Living Legend Cokie Roberts Delivers Lecture on Journalism

Political commentator for NPR and ABC News, author of six New York Times bestsellers, and women’s historian Cokie Roberts delivered the Ben Bradlee Distinguished Lecture on Journalism on March 8, which was sponsored by the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD). President Tuajuanda and Dr. Maijia Harkonen, executive director of the CSD, introduced the speakers.

The lecture’s coincidence with International Women’s Day and Roberts’ background in women’s history prompted a lecture, titled “Resilience and Resistance: Coping in Hard Times,” that focused on the accomplishments of women in American history in the face of marginalization and oppression. Prompted by the pin she wore in celebration of International Women’s Day, Roberts began by detailing Abigail Adams’ role in the founding of the country.

Roberts also recounted the story of Margaret Brent, the first woman recorded to have demanded the vote. Brent, having come to the United States and settled in Maryland, is commemorated by the college with Margaret Brent Hall and Margaret Brent Way.

She continued to recount the decades-long struggle for women’s suffrage, noting that what accomplished the passing of the 19th amendment was the result of “not just resilience. It was resistance. Times had changed, sure, but mainly what had changed was tactics.” Roberts added that this breaking point in the women’s rights movement was similar to the state of activism today, calling it an “inflection point in terms of activism.”

With regard to the “Day Without a Woman” movement, in which women were called to stay home from work on March 8 as a form of protest, Roberts remarked that if all women had really stayed home, “it would’ve been an incredible shutdown of the system, but we’re too responsible for that.” Roberts also noted that International Women’s Day was celebrated in 27 countries and that “it’s still true in 2017 that women do 60% of the world’s work and own 1% of the world’s wealth.”

Another notable female historical figure Roberts celebrated in her talk was Katharine Graham, former chairwoman and chief executive officer of The Post Company and publisher of The Washington Post who led the newspaper through the Watergate scandal. Roberts recounted, “she had been resilient, and then she resisted the pressure of the entire executive branch attacking her and her paper, and she gave Bradlee and his reporters the support they needed to tell the American public the facts. And that’s where we are right now today. We have to keep doing that. We have to keep telling everyone what the facts are. The American experiment cannot continue without a free press.” On the current political climate of alternative facts and the circulation of fake news, she said, “what we can’t do is say that the basic facts are not facts.”

In the final Q&A section with Associate Professor of Philosophy Sybol Anderson as well as audience members, Roberts claimed that women tend to be more selfless in leadership, detailing a historical precedent in America of working to establish social welfare and taking up causes such as abolition.

When asked what young women can do to prepare for political office, she also advocated for nonprofits that prepare young women for leadership such as “She Should Run,” emphasizing the role of women as, “the last bastion of bipartisanship in the senate” and recounting that, “The last time the government shut down, it was the Democratic women and the Republican women in the senate who got it reopened… that sort of common-sensical [sic] view is what a lot of women… bring to the table, and so we really need you.”

Roberts is the recipient of three Emmys and was designated a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress in 2008. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland and writes a weekly syndicated column with her husband, Steven Roberts. She has also served under George W. Bush on the Council on Civic Service and Participation.

St. Mary’s Hosts CAC Swim Championships

Six schools met at the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic and Recreation Center (MPOARC) on Feb. 19, 2017. St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) hosted the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) swimming championships where both the SMCM Seahawk teams, women and men, finished fourth. University of Mary Washington took the top honors at the meet, both of their teams finished first. The CAC championship conclusion marked the finale of a long season for the Seahawks.

The entire team did very well. Senior captain Sam Liming told The Point News “we had a great season, coming in fourth on both sides was something we were really proud of.” Standout performances came from sophomore Colin Cassady who placed second overall in the 100 yard freestyle, completing the race in a time of 47.54 seconds. He was joined on the podium by Senior captain, Matt Walchuck, who earned fifth with a time of 47.86 seconds. Cassady set a new record with his time.

