The Dire Need for More Dorms on Campus

For students at Saint Anselm College, the housing lottery is a time of unneeded stress, worry, and most of all uncertainty. As my classmates and I, all rising sophomores at Saint A’s attended the housing lottery on Wednesday, April 10, we soon began to see that the housing issue on campus is far more inefficient and inadequate than it first appeared to be. As soon as we took our seats in Sullivan Arena, the administration of the college informed us that the majority of us in the stands would not receive a room that night, as all dorms are currently filled at this point. Sure enough, this was the brutal and unacceptable truth, as all rooms were occupied by the time we reached lottery numbers in the 1100s (out of 1470).

It now stands as fact that at least 60 sophomore boys are on a waitlist for housing. Not a waitlist for a certain dorm. Not a waitlist for an apartment. A waitlist to receive a stand-alone, double room for the next school year. The solution presented to us by the administration is that they are relying on students to transfer, study abroad, or relocate around campus in order to accommodate the 60 students on a waitlist for a room. As if this was not an insult to the students already. Speaking for me, my parents and I sacrificed greatly for me to attend my dream school, being Saint Anselm College. I spent my whole senior year applying for scholarships to help offset the cost of college, working hard in high school to achieve great grades, and overall working at least 30 hours a week during the summer to try and pay for school. As it stands, we are all currently paying $14,750 to live on campus.

I am paying $14,750 for the administration of the school to say that there are no rooms available anymore. I was told that at the beginning of the housing lottery that in order to live on campus, I should really consider an incentive triple. To be told that I will be placed in housing eventually and that the school doesn’t have the capacity to house everyone forces this to be an unacceptable issue, and it has reached a point where it is not okay. What the school is doing to their students is insincere, and most of all deceitful to those of us who were promised to live with our class. We are the heart of why Saint Anselm is still operating today. Without prioritizing students, without fulfilling promises to them, the reputation of Saint Anselm College is being severely damaged by the apparent lack of transparency of where there are problems on campus.

I remember when I toured here that Saint Anselm was known for keeping their classes together, for fostering a sense of community, and for being a small school where everyone looks out for each other and supports one another. But by telling rising sophomores that they do not have housing for the next school year yet and will be placed depending on when space becomes available, is disappointing and directly attacks the values of community, transparency, and respect at this school.

It has come to the point where some students are now considering transferring schools because of the lack of that has been given to us with this housing crisis on campus. Furthermore, it appears as if there are no active efforts to build more dorm buildings for the future. In fact, the goal of this school right now is to expand our student body and promote the college with increasing class sizes by the year. However, Saint Anselm cannot keep over-admitting students. We simply do not have the capacity to hold any more students, and the fact that this mistake is still being made without effort to build more housing is discouraging and upsetting to the student body.

Furthermore, it also concerns me and many others that the college’s priorities lie in the construction of a “Welcome Center” to attract new students to the school. Why are we spending money on a welcome center when we cannot house all students on campus at the current moment? Why are we allocating funds from the budget towards the construction of a building that will not have any effect on the housing crisis on campus? If this college wants to expand, they need to have the facilities and resources to do so. A welcome center is clearly not a necessity for current students who are attending and paying tuition to keep the college running as normal.

As I walk around campus, it is clear that students are frustrated with the lack of support the school is giving them. It seems as if we are not the school’s first priority, we are not being treated fairly, and most of all we are not receiving what we were promised when enrolling as freshmen. This situation is not only disappointing, but it will begin to reflect very poorly on the school’s reputation.

The only solution to this current crisis is to build more housing. Invest the money into a new dorm, invest the money into new apartments for juniors and seniors, and then Saint Anselm’s goal of increasing the size of the school will be realistic and achievable. Investing in the future of this school is constructing more capacity to house current students. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. To the students, there are no more excuses as to why action is not being taken. We need what we were promised, and if we do not receive that, the consequences for the school will be detrimental.

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.

DiSalvo Says He’s “Going Out on Top” as He Leaves for Endicott

President Steven R. DiSalvo speaking at the 2015 Commencement. (Photo by Saint Anselm College)

Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo had a long list of goals for Saint Anselm College when he arrived on campus five years ago. He wanted to increase the school’s visibility and produce a strong brand, create greater financial stability, and upgrade the campus’ infrastructure. According to DiSalvo, he has achieved all of these things.

