Category Archives: News

Wooster offers 10 summer courses to students

Kate Murphy

News Editor

 

For the first time since 2006, The College of Wooster will be offering courses over the summer. All courses will be taught remotely, using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous modes of learning. This flexibility will allow for students to complete the courses no matter their time zone or summer work schedules. Director of the summer session Madonna Hettinger explains that “One of the reasons we are motivated to start up a new Summer Session is because we know a lot of students have been taking summer courses at other institutions to catch up on credits and we think we can offer them a better experience by offering Wooster courses that are more in line with Wooster’s graduation requirements.”

The courses offered range across various disciplines — biology, English, computer science, Africana studies, environmental studies, global media and digital studies, mathematics, music, psychology and Spanish — and all will count for a full Wooster credit (1.0), meaning that no paperwork or costs of transferring credits will be necessary. The courses will be taught by Wooster faculty. 

Each course will be six weeks long, beginning on May 24 and ending on July 2. The cost of each course is $2,500, which is discounted from the usual $3,050, and need-based financial aid will be available. Students can find out whether they are eligible for financial aid by contacting the Financial Aid office directly at financialaid@wooster.edu.

Summer courses may be taken for a variety of reasons: staying on track for graduation, boosting your GPA, staying connected to Wooster students and faculty or giving your summer a sense of purpose. Hettinger adds that “These courses will help students develop the skills for success in Wooster’s key programs, including Independent Study.  We are also really eager to help students stay engaged over the summer.” Registration for the courses is open online through Scotweb. Any questions can be directed to Professor Hettinger, mhettinger@wooster.edu. To learn more about the courses offered, please visit https://www.wooster.edu/summer-session/index.php

C.O.W. plans commencement; seniors to move out the same day

Bijeta Lamichhane

News Editor

 

On March 25, President Sarah Bolton sent an email to the Class of 2021 detailing plans for commencement this year. While the organizers have taken several factors into account while making the plans to ensure every senior has the opportunity to celebrate — such as planning an outdoor event while also considering the possibility of severe weather — students have expressed concerns about the move-out time being on the same night as the commencement.

I am excited to share that we are moving forward with plans for an in-person Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021, to be held Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m.,” Bolton stated. “All members of the Class of 2021 — including those studying on campus and those studying remotely — are welcome to participate, and we will also be able to welcome a limited number of guests.”

Bolton added that students will also be able to participate in the ceremony virtually.

To comply with social distancing regulations, each graduate will receive two tickets to invite family members or guests. The ceremony is tentatively scheduled to be held at John Papp Stadium.

“The College will make all official weather calls no later than Thursday, May 6,” Bolton detailed regarding the plan to hold an outdoor ceremony.

The College has also made arrangements to hold the commencement ceremony at McGaw Chapel in case of severe weather. However, if the commencement is held in the Chapel, guests will gather separately at the Timken Gymnasium in the Scot Center to meet COVID-19 regulations. The event is set to start at 9 a.m., where students will march through the Arch and the commencement ceremony will start an hour later.

Several students have expressed excitement regarding the plan for the ceremony and the College’s determination to make it happen. “Overall, I feel great about the College’s plan for commencement,” Dante King ’21 said. “I’m so excited that our parents and other family and friends will get to attend in person!”

Another senior Dũng Chí Nguyễn ‘21 also echoed King’s sentiment. “It was a shame that our seniors last year could not have a graduation ceremony due to the sudden emergence of COVID, but it is impressive to see how far we have managed to come from that point,” he said. “Giving each senior two tickets is also a good thing, but hopefully will be done with caution, since quite a few seniors will be inviting family members from outside The States. I feel hopeful! The College has done a good job with managing the campus during the academic year so far.”

Although most seniors are excited about the graduation celebration, they have also mentioned discontent regarding the move-out time, which is at 8 p.m. on the day of the commencement.

