The Saddest Day of Our Democracy

Only in today’s hyper-toxic political environment could the events of January 6th, 2020 occur. While over 100 Congressional Republicans, 10+ Senators, and the President objected to the valid results of the 2020 election, Americans who supported the President and everything he said became indoctrinated into his false premises. Let me repeat myself- Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the next President and Vice President of the United States. They won by substantial margins in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia. When questions arose as to the validity of the ballots cast, Team Trump used their legal rights and objected in court. They lost – a lot. To date over 60 petitions had been filed in courts across the country with a grand total of 0 resulting in a change of vote count. The legal process should have and did end there. What came afterward has been nothing short of despicable, egregious, and dangerous. Refusing to admit defeat, the President and his cronies began peddling misinformation- that the election was rigged (it wasn’t), or that Hugo Chavez (a deceased Dictator of Venezuela) had conspired with voting machines among other lies. With these lies repeated over and over again, one by one people who voted for the President felt disenfranchised and angry- and wanted action.

With Congress meeting to certify the Electoral College vote on January 6th, the President and his loyalists saw this moment as one last chance to attempt to overturn the election, a tactic completely unconstitutional and dangerous. His calls to overturn the election reverberated throughout the party, with cynical Senators such as Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) joining the President in his claims in an attempt to win over his base of support. Leading up to today’s Joint Session of Congress, was a scheduled rally of protesters to try and convince their congress members to “object” to the results of the 2020 election. This goal became realized when President Trump joined the protesters and spoke in front of Capitol Hill this morning, further fanning the flames of hatred towards those willing to uphold the rule of law.

Emboldened by their President and members of Congress trying to score political gains, many protesters stormed the capital, breaking through barricades and smashing windows, forcing a shutdown and evacuation of the buildings. Amidst the chaos and dysfunction, the most radical (relatively speaking) of the group broke into the Senate chamber, rushing the majority member’s chair and jumping from the scaffolding. Where was the President during this moment of domestic terrorism? Tweeting. The tweets and videos have since been taken down due to the risk of instigating more violence, with one of them criticizing VP Pence for refusing to object. All while people overcame Capital Police and lay siege on our Capital.

Never before in the history of our nation have we had a President or major candidate for the nation’s highest office refuse to concede an election. Never before have we had domestic terrorists lay siege upon our nation’s Capital. Today is truly a sad, despicable day.

Saint A’s Green Queens Work To Create A More Sustainable Campus

Hi All! Green Queens here! If you don’t already know, we are an RLC located in FBC on this beautiful campus. Our motivation for creating and applying to be an RLC was to show other college students that making simple and easy switches can help all of us to achieve more sustainability while living our college student lives. The following are our personal favorite simple switches we have made and integrated into our lives here at school since we’ve returned:

Manon: Living sustainably to me means making simple switches that I didn’t even know were possible before. Prior to doing our best to live a more sustainable lifestyle here on campus, I can admit that I didn’t know much. But, with the help of my friends and just a little bit of research I realized it doesn’t have to be so tough and intimidating. My favorite sustainable living hack has got to be reusing jars from around the house. Anything from pasta sauce jars to old mason jars you might find, cleaning them and peeling any label off gives you a new piece of sustainable and cute storage or decor for your living space.

Jen: Living sustainably to me means being conscious of how your lifestyle affects our planet. It means sacrificing convenience here and there to make switches that will benefit all of the people who will call this earth home after me. Making changes is not that hard once you realize how much of a difference you can make. My favorite sustainable living hack/change has been switching to solely reusable products to transport and store food and drinks. It used to be so instinctive to store items in plastic bags or purchase throw away travel cups. Now I have a whole set of glassware that makes things even more cost effective and way better for the planet.

Sam: Living sustainably for me is making switches that just make sense. After learning about the lack of recycling not just at school but around the world and the lack of care given to the planet we rely on I knew I personally had to make some changes. My goal for 2020 has been to eliminate using single use plastic. By doing this I have not only started to make switches that are more environmentally friendly but also save me money. My favorite switch I have made is bar shampoo and conditioner. Now not only am I now using products that completely cut out plastic but are healthier for my hair!

