Hong Kong Protests Continue: SMCM Student Perspective

The 2019 Hong Kong protests, also known as the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement, are an ongoing series of demonstrations in Hong Kong which began with the aim to oppose the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill proposed by the Hong Kong government. If enacted, the bill would allow local authorities to detain and extradite criminal fugitives who are wanted in territories with which Hong Kong does not currently have extradition agreements, including Taiwan and mainland China. People were concerned that the bill would subject Hong Kong residents and visitors to the mainland Chinese jurisdiction, undermining the autonomy of the region and its civil liberties. Students from St. Mary’s College Of Maryland (SMCM) report their opinions and beliefs with how China is treating Hong Kong. Anonymous reports state that it all began with a murder. A couple escaped Hong Kong and the boyfriend killed his girlfriend in another country. However, since they were outside of Hong Kong, the extradition bill allows them to remain autonomous outside of China.

It is important to understand the background of Hong Kong and its relations to China. Hong Kong belongs to China, but it has its own currency, political system and cultural identity. Many Hong Kong residents don’t see themselves as Chinese, but rather as Hong Kongers.

That difference goes back generations; the city was a colony and territory of the United Kingdom for more than 150 years, until the British handed it back over to China in 1997. Today, Hong Kong’s legal system still mirrors the British model, prizing transparency and due process. 

A policy dubbed “one country, two systems” explains this uniqueness. Under the policy, Hong Kong maintains a de facto constitution, known as the Hong Kong Basic Law. It guarantees freedoms that are unavailable to Chinese mainlanders, such as the right to protest, the right to a free press and freedom of speech. 

One of the tenets in the Basic Law is that Hong Kong has the right to develop its own democracy, and previous Chinese officials pledged that the central government in Beijing wouldn’t interfere with that. But in recent years, Beijing has repeatedly reinterpreted the Basic Law – now it says it has “complete jurisdiction” over Hong Kong.The Basic Law states that Hong Kong “shall safeguard the rights and freedoms of the residents” for 50 years after the handover. But many residents say mainland China is already starting to encroach on those rights. This perceived threat to Hong Kong’s rule of law has led to the regular confrontations which has seen hundreds of protesters arrested so far.

An anonymous SMCM student states, “China has two options right now. China can use forces using military force, and start using real force that can harm such as guns. The other option is letting Hong Kong remain an autonomous separate country.” The student also states that they are “really surprised by how there are two different points of view. My friends on Chinese social media are saying we support mainland China, probably due to the fact they are receiving all of their media from mainland China.” The student also feels when this began to happen, “Chinese media tried to minimize the media going to mainland china. But it’s becoming out of control so they cant hide it anymore.” 

Another student reports, “China can try and resonate with the Hong Kongese and come up with a compromise, which is most likely for the best.” The first anonymous student “This is an extremely complicated, no one solution, and not everybody will be happy with the outcome.” A father of a student explains, “It’s because with the development of mainland China, Hong Kong isn’t as ‘important’ as it was before, [largely due to] inequality of household incomes.”

Since Friday, October 4, The government of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is expected to discuss emergency laws that would allow it to ban face masks at protests, among other measures. Rallies are planned across the city to protest against any moves by the government to invoke emergency laws. On Saturday, Oct. 5, there was an Anti-mask rally and march from the shopping district of Causeway Bay to Chater Garden close to government headquarters. Protesters also plan an early Halloween celebration in the shopping and tourist district of Tsim Sha Tsui, inviting people to gather wearing masks.

Kashmir Under Martial Law as Violence Continues

Kashmir has been a political flashpoint for well over half a century. Contested between India, Pakistan and China, all nuclear powers, hundreds of thousands have died in conflicts over this region. A recent move by the Indian government to repeal the special status of the region has further ratcheted up tensions.

On Aug. 5, against the ruling of the Indian Supreme Court, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Indian government would repeal Article 370 of the Constitution which guaranteed the province of Kashmir semi-autonomous status. Shortly after this announcement, the Indian government instituted martial law in Kashmir. 

Under martial law, Kashmiris could no longer access the internet, cell phone service and can no longer gather publicly. Yahoo News reports that the Indian military presence in the region has swelled after India dissolved Kashmir’s local government and arrested hundreds of local politicians and activists. The government can hold these prisoners for up to two years without a trial under India’s Public Safety Act, which has drawn international criticism.

Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has justified the repeal by claiming that Kashmir is an indivisible part of India. In response to criticism of human rights abuses in Kashmir, leader of the BJP, Shahnawaz Hussain stated that India would release the Kashmiri officials if they “support peace in [Kashmir].” The Indian government has also blamed its militarization of Kashmir on Pakistani interference in the region. Indian general S. S. Deswal claimed that India’s intention to establish two more special forces bases in Kashmir is unrelated to the events of Aug. 5, and he went on to state that “Pakistan is always up to mischief” according to News 18

After two months of martial law, the situation in Kashmir is still unstable. On Oct. 14, India lifted the block on cell phone service providers in Kashmir, although the 60% of Kashmiris with prepaid phones still can’t call their loved ones. The next day the Indian government rolled back this concession and blocked text messages after insurgents killed an apple truck driver and set her vehicle alight.

Apples are at the center of this conflict because 20% of Kashmir’s economy is reliant on apple exports to India, but after the repeal of Article 370, many farmers have refused to sell their produce to India. India’s government claims that terrorists are pressuring the farmers to hold their produce while Pakistani officials and Kashmiri activists claim that this is a legitimate boycott. 

The international response to India’s crackdown in Kashmir is mixed. Pakistan has denounced India’s actions harshly, criticizing human rights abuses in Kashmir and accusing the Indian government of overtly anti-muslim policies. China has generally backed its ally, Pakistan. President Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan have met three times this year to reaffirm their military and economic cooperation. Xi has stated that “China supports the Pakistani side in safeguarding its legitimate rights and interests and hopes that the parties will resolve the dispute through peaceful dialogue.” Conversely, News Week reports that the United States has been relatively quiet on the Kashmiri conflict and on occasion has echoed Indian talking points that Pakistan is supporting terrorists in the region. Currently, no side in the conflict is gesturing toward diplomacy. India is currently ruled by the BJP, a Hindu nationalist party, headed by Modi who is accused of sitting by idly in the face of an anti-muslim pogrom in Gujarat according to The Washington Post. Pakistan has broken ties with India, supports insurgents. The two South Asian nations have engaged in border skirmishes that kill several soldiers and civilians a week earlier this year, Pakistan downed an Indian jet that it claimed violated Pakistani airspace. Without negotiations, the already volatile situation in Kashmir could escalate to war.

Turkey Invades Northern Syria Following U.S. Withdrawal

A five day cease-fire between Turkey and Syria was announced by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday Oct. 17, halting a Turkish invasion into the Kurd-controlled territory in northern Syria. The invasion began on October 9, two days after President Trump announced a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the area, resulting in violence in Northern Syria and political consequences in the U.S.

The U.S.-Kurdish relationship began in 2014 when Kurdish militia group the People’s Protection Units (YPG) joined the U.S. and other armed Syrian groups to combat ISIS. In the five years since, U.S. troops have remained to support the YPG-led Syrian Democratic forces (SDF) and help stabilize the region. The withdrawal of U.S. troops leaves the former allies unprotected from Turkey, which views the YPG as an extension of the militant Kurdish group Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who have fought an ongoing guerilla war in Turkey for decades. Only two days after U.S. withdrawal, Turkey began its invasion. According to The Washington Post, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government want to establish a 30-kilometer “safe zone” in Kurdish-occupied northern Syria, pushing back the Syrian Kurds and relocating millions of Syrian refugees into the zone.

Trump’s decision to withdraw troops was met with bipartisan condemnation by U.S. officials. The House of Representatives met following the announcement and passed a 354-60 resolution condemning the removal of U.S. forces, and calling for White House action to establish sanctions against Turkey and support Kurdish troops displaced by the invasion. Trump defended his actions, saying that Syria has “a problem at a border. It’s not our border. We shouldn’t be losing lives over it.” 

In nine days of fighting The Turkish invasion killed 218 civilians, 224 SDF fighters, and  wounded over 600 people according to The New York Times. Thousands of Kurds have been displaced from territories in Northern Syria and security on YPG-guarded facilities containing incarcerated members of ISIS has loosened.

