EDITORIAL:

Recently, one of our own editors at The Leaders returned to her dorm to find some of her belongings stolen. Last semester, an out of state man broke into a dorm, waited in the bathroom overnight  and threatened a student.

Elmhurst is a relatively safe campus, but these breakings are becoming increasingly common and they seem to have a trend to them—students being too nice and opening doors for people.

While everyone should be smarter and aware of their surroundings, it is simply not sustainable and safe to rely on students to be proactive as the main security protocol for residence halls.

Student possessions, and possibly there safety is being threatened by inadequate dorm security policy and that needs to change.

The fact that there is no record of who comes and goes in a building, and no way of knowing whether or not a person is a resident or not.

Security should consider having a representative, whether it be a hall coordinator, R.A., or even an officer stationed at the front of every hall that checks the I.D.’s of those who enter, and requires that non-residents sign in and out of the building.

Protocols like this are common among other colleges and require little resources, just one attentive figure in each dorm hall.

Currently, security’s best defense against people who do not belong in dorms coming into dorms is a reminder to students that they shouldn’t let strangers in. It is not their fault that this defense is flimsy, but something needs to be done to remedy it.

There would be difficult obstacles to overcome when implementing a check in system, where to place a monitor in more cramped or back entrances.

The other difficulty would be the traffic of students coming in and out of the buildings that would now need to take time to show ID’s. However, many large schools such as Depaul University which has over eight times as many students as EC use these exact security practices and more, such as keeping the ID’s of nonresidents with the security guard and only allowing up to two guests per resident.

One might say that there are already protocols in place for our protection, such as only 2 guests per resident or a 3 night maximum for overnight guests. This is good, but the only way to enforce these rules is a very attentive R.A. who already has other responsibilities or a student willing to tell on their peers.

Several years ago, The Leader conducted a test with a reporter who did not live on campus to see if he could gain access into any residence life on campus. He got access to every dorm room with ease simply by asking to be let in.

We now know that there could be man waiting in a residence hall bathroom overnight. We no longer have an excuse to think we are safe because we are not, and solutions need to be explored, and implemented before it is too late.

COLUMN: One step forward, two steps back

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

The True Colors living community is a mediocre answer to a very real problem for residential students of the LGBT+ community on campus: Safety and accessibility. While the college is providing a safe space, it still is shortchanging its students of a safe and accessible living experience and that needs to be changed.

True Colors is a living community dedicated to providing a safe housing option for members of the LGBT+ community and their allies, however it is located in an old building with no air-conditioning, not easily accessible, and not to mention the chances of flooding that can occur. It is these restrictions that make it impossible for someone with asthma, allergies, or any other medical condition that requires air conditioning to live in this housing, thus they have to make a decision between safety and their health, which isn’t one someone should have to make when living on campus.

If we began updated dorms, then we wouldn’t run into this problem. There should be no excuse why some students have air-conditioning options and others don’t, especially at an expensive school like Elmhurst College.

Every residential student deserves to be able to live and learn safely.

A lot of LGBT+ individuals have no place to escape as they are harassed by fellow residents, or have little resources provided to them by residence staff. True Colors is supposed to combat this, but how effective is it if they can’t even find refuge here due to things out of their control?

LGBT+ housing has been proposed in the past, but has been rejected numerous times, but when the honors program proposed their living-learning community in the same location, it was met with a yes, and now True Colors is in the lower level of Schick Hall. People say it is because the honors program brought up their proposal first, but this is the first year anyone has really been hearing about it, whereas conversations about LGBT+ gender inclusive housing for several years.

The biggest issue is not the honors community, but with the accessibility and quality of the dorms both communities were given. It really looks bad for Elmhurst College.

The minority community who face safety issues on a daily basis solely on their sexuality and/or gender identity, are given an old dorm that is barely livable during the first few weeks of the semester due to the temperature, while the honors community who are held in prestige get to live in a newer dorm with better living conditions all around.

If Elmhurst College was an ally like they market themselves, they would either update the Schick space to be more physically inclusive, move both communities into Cureton, or find a more inclusive space for True Colors because this “solution” just isn’t it.

Just because we are grateful to have the option doesn’t mean it’s all perfect. Many of the dorms need to be updated, but the location of True Colors should start pressing the college to update the buildings or risk it seeming like the college plays favorites.

COLUMN: Boycott The Joker

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

Popular media tends to paint people with mental illnesses as people with an inclination towards violence. These portrayals are inaccurate and while fictional, shape public perception of people with mental illnesses.

The Joker is a classic character that gets revisited every several years, and every time his role is characterized by stereotypes of mentally ill people, and people applaud and celebrate these portrayals en masse.

He is a mass murderer, bank robber, and terrorist on a grand scale and besides his clown makeup, is known for his instability and his “insanity.”

Often the Joker’s origin is that of a man who is abused and turns his abuse against society through violence. In this upcoming Warner Bros. depiction, he is a mentally ill person whose illness becomes so unmanageable, he devolves into violence.