Liming extended further congratulatory remarks for her peers. Senior captain Lizzie Straathof achieved a personal best of 24.92 seconds in the 50 yard freestyle. Emma Green who “broke into the top eight in the mile.” Liming continued that Ben Ertman cut an astounding 24 seconds off of his mile time. To see a full list of the performances by SMCM swimmers please visit the smcmatheltics.com website.

According to Liming, the Seahawks thoroughly enjoy taking the home team advantage, hosting CAC Championships in their own pool. “We all really appreciate the fact that we can go back to our own beds and take a nap […] this is where we have been training, there very much is a home field advantage, especially with starts and turns.” She continued to explain that the “fins” on the starting blocks were new. The starting block is the diving platform which swimmers push off of to dive into the water at the beginning of the race. The “fin” is the adjustable piece of the block where the swimmers back foot pushes off of. “No one else has those” Liming explains this gave the Seahawks a potential “leg up” (No pun intended) on the competition.

Following a change in the coaching staff, the Seahawks began a more rigorous training regiment. New head coach Casey Bradt seems to be well received by his swimmers. They began having more rigorous training regimens. “Casey [Bradt] has really altered the program, all for the better. We swim more practices now, we have eleven per week […] nine in the pool per week.” Liming described Brandt as attentive, and technique focused.

Looking forward, the team is excited for Bradt’s changes to make the team even better. The seahawks will be graduating five swimmers this May, but gaining six, so their future is looking bright.

St. Mary’s Men’s Lacrosse

In the spring of 2013, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) men’s lacrosse team captured a Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) title with a 13-11 victory over Salisbury. This was the third CAC title in program history. Although the Seahawks have yet to win a title since they are setting their sights on making a CAC playoff run this season. While the last few seasons have seen the Seahawks finish below .500, they have a much-improved roster and claim to be ready to surprise people this season.

The 2017 St. Mary’s roster is  well balanced. Despite bringing on eleven freshmen, the Seahawks still are returning nine seniors. This will provide good leadership in order to mentor the next generation of St. Mary’s lacrosse players. There are also several transfers on the roster who will be new to the Seahawk program.

According to assistant senior captain, Javier Flores: “The goal of the season is to improve from last year and to [both] make and compete in the [Capital Athletic] Conference tournament.” In order to make the conference tournament at the end of the season, St. Mary’s must be one within the top six teams in CAC standings. Last year, the Seahawks failed to make the tournament as they concluded the season in seventh place in the conference. Overall they had a 4-9 record and a 2-6 record in conference.

Personnel change alone will not simply change this record. The CAC is a very tough conference for lacrosse, seeing as both York and Salisbury moved on to the NCAA tournament last year. Salisbury went on to win the Division III NCAA championship. Over the offseason, Flores says that the team was given both lifting and running workouts. He also mentions that they had wall ball and shooting drills. These drills have prepared St. Mary’s for the demanding season that lies ahead.

Starting off the year, the Seahawks lost their first four games to Dickinson, Eastern, Marywood, and Washington College. Both Washington College and Dickinson are considered some of the best Division III men’s lacrosse teams in the nation. The game against Marywood on Feb. 25 was a very close contest in which the Seahawks battled back from an eight to four deficit heading into the fourth quarter. In the final nine minutes of the game, the Seahawks had goals scored by sophomores Connor Benhoff, Ray LaPlaca, and Max Groen to bring the score to 9-6 in favor of Marywood. In the final minute, St. Mary’s forced two turnovers and had multiple stops, but could not get a goal across. Junior Dan Long and Groen each scored two goals in the match (Nairem Moran, smcmathletics.com).

St. Mary’s will begin conference play on March 18 as they host Southern Virginia. This will be a military appreciation day game.

The Seahawks are coached by Jason Childs, who is now in his second season at St. Mary’s. He is assisted by Justin Gordon. This year’s captains for St. Mary’s are seniors Max Alderman, Mike Becraft, and Brendan Steele. The assistant captains are seniors Luke Eshleman and Flores, along with redshirt sophomore Steve Jones.

