Category Archives: News

College details various voting options

Savannah Sima

Staff Writer

 

On Sept. 15, Chair of the Communication Studies Department Denise Bostdorff sent an email detailing options for students to cast their votes this election. Bostdorff explained two options — registering in the student’s hometown or registering in Wooster — and clarified the methods students can choose from in case they decide to register in Wooster.

“Students may choose to register and vote back home because of an interest in local issues there,” Bostdorff mentioned in her email. “If you do so, you either will need to vote in person (if home is very nearby) or vote absentee, in which case we recommend that you request and return your absentee ballot two weeks ahead of the deadlines, given potential issues with postal delivery.” Students are able to check their local Board of Elections (BOE) for deadlines pertinent to registration and absentee voting. 

To register to vote in Wooster, people will need an Ohio driver’s license with a local address or the last four digits of their Social Security number. Bostdorff added, “If you were previously registered to vote and moved into a new residence hall, you need to change your address or re-register.” The email also clarified that “a student’s address on campus is the street address of your residence hall [or] campus house.” 

Moreover, students, faculty and staff will be able to register to vote at the Lowry Center. The tabling hours are: Monday 12:30-2 p.m. and 4:30-6 p.m., Tuesday 12:30-2 p.m., Wednesday 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. and 4:30-6 p.m., Thursday 12:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and Friday 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. and 4:30-6 p.m.

The three methods students can choose in case they decide to register to vote in Wooster are: requesting an absentee ballot, voting in-person before the election and voting in-person on Election Day.

Students are able to request absentee ballots and return them to the BOE either by mail or by placing it in the drop box outside of Wooster’s BOE on 200 Vanover St. Absentee ballots can be requested online once the voter’s registration has been processed.

Bostdorff stressed the importance of following the directions on the ballot and envelope so as to ensure your vote is counted. These ballots must be postmarked at least one day before the election on Nov. 3. In order to achieve this, Bostdorff recommends mailing ballots by Thursday, Oct. 22 or bringing them to the BOE no later than Tuesday, Nov. 3. Bostdorff continued, “In Ohio, only a close relative is legally permitted to drop off a ballot for someone else. This option is a safe one for students concerned about COVID-19 or for our students who may feel vulnerable going to the polls in the current political climate; it is also convenient. Absentee ballots will be sent starting Oct. 6.”

The second option is voting in-person. Bostdorff urged the students who have decided to vote in person to vote early at the BOE, specifically between Oct. 6 and Nov. 2. “Voting early in person avoids the uncertainty of the mail,” Bostdorff said. “You just need to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number in order to vote early. The complete schedule for early voting can be found on the [Ohio Secretary of State website].”

The third option is the most traditional in-person voting option, which is to physically go to your polling place on Election Day on Nov. 3. “If you do so, you will need to provide a utility bill letter as a form of I.D., which the College will provide,” Bostdorff said.

However, voting in person this year comes with several challenges. “Voting on Election Day can seem more special to some students, and, if you vote successfully, your vote will be counted,” Bostdorff mentioned before highlighting some obstacles. “The disadvantages are that the campus is divided into three different precincts, with locales subject to change due to COVID-19 and the need for poll workers this year.”

She continued, “In addition, some concerns exist about possible voter intimidation at the polls in this highly contentious year. Finally, you have to be sure that your class and work schedule will permit enough time to get to the polls and back, so convenience might be an issue.”

Challenges also persist in other methods of voting. “[Another challenge is] the uncertainty of mail delivery for students who are requesting and returning absentee ballots,” Bostdorff commented. “For that reason, we recommend that students who are already registered to vote at their correct address request an absentee ballot as soon as possible and mail the completed ballot by Oct. 22 so that it is postmarked well in advance of the Nov. 2 deadline. Alternatively, students here on campus can return their completed absentee ballot to the lock box outside the Wayne County Board of Elections at 200 Vanover St.” 

