The Alestle, Vol. 76 No. 4

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THE

alestle

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

the student voice since 1960

Thursday, September 15, 2022 Vol. 76 No. 4

13 week old Pepper stalks his prey, a bright pink and yellow cat toy. He’s adoptable at the Cheshire Grin Cat Cafe in St. Louis, MO, a rescue and non-profit. | Clair Sollenberger / The Alestle

insidE: Record number of international students attend SIUE this semester PAGE 3

Alton Pride brightens up a late summer weekend PAGE 4

New softball head coach hopes to build connections PAGE 8


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Illinois children’s hospitals are coping with a surge of kids with respiratory illnesses, filling beds LISA SCHENCKER Chicago Tribune / TNS

CHICAGO — Illinois children’s hospitals are seeing a surge of kids with respiratory illnesses, leaving some hunting for beds. “It’s skyrocketed since school started,” said Dr. John Cunningham, physician-in-chief at University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, of the number of families seeking care at Comer. “This is the most challenging period we’ve experienced since March 2020.” It’s not unusual for children’s hospitals to see surges of sick kids each winter, as illnesses such as the flu and RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, spread. But it’s rarer to get a big influx of children with respiratory illnesses in August and September, and, at some hospitals, it’s posing a particular challenge this year because of staffing shortages. “Many of the kids have enterovirus, which can be an upper respiratory or gastrointestinal infection, or rhinovirus, which is a type of enterovirus that affects the upper respiratory tract,” Cunningham said. “Most children who catch the illnesses don’t get very sick and recover at home, experiencing cold-like symptoms. But some, including children with asthma, can become short of breath and have low oxygen levels, requiring hospitalization.” Last week, a state health official sent a note to leaders of hospital groups in Illinois about the surge in hospitalizations among kids, saying, “Most (pediatric intensive care units) in our state are already at or near full capacity, making interfacility transfers more difficult.” The official, Ashley Thoele, deputy chief operating officer at the state health department, said that more kids are being admitted to hospitals, and the situation is “further compounded by workforce shortages at some hospitals.” “Comer is now seeing about 50% more kids than usual coming through its emergency department each day — a spike that doesn’t usually happen until winter,”

Cunningham said. Many of the children admitted to Comer are staying for about two to four days, with a small number also needing treatment for infections and a very small number needing to be put on ventilators, he said. Comer is also seeing an explosion in the number of requests from other hospitals to transfer sick children to Comer. Many community hospitals have closed their pediatric inpatient units in recent years, meaning they may try to transfer sick children elsewhere when they need hospitalization. “Last year at this time, Comer was getting about 63 requests a week from other hospitals to transfer children there,” said Jeff Murphy, vice president of women’s, children’s, and emergency services at University of Chicago Medicine. “Last week, it got 139. Over the last couple weeks, Comer has had to say no to about 20% of those requests, because it already has so many patients. Sometimes community hospitals say they have already tried four or five other hospitals before calling Comer.” “It’s not that they don’t want to take them,” Cunningham said. “We’re all coping with trying to find space for each of these children.” “In recent weeks, Advocate Children’s Hospital has had to transfer some intensive care unit patients to other hospitals, and, sometimes, it has taken those patients from other facilities,” said Dr. Frank Belmonte, chief medical officer at Advocate Children’s Hospital, which has campuses in Park Ridge and Oak Lawn. “We didn’t anticipate this,” Belmonte said. “This summer’s been a pretty typical summer and then all of sudden, in the last two weeks, tons of kids with respiratory illness are coming into the ER.” “Doctors aren’t totally sure what’s causing the spike. It’s possible many young kids are getting very ill now because they haven’t been exposed to the illnesses before because of isolation during COVID-19, or these may just be particularly nasty strains

SIU receives Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award JOHN CHARLES Southern Illinois University System

