Your Bi-Weekly Horoscopes for May 1 – May 15

Taurus (April 20-May 20):

After an exhausting week of service projects, performance rehearsals, and turning in SMPs, you should feel as if you’ve finally earned a good long break from work. Your impending finals disagree, however.

Recommended activity: Expand your empire by marrying your heir to a rival.

Gemini (May 21-June 20):

May 1st is approaching rapidly and with it, May Day. Despite your best efforts, there will be no escaping the hordes of naked seniors running amok across campus. Escape is your only chance of surviving unscathed. Run.

Recommended activity: Buy a trophy for yourself because hey, you’ve earned it.

Cancer (June 21-July 22):

You expected finals to be your biggest worry this time of year, but honestly, all that matters right now is Endgame and tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones.

Recommended activity: Hold a candlelight vigil for each of your favorite characters that dies.

Leo (July 23-August 22):

Remember, early to bed and early to rise makes you healthy, wealthy, wise, and socially dead.

Recommended activity: Go on tornado watch.

Virgo (August 23-September 22):

You can’t help but feel socially responsible after having made countless plans with all your friends to get together over the summer which you will doubtlessly abandon as the date approaches so that you may live out the next three months in sweet solitude.

Recommended activity: Sit backwards in a chair and tell students to forget everything they know about calculus.

Libra (September 23-October 22):

Your summer plans for a great backpacking trip have been curtailed by the realization that you lack the proper footwear. Don’t worry though, as Public Safety has plenty of boots to go around!

Recommended activity: Park in the correct lot.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21):

Senior Assassins is over, and those of you who won honestly can’t help but wonder if the $19 pay out was worth the horrific stress of it all. At least you have bragging rights.

Recommended activity: Switch to Geico and save 15% or more.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21):

It has been one year now since the premiere of St. Mary’s own theatrical phenomenon Beyond the Sunset, and honestly, you can’t help but acknowledge that the play was the peak of human culture and that everything is downhill from here.

Recommended activity: Make a bassoon cover band.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19):

Your exciting plans for your summer job at the local waterpark will soon sour once you realize that all waterparks are desolate hellscapes and are likely the deepest pits of Hell.

Recommended activity: Combine the icing of two Megastuff Oreos together into a Gigastuff Oreo.

Aquarius (January 20-February 18):

With summer just around the corner, you are preparing to demonstrate your utter lack of personal growth as you fall directly back into the same routines you held in high school.

Recommended activity: Don’t spoil Endgame.

Pisces (February 19-March 20):

It’s almost May, which means that it’s almost only seven months until Christmas! Now is the time to start blasting holiday music as loudly as you can everywhere you go.

Recommended activity: Build a brick pizza oven.

Aries (March 21-April 19):

In a shocking turn of events, I will be nice to Aries this issue. Don’t make me regret this.

Recommended activity: Do a cool flip.

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.”

Dunn Discusses Campus Climate Survey, Title IX Changes

Michael Dunn, the College’s Title IX Coordinator, had good news to report to the Student Government Association on April 16. Overall responses to the Campus Climate Survey, which was distributed in Fall of 2019, show that students perception of the Title IX office have improved since last year’s numbers saw a significant drop.

Analysis of the data was performed by the Office of Institutional Research, according to Dunn, who added “it was nice deferring to their expertise to make sense of all the data.” White and female students were overrepresented among respondents, compared to campus demographics.

The 2018 survey saw a decline in the way students perceive campus culture, a negative trend which continued in this years survey, according to Dunn, though he added that “It’s really an increase in neutral responses rather than negative responses, so [the decline] is not necessarily reflecting a strong rise in negative feelings.”

According to Dunn, the data does not suggest significant differences in perception across race, though there was a major difference by gender on the safety questions, with female students responding that they feel less safe on campus than their male counterparts, which is generally the expected finding. “The other big difference” according to Dunn, though, “was that upper-class students reported generally more negative perceptions than other students. Seniors were less happy than first years and sophomores, seniors or juniors felt less close to people than first years, and seniors feel less safe than first years. So that was pretty interesting.” Dunn says that he’s concerned with the negative trend the survey responses have taken in the past years, and is working with Student Affairs to delve deeper into the data.

The Institutional Research Office reported that the top reason students feel unsafe on campus, as reported in the open responses to the survey, is areas of darkness, followed by perceived insufficient consequences for perpetrators of sexual violence. Dunn hopes to address the lighting issue soon, and says that “in terms of the concern about consequences for perpetrators of sexual violence, that’s a concern that’s been expressed a lot, and that’s something that we have changed our trainings to try to address, and we’ve tried to have that knowledge inform the way we do resource posters and all these things to share information about what’s happening.”  

