Inji Kim – Contributing Writer
Title IX has long been a powerful tool for combating campus violence, according to the Department of Justice. Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and sexual violence. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education, programs, and activities.
According to the Department of Justice, despite efforts of Title IX, sexual violence has continued to maintain prevalence within many campuses nationwide. Drew University has been making efforts to make campus safe from sexual assault and has received positive reactions from the students.
Since 2000, Professor Jill Cermele has taught a self-defense class to students with Prepare Inc., a company that also gives defense training to faculty and staff at Drew. Freshmen who signed up for self-defense classes during their orientation also received this training. Aylin Unel (’19) who took part in the self-defense class in her freshman year, explained that she appreciated the opportunity to learn self defense and the ability to utilize these necessary skills if faced with a potential attacker.
“I think this experience will help me not only during college but also in any time or situation. It is very practical and important to know.”
This opportunity is not limited to freshmen seminars only. Professor Cermele teaches a four week self defense course that is open to all students as a class. Cermele stressed the significance of talking about and learning about self-defense. “We hear about violence, not much about resistance,” she said. She stressed that instead of telling students not to walk at later hours by themselves, not to travel alone, or any other restrictive actions, self-defense courses “expand what students can do instead of restricting them.”
Cermele added that the Drew community seems to be very open and willing to address the issues put forth by Title IX, but added that there is always room for improvement.
Emma Osmundson (’16), the director for the Drew play Jaybird which deals with the subject matter of sexual violence, echoed Cermele’s comments. Osmundson admitted that before Drew she was uncomfortable with talking opening about sexual violence and assault, but she has been inspired by the active discussion happening in the Drew campus, enough so to direct a whole play regarding sexual assault and the traumatic experiences that follow survivors.
Emma Levin (’16), the writer of the play, also viewed Drew as improving when it comes to facing sexual violence on campus. “Drew has made it a priority to protect the students who are involved in any situation.” All the interviewees noted that there is still room for improvement in the policies on campus regarding sexual violence. While there has been connotations with rapists as being a scary stranger, Levin noted that it is necessary to acknowledge that predatory people are in fact among us.
The importance of Title IX is to not only acknowledge that there are dangerous people among us, but to prevent sexual assault and discrimination from happening in the first place. Title IX’s aim is to eliminate the fear that women potentially faced in their daily lives and support a safer environment for women.
“We still have a very long way to go. We just have to keep moving forward and talk about it, and Drew is a very safe place to do so,” Levin said.
Julia Cornell – Contributing Writer
Red, white, and blue shone from the walls and strands of silver donkeys swayed from the ceiling in McLendon’s main lounge on Tuesday night as Drew Democrats hosted their “Democratic Debate Watch Party.” As people started to filter in for the 8:30 p.m. start time, the atmosphere felt like a party. The excitement and enthusiasm shared by students waiting for the debate to begin was palpable to anyone who entered the room, and it quickly spread. Some students even began a countdown. Alissa Glaser (’18), a self-described “hella Democrat” said “Being in a room full of people who are passionate about the same things was really unique.”
Hosted by CNN and televised on the projector screen with comfy chairs set up all around, the debate lasted from 8:30 p.m. to about 11 p.m., with only a couple of commercial breaks, and the student attendance was high, especially given the fact that it was the tail-end of Fall Break. At one point, there were 37 other people in the room besides myself, draped on chairs, eating pizza and cookies, and cheering on presidential candidates like it was a football game. The democrat sponsored club hosted the event, but they also featured the unofficial Students for Bernie Sanders group, which quickly ran out of Bernie Sanders bumper stickers, pins, and stickers for attendees.
Another attendee, Charlie Yarwood (’19), a Democrat from Vermont, commented, “I was late to the event, but I was impressed by the enthusiasm and engagement by all in attendance. I would say it exceeded my expectations,” and said that he would attend another event hosted by Drew Democrats.
Who was in the debate on Tuesday? The Drew Democrats helped attendees answer that question by unveiling a new monthly Democratic Newsletter. The first issue, passed out during the Debate Watch, contained a definition of the word democrat and pictures and short bios of all of the Democratic candidates on the debate stage that night. Students were able to refer to the newsletter for a basic overview of each candidate, which was especially helpful if they got lost during the debate.
The unveiling of the newsletter supported the Drew Democrats President Nancy Moemen’s vision for the club. “[Our] main goal for this year is to engage the Drew community with the political world…We’re trying to inform students with knowledge on ideology, candidates, and the issues.” The event was informative, but with a fun atmosphere. During commercial breaks, Nancy Moemen and Drew Democrats Vice President Dalton Valette (’18) handed out raffle prizes, the grand prize being a $25 Chipotle gift card. The leader of the Students for Bernie Sanders group, Sam Barry (’16), summed up student response to the the event by saying, “I was happy to see such a great turnout for the debate watch party [and] especially happy to see that so many people had joined us to cheer Bernie on. Overall it was a great success and it’s heartening to see so many people at Drew tuned into the political process.”