On October 17, Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Erdoğan in Ankara, Turkey, announcing a cease-fire deal between Turkey and Syria. The deal ends U.S. economic sanctions on Turkey and creates a five day pause, which the Turkish government denies as a “cease fire,” to allow the Kurds to retreat from the disputed area. With the deal, the U.S. recognizes Turkey’s establishment of the 20-mile “safe zone.” Mazloum Abdi, the leader of the Kurdish forces in Syria agreed to the cease-fire but, according to US News and World Report, has implied a different interpretation of the cease-fire than that held by Turkish officials.Trump praised the deal, saying “It’s a great day for the United States. It’s a great day for Turkey.” However, other U.S. officials have seen the cease-fire as an acknowledgement of Turkish support and a betrayal of the previously U.S.-supported Kurds in Syria. Republican Senator Mitt Romney harshly condemned the withdrawal of troops and the U.S. coordinated cease-fire, saying “The decision to abandon the Kurds violates one of our most sacred duties. It strikes at American honor. What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history.” The cease-fire will end Tuesday, Oct. 22, opening the disputed region to further conflict.

Austerity Causes Mass Protests in Ecuador

On Oct. 1, Ecuador’s President, Lenín Moreno, announced a round of austerity which abolished the nation’s fuel subsidy and cut several forms of welfare. Ecuador’s fuel subsidy decreases the average price of gas from $2 to $1 according to The Washington Post. This cut is vital for rural farmers who are generally members of Ecuador’s sizable Native American population. 

After the passage of Decree 833 by Moreno, which formally ended the subsidy, mass protests broke out throughout the nation. The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador spearheaded the demonstrations, as they claim that the elimination of the fuel subsidy would disproportionately impact Native Ecuadorians. Protesters occupied vital infrastructure including government buildings, transportation terminals and perhaps most importantly oil fields. Ecuador is heavily reliant on oil revenue and with a disruption in the fuel supply, Ecuador’s economy began to collapse. 

These economic difficulties were exactly what the repeal of the fuel subsidies was meant to prevent. Ecuador is currently deeply indebted and to receive a $4.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it had to institute an austerity package; the repeal of the fuel subsidy was a part of this plan. During the protests, Moreno stated that these harsh economic measures were necessary because of the economic mismanagement of his predecessor and former mentor, Rafael Correa. Moreno even claimed that Correa collaborated with the Venezuelan government to destabilize Ecuador according to Reuters.

Protesters also occupied city centers which led to violent clashes with the police, that killed five. The capital, Quito, was not immune to this unrest which led Moreno to move his government south to the city of Guayaquil. Human rights organizations have criticized the government’s crackdown on protesters. Amnesty International released a statement that read “the Ecuadorian authorities must put an immediate end to the heavy-handed repression of demonstrations.”

After nearly two weeks of debilitating protests, the Moreno administration came to an agreement with Indigenous activists on Oct. 14, which reinstated the fuel subsidy. The Washington Post reports that the protests cost Ecuador ~$1 billion in damages and lost income. This economic hit further strains Ecuador’s stagnant economy, and Moreno’s concession has put Ecuador’s IMF loan in jeopardy. However, in the aftermath of the deal, Moreno is optimistic, stating “peace is regained.”

This protest wave has reasserted the political power of Indigenous Ecuadorians who have ousted previous presidents. While in most of the Americas Indigenous Americans are disregarded in Ecuador they are a politically salient force.

After a decade of heartbreak, The Washington Nationals are World Series bound

The team which experts doubted would have any success, the team that was 19-31 on May 24 and had slim chances of making the playoffs, the team that was on the verge of firing their second year manager and the team that let their star player go in the offseason has done the unimaginable: the Washington Nationals have clinched a bid to the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series. 

Many fans and players are rejoicing after getting over the proverbial “hump.” The obstacle that stood in the way of the team since returning to the district in 2005, has been getting past the first round of the playoffs. The team had been to the playoffs numerous times in the last decade and have fallen short each time. As a result, many fans coined the idea “The D.C. Curse” and vouched that the team would never even have a shot at the title with the current core group of players.

However, this year felt different. The vibe in the ballpark felt special. The players seemed to have a camaraderie that was unwavering. The manager seemed to have a steady confidence that his ballclub would turn the tables. 

