“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” - Arthur Miller It seems self-indulgent, almost comically so, for a journalist to write about the value of journalism in a newspaper. But as this is our final issue of the semester and my time at the Corsair is nearing its end, I would ask for some leniency for my sentimentality. At the risk of gazing too closely at my navel, it seems only fitting to end my term as Editorin-Chief by addressing the increasingly alarming attacks on the institution of journalism, not just here in the United States, but abroad as well. On Monday, Dec. 2, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a bill which gives the Russian government the right to label individual journalists, bloggers, and social media users as foreign agents. It is an expansion of an earlier law which allowed the Russian government to label any media outlet which receives funding from abroad as a foreign agent. Both laws serve to allow Putin to further silence any criticism levied against him, as anyone labeled a foreign agent will draw greater government scrutiny. This is only the latest example of the growing attacks on journalism. Earlier this year, during the G20 summit, U.S. president Donald Trump joked with Putin about their mutual disdain of journalists. “Get rid of them,” Trump said. “Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.” Putin replied, “We also have. It’s the same.” Between 1992 and 2019, 58 journalists have been killed in Russia, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). While some of these deaths have been caused by journalists caught in crossfires, the overwhelming majority of them have been murders. In April of this year, Trump called the press — not a specific news organization or an individual reporter, but the press as a whole — the “enemy of the people.” These comments, though seemingly innocuous, set a dangerous precedent for attacking the institution of journalism as a whole and serve to incite violence against the truth. One of the chief — and arguably the most important — principles of journalistic ethics is Seek Truth and Report It. Under this principle, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) includes the mandate: “Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.” While there are certainly unscrupulous reporters and the increasing acceptance of entertainment sources who masquerade as news, it is important to remember what journalism is: it is truth. It is telling stories that need to be told, not through fiction, but through facts. This commitment to the truth places journalism at odds with authoritarian governments who seek to obfuscate the truth in order to maintain their stranglehold on power. The truth is often inconvenient. It is often unpleasant. But those who instigate a war on truth do so because the truth is dangerous to them. The phrase fake news, once virtually unknown, has passed into the lexicon of modern dialogue. It is the ironic rallying cry of authoritarian leaders seeking to obscure the truth and strangle any criticism. Any criticism, no matter how valid, is fended off with cries of “fake news” and any investigations are derided as “witch hunts.” The pursuit of truth is a dangerous one, but it is an invaluable tool in protecting democracies. As such, it is imperative to continue to defend the right to a free press. While it may be inconvenient or frustrating when a reporter comes knocking with a voice recorder and notebook in hand, it is done in pursuit, not of glory or riches, but simply the truth.
International Student Threatened for Pro-Hong Kong Message Jack Hughes | Web Editor On Thursday, Nov. 21, an international student who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of personal safety voiced his opinions on the current circumstances rocking Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, only to have his message censored and met with verbal attack. The 20-year-old was attending a “Hip Hop For Democracy” event with graffiti art on display in Santa Monica College’s (SMC) main quad. The event organized by the SMC Public Policy Institute sought to display the connection between popular culture and political evolution in a series of artistic showcases. Students were given paint pens to write messages across colorful boards made by local graffiti artists. Many addressed modern polarizing issues in America, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the ongoing impeachment proceedings, and female equality issues. Hong Kong, previously a British colony for more than 150 years, is currently the stage for a series of protests and political unrest. Citizens of the region say they are in rebellion over several social issues and the Chinese government’s attempts to assert more dominant control over Hong Kong. Throughout recent years, Hong Kongers are increasingly less likely to identify themselves as Chinese. This issue is becoming increasingly tenuous in China, and the different lifestyles and cultures of Hong Kong and China have caused disagreements between people of the nation.
The student, who is a Beijing native, felt that this platform was appropriate to demonstrate support for Hong Kong in this time of conflict in the region. “I wrote ‘Hong Kong Stay Strong’ in both English and Cantonese,” he said. He
[they] stand with their government, but this is a problem, if you let them do this, lots of people will be killed.” The Chinese native said he felt “privileged” to have a platform to say these things, and his brief speech was met with applause,
Streaks of black ink canvas over Pro-Democracy characters at the “Free Speech walls” placed on SMC’s Quad after the Hip-Hop For Democracy forum at Santa Monica College on Nov. 21, 2019 in Santa Monica, Calif. A Chinese mainland student voiced his concerns towards Hong Kong’s political unrest. The student was confronted by Pro-China students shortly after his brief speech, attempting to provoke the student. (Anthony Mayen / The Corsair)
believed the message to be innocent and supportive. However, when he saw the boards later on, he was taken aback when he noticed his message had been covered over with black paint at an open mic night for the same program. He walked up on stage and explained his support for Hong Kong’s citizens. “It was just 90 seconds, so I couldn’t totally explain what I [was] thinking” he articulated. “Some [Chinese] people think these are bad people” referring to the Hong Kong resistance “and
but some were not so fond of his comments. As he left the event, two students confronted him.“I knew them … they were from mainland China … I knew people were filming with their phones, I didn’t do anything.” SMC Political Science Professor and co-director of the Santa Monica College Public Policy Institute Richard Tahvildaran Jesswein oversaw the event as one of the organizers. He attended the open mic night and later saw a video of the confrontation that took place.
