Indoor track and field season concludes at MACs

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Hood students who obtained a specific goal headed to Lehigh University to compete in the indoor track and field MAC Championship meet.
Students competed in a variety of events from weight throwing and shot put to 60 meter dashes and 5k runs. 14 of the 15 athletes qualified for the meet.
Attendee Colin Shields said, “The MAC Championship gave me a new appreciation for track and field. I was amazed by how far some events were like the 3200 meter run, which is 16 laps around the 200-meter track. I witnessed an event called the weight for the first time, which I had never seen or heard of before. It was basically like a heavy ball attached to a string that athletes would throw almost in the same motion they’d throw the discus. It was overall a lot of fun watching the best athletes from all MAC schools compete in the championship.”
Senior Jeremiah Ratliff finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.92 seconds and 10th in the triple jump with a mark of 12.72 meters.
Zack Corssey, a sophomore, finished ninth in the mile and 11th in the 800-meter dash.
The men’s 4×400 finished in 10th place by senior Rafel Zamora, junior R.J. Tucker, Corssey, and Ratliff. Overall, the men placed 12th at the meet.
The women competed a tight game. Junior Jackie Mangona tied for sixth in the pentathlon. Her highest score for the competition was in the 60-meter hurdles.
Freshman Danielle Pitts finished 10th in the shot put by throwing it 9.96 meters.
Junior Andrea Christmas and senior Jill Heymann both competed in the triple jump. Heymann got 18th place with a jump of 9.81 meters, and Christmas 22nd at 9.22 meters.
For senior Aleyna Fitz, her first and last season of indoor track and field concluded with a personal best in the weight.
“The MAC Championship Track and Field meet was a great experience. This was my first year participating in the meet and it was great to share the experience with my teammates and coaches. My favorite part of the meet was throwing a new personal record in the weight. It was a nice way to end the indoor season,” Fitz said.
This concluded the indoor season. The spring track and field season will continue on March 25 at Goucher University.

Hood Republicans and Democrats debate

 

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On Monday, Feb. 20, the Hood College Democrats and Republicans were each represented by two debaters on the topic of healthcare.
Representing the republicans were Weston Bimstefer and Brendan Mahoney. Representing the democrats were Paula Del Valle-Torres and Molly Masterson.
In accordance with the typical debate format, there was an overarching topic with three subjects. These subjects were the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, abortion, and physician-assisted suicide.
The first debated topic was the Affordable Care Act, a topic Bimstefer and Mahoney believed to be one of the most relevant and important.
Aligning with Republican values, the student representatives argued that a market-based approach to health care would be the best plan to replace the repealed ACA.
The logic behind this policy alternative is that market competition will work to drive down the cost of insurance, particularly with the policy of buying across state lines.
They also see this as a tool that will allow consumers to purchase their own unique plans with doctors of their choice.
In a short interview with Mahoney, he stated that he is excited for the future of healthcare under the Trump administration.
“I don’t think it’s going to be driven by Trump,” Mahoney said. “I think it’s going to be driven by Congressional Republicans. They’ve legislated before and have seen what doesn’t work in our healthcare system, and they truly want to make a better one.”
The Democrats opposed the market-based approach, claiming that it would only “secure healthcare for those who can afford it.”
Masterson said that the population class most likely to be without healthcare under a market-based system would be the poor.
The next topic was abortion, which all four debaters said in their interviews was one of the most salient topics. This issue was debated from the standpoint that life begins at conception by the republicans. They affirmed this argument by listing the stages at which brain activity can be detected, heart beats can be heard, and movement can be felt.
“The child is a human being, a member of society,” Mahoney said.
The democrats argued against both arguments by adhering to the legal definition that a fetus is a “person with rights after birth.” To follow, Democrat Del Valle-Torres claimed that “it is the woman who is a citizen with rights to be respected.”
They then discussed the faultiness of the foster care system and lack of adequate resources available to poor mothers, which are apt to be even more inaccessible with conservative dislike for entitlement programs and welfare.
The democratic argument continued with an approach centered on body autonomy for the woman in consideration of her health, the health of the fetus, instances of rape or incest, and financial instability.
“It is the woman who should be able to choose whether or not she will undergo the pain and duress of pregnancy,” Masterson said.
The final topic, physician-assisted suicide, reflected many of the same ethical principles for both the democrats and republicans.
From the republican perspective, the availability of physician-assisted suicide eliminates the possibility that one can find purpose after the diagnosis of a fatal illness.
In opposition, the democrats argued from the perspective of body autonomy and the rights of persons to choose the fate of their own lives.
Audience questions were taken after the debate for the debaters. Though enjoying the format of the debate, all debaters expressed their wish to be able to “rebut answers to audience questions.”
Overall, the debaters and the advisor of both the Hood Democrats and Republicans, Dr. Carin Robinson, believed that the debate inspired thoughtful discourse on relevant issues.
Dr. Robinson remarked about her contentment with the political discussion taking place on campus and her hopes for it to continue.
“The debate format wets the appetite of the Hood College community to be more interested in these topics, to research them themselves, [and] to carry on additional conversations. I think it challenged some peoples’ predispositions. I think some people never even hear the rationales behind opposing viewpoints. I think it’s good for us to be aware of opposing points of view.”