Treading their way through the first few months of the season, it looked like it was once again a lost cause. The manager once again was soon to be on his way out the door and the franchise was soon to catch fire. However, the team began to loosen their strings, play for one another and have fun.

After May 24, there was no looking back as the team began their crawl to try and place themselves in the playoffs to have a shot at a World Series title. They did just that, crawling themselves out of a giant hole and finishing with a record of 93-69 to close out the regular season. This was great enough to allow them to host the first ever wild card game at Nationals park in front of 45,000 passionate fans that represent a die-hard fanbase. The rest has been history.

The ballclub matched up with the Miluawkee Brewers on a chilly October evening to kick off the 2019 MLB playoffs in a win or go home wild card game. After falling behind early, a miraculous comeback occurred that will never be forgotten: young phenom, Juan Soto, poked a ball into shallow right field in the bottom of the eighth to clear the bases which allowed the team to take a one-run lead. Nationals Park suddenly had a gleam of hope. The players perked up, the fans cheered louder and the Washington Nationals were able to close out the game in the ninth inning, allowing the team to advance to the Divisional Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were the number one seeded team in the National League and were a favorite to win the World Series. The Nationals had no shot according to everyone in the baseball world. They should have thought again. The Washington Nationals were able to shock the world in a game five in which veteran Howie Kendrick hit a grand slam to give the Washington Nationals a commanding lead after being down. The comeback kids had done it again.

The Washington fan base was in disbelief. Their team had finally done it; the Washington Nationals were headed to the National League Championship series to face off against the St. Louis Cardinals. The season felt like a success regardless of the outcome of this series. However, that was not the motto of the players on the team. They were relentless and wanted nothing less than to bring a World Series title to the district and to the fans who had stuck by their side throughout the journey.

They kicked off the first two games of the championship series in St. Louis. They were successful in St. Louis, as they took a commanding two game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. They then came back home to the District, where the fans warmly greeted them and hoped they could clinch a World Series berth on their home diamond. They did just that.

As Victor Robles sealed the final out of the four game sweep over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Washington Nationals had finally done it. National League Champions. The city that had awaited for a victory of a magnitude this large had finally been gifted for their patience. As fireworks rained down, the crowd roared and the players celebrated, something special had happened on South Capitol Street: The Washington Nationals have given themselves a shot at the 2019 World Championship.

The journey is far from over. The team that set out on an improbable journey has done the unimaginable. Regardless of the opponent, this ballclub will go down in the record books. As a result of all the time and energy put in by the fans, money and mentality instilled by the team ownership and commitment of the players who believed in this city, the Washington Nationals will be hosting a World Series on South Capitol Street.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride. It is time to finish the fight.

After a Rocky Season, St. Mary’s Women’s Soccer Looks to Finish Strong

After a Rocky Season, St. Mary’s Women’s Soccer Looks to Finish Strong

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland Women’s Soccer team, led by sixth year head coach Peter Krech (‘09), has had a rocky road throughout the season, but they have continued to show fight throughout the season. As of Oct. 18, the squad has a record of 3-11.

In the offseason, the team had multiple additions to the team that have made an impact on the season. One major contributor has been Kaitlyn Steigner (‘23). The 5-foot-10-inch defender has been a valuable asset for the Seahawks this season. She has started in all 14 games and scored three goals. Most notably, her game winning goal on August 30 against McDaniel College was incredible as it sealed the team’s first ever regular season victory at the new Jamie Roberts Stadium. Regarding her experiences as a new Seahawk, she remarked, “I have enjoyed my first year because I have a lot of support from the upperclassmen in soccer and also in school.”

Another player who has been a stalwart on the team both this season and last is sophomore defenseman, Casey Mayo (‘22). Mayo has appeared in 13 games for the team this season. When asking her how to describe the season she exclaimed, “This season started out on a positive note with our two wins against McDaniel and Stevenson. Lately things have been a little rough but we have kept our heads up and have been working hard to make the best of the rest of the season.” She went on to say that there are indeed positive takeaways from the season thus far as stated, “We never give up, even when things get rough we just keep working hard and put all effort into practice and games” and continued by saying that “I have made some amazing bonds with the girls on the team that I will always remember.”

