Trevor Nelson is a Politics major from Kennebunk, Maine. He cites a lifelong interest in politics as a reason why he’s running for President of the Class of 2022, saying that “naturally, the two, hand in hand, kind of go.” He wants to be someone that the class can look up to and, in some way, shape or form the Class of 2022’s future. He hopes that the campaign process will be a strong way to build bonds within the class and that conversations about the issues the class is passionate about will, hopefully, lead to friendships.
Trevor personally disagrees with the College’s intervisitation policy but understands that “more than anything else, we’re at a Catholic school with monks on campus…who have set these standards for us.” He acknowledged that the Class of 2022 is not the first freshman class on campus to take issue with the policy but argues that it is a unifier among the class as it is something many students are passionate about.
He also expressed support for keeping the campus green and clean, advocating for increased recycling and trash receptacles around campus, especially near the entryway to Dominic Hall. Trevor also pointed out that the campus uses “a lot of water” to keep the ground looking as good as it does.
He has been vocal about joining the Saint Anselm College Democrats but doesn’t think that that will risk alienation of his classmates in the campaign. “I think I can be openminded. I think the school itself is pretty conservative in the nature of its policies but I think you have a really active student body, not just from a liberal or Democratic side but also from a conservative side.” He stressed the importance of giving everyone a voice in the Class of 2022 and on campus.
Trevor chose Saint Anselm College over several other schools in New England. He cited the Politics program as a deciding factor, saying “It’s so hard, when you come here, to not be impressed by the NHIOP and all the courses they offer.” The College is also about an hour and a half from his home, which he described as “a good enough distance to be away but still close enough.” It was the first school he visited last fall during his college search and it stuck with him the most over the four or five other schools he looked at.
His go-to order at the Coffee Ship is a cheese calzone, “countered with one of the fruit or veggie cups” available near the register, probably with an iced tea.
Voting is Wednesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 20.
David Chairez is a Politics major and Philosophy minor from Los Angeles, California. He said the transition from one of America’s largest cities to the Granite State “has been great so far” but worries that may change once the weather changes and it gets colder. He said a big part of the transition has been his roommates, who “have been so helpful.”
He drew on his background in California, a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds, to come up with his desire to see a campus more united and more diverse. “It’s a thing of trying to encourage people to just be themselves,” he said “Be [whatever] culture they’re from…whatever you consider yourself to be…” He went on, “Don’t be afraid to show who you truly are.” David wants Saint Anselm College to be a safe space to show one’s true colors.
In high school, David was a member of the Associated Student Body, which is similar to a Student Government Association. Senior year, he was Class President and played a key role in raising funds for prom and dances, as well as organizing volunteers at football games and working with his high school’s Campus Ministry program. In an effort to involve the community with Saint Anselm College, David proposes holding a fair or carnival on campus. “I’m sure there’s a lot of money that goes into it,” he said on the topic of a fair, “But there’s also a lot of money we could get out of it.”
On the ongoing Class of 2022 debate over intervisitation, David said the discussion “only shows the times we’re getting into with younger generations coming into college.” He said he is fully supportive of ending the policy of intervisitation but recognized that it is going to be difficult because “we are a Catholic school and we do have those beliefs.” The process of change would go through the Monastic community and require something “not too aggressive but that shows that it is something that means a lot to us.”
He chose Saint Anselm College when he visited in April. He was looking for “a small school with that intimate relationship with professors and with other students.” He didn’t want to get lost in the crowd at a big school. David said that he knew Saint Anselm College was the place for him immediately upon arriving at the Hilltop “with that sense of family.” He said he knew it “would be difficult leaving California but, at the same time, it will be best for me to grow more as a person.” His favorite class is the freshman humanities course Conversatio, which is a very Anselmian course in its nature.
Although he is a New York Yankees fan, David said he would take off his Yankees hat when the Boston Red Sox win the 2018 World Series. His go-to order at the Coffee Shop is the buffalo chicken dip.
Gina Gagliardi is a Nursing major from Somerset, Massachusetts, near Fall River. Her campaign slogan is “The girl with the smile will go the extra mile.” Immediately upon meeting her, it is clear why. Her smile, ear to ear, is hugely infectious.
