Hood community attends MSA’s Eid dinner

By Stacey Axler

Attendees at the Eid dinner learned more about Muslim culture.

Photo by Alyssa Kaufman

The Muslim Student Association extended a warm welcome to Hood students and faculty at their annual Eid dinner, which was followed by a lecture by guest speaker Tarif Shraim, the Muslim Chaplain at the University of Maryland, College Park. 

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) hosts the Eid dinner every year.  Muslims celebrate Eid, traditionally called Eid ul-Fitr, every year to celebrate the end of the holiday Ramadan, which is a holy month of fasting.

“The Eid dinner shows what Ramadan is and brings a greater understanding of Islam culture,” MSA member Azkia Mujeeb said.  It helps the Hood community be more accepting of different cultures, and helps people come together.”

“I wanted to attend the MSA dinner to celebrate a different tradition,” said sophomore Anya Nikolenko.

Over 100 guests attended the Eid dinner, which took place in the Whitaker Campus Center Commons on Sept. 8.  The event cost $15 for outside guests, but Hood students and faculty could attend the dinner for free.

The MSA event began with the Eid dinner, which featured many traditional Muslim dishes served at Eid such as Naan and kabobs.

“The event was great…I enjoyed sampling the food from a different culture,” said sophomore Anna Elder.

Following the dinner, the guests listened to Shraim’s lecture. Many students enjoyed learning about Muslim culture from a first-person perspective.

“My favorite part of the [Eid dinner] was the speaker.  He was really informative but also funny and created a great atmosphere at the event,” said junior Olivia Wolz.

The Eid dinner allowed the Hood community to experience a Muslim tradition and gain a broader global perspective.

Sophomores Stephanie Lax and Anna Elder look at the Quran at the Eid dinner.

Photo by Stacey Axler

Praise for controversial rapper: Tyler, the Creator

By Olivia Sledzik

When it comes to being in the spotlight, celebrities have both fans and haters.  Tyler, the Creator, certainly has both after winning Best New Artist at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. At only 20 years old,Californianative Tyler Okonoma raps, writes songs, directs and films music videos, and is the leader of alternative hip-hop group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (known to fans as simply Odd Future).

His recent victory over fellow nominees Kreayshawn and Wiz Khalifa at the VMAS has sparked much conversation and controversy in the music industry as well as complaints from organizations like GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).  Before one automatically judgesTyleras a disrespectful, crude, and uneducated kid, however, we should actually read deeper into his lyrics and personality, for this young man is proving to be one of the most intricate rappers of his era.

Let’s start withTyler’s accomplishments and creativity. He has released two solo albums: “Bastard” in 2009, and “Goblin” in 2010. His most popular song, “Yonkers,” has at this moment over 22 million views on YouTube. Kanye West – who, as we all know, is the all-powerful when it comes to music videos -praises the video as the best of the year. The music video is dark, gritty, and intense, and it matches the mood of the song deliciously. 

The beat isn’t just a regular beat; it has the continuing sound of what may be an engine failing to rev up, which makes it uncomfortable to listen to. The lyrics are vulgar and littered with profanity.

The cinematography, directed by Tyler himself, is simple in order to contrast with the complexity of the lyrics. Filmed using a black and white perspective control lens, it features Tyler sitting on a stool, handling and eating a cockroach, projectile vomiting, and hanging himself at the end.

The song begins with the lyrics “I’m a f—-n’ walkin’ paradox, no I’m not,” which is rapped alternately by his alter ego character Wolf Haley and Tyler himself. The entire song is them going back and forth, and other paradoxes. He refers to his rather strong distaste towards Bruno Mars (“And stab Bruno Mars in his god—- esophagus”) and B.O.B. (“I’ll crash that f—— airplane that f—-t n—- B.O.B. is in”) and the praise he received from online music magazine Pitchfork Media (“And beat up any blogging f—-t hipster with a Pitchfork”).

Although these lyrics are violent, that’s the point. Wolf Haley is a violent person, or shall we say, a “goblin.”  He even refers to his feelings about never knowing his father, for whomTylerhas much disdain (“I just want to know if my father would ever like me.”) Tyler’s refreshing voice is not heavily auto-tuned. It’s deep, gravelly, and syrupy, as opposed to the whiney texture of pop-stars who are featured in rap songs.Tyler’s material is above that. He can get his art out there without having to rely on Rihanna in the chorus for publicity. I’m not sure how many 20-year-olds you know of who can delve that deep into their creative minds and come out with an explosion of intense sound and meaning, butTylerdoes it amazingly.