“The move-out date being on the same day is a huge inconvenience, if I can be honest,” Dung said. “Before we reach the commencement date, there are a lot of responsibilities that seniors specifically have to deal with. These include finishing up I.S. procedures if we had not done so already, paperwork for possible employment, preparing for graduation and making the last memories with friends. For students from countries that are still not allowing the flights back like me, it is even harder to plan out our exact nearest future plan due to the predicament we are in. With these in mind, it would have been more favorable if the college had given us more leniency regarding the move-out date.”

Yuta Nitanai ’21, another international student graduating this year, also shared his dissatisfaction regarding the move-out time. “[Moving out] will be too much work for many seniors, especially for international seniors, to move out on the same day of Commencement,” Nitanai said. “I hope that the College changes their plan and delays the move-out time so that we will have some flexibility in our travel plans.”

College shares plan to open vaccine clinic “very soon”

Bijeta Lamichhane

News Editor

 

On April 2, President Sarah Bolton sent an email sharing that the College will be partnering with the Wooster Community Hospital to provide a vaccination clinic for the campus community. “The timing depends on exactly when the vaccine is shipped and made available, but we expect to be able to do several clinics on campus within the next two weeks,” Bolton stated. In the coming weeks, those on campus will have access to Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, which only requires one dose for a person to be considered fully vaccinated.

According to the CDC, the vaccine exhibited a 66.3 percent efficacy rate in clinical trials to prevent COVID-19 after two weeks of receiving the vaccine. The vaccine was also fully effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in clinical trials. The CDC has stated that “no one who got COVID-19 at least four weeks after receiving the J&J/Janssen vaccine had to be hospitalized.”

This news comes following Governor Mike DeWine’s announcement that every person in Ohio above the age of 16 would be eligible to receive a vaccine after March 29. In a survey that Bolton had sent after the vaccine eligibility expanded to include college-aged students, 79 percent of the 755 respondents stated that they had already made plans to receive vaccination, and 30 percent had already received their first shots.

Many students have expressed relief about the eligibility as well as the availability of vaccines, and several have been diligent about getting vaccinated as soon as possible. On March 24, Ashland County Health Department announced that anyone over the age of 18 would be able to receive a vaccine that day on a walk-in basis between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and several students took the opportunity to receive their shots. Likewise, several students also called different pharmacies nearby and asked to be put on a ‘no-waste list,’ and many received calls from the pharmacies to get their shots several days before the eligibility to vaccines had expanded. One student, Emma Saxton ’22, shared her experience about how she received her vaccine.

“It was one of my teammates who told me that the Ashland pharmacy had extra vaccines and that I could call to be on the ‘no-waste list’ or to schedule an appointment,” Saxton detailed. “I wasn’t expecting to hear back from them for a while, so I was really surprised when they called me three days later saying they had an extra if I could get there in the next hour. I figured other pharmacies would have similar programs as well to reduce vaccine waste.”

When asked about what the process of getting vaccinated was like, Saxton explained, “The process was pretty easy, I didn’t even need to wait in a line. I just filled out some paperwork and waited 15 minutes afterwards until they said I could go!”

In an effort to offer flexibility with scheduling appointments, the College has also announced that students will be paid for the hours they miss if their appointment conflicts with their work schedule. “If the vaccination is scheduled during the student’s regular work hours, the student will be paid for the time they have missed,” an email sent by Student Employment read. “The supervisor should use the student special pay code (SSP) for that period when approving the student’s time in Scot Web.” It clarified, “If the student is not normally scheduled during the time of the vaccine, they would not receive any pay.”

To schedule a vaccine appointment, visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov/. To learn more about the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, scan the QR code:

 

College takes stand against anti-Asian hate crimes

Samuel Boudreau

Senior News Writer

 

On Friday, March 26, members of the College and the Wooster community came together at the Kauke Arch and Wooster Square to march in solidarity against the rise in hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community (AAPI).

The event was organized by multiple student groups on campus: Asian Supporters in Action, Chinese Scholars and Student Association and Women of Images.

