Brew’d Awakening: A Bare Bones but Practical Café

Brew’d Awakening, the new café in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center (MPOARC), is a point of some contention for the student body. Is it a wannabe Pub replacement inconveniently situated directly across from the glass-walled weight room? Is it the newest early-morning necessity for the dreaded 8 or, let’s face it,  even 10 a.m. classes? The answer, I think, is a little bit of both.

Brew’d Awakening will not be the newest hangout place on campus. The hours (7:30 AM to 1:30 PM on weekdays, and closed on weekends unless there’s a special event) are too slim and the environment is too charged. I do not want to be sitting cozy on a chair eating a chocolate chip muffin while watching the athletically-disposed people of campus do squats any more than I would like to be the person doing squats and watching someone else enjoy a meal while I suffer. This is the environment in which the MPOARC’s newest addition is situated, an atmosphere for meals that, outside of athletes and sports games, seems impractical and uncomfortable. However, there is nonetheless a charming aspect to the new Starbucks nook on campus. Perhaps it is the familiar menu and coffee potential or perhaps simply the convenience of another food opportunity located near the majority of academic buildings. Either way, the corner outlet in the MPOARC is a comfortable morning choice that I find is becoming a habit for me.

The menu itself is not a particularly incredible one. The Daily Grind has a much larger and more refreshing supply of original smoothies and creative blends. The food selection is a limited showing of breakfast pastries but the drinks are, in typical Starbucks fashion, deliciously brewed and the perfect choice for a cold morning. If you’re not a coffee fanatic, the ARC Cafe is a choice of simple convenience rather than culinary genius, but before noon I find the former more compelling than the latter. As for the injustice of replacing the precious Pub and Daily Grind, I think our favorite campus spots will withstand the small change of a signless metal bar in a corner. Rather than replacing other dining options, Brew’d Awakening adds variety to the campus’ food and drink options, while presenting another location for a quick early-morning food and drink grab.

When testing out the new spot for the first few times, however, do not to expect the full Starbucks café experience. The word café, to me, suggests coziness. It is curling up in a corner chair and pretending to be in a Hallmark movie. Brew’d Awakening does not provide this— it never will provide this— but it does not have to. As I imagine it, there is a very happy middle ground between an uncomfortable stare down across the glass weight room wall and the quintessential Hallmark experience. Brew’d Awakening has settled into the middle of this spectrum.

No, it is not the newest campus hangout spot and no, it does not top the Daily Grind’s creative drink blends or the Pub’s comfortable and familiar atmosphere. Its limited hours, limited menu and somewhat awkward positioning by the weight room prevents this. What it does provide, however, is exactly what it advertises: a convenient new breakfast opportunity and a brilliant place to obtain quality coffee before those morning classes.


Trump Enables the Violence of the Saudi Regime

On Oct. 2, journalist Jamal Khashoggi went into a Saudi Consulate in Turkey and didn’t leave.

Originally, the Saudi government stated that it didn’t know what happened to Khashoggi; later, they admitted that he died in the consulate after a fistfight, and now the Saudi State Prosecutor is claiming that rogue agents murdered him, according to CNN.

Besides the bizarre details of the case reported by CNN, like the alleged dismemberment of Khashoggi and creating doppelgangers to dress like the slain journalist so that it would appear that he left the consulate, this case brings into question America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.  

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ruled by King Salman, is one of the few kingdoms left in the world, yet it is allied with the US and most western countries.

The BBC reports that the US has several strategic reasons to allow Saudi Arabia free reign in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter and could decide, if sanctioned, to reduce oil output which would cause a global gas price rise. The US also does significant business with the Saudis. In 2017 the Trump administration signed a $110 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, and the US currently exports $46 billion in products and services to the Saudis. In addition to the economic benefits of maintaining relations with Saudi Arabia, it is also an ally to the US and cooperates with the US military’s operations in the Middle East.

For these reasons, the United States has taken no solid actions against the Saudis’ blatantly murdering a journalist in their consulate. On Oct. 23, President Trump stated in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he wants to believe the Saudis’ explanation that a rogue actor murdered Khashoggi because “they’ve been a tremendous investor in our military equipment and other things. They buy tremendous amounts of things from our country.”    

