Controversy Over Hood College Republican Display Case

By Maya Douglas, Mary Milligan & Christie Wisniewski

This story will continue to be updated as we get more quotes and information

The display case on the second floor of Whitaker has been changed from Protesting Peeps to a showcase of quotes from celebrities voicing some beliefs of the Hood College Republicans.

This display was constructed by HCR club’s Vice President Brice McAndrew and Treasurer Brendan Mahoney.

They came up with the idea after seeing previous displays about transgender and pro-choice awareness put up by Hood College’s LGBT club and Feminist Student Union, according to McAndrew.

“We think it’s only fair for the other side to to have a chance to be represented,” he said.

However, to many, this display is being seen as hateful, transphobic, and misogynistic. Many students are quick to point out that Hood should not be condoning this kind of rhetoric and that it should be taken down.

“I would like to say that Hood College is a place of inclusion, community, and fostering  acceptance and harmony among students,” said senior Jennifer Forester. “It is not a place for hateful inflammatory rhetoric to be spewed, which will only further divide us against each other.”

Students are quick to ensure that they want to promote free speech but not hate speech. Senior Molly Masterson said, “We support discussion and disagreeing opinions. What we don’t support and why we are upset with the display is hate speech. The rhetoric the Republicans used regarding trans rights and abortion was hateful, discriminatory and ignorant. It has nothing to do with the fact we don’t like opposing opinions. We don’t like discrimination.”

On The Blue and Grey’s Facebook post, Jeff Robert seemed to disagree with this above sentiment. Robert wrote: “Freedom of speech. If people find it offensive, they have the option of moving on. If its offensive, it creates discourse which is a good thing. I haven’t seen it myself, as I haven’t had the need so far this semester to be on campus, but I find it to be informative.”

Others were quick to point fingers, like alumnae Caitlin Clark who wrote, “Seems like @Christopher Gardner has some personal issues he needs to work through. Sad!”

Christopher Gardner is the president of the group responsible for putting up the poster.

Senior and staff writer CJ Blickenstaff wrote: ” There is an abundance of free speech throughout the halls of Hood College; Art, Religion, Literature… Politics. Whether you agree with it or not, censorship is not the answer. If we all censored what we didn’t agree with then no opportunity for communication and dialogue would exist. Without those opportunities no one ever learns and hot topics such as those imposed on the board never come to the center. Censorship is divisive. Rejection of opposing ideals is divisive. Let’s find common ground. I do not discuss politics at school because someone is always offended; some sit silently…others shout their discourse.  Let’s accept each other’s points of view as valid. We don’t have to agree; just see the other point as legitimate and respect it.”

The first panel of the poster includes anti-abortion and anti-transgender material.

The first panel of the poster includes controversial quotes about abortion and the transgender community.

Staff and students’ opinions

Travis Eichelberger, the assistant director of student engagement and coordinator of diversity and inclusion, said that the Hood College Republicans approached him for the space, but didn’t specify the content. According to Eichelberger, the club claimed that they wanted a space to display some conservative hot topics and current discussions.

The next morning, he said, he walked out of his office and saw the current poster.

Views from students, faculty, and alum all seem to be mixed. Some dislike the material, but are quick to stress the importance of the First Amendment. Others believe that the speech is hate speech, and some others believe that all opinions have a place, even if these opinions aren’t popular.

“Everything that gets put up you don’t have to agree with,” said Hood Professor Timothy Jacobsen. “[People] have a right to disagree with you. That’s fine. Free speech protects all speech, whether you like it or not. I think it’s a great opportunity for discussion. I will say putting up something like this and saying that it’s to start a discussion… it’s kind of a cop-out.”

He continued to say that as long as the content is respectful and not derogatory, and as long as it’s not “filled with venom”, people have to respect it.

“You don’t have to agree with it,” Jacobsen said. “People have a right to speak their mind. It doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. It doesn’t mean by putting this up, there aren’t going to be some sort of consequences.”

