Jessica Clark provides engaging lecture on the fall of Rome



On Wednesday, Feb. 25, Jessica Clark’s presentation, “Winning isn’t everything: The Moral Power of Defeat at Rome,” in the Rittenberg Lounge showcased an interesting take on the way in which ancient Romans handled defeat. While many historians would portray Roman defeats as shameful or disgraceful, Rome saw these defeats as roadblocks on the path to success, and as opportunities to be exploited.  The general public does not know much about Roman defeats as, for every ten books on Roman victories there may be one about a defeat. However, a lot can be learned from historical documents. Despite it’s indomitable image, Rome actually experienced many defeats. In retrospect, it was the way in which Rome handled defeat and the enemies they defeated that contributed to it’s image as one of history’s greatest empires and a home to notorious conquerors.

Dr. Clark first referenced a game in which two players flip a coin and pointed out the importance of the order of wins and losses; when you win is important.  She posed a hypothetical; I am playing with someone else and they win the first toss, I might say “best two out of three” and continue playing in such a fashion until I eventually emerge the victor – if I am able to control the number of iterations of the game, then I have the power to determine when a game is finally won.  She continued; consider two players flipping a coin but one can see the result of the coin toss while the other cannot.  As I am able to see the result of the coin tosses, I can keep the game going until I have eventually won.  Furthermore, even if I experience a string of losses followed by an eventual win, if we stop playing the game after that win some might consider me the final victor.  There are  similar instances of this phenomenon employed by Rome.

Marcus Claudius Marcellus was a distinguished Roman military commander during the Gallic War and the Second Punic War and eventually received the most esteemed decoration a Roman general could earn – the spolia opima.  While he was universally celebrated as a brilliant commander, history shows that he did not always win his battles and often would hide the stories of his losses with stories of great victories.  During the Second Punic War Marcellus fought two large Gallic tribes: the Boii and the Insubres.  During this time he was utterly defeated by the Boii but achieved a victory over the Insubres, and returned to Rome celebrating a triumph. He framed the Boii defeat as a trial to be overcome on the path to his eventual success over the Insubres later on. However, many modern historians now debate whether or not his defeat by the Boii predated the Insubres victory at all. Many claim that Marcellus had won first over the Insubres and had been defeated later by the Boii, switching the order of these battles to cloak his loss with a victory and celebrate a triumph upon returning to Rome.  This behavior was not uncommon in Rome, where many Roman commanders were encouraged to return to the battlefield until they experienced an eventual victory.  Their prior defeats could then be framed as hardships to be overcome in lieu of the final victorious battle.

Rome also employed a particularly interesting strategy following one of these decisive victories; there were severe penalties for “being the aggressor of a war no longer feared.” In other words, following one of these victories, any aggressive behavior in the region conquered by Roman commanders was punished harshly as a rebellion and commanders were effectively erased from history as a result.  An example of this can be found in Rome’s final victory over the Cenomani people. Following a large-scale defeat over the Cenomani, a tribe of the Cisalpine Gauls, a Roman commander entered the territory and noticed that Rome had allowed them to keep both their land and weaponry. The Roman magistrate aggressively tried to ban their possession of weapons and a Gallic emissary was sent to Rome in protest.  As a result, the Roman commander was heavily punished and the Cenomani were re-armed by the Roman senate.  We see, in this example, that those who surrendered  after a large defeat (the final coin-toss so to speak) were treated relatively well. Land was not confiscated, the people were generally left alone, and the conquered people benefited from being able to assimilate into the Roman market system. Aggressors on both sides were punished harshly, and there is a resulting peace within the conquered territory. A similar strategy was employed by Genghis Khan in his Mongolian conquest.  It can be seen that, after these final, decisive victories by Rome, the preceding defeats did not matter – Rome won, Rome gained territory, Rome conquered. “Veni Vidi Vici.”  However, a fascinating thing to point out is that the way in which Rome treated the defeated following these battles resulted in a “win” to the defeated people as well; they were treated well, their daily way of life is only marginally affected, and overall they benefited from this assimilation into the Roman economy.  While Rome would keep fighting battles until an eventual victory, these defeated tribes no longer wanted to continue fighting (they no longer wanted to play the coin game), and so Rome achieved the final and decisive victory mentioned in history books.

Another interesting way in which Rome dealt with defeat was their portrayal of it in the media.  A fantastic example of this is in the legend of Horatius defending the bridge against the Etruscans (there are many paintings concerning this subject). The story tells of an infamous Roman defeat in which the Etruscans  slaughtered Roman soldiers and forced them to retreat over a bridge.  Perceiving the danger, three Roman nobles and a junior officer named Horatius decided to hold the bridge so that their army could retreat in safety. Upon being assaulted, the three Roman officers begin to retreat and call on Horatius to pull back.  Instead, refusing to allow the Etruscans to pass and slaughter his brethren, Horatius called to the commanders to tear down the bridge as he continued to hold off the Etruscan advance alone.  Suffering many wounds and being pierced by spears, he received a shout that the bridge is successfully torn and dived into the water, swimming to shore still with all of his arms on his person.  Disabled, and unable to walk for the rest of his life, Horatius returned to Rome a hero greeted by a roar of celebration and reveration.  Though technically defeated, the people of Rome saw Horatius’ great bravery as a moral victory.  The story of courage and perseverance during a defeat raised the morale of the Roman people in a way that a victory could not – it frames the losses of life and the violence of war as a necessity rather than as a result of bloodlust or weakness.  As John D. Rockefeller put it, “I always tried to turn every defeat into an opportunity.”

In conclusion, this interesting examination of how Rome treated defeat, not as conclusive and shameful, but as a roadblock on the path to success allows us to understand a fundamental mentality of one of history’s greatest empires and contrast it with a modern understanding of defeat. Additionally, the way in which they treated their conquered allows us to see a successful strategy in achieving conclusive and lasting victories.


Wesleyan hospitalization raise drug concerns



This past week, on the morning of Feb. 21, 12 people were rushed to a hospital near Wesleyan University. The group, ten of whom were Wesleyan students, had overdosed on Molly, a form of ecstasy that has caused a number of deaths across the nation in the last few years. The students, who were attending a party at “The Eclectic Society of Phi Nu Theta,” a fraternity on the Wesleyan campus, were rushed to Middlesex hospital in the early morning hours that Saturday. Several of them were transferred to Hartford Hospital some time thereafter.

Eleven of the 12 students have been released from the hospital, with one, who arrived in critical condition, still receiving treatment in Hartford. Subsequently, four arrests have been made for drug possession and distribution. Police searches and seizures turned up more than 500 pills, and a variety of liquids and powders from the indicted students’ rooms. More than 16 prescription drugs were identified among the substances and paraphernalia. The students have been suspended from Wesleyan and are appearing in court this week. The Dean of the college has urged students to avoid dangerous drugs such as Molly. Middletown police are investigating the source of the drugs, but have not been successful in any action beyond arresting the students.

The drug that has caused the trouble is Molly, a pure form of ecstasy also known as MDMA (loosely derived from the name of the chemical compound, methylenedioxy methamphetamine). While there are numerous risks to taking MDMA in its pure form, the drug is often found mixed with other substances. Varying from cocaine to PCP, to even bath salts and caffeine, these additives compound and increase the dangers of an already risky drug. This variability makes the drug increasingly dangerous; many people do not know what they’re taking. When mixed with alcohol and any other substances consumed during the three to six hour period of effectiveness, adverse effects become more common. Due to the euphoric effects and distortion of the senses, as well as heightened emotional positivity, Molly has become increasingly popular at parties, music festivals, and nightclubs.

Its presence on college campuses has become all the more prolific in recent years as well. A number of colleges have seen their students hospitalized and occasionally killed by bad reactions to Molly. While drug culture has been a part of life on college campuses for decades (centuries, even) the rise of synthetic “designer drugs” has serious implications for college administrators and health care officials, both collegiate and otherwise.

In the case of Wesleyan, fortunately, no deaths resulted from the tragedy that occurred last week. One of the hospitalizations in fact had nothing to do with MDMA, but was simply a case of alcohol poisoning.

Wesleyan’s administration has so far been relatively quiet about the incident, beyond providing details about the four suspensions of those arrested. Dean Michael Whaley, Vice President of Student Affairs, issued a statement: “Alcohol and drug use among college students is a national problem, and one that Wesleyan takes seriously… the university will continue to cooperate with state and local officials.” Wesleyan has further committed to “responding to violations with education, treatment, and sanctions, as appropriate.” The president of the college, Michael S. Roth, has further stated, “one mistake can change your life forever…Take a stand to protect your fellow students.” He also implored Wesleyan students, “if you are aware of people distributing these substances, please let someone know before more people are hurt.” While there has been no mention of any specific administrative action (beyond the suspension of the four students who have been arrested, and the general commitments listed above) it seems likely that more stringent drug policies will be implemented in the coming weeks and months. Wesleyan has, in past years, appeared third on a list of 300 small colleges (colleges enrolling between 3000 and 5000 students) in terms of disciplinary referrals for drug offenses. An average of one in 13 Wesleyan students faced disciplinary actions for drug violations in 2013. In light of these facts and the recent tragedy, Wesleyan’s stance is timely. The hope is evidently to curb the high volume of drug use, and the rising tide of synthetic, “designer drugs.”

Wesleyan’s campus has been under fairly intense national news scrutiny over the last week, making this tragedy very visible across the country. They are by no means the worst offenders, however. Molly usage is up across the country, and venues ranging from colleges to music festivals have seen their fair share of tragic consequences as a result of consumption of such drugs – hospitalizations and deaths come in from across the country many times yearly. Regrettably, tragedies like Wesleyan’s are becoming par for the course nationwide.

Hopefully, Wesleyan will be successful in its efforts to curb the usage of Molly and other synthetic drugs, and the mistakes made last week can serve as a warning to others. Future tragedies may be averted if the Wesleyan administration, in addition to administrations across the nation and the world, are successful in lowering the prevalence of these dangerous substances.


Allan K. Smith Reading Series welcomes Leslie Jamison



On Tuesday, Feb. 24, published author Leslie Jamison visited Trinity College to share pieces of her highly esteemed works. The Smith House hosted the author as a part of the Allan K. Smith Reading Series, giving students the opportunity to listen to excerpts from her New York Times best-selling essay collection “The Empathy Exams,” as well as her novel, “The Gin Closet.” Not only was this second piece a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award, but her work has also appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Oxford American, A Public Space, Boston Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Believer and The New York Times.

The Allan K. Smith Reading Series, which hosts authors and poets as part of a college endowment, provides students with a glimpse into the thought processes of accomplished authors like Ms. Jamison, so that they can work to improve their own writing. Ms. Jamison was able to provide insight into the world of journalism, as she is a regular columnist for The New York Times Sunday Book Review. While raised in Los Angeles, she moved to several other places, including Iowa, Nicaragua, and New Haven, until she settled in Brooklyn to pursue her writing career. Each of these stops along the way, she says, “was a world” to her, which undoubtedly helped to shape her perspective as a writer.

Her experiences with living in many different places translate particularly well in her piece, “The Empathy Exams.” When she presented this meditation on the way people relate to each other’s personal experiences at the reading, she highlighted her knowledge of the layers behind social interaction. The piece distinguishes sympathy from empathy, as the narrator provides the reader with specific details concerning how people handle both listening to and sharing their personal struggles with others. Some people, she notes, can imagine how painful an experience may have been for a person, while others take on the pain and share the experience with the other person. In one excerpt from “The Empathy Exams” the narrator shares how she works as a medical actor, “playing sick” for a living, and how she must teach the medical assistants who examine her to understand each sickness that she portrays. She deepens the meaning of empathy with anecdotes of her actual struggles with illnesses, to the point where it is clear that neither the medical assistant actors, nor real life physicians are capable of feeling genuine understanding for her battle with heart disease, among other complications. As a consequence, the reader is left with a profound understanding of how empathy deepens a person overall, and how feeling with someone rather than for someone can save a person’s life.

Once Ms. Jamison had finished sharing some of her best work with the audience—a myriad of English professors, potential English majors, and a couple of Hartford residents who were curious about Ms. Jamison’s methods—there was a brief discussion about the background and the planning that went into the publication of her works. One professor shared with Ms. Jamison that his students were focused on re-envisioning the next draft of their memoir pieces, and that they could benefit from hearing from a published author on how to cut out unnecessary details. A student in this class, Jackie Mercadante ’17, stated that she “felt like Ms. Jamison had some great advice on this aspect, because she does not seem to include a lot ‘fluff,’ or filler pieces in her writing.” This is a habit of which many college students are guilty, as they hope to meet the designated word limit allotted for papers by their professors. Yet, clearly it is within the concise but necessary details of “The Empathy Exams” that the reader learns of the complications within human connections.

Ms. Jamison also read excerpts from her book, “The Gin Closet,” which discusses the story of a young woman named Tilly, whose life changes for the better once her niece, Stella, arrives on her doorstep. The novel, which discusses with witty candor the struggles of addiction and loneliness, reminds the reader of the value of life itself despite its shortcomings. Once again, Ms. Jamison also reminded the audience of her vast experience with different types of people, as well as what she has learned along the way.

While Ms. Jamison may have settled in Brooklyn, she continues to travel to different locations to share her work with interested readers. Before arriving at Trinity, she had visited Rutgers University, Fresno State, and Holy Cross. She intends to make stops at other schools, such as the Duke University and University of Pennsylvania, as well as other countries like Portugal and Ireland later in the spring of this year. At the same time, she is currently pursuing a doctoral dissertation at Yale University about addiction narratives. Those who are interested in reading more of Ms. Jamison’s novels, or who would like to learn more about her very active career, can visit her website.

Hartford community joins together to protest for change



“I can hear my neighbor crying: ‘I can’t breathe,’ now I’m in the struggle and I can’t leave,” sang the melodic and passionate voice of Reverend Osagyefo Sekou at the Trinity College Chapel in honor of the lives lost due to police brutality in this country.  Rev. Sekou’s visit to Trinity came as a celebration of Black History Month, and as a time for the Hartford community to stand together to make a change.  The Chapel community welcomed Rev. Sekou, a renowned leader in the nonviolent movement for justice and peace.  Rev. Sekou’s weekend at Trinity included a discussion on the current Black Lives Matter Movement and nonviolent protesting, a session in nonviolent disobedience training, and Sunday’s church service, which all were events leading up to a peaceful protest throughout downtown Hartford on Feb. 23.

For anyone who was a participant in the protest, one could not have been more grateful for the nonviolent disobedience training that Rev. Sekou led. He, along with Trinity’s own Bishop John Selders, led simulations of nonviolent protests where attendees learned how to act and respond to police officers.  Nothing would scare a participant more than the thought of being arrested for standing up for what’s right, so one would be grateful to have the knowledge of learning how to protest in the most peaceful, but meaningful way. Rev. Sekou organized a group of adults to pretend to be police officers, so the protestors could learn how to stand up to the police and learn how to continue to protest, while ignoring authority.

The next morning, Rev. Sekou preached in Trinity’s Chapel and emphasized the importance of young leaders rising to the challenge of ending racist police terror and brutality, and other types of inequalities that take place in the United States today.  His sermon inspired churchgoers, including participants of the protest, to make a change immediately, and that’s what happened on Monday, Feb. 23.

Trinity College and the Greater Hartford community joined forces with Moral Monday CT in order to call to action the full employment for all people, access to quality housing and education, a fair prison and justice system, and the ending of police brutality against unarmed black people.  Moral Mondays are protests that began in North Carolina and were led by the state’s citizens in response to several actions of those who had been elected into North Carolina office. First led by the Rev. William J. Barber II, President of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Moral Monday protests began in 2013 after stricter voting laws were enforced in the state.

The protests focus on a range of issues such as inequality, discrimination and new laws implemented in the states.  Participants in Moral Mondays engage in civil disobedience each week by protesting inside of legislature buildings and then being peacefully arrested.  These protests ultimately launched a grassroots social justice movement that spread to Georgia, South Carolina, Connecticut, and other U.S. states.

In spirit of the protests that took place in Hartford, 60 people (a mix of Trinity students and faculty, as well as Connecticut citizens) joined together at the Christ Church Cathedral parish house to march arm-in-arm throughout downtown Hartford.  The protestors, wearing signs that reminded viewers that “Black Lives Matter” walked throughout the streets of Hartford. Protestors chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot!” and “Stop Shoot to Kill” in order to relay the message that racist police terror is an issue in this country that will not be ignored. This was a central idea in the protest, which many people recognized was a touchy point given the cirumstances. However, the participants were determined that this would be a peaceful protest, to effectively communicate the goals that they hoped to attain.

After a half-mile walk through the busy streets that were crowded due to Monday rush hour, the protestors valiantly walked through Hartford City Hall singing the freedom song, “The Little Light of Mine.”  The voices of the protestors rang throughout the high ceilings and corridors while those who worked in City Hall applauded the group and took pictures. This was a very moving experience for people who feel that there have been so many wrongdoings, and to see this support was very rewarding.  In honor of Michael Brown being fatally shot by a police officer, the group laid on the floor of City Hall in a silent protest called a die-in, where they stayed still on the ground for four and a half minutes. This represented the four and a half hours that Brown’s body laid in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.  Thankfully, no one in this group was arrested for protesting, but the group was followed on the way from City Hall to the church.  One participant’s favorite sign at the march was the one that stated “Not Against Police; Against Excessive Force, Deadly Force Used on People of Color, Use of Military Hardware on Civilians and Not Enough Justice.” This sign reminded the community that Moral Monday protestors respect the Hartford police and are making sure their power is used in a just, not excessive, manner. This is exactly what Rev. Sekou intended to have the participants do in this protest, and as a consequence, the march proved successful on both ends.

When marching, many protestors remembered the case of Luis Anglero Jr., 18, who was unarmed and shot by the Hartford police in 2014, and the case serves as a reminder that situations such as these are happening all over the United States.  The signs protestors carried, many of which were designed by third graders in the Hartford area, personally moved many participants. The signs were decorated with pictures of the students and their ages, and the reminder that their lives indeed matter. It was truly amazing for one alumna in particular, Megan O’Brien, to see people of all ages participate in Moral Monday CT. She stated that “it was a great experience to attend the Moral Monday protests,” and she hopes to attend another one.

Christianity and Evolution Can Find Common Ground

Campbell North ’17



Scientists who existed pre-Darwin predominantly practiced the Christian faith, believing that “a creator God…had endowed humans with the ability to discover the deep principles by which He had created the universe,” according to the Reverend Dr. John Polkinghorne, English theologian.  The Darwinian Revolution catalyzed the rift between science and religion on the necessity of God in the evolutionary equation. The developing insight into evolution and evolutionary processes converted some previously religious scientists into non-believers.  However, new understandings and interpretations of scripture and Christianity can help in re-building a bridge to overcome the gap that was created. Evolution and religion can exist in a cohesive relationship when evolution is viewed as a mechanism that will bring one closer to God and a divine state.

The Homo Divinus model makes an important distinction about how God played a role in human biological evolution. The model states that, “God conferred his likeness upon a member of the ape family and brought into being Homo Divinus, the ape-in-the-image-of-God, with the unique capacity to know, love, and serve its creator.” These first members of the Homo Divinus are interpreted as Adam and Eve from the creation story. According to Graeme Finlay, a cell-biologist, by encompassing both ideas that, “biologically, [humans] are apes” and that “theologically [humans] are creatures who share vital characteristics with God,” evolution can be seen as the necessary mean that allows humans to be spiritual. In Christianity, God is an all-knowing being and consequently, one of the characteristics humans share with Him includes a higher capacity for knowledge and awareness. This understanding leaves room for the theory of evolution to maintain its legitimacy because it still holds that humans evolved from other primates. It does not discredit any evolution or natural selection that occurs in other organisms. Evolution in this sense lends “insight into the scientific details of how God did these things,” says Polkinghorne. There is a reason other than the process of natural selection behind why humanity evolved, which is to know love and God.

Natural selection for larger brain size in humans can be acknowledged as way through which evolution brings people closer to divinity. According to Robin Henig, a science writer, anthropologists have found “religions that share supernatural features – belief in a non-corporeal God…belief in the afterlife…belief in prayer,” like Christianity, “are found in virtually every culture on earth.” This ubiquitous aspect has caused scientists “to look for a genetic explanation” for why religion may have emerged. Larger brain size leads to a larger expanse of cognitive processes and abilities. Religion is credited as a byproduct of this evolution. As noted by Henig, byproduct theorists explain that one of the reasons that religion has persisted is because “children are born with a tendency to believe in omniscience, invisible minds, immaterial souls — and then they grow up in cultures that fill their minds, hard-wired for belief, with specifics.” This may seem to detract from the validity of religion because it is explaining it as simply a repercussion of evolution. However, Justin Barrett, supporter of the byproduct theory and practicing Christian, argues that it supports religion because “Christian theology teaches that people were crafted by God to be in a loving relationship with him and other people…why wouldn’t God, then, design us in such a way as to find belief in divinity quite natural?” Just because science has found explanations for certain mental phenomena, like religion, does not make them any less valid asserts Barrett, “suppose science produces a convincing account for why I think my wife loves me — should I then stop believing that she does?” Humanity’s natural, evolutionary progression towards larger brains also ties back to the Homo Divinus model by citing a reason that allowed humans to become theological creatures, when God separated the humans from the apes by exposing himself, helping them know truth and love. It explains the necessity for bigger brains; to give humans a greater capacity for understanding this divine knowledge God revealed.

New interpretations of scripture allude to God as logos, which can also explain the evolutionary selection for bigger brains helping people get closer to God. Logos is the word that describes “logic, reason, and rationality.” The Gospel of John explains that “in the beginning was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God.” If God in this context is to be construed as reason and logic, then it makes sense that humans developed larger brains as a mechanism to get closer to being able to understand divine reason. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin proposed the concept of the Omega Point, which plays off this notion.

The Omega Point, a state of divine consciousness, emphasizes evolution as a way to reach God because it “introduces the concept of God as Omega.” Teilhard suggests that the rise in consciousness that accompanies biological evolution will ultimately bring humanity towards a divine state. He “follows the evolutionist understanding of an evolutionary progression” but notes that it is always accompanied by “an increase in consciousness.” According to Teilhard, humanity has crossed a threshold of “self-conscious thought, or mind” that other life has yet to cross. This notion ties back to the Homo Divinus model by pointing to God’s gift of awareness as the reason humans unique evolution. Teilhard’s theory explains that God as the Omega Point and “the convergence of evolution” are the two principles necessary “to explain the persistent march of things towards a greater consciousness.’”A higher level of consciousness is not necessarily essential for life, as one can see from varying levels found in different life forms. Natural selection for larger brains can be pointed to as the scientific aspect of this evolution. The theological explanation for an increase in consciousness is to reach the ultimate conscious state and know God. However it is important to note that an increase in consciousness is not being directly controlled by God, but is a byproduct of evolution.

The distinction needs to be made that while God has been cited as having influence in one part of the evolutionary process, which helped distinguish humans from the other primates, it does not mean that He directed every step. According to Polkinghorne, evolution is the “interplay between chance and necessity.” Necesity in this sense is a “gift of God’s steadfast faithfulness” and chance is the “gift of a free openness.” He believes that since God has endowed life with infinite, “inherent potentiality” and the natural rules and laws of the corporeal world act on this potential. To Polkinghorne, this concept also applies in the context of free will. Humans still have free will and are allowed to “‘make themselves.’” This embodies the theory of top-down causality, which explains God’s role as being a “constraint or boundary condition” for the natural processes that happen at lower levels of life” explained by Teilhard.

Religion and evolution both need to be appreciated as necessary in process through which humanity will progress.

The Art of Being “Basic” at Trinity College

Caroline Hariri ’17

Staff Writer


The New Oxford American Dictionary defines “basic” as “forming an essential foundation or starting point; fundamental”. It also says, “common to or required by everyone; primary and ineradicable or inalienable.” In chemistry, objects or liquids with a pH greater than 7 are considered basic. Basic is also an acronym for a simple computer programming language: Beginner’s All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend sent me a quiz from a popular website, Buzzfeed, entitled, “How ‘Basic’ Are You?” When I saw the title, I knew the meaning of basic in this case had nothing to do with chemistry, or computer programming. No, the quiz involved its most recent definition: the 21st century term of basic. Basic has come to mean a girl who acts, dresses, eats and thinks like the majority of all other young adult girls, in a boring and unoriginal manner.

I took the quiz, as I found myself drawn to the various answers, such as, “pick a pumpkin spice product,” or “choose your favorite social media platform.” I felt a connection and relation to almost every question they asked. My result: “Basic and you own it. You love infinity scarves and everything about the fall…” I was perplexed by this result, because though I did relate to many of the questions, I was offended that I was placed into this boring and generalized category.

Being basic is a newly titled concept in media culture, as a label for young adult girls who like or follow popular culture. Girls who are considered basic typically have stereotypical attributes, including “being a Kardashian fan,” “shopping at Brandy Melville,” “instagramming” at least once a week, “watching the hit sitcom Sex and the City,” “choosing music based on the most popular iTunes songs,” and “wearing yoga pants everyday and everywhere.”

In a popular video released earlier this year by College Humor, a scene takes place between a doctor and a young adult female with her boyfriend, as she dramatically receives “test results” back about a medical condition The scene opens with the doctor entering the room and stating, “…I got your results back…uh, I’m sorry but the test was positive; you’re [a] basic [girl].” A dramatic pause ensues as the doctor tells her that her symptoms of scented candles, picture frames that say family, owning every season of Friends, all prove that she is indeed, basic. The girl is visibly devastated by this dreadful news that she, like so many others in our society, is a follower of basic trends.

The basic girl holds attributes that seem unavoidable and universal to most young adult females. How can one, in a modern day, technologically advanced, big-company-run world, not be basic? It seems like everything pretty, tasty or fun also gets a connotation of being boring, common and too well-known to be original.

Just last week, I went to a birthday party with twenty girls in my grade, and the dress code was all black. I was not sure what type of shoes I was supposed to wear to the party, so I decided my safest bet was to borrow my roommate’s black Jack Roger’s- a classic pair of sandals dominant on the East Coast fashion circuit.

When I was ready to leave the party, I looked around the room to see where I had put my roommate’s shoes. To my dismal surprise, I saw eleven pairs of the same exact shoes waiting to be picked up. Out of the twenty girls who attended, eleven of them wore the same pair of shoes. I stood in the room full of women, and stared at the eleven pairs of these identical, indistinguishable shoes. In my flurry, I grabbed the pair that was closest to my bag, figuring that I had probably left them together. I took the pair, with the same wooden platforms I had seen and worn so many times, and the same exact stitching through the leather, bandana shaped sandal.

I left the pair in my roommate’s closet, next to her three other colors of Jacks. Yet, after a couple days, I received a phone call during my walk to class. My roommate hardly ever telephoned me, so I figured it must be urgent.

“Hello? Hayley, are you okay?!” I asked concernedly.

“Caroline. You brought back the wrong pair of shoes.”

“Hayley? Hello?” I heard something about shoes, but my connection was extremely choppy.

“CAROLINE. You brought someone else’s Jacks home. Hello?!?!” I could hear brief bits of aggression in her voice, yet all I could understand was something about shoes. Shoes? What could be so urgent about shoes that she needed to call me before my 8 am class? I hung up, and texted her asking if everything was okay, to which she responded, “Caroline you brought back someone else’s Jacks. These aren’t mine.”

The ones that I brought back, though the same color, same shape, same size and same condition “didn’t feel like her pair”. I texted everyone from the party, asking if any of them had accidentally taken the wrong pair, but no one had, because the shoes all looked the exact same.

Why did we all wear the same shoes? Was it security for our own sake? Are we upholding some sort of social expectation? Or are these shoes actually so great, that they deserve to be the most commonly worn shoes by the young adult female population?

I don’t think there’s one single answer to these puzzling questions, but I have come to the conclusion that there’s a difference between being basic for the label, and being basic because you’re being true to yourself, and you happen to like “basic” things. For example, there’s a difference between the girl who has the Jack Rogers because she truly appreciates the style, the feel of it, does not mind the price, and believes that it is a beautiful shoe, and between the girl who sees that this shoe is a trend, and that everyone has it, so she should get it, too. That’s boring. That is basic. To me, being basic is about doing things only because other people do them. It’s about upholding the idea that something is required, instead of challenging these requirements or social norms. Basicness is more than just following trends; it is following trends that you do not appreciate. Whatever new style, or food, or activity is popular, must have a reason for its popularity, but in our advanced day and age, a lot of that popularity seems false and forced upon people. However, this distinction between what is done for attention and what is done for oneself is difficult, if not impossible to determine. The majority of human action is determined by social norms, as humans are naturally, socially aware species. People make decisions based on other people, even subconsciously. Without even knowing, people act in a certain way that could be contradictory to who they really are, whether they are aware of their true opinions or not.

Part of the problem of why basicness is so prevalent in our day and age is because of social media. Social media has given people a constant outlet of viewing what others are doing, wearing, eating and thinking. This not only adds more places where people can be constantly influenced by what others are doing, but also makes individuals obsessed with what they themselves are doing, because they want attention and credit for it. Today, you don’t just figuratively like something. You literally, and psychically, can show that you “like” something on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and GroupMe. People, realizing it or not, start thinking about what will get their photo, or their status update, or their tweet, the most “likes.” And what do others like? What is the simplest way to secure yourself attention and credit from others? Posting the familiar, the known, and the trendy-posting things that are basic.

Technology, the quiz, the encounter I had with my roommates shoes, and this new concept of basicness, though light-hearted and certainly comical, raised this question of the meaning of originality and whether or not it can even exist. Sometimes, even the attempt to stand out makes one seem more basic, as an attempt to be different. Thinking that you are fighting the social norms of society can make you seem even more cliché and unoriginal than just accepting them. The great existentialist German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, explained that purposefully fighting social norms makes you comply with them, but accepting them and understanding that society works in such ways is more original than most people have the power to achieve. He says that “everyone is the other and no one is himself.” This is an enormous problem for society, and it is unavoidable. Just living in a society and obeying laws and speaking the common language prove that people are forced to follow others. That is perfectly fine, if not necessary to civilization. Liking things that other people have, or do, is absolutely no crime. In fact, it can be very beneficial and comforting to both you and others to follow the same recognizable and known trends. The distinction in the case of being basic is based upon people who follow mindlessly, and people who actually believe in what others are doing.

As difficult as this is in our day and age, I believe that it is somewhat possible to stay true to one’s beliefs, whether or not that means following a trend or shying away from it. A couple of months ago, I saved up and decided to buy a second pair of Jack Roger’s, and I do not regret that choice. They are a beautiful light pink with metallic gold stitching that does indeed fit my foot perfectly and comfortably. Though many people have this same shoe, I feel that I have other, nonappearance-based characteristics that give me the power to wear them differently than everyone else. Based on appearances, they give me an identity as a typical Trinity girl, a label that I am not ashamed of, as basic as it may be.

Brian Williams’ Journalistic Integrity Under Fire

Sheila Njau ’17

Staff Writer


Brian Williams has been a television staple for over 3 decades. He began his journalistic career in 1981 at KOAM-TV in Kansas and migrated to other stations before finding his home with NBC News in 1993. In time, he gained the position of NBC’s chief White House correspondent before moving on to serving as an anchor and as managing director of The News with Brian Williams on MCNBC and CNBC. He faced yet another big move in 2004 when he became the anchor of NBC Nightly News, a position he has held until now. This is a man who has received 11 Edward R. Murrow Awards, 12 Emmy Awards, the duPont-Columbia University Award, the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the George Foster Peabody Award for his exceptional journalistic abilities. In 2006, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world. This was a man who was taking the world by storm and his spectacular rise seemed to have no end. In 2011, Williams made another leap when he earned his own primetime news show, Rock Center with Brian Williams.

When I read about all that Williams has accomplished during his broadcasting years, I cannot help but be impressed by his numerous achievements, and I am not referring to the awards. I mean, here is a man who started of as a firefighter and later became a household name. Here is a man who has been to disaster-ridden areas, such as those following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and reported about shocking events. Here is a man who people looked up to and admired. And now, here stands a man who has fallen from grace. It seems that Williams falsified a story about being in a helicopter that was shot down in Iraq in 2003. The incident was over twelve years ago, so why is he getting caught now and why did no one catch the lie before? Williams decided to retell the story again when he was doing a story about the Army veteran Tim Terpak, who was charged with taking care of the NBC staff. During the show, Williams stated, “the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG.”  As Williams later confessed, the real story was: “I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft. We landed after the ground fire incident and spent 2 harrowing nights in a sandstorm in the Iraq desert.” What I consider worse than the lie about the Iraq mission, is the lie Williams told about going into Baghdad with SEAL Team 6, the team also responsible for the death of Osama bin Laden. Furthermore, he made up a story about how he received gifts from members of the team such as a piece of the aircraft that was destroyed during the raid on bin Laden’s compound.

Many are conflicted, questioning when these lies were originally presented. Past claims such as that of seeing bodies during his coverage of Hurricane Katrina are now under investigation. Not only that, but the scrutiny is going back all the way to when he was at Catholic University and Pope John Paul II came to visit the school in 1979. All I can think now to ask is whether it was worth it? Was it worth it for Williams to embellish these stories, because he has now lost the respect that he worked for so many years to attain. While he may have only been suspended by NBC for 6 months, I do not think that Williams will ever regain what has been lost, and that is the trust that people had in his journalistic capabilities. Do not get me wrong, I know that people lie and I’ve told my own share of white lies, but what Williams did was not a simple white lie. To say that he was a part of the mission with SEAL Team 6 was a bit much or when he stated that he had been there when the Berlin Wall fell, when in fact he arrived the next day. These are big moments in history into which he inserted himself. By lying about it, it feels like he was taking something away from these moments and that is why I find it so difficult to overcome this. Right now, I think about his daughter, Allison, who is just starting her career in the entertainment business and I wonder how this will affect her? So, all I can say is, “Brian Williams, I hope it was worth all the lies, because it’s now all gone, those 22 years are just gone.”


Food Gals: Majorca on Park Street a bit disappointing





As the Food Gals, we feel it is our responsibility to try each new restaurant that comes to Hartford. That is why we found ourselves at Majorca located on Park Street. Majorca is a Mediterranean Tapas restaurant that opened in January. We went last Thursday night around 7 o’clock and were surprised to see that we were one of just three occupied tables in the large dining room. We seemed to catch the end of the Happy Hour crowd, as the bar had another dozen people. The space itself has an industrial yet rustic feel: the ceilings were very high with exposed piping and brick walls making the dining room feel altogether too open. As a result, we could practically hear other peoples’ conversations because the noise was traveling so much. We were seated by the window on one of the coldest nights when the restaurant was virtually empty (Hollis doesn’t like to sit near the window, part two). It was pretty drafty the whole night, which distracted us a bit from the rest of the meal. Our waitress was very nice, however she was training another waiter who did not speak one word to us even though he visited the table several times to bring drinks and clear plates. We must have looked like professional critics as halfway through the meal, the owner started tending to our table. The owner was very nice and accommodating when we asked for more aioli for the calamari. He seemed to truly care about our satisfaction, returning to our table multiple times throughout the meal to ask how everything was.

We ordered Albóndigas, Papas Fritas, Croquetas de Arroz, Calamares Fritos, Alcachofas Marinadas and a Caesar salad. Albondigas are meatballs, which were served with tomato sauce and Manchego cheese.  They had the right flavoring and were made of dried and spiced pork that was slightly unfamiliar but appetizing nonetheless. Next, we tried the Papas Fritas, which were literally french fries. The menu read, “fried potatoes, Manchego cheese, garlic, truffle oil” so we were disappointed to find simple truffle fries. The Croquetas de Arroz were rice croquettes that contained chorizo, saffron, and  once again, Manchego cheese. Though they were pretty good and served with tomato relish and garlic aioli, they are no competition to those at Barcelona in West Hartford. The calamari was simple, but sadly (since you can have this anywhere), it was our favorite dish we ordered.

The Alcachofas Marinadas, which are poached artichokes with sherry vinaigrette, arrived at our table steaming and looking delicious, but actually tasted rather bland. The Caesar salad was essentially like any other Caesar salad we have eaten in our lifetimes except that Manchego was substituted for parmesan. It is safe to say, we will probably not be eating Manchego cheese for a while to come. Our final disapproval was the dessert. We ordered to share a chocolate mousse with Oreo crumble and a salted caramel drizzle. This was over-advertised and we agreed that the mousse tasted like a boxed mix.

The tapas were about the same price as, or more expensive than, the food at other restaurants we have previously visited like Barcelona, Bar Taco, or Umi. It is worth mentioning that Majorca recently replaced a Portuguese restaurant called O’Porto. Though never featured in one of the new Food Gal articles, O’Porto was loved by those of us who had visited. Undeniably less cosmopolitan, the menu at O’Porto was authentically Portuguese, the service was attentive and the atmosphere constantly lively. Overall, the food at Majorca was subpar and the service was good but could have been better for such a slow night. However, maybe we came on an off night because looking at other reviews online, everyone seemed to have exceptional experiences. Although we can’t comment on the reasons for the transition to an Americanized, Spanish tapas restaurant, the relative ambitiousness of the new menu was a disappointment compared to the standard, delicious Portuguese fare at Majorca’s predecessor.

Georgie Wynn ’16 on the beautiful city of Barcelona



I can’t remember a college tour without a detailed description of their study abroad options; therefore I knew I wanted it to be part of my experience.  At first I was not sure where that somewhere would be, but once I started at Trinity and was enrolled in the Spanish track, it became clearer and clearer that Barcelona was becoming one of the top choices.  Coming from Boston, one of America’s fabulous cities, Barcelona intrigued me as one of Europe’s renowned cities.  The program offered by Trinity allowed me to take classes at a local university, live in a homestay, experience the city for myself, and travel all over Europe…the whole package.

University of Pompeu Fabra was where I spent my Tuesday and Thursday mornings listening to my lively professor for two hours (in Spanish may I add) and on Mondays and Wednesday I was enrolled in a Catalan class, which is basically the dominating culture in Barcelona (for anyone who did not know that).  Not only was I able to improve my Spanish in Barcelona, I also learned a little bit of one of the oldest European languages to ever exist.  It was quite the brain overload at times, but totally worth it.

Barcelona, a city that dates back to the Roman Empire, is engulfed in history.  I was able to visit just about every museum in the city and each and every one of them held something different and dear to the history.  The streets themselves could be museums, whether it’s the hidden synagogues or marks on the cobblestones, every corner and turn in the city has history. The “gotic” courter is one of a kind.  Within this courter, there is a section called El Born and that was by far my favorite part of the city.  I would find myself wandering the 5 feet wide ally ways for hours, each day discovering something new and brilliant.  The small shops that line the allies are filled with hand made clothes, jewelry, bags everything, all of which are made in the stores! Most of the storeowners were friendly and helpful because they usually looked at me as a tourist.

If you ever have the fortune to visit, do not leave Barcelona without trying Manchego cheese- it is just to die for.  The Boqueria, which is basically just a huge building with fresh foods ranging from fish to smoothies to nuts, offers lots of different foods from around the area. It was incredible and something I have never seen in America. As most people associate sangria with Spain, as they should, the red wine was also tasty and very inexpensive. The food in Barcelona, well let’s just say it was irresistible.  All restaurants flaunt their favorite tapas, and every one has their own version of “patatas bravas.”  Unlike America’ go to bread and butter, Barcelona specializes in “pan con tomat”…Who would have known that tomato smeared over bread could taste so good?

Granted I loved all the food in Barcelona and the many other places I was able to visit, but nothing beats my mom’s home cooked meals, which I frequently missed. The lifestyle in Barcelona was long. Days usually started at 9am and ended easily at 2am- that is if you weren’t going out. Dinner started around 10pm, which is quite a change from the 6pm Mather meals here at Trinity. It took awhile for me to adjust to the long days and late meals, especially because the idea of a “siesta” never became my reality, unfortunately.  As for my experience in the homestay, it was one of the best decisions for my study abroad trip. Unlike living in a dorm or apartment, the homestay opened me up to cultural experiences I would have never had elsewhere. They were incorporating and made my time abroad even more special.

Today, back on campus, my time in Barcelona feels like a dream.  I would recommend going abroad to just about everyone! It is a time to grow as a person, learn outside the classrooms, and experience life in a different culture.


Trendy Trinity: 1920s beyond flappers, feathers, and fringe



The 1920s constantly carries connotations which resemble that of a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel- sequined bodies, blaring jazz music, and drinking away one’s troubles at a Speakeasy. Most commonly referred to as the Roaring Twenties, this decade is often defined by the start of prohibition in 1919 and the Stock Market crash in 1929. These troubling times were often pushed aside by a crystal highball glass on a bar by the adults who tried to reclaim their youth during this period. In the words of Fitzgerald, “I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again” was the mentality held by many Americans in the era of Prohibition.

Issues of The Ivy, Trinity’s yearbook, show the ways in which these conflicting times were both mourned and celebrated. The issues from the 1920s were large collections of tributes to the young Trinity men who had fought in World War I. Some of their involvement were marked by their photos in the “In Memoriam” section, while those who survived had their rank or even station location next to their portrait in their class year. In general, there was a huge war influence across the books- literally- as multiple pages contained members of the Trinity body who fought in the war, their ranks, and those who were wounded. In this case, the yearbooks served not only recount the events at the college over the past year, but also to honor the “Gold Star men.”

The college’s seal stamped in ‘0’ of “The 1920 Ivy” represents the literal mark that Trinity seems to want to place both in the college and nation’s history. Furthermore, for the first time, there is the inclusion of color in the form of navy and old gold ink in the introductory pages of sections like academics, student body, fraternities, and society, showing that we as a school were embracing the spirit of Trinity. Despite the war time era, the student body of Trinity had much to celebrate. In 1922, the college celebrated its 50th anniversary of the Board oft Trustees selling the “College Hill” campus to the City of Hartford as the location for the State Capitol building. A year later in 1923, Trinity also celebrated the Centennial of college’s founding. These historic events marked a sense of tradition and familiarity among the student body in an era where many unexpected events had occurred.

By 1929, the pages of The Ivy were filled with eclectic images and bold graphics. Action shots entered, which replaced the simple hand drawn illustration that often represented a sporting event or dance, like the Sophomore Hop and Junior Prom. The action shots show the progress that was being made in this period of society, in which the nation was moving away from the disparities of war and towards celebrating life and one’s youth, especially during the college years. This decade was also one of the first times in which women were shown as being a part of the men’s college experience, in which they were companions for the Trinity men at their seasonal dances.

The time of celebration during the 1920s was marked by the stride both in the college’s and the nation’s history. After the 1910s, a period which deeply affected all nations, the 1920s was a time of uplift. Browsing through The Ivy’s from the 1920s, there was a lack of cohesion from year to year. That said, one can still see the ways in which individuals celebrated the lives of those who fought for them during the War, as well as the growth made right here on Trinity’s campus.


San Fransisco artist grants personal internship experience



Last summer, I was fortunate enough to intern with artist and creator, Suzy Kellems Dominik in San Francisco, California. Dominik is a contemporary, San Francisco based artist most credited with her multi-sensory installations. As an intern at Suzy’s office, called The Ballroom, a magnificent old-fashioned mansion overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, I learned skills in event planning, advertisement, public relations, social media and marketing-not just in the world of the arts, because Suzy does a lot more than just art. Suzy is a creator. She finds inspiration in her daily life and puts in words, videos, photographs, paintings, food, song, and even more. She is able to take the events, people and occurrences around her and put them into art. Each little bit of her surroundings give Suzy inspiration to do more, with the most enthusiastic and inspiring attitude.

When I first joined the Ballroom, I was introduced to Suzy’s multi-sensory installation Bear Attack-The Urban Bear, a traveling exhibition that would be presented in New York, Denver, Chicago, London, Tokyo and San Francisco. The idea of Bear Attack came to Suzy as she was hiking in Wyoming, and read the warning signs for bears in the area: “Be alert. Make noise. Carry bear spray. Avoid hiking alone. Do not run.” Suzy immediately saw the connection between this and various events that had happened in her life, and felt a familiarity between the bear and some men in our society. The bear held the same threat that women today feel throughout the stages adulthood. She created beautiful and extremely realistic images of standard looking men of our society, with the head of a bear. Her images show the danger and discomfort that women automatically feel when they are alone. With the help of Hanna Armstrong and Lindsay Van Cantfort, Suzy’s extremely talented and knowledgeable staff, I worked a lot on advertisement and promotion on the piece-emailing and calling galleries throughout the entire world-to introduce this talented artist.

Also this summer, I got to work on two other of Suzy’s newest installations: Beatrice and Baddassery.

Beatrice, presented last summer at the Onishi Gallery in Chelsea, New York, tells the story of a beautiful pig experiencing Dante’s Inferno. Her photographs and soundtrack connect a piece of literary genius with an artistic masterpiece. I was extremely fortunate to join in the photo shoot of Beatrice, our golden metal pig, and a golden, real, pig’s heart. It was a true honor being a part of the shoot, and running around San Francisco trying to find a butchery that would sell me a pig’s heart.

