COLUMN: Vote radical: tradition won't beat Trump

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

What do Hitler, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Donald Trump have in common? They were visionaries of what seemed like preposterous goals at the time, but every single one of them, with the possible exception of MLK Jr., was immensely successful.

Trump has made a mockery of every part of American politics. He has attained the highest political position in the world with a platform that accused an entire nation of people of being rapists and alleged crimes ranging from tax evasion to rape.

He did this, however, because like MLK Jr., he had a dream. A dream that to rational, intelligent people was a nightmare, but to many in this country—ranging from dirt-poor voters down south to some of the biggest powerhouses in Washington—was a godsend.

All this while Democrats pushed forward powerful, qualified, and dignified candidates, who made the fatal flaw of preserving the status quo. They pushed forward members of the establishment, using the powers of the establishment, and promised to protect the establishment.

Even though they were wrong in their decision to vote for Trump, those who did did so because they finally had a candidate who was promising what they wanted.

None of this justifies Trump’s behavior, and the kind of radical we need to win is not one who will give false promises on a bigoted platform, but one who has some kind of vision of the world their voters wants to see, and for them to make it happen.

Trump was a wrecking ball to the American political establishment. What we do not need is someone gatekeeping and defending the wreckage; what we need is someone who is willing to be a wrecking ball that will knock down his wall. There is no sense in preserving political tradition when we have entered an era where political tradition has been the butt of every sick joke this president calls political action.

When MLK Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to speak to the whole country, he did not say “Let us wait, our time will come” he said “I have a dream that one day little black boys and little black girls will be able to hold hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers” to an America that blew up churches with black children inside, and beat and hosed black people for sitting at the wrong lunch counter.

In the same way black people needed MLK Jr. to articulate the dream and inspire the country to achieve it, many people in this country needed Trump to bring their racist dreams to light. The civil rights amendment was born from a radical’s dream, and so will be the wall between us and Mexico. It will need to be a radical to take that wall down, but that can only happen when America is ready, and time is running out.

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.

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: 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.