Springfield, IL — The Southern Illinois University System has received the 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion – the SIU System will be featured as the only HEED System Award Winner in the country, along with 102 other college and university recipients, in the November 2022 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “To be recognized on behalf of our efforts as a system really compliments the work we have undertaken this past year to become an anti-racist organization that molds diversity, equity, and inclusion into our foundation. It also shines a light on the amazing faculty, staff and students who have led our efforts. This award is proof positive that their actions are making a difference on our campuses and in our communities,” said SIU System President Dan Mahony. INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected the SIU System for its proactive decision to promote and hire administra-

tors who better reflect the diversity of its students. Additional key factors included an accessible and affordable education on SIU Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses, focus on recruitment and retention efforts of historically underrepresented and first generation students, diversity planning and accountability, diversity-themed fundraising campaigns, resources for LGBTQ+ faculty and students, and multicultural branding and communication techniques such as the creation of an online Inclusive Language Guide, Conversations of Understanding, and the bold move of SIU System to officially adopt the designation of becoming an “anti-racist system.” “The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — leadership support for diversity, campus culture and climate, supplier diversity, and many other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”

of the sicknesses,” Cunningham said. There’s a particular strain that’s been causing problems in even numbered years for the last decade or so, with the exception of 2020 because everyone was so isolated, Comer doctors say. This year, widespread staffing shortages have made it tough to find space, Belmonte said. Though hospitals may have enough physical beds for kids, if they don’t have enough nurses and other staff, they can’t necessarily fill all those beds. Staffing shortages are plaguing many industries, including health care, which saw many workers quit because of burnout from working through the pandemic. “We’re all recruiting for nursing and techs and all the other pieces that keep the puzzle together,” Belmonte said. “In children’s hospitals, the skill set is so specific, so the labor pool is much smaller to pull from.” Advocate has some nurses work across multiple departments and has been trying to be creative in its recruitment strategies, he said. Comer has been able to maintain full staffing, Murphy said, thanks to a recruitment initiative in November, as well as deciding to hire more nurses with associate’s degrees rather than just bachelor’s degrees, he said. Cunningham said he expects to continue seeing children with the viruses through the fall and winter. Those cases may be on top of the kids who stream into the hospital for illnesses typically seen in the winter, such as RSV and the flu. It may be a rough flu season this year. U.S. doctors typically look to Australia, which experiences its flu season earlier than the U.S., to see what the U.S. might expect. Australia had a bad flu season this year, and, on top of that, most people in the U.S. are no longer masking and taking the types of precautions that may have blunted other recent flu seasons. “That’s why it’s crucial kids be vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19 this year,” Cunningham said.

09.07.22 A wallet was stolen on the Alton campus. 09.08.22 A passport was found in Lovejoy Library. 09.09.22 A debit card was found in the MUC. A wallet was found in the Student Fitness Center. An officer responded to a report of a subject requesting to buy textbooks in Alumni Hall. 09.12.22 An officer responded to another report of a subject asking to buy textbooks in Alumni Hall. An officer responded to a woman in Prairie Hall who reported she was followed into the women’s bathroom by a man. The man had left by the time of the officer’s arrival. An officer responded to a different woman who reported a man had approached her in the evening and asked personal questions and she felt threatened. The man was not on the scene when the officer arrived.