Senior, Gabrielle Cavalier, was present during the creation of the display.

“I just thought of it as joke…” she said. “I didn’t think it would blow up to what it is right now.”

Free speech or hate speech?

Cavalier, a member of the Hood College Democrat club*, believes the language on the board is “definitely inflammatory.”

On Wednesday night, President Andrea Chapdelaine issued an email statement to the Hood community stating that discussions are being held with students, administrators and faculty to “come to a resolution that is most consistent with the values of our institution.”

Action is being taken, according to the email.

The Hood College Republican Club issued a statement on their Facebook page last night stating the following:

“There has been some members of the Hood Community who have expressed their outrage towards the display. We encourage all of those who have questions or disagree with us to approach us on campus or come to our general meeting in Whitaker Commons at 7:30 on Sunday. The intent of this display was to help encourage constructive political discourse on campus. We have been fortunate enough to have many great conversations with people of different backgrounds and ideologies the past couple days. Conversations with people who may have never voiced their political opinions on campus before. This unprecedented level of discourse wouldn’t have occurred without the presence of the display, which we still believe holds value.”

“I think it deserves all of the outcry that it’s getting right now but I will fight forever for the right to be able to express your view point,” said Cavalier.

“This is the messy side of politics. Things like this have to happen to start discussion. This campus has always been divided and this just highlighted it,” said McAndrew.

The Hood College Republican Club president has had approximately $200 donated to Planned Parenthood in his name, according to The Frederick Extra.

The Hood College Democrat Club will not be doing a board in response to the Republican display. According to Cavalier, members of both clubs are cordial and collaborate often.

“There isn’t any tension between us,” said Cavalier.”[We] don’t want this to get any bigger than it is…it isn’t tit for tat.”

In a second email statement from President Chapdelaine, she stated that the administrative team gave the HCR a chance to remove the display voluntarily, however, the club refused to do so.

“They have the power to take it down if they want to, but we won’t do it,” said McAndrew in response to the request.

“I have requested that we follow College procedures to determine if these messages have violated policy, with appropriate sanctions to follow should such a determination be made,” Chapdelaine said in the campus wide email.

If determined by administration, the board may have violated Policy 55 of Hood’s Student Handbook, which protects against bullying, hate speech, and harassment. Some students are comparing this controversy to the vandalized Black Student Union display in 2014, which featured pictures of unarmed victims of police brutality and a Black Lives Matter poster.

“I’ve put up with so much at this school and I just think it’s interesting how nothing this big happened when the same thing was done to the BSU,” said Chanté Moore, a senior majoring in social work.

“Hood picks and chooses what they want to correct,” she said. “It’s frustrating.”

The third panel of the poster.

The third panel of the poster.

The poster states "We invite everyone to our meetings, regardless of political ideology. If you would like to discuss the display or our stances further, please come to our meetings, message our Facebook page or approach us on campus. We meet at 7:30 Sunday nights in Whitaker Commons. Sincerely, The Hood College Republicans."

The poster states “We invite everyone to our meetings, regardless of political ideology. If you would like to discuss the display or our stances further, please come to our meetings, message our Facebook page or approach us on campus. We meet at 7:30 Sunday nights in Whitaker Commons. Sincerely, The Hood College Republicans.”


Around 7 p.m. on Thursday, a third of the display was ripped down. The person responsible was caught immediately by campus security and the display has been repaired.

Campus security escorted the person out of the building. The meeting room that allows access to the poster has been locked, and a sign on the door tells people to contact campus security if they want access to this room.

There is no word whether the person was disciplined by security or was just removed.

A chance to speak

The HCR held their regularly scheduled meeting on Sunday April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons. They invited all to come for a “constructive discourse.” Over 50 students and faculty were in attendance, and people streamed in and out of the meeting that ended shortly after 9:15 p.m.

Hood College will hold an official community forum on Tuesday April 25 at 9 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons. The public is invited to come and listen to the club’s discussion of the poster, as well as ask questions.