Men’s Basketball Falls to Marymount

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) men’s basketball team concluded their season late last month with a loss to Marymount in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) tournament. After going on an impressive run to make the playoffs in the first place, the Seahawks fell 69-64 to Marymount on Feb. 21, 2017. During the game, St. Mary’s jumped out to an early seven to nothing lead. This lead lasted about half way through the first half until Marymount came back to tie the game at thirteen points. They would then go on a run and take a 35-25 lead at the half. The Seahawks started off the second half well, as they went on a twenty-nine to fifteen run. This run took just over ten minutes and gave St. Mary’s a 56-55 lead. With just over a minute left in the game, Marymount made a three-pointer – giving them the lead for good. (Nairem Moran, smcmathletics.com).

Senior Delaszo Smith and junior Chris Craft co-led the team in points with fourteen points apiece. Junior LaVonte Sanders added eleven points, ten rebounds, and three assists in the effort. Junior Donovan Robinson also contributed thirteen points (Moran, smcmathletics.com).

Despite this early exit from the conference playoffs, there is somewhat of a bright side heading into next season. Smith is the only senior graduating from St. Mary’s, so there will be lots of continuity within the team. This will be beneficial because it means that not only will the team be used to playing with one another, but they will also have another year of experience to build on. Additionally, St. Mary’s had a fair amount of success this year, despite lacking a prototypical “big man” player for the majority of the year. The “big man” for the Seahawks this year was six foot eight junior Marsalis Hurley. However, Hurley missed twelve games this year due to injury. Without the presence of a very tall player on the court, everyone else must work harder in order to guard opponents who have a fair amount of height. The importance of having a player like Hurley on the court is evident in the fact that St. Mary’s went  9-5 with Hurley playing, and 4-8 without him (smcmathletics.com). With a healthy year next year St. Mary’s could make a solid run in the CAC tournament.

Editions of “Volume 77, Issue Number 8” Now Available in Print

Print copies of The Point News’ most current edition have begun to circulate the St. Mary’s campus community. Issues are currently scattered around campus. Pick one up from any St. Mary’s building. If you can not find our drop-off location near you or would like to request the paper be delivered to a specific spot, please email Scott at Managingeditor@thepointnews.com. For those unable to access paper copies, either due to proximity or any other reason, take solace in this PDF of the newspaper available by clicking the link below. For the most part, articles in this issue have already been posted online. If there is an article which you would like to read in its web format, it is either already accessible on the website, or will be very soon. Click on the link below to view the PDF of the Wednesday, March 8 edition of The Point News. 

Click Here to View the PDF!

Migration Crisis in Europe: Is America a Bystander?

The Center for the Study of Democracy has done it again, and put on another incredibly intriguing lecture, this time discussing the migration crisis in Europe and America’s role in the issue.

Though the title seemed to suggest that the majority of the conversation would be focused on America’s role in the migration crisis, it did not turn out this way. Most of the conversation seemed to focus more on the respective countries the speakers came from or are now located in, and did not very thoroughly discuss the question posed in the advertising of the program. Some people in the audience seemed less than thrilled by this possibly false advertising, but during the question and answer section, this was brought up and somewhat discussed. Though the conversation centered around the topic of the migration crisis in Europe, and less to do with America’s response, the information from such qualified speakers was essential to a better and more comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand.

The international forum consisted of four speakers, Dr. Martin Geiger, Dr. Ioannis N. Grigoriadis, Dr. Polly Pallister-Wilkins, and Esra Dilek. Dr. Martin Geiger was unfortunately unable to speak in person, and instead appeared via Skype, citing his concerns over president Trump’s executive order on people coming and going from the U.S.  

The conversation began with remarks from Dr. Polly Pallister-Wilkins, from the University of Amsterdam, where she specializes in what she calls “humanitarian border work.” Dr. Pallister-Wilkins gave us background information, explaining that the world is currently facing one of the largest refugee crises in history. She made it clear that she likes the term “people on the move” as a term for talking about people without just applying labels or compartmentalizing them, something that is essential when we examine the reasons that people flee their place of origin: conflict, instability, systematic discrimination, natural disasters, economic deprivation, and external threats, many of which often overlap.

