NBA Cares embodies NBA principles

The NBA, like just about every other professional sports league, has a league-wide organization which promotes the charitable contributions of NBA’s coaches and players’ time and money to what it deems worthwhile causes. This organization is called NBA Cares.

I think it’s less of a slogan and more of an embodiment of the principles of the NBA.

This is the league that opened its doors to players from all over the world. There is not a continent on the planet that has not had multiple NBA players who have contributed to the success and growth of the sport.

This is a league that welcomed Jason Collins, the first openly gay male professional athlete in any of the four major sports, and Bill Kennedy as an openly gay referee. The league has welcomed three female referees, and the San Antonio Spurs recently hired the first female assistant coach, Becky Hammon.

This is the league which forced Donald Sterling to give up his NBA franchise for making racist comments. The league pulled its All-Star game from Charlotte after the passage of North Carolina’s HB2, a direct infringement on the rights of transgender people.

So you can imagine the league-wide reaction after the United States elected Donald Trump to the presidency. Here are just a handful of the comments that have been made by NBA players and coaches:

Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy was the most vocal: “I don’t know how you go about it, if you’re a person of color today or a Latino. Because white society just said to you, again — not like we haven’t forever — but again, and emphatically, that I don’t think you deserve equality. We don’t think you deserve respect. And the same with women.”

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr added, “Just the whole process has left us [as a team] feeling disgusted and disappointed. I thought we were better than this.”

LeBron James chimed in via Instagram: “Minorities and Women in all please know that this isn’t the end, it’s just a very challenging obstacle that we will overcome.”

Golden State Warriors forward David West added, “[Trump’s] attitudes about black people, about Muslim people, about women, about just about every sort of political group you can name, folks agree with his positions […] so this whole fairy tale about some post-racial, utopia that Obama created it’s all, it’s all bull.”

And finally, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said, “I’m a rich white guy and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African-American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person, how disenfranchised they might feel.”

The NBA understands, at a deeper level than all other American sports leagues, that inclusiveness makes the league stronger, not weaker. The standard of human decency is not a moving target and respect for all players, coaches, referees and people is the bare minimum that the league expects. NBA Cares is more than just a PR slogan; it’s what makes it the best league in the world.

I’ll conclude with a tweet from Sports Illustrated writer Lee Jenkins, “The Cavs are going to the White House tomorrow. One of them speculated that they may be the last NBA team to do that for a while.”

The NBA cares, and that’s why I care about it.

WAC Small Concerts and Woo 91 present Fell Runner

Coral Ciupak
Viewpoints Editor

This Friday, Nov. 18, the Wooster Activities Committee (WAC), in conjunction with Woo 91, will continue to pursue their objective of providing entertaining and socially engaging events to unify the College’s student body. Given the recent eruption of political tension and strife throughout the country, there may never be a more opportune time for Wooster students to serve up some self-love than at WAC’s Small Concerts series.

“I think that students can shake up their regular routines with this event. It’s not every weekend that there is a concert on campus, and this one — with student openers and free food — would be a great way to change things up for a bit,” said Harry Todd ’18, WAC’s Small Concerts director and Woo 91’s music director.

Though small concerts are typically undertaken by WAC, this week’s small concert is co-sponsored by Woo 91 in celebration of the station’s newly launched automated system. The new system gives Woo 91 students control over what is played during unprogrammed hours and is catered more toward Wooster students’ wide variety of music tastes.

To complement a more intimate campus setting, director Todd narrowed the focus of his scouting efforts for small concerts. Bands featured at WAC’s small concerts are typically those characterized as up-and-comers on media platforms like BandCamp and Soundcloud.

Tonight’s small concert will feature Fell Runner, a self-described “experimental rock” band based in Los Angeles, Calif. The band’s four members take inspiration from West African rhythms and melodies, and they collaboratively write their own music. Prominent Chicago guitarist Jeff Parker, of the band Tortoise, has described the group’s style as “jagged, but also soulful and melodic.”

Those interested can preview their music at fellrunner.bandcamp.com. The group’s 2015 album, Fell Runner, is also available for preview and purchase on Spotify and iTunes.

Though Fell Runner’s performance will be a College debut, attendees can also expect to find familiar faces onstage. Two student performances will open the show. Student openers include Will Courtney ’19, Pedro Oliboni ’20, Finn Schneider ’19, Jeremy Smucker ’19, Joe Vickers ’18 and others.

