress.

Looking at Trump’s impeachment, we see the same thing. Civilian deaths in American strikes are just a fraction of the Trump administration’s criminal actions. It’s likely that Trump’s agencies have been complicit in dismantling democracy in Bolivia and Brazil, while aiding the war crimes of Turkey and Saudi Arabia; also criminal under the Geneva treaties. The family separations at the borders and the subsequent deaths of minors are certainly criminal under international law. But the aggrieved parties in these cases have no voice and represent no powerful interests. Therefore, two measly Articles of Impeachment and a failed vote in the Senate on behalf of the aggrieved Joe Biden is all we get, while the Trump administration continues rampaging over the powerless.

“Spinning Out” is a Netflix Must-Watch

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Over the past few years, streaming mogul Netflix has launched countless shows such as “Umbrella Academy,” “Haunting at Hill House,” with some of their latest titles “Cheer,” and “Spinning Out.”

“Spinning Out” became available for streaming on January 1 of this year and stars Kaya Scodelario, known for her roles in “The Maze Runner,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Skins,” as well as Willow Shields (“The Hunger Games”), Evan Roderick (“Arrow”), and January Jones (“X-Men: First Class”).

While the title might allude to figure skating, it’s actually a reference to Kat and her mother’s, battle with bipolar disorder. According to an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, when approaching the topic of mental health, the writer of the show Samantha Stratton said that there was a team in communication with doctors and psychiatric groups while developing the show to ensure that they were properly representing the disorder. Stratton didn’t want to write a “woman-on-the-verge story,” but rather a “story about someone who could learn to live with her disorder and who could thrive.”

Scodelario plays a figure skater, Kat Baker, who is recovering from a serious fall and is trying to find her footing back on the ice. In an effort to get back into the competition Baker decides to become her love interest’s, Justin Davis (Roderick), partner in pair skating with dreams of making it to the Olympics.

The pair skate pushes Baker to rely on someone other than herself for the first time, ever. It takes a lot out of the duo, but they are eventually able to find common ground.

Off the ice, Kat encounters battles with her mother, her mental health, her sister and herself. Carol Baker (Jones), struggles with her mental health and often makes poor choices when it comes to her children. That includes emptying Kat’s bank account to pay for her sister Serena’s (Shields) trainers, making them get up out of bed in the middle of the night to run and train. When Carol and Kat come to a crossroads, Kat opts to move out and into her trainer’s spare room. Finding control over her own life, she steps out of the walls she has built for herself and into the world. Though there are a few missteps with Kat and her mental health, her friends and mother are there to help her after falling deeply into her mania.

Kat does just that by the cliffhanger and conclusion of season one when she and Justin skate to see if their Olympic dreams can become a reality.

The range of costumes, character arcs and developments will leave the viewer spinning and craving more. It’s easy to fantasize about the tiny ski town where the show is set while walking with Kat and Justin into the skating rink. It’s easy for viewers to find a character that they relate to with such a range of individuals within the show. Kat is spunky and independent, Justin is the brooding love interest, Carol is a flawed parent, Marcus (Mitchell Edwards) is the scorned best friend and lover there is someone for everyone.

The show, running only 10 episodes, was recently cancelled by Netflix. The fans are furious and currently have a petition running to get Netflix to pick “Spinning Out” back up that as of Feb. 10 had 29,695 signatures according to Change.org.

Will the show be picked back up? Will Justin and Kat make it to the Olympics? All of that hangs in the balance at Netflix, but until then you can stream “Spinning Out” exclusively on Netflix.

“The Name of the Wind” Offers Accessible High Fantasy

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Nobody hated high fantasy more than me. Nobody. I used to say, “if there’s a map on the front of the book, don’t even recommend it to me.” I was scorned by the slow plot of the “Hobbit” and the many cryptic languages of “Eragon.” I vowed to myself; never again. 

And then, despite my many protests, a friend convinced me to read Patrick Rothfuss’s “The Name of the Wind.” 

This book has everything I thought I hated about high fantasy: complicated magic, primitive cities, made-up languages and yes, even a map in the front of the book. 

All of these things have been enough for me to put down a book in the past. But Rothfuss managed to use the world of Temerent to turn everything I hated about this genre into everything I loved about it.

First of all, let’s talk about the main character. With a name like Kvothe, you can already get a feel for just how high fantasy this book is. When we meet Kvothe, he’s a young member of a traveling theatre troupe who’s gifted with the lute. And then, we discover he’s clever, too clever for his own good. So clever in fact, that his teacher told his parents, with unwavering certainty, that this kid could literally be the next Illien if he so chose. Illien is the Temerant version of Shakespeare, so that was far from light praise.

And the thing is, he probably would have been the next Illien, if something hadn’t happened that would lead him to become the greatest arcanist (basically, wizard) who ever lived. 

That was until Kvothe had to give everything up to live a quiet life as an innkeeper. He had no choice: it was his only way to escape a very, very important person who wanted him dead. Now, years had passed, and Kvothe had forgotten who he was. A gifted actor through and through, he plays the part of a simple innkeeper so well that it’s becoming his reality. The only person who has a chance to bring back the Kvothe of legend is the Chronicler, who comes to town and corners Kvothe into telling him his life’s story.

See, “The Name of the Windis told in the same style of “Arabian Nights.” The book starts with introducing Kvothe as an innkeeper, and the rest is him actually telling his story to the Chronicler, with the occasional interjection when people come into the inn to order drinks.

If that weren’t enough to inspire you to start reading, “The Kingkiller Chronicles” is going to be adapted for both a movie and a TV series. Lin-Manuel Miranda will be composing the many songs described in the books. This is about to be the next “Game of Thrones,” and you can quote me on that.

It’s pretty much impossible for me to talk about the plot of this book without giving the whole thing away, as the twist comes close to the beginning. You simply must read it for yourself. All I can say is you can expect the high fantasy elements of the “Lord of the Rings” without all the time spent traveling. You can expect the academic setting of “Harry Potter” without waiting for seven books for the characters to get out of school. You can expect the many languages and extensive lore of “Eragon,” but without the overcomplication that makes that series confusing. 