Thursday, 09.15.22

NEWS IN BRIEF

Freshman nursing student killed in crash Sunday

An SIUE freshman nursing student was killed in a car crash Sunday morning. University leaders announced the death of Emily Allen, 18, of Belleville, Illinois, on Monday. Allen was a first-year nursing major and honors student living in Woodland Hall, and a 2022 graduate of Belleville West High School. “My deepest sympathies to all who had the opportunity to know Emily as a family member, friend, student, roommate or campus community member, as we mourn the loss of so much promise,” said Chancellor James Minor in the campus announcement. Allen was an honors student, and had begun to participate in the honors program at SIUE in her first few weeks of college. “It is a tragic situation, a sadness to mourn the loss of a friend, colleague and community member who had just begun to develop her promising gifts,” said Honors Program Director Jessica Hutchins in an email to the honors students. “As a member of our local community, we know that many of you may have known Emily before your journeys aligned at SIUE. Some of you may have started to know Emily as a classmate. And for some of you, you may have never known Emily, but this brings to light our own experiences, fears and concerns.” Allen also was a member of Illinois Esprit, a southern Illinois amateur fastpitch softball team that had already lost another player earlier this year in a car accident. As a high school softball player, she batted .356 with a home run and 17 runs batted in, leading to her selection as Athlete of the Week in the Belleville News-Democrat in April. She was friends with Maddi Rodriguez, the other Esprit player who was killed in a crash in February. The Esprit team posted on Facebook that “twice seems unbelievable and incredibly unfair.” “Emily was dedicated and hardworking with a healthy dose of silliness, and she never left the ball field in clean clothes – ever,” the post read. Allen was a member of Concordia United Church of Christ in Belleville. Church members posted their memorials on Facebook on Monday. “We love you, Emily, and shall always carry your light in our hearts,” wrote member Joanie Mier. The crash occurred at approximately 3 a.m. on Interstate 44 near the Gateway Arch grounds, according to the Belleville News-Democrat. Allen was driving a Toyota Corolla when it collided with two other cars, and at least one other person was critically injured. At least one of the cars involved was heading in the wrong direction, police said. The crash remains under investigation by St. Louis Police. SIUE is offering grief support through Counseling Services, located with Health Service in the lower level of the Student Success Center, suite 0222. Call 618-6502842 for more information, or contact the mental health referral group Path at 618-268-1533 for off-campus counseling. Funeral and remembrance service announcements will be announced by the family and university as they are determined.


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SIUE welcomes record high number of international students LIV KRAUS reporter

The Office of International Affairs welcomed roughly 900 students from 61 different countries this semester, achieving the highest number to date. Lead Immigration Specialist Cheryl Borowiak, said there have been around 370 new international students this fall, making it around 900 students total. She said most students come from India, Nepal and Nigeria. Borowiak said the office of international affairs helps an additional 250 students through Optional Practice Training (OPT), a program that helps individuals get experience in the workforce and maintain their visas. “They’re offered a year, plus possibly two years if they’re in a STEM field, to be able to have the opportunity to work in the workforce,” Borowiak said. “We help them maintain their visa status, above and beyond the time that they’re here enrolled.” Borowiak said the increase in international student enrollment for this semester is likely largely related to the COVID-19 pandemic. “During the pandemic, students weren’t able to come, visas were slowed at the US consulates around the world,” Borowiak said. “The backlog with the Department of State issuing visas has caused this backlog of visas and so all of a sudden, I think we’re seeing a boost.” Mary Weishaar, executive director of international affairs, said she believes the COVID-19 pandemic has played a large role in the increased number of international students this year. She said with visa services being shut down, many prospective students weren’t able to attend SIUE. “Students just weren’t able to come and they wanted to come, so there’s sort of a pentup demand and now things have really opened up,” Weishaar said. “I think students are just trying to get their visas and wanting to come to study with us.”

The Office of International Affairs works with roughly 900 students over 600 different countries. This year’s international student orientation saw an increase of over 300 students from last year.

International student programming advisor, John Ampomah, said the office of international affairs provides students with the information on COVID-19 vaccines and travel accommodations. Ampomah said the international affairs office assists students with airport pickups, registering for classes, applying for visas and other accommodations. “We send them all this information, help guide them through this application, accommodation, everything,” Ampomah said. “We kind of connect and send them information even before they get here.” Borowiak said that the higher admissions could also be a result of SIUE’s great job at promoting and recruiting.

