Volume 93, Issue 4
September 23, 2019
Unifying the Unity Center
Alison Darmetko, Staff Writer
Photo by Mark Medeiros
The Unity Center started the academic year with renovations and developing a new policy of inclusion.
To those who may not be aware, the Donovan Dining Hall is also home to the Rhode Island College’s Unity Center, an on-campus support center designed to help students with services relating to women’s health, LGTBQ+ and interfaith needs. The center is also a department for international students and those who do not speak English as their first language. Despite the name, the center itself was not unified before the new look and policy changes. The departments within the center were previously separate entities.
When Pegah Rahmanian became the new director of the Unity Center, her first goal was to unify the Unity Center. “[And] so to me, as an outsider, it felt like ‘Wow, this really lacks unity, or community or the ability to just like, have a conversation with someone,” explained Rahmanian when describing how she began her post.
According to Rahmanian, the Unity Center, being broken up, created a sense of separation. The rooms themselves were described as lacking in decoration while feeling cramped and unwelcoming.
When Rahmanian took charge as director, her first goal was to fix the atmosphere of the room and bring the departments together. The largest room in the space, the LGBTQ+ center, was made into the main office. A wall that previously divided the room was removed and the space was redecorated to feel more welcoming. Along with the installation of carpets, new chairs, couches and lamps were ordered to brighten up the room.
The offices in the space are now reassigned to the departments that all fell under the purview of the Unity Center, accomplishing Rahmanian’s goal of unifying the department.
What was previously the women’s center is now a computer lab, which provides [reasonable] free printing. Adjoining the computer lab is the new meditation and prayer room, meant to help accommodate students with their religious needs. According to Director Rahmanian, this room contains items such as prayer mats for students who follow Islam, as well as other religious items such as prayer beads.
Currently, the Unity Center is trying to fill two open coordinator positions. Rahmanian is optimistic about the future of the Unity Center. She has noted an increase of traffic into the remodeled Unity Center. and students are recognizing it as a place to meet new friends and socialize, but she is aware that there is more that needs to be done. In particular, she cites plans to increase sensitivity training, while breaking down stigmas that cultures are confined to months (i.e. Black History Month) and to increase accessibility to resources for students who need help with outreach or school services.
SCG hosts town hall in response to Donovan sit-in
Sean Richer, Asst. News Editor
Photo by Thomas Crudale
As Rhode Island College student complaints regarding the price and quality of the food at Donovan Dining Center continue to mount, Student Community Government along with Director of Food and Retail Services, Arthur Patrie and Dean of Students, Tamika Wordlow-Williams, hosted an open town hall in the Gaige auditorium to hear complaints and receive suggestions to improve the cafeteria. While the turnout appeared to be lower than expected, that did not stop the group of students who did attend the meeting from voicing their opinions.
When asked about the position of the SCG in this matter, President Joshua Percy responded, “Parliament wants to remain largely neutral when it comes to taking sides… we need to take time to hear the sides of both students and faculty, and that is what we want to accomplish during this town hall.” Owen Jefferson, the Digital Media Manager at Anchor TV, commented further on the wider situation saying, “Food needs to be affordable, it all starts there. If students don’t have access to it, the whole college will suffer for it.”
The meeting began with a brief Q&A session. After being asked which specific department marks the prices, Patrie responded, “The board at Donovan sets them, but we collaborate with the Chief Financial Office to determine what we should charge.” He went on to say that, “A number of steps are being taken to determine what we can cut and what we can’t, but we want to get as much student feedback as possible to see what we should do.”
Afterwards, students were able to share potential solutions to the issue. Some of these solutions came from junior nursing student, Jayanna Greene. These included prioritizing certain types of meal plans, taking into consideration the student signees when setting prices diversifying the menu and sending out widespread surveys about the food at Donovan in order to gauge student opinion. “The meal plans are the huge, top-of-the-list issue and prioritizing students of certain incomes would go a long way in helping” said Greene.
Ronya Traynham, a resident student at RIC, shared her thoughts as well, particularly regarding the food and events at Donovan. “Including more food of different cultures would go a long way in getting students interested… if I’m breaking bread with other people, that’s huge.”
Janelle Gomez, Treasurer of SCG, added to that statement saying, “I want to be at Donovan. We need to create a sense of community.”
Those in attendance proceeded to express their support for the dining center, reaffirming their desire to truly improve it. Both Patrie and Wordlow-Williams expressed that gratitude and reassured the student body of the potential changes. Patrie concluded by saying, “Prepare to see a lot of changes at Donovan in the near future.” Time will tell which suggestions will be adopted by the faculty and what they will change to improve the dining experience at RIC.