She said she didn’t have any intentions to run for Student Government but, after arriving on campus, was persuaded by one of her new friends. She said she would have run for any of the positions and the presidency is just the one that fit the best because her goal is to “make St. A’s a better place and make everyone happy.”
She stressed the importance of having “fun fundraisers.” When asked for examples, she supplied several, including a campus scavenger hunt. Most of the prizes, she hoped, would be donated by the community and students would participate through an entry fee. For the colder months, Gina suggested a game night, hosted by the Class of 2022 but open to the entire campus population with an admission fee. Class baking competitions or a barbeque-style cookout were also suggested as ways to build bonds between the class while also raising necessary funds. She believes her experience as the Vice President of her Best Buddies chapter and attending a leadership conference at Indiana University are boons in the process of planning and organizing such events.
Gina has enjoyed running for president of her class. Her first step in her plan to “make everyone happy?” Bake cookies. In the Joan of Arc Hall kitchen, she baked enough cookies for every member of the Class of 2022. She acknowledged that there is stiff competition from the other candidates, arguing that, since they are all Politics majors, they have a head start on her in terms of speech writing and “the political scheme of things.”
She said what sets her apart is that she’s trying to take everyone’s opinions into account when coming up with campaign proposals, instead of focusing on “a few loud voices,” such as those that have been driving the discussion around intervisitation.
She said she was “taken by surprise” when those came up during class speeches and the Q&A period. Gina acknowledged that “there is a reason why [the policy is] there” and stressed her desire to “respect the [Monastery’s] wishes as much as possible because they live here for their lifetime; we live here for four years.”
She said any changes to the policy would have to come through a roundtable discussion but she wasn’t sure what kind of role she would have in it since school-wide policy falls under the purview of the Student Senate and its members more so than the class presidents.
Gina chose Saint Anselm College because it immediately “felt like home and felt like they wanted [her].” She cited Davison Dining Hall as a major factor in Saint Anselm College feeling like home, saying that “the food is great.” She emphasized that that experience of eating the same food she’s going to eat for the next four years, rather than something special for admissions, was a big deal for her. Gina’s go-to order at the Coffee Shop is mozzarella sticks for a snack or a teriyaki steak sandwich if she’s getting a meal.
If you’re looking for her around campus this weekend, unfortunately, you won’t be able to find her. She is heading home for Ed Sheeran’s concert at Gillette Stadium on Friday night but she said she “almost didn’t want to leave” Saint A’s, and wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the English pop star and wanting to see her dog.
Voting is Wednesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 20.
As students new and returning moved onto the hilltop for the fall semester, they were faced with the reality that their tuition dollars just don’t go as far as they used to. They slowly learned of a series of budget cuts across departments that drastically impact day-to-day life here at Saint Anselm College.
At the first residence hall meetings of the year, RAs informed their residents that laundry services on campus were now technically ‘free.’ The cost of laundry, however, is now included in the overall tuition and fees each student pays to attend Saint Anselm College. In some residence halls, RAs told their residents that because laundry is free, printing now costs the students. The decision to cut free printing seems to be the cut most directly felt by the student body.
Saint Anselm College utilizes a print anywhere system, which students can access from their personal computer or any school computer and swipe their ID card at a printer station to print documents. In the past, printing was free and students could reload allocated printing funds onto their card free of charge. As of this semester, students will be allocated fifty dollars to use for printing. Once they use up all of the allotted funds, students must use their own money to refill their printing funds. What once was commonly referred to as “monopoly money” has suddenly become much more real, without any official notice.
Students have found this problematic for many reasons. Many departments on campus require seniors to write a thesis, which can range anywhere from 25 to 40 pages, or more. In addition to printing their theses, students typically print out the sources they cite which also tend to be lengthy. Isabelle Daigle, a senior in the Politics Department said, “My thesis combined with all of my sources totals to around one thousand pages of paper if I decide to print it all.”
Seniors are not the only one who have been impacted by this change in policy. Students in the nursing department are required to print large amounts of documents for class. If they run out of printing money, these students will have to use their own money to pay for printing, which could amount to hundreds of dollars and negatively impact their learning experience.
