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TO HONOR H I S BROT H ER , A&M SEN IOR CHR I S MOL A K’ S F IGH T TO END CY BER BUL LY I NG pg. 32 Is Safe Sex Hetero? +ALSO:

pg. 46

/ UT Poet Nancy Huang’s Modern Ancestry

pg. 30

/ UMN’s Abeer Syedah Reflects on Selfies

P S U ’s S t u d e n t S e x Wo r k e r O u t r e a c h P r o j e c t E m b r a c e s R e a l i t y

pg. 22 pg. 18

PAUL HOLSTON

The principled newcomer that journalism needs PG. 34

AUST I N | FEBRUA RY 2017 | ST UDY BR E A K S.COM


ouR NEw Seasonal MENu

SERVED Spiced wiTh

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The Domain 11410 Century Oaks Terrace Austin, TX 78758 512-835-5900 • www.konagrill.com


O F

february

T A B L E C O N T E N T S

DAVID’S L AW PAGE 28 To honor his brother ’s life, Chris Molak is fighting to pass controversial anti-bullying legislation

STUDYBREAKS.COM

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T HE TA B L E OF C ON T E N T S F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 • S T U DY B R E A K S . C O M

WHAT’S YOUR MAJOR? PAGE 22 Cannabis Cultivation,

ONLINE THIS MONTH PAGE 8

COVER SPOTLIGHT

a major at Oaksterdam University, offers room for growth

PA U L H O L S T O N

By A lec C ud more

Photography by Kevin Jijon-Gochez

GROUP WORK PAGE 14

THE MEAL PL A N

At James Madison. the

PAGE 24

Parrotheadz channel their

When chocolate’s in the oven,

inner Jimmy Buffet

love is in the air

By Michel le Cr iqu i

By Ter r y Ng uyen

OFFICE HOURS PAGE 16 Christopher Taylor, creator of the Hyperpiano, discusses the merits of his new instrument By Joseph i ne Wer n i

STUDENT EXHIBITION

THE INTERVIEW PAGE 34 Editor of Howard’s student

PAGE 10

newspaper, Paul Holston

The poetry of UT student

is holding journalism

Nancy J. Huang explores the

accountable

poet’s sexuality and heritatage

By Kev i n C ordon

through mythmaking By Aliyah Thomas

UNIVERSIT Y REPORT

EXTR A CREDIT

PAGE 18

Sonny Khan, an award-

PAGE 46

The biggest news from

winning volunteer at

colleges across the country

Michigan University,

By A a ron Ly nch

ref lects on motivation By L i nd sey Dav i s

STUDENT ISSUES

#COLLEGEHACKS

PAGE 20

PAGE 26

Safe sex should be for

For Valentine’s Day, use

PAGE 48

all students, not just

these #DateHacks to

The University of

heterosexual ones

woo boo on a dime

Minnesota’s Abeer Syedah

By Da n iel C. W i lc ox

By Crissonna Tennison

opens up about selfies

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MEET THE PRESIDENT


“people do things to make money, and sometimes they exchange sexual services”

S E X E D U CAT I O N PG. 40

Portland State University’s Student Sex Worker Outreach Project is normalizing sex work by providing students with a much-needed safe space By Bri Griffith, Carlow University

STUDYBREAKS.COM

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CONTRIBUTORS

student writers Study Breaks is written exclusively by a team of student interns from across the country. These writers work with the editorial team to pitch and submit one piece a week for the website, in addition to writing for the monthly print magazine.

JOSEPHINE WER NI

LINDSEY DAVIS

DA NIEL WILCOX

@jcwerni

Iowa State University

UTSA

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

English & Journalism

Psychology

English

Extra Credit

College Issues & David’s Law

Office Hours

PAGE 46

PAGE 20 & 28

MICHELLE CR IQUI

TER RY NGU Y EN

ALEC CUDMOR E

@michellecriqui

@nguyenterry

@acudi33

James Madison University

USC

St. Edward’s University

English

Journalism & Political Science

English Writing & Rhetoric

Group Work

The Meal Plan

What’s Your Major?

PAGE 14

PAGE 24

PAGE 22

ALI YAH THOMAS

A ARON LY NCH

CR ISSONNA TENNISON

@aliyahthomas

Front Range Community College

@cjtennison

Mount Saint Mary College

Journalism

UCLA

English

Around Campus

English Literature

Student Exhibition

PAGE 18

#CollegeHacks

PAGE 16

Summer internships run from May 28th to September 28th, and applications close May 14th. If interested, email editorial@ studybreaks.com with “Student Writing Internship” in the Subject. Introduce yourself in the body, making sure to include your name, school and major. Please attach at least two samples of your work. Ideal writers are intelligent, funny and talented, though no formal experience is necessary.

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about

study breaks K EVIN COR DON

BR I GR IFFITH

THEA ROBINSON

@kevscordon

@brigriffith

@dorothealouise_

UC Irvine

Carlow University

University of Texas at Austin

Literary Journalism

Creative Writing

Radio-Television-Film

The Interview with Paul Holston

Sex Education

Student Exhibition Photography

PAGE 34

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VINCENT GONZ ALEZ

RUI ZHONG

K EVIN JIJON-GOCHEZ

@vinceoftexas

University of Michigan

@KGochez

San Antonio College

Business

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Paul Holston Photography

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K ATIE SCHEIDT @kscheidtphoto UW Madison Journalism Office Hours Photography PAGE 16

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FOUNDER: GAL SHWEIKI ART DIRECTOR: IAN FRIEDEL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: MARK STENBERG DIGITAL EDITOR: SHANNON HERLIHY SALES: GIL PETERS, AMANDA PATRICK GRAPHIC DESIGNER: BRYAN RAYNES MARKETING: RALPH CHAPLIN ACCOUNTING: ELONDA RUSS DISTRIBUTION MANAGER: MARCUS FLORES DISTRIBUTION: FRANK HARTFIELD, JOSE ESPINOZA, ERNEST WARD PRODUCTION: SHWEIKI MEDIA Study Breaks magazine is published twelve times per year by Shweiki Media, Inc. copyright 2012. All rights reserved. This magazine may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented without written permission from the publisher. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents of this magazine or of the trademarks of Study Breaks Magazine, Inc., without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. The publisher assumes no responsibility for care and return of unsolicited materials. Return postage must accompany material if it is to be returned. In no event shall such material subject this magazine to any claim for holding fees or similar charges. Study Breaks Magazine is an entertainment magazine for the students of San Antonio, San Marcos, Austin and Lubbock, published 12 times a year. CORPORATE OFFICE: STUDY BREAKS MAGAZINE INC., 4954 SPACE CENTER DR., SAN ANTONIO, TX 78218 • CONTACT STUDY BREAKS: EDITORIAL: MARK STENBERG, 210-705-3284 EDITORIAL@STUDYBREAKS.COM • STUDY BREAKS MAGAZINE IS EXCITED TO HELP YOUR BRAND REACH OUR AUDIENCE THROUGH VIDEO AND WRITTEN CONTENT. SALES: RALPH CHAPLIN, 210-892-0951 | CONTACT@STUDYBREAKS.COM

WHO Study Breaks is written and photographed exclusively by college students from across the country. The website is an online forum for writers to talk about everything from specific, college-related issues like campus carry and trigger warnings, to pop pieces like album reviews and op-eds about Donald Trump. HOW In addition to the website, Study Breaks is also a print magazine circulated on twelve campuses in four cities throughout Texas. While still produced entirely by students, the magazine focuses more on features, interviews and profiles rather than opinion pieces. Though published in Texas, the content still centers around the national college experience. WHY Study Breaks was born out of a desire to provide talented student writers with a medium to publish their work, but has since expanded its goal to empowering college students of all backgrounds. Whether it’s by publishing their writing and photography, or by providing them with exposure in interviews and features, Study Breaks is designed to highlight remarkable students across the country.

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A NOTE FROM THE EDI TOR

starting from stratch On the heels of what many consider to be the worst year in recent memory, all three of our features this month are a testament to finding the good in a bad situation. ¶ Chris Molak, a senior at Texas A&M and brother to David Molak, the San Antonio high school student who took his life after being relentlessly cyberbullied, has worked tirelessly over the last year to turn his family’s tragedy into a legacy that will honor his brother (pg. 28). Pushing to legalize a bill that fights cyberbullying, aptly titled “David’s Law,” Chris and his family have grieved and wept, and now they are taking action. Though no legislation will bring back their brother and son, the Molaks can take solace in knowing that his sacrifice will save countless others. ¶ In addition to its share of personal tragedy, last year also played host to the widespread mistreatment of the African American community, as instances of police brutality, discrimination and hate crimes severely strained race relations in the country. UC Irvine student Kevin Cordon talked with Paul Holston (pg. 34), the Editor in Chief of Howard University’s student newspaper, “The Hilltop,” about the events of 2016, as well as the election of President Trump and the resurgence of student activism. Holston, who has served several tours of duty with the United States Army, and who now helms one of the most prestigious student newspapers in the country, has managed to find reasons for optimism in the new year. ¶ Finally, Carlow University student Bri Griffith profiles a remarkable program offered at Portland State University (pg. 40). A health and resource center designed to keep student sex workers safe, PSU’s Sex Worker Outreach Project helps normalize sex work, a field that more and more students are turning to in order to afford their tuition, though one that is fraught with psychological and physical danger. The PSU program is evidence that in the face of stigma and misunderstanding, empathy is the strongest weapon. ¶ So, as you embrace the year to come, look to these students’ examples of how to turn challenges into opportunities and burdens into blessings.