Rhode Island students protest lack of action on climate change
Sean Richer, Asst. News Editor
As concern over climate change grows, many people are once again taking to the streets to voice their frustration. This past Friday, thousands of students and youth activists staged a strike in order to have their voices heard. This event was one of the largest of its kind in the state’s history, seeing demonstrations at St. George’s School, URI, Westerly, and the streets of downtown Providence.
These demonstrations were largely organized by an organization called Sunrise, a local climate advocacy group which recently supported the “Green New Deal”, a proposed plan by some Democrats to drastically reduce corporate emissions and pollution. Protesters gathered at Kennedy Plaza around 10 a.m., chanting, “What do we want? A livable future. When do we want it? Now.” Their route took them to the National Grid Energy Innovation Hub. There protesters decried the ties between large energy corporations like National Grid, and local government. Later they took their grievances to the State House itself.
Some of the measures that protesters demand be undertaken, include an increased carbon tax on corporations in Rhode Island, as well as an official adoption of the Green New Deal. Owen Jones from the Green School expressed his concern saying, “I don’t think there will be a future for us if something isn’t done...Our lives are more important than whatever money they’re making by not doing anything.” Suraj Sait, a senior high school student added, “This is a turning point in civilization, we need to do something.”
Rhode Island has signed on to several initiatives over the years regarding climate change, including a pledge along with 8 other states to add over 3 million zero-emission state vehicles by 2025, as well as considering the creation of a minimum renewable fuel standard for state institutions. These steps have not seemed to placate many Rhode Islanders, however. Many still think that there is a considerable amount of work that needs to be done before we can be comfortable about the environment. Rhode Island, having the most coastlines in the country, certainly has a lot to lose if temperatures continue to rise. This could put a great amount of ocean life at risk, and in turn become a great detriment to the state. It remains to be seen what actions Governor Gina Raimondo will take in response to this public outrage.
Drone drama: U.S. to impose new sanctions on Iran
Sean Richer, Asst. News Editor
Last Friday, journalists were able to get their first glimpse at a Saudi oil refinery that was destroyed in an alleged drone strike by Iran, which occurred six days prior. This refinery was not only the largest in Saudi Arabia, but also in the world. It was producing over one million barrels of crude oil a day. Its destruction is projected to disrupt approximately 5% of the world’s oil market.
Those on the scene described seeing a huge column of fire, followed by billowing smoke.
Currently, no deaths have been reported. Iran has denied any involvement in the refinery's destruction, but Saudi officials claim they were “unquestionably” the culprits.
Saudi Arabia and Iran's relationship has been rife with tension since the Cold War, with the United States at its center. Saudi Arabia has worked as an ally with U.S. and in defense of the Saudi regime, President Trump has announced new sanctions on Iran in retaliation for the alleged strike. These sanctions target the central bank of Iran, along with many individual Iraninan financiers. The Trump administration has also pledged to bolster the number of American troops in Saudi Arabia, although an exact number has not been released. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, announced that any military action by the U.S. or Saudi Arabia will result in, "all out war."
President Trump has urged many U.S. allies to follow suit. However, the European powers seem to be exercising great caution. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said, “Germany will always be in favor of de-escalation with Iran.”
President Trump later remarked, “We don’t want to go to war with Iran, but what we are doing is working...They are practically broke.”
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran will continue to flare. Time will tell if the actions of America will have an effect on Iran that the Trump administration hopes for. It remains clear that there will be a debate over the conduct of the countries involved as the United States continues to remain in the middle.
“Suicide-text” girlfriend denied early parole
Abigail Nilsson, News Editor
Michelle Carter, 23, was denied early release by the Massachusetts Parole Board early Friday. She was convicted of involuntary manslaughter by convincing her suicidal boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, through text messages, to take his own life by carbon monoxide poisoning in a Fairhaven K-Mart parking lot in 2014. Carter is 7 months into serving a 15 month prison sentence.
In a statement, Gregg Miliote, a representative of Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III, said, “At the time of sentencing, we recommended a much more severe sentence due to the egregious nature of the crime and the defendant’s refusal to acknowledge the gravity of the crime she committed. It’s unfortunate that in the five years since Conrad’s death, the Parole Board found she still does not have sufficient insight into her crime and lacks empathy. As always, our concern is for the Roy family and the public’s safety.”