One of the positive things about the Trump administration is that it does not conceal its motives with flowery language. Trump admits that he doesn’t care what Saudi Arabia does as long as we make money. This is why we have seen no US reaction to Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the Yemeni Civil War, where the Saudis have killed countless civilians. Most notably on Aug. 9, the Saudis dropped a bomb on a school bus in Yemen killing 44 children and injuring 79 people, according to The Guardian. There were no repercussions.  

In addition to exacerbating the civil war in Yemen, the Saudi government also abducted Lebanon’s head of state last year, according to Al Jazeera. In Nov. 2017, The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, traveled to Saudi Arabia; when he arrived his phone was confiscated, and the next day he resigned.  

These blatant violations of other nations’ sovereignty are endless, and this is without even looking at the atrocious state of human rights within Saudi Arabia itself. However, as Trump said, as long as the money keeps flowing, we will continue to arm and enable the Saudis without a thought for victims of the Saudi regime like Khashoggi.  

Democrats Should Play Dirty to Take Back the Supreme Court

On Oct. 6 the Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in a 50-48 vote, according to CNN.

This vote came in the wake of several allegations against Kavanaugh of sexual assault. According to Slate, Christine Blasey Ford stated during a Senate hearing that Kavanaugh isolated her at a party when they were in high school, put his hand over her mouth and tried to take her clothes off. She said that she feared for her life and believed that he would rape her. However, Kavanaugh’s friend jumped on top of them giving her a chance to escape.

In another case, Deborah Ramirez claimed that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a party at Yale, according to Fox News. In an interview on Fox News Kavanaugh defended himself from these allegations stating that he never sexually assaulted anyone.

Despite these allegations, and even though Kavanaugh likely lied under oath several times when questioned about his drunkenness and use of slang, the Senate confirmed him anyway. This is because the Supreme Court is a political tool.

The Court is a partisan, undemocratic institution that can strike down laws passed by Congress, and it is confirmed by another unrepresentative institution, the Senate. Kavanaugh was appointed by President Trump, who lost the popular vote, and approved by the Senate, receiving 50 votes to confirm from Senators that represented just 44% of the country. In addition to Kavanaugh, Trump’s other appointee, Neil Gorsuch, took a seat that opened under President Obama and should have been filled by Obama’s appointee, Merrick Garland.

Now Trump has gotten two Supreme Court picks in the first half of his first term, and we have seen the effects of this already.

On Oct. 22 the Supreme Court ruled that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross did not have to testify about his motives for changing the United States Census to add a question asking if the respondent was a citizen, according to USA Today.  

Ross previously stated that the new question, taken off of the Census in 1950, is to uphold the Voting Rights Act; however, new evidence has emerged that Ross made the decision first and then asked for a legal reason to add it.  

The Census is a count of all residents of the U.S., not just citizens, and Democratic States’ Attorneys have argued that this citizenship question is a crude attempt to intimidate undocumented immigrants, according to USA Today.

The court is also retrograde on environmental issues. Even after the IPCC’s bombshell climate change report released on Oct. 8, which stated the dire consequences of our continued carbon emissions, Trump’s court is dead set on turning the Earth into an inferno.

Vox reported that on Oct. 18 the Court put a hold on a landmark climate change case which passed through several lower courts. The case has 21 plaintiffs between the ages of 11 and 22, and their lawyers argue that the government has exacerbated climate change and is causing “irreparable harm to young people and denying them a safe climate.” It is unusual for the Supreme Court to intervene in lower courts so blatantly. However, the justices have to uphold their ideological commitments.

Trump and the Republicans know that the Court is their political tool. The Washington Post reports that the Trump administration has brought an unprecedented number of cases, most notably the Muslim ban, directly before the Supreme Court, bypassing lower courts. The Court’s role as a rubber stamp is also why Jeff Sessions threatened a federal appeals court that if it does not decide the DACA case by the end of the month, the administration will go directly before the Supreme Court.

So considering that at least two members of the Supreme Court are illegitimate and will remain there for decades, and that the Court will continue to make retrograde decisions that will send us on an irreversible course towards climate disaster, what recourse do we have?