O

MARK STENBERG EDITOR IN CHIEF @MarkStenberg3

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STUDYBREAKS.COM

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ONE-LINERS

FROM THE VAULTS

“Although last time I was in the stylist’s chair, she did tell me I was thinning on top. Maybe I should think about a hat. And a fedora’s not a terrible accessory. Hell, Indiana Jones wore one.’ Daniel Wilcox, UTSA Am I a Neckbeard? A Critical Analysis “I won’t lie to you: I first began considering the issue when I hardcore binged “Criminal Minds” over the holiday break.” Riley Heruska, Austin College 6 Simple Ways College Girls Can Stay Safer “Suddenly, the mental image of scads of craftbeer-wielding young’uns cramming into Portland

cocktailf low.com

The Greatest Sports Chokes of 2016 Written by UC Irvine student Kevin Cordon (see pg. 34), the California native had some skin in the game, as the article came on the heels of Golden State’s historic whiff. Though Cordon considers multiple other chokes, and ultimately concludes that Messi and the Argentinian National team were the biggest letdown, I think we all know the real answer.

didn’t just seem eye-rollingly conformist, but downright foolish.” Crissonna Tennison, UCLA The Homebuyer’s Guide to Potentially Apocalyptic Natural Disasters “On the bright side, college can be a lot simpler when your parents literally don’t know the meancasadiablo.com

SPOTLIGHT

ing of the word ‘failure.’” Maria Alvarado, SCAD How Having Non-English-Speaking Parents

What I Learned Visiting Portland’s Most Notorious Strip Clubs The internet can be hard to predict, but the popularity of what seemed like a relatively niche article by PSU student Olivia Wickstrom was downright baffling; nonetheless, the article’s traffic skyrocketed and set a new record for the website. Among its pearls of wisdom, Wickstrom describes Casa Diablo, the country’s first vegan strip club, and apparently one of its raunchiest.

Affects the College Experience “Miss me with all of that ‘holier-than-thou’ bullshit.” Aliyah Thomas, Mount Saint Mary College Maisie Williams’ Facebook Hack: Putting Nude Photo Leaks into Perspective

FOUR WOMEN WHO MADE HISTORY IN 2016

metrotimes.com

By Bri Grif fith, Carlow Universit y

Simone Manuel

Ibtihaj Muhammad

Tammy Duckworth

Hillary Clinton

ONLINE CLASSES This month on the website, learn how to: Spot covert racism // Come to terms with your bisexuality // Agree that acting is dead // Lose weight without tapeworms // Not kill your pets // Get high safely // Appreciate porn // Make $10,000 in a day // Raise a service dog in your dorm // Take a shot that will save your life

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STUDYBREAKS.COM

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STUDENT EXHIBITION

NANCY J. HUANG By Aliyah Thomas, Mount Saint Mar y College Photography by Thea Robinson, Universit y of Texas at Austin

Although born in America, writer NANCY J. HUANG’S roots bind her to her Chinese heritage, which continues to influence her perception of the world, as well as her creative work. ¶ Huang has had her work—prose, poetry and journalism—published in various online and print magazines, but even amidst the success and recognition she’s found, she undergoes the same stress and strain that all writers do. She spoke to “Study Breaks” about her early beginnings, her writing method and where she draws her influence.

ALIYAH THOMAS: How did you get into writing? NANCY J. HUANG: When I was younger, I would read pic ture books, memorize them and recite them to my parents on long car rides. My grandfather, who really loves literature, made me read ever ything, and he kept buying me books, which he still does. I got into writing in third grade. They had these class awards and I got an award for “Best Writer.” My grandparents framed it and it ’s still hanging up in their apar tment. That award sor t of just star ted ever y thing else. AT: I’m a writer as well, so it ’s great to be able to speak with someone who understands the same sor t of level I operate on. I prefer prose when writing creatively,

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but do you have any inclination toward prose or poetr y? NJH: I like both for dif ferent purposes. I think that when it takes me a long time to process something—like years and years to process something—I usually use prose as a tool of unpacking it all. Poetr y is just as emotionally indepth, though. I can see something I’m angr y about online and then write a poem about it, revise it, read it out loud and revise it again in a shor ter time span. So, I think poetr y is more immediate for me, and I can’t do that with prose. I have to be able to stew over things and take up a lot of time thinking and feeling things. I don’t know if I prefer one over the other, but there was a time when I


preferred poetr y over prose, and now I love them both equally. They’re like my t wo children.

a general sense, and this can be poetr y or prose, what are some of your favorite pieces you’ve

published in Bodega Magazine, titled “Circadian Rhy thm.” I wrote that over a period of three months

Circadian Rhythm Your jaw is a beam of rotting wood/ It is where sadness starts The mouth carries apple-cradled jewels/ & a heat-dipped horizon, First Child clipping crimson out of the sky/ So the birds miss their own singing The boy on the corner is pretzel-throated/ Shows you alcohol under a microscope While First Child carries jade circle death in her pocket/ Weaves ribbon into soft lungs Someone painted whiteout on your eye/ & it quieted you Locked, an eggshell jaw/ Where screams start

AT: I expec ted an answer like that, especially when you’re asked to choose bet ween t wo mediums that you love and use so of ten. Just in STUDYBREAKS.COM

writ ten? NJH: It ’s really hard not to be critical of my own stuf f, but I ac tually really liked a poem I wrote, which got

and it ’s only seven lines—seven lines of imager y, but they’re all super condensed and it ’s ver y restrained. I think it took a lot of emo-

tion and thinking to get to the final produc t, and I really like how it turned out. AT: Who are some of the writers that influence you? NJH: The answer to this question always changes. This month, I’ve been reading a lot of Asian poets, which has been incredible. Ocean Vuong and Franny Choi are like my poetr y soulmates. I finished a poem by Li-Young Lee— she was recommended to me by a friend—and I’m still working through most of his poetr y, but I love his stuf f. For prose, I love Jeffer y Eugenides and Donna Tar t t, so it ’s a good mix ture of new and old. AT: How would you describe your writing st yle? Is it af fec ted by any thing you’ve read? NJH: Ver y sparse. Strong narratives, but weak structures. I’ve always had a problem with struc ture. Second to language, it ’s the thing I tr y to pay the most at tention to, because I know I have a problem with it. When I’m writing any thing, language is always a priorit y. I’m still at that phase where I don’t really know my own voice, you

know? But I like where I’m at right now—it makes me more willing to experiment with dif ferent things. It has its downsides though, like I can’t really answer this question! AT: I feel the same way. I think ever yone has a hard time with that question. What about your writing process? Could you take me through that? NJH: It varies a lot. Sometimes it ’s just rambling or a stream of consciousness. Sometimes when I feel experimental, I tr y to limit myself to fun exercises. For any piece, I tr y to star t with the emotion or images that represent the core of the piece, and then I get down to all the technical stuf f. For prose, I always write an outline, like an essay outline because prose is more struc tured and timed that way—beginning, middle, end. For poetr y, I dive into it and star t free writing or put a handful of words I know I want on paper and star t making connec tions. Those are ver y sur face-level things, but af ter that I spend most of my time revising stuf f. AT: When the FEBRUARY 2017 //

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writing process gets dif ficult, like going through a spell of writer’s block, how do you get through that? NJH: I get up and stretch, go out and take a walk or get something to eat. Reading definitely helps! Whenever I read something good, I always feel like I want to write something. It ’s good to have my favorite books with me, or some links to really good poetr y. I think writer’s

block is just a lack of momentum, and ever ything I do is an energizing tac tic. AT: Tell me about growing up in America and China, respec tively, and how those experiences influence you. NJH: I moved to China in four th grade and I lived there for three years. China really brought for th this cer taint y of who I am and my relation to ever yone else in the world. Now that I have that contex t,

The Ballad of Lily Magnolia AFTER HUA MULAN

My ancestors are buried in our backyard and my mother says it is comforting to have them all in one place, but it is more of a burden to me. I am a girl with bones made for war, but my mother dreams only of a horizon-future. She, too, has nails of steel and a skeleton wrought of iron. For us honor is quiet. Is obey. Is thank you. Women eat their own tongues every day. We are left with full stomachs, empty mouths. Smoke rises from China’s mountains, black like oil and dragon and want. It is a warning, clanging steel and red snow on the ground. My grandmother told me, Flower, this world will kill you unless you are ruthless. She said, your ancestors are woven in your clothes. She said, you are never alone, even when you are someone else. I do not look too hard at my father and he does not look too hard at me. His old armor fits. This is his approval. Lily magnolia, the earth screams. Flower. Their graves say keep close to us. This is your world now.

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I can write about things more deeply too, and explore things more in-depth. When I moved back to America, I faced a really bad phase of culture shock: I missed all of my friends; I missed the special bond we’d had from being an international student in a foreign countr y; I just missed a lot of things. I star ted writing about it and… it ended up one of t wo ways: It was either ver y emotionally draining or it ’d be healing—it was just a mix-up of those t wo ex tremes. I lost so much of myself, but I also discovered a lot of who I am, too.


