Boston native reflects on recent events, support

Gina Christo

Initially, I asked the Voice staff if I could write an article complaining about the woes of the housing bureaucracy here  at the College. But on Monday, my hometown of Boston, was bombed, and my priorities shifted. Where my carrel is and what house my sorority gets seem small in light of this incident, and I think reflecting on an event of this scale is important.

Like most students from Massachusetts who attend the College, when people ask me where I am from, I say Boston. The truth is, I live in a suburb about twenty minutes outside, but I so love the city and its culture that saying I was from anywhere else just would not seem right.

The site of the bombing, the 26th mile of the marathon, was actually two blocks from the apartment I lived in with my best friend last summer. For the second time in my life I was affected by terrorism, but this time it was even closer to home. While all of my family and friends are safe, Monday was an emotional day for me.

In the face of an attack like this, it’s easy to throw up your hands and to give up on humanity as a whole. But in light of the attack,  the support of the Wooster community showed me that it’s not all bad.

With cable news up on the Lowry Pit screen, students were actively checking on each other. Whether it was the students who have shared plane rides to Boston together, or friends who knew students from the area, everyone cared. There were a number of students who I had not spoken to all semester who, knowing I was from Boston, came up to me to ask if my family and friends were alright. This gave me faith in the face of something so horrific and reaffirmed my love for this campus. Sure the Wooster bubble has its problems, but in light of tragedies like Monday, people who you have not spoken to since FYS will ask if you’re alright.

I think a natural reaction to events like this are ‘what can I do?’ This is a great reaction!  I hope the next time we have a blood drive every student comes out and that we will continue to keep Boston and the victims in our thoughts. But thinking long term about what we can do is also important.

Terrorism and hate are not things intrinsic in human nature as they are acts and feelings that must be taught. We have the privilege of receiving an excellent education at an institution that boasts about its ability to foster critical thought and communication skills. It is these skills that can help us step towards creating peace in the future.

I have no doubt that Wooster students have the ability to go forward and become great leaders. So while we are here lets really focus on understanding kinds of cultural perspectives  a number of our classes provide us. Let’s work to truly value the use of non-violence in all kinds of negotiations. Lets learn to check out privilege and realize where we may be wrong, and appreciate the value in this realization. Wooster has the ability to equip us with these skills and even prevent things like what happened on Monday. So in light of tragedy let us remember why we are here and the power we have to make a difference.

 

 

Ideological obstination

Ben Taylor

During the past few weeks, I attended two politically-oriented meetings, one from each side of the ideological spectrum. The first was the Planned Parenthood discussion “Rights Under Fire” hosted by the College of Wooster Democrats and the second  event was the Wayne County Republican Party Executive Committee Meeting. Despite the vast differences which likely separated the majority of the members at each of these two meetings, there was an alarming similarity in the nature of the discourse which occurred at both, a similarity which I feel is representative of the wide divide which currently exists in the American political system.

The first alarming incident occurred during the speech at the Planned Parenthood meeting. Before starting her discussion, Stephanie Knight, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Ohio, asked if there was anyone in attendance from what she referred to as “opposition groups.” As I am opposed to the practice of abortion, and Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the U.S., I raised my hand. However, it went unnoticed, even as she asked the question again. Satisfied that no one in the room would take issue with anything she said, she made the following comment: “Good. Now we can have a safe and open discussion”.

Before I address this comment, let me turn quickly to the Wayne County Republican Party Executive Committee Meeting. I did not attend this meeting by myself; Casey Claypool (who is currently assisting in the re-establishment of the College of Wooster Republicans) and Maddi O’Neill (Voice staff writer and College of Wooster College Democrats member) attended as well. The assumption made by those in charge of the meeting was that the three of us were all Republicans. When it was brought to their attention that Maddi was not of the same political orientation, comments were made like “Well, I hope you’re not a lost cause. My sisters are all lost causes,” and “We’ve been infiltrated by the enemy.”

There is a reason I relate these two incidents. I believe that they demonstrate the inability of both sides of the political spectrum to be fully open-minded toward individuals of different ideologies or beliefs. All of us know the lack of such rationality in political discourse is a problem, but it’s not typically an issue which we are willing to associate with our own side of the political divide. “Those other people” may have an issue with being able to give every idea a fair shake, but surely we don’t.

