Category Archives: Features

Deviance and Criminology teaches academics and empathy

Kaylee Liu

Contributing Writer

The “prison course” isn’t the friendliest nickname for a class, as one may be inclined to think of dreary and depressing lectures about the broken criminal justice system. At Wooster, however, the “prison course” refers to professor Anne Nurse’s Deviance and Criminology course that aims to bridge the gap between the “inside” and the “outside.” Offered each spring, Deviance and Criminology is a sociology course hosted at the Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility, roughly half an hour away from Wooster. The class is comprised of both “outside” students from the College and “inside” students who currently reside at the facility.

The course began in 2005, when Nurse received an email about a new kind of course — one that followed the “inside- outside” model and was held at a juvenile correctional facility. A professor at Temple University was doing trainings for this new model and invited Nurse to participate in the first sponsored national workshop in Philadelphia. At the workshop, the instructors and participants brainstormed how to teach a course using the “inside-outside” model.

Once returning to Wooster, Nurse immediately pitched the idea to the dean. The College was highly supportive and Nurse connected with the directors of Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility who were interested as well. The first class was conducted in the spring of 2006, making this year the 14th anniversary.

Deviance and Criminology is taught just like any other college course, with a syllabus, ex- ams, group projects and grades. Nurse explains that she was motivated to start this course at Wooster because “inside” students don’t typically have the opportunity to experience or learn about college. This can be a barrier to “inside” students entering college post-incarceration, despite having the same levels of intelligence, motivation and dedication as their “outside” counterparts. Courses such as Deviance and Criminology help them “test drive” college to prepare for their futures and offers critical skills such as drafting and writing papers. The course also gives “inside” students the opportunity to interact with students around the same age as them.

Deviance and Criminology also allows the “outside” students to witness the criminal justice system from within, challenging biases and preconceived notions about those confined. According to Romeo Philippe ’23, “the ‘inside students’ … are no different from any other [people] I’ve ever met. They have the same dreams and aspirations as the rest of us.” As he continued, “Seeing those students in a juvenile detention center shows me how our society ultimately failed these students and did not provide the opportunities or resources for them to achieve their dreams,” he said.

In order to create a positive and constructive learning environment for all students, Nurse hosts a mandatory informational session for prospective students; this is followed by a thorough application process. Occasionally, both “inside” and “outside” students will volunteer personal anecdotes in class, but this is not an expectation of the course. Instead, it is a reflection of the positive classroom environment fostered by all of the participants.

Nurse also notes that it is important to maintain teachable moments in the class — when faced with the rare uncomfortable moment, she makes sure not to shut people down and instead turn it into a learning experience for the entire class — especially since the “inside” students are used to being silenced.

Sidney Senita ’20, a sociology major, said it was “nerve-wracking” going to the prison for the first time, and that the “anxiety of ice breakers on the first day of class [was] multiplied by having to go through a metal detector and double-locked doors.” After the initial unfamiliarity, however, the class settled into a “normal flow” and has “opened [her] eyes to some of the things [she] takes for granted, like [her] laptop and our library.” Over- all, Senita is “thankful for the class because it has allowed [her] to reflect on criminology while visiting and connecting with people who the policies [they] talk about in class have affected.”

Deviance and Criminology provides a wonderful learn- ing experience for both “in- side” and “outside” students, teaching many of the skills needed to succeed in higher education. Yet it also teaches less academic lessons in understanding and empathy.

If interested in taking the course, it will be offered next in the spring of 2021. Fur- ther information about the application process will be available this coming fall.

Wooster alumni running for United States Congress

Eugene DePasquale ’93, photographed for a 1992 edition of the Voice (Photo from Voice archives).

Samuel Casey

News Editor

Did you know that some pretty famous politicians have graduated from Wooster? A governor of Idaho, deputy director of the FBI, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and more have all walked these hallowed grounds with “Scotland the Brave” ringing in their ears. Most recently, Eugene DePasquale ’93, who has been serving as Pennsylvania’s auditor general since 2013, is currently running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 10th district. He recently took the time to reflect on his Wooster experience and how it led him to a career in politics.