This book is simply mind-blowing. I haven’t loved a book this much since I was a kid reading “Harry Potter” for the first time. Rothfuss has officially converted me into a fantasy buff. Am I sort of ashamed that I’m obsessed with this book? Yes. Even so, will I ever shut up about it? Probably not.

Everybody has that one book that they think everybody should read. “The Name of the Wind” is mine. This is the best fantasy book written in the last 20 years, and that’s a hill I’m willing to die on.

“The Female Persuasion” Tackles Issues Through Narratives

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About a month ago, I decided to pick up “The Female Persuasion” by Meg Wolitzer while waiting for a coffee. The title intrigued me, and I was just hoping for a quick read–something to do when I finally reach that free space in my tight student schedule. This fictional narrative houses a vast amount of information and lessons in between its artful covers, and kept me wondering, what could possibly happen next? 464 pages later, I’m absolutely thrilled that I gave this book a chance. 

The novel begins by introducing the main character: Greer Kadetsky. Greer is an ambitious college freshman who spends her free time reading and studying. She and her boyfriend, Cory Pinto, decided on different colleges and she just can’t seem to adjust to her new life. Although it proves difficult, these awkward feelings quickly fade when she meets Zee Eisenstat. Zee is the complete opposite of Greer, and immediately pushes Greer to use her voice. She is a political enthusiast and is a dedicated advocate for women and the LGBTQ+ community. Together, they confront many problems that lie in the midst of college life, focusing heavily on sexual assault.

At one point, Zee drags Greer to a college event to hear a famous feminist speak. The woman, Faith Frank, takes a liking to Greer and slips her a business card. Greer occasionally comes into contact with Faith for the rest of her college career until at last, she graduates. Faith immediately enters her life after this, offering Greer a position with her new feminist foundation, Loci. The two work together and Faith watches as Greer becomes more confident and independent under her mentorship.

In the midst of their busy new lives, Greer and Cory face many issues and eventually have to go separate ways. Cory is forced to leave a promising internship and move back home with his mother, where he spends all of his time cleaning and taking care of her. Wolitzer uses Cory’s sacrifice as a way to combat the idea of gender roles, and casts the idea of “manhood” in a new light.

Eventually, the novel switches viewpoints, allowing us to see inside Faith’s past and Zee’s future—both equally as interesting. The reader is able to run through journeys of childbirth, teaching, affairs, disasters and more. Many social issues are tackled with valuable insights into everyday situations that deserve our attention. This all provides satisfying substance as readers are led to the end of the novel, where many undesirable actions are revealed and relationships are tested.

While flipping through these pages, I found myself marking quote after quote with sticky notes. Not only that, but I began writing down the ones that really spoke to me (which was most of them). As a college student, I found many events to be very relatable and inspiring. Not to mention, I also had many instances where I forgot that Faith wasn’t actually my mentor. This book encourages self expression and confidence, which are things that we all deserve. It bypasses any stereotypes and is an amazing read for those of all genders and ages. I will most definitely be recommending this book for years to come. That includes right now, so if you’re reading this, stop by Thomas Library and pick it up.

Imma Let You Finish but “Miss Americana” is on Netflix

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Taylor Swift is known for her songs about breakups and her obsession over cats. But in her new Netflix documentary, “Miss Americana” she talks about her sexual assault case, her political views and her mother’s battle with cancer. Swift is showing fans and others in the world her problems and what her life is really like.  

It seems like only Swift’s loyal fans know about her sexual assault case, that eventually led her to go to court in 2017. During one of Taylor’s meet-and-greets then radio host David Mueller posed with the singer for a picture. Years later, the photo was brought up again, not for memory sake or for remembering years prior, but because the man touched her without her consent in an undesirable place. There is a happy ending to his horrible tale though for Swift, who won her case because of the people on her team.  

With the 2020 elections coming up this year, everyone has politics on their minds, especially Swift. In 2018, Swift showed her support to the Tennessee senator candidate Phil Bredsen who was a democrat in the race by posting her views on her Instagram account. Once Swift told the world about her position in politics, there was a lot of backlash. Everyone thought Swift was a Republican because she is known as. “America’s Sweetheart.” But she seems to be on the democratic side because she doesn’t like President Trump and doesn’t agree with his views.  

Lastly her documentary talks about her mother, Andrea’s, battle with cancer. Andrea Swift was diagnosed with cancer in the year of 2015 and has has battled it on and off for years. In recent news, there has been a horrible development in her mother’s condition. There was a brain tumor discovered in her brain. In the documentary Andrea mentions that once she found out she had cancer, she bought a huge dog. She bought the dog because her two children, Taylor and Austin. have moved out of the house, so it is just Andrea, her dog and her husband, Scott. This was super relatable, at least for me, because I had someone in my family diagnosed with cancer over this past summer.

“Miss Americana” seems to be a very different documentary compared to a lot of the most recent ones. She is honest, open and tells the world the realities of being a person rather than a celebrity. If you watch this documentary, I guarantee that you will shed at least one tear because of how much we learn about Taylor Swift’s life. Once again, this documentary is available to stream on Netflix. It would be a good movie to watch if you just want to relax and take it easy.  

The Dirty Blonde Diaries: Pop That Bubble

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It is that time of the year when everyone has been through at least one semester or more and are looking for things to do, but finding limited options. It’s Ohio and you can’t predict the weather so it’s hard to go outside.

If you could sum up Ohio in one week, it would be this past week. The weather was in the 60’s one day and the next it was snowing and your Dirty Blondes were enjoying their snow day.

You also are just now getting your classes under control giving you more free time. What should you do with the immense free-time filled with opportunities? Explore.

Outside of Wittenberg is an amazing city that has so much to offer when you give it a chance. Many of you drive to campus through low-income areas and see the rough edges of Springfield. You use that perception to create a negative connotation of the city. But we are here to tell you that it is wrong! Springfield is an amazing city with a lot of cool places and things to do. Instead of judging the book by its cover, take a step back, pop the bubble and go outside the limits of the campus. 

Now you may be asking, okay I am outside the limits, but what do I do now? Let us tell you. The options are unlimited (to the city limits of course). If you want a good pizza hit up Station 1, of course. If you’re down for a good day at the brewery venture to Mother Stewarts. In the mood for some art? Go to the Art Museum (It is free for students).

