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BEST OF NOVEMBER


IN THIS ISSUE

NEWS

NEWS

FEATURES

OPINION

Can Pfizer save the country from this pandemic? Pfizer says that they have a vaccine for COVID-19 that shows 90% effectiveness.

COD Continues Effort, Virtually, to Keep Students Engaged, Involved Last year COD had over 100 clubs; now COD has around 40. Participation still decreases.

President Brian Caputo Addresses Concerns in Virtual Town Hall Meeting There’s good news in the short term for local taxpayers and students looking to stretch their tuition money.

Let us Take a Look at the Election The 2020 presidential election has been one of the most contested elections in American history.

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THE TEAM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF·············································· Sadie Romeo MANAGING EDITOR········································· Nicole Littlefield ENTERTAINMENT WRITER···························· Cody Wagner STAFF WRITER···················································· Kevin Ashley STAFF WRITER···················································· Dominique Thomas STAFF WRITER···················································· Rogelio Valdes STAFF WRITER···················································· Gabriella Gallardo MULTIMEDIA EDITOR······································ Danny Olivares GRAPHICS EDITOR··········································· Jessica Tapia PUBLICATIONS EDITOR································· Brenton Russo ADVISER································································· Jim Fuller

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The Courier (SRC 1220) 425 Fawell Blvd. Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

@codcourier

editor@cod.edu • (630) 942-2679 • codcouier.org The Courier is published every Wednesday during the fall and spring semesters, except for the first and last Wednesday of each semester and the week of spring break as a public forum with content chosen by student editors. The Courier does not knowingly accept advertisement that discriminate on the basis of sex, creed, religion, color, handicapped status, veteran or sexual orientation, nor does it knowingly print ads that violate local, state or federal law.


NEWS CAN PFIZER SAVE THE COUNTRY FROM THIS PANDEMIC? Sadie Romero, Editor-In-Chief • Nov 16, 2020 The multinational pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, and the German biotechnology company, BioNTech, have come up with a provisional vaccine for COVID-19, announcing last week that it exceeded 90% effectiveness against contraction of the virus. If approved, there will be College of DuPage faculty among the first in line to receive the vaccine. As numbers of COVID-19 cases increase, news of a potential vaccine heightens hopes for Americans and people all across the globe. However, in an official statement by Pfizer on Nov. 9, the company made it clear a vaccine will take time before it becomes widespread among the general public. Even then, it will not solve the influx of surging cases occurring in many countries—the United States, in particular. After evaluating multiple, smaller clinical vaccines in late spring, Pfizer narrowed down the vaccination to the trial with the fewest side-effects. The pharmaceutical company conducted the testing of their initial vaccine in July of this year, through vaccination on a group of about 44,000 people. Half the participants received placebo salt-water injections. Since then, the company documented 94 participants having contracted the virus following the experiment, which constitutes the approximate 90% effectiveness rate. Participants from the July 2020 experiment will be evaluated over the span of two years to search for and mediate any potential long-term effects of the vaccine. Pfizer projects some 30 million to 40 million doses of the vaccine may be distributed to high-risk individuals and healthcare workers before 2021, following an anticipated approval of their application for emergency authorization, which is tentatively planned to be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later this month. “As an active health care worker, I may not have a choice since it may be mandatory

for us,” said COD Health Science Professor Terrie Ciez. “I still would be willing to be one of the first to receive it since I am in one of the high-risk groups and have already been in contact with a few COVID-positive patients. In our field, we cannot refuse to take care of these patients. So the more protection I have, the better I will feel.” Ciez continued, “There is always a fear of side effects later on, which has occurred with many vaccines within time. I look at it as what is best right now to try and stay healthy.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), assuming the vaccine is approved, the United States will speed up the rate at which the vaccine is distributed. That will allow quicker access for the general public, or those of whom do not qualify for immediate vaccination. The U.S. government says they will be able to do so quickly by its early action, this past Spring, of investing in manufacturing companies to prepare for the distribution of large quantities, eventually making the vaccine accessible through multiple streams

including local pharmacies, doctors’ offices, health centers and hospitals across the nation. Gallup, the analytic and advisory company, collected data on the “readiness” of Americans and their likelihood to receive a vaccine when it becomes available to the public. Yet, even then, the numbers almost fell below 50% overall, suggesting a moderate approval rating of a vaccine. This number dropped 11% in just one month, from Aug. to Sept. 2020. Although overall approval ratings plummeted— accounting for Republicans, Democrats and Independents—the percentage of Republicans favoring a vaccine actually rose by approximately 12%, while Democrats fell by 25% in the same month. As of right now, Pfizer-BioNTech is the front-runner of 10, hoping to conclude the year with an eligible and safe vaccination against COVID-19. As the third week of November approaches, it marks the end of a two-month period of close evaluation, bringing a more sound insight on the safety of the vaccine.

Stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 information. coronavirus.illinois.gov

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NEWS COD CONTINUES EFFORT, VIRTUALLY, TO KEEP STUDENTS ENGAGED, INVOLVED Nicole Littlefield, Managing Editor • Nov 9, 2020 Student participation and involvement have dropped immensely since the start of the pandemic. Last year COD had over 100 clubs; now COD has around 40. Participation rates continue to decrease from the start of the semester to now. “It’s overwhelming and stressful to be a student, especially during these times,” said, Student Life Front Desk Specialist, Jelymar Mejia. “Society is focusing more on self-care and how that’s important for students.” The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges across the nation to change the way education operates. With COD campuses remaining closed for spring semester, the Office of Student Life continues to adapt to the changes. Before campus had closed, the Office of Student Life kept students involved and social. The office window provided games to play in the student lounge as well as information about the various clubs at COD. During Chap Days (the first two weeks of fall semester) and Spirit Week the office hosts activities like rollerskating, movie nights, and, of course, plenty of free food. The office is responsible for free ice cream during Chap Days, the Spirit Week Carnival’s cotton candy, and free popcorn every Wednesday. “Student Life likes to feed you,” said Mejia. “We love giving away free food. Obviously, we cannot give away food now, so how do we make that up? We’re trying to give away cool stuff.” Currently, the Office of Student Life is operating virtually. Information about upcoming events are posted on their social media accounts (@CODStudentLife) as well as ChapLife, which is COD’s events and organizations’ webpage. To keep students involved the office has been hosting virtual events like bingo, trivia night, and even escape rooms. For Spirit Week (Oct. 19-23), the office gave away COD spirit wear and other school gear. The giveaway hyperlink was posted at 11 a.m. each day of the week, and the first 50 people who signed up received the items. Each

person was allowed one win. COD student, Annie Walinder, attended many of the Chap Days events including bingo, the escape room, and an airbrush t-shirt event. “I honestly didn’t know what to expect for any of the virtual events. For bingo, they used an online bingo program that I had never seen before. Through Zoom, the person running the game shared his screen and called out the numbers. It ran a lot smoother than I expected it to. For the escape room, I was confused about how they were going to run an escape room virtually. I have played escape room games before, but this wasn’t anything like those games. The game master hosted a Zoom room and would place the players in groups and then into breakout rooms. Then you go through various documents trying to find the password to a website that unlocks more data.” One of the biggest challenges for the office has been the mail process. Safety precautions are being taken in the packaging of the items; items are quarantined before being sent out. Since campus is closed, the office also has to request access to the mailroom. “It is a long process to get things shipped, but I think it is a nice thing to be able to do,” said Mejia. “We can send little pieces of COD to students when they can’t come to campus. For the most part it’s successful. It will take a little longer than going to an event and leaving with the prize. But in the end, everyone will

get their prizes.” Clubs and organizations have resorted to meeting online as well. Many clubs use Zoom to host their meeting and others meet on apps like Discord. The COD Cyberdefense Club has been meeting on Discord. A member of the club, Matthew Martyka, said, “It’s not the same as being in person and being able to talk to people and help them. Being online is a little more complicated because you have to set a time, hope that everyone has good internet connection and make sure people can speak or be heard.” The COD Forensics team has weekly meetings hosted over Zoom. Walinder, a member of the team, said, “It’s not the same as meeting in person and the Zoom fatigue is real, but it is still nice to have a structured meeting time and place.” “So taking time to do something fun or to just switch it up a little bit it is definitely good for students being involved,” said Mejia. It helps you have a more well-rounded college experience and it helps you connect with people.” “I would love to participate in a lot more of the online events, but the way that online school has been going has made it difficult. I feel like I have even less screen time now than I did when everything was normal.