Dear Monogamy My favorite part of the birthday cake is licking icing off my finger. i remember when we first met it was a little like swiping the rose off my cake. chugging a bowl of ice cream. everything about you but wrapped in sugar. you’re the reason i never eat chocolate. i remember once i wore gumdrops in my hair like a crown. i must have been very young. i don’t normally remember stuff like this, candy folded into batter. i love that story about those two kids and the witch’s gingerbread house: i always pictured it raining. sweet icicles melting down. soggy gingerbread foaming into bubbly brown lumps. rainbow sprinkle puddles. peppermint storm cloud. i’m not really that hungry anymore but i’ll have a second helping. you were always my second helping: i only liked your voice when i felt i could taste it. in your mouth, rain and sugar. everything about you felt a little like guilt. ​

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STUDENT GROUPSHOWCASE WORK

What Would Jimmy Buffet Do? For the Parrotheadz of James Madison University, channeling the iconic musician’s laidback vibe is the key to happiness. Text and photography by Michelle Criqui, James Madison University ccording to island-inspired, gulf and country musician Jimmy Buffett, it’s always five o’clock in Margaritaville. But for members of the JMU Parrotheadz, the line takes on a whole new meaning—representing a lifestyle that’s as carefree as a day spent sunbathing on the beach. The student organization, which created its name as a spin on Buffett’s existing “Parrotheads” fanbase, was founded in 2014 with just a few initial members. The group has since grown to about 50, with word of the fun-loving organization spreading quickly across campus. “You don’t need to know a single Jimmy Buffett lyric to join this club,” Ellie Sparagno, a sophomore Communications major and the club’s secretary, says. “We’ll teach you. You’ll end up loving it. It’s a lifestyle. It’s about [Buffett’s] mentality; it’s about how he lives, and we want to embrace that and celebrate it. We want to be like him. People are really attracted to that, I think. It’s been huge.” The main philosophy of the organization is that when you come to a meeting, all worries are left at the door. The Parrotheadz strive to foster a welcoming atmosphere for any prospective member, complete with the soothing sway of tropical music playing in the background. During meetings, members simply hang out and talk about what’s going on in their lives, forming friendships based on mutual support and respect. “We all love each other; we’re all very supportive of each other,” Sparagno says. “It’s a very stress-free environment, and that’s what I like about it.” Along with regular meetings and hangouts around campus, the club gets together several times a semester for social outings such as roller skating, visiting the local pumpkin patch and going out for ice cream. In the spring of 2016, the Parrotheadz were even able to take a road trip out to Virginia Beach to see Jimmy Buffett himself in concert. “Everyone was just there to have fun and hang out,” Drew Holt, a sophomore Marketing major and the club’s vice president, says. “It felt like we were hanging out with Jimmy, honestly. He came up there, and he was just talking to the whole audience and just letting the atmosphere speak for itself. Everyone knew why

A

they were there: To lay back and hang out with each other while we were listening to some Jimmy Buffett.” While Sparagno noted that their group probably lowered the average age of Buffett’s typical audience, she emphasized that everyone at the concert was welcoming and carried with them those same positive, chilled-out vibes that the Parrotheadz aimed to emulate. Now, with an entirely new organizational structure spearheaded by club president and senior Accounting major Morgan Barnes, the ever-expanding club plans on getting as many of its members as possible to Buffett’s performances each year. Through collaborative fundraising efforts, including grilled cheese sales on campus, members have worked diligently to make this end-of-the-year goal a reality. The Parrotheadz also aim to give back to the community as much as possible. Inspired by the nonprofit Buffett founded in 1981 called Save the Manatee Club, members donated enough money in its first year to adopt a manatee named Howie from the Blue Springs State Park in Orange County, Fla. “He has one little fin,” Barnes says. “He has some issues, but that’s one of the reasons that we really liked him.” At the end of their second year, the Parrotheadz adopted a second manatee named Margarita, and hope to continue their philanthropy in the future. As the group continues to grow and invite in students from all walks of life, Barnes, Holt and Sparagno plan to expand their social media presence, and maybe even reach out to Buffett himself for a meet-up. In the meantime, the Parrotheadz persist in promoting a stress-free lifestyle that can be difficult to maintain while surrounded by the chaos of college life. But through boundless support and encouragement, the club sets its sights on blue skies and calming ocean waves. As Jimmy Buffet says, “If life gives you limes, make margaritas.”

THE STUDY BREAKS DOSSIER GROUP NAME: Parrotheadz SCHOOL: James Madison Universit y PRESIDENT: Morgan Barnes NO. OF MEMBERS: 50 FOUNDED: 2014 MEETINGS: Along with weekly meetings, the club gets together for social outings such as roller skating, going out for ice cream and visiting a pumpkin patch. They also go on beach trips and travel to see Jimmy Buf fet t in concer t. WHY JOIN? If you’re a fan of Jimmy Buf fet t’s famous “tropical lifest yle” and are looking for a welcoming, suppor tive environment, the JMU Parrotheadz is the place for you.

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LEARN MORE: Search “Double Manual Piano Documentary” on YouTube

OFFICE HOURS

The Man Who Invented the Hyperpiano

What aspects of the Steinway piano did you want to improve with the Hyperpiano? Well, because it’s got a different mechanism than a typical grand piano, it feels strange under the fingers. That mechanism is very complicated—it’s quite heavy and bulky. As a pianist, you can feel the difference since you’re pushing a lot of extra weight around. I wanted to improve on that and create something that feels more like a normal instrument. Ultimately, what I came up with was a system that takes advantage of modern electronics and actually allows you to play via remote control systems.

After discovering a century-old Steinway with a double keyboard, UW Madison professor Christopher Taylor modernized the instrument and unveiled it to the world. By Josephine Werni, University of Minnesota Photography by Katie Scheidt, UW Madison

O

n October 28, 2016, University of Wisconsin Music professor Christopher Taylor debuted his new invention, an instrument called the Hyperpiano. ¶ Handcrafted by Taylor himself at the Morgridge Institute Fabrication Lab, the Hyperpiano consists of two concert grands and an electronic double-keyboard console that controls both instruments. The Hyperpiano expands musical boundaries with its exquisite stereophonic sound. What was the inspiration for this projec t? So, I firs t came to UW in 2000. At the time, I had no idea that the universit y ac tually owns an ins trument that was built by Steinway in the 1920s—the only ins trument they ever built that has a double keyboard. Sometime around 2005-

06, I became aware of the ins trument ’s exis tence and was really intrigued by it. I s tudied it, per formed on it quite a bit and ultimately got to know it pret t y well. However, there were cer tain aspec t s of the ins trument that I wasn’t satis fied with, and I wanted to find a way to improve them.

How did you construct it? The majority of the manufacturing took place at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, down in the Morgridge Institute Fabrication Laboratory. That building in general is a fabulous resource for any members of the community who have an interesting idea for something to build. They build mostly medical equipment over there. Fortunately, they were very open-minded about having a musician come in and spend very many hours there, learning to use all the machinery. I had to pick up a lot of new skills that I never imagined I’d learn. In addition to music, you’ve also got a background in mathematics and computer science—did this play a big role in the inspiration for this project and your ability to execute it? Indeed. My undergraduate degree was in mathematics, and for many years when I was

young, I kind of sat on the fence about what I was going to do with my career. I’ve always maintained a pretty diverse array of interests, so this project ended up being a logical continuation of that pattern. I was able to take advantage of the various skills I’ve cultivated over the years, particularly computer programming, which has been my main hobby for a long time. In the future, do you think that there will be music composed specifically for the Hyperpiano’s capabilities? Yeah, that’s my ambition. I’ve been in conversation with a few composers about it. Hopefully, in the next few years, I’ll have some new pieces that I can perform on it. Other than creating music for it, do you have any other plans for the Hyperpiano in the future, or possibly for an entirely new projec t altogether? I mean, there are still technical aspects of it that need refinement, and it’s going to be a long process to perfect it. But, I’ve invested a lot in it and I’m going to keep working on it and get it the best it can possibly be. I’m still learning all the time about different ways to make it work. I do hope to take it around the country like I did with the old instrument. As for a new project, it will definitely be a couple of years before I subject myself to that. I’m sure I’ll eventually get the itch to do something else—check back in five years and I’ll probably have something cooking.

THE C.V. NAME: Christopher Taylor SCHOOL: Universit y of Wisconsin Madison TEACHES: Individual student lessons and occasionally seminars on subjec ts like Piano Literature AWARDS: Gilmore Young Ar tists’ Award, Aver y Fischer Career Grant and the Classical Fellowship of the American Pianists Association

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UNIVERSITY REPORT

Around Campus The biggest news from colleges across the country. By Aaron Lynch, Front Range Community College

THE SPOTLIGHT: RICHARD SPENCER SPEAKS AT A&M ichard Spencer, founder of the “alt-right” political movement, had arranged to speak at Texas A&M, his alma mater. Spencer has become infamous for his racist ideology and Nazi-esque speeches, but instead of canceling the event and violating Spencer’s first amendment rights, the university administration organized a counter-event intended to conf lict with his speech and give students a chance to express solidarity. A crowd of 400 attended Spencer’s speech, the majority of whom were there in protest. Outside the banquet hall however, thousands of protestors made their presence on campus known, and Spencer reportedly seemed “unhinged” by hecklers at different points throughout his speech.

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SENTENCE OF THE MONTH

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE Domo Arigato, Mr. Obama In one of his final ac ts of diplomacy, President Barack Obama sent a surprise gif t to the mayor of Nagasaki: Two origami cranes folded by the president himself. In Eastern cultures, the crane is thought to represent happiness and longevit y, signif ying the intentions of peace bet ween the U.S. and Japan. Correc ting Correc tional Facilities The Davidson Count y Jail, currently under construction in downtown Nashville, will feature a first-of-itskind behavioral health facilit y for mentally ill arrestees who’ve committed misdemeanors. Around 30 percent of their current inmate population suf fers from some form of mental illness, and the 64-room treatment center represents a commitment to rehabilitating inmates, instead of simply punishing them.

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THE BUZZ Malaria Waning A new, GMO-based malaria vaccine passed a critical human-safety milestone, preventing infections and showing no side effects in ten out of ten test subjects. The Purina Stuff Kitty litter falsely

tested positive as methamphetamine and landed a man in jail for three days, raising questions about the quality of field tests issued to police. Flu Time UT and Columbia researchers predict this year’s flu vaccine

will only be 36 percent effective, down 23 percent from last years’ vaccine. Bad Signal A senior police leader in the UK suggested that cyber criminals be fitted with wifi signal jammers as punishment instead of traditional jail.