DiSalvo set out to utilize the New Hampshire Institute of Politics to improve name recognition of the college and strengthen Saint Anselm’s brand. “It clearly worked,” DiSalvo said.Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Saint Anselm College played a prominent role.  Campus visits increased 46% after the primary season.

He also discussed  the extensive upgrades to campus infrastructure that have occurred  under his administration. Since the construction of the Living Learning Commons, the campus has grown to include the grotto, a new campus entrance, and the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex. Additionally, the college has updated the plaza in front of Alumni Hall and is currently working on updating classroom spaces across campus.

Yet one of the accomplishments of which DiSalvo is most proud is also the most controversial. He is excited that the college has experienced greater financial stability under his administration. DiSalvo says he and his team achieved this goal by increasing enrollment, improving the retention and graduation rates, and unveiling the Faith in the Future campaign, which is near conclusion.

In particular, DiSalvo notes the growth of the college’s endowment. The year before he arrived at the Hilltop, Saint Anselm’s endowment stood at $83 million. Today it stands at $157 million. The interest on that endowment is used to offer financial aid packages to students. As DiSalvo prepares to leave, Saint Anselm is better positioned to attract a more competitive field of applicants because of this increase.

Some of that financial stability came about as a result of the college’s decision to eliminate 13 positions, a story The Hilltopper first reported on in May 2018. In his first on-the-record interview with the paper about the issue, DiSalvo explained the reasoning behind the  decision. “When we looked at budget forecasting,” DiSalvo said, the administration could see there was going to be stress on the budget. “The board’s direction,” he explained, “was to address that last year.”

DiSalvo insisted that the process was handled well. “That exercise was handled professionally, gracefully, and we worked with those individuals to make sure they had everything they needed to find a landing spot,” he said.

He also pushed back against the idea that the decision was done through a top-down approach. “Each department head,” he explained, “was charged with finding at least one full-time position they could live without. So it was really up to the department heads to determine which positions they wanted to focus on.”

This statement contradicted previous understanding of the firing process. According to an August article from the New Hampshire Union Leader, “DiSalvo informed the Union Leader that the 13 eliminated positions were decided by the administration with input from the institution’s vice presidents.”

Further, DiSalvo maintained that the impact on students always remained at the forefront while the decisions were being made. “We wanted to make sure the student experience was central,” he said.

In retrospect, DiSalvo said, he would have held off on announcing the voluntary resignations of the Vice President of Administration and the Vice President of Student Affairs. “Those were separate from the 13 and because they were announced at the same time, people assumed those positions were eliminated but they weren’t,” he explained. Overall, he maintained that the process was handled “pretty well.”

DiSalvo believes that, because of a number of factors, Saint Anselm is on firmer financial footing than when he arrived five years ago. That success combined with greater brand recognition and the upgrades to infrastructure that he initiated have contributed to Saint Anselm entering the Top 100 Liberal Arts Colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report. DiSalvo says that entering the top 100 is his proudest accomplishment here from his time on the Hilltop.

DiSalvo admits to falling short in one category. He had hoped to establish a program for advanced degrees. “I think it’s critically important that the next president move that forward,” he said. As DiSalvo explained it, “By offering graduate programs, there’s greater financial stability.” He continued, “Knowing what I know now about the stress on the current infrastructure for undergraduates, the only other way to grow is at the graduate level. And that’s what I would have done had I stayed.”

Now, as his time at Saint Anselm comes to a close, DiSalvo prepares to take what he called the “great logical next step” in his career, being inaugurated as the seventh president of Endicott College. The college made the announcement via a video posted to their Twitter account at 6:15 AM on March 27th.

