More cars vandalized on campus

Maddi O’Neill

Editor-in-Chief

Three vehicles, including one belonging to a Security and Protective Services (SPS) officer, were vandalized Sunday afternoon while parked in lots behind Longbrake Wellness Center. All three vehicles suffered smashed windows, and two of the three were also robbed.

The break-ins are believed to have occurred between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The first car to be hit, a Dodge Neon, was noticed at approximately 1 p.m. when a passerby reported that the car’s front driver side window was broken. The owner of the Dodge is reportedly an SPS officer, but the Voice was unable to confirm the name of the individual.

Roughly an hour later, at 2:12 p.m., a car alarm went off in Lot 7, alerting SPS to the other two break-ins. A student’s Toyota (the Voice could not confirm the vehicle’s model or the name of its owner) had been robbed of its stereo system via the rear passenger side window, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee, the source of the alarm, suffered a broken rear window on the driver side, though nothing was reported stolen.

The Jeep is owned by Erin Fulcher ’18, who was alerted to the break-in by SPS while eating lunch with her family in Canton.

“I was surprised because of where my car was,” Fulcher said. “It’s basically in the Security parking lot.”

Director of SPS Steve Glick speculated that the Dodge was the first to be vandalized, followed by the Toyota. He also thought that it was the Jeep’s alarm that finally scared off the perpetrator(s).

“My gut tells me it’s probably the same person or persons” responsible for the damage to all three vehicles, Glick said.

This incident comes only three weeks after a similar one in which seven cars were damaged with rocks in the Gault Schoolhouse parking lot. In that case, one of the vehicles appeared to be missing several small items, including gloves. To date, vandalism of this nature has been attempted on at least 10 vehicles parked in campus lots.

Glick said that it is “a fair assumption” to connect Sunday’s events with the Gault Schoolhouse vandalism, adding that the City of Wooster has also seen a rash of vehicle break-ins recently.

At this time, SPS has no suspects for any of these incidents, in part because there are no security cameras in either of the parking lots that were affected.

“It would be valuable for us to go look at cameras,” said Glick. “I might be able to identify somebody, as opposed to right now — I don’t have a clue whether it’s a college student, whether it’s a non-college individual, or some combination thereof.”

Glick indicated that putting up additional cameras (or, in the case of Gault Schoolhouse, turning on the existing cameras) would be “brought up in the conversation eventually,” but did not seem optimistic that action would be taken quickly.

“Nobody has approached me about adding the cameras or re-hooking up the cameras that we have,” he said.

The College has also suffered a spate of thefts from residence halls and academic buildings in the past few weeks; stolen items have included bicycles, laptops and other valuables. Glick urged students to be vigilant and act as the eyes and ears of SPS.

“Report suspicious persons and all incidents to Security ASAP,” he said. “We depend on information from the community, and that’s invaluable.”

Basic precautions, such as locking vehicles, checking on vehicles regularly, and storing valuables out of plain sight in the vehicle are recommended to prevent break-ins.

College raises funds for new life sciences facility

Stephen Lumetta

Senior News Writer

The College of Wooster is drawing up plans for a new life sciences building. This new facility will be in the site where John Gaston Mateer Hall is currently located.

At the most recent Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees selected three architecture firms as finalists from a group of six semi-finalists. The selection process for an architect will conclude shortly, and work with the chosen firm will begin shortly after that — possibly as soon as this December.

There are many reasons the College plans on building a new life sciences facility. One is to connect programs within the broad field of life sciences: not only biology and chemistry, but also biochemistry and molecular biology (BCMB), neuroscience and environmental studies.

“There’s no home for that program,” said Mark Snider, chair of the chemistry department, referring to the BCMB program.

In a document that envisions the future of life sciences at Wooster, an emphasis is placed on multidisciplinary integration of the various fields of study. Faculty have been working on the document, which Snider emphasized is a draft, for the last three years.

“We want the very best building we can get to help with the sciences at Wooster,” said Snider.

President Grant Cornwell said, “Mateer is outdated, inflexible and too small for our current programs or their future.”