“Some Republicans are suggesting that they might repeal Obamacare, but not have the repeal take effect until after the next election. That way, they get the credit of repealing Obamacare, right now, without actually having to solve the problem.” TREVOR NOAH, host of “The Daily Show”

MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS TOXIC COLLEGES The Environmental Protection Agency has fined Baylor, Texas A&M and TCU for violations of proper hazardous waste disposal /// GENDER BLUNDER Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick introduced a controversial “bathroom bill,” requiring that all persons identify with their birth certificate when using the restroom /// SANCTUARY NOW Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to defund any state university that declared itself an immigrant “sanctuary campus” /// BOBCAT IMMIGRATION The Texas State University Student Government drafted legislation to bring an immigration attorney to campus /// ROCKET WOMAN Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space, is slated to give the commencement speech for the Rice Class of 2017 /// ANTI-VACCERS ENDANGER STATE Parents opting out of vaccines are fueling a resurgence of measles, as researchers at Baylor warn that Texas is just one state on the verge of outbreak

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STUDENT ISSUES

Not Just for Pregnancy As Valentine’s Day approaches, it might be time to reevaluate the heteronormativity of many colleges’ safe sex initiatives. By Daniel Wilcox, University of Texas at San Antonio hen February rolls around, you can count on two things: The Super Bowl, and a preponderance of reminders that Valentine’s Day is looming. On college campuses, the latter often manifests itself in the form of safe sex PSA’s and education initiatives. You’ll see a multitude of tents and tables in the quad, with student health groups and Greek organizations handing out free condoms and pamphlets about safe sex practices. For most of us (or for me, at least), these endeavors are utterly futile. My current romantic situation means that handing me a condom is akin to handing a dog a set of car keys—we’ll both find use for them, but not the intended one. That’s not to say that safe sex education is a total waste. Any effort put toward limiting the incidence of STI’s and unplanned pregnancy is noble. But it isn’t until I walk past a poster inviting students to my school’s Thursday afternoon LGBTQ Club meeting that it hits me: There is a select demographic on college campuses that might not be benefitting from some of this safe sex rhetoric. Let’s consider this for a moment. Is unplanned pregnancy a pressing issue that gay and lesbian students are concerned with? For students who identify as bisexual, perhaps. However, for those who pursue romantic relationships strictly with members of the same sex, information about Plan B One-Step is only marginally pertinent. What I want to know is whether the safe sex information passed onto heterosexual students is applicable to students who identify as queer. The ignorant part of me argues that yes, safe sex is safe sex, and STI’s are non-discriminatory. I have to be honest, though. As a male who only sleeps with women—as rare an occurrence as that may be—I don’t feel wholly qualified to speak on this subject. So I did what someone in my position should do: I consulted people who are part of the community. Connor Sparrow splits his time between Texas Tech University and Northwest Vista College. I asked Sparrow if he felt that being homosexual made him feel any more susceptible to contracting an STI. “[STI’s] don’t care what the orientation is of the person they’re infecting,” he says. “They’re bacteria and viruses with codes to infect and spread. They affect everyone equally. The idea that STI’s are partial to infecting a certain group of people, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual, is completely absurd and apocalyptically ignorant.”

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Fair assessment. Still, I can’t help feeling that the neglect queer students face regarding safe sex education might be to their detriment. The CDC reported in 2015 that 83 percent of reported syphilis cases among college students affect men who have sex with men. What Sparrow said is true; STI’s don’t target people based on sexual orientation. But the alarming incidence of syphilis in gay males points to the absence of informational resources for queer students. It’s not just homosexual males that are at risk. The disparit y in focus extends twofold to lesbian relationships. “Nobody talks about safe sex between females,” says Oliv ia Wickstrom, who studies at Por tland State Universit y. “Women were most likely taught in a high school sex-ed class that bir th control and male condoms were what would protect them. They were never told about options for if/when they’d sleep w ith another woman. “I think lesbian students are the ones that are really affected. Everybody knows about male condoms; they’re easy to find and they’re widely advertised. But not many people discuss female condoms.” How could we miss something as crucial as female condoms? The emphasis on male protection is likely informed by archaic perspectives on gender (a discussion for another time), but immediately you can see how gay women would feel particularly excluded in discussions about safe sex. Inclusion should be the goal here. While there’s no difference in biology between people of varying orientations, it doesn’t mean that we all approach sex in precisely the same manner. The noteworthy challenges that non-heterosexual students face deserve to be addressed, because as it stands right now, safe sex education inherently makes queer students feel as helpless as a vegan at a barbeque. If college campuses are truly intent on their goal of reducing STI’s among their students, then a tweak to the current agenda is needed. This Valentine’s Day, let’s remember that there’s more to worry about than a positive pregnancy test. Photography by shutterstock


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WHAT’S YOUR MAJOR?

ou can now legally smoke marijuana in seven states, which means heady job growth for the professionals who grow it, known as “bud trimmers.” As with any crop, the cultivation and maintenance of weed is complex, as any number of potential variables can significantly impact the final product. As a result, professionals are devoting more time to understanding the nuance behind weed farming, leading many aspiring bud-trimmers and tenders to the University of Oaksterdam. A so-called “Cannabis College,” Oaksterdam was founded in Oakland in November 2007, and offers a major in Cannabis Cultivation. In addition to its horticultural components, the university also certifies students to work in dispensaries and other marijuana-related industries.

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This Month, We’re Studying:

Cannabis Cultivation By Alec Cudmore, St. Edward’s University

MYTH AND TRUTH

POTENTIAL JOBS BUD-TRIMMER: Bud-trimmers work to harvest cannabis from cannabis plants quickly and carefully, likea loving mother cutting the hair of her child. /// GARDENER: The head honcho, the gardener is normally the one who operates the growing facilities and is an expert in cannabis care. Many bud-trimmers hope to one day become gardeners themselves.

MYTH: Employers will never hire someone with cannabis on their resume. TRUTH: Getting a bachelor’s in kush won’t make you rich (yet), but a burgeoning industry means bud-trimmers are quickly moving up the ranks to higher-paid positions, such as Concentrate Developers, and making $50,000 a year. MYTH: Growers are smokers. TRUTH: Recreational marijuana use isn’t ubiquitous among those in the trade. Though many smoke, doing so is unnecessary to understanding the chemistry of cannabis.

S TA R T I N G S A L A R Y

$28,000

WITH ROOM FOR GROWTH

KEY TERMS BUD TRIMMER An artisan of trimming bud properly and efficiently

WEED An ancient term the gods used for marijuana in Greek mythology

HORTICULTURE The art or practice of garden cultivation and management

DISPENSARY A magical place where frowns go in and smiles come out. (A place to legally buy weed.)

CONVERSATION STARTERS “Did you guys know pot was legal? Crazy right? Here’s my card.” /// “Have you ever nicknamed a nugget of weed you grew yourself? I named mine Lit tle Bud.” /// “I’m so high...on life right now, because I’m fulfilling my aspirations of becoming a successful cannabis cultivator with the help of a specialized education from Oaksterdam. I’m also ac tually really stoned.”

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MYTH: Growing pot perpetuates America’s drug problem. TRUTH: The stigma surrounding cannabis cultivation decreases daily, and in several years, these early-adopters will be established names in a booming industry.

FUN FACT In 2015, according to “The Washington Post,” the legal marijuana industry created over 18,000 new full-time jobs and generated $2.4 billion in economic activity in Colorado alone.

Images via shutterstock.com


THE MEAL PLAN

Chocolate Reigns For all of life’s questions, the answer is always brownies.

1.

3a.

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a

If using boxed mix, com-

baking pan with foil & spray

bine with eggs & unsalted

it with cooking spray.

butter and mix well. Fold the chocolate chips within

By Terry Nguyen, USC

2.

the batter.

Whisk butter & sugar in a

t is only the beginning of the new semester (and new year), so surely, there should be no broken hearts yet over a pending GPA in early February. Your love life might not be the same after last month’s glorious winter break, but now it doesn’t matter if you’re single, happy to mingle, or looking to spend some late nights Skyping with a long-distance significant other — the month of February, with its 50 percent off candy sales and lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day vibes, is just another post-New Year’s excuse to eat your little college heart out. Of course, the weekend leading up to Valentine’s Day (and quite possibly, the weekend after) will be filled with suggestively-themed frat parties, small kickbacks for lonely souls and late-night cuddles with a Netf lix streaming laptop. Nevertheless, this month’s Meal Plan features a melt-in-your-mouth, M&M’s-topped brownie, freshly baked with diabetic decadence for those midnight munchies of a drunk, post-drunk or too-tired-to-be-drunk college student any time of year. If you’re on the verge of forgetting those half-heartedly made New Years’ resolutions last month, these snacks serve as a sprinkle of sugary motivation to get out of bed and start studying: With a brownie in hand and a pen in the other. Of course, the first fudge-filled bite of indulgence will have already shattered any fitness resolutions you previously made, but the sugar-induced energy spike will help the 100-page reading fly by — quite literally if you’re skimming through those textbook pages at the speed of light. The trek to the farthest lecture hall will be a little less torturous with these little treats, although beware—the chocolatey aroma of brownies might attract casual stoner groups on your way to class. Truly a “treat yourself” type of snack, these munchies are not meant for any friends or roommates, but rather a personal post-lecture guilty pleasure. But, sharing is certainly caring during the month of love, so whip up some brownies for the cute gal or guy in your dreary mid-day class. In the endless college scavenger hunt for free food, snacks are a simple conversation starter, so regardless of whether Valentine’s Day is around the corner or not, tease them with the crunchy sweetness of free treats before revealing your intriguing personality flaws.

I

large bowl first, then add

4.

eggs and vanilla extract.

Pour mixture into a pan and

Mix well.

spread evenly. Sprinkle M&Ms on top.