After being “recruited by several institutions,” DiSalvo decided on Endicott for a number of reasons. Mostly, the college represents a new challenge for Saint Anselm’s outgoing president. He noted that he is moving to a larger school of more than 5,000 students. In addition to a greater student body, Endicott consists of nine separate schools and has double the operating budget with about 30% more employees. He was further drawn to Endicott’s experiential learning component. Students there are required to take internships, beginning freshman year, and the program culminates with a full-semester internship during a student’s senior year. He said he very much likes the “entrepreneurial approach” that Endicott takes to ensure its students’ success. Additionally, Endicott allows DiSalvo to remain in New England, where his family has called home since arriving in New Hampshire in 2014.

As DiSalvo leaves the hilltop, he is confident in his legacy at Saint Anselm College. He sees now as the right time to move on, confident in what he’s accomplished and excited for what lies ahead at Endicott. “The comfortable thing would be to stick around where you know everybody and try to coast it out,” he said, “but I am also a big believer – if you look at my track record – I don’t like to overstay my welcome. I really did feel that I’m going out on top, given everything we were able to accomplish.”

DiSalvo intends to begin his time at Endicott as he began it here at Saint Anselm – with a listening tour. He hopes to meet varying constituencies across campus in an effort to understand their expectations for his presidency. He said that every Thursday night during his first year as president he sat in the pub to meet with whichever members of the faculty came to talk with him. He joked that the process would be easy to replicate because “[Endicott] also has a pub on campus!”

Meanwhile, the search for DiSalvo’s successor continues. The Search Committee has yet to bring finalists to campus for on-campus tours and interviews. It is likely that a new president will not be named until after that process is complete. DiSalvo said his on-campus interview was on April 15th.

No Rest for the Hilltop: Candidates Keep Coming

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) signing eggs and two posters for Politics & Eggs in the conference room of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics before the event. (Photo from @JKazadi)

It’s no surprise to Saint Anselm students that campus is a hotbed for political activity. Every president since Dwight Eisenhower has been to the hilltop. The whirlwind is getting started a bit early, though. Presidents’ Day Weekend and the following days brought two prominent candidates to campus and even more to the state.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) returned to New Hampshire, most notably for an event at her alma mater, Dartmouth College. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) was in Raymond, New Hampshire on Saturday to meet voters. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), too, was in the state, bringing her message to the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) made his Granite State debut this weekend, spending multiple days in the state. He held a town hall event in Portsmouth that attracted around 500 people. A house party in Manchester brought in 350 people. Events in Rochester and Conway brought in about 200 each. It was a strong beginning to the senator’s New Hampshire effort.

Most notably, for Saint Anselm students, were two major events on campus. One was the CNN Town Hall with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), which was held in the Dana Center on Monday night. That event was followed by a Politics & Eggs event at the Institute of Politics with Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), widely considered a front runner in the race.

Chairwoman of the Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassador Program Julianne Plourde ‘20 shared her thoughts on the busy presidential campaign. She was at both the CNN Town Hall and the Politics & Eggs event. “Being able to attend the CNN Town Hall for Senator Klobuchar gave a preview into what the next year is going to be like on campus. It’s exciting knowing that having presidential candidates and national news networks walking around campus will be the usual.” The experience, she explained, is pretty unique to Saint Anselm. “No other school around is able to give their students these experiences on such a regular basis.”

During the town hall, Klobuchar answered questions, including one from Olivia Teixeira ‘20, the President of the New Hampshire College Democrats. Teixeira opened-up about what it was like to be on camera and ask the senator a question: “Asking a question for CNN was a great experience. Despite rumors that the questions were staged, that is not the case. They made sure we asked genuine questions that we submitted beforehand and were very accepting of all the questions we submitted.”

She asked the Minnesota senator to share her thoughts about gun safety legislation. The senator’s response left an impression on Teixeira, she said. “I appreciated Amy’s genuine emotion when responding to my question and the answer she gave was a very shared Democratic belief.” Overall, Teixeira said she was more likely to vote for Klobuchar because of how she did at the town hall.

Grace D’Antuono ‘19 also attended the CNN Town Hall. She said that while she’s not considering voting for Klobuchar, she went to “learn more and to be a part of the beginning of the 2020 campaign here on campus.” She was impressed by the senator’s answer to Teixeira’s question, noting that Klobuchar “understands recreational gun use and wants to protect that while still promoting screening for background checks and banning assault rifles.”

