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A Week to Reflect


GV hosts week of events following Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Safety first as GVPD officers begin to receive COVID-19 vaccine POLICE | A5

Swimming and diving teams back to competition after early-season hurdles SWIMMING & DIVING | A12

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A2 | NEWS NEWS BRIEFS GV COVID-19 CAMPUS DATA UPDATE The GVSU community has had a cumulative total of 2,099 COVID-19 cases since random testing began on campus Aug. 27. The university’s update for this brief was from Friday, Jan. 15. Through testing results this past week, GVSU’s Virus Action team have so far reported 56 current active cases including 1 faculty member case, 3 staff members, 13 on-campus students, 26 “off-campus Ottawa” students, and 10 “off-campus Kent” students, 3 “off-campus other” students with active COVID-19 cases. “Current active cases” is the count of positive cases reported to the Virus Action Team over the past ten days. This is an estimate of those currently in isolation, assuming a ten-day symptomatic period following the reporting of a positive test result. Actual periods of isolation are specific to the individual and determined by the county health department. Testing and Incidence: GVSU’s own testing program has performed 36,099 tests overall since August 21, for a positivity rate of 0.53% from the latest update as of last week. “GV Surveillance” includes the GV/ Spectrum administered programs of: randomized testing, regular testing of high-risk groups, and invited testing of individuals connected to potential clusters. A calendar is available. “GV Total” includes surveillance testing plus all symptomatic/ exposure tests administered by Spectrum.


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Laboratories has identified a woman from Washtenaw county as the first Michigan resident with a confirmed case of the new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7. The identified person recently traveled to the United Kingdom. Close contacts of this person have been identified and quarantined. Out of these close contacts, two new COVID-19 cases have been identified, however, it is currently unknown whether or not they are infected with the variant.  While the new variant is believed to be more contagious, there has been no indication that B.1.1.7 has different clinical outcomes or disease severity.  In a news release from the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division of the Michigan State Police, they provide a list of protective actions that can prevent the spread of COVID-19. The list includes: get vaccinated for COVID-19, wear a mask around others, stay six-feet apart from others, wash hands often and ventilate indoor spaces.



Virus Action Team plans to handle COVID-19 vaccine rollout BY KYLIE ELWELL NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

On Dec. 18, 2020, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) administered its first COVID-19 vaccine to an EMS worker at Grand Valley State University’s Holland campus. The vaccination process for COVID-19 has been long anticipated because it is essential to combat the spread of the disease as well as protecting the community. OCDPH has received over 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which was the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by the FDA for emergency usage. OCDPH is currently partnering with GVSU to use the Holland campus location as the first site for administering the vaccine to community members and essential workers. Jean Nagelkerk, vice provost for health said, “The Ottawa County Health Department (OCHD) needed a location to administer vaccines to frontline workers. With the close working relationship between OCHD and GVSU, we were happy to provide the space to support the overall vaccination effort. Continued use of the Holland Campus for vaccinations administered by OCHD beyond those for frontline workers will need to be determined. GVSU is ready to continue to provide the space support to the overall vaccination effort.” The Virus Action Team is working closely with the OCHD to determine when and where they will be able to provide the vaccine

STUDENT HEALTH: THE OCDPH has aided GVSU in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts, and have already vaccinated some of the GVPD force and essential workers safely. COURTESY | GVSU

to students, faculty, and staff. GVSU will continue to encourage daily online-self assessment forms, which will now have an option to indicate whether or not individuals have received their first dose of the vaccination. “Vaccinations will be offered by county health departments and health care organizations according to the state’s prioritization schedule and the availability of vaccines,” said Vice President for Finance and Admin-

istration Greg Sanial. “GVSU will continue to work closely with our county health departments and health care organizations to share information with eligible groups to sign up for vaccine appointments as we work through the state prioritization groupings.” LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE


Padnos College of Engineering

and Computing gets budget boost BY TREVOR HUBERT NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

BUDGET BOOST: GVSU’S budget changes have given the Padnos computing department work and sudies additional funds. COURTESY | GVSU