*Gabrielle Cavalier’s opinions do not reflect those of the entire Hood College Democrat Club


Admitted Students Day welcomes prospective students to Hood College

Committed and prospective students alike visited Hood College for Admitted Students Day, April 7-8. They familiarized themselves with the campus, meeting faculty and other Hood students in their time at the college.

The event was an experience stretching two days where visiting students and their families could preview life at Hood. Attendees could sit in on mini-courses, attend athletic games, explore dorm buildings, and attend the college’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

“The main point of Admitted Students Day is to get them very connected to the other members of the Class of 2021,” Elizabeth Gomer, the senior associate director of admissions, said. “For the small handful of transfer students, it is to get them connected to the other incoming transfer students, because we just can’t say, ‘Oh, everyone that’s here is the Class of 2021!’ We need to be inclusive.”

For Admitted Students Day, Gomer works with prospective students to plan their visits to the campus. According to her, one of the more fulfilling programs of the event is the “Hood Hello.” This segment is a small group setting where admitted students participate in teambuilding exercises and icebreakers.

The afternoon activities were compared to a “choose your own adventure” by Gomer, with admitted students browsing around the campus however they pleased. Whether they stopped by the fair operated by academic departments and student services, or watched the improve show at Avalon Theatre, the remaining day’s agenda was up to them.

Admitted students could arrive the day before for an “overnight experience.” Attendees ate dinner with current students at Hood, met with Hood student leaders, and participated in an interactive game night at Whitaker Campus Center.

“For the campus, it is an opportunity to really showcase what we do best, and that is building connections,” Gomer said.

The confirmed attendance for the event was a total of 165 registered students, with 51 taking part in the overnight visit as well as the day itself. Of that 165, 43 have already deposited the $350 check to confirm that they will enroll at Hood.

Compared to previous Admitted Students Days, little changed for this year’s event aside from expanding athletics and career-related sections. Hood’s administration gauges feedback and interest on each year’s event, and keeps what worked while replacing what did not.

“We want this day to really help them understand that this is a great place that they can call home for the next four years,” Gomer said.

Hood College Performs Rendition of Howard Ashman’s “Little Shop of Horrors”

In her directing debut, senior Carla Kronsbein put together a brilliant show.


The musical follows the blunders and misdeeds of Seymour Krelborn, played by Zachary Peck.  He starts as a lowly orphan born of the poor urban town Skid Row, and the plot follows his rise to fame and fortune.


Seymore begins in a floundering flower shop ran by Mrs. Mushnik. Mrs. Mushnik is the greedy mother figure to Seymore. The flower shop is nearly out of business when Seymour shows that he has discovered a new type of plant that is sure to bring in more business.


To bolster the store’s reputation and impress his taken crush, Audrey, Seymour begins to feed the plant blood. Audrey is in an abusive relationship with Dr. Orin Scrivello D.D.S. The dentist is a sadistic boyfriend who regularly beats and verbally abuses her.


As the plant begins to grow, its appetite begins to move from blood to something more deadly, and Seymour, under false promises of fame and fortune, indulges it. Seymour names the plant Audrey II, and it goes on to develop a sinister personality of its own.


The musical does an equally impressive job of showcasing the talent here at Hood College, providing comic relief, and speaking on the dangers of chasing fame at all cost. The performers should be commended for the efforts making the audience both laugh, and sympathize with the moral dilemmas Seymour faces throughout.


The show stars Zachary Peck as Seymour, Alexandra Skouras as Audrey, Rylie Nobis as Mrs. Mushnik, Audrey II was voiced by Gabriel Cassutto, and the puppeteer was Christopher Garner, and Nik Smith as Dr. Orin.


The musical features masterful solos from Peck, Skouras, Nobis, and the skid row gang; Crystal, Chiffon, and Ronnette, played by Kaylene Wright, Meagan Huyett, and Kerry Murphy respectively.