If you like learning about the past, the Springfield Heritage Center is right downtown, within walking distance from campus and is run on donations. You can learn about the booming city that Springfield once was.

Maybe you want great coffee and place to do homework? Go to Winans. Maybe follow it up with a nice sandwich from Salato (if you have not been there, go… right now). But those are just food and beverage options. Springfield also has several festivals, farmers’ markets and events around holidays or even just for the fun of it.

Springfield is doing a lot of amazing things to turn this town into something unique. It is already a hidden gem, you just have to find it. You may have heard of something called COhatch, they are popping up all over Ohio. These are really interesting places that repurpose old buildings into meeting spaces, community kitchens, pop-up shops,, and so much more. A COhatch is being built downtown as we speak. It is called the COhatch Market; the COhatch community has repurposed the old Myer’s Market, which was once the largest and oldest market in America, and they are turning it into a useful space that will have unique opportunities. Once this is up and running, you will not want to miss out. 

To sum it up, get out and enjoy Springfield. You are living in another city for four years of your life, go explore. Your dirty blonde friends enjoy doing homework outside at the Buck Creek Reservoir on warm days and watching as the sunsets over the water. There is beauty everywhere, go find it. 

Enjoy the world, 

Your Dirty Blondes 

P.S here is the link to the Springfield event calendar for 2020. 

https://www.visitgreaterspringfield.com/events/calendar

Bendigo Fletcher Offers Stunning Concert Experience

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Last fall, I stumbled across a Louisville, KY-based group that called themselves Bendigo Fletcher. Being a native Kentuckian living out of his element in central Ohio, the group’s syncretic blend of bluegrass, folk and rock was deeply nostalgic, calling back to breathtaking Appalachian vistas that sheltered me for the first 18 years of my life.

The band’s twin EP’s, 2018’s “Consensual Wisdom” and 2019’s “Memory Fever” came packed with these gorgeous, earthy sounds that grounded me to my roots. I enjoyed “Memory Fever” enough to add it to my ever-expanding vinyl collection the day it released in record stores. The breezy, captivating bluegrass sounds the group offers on their studio productions perfectly capture the ethos of Appalachia and life in the Bluegrass State.

When the opportunity arose to travel to my home town of Lexington, KY to see the group perform live, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The Burl, a concert venue that is little more than a barn nestled in in Lexington’s Distillery District, offered a homey, authentic atmosphere to house the show. At capacity in a standing room only space and bending the wooden floorboards, every member of the audience was sweatily packed together in a carefree union that transcended personal space. Tobacco smoke and whiskey hung heavy in the air and a low murmur of conversation filled any empty space, only adding to The Burl’s thick Appalachian atmosphere.

Buck the Taxidermist, a Lexington-based group reminiscent of a folkier Modest Mouse, and Cara Louise, a St. Louis singer with a unique, indie-country flare, opened for the headliner, each offering their own take on rural sounds, feelings and culture. A stained-glass tree inset in the wooden wall framed center stage, backlighting each artist with a symbolic callback to the simplest of rural staples.

The performance Bendigo Fletcher offered was nothing short of transcendent. From the moment they stepped onto the tiny stage, the group commanded every member of the audience to sway with the beat and harmonize with the wild vocal riffs that lead singer Ryan Anderson let loose into the venue. Every second felt organic, as if they were playing each note for the first time. Anderson didn’t stick to the melodies, harmonies and notes laid out in the band’s studio versions of songs like “Soul Factory” and “To the Red River.” Building up to the chorus in the former piece, Anderson seemed to forget the lyrics, pausing to ask the audience for help. Moments like these highlighted not the imperfection of the band, but the pure simplicity and genuineness of Bendigo Fletcher. The raw emotion and the traditional storytelling offered a new take on a very old sound that not even the band’s studio recordings could quite convey.

“Solar Eclipse 8/12/17,” the acoustic-led track that introduced me to Bendigo Fletcher’s art, hung a little closer to the group’s studio-produced sound, but even still offered a dimension through live performance that the recorded version couldn’t hope to capture.

The group closed their performance with “Wonderfully Bizarre,” their live rendition of which threw out almost everything except for the song’s lyrics, swapping slow, acoustic melodies with blaring guitar riffs and quiet but soaring harmonies with roaring, wild vocals, commanding the audience more than ever to move in unison to the music. The song’s live performance encapsulated everything the group means to me and then some.

With their soliloquies on and eulogies of Appalachian life, Bendigo Fletcher has fully captivated me. Their studio music has brought me peace and comfort even as I live out of my element in Springfield, OH, and enlightened me with nostalgia for my own youth in the rural wilds of the hills. Their live performance at The Burl, though, was an experience beyond my words description. It was beauty, peace, pain and love all in one. It was pure, unapologetic joy, an artistic experience like I have never enjoyed before. Perhaps Bendigo Fletcher’s art isn’t for everyone—but it certainly is for me.

From Bach to Irish Fiddle Tunes: Student Artist Recital

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Wittenberg community members gathered in Krieg Hall to hear the music of the four musicians performing at the student artist recital last Wednesday.

The drawn curtains over the rear windows let only minimal light into the recital hall that regularly hosts this recurring musical event. The dimly lit room in concert with the overhead spotlight created an intimate setting for the recital.

The first of the four performers was clarinetist, Jillian Poska (’21). She began the concert with a mysterious and dramatic piece by composer, Alan Hovhaness.

“I like it because it lets me demonstrate my strengths in musicality and playing in the lower register,” Poska said.

Poska, a biochemistry major and a music minor, has been playing the clarinet since the fourth grade. She explained that her performed piece was recommended to her by her clarinet instructor. As a member of the Wittenberg Symphonic Band, Poska said that “American Elegy” by Frank Ticheli is her favorite piece to be performed by an ensemble. She is currently working on a treasured solo for her Spring Jury—an adjudicated performance required for music majors and minors.

Following Poska’s solo was a duet performed by cellist Annemarie Brier (’21) and Professor and Music Audition Coordinator, Daniel Kazez. Brier, a music education major, has been playing the cello for 12 years. She performed the third movement of Vivaldi’s second sonata; a slow yet beautiful piece with a melodic opening. Brier explained how she was happy to be playing her cello again as the aftermath of a car accident prevented her from performing this piece last semester.

