Opinion: SafeRide behavior acts against students’ best interests (pg. 9) observer.case.edu
volume LI, issue 8
friday, september 27 2019 volume LI, issue 6
friday, october 11, 2019
Our Story Our Voice gets students talking What to expect with Trump about gendertalking about gender.
Veronica Madell Staff Writer
Veronica Madell Staff Writer
Write caption Veronica Madell/The Observer
With a new revelation pretty much every day, President Trump’s impeachment proceedings seem to be moving at a breakneck pace. On Tuesday, Sept. 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the House of Representatives was launching an official impeachment investigation. Since then, subpoenas, Trump tweets and a variety of allegations have abounded. A phone call from July 25 between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky set off impeachment proceedings. In this call, Trump encouraged Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of Trump’s primary opponents in the upcoming election, and his family. News of this call first came from a CIA whistleblower. Last week, the White House released a non-verbatim transcript of the call. Many democrats and critics of Trump argue that Trump used his presidential powers solely for personal gain when he asked Zelensky to investigate Biden. Additionally, Trump also allegedly withheld millions of dollars of military aid to Ukraine prior to the phone call. On the other side of the argument, Trump and other Republican leaders argue that Biden and his son Hunter were engaged in corrupt, illegal activities in Ukraine. This claim stems from Hunter Biden’s position on the board of Burisma Holdings, a suspect Ukrainian natural gas company. Mykola Zlochevsky, Burisma’s owner and CEO, has been accused of corruption and embezzlement of public funds. In 2016, Biden, at the behest of the Obama administration, forced Ukraine to remove their then-general prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. Many Western governments and entities, including the U.K. and the International Monetary Fund, believed that Shokin was either corrupt or much too light on corruption. Trump claims Biden engineered the removal of Shokin so his son would not be investigated with Burisma Holdings. Last Friday, the house subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an effort to review documents that Pompeo had refused to voluntarily release. U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker also resigned IN SPORTS on Friday after being implicated in the scandal. In response, Trump h a s lashed o u t against the prominent house democrats l e a d PAGE 12 ing the investigation when he called Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, “a low-
“Would you like a sticker and a high five?” Kat Taylor, a fourth-year chemical biology and environmental studies major and member of the Interfraternity Congress-Panhellenic Council, cheerfully asked a passersby this past Friday at Kelvin Smith Library Oval. “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys played in the background as students on their way to and from class stopped to talk about gender. The snacks, stickers and Taylor’s famous highfives drew them in, but real dialogue kept students engaged. On a foam board, students wrote things that empower them, from “my friends” to “prayer” to “my self-worth.” Below the board were scattered pieces of broken wood. On these, students wrote insecurities that they broke in half, smashing and discarding the toxic thoughts that held them back. This is Our Story Our Voice (OSOV), a weeklong event put on by the Panhellenic Council, the governing body of all sororities at Case Western Reserve University. Taylor defined OSOV as a chance to think “about femininity in our culture: what do we associate with the feminine and why?” Taylor asked, “Are those associations positive, do we still want them there? If not, what is our role as people in society, members of a college campus and potential leaders in changing that?”
implications, so she created one. In its first year, OSOV started with the hashtag #breathefire. Buttars wanted dialogue to start and spread. In the following years, each new organizer made their own hashtag to represent that year’s OSOV. In 2018, it was #limitless to address the glass ceiling, and this year, Holly Sirk, fourth-year material science and engineering major and Panhellenic Council president, chose #unstoppable. Sirk chose #unstoppable “to talk about the barriers for females in our society and how to not let them stop us.” While planning the event, Sirk also wanted to address the gap in leadership between men and women. Lining the Binary Walkway are OSOV yard signs with facts that depict this divide: while the first sign shows female progress with the fact, “Females have outnumbered males on college campuses since 1988,” the last sign shows the still existing gap in leadership as “Globally, females hold just 24% of senior leadership positions.” OSOV is about getting students to read these facts and talk about them. As Taylor says, it is “encouraging people to think about small parts of their day and large parts of our society.” OSOV decided to primarily focus on the feminine side of gender because, as Taylor explained, “it is a meaningful thing to come together around.
Women in construction lecture series aims to promote diversity
Garba celebrates Indian culture by bringing dance to campus
USG shows failure of meal plan to satifisfy students
OSOV was started in 2017 by Erin Buttars, a senior member of the Panhellenic Council, as her capstone project. Buttars found that there was no place at CWRU to talk about femininity and its
Gender defines so much of how we are perceived
in society; what roles we are supposed to play. We can explore this and empower each other.” However, Sirk added that this event was also open to allies. The inclusiveness of this event was
Club soccer continues its undefeated season
Graphic by Jackson Rudoff
news Students come prepared to Career Fair Veronica Maddell Staff Reporter On Thursday Oct. 3, dozens of employers set up tables in the Tinkham Veale University Center for students to come talk to recruiters about everything from general opportunities to internships, to even full-time positions. Hundreds of students flocked to the venue, eager to take advantage of this opportunity. As she power walked into Tink for the career fair, interview ready, Grace Schaller listened to Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.” As a third-year, she felt more confident having already applied to internships and connected with business via Handshake, a website for Case Western Reserve University students to contact local employers. She described herself as a “wreck” last year, not knowing where to go or what to wear. This year, she wore a smile and said, “I’m ready.” Max Barnett, a third-year studying electrical engineering, listened to “Tonight, Tonight” by Hot Chelle Rae on his way to the career fair. He pumped himself up, going over his plan. He also utilized Handshake to pick out nine companies he was interested in. With 12 copies of his resume in hand, he was ready. Barnet says his philosophy going in was “when it comes down to it, I care what it is. But—I care more that I
have a job.” Matthew Sefcik, the police officer that stood at the entrance to the arena, noted, “The students seem[ed] a little nervous, but they also seem[ed] prepared and ready.” Sefcik appeared to be correct, as all of the Wēpa printers on the Quad had run out of paper, presumably from all of the resumes being printed for Thursday. Some students found themselves walking all the way to Kelvin Smith Library to find a printer. But in the end, most students managed to come prepared. Jason Vanderpool, a recruiter at Goodyear, confirmed this. He said the company keeps coming back to CWRU year after year because of the qualified candidates they find here. In fact, most of Goodyear’s new employees are found at career fairs, including Vanderpool himself. Now, standing in the place of the interviewer, Vanderpool’s best piece of advice is “Just be yourself, the more personal you are, the more easy the conversation is. You can be as technically smart as you can be, but if you aren’t personal it’s hard to work with someone.” Standing in line to interview at Rockwell Automation, Joseph Broady, a second-year mechanical engineering major, tried to channel this advice as
Students utilized the opportunity to talk to potential employers at the annual career fair. Courtesy of Case Alumni Association he smiled and prepared himself. Even though he is only a second-year, this was his third job fair. Prior to the event, the career center had gone over his resume, he had already contacted companies online and he had talked to previous interns. However, he is ready with not only his experience and resume, but also with a positive attitude and a goal, “Just be myself.” After all the anticipation of updat-
ing resumes, contacting companies online and preparing for interviews, students walked out of the fair having had the opportunity to talk to seven companies. As Andrew Engelmeyer, a thirdyear chemical engineering major and business management minor, said, there is a small feeling of relief, but an even larger realization that “There is more work to be done.”