Cassandra Bigelow ‘20, a nursing major, explained that she prints daily for her classes and regularly goes through the printing allotment. Now, she feels forced to look elsewhere. “I have been trying to find ways to avoid printing while still keeping up with my classes,” she said, indicating that avoiding printing is forcing her to reevaluate how she studies for classes and takes notes. She continued, “Some majors don’t do a lot of printing, but I know that all nursing majors are disappointed with this policy change and are having to find different ways to study effectively.”
Dennis Aveta ‘20, also expressed his disappointment in the decisions. “I already went through $20 of printing to print a required lab manual. I wasn’t happy when I found out I had to pay for printing.” He continued, “I like the fact that laundry is free, but I think the student body should have been consulted in this decision process.”
In addition to theses, lengthy nursing assignments, and lab materials, students are likely to be affected across all disciplines. Multiple professors maintain strict laptop-free classrooms and require students to print all reading material, even if it could be easily accessed on the web. Certain professors have asserted that this not only increases focus during class but that reading paper sources with a pen in hand is more beneficial for reading comprehension.
The College has not issued any formal statement about the new pay-to-print policy. When asked to elaborate on the college’s decision-making process regarding printing, Chief of Staff Neil Levesque did not return The Hilltopper’srequest for comment.
Outside of the academic sphere, there are various clubs and organizations on campus that rely heavily on the old free printing system.
When asked for a comment, members of the debate team said that instead of paying for printing through the college, they would be using their own private printer in the debate office. Presumably, the club has decided that is a more cost-effective approach than using the print anywhere system. Cassy Moran ‘19, a member of the debate team, said, “As a member of debate team, I need to print a lot of materials that can be very expensive throughout the year. Last year I had to refill my card every week or so. If I were to use the public printers, it would be very difficult to balance between that and printing all of my classwork.” In addition to the debate team, the Model UN Club also typically prints large documents that they need to prepare for when they compete at Harvard Model United Nations.
Though it is clear that the printing restrictions have received overwhelmingly negative feedback, there are potential benefits, such as decreased paper use. However, the Green Team did not answer when asked about the positive environmental impact of the new policy.
The College has not addressed the changes and failed to respond to The Hilltopper’s repeated request for insight into the decision.
There have also been cuts to work-study budgets in various departments on campus, such as the Athletics Department. At a recent meeting in the Athletic Department, Neil Duval explained to student workers that although a student might be allotted $1,000 in work-study money, each department is only allowed to spend a certain amount on work-study students. So in reality, if a student has $1,000, they may only be allowed to earn half of this amount within the department. Duval emphasized that although this new regulation has been put in place, the department would do its best to ensure that all students would be able to earn their full work-study amount, even if this meant spreading students out with multiple campus jobs.
Budget cuts have impacted the library as well. The Geisel Library was previously open weekdays until 2 a.m. but is now only open until midnight during the week. Geisel librarian Martha Dickerson confirmed that these cuts to library hours of operation were due to campus-wide budget cuts. While the library and other campus facilities did send out emails containing hours of operation, there was no formal email sent explaining why hours had been cut.
Students have already felt the pressure of shorter hours. Liam O’Rourke ‘19 said, “The first time that I heard of the library’s new hours was last night at 11:45 right before the library closed. While there are other options on campus, the library is the most resourceful place to complete work. It doesn’t make sense that these hours are limited.”
O’Rourke is not the only student frustrated by the change in the library’s hours. Others, like Elise Bouchard ‘19, say they have been repeatedly kicked out of the library at closing. “While I understand that closing the library at midnight is due to budget cuts, it is a serious restraint that negatively impacts students,” she said. Bouchard went on to emphasize the negative impact the budget cuts are having on students’ ability to learn. “It is simply a decision which limits students and does not facilitate a studying environment consistent with the course load which we receive.”
Every year, a new class arrives on the hilltop, and it is up to them to elect their leadership to guide them through an inaugural year of learning and change. This year is no different as the Class of 2022, Saint Anselm College’s largest class in history, met on Wednesday night to hear from candidates for the Student Government Association.