The trailer makes specific reference to the Joker being someone who is mentally ill. They even go so far as to show imagery parallel to how people with mental illnesses can be treated in real life, however, the idea that he would then become a massive terrorist is simply not true.

The reason this is especially problematic is because in real life, people with mental illnesses are criminalized for their behavior as opposed to helped, and are criminalized at a disproportionate rate to the amount of crime they are responsible for. While making up only 3-5% of violent acts, they make up for a rising percent of the prison population.

In New York in 2000, there were only 5,000 patients with a mental illness in a hospital, but 72,000 in the New York Department of Corrections, 8 times as much as it was in 1973.

While we cannot define any one problem as the cause of this kind of discrimination, negative representation in a likely box office breaking film is not helping.

Art has always shaped the way the public perceives groups of people. When “Birth Of A Nation” came out, there was a resurgence of the Klu Klux Klan, and they began using their iconic burning cross after it was used in the movie.

When writers chose to create characters based on problematic stereotypes, it is on the consumer to respond. We have the option of supporting harmful stereotypes by seeing the movie, or the option of telling these creators we are not willing to support stereotypical characters and boycott movies like the Joker.

While fiction has no obligation to be based in reality, creators need to be considerate about how their characters, although not fictional, will have an impact on how people act in real life. This is especially true for marginalized groups of people, and we can no longer let problematic projects gain such wide success.

We have come too far as a society both educationally and creatively to support a tired trope such as a person with a mental illness becoming unhinged and hurting people. There is simply no excuse for us to continue to support films like the joker. Many more will come, but the Joker is a quickly upcoming opportunity to show Hollywood that these problematic tropes will no longer be an option and we can only do that by not showing up.

EDITORIAL: Stop complaining and join us

It is time that the critics of The Leader put their money where their mouth is. If anyone has an issue with the content of The Leader, come write for us. If you think we are too liberal or too negative or too biased for some reason, come join our staff.

Time and time again, whether on social media or in formal petitions, the student body has demanded transparency from the school. However, when The Leader does its job and reports information that would otherwise be kept hidden from students, it is met with backlash.

Our staff is small. We would love to cover everything, but we do not have the resources to do so. If you see a deficit, or see a group being misrepresented, you have an opportunity to be the solution by joining us. If you want to let the campus know about something, submit a Letter to Editor or audition for a column, but complaining is not beneficial for any party.

Across the nation the press is under fire, and even the president has declared the press the “enemy of the people.” Many pass judgement on media simply because the content of the stories seem to be negative. But the number one job of the press is to deliver the truth to the public, whether it is seen as good or bad.

Unfortunately, many people do not understand this, and if the story does not agree with them, the press is the one who faces backlash instead when they are simply the messengers.

This national sentiment against the press has even come to our campus with The Leader, which has faced threats of defunding and papers being vandalized and even stolen.

We are not alone, for other colleges have faced backlash as well. Loyola University has passed a policy requiring the campus newspaper to contact the marketing department who then writes all quotes related to university affairs, regardless of the department or position of the subject of the quote—something that is alarming because it prevents objective reporting and censors the press.

Another campus newspaper, the Hilltop Views from St. Edwards University, had around 2,000 copies of their paper stolen following a front page story about a former professor being accused of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church.

No member of the press, including college media, should be subjected to this type of treatment. It suppresses free speech, but more importantly, why not be constructive and help make the organization you are criticizing better?

Do not get it wrong, we appreciate and welcome comments from our readers, and accountability is important for all press organizations; we are simply asking that instead of criticizing everything you think is wrong with the media, actually do something about it and join us to facilitate the change you wish to see.

COLUMN: Respect black performance spaces

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

Support for black artists is important. However, when nonblack people enter these spaces, there needs to be an increased sense of respect and a willingness to learn.

Too often audiences are not prepared for how black culture manifests in performance art. It is loud, it is unconventional, it is impure, it is edgy; it is everything nonblack performance art is and more that many nonblack people are ready to perceive.

When black actors and comedians use African American Vernacular English, it is met with laughter; when black musicians perform well but are not as proficient technically, they are written off as bad musicians.

What is worse than any of this is that it happens regardless of the context. Even if black performers are expressing pain or race related trauma, their powerful testimony is disregarded simply because they said “you is” instead of “you are.”

Audiences laugh at racial slurs and talk during quiet scenes simply because the means of expression used in a given artform are different than those in nonblack traditions.

Black artists have to work twice as hard to get half as far as white artists in any performance space. When black artists take the initiative to create their own spaces in line with their own traditions, they are still mocked.

When attending a performance, it makes sense to be critical: performers mess up, things go wrong, and it makes us feel smart to comment on it and laugh.

However, it is important to understand where it is appropriate. When we watch operas in Italian, we do not judge them on their ability to speak English. When we attend a gallery, we do not judge the artist on their ability to play the drums.

Criticism can be great, but when we see black art, why should we judge it through a white performance art lens?

All art can be enjoyed by everyone, but a sense of respect and a gauge of who we are in relation to the audience is needed.