3. In a separate bowl, combine

5.

flour, salt and cocoa pow-

Bake brownies at 350 for

der. Mix together wet and

30 minutes. Allow to cool

dry ingredients and gently

before cutting into squares.

fold in the chocolate chips. If using a brownie mix, starred (*) ingredients are the only ones needed.

INGREDIENTS • 1 stick of unsalted butter * • 1 cup granulated sugar • 2 large eggs *

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• ½ cup all-purpose flour • ½ cup sifted cocoa powder • ¼ tsp salt

• ½ tsp vanilla extract • ½ cup M&Ms * • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips * Photography via Ian Friedel


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#COLLEGEHACKS

S T U DY B R E A K S PR E S EN T S

#DateHacks

Show that special someone how much you value them, metaphorically. By Crissonna Tennison, UCL A In case you’ve forgotten, the month of February is here to remind you of America’s obsession with romantic relationships. ¶ While Valentine’s Day can be validating for those embalmed in a long-term relationship with their high school sweetheart, and isolating for those in a long-term relationship with their couch, it can be a little more ambiguous for those who are still caught in the dating world—love’s purgatory. ¶ Dating is hopeful, cynical, fun, exasperating, inspiring and a pain in the ass, generally all at the same time. Here are some tips for making your dating life feel less like an awkward phase and more like an extravagant party people will be dying to learn more about in your future tell-all memoir.

DITCHING YOUR DATE DO’ S & DON ’ TS Even though some dates are better than others, most at least provide the opportunity to learn something new, which is why it is usually best to ride them out. However, some dates are such a catastrophe that they must be terminated by any means. Here is how to gracefully escape a bad date.

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Which Spotify Playlist Goes With Each Date?

A. Brain Food

01. Tractor Racing

B. It’s ALT Good!

02. Drunken Karaoke

C. New Boots (Early Bets)

03. Rolling down hills at the library

D. Sprinkle My Ashes Over the 80s

04. Peoplewatching at the library

AT A CONCERT

AT A RESTAURANT

ON A HIKE

Slowly “get lost” in crowd. When they call you later, say, “Where were you? I couldn’t find you!”

Pull the classic, “My friend called and is having an emergency!” It might be old hat, but they can’t really be mad.

Pretend to injure yourself, tell them to get help and then head in another direction when they leave.

Start screaming and fangirling obsessively. Cry if you have to. Make THEM leave.

Invite your friend to show up randomly, sit next to your date and eat noisily off their plate.

Inexplicably start running. Don’t stop.


#COLLEGEHACKS

HOW TO BE CHILL ON A DATE Postmodern dating is claustrophobic. What was once considered romantic is now considered creepy. That’s why nothing says “I’m hot” like describing yourself as “chill,” and nothing says, “I’m into you” like giving people space, lots of space, loooots of it. ¶ Here’s how to heat up your dating life by being as chill as possible. 1. PROPER TERMINOLOGY First of all, “dates” are for overworked married people, not sexy young adults. The proper term is “hanging out.” This is the phrase you will use in your invitation (over text), and this is the phrase you will shrug and toss out when your couple friends are cooing over you, and your single friends are talking shit. 2. RAISE, THEN LOWER THE BAR Your first hangout should resemble a montage in a sappy romantic movie. Eat ice cream at the pier while laughing. Discuss baby names. Have intensely sexy staring contests. After, go a week without texting or acknowledging each other in any manner. Break the silence by texting, “Hey” 3. ARE YOU STILL WATCHING? Your second hangout, roughly one-totwo weeks after the first, should be of the venerable “Netflix and chill” variety. Real conversation is too heavy for your fickle, easily overwhelmed lover. Meaningful dialogue is for television characters. 4. DIGITAL LOVE All subsequent hangouts should be carried out over text. You’re secure in yourself and your relationship, so why do you need to actually physically meet up? You’re both incredibly busy after all, and you both value your independence and space.

STUDYBREAKS.COM

R E G A R DI NG

C

CHE A P DAT E S

heap dates have a bad reputation for no good reason. Why does love have to equal spending lots of money? If your bae loves you, they won’t want you to spend a ton of money on them, and wouldn’t you rather be with someone who has a good credit score? Don’t let capitalism be the extra member of your relationship! ¶ Some fun ideas for cheap love include: trying on hats at a hat store, going to a record store and seeing who can be most pretentious, making custom Spotify playlists and listening to them at the park, going rollerblading (its making a comeback!), and, if you’re edgy, ding-dong ditch.

THE ENDORSEMENT

AC TIVIST DATES

T

he next four years are sure to see a spike in community service and political activism, which means that finding time for love will be harder than ever. Why not do both at once? Next time you meet a foxy individual in line for coffee, invite them to that community meeting, food drive or protest you’re going to. It’s an easy way to find out if you have the same values, and even if they agree to go and you don’t end up having chemistry, at least you found another person to support your cause for the day. And remember, rubbing sunblock on each other at that beach/lake/pool is not nearly as sexy as rubbing sunblock on each other at the community park clean-up! FEBRUARY 2017 //

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The Tragedy of DAVID MOLAK and His Brother’s Fight to End Cyberbullying in Texas By Daniel Wilcox, University of Texas at San Antonio Photography by Vincent Gonzalez, San Antonio College

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, A Lover Not a Fighter IT’S A FEW DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and Chris Molak, a senior Economics major at Texas A&M, is preparing for a New Year’s trip to Aruba with his parents. “My brother killed himself on the 4th,” Molak tells me. “So we’re trying to get out of town before that date arrives.” Molak and I are sitting at a bakery in Alamo Heights, one of San Antonio’s more aff luent suburbs. Around us, people sit down to lunch before resuming their Christmas shopping and braving the stif ling traffic on Broadway. The holiday atmosphere is palpable, but for Molak, the garland and twinkling lights are a harbinger of a disheartening anniversary for him and his family. On January 4, 2016, Molak’s sixteen-year-old brother David took his own life at his family’s home. Leading up to that night, David had endured months of abuse and torment from his high school cohorts, the majority of which occurred on David’s social media portals. According to Molak, the bullying began earlier in the year when David’s basketball teammates started targeting him on team bus rides after their games. “The other kids on the team would rub snot on David to get him to not talk during the ride home from games. He couldn’t fathom why it would happen to him because he didn’t do anything to provoke it,” says Molak. That lack of provocation was most befuddling; why would anyone select someone like David as a target for ridicule? David Molak was, as his parents described, a sensitive child since birth. The youngest of three boys, Molak describes David as the typical goofy baby brother. “Mischievous,” he ref lects, “but he never, ever thought to inf lict harm on anyone.” The Molaks are avid hunters, and David was just as much a sure shot as anyone else in the family. Putting a bullet in a deer demands a laser-focused level of precision to ensure a quick kill. An

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inch or two off target, and a hunter can wound the animal, making its last few hours agonizing as it retreats. For David, this was never an option. “He was a lover, not a fighter,” says Molak. “He empathized with everything that felt pain. The reason he became such a good shot was that he didn’t want to see the animal suffer.” David’s capacity for mercy, however, would not be shared by others in his community. The early bullying intensified when David began dating an Alamo Heights girl later that spring. She was considered among the more popular students at school, and the arrangement drew the ire of his classmates, who couldn’t understand how a kid as amiable and effusive as David could score the affections of one of the more attractive and coveted girls in school. “They were bullying him about it, and it eventually led to the IG post,” Molak says. The abuse and harassment being heaped on David took a more threatening turn when he posted a picture of himself and his girlfriend on Instagram. Almost immediately, his classmates f looded the comments section with messages promising violence (“square up,” one commenter challenged) and potshots taken at his appearance (“Molak’s an ape”). “Put em 6 feet under,” one commenter posted, followed shortly by another similar post reading, “put um inna coffin.” The now infamous IG post opened the f loodgates on what would become a torrent of abuse by way of social media. “People would post things to his Instagram from fake accounts, so that they could easily be deleted and uneasily traced,” says Molak. David was a consummate athlete, spending hours at a local gym (pictured on the page previous) called The Tribe, where his work ethic in the weight room earned him Athlete of the Month honors in October 2015. Yet every attempt at bettering himself athletically and academically only garnered him more bullying online. Distancing himself from Instagram and Facebook provided no respite either, as his tormentors found new ways to come after him. “He started getting added to group chats where numbers he didn’t recognize would slam him and then delete him. [My older brother] and I couldn’t believe that this new technology was being used to destroy people,” says Molak. By end of the fall semester, David’s abuse had reached critical levels. Alamo Heights was no longer a viable option, so twice his parents transferred him to other area high schools. A change in venue did little to alleviate his victimization; taunts and threats followed him to San Antonio Christian, the last school he’d ever attend. By all accounts, he was in no position to socialize with his new classmates, becoming a shell of his former self. “We just wanted to get him to school the next day,” Molak says. “That was the priority.” On Sunday January 3, with school set to resume the following day, it became clear that David had no apparent desire to return. At around 10 p.m. that evening, Molak went into his brother’s room to say good night. David, he recalls, looked up at him with a sort of knowing look in his eye, as if he knew something that his brother did not. Molak went to bed wary and unsettled, and after wrestling with his concern, went back to check on his brother. He found the bedroom light on, but no sign of David. Immediately, Molak woke his mother, alerting her to David’s sudden absence. They combed every room in the house before taking to the streets, eventually calling the police. It wasn’t until dawn when they found David in his own backyard. They were mere hours too late.


