It’s Time We Talk

The events of the past week have left the student body disgusted, sad, and yearning for change. The Mental Health Committee, Meg Gibbons, and Chris DeMarkey hope to be a part of this change.

As Anselmians, and frankly as people, we were all shocked and disappointed to hear the allegations that a prominent member of our campus had engaged in conduct similar to that of society’s worst. On behalf of the Mental Health Committee and as humans in general we want to make it explicitly clear that there is NEVER a place for sexual harassment, assault or rape on this campus and anywhere else.

Many of us felt powerless after hearing what had transpired. How could this have happened? These allegations charge a member of our community with sexual misconduct towards our peers, our friends and the heartbeat of our school. It is common for survivors of situations like these to be left with severe trauma. Survivors often feel ashamed, embarrassed, and guilty, even though it is never their fault.

This is where the rest of us have to step up and take action. We cannot sit idly by while our fellow students, our friends, or our loved ones are affected by these traumatic events. We have to speak out when we see something wrong, no exception. Whether it’s at a party, in Davison Hall, or anywhere else, there is no place for sexual misconduct on or off campus. We have to support our peers and friends- especially in their time of struggle. Whether it’s as simple as sending a text to check-in, saying hello while walking to class or grabbing a bite to eat, the last thing a person should ever feel is alone. In essence, we should be the people we are supposed to be, the best version of ourselves. We should be Anselmians. 

RESOURCES:

IF IT’S AN IMMEDIATE NEED- Reach out to the on-call counselor at 603-641-7000

  • 911 if  safety is a concern or medical attention is needed.

www.nhcadsv.org

New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

CONFIDENTIAL 24/7 STATEWIDE NH HELPLINES:

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: 1-866-644-3574

SEXUAL ASSAULT: 1-800-277-5570

www.ndvh.org

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

www.rainn.org

National Sexual Assault Hotline

1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

Information and resources regarding sexual violence.

http://www.loveisrespect.org

Love Is Respect

1-866-331-9474

TTY 1-866-3318453

Text: loveisto22522

Chat online: http://www.loveisrespect.org 

YWCA NH

603-668-2299

If The Past Is Prologue, Saint Anselm College Is In For Another Rough Semester

The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Some of the current policies at Saint Anselm College are the epitome of that tried failure. 

This past year has tested everyone – literally every person on earth. A pandemic few saw coming has devastated many, including myself. I had the unfortunate circumstance of grief after my grandfather caught the virus and passed away- something still extremely tough for my family. There are no words to fully describe the chaos and misery brought on the human race by this virus. Schools like Saint Anselm College, however, gave us hope by taking the great first step in announcing in-person classes for the fall semester of 2020. This well-received news was going to give students the opportunity to see friends again, learn, and escape isolation. 

Students knew a lot would be different on campus when they moved back in August, but this was only the beginning. A lot was going to be different arriving on campus this past August, as we the students knew that, starting with move-in. Phased-in and spanned out over 2 weeks, students were constrained to just their rooms and could not eat in the dining halls. After the 2 cases were identified during move-in, the campus was Covid free, with most still in compliance. “Following a surveillance phase when the harshest of restrictions were lifted, the same was true, Saint Anselm was COVID free yet again.”. Inter visitation, however, was not reinstated. Students could not travel within their own dorms, which, unlike other schools, are already segregated by gender. With few alternatives of socialization on campus, some left to get quality time with friends. These actions put everyone in jeopardy of catching COVID, which was spotted shortly after. The rest of the semester, we, the students, never got intervis, and cases continued to grow…

As part of the SGA Student Response Task Force, my fellow Anselmians and I put in countless hours to gather student feedback on the semester and offer solutions in an effort headed up by Student Body Vice President Kevin Chrisom. Let me be clear, this was not a bunch of rowdy college kids simply upset they couldn’t go to the bars. Over the months of work, we heard from over 400 students in student-led discussions and polls conducted on social media platforms. We looked at the data and realized being frustrated at the policies was not a minority view. Almost everyone, spanning grade, sex, major- you name it and we spoke to, was unhappy with how the semester had been going. 

