Over the RainboWoo Not deterred by virtual clouds

Kaylee Liu

Features Editor

 

On Wednesday, Sept. 9, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) hosted their annual welcome back event for LGBTQIA+ students and allies, Over the RainboWoo. The goals of this event were to forge friendships and get students in contact with supportive staff and faculty. This is especially important for queer first years trying to make fellow LGBTQIA+ friends and to get connected with the larger queer community at Wooster. Being a first-year comes with many struggles, so this event was meant to alleviate some of the stress for queer students who might have a harder time than some finding their place. Due to social distancing restrictions, the event was hosted over Zoom rather than in the Compton basement lounge, meaning students and staff had to forgo the snacks and refreshments usually provided. Despite this, the rest of the evening  was relatively similar, with students and staff engaging in meet and greet activities along with icebreakers. The event also connected students with support resources like the CDI’s recurring Trans & Nonbinary and Queer Support Groups, weekly support groups that help students learn mindfulness techniques and build bonds with fellow students with similar identities. 

Over the RainboWoo is part of the CDI’s larger efforts to foster a welcoming and supportive atmosphere on campus. One can tell that their efforts have paid off with the proliferation of pronoun badges and pride flag stickers on campus. Other events that CDI hosts for LGBTQIA+ students include Gender and SexualiTea, a monthly event which allows the campus to have an ongoing dialogue about the intersections of gender and sexuality, and LGBTQIA+ History Month, which is celebrated annually in October. There are also multiple queer student groups on campus like the Queer People of Color (QPOC) and the Queer Student Union (QSU), which are open to all students on campus regardless of sexuality or gender identity. If you’re interested in any of these events, do swing by at one of their recurring meetings. You might learn something new, and even if you don’t, you’re guaranteed to make new friends. More information about CDI-hosted events can be found in their newsletter, by contacting Melissa Chesanko (mchesanko@wooster.edu) or by reaching out to student led organizations like QPOC and QSU via their Instagrams, @wooqpoc and @woosterqsu, respectively.

Franmil Reyes: An underappreciated MLB powerhouse

Chloe Burdette
Editor in Chief

Franmil Reyes. When I say that name, does it ring a bell? If you aren’t a sports fan, I am sure you are completely clueless. But, even a baseball fanatic might not recognize the name. Why? Well, in my opinion, it is because he is one of the most underappreciated names in Major League Baseball — and he deserves better than that. 

 

For those who are unaware, Franmil Reyes is a six-foot-five, 270-pound powerhouse from Palenque, Dominican Republic. Beginning his MLB career with the San Diego Padres at age 22 in 2018, he had a batting average of .280 and a slugging percentage of .480, which is pretty decent for a man his size and stature. His defense was nothing to shake a stick at, but it wasn’t phenomenal. But there is one thing for sure — if he got a hold of the ball, he hit it hard. As a rookie, the Padres found it difficult to gauge his talent as a hitter, but they knew he had power and it was only a matter of time before he blew up the league. 

 

Reyes’s time with the Padres was a game of back-and-forth. When he was playing for the Padres Minor league affiliate, the El Paso Chihuahuas, he was called up to the Majors right as two of the Padres’ best players were put on the disabled list. It was Reyes’s time to shine. During his MLB debut, Reyes hit his first homer on May 21, 2018, and Padres fans were excited for their talented new rookie. Yet after only two weeks, one of the two regulars was healthy again, which sent Reyes back down to the Minors. On July 10 of that same year, he was brought back again with a whole new hitting approach and attitude — only to be sent back down as the second player was revived. He went back and forth a total of four times until he got a somewhat permanent spot on the Padres’ roster. Personally, I wish Reyes hadn’t been tossed around so much because I had faith in him. His power on the plate was quite impressive to watch and the guy had eyes like a hawk when determining balls from strikes. Coming from a baseball family myself, I enjoyed every moment of watching him even when he was playing for the Padres. But then, something magical happened.

 

At the time of the trade deadline in July 2019, the Padres, the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians were part of a surprising three-team deal where the Reds traded center fielder Taylor Trammell to the Padres and pitcher Scott Moss and right fielder Yasiel Puig to the Indians and the Indians traded pitcher Trevor Bauer to the Reds. Lastly, the Padres traded right fielder/designated hitter Franmil Reyes, pitcher Logan Allen and third baseman Victor Nova to the Indians. Confusing? Yes. But this trade brought Reyes to my home team, and the Indians were able to benefit from his overlooked brilliance.

