News

February 24, 2020
Volume 93, Issue 17

 

Yusef Salaam speaks out at RIC

Sean Richer & Alexis Rapoza

News Editor & Opinions Editor

Photos by Grace Kimmell & Thomas Crudale

    One night in the spring of 1989, the body of a woman who had been raped and assaulted was discovered in the woods of Central Park. Soon after, five African American and Latino boys were arrested and convicted of the crime, despite their innocence, which was proven over 13 years later in 2002. One of those boys was then 15-year-old, Yusef Salaam. Dr. Yusef Salaam is now 45 years old, has received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Anointed by God Ministries Alliance & Seminary and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama in 2016.  He now travels the country as a motivational speaker sharing his story and speaking about criminal justice reform. 

    Dr. Salaam and the four other men, Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, and Kevin Richardson, also now known the Central Park Five, stories’ were recently produced into a 4-part Netflix series directed by Ava DuVernay entitled “When They See Us.” The series garnered over 230 million views in its first week of release and won two Primetime Emmy Awards.

    The Anchor had the privilege of sitting down with Dr. Salaam when he visited campus for an event organized by Harambee in celebration of Black History Month on February 21. When referring to the Netflix series Salaam said,

    “We were fully involved. We loved the fact that Ava DuVernay and her team allowed us to be fully participant in everything that was going on,” Dr. Salaam stated. “We sat down with the writers individually, my session was over eight hours, and when we actually began to film, when we were actually on set, they would ask us questions like ‘Was this how it was? Did we get it right?’ And when we saw the final product we knew we had something very special.” 

     Dr. Salaam also criticized the media’s role in his conviction and subsequent acquittal saying, “Originally there were only about 400 articles written about us when it happened, nobody ever came to us and said ‘Hey tell us your story!’ and so people were making things up. People were defining for the rest of the public what it was that they were seeing.”

    He then went on to further state that the media’s coverage “gave a great disservice to the people.” He said “If the people wanted to be able to ensure justice, by ensuring justice that means you are going after the right people. You’re not presenting a scapegoat and in many ways you see that happen all the time, especially if you have my complexion.” Dr. Salamm explained, “They automatically present you in the public eye and you then have to prove yourself innocent. But the system says you’re innocent until proven guilty. Whereas in the black and brown community it's the exact opposite.”

    The most pertinent issue for Dr. Salaam was what he calls the “Criminal system of Injustice,” which is the way he describes the systemic racism in America’s justice system. “The system is not broken,” he declared. “It’s working exactly as it was designed… it’s slavery under a different name. You look around the landscape of the prison industrial complex and realize the overwhelming majority of people there are black and brown. I think the challenge is on us to plant proper seeds in our children’s children’s children so that we begin to look at the content of someone’s character instead of the color of their skin.” 

    He later likened the flaws of the criminal justice system to false advertising by corporations. “When people accused Subway of lying about the length of their footlong sandwiches, they said ‘We never said the sandwich was a foot long, that's just the name of the sandwich.’ That is atrocious because people rely on those in positions of authority to be honorable.” 

    Dr. Salaam stated that this is something called tricknology, he said “They’re doing something right in front of your face, it has nothing to do with what they’re trying to show you but everything to do with what they’re trying to leave in your mind. It’s the exact same thing that happened when slavery was abolished. They got rid of it and instead called it prison.”

    Dr. Salaam then brought his message to Sapinsley Hall later in the evening, hosted by one of RIC’s oldest organizations, Harambee. After a poem titled, “This Is Us” Salaam began to speak about the deeply ingrained history of racism in America. “Oh they can’t sell you into slavery anymore, now you just have to be a ‘criminal’ to be enslaved. And that is the tool they use to oppress us.” 

   The nearly 900-member audience was captivated with Dr. Salaam’s words and listened intently as he spoke for almost two hours. Dr. Salaam closed out the night by answering audience questions and holding a meet and greet in the auditorium lobby. Yusef Salaam has been speaking out against racial injustice since his exoneration in 2002, and will likely continue speaking out for many years to come.

 

R.I. bills seek to amend State Constitution

Lucille Di Naro, Managing Editor

 Three amendments to the Rhode Island Constitution are scheduled for hearing by the House Judiciary Committee this Wednesday, each posing significant implications on the future of elections and the General Assembly. House Bills 7356, 7031 and 7032, which were submitted in mid-January, are moving quickly through the legislative process and are worth watching as the spring session progresses.

   Representative John W. Lyle, Jr. (R-Dist. 46) is the primary sponsor of H.B. 7356, a partisan initiative whose co-sponsors include Minority Leader Blake Filippi (R-Dist. 36) and Minority Whip Michael Chippendale (R-Dist. 40). H.B. 7356 seeks to amend the RI State Constitution such that the names of candidates for the office of the governor and lieutenant governor will appear jointly on the ballot. Candidates for the respective offices will be paired according to party and presented as a single choice, whereas one vote denotes a vote for both offices. 