The first step if Democrats take back the House or the Senate in November should be to open an official inquiry into Kavanaugh to determine if he was lying under oath during his confirmation hearing in order to impeach him.

The second step if a Democrat wins the Presidency in 2020 should be to thank Justices Ginsburg and Breyer for their holding action through the Trump years and promptly ask them to resign to make room for younger justices.

The third step, if the Supreme Court is still majority Republican,  is to add two more seats to the Supreme Court to re-establish a liberal majority. This is the least likely suggestion to get implemented; however, it would not require a constitutional amendment since the Constitution does not specify how many justices the court should have.

Ideally, the Supreme Court would not exist or would have less power, but without a constitutional amendment, these suggestions are the best way to recapture the Supreme Court. Some may ask, isn’t this a massive escalation? It is an escalation, but if the Republicans are going to play dirty, why shouldn’t we?

“The Hate U Give” Addresses Police Brutality In America

“The Hate U Give” is a young adult dramatic film that goes in depth on the social issues of racism, classism and socioeconomic status. It premiered in select theaters on Oct. 5, with a full release on Oct. 19, 2018.

Based on the novel by Angie Thomas published in Feb. 2017, “The Hate U Give” takes place in the African-American dominated neighborhood of Garden Heights. The protagonist is a 16-year-old named Starr Carter. After Starr goes to a party and gets a ride home from her old friend Khalil, they get pulled over by a white officer who eventually shoots the teenage boy after he reaches for a hairbrush, which is mistaken for a weapon. Since Starr is the only witness to the event, she must decide whether she should speak up for her dead friend or keep her name out of the media for her own wellbeing.

Throughout the film, Starr must balance her double life of going to the private school out of town and being in the neighborhood where her family lives, while also mourning the loss of Khalil. At her predominantly white school, she does everything to make sure no one classifies her as “ghetto.” She doesn’t use slang, even if her white classmates use it, and lets people get away with things like cutting in front of her in the lunch line to make sure she isn’t labeled with having “attitude.” When Khalil dies, her world gets turned upside down and she notices how dishonest she has been to her true self by living a double life.

One of the stand-out quotes from the movie references one of the late rapper Tupac Shakur’s tattoos, “T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E.” As Starr and her friend Khalil drive, he emphasises the quote “The hate you give little infants fucks everyone.” Essentially, the quote signifies that if children go through suffering such as racism, gang activity and oppression, when they grow older the anger that spurs from them is inevitable. Starr suffers through a traumatic incident of witnessing a death, which eventually sparks her to protest her society.

This movie addresses the many innocent black lives taken by police officers. With a differing perspective on the issue, rapper and actor Common portrays a black cop that explains the position of officers who arrest individuals and have to survey a situation in a fast manner in order to maintain the wellbeing of all citizens. Overall, the film recognizes that there are prejudices within society, but inspires the audience to keep fighting for equality.

Initially, I was afraid that the movie would not live up to my expectations, but “The Hate U Give” was done beautifully. The screenplay, cinematography and the soundtrack of the film combined to create a both somber and empowering mood. Amandla Stenberg was a wonderful choice for the protagonist. She acted, in my opinion, a performance that is deserving of an Academy Award. The amount of emotion and power that she is capable of displaying is mind-boggling. This is a movie that everyone should see.

If you would like to watch this flick, the movie theater R/C Lexington Exchange in California, Maryland plays “The Hate U Give.” Less than a half hour away from campus, catching a movie is a nice activity for St. Mary’s College of Maryland students.


Big Mouth Returns for a Hilarious Second Season

The second season of “Big Mouth” premiered on Oct. 5, 2018. The Netflix cartoon provided another round of guilty-pleasure comedy, causing positive chatter throughout social media.

“Big Mouth” is a show highlighting pre-teens as their bodies transform during their tween years. It’s theme song is the fitting “Changes” by Charles Bradley, The show is original, since in American society puberty transformations are typically hush-hush as people tend to dismiss awkward instances of their childhood and never wish to discuss them again. But “Big Mouth” adds a certain comedic style that presents the topic in a way that viewers can’t help but enjoy.

