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News

February 3, 2020
Volume 93, Issue 14

 

Trump to fashion new Mideast plan with Israel 

Sean Richer, News Editor

 January 29, President Trump will meet with Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu to draft new borders between itself and Palestine. This plan is said to greatly favor Israel and grant it almost full sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and Palestine’s West Bank. 

    The President issued a statement last Wednesday saying, “This is the closest we’ve ever come to an agreement between the Isarelis and Palistinians... we will ultimately have the support of the Palestinians.” President Trump went on to say that many leaders of the surrounding Arab countries support the prospective settlement. “Many of the Arab nations have agreed to it, they love it and think it’s great.” However, no specific nations or leaders were named and thus far none of the surrounding countries have publicly endorsed this plan. 

    These notions do not seem to be shared by the Palestinian government, with many officials speaking out against the potential agreement. “It is nothing but a plan to liquidate the Palestinian cause!” exclaimed the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authorities, Muhammad Shtayyeh. Another likely opponent to the agreement is King Abdullah II in the neighboring country of Jordan. The Kingdom of Jordan has long been an opponent of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and along with Egypt to the west, have a peace agreement with Israel that could be shaken by this new plan. 

    The controversy of these talks has not escaped the Israeli government itself either. Several high-ranking Israeli officials have made their positions clear on the subject. “The time for talk is over, full sovereignty now!” exclaimed Netfali Bennett, the Secretary of Defense for Israel. However, Benjamin Gantz, a respected Israeli soldier and leader of the centrist Israeli Resilience party, disagrees. “This will only exacerbate our problems,” he explained. 

    This potential change in Palestine’s status comes at a very contentious time in Israeli politics. Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing an impeachment trial of his own, on charges of bribery and corruption. This plan could tip the scale in Mr. Netanyahu’s favor, with several of Israel’s right-wing parties in favor of the annexation of the West Bank. No matter the outcome, the future of Palestine and the people of the West Bank alike could be decided within the Oval Office this Tuesday.    

 

RIC opens new Workforce Development Hub in Central Falls

Sean Richer, News Editor

    After years of calling for a new center of higher learning in Central Falls, much of the Rhode Island College administration as well as several Rhode Island politicians gathered at 934 Dexter St. for a ribbon cutting ceremony heralding the new “Workforce Development Hub” this past Thursday.

    This new facility will serve as a center for job training and certifications for the Blackstone Valley area. Formerly a branch of the Dexter Credit Union, The city of Central Falls acquired the property for $1.2 million, and with a $1 million grant from Rhode Island Housing, and an extra $500,000 investment from the college, was converted to the new extension of the RIC campus it is today. 

    In the newly refurbished foyer, President Sanchez spoke to members of the RIC administration and the Central Falls city council. “The Workforce Development Hub is an important investment in a community that has been traditionally undeserved.” Central Falls mayor, James Diossa echoed this sentiment saying, “It has always been one of my goals as mayor to welcome an institution of higher learning to Central Falls.” Other persons of note included the Secretary of Commerce, Stephen Pryor, as well as the Director of Labor and Training, Scott Jensen. 

    RIC will administer the property in partnership with the city of Central Falls, with the Rhode Island Office of Postsecondary Education and Skills for RI’s future being tenants at the Hub. The 0.9 acre facility hosts several classrooms and lecture halls, as well as a small cafeteria on the ground floor. This new Hub will provide “employer-driven” job training and certifications. There will also be a limited number of credit courses from RIC, although that does not seem to be the focus of this expansion. 

    According to a study by the Providence Journal in 2019, about 26% of the population of Central Falls has less than a 9th grade education. The new Workforce Development Hub seeks to remedy that through opening an avenue to higher education right in the middle of Central Falls. Rhode Island and RIC leaders alike seem determined and optimistic to see those circumstances change in the future.

 

Recovery-friendly workplace initiative to start today in Rhode Island

Brynn Terry, Asst. News Editor

    As the opioid epidemic continues to tear through the country, Rhode Island remains prevalent in substance misuse. With a population of just over 1 million people, RI managed to have a threshold of about 42 overdoses per week in 2019, according to ri.gov. To counteract this crisis, Governor Gina Raimondo has created an overdose taskforce and has teamed up with New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu in his efforts to create recovery-friendly workplaces state-wide. Today, that initiative is being launched into action. 

    Sununu`s office reached out to Raimondo in March of 2018 after they had already launched their initiative, asking if she would like the two states to enter into a partnership. The recovery-friendly workplace initiative asks willing business owners to hire staff with the knowledge that they are recovering from a substance use disorder. “People who make a daily commitment to their recovery can make enormous contributions to our economy, and we need to encourage more employers to create recovery-friendly workplaces," said Governor Raimondo.