In the middle of November, it was announced by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna that a vaccine had been created and was over 90% effective and possessed few negative side effects. Once we hit December, thousands had been getting their first dose every day, ramping up to a million doses per day by President Biden’s Inauguration. Anyone over the age of 65 in New Hampshire who wanted a vaccine could get one around this time-  including the Monks of Saint Anselm Abbey. It would only make sense to relax restrictions for the second semester, right? You would be wrong if you thought so. After rolling out a new color phase policy, where restrictions are either loosened or tightened depending on the phase, once again students were led to believe things might be different this semester.

Once again, cases were contained and isolated during move-in, with few cases following for the first two weeks. This is indicative of the Anselmian community- the vast majority of students willing to sacrifice basic freedoms we had last year to create a bubble. What happened when this bubble was created? Nothing. In an email sent out on February 12th, a Friday afternoon, we were informed by President Favazza we would not be moving out of phase orange, a phase that still does not allow for intervis outside of one’s dorm hall. What happened the week after this announcement? A blistering 17 cases, most likely because students realized our lives would not be changing, like the semester before, and were more than willing to leave campus to socialize. I do not condone going out to bars during COVID, but it is beyond understandable considering the lack of incentives to stay on campus. For students, no matter how hard we try, it feels like nothing will change, as nothing has. The administration may feel good about the status quo, but students do not. The real question is, what will be left when the dust settles on this semester? What has really been provided to students? To this day, we still do not know what it takes to move in and out of the phases. We’ve been here a month! Do administrators not remember who they work for? How much longer will students be subjugated to their “family units”? People are beyond done with the lack of transparency, and the brutal restrictions. 

In polls conducted 2 weeks ago by the SAC Student Response Task Force, 52% of students said they had a “negative” overall experience this semester, with 48% saying they were having a positive experience. The same poll was conducted on November 2nd, 2020 with 72% of respondents saying they had a “Positive” experience. That is a 24% swing in the opposite direction. In another poll regarding opinion on restrictions, 89% of students said the restrictions currently in place are “too strict”, with 11% saying they are “too lax”. Both polls combined garnered over 130 student responses. It’s time for this administration to realize the negative effects these policies have on the student body, particularly with both student morale and student mental health (cases of depression and anxiety have spiked country-wide since last March). We all want the same thing- a strong and vibrant Anselmian community. Without that, there is no Saint Anselm College.

Immigration Bill Set to Reignite Partisan Flames as Biden Takes Office

As Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20th, an immigration debate has been reignited across the country. President Biden is set to propose a piece of legislation that ensures citizenship for Dreamers, known as DACA, political liberals and conservatives are soon to have another bone to pick with one another.

DACA, an Executive order signed by President Obama in 2012 gave children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, assuming they had no criminal record. This order sparked outrage not just because it created a race to cross the border for illegal immigrants, but because many Americans were concerned with the order’s constitutionality. Many, including myself, wondered what legal authority POTUS had to rewrite immigration laws, instantly legalizing and granting citizenship to those who were residing in our country illegally. With the new administration, one upside is that their proposed DACA legislation will be presented as a bill to Congress, not as an Executive order, seen by many as executive overreach.

What’s wrong with DACA as a bill sent to Congress? Nothing. Assuming we have our southern borders secured with no flaws. However, with pores throughout the wall, fence, invisible line- whatever you prefer to say, there is still the opportunity today for people to cross into our country illegally and undetected, presenting a grave security risk. This is not some crazy hypothetical, it happens practically every day. Since 2016 over 52,000 illegal immigrants detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol had prior criminal records. Now, with a bill that grants a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, who wouldn’t want to give entering the country a shot? This vacuum is already in full effect as NBC News has noted, with a caravan from Central America already on the way to the border. This caravan is set to arrive after President Biden rescinds the national emergency order on the border- how fitting. In addition to the lure of free citizenship, the Biden administration has included in their $1.9 trillion proposal, a national $15/hr minimum wage. Not only is this country offering free citizenship, but a high wage as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I support a pathway to citizenship for the law-abiding immigrants here already- immigrants are what make this country the best in the world. I do not support, however, amnesty before security.