Badassery was a true thrill to help design. The piece is made up of a collection of phrases of bright orange, bold fonts over squares of light blue paper stating thirty phrases that contribute to the idea of being “a badass”. Some of my favorite cards we picked, “Earn Your Luck”, “Bob and Weave”, “Throw Your Head Back and Laugh” and “Farewell to Fear”. This fun, light-hearted yet extremely inspiring piece sends a worthwhile message to all ages.

I also was able to work on Suzy’s blog, Whatever From the Ballroom, where I learned a lot of the technical pieces of blogging as well as contributed to stories to the three categories of “Big Ideas”, “Swoon”, and “Artful Living”. The blog contains articles, pictures, maps, horoscopes and much more. Each piece is written and posted with outmost elegance and detailed design.

It is incredible to me how each of Suzy’s art pieces reflected an aspect of society that I feel should be acknowledged. Not only does Suzy question certain aspects of society through her art, but she is able to have a great time doing it! The entire point of her expenditures is for her own enjoyment, a mindset that we rarely see in our society today. She isn’t doing her art to make money, or to impress anyone; Suzy’s sole motivation is the pleasure she gets from doing what she loves. This creates an amazingly upbeat and exciting workplace. Through Suzy, I learned the unteachable idea that must be experienced, not taught. I learned how essential it is to find passion and joy in whatever task you are given. Whether it is planning the most extravagant party of the year, or washing dishes, Suzy taught me that there is no right way to do anything, except to do it in a way that makes you happy.

“Dress debate” exemplifies potential for global collective action



Following a certain Tumblr post this past Thursday, the Internet saw an explosion of arguments pertaining to the colors of a dress. People worldwide engaged in debates with friends, family, colleagues, as well as strangers over social media, opening up broader questions pertaining to perception, reality and within the heat of the moment- one’s own sanity. As Ellen DeGeneres tweeted, “From this day on, the world will be divided into two people. Blue & black, or white & gold” I have no doubts that most of you are aware of exactly what I am talking about, and are probably an established a member of one of the two band camps.

The “dress debate” began on the Scottish Isle of Colonsay, when a singer and guitarist Caitlin McNeill who was perplexed by the color of a dress that was worn at a recent wedding she attended. The dress had generated a debate at the wedding as some thought it was blue and black while others were certain it was white and gold, in color. McNeill posted a picture of it on the Internet simply to acquire a sort of consensus. What followed was probably the least expected, but a truly amazing phenomenon. The photograph was viewed and shared amongst tens of millions of people across the planet, not ceasing to baffle the majority that could not believe the dress could be any other color than what appeared before their eyes.

Personally, I belong to the three-fourth majority of people that see the dress as white and gold, according to an obviously very reliable Buzzfeed poll. That said, I witnessed a friend who was shocked and thought something was wrong with her when she could only see it as black and blue. As most articles online pertaining to this issue have also pointed out, the dress has actually managed to drive people to reconsider their view of the world. While scientists easily justify this in relation to variations between the rods and cones in certain people’s eyes that make perception vary between different individuals, it seems that most people are not satisfied by merely this justification. Many believe that the dress poses some sort of prank, just to make people feel like there are delusional. Some others believe think the entire charade is a hoax that is gaining too much attention for no reason.

A whole other side to the discussion involves the reactions of celebrities. Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Mindy Kaling all tweeted expressing their disbelief at the dress being anything besides black and blue, while Kim Kardashian, Jimmy Fallon, B.J Novak and some others, felt otherwise.  One may now question whether people at large remain truthful about what they see, or whether they are simply jumping on band wagons based on fandom.  There is of course, ultimately no end to carrying on the debate, and there is no way of truly seeing what someone else sees to really verify anything.

But perhaps this debate, which centers on a rather shallow subject, does bring to light a much bigger global potential. It is amazing that a mere Tumblr post could mobilize the world into partaking in a single discussion. Given the endless social, environmental and political issues that press us today, “the dress debate” has exemplified that the world is indeed a global village that can easily be brought closer together to support collective discussions and consequent action to actualize bigger changes. While I would love to keep chatting about the dress, as “God” himself tweeted: “The color of a dress? Really? That’s what you’re asking Me? THE OCEAN LEVELS ROSE FOUR INCHES IN TWO YEARS. You know that, right?”


Violent past of Attica is rehashed after correctial officer brutality



This Monday an unprecedented trial began in rural Wyoming County, N.Y., investigating correctional officer brutality that occurred with in the confines of Attica, a prison infamous for bloodshed. Three guards have been convicted of brutally battering an inmate on the night of Aug. 9, 2011, just one month before the 40th anniversary of the gruesome Attica prison riot

The Attica prison riot is a symbol that encapsulates the nature of Attica’s rather intense and violent past. Described as the single bloodiest encounter, excluding the Indian massacre, between American citizens since the Civil War, the vicious legacy of the riot still looms over all who enter through Attica’s maximum-security gates. The altercation started after a group of inmates held 33 guards hostage. Causalities amounted to 43 dead and 89 wounded. Eleven of those killed were state workers, eight guards and three civilians. All but one had been held as hostages and died in a deadly hail of friendly fire after Gov. Nelson Rockefeller ordered the authorities to retake the prison after the four-day standoff with mutinous inmates. The rest of the victims were inmates, three of whom were executed by other inmates during the takeover for actions deemed counter to the intended rebellion. To correctional officers, the riot is reminder of the inmates strength in numbers and the potential for take over. To inmates the riot serves as a testament to the bloodshed that can occur behind prison walls.

The incident currently under investigation regarding correctional officer brutality was originally marked down as just another occasion when officers were compelled to use force to defend themselves and do their jobs. However, further investigation has shown that the actions of the officers were gravely misguided and cruel.

The victim of these actions was a then-29-year-old George Williams. Mr. Williams had been transferred to Attica after serving time for robbing two jewelry stores. He had four months left to serve before being released. On the night of the incident, the three officers pulled Mr. Williams from his cell for an impromptu search. The officers started to brutally beat Mr. Williams, who had curled up to protect himself from the assault. After the beating ending one of the guards stepped on a plastic safety razor and pried out the blade, announcing, “we got the weapon.” They then transferred Mr. Williams to “the Box,” otherwise known as the solitary confinement unit. The officers in charge of the unit refused to accept Mr. Williams, saying he needed to go to a hospital. Mr. Williams was originally transported to a hospital Warsaw County but was then transferred to the Medical Center in Buffalo due to the severity of the injuries.He sustained a total of one broken shoulder, several cracked ribs and two broken legs, one of which required surgery.

In a recent development this Monday, before the trial started, the three guards pled guilty on all charges of the brutal beatings and admitted to misdemeanor charges of official misconduct in an agreement that would save them jail time.

After being released from the hospital, Mr. Williams was transferred to a new facility in Buffalo where he served his remaining time. He still doesn’t know why he was singled out that night in Attica. While the memory still plagues him, he has a tried to return to an ordinary civilian life and is currently raising money for barber school tuition.

Inmates still incarcerated at Attica had hopes that this case would spur changes in how the prison was policed. Those hopes have since ebbed.  “We feel Albany doesn’t give a damn,” one inmate said, voicing despair rather than menace, “no one on the outside is going to change anything.” This sentiment is an important reminder of the dangers of feeling both overwhelming power and powerlessness. It calls for a re-examination of how modern prisons are run and how the system can be changed to still serve as a correctional facility but simultaneously maintain the notion of inherent, inaliable human rights, like protection from random brutal beatings.


Women’s Squash falls just short in Howe Cup Finals



February was a busy month for the Lady Bantams, playing seven games in just 11 days against tough competition as a part of both the NESCAC Tournament as well as the CSA National Tournament.  The women’s squash team travelled to Cambridge last weekend to try and repeat as National Champions, taking on Harvard for the second time this season.

In the NESCAC tournament, Trinity dominated and had no trouble sweeping through the competition.  The team won decisively in the opening round against Colby, winning 8-1.  The rest of the tournament was a similar story.  In the next round against Bates College, the girls showcased an impressive victory with a 9-0 sweep, with every single individual match being won in three games. Chanel Erasmus ’15 put on a particularly notable performance, losing only a single point in her match, defeating Bates’ Sarah Miller 11-1, 11-0 and 11-0.  The championship match wasn’t any more competitive, as Trinity defeated the hosting school, Williams, 9-0 just as they had done the last time the two teams met in January.

It is undeniable that the Trinity Women’s Squash program has reached the status of a dynasty amongst NESCAC opponents. The Bantams have captured the league title every year of the tournament’s nine year history, and have never lost a match to a NESCAC opponent.  The team will look to maintain its championship status next season, and it seems highly probable that the girls will be able to make it a decade of domination.

After wrapping up the season in terms of league play, the girls got four days to rest and recuperate before a relatively quick turnaround for the CSA Nationals Tournament to compete for the Howe Cup.  After taking the first match against Cornell 9-0, it appeared that Trinity might be able to take the National Tournament as handily as they did the NESCAC.  However, the next two teams would prove to be incredibly challenging matches.  In the semifinals match against the University of Pennsylvania proved to be a tighter contest that would edn up being decided by a single game.  With the score tied at four games, the match would come down to one individual gmae at the No. 7 spot.  Down two games to one, co-captain Natalie Babjukova  ’15 rallied to win the fourth and fifth games 11-7 and 11-6 respectively to help lift Trinity past UPenn and take them onwards to the championship game.

There is a lot of history between the Harvard and Trinity Women’s Squash teams, and in recent years the two have met on numerous occasions in what is often a very close matchup. This meeting was no different.  Despite the 7-2 scoreline, the match was much closer than it appears on the headline. Six out of the nine individual matches needing to be decided in 4 games or more, such as Trinity’s Sachika Balvanis ’16 who defeated Harvard’s Isabelle Dowling in a five game thriller.  All of the girls played great across the board and fought each match down to the very last game, but in the end it was Harvard who won on their home court.  The Bantams only graduate four seniors at the end of this year, and currently have tons of young talent who will only continue to get better.  The Trinity team has all the tools to refocus and train so that when they make the trip back to the championship game next year and bring the Howe Cup back to Hartford in 2016.

Trinity Men’s Squash team are No. 1 in the country




The George A. Kellner ’64 Squash Center was filled to the brim with enthusiastic fans who could not contain their excitement about the day’s championship game between Trinity College and St. Lawrence University.  Not only was Trinity Men’s Squash playing in the National Championships, but they were playing at home in Hartford. As the players moved on the court, the crowd started to chant “I believe that we will win,” a mantra that they hoped would become a reality at the end of the days final. Trinity coach Paul Assaiante spoke to the crowd before the start of the finals and said that “history is being made today,” a statement that echoed what all players and fans were feeling. It was a day of firsts, not only was it the first time in history that the Bantams hosted the National Championships but it was also the first time in history that two teams playing in the championship were not Ivy League schools. The momentum of the energetic crowd was too much for St. Lawrence to handle, allowing Trinity to walk away with their 15th National Championship in 17 seasons. They finished the day’s matches 7-2 and finished the regular season with a record of 20-1.

Trinity had an impressive performance from players Rick Penders ’18 and Omar Allaudin ’18, who gave Trinity a quick 2-0 lead. The next match was James Evans ’18 who was down 2-1, but was able to come back and eventually win with great athleticism. Evans finished the season 21-0, an amazing finish that lead to Coach Paul Assaiante proclaiming him the “MVP of the team” saying that “he understands himself as a person and also plays great squash, something that is hard to do when players are really good.” After a 3-0 lead, the next match was played by Karan Malik ’15 against St. Lawrence player Anderson Good, who would win the No. 5 match 3-0 to give the Bantams a 4-0 lead. In a down to the wire result, Bantam Miled Zaraua ’15 played against Edgar Zayas who would win 3-2 and gave St. Lawrence their first point of the afternoon.

The crowd was the loudest during the last game of the match between Trinity’s Affeeq Ismail ’17 and Lockie Munro. They both traded games, but Ismail was able to outlast his opponent and win the last game 11-9. This clinched the National Championships for the Bantams and allowed everyone to breathe as well as smile for the first time that day. The crowd was cheering and hugging each other, wanting to soak up the excitement of the days championships. Although the Potter’s Cup was already decided, the excitement did not stop while last wave of matches was played out.  Juan Vargas ’16 grabbed the sixth win of the day for the Bantams, while top-slot player Vrishab Kotian ’15 lost to St. Lawrence player Amr Khalifa.

The final match of the day ended in a set that truly represented the level of competition between the two teams. Moustafa Hamada ’15 took on his St. Lawrence opponent Duncan Maxwell in a fierce w game that stretched to a 15-13 win for the Bantams.  It was a satisfying finish for the Trinity team, reminding players and fans alike that every single point must be fought for on the quest to win a National title.

During the acceptance of the runner-up trophy St. Lawrence coach, Chris Abplanalp  only had words of praise for Trinity saying, “what the Trinity program has done for squash is why the college game is at the level it is today.”

In an interview after the big win with Trinity coach Paul Assaiante he explained that, “it was so wonderful to have the win happen here, a campus wide celebration of fans, students, alums and faculty” further saying that “I now know what other schools have experienced that we haven’t.”  Coach Assaiante continued by explaining that in preparing for the championship, he told his players “act like you have been there before” this advice would help them when playing a St. Lawrence team that had never reached the National Championship finals before. In fact, the year Trinity won its first Potter’s Cup was the first year of the St. Lawrence programs existence. Assaiante added that he always tells his players that “how you deal with emotions during the match will prepare you for things far more traumatic in the future.”

It was difficult to leave his office without taking a peek at his many championship rings located in the front of his desk. Coach Assaiante noticed this and with the same smile that he held the moment they won another National Championship told me “we are getting another one of those.” Congratulations to the Trinity Men’s Squash team for another great season.

Basketball advances to play Wesleyan in the semifinals




The Trinity Men’s Basketball team continued its great season on Saturday with a first round victory in the NESCAC tournament. The win was much too close for comfort though, as the eigth seeded Colby College Mules, nearly knock off the number one Bantams.

Down 63-64 with 10.7 seconds left in the game, Colby guard Luke Westman drove all the way to the rim and had a relatively clean look at a lay up that would have given them the lead. Instead, he banked it too hard and Andrew Hurd ’16 soared to grab one of the most crucial rebounds of the season.

Hurd was immediately fouled and with 3.1 seconds left on the clock and swished two critical free throws to give the Bants a 3-point lead. Colby’s desperation heave to try and get the ball down the court for a shot was intercepted by Shay Ajayi ’16, securing the first round victory for the Bantams.

Ajayi, who notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, said “man it was way too close, but since we were hosting that was an advantage to us because we had people cheering us on.”

Leading scorer Jaquann Starks ’16 struggled shooting the ball early and turned the ball over three times, but he did manage 12 points and three assists. Eight of those 12 came in a two-minute span toward the end of the first half on 3-for-3 shooting, bringing the Bantams to within one point at halftime.

After the break, the Bantams came out firing, going on a 14-1 run early in the second half to seize the lead, which they would maintain for the remainder of the game. Bench players Ed Ogundeko ’17, Chris Turnbull ’17, and Rick Naylor ’16 led the charge, with Ogundeko tallying 11 points and five boards in the second half.

Co-captain Hart Gliedman ’15 sank his only field goal of the game, a three-pointer late in the second half, giving the Bantams enough cushion to fend off the Mules’ late surge.

Gliedman, playing his final season at Trinity said of getting one step closer to a NESCAC title, “it would mean so much to the older guys (Alex Conaway ’15, Steve Spirou ’15, George Papadeas ’15) on the team because of how far the program has come in these past years, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves, we still have a huge weekend ahead of us to get through.”

The victory over Colby not only sends Trinity to the NESCAC semis for the second consecutive year, but it will also bring the NESCAC tournament semifinals and finals to the Ray Oosting Gymnasium for the first time since 2002. Home court advantage will certainly favor the Bants, as they have only lost two games on the home floor all season.

The Bantams will play the sixth seeded, in-state rival the Wesleyan Cardinals on Feb. 28th in hopes of meeting either Bowdoin or Amherst in the NESCAC Championship. If the Bantams were to win the championship, it would be their first since 2008, and would secure them a spot in the National D-III Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Bantam Athlete of the Week : Sydney Belinskas ’18




The Trinity College Women’s Ice Hockey Team has just finished their regular season with a bang and is preparing for playoff contention. This formidable team has been helped in part by rookie goalkeeper Sydney Belinskas ’18, who has had a tremendous start during her first year at Trinity. Belinskas has helped the team finish their regular season at 15-6-2, with a majority of their wins being conference matches. Along with the rest of her top notch defense, Belinskas has posted five shutout games and has been in the net for 87 percent of games in which opposing team scored less than 3 goals.

Like many previous athletes of the week, Belinskas has found her inspiration in many athletes, but her status as a Floridian made her transition to ice hockey different. “Growing up my favorite athlete was Andrew Raycroft. I can remember watching the Bruins on TV and I always wanted to play like him…being from Florida I also found (pro-surfer) Kelly Slater as a huge inspiration. In the seventh grade I read his autobiography. Reading how hard he worked for everything made the phrase hard work pays off” true to me. This spark was strengthened by Belinskas’ family.  “Somehow [my sister] was almost always stronger and faster than me, but that always pushed me harder and harder. Both of my parents taught me how to lift and fight for what I wanted. I learned to work hard and to follow my dreams.” This work ethic began long before her time in a Trinity uniform. “Before high school I played on Team Pittsburgh and we ended up winning Nationals. I went to the Williston-Northampton School my sophomore year to senior year. That’s when opportunities really started coming. The off- ice and on ice teaching and coaching there really prepared me for college. Without Williston I would not be where I am today.” This hard work and dedication paid off in dividends for Belinskas. In her most recent game against Wesleyan she limited the opposing offense to two goals and made 18 saves throughout the game.

Belinskas has had many opportunities to make memories, one of which was, “beating Tabor in overtime at their home rink during a night game. They had the stands packed. When we scored it felt like we won a championship”. However, the team at Trinity and its amazing fans seemed to have an even greater impact on Belinskas. “At Trinity the best moment was finally putting on my new pads for our first home game. I had just gotten back to school after being very sick and couldn’t play yet, but just the vibe and hype was amazing. As soon as I walked into the rink that day I was so excited.” The current playoff has made this experience even better for Belinskas, who has a positive outlook on the rest of the season. “This season has been great. We’ve really started working as a team. Moving forward this season I have a good feeling. Everyone’s energy is high and as long as we keep working hard in practice the outcome will show in our games. The playoffs are in site and everyone is ready to battle.”

Belinskas and the third-ranked Trinity College Women’s Ice Hockey team will host Willaims at the Koepell Center on Saturday, Feb. 28th.

The David Project signifies harmony throughout Israel



Being a part of the David Project has been a truly enriching experience. When I embarked on the ten day trip to Israel. I wasn’t expecting to come across anything new. Israel is like a second home to me, after Nepal, since my parents live there. I myself lived in Israel for a year before joining Trinity and I thought I already knew a lot about this country. However, I was wrong and I am very grateful to the David Project for uncovering the real Israel for me.

When I was in Israel during my gap year, I did not find it difficult to connect with the country, and its people. I believe that living in different countries since childhood has taught me to embrace open-mindedness and accept different perspectives. And it was in the summer of 2014, during my stay in Israel, during the Israel-Gaza War that I truly realized the gravity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The first few thoughts that ran through my mind were not at all about knowing which side to choose. It was not about Jews or Arabs. It was about peace, which I soon realized was hard to get, for trying to understand the Israel-Palestine history left me confused and perplexed. As I spent this winter in Israel, I connected more with this issue.

In my opinion, one can never know what the conflict has truly done to these two regions solely by following what the media portrays. Instead, I learned that it is more about personal narratives. It is through listening to different people, whether  Israeli-Jews, Israeli-Arabs, Palestinians, Israeli-Palestinians, Orthodox Jews, Reformed Jews, and many more, and their experiences that one can finally see a vague picture forming. I call it vague, because after listening to different personal narratives during my entire David Project trip, I still couldn’t  figure out what was black and what was white. It’s grey and yes, it is confusing. But what’s clear is my stand on all of this – trying to achieve peace through non-violence, and my experiences in Israel this winter has given me hopes for that.

I was very moved when I encountered an organization called, Combatants for Peace during this trip. It is a movement that started by Palestinians and Israelis, who have fought for Palestinian freedom and for the Israeli army (IDF) respectively. These members have seen violence, decided to put down their guns and come together for peace. We heard from a Palestinian and an Israeli speaker from the movement and saw strong bonds of friendship between them. Their bond showed us that reconciliation is possible, if both the sides allow themselves to understand the other’s narratives and aspirations. They said that there is more that unites them than divides, and they act non-violently to raise consciousness regarding the sufferings and hopes of the other side to stop the cycle of violence. I think that the bloodshed and terror is never going to rescue these regions. If there is peace somewhere out there, it is in the hands of organizations such as this, which understands that change can only come if two sides truly understand each other’s stories.

The David Project exposed me to so many different narratives in an unbiased way and I feel that I have uncovered Israel in many more ways.


Trinity student experiences the day-to-day life in Israel



This past winter break, I visited Israel again. I was not a tourist within a large group, as was the case during my prior three visits. Then I followed a formal protocol of educational and cultural immersion that was driven by a mission of a particular organization leading the trip. During these arranged excursions, be it hiking trips, outdoor adventures or the museum tours, constant topics in discourses involved politics, history, and religion. Although I felt highly informed and inspired by the history of my Jewish land, I still didn’t feel fully connected to contemporary Israel or its people.  This is not a criticism of Israel programs as these educational and leadership tours provided me with knowledge and skills I wouldn’t have learned in a history book.

This January I felt ready to embark on a journey of my own, driven by my own mission and itinerary. My mom and I rented an apartment in the middle of Tel Aviv, the country’s New York City. Of note is that we hit the worst weather with much of Israel covered in snow and the normally warm and dry Tel Aviv drenched in rain, hail, storm winds, and very cold. Undeterred, we walked for miles, bought our own food at the local shuk (the grocery market), and used transportation such as taxis and buses, and visited museums and cultural centers throughout the city. Both of modest fluency in Hebrew, we managed to communicate to our best abilities. Israel, because it is a land of immigrants, made the language barrier feel like only a minor problem. We were living in Tel Aviv, making our own plans day by day, and sometimes we even passed for Israelis! Witnessing daily life of Israel as a disguised Israeli walking the streets among the people, the worries and conflicts discussed academically and politically took a back seat to the normality of daily living. Nonetheless, not being a native Israeli, paranoia about security would spark whenever I was near bus stations or large public areas.  Random and sporadic terrorist attacks are a tragic part of Israel’s reality. Just a few days after my visit, on Jan. 21, 2015, 12 people were brutally attacked on a Tel Aviv bus by a terrorist. Back at Trinity in the midst of the quiet beauty of our campus, it felt almost surreal to know that I walked in the same neighborhood as the terrorist and his victims and may have seen people who were wounded in that attack.

The terrorist attacks in the Paris Charlie Hebdo killings and the anti-Semitic murders at the kosher supermarket- all occurred during the time of my visit. Undoubtedly, I felt the security concerns affected my composure at times. On the other hand, my paranoia would fade away in the face of the regularity of ordinary life in Tel Aviv. Interacting with average citizens, I was inspired by their commitment to keeping life as normal as possible and by their loyalty to their country. They treat their attackers at their hospitals, even after the attack, they provide aid and assistance to their neighbors affected by wars, and they send their citizens all over the world on rescue missions. From the perspective of Israeli citizens and through my lens, it is clear that everyday life must go on. The Israelis live with dire security concerns and yet they insist on maintaining as normal of a life as possible. They refuse to bow to terrorism. My most recent visit enabled me to identify with an average Israeli citizen, which I believe is an important part of shaping my position and connection to the country.


Trip to Israel provides moments of interfaith dialogue



Imagine a chartered bus filled with over 30 American students. They are chattering loudly and excitedly about their journey ahead. They come from every corner of the United States and varying ethnic and religious backgrounds as well. Although these students may seem very different from the outset, what they have in common is their leadership at their respective universities. From positions in Student Government to roles as Resident Assistants, these students are the movers and shakers on their campuses. These thirty plus also share a common destination: Jerusalem.

These students were brought together by the David Project, a non-profit organization that positively shapes campus opinion on Israel by educating, training and empowering student leaders. One of the ways in which the David Project educates its student leaders is by inviting them to participate in “Israel Uncovered,” a ten day trip that brings Jewish and non-Jewish students to Israel and exposes them to its dynamic and complex society. In January I had the opportunity to participate in this trip and learn about Israel’s history, people, culture and religions. As a result of my involvement in the Charleston House of Interfaith Cooperation – an organization that promotes dialogue and relationship-building between people of different religious backgrounds and worldviews – I was most impacted by the examples of interfaith cooperation that I witnessed while in Israel.

Our group’s bus driver, medic and tour guide alone were a diverse trio through whom I learned about the different religions that co-exist in Israel. Our bus driver, Moshe, was a kind older man of few words. He was a devout Muslim. Our medic, Sully, was a Druze gentleman. The Druze religion is a blend of Islamic monotheism with Greek philosophy and Hindu influences. It is unique in that outsiders are barred from joining it. Our tour guide, Yoav, was a lively Jewish Israeli. These three gentlemen introduced me to Israel’s religious diversity and demonstrated the importance of interfaith cooperation in our daily lives.

As my trip continued, I began to personally experience moments and interactions such as the one described above. My awareness to these was especially heightened in Jerusalem – a city that is split into four quarters: the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter. Whether these interactions came in the form of the conversations I had with fellow Catholics at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or the celebration of Shabbat dinner with a young Jewish family or the lessons I learned while listening to the narrative of a Palestinian-Israeli man, these moments reaffirmed for me the difference that can be made when we share our narratives, listen to the narratives of others and attempt to understand their worldviews.

In a world that is wrought by lack of understanding between people of different religious backgrounds, I felt inspired by the moments I witnessed and participated in because they gave  me hope for a more peaceful tomorrow. One of the outcomes of my experience in Israel has been Avi Peace Shabbat, which took place on Feb. 22. A collaborative event between the House of Peace and Hillel, it created a space for open dialogue about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Over seventy students attended this event and engaged in this dialogue, helping to build bridges of interfaith cooperation on Trinity’s campus.

Israel boasts a beautiful culture and exquisite cuisine



This winter I was lucky enough to have the chance to go to Israel on a birthright trip. For those who may not know, birthright is the opportunity for Jewish teenagers and young adults to travel to Israel on a 10-day trip – packed with activities, cultural events, and lots and lots of sightseeing. The itinerary included trips to Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, the Negev Desert, and many other sights up and down the country. I was so amazed by the sheer beauty of Israel and the kindness and acceptance the Israelis showed towards us. Israel welcomed us with open arms as we spent ten beautiful days in the Holy Land.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was hiking up Masada. We climbed up the rock plateau to see an incredible ancient fortification that Herod the Great built as his palace. Later, the fortification was used during the First Jewish-Roman War by rebels fighting against the Romans. The war ended during Siege of Masada with the mass suicide of all of the rebels. The history and beauty of Masada is unparalleled; situated between the Dead Sea and the Jordanian border, the view from atop was breathtaking and made the long hike up and down totally worth it. The remnants of the palace and fortification are still in relatively good condition and make for a fascinating tour of the top, flat part of the plateau.

Another part of the trip I really enjoyed was experiencing all the different foods from Israeli and Jewish culture. As Israel’s national food, hummus was served at just about every meal. I consumed more hummus in those ten days than I have in my entire life! In addition, Israel boasts a delicious cuisine that includes falafel and shawarma, essentially pita stuffed with hummus, deep-fried chickpea balls, schnitzel, or lamb and an array of different condiments and toppings. So yummy!

Also, I definitely miss the fresh fruit juices served at every street corner. From pomegranate to apple, these hand-pressed juices were delicious and refreshing.

Young Israelis capture the heart of a Trinity student



I went to Israel with a program called “Start South” to create a large-scale arts festival for southern Israel. As a non-Jew, I must admit that I didn’t know much about this country before the trip. All I knew was what the western media told me. I didn’t expect to fall in love with Israel, but I did unequivocally.

My favorite moment would have to be when our group went to a large school center. We did many workshops with the kids there. I’m part of the Documentary/New Media group so I was going around taking pictures of everything, including the kids. The kids were hilarious, they didn’t say picture, they said “selfie” even when they meant picture. So, the boys would all get in groups asking me for “selfie!” and I obeyed, of course.

And then there was this one boy who kept following me around, speaking Hebrew to me. I took a picture of him but he kept following me around. I tried to ask him what he wanted, so he called a teacher over. She had a bit of an accent, so at first I thought she just said he “wants a picture.” Just as I was about to take another picture of the boy, she shook her head and said, “with you! He wants picture with you!” He just stole my whole heart, right then and there.

Regardless of whether you are Pro-Israel or Anti-Israel, please know all the facts. I’ve fallen absolutely in love with this country, and it’s people and it’s food. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a very complicated one, and it is a typical habit for Americans to pick a side. But sometimes, there isn’t really a good guy or a bad guy. The situation in Gaza is terrible and I pity the people there. But the Israeli people, specifically the people of Sderot, are victims of this conflict as well. The children here are gorgeous, the people here are kind and they all want peace.

You don’t need to be black to celebrate Black History Month



I have to guiltily make a confession regarding my ignorance on the subject of Black History Month. Although I have not grown up in America, I cannot (especially as a senior) use my foreignness as an excuse for this.

For the past three years here at Trinity, I have been invited to or heard of events on campus in celebration of this month, but neither did I ever attend any of these, nor did I even make the effort to look up the significance of this celebration. My logic for this seemed fairly straight forward- ‘I am not black, so what could I possibly have to celebrate on this month?’ This stemmed from my baseless assumption that the occasion was simply to do with the ‘abolishment of slavery, the extension of civil rights, and other legal accomplishments’ that I couldn’t culturally connect to. Ultimately, just the way I tend to be skeptical of the ‘Hallmark holidays,’ I would also end up questioning the purpose of delegating a month towards celebrating a specific history.

Following an insightful conversation with one of my roommates just this past weekend, as we approach the end of Black History Month- I have come to finally realize that the existence of this month is especially crucial for people like me. Black History Month did emerge as a way to address and clarify the often misunderstood and tangled up history of the African diaspora, about 50 years after slavery was abolished in America. That said, the month in contemporary times is also meant to celebrate the numerous contributions that African-Americans have made to and continue to make to society at large. These are contributions that have positively impacted us all, but undoubtedly also include ones that we overlook in our daily lives. In this regard, this month can, and should be celebrated by people from all backgrounds.

In thinking about African-American contributions to society, the first two fields that come to mind include sports, and music. While African Americans have achieved numerous athletic milestones within or while representing America, the community has also been instrumental in the development of music genres ranging from the blues to jazz to reggae, and to hip-hop. Celebrities such as Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jackson, Will Smith, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and Muhammad Ali, amongst many others have all made a lasting impression in the nations as well as in the world.

Black innovators and inventors have also made significant contributions over the years. To list a few- Dr. Daniel Hale Williams was the first physician to successfully perform an open-heart surgery, Dr. Earl Shaw was the co-inventor of a laser device for radiation therapy for cancer patients, Garrett Morgan invented the the first traffic signal, Sarah Broome invented the ironing board, J.A. Burr invented the lawn mower, and the list goes on.

While it does seem like a stretch to connect race to achievements that do not explicitly have much to do with ethnic backgrounds- I think it is essential to acknowledge and celebrate these in the context of Black History Month.

Given the unfortunate stigmas and stereotypes that media has created, specifically linking African Americans to violent behavior, this month provides the opportunity for everyone to realize and celebrate the positive and truthfully inspiring side to the African diaspora. Instead of feeding into existing racial disparities by questioning the purpose of this month, why not simply partake in it? I think that any such occassion should be seen as an opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to come together, instead of furthering apart.

Ultimately, Black History Month is not an exclusive celebration, and shouldn’t be regarded as such.


N.S.A document reveals threat of cyberwar between U.S. and Iran



Technological advancements and society’s trend towards a continued reliance on the internet and cyberspace has recently been accompanied by a growing concern about using this medium for a new breed of modern warfare. The wars that were once waged on land with weapons and physical defenses have now been transformed into virtual encounters. And cyberspace is the new terrain where various political leaders and countries have chosen to fight. Ever since the dawn of cyberspace different leaders have attempted to manipulate this network in order to place attacks on opposing groups.

The most publicized incident of cyber warfare occurred recently with the North Korean attack on Sony pictures. This incident sparked a series of controversies and eventually led President Obama to accuse North Korea of ordering a destructive attack against America. This was the first timesthat the United States has ever explicitly charged another government with mounting a cyberattack on American targets. However, this conflict with North Korea would not be the last of its kind.

A recently disclosed National Security Agency document revealed that Iranian officials have discovered new evidence that the United States was preparing cyberattacks on their networks. It then went on to explain that Iranian retaliation in response has escalated and marked the beginning of an era of computer competition between the United States and Iran.

The document also revealed that the three waves of attacks against the United States by Iran began in August 2012. The attacks targeted the websites of of large banks, which included the likes of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. These attacks consisted of a flooding of the bank’s website with data in an effort to overload them and subsequently make it impossible for customers to access their accounts. This is just the beginning of America’s fear of the extent of cyber warfare, as officials have become increasingly alarmed by the successes of Iran’s new “cybercorps.”

Admiral Michael Rogers, the N.S.A’s new director, has taken a firm stance on the issue and declared that his first task in his new position will be to deter these cyber attacks. He hopes to deter countries like China, Iran, and Russia from waging cyberwar by making it relatively expensive to do so. Plans for how exactly he will attempt to do this have yet to be disclosed. The Obama administration has also recently grown hesitant over releasing the names of countries that they believe to responsible for such attacks in the hopes of deterring them.

While the threat of cyberwarfare is frightening, especially due to the unknown potential damage that could result, it has a history in the United States starting in the 2000s. Most notably in June 2007, the U.S. Secretary of Defense’s unclassified email account was hacked by unknown foreign intruders as part of a larger series of attacks to access and exploit the Pentagon’s networks.

The uncharted waters of engaging in cyberwarfare are certainly intimidating. However, the United States has a unique capacity for dealing with unknown situations. This capacity for resilience and resourcefulness is distinctly American and will help government officials face what unknown challenges lie ahead.


UNC Chapel Hill Shooting: hate crime or act of insanity?



Three innocent Americans were murdered earlier this week. Two of the victims were a recently married couple attending dental school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, while the third was the wife’s younger sister, and freshman at the same university. They were shot in the head in their condominium complex by one of their neighbors, supposedly over a parking dispute. While this alone renders the crime worth condemning given its brutality, the specificities of the case- concerning the identity of the victims, their perpetrator and the question of motive, have opened up a ‘war of narratives.’

The three students- Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21 and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were Muslims of Arab descent, while their murderer, Craig Hicks was a middle-aged white man. It wasn’t long before the victims’ family, and many others appealed to the police that this was not just a murder case, but also a hate crime. The Mohammad sisters’ father also attested that just a few days earlier Yusor and Deah had complained to him about how Hicks had threatened them and made them feel uncomfortable. It is not a novel fact that Islamophobic tendencies have been spreading rampantly across the world, and have often manifested themselves in violent incidents against innocent people. For the most part, media’s portrayal of such incidents has been undeniably inadequate, particularly in contrast to when people of Islamic backgrounds are the alleged perpetrators. To consider a counterfactual situation, where a Muslim may have been the murderer, the crime would potentially have even been framed as an act of terrorism. Particularly in light of this fact, I think it is definitely worthwhile for every American to consider the idea of this incident being a hate crime. If not a hate crime toward a religious minority- it is still a hate crime of sorts toward the fabric of equality, and human rights that this nation was founded upon. Hicks’ identification as a new atheist does not make it easy to refute this narrative. Yet, the judiciaries claim that they are still to find evidence pertaining to Hicks crime being stimulated by hate- the murder of three Muslim students is not enough. The most disturbing part about this claim is that it accepts that three individuals were shot dead, simply over a casual parking dispute and no other reason. Quite frankly it is a warning call when someone is killed over parking.

While Hicks is already charged with triple homicide guaranteeing that he will be spending the rest of his life in prison, charging him for hate crime would have changed the nature of his sentence. Hick’s wife claimed that her husband tended to have a parking obsession, and did have a generally angry nature that was likely to have driven this incident. This lends towards the all too familiar justification that it was his mental state that led to this crime. We may wonder whether the same gunshots would have been fired if the people Hicks got in an argument with were not Muslim, or did not distinctly identify with any specific religion. But this also questions new atheist moralities, which leads to a whole separate narrative.

Ultimately, the fact of the matter is that America lost three innocent citizens, and their perpetrator did not get away with it. Does this truly mean justice was served? I am not sure. While I am not really a strong proponent for either of the two narratives addressing whether this was a hate crime or not, I do think this crime is yet another invitation for this nation to reconsider its gun laws, the dangers of media’s misrepresentations of certain communities, and ultimately the meaning of equality. In the mean time, definitely do not risk your life over a parking disagreement!



The strength of female stem cells may help save male hospital patients



Some of the most prominent diseases that older people have to fight – heart disease, diabetes, age-related degenerative diseases and other disorders – may meet their match in the coming decade with the development of stem cell therapies. And when it comes time to enter the ring, research shows you may want to place your bets on female stem cells to pack the stronger punch.

“We always knew women were awesome,” said Doris Taylor, director of  Regenerative Medicine Research at the Texas Heart Institute. “Now we have the science to back it up.”

In 2007 the first discovery on the strength of female stem cells was revealed. Female stem cells, derived from animal muscle tissue, generated more muscle fiber and survived better when repairing injured muscle than male cells.

A study conducted by Dr. Taylor and her team, published last year in the Texas Heat Institute Journal, broadened research to humans ages 20 to 70, harvesting stem cells from the blood and bone marrow. The same is true in people; female stem cells were “stronger” than their male counterparts.

Female stem cell strength refers to their number and the fact that “they are more potent than cells derived from males the same age,” said Dr. Taylor. “At a given age women will have more stem cells present, in the blood at least, and as we age, women retain more potent stem cells for a longer period of time.”

The team’s current theory points to the need for reduced blood levels of inflammation during pregnancy as one reason why female stem cells may have an advantage.

The quality and quantity of female stem cells may bring a new dimension of efficacy to stem cell therapies to treat disease. “The data on stem cells is very hopeful,” said Paula Johnson, director of the Mary Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “This may help us understand sex differences on a cellular level.”

Stem cell therapies use stem cells’ inherent ability to differentiate into other specialized cells, such as skin, bone or muscle. They can be used to treat a wide variety of disorders because they are “capable of moving through all developmental stages to become functional tissue,” said Justin Brown, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Penn State.

However, their ability to repair damaged organs eventually diminishes because they “are limited in the number of times they can divide and the rate at which they divide slows as we age,” he said.

This inhibits stem cells’ natural ability to replace or rejuvenate specialized cells damaged by the wear and tear on internal organs. The basic premises of stem cell therapies is to counteract this by harvesting stem cells from bone marrow, fat or heart muscle and then injecting them at the sight of injury to repair and replace damaged cells.

“And if endogenous stem cell repair works a lot better in women, why not figure out what that is and make it available for male colleagues,” said Dr. Taylor. “In theory, if someone had a heart attack and we wanted to do cell therapy, we would want to give them the most potent cells available. We could give them female stem cells or figure out what is in the cells that makes them better.”

As the field of medicine continues to advance, the possiblities for stem cell therapy are endless. Moving forward, information about the differences and vitalities between stem cells becomes imperative for creating the most efficacious treatments. So while the traditional presumption may assume males are inherently stronger, females take the cake in hardness and brawn at the cellular level.


2015 Academy Awards honor the year’s best filmmakers



The Academy Awards are often cited as the biggest night in Hollywood—the people who win the Oscar are remembered forever in film history. Last Sunday saw the 87th annual awards ceremony, and while most recipients could be predicted months in advance, there were a few who surprised, a few who disappointed, and a few who exceeded everyone’s expectations.

The show opened with a predictable, charming song and dance routine from Host Neil Patrick Harris, and segued into the award for best supporting actor: J.K. Simmons was the predicted winner for his seething performance in “Whiplash”, and he took the Oscar with a short speech about the importance of family and friends.  Costume design went to “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, and so did makeup and hairstyling, which came as a surprise to those who expected to see the statuette go to “Foxcatcher”, for creating Steve Carell’s beaklike nose and sallow skin. Best foreign film, best live-action short film, and best short subject documentary went to the polish-identity film “Ida”, “The Phone Call”, and “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” respectively. The high definition drumbeats and jazz sounds of “Whiplash” earned it the Oscar for best sound mixing, and “American Sniper” won the following category for sound editing. As usual, the first part of the show was populated with heartfelt speeches, many if not most of which were interrupted by the Academy Orchestra for being too long. The nominees for best original song were performed throughout the evening at spaced intervals, though none of these performances held a candle to the song that later won the category.  Selma’s “Glory”, performed by John Legend and Common had many of the celebrities in the aisles weeping conspicuously. Patricia Arquette won best supporting actor for “Boyhood”, beating out Emma Stone and Meryll Streep for the Oscar. Next came a win for “Interstellar”, neck in neck in the category of visual effects with its rivals “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, and “Guardians of the Galaxy”.

The second half of the show featured more puns and gags from Neil Patrick Harris, and a relatively toned down performance from Lady GaGa of many of the songs from the legendary best picture winner “The Sound of Music”, which is celebrating its fiftieth year. Next, “Feast” the best animated short film and “Big Hero 6” the best animated feature film edged out competitors (notably “The Boxtrolls” for best animated feature film), bringing us to the awards for production design and cinematography. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” won for its colorful and singular production design, and the innovative one-shot cinematography of “Birdman” earned it the Oscar for that category.

Next, “Whiplash” earned the Oscar for film editing—a slight surprise taking into consideration the 12 year editing process of “Boyhood”, but a wise choice considering the powerful and kinetic editing work done on “Whiplash”. Best Documentary feature went unsurprisingly to the Edward Snowden film “Citizen Four”. The next categories were the best original and adapted screenplays, which went to “Birdman” and “The Imitation Game,” respectively.  For best picture category, there was a toss-up between “Birdman” and “Boyhood”.  “Boyhood” director Richard Linklater and “Birdman” director Alejandro G. Innaritu were the two major contenders in this category, but in the end the Oscar went to Innaritu.

Then arrived the final three and weightiest awards of the evening—best actor and actress, and the highest honor awarded, best picture. In the best actress category, there was little doubt that Julianne Moore would win her Oscar over her counterparts, even acknowledging the career changing work from Reese Witherspoon in “Wild” and the chilling brilliance of Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”. But Moore’s performance as a woman with Alzheimers in the drama “Still Alice” garnered almost universal critical acclaim, and as predicted, Moore won the Oscar. The best actor category held a real surprise: instead of Birdman’s Michael Keaton, who played a washed up actor trying to cope with his wasted potential which was the very likely choice for the award, the Oscar went to a stunned but grateful Eddie Redmayne, who played Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”, his performance filled with dignity and compassion. Redmayne seemed taken aback at his own victory during his acceptance speech and stumbled over words in his excitement.

Finally, the award for best picture arrived. Between the eight nominated films, The graceful and powerful “Imitation Game”, the righteous and inspiring “Selma”, the subtle and heartwarming “Boyhood”, the daring and electric “Whiplash”, the magical and thoughtful “Theory of Everything” , the hilarious and bombastic “Grand Budapest Hotel”, the tense and heart-stopping “American Sniper”, and the mind-bending and dreamlike “Birdman”, only one could take home the Oscar. It was truthfully always going to be either “Boyhood”, the critical darling and feel good movie of the year, or the appropriately self-important “Birdman”, full of towering performances and heated dramatic brilliance. The final Oscar went to “Birdman”, giving the evening’s show a finale, and seeing it through to the end. It was a close race, but the films have been chosen, and now the film year begins anew.


Music department showcases Malcom Moon’s senior thesis



This past weekend was a musical one. Quite literally so, as the Music Department showcased two excellent senior thesis projects by Malcom Moon ’15, and Marisa Tornello ’15. Despite the freezing temperatures and the snow outside, members of the Trinity community braved the weather to attend the sold-out shows on Friday and Saturday — a decision that they definitely did not regret.  While both projects took on different approaches and addressed entirely different themes, they truly represented some of the best talents at Trinity. It was also quite amazing how the intimate black-box theatre, Garmany Hall in the Austin Arts Center, was transformed to serve as a space that conjured the perfect atmosphere for two different performances on the same weekend.

Moon’s project titled “Jumping Trains,” featured a live performance of original music, in collaboration with other vocalists, instrumentalists, and a dance ensemble. Quite appropriately, Moon described his show as a “musical experience,” rather than merely a cabaret or concert. His music project relied heavily upon choreography, multimedia, lighting transitions, and text, reflecting his firm belief that “music is not just about listening—it is a synesthetic experience.” The combined elements within the piece definitely echoed this idea and made for an extremely engaging and enjoyable performance. While the vocals throughout the show were strikingly pleasant to the ears, the visual elements screened on the two televisions, as well as on-stage, complemented the song lyrics and melodies to entice audience members to embark upon this journey.