    When the recovery friendly workplace launched in New Hampshire in 2018, one of Governor Sununu`s main points was the fact that untreated addiction was costing the state billions each year. “Government cannot guarantee much, but it can and should guarantee freedom of opportunity. The opportunities to live, work, and raise a family. The opportunity to find meaningful employment on the pathway to recovery." said Sununu in a press release. New Hampshire currently has over 70 different workplaces involved, including Walmart and several Dunkin’ franchises, along with many local businesses.

    After two years of close work with New Hampshire, the recovery friendly workplace initiative has received sufficient funding and is officially putting the plan in action today. After sending in a letter of interest to the advisory council, workplaces and employers will be given training and orientations similar to the ones designed by the New Hampshire initiative, but with a focus on the statistics of Rhode Island.

    The advisory council of the RI recovery-friendly workplace initiative started meeting on the Rhode Island College campus shortly after Raimondo signed on for the partnership with Sununu. The advisory council consists of representatives from interested workplaces, along with other interested professionals and members of Raimondo’s Overdose Taskforce. 

    RIC President Frank Sanchez was asked to co-chair the council by Raimondo`s Taskforce because of the success of the RIC social work programs. Vice President for professional studies, Jen Giroux, is also serving on the council as the guidebook for the initiative is being completed. “The most exciting aspect in this is creating opportunities for both employees and employers.” said Giroux.

    RIC became the headquarters for the initiative, hiring Jonathan Goyer in December 2019 as the Director of the recovery friendly workplace. Goyer, a recovering heroin user himself, stated that working while going through recovery is a very important factor. 

    Furthermore, Mr. Goyer explained that employing those in recovery gives commerce an opportunity to flourish in Rhode Island. “I think commerce is an untapped sector who hasn't quite yet found their role in this epidemic,” said Goyer. “I believe this program will serve as a support for them to do so.” Goyer believes that while the opportunity for commerce is important, the initiative also gives the ability to educate about substance use and prevent overdoses.

    In the early stages of the program, the advisory council traveled to New Hampshire to see how the initiative was being put into place there. According to New Hampshire`s information on www.RecoveryFriendlyWorkplace.com, outcomes for participating workplaces have included “Healthier employees, less absenteeism, increased morale and increased productivity,” among other benefits.

    With today's rollout, the council and Goyer alike hope to see similar positive results as New Hampshire. The Rhode Island recovery friendly workplace initiative can be found by visiting www.RecoveryFriendlyWorkplace.com within the Rhode Island section.

 

Bernie supporters flock to Columbus Theatre Tuesday night

Brynn Terry, Asst. News Editor

   People from Rhode Island and Massachusetts alike were feeling the Bern as they filled in seats of Columbus Theatre in Providence last Tuesday night for the Rhode Island Students for Bernie kickoff rally. People of all ages and walks of life attended, from young children to older adults. Although the Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders did not attend, spirits still ran high. 

    A group from Brown university, “Brown Students for Bernie” helped organize the rally along with RI Students for Bernie. Brown University ethnic studies and international public affairs student Mara Cavallaro also helped to organize the event. Attendance was made free for everyone. “I’m here because I believe we need a political revolution,” stated Cavallaro. 

    Several of Sanders’ slogans were chanted throughout the event including, “Not me. Us.” Students also shared their views and excitement over this prospective revolution. “Bernie Sanders isn’t running a campaign for President,” said Brown student Ben Bienstock. “He's running a movement.” More speakers like Bienstock took the stage with similar musings. “It takes a movement because it's gonna need a fight,” said Brown University political science professor Alex Gourevitch.

    Kinverly Dicupe, a 2017 graduate of the Community College of RI was one of the first speakers to take the stage on Tuesday. Dicupe, a member of the RI Democratic Socialists of America, explained that some of her support for Bernie was behind his policies involving low-income families because it hit home for her.“I know what it's like to live in an apartment with lead,” stated Dicupe. “I believe in a better America.”

    The president and co-executive of the Center for Popular Democracy, Jennifer Epps-Addison, spoke in place of Princeton African American studies professor Keeangaa-Yamahtta, who could not attend due to an illness. The CPD announced endorsement for Sanders last month, with 75% of members in favor.

Epps-Addison identifies as a black queer woman, praising Sanders' support of equality for all without discrimination “It (the campaign) can only succeed if it's rooted in solidarity and love,” stated Epps-Addison.

    Epps-Addison also explained the importance of young people being involved in politics. “Young people deserve to be at the center (of politics),” she stated. Epps-Addison ended her speech with a chant that she said she had used at a walk-out she led when she was in high school, “We are unstoppable; Another world is possible.” 