Just because a performance is not what we are used to does not mean it is not good, and it does not mean mocking it is okay. When having the privilege to observe another culture’s art in action, an audience should be grateful. An audience should be trying their best to observe the norms practiced by others in that space, and certainly should not act in ways they never would otherwise.

Respect should be the standard, even if we are not totally sure what is going on. We owe it to all artists to give them an opportunity to showcase their best, but that is impossible if they are being judged according to a standard they never set out to meet.

COLUMN: SGA is slacking

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

As an organization run by students for the students, Student Government Association has been slacking on including the voices of the individuals they are supposed to represent. It really has not been clear what they have done for the students besides approve budgets, cut budgets, and reprimand organizations for not attending legislator meetings.

The information SGA provides to the students seems to be skewed in the direction of student leaders and individuals who are involved in organizations, and they miss the mark with the rest of the student body. Most of the information they are relaying to students is done in such a way that unless you are an active student leader, you just might miss.

In between a crammed protective hour when meetings are held, the navigation of Engage as an every day student for the minutes, and legislator meetings every now and again, the information they discuss and the way people can get their concerns to the Board of Trustees needs to be clearer and more accessible.

Unfortunately, the BOT meetings are closed to the public, and in order to be able to sit in, you must be invited. This is a big issue as well since SGA could simply sugar coat everything as to keep the board members happy or oblivious.

Student Government Association is meant to bridge the gap between the student body and administration, as well as the BOT; however, it seems this year they have almost closed the bridge, or at least have not been maintaining it.

The SGA executive board meets with a select few BOT members during the Student Life Committee, and all they do is show the trustees what they have done for the year.

Last year, there was a survey sent out before the BOT, by SGA, that asked for student input. It was sent to the student body, and SGA received and presented the feedback.

This year, no such thing has happened; they did not ask for the voices they are supposed to be representing, and not many events connecting with the students has happened either, or at least it has felt that way. No more civic conversations, open forums, or even metra pass giveaways. It seems like there has been more drama and entitlement as a replacement.

Not every issue that students bring up can be addressed in one meeting nor does every issue have a simple solution the board members can just sign into action, but simply bringing something up to the trustees to have them think is a reasonable goal that should not take much from our SGA.

Until they have public sessions, we have to settle for the image that the members of SGA create on our behalf.

Let SGA know your concerns sooner rather than later. The BOT members have meetings once a semester on campus, so tell SGA what you want them to hear.

We can only hope that SGA does their job, and as of right now, it seems like a lot is being swept under the rug. Maybe someday the BOT will see the need for public sessions, but until then, we have to hold SGA to a higher standard.

EDITORIAL: Pros and cons of changing the EC's name

The Leader editorial board is divided on this issue. Check out our pros and cons for changing the name.

Pro (Students: 62%, Alumni: 31%)

Elmhurst College should change its name to University. Whether it is Elmhurst University, or University of Elmhurst, it is a decision that will positively impact the school.

Regardless of the facilities a school offers,  regardless of the employment rates of graduates, the name of a school will create a first impression of a school. Unfortunately, the trend seems to be that universities are the prestigious and good schools, and colleges are schools that are lacking.

To make matters worse, in other countries, universities are four-year degree-offering institutions, and colleges are schools more akin to community colleges. There is nothing wrong with a community college setting, but the word “college” has little international appeal, which is a main argument presented by President VanAken.

Even domestic students and faculty at other American schools mistake EC to be a community college or a commuter college (no dorms).

Why should EC suffer at the hands of misconceptions? If EC is possibly compromising its enrollment from domestic and international students, why should the BOT not vote in favor a possible solution?

What makes these misconceptions more ridiculous and more damaging to EC specifically is the fact that EC already is a university, according to the Carnegie Foundation’s classification system.

Calling ourselves a college is not only a possible hindrance to enrollment but simply inaccurate. It is not logically sound.

Furthermore, the question to change the EC’s name to university has been an age-old discussion under every president. This question now seems inevitable with already being classified as a university and large campus support, especially from students. It is now or never.

BOT should make the decision to change EC’s name to University, and we should embrace this change to further the institution.

CON (Students: 38%, Alumni: 69%)

Elmhurst College should not be changing its name. Our college reputation has not hurt us and is a part of who we are. We have been a college for nearly 150 years; it just would not be right to go into that anniversary not as “Elmhurst College.”

It seems strange that the school is making a push for increased enrollment, specifically among our international population, when we are having few issues with enrollment.

The school is observing a period of record breaking enrollment rates with the freshman class being the largest and most diverse in EC’s history. We cannot necessarily attribute this increased enrollment to the name, but the “Elmhurst College” brand has appeal, and to change that could put that at risk.

Why jeopardize who we are for the sake of a population of students who do not yet attend this institution?

One must consider the cost of rebranding. Although there is no official estimates, one can assume that the cost of reissuing diplomas to all graduates and rebranding all signage and merchandise will be a lot more than a slice of pizza.

EC has an identity, and that identity is as a college. People came here for a reason; to change that would be to disregard what many people found appealing about EC in the first place, especially when they are left with the bill.