Panic! At The Disco “Death of a Bachelor” concert review

A sold out Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia was filled with fans screaming back lyrics to the Grammy nominated Panic! At The Disco on February 25th.
The national tour is celebrating the success of the band’s latest album Death of a Bachelor which features hit songs like “Victorious,” “Death of a Bachelor,” and “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time.” The 5th album was released in 2016.
There were people of all ages enjoying the show, from children as young as 12, to people my age, to people in their thirties. A diverse crowd had gathered there to enjoy a night of music in one space.
It is amazing how much music can bring people together. Panic! At the Disco has lasted over generations which is uncommon for other bands in the music industry.
As soon as lead singer Brendan Urie hit the stage, the already loud Wells Fargo Center somehow became louder with the singing and screaming of lyrics.
When Urie is on stage singing and dancing, he is unpredictable and exciting. His spontaneity makes him a crowd pleaser, one that is hard not to dance and sing along with.
Though the Philadelphia and Washington DC dates have come and gone, there may very well be another album or another tour. Another performance by them will be an exciting event that few will want to miss.

FSU hosts “The Vagina Monologues”

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The Vagina Monologues were presented to the Hood community on Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25. All of the proceeds from the show went to The Heartly House, an organization located in Frederick that helps victims of domestic abuse, child abuse, and sexual assault.
The show included a series of monologues written by Eve Ensler and was performed by Hood students. The event was sponsored by the Feminist Student Union.
The play was student directed by Catherine Vasko, a junior, and the student performances amped up its importance to a new level. The show aims to break free from the stigma surrounding female sexuality, and uses the power of word to get into the hearts and minds of its viewers.
Everyone in the production did an incredible job. Their passion for feminism and sexuality showed through their monologues beautifully.
The cast was able to have the whole auditorium laughing and smiling wide at times, but were also able to tell somber stories of sexual assault and violence.
In an earlier interview this week, Vasko said: “The overall show is just very empowering for women, and provides a sense of community. It brings light to these issues that people need to be educated about and gives a voice to those that need to be heard.”
After seeing the show myself on Friday, I can agree that the performance is incredibly empowering; it creates a safe place to fight the stigma surrounding feminine sexuality. The passion she and her actors showed for the play made it that much better.
All of the students cared and believed in the words they were saying. It was like they were a big family, and they were all supporting each other.
The chemistry between the director and cast members showed, and they worked hard on the show and those of us who went to see it saw that hard work, passion, and community.
Sometimes seeing something uncensored like The Vagina Monologues can really resonate with people and I believe that is the case with this show.
The Vagina Monologues are an annual tradition at Hood College and I would recommend you take the time to see it during your four years here. You won’t regret it.