    Linda Sarsour, co-chair of 2017 Women’s March and former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York was among the last to show her support for Sanders on stage. The daughter of immigrant parents, Sarsour quoted Sanders’ promise to repeal the Trump administration's new policy which limits the number of new immigrants to be given financial assistance from the government. “This (Sanders’ campaign) is a movement about basic human rights,” said Sarsour. “We are in a global justice movement now.” Sarsour also explained that if Sanders is elected as executive in chief, she will be “Protestor in Chief,” picketing on the White House lawn the first day of his presidency, holding him to his campaign promises. “If you look in the dictionary at ‘patriot,’ you’ll see a picture of me.” stated Sarsour.

    Although the rally took place in RI, one of the main messages of the night was the urgency for Sanders supporters to sign up and canvas in the vital swing-state of New Hampshire this weekend. Clip boards were passed around all throughout the night from start to finishing, hoping to recruit more canvasers with the chant, “Get on that bus!” ringing through the building. New Hampshire is holding its primary election on Feb. 11. 

    Both the RI Students for Bernie and Brown Students for Bernie are planning events for the future as we get closer to the RI primary election on April 28, 2020.

 

13 men, including RIC alumni, arrested in child exploitation investigation

Brynn Terry, Asst. News Editor

    13 people were arrested in Providence, Rhode Island last weekend as suspects in a child exploitation sting. The RI state police announced these arrests Thursday. 

    In a months-long investigation dubbed “Operation Guardian,” the RI Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force posed as children of both genders on social media and online classified ads between the ages of 13 to 15. The men believed they were talking to these children, and made plans to meet up and engage in sexual activities. Instead, a State trooper was waiting.

    Each of the 13 were charged with indecent solicitation of a child, while others received additional charges, such as Jose Carrion of Attleboro, Mass., who was charged with possession of cocaine in addition. Carrion`s bail has been set at $5,000.

    Pawtucket resident Tomy Fitton was the first to appear in court last Monday, as the other 12 were arraigned on Wednesday. Fitton is a sex offender in Massachusettes, but failed to re-register when his registration expired in July 2019. Fitton is set with a $50,000 bail in addition to being held by the Supreme Court for failing to re-register. 

    Six of the men crossed over state lines from Massachusetts for their intended meetups. The remaining seven were RI residents. With the exception of Carrion and Fitton, the other 11 men were released on recognizance. “It makes it a lot easier for the predators to access children online,” said RI State police Sgt. Damien Longo. “In the past, decades ago, there was no internet for that access to be there.”

The age of the suspects ranged from 27 to 57, including Yuhua Kong of Providence, who graduated from Rhode Island college in August of 2017. Kong was a member of the RIC Chess Club and G.A.M.E.R. Club while he attended RIC, frequenting campus regularly after his graduation and attending events.

    Although the State police are not revealing the specific websites and platforms that they used, they believe that there is a possibility of more arrests being made as the investigation continues. It is currently unknown to the public if any of the accused had relations. 

 

Arts & Entertainment

 

Sophia Guerrier, A&E Editor

Although the Grammys may have outraged many for previous questionable “Album of the Year” decisions and obvious favoritism towards commercially successful artists compared to under the radar, transcending musicians; it is refreshing to say that at least they recognized women for their talents … this year.
Drama has surrounded the awards show for months when former Recording Academy President Neil Portnow claimed that female artists needed to “step up” after receiving criticism for the lack of female nominees in last year's show. Deborah Dugan, the first female leader of the Academy, has since replaced his role and vowed for more diversity and inclusion in the selection process of nominees. Dugan’s great intentions to further improve the show came to a sudden halt a week before the ceremony when she was put on administrative leave for allegedly “bullying” a female assistant. Tensions continued to pile up with Dugan’s allegations of sexual misconduct by the Academy's general counsel, Joel Katz, and an allegation of vote rigging. 
Despite internal turmoil, “Music’s biggest night” witnessed the female pop stars of the year dominate the major categories with Lizzo going into the night with the most nominations, eight, and Billie Eilish following close behind her with six. Despite Lizzo’s spectacular, twerk-filled year, the eccentric teenage star swept the nights accolades and made history. Eilish’s massive debut album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” propelled her to become the youngest artist and first woman to win all four major categories of “Best New Artist,” “Album of the Year,” “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year.”  Eilish also won “Best Pop Vocal Album.”
Eilish’s smash hit “Bad Guy” edged out Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” in the major categories that they competed in, but did not impede on a big night for Lizzo. Lizzo carried three awards home including “Best Pop Solo Performance” for “Truth Hurts” in what she said in her speech intended to “liberate.” 
A tribute to the tragic and untimely death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna opened up the ceremony at the Staples Center where the former Laker once played. Alicia Keys and John Legend paid word of homage to Bryant, and DJ Khaled honored another late L.A. legend, rapper Nipsey Hussle.
Grammy veteran Ariana Grande took the stage to perform “ 7 rings” and hit song “My Favorite Things.” by Demi Lovato who delivered an impactful performance of “Anyone,” message bringing light to mental illness. Even though Prince passed away three years ago, Usher performed a tribute to the monumental pop singer along with British artist FKA Twigs. Other important wins of the night included Tyler the Creator receiving “Best Rap Album” for his career defining LP, “Igor.”  It was Tyler the Creator’s first Grammy and first major award win since winning “Best New Artist” at the 2011 VMAs. Lil Nas X’s global phenomenon “Old Town Road also won two Grammys including “Pop duo/group performance.”
Even though this year’s Grammys has come to a close, the behind-the scenes issues of the control of old white men in power, accusations of discrimaintion, sexual harassment and voting confliction has not. Dugan’s investigation and vocal public outcry of corruption within the academy will unravel the future of the Grammys one way or another.