“I think that this event will be very authentically college, if that makes any sense,” said Todd. “It’s really collaborative this time around, with students opening, food coming in and Woo 91 cosponsoring the concert. Having students come to the event and enjoy music made by both peers and professionals will create a really great vibe on campus this Friday.”

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. this Friday evening in the Lowry Pit. Refreshments will also be available to attendees from Spoon Market & Deli. If you’ve missed or can’t make this concert, don’t despair — WAC will continue to host small concerts every month or so, providing much needed relief and relaxation to Wooster’s student body.

To Book or Not to Book

We need to have a talk.

If you have come as far as the second sentence of this essay, chances are you know how to read. I applaud this, but at the same time I must ask you: would you rather read this, or would you rather watch someone say it on YouTube?

Exactly.

Ladies and gentlemen, I come to you today to announce the death of reading. For many this might be a sad proclamation. You might want to remember all the time you spent in The Magic Treehouse, or with Judy Bloom, Nancy Drew or even Christian Grey. But someone had to put a fork in this dying turkey, and given it is almost Thanksgiving I thought it was time we came together and finally quit reading.

Now, some of you might be asking, “Why do we need to quit reading?”

I was once just as naive, but we must grow up to realize all things have a start and an end. Print had its time, and that was 600 years ago when monks used printing presses. Ever since then it’s been an embarrassing struggle for books trying to reclaim their heyday of the 15th century.

Nowadays we have cameras, smartphones and even Google glasses. Books are the way of the past. We live in a world where the movie is always better than the book. Do you want to know why? Because it’s a movie, and books are naturally inferior.

People often say the book is better than the movie adaptation. I call these people liars. Chances are these people haven’t even read the book. I know I haven’t. The movie is almost always better than the book, and I have the reasons to prove it.

Reason one: Ryan Gosling. Think of a single movie that Gosling was in that would have been made better by being in paper form. Exactly — it’s impossible. Those glossy eyes, erudite charms, wondrous personality and dimples beyond cuteness. None of these translate into a book, unless it has a photo section in the middle. Even then it doesn’t encapsulate the beauty of living presence that film captures.

Reason two: Attention spans. Research has shown our attention spans have shrunken over the past 16 years, possibly due to our constant exposure to smartphones. The discipline it takes to sit through an entire novel has become a rarity. Today’s mass audiences need visually stimulating movies, television programs and of course, memes.

Finally, for those still opposing my superior opinion, I ask this: How many books are there on Netflix? Exactly. It’s called Netflix and chill, not Dr. Seuss and chill.

I believe this all proves my case. It is now just a matter of time until we all expel these ancient relics from our lives. Given the results of last Tuesday, there is evidence a large amount of Americans already have.

A Tribe Called Quest returns with new music, same swagger

Harry Todd
Contributing Writer

Countless monumental musicians have passed away this year. While it’s hard to find a bit of light in all of these deaths, some musicians knowingly produced one last piece of work for us to enjoy. What a treat those records have been: David Bowie’s Blackstar is a stunning album, and so is the latest A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. This album marks the seminal hip hop group’s first release in 18 years, released after founding member Phife Dawg’s death earlier this March.

A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ) are of the early hip hop practice that has several MCs trading bars, rhymes and beats freely amongst themselves. When news broke of We Got It From Here, fans worried about Phife Dawg’s absence on the album, but Q-Tip, the group’s de facto leader, urged fans not to worry. I’m glad I listened to him. Not only is Phife Dawg all over this album – much of We Got It From Here was recorded before his untimely death – his presence and mortality is felt in every bar that he isn’t rapping.

“Black Spasmodic”, a cut halfway through the album, is a great example. In his verse, Q- Tip channels Phife, speaking from his posthumous point of view, and using the song to come to terms with Phife’s death. Tip’s bars ring true; it feels like a genuine Phife Dawg verse in a world now void of new ones, a simultaneous confrontation and celebration of mortality. It’s a shining moment in an album full of standout bars and beats.

We Got It From Here feels decidedly retro; this is not an album attempting to reinvent ATCQ’s sound to meet modern standards. Rather, this album is an extension of their sound, a seamless fit in their legendary discography. The beats and samples on the album never miss a step; each song is jazzy, layered and funky as hell – check out “Solid Wall of Sound” in particular. Features, too, are well chosen, ranging from old school rappers like Busta Rhymes to the new generation of instinctual soul musicians, like Kendrick Lamar and Anderson Paak.