Snider echoed these justifications, saying, “We want a modern facility because our current one is unsafe, and in modernizing that facility we hope to make it a much more inviting building for all students to study in. Currently, it’s an eyesore. It’s avoided. We’re hoping to improve safety. We’re hoping to improve the functionality of the building, and third, we’re hoping to create a facility that really works for our mentored undergraduate research program. … We’d like to have dedicated research space for seniors for their I.S. projects so that seniors can have an undisturbed space to do their research.”

The new life sciences building will be located in Mateer’s current location, but what hasn’t been decided yet is whether the College should build an entirely new building or extensively renovate Mateer. Regardless, the environmental impact of the facility is being considered, and Cornwell stated that he has “every confidence that the new facility will be designed with the highest sustainability principles and practices in mind.”

The project’s timeline depends on the success of fundraising efforts. The projected cost of the facility is $40 million.

“My colleagues in [the] Development [Office] and I are devoting a great deal of our effort towards raising funds for the project. It is going well. It is too early to predict how long it will take us to achieve our goal, but I am optimistic,” said Cornwell.

Their efforts have gone well thus far. Trustee Ruth Whitmore Williams and A. Morris Williams, Jr. gave $10 million to help fund the construction of the new life sciences building, and trustee Doon Allen Foster and John Foster recently announced a donation of $2 million for the building. Total funds toward the project have reached $14.3 million, according to the College’s website. All of it will go towards building an updated life sciences building.

Students turn class project into living wage movement for hourly workers

Brandon Burkey

Contributing Writer

Will Turner ’15, along with seven other students on campus, is attempting to shed some light on the issue of living wages at The College of Wooster. The combined efforts of Turner and other students and faculty have brought this issue into the fray of the ongoing budget discussions.

Turner defines a living wage as “a wage that allows individuals to cover basic living expenses independent of government and charitable support while maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being a functioning part of society.” According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator, the wage for Wayne County, Ohio, is approximately $15 per hour.

The group was originally formed through a project for Political Rhetoric taught by Communications Professor Denise Bostdorff. The project culminated in a public presentation led by the students on the first floor of Lowry Center. The students are extending their efforts past the presentation on their own and not for course credit.

“Many students in the course were especially passionate about working on the living wage issue for two reasons,” said Bostdorff. “First, they have been in minimum wage jobs themselves and know what that’s like. In addition, students care deeply about the staff members with whom they interact on a daily basis.”

Turner’s passion for the living wage issue began with his enrollment in Professor of Religious Studies Charles Kammer’s Just Work course. “Professor Kammer was a big informational resource,” said Turner.

Kammer has been one of the College’s biggest proponents for the living wage for a number of years. “The living wage is secondarily an economic issue,” said Kammer. “Primarily, it’s a moral issue. Coming back to the college model, by not [paying employees a living wage], we are violating our mission statement.”

A common rebuttal to the living wage campaign within the context of the College is that many hourly employees are only providing a supplemental income.

Kammer said, “Every job should provide a living wage. In regards to supplemental income, a variety of things can happen -— divorce, death. What happens then?”

Another common counterpoint to this campaign concerns the benefits the College offers to its employees, such as insurance coverage and retirement. Many opponents of the living wage argue that the financial benefits of these programs make up for wages that might otherwise be considered low.

Phil Olsen, a grounds department employee who supports a family of four, agrees that the benefits are a definite perk. “I took an hourly cut to come here. At my previous job I was paying a lot out of pocket for extra things,” said Olsen. “Also, the College offers a lot of stability. It’s definitely a lot more family friendly than the alternatives.”

The current status for pay raises at the College is at two percent a year. Kammer was quick to point out that this means a raise of up to $8,000 dollars a year for the highest paid employees and $360 dollars a year, or $7 dollars a week, for the lowest paid employees.

“Overall, the employees don’t feel like they get paid enough,” said an hourly food service worker who wishes to remain unnamed. “In five years time, an employee hasn’t been given enough raises to catch up.”

She continued on to say: “Many of us here are single moms. Many of us have to turn to welfare and other forms of government assistance. I don’t even make enough to pay for childcare, let alone the other things.”

