Stolen Lab Equipment Distributed on Campus

On Saturday, April 13, several students were offered small vials, containing what they were told was “pure medical grade cocaine.” The solution, which was stolen from a lab in Goodpaster Hall, contained very small amounts of cocaine suspended in liquid solvents.

The equipment was reportedly stolen around 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10. On Saturday, after the individual had been reported to Public Safety, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department and Chemistry faculty were called to the scene to investigate. The individual had also allegedly stolen several scales and other lab supplies from labs in Goodpaster Hall, according to multiple sources familiar with the lab equipment.

“Our immediate goal was to make sure that nothing dangerous was out on campus,” Director of Public Safety Tressa Setlak said, “there was one rather dangerous substance that they were suspended in, we did locate that substance and it had not been distributed.” Setlak later confirmed that the “dangerous substance” that had been stolen but was not distributed was methanol, which can cause blindness or even death in small doses.

Multiple sources familiar with the case noted that the individual had been “bragging” about stealing the lab supplies that night, and was selling the vials out of a large ziplock bag for $30 a piece.

The College sent out an email at 2:54 p.m. on the following Sunday, stating that the individual had been removed from campus and that “any student who is concerned about a substance they have ingested should contact the Public Safety office immediately.” The email also stated that “The College has no reason to believe anything dangerous was distributed”, which raised concerns for students familiar with the solvents used in the burglarized labs. Students have mentioned that many cocaine standards used in the labs contain highly toxic chemicals such as methanol and acetonitrile, which could cause severe medical issues if they are ingested. However, Public Safety has since stated that no methanol was distributed. In addition, no students who ingested the solution contacted Public Safety, according to Setlak.

Since the incident, the College has confirmed that it is adjusting security procedures in labs. The chemistry department has limited key access to labs to only professors, and the College is looking into switching to Onecard access to labs rather than giving out keys. “Only those trained and permitted to use the lab would have card access and unlike keys, access cards ensure doors lock automatically when closed, and lost or stolen cards can be deactivated,” said Gretchen Phillips of the Office of Communication. Phillips also noted that the College is “also looking into possible video surveillance in hallways near the lab.”

In regards to students being offered strange substances, “if you don’t know what it is, don’t ingest it, don’t take it, don’t touch it, there’s so many dangerous things that you just don’t know what it could be,” said Setlak,  “the opioid epidemic has shone a light on fentanyl and carfentanil, and how dangerous they are. You just don’t know what you’re getting, and they are fatal if you get a hold of them.”

At the time of writing the case is still under active criminal investigation, so criminal information has not been fully released to the public. It is unclear if the student will be permitted back on campus, or if the College is seeking criminal charges. At the time of writing, no formal charges have been announced.

Messick Talks Achievements, Future at State of the Student Body Address

On Friday, April 25, the Student Government Association (SGA) hosted the first State of the Student Body Address, wrapping up a year of change, progress and legislation.

The address opened with remarks from SGA President Andrew Messick (‘19), who discussed the goals, successes and pitfalls of this year’s SGA.

At the beginning of the academic year, the SGA had planned to get started on major projects as soon as the semester started. “We really wanted to build a strong foundation to make sure that going forward, future SGAs can start in the way that we did in the beginning, and past SGAs haven’t,” Messick said, but also noted that “in actuality, we had a lot of damage control to begin with. The beginning of the [fall] semester was awful,” referring to the student resistance and ensuing Student Speakout that occured in response to new alcohol enforcement guidelines. “Part of that damage control was making sure that we, as a student body, through the SGA, could enhance our relationship with the administration,” said Messick.

In regards to changes that have occured over the past year, Messick mentioned internal reforms such as a restructuring of the executive board into the executive council and the representative council, and many other, smaller changes— like assigned seating at SGA meetings. “I made new seating arrangements. I tried to make sure people sat with their cohorts, I tried to make it so people could feel welcome and invited to come in and sit and watch us,” said Messick.

Messick highlighted several accomplishments of this year’s SGA, including the passage of large-scale student life projects such as free menstrual products and an emergency contraceptive vending machine, funded by major cuts to unnecessary spending. “We’ve had a more fiscally conscious SGA. It has been so hard to get funding out of them, when people come to them for money, they just don’t want to give it up,” Messick laughed.

Concluding, Messick recognized individuals who have contributed to the large amount of progress that the SGA has made this year, including executive board members and first year senators.

Next, Director of Campus Programming Rose Glenn (‘19) spoke on changes and successes within SGA’s Programs Board, which has also faced large-scale restructuring under her leadership. Glenn highlighted the cascade of Programs Board events held this year, the expansion of Programs Board’s social media presence, and large changes in Programs Board’s membership structure.

Finally, SGA President-elect Rebecca Malaga (‘20) spoke on her plans for the coming year, setting goals to continue on the successes of this year’s SGA by bridging gaps between students and SGA, and promoting transparency, efficiency and integrity throughout the Senate. “I want to make sure every student feels welcome at SGA, feels included in our process, feels like they can come talk to us. I want to make sure that everyone feels like they can have a voice,” Malaga said.