The morning after Senator Klobuchar’s town hall, Senator Harris was at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics for a Politics & Eggs event. Harris’ stop came after a town hall event in Portsmouth where many in line had to be turned away because there wasn’t enough capacity in the venue.

Harris addressed affiliates and members of the New England Council as well as students of Saint Anselm College before taking questions. Her remarks centered on three issues: middle-class tax relief, education reform, and climate change. She promised that, as a candidate for president, she would “speak truths” on the trail and be honest with the American people.

She opened her speech by addressing questions that she would not seriously contest the New Hampshire primary. Harris denied these rumors, saying she plans on competing in New Hampshire and that she intends to do “very well” in the nation’s first primary.

Emily Burns ‘22 was in the audience on Tuesday. She said she was “really excited” to see Harris come to the hilltop. Burns thought the senator “spoke incredibly eloquently” and said she seemed “very presidential.”

Despite her glowing review of Harris’ performance, Burns was unsure that she would support the candidate down the road. “I’m not totally sure yet,” she said when asked if she was leaning towards supporting the senator from California. “One of my big concerns is prison reform and while she spoke about that, she has a kind of questionable past in that area,” Burns explained.

The controversy over Harris’ past as a prosecutor has been a major factor in the race so far, with some questioning whether Harris’ commitment to criminal justice reform can be genuine given her past. For her part, the candidate embraced her record during her speech at Politics & Eggs, talking about how she was inspired to become a prosecutor by some lawyers of the Civil Rights Movement, including Thurgood Marshall.

In a recent poll conducted by Saint Anselm College, Harris was viewed the third-most favorably by New Hampshire voters. She only trailed former Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT). Sanders announced a presidential campaign on Tuesday.

Kerrin Norton ’19: Student of the Year

The Hilltopper chose to recognize one student who contributed greatly to the campus climate over the last year. Much in the vain of TIME Magazine‘s Person of the Year, our Student of the Year is meant to represent the student who, throughout 2018, contributed most significantly to the events at the college.

KERRIN NORTON ’19: A LEADER, A LEARNER

Kerrin Norton ’19 is The Hilltopper‘s choice for Student of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Kerrin Norton ’19)

On May 18, 2019, Kerrin Norton ‘19 will graduate from Saint Anselm College with a B.A. in Communications and English. She will also depart the Hilltop after leaving an indelible mark on this community that she cares so much about. Norton is a leader whose work for the student body at Saint Anselm College advances the value of learning – learning from experience, learning from peers, and learning through listening. In a year marked by profiles in courage, like Andrew Keyes ‘18 coming out of the closet as a Knight of Columbus, various staff members approaching The Hilltopper anonymously and on the record to speak about layoffs over the summer, and Matt Solomon ‘20 organizing a pride event and standing up for LGBTQ+ rights, Norton’s experience shows there remains value in effecting social change through existing institutions.

“I don’t even know why I applied here,” she told The Hilltopper when asked about the path that brought her to Saint A’s. When she visited campus, the future Admissions Ambassador fully intended to go to school outside of New England, but when she toured here she was struck by how the people described their relationships. She came to view Saint Anselm as a place to make lifelong friendships, and so she decided she’d just come here instead.

When she moved in freshman year, Norton figured she would transfer after her first semester, but around the third week, she was lying in bed when she realized she hadn’t cried yet like she’d anticipated. Huh, she thought to herself, before plunging into four years of heavy involvement on campus. She never even downloaded the transfer applications she once intended to complete.

“I got involved right away,” she said, “because in high school I waited too long. I challenged myself to get involved in one thing right away. So that was SGA for me.” From there, Norton’s work on her class council snowballed into becoming Chief of Staff for the Hughes/Ethier Administration, the third-highest-ranking position in the student government. She was also on the New Student Orientation Committee this past year and serves as the President of Saint Elizabeth Seton Society, the Senior Class Gift Committee, and as a Service & Solidarity trip leader.