   Also slated to be heard by House Judiciary are H.B. 7031 and its companion bill, H.B. 7032, a bill package submitted by House Democrats. The bills seek to secure four year term limits for members of the General Assembly and amend the start and end dates of the spring legislative session. If passed by the electorate, members of the General Assembly would be prohibited from serving more than three consecutive four year terms. Membership on the House Judiciary Committee is quite favorable to these bills, with nearly 90% of its membership Democrats. 

   Rep. Lyle, who was recently selected as the 2020 Rhode Island State Lead for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL), co-sponsors H.B. 7031 and serves as a strategic link between the proposed amendments. If successful, the three bills will be submitted as ballot initiatives in the November General Election. Upon passage, these amendments are scheduled to take effect in 2022.

   The House Committee on Judiciary will meet Wednesday, Feb. 26 in room 205 at the Rise of the House.

 

Insults fly at the Las Vegas Democratic debate 

Sean Richer, News 

    Tempers flared in Las Vegas last Friday during the most recent Democratic Debate. While the schism between the moderate and progressive wings of the party remained apparent throughout the whole debate, many on stage turned their attention from each other to the new elephant in the room, Michael Bloomberg. 

    Elizabeth Warren soon proved to be the most outspoken and critical of Bloomberg early on the debate, letting loose on the former New York City Mayor. “So I’d like to talk about who we’re running against,” she would say in the opening minutes of the debate Wednesday night, “a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.’ And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg!” exclaimed the Senator from Massachusetts. 

    Mayor Bloomberg then attempted to save face regarding several non-disclosure agreements he made with different women who have been employed by him in the past saying, “We have very few non-disclosure agreements…” before being cut off by Warren who asked, “How many is that?” Bloomberg later explained, “None of them accuse me of doing anything other than, maybe, they didn't like a joke I told,” drawing an onslaught of boos and moans from the audience. 

    The night continued with what seemed like a list of one-liners from each of the candidates on stage. Mayor Pete Buttigieg chimed in saying, “Why don’t we elect someone who is actually a Democrat?” And when asked about changing the culture of sexism in America, Amy Klobuchar boldly stated, “I know how we can combat sexism in America, we could nominate a woman for president.” This combined with Bernie Sanders’ loud criticism of Bloomberg and Buttigieg’s campaign funds, and Joseph Biden’s cheery zingers, made what many would call a very raucous debate. 

    Nevada is the third state in line to vote for a democratic candidate. Sanders is projected to win by most polls but is followed closely by Klobuchar and Buttigieg. Micheal Bloomberg will not appear on the ballots in Nevada. As the race to challenge President Trump heats up, it remains to be known who will burn out next.

 

Arts & Entertainment

 

Thomas Crudale, Art Director

Photos by Thomas Crudale

   For most people, hearing the name Andy Warhol sparks a memory of the artist’s “Campbell Soup Cans” paintings, or his “Marilyn Munroe” portraits. Regardless of how he is recognized, the reputable pop artist left behind a lasting impression on the world through his art. He made thousands of works that ranged across many different mediums, including screen prints, polaroids, films, drawings, paintings, sculptures, traditional photography, digital media and more. He even went as far as using his urine as a medium. Whatever your interaction with the artist’s work has been in the past, you most likely didn’t know that Rhode Island College has a sizable collection of Warhol originals currently on view in the Bannister Gallery. 

    The show, titled ‘LIKE-NESS,’ examines Warhol’s extensive work in portraiture. Warhol’s famous mentality of “liking” everything was the basis of inspiration for the name of the show. In a 1963 interview with Warhol, he claimed “I want everybody to think alike … I think everybody should be like a machine. I think everybody should like everybody.” The exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to explore these generalized claims through Warhol’s work. The show was curated in part by the RIC students in the Fall 2019 Art History Seminar Warhol by Design, where they deeply explored Warhol’s life, career, relationships, art and lasting impact. Much of the artist’s work explores the problems that come with mass-produced and replicated imagery, societal expectations and societal status. All of these themes are abundantly present in ‘LIKE-NESS.’ 

    Warhol was known for always having a Polaroid camera with him wherever he went. Even at fancy parties and galas, he could be seen snapping away with his oddly shaped Big Shot. In addition to his candid photos, Warhol used his Polaroid camera in his commissioned portraiture. As a result, he made a seemingly infinite number of Polaroids that all help to explain his unique style of portraiture. While the Polaroids in the RIC collection are only a mere fraction of what Warhol made during his relatively short lifetime, the people in the photos range in age, gender, race and status proving just how diverse Warhol’s sitters were. 