The music in the show, as the title metaphorically evokes, centered on an individual’s journey through life, acknowledging the trials, tribulations and difficult choices along the way. Moon expressed in an interview that most of the songs throughout are extremely personal to him in the way they reflect his lived experiences or observations. He was first introduced to the metaphor, ‘jumping trains,’ as it was the title for one of pop-singer, Jo-Jo’s unreleased albums that dealt with the subject of transitions and making difficult decisions. Given the assorted subjects of most of his songs, and their connection to his own current phase in life, this metaphor was a fitting theme. Moon’s track list was ordered to reflect a coming-of-age of sorts, where after numerous encounters and experiences, the individual is able to finally make a choice between two distinct paths. College life in particular marks a transitional period for most individuals in terms of personal life, career, and exploration. The project addressed the relatable conflicts surrounding the lives of young adults, which deal with concepts such as spontaneity, heartbreak, faith, perseverance and honesty. The theme of movement throughout the show was evident in the way each experience conveyed through a particular track, seamlessly transitioned into the next.

The show opened to the track, “Wait and See,” that echoed a more youthful phase in the life of an individual who is about to set off on a journey. The song was sung by Moon and backed by an a capella arrangement featuring The Accidentals. Not only was it an interesting choice to begin the show purely with vocals, but the singular presence of Moon on stage as he sang against the harmonious backdrop of his a capella brothers seemed to instantly symbolize a solo journey even through the suggested presence of others.

This was seconded by “Right Now,” which depicted an interesting dialogue between Malcom singing, and his collaborator and close friend, Connor Kennedy ’16, rapping on stage. While the transition from an a capella piece to one involving electronic beats and rap was already an exciting one, the next song “On the Run” definitely evoked even more awe. The song introduced gifted pianist, Davis Kim ’15, and supporting vocalists, Mattea Bennett ’16 and Preston Carey ’15, on to the stage. As they sang about one of the darker themes in the show- addiction, the incredibly fluid dance movements by Glory Kim ’17 and Christa Prophete ’17, stole the audience’s gaze. While the song itself was beautifully sung, Prophete and Kim’s choreographed movements very convincingly portrayed this theme, allowing the audience a visual experience of the manipulative effects of addiction.

“Suspended,” a duet sung by Moon and Nicole Muto-Graves ’15, was not only lyrically moving, but was able to mesmerize the audience through the complete and beautiful intertwining of their voices. This piece was followed by “You Broke My Heart,” where Moon confronted the audience very closely, allowing members to take note of his arresting expressions. The piece also delightfully highlighted Bennett and Carey’s own vocal talents in the way their riffs beautifully catapulted across the room. Kim’s live piano accompaniment even through all of this could not have gone unnoticed.

The next three pieces, “Running Out of Time,” “Withdraw,” and “OJ” featured Moon’s collaborations with two extremely talented musicians- Malibongwe Thala ’17, and Ebban Maeda ’16. Moon acknowledged how humbled he felt to work with such artists who not only have excellent vocals, but are also some of the best instrumentalists that he has encountered. These interesting collaborations that also featured choreographed dances by Prophete and Hunter Lindquist ’16 provided yet a few more jaw dropping moments for the audience. The impeccable timings, and evident skills that every performer possessed translated into exceptionally entrancing pieces. The following piece, “Takeoff” also highlighted featuring artist, Kim’s vocal skills. The final track “Jumping Trains” brought Kennedy back on stage for a song that was definitely the catchiest.

Ultimately, the project was not only successful in revealing Moon’s musical talent, but it also reflected his diverse interests through the tactful use of visual media, voice overs, and choreography. Moon expressed his gratefulness and pleasure in being able to work with some of the people on campus that he finds most inspiring and acknowledged the significance of his collaborators in constantly challenging him to improve himself and effectively the project itself. Down to the last detail, even every photograph (captured by Abbey Schlangen ’16) projected throughout the show, and used for promotion, echoed the meticulousness and talent that every individual involved in the project possessed. At the end, the audience was definitely left wanting more.

La Voz Latina hosts the 15th annual Salsarengue



La Voz Latina once again did an amazing job of hosting their 15th annual Salsarengue night this past Valentine’s Day. LVL is an organization on campus that is dedicated to raising awareness of Latino culture, politics, and social issues through programming within the Trinity community, as well as the Connecticut community. Salsarengue, being their signature event, beautifully celebrated Latino culture through music, dance, performances, food, decor, and more. Tables were covered in red and silver to encompass the theme of romance, red and white balloons flooded the scene representing love in the air, and warm candle lighting set an elegant mood for the evening.

Despite the unexpected snowstorm that hit Hartford on Salsarengue night, there was still a large audience present. The cold weather did not stop attendees from dressing to impress. Suits, ties, bowties, suspenders, blazers, dresses, and heels swept the dance floor. Not only were there a lot of Bantams on the scene, but many students from neighboring institutions attended as well.  Members of Lambda Alpha Upsilon Fraternity Inc., a Latino Greek organization with chapters at Connecticut Central State University, University of New Haven, University of Connecticut and Yale, were among the attendees. They opened for the main performer by grabbing the crowd’s attention with a mixed dance number including well known Latin styles such as strolling, bachata, merengue, reggaeton and salsa. The performance was a great example of strong unity through Greek Life within Latino communities across several Connecticut campuses. These young men exemplify true dedication to both their fraternity and their Latino culture as they met outside of their respective schools in order to create and execute such a beautiful performance. The partnership between Greek Life and Latino culture has yet to reach Trinity College. However, Salsarengue this year proved that this could be an achievable necessity to build wonderful networks within and outside of individual campuses across the nation.

“La Magica del Amor” (The Magic of Love) was the title of this years Salsarengue and was also the name of the first album produced by Charlie Cruz, the main performer of the night. Cruz was born in Puerto Rico and began his musical career by singing in his father’s chorus who also produced three records. At age 22, Cruz entered the salsa industry as an upcoming star. However, Cruz did not stop there; he went on to develop several albums that expressed his Afro-Caribbean ancestry throughout Latin America. Today, Cruz divides his professional time as a salsa artist between Puerto Rico and Tampa. Thus having him visit the Northeast was an honor, and he received much gratitude from the LVL crew.

After all the countless hours that went into preparing and hosting Salsarengue, the turnout was deemed a success, as it furthered the LVL’s mission to promote the Latino culture in positive and impactful ways both on campus and in the Connecticut community. Moreover, the artist of the night thanked attendees for coming out to such a strongly culturally infused event planned by students. Salsarengue is a reminder of the multicultural roots that make up our society.


A look at Drake’s “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”



After his third studio album release, Drake is at an awkward point in his career. After Kanye released his third album, he went through a major withdrawal from the public. Drawing on the pain of losing his mother and fiancé, he came up with the album “808’s and Heartbreaks,” the antithesis of what he had become until that point. The breakdown of the ego and artistic integrity exemplified by the choices in instrumentation appeared like a digression from his pop/soul/electronic masterpiece album entitled “Graduation.” Really, “808’s” was an exploration of the more criticized elements of popular music: autotune, minor keys, low registers and out of key singing. “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” similarly abandons many of the musical themes that have contributed to his success thus far.

Drake has cornered the market on being the “self-deprecating singer/rapper,” becoming more widely known than J. Cole or Frank Ocean. However, on this album he hardly sings at all, and comes off as emotionally shut off. While the mixtape is certainly a regression from the style that has made Drake one of the best things to come out of Canada since Justin Bieber, it does not seem to be a strategic one. When Kanye was thrust toward rock bottom, he dug as far as he could inside of himself and pulled his demons to the surface for everyone to relate to. Drake has seemed to voluntarily wander over to rock bottom, and is now reading diary entries from when he was there. In every creative writing course I’ve taken, the professor has stressed the importance of showing, not telling the reader what you mean. Drake seems to have missed this point, causing his subject matter to seem shallow.

On the first track, ‘Legend,’ he discusses his satisfaction with his reputation; “oh my God, if I die I’m a legend,” introducing his braggadocios style, and production from the extremely talented producer, PARTYNEXTDOOR. The beat is reminiscent of J. Cole’s “Power Trip.” Drake has been quoted saying that he considers himself the first person to successfully rap and sing. While he may have sold more records, I would say his successors, J. Cole or Frank Ocean, are much more masterful with the technique.

The second track, ‘Energy,’ is Drake’s third attempt at rapping aggressively over a heavy trap and ominous piano beat. Two former releases ‘Started From the Bottom,’ and ‘0-100,’ used the same technique, which caused them to be wildly successful. The technique refers to the style used by legends of the genre Tupac, on a number of tracks and Kanye West, specifically on “Get ‘em High,” and more recently, “New Slaves.” The repeated use of the style, informed by a lack of life experience to draw on, contributes to the opinion that to continue to build a career, Drake will necessarily become a parody of himself. His mentor, Lil Wayne, faced the same dilemma upon recovering from his addiction. In order to preserve his integrity and keep his audience listening, he hired a team of writers, produced one track a day for 100 days, and sought out every artist that was willing to collaborate with him. Upon being asked how he managed to be so prolific, he answered honestly that he was only the ‘Lil Wayne’ brand representative, and that credit was due to those he employed.

Drake claimed to be working on a studio album entitled “Views From 6,” and instead dropped this 17-track mixtape. Increasing the rate at which he releases music may be good practice for the artist, but the lack of humility and the perceived thoughtlessness of the writing does not help his case.

The hook on the third track, “10 Bands,” is entertaining and exemplifies both his privilege and his work ethic; “I could pay my mommas rent when I was 17… I can’t let the streets down/ I’ve been in the condo for a week now.” Oh, what would the devastated ghettos of Toronto do without Drake? All kidding aside, he does make many legitimate attempts to incorporate successful hip-hop motifs into his work. On the fifth and sixth tracks he summons both the soft-spoken rap and upbeat latin influences utilized by Chance the Rapper. On the ninth track he again employs producer PARTYNEXTDOOR, but this time to sing, in a style reminiscent of artists Frank Ocean and The Weekend. On the end of the twelfth track, “6 Man,” Drake directly quotes Erykah Badu’s part from the song “You Got Me,” by The Roots. As a student of hip-hop, I considered this the best reference, and best track on the album. I was however devastated by the omission of Questlove’s snare breakdown that accompanied the original. The next track “Now & Forever,” like some of the first tracks, attempts to reincorporate old successful techniques in this case reusing the melody of the hook on “No Lie”

Drake is like many of his peers. Having reached the height of success on his 2013 release “Nothing Was the Same” he had planned to release this album for free, but was then pressured by his label, to release it for sale on iTunes. Some lyrics, such as “brand new Baretta, can’t wait to let it go/ walk up in my label like where the check tho? yeah I said it” on the eighth track, “Star67” assert his frustrations with the label. The track opens with a sample of mentor Lil Wayne, who is currently suing his partners at the label for $51 million in response to their decision to withhold the release of his anticipated album “Tha Carter V.”

Wayne makes an appearance on the eleventh track ‘Used To’ on which he exhibits the wordplay he’s become known for. By declaring “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” not a mixtape, but his fourth official album release, Drake’s taken a gamble. While it may be a crucial step in the development of Drake’s gloomy-gangster persona, it in no way is worth purchasing something else that costs $9.99 that costs 9.99. It’s on Spotify, and if there are no singles on this album, so if you don’t seek it out, you might miss it. If his next release is even comparable to Kanye’s fifth studio album, “My Dark Twisted Fantasy,” I’ll be damned.

The Mill and Kappa Sigma offer night of art and music



A successful collaboration between the unexpected coupling of Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Mill dominated Vernon Street this past weekend.  The night featured the social house’s first gallery of the semester alongside two live musical performances in the concert venue.

Situated in the crisp whitewashed gallery is “Tattoos of Trinity,” curated by Mill Members Zoe Cennami ’17 and Elise Kei-Rahn ’16.  The pair gathered images of students’ ink and displayed them along anecdotes reflecting the subject’s personal connection to their tattoos.  The gallery’s dichotomy contrasted humorous against heart wrenching stories, which intrigued gallery goers and spurred lively conversation.  Next to the picture of his tattoo, Will Schreiber-Stainthrop explained, “While I was getting this tattoo, I realized the artist was kinda crazy.  She started talking about how it’d be great if humans died out and stuff.  I felt compelled to agree with her for the sake of the tattoo and my own safety.”

One student, Tasmerisk Rae Haught, when asked about her tattoo shared, “I got the Zia symbol on my wrist in honor of my grandpa when he passed away.  He was originally from West Virginia, but had the most beautiful Zia symbol hanging behind his desk when he moved to New Mexico and met my grandma.  It’s a nice way to remember him and always have a little piece of home.  Just last semester, I took tow holiday cards my grandma had sent me to tattoo her handwriting of “Mi Hita,” which means “my little girl” in Spanish.  It’s what we used to call each other.  She passd away during the fall semester of my Junior year, and I have all of her cards hanging on my wall. It’s like I always have my grandma and grandpa looking out for me.”

Cennami, the head of the Mill’s artistic endeavors, said that most of the photos were submitted by the subjects rather than Kei-Rahn or her.  The freedom to choose how they wanted their body to be displayed reflects the notion behind tattoos themselves: giving agency to one’s body.

Sweeney & the Goldbergers kicked off the musical portion of the night with a six song setlist.  They drew an abnormally large crowd for an opening act, yet this was mostly due to the band’s roster of AJ Ballard ’16, Peter Prendergast ’16, and Mali Thwala ’17.  Ballard’s Cleo siblings populated the left side of the audience, while Prendergast’s Pike brothers stormed the dance floor mid-set chanting, “Pete, Pete, Pete!” after every song.  Having heard their shaky sound check, the band managed to pull together an energetic flashback to the early years of the 2000s.  The riff to the Killer’s “Mr. Brightside” threw everyone into a frenzy, and dance moves ranged from bobbing in place to students jumping onto stage.  Ballard was in his element and his smile grew in proportion to the crowd’s energy.  Closing out the set was a cover of Blink 182’s “What’s My Age Again?” featuring vibrant vocals and a spectator sing a-long.

Student-favorite band Wolfpit took the stage around eleven and although they played for an immense amount of time, their energy failed to die down.  John Moran, Nate Choukas, Alex Rusbarsky, and Billy Burchill have acquired a loyal fan base since the group’s conception last fall semester.  Adoring female fans interspersed with frat brothers and Mill members comprised the front row.  The bandmates stuck to their usual routine of covers, but Choukas debuted an original song post-MGMT’s “Electric Feel.”  Although they usually inhabit the Tap on Thursday nights, their performance is better suited for the Mill.  Having a vast area for dancing rather than the Tap’s congested back room brought in a more diverse audience of students.  This was not to say that the venue wasn’t mobbed with patrons as President Rae Rosetti notes that the venue reached capacity around midnight.  “We actually had to have Kappa Sig brothers turn people away, which the Mill never does.  You don’t have to know a brother here to have a great time,” she reports.

Although Wolfpit’s performance was the main attraction of the night, students mingled in the gallery and in the front entryway.  A quick scan of the room showed that members from nearly every fraternity were in attendance, alongside Fred residents, athletes, artists, and musicians.  An open meeting space for such a large dichotomy of students is a lacking essential on Trinity’s campus.  Few enjoyable parties are deemed open to the entire student body.  If labeled as such, they never draw as large of a crowd as the Mill did.  Senior Brendan Gauthier enjoyed the atmosphere the Mill provided.  He emphasized that the location on Vernon was appreciable because the trek to Brownell is far from an enjoyable stroll during the harsh winter weather. The Mill’s spacious layout is definitely an attractive feature that members hope will draw collaborations with other organizations in the coming months.

Trinity Dance Company performs “A Company Affair”



On Feb. 13, the Trinity College Dance Company presented their 2015 spring concert at the Trinity College Commons in a performance entitled, “A Company Affair.”

The concert, which showcased the company’s wide range of talent, consisted of performances from each of the group’s nine dancers. It is clear that the Company is not short on young talent as six of its members are either freshmen or sophomores. However, the group’s veteran presence comes in the form of Brook Moschetto’s ’15 radiant and confident leadership. As a whole, the group carefully blends the unique styles and temperaments of each individual dancer in a way that embodies the commitment and artistry of the Trinity College Dance Company.

The performance began minutes after 7:30PM to a standing room-only crowd at the Trinity College Commons. Family and friends were both in attendance. The stage was of simple design, with a plain background and stylishly employed lighting – allowing the focus to remain on the dancers. The performance opened with the piece “Forgiveness,” a dance choreographed by Hunter Lundquist ’16 to the Dinah Washington & Max Richter song, “This Bitter Earth.” The performance, which featured the entire company, impressively choreographed the use of metal-chairs with the ballad’s slow pace, adding poignancy to the atmosphere in the space. Afterwards, Julia Callahan ’16 and Courtney Munro ’16 danced to Allie Moss’s “Corner,” a piece choreographed by both girls, respectively.

One of most exciting moments in the show came during the ballet performance of to  a song by Youngbloodz titled “I’mma Shine.” Chroeographed by Elise Lasky ‘17, four dancers – including herself – reinvigorated the room with energy in the upbeat performance to the hip-hop classic by Youngbloodz. The sobering effect of the previous two songs was quickly replaced with the company’s energized dancing that left the audience wanting for more.

This piece was then followed with an elegant solo performance to Bill Withers’, “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Choreographed and performed by Cat Haight ’17, the piece combined the crowd’s favorite tune with the demonstration and promise of the company’s young talent.

The performance, choreographed by Julia Callahan ’16 to Shane Koyczan’s “Instruction for a Bad Day,” again shifted the mood from the more serious message of “Ain’t No Sunshine” to an uplifting one. The piece, nearly including the full company, interestingly brought together the song’s spoken word cadence, which strongly contrasted with the previous performance.

The performance of “Miss Thing” to Lavay Smith’s jazz tune, “Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Miss Thing” exemplified the company’s flexibility. Five dancers dressed in gold sequins put on a very entertaining performance that ranked highly among the audience’s favorites for the night. Choreographed by Molly Thoms ’17, the piece was both entertaining and energizing as the penultimate piece of the night.

The final performance of the night proved to be the perfect ending to a show that illustrated the spectrum of the company’s dance ability.

Later, the company’s performance of “The 9 Girls Who Run the World” channeled the “girl-power” energy of Beyonce’s, “Girls,” Miley Cyrus’, “Do My Thang,” & Nelly Furtado’s, “Maneater.” When asked to comment, Miguel Adamson ’17 remarked, “The last performance had the most energy and was a great way to end the concert. It was a showstopper.” The show concluded to raucous applause for the entire company, but in particular for the group’s only senior, Moschetto, who was deservingly given a bouquet of roses after the show.

The Trinity College Dance company features a talented array of dancers from each end of the age spectrum. The leadership provided by Moschetto ’15 is palpable in her performances with younger dancers. The confidence that she exhibits when dancing is infectious and a testament to the hard work put in by the group. The company’s all-girl ensemble demonstrated their passion for dancing that was reflected in show’s degree of skill and entertainment value. When asked, audience members remarked upon the abilities of both the choreographers and dancers in the student-run company.

Free Fallin: a revisit to Tom Petty’s “Full Moon Fever”



Tom Petty is akin to Bob Dylan, in that both are among the few legitimate representations of folk influence in popular music. The two sound similar in recording, and both even collaborated with George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lyne on a project called “The Traveling Wilburys.” The difference between Petty and Dylan is that Petty is a regular guy who, with extraordinary songwriting talent, has managed to stay relevant through the ever-changing landscape of popular music while Dylan has turned into a sort of gremlin, spending the better half of his career mumbling to crowds of confused but adoring fans.

Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen both hold a significant stake in the ‘average guy’ market, but Springsteen is the boss. He is the kind of boss that Ed Helms was in The Office, in that he successfully replaced The Beatles, or Steve Carell, but no one seemed to like him in quite the same way. Tom Petty is Jim Halpert, laid back and cool.

“Full Moon Fever” is the diary of Petty’s journey to fame as a solo artist. Everyone knows the lyrics, “She’s a good girl, loves her mama, loves jesus… and I’m a bad boy, for breaking her heart AND I’M FREE,” because the first track, “Free Fallin” might hold the record for the most universally adored song of all time.  John Mayer performed a notable cover of the song in 2007, which contributed to the rise in fame of his signature, easy listening style. Essentially, Tom Petty found the portal labeled freedom, and he wants you to fall through it with him for the next forty minutes while he reminisces about what its like to fall in love. To put it mildly, I’m game.

In 1989, Petty had been married to Jane Benyo for fifteen years, and in 1996, seven years later, they divorced. Having two kids and touring with the Heartbreakers for more than ten years, he was tired and needed a fresh start. The third track, “Face in the Crowd,” tells the story of a fan, a girl he is in love with but has only seem from afar. Whether it was fate or coincidence, he met his second wife because she attended his concert in 1991, two years later. On track number six, “Feel a Whole Lot Better,” he discusses his desire to move on, and fly solo, for the time being.

The way language develops around culture is fascinating. Some consider the slang utilized by rappers in hip-hop music to be unique to the genre. It is clear, however that it has roots, specifically in blues/rock. Lyrics, like those on track number seven, “Yer So Bad,” use a syntax that reflect the most commonly used language in society. This track is the crux of the album, as Petty addresses the aforementioned mystery girl who he’s seemed to fallen for. He continues discussing his relationship troubles on “Depending On You,” which is followed by a reimagined version of “Rolling On a River” by Tina Turner, entitled “Apartment Song.” He’s been reminiscing up until now, but the next track “Alright for Now,” is a short acoustic dedication to his wife at the time.

“Full Moon Fever” strikes the perfect balance between electric and acoustic, there being only three acoustic tracks. The album ends on an up note with the upbeat “A Mind With a Heart of Its Own” which bears a striking resemblance to George Michael’s 1987 release “Faith,’” and “Zombie Zoo” which feature organ synths and metal guitar riffs, because why not? Tom Petty took freedom and ended up dancing with some girl at a county fair. There’s a decent chance he smoked weed and fought a carnie in preparation for this album, but George Harrison was there to help, so everything turned out great. The album features Harrison on the guitar and back up vocals of “I Won’t Back Down,” in addition to the other members of The Traveling Wilburys, and The Heartbreakers on other instruments throughout. Most tracks on the album were co-written by Petty’s personal friend, Jeff Lyne.

Musicians that wrote the cream of their music in the 1960s-1990s are now fighting tooth and nail to protect their legacies. Some consider the music industry be on the decline, but the fact is that a small percentage of musicians are now making more than ever. Sam Smith, upon his first record release has attained a net worth of fifteen million dollars. On Feb. 8, Smith won two Grammy’s for his song “Stay With Me,” an interpretation of the second track on “Full Moon Fever,” “Won’t Back Down.” The two songs are similar, but it is not as if Smith simply added a bass-line. He took Petty’s song, and remade it with tambourines and a gospel choir. Tom Petty, after sixteen albums, and a number of other collaborations and projects, is worth roughly five times that of Smith. Needless to say, that doesn’t add up. In response to the accusations of plagiarism, Petty amicably requested collaboration credit, and was quoted saying “All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen.” The Strokes openly admit to stealing Petty’s “American Girl” for their song “Last Nite,” to which he had a similarly amicable reaction.

His music withstands the test of time, if possible, with flying colors. His ability to capture the beauty in the average is only complimentary to his successful solo career, and ability to produce chart topping music to this day. With The Heartbreakers, Tom Petty recently released an album entitled “Hypnotic Eye,” which reached the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard 200 list. If it’s your first Tom Petty album, start with “Full Moon Fever,” at the highest volume on your car stereo.

Cinestudio Review: Tim Burton’s drama “Big Eyes”



You’ve probably seen one of Margaret Keane’s paintings reproduced. Most likely next to a porcelain unicorn on the bedside table of an older aunt who collects cats and calls herself their mother. Keane’s art belongs to the category known as kitsch, and it’s everywhere. Little homeless children stare tearfully out of bleak backgrounds – all of them with gigantic watery eyes and round, chubby faces. This is not good art, but “Big Eyes” wants us to see kitsch in a new light. Behind the cough drops and doilies that have clumped around these paintings, there is a pretty strange story that needs to be told.

The setting is director Tim Burton’s idea of the 1950’s – not at all unlike a world we’ve seen before in 1990s “Edward Scissorhands.” The colors are jarringly bright and playful, It is always beautiful weather and the houses seem identical to one another. But underneath all that is a hollowness that Burton wants us to pick up on right away: everyone is smiling falsely, except for Margaret (Amy Adams), who does not smile at all. She is an artist with a young daughter whom she needs to support, and few people pay any attention to the art made by women, especially when it is so creepy to look at. Margaret is a strange and quiet little figure all alone in a sea of pastels, and when Amy Adams speaks, it’s with a slight whimper under every word.

Enter Walter Keane – an inexplicably German sounding gentleman (played by German actor Christoph Waltz) with an apparent knack for painting street scenes of Montmartre. He instantly seduces Margaret, and they marry after knowing each other for only a few days. It is at this point that we begin to wonder what Adams’ character is thinking. “I’ve never acted freely…” she says casually, on her first date. “I’m very naïve!” Margaret goes on to describe herself with all the subtlety of a sparknotes article about her own character. It’s as though we are expected not to care about her beneath her most superficial layer.

In time, the newlyweds put their art on display together in a small nightclub. The curveball comes when Walter begins to take credit for some of Margaret’s weird little homeless children – it seems they are generating more interest than his street scenes. She is initially upset, but believing that lying about the paintings is the only way to sell them, she keeps her silence. After all, nobody likes “lady–art.”

Suddenly, the taste of the American People takes a hit, and there is an endless demand for the “Big-Eyed Waifs.” To keep the illusion alive, Margaret paints and paints for upwards of a decade, alone in a dim studio in the back of the house. Finally she will take no more of this abuse – Margaret dedicates herself to proving her husband’s plagiarism. They compete and quarrel, but finally, in a court of law, It is decided that the only way to prove the true artist behind the “Big Eyes” is a painter’s showdown. Yes, that’s right – someone literally brings them each an easel, and they paint their best “big eyes” right there in the courtroom. If this seems a little far fetched to you, you’re not wrong. It would fit beautifully into the last fifteen minutes of a low quality courtroom drama – one which has a tendency to bend the process of the justice system a little bit here and there, where it suits the purposes of drama. But who knows – maybe it really happened like that.

Agreed, this is not a diamond of a movie, and agreed, it can be a little bit over the top at times. You’re sure to cringe a little when you hear the lyrics of Lana Del Rey’s original song “Big Eyes”: “With your big eyes! And your big lies!” Del Rey’s music is likely too emotionally complex to be comprehend by most – certainly this critic. But in all seriousness, Tim Burton has never been known for his realism or his subtlety. He’s just not that kind of a director, and it’s just not that kind of a movie.

The actors at the helm are both regulars at the Academy Awards: Adams is a fragile but wronged woman of the 50’s, and Waltz is delightfully disgusting as her husband.  But they are shoved into the background of the overall imagery of the film. Every color is nearly blinding, and every angle must have a quirk of it’s own. There’s something to be said for this tactic, but I would place money on the idea that as soon as Tim Burton began work on this movie he knew he would be giving some big eyes to some live actors. In other words, I suspect that it was more about the playground of color and the iconography of knickknacks than it was about the story itself. Burton has given us a painting, but not quite a movie. It’s fun and beautiful to watch, but he stifles himself straying from the world of high art into something a little less dignified.

Hassan Whiteside’s rise to stardom is unparalleled



After four consecutive trips to the NBA finals, the Miami Heat found themselves limping to the All-Star break. Not only did the defending Eastern Conference Champions struggle to a 22-30 record in the first half of the season, but stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have both missed extended time due to injury.

As if making the playoffs isn’t hard enough when your two best players miss time, it’s no help when you lose the best player in the world. The Heat have found a solid replacement to Lebron James in Luol Deng, but the emergence of another great player, Hassan Whiteside is the only reason the Heat are clinging to the eigth and final playoff spot in the East.

The 2010 second round pick of the Sacramento Kings, Whiteside bounced around leagues in Lebanon and China after two injury-plagued seasons with the Kings, in which he played only 19 games. He was cut by the Memphis Grizzlies leading up to the 2014 season, and found himself in the NBA’s Developmental League (D-League), which he demolished, averaging 21 points, 15.5 rebounds, and 6 blocks per game.

Those numbers were enough for the Heat to call him back up to the ‘big leagues’ in late November. Following an obscure month of December in which he mainly grabbed garbage minutes, the former center  for the Marshall Thundering Herd began replicating his D-League numbers on the biggest stage.

In January, Whiteside averaged an astonishing 13.9 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks per game in the 10 games he participated in fully. This stretch included a 23 point, 16 rebound coming out party against the Clippers, as well as a triple-double in a win against the Chicago Bulls featuring a league-high 12 blocks, followed by two 16-point games with 16 and 24 rebounds against Milwaukee and Dallas, respectively.

His numbers have garnered the respect of both his fellow players and coach. Mavericks’ future Hall-of-Famer Dirk Nowitzki said of Whiteside, “he’s so long out there, it’s incredible. When he’s so close to the basket, he just tips it to himself or tips it in. So, yeah, that’s a nice find for Miami for sure.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has bestowed similar praise, on the 25-year-old 7-footer as well, saying he wished he had played him more earlier in the year. The coach is definitely right in that thinking; Whiteside leads the Eastern Conference in Player Efficiency Rating (PER) with a rating of 28.46, and trails only Anthony Davis (31.34) and Kevin Durant (28.70) league wide.

It’s no surprise that Pat Riley, the 2011 executive of the year, made another amazing pickup. He’s gotten Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James, pickups that all led to championships, and Whiteside may very well be the next name on that list of amazing Riley hires.

Whiteside’s dominance hasn’t stopped in February either, with Whiteside already tallying three double-doubles, including a 24 point, 20 rebound performance against Minnesota. He is the first Heat player with a 20 and 20 since Shaq. The scariest part is that the majority of his production has come without a fully healthy Heat roster supporting him in the game.

The 7’7’ wingspan along with his scoring and rebounding capabilities in the paint has complemented Chris Bosh’s perimeter game and Dwyane Wade’s ability to spread the floor marvelously. The problem is that the three have only played 81 minutes together this season.

However, when those three share the floor, the Miami Heat are outscoring opponents by 20.3 points per 100 possessions, far more than any other team in the league. So with Wade coming back healthy after the All-Star break, and the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA, look for the Heat to make a run in the second half.

If those three can come together and lead the Heat to the playoffs, they have the championship pedigree, with seven former champions on the team, to make all kinds of noise. I’m not saying they’ll win the championship, but Hassan Whiteside has changed the landscape of the Heat and the league within a few short months.

Bantam Athlete of the Week: Jaquann Starks ’16



The Trinity College Men’s Basketball team is heading into playoffs as they prepare to host the NEASCAC Quarterfinal against Colby. One of the contributors to this outstanding Trinity team is guard Jaquann Starks ’16, who is currently in his third year as a starter. Starks has an impressive athletic resume; he lead the team in three-point field goals his Freshman year and graduated to leading the team in scoring, assists, three-pointers, minutes played and assist to turnover ratio.

Starks has always idolized his family, “my inspiration has always been my family. Specifically my mother, my younger brother, and sister. Just seeing them motivates me to do what I do.” However, Starks has also idolized certain athletes for more personal reasons. “My favorite athletes today are Nate Robinson and Isaiah Thomas from the Phoenix Suns because both athletes are my height, which is 5’8, and they do amazing things on the court at the NBA level at their size. Because of them I can never use my size as an excuse.” Despite his size, Starks has proven himself more than capable of competing. He recently demonstrated this in the last regular season game against Middlebury, in which Starks’ three-pointer brought the Bantams to an astounding 22 point lead at 46-24, the largest point gap of the game. Jaquann’s style of play, along with focus and drive of the rest of the players, has lead the Bantams on an incredible 19-5 season in which they have averaged 70.9 points per game.

This impressive skill level  isn’t new for Jaquann either. Before Trinity, Starks lead his high school to the state finals and was an all-league athlete, two-time all state, and two-time school athlete of the year. Starks remembers those years in particular. “My most exciting sports moment happened when my high school basketball team made it to the championship, which was played at the  Mohegan Sun Arena. It was about 4,000 people in the stands. It was the most people I had played in front of thus far. We did not win the championship but it was still a memorable moment.” Starks is hoping to accomplish this goal again this year and the next

To get to where he is today, Starks put in a lot of work in high school. “My high school competition was not the best in the state, we were a small school so we played other small schools during the regular season. I also played AAU basketball, which made me a better player because we were traveling from state to state playing against some of the best high school players in the country. Just the continuous playing from the winter through the spring and even in the summer gave me the confidence and attitude I needed entering college.”

As the Bantams prepare for their do or die game on Saturday, Feb. 21, Starks has a confident outlook. “We have what it takes to do some great things as far as winning a conference championship and even an NCAA Championship title. But it’s not going to just happen; we have to continue to work hard. I love my teammates. They are great players, hard workers, and have great leadership in our locker room, which is why we have been so successful thus far. As long as we stay together we will be just as good moving forward into the next season.”

Disapointing finish for Women’s Swimming and Diving




The 2014-2015 season for the Women’s Swimming and Diving team has been a difficult one. Despite having some good meets, they finished the regular season with a record of 2-9 and in last place in the NESCAC division. They headed into this weekend’s NESCAC women’s swimming and diving championships, hosted by Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT with determination to finish the season with a strong result. Unfortunately they were not able to overpower the mighty defending champions, the Williams College Ephs who won the championship with 2,103.5 points while the Bantams finished in eleventh place with 355 points.

After the first day of competing, Trinity finished the day with a total of 139 points and in eleventh place. Although they had some tough competition during the day, Bantam Audrey Butler ’15 placed second with a time of 29.66 in the 50 yard breaststroke and was .84 seconds behind the first place winner. This was the first time that a member of the Trinity College Women’s Swimming and Diving program placed second in a final, which was an exciting milestone for the Bantams. Fellow Bantam swimmer Eliza Maciag ’17 came in tenth place in the 50 yard backstroke with a time of 27.85 while Jessica Rudman ’16 placed nineteenth in the 50 yard butterfly with a time of 27.19. Although this impressive showing by Trinity was not enough to surpass the first place Ephs at 686.5 points. All Bantam swimmers set personal bests during the competition.

Williams large point lead continued after the second day of competition when they ended the day with 1,406.5 points while the Bantams finished the day with 286 points and remained in eleventh place. Many Bantam swimmers placed well including Butler  who earned eigth place in the 100-yard breaststroke and posted a time of 1:06.10. Other notable finishers included Maciag who placed fourteenth in the 100-yard backstroke with 1:00.34, Cassidy Black ’18 in fifteenth place in the 1,000-yard freestyle at 10:51.32 and Brenna Weber ’17 finished twentieth in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:00.48.

The Bantams concluded the three day NESCAC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships with a great finish by Butler. She came in eleventh place in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:23.84 which allowed her to finish among the top 11 in all three breaststroke events for the weekend. Weber also had a time of 2:13.84 in the 200-yard butterfly which put her in twentieth place. Despite great individual performances, the Bantams still ended with a total of 355 points and an eleventh place finish while Williams outswam the competition with 2,103.5 points to gained another team title.

The conclusion of this weekend’s NESCAC Championships ended the 2014-2015 Women’s Swimming and Diving season. This was the last time that seniors Butler , Lexi Moroney ’15 and Sarah Stutman ’15 swam for the Bantams ending their collegiate swimming careers at Trinity. The women’s’ team will beable to be seen next winter for the start of the 2015-2016 season.

Rugby team seeks new players for upcoming spring season



The sport of Rugby, which predates American football, is believed to have begun in 1823 at Rugby School in England. A student named William Webb Ellis was playing a game of football, or what we would call soccer in the U.S. picked up the ball, and ran with it and started a sport, which he promptly named after his school, Rugby. The iconic oval ball that rugby is played with began as a circular ball made from a pigs bladder. Over time the ball deformed into an oval, giving the rugby ball its unique shape. The sport of rugby slowly evolved over the years.  The first international match of Rugby was played between England and Scotland in 1871. They played with a total of 20 players consisting of three fullbacks, one three-quarterbacks, thirteen forwards, and three halfbacks. But, in 1877 the amount of players was reduced to 15 per side. Eventually in the early 1900s the rules of rugby were formally written down and solidified. Even though the World Wars put rugby on recess, it was still able to become one of the most popular sports in the European nations. Today Rugby is played all over the world but is not officially recognized as a sport according to NCAA rules.

Rugby at Trinity College has been present for many decades. The current head coach Robert Merola, has been coaching for over 20 years. Trinity’s Rugby club is a member of the New England Rugby Football Union Collegiate Division III. There are 24 teams broken down into four regional leagues in which the top team of each regional league plays each other in the New England Tournament Division III Championship. The winner then plays for the Northeast Championship crown. The Bantam Rugby team’s most recent highlight was in 2006 when they made it to the finals in the New England Tournament Division III. Since then there have not been any major victories  and the rugby team membership declines a little bit every year. Fewer and fewer incoming Trinity students are trying out for classic collegiate sport. Luckily, this fall, the rugby team was able to pull over 25 players and finished with a respectable record of 3 and 2. During Parent’s Weekend, a crushing loss to Wesleyan in the last second of the match was a sad end to a riventing game. Nevertheless the Trinity’s Rugby Team had a fairly good fall season, absolutely dominating Mitchell College, by over 100 points, emasculating University of New Haven by over 30, and narrowly beating Connecticut College 5-3.  Eastern Connecticut State University was able to beat Trinity by one try (the rugby equivalent of a touchdown) in a fiercely competitive match. As the Rugby team’s spring season approaches the coaching situation is in limbo for the first time in over 20 years.  After receiving coaching offers from his Alma matter UCONN for the past couple of years, Robert Merola is unsure of his future involvement with Trinity, because of the declining numbers on the Trinity team this past fall.  With all of this in mind, the Trinity Rugby team seems to be fighting back and has recruited new players as well as veteran players who are ready to coach and organize the games for the team. However they are still looking for more players to be able to have a full schedule.  The team practices twice a week. If you are interested in joining the Men’s Rugby team and being part of the legacy that is Trinity Rugby please contact co-captain, Christopher Cilliers’ 17 through his Trinity email address to get involved.

Rugby team defeated Conn College. Photo Courtesy of Susan Turley

Rugby team defeated Conn College. Photo Courtesy of Susan Turley

Fifty Shades of Grey Emphasizes Consent



Cinemas worldwide were flooded with patrons hoping to see the film rendition of E. L. James’ novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Not a single attendee was ignorant of the fact that the plot has a shocking twist.

The relationship between the protagonists, Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, grows to consist entirely of bondage and domination in their intimate moments. Audiences watched as the pair incorporated the use of crops, handcuffs, ice cubes, and silk ties into their exploits amidst other steamy interactions. Prior to any sexual contact, Christian requests Anastasia’s written consent. That’s right— he had her to sign a contract.

As ludicrous as this may seem, it is actually a crucial plot point. It highlights the fact that Christian understands that the activities in which they might engage could be dangerous. He states that he respects the limits Anastasia chooses to set forth. A fairly large section of the film was devoted to business meetings regarding this contract. Yes, they do sleep together prior to the finalization of the document, but none of their conduct before the contract includes domination. Christian consistently asks if Anastasia is comfortable, or accepting of anything he is going to do. If she hints at a no, he stops. He listens. He respects the rejection.

It is difficult to separate bondage and domination culture from the notion that the submissive (receiving the actions of the dominant) is physically or emotionally harmed during the act. This is not the case, and is the result of a stigma placed on the unconventional desires expressed by Christian. Claims that the movie promotes rape culture and domestic abuse are unfounded, and frankly ignorant.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” depicts a fairly normal relationship. The two argue over flings, attend an awkward family dinner, and grow close enough to disclose past experiences. Anastasia’s turmoil over Christian’s bedroom desires leads to their breakup at the end. It must be dais, however, that she consents to and explicitly requests the act that ends up driving them apart. He repeatedly asks for her permission and consent. He does not take her body.  She gives it to him.


Campus Safety Responds to Recent Sexual Assault



On Feb. 8, 2015, Jorge Lugo,  Office Assistant to Trinity College Campus Safety, sent out a very short email. It was no more than 200 words, and yet it spoke volumes: “To the Trinity Campus Community:

“Earlier today, Sunday, February 8, a student made a report to Campus Safety that she was sexually assaulted in the early morning hours of Sunday, February 8, by a male in a residence hall on the Trinity College campus. The reporting party provided no other details such as a description of the suspect or details of the reported assault.

Students are reminded that if you or someone you know is victimized, you are strongly encouraged to use one or more of the available resources so that we may offer the help and resources needed, and to immediately contact the Campus Safety…Additionally, filing a complaint with the College or reporting an incident to the Hartford Police Department will provide a path to investigating and resolving the matter.

Additionally, the Your Rights – Your Options booklet is available on the websites of the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), Campus Safety, Human Resources, and the Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC).” The end of the email provided a link to online student resources, available for their use at any time.

I was enthusiastically pleased with that email  – primarily because I love Trinity’s student body. They happen to be my dearest friends. And nothing hurts me more than hearing how commonplace assault is. Getting drugged, someone grabbing them inappropriately – they are all becoming expected obstacles for a typical weekend. It’s disgusting. And what makes it worse is that victims and bystanders are scared to speak out. They do not want to become a social pariah and they don’t really believe anything will be done.

Let’s be clear, this isn’t  just a Trinity problem – this is an issue with American colleges in general. Everyone has heard stories of colleges covering up assault cases because that wouldn’t fit their prestigious, forever – autumn image that they present to the world. The victims will be blamed, and bullied because they spoke out. It makes perfect sense why college women don’t speak up. And these people, these perpetrators who assault fellow students, think what they are doing is okay, because they are not receiving punishment for their actions.

Many older students recall incidents when they received these emails from Campus Safety, or heard rumors about such crimes from friends or classmates. President Berger-Sweeney is working to promote Trinity as a frontrunner in sexual assault response and prevention, despite the fact that the history of these issues is still fairly hush–hush and driven by the rumor mill. Students need not know the graphic details of these assaults, but they have a right to know they occur, and they have a right to feel as though their safety is a top priority. Sadly, the victims often feel alone, isolated, and vulnerable rather than surrounded by a supportive community.

As horrid as it seems, it doesn’t take much to change this culture. Campus Safety started do this  with something as simple an email, addressing and tackling the two biggest fears that stop people from speaking out. The discretion was needed, the Trinity public does not need names – we are all entitled to our privacy. However, knowing an assault did occur and that an investigation is underway is something all Trinity students should be aware of. Our institution has to make it abundantly clear that sexual assault will not be tolerated.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say I want to see more emails like this – because that would mean that more sexual assaults are occurring, and I don’t want that. But I really do hope that Trinity students feel as if they can talk to someone if they were violated. This outlet doesn’t necessarily have to be a Campus Safety officer, at least not as first. The Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC) is a wonderful place to talk about such issues. I was also in the Counseling Center every Monday of last semester and I’m proud to say that it made me a much happier person.

Wherever you go, and wherever you stay, I think Campus Safety has made it clear to us that you’re safe here. Let us Trinity community members hold them to their word. And let us all act as the protectors of our own space. We can make a promise to ourselves: to be kind, to be active bystanders, and to speak out against unlawfulness.

We don’t always need huge, grandiose policy changes to create a better space. Sometimes, the little things make the biggest difference.


An Open Letter to Trinity’s Fraternity Brothers



Most of my experiences with the Greek scene at Trinity mimic one another in the sense that I’ve had relatively lackluster incidents.  Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m a washed out junior who no longer has the dedicated freshman mindset of conquering every frat Thursday through Saturday.  My heart doesn’t flutter when I think of actively searching for a nightly minimum of three steamy dance floor make-out sessions with males I’ll evade if I see them on the Long Walk in the coming days.  Or maybe it’s because I only get a hankering for a palatable IPA rather than watered down keg beer where half of my cup consists of foam.  I may laugh at the empty conversations I’ve had with strangers, but I get no satisfaction when I find that my favorite pair of Converse is covered in remnants of Unnamed Fraternity House #1’s pile of dance floor sludge. Thus, the complex art of getting into a frat immensely perplexes me.

Don’t get me wrong, I like any other girl know how to use my looks to get a boy’s attention and can even look relatively well put together if I bother to brush my unruly thick hair. However, I have seen students turned down at the door of a fraternity for not appealing to this paradigm and other ridiculous reasons. My problem with Trinity’s fraternity scene is the inherent sense of elitism that is cultivated by the brothers standing at the front doors or gates.

It’s a well-known fact that the majority of Trinity’s social scene is built around the organizations that line Vernon and Allen streets. With such a small student body and our school’s prime real estate location in the desirable location of Connecticut’s “Rising Star,” a star that has tried to rise since its conception, we don’t have many alternatives to eagerly waiting in a crammed line on the weekends.