Continuing to speak to the perception that consequences for perpetrators were not severe enough, Dunn stated “It’s a challenge, though. That’s one of the abiding challenges, I think in conducting Title IX work on a campus, especially a small campus like ours, where we’re not at liberty to share with the general audience like ‘here’s what happened and why’, or ‘here’s what didn’t happen and why’. We can’t tell you when someone wants to remain confidential, or we can’t tell you when someone wants to not pursue action, and we choose to honor that choice. So it’s a challenge.” The office does release information on the cases it heard, how they were handled, what sanctions were taken against responsible parties, and why, though this information is not available until the semester after it is collected.

“What was really positive is that the questions on perceptions of Title IX issues rebounded and moved up”, Dunn says, after a dip in the numbers last year. It’s especially impressive considering the declining perceptions of campus safety overall. “There’s definitely work to be done,” he stated, “but I was really thankful and relieved to see that the numbers were moving in a positive direction compared to last year.”

One major piece of data from the survey is the raw number of students reporting whether or not they have experienced sexual misconduct during their time at the College, regardless of whether or not they chose to report. “For this year’s data, 23 percent of female participants and 10 percent of male participants said they’ve experienced some kind of sexual violence,” Dunn reported, and while that might sound bad, St. Mary’s numbers “reflect the research and overall prevalence of this epidemic on campuses everywhere”. Dunn noted that Duke made headlines this year when they reported that 48% of their female undergraduate students reported experiencing sexual violence. Interestingly, this year’s data does not support the “red zone” model, where the first six weeks of the fall semester see the highest rates of sexual misconduct of the academic year.

The College also got a 5 year grant to prevent sexual assault through social norms change, from the Rape and Sexual Assault Prevention Program, a part of the Center for Injury and Sexual Assault Prevention, under the Maryland Department of Health. The College has received funding from this program before, which it used to bring “A Call to Men” to campus in previous years. Now, the program will return to campus every semester for the next five years. “We have commitments from the athletics department and student affairs where we’re going to be doing ongoing targeted programming with a bunch of the men’s sports teams and Dorchester Residence Hall… When we look at the research on what prevention is effective, reaching folks within their communities and having communities reinforce preventative notions like consent, rejecting rape culture, all those things- it helps to have it reinforced by your cohort.”

Some of the funding from the grant will be used to support St. Mary’s Projects on related topics in the coming years. The Office of Title IX is also in the process of selecting a new Title IX investigator/ prevention specialist, who Dunn hopes will start over the summer.

Laws around the way Title IX coordinators operate are changing as well. One of the biggest changes includes that MHEC will pay for lawyers for all students involved in sexual assault cases. Though it doesn’t necessarily change the procedure here on campus, Dunn expressed concerns that the new policy may make the process more stressful, or potentially delay progress on cases while waiting for outside attorneys to be assigned to students or travel to campus.

Another big change includes reports on the credibility of everyone involved, which may in some cases make clear before the resolution of a case what the end will look like. One new policy works to end victim-blaming responses by clarifying when and how students sexual histories can be used as evidence in a case. These changes will go into effect on July 1.

Dunn also spoke about the potential for sweeping change in the near future, once the Trump administration publishes its new guidelines for handling title IX cases. He said that “the Trump administration is moving in the direction of much stronger protections for accused students rights, and the revisions seem to be coming from the perspective that accused students rights are not being respected, and a lot of people would disagree with that.” Dunn went on to say that “The biggest change with the Trump piece is that they are proposing to require that schools use a hearing model (as opposed to a civil rights model) and that they allow direct cross examination of the parties… If that happened, then our biggest challenge would be how to implement those policies in the most fair and compassionate and appropriate way for our community.”

Dunn also expressed concern about the possible effect this shift would have on report statistics, saying “I worry that having a hearing, knowing that cross examination would be part of the process, might be a really strong deterrent from people coming forward with cases. Or, think about a situation where the college might have information about a case, and we feel compelled to go forward with it because we’re worried about a pattern of behavior, because there have been multiple incidents, perhaps we have a really detailed public safety report- and so we’re doing investigation, but people choose not to participate. How does that affect our ability to move forward? I’m really concerned about that.”

Cases will still follow a civil rights model until Trump’s guidelines are officially released, which there is no set date for at this time. Dunn hopes to create policies that will “withstand changes in the political winds”, so that policy won’t need drastic revision under every new presidential administration.

“I’m really concerned about the partisan nature of this”, Dunn added, stating that “sexual violence education and prevention is not a democratic or a republican issue, and it really concerns me when this issue becomes a partisan football, because I think it makes it harder for us to come together to affect the cultural change we need to to actually address this.”