Carter and Conrad seldom met in person, as they were from different towns in Mass. Their communication and their relationship was mainly through texts and phone calls.
Carter helped to devise the suicide plan, which consisted of carbon monoxide poisoning in Conrads car and she convinced him through google research that it would be quick and painless.
She also helped him to overcome his fear of death, assuring him that suicide was what he wanted and that his parents will be fine without him.
“CARTER: I think your parents know you're in a really bad place. I'm not saying they want you to do it but I honestly feel like they can accept it. They know there is nothing they can do. They've tried helping. Everyone's tried, but there is a point that comes where there isn't anything anyone can do to save you, not even yourself. And you've hit that point and I think your parents know you've hit that point. You said your mom saw a suicide thing on your computer and she didn't say anything. I think she knows it's on your mind and she's prepared for it. Everyone will be sad for a while but they will get over it and move on. They won't be in depression. I won't let that happen. They know how sad you are, and they know that you are doing this to be happy and I think they will understand and accept it. They will always carry you in their hearts. CONRAD: Aww. Thank you, Michelle. CARTER: They will move on for you because they know that's what you would have wanted. They know you wouldn't want them to be sad and depressed and be angry and guilty. They know you want them to live their lives and be happy. So they will for you. You're right. You need to stop thinking about this and just do it because over turning always kills, over thinking. CONRAD: Yeah, it does. I've been thinking about it for too long. CARTER: Always smile, and, yeah, you have to just do it. You have everything you need. There is no way you can fail. Tonight is the night. It's now or never.”
On the night of Conrad’s suicide, Carter spoke to him on the phone twice. The first time he was panicking and got out of his truck and she convinced him into getting back in. The second time they were on the phone she heard him grunting and breathing into the phone as he took his last breaths.
Carter was allowed by the judge to remain free while she appealed the jury’s initial decision. Her final conviction was upheld in February by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and she was ordered to immediately begin her jail sentence.
Carter will remain in custody of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department until she finishes her time.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
Arts & Entertainment
Strange Days: Friday the 13th
Gregory Williams, Anchor Contributor
Do you suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia – fear of Friday the 13? If you do then I suggest you stop reading this right now. Ten days ago was Friday the 13 (September 13) and although it has already passed I find it's never too late to discuss the murky and fascinating history that surrounds this superstitious date.
Possibly the earliest reference to Friday the 13th being unlucky is when the ancient Greek poet Hesiod wrote in his Works and Days (primarily a farmer’s almanac), “avoid the thirteenth of the waxing month for beginning to sow.”
He never states his reason for this. Some people point to the omission of the 13th law in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1754 B.C.), but further research disproves this theory. In The Canterbury Tales, 14th century writer Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the line, “on a Friday fell all this mischance.”
A very plausible explanation for the fear behind the infamous date can be traced back to the bible. Judas Iscariot, Jesus’s betrayer, was the 13th person to arrive at the Last Supper. The next day, which became known as Good Friday, Jesus was crucified. Another biblical root comes from the book of Genesis in which Friday was the day that Eve gave Adam the apple from the Tree of Knowledge and later banished for it.
In Norse mythology, Loki was the 13th guest to arrive at a feast given by the sea god Egir in Valhalla. Shortly after his arrival all hell broke loose (refer to the Norse poem Lokasenna or “Loki’s quarrel” for more on that).
On Friday, October 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of members of the Knights Templar, a 12th century religious military order. He had accused the Templars of heresy, fraud and other crimes but it was really just a scheme to pillage their financial resources.
To bring us back a little closer to the present, Thomas Lawson in 1907 published a book called Friday the 13th. It tells the story of a stockbroker who manipulates the stock market and causes a panic. The book sold very well at the time. Anyway, we’re just about out of time so stay safe and be sure to check out next week’s issue about vampires in Rhode Island.
Netflix’s “Unbelievable” tackles sexual assault
Alexis Rapoza, Asst. Opinions Editor
It’s a story that is all too familiar. In the wake of the #MeToo movement and the Harvey Weinstien trials, we have become accostomed to stories of sexual assault and miscarriages of justice. “Unbelievable” is Netflix’s brand new miniseries with a total of eight episodes and clocking in at an hour for each, it is not like Netflix’s previous miniseries endeavors. However, “Unbelievable” joins one other Netflix Original series that highlighted a serious topic and was handled with nuance and care. Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” is a four part miniseries based on the wrongful convictions of 5 teenagers in 1989. DuVernay tackled racism and wrongful convictions with grace and realism without sacrificing entertainment value. Like “When They See Us”, “Unbelievable” tackles another true crime case that shocked the nation.