One way to stay tuned into the political process is to join a political club on campus. The Drew Democrats meet biweekly, every other Wednesday, at 7:15 p.m. in EC room 145. Their email is email@example.com and the Facebook page is Drew Democrats. To become involved in the Students for Bernie Sanders group, check out their Facebook page by the same name.
Pearl Lee – Managing Editor
President MaryAnn Baenninger announced on October 9 that Dr. Chris Anderson, head of Special Collections and University Archives, will be serving as the Acting Dean of Libraries effective Monday, Oct. 26.
Currently, there is a search for a permanent Dean of Libraries. Candidates will be welcomed to campus and a final decision will be made this semester. The search has been in progress since Fall of 2014 and failed in finding a permanent dean of libraries after a nationwide search. Until then, the new Acting Dean Anderson will build the foundation for the future permanent Dean.
The acting dean of libraries requires being the representative of the library to the Drew campus, along with surrounding organizations. The position also includes a seat at the President’s Cabinet. As Acting Dean, one would also attend a multitude of campus events and serve on multiple committees. Anderson stated that agreeing to take this position was an easy decision for himself because of his desire “to step up and assist the university during a time of need.”
During his serving time, Anderson plans to prepare the library faculty and staff for the impending transition for the next Dean of Libraries. Anderson stated that he will remain as Head of Special Collections, Archives, and Methodist Librarian at the Library. Anderson also serves as the librarian for the General Commission on Archives and History for the United Methodist Church. His humility could also be seen through his service towards Drew’s Baseball team – where he is the assistant coach.
Anderson confidently shared that he doesn’t “really have any fears or concerns” about the interim position. His intent is to “continue to have the library function as an intellectual and social hub on campus. There is a fabulous staff of intelligent, committed, and caring individuals.” He stated that he is honored to represent them as their Acting Dean.
Anderson first joined Drew in 2001 to pursue a PhD in American Religion and Culture. He accepted the Methodist Librarian position as he was finishing his studies. Several years later, he accepted his current position. During this time Anderson contributed to the community by introducing the “Out of the Vault” workshops which these highlight Drew’s special collections.
According to Anderson, the Special Collections and University Archives materials are “unique one-of-a-kind historical materials that often only reside here at Drew.” Drew has “several thousand feet of archival materials dating back to the 11th century.” Again, many of these materials are only found on this very campus. Often times, these materials bring researchers all the way from South Korea, India, and Scotland.
To connect Drew students and alumni with the rich history of our university, Dr. Anderson began a radio show through our very own WMNJ. The show is titled “The Drew Vault” and it airs every Thursday from 2-3 p.m. To learn more about the nearly 150 year-old history of Drew University, catch Dr. Anderson online or stop by the University Archives and the United Methodist Archives and History Center for a tour.
Josh Gomez – Contributing Writer
Dr. Patrick Phillips is an award-winning poet and a creative writing professor at Drew University. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his wife and two teenage sons. His poems have appeared in a dozen literary magazines and have earned him the Kate Tufts Discovery award. He is on the long-list for this year’s National Book Award in Poetry. Patrick spent a year in Denmark in order to translate selected works of the Danish poet, Henrik Nordbrandt, for which he earned several awards and even recognition as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Copenhagen. But what prompted this rural Georgia country boy to dedicate his life to literature?
Phillips said it was his southern upbringing and his relationship with his dearest college professor that had the greatest effects on his career as a writer and an educator, and it is because of them that he is the man he is today.
The son of a southern Methodist minister, Phillips said he spent a lot of his childhood and adolescence shooting hoops alone, riding his motorcycle, or engrossed in a book. “We lived a long way from anything, and in Georgia a kid is a prisoner until he or she can drive”, Phillips said.
Therefore, when he was younger his closest companions were the authors of the books he read. “My mother was my middle school English teacher, actually,” said Phillips of how he became such an avid reader. When he was 14 and started high school, a young Phillips met a teacher he described as, “hyper, passionate, enthusiastic,” who, “had a magnetic pull of energy.” This pull hearkened something inside of this impressionable young man, and for the first time he was able to see someone who loved books as much as he did. Phillips spent his sophomore year of high school in Copenhagen as part of a student exchange program.
He said it was this trip and his parents’ plans to leave Georgia that inspired him to move almost a thousand miles north to study English at Tufts University in Boston.