She was quick to mention that these people leave in search of a better future with prospects and security, yet often they encounter the opposite of this due to countries’s less than welcoming reactions and policy. Dr. Pallister-Wilkins also points out that though we speak about how the refugee crisis is a crisis for the places receiving them, the real crisis is the one happening to the people, which is what we should focus on. She spoke passionately on the shameful response from many European Union member states, saying that it was a failure of politics, resulting in deliberate action to deter people from coming, and ended by explaining that this was allowing the message of “Your life will be so terrible, just stay in Aleppo and die.”

Next Dr. Ioannis N. Grigoriadis from Bilkent University in Ankara Turkey spoke, and gave us a more policy-based analysis of the issue of migration. Dr. Grigoriadis made the point that some places will prioritize migrants that they share a certain trait with; something that he seemed to think was a questionable way of handling the crisis. He spoke mostly about Turkey, and their response, because they are in fact at the heart of the refugee crisis.

One of the most interesting points he made was the idea of the refugee crisis as a bargaining chip between Turkey and the European Union. He explained this as the instrumentalization of refugees, meaning that they were only being helped if they served a purpose for those doing the helping and in some way the government was being provided money, jokingly saying “keep on sending money.” Dr. Grigoriadis also spoke about the issue of bargaining between political actors and how an added level of difficulty arises from the current anti-refugee political backlash. He ended by saying that we should follow the upcoming elections and their results in major European countries, and that from this new stances could be produced or continuations of old ones, stating, “everything can change with a new administration.”

Esra Dilek, a Ph.D. student from the University of Bilkent in Ankara, Turkey spoke next, scrutinizing migration in the European Union, this time looking more in depth by discussing Greece and the Evros fence. The Evros fence is a barbwire fence running along the Greek-Turkish border, installed to prevent illegal immigration between these two places. She spoke about the securitization of migration, which she explains as the process of approaching the issue of migration in security terms; framing migration as a security threat. Dilek also spoke about the discursive approach, where the securitization occurs through ‘speech acts’, and focuses on rhetoric calling for exceptional or extreme measures. She cited president Trump’s rhetoric as an example, and how he made generalizations about people and the threat they supposedly posed to America.

She also posed the question of why Greece would choose to build a border fence when their economy was collapsing, and answered it by explaining the symbolic value it had and its ability to disseminate the message of people not being wanted there. Dilek explained that though land border migration dropped by 95%, sea border migration which is often more dangerous increased by 231% leading to the tragic news stories we watch where people are being rescued from drowning after their boats capsize, or when children’s lifeless bodies are being pulled from the sea. She concluded her time by explaining how certain European countries view the issue as their country being on the verge of destruction, framing the issue of migration in highly securitized terms, thereby legitimizing extreme measures like the Evros fence.

Dr. Martin Geiger concluded the forum, via Skype call. His remarks were centered on Germany’s more pragmatic response to the migration crisis. Dr. Geiger discussed how Angela Merkel, the current Chancellor of Germany, was portrayed in two very different ways by the media and the public; to some she was a mother, full of compassion, and to other she was naïve and risking more lives with her ‘open door’ policy, leading some to accuse her of trying to destroy the European Union. He brought up the issue of sexual assaults in the German city of Cologne, where migrants were supposedly responsible, something the media instantly played on in the dialogue of the migration crisis. He spoke how this may have been the tipping point for public opinion on policy regarding migrants, and the amount that the government should be allowing in.

While discussing the response of world leaders, Geiger also pulled Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau into the mix, citing his more welcoming response. He referred to this as positive politics, and cited the ability of citizens to privately sponsor refugee families, and the public pressure from Canadian citizens to follow through with promises to help those in need.

Dr. Geiger then swung back to the discussion of Germany, and how the country has shifted their response as of late, and began a more extreme response to the issue of migration. He explained that this change was most likely linked to the fear of political backlash from supporting more compassionate policies, like Merkel’s ‘open door’ policy, and worry about reelection and loss of political traction. He more openly voiced his frustration with this change of response, and explained the disappointing numbers of people being resettled, the lack of commitment and cohesion from the government, the deportation of migrants back to Afghanistan, and the idea that the people’s opinions and the government’s formal actions do not match up. Dr. Geiger concluded by saying that Canada and Germany may become leaders in this time of uncertainty, also citing that president Trump’s response will be important as well, and ending by stating that the migration crisis is a global one, not just a European one.