    RIC’s Warhol collection includes Polaroids, gelatin silver prints and silkscreens, three of the most common mediums the artist worked with. The majority of the collection is currently on view in the Bannister Gallery, located in Roberts Hall and will be showing until March 20. The gallery offers visitors a chance to experience some of Warhol’s lesser known works in an intimate environment.


To find out more about Warhol and his work, visit the Bannister Gallery or go to http://www.ric.edu/bannister/pages/Andy-Warhol-Collection.aspx

 

Gregory Williams, Asst. A&E Editor


    Oscar Wilde once said, “To be great, is to be misunderstood,” and there was probably not another artist more misunderstood than him during his time. To summarize Wilde’s life and genius in the given space would be an impossible feat. Nonetheless, I will attempt to do Wilde justice and hopefully encourage students here at Rhode Island College to pick up a collection of his works. His writings - especially his brilliant plays - are just as relevant and comical today as they were back in Victorian England. 
    Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on Oct. 16, 1854, in Dublin, Ireland. His father, Sir William Wilde, was one of Ireland’s leading eye and ear surgeons as well as an author of books on archaeology and folklore. His mother, Jane Francesca Elgee (who wrote under the pseudonym Speranza) was a successful poet and authority on Irish folklore. She was also a political activist and was associated with the Young Ireland movement.
    After attending Portora Royal School at Enniskillen in Northern Ireland (1864-71), Oscar won a scholarship to Trinity College in Dublin (1871-71). Then in 1874, Oscar went on to win another scholarship to Oxford University to study Classics. While at Oxford, he made one of his many famous remarks: “I find it harder every day to live up to my blue China,” gaining the nickname “O’Flighty.”  Upon graduation in 1878, Oscar was awarded the much sought after Newdigate Prize for his poem, “Ravenna.”
    Soon after graduating, Oscar moved to London and quickly established himself in society by merely being himself. “What has he done?” asked Polish actress Madame Modjeska in 1880, “He has written nothing, he does not sing or paint or act…he does nothing but talk.” Oscar would later become known as being one of the greatest speakers to ever live. In fact, it has been said that he was a better speaker than a writer.  He was also an incredible dandy, appearing at London parties “in a velvet coat edged with braid, knee breeches, black silk stockings, a soft loose shirt with wide low turned-down collar and a large flowing pale green tie,” wrote his early biographer Hesketh Pearson.
    A narcissist, hedonist and aggressive self-promoter, Oscar continued his hand at poetry and in 1881 published a collection titled simply, “Poems.”  In the same year, he published his first play, a tragedy called “Vera.” Poorly received, he went on to write another tragedy called “The Duchess of Padua,” which too was viewed unfavorably.
    In 1882, Oscar traveled to America, also briefly in Canada, and gave a series of lectures (140) on aestheticism, art, and literature for roughly a year. Allegedly, upon his arrival at customs in New York City, he announced to the press, “I have nothing to declare but my genius.”
    In 1884, Oscar married Constance Lloyd, daughter of an Irish-barrister, and together had two boys, Cyril and Vyvyan, born 1885 and 1886 respectively. (End of Act I.)

 

Sh-Ron Almedia, Anchor Staff

“Fireworks” follows a crew of middle school boys whose dialogue varies from endless debates of their teacher’s bust size to whether fireworks are round or flat when they explode in the air. We find our story in one of these boys, Norimichi, who is infatuated with Nazuna, a classmate who happens to find a magical ball that can manipulate time. 
With the producer of “Your Name” taking the helm in directing this film, any reasonable person would have high expectations for that same magic to work its wonders again in this film. However, there’s nothing but disappointment all around for this wasted potential of a movie. There was a chance to make the viewing experience memorable, if not decent. However, the story is skeletal and uninspired, featuring characters who make nonsensical decisions and scenes executed in weird ways. It almost makes Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room” look like a classic masterpiece. 
For what it’s worth, the Studio Shaft, responsible for the radical cinematography of Bakemonogatari and Madoka Magica, brought this film to life. Its animation goes half and half. The backgrounds are intriguing but there is an overuse of computer-generated animation which overshadows those delicate details. Even that’s not enough to save such a lackluster anime film. 
The central romance between the main characters is the standard Mario/Princess Peach scenario. Lovestruck lad striving to rescue a helpless girl in need of protection. Norimichi stumbles upon the same magical orb and starts using it to go back in time to help Nazuna without so much as understanding the consequences. 
If both main characters had more three-dimensional, relatable personalities to complement each other, the film would have been an easier viewing experience. But the movie does not give a reason as to why someone should care about the angst of these teenagers, let alone care what happens to them. 
“Fireworks” was released in Aug. 2017. It is streaming on Netflix and was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. With that said, if you are searching for the next good romance to tug at your heartstrings, you might want to look elsewhere.