Local Pottery Artist Gives Talk

On April 17 in Glendenning Annex the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Art Department presented the final Artist Talk of the semester. The lecture, given at 4:45 P.M. by local artist Parran Collery, was on the subject of failure in the life of an artist and how those failures can lead to unforeseen results.

Collery started out on her path to an artistic career in her undergraduate studies. While she first studied Psychology, art became a secondary addition after she formed a friendship with one of her school’s art professors. From there, she set her sights on Yale Graduate School for its prestigious art program and prime location near New York City. Unfortunately, Collery was not accepted into that program but was accepted into a program at Rutgers. She soon realized that she was in good company, however, as most of her classmates had also been rejected by Yale. “Rutgers was our official second choice school,” she said of her cohort.

Upon completing her studies at Rutgers, Collery tried and failed at getting a working artist teaching position at her school. Instead, she remained in New Jersey and tried to carve out a place for herself there despite being an hour away from New York City. While Collery did succeed at finding an adjunct position at a community college near her, she was unable to keep that position after a fellow professor she did not have a good relationship with took over the department. So she moved on.

It was not until Collery found herself working in the tile capitol of America in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, that she discovered an unlikely path. In Bucks County, Collery realized that it was possible to be a working artist in places far from New York City or other urban landscapes as many tile artists thrived in the area. Over the course of four years, Collery learned the tile-making craft and and even added her own personality to the work. It was here, Collery realized, that she moved away from political themes in her work to nature and beauty. While the fine art landscape had taught her to always have an intense political message behind her abstract sculpture installations, craft art focused on more tangible messages and could just relish in aesthetic appeal. This, Collery said, was another failure in her career as she had always been taught that “beautiful” art was not a good thing, that it was too empty. So, she had to find something interesting about the natural things she depicted in her tile work.

Collery would end up in Southern Maryland, where she had grown up, where she joined a gallery and set up her own studio. Here, Collery leaned into her craft and started doing what she felt was right, creating work with utility. However, this also felt like a failure. According to Collery, craft art is seen in the fine art world as a lesser medium, especially since the resulting work is meant to be used, not hung up in a museum. But Collery has been able to find a modest life around her craft and it fulfills her. Despite all her perceived failures, Collery was able to find a life that, while different from her expectations, was nonetheless good. In her work with tiles, Collery can interact with people in their own lives and add something beautiful to their day.

Parran Collery’s work can be found at North End Gallery in Leonardtown, Maryland, and her personal studio is located in Prince Frederick. Her tile work is a lovely way to add a little natural beauty into your day.

World Carnival Returns to SMCM

From April 19 to April 20, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) held the Twenty-fifth annual world carnival for students, faculty and all visitors to the campus. Featuring live bands, tie dye, student performances, dances and food trucks, the carnival provided a weekend of entertainment for all ages.

Starting Friday, students met in Montgomery Hall where cotton candy and popcorn greeted students as they made their way into the auditorium only for the fashion club to put on a show. The SMCM improv team hit the stage with hilarious antics and comedy to start the weekend off right. Following them, the Drum Corps raised the energy in the building to get everybody cheering.

Solo performance from Tyler Wilson (‘22) on the saxophone and Isaac Ekobo (‘21) on the drums played a mashup of hit songs like “A Thousand Years,” “Hey Jude” and Alan Walker’s “Faded.” Wilson remarks he “Had rehearsed ‘A Thousand Years’ a number of times in the weeks leading up to the performance, but (we) thought of playing ‘Faded’ just the night before the show. In fact, we were still working out the kinks in faded ten minutes before the performance.”

Ekobo adds, “When I started playing drums [3 years ago] I was practicing more than 4 times a day and sometimes I would wake up at 6 a.m. to practice drums. And people tend to forget that the only way to do something great is to not be afraid of failure or being wrong.”

TNA hit the stage to perform “Girl,” by Maren Morris and “All My Loving,” by the Beatles and lastly “In My Way,” by MUNA. Marina Glennon (‘19), president of TNA remarks on their performance, “As far as prep time goes, as soon as we decided to perform, we dedicated parts of every rehearsal to making sure we were ready for this performance! This was my first time performing at World Carnival with TNA, so it was a really cool experience, and I’m glad I got to do it before I graduate.” Laura Dennison (‘21) remarks, “The Hawkettes practice twice a week from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the year, the carnival was so much fun, I loved seeing the different club’s performances and seeing how much talent SMCM has!”