The first people to speak were the candidates for Senate. There are four candidates running for four senate seats. They are Michael Baumgartner, Jackson Peck, Aidan Pierce, and Kate Shubert.
Peck promised to work on campus-wide issues, like allowing students to get back unused meal plan funds at the end of the year. He also addressed recent budget cuts with an air of skepticism. “I want to know where my money’s going,” he told the class, noting that services seemed to be decreasing while tuition and fees increased.
Aidan Pierce promised he was “the best person to find out” what matters to the Class of 2022. He emphasized growing up in a working-class family. As a young teenager, Aidan worked jobs to help support his family. He noted that his financial aid package made him believe that Saint Anselm College wanted him here, and now he wants to give back to the school.
Like the candidates before him, Michael Baumgartner talked about a “vision for the future.” He promised class members that he would fight for them. “Nothing will be as important to me as listening to your concerns and ideas,” he explained.
The most rousing of the speeches came from Kate Shubert, a Politics major, who told the class she originally planned to run for class president. She raised eyebrows and drew applause when she argued that the issue she heard about most from classmates was that Saint Anselm College “pretends sex doesn’t exist.” She noted that the college’s Catholic tradition prevents the school from providing students with contraceptives that can prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases. She called providing condoms to students a “matter of safety.”
Shubert’s bold policy proposal immediately shifted the attitude of the room. In the question and answer periods for the senate, vice presidential, and presidential candidates, the issue of safe sex dominated. Members of the Class of 2022 expected candidates to take a stand on whether or not they believed that contraceptives should be readily available from the school and how they planned to implement such a change.
Vice presidential candidate Brendan Joyce, the tenth member of the Joyce family to attend Saint Anselm College, raised concerns about the college’s intervisitation policy and said he wanted to work on a change to the policy while vice president. He also spent his speech talking about the values instilled in him as a child, saying his father always told him it was “more important to be a good man than a great man.” He said he believed the same of Saint Anselm College and would work to get the school there. Joyce also expressed a desire to bring a fountain to campus.
His speech was followed by Tyler Cullen, a Londonderry, New Hampshire resident who emphasized his experience as a representative of his high school peers on the Londonderry School Board. As a student representative, Cullen said he had to deal with issues that are comparable to the ones facing Saint Anselm College, such as dealing with campus security in the wake of the Parkland shooting. During the question and answer period, Cullen voiced support for Shubert’s proposal regarding contraceptives while noting a deep respect for the monastery. He also expressed a desire to work on recycling and avoiding littering on campus.
The most competitive race for the Class of 2022 is that of president, as is typical in freshman classes. There are four candidates: Sean Bentley, David Chairez, Gina Gagliardi, and Trever Nelson.
Nelson is a resident of Kennebunkport, Maine. He talked about his time working in student council as a high school student and his desire to be involved in the College Democrats while on campus. In the question and answer period, Nelson showed a deep concern for keeping the campus clean and preserving its beauty.
David Chairez hails from Los Angeles, California. He’s a Post Malone fan and self-described “nerd” who said that he immediately felt a sense of family when he arrived on the Hilltop. He shared a vision of inclusion, emphasizing his desire to “unite as one school.” When asked about the issue he cared most about, Chairez noted his desire to make Saint Anselm College the most inclusive and diverse school it can be, hoping to bring people of all backgrounds together.
Another contender is Gina Gagliardi, who introduced herself to the class by declaring, “I like warm hugs.” Unlike many of her opponents, Gagliardi said that she didn’t aspire to run for student government when she came to campus. Instead, one of her friends encouraged to her seek the position. While emphasizing a desire to hold fundraisers so the class is on a strong financial footing, Gagliardi was honest about her biggest goal as class president. “I just want to make you all happy,” she said. Her jovial nature is embodied in her campaign slogan, “The girl with the smile will go the extra mile.”
The final contender for president is Sean Bentley, a Politics major, who spent most of his time talking about school-wide issues, like reducing lines in Davison Hall and bringing a printer to every residence. He also joined others in calling for a change in the intervisitation policy. He hopes to expand the hours before scrapping the restrictions altogether. In high school, Bentley organized a backpack and school supplies drive for needy families.