Haley: To me living sustainably is living with love and gratitude for the earth. It means helping to shape a community that will remain beautiful for decades to come. I work to live sustainably so I can continue to admire and share the beauties of our home. An easy sustainable living hack is to utilize thrift shopping as well as donating or multi-purposing  clothes you don’t wear. One way you can do this is by cutting up old and stained shirts to use as rags around the house.

Molly: Living sustainably to me is living with the intention to preserve our community and our home. It is founded in love- love for one another, love for the earth, love for our future. It is making small changes in your life to better the lives of our future grandkids and their kids. In my life, I try to reduce the amount of plastic I use as much as possible. You can do this too by using reusable bags or taking your own cup to the cafe to have it filled with your favorite pick-me-up. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve found that plastic is sometimes the only option. If you cannot avoid plastic, you can almost always find a way to reuse it. Some ways include washing to go containers for next time or reusing plastic bags. As long as you have the tools you need, living sustainably is quite easy.

In addition to making simple switches such as these, we began collecting recycling among the FBC community and delivering it to the local recycling plant on our own time. What started out as collecting in front of our apartment quickly became a feat too large for us to handle alone! With the help of the student body becoming so invested in bringing their recycling to our doors, we attracted the attention of administration and physical plant, which led to us getting a dumpster dedicated to recycling in the FBC area (this sits behind L, fenced off, and closest to the O-Zone). Take a walk up to FBC sometime, to drop off your recyclables and say hi to us in B6! Keep up the amazing work Saint A’s, we are so proud to be bringing some form of sustainability back to our campus community!

Follow the Green Queens of B6 on Instagram: @saintasgreenqueens

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

At The Hilltopper, our team would like to hear from you regarding George Floyd, racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement. We are always open to obtaining articles and op-eds from members of the Saint Anselm community and want to be a platform for your voices to be heard. You can message us on social media, our website, or reach out to one of our team members directly.

Editorial: A Year With The Hilltopper

The Hilltopper will always seek to serve the student body of Saint Anselm College by presenting respectful dialogue and factual reporting on issues and topics relevant to our community. We strive to be an unbiased and accurate news source for our fellow Anselmians, and in all instances, we will respect the dignity of individuals, and include marginalized voices. This has been our mission since we were founded in 2018, and it will continue to be our mission moving forward.

A year ago today, on April 10, 2019, I became the Editor In Chief of The Hilltopper. I was excited by the opportunity to pursue truth, investigate conflict, and report on the issues that matter to Saint Anselm College students. Since that time, however, Saint Anselm College and The Hilltopper have changed a great deal. I never could’ve imagined that we would be interviewing Abbott Mark and President Favazza about a legal battle between the Abbey Church and the Board of Trustees. I never could’ve imagined that we would report on the impeachment of President Trump. I never thought we would partner with The Saint Anselm Crier to host a debate, and I never could’ve imagined that our time on campus this year would be cut so short. 

However, for The Hilltopper, perhaps the biggest change of all was our organization. For the first two years, The Hilltopper functioned mainly through its editors. Megan Miller ‘19 and Nick Fulchino ‘19 diligently worked to ensure that there was a steady stream of articles being published and that there was a viable platform for students to express their opinions and concerns. Starting in September, The Hilltopper was no longer entirely reliant upon the editor. The positions of Chief of Staff, Administrative Correspondent, On Campus News Coordinator, and Off-Campus News Coordinator were established with the hopes of increasing student participation and article output. In December, we expanded again, this time creating the positions of Student Government Correspondent, Communications Coordinator, and Director of Finance. By the start of the second semester, The Hilltopper had something it has never had before – an Executive Board. This team of student leaders met many times over the course of the year (and continues to meet) to discuss campus and community news, programming and partnerships with other clubs and organizations, and the future of The Hilltopper. The Executive Board has played an integral role in the operation of The Hilltopper, and it has given us a framework for the future. 