An up and rising band, “Cul de Sac Kids,” performed at the event. Coming to SMCM from Dallas, they are made up of grammy nominee Collin Hauser and “The Voice” finalist Stevie Jo Rosenbalm. By blending folk, blues, jazz and pop, Hauser was nominated for two Grammy awards. Students gathered together to dance and sing along to the festive atmosphere.

The world carnival will return next year for its twenty-sixth year.

SMP Spotlight: Ruby Bassford Analyzes the Comparison of Women and Nature in Art and Literature

Ruby Bassford (‘19) has been working diligently for the entirety of the 2018-2019 school year to brainstorm, construct and revise a St. Mary’s Project (SMP) that focuses on the comparison of women to nature throughout literature and art. They has been advised by Karen Anderson, Tristan Cai and Jessye McDowell throughout the completion of their work.

Bassford has gone further to examine whether this comparison between the two is oppressive or liberating. In response to other authors and artists, Bassford has created their own book of poems and visual images. Bassford explained, “My poems and images deconstruct ‘womanhood,’ antiquated tropes and the innate connections of nature to women.” Bassford went on to state that their SMP includes non-binary, transgendered and other non-cisgendered individuals “and the complicated relationship one may have with nature in a world that deems them as unnatural.”

After spending some time in Ireland studying gender and sexuality, Bassford became more aware of a binary view of the world in much of the literature they were reading. “During this time, I came to terms with my own identity,” explained Bassford. This motivated Bassford to adopt this theme into their senior-year SMP. Bassford went on to state, “I also love nature and feel that art and poetry is a great way to communicate and explore through multiple speakers.”

Brainstorming for Bassford’s project began about a year before they started working on it in the Fall of 2018. Much of their time this past year has been dedicated to perfecting their project and preparing for the presentation at the end of the semester.

Throughout their diligent work, Bassford has overcome challenges which required them to push through and stay determined in their work. They remarked, “I have had to overcome personal difficulties I didn’t think I would have to face, and even though that put me about a month behind, I continued to persist.” These challenges have helped Bassford to grow both as a person and as an artist. Bassford continued, “I learned how difficult revision can be, but also how rewarding it is to have a physical copy of a book I wrote in my hands,” conveying that their blood, sweat and tears throughout the semester has paid off and has resulted in a beautifully crafted final product.

One of the more stressful aspects of their SMP has been the revision process and the art critiques. “It is always nerve wracking to share your work with other people, but I have appreciated all of the feedback I have gotten,” Bassford explained. Although the revisions and critiques may have been stressful, the hard work has produced a wonderfully put-together book containing poetry and images which ask their audience to consider the relationship between nature and women.

Bassford stated that they are “as prepared as [they’ll] ever feel” for the presentation of their SMP. Along with other English SMP students, Bassford’s presentation is to be held on Monday, April 29 at 2:10 p.m. in Glendenning Annex. They will also be presenting on Tuesday, April 30 at the Boyden Gallery in Montgomery Hall at 10 a.m.

New Pokemon Go Club is All About Community

Pokémon has been a popular game since 1996, so when game developers at Niantic and The Pokémon  Company released an app that allowed users to go out and look for virtual Pokémon themselves, people were ecstatic.

The popularity of the app Pokémon Go has been rising ever since its release in July 2016. With the new feature of connecting with friends in the app, more and more people are playing and teaming up with friends to go out and catch Pokémon. So when St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) senior Carl Freeman and freshman Sofia Mulinazzi put their heads together earlier this year, they came up with the idea to form a club around the popular game.

Club founder Carl Freeman started the club “To bring people together to play the game and it formed a good community with like minded people.” The people in the club meet up for community days and raids (which is what happens when a very powerful legendary Pokémon  spawns at one of the gyms and five or more players attempt to capture it.) and even for regular walks around campus to try and capture legendary and non-legendary Pokémon. It’s possible you may have even seen groups of players walking around campus.

With the new addition of connecting with friends added just last year, the game has helped build up the community of Pokémon players. President Mulinazzi stated, “The best part about Pokémon Go club is that everyone can play. Our members range from freshman to seniors, PS to pot smokers, and hardcore fans to casual players. Everyone is welcome. We actually have about 70 players!”  This is the reason most students have joined. Freshman Timothy Pulik said, “I saw the table at Involvement Fair and I thought ‘Hey this might be a good way to do something I enjoy and a good way to meet people on campus.’”

However, Pokémon Go Club is not like most other clubs on this campus. What sets it apart is that there is no set time or place for meeting. This is due to the fact that most raids appear at random. How do the Pokémon Go club members get around this? Discourse of course! With this lack of set meeting times, you’d expect things would be rather disorganized, but Pokémon  Go Club is rather well put together and efficient. According to Pulik “It’s easiest to drop a notification in the group chat, since we all have different schedules.”