Based on The Marshall Project and ProPublica’s groundbreaking Pulitzer Prize winning piece “An Unbelievable Story of Rape”, “Unbelievable” tackles the 2008 rape of 18 year old Marie Adler, played by “Booksmart”`s Kaitlyn Dever, who was assaulted in her apartment. After being forced to retell her story repeatedly, the police compiled a list of inconsistencies that led to her being pressured into recanting, charging her with a misdemeanor of false reporting. Colorado Detectives Stacy Galbraith and Edna Hendershot, renamed in the miniseries as Detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall, work to uncover what they soon discover is a serial rapist who victimized over 25 girls. Toni Collette plays experienced Detective Grace Rasmussen with passion and is able to humanize a character who could have very easily fallen into the “hardened detective” stereotype. Her costar, Merritt Wever, plays Karen Duvall, a mother and wife who is dedicated and sympathetic to the victims.
Both Collette and Wever shine as the two vastly different and unlikely teammates which is a testament to the fantastic writing by Susannah Grant, best known for her work on the film “Erin Brockovich” and the true story of the two detectives who inspired the series. Collette and Wever’s on screen chemistry is incredible and their mentor-mentee relationship is more than believable. Also, the dynamic between the male and female detectives brings up a interesting conversation about the way our justice system handles sexual assault cases. “Unbelievable” does what it’s Netflix originals counterpart “Thirteen Reasons Why” failed to do, it handled a topic as serious as sexual assault with incredible realism and never once glorified the trauma the victims experienced.
“Unbelievable” comes at a time when a lot of people will claim that Netflix is capitalizing off the #MeToo movement but I have to disagree. Stories like Marie’s need to be told as this is something that millions of women experience in their lifetime. As long as these stories continue to be told with as much care as showcased in “Unbelievable” then I hope Netflix continues to produce moving and compassionate material like this in its upcoming releases.
Check(mate)ing out chess club
Sophia Guerrier, A&E Editor
You certainly don’t have to be Magnus Carlsen to join the Chess Club. Who’s Magnus Carlsen? currently the highest ranked chess player in the world. But another cool thing is that you don’t have to be interested in playing chess to join the club either- but there’s a possibility you might after you get familiar with the members.
“We’re very much a social group, we do obviously encourage that our members play chess … it’s very chill and if you’re stressed and want to come talk about your problems, come to us. We will listen,” said sophomore Vice President Slade Alves, who is also the Country Top 40 director at WXIN.
Aside from lending an ear, the club teaches rookie members the game of chess, taught by Alves and club President Peter Iwamoto. It all got started with their “grandmaster” (incredibly skilled) general member and former president David Morris Finstein. Two years ago, the chess club officially started from Finstein’s enthusiasm for the board game which led him to approach a few Rhode Island College students playing chess in the student union café.
Finstein eventually took the reigns of the organization without an E-board. After meeting Finstein at student activities day, Iwamoto and Alves decided to participate where they would eventually become board members and Finstein anointing Iwamoto as president.
“He’s [Finstein] a gamer guy at heart, He can do the governmental stuff but at heart, a gamer. For a few months before the club ended (for the semester), he was desperately looking for anyone to become president but being the president of a club is a lot of responsibility, and being the irresponsible person that I am I did not know how much responsibility that went into it so I said yes. But I’m glad I said yes,” chuckled Iwamoto.
Iwamoto started playing chess in elementary school and went on to compete in a chess tournament in middle school. He followed his interest into high school where he met Finstein during that period. The chess club is now up to 12 regular members that meet in the student union at room 434 on Wednesdays from 12-2.
“Anyone who wants to learn chess is welcome … we set up a bunch of chess boards, see who shows up, we challenge anyone who wants to be challenged. David still shows up as a general member. He knows a lot of strategies so if anyone is looking for more intensive chess theory they can very easily learn that from him,” said Alves.
The majority of the new members have been interested in learning the game of chess which isn’t too hard to understand according to Iwamoto. In a collaboration with the G.A.M.E.R club, last year the chess club installed a giant chess board on the quad to encourage passing students to play. The club has hopes in entering tournaments in the near future and will hold a grand tournament of their own at the end of the year. Alves is also planning to team up with WXIN to host a radio and chess event as well.