I cringe when I hear the words, “Do you know a brother?” Sure, I know a brother. I know my two brothers.  My younger one is in fifteen and is a super genius.  The other one is a frat bro who graduated from Hamilton and is now living in Singapore with his former playboy model, Estonian wife.  So, yes, I know brothers, and countless more.  The gatekeeper pledges usually squint their eyes at me and slightly tilt their heads in unison to the side when I tell them this information. They can’t discern whether my banter is due to a haze of imbibing unnamed substances, or whether I’m serious. But I’m serious. Stone cold sober and dead serious.

I firmly believe that I would hate my experience at Trinity for a variety of reasons if I did not hold certain personal credos. The first being if I didn’t have my “I Could Care Less” attitude towards whether I’m going to be granted access to the frat house’s abyss of sin. This doesn’t usually help me befriend the brothers.  I cannot care less whether I’m going to be able to listen to “Anaconda” or the current EDM song of the moment played on an infinite loop.  It’s merely an activity that produces stories that my friends and I share over brunch the next morning.

The second reason of why I would dislike Trinity is if I was male trying to get into a fraternity I was not a part of. Having a higher level of testosterone makes it significantly more difficult to obtain access unless you’re a member of said organization or one of your close friends is a member. Many of my guy friends recount instances when they have to wait an extra fifteen minutes in line despite walking up to the frat with a group of female friends who were able to get in before them.

One excuse I’ve heard spill from a pledge’s mouth regarding how he selects who is or isn’t allowed into a party is, “It’s science, bro. Natural Selection. Survival of the Fittest. You know that Marx-I mean, Darwin stuff.”

This statement can be attributed to many characteristics that our frats share with other schools, such as rape culture, straight cis-male privilege, and a society built around exclusivity and connections. But these issues are merely reflective of the society outside the Trinity bubble. Our experience as Trinity students should be one that helps us battle these problems once we enter the real world. We need to support one another, not tear each other down.

Brothers, I’m not criticizing  your organizations or the benefits they offer to you – a supportive community, mentorship, and camaraderie that tends to be lacking across campus for all students regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Eliminating your houses would result in a dearth of satisfaction in many students’ lives.  Instead, I’m merely asking you to think about whether you’d treat some students waiting in line the same way if you sat next to them in class or saw them in Mather.  You certainly shouldn’t tell them that they’re unattractive, humorously pat them down before they enter your house, or verbally harass them about their relationship status. If you do, then perhaps the fraternity system here at Trinity needs to be revised.


Roy Moore: Committed to Self More Than to Citizens



Currently, 37 states allow same–sex marriage, but one state remains far behind in legalizing gay marriage than the other 13 remaining states; Alabama. Despite the fact that a federal judge has stated Alabama cannot continue to stop same-sex couples from getting married, Alabama’s chief justice, Roy Moore, has informed probate judges not to “issue licenses,” a decree some seem to agree with.

According to the Religion Research Institute, only 32 percent of Alabama’s constituents are in accord with legalizing same–sex marriage. What is interesting is that 48 percent of people who are under the age of 35 in Alabama support gay marriag. Nevertheless, as a whole, 60 percent of Alabama’s population does not support gay marriage. So, where does the divide begin?

In 2006, there was a constitutional amendment passed in Alabama  that prevented gay couples from getting married. This year a federal court decided to lift that ban starting on Feb. 9, but this was met with some resistance. Alabama’s Chief Justice, Roy Moore, argued that the federal court does not have the power to “redefine marriage” and that it is up to the state to decide upon such a matter. While Moore stated that the Supreme Court lacks such a power, if they were to pass down a federal law making it unconstitutional to ban gay marriage, then Moore would have no choice but to back off the issue. Luckily, the Supreme Court will release a ruling on the matter in the coming months. But while awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision, it seems that Roy Moore will continue opposing gay marriage in Alabama.

What I find troublesome is the fact that this is not the first time that Roy Moore has fought against a decree by the federal court. In 2003, he was told to remove a carving of the Ten Commandments from Alabama’s Supreme Court building, which he refused to do. He was subsequently removed from office. Here we are, twelve years later, with the same man in office causing similar problems regarding a different political issue. How can a man who was removed from this position for his convictions be back in the same post? The answer lies in the people, as he was voted back into office. Alabama is one of the states where the people can choose the State Chief Justice. Evidently, the people of Alabama think this man has their best interests in mind.

I think this issue clearly highlights the importance behind why people should vote. If 48 percent of the people who are under 35 support gay marriage, why is Alabama grouped with Mississippi, another state which strongly opposes gay marriage? Why is a man like Roy Moore in office? He seems to be pushing forth his own agenda rather than following the law, a responsibility to which he is held as Alabama’s Chief Justice? In this day and age, I would like to think that our country has moved forward enough that people would be able to marry the person that they are in love with and not have to face so much opposition, especially if the only opposition is that the couples are the same sex. What right do people have to say no when they themselves are free to marry their significant other without any problems? Then, I think about the argument that states, not the federal government, should have the power in allowing or prohibiting same sex-marriage. When an amendment was passed in 2006 concerning gay marriage in Alabama, 81 percent of the people who voted were in favor of it, but this does not seem to encapsulate what the state as a whole wants, but rather what some people want, such as Roy Moore.

I am happy that at least some are not standing against the federal court’s ruling. Even with the opposition, 47 out of Alabama’s 67 counties are issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. I think it is safe to say that before the Supreme Court hands down the decision, there will be tension and there will be opposing forces, but when that decision comes, there will be resolution.  I think Alabama will become state number 38 in legalizing gay marriage and hopefully, the remaining states will follow suit. I, for one, think that this matter should be put to rest and that all fifty states should allow same–sex couples to get married. I think that instead of people fighting so strongly against gay marriage, there should instead be a focus on other problems, such as failing education systems in some states and the increasing gap between those who are dealing with poverty and those amassing more wealth. Ultimately, who has the right to deny gay couples the same happiness that other couples can have? To me, that is unconstitutional.


Ann Plato lecture asks tough questions about race

Written by Preston Carey, ’15 Contributing Writer

During Thursday’s common hour, Trinity’s own Ann Plato Pre-doctoral Fellow, Heather Moore ’08, delivered a compelling lecture on portrayals of young black men in American pop-culture. The talk focused on how black males under the age of 18 are featured in prominent examples of popular media including television and the internet, and what information these representations might convey to a variety of viewers. Drawing a packed crowd of students, faculty and photographers in Hallden Hall, Moore began by addressing the audience with a hearty “good afternoon.”

Moore briefly took time to explain her own history with Trinity College, within the broader academic community, as well as the nature of her work. Having earned a bachelor’s degree at Trinity, majoring in both Educational and American Studies, she went on to pursue a master’s in education at Purdue University, where she currently is earning a doctorate. As an Ann Plato Fellow, Moore’s responsibilities have included working with faculty and students in academic departments and interdisciplinary programs in addition to her own independent research.

The Ann Plato Fellowship supports the work of individuals “who will contribute to enhancing diversity at Trinity College” with respect to race and ethnicity in a way that contributes positively to education. The fellowship is named for Ann Plato, a 19th century author and teacher of African American and Native American descent who lived and wrote in Hartford. She became the first woman of color in the United States to publish a book, composed of poems and essays. Moore’s work has explored issues of race and racial identity in American culture, and the lecture, in a series of slides and video clips, effectively presented the subject of her study. The lecture was titled, “Post Trayvon and Michael: Popular Representations of Black Male Students in Media.” Moore termed the material in the presentation “R.I.P” for “Research in Progress,” emphasizing that her work was developing and that it could flow in numerous directions, even based on the reactions and questions of her audience. Moore described how news over the shooting death of Antonio Martin, an 18-year-old black teenager on Dec. 24, 2014, a mere 2 miles from Ferguson, Missouri “overwhelmed” her, emotionally. She observed how this instance stood as seemingly yet another example of young African American men perishing as a consequence of confrontation with armed, often white, police officers. To present the issue in starkly serious terms, one slide displayed a quotation from Dr. Anthea Butler, a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, which read, “We are living in the nadir. The Jim Crow era is right now in America.” Moore stressed that though the message and its language verged on extremes, it was nonetheless “something to consider.”

Another slide gained the audience’s undivided attention. A composite of photographs emerged on screen, each showing the face of a young man killed by police action. One face after another became encircled in red as Moore pointed out the names and faces, familiar to many Americans, of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice, among numerous others. The presentation included a list of black males killed by police under “questionable circumstances,” including Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, and Eric Garner, the Staten Island man whose plea, “I can’t breathe,” became captured on video before his death by chokehold and eventually appropriated by activist campaigning against police brutality. Moore used these images to introduce to the crowd the issue of how this particular, seemingly at-risk group of people has been viewed by the American public.

Moore analyzed video clips in order to demonstrate how representations of black male youth are stereotyped and deserve a more diversified examination. Specifically, Moore found that the images of these young men seen in popular culture suggest that they are well beyond their years and completely bypass childhood, a phenomenon she called “absence from innocence.” She found this condition to be a prevailing trend in pop-culture representations of black American youth since the historic changes brought by the Brown v. Board of ed. decision in 1954. In addition, Moore’s study found that black male students were shown as less capable than their non-black counterparts, often destined in some way for criminality, by way of involvement in the drug trade for instance. She concluded that these and other factors contributed to a sense of their being “adultified”.

Moore ventured that ‘childhood’ by its nature and how we view it is a “social construction,” and in this case one exclusively afforded, in the popular consciousness at least, largely to the white suburban population. Moore described innocence, itself tied that is closely to childhood, to be missing from the way these young men have been shown. According to Moore this characterization seemed prevalent enough for us to consider it a trope, and one supported by film, documentary, television and music. Audience members watched two clips from the critically acclaimed HBO program, “The Wire” (2002-2008), each featuring African American youth in different environments. The first showed students in a classroom for “difficult” students in a Baltimore public school, who end up in the “corner classroom” for being uneducable in other circumstances due to behavioral issues. The scene shows how these students have no interest in classroom learning but an abundance of knowledge, as one teacher discovers in a “breakthrough moment,” about the dynamics of the drug trade in West Baltimore. Asking the students where they imagine they’ll be “in 10 years”, some say, “professional athlete”, others say, “dead.” Moore posits this choice as, in some cases, the only imagined futures of these minority children from impoverished communities.

The next video clip seemed to impact many, and drew audible expressions of interest from the crowd. Shown in documentary close-up was the deceased rap icon Tupac Shakur, discussing his views on education. Two decades after Shakur’s death, his opinions at 17 that in high school there should “be a class on drugs,” “a real sex education class,” and a “class on police brutality,” offered insight into issues now seen as the principal focuses of many classes at Trinity. Tupac claims not to have learned anything significant, at least anything relevant, from his own schooling except for the “three R’s”, reading, writing, and arithmetic. This video, Moore said to the audience, showed a bright young man asking important questions about education but burdened by life in, as Tupac would describe, “the ghetto.”

The last segment, another clip from “The Wire,” illustrated this point vividly, showing a young man named Michael selling drugs on a corner. Moore followed by asking the audience whether or not they would consider Michael to be “gifted.” Michael exhibits skills in dealing with customers that a student audience-member called “useful in the business world.” One student viewed Michael to be “observant and assertive” in his behavior. A professor observed that he was not only “articulate” but “contextually articulate,” that is, capable of using different language and behavior in different situations. The clip lastly shows that Michael has a desire to make “better life choices,” but that the man he is working for sees his potential as better suited to the streets.

Moore fielded questions from students for some time after the presentation. She emphasized that by examining these images, students and faculty reconsider young black males and find “more ways to empower this group, as opposed to stereotyping them.” She stated that she hopes her thoughts “speakbeyond the academic world” and reach communities who might benefit from the knowledge and perspective offered. Lastly, she encouraged the audience to look at the “humanness” of these individuals rather than seeking out their flaws.

President Berger- Sweeney sits down with WNPR


President Joanne Berger-Sweeney answered some hard-hitting questions from WNPR host John Dankosky this past Monday, Feb. 1. The interview touched on the challenges Berger-Sweeney has faced during her first year at Trinity, especially about Greek life and handling the culture of partying.

When asked about her first challenges at Trinity, relative to Hartford, Berger-Sweeney said that the fact that many Trinity students come from the suburbs raised her concern about how to make the urban setting of Hartford seem even more attractive to students.

“My first question was how are we going to position Trinity such that its location in an urban center would be a point of pride as opposed to something we were trying to apologize for?” President Berger-Sweeney said. She added that she believes that it is significant for Trinity to partner with neighboring institutions such as hospitals and schools.

Dankosky, not one to shy away from tough questions, asked President Berger-Sweeney about the paradigm of Trinity’s relationship with Hartford, reflected by the gates around the Trinity Campus. He implied that students may fear the community but fail to realize the ways in which they themselves disturb the surrounding neighborhood. President Berger-Sweeney responded with a reference to the first weekend in which she sent out a tweet to the Trinity Campus.

“I tweeted saying ‘This is not acceptable, we cannot disturb our neighbors,’” she recalled. “Once again it is that collaborative partnership where we respect the neighborhood and the neighborhood respects us…I have made a very specific effort to go out to some of the neighborhood organizations, like NRZ (Neighborhood Revitalization Zones) that surroundsthe campus because I want to know what they care about and they want to know what I care about. Only when I listen to what the issues are, do I have any chance of making sure that Trinity’s plans coincide with those of the neighborhood.”

When pushed further about Trinity’s reputation as a party school and the fact that one of the fraternities is facing serious allegations right now, Berg-

er-Sweeney responded, “I would like to declare a war on bad behavior – bad behavior at colleges and universities. Sometimes such behaviors happen in fraternities, while sometimes they happen outside.” She added that bad behavior should not be synonymous with the image of a fraternity.

President Berger-Sweeney then stated that drinking problems are worse on campuses that are not in the city than on urban campuses. For example, she commented that at Trinity, there are suggestions that some of the bad behaviors are minimized due to the school’s strong connection to Hartford and the publicity that comes with this association.

“I think we address [bad behavior] by making sure that campuses are diverse and as inclusive as possible,” President Berger-Sweeney said. “We have to try and break the culture of privilege on our campus by making sure that we have a diverse body of students attending it.

Relating to the issue of alcohol in the context “bad behavior,” Dankosky asked about sexual assaults not only on Trinity’s campus but also on other college campuses across the country. He added that since academic life and personal life are normally separate from each other but often coincide on college campuses, it is possible that the victim of a sexual assault might have to sit in the same class as his or her perpetator. In response to this, the President mentioned the “Task Force” she created which helps to prevent sexual assault. The Task Force also gives President Berger-Sweeney the chance to work directly with students, faculty, and staff in order to ensure that when dealing with the issue of sexual misconduct, Trinity is in compliance with state and federal laws. The Task Force also looks at Trinity’s judicial procedures when things are turned over to the Hartford police. However, the President clarified that cases of sexual misconduct are viewed through more than just a legalistic lens.

The interview’s focus switched gears and began to concentrate on the plans that the college has for improving its relationship with Hartford. President Berger-Sweeney made it known that Trinity recently bid for and won ownership of a building in downtown Hartford, with the help of an alumnus. This will allow Trinity to have a greater presence in downtown Hartford. Additionally, Trinity will now have a chance to collaborate with other instutions, such as the University of Connecticut, which are also moving downtown.

The President added that Trinity is currently engaging in a community plan project to determine what to do with the space acquired downtown. As a step forward, she met with the President of UConn and agreed to look for private sponsorship to determine what to do with the area.

The topic of conversation then shifted to the cost of education. President Obama recently stated that he would like community colleges to be free of cost. President Berger-Sweeney sees this plan as an excellent idea. President Berger-Sweeney elaborated that private education is an expensive education. She  said that the cost of private education seems to be rising and is becoming a lofty sum for the middle class, but the reprecussions of high costs have not been felt in the same way by the upper class.

“If we want our campuses to look more like America, we have to make sure that we raise enough money for financial aid,” she said. “I have been successful in identifying a donor who would like to support a scholarship with preference for a student who graduates from the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy to come to Trinity College. To endow a scholarship for one individual to come to Trinity costs about a million dollars.” The President said that she sees Magnet schools as both public as well as community schools. Many people from the surronding community attend magnet schools, she holds, including her own son.

President Berger-Sweeney was then asked about college ratings. She responded that she does not love the rating system but sees it as an indicator in terms of academic success. “I am particularly interested in the rankings when they are coincident with the quality of education that I can offer,” she added. She continued by saying that she thinks that certain aspects of the ratings should be considered by administrators, but colleges should not be directed by the ratings.

“I think it behooves us to pay some attention to rankings because, I can assure, you students and parents do. We cannot be a slave to the ratings, but at the same time when we can do things that improve the quality of our education, we expect and hope that the rankings will follow,” she said.

Finally the interview ended with a question about how students can adapt to a liberal arts setting after coming from a background of standardized testing.

“I believe,” stated the President, “the best learning can occur in complex settings… For students who have come from backgrounds of standardized testing into the more creative and flexible liberal arts setting, that’s actually a great way to learn. You’re using different skill sets and developing a broader spectrum of skills.” She added the job of liberal arts colleges is to meet each student at whatever level they are regardless of the academic background that they have.


Israeli-American composer returns to Trinity for presentation

Written by ELIZABETH VALENZUELA ’17 and NICOLE KATAV ’17 – Contributing Writers

 On Feb. 3, Class of 1969 graduate Dr. Stephen Horenstein returned to Trinity to share his experience as a music composer in Israel with Trinity students and facutly. He titled his presentation “By Any Means Necessary,” because he believes it is important for modern music to reach the ears of listeners by, as the title implies, any means necessary. According to him, this is a philosophy that has fol-lowed him throughout his thirty-five years as a composer.

For his presentation, Dr. Horenstein played three songs. The first was titled “Breaking the Walls,” and was written right after Horenstein graduated from Trinity. Its title comes from the Biblical story of the Israeli people breaking the walls of Jericho through the power of their faith. The tenor saxophone adds rich layers to this song. Additionally, the drone baseline is similar to that of a shofar, which is an instrument of ancient origin used for Jewish religious purposes. This keeps the song consistent with the theme of ancient inspiration, while simultaneously giving it a distinctive sound and making it culturally relevant to its Israeli  roots.

His next song, “Andarta Memorial,” was dedicated in remembrance of the Holocaust and incor-porated actual archives from Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial for Holocaust victims. The record begins with drums fading in and out, establishing a sense of suspense in the listener.  In comes an authoritative voice, followed by a chorus of voices layering over the drums. These voices are direct recordings of Jewish soldeirs fighting for liberation and resisting against Nazi Germany. The song is completely acoustic and a compilation of sixty-four different tracks mixed together, to be projected from many speakers at once.

At the halfway mark, a violin playing in a minor chord starts to lead and fade, emitting a sense of sorrow. A saxophone and a chorus of chatting voices soon join in, fighting for domination. The musical path is unclear and chaotic, just like the path of the people chanting, whose lives are hanging by a thread. The pace of the song increases and increases, parallel to the fear and anxiety of those for whom the song was written.

The last song he presented, “Zman Enat,” meaning “real time,” relates to his research on how music can affect the perception of time. He believes that music has soul and can create deep feelings that construct the illusion that time has stopped. This piece was also his first attempt and success at composing modern music. This demonstrates not only his own ability to produce music that is relevant and meaningful to the modern age (which reflects his ability to innovate musically), but is also a unique means of advertising. He publicized his work through the use of British phone booths. People picked up the phone, listened to his music, and he recorded their reactions. His goal was to get people to listen to modern music by any means necessary. The results were surprisingly very positive; people lined up around the block to listen to his music. He demonstrated clear ability and knowledge on not only how to produce pleasing music, but also how to present his work to the masses, and how to introduce people on the street to something totally new.

What Horenstein took away from this experience was that music does not have to be put in boxes. His dynamic use of instruments, collaboration with other composers, use of historical artifacts, experiences making music around the world, and his method of producing the authentic sounds that come to his mind have enabled him to live his passion as a composer.

As a person who pursued his dreams by any means necessary and continues to do so today, he is a great example for Trinity students. Furthermore, he provides students with the opportunity to experience other cultures through the avenue of music. Special thanks to the Music Department and Hillel, especially Professor Galm and Lisa Kassow, for making Dr. Horenstein’s visit and presentation possible. More information on Dr. Horenstein may be found on Trinity’s website.

“Party With Consent” questions gender stereotypes

Written by Ian Trotta, ’17 – Contributing Writer

When you think about a discussion about gender and sexual assault, what do you imagine? Maybe images of young women clad in Che Guevara t-shirts dominating a classroom, while a revolutionary-looking woman harangues about the mystically privileged life of heterosexual, cisgendered, wealthy, white males? According to these revolutionary, progressive women, these privileged men’s boardrooms are filled with monopoly man look-a-likes, conspiring to pay women less and keeping gays from marrying, perhaps? This by no means trivializes the discussion about gender and sexual assault. Unfortunately, these discussions take place amongst a limited number of people.

Open discussions on sexual violence and the paradigm surrounding gender will be the only way we can get started solving these issues. This is why Kappa Sigma invited “Party with Consent,” an organization encouraging responsible partying and sexual conduct to the Trinity College campus. “Party with Consent’s” presence on campus indicated the Greek system’s desire to ask profound questions about these issues and also be a part of the solution to these problems.

The founder of the organization, Jonathan Kalin, was a basketball player at Colby College, and an alumnus of the Lawrenceville School. He shared his narrative in a strikingly conversational and organic way. As a young boy, Kalin had lost his father to an automobile accident, leaving him without a paternal figure to navigate what it means to be a man. Unable to ask his single mother, and having to constantly defend himself against the heckling of fellow athletes, Kalin tried to find his masculinity throughwhat media portrayed. He played for the audience a clip of the movie, “Superbad,” when Jonah Hill tells Michael Cera that all they need to do to “get laid” is to intoxicate young women. This notion of being a girl’s drunken mistake as “still scoring” exemplifies the problem. Kalin took the room through an exercise called the “man box.” In this exercise, the crowd described the alpha male, then the sub-par man and what words are often used to describe that type of person. The alpha is drawn out as an emotionless Adonis who can bench press as many pounds as women he has slept with. The sub-par man subsequently is an effeminate, margarita-drinking, metrosexual. Ultimately, to try to make sure that no man is left behind to wallow in inferiority, a set of insults all having to do with women or homosexuality, are used to maintain supposed gender norms. Kalin’s intention in conducting this excercise was to explain that one can, in fact, deviate from this “man box,” and that being a man is more than the constant struggle to be a carbon copy of Burt Reynolds. From a young age boys from everywhere are inundated with ideas about what it means to be a man.

In our culture today, there is no discernable rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. Instead, there is the long and drawn out “adolescence,” that starts at early puberty. Young men are often confronted by signs that may read “Are you an 18 year old man?” Many young men do not think in this context, believing a man to be someone who worked through the grind for family or ambition, such as a stereotypical father from an episode of “Leave it to Beaver” or the “Brady Bunch.” These portrayals blur lines of stereotypical masculinity, with men being portrayed as “just another one of the kids.” Boys often wonder when they are considered men, whether it be when they turn 18 years old, or perhaps more morbidly with the death of their father. Companies and brands have been able to take great advantage of this image of the modern man-child. Deodorant ads feature mothers saddened by the loss of their babies to manhood. This kind of advertising also contains something to do with sexual success. What “Party with Consent” tries to instill in its viewers is the fact that being a man is not what the advertisers are desperate to sell. Instead, society should find a rite of passage that is productive and encourages decency and honor, not just liquor and ladies. The attitude of hookups being “that girl’s mistake,” or viewing sex being a conquest are perspectives that should be avoided. These may seem like abstract ideas, with limited bearing on the pragmatic matter of sexual violence. Yet, if men were to regard women not as trophies but as people who have hopes, dreams and struggles, as a way of proving their manliness, the discussion of sexual assault would be an entirely different conversation.

Overall, the talk was made to question the actions of the individual. Appreciating the extent to which young women have to worry about protecting themselves from worst-case scenarios is and should be a vital component of men’s conceptions of their own masculinity. We all can do more to try to reduce the possibility of sexual assault. “Party with Consent” can represent a change in our perspective of Greek life on campus and their role in preventing sexual violence. Instead of being the archetype of the problem, Greek life can, should be, and seems to be becoming a leader in reducing sexual assaults on campus.


2015 Grammy Awards




On Sunday, Feb, 8, the 57th Grammy’s Award Show took place at the Staples Center on a warm, not-so-winter night in Los Angeles, California. Hosted by LL Cool J, and filled with various performances, speeches and outfits, this Grammy’s seemed sparkly, fun and filled with well-deserved winners.

The show began with stars rushing through the red carpet, mingling and presenting themselves with outmost grace between quick interviews, catching up with friends and many flashing lights. Taylor Swift began the awards presenting the Best New Artist nominees, followed by winner Sam Smith, giving a short and sweet speech almost in tears, clearly overwhelmed with joy. (In his next winning speech, he would go on to say that the only place he found success is being himself. And in his fourth winning speech, he would go on to thank the man who broke his heart, as it just “won him 4 Grammy’s”).

The performances began with Kanye West’s “Only One”, who, though certainly a little auto-tuned, sang on a dark stage with one light set over his face in a comfortable looking sweatsuit. Kanye’s performance, however, was out shined by Madonna’s incredible presentation of her song, “Living for Love”. The fifty-six year old looked, sang and danced flawlessly. Her performance ended as she was raised, lying in a harness up above the audience members, who excitedly responded to this uplifting mood-changer.

Ed Sheeran performed a captivating, yet mellow and low key performance of “Thinking Out Loud“, where he stood with simply his guitar and back up players. His sweet voice and incredibly romantic song had the audience members in complete awe. ELO sang some uplifting classic tunes, to which Paul McCartney was having a field day during, as he was one of the first in the audience to stand, dance, and clap his excitement of ELO’s presentation. Hozier sang his heart chillingly beautiful song, “Take Me to Church”, singing and playing his guitar with outmost passion, with guest appearance by Annie Lennox, who beautifully meshed Hozier’s song into “I Put a Spell on You”, with as much soul and passion as “Take Me to Church”.

Pharrell began his performance of “Happy” with a bizarre, surreal introduction to a darker version of the usual upbeat song. This version had an ominous, not-so-happy twist to it as men dressed with white bodysuits were dancing through the aisles. Katy Perry sang a song following President Obama’s message about Sexual Abuse. In her performance of “By the Grace of God”, she stood on an all white stage, with two shadowed figures dancing behind her, blowing away the audience with her deeply moving song. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett sang an absolutely incredible duet, as they performed a jazzy performance of “I Found a Friend”. Gaga’s voice was outstanding, showing how powerful and versatile of an artist she is, and what pure talent she has. Usher performed a celebratory and motivating tribute for and with Stevie Wonder. This tribute was followed by a performance by country singer, Brandy Clark, a nominee for best new artist. Clark’s angelic, soft voice was echoed beautiful throughout the stage.

Rihanna, Paul McCartney  and Kanye finally began the performance everyone was waiting for, “FourFiveSeconds”. Kanye sounded much more true to his voice in this. Paul McCartney stood in the background, solely playing the guitar, as Rihanna led the group with such power and poise, the entire audience was standing and clapping to the significant song. The final performance included Beyoncé’s rendition of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”, which her voice did tremendous justice. John Legend and Common finished with an inspirational song, “Glory”. A much more soulful, gospel-esque performance choice, these things were bone-chilling as they confronted many societal issues going on today.

Our constant use of technology has added so much to this traditional award show. The show began with “Who will the world be tweeting about tonight?” making it clear that winning in this day and age brings publicity and attention much easier than ever before. Not only can audience members individually check an artist on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or Facebook, but also even the show itself displays frequent updates of popular Tweets or Instagram’s. Artists are constantly, while at the show, updating their own social media outlets, so fans can get an even better sense of what is happening at the show. There was even had a social media reporter backstage.

Halfway through the performance, President Obama was brought on screen to send a message about Sexual Abuse. He explained that the reason he was presenting this message at the Grammy’s was because “artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes and get us talking about what matters”. Through technology, this is even more likely and possible. When used for the right message and proper purpose, like fighting Sexual Abuse, or gay rights, or racial equality, the music world can very easily change mindsets in a positive way.

As the red carpet host stated, the Grammy’s is an exciting time for performers, artists, songwriters, and anyone in the music industry to catch up. It’s exciting for us audience members to watch this mystical and fantastical lifestyle.

Smashing Pumpkin’s album review “Moments to an Elegy”



Personally, I’m not a fan of modern music. For that reason, I usually listen to older classic rock, but happily, the new Smashing Pumpkins album taught me that there’s still hope for contemporary rock, you just have to look for it. In case you haven’t heard of the band, they were wildly popular in the 90’s, with critically acclaimed albums such as “Siamese Dreams” and “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” both of which launched Billy Corgan and company into punk-rock fueled stardom. Following their hedonistic heyday, the band went through several personnel changes, resulting in a considerably long hiatus. After several years of poorly received albums, Corgan was the sole remaining original member of the band. Things looked bleak, and aside from a small devoted fan base, the public moved on.

Because many Americans were no longer concerned with the musings of a “washed up grunge druggie,” the album “Monuments to an Elegy” had a quiet release. However, slowly but surely, “Monuments” began to gain momentum, with critics praising the originality of “Anaise.” The critics felt that this track harkened back to the band’s glory days when the Pumpkins reigned at the top of the 90’s alt rock hierarchy. Unlike the smash concept album “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” “Monuments” is much more listenable, requiring much less thought than its preceding albums. If you want to listen to the Smashing Pumpkins for the sake of listening, turn on one of the earlier two, but unless you’re comfortable devoting all of your cognitive skills to interpreting Corgan’s encrypted lyrics, “Monuments to an Elegy” will work much better for you.

Comparing the two distinct phases of the band brings to mind another well-known musicians documented transitory changes. In the later years of the Beatles, Paul McCartney worked to create some of the greatest psychedelic lyrics of all time, forcing the listener to pay close attention to what was being said, because with even one minute of tuning out, you could completely lose sense of the message. That said, after the Beatle’s disintegration, Paul formed Wings, a great band that produced fun music. However, their songs were nowhere near as complex as the work done by the fab four, and was said by critics to be an unfortunate departure from a great musical path. Personally, “Sargent Pepper” is my favorite album of all time, but if I’m simply in the mood to kick back and listen to some good classic rock, Wings is my choice. The same can be said of “Monuments to an Elegy.” While far less detailed than the work done by the band in the early 90’s, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

To sum up the album, I’d say that it’s definitely worth tuning into. If you’ve never listened to, or dare I say even heard of the Smashing Pumpkins, “Monuments” is a simple introduction to a very un-simple band.

Bantam Artist of the Week: Hank Butler of the Accidentals



Hank Butler, a sophomore Public Policy and Law major, has been a member of the all-male acapella group, The Accidentals, since the Spring of 2014. In addition to singing bass, he is the technology chair. As technology chair, he is responsible for all social media posts, events, and updates. The Facebook page and Twitter account are updated with concert dates, gig info, and birthday posts for members of the Accidentals, to name a few examples.

Hank is also in charge of keeping up the Youtube page for the Accidentals by adding recent videos from concerts. His passion for singing began as early as he can remember. He loved to sing at an early age, most memorably having sing-alongs in the car with his parents. He really enjoys being a member of the Accidentals, and looks forward to practice every day, the concerts and gigs, and the upcoming retreat that the group will be going on this semester.

His favorite thing about being in the Accidentals however, is not just singing every day and performing, but rather the guys in the group. The bonds that all of the guys in the group have is something that cannot ne replicated by any other group or organization on campus.

Hank also likes the way that the guys sound when they are singing together; he notes that their sound is different than any other a Capella group’s sound on campus because the Accidentals are the only all-male group. Their classic songs, “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “Good Ole’ A Capella” are always crowd pleasers at any concert or gig. His favorite song to sing with the Accidentals is “The Spiritual” by Jukebox the Ghost, because he says “it’s one of our most powerful songs in our repertoire, it really has the power to move people. That’s why we sing, because we want to move people, and tell stories in a way that is entertaining. The Spiritual is a story-telling song for us and it’s a song that bonds our group; that’s why I love to sing it, and it’s also why I love being a dent.”

One of his favorite concerts so far was the first concert of the year, the “Welcome Back Concert” in September 2014.  This concert was special for Hank because it was the first concert with essentially a different group. The Accidentals graduated seven seniors in May 2014, so the group was very different at the beginning of this year.

In addition to the Accidentals, Hank is involved with several other organizations on campus.  He is co-president of Trinity at Kennelly Tutoring Program; a tutoring program run at Kennelly School in Hartford; a new member of Trinity College Barnyard Entertainment staff; the organization that organizes and plans events such as Trintoberfest and Spring Weekend; and is currently working at the Hartford Capital for the Legislative Internship Program this semester.

Outside of class and his clubs and activities, Hank enjoys spending time with friends, watching and reading the news, as he considers himself to be a “news-junkie” and occasionally watches an episode of television courtesy of Netflix. If you are interested in learning more or hearing more about what the Accidentals do and sing, Hank encourages you to visit their Facebook Page (, or visit their website which is currently undergoing some changes, but will be ready very soon (

Cinestudio Review: 1942’s Bogart classic: “Casablanca”



It’s not in the nature of the average college student to look back- to steal a phrase from this week’s movie, we’re not usually “sentimentalists”. But if there were ever a time to see Casablanca (and everyone should see it at some point) It’s on that cold night in February, the one with the hearts and chocolate, in the company of someone you care about. Not to mention the novelty of seeing it on the big screen; missing it might be something you’ll regret- (to steal another line,) “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” Trust me, Trinity. This one is not to be skipped.

Casablanca: a city on the outer rim of Morocco. It is December, 1941, and France has fallen. Morocco, then a French territory, is still technically under the control of the unoccupied French Government, and acts now as a kind of glamorous purgatory for the refugees of a war-torn Europe. Casablanca has become a melting pot of all fronts of the war, though it does not truly belong to any one of them- the Nazis, North Africans, Vichy French, and one solitary American, unable to return home. He is Rick Blaine, (Humphrey Bogart) the owner of a beautiful and popular nightclub, “Rick’s”, and an amalgam of everything it meant to be American in 1941. Our hero is solitary, quiet, and embittered by some past heartbreak, but he is also respected and feared by all who know him. It’s a different world here- one where the darkest days of World War II are around the corner, and where evil seems to be closing in on this last island of peace, flooding it more every minute. The last trains out are boarding, the last light of day is in the sky. Rick “sticks his neck out for no one”, not even the handful of friends he has, and while this way of life is not a happy one, it has always kept him on the right side of the war- his own side.

One night, as the club is in full swing, a woman from Rick’s past arrives. She is the mysterious Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), and she is the reason for Rick’s melancholy. They were of course in love once, less than two years before in the weeks before the Germans marched into Paris. She left him with scarcely a goodbye- alone in the rain, with a head full of sorrow, and no idea where to go next. Ilsa has a husband now, A Czech revolutionary and a good man who many believe can rally the people of France again, if and only if, he is allowed safe passage to America. By happenstance, Rick has been guarding two valuable passports, capable of seeing Ilsa and her husband to safety, but will he use them? With the Nazis circling like buzzards, Rick must choose between what is right for him, right for Ilsa, and right for the war. His choice may surprise you.

Casablanca is less about true love than it is about sacrifice. For this reason among others it is a great movie. But It is more than a great movie, it is a classic, and classics are tough to define. I say that Casablanca is a classic not for it’s excellent cast, it’s poised sense of place in history, or it’s technical beauty- these things are what earned it the Oscar for best picture in 1944. But what makes it really magical- what makes it hold our hearts in it’s grip like it did to audiences 70 years ago is the subtle poetry of the thing; Bogart’s gravelly quips and the way he wears his trenchcoat with the back of the collar up. Ingrid Bergman’s eyes as she remembers how she felt back in Paris, and how they shine like the moon behind the clouds, just before the tears come. The fog at the airport in the final scene, and the way it makes everything glow in the dim light. We have to ask, why the coat? The eyes? The fog? Because: without these little touches, we would be left slightly disappointed with only a great movie: not an immortal one.

And so, in the world of today, where the once stiff and immovable borders of love and war are breaking down; where friends and enemies are not so exclusive and love is more complicated than falling-in and then sticking around, it feels good to look back- to hike across campus in frigid weather with someone special, and fall in love with Casablanca- you will feel in your heart, on Valentine’s Day that maybe the world hasn’t changed so much after all.

Indoor Track and Field has a strong core team



After the long winter break, Trinity’s Track and Field team traveled to Orlando, Florida for a serious training week before returning back to campus. The team trained on a nearby Olympic facility, side by side with Olympic runners such as Tyson Gay, for a week to prepare for the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Indoor-Outdoor Men’s Track and Field Challenge. At this meet many runners excelled in their event due to the hard work that week as well as the strong sideline support. Co-captain Patrick Hoagland ‘16 placed second in the 1,000-meter run with a hard earned time of 2:31.98. Trinity’s co-captain Geoff Bocobo ‘16 also shined with a third place time of 8.59 in the 60-meter high hurdles, while John Ostrowski ‘17 placed third in the 600-meter run with a time of 1:27.67. The Trinity Track Team managed to clinch third place overall. With a strong start in Florida, Trinity’s Track Team returned to Trinity College ecstatic.

Following the successful Florida trip, the Track and Field Team traveled to Springfield College for Springfield’s Men’s Indoor Track and Field Invitational. There, Coach John Michael ran his first meet as head coach for the track team. The team had a slow start and suffered from a plague of bad luck in the beginning with two of the top sprinters injuring themselves. But with motivation from Coach Michael our luck started turning around as jumper, Aman Stuppard ‘17, easily won first place in the triple jump with a distance of 44’00.50”.  Patrick Hoagland, John Ostrowski, Michael Fries ‘18, and Kyle Larsson ‘18 followed it up by winning the 4×400-meter relay with a respectable time of 3:32.12. Captain Geoff Bocobo also performed well with a second place 200-meter finish clocking in at 23.24. John Ostrowski again excelled by placing third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.45. Capping the meet of was the 4×200-meter relay with Karan Khurana ‘17, Geoff Bocobo, Alan Bond, and Michael Fries collectively running 1:34.48 snatching second place. A more competitive meet, Trinity Track was only able to collect enough points to receive a sixth place overall finish.

Looking to improve from last meet’s disappointing finish, Trinity’s track and field team returned to Springfield College the following week determined to improve. Again Stuppard won the triple jump with a even further distance of 44’11.75”. At this meet trinity shined in the sprints with Kelsey Baradzi ‘18 placing second in the 200-meter dash, just .04 seconds behind first place. Bocobo, proved his mid-distance strength once again, placing second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.16. Sprinter Bassil Bacare ‘18 shined as well with a time of 8.96 in the 60-meter hurdles. With such a strong sprinting presence, Trinity was able to improve to a fifth place overall finish.

Trinity’s Track and Field Team, this past Saturday, ran at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts to finish of their regular indoor track and field season. Daniel Hughes ‘18 , off an injury, ran an impressive 7.29 second 60-meter dash to claim 10th place, just .03 seconds shy of his person record. Hoagland as usual excelled in his race by placing first, running a quick time of 2:32.38 in the 1000-meter. Following this, Trinity shined in every relay event. The 4×400, 4×200, and men’s distance medley relay all placed third collecting 18 points for the team. At such a big meet, Trinity was able to claim 9th place out of 20th for the men’s overall team ranking and 6th place out of 19th for the women’s overall ranking. Now Trinity’s elite track team members look to travel to Boston University next weekend for an even more competitive meet, a true test of the skill of each athlete.

Tripod Athlete of the Week : Ashley Tidman ’15



The Trinity College Women’s Squash Team has had a terrific season this year and is already in competition for the Howe Cup once again. One of the big leaders behind this stellar team of players is Co-Captain Ashley Tidman ‘15. Hailing from Lamor-Plage in France, Tidman has contributed many victories to the Bantams. As a freshman and sophomore Tidman qualified for the NEASCAC 2nd All Team and was ranked as the 24th Best Player in the nation her Junior Year. Her record from Freshman to Junior Year is 44-13, and she has only improved. This skill has helped her team to win National Championships last year and they look to repeat once again.

Tidman has received many inspirations during her athletic career, including both soccer and squash. However, her family has been the most important to her. “My favorite athlete when growing up was  Zinedine Zidane and Peter Nicol. However my inspiration to play squash came from my dad, who was a great player in England during his youth and later in France” Her father’s talents must have rubbed off on her, because Tidman has become one of the best players in the United States through her hard work and dedication. This dedication has helped them to win the NEASCAC final against Williams 9-0 nothing this past Sunday.

One of the most interesting things about Tidman is her experience with the sport overseas in France. She was a part of the country’s national team and finished 9th in the European Championship and 19th in the World Championship. After coming to America in order to continue her athletic career, Tidman has plenty to say. “I can assert that college squash is THE most exciting squash I have ever played. Our team at Trinity is very talented, but our family bond makes it even more special, something I surprisingly did not experience while playing for my country. Today, I am part of a team composed of 9 different countries and it truly is amazing”. The bond between these players is strong, which has made them a powerhouse in American Squash. After they won the national championship last year, Tidman had many fond memories. “The most exciting moment in my squash career is without a doubt winning the national championships against Harvard last year. It was not an easy task but we worked extremely hard all year long in order to attain our goal. Besides, my parents came for the occasion which made it even greater”.

Now that the girls have just won the NEASCAC Championship, they are ready to move on to the next stage of the season, the Howe Cup. Despite a loss to Harvard last week, Tidman is hopeful for her team. “This season is looking good. Our team is very strong, and although our opponents are very good too, I believe that we can bring another title. This year is going to be an intense battle between UPenn, Harvard and Trinity. We will fight for our school to obtain the best result we can, and hopefully bring the Howe Cup back to trinity for another year”. With her current skills, Tidman and the Squash Team look set for a repeat. The team will be playing in the first round of the tournament at Harvard on Friday, February the 13th.

Ashley Tidman ’15

Womens Hockey emerges 1-1 against Bowdoin



The Trinity women’s Ice Hockey team opened their two game home series against the Bowdoin College Polar Bears with a dramatic 6-5 loss on Friday night that ended on a game winning goal with 0.8 seconds left in the game.

The scoring started in the first period when Bowdoin’s Miranda Bell scored a goal off of a power play to give Bowdoin a 1-0 lead. Bantam Lauren Fitzgerald ‘15 would tie the game a few minutes later after a steal from Shannon Farrell ’16, allowed her to score. The period ended on a second goal by Miranda Bell that gave Bowdoin a 2-1 lead going into the 2nd period.

Trinity held an advantage throughout the entire 2nd period when Trinity’s Lucy Robinson ‘15 scored two goals a minute and a half apart from each other which turned into Trinity’s first lead of the game. The exciting pair of goals was nothing for the excitement that the 3rd period would bring. Three goals were scored by Bowdoin in the first 9 minutes of the game including one by Colleen Finnerty within 11 seconds of the period.  The Polar Bears Rachel Kennedy scored the second of the period while the third was by Miranda Bell who completed a hat trick during the game. These goals gave Bowdoin a 5-3 lead and a big advantage throughout the remainder of the 3rd period.

Trinity, with two minutes left in the game, pulled goalie Sydney Belinskas ‘18 out of the game to put an extra skater onto the ice. This proved to be a great decision when at 18:21, Lucy Robinson ‘15 scored her 3rd goal of the game which gave her a hat trick for the night. Another Trinity goal was scored a little more than a minute after by Kelsie Finn ’18 with a wraparound shot into the right shoulder of Bowdoin goalie Lan Crofton. The game was now tied at 5 with 30 second left in the 3rd period. The last face off of the game was won by Bowdoin which led to Colleen Finnerty putting the puck past Sydney Belinskas ’18 with 0.8 seconds left in the game which would be the game winner.

This dramatic end lead to a disappointing finish but gave Trinity momentum going into their second game against Bowdoin on Saturday afternoon. Bantam’s goalie Sydney Belinskas ’18 recorded her conference leading fifth shutout of the season which gave Trinity their first home conference win of 2015. Two goals were scored in the 2nd period by Trinity’s Cheeky Herr ’16 and Lucy Robinson ’15 which gave the Bantams a 2-0 lead. This would later be the only scoring of the game which lead to a Bantams win. The win for Trinity has now brought them to an overall record of 12-6-1 (5-6-1 NESCAC) while Bowdoin dropped to a record of 9-8-4 (5-5-2 NESCAC).

The Bantams ended the exciting weekend series against Bowdoin with a win. They will face Amherst College in a series this weekend with a game at 7:30 on Saturday and an upcoming  4:30 game on Sunday.

Women claim Perrenial Supremacy in NESCAC Squash




On February 13th, the Trinity women’s squash team will begin the defense of its 2014 College Squash Association National Team Championship in the Murr Center at Harvard University. At 15-1, the Bantams will enter the National Finals as the 3rd overall seed.

Although being ranked number one in the country for the majority of the season, the women’s squash team has had to overcome a lot of adversity, losing five seniors from last year’s national championship team. However, this season has been much like the last, something that opponents definitely do not want to hear.