“Stats and Summaries.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 2021, http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats. 

Ainsley, Julia. “Incoming Biden Administration to Migrant Caravan: Don’t Come, You Won’t Get in Immediately.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 17 Jan. 2021, http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/incoming-biden-administration-migrant-caravan-don-t-come-you-won-n1254550. 

What Now? Cabinet Appointments & Other Grave Consequences of the Georgia Elections

To my Conservative friends, buckle up. With a 50-50 tie in the Senate, which is essentially a Democratic majority, it’s time to focus on something bigger than all of us. Every single nominee Joe Biden puts before the Senate will have the theoretical backing of almost every Democrat, save a few. Xavier Becerra, the Medicare-for-All and abortion whenever candidate is getting his estate in order and ready to move to the Capital as Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Lloyd Austin, a retired 4-star General and failed strategist in the war against ISIS is the nominee for Secretary of Defense.

Despite the potential for Democrats in the White House and in Congress to push through their agenda with little ability for congressional Republicans to present any opposition, many conservatives are still lamenting President Trump’s electoral defeat choosing instead to support futile legal challenges instead of preparing for the substantial challenges ahead. But please, tell me more about overturning individual results in Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, all after going 1/62 in the courts.

Procedurally Democrats can, if they hold their line, nuke the filibuster and allow for a simple majority to pass virtually all bills that come to the Senate floor. What would that mean? $15 minimum wage- sure. Legislatively passing DACA without funds for border security- why not? Abolishing the Hyde Amendment- of course! Don’t believe me- that’s ok, don’t take my word for it, take Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro’s.

In a committee hearing on the Hyde Amendment, a bill that prohibits federal funding for abortion procedures for Medicaid patients, Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut’s 3rd district had this to say, “While the Labor, HHS, Education bill has carried the Hyde amendment every year since 1976, this is the last year.” A bill that prohibits federal funding for abortion, with exceptions to cases of incest and rape, as well as endangerment of the mother, this policy has been on the books since 1976 and is now in jeopardy of being struck down. Although Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) are pro-life, they have supported the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and liberal judges in confirmation hearings. In addition to these Senators, both Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are among the most liberal Republicans in the Senate and identify as pro-choice. Even if two of the previously mentioned senators object, that wouldn’t be enough, as a 50-50 tie would require the vice president to cast the tie-breaking vote. Kamala Harris is about as pro-abortion as it gets, with a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood’s Congressional Scorecard. That would bring the bill to President Biden’s desk, where in 2019 he indicated “… I could no longer continue to abide by the Hyde Amendment. “

What about nationalizing the minimum wage? This is a senseless proposal that would destroy small businesses in states with minimum wages vastly smaller than such. I am not against raising the minimum wage, but I believe states know their respective economies and how to stimulate growth more so than the vast bureaucracy that is Washington DC. Not to mention, 48(!) states are below the $15/hr mark by over 20%, of which 21 would need to more than double their wages per hour. A blanket wage increase with no phase-in period has no logic and would be devastating to a still-recovering economy. With a $15 minimum wage bill already clear of the House floor (passed in the 116th Congress), it could come down to the wire in the Senate, which would have been impossible if not for the sweep in Georgia.

Now is the time for the Republican party to be unified, sticking together to stand up for Conservative values, most importantly the right to life and economic commonsense. These issues are of great importance to members of the GOP, yet lawmakers are instead focusing on dangerous and detrimental ideas such as overturning federal elections to retain power.

https://www.vox.com/2019/6/22/18713603/joe-biden-hyde-amendment

https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/congressional-scorecard#CA/

The Attack on the Capitol is the Epitome of White Privilege in America

On Wednesday, January 6th, we all bore witness to a series of tragic events that took place at our nation’s Capitol. We saw what months of falsehoods, misinformation, and lies – all spewed by Donald Trump and his inner circle – amounted to as the U.S. Capitol was attacked and overrun by domestic terrorists in support of Trump. On a day in which the Electoral College votes were to be counted and mark the official end to a long and chaotic presidential election cycle, our nation was, instead, having to deal with these heinous acts carried out upon our nation’s Capitol. From these events, there are many topics and issues that one can pick at and further discuss, but the issue that is most prevalent and urgent for the student body at Saint Anselm College to understand is white privilege

In short, the events that took place at the Capitol are a perfect illustration of white privilege at its finest. 