Lecture series focused on women in construction Ryan Yoo Director of Design According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 an estimated 1,107 women were working in the construction industry, making up only 9.9 percent of all construction employees. Construction is often deemed a “man’s job,” where men make up 90.1 percent of the total construction workforce. The Women Builders Council (WBC), a professional organization representing women in the construction industry, is sponsoring a lecture series that aims to change the way that society thinks about women in this field. The lecture series was started by fourth-year civil engineering majors Sarah Carlson and Maria Tompkins, who reached out to the WBC with the idea of starting a lecture series to promote gender equality for women in the construction industry. Together with their faculty advisor, Katie Wheaton, Carlson and Tompkins aim to educate community members about the issues women in the construction industry face and to help make it easier for women to enter the field. “We aim to educate women about the construction industry, not in the ways of the classroom or the theoretical learning that we already cover in school, but rather what it is actually like to work in a male-dominated field and the best ways to achieve and further a career in construction,”
says Tompkins. The lecture series was started after Carlson and Tompkins’s experiences working in the industry. “I have completed many internships in which I was either the only or one of the few female engineers on staff. I love the work that I have done and will continue to do, it is so much harder to settle into a new company or a new position when you don’t have representation there,” recalls Tompkin. Industry-wide, women make up 7.5 percent of all construction managers. Most of the women in the field hold office roles, 86.7 percent, compared to 13.3 percent holding trade roles. In 2018, one third of companies promoted women into senior roles, yet 47 percent of women have never worked with female managers. “I think it is imperative that women in these industries discuss their experiences and how these experiences have shaped their careers for better or worse,” said Carlson. “I hope that this new lecture series can further educate people about the opportunities for women in construction and civil engineering,” described Carlson. “I want this lecture series to both inspire individuals and embolden them to follow their passions, knowing they have a whole host of women standing in support
“Industry-wide, women make up 7.5 percent of all construction managers.” with them.” Many women face discrimination in this industry. Seventy-three percent of women reported that they felt that they were passed over for positions because of their gender. In addition, women are at a higher risk of workplace injury due to poorly fitted equipment. In the construction industry, women make about 4.3 percent less than what their male colleagues make, compared to the national average of women making 18.9 percent less than what men make. The lecture will not only provide the community with a deeper understanding of the struggles that women face, but also provide women seeking work in a male-dominated field with resources on how to combat work-related stigma. The series will promote the WBC’s mission of advancing women in the construction world by covering a range of topics,
including the advances that women are making in representation, equal pay and gender equality. “The lecture series will help women looking into construction or civil engineering industries by providing insight on how best to navigate these fields as a woman as well as providing a platform for networking with a supremely involved and connected group of women in the WBC organization,” said Carlson. Although the series is mainly aimed at those who are interested in the civil engineering and construction industries, the series is open to all members of the public, including students, faculty and professional individuals. “I think generally, that if there is something you’re passionate about, you should try to pursue it. If there’s something you’re interested in but unsure about it, it’s better to try it than to wonder,” adds Tompkin. “The field of construction is so versatile in career opportunities that it would be a shame to never experience it because of preconceived notions and fears about what it might be like.” Tompkin continued, “ Also, we continue to pave the way for those who come after us, just like those who came before us did. The more equal representation we can gain, the better place any industry will become, not just construction.”
4 | fun page
Horoscopes as famous alumni Aries Craig Newmark (CIT ‘75, GRS ‘77) - founder of Craigslist
Taurus Paul Buchheit (CWR ’98; GRS ’98) - creator of Gmail Gemini Herbert Henry Dow (CSAS 1888) - founder of Dow Chemical Company
Cancer Stephanie Tubbs Jones (FSM ‘71, LAW ‘74) - Former Ohio U.S. Representative Leo M. Frank Rudy (CIT ‘50) - creator of the Nike Air Sole Virgo Arthur L. Parker (CSAS 1907) - founder of Parker Hannifin Corporation Libra Edward Williams (WRC 1864, GRS 1869) - founder of SherwinWilliams Company
Very ADL - Hard Adelbert College
CIT - Case Institute of Technology CSAS - Case School of Applied Sciences CWR - Case Western Reserve University FSM - Flora Stone Mather College for Women GRS - School of Graduate Studies MED - CWRU School of Medicine WRC - Western Reserve College
Have a good boy or girl? Send us a picture and a short description of your pet for a chance to be featured on our social media. Message us on Instagram @cwruobserver
Submit your spookiest stories into our contest Learn more at observer.case.edu
Scorpio Roger Bacon (GRS ‘55) - inventor of graphite fibers Sagittarius Franklin Cover (ADL ‘54, GRS ‘55) - played Tom Willis in The Jeffersons Capricorn Peter Tippett (GRS ‘81, MED ‘83) - Software developer of anti-virus programs Aquarius Tim Besse (CWR ‘02) founder of Glassdoor Pisces Joe Russo and Anthony Russo (LAW ‘97, GRS ‘97 respectively) - directors of Avenger films, Arrested Development; producers of NBC’s Community
The 50th Anniversary Issue Celebrating 50 years of student journalism Matt Hooke Executive Editor
The Observer has been in existence for more than twice my lifetime. Reading alumni letters, I realized the founding of The Observer 50 years ago was not just a creation of a campus newspaper for the fun of it, but an inherently political act. Paul E. Kerson, one of the founders of The Observer, said the goal of the paper was to use the First Amendment to try and stop the Vietnam war. For Case Western Reserve University students, getting a draft card in the mail and being sent to a foreign country to shoot people in an imperialist war meant to establish American dominance was a clear and present danger. The first editors, including Kerson, used The Observer to talk about the issues they cared about in a public forum. Every generation has faced challenges like the ones they faced in the 1960s, and it is the responsibility of the newspaper to give each new generation a voice. The Cleveland Climate strike, organized by third-year student Nick Vitello, is a product of the same activist spirit that moved Case Western Reserve University to block Euclid in protest of the Vietnam War forty-nine years ago. To be a voice for students, The Observer has to be willing to publish articles that many people, even myself and the other editors, disagree with and that challenge our readers to think differently. Through the letter to the editor and other forums, we can offer our readers the opportunity to respond to writers, to foster dialogue both on campus and within our pages about the issues and ideas that matter. Why care about what alumni have to say about The Observer? It is impossible to know where you are and the direction you are going in without knowing where you’ve been in the past. Without historical context, it is hard to make an argument about anything. The problems of the past are still here with us. The gentrification that Doug Smock, one of the founders of The Observer, rallied against in his Editor’s Note “Let’s be good neighbors” in 1968 is still happening, with local restaurants closing and rents in University Circle rising by over 40 percent in the past year alone. By looking at how writers like Smock discussed the problem we can see that development causing the displacement and mistreatment of poor people is not a new issue in University Circle. With the knowledge that a problem is not new, we can look at how others have grappled with it in their time when trying to craft our solutions, using the thinkers of the past to inform our present moment. Another reason to look at the thoughts of our alumni is
for hope. Often, while putting the finishing touches on an issue at 5 a.m., the feeling of “why am I doing this” has crossed my mind. Reading through the alumni’s words this week, I see that I am not the only Observer Staff member to think that. In Mary Jacobs’ article “Writing on a deadline,” she describes the demoralizing devolution of trying to write the best stories possible to just filling the newspaper with anything printable once exams force many writers to stop contributing. Instead of describing this experience as something that made her lose her passion for journalism, Jacobs said learning how to scramble for last-minute articles proved valuable in her career as a professional writer. Seeing that the skills learned at The Observer are useful not only in the confines of CWRU, but that these abilities come in handy for a lifetime of creative work is evidence that not only is The Observer good because it’s a product for the students, but that it provides valuable skills. It’s particularly reassuring to the people who work to put this publication together every week. At a school like CWRU, it can often be hard to care about the world around you, and easier to instead go through school doing academic work and not much else. Often, it feels like students are encouraged to burden themselves with triple majors and five or six classes a semester, a schedule that makes it almost impossible for all except the most disciplined of students to participate in a meaningful way with the community. Even if students weren’t overloaded with classes, The Observer would still face struggles not dissimilar to college papers across the country. CWRU is mainly an engineering, science and pre-med oriented campus, where the humanities are often put on the back burner. Unlike many other newspapers, we don’t have the luxury of a large, robust journalism program. Even universities that have large journalism schools, like the University of Maryland, have had to stop print publication because of financial reasons, as well as other troubles. Many Observer staff members are not English majors, instead pursuing degrees in fields like business and engineering. It speaks to everyone’s dedication that every week (and at one point even twice a week) for the past fifty years, students at CWRU could look forward to seeing a brand new copy of The Observer that hopefully inspires them to think about issues in a new way and exposes them to people and ideas that they would never encounter otherwise.
The Observer defined my time at Case Western, and it shaped my entire career Anne Nickoloff Former Director of Print It all started when I was an overeager high school graduate. I became involved with the club before I even arrived on campus, emailing Sheehan Hannan, the arts and entertainment editor at the time, with a hope to write for the section. My first year at Case Western Reserve University, I wrote about music and campus events, reviewing concerts and dipping my toes into CWRU and Cleveland’s arts and entertainment scenes. That role eventually morphed into
a job as a copy editor, then the arts and entertainment editor job, and finally the director of print. (Also, I’ll never forget the brief stints of early-morning paper delivery, dropping off bundles of papers on Friday mornings, half-awake.) The jobs I took on at The Observer helped me earn a couple of reporting awards and allowed me to get internships at Cleveland Scene, Alternative Press Magazine and cleveland. com. That internship at cleveland. com eventually turned into my cur-
rent job: a full-time life and culture reporter. Working at The Observer taught me more than any class at CWRU. It taught me the challenges of editing other people’s work, and the joy of making words sing. It taught me how to find motivation—mainly by blasting old ‘90s songs (“Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)”) at 4:30 in the morning just to get through the final few pages of edits. And let’s be real—it taught me that sometimes you have to write
a lot of not-good stuff before you write something good. The nights I spent editing, writing stories, learning layout and drawing “Squirrels Doing Real People Things” cartoons are some of my favorite memories at CWRU. Those nights proved to me that I wanted to be a writer more than anything else—and it made me confident enough to take a chance at a career in it. Happy 50th birthday, The Observer!