In addition to the nearly forty articles written both by our staff and student contributors, The Hilltopper partnered with local organizations as well as Saint Anselm clubs to support our community and students. In November, we were one of many groups at Saint A’s that volunteered for The Manchester Marathon to support Veterans Count, an organization that supports military veterans and their families. In February, we partnered with The Saint Anselm Crier to host the first-ever Student Body Candidate Forum. In April, we had planned to support T.E.D.A (the True Equality and Dignity Alliance) at their annual Visibility Day celebration. 

In looking to the future, I am optimistic. We will continue to support our fellow Anselmians and provide our college community with unbiased and accurate news. We will continue to respect the dignity of individuals, include marginalized voices, and support every student’s right to express their beliefs. We will continue to be a part of the Anselmian community for many years to come. Moving forward, we will need your help. If you’re interested in writing for The Hilltopper, you can contact us on our website (hilltopper.org) and through our social media (Instagram and Facebook: @thehilltopper, Twitter: Hilltopper_News). If you would like to financially support The Hilltopper and ensure that we can continue our mission, please email Renee Suhocki, our Director of Finance (rsuhocki338@anselm.edu). 

Finally, I want to say thank you to our readers, our writers, our supporters, our partners, and our fellow Anselmians; The Hilltopper would not exist without you. Special thanks to President Joseph Favazza, Abbott Mark Cooper, The Saint Anselm Crier, and The Student Government Association.

We’re The Hilltopper, and we’re here to stay.

The End of an Era: Tom Brady Leaves New England

Sadly, it actually happened. On Tuesday, March 17th, Tom Brady announced via Instagram that his football career would not continue on the New England Patriots. A few days later, Tom Brady signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers worth 50 million guaranteed over 2 years with another 9 million in incentives.

Brady is joining a team that has not made the playoffs since the 2007 season and has not had a playoff win since they won Super Bowl 37 in January 2003. In the 2019 season, Tampa Bay finished 7-9 and was mainly held back by mistake-prone quarterback Jameis Winston, who threw a league-leading 30 interceptions. Winston’s many interceptions proved too much to overcome in many of their losing games. Aside from Winston, Tampa Bay has the potential to contend with receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and running back Ronald Jones II; as well as an above-average defense. This group is talented, however, not talented enough to make up for a liability at quarterback. This is what pushed them to sign Tom Brady, a quarterback who brings consistency to this group and is an upgrade for the Buccaneers, provided he keeps playing at his current level. 

In Foxborough, times are tough for the Patriots fanbase. Fans who have been spoiled with decades of consistent winning, deep playoff runs, and duck boat parades now face something foreign – uncertainty. What will this team be like without Brady? With Brady leaving, the team now turns to either the second-year pro, Jarrett Stidham or career backup Brian Hoyer; neither of whom holds a torch to the legacy of Tom Brady but may be serviceable short-term options.

The Patriots have also lost other key free agents on defense including Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, and Duron Harmon. However, the Patriots still have half of the powerful duo that dominated the NFL for 2 decades – Head Coach Bill Belichick. Belichick is a football genius and if any coach can make a contender out of this group again, it is him. While these losses do hurt the team, the Patriots have overcome lots of personnel turnover throughout their impressive run. The one constant to the team in terms of players has been Tom Brady and with his departure, Belichick will face his biggest test; can he keep the dynasty going without Brady or will he struggle to take this team back to the Super Bowl? 

In Brady’s tenure, the Patriots have won six Super Bowls while appearing in nine, and they have won the AFC East Division 17 times in 19 seasons. This display of dominance is something the NFL will never see again and Tom Brady was an integral part of this immense success.

For young Patriots fans, this will be the first time they see the Patriots without Tom Brady in 20 years, and it will be an odd sight to see. While right now we might be feeling sad seeing Brady leave we should be happy for the time he spent with the Patriots and the many great memories he has given us.