As Grand Valley State University moves forward into the second half of the school year, many of the same challenges the university faced from 2020 will still need to be addressed in 2021. One of those major challenges was balancing the university budget, which saw a decrease for the first time in several years. Many budget cuts came within different academic departments. However, the only academic department to receive a budget increase for the 2020-2021 school year was the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing. The college has been on a steady rise in recent years, with its budget increasing by over $3.6 million just since 2016, including an increase just shy of one million in the last year, making it the third most expensive ac-

ademic department at the university at just under $16.8 million. According to the dean of the college, Paul Plotkowski, there are multiple factors that have contributed to the long term and short term increases to the budget. “It’s been a very rapidly growing college,” Plotkowski said. “From 2014 to 2019, we had a 36 percent increase in enrollment. That’s huge.” Even with enrollment being down for the university as a whole, Plotkowski said that the college still saw an uptick in enrollment during the fall semester. Besides being one of the fastest-growing colleges at GVSU, the pandemic has accelerated the need to get the college more funding. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE



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Former Detroit police chief shares his story for MLK week: “Policing from the Inside”


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The week of Jan.18, Grand Valley State University celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. Students and faculty throughout campus come together to commemorate the achievements of one of the most influential American civil rights leaders by attending events and presentations where influential speakers share their stories. Former Detroit police chief Isaiah McKinnon will be leading his event “Policing from the Inside”, virtually, on Thursday, Jan.21, at 7 p.m. He will be sharing his experiences of racism firsthand when he was a young police officer and how he dedicated his life to creating change. As former chief of police and deputy mayor of Detroit, he rose to positions of power and through his voice has implemented change. Jakob Bigard, program manager of the Hauenstein Center’s Common Ground Initiative, is one of the organizers of McKinnon’s event. Bigard said he wanted to create an opportunity for people to learn and engage with one another, and McKinnon’s story “exemplifies how to take something bad and turn it into good.” After experiencing brutality firsthand, McKinnon made it his mission to ensure

VOL. 55

NO. 14



Editor-in-Chief NICK MORAN Associate Editor OLIVIA FELLOWS


Associate Editor ZAVIER GOLDEN News Editor MARY RACETTE


Sports Editor ZACK GOODROW Laker Life Editor YSABELA GOLDEN



Business Manager RACHEL MCDOWELL

LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

SHARED STORIES: McKinnon said he shares his story to make sure people know about the brutality that still exists today. COURTESY | GVSU


Asst. Business Manager DAYTON HAMMON

GV departments collaborate to detect COVID-19 in wastewater BY AUDREY WHITAKER NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

At the Lanthorn, we strive to bring you the most accurate news possible. If we make a mistake, we want to make it right. If you find any errors in fact in the Lanthorn, let us know by calling 616-331-2464 or by emailing editorial@lanthorn.com. The Grand Valley Lanthorn is published weekly by Grand Valley State University students 31 times a year. One copy of this newspaper is available free of charge to any member of the Grand Valley Community. For additional copies, at $1 each, please contact our business offices.

The Lanthorn is published on recycled paper and is printed with soy bean ink. This means that our newspaper is entirely compostable. Help us do our part to be kind to the environment by recycling or composting this newspaper after you enjoy reading it. POSTMASTER: Please send form 3579 to: Grand Valley Lanthorn 0051 Kirkhof Center Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI 49401

that others would never have to go through what he did. With his abundance of knowledge about the fraught relationship between the black community and law enforcement, he’s the exemplar of community-focused policing, Bigard said. “Chief McKinnon’s story represents the change you want to see in the world,” Bigard said. “He had experienced racism and oppression as a young man and made a decision that he was going to be that change.” In 1957 when Chief McKinnon was a fourteen-year-old boy, he was severally beaten without reason by two Detroit police officers. Ten years later as a young police officer, McKinnon suffered brutality, bigotry, and was even shot at by his fellow police officers. “The same things that I went through 50 years ago, are still occurring today,” said McKinnon. In light of 2020 and the death of George Floyd, people around the world are demanding change. Protesters are demanding that conversation about the role of police and the context of how we came to be where we are today be had. McKinnon explains