S Tphoto U D YofB Chris R E A Molak KS.C A

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THE INSOLENCE OF OFFICE

The machinations of what would become David’s Law were set into motion even before the Molak family was aware of such a bill. San Antonio high school student Matthew Vasquez was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2014. As he battled one form of cancer, another took form on Twitter and Instagram. An anonymous user created an account with the sole purpose of bullying Vasquez as he was fighting for his life. Among other messages, the user mocked Vasquez for simply being ill, and went as far as to encourage suicide. “That someone would use his cancer as a basis for their attacks is just unfathomable,” Vasquez’s father said in an interview with San Antonio’s NBC affiliate, WOAI. Vasquez went into remission later in the year, but in the interim he faces a three-year treatment protocol. Through it all, the cyber bully who tormented him during the first stages of his treatment continued to make fake Twitter accounts, even as old ones were suspended or shut down. As of today, Vasquez’s bully has never been identified. Disgusted by the vileness she saw inflicted on Matthew Vasquez and the obstacles the family faced attempting to end his abuse, Texas State Representative Ina Minjarez decided enough was enough. She sought the aid of Senator Jose Menendez in the drafting of a bill to combat exactly the type of needless cyberbullying Vasquez was subjected to. Based on Grace’s Law, an anti-cyberbullying bill passed in Maryland, Minjarez’s bill would make it a misdemeanor for minors convicted of harassment or bullying via social media. Further, it would strengthen the power of school districts to investigate cyberbullying cases and punish students that were found to be involved. It was while Minjarez, Menendez and the Vazquez family were synthesizing the tenets of the bill that David’s suicide and subsequent investigation were reported in San Antonio. The loss struck Rep. Minjarez especially hard. Instantly, she knew her bill now had a face. With the efforts of both the Molak and Vasquez families, some honest change seemed imminent. But, as is so often the case, there exists doubt.

A MULTITUDE OF FACTORS

While David’s Law can be seen as a step toward bringing cyberbullying to an end, the bill and other legislation of its ilk is not without its skeptics. Attorney Nancy Willard is the the author of “Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Aggression, Threats, and Distress.” A victim of bullying in her childhood, Willard is at the forefront of research in the topic of online abuse among children and adolescents, and is a frequent commentator on the legality of anti-cyberbullying legislation. Upon reviewing David’s Law and its antecedents, Willard has found some troubling trends in their presentation and language, beginning with the tradition of naming such laws after victims who have committed suicide. “The problem with this is that it normalizes suicide as a response to bullying,” she tells me via email. “You are telling young people that if they are being bullied, suicide is an option.” This is not an unfounded concern; the CDC reports that suicide is the third leading cause of death among people age 10-24. In addition, the CDC also recommends against framing bullying as a singular cause of suicide, alleging that doing so could encourage copycats, and that it devalues the multitude of factors that contribute to a person’s decision to take their own life. This latter point informs a constitutional snafu that David’s Law could face if brought up in court. I’m not talking about how opponents of anti-cyberbullying legislation cite the first amendment as a defense against the law’s constitutionality. That’s nonsense. As most any poli-

tician will tell you, the right to belittle and harass people online is no more protected under the free speech amendment than the right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded cinema or phone in a bomb threat to a baseball stadium. Freedom of speech does not include freedom to harm. The issue Willard has cornered is the numerous factors that contribute to suicide. Outside stressors, personal affect and other traumas can be pinned as risk factors. “Any competent professional in the field of suicide prevention will tell you that it will be impossible to establish whether a [bully’s] conduct has caused someone to commit suicide,” she says.

A TOXIC ENVIRONMENT

All those factors considered, there’s one angle to the narrative that might help explain the plight suffered by youngsters like David Molak. It could be argued that the cyberbullying that David suffered was due in part to the perceived cliquey and privileged attitude of some of the students in his affluent neighborhood and school. Chris Molak is hardpressed to disagree: “There is a culture issue, a status hierarchy. Because [Alamo Heights residents] have had comfortable lifestyles for so long, some of them believe they can just look down at other people.” How do bullies like the ones who assailed David Molak manage to fly under the radar of educators and law enforcement? It all stems from our preconceived interpretation of the archetypal bully. The psychological profile assigned to most bullies includes such predictors as delinquent tendencies, poor academic performance, drug/alcohol usage, sexual promiscuity and an abusive home life. The media and Hollywood do their part to shape and reaffirm this stereotype, where bullies are steadily portrayed as lowbrow thugs with poor vocabularies and poorer social skills. This definition isn’t enough, and it doesn’t adequately explain why David Molak became a target. But as to why these types of bullies avoid punitive actions? Nancy Willard has an idea: “Educators rarely pay attention to these socially dominant students because they are compliant, socially skilled and have powerful parents who would object to any discipline.” Where does this leave us?

A CHANGE IN THE HEART

With legal complications abounding and an education system that mostly has its hands tied, the fight against cyberbullying at times feels like being trapped in a flooding cellar, as more problems arise before solutions can be conceived. Yet, through it all, one solution can be firmly agreed on: We need to be better to each other. Nancy Willard believes a change in attitude in the schools is the place to start. “A focus on a school climate that empowers students to foster positive relations and to respond effectively in hurtful situations—when targeted, being hurtful or as a witness,” says Willard. “We shouldn’t be teaching the sensitive people to change, we should be teaching the more vicious people to be more sensitive,” Molak laments. “We should be teaching respect and compassion. Retaliation against a bully may work for some people, but for sensitive, lover-not-fighter kids like David, it’s not an option.” The Texas State Congress convened on January 10th of this year. It’s at this meeting that David’s Law was brought to a vote. According to Rep. Minjarez, we’ll know if David’s Law will go into effect by May. She’s confident, citing support from House Speaker Joe Straus, but she’s not taking anything for granted. For the Molak family, what becomes of the bill named after their departed child is now out of their hands. But Molak is still optimistic about the future of his hometown. “It’s nice to see the signs and Facebook posts and videos and whatnot. But what I’d like to see most is change. Change in the hearts of the community itself.”


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Paul Holston Is Holding Journalism Accountable The Army veteran and Editor in Chief of Howard University’s prestigious student newspaper is fighting for journalistic integrity.

By Kevin Cordon, UC Irvine Photography by Kevin Gochez, Montgomery College

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fter serving the United States Army as a public affairs specialist and completing several tours overseas, Paul Holston finished his five-year military career in 2014 and set his sights on completing his education at Howard University, a historically black college, where he became the Editor in Chief of “The Hilltop,” the school’s prestigious student newspaper. ¶ Holston is pursuing a degree in Journalism and minoring in Photography, using skills he learned serving in the military and applying them to his future career as a journalist. Though many have lost faith in news media following the presidential election and fake news scandals, Holston is on a mission to uphold what he considers to be the fundamental purpose of journalism—providing the public with the truth. ¶ I spoke with him over the phone about his experiences in the military, his role as Editor in Chief of “The Hilltop,” racial tensions in America and his outlook on the changing landscape of journalism.

KEVIN CORDON: What was it like for you growing up? PAUL HOLSTON: Both of my parents are Air Force veterans and were based in Sumter, South Carolina. After she completed her service, my mother decided to move to Summerville, South Carolina, which is where I grew up. It’s an interesting place; growing up and seeing the places I’ve seen now, my childhood was pretty good. I didn’t want to go into

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journalism growing up, and I didn’t really even know what I wanted to do: At one point I wanted to be a psychologist, and at another I wanted to do video game design. Journalism didn’t register with me until about seven years ago, when I joined the military after graduating high school. KC: Considering both your parents were Air Force veterans, did you always see yourself joining the military?

PH: Funny story—my primary reason for joining was to get money for school. At the time, when I got out of high school, I went into community college for a semester. I really couldn’t afford school at that time, so my mother had brought up the idea of going into the military. That wasn’t my goal after high school at all; my goal was to get out of high school and go directly to a four-year college, get a degree and go pursue whatever that career was. My parents were both in

the Air Force so that was the number one choice, but I wanted to challenge myself, so I decided to go in the Army. I served as a public affairs specialist, which is a mix between a reporter and a photojournalist. I did that for five years, completed my contract and was eligible for the post-9/11 GI Bill, which helped me pay for the majority of my schooling. Those five years got me to where I am now, where I’m finishing my Bachelor’s Degree at Howard University;


it’s been like an eight-year journey through college, but I like to tell people, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” KC: Did you fall in love with journalism after working that role? PH: Absolutely. I never liked reading or writing growing up; I didn’t like English classes. Within that job though, you learn how to write news releases, newspaper articles and do photography—pretty much telling the Army story. The aspect of “telling the story” really inspired me to pursue journalism after. Going from military journalism to civilian journalism, I realized it’s similar, but different in terms of what the target audience is. For me, through journalism, I want to assist in holding the powerful accountable and giving a voice to the voiceless. KC: Why did you choose Howard University after completing your military contract? PH: As I was leaving the military, a lot of my mentors were alumni of Historically Black Colleges or Universities, or HBCU’s, and they really wanted me to consider a HBCU. There were so many other colleges I could’ve chosen, especially with the benefit of having it paid for, but I looked at the journalism program at Howard and I liked the mission statement and all the opportunity that being in Washington D.C. would afford. I considered others, but Howard was literally the only school I applied for. KC: How was the transition from being in the miliSTUDYBREAKS.COM

tary to being a full-time student? PH: It took me about two years to adjust from going from military to civilian, because you go from a place where everything is structured and scheduled, to having the freedom to choose your schedule and outfit. Being a little older than a lot of my peers, it took time to find my place and embed myself as a college student, which is why I got involved in student organizations on campus. It was a unique challenge interacting with people who don’t understand the military background, and to familiarize myself with doing homework and as-

signments, but, over time, as I got more involved, the burden of those challenges became easier. KC: How did you get involved with Howard’s newspaper, “The Hilltop,” and become Editor in Chief? PH: Initially, I never saw it as a goal to be Editor in Chief. I’m a humble person, and while that five-year journey gave me some valuable experiences, I consider myself a lifelong learner. Despite the experience I had, when it came to journalism I saw myself as a clean slate after leaving the military. I wanted to get involved

with the newspaper, so I looked up the history of “The Hilltop” and discovered that it was co-founded in 1924 by Zora Neale Hurston and Eugene King. After that, I went to Founder’s Library on campus and found old archives of the newspaper. I started off as a contributing writer and over time just got myself involved, and eventually I grew to love working with the newspaper. I moved up, as everyone does in college, going from being a news editor to Editor in Chief, all with the hope of using my skills to better the newspaper. What really inspired me was going through those FEBRUARY 2017 //