 

Abigail Nilsson, Editor in Chief

    Taylor Swift has been in the American spotlight since she was a teen. Swift’s music has been able to reach the masses as it comes from a sincere place that millions of people can relate to. Swift clearly has a talent for writing and performing her own music. She grew up with the belief that if you work hard for something you want, you can get it. She wanted to win awards for her music and her videos, and she did. 

    The latest documentary on Netflix “Miss Americana” outlines Swift’s timeline involving her tragedies to triumphs that helped her grow as a person, musician, and political advocate.

    From a young age, Swift was taught to be quiet, polite and please other people. She became who her fans wanted her to be. 

     The more successful she became, the more she was singled out and made fun of by other celebrities. There were clips of several celebrities, such as comedian Nikki Glaser, body shaming Swift. Also included was the infamous moment in 2009 when Kanye West took the mic from Swift when she won her first VMA and he said, “I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” was resurfaced. 

    After she won Album of the Year at the Grammy’s for a second time Swift thought, “you get to the top of the mountain top and look around and oh god what now? I didn’t have a partner I climbed it with, that I could high five. I didn’t have anyone to talk to who could relate, I had my mom. I just wondered, shouldn’t I have someone I could call right now?” She felt great at the top and being a pop icon, but she was missing something. 

    She took a year off following the #TaylorSwiftisOverParty movement on social media. She was lost and needed to find herself, and in turn, found someone and something else she was passionate about.  

    This part in the documentary leads you to believe this might be a Cinderella story, since Swift was keeping her relationship from the media. But no, the main notion the documentary is covering is Swift making a bold decision in her career a few years ago when she broke what she was told to do, stay quiet about her view on politics.

    She had been a victim of sexual harassment, was called a liar and was in a very public court case that resulted in her being sued in return. Swift feels very strongly about women’s rights. She was told not to be like the Dixie Chicks, who publicly announced their disapproval of President Bush and lost a lot of their followers. Swift was afraid to talk about what political stance she has until she began to publicly endorse Democrats in her home state on issues that were important to her. “This was a situation where from a humanity perspective and from my moral compass was telling me I needed to do, I knew I was right, and I really didn't care about repercussions.” Swift stands for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and equality - basic human rights. This was a big change for her, but she is now speaking up for what she believes in. She is encouraging young adults to go out, have a voice, and vote. 

    This is not a coincidence that this documentary and her latest song were released days before the Iowa caucus. They each have a strong influence from Swift that it is important to have a voice and stand up for what you believe in. Swift’s latest song, “Only the Young” is clearly a politically charged track to encourage people to pay attention and vote. While we don’t yet know who Swift endorses in the primary elections, we do know one thing, she wants young people to follow the Swift sway, a following that Swift had who voted because she encouraged them to, and go out and vote. This documentary features how Swift started her career as a spirited, and “proper” young girl, to an iconic pop star who may be ready to begin exploring the political scene.

 

Sh-Ron Almeida, Staff Writer

Without the overwhelming success of Fire Emblem Awakening for the Nintendo 3DS, the franchise would’ve faded into obscurity. Thankfully, that won’t be happening any time soon because Fire Emblem Three Houses almost doubled Awakening’s launch sales scarily enough. Three Houses is everything a fan could ask for in a tactical role-playing game and for good reason. It’s an epic, grandiose adventure peppered with Game of Thrones drama and Harry Potter intrigue. You can invest hundreds of hours in this game and still be left hungry for more. 

 Instead of being a general leader or a tactician, the player takes the role of a professor, responsible for the academic success of a young students, as well as their performance in battle. In the game, you can form bonds with the teaching staff and your students, on a more personal level unlike any other Fire Emblem games. You also get to traverse around the monastery, participating in fishing, shopping, planting crops, cooking, singing in a choir and much more. 

    What makes this game even more interesting is there are three different storylines, with scenes that play   out in ways you wouldn’t expect. This gives you more of a unique perspective when an important cutscene takes place. The characters are also a sticking point in the narrative and social aspect in the game. Each student and faculty staff have quirks and a personality of their own as if they were based on real people. The bonds you forge are important, making you understand and appreciate them more through teatime, gift giving, dining and instructing.   