 

In Cleveland, Reyes is surrounded by teammates Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez and together they create a triple-powered hitting squad of sorts. He is so powerful surrounded by those two that he was given the nickname “Franimal.” Absolutely fantastic. One of my favorite articles on Reyes about his ultimate power says this quote: “When he was just a boy, Franmil Reyes derailed a train when he reached out to touch it as it passed. The train flew off of the tracks, burst into flames, and incinerated the nearby woods.” 

 

As of 2020, I think Reyes has proven himself with his stats — his last 30 games he has a slugging percentage of .545 — but I am so excited to see what’s left in the tank for the rest of the season for him. If there are any Reyes fans out there, let me know and I can hook you up with my FOX Sports Go account. No, seriously.

Virtual Comedy Night Features Wooster Alumnus

Geoffrey Allen

Staff Writer

 

Comedy is a medium of entertainment that has evolved alongside human history. From the political satire Greek Athenian plays to the dark comedy of the Korean film “Parasite,” comedy has changed and adapted to new formats over a millenia. Once again this medium is evolving, this time in wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of social distancing measures. While the platform as a whole has been stunted, stand-up may be one of the degrees of comedy that would’ve been nullified if it wasn’t for modern technology. That’s where writer, filmmaker, activist and most importantly, Wooster alumni Mamoudou N’Diaye ’14 comes in.

 

Last Saturday, N’Diaye hosted a Zoom “stand-up” comedy performance in partnership with the Wooster Activities Club (WAC). It was an unorthodox, but surprisingly fun, way of performing and experiencing comedy. First and foremost, N’Diaye asked the audience to turn on their video and microphones in order to receive feedback from the audience on his jokes and quips. As a member of the audience, I felt a bit vulnerable at first. As the act went on, however, I felt at ease laughing along with the jokes and stories he told that night. He is a comedian, after all.

 

Like any good comedian, N’Diaye incorporates dark humor into his personal stories of being a Black Ohioan. In between stories based on his general topic of race from the perspective of an African-American male, he transitions to side topics such as the complexities of dating in the ongoing pandemic and the forest fires on the west coast. N’Diaye adds more fuel to this fire by commenting on how Black people in American society are the first to bear the worst of setbacks in these cases. One joke that really had the audience laughing was when N’Diaye convinced everyone that Kix cereal had gone out of business, giving us faulty evidence that was filled with more shock value than truth. 

 

N’Diaye was also consistent with the message that he wanted the audience to take away: “Always second guess.” The biggest information bomb is the fact that he had originally studied as a neuroscience major, emphasizing the untapped potential of studying at a liberal arts college like our beloved Wooster. Unsurprisingly, he expressed distaste in some of the changes to the school including the new but controversial Mom’s menu.

 

Overall, N’Diaye gave a good show despite the technical and physical constraints of a Zoom meeting. The entertainment on Saturday really came down to the pure talent of the artist and it really showed in the enjoyment of myself and my fellow peers. Six years after graduation, N’Diaye uses the comedic talents that he picked up from the Underground wisely and shows potential. You can find N’Diaye online, despite expressing being out of touch with social media for the past two weeks. And don’t worry, he believes a two-state solution is possible for pineapple being a topping on pizza.

https://www.mamoudoundiaye.com/

Fixing the problems of today requires action

Sam Casey

Editor in Chief

 

Approximately one year ago (happy anniversary!), I wrote a Viewpoint about one of my dad’s life philosophies: see a problem, fix a problem (henceforth referred to as S/F, because SAPFAP has the wrong … connotation). The gist is that if you see a problem, you don’t ignore it — you do something about it. Examples included fixing a jam in the printer, picking up garbage and preventing your friend from throwing up in Mom’s. To my delight, people actually came up to me and said how they took my advice. I didn’t do it for the clout, but it was nice to hear that S/F is not too much to ask of human beings.

I’m back for round two because the stakes, my friends, are much higher. S/F needs to be applied on a much larger scale to address the current issues facing our campus community. I’ll start with the most obvious: COVID-19. Not to belabor an already belabored point, but the only way we get through this year is if we all hold our community accountable. We can see this problem. We can fix this problem. We fix it by making sure the guidelines coming from the administration are clear, equitable and enforced. We have awkward conversations with our peers and neighbors who need a reminder about the severe consequences of their actions. We fill out the Scot Daily Health Check because it legitimately takes three seconds.

Okay, COVID, we get it — what else? This summer will be forever defined by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests that occurred in the United States (and all over the world) following the murder of George Floyd, and countless other Black folks, by the police. One of the things that rose out of that national attention was @blackncac, an Instagram page dedicated to posting anonymous stories from students of color from the North Coast Athletic Conference schools. Quickly, the posts became almost exclusively about Wooster, emphasizing the racial injustice that students, faculty and staff of color face at the College. 