Here’s the problem. If that’s the case, then why is it only possible to have a “safe and open discussion” when everyone agrees with the cause you’re promoting? Shouldn’t it be possible for Republicans to discuss issues of reproductive health reasonably along with Democrats? Why are people who don’t share your political views labeled “a lost cause?” Isn’t there (and I’m sure most of you won’t need much convincing on this one) a great deal about the Democratic Party and its agenda which is able to be appreciated even if one does not affiliate with the party or disagree with its goals?

I contend yes to both questions (and the many like them that exist). If America wants to improve on the way it currently does politics, individuals on both sides would be wise to focus less on the ways they disagree and more on how “safe and open conversations” can be had with individuals from all beliefs and backgrounds. Only then can America’s politics become less partisan and far more reasonable, a goal upon which I’m sure we can all agree.

 

Justin Bieber’s self-promotion finally goes too far

Laura Merrell

Oh, Justin Bieber, you’ve done it again! Thanks to his childish antics and the criticism they have inspired, Bieber seems to be making headlines every week.  One of my favorite recent mis-biebhaviors occured when he came under fire for wearing overalls to meet with the Canadian Prime Minister.

This week, he’s in every magazine and newspaper because the Anne Frank House published what he wrote in their guestbook during his visit: “Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”

For those of you not in the know, “Belieber” refers to the hordes of young teenage girls that would defend his questionable music and even more questionable integrity to the death. Because of his reference to his fan legion, many have criticized his statement as a crude attempt at self-promotion, This criticism is right because there was no reason for him to mention his brand his product, or himself. The House of Anne Frank has made public other notes left by celebrities in their guestbook before such as Whoopi Goldberg’s, but none of them made a shameless plug for themselves or their latest project.

Many of Bieber’s fans showed their support for him through this difficult time on Twitter or Facebook. However, what is most concerning about this story is that most of his fans admit that they have no idea who Anne Frank was. This revelation about America’s youth shocked me.

I read “The Diary of Anne Frank” around the age of twelve and remember being struck by her courage, her spirit, and how easily I could relate to her fears and insecurities. The questionable message Bieber left behind should really be eliciting a different response from critics: these kids need to learn and read more in general, especially about the Holocaust.

The Holocaust seems like a distant memory now and fades more for each generation, but it is important to be exposed to that  historical event through movies, plays, poetry, or maybe an honest diary left from a girl who did not make it through the end of the war. Comedian Rob Delaney is hopeful, as am I, that Bieber’s accidental endorsement of Anne Frank will work as an incentive from many young girls and boys to read her diary.

Instead of being an advocate for reading, history, learning, or remembering the Holocaust, Bieber choose to move the focus over to himself. I am unclear about whether Bieber knew that his comments would be made public, since he and everyone else in his camp has refused to comment about the incident. However, the more glaring issue is that his young, impressionable, adoring fans have displayed their ignorance of Anne Frank, and this needs to be remedied. I do not suggest that American public schools start requiring elementary and middle schools to show the documentary, “Shoah” or have their students read “Night” by Elie Wiesel, but some exposure to the Holocaust at a young age through the eyes of a truly amazing young Jewish girl would be appropriate. Especially since reading and writing skills are dwindling as social networking sites take over, it is important to continue to push for each new generation to have an understanding of the past and a thirst for knowledge.

Justin Bieber missed a perfect opportunity to make learning about the Holocaust “cool” to his young fans, instead choosing to promote himself. I can only wish that other celebrities in similar situations will choose to elevate learning or reading over a little publicity for themselves. Unfortunately, my hope will probably never be realized, especially considering past celebrities’ poor choices as role models for children. One example that comes to mind is Michael Jordan’s sensational decision to pursue a career in minor league baseball instead of returning to college to finish his degree.

In an ideal world, Bieber would post a picture on his Instagram any day now of him holding a copy of Anne Frank’s Diary and wearing a pair of hipster reading glasses, encouraging his fans to pick up a copy of this “great girl [‘s]” work. Instead, he’ll probably post a picture of himself shirtless with a caption about how he’s misunderstood, and I will have to shake my head, shrug my shoulders and lament his misspent youth.