“I really loved my experience at Wooster,” DePasquale said in a telephone interview. “I thought it was a great college experience; it really helped shape me in every way moving forward [and] sparked a lot of intellectual curiosity while also being able to balance my love for sports.”

The Pittsburgh native was a two-sport athlete, playing both football and baseball during his four years — the latter under recently retired coach Tim Pettorini. DePasquale earned awards in both sports, was a member of a national honor society and was the vice president for Inter-Sectional Council, the equivalent of today’s Inter-Greek Council. We discussed an interview he did as vice president with the Voice that appeared in the Sep. 24, 1992 issue.

“I thought it should be called the Inter-Fraternal Council, but they wanted to keep it the Inter -Sectional Council because they didn’t want us to be recognized as a fraternity,” DePasquale explained. “I remember saying, ‘well, we are fraternities and sororities, so why don’t we just call it that?,’ but of course they didn’t want that.”

I told the candidate that ten- sions have subsided between Greek organizations and administration, so it turned out he was on the right side of history.

“My argument eventually won,” DePasquale said while laughing. “It took 20 years, but it eventually won!”

Surprisingly, DePasquale did not go to the College with the intention of getting a political science degree. It turns out he was interested in a completely different kind of science.

“This may be the most shocking revelation I could ever offer about myself,” he said, “but I started out as a computer science major and that lasted exactly one semester.”

When asked what ultimately led him to switching majors, De- Pasquale described the existential experience many first-years go through. “It was one of those nights; you’re sitting around the dorm and we were talking about what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives even though it’s the middle of our first semester … and I knew I couldn’t stand computer science when some- one said, ‘you’re interested in politics, why don’t you take a political science class?’ And that’s where it started.”

DePasquale described one political science class specifically that clicked with him and got him excited about the future.

“Professor [Kevin] Snape had an urban politics class … and we had a whole semester class [dedicated to] running the city of Cleveland, and I remember that it lit a spark in me,” he revealed.

He added, “The fascinating part of that class that I still remember today is that if you have a problem and you believe the problem needs to be fixed, how do you work with other elected officials, activists, lobbyists, the mayor, business groups, etc. to get the thing solved?”

This sentiment can be seen in DePasquale’s pursuit of elected office. He was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2006 where he served until being elected State Auditor General in 2012. He described some of the crucial experiences he had at Wooster that helped him in graduate and law school.

“Having high-end academics and balancing that with playing college sports teaches you about balancing and being present in the moment of what you’re doing,” he said. “At football practice you can’t be worried about your paper, and when you’re writing your paper you can’t be worried about football.”

DePasquale continued, “Because the classes are so small at Wooster, it sharpens your intellectual curiosity and you hear from people that agree and disagree with you, so it helps you really think things through.”

He felt that the difficulty of getting a Wooster education ultimately helped him with the rigor in his postgraduate studies and career, especially because of I.S. DePasquale had no trouble explaining his topic.

“It was looking at television commercials in presidential campaigns, basically trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t,” DePasquale said with some enthusiasm. “I even did a focus group! Even though it had a huge flaw of being all college students, it was about trying to figure out why some people like certain commercials and others didn’t.”

Regarding what advice he had for students pursuing a career in politics, DePasquale stated that narrowing yourself into a career right away was the wrong move.

“I would say try anything you think you’d like,” he offered. “Use the opportunity at Wooster … to try out every- thing to see where your passions are. And then when you find that spark, just go from there.”

Hillel hosts events to honor Int’l Holocaust Memorial Day

On Monday, Jan. 27, over 100 members of the College and broader Wooster community attended a presentation with Conrad Weiner, a Holocaust survivor; the event took place on International Holocaust Memorial Day (Photo courtesy Ellie Shafron ’22).