How The Observer led to a career at Valve Jason Mitchell Former News Editor Working for a high profile game studio, I am often asked about how my educational background led to my current position. There is the obvious connection from the rigorous engineering curriculum at Case Western Reserve University to a career in software development, but I have also drawn heavily from the experience gained working as a photographer, writer and editor at The Observer. At The Observer, we were mostly engineering students; we weren’t supposed to know about writing and journalism, but we knew we were entering an era where media was our lifeblood and we refused to stay in expected roles. In game development, as individuals and as teams, we are constantly pushing past our job titles and product categories. It is not lost on me that this mindset was partially developed by working for The Observer. A major advantage of CWRU’s relatively small student body is the access that students gain to activities outside of their major. Prior to enrolling at CWRU, I was recruited by the legendary Bill Sudeck to run
cross country and track, but decided to put aside the sports I had competed in all my life in order to branch out into new areas. This turned out to be a pivotal choice, as I was able to perform in a play at Eldred Theater, serve as a resident assistant and spend two semesters studying abroad at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. But, the most significant extracurricular activity that I undertook at CWRU was working for The Observer. Whatever it took, the paper needed to get done on time every week. That meant Wednesday evening was crunch time, with the occasional spillover into Thursday, with a runner sent to Presti’s for early morning nourishment. We may not have understood it Jason Mitchell performing in “The Wizards of Quiz” at Eldred Theater in 1991. Courat the time, but those of us on staff tesy of Jason Mitchell were learning how to be collaborative “full stack” media creators before the take advantage of the opportunity they surprised at the paths that open up for term entered the lexicon, as we had to have to expand beyond the boundar- you as a result. move fluidly between interviewing, ies of their majors and build up their Jason Mitchell (CSE ‘94) is a softresearching, writing, editing, photog- creative muscles in other dimensions, be it writing for The Observer, acting ware engineer at Valve, makers of raphy and layout. In an era where pure STEM is of- in a play, studying abroad or partici- Steam, Half-Life, Dota, Portal, Left ten promoted over the humanities, I pating in one of the many other op- 4 Dead and a variety of other game would highly encourage students to portunities available. You may be franchises.
Lobe’s Ear ... 45 years later Howard Loberfeld Former Staff Reporter Fifty years ago, I was a senior in high school and totally unaware of Case Western Reserve University. Then, their recruitment team swarmed New York—my best friend Bob, my cousin Marcia and I all got the sales pitch, even though we attended separate schools. For me, CWRU became a backup in case none of the Ivy League schools I applied to accepted me. When none of them did (Princeton put me on the waiting list, and I’m still waiting), it was off to Cleveland and the so-called “Harvard of the Midwest.” On a math major track, classes were not memorable. I learned four different computer languages, mainly because they kept becoming obsolete. The only professor who truly had an impact on me was noted
journalist Herb Kamm, whose class led me to my time writing for The Observer. I also got involved in student government, WRUW-FM and co-founded the Izzy Zuberman Film Society; but, the most memorable days had to have been escapades with my new dormmate friends (especially since we were amongst the first to live in coed dorms). We didn’t have much to work with, so we invented adventures— out-loud recitation of ‘The Joy of Sex,’ the Arby’s vs. Beef Corral challenge, late-night treks to Akron’s Cloverleaf Lanes for 24-hour bowling (with the wonder of automatic scoring machines) and excursions to Thistledown for two-dollar bets and funnel cakes, just to name a few. Sure, there were exciting days on
campus, like when Jane Fonda came to speak with us about the Vietnam War (though not on a tank, she ironically spoke in front of the “barracks” dining hall). I got to hang out with great future writers like Scott Raab and Scott Eyman, see a lot of classic films and eat at great nearby joints that are still here like Mama Santa’s and NightTown. Of course, now you also have great food at the Tinkham Veale University Center, and an amazing amount of sculptures and new buildings all over campus, which makes it more attractive to stay right here. Still, sometimes you want to venture out and enjoy your city. In our day, the Cuyahoga River burned, the city went bankrupt and there wasn’t much of a downtown Cleveland scene, but boy has that changed.
While our 1970s social committee took visiting speaker Muhammad Ali to a Brown Derby chain steakhouse, you now have gourmet choices lining 4th Street and in Ohio City, plus an actual legalized gambling casino just a rapid transit ride away (if that was around in our day, I may not have graduated). I know, it’s a different dynamic for today’s CWRU students. You are knuckling down, thinking outside the box, inventing things and becoming entrepreneurs, and that’s great. But, I hope you also remember to also enjoy the hell out of these college years. You will make memories that last a lifetime, you will have new experiences that change you and, yes, you’ll probably learn some things, too. I know I did.
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Notes on the founding on the CWRU Observer Paul E. Kerson Founder, Former Editor-in-Chief The Case Western Reserve University Observer was founded 50 years ago this month in Pierce House by Jon Poole, Doug Smock, Larry Levner, Blake Lange and me. Respect for the university’s history and for the outstanding education we received a half century ago demands that I write a few words about it so you in the far distant future will understand why we did what we did. In 2019, it is very hard to understand that the national leadership of our country was ceded to college students in 1969. The key academic book to get a handle on all this is Robert S. McNamara’s “In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam,” Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., NY 1995. McNamara was the U.S. Secretary of Defense who designed the Vietnam War where 58,220 young American service people and three million Vietnamese were needlessly killed during the years 1963-1975. The national plan, at first with CWRU’s acceptance, was for Jon Poole, Doug Smock, Larry Levner, Blake Lange, myself and the rest of the men in our class to be sent to Vietnam to do the killing and dying against our will and our common sense. Vietnam was incapable of invading the United States in 1963-1975. I
received my draft card, a forced invitation to go to Vietnam with an M-16 rifle and shoot and be shot at for no good reason, from a pleasant-faced older woman clerk in Adelbert Main on my 18th birthday, in February 1969. I will never forget it. She had no idea of the meaning of her seemingly clerical task. She was registering me to kill and die before I even had the chance to commence adult life. I don’t think she gave this matter even a second thought. She wore a nice smile, as if she was giving out a dry cleaning ticket. Twenty long years after the fact, in 1995, Robert McNamara admitted the whole thing had been a big mistake: “We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why. “ It took Robert McNamara 20 years to figure this out. I was able to figure it out in between the time I got my draft card from CWRU at Adelbert Main and when I sat with Jon, Doug, Larry and Blake to found The CWRU Observer in Pierce House three months later. Although none of us were yet fullfledged adults, we knew we had to use the First Amendment freedom the university gave us to correct the federal government and stop the foolish, misguided war. And so we did. Our elders were aghast. Most were World War II veterans, and their collective thinking was this: When Washington
calls, it is your duty to follow. To the eternal credit of the CWRU faculty, most too young to have served in World War II, we were taught to think for ourselves, and not blindly follow anyone. My late father, Dr. Jerome Kerson, a World War II veteran, had a high rank. He was a Captain in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army Air Corps, before the Air Force existed, from 1942 to 1948. He had a very different view than that of his fellow veterans. He had the same job in World War II as Hawkeye had in M*A*S*H, the hit television show and movie. It is not an exaggeration to say that The CWRU Observer was brought to you, at least in part, by Hawkeye’s son. When I left my parents’ house in Flushing, Queens County, New York for CWRU in September 1968, my father was very afraid that I would be drafted and sent to Vietnam. He came into my room and he gave me his green U.S. Army Air Corps jacket with a large brown fur collar with the words “U.S. Army Air Corps” in red, white and blue emblazoned on the top of the sleeve. He had worn this jacket when he operated on our wounded World War II soldiers 20 years earlier. I asked him why he was giving me this jacket. He would not say why. During the time I was writing and editing anti-war articles
for The CWRU Observer, I wore this jacket. I wore it to remind everyone that it is we, the citizens, who will decide when and where we go to war, not a permanent military class operating out of Washington, D.C. I grew up, over the past 50 years, to use the leadership skills I learned at CWRU to have a hand in governing the New York State judiciary. CWRU sent me to the Columbia University Law School. I served nearly two years as a New York State Assistant Attorney General, and then founded a law firm, Leavitt, Kerson & Sehati, still going strong. I have been on the Board of Managers of the Queens County Bar Association (QCBA) off and on for more than 35 years, serving as president from 2015-2016. This meant I had a hand in disciplining and selecting judges. For much of the last several decades, I have been the editor of the Queens Bar Bulletin, the monthly publication of the QCBA. Surprise—it looks a lot like The CWRU Observer. This is a tribute to Prof. Charles Rehor and Prof. Jim Sheeler’s predecessor, who taught us how to write convincingly. I again want to thank CWRU for the education I received in citizenship, independent thinking and leadership so long ago. It was second to none.