On the other hand,Tylerhas offended many people, including GLAAD. They claimTylerused the homophobic slur “f—-t” 213 times in “Goblin.” Members issued a statement saying that someone who uses such slurs so frequently should not have been nominated for such a noted award and that it sends a bad message to today’s youth. Parents and other family groups were taken aback byTyler’s acceptance speech in which he told “all the kids out there that [they] can do this s—.”  They argue that his habitual use of profanity makes him a poor role model for teens. 

While I do agree with GLAAD and other groups thatTylerneeds to cut back on his use of slurs, I can’t help but argue that this is the nature of his work. Some artists paint crude pictures or even make sculptures depicting rape. Writers craft stories about incest and violence. How is their material any different? Things like this need to be taken with a grain of salt. Who are we to place limits on creativity and expression of emotions? The phrase “Do as I say, not as I do,” can apply to this situation.Tylerhas no criminal record and works hard for what he wants. He has obvious goals and concrete future plans.  I’d rather him be a role model than kids look up to his rival Bruno Mars, who once was in possession of cocaine.

You can take offense to anything in this world, but when you tell an artist to stop expressing themselves in their medium, then you’re violating their right to free speech. So, if you don’t likeTyler’s material, don’t listen to it. It’s that simple.

How contemporary feminism has failed

By Krysta Wagner

Krysta Wagner

Many women today feel conflicted when asked if they are feminists, because although they support equality between men and women, they realize that the feminist movement has become warped. Women, in their attempts to make society recognize their inherent dignity as equal to that of men, have essentially sought to become men. 

They no longer view their fertility or their babies as gifts, but as problems that need to be fixed so that they can compete effectively with men in education and in the workplace. Feminism today essentially means abortion “rights.” By focusing on abortion, however, women have inadvertently ignored the real problems threatening them and their dignity. 

The fight over abortion has centered on whether women or their unborn children have greater rights to life, whether that means a life with a successful career for the woman, or simply life for the child. Many people agree that abortion is a painful choice women are forced into because of poverty, youth, or other difficult circumstances. Essentially, women find themselves forced into abortion because they are not receiving the financial or emotional support they need in order to have their child. Many women do not even know if organizations exist to help them if they do choose to keep their child. This lack of support for pregnant women, support that would enable them to have a child and continue their education or their career, is the real issue facing women. Women should never feel that they have to abort in order to remain competitive in the job market.

Society, however, has increasingly marginalized mothers. Young women who become pregnant are viewed as irresponsible, and stay-at-home mothers are seen as less valuable than women with careers. We have started to judge the worth of people by what they do, rather than by who they are.

G. K. Chesterton, however, speaks beautifully about the important role of the mother in society: “How can it be a large career to tell other people the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe?  How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone?”

The ability to become a mother is a great gift to women and one that forms part of their identity. By denying the gift of motherhood and accepting abortion, women have accepted violence against themselves and their own natures. 

As women continue to work for equality, they must strive for an equality that truly recognizes the dignity of women and men, not one that recognizes women as equal with men only if they become men.  They must also strive for equality for their own children, refusing to accept violence against unborn babies simply because those babies are young, small, disabled, or the offspring of an undesirable father. Only through sacrifice and love can women truly find strength.

Why feminism is relevant in 2011

By Lindsay Cogdill

Lindsay Cogdill

 When I tell people I’m a feminist, I often get this response: “Women are already equal. That’s why we have so many laws and everything.”  People seem surprised, as if I belong in a museum. “Silly girl, don’t you know you can already vote? What’s to complain about?”

Actually, there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done before women are truly considered equal in the eyes of society. After hearing that “feminism is irrelevant” one too many times, I started a list of reasons why theUnited Statesstill needs feminism. 

This list was completely spontaneous – I taped a piece of paper to my wall and started writing. I got to number 28 before I stopped. The list now includes suggestions from others and is an ongoing project. I’m up to number 55, and I definitely haven’t thought of everything. 

Since I don’t have space for my entire list, here’s my top 20. (I’ve kept the original numbers from the list.)

20 Reasons (and counting) Why Feminism Is Still Important in America Today:

3. On average, women are still paid less to do the same jobs as men. The fields in which women are most prevalent are among the lowest paid.