“Admissions has been working really hard to recruit new students,” Borowiak said. “I think there are some communities that have spread the word and helped us along with that.” Borowiak said the support that international affairs gives to students is a large part of what attracts them to SIUE. “They know that we’re going to be a second family to them and that’s welcoming,” Borowiak said. “Coming from abroad and not having anyone here is sometimes overwhelming for students, but I think we’ve got a good counseling, support system, health services, all of these offices that we have in place to help these students be successful is really important.” Borowiak said the Interna-

| Photo courtesy of Howard Ash

tional Hospitality Association does a lot to help international students acclimate to the new environment. She said the IHA welcomes students, gives them second hand items and offers homes for them to stay in over holiday breaks. “That’s nice that they can do that and offer that support and environment, especially during the holidays when all of us Americans are spending it with our families here, at least they have someone to spend their time with,” Borowiak said. Weishaar said SIUE’s strong programs and supportive staff and faculty encourages international students to attend the university. “I think word of mouth has really made a difference,”

Weishaar said. “I think people are leaving here and they’re going home and they’re telling their family and friends.” Ampomah said there’s an orientation for international students, where they can meet new people and go over important immigrant regulations that students must follow to maintain their studies. “We also invite the campus community and different units to come and talk to the students and organize resources for the students and we make sure that they transition smoothly,” Ampomah said. “They also get to kind of get all the support to let them know that we are here for them.” For more information, visit the international affairs website.

SBDC to host webinar on resource for women, veteran, minority-owned businesses NICOLE BOYD opinion editor

The Small Business Development Center is teaming up with Town and Country Bank to host a webinar on the Advantage Illinois program, which is intended to help women, veteran and minority-owned businesses in Illinois get loans. The Advantage Illinois program has two programs, one of which is Fund for the Advancement of Minority Enterprises for women, veteran and minority-owned businesses, according to Rob Pickerell, vice president and commercial banking officer of Town and Country Bank. Businesses can receive a loan of 50 percent or $400,000, whichever is less, at a fixed interest rate for seven years. In contrast, the traditional Advantage Illinois program is open to anyone, and through it businesses can receive a loan of up to $1.5 million. He said there are no other programs like it of which he is aware. “This program specifically having no program-related fees, having no separate application process, it’s a great way

for small business owners in that they’re to let women, veteran and minority-owned a great, non-complicated way for small businesses know about another resource business owners to gain funding that they available to them. He said he talks about maybe simply would not be able to get,” the program every time he talks to people applying for a loan, Pickerell said. and the fact that they Pickerell said the don’t already know webinar is going to cover the history of about it tells him that the program and how word isn’t out yet. it works, and he is go“Women, vetering to focus more on ans, minorities that the process of what may not have necesbusinesses must do. sarily ever qualified “I want to make for a loan, it gives sure the program them better loan to does not get a bad value. It also gives Rob Pickerell Vice President and Commercial rap,” Pickerell said. a much better rate. Banking Officer at Town and “If you don’t get all It doesn’t have that Country Bank the information and additional cost to it. think as a customer, There’s just lots of ‘All I [have to] do is just tell my banker great benefits,” Pickerell said. what I want to do with this, they run it, Jo Ann DiMaggio May, director of approved, we’re done,’ and then some- the Illinois Small Business Development thing happens, will I want to tell 50 peo- Center for the Metro East, said the weple how bad my experience was?” binar came about because they’ve been Pickerell said the webinar is intended working as a state navigator for the Illinois

It gives [a] better loan to value. It also gives a much better rate.

Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Pickerell wanted to collaborate on a session to go over new enhancements coming to the program and share that information with borrowers. “We have been really helping promote the Advantage Illinois program and getting more lenders and small businesses involved in the program, and just building the awareness of the participation loan program and all the benefits,” DiMaggio May said. DiMaggio May said the participation loan program with Advantage Illinois helps financial institutions feel more secure in financing the borrower because they have commitment from the state to assist in covering a portion of the loan. “[It] allows the business to get the operating capital and equipment or any of those things that they might need to start or grow their business,” DiMaggio May said. The webinar will take place at noon Sept. 29. For more information, visit the SBDC website.