In the final few games of the season, the Seahawks are matching up against Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) opponents. In the coming weeks the team plays York College, The University of Mary Washington and Southern Virginia University to round out their season. The team will then shift their focus to the CAC playoffs that are slated to begin on Saturday, Nov. 2. 

In asking both Steigner and Mayo on their goals for the rest of the season, both responded in a similar fashion. Steigner argued that they “work hard every game until the last minute and not let our heads down.” Mayo went on to say that the team tries to “stay positive no matter the outcome of the games, win the quarter finals and go up from there.”

Though the season has not gone to plan, the team still has high aspirations of how they want to finish the season. Regardless of the outcome of the team, the team is a family that will stick together to the end, as Mayo indicated, “We have our ups and downs just like any team, but we always tell each other to stay positive and we always bring each other down, even on our worst days, in the end we are a family and we play for each other.”

Come out and cheer on your Seahawks as they round out their regular season at home on Wednesday, Oct. 23 vs. York College and Saturday, Oct. 26. vs. Southern Virginia University.

SMCM Men’s Soccer Makes Final Push Towards Playoffs

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) men’s soccer team now has just three regular season games remaining in the 2019 season. These matches will be against York College of Pennsylvania, the University of Mary Washington, and Southern Virginia University (SVU). The team currently sits at 3-4 in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC), so these final three matches have a very big implication on the final standings for the Seahawks. 

Despite starting the 2019 campaign 6-0-1, SMCM has struggled as of late, winning just three of their past eight matches. However these three victories were all very key for the CAC standings. The Seahawks knocked off both York and Salisbury at home during the first week of October. Each of these games had a final score of 2-1. They also defeated SVU on Oct. 11 by another score of 2-1. In this match, senior forward Josh McRobie scored the first goal off an assist from senior forward Khalid Balogun. Just under ten minutes later, the Seahawks scored again to increase their lead to two. This goal came off of the foot of junior forward Roshawn Panton, with an assist from first year forward Thomas Williamson. In the second half the Seahawks outshot SVU 9-2, but failed to score on any of these chances. They did concede a goal in the forty-eighth minute, however this was the only real scoring chance SVU had as they only had a total of three shots on goal. The Seahawks finished the day with twenty-three shots and eleven shots on goal. Panton led the team with a total of five shots, according to smcmathletics.com. 

Amidst this stretch of CAC games, SMCM has taken on nationally ranked Christopher Newport University (CNU) twice. The first time, on Oct. 9, CNU was ranked twenty-first in the nation and they set forth on an offensive surge. While they only put up three goals, they tallied eighteen total shots and six corner kicks. In the fifty-eighth minute, with CNU up 1-0, Balogun was able to beat the keeper to tie the game at one. However the Seahawks then conceded two late goals in the game to finish with a 3-1 defeat, according to smcmathletics.com. 

The second match against CNU, now ranked seventeenth in the nation, took place just a few days later on Oct. 16. In this affair, CNU jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first half. However the Seahawks began to build a lot of momentum in the second half, as Balogun connected on a corner kick from senior defender Zack Yuich to lower the CNU lead to just two points. However Balogun was given his second yellow card of the game just five minutes later and SMCM was quickly down to ten players for the remainder of the game. They were able to rattle off five more shots, but ultimately lost the game 4-1, according to smcmathletics.com.

So far on the year, Balogun is leading the way for the Seahawks on offense. He has collected 14 goals and four assists for a total of thirty-two points. He will be looking to solidify his fourth all-CAC selection in four years at SMCM. McRobie has also collected nine goals for the Seahawks, while additionally leading the team with five assists and four game-winning goals. In goal for the Seahawks, senior Patrick Paolini has gone 8-2-1, amassed fifty-six saves, and allowed just 1.30 goals per game, according to smcmathletics.com.