On the controversial issues of contraceptives and intervisitation, Nelson and Gagliardi emphasized the need to bring both sides together and have an honest dialogue. Bentley and Chairez seemed to be more outraged by policies like intervisitation, promising to work to end the policy.
The candidate with the easiest night was Josh Pratt, a right-handed history and education double major from Concord, New Hampshire. Pratt is the only freshman running for secretary. He promised to be as transparent as possible in order to keep students informed of the issues the class council is discussing. In addition to taking thorough minutes, Pratt is excited to make Saint Anselm College into a home, not simply a school.
Voting is Wednesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 20.
UPDATE: The Hilltopper edited the paragraph about Sean Bentley’s position on intervisitation. He believes that the current policy is too restrictive and supports expanding hours for intervisitation. He hopes to one day end the restrictions altogether. The wording has been changed to better reflect his position.
Hey, y’all! I’m back, but I’m a little unwell because one of my favorite go-to condiments at the Coffee Shop disappeared right in front of our eyes with no explanation why. Here’s what happened: I get back to campus on August 12th to start preparing for one of St A’s greatest programs, Road for Hope. As I walk around campus, I realize the Coffee Shop is under construction and not open. This made me feel uneasy because there was no email about the C-Shop being renovated, or when it was going to re-open during my early arrival on campus. Something was definitely up!
After Road for Hope, I went to the newly-renovated C-Shop and realized the ranch dressing and other famous C-Shop condiments such as the honey mustard and the zinfandel salad dressing have totally vanished from the C-Shop premises.
Betrayal, disappointment, and confusion all hit me at once as I was eating my side order of fries but had nothing to dip them in except for ketchup. There is nothing more satisfying than having C-Shop fries being dipped in the homemade C-Shop ranch.
C-Shop ranch is more than a condiment to some people. This homemade ranch is why people come to St. A’s, and it is also one of the things that bring alumni back to St. A’s. I can honestly say people look forward to having C-Shop ranch during their meals, and now that it is gone, people’s meals are not the same.
Anna Juliano ’19, a C-Shop ranch lover, is rattled and very upset because now her staple C-Shop meals are forever changed unless they bring back the homemade ranch.
If you’re a freshman reading this you might be thinking, Why is this girl going off about a condiment? Let me tell you something: Don’t knock it till you try it. The ranch in the C-Shop currently in the blue container is honestly disgusting. I tried it once thinking, Oh, maybe this will taste okay. Nope! I was so wrong. It tastes awful and does not mesh well with any of the meals I have had at school. So, then I tried it again, because I thought it might deserve a second chance, but no it was still not satisfying my expectations.
I think the thing that bothers my peers and me the most is how C-Shop ranch was taken from us and they still haven’t told the student body why it was taken or if it is coming back.
Don’t get me wrong; I still eat C-Shop especially in the pub because everyone who works there is very kind and helpful but it’s just not the same without the white condiment container that used to reside across the counter.
However, the other day I was at C-Shop when one of my friends, Laura Kane ‘19, ordered a specialty salad and the workers offered her the choice of their homemade ranch. Laura obviously said yes to this choice and then the workers also told her that C-Shop ranch is now back “on the line.” For those of you who don’t know what “on the line” is, it means that if you order a chicken ranch wrap, your wrap will contain the homemade OG ranch as the condiment because it is prepared on the wrap line.
My recommendation to anyone who wants the condiment back where it belongs would be to continue to write napkin notes saying how you want C-Shop ranch or another one of your favorite condiments to come back into your life.
Since then-Senator Barack Obama’s campaign for President in 2008, young people have been a rising tide in American politics. Record numbers of young people are volunteering for campaigns, turning out to vote, and taking an active role in the direction of the country. Young people have also been running for office at record rates. According to a recent Politico article, more than 20 millennials are running for the United States Congress in battleground districts in 2018. There are a handful of organizations that exist to aid young people in running for office, such as the progressive Run For Something and the conservative RNC Youth Coalition.