time, rather than the exception. In spring, following May 4, the Cleveland Mounted Police lined up on Euclid Avenue and removed their identifying badges. A wave from District Police Chief Gerraty set them charging into the student crowd gathered in front of Thwing, clubbing students, including the editor of the Observer, a campus policeman, then smashing Thwing’s windows. Although they claimed their badges could be used as weapons, no ids violated state law. Photographs were sent to Washington D.C. that week with Congressman Stokes— it was the third charge by mounted policemen that year that I had seen. My staff and I made more than 1,000 images that week alone. There was much to cover; the Plain Dealer requested and offered to buy a subscription to the Observer, and I
made several thousands of images, from campus matters, to regional and national issues. We published issues with up to 24 pages. Some of the matters included sports events, concerts, speakers and antiwar conventions. We went to extreme efforts to record the history of the moment, with black and white photography mostly, but also with difficulty to achieve color images from the march on Washington to the last Case-Reserve Football game (Reserve won!). Volume One’s staff members were the witness scribes for the campus, the area and the times. Great Staff, Volume One—though, about ten years later, I saw some of the photos of Mounted Police Charge on page one of that Observer—the headline asked “Can you Believe This Happened Here?”
Photo Editor Volume One John Fleshin Former Photo Editor In the Fall of 1969, I walked into the Office on the Third Floor of Thwing and offered my services as a photographer. The paper was in a bit of disarray in the darkroom and the quality of images wasn’t ideal, I was experienced in photography, so it began. Among my early assignments was to photograph Ohio Governor James Rhodes speaking locally, who announced he would not wait for a request by school administration to send in the National Guard if he thought state property was in danger—words that stuck with me and certainly played out during the massacre down the road at Kent in May, 1970. Tension was in the air all year; the Student Mobilization Committee to end the war was heavily invested in Cleveland. Several Weather Underground Organization figures showed
up to demonstrate at a neighboring suburb, along with some young Cleveland Heights students at the Davis Cup Matches held at Roxboro Junior High, prompting an overreaction from the Cleveland Heights detectives, who ran around wearing green sports coats, photographing faces and finally physically assaulting school students standing and shouting on public property. Also arrested was Bernardine Dohrn, who later that year declared war against the United States, committed various violent acts and bombings and skipped bail to remain underground many long years after the war—Dohrn’s photo was also published in the Observer. Also, a strong Editorial condemned police actions. I always wondered where they found so many bright green sports coats, hardly subtle. Police overreaction often proved to be the rule at the
Lifelong friends and classies Denise Fischer Rynes Former Editor As editor of The Observer during the 1986-87 school year, I was the secondto-last leader to beg, bribe, berate and battle the Compugraphics typesetter to make it work on Wednesday nights, when we put the paper to bed. My wise successor, Eric Baud, transitioned the paper to Macintosh’s desktop publishing the next year, but that cantankerous old machine helped create a wacky, memorable newsroom atmosphere that I still miss. Working at the school paper was the best job I have ever held, no contest. The work was challenging, but fun,
and we often felt like we made a difference in the quality of campus life. We covered important events, took some deep dives into cheating and campus security, and ultimately gave the students a voice. Everyone was welcome to join our staff, to write a letter to the editor and to buy an ad in the “Classies,” which often told the best stories if you could piece them together right. Despite the demands of the job, my role as editor was easier than expected. The hours were long, but my staff was so good that I could trust them to do their jobs well with little to no assis-
tance. In addition to being talented and knowledgeable, they were committed to printing the best issue possible every week. It didn’t hurt that they were also funny, entertaining people who became dear friends over time. I received a bound book of my printed issues when my tenure ended, and that book is one of my prized possessions. I look at it often, not to reread articles I wrote, but to relive the giddy, silly, laugh-until-you-cry experiences that some headlines, stories and classies evoke. Many of the funniest moments of my life took place during
those long, hectic hours on Wednesday nights because of my Observer friends. Decades later, the people I met and worked with in the basement of Thwing Center are still close friends. They were the first people I looked for on Facebook, if I wasn’t in touch with them already. They are the college friends whose birthdays I remember without that Facebook reminder, and the people I make a real effort to talk to or visit in person whenever possible. In short, my time at The Observer changed me and the course of my life, and for that, I will always be grateful.
Lasting impact: How The Observer impacted a pre-med Phil Smith Former Editor-in-Chief I entered my first year at Case Western Reserve University in the fall of 1975 as a pre-med student. I joined The Observer as a sports writer, which turned into sports editor in the spring. I served as editorin-chief as a sophomore (1976–77 academic year). This was the age of typewriters, typesetting and offset (pre-digital) printing. We published Tuesday and Friday issues. The commitment of our Observer team was amazing. We often worked past midnight Thursday for our Friday edition. Then, two of us would drive to the printing house in Medina, Ohio and be up all night as the plates were set and the paper print-
ed. Then, we would return to campus and distribute the issues at numerous spots. We could not envision how computers, word processors and digital printing might transform newspaper publishing two decades later. When I entered medical school in 1979, I never imagined the impact of my Observer experiences. As a young family physician, I was an early adopter of electronic medical records in the early 1990s. This led me to my career as a chief medical information officer and health IT consultant, automating over 60 hospitals (well over one percent of all hospitals in America) and numer-
ous physician’s offices. Persuasive writing has become a valuable tool in leading change and in mentoring a new generation of healthcare informaticians. Dozens of white papers have led to millions of investment dollars in innovations. Technical requirement documents have guided software development. I’ve authored two books in health IT on computerized provider order entry and on medication reconciliation. I currently serve as contributor and writer for a national task force on healthcare cybersecurity with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This past summer I co-authored a report
for a major medication reconciliation hackathon at the University of Connecticut. Today, I see copywriting as my “value-add” as a health IT consultant. It all began with my tenure on The Observer and four writing courses at CWRU. Moreover, my oldest daughter pursued journalism in college and spent four years as a newspaper copy editor before entering law school. It’s interesting how much an extracurricular activity can shape your life for many years. It’s often in different ways than you might anticipate during your undergraduate years.
Reflections on my time at The Observer (in the mid-to-late ‘90s) Santina Protopapa Former Features Editor Working at The Observer was definitely one of the highlights of my time at Case Western Reserve University. I initially joined The Observer as an extension of my journalism work in high school. I was eager to continue writing and reporting. I am grateful that my time as a member of The Observer led to a leadership position to oversee the features section. This leadership role provided me with the valuable opportunity to develop and hone skills that are still an important part of my daily work. Late nights at Thwing Center were always busy and fun with Christian Stein-
er, Angela Byun and the crew. I’ll never forget the time we finally got to meet the mysterious columnist “Mischievo,” Steve Dalton. As the features editor, I enjoyed meeting new people on campus interested in music and culture who would like to write for The Observer. Many of these people went on to careers related to journalism and music, such as Kabir Bhatia, who works for WKSU. Some of my highlights as a writer for The Observer include writing the article that introduced the new Kelvin Smith Library and getting to tour the library before
it opened, covering the Rusted Root concert on campus and interviewing one of the members of the band, and introducing the CWRU community to the new Bop Stop jazz club downtown. Another memorable moment was traveling with The Observer crew to San Francisco for a collegiate journalism conference and learning from colleagues from different universities across the country. We returned to campus energized with new story ideas. We also enjoyed exploring San Francisco. It was my very first time on the west coast. My career in the arts has included ex-
tensive grant writing and proposal writing. The skills I honed at The Observer have enabled me to successfully raise over a million dollars to bring the arts to young people. Writing with clarity on a tight deadline for a grant has always been a breeze, thanks to my time at The Observer. Lastly, the management skills I developed during this time supported my work running the non-profit I started and led for 15 years, and are now a part of my current leadership overseeing educational programs at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.