“Big Mouth” has a star-studded cast, including the accomplished actors Nick Kroll, Jessi Klein and Jordan Peele playing the main characters. While its first season focused on physical transformations during puberty and newfound sexual thoughts, the second season expands on the major emotional changes of life, such as shame and depression, that occur through the normal processes of growing up.

New characters are added in season 2, sharing the spotlight with the infamous Hormone Monsters that dominated the first season. These mythical creatures act almost as a devil on one’s shoulder, putting thoughts in the adolescents minds as they go through the transformations of puberty. The Shame Wizard is a new character that takes the form of an old British man, and forces the teens to reevaluate their actions (much to their chagrin). The Depression Kitty makes an appearance, which allows viewers to recognize the importance of getting help whenever suffering from a mental health crisis.

“Big Mouth” can be seen as controversial because of how the show portrays young teenagers exploring their newfound sexuality (and the fact that it is filled with foul language). It enters the sensitive content realm of other adult cartoons such as “South Park” and “The Boondocks.” Despite its vulgarity, the series has received positive reviews, with watchers already hoping for a new season. It is a quick watch, with many of the episodes ending in cliffhangers, making the viewer want to click to the next 25-minute video.

This show is entertaining for young adults to watch as they reminisce their clueless days of going through puberty not so long ago. The show mentions the relatable instances of getting one’s first period and growing a mustache. Although the mature content in the show isn’t suitable for the tweens that the characters resemble, it appeals to an audience of college-aged students like those at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. “Big Mouth” has received an 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a major accomplishment.

While there is no official word that “Big Mouth” will return for a third season, viewers and critics alike are hopeful. If you can’t wait and want more adult cartoons, Netflix has five seasons of “Bojack Horseman” which follows a washed up actor as he tries to stay relevant in an ever-changing Hollywood. The video streaming site also recently released a season of the outlandish “Paradise PD” which has gained popularity on social media for its parodies of 911 calls. These two shows should satisfy “Big Mouth” viewers until its potential return for a third season.

“A Star is Born” Highlights Struggles In Lives of Celebrities

As Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut and Lady Gaga’s first serious film role, “A Star is Born” shines as a reminder that sometimes the simplest tales can be the most effective. Cooper stars as Jackson Maine alongside Gaga as Ally, with Sam Elliott filling in as the supporting role of Bobby, Maine’s big brother and manager. The film also has a star-studded supporting cast, including Dave Chappelle as George Stone, Anthony Ramos as Ramon and Andrew Dice Clay as Lorenzo, with cameos by real-life celebrities, such as Halsey. “A Star is Born” premiered Oct. 5, 2018, with an opening weekend box office gross of $42.9 million, coming in second behind “Venom,” also premiering that weekend.

This version of “A Star is Born” marks the fourth incarnation of the original 1937 film with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. While the original film was not a musical, instead focusing on the star machine of Golden Era cinema, the basic plot remains the same throughout all versions: a relatively unknown woman is discovered by an industry veteran. As their relationship grows, the woman rises in fame and the veteran sees his fame wane. The result is tragedy, the specifics of which change from version to version. It was not until the 1954 version with Judy Garland and James Mason that a musical element was added to the plot, in a critique of the big movie musical trend of the time. In the 1976 version with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson the musical aspect turns to popular rock. In all aspects, it is the 1976 version of “A Star is Born” that the 2018 film most closely emulates.

“A Star is Born” takes the time to explore issues of mental illness and addiction, which often go overlooked in celebrities. This takes on additional importance in the wake of the seeming epidemic celebrity suicides and overdoses in recent memory. Jackson Maine’s issues are portrayed as multifaceted, stemming from childhood trauma, hearing loss and the general difficulties that come with becoming a star and then seeing that go away. The pain and grief that results from Maine’s illness is both upsetting and bittersweet, and not a dry eye was in the movie theater when the film ended. The realism of Maine’s illness hits perfectly.