“It’s important for RIC to have chess club because it’s a creative outlet. It’s a nice way to refine strategic skills and it’s a way for me to critically think. Critically thinking is a very important skill and chess is a fun way in refining it,” said Alves.
AHS: Success story or American horror ?
Amber Duffy, Anchor Contributor
Last wednesday, The FX network premiered the first episode of “American Horror Story: 1984”; the ninth season of the critically acclaimed series. Although many longtime fans were not too excited for the season, since many of the fan favorite actors such as Evan Peters did not return, Emma Roberts (Seasons 3,4,7,8 and 9) and Billie Lourd (7,8, and 9) actually remained, allowing the season to stay true to its legacy of keeping familiar faces as characters.
The premiere was a promising indicator for another great season ahead. Unlike some of the previous seasons like seasons two and five, “1984” seems to take less of an extreme gore approach, and more of a stereotypical 80s thriller theme; keeping it true to the decade it is based in.
"1984” follows five friends as they decide to leave Los Angeles and work as camp counselors for the summer at Camp Redwood, which has been shut down fourteen years prior after a massacre. During the premiere, the man who committed the murders escapes the mental institution he was at, foreshadowing for an extreme season to lie ahead.
Like prior seasons of “American Horror Story”, the episode was packed with a few Easter eggs for fans to find. One that stood out the most to fans was the of the infamous Night Stalker`s appearance, and his attack on Roberts’ character Brooke. Fans of the show may recall the episode “Devil’s Night” from the series fifth season “Hotel”. In the episode, multiple serial killers check into the hotel and have dinner together; the Night Stalker also known as Richard Rameriez was one of them.
Theisseason allows for a perfect blend between what “American Horror Story” is known for, while also adding a new twist to create a brand new and different season. “American Horror Story: 1984” seems to continue the tradition of “American Horror Story” being an incredible series, packed with a plethora of different types of horror; allowing for a fright for all viewers.
11 Weeks of Pure Heroine: Royals
Sophia Guerrier, A&E Editor
Holy smokes it is week four of the “Pure Heroine” installations, you’ve made it this far and I hope you’ve read the past three. We’re talking about “Royals” this time, Lorde’s most successful hit single and considered one of the best songs of the millenium. Seriously. Not only is it one of the best-selling singles of all time, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it at number nine on their 21st century catalog.
Pretty legit. I feel like the song “Royals” speaks for itself so this isn’t going to be as long as it should be considering how impactful and transcending the track has proved to be almost six years later. This Friday, September 27, will also be the 6 year anniversary of “Pure Heroine”.
To start off, what needs to be brought to attention is that Lorde at the age of sixteen wrote “Royals” in thirty minutes. A song with such intricate symbolism to luxury and materialism was written in only half an hour and sold over 10 million units worldwide. Pretty impressive for a pop song battling the superficiality landscape of pop and hip hop music and separating itself as counterculture.
Lorde actually came up with the title of the song from a picture in “National Geographic” of baseball player George Brett signing baseballs. He played for the Kansas City Royals and Lorde seeing “Royals” sprawled across his uniform helped coin the song just that. She told Vevo in an interview, “He was just signing baseballs, but I was like, ‘That is so cool.’ That word is so beautiful and I was just wondering how I could incorporate it into something.”
Lorde also explained her intentions for “Royals” in the same interview, saying, “I definitely wrote “Royals” with a lightness in mind. I was definitely poking fun at a lot of things that people take to be normal. I was listening to a lot of hip-hop and I kind of started to realize that to be cool in hip-hop, you have to have that sort of car and drink that sort of vodka and have that sort of watch, and I was like, “I’ve literally never seen one of those watches in my entire life.” There you go, Lorde literally says the meaning of the song, so I’m just gonna moderately touch upon the song’s most valuable features. For example the opening lines of the song.
“I've never seen a diamond in the flesh, I cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies, And I'm not proud of my address, in the torn up town, no postcode envy.” So here, Lorde could be speaking in both first person or as another, poorer character. Now, Lorde grew up in one of the most wealthy sections of New Zealand.
This is why when she says, “And I'm not proud of my address, in the torn up town, no postcode envy,” she could be speaking as someone else considering she did not grow up in a “torn up town,'' the median income where she grew up is 85,000 dollars. But compared to Los Angeles and New York, the glamorous cities that films and tv shows are always shot in, New Zealand is essentially unheard of and not cared about. Which could be why she says, “No postcode envy”.