Thank you, Tom Brady, you will be missed. 

#WhyIWrite: Jackson Peck

I first became politically active in my first few years of high school. The 2016 presidential election was in full swing and my news feed was full of advertisements, slogans, soundbites, and articles about the candidates. One of the videos I watched was an advertisement for Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign in which he said: “Our job is not to divide, our job is to bring people together.” This statement, to me, was incredible. It seemed every heart and voice in America was asking “why is it that we’re so divided?” or “why can’t we compromise?” and there was an independent senator from a small rural state telling me that the best thing we could do as citizens and as people was to stick together.

This moment is why I write. In each position, classroom, and workplace, I keep in mind the phrase “Our job is not to divide, our job is to bring people together.” Collaboration and cooperation among citizens is the hallmark of our society and the ability of those citizens to be informed and educated is of the utmost importance. Perhaps one of the greatest liberties given to us in this country is the freedom of the press, and it is with a free press that we are able to monitor and hold accountable those who lead us.

When I was approached and asked to begin working for The Hilltopper, I was excited by the opportunity to pursue truth, investigate conflict, and report on the issues that matter to Saint Anselm College students. The Hilltopper was founded as an independent news source tasked with bringing uncensored and up-to-date information to students about issues happening on campus. It is for that reason that I am so excited to be joining this team. The Saint A’s community is strong, but our strength relies on our ability to understand what is going on around us. An informed student body who discusses issues is the best thing that can be afforded to a liberal arts school, and I am proud to write for an organization which does just that.

The Hilltopper is focused on dignity, inclusivity, and transparency. There is no better mission for an organization charged with such a valuable task, and my belief in the power of communication is what has drawn me here. Our job is not to divide, our job is to bring people together. If we can do that accurately, effectively, and honestly than we will all benefit. This is why I write.

Editorial: Here to Stay

This past year has been a privilege and an honor. When we began The Hilltopper last April, it was specifically in response to frustration with a platform that enabled and empowered rape culture but our launch was driven by many larger forces.

The day we bought the website, we could not have anticipated all that we would cover in the next year. We didn’t know we would report on discrimination against the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus because of his sexuality. We really never thought we would quote a monk saying “What the fuck?” We didn’t know we would be the space to publish the words of TEDA president Matt Solomon ‘20, after trans* and gay pride flags were removed from campus in a seemingly discriminatory way. We never could have guessed that we would have to investigate the layoffs of 13 staff of the college or claims of Title IX violations.

On our one-year anniversary, we want to take a few moments to address that original frustration that led us to where we are, but first we want to acknowledge one truth: the work is not done. We’ve received many questions, some well-intentioned and some hopeful of our demise, about what will happen when the Editors-in-Chief of The Hilltopper graduate. Here’s our answer: we are here to stay.

For the last year,  we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback, and we want to extend an explicit and gracious thank you for this support. It has reassured us that our mission is necessary and valuable on campus. We also want to address the feedback that has not been as positive.

When we receive negative feedback, it is typically from people who believe that our work will cause harm, most frequently to their personal reputation. People seem to be worried that their name will be next in the spotlight. Additionally, people in perceived positions of authority frequently refuse to comment, specifically when they have titles such as “dean,” “chief,” or “director” in front of their names. We are worried that people have forgotten, or are ignoring, the value of receiving news from multiple sources.

In an era of fake news, we are committed to reporting reality and giving a voice to people and issues that are continually silenced. For that reason, we will not allow our students, faculty, and staff to forget the value of engaging with multiple sources of information. We especially believe that, being at a somewhat prestigious institution, it is important to work outside the often rigid structures. Additionally, we protect the right to work outside of an institution that is controlled by the Catholic Church, especially considering the moral crises within the Church. These beliefs enable us to bring the best possible news coverage to our readers.