Campus Accessibility & Presidential Search

Her titles do not tell the full story. Her work in these various capacities paints the picture of a tireless advocate – a happy warrior – dedicated to improving life at Saint Anselm College. Most significantly, she has been consistently working on improving handicap accessibility on campus. For Kerrin, the issue is personal. Her brother Own is a junior in high school and is in a wheelchair. She says that she remembers getting to Saint A’s and recognizing that the campus was not accessible for handicapped people.

Norton holds a deep love for Saint Anselm. When The Hilltopper asked why she is so committed to working on improving campus, she said, “I love it here, and I want everyone to love it. I don’t want there to be a reason why anyone wouldn’t love it.” Similarly, she explained that she would hate for handicapped students to miss out on the Saint Anselm experience because they use a wheelchair. “I wouldn’t want anyone to not be able to come because of the size of a doorway,” she explained. She went on to talk about when her brother would visit campus. “Not being able to share so much of campus because there isn’t a ramp doesn’t do this place justice,” she said.

Change at Saint Anselm College often comes slowly and exacting tangible victories through the Student Government Association can often leave students more frustrated and disappointed than content and successful. Such is not the case for Norton, who was joined by Tim Merrill ‘19, former SGA president and vice president Emma Bishop ‘18 and Brandon Pratt ‘18, and incumbents Joshua Hughes ‘20 and Jacob Ethier ‘20.

Next year, Dominic Hall will receive a significant amount of money in the next budget to be renovated. As Norton explained, “It’s not hospitality if someone can’t get into a building.” In the next year or so, the school will add a ramp to Dominic with a swipe entrance. As of now, a handicapped freshman boy would be placed in the Living Learning Commons whereas a freshman girl could be placed in Baroody and still be with other first-year students.

Because of Norton’s diligent work on handicap accessibility and other issues, the college administration selected her to represent the student body on the Presidential Search Committee. Norton said that being named to the committee is her greatest accomplishment as a student. She is humbled by the chance to be a voice for her fellow students.

As Norton explained what she thinks she can bring to the committee, a guiding virtue of her work emerged. In answering questions about the search committee, about her efforts on handicap accessibility, and on other issues, it became clear that for Kerrin Norton, being a leader is about being a good learner. It is about listening to students and advancing their beliefs. When asked what she hopes to see in the next college president, she was clear about her role, “I am looking for what I am hearing everyone else is looking for. As awesome as it is, I wasn’t selected for my opinions. I am a representative of the students’ concerns.”

What is she hearing? Norton said that most people want a president who is more present on campus and who gets to know students individually. “Community is a Benedictine hallmark, so we want to uphold that about our institution,” she explained.

A Guiding Value: Learning

Perhaps more than any other reason, her remarkable impact on campus has been made possible by her willingness to learn about the school and learn about how to implement change. When asked what her various roles have taught her, she replied, “Oh my gosh. So much. Literally so much. Where do I even begin?”

She fidgeted in her seat. Played with her hair a little bit. Looked around a nearly-empty coffee shop. Then, she answered succinctly, “I’ve learned to learn more by listening.” She hit the point over and over, continuing, “I think what I’ve really learned so much is how to be a good listener because I feel so blessed that I’ve had such an awesome experience here, but my experience is so different from yours or the people sitting over there. Through trying to increase handicap accessibility, I’ve learned how other people are excluded on campus.”

While she has been a champion of learning from her peers, Norton’s desire to effect change comes from an even more humbling experience. At Relay for Life, Norton opened up about losing her mom to cancer. The memory of her mom guides her to focus on the things that bring her joy – like helping others and improving the school. “When my mom passed away, she wished she’d spent more time with friends. I was a really focused student before she passed away,” Norton explained, “and life is so short – it’s just so short. You should do the things that make you happy.” For Norton, that means listening to her peers and fighting to make a difference.

Kerrin Norton ’19 speaking at Relay for Life. (Photo courtesy of Norton)

When prospective families ask her why she stayed at Saint Anselm College, Norton dons a smile and delivers a heartfelt answer, “I feel so privileged to be a part of a community that so many others feel lucky to be a part of. I think a lot of students feel that way, and if they don’t, I want them to be able to feel that way.”