CLEAN WATER: The AWRI studies wastewater and potential improvement methods in connection with GVSU students. COURTESY | GVSU

Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) and Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) Department are working together to continue work on a pilot study that monitors and detects COVID-19 in wastewater samples from GVSU’s campus. In October, GVSU was one of 17 labs in Michigan to receive funding from the state’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The funding allowed researchers to use ddPCR testing to find virus markers wastewater samples. The grant awarded GVSU $318,000 to conduct the study and a $200,000 bonus for equipment to be used by Dec. 31, 2020. In the new year, GVSU has continued to fund

the project, creating their own “pilot study” of campus, according to co-principal investigator Sheila Blackman. “The results from last semester were compelling enough to convince the Grand Valley administration that this work was worth funding, so they picked up the tab, at least for the dorms, for a few weeks into this semester,” Blackman said. “This is sort of like Grand Valley’s pilot study on the wastewater to see whether it works for them.” Greg Sanial, head of the Virus Action Team, said that the study was not up and running in time for it to impact the targeted testing program for the fall 2020 semester, however, the wastewater testing fits into the overall surveillance of COVID-19 on campus. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE




Get vaccinated (once it’s your turn)




Letter to the Editor


Grand Valley State University students, staff, faculty and alumni - Grand Valley State University is defined by seven values: Excellence, Integrity, Inquiry, Inclusiveness, Community, Sustainability, and Innovation. GVSU claims that all decisions they make are carefully crafted with each of these values in mind; that these values are “reflected in the policies, practices, and assessments (Grand Valley) implement(s) every day.” However, this is not true. Grand Valley is not exercising these values in

many of their practices; one of which being their contract with corporate food giant, Aramark. As stated on their website, Aramark provides “food service, facilities and uniform services to hospitals, universities, school districts, stadiums and other businesses around the world.” Since beginning their food service contract with GVSU in 2001, Aramark has been implicated in incidents involving racism, sexual assault, health code violations, and more, spanning the past two decades.  In 2014, the Michigan State Dept. of Corrections fined Aramark $24,000 for violation of their food service contract and $12,000 for fraternization between employees and inmates,

which included the sexual assault and harassment of inmates. There were also over 3,000 pages of state records obtained by the Detroit Free Press detailing employees coming to work drunk, bringing marijuana to work, failing drug tests, threatening to assault inmates, and more. Additionally, there are records of Aramark’s food being contaminated with maggots and food being fed to inmates that had been previously in the garbage.

LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

“Murder the Media” threatens more than reporters


Young journalists are living through a professional oxymoron. As we look at the news cycle, it’s simultaneously the best

and the worst time to pursue journalism. On one hand, the level of misinformation and demands for justice are inherently dependent on truth, and journalists are keepers of public trust and knowledge. Between election challenges, international threats and the pandemic, there are few times in our history where we’ve needed journalists more. But on the other, student journalists face a crumbling job market complete with dying local newspapers and crippling wages. Even more than that, there’s a growing demonization of reporters that not only affects those in the field, but those aspiring to one day work as a reporter. America got a brutal glimpse of it on Jan. 6.  As the insurrectionists breached the

Capitol during the congressional counting of the electoral votes, the mob’s trail of destruction hit some parties harder than others. Politicians both hid for their safety and incited the violence. Police officers both dropped the ball on preparation and management, while some went beyond the call of duty to protect those they serve. I was sitting on the couch of my childhood home watching this unfold. There was a slow churning of disgust in my stomach but I couldn’t turn away from the TV. My dad likened it to watching the September 11th terrorist attacks. This was as close as we’ve gotten to that tragedy since, he said.

LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

t long last, there are multiple, viable COVID-19 vaccines. But that’s old news – we were excited about this when last semester ended, a month ago – and now, we’re seeing the complications that many public health officials warned us about. There have been some initial hiccups in the rollout process that resulted in a sluggish inoculation process, and there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding the vaccine itself. The clamor is enough to make many worry, but even more troubling are the Americans who are fearful enough to avoid the vaccine like the plague. However, if you cut through the misconceptions and lies, you land at a very clear destination: do your part, get vaccinated.  Up until recently, there have been large amounts of the vaccine sitting in storage. A week ago, however, the Trump administration made a few changes to their rollout plan, encouraging states to expand the pool of people eligible for the vaccine and distributing vaccines to states according to the number of people 65 years old and older, instead of their general adult population.  In Kent County, according to Michigan.gov’s Vaccine Dashboard, the area has already distributed 50,400 vaccines in total, 42,900 Pfizer and 7,500 Moderna vaccines. The largest age

group of recipients is 50-59 years, with more women reported having gotten the vaccine than men thus far. Now that the people who are most susceptible to COVID-19 are likely to be vaccinated at a faster rate, we’re closer to the vaccine being made available to everyone else. “Everyone else” includes the staff, students, faculty at GVSU who won’t be vaccinated already.  This early in the vaccination process, it was understood that older and at-risk individuals would be receiving the first initial doses available, but as the work continues, our hope is that college-age students at GVSU and beyond will take advantage of their vaccination opportunities as soon as they arise.  But admittedly for students, getting the vaccine is still a long way away, especially as many of us are considered low risk, thus setting us further down the timeline. Despite this, there are two simple things you can do to make sure we’re inoculated and life returns to normal as soon as we safely can. First, have conversations with those around you. As many of us spent winter break with families, we’ve been privy to concerns from those around us. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

GVL OPINION POLICY The goal of the Grand Valley Lanthorn’s opinion page is to act as a forum for public discussion, comment and criticism in the Grand Valley State University community. Student and columnist opinions published here do not necessarily reflect those of the paper as an entity. The Lanthorn strives to be a safe vehicle for community discussion. With this in mind, the Lanthorn will not publish or entertain any forms of hate speech, but neither will it discriminate against any other views, opinions or beliefs. The content, information and views expressed are not approved by— nor do they necessarily represent those of—the university or its Board of Trustees, officers, faculty

or staff. Letters to the editor should include the author’s full name, relevant title and a headshot, along with a valid email address and phone number for confirming the identity of the author. Letters should be approximately 500650 words in length, and they are not edited by the Lanthorn staff except to fix technical errors or to clarify. Reader submissions on the opinion page appear as space permits. To make a submission, email editorial@lanthorn.com or drop your submission off in person at:





GVPD officers begin reciving first COVID-19

vaccine doses safely

FIRST DOSES: Over Christmas Break, some GVPD officers began receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through GVSU’s initial program kick-off, and Captain Jeffrey Stoll said he believes the vaccine will allow officers to work efficiently without fearing for their health or safety. COURTESY | GVSU BY ADAM TROMBLEY NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

The Grand Valley Police Department is responsible for keeping the members of the community safe when it comes to crime and other incidents. However, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, part of their responsibility has included keeping themselves and others safe from the contagious virus. These first responders have begun taking the Covid-19 vaccine in hopes to help stop the spread on GVSU’s campus and in the Ottawa County area. “I’m looking forward to taking the second dose,” said GVPD Capt. Jeffrey Stoll as he was preparing to receive the second round of the vaccine that day. GVPD officers are a part of the groups who have been made eligible to receive the vaccine in the state of Michigan, and although some of them have already received the vaccine, they will still be implementing social distancing and wearing masks in order to slow the spread