Media suppressions: A two-sided issue

President Donald Trump’s ban of news outlets like CNN at White House Press Briefings sent shock-waves through legacy and social media, with commentators questioning the authority and ethical merits of his decision.
From a distance, this would seem to be an isolated incident. This kind of resistance to journalists is unprecedented and extremely uncommon, and occurrences of it only apply to the Republican side of the aisle, right? After all, Nixon also declared the press to be an enemy.
Unfortunately, history has shown that both political wings will turn on journalists if things do not go their way. Even organizations as small as campus newspapers can feel the cold grip of censorship if they stumble across information they were not supposed to hear.
A recent instance of this happened to me during my post-election coverage of Hood Democrats and Hood Republicans. While I attended the Jan. 25 meeting of Hood Democrats, Sam Kebede, the club president and a junior at Hood, off-handedly mentioned during a section on election trauma that a colleague of his was reduced to inconsolable sobbing for an extended period of time.
A few moments later, it was demanded that I stop writing and that I cut that part of the discussion out of my notes. It was insisted that what I wrote was not newsworthy and said that I had no right to cover it, even though I had not probed any further about the person.
I internally agreed that the colleague’s name and incident were not relevant to the subject matter, but I could not abide his blatant attempt at censorship. I attempted to explain journalistic ethics to him, pointing out that one cannot simply tell a journalist to stop covering an event, especially when said journalist was invited to the event.
I waited for the other Democrats to step in, though no one spoke up to defend my right to attend and cover their meeting. In spite of their opposition to Trump, they failed to notice when their leader adopted his attitude and tactics towards the media.
Though I was later apologized to for the actions at the meeting, the reaction of hostility when I broached this editorial topic to Kebede, asking if he had any questions about it over an email. Rather than share any concerns he had with me, he attempted to have the article pulled by contacting another member of The Blue & Grey. When that failed, he threatened the paper and me with a libel lawsuit, only backing down when it became apparent that it would be costly and he had no case.
Sadly, this is how partisan politics works: one side will vigorously defend an idea like freedom of the press for a while, then turn on it the instant it works against them. The incident I faced was only one of many political crackdown attempts on student reporters.
In 2015, a University of Missouri professor, Melissa Click was caught on video attempting to remove a student reporter from a left-wing protest, demanding “some muscle” to force him away. The following year, Concerned Student 1950 activists at the college attempted to bar student journalists from covering one of their town hall meetings, then called the police on a reporter who refused to leave.
On the other end of the spectrum, a student reporter was harassed and intimidated by several members of Michigan State University College Republicans on the night of the 2016 election. Rachel Fradette, the campus editor for The State News, came out in condemnation of the event, promising to not tolerate abusive behavior and to never back down against people who attempt to suppress journalists.
Opposition can arise from not just students, but administrators as well. The former president of Mt. St. Mary’s, Simon Newman, came under fire in early 2016 for his treatment of student journalists covering his leaked emails, forcing him to resign that February.
The point is that muffling the press is not an entirely democratic, republican, liberal, conservative, libertarian, or moderate idea. Every ideology embraces it at some point, typically when tensions are high and journalists are not saying what one faction wants to hear.
People need to be willing to stand up for media outlets of all sizes and beliefs, even the ones they do not care for. If CNN gets banned now, then it sets a precedent for Fox News or The Christian Science Monitor to be banned in the next presidency.
The greatest threat to an open and ethical press is an apathetic population. If people tolerate the suppression of journalists from any political spectrum – or, even worse, try to shut it down themselves under some misguided belief of righteousness – then they are laying the foundation for future censorship and suppression of their own beliefs.
The rabid polarization of American politics is producing casualties from all walks of life. I sincerely hope that students will look past their own beliefs and defend the freedom of the press, even if it conflicts with their political views.
If student journalists cannot report on controversial issues without worrying about backlash from administrators or fellow students, then their college is anything but a place for higher learning.

Men’s Basketball narrowly misses playoffs

kyle_sheilds_basketball[1]In spite of a close victory against Arcadia University on Feb. 18, Hood College’s Men’s Basketball Team will not be moving on to playoffs this season.
According to Chad Dickman, the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Hood, the team missed making the playoffs by one game. Several close road games in January may have cost them the chance to compete further in the season.
Although not obtaining the playoff spot, Dickman said the year was successful for the team. He noted improvements in the team’s offense this year compared to recent years, in addition to a larger overall roster.
“I think our team was pretty even from top to bottom,” Dickman said. “We were very deep and had the luxury of being able to play up to 15 guys if needed.”
He also said that there were several standout performances by members of the team. Scott Bolen, a senior at Hood and player on the Men’s Basketball Team, scored an average of 15 points per game.
Bolen was voted by competing coaches to the All-Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth Second Team, and helped win the Senior Day game against Arcadia by scoring 39 points personally.
In preparation for the next season, the coaching staff is working to recruit players whose talents could help the team next year.
Currently, no students have committed to Hood’s team for the 2017-2018 school year, but the staff is in a “good spot” with the players they are trying to recruit.
Though the team will lose three seniors in the transition to the next season, Dickman said he is confident that the returning players and recruits will continue to be successful.
“We set high goals in the preseason,” he said “and when we played well, we were well on our way to accomplishing those goals. I hope this season has left a bad taste in their mouths and they are ready to do everything they can to accomplish our 2017-2018 goals.”