Providing the best possible news coverage means adhering to our core values, one of which is inclusivity. We began The Hilltopper with a mission reduced to two simple words “for everyone.” We have covered numerous stories that affect students who are often silenced or ignored by our college’s administration. We are proud of each of those stories. It is our responsibility as a campus news source to be inclusive, but we are also committed to respecting the dignity of the individual. That is why we have chosen to embrace the Paradox of Tolerance. It is the idea that in order to create a truly tolerant society (or campus), we must be intolerant of intolerance. The Hilltopper is not a place for hate speech or for those beliefs that invalidate the dignity of life.

Yet, we recognize that writing about inclusivity is only one part of the equation, and we recognize the myriad privileges based on our social identities that have allowed us to create The Hilltopper and speak out in the way that we do. Going forward, we hope to see the staff of the paper grow to include students of color, students in the LGBTQ+ community, international students, and students with other diverse identities. We trust that our new Editor-in-Chief, Jackson Peck ‘22, will do all he can to make sure that The Hilltopper lives up to that ideal.

We have found that living up to this ideal is best achieved outside the expectations of the institution, and that is why we continue to work as an independent news source. It is humbling that numerous people have felt safe coming to us to share their truths with the broader campus community and, really, the world. Because of these brave people, we have been able to provide valuable insight into issues like the Grand Knight’s removal, the summer layoffs, and discrimination faced by the LGBTQ+ community. It is no coincidence, we believe, that these people have felt safe coming to us – an independent news source beholden to no one and no thing besides the mission statement we wrote more than a year ago.

When writing that mission statement, we did so with the intention of bringing transparency to this institution. In the spirit of James Baldwin, we insist on the right to criticize Saint Anselm College perpetually precisely because we love it more than any other academic institution in the world. Critiquing the institution that educates you, whether it be Saint Anselm College or the Catholic Church, is not a bad thing.

Moving forward, we need you. We are proud of what we have been able to build, but there is still a lot of work left to do. If you are interested in writing for The Hilltopper, please reach out to Jackson Peck ‘22 (jpeck339@anselm.edu). If you would like to be a financial supporter of The Hilltopper and ensure its continuation for years to come, please contact Nick Fulchino ‘19 (nfulchino@anselm.edu).

Above all, we want to say thank you. To our readers, our donors, our writers, our supporters. We would not exist without you; we exist for you. Thank you for trusting us as your news source. We’re The Hilltopper, and we’re here to stay.

“You Don’t Look Jewish” and Other Tales of Being a Jew at a Catholic College

This past weekend, I sat in C-Shop with a group of my friends eating dinner as a comedian hired by CAB took the stage. We had completely forgotten there would be a performance but decided to stay a little while to hear his act. He interacted with the crowd and played a game where he sang your name and then changed into something else. “What’s your name?” he asked a student. The guy replied and the comedian said, “Well, you’re Jewish.” Don’t worry, the whole thing was wildly funny. He kept going on about the lack of diversity in New Hampshire and looked around the room. “Are all y’all Catholic?” he asked. Seizing a rare moment to embrace my faith, I spoke up -well actually I think I screamed because I have no perception of my New York loudness- so anyway, I screamed out for all of the coffee shop to hear, “I’m Jewish.” And then the comedian said, “Well you’re weird, what the hell are you doing up here with a bunch of Catholics, aren’t they your enemy or something?”

My father’s grandparents were Jews who fled Germany at the breakout of the Second World War. They converted their money and belongings into diamonds and smuggled them out of Germany and to America. When my grandmother told me this story, she made this sound a whole lot more traumatic than it actually was and kvetched about how dangerous it was. She regaled me with tales of her mother, my great-grandmother, braving the journey to America. It wasn’t until I found a picture of my great-grandmother as a young woman, dressed in a luxurious fur coat atop a posh looking ocean liner, that I realized this journey may have been a bit less harrowing than my grandmother originally told me. Wow, grandma. Way to hype it up.