On March 16, a gunman targeted three Atlanta-based spas, killing eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent. The victims of the hate crime were Soon Chung Park, age 74; Hyun Jung Grant, age 51; Suncha Kim, age 69; Yong Ae Yue, age 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33; Paul Andre Michels, age 54; Xiaojie Tan, age 49 and Daoyou Feng, age 44.

The Atlanta shooting is one of the many crimes against the AAPI communities that have intensified in violence and numbers since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. 

In a recent study, the Pew Research Center found that nearly “four-in-ten Black and Asian adults say people have acted as if they were uncomfortable around them because of their race or ethnicity since the beginning of the outbreak.”

In another recent report, STOP AAPI HATE, a center launched amidst escalating hate crimes against the APPI community, documented 3,795 hate incidents against the AAPI community. The center found types of discrimination to be 68.1 percent verbal harassment, 20.5 percent shunning, 11.1 percent  physical assault, 8.5 percent  civil rights violations and 6.8 percent as online harassment. Intersectionally, the study shows that women were victims 2.3 times more than men.

On Wednesday, March 17, a day after the Atlanta shooting, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker told the press that Long, the gunman, “was pretty much fed up and had been, kind of, at the end of his rope. And yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.” Baker also told reporters that “[Long] apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places. And it’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.” 

“When I was reading [Capt. Jay Baker’s] response to the incident, it did not sit well with me,” Zoe Seymore ’23, a member of Women of Images and AAPI community told community members at the march.

“I knew something had to be done,” Seymore continued, “because Asian people in America face a lot of oppression, whether it is through being fetishized or being told that we have to do well in school and it is very much overlooked because we’re the ‘model minority.’ I didn’t want to sit around and hear all these stories about the heartbreaking things happening to the Asian community, so that is why the shooting motivated me to pursue action.”

Dr. Ziying You, Assistant Professor of Chinese and East Asian Studies at the College, is Seymore’s faculty advisor for her sophomore research assistant position. Dr. You’s current research focuses on the discrimination faced by Chinese women and adoptees in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. With Seymore’s assistance, Dr. You found that Chinese adoptees and women “experienced different kinds of discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We heard some heartbreaking stories,” Dr. You told the Voice, “The killing in Atlanta just made us all very angry and heartbroken. We wanted to do something for our community and to support our Asian American students.”

During a Sophomore Research Assistant meeting on March 19, Seymore told Dr. You that she wanted to do something, to create a safe space for Asian-American faculty, staff and students to talk about recent events and to heal together.

“We always talk about wanting to do something and then we never get it done. So I wanted to do something and I wanted to start something,” Seymore stated.

Dr. You connected Seymore with Kejun (Coco) Liu ’22 — a Wooster senior and President of Chinese Scholars and Students Association — and Alicia Krielaart ’22, President of Asia Supporters in Action (ASiA).

On March 20, Dr. You emailed all of her colleagues at the College to help plan an event to commemorate the dead in Atlanta and for AAPI students to speak out on their experiences, emotions and reflections. Highly encouraged by a large number of responses from faculty and staff at the College, a planning meeting for an event was organized on Sunday, March 21. 

While the initial plan was to organize a discussion panel, 17 faculty, staff and students decided to plan a March for Asian Lives. Instrumental in planning the march was Dr. Désirée Weber of the Political Science department, who has helped organize daily Black Lives Matter Protests in Downtown Wooster since the death of George Floyd. 

On Monday, March 22, Dr. You sent out a campus-wide email with a poster for the March on Friday, March 26 at the Kauke Arch and the Wooster Square. 

“We are AAPI. Neither white, nor Black. People in this community have always faced hate or unfair treatments. The pandemic has just amplified it.  Among us, people were taunted, pushed, slashed, and now, even murdered. The case in Georgia was just a few of over 3,000 reported incidents in the past year. The increasing hate has been making AAPI feel like foreigners to the country day by day,” Liu writes. 

When asked what it meant to see the initiative from Liu and Seymore, Dr. You said  that “It means a lot to me and I see hope in them. I really admire their courage. They came out and spoke up for their own communities.” “I see their strong power and strong willingness to change the unjust, to build a more just and diverse future and society,” said Dr. You. “They have made significant impacts in our communities and I think they’ll make more influential changes in the future.” 