Saint Anselm College has not been exempt from the groundswell of activity by young adults in America’s political landscape. A sure boon to this is the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and the Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassador Program, which brings a circus of top-level candidates, figures, and organizations on to campus and gives Saint Anselm students direct access to them.
Two former Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassadors have run for office themselves in the past four years, during their time as students on the Hilltop; Joe Alexander ’17 and Cody Aubin ’18. The Hilltopper reached out to them, as well as Casey Pease, on leave from a Political Science program at UMass-Amherst, who is a friend of several Saint Anselm College students and recently ran for State Representative in his home district in Western Massachusetts.
Alexander, 23, is currently running for State Representative in Goffstown, New Hampshire. He said his favorite part of running for office is, “Having good conversations with voters. Most voters are receptive to candidates knocking on doors. Many people want to talk about the issues in town and around the state and value their power to vote. I like talking about the issues to the voters and hearing their perspective.”
Aubin, 23 years old but 18 and 19 when he ran for State Representative in Manchester, had a similar feeling. He told me “My favorite part of running for office was learning what issues were important to my neighbors and what really impacted them in their day to day lives. Even if the issues did not directly impact someone, the depth of knowledge that many people had about issues facing our community and state was inspiring and refreshing.”
Aubin noted the need for more young people to get involved. “Running for office at a younger age provides different and fresh perspectives into the political arena, as well as an age representation that is severely lacking in our political system,” he said. “At the time I was running for office, the average age of the New Hampshire House of Representatives was 68 years old.”
Alexander added, “The only way to have an effect on government is to get involved. I chose to run because I wanted to be a conservative voice for the town.”
Pease, 21, believes that the time is critical for young people to get involved, saying, “Our generation needs to start taking a lead on addressing climate change, college debt, and out of control income inequality. We are the ones most affected by these issues, and we need to start solving them. Now.”
Aubin offered advice for students thinking about running for office, telling them “to wholeheartedly pursue it and run on what is important to you and your community. Issues are not as black and white as they are portrayed and a young person’s voice is valuable to our public discourse. If you know and understand what you are talking about, people will recognize that, listen, and support you if they agree with you.”
Pease was clear that there is no need for younger candidates to wait. “It may seem like an impossible thing. People may say you’re too young. Well, you’re not,” he said. “Do it. But you can’t do it alone. Find a few people who can help advise and serve on your campaign committee.”
Alexander’s advice was more straightforward, “The worst thing that happens is you lose,” he said. “Learn from your mistakes and run again.” He is living this advice. Alexander ran a write-in campaign for State Representative in Concord in 2016, his senior year at Saint Anselm College, and won the Republican primary but came about 200 votes short of defeating the Democratic incumbent. He has since moved to Goffstown, where he serves on the town’s budget committee and is seeking one of the five seats for the town in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
One of the obstacles that many young people see when thinking about running for office is balancing their student responsibilities and the demands of running for office. On this, Alexander said, “I am a full-time graduate student at the University of New Hampshire. It is tough balancing working full time and going to school with the needs of the campaign trail. I have worked hard to knock on as many doors as possible this cycle. Knocking on doors is the most effective way to reach voters but takes time and daylight.”
Aubin, who ran during the fall semester of his freshman year at Saint Anselm College, told me “I had a lot of support throughout the election. The other gentleman who ran with me representing our party worked very closely with me to campaign. He would go door-knocking and do the ‘grip-and-grin’ part of the campaign, while I would do phone calls for voters from my dorm room.”
Pease’s pointed to a different problem: money. “The high cost of campaigns coupled with being a low-income college student was incredibly difficult,” he said. This is consistent with the larger theme of “big money politics” that has become commonplace in the national dialogue since the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), with whom Pease traveled across the country as a staffer.
For Aubin, the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) served as an inspiration in his adventures in politics. He said “[McCain] often said, along with then-Senator Joe Biden, that it was never right to question someone else’s motives in politics for your own political gains. It is always appropriate to challenge their judgment, but never their motives.”
For Pease, the inspiration came from closer to home. His grandmother was the first Selectwoman in his hometown of Worthington, Massachusetts and served for more than twenty years.