The cast was given excellent musical direction by Lynn Staininger who also graced the keys in the pit along with Jacob Harding (guitar), Jay McRoberts (Bass), and John Maestri (percussion).   The pit orchestra, along with all the voices providing refreshingly beautiful and down to earth music that further added to the greatness of the production.


On opening night, Hodson Auditorium was filled with Hood students, faculty, and family members. The following nights reportedly also had high attendance.


I sincerely hope that all of you were able to come out and enjoy the production, because it truly was one of the best musicals I have seen. Whatever you do, don’t feed the plants!

Storytelling event April 21st at Hood

Hood College’s very own Blackbox Theatre in Tatem 10 will house a storytelling event open to all students.

This event is entitled “True Story!” with the theme of new beginnings. The show will be made possible through the partnership between Hood College Theatre, Humanities Council, and Beneficial-Hodson Library.

“True Story!” will occur on Friday, April 21st at 7 p.m., with no prior sign-up necessary. The only thing needed in order to participate with the event is a story they would like to share and an audience.

Inspiration for the event comes from “The Moth,” which was launched in New York in 1997. “The Moth” is a conglomeration of performance events, community workshops, and radio airings to give people a chance to artistically express themselves through storytelling.

The originators of the Hood event were also inspired by “The Stoop,” a Baltimore borne series which is similar to “The Moth”. Other colleges have held events inspired by the two series. Stevenson University calls their own version of the series, “Quad Stories.” 

Many students may be familiar with the brains behind the operation: Aimee Gee, one of Beneficial-Hodson’s Reference Librarians; Joe Brady, the director of the theatre program at Hood College; Aaron Angello, an English and Communication Arts professor at Hood; and Sophia M. Libman, the NEH Professor of the Humanities.

“I had the idea last year because I’d known that other colleges had done similar events and I’m a big fan of ‘The Moth’ and ‘The Stoop’” said Aimee Gee. “I couldn’t get everything off the ground, but partnering with Joe Brady and Aaron Angello has made it possible this year.”

Anyone can meet and become familiar with the creators of this event during auditions to be the show’s host on Friday, April 14 in the Blackbox. The chosen host may also be a part of the storytelling.

There will be free pizza at the event and a donations box will be present for anyone who would like to help offset the cost of this event and future ones.


Middle States Commission visits Hood for reaccreditation

A couple weeks ago, Hood students might have noticed quite a few less parking spaces available in the Whitaker lot for a few days.


While some students who tend to run late may have experienced some early morning panic, it was all for a good cause. Beginning March 26, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) visited Hood in an effort to keep Hood an accredited college. The team visited from Sunday until Wednesday at noon.


Hood College, like other private and public universities and colleges in the Mid-Atlantic region, is accredited by the MSCHE.


“It’s important to be accredited for a variety of reasons,” said Donna Bertazzoni, director of the Communications Arts program at Hood and co-chair of the committee who oversaw the reaccreditation process. “It certifies to employers and to graduate schools that our institution meets certain well-defined standards.”


She continued to stress the importance of this reaccreditation by saying that without it, Hood wouldn’t be able to give its students federal financial aid. Also, the college wouldn’t be eligible for the outside accreditation that it has for programs like education, nursing, computer science, business administration and social work.


“In other words, it’s a big deal,” Bertazzoni said.


Middle States is changing its accreditation cycle, and beginning this fall, all institutions will be reviewed on an 8-year cycle instead of the previous 10-year cycle, which Hood College just completed.


A couple years ago, Cindy Emory, the director of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, and Bertazzoni attended the “Self-Study Institute,” a workshop for colleges and universities that were entering the self-study review process. Emory and Bertazzoni were named the co-chairs of the Self-Study steering committee, which consists of a group of faculty, staff and administrators who oversaw the reaccreditation process.


“For the next 18 months, we undertook an extensive and intensive self-examination, looking at all areas of the College to ensure that it met the 14 standards outlined in the guidebook we were expected to follow,” Bertazzoni said.