Ellie Kahn

Features Editor

Observed each year on Jan. 27, International Holocaust Memorial Day serves as both an acknowledgement of the lives lost in the Holocaust and as a stark reminder to recognize and prevent similar acts of genocide today. In observance of the day, Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) collaborated with Hillel, a Jewish faith-based student organization, to offer a week-long series of events. The events were open to students, faculty and staff at the College, as well as to the broader Wooster community.

This year’s commemoration was particularly distinct due to the fact that it marked the 75th anniversary of the “liberation” of Auschwitz in occupied Poland; operating from 1940 to 1945, the concentration camp complex was responsible for the deaths of over one million Jews and other marginalized groups, including immigrants, those with disabilities, gay men and political prisoners.

The week-long series was primarily planned during the fall semester after being initially conceptualized by Isaac Weiss ’20, who serves as treasurer for Hillel. President of Hillel Hannah Sullivan ’20 described the planning process as difficult in that the “sensitive and personal nature of the events” placed an “enormous emotional strain on [members of] the Hillel board.” This sentiment was echoed by general board member Emily Farmer ’20, who added that while the planning process was “emotionally burdensome,” it was worthwhile to “see people engaginging with and confronting history and modern anti-Semitism.”

When asked about the goals for the week, Sullivan reflected that overall, Hillel aimed to engage the campus community in recognizing the Holocaust and commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz. She noted that “we put ‘liberation’ in quotes as a way to recognize that though Jews and other interned peoples were free to leave Auschwitz, there was still plenty of hardship and hate that followed. We also wanted to recognize that anti-Semitism exists today as well as modern-day genocide. Everyone says ‘Never Again’ while referring to the Holocaust, but genocide has happened since, and continues to happen today.”

The week began on Monday, Jan. 27 with a Skype presentation from Conrad Weiner. A Holocaust survivor, Weiner spoke about his experience confined in Budi, a forced labor camp in the state of Transnistria, Moldova. The event was well-attended, with over 100 students, administrators and community members present to hear from Weiner.

Farmer expressed that she was “especially glad that students and the community were able to listen to Mr. Weiner speak; first hand accounts of atrocities always leave a lasting impact, and in the near future it will become much less accessible to hear first-hand accounts of the Holocaust without the aid of technology.” Sullivan agreed with Farmer, emphasizing that “soon, there will not be people able to give first-hand accounts of what happened in recent history. Therefore, it is our role as young adults to hear their stories, and pass them on.”

The conversation with Weiner was followed on Tuesday, Jan. 28 with the Hillel board presented their dialogue “Anti-Semitism in America: Roots to Now and Its Impact on Wooster Jews” for the second time. The dialogue was first presented on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last month as part of the College’s Justice Dialogue series, and both presentations included time for discussion. According to Farmer, “the faculty and students, especially the non-Jewish members of the audience who showed up to discuss the realities of anti- Semitism on this campus made me feel as though we as Jews do have a community who will support us in Wooster, and hearing their stories and discussion on their experiences witnessing [and] contributing to anti-Semitism was powerful.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 29, the 2001 film “Conspiracy” was screened in The Alley. Directed by Frank Pierson, the film covers the 1942 Wannsee Conference which largely contributed to placing Adolf Hitler’s “final solution” into effect. The discussions continued on Thursday, Jan. 30 when Hillel presented a panel in conjunction with Noor, the Muslim student organization on campus. The topic of the discussion was genocide in the last century, which included both the Holocaust and more contemporary cases such as Uighur Muslims in China.

The week-long commemoration came to a close on Friday, Jan. 31, with a brief Shabbat service and dinner led by the Hillel board in Lowry. Overall, the week served as a reminder that “anti-Semitism is still here … each of us on the board, and every Jew on this campus, has had a run-in with anti-Semitism. The liberation of Auschwitz did not end anti-Semitism. And it certainly did not end genocide. Genocide still occurs in the world; millions have been killed since the Holocaust. As Jews, and as citizens of the world, we must act so that ‘Never Again’ really means never again,” according to Saralee Renick ’22, religious coordinator for Hillel.

In terms of being an ally for those in the Jewish community, Re- nick encourages “be[ing] there for your friends and peers. Marginalized communities face discrimination and hate every day. Do what you can to stand up for people and to stand against hatred and vio- lence.”