Indeed, she has dedicated much of her free time at Saint Anselm to organizing events that all students can enjoy, addressing inequalities for handicapped people, and bringing the concerns of students to Alumni Hall. In true Kerrin Norton form, however, the humble example of student greatness was candid about what she wishes she had done more of while here. “I wish I’d done more service,” she said, as if her work on campus wasn’t enough. “Like a weekly commitment through Meelia. I overlapped with Meelia, but I never fully immersed myself in the way I wanted.” More service, Norton says.

She also recognized that her socioeconomic and racial backgrounds and her sexual orientation precluded her from immediately jumping into larger issues of inequality. Through the facilitated dialogue program, Norton learned more about the struggles facing those communities on campus. When the conversation turned to these issues, she grew quiet – a more reserved version of the Kerrin Norton who bubbled over with excitement as she explained her work on other issues. “I am a big proponent of inclusion, and I focused on one important aspect of it, but I wish I had been an earlier and more aggressive ally for those communities that need attention.” In her last semester, Norton said she is fully committing herself to be a better ally for those communities.

Strength from Others

From left to right: Maggie O’Connor ’19, Abbie Reynolds’ 19, Nick Richard ’19, and Kerrin Norton ’19. All four served on the Orientation Committee. (Photo courtesy of Norton)

While one may believe that Norton is a superwoman, and to some degree she is, she does not gather her strength alone. She mentioned her affinity for Dean of Students Alicia Finn, whom, she said, she “really aspire[s] to be like.” She continued, “Dean Finn inspires me every day.”

She also pointed to three friends who help her stay energized. Abbie Nolan ‘19, Maggie O’Connor ‘19, and Abbie Reynolds ‘19 all keep Norton on track. “I found their friendship by being involved in things we were working on together,” she said. “That’s such a special bond. They push themselves to be better and they’re role models to me because I see their passion and that inspires me to do better.”

“When the seniors graduated last year,” Norton said, “I was sad because so many good role models for me had graduated, but I realized I had role models all around me still.” These role models inspire Norton to keep up the work that demands so much of her time.

It would have been easy for Norton to spend her days in bed, binging on Netflix shows and reading novels or going to the coffee shop to socialize with friends. She was honest in saying she has plenty of days like this. However, so much of Kerrin Norton’s three-and-a-half years have been spent building a better campus community. In 2018, she overcame the odds of a perilous budget season to secure funds for a more inclusive campus, she helped organize an orientation weekend that welcomed one of the college’s largest classes in history, and she diligently worked to realize various SGA initiatives. In 2019, she will have more of an impact on campus than any other student could, by being in the room where it happens and helping select the next President of the College.

Early in the interview, Norton claimed she peaked in high school. Fortunately, for Saint Anselm College, she was wrong.

Matt Solomon, TEDA President, Responds to Crier Letter; Defends LGBTQ+ Visibility

solomonletter

As the President of a club with the primary purpose of increasing visibility for the LGBTQ+ community on campus, I was overjoyed to see the Gay Pride flags and Trans Pride flags spread across campus. I am sure these flags represented many things for the LGBTQ+ community on campus. They represented a chance to be seen when they are so often overlooked. They represented the love they have for members of the community who are closeted and may have needed to see that flag. And most importantly they represented the desperate cry for equality of the person who planted that flag.

I can only assume that the reason these people planted these flags was as a form of peaceful protest against the prevalent prejudice atmosphere on campus. It seems as if only yesterday the campus was caught up in the discriminatory actions taken against the leader of the Knights of Columbus, or the series of anti-transgender talks sponsored by the college. After much progress, there is still work to be done. The culture on campus is one of being asked to quietly exist. Of being asked not to make too many waves with your diversity. This is a sentiment that alarms me for many reasons.

First, it proves the complete ignorance of what it feels like for a member of the LGBTQ+ community while in the closet. I personally spent several years in the closet, surrounded by intolerant people, who would do things like publish articles about how Gay Pride represents sexual promiscuity instead of love, tolerance, and acceptance. To perfectly describe what it is like in the closet is impossible, but in my experience, it was a void. A completely empty space where my existence was put on hold for seven years of my life. I spent every day as if a zombie, aimlessly living a life that was not mine. The only emotion that would ever creep in was hate. Whenever I was reminded of my sexuality, of that part of my being that the world around me despised, I would be left alone in that void with only the hatred I had for myself. In this dark place, I attempted suicide multiple times. When I came to college I met a group of friends who accepted me with open arms, regardless of my identity. This is the first time I had ever experienced anything like that in combination with the freedom that comes with college, so I broke out of that place for the first time since I was 12 years old.