First, think back to just this past summer as you witnessed millions of Americans protesting horrific acts of police brutality that had taken the lives of Black Americans such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, and countless others. Almost always at these protests, protestors were met with law enforcement officers lined in tactical gear and armed to the teeth with riot shields, batons, canisters of tear gas, and rifles filled with rubber bullets or live rounds. It appeared as if law enforcement officers were ready to battle soldiers of a foreign nation invading our borders, not fellow Americans. Videos and photos that emerged from these protests made it clear, however, that law enforcement did not hesitate to consider these protestors as the enemy and viciously attack them at any opportunity they were given. 

Now, think about what we all saw take place at the U.S. Capitol this past Wednesday. We saw a group of domestic terrorists storm and raid the Capitol with little to no resistance from law enforcement. These people were able to march onto the Capitol’s steps, smash windows and force open the main doors, mozy their way through the halls of the building, invade and completely trash the offices of members of Congress, and casually pose for pictures after having overtaken the U.S. Senate chamber, all without having barely met any resistance from law enforcement. And even after having done all these atrocious acts, these same people were then able to peacefully walk out of the Capitol, steal some property as they were leaving, and then carry on with their days as if nothing had happened. 

The major contrast between these two instances is that those who were protesting against police brutality this past summer largely consisted of and were led by Black Americans, while those who attacked the U.S. Capitol largely consisted of White Americans. This stark contrast in law enforcement response is indicative of what Black, Brown, and other communities of color have been saying over and over again…. we are not viewed the same, nor treated the same in this country as white people are. White people are given certain privileges and luxuries solely based on the color of their skin that are not afforded to the Black, Brown, and other communities of color. 

It is now important to understand, however, what acknowledging the existence of white privilege does and does not truly entail. Acknowledging the existence of white privilege does not attempt to villainize white people and/or point to them as the root of all evil. It does not mean that white people should feel guilty or feel ashamed for who they are. It does not mean that society is attempting to dismiss all the work that has been done by white people in the present or in the past. It does not establish the notion that white people have never struggled in their lives or that, because of their privilege, they should not be proud of their accomplishments in life. Rather, the point in acknowledging the existence of white privilege is to understand that you have not had to face any difficulties in how you live your life and/or how you are viewed by society because of your skin color. Acknowledging the existence of white privilege means acknowledging the fact that communities of color are burdened with specific issues that white people have the luxury to never face and be concerned about. 

It is because of white privilege that white people never have to face the hardship of being considered a danger to society until proven otherwise. It is because of white privilege that white people do not have to deal with the burden of overcoming negative stereotypes that are placed upon members of their own community. And most importantly, it is because of white privilege that white people do not have to protest and march in the streets in order to stop police from killing them and other members of their communities. 

Instead, it is because of white privilege that white people are afforded the luxury of insulating themselves from the daily toll of racism. It is because of white privilege that white people have the luxury of automatically having positive relationships with the police and other law enforcement. And the events which occurred on January 6th showed us that it is because of white privilege that white people have the ability to storm and attack the U.S. Capitol without having to face the same amount of resistance and punishment that Black Americans face when protesting for their own lives.

Going forward I challenge those of the Saint Anselm College community who are unaware or not well-versed in the concept of white privilege to learn more about its inner-workings and how it shapes our society. Understand how white privilege gives certain people certain luxuries while depriving others of those same luxuries. And once having done this, understanding how to use this privilege to help those around you who are not afforded the same luxuries as you are. How to use this privilege to support non-privileged communities in their fight against injustice, remove bias that exists throughout facets of life, and make society and its many institutions work for all, not just a select few.