The Financial Advisory Committee is currently attempting to define the living wage within a budgetary context, although it is a complicated process. “One of the complications of the living wage question is that there are many different ways to define and calculate a living wage,” explained Professor Susan Lehman, chair of the Finance Committee. “Values vary by more than $12 per hour. That is — some reasonable values are under $10 per hour for the Wooster area; making different assumptions about family structure can give you values over $20 per hour.”

The living wage campaign is currently being considered by the faculty at large and the administration on just how it would impact the College community. A TEDx talk presented on Saturday, Nov. 8 by Turner and Maddy Baker ’16 will also address the living wage.

However, Lehman said the fate of the campaign would be heavily dependent on campus climate and involvement in the coming months. “I think the future of the living wage on campus depends on whether it is a priority for the campus community as we all go through a process of evaluating overall budget priorities this year,” said Lehman.

TEDx talks return to Wooster with student speakers

Brandon Bell

Contributing Writer

This year’s TEDx event at Wooster will take place in Scheide Music Center on Saturday, Nov. 8, focusing on the theme of pushing boundaries and limits.

TEDx, a local version of TED talks, came to Wooster’s campus three years ago through the efforts of Christina Haupt ’13. The first event was limited to 100 participants due to TED’s licensing requirements.

This year’s coordinators, Bailey Connor ’15 and Noah Megregian ’16, are hoping to expand TEDx by reaching out to more students.

“We are learning how to raise their awareness,” Connor said. “We do want as many students as possible to come.”

Both Connor and Megregian stated that they felt that the TEDx format gave them an opportunity to engage with ideas that other lecture formats on campus may be unable to. The structure, 18-minute talks with breaks in-between, is intended to keep the audience engaged with the discussion.

“We want to make it an event that students recognize and want to go to,” Megregian said. “[TED’s] purpose is to make you think. We try to facilitate that contact between ideas and people. [Students] actually get to interact with them.”

“Most students are familiar with the brand,” Connor said. “People might view [other] events as targeted to specific people or interests. TED is not limited.”

The event features a diverse array of speakers, including alumni and members of the community. It also includes two students, William Turner ’15 and Maddy Baker ’16, who will speak on the topic of the relationship between the living and minimum wage.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Turner said about his upcoming speech. “I was extremely flattered when they asked us [to speak].”

The talk started as a project in Dr. Bostdorff’s Political Rhetoric course. It has since evolved into an ongoing campus dialogue, bringing a national issue to the local level.

“We are entering the workforce eventually, so this really matters,” Baker said.

When asked how TEDx would spread their message, Turner felt that it would be more successful than other types of talks.

“It expands it to more media,” he said, referring to the streaming broadcast of the event. “TED talks are cool, hip. People are really into it.”

When asked what it means to the group to have student presenters, both coordinators felt it was a great outlet for student voices.

“We view this event as a community-oriented event,” Connor said. “If they have a good idea to share, especially in regards to the theme, why not let them take the stage?”

In the future, they emphasized that they wanted TEDx to be a regular event at the College. After Megregian took over following Haupt’s graduation, they feared what would happen to TEDx after they graduated if students lost interest. His answer to this issue is to seek volunteers, which he and Connor are currently doing. In his mind, connections to the student body are vital.

“We may not have been introduced to [a] speaker, but someone in the student body [may have been],” he said and added, “The best way to improve anything is through feedback.”

The event begins with a reception at 9:30 a.m. and continues until 12:30 p.m. in the Gault Recital Hall of Scheide Music Center. The talks will also be streamed in Lowry Lounge.

Cornwell downplays student debt

Alex Kaufman

 

The fall edition of Wooster, the school’s alumni magazine, featured an article by President Grant Cornwell entitled “The Truth About Student Debt.” Cornwell argues that the national student debt crisis really isn’t a problem and cites a study claiming that only a quarter of students graduate with over $20,000 in student loan debt and that the cost of receiving a college education created no additional burden upon families. The tremendous amount of student debt currently faced by the youth of America is an important issue that Cornwell addressed in a reckless manner. The study cited is flawed; large data ranges push down averages, creating bias, and the study ignores the fact that the amount of student loan debt has almost quadrupled in just ten years (rising from around $250 billion in 2003 to almost $1 trillion in 2013). Furthermore, Cornwell seems to overlook the fact that Federal Student Aid is not really aid; it’s debt as well (government subsidized loans are still loans).