We Got It From Here finds more lyrical and sonic content for listeners to enjoy over its hour-long runtime. ATCQ has never been a group to back away from political content, but this album finds them reaching new levels of poignancy and timeliness. “We the People….”, the album’s second track, makes a hook out of Q-Tip listing marginalized communities who fear deportation and hate crimes, while “Conrad Tokyo” finds Phife Dawg criticizing the comedy that media outlets put out in this latest election cycle and Trump’s rise to power.

We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service is a great album and well worth your time. It’s also a securing of a legacy for the group, a celebration of life, and a refreshing reminder of where modern hip-hop came from. Phife Dawg may be gone, but his music has never felt so essential. This album shines, it radiates and it bumps with life.

European students seek representation on campus through new club

Sally Kershner
Features Editor

Wooster’s first Italian international student, Marco Roccato ’20, is trying to form a new student group on campus. Roccato is attempting to create the European Student’s Association (ESA), a group dedicated to represent all international students that come from Europe, including the College’s global nomads.

After walking through the annual Scot Spirit Day for the first time as a first-year, Roccato became inspired to start his own club, noticing that there was a lack of representation for European students on campus.

“I knew there were many Europeans in Wooster, and I thought it would be needed to have that presence on campus,” said Roccato. He also wants to debunk the idea that European culture can be dismissed from needing representation due to its familiar aspects in American culture. “Many people believe European culture is similar to American culture. They think it’s ‘oh yeah it’s whatever,’ but it’s very different and I want people to be conscious of how we live.”

Eventually opening up later to the entire student body, ESA’s temporary board is currently comprised wholly of European students.

Roccato is the president, Axel Nunes ’18 is vice president and Magia Karagianni ’19 is treasurer, all advised under the authority of Nicola Kille, the assistant director of International Student Affairs. Once ESA is approved to be an official club, they will hold new elections and add new positions, opening up to other non-European students.

“This is a way to spread positivity and awareness; we’re doing this because we like to come together,” said Roccato. “Europe is built on learning about each other and appreciating each other even with our differences, and we want to bring some of that to Wooster. Even if there are not as many Europeans, we still want to spread that message. That’s what Wooster is about, different people coming together.”

Not only does Roccato hope that ESA can share European values amongst the Wooster campus, but he plans to expand this network to other nations. Roccato expressed interest in working with the office of Off-Campus Studies here at the College. By working with OCS, students could generate more awareness and education about the European culture and atmosphere they will be entering into while studying abroad.

ESA also plans to work with admissions so that the admissions team can better promote themselves to prospective European students and to further bridge the gap. In turn, Roccato explains that this could lead to a larger network of alumni in countries all over Europe, building a community with a common identity.

“Outside the Europeans themselves, we want to work with other multiethnic groups [on campus]. Once we get approved, [we’re] going to be reaching out to other groups that do similar things. We think supporting each other is a successful presence, we don’t want to be isolated from other groups,” said Roccato.

Currently processing paperwork to seek approval on becoming an official club, Roccato and other members of ESA plan on continuing to spread awareness about this new possible representation on campus. For questions or comments feel free to email Roccato at MRoccato20@wooster.edu.

Campaign started to promote understanding of undocumented students

Tristan Lopus
Managing Editor

Last Monday evening, Nov. 7 — on the eve of the most anticipated presidential election in recent history — Eduardo Muñoz and three students who are undocumented immigrants filed into the Lowry lobby to claim their reserved table and prepared to distribute 50 t-shirts and 2,500 stickers. Each bore the same simple wordmark: “No human being is illegal. #undocumented.”

It was a surprise when a line of what they estimated to be over 100 people had amassed in anticipation of the t-shirt distribution. They distributed all 50 shirts in a matter of minutes, with plenty of demand left over, and they made a dent in their pile of 2,500 stickers.

The highly coveted shirts and stickers were the result of a meeting in which Muñoz and his three undocumented classmates — attending the College under President Obama’s executive order Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — met with President Sarah Bolton to present an agenda for fighting the social stigma and obstacles faced by undocumented students.

For them, the smash hit shirt distribution was hardly a result to celebrate, but rather the promising launch of an ambitious campaign to spread awareness and understanding of the experiences of undocumented students, cultivating a campus community that supports and celebrates undocumented and DACA students.

For many DACA students, pursuing postsecondary education is a challenge. Because undocumented students are not eligible for federal student aid through FAFSA, few are able to pay for a four-year college degree.