If you are white and haven’t read every single post, go do it. The fact that my peers are having a totally different educational experience than me because of their race is completely unacceptable. That’s the problem. How do we fix it? The burden needs to be on the people that look like me. For the Voice, I have covered countless “townhall” meetings following racial incidents on campus and I am always one of a few white people that show up. How many times do we need to hear from BIPOC that they’re exhausted to get the message? President Bolton has said that she reads every single post, yet there was no acknowledgement of that before last week (other than a few performative reposts from Wooster’s own Instagram account). It is the role of The College of Wooster to create a safe space for all their students, not just those that are white.

Am I the epitome of anti-racism? Nope. It’s not like beating the last level of a video game and achieving a forever anti-racist status. We need to recognize the issues right in front of our faces and constantly work on them. We need to keep seeing the problems and doing everything we can to fix them. In the eternal words of Frank Costanza, “I gotta lot of problems with you people, now you’re gonna hear it.”

Starlink upends Earth-based Astronomic Observations

Jonathan Logan

Science & Environment Editor

 

One of Elon Musk’s newest endeavors involves beaming high-speed internet to the entire world. The project, known as Starlink, requires SpaceX (Musk’s flagship company) to launch over 10,000 small satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The official Starlink website states that the project should “rapidly expand to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021.” While this is certainly not the most technically challenging project SpaceX has embarked on, it is one of the most financially risky and disruptive.

A CNBC: Markets article cited SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell in saying that the mega-constellation (as it has come to be known) will cost upwards of $10 billion. Financial analysts believe that, if Starlink is successful, “SpaceX’s valuation could reach as high as $175 billion.” The motivation behind Starlink is not necessarily to make the internet more equitable and accessible. On the contrary, Elon Musk has stated publicly that the global internet project will fund his quest to colonize Mars. Since 2018, when the first batch of 60 Starlinks were launched, astronomy and astrophysics have been totally disrupted. Astronomical observations made by ground-based telescopes have been capturing these ugly, bright streaks slashing across the sky. The small satellites reflect a lot of light – enough to be seen clearly with the naked eye; not to mention a powerful telescope in the Atacama Desert.

Initially, SpaceX responded well to the legitimate complaints from academics and the everyday stargazer, according to an article published in Scientific American by Emily Zhang — an astrophysics major at Columbia University. They prototyped and launched a satellite with an anti-reflective coating in early 2020. The satellite, dubbed “DarkSat,” reflected about half of all incident sunlight. Astronomers recognized the DarkSat as a step in the right direction, but the chains of DarkSats remain highly visible in exposures taken by Earth-based telescopes. Monthly launches have continued to send dozens of the Starlink satellites into LEO.

On the other hand, some scientists continue to politely nudge SpaceX in hopes that they will engineer a solution. This August, an assembly of scientists and satellite experts alike gathered at the virtual Satellite Constellation 1 (SATCON 1) workshop “to provide recommendations for both astronomers and satellite constellation operators (SpaceX) in order to minimize further disruptions.” SATCON 1 resulted in an official report detailing what many believed to be a growing corporate-academic divide. The report stated that the effect of Starlink on “the human experience of the night sky range from ‘negligible to extreme.’” While the typical stargazer might land on the “negligible” side of the spectrum, the scientific endeavors of astronomers and academics all across the globe will become very hard if SpaceX goes through with the launch of an additional 11,000 small satellites.

The future seems bleak for Earth-based observations even after the DarkSats were launched. Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University, believes that the DarkSat is the end of the road; that SpaceX’s ingenuity has been maximized and nothing further can be done. While he was impressed by the DarkSat, McDowell stated that if the mega-constellation did go operational with all 12,000 Starlink satellites, the impact on astronomical research would be irreversible, he communicated to Scientific American. These fears seem to be well-founded as Sir Richard Branson recently decided to join in the billionaire sat-bash, backing OneWeb to compete with Starlink. However, OneWeb bankrupted. It was then acquired by the British government who saw the merits in the program. The battle for LEO is three-dimensional: scientific, corporate and governmental.

Over the COVID-19 shutdown, SpaceX decided to go at the brightness issue one more time. They engineered a satellite that uses a black sunshade to mitigate reflection — essentially a satellite with SPF 10,000 sunscreen. They dubbed these satellites VisorSat and launched a batch early this summer to be tested by astronomers once observatories reopen. Additionally, some experts have suggested putting the satellites into lower orbits. This would decrease the angle between satellites and the Earth, reducing the time they spend in sunlight. However, this would also cause satellite orbits to decay faster, along with corporate patience. In the meantime, scientists are happy to see SpaceX making an effort to resolve the dilemma.

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.”

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