When she arrived in America, my great-grandmother fell in love with a young man whose family was also from Germany. His family would not approve of the marriage unless she renounced her faith. When I think about it, I think they were ashamed or scared of her Jewishness. I know, New York, the Jewish capital of the East Coast, you’d think that being Jewish wouldn’t be a problem, right? She gave up her faith, her identity, that very quality that made her, her, to be with who she loved.

I had always felt a strong connection to Judaism and to my great-grandmother, even though I have attended Catholic school my entire life. My father grew up eating traditional German and Jewish fare and passed this on to me. Winter weekends were full of warm and crispy latkes, matzoh ball soup was readily available at the slightest sign of illness, and no family gathering was complete without my aunt’s homemade rugelach. Still, it wasn’t until I entered college that I began to explore the religious side of being Jewish. You see, for me, there are several aspects of being Jewish. There’s the cultural aspect that I was exposed to from a young age, which was centered around food. There’s the religious aspect, which I did not explore until college. And there are the everyday things that I say or do that make me Jewish, such as words and phrases that I always think are seemingly straightforward and self-explanatory, but my friends have no clue what I’m talking about. (Goy, yente, kvell, tchatchke).

It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I really felt a calling to explore the spiritual aspect of Judaism. It was definitely tough, trying to figure out my spirituality when there was not a space for me on campus. As a Catholic college, Saint Anselm has a number of clubs and societies for Catholics as well as Christians: Knights of Columbus, St. Scholastica Society, Peer Ministers, weekly evening Mass, and prayer groups held by Campus Ministry. But where was my group, my tribe? I was my own little tribe of one, wandering in a metaphorical desert, trying to find my religious identity. (I know, isn’t that just the corniest reference?)

I knew that there were a few nearby synagogues in downtown Manchester, but felt awkward walking into one all alone. What really solidified and helped me grow in my faith was the opening of the Multifaith Prayer room in the newly-renovated Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex. Knowing that I, and other students of various religious backgrounds, had access to a warm and inviting space on campus made it so much easier to explore my faith. For those of you who have not checked it out yet, even if you are not a religious person, I encourage you to go poke your head in when it is not in use.

In an unfortunately tragic way, I found out that there are more Jewish people on campus then I previously thought. In October, Campus Ministry held an Interfaith Prayer Service in remembrance of the victims of the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. I had never been more scared or felt more alone than I did that week, but as soon as I walked into that room, I felt oddly safe. There in that room were professors, students, and faculty members of various religious backgrounds standing together in prayer. My favorite professor stood in a corner, head bowed in prayer, complete with a kippah. (A kippah or yarmulke is a traditional skull cap that is worn by Jewish men and sometimes women.) Since that day, I’ve felt a little less spiritually lonely, knowing that my tribe of one had increased, even just a little bit. The next week, when I received a Star of David necklace that my grandmother had sent to me in the mail, I wore it with pride, and have ever since.

My friends have gone out of their way to embrace my cultural heritage. I had a big Rosh Hashanah dinner, complete with brisket, homemade braided challah, and most importantly, wonderful friends to ring in the Jewish New Year. My roommates fully supported the little Christmas-Channukah display I set up on our coffee table: a white Christmas tree next to a silver menorah. I started taking time the past week and a half that we’ve been back to take a few minutes when I’m near the Student Center to stop inside and say a prayer of thanks.

While being Jewish on a college campus certainly is not easy, and often comes with the statement of “well you don’t look Jewish” (please stop saying this, it’s actually anti-Semitic. You cannot tell if someone is Jewish by their physical attributes), it also has allowed me to share special parts of my life with my friends as well as to grow and explore in my faith.

Although Saint Anselm College is a Catholic institution, I have never felt more accepted and welcomed than I do this year. I like to think that this is because being Anselmian and being Catholic are not mutually exclusive. I know Saint Anselm is a Benedictine Catholic and that the college is founded upon his teachings and those of the Benedictines, but being Anselmian is more than just being Catholic. Being Anselmian is about being inviting to all members of the community. Being Anselmian is fostering a learning environment where everyone feels welcome. Being Anselmian is setting a place at the table for everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.