In fact, Daniela — an undocumented student involved in the campaign, referred to here by a pseudonym due to the legal and social dangers of broadcasting her family’s immigration status — recalled that, when she disclosed to her high school counselor that she was undocumented, the counselor’s reaction was something to the effect of “‘You better start looking into community colleges,’” as those would be the only remotely affordable options.

With her eyes set on higher academic standards, Daniela, along with two other undocumented students here in her class, ultimately became recipients of the Pritzker Access Scholarship, sponsored by the Noble Network of Charter Schools. The College is one of 18 partner schools in the scholarship program, whereby the Noble Network pays $12,000 a year for a student’s tuition provided that the partner schools pay the remaining tuition as financial aid.

Upon enrolling in the College and arriving on campus, Daniela and her undocumented peers, the first cohort of openly undocumented students to attend Wooster, had an acute sense of being guinea pigs. Daniela said that her enrollment and orientation into the College was riddled with paperwork and processes that were not designed to accommodate undocumented students.

One example occurred during orientation when she and her peers were initially given the itinerary for international students, which included programs geared toward orienting international students to American academic and social culture. Attending such programs seemed silly to Daniela and her undocumented classmates, who had grown up immersed in American culture as any citizen and had been educated in American schools.

“We’re not international, but we’re also not citizens,” Daniela said. “It was very complicated to determine ‘where do we fit?’”

Further still, Daniela and her peers face the ongoing struggle of navigating social lives as undocumented immigrants amid a culture wherein that label bears strong political implications and xenophobic stigma. Daniela describes having to be careful to disclose her undocumented status only to those of her peers who will be accepting of her nonetheless.

Friendship and other purely social interactions take on a political aspect, as Daniela must constantly evaluate who is open-minded enough to accept her undocumented status and who is racist enough to reject and ridicule her for it.

Even when she does tell people whom she trusts and who are accepting of her undocumented status, they rarely understand the complicated experiences of being undocumented enough to be able to offer her meaningful support. ”At the end of the day, they still don’t understand, they’re not in your position,” Daniela said, “So they’re just like, ‘Oh, but- ya know, you’ll be fine.’”

It is this imbalance of acceptance of undocumented students versus intimate understanding of their experiences that both Muñoz and Daniela see as the most tangible target of their advocacy. While there are certainly people who actively reject undocumented immigrants, Muñoz reports that students are willing to build a community that supports undocumented students. Indeed, he has seen such an enthusiasm demonstrated at every level of the community, from his fellow students to President Sarah Bolton and Chairman Bill Longbrake.

It was Bolton who readily agreed to meet with the students and provide the funding that launched the campaign. Furthermore, Daniela said that, following the election of Donald Trump last week, whose campaign promises imperil the future of undocumented people in the U.S., Bolton sent her and her undocumented peers a letter reaffirming the College’s support of them, even suggesting that the College may be able to involve immigration lawyers in any fight for their continued residence and education in the United States.

Muñoz says that Chairman Longbrake has shown similar enthuasiasm. Following a conversation about undocumented students with the trustees in October, Longbrake gave Muñoz his email. To continue the conversation they began, Muñoz said that Longbrake has sent him links to relevant articles and met with Muñoz and an undocumented student for coffee when he was on campus recently.

Muñoz said the primary aim of their advocacy campaign is not as much to fight for acceptance of undocumented students as it is to share their experiences with the community at large. Among the next steps for the campaign is to hold a panel discussion for undocumented students and people with intimate understandings of their experiences to educate the community on the many social, institutional and legal challenges that they face.

Another focus of the campaign will be to launch high school outreach initiatives to encourage undocumented students to pursue DACA-protected status and four-year college degrees. They plan to create a pamphlet to send to high schools, entitled “Educación para Todos” (Education for All), with information on colleges that support undocumented students and how to apply and find financial aid as an undocumented student.

The extreme topical relevance of their campaign in this historical moment is not lost on Muñoz and his partners. “Right now is a prime time to be bringing this advocacy campaign on campus,” Muñoz said, alluding to the looming concern about what anti-immigrant measure president-elect Trump may institute.

“Next semester, the seats in the classrooms may be physically vacant,” Muñoz said, “but they will be filled with the ambitions, endeavors, and dreams that [undocumented students] could have accomplished.” To Muñoz and his partners on the campaign, galvanizing support for undocumented students, and immigrants in general, is a now-or-never issue, and they are determined not to see undocumented students’ seats emptied by Trump-induced xenophobia or a failure to fight it as aggressively as possible.