button,” said Benvenuto at the Sept. 3 SMC Board of Trustees Meeting. The data below shows the trend: The most recent increase, from 2017-2018 to 2018-2019, is $382,362. “The important thing to remember is that for this entire period the District budgeted for approximately $800,000 in student bad debt,” said Bonvenuto in an email to the Corsair. “In 2018-2019 the amount budgeted was increased by [approximately] 1.3 million to match the new reality of the student bad debt amount.” This “new reality” may be a harsher one
for schools collecting debt. The Educational Debt Collection Practices Act, formerly AB1313, makes it illegal to withhold a transcript from a student in order to collect fees, mistreat a transcript request due to outstanding fees, or use a transcript as a means of debt collection from a student. Prior to this law, signed by Governor Newsom on Oct. 4, holding transcripts to collect fees was one of the primary means of collection. As the new law will make it more difficult to collect bad debt from students, Benvenuto plans to carve out more of the yearly budget specifically to cover the debt. “Normally we budget 700,000 dollars for bad debt in that area. Two years ago, that number spiked to about 1.7 million,” continued Benvenuto at the Board meeting. “This year, I’m proposing to increase the budget to 2 million dollars. No longer can I
He said that the video showed, “Two male appearingly Chinese students… bumping chests with [the pro Hong Kong student].” “They wanted to start a fight with me,” said the student, recounting the event, “[but] they wanted me to start it.” Cornered and uncertain of what was going to happen, the student noticed they had become a spectacle in the quad. As the aggressors disappeared, the young international student was left shocked and confused. Professor Tahvildaran Jesswein said, “We wanted to call the campus police … but he didn’t want us to.” The Corsair reached out to the SMC Police to see if any other parties filed a report, but they have no record of any assaults on campus Thursday evening. The student explained his thoughts on why this incident occurred. “This is because of the education in the mainland,” he said. “People don’t understand that the party and the country need to be separate.” Retrospectively, the student says he “doesn’t want to change the world. I don’t have that much power, but I said what I am thinking … I want more people to know what I [said] that night.” He believes it is important to speak up for those who can’t. “I think of a 15-year-old girl who joined the boycott, and her body was found in the sea of Hong Kong.” The 20-year-old political science major clarified that the protests were against the government of China, not its people. “I love my country. I love the people there. I just think China should belong to the people, not to one political party.” He concluded, “The bad people don’t want us to unite, but we must.”
SMC Administrators Stymied by Student Debt Law
Marco Pallotti, Tatiana Louder | Corsair Staff
With the passing of the Education Debt Collection Practices Act in October, Santa Monica College (SMC) administrators are left with fewer options for collecting debt from students. According to SMC Vice President of Business and Administration Chris Bonvenuto, student bad debt has doubled over the last four years. “Student bad debt happens when a student signs up for classes and hits the postpone
assume that number will drop to 700,000 again.” That 2 million dollar figure represents about 1.1 percent of the school district’s budget. On the future collection of debt, Benvenuto said, “That’s currently under discussion. We’re trying to keep in mind the needs of the students, while being fiscally responsible.” Benvenuto also added that to his knowledge, SMC is the only school in the area that allows students the option to postpone payment. On the plans to mitigate future debt increases, Benvenuto said “that, too, is currently under discussion.” The Educational Debt Collection Practices Act applies to students at community colleges and universities throughout California. The next SMC Board of Trustees meeting is Jan. 21, 2020 at 7 p.m. in the Board Room in Business 117. Graphic by Conner Savage
Cut Funding and Advisor Hunting: The Hurdles of the Club Induction Process
Aleah Antonio | Staff Writer
After reaching out to over 30 staff members, attending meeting after meeting, and even planning a sit-in to be heard, the new club Students for Bernie made it to the finish line of the club induction race this past Thursday. They found themselves under Consent Action Item 5.1 in the agenda for the Inter-Club Council’s (ICC) last meeting of the semester: Motion to install with 33% funding. Through an arduous four-month journey of fulfilling ICC requirements, Students for Bernie club president Randy Lopez said they would have been installed “a long time ago” if they found an advisor sooner. This is not an uncommon hurdle that new clubs have to jump for an official status, let alone those who never make it to the official finish line. According to Administrative Regulation (AR) 4445, only full-time faculty members or full-time managers may serve as club advisors. Part-time faculty may not serve as the main club advisor, but may co-advise and/or assist the full-time advisor in their responsibilities. In a community college where majority of faculty is part-time, this limits the pool of potential candidates. “There’s only about 315 full-time faculty and about, I’d say, 1,200 part-time faculty. So you don’t have a huge pool, and those full-time faculty are already working well beyond their contracts,” said Nathaniel Donahue, President of Santa Monica College’s (SMC) Academic Senate. The Academic Senate is a body of rep-
resentatives from different standing committees of SMC whose primary function is to make recommendations to the SMC governing board with respect to academic and professional matters, which include issues surrounding student clubs. For full-time faculty advisors, Donahue admitted it could be difficult to be fully invested in their clubs if they are “tapped out” by their workload. As a past advisor for the Gender-Sexuality Alliance, Donahue passed on his role when his workload increased. “I was working 65 hours a week on my other stuff and I didn’t have the time… to meet with those students. And that is painful for me,” said Donahue. “As a queer faculty member… all I want to do is spend time with queer students and queer students of color.” “Some advisors simply don’t advise clubs at all, in hopes of not limiting club members and hoping they will find advisors that have schedules flexible enough to accommodate their goals,” said ICC Chair Natalie Lim. The purpose of this policy is not explained in AR 4445. The Corsair reached out to the Chair of the Student Affairs Committee Beatriz Magallon regarding the policy, but did not receive a response. “[It] is a labor condition issue, because those part-time faculty are not being paid a salary like the full-time faculty are,” Donahue said. “I might feel uncomfortable if tons of part-time faculty were doing that labor because they are not being compensated… But that’s not the reason.” Amending this policy requires the mutual
agreement between the Academic Senate and SMC’s administration. The policy remains the same otherwise; so far, an agreement has never been reached. The Academic Senate shares a “positive sentiment” when it comes to the inclusion of part-time faculty, according to Donahue. Lim reported that finding advisors was an apparent struggle for club representatives this semester. “I am very much aware of how difficult the installation process is,” Lim said. “Club members have been trying to host activities outside of the normal activity hours, which is difficult for many faculty members to accommodate.” Students have challenged the limits of activity hour in the past. Donahue explains that many full-time faculty members cannot advise on certain days due to meetings or other scheduling issues that take place during the 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. window. “You can’t be involved with everything if it all happens at the same time,” admits Donahue. Once a club finally finds an advisor, the struggle does not end there. Clubs looking to be installed have to worry about cuts to their funding if they aren’t installed by specific deadlines. In accordance with the Associated Students (AS) Fiscal Policy (Article IV, Section A.2), ICC allots different amounts of funds to clubs depending on how quickly they are installed. Clubs installed by the first two ICC meetings receive 100% of ICC’s maximum allotment, which is $600. By the next two
meetings, this funding drops to 66% ($396), and then to 33% ($197). If a club is not installed by the last deadline, they do not receive funds for the rest of the semester. According to a report from Skander Zmerli, A.S. Director of Budget Management, ICC has spent $9,708 of their $37,344 allotment budget as of Nov. 15. With a club’s special account managed by the Auxiliary Office, a club must rely on fundraisers, ICC prize money, and donations for funds other than their allocation. Although the fiscal policy does not state an official reason for the allocation process, Associate Dean of Student Life Dr. Isaac A. Rodriguez Lupercio stated the purpose is to “encourage the clubs to complete their installation process as soon as possible” and to “provide the clubs with the adequate funds to spend throughout their active semester tenure.” ICC Chair Natalie Lim adds that the policy “provides more students more extracurricular opportunities and rewards those who learn the A.S. club funding system fast.” With a club’s special account managed by the Auxiliary Office, a club must rely on fundraisers, ICC prize money, and donations for funds other than their allocation. When asked if he sees changes to club processes in the future, Donahue said, “If students organize… show up to meetings… [they] could totally change it. There is no one more powerful at this college in reality than students.”