    The battles are also a delight to watch as they come to life thanks to the powerful Switch console, with impressive terrain maps to boot. Battalions, which can be hired from the marketplace and equipped to support your character units almost look like actual arms, especially when the map zooms right into the battlefield, with the battalions and their enemy group clashing violently. The fantastic music does not disappoint either, as it vigorously shifts from a lighthearted rhythm to frantic intensity, illustrating the stakes of battle. 

   The resolution could’ve been a little higher on quality, especially on the big screen but that’s only a minor nitpick at best. 

   With all that said, Three Houses deserves all the acclaim and recognition it is getting right now. There are so many hours worth of entertainment and so much to do. For those who weren’t a fan of Fire Emblem in the past or weren’t too into the tactical strategy role playing games, this is highly recommended, just to get a taste of what you’re missing out on. 

   Fire Emblem Three Houses was released on July 26, 2019 for the Nintendo Switch. 

 

Baeli Carroll, Asst. Photo Editor

    If you were into the alternative scene in the mid 2000s, odds are you have heard of the band My Chemical Romance. 

    The band was founded in 2001 and consisted primarily of vocalist Gerard Way, his brother and bassist Mikey Way and guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero. The band took the alternative world by storm with their second album “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” in 2004. Following this album with increasing success was “The Black Parade” in 2006; which was certified double platinum in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

    The band released their fourth album in 2010 entitled “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys” which garnered positive reviews. Despite this, on Mar. 22, 2013, My Chemical Romance announced their split to the dismay of people across the globe. While My Chemical Romance had always made it clear that they were not meant to be a long term band, the announcement shocked and broke the hearts of fans everywhere. Many took this to mean that they would never get the chance to see the band they loved so much live; It was all over. 

    Or so everyone thought.

    Much to the shock of everyone, My Chemical Romance announced a reunion show on Oct. 31, 2019, but indicated that this had been in the works for a long time. Posting on their instagram, the band said “In 2017, we got in a room together to see what would happen. A couple more jam sessions and 39 days of rehearsals later, we’re ready to show you what we’ve learned. See you soon.” The band followed this with a small tour of Australia, New Zealand and Japan, until finally announcing a North American tour on Jan. 29, 2020.

    Fans scrambled to ticket websites this past Friday in a desperate attempt to get tickets for what may be their last tour ever. The internet buzzed with complaints of websites crashing and browsers refreshing until ultimately certain dates were sold out in less than an hour.

   It's unclear if My Chemical Romance will be back for good, or how long this run will last, but what I do know is that I got tickets. As lead singer Gerard Way once said: “[The band] can never die. It is alive in me, in the guys, and it is alive inside of all of you. I always knew that, and I think you did too. Because it is not a band-- it's an idea.”

 

Opinions

 

Alexis Rapoza, Opinions Editor

    As an aspiring journalist, one of the first things I learned was that the code of ethics from the Society of Professional Journalists is basically the bible. It states to seek the truth and report it, act independently, be accountable and transparent while minimizing harm. In summary, journalists’ primary objective is to serve the public. However, in the wake of the recent Kobe Bryant tragedy, I find that very hard to believe. 

    On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant and 8 others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a tragic helicopter accident in California. In the media’s rush to break the story, they broke just about every standard in the code of ethics and the coverage came off sloppy, careless and insensitive.

    ABC News initially reported that all four of Kobe Bryant’s daughters were also killed in the crash. BBC News showed a clip of Lebron James, instead of Kobe during their coverage of the accident, and TMZ reported Kobe’s death before his family was even notified. These three news outlets, valued their ratings over the quality of their content and completely disregarded the effect they could have on the families of those involved in the accident. 

    Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. The constant influx of news has created a thirst for more; more stories and more content, as fast as possible. Furthermore, as technology develops and social media becomes more prevalent, professional journalists are competing with internet bloggers and amateur Twitter journalists for who can have the most interesting story. 

    Every hour the media cycles through stories of kidnappings, corrupt politicians, mass shootings, natural disasters and whatever dumpster fire tweet our 45th president has sent out. Consumers live in a constant state of fear and are over bombarded with advertisements, telling us what to think, what to wear and who to vote for. Everyday news outlets have taken notes out of Youtubers’ books and created headlines that over exaggerate and sensationalize daily events by creating click-bait headlines in order to generate more traffic to their websites. 

    As reporters, it is important to remember why we do what we do. A reporter is responsible for bringing relevant, timely and accurate news to its audience, something that ABC News, BBC and many others failed to do in response to the January 26th tragedy. However, in an incredibly disappointing amount of low-quality coverage, there was one media outlet that shined. The Los Angeles Times sent out a tweet acknowledging its peer’s coverage of the accident and stated that they were investigating further. They then removed their paywall and their subsequent coverage was accurate and sympathetic to the victim’s families. 