Now, this may be difficult for some to do. It may be a harsh reality that some do not want to face. Our future demands that we are truthful and honest about the privilege that comes with white skin, however, because if we fail to do so, then we will never be able to fully establish the fair, just, and equitable society we all strive to achieve.

White Privilege and Racial Inequality At Work in Capitol Riots

The riots that took place at the Capitol building were not only a destructive and immature display of the worst conduct but also showed how white supremacy has and continues to have such a domineering presence in the U.S. One of the most shocking and disturbing aspects of the whole situation is how it further highlights the racial inequality so deeply rooted in this country. Law enforcement’s polar opposite reactions to the peaceful protests for Black Lives Matter versus the more lax treatment shown towards these rioters further emphasizes this divide.

On the day of the riots, Ibram X. Kendi tweeted “White privilege is on display like never before in the U.S. Capitol. If these people were Black…well, we all know what would be happening right now to them.” White privilege is a concept that has been further explored and highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement. It is shown in obvious and discrete ways, on small-scale and large-scale forms. It covers everything from having accurate representation in the media to going into a store and not being followed, and recent events have shown that white privilege also includes being able to breach the Capitol building wielding a Confederate flag and wreaking havoc and not expecting punishment but rather a selfie with a police officer. During the peaceful protests for Black Lives Matter, people stood in solidarity fighting for the human rights and equality that Black people should have been afforded long ago, and apparently this called for tear gas and excessive militant force. But when rioters disturb the peace and leave a trail of destruction in their path, and even re-enact the murder of George Floyd underneath a BLM banner, they’re deemed “patriots.” President Trump adds to the pile of hypocrisy in the way he condemned the BLM protests and called the (non-violent) protestors “terrorists” but spoke with “love” for the violent rioters and called them “special.” If the mob had been mainly comprised of people of color, there would have been an immediate and visceral reaction from law enforcement, but because it was a mob of white supremacists they were given a temporary free pass.

Not only does this incident highlight the marginalization and unequal treatment of people of color, but it also just shows that losing gracefully is a lost art to some people, especially this pro-Trump mob. If Trump had won and Biden supporters were pulling the same stunt and protesting the result, Trump supporters would write them off as “anarchists” who can’t accept the victor who won fair-and-square. But when the election doesn’t work out in their favor, then the conspiracy theories come flying out about how the whole thing is a sham.

This country was founded by slave-owners who believed that White people were the superior race. Now, only a week into the year 2021, this white supremacist mentality that has gotten off on the exploitation and dehumanization of people of color has reared its ugly head yet again and proven the point that while many things have gotten better, genuine and real change is still a long-term goal the nation needs to work towards.

A Libertarian Take On The Capitol Siege

January 6th, 2021 will be a day that will live in infamy. Pictures and video from the siege on the Capitol resemble scenes from developing countries such as Colombia and Egypt, but these scenes were from the United States of America, the beacon of freedom and democracy. And yet those who stormed the Capitol called themselves by the liberal title of Libertarian.

As a Libertarian, those that stormed the Capitol haven’t the slightest clue what a libertarian is and what their actions resemble. Political violence is to not be tolerated and is to be shunned by all those that have any form of intelligence in a society. When becoming a Libertarian, I took an oath to not use violence for political gains. Those that laid siege to the Capitol – built on the ideas of liberty, reason, and the rule of law – did not care nor understand any of those ideals.

The insurrectionists who desecrated the most important building in the United States fought not to depose a dictator, oppose a new authoritarian decree, or revolt against a new war – no, they went to the Capitol to oppose an election certified by every state and to support a President that has become increasingly against the rule of law. While the putsch failed, it will have long-lasting effects that we have yet to fully understand. The Bier Hall putsch among many other similar failed attempts in history did not extinguish a movement or idea, often it was the mere beginning of something bigger.

The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire has condemned the activities that took place on the 6th and I stand with the party on this even before they put out a message. I have yet to see the RNC, DNC, nor LNC put out a press release yet. I realize these things take time to craft and put out politically, but time is of the essence and a strong handed message is imperative.