In the same way people prejudge universities as better institutions on the basis of their name, many assume colleges to be smaller, more comfortable environments where creating deeper relationships and getting around is much easier.

Whether or not it is true is beside the point, when high schoolers apply, the name is the first thing they see, and if those looking for a smaller and calmer environment, a university can be an instant turn off.

All stakeholders in EC, especially the BOT, have to look at why they invested in the first place. A name is what represents the very core of a schools identity, and ask if changing that for the sake of one or two stakeholders is worth compromising that.



COLUMN: It is time to stop celebrating firsts, and start creating dynasties

Noah Pearson
Opinions Editor

Representation matters. Everyone loves to see people like them trailblaze and become the first person of their race/religion/gender to break glass ceilings. However, when no one follows in their lead, their triumph was ultimately for nothing.

At this year’s Oscars, we celebrated many firsts such as “Roma” being the first Mexican film to win the Best Foreign Language Picture or Ruth Carter and Hannah Beechler being the first black women to win Best Costume Design and Production Design for “Black Panther.”

While any win is good for black people, what struck me more than these “firsts” was Mahershala Ali’s win of Best Supporting Actor for “Green Book”, making him the second black  actor to win multiple Oscars for acting—second to Denzel Washington.

It is disappointing that in 91 years of Oscars, there have been so many firsts, but only two black actors have won more than one Oscar.

This is a problem because I do not know if anyone can name the first white Academy Award winner, and I feel people are even less likely to be able to name the second.

This does not stop with Academy Awards. This generation has seen few, if any, white firsts in any field from the Oscars to the White House, a field where we are still observing firsts for minorities.

In 1870, five years after the abolition of slavery, America saw its first black congressman. Almost 150 years later, states like California are just now electing their first black representatives.

What is the point of blazing a trail that will ultimately remain empty for 150 years? We complain about a lack of representation in all aspects of our lives, but we do not invest in representation.

We must shift from a culture that does not leave “firsts” behind. What this will take is in-depth involvement and political education.

This year Chicago will be electing its first black female mayor. We have reached a historical point in which no matter what the outcome of this election is, the winner will be a black woman.

We can be proud of this, we can call this progress, but the true demonstration of progress will be in four years.

We can celebrate firsts, we can break down walls, and we can shatter glass ceilings but if our firsts have no walls, no roof, and no one to protect them, then progress will never actually be made.


COLUMN: Our name should not be the priority

Nova Uriostegui
Columnist

Elmhurst College vs Elmhurst University should not be a conversation our campus should be having, at least not right now.

We need to talk about how we can set the campus up to be worthy of the prospective students we are trying to appeal to, not just rebranding or structural changes.

If we are going to market ourselves as a university to rope in future students and international students, we need to take care of our own students first. We need to take care of our campus.

We need to be talking about the new living spaces such as True Colors or Honors housing, and how Honors has an air conditioned space, and True Colors does not.

We need to talk about how we can prevent another student experiencing heat stroke in their own dorm and having to be moved within the first few weeks of the fall semester.

We need to be talking about the older buildings on campus that flood, and the outdated classrooms all across campus.

Why does Circle Hall have smart classrooms for majors like psychology and speech pathology, yet art majors are still having to use chalkboards in Old Main?

We need to talk about our bad retention. Why are students not returning? We have a big enrollment, but it means nothing if those same students are not following the path to become graduates of EC.

It seems that all these issues are being tabled for the name change discussion and who will pay for the rebranding of the campus (which will probably be students in the end), as well as the timeline of when these changes will happen.

There is so much information hidden from the average student, and that is wrong. The everyday student deserves to know when the Board of Trustees talk about tuition increases, and what the numbers look like beforehand, not after the vote is already placed.

We should not be focusing on whether or not EC should change its name while at the same time, EC rarely involves students in decisions such as this.

EC feels like it is more focused on the quantity of students it brings in rather than the quality of campus and resources it provides once they arrive and become settled.

The campus has moved too fast on the vote and provided little time for student feedback.

The Board of Trustees members are supposed to vote on the name change March 16, and we just recently got the survey for our opinions on the idea.

The only ethical step would be for the Board of Trustees to table the discussion until student responses have been considered.

We have students who are being put at a disadvantage of the campus because of our mediocre buildings and resources, and all EC seems to be thinking about is how we can bring more students in when we barely are helping the ones we already have.

Our priorities need to change before we think about changing our name. We need to table this discussion.


EDITORIAL: All buildings should be held to the same standard of livability and accessibility

Elmhurst College should ensure that all spaces are accessible for every member of its community.

Students with mobility disabilities have limited options for accessible spaces. Even in buildings where elevators are present, there are still small or heavy doors and narrow hallways to get in and out of the elevator, making it difficult to access.

On top of that, some spaces have all of the above issues, and do not even have an elevator.

When space in Cureton and West Hall fills up, some students find themselves in a dorm with wheelchair accessibility, such as in Schick, which has a ramp, but also has small rooms, no air conditioning, and only one accessible floor.