down. Gradually, the introduction of the vaccines will help bring things back to normal for the department, but many of the practices and things they do will look the same as they did last semester. “I think the thing that changes is it probably limits the amount of off-time we will have from officers who maybe would have been in quarantine or maybe would have to get tested,” said Stoll. Stoll has commended the Ottawa County Health Department on its ability to set up and distribute the vaccine in a reasonable amount of time. GVSU’s Holland campus has been used to distribute the vaccine to the department’s officers. The vaccine looks like a light at the end of the tunnel in fighting this pandemic, and although it will not totally get rid of the virus, it is bringing hope to many people. Stoll says that from a mental standpoint, receiving the vaccine made him feel great because it allowed him to help limit the spread. “It limits my likelihood of getting sick and I know it’s not zero, but it’s greatly

reduced and that extends to protecting my family,” Stoll said. “I don’t get sick, so my family doesn’t get sick. It protects my coworkers, and ultimately at Grand Valley, we are able to maintain a high level of continuous operation.” With different companies producing the vaccine, it has led many to wonder about possible side effects from receiving it. Stoll said he felt fine after his first round of receiving the vaccine and that he is willing to take the risk of feeling sick for a day or two in exchange for the added protection of the virus. Eventually, when the vaccine is able to be distributed to more groups of people, Stoll doesn’t believe the department will help in the distribution of it when it is made available to the students and staff at GVSU. The pandemic has been challenging for a lot of people and it will continue to play a role in the way we live, but if the vaccination of our police department and other first responders teaches us one thing, it is that there is hope.

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GV Office of Multicultural Affairs celebrates MLK Day BY OLIVIA FELLOWS ASSOCIATE@LANTHORN.COM

Jan. 18 is known around the United States as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which celebrates the life of the revered pastor and civil rights activist from Atlanta, Georgia. Each year, Grand Valley State University celebrates Dr. King’s life and work through inviting speakers to campus and creating events that engage with students, remember civil rights history and commemorate the strides of civil rights leaders like Dr. King and others. GVSU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) is one department that helps oversee many of the MLK Day plans, and this year is no different. OMA provides a variety of opportunities for student and employee engagement through their Heritage Celebrations, Laker Connections Student Success Programs, Conversations of Color dialogue spaces, keynote speakers, trainings, workshops and more. This year, COVID-19 has impacted in-person events university-wide, and this year’s planned speaker event has been pushed online. Additionally, because of COVID-19 restrictions, there will not be a silent march on campus, as is normally held. Notably, however, GVSU is hosting White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour and political contributor for NBC and MSNBC Yamiche Alcindor, who will give a virtual presentation for the West

Michigan community on January 18. The recipient of the White House Correspondents’ Association Aldo Beckman Award for Overall Excellence in White House Coverage as well as the 2020 National Association of Black Journalists’ Journalist of the Year Award, Alcindor has become a steady voice in journalism. She has written extensively on the intersection of race and politics and covered the impact of President Trump’s policies on the working-class, immigration, and breaking news coming out of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Alcindor’s presentation, “The Legacy of MLK: Purpose, Truth and Justice,” will be presented via Zoom webinar. Bobby Springer, the co-chair of the MLK Committee at the OMA, said she believes that the holiday is a time for students, faculty and staff to reflect on the life of Dr. King, but more importantly, measure the progress that has been made over the past 53 years since Dr. King’s death. “Celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King and sharing the remarkable and historic messages with every generation connects the past with the present,” Springer said. “King’s legacy is a message that all should reflect on, especially since inequality for all is still real in this current day. We know that silence can be awaken when we show up and perhaps, we will hear something, see something, or experience something that enable us to understand why the theme continues to be ‘A Day On, Not A Day Off.’”

A CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: Leading speeches that felt more like sermons, King urged Americans and politicians for a Black right to vote, labor rights and widespread desegregation. COURTESY | FOX 17

LEADING THE CHARGE: King’s leadership was far-reaching, but notably seen as he led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, the Albany Movement and the 1963 March on Washington. COURTESY | HISTORY.COM

IN SOLIDARITY: While the MLK Day activities extend into the week at GVSU, one key event missing from this year’s celebration is the cancellation of the silent march throughout campus. COURTESY | GVSU