Another recurring challenge is that students have relatively little to no experience voting. “The process is new and can seem a bit intimidating … and [hence] more complicated for students,” Bostdorff said. “For example, students need to register by using the street address of the dorm where they reside, not their Lowry mailing address and, if they have moved, they need to complete a change of address for their registration.” 

Halen Gifford ’21, campus election engagement intern,  also expressed her concern regarding the challenges.

“Aside from COVID-19, we face a lot of the same challenges that we do every year,” Gifford said. “Many Americans are met with barriers when it comes to registering to vote and engaging in elections due to systematic voter suppression. This definitely includes college students. I have heard firsthand from members of the BOE that they do not want Wooster students voting in Wayne County. And while there is an argument to be made about us only being temporary residents, this is still our home for four years and it is often most accessible for students to vote in the physical location that they live. We always just have to make sure that we communicate to students that they have every right to vote in Wooster and then support them in doing so.” 

Gifford added, “Honestly, it is hard to think of other challenges since so much of the work we have been doing this semester has been problem-solving due to COVID-19. Election engagement takes a lot of planning and certainty, which is very hard to ensure at this time. Bostdorff and I have been working with staff, faculty and administrators to try and make sure that students can access the resources they need while also balancing their safety.”

For additional resources and help, students can check out the Student Voting website, www.wooster.edu/offices/dean-of-students/voting/. Both Bostdorff and Gifford also urged students to reach out to their emails, dbostdorff@wooster.edu and hgifford21@wooster.edu, regarding questions about voting this year. The Campus Election Engagement Project is also hosting  two “Walk to Vote” events on Saturday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 31, to encourage students to walk with friends to the polls to vote.

C.O.W. sororities introduce anti-racism series

Chloe Burdette

Editor in Chief

 

On Thursday, Sept. 17, the student body received an email administered by two sororities on campus, Kappa Epsilon Zeta (KEZ) and Delta Theta Psi (Theta). The email detailed the new event series that the groups will unveil within the next few weeks called “G.R.E.E.K. — Generating Respect, Empowerment, Efficacy (and) Knowledge.” As described in the email, the series was created in response to Wooster Greek Life’s silence and lack of accountability on many social issues, such as homophobia, racism and sexual harassment — all concerns that have impacted certain Wooster students directly. 

Explaining the rationale behind creating this series, KEZ President Maresa Tate ’21 said, “I want us to be held accountable. I want us to actively listen to people. I want us to call each other out.” Tate continued, “I want us to not dismiss and disregard others’ experiences simply because it is not our own. I want Inter-Greek Council (IGC) to enact policy changes that ensure the space is welcoming for all — whether you are in Greek Life or not. It doesn’t matter who started it, but who will continue it and who is open to the uncomfortable reality that we have all been perpetrators of discrimination, bias and harassment whether we know it or not, or whether we like it or not.”

Anyone, regardless of their affiliation with Wooster Greek Life, was invited to attend the event.

The series comes as a response to many concerns that The College of Wooster students and alumni posted to @blackncac, an Instagram page where BIPOC students and faculty of schools in the North Coast Athletic Conference can share their experiences and have an opportunity to amplify their voices.

“In late August, a first-year student from Wooster anonymously shared their feelings and experiences on the @blackncac account and Wooster Greek Life was mentioned,” Camille Carr ’22, co-diversity chair for Theta, stated. “I was unimpressed with how unnecessarily defensive Wooster folks can get when BIPOC students share their stories of being disenfranchised and marginalized.”

Olivia Friedman ’22, the other diversity co-chair for Theta, echoed Carr’s statement. “I am tired of performative responses without real acknowledgment of Greek Life’s role in the issues and the willingness to change,” Friedman said. “This occurs in my group as well, as it does in every group on campus, and we wanted to create a space where people can be heard, really heard, and change can arise from it.”

The first event in the series, titled “Creating an Anti-Racist Space in Greek Life,” was held on Sept. 20 on Microsoft Teams. The event was moderated by impartial non-Greek member Cesar Oswaldo Lopez ’21 to ensure discussion would stay safe, productive and efficient. 