Each of the standards was assigned to a group that included faculty, staff, students and administrators. Each group put together a detailed report that was reviewed by the entire steering committee.


Last summer, once the group reports were completed, Bertazzoni compiled them into a singular report that went through extensive editing and revisions by many across Hood’s campus.


“Their help was invaluable in crafting the final version of the report that was sent to Middle States and the peer review team in February,” Bertazzoni commented.


“In essence, a (MSCHE) team visit is a fact-finding mission,” she said. “The team spends the bulk of its time on campus meeting with various campus constituencies and getting any questions they may have answered.”


They interviewed members of the senior team and had open meetings with students and staff. They also reviewed the documentation that Hood provided to back up what was said in the report.


“I’ve been an evaluator and it is a very intensive process,” said Bertazzoni.


The team allowed students to meet with them in order for their compliments and concerns with Hood and its operations to be heard. The meetings were held on campus for approximately an hour, and the team members listened as students described their experience at Hood.


Overall, the team prepares a report that outlining whether the college meets certain standards and whether they have any recommendations or suggestions.


The team provided a feedback session for any faculty or staff member who could attend during the week.


“They cannot tell us whether they will recommend us for reaccreditation,” said Bertazzoni. “That information is shared only with Middle States. However, they do send us a report that outlines their broad findings and whether they had any commendations, suggestions or recommendations.”


The report has not gone to Middle States yet, but according to Bertazzoni, the team chair indicated the team felt Hood met all of the standards. They provided some suggestions and recommendations for the college as well.


The commission reviews all of the material from each of the colleges they visit at its meeting in June. Hood should know about its reaccreditation status in July.


Preparing for Graduation: The Worst

If you’re a senior, chances are you’ve heard the following question: “What are your plans for after graduation.” Unless you’re very good at planning, you also probably don’t have an answer to that question.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Either way, whenever I hear that question, I suddenly find myself breaking out into a cold sweat. It’s not because I don’t feel ready to say goodbye to Hood – despite my love for my college, I can feel myself reaching my end.

I’m ready for no more class and no more campus life. Ready to be an adult in the real world, doing whatever it is that real adult people do. It’s just figuring out how to make it to that point that I’m worried about.

The problem is not having a plan, not knowing how long it will take for me to get a job, and not having an idea of what I am going to do with my life. While I have a vague concept of what I want to do – pretty simple, just writing – I’m still pretty fuzzy on the particulars.

In my defense, I don’t think I’m alone. “I don’t like to talk about it,” said Gabrielle Cavalier, a senior at Hood. “It gives me great anxiety.”

Knowing that in a month I’ll be an alum is a pretty hard pill to swallow. Even if you do know what your post-college life will look like, as lots of people who are better than myself at planning probably do, I imagine that it’s still at least a little terrifying.

Of course, there are parts of the upcoming graduation festivities that I’m happy about. I’m excited to take my last final, and to attend Pub Crawl and senior week. I am excited to know that I am done with classes, at least until grad school, and to prepare my cap and spend some time with friends. I’m ready for all the fun time.

But that’s where my excitement ends.

I know that, eventually, I will figure out what I am going to do with my life. I will have a job and a place to live, and I’ll be set. But being thrown out into the world, not having another semester to go back to in the fall, is pretty scary. It’s kind of terrifying not knowing where exactly you’re going to be in a couple months, or a year. And the closer we get to graduation, the closer I get to the unknown.

Blazer’s seeking program’s first championship

Hood College’s Baseball team, the Blazers, looks to accomplish a feat previously insurmountable in its first two years of existence.

Just two weeks remain before the Blazers final game of their regular season. During this game, on April 30, will be pushing towards the team’s first ever post season berth. After 10 conference wins over the last two seasons the team is on the right track to accomplishing their goals.