The Alestle will be on break next week, but will be back with our online edition Tuesday, Sept. 27 PAGE 4

lifestyles alestlelive.com

contact the editor: lifestyles@alestlelive.com 650-3527 Thursday, 09.15.22

Alton’s Belle Street covered in color for first Pride Fest DYLAN HEMBROUGH reporter Belle Street was bustling with people, celebrations and color as Alton Pride celebrated its first Pride festival in downtown Alton. The festival featured face painting, pet adoptions, vendors and live entertainment on Sept. 10. The orgnanization, Alton Pride, is dedicated to giving back to the local community. In addition to hosting Pride events, it has plans to set up a local teen suicide prevention line and a resource center for any young people with questions or concerns. Hayley Horwath, a criminal justice major at SIUE from Eldorado, Illinois, said she was very excited to attend the Pride event. “This is my first-ever Pride festival. I’m hoping to see … the different kinds of merch, people’s beautiful outfits, and hopefully some drag queens,” Horwath said. Horwath said that she was impressed with what she had seen and was appreciative of the compliments she received on her outfit and gender-fluid flag. Horwath also said that the music was better than she expected, and that she recognized many of the songs played there. The entertainment lineup for the festival included drag shows alternated with performances by Porch Cafè, Summer Osborne, Mz. Goldie and Bullseye Womprats. “I’m someone who enjoys music a lot,” Horwath said. “Having so many good songs I recognize performed so well really adds to the experience.

It’s delightful.” Matt Murray, an SIUE P3 pharmacy student, said that they volunteered when the School of Pharmacy put out a request for representation at the event. “I think the School of Pharmacy officially [sponsored the stand], because they were asking students to volunteer for it,” Murray said. Murray said that they were at the Pride festival to provide health information to the public on many quickly-changing subjects relevant to the LGBTQ+ community. “We’re providing information regarding gender affirmation therapy, monkeypox vaccines, HIV medications, and then we also have a wheel where people can win prizes,” Murray said. One of the stand’s flyers said that, starting January 1, 2023, a new Illinois law will allow pharmacists to dispense HIV treatment without a physician’s order. Another flyer presented background on the monkeypox virus and tips to minimize exposure to it. Michael Stoker, one of many vendors present at the event, first started in the Pride vending business two years ago. Since then, they have traveled everywhere from Oklahoma to North Carolina selling Pride merchandise including rainbow flags, blankets and jewelry. “I was on the board of directors for a nonprofit in Evansville, Indiana, and we set up a Pride there,” Stoker said. “It’s been nonstop since then.” Stoker is already planning for next year’s Pride season, and that includes going beyond vending at Pride events. “We’re looking to buy a previously set up website from a company that’s go-

One of many perfermances at Alton Pride, the Porch Cafe covers many wellknown classic rock songs. | Dylan Hembrough / The Alestle ing out of business, just because they’ve aged out, not because the business is bad,” Stoker said. “It’s a wholesale website and offers a lot.” Stoker said that they will do 73 Pride events this season, which runs from April

to November. They hope to add another tent in the near future and go online so they can sell Pride merchandise throughout the year. For more information on the Alton Pride organization, visit its website.

Dozens of vendors line Belle Street during Alton Pride, most selling Pride focused items, including jewelry, clothing, handmade pottery, pins and flags. | Dylan Hembrough / The Alestle


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Jazz and Wine Festival brings businesses, local musicians together

SIUE Alumnus Kendrick Smith performed with The Kendrick Smith Trio as the second act of the night at the annual Jazz and Wine festival in Alton that began five years ago and features a new lineup of jazz performers every year. | Damian Morris / The Alestle

The festival opened with The Confulence, a group of Alton High School students, and closed out with headliners Mardra and Reggie Thomas, who were returning to their hometown for the first time in years. | Damian Morris / The Alestle

REVIEW: Local rescue serving up great coffee and saving adorable kittens FRANCESCA BOSTON lifestyles editor The Cheshire Grin Cat Cafe in St. Louis is the perfect place for a stress-relieving afternoon where you can enjoy a good coffee and hang out with the cutest cats and kittens. The cafe, which also functions as a rescue, is a two-story corner building with a small cat-free cafe area where guests check in and order coffee and pastries. When guests first arrive, there is a waiver you must sign in case a cat is in a bad mood and scratches. There are a couple of cats who are well-known to be more aggressive, so the cafe has given them pink collars for guests to stay a bit further away from them as they adjust to people. Guests then pass through a set of two doors to get into the backs of the space where the older cats are free-roaming and the kittens are in little safe areas. Upstairs is a larger open space where the older cats tend to hang out, play with toys, relax in sunbeams or interact with guests whom they deem worthy. The cafe is extra special, as visitors can meet their future pet, with all but two of the cats being adoptable. The two cats