 

Sophia Guerrier, A&E Editor
Photos by Grace Kimmell

    Podcasts have kept the radio industry alive and buzzing with listeners from hipsters to sports junkies and housewives, tuning into millions of podcasts on their phones or satellite. Among the sea of podcasts is one where you can find “the latest and the greatest happenings in the world of sports;” and that podcast is called “The Stadium Experience.”
    Hosted by Rhode Island College senior Jake Elmslie, “The Stadium Experience” celebrated its third anniversary last week. After 1,095 days of passionately ranting about Boston sports and other popular sports news, Elmslie has kept his show running strong every week. 

    If you do not know who Elmslie is, you definitely have seen or heard him before. Elmslie’s long and full, close to lumberjack beard, is very hard to miss and his booming broadcaster voice, especially when debating about the Celtics, is even more distinguishable. A fitting role, Elmslie heads the operations of Anchor TV and is can easily be found courtside at RIC’s Women’s and Men’s basketball games voicing witty live commentary and conducting post-game interviews. The Little Compton native is also the sports editor at The Anchor and the production director at WXIN where The Stadium Experience is aired. 

    Not many students can claim they have their own podcast, let alone boast their podcast receiving critical recognition. However, Elmslie can. At the 2018 College Media Association Conference, Elmslie submitted The Stadium Experience in the podcast category for the conference’s “Apple Awards.” Up against students from universities across the states, Elmslie grabbed the runner up spot; ironically losing to a podcast from his former school, American University. 

    At his short stay at American University, Elmslie faced difficulties entering the radio program where his podcast applications would repeatedly get rejected. After transferring to RIC, Elmslie had a smoother success and claimed, “I heard music playing outside of the media center, went in, and asked if I could have a show and that was basically it. Far easier process if you ask me.”

    Three years later and The Stadium Experience is still titling WXIN’s time slot from noon to two on Tuesdays. Shows may feature Elmslie’s friends debating with him on the airwaves or professional writers and broadcasters. A notable past guest is Sean Grande, the man who performs the play by play for the Celtics. But besides the NBA or NFL speculations, Elmslie does admit that anime chatter may slip into the conversation every once in a while. 

     Aside from his various endeavors at RIC, Elmslie also holds the title of a producer at local stations 99.7 WPRO & 790 WPRV. With a clear focus for broadcast media, Elmslie has high aspirations to build his name in the sports media industry, not a bad idea considering his love for the medium. 

    “My favorite thing is just getting a platform to express my ideas, it honestly can be incredibly therapeutic just to sit in front of a mic and yell about your opinions on something you're passionate about to no one in particular."

 

Samantha Scetta, Copy Editor

Have you ever dated 30 women at once? Most people in our society probably couldn’t even conceptualize having that many romantic partners simultaneously. Not only is this socially unacceptable, but it also sounds like emotional turmoil for just about everyone involved. And that’s exactly the premise of ABC network’s “The Bachelor,”  a show that has somehow managed to captivate America’s heart for 24 seasons. 

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the concept of this “reality” television show, it's relatively easy to catch on. The Bachelor, a conventionally attractive white male in his late 20s or 30s is initially presented with 30 women all vying for his affections. Each week, he chooses which women to give a rose to, and which women get the boot. The final contestant ends up being...his wife! If only real life were that simple. The series is naturally peppered with drama amongst the women,  as well as insurmountable bouts of anger directed towards The Bachelor for his attention being spread unevenly amongst the women.

In this current season of “The Bachelor,” Peter Weber is the lucky man, and he’s gotten rid of 90% of his potential life partners. Peter has three women to choose from, including a 26-year-old who has modeled for a clothing line that uses “White Lives Matter” as a tagline, and two 23-year-old Southern women who have both expressed they are falling in love with Peter as of now. Of the final three contestants, I would say that none are ready for a legitimate relationship, let alone marriage. However, how are we able to judge this man’s relationship(s) when we, as viewers, are only shown what the producers choose to see? How much of the show is scripted, and how much is akin to real-life interactions? Who’s to say. 

Despite the phoniness of the show overall, it’s been broadcasted for 18 years and has a very loyal following. Maybe we feel better about our own romantic predicaments from watching the absurdity that some individuals will go through in the pursuit of love, or maybe we just enjoy watching others make fools of themselves. 

Watching reality television for entertainment is great, if we don’t compare it to our actual realities. What a life we would live if all of our romantic encounters and tribulations were broadcasted to the public, and we had to sort through a pile of practical strangers for marital candidates. And somehow… some of the couples are still happily married to this day.

  Tune in to the theatrics tonight on ABC, or tomorrow on Hulu.