GVSU faculty leaders work hard to ensure that students of marginalized identities feel safe and welcomed at the university. There are five programs that operate under Laker Connections Student Success Program: Laker Familia, Black Male Scholars, Black Excellence, Native Student Success Program and the Asian Student Achievement Program. The program goals are to create an environment where students can achieve their full potential at GVSU while being their full authentic selves. OMA Assistant Director Juanita Davis said that faculty members within the African and African-American studies program, History Department, College of Education, Hospitality and Tourism Management, English Department, School of Communication and the entire Black Faculty Staff Association have been instrumental to the success of many GVSU students. “Each of our program coordinators works with their student programs to create events and initiatives that will meet their specific needs, and the common goal is student success,” Davis said. “Our students have been provided support and mentorship inside and outside of the classroom and their contributions have impacted the retention of our students.” Although COVID-19 has altered some plans for this year’s MLK Day Commemoration events, OMA faculty are confident that many will engage and continue to cele-

brate the important holiday online. Jen Hsu-Bishop, Interim Director of the OMA, shared that although a lot of things happening at GVSU are different this year due to the pandemic, it’s important to stay involved in what’s happening, and to remember to reflect. “Every person at GVSU has a role to play to make sure that our campus lives into its values of inclusion and equity, and participating in  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Commemoration Week events  are just one of many ways we can do this throughout the year,” Hsu-Bishop said. “We encourage students to participate in spaces that challenge them to think critically about themselves and the world around them. There are so many ways, big and small, that each of us can advocate for justice and equity. One of the most important things we can do is to keep learning and taking action.” For students wondering how to connect with the OMA and get involved, there are many opportunities for students on and off campus. All students are invited to participate in the upcoming Heritage Celebration events, the Laker Connections Student Success Programs, Conversations of Color dialogue spaces, keynote speakers, trainings, and workshops. You can learn more about the OMA’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week events on their informational page.

PRACTICING PEACE: King practiced nonviolent resistance to push for change. COURTESY | WZZM 13

LOVE: King stood by loving your neighbor and your enemies, but God above all else. COURTESY | WSJ



Interest in public health program rises amid COVID-19 BY RACHEL MATUSZEWSKI RMATUSZEWSKI@LANTHORN.COM

If there’s one good thing that has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic news coverage, it is the increase in public health interest. As public health has become a household name due to the variety of jobs that have helped control the spread of COVID-19, the popularity of public health programs has simultaneously risen. Grand Valley State University has seen public health degree enrollment double since last year. With the pandemic taking hold of news coverage for the majority of 2020, 100 colleges using the Common Application saw a 20% increase in applications to earn a master’s degree in public health, according to the Associated Press. Although the pandemic does not guarantee the cause of the increase, Ranelle Brew, chair and associate professor of public health at GVSU, thinks the pandemic may have contributed to the surge in interest.  “The pandemic has really helped to shed some light on the facets of public health that people now understand,” Brew said. “It’s kind of like unexpected marketing.”  GVSU’s Master of Public Health (MPH) program offers a traditional and hybrid program for graduate students. During the application process, students have the option to choose a traditional or online learning experience. Brew said the hybrid option has been two years in the making and was conveniently launched in the Fall of 2020 just as the university was transitioning to online teaching. She assured that the curriculum

is exactly the same for each format. Even when in-person classes transitioned online, the department provided students with synchronous Zoom classes in order to mimic an in-person learning environment. But the biggest difference in learning this year was not the format of the curriculum. Rather, students in public health had the opportunity to experience the real-world examples provided by the pandemic. “(They have) the most unique opportunity of a lifetime,” Brew said. “To be a student in a program the whole world is talking about. Just to be able to have had the real-world experience while they were in the classroom, they’re learning and experiencing it firsthand. There literally is no better time to be a student in the public health program than right now while you’re learning and seeing this unfold at the same time.” Students have the option to earn their master’s degree with a health promotion or epidemiology emphasis. Brew said both are front and center in the COVID-19 response. The pandemic began with health promotion which includes questions on how the disease spreads and its impact on individuals, while the epidemiology side focuses on the data collection of case numbers and mortality rate.  A first-year MPH student and Army veteran, Sean Verschueren focuses on health promotion. There are over 1,000 job titles related to public health and the versatility of career options offered drew Verschuren to the program.  Verschueren appreciates the ways professors have gone above and beyond in providing extra