Megan Gronau ’21, president of Theta, described the first half of the event’s agenda. “We created an anonymous survey where both Greek members and non-Greek members could share their stories,” Gronau stated. “A few of the stories were shared at the event, with the permission of the individual. At this event, and all events to follow, people are able to speak their truth directly in the meeting.” 

Lopez, who facilitated the meeting, explained the role he played in the second half of the event. “I facilitated a series of questions that arose in response to stories shared via the @BlackNCAC Instagram account, primarily aimed towards the hosts of the evening, but also addressed to the largely Greek audience present,” he said. At the conclusion of the event, he added, “I think the evening was a good start to necessary conversations that are being demanded on campus, especially in reckoning with the environment that Greek Life creates at The College of Wooster.”

Along with Lopez as the moderator, Carr, Friedman and Gronau helped plan the event from Theta while KEZ Diversity Chair Catera Clark ’21 and Sexual Assault Representative Kennedey Bell ’21 aided in the discussion and planning of the event. IGC Co-President Isabella Ilievski ’21 appreciated all of the work that was contributed to start this series. “I’m looking forward to the positive change this series can make,” Ilievski said. I hope every Greek group will attend the future events as change is needed in everyone.”

Upon reflection of the event, Carr hopes that the College and, most significantly, the Greek community, can take accountability. “I really hope we can become better at taking responsibility for racism that has taken place in the past by at least listening to people and not letting our defensiveness rule our actions — this is the least people can do. I think blatantly dismissing or gaslighting someone when they are being vulnerable and sharing their racial trauma is messed up,” she said. Tate added, “I want change to not be something just said, but done.”

Students studying off campus adjust to a new normal

Sam Boudreau

Senior News Writer

 

For Marloes Krabbe ‘21, an anthropology and art history double major, Art History & Museum Studies club meetings are usually a normal part of her routine. However, since studying remotely due to COVID-19, this meeting has taken a turn she never expected. As Krabbe was preparing to start the meeting online, a commuter bus slammed into a nearby powerline, knocking out the power for her whole street in a town right outside of Detroit, Mich.. “It’s like if I lose power at home, and I don’t have any way of contacting my professors, it feels like I just disappear.” This is just one of the many obstacles facing remote students this semester.

For many, living in different time zones has been an issue. Across the Pacific Ocean, sophomore Kaylee Liu ‘23 lives in Singapore, where the time zone is 12 hours ahead of Wooster. “All of my classes are recorded, so I watch them asynchronously, and then meet with my professors once a week. I am really grateful for how much professors have helped me this semester,” Liu said. “While professors have worked around the time zones, group work appears to be a major challenge. “I can’t really ask [about] problems in the group chat since nobody is awake.” Liu serves as an editor for The Wooster Voice and is a member of Pi Kappa, where she has been able to communicate with members.

While some clubs and organizations have been able to thrive remotely, others have struggled to adjust.

Kennedy Pope ’23, a psychology and women’s, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS) double major, is studying remotely from Atlanta, Ga. and the distance has hurt her ability to contribute to clubs on campus. “It has definitely been rough to adjust to clubs remotely,” said Pope. “The clubs that I’m an active participant in are all focused on creating safe spaces and community for Black people on campus. A large part of creating that atmosphere has always been having events and meetings face-to-face and present with one another, so that people know they are seen and  appreciated. Sadly, going completely virtual has made it harder to recruit and be known to the first-years on campus. I am optimistic that everyone’s efforts will allow us to get over this hurdle.”

Pope noted that “the last time it was election year on campus, it was not the safest or healthiest environment for people of color in Wooster, so I hope that all cultural clubs will still be effective resources for students in need.”

This remote semester has helped Pope learn more about herself, she tells The Voice. “I had never realized how much I relied on the positive peer pressure from my friends to study … It is a lot easier to do your work and study when everyone around you is doing the same thing as well,” she expressed. “If you’re the only person in your environment who is in school, it is extremely easy to not feel any sense of urgency to complete assignments.”