Succeeding a round of applause, attendees received a taste of Ireland as soloist Molly Moran (’22) performed a lively selection of fiddle music. Audience members watched as Moran smiled and tapped her foot along to the beat of three Irish tunes. Moran, a sophomore music education major, has been playing the fiddle for nearly seven years. She explained that the selection she composed included some of her favorite jam session tunes: “Calliope House,” St. Anne’s Reel” and “The Mason’s Apron.” On top of her impressive performance, this year Moran has embarked on a challenge to upload a new fiddle tune to her Facebook page every day. Check out her daily uploads @mollymoranmusic.

The final performance of the recital was by pianist Zachary Howe (’22). Howe played a lengthy piece by famed musician Johann Sebastian Bach entitled “The Goldberg Variations.” This seminal piece included a variety of tempos, repeating melodies and examples of dissonance—the clash that results from playing two disharmonious notes.

Following a round of applause, many audience members stood to converse with the musicians and express their admiration for their performances. Professor and Department Chair, Brandon Jones, was especially pleased with the variety of pieces showcased at the recital.

“I continue to be proud of the work our music students are doing and the excellent instruction they receive,” Jones remarked. “This breadth and depth of literature and the high level with which it was performed was an encapsulation of the musicianship of our students.”

Later this month, the Wittenberg Choir, Wittenberg Singers and the Wittenberg Symphonic band will be teaming up to perform a preview concert for prospective music students. This overnight event is intended to demonstrate the variety of music ensembles available for students at Wittenberg. The Wittenberg Symphonic band will be performing tunes from the preview concert, as well as a few other pieces in Weaver Chapel for their Spring Concert at 7:30 on Friday Feb. 21. March is yet another popular month for the music department with a student artist recital, a horn quartet, two faculty artist recitals and multiple senior music recitals.

Students Protest the Board of Directors Mixer

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On Thursday night, board members made small-talk over crab tartes in Geil Lounge while dozens of students surrounded them with picket signs and protest chants.

“I’ve been here 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Molly Wood, professor of history said.

The board of directors invited faculty and staff to a catered mixer from 5:15-6:15p.m. Student protesters surrounded the railings above them in response to the non-renewal of several faculty contracts. 

Posters displayed messages such as, “Professors=Retention,” “All in for Your Money,” and “Having Light, we Pass it on to Others” with an image of The Steemer and Myers Hall in flames.

For 25 minutes, the board and faculty socialized over 16 bottles of wine, bins of beer and a spread of hors d’oeuvres without interruption. Some faculty did not acknowledge the protesters, others offered thumbs-ups to the students from below, some stood at the railings with the students, others stood behind everything in the closest space they could find to a neutral zone.

“I hate to cross picket lines,” Brian Shelbourne, professor of computer science said. He was one of those standing at the back of the student center. “Both sides have good points.”

At 5:40, the chanting began. “Our professors matter” became the anthem of the evening as students filed down the stairs and stood around Geil Lounge, inches from the board members. Most of the faculty and board conversations continued over the chanting.

Face-to-face, protesters saw the board members. They saw the faculty. But they did not see their president. At 5:59, a new chant began: “President Frandsen, come down.” At 6:01, he did.

Frandsen’s few words to the protesters were to introduce the chair of the board, Rev. Jonathan Eilert, who addressed the group.

“We hear you, and we agree with you,” Eilert said. “Our professors do matter.”

He explained the desire of the board to make Wittenberg sustainable for future years “because we love this place,” he said. “It takes a lot of work, and it’s going to take sacrifices that none of us want to make.”

Following Eilert’s speech, students and faculty engaged directly with board members.

“How can you all sit down here and drink wine and eat fondue, or whatever, while your students are out here chanting?” asked Erykah Andrews (’20). “How can you ignore that?”

Janet Jackson was one of the first board members to speak. “If this board doesn’t take care of these issues, this university is going to close,” she said. She told students to ask their professors about the process of tenure in determining the faculty cuts and to better understand the process.

In immediate response professor of English Sha’Dawn Battle and professor of philosophy Julius Bailey said that the real issue was not the tenure process, but administration.

“This isn’t a tenure question. This is a mismanagement question,” Bailey said.

The word “mismanagement” appeared again and again during conversations on both sides of the railing.

“It was decades of poor management that have led us to this place,” Rachel Wilson, professor of business and economics said after the mixer. “There’s potential for your accreditation to be at stake if you don’t get your house in order. There’s no winning.”

Several faculty members stated that the current crisis has been the result of 15-20 years of financial mismanagement. Eilert also said that these financial issues have been ongoing for “several years.”

Regardless of the cause or the blame, the board and faculty expressed that there was more to the full financial picture than protesters realized.

“I appreciate the students’ concerns, and I wish they had all of the info in detail,” Ray Dudek professor of chemistry, said. “We’re staffed for a university of 1,800 students. We’ve got closer to 1,600 or 1,500.” Dudek said that students and the board seem as though they are pitted against each other, when in reality they are working toward the same goal.

Associate professor of communications Katie Warber agreed.

“Making sure [students] have accurate information is important. I’m not sure that’s necessarily the case,” Warber said.

She recommends that students find this information from student representatives who serve on committees where students have representation.

To aid in information accessibility, Eilert told the protesters he “would be happy” to meet with Student Senate and to hold an open forum for students. Student Senate executives had lunch with the board earlier that day.

The confrontation lasted nearly eight minutes, and afterward, chanting of “our professors matter” resumed until the board and Frandsen left the lounge. By 6:15, all that remained in Geil were protesters and platters of unfinished tartes. The leftover spread quickly became a reception for students, who walked away with plates of potato dip and entire trays of garlic bread.

“If you needed any more proof that our students are learning the right things at this university, all you had to do was come here tonight,” Scot Hinson professor of English, said.

Despite the disputes, Thursday night served as a reminder that empathy exists on both sides of the issue. Board members hugged Nikki Howard (’20) as she handed them a nine page letter expressing her disagreement with the cuts. They also comforted Jessica Pinkerton (’21) after she stated during the confrontation that the faculty cuts had given her excessive panic attacks. 

The protest also allowed the board to see the people impacted by these cuts. “The board necessarily deals with spreadsheets and numbers and the bottom line,” said Wood, “and they don’t see the human side of the effect that their decisions have. It’s the real situation–decisions based on finances alone have real human consequences.” 