Writing on deadline
The power of storytelling
Mary Jacobs Former News Editor
Kaitlyn Kooser Former Staff Reporter
Until exactly 37 minutes ago, I forgot about the deadline for essays for this special anniversary issue. Thanks to my years of working on The Observer, I was able to deliver. The Observer was the setting for many of my most cherished college memories. While I’ve lost touch with many college friends, I’m still in contact with several former Observer staffers. But the gift that The Observer gave that’s still giving is speed. The paper taught me how to write a pyramid-style, who-what-when-wherewhy newspaper article—and fast. As news editor, I’d start each semester full of energy and passion and overflowing with ideas for covering all the important happenings on campus. I’d come up with “enterprise” stories and work hard to discover interesting angles and finesse the writing to make them sing. I had help from a cadre of fellow students who would handle assignments and write other stories for the section. However, as each semester wound down, and exams loomed, my volunteer staffers disappeared. They stopped taking assignments, and of course, my school workload piled up
too. My imperative at The Observer devolved from “covering the most important news with compelling stories” to “filling the section with copy, any copy.” By the last issue of each semester, I’d have to write the entire section, and I’d have to do it fast. I’d make a few phone calls, type furiously, rip the paper out of the typewriter, hand it to the typesetter, and move to the next story, one after another. And that’s how I learned to turn a news story from scratch in a few hours. That training has served me well to this day. In my first job, as a TV news producer for WJW-TV, I could write a short script from wire copy in a matter of minutes. When I worked for the Dallas Morning News in the early 2000s, colleagues were amazed at my prolific bylines. Now that I’m freelancing, and doing PR and marketing writing—well, I’m not even going to tell you how fast I can turn out a press release. My clients might want to pay me less. I filed my last story for The Observer more than 35 years ago. But the lessons learned from late nights in the newspaper office still remain with me today.
While writing for The Observer, I fortified my belief in the power of storytelling. One of my first contributions as a staff reporter was an article about Case Western Reserve University’s dining hall compost plans. I wouldn’t have said that it contained the kind of zest that colored the stories I was reading in major publications. But reading my very own inky headline on a fresh copy of The Observer revealed to me that my desire to connect with others, by way of understanding shared histories, was something I could wield like a unifying tool, forever. I wonder if someone who read my composting story nine years ago impacted the development of something like the Green New Deal. While the odds of this are slim, I do imagine that other storytellers like me believe so wholeheartedly in the power of using one’s voice that these chain reactions don’t seem so absurd. Nearly twenty years have passed since I filled up my first journal with the same scrawl I still sport today. Fifteen years have passed since I wrote, directed and performed in my own short film (shout out to a childhood friend with a quality hand-held camcorder).
Ten years have passed since I worked on my high school’s literary magazine. Nine years have passed since I walked into The Observer office and met the kind of people who would change my understanding of what it means to be someone with a story to tell. I will always be grateful for my time as one of The Observer’s staff reporters, a time characterized by deadlines, late nights and optimism. I spent a lot of this time getting to know people in the community who would alter my worldview. The positive consequences of this are still unfolding in my everyday life. I spent even more of this time committing myself to the kind of coursework that ensured I would never put my pen (tape recorder, waterproof notebook, laptop and coffee) down. I’m no journalist now, but I am a writer of sketch comedy, a blogger and an unofficial reporter. I like to think that I start and engage in conversations that lead to positive action. I ask questions. I listen. The spark that ignited my desire to talk to those around me, to learn, to write, and to record burned so bright during my years at CWRU. The Observer was a special part of that.
Learn valuable skills on The Observer team
My deer office Eileen Sabrina Herman Former Editor-in-Chief
In 2012, a deer got trapped in the window-well outside The Observer office. Courtesy of Eileen Sabrina Herman I joined The Observer my second-year at Case Western Reserve University, and had so many amazing experiences. I went from sports layout editor to editor-in-chief, so I got to experience every part of the newspaper (I even wrote articles once in a while!). While I could wax-poetic about the things we did that were relevant to a newspaper, I’d rather reminisce about one night in particular that stood out to me. On my last night before the new editor-in-chief took over before I graduated, we had an unexpected visitor in Thwing A09. I arrived at 4 p.m. to whispers and confusion, as, somehow, a deer had jumped into the window—well, while not exactly inside our office, the deer was stuck, pacing, in front of our windows. I remember looking at the deer and thinking, “Yep. That’s a deer alright.” I asked the staff what had been done so far, and had been told that our Sports Editor Peter Cooke had been told by the Jolly Scholar staff that if he brought them the deer, dead or alive, they would give him free drinks until he graduated. Obviously, this was not in the cards, and
so I contacted the admin of Thwing, Casey Medley. Her first reaction was that surely I was joking. “No,” I said. “There really is a deer in the office! We can’t work with her staring at us.” Who was in charge of this scenario? The game warden? School security? We had to wait and see, all the while Bambi stared at us through the glass. I needed a drink—could Peter be persuaded to share? Soon a crowd of students and administrators gathered inside our office. It was a deer! Look at that! I was concerned that the deer might startle and jump into the office, so we all had to work far away from the windows; it was quite inconvenient. Eventually, a bunch of men in uniforms came, evacuated the office, tranquilized the deer and took her via a backhoe inside a crate, out of the window well. It was the most excitement our office had in days. After Bambi was removed, we tried to fit a deer theme into the fun page, but alas it was not to be. But what a way to end my time at The Observer.
Memories of the technical side Judy Scher Former Layout Editor and Production Manager I started out, like many of us, by writing headlines for the Reserve Tribune in 1968 when Doug Smock was the Editor and reporter Jim Naples’ “Saga Soon Sells Suds!” became the Trib’s most famous headline after the student union started serving 3.2 beer. I was more interested in production than writing and eventually became the layout editor. Layout was extremely tedious compared to today. The print area of each article involved counting words, font size, and desired width. We used slide rules! Ads and photo dimensions were given to us and we designed each page marking areas with pencil and pasting down headlines with glue which would fumigate the entire office. The mocked up content, ads and photos were then taken to a local printer. The next year we became the CWRU Observer. Case students joined the staff, Larry Levner was Editor-In-Chief and I eventually became co-production manager with Clay Haubert from Case. We were constantly last-minute, driving the content to Medina, OH at 2 AM for publication twice/week. Our publishers used offset printing, the most upto-date technology of news printing.
I remember going to the November, 1969 march on Washington, DC to protest the Vietnam war with some of the Observer staff. It was snowing the entire way but we got there safely in a VW bug owned and driven by our photo editor. We had to send the rolls of film to a lab to be processed in time for the next edition of the Observer and found ourselves running through around 500,000 protestors to get to the post office. It was the first time the Observer printed color photos and I have to take some credit for the photo spread between pgs. 6-7 because our photographer put me up on his shoulders to snap the photo of the huge crowd. (Of course he first adjusted the f-stop, etc. Anyone remember f-stops?!). Color photos had to be separated into black, magenta, yellow and cyan; each separation made into halftone, then overlaid for newsprint. We were a fun and hard working group of folks in midst of national political upheaval. We watched police batter protesters from the window of the Observer office, we listened to the horrific news of Kent State from that same office, yet somehow we all kept it together and produced those stories like the pros.
Back from the shadows (again) Doug Elliott Former Staff Reporter The more things change, the more they stay the same. Autumn dawn, mid-continental time, and I am wrestling with Jacob’s angel to hit the deadline for The Observer. Now is nearly fifty years after my first byline. A hundred miles south of Hannibal, I try, unsuccessfully, to channel Mark Twain’s ghost, tease out a bit of wit, something clever or wise that will impress my faceless audience. No such luck. I am what I was, words cobbled on newsprint, anonymously brave, fearful of rejection by an equally anonymous reader. And so, it goes.