On the day of the March, Seymore told the Voice that she wasn’t expecting many people to show up. However, nearly 250 people were present. 

“I was very happy. I felt very loved and supported by everyone,” said Seymore. 

Liu agrees with Seymore and said that the turnout was a securing message for those they are worried about at the College. “The community is sending a message to me that I can [graduate] without worrying too much, without carrying that weight, without trying to help everyone with the stress that I have, which is impossible, so it is a huge support.” 

In their speech at the Wooster square, Liu touched on the intensifying acts of discrimination that they and their family faced since the pandemic. Liu told the crowd that some people in Wooster stared, spit and yelled, “Go back to China,” at them. On campus, Liu said that someone threw a Chinese flag in the trash in the language suite in Luce Hall. Liu also revealed that their nearest cousin was physically attacked. These acts of discrimination directed towards Liu led to severe depression, weight loss and panic attacks. Fortunately, through faith and love with their host family, Liu recovered during the summer. 

“This country has beautiful lies about equality and freedom,” Liu told the march, “the Atlanta shooting ten days ago and the spike of thousands of hate-fueled attacks against the AAPI community is painful, frustrating and unacceptable.” 

While hate incidents intensified against the AAPI community since the start of the pandemic, racist and xenophobic acts of discrimination against the community have occurred for centuries. 

In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited all immigration of Chinese laborers, and during the 1918 influenza pandemic, Anti-Asians were blamed for the outbreak. In the 1940s, 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps.

Mochi Meadows’ ’24, a speaker at the march, explained how their grandmother spent two years of her childhood in an internment camp and their great uncle was born in a camp. 

“This narrative of assimilation that America has pushed on the Asian American community since day one is still continuing to this day and it is disgusting and filled with hate.”

Meadows told the Voice that “The conversations I have with my Asian American friends is sometimes about discrimination, but it is more about erasure of identities because there’s a pushing of this ‘model minority narrative,’ so we occupy this weird space in-between outright discrimination, racism, exclusion and not full integration into what is considered a social norm.”

When also asked what they hope students take away from the march, Liu said that we must understand that racism is not “away [from us], but that it is around us  … it’s everywhere.”

Liu stated that, as a community, we need to focus less on stereotyping people and more on building personal connections and relationships, improving how we teach Asian American and Black history in textbooks, responding more effectively to hate crimes against the AAPI community and eliminating anti-voting laws enacted by state legislators. “All of these are happening and there can be a better solution as a country, as a person.”

On the College level, Liu noticed that “many Asian Americans don’t master English and don’t understand what is written, what support is given, and what they can do for it. The infrastructure can improve for them.”

“Many times, I found that international, especially Asian, students are not confident about their language,” Liu stated.

When Liu came to the United States five years ago, the first sentence they said to their high school class was “I am sorry that my English is not good and please bear with me … please point out my mistakes.”

Now, in a group project for their education course at Wooster, a first-year Vietnamese student told Liu and the group they were in that “I’m sorry if I make any mistake. My English is bad, and I am so sorry.”

“I hope people take away from this that it’s going to take a long time and it’s going to take all of us coming together and working towards creating that change,” Seymore noted.“Continuing to try to do the best you can, even if it’s just asking the community, ‘what can we do better?’ Just knowing that someone cares enough to reach out, I think is a really good way to start showing your support.”

While the march brought hundreds of community members together, Seymore made it clear that the memorial was just the starting point in creating positive change at Wooster and beyond.

After the march, Dr. You and members of the College community organized an anti-racism reading group. The group meets on Sundays from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. and is open to the Wooster Public. If you’re interested in joining the “STOP AAPI HATE” teams’ group, you can email Dr. You at zyou@wooster.edu.

“Even in Chinese and East Asian Studies, there are not too many professors that work in that department and not a whole bunch of classes,” Seymore stated. “Our main goal is to educate people, educate everyone at Wooster to let them be aware of discrimination towards minorities, towards women, and towards other marginalized groups.”