Saint Anselm College has called itself New Hampshire’s home for politics for many years now. Each election cycle, presidential hopefuls make their way across the Hilltop and local candidates gather in the NHIOP for the WMUR Granite State Debates. But in the dorm rooms, apartments, and common areas, the students of the College themselves are making their voices heard and finding their own ways to get involved in our nation’s politics. In New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and hometowns across the country, there are openings for young people to become active and play a critical role in their community. Whether it’s as simple as casting a ballot, volunteering for a campaign, or taking the next step and running for office, the moment is ripe for the next generation to step up.
Saint Anselm College is located in Goffstown’s Ward 5 for electoral purposes. Voting takes places at Bartlett Elementary School (689 Mast Road, Goffstown NH 03102). The New Hampshire State Primary is this Tuesday, September 11th and polls are open from 7 AM to 7 PM. Students intending to vote will need to bring appropriate documentation with them proving their primary domicile is in New Hampshire. A student ID will work for this purpose. Starting in June of 2019, students will need a New Hampshire drivers license.
Today, The Hilltopper issues its first official editorial. In an unusual step, we are not speaking with a unified voice about a campus issue of note. We are instead writing about a national issue of grave importance that will directly impact the lives of every person who works, teaches, or learns at Saint Anselm College.
After the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Donald Trump announced he would fill Kennedy’s important seat with Brett Kavanuagh, a jurist of the United State District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Rather than evaluate Kavanaugh’s nomination on solely his judicial experience, as some have done, or solely his judicial leanings, as some have done, The Hilltopper chose to evaluate Judge Kavanaugh’s record and the answers he gave during his confirmation hearings and decide whether or not he fulfills the ten Benedictine Hallmarks and Core Values that help to define what it means to be “Anselmian.” Those ten values are love, prayer, stability, conversatio, obedience, discipline, humility, stewardship, hospitality, and community. It is the opinion of The Hilltopper that in five of these ten values, Judge Kavanaugh falls dramatically short.
The first value is love, defined as the love of Christ and neighbor. Anthony Kennedy, whom Kavanaugh is nominated to replace, has a conservative-leaning judicial philosophy, but it is one rooted in love of Christ and neighbor. With only one notable exception – and it is certainly a large exception – Anthony Kennedy has voted to advance civil rights. On issues like affirmative action, Kennedy’s record is mixed but his important vote in Fisher v. United States (2016), shows it was not the principle of affirmative action that Kennedy objected to but rather the legal justification. In Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), Kennedy cast the deciding vote to guarantee protection for same-sex marriage under the Equal Protection Clause, showing a respect and love for queer neighbors.
When it comes to showing a love for all of his neighbors, Brett Kavanaugh falls short.
The Hilltopper does not pretend to have an intimate knowledge of Kavanaugh’s prayer life, nor do we find “stability” an applicable value in this context.
We do, however, believe that the Kavanaugh nomination falls short in other hallmarks and values of the Benedictine traditions.
A respect for judicial precedent is not only essential to a judicial philosophy of integrity, it is also similar to the Benedictine hallmark of obedience. Benedictine monks are asked to listen to their community, much as one might expect a good judge to listen to the legal community and his judicial forebears, who decided the right of a woman to make her own reproductive health care decisions is implicit in the Constitution.
Kavanaugh has purported to respect precedent. When grilled about his beliefs over Roe v. Wade (1973), Kavanaugh time and time again referred to the fact it is precedent. When Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said that she was concerned over Kavanaugh’s philosophy on choice, he reaffirmed that he believed Roe was “settled law.” However, when pressed in his confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh refused to rule out overturning Roe. Supreme Court candidates of all political persuasions traditionally avoid hypotheticals, and that is to be understood. We don’t want potential justices locked into deciding a case before hearing all of the facts. However, Kavanugh’s commitment to Senator Collins appears to have been a lie.
In an email from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush Administration, Kavanaugh objected to referring to Roe as “settled law.” Stating in full, “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.”
Understanding precedent and its importance is essential to the judicial process. Of course, some Supreme Court cases are wrongly decided, like the infamous Dred Scott case that defined African-Americans as less than a human. However, cases in need of being overturned are rare. It’s why so many people were appalled when the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME (2018) overturned the Court’s ruling in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977).