INFECTIOUS INTEREST: GVSU is seeing an increase in students interested in its Master of Public Health program, with enrollment doubling since last year before the pandemic. COURTESY | WOODTV

help for curriculum or simply giving real-world advice. Currently, Verschuren’s interest in public health includes assisting veterans and studying physical fitness. His practicum is with Jill Wolfe, GVSU’s Military and Veteran resource manager, to work to increase GVSU as a veteran-friend environment and help veterans transition from military service to college life. Additionally, he said his job at the YMCA has the potential for opportunities as well.   Brew is proud of the ways MPH students have responded to COVID and been role mod-

els for their peers and families to increase the prevention of the virus. For Verschueren, the pandemic never initiated his decision to study public health, but has reminded him of the impact public health has made. “(The COVID-19 pandemic) strengthened my resolve to be in public health,” Verschueren said. “COVID-19 showed me and a lot of the students in my cohort that public health is just as much on the front lines as doctors and nurses.”


Gonorrhea cases increase throughout Michigan BY LAUREN FORMOSA NEWS@LANTHORN.COM

STD SPREAD: Gonorrhea cases are on the rise in Michigan, up 22% this year. COURTESY | MLIVE

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are common concerns for many who choose to be sexually active. Millions of STD cases are reported each year in the United States, and some don’t always cause symptoms or only cause mild symptoms, meaning that some people may be unaware that they have an infection.   While the COVID-19 pandemic has kept many away from sexual partners this past year, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) STD Epidemiology program detected an increase in reported gonorrhea cases across the state. Michigan reported 18,264 cases in 2019, however, that number was quickly surpassed by Oct. 31 of last year, indicating a 22% increase in reported gonorrhea infections. In contrast to past years, the rate of gonorrhea cases was increasing at an average of 4% annually since 2010. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gonorrhea is an STD that is known to cause infection in the genitals, rectum and throat, and tends to be most common in young people ages 15-24.

Both men and women can experience symptoms of gonorrhea, although most women tend to experience no symptoms if infected. While the CDC says the infection can be cured with correct treatment, they also state that “it is becoming harder to treat some gonorrhea, as drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing.” Additionally, gonorrhea can lead to serious or permanent health problems in both men and women if left untreated. This increase in reported gonorrhea infection throughout Michigan in tandem with the current COVID-19 outbreak has left many healthcare professions concerned. Under normal circumstances, such a large increase would call for broader statewide testing. However, “there is a national shortage of collection kits and laboratory supplies used to test for gonorrhea,” said Lynn Sutfin, Public Information Officer at MDHHS in a November press release. This could most likely be due to an underestimate of the need for STD testing during the pandemic. “A shortage of testing supplies during a significant statewide increase in cases presents an alarming potential for a host of negative health outcomes for Michiganders,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and

chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “Because laboratory testing is challenging at this time, it is imperative that medical providers continue to clinically diagnose and treat suspected cases of gonorrhea to slow the spread in our state.” As outlined in the CDC’s “Guidance and Resources During Disruption of STD Clinical Services,” Michigan health providers are urged to evaluate and treat patients who show signs or symptoms of gonorrhea infection, regardless of laboratory confirmation at this time. The MDHHS is working through this critical period of testing shortage to ensure those who have been exposed to the STD can still receive treatment and slow the increase of cases statewide. While the only way to truly avoid contracting an STD is to not have vaginal, anal or oral sex, it is still important for sexually active men and women to be aware of the risks associated with sex and take steps to have protected sex with their partners as an effective means of prevention. Michiganders experiencing symptoms such as pain while urinating, increased discharge or vaginal bleeding between periods are encouraged to meet with a healthcare provider, as these can be indications of gonorrhea or other STD infections.