    The Los Angeles Times showed a perfect balance between timely, accurate and sympathetic reporting; and as consumers, we need to be more conscious of the media we ingest. Sensational headlines might grab your attention but they’re most likely not credible. However, I do not think the consumer is necessarily to blame. 

    Reporters need to remember that these are not just stories, these are actual human beings and if it was their loved one affected by a tragedy, such as this one, how would they like the story to be written? 

    Freedom of the press might be a constitutional right but there is a line between ethical journalism and careless journalism. Something that, at the end of the day, all comes down to how you would want your journalistic legacy to be remembered. Do you want to be remembered as the anchor who used a racial slur on national television or do you want to be the journalist devoted to accuracy and impartiality? Personally I’d choose the latter.

 

Grace Kimmell, Photo Editor

    On a chilled, crisp December afternoon, I walk from my rusted pickup to my front door. From the doorway, I see my father’s stout figure awash in the LED glow from the television with his beer in hand and sporting his MAGA hat on his head with all the importance of an Elizabethan crown. This might be the first time in his life that he’s watched the news for more than the weather. 

    The impeachment trial has begun and so many more like him are doing the exact same. As a small-business owner, republican values resonate with him, and I get it. “He has done everything that he has said he would do,” my father declares. “We needed change, and that’s what he’s done.” This man and those like him were seduced by our president’s charming, braggadocious demeanor. Trump’s message of American exceptionalism resonated with people -- lots of people.  Then again, these people have legitimate concerns about the economy and their values and to rapacious rate of change, our modern world seems to endure. Many American people were desperate for a change. He spoke to these Americans when it seemed they had lost their voice in the national dialogue.

    But as I watch the same impeachment coverage over my father’s shoulder, I can’t help but think about the border concentration camps. I think of the bubbling, fermenting hate towards immigrants that I suddenly see everywhere even though our country was born and nourished on the ideas of outsiders who found a home within our borders. When I see our president, as much as I hear him clamor about policy, I struggle to see past his treatment of people. His wanton disrespect towards women chills my bones more than the winter air ever could.  If anyone talked about me or treated me the way our president talks about and treats women, my father would swear to unleash a savagery heretofore unseen by the eyes of humankind. This can’t be my America. This can’t be my home. I’m desperate for a change, but it seems like those of us who feel this way have lost our voice in the national dialogue.

    And he just sits on the sofa, watching.  I just stand over his shoulder, watching. We don’t talk because we don’t think there’s anything we can possibly say to the other to establish footing on a common ground on this polarizing issue. Our shared, stiff silence plays out as a microcosm of the current political climate: a democratic party that can’t win a conviction in these impeachment proceedings despite bellowing ferociously that Trump is guilty.  But all the volume in the world won’t sway the requisite number of Republican senators needed to convict. The republican counterparts in the senate are equally as vociferous in defending our president and asserting that this whole trial is more pomp and circumstance than the Westminster Dog Show. Woof.

    This is what our great democratic experiment has devolved into?  All of us howling into the voice and none of us able to hear the other? Democracy suffers if our voices are kept silent, but it dies lonely and afraid if we don’t learn to listen to all voices. Please don’t let this beautiful idea die. 

 

Sports

 

President Sanchez appointed to NCAA Division III Presidents Council

Jake Elmslie, Sports Editor

Photo by Thomas Crudale

   Over the weekend of Jan. 25 during the 2020 NCAA National Convention in Anaheim, California, Rhode Island College President Frank Sanchez was appointed to the 18 man NCAA Division III Presidents Council. The committee, comprised of college presidents from across the nation, is the highest governing body in Division III and directs policy within the division, handles it’s finances and has the ability to make recommendations to the NCAA’s board of governors, the highest power in American college athletics. This is not President Sanchez’s first foray into broader Division III leadership with him becoming the chair of the Little East Conference’s Presidents Council last July. 

   Candidates for the national council are nominated by presidents and athletic directors from across the country who provide a rationale explaining why they believe their candidate is a good fit.  “I didn’t really think about becoming a part of the national council, folks wanted to nominate me and it’s a real honor that people would think of me and present the opportunity. As a former student athlete I understand the unique challenges that face our student athletes and I think it’ll help being able to have that perspective on a council like this” said Sanchez, the former Division I wrestler. 

   As a member of the council, President Sanchez will serve a four year term and will be required to attend quarterly meetings, two of which will be held at the NCAA’s national headquarters in Indianapolis. All expenses pertaining to these meetings including travel and lodging will be covered by the NCAA and will not present any cost to RIC. President Sanchez does not believe this role will take away from his ability to perform his duties to RIC explaining that, “As a college president I have to be actively engaged with a number of both local and national organizations to showcase our incredible students and faculty I think being on a national board like this one is a great forum to showcase RIC and the great work we’re doing and frankly I see this as a duty of the president.”