Some faculty offices are only accessible by stairs, and some classrooms are cramped and require extra tables to accommodate students, and at that point, space becomes limited.

Some classrooms are set up on risers that would require a wheelchair user to sit directly in front of the teacher or to lift their chair over a step to sit at a desk.

Another example that hits close to home is The Leader newsroom, which is located in the basement of Dinkmeyer. If an editor or a staff member who uses a wheelchair wanted to join The Leader, they would not be able to access our office.

Students deserve an education that goes above and beyond to ensure their equal inclusion and opportunity to succeed. Is this not what the school proudly boasts in their mission?

Even if these standards are acceptable within the American Disabilities Act’s rules, we believe EC should be responsible for more.

Our handbook mentions disabilities and accessibilities, and it puts the burden of requesting “reasonable accommodations” on the student.

While EC cannot anticipate everything, the handbook should mandate certain guaranteed protections, resources, and processes for students with disabilities beyond “reasonable accomodations.”

The school covers several bases and stays within the parameters of the law, but we should hold the school to the highest standard possible.

Our living and learning environments are limited to only certain populations of the campus, and that is not fair. It is not enough that certain buildings have elevators; the entire campus needs to accessible beyond the requirements.

The school should explore the possibility of creating a more inclusive environment to live up to its own expectations of inclusion.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn comfortably, and EC must be held accountable for ensuring this beyond the bare minimum.

COLUMN: They are humans, not 'bad hombres'

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

Border security is not something new; however, the dialogue around it has become filled with misconstrued information. It is time to challenge and fix to have more educated discussions and not just uninformed arguments.

The misconception that all immigrants are monstrous rapists and drug dealers has become the main stereotype when talking about undocumented citizens.

This is far from the truth.

We have actually observed a decrease in violent crimes in certain areas where the undocumented population has actually risen since the 1980s.

Individuals who come to the United States have no interest in breaking the law, especially when that means deportation.

Additionally, many immigrants come to the United States for a better life, new opportunities, and even asylum, and bring with them only what they can carry while they dangerously depart to the United States. Most of them are not even guaranteed entry.

When they do arrive, many have no family, no money, and can have hard times finding an employer that will even hire them.

Most jobs require social security numbers, and they do not have that, so they settle for jobs that do not ask questions, often leading to poor working conditions, being taken advantage of, and getting little pay—all with the threat of deportation being held over their heads.

It is also a rumor that these undocumented citizens do not pay taxes, yet they are able to abuse the welfare programs.

Many employers who hire these immigrants actually do take taxes out of their pay, yet unlike individuals with social security numbers, they are not able to file for tax refunds at the end of the fiscal year nor are they able to even apply for welfare.

You need a social security number for all of these things.

Yet people still believe much of this rhetoric when discussing border security, and very few tend to fact check or investigate any further than surface level.

The undocumented citizen story is often very unique and different than the common misconceptions that are blindly followed.

There are stories that need to be shared to show the flaws and struggles in the journey of becoming a legal citizen.

The journey boils down to money, lawyers, and a bit of luck, but even then, nothing is promised.

Just as the journey into the country was one of ambiguity, the journey of finally being recognized by the government is just the same.

While border security is something that needs to be discussed, the citizenship process and bold stereotypes need to be addressed as well.

The misconceptions need to be challenged.

Just because it aligns with one’s political affiliation does not always make it true, and not every undocumented person you meet is going to be a “bad hombre” simply based on their citizenship status.

There is a reason you cannot tell the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

COLUMN: The liberal left's true colors: why MAGA country is all of America

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

On Tuesday, November 29 “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack at the hands of several men wearing MAGA hats. They called him racist and homophobic slurs, yelled “this is MAGA Country,” poured chemicals on him, and tied a noose around his neck.

Instead of the expected righteous outrage and various anti-homophobia/anti-racism media campaigns that could be expected following a remarkably violent hate crime, the response has been a combination of conspiracy theories and victim blaming.

What is even more shocking than the active harm that many are spewing online is that it is coming from liberals from diverse pockets of the internet.

Gay individuals, black individuals, jewish individuals, members of the theatre community, and any other identity group that Smollett can claim have members boldly claiming that he was lying, or that he created the situation for himself by being out at 2 a.m. without protection.

Several sources including NBC Chicago reported that the police reported the attack to be a hoax. The police then had to release a statement disproving this, forcing these sources to admit to lying and false reporting, and eventually arrested two persons of interest in the case.

While it is painful to admit and no excuse, “MAGA Country” as Smollett’s attackers put it, is to be expected. When the president creates a campaign based in hate for specific types of people using pre-civil rights era rhetoric all while encouraging violence against his dissenters, this behavior is no surprise.

What is surprising is that those who MAGA Country love to hate have turned against a member of their own communities, proving to MAGA, and any future and past victims of these crimes, that if they happen to be attacked at a bad place and time, they will not have your support.

When the communities at risk point fingers at victims of one of the most visible non-police related hate crimes in recent history, the mentality that created MAGA Country is reinforced across every side of the aisle.