Fifty years ago, we read “1984”. Now we live it. I am struggling to fill the missing space of this article and wonder about the fifty light year radius of neural radiation between then and now—do our thoughts ever collide with alien civilizations? How would they even know? Or is it us who are the unwitting mouthpieces of alien overlords, alien photons energizing these very words I think I am writing myself? Hmmm, save that for the podcast. Fifty years ago, I was writing for the arts and entertainment section. We were Boomer proud. We were pass-
ing through the Age of Aquarius on the way to the Age of Disco. We were winning the peace and forgetting the war, forcing impeachment and getting back to nature with the Whole Earth Catalog. We were the mainframe computer on the way to the desktop. We were the sexual revolution before AIDS. We embraced satire as the moral disinfectant of “real truth.” When nothing is sacred, we are all elevated. I miss the cleansing humor of the old anarchist days, but the current arc of social justice seems to require this new puritanism. And so, it went. I loved the brave experiment of col-
lege, the times we hitch hiked cross country, from campus to campus, from the U.S. to Mexico. When we graduated, we kept moving, back into the suburbs, back to the malls, back to the materialism that defines the apocalypse of this modern era. Or so my children text me. I see through my window the rising orange orb reflecting off the Father of Waters. The waters travel unvexed to the Gulf, unvexed at least until the next hurricane. Cat claws tearing at the office door—time for breakfast. The aliens have found me. At last.
Preparing for the real world Laura (Castro) Ritzler Former Editor-in-Chief My experience at The Observer is synonymous with my entire Case Western Reserve University experience. When I came to CWRU, I wasn’t bothered by the fact that there was no journalism department. At the time, I was just an aspiring chemical engineering major who didn’t want to lose my connection to writing. While on a first-year orientation activities tour, I happened to overhear the then-news editor lamenting that he didn’t have an assistant editor who could pull together some of
the more tedious parts of his job. I pounced. Taking on that three-hour a week commitment changed the entire course of my future at CWRU and beyond. In my third year, I became editorin-chief, and then became one of those rare (at the time) two-year editors. The Observer changed the trajectory of my life and prepared me for the real world, unlike any of my coursework. I learned to work with a team of
wildly different personalities and produce high quality work (most of the time). I learned to lead a group of individuals through short- and long-term goals, and take chances along the way. (Although if someone had warned me the transition from Adobe Pagemaker to Adobe InDesign would make us all want to quit, I might have thought twice before moving forward.) We took it seriously, because the stakes were real: real advertisers, paid staff and financial autonomy from the university. But, we also had
fun doing it. While I never became an engineer, every single role I’ve been in (from middle school science teacher in South Los Angeles to instructional designer in Phoenix, and all the stops in between) has required me to tap into everything I learned at The Observer. At the end of the day, I’ve turned my passion for translating large, complicated ideas into more digestible content into a career—a passion that I can trace all the way back to the Thwing basement.
From librarian to magazine editor Cory Hershberger Former Managing Editor My time at The Observer will always be near and dear to my heart. It was the first campus organization I joined, and it was where I spent the majority of my extracurricular time as a CWRU student. (The vast majority.) My very first article was an album review—Mat Kearney’s “Nothing Left to Lose,” which came out in April 2006 and I suppose dates me considerably—and I remember Megan Vo, the Focus (A&E) Editor at the time, reading it and telling me afterward that she immediately decided to groom me to take her place, as she was graduating
in the spring. I say this not to brag, but to point out how that one single decision impacted the course of both my college career and my professional one, as well. Because Megan invested her time into me, I became the Focus Editor for the 2007-2008 academic year. I held the position again as a junior, and then I became the Managing Editor for my final year at CWRU. (I managed those Wednesday production nights that stretched into the wee hours of the morning every week, which was exhilarating and exhausting and hi-
larious and frustrating all at once.) After graduating from CWRU, I went on to library school at the University of Kentucky and my resume was pulled out of a stack for a graduate student position in the oral history center on campus because of my editing experience. Post-grad school, I started applying for editing jobs alongside my library jobs, initially just as a backup, but I actually wound up working as a magazine editor for “Hobby Farms” for almost 5 years. Now, I’ve made a career pivot into academic advising for the University
of Kentucky’s Transfer Center, but do you know what piqued my boss’s interest? My editing experience: In addition to my advising load, I now write and edit our marketing copy in addition to managing our website, and the genesis of all those skills can be chalked up to The Observer and that initial album review. I made some of my best college friends through The Observer and I owe a considerable amount of my professional success to it. It was a true honor to work there for four years— here’s to 50 more!
fourth year, I saw The Observer vastly improve under the leadership of a now close friend of mine. It improved enough that I went from a skeptic to a contributor. I joined for many reasons, including for the staff and their culture, certainly. But it was also because, after years on this campus, I had so much to say, and I didn’t know how to express it. It was that same close friend who encouraged me to share what I had to say, to put to paper my experiences and the lessons I had learned. And so I got to close my final year
of college by writing my way out of this school. I picked up my metaphorical pen and, week after week, spoke my truth to this campus, informed by my experiences, supported by an amazing editorial staff. In my time at CWRU, there were many dark nights. But I knew I was never truly lost, because I had the light of others’ stars to guide me. I hope my time at The Observer can be remembered as a light in someone else’s sky. Thank you, The Observer, for helping me figure out who I am.
Writing my way out Viral Mistry Former Staff Columnist When I arrived at Case Western Reserve University in August of 2015, I knew two things. One, I finally had the freedom to be whoever I wanted to be. Two, I had absolutely no idea who I wanted to be. While I contemplated joining The Observer early on, I didn’t out of fear that my voice wasn’t worthy. When I started to get involved with campus activism, my opinion of the school newspaper only worsened. A series of incidents during my second and third years built an atmosphere of distrust toward the newspaper, one that saw
them as neither the neutral observers they claimed to be, or the empathetic allies we wanted them to be. Instead, the word was that The Observer was, at best, going to ignore you, and, at worst, undermine you to get clicks. Why would I note this right now, in a moment of nostalgia? Because it’s important to recognize where our flaws are if we want to improve. You are not simply who you are on your worst day, but also the day after that, and the day after that. You are how you respond to your weaknesses. And I’m proud to say that through my
Want to change your life? Write for The Observer.
arts & entertainment uISA’s “Garba” brings Indian holiday spirit to CWRU Shreyas Banerjee Contributing Reporter While most Americans will celebrate the holiday season later this winter, for Indians around the world, ‘tis the season. While most people are only familiar with Diwali—which is happening in the next few weeks, don’t worry—this whole month is jam packed with holidays and celebrations, with one of the most major being the Hindu festival of Navratri, a celebration lasting nine nights that leads up to the holiday of Dussehra. In order to celebrate the season, the Undergraduate Indian Students Association (uISA) held a free “garba” for the entire campus to partake in on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in Adelbert Gym. The Navratri Garba was a fun dance party, filled with Indian dance styles to celebrate the coming of the season. This included garba, a regional dance from the Gujarat region of India often associated with the Navratri festivities, where dancers go in concentric circles around the center of the room. Other dances included another traditional Gujarati form called Dandiya Raas, also used during Navratri, where dancers work in a line, pair up with a partner and hit dandiya sticks together before moving on to the next partner. At the end, there was even a not-so-traditional Bollywood dance segment.
“We’re definitely tailoring the moves to make it easy enough to learn while still keeping it traditional, in order to encourage involvement with people who don’t usually dance,” said Rohan Desai, a thirdyear and uISA treasurer, adding that “the choreography is simple enough that everyone can join in and feel like a group.” Packed with colorful clothing, filled with blasting Indian music and adorned with hanging lights along the walls, Adelbert Gym had never looked so festive. Wearing sequined sari dresses and embroidered kurta shirts, many students of Indian origin took advantage of the uISA Garba to dress up in traditional Indian clothes and celebrate their culture, something they might not have been able to do without the platform of organization. However, many students of different origins partook in the event, and learned a little about Indian culture in the process. After trying the food— which included chana masala, a dish made of chickpeas and aloo tikki, a potato snack—Harrison Rhodes, a first-year who had never had Indian food before said, “I learned a lot about Indian culture, and had a lot of fun with my friends. I hope they continue to do this event for years to come!”
CWRU students gather at uISA’s garba last Saturday. Shreyas Banerjee/The Observer As Navratri and Dussehra are religious holidays and not just dance parties, uISA co-president and third-year student Shilpa Namala was sure to share the significance of the event with everyone attending. Explaining to everyone over the loudspeaker, Namala explained that “the festival is in honor of the goddess Durga, who represents power and purity” before performing aarti, where you offer a flame during worship to the picture of Durga, sitting atop of a lion killing the demon Mahisasura with her ten arms. “This is one of our only events that is open to everybody in the communi-
ty,” Shilpa said when asked why the event was free of charge. “It’s a really great way for people to partake in the celebrations, whether they’re familiar with Indian culture or not.” “We wanted to really educate people about our roots and step outside their comfort zone while still giving Indian students a place to celebrate that they might not otherwise have,” Girisha Kanuri, thirdyear student and the other co-president of uISA added. uISA’s next event will be a paid dinner to celebrate Diwali on Nov. 9.