The current Court has shown an interest in overturning precedent, even though many of the justices, like Kavanaugh, claimed to respect it.
There is even reason to believe that Kavanaugh is willing to go against precedent. In the DC Circuit, he has not restrained from attempting to unravel judicial precedent, even though he has claimed to have the utmost respect for it. In Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA (2012), Kavanaugh sought to undo not one but two Supreme Court rulings.
Kavanaugh’s wholistic record on the environment is problematic beyond the aforementioned ruling.
Another Benedictine hallmark is that of stewardship. Deeply rooted in the Benedictine, and therefore, the Anselmian, tradition is a respect for creation and a concern for that creation. Some prominent figures have lived this out, like Saint Francis of Assisi. Brett Kavanaugh, however, has shown anything but a respect for creation. Interestingly enough, few nominees have ever had a history of dealing with cases pertaining so directly to God’s signature creation, the planet, as Kavanaugh does.
The League of Conservation Voters has done an extensive account of Brett Kavanaugh’s approach to creation. The League points to not one or two but 17 cases in which Brett Kavanaugh sided against the environment. Some might say that a legitimate interpretation of the law led Kavanaugh to the conclusion he made, but Kavanaugh was almost always in the minority in these opinions. Usually, the Supreme Court disagreed with Kavanaugh’s interpretation.
In addition to Kavanaugh’s disregard for stewardship is his disregard for hospitality or, openness to the other. Frequently, students of Saint Anselm College are told of the importance of “Benedictine hospitality” that makes our campus so unique. Tour guides tout our emphasis on openness and inclusivity, using their words and actions to demonstrate that we are a college that is more than congenial or polite but truly welcoming.
Brett Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy lacks any semblance of hospitality. One may say that this is perfectly acceptable, that the law should be cold and void of an individual’s own passions. The Hilltopper does not claim that the personal emotions and feelings of a justice should enter their judicial decisions, but we do see a stunning disregard for “the other,” in Kavanaugh’s approach to issues like reproductive rights, voting rights, and affirmative action. We further believe that a concern for “the other” is essential to a fair judicial system. If the law will not stand with “the other,” who will?
It is hard to imagine that a nominee who excludes love of neighbor, obedience, stewardship of creation, and hospitality to the other can truly fulfill another core tenet of Benedictine communities, the word so familiar to Saint Anselm students: conversatio. How can a good life be so lacking in these critical hallmarks?
We recognize that in terms of discipline and community, Brett Kavanaugh has proven himself to be Anselmian. He has dedicated his life to the careful consideration and study of the law, and he has chosen to do so not to enrich himself but to serve the common good. We admire the nominee in these respects.
However, of the eight values on which we attempted to evaluate Mr. Kavanaugh’s nomination – again, excluding prayer and stability – we found his nomination to be thoroughly wanting in five essential areas: love, obedience, stewardship, hospitality, and conversatio.
And in a community where something as small as holding the door for the person behind you is valued, how can we truly call a man “Anselmian” when he refuses to shake the hand of a parent who lost his child to gun violence?
Some will challenge The Hilltopper’s decision to issue its first editorial on the Kavanaugh nomination instead of on a pressing campus matter. We recognize this concern, but we cannot emphasize enough how much the Kavanaugh nomination will impact those in the Saint Anselm community. Whether it is the nursing student who may see changes in how they can interact with their patients, or a future student of color who may have obstructions created in the college admission process, or the Benedictine monks who will be forced to preach about love and hospitality in a nation that no longer seems to value these tenets of our shared Anselmian nature, the people of Saint Anselm College will be deeply affected by this judicial confirmation. Not only that, we will be worse for it.
The Hilltopper encourages all students to make themselves aware of the Kavanaugh nomination and its consequences. We further urge all those in our community who share our concerns to contact their legislators.
The above piece is written on behalf of The Hilltoper editorial board. It expresses the opinion of that board, not necessarily the opinion of individual writers for the paper. When writing the piece, the board consulted documents published by Benedictine University and Saint Anselm College.
Featured image by Doug Mills of The New York Times.