 

An Examination of School Vouchers

Bryce Benefield

Let me paint a picture for you to clear up some misunderstandings about human equality of opportunity: education. Recently, I have read and heard invalid arguments against voucher based educational finance.

First, let me describe how we currently finance education. We mandate that the county or state governments fund facilities, hire educators under strictly regulated contractual agreements and implement a federally-filtered curriculum under the auspices of getting a federal No Child Left Behind waiver and some federal money.

A previous editorial published by Maddi O’Neill in ythe Voice asserted that a voucher system would be detrimental to educational financing because low-income children will be left behind in schools devoid of those funds. This is a misconception about the system, of which the author presumed that some children are to be denied a voucher while others recieve them. The voucher systems are implemented as supplements to our current district based county-state and federal regulatory financing structure. The author claimed that this system, without proper consolidation, indiscriminately waves some children out of their public schools while taking those funds from the school, and would be harmful to those kids stuck without consent to leave.

This is what the previous Voice article discussed as the false premise of this being a legitimate voucher program. It’s not because it’s administered discriminately.  A true voucher program takes into account several all important circumstances.

First, the states should be allowed to administer education freely without direct federal intervention.

Second, the states must be allowed to supplement the actual education of children with the equivalent financing thereof.

Third, if a state so chooses, it can opt to discontinue the financing of district based institutions directly.

Fourth, private institutions are allowed to educate freely and regulate themselves freely (in adherence with common law).

Fifth, children of all income levels receive the same amount unless they opt out of the money, in which case that money is redistributed back to every other child’s voucher.

Lastly, each child’s legal guardian  already has the right to place their child into another institution as they see fit for that child’s needs that accepts vouchers (which are redeemable for cash so each child is equitably valuable to an institution), which empowers that institution to make it economically reasonable to further educate that child.

Now, let me outline a hypothetical situation that the voucher system allows for. Imagine a group of young and intelligent educators moving to the Bronx after New York passed the voucher system. You find that some parents have kept their children in a public school, and some parents are looking for better options, now having the means to pay for them. However, this still means that the public schools will have more money per student then ever before.

While at the same time, it provides more authority directly into the school itself as to who comes and goes on staff, how much to pay staff, what medium of education to invest in and what resources to best engage children. Under the current system, you and your friends must get in line to teach almost the exact same curriculum. Under the voucher system, any Wooster graduate or otherwise qualified individual who can do a better job teaching will be rewarded with the financial compensation designated by the state for those specific children you’re educating. It ends the monopoly that these terrible district schools have on educating children from lower income families.

 

Baseball dominates Hiram College

Julie Kendall

Sports Editor

Wooster’s baseball team swept Hiram College in four games at Art Murray Field last weekend, boosting their season record to 19-7 and strengthening their grip on the first place standing in the NCAC East Division with a 7-1 conference record.

The Fighting Scots were an offensive powerhouse on Saturday, overwhelming the Terriers in game one with 21 hits and 19 RBIs en route to a 20-1 victory. After giving up a run in the top of the first inning, Wooster’s batters ignited and put three runs on the board to take an early lead. They continued to increase that margin with five runs in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings, capped off by a two-run sixth inning. Pitcher Keenan White ’13 earned his sixth win of the season by throwing a complete game, striking out 11 and allowing only seven hits.

Game two played out in a similar fashion, this time with Matt Felvey ’14 earning the win and improving his record to 2-2. Once again, the Terriers scored the first run in the top of the first, but the Scots responded quickly with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Wooster added four more runs over the next two innings, but really came alive in the sixth, when they strung together four consecutive extra-base hits to put the game out of Hiram’s reach. Ryan Miner ’13 started things off with a double, followed by a triple from Jerrod Mancine ’14, a double from John McLain ’15 and a two-run homer by Eddie Reese ’14. A bases-loaded RBI single from Frank Vance ’15 in the seventh secured the victory with a final score of 12-2.