  On the subject of specific policy goals he will strive to accomplish as a member of the committee, President Sanchez spoke at length about the controversy surrounding the rights of college athletes to compensation and to profit off their own likeness “I lean towards more flexibility, if you're a student athlete and you can make some money in the summer doing say clinic or teaching lessons why shouldn’t you be able to do that. The NCAA may not agree with that but if we’re going to navigate this new economy, this web economy we’re going to have to adapt and students should be encouraged to learn how to design their own sites, how to utilize digital audio and video and how to build their own brands, but there’s going to be a robust conversation because some people disagree with that.”

 

Jake Elmslie, Sports Editor

   The New England Patriots season came to an unceremonious end in the wild card round with a loss against the underdog Tennessee Titans. This loss brought a season that started off steeped in promise to a close after the team was carried to an 8-0 record on the backs of what appeared to be a prolific defense. Cracks soon began to show in the teams armor though and eventually a variety of unsolved issues on both sides of the ball led to the Patriots first wild card round exit since 2010. With that defeat in hand New England faces down the offseason earlier than they have in a decade. Over the next five weeks, six if the special teams fans of Mount Pleasant really make themselves heard, we will take an in depth look at the Patriots roster as they enter the 2020 offseason, the decisions they face, the salary situations they will have to navigate and the free agents they will have to fight to maintain. The focus this week will be on the quarterback position, once again sorry kicking fans.

   If any singular player is going to define the 2020 offseason for the Patriots it is going to be Tom Brady. He is an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career and unlike the majority of his time in New England, he is seemingly unwilling to give the Patriots a significant hometown discount. This, being able to have an elite quarterback for a rate usually allocated to average players at the same position has been the ultimate cheat code in team building for Bill Belichick over the last two decades and losing that advantage makes navigating the salary cap that much tricker for New England. Brady’s intentions are a mystery but even the fact that he has not openly committed to returning to the Patriots is a massive departure from the normal goings on in Foxborough over the last 20 years. 

   Brady’s contract situation comes with its own variety of pitfalls. Due to the way the contract is set up if Brady is signed by the Patriots or any other team after March 18th he will carry a $13.5 million dead money hit on New England’s salary cap. Now if Brady signs before that March 18th deadline that dead money hit is halved to $6.75 million. The main issue here is that NFL free agents will be unable to sign contracts with teams other than their previous homes before March 18th. This means that if Brady is truly adamant about gauging his value on the free agent market, the Patriots will end up in a situation where they ether retain Tom Brady at a price much closer to the market value for top tier quarterbacks plus the extra $13.5 million dead cap hit, or Brady leaves the franchise for another team and the Patriots are still left with $13.5 million on their books. Obviously retaining Brady gives the team their best chance to contend in the immediate future but to do that they would ,most likely have to deal with a cap hit that could take up in excess $40 million plus of the roughly $200 million NFL salary cap.

    If Brady does leave Foxborough the team could opt to take an extended look at last years fourth round pick Jarrett Stidham, who showed promise during the preseason, to bring in one of the various passers on a free agent market littered with former top draft picks and experienced options or to use one of their four picks in the top 100 of this years NFL draft to select one of the higher profile quarterback prospects. Most likely in the event of Brady leaving the team would employ a mix of or potentially all of these strategies to ensure they have options at the games most important position. 

   Next week we will take a look at the skill positions meaning it will be time for a deep dive on the Patriots much maligned wide receiver and tight end groups as well as the running backs.

 

David Blais, Anchor Contributor

   The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna is still on all of our minds. The news is still covering it and will probably continue to until the investigation of the crash concludes. It’s not just sports networks like ESPN or Fox Sports covering this tragedy, with news networks from local to national levels, all providing ample coverage. There has never been a situation where the death of an athlete has been so impactful on media and the world.

   The question is, why is Kobe Brynat’s death impacting everyone, including non sports fans, as much as it has? Well let’s look at Bryant’s success on the court. He was a five-time NBA champion, finals MVP, NBA MVP, dunk contest winner, and 18 time all-star. That doesn’t include all of the All-NBA first teams and league leading titles that he earned. Bryant is also the only NBA player to ever win an academy award. Kobe,this year, is a guaranteed first ballot hall of famer, with it being his first year of eligibility this summer. He truly was one of the greatest basketball players of all time. His success however did not just come to him. 