The great winter… that didn’t happen

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Winter is coming. Winter is here. Winter is… over? At least, that’s what it feels like.
During the time of year when students are normally bundling up, dreading the cold and reining in the snow days, the 2017 winter months have seen a change of pace. Short sleeves and summer dresses have replaced wools coats and scarves, and what should be the coldest time of the year has been feeling like the warmest.
While the possibility of a few snow days is still there, the traditional coldest months of the year are quickly slipping away from us. It’s looking like we might not have a winter this year.
“This is a really warm year, and we’ve had a number of really warm years and warm winters in the last decade, like record breaking kind of things,” Professor Eric Annis said, an associate professor of biology who teaches multiple undergrad and grad classes related to Ecology and climate change.
“I don’t know off the top of my head how many of the warmest winters of record we’ve had over the last decade, but it’s a lot. And that’s on record since maybe the 1850s,” Annis said.
According to Annis, the main difference between climate and weather is that weather happens on a short-term scale, whereas climate deals with things on a decadal scale. He said that one of the most immediate impacts this weather could have would be a negative harvest for places which are blooming now, but could very well die if a hard frost comes in the next few months.
“It has problems, even if it’s very comfortable for a lot of people,” he said.
Many students seem to agree that while enjoyable, the warm weather of the last few months is worrisome.
“I definitely do not like this warm weather,” Kaylene Wright, a senior said. “Because however nice warm weather is, I am not satisfied with the winter yet. I really want there to be snow.”
Additionally, Wright believed this weather could have a negative impact on the world at large. “Obviously I’m not an environmental scientist, but this does seem to go with the trend that we keep having hottest years on record,” she stated.
Molly Masterson, also a senior, agreed with Wright, saying “It is absolutely horrible and you should all be terrified, because the world is actually going to end. I’m not kidding. Everyone is like, ‘yay we can wear shorts.’ No. You’re going to be on fire in a year.”
However, not all students are adverse to the recent warmer weather. “I really like it, cause it’s warm and I hate the cold,” Beth Montague, a junior, said. While Montague has been taking advantage of the high temperatures, she does acknowledge the threats this weather poses.
“I know it’s terrible for the environment,” she said, “and that global warming is terrible and we’re all probably going to die. But I like it while we have it.”
Students are not the only ones enjoying the warm weather. Although President Chapdelaine is worried about the weather, she also has found things to like.
“It’s great, because as the president, calling snow days is the absolute worst part of the job,” she said. “It’s a really hard call to make and it seems like you can never get it right. Somebody is going to be upset. So as a president, I’m loving it.”
Despite her enthusiasm for not calling snow days, she does agree that the weather has negative implications. “On a personal note, I really miss winter,” Chapdelaine said. “I think there is ample evidence that we have climate change going on, and I worry. We should all do what we can to support our environment. Try to do our part.”
Chapdelaine also joked, “I do think that the weather has been so warm, we should probably have had an anti-snow day,” she said. “But I figure I’d get in trouble for that too, if I just said, on account of beautiful weather in February, let’s just cancel class!”
According to Annis, it is important for individuals to get involved and find out what they can do, because we do have an impact.
“One of the most important parts of climate change, which is driven by human impact and human factors, is the amount of CO2 and methane that we emit on a per-capita basis,” Annis said. “So, how much does each person on a daily basis release into the environment?”
Annis stressed the importance of becoming educated on the subject, and encourages everyone to look into the Union of Concerned Scientists, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He believed that citizens must understand the issue so that they can vote against it.
“Vote for candidates that understand there is a problem and that we need to fix it,” he said.
He believes that misinformation poses a large threat to the world regarding climate.
“Most of the controversy that people talk about in the media is fabricated,” Annis said. “You’ve got a very strong opposition that has been mounted to the science behind it, but there’s really no controversy within the scientific community that this is happening. It’s very quick and very easy to just say bad things about the science without any foundation. And we need to do something about it.”

Best friends and Hood SGA exec members

IMG_3582[1]When I was approached to interview this edition’s Hood leaders, I knew immediately that interviewing them separately was no way to go about it. Frankly, it would just be wrong to try and separate them.
Ellie Blaser and Katie Mann are a dynamic duo. Chances are, you’ve seen them together around campus acting in a way more contemporary young women should.
Ellie and Katie are two of the most loyal and supportive friends I have ever met. They build each other up in a way that impresses. The two challenge one another to be better and it shows.
In our 40-minute interview, it was obvious; these two care about each other in a way most friends never will. They genuinely desire the best for one another; no cat-like backstabbing here.
While both are seniors and share similar answers to many candid questions, they are far from the same person. When asked what color they’d be if they were crayons, both agreed they’d be pink. Ellie pointed out immediately that pink wasn’t her favorite color; it’s actually green. Katie playfully joked she’d be a “hotter pink.” However, in the end, they both agreed they’d be slightly different hues of bubblegum pink.
If given the option of only one food to eat forever, they both agreed sandwiches were the way to go. They talked of an agreeable capacity for variety (neither are fans of monotony) and declared a burger is technically a sandwich.
It is obvious these girls are going places. While their lives may lead them in different directions, it is safe to say they are both better people thanks to their fateful friendship born of a breakfast themed group costume. Ask them, and they’ll gladly share the story. Be warned: you’ll wish your bestie was a bit more like them.
Both girls graduate in May 2017. If you don’t already know them, here’s your chance for a little inside info.
Ellie Blaser, the SGA traditions chair, is a communications major with a minor in literature. She can be described as the keeper of all things traditionally known to Hood. From dinks, to class banners, to convocation and graduation, Ellie is the voice for keeping the old and ushering in some new. She also serves as the entertainment and lifestyle editor for “The Blue and Grey.”
Katie Mann, the SGA house forum chair, is a business administration major. Summarily, her duty is to report the concerns of each residence hall’s house council. She is the collective voice of all Hood housing. In her Sophomore year, she began as the vice president of her hall and has since worked her way up to this leadership role.
Both see their roles as integral building blocks for their impressive resumes. They are born leaders and while they aren’t primarily looking to get into local or federal government positions; their brief insight on policy and procedure is sure to benefit them in their professional lives.