The protest was initiated by several students, including Olivia Riddle (’21), Andrews, Pinkerton and Nathan Schwartz (’20). Riddle, Andrews and Pinkerton helped to organize the protest with less than one day’s notice before the event, and Schwartz raised awareness through an open letter he manually sent to every student and faculty member on Thursday afternoon. 

Following the protest, Eilert said that the board welcomes opportunities over the next several months to engage in constructive dialogue with students. He will be holding a meeting with faculty on Thursday, Feb. 13, and according to Eilert, Student Senate is trying to coordinate a student forum for that afternoon. 

According to Riddle and Pinkerton, student statements such as this are far from over.

Note: The Torch is currently following up with board members, Student Senate and faculty regarding the issues raised at the protest, such as the faculty manual and the questions of mismanagement and diversity prioritization.

Men’s Volleyball Tops Hiram After Loss

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Wittenberg Men's Volleyball faces Hiram College on Feb. 8, 2020.

Men’s volleyball ended their week with a sweep over Hiram College to begin conference play. After the Tigers began the week with a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Mount Union.

Mount Union

The Tigers started their week on the road facing Mount Union on Thursday, Feb. 6. Wittenberg fell to the Raiders in four sets. The Tigers took control of the match early as they held at least three-point lead over Mount Union for the majority of the first set. The Tigers pulled away from the Raiders as Jackson Tyler (’20) served an ace to the Raiders to help the Tigers lead the set, 12-8. Tyler led the Tigers’ offensive production against the Raiders as he earned 13 kills. The Tigers won the first set 25-19, and then disappeared as they dropped the second set, 19-25. Wittenberg fought hard during the third set, as they created a 18-16 lead over the Raiders. Mount Union then stole the momentum from underneath the Tigers’ heels, winning three straight points for a 18-19 lead.

Neither the Tigers nor Raiders wished to back down as the third set needed extra points for finalization. The Tigers seceded the third set, 25-27 to the Raiders of Mount Union.

The third sets loss broke the Tigers spirit as they lagged in the fourth set. The closest the Tigers came to a fourth set win was in the final few points as they pulled within three points. Noah Wissel (’20) helped lead the wya for the Tigers with 44 of their 50 assists for the day. Mount Union enjoyed the Tigers for dinner as they captured the fourth set, 20-25, and handed the ninth loss of the season to Wittenberg.

Hiram

The Tigers returned home following Thursday’s loss to Mount Union to face the Terriers of Hiram College in the first game of their conference schedule. This game also marked the start of the Tigers final year in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference as Wittenberg will be returning to the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League for the 2021 season. Wittenberg will be joining Baldwin-Wallace and Wabash in the MCVL of for the 2021 season. The MCVL is currently home to Adrian, Mount St. Joseph, Mount Union, Trine, Fontbonne, and Olivet. The Tigers played in the MCVL from 2016 to 2018 before moving to the AMCC in 2019.

The Tigers returned to the Pam Evans Smith Arenas sporting new uniforms.

“We look good, we play good,” said Tyler of the team’s first outing with the new uniforms, and the Tigers took that saying to heart and struck early against Hiram, building a six-point lead in the first set. The Terriers cowered in fear as the Tigers used the opportunity to practice their kills. Tyler earned a career high 20 kills during the match, but credited the passers, including Wissel, with his success during a post-game interview with Wittenberg Athletics. Wissel accounted for 36 of the Tigers’ 43 assists with Fred Halper (’23) accounting for five and Tyler claiming the final assist for the three sets. The Tigers won the first set, 25-18.

The second set started lopsided as the Tigers continued to practice their kills against the Terriers. In an interview after the match, head coach Ryan Thompson praised the time spent on offense in practice as the Tigers killed 47 of 88 balls in three sets. The momentum began to shift away from the Tigers as Hiram killed two balls and enjoyed an attack error by Collin Buelow (’22) to pull themselves within one-point. The Tigers called a timeout as they held a narrow 17-16 lead. Hiram enjoyed the short break and won four points in a row to earn their first lead of the match. The Tigers responded with four points of their own to tie the set at 22, before nailing the set closed with a 26-24 win off a Hiram ball handling error.

The Tigers’ third set was hard fought as they battled closely for the lead early. The Tigers created a seven-point lead before leaping into the air for kills as they smashed the Terriers spirit. The Tigers won the third set, 25-17.

Men’s Volleyball is currently 1-0 in conference play while they hold a 4-9 record overall. The Tigers head south to face Mount St. Joseph this Saturday at 1:00pm in a non-conference match-up. The Tigers then return to the Pam Evans Smith Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 11 to face Mount Union at 7 p.m.

Candlemas Sheds Light on Christian Traditions

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Candlemas, a Medieval Candlelight Vespers service celebrated in Weaver Chapel, was a brief recollection of early Medieval Catholic services. The chapel, a perfect setting for a service traditionally held in cathedrals, was lit only by candlelight. While instrumentalists playing medieval music filled the space with music reminiscent of Lord of the Rings.

Each member of the congregation was also given a small candle that was lit at the beginning of the service by the processional and used to read the service programs throughout.

Candlemas, also referred to as “The Presentation of our Lord in the Temple,” is “one of the oldest festivals in the Epiphany Season,” according to the event program. The service alternated between the choir, instrumentalists and the speaker, Pastor Andy Tune, who read Bible passages and writings from the 12th century. To further evoke the medieval event, Pastor Tune chanted Bible Passages in a monotone. Chanting the passages carried the words much farther and more clearly in a large, echoing space like a cathedral than if they were spoken.

The four instrumentalists sat at the front of the chapel and performed various religious pieces, including several different recorders (of a much higher caliber than the types everyone had to play in elementary school); a gemshorn, an instrument that was originally made out of a hollowed-out horn with holes carved into; a crumhorn which is a curved wooden instrument and a viola da gamba, a stringed instrument similar to the cello.

The choir also performed songs, which were performed mostly in a call-and-response. As religious music, and music in general, was still in the earliest stages of development when these songs were written, the songs were very simple, with no harmony and very little rhythmic variety.