The Bantam’s only loss of the season came on Feb 4th to Harvard, who handed Trinity its only loss of 2014. They avenged their loss in the National Championship with Anna Kimberly ’17 winning the deciding match, something she hopes they can repeat this year.

Kimberly, one of the top 150 players in the world, spoke about last years championship match, “I have won important matches before, but they were all for myself and never for a team. It was a new and enriching feeling for me to play for others and see how I can add to their success.”

That attitude of playing for each other and building off of each other’s successes is the glue to this team. With 11 of 15 players coming to Trinity internationally, they are able to share their experiences of being away from home and come together.

Harvard will surely be tougher this season, however, losing no seniors from last year’s runner up squad. Their experience definitely showed this year, as they won all but one individual match against Trinity. Additionally, as a team, Harvard has only lost to once this season and that was to UPenn.

The Bantams, led by captains Ashley Tidman ’15 and Natalie Babjukova ’15, have their fair share of accolades to boast this season as well, though. They had a thrilling 5-4 road victory over UPenn, beat the remainder of their competition by no less than 7-2, and secured its ninth straight NESCAC Championship this past weekend.

Head Coach Wendy Bartlett’s stellar recruiting class has been a major reason for the Bantams success this year, with four freshmen finding themselves in the top nine. Raneem Sharaf ’18, Julia LeCoq ’18, Salma El-Defrawy ’18, and Karolina Holinkova ’18 have combined for a record of 47-8 and will be pivotal in the CSA National Championships.

Top 50 player in the world and number 2 collegiate player in the country, Kanzy El-Defrawy ’16, will hopefully get another shot at the nation’s number 1 player, Harvard’s Amanda Sobhy. The 2014 NESCAC Player of the Year said that if the two teams cross paths again, “We need to have a mindset of 15 against one on every court, rather than just one versus one.”

Upperclassmen Chanel Erasmus ’15 and Sachika Balvani ’16 have secured the bottom of the lineup throughout the year and with every match counting equally, don’t be surprised if their experience comes up big in the championships.

Trinity will likely find itself crossing paths with UPenn and Harvard in the semifinals and finals of the National Championships, finally putting an end to the triangle of doubt. With the Bantams chasing their second title in as many years and revenge on their mind, there will surely be intense fireworks at the Murr Center this coming weekend.

Trendy Trinity: Retrospective of collegiate spirit in 1910s



Pleasure. Knowledge. Success. Those are the words inscribed in an illustration in a copy of The Ivy, Trinity College’s yearbook. The image depicts two pathways, both of which lead to success, implying that it takes both enjoyment in one’s social experience as well as academics to thrive during college. Yearbooks, in general, are a tangible way to remember one’s college years or compare two very different periods of time in history, much like I have been doing with the 20th century editions of Trinity’s collegiate chronicles. The tone of editions of The Ivy from 1910-1919 was slightly different than the yearbooks I examined in the prior decade; the focus switched from looking at the individual classes to embracing the college body as a whole.

Despite the maturity that occurs from year to year, defining aspects of all schools such as quading, attending sporting events (particularly against rival schools), and contemplating one’s journey beyond campus life make college days the happiest days of a man’s life. The goal of The Ivy was to serve as a “Campus Book.” For current students, they can reflect on their time at the college and look towards those students older than them as a model for how to get the most out of their Trinity experience.

Stories and memories from previous years allow the viewer to reflect on the changes in the attitude and atmosphere or the school. In place of a variety of images and sketches depicting college life, there were longer columns describing the history and emotions of students in each class year. These histories served also as a reminder to the study body to embrace their time at school. For freshman, the anxiety of leaving home for perhaps the first time mixed with the overwhelming freedom makes for an unforgettable year. As years progress, students become more serious within their studies and in their social life. However, despite being older, the Seniors in these books appeared to be in as much of a dreamlike state as the Freshman were, as both classes contemplate their future and wonder which path is the right one for them. As illustrated, perhaps there isn’t just one path, but rather a several paths, each boasting new and enlightening opportunities that combined will lead to prosperity.

There is a focus throughout these yearbooks on one’s pride and achievements. Especially after 100 Days Hoorah that occurred this past Friday for the Senior class, it’s important to remember to embrace these short but meaningful four years. As we all struggle to not only find who we are, but define ourselves by what we do, we should remember that it’s not only the joyous memories that unite us, but the taunting ones as well. As we become more well-read and aware of social and political issues around the world, we face truths that we may wish to bury back in the place where we first learned about them. The spirit of the students within these pages does not express fear, but rather assurance and bravery. Experiences in and out of Trinity, good and bad, should inspire us, not taunt us. This is a time for learning and growing, but that can only be achieved if one allows themselves to grow.

Furthermore, a serious tone reflected the war time, as World War I was occurring from 1914-1918. In addition to the photographs of each student divided up by class year, there was an additional section in several of the yearbooks featuring students who were In Service/In Memoriam. Despite the understanding one has of the draft during WWI, it’s extremely moving to consider the fact that a huge portion of an extremely small student body at the time was in service. War defined just as much of their experience in the halls of knowledge as did any other classic college adventure.

By looking at vintage yearbooks, one is reminded that though the demographics of the student body and social outlets may have shifted over the years, tossing a football across the quad beneath the autumn leaves with friends, forming a brotherhood or sisterhood through Greek Life, and pulling all nighters remains a quintessential part of the college experience. Even during the most trying times, there is always a light to guide us down the Long Walk.

Spending the sweetest day of the year with someone special





Love is floating in the air ‘neath the elms as February 14 approaches. Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday to participate in even if you aren’t in a relationship, because who doesn’t want an excuse to get dressed up and let your friends, family, or significant other just how much you love them? Whether you’re single, in a committed relationship, or somewhere in between, it’s always fun to have Valentine’s Day plans! Trinity may not always seem like a relationship oriented school, but you know cupid must be lurking down the Long Walk, because there are over 800 alumni of Trinity who are married.

If you’re looking for something to do for the holiday, there are a variety of options in and around the Hartford area on the 14th. Many Hartford restaurants have specialized menus with Valentine’s Day themed items. Vito’s By The Park, which overlooks Bushnell Park, is celebrating the day with favorites like Baked Stuffed Shrimp and Butternut Squash Ravioli, as well as specials like Pappardelle Bolognese, which is made with chocolate truffle pasta (if that doesn’t have you scheduling a reservation through OpenTable, I don’t know what will)! Other Italian favorites like Peppercorns and Salute also provide an intimate and romantic setting for an evening with that special someone.

If you’re planning on spending the night with friends or just feeling artsy, then there are multiple options, some educational, while others are simply a fun way to get crafty! We are lucky enough to have two major art museums in the Capital region – the Wadsworth Atheneum, the oldest art museum in the nation, and the New Britain Museum of American Art both have inspiring collections of art! If you’re looking to get a little more hands on, Muse Paintbar & Eatery and Black Eyed Sally’s both are hosting Valentine’s Day themed paint nights. At Muse Paintbar in Blue Back Square, there are three different pictures available for you to paint and drink the night away and Black Eyed Sally’s is hosting a similar event.

However, if you don’t want to have extravagant plans, there’s nothing wrong with going out like any other Saturday with your friends. Throw a Valentine’s Day pregame and think pink! Shades of purple, white, red, even burgundy- color themes are always fun to play with. It’s also the perfect night to make pink drinks- Cosmos, Kir Royales, and the pretty purple shade of Chambord are all delicious and opulent options to add to the festivities.

One of the most fun aspects of Valentine’s Day is deciding what to wear. Sparkles, peplums, ruffles, hot pink, or even a flirty A-Line dress are all perfect options. Maybe even pull out that bright pink or red lipstick that you’ve been afraid to wear, because Valentine’s Day is the night for color and bold statements! For guys, step out in red chinos, heart printed tie, or fun socks to show of your soft side.

If you’re looking to spread the love to both your crush and the community, then look no further than Kappa Kappa Gamma. The sisters have been sponsoring Kappa Kisses, their spring Philanthropy event, to help promote consensual sex and prevent sexual assault. The event runs through Wednesday, February 11 in Goldberg’s and Mather Hall. Simply purchase a bag of Hershey Kisses for $1 or Hershey Kisses and a sugar cookie for $2 and have your proceeds go to the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services.

Valentine’s Day seems like a day for couples, but it’s always fun to do with a group. Treat yourself to some chocolate covered strawberries or heart shaped macarons from Whole Foods! As always, another great option is Trinity’s own Cinestudio, which will be showing the 1942 American romantic drama, Casablanca, a classic film about two men vying for the same woman, (and it has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes if you need more convincing). Valentine’s Day is a holiday that can be fun no matter who you’re with! There’s no reason not to take advantage of a reason to get dressed up and have fun even if you aren’t in a relationship.


Study Abroad: Something New, Something Hard



When I was a freshman, studying abroad was kind of a given. My mom constantly lectured me about what an amazing experience it would be, how my life would change in ways that I could not expect. I hated that. In fact, it made me hate the idea even more. It is not that I did not agree with her, but I wanted it to be my choice. I was fine just where I was.

I would not consider myself unadventurous by any means, but I was pretty content with my life. I did not think I needed a huge life altering experience and honestly, I had no idea what life altering even meant. As the months grew closer and it became time for me to choose where I should study, I struggled to really conceptualize what that would look like. I wanted something really different. I wanted to be away from everyone I knew. Trinity has this amazing way of making your world feel small and comfortable at times. Not to say this is a bad thing, but I was starting to feel too comfortable. I needed something new. I settled on Freiburg in Southwest Germany. It was a small city buried in the Black Forest, hidden from everything. It was perfect. No one I knew was going there and I was going to be completely immersed in the language that I had grown up with. In a way, I was going back to a home I never really knew.

In the days leading up to my trip, my head raced with crazy thoughts. I convinced myself it was an awful idea. I was on a team and going abroad meant abandoning them for a semester. Eventually I found myself sitting on a plane that was about to take off. I would tell you what I was thinking but the page would be filled with maledicta. Nothing convinced me as much as that moment, that this is exactly what I needed. Suffice to say, I had a feeling that the person sitting on that plane in five months would be different from the person sitting there at that moment. I landed with a broken suitcase and a folder full of documents. Hello Germany.

Almost immediately, you learn that although you may be studying in a single country, you really are studying everywhere. I often took break periods and weekends to travel to different cities and countries around Europe. I went to the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, France, and Germany. I spent weeks traveling in Germany alone. At first, traveling alone was intimidating, but eventually it became addicting. Each new place I went was so different and it made me curious about what I might be missing in other places. I could not get enough of what all of these countries had to offer. Even the places that disappointed, somehow managed to inspire. The places surprised me and the people surprised me but mostly I surprised myself.

To me, there are a wide variety of abroad experiences. Mine was one of the eye-opening experiences where you struggle constantly, may not always comfortable, and sometimes are very isolated but you come out a changed person. This is not to say that any one type is better than the other but rather, they are very different. Being abroad was one of the most challenging but uplifting experiences of my life. My expectations were often not met and at times exceeded beyond imagination. My time in Germany gave me the courage to make decisions about things in my life that I had previously just ignored. It is almost as if surviving the challenges that being abroad presented me with, made any other challenge thereafter seem insignificant.

I would say that if you want to study abroad, intentionally put yourself in a position of being uncomfortable. It is something that I was once told by a coach, but never really understood until now. If you can be comfortable with being uncomfortable, nothing will seem challenging anymore and if it does, you can survive it. Don’t have expectations because you may be let down but you may also be pleasantly and overwhelmingly surprised. I won’t even venture to say expect the unexpected because even that will not suffice.

People used to tell me that going abroad was a must. I used to think they were just saying it to say it. I was wrong. Go abroad, but if you go abroad, be adventurous. Do something that scares you. Do something that you might never be able to do again. You won’t regret it and it might change the way you see the world. It might change the way you see yourself.



High Society parties are now at tip of your fingers



This past summer I was lucky enough to land my dream internship with the digital media company Guest of a Guest, a website that celebrates and serves society’s cultural influencers through its curated social calendar, event photography services, and editorial coverage. I had been following the website ever since I was sixteen, and one day I stumbled across an article titled “Rich Horses of Instagram: Hunting Down the 1% This Weekend” about the Far Hills Horse Races, also known as The Hunt. Growing up in suburban New Jersey, I had been going to The Hunt my whole life, and, to my surprise, the author of the article was a Trinity alumni, Yumi Matsuo (Class of 2011). I immediately reached out to her, expressing my interest in interning for Guest of a Guest and asking for her help as a Trinity alumni. She was more than happy to help a fellow bantam, and with her support throughout the application and interview process, I was offered a spot as an editorial intern for the summer.

Guest of a Guest heavily relies on interns for editorial content, which made it a great place to work since the majority of my coworkers were fellow college students. Although I was the youngest one, I was given just as much responsibility as my coworkers. These responsibilities included pitching article ideas on anything relevant to the culture and lives of New Yorkers (fashion, art, music, food, etc.), writing those approved article ideas, covering socially relevant events as media/press, and running various editorial errands. Thanks to Guest of a Guest, I now have a portfolio of 40+ published articles, ranging from “Our Complete Guide To The 36th Annual Museum Mile Festival” to “Bicycle Guide: The Best Brands & Shops To Help You Go Green” to “Steal Their Style: Winter Outfit Inspiration From Our Favorite Fashion Bloggers” and everything in between. When I started at Guest of a Guest, I was only really comfortable writing about art and fashion, however my boss, Andrea Uku, influenced me to expand my horizons, to research topics I previously did not know much about, and before I knew it, I was writing about restaurants, music festivals, celebrities, apps- the list goes on. Once I felt like I had wrote about virtually everything in New York, she encouraged me to write about The Hamptons, Miami, Chicago, and wherever else I wanted to learn more about.

The most exciting responsibility I had at Guest of a Guest was definitely the event coverage. Everyday, the interns would receive an email with the events for the next night, ranging from red carpet movie premiers to charity galas to smaller cocktail parties and art gallery openings. Interns got to go to the parties as media/press, which essentially meant that we would interview important people and take pictures for a live social media feed from the Guest of a Guest Instagram and Twitter accounts. The next day we would submit a write-up of the event for the section of the website called “Last Nights Parties,” which included who was there, interviews, pictures etc. Through event coverage I was able to attend an intimate rooftop dinner for the designer Shoshanna Gruss, cover the red carpet and premiere of Keira Knightley and Adam Levine’s movie, Begin Again, meet some of my favorite artists, and gain incredibly valuable networking experiences. It’s amazing how much responsibility Guest of a Guest gives their interns; rarely was I going on coffee runs or standing by the copy machine as a lot of college students find themselves doing at their internships.

If I had to give any advice to students looking for editorial internships, I would first and foremost say that they should apply to work for websites or magazines that interest them. I’ve been following Guest of a Guest for so long that it made it easier for me to envision myself working there – and being familiar with the content helped me get the best out of my experience. Reaching out to Trinity alumni definitely helps as well – if I had never reached out to Yumi Matuso I’m not sure I would’ve gotten the internship at Guest of a Guest because I was the youngest applicant. To this day I still have a great relationship with Yumi and everyone at Guest of a Guest, and I continue to work for them as a Brand Ambassador. I write one article a month and promote the brand via social media as well as on the Trinity campus. I’m even more excited to say that this summer I will be continuing at Guest of a Guest as both a brand ambassador and a freelance writer. It’s safe to say that I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t utilized the Trinity alumni connections and sent my application to Guest of a Guest last summer.

Why the 1990s is arguably one of the greatest decades in the past century



American culture seems to strongly embody, and cater to, the French notion of “recherche du temps perdu,” or the itching impulse to be “in search of lost time.” From TV series like VH1’s “I Love the 70’s,” to the revelation of vintage fashion trends, to even the relatively new phenomenon of ‘Throwback Thursdays,’ there is something unique about the nostalgic desire we have to reveal and revel in the bittersweet passage of time.

A look back at the most recent decades exposes some of the more remarkable moments in American history. A medley of culture clashes, bold political decisions, social movements and economic ups and downs have all contributed to characterizing the America we know today. However, one era in particular sticks out for its positive legacy and idiosyncratic nature; the 1990s. While it is natural to become attached the generation in which you were born, I believe that the 90’s were genuinely a time of prosperity and progress.

The United States economy flourished and the unemployment rate dropped to a low of 4 percent, which is effectively zero given the natural rate of unemployment. Between 1992 and 1999 the economy averaged a growth rate of 4 percent annually and between 1990 and 1999 the median household income grew by 10 percent. The U.S. instigated only one war during the 90s, which had a ground campaign that lasted a total of only 100 hours in an effort to stop Saddam Hussein’s army from invading Kuwait.

Not only were our amber waves of grain and shining seas prospering, but countries abroad also benefitted from the 90s. The decade saw the number of the worlds free countries jump for 65 to 85. The Soviet empire collapsed, South Africa successfully dismantled apartheid and the civil wars that once devastated former Yugoslavia had ceased. The Oslo Accords united Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful coexistence.

Milk and honey also came in the form of cultural vibrancy. The hip-hop scene, characterized by iconic rappers like Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac, and the grunge scene, inaugurated by Kurt Cobain and his infamous band, Nirvana, found their roots in the 90s. Harry Potter was born in 1997 along with the first two “Toy Story” movies, Disney’s “The Lion King,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Mulan,” and “Pocohontas,” just to name a few.

While some of these factoids may eventually be covered by the sands of time and forgotten, one contribution of the 90s will continue to make itself evident in contemporary culture. Before the decade started, few people had been introduced to what we now characterize as modern technology.

However, the beginning of the 90s saw Steve Jobs return to Apple and revitalize the company. The Internet gained widespread use as institutional, personal, and mobile computers started connecting to it. Along with this came the advent of search engines, like Google and the commercialization of laptops for personal use.

Yet, what is most important about the 90s is that these advances in technology did not seem to extend themselves into every corner of our daily lives like they do now. Cell phones were starting to be used and almost everyone was purchasing them, but more for the intention of communication rather than as a multipurpose entertainment center. While people are still using cell phones today, the kind of smartphones we have now seem to drain all of our focus and energy. You can’t walk on the Long Walk or sit in Mather without seeing more than one person glued to their phone. While technological advancements are extremely valuable and I, just like next person, can’t wait for the release of the newest Iphone model, there is something to be said for respecting the delicate balance between useful and intrusive technology.

So are the 1990s really the greatest decade? That’s for you to decide, but I’d be hard pressed to find someone who wasn’t at least intrigued by a decade that saw the simultaneous birth and popularization of the Wu-Tang Clan, Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” and the TV show “Friends.”

The Danish solution to stay warm through the winter: “hygge”



In the midst of the brutal winter months, it is hard not to be overwhelmed or fatigued by the below-freezing temperatures, the burning winds and the slippery sidewalks. In these times, I cannot help recalling the past spring semester that I spent abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. Despite the relatively higher temperatures and lesser snowfall, I would characterize the essence of a Danish winter by a depressingly long period of darkness (all of Jan ’14 recorded less than ten hours of sunlight) and the most bone chilling of winds. Yet, the Danes nonchalantly biked to work and other places, hardly complained about the weather, and in fact appeared gracefully composed through these months. The answer to how this is possible lies in a five-letter word – “hygge.”

“Hygge” (pronounced ‘hyoo-guh) translates literally to ‘coziness,’ but any Dane would agree that this cultural concept encapsulates so much more. In the winter, the feeling of “hygge” provides an element of warmth that goes beyond temperatures or climate. Sure, candles, indoor fires or streets torches are lit, saunas are frequented, and spaces are rendered cozier through blankets and other accessories, but ultimately “hygge” is about positive thinking. Winters are not just to be survived, but rather to be savored, by celebrating little things, cherishing the seasonal beauty and the opportunity it provides to enjoy the indoors.

Effectively, “hygge” also places an emphasis on relationships, a familial kind of warmth, and a sense of intimacy while spending time with friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers. One would find and create moments where conversations flow smoothly, where a sense of time and hurry is lost, and everything seems perfect. While this may seem resonant to the experience of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the holidays in general, “hygge” extends into the rest of the year too. An atmosphere of relaxation, and freedom allows for even the simplest of gestures and moments to conjure a greater sense of warmth and happiness. While there might be food, beverages, and other elements of comfort, there shouldn’t be a need to be frivolous or extravagant.

“Hygge” does call for us to slow down and appreciate the smaller things that we typically take for granted. Given the prevalent east coast ‘always-on-the-go’ trait that dominates our campus, this may in fact be the answer for us to truly enjoy the rest of this difficult winter. For me, some of my favorite, ‘hyggeligt’ moments have included- coffee-induced conversations running into the wee hours of the night, trying new recipes with my housemates, and not to mention- relishing the scent and taste of the cookies, cakes and brownies that my friends love to bake. A routinely habit that I particularly enjoy involves returning home from the outdoors, and sipping a cup of tea.

Despite the pile of work, and stress building up for everyone as the semester progresses, it is nice to take breaks from the routine to catch up with someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time, drink some warm cocoa, go out and build a snowman, indulge in warm foods and drinks, or cuddle up and watch some movies.

It could be quite surprising to experience the difference, a stress-free break at Peter B’s or the Underground, attending an event at the Vernon Social Center with friends, or a short trip off-campus to a restaurant, cafe, or even just The Tap, can make. Ultimately, the objective is to enjoy every positive moment or opportunity possible within all the given constraints, and weather conditions. Hopefully we will all find ourselves complaining less about the weather. There is a reason the Danes are consistently ranked the happiest in the world.


Freshmen plan for life after college at career workshop


Though many a student may not want to believe it, college is a very brief four years. And, also contrary to what many would want to believe, employment is at the end of our educational sojourn, and our lives continue, academically and professionally, beyond our quads, classrooms, and Hogwarts castle-esque grounds. This is a truth that many a junior and senior have had to grapple with. Questions abound for these individuals: what will my major be, what career will I enter into? Trinity, after 192 years, has gotten fairly used to dealing with these questions, and has created and maintained a Career Development Center specifically to address such concerns – yet many students wait until relatively late in their college careers to get a start on the rest of their lives. The Career Development Center decided to try to change that trend with a workshop specifically for freshmen entitled “Exploring Your Options” that examined the avenues available to freshmen to expand their career options as much as possible as early in their Trinity careers as possible.

The Career Development Center takes an interesting approach to helping students find jobs. Their philosophy is not one of taking classes and majoring to find a specific job, but rather one of finding jobs with a certain major, and finding jobs that cater to an applicant’s interests and skills. In this spirit, they tailored the opening sections of their program to articulate this mode of thought.

The opening of the program was a speech by a successful businessman named Ben Carpenter, who detailed his meandering career path, and the lessons in life and job-hunting that he picked up along the way. His professional acumen lent itself to some excellent advice to the freshmen just beginning to think of such things.

The program continued, building on a personality test that all participants had taken before arriving, that assessed students on a variety of personal traits, ranging from preferred study environment to ideal social atmosphere. Participants were asked to group up with people with similar tested traits to each other and were asked a series of questions, ranging from whom they would hire for “their company” to designing an ideal European vacation. The room was full of people chatting, introverts and extroverts, math and history majors, people all across the spectrum making conversation and decisions. The purpose of this was to see the different answers given by people with different personalities, to gauge the ways in which different personalities engage with different challenges and people. The personality analysis served to drive home a critical point of the workshop: different people’s personalities beget different skill sets, and certain careers require certain skill sets. Self-awareness can be a significant asset to job-hunting, and knowing oneself increases the odds of finding a job that will prove satisfying and enjoyable.

As the workshop continued, talk turned to building a résumé. The Career Development Center showed a sample résumé, and discussed what work experience and other qualifications were relevant and appropriate to include. Also discussed was how to frame a particular job or professional experience to highlight the skills gained and how those skills make a job candidate more viable. Even a relatively minor professional experience can be a tremendous learning experience, and the Career Development Center would like to see every Trinity candidate present themselves and all of their professional work in the best possible way.

Career Development segued into their next segment in an unusual way: a cheese tasting. One of the lecturers, a Trinity alumna of 2004, is currently Vice President of a cheese company, and she used her livelihood to illustrate an interesting point. The cheese, which smelled quite pungent, tasted much better, showing how something that seems disgusting can, in reality, be tasty. The parable pervaded the segment, entitled “Like It or Not”, which discussed processing work experience, both positive and negative. It is a common belief that internship experience is most valuable to figure out what jobs a person doesn’t like, but the Career Development Center is trying to change that paradigm. Instead of viewing an unenjoyable job or internship as a waste of time (a bad smell, to continue the workshop’s metaphor), students should find the silver linings of less-than-positive experiences and focus on the good aspects of employment (the cheese), and look for those same qualities in the next job one takes.

Upperclassmen perspective can shed useful light on the college job search, and several upperclassmen discussed their internship experience, and detailed their work within and alongside the Career Development Center. This served not only to demonstrate that yes, college students do get jobs, but also to remove a bit of the mystique from around the Career Development Center. The workshop continued, with a couple more challenges based around the personality test – students had to make structures from newspaper and complete other challenges, again to underscore the theme of self-exploration and discovery in relation to professional life.

Students who attended found the workshop interesting and helpful for beginning to think about the job search after college. The personality test component was particularly popular, with freshmen finding that an in-depth understanding of identity was not only interesting on a personal level, but also helped narrow one’s aspirations as to what career to pursue. Another common refrain was that the program was fairly long and could have been somewhat more concise, though most participants indicated that having more workshops such as “Exploring Your Options” throughout the semester would be a good idea.

Freshmen are in a uniquely advantageous position when thinking about their futures. We have the ability to change our academic and professional course radically in four years, and workshops like “Exploring Your Options” are useful for helping us explore the process of finding employment, allowing us to make the most professionally of our time at Trinity. The trick to being as successful at finding a career is, according to the Career Development Center, to figure out how to find a job with one’s major rather than majoring for a particular job. This flexibility allows one to not only find a job, but to enjoy the work they do. The “Exploring Your Options” workshop was an invaluable tool in helping to further that goal, and the freshman class was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to begin thinking through their futures.

Design Team revamps Trinity’s Mentoring Network

College is a significant transition in anyone’s life. Academics, athletics, and social life all change radically and evolve during a freshman’s first year of college – and some people find more success than others at managing the transition. Trinity is aware of this, as any college is, and has implemented a variety of programs aimed at easing the transition as much as possible. Bantam Beginnings, orientation, Quest, and notably the first-year mentoring program all serve to acclimate new freshmen to the Trinity experience. And all of that looks great on paper. But in practice, these programs have met with varying degrees of success, and this variability has very real consequences. Trinity’s retention rate is dropping. Increasingly, the college is seeing people leaving, citing a lack of variety of social options, a lack of genuine social connections, and a less-than-ideal location, among many other things. This is having profound repercussions. Retention is a factor considered in college rankings, where Trinity has been suffering of late. Fewer students enrolled creates, very logically, a drop in revenue, something Trinity certainly doesn’t need at the moment. Lastly, and arguably most importantly, Trinity misses out on the opportunity of having many talented students, who have the potential to enrich campus life. That isn’t a platitude either – most of the people who transfer generally don’t leave because they find the academics too onerous. Trinity is beginning to hemorrhage talented students, and that trend, if not reversed, doesn’t bode well for the college’s future. None of this is to say that the problems facing the college are the fault of any particular program or administrative effort. The issue is a disconnect between the programs and the desired results – namely a lively and engaged student body,  not a lack of institutional awareness or programming. The current first-year mentoring program, built around first-year seminars, is widely liked and many mentors have met with great success fostering relationships with and among their mentees. Orientation does communicate valuable information, and does its best to give students a lay of the land for Trinity, at least in a general sense. The Bantam Beginnings programs give freshmen an option to see a little bit of Trinity before classes start, and Quest allows students to bond and prepare for the rest of their lives in college while challenging themselves in an outdoor setting. Despite the well-intentioned and often successful programs that Trinity has in place, many students still do not manage to find that important “niche” that is bandied about so widely in any discussion of higher education. The question has become one of how to utilize Trinity’s existing resources and how to innovate a more effective system of introducing students to the Trinity community.

Fortunately, Trinity’s administration is aware of the issue and is taking steps to grapple with these issues, notably the creation of the “Design Team Challenge” at the end of this past semester. The challenge entails five teams consisting of Summit Scholars and student leaders competing to draft a new mentoring program and reworking many aspects of campus life, ranging from orientation to uses for the soon-to-be-vacant space where the “Cave” eatery is. The teams have been tasked with four specific goals, which are as follows:

-Connect students to their peers, creating an immediate sense of belonging

-strengthen mentoring of students outside of the classroom, inspiring them to cultivate knowledge

-connect students, equipping them to take advantage of our city’s offerings

-prepare students for life by developing engaged, civically minded persons


These goals may seem like lofty platitudes, but the administration believes that the students they have put to the problem are capable of fine-tuning the Trinity experience to ensure its continued longevity. If students are the ones driving the change, reasons the administration, then the changes will be those most relevant to the student experience. The College has pledged to put its full support behind the plan determined to be the most practical and effective, which may well end up being a composite of multiple teams’ innovations. The process is sure to be exhaustive, combining institutional resources, research into the mentoring practices of other schools, as well as the experience of the many upperclassmen on each team.

To properly kick off such an endeavor, the Design Teams met for a retreat on January 19, 2015, spending a full day deliberating and brainstorming, in addition to attending fascinating lectures about different aspects of the challenge put on by Trinity administrators. Topics such as normalizing and routinizing the use of academic resources, the implementation of a Big Brother program to operate alongside the existing the Big Sister program, and the rebuilding of Mather’s basement were discussed. Trinity students privy to the conversations came away with much to think about, and an intimate understanding of the resources at their disposal.

The Design Team Challenge is exactly that: a challenge. Trinity is a place with formidable potential and significant resources, but recent years have made it clear that in order to retain its plethora of talented students, change must be made. Trinity must connect its many networks and resources to provide the ideal environment for all the Trinity community. This task sounds broad and daunting, but the belief that this bastion of liberal arts in the heart of Hartford is worth maintaining must energize the community to take its future into its own hands. The changes that need to be made must come from within, to keep the proud traditions of scholarship and advancement alive here on Summit Street.

Super Bowl XLIX proves to be one for the books, especially for the Patriots


The New England Patriots are Super Bowl Champions, again.  In fact, they have just been crowned world champions for the fourth time in the last fourteen years.

The Pats bested the Seattle Seahawks, 2013’s champions, in a most stressful, exciting and gut-wrenching way.  The game was slated to be one of the most evenly matched contests in Super Bowl History and it absolutely lived up to the hype. Seattle represented the NFC with arguably the best defense and the top ranked rushing offense in the NFL, featuring the “soft spoken” star running back Marshawn Lynch, the notoriously verbal corner Richard Sherman and the nice guy quarterback, Russell Wilson.

The Patriots, who were favored by Vegas odds makers by just a single point, entered the game boasting a five time Super Bowl veteran quarterback in Tom Brady, a towering wrecking ball tight end with Rob Gronkowski and Derelle Revis, a star corner back who is feared by even the league’s fastest and more dominant receivers.

The game remained scoreless through the first quarter until Tom Brady connected with wide receiver Brandon LeFell for a smooth 11-yard touchdown pass with just 9:51 to play in the half.  Seattle answered back minutes later with an all too familiar 3-yard touchdown run. With a minute to play

before halftime, Tom Brady threw a beautiful 22-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski to reclaim the lead.  Seattle bounced back hard with a 5 play scoring drive that ended in a Russell Wilson touchdown pass to receive Chris Matthews. The teams entered their locker rooms at a tie.

After a colorful, shark infested, Katy Perry halftime show (shout-out to Missy Elliot) and a number of absurdly depressing commercials, the Seahawks and the Patriots took the field again, ready to grind out a final half of football. Nobody could have predicted what was to come.

Seattle took a quick three-point lead as Steven Hauschka nailed an easy 27-yard field goal. The Pats got the ball back and were on their way downfield when linebacker Bobby Wagner intercepted a Tom Brady pass intended for Gronkowski.  Russell Wilson dropped back and hit Doug Baldwin in the end zone, giving Seattle a ten point edge.

In the fourth quarter, New England shortened the deficit to just three points as Brady threw his third touchdown of the game with a 4-yard bullet to Danny Amendola. After a quick three-and-out, the ball was in Brady’s hands, again. New England was now on their own 36-yard line preparing for their final drive.  After a classic Brady downfield march, including eight throws from shotgun and 9 yards on the ground, the Pats were poised for a final scoring chance on Seattle’s 3-yard line. Brady connected with Julian Edelman for a 3-yard touchdown pass, his fourth and final of the game.

With just two minutes to play, the Seahawks offense took the field for their final chance at defending their title, and they nearly pulled it off.  Wilson opened with a beautiful 31-yard pass to Lynch, followed by an outrageous 33-yard catch by Jermaine Kearse. Naturally, the Seahawks gave the ball to Lynch and he made it to the 1-yard line before he was stuffed by defensive end Dont’a Hightower. With just one yard standing in the way of a Seahawks repeat championship, Russell Wilson dropped back and threw a quick pass up to the middle intended for Ricardo Lockette. The whole country watched Russell Wilson release the ball and prepared themselves for a Seattle win. Tom Brady prepared to see his fourth ring slip from his fingers and Seahawks head coach Pete Carol, no doubt prepared for his celebratory Gatorade shower. That is, until Patriots corner Malcolm Butler introduced himself to the world.

Lockette ran a quick slant route up the middle, a play that results in a touchdown nine times out of ten. A play that we now know Malcolm Butler had been working on in practice this past week.  Wilson dropped back, locked on to his receiver and let it fly.  Malcolm Butler, the anonymous, undrafted rookie from the University of West Alabama stepped forward, clashed with Lockette and came away with the ball. The game was over.

The quiet corner back, who up until that point had only been known by just a small group of New England faithful, only played 14 defensive snaps this post season and had not even touched the field against the Baltimore Ravens just a few weeks ago, single handedly snuffed out the Seahawks’ hopes of consecutive titles. A feat that interestingly enough was last accomplished by the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004.

Tom Brady was crowned Super Bowl MVP, rightfully so, with 328 yards for four touchdowns.  He also broke, tied or extended eight Super Bowl records including most completions in a game (37), most completions in a half (20), most Super Bowl starts (6) and most career touchdown passes (13).

Brady also joined the ranks of Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to win four Super Bowls as the starter. Head Coach Bill Belichick also inconspicuously tied Chuck Noll’s record for most Super Bowl wins by a head coach, just two weeks after he earned the record for most post-season wins (22) by a head coach after defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship.

And so it goes that Tom Brady solidified his legacy, Bill Belichick reminded the country that as long as he is around, the Patriots can and will win, Malcolm Butler carved his name into the walls of football history, Richard Sherman shed a tear, Marshawn Lynch continued to say nothing, Pete Carol pounded his head against the wall and Rob Gronkowski has no doubt been awake celebrating since the clock ran out.

The Patriots are back.  They did not cheat, they did not tamper with their footballs and they certainly did not let their dynasty fizzle out. Cue the Duckboats.

before halftime, Tom Brady threw a beautiful 22-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski to reclaim the lead.  Seattle bounced back hard with a 5 play scoring drive that ended in a Russell Wilson touchdown pass to receive Chris Matthews. The teams entered their locker rooms at a tie.

After a colorful, shark infested, Katy Perry halftime show (shout-out to Missy Elliot) and a number of absurdly depressing commercials, the Seahawks and the Patriots took the field again, ready to grind out a final half of football. Nobody could have predicted what was to come.

Seattle took a quick three-point lead as Steven Hauschka nailed an easy 27-yard field goal. The Pats got the ball back and were on their way downfield when linebacker Bobby Wagner intercepted a Tom Brady pass intended for Gronkowski.  Russell Wilson dropped back and hit Doug Baldwin in the end zone, giving Seattle a ten point edge.

In the fourth quarter, New England shortened the deficit to just three points as Brady threw his third touchdown of the game with a 4-yard bullet to Danny Amendola. After a quick three-and-out, the ball was in Brady’s hands, again. New England was now on their own 36-yard line preparing for their final drive.  After a classic Brady downfield march, including eight throws from shotgun and 9 yards on the ground, the Pats were poised for a final scoring chance on Seattle’s 3-yard line. Brady connected with Julian Edelman for a 3-yard touchdown pass, his fourth and final of the game.

With just two minutes to play, the Seahawks offense took the field for their final chance at defending their title, and they nearly pulled it off.  Wilson opened with a beautiful 31-yard pass to Lynch, followed by an outrageous 33-yard catch by Jermaine Kearse. Naturally, the Seahawks gave the ball to Lynch and he made it to the 1-yard line before he was stuffed by defensive end Dont’a Hightower. With just one yard standing in the way of a Seahawks repeat championship, Russell Wilson dropped back and threw a quick pass up to the middle intended for Ricardo Lockette. The whole country watched Russell Wilson release the ball and prepared themselves for a Seattle win. Tom Brady prepared to see his fourth ring slip from his fingers and Seahawks head coach Pete Carol, no doubt prepared for his celebratory Gatorade shower. That is, until Patriots corner Malcolm Butler introduced himself to the world.

Lockette ran a quick slant route up the middle, a play that results in a touchdown nine times out of ten. A play that we now know Malcolm Butler had been working on in practice this past week.  Wilson dropped back, locked on to his receiver and let it fly.  Malcolm Butler, the anonymous, undrafted rookie from the University of West Alabama stepped forward, clashed with Lockette and came away with the ball. The game was over.

The quiet corner back, who up until that point had only been known by just a small group of New England faithful, only played 14 defensive snaps this post season and had not even touched the field against the Baltimore Ravens just a few weeks ago, single handedly snuffed out the Seahawks’ hopes of consecutive titles. A feat that interestingly enough was last accomplished by the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004.

Tom Brady was crowned Super Bowl MVP, rightfully so, with 328 yards for four touchdowns.  He also broke, tied or extended eight Super Bowl records including most completions in a game (37), most completions in a half (20), most Super Bowl starts (6) and most career touchdown passes (13).

Brady also joined the ranks of Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to win four Super Bowls as the starter. Head Coach Bill Belichick also inconspicuously tied Chuck Noll’s record for most Super Bowl wins by a head coach, just two weeks after he earned the record for most post-season wins (22) by a head coach after defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship.

And so it goes that Tom Brady solidified his legacy, Bill Belichick reminded the country that as long as he is around, the Patriots can and will win, Malcolm Butler carved his name into the walls of football history, Richard Sherman shed a tear, Marshawn Lynch continued to say nothing, Pete Carol pounded his head against the wall and Rob Gronkowski has no doubt been awake celebrating since the clock ran out.

The Patriots are back.  They did not cheat, they did not tamper with their footballs and they certainly did not let their dynasty fizzle out. Cue the Duckboats.


Deflategate Conspiracy Theorists Full of Hot Air?



At the end of the AFC Championship game on January 18th 2015, the New England Patriots were the victors with a 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts. It was a time for celebration because the Patriots were going to the Super Bowl for the first time since their four point loss to the Giants in 2012. However, the celebration was cut short as speculation arose that the balls used by the Patriots in the Championship game had been deflated, heralding DeflateGate, the scandal that now eclipses the excitement for the biggest football game of the year.
Soon after the Championship game was completed, Bob Kravitz, a sports columnist in Indianapolis, announced that the Patriots were under investigation for having deflated balls. Based on his report, the footballs were below the PSI, pounds per square inch of air pressure, range of 12.5 – 13.5 that is required by the NFL. Two days later, Chris Mortensen, a reporter for ESPN stated that 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots were under-inflated by 2 PSI. The fact that a locker room attendant was observed going into the bathroom with the Patriots balls for about 90 seconds before bringing them to the field added to the speculation. Furthermore, Dean Blandino, the NFL Vice President of Officiating, stated that the PSI of the balls was not recorded by officials prior to the game. The problems, though, did not end there for the Patriots who have been under fire for such behaviors in the past. In 2007, the team and Bill Belichick were fined for taping the signals used by the Jets during a game.
The Indianapolis Colts also have their own suspicions. During the game, Colts players felt that the balls thrown by Tom Brady seemed lighter. To add fuel to the fire, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson had a ball that he intercepted weighed by his equipment manager, only to find that the ball was under-inflated. The Colts have also suggested that this has happened in the past, specifically during the November 16th game. Two of the balls that were intercepted were found to be under-inflated.
Consequently, some are labeling the Patriots as cheaters. In a poll taken by 262,929 people, 63% of them believed that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick knew about the balls being under-inflated, something that they have denied since the accusations emerged. There has also been a petition started by Scott Latshaw on that states the Patriots should be disqualified from playing in the Super Bowl. Additionally, the appeal says the two teams that the Patriots faced prior to the Super Bowl should be given a chance to play against each other to see would qualify to face the Seahawks. The petition has received over 40,000 signatures thus far. Despite any polls and petitions, the Patriots are still receiving the opportunity to attain another Super Bowl win, which I for one am very excited about that.
It would be a lie to say I was not disappointed when I heard about the DeflateGate scandal; to think that the Patriots did not have enough faith in themselves to play a fair game seemed wrong to me. Yet, when one thinks about the scandal, some things do not add up. First, the Patriots outscored the Colts 28-0 during the second half with balls that were the proper weight and PSI. If the balls were under-inflated, why did Tom Brady only have 11 completed passes out of 21 attempts as well as an interception during the first half? At the end of the day, the Patriots had a good game and despite whatever accusations people may have, I think that they deserve to go to this year’s Super Bowl. As things stand now, was there some suspicious activity present at the game? Yes, especially with the attendant not taking the balls straight to the field. Even so, the better team won and the second half stands as a testament to that. Moreover, it was proven that only one of the balls was two pounds lighter. Robert Kraft asked that the Patriots receive an apology for this supposed scandal, and it now seems that will be the case.
The scandal can now be laid to rest because even if that one ball was under-inflated, it was not the same ball that was used throughout the game. The Patriots can now put forth their best effort to win the Super Bowl now that this cloud of accusations is diminishing. Hopefully, the Patriots will have a win tonight and will be able to celebrate both an amazing win and the end of DeflateGate.

A Professor’s Perspective: MLK’s Lasting Legacy



We celebrate Martin Luther King as an American icon, and rightly so. But why is he that icon? For an answer we can turn briefly to King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.
Arrested with others for resisting an unjust law, King sent his famous letter primarily to white clergy in the South who had chided him for being a provocateur. He cites St. Augustine: “[A]n unjust law is no law at all.” That is because there is a higher law than the ephemeral laws enacted by human beings. King alternately calls those laws “natural laws,” “rational laws,” or “Divine laws.” He cites not only Augustine, but also Paul, Aquinas and various Christian theologians, as well as repeatedly referencing Socrates and other, later Western philosophers. King appeals to the twin wellsprings of Western Civilization, Socratic rationalism and Scriptural teachings, especially the Christian variant focused on love and redemption. He appeals to what is arguably the central notion of Western Civilization, natural right or natural law.
King repeatedly appeals as well to the American Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, which he clearly believes are manifestations of those natural law premises. King does not criticize American or Western civilization for its principles; his criticisms center on the failure to live up to those principles. He stands up for the American dream, the Judeo-Christian heritage, the Founding Fathers, the American Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. King asserts openly and proudly: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are by nature created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.” All men are sovereign individuals, children of God, with equal rights according to nature. It was the failure to treat everyone as an equal individual that was at the heart of King’s Civil Rights campaign.
King borrows a thought from the Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr that “groups are more immoral than individuals.” In that vein, he cautions especially his Black followers not to descend into hatred based on dismissing all white Americans as evil or through repudiating Christianity or America itself. He especially cautions against what he sees as the danger of Black nationalism. He specifically cites Brown v Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that “separate is never equal.” He further cautions his followers not to lose faith in America, but to be the agents that call all Americans back to their own principles. King’s faith is a faith in the sovereignty of rational individuals as God’s children. It was by treating all Blacks as members of a group that the White segregationists had been able to demonize them individually.
King makes clear that to confront individuals as group members is to open the door to division and hate. King counsels Christian love and its redemptive value. It leads to the core premises of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. His dream is that Americans will be brought to live up to their principles; that a day will come when no one is judged by the color of their skin but only by the content of their individual character, and that the end for everyone should be an American brotherhood of individuals. That is the American Dream at its core, more even than the materialist aspects of home ownership, economic independence, consumerist success and so on.
And hence while we must in Socratic fashion chide and question individuals who are unjust, we must avoid “the cup of bitterness and hatred” that comes from distrusting all of the members of any group. Talking specifically to both Blacks and Whites, King echoes a sentiment shared with Frederick Douglas, that our destinies are now tied together forever. As Black and White, we will succeed or fail together.
There is a stirring idealism in King’s vision. There is also a sound and prudent realism. King is skeptical of the notion of inevitable progress: that notion numbs the moral and intellectual faculties of man. King’s premise is that “time is neutral.” Human beings, if they wish to come closer to their principles, must wade in and argue and work for them. Individuals must rationally question contemporary orthodoxies as did Socrates and be willing to stand up to entrenched power as did the early Christians. The higher law does not actualize itself without rational understanding and moral commitment.
Unfortunately King’s dream is being betrayed in our time. The issues King confronted are now filtered through various fashionable ideological mantras that might make tolerant liberals believe they primarily offer a basis for hiring more women, blacks and gays. But the captains of the new approach to race have a clear set of philosophical premises that are at odds with those of King. Far from enthroning the core premises of Western Civilization, the new approach would jettison the entire Western tradition as well as its American offshoot. Christianity is not only rejected, but seen as one of roots of all evil. Reason is presented as the other root of evil; it is also rejected as a great miscreant that enthrones only domination. A fecund irrationalism is enthroned instead as the basis of health and justice: there are now no common truths to which sovereign individuals of any race, class or gender can ascend. There is no basis for either individualism or shared brotherhood.
On the basis of this new understanding, individual transcendence is rendered impossible; immersion in a group becomes an imperative. Liberal education is no longer seen as a Socratic emancipation from myth and error; it becomes instead an exercise in the immersion in multiple impermeable “narratives,” each equal in principle and immune from rational criticism. Left in the wake is only, for example, White or Black reason; except one must bracket the word reason. And then the ultimate insult to the principles of Martin Luther King, our postmodernist permutations of “race, class and gender” also come loaded with new permutations of original sin now loaded on a different race. The only yield from this notion will be new permutations of hate and division.
Denied the possibility to be equal, rational individuals, we are forced to be members of mutually suspicious groups. On these terms hate will always trump love and brotherhood. And on these terms both Ferguson and the assassination of New York City policemen become predictable. The battle for the future of King’s legacy hangs in the balance.