Like Pope, many other students have focused on how to make a difference in an election year. Alec Monnie ’21, a political science major currently studying from Meadville, Pa. is serving as an advisor for Joe Biden’s rural coalition in Pennsylvania and working at a local deli. “Socially, it has been pretty hard to be at home pretty much all the time,” Monnie reflected.“I have been working in a deli at home two days a week, and recently started a position on the Biden campaign, so I’ve been working a lot more than I normally do on campus, and even with my I.S. and classes, I still have considerably more free time than I do when I’m at school.”

When asked how professors have made their courses accessible, Monnie has been very impressed as “professors have been wonderful at being accessible in light of the circumstances this semester.”

Halen Gifford ‘21, a communication studies major from New Albany, Ind., agrees. “All of my professors have been extremely accommodating,” she told The Voice. Due to health concerns, Gifford decided to study from home. While she misses her dorm, she admits that “it is nice having a real kitchen [as] it has been great to wash dishes in a real sink and make toast whenever I want.”

Chris Roche ’23, a sophomore studying remotely, agrees. “Not to throw shade on Lowry food, but having home cooking every day is a plus to studying remotely. Another plus is being around my family a lot more and being able to walk my dog when it’s nice out,” Roche noted.

For many, the Independent Study (I.S.) experience defines senior year, as Gifford pointed out that “this is not the I.S. experience I expected … but I have enjoyed it so far.” While working on her I.S., which “is a genre study of horror cinema,” Gifford credits her mom as a great support. “One nice thing [is that] my mom has watched all the films I’ve looked at for my literature review with me which has been very wholesome. Virtual learning, as we all know, is a challenge. However, I have gotten pretty used to it.”

“Working successfully on an I.S. from home sounded intimidating at the start of the semester, but I think it has gone well so far,” said Carlos Owusu-Ansah ’21, a math and physics double major. “The  hype around I.S. is not felt as strongly from [home]. That is a bit sad because I was hoping to put my best effort into the project.”

Many students miss the resources that the College of Wooster offers, especially during I.S. “For books and articles that I need for I.S., I want to critically read them, but without the printing capabilities offered on campus, that has been hard,” said Marloes. “There’s just this weird duality with being at school and home.You have to keep up with your friends, attend classes and be there for your parents. It’s something that I’ve never had to deal with before.”

Scot Council set to Advocate for the Student Body

Kate Murphy

News Editor

 

Scot Council, created last spring after a merger of the Student Government Association (SGA) and Campus Council (CC), is trying to prove itself as a strong voice of the student body to the faculty, staff and administration. Scot Council President Olivia Proe ’21 stated that both SGA and CC “were campus governing bodies with different powers, and to streamline our advocacy, a group of students formed the Oversight Committee to condense them into one.” This committee worked for over a year to create an organization that is able to best advocate for the well-being and positive experiences of the student body. 

Despite the apparent streamlining, being a new organization has its difficulties. “We are facing some challenges in putting a theoretical constitution into practice for the first time,” Proe stated. However, she also mentioned that the organization is navigating the challenges efficiently. “Our constitution was intentionally written to be flexible, which has been immensely helpful during the pandemic” she noted. Scot Council Vice President Samuel Casey ’21 said, “Over the summer, every single member of Scot Council has worked extra hard to adapt to the new guidelines while still focusing on our responsibilities.” Consisting of 12 class-year representatives and four identity-based constituency representatives, Proe stated that she is “confident we’re laying groundwork for better campus advocacy.”

“Being a new organization in the midst of a pandemic has been difficult,” said Proe. However, the new online format has proven to be more inclusive than ever. Choosing to move completely online in compliance with social distancing guidelines, the organization’s meetings are currently held over Microsoft Teams. This allows for the inclusion of remote students wherever they are in the world and these meetings are open to the student body at large as well. 

Proe commented, “In some ways, I’m glad that we have online options now, especially since we’re more accessible as campus leaders.” Moreover, to promote transparency, Scot Council has “a public SharePoint with all meeting recordings and minutes if students want to see what is being worked on.” 