Where acting is concerned, Cooper is almost unrecognizable as Jackson Maine, donning a Country-Western aesthetic and slurring accent. There were times when the accent did get overbearing to the point of incomprehensibility, but that was kept to a minimum. Lady Gaga stands out as Ally, with emotional vulnerability that blurs the line between acting and reality. The only main issue with “A Star is Born” is that Sam Elliott’s character, Bobby, is severely underused. While he pops in and out of the plot as needed, taking on a sort of guardian role for Maine, he drops off the map for too long while exploring other paths.

The film, while over two hours, never feels like it is dragging or padding out the plot. In fact, every moment feels perfectly placed. Cooper’s directing is wonderful, with fantastic use of the live singing and lingering shots. Color theory also plays a vital role, with different color motifs showing up throughout different points in the film.

“A Star is Born” is rated R and has a runtime of 135 minutes.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Brew’d Awakening: Bon Appetit Opens New Cafe in MPOARC

On Monday, October 15, Bon Appetit held its grand opening of the new cafe in the Michael P. O’Brian Athletics and Recreation Center (MPOARC), Brew’d Awakening. The cafe, which is open from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on weekdays, offers Starbucks brand coffee to students at a relatively affordable price.

The cafe’s concept was conceived a year ago, when the College was searching for ideas to increase enrollment. Bon Appetit officials met with Chip Jackson, the former Vice President of Finance at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) to discuss future plans. “We did a survey of what [students] would like to see on campus, and a big thing was a Starbucks,” David Sansotta, General Manager of Bon Appetit at SMCM explained, “We went all over campus, and [the MPOARC] was the closest place to all the academic buildings.”

The cafe operates as a Starbucks “We Proudly Serve” store, which gives independent companies, like Bon Appetit, a platform to serve Starbucks products. The cafe is staffed and operated by Bon Appetit, and accepts payment by cash, card and Flex dollars. Bon Appetit allows students to apply to work at the cafe, but the students would be Bon Appetit employees rather than Starbucks employees.

Sansotta told TPN that the cafe has worked out “very well,” getting from 75 to 130 customers on any given day. The cafe is currently only operating on weekdays and on special events on weekends, but after its first month it will be analyzed for additional staffing and hours. In the future, the cafe will be relocated into the new academic building that is set to be built on the current athletic field starting in January 2020.

LQ Fire Alarm Troubles Residents, Employees

It is nearly one in the morning on a Tuesday. Most students are sleeping, quietly studying or winding down after a long day. However, in the Edward T. Lewis Quadrangle (LQ), students are busy slowly and routinely filing out of their suites as a fire alarm blares throughout the complex. This has become a consistent occurrence for residents of LQ. SGA senator Aaron Johnson estimates that this has taken place as many as 5 to 6 times in the Fall 2018 semester alone, with many incidents happening in the late evening.

It takes a toll on students too. SGA senator from LQ, Cory Shorter, says it has “certainly affected students’ sleep schedule.” Johnson adds that his roomate,a student-athlete, has to wake up as early as 5:00a.m. for practice, making these 1:00a.m. wake ups essentially the middle of the night for them. As the alarm becomes more frequent, danger to students in the event of an actual fire becomes more likely. In the event of an actual emergency, students are likely to react to an alarm slowly, if at all. LQ Resident Assistant Willow Limbach says the frequency of the alarm is a safety hazard, stating “Eventually, when the alarm goes off at 2:00a.m., students will go back to sleep.”

What causes these alarms in LQ? Certainly, some of these false alarms are caused by students smoking or burning candles indoors, however, Limbach confirms that this is not exclusively the cause. She specifically notes a mid-afternoon incident in her own suite in which the alarm, went off with no visible trigger. On this note, what characteristics of the residence make this problem so rampant exclusively here? Many theories have been suggested, from more sensitive and faulty detectors, to a specific propensity of LQ residents to smoke indoors. Although there may be some truth to these theories, the most logical explanation is much more simple. Unlike other residences on north campus, LQ residences are consolidated into one continuous building; an alarm in one suite means the entire complex must evacuate.

How should this issue be addressed to benefit students in the future? Although the most common answer is for students to cease smoking indoors, increased enforcement of this is seen by most as impractical and a waste of school resources. Additionally, with the majority of the current incidents not resulting in any disciplinary action against students, it is unclear whether this would even combat the issue.