Next Stop on Senator Warren’s Political Journey



While many believe Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are nearly set, people have circulated the name of Massachusetts’ Senator Elizabeth Warren as someone capable enough to run a campaign. It is believed that she can mobilize the liberal base of the Democratic Party with her populist economic message, appealing across the generational spectrum. She namely targets young, educated voters, upon whom an unfair burden has been placed as a result of the current economic system.
Warren is an author and former Harvard Law professor specializing in bankruptcy law and American financial reform. She has cultivated her political brand as a “specialist” aiming to reign in the big banks. Unlike many possible presidential hopefuls, Warren has delved into politically controversial subjects, a rarity for national candidates.
If Warren is a candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2016, she has yet to highlight her positions on a multitude of political, social, and economic issues facing national candidates. In her time as a United States Senator, Warren has paid particular attention to issues she personally cares about, like banking and federal oversight. In many ways, Elizabeth Warren is the Hubert Humphrey of this generation, unapologetically committed to the problems she feels are in dire need of correction.
Humphrey catapulted himself out of the political wilderness of Minnesota and onto the national scene at the 1948 Democratic Convention in Chicago with his passionate speech demanding racial tolerance. He was seen as the ultimate liberal of his time. Uncompromising and pure in progressive belief, Humphrey served as the figurehead of the anti-establishment movement of the late 1940’s and 50s with advanced positions on racial matters and social liberalism.
Above all, Humphrey was seen as a beacon of light for those who craved honesty in a profession that often catered to deception, consistent with the present attraction voters feel for Warren. Early on, Humphrey was regarded with scorn among the Senate “Big Bulls,” many of who were in his own party. Elizabeth Warren has generated similar resentment among top Democratic leaders of the current Congress, including the Minority Leader Harry Reid and New York’s Chuck Schumer. Today’s political scene has become incestuously aligned with special interests and well-funded Wall Street executives. Yet, Elizabeth Warren’s unwavering sense of right has struck a cord with the American electorate that has gone unheard for decades, perhaps since the days of good ol’ Hubert.
That said, a Warren-like individual may be too pronounced in one political area and, for that reason, can appear as a fringe candidate appearing entirely un-presidential. Her marked sense of political self prevents her from being viewed as anything other than what she has passionately proffered in her legislative runs. In turn, her political absoluteness can work against her in a national race when she inevitably becomes defined as anything but presidential.
While the coming decade demands a strong and confident leader in line with the direction the country is moving, it is difficult to see Warren having any significant impact on issues unrelated to her current causes. In that vein, it is hard to see Warren, with no foreign policy experience, charged with the responsibility of brokering international nuclear agreements and presiding over complicated diplomatic missions. The next president will inevitably confront these daunting tasks. Although her straight talk to the Massachusetts people drove her to the Senate chamber, her lack of clout on a range of policy may damage her political capital in the Senate if she decides to take on a 2016 bid.
It may be, just like Hubert Humphrey, that Elizabeth Warren will be a more effective liberal leader if serving in a legislative capacity. If she does decide to run, the question is whether she is a strong and capable enough politician. Can she turn her senatorial rhetoric into tangible action on the national level? Regardless of whether she wins the nomination, if Senator Warren can successfully run a campaign that seeks to energize an element of the progressive base without shunning moderate Democratic establishment, she can become a powerhouse not only within the Senate, but also across the entire American political stage.

American Sniper Triumphs in Theaters



If you need your annual military movie fix, want a truly uncensored depiction of the brutality of life at war, or just want to get your blood pumping a little, check out Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.” The film, depicting the riveting and precise life of legendary American sniper, Chris Kyle, in the Iraq War, has grossed nearly $250 million and sparked controversy nationwide.
Many view Kyle as a hero and applaud him for his service and dedication to his country, while others are disgusted with the honoring of a man who killed hundreds of people. Many, such as Eastwood’s long time adversary and fellow movie director Michael Moore, also denounced the film on the premise that it “rewrites history” and has inaccurate details throughout.
While certain plot aspects may not be 100 percent historically accurate, they are cursory and should be overlooked. The focus of the movie is not to give a historical account of the Iraqi War, but rather the life of American hero, Chris Kyle. Regardless of whether or not you think a man who has killed hundreds should be revered, there is no doubt that Kyle is an American hero.
He honorably served his country, carrying out his duties as a sniper and even abandoning his post to help serve on the ground with fellow soldiers. He is officially credited with 160 kills, a number that is widely accepted to be a huge underestimation. Kyle mentioned in his book that his sole reason for killing Iraqis was to protect his men. Bradley Cooper, who plays Kyle, skillfully portrays Kyle’s protective instinct throughout the film, showing the anguish he often felt when sniping the enemy.
Although exhilarating at times, this is not the type of movie that will get your American pride bursting through your chest and wanting to enlist in the armed forces yourself. It is no Lone Survivor that has you on the edge of your seat throughout, pulling for the soldiers as if they were your family. Rather, Eastwood offers the stark realism of war, and emphasizes the effects it can have on soldiers’ minds and their relationships with their families.
Bradley Cooper does a fantastic job showing how war never leaves you once you’ve experienced it. While home, he constantly thinks of his men on the battlefields and how he could be of help to them. Everything he does back in the states somehow reminds him of the war, so much so that he is hardly the same man he was before.
If there’s anyone you really find yourself pulling for throughout the movie it’s Kyle’s wife, Taya, played by Sienna Miller. She embodies the difficulties faced by a military wife and mother of two children, especially as she and Kyle can’t seem to see eye to eye when they’re home together. The ever-growing rift between Taya and Chris as he journeys through his four tours pulls at your heartstrings and will have you praying they find a way to make it work.
When the movie is set on the battlefield, however, you’ll find yourself in pure silence, just watching. Eastwood and Cooper do a magnificent job of letting viewers into the sniper’s perspective, especially when looking through the crosshairs of the scope.
You will gain an appreciation of the precision and calculations of war, whether you are a supporter or not. Eastwood doesn’t try to hide the gruesome and unpleasant, if anything he wants you to see it all. In doing so, he helps you truly understand the sacrifice and risk that American soldiers take to honor the United States.
The camaraderie amongst the soldiers and their absolute admiration of Chris Kyle shines through as much as anything. “The Legend,” as they called him, was the epitome of what every soldier wants to be: hardworking, dedicated, and worthy of respect.
That admiration and dedication shines through the most in the final battle scene. While the majority of the movie leaves you in awe and silence, the final scene will get you right on the edge of your seat wishing you could jump into the screen and help yourself.
Despite whatever political, moral, or religious beliefs you may have, this is a must see movie. It offers a unique perspective that has never been seen before, and watching is nothing short of a humbling experience. You will undoubtedly leave the theater in silence, with endless thoughts pouring through your brain.

New Music: Brooklyn’s Joey Bada$$ “B4.DA$$”



Every album is born in the same way as a novel, as a collection of stories combined to construct the narrative of a bigger story. The inspiration behind the album B4.DA.$$ was low hanging fruit for the up and coming Brooklyn native Joey Bada$$. In his lyrics, and in his style, he pays tribute to a number of well known 90’s, NYC-based rappers, some of which include Wu-Tang Clan, The Fugees, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G, and more. Joey makes it clear to us that he grew up listening to these artists by remediating their material. In most cases this technique works well, but its success is likely due to the fact that the material arose during the golden age of hip-hop, not the fact that it was featured on his album. The cover of the album conveys this notion perfectly.  His person and backdrop portrays charisma worthy of a Wu-Tang album cover, and the text contrasts it by sampling fonts and color schemes from A Tribe Called Quest, and the late J-Dilla.

The album was produced by a few repeat offenders: Chuck Strangers, Kirk Knight, and forerunner Statik Selektah. There were few guest appearances, including established acts DJ Premier, and Questlove from the Roots. Samples included the work of Azar Lawrence on “Save the Children,” Jimi Hendrix on “No. 99,” and Das EFX on “Christ Conscious.” The most memorable track, entitled “On & On,” was produced by relative newcomer, Freddie Joachim. The album begins by introducing Joey to a crowd of devotees cheering him on stage. As his lyrics, and some of the sample concepts develop, he attempts to piece together a narrative about the struggle of young black faces in America. He makes sporadic references to Martin Luther King, Trayvon Martin, yet it never fully manifests as a complete narrative. The album starts strong, and is entertaining through track 4 “Big Dusty,” at which point the tone drops, metaphorically into the slums of Brooklyn. The beats become a bit dirtier, featuring some acoustic drum and guitar beats. The heavy tone continues through track 10 “Christ Conscious” The 11th track, On & On is the point in the album at which Joey’s ego dissolves. The production, along with the use of voice-distortion, achieves an electro-jazz influenced tone that transports you to the musical ethers occupied by Robert Glasper and Daft Punk. After listening to the album, I felt that I had not learned much about Joey, but felt that he had proven that he has the technique. The three video releases for the project, including “No. 99,” “Big Dusty,” and “Christ Conscious,” seem to paint slightly different pictures of the album’s intention. While pointing to struggles common among black youth in america, Joey visually depicts himself as the digital reboot of M.F. Doom, Chiddy Bang, and Method Man.

Joey takes inspiration from some of the industry’s most notable artists, but it is difficult to say where he fits among them as a rapper. It is easy to liken to a artists’ style without acknowledging that in some cases, a song would have broke no ground if it were not for the technicians behind the booth. Amongst his contemporaries: Action Bronson, J Cole, Chance the Rapper, etc. it is easier to tell, and it would seem as if Joey still has some catching up to do. B4.DA.$$ showcases an artist with strong freestyle chops, a cohesive knowledge of NYC-Golden age hip hop, and incentive from his label, Pro-Era to remain on tour. B4.DA.$$’s sound similarly evokes the nature of “10 Day” by Chance the Rapper, and “Live. Love. ASAP” by A$ap Rocky. Many times throughout the album, Joey goes out of his vocal range at times to emphasize the melody of the production, which works in some cases. After listening to him try to harmonize on a few songs in a row, the experience became a bit tiresome. This technique is used masterfully by Chance the Rapper in Acid Rap, making it effortless to listen to. Joey does not achieve the same thing here, but neither had Chance upon completing his debut mixtape, 10 Day. The comparison would not have been easy to make if it weren’t for the final track on B4.DA.$$., “Curry Chicken,” sounding very much like “Hey Ma’,” the final track on “10 Day.” Utilizing techniques out of Chance’s book seems to make Joey a bit uneasy, to which he responds with an appropriated form of the signature A$ap Rocky machismo. Separately, these two styles have had enormous success, and are changing the face of popular music. Put together, they seem to grant a lesser total effect than were they used even side by side. Joey brings a solid rhyme scheme, and although he may not exhibit total  mastery throughout the album, its clear that there he may have a few tricks up his sleeve. If he has the ability to produce music at a consistent rate, he may be able to develop his connections in the industry. If he had the chance to work with any, more more popular artists, it could prove a needed boost in production quality and a large audience base.

The fact that Joey collaborated with a few hip-hop moguls and released a cohesive album reminiscent of 90’s rap is a sign that Joey is gaining traction in the industry, and should be planning his next release in the coming 1-2 years. His label Pro-Era is developing, and following the standard success formula used by most labels: focussing all of their resources on one up-and coming artist in order to have additional artists piggy-back on their champion. It is unforeseeable whether Joey’s next project will be a development of his style, or simply his connections in the industry. I believe B4.DA.$$ is a stepping stone that it will come and go within the same month. He may have seen this album as the equivalent of a Wu-tang member releasing his first solo project, but it was certainly not uncovered from one of the the 36 Chambers.

Bantam artist of the week: Noni Ghani ’16 of theQuirks



Noni Ghani ’16 can be found most weekend nights rehearsing with the Quirks, one of Trinity’s five student run acapella groups.  Two years ago, Ghani came to Trinity from Washington D.C. where she had just a small amount of experience singing in her high school chorus.  In the spring of her freshman year, she auditioned for the Quirks and the rest is history.

“Singing was never too serious for me before college.” Ghani said, but once I joined the Quirks it became a big part of my life.  It’s a really welcoming and supportive community, I still can’t believe how close if gotten with these girls over the last two years.”

For Ghani, the Quirks are not just a group she sings in but a collection of close friends with a shared interest in singing and a collective goal of making the best music they can.  She feels that singing as a group has brought together an eclectic and diverse group of people.

“We’re such different people,” Ghani explained.  “I’m not sure we would have crossed paths otherwise.  We all come from different backgrounds.  We have art majors, biology majors, economics majors and music majors but they are some of the most supportive girls I have ever met.”

Ghani is returning to the Quirks this spring after spending her fall semester studying in Paris, France.  She explained that she benefited in a number of ways by living in one of the most culturally and artistically relevant cities in the world.

“Paris is known for its art and I actually learned a lot about some of my favorite writers like Ernest Hemmingway and Victor Hugo when I was there.” Ghani said.  “I really got a feel for how the city influenced them.”

Ghani, who majors in English literature with a minor in urban studies, is more than excited to be back with the Quirks and start singing again.  The group performs a wide variety of songs, including two of Ghani’s favorites to perform, “With or Without You” by U2 and “Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Root.

The Quirks just finished holding their spring auditions, and are looking forward to a number of upcoming shows with their newest members. Including a concert on Valentines Day, Feb. 14 with another Trinity a capella group, the Accidentals.

Outside of the Quirks, Ghani enjoys a diverse taste in music.  Her favorite artists include bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and the Dave Matthews Band.  Her favorite album of all time is “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel.

Ghani is still unsure if she will continue singing after college, but what she learned from her time with the Quirks will stay with her forever.

“I’m not sure if I will continue singing after college,” said Ghani.  “But being in the Quirks has taught me a lot about leadership, discipline, hard work and how to work and blend well with others.”




Mill Concert So Hot the Fire Alarm Shut it Down



Trinity students frequently critique the lack of weekend social options offered on campus beyond the Greek scene.  One alternative that is often overlooked is the Mill, a social house wedged in between Psi U and Dean Alford’s home on Vernon Street.  The student run music and arts collective is a space of creative ventures that include an art studio and gallery, recording studio, jam room, and fully functioning concert venue.

This weekend their members brought West End Blend, the local, yet highly sought after band, to campus for the third time.  Always heralded as a funky explosion of soul and funk, the twelve piece group attracted over two hundred students to the house throughout Friday night.

Opening for the e stablished group was Trinity’s own rock four piece Lolita, featuring Ebban Maeda ’16 on guitar, Henry Minot ’17 on bass, Alex Rusbarsky ’18 on drums, and Lydia Haynes ’18 on lead vocals.  Each member brought a unique presence to the stage both in their flair for entertainment and eclectic wardrobe choices. Rusbarsky graced the stage with an amusing combination of American flag board shorts and a GoPro perched atop his skateboard helmet.  Yet nothing could detract from Haynes’ adept chops.  She deftly crooned her way through Lolita’s rendition of Alannah Myle’s “Black Velvet,” as students started to meander onto the dance floor.  Hoping to foster a firm connection with the audience, Maeda beckoned everyone forward.

“We don’t bite,” he laughed.

“I do,” added Haynes.

Lolita played six more songs, including the crowd-pleaser, “Baracuda,” by Heart.  Part of the band’s appeal is that they possess the ability to borrow skills inaugurated by new wave 70s artists and power chord-driven 80s rockers, and translate them into a modern performance.  Spotify would characterize them as the love child of Pat Benatar, Melissa Etheridge, and The Cars.  Most audience members were surprised to learn that the band was formed a mere two weeks prior to the performance.  Although Lolita’s performance was built around covers, Maeda’s experience as a longtime member of The Micks, a Brooklyn based independent rock band, will surely enable the infant group to evolve into their own entity with original songs and secure a spot in the college music scene.

Transitioning to West End Blend’s setup took relatively little time considering the group includes a horn section, keyboardist, guitarist, bassist, drummer, rapper, and vocalist.  Named aptly for the band’s formation in Hartford’s West End, their sheer size never detracted from their energetic gig.  Rather, each member contributed to a cohesive sound that brought every student to his or her feet.  Unencumbered dancing raised the venue’s temperature and counteracted the harsh winter winds outdoors and dropping temperatures.

Front-woman Erica Bryan and rapper Tangsauce possessed a delectable dynamic, and their words bounced off one another with jovial spirit.  Bryan has a smile that even Julia Roberts would lust after, and she moved her slim figure in time with the beat.  Tangsauce remained restrained until it was his term to entertain, his ability to spit words to a sound comprised of a variety of genres was unlike any other contemporary performer.

Although most of the band’s setlist featured original songs, such as “What It’s All About,” and “The Split,” highlights of the night included various covers.  The Notorious B.I.G’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” was deconstructed into its original sample of Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out.” West End Blend’s version, however, featured an expanded freestyle featuring original lyrics alongside improvised sections.  Yet the real crowd pleaser was The Isley Brother’s “Shout,” and the energy kindled in the venue mirrored the iconic scene in “Animal House.”

The night abruptly concluded with the house’s fire alarm going off due to unknown causes.  One might contest that it was a product of the Mill’s ability to host a sizzling event.  The house acts as a welcoming space to all students of Trinity, and weekly meetings are held on Sunday’s at 3:30pm.  Stay tuned for upcoming events including student curated art galleries, the Electric Mill (a night of live EDM), a concert featuring The Rooks, a Wesleyan alumni-turned Brooklynites soul band, and a highly popular companion concert to Barnyard’s Spring Weekend.

Cinestudio Review: Chris Rock’s “Top Five”



As subversive and edgy as comedies about race in the United States should be, it still takes a careful and talented hand to get the job done the in right way. Luckily for us, Chris Rock is a clever man with a good sense of self, and he knows what he’s doing. Rock plays Andre Allen, an African American comedian and recovering alcoholic who’s struggling to make it big in the world of serious drama. He feels as though his golden age may have passed him by: Allen (Rock) can’t bring himself to act in another idiotic comedy about his signature character, “Hammy the Bear”, a role which sees him confined to a bear costume. He is also beginning to realize that the world itself has changed since his heyday in standup comedy- there is a black president in the White House, after all. In other words, the lines between races are breaking down, and Allen’s (Rock’s) comedy has suffering for it.

So what can he do? Allen films his first dramatic role as the leader of the Haitian slave rebellion- a movie called “Uprize”, which appears so ridiculous it could be real. “Uprize” is an unabashed rip-off of 2012’s Django Unchained: the hilarious poster for the fictional movie shows Chris Rock leering with a machete high above his head, and a jungle in the background.

The critical failure of his movie and his impending tabloid wedding to a Kardashian-esque woman whom he hardly knows (honorable mention for Bring It On’s Gabrielle Union) force Rock’s character to take a good hard look at his life since the early 2000’s, and make some tough changes. So with the help of his New York Times interviewer Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson), he spends the day delving into his urban roots, trying to discover what his life has been missing all this time, and growing ever closer to his beautiful journalist friend along the way.

Top Five (which Rock also directed) is a curiously somber romantic comedy that appears at first to be about being black in America. This is not, however, the main conceit. Rock wants us to see the balance between success and happiness in a way that only he could express it; to see that sometimes the humility and simple times of the past outweigh the flashy wealth and superficiality of Andre Allen’s present, a place where all a comedy movie needs is Tyler Perry’s alter ego “Madea” in a haunted house . It’s just a matter of sorting them out and choosing: past or present?

Top Five is not perfect: It makes jumps from the tropes of a sharp and poignant dramedy to formulaic jokes that never quite land they way they should. The upside, though, is what amounts to a comedian’s love letter to comedy itself, and few things are more rewarding.

The best and funniest scene in the movie comes when Rock’s and Dawson’s characters go to Rock’s childhood home in Brooklyn: there they meet his old friends, with whom he laughs, jokes, and reminisces for a good long while. The friends are almost all played by celebrities in cameo roles, (Sherri Shepherd) with a few of Rock’s fellow Saturday Night Live alumni, and some current members of the show in the mix as well. (look for Jay Pharoah, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, and Tracy Morgan). There are a few A-listers in the cast too, but as in reality, they might enjoy the luxury of discretion. It’s better to be surprised. These cameos are both delightful to see, and practical for the film. The celebrities are Chris Rock’s real friends, and they keep the viewer grounded in reality, serving to remind us that he is reinventing himself both on-screen and off.

Remember, it’s a wonderful positive jump for Rock – his last directorial movie was 2007’s generally panned rom-com “I Think I Love My Wife”. The Idea that he could have come from the world of his post-Madagascar slump to arrive at a solidly good movie in the style (not the quality) of Woody Allen is a strange thought indeed. The question is: what did he do?

At the end of the living room scene, where Andre Allen has just met with his old friends, and is heading back home, Leslie Jones, SNL cast member and newly appointed Ghostbuster shouts after him: “Don’t forget where you came from!” It seems Chris Rock took that advice to heart, and gave us his finest work for a long time.

Trendy Trinity: College in 1900s embodies camaraderie



As I walk down the Long Walk or look out of my dorm room window onto the sprawling quad, I can’t help but consider the history that lies beneath the elms. I decided to explore the history and culture of Trinity by looking back at editions of The Ivy yearbook from 1900-1909. These yearbooks serve not only as a look back on the college’s past, but also provide a glance into the overall atmosphere of Trinity during a much different era than what we experience today.

The pages of The Ivy reveal that the student body was a genuine brotherhood, in which each class was a reflection of one another. Each class was no bigger than twenty students and nearly everyone was a brother of one of the eleven fraternities on campus. As Trinity currently works to expand the diversity of the student body and utilize places such as Vernon Social Center to bring students of all different backgrounds and interests together, this goal was met in a somewhat different way over a hundred years ago. Based on the inclusion of extra-curricular activities, such as sports or academic societies, it’s interesting to see that the students during the first decade of the 20th century seem to have valued academia and amity above all else. For example, The Literary Department- an area which only some may master but all can relate to- reflected the attitude of any college student, including short stories and poems titled “My Classes”, “Eternal Youth”, and “St. Valentine,” to name a few.

One gains perspective into the reputation of each class year- reputations which don’t seem so far fetched from where we currently stand. The pages of each class are introduced with illustrations, which reflect the stereotypes of the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes. The senior class illustration of 1906 depicts a young male smoking a pipe, with a cloud of smoke forming the words “hopes” and “dreams” around his head. The pipe is a symbol of the young student’s journey to adulthood. Other editions of The Ivy showed a senior graduate carrying a tree to plant in a cap and gown and another in which the graduate is smoking a pipe and traveling around a globe, expressing the idea that graduates will often explore many options before finding what truly makes them happy.

On the contrary, in the introduction to the sophomore class, a handwritten quote reads, “Long indeed has it been known that the sophomore class is no good.” I’m sure many would agree that sophomore year tends to be the most fun and frivolous, as the anxiety tied with freshman year has died down but students have not yet experienced the more serious nature of junior and senior year. Sophomore year is often the time when students start to get a sense of what truly interests them and explore those interests more deeply.

Fraternities were the focal point of social life on campus, as one can see by the incorporation of the history of each organization and photo of house. However, fraternities were less about being the center of campus nightlife and focused more on the values and principles of the fraternity in order to create wholesome men. Freshman year was clearly the time of pledging, as the freshman year illustration depicts a young boy in polka dotted pajamas with a dark shadow behind him, as he holds water buckets, sweat dripping from his face. Another image shows a freshman boy marching in chains and blindfolded, with the caption reading “To the rocks.”

Perhaps the most interesting and engaging section of the yearbook was the “Who’s Who of Junior Class.” Each student had a small write-up about them, with nicknames like “Winny” “Derby” and “Curly” that look like they should have come right out of The Official Preppy Handbook. Though the descriptions seem semi-satirical, they appear to genuinely reflect who these men were. Personality speaks just as much as how good one looks on paper, and as a student reading the yearbooks a century later, I still truly felt a sense of community and unity among these men.

Wit and charm spoke volumes more than photographs, as pages of written advertisements also gave a sense of time and spirit of the student body, with menswear, banks, graduate and law school advertisements. Since Trinity was a single sex school until 1969, floral shops boasting “flowers for every occasion” and Tiffany & Co. ads gave these men the ability to treat their hometown sweethearts.

Though we must acknowledge the progress we have made as a college in the sense of diverse offerings, a growing study body, and a prestigious presence among all academic institutions across the country, we should admire the solidarity and success of the students that once crossed this campus so many decades ago. Their dedication to Trinity and to one another has clearly had a lasting impact on the timeless feel of our school and should be embraced for another hundred years to come.

Amherst avenges loss: Trinity still remains No. 1

by Samantha Beati ’17

A 10 game winning streak was broken on Friday night when the Bantams visited the Amherst College Lord Jeffs in a tough road loss. The game was filled with exciting plays and penalties, but the win ultimately gave the Lord Jeffs a three game win streak bringing their record to 12-3-2 (8-3-0 NESCAC), while the Bantams left the game with a record of 14-2-1 (9-1-1 NESCAC).

Amherst started the scoring mid-way through the first period when at 9:21, Jake Turrin put it past Bantams goalie Nathaniel Heilbron ’16. This gave Amherst a goal advantage going into the second period, which turned out to be helpful when Amherst’s Mike Rowbotham scored early in the second period giving them a 2-0 lead.

Trinity’s own Paul Burns ’15 was able to score mid-way through the second period on a Bantam power play that finally allowed them to put a score on the board. Amherst’s Aaron Deutsch towards the end of the second period brought the momentum back to the Lord Jeffs, in a goal that would end up becoming the game winner.

During the third period Trinity’s Ethan Holdaway ‘17 would give the Bantams their second goal, but by then the damage had already been done. They took goalie Nathaniel Heilbron ’16 out of the game with 33 seconds left to put another skater on the ice, but this didn’t give Trinity the help that they wanted to have. The game was a back and forth battle, that the Bantams ultimately were not able secure with a win.

The loss was a tough one for the Bantams which ultimately broke their 10 game win streak, but enabled them to go into their Saturday afternoon game at Hamilton College with a desire to win. It seemed as though Hamilton never had a chance, when on a power play, Jackson Brewer ’15 scored his fifth goal of the season late in the first period. This gave Trinity the advantage when in the second period Elie Vered ‘16 scored two goals while Ethan Holdaway scored one. This brought the score to 4-0 to begin the third period and forced Hamilton to take out their goalie Zach Arnold in favor of rookie Tim Nowacki to see if they could change the outcome of the game.

In the third period, Hamilton was finally able to secure a goal during a power play, but the goal was not able to alter the momentum that Trinity had held the entire game. Despite the change in goaltending made by Hamilton, this still enabled Trinity to score 2 goals late in the period by Michael Hawkrigg ’16 and Anthony Sabitsky ’18. This further allowed Trinity to put the game away and win 6-1 over Hamilton.

The Bantams ended the weekend on a high note with the win against Hamilton and finished with a record of 15-2-1 (10-1-1 NESCAC). They still remain no. 1 in the conference and will next face head out on the road again to Middlebury Friday night, and then take on Williams on Saturday

Squash Programs Take Control of National Rankings

by Justin Fortier ’18 

Sports Editor

Students packed the Kellner Center to watch the Yale Bulldogs take on the Trinity Bantams two weeks ago for a Squash Senior Day extravaganza for both the women and men’s teams.  At the start of the match the Trinity Men’s Team was ranked no. 2 overall in the national team rankings, trailing only to St. Lawrence, a team that they had beat a week earlier. The women entered the match as the no. 3 team, being one of three teams with a perfect record.  Both Trinity teams emergered victorious from the Yale match, each with decisive wins. The men’s team won 8-1 and the women 7-2.

Despite the final score lines there was a great deal of excitement in individual match play.  Both Moustafa Hamada ‘15 and Julia LeCoq ‘18 played thrilling 5 set matches in which they came back from losing the first two sets. When players on the women’s team like Kanzy El Defrawy ‘16, Raneem Sharaf ‘15, Karolina Holinkova ’18 all easily won in three sets, it was good to have some close matches to keep the game interesting.

Yale’s Liam McClintock ‘17, playing at No. 4, dropped his first two games to Trinity’s Karan Malik ‘15 with the Bulldogs already facing an 8-0 deficit. However, McClintock came back to life with a determined 11-4 win in the third game. From there, he fought his way to the finish, taking the final two games 14-12, 13-11 with a dogged effort that ensured Yale would not leave the men’s match empty-handed.

After the Yale match, Trinity took top seed nationally for both the men and the women, but as the men’s next match would prove, the road to the national championship is far from over.

The University of Rochester might not be known by most of the students on Trinity campus, but the Yellow jacket’s men’s team has been a top ten team for quite some time.  No. 5 ranked, Rochester entered the match last Saturday with a 6-3 record, but would improve to 7-3 after they shockingly beat Trinity 5-4. This was the Bantam’s first loss to an NCAA Division III opponent since a 7-2 setback at Amherst in the 1995-96 seasons.  This defeat in no way detracts from the strength of the Trinity squad, but does emphasize what was foreshadowed in the 2011-2012 season; the competition is stronger than ever in college squash, and a recreation of the absolute dynasty Trinity once had will be near impossible to recreate.

On Sunday Jan. 25, both the women and the men added another win against Cornell. Kanzy El Defrawy ’16 led the women’s team from the number one position to a 9-0 win over the Cornell Big Red to advance the team’s record to 12-0.  Vrishab Kotian ’17 led the men to an 8-1 win, to secure the team’s 12-1 record.

Due to the massive snowstorm last Tuesday, the planned matches for Harvard was rescheduled to Feb. 10 for the men and Feb. 4 for the Women.   The NESCAC championships are this coming weekend, and both Trinity teams are positioned to take a well-deserved title, before moving on to secure the National Championship later this month.

National Rankings:


1.Trinity College


3.Harvard University

4.Yale University

5.Princeton University

6.Cornell University

7.Dartmouth College

8.George Washington University

9.Columbia University

10.Stanford University

11.Brown University

12.Williams College

13.Middlebury College

14.Franklin and Marshall

15.Drexel University

16.Bates College

17.Amherst College

18.Hamilton College

19.Bowdoin College

20.St. Lawrence University


1.Trinity College

2.St. Lawrence University

3.University of Rochester

4.Columbia University

5.Yale University

6.Harvard University

7.Cornell University

8.Princeton University

9.Franklin and Marshall College


11.Dartmouth College

12.Drexel University

13.Brown University

14.Naval Academy

15.Williams College

16.George Washington University

17.Middlebury College

18.Bates College

19.University of Western Ontario

20.Wesleyan University

Trinity community helps to open Museum of Jewish History in Poland



Thanks to contributions from the Trinity College community, the “POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews” opened recently in Warsaw to highlight the impact of Judaism on Polish culture. The museum exhibits a dizzying number of historical artifacts for visitors to examine. These include animations on the history of Judaism with emphasis on local Jewish heroes, interactive installations that show ancient production processes, such as printmaking, and re-creations of historical artifacts using traditional techniques.

These accomplishments have in part been made possible due to the contributions from published author and Trinity College Charles H. Northam Professor of History, Samuel Kassow ’66, and alumnus Shana Penn ’77.

A Trinity College undergraduate with additional degrees from the London School of Economics and Princeton University, Samuel Kassow is an accomplished member of the Trinity College faculty who has taught in the history department since 1972 with a special focus on the Ashkenazi Jewry.

Many students can attest to his enaging lectures and stimulating insights into Jewish history. One student, Charlotte Thomas `17, who is a student in his Modern Jewish History class, was surprised to discover how Professor Kassow can make retelling Jewish history as interesting as reading a story. Past students will also agree that Professor Kassow’s immense interest  and dedication to this subject allows him to be what many consider one of the best professors at Trinity College.

However, Kassow’s bond to Jewish history extends far past academia, as he was born in a displaced persons’ camp in Stuttgart, Germany. In his books: “Who Will Write Our History? Rediscovering a Hidden Archive From the Warsaw Ghetto” and “Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto,” Kassow examines secret archives created by prisoners in the Warsaw Ghetto, exploring a Jewish history that he was born amidst.

Due to his extensive knowledge and commitment to Jewish history  Kassow has served as lead historian of two of the museum’s galleries: “Encounters in Modernity” and “On the Jewish Street.” The first examines how the entry of the Jewish people into the modern period helped to shape Jewish culture in Europe. Phenomena such as a Jewish intelligentsia next to the middle class interacted directly with the Jewish answer to modern problems such as industrialization, urbanization and secularization. The latter exhibit looks at the Jewish people during the interwar period, which is a special field of study for Kassow.

Shana Penn is equally involved in the preservation of Jewish heritage, serving as Executive Director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, an organization which works to promote the ideals of democratic society and to renew and preserve the traditions of Judaism. As part of that mission, the foundation hosts conferences, publishes articles and provides grants for Jewish preservation in Poland, the United States and Israel. To continue her commitment to Jewish culture, Penn has been a major donor to the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews which she sees as evidence of the destigmatization of Judaism.

As an additional testament to her great commitment and dedication to the subject of Jewish history, in an article for the Krytyka Polityczna about the museum’s opening, Penn was quoted saying, “Now and only now that the museum is finally completed and its core exhibition opens to the public, we notice the extent to which the unprecedented partnerships that forged this cultural and educational center have effectively challenged the stigmas, as if our better selves got the better of us, as an American idiom goes. In this case it was the better selves of the public and private partners – e.g., the federal government, city of Warsaw, and a Polish Jewish NGO and its Jewish diaspora supporters – that got the better of them. And I believe we all will be the better for it.”

For Penn, it is very difficult to see the progress of history when living in it. However, during times such as this, with the opening of a new and powerful museum, provide a glimpse at how far we have come.

Living up to its name: Polin, the Hebrew word for “rest here,” the museum has truly been a safehold for the Jewish people in Poland who still feel the reverberations of the Holocaust. Thanks to contributions from Penn and Kassow, it will continue to be a beacon for the progress and preservation of the worldwide Jewish community.

While Professor Kassow and Ms. Penn may be interested in discussing the recent event regarding the opening of the museum in person, you can learn more about the museum through its website.

Bantam Bazaar to donate funds to Oxfam this year



The Bantam Bazaar is an annual event that is essentially a large tag sale. The items on display for sale are comprised of goods from several vendor stands as well as donated items form Trinity students’; things like furniture, clothing, games, etc. Right now the Office of Civic Engagement is soliciting donations from students for the event through things like their poster campaign, and mailbox advertisements. You may have seen these around campus. If you have anything you’d be willing to part with, or need to clean up, deposit it in the box outside the Office of Civic Engagement in the downstairs of Mather, or contact Bridget Tevnan via her Trinity e-mail.

This year, all of the profits from the Bantam Bazaar are going to Oxfam, an international nonprofit dedicated to ending poverty by working with grassroots organizations in developing nations. In response to the Ebola epidemic, they are ramping up support for community health workers in West Africa by supplying water, hygiene equipment, and sanitation to treatment and care centers, as well as boosting mass publications about the disease. It’s incredibly important that organizations like this, as well as Doctors Without Borders, are supported in the heat of the crisis so that they can maximize the good they are able to do. Hopefully this will lead to containment and then eradication of the disease before it has a chance to spread even further. All of this means that any items the students choose to donate will help save lives, and support an established organization.

The Bantam Bazaar was started five years ago in 2010 by Lindsey Eichler ’08 (now Lindsey Tengatenga). She worked as a graduate assistant in the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement from 2008 to 2011. The Bazaar was started as a fundraiser in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The initial Bazaar raised $1,630, and each of the subsequent Bazaar’s have been great successes, raising over $9,000 total over the last few years. This is a great example of what students can do when they are passionate about an issue, as well as a demonstration of the welath of support that Trinity students are willing to throw behind engaging projects.

The  first year of the even the money raised was split between two organizations: Partners in Health and Haitian Ministries of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn. Every year since then, the money raised has gone to some sort of natural disaster relief effort. Past recipients of the funds have varied, with many organizations benefitting from the Bazaar.

In 2011, the Pakistan Youth Alliance was a recipient, after the floods of that year. In 2012, the Central Vermont Community Action Council / Mad River Recovery for Hurricane Irene were given donations to help those afflicted.

In response to Hurricane Sandy in 2013, the Disaster Accountability Project received funds from the Bazaar. This year, Bantaam Bazaar proceeds are going to Oxfam’s Typhoon Haiyan Relief and Recovery Fund. The event normally raises between one- and two-thousand dollars for charity each year.

The tag sale is also open to the public, including non-Trinity affiliated residents, and anyone can join in. As an event run by the Office of Civic Engagement, it is important to engage the surrounding community of Hartford and Connecticut, as well as build events that students, faculty, and staff can enjoy together.

Members of the Trinity community should know  that the event is welcome to one and all, as there are plenty of unique and functional things on sale that can cater to a variety of tastes. Every year, people find great deals. For instance,  one student found a new favorite sweater, while another took home a speaker system for his dorm. “This is a really great opportunity to stock up on new clothes and dorm decorations for the second semester, especially because everything is easier to find when it’s all in one place” said one student, “I’m excited to go to the Bazaar this year and find some deals”.

The event combines the exciting activity of deal-hunting with charity, for a fun way to give back to the world.

Basketball: men dominate, while women struggle

by Ryan Murphy ’17

Contributing Writer

The 2014-2015 season has brought a reversal of fortunes for the Trinity basketball teams. On the one hand, the men have gone from 6-6 in NESCAC play in 2013-2014, to first place in the conference with three games left in the season. Unfortunately, the women’s team has had to deal with the loss of six seniors, and have struggled to a 6-12 mark thus far.

The men’s success can be attributed to the fact that they lost no key players from last season. All nine players that played significant minutes in 2013-2014 are back and playing at a higher level this season.

This year’s squad’s biggest addition came in the form of transfer Andrew Hurd ‘16. The guard originally played at Division-1 Central Connecticut State University, and has provided the Bantams with a reliable man off the bench, who is often on the court with fellow point guard, and leading scorer, Jaquann Starks ‘16 at the end of games.

The emergence of Chris Turnbull ‘17 and Rick Naylor ‘16 as knockdown outside shooters has helped the Bantams average 69.8 points per game, nearly 4 more than in 2013-2014. Naylor said the biggest difference is that this team “is much more experienced and understands what it takes to win games.”

In the frontcourt, the growth of Ed Ogundeko ‘17 and Shay Ajayi ‘16, paired with the experience of Co-Captains George Papadeas ‘15  and Alex Conaway ‘15, has given the Bantams an advantage in the paint against most teams. The big men combine for over 35 points and 24 rebounds per game.

Ogundeko cites that his biggest change from his freshman season is his “improved jump shooting and free throw shooting.” At 6’5,” he is a physical presence down low, and the ability to stretch defenders out to defend his shot helps spread the floor.

Co-captains Hart Gliedman ‘15 and Steve Spirou ‘15 are the glue of the team, not necessarily putting up big numbers, but leading by example for the younger guys. Gliedman unfortunately suffered a hamstring injury against Amherst on Jan. 24, but has remained vital to the team as a vocal leader.

The Bantams are currently 16-5 (6-1 NESCAC) after two hard-fought victories over conference foes Bowdoin and Colby. With three games left on the schedule, all on the road against conference opponents, the Bantams look to maintain their spot as the top team in the NESCAC, and make a run in the national tournament.

The women’s team hasn’t had quite the same success this season. They’ve had to overcome the loss of six seniors, including All-NESCAC forward Hannah Brickley and the rest of their starting line up. However, there have been some bright spots for the lady Bantams this season.

Center Mackenzie Griffin ‘16 is playing at an all-conference level, averaging 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Fellow center, Emily Llerena ‘18, has stepped up this season as well, leading all freshmen on the team in scoring and rebounding.

The team’s biggest win came against rival Bates, in which they rallied from a 15 point deficit to notch their first conference win of the year. Guard, Taylor Higgins ‘15 played a huge role in the victory, tallying 16 points and 4 assists. She said they “have grown as a team and faced a lot of adversity and injuries to key players,” including herself, Alexa Menard ‘16, and Sheena Landy ‘17.

Due to the injuries, many younger players have had to step up. Guards Alexa Menard ‘16 and Christina Raiti ‘16 have played solidly all season, and will help the Bantams make a push in the final games to play in in the NESCAC tournament.


Jacquan Starks

Jacquan Starks leads the team from the point guard position



Between bigotry and sensitivity: negotiating Political Correctness



Over the past week, Jonathan Chait’s article, “How the Language Police are Perverting Liberalism,” published in the New York Magazine has garnered a lot of criticism. Chait builds his article by suggesting the way the definition of ‘political correctness’ has weakened over the past twenty-five years, to a point where it is used to denote [excessive] politeness, to evade ‘hard truths,’ or to prevent ‘micro-aggressions.’ That said, his argument takes a controversial turn when he claims that “political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate.” To illustrate this argument, Chait references a variety of situations across college campuses. This makes the question of the validity of ‘political correctness,’ through Chait’s lens, and otherwise, a topic worthy of further introspection.

Although I have to acknowledge the flaw in Chait’s overarching argument, as it seems to reject any type of social change that could occur via the dismissal of particular ideas that legitimately, based on the freedom of expression and other legal frameworks-can be comprehended as offensive or bigoted. Denying the validity of such sentiments, would sterilize the trajectory of moral progress that liberalism is founded upon. Given the subjective nature of what may be deemed as politically incorrect or not, it is difficult to clearly outline what behavior is appropriate, and acceptable, and what isn’t. Looking at the past for examples- the abolishment of slavery, or the taboo that society places on anti-Semitism and racial slur celebrate the victories of what it now means to be politically correct. Allowing individuals the chance to voice their opinions towards ideas should render society into a progressively more respectful and sensitive community. That said, a question that I am challenged with, and is also raised in Chait’s article is –is where does one set the boundaries for what may be considered to be appropriately sensitive and polite, or conversely-legitimately offensive.

With respect to microagression- “small social slights that may cause searing trauma,” Chait provides an example of how professors must often attach ‘trigger warning’ while addressing things in a way that could be perceived as insulting. Another example, referenced a protest led by Native American students who found the description- ‘indegenous with an uppercase I’ to be offensive. The question of political correctness from this standpoint renders simple language, or grammar as a potential weapon.  As a political science major, I realize that I have been taught to be very conscious with my choice of words particularly while discussing ‘debated subjects,’ to avoid accidently expressing a lack of empathy or even worse-hurting a sentiment. Yet, does my consideration in wording my opinions ‘appropriately’ reveal my own sensibility, or rather the hypersensitivity of our culture and society in general, to the mildest, and most minute things?

While ‘political-correctness’ is a useful tool that allows for comfortable conversation amongst diverse individuals, we have to acknowledge the pitfalls of falling into the trap of utilizing this tool too much. Why do we distinguish between politeness, and direct (but perhaps not the most flattering) ways of addressing feelings? And, consequently, how can we prevent language as a medium of communication turn into a double-edged sword?


Measles outbreak provides reminder about the importance of vaccinations



Fifteen years ago the United States sought to eradicate the highly contagious disease known as Rubeola, more commonly referred to as Measles. An abundance of resources and concentrated efforts were focused on measles eradication through vaccination due to the highly infectious nature of the disease. Before the vaccine was invented, 500 Americans died annually from the disease.

Ninety percent of unvaccinated people who come in contact with the disease become infected, placing Measles among the most contagious viruses and also making the entire population very susceptible to sudden outbreaks. The respiratory disease is caused by a virus, which spreads through the air via coughing or sneezing. Once the virus is transmitted it lays dormant in its host for up to two weeks. The first symptoms include high fever, cough, conjunctivitis and a runny nose. Then a dotted red rash, the hallmark of Measles, starts to spread from head to toe.

Despite the fact that the disease has been absent from the United States for over a decade, a sudden resurgence occurred just before Christmas at Disneyland in California. What started off as a small outbreak of just seven cases at the amusement park has multiplied at an alarming rate to 84 confirmed cases in 14 states. Some states near the outbreak have even higher estimates of people who may have been infected. Anxiety has been running especially high in Arizona, where state officials have estimated that 1,000 people have been exposed, due the fact that thousands arrived for the Super Bowl.