Hawk finds home and food at Hood

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Hood College prides itself in being an inclusive institute for students of all walks of life, however, one resident has been turning heads; a hawk has made Hood its home.
Over the last few semesters, this hawk has been a joy to observe by both students and faculty. Perching on campus trees and rooftops, the young hawk can be seen overlooking his home and neighbors. This hawk is most likely a red-tailed hawk, one the most common breeds in North America, with a worldwide population of approximately 2.3 million, according to “All About Birds.”
The young hawk has been enthusiastically keeping the saturated squirrel population in check during its time on campus. According to “All About Birds,” a hawk’s diet includes mammals. Its victims frequently include voles, mice, wood rats, rabbits, and squirrels.
While the hawk can be seen all across campus, it is seen mostly on the northeastern side of campus, including the residential quad, Strawn Cottage, and Carson Cottage.
With its frequent presence on campus, the native avian is the source of conversation for many students.
“I love him,” Michelle Shedd, an undergraduate student and environmental studies major, said. “I love him so much, I hope he eats all the little squirrels.”
Melissa Dryman, a senior and studio arts major, thinks highly of the hawk as well, mentioning she has tried to photograph it in the past.
As spring and warmer weather begins, it will be exciting to see if more birds of prey join our hawk on campus.

Colleges Against Cancer comes to Hood

A recently formed club at Hood College is making a difference for cancer patients and survivors, both locally and across the nation.
Emily Zimmerman, a Hood sophomore founded the Hood College chapter of Colleges Against Cancer. This organization is a collaboration between college students and staff in support of the American Cancer Society (ACS.) While there are many chapters across the country, this is the first time that Hood has gotten its own chapter here in Frederick.
The club was approved at Hood in October. Since then, they have had three meetings, but plan to meet twice a month on Sunday nights.
So far, there are fifteen student members in the club and Zimmerman hopes that the club’s size will expand as more people find out about it. One Hood professor and two advisors from the Frederick chapter of the ACS are also involved with the club.
“It’s a nationwide club so we’re just a chapter of it,” Zimmerman explained. “The club is run by the American Cancer Society.”
Any money the club gets goes to the American Cancer Society, she added. Since the formation of the club, Hood’s CAC has devised multiple ways of raising money for the ACS.

Initial flyer for CAC

Initial flyer for CAC

One of the club’s first endeavors included selling T-shirts to raise money. The shirts will be available until April. They also sold paper cupcakes for $1 so that students and staff could write their names on them and display them in Whitaker.
The club is also in the process of making “lily pads” for the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology ward. These lily pads, shaped like their namesake, are hard platforms that fit around a child’s IV pole and allow the kids to be more mobile; they can sit or stand on the pad. The pads are painted with cheerful designs and colors.
“We had a rough start trying to figure out how to start [the club],” Zimmerman admitted. “Some things happened and we didn’t get approved until October. I was getting frustrated but in the end we ended up getting approved.”
The club recently held a 50/50 raffle at the High School Championship Basketball Tournament and was able to donate approximately $450 to the ACS.
“Our goal is to raise as much money as possible for the ACS because it goes to anybody who has cancer within the United States,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman has high hopes that the club will carry on at Hood after she graduates. So far, there are three freshmen in the group who can continue the club’s legacy.
Anyone wishing to donate, can mail donations to Zimmerman’s Hood mailbox at 401 Rosemont Ave, 1137, Frederick, MD 21701-8524. Checks are payable to Hood College, but the memo line should state that it is for Colleges Against Cancer.