Replacing alarms and detectors across the complex is another frequently mentioned remedy. However, there is no concrete proof of faulty equipment being a root cause of the frequent alarms, so the effectiveness of replacing the system is ambiguous.

Separating the quadrangle into individual alarm and evacuation zones is another proposed practical solution. Unfortunately, due to the consolidated nature of LQ, this does not comply to the fire code in the state and therefore impossible without structural modifications to the complex as a whole. Regardless of the possible flaws to each approach, the alarm, along with the nuisance and hazards accompanying it, continues to affect students’ daily lives.

TFMS Production Faces Scrutiny Over Casting

The Theater, Film, and Media Studies (TFMS) department’s production of Happy Birthday, Wanda June will open on Wednesday, November 14. The play, written by author Kurt Vonnegut Jr., explores the lead character, returned veteran Harold Ryan’s embrace of toxic masculinity in the post-World War II era. “Harold stands for everything that we claim that we reject. But he gives some really, really good insight into who we are as people, “ Mark A. Rhoda, director of the production stated. “It’s very timely because of Trump. Harold Ryan is as reprehensible as Trump is, and Harold Ryan stands for a hell of a lot of what Trump stands for,“ Rhoda said. The play, first performed in 1970, has been revived in recent years, most notably by the Wheelhouse Theatre Company in an off-off Broadway production.

However, several students in the department noticed that the cast list, released shortly after auditions, was notably less diverse than past TFMS productions. Soon after the list was released, somebody had scrawled the words “And the cast is all white because…” on top of the casting list. “It didn’t really occur to me at first, it was actually somebody who did get in,” commented McKenna Johnson, a TFMS Major. Johnson explained that a cast member had said to her that “there is no reason that the cast should be this white,” which caused Johnson to consider the diversity of the cast.

Daekwan Jacobs, another TFMS major who auditioned for the performance, said that when he saw the cast list “I was first a little bit shocked, actually, and I scrolled through the list of names and tried to identify people I knew… and I switched to the other motive of ‘where’s the diversity part?’”

Regarding the message written on the casting list, Rhoda stated that “whoever scrawled it was ignorant. It’s not an all white cast. We have a student of mixed race in the cast. We also extend beyond that in terms of diversity.” Johnson had previously talked with Rhoda and explained that using a single student of mixed race to justify the cast was an example of tokenism. “He kept saying that ‘[the scrawled message was] wrong’, and I was like ‘I don’t think that it’s wrong to point out a whitewashed cast,’ and he said ‘no, I mean it’s wrong, one of them is a mixed kid’, and I was like ‘that’s just tokenism,’” Johnson also felt that it opened up “the very nuanced discussion of light skinned people of color” in the theater industry.

“I know a lot of things could go into play when casting, but when a cast is all white with a person who passes [as white], it kind of shoots out the message that there is a lot of tokenism and the idea of whiteness in general is being portrayed,” Jacobs explained.

Johnson explained that the casting decisions were particularly odd because of the show’s connections to the rise of Trump-era toxic masculinity. “Objectively, the people who are in the most danger from this kind of toxic masculinity are not represented.” Johnson explained that she was disappointed in the decisions, “I know [Rhoda] works really hard to be an ally and to represent marginalized groups where he can, I think the TFMS department as a whole is really interested in righting historical wrongs in the way that they cast things.”

“[The concerns] are, in a way, springing from much deeper issues about race relations on campus, and we, as a department, can’t speak to that,” Rhoda explained, “That would mean, and rightfully so I think, bringing in someone from the administration, whether that’s a Dean Brown or Tuajuanda Jordan, the president of the college.” At the TFMS level, Rhoda explained that “what we can, as a department, do is to address our policies for selecting a season and for casting.”

J.W. Ruth, a cast member who plays the “pacifist, hippie, peace-lovin’” Dr. Woodley, told TPN that he thinks the issue is “definitely fueled by other issues of race on this campus over the past few years, so people on this campus have more, overall, valid reasons for getting angry.”