I did not vote for Trump nor Biden, I voted for Jo Jorgensen, but because she lost does not mean I go to the Capitol and cry my heart out with blood and lead. To mature is to not accept authority and the way things are, but is to use reason and logic when no one else is. To devolve to the situation seen on the 6th is a backstab to the reason why this country exists thematically.

The only path forward is pragmatism and unity. Biden certainly has his work cut out for him.

The GOP Now Bears a Heavy Burden. They Can’t Afford to Shirk Their Debt.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021, will be remembered as a sad shameful day in the history of the United States. The appalling, manic, and deeply un-American acts of terrorism committed around and within the Capitol building should, I certainly hope, represent rock-bottom for the Trump Era; an era already rife with moral lows. Perhaps what will remain the saddest legacy of the Trump Administration will be the denial and delusion that will linger after he leaves office.

To be clear: calling what happened Wednesday an act of domestic terrorism should not be a bombastic statement. In the halls of Congress, while the elected representatives of the nation are carrying out the will of the people, a mob that pledged allegiance to one man obstructed and delayed Congress’ carrying out the law. This was nothing close to a protest; this was an attempted coup. These insurrectionist made sure that there would be no peaceful transfer of power; anyone who believes otherwise, we must admit, is part of the problem.

There is no similarity between the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests of the summer, and the terrorism of Wednesday. Derek Chauvin actually knelt on the neck of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 47 seconds while he begged for air until he died. Breonna Taylor was actually shot five times in her sleep by law-enforcement. The election was not stolen from Donald Trump. Donald Trump is not secretly fighting an underworld cabal of Satanists and pedophiles, as has been suggested by conspiracy theorist groups such as QAnon. The BLM protesters demonstrated because they have legitimate claims and are fighting a righteous cause. Wednesday’s terrorists stormed the Capitol because they believe anything that comes from the mouth of Donald Trump and his MAGA cult of personality.

Wednesday’s terrorism was an example of mass delusion. The thousands of rioters delayed the peaceful transfer of power to President-Elect Joe Biden because they have been convinced without evidence that there was mass fraud and corruption in our election. One man bears responsibility for causing this mass delusion and invigorating these thugs by spewing baseless lies and conspiracy theories from the highest pulpit in the land: President Donald Trump. Trump, in his inability to accept his election loss, incited his supporters to disrupt the sacred process by which his power is transferred to his successor. Trump’s MAGA world is endemic in our society; his fervent supporters can be found in every state and county in the country. Yesterday was evidence that those who continue to support him and his conspiracy theories rest on a dangerous fringe of American politics.

I don’t begrudge those who voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Had I been of age, I might have voted for him too in my ignorance. I might be able to reconcile my frustration with those who voted for him in 2020, and then abandon ship when Trump began to shatter the walls of our beautiful democracy. I cannot, nor can the institutions of our nation tolerate and incorporate these fringe, dangerous, and undemocratic thoughts into civic life. Nor can we tolerate those who espouse them.

Where do we go from here? How do we move on from this terror and shameful chaos? The responsibility lies with those who supported the President through the past four years and somehow didn’t expect this. The GOP we knew before Trump is dead, and whatever rises out of Wednesday’s misery will and must come from those Republicans who can admit: this was a mistake, enough is enough. The GOP will bear the burden of the last four years, and the biggest burden will be the shame of January 6, 2021.

History will remember what we thought and did yesterday, and we cannot waste any more time pretending as though both sides have merit. The remnants of the Republican Party, most specifically the youngest members of the party, must be called upon to redeem their lost decency, to wipe away the tolerance of Trumpist authoritarianism, and to rebuild a spirit of love for our country, not for one man. These are the burdens the GOP bears and must come to terms with as we rebuild our democracy. There is a price to be paid for supporting a President who encourages acts of terror on our democracy, and I call on the Saint Anselm College Republicans, and all members of the GOP to start to pay that debt by condemning yesterday’s acts, and President Donald J. Trump.