 

Opinions

 

Alexis Rapoza, Opinions Editor

    If there is one thing Rhode Islanders should pride themselves on it is our diverse institutions of higher education. The smallest state in the nation is home to three public schools, six private institutions, an ivy-league and a Naval War College. Jobs have become much more difficult to land without a college degree, prompting Rhode Island’s population of college students to grow exponentially. However, there is one school that hasn’t been fortunate enough to bask in this revived interest in higher education. Yes, you guessed it -- its RIC. 

    When I logged into MyRIC, I was greeted with an ad promoting RIC’s new strategic plan entitled “Vision 2020.” It boasts that Vision 2020 promotes three goals for it’s a five-year plan, increased investments in academic and teaching excellence, increased quality of student experience and a strengthened resource generation and financial stewardship. On the surface that sounds great but a deep dive into Vision 2020 revealed some concerning statistics about RIC’s future. 

    According to RIC’s website, student enrollment has declined by 13.5% since 2015. Furthermore, 31% of undergraduate students stated that they seriously considered leaving RIC within their first semester. This can largely be attributed to the increased number of commuter students and students who work off-campus, but RIC’s website also revealed a larger issue affecting the climate of our campus -- diversity. 

    In the past decade, there has been a 108% increase in enrollment of students of color rising from 19.2% to 39.7%. However, approximately 36% of students that responded to this survey said that they felt pre-judged for their identity, something that disproportionately affects Hispanic, LatinX, AfroLatinX, and first-generation college students. Although RIC’s student body has become more diverse, some minority groups on campus still feel unwelcome. 

    In fact, a year ago almost to the day, President Sanchez sent out an email launching the #NotAtRIC campaign in response to reports of racial slurs being shouted at students. And while I appreciate the President’s efforts to condemn racism on campus, this is not an isolated issue nor is it the only problem. 

    Tuition hikes and budget cuts have also contributed to the decline. RIC prides itself on being accessible and affordable but nearly 82% of all undergraduate students had unmet financial needs. On top of that, nearly half of RIC students report caring for a dependent off-campus and approximately 46% of RIC students are first-generation college students who might need more support than other students. RIC’s enrollment is not declining because of the quality of the education but rather because of RIC’s inability to keep up with it’s diversifying student body. 

    To be fair, Vision 2020 does acknowledge that inclusion and accessibility are at the root of these issues, however, I worry that it might be too late. It’s almost like putting a bandaid on a broken leg, it has the right intent but it’s clearly not enough. And don’t get me wrong, I love RIC which is why I would hate to see enrollment continue to fall. We need to revive our community, provide more opportunities for non-traditional students to get involved on campus, offer more flexible course schedules and tackle rising tuition. RIC has been an active part of educating Rhode Island’s youth for over a hundred years and I do not want that to end. 

 

Janelle Gomez, Business Manager

     In mythology, Mercury is considered Hermes, or the messenger of the gods. In the language of astrology, this translates to communication, intuition and perception being ruled by this planet. Mercury is in retrograde when it slows down its orbit and provides an illusion of backward spinning. If your January blues weren't enough to rattle your chains and drag, let me tell you now that this moment in February will definitely cement that for you.

    To some, astrology might be a fun and silly concept you check out when you’re bored or need a little pick me up. If this is your case, this is not the time to look for entertainment, because the first Mercury retrograde of the year has just begun. If you’ve felt the weight of the world become dead on your shoulders or everything has been dragging, then yes, you are being absolutely affected by this phenomenon. This concept is beyond your control and above your paygrade.

    Mercury in retrograde was described perfectly by the AstroTwins as a “signal jamming transit,” meaning your communication and daily routines may be a bit of a mess at the moment.   During this retrograde, it is imperative that you hold off on making important decisions, or any meaningful plans because getting advice and feedback from folks around you may be difficult. So, let’s just hold off on any big relationship moves, travel plans or big job offers because these affairs may not go as expected. 

    Some ways you could relieve the tensions of this moment are by remaining patient and making light of the situations at hand. Retrograde will be over around mid-March and you could go back to being your most self-iest self. Remaining patient during this time will teach you a lot about yourself, considering that Mercury is the sign that rules intellect and intuition. This will help you make sense of yourself and the world around you. Make sure that you surround yourself with folks that can make you laugh and help you breathe through this tough lack of decision making (which is a decision in and of itself, yikes). Forcing situations and plans will be destructive at this time because clarity in understanding is not present during retrograde. 

    Pisces will be the most affected by this because retrograde is during their season. I’m sorry for my Pisces homies because this must be especially draining. Because retrograde is in Pisces, the sign of duality, they will be more psychic than ever, leaving the rest of us to debate what is real or not. All of the signs should watch out for their technology, interactions and take some deep breaths! Remember this will all be over soon. Virgos and Geminis will find some power in clearing house and feeding into their self-reflective nature. All of us need to maintain our wits and be patient with everything we attempt at this time. Because communication at this time will be a mess, I recommend you surround yourself with people of clear intentions and avoid anyone new.