5. There is no law requiring companies to provide paid parental leave to their employees in theU.S. (Hood College also does not have a paid parental leave policy.)

6. Many survivors of sexual assault don’t realize they have been raped or sexually assaulted, because society advocates an incomplete, biased definition of rape that always blames the victim.

16. Abortion and contraception are still hotly debated. People think they have the right to argue about how a woman chooses to use her body.

23. When most people say “sex,” they are talking about male-female intercourse.  This is viewed as the ultimate, defining sex act that defines one’s sexual status in our society.

27.  Experts agree that the most effective leadership style is one based on “feminine traits” such as cooperation and understanding – but women are less successful in business when they display these traits.

30.  No one is allowed to choose their own gender – it is assigned at birth based on body parts. When people want to change that assignment, society brands them as freaks.

32.  Many people think men can’t be feminists – but feminism is about equality for both genders.

33.  I can’t go see a movie without seeing a woman objectified, put down, made fun of, or marginalized.

35. Too many people think being bisexual or sexually fluid means being promiscuous.

43. Many people still don’t think women should be allowed to do physically demanding or dangerous jobs such as military combat (from which women are still technically barred) or firefighting, even though we have laws against this type of discrimination.

47. Only 17 percent of the House of Representatives and 9 percent of the Senate are women. There have only been 39 female Senators in the 100 years that the position has been open to them.

53. Men think when they’re told they’re being sexist, it’s okay to say “I’m not sexist!” They don’t realize that doing so is an attempt to exercise male privilege.

54.  Sarah Palin claims to be a feminist, while she works actively against women’s rights.

55. On average, women need a Ph.D. to earn the same income that a man earns with a B.A.

New area coordinator enthusiastic and involved

By Stacey Axler

Travis Eichelberger, left, stands with fellow Area Coordinators.

Photo courtsey of Alfreda Nuwdsa

In addition to the campus-wide renovations and new courses introduced over the summer, the college has received several new staff members, including a new Area Coordinator (AC).

Travis Eichelberger joined the Hood Residence Life staff in May as the new AC for Memorial Hall and Coblentz Hall.

“I’m really happy to be here; [Hood] is a good fit for me,” Eichelberger said. “It will be challenging to become an amazing AC, but I am up for the challenge.”

 As the AC for two residence halls, Eichelberger maintains a staff of eight Hood students that includes seven resident assistants (RAs) and one head RA, with four staff members per residence hall. He holds weekly staff meetings with the Memorial and Coblentz RAs, conducts individual RA meetings, and implements programs for each residence hall. Since he lives on campus in Memorial Hall, he is on campus virtually 24 hours a day.

“Travis is a great leader. Being a new RA, he has always made me feel welcome,” Coblentz RA Megan Gregory said.

In accordance with Eichelberger’s role as AC, he specializes in multicultural student affairs, and he plans to create more diversity initiatives on campus.

“I’m in a position where I will learn and experience residence life, but also bring my knowledge of diversity to campus,” Eichelberger said.

The new AC also became actively involved in student organizations upon the start of the semester. Eichelberger became the faculty advisor for the Black Student Union (BSU); Hood African Student Association (HASA); and Tolerance, Education, Acceptance (TEA).

“It is my goal to try to restart a Latino organization on campus,” he said. “Also, I’m looking forward to getting in touch with the gay and lesbian population in Frederick and to looking into the gay, bisexual, and progressive fraternity based out of Washington, D.C.”

Due to his involvement on campus, many students have begun to look up to Eichelberger as a mentor.

“Travis is always around campus and is very supportive and helpful to students,” freshman Catherine Czech said. Eichelberger attended Shippensburg University for his undergraduate and graduate education, receiving a B.A. in English and an M.S. in counseling with a concentration in college student personnel.

In his free time, Eichelberger enjoys reading, baking, taking care of the fish in his fish tank and playing video games. He is also a member of the American College Personnel Association.

From the editor: Thoughts on Sep. 11

By Hilary Lawch

Almost everyone in the country remembers where they were the morning of the Sep. 11 attacks. We were students in classrooms, children on playgrounds, adults on our way to work.

Together as a country, we experienced fear as we stared in disbelief at our television screens, watching the towers crumble and fall from the New York Cityskyline.