In her closing remarks at the march, Seymore told the crowd that “now is our time to start building a new future for us and our children. Things are not going to change over night. One march and one speech wont change systems. It will take time and all of us working together. With the right people and the right [steps], I believe we can begin to make this world a better place.” 

 

In-person fall semester as vaccine availibility rises

Sam Boudreau 

Senior News Writer

 

As spring embraces The College of Wooster community with warm weather and sunny days, President Sarah Bolton notified the campus community on March 10 that the College plans to welcome back all students in person for the upcoming fall semester, which will begin on August 25. Bolton wrote, “We have carefully studied the accelerating vaccine roll-out, the pandemic’s trajectory, and our own strength in using evolving public health strategies to keep the campus safe as we expand campus activities.”

Regarding the vaccine rollout, Governor Mike DeWine announced on March 16 that all Ohioans over age 16 will be eligible to get the vaccine by March 29. A week earlier, the Ohio Department of Health launched a centralized website for Ohioans to view their eligibility to receive the vaccine. To check your eligibility, visit https://gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov

On March 16, Bolton wrote that DeWine’s vaccine update “is fantastic, as the expert reviews of scientific evidence show that the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are safe and very effective in preventing severe illness.”

Christopher Roche ’23 is one of the 695 Wayne County residents from the ages of 20-29 to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of March 16. When asked how the vaccination sign-up process went, Roche told the Voice that it was “surprisingly easy.” Roche continued, saying that “with the ‘Get The Shot’ sign-up process online that Ohio.gov has set up, it was fairly seamless. There weren’t too many obstacles that I can think of. My family and I were able to sign up and get an appointment within minutes.”

Along with Roche, only 4.72 percent of 20 to 29-year-old residents in Wayne County have received a dose of the vaccine, while only 0.28 percent of residents under 20 have started the vaccination process, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

In total, 18,901 Wayne County residents have started the vaccination process, which is 16.33 percent of the county’s total population. Since the initial rollout of the vaccine on Dec. 26, daily vaccinations in Wayne County have increased to the point where 1,252 individuals received a shot in a single day, as reported on March 11.

While more residents will receive the vaccine in the county, Ohio Health Department data shows that large segments of populations who have been eligible for the vaccine since January have not started the vaccination process. Only 44.4 percent of 65-69-year-old Wayne County residents have “started the vaccine.”

According to Bolton, many students asked whether the College will have a vaccine supply. She wrote  that “vaccines are only being supplied to the public sites around the state.” Ohio currently has 2,051 vaccine-provider locations with Wayne county having 13 administered locations. Locations in close proximity to the College, all in Wooster, include:

  • Walmart, 3883 Burbank Rd. 
  • Rite Aid Store 03028, 1955 Cleveland Rd.
  • Wooster Community Hospital, 1761 Beall Ave.
  • Marcs Pharmacy Wooster, 1799 Portage Rd.
  • Discount Drug Mart, 629 Beall Ave.
  • Wayne County Health Department, 203 S. Walnut St.

Bolton noted that College is “working on finding ways to facilitate access” and keep students informed of additional vaccine options.

Along with all students on campus for the fall, Bolton wrote that the College “anticipate[s] supporting students studying in approved Off-Campus Study programs through [the] Global Engagement Office.” With these updates, studying abroad is more likely to happen this year. One of the students planning to study abroad is Kayla Stevens ’23, who hopes to study abroad in Tokyo, Japan during the fall 2021 semester to learn about her heritage and to indulge in her love of travel. Stevens told the Voice, “Throughout the entire study abroad application process I didn’t have very high hopes and I kept reminding myself that there’s always a chance it won’t work out due to safety concerns.” Stevens “always wanted to participate in a study abroad program in college — [as] it seems like such an enriching opportunity.” When she heard news of the College supporting study abroad programs next semester, she gained hope and encouragement.