Associated Students Provides Fuel for Finals Week Eline Millenaar | Managing Editor Finals are quickly approaching as the Fall semester draws to a close. Students’ noses are buried in textbooks, their minds are filled with the necessary knowledge, but their stomachs are often left fairly empty. Many students run on sugar and caffeine to get through finals week, skipping meals and substantial snacks that would benefit their ability to focus. Hunger is directly related to low blood sugar, which can cause low energy levels, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. Getting enough fatty acids and protein is essential for an optimally functioning brain, as well as minerals like iron, and vitamins like vitamin D and B. In order to help Santa Monica College
(SMC) students complete their finals without growling stomachs, there will be free food provided through “Fuel for Finals Week.” The Associated Students (A.S.) is paying for the food, and the Community and Academic Relations is coordinating the faculty and staff who are volunteering to serve the food. SMC students can get free snacks, as well as meals like hot pancakes for breakfast, or sandwiches for lunch during finals week. A limited supply of Kosher meals will be available for breakfast and lunch as well. Students are encouraged to bring their own reusable silverware. The illustration to the right shows when and where students can find some fuel for their finals on each respective campus.
Illustration by Conner Savage
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Discusses Russian-American Relations Juliana Wingate | Staff Writer On Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Valley Beth ShOn Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue, community members gathered for an opportunity to pick the brain of former United States Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul. Highlighting insights from his book “From Cold War to Hot Peace,” McFaul presented a nuanced view of Russian-American relations from the standpoints of history, diplomacy, and social science. McFaul expressed Russia’s yearnings for democracy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “They were developing democratic ideals. They were developing markets, they wanted to be part of the West,” McFaul said. Marking a change in power dynamics, the Bush-era of United States history demonstrated a lot of interference on the international stage. Expanding NATO and invading Iraq undermined the dynamic between Russia and America. The Obama Adm inistration attempted to improve relations under Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, with what former president Obama called ‘win-win outcomes’ with his diplomatic initiatives later dubbed “The Reset.” In Prague 2010, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was signed, deesclating nuclear weapon proliferation. Another of those outcomes was the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) wherein Russian cooperation allowed a northern route for U.S. military supplies to travel, circumventing the dangers of terrorism in Pakistan. It contributed to the Obama administration’s successful 2011 operation to infiltrate AlQaeda and kill Osama Bin Laden. “At the peak of the reset, most Russians had a favorable opinion of us. And most Americans had a favorable opinion of Russians,” said McFaul. “That was just several years ago.”
Putin was inaugurated to the president’s office, even after many video monitoring systems recorded ‘carousel voting’, where voters cast multiple ballots. Putin blamed the United States not only for Russian citizens protesting, but also for the demonstrations happening in Libya and Syria. It was at this time that McFaul served as the United States Ambassador to Russia, and consequently became the literal poster child
efforts also served the larger goal of creating and amplifying political tension in the United States. Congress’ current impeachment investigations into Donald Trump will examine potential charges of abuse of the presidential office. House Democrats’ case for impeachment is the fact that President asked for a political favor from Ukraine, while at the same time withholding $400 million in
promised military aid. One argument of defense for the president from Republican lawmakers was the conspiracy perpetrated by Trump and others, of a debunked theory of Ukrainian interference in our election. “This is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves,” said Fiona Hill, a U.S. national security expert on Russia, commenting on the irresponsibility of such conspiracy theories, testifying on Nov. 21. Alarmed by our current relations, Russianborn attendee Sofia Vilner, a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2002, said, “A lot of Russian Jews, they believe Trump. So it’s really upsetting to me. Everything is like smoke-andmirrors, ‘alternate facts.’ It’s all propaganda.” With respect to the Trump’s current foreign policy attitudes of isolation, McFaul said, “What [Trump] gets wrong is that the means to that is sometimes engagement, sometimes it’s coercion, sometimes it’s war. That’s your toolkit. So far, I would argue that he has not achieved one concrete thing.” “We are in a moment of democratic erosion around the world,” said McFaul, concerned about our diminishing global alliances. Randy Steinberg, a Los Angeles legal recruiter disagreed with the president’s approach. Echoing McFaul’s take on the danger of Trump getting re-elected, Steinberg said, “[Trump] will use that as a mandate to do whatever he wants.” In spite of the current political climate, McFaul expressed optimism for the future of U.S.-- Russian relations by highlighting that Putin had not institutionalized his autocracy through the creation of a national party. “We’re not very good at predicting revolutions… I think we might be surprised when the Putin era ends, how quickly [Russia] could become a democratic, European, normal, boring country.”