“I’m glad that we had a high staff turnout,” Glenn said of the address, “I think it would have been better if more students and faculty came, so we could be more transparent about what we are doing.”

Pete Buttigieg is Not Our Savior

Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has created somewhat of a media frenzy. His supporters believe that his bland views, his fruitful age and his experience as a small-town mayor make him the perfect candidate for the Democratic nomination.

The thing is, Buttigieg doesn’t really have plans or views. He sells himself to Democrats with his image: a white, gay, millennial, veteran, who speaks a lot of different languages and is a Rhodes scholar. Unfortunately, beyond his image, Buttigieg does not have much. He does not have plans, policies, or ideas beyond vague, mainstream, leftist beliefs.

When Anderson Cooper asked him about this at CNN’s Buttigieg Town Hall, he answered by saying he has an idea to restructure the Supreme Court (it’s not a good idea) and then told Cooper “As Democrats, this is a habit that we have, we go right to the policy proposals, and we expect people to figure out what our values must be from them.”

That is not a bad habit. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both have very detailed, explicit plans for what they would like to do in office. It’s probably a good habit to elect presidents based on what they are actually going to do in office, if those plans will work, and if they will be able to get those plans through.

But not having plans is the ultimate nature of Buttigieg, and the milquetoast white men who come with him, like Beto O’Rourke. They run on their “coolness” and their centrist message of uniting the country, but have very few concrete ideas.

The reason Buttigieg and O’Rourke are still able to be taken seriously? Cool white dudes have the privilege of not needing to take a real position. Cool white dudes have the privilege of making the leap from mayor of South Bend, IN to running for president.

Buttigieg’s proponents cite his experience as mayor as proof that he is an experienced leader who “turned around” South Bend. The fact is, he did this by implementing excessive code restrictions that largely affected low income communities and communities of color. He doesn’t talk about his policy ideas because his policies are not going to be popular with the left, because he is a gentrifier.

Buttigieg “turned around South Bend” by coddling with private developers to knock down blighted homes, forcing the towns eviction rate to 6.7%. The town’s eviction rate has doubled since Buttigieg took office in 2012, and is now three times the national average. “Turning around” means that Buttgieg displaced the poor, sent them out of South Bend.

I don’t see a lot of reason to support Mayor Pete, beyond his “look at me, I speak so many languages!” cool white guy appeal. His policy experience is rooted in gentrifying and displacing working families, and he covers this up by talking “values before policy.”

Roy Wood Jr. Delivers Thirteenth Annual Twain Lecture

On Friday, April 12, actor, comedian, and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” correspondent Roy Wood Jr. delivered the Thirteenth Annual Twain Lecture, an annual event organized by Professor of English Benjamin Click.

Wood, who began his comedy career in 1999, has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam,” and was a finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” He is most well-known for his role as a correspondent for “The Daily Show.”

The event began with opening statements from President Tuajuanda C. Jordan, who discussed the need for humor in turbulent political times. “The truth seems to be, well, whatever we want it to be these days,” said Jordan, “you can have a dream and you can make it a fact, because you had the dream, so it has to be real.”

Jordan introduced Dr. Click, who has organized the Twain lecture since its inception in 2007. Click has taught courses on American humor, rhetoric, southern literature and Mark Twain since joining the College in 1998.

Dr. Click, after opening remarks, introduced Roy Wood Jr., who performed thirty minutes of comedy, discussing topics such as race, films, comic book readers, and Golden Corral customers during his routine and drawing many laughs from the audience.

“I enjoyed his routine, and how he kept pushing the boundaries with the audience and then called attention to the fact we were uncomfortable or not as responsive,” said Lindsay Wooleyhand, who works as a fellow for Click, “he seemed to be in tune with us.”

Wooleyhand also noted that the Q&A session after the lecture “felt more meaningful than some of the past Twain lectures.” Wood took questions from students about celebrities, the comedy industry and the Daily Show after the lecture. “I think it was a combination of better questions were being asked, and [Wood] was able to successfully articulate his thoughts on the spot.”

The Twain Lecture takes place annually,  with occasional additional lectures such as “Laughing to the Polls.” St. Mary’s has previously hosted author David Sedaris and co-founder of The Onion Scott Dikkers.

Deal Reached in Bathroom Video Case

On Tuesday, March 26, Timothy Bingley, a former St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) student accused of secretly recording men in the Prince George’s Hall bathroom, waived his right to a trial in cooperation with state prosecutors. His case, a 17-count bill of criminal charges, was placed on the inactive docket.

Bingley will serve 100 hours of community service at no less than 16 hours per week. Bingley will also submit regular mental health reports, and is not permitted to share images or videos with anybody outside his immediate family.

An investigation by SMCM’s Public Safety office and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department charged Bingley with recording, preparing and uploading videos of men using the bathroom, uploaded with titles such as “Cute Boy Takes a Gassy Poop” and “Big Daddy Has Diarrhea Explosion.”

Messick Plans “State of the Student Body” Address

At the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting on Tuesday, April 9, President Andrew Messick announced plans for a “State of the Student Body” address, to be held on Thursday, April 25 in the Auerbach Auditorium.