Lyrics of assumingly lower income are present a few more times in the song like when she sings, “We count our dollars on the train” and “We didn’t come from money” can also suggest this poorer character Lorde is portraying or she may be comparing her being upper class to the wealth of celebrities as essentially being poor in their eyes.
The most treasured part of the song is undoubtedly the catchy pre chorus where Lorde’s luxury mockery resides in. “But every song's like gold teeth, Grey Goose, trippin' in the bathroom; But everybody's like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece,” She calls out rap music with the specifics of Cristal, Maybachs, Grey Goose and the rest.
All of these materialised possessions are prevalent in the “look” of a rapper and are worshipped within the hip hop community as symbols of wealth and success, most notably with billionaire rapper Jay Z. The tone in which she sings “But every songs like” and “But everybody’s like” is almost like she’s mocking that of a teenage girl who absorbs this sort of lifestyle for themselves even though they are nowhere near living it.
This goes back to Lorde’s criticism of celebrity exclusivity and materialism that is sold to the youth as the ideal way of living. The “Grey Goose” and “Maybach” talk from these artists influences the youth to want to be like them even though they’re poor. Lorde does reject this ideology with the simple phrase “We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair” and later in the chorus, “That kind of lux just ain't for us, we crave a different kind of buzz.” This buzz could be drugs, which are attainable for anyone, but it’s never specified.
I read an interpretation that said “Royals” is like “a revolutionary group that wants to overthrow the current power, but who is subject to the same temptations and corruptions” and I think that’s a valid observation and way to conclude this. Next week we’ll be looking at “Ribs”.
URI: what is the future of higher education in RI?
Alexis Rapoza & Alison Macbeth
Asst. Opinions Editor & Opinions Editor
What Rhode Island lacks in mileage it makes up in commitment to higher education. However, in July of this year Governor Raimondo signed a bill that could change all of that.
This bill allows URI to withdraw from the Council of Post-Secondary Education (RIOPC) in February of 2020, leaving behind the two other state public colleges, CCRI and RIC. According to the website, RIOPC is “an independent public corporation vested with the responsibility of providing oversight for the system of public higher education in Rhode Island.” It exists to “to provide an excellent, efficient, accessible and affordable system of higher education designed to improve the overall educational attainment of Rhode Islanders and thereby enrich the intellectual, economic, social and cultural life of the state, its residents, and its communities.” The bill which broke this coalition was sponsored by Speaker of the House, Nicholas Mattiello, to the surprise of neighboring institutions, CCRI and RIC, who were not informed of URI’s plans.
URI’s absence from the RIOPC leaves Rhode Islanders with questions. In the anticipated budget, URI is recommended for a 2.5 billion dollar budget. Meanwhile, RIC just passes CCRI’s 854 million dollar budget with a 949 million dollar estimation. The coalition of RI’s three public universities allowed for powerful negotiation between the RIOPC and the state. Will URI’s departure from this council affect funding for RIC and CCRI? Does URI not care about an “affordable system of higher education designed to improve the overall education attainment of Rhode Islanders? Will URI students receive the RI Promise Scholarship?
Outside of the council, URI may have more access to funding and dodge the potential for expansion of the RI Promise Scholarship as the state’s flagship university. The RI Promise Scholarship is arguably one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in our state’s modern history, however, it has made higher education incredibly more accessible for low income students. Higher education has always been a measure of socioeconomic status and with the separation of URI from the Post-Secondary Council students who choose to attend RIC and CCRI might suffer. Because of URI’s newfound independence the university will now have more freedom to develop curriculum specific to itself, meaning that it will now become increasingly difficult for students from CCRI to transfer to URI. Based on this bill, it is clear URI places the value higher on students who pay the full four years of tuition than on a student who takes advantage of their first two free years at CCRI and later transfers into the university.
The Providence Journal quoted board member Jeffrey Williams stating: “This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated. I don’t see when we have ever hindered URI from becoming great. When has the council ever been an impediment to progress? RIC and CCRI, in my opinion, see themselves as flagship institutions. There will be unintended consequences going forward. One possible consequence is a competition for resources.”
URI announced in a 2004 press statement released on their website that it is an “economic engine” for the state. Similarly, under the mission statement, URI pledges that one of their main goals for the future is to attract more international and out-of-state students. The bill allowing URI to leave RIOPC also gives permission to the university to create its own board of trustees upon its departure. Likewise, the bill also states that URI Board of Trustees members do not have to be from or live in Rhode Island, nor do they have to have an affiliation with URI. If URI’s commitment is to “educate the youth of Rhode Island” then why is URI so desperate for out of state students and employees? This bill may be URI’s attempt to become a huge internationally known university and leave the people of Rhode Island behind.