Field Hockey Makes Push to Playoffs

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) field hockey team is beginning Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) play amidst one of their best starts in program history. The Seahawks began their 2019 campaign on a very impressive 10-0 run. During this stretch, SMCM posted six shutouts and outscored their opponents 34-5. The last game in this impressive winning streak came against Neumann University on Oct. 5. This game took place on Hawktoberfest weekend, in front of many former alumni of SMCM. The Seahawks really dominated this matchup, as they cruised to a 5-0 victory. First year midfielder Kelly Emge began the scoring barrage for SMCM, with a goal in the fourteenth minute. Emge scored again in the second quarter and then sophomore forward Rachel Lansbury scored in the third to bring the score to 3-0. First year forward Celina Kauffman and junior midfielder Emily Pulkowski found the back of the cage to conclude scoring for the Seahawks on the day. On defense SMCM held very strong, not allowing a single shot by a Neumann player, according to smcmathletics.com. 

The Seahawks went into their next match against Stevenson University with their impressive 10-0 record. The first quarter did not go well for either team, as they both failed to capitalize on opportunities. This changed when Stevenson was able to score in the seventeenth minute. This set more of a fire under the Seahawks in the second half, as they outshot Stevenson 6-0 in the third quarter. However, Stevenson was then able to hold SMCM to no shots in the fourth quarter, handing the Seahawks their first loss of the season. 

The Stevenson game was the last out-of-conference game of the year for SMCM, with CAC play beginning on Oct. 12 versus Salisbury University. This was quite a way to begin the CAC season, as Salisbury was ranked number three in the nation at that time. In just the first ten minutes of the game, Salisbury had already scored two goals. The Seahawk defense was able to button-up and halt the scoring at that, but had trouble themselves on the offensive side of the ball. SMCM failed to record a shot until the fourth quarter of the game. They ended up falling 2-0, yet the score could have been much more lopsided had the defense not played so well. Senior goalkeeper Kelbey Egerland finished with nine saves on the day, and the defense only allowed Salisbury to convert on two of their fifteen total shots, according to smcmathletics.com. 

This two game losing streak did not deter the Seahawks at all, as they traveled down to take on Southern Virginia University (SVU) for their second CAC matchup of the year. SVU really had no answer for the Seahawk offense on the day. Kaufman opened up the scoring for SMCM with a goal just over one minute into the first quarter. Her goal came off of a great assist from sophomore midfielder Gabrielle Corder. Junior midfielder Meghan Ronan, sophomore forward Annika McCallum, and sophomore forward Kathleen Stevens all went on to score in just a six minute span to bring the score to 4-0. In the second quarter, the Seahawks once again conceded no goals and converted on two of their own by sophomore defenders Sophie Carlson and Makayla Illemszy. The Seahawks went on to cap off their scoring two more goals in the last two quarters. These goals were by junior forward Hannah Dietrich (third quarter) and sophomore forward Erika Schutt. This allowed the Seahawks to cruise to an impressive 8-0 victory. It was the most goals scored by SMCM in a game since a match against Eastern Mennonite University in 2015, according to smcmathletics.com. 

SMCM will round out the month of October with their final three CAC games. These will be against York College of Pennsylvania, the University of Mary Washington, and Christopher Newport University. The CAC tournament will begin on Nov. 2. 

Horoscopes

Aries- You may be struck with the feeling that you are forgetting something important. You are. That essay assigned last week is due tomorrow. Stop putting it off.

Taurus- As summer turns to fall, you may be overcome with feelings of stress and anxiety. Seek out better ways to manage your time and how to tackle your workload.

Gemini- Perhaps you are feeling an overwhelming hunger for opportunities…or it could be that you’re just hungry. Ramen is not a suitable meal. You need real food.

Cancer- As you make your way through the school year, interpreting the dense and difficult readings assigned by your professor may be difficult. Be sure to purchase ample amounts of Advil for the oncoming and inevitable homework headaches.

Leo- You may be overcome with intense feelings of exhaustion…That is because you’ve already pulled three all-nighters. Please get some sleep.

Virgo- You may be facing a strange internal struggle as you talk to somebody and you have no idea what their name is but are too afraid to ask. They are most likely feeling the same about you. Ask and stop this awkwardness.

Libra- A never ending song is always playing in your heart and soul. It’s also stuck in your head. Listen to some classic rock or pop music to combat this annoyance.

Scorpio- Movement and exploration is a part of human nature. That itch you feel for outside is not just a sign that you’ve been sitting in front of your computer for too long. Go outside and breathe the fresh air.