In the words of Farmer, for those both in the Jewish community and those who are not, Hillel would like to extend an invitation to join them “at any events when you need a group to lean on or engage with. Whether it’s at a Shabbat dinner or in a week of commemoration, Hillel’s doors are always open to those who are looking for a place of community and rest.”

Black Student Association Lounge re-opens in Douglass Hall

The Black Student Association (BSA) recently celebrated the re-opening of their lounge in Douglass Hall (Photo courtesy Sharah Hutson ’20).

Eleanor Linafelt

Chief Copy Editor

The Black Student Association (BSA) recently reopened their lounge in the basement of Douglass Hall which had been closed since last summer due to significant water damages from a flood that occurred in the building in June. The group held an event on Friday, Feb. 2 in the renovated lounge to celebrate the reopening of the space that has held decades of history for BSA.

Public Relations Director Sharah Hutson ’20 said that the event last Friday, at which the group had food, games and time for conversation, was meant to be welcoming to both members of BSA and students outside the group. “We wanted it to be a place of community, so not just having people on the board or people who always come to BSA things, but having new faces and students from other multicultural groups coming as well,” they explained. “That did happen, which was really nice.”

The event allowed students to gather again in a space they hadn’t shared since last school year. “It was an invitation for students of color to come together and appreciate the safe space created specifically for them,” said President of BSA Courtney Lockhart ’20.

The group was pleased with how many people attended the event. “Reopening the lounge was a great experience for me,” said Lockhart. “Seeing this organization’s greatness grow from event to event, with all that is stacked against it and its members, is very rewarding and heartwarming.”

When the lounge was closed over this past year, BSA held meetings in Babcock lounge and events in other spaces on campus, including The Alley.

It was not the same, however, as having a permanent space to meet, share with other groups and use for storage.“The BSA lounge offers a safe space for students of color to relax, study, take action, discuss topics and much, much more. It is the home away from home for students past and present and has existed for many decades,” said Lockhart.

Hutson said that even though the renovated lounge feels new, it still carries the weight of decades of history, including organizing for campus protests and holding arts events. “We planned for the Galpin Call-in in there,” Hutson remembered, referring to the 2018 protest when students took over Galpin Hall and presented the administration with a list of demands. “A lot of emotions are tied to that space — a lot of good ones.”

BSA has many upcoming events planned in their newly renovated lounge.  Hutson said that they are particularly looking forward to Peace and Paint on Feb. 19 where people can paint decorations to hang around the lounge in an effort to make the space feel as “homey” and “communal” as it has the past.

Scots in Harmony a cappella competes at ICCA quarterfinals

Emma Reiner

Staff Writer

The recently formed and first competitive a cappella group at The College of Wooster “Scots in Harmony” went to the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) Varsity Vocals quarterfinals at Case Western Reserve University on Saturday, Jan. 25. They sang three songs, including “Hello Friend” by Chloe x Halle, “Have Mercy” by Eryn Allen Kane and “Marrow” by Vincent. While they did not advance in the competition, they excelled for their first year as a group.

Scots in Harmony was founded last year by Doug Morris ’22 and Rondell MacKey ’22; Morris currently serves as vice president of the group, with MacKey as president. Mackey did competitive a cappella in high school, which inspired him to continue competing in college. He said, “I knew what the atmosphere was like and I was craving it again.” He also wanted to “take Wooster’s a cappella off-campus … to let go and sing all around,” highlighting a key difference between Scots in Harmony and the existing a cappella groups on campus.

When discussing the preparation for this competition, Morris said that “between the hours of vocal and choreography rehearsals, constantly changing [their] set and arrangement, and multiple campus performances, it was easy to become exhausted and frustrated.” Member Alex Phillips ’23 shared this sentiment, saying that “it was stressful at times.” However, Morris noted, “once we stepped foot on stage and saw the amount of support we [had] from Wooster… all the exhaustion and frustration seemed insignificant.”