For those in the district area, like myself: we remember children of government workers being pulled out of the lunch room and sent home, looks of confusion on their faces as they were told there was an “accident” in Washington,  D.C.

Over the course of 10 years, we have shared and heard stories of the woman who missed her subway train or the man who stayed home sick from work, only to avoid tragedy by a matter of minutes.

We also hear stories of people who were less fortunate: people who, when they kissed their children goodbye in the morning, never came home.

The terrorist attacks on theWorldTradeCenterand the Pentagon as well as the hijacking of U.S. Flight 93 were tragic events that instilled fear and pain inside our country as a whole. They left us confused, scared and angry.

However, they did not leave us broken.

While the terrible images of 9/11 will always be in the back of our minds, we must also place some different ones there: firefighters risking their lives to pull people out of rubble, police officers valiantly keeping peace in a crowd of chaos, windows across theUnited Statesproudly displaying the American flag.

These heroic images are the ones that make our country strong and what continue to tell outside threats that we are not broken, we are only stronger.

Colloquium series begins with screening of documentary

By Laura Morton

A documentary about Muslim children competing in an event that challenges their knowledge of the Koran will be the first event to kick off this year’s colloquium series on Sep. 27 at 6 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons.

The film, “Koran by Heart,” is produced by Chris Buchanan, who will be present after the showing to participate in a panel discussion with Hood faculty members and students.

The documentary features three 10-year-olds who participate in the International Holy Koran Competition, a two-week event held annually inEgyptin which students compete in the art of memorizing and reciting passages from the Koran.

The panel members will include Dr. Donald Wright, Dr. Ahmed Salem, Tarek Elgawhary fromPrincetonUniversity, and the film’s associate producer, Razan Ghalayini.

“I am excited to attend the colloquium events and learn more about different cultures,” said freshman Rhianon Sneeringer.

The film and panel discussion are the first event in this year’s colloquium, which is entitled “The Book: From Print to the Digital Age.”

“I’m really excited to attend the colloquium events on the book because I am fascinated by how, even during my lifetime, the concept of a book has changed into something a person someone can download on an iPad,” sophomore Lloyd Thompson-Taylor said.

The Humanities Colloquium has been ongoing for nearly 20 years at Hood and is run by the Humanities Council, which has eight members, one from each Humanities department. The council, including the current Libman professor Dr. Rebecca Prime, focuses on finding speakers that are relevant to school’s current curriculum.

The first half of the colloquium, which will take place over the fall semester, consists of four events.

The second event, to be held on Oct. 3, will consist of a film screening and panel discussion regarding the importance of children’s literature. The members on the panel will include local children’s authors, an illustrator for picture books, a children’s librarian, and one of the judges for the Newberry Award.

“The debates on campus about the use of iPads in the classroom started us thinking about the future of the book both here at Hood and more generally.  We wanted to explore the book in a variety of dimensions – as a subject of scholarly inquiry, a holy object, a vital part of childhood development – to suggest that its future may not be as dire as e-reader aficionados think,” Prime said.

The third event will feature Dr. Martin Faye, a former Hood professor who will speak about the exchange of information in medieval society, on Oct. 13. 

The last event is a poetry reading on Nov. 7 by Terrance Hayes, who won the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry.

The colloquium will continue to expand on the theme of the future of the book in the spring with more events.

Prime said that she hopes attendees of colloquium events are “engaged, entertained, and hopefully enlightened!”

Lecture by author and journalist to celebrate Constitution Day

By Stacey Axler and Catherine Collins

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist David Shipler will give a lecture on his latest book, “The Rights of the People: How Our Search for Safety Invades our Liberties,” on Sep. 20 at 7 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons.

The lecture, hosted by the political science department, is meant to celebrate Constitution Day, which was created in 2004 to commemorate the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on Sep. 17, 1787.

Shipler will address topics such as the tensions between personal liberties and national security that have mounted since the Sep. 11 terrorist attacks.

 “[David Shipler] is passionate about individual liberty and our right to privacy, and how these rights have changed, expanded and contracted over time,” Dr. Hoda Zaki, professor of political science, said in an e-mail. “He approaches his subject matter by telling stories: stories of men and women who have suffered as a result of the violations to civil rights.”

There will be a historical aspect to Shipler’s lecture: he will discuss various Supreme Court decisions and their impact on security and privacy as well as the relevance of these decisions to contemporary society.