These statistics come from the Trevor Project, and prove that the lack of visible support for the LGBTQ+ community is a life-threatening problem. (Youth is defined as any age between 15-24)

     Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.1.
LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.
     LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.
     Of all the suicide attempts made by youth, LGB youth suicide attempts were almost five times as likely to require medical treatment than those of heterosexual youth.
     Suicide attempts by LGB youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers.
     In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.3 LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.
     Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.

Visibility is the most important aspect of helping the LGBTQ+ community. It is what I have devoted my life to, and I would give everything up for the cause.

As soon as I reclaimed my identity I made a promise to myself that I would do everything in my power to make sure that no one ever felt the way that I felt. This meant working tirelessly to spread LGBTQ+ inclusion wherever I could, and on this campus I had my work cut out for me. I started in Academia, writing papers and making arguments about things like how Jean-Jacques Rousseau would feel about the LGBTQ+ community. I moved on to Residential Life, where I made sure that the male Freshman dorm was inclusive for all members of the LGBTQ+ community. I worked with campus ministry, Abbot Matt, Father Benet, and more to ensure that they were just as committed as I was in spreading love for all. I organized the first ever Pride on Saint Anselm College (I called it LGBTQ+ Visibility Day) to showcase that the LGBTQ+ community and Saint Anselm College could live in harmony, without one overshadowing the other. I worked with my fellow officers of the True Equality and Dignity Alliance to create a safe space where our members felt loved and accepted and free to be whoever they wanted. I accomplished these things because I worked with the people on campus who understood the most important part of this battle for equality. That this is not an ideological war, this is not about belief systems, this is about our lives. This is about ensuring that all people feel accepted and safe in the place where they spend 8 months of their lives each year.

My heart goes out to anyone on campus that is still in the closet and has to see things like these articles being published, or the flags being taken down out of intolerance. However, a part of me is appreciative that this is happening. Some of you may be wondering why these little flags and the responses they received are such a big deal. They show the attitude on campus that is still very much there, that the LGBTQ+ community is expected to live quietly on campus. That we are not allowed to express ourselves and be seen for the beauty that our diversity gives us. I have worked tirelessly over the past two years with the wonderful people on this campus that hope to drown out the ignorance and hate that is on this campus waiting for its chance to crawl out of the woodwork. I hope that this article will inspire them to continue our fight and I call on others to join us as well. The True Equality and Dignity Alliance will be hosting multiple events next semester in addition to the Second Annual LGBTQ+ Visibility Day, we hope to see you all there.

Peace and Love,
Matthew Solomon
President, T.E.D.A.

DiSalvo to Leave in 2019, Search for His Successor is Already Underway

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President Steven R. DiSalvo at Saint Anselm College’s 124th commencement on May 20, 2017. (Photo from Saint Anselm College)

After five years on the Hilltop, Steven DiSalvo announced that he would be stepping down as the President of Saint Anselm College.

When DiSalvo became president in 2013, he was the first president of the College to come from outside of the monastery. Instead, DiSalvo had a long history in higher education. Before coming to Saint Anselm, DiSalvo was the President of Marian University in Wisconsin, a school of 1,680 undergraduates and 500 graduates.

The president announced his decision to the school community in an email Friday. In his letter, DiSalvo thanked the Anselmian community for welcoming him and acknowledged the strides he made as president, writing, “As I make this announcement, I am filled with pride in the progress that we at Saint Anselm have made, and deep gratitude for the privilege of leading this unique college.”

The College website casts DiSalvo’s tenure in a positive light. “[DiSalvo] has advanced the college’s national reputation through scholarship, athletics and via the prestigious New Hampshire Institute of Politics operated by the college,” it says.