The forum was concluded with a brief question and answer portion. One of the main questions was asked by a community member, who seemed displeased at the lack of focus on America, and what our role in the migration crisis is, citing the event being advertised as discussing this more fully. He was answered, and the consensus seemed to be that the international community expects America to “pull its weight”, especially since America has the capacity to act, and is in fact at least partly responsible for the instability in areas that some refugees are coming from. One speaker, Dr. Pallister-Wilkins ended by saying, “America could do more, but so could everywhere else.”

Lucille Clifton Honored by the Renaming of the “White House”

After a meeting held by the Board of Trustees on Jan. 27, 2017, approval to rename the small cottage situated at 47491 Trinity Church Road famously termed as the “White House” due to its physical appearance was successfully approved to be renamed as the “Lucille Clifton House.”

The reasoning behind the renaming of the “White House” as stated by the Board of Trustee’s report summary was due to Lucille Clifton’s “commitment to [St. Mary’s College that] was strong and unwavering.”

According to Dr. Michael Glaser, Professor Emeritus of English and a close personal friend of Lucille Clifton, the renaming of the “White House” to the “Lucille Clifton House”, serves as “an important symbol for the campus and our collective community that there is now a building on campus that reminds us of the spirit of compassion and equality that Ms. Clifton was so deeply committed to.”

For those that may be unaware, Lucille Clifton was a distinguished Professor of the Humanities at St. Mary’s College from 1989 to 2005. She had passed away in 2010 after a long fight with cancer.

Even though Lucille Clifton may be gone, she left behind a legacy that is very much alive as she continues to be remembered as a critically acclaimed author and poet.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Clifton was a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist for her book “Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969-1980”, the second woman and first African American to be poet laureate of Maryland from 1979 to 1985, and the first African American to be awarded the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize Award in 2001. She also was a recipient of the National Book Award for her book “Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000.”

This is only a short summary of the achievements Lucille Clifton made in her long and extensive career, as she received many awards and an endless amount of recognition.

In one instance, she gained recognition from the former Poet of Laureate of the United States Rita Dove.

Thinking of Clifton, Dove stated, “In contrast to much of the poetry being written today—intellectualized lyricism characterized by an application of inductive thought to unusual images—Lucille Clifton’s poems are compact and self-sufficient…Her revelations then resemble the epiphanies of childhood and early adolescence, when one’s lack of preconceptions about the self-allowed for brilliant slippage into the metaphysical, a glimpse into an egoless, utterly thingful and serene world.”

In addition to the cottage being renamed, it will also serve as the new location of offices belonging to the Title IX Coordinator Michael Dunn and the Associate Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity Dr. Kortet Mensah.

In reaction to the news of the renaming of the cottage, Dunn stated, “I’m very excited to be working in the newly-named ‘Lucille Clifton House.’ She is one of the shining lights of the College and she represents a lot of the values we want to uphold: civic-mindedness, our common humanity, and a dedication to the St. Mary’s community.”

In many ways, the new location belonging to the Title IX coordinator and the AVP of Inclusion and Diversity connects back to Lucille Clifton’s legacy.

In agreement, Michael Dunn stated, “I think that Title IX, and IDEs [Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Initiative] in general, are very grounded in a concern for the dignity and humanity of every individual person, and how we as a community can treat one another with respect and care. My sense is that Lucille Clifton’s life and work reflected these ideals, and I think that hers is a great spirit to inspire our work.”

Uniquely, in the 1970s, as stated by Glaser, the “White House” served as a place for members of the St. Mary’s community to come together for poetry readings, as well as “great and often intense conversations.”

However, one has to wonder what Lucille Clifton’s thoughts would be towards the renaming of the “White House” to the “Lucille Clifton House.”