It is perplexing to try to understand how the outbreak has continued to spread despite the fact that there is a vaccine and that measles has reportedly been extinguished in the United States.

One trend that may have contributed to perpetuating the outbreak is a growing antivaccination movement. A statistically significant group of parents across the country have started to turn away from vaccinating their children.

While the measles outbreak highlights this issue, it is not only disease that parents have stopped vaccinating for. Nearly one in four children have not received all recommended vaccinations. These include what some would consider routine vaccinations like for polio, mumps, rubella, teatanus and diphtheria.

The initial antivaccination movement gained momentum when vaccines were wrongfully linked with causing autism. This began to create pockets of unvaccinated communities, which have subsequently weakened our country’s herd immunity. This herd immunity means that the vaccinated majority will protect a minority that is either too young to be vaccinated or compromised in some way. However if these pockets continue to grow, they will make the entire population vulnerable.

Despite evidence disproving the link between vaccinations and autism, many parents are still rejecting vaccines. The new basis for these decisions now rests on the idea of a more natural lifestyle. Some parents have gone even so far as say that they don’t want “too many toxins” entering their children’s bodies in the form of vaccinations.

While I believe in the freedom of choice and am against proposing a solution that forces reluctant parents to vaccinate their children, I do think there needs to be a system in place that better educates parents making these decisions. This is especially true since there are no federal laws concerning vaccination protocols and states are left to their own discretion in prescribing a policy.

It is becoming of increasing importance that the U.S. healthcare system begins to more strongly encourage vaccinations. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.



Berger-Sweeney reflects on her first semester at Trinity



I met with President Joanne Berger-Sweeney on the rainy Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving break. We met rather early—8:30 a.m.—but by that time President Berger-Sweeney had already walked her dog, attended a parent-teacher conference, and amassed over 5,000 steps on her pedometer. She offered me a piece of Lindt chocolate as a substitute for breakfast.

We met to discuss her thoughts on Trinity after her first official semester as President. I asked her about her academic hopes for the College, the US News and World Report rankings, Greek life, the student body, issues facing minority students, and even the book she is currently reading. She answered each question carefully, thoughtfully, and always with her mind on the future.

Benjamin Milton Chait: After your first semester as President, how have you found your time at Trinity so far? Is it living up to your expectations? What has surprised you, if anything?

President Joanne Berger-Sweeney: So far I just love it! I think I like it better than I had hoped. I hoped that I would like it, and it has really met my expectations. Both the people here, an institution is always the people, and the physical beauty still does not grow old no matter how long or how often I’ve seen it. The house is very comfortable and I love Hartford. I would just say that it’s exceeding my expectations.  I’ve had a very warm welcome.

BMC: Well speaking of that, I wanted to thank you for attending Barnyard’s Trintoberfest. You seem to be very active with student affairs at Trinity. Have you found the student body welcoming?

JBS: Yes! They have been extremely welcoming. I tried to start my relationship and rapport with students before I even started the job. So after my Presidency was announced, the first thing I did on the second day was what I called the “walk about.” I actually just went around to places on campus and met with students. I met with students in athletics and students in various buildings.

So people are now saying, “well I met you the first time” or “I met you there…” but if you want to build a rapport with people, you have to understand that it takes time. So I’ve tried to block off one day a week where I go down to Mather and have lunch with students. I just pick a table with whoever seems to not be walking away. I also try to go to a student activity once a week. I’d like to go to everything, but I can’t. So for now I am selecting events that sound interesting, or go when people remind me—like you knocked on my door for Trintoberfest, and I showed up!

BMC: What do you think is the most valuable quality that you bring to the position as the president of the college?

JBS: I would say it would be my skills as a scientist, particularly a neuroscientist. So as a scientist, I bring analytical abilities, the ability to understand data and numbers, and how to look for a rationale for particular responsibilities.  At the same time, I am a behavioral neuroscientist. So as a neuroscientist one of the things I am particularly focused on is behavior. I examine behavior in animals, particularly rodents, mostly mice, but to some degree, rats.

When you’re a behavioral scientist you actually become very observant about people’s behavior, and in particular, non-verbal behavior. So I think I bring the analytical strengths of a scientist as well as the sensitivity of someone who examines and studies behavior. Those two skills are particularly helpful in working at a job like this; working with people and looking at data.

BMC: I remember you sent out an email that addressed Trinity’s drop in some college rankings. In what ways would you like to see Trinity grow and improve in those rankings?

JBS: The first thing I’m going to say is that I’m not going to run a school based on rankings. We all know some of the flaws of rankings. At the same time when you see significant decreases in a short period of time you have to ask yourself if there is something underlying that I need to understand in order to move the college forward and make it a better institution. What I said in a letter to alumi/alumna is that one of the things I’ve seen among some of our constituents is a lack of engagement with the institution over the last couple of years. If what I’m seeing in the rankings is a sign of a lack of engagement, I particularly want to focus on that. How do we get faculty members engaged with the institution? They are engaged with the students—that is fundamentally not the problem.

The rapport and relationships between faculty members and students is at the heart—to me—of what is really going right at Trinity. But the faculty’s rapport with the administration and the trustees, and their desire to engage above and beyond the classroom experience are some things I have seen appear to be eroded over the past couple of years.

Students’ engagement with each other—they’re engaging with the faculty—but students engaging with each other and leadership are examples of things what we can do even better. I think we can also speak better of Trinity and the Trinity experience to everyone on the outside. These are the kind of things that help turn around an institution. I believe when the reputation turns around after we’ve addressed some of the social and climate issues on campus, then more students will want to come. I believe that those factors are absolutely critical for our reputation and it is my hope than the rankings will follow.

BMC: Besides what you hope to accomplish professionally as the President, what are the personal goals that you’ve set for yourself?

JBS: I would like to somehow retain and maintain contact with my scientific life. This is the first time I haven’t had a research laboratory. When I have a research laboratory I love doing science and I love being a scientist. I also love having students in the lab. That’s when you really get to know students. It doesn’t really happen when you’re standing up and giving a lecture.

I really get a rapport with my students when I have them in a laboratory day in and day out, and when we are working closely together. So I don’t know if you would consider that a personal or professional goal, but to maintain my contact with science, even though I’m a full time administrator, and to be able to maintain contact and rapport with people outside of those who directly report to me; and that means students, faculty, and staff. That to me is a personal goal because that’s the rapport I need to have to in order to have full satisfaction. I know I will be a better administrator if I’m a happier person. I also want to remain close with my family and friends outside of the institution. I do need a life beyond Trinity.

BMC: Do you have plans to teach neuroscience classes while at Trinity?

JBS: I will not be able to teach a standard course here at Trinity College because the students deserve their professor’s full and apt attention. Given my job and the things that happen everyday that I can’t even predict, I can’t take on that relationship with students full time and know that I’m delivering the full education they deserve for Trinity credit. Now that being said, I can imagine a couple of things I can do. The first is perhaps teaching something relating to leadership.

Something like a J-Term course is a possibility. I’ve also said that if we decided to accept an invitation to join edX which is an online technology and learning platform that offers massive online and open courses, that I would be willing to volunteer, if I were to be accepted through whatever process, to teach something that can show students what I care about. I will tell you that I haven’t taught full time in a classroom for more than a decade.

I’ve been a full time administrator for quite a while, and I tell people that, when I started in administration, I actually started teaching Sunday school because I love teaching so much. So somehow I will remain active as a teacher because teaching and learning are as much of a passion for me as my sciences. In order to be happy I will be doing some kind of teaching.

BMC: Hartford seems to mean a great deal to you. Mayor Segarra spoke at your inauguration, and your son is currently enrolled in school here. How do you plan on strengthening Trinity’s relationship with the community?

JBS: One thing I have been doing is going out, meeting people, spending time in the community, and really getting to know what Hartford is beyond the walls of Trinity.  You can’t build relationships without going out and meeting the people. So I’ve gone out—I’ve met our senator, our governor, our mayor, I’ve met with city council. I’ve also gone out and tried to meet people from the neighborhood. We have entities called neighborhood revitalization zones (NRZs), and those are the local groups that care about fixing streets and creating safer neighborhoods. I’ve gone to one of the NRZs to introduce myself and I’m going to another one before the end of the semester.

So again, I’m going out and meeting people in the neighborhood so I can better understand what their needs are. Just yesterday I met with the CEO of the Connecticut Girl Scouts so I can understand how they’re trying to strengthen the communities around them. I’m also inviting members from the community here to the activities that we’re having on campus. For example, lots of neighborhood groups were invited to the inauguration ceremony. It was big and it was open. I wanted it to be a community celebration.

I need to get to know people and they need to get to know me so we can understand how we can best partner. Partnership means both groups offering something and gaining something from the relationship. It’s not just what Trinity can pass out to Hartford or what can Hartford give to Trinity. It’s really about building a relationship.

Something more specifically I will say is that I’ve released a podcast where I mentioned the mentoring networks. A key component of the mentoring networks is to integrate our students better into the Hartford community. From what they have expressed to me, so many of our students actually chose Trinity because it is in Hartford and because it is in a city. We have to make sure that we are fostering and developing these relationships. Right now I have asked students to join design teams to think about what mentoring networks would be, what kind of programming should they have, and how they should be connected to Hartford. It’s not just what I’m doing to build the relationships, it’s what the entire campus is doing to be involved with the community of Hartford and vice versa.

BMC: You spoke of having an open inauguration. From the intimacy of the speeches, to the upbeat music from the samba band, your inauguration felt very personal. Did you have any say in the execution? Were you pleased? Were you nervous for the weekend?

JBS: I was just thrilled with inauguration. I thought it was so much fun and I really enjoyed it. I selected the speakers and the people who contributed the music, but the execution and organization was done by our special events officials, and in particular, Meghan Fitzsimmons. Mary Jo Keating and I had weekly meetings in regards to all of the people that needed to be involved. It was personal in that I selected the people and the participants, but some things were added that just made it wonderful. For example, the flag ceremony was wonderful, and I didn’t create that. I said that I like lively music, and I think it was Megan Fitzsimmons who came to me with the idea of having a Samba band, and I thought that was awesome.

Those aspects really just set the tome. I could not have asked the speakers to be better or the composers to be better. One thing I would like to say about the inauguration is that when people ask me about my vision for Trinity, I say it was really encapsulated in the singing of “America the Beautiful.” First, [“America the Beautiful”] is a wonderful and patriotic song. The lyrics were written by Kathy Lee Bates, who is a Wellesley alum, so it connected a bit with my past. However, our composer composed a brand new arrangement for me.

It was a combination of where I came from and my background from Wellesley, but with a new Trinity composition, and then there were about 150 students who came together from various singing groups on campus. Some had lots of formal training and some just get together because they love to sing. It was a variety of voices and groups, whom to the best of my knowledge, came together to sing this beautiful and patriotic hymn with an arrangement specifically for Trinity and the inauguration, but yet tying to my past. That really encapsulated my vision for what Trinity can be: an incredibly inclusive community with a strong past and a distinct present.

BMC: You were recently hosted by the Sisters of Kappa Kappa Gamma for a tour of their new house and for a discussion on female leadership. What are your plans for Greek Life at Trinity? What changes, if any, would you like to see be implemented?

JBS: Trinity is already on a path towards thinking about how to make the Greek experience more inclusive. There is no question that I am continuing on that general path. As a community, we also need to think about how to make the community—particularly, but not solely for students—more inclusive. We have to reconcile how we are going to have organizations that feel a bit more exclusive with trying to create an inclusive environment. I’m looking forward to continuing dialogues and understanding the Greek community and what they want to accomplish.

I also look forward to understanding the overall goals of the community. I want to make sure that students have options. At the same time, people need to understand that we are in a climate, nationally, that is not very kind towards fraternities and sororities. You cannot pick up a paper without reading an article about another fraternity or sorority being shut down. So people have to understand that fraternities and sororities are under an enormous amount of scrutiny. So I look forward to forging a plan together of where we need to go, but with the assurance that we are not going to be moving back into the past.

BMC: While serving as the Dean of The School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University, you founded The Center for Race and Democracy.  In what ways do you see prejudice manifest itself at Trinity, and how would you like to tackle some of the issues facing minority students at Trinity?

JBS: I’m so proud of [The Center for Race and Democracy]! Now that is very complex question. I am going to answer that, at the moment, a bit generically, and say that race in America and inclusion in America are very complex issues. It’s not a problem to be solved, but it’s a complex issue that we all deal with.

With all complex issues, they cannot be addressed by any single thing or by any single person. I was having a conversation with someone yesterday and I’m not going to get the quote right, but we were describing how, when there are complex issues, there is no silver bullet. There isn’t one thing that I can come in and point at and say that symbolizes race issues on campus.

To address issues of race and inclusion, in America and beyond, it’s going to take looking at it from different perspectives and doing multiple things to create a more inclusive atmosphere. There is no one single thing I can do. But what was interesting about your question is that you asked me about The Center for Race and Democracy at Tufts. Well the The Center for Race and Democracy was one piece of a multifaceted strategy. So we created a major and minor in Africana studies.

We created an umbrella minor in race, colonialism and Diaspora. That addressed some of the curricular issues. The Center for Race and Democracy was created, at least my intent, was that so we continue to have dialogue and actually continue to create new and innovative research about race and democracy. So not just the curricular component, but the intellectual and innovative components as well.

At the same time, I was addressing increasing diversity amongst our faculty and staff. Any of those pieces alone would not have the effect of changing climate on campus or address some of the issues involving race, but, in a combination, they start to move the needle. So more generally here, we are going to have to talk again about a more multifaceted strategy. There is no one single thing I can sit back and tell you I am going to do to improve inclusiveness on campus. But I will tell you that I will be looking for opportunities in the curriculum, in centers, in student originations, and student groups, amongst faculty and staff.

Collectively, I believe that a number of those individual things will begin to move us forward. But, for any of those things to work, it comes back to a question you asked me earlier about US News and World Report. You have to start with engaged students. We have to be engaged about serious principal things. We need to have fun, but we need to be engaged in business, education, expanding opportunities, and inclusiveness. It’s not good enough to just bring a diverse group of people to campus. We need to look at how people interact and how people feel.

BMC: You’ve established and hosted academic symposiums at Trinity. How would you like to see the academic culture change here?

JBS: One thing that I’ve said is that I would like to see Trinity integrating technology appropriately in the classroom. Two weeks before the gubernatorial elections, I had an opportunity to meet with Governor Malloy and Tom Foley. The meeting was with presidents of independent colleges here in Connecticut.

We had thirty minutes with the candidates, I will never forget, Governor Malloy looked at each of us—he was actually pointing at me—and saying you know that students when they gradate with their terminal degree, be it a B.A. or a B.S. or a masters or maybe a PhD, after they start working, the majority of their time will be spent with technology. If you’re going to work in banking, for example, you will most likely need a skill set that will allow you to effectively work online.

He reminded me that most people, once they finished their formal degrees, will be doing something involving online education. Shouldn’t we be making sure we prepare our students in some way to have opportunities to learn online? Now when I say that it doesn’t mean that I don’t care very deeply about the liberal arts experience and the rapport the students and faculty members have here.

That is the core of what we do and what we do well. At the same time, we do need to think about preparing our students for life beyond Trinity and the likelihood that a lot of that will come online. We need to make sure that when we are thinking of education we are not just thinking about broadening the minds of students but also thinking about preparing them well for whatever they need to do afterwards. I believe, unfortunately, that industry is taking less of a role in preparing people for jobs than they did a generation or two ago. They have fewer onsite training programs.

They’re putting more of a burden on the undergraduate education system, including the liberal arts experience, to prepare students such that they are ready for jobs. As educators we have to accept that challenge and ensure our students are ready for what is to come next. I would love to see that as we are thinking about ways to provide our students with analytical skills, that we are also thinking a little bit about helping them understand how to translate a really fine English degree into a job where you will use the analytical skills and the wonderful writing skills that you develop.

I want to see students take what they have learned here and really turn it into satisfying life work. So I’d like to see that for sure.

I think that I would also like to see faculty members stop and think about the curriculum in general. We are all very good about thinking about the courses that we teach, but I also want to challenge the curriculum committee to think about not only if the individual courses are good, but if we are tying it together to create an excellent overall academic experience. I know that if we continue to ask ourselves these big questions about curricular issues, we will come up with new, innovate, and exciting answers.

BMC: You’ve spoken about how you love to read. What books are you currently reading?

JBS: I do love to both listen to books on tape and have the hard copy. Sometimes when I’m cooking or doing something in the house, I can listen, but I also like to hear my own voice. So I kind of like to splurge by getting both the audio book and have the hard copy sitting by my bed. At the moment I’m reading “Edge of Eternity” by Ken Follett.

It is the third in a trilogy about the twentieth century. It follows four or five families that are in the US, the UK, Germany, and Russia and details the events of the twentieth century from their perspectives. It’s multigenerational and about how these families interact and overlap. The thing that I love about Ken Follett books, now that I’ve read a couple, is that they are extremely accurate historical fiction.

So I can both learn about an interesting time in history, but it’s also woven with personal stories about people’s lives. I love historical fiction. At the moment “Edge of Eternity” is about the period post WWII from about the 1960s until about the 1980s. I am reading about the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King. Some of the events that just happened were the Cuban missile crisis, some of what John F. Kennedy was doing, and then how people were impacted by his assassination.

BMC: In your convocation speech you spoke about raising awareness about sexual assault and rape culture. You also helped students bear the weight of sexual assault by helping carry mattresses around the campus. How would you like to see the culture that encourages sexual assault in general and at Trinity change? Are you hoping to set a plan that can be modeled by other academic institutions?

JBS: I announced in my convocation speech and in a letter to the campus that I was forming a task force for the prevention of sexual misconduct. That task force met as a group for the first time yesterday, so I can’t tell you what the plan is yet for Trinity, but I can tell you that I consider the issue important enough to make it the subject of my first task force. I’m sure I will create many presidential task forces during my time here, but I really felt that the prevention of sexual assault was the topic to choose for my first.

We talked about what our overall charge was, what kind of subgroups we are going to have, and how we are going to accomplish the goals of understanding both what we’re doing now, what we’re doing well, what we are doing not so well, and how we are going to move forward. I would like to say to people that there is obviously a lot of federal and state pressure about sexual misconduct right now. It’s not just a legal or compliance issue.

This is a moral issue and we have to create safe spaces for everybody here. One thing I will also say, going back to the “Edge of Eternity,” is that I was reading a section in which there is a band that is growing in popularity and becoming famous. It’s not the Beatles, but clearly Follett is trying to parallel some of the lives of the Beatles.

One of the members of this band, remember this is 1963, has just come out to his fellow band members that he is gay. It’s a British band so they use the word queer, they even make note “in America where they are going on tour, they use the word gay.” So it’s dealing with those issues but also saying that in England they went to a bar that was frequented by gay men, and the police were coming and harassing them.

I was reading this section and thinking, at least it doesn’t happen to that degree anymore. We have indeed made progress, but not as much progress as we need to make on the issues. I was also reading about 1962, the boycotts in Selma, Alabama, and the way African-Americans were treated. I was thinking people are not being beat up for sitting at a lunch counter anymore. We have made progress in some of these issues, but both of these examples reminded me of how much more progress we need to make.

BMC: What is the best advice that you’ve ever been given and who gave it you?

JBS: Some of the best advice that I received was from Joe Coyle. Joe Coyle was my dissertation advisor at Johns Hopkins University, and he moved and became the chair of psychology at Harvard Medical School.  At the same time, I was moving up to have an assistant professor position as Wellesley College.

We remained in contact and he continues to serve as my mentor. I know he provided a recommendation on my behalf for Trinity. I have been out of his lab for about twenty-five years, and he is still supporting me and helping me move my career to the next level. So when I was considering leaving the classroom and going into administration, I spoke to him and said “should I do this?” He responded “Let me just remind you, if you move into administration, your satisfaction becomes how other people succeed.”

When you are in the classroom and teaching, it is about you. Even the laboratory, its about you; it is your laboratory. People in my lab do what I think they should do in a laboratory. When you’re in the classroom, it might not be every student, but most are really there to listen and learn about what you do. He reminded me that people don’t go around and say “my favorite administrator is…” You aren’t going to get your satisfaction that way. People will say “my favorite professor is…” His advice was that when you move into administration, you’re going to have to get your satisfaction form watching other people succeed because much less of the focus is going to be on you; that when you’re doing well it’s really other people succeeding.

It could be those that you encouraged, those that you supported, or those that you put in positions so that they can grow to the next step.

That was just a really great reminder. So when some people say they don’t like what I do, I have to stay true to what I think is right for the institution and realize that administration is not totally a popularity contest.


Hillel’s Pink Shabbat supports fight against breast cancer



On Friday, Nov. 21, Hillel’s 9th Annual Pink Shabbat took place to raise awareness about breast cancer.

The event was held in Hamlin Hall, which was beautifully decorated in pink and white for the event. T-shirts were sold at the door, with all proceeds going to Sharshareet, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the unique concerns of Jewish women with breast cancer. The Quirks, Trinity’s all-women a capella group, opened the event by singing “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys and “Come Talk to Me.” Afterwards, the Shabbat service began.

In the Jewish faith, Shabbat is a day of rest and spiritual enchantment. It began with the candle lighting ritual and was followed by the blessings over the grape juice and challah. Pink challah was made by the Kappa Kappa Gamma sisters and Lisa Kassow, Director of Hillel, in honor of the event. Each person touched the challah or touched a person touching the challah to receive this blessing.

Ali Chalfin ’16, social chair of Hillel, led the Dvar Torah, or “words of the Torah.” She began by telling the biblical story of Jacob and Esau, who were the children of Isaac and Rebekah. They were twins who fought for dominance, even in the womb. Because their father favored Esau, Jacob felt jealous of him and tricked him into selling him his birthright.

Chaflin shared that she has a family friend who is a twin and was diagnosed with breast cancer. She wondered why one twin developed cancer but the other did not. The story of Jacob and Esau made her reflect on the unfair nature of life and the way that God gives us the strength to go on. After the Dvar Torah, Ethan Cantor, Hillel’s president, introduced keynote speaker Lisa Kassow. In his opinion, cancer is a war and its survivors are warriors.

Lisa herself conquered cancer five years ago. She was diagnosed days before the Pink Shabbat that took place that year. She felt afraid and overwhelmed but remained strong for others. She said that the experience taught her a lot about herself and that she is lucky to be cancer-free today.

Lisa also spoke about her friend Tammy, who recently passed away because of ovarian cancer. She described her as an energetic woman who made her mark on all who knew her. According to Lisa, drugs made to combat cancer typically take twenty years to create, two and a half billion dollars to fund and have a 99.5% failure rate, meaning that the odds are not great.

Lisa asked that those in attendance remember her and her friend Tammy when we are in positions of power. The message of her speech was that it’s on us to keep the fight against breast cancer going. Lisa hopes for a day in which no more families suffer because of breast cancer or ny other form of cancer. She ended her speech by asking that we use our potential to make a difference.

Before dinner was served, Pink Shabbat participants were asked to write the names of people they know who have been victims of breast cancer. These pink slips were made into a long chain, proving the pervasiveness of this disease. A Thanksgiving dinner was followed by dessert, which consisted of cupcakes topped with pink frosting.

As everyone breaks for Thanksgiving, let each person express gratitude for those in his or her life who have survived cancer, remember those who have lost the battle and remain hopeful that a cure may be found in the near future.

Trinity College hosts event on Ferguson



On the evening of Thursday,Nov. 23, a group of Trinity students, faculty, clergy, and others members of the community met at the Trinity College Chapel to stand in solidarity with St. Louis, Missouri. The event symbolized Trinity College’s stand with Ferguson, and its firm belief in peace and equality.

The night began with the reading of a number of prayers that have been recited in Ferguson since the shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. Assistant Chaplain John Selders and Chaplain Allison Read recited the prayers, and both offered the same message. They prayed for a final end to racism in the United States of America, and for a love between Americans. The prayers called for an end to unnecessary violence and death, and, most importantly, an end to fear. Moving forward into the event, speeches were given by various students and faculty members such as Professor Seth M. Markle.

Professor Markle commented on the ongoing injustice towards young African American males occurring in the United States, and on the increased militarization of United States police officers. Continuing his speech, Professor Markle recounted the recent killings of black youth such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown as certain evidence of existing racism within the country. He concluded as the prayers did, with a call for peace and unity.

The speakers at the event all spoke primarily about their fear of interaction with authorities and of the injustice within the system. A few of the people present at the event even expressed experiences with authorities in which they feared for their lives and experienced differential treatment because of race. They all indicated a need for change in the system, and elimination of constant fear.

At the end of the night, the community present at the event was connected directly to St. Louis, Missouri through a Skype call with Reverend Osgyefu Uhuru Sekou. In the call, the Reverend proclaimed the need for freedom fighters. The Reverend called for an expansion of the message presented at the Trinity College Solidarity event and the need to do more. This expansion could simply mean spreading the message through the Hartford area and not necessarily traveling all the way to Missouri in order to become a freedom fighter: anything to get the message of the movement outside the walls of Trinity College and to everywhere possible.

When asked about his thoughts on the event, Chaplain John Selders said, “It is my belief that what is happening in Ferguson is a microcosm of what is happening, and what is beginning to happen, across the world, and we here at Trinity represent that world. It matters that our student body is gathering and protesting against injustice. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Ferguson in solidarity.”

Hillel hosts discussion on Ugandan Jewish community



This past week, the Trinity community had the opportunity to meet an individual whose life serves as a fascinating look at the intersections of history, education, and gender. On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Trinity Hillel hosted this engrossing speaker, a young woman named Shoshanna Nambi. Hailing from Uganda, Nambi is a prominent member of the Abayudaya Jewish community and is one of the first young women from that community to receive a college education, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Her life and ancestry connect to a diverse variety of topics within Uganda, and her work today helps to propel Uganda’s Abayudaya community forward into the 21st century and highlights the increasing role and agency of women in this communal movement.

Nambi’s Jewish ancestry can trace its roots back to the first proliferation of Judaism in Uganda, led by Semei Kakungulu in the 1920s. Kakungulu, after his conversion to Judaism in 1919, founded the Abayudaya community in southeast Uganda in 1920. Among his earliest followers was Nambi’s grandfather, Sol, who is one of the community’s oldest members, still alive today at 94. Judaism is a minority religion in Uganda, and the burgeoning Jewish community faced many challenges over its history, notably the oppressive regime of Idi Amin from 1971 to 1979, where most religious affiliation was prohibited, and carried with it a death sentence.

The Abayudaya community survived with only 300 living members, maintaining their faith underground, holding fast to their heritage, hoping to pass it on to the next generation. Since then, the community has thrived, and their numbers have regrown to around 2,000. They are very devout, holding to the many tenants of Conservative Judaism, keeping their version of kashrut diet, and observing Shabbat weekly. There are five different synagogues in the region, and many foreign Rabbis and interested Jewish (and other) foreigners visit them each year. In fact, a number of members of Trinity’s Jewish community had visited the area in years prior, which is actually how Trinity became acquainted with Shoshanna Nambi in the first place.

Despite their numerical proliferation, the community faces many challenges today. Until fairly recently, the vast majority of the community members were subsistence farmers, and the community was fairly poor as a result. The synagogues and religious figures in the community have taken effective steps to remedy this problem, however. Several Jewish schools have opened in the past couple of decades, and this has enabled many young people (and even some of the older generation) to become more educated, and a number of community members have become very well-educated, and brought new opportunities back to their homeland.

Shoshanna Nambi is one such individual.

After graduating with high marks from one of the local Jewish schools, Nambi continued her education, and alongside several of her friends, was one of the first women of the Abayudaya community to graduate from university in Uganda’s capital city. Nambi’s education was no mean feat. Notwithstanding the relative poverty of the region, Ugandan women (like women the world over) have long been expected to stay at home for the most part, tending to more domestic affairs, at the expense of their education and empowerment. Nambi is aiming to change that.

After earning her degree, Nambi returned to the Abayudaya community where she has taken up leadership roles with aplomb. She has helped to coordinate a biannual women’s conference and works extensively to promote health and education in the Abayudaya community, in addition to promoting women’s issues. Underscoring her work on women and gender issues, she cited a number of women in the Abayudaya community who in the last decade or so have risen to prominence in the community, notably one woman who has served as the community treasurer for five years, one woman who is currently working for her Master’s Degree, and a couple of different women who have opened their own small businesses. Nambi points to these successful women as an example of the increasing empowerment of Ugandan women, particularly in the Jewish communities of Uganda.

Nambi’s works promoting women’s interests and public health have gained significant ground in recent years. The women’s conference that she was so active in is becoming a platform for women all across Uganda, and, with help from donations and microcredit loans, women are beginning to own their own businesses and participate more in local politics, giving the women involved greater agency and independence. The Jewish community has been very helpful in propping up this platform as well. Further, Nambi has worked extensively raising awareness and providing information about HIV and AIDS, an issue of great importance to women (and men) of the region. They have been working to educate the public about the prevalence and transmission of the disease, and their efforts have made many communities safer and more aware of the problem, which has led to marked improvement in public health. Coordination with local Muslim and Christian communities has contributed to the efficacy of these programs. Nambi has also participated in the founding of two new Jewish schools, and has helped to bring in volunteers from abroad to help teach. She related a poignant story about an 85-year-old woman from the United States who came over to help teach Hebrew.

Shoshanna Nambi’s talk concluded with a stirring performance of songs traditional to Jewish communities, among them Psalm 150, praising the devotion of God to the people of Israel.

The actual nation of Israel may be far from Nambi’s homeland, but the power and solace of the faith runs strong through her and her community, completely disregarding geographic isolation and political and social troubles. The Jewish faith has clearly had a profound effect on the people of the Abayudaya community, and they have carved a niche for themselves in their land and are making very successful strides to keep their community alive, despite the shifting landscape of the place and times we live in.

Trinity was truly fortunate to have had a look at such a unique and vibrant foreign community and to have seen a presentation delivered so eloquently by a such an engaging, successful, and articulate young woman.

Ferguson: violence does not bring about positive change



In the wake of the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, many individuals took to Facebook to share their thoughts and express their frustration. I saw post after post concerning Ferguson and many of the posts spawned heated debates in their comment sections. As one might expect, my feed contained the gamut of opinions on the issue. Some defended Officer Wilson’s actions while others condemned what they saw as the institutional racism of America.

Among the many sentiments expressed, some Facebook users said that they stood in solidarity with the rioters in Ferguson. These users affixed the hashtag “#NoJusticeNoPeace” to their statuses and openly endorsed the violence and destruction that was taking place. One such user wrote, “violence is the only way to stop oppression by the police.”

I condemn this viewpoint and I condemn any Facebook user who affixed the hashtag “#NoJusticeNoPeace” to their status to mean that they support the violence of the Ferguson riots.

I do not believe that the United States government is an autocratic one. We do not live in a police state in which the only avenue for social progress is rioting. Instead, we live in arguably the most free and open society in the world. In the United States, citizens have the ability to fight with words and peaceful protest.

In the United States, violence is not a necessary evil. There is nothing necessary about violence in a free and open society. For those who are dissatisfied with the Grand Jury decision, the overturning of police cars and the burning of local businesses will not reverse that decision. If injustice has been committed, the destructive actions of an angry mob will not restore justice.

Last week, a friend and I discussed our respective opinions on the Ferguson riots. After I said why I thought the violence was unjustified, my friend responded that our nation was founded in the midst of violence.

He went on to describe the years before the birth of the United States in which members of the thirteen colonies tried to use diplomatic measures to respond to abuses by the British government. For example, members of the Second Continental Congress drafted the Olive Branch Petition, which sought to avoid war with Great Britain. After peaceful efforts like the Olive Branch Petition failed, early Americans turned to violence to achieve their political goals. My friend said that the rioters are not so different from the heroes of the American Revolution that we celebrate and deify.

For me, there is a crucial difference between the rioters of Ferguson and unruly eighteenth-century Bostonians. Colonial England is a far cry from present-day America. The early Americans who took up arms against the British were laboring under an autocratic government. Our government may be called inefficient, but it cannot be called autocratic. Our society is one in which voices are heard and individual rights are cared for. Especially in more recent history, we can see that peaceful demonstration is a powerful force in America.

One example is “The Great March on Washington,” which took place in 1963. It was one of the greatest social protests in the history of the United States and it had a massive impact on the rights of African Americans. The shooting of Michael Brown and the reaction surrounding it is part of a larger issue of race relations across the nation. To address this complex and multifaceted issue, we need to exercise care, consideration, and levelheadedness. We do not need to turn to violence.

Tensions over religion rise and cause strife in Israel



Israel has been an unstable region since the 1890s. The presence of two religious groups in one county is the core reason to the social turmoil. Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting for territorial and regional dominance. Foreign presence worsened the Arab Israel conflict further because false promises were made to both the groups. The stark religious beliefs and years of bloodshed have caused Israel to become an unstable region.

Jerusalem has always been the middle ground of conflict for both the Israelis and Palestinians. So it is no surprise that on Nov. 10, an Israeli soldier and woman were killed. Usually the death of an individual is highlighted if they are famous, but in this case, the death due to religious identity is significant. These attacks occur frequently, which explains people’s fear regarding my visit to Israel in the summer. Instead of my parents, my friends voice their displeasure about my trip to Israel. I do not blame them because a week ago the police killed a Palestinian citizen. Moreover, even the leaders of Fatah described these attacks as “natural” or “normal.” Representatives of the government are not hesitating to be part of the knife intifada either. Therefore, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under severe pressure to resolve matters as soon as possible.

Being in a high government position is indeed the worst job ever. One is criticized more rather than appreciated. Mr. Netanyahu is put in a difficult spot because of the distinct opinions of the right and left. The left blame the Prime Minister for not initiating a peace process with the Palestinians while the right accuses him because they believe that his security policies are lenient. The abhorrence is so strong against the Prime Minister that a left-leaning member of his cabinet resigned in protest of his policy toward Palestinians. Despite all this criticism, Mr. Netanyahu made a statement saying that Israeli-Arab citizens “who demonstrate against Israel and in favor of a Palestinian state” can “move to the Palestinian Authority or Gaza.” Clearly, talks of territorial divides still continue.

The United States ambassador of Israel, Daniel Shapiro, reacted to the attacks on a Twitter post by stating, “There is no justification for terrorism, under no circumstances.” But what is the definition of terrorism? Will there ever be a solution to the ever-lasting Arab-Israeli conflict? Most of the attacks are aimed at all parts of the country because both communities want to get rid of each other. So restoring peace in Israel is tedious. Nonetheless, to resolve the problem the country’s internal security minister ordered a crackdown to arrest members of the Palestinian militant groups. This explains why the Israeli authorities attributed to the stabbing of Palestinian men. The Israeli police even arrested an 18-year-old man from a refugee camp on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus. A security guard from a nearby Jewish settlement shot the second suspect. He was a member of the Islamic Jihad and spent five years in an Israeli prison. These attacks will not stop because there is a deep-rooted hatred between the two religious groups.

Israel comprises of numerous religious groups that have different viewpoints. The leader of Hamas, Fathi Hamad, stated that, “Even he who owns nothing but his faith has a kitchen in his house in which he has a knife. He must grab his knife and confront the Zionist enemy.” Another Hamas official said, “Anyone who owns a knife, a baton, a weapon and a car” and does not attack Israelis “does not belong to Palestine.” Moreover, Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said Israeli “crimes led the youth to fight back and take revenge.” These strong statements reinforce the hate that has manifested between Israelis and Palestinians over the years.

The religious violence that exists in Israel is not unique to this region solely. The Hindu-Muslim hatred is another example of religious violence. Since the 1920s frequent riots have occurred between the Hindu and Muslims. The riots took place because of Hindu processions disrespecting Muslim prayers, which eventually led to communal killings. This hatred gave birth to the question of territorial division once the British decided to free their colony. Thus, Pakistan was created to create peace within a multifaceted nation. The Hindu and Muslims were given their own territory but riots continued to persist. This shows that the creation of two different nations for the Israelis and Palestinians may not be the solution either.

The Israel Prime Minister has a tedious task of establishing peace in Israel. Mr. Netanyahu will face opposition because people will blame him for the killings, but he needs to take action soon because this is not an isolated attack. The car and stabbing attacks are stimulants for an intifada. Action needs to be taken because unless a decision is made, this wave of violence will continue to swell.


Searching for truth among rumors about Ferguson



It’s been almost four months since the infamous shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The grand jury tasked with deciding the fate of the shooter, police officer Darren Wilson, is rumored to be on the precipice of releasing a verdict. In anticipation of this major event Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon, has enlisted the aid of the National Guard to help hold down the fort should riots and protests take a turn for the violent and dangerous. Is this a way of foreshadowing what the verdict will be? Nixon claims he requested the presence of the 400 National Guard troops regardless of the outcome of the verdict. This simple comment has already caused much of the nation to be up in arms in an attempt to decipher the results of the decision before it is publicly released.

In the midst of these cryptic, hidden meanings and complicated choices being made by those in power, one must remember the only guaranteed fact in this case: no one knows what actually happened. One account of the story rests with Michael Brown, never to be told. One account rests with Officer Wilson, who voluntarily testified for four hours during his hearing. Of the multitude of residents who claim to have seen the shooting occur, no two people have told the same story. Some claim Brown rushed at Wilson prior to being shot, and some claim Wilson chased after him and shot him in the back. One individual reportedly saw Wilson curse at Brown before hitting the teen with his car door. Another completely contradicts this story, stating that Brown cursed at Wilson for asking him to move to the sidewalk before violently shoving an excited Wilson back into his vehicle. It is evident that no one truly remembers what he or she saw, and no two people saw the same thing. Missing even a half of a second of the events could result in the omission of crucial details that could swing the jury’s verdict one way or another. The jury itself is made up of many people, all of who most likely interpreted and understood the events of the trials in radically different ways.

The masses marching for Wilson’s conviction would disagree with me, but that is the beauty of it. Neither opinion is right, and neither is wrong. No one was there and no one knows what truly happened. Yet we are all bombarded with small, minute details and conspiracy theories veiled as factual information from innumerable sources, some credible and some not. In processing this information, we all have a right to form opinions. With that right comes the responsibility to honor the opinions of others. It is a form of mutual respect and in the midst of the tension and confusion surrounding this terrible event, many have forgotten about this critical part of coexisting in a diverse population.

Countless Americans are torn, unsure of how to feel and think about this incident. Given this complete and total lack of factual information and evidence either way, what is the proper course of action? Certainly not playing judge and jury. Not surprisingly, it appears as though the angriest and most inflammatory people are those commenting on articles and blog posts from hundreds or thousands of miles away from Ferguson, Missouri. These Internet jurists exude rage, malice, and even pure hatred towards the others commenting on these posts. It is impossible to see the situation objectively because so much of the media coverage has been skewed by political beliefs and racial discriminations. Even a single word could be dissected over and over for hidden meaning by thousands of people who will all arrive at a different conclusion each time they read it. Sadly, this is the reality in which we live and we must learn to cope with it. Otherwise, these issues will never be resolved.

As with any upsetting, confusing, and troublesome event, one must consciously try to take a step back and remember to take in all information with a grain of salt. The media coverage of the previous riots and protests has fanned the fire in the worst possible way. Headlines are polarizing. People are hypothesizing about who is guilty, promising a new juicy secret, or sharing a shred of a rumor. In this trying time, the nation must do its best to remember that opinions are just that: opinions. Regardless of what the verdict is, the only way to avoid further division and tension in Ferguson, and across the United States, is to remember this fact. Otherwise, hatred will continue to plague the United States, a nation known for its acceptance of all people and its promise to preserve their Constitutional rights and freedoms.

Personally, I believe Officer Darren Wilson is innocent. Michael Brown assaulted him, and assaulting a police officer is a crime.  Brown also ran away from Officer Wilson’s car in an attempt to resist arrest, which is also a crime. Therefore, Wilson was within his rights to use the force of a firearm in stopping Brown’s escape from the scene of his crime. I do not believe Officer Wilson would have acted differently were Michael Brown white and I do not believe he would have acted differently if he himself were black. I have read dozens of articles and updates on witness statements and autopsy releases and I believe that Officer Darren Wilson’s actions, though severe and ultimately upsetting, were completely necessary and legal. Did I mention that I was not present at the scene?


ISIS beheadings raise questions about U.S. foreign policy



On Nov. 16, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS released a video detailing the beheading of 26 year-old American captive, Peter Kassig. Peter is now the third American victim to be killed by ISIS after being taken captive. James Foley, who was 41 years old, and Steven Sotloff, who was 31, are the two other victims who were also beheaded by this terrorist organization. Sadly, the U.S. is not the only country to be under the attack of ISIS. In total, ISIS has taken 23 people, all from various countries, hostage. They have also released footage of the murders of two British hostages. I still remain unable to understand why this group would harm innocent people just to prove a point. I find it confounding that they made these gruesome acts public. But, does the fault of these deaths lie solely on ISIS or does the U.S. government share some of the blame in not reacting?

The U.S.’s current hostage policy refuses the option to pay ransom. The hope is that this policy will prevent hostage situations from becoming a regular occurrence, as it removes any sort of incentive for doing so. This makes sense because if the U.S. government were to pay a ransom each time a citizen was taken hostage, more kidnappings might happen because ransom would become an expected reward. Yet, this reasoning offers little comfort to the families who have lost a loved one due to being taken hostage. The fact that these deaths were publicized compounds to the pain these families feel. It makes it a lot more difficult to understand why the government would refuse to pay the ransom despite the fact that it would allow their loved one to still be alive. The argument that was offered in defense of this policy was that the any money given for ransom could be used to fund their terrorist activities. To be honest, I do not think there can be a solution to this problem without someone feeling it is unfair. It is important to remember that it is the victims who pay the ultimate price.

At this point it is important to consider the other options the U.S. can take in order to prevent these horrible instances from occurring again. There are multiple European countries that pay ransoms for their kidnapped citizens. This has resulted in the criticism of our government’s current policy. James Foley’s family has been particularly vocal about this point. After he was kidnapped, the family received an email asking for money. They then took this information to the FBI, only to be told that the government must refuse to give into to the ransom request. Sadly, even if the family had been able to come up with such an amount, they had also been told that it would be considered a crime to pay for it themselves. They waited eight months torturously long months which ended with James Foley’s murder.

In similar situations other governments would have paid the ransom. This then raises the question as to why the U.S. is not one of these countries that helps saves the lives of its citizens? I cannot say that I will ever understand what the Foley family, or the other families, is going through. What I can say is that I understand what the policy is trying to prevent. This policy helps to deter further kidnappings and simultaneously quells the fears of citizens traveling abroad who might be nervous about this. What if the ransom given to ISIS was used to fund an attack on the U.S. or another country? However, I do find it troubling that the U.S. government is being inconsistent with this policy. On May 31, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s life was traded for five Taliban prisoners who were at Guantanamo Bay. This is a dark contrast to the response the Foley family received when they were told that the government never negotiates for hostages. No wonder the family has been very critical of this policy, as it seems that there has been a double standard in place.

I think that the government should take one stance, stick with it and be consistent in handling all situations. Someone may always get hurt in the process regardless and there is never a definitive right decision regarding these complex matters. I hope that the government can find a way to neutralize ISIS and thereby prevent further deaths. Once the threat posed by ISIS is gone it will also ease the fears of those who are nervous of being taken hostage. This will hopefully result in fewer families having to suffer the trauma of watching their loved ones die.


Executive action needed for progress on immigration issues



As the president sets the stage to begin the process of implementing his executive orders designed to curtail the number of deportations for some three million undocumented people, the Republican Party is gearing up for a showdown. Their anger and series of warnings to the administration is, in many ways, an expression of outrage over the imperial presidency. The Mitch McConnell’s and John Boehner’s within the Beltway feel as though Congress needs to be the one to act on such pivotal matters as reforming what all can concede is a broken immigration system.

The truth of the matter is that Congress is not acting on immigration reform. It’s being held hostage of any chance of meaningful change by a band of opportunists intent on politicizing what could be one of the great accomplishments of this decade. And sadly, it is not the politicians who are suffering by preventing a vote on this defining issue of the day, but an estimated 11.7 million people in this country who, for all intents and purposes, are as American as you and me.

Would the status quo of political stalemate over immigration in Washington still be true if the great majority of these undocumented citizens were from Europe and not Mexico and parts of Central America? I really doubt it. There is a tinge of racism that unfortunately creeps along with this debate over who has the right to live in this country and who does not. However, America’s controversial history with immigration is not rooted in the context of today’s debate, but the migration of the Irish in the 1840s and, subsequently, the Italians at the turn of the century. These were the first ethnic groups who willingly traveled to this country and experienced the cruelness and inhumane treatment by those who felt they were more American simply because they had lived here longer.

Yet, the Brahmins and Yankee elites who castigated the Irish were themselves descendants of immigrants. However, as they rose to positions of power and success, they had lost touch with that sentiment, only to try to close the door on those who wanted to discover that same success for themselves and their families.