who are permanent fixtures, Whiskey and Yuki, are the adorable residents of the cafe and were watching over the cafe area and kittens the day we visited. The cafe is dedicated to their animals and has high standards for people hoping to adopt. There are no same-day adoptions as prospective pet parents must fill out an application and have a conversation with a staff member about the cat and their responsibilities. This is because the cafe wants to ensure that all of the cats end up with safe and loving families. The cats that are taken in are usually ones at risk of being euthanized, or from other rescues who are low on space until they find their forever home. Displayed on their walls are pictures of hundreds of cats who have been adopted from the cafe. It was one of my favorite things that I have done so far this year, and I would gladly pay the five-dollar reservation fee again to go back. The animals are well taken care of, having hundreds of places to hide, climb and play. Even though I do not have the space or money to support a cat right now, I know that in the future, I would like to go back and be able to meet my cat in a more relaxed space. As a stressed and busy college student,

an hour spent with kittens and friends was the perfect stress reliever. It was also great

to be able to support a local rescue and see the impact of it right in front of us.

Pepper Jack, a very social two year old cat hangs out in a sunbeam. The cats have access to many climbing areas and toys. | Clair Sollenberger / The Alestle


The Alestle will be on break next week, but will be back with our online edition Tuesday, Sept. 27

OPINION

Share your thoughts: opinion@alestlelive.com 650-3527

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Thursday, 09.15.22

Cougar

Controversies EMILY STERZINGER Editor-in-Chief

Pumpkin cream cold brew or pumpkin spice latte?

GABRIEL BRADY Managing Editor

FRANCESCA BOSTON Lifestyles Editor

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Destroying period products is peak fragile masculinity THE ALESTLE STAFF editorial board

Harmless menstruation products have caused irrational anger among cisgender men. Many of the baskets, products, bags and signs created by the Mensi Project have been thrown away or vandalized by anti-trans stickers in men’s bathrooms across campus. Since 2018, the Mensi Project has strived to provide menstruation products to students. Since the passing of Illinois HB 0641, which requires all state universities to provide menstruation projects in all bathrooms, they have helped provide them to all students— no matter

their gender. It is only four weeks into the school year and there have already been multiple reports of destroyed or missing baskets, which is not only disappointing that there are enough people on our campus who care so much about what other people’s bodies are like, but that we are seeing these issues carry over from last year. There have also been reports of anti-trans stickers, which means that these people are spending their money on these stickers and then taking time out of their day to intentionally spread hate. Not only is this a horrible act, but it also falls under a gender hate crime by both the Illinois State Constitution and

SIUE code of conduct, meaning that if a student is caught vandalizing with anti-trans stickers they could be charged with a hate crime and expelled from school Now, because these bags and baskets are being destroyed, Facilities Management is having to buy multiple machines made of metal to withstand attempts at destruction or vandalism. For many students, this is extremely frustrating, because now our student fees are being used to buy unnecessary items, instead of improving mental health resources or dining options, because people are being childish about something that does not affect them at all. Our statement on this is sim-

brain functions. That said, OCD, ADHD and depression are so “mainstream” that they get thrown around quite recklessly. There are plenty of psychological disorders that experience underrepresentation and misrepresentation in mass media, specifically in the movie realm. One of the most egregious misrepresentations of any disorder came with the 2016 M. Night Shyamalan movie “Split.” “Split” chronicles the struggles of Kevin Crumb, a character who hosts 24 separate identities which fight for control of his body. Crumb kidnaps three young girls, who are subjected to repeated abuse and attempt to free themselves by manipulating Crumb’s identities. At the end of the movie, Crumb reveals an identity who possesses superhuman strength. “Split” was incredibly offensive, not only to those with the portrayed illnesses, but also those in general mental health