With a record of 5-8 in MAC Commonwealth play, and eight conference matchups left on their schedule, the third-year team is just two games behind Lebanon Valley for fourth in the conference standings. The Blazers must finish fourth or higher to compete for the 2017 MAC Commonwealth Baseball Championship, held from May 4 to May 6 at the York Revolutions’ Peoples Bank Park.

The team must win just three of their final eight Commonwealth games to eclipse their 2016 conference total wins of seven games. However, the Blazers have a much larger goal in mind.

“Our expectation each year has been to make the playoffs and win a conference title,” said Drake Friend, the team’s starting right fielder. “It feels right, and is an opportunity that we’ve been waiting to take advantage of.”

During the team’s inaugural season in 2015, the Blazers dealt with their fair share of struggles. They finished 14-25 overall, and 3-18 within the conference.

In 2016, the young team saw improvement, concluding the season with an overall record of 16-24, and finishing 7-14 in conference play. The Blazers received numerous postseason honors, with Head Coach Cory Beddick winning the conference’s Coach of the Year award, and multiple players being named to the MAC all-conference teams.

Despite the improvement, the players and coaches agreed the team had still yet to reach its full potential. For two straight years, it failed to make it past the regular season.

“I think we were expecting to make improvements, and we were hoping to have a better record than the previous year,” said Travis Schweizer, a Junior pitcher for the Blazers.

Schweizer is the team’s most reliable arm over the last three seasons, and he currently boasts a 6-1 record, along with a 3.41 earned run average.

“We are a young program,” he said, “but baseball isn’t a game of winning, it’s a game of losing, and most games are lost, not won. I feel we can compete with any team in the conference, as long as we play up to our capabilities.”

Friend echoed that same sentiment. “There is no powerhouse,” he said, “and it’s been proven that anyone can beat anyone in this conference, so why not us?”

An outfielder and junior at Hood, Friend is currently tied for second on the team with 19 runs batted in, and shares the team-lead for walks with 12 free passes on the season.

His neighbor in the outfield, Cam Esposito, has been the team’s starting centerfielder in almost every game since transferring to Hood just prior to the start of the program’s inaugural season. Esposito’s successes on the field are a big reason why the team finds itself in contention for a postseason run.

The Blazers have also received a boost this season from some key new pieces, including Jordan Patterson, who was forced to redshirt in 2016, due to injury. After becoming the team’s starting shortstop during the fall, he is currently batting .379 and leads the team with 22 runs batted in.

Patterson’s fellow first-year teammates, Josh Greenberg and Brad Sawyer, have also played a key role in the team’s success to this point. Greenberg, batting .405 with 16 RBIs, has added to an already impressive middle of the lineup for the Blazers, while Sawyer currently holds the team’s best earned run average of 2.25.

These efforts, along with a lineup already including proven hitters such as Brooks Warrenfeltz, Dylan Johnson, and Josh Gall, have helped position the Blazers for a late season run at their ultimate goal: a conference championship. While the team still remains on the outside looking in, they’re well aware that anything can happen as they sit two games out of that final playoff spot.

“With eight games left, anything can happen, but the team seems to be progressing through the year, and some guys are really starting to find their rhythm to help contribute to the team near the end of the season,” Schweizer said.

The Blazers will be back in action at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium on Monday, April 17, when they look to complete the series sweep of conference-rival, the Messiah College Falcons.

“Logan” brings a trilogy to a satisfying, emotional conclusion

In the distant future, all traces of the old “X-Men” movies are gone, and Hugh Jackman is somehow still a huge, jacked man.

“Logan” is the third and final film in 20th Century Fox’s series of movies based on the comic book character Wolverine. Eschewing the quip-filled approach of generic superhero films, “Logan” instead focuses on interpersonal drama in a neo-western style.

Set in the year 2029, the movie follows an aged Logan “Wolverine” Howlett, played by Hugh Jackman, as he attempts to escape from hostile pursuers with two travelers in tow. Patrick Stewart returns as the now Alzheimer’s-ridden psychic Professor Xavier, and Dafne Keen makes her debut as Laura, a young mutant with powers similar to Wolverine’s.