Why are we all of a sudden detectives when Smollett is asking for community support, but silent when in 2017, over a thousand hate crimes related to sexual orientation were committed, according to the FBI Hate Crime Statistics?

What happened to everything we learned from the #metoo movement about believing victims, even when they bite their tongues for decades?

Even if Smollett for some insane self-publicity-related reason had lied about his attackers, what this shows MAGA Country is that they can not only get away with hate crimes, but get away with the active support of the communities of the victims.

If communities dissolve when their support is needed most, it shows the rest of the world that there was never any community in the first place.

Is the generation born in the wake of Matthew Shepard's death going to be the same generation that allows MAGA Country to be the only country we know?

Jussie Smollett being attacked was a gruesome test for all of us, and we failed, and those who wish to make America great again will take notice, and soon, may just get what they want.

COLUMN: White gun owners: defend black gun owners from the police

Noah Pearson
Opinions Editor

When shootings occur in kindergarten classrooms, movie theaters, mosques, black churches, high schools, gas stations, hospitals, and all the other places monsters target, the NRA and countless white gun owners are quick to defend themselves, their right to bear arms, gun manufacturers, and in some cases, the shooter.

When black gun owners are shot by the police in front of their family after disclosing the fact that they have a gun, the NRA and countless white gun owners rush to defend the officer, and criminalize a law-abiding citizen.

This discrepancy needs to stop, and it starts with white gun owners.

While there are a number of reasons officers have no right to shoot and kill completely innocent black men, armed or otherwise, it just becomes extra preposterous when the same body of people that defend racist mass murders refuse to defend black men trying to access the same rights they claim for themselves.

If you are white and believe in the right to bear arms, ask yourself if your race has ever influenced who and what you support or believe in.

If you do support the NRA, ask yourself if you could do the same if you were black. Without suggesting that your right to bear arms is jeopardized, ask yourself if the NRA or NRA-backed politicians and policies are truly just.

At some point you have to ask yourself: does being a gun owner mean you have to be racist? Does the NRA treat everyone the same? And are you accidentally supporting the execution of other gun owners at the hands of police?

The conversation about guns too often revolves around how to purchase them, what kinds of guns are allowed to be owned, and who is allowed to sell or own them. However, we rarely have the conversation about who is actually held accountable for an abuse of their right to bear arms.

Although we see a trend of white men causing mass shootings, police do not approach white gun owners with their guns drawn. Black gun owners are held to a higher standard of safety/caution.

If you are a gun owner and believe that to be a right all Americans to have guns, then you need to step up and check yourself as well as the organizations and politicians you support. If everyone has an equal right to bear arms, that means more than their right to buy them.

Black people cannot be criminalized for exercising a constitutional right. While guns are a problem in this country, if anyone has the right to own a gun, then we cannot allow some people to die while doing it.

Philando Castile, Korryn Gaines, and even falsely accused children such as Tamir Rice (shot by a police officer who misidentified his toy gun) do not deserve to have been killed for using a right white men use to kill 5-year-olds.


EDITORIAL: Students deserve a seat at the table

As a part of the body that makes up the Elmhurst College community, we deserve a seat at the table when it comes to making decisions. It is just common courtesy.

EC is considering changing its name from Elmhurst College to Elmhurst University or University of Elmhurst. The faculty will be voting in December with the results of their vote being revealed in February, and the Board of Trustees will make its absolute and unchanging decision in March or June.

What is missing from this process is any disclosure to the students that this is happening, let alone consultation of the students opinion on the matter. We deserve to at the very least to know what is going on.

Since the beginning of the year, faculty have had open forums to discuss the matter. Where is the student open forum?

What will the name change bring? Will the school have to rebrand every single item and advertisement that says “Elmhurst College” on it? What happens to those who already have degrees from EC? Is the money for that going to come from our tuition or from the Board of Trustees? If the money comes from us, why should the board have a final say, regardless of how the students feel?

These questions may not be questions that are even on the table, but students would not know.

It appears that the students who are aware of the upcoming vote are those who are student leaders that work closely with administrators, those who have professors who talk openly in class of it, and those who have heard it in rumors.

Some teachers have gone so far as to survey their students on their opinions to influence and better gauge how they should vote. SGA has also disclosed this information in an SGA legislature meeting.

While this is useful, this responsibility does not fall on faculty or student leaders; it falls on the administration, and they need to pick up the slack.

As attendees of EC, formal notification that such a change is being considered is just a decent and respectful thing to do and also the bare minimum, as we should have a say in which direction EC votes in.

It is just plain rude  to keep us in the dark, and there is no indication that the school itself plans on changing that.

In the meantime, The Leader has created a survey for alumni and students so there is at least some record of our opinions for the BOT to consider. Students and alumni can find the survey on our website ecleader.net and on all Leader social media platforms.


COLUMN: Disagree, but disagree politely

Nova Uriostegui
Columnist

It often costs a pretty penny for organizations to put on larger events such as QSA's drag show, but it costs very little to keep a negative comment off a social media post. While you can have an opposing opinion, there is a time and a place for discussion, and a simple advertisement post is not that place.