The address, the first of its kind at St. Mary’s, will focus on the progress the student body has made since the beginning of the academic year, and will highlight important SGA legislation that has passed throughout the year.

The address will also be used to introduce the incoming SGA Executive Board, headed by President-elect Rebecca Malaga and Vice President-elect Roselyanne Cepero-Santos. The new administration will discuss its own goals for the coming academic year.

All students, staff and faculty are welcome to attend the event. “We want to make sure that we can show what we’ve done to everyone and how it’s worked to help St. Mary’s,” said Messick.

LEADing the Way: These SMCM Students Drank Most of the Lead From Calvert Hall’s Pipes

Students of a new Biology practicum course are rejoicing, as they have finally consumed most of the lead that was found in Calvert Hall’s drinking water. The course, BIO441: LEAD Practicum, was added as part of the College’s LEAD initiative to give students an opportunity to apply classroom skills in real-life scenarios.

“After drinking the lead, I’ve become 10000x more powerful,” one student wrote, “I’m never drinking water from anywhere else.”

Students in BIO441 usually spend their Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons collecting lead-filled water from Calvert Hall, and then spend 3-4 hours in the MPOARC training to become more powerful. “I’m so glad I got to take BIO441 and drink lead water, from the pipes in Calvert Hall,” said another honors STEM student at the National Public Honors College, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a nationally-recognized liberal arts college “I’ve learned to take my Biology knowledge out of the classroom and into the real world.”

Students have noticed drastic increases in their ability to bench, squat and deadlift since regularly drinking the brown water from Calvert Hall’s pipes. They have, however, suffered from regular nausea, vomiting, fatigue, irritability, and other side effects of drinking water that contains high levels of lead.

STEM students often come to St. Mary’s College of Maryland (our school, the National Public Honors College) to learn Biology and Chemistry. The school is known for its rigorous coursework comparable to that at private, elite liberal arts institutions. BIO441 is one of many nationally-recognized courses that allows STEM students to take their knowledge out of the classroom, and into the real world.

“Calvert Hall has been known for high levels of lead in its water, and one day I saw the Vice President of Business and Finance benching 200lbs, and thought ‘why not us?’” Smart But Quirky Biology Professor said, knowing what it’s like to teach with a 16:1 faculty-student ratio and still have a good time.

Whether it’s in the lab, in the classroom, or at the gym, our students at the National Public Honors College are strong, powerful, and rigorous. Please apply, to our school.

Office of Planning and Facilities Unveils Direct Sewage-to-River Pipeline

The Office of Planning and Facilities has unveiled plans for a new, 10,000 foot long pipeline to direct sewage from campus directly into the St. Mary’s River and St. John’s Pond.

The Sharon Hope Ingills-Thompson Pipeline, named after former St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) President Dr. S.H. Ingills-Thompson, will carry thousands of gallons of raw sewage directly into the St. Mary’s River and St. Johns Pond 24 hours a day. “We’ve noticed people get really excited when we spill sewage into the St. Mary’s River, especially before events like the Polar Bear Plunge, so we decided to just cut out the middleman,” a spokesperson for the project said, “we are very excited to see what happens when we are just constantly dumping sewage into the river.”

Sources have indicated that St. John’s Pond and the St. Mary’s River will be “completely uninhabitable within minutes” of the pipelines’ initial spewing. The pipeline will collect sewage from all buildings on campus, and should keep a steady supply of sewage going into the river throughout its operation.

The SHIT pipeline is expected to be complete in September of 2020, and an official ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for the weekend of Hawktoberfest, so parents, visitors and alumni can attend.

Malaga, Cepero Santos Win SGA Presidential Election

Townhouse Senator Rebecca Malaga (’20), and her running mate, Senate Leader Roselyanne Cepero Santos (’21), have officially been nominated as the SGA Presidential candidates following a tense election against Lewis Quad Senator Joseph Perriello (’21) and his running mate, PG Senator Anna Pence (’21).

The election concluded at midnight Saturday morning, and Malaga’s victory became clear soon after. The official results were announced at the SGA meeting on Tuesday, March 26.

Both candidates spent the election season heavily using social media to spread their names and platforms, with both candidates purchasing Snapchat filters, printing flyers, and sharing their platforms online.

“We worked really hard to have a strong social media presence,” Malaga said, “my main goal was to engage with as many people as possible because I thought that would be more beneficial in the long run than more passive techniques.”

Malaga stated that she “was anticipating a very close election,” and was “really surprised by how many people supported us.”

“Our supporters really had our back and carried us through the election,” Malaga said, “I think it’s really important that I make sure to give my supporters credit for this as well because there’s no way it could have happened without them.”

In addition to the presidential candidates, Colin Sweatt (’20) was elected to become the next SGA Treasurer, and Aissatou Thawe (’20) was elected to become the next Director of Campus Programming.

Election season is still far from over, as Senators for next year’s Senate still need to be elected by their respective residences. Elections for Senators will be held from April 17 through April 19, and again next semester to determine First Year Senators.