Sagittarius- As midterms approach, you may begin to wonder why you are feeling so overwhelmed. It’s because you’ve forgone studying to watch Netflix. Pick up your work and study.

Capricorn- With all the assignments, essays, and exams, you may be tempted to neglect any personal needs, such as showering or going to therapy. This would be an unwise decision.

Aquarius- With all the daily activities of life, sleeping in or watching YouTube instead of going to classes may be a desirable decision in the moment, but will only bring more stress in the long run.

Pisces- You may wish to do something else instead of tending to that pile of laundry in the corner, but that would not be a good idea. The laundry room is just over there. Get to it.

LGBTQ+ Student Services Celebrates National Coming Out Day

While LGBTQ+ services have been present in past years, this year is shaping up to be one of the most involved the department has been. We’re only two and a half months into the new school year and already we have seen an increase of activities, especially over the past two weeks.

According to Calvin Ryan (‘22), one of the students who has helped transform the department, “Before I got involved, it wasn’t super active. There weren’t many events going on, nobody knew we had a rainbow room or that we had an LGBTQ+ student services. It was really dormant and we didn’t really do a lot.” Apart from coming out day, not very much happened during the rest of the year. It was Ryan’s goal, along with Coordinator for Diversity and Civic Engagement as well as LGBTQ+ Services’ Annesha Edwards-Carter to make sure that there were more opportunities for members of the community and allies to show their support and participate in fun activities.

This year, there are many activities for students who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike to get involved. One of these activities was Coming Out Day, which took place on October 11 from 3-4 p.m.. A table was set up on the campus center patio where students could come and sign a banner with an assortment of colored sharpies, and write things such as “You are valid,” and “You are awesome just the way you are!” on it. The banner now hangs outside the mail room hallway in the campus center. Students could also collect stickers that showed rainbow flags and enthusiastic sayings showcasing pride and support. In addition to the banner and stickers, students could make buttons showing pride for their gender identity or sexuality. Zee Malamud, ’22, who attended Coming Out Day, said: “It was extremely heartwarming to see so many people coming to show their support for the community.”

One of the goals that the LGBTQ+ services department is to raise awareness about the struggles that members of the LGBTQ+ community have faced in past years and still face today. One of the main influencers in this goal, and part of the reason why the LGBTQ+ community has gained so much support is The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving support to people in the LGBTQ+ community and offering help and resources to the members of this community who are considering suicide. 

The project was named after a short film the organization called “Trevor” about a 13 year old boy who is gay and has to face bullies at school and even attempts to kill himself. After Coming Out Day, students were invited to watch the film. Even though the events and characters were fictional, the trials Trevor had to face and the message of the film is one that all LGBTQ+ youth can identify with. 

Edwards-Carter said about the film and discussion that followed: “The Trevor Project film was also really great because though this was filmed in 1998 it is still relevant in 2019. So, many people of the LGBTQ+ community have felt ostracized, alone and not supported.” Ryan, the fellow of the Rainbow Room gave some stats on the LGBTQ+ community and mental health. Laurie Scherer from the wellness center also led a dialogue about recognizing those who may be exhibiting signs or thoughts about suicide.

In addition to support, activism and discussion are other crucial parts of the life of a member of the LGBTQ+ community. As young people, the department of LGBTQ+ services felt it only necessary to hold a conversational luncheon to discuss the events and actions of the Trump administration. According to Ryan, “There were videos shown to highlight the promises Trump made during his campaign back in 2015, promises like making workplace discrimination less common for gay and trans and bisexual people and then we discussed what we thought of that and what was said versus what’s happened.” 

With all the uncertainty about the future for LGBTQ+ people due to the homophobic and transphobic attitudes of the current administration, a discussion of thoughts and feelings surrounding these attitudes was an important activity for people who belong to the communities marginalized by Trump and his administration. Edwards-Carter felt that “one of the main take-aways from the Queer Lunch Dialogue was that we all have agency. Sometimes, as an individual you can feel that you can’t make a difference but even just one person can help make a change.” 

There are plans for all different kinds of activities within LBGTQ+ services, including Trans Day of Remembrance and game nights in the Rainbow Room. Ryan and Edwards hope to keep the department going so that all students who are a part of the community know that they are accepted and supported.