entrenched corruption in their own institutions, Russia targeted them with weapons of both warfare and misinformation. The United States’ policy interest with respect to Ukraine lies in helping them with military defense so that they may continue to uphold and expand their democratic institutions. Mick Mulvaney, acting Chief of Staff to the president stated in a Nov. 17 news conference that the aid was withheld on the contingent of launching of Trump’s investigations, though he later walked those remarks back. Testimonies during the Intelligence Committee hearings highlighted an unusual channel of diplomacy with regard to Ukraine policy. Republicans’ defenses of the president included a false narrative of U.S. election meddling originating in Ukraine. In reality
there is overwhelming and damning evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election, which brought forth charges against 12 Russian nationals. Fiona Hill, a U.S. national security expert on Russia, testifying on Capitol Hill Nov. 21, indicated a serious undermining of U.S. policy. Commenting on these conspiracy theories in her testimony, Hill said; “Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and it’s security services did not conduct a campaign against our country, and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.” United States’ democracy is under threat
if we do not call out the president’s actions undermining our national security interests. The framers of our constitution were concerned with the dangers of election interference and foreign influence. This is in addition to protecting the state from a president who would be vulnerable to corruption, subordinating the common good for their own personal benefit. Via impeachment - the mechanism provided for us by the constitutional framers - the inquiry in the house aims to answer whether Donald Trump has demonstrated actions of these high crimes. Ultimately, public opinion is critical. Some Republican lawmakers are upholding false portrayals of our recent history and it is imperative we hold those elected representatives accountable. Let us disregard efforts to govern us into indifference.
When Vladimir Putin assumed his role as Russian President in 2012, attitudes toward the United States altered drastically. At the end of 2010, there was pervasive unrest in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Libya. Citizens from these countries took part in uprisings in a movement now known as the Arab Spring. “For him, the Arab Spring was confirming his hypothesis about American power,” McFaul explained. In the 2012 Russian election, Vladimir
for anti-American disinformation campaigns and propaganda. “[Putin] thinks you’re the enemy. Your values, your norms, your multilateralism, your democracy, your liberal values,” said McFaul. “I can’t travel to Russia today because of the new fight that we’re in.” U.S. intelligence agencies and the FBI have revealed definitely that our 2016 presidential election was interfered in by a Russian misinformation campaign and their release of stolen American electronic property. These
Illustration by Conner Savage.
Impeachment: Why Ukraine Matters
Juliana Wingate | Staff Writer
The United States is currently embattled in a clash of narratives. President Donald Trump is currently under investigation for abuse of presidential power in the House of Representatives. The investigations center on Trump’s conduct with regard to Ukraine, specifically his July 25 phone call where he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for political favor while at the same time withholding from Ukraine $400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid, which was only later released by the president due to political pressure. The Russians annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and the war is still ongoing. Not just about resources, this is a war on ideology. Ukraine has embraced democratic ideals, and when they began to uproot
A student at SMC, makes his contribution to one of the four large walls provided for the collaborative art project on the quad. (Michael Waas / The Corsair)
(Left to right) Theater student Matthew Goodrich, Simon Martin, and Andres Sanchez assumes the Constitution on the quad of Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, Calif., on November 19th, 201 (Michael Waas / The Corsair)
Democracy Hip Hop for
Andrew Boone | Design Editor
The Fall Arts and Cultural Affairs Forum on Tuesday, November 19, labeled “Hip-Hop for Democracy,” filled the quad at Santa Monica College’s main campus with a lively mix of reading and rap. The forum was supported by the Associated Students and SMC faculty including Associate Director of the SMC Public Policy Institute Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, Art Department Chair Walter Meyer, and Philosophy Professor Amber Katherine. The event included a dramatic recitation of the U.S. Constitution by SMC students
dressed as the founding fathers in full 18th Century attire. Students Matthew Goodrich, Simon Martin, and Andres Sanchez dressed up as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton respectively to read portions of the Constitution to the crowd. Shortly after the reading, students Zoé Short, Romell McKenzie, and Maria Jose Fernandez performed an original rap based on the Constitution. Meanwhile, students put brush to canvas, painting colorful posters as a way to express their opinions about democracy. The art project was designed for students to display their political beliefs.
Zoé Short (left), Romell McKenzie (middle), and Maria J (Michael Waas / The Corsair)
rolls of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Alexander hamilton respectively for the reading of the US 19. The events kicked off the Fall Arts and Cultural Affairs Forum, labeled “Hip-Hop for Democracy.”
Jose Fernandez (right), rap an original song after the dramatic reading of the US Constitution on the quad.