QSA advertised their event through a social media post in the unofficial Elmhurst College Facebook group, and while many liked the post, a couple people had some negative comments towards the event.

While everyone is allowed to express an opinion, their comments had no merit in the discussion and merely were to bring negativity towards this event: the first event of its kind.

Among the comments was opposition to the event being funded, but no real reason as to why. The events that are held by organizations are completely up to the organization, and the college has no real say in the content of event. Some organizations have to proposal to Co-Op for funding, but, besides that, organizations are free to do as they please and as they see benefits the campus community.

While you are allowed to have an opinion, you also need to be aware of how you get your point across.

People will disagree with campus events, but every comment on the post itself boosted it to the top of the group and gained more attention, which was ironic if the intention was to have the post taken down or have a lesser audience.

These events and organizations are at a collegiate level, and the way we communicate should be at this level too. The way things happened were childish.

Rather than comment on a post, you could have sent an email to open a discussion with the members of QSA or attend some meetings held by QSA, especially the one where they provided information about what drag was before the event.

Better yet, just keep your opinions to yourself.

It is not that hard to have a discussion about something to gain some knowledge on the other viewpoint, even if you do not agree with it.

We live in a country where people can have opposing viewpoints and on a campus where organizations have control over the events they put on, but it is up to the individual on whether or not they want to respond politely or if they want to be malicious.

We are college students, not high school students, and we will all face opposition at one point or another. Respond with respect if you do not like something, or do not respond at all. An opinion expressed disrespectfully is not one that deserves to be acknowledged.




EDITORIAL: Governments should not shut out the public

At their November 15 meeting, Student Government Association (SGA) closed their meeting while disregarding public protest from The Leader.

SGA should not close meetings to the public. All non-SGA people in the room are asked to leave while SGA deliberates; however, why should this discussion be held outside of the public eye?

In the past, The Leader was allowed to remain in closed discussions regarding club proposals. This allowed The Leader to inform the public about important decisions to the student body.

When the matter of registering clubs arises, the public, which includes the press, should have access to the conversation. These meetings should be open, and the public should able to observe the validity and fairness of SGA’s process.

Various SGA senators and executive board members have boasted about the transparency and accessibility of their meetings, but when the public and the press are barred from observing, this no longer is true.

Under the Illinois Open Meetings Act, all public bodies must hold open meetings, and all government decisions must be made in the open, subject to a few exceptions.

While SGA is not required to follow the Illinois Open Meetings Act, it should consider it because it is still a governmental organization, even though it is at a student level, it makes major decisions on the behalf of students. No government should operate behind closed doors. It bars participation and collaboration of the very people they intend to serve. SGA is supposed to serve student interests, and students deserve to know about the decisions that affect them.


LETTER TO EDITOR: Trans people are here to stay

*Editor’s note: student responds to Hanna Sicurella’s letter to editor submission in issue 5

The transgender and nonbinary community is here, vocal, and due our respect.

It is a privilege to not have your pronouns, name, or identity questioned by others who do not seek to understand but judge. It is not the public's business what is in our pants, and it is the most simple courtesy to use the name and pronouns we introduce ourselves with; to do otherwise is to degrade and to other.

Transgender is not a dirty word, and it is our duty as a community to end stereotyping and stigma. “Stereotyping deploys a strategy of 'splitting'. It divides the normal and the acceptable from the abnormal and the unacceptable. It then excludes or expels everything which does not fit, which is different” (Hall 1997: 258). When this is applied to people of diverse identity and their well being, it can mean alienation and disaster. “We are not dealing with peaceful coexistence but rather with a violent hierarchy” (Derrida 1972. 41). Education and compassion is the means to end this abuse against transgender lives, to which everyone is responsible. It is also essential to vote. Remember, “ally is a verb.”

Trust that us trans people know ourselves and what is best for us. We are walking a path that is not chosen nor easy, but one that leads to authenticity and happiness.

I do not disagree that one group's beliefs should be dominant over another's, but it would be hypocritical to use this to justify deadnaming or using the wrong pronouns. Correct pronoun use is not about beliefs or ideas: it is about respect and honoring truth.

The trans community is strong, beautiful, and brave. We are acutely aware of who we are. We Will Not Be Erased.


With love and pride,

Nathan Dorband, he/him, EC student.


COLUMN: Some leaders are mediocre at best

Nova Uriostegui
Columnist

Student leaders on campus get the special treatment, not only with being invited to networking events with the Board of Trustees, being a part of exclusive committees, but also with their behavior outside of being in front of important administration, faculty, and staff.

Often student leaders are associated with contributing to the campus culture, being inclusive, and standing out, but that is just what some of them want people to see, and it is a smart move, but when some students know about the ugly truths behind these individuals, it calls the question about the standards these leaders are held to.

The banners around the campus with familiar faces of student leaders left a sour taste in my mouth, especially having known, or still know some of the people and their negative behavior outside of the public eye, and some of it even being public knowledge.