   Kobe Bryant was so successful due to his own unique mindset deemed the “mamba mentality.” This unique ideology which Kobe maintained and consisted of hard-work, determination, all while trying to be the very best. This mentality is what also made him a great team leader as well. The mamba mentality inspired millions of athletes across the world, to instill such a routine, is to become great just like Kobe. Kobe and all of his hard work and skills, millions of children across the country picked up a basketball for the first time, creating a new generation of basketball players. This includes current 76ers center, Joel Embiid, who never thought about basketball or saw it until he watched Kobe in the 2010 NBA finals.

   Kobe was an amazing player who is a once in a lifetime. Kobe will never be forgotten and will always remain in the argument of “who is the greatest basketball player of all time” for a reason. Even though he is one of the greatest basketball players, and athletes, of all time, he was also something that was way more important to him: a dad. Kobe was a proud dad to four girls. He started a basketball league for his daughter to play in and his own academy called the Mamba Academy. Kobe took pride in being a dad and anyone with a child can relate. When he attended basketball games, he would always be with one of his daughters. Kobe devoted time to make sure one day his daughters would grow up in a world where his girls were treated equally and provided with the same opportunities he did. His daughter Gianna was supposed to carry on his legacy and be the next big thing in basketball. Unfortunately, her untimely death last week took that opportunity away. So to answer why this tragedy in Kobe’s death is so impactful, is because everyone can relate. Parents, people who are driven and determined, athletes and anyone with a passion for something similar to Bryant’s. Bryant was just like all of us. He was human. We mourn the loss of a championship basketball player, philosopher and father.  His death proved that even the mentally and physically blessed people in this world are not invincible.

 
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Baeli Carroll, Asst. Photo Editor

    The Rhode Island College women's gymnastics team travelled to Pennsylvania this past Saturday to compete in a tri-meet against home team West Chester University and Springfield College.

   The Anchorwomen were led in vault by junior Christa Vaccaro, who earned a score of 9.375. This was good for the seventh highest score of the night, while Freshman all-around Kelsey Gates was able to come in ninth for the event with a score of 9.300.

    As for bars, the highest RIC score was a 9.375 on account of Gates. This was the 5th highest score of the night while junior Kaela Skerl came in 13th for the event, with a score of 8.750. In the balance beam RIC was able to get a 7th place performance out of senior Grace Davis, who was awarded a score of 9.375. Junior Ali Peterman and Gates also chipped in on the beam with 13th and 16th place finishes, earning scores of 9.050 and 8.775 respectively.

   Meanwhile, in the floor portion of the meet, the Anchorwomen were led by Gates who scored a 9.600, the sixth highest score of the night in the event. Other RIC performances in the event included a 10th place effort by Davis who received a score 9.450 and Skerl who came in 14th with a score of 9.100.

   By meets end, the Anchorwomen found themselves in third place overall with final team scores of 190.750 West Chester University, 187.700 Springfield College and 179.100 RIC.

    The women’s gymnastics team will have a little under a week to prepare for their next contest, a Saturday evening away meet against the University of Bridgeport.

 

Taylor Green, Staff Writer

The Rhode Island College Women’s Swim Team swam their season bests, this Saturday at the Little East Conference Swimming and Diving Championships. All four girls achieved season records in their events, and the team scored higher as a whole than they have in any competition over the past two years. Seven teams competed with the Anchorwomen, holding up seventh place with a score of 51.0. 
All four girls competed in the 200-yard medley relay, placing seventh with a combined time of 2 minutes, 11.98 seconds. The Anchorwomen also competed in the 400-yard freestyle relay but were disqualified on a start violation. 
Freshman Abby Dion was the stand-out swimmer this meet, with her season best, 2 minutes, 39.26 seconds time in the 200-yard butterfly, placing fourth and automatically qualifying her for the New England Championships. She also finished seventh in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1 minutes, 09.22 seconds.  Dion added to her performance even further by also qualifying with her 100 yard split time in the 400-yard freestyle relay. 
Freshman Hillevi Esquillin  placed sixth in the 200-yard freestyle with a season best time of 2 minutes, 08.66 seconds and seventh in the 200-yard Individual Medley with a time of 2 minutes, 28.48 seconds.
Freshman Jasmine Cooper placed 11th in the 200-yard butterfly with her season best of 3 minutes, 15.32 seconds, and 19th in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 6 minutes, 47.64 seconds.
Freshman Reegan Camire also competed in the 500-yard freestyle, placing 17th with a 6 minute, 37.04 second finish. She also dropped 1 minute and 23 seconds off her time in the 1650-yard (one mile) swim, scoring a 12th place finish with a season best time of 23 minutes 23.87 seconds. 
“I was extremely pleased with the team’s overall performance in the meet” Coach Fontaine shared. 
With an 0-7 defeated season, the Anchorwomen go into the New England Championships cautiously optimistic. The Championship will be held from Thursday Feb.13 until Sunday Feb. 16 at the University of Rhode Island.