In college, Phillips met Professor Deborah Digges, who became his personal mentor. “I mirror my teaching after her,” he said adding that when he saw her teach he realized he just wanted “to be paid to talk about books all day.” Teaching at Drew University for nearly a decade has made his dream a reality. In the classroom Phillips is always smiling and always full of energy, prompting everyone in class to participate as much as possible and directing question after question back to the text being discussed.
“He’s like the perfect stereotype of a cool English professor,” said Matt Ludak (’17) who is currently taking two classes with him. “And he’s got a perfect rating on ratemyprofessor.com.”Students speak enthusiastically about him, recommending his classes to freshmen and seniors alike. Phillips said he wants to influence future generations to become prolific readers, lovers of literature and good writers, just as Professor Digges did for him.
After graduating from Tufts with a bachelor’s degree in English, Philips paid his way through graduate school as a writing composition teaching assistant and earned his Master’s degree from University of Maryland. Then Phillips married the love of his life and became a father. “My life can be described as a before and after,” said Phillips, looking back at his life. “I know it sounds cliche but there’s something about becoming a father that truly does change everything.” He said becoming a father boosted his career into overdrive. He moved with his wife and infant son to Denmark for a year on a Fulbright Scholarship, and started working on his PhD in Renaissance literature at New York University immediately upon his return to the states.
Four years after writing his first book, Chattahoochee, he published his second book, Boy, which he says was inspired by his experiences as a husband and a father. Phillips said he is far from done however, and recently released a new book of poems, Elegy for a Broken Machine. He is also working on a large non-fiction project that he has been keeping secret. “I’m almost done writing it,” said Phillips about his new book. “But it’s amazing how much information there is on library databases if you just take the time to look.” Without giving away the heart of the book, he said that the project revolves around a lynching that occurred in 1912 in his hometown, and that he is determined to reveal the shameful secret of Forsyth County, GA. More information can be found at patrickthemighty.com.
Phillips has been working at Drew University for nearly a decade now. Even though his daily commute from the city is two hours long he said he loves his job and can see himself working here for a very long time. One afternoon during office hours, a student tentatively knocked on the door of his office, interrupting Phillip’s excited conversation. The professor said, “Come on in!” with a grin and a wave. The student talked about his paper in a sad, almost defeated tone. Phillips shot him a disarming cheek-to-cheek grin and enthusiastically offered to help. Then the two of them sat side by side and immediately got to work.
Shaylyn MacKinnon – Contributing Writer
Room 103 in Brothers College saw an interesting mix of people on Wednesday night as the new Irish language class met for the second time. At 7:00 p.m. six students sat as visiting Professor Antaine Ó Dubthaigh began a brief review of last week’s introduction to Irish with the question, “Cad é mar atá tú?”
Pronunciation: kuh-JAY mar uh-TAW too
Translation: How are you?
The majority of the students in this once-a-week course are well out of college, in their fifties and up, and have taken this Irish language class every year for four years on campus. Only three Drewids are taking advantage of the course—two freshmen and a junior.
An email was sent out to the entire campus just three days before the ten-week course began as a way to advertise the $50 decrease on the cost for any students who wanted to learn not only the Irish language, but to also learn a bit about the history and culture of Ireland as it relates to the language.
The class is non-credit as its purpose is to give students a stress-free environment to just enjoy the act of learning something new. In fact, halfway through the class there is a fifteen to twenty minute tea and biscuits break that Dubthaigh said, “gives us a chance to talk about the language and the culture” rather than simply lecturing the class about it. Dubthaigh highlights the importance of engaging the students when learning a language by having them repeat the impossibly confusing pronunciations of the Irish words; answer questions like “Where is the pen?” with “Ar an tábla”; and sing an Irish tune about returning from overseas.
This week’s class went beyond grammar and basic vocabulary, venturing into the tragic history of the oppression of the Irish language to the point that only 10 percents of the citizens in Ireland speak it on a daily basis, and only 30-40 percent can understand it at all. The Irish language is fading, making Dubthaigh’s focus on it so much more important.
Dubthaigh comes to Drew from Belfast, Ireland, which is the second biggest city in the European nation. He has a degree in Irish Language and Literature, and is partway to a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies. He also has a post-graduate certification in Education. Dubthaigh is teaching once a week at Drew and three times a week at NYU on a Fulbright Scholarship.
When asked why he came to Drew, Dubthaigh revealed that it was for similar reasons as many of the students on campus: the relationship between the City and the Forest. Dubthaigh said, “I prefer to be around this forest. It’s nice to get the mixture of NYU and here.”
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