Glaser believes Clifton would be “tickled by it, and would feel very proud. She really valued St. Mary’s. And she valued the liberal arts because they encourage people to think – to explore various points of view, and to ask good questions. Ms. Clifton believed there was a deep connection between poetry – all art actually – and a good liberal arts education because both are significantly focused on exploring the Socratic question, ‘what is the life worth living.’”

A Conversation with the New Associate Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Kortet Mensah

On Oct. 21, 2016, President Tuajuanda Jordan sent out an all-student email marking the completion of the search for a new Associate Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion (AVP). The position, which is part of the President’s cabinet, has been occupied by Dr. Kortet Mensah since her first day on the job on Nov. 28, 2016.

Mensah brings over 19 years of experience with initiating, overseeing, and evaluating programs and initiatives that facilitate diverse students’ and employees’ successful inclusion and adjustment. Her background in multicultural programming, fostering student success, advancing academic and social relationships, as well as examining cultural influences on individuals’ psychosocial development provide Mensah with a unique skillset to serve as the College’s first AVP of Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Mensah is responsible for coordinating efforts to establish excellence in Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (IDE) throughout the St. Mary’s community.

On the role of an Associate Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion/Chief Diversity officer on a college campus, Dr. Mensah answered that the position varies across many colleges and universities. However, she stated that an essential task for the position at St. Mary’s College of Maryland is to collaborate with faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members, and all the members of our college campus through inclusion, diversity, and equity.

This includes what happens in and outside of the classroom, the hiring and admissions process, and everything connected to St. Mary’s. She says for employees, we have to ask if we are “recruiting, hiring, and retaining through promotions a diverse employment pool?” To ensure a diverse student body, she emphasized “recruiting, admitting, and supporting success of a diverse student population.” She continues, “once they are here, we also have to work on creating a community that is welcoming and makes them feel that their voice matters.”

Dr. Mensah reflected on past events that led to the creation of this position, which she referred to as “some of the negative challenges.” These challenges created “a tense climate and community” where people did not feel included. This situation caused President Jordan to create five work groups to help with those issues, one of them being the Civility and the Embodiment of Our Ethos. It is tasked with “how to invigorate and reimagine the St. Mary’s Way and how to identify what our values are as they connect to IDE (Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity).” An essential component is the idea that we should encourage people to live out the St. Mary’s Way and recognize when they do so. Dr. Mensah says, “If all you focus on is the negative aspect, you create tension.” She believes that only through conversations, community building activities, partnerships, and creating systems which include all campus members should we educate our campus community and create a climate where those things are not as likely to happen.

The Point News asked Dr. Mensah what vision she has to make students from diverse background feel included, welcomed, and valued at the College through creating the systems mentioned. Dr. Mensah replied that she would work collaboratively with all students, and that she wishes students to contact her through email for meetings. Dr. Mensah says, “Students, faculty and alumni: come talk to me, let me get to know you and understand your experiences on this campus, and your hopes and dreams for this campus.” 

Based on what she learns from students, especially student leaders, she determines how to craft projects. Dr. Mensah has meetings with the SGA Programs Board, the student affairs team (Residence Life, the Wellness Center, Student Activities), as well as RAs in training to discuss how to incorporate diversity and inclusive programming into their projects.

She also believes that the work should not be seen as a checklist to be completed, rather as a system and belief that should already be interwoven in everything that we do. Regarding this system, she says, “Many times when people think of diversity, inclusion, and equity, they think of quotas such as the number of students here. If we just do the checkboxes like yes, we advertised to students of color, so yes, that’s diverse. That’s not enough, it has to be interwoven into everything.” She also adds that diversity is connected to everything because diversity is about the people. The challenge arises when certain groups have been excluded from the conversation and resources. She is therefore tasked with bringing back the inclusion aspect, which is a mindset and not a checkbox.

Dr. Mensah was then asked if there are any resources that students can utilize if they feel unwelcome or unsupported. She says that one way to get involved is through student-activity opportunities, career services, and the Wellness Center. There are several student organizations that have different demographic focuses here on campus, ranging from cultural and religious focuses to athletics.