Accessibility has always been a hot topic when discussing college admissions and with soaring tuition prices it will continue to be. The need for more funding, as schools are always in need of improvements, is understandable. However, URI has used this bill to profess it’s superiority over RIC and CCRI. While they are vastly different from each other and specialize in different fields, none of Rhode Island’s three colleges are better than the other. Likewise, Rhode Island has prided itself on the easy access to all three colleges. The Interinstitutional Exchange Program and joint admissions programs have made it easy for students to navigate affordable higher education. After February, this will no longer be true for those wishing to attend URI.
Meanwhile, CCRI and RIC fear the future consequences of URI’s departure for their own budget and fiscal flourishing. URI’s departure from the RIOPC solidifies that public higher education is becoming less about education quality and more about money and numbers, a fact that is becoming less and less surprising.
Improv-ing it up!
Jeffrey Hamelin, Anchor Contributor
Over the past few months, one thing has helped me tremendously-- improv classes. Improv, short for improvisation, has developed and strengthened skills such as self-esteem, confidence, attention, patience, interpersonal communication, working with a team and even public speaking! Just by adding improv classes to my life, I now feel as if I can achieve and facilitate my current college career goals. I believe an improv group at Rhode Island College will enhance the college experience for students.
With an improv group at RIC, students will be able to practice skills that are transferable to their field in a fun and positive way! Whatever major you have chosen, improv can assist you in preparing you for potential future real life situations. The more practice you get via improv the more prepared you’ll be for an unforsaken situation.
For example, an improv scene can start with two co-workers sitting next to each other. They’re both sipping some coffee and all of a sudden, a visibly drunk co-worker walks by you both. That’s just the start of the scene. The scene can go in any direction and having that practice of dealing with a drunk person in improv can help you deal with it if it happens to occur in a real workplace situation.
Another scene could deal with you speaking to your boss (or you can be the boss in this scene) and the boss is giving you a yearly performance review. The overall scene can prepare you for when you get your yearly performance review at your given job and at the same time you’re having a fun time.
Recently improv has helped me with the peer mentor course that I’m enrolled in. Some of the requirements of the course involves speaking in front of the class to the students (public speaking), providing tours for the students (confidence), giving advice to new students (interpersonal communication) and providing information on campus activities. All of the skills that I’m utilizing in the peer-mentor class were all strengthened and developed through improv. I also see myself having a more enjoyable time while I’m sitting in for a lecture and or spending some time at a lab. Overall, everything in class feels more interesting, and I feel more involved with all that RIC has to offer.
An improv group at RIC would help build community. If a student doesn’t have the confidence to join the performance team, they could just come to a show and hangout. Eventually, when they feel comfortable enough they can get involved. Prior to attending my first improv show, I was too nervous to even get out of my car to attend the event. Having to socialize with random individuals, not expecting how the show will go and not knowing anyone at the event gave me anxiety and stress. Those were two traits that I didn’t like and improv has assisted in minimizing those two aspects. As of right now, some of my best friends came directly from attending improv classes and they’re all friends that provide a good influence in my life.
These valuable aspects of improv influenced me to get the word out to college students at RIC. If we had an improv group on campus, we’d be able to do numerous things. Each aspect of building an improv group provides excellent and relevant experiences, some of which can include emerging leaders, team-building on campus and scheduling and organizational skills amongst students.
Four-Legged Study Break
Kyra Garabedian, Anchor Contributor
As the first four weeks of the Fall semester come to a close, going to class is finally starting to feel like a routine. You’ve finally got used to your new schedule and then you realize midterms are in less than a month. If there is one thing that can throw off your new routine and make you even more stressed out, it is having to study for your exams on top of your regular classwork.
If you’re like me, you have probably been in a situation where you had to cram exam prep into a long and intense study session. We don’t like to admit it to ourselves, but sometimes it just happens. Often times I am so engaged in studying that I forget that my brain needs to take breaks every once in awhile.
One of my favorite things to do when I feel like I need a break is to pet my dogs. I need that little burst of happiness and stress relieving energy my dogs provide just by interacting with them. Even five minutes of simply sitting next to them helps refresh my mind and get me ready to go back to studying. But, for those of us who dorm or who spend most of their study time on campus this happiness animals provide is hard to come by because unfortunately, my dogs can’t come to campus with me.