The New Hampshire Institute of Politics growth and development has been a high-point under the DiSalvo Administration. The chaotic 2016 campaign was handled with great care on campus and the school was again chosen to host debates during the Democratic and Republican primaries, though it is not clear how much of the credit DiSalvo deserves for this.

Madison Mangels ‘19, a Politics major, said, “I’m not entirely aware of anything specific he has done for the NHIOP. When I think of work done on NHIOP, I think of Neil Levesque and the rest of the NHIOP staff as well as the professors.”

In a press release posted on the College’s webpage, the Chair of the Board of Trustees published a list of DiSalvo’s accomplishments, including an increase in the College’s endowment and retention rate, the completion of $48 million in capital improvement projects, such as the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex, and the hiring of a Chief Diversity Officer.

Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B. ’71 praised Disalvo, saying, “Much has been accomplished during Dr. DiSalvo’s years as president, and all of us are most grateful for our current strong enrollment, our ever-increasing endowment, and especially for the recent news of our making the list of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the United States.”

His administration has not always been positively received, however. In the fall of 2015, some student-athletes and alumni protested DiSalvo when he announced plans to transfer Saint Anselm to a Division III school. Despite persistent exploration of the possibility throughout the 2015-2016 school year, Saint Anselm decided to remain a Division II school.

More recently, DiSalvo came under fire this summer after 13 Saint Anselm College employees were abruptly laid off over the summer. No official acknowledgment of the layoffs was ever made to the student body. He did address Saint Anselm staff after the layoffs and was escorted out of the premises by security officers. Rumors of his firing or resignation have surfaced ever since.

Shortly after the layoffs were announced, the College announced that Chief Financial Officer Eric Norman was leaving his position. The job is now occupied, at least temporarily, by Bill Furlong.

Student reaction to DiSalvo’s departure has been mixed. Jackson Peck ’22, an SGA senator, said he was “sad” to see Dr. DiSalvo leave. “I have not been at this college long enough to determine DiSalvo to be [an] effective or ineffective leader; however, I can see with certainty that it is important for every organization or institution to have a strong leader at its helm.” He continued, “At times where the president’s leadership ability is brought into question it undermines the ability of students to establish meaningful relationships with the administration.”

One Saint Anselm graduate shared the college’s press release on her Facebook page with the caption, “About time👌.”

The unofficial results of a Twitter poll being conducted by The Hilltopper show that 50% of respondents said they were pleased with Dr. DiSalvo’s decision to step down as Saint Anselm College president while 17% said they were not. Of those who took the survey, 33% said they were unsure or had no opinion on his departure.

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Professor Gary Bouchard, Fr. Jerome Day, and Dr. Joe Horton ’77 are all on a rumored shortlist to replace Dr. Steven DiSalvo as he leaves the college.

In his letter, DiSalvo confirmed that there was a search committee underway to find a successor. Speculation is already underway about who may be the college’s next president. A rumored shortlist that was passed on to The Hilltopper by a reliable source includes Dr. Joe Horton ‘77, who was one of the 13 employees let go over the summer, Fr. Jonathan DeFelice, who served as President of the College before DiSalvo, Fr. Jerome Day of the monastery, and professor Gary Bouchard, who now oversees the recently-established Humanities Institute. A fifth candidate, a woman, is rumored to be undergoing the vetting process as well, but The Hilltopper did not learn of her name.

The Hilltopper reached out to Fr. Jonathan, Fr. Jerome, and Professor Bouchard for comment. Fr. Jonathan said he was “quite certain” that he was not under consideration. Neither Fr. Jerome nor Professor Bouchard was immediately available for a statement upon request.

The nature of the list signals a clear interest in choosing a new college president who has deep ties to the Saint Anselm community, which may be intentional in the wake of DiSalvo’s tenure.


While The Hilltopper received no official confirmation of the shortlist above, it deemed its source credible enough to reach out to the candidates whose names appear on the list. We maintain our commitment to transparent reporting and will update our readers as we continue to assess the accuracy of the list.

Students Feel Impact of Budget Cuts

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.

isabelleprintingStudents 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.”

dennisprintingDennis 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’s request 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.”