From the get-go, “Logan” goes out of its way to show viewers that it will not pull any punches with its content. The language is harsher and more frequent than in any other “X-Men” movie, and the action scenes are unprecedented in their blood and brutality. Expect plenty of severed limbs and impaled villains before the movie comes to a close.

Unlike the bleakness of “Batman v Superman,” the uncompromising grittiness of “Logan” works well with its narrative and serves to draw the audience in further. The unflinching violence and gore compliment the mental state of Wolverine, who is in constant physical pain and left wandering without a purpose in life.

The lulls between action scenes provide excellent moments of character interaction and introspection. Though the movie may seem like a standard superhero romp on the surface, its main emphasis is on reflection and finding one’s way in an unfamiliar world. The themes of family and moving on from tragedies are explored through well-crafted dialogue.

The world-building in “Logan” is handled through subtle comments and details in the cinematography, creating a near-dystopia that feels natural without being forced. From the extinction of tigers to the implementation of self-driving trucks, viewers learn of unsettlingly-modern possibilities by reading between the lines of dialogue, rather than having it ham-handedly shoved in their faces.

Ultimately, “Logan” is not a superhero movie with city-destroying stakes and massive CGI effects. It is a story of what it means to be a family and what it means to be redeemed, albeit with super-powered individuals playing key roles in the plot. Rather than make its characters godlike beings, the movie portrays them as being tragically human with every flaw visible for the world to see.

Was “Logan” one of the best movies I have ever seen? I would hesitate to say something on that scale. I think the title of “best movie ever” sort of diminishes the accomplishments of films, as it weighs them against unrealistic standards.

However, I can easily give it a 10 out of 10, and I can safely say that it was one of my favorite Marvel movies to date. I would highly recommend it to all fans of cinema. Jackman and Stewart have ended their “X-Men” filmographies on high notes.

“Logan” is rated R for strong brutal violence and language throughout, as well as brief nudity. Its runtime is two hours and 21 minutes.

Elmer Dixon of Black Panther Party visits Hood

Dixon speaks to students. Photo by Maya Douglas

Dixon speaks to students.
Photo by Maya Douglas

Earlier this month, a Black Panther Party chapter founder came to Hood College.

On March 7, in an event coordinated by Dr. Terry Scott of the History Department, Elmer Dixon, a founder of the Seattle chapter of Black Panther Party visited Hood. During the event he presented his speech: The Truth About the Black Panther Party and Community Organizing.

Dixon began his lecture by questioning the audience’s thoughts about the Black Panther Party. “You probably have heard that the Black Panther Party was like the black KKK,” said Dixon.

He attributed such misconceptions to the media. Dixon addressed there was a “deliberate attempt to hide what [they] were truly about.”

According to Dixon, efforts have been made to keep the “legacy and history of the Black Panther Party […] distorted and hidden” in the media and there have educational efforts in the same aspect as well.

As Dr. Scott said in her introduction, there have been “narratives of menace and fear” spread about the Black Panther Party through distortion in the media and the withholding of accurate information in classrooms across the United States.

During his speech, Dixon thoroughly explained who comprised the Black Panther Party, their goals, and means of operation.

According to Dixon, contrary to popular conception, the Black Panther Party was comprised of people who were heavily engaged in the study of law and political theory. They familiarized themselves with the Constitution and acted on their rights to bear arms in a state where they faced violent suppression enacted through governmental institutions such as the police department.

The Police Alert Patrols was an initiative of the Black Panther Party. It was developed to protect citizens from police brutality in black communities. Arriving at the scenes of black citizen-law enforcement encounters, the Black Panther Party clearly stated in detail, their legal right to use militia for protection from violence expressed by any sectors of the government.

This emphasis on taking advantage of the second amendment is the fraction of the Black Panther Party narrative often misrepresented by the press and circles of political discourse.