Romell McKenzie, a student at SMC, raps his portion of an original song based on the US Constitution on the quad at Santa Monica College. (Michael Waas / The Corsair)
During the Hip Hop For Democracy event at the Santa Monica College Main Campus, students created their own street art to represent their thoughts on democracy. (Rachel O’Brien/Corsair)
“Rhinoceros” Stampedes at SMC Main Stage
Juliana Wingate | Staff Writer “Rhinoceros,” a production directed by Santa Monica College (SMC) Theatre’s Terrin AdairLynch, made its debut Friday, Nov. 22 at the school’s Main Stage. The play, written by Eugene Ionesco in 1959, focuses on the transformation of a normal town into something unrecognizable to itself. Ionesco wrote plays rooted in a complete rejection of conformity. Interpretively, “Rhinoceros” mirrors Ionesco’s time in college, during 1920’s Bucharest, Romania, in which many of the intelligentsia were embracing the fascist and antisemitic Iron Guard. The Main stage presented Little Castille in colorful façades of shops and cafes. It was an ordinary day, about to be interrupted by something absurdly sinister. “I like the use of the doors and the lighting... ” said Jack Galanty, an SMC technical theatre student. “It really brought the show to life. The quirky nature of the set gave the show its own personal touch.” SMC Director Adair-Lynch, who teaches theatre, comedy, and voice, is recognized for the flair in her productions. “I was pretty sure this was one of her [AdairLynch] plays right away... big dialogue, bold declarations, there’s a lot of thought,” said Skylar Cox, an audience member who took her stage makeup class. The play felt like a farcical dream one remembers vividly only for a moment. The thundering of a stampeding rhinoceros interrupts
quiet Little Castille at lunchtime. “Well, of all things!” the townspeople cried in disbelief. That ensemble dialogue repeated throughout the performance reinforcing a world of inane absurdity. Jean and Berenger argued whether the rhinoceros they saw had one horn or two, whether it was African or Asiatic, and if that mattered at all. “It’s no reason for you and I to quarrel,” Berenger lamented. The next day at the office, some are skeptical if the rhinoceros actually came to town at all. The skeptic, Botard, said “It’s all a hoax! An example of collective psychosis.” “But it’s down here in the dead cats column!” Dudard, a colleague, retorted. The townspeople started to give sly rationale to the Rhinos’ presence. ”They’ve got a natural innocence... a frankness,” said Jean. Rhinoceroses danced ominously in a shadowy haze teasing Little Castille with their song. “I’m frightened of becoming someone else,” Berenger remarked on his feelings of alienation. His unique lamentations were ardent with anxiety. “I feel involved. I can’t just be indifferent.” To its audience, “Rhinoceros” posed unanswered questions about the nature of the human condition, exploring individual will in a social world. Each observer reckoned with their own conclusion. Catch performances of “Rhinoceros” at the SMC Main Stage this weekend on Dec. 6 - 8.
“They’d better keep out of my way, or I’ll run them down.” - Jean, “Rhinoceros”
(Above) Matthew Goodrich as “Jean” in Eugene Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros.” Performances are November 21-24 and December 6-8 at the Santa Monica College Theatre in Santa Monica, California. (Rachel O’Brien / The Corsair) (Right) Andres Sanchez (left) and Matthew Goodrich (right) rehearse Eugene Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros” on Wednesday, November 20, at the Santa Monica College Theatre. (Rachel O’Brien / The Corsair)
(Left) Clockwise from left, Anissa Briggs, Natalie Garner, and Chloe Chapman, rehearse “Rhinoceros” on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at the Santa Monica College Theatre. The people of the town discuss what has happened when another rhinoceros appears and crushes a woman’s cat. (Rachel O’Brien / The Corsair)
(Below) Justin Danyal (left) and Evan Millis (right) rehearse Eugene Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros,” a play that takes place post war, in a small, provincial French town. (Rachel O’Brien / The Corsair)
C U LT U R E
Global Motion’s World Dance Performance
Eline Millenaar | Managing Editor
Drum beats, flamboyant costumes, and colorful lights filled the Broad Theater as Santa Monica College (SMC) students performed in the styles of Salsa, Jive, Mexican Folklorico, Urban Fusion, and many more. Global Motion World Dance Company’s showcase on Nov. 23 and 24 portrayed pieces in over 12 different dance styles inspired by cultures from all around the world. Global Motion, the world dance performance company composed of SMC faculty and students, recently returned from a tour in China, where they performed at the 21st Beijing International Tourism Festival. Global Motion’s Artistic Directors Sri Susilowati and Raquel Ramirez explained that Global Motion aims to exhibit dance styles from five continents in every showcase. “Every semester we are bringing different dance forms. Sometimes people say: ‘oh yeah, I’ve seen your performances,’ but no, you haven’t seen, because every semester will be different,” said Susilowati. “We try to be inclusive. LA is very diverse, ... but they’re doing their own thing, so this is our way to be together.” Ramirez confirmed this. “Just here on campus ... we have so many different countries just represented here, which is what we want to do with Global Motion: try and represent all the cultures that come together at Santa Monica, with the students, with the faculty, with the community around here.” Besides the performance of the dancers and the diverse choreographies, another star of the show was the costume design. Costume designer Patricia Oliva worked closely together with each choreographer, each of whom originated from the country
that inspired their choreography. Many of them even brought Oliva a sample of a traditional outfit, which she derived her original costume designs from. The sparkling tops and sensual red skirts that the belly dancers wore in the Egyptian piece “You’re the Owner of My Heart” were juxtaposed with the 50’s-style, knee-length skirts that twirled around in the next West Coast Swing and Jive piece. The contemporary Korean folk dance that opened the
each piece, the costumes revealed the region of the world before the music even started. Angela Jordan, one of the faculty choreographers, created a showstopping rendition of Djembe Dance inspired by the marriage of West African drum and dance. The performers joined the drumming of live musicians in parts of the nearly 10-minute long first act finale. Jordan had been concerned about the dancers’ ability to be in sync with the drummers.