To ensure the safety of students at the College, Scot Council “created a COVID-19 ad hoc committee which has been meeting since May to make suggestions about the way Wooster should function within social distancing guidelines and still make it the best experience possible.” Under the leadership of Zoie Bills ’21, the organization met regularly with Dean of Students Myrna Hernández and President Sarah Bolton to relay student concerns about Wooster during the pandemic. This committee is still active, so students are welcome to reach out to the Council with any concerns about COVID-19 and they can do their best to advocate for them.

Casey also stressed the importance of staying safe during the pandemic. “I think our first goal is to do everything we can to stay on campus this year. Making sure everyone understands the importance of the COVID-19 guidelines will be a major focus because of the situation we’re in.” 

However, this responsibility does not just fall on students. “On the other hand, we want to hold the administration accountable to make sure the guidelines are both equitable and not arbitrary. We also don’t want the burden to be put on a certain group of students, like RAs,” says Casey. 

During the summer, Scot Council also drafted and circulated a statement in response to the Black Lives Matter movement as their commitment to create tangible ways to improve the campus for Black students at Wooster continued. Members Doug Morris ’22, Maresa Tate ’21, Angela Danso Gyane ’21, Cesar Lopez ’21 and Zoie Bills ‘21 “spearheaded this statement in collaboration with all of our council members and guidance from BSA, ASU and BWO. Some of these goals are already in action. “[We are] involving Dr. Ivonne García, our Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, as a voting member of the body,” said Proe. 

Later in the year, Scot Council plans to take concrete action to implement change. This includes “revising the budget process to include diversity advocates, revisiting documents from the Galpin Call-in, requiring chartered organizations to create anti-racist goals, attending anti-bias training and reviewing the Scot’s Key for language that disproportionately affects BIPOC students.” Proe stated, “We recognize that anti-racist work will never be completed in a year, but I hope we can lay tracks for it to continue into future years. Ultimately, my hope is that current and future Black students at the College will feel fully welcome and appreciated, and it is our responsibility as a governing body to support them in all of their work to make campus a better place.”

Proe stressed that “students are always welcome to come to us with their concerns, whether it’s a one-on-one conversation with a representative or coming to our meetings and speaking at open discussion.” A major addition this year will be the inclusion of first-years and any interested students. Casey stated that “elections will occur around the week previously known as fall break. We are really looking forward to finally including all students in student governance.” 

Furthermore, Casey encourages “everyone to attend the general meetings on Mondays at 7 p.m. This is where you can hear about what’s happening on campus, our initiatives and raise your own concerns.” Students are able to access the Scot Council website at any time to reach out with questions and concerns, as well as by submitting an anonymous comment form that will be available to students soon. Proe reminds Wooster, “We’re here to be your advocates, so don’t be afraid to ask about anything.”

Members of the College attend BLM rally

Bijeta Lamichhane

News Editor

 

On Aug. 29, the City of Wooster held an “I Have a Dream” rally at the square in downtown to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom protest where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Sponsored by the local NAACP chapter and the Wayne County Racial Justice Coalition, the rally this year had over 200 attendees.

However, while students from the College expressed their desire to attend the rally, the campus quarantine that lasted until Sept. 10 restricted them from taking part in the event. Members of the faculty, however, were able to attend the rally.  

One of the attendees was the Chair and Associate Professor of Economics Amyaz Moledina, who commented on the significance of the rally. “The protest has catalyzed civic participation in really neat ways,” said Moledina. “For example, thanks to the efforts of a few key people, we are aware of what is going on in our City and its associated governing bodies. We are not just protesting, we are learning about the issues, getting to know our neighbors and engaging in dialogue to make our community better.” 