The Black Panther Party operated to protect black communities physically, legally, politically and economically and outlined how they would go about demanding both their Constitutional and “God-given” rights. This outline of steps and demands is formally known to the party as the 10 Point Program.

The programs points ranged from securing basic needs such as food and adequate housing to institutional issues such as education, ending police brutality, and trial before members of the black community.

The Black Panther Party was also the first organization to start a free breakfast program for children in poor communities. The Children’s Free Breakfast Program, created by the Black Panther Party, operated for over 10 years. This program was only one amongst 30 free programs implemented by the Black Panther Party to take care of poor communities that were suffering from hunger, medical issues, restriction to education for children and prisoners, and more.

For their efforts to establish social, political, and economic independence for not only the black community, but other minority communities in America and in other countries, the U.S. government took numerous measures to thwart the party’s progress. This attempt to bring recognition and power to all racially oppressed groups was known as the Rainbow Coalition. Its purpose was to empower and encourage all people of color to engage in similar practices to establish independence.

According to Dixon, first FBI director J Edgar Hoover referred to the Black Panther Party as the “number one internal threat to the U.S.” To offset this, he developed COINTELPRO, or the counter intelligence program, to disband the party.

COINTELPRO agents forged documents to create distrust among members and went undercover as bodyguards for the Black Panther Party. Fred Hampton, a respected party leader was killed in his home due to intelligence gathered by undercover body guards working for the FBI.

The FBI was able to accomplish its goal of toppling the Black Panther Party with several other events that took place. For example, the trial of the “Chicago Seven.” During this trial, eight people were present, but one was silenced in the courtroom the FBI.

The Black Panther Party is not just a part of history, a current Black Panther Party exists today. However, they are not as prevalent as their forefathers, who were able to spread worldwide influence through the 1960s and 70s.

With hope that community organizing will continue, Dixon, now a facilitator of the Juvenile Justice Equity Steering Committee in King County, WA, stated that contemporary issues such as mass incarceration of youth of color have to be dealt with by “changing how we handle kids early on to give them an opportunity to succeed at life, and those were the foundations of the Black Panther Party.”

There is a need for, “decent education, decent housing…all of those things that give young people an opportunity to develop character and understand who they are and where they came from so they can be successful,” said Dixon.

“These young people don’t think that their lives matter,” Dixon stated, “That’s why the Black Lives Matter Movement is so important. It’s to help these young black kids and brown kids that come from these families and environments where they’ve been thrown away.”

He concluded his speech by stating that working with these children is the kind of activism new political activists and community organizers should be involved in.


Spring Break Woes

Spring break is here and for many seniors, this is our last spring break of our undergraduate career, and for many we don’t really have a break at all.


During this time, instead of vacationing and celebrating during Spring break, many seniors, like myself, go on interviews, look at potential graduate schools, and apply for post-graduation jobs.


My spring break started off to a fast start. Right after my night class on the Thursday before our week-long hiatus, I rushed home, packed and had to get ready for an 8 a.m. flight the next day. I traveled to Minneapolis, MN to tour the University of Minnesota School of Law. I was very excited and optimistic about Minneapolis. I arrived at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) and was about to go through security when I realized that I forgot my driver’s license. Fortunately, I was finally able to board the plane, but I had to go through a longer vetting process.


“Welcome to Minneapolis, it is currently 8 degrees and we will be descending shortly,” the pilot announced. “Enjoy your weekend!” This weather was not ideal, certainly not like the warmth of Miami. However, like anyone who has ever traveled to a new place that could potentially be their new home, I got off the plane and was super excited to explore. I hurried to my hotel, put my luggage down, and went out to see the sights.


During my break, I also applied for jobs. I think finding a job after graduation is often portrayed as being easy. However, that is simply not the case. Searching for a job is overwhelming and it is nerve-wracking waiting for replies to the many cover letters and resumes sent out. I, like many other seniors, are stressing as I try to figure out my post-graduation plans and finish up my school work.