Students, faculty and community members alike all gathered to enjoy this unique celebration and catch a glimpse into the days of early Christianity.

Box Scores: Feb. 3-Feb. 9

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Men’s Basketball

2.5.20 1 2 Final
Denison (7-13) 22 37 59
Wittenberg (19-1) 45 55 100
2.8.20 1 2 Final
Wittenberg (20-1) 36 47 83
Kenyon (6-15) 32 31 63

Women’s Basketball

2.7.20 1 2 3 4 Final
Wittenberg (15-6) 25 10 17 16 68
Hiram (7-14) 16 14 11 19 60
2.8.20 1 2 3 4 Final
Wittenberg (16-6) 27 27 20 16 90
Allegheny (7-14) 11 23 16 18 68

Men’s Volleyball

2.6.20 1 2 3 4 Final
Wittenberg (3-9) 25 19 25 20 1
Mount Union (6-0) 19 25 27 20 3
2.8.20 1 2 3 Final
Hiram (3-4) 18 24 17 0
Wittenberg (4-9) 25 26 25 3

Men’s Track & Field

2.8.20 Bob Shannon Invitational – 17 Events Scored Points
1 Case Western 129.5
2 Ohio Wesleyan 121
3 Wittenberg 90
4 Denison 88
5 Thomas More 69
6 Wooster 44.5
7 Capital 37
8 Kenyon 27
9 Muskingum 15
10 Washington & Jefferson 9

Women’s Track & Field

2.8.20 Bob Shannon Invitational – 17 Events Scored Points
1 Ohio Wesleyan 165
2 Case Western 96
3 Wittenberg 81
4 Kenyon 60
5 Thomas More 54
6 Washington & Jefferson 43
7 Wooster 41.5
8 Denison 39.5
9 Capital 30
10 Muskingum 15

“Hunger Games” Prequel Surrounded by Controversy

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The “Hunger Games” is coming back to the silver screens, but this time without the girl on fire.

Last year, Scholastic announced that “Hunger Games” author, Suzanne Collins, had written a prequel to her largely successful trilogy. The book titled, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is set to be released to the public in May. While it would seem that die-hard “Hunger Games” fans would be thrilled at this announcement, a curious choice for the new book’s centralizing character has left many craving for something else.

Since the release of the first book, the “Hunger Games” franchise has experienced tremendous success globally. The famed four-movie franchise based on the best-selling books earned nearly three billion dollars worldwide and won a variety of awards. The series centralized around a televised tournament in which twenty-four competitors—or tributes—aged twelve to eighteen were selected to fight to the death until a lone victor remained. Fiery underdog and protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, capitalized upon her arrow-firing abilities to become a victor of the seventy-fourth Hunger Games and the hero of a rebellion. The series concluded with an overtake of the oppressive capital and the ending of the televised games, where many children lost their lives.

The upcoming prequel is set sixty-four years before the original series and will follow the early life of “Hunger Games” President Coriolanus Snow, whose active role in the Hunger Games show and nasty habit of poisoning people made him the villain of the trilogy. The unusual decision to provide the backstory of the monstrous dictator and not the backstory of any of the other fan favorites, is already turning readers away from the book. Adding to the controversy is a statement provided by Entertainment Weekly that explains how young Snow will not only be the protagonist but the unlikely hero of this prequel. Fans quickly took to the internet to voice their outrage and many have already expressed that they have no desire to read the upcoming book.

After speaking to a few Wittenberg students, it appears that they do not share the rage expressed by many of the die-hard fans, but are still disappointed with the premise. Anna Crichton (’21) explained how she would read the book, but believes that the plot is, if nothing else, dangerous.

“Should that narrative be explored?” Crichton asked. “Should you be sympathizing with people who cause such terrible things to occur?” Crichton voiced her concern with robbing readers of the decision to determine if Snow’s later actions could ever be excused by his past. She believes that a decision of that magnitude should always be reserved for the reader. Additionally, Crichton agrees that there were many other characters whose backstories she would have preferred to read. As a history major, she especially expressed her interest in the history of the twelve districts and hopes the prequel will explain some aspects of the districts that were unanswered in the original series.

Jessica Pinkerton (’22) explained how she would read the prequel if she had time. Pinkerton explained how she had some difficulty initially getting invested in the original trilogy, as she read it during “a phase, where it came and went from my life, like it seemed to culturally.” Despite the challenge she had originally connecting with the books, she agreed “the series was intriguing, if only because of the cultural impact it seemed to have.”

With rumors that Lionsgate entertainment company will be turning the prequel into a movie, only time will tell the success of this latest “Hunger Games” installment. Though the initial reactions seem harsh, there may still be hope that this new book can satisfy a portion of the fans’ appetites.

The Weekly Tiger: The Impossibility of Senior Year

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Some of my most loyal fans might have noticed that there wasn’t a column in last week’s issue and I must apologize, the craziness of academia got the best of me. But, missing last week’s publication got me thinking about how ridiculous second semester senior year truly is.

As an underclassmen, I heard a lot about how second semester senior year was a cake walk because most people just took leftover general education classes that they held off for so long. Boy was I wrong. Our very own Editor-in-Chief, Clay Waidelich (’20), is a perfect example of sleepless kinds of schedules second semester seniors have. Not only is he student teaching, waking up before the sun rises in the morning to teach until 3 p.m., but he’s also writing an English honors thesis. The honors thesis in the English department is no small feat. The project is a yearlong endeavor, instead of just one semester, and is a minimum of 50 pages long. Not to mention the countless hours spent pouring over secondary sources to build your argument. I have no idea how he does it. 

Another aspect of second semester senior year that no one seems to take into consideration when warning underclassmen is the time spent applying to graduate schools, studying for the GRE, MCAT or LSAT and applying to jobs. It’s hard to dedicate so much time to something that has such a delayed reward. When you work on homework, you’re rewarded just a few days later by being ready and well-prepared for class. When you study for the MCAT, for example, you spent hours upon hours reviewing material and reading study books on top of your regular homework for the night but you don’t see any payoff for your hard work studying until months later and, even then, the rewarding feeling isn’t nearly as impactful. 

But wait, there’s more. Your senior year thesis and capstone take a lot of time too. I’m writing an English thesis as well as taking a 400-level research class, which is essentially my capstone for Psychology. Both projects will take all semester and are essentially operating on the same timeline. How neat is that.