 

Alison Macbeth, Anchor Staff

I am currently in Costa Rica studying Spanish, Communications and Political Science. Read my weekly column to follow a day in the life of a girl in San Jose. 


   As soon as I stepped out of the plane, I felt it - heat, sunshine, the tropical sun and difference. On January 4th, I arrived in Costa Rica to study for the semester. After hours of paperwork and meetings, saving my pennies and preparing for a life-changing experience, it felt surreal to stand in the customs line at San Jose airport. Although I have had the privilege of traveling to several other countries, the difference between the States and a foreign place is always evident. We call it culture shock. I have noticed this strange phenomenon in the landscape, language, food and social interactions.

   San Jose sits in a valley, or what is more scientifically known as a volcanic depression. Lush green mountains surround the city. I couldn’t stop looking out of the window of my airplane, before we landed and as we drove to my homestay, my eyes danced with joy as golden hour painted these mountains in warm hues of yellow and orange. 

   Costa Rica is considered a developing country and yet is also deemed one of the happiest places on the planet. This may not be evident in rush hour. Cars will honk and beep and weave around the busy streets. Unlike the stereotypes of many developing countries, Costa Rica’s roads and streets are relatively clean. This is partly due to the strong environmental policies that Costa Rica has put into place. 

   It was a pleasant drive to my homestay and before I knew it I was in the warm hug of my host mom who asked, “Espanol?” This is when I tried to piece together the few words I had learned from Duolingo to explain that I had never taken a Spanish class before, but I was more than excited to learn. Language is probably the most shocking aspect of a cultural transition. It can be so discouraging to be unable to talk to someone, ask a question or express your feelings. However, my host mom and I often turn to google translate to fill in the gaps. And I am slowly but surely learning.

    I am lucky to have a host mom that not only showers me with motherly concern but also makes delicious food. Every day we have beans and rice. It is either served as gallo pinto (which is beans and rice mixed together) or casado (which is beans and rice separate). My host mom, who I call Mama Tica, always makes plantains and either a soup or salad to accompany the delicious meal. Adjusting to the food has not been hard; however, some of the other students have been fed a constant diet of Kraft cheese, hotdogs and pizza by their host families. It depends on who you live with and how willing you are to try new foods. 

   The last aspect of culture shock that I have experienced is the by-product of the machismo culture. Women in Costa Rica, including myself, experience catcalling every day. Although not encouraged, this is a normal thing that happens. Men will roll down their car windows, comment and hiss. Progressive voices in Costa Rica are fighting against these norms, but it remains an unfortunate part of the culture.

   While culture shock is both positive and negative, the main thing I have learned through this transition period is to have grace for myself. It is normal to feel a bit overwhelmed by the changes. For some, the experience induces anxiety and nervousness. For others, the newness is invigorating and energizing. Culture shock is just what it sounds like… a shock, but with an open heart and mind it can leave you with a heart full of love and appreciation for a new place to call home.

 

Sports

 

The difficulties of Major League Baseball

Ray Olivier, Anchor Contributor

  Winning a World Series comes at a price, and principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, John Henry, knows this all too well. At the start of the 2018 season the team's payroll was the only one in the MLB north of $200 million. The result was a World Series title, so there is definitely an argument for correlation between a high payroll and success in the MLB.

   Yes, the team won the title two seasons ago and yes, they billed the highest payroll in the league. Why was this? For all the great acquisitions the Red Sox have made through trades or free agency, there have been bad decisions as well. Part of the reason the team's payroll was over $200 million in 2018 was because of two extremely inconvenient contracts that were a complete disaster when compared to the numbers these two players produced for the club.

   Rusney Castillo, a Cuban born ballplayer was signed to a seven year, $72.5 million contract and Pablo Sandavol was signed to a five year, $95 million contract. Both players suited up for the major league team in just 129 games and neither made any kind of impact on the team. Well, except for the massive contracts that helped to keep the team over that payroll threshold. 

   In 2020, the Red Sox prepare for another season with catchers and pitchers reporting to spring training last week and position players soon to follow. It would not be a typical Red Sox offseason if there were not some sort of controversy or change within the organization. This year, it is the mutual agreement to part ways with former manager Alex Cora due to the cheating scandal in Houston, in which Cora is directly linked to. Also worth controversy is the trade of Mookie Betts and David Price to the LA Dodgers. Moreover, the departure of workhorse Rick Porcello, who left for the New York Mets in free agency, will be a monumental loss for the pitching staff. 