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asked someone whether taking 19 hours and taking on that role was a good idea, which it wasn’t. But, somehow, someway, you just have to make the time to balance it. There have been plenty of times, because I’m so committed to this newspaper, that I’ve been in the office longer than anyone else and stayed overnight to double-check everything. I really didn’t have a life this [fall] semester, at all. There were a couple times I skipped classes to cover an event or missed class to meet a print deadline, and make sure everything online was uploaded properly. Anyone in this position always wants to be the best editor of their newspaper, but at the same time, it’s not so much about what I’m doing this year, it’s how we continue the legacy of this college newspaper. The person who takes over after me has to have some sort of motivation to do better than me, to keep the standard of the newspaper together. In terms of balancing both, I just did it. Some days I didn’t sleep.

archives of “The Hilltop” from the ‘50s and ‘60s during pivotal times in our history. “The Hilltop” covered a lot—not just on campus, but local events in D.C. KC: What kind of challenges come with being the Editor in Chief of a nationally recognized student newspaper? How has that role been for you thus far? PH: There was very little transition at all, and the challenge was the lack of resources and the

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declining popularity of print media. I came into the newspaper at a point at which I realized that a lot of media was converting to digital formats, so the current challenge for college media was to converge what we’ve become accustomed to with print to the digital space. We have to transition to the times. Also, once I got the role of Editor in Chief, nobody really transitioned it to me; they just handed it to me and said, “Good luck this year, we’ll help you anyway we can.” This semester has

been a lot of trial and error in regards to revamping the digital platform of “The Hilltop.” We’re Howard University-funded, but most of our finances come from advertising. We’re editorially independent, but the challenge with that is a lack of resources that other student newspapers receive. KC: How do you balance the role of E.I.C with being a full-time student? PH: I’m not going to lie—I probably should have

KC: Being a HBCU, how has the Howard student body responded to the events of the last year? The Trump presidency, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, etc.? PH: We have students that are members of Black Lives Matter on campus, and the student government association is very proactive in social justice and advocacy. For many of the conflicts happening across the nation, they primarily involved people that look like us, so a lot of organizations on campus have aligned themselves with social justice and advocacy organizations in the D.C. area.


I’m optimistic for what students are going to be doing moving ahead. I think it reignited a lot of student activism, in terms of what Howard stands for, to rise above. I think Howard will be involved, in a national light, in regard to issues like police brutality, voter suppression and other issues in the D.C. area, like homelessness. At the end of the day, it’s about what we do to hold those in power accountable.

the media played a big part in how the election resulted. They don’t have full responsibility, but it is the press’ job to inform the public in an accurate and timely manner, and I wouldn’t say every outlet did that. That’s the difference

them and let the audience interpret it.

between journalism and media—nothing is ever 100 percent unbiased; I think that’s almost impossible. But, you can be as objective as possible in giving the truth with accurate reporting, and letting the readers interpret it in the way they see fit. Some of the things that happened during the election were crazy, but you have to just report

PH: At the end of the day, people have to do their own research. That’s the biggest takeaway from fake news. The digital age has made it so easy for media outlets to just focus on who gets information out first, instead of checking to make sure its credible.

KC: In regards to fake news, how can we determine validity and filter our news so that we know what we’re reading is credible information?

of journalism? PH: Social media is a gift and a curse: A gift in that information is timelier than ever, with news coming out second-by-second, and a curse in the lack accuracy and the truthfulness.

KC: Do you think the election was a wake-up call for our generation to be more involved in politics? PH: 100 percent yes. That’s the silver lining to Donald Trump becoming the 45th president. Politics can be very complicated, but we have to continue to be involved. It’s our duty to challenge the status quo and hold the powerful accountable, and being informed politically gives a voice to the voiceless. It’s unfortunate, but I feel like the value of being a human has decreased to the point where people look at bodies as little-to-nothing nowadays. It doesn’t matter what color, race or religion you are; you’re still human. I realize, though, that there are specific, marginalized groups that are more oppressed than others, and that’s what I focus on, being both an African-American and Latino student. KC: Do you feel the press failed in their coverage of the election? PH: I’d say it’s 50-50. Clearly, there was bias in the election coverage from some news outlets, and there was unequal coverage among the political parties, so I feel STUDYBREAKS.COM

KC: What role does social media play in the future

Fake news sites and social media accounts can build these massive followings, which results in the well-researched information of credible news outlets being negated by 140-character tweets. I still have that old-school ethic in terms of not always being the first person to put something out, but having it be the most accurate. FEBRUARY 2017 //

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Of 6,750 students involved, nearly 8 percent said they had worked in the sex industry, and 22 percent said they had considered working in the sex industry.

As students struggle to afford the rising costs of college, one program at Portland State is confronting the reality of student sex workers by supporting them. By Bri Griffith, Carlow University

JUDGING BY THE ASTRONOMICAL AMOUNT OF MONEY a college student needs to energize their dream of earning a degree, anyone may assume college students are literally made of money. Although that’s not true, what is true is the negative effect crippling debt has on students attempting to navigate their own college experiences. According to the student loan debt statistics for 2016, Americans alone owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, and the average class of 2016 graduate owes roughly $37,000. An article on “The Village Voice” highlights the peculiar hardships of an undergraduate student (who goes by the name “Johanna”) at New York University (NYU). When Johanna was a junior, her tuition was $63,000; she lost $32,000 worth of scholarships due to slipping grades, and was fired from her waitressing job when her classes conflicted with scheduled shifts. In order to make ends meet, Johanna became a student sex worker, and believe me, she’s not alone. In 2015, Seeking Arrangement (a matchmaking website) released numbers: More than half its U.S. providers were students, and 2.6 percent of NYU’s 45,000 full-time students had active accounts. Dr. Tracey Sagar, an Associate Professor of Criminology at Swansea University in Wales, United Kingdom, led a study; of the 6,750 students involved, nearly 8 percent said they had worked in the sex industry, and 22 percent said they had considered working in the sex industry. According to “The Guardian”: “56 percent of students involved said their sex work was to pay basic living costs, while two-fifths wanted to reduce their debts.” Dr. Sagar said in an interview, “We now have firm evidence that students are engaged in the sex industry across the United Kingdom. The majority of these students keep their occupations secret;

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this is because of social stigma, and fears of being judged by family and friends.” In addition, Dr. Sagar said, “We have to keep in mind that not all students engaged in the industry are safe or feel safe. It is vital now that universities arm themselves with knowledge to better understand student sex work issues, and that university services are able to support students where support is needed.” Portland State University’s (PSU) Women’s Resource Center is most certainly armed with knowledge; their webpage ensures the center “supports the right of all students to seek and access safety in all aspects of life, including in the workplace. For students working in the sex industry, this can be a unique and isolating challenge.” Adrienne Graf is Portland State University’s Sexual and Relationship Violence Response Program Coordinator. “I do advocacy with students that experience relationship and sexual violence,” says Graf, who also supervises other peer advocates who work with student survivors. Graf created Portland State University’s Student Sex Worker Outreach Project. The program grapples with anxiety-inducing issues specific to student sex workers, including but not limited to: “Non-traditional work schedules making required class attendance difficult, fear of ‘coming out’ in collaborative class-

room settings designed for student sharing and connecting, faculty recognizing a student on campus from their time at work, calling them by their performer name or doing other things that violate their confidentiality and separate work identity.” Graf’s been personally connected to sex workers since she was 18-or 19-years-old, first starting her career in social work. According to Graf, she was prompted to create PSU’s Student Sex Worker Outreach Project because, “When I went into getting my masters in Social Work, I was really intrigued and also disturbed by how social workers did and did not interact with the sex industry, and I became increasingly more involved in sex worker activism as a result.” In creating the program, Adrienne Graf wanted to support student self-determination and agency, and mostly, she wanted to be able to put on PSU’s Women’s Resource Center’s website and materials: “We are a safe space for students in the sex industry.” How is Portland State University’s Student Sex Worker Outreach Project different from women’s resource centers at other universities? Graf says, “When everything was happening with Belle Knox in 2014, there was conversation about students doing sex work in mainstream media for the first time.” Graf was contacted by “Huffington Post” a couple of times in the spring of 2014 to do media.

“We live in a society that overall is very sexnegative; we’re not supposed to be overtly sexual, or talk about sex.”