In an attempt to prevent this column from being too rant driven, I wanted to warn underclassmen about second semester senior year specifically. First semester senior year almost doesn’t feel real and you’ll want to soak it all in before second semester zooms by, but I highly advise that you do at least some work towards your post graduate life. Take the standardized test that your desired profession requires, apply to graduate schools, even if you only apply to a few and you’re not really all that sure you’d go to those schools anyways, apply anyways. Staring at a lengthy to-do list at the beginning of your last semester at Witt is extremely daunting and something I’ve cried over many times already. 

But don’t worry, you’ll sleep when you’re dead.

Weaver Chapel Responds to Theft of Rainbow Banner

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If you stole the rainbow banners from the chapel last October, you did more than steal banners. You threatened the message that on Wittenberg’s campus, all are beloved. 

That is what the banners said: You are Beloved. Deacon Dan Jacob hung up the first banner outside of the chapel on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Two days later there was nothing left but a steak knife on the ground beside where the banner had been, and the banner’s jagged edges still screwed onto its frame. The banner represented the chapel’s support of LGBT History Month in October.

One police report later, the chapel ordered a second, identical banner: big white letters over a wavy rainbow, but this time with “sponsored by the Pastor’s Office” at the bottom. Jacob posted the banner the following Tuesday. It was again gone by Thursday.

“We had made a statement of support across campus, and that statement of support had been torn down,” Jacob said. “The overall sense that this campus is a safe place in which to celebrate all people–that had come under attack.”

These attacks spurred conversations with the Gender and Sexual Diversity Alliance (GSDA), Joshua Moore and the McClain Center, the library, student development and various students across campus. 

A result of these conversations was an email from President Frandsen to all of campus which stated, “While we do not know the intent of the perpetrators (targeted? dare from friends?), we do know the impact – these acts hurt and demean LGBTQIA+ members of our community.”

While Frandsen and the chapel urge the culprits to come forward and reconcile with the chapel and the LGBTQIA+ community, the chapel still maintains contact with Wittenberg Police Chief Jim Hutchinson, who has a few leads in the ongoing investigation.

Jacob also noted that in the same timeline, a rainbow flag had been stolen from the library lobby’s October display, giving all stolen items one thing in common: rainbows.

“It’s possible this was done by a secret society,” Jacob said. “Knowing that one of the secret societies maintains the rainbow as one of its symbols, the banners could have been a trophy of their secret society. That doesn’t change any of the other things we have thought about or wanted to say to campus.”

While the chapel has the same message for campus, the incidents have made it more difficult for this message to be said. “It’s made us hesitant to say what we believe is true,” Jacob said. “That all students are welcomed and truly beloved by God regardless of their sexual orientation, race or even religion.”

The chapel has sent its message of welcome in new ways this year. As one example, the chapel worked with GSDA, Taylor Benford (’22) and Oliver Gietzen (’22) to bring Pastor Avery to campus for Trans Day of Remembrance.  

Jacob urged the campus to show their support for the LGBT+ community by attending their events and supporting one another, concrete ways that cannot be torn down.

Women’s Basketball Defeats Kenyon

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Wittenberg Women's Basketball faces Kenyon College on Feb. 1, 2020 for their annual Tiger Pal Game.

Women’s basketball defeated the ladies of Kenyon College, 46-65 on Saturday, Feb. 1. The Tigers returned home following a 57-45 defeat last Wednesday, Jan. 29 on the road against No. 4 DePauw.

The Tigers started the first quarter at full speed, as they quickly took a 2-7 lead in the first two minutes off shots from Kristie Kalis (’21), Korynne Berner (’20), and Riley Culver (’20). The Tigers kept Kenyon at an arm’s length for much of the quarter until the Ladies brought the game within one with 1:22 left in the first. The Tigers held a slim 10-11 lead over the Ladies, until Delaney Williams (’21) made a layup with 38 seconds left. The Tigers outshot the Ladies in the first quarter, completing five of 12 field goals and one of three three-pointers.

Wittenberg started off the second quarter on the wrong foot as Berner gave up the ball to the Ladies, who then missed a layup. This set the tone for the second half as The Tigers lead eroded. Kenyon made a three-pointer and a layup to take the lead, 15-14, with seven left in the first half. The Tigers clawed back a slim lead off a layup by Kalis, which was canceled out by a Kenyon layup on their next possession. Kenyon held the lead 17-16 with six minutes to play. The Tigers kept within striking distance even as the Kenyon Ladies increased their lead to 23-18.

The Tigers clawed back within three as Culver sank a jump shot. Kalis tied the game at 23 with 2:23 left in the half as she drained a three-pointer. Kalis placed The Tigers on top again as she dropped a jump shot with 1:09 left in the half. Tigers led the Ladies, 23-25, at the half.

Wittenberg returned from the locker room refreshed after halftime and continued their offensive onslaught as Williams sank a three-pointer within the first 45 seconds of the third quarter. The score remained unchanged for two minutes until Kalis snagged a defensive rebound and passed to Culver who drained a jump shot. Williams kept the momentum going by stealing from the Ladies and getting the ball into the hands of Berner for a layup.

Kenyon then halted progress by calling a timeout, but the Tigers were unaffected as Williams made a three-pointer to lead Kenyon, 23-35 with 5:43 left in the third. Wittenberg’s scoring run was finally ended at 19 points as Kenyon scored the first two of their eight points in the third with 3:42 left. The Tigers led Kenyon, 27-39. Abigail Yunker (’21) increased the Tigers lead to 30-41 with 1:41 left and managed to draw a foul, sending her to the line. Yunker shot 100% for free throws on the night, making all five of her attempts. The Tigers ended the quarter leading the Ladies, 31-47.

Kenyon started the fourth quarter off with a bang as they completed a three-pointer in the first 23 seconds. Tigers led 34-47. The score then remained unchanged until a Kenyon foul sent Samantha Wyatt (’22) to the line for two. Kenyon then went on a five-point run which brought them within ten points. The Tigers responded as Berner went vertical for a layup with 7:14 left in the game. Berner was sent to the line nearly a minute later off a Kenyon foul and made both of her free throws. Wittenberg led Kenyon, 39-53 with 6:36 left to play.