The Office of Student Life continues to operate virtually. View upcoming events and more on ChapLife. cod.presence.io

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FEATURES PRESIDENT BRIAN CAPUTO ADDRESSES CONCERNS IN VIRTUAL TOWN HALL MEETING Dominique Thomas, Staff Writer • Nov 17, 2020 COD President Brian Caputo hosted a Town Hall meeting last week to address multiple concerns stemming from rising COVID-19 cases. But there’s good news in the short term for local taxpayers and students looking to stretch their tuition money. With COVID-19 cases hitting 35,284 in DuPage County since the onset of the pandemic, COD announced that all hybrid classes will be moved to remote learning later in the week. The college has seen 41 total COVID-19 cases – 33 students and eight employees. Through a virtual town hall meeting, Caputo spoke about the emotional help available for the college community and the flexibility needed for the next months. “Uncertainty is difficult,” Caputo said, “and we are all dealing with a host of issues in our own personal and professional lives, which in many ways stretch our intellectual and

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emotional capacities.” Introducing a new five-year plan for COD development, including more Dual credit classes being encouraged to high schools, STEM recruitment, and help to fund more assistance for minority students and more attention to equal opportunities for diverse faculty and staff. “Equity is embedded throughout the plan,” Caputo said. “It is really central to who we are.” Caputo also addressed the concerns of course workloads and how students will manage school and outside obligations to reduce pressure in our lives. “Prioritize your work. Not everything needs to be done as soon as you get them,” he said. Along with adapting to the new normal, Caputo announced a budget that calls for no tuition increases and no property tax increases

for one year. The board of trustees must approve the plan. “Over the past years we have been increasing the tuition by a dollar, but logically we cannot sustain that forever,” Caputo said. “We are trying to draw down the fund balance over several years and then come up with a solution to gradually bring it up again.” However, Caputo said the pandemic has taken a toll on the college both financially and in terms of an overworked and overwhelmed faculty. “We are gonna have to be flexible to respond to our environment, whether it be the pandemic or enrollment,” Caputo said. He added that could mean determining the “right size for our organization” if the enrollment continues to plummet.


OPINON LET US TAKE A LOOK AT THE ELECTION Kevin Ashley, Staff Writer • Nov 17, 2020

Flat-earthers and anti-vaxxers are the two most mocked and laughed at demographics in the world. These are people who look at the overwhelming amount of evidence against their beliefs and say, “Yeah I don’t buy that. It is all a part of a government conspiracy to control people.” But even they are given a run for their money when faced with the number of conspiracies and baseless claims made by President Donald Trump and his supporters over this election and who won. Currently, there is no evidence backing the claim that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against Trump. In Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign lost lawsuits. In Arizona, they just dropped the challenge entirely. The Trump campaign has actively looked for evidence proving there was widespread voter fraud and have found nothing that will hold up in court. Maureen Heffern Ponicki, COD assistant professor of political science, said there is no history of widespread election fraud in the United States. “There are cases here and there of (individual) voter fraud, but all the evidence says the U.S. electoral system is fairly fraudfree. Will there always be small problems? Yes, and they get dealt with. Is there any evidence of widespread fraud? No. In fact, electoral

fraud is rare in the United States.” Despite the Trump administration’s best efforts to find widespread voter fraud they haven’t been able to. There are systems in place in our electoral process to prevent that from happening. Dead people can’t vote. People can’t vote twice, and ballots were never dumped or thrown away. Even the claims the Trump administration has made that fraud is rampant in our election system has been proven wrong by both Democrat and Republican secretaries of state running elections throughout the country. The people who monitor these elections in their state have claimed multiple times that the level of voter fraud being claimed by the Trump administration hasn’t happened and isn’t possible. It should be remembered that Trump claimed fraud in 2016 when he won but not by the popular vote margin that he desired. Trump even made a special commission to investigate voter fraud on the national level and after two years of work came up with nothing. Let’s take a step back and think about the argument being made here. The Trump administration wants the American public to believe that not only did the Democrats rig the election, but they also did it so successfully with such little error that

despite the best efforts of the executive branch of our government they could not find a single bit of evidence that back-up their claim. They want the American public to believe that with no evidence backing them this election was stolen and Trump should stay president. This claim is not only ridiculous but it is incredibly dangerous and damaging to an institution that has been working for centuries. Whether or not anyone thinks Trump should’ve lost or won is irrelevant. What is important to note, however, is how unprecedented and damaging to our democracy this is. Presidential candidates go after each other all the time. But even Hillary back in 2016 conceded the election when it was predicted she would lose. Despite everything before the election stating she would win by a landslide, and her initial disappointment with her loss, she still gave in and didn’t attack the very electoral system that our country runs on like Trump is doing now. If Americans allow the president to destroy faith in our election system, what hope does anyone have for our country’s continued usage of democracy? Situations like this are how democratic nations die. When people no longer trust the results of an election how can they trust anything?

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