Global Motion performance featured minimalist movements, which were highlighted by their bright yellow skirts and socks. In a different piece, an all-male ensemble shimmered in blue costumes, as was traditional for the Malay people. The tunes and lyrics of “All That Jazz” inspired the black leotards and glittery tights that showed off the seemingly endless legs of an all-female ensemble performing the choreography inspired by Musical Theater in the United States. In
“They only drummed during rehearsal, it’s not like they had drumming lessons. But it all came together tonight, you witnessed the magic,” said Jordan. “With the drumming and dancing, I felt like it really pulled out their inner strength and stamina. They had to make it all the way through the three sections of the piece.” When the dancers didn’t join the musicians with their Djembes, a small drum played with bare hands, they danced around in circles
with the spinal movements, impressive leaps, and fierce facial expressions that can be considered the signature elements of African dance. Their wooden poles and straw skirts were more than mere costumes; they became parts of the movement of the piece. Jordan’s piece wasn’t the only one that used cultural objects as a part of the choreography. In the piece inspired by the Philippine Pandanggo, dancers balanced candle lights on their heads throughout most of the choreography. The show program explained that the theme of light for this popular folk dance stems from the swaying oil lamps that were signals for the fishermen to find their way back to the foggy shore. After an energetic showcase of the AfroCuban Salsa, a duet in Mexican folklorico, a solo of the Spanish Flamenco performed by SMC student Amira Murphy, and a Japanese piece called “Hana,” the multicultural second act closed with an Urban Fusion choreography inspired by the crewbased competition style prevalent in the United States. The audience hollered, clapped, yelled, and moved along as the performance quickly moved from glow-inthe-dark costumes to umbrellas opening to reveal showers of colorful confetti, from giant talking emojis on the background screen to moves portraying the fast steps of House, Hip-Hop, and various other street styles. The applause continued into the company’s curtain call. Dancers of many different nationalities, ethnicities, ages, sizes, and genders, wearing costumes in a wide array of colors, filled the stage from edge to edge. Their collective dance party didn’t end until the curtains fully closed, leaving the audience with this visual depiction of just how many moving pieces make up the world of dance.
Joshua Gonzalez, Jackie Sedley | Corsair Staff
what in the world got to a point where he had to be out on the streets?’” According to Massey, he was inspired to put the piece into the public eye because he feels as though people need to start turning their agitation against the “unfortunate explosion of men and women out on our streets” into action and compassion. Having grown up in Santa Monica, Massey is no stranger to the common sight of the homeless in Los Angeles. However, he wants people to stop numbing themselves to the issue and start confronting the problem. “I think that for most people, we’ve become numb by the homeless men and women on the streets, and very few people will actually look up to see a homeless person,” said Massey. “They’ll try to either avoid or not make eye contact. Here, anyone can feel that comfort zone of looking at this piece, and hopefully people will congregate and start discussing this issue.” As an experienced artist, Massey feels as though his strengths lie in artistic expression and the visual impact that his creations can elicit. Rather than trying to bolster his reputation, Massey urges viewers to take the piece seriously.
“This is not meant just art for arts sake, this is meant to really stir the dialogue and get the emotions up there for people,” said Massey. “If you’re offended by the sculpture, please be offended by the men and women on the streets more so. This is an inanimate object, this will go away in six weeks, our homeless men and women will not.” While some may remain cynical of activist art, Santa Monica College Democratic Socialists Club President Tom Rahlter believes Massey’s work is ultimately beneficial to movements addressing the homeless crisis. “The way that we actually get to fixing the problem is through social activism,” said Rahlter. “It’s through pushing policy change, and I think that there’s great inherent value in art if it raises people’s awareness.” He also emphasized that the rising prominence of homelessness activist groups in Los Angeles only strengthens the effectiveness of socially conscious art. “If there is no movement and it’s just happening on its own, then you’re kind of spitting into a hurricane. I think what we’re seeing is [that] there really is a movement. I think the statue really only contributes to that nascent, but growing movement.”
Members of the Santa Monica College Dance Department rehearsing their U.S.A - Musical Theater dance called “All That Jazz”, at SMC’s Performing Arts Center. November, 20, 2019. Santa Monica. Calif. (Jaime Leon / The Corsair)
Homeless Man Statue Aims to to Inspire a Movement
“In the Image” is a 7-foot tall statue by artist Ed Massey of a homeless man staring into a red plastic drink cup and red blanket. It stands on the corner of 26 th and Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica, Calif., on Tuesday (Randy Martinez / The Corsair)
As a part of a six-week exhibition that began on Nov. 18, a seven foot tall sculpture of a homeless man stands on the corner of 26th and Wilshire in Santa Monica, Calif. Entitled “In the Image,” the sculpture was created by artist Ed Massey over 20 years ago but has not been put out for the general public until this year. Massey’s inspiration to create the concrete and steel-based sculpture came after an encounter with a homeless man 21 years ago in Westwood, Calif. He was walking late at night and assumed that the seven foot tall homeless man walking towards him was going to do harm. After the man proved Massey’s gut feeling wrong and continued down the road, the artist turned to creative expression to document his experience. “I typically wouldn’t do a piece and spend that much time on someone that I didn’t really have a conversation with or really get to know,” said Massey. “But I spent time pondering and thinking, ‘here’s a man that looked like an olympic athlete or an NBA professional or maybe a football player,
SMC Guitar Showcase
10 THEǀCORSAIR Michael Waas, Tanya Azari | Corsair Staff In the early afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 on the Santa Monica College (SMC) Performing Arts Campus, a James Brownstyle scream rent the air of a warmly-lit room. Rather than prompting worry or concern, those present erupted into cheers and applause. The scream came from vocalist, bassist, and SMC student musician Cyrus Pane, who was performing with a group as part of the SMC Guitar Showcase. The showcase is a biannual performance put on by students and professors, intended to exhibit the hard work of guitar students each semester. Performers came from all corners of campus, from the SMC Guitar Club to academic classes like Applied Guitar and Music Fundamentals. Tickets for the event were free, and this year’s showcase was organized by Mariah Baxter, president of the SMC Guitar Club, and Guitar professor James Cheesman. A group of students capped off the show as the headlining feature, performing a cover of Bill Withers’ “Just The Two Of Us.” SMC Jazz Studies professor Keith Fiddmont accompanied the group on the saxophone. Fiddmont is a decorated musician who has played with many famous artists and singers, such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Bublé.