Furthermore, President Sarah Bolton not only attended the event, but also was one of the speakers. When asked about the spirit of the rally, Bolton said, “I thought the Wooster rally was powerful for several reasons.” She continued, “There was a great turnout, and great collaborative effort between the Wooster-Orrville NAACP, the League of Women Voters, and many other allies. It was an honor for me to speak after Dr. Yvonne Williams, who was a long-time Wooster professor and leader in the campus community.  There were also many others who spoke powerfully, intersecting their own ideas and experiences with timeless words from Dr. King and from Congressman Lewis. I particularly appreciated what Dr. Williams said regarding the idea of having a dream that we would one day live in a society that was free of racism and racist violence. She said, ‘It is important to have a dream. But right now, we need less dreaming, and more action.’  I couldn’t agree with her more.” 

As the members of the faculty took part in the event, students on campus conveyed their frustration with being unable to participate in the rally. 

One of Wooster’s students, Samuel Casey ’21, noted that he thought it was important to go and was also encouraged by a faculty member to take part in the rally. “I got an email from one of my professors about attending [the protest] in Wooster and I thought it was very important to go,” Casey mentioned. “On the day of the rally, however, I found out that attending would be a violation of the Community Care Agreement.” 

He also expressed his discontent with the lack of clear communication between members of the College community. “There seems to be some kind of miscommunication between the faculty and the College because there is no way [the faculty] would advertise [the event] if they knew that the students could not even go,” he noted. 

Led by this frustration and unable to understand why only students on campus were required to quarantine, Casey reached out to Bolton to receive clarification about the quarantine policy. 

As a response, Bolton stated, “This is because of differences in living situations.” She went on, “Students live in what’s called a ‘congregate setting’ — with relatively high numbers of people sharing a building, restrooms, etc. In general, public health advice for congregate living is more stringent than is the case for other spaces, because the higher number of people means everyone needs to be extra-careful to avoid illness transmission.” 

Bolton continued, “This is why we have invested in more extensive testing for students, and also why — as we brought students back and started up the community — we required students to stay on campus unless it was absolutely necessary that they go elsewhere. Similarly, when the county public health advisory level increased [the first week of Sept.], the County Health Commissioner wanted to be extra-sure that students didn’t increase their risk of exposure by spending time off-campus. This was to protect students – because if one student catches an illness off campus and brings that back to the dorm, that provides a greater risk for infecting multiple individuals and increases the risk of illness more broadly on campus than if one staff or faculty member (who does not live in a dorm) does.” 

While students could not attend the rally this year, the faculty’s presence and Bolton’s address in the rally nevertheless represented the College’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The College is also actively working to promote anti-racism at the campus, so students will have more opportunities to express their support.

Concerns arise as students travel into Wooster community

Samuel Boudreau

Senior News Writer

 

On Sept. 10, as students, faculty and staff settled into their routines, President Sarah Bolton sent out the fourth Weekly Campus Health Update. After testing every student entering campus during the move-in period, the College has now adopted monitoring testing, which “tests approximately 250 students per week” and can test more, if needed. In the latest campus update, all 259 tests taken had come back negative.

 

Although the restrictions were supposed to ease up by Sept. 7, the College extended off-campus restrictions to Sept. 10 in response to the rise in cases in Wayne County. However, as the pace of cases has dropped considerably in the past two weeks, the College has allowed “some more flexibility for students going into the local community,” as stated by Bolton in her latest Campus Public Health Update.

While students are now allowed to enter the community, Bolton continued to emphasize  that “the only way to maintain the safety of our community, and for students to live and learn on campus is to stay extremely diligent in preventing the spread of COVID-19.” Furthermore, when the Wayne County COVID indicator went from red to orange, Bolton stated, “the Wayne County Health Commissioner indicated that it was safe to move about the city of Wooster utilizing the same precautions that we have put in place since the beginning of the semester, with respect to our congregate living situation on campus.”

 

While no new positive cases have been reported since Aug. 20,  it is crucial that students continue to follow safety protocols. Bolton points out that colleges and universities across the country continue to shut their doors as the virus tears across campuses, most notably with UNC-Chapel Hill canceling in-person classes one week into the semester. 