Mitchell’s 20th birthday brings lines full of happy customers Henry Bendon Staff Reporter Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream loves its birthday. The company opened its first store 20 years ago last Sunday, Oct. 6, and for the last couple of years it’s been rolling out both a birthday cake ice cream and birthday cake sundae—made with a piece of actual cake, produced inhouse in their Ohio City facility, for the entire month of October. This year was no exception. As the company closed in on the end of its twentieth year, its representatives spread out across the city giving out scoops and even advertised the throwback special, single scoops sold for the original 1999 price of $1.65 on WKYC Channel 3 Sunday morning news. The ad campaign for Mitchell’s birthday, combined with its already omnipresent popularity, made for a hectic day. “We were super busy at all of our shops pretty much all day, more in the evening though,” Gioia Hunt, assistant manager at Mitchell’s Uptown Shop said. In anticipation of the expected crowd, the Uptown location added an extra three scoopers to its line, jumping from a standard Sunday five-person staff to an eight-person team, explained Hunt. But even with the 60 percent staff increase, they struggled to make a dent in the long
lines the birthday deal drew. “We should have had probably 10 people,” Hunt reflects. Hunt said she was only at the Uptown location till the afternoon, when crowds filled the tables but left the line somewhat manageable. But by 8:45 p.m., the line had snaked out the door and across the walkway, encroaching on the entrance to Chipotle Mexican Grill. Yet for the most part, eager ice cream seekers were willing to stick out the line. When asked why he was standing in the rain waiting to buy a scoop of ice cream, thirdyear student Joey Recchia had a very straightforward explanation: “Mitchell’s makes the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life.” Others were drawn in by the allure of simply participating in the celebration of Mitchell’s birthday, including fourth-year Anna Ashley. “I love celebrating birthdays, and who had been there for me more than anyone? Mitchell’s.” she said. “So I had to be a part of the birthday celebration.” As a general policy, Mitchell’s does not provide its sales information, but according to Mitchell’s spokeswoman Hailey Hanahan, the company sold over 16,000 single scoops across its 10 locations on
Oct. 6. Hanahan also described how the price of ice cream has increased from $1.65 a scoop to today’s $3.95, explaining that “in an effort to create a quality product, many of our ingredients are organic, fair trade and/or sourced from small Northeast Ohio farms.”
Despite the price, the rain and the lines, Mitchell’s remains incredibly popular, and as its 20th birthday fades to the past, it seems like the best option now is to just mark the calendar for Oct. 6, 2029 to see what they’ll come up with for the big 3-0.
Mitchell’s offered $1.65 scoops of ice cream in honor of their 20th anniversary. Courtesy of Claire Xu
USG survey shows student dissatisfaction with meal plan Editorial Board As a part of the everyday life of a student, the meal plan and overall dining hall experience often come up in conversation. Usually, the conversation is about the quality of the food, the price per swipe or the lack of chocolate milk that day. University Student Government (USG) tabled in Tinkham Veale University Center last week in efforts to poll students’ attitude toward the meal plan options. Specifically, they asked students how many meals they used a week, whether they would opt-out of the meal plan if possible and whether dietary restrictions ever caused them to miss meals. An overwhelming, 70.9 percent of the 489 students who voluntarily submitted answers to the survey, responded that they would opt-out of the meal plan. Over 43 percent of students reported missing meals because Bon Appetit did not satisfy necessary dietary restrictions. The comment sections were filled with critiques mostly concerning these polls, as well as the quality of the food, the price per meal swipe and an overall lack of dining options. USG conducted the survey with the intention of sitting down with the university administration and Bon Appetit to discuss students’ concerns with the meal plan and dining experience. An attempt to bring the student voice into conversations about the dining experience is admirable. Undoubtedly, preparing food for masses of university students is no easy feat. As such, there are far too many elements to the Case Western Reserve University dining experience; dining with dietary restrictions and the organization of the meal plan
will be primarily addressed. A few weeks ago, an opinion piece examined Leutner Commons’s failure to consider religious dietary restrictions. Many comments from the USG survey as well as students across campus have reiterated this remark as it applies to mild to severe food allergies, veganism/vegetarianism and medical conditions which dictate dietary limitations. This issue should be among the first to be brought up by USG on behalf of the students. Anxiety about mealtimes and possible behind-the-scenes contamination should not be among the stresses of a student on the mandatory $3,000 a semester meal plan. Often, there are relatively simple fixes to comfort those with dietary restrictions, such as separating peanut butter and jelly containers so as to not contaminate one with the other, or separating gluten salad toppings from those which are gluten-free. Additional fixes include using different utensils for each serving and having certain sections of the grill washed between uses for students apprehensive about contamination. Students with such restrictions often err on the side of caution further limiting their meal options each day, rather than asking questions of the server. Either the server will not know the answer, needing to leave their post to ask and frustrating other students in line, or they will be unable to guarantee there was no contamination. Students often suggest that many dishes can easily be made vegan, but the simple use of butter prohibits them from being able to eat the meal. Clear descriptions of meal options would further be a way to en-
sure students with dietary restrictions understand what exactly is in each meal and address the threat of any possible contamination. The other major objection to the dining hall experience is how CWRU has organized the meal plan system itself. That is, the available meals per week and the price. The preliminary survey found that many students do not use all of their meal swipes each week. Another USG program is hoping to address food insecurity by allowing students to donate unused swipes to other students each week. Such a program would limit wasted swipes and could help ensure students eat adequately through the week. Depending on the meal plan, the cost per swipe ranges from $12-17. However, what students often overlook in that price tag is that we are paying for not only food, but service. As we advocate for a modified meal plan to better our experience, we should be advocating for fair wages and benefits for all of the dining hall workers. A transparent price breakdown for each meal plan should be among the requests. As simple calculations will show, opting for a meal plan with fewer meals per week is not proportionally cheaper. The USG student initiative is a step in the right direction, toward a better, safer and more transparent dining hall experience. While there will never be a flawless system, students should not be concerned about eating at the dining halls with dietary restrictions, nor should we be paying what we do without a clear understanding of the prices.
Mathews: The privilege of HvZ Nailah Mathews Contributing Columnist Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) is a Case Western Reserve University tradition. So is being annoyed by the people that play it. Whether the disdain is general anticosplay curmudgeonly behavior or actual annoyance at students that seem on God’s chosen mission to make sure the Binary Walkway is a mosh pit at a Death Grips concert, HvZ probably has as many haters as it does loyal players. But some current Case Western Reserve University students and recent alumni, myself included, have recently stumbled on a new, dare I say, valid argument that Humans vs. Zombies is one of the many examples of white privilege operating on CWRU’s campus. “Nailah,” you might say, “people of color play HvZ! Aren’t you just picking something to be angry about? You don’t even go to this school anymore!” and you would absolutely be correct on all three counts. Let’s continue anyway. To get this out of the way early, HvZ is not an inherently racist game. It’s not an inherently bad game either. But, when looking at it through the wider social context of Cleveland, Ohio, and then from the socio-political vantage point of the entire United States, the game gets more uncomfortable to play. Let’s take a moment to imagine that 12-year old Tamir Rice was not shot and killed in Cleveland in November 2014 for doing something that CWRU HvZ players do with joyful abandon: playing with toy guns in public. Let’s also imagine a timeline wherein the fatal shooting of 21-year old Thomas Yatsko didn’t just occur in November of 2018 in what used to be Corner Alley, right on CWRU campus. To be frank, any CWRU student who doesn’t know that black men specifically die often from police inflicted gunshot wounds in Cleveland, is living quite happily in
the CWRU bubble, and also living intentionally outside of reality. To quote the current CWRU theater major who sparked this discussion, “It’s not great that people can play HvZ without having to think about how their actions would be responded to if they didn’t have the privilege they have ... that [behavior] is damning and insensitive to campus members more directly affected by these problems.” We don’t do the things that we do for no reason. In everything from the food we eat to the clothes we wear, to who we vote for, and how we respond to major life events, all of our reactions to the world and our actions in the world are influenced by context. That context is built by our physical environment, the people in it, the cultures we grow up in, the experiences we have and so on. Our personal contexts are connected with those of our families and of strangers, creating cultures of people with similar and dissimilar beliefs. Separate cultures can intermingle in larger societies, as society is built on a variety of personal contexts, and as we structure societal roles and rules based on our experiences and expectations based on those experiences. The things that we believe are influenced by the things people believed before us. It’s the responsibility of adults to recognize that what we do, and even the games that we play, occur within and affect the wider context of the many intersecting cultures surrounding us. This is especially true for students privileged enough to enroll in a private university in the middle of gentrified University Circle, where a young black man was shot and killed almost this time last year, barely a block away from the university bookstore.