(Above) Gavriella Anderson performs one of her original songs during the Guitar Showcase at the SMC Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, November 26th, 2019. The free, once-a-semester showcase is put on by SMC guitar students which features different music genres, original songs, and a headlining feature. (Michael Waas / The Corsair)
(Above) Taylor Estes warms up on the piano during the Guitar Showcase. Taylor also performed with the electric guitar. (Michael Waas / The Corsair)
(Left) Lauren Brewster (left) and Mariah Baxter (right) sing backup vocals during the Guitar Showcase. (Michael Waas / The Corsair)
(Above) Vzya Toledo focsus on the percussion during the Guitar Showcase. (Michael Waas / The Corsair)
A Vegan Diet is the Solution to Climate Change Dana Binfet | Corsair Staff Imagine waking up to a world plagued by drought and engulfed in the flames of a never-ending wildfire. Where the warming of our world’s oceans has caused every coastal home and building to be enveloped by the sea. Species all over the world have been met with extinction, as Earth falls into chaos. All because of the hamburger you ate for lunch and the eggs you had for breakfast. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, greenhouse gas production, water usage, and species extinction on earth; it is largely responsible for Earth’s ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. If people stop consuming meat and any animal byproducts, they will counteract the harmful effects of the livestock industry and ultimately save Earth from the devastating reality it is facing. There are many ways that people are trying to lessen their environmental footprint, through seeking out alternative forms of transportation, taking shorter showers, and using reusable bags and water bottles. However, all of these efforts pale in comparison to the environmental impact of cutting out animal products. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) it takes roughly 1,840 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. To put this amount of water in perspective, on average a person in the U.S. uses 17
gallons of water per shower. So that means producing one hamburger requires the same amount of water as two months’ worth of showers. This is an alarming statistic that reinforces how important our diet is on the health of our planet. Switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet would drastically change the race against climate change. Factory farming plays a significant role in the increase of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as water pollution. The livestock production industry is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions; and within the livestock industry, beef production is the most detrimental in its use of fossil fuels. In addition, a cow’s digestive and respiratory processes produce methane gas,
which is infinitely more destructive than any other fossil fuel in its contribution to climate change. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, so does the temperature of our world’s oceans. The warming of our world’s oceans affects every living thing on earth. Sea levels rise causing coastal and arctic erosion, an increase in extreme temperatures, as well as drought, tornadoes, wildfires and many more natural disasters. In our fight against global warming we have the power to make a difference in every choice we make. Making a switch in your diet isn’t easy but it can help save our planet. I became a vegetarian five years ago, and I understand how daunting this change can be.
There are many misconceptions about switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet. The first being that there is no protein in a meatless diet. However, vegans and vegetarians consume a range of vegetables that offer a high level of protein, such as beans or soy products. Another myth is that eating a meatless diet is unbelievably expensive. In Los Angeles this might seem even more plausible with all the expensive juice bars and meatless food trucks. However, meat and dairy products are among the most expensive items at supermarkets. Eating a vegan or vegetarian diet is more accessible than ever before. At Santa Monica College there are vegan and vegetarian options at every vendor in the Cafeteria. I know that changing what you eat, might seem like an insignificant action in the grand scheme of things, but it just takes one stone to create a ripple effect. Imagine waking up to a world where global warming is only something of the past. Earth’s ecosystems are thriving as animals come back from the brink of extinction, coral reefs are regenerating, and forests are restored, all because you said “no” to the hamburger for lunch and the eggs for breakfast. If people all over the world, make the choice to stop eating meat or any animal by-products we have the opportunity to stop climate change for good.
burns, bandaging wounds, and evacuating the injured to a safe place. Phoenix Hoi Lam is a 24-year-old biology major from Hong Kong University, with friends at Santa Monica College. During her recent visit to Los Angeles, she filled a shopping cart at Home Depot with items now scarce at home: gas masks. In addition to damaging skin, eyes, and lung tissue, tear gas has been used to spread fear. Hoi Lam stated that the masks she found in Home Depot were substandard for her purposes. “It is not the one strong enough. We need 3M 6900 full face [mask] filter like 3M 60926 and 6099. I have to purchase these on Amazon.” Friends with front-line experience told her that these more robust masks are “for blocking hydrogen cyanide, a chemical that could be found in tear gas emitted by police.” By October, a mask ban was enacted by Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam without legislative approval, by invoking powers granted under a rarely used emergency regulations ordinance. Lam’s approval rating is now as low as 20 percent. Hoi Lam observed, “The mask ban is totally for the police to arrest and identify protesters. I think people are getting more angry about it, and more people are joining the protest force, even some people who
were indifferent to it. People are not getting afraid of the ban.” The protester’s ignorance of the ban further inflamed tensions in the city, setting off a series of violent clashes wherein riot police commonly shoot student protesters point blank with tear gas canisters. Pro-democracy advocates shot back with hundreds of thousands of ballots at the polls during Hong Kong’s most recent local election – a 70 percent voter turnout. The recent landslide city council election made clear the grassroots protesters have the overwhelming support of Hong Kong voters. Hoi Lam explains, “The turnout rate is almost double of last election … Proved to the [Beijing] government that our voice of demanding democracy is the majority instead of what they think of as minority …The majority supports the protest to strive for democracy.” The United States Congress responded last week by passing new bipartisan human rights legislation covering the city of Hong Kong. The new law could lead to sanctions on Chinese officials for cracking down on the protesters. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, “America is proud to stand with the people of Hong Kong on the side of freedom and justice.”
Hoi Lam reports, “The HK people is very excited about the US Congress act. People are waving US flags…hoping US will further intervene and make sanction to pro-China parties.” The second bill signed into law by the United States Congress bans the sale of crowd control munitions like tear gas and rubber bullets to the Hong Kong police. However, student Hoi Lam notes, “Police are using tear gas made in China now. The China-made tear gas are found to be more toxic than the previous ones.” The fast-changing pro-democracy events in Hong Kong appear tailor made for television and YouTube, with the whole world watching. The fact remains that Hong Kong is a city in the People’s Republic of China. Protesters tag slogans in four Chinese characters that most Western media translate as saying “Free Hong Kong” when actually, there is a subtle difference. The four Mandarin characters say “Restore Hong Kong”, meaning changing Hong Kong “back to its good old days”. The recent upbeat democratic elections in Hong Kong and American sanctions bode well for its future. The generation that drives this future is both idealistic and pragmatic, living through the recent experience of police state tactics. Hoi Lam confesses, “Most of us are still afraid of and hating the police.”