To be put on promotional material and banners that are associated with EC is to become a sort of poster child and mascot of the school, and obviously someone had to think they were a good enough candidate for this publicity to be put into these positions, but what about the student input?

What defines what EC sees as a leader? Someone who shows ambition but deliberately disrespects certain minorities, or how about someone who is involved but cannot make deadlines in the classroom?

Student leaders are meant to be people that the average student can look up to, and while we do have some who go above and beyond, we have those who say one thing and do another. So what is it that defines a glorious leader on this campus? Is it a high GPA? Number of extra-curriculars? Executive positions?

It should be understood that the banners are meant to show the various students on the campus, including commuters, people who have traveled abroad, etc, but it is still something to be critical about.

There are so many requirement questions when releasing promotional material with students and their stories for EC, but also, how in depth EC really cares about the actions of the student. Some of the people they used have done negative things, and although we cannot hold someone accountable for their past actions all the time, the knowledge is still there.

If these are the people that we, the students, want representing us to the outside world, we should have some say. At the end of the day, EC will give space to those they trust and think are best to represent the campus but will rarely look into anything that is not presented at face value, and they should.

Some of these students do not deserve the glory they have, or they should provide public apologies for things that many students know about. Past or present, you have to be held accountable and if EC will not do it, the public should.


COLUMN: Your anger is all you have left: don’t let them take that from you

Noah Pearson
Opinions Editor
You are entitled to your anger. Do not let anyone try to tell you otherwise.

This issue is prevalent and familiar for marginalized groups in America. Racism, erasure, anti-blackness, xenophobia, and every other “ism” and every other form of discrimination has stripped marginalized groups of almost everything.

When we react to horrific atrocities such as terrorists shooting up black churches or black men being killed by police on camera and the police getting off free, we often react angrily.

While this is a completely normal way to feel, the common narrative is that we are supposed to remain calm.  

While our people are executed, becoming enraged is compared to the actions of the individual who carried out the execution.

Some people go so far as to blame the anger of an individual for their own death, such as in the case of Sandra Bland after dying under mysterious circumstances while being held in jail for a traffic violation, or Korryn Gaines who armed herself against police who pointed guns at her newborn child.

This country has demonstrated since before its inception that it has no regard for the lives of individuals who do not represent the majority. It is unfortunately no surprise when monsters in this country act on their time proven ideals.

While we may no longer be surprised, we cannot allow ourselves to no longer be angry. There is no justification for oppression, and the only sensible reaction is anger.

So often the oppressor uses language like “he should have complied” or “she should not have gotten aggressive”. What makes this language so dangerous is that prior to analyzing it, it sound perfectly acceptable.

It is so easy to think “if I was in that situation, I would comply and leave with my life”. However, this is immediately disproved because there are documented examples of white men literally threatening to kill an officer while charging at them and not facing the same consequences as a 12-year-old black kid with a plastic gun.

This extends beyond police shootings. Often times anger is used as an excuse to dismiss genuine feelings of the oppressed.

All of the rhetoric about the left being anti free speech, all of the rhetoric about the left being dismissive and angry again seems very valid at first, but when one pays attention to why someone may be dismissive, it extends beyond simply getting frustrated, but being past the point of being able to have a conversation.

It is abundantly clear that the issue is not about one party getting mad at the other. What is happening is that people are using anger as an excuse to justify unjustifiable behavior. They know what is happening is wrong, but by pretending their issue is not about what is wrong but about the fact that someone is getting angry about it, they appear as the rational, and we appear as angry.

And we are the only ones who pay the consequences.


LETTER TO EDITOR: Men can get cancer too

Hello! My name is Daniel Crusius (EC political science major), and I was assigned male at birth.

Last year, I noticed a lump beneath my nipple, and I soon became very concerned. I contacted the Male Breast Cancer Coalition about this to see what they recommend, and they recommended I see a doctor immediately. While unfortunately (due to a lack of medical awareness) my doctor didn’t fully think a person assigned male at birth could get breast cancer at my young age (nor did the medical forms have a spot for breast lump for males*). Nevertheless, we scheduled an ultrasound. We found a pea-size lump, and I was given two options: have a biopsy or have it surgically removed. For reasons I am not comfortable sharing, I hesitated on what to do next. But again, I called Peggy Miller, who helped found the Male Breast Cancer Coalition, whose son Bret developed breast cancer at age 17, among the youngest detected at the time. She was adamant that I get it removed and shared stories of men who had died from breast cancer because they took no action. Indeed, I chose to have a lumpectomy, and the mass was removed from me. It was tested, and fortunately, it was not cancerous. Nevertheless, I write this today to raise awareness about how people assigned male at birth can also develop breast cancer. Just as cisgender women can develop breast cancer, so can cisgender men, transgender women, transgender men, and non-binary folks from any physiological background. For more information on male* breast cancer, visit malebreastcancercoalition.org  .

Readers’ note: I asterisked “male” to be expansive in this complex medicalized gendered context because some folks medicalized as male do not identify as men and some folks medicalized as female identify as men or non-binary.

Sincerely,

Daniel Crusius