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56 percent of students involved said their sex work was to pay basic living costs

“To further show the uniqueness of my program at Portland State,” says Graf, “journalists from across the country shared with me that their research into students in the sex industry led them to my program, and there was a lack of substantive conversations or programming happening to support students in the commercial sex industries.” Belle Knox is the stage name of Miriam Weeks—a Duke University student who started doing pornography in 2013 to help pay her $60,000 per year tuition costs. A fellow Duke University student recognized Knox after watching her pornography, and then outed her to his fraternity brothers—an issue that can hinder a student’s success or well-being, according to PSU’s Women’s Resource Center’s webpage. In addition to answering questions about Belle Knox, PhD candidate Meg Panichelli’s research has allowed the PSU Student Sex Worker Outreach Project to stick out. Panichelli started attending Portland State University six years ago, and eventually met up with Adrienne Graf. “She wanted the Women’s Resource Center to be more accessible to student sex workers,” says Panichelli, who’s currently working on her dissertation, and a proposal to find out what social work students are learning about sex work and the sex trades overall in their coursework. “I’m trying to get approved to do a research project that interviews social workers about their coursework experience,” says Panichelli, “and interviews instructors teaching social work courses about what they’re teaching in relation to sex trades.” According to Adrienne Graf, there’s research about students and research about sex work, but there’s only a very small amount of research out there about student sex workers. The lack of research could be for a number of reasons. First, students have to disclose that they’re working, and that could impact how their instructors or other students interact with them. Meg Panichelli says, “We live in a society that overall

is very sex-negative; we’re not supposed to be overtly sexual, or talk about sex. We’re also faced with those double standards—women are supposed to be really sexual, but not on the outside.” Panichelli also notes, “Because there’s that stigma that sex workers are always victims or being exploited, people don’t necessarily think someone going to a university getting an education may be involved in the sex industry.” After only being at PSU for one-to-two years, Panichelli made a survey that was distributed to women’s resource centers across the U.S. “I was curious about what women’s centers were doing to work with sex workers, and be an open space,” says Panichelli; only three-to-four of the women’s centers surveyed said they did anything sex worker specific. Although Panichelli’s survey was small and done a number of years ago, she also found that Portland State’s Women’s Resource Center was the only center that responded with having active programming, thanks to the work started by Adrienne Graf. According to Panichelli, “A lot of centers said they did programming related to sex-trafficking, but didn’t frame their programming in terms of sex work at all.” Portland State University’s Women’s Resource Center was different from the others because “they had a statement on their website: ‘We support sex workers. We support anyone involved in the sex trades,’” says Panichelli. Adrienne Graf’s Student Sex Worker Outreach Project isn’t trying to convince students to get out of the sex industry; instead, Panichelli notes the program was created to support students. “If you had a bad experience, or want a safety plan, the program will meet you where you are,” says Panichelli. Graf says Portland State University’s Student Sex Worker Outreach Project is necessary because “anytime students can access resources that are reducing stigma and shame, or seek support or understanding without judgement, that is ultimately helpful.” Also, according to Graf, most women’s resource centers talk about the sex industry from a sex-trafficking

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lens. Portland State University’s Student Sex Worker Outreach Project is a break away from looking at only one aspect of the sex industry, which Graf thinks is incredibly problematic. She says, “As a women’s resource center, we’ve chosen to say our focus is on supporting student safety regardless of what they’re doing for labor.” “It’s a really conservative time in the U.S. to be conducting research,” says Graf, “so a majority of the good research about student sex workers is from the United Kingdom and Australia.” Graf would like to see that change; she would like to see other universities create programs like her Student Sex Worker Outreach Project, or women’s resource cen-

ters having statements on their websites about supporting students in the sex industry. “It would be nice if it weren’t such an anomaly,” says Graf. “Sex work is really normal,” says Panichelli, “people do things to make money, and sometimes they exchange sexual services for money.” In reference to the experiences of student sex workers, Panichelli says, “They’re going to change across intersections of race, class and gender. A white student may have an easier time being accepted as a sex worker than a black student, or a black trans sex worker. I think the ways people experience stigma impact how they are also able to engage in their education; that’s really important.” Adrienne Graf says, “I have a lot of thoughts, feelings and opinions about how we do and do not talk about people involved in the commercial sex trade here in the United States. There’s a lot of denial and silencing that happens. I’ve traveled within the state and the country to present about student sex work; people always say, ‘Well, I had no idea, I guess this is a really big problem in Portland.’ There’s this complete denial that students would be involved in the sex industry.” Graf always tells people, “This isn’t a Portland State thing, this isn’t an Oregon thing, student sex workers are going to be at any campus—rural, urban, private, public, community college—they’re everywhere. We have to demystify the idea

that sex workers aren’t students.” Graf’s interested in labor and human rights. She says, “Anti-trafficking interventions being endorsed by the state can be really harmful.” Graf teaches a whole unit on the sex industry at Portland State, and focuses on anti-trafficking intervention, which overwhelmingly affects people of color, trans women and undocumented people. “Some of our policies meant to rescue people are really harmful,” says Graf, “and decriminalization really is the best thing to stop both trafficking and violence, and also support people’s human rights.” Portland State University’s Student Sex Worker Outreach Project keeps students safe and healthy simply by existing, and welcoming students regardless of why they’re in the sex industry. Portland State University’s Women’s Resource Center and Graf’s program allow students to feel comfortable talking about their experiences in the sex industry without judgement. PSU’s Student Sex Worker Outreach Project normalizes student sex work by saying, “We are here to support you.”

“We support anyone involved in the sex trades” page number 44

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“people do things to make money, and sometimes they exchange sexual services”

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EXTRA CREDIT

Get ting to Know:

SIKANDER “SONNY“ KHAN By Lindsey Davis, Iowa State University Photography by Rui Zhong, University of Michigan

Formerly a volunteer at his local hospital, high school and nursing home, Sonny Khan found himself unable to continue his service work when he arrived at the University of Michigan as a freshman. To stay involved, he began working with the Syrian Orphanage Sponsorship Association (SOSA) to advocate for a more inclusive refugee policy. Khan also serves on the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Advisory Board, as well as spearheads an initiative to put local students from lower socioeconomic status on equal footing when applying to college. Khan was recently named Michigan’s 2016 Youth Volunteer of the Year, elected as his hometown’s 2016 Youth Citizen of the Year, awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship and honored as a Horatio Alger National Scholar. I kind of did an analysis on myself, like why I enjoy volunteering, and I think if you’re blessed with time and energy to make a positive change, you might as well go about it in some kind of way. For me, high school was really easy and in college, there are so many exams that you have to worry about every month and lots of homework. It was a tough decision. I was torn between medicine and business, but I feel like I’m better at business, and I think it would be really cool to have my own company and employees. Challenging would be the best word to describe it. Transitioning from high school to college in terms of academics was a new type of situation. One of my goals is to graduate in four years and accomplish as much as I can, so when I got to college, I bit off way more than I could chew, but I don’t regret it. I was in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Advisory Board— it’s a mouth-full— and President Obama was coming to Ann Arbor, so they gave us tickets to sit in the VIP section. The next day, I was able to shake his hand because I sat in the front row, so that was really cool. I’ve had three tweets go viral, just like complete jokes. One of them was a satire based on a conspiracy theory where Finding Dory proved that they found the NBA is rigged. At the end of my sophomore year, I got a letter for the National Honors Society application. When I was filling it out, I felt like I wasn’t doing much, so I was trying to figure out what avenue would be best to put my time toward; I came up with volunteering. I initially planned to do 20 hours over the summer, but ended up doing 100, and then that just exponentially increased. I’m not much of an athletic person, so I hang out with friends playing video games and listening to music, or watching Seth Myers on YouTube. My long-term goal is just to be successful, and my short-term goal is to make as much as I can out of my four years at Michigan, make a lot of friends and connections.

Name: Sikander “Sonny” Khan

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School: University of Michigan

Year: Freshman

Major: Undecided

Hometown: Jackson, Michigan


STUDYBREAKS.COM

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president Meet the

What is your major? Political Science/Sociology/ Gender Studies What is your dream job? Realistically, just working relentlessly for a cause I care deeply about with people I feel connected to. But also I really just want to be Anthony Bourdain.

What movie has had the biggest impact on your life? I’ve never been particularly into movies, but I really needed “Kung Fu Panda” in my life.

What is your favorite meme? Depends on the mood. My 2016 favorite was the Bernie v. Hillary meme. I love all Gavin memes.

Who are some of your favorite authors? Angela Davis, Khaled Hosseini, Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie, etc. What is your favorite place on the internet? Twitter and r/trollxchromosomes on reddit Who is your favorite person to follow on Snapchat? Chrissy Teigen

Where do you take most of your selfies? In my living room across from windows for that #lighting and #glow

What is your favorite Instagram account? KokoMorkie, VladaMUA, and any Minneapolis food instas

What are your intellectual strengths? Making complicated concepts easy to understand in accessible language

What is your most treasured possession? My tea kettle!

What will you never understand? Cats and unseasoned food

What is your favorite alcoholic beverage? Water

What qualities do you most admire in a person? Passion, growth-mindset, commitment

What is your typical outfit? My aesthetic is comfort. I dress prepared to nap. What’s a secret talent of yours? I have a black belt and I thread eyebrows!

What is your most marked characteristic? Winged eyeliner and a solid rant game What angers you? Injustice and oppression What is currently on your mind? I have been pondering the construct of work-life balance and consumerist self-care a lot. What historical figure do you admire? Yuri Kochiyama What fictional character do you most identify with? Aziz Ansari’s character on his show “Master of None.” Also DW from “Arthur.”

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A BE E R S Y E DA H

Student Body President of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities What is your motto? “Life has a way of figuring itself out” & “Invest in radical love.”

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I wish I thought about things less. I ruin a lot of the little pleasures in life by being my own killjoy.

What music are you into at the moment? Hip Hop and R&B. Still relentlessly listening to “Coloring Book” by Chance the Rapper.

Where do you want to go most in the world? Top of my list at the moment is Malaysia, Peru and South Africa. What is your definition of failure? Hurting and exploiting people for gain If you were to have children, what would you name them? Let’s not get my mother excited. Where would you be if not in college? Hopefully working and earning a living for myself like many people do


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TO HONOR H I S BROT H ER , A&M SEN IOR CHR I S MOL A K’ S F IGH T TO END CY BER BUL LY I NG pg. 32 Is Safe Sex Hetero? +ALSO:

pg. 46

/ UT Poet Nancy Huang’s Modern Ancestry

pg. 30

/ UMN’s Abeer Syedah Reflects on Selfies

P S U ’s S t u d e n t S e x Wo r k e r O u t r e a c h P r o j e c t E m b r a c e s R e a l i t y

pg. 22 pg. 18

PAUL HOLSTON

The principled newcomer that journalism needs PG. 34

AUST I N | FEBRUA RY 2017 | ST UDY BR E A K S.COM

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