Illustration by Chloe Geschwind
Unmasking of Hong Kong
Drew Andersen | Staff Writer Hong Kong has been torn apart by violent anti-government protests. Clouds of tear gas are a common sight. Television crews and photographers record shopping centers where pro-democracy demonstrators clash with riot police. The public protest began over a bill that would have allowed the extradition of Hong Kong residents to the harsh judicial system in mainland China. A peaceful procession of hundreds of thousands of people began on June 9. By June 12, protests turned into conflict as riot police began to disperse prodemocracy demonstrations with projectiles — tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons. The protesters are loosely organized. They are guerrillas with iPhones. They communicate via LIHKG, an online forum based in Hong Kong, along with videos, pictures, coded text, and voice messaging. Map apps are used to alert different groups about riot police locations or front line hot spots. This group is clad in black, donning masks, helmets, protective sleeves to elude thousands of surveillance cameras throughout Hong Kong integrated with facial recognition software. Some protesters function as medics: rinsing people’s eyes with water to clean out tear gas, applying salves to
Men’s Basketball Loses in High-Rank Matchup
Deshawn Pouper | Sports Editor In a matchup that featured the #2 ranked Santa Monica College (SMC) Corsairs, and #10 ranked East Los Angeles College (ELAC), the Corsairs came up just short as they lost 87-82 on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Although the Corsairs were at a notable disadvantage, being the more undersized team compared to ELAC, they were still able to find ways to be effective against the Huskies with their speed on the offensive transition and earning points off of the fast break. It took a bit of an early toll on ELAC as they found themselves constantly running up and down the court. That style of play helped SMC jump out to a 17-11 lead early in the first half, until ELAC changed their lineup to match SMC and made the effort to come up with defensive stands. Midway through the first half, ELAC found a way to steal the momentum, hitting some shots and getting defensive stops, taking the lead at 27-25. With just under four minutes left in the first half, both SMC and ELAC were going back and forth fighting for the lead with no one truly grasping control of the game. To end the first half, the Corsairs made an attempt to pull away, includ-
ing a last second basket by #14 Amitai Afenjar, taking the lead at 43-37, but the Corsairs never came out in the second half with the same poise and intensity. For most of the second half, the Huskies used their size to their advantage to get rebounds and create more offensive opportunities. ELAC imposed their will and made their presence felt inside the painted area defensively by not giving up any easy baskets to SMC. The Corsairs fought their way back into the game with some effort plays. They were even able to capture a short-lived one point lead off of a three-pointer from sophomore guard #1 Teddy Parham. The lead change was short-lived until the Corsairs committed some costly offensive fouls that got ELAC some free throws. The Huskies were able to capitalize off of them and score points. This game was a close one that could have gone either way, and given that this was a matchup between two top-10 teams in the state, should motivate the Corsairs and give them something to look forward to down the line, should the two teams cross paths again. The Santa Monica College Corsairs will have a week to prepare until their next game against Allan Hancock at home on Dec. 4.
Cesar Meza (0) draws a foul late in the game during SMC’s game against East Los Angeles on November 27th, 2019. at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, Calif. The Corsairs fell short 87 - 82 at home and are currently at 6 - 2 on the season. Cesar would finish the game with 7 points. (Michael Waas / The Corsair)
SMC Resources Available for Student Athletes Tiffany Mankarios | Staff Writer Santa Monica College (SMC) is home to 16 sports teams, 30,000 students, and a variety of student-athletes with various backgrounds. From basketball players to swimmers, student-athletes could always use guidance during their careers one way, or another. SMC has the necessities for their athletes to succeed, in and out of the classroom. Coaches, staff members, and athletic directors do all they can for athletes to get to the next level and pursue their careers. According to Lydia Ayala, SMC’s Assistant Athletic Director, “One of the biggest advantages our student-athletes have is priority enrollment. This allows students
to have flexibility and time to schedule around games, travel and practice times. This is one of the biggest advantages for our athletes.” She went on to say, “We provide them with two counselors... they are required to meet with the counselors at least three times a semester [three touches]. The counselors create a comprehensive Ed Plan [education plan] for one year which provides them with some sort of plan even if they transfer. In their meetings they discuss their academics or athletics which they get guidance for when they want to transfer.” As far as mental health, many of these athletes struggle with balance, which can lead to unhealthy and unstable conditions. The staff at SMC takes these issues seriously, and has created an open and proactive environment for the student athletes. “Constantly referring
students to our Mental Health Department. We are also working on getting a kiosk like we have in our services building. This will provide students with the support that they need directly in the athletic department,” says Ayala. She went on to say, “We currently have workshops but we are definitely trying to expand our workshops for students dealing with domestic violence, sexual harassment, and other mental health issues.” SMC does not provide any athletic scholarships for athletes due to CCCAA (California Community College Athletic Association) regulations, but when coaches are looking into potential student-athletes, they make sure there is a full financial understanding. Ayala stated, “We work with the financial aid department and students by helping them fill out their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal
Student Aid). We help them understand all the costs on top of the out of state tuition, which we understand can get pricey here.” This gives student-athletes the full support needed to make sure they have the applicable financial resources. SMC has great resources that are available for student-athletes. “We have great academics and have coaches that want to see our athletes succeed. Our students have an understanding that academics is number one. Facilitating that and having an environment with support is what I think is a great attraction to Santa Monica,” Ayala expressed. There is an outstanding variety of assistance made available by campus staff which can be heavily taken advantage of by studentathletes at SMC.
Graphic by Deshawn Pouper