advocacy. Even in 2022, mental health advocates often have to work against generations’ worth of walls built around a taboo subject. It is true that mental health is much more visible in the modern era. While it is professionally understood much better than it was just a few decades ago, mental health and disorders are still subject to misunderstanding by the general public and mass media. What sets “Split” apart from more typical misrepresentation of mental illness is its antagonistic and heroic portrayals of the mentally ill in Crumb’s character and the character of Casey Cooke, respectively. Crumb’s status as the villain of the film is set from the beginning, and he does everything from kidnapping to cannibalism within the movie. He spares Cooke, however, after seeing her scars and declaring her “pure.” Glorification of mental illness is a discussion on its own, and one which the Alestle has

ple: don’t be a jerk. It costs you nothing to just ignore it. Save your limited mental energy by walking away if it bothers you. If the mere existence of trans people bothers you enough to be hateful, take a step back and do some self-reflection. We have been taught since we were younger that other people deserve to be treated with respect, no matter what. When a person goes out of their way to destroy university property, it says more about that person than it does about the object. The fact that these people are so insecure in their own masculinity that menstruation products in their space make them angry speaks more about them than it does anything else.

Mental illness doesn’t equate to heroism or villainy DYLAN HEMBROUGH reporter

The general public typically understands mental illness in one of two ways, both of which are extreme misrepresentations of what mental illness really is. On the one hand, more mainstream disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and ADHD have become so watered down that they have effectively lost meaning outside the psychiatric sphere. On the other hand, lesser-known disorders like dissociative identity disorder (DID) and schizophrenia are seen so rarely that they are deemed “crazy” by most. As someone with diagnoses for both OCD and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), I have firsthand experience with everyday misrepresentation of mental illness. Hearing, “Just stop worrying,” or, “Don’t be so moody,” does not magically change inner

covered in the past. It is easy to write off such a character as “crazy,” but appealing to fear in an audience is a powerful decision, and one which often sticks around after the credits have rolled. “Split” is classified as a psychological thriller, one meant to elicit some sense of fear or dread in the viewer. That’s how money is made off these films, after all. Misrepresentation of mental illness is unethical enough, but the fact that it is often done for profit is sickening on another level. There are right and wrong ways to introduce the mental health discussion to the public, and profit tends to get in the way of accurate and responsible representation. An already misunderstood disorder and stigmatized community do not deserve more unwarranted bad attention. Mental health advocacy has come a very long way in recent years – let’s not set that progress back.


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The Alestle will be on break next week, but will be back with our online edition Tuesday, Sept. 27

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PAGE 8

Thursday, 09.15.22

New softball head coach hopes to bring success to Cougar squad by building strong connections AHMAD LATHAN reporter The women’s softball team welcomes new head coach Ben Sorden, who has a long and experienced resume with softball. Sorden said he was elated when he found out he was hired to coach the softball team. He said SIUE was one of the schools that he viewed as a potential landing spot while looking to become a head coach. “It was because of the facilities, geographic region as well as it sits in the middle of my recruiting footprint,” Sorden said. “I started as a student assistant when I was in college back in 1993.” Sorden said because he is a midwestern guy from Iowa, a lot of his friends are happy that he is a little closer so they can watch some softball games. For their first practice on Sept. 6, Sorden said he plans on seeing the team skill outlook for the upcoming season. “What we want to do is make sure that we can identify what all of our unique abilities are and we’re going to put those together to win games,” Sorden said. Sorden said he wants to build team relationships like they’re a family, so they can expect good results on the field. “The number one thing we need to do is come together as a team and as a family,” Sorden said. “When you play unselfishly, good things are going to happen.” He said he is striving to make the