In addition to this, the club has been gaining success when in-game as well. The club has many raids and legendary Pokémon under their belts from Moltres to Mewtwo. For the gaming community, these raids and captures of legendary Pokémon should be considered a great achievement.

But what most members consider to be the best aspect of the club is the sense of community and friendship that they find. Pulik decided to join the club because “Of the community. We’ve got a lot of great people and Pokémon Go is a community based game. Having a lot of people really allows you to get the most out of the Pokémon Go experience.” Freeman created the club because he wanted to make something for students to enjoy and find community. As a senior, Freeman thought “The younger students actually signed the paperwork and made it a reality, which is poetic because it shows their commitment to make stuff happen, even though I’ll be gone.”

When asked about his hopes for the club, Freeman said, “What I see for the club is for them to keep it going and keep getting new members.” Mulinazzi had similar thoughts when asked about her hopes for the club. “I would love to see the club outlive Pokémon Go. We have a solid group of players who don’t intend on stopping any time soon, but in the event that they become disinterested, I’d love for the club to be inclusive of all Pokémon themed games and it’s be cool to have the club be for every Pokémon player no matter the game.”

Professor Koenig to Retire After 17 Years at SMCM

After beginning her career as a professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) in the fall of 2002, Associate Professor of Psychology Cynthia Koenig, Ph.D., is retiring at the end of the spring 2019 semester.

Throughout her time here, Koenig has enjoyed teaching various courses in the Psychology Department, including Introduction to Psychology, Special Topics: Death, Dying and Bereavement, Lifespan Development, Adulthood and Aging, Cognitive Psychology Lab as well as Firstyear and Senior Seminars.

When asked what she will miss most about SMCM, Koenig remarked that there are many people and events she has treasured in her time here, for example, her fellow Psychology colleagues. “I work in a great department,” explained Koenig. “I love spending time with my colleagues. We all get along really well together.” Koenig stated that she will also miss interacting with college students. “From early on, I realized how much I like this age group,” she mentioned. “It’s a really important stage of development, and generally students are pretty optimistic about their futures with all of the possibilities.”

In addition to missing her SMCM co-workers and students, she will also miss many of the events put on by the campus. For example, she mentioned that she has always enjoyed attending the dance shows at SMCM, and has greatly enjoyed watching her students perform outside of the classroom setting. She also will miss the walks around campus and Historic St. Mary’s City. She explained, “I like to exercise a lot. I love Historic St. Mary’s City and have lots of good memories of walking with different people.” Another one of her most fond memories was taking a Philosophy class at the college with the late Professor Alan Paskow at SMCM. She explained that it was phenomenal to switch roles and become the student, all the while being taught by one of her friends.

Although she will miss her colleagues and students at SMCM, Koenig is looking forward to many exciting things in her retirement. The first thing on her list is the Greece Study Tour put on by Philosophy and Religious Studies Professor Michael Taber. This will be Koenig’s first study tour, and she is excited to spend time in a different country with SMCM students and faculty. Koenig stated that she is hoping to be able to travel both domestically and abroad in her free time.

Along with traveling, Koenig is looking forward to being able to spend more time with all of the people she loves, especially her two grandsons. She is excited for the opportunity to help her daughter as much as she can with her young children, and to be able to watch them grow. She is also excited to have more time to read for pleasure, and hopes to be able to pick up some new hobbies. One of the most exciting aspects of retirement comes from the opportunity to sleep in, as Koenig indicated that it will be extremely nice to not have to wake up at 5 a.m. each weekday.

Volunteering has always been an important part of Koenig’s life, as she used to be involved with Meals on Wheels and other programs. The free time provided by her retirement will allow her to engage in more volunteer-based activities, as she stated, “When you’re an academic, you just don’t have the time to do that kind of thing.” She is hoping to once again volunteer with Meals on Wheels and possibly a program in Alexandria for which she has volunteered before with her son.

Koenig wishes to leave her students with the advice to treasure every second here on this beautiful campus. “This is the most special time [in a person’s life],” Koenig stated. “The opportunity to take classes in areas in which you are not familiar will not be available as often.” She wishes for her students to take advantage of all of the opportunities provided by the school and to cherish their years here. She went on to say that this is the perfect place to try new things, with great students and staff serving as a strong support system.

SMCM has been fortunate enough to have Koenig since 2002, and will greatly miss her. Anyone who was lucky enough to take a class with her was able to experience her vibrant, enthusiastic personality and her genuine love for the subject she teaches. She will be greatly missed by the students and staff, and everyone at SMCM wishes Koenig the best in her retirement.

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.”