Kenyon failed to respond to the Tigers’ attacks in the fourth quarter until there were two minutes to play, pulling the lead within 20 points off a two-point jump shot. Tigers led the Ladies, 41-61.

The Tigers kept possession of the ball for the majority of the final two minutes.  Head Coach Kelly Mahlum also pulled several players off her bench for the final few minutes including Mone’t Allen (’23), who accounted for The Tigers’ last five points.

“Its always great when you can get players in at the end, [Allen] has been working hard since the beginning of the season, and we haven’t been able to get her on the floor,” Mahlum said in a post-game interview with Wittenberg Athletics. “And it’s so good to see that she is able to see some of that work pay off.”

The Tigers’ were led by Kalis who accounted for 16 points. Berner achieved a double-double, with 10 rebounds and 12 points. The Tigers outshot Kenyon, completing 41.8% compared to the Ladies 31.6%. The Tigers are hitting the road Friday to face Hiram at 6pm, before heading into Pennsylvania to face the Gators of Allegheny on Saturday at 4pm.

Hagen Center Leads Middle Schoolers in MLK Day of Service

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Dozens of middle school students filled Shouvlin Center classrooms to learn how they can be advocates in the Springfield community during the MLK Day of Service on Saturday, Feb. 1.

The Hagen Center event, planned by students Mackenzie Hill (’20) and Caroline Warner (’20), brought together the student council from Roosevelt Middle School and the builder’s club from Hayward Middle School. Kristen Collier, director of the Hagen Center, said the intention of the program was to bring together the students from these different schools so they can get to know each other before they all attend the same high school.

“They can recognize familiar faces since they’re all going to be wildcats together,” Collier said. 

In the spirit of meeting new friends, the first part of the day was a get-to-know-you activity. Students were asked to change one thing about their appearance and took turns guessing what was different about each person. Whether a student took off their shoes or unbuttoned their jacket, the event used this to teach the importance of noticing small details in their relationships.

The activity was followed by an education station that discussed with students the advocacy work of Martin Luther King Jr. and how individual talents can be used for community and worldwide advocacy.

According to Sarah Hartman (’21), a Wittenberg volunteer at the event, the middle-schoolers offered unique perspectives, discussing the importance of bringing new people into advocacy and the importance of advocating for issues such as homelessness. For most students, this is not their first event at Wittenberg.

Wittenberg volunteers led these discussions, and students were split into groups based on their interests in advocacy–environmental, hunger, education and housing. Their interests and talents were used to form civic action plans that can be implemented in their communities. By the end of the morning, students had posters outlining action plans and were sharing their philanthropic ideas.

“This generation is the one that will change some of our issues,” Hartman said. “They want to connect. It’s important for Witt students to know that people in this community want to connect.”

Advocacy was incorporated into the day through the general discussion as well as a rendition of “No Matter What, I’m Gonna Keep on Praisin’ the Lord” by the Imani Gospel Choir that was performed at the MLK Convocation last week. The event also featured vistas from Promise Neighborhood and guests from Springfield City Schools to help connect campus to community.

Jared Thorne Captures Attention of Wittenberg Community

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Students and faculty gathered in Kissell auditorium for a lecture by visiting artist and photographer, Jared Thorne, last Monday. Thorne is a current associate Art professor at The Ohio State University. Prior to teaching at Ohio State, Thorne taught for five years in South Africa. He received his bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Dartmouth College and his Fine Arts Master from Columbia University. As a photographer, Thorne “seeks to challenge hegemonic as well as self-imposed constructs of Black identity in America and beyond.”

Over a hundred individuals listened as Thorne began his presentation with an ode to deceased basketball star, Kobe Bryant. While Thorne mentioned his life-long admiration for the athlete, he also highlighted the dropped sexual assault case that Bryant was involved in. Thorne’s purpose for including this controversial information was to inform the audience about the events that make up an individual’s legacy. While Bryant will undoubtedly be remembered for his successful career, the other potentially grim details about his life will also not be forgotten.

Thorne’s curiosity with the dangers of romanticizing athletes was also the inspiration for his project, “The Biggest Colored Show on Earth;” the project in which Thorne painted troubled sports figures in blackface to examine the role of black masculinity in society. One of these images is of a Tiger Woods figurine; the professional golfer who admitted to having multiple affairs. Images from the project can be found on Jared Thorne’s website.

Another one of the projects that Thorne discussed was his work photographing twenty-six Planned Parenthood facilities throughout the state of Ohio. Thorne explained how “contemplating the power and desire manifest” in the Ohioan landscape and architecture was the inspiration for the project. He stressed his curiosity with the strategic locations of these facilities and the stigma associated with Planned Parenthood.

Though Thorne’s work may seem controversial to some, to many Wittenberg students and faculty, his work enables important conversations about a variety of cultural and societal issues.

“Art can allow for recognition to happen,” Wittenberg Art professor Elena Dahl said. “You can’t ignore it if it is screaming in your face.”

Even at a small liberal arts institution like Wittenberg, Dahl pressed that Thorne’s photography, and the resulting conversations about his work, can insist on change to happen. The communicative nature of Thorne’s work stems from his decision to capture the aspects and individuals of a culture that has been historically overlooked.

“Black history is an artform that is not necessarily pretty, but the truth,” Wittenberg student Lauren Faircloth (’21) said. Thorne’s tenacious decision to not shy away from controversial issues is in part a response to the growing dialogue about the type of work artists should be producing. As a photographer, Dahl explains the complexity of choosing to display artwork that is guaranteed to upset many viewers.

“It is a fine line to walk between getting your work ignored,” Dahl said. “I can show you how to photograph, but people like him can make art.” While Thorne may be walking that “fine line,” his work continues to be exhibited globally.

Following the presentation, attendees were invited to a reception in the Ann Miller Gallery where Thorne’s exhibit, “Excerpts,” has been on display since the beginning of January. Thorne describes his project as an examination of “the Black experiences in America with a specific focus on the nation’s cultural and structural responses to black bodies.” The exhibit includes twelve large-scale photographs and stars a few well-known Black figures. A piece entitled “44” features President Barack Obama and another entitled “MLK” features the historic reverend. The exhibit will be on display until Feb. 14.