team competitive within the Ohio Valley Conference for the near future. “It is my goal to be in the top three in the conference every year and will always be on the hunt in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament for the automatic qualifier,” Sorden said. He said his other goal is to have the team in an NCAA regional on a regular basis. Giorgiana Zeremenko, assistant coach, said she was excited about the hiring of coach Sorden due to his amount of experience at multiple levels in the collegiate world. “He brings a lot of different good qualities that I think this program needs and it is a good change of pace,” Zeremenko said. She said that Sorden is good at building relationships and working with team connections. “I think him being able to come in, help with some team bonding, team chemistry and helping them grow as individuals can elevate us,” Zeremenko said. Zeremenko said the expectation for the team is to compete for an OVC championship along with a national championship for the upcoming season. Sorden said when they commit to their team process, the wins are going to happen. “Establishing the culture and coming together as a collective group with a united vision is the number one thing that I want to establish this year,” Sorden said.

Upcoming MEN’S SOCCER

WOMEN’S SOCCER

Sept. 17, 6 p.m.

Sept. 18, 1 p.m.

SIUE at Evansville

SIUE at Southeast Missouri

Sept. 24, 7 p.m.

Sept. 22, 7 p.m.

Belmont at Edwardsville

SIUE at Lindenwood

Sept. 27, 6 p.m.

Sept. 25, 2 p.m.

Memphis at Edwardsville

Eastern Illinois at Edwardsville

Sept. 27, 6 p.m.

Sept. 25, 2 p.m.

Memphis at Edwardsville

Eastern Illinois at Edwardsville

Sorden joins the fold Ben Sorden

Hometown: Lone Tree, Iowa Education: Bachelor’s in management and entrepreneurship from Buena Vista University in 1995 | Photo courtesy of Campus Athletics

Collegiate Coaching Career

Started his collegiate coaching career at at Coe College where he oversaw three All-American pitchers, four Iowa Conference

Pitchers of the year and seven NCAA All-Region pitchers. While at Michigan State, Sorden spent five seasons coaching until the

Spartans improved their stats. While there, the team held a 2.38 earned run average and average a 1.11 WHIP in the 350 innings played. When he was coaching for Indiana State, the Hoosiers

gained six All-Big Ten picks, four NFCA All-Region honorees and 42 Academic All-Big Ten slections over the 2014-2017 period he was there.

Tennis returners and newcomers play big in recent Cougar invite AHMAD LATHAN reporter Adam Albertsen, head coach, said the squad had a good showing for their first event. Albertsen said it was nice to get out there to compete against new competitors this past weekend. “I couldn’t be happier and prouder of the results,” Albertsen said. “We came out with a lot of wins, so it was a strong showing.” Albertsen said they had a good showing in singles and doubles all weekend. The returning Ohio Valley Conference player of the year, Jill Lambrechts, completed her weekend 3-0 in singles play. Jordan Schifano, two-time All-OVC returner, dominated the singles courts as well, finishing 3-0. “It’s just good to see that our older class was playing at such a high level,” Albertsen said. Albertsen said he likes where the team is at from an early standpoint in the year. He said the team can get better over time with newcomers and veterans meshing in doubles sets. The Cougars won 17 matches while going undefeated against Bradley and Eastern Illinois. “This is the strongest team I have had from top to bottom,” Albertsen said. “I think what could set this team apart from past years is our depth and strength

in doubles.” He said his focus for the fall is making sure the team improves so their minor errors can be fixed. “We are going to use the fall to train and clean up some little technique areas and some strategy,” Albertsen said. “You know our veterans and returners bring experience, steadiness and calm to our team from years of experience,” Albertsen said. “What I love from our four newcomers is that they bring this extra spark to our team.” Albertsen said he likes the mixture of traits the younger athletes provide to the team along with the veterans. “It is a cool plan when you have tons of steady experience along with emotion and passion on the court that it’s a perfect mix right now,” Albertsen said. He said the group has a supportive environment while playing on the court and off the court. “They are an awesome group, they get along and support each other on and off the court,” Albertsen said.” It is truly a family.” Albertsen said he wants to use the fall season to help grow the team for the future. He said as the team walks into conference play once spring season begins, they plan to be at their best status. “With fall season it’s all about growing and just preparing for a stretch run, so it’s a good start for it being our first event,” Albertsen said.