   Betts is a former league MVP and Price a former Cy Young award winner, but both players presented a financial obstacle that the front office believed was too high to overcome. With Price set to earn $96 million over the next three years and Betts demanding over $400 million, the executives of the Red Sox decided it was time to move on. Understandably, many fans of the team are upset as Betts is a rising star in this league. Someone who understands the frustration among fans is John Henry who has said, “we felt we could not sit on our hands and lose him next offseason without getting any value in return to help us on our path forward.” It had been speculated that Betts would not return to Boston if he was not offered the money he demanded, which the Red Sox knew they could not provide.

   For the upcoming season, the Red Sox will be short a perennial thirty game starter in Porcello and a solid left-handed starter in Price. Some would say going into spring training that the team's pitching staff is the weakest part of the team. Currently, the Major League-ready starters are Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez. Their bullpen is not set up with many long relief men, so the thought of having an opener and piecing together the rest of the game with bullpen arms seems unlikely for the club in 2020. 

    Looking more closely at the rotation, for a Red Sox fan, there is not much to be optimistic about. Eovaldi, now thirty years old, has gone through two Tommy John surgeries in his career and was demoted to the bullpen last season for lack of performance. Perez has not had an ERA south of 4.50 since 2013. Sale is not a definitive ace either, after a disappointing 2019 season where he had career worsts in personal record (6-11), Win-Loss % (.353) and most importantly, ERA (4.40). So, we have a number three and four starter who are below average at best and an ace who had his worst season as a pro and is dealing with a nagging elbow injury in his throwing arm. Rodriguez is the only starter whom fans can feel excited about, considering he had a breakout season in 2019 going 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA. 

   With that being said, the Red Sox look to 2020 with optimism and are hoping to start fresh with interim manager Ron Roenicke holding down the fort. Now that Betts and Price are members of the Dodgers and Porcello is on the Mets, the team hopes to keep the payroll under that $200 million threshold.

 

Jake Elmslie, Sports Editor

 Here we are back again for the penultimate installment of our New England Patriots offseason preview. Last week we wrapped up examining the offense with a look at the offensive line. We will now shift our attention to the other side of the ball, today we look at the front seven.

   For all the acclaim surrounding the Patriots 2019 defense that got dynamic play out of both it’s linebackers and secondary, the defensive line was relatively unimpressive. The run defense for New England was a weakness for the team throughout the season, culminating in Derrick Henry gashing the Patriots for 182 rushing yards in their wild card round loss to the Tennessee Titans. At the defensive tackle spot, Lawrence Guy remains under contract for the 2020 season. He was the team's steadiest presence on the d-line in 2019, starting all 16 regular season games and tallying 61 tackles and three sacks. 

   Meanwhile, his running mate Danny Shelton, with nearly identical numbers to Guy, with 61 tackles and three sacks of his own in 14 starts will be an unrestricted free agent. It is difficult to determine what exactly the market will be like for the 26 year old former first round pick, however, it is near certain that his salary in 2020 will far exceed his 2019 mark of a hair over $800 thousand. Entering restricted free agency will be 2017 undrafted free agent Adam Butler who served as a rotational piece in 2019, playing on 46.92 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. New England could attempt to retain this group heading into 2020 however, some form of upgrade in the middle of the line could go a long way in shoring up one of the defenses major 2019 weaknesses. 

   At defensive end the Patriots have no free agents and will have the ability to retain the entire 2019 group, with each player from last season under contract in 2020. While consistency can be a positive thing, the Patriots lack a true difference maker at DE, with rookie third round pick Chase Winovich leading the group in sacks with 5.5 in 2019. Now, the team can expect a jump in production from Winovich as he enters his second professional season and rounds into more of an every down player. Opposite him, New England could stand to upgrade over players like John Simon and Deatrich Wise Jr. be it through free agency or the draft. 

   One of the Patriots strongest position groups in 2019 was the linebacking core that featured an array of versatile players however, the group could look radically different in 2020. Outside linebackers Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and run stuffing insider backer Elandon Roberts are all set to be UFA’s. Van Noy and Collins each played on over 80 percent of the teams’ defensive snaps in 2019 while Roberts contributed in a key rotational role. Collins, in particular, was impressive in his second stint in New England, leading the team in both sacks and tackles with seven and 81, respectively his play did taper off down the stretch though, with the bulk of his production coming in the first eight weeks of the season. Van Noy also had a far stronger first half of the season which makes projecting the market for both he and Collins tricky. A potential reunion with former New England defensive coordinator and current Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patrica could be in the cards for Van Noy as Detroit looks to upgrade their LB group. 

   Remaining under contract in 2020 are team captain Dont’a Hightower and 2018 fifth round pick Ja’Whaun Bentley. Hightower, who turned in a pro bowl season in 2019 has been one of the stalwarts of the New England defense over the past decade while Bentley showed flashes that indicate he could be productive in a larger role. It would behoove the Patriots to attempt to retain at least one of Van Noy and Collins depending on what the price of either player looks like come free agency. This would be a far more agreeable alternative to bringing in a nearly entirely new group to learn Bill Belichick’s defense in 2020.