All three singers commented on how much they enjoyed the competition. Morris stated that participating in the competition season “has been an incredible experience.” Phillips described the competition as “fun, scary and exhilarating all at once.” MacKey reflected,“I love to perform and showcase my talents on a stage to many.”

Even though MacKey had done competitive a cappella before, the competition was still new to the group as a whole, creating an exciting experience. Morris described this feeling, stating, “we had no clue what to expect once we arrived to the competition.” Fortunately, not knowing did not get in the way of how the group performed. Phillips commented, saying that “for our group to make it to the quarter finals within the first year of being together is really amazing.” Even though the group did not advance within the competition, all three members are happy about how they did. According to MacKey, “The group did amazing! Although we didn’t place I am so happy for them, for leaving their hearts out on the floor.” Morris echoes his sentiment, stating that “we were all extremely happy with our performance.”

Even though this is only their first year competing, the group has already learned a lot and they are gearing up for next year. Morris said, “Now that we have a better grasp of how the process works and what the judges are looking for, we will be ready to return next year, and, hopefully, advance even further.” MacKey added, “I don’t think ICCA expected our sound and that’s why it’s a must to go back next year.” Phillips summed up their group’s future perfectly, stating, “we’re not done yet, and definitely ready to go after it again next year.”

Historic Latinx Lounge opens in Armington Hall

Ellie Kahn

Features Editor

The College of Wooster’s Latinx community has found a permanent home in Armington Hall, with the official inauguration of the Latinx Lounge taking place last Tuesday, Jan. 21. Administrators, faculty members and allies joined members of the Latinx student community to mark the momentous occasion.

The inauguration of the Lounge is significant because the space has been sought after by the Latinx community on campus for years. According to Alberto Peralta ’20, “This space is something that students have been working towards since even before I got here.” Thus, the Lounge “is something historic not just for our organizations, but for the [College].” Peralta serves as the current president of the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS).

Fortunately, the push for a Latinx space at Wooster was revitalized when Latinas Unidas (LU) Co-President Annays Yacamán ’22 attended the Summit for Ohio Latinx last year. Held at Denison University, Yacamán was inspired by the vibrant space that Denison’s Latinx student community had on campus; she reflected “I could feel the pride they felt from having the space, and it was something I wanted Latinx students on our campus to feel.”

Securing a safe space for the Latinx community to gather on campus was challenging. While Yacamán was supported and encouraged by her meetings with Dr. Ivonne García, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, and Amanda Anastasia Paniagua, director of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA), it was unclear whether there was room in the budget for a space to be economically feasible this year.

This dynamic shifted during Hispanic Heritage Month, however, which was celebrated from mid-September to midOctober. In addition to offering events such as documentary screenings and the Latinx Gala, LU hosted the first annual Latinx Townhall on Sep. 17 in conjunction with OLAS.

According to Yacamán, members of the Latinx community at the Townhall “presented a document with a set of demands, one of which was the Latinx safe space. When we moved into open discussion, this was clearly one of the most pressing needs that students expressed they needed. You could feel and see the pain in so much of our community. I think it was impossible to ignore our community at that point.”

With the idea secured, Yacamán and members of LU and OLAS worked with the administration to develop and finalize plans for the space, which was determined to be in the newlyrenovated Armington Hall.

When asked how she hopes the space will be utilized, Yacamán stated, “I hope students will individually be able to use the space when they need some space from what is going on on campus and in the media or news, or to process injustices that their families or communities are going through.” Peralta echoed this sentiment, stating, “The Latinx Lounge is essential to have on campus … The space provides a home for people. It is a space [our] organizations can occupy for intimate and personal cultural celebrations. We are content that we now have our own designated space on campus to operate on our own terms. Morally, it also makes us feel heard.”

If you’d like to access the Latinx Lounge, please reach out to the MSA via email for more information. Both allies and members of the Latinx community are encouraged to join and support the student organizations. And if you are a Latinx student, Yacamán urges you to “consider using the space and making another home for yourself ” here at The College of Wooste