Johnson agreed that there is an undercurrent of racial issues on campus, but argued that “there’s nothing that Tuajuanda or Dean Brown can say as a blanket statement that’s going to get rid of the feelings and the day to day things that make people feel this way. It really will have to start with people, but also with individual departments taking it on themselves.”

“The idea of theater challenges society’s norms and cultural everything, it challenges what we see in everyday life, so to show what we see in everyday life, like erasure of identity and tokenism, and then to say it’s not really an issue here but a broader issue, it’s again part of that erasure,” said Jacobs.

After talking to several students about the issue, the TFMS department is planning on hosting a talk back to students within the department to discuss casting issues.

“A lot of issues that get brought up spark a big conversation, then there’s quotes of promises or changes that will happen, then it never actually happens,” Jacobs stated, referring back to past issues regarding race relations on campus, “as a community we should keep the conversation going.”

“I don’t want this to seem like a personal attack on anyone, any student, anybody on the cast, even the director himself, this isn’t a personal attack, but just to bring awareness to an issue that is often forgotten and often not even recognized,” Jacobs concluded.

Similarly, Johnson stated that “there was talk of boycotting the show, but I want people to understand that when you boycott a production… the people that are really going to get screwed over are the people in the show because this is a student production.” Johnson, a longtime student of Rhoda, attested to his character and explained that she does not believe there were bad intentions in the casting process. Johnson also clarified that the casting process was especially rushed this year, as the college closed due to the impending Hurricane Florence during the week of auditions, which could have hindered the department from taking diversity into consideration during auditions.

“I don’t think anyone had any bad intentions in mind, especially Mark, knowing Mark, knowing that he has directed shows that are meant to be inclusive,” Kevin Glotfelty, who plays the lead, Harold Ryan, explained, “I understand the controversy, I understand the difficulty, and I understand where people are coming from and the want for inclusion because that’s definitely a problem and needs to be fixed, but I don’t think there was any hostility or bad intentions, if anything it was overlooked.”

Office of Public Safety Addresses Staffing Troubles

Posted on behalf of authors Alexandra Utts and Kristina Norgard

St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s (SMCM) Student Government Association (SGA) held a student speak out on Sept. 11 in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center (MPOARC) Arena. The room was packed and students began voicing their concerns about the college. One of the concerns was about Public Safety on campus.  A student spoke about how Public Safety on campus was impacted due to employees working long hours and being underpaid. The student stated, “They are already understaffed. There are six public safety members. So many people quit over the summer and we have yet to replace them. And now they’re being overworked. They’re working over 17 hours. They see us more than they see their families.”

Officer Turner has worked as a full-time dispatcher on SMCM’s Public Safety since 2010. Recently, he switched his position to officer due to the staff shortage. In the last two years, Public Safety has lost a number of officers, leaving them with seven total staff members in the field this fall semester. Turner remarked that the officers that have left recently have done so for personal reasons, not because of any single incident, situation or experience related to being employed with Public Safety at the College.

He expressed that it can be challenging to find people to work on the staff of Public Safety.  The job requires a lot of dedication, commitment and time. This is especially true because Public Safety provides a constant service to the College and professionals that “can be stretched pretty thin even with a full staff.” He also made a point that there are some very positive aspects to the current Public Safety team on campus. He feels as though Public Safety currently has the most cohesive group they have ever had right now. They have employees on Public Safety that are alumni or staff that have worked on another part of campus. Turner attributes the great dynamic in part to this since these individuals know the campus and community so well.

In an email with Christopher Coons, assistant director of Public Safety at the College, it was made known that Public Safety has since “hired three new Officers who are currently in their field training.” Coons also noted that they “are currently hiring for two additional Officers and a full-time Dispatcher” and that “once those positions are filled [Public Safety] will be at full staff.”

The additional hiring of staff may reduce the overwork of current Public Safety staff and provide greater opportunity for work-life balance.

Members of Public Safety staff joined students and other SMCM employees in marching to Calvert Hall on Sept. 27 to demand a fairer contract for employees. Public Safety’s staff shortage was also a topic of discussion at the march as an example of staff shortages and hiring issues across campus. It’s evident that Public Safety and other SMCM employees are concerned with addressing the staffing challenges on campus and are willing to show up in order to enact those changes.