While the College community prepares for the mass-distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, many reflect on the challenges, hardships and lessons learned from this past year. Roche, who has studied remotely due to being at high risk for COVID-19, wrote, “Honestly, I am incredibly happy that the College is opening in the fall. This year of quarantine has been really tough for me, especially without being able to see my amazing friends that I’ve made at Wooster. With that said, I am incredibly grateful that I got to spend this year with my wonderful family.”

When asked what he has learned in quarantine, Roche said that “the biggest thing I will take away from this period of my life will be to never take life for granted. Life is too precious and filled with unexpected changes to not have fun, be kind and just enjoy life for what it is. Ups and downs.”

While the plans for fall semester are not yet set in stone, a return to some level of normalcy seems probable as the country makes progress in making vaccines available to the general public.

College plans celebrations for the Class of 2021

Kate Murphy

News Editor

 

As the end of the academic year approaches, the following are some important dates, celebrations and options that the senior class, as well as the entire student body, should keep in mind. All Independent Study (I.S.) submissions have been moved online, but the College has taken steps to make the process as normal as possible to imitate previous years. An option to book a time to have a Tootsie Roll photoshoot was implemented earlier this semester and will be available until March 29. The day also marks the final day for seniors to submit their projects, after a one-week grace period that has been granted due to COVID-19. The senior and up to nine others of their choice will be allowed access to the inflatable Tootsie Roll for a ten minute slot. Along with these festivities, I.S. celebration bags will be available at the Dean of Students Office in Galpin Hall for seniors on campus to stop by and pick up. Seniors who are studying remotely this semester will be mailed the celebratory bag. To sign up for a Tootsie Roll photoshoot slot, visit https://wooster.edu/info/2020-2021-guide/seniors/independent-study/

Senior Research Symposium continues to be an option for any and all seniors who wish to share their Independent Study projects with friends, family members, faculty and staff. On Friday, April 16 the 2021 Senior Research Symposium will be held virtually from 8 a.m. to midnight (EDT). This will allow the College of Wooster community to experience senior presentations and engage in a live Q&A with presenters about their projects, as is tradition. This will be the second year that Wooster has held a virtual symposium, the Class of 2020 being the first to spearhead the new experience. A link to the virtual symposium will be available at 8 a.m. on April 16. Members of the Class of 2021 who wish to participate must complete an online submission form and attach all necessary documentation no later than April 2. The symposium submission form and other information can be found at https://wooster.edu/academics/research/is/symposium/submission/

While I.S. celebrations and Virtual Symposium have been able to remain as traditional as possible despite the circumstances, the issue of commencement continues to be uncertain. After holding a meeting and sending out a survey to seniors to gather input, President Sarah Bolton sent a letter to the seniors and parents of the Class of 2021. Bolton wrote, “We really appreciated the discussion about commencement itself, as well as other important ceremonies like the multicultural stoling, academic prizes, musical performances and lavender graduation. Our goal in planning the ceremonies is to provide the greatest possible opportunity to celebrate your graduation and all you have achieved, consistent with safety and public health.”

Senior responses heavily favored an in-person graduation with as much normalcy as possible. Bolton acknowledged these wishes, saying, “While we do not yet have guidance from the State of Ohio, we are very optimistic that we will be able to hold in-person commencement ceremonies for those seniors studying on campus this semester. Our ongoing campus COVID-testing program makes us confident that we can gather seniors safely, with masks and social distancing, without risking transmission.”

Another aspect of commencement that is under discussion is the inclusion of the seniors’ family members being allowed to attend in-person. “Our ability to safely include family members and students studying remotely in on-campus ceremonies will depend critically on the national public health situation,” Bolton said, “which we hope will continue to improve with additional vaccinations. Whatever shape our campus ceremonies take, we will provide a robust opportunity for those who cannot be on campus to watch and participate virtually.” 

While plans for graduation this spring are still uncertain, The College of Wooster seems to be favoring an in-person, although modified, celebration. Until then, seniors are encouraged to share their work on April 16 during Virtual Symposium and take advantage of the Tootsie Roll photoshoot!