   Next week will be the final installment of the series and we will be ending things on a high note with a look at one of the strongest groups on the New England roster, the secondary. 

 

Jenfrin Rodriguez, Anchor Staff

    The Anchormen were unable to grasp the victory late in the second half in a 77-66 Wednesday night loss to Western Connecticut State University. While the supporting cast for RIC did their best to turn the tides, it was the dynamic duo who had a rough showing in the regular-season finale. 

    Despite having a combined 25 points, Keyshaun Jacobs and Shion Darby shot an abysmal 6-13 and 3-21, respectively. When points are as hard to come by as they were Wednesday, the consequences can be devastating for a team that is so reliant on these two to handle most of the scoring responsibilities. Instead, the scoring was for the most part on the shoulders of Tim Deng and Benjamin Vezele, with 19 points and 11 rebounds and 17 points and 13 rebounds. On most nights that would mean great things for the Anchormen, but they didn’t make a difference. Coach Tom Glynn was quoted after the game, resigning that the Anchormen “just don’t match up well against them.”

    The glaring weakness from the Anchormen was the reliance on shooting from behind the arc, despite not having the percentages in their favor. RIC shot a low 26.8% on 11-41 shots. When the shots were not falling, they continued to rely on the deep ball instead of opting to change the game plan. As the intensity of the game grew, the Anchormen just could not find an answer. Points were extremely scarce to come by for RIC.

    The last regular season games at the Murray center were played by seniors Jonatan Batista and Benjamin Vezele. Although it was not the result they would have wanted, they can hold their heads up high knowing from the first day they put on a jersey, to their last, it was a thorough effort on a nightly basis. These two players have left an impact on the Anchormen, and we are curious to know what is in store for them in the playoffs and beyond the court. 

    Looking ahead, the Anchormen finished the regular season with a 16-9 record overall and a 9-7 record in Little East Conference play and are shifting their focus towards playoff basketball. They will finish the season as the conference’s fifth seed and will be on the road Tuesday for a single elimination matchup against the University of Massachusetts Boston.

 

Jake Elmslie, Sports Editor

Photos by Grace Kimmell

   The Rhode Island College basketball program wrapped up what has been a stellar regular season for both the men’s and women’s teams Wednesday evening. For the first time since the Little East Conference shrunk the playoff tournament down from eight to six teams, both RIC teams will be competing in the postseason. 

   The Anchorwomen, under the leadership of third year head coach Jenna Cosgrove, were dominant from start to finish, claiming the number two seed in the conference and a first round playoff bye on the back of a 13-3 record in the Little East and a 21-4 record overall. The Anchorwomen will look to make a run at the conference title after falling in the semi-final round last season to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. 

   The team was led in both scoring and steals by junior guard Sophia Guerrier who tallied 13.3 and 2.1 in each respective category, with both marks being the sixth highest in the conference. Senior transfer student Fataya Larry also recorded a strong year in her lone season in maroon and gold, leading the Little East in rebounding with 11.3 per game and owning the fourth highest field goal percentage in the conference of 50.9 percent. Mirroring those numbers was sophomore forward Willcia McBorrough who was fourth in the conference in rounding with 8.2 per game and first in field goal percentage, shooting 64.6 percent. 

   With the second seed in hand The Anchorwomen will be allowed to rest for the first round of the playoffs this Tuesday before hosting the highest remaining seed Thursday evening in a semifinal match tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m.

   The Anchormen meanwhile were also able to reach the postseason, claiming the fifth seed in the Little East with a 9-7 conference record and their first playoff berth under second year head coach Tom Glynn. The team was in the mix for a first round bye in the final weeks of the regular season however two straight conference losses to end the season caused them to fall in the standings. 

   The team was defined offensively all season long by a pair of newcomers to Mt. Pleasant. Freshmen guard Shion Darby and transfer junior Keyshaun Jacobs were not only RIC’s top two scorers this season but also the top two scorers in the conference with 24.5 and 19.9 points per game respectively. Darby also finishes the season as the 11th ranked scorer nationally in Division III and is a strong candidate for the national rookie of the year award, being the only freshman in the country to crack the top 50 among scorers. The Anchormen also feature the conferences leading rebounder in Benjamin Vezele who averaged a double-double this season with 15.3 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Vezele’s rebounding numbers are also the seventh best nationally for Division III.

   As the fifth seed, the Anchormen will be on the road Tuesday for their first round matchup against the University of Massachusetts Boston. RIC split the season series against UMB, with both games the two teams played against one another being decided by four points or less, and both ending in favor of the road team.

 

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