Being a part of career programs allows students to meet other students as well. Dr. Mensah offered an example of the Bookbag to Briefcase conference she was involved in. In this conference, she discussed with the seniors what role IDE plays in the workplace. Being a part of these career services will help students to think professionally as well as applying what is learned as a student. The Wellness Center also has several support groups and resources. Dr. Mensah works in collaboration with the Wellness Center staff to make sure that the services are “inclusively diverse”. “Her position”, she says, “is also here for all students.” She remarks that it is not for students of color only, but women and students who are LGBTQ who have felt attacked, disrespected, devalued in incidences in the past two years. She says, “everyone has a place in this conversation. We cannot say we are inclusively diverse, but only diverse to a certain group of people.”

The Point News concluded the interview by asking Dr. Mensah if with the changing demographics and recent new stories, she feels as though an AVP of Diversity and Inclusion officer at St. Mary’s College of Maryland is long overdue to demonstrate the importance of diversity in higher learning institutions. She agreed, stating that given the historical context of various “-isms” (such as racism, sexism, etc.), this position was a necessary and welcomed step for any higher education institution, but it is not enough to have the position. The position should be interwoven into all campus activities. She reflects on this aspect as what excited her about this position, the idea that it is intertwined. She says, “the position is not here just to be here, but to help move the institution along the process to being inclusively diverse.” She believes that if it is only a checkmark, the “utility and significance does not shine through.” Dr. Mensah concludes by saying that not every college and university has the commitment to make the position interwoven into their institution. St. Mary’s, however, has demonstrated this aspect by the level on which they have placed this position, which reports directly to the President.

The Life and Death of Landmark Figure in Roe v. Wade

On Feb. 28, the central figure of Roe v. Wade passed away at the age of 69 due to heart failure. However, Norma McCorvey has often been referred to by her pseudonym, Roe. She had been known for being a major figure in the infamous 1973 case where the Supreme Court ruling legalized abortion.

McCorvey led a complex life while advocating for both sides of the controversial argument. She became the anonymous name behind the case while she was pregnant with her third child. Two lawyers, Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, were in the process of searching for a plaintiff in the soon-to-be case of Roe v. Wade. They were arguing against Texas abortion laws and once they heard about McCorvey’s case, were introduced to her in hopes of using her story for their case.

Soon after, McCorvey became an advocate for the legalization of abortion, even though the case was resolved in 1970 and McCorvey’s child had already been born and adopted. McCorvey continued to support the cause by working in an abortion clinic for years after the case.

McCorvey dropped out of high school in ninth grade, citing a difficult and trying life at home. Her mother was physically and emotionally abusive towards McCorvey throughout her childhood. When McCorvey was sent away to a reform school, she was raped by her aunt whom she stayed with.

McCorvey’s first child, Melissa, was adopted by her abusive mother, Mary. Melissa’s father, McCorvey’s first husband, was also abusive. McCorvey and her mother have varying accounts on the reason for the adoption; McCorvey claims that her mother kidnapped Melissa because she disapproved of McCorvey’s sexual preference. According to McCorvey, once she told Mary that her sexual preference was for women, Mary forced Melissa away from her mother.

However, Mary claims that McCorvey’s alcohol and drug use is what motivated her to adopt Melissa, in addition to her promiscuity with partners of all genders.

McCorvey also had a second child, who was raised by the father.

In 1995, McCorvey’s religious beliefs and opinions of abortion rights shifted. She said that she no longer identified as a lesbian. She claimed that she and her partner of many years, Connie Gonzalez, still lived together, but they were no longer in a romantic relationship. She told The Washington Times in 1995 that “I am not a lesbian. I’m just a child in Christ now.”

McCorvey moved out after Gonzalez suffered from a stroke that left her incapacitated and in need of consistent care and attention. McCorvey continued to distance herself from her previous role in pro-choice movements when she endorsed Ron Paul for President in 2008. According to NBC’s Gabe Herman, McCorvey said: “I support Ron Paul for president because we share the same goal, that of overturning Roe v. Wade. He has never wavered on the issue of being pro-life and has a voting record to prove it. He understands the importance of civil liberties for all, including the unborn.”