The Scots’ momentum continued into Sunday where they won the first game with a 9-1 score. After climbing to a 2-1 lead over the first two-and-a-half innings, Wooster loaded the bases in the third inning with two walks and a single from Johnathan Ray ’13. On the next at bat, Cal Thomay ’14 sent the first pitch sailing just inside the left-field foul line for a grand slam, giving the Scots a five-run advantage. They would add three more unearned runs in the fifth inning. Steve Hagen ’14 earned the win, throwing a complete game to improve to 4-1. He allowed only five hits and tallied six strikeouts.

The series ended with another routing, this time with the Scots winning 13-2. Wooster got off to a quick start, tallying five runs in the second inning. With the bases loaded, Mancine drew a walk for the first score. Bryan Miller ’14 sent the next pitch to left-center for two RBIs, followed by another RBI single from Reese. The Scots recorded another unearned run on a muffed throw to gain a 5-1 lead.

The hits continued with Miller contributing two more RBIs in the fourth and fifth innings and Mancine adding another two-RBI single in the fifth. The sixth inning featured two more RBIs each from Vance and Mike Ries ’14 to put the score out of reach. Kyle Koski ’14 struck out eight batters over seven full innings on the mound and allowed just six hits. He improves his record to 4-2 on the season.

The Scots continue conference play this weekend with a four-game series against Oberlin College at home. Games begin at noon and 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at Art Murray Field.

 

 

The most interesting prospects in the NFL Draft

Travis Marmon

Sports Editor

The 2013 NFL Draft starts this coming Thursday night. Football fans wallowing through the offseason can take some joy in watching teams make improvements, seeing young men have their wildest dreams come true on national television and look in awe at ESPN’s resident avian Mel Kiper, Jr. and his frighteningly encyclopedic knowledge of almost every prospect in the country.

This draft is going to be an odd one for sure. Whereas last year, top picks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson and Matt Kalil were all obvious choices by their respective teams and had great success during the season, there are very few sure-fire prospects this year. The safest picks in the draft appear to be offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Fisher, but they don’t have easily predictable destinations and do not play an exciting position. The quarterback class is incredibly underwhelming compared to last year, and many players who were once highly touted took dramatic falls in stock after the NFL Combine. Below are some of the more intriguing players and their possible teams.

Geno Smith

The West Virginia quarterback looks like a reach in the first round compared to last year’s class, but he clearly has been the best QB prospect in an otherwise disappointing crop. Smith has very good pocket presence and can make plays with his feet if necessary. He is not a scrambler, but rather a shifty quarterback in the mold of Aaron Rodgers. His numbers dropped off over the course of the season, but he has high potential. Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Buffalo and the New York Jets could all be looking for a quarterback in the top 10.

Dion Jordan

It looked like there would be a glut of pass-rushers at the top of the draft a few months ago, but disappointing combines and health concerns dropped players like Barkevious Mingo, Jarvis Jones and Bjoern Werner out of most analysts’ top 10 lists. Oregon’s athletically freakish Jordan is raw and does not have the numbers of his competitors, but his speed and 6’6”, 248-pound frame could create match-up nightmares in the NFL. Originally recruited as a tight end, teams are hoping to find a Jason Pierre-Paul type player in Jordan, using pure skill to make up for inexperience. See also: BYU’s Ziggy Ansah, another prospect whose athleticism bolted him into the top 10. Detroit, Cleveland and Jacksonville are possible destinations for both players.

Star Lotulelei

Utah’s dominant defensive tackle was once projected as a top five pick, but a heart condition (which turned out to be a false alarm) scared teams off. Florida’s Sharrif Floyd appears to be the consensus choice for the Oakland Raiders, but Lotulelei could find himself going to Carolina or New Orleans in the middle of the first round. Hopefully he will beat the health concerns and go on to have a great career.

Manti Te’o

All eyes will be on the former Notre Dame star in the wake of his girlfriend hoax fiasco, but the real question is if he can live up to the name he made for himself on the field. It’s hard to evaluate inside linebackers — tackle statistics are unreliable and a great all-around defense can mask deficiencies. But as naïve as Te’o may be in his personal life, he was a great leader at Notre Dame, and that should translate into the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings is his most likely destination.