Many colleges and universities provide students with stress relieving activities during exam weeks. Jill Castellano, a Forbes Magazine staff member, writes about the anxiety reducing activities Caldwell University hosted for students during their final exam week last year. According to Castellano, the most popular program was a pet therapy program that provided students with trained dogs for students to interact with. Students who participated in this program found that the dogs provided them with much needed relief during a stressful exam week and cost the university nothing.
Pet therapy has been proven to reduce stress in humans by increasing the amount of oxytocin, the anxiety reducing hormone in your brain and with the growing workload college students have to handle we seem like the perfect candidates.
Although I can’t bring my dogs to campus, I would enjoy taking my study break with some other furry friends. Plus, my friends who live on campus or don’t have dogs can enjoy their company without going home. What could be better than walking away from your notes for a bit into a room full of trained therapy dogs to take your mind off your exam? That way, you go back to studying full of oxytocin and in a better mindset to master your notes and ace your exam. I think allowing pet therapy programs during more exam weeks should be considered by Rhode Island College as it would surely benefit students and campus life.
RIC athlete spotlight: Michaela Burr
Jake Elmslie, Sports Editor
Rhode Island College boasts a diverse array of transfer students, all of whom have their own unique reasons for coming to RIC. This is the case for Michaela Burr, and many others who have found new purposes, since arriving to Mount Pleasant Avenue.
Burr like many other students coming right out of high school wanted to get as far away from home as possible. In Burr’s case, the meant somewhere down south with much warmer weather. In part because of these factors, Burr chose to attend Florida State University. While at the division I FSU Burr chose not to play tennis,
“I knew there was no chance I’d be able to play at FSU, most of the girls on the team were recruited from overseas, I tried the club team for a bit but didn’t enjoy it all that much. I decided not to choose a college based on tennis, I played a lot in high school but knew to play at a big division I school I would of had to play all the time.”
Things changed for Burr however once after two years at FSU, the Westerly native decided she wanted to study nursing. Affordability and the chance to be closer to home once again were the main factors in her coming. However, she credits her decision to join the tennis team with how easily she feels she’s transitioned to her new environment.
Over the summer in order to get back into tennis shape, Burr started out playing weekly matches with her mother before summer team practices began. Burr credits the chance to practice against the rest of her new team and the various styles each individual player brings to the table as a massive component of her return to form.
Burr made her presence on the team known early on, with her being slotted into the number one singles spot from day one of the regular season.
“Starting towards the top of the line up was a bit intimidating, I didn’t want to feel like I was coming and taking over some spots from players who had been here longer, I was afraid girls would be upset about it but I soon realized how genuinely happy the girls on the team were for me.”
Since joining the team Burr has yet to record a loss in the teams first 8 matches.
Overall Burr has adored her time so far as a member of the Anchorwomen,
“It is one of the best teams I’ve ever been on, it being a smaller team makes it really feel like a family, it’s so crazy that I’ve only been here a month because it feels like years, they’re so welcoming and so kind. Being at RIC it really feels like I’m home again and my teammates are a huge part of that.”
Anchorwomen lack keene sense for offense in loss
Taylor Green, Anchor Contributor
Photo by Mark Medeiros
The Rhode Island College Women’s Soccer team suffered a 5-1 defeat on their home field this Saturday against the Keene State Owls. Holding much promise in the beginning of the game, Sophomore Anchorwoman, Audra Gracia shot the first shot of the day in the fifth minute. However, in the seventh minute, the Owls picked up their play with Freshman Amanda Marshal, making the first shot and goal of the game for her team, putting Keene on the board.
In the first half, 15 shots were attempted by the Owls, compared to the Anchorwomens’ 10. In the 30th minute of the game, Jordyn Abasciano, assisted by Patricia Norton and Courtney Vachon, scored the Owls’ second goal, followed by a third in the 32nd minute by Rachel Braun, and then a fourth by Kayleigh Marshall in the 42nd minute, both unassisted. At the midpoint of the game, the Owls held a score of four goals while the Anchorwomen remained off the board.
In the second half the Anchorwomen showed slightly more life defensively. Abigail Proulx, assisted by Madison Christian, made RIC’s first goal of the game. RIC attempted three more shots in the second half, bringing their total attempts to 12. The Owls managed to make one more goal in the 73rd minute of the game, bringing them to their final score of 5.
With loss, the Anchor Women fall to 2-5 on the season. RIC’s next game will be on September 25 at 6:30 p.m. on their home field against the 3-5 Curry College Colonels.