 

Furthermore, cases are soaring in major universities in Ohio as well. The Ohio State University has the highest number of reported cases in the state with 1,528, followed by the University of Dayton with 1,141. Smaller schools in the state are also experiencing outbreaks. Wittenberg University, a school with a student body of only 1,910 students, has already reported 39 cases.

 

Wayne County had also seen a spike in cases between Aug. 16 and 30. According to the Wayne County Health Department, 159 cases were reported during the two-week period which led to the Ohio Public Health Advisory System labeling Wayne County as level three red, meaning there is high exposure, spread and risk.

 

The recent high level of cases stem from an outbreak at the Wayne County Care Center, where there has been a cumulative total of 77 cases from, 38 residents and 39 staff members, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The Care Center is home to 46 residents, so roughly 83 percent of residents have tested positive for the virus. The home has faced 9 total deficiencies in the past three years.

 

Moreover, since the start of the pandemic, numerous homes in Wooster have experienced outbreaks. The Smithville Western Care Center has been devastated by the virus as 92 cumulative cases and 30 deaths have been reported among residents and staff. The home has been cited for 17 deficiencies in the past, including one infection-related deficiency in 2017 where the home violated federal standards to protect residents from the spread of infections, and was fined $6,500 on Nov. 29, 2017 for a deficiency where “actual harm occurred.”

 

Along with Smithville Western, other homes that have been hit by the virus in Wayne county include Glendora Health Care Center (31 cumulative cases), Apostolic Christian Home (5 cumulative cases), Doylestown Health Care Center(2 cumulative cases) (ProPublica), Windsor House – Doylestown( 5 cumulative cases), Westview Healthy Living1 cumulative case) and The Avenue (2 cumulative cases).

 

However, as students spent their time outside campus this weekend, some reported concerns about the safety practices among community members outside the campus.

One student, Bijeta Lamichhane ’22, recalled her experience commuting in Wooster transit on Saturday. “I don’t have a car, so I took the transit with my friends to downtown,” Lamichhane said. “When I walked in, I noticed that none of the three people already inside — including the driver — were wearing masks. My friends and I stayed as far as we could from them and sanitized ourselves the moment we left the bus, but I was really concerned.”

 

She continued, “We wanted to take a Lyft back instead, but our ride did not arrive on time so we had to take a shuttle back to campus. When we got in, the driver told us that over 40 students had commuted by the transit that day.” Other students have noted the lack of mask enforcement in places such as Walmart, and the nonchalance of community members walking on campus.

 

Although there is greater control over social distancing measures due to policy enforcements, violations are still taking place. As reported by Samuel Casey ’21, the first weekend of college did not get off to a promising start as resident assistants and Security and Protective Services (SPS) officers made reports of two parties; 15 students were not socially distanced among other infractions.. Between May 1 and Aug. 31, 69 COVID-19 policy violations have been reported on campus.

Acknowledging the campus climate, Dean Myrna Hernández told the Voice, “[Many] students are working really hard to honor the spirit of the COVID agreement and keep things safe on campus. At the same time we are hearing reports of some students blatantly ignoring the guidelines.”

 

In a follow-up to Bolton’s Campus Public Health Update, Hernández added to the update and urged students to continue to maintain social distancing protocol and to wear masks while in the community. In this email, Hernández stated that the visitors of students were not allowed to be inside any campus buildings, with the exception of Lowry for use of the bookstore or post office. While student visitors are not allowed into campus buildings, prospective students and their families have been seen entering multiple campus buildings, such as Babcock Hall and Timken Science Library. Student athlete recruits and their parents have been seen interacting with coaches in the Scot Center as well. When asked if prospective students and their families entering buildings on campus raised concerns about the safety of the campus community, Hernández told the Voice that admissions has received permission from the Health and Safety Task Force to enter some specific buildings. Guests are asked to take their temperatures the morning of their visit.

 

As seen with the alarming totals in nursing homes, the virus can infect the majority of populations, even in a rural area such as Wayne County. “This virus moves quickly and is very easily transmitted, and everyone’s daily actions — especially masking and social distancing — matter tremendously,” Bolton told students.