As someone who is a descendent of Irish Catholic immigrants, I have heard many stories from my own grandfather over the moral intrusion of treating immigrants as less than any other American. I hope that the leaflets that bared the acronym “NINA” in store windows in the latter part of the nineteenth century, which prevented my grandfather’s grandparents from obtaining well-paying jobs and marginalized them from the rest of society, does not become the backdrop to the new emotional norm over immigration in this country.

This brings us to today’s debate. It is clear the GOP and some on the fringes of the Democratic Party lack a certain perception on this matter and appear devoid of compassion for those trying to make it in this country, but cannot seem to find the proper mechanism to gain legitimate status. In its truest form, this is a debate over freedom and enslavement, and right and wrong. The Republican Party, which is the party of Lincoln, needs to see and ultimately harness the moral imperative for passing substantive immigration reform, as those who champion freedom in this country will ultimately with its passage.

As a country, we have an opportunity to get immigration right. We cannot afford to have fringe groups on both sides of the political spectrum ignite a xenophobic crusade against immigrants, which has long been the case when new people arrive in this county.

This should not be a matter of political calculation or grandstanding, but as a question of being on the right or wrong side of history. The GOP, although much different today and less attuned to the problems minorities face, was the party that led the fight against slavery and played a key role in desegregating the South during the civil rights era. Surely, this is a party that can see the moral necessity to correcting a failed system that lacks the inclusiveness and fairness that runs against the fibers of American values.

This is not to say that all people living here undocumented should have an automatic right to stay. Those with substantial criminal records and those with violent pasts should not be included in this argument. However, creating a system for those who have worked hard and have raised children in this country to learn English, pay their back-taxes, and be sent to the back of the line to gain citizenship is not only the right thing to do, but the best thing to do for this country.

In summary, we are ultimately a country of immigrants. We neither have the right nor the moral authority to tell anyone who wants to work hard and be a productive citizen that they cannot live in this country. More importantly, it is the wave of immigrants throughout this country’s history who have contributed to its economic, social, and military success and, in turn, fueled that beacon of light, which makes us a unique nation and the stalwart of democratic values. The question is will that beacon of light endure as this debate intensifies?


The Journey of “Word by Word” by Christopher Hager




Professor Christopher Hager, Associate Professor of English, was recently awarded the prestigious Frederick Douglass Prize for his book, “Word by Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing (Harvard University Press, 2013).” Professor Hager has conducted research in slavery, emancipation, and Civil War-Era literature, which contributed to his interest in exploring these topics further for “Word by Word.” In doing research over the years, Hager found a substantial amount of letters and diaries written by African-American slaves, which defied the stereotype that all slaves were illiterate. Hager spent about five years researching and writing “Word by Word,” which clearly paid off, given the complimentary feedback and success of the book.

Hager says that the book is about “African American slaves and recently free slaves who could write were writing about and how they were writing.” He saw this as an “interesting and important conflict because [he] was always taught in school that slaves were illiterate.” Hager took it upon himself to analyze the documents, including a number of lengthy quotations, and included photographs for his readers to be able to see first-hand, noting that pictures of the handwritten manuscripts themselves have something interesting about them. Because he had access to documents that the average person may not come across, Hager says he “felt a great sense of challenge and a sense of responsibility for trying to develop some insight into these peoples’ lives. In many instances, I was trying to piece back together the thought processes of people who lived 150 years ago.”

One of Hager’s biggest challenges was attempting to make sense of the documents, which were written by people who had never been formally taught how to write. Hager said the complexity of the language and ideas written in these letters was “imperfect,” due to the slaves’ complete lack of education.“Therefore,” Hager says, “they couldn’t spell and sometimes had a hard time expressing their thoughts the way they wanted to.”

Hager spends a large portion of the book “trying to look closely at what’s going on underneath the surface.” These primary sources are something that Hager encourages English majors and writers in general to utilize in order to have a stronger interaction with history. “When I was an undergraduate, I never saw an original manuscript written by someone in the 19th century. If I wanted to understand historical context for literary work, I read about it in a book. Now you can go online and find thousands and thousands of pages of letters written by people hundreds of years ago.” More often that not, Hager will share primary sources with his students in class rather than having them using books. Hager believes that this resource can “heighten the sense of insight” one has when studying a particular historic period, or even more specifically, an individual’s experience during that period.

Besides the fact that “Word by Word” was presented the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, a prestigious honor recognizing an outstanding, nonfiction book in the subject of anti-slavery and emancipation movements, Hager says he is proud of the fact that “some people think [he] did a good job and a responsible job in trying to recover the thoughts and feelings [of some slaves].” In reconstructing and analyzing the materials, Hager felt he was able to allow readers to “gain access to their experience without projecting ourselves onto them or put words in their mouth.”

Furthermore, Hager had to analyze the documents in the way a historian typically would, rather than a literature scholar. Moving back and forth between both the disciplines, Hager had to think like a historian in finding the right materials to use while analyzing them in the way he has been trained to do as a literature scholar. “Historians work with those materials in a somewhat different way- they don’t try to analyze them in a way that students in a literary class analyze a poem. They look at them for evidence of some events that occurred and what happened.”

Hager’s research for this book led him to teach a brand new class called “Literacy and Literature” (cross-listed under American Studies and English), which presented a challenge within itself. Hager says that it was “very difficult to figure out how to take some of the material [he] was looking at and present it to his students.” Hager’s investment in these areas has allowed students and scholars alike to gain deeper knowledge about the lives of slaves and the era of emancipation. “Although it’s impossible to really know what the real experience of slavery, maybe we can get closer to an understanding of slavery than we think.”


Fall Dance Concert showcases powerful performances


Staff Writer

This past weekend the Department of Theater & Dance put on its Fall Dance production, which showcased works created and performed by Trinity faculty, guest artists, and students.The show, as curated by Theater & Dance faculty member Lesley Farlow, featured six works built around a theme of dance being “spun out” of its makers and performers. This kind of broad conceptual structure allowed the evening to span various styles and approaches, while allowing the audience members to discover and ponder its unifying themes.

The first performance was a piece by Jennifer Polins, a guest choreographer whose work featured prominently in the evening. The work was called “Personificationisms” and it featured three dancers carrying laptops, reacting in real time to the videos displayed upon them, moving independently and in tandem between circles of light. Upon its start, I must say I became worried that the piece would be guilty of milking the insta-relevance that some go after with technology-themed pieces, but this was something different, something far stronger. Polins used a unique process-influenced style to spin a piece that was not only visually compelling, but also one that raised fresh questions about individuality and the Internet. The piece interestingly drew on the motion of musical conductors, disrupting expectations of performance, control, and what constitutes conventional “dance” movement. The piece was one of the finest and most thoroughly conceived of the night, one that I expect will roll around in the heads of the audience for some time.

A short but powerful student work titled “Metastasis” followed, adopting a narrative structure about illness. The piece’s three performers danced in changing pairs, ultimately making a movingly nebulous statement about humanity as the one true antidote to sickness. The piece was superbly handled.

Another student-driven piece was performed by Glory Kim ’17, and was a very  narrative and emotionally charged piece “For Brian,” named after a now-deceased child  that Kim worked with over the summer in Zimbabwe. Kim’s work was most interesting both in its story-driven treatment of loss and in his repurposing of hip-hop movement into a more formal dance context. The piece proved as technically engaging as it was emotionally resonant.

A particular highlight was Trinity alumnus Jonathan Gonzalez’s ’12 stunning “Messages with the Moon.” Gonzalez has achieved success performing around the world, and here he returned to present perhaps the most singular and affecting piece of the night. It featured found sounds, a telephone, a short monologue, and it managed to deftly use these features to contort the viewers’ minds around the story it presented. Gonzalez, performing the piece himself, embodying a disarming physicality, repurposing atypical and convulsive motions into something beautiful and evocative. The work is paradoxically the hardest to describe but the easiest to visualize, as its masterful construction is hard to pick apart, but so totally memorable and moving in its genius. The final image of the piece proved its most arresting, as Gonzales spun around the space, arms out, a human helicopter threatening to take off at any moment, but remaining on the ground as the light faded into darkness. This was the sort of challenging, thrilling performance that we hope to see at these events, and Gonzalez more than delivered.

Jen Polins’ solo piece also proved very thought -provoking. Titled “The Sensible Thing” and partly set to German choral music (Polins lived and worked in Germany for many years), the work presented a conceptually rich physical narrative of restriction and performance. Polins called upon the physical language of the restrained, her movement often evoking handcuffs and often stopping short, shuttling between imaginary walls and oppressors. Just as heavy in her piece was a sense of performance, but one against the performer’s will, brought to its peak in the final image of the work, in which she flourished into a pained bow of sorts. Thinking about the work in conjunction with the title, I read it as a sort of dance treatise on the bondage of social performance, although its brilliance also lay in the broadness of its potential interpretation. In short, this piece yet again attested to the completeness and singularity of Polins’ vision.

The show finished with the Trinity College Dance Company’s collaborative piece with Farlow, “Undercurrents.” The two-part piece proved visually fascinating as it made use of the entire company at once, juxtaposing mechanical and fluid movement and drawing its energy in from its group dynamic. It proved a stunning finale and an opportunity for the company to show off an excellent piece of collaborative work.

Overall, the Fall Dance Concert this year was perfectly crafted, a unique celebration of talent across Trinity’s dance community on all levels of activity. This unique sense of vitality drove it to incredible heights, and, as good dance always does, it left the audience just a little lighter on their feet.


Cinestudio Review: David Fincher’s adaptation of “Gone Girl”


Staff Writer

“What are you thinking?” “How are you feeling?” “What have we done to each other?” Thoughts like these and others flit through Nick Dunne’s, portrayed by Ben Affleck, mind as he glares into the eyes of his wife, Amy Elliott Dunne. By the end of David Fincher’s newest thriller “Gone Girl,” playing at Cinestudio this month, you’ll want answers to the very same questions. There are, as usual, a few points you need to know before I get started here. If you don’t know what happens in “Gone Girl,” I’ll do my best to not spoil anything for you. It seems the twist that occurs around the one hour mark is sensational enough to be canonized as common knowledge, or soon will be.

Here’s what you should know right off the bat: Amy is gone. Where? Nobody knows, and all eyes in North Carthage, Missouri are on her half-slimy half-charming husband. Nick and Amy met just as their careers as New York City writers were beginning to take off. Naturally it was love at first sight and their early days are heartwarming,  full of quips and carefree repartee. What begins as a loving relationship only grows, until somewhere along the line it sours, curdles, and rots away into a seething cesspool of lies, intrigue, and hatred, bubbling with the hint of murder. Did Nick kill his wife? Or is there something else going on, something perhaps even more sinister? “Gone Girl” does not so much tell us a story as unfold one before our eyes. We learn about our characters first as they wish to be seen, and then, over time, they come into focus, and are laid bare, warts and all.

While it has been heralded as a success, there have been a few murmurings here and there about the feminist repercussions of a movie like “Gone Girl.” Again without giving too much away, I can only respond that, what may at first glance look like a description of all women in a negative light, is in truth a spectral, perceptive, even loving portrait of one remarkable, and darkly fascinating woman, Amy. She is the highlight of the movie, love her or hate her, and Rosamund Pike brings something razor sharp and hypnotic to her role: something that brings an already fascinating movie up a peg from “good” to “exceptional.” Pike stands at a poised 5’9, sports long hair that is less blonde than it is “haunted wheatfield” in color, and wields a Romanesque facial structure that could give paper cuts at the correct angle. In “Gone Girl,” she proves herself a first-class actress. There are few people alive today who can speak daggers the way Pike can, and her work here would smack of Gilded Age sultriness if it weren’t for the feeling of late January that wafts off of her every word. It’s quite a talent, and it seems Ms. Pike has a bright future.

On the other side of the story, Affleck was similarly well cast in his role as Nick. He brings his own brand of ignorance to the characters that, while irritating and chauvinistic, are balanced against all odds with his rugged handsomeness and quick wit. What we’re left with is the bull’s eye center of the male stereotype. It’s from Nick that we get the most anti-feminist sentiment, and though he is the center of our story, he himself fails to see what we can where it counts: the genius that comes with the evil. It’s a pleasure to watch the two interact on screen, before and after the twist is dropped, in flashbacks and in the present.

Supporting characters all seem perfectly in order: Neil Patrick Harris as a ludicrously wealthy stalker type, Carrie Coon as Nick’s deadpan voice of reason twin sister, and an unusually serious Tyler Perry as Nick’s celebrity lawyer. Each cast member deserves his and her own personal praise. Thanks to them, every piece falls into place here, as “Gone Girl” takes us into a world of its own making. A world that is teeming with the soft gunmetal grey light of Fincher’s greatest hits. A silken sea of tension is provided by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s synthesized score, Gillian Flynn’s near perfect screenplay, and the talented actors that drive it along. It is a story of the everyday suburban life that looks perfect from the outside, but as with all apparently beautiful things, what moves below the surface is a mystery.

“Gone Girl” will make you believe that you know next to nothing about your loved ones, but even after they shock you with the truth, even after you learn how wrong you were, love, like a spider’s web, is impossible to escape. That’s the most appropriate takeaway from this film, but it’s just as likely and perhaps appropriate that you’ll walk out of the theater thinking that “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”

Bantam Artist of the Week: DJ Joey McGlinchey ’17


Staff Writer

On late Monday nights, you can find several students in the library working on assignments or studying for exams. Joey McGlinchey ’17, on the other hand, is carefully selecting music and broadcasting his segment on the Trinity Radio Station: “The Joe Show.” He makes the long trek from his dorm room in Summit South to the first floor of High Rise, which is where the campus radio station is located.

As a Psychology major and Cognitive Sciences minor, a member of the archery club and part of an intramural soccer team, McGlinchey is bombarded with lab assignments, meetings, and games. Despite this, he can always count on the radio show for allowing him to escape from the usual chaotic routine and kick back with music. McGlinchey began working at the radio station the beginning of his sophomore year. His inspiration first came from his parents who have always told him that he has a great musical taste that people enjoy. Publically broadcasting music sounded like a perfect fit for him, so he decided to join the radio show and influence others with his unique taste.

Initially, McGlinchey asked around to see if there was any way he could have his own show. Then, one day while he was walking down Vernon Street, after his soccer game was cancelled, he was randomly approached by one of the head disc jockeys on campus. The member of the radio station asked him if he would like to finally have a show, as they had an open time slot. Of course, McGlinchey accepted and immediately went to the meeting to begin his thriving music career. He had to learn about all of the rules of the FCC and how to use the equipment. He explains how he got the hang of it immediately, “I’m technically called a Disc Jockey now for the station, WRTC. I make up playlists on the spot, involve my listeners, and speak my stream of consciousness. I don’t like sticking to the script, as my best creativity is on the spot. I like to see where the show takes me while on air, which I think is most intriguing to my audience.” The show is an hour and a half long, but he spends a vast amount of time choosing the music and planning out the segments.

Before the radio station at Trinity, McGlinchey has pursued his interest in music several times. He has always had a passion for it and has played numerous instruments throughout middle and high school. In high school, he tried to start up a club for podcasting, but it did not last very long, as he and the other members were pre-occupied with applying to colleges and finishing up their senior year on a good academic note. When he started college, he realized that he enjoyed listening to music rather than playing it, which is why the radio show is excellent for him.

McGlinchey’s favorite show that he hosted was on Nov. 17. This show included a political discussion and also provided people with a wonderful selection of music and shout-outs to those who requested them. He says, “When I have guest hosts, it’s so much more entertaining. I absolutely love collaborating with friends and having people to talk to. They bring energy and cheerfulness to my show.” McGlinchey has two more shows after Thanksgiving break, and he certainly plans to host more friends and a variety of new music.

Along with the last shows of this semester that McGlinchey is excited for, he also looks forward to starting up the show next semester. Furthermore, he is eagerly waiting for summer, when he plans to get an internship with a radio station around New York City, where many of his favorite stations are located. His ideal internship would definitely be with “Sirius XM.”

McGlinchey added, “The best thing about being a part of WRTC is that I can just sit and listen to my own music and relax. Especially on Mondays—at the start of the week—when I have so many projects to worry about and complete, the radio show is a great way to chill out while I introduce my music taste to others. I try to influence others with my musical preferences and hope that they love it almost as much as I do. It’s awesome to be a part of something on campus too—it helps me feel like I’m more engaged in the community. It’s not even just the population of Trinity who is able to listen. The radio show extends to the city of Hartford, and anyone who wants to listen online. There are a lot of people that I’m not really great friends with that listen to my show every week, which is an honor to me. I really appreciate all of my listeners.” Tune into “The Joe Show” Monday nights at 9 p.m.!


Theatre & Dance Theses promise to engage audiences


A & E Editor

On Dec. 4, and 5, some of the seniors majoring in Theatre and Dance will be showcasing their thesis performances at the Trinity Commons Performance Lab. The Theatre and Dance Department requires its seniors to work on individual theses in which they explore a particular theme or subject, and develop a project or performance that combines their research and skills that they have acquired over their past semesters at Trinity. Later this week, Chanel Erasmus ’15, Yanique Anderson ’15, and Malcom Moon ’15, will be presenting their works that explore diverse themes and styles, and ultimately truly reflect their individual experiences and ideas. Watching the thesis performances not only promises to be an inspiring and engaging experience, but also presents the opportunity to support and encourage these seniors who have worked hard individually as well as with their cast and crew members to create something meaningful.

Erasmus is an international student who grew up in Cape Town South Africa, and is a very prominent member of our student body, having recently delivered an excellent performance on stage in the recent production of “‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore.” Her thesis explores a subject that she describes to be “very close to her heart.”  She will be presenting her adaptation of a play called “Master Harold and the Boys” that is written by the “master of South African theater himself,” and one of her biggest inspirations, Athol Fugard.

The play traces the life of a young white boy and two older black male servants who work in his mother’s coffee shop. As Erasmus explains, “we are taken on a wild ride of emotions as we enter the lives of these three characters and explore what it is that stands between them.” The play reflects and responds to the brutal truths that concern the apartheid in South Africa, disclosing what it was like to be judged for the color of your skin, and unveiling the “complicated relationship between the blacks and whites.” Erasmus who was raised during the aftermath of the apartheid grew up hearing stories and experiences from her own family and loved ones during a not so distant past. Recognizing this very personal connection that she has to the subject play, it is most likely that her passion and unique understanding of the play should translate into an excellently directed performance that “promises to be extremely entertaining as well as brutally honest.” Erasmus expressed, “I hope I can show audience members what it was like growing up in South Africa and the truth behind apartheid. I also want to show how art can serve as a tool of reconciliation, similar to the way Truth and Reconciliation Commissions set up after apartheid brought a degree of closure to those that lost loved ones and those wishing to speak out about the truth.” Erasmus spent her last summer in South Africa researching a wide range of books on apartheid and Athol Fugard plays allowing her to draw more distinct connections that should enable her to “do justice to such a wonderful piece of text.” The title of Erasmus’ senior thesis production is a “World Without Collisions.” Her directorial skills combined with her promising cast and crew members: Malcom Moon ’15, Forrest Robinette ’16, Dan Trainor ’17, Assistant Director, Molly Belsky’16 and Stage Manager Savahna Reuben ’15 should result in a thought provoking and enjoyable performance on Dec. 4 at 7: 30 p.m. in the performance lab.

Andersons’ thesis performance titled “My Caged Bird Don’t Sing…” is a movement piece inspired by her voluntary experience in the Janet S. York Correctional Facility in Niantic Connecticut. For the past two years, Anderson has been involved in the Bridging Boundaries Arts Intervention Programs at York, which uses art and social work to provide outreach to the women at York. “The program fosters self-expression through song, dance and autobiographical narratives.” And during her time in the program, Anderson expressed that she was “moved by the women’s personal stories, and has come to appreciate the work that the women have done.” Her thesis is primarily informed by the “stories of the women housed at this facility, as well as [her] research on the experiences of other people who are or were at some point incarcerated.”

Her piece effectively seeks to give voice to the experiences of those who are incarcerated, “by exploring the emotional landscape of what it means to be trapped, physically, mentally, and emotionally.” The performance shall combine movement and text that has been written by inmates, “to shed light on life behind the razor wire, and to reveal the thoughts and emotions of a population often stigmatized and ostracized.” “My Caged Bird Don’t Sing…” is performed by Camryn Clarke ’17, Jordan Cram ’17 and Victoria Smith-Ellison ’15, and it will be shown at The Performance Lab at Trinity Commons on Friday, Dec 5 at 7:00 p.m.

Moon’s senior thesis “Spectacles” is unique in that it is both written and directed by him.  In his thesis he explores subjects that interested him following his involvement in a production of “Angels in America” last spring. His own role in the play as Louis a neurotic Jewish man who struggles with the dilemma of leaving his boyfriend who has just contracted AIDS in the 1980s, as a well as his interest in an African American character in the play named Belize, led him to begin researching the subject of race and homosexuality in America.

Through his research he explained that he became “fascinated by Langston Hughes, his poetry and alleged homosexuality, as well as the Harlem Renaissance.” He was especially interested in exploring the codes of society that were particular to “black homosexuals in the 20s, and by putting these codes in dialogue with the codes in contemporary America, [his] thesis was born.” His play thus parallels two time periods to raise questions pertaining to the extent to which societal norms and codes have evolved in relation to race and homosexuality. Moon’s thesis that is bound to display not only his dexterity, as not only a playwright but also a director, will also be performed on Friday Dec. 5 at 8:30 p.m. His talented cast consists of Allen Rios ’17, Oludare Bernard ’15, Khari-Elijah Jarrett ’16, Heath Harckham ’15, and Juan Vasquez ’15.

Given the intriguing themes and styles that the theses reflect, each of the performances is likely to prove worth a watch.


Three works of poetry by Karlyn Simpson ’17




Santa Ana, you are a disruptive force, tearing through everything without restraint, without manners or any courtesy for pre-existing life. You are warm. You sway things, you sway me. As I lay in this hammock, you rock me incredibly still. You make me daydream into a slumber under your pervasive reign. But suddenly everything about me is in danger. You foreshadow unfavorable things, unfavorable weather. A storm. A battle. (a metaphor for something that has a beginning, a middle, and an end). Oh Santa Ana, you rock the limbs of sturdy oaks. Because of you, the stems of those roses my lover bought me are bent, their heads tossed back. And worst of all, Santa Ana, you are just like him. He, who is like you, is not my lover who bought me those roses. He, who is like you, could never bring me roses because “love is cursed by monogamy.” And you Santa Ana, like he, sweep through, without any intention, spreading wildfire across areas that have gone months without rain, picking up dust and dirt. In the Great Basin, you, just like him, are that high-pressure system that grows between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. And you keep growing. You are the ardent wind that blows on my lover’s tired fire, snuffing the embers to death. Maybe I am at fault for carrying with me all of this debris. But you are so cruel to stir it up. How can you make me calm, so calm? When in your wake you leave only wreckage? An end. The end of a beginning and a middle. Yes, more than anything, you are a reminder of him and the warm danger he conducts when he brushes by me. Yes, you are a reminder of him. He who was a love I hardly scratched the surface of years ago. A new beginning. But a love I cannot have, until there is a definitive end. Oh Santa Ana, whisk away my lover so I can finally be as free as you are.






The pressure of your hand

On the arch of my back.

The weightlessness I feel

As you toss me to the bed.

And your smile.


That prized grip on my waist, as if I am a slippery fish

You plan to never throw back.

That silver necklace of yours, dangling in my face

When you are over me.


It’s music;

A chime in a hurricane.

The way it lies flat on your chest

As you lay next to me when we’re done.


When you point to your cheek before I leave,

As if I should have known.

But I don’t know

Hardly anything.


And I think I like that too, despite

Hating it as well.

Still the fact that I am no more special than any of the other fish,

Offers me hope that I can be.


So I stay liking you, even if there are only 10 things

I like about thee.























Like )










l a n d.




Trinity’s J-Term offers exciting courses for half credits




Looking to pick up an extra class credit? Are you a “Downton Abbey” fanatic? Do you really just need to get out of your house to recover from the stress of the holidays? If any of these things ring true, then January Term may be the program for you. J-Term, now in its second year, is a chance for students to take a half-credit course over winter break. In just two weeks, from Jan. 5 to Jan. 16, participants will have the ability to enrich their academic experience through interesting courses taught by dedicated professors. And with course titles like “Bible Zombies” and “Music in the 1960s”, there is a guarantee these are not what you would find during the regular semester.

This year a dozen classes are being offered, in a variety of disciplines. Classes are kept small—no more than 15 people—to encourage greater discussion between students and faculty, as well as more freedom in the way the class is structured.

The small size also allows for more time for students to venture off campus on field trips. One course, Professor Raskin’s “Health Care Access and Inequalities in the Americas” (COLL 301), will even be traveling to Nicaragua as part if their exploration of issues in health care access. While there, the class will be meeting key members of the government and health care community, policy makers, providers and stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the obstacles at hand. After looking at the two disparate settings—Hartford and Nicaragua—students will prepare a report on their experiences along with their suggestions for change.

If Central America doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, don’t worry because there are a wide range of inventive courses that don’t require a passport. In the biology department, Professor Draper will be offering class titled “Nutrition: Food and Fads” (BIOL 119) with discussion focused on the science of health and nutrition. Students will be challenged to design their own diet plan and even be able to cook selected recipes. Those New Year’s resolutions will be much easier to attain once a clear, science-backed plan is established.

For all the struggling writers out there, Professor Papoulis will be offering a class on “Writing and Mindfulness” (RHET 227). This course will experiment with meditation exercises and practices with the specific goal of creating better, more contemplative writers.

By spending two weeks focusing on their writing, students will be able to improve their academic status. Beyond the classroom, though, the mindfulness techniques taught in this class are useful in all aspects of one’s life.

By far one of the most distinctive classes being offered this January is Professor Regan-Lefebvre’s “Downton Abbey” in Historical Context (HIST 225). This course will look to the acclaimed television series, examining the British class system and the construction and role of the “big house.” Further discussion will look at the changing role of women during the early 20th century, the British involvement in World War I and the war’s impact on society. This class is a must for anyone who loves the show, or just has an interest in history.

This is just a sampling of the classes being offered this winter. J-Term is an opportunity unlike any other to learn about something you probably would never get a chance to study in a traditional classroom setting. The professors teaching these classes are really passionate about the subjects, making the experience far more enjoyable. On top of that, they only have a fraction of the amount of work a normal class would have. J Term is also a wonderful opportunity to try to get ahead with credits or make use of the final weeks of winter break. It’s a great idea to talk to your friends and maybe plan on taking a course together.

If participating in January Term sounds like something you would be interested in, act now. Registration for the term opens on Nov. 10 and closes Nov. 25, and space is limited. Talk to your advisor to discuss the possibilities and secure your spot now.


Rebecca Smith on studying abroad ‘down under’




It is a surreal feeling to arrive in a city on the other side of the globe and see, for the first time, the Sydney Opera House. We have all seen it in pictures and movies but witnessing these iconic venues in real life is a memorable experience to say the least. The Opera House is probably the first image that comes to mind when people think of the Australian city, but Sydney has more things to do and see than you can imagine.

Living within the city, we are never far from multiple beaches that you can easily get to whether it be by walking, bus, or ferry ride. Throughout the semester on days when we didn’t frequent the beach, we went to all kinds of street markets around the city, the largest IMAX theater in the world, a show at the Opera House, walked around the Royal Botanical gardens, or rode some rides at Luna Park. Studying in a major metropolitan city really does have the perk of always having something to do when you aren’t attending class.

I am currently studying here at the University of Sydney with three other Trinity students, Annabel Wilmerding ’16, Meredith Bear ’16, and Juan Vargas ’16. It’s quite a bit of a change from Trinity, going to 300 person lectures here instead of the usual 15 person classes. But experiencing a massive university is a great experience. I had the good fortune to be able to take any four classes I wanted since I have basically finished my major at Trinity. Something to note about coming abroad to a program like this is that the grades here do not count towards your GPA, basically they are all pass/fail. So while I do still work hard to do well, it does feel great to not have to worry about my grades as much as I would at Trinity. Since school hasn’t been a major pressure on me this semester I have been able to really focus on experiencing Australia and traveling all over the country.

This semester I spent a weekend in the Blue Mountains, a weekend in the Outback, and a week traveling up the Northern coast. The Blue Mountains and the outback were hiking weekends where I saw some of the most beautiful views Australia has to offer. The outback of Australia isn’t a boring desert. There are a few places with massive rock formations you can hike and climb and when you reach the top you see the never-ending red desert that is the Outback. It was an amazing place and totally worth the visit despite the heat. For our spring break trip in September we traveled up the Northeast coast from Brisbane to Cairns. This is where some of Australia’s famous beaches are and of course, the Great Barrier Reef. Scuba diving the reef was, no exaggeration, the single greatest day of my life. The water is the most gorgeous blue and the reef itself is full of unbelievably vibrant neon greens, blues, oranges, yellows, and purples. And the fish are everywhere, exactly like in “Finding Nemo,” except they aren’t cartoons. I saw clownfish in a sea anemone, a reef shark, and countless other schools of bright fish. The 30% of the reef that is still alive is the most beautiful sight I have ever been privileged enough to see and it is a must for anyone traveling to Australia.

Another awesome thing about going abroad down under is how close to a few other countries it is. Next week I am flying to New Zealand to road trip the south island and, among other things, see where they filmed the Lord of the Rings. Then a few weeks later after the semester ends Meredith and I are taking a two-week trip through multiple countries in Southeast Asia. Something I’m going to guess no one studying abroad in Europe could pull off.

There are only a handful of students that choose Australia as their study abroad destination each semester while, the majority of the junior class ends up in various countries around Europe. If you are reading this and thinking of going abroad, think about Australia. You won’t regret it. I chose Australia over anywhere in Europe for multiple reasons. Australia is somewhere I have always been a little curious about from seeing it in so many movies (yes I’m talking about “Finding Nemo”) and hearing stories about it from my parents who visited the country in the 80s. Europe is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but Australia is the land of eternal summer where I went to the beach in the middle of their winter.

Inge-Marie Eigsti speaks about autism awareness



Inge-Marie Eigsti, an associate professor at University College gave a lecture about the connection between language and autism called, “Language in Body and Mind in Autism Spectrum Disorders,” on Thursday, Nov. 13.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopment disorder that is defined through repetitive behavior patterns, social impairment, and difficulty in communicating. Eigsti said that, years before, ASD was diagnosed through three criteria: social relatedness, language and communication and repetitive formulas, activities and interests. She said that children with autism experience deficits in these three areas. However, the DSMS: a type of diagnostic test for diagnosing autism, later changed the diagnostic criteria and diagnosed autism based only upon social relatedness and repetitive activities.

Eigsti said that the removal of language from the diagnostic test was because social behaviors are important. She said that social and communicative deficits could be revealed in different areas such as language; therefore, in order to understand language, one needs to understand social influence. However, Eigsti does not agree with the removal of language from the criteria for autism. She said that language is influenced by motivation, gesture, and cognitive control and it is not just a social basis of autism. She argued during her lecture that choosing to overlook language is a problem. Therefore, she directed the audience’s attention to Tom Insel’s proposal for diagnosing autism.

According to Eigsti, Insel proposed the Research Domain Criteria, an experimental approach to the way that mental disorders such as autism are classified.  In a post on March 6, 2012 on the National Institute of Mental Health website, Insel writes, “[RDoC] is not simply about finding links between the social deficits of people with autism and people with social anxiety. RDoC uses genetics, imaging, and cognitive science for understanding deficits in social behavior.” Eigsti said that RDoC wants to make a link between brain and behavior. This does not only focus on social behaviors but on language as well.

Eigsti continued her lecture by talking about language in ASD. In her presentation, she notes that 10 to 15 percent of people with autism diagnosis are non-verbal in terms of communication. She said that there is a significant delay in acquisition for those who do speak. The kids who are born with this normally take two years before they are able to speak their first words. This also means that those who have autism also have delays in acquisition in terms of syntax and morphology. There is also a struggle because of impaired pragmatics. This means that those with ASD are unable to use eye contact in determining who will speak next when they are in a conversation. Those with autism also struggle with non-literal language as well as non-verbal gestures.

According to Eigsti, there are patients who have an optimal outcomes for recovery from ASD. She said that these patients were diagnosis before the age of five by an expert. They experience no current ASD symptoms, their IQ skills are in normal range and they are in regular education class. In other words, these people who are the optimal outcomes look fine socially and many people would not consider them to be autistic. She then went on to present the experiments that were done between the children who were considered optimal outcomes and those who were autistic.

Eigsti said that one of the areas that was tested was the perpetual tuning to speech contrast. She said that early in development many children are able to perceive contrast in speech. However, by the time babies reach 12 months, they are only able to hear the contrast that is present in their own native language. She said that many infants would have discovered by that time what dimensions are important to their language. Based on the experiment, it was discovered that pitch perception is stronger in people with ASD. She said that more language delay equals better pitch discrimination.

She spoke of a young boy who came to her office. The boy asked her if he could use the bathroom. When he finished using the bathroom, he told her that her bathroom is really interesting. Her response was an internal panic because she was not sure whether something strange had in fact happened to her toilet or not. Therefore, she asked cautiously expecting the worst as to why her toilet was interesting. The small boy told her that his toilet at home flushes in F sharp, while her toilet flushes in B minor.

Eigsti continues that in terms of gestures, those with ASD have always been thought to not use gestures even though gestures are normally used as a means of communication. She disputes this by saying that the data is much more complicated than that.

Data shows that there is there is no coordination between gesture and speech. She gives the example of Nikita Khrushchev, a cold war Russian leader, who had yelled the words, “WE WILL BURY YOU,” while banging the table with one of his shoes that he had removed, at the United Nations. Eigsti said that Nikita Khrushchev was able to coordinate his angry gesture with what he was saying. However, for an autistic child, the angry words will not fit the gestures. They would not be able to coordinate their gestures to fit their words.

The purpose of Eigsti’s lecture is to prove that language is a very important criterion when diagnosing autism. Also, many of the preconceived ideas about autistic children are disproved by data. Eigsti is affiliated with the University of Connecticut NSF Training Grant on Language Plasticity. She became interested in the topic of autism because she feels that it is a fascinating disorder with a lot of homogeneity. She also said that that with autism, it is possible to make genuine practical advances that can help children.

Model UN experiences successful weekend at UPenn



At 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6, committee chairs banged their gavels and brought to fruition the start of UPenn Model United Nations Conference XLVIII. Delegates from colleges and universities across the country sat in conference rooms at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Philadelphia, dressed to the nines and prepared to address some of the world’s most pressing issues nearly non-stop until Sunday afternoon.

Committees such as DISEC, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Legal Committee, and the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee were called to order with the end goal of collectively passing resolutions that would provide solutions to major international crises. In such committees, students advocated for the positions of their assigned countries on a plethora of controversial subjects like foreign military intervention, capital punishment, international economic stability, aid to developing nations, cyber security, women’s rights, world hunger, and an assortment of environmental issues.

To effectively participate, delegates are required to showcase persuasive public speaking skills, dexterous collaborative tendencies, and a voluminous knowledge base regarding not only their issues of their country, but also those of their allies and enemies, in an equally wide chronological array. With the aforementioned topics in mind, delegates employed their skills to help build what are considered the crown jewels of conference culture, namely, resolutions that provide comprehensive policy propositions that seek to solve each committee’s matter at hand.

Among the hundreds of capable students who attended from schools such as Harvard, Yale, West Point, and Mount Holyoke, were eleven young Bantam delegates, many of whom were attending their first ever Model United Nations conference, and none of whom were even in their third year. Despite this relative lack of experience, the students representing Trinity College performed admirably in employing their skills and preparation and contributing to many final resolutions, which were voted into legitimacy by their peers.

Enjoying the pageantry of a Model United Nations conference is not a given, however. In order to fully take advantage, there must be a high level of preparation. For delegates to function at the high level that is the measuring stick for success, they must have a good, if not elite grasp of all the tools mentioned above, along with a comfortable relationship with all procedural rules, of which there are quite a few. For the delegation from Trinity College, the task of honing these skills and learning new ones presented quite a challenge considering they would be thrown into the mix with some students from other delegations that were seven or eight year veterans of the program.

To prepare, delegates put work into their public speaking skills in mock situational speeches that allowed for a decreasing amount of preparation, as well as learned to write position papers, the backbones of preparation. Individually, they kept up on world news relating to their committee, keeping a close eye on the relationship their country had with others.

The result was an incredible experience at a prestigious conference with exemplary performances from all the Trinity College delegates. First time delegate, Henry Chavez ’18, reflected, “It was a unique experience getting to work with other students from all parts of the world to come up with solutions to problems that plague the international community.”

He seemed to speak for the group as every delegate gave a fairly commensurate response. President, Daniella Salazar ’17, commenting on her two years of college-level Model UN experience, was no exception saying, “Model UN has allowed me to grow, develop, and learn in ways that I could not have imagined. It forced me to go out of my comfort zone and apply all the knowledge I acquired in class and in life to conferences.” She went on to express her vehement belief in the value of Model United Nations, stating, “I think it is very important for us to try to create as many opportunities like this on campus, and possibly at the NESCAC level.”

With this, Salazar announced an ambitious new project that has been taken on by the club’s leaders to start a Model United Nations conference hosted by Trinity, appropriately named “TrinMUN.” Within the next three years, this group hopes to make Trinity the epicenter of a NESCAC-wide conference with national potential. When asked why these aspiring underclassmen envision a conference at Trinity, they respond, unanimously, that despite the demands it brings with it, Model United Nations rewards participants with an organic sense of fulfillment, which is entirely unique.

SGA hosts forum to discuss sexual assault on campus



On Friday, Nov. 14, the Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a forum to discuss sexual assault on campus, asking students to think about this weighty issue, as well as to sign the “It’s On Us” pledge, a part of the larger “It’s On Us” campaign, a White House initiative to lower the staggering rate of sexual assault and other sexual violence on college campuses nationwide. The meeting, hosted in CineStudio, had sparse attendance but included an engaging and thought provoking discussion.

Campus sexual assault statistics have been highly publicized in recent years, and have become a major talking point not only in higher education but in modern political discourse as well. Legislations, such as Title IX, make into law the idea that all people have a right to participate in education, without regard to gender. Yet, no legislation can completely eliminate some of the thornier aspects of modern gender relations, sexual assault being one of the more prominent ones. Rape and sexual violence can be made illegal, but in a place where many adolescents and young adults are all living together with virtually unlimited access to drugs and alcohol, unfortunate and all too often illegal things are, to a point, going to occur. The “It’s On Us” campaign aims to raise awareness of the staggering rates of campus sexual assault and to have people commit to be more active in the fight against such terrible crimes as rape, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual violence.

The issue of sexual assault has created its own nomenclature. Phrases such as “active bystander,” “victim blaming,” and “if you see something, say something” have taken on new meaning within the lexicon of modern language and have become prominent features of the ongoing modern discussion of sexual assault. With all of the different buzzwords surrounding the topic, it becomes easy to lose sight of the heavy issues and tough situations that the campaign aims to mitigate.

Too often, issues are ignored or swept under the rug, as lines become blurred, and an attitude of “that doesn’t happen here” can pervade college campuses, making the environment right for such incident to occur with greater frequency, not less.

With this in mind, Trinity has been creating and expanding initiatives to address these issues. President Berger-Sweeney has founded a task force to work on such issues, the Women and Gender Resource Action Center, which has been operating since 1972, and most recently the SGA’s “It’s On Us” forum.

The forum itself was modestly successful, with a panel consisting of members from the SGA, WGRAC, and Students Encouraging Consensual Sex (SECS). The discussion lasted a little over an hour, covering a range of concerns about sexual assault on Trinity’s campus. The general feeling seems to be that while it is undoubtedly a facet of Trinity life, sexual assault is not quite as endemic here as it is on a national level. An unfortunately interesting statistic revealed at the forum was that Trinity had a total of thirty-seven reported incidents of sexual assault last year, somewhere between one and two percent of the population. This number is fairly low, but the upside to it is that a decent number of incidents are being reported. On a campus as small as Trinity’s, it is not terribly surprising that the rate might be somewhat lower than the national average. When most people know one another, it is harder for problems like sexual assault to go on unnoticed and unchecked. When the faculty–student relationships are close, and there are many administrators and faculty, there is more oversight and a lesser chance of issues falling through the cracks–it might be fair to say that the cracks themselves are not even as large, given these traits of a small campus.

The issue of sexual assault is still very grave, and is more than likely present on Trinity’s campus. The purpose of the forum was largely to begin a conversation, to open the issue for future discussion. The effectiveness of the conversation was hampered somewhat by the sparse attendance. Something in the neighborhood of 30 students were in attendance, and while any attendance is of course a boon to the discussion, SGA was disappointed that more students did not attend, simply to have a greater variety of opinions and perspectives and to get the message out to as large and broad an audience as possible. The modest attendance did, however, create a more personable setting, and a great discussion was had nonetheless. The small attendance could have been the result of many things, ranging from ineffective advertising to apathy towards the issue on campus.

The SGA’s “It’s On Us” forum was an opportunity for members of Trinity’s community to talk and think about an issue that may well come to define this generation. The conversation may have been small, but it is an eloquent testament to the concern that members of the Trinity community have about sexual assault. Now that the conversation has been opened, it only remains to be seen the innovation and passion that the community will bring to dealing with this timely and tragic issue.

Berger-Sweeney announces plans for new mentoring network



On Tuesday, Nov. 11, President Joanne Berger-Sweeney announced the creation of an entirely new program designed to support first-year students throughout their first year at Trinity: The Mentoring Network Program. This program, although technically starting this year, still has many structural aspects and details to sort out. However, the focus of the program has been clearly defined, and the basic structure formed.

The program will consist of teams of individuals assigned to support first-year students. The team will include a dean, faculty mentors, a liberal arts graduate, development mentors such as alumni, and upperclassmen serving as peer mentors. The program will also dedicate space on campus for mentor networks to meet and participate in a variety of activities together. These activities will be virtually limitless and will include eating together, communicating about college transition issues and concerns, and even organized recreational sports. Yet the organization of the activities will fall primarily on the shoulders of the students. This goal, if met, will allow students to find and explore activities that their fellow peers will enjoy and foster the sense of self-leadership in the program. Moving forward, the entire process will be open to new ideas, recommendations, and revision through various meetings that will be held by President Berger-Sweeny.

In hearing about the creation of the Mentoring Network Program, many members of the community are still confused about the foundation of a new mentor program when the one Trinity has in place currently, is seemingly working well.  The best way to answer these questions is to explore the differences in structure and focus of the two different programs and understand why the new mentor organization could fulfill many of the voids of the current one.

The primary focus of the new Mentoring Network is to engage students in a more holistic and inclusive manner: to get students more involved and connected with those who share the same interests and follow their interests outside of the classroom. Whether it is casual discussion over lunch in one of the quads, planned trips to museums in downtown Hartford, or even intermural activities such as ultimate frisbee, students will have a greater variety of events to choose from and participate in. Simply, the Mentoring Network will create a far more interesting and diverse experience at Trinity. The belief is that if a greater range of activities and events will be held on campus, larger groups of students will attend and have a good time at them.  The Mentoring Program will serve as a uniting factor between the student body and faculty, and expose individuals to many new interests and ideas than before.

Secondly, the new program aims to break down the fear and stigma surrounding the Hartford area. For first-year students, the transition to living in Hartford can often be overwhelming and create a sense of isolation. Students tend to remain on campus exclusively, and become distant from the surrounding community. Yet, through the group activities provided by the mentoring networks, students will be able to explore more of the amenities of the downtown area. In breaking down this critical barrier, students will have more ways to get off campus throughout the semester and escape from the college for a bit. Sometimes students simply have to get away and new ways need to be envisioned for them to do so. Therefore, the Mentoring Network will help first-years transcend the fear of leaving campus and remedy the common feeling of isolation.

The new Mentoring Program has the potential to bring a lot of excitement, opportunity, and fresh culture to Trinity college, yet key criticisms still remain on how truly successful it will be. Perhaps the greatest worry about the program and its effectiveness is that it will be so heavily dependent on students who desire to organize activities. While many students attend campus events and find happiness in integrating within every facet of the community, others in college prefer to be more individual and do their own thing. In order to facilitate unity, the students themselves must want it. Administrators and Mentor Networks alone cannot force the student body to attend events or connect with faculty. Students may not want to spend their Saturday at a museum with a mentor group or give away free time to meet up for lunch in the midst of a busy academic schedule. They might rather want to relax alone with a close group of friends or stray away from school organization in their off time. Thus, the entire program may find a need to incorporate great flexibility within the organization of events in the future, and continual difficulty in inspiring all students to attend the events that will be held.

New ideas about how to improve the student experience at Trinity College should always be explored and considered. Whether they are the foundation of new events, programs, or even clubs, there are always ways to revise and improve campus life.

While the Mentoring Network may encounter many obstacles in the future prompting change within the program, it could also serve as a major change for Trinity College lower culture. It could make all students feel more comfortable and included within the community, and provide resources for individuals to pursue new ideas and activities. The Mentoring Network could be a refreshing change in the community, and enliven the entire college experience.