I understand the purpose behind this article; Cornwell is trying to convince alumni of the school that sky high tuition and massive student debt really aren’t problems at Wooster and that Wooster graduates aren’t as likely to be affected by this problem, making them more ready to give to the school. However, working in the Alumni office and speaking with several alumni per week has allowed me to understand that many of them are very upset with Wooster’s high tuition. Cornwell’s writing an article like that, denying such a large and widespread problem, will not convince them otherwise. Rejecting one of the largest problems America’s youth face today works against Cornwell’s mission. Standing in opposition to this problem will 1) anger current students more than we already have been (decreasing the chance that we will give money after graduation) and 2) anger alumni who have already stopped giving because of this problem, further alienating them from giving.

This article indicates that President Cornwell is out of touch with what students need at the school (and thus what the school needs). It doesn’t help his case that Cornwell is a rich (or should I say overpaid?), cisgendered and heterosexual white man who isn’t personally facing this massive problem that so many students and their families are currently dealing with. Coming from a place of such high privilege does not allow Cornwell to truly understand the issues that so many students at the College face, and he should not be speaking on an issue that is so close-to-home for many of its students, especially since he is claiming that this really isn’t a problem. The fact that student loan debt is commonplace should be seen as an enormous problem, especially considering the fact that so many students are leaving college with no savings and having tens of thousands of dollars of debt and face high unemployment rates. Although Wooster graduates compare favorably to national averages, this does not change the fact that President Cornwell is blatantly denying such a large and important issue affecting the majority of students at The College of Wooster.

Documenting your life: the importance of journaling

Melissa Griffith

As a kid, I never really understood why people kept diaries. I tried to understand, and I made and attempt to keep one, but I never saw the significance of recounting my day in a book. Furthermore, I could never write entries with any sort of consistency– — not once a day, or even once a week. Writing down my experiences didn’t seem like it held any sort of importance. I felt as though I wouldn’t have a hard time remembering what my life was like, or that if I forgot anything, it would be worth forgetting.

However, early this year, I changed my mind. I found myself nearly halfway through my college experience, yet I felt like no time had passed. I barely had any memories from my first year at Wooster, and even my recollections from last fall were few. Many of you might not feel this way — however, as a result of numerous mental illnesses, I suffer from very poor memory, both short and long term. I felt a sort of panic, thinking that two years had passed, and I had very little memory to show for it.

Because of this, I turned to writing journal entries whenever I could. I’ve been writing for months now about mundane occurrences, fun days, mood changes and anything else that seems important in the moment.

Writing these journal entries has been rewarding. It’s often relaxing to review your day before bed. When it’s not, it’s nice to read old entries about good days. I can look back on specific days and see how and what I wrote about these days. I have recorded memories, in hard copy, for me to be able to look back on, even if the memories in my mind are faint. I have something tangible to look back on from these last six months — and it feels great. I wrote journal entries about my summer job, about my friends, about my vacation.

It has also been fun to find new notebooks and pens that I like using best. I’ve actually started taking more effective notes in my classes, using pens and notebooks that are better suited for me than what I had been using previously. These types of things may not seem important to everyone — but writing each of my classes in a specific color on different days helps me remember where to flip in my notebook when looking for notes to review. Using nice pens has also helped me enjoy the act of taking notes itself.

Not everyone has issues with memory. Not everyone cares what they write with; however, I think that journaling can benefit many people. The process is like taking snapshots of your life. You can write down your feelings and experiences and then later, upon rereading them, be brought back to the moments you wrote about. Writing entries only takes five minutes out of your day. Through journaling, I have found a new relaxing and fulfilling pastime that fits into my schedule.