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On its own, Humans vs. Zombies is just a fun game, but considered in the scope of the broader world, it’s less charming to watch a group of 20-somethings blithely get away with what black people are routinely shot in public for: offenses like playing with toys in public, and maybe being too rowdy at the wrong time. So how do we grapple with the collective privilege that created HvZ? Non-white students who play HvZ have to ask similar questions. If Tamir Rice was killed playing with a toy gun, and Thomas Yatsko died for being disorderly, who’s to say a student of color playing HvZ this year won’t be accosted? How do white students play the game knowing it makes an unconscious mockery of actual people who live on and by our campus who are just trying to survive daily in a culture that is actively trying to kill them? I don’t have the answers, but we are obligated to pose the questions and to wrestle with them until we as a culture find the answer. I’m not arguing that all gameplay should cease forever. And I won’t even mind if you keep playing HvZ, or if you start playing to spite me. You don’t have to ask your black friends if playing is okay if you’re white, or call me a snowflake screaming for attention by even raising the question. Human vs. Zombies is not a bad game, but it is an inherently privileged game. It has its fair share of cheaters and poor players who disrupt the peace by throwing elbows and shoving non-playing students, but it’s harmless. It’s even fun. But, when a group of predominantly white kids can shoot each other with Nerf guns while people of color in Cleveland are actually shot to death for going about their daily lives, the game gets harder to play.
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sports Club soccer goes for unbeaten season Henry Bendon Staff Reporter When Case Western Reserve University club soccer heads to Cincinnati this weekend, they will do so seeking a goal that seemed unlikely at the beginning of the season and near impossible when they joined the Midwest Alliance Soccer Conference (MASC) three years ago— they’ll be playing for an unbeaten season. Going into their 10th game, club soccer is 6-0-3 in a conference that includes heavyweights like The Ohio State University and does not include any other schools with undergraduate populations under 10,000 students. They’ll also be doing so shorthanded, since they lost starting striker and president Gareth May to a broken wrist early on in the season. Fourthyear attacking midfielder Alexander West, tasked to be May’s replacement, suffered a non-contact hamstring injury in CWRU’s 2-0 victory over Bowling Green State University (BGSU) that will see him sidelined for the final regular season game. Injuries aside, this year has been a serious success for the club soccer program. The team’s unbeaten record and position at the top of the
MASC Ohio table means they’ll be playing playoff soccer, which requires travelling to Westfield, Indiana on Oct. 26 and 27 to take on the other qualifiers in the Midwest regional. CWRU currently stands second in the power rankings for the Midwest region. The success of the team comes from a number of factors. Years of interest in the program has made club soccer one of the most consistently dominant forces in non-varsity athletics at CWRU, and this year, the team has a number of important pieces from across the student body. One of the newest developments is the rise of the team’s captain and coach, fourth-year Conan Cekola. In the past, Cekolah has served as a player coach, but this season has seen him take a step away from being a player and a step toward coaching. Against BGSU last week, he took the coaching side of his persona to a new level, dressing in a full suit like a Premier League manager and playing himself for no minutes. “We just have a bunch of great players and every game we try to get equal minutes,” said Cekola.
Club soccer faces heavyweights like The Ohio State University in their conference. Henry Bendon/The Observer His players are also appreciative of the changes his coaching presence has provided. “Conan’s got some really unique ideas,” said fourth-year Casey Intrator after the BGSU game. “At the end of the day, he’s got a great mind for soccer, and we really appreciate the tactics he’s brought.” Intrator is himself coming off of a
long series of injuries that have made this season his first full one in over seven years, and has cemented himself as a critical part of the team’s midfield. He’s very familiar with the devastating power of injuries to a player and a team, but this year he’s not worried. In fact, he says the team is just coming into form.
Volleyball bounces back with two wins Andrew Ford Staff Reporter After a streak of losses, the Case Western Reserve University volleyball team has found recent success, winning two of their last three matches. A few weeks ago, the Spartans came out on top against Oberlin College in a four-set game and followed that up with a win and a loss at the second UAA round-robin of the season. On Sept. 28, CWRU traveled to Oberlin for a non-conference tuneup. The Spartans took home the win in four sets. After a tough win in the first set 25-22, CWRU dropped the second, 19-25. However, they dominated the next set 25-13, then secured the
win in the last set 25-23. Two fourth-year starters led the way offensively. Middle hitter Haley Sims and outside hitter Brianna Lemon combined for 31 of 48 kills. Defensively, four Spartans had at least 10 digs, led by third-year libero Jana Giaquinto. First-year setter Sara Rogers added a team-high 23 assists. The following weekend, the Spartans played in Atlanta at Emory University. Their first match was against Brandeis University, and they won in five sets. Lemon contributed 18 kills in this match and third-year middle hitter Katie Kaminski recorded 19. Giaquinto had a fantastic game, notching 36 digs to pace the defense.
The Spartans held Brandeis to a lowly .100 kill percentage. CWRU ended the weekend against No. 14 Carnegie Mellon University. Despite putting up a solid fight, they ultimately lost in five sets. The Spartans won two of the first three sets before losing the fourth 11-25. Carnegie Mellon won the final set 15-10. Kaminski, Lemon, Sims and fourthyear outside hitter Karley King all had good outings on offense, but it was still definitely a struggle for the Spartans. CWRU only had 39 total kills, while Carnegie Mellon had 62. “We continue to tweak the lineup and are working to develop players in numerous areas who can help stabilize
our defense and serve receive and also boost our offense by a few kills per set,” said Head Coach Karen Farrell. As for the rest of the season, Farrell is prepping her team for the final UAA round-robin, as well as the conference tournament at the end of the season. The team’s Senior Day festivities is just as important and is taking place on Nov. 2.
VARSITY WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL vs. Hiram October 16, 2019 @ 7:00 PM at Hiram College
Varsity soccer falls to NYU David Chang Staff Reporter Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams played against New York University teams, with the women’s team losing their first game of the season 1-0 in double overtime and the men’s team losing 3-0 in their opening UAA games. In the women’s game, the Spartans crucial chance to score came off of a free kick at the end of regulation. Second-year Anika Washburn took a shot that was deflected by the goalie, and then first-year Johanna Dunkers attempted to knock the rebound in, but was blocked by an opposing defender. Fourth-year goalkeeper Lauren Unterborn was the defensive anchor for the entire game, saving a shot in the first minute of the game, then blocking two
consecutive shots from corner kicks at the end of the first half. Unterborn had five saves for the game. Unfortunately, a defensive penalty in the box was called, and NYU scored off the free kick to end the game. The Spartans were even with the Violets on offense, taking 11 shots to the Violet’s 13. Fourth-year Kimberly Chen led the team with three shots. The men’s team had a rocky start against NYU, as the Violets managed to score a long 35 yard shot, going over first-year keeper Jackson Kallen’s head. Third-year Connor Weber and fourth-year Garrett Winter both took open shots at goal, but, unfortunately, their shots were saved by the oppos-
ing goalie. At the end of the first half, NYU managed to sneak a flat left drive to score a free kick. Unfazed by the 2-0 deficit, the Spartans came out strong in the second half, setting up many corners by Weber for a chance to score, but many headers and shots were saved by the opposing keeper. From a saved header by third-year Nathan Ekberg, the Violets broke away and advanced the ball rapidly downfield for the last goal of the game, catching the Spartan defense off guard. Despite the loss, the Spartans still led in shots attempted, 16-9, and corner kicks, 8-2. Both teams look to bounce back. The women’s team will travel to Pittsburgh to play at Chatham University
this Tuesday, and the men’s team will play Brandeis University in Oberlin, Ohio for their second UAA conference game.
VARSITY WOMENS’ SOCCER vs. Brandeis October 12, 2019 @ 11:00 AM at Oberlin College
VARSITY MENS’ SOCCER vs. Brandeis October 12, 2019 @ 1:30 PM at Oberlin College