McCorvey wrote about her conversion in “Roe v. McCorvey” with Gary Thomas. “I could out-cuss the most crass of men and women; I could out-drink many of the Dallas taverns’ regulars; and I was known for my hot temper. When pro-lifers called me a murderer, I called them worse. When people held up signs of aborted fetuses, I spit in their face.

I had a reputation to protect, after all. As the plaintiff in the infamous Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, my life was inextricably tied up with abortion. Though I had never had one, abortion was the sun around which my life orbited. I once told a reporter, “This issue is the only thing I live for. I live, eat, breathe, think everything about abortion.”

In 2006, she protested President Barack Obama’s commencement speech at University of Notre Dame. She told The Guardian that “President Obama is guilty of ‘child killing.’” She said, “When I got arrested, I loved it! I felt like I was high. But it was a God high. I’d never been arrested before. But who better to be arrested for than the unborn children?”

McCorvey never had an abortion, but her participation in the case sparked a long dispute over state abortion rights. The 7-2 court decision in 1973 invalidated bans on abortion. Her shift from pro-choice advocacy to working for a Christian group aimed to making abortion illegal sparked controversy, especially after the real name behind her pseudonym was released in the 1980s when she released an autobiography titled “I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice.”

Natural Science and Mathematics Colloquium: “Animal physics, from the tiger’s tongue to my daughter’s eyelashes”

On Wed. Feb. 22, Dr. David Hu delivered his talk titled “Animal physics, from the tiger’s tongue to my daughter’s eyelashes” as part of the Natural Science and Mathematics Colloquium series at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM).

Dr. Hu grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and studied mathematics and mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is currently a professor of mechanical engineering and biology at Georgia Tech.

His talk first focused on the physics of how animals clean themselves, including the functions of eyelashes, hairy legs, and tongues of various animals. Eyelashes are found on many mammals including opossums, kangaroos, giraffes, camels (which have two layers of eyelashes), and birds who have feathers that mimic eyelashes.

Eyelashes are important for animals because they slow the air around the eye and thus reduce particle deposition in and around the eyes. His research about eyelash length has led to the discovery that the ideal average length vs. width of animal eyelashes is L=.34W, and this has been shown true over a variety of animals.

Another discovery of animals cleaning themselves is of the hairy legs on bees. After bees return from collecting pollen, they are covered with five times their weight in pollen. The pollen is wedged into the tips of their hairs, and their leg hairs have the perfect separation so that they can easily remove most of the pollen in just a few swipes.

The tongue of cats (including house cats, bob cats and tigers) all contain angled spines that help them groom themselves. This is especially important for cats because they spend half of their waking time grooming themselves. All of these cleaning mechanisms are examples of renewable cleaning strategies for animals, that have been optimized over time for effective cleaning.

Another important part of Dr. Hu’s research had a more interesting beginning. One day while Dr. Hu was changing his son’s diaper, his son proceeded to pee on him, and Dr. Hu was amazed that his son was peeing for so long, so he counted and it took nearly 23 seconds. This experience helped inspire his research in fluid mechanics about the duration of urination in animals. Dr. Hu and his team discovered that nearly all animals over 3kg urinate for 21+/- 10 seconds.

Dr. Hu won the Ig Nobel Prize for physics in 2015 for his research about the duration of urination in animals. Ig Nobel Prizes are known as the parody of the Nobel Prizes, and are awarded each year for ten achievements “that first make people laugh and then make them think.” Other winners of the Ig Nobel Prize include Thomas Thwaites, who built prosthetics to allow him to live among goats, and Mark Avis who studied “the brand personality of rocks.” In 2014, the prize was awarded in physics to several scientists who measured the amount of friction between a person stepping on banana skin on the floor.

According to a report from Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, Dr. Hu is responsible for 15% of the most wasteful scientific studies, but Dr. Hu stressed that anti-science attitudes “should never prevent people from taking risks.” He was proud of this accomplishment even if it had been criticized by others, because his studies and other studies listed provide valuable scientific discoveries. Dr. Hu closed his talk by encouraging the audience to “be fearless in [their] research and celebrate science humor.”