“This is an important topic that will be discussed by an important intellectual in our society: everyone is welcome!” Zaki said.

Shipler is an established author, professor, and journalist, having worked at The New York Times for over two decades.

During his career at The Times, he served as a reporter inNew York, a correspondent in Saigon andMoscow, bureau chief inJerusalem, and chief diplomatic correspondent inWashington,D.C.

Shipler is the author of four books, including “Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams,” “The Working Poor,” and “Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land,” which won a Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.

He has taught at a number of institutions, including Princeton University, Dartmouth College and American University in Washington, D.C.

Professor publishes empirical study on black megachurches

By Catherine Collins

Dr. Tamelyn Tucker-Worgs, associate professor of political science, has published a book entitled “The Black Megachurch: Theology, Gender, and the Politics of Public Engagement,” which draws from 10 years of research and data collection to serve as the first empirical study of the black megachurch phenomenon in the United States.

Tucker-Worgs will host a lecture followed by a book signing and a reception to celebrate the publication of the book on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons.

Black megachurches, which are communities of tens of thousands of patrons, became a phenomenon around 1980 after the American civil rights movement in the 1960s. Tucker-Worgs’s book studies 149 megachurches to draw conclusions about their effectiveness regarding the modern problems facing African-Americans in this country.

“The basic question that I sought to address with the book was: What role are black megachurches playing in contemporary public life?” Tucker-Worgs said in an e-mail. “Particularly, do they address or even attempt to address the challenges that face black communities in the post-civil rights era (examples of these challenges: health, income, education disparities that still exist despite all the progress that the CRM was instrumental in making)?”

To research the book, Tucker-Worgs conducted surveys among various pastors of megachurches and directors of companies affected by megachurches; visited and observed over 50 megachurches; analyzed sermons and documents from megachurches; and interviewed members of the churches.

“A lot has been said and written about the black megachurch, but little of it with empirical evidence,” she said. “It mostly looks at them as homogenous – like they don’t vary. I found that they are very diverse, especially in how they engage public life.”

As its title implies, the book considers three aspects of the megachurch phenomenon – a church’s theological viewpoint, the role of gender in its leadership, and its community involvement – to make conclusions about various churches’ effectiveness in addressing modern inequality.


Athletic department welcomes new coach: Jack Mehl

By Maegan Green

Jack Mehl, the new women’s basketball coach, is excited to start the year.

Photo coursey of Hood Athletic Department

This year, Hood’s athletic department welcomes a new head coach of the ladies’ basketball team, Jack Mehl.  He has over 30 years of coaching experience, including 18 years atFrederickCommunity College.

“I am really excited about coaching the girls’ basketball team at Hood this year,” said Mehl.  “I have coached at a lot of different levels, from boys and girls in elementary school to teens and young adults in high school and college.” 

This will be Mehl’s first time as the head coach of a four-year college. 

“My goal is for us to be successful both on and off the court,” said Mehl.  “Coaching is about more than just winning games – it is about building relationships, boosting confidence, making sure that our players are doing well academically as well.”

The women’s basketball team will not start practicing until Oct. 15, so the new coach has not had the chance to assess what he can do to help them improve.

“My goal is to help every member of this team become the best person they can be, whether it involves preparing them for the next game or talking them through something that is impacting their lives outside of basketball,” Mehl said.

“I am very excited about the new coach,” said Kelsey Knippenberg, a sophomore shooting guard.  “He seems like a very respectful, down-to-earth guy who wants what’s best for us.  He’s really funny.” 

Although players have not had the chance to learn Mehl’s coaching style, many teammates can agree that they are excited to work with their new coach. 

“I like his philosophy,” said Dyanna Prader, the team captain.  “He seems like a nice guy off the court, but I have not dealt with him on the court.” 

“We have to change our foundation and get used to a new coaching style, but all of these changes are positive,” said Prader.  “Coach Mehl wants us to succeed on and off the court and I think that our team will improve a lot this year.”

Mehl recently retired from teaching math at Brunswick High for 32 years. 

He graduated fromBucknellUniversityinPennsylvaniawith a degree in mathematics.  While in college, he was involved in the school radio station.

“Some of my best experiences as a coach are not about wins and losses,” said Mehl.  ‘They are about having a positive influence on the lives of students who need guidance, encouragement, advice, and support.”