Beginning on Jan. 11 and continuing through the end of February, there will be a joint exhibition between the Grand Valley Art Gallery and the Muskegon Museum of Art. The exhibition, “The Art of the People: Contemporary Anishinaabe Artists,” highlights Native American contemporary artwork from eleven different artists. The theme of the exhibit is rooted in the continuity of cultural heritage which involves using art to tell the stories of the Anishinaabe people and their history. Some of the featured artists produced artwork using culturally traditional ways of artmaking, while others chose to create art in a more contemporary manner. The exhibit is full of paintings, photography, beadwork, ceramics, jewelry, drawing, fibers and basketry. Read more at www.lanthorn.com.


GVSU’s Christmas Eve Carillon Concert was held on the Pew Grand Rapids campus on Dec. 21. The retired GVSU carillonneur Julianne Vanden Wyngaard was once again able to climb the 112 steps up to the top of the Beckering Family Carillon Tower to play. Vanden Wyngaard performed from the playing cabin with the windows of the bell tower’s belfry wide open for all to hear. As the audience for this concert is, and always has been, groups of cars parked outside to listen, the 20th anniversary concert was held without issue and made for anything but a “Silent Night.”


Classics professor sees second play translation gain international recognition just before retirement BY PARKER LEARMAN-BLAAUW ARTS@LANTHORN.COM

Similar to the rest of the world, Grand Valley State University Professor of Classics, Diane Rayor, had quite the 2020 — albeit for slightly different reasons. Recently, Rayor’s translation of the ancient Greek play “Medea,” officially titled “Euripides’ Medea: A New Translation,” has gained popularity in theater groups across the globe.  Her translation was first published by Cambridge University Press in 2013. Yet, it began gaining significant traction in terms of production this past fall, despite the challenge of not being able to perform the play in person.  “In three days, there were three different productions of my translation, all over Zoom,” said Rayor.  The translation of “Medea” has now been performed all over the world, joining her earlier translated play, “Sophocles’ Antigone: A New Translation” as an international hit.  Rayor’s translations have become such phenomena due to the methods she uses to create them. This includes things such as adding performance notes so that the plays are stageready, which she says makes it a lot easier for performers to catch on to. She first started her journey into the world of classical literature in college when Rayor found herself in a Greek history and philosophy class. 

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CLASSICALLY GIFTED: Classics professor Diane Rayor received praise for her translation of Euripides’ play, “Medea.” COURTESY | GVSU



A song a day keeps the worries away for Grand Rapids rapper, producer

GRAM’s most recent exhibit, “In Black and White,” began Dec. 8 2020 and will continue on through March 13, 2021. This exhibition is centered around how and why artists choose to limit their creative palettes to only black and white, and what effect this has on the artwork. It emphasizes the visual power black and white has over the overwhelmingly large color spectrum the human eye is used to. The exhibition is made up of works from GRAM’s permanent collection and includes prints, paintings, drawings, and photographs from artists including Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Louise Nevelson and Monir Farmanfarmaian.



In partnership with Aperitivo, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) is offering their members an experience where artwork, wine, and cheese will be brought into their homes. The first tasting event will be held on Jan. 21 where they plan to start off the year with an exploration of sparkles in wine, art, and cheese. Each wine and cheese pairing is selected by the Aperitivo staff and intentionally paired with specific artwork from GRAM’s permanent collection to tie in with this month’s theme of sparkles.

Although she didn’t know what she was doing in terms of her future career or aspirations at the time, Rayor said this class led her directly to them. It was in this course that Rayor learned Greek so that she could read the class materials as they were originally written. From then on, she was hooked. Rayor’s introduction to translating ancient Greek plays came her junior year when one of her professors approached her about translating a poem by Sappho, the earliest Greek woman poet. “I loved it,” Rayor said. “It led me to think, ‘Okay, now I know what I want to do with my life.’”   During graduate school, Rayor worked as a teacher’s assistant, which then exposed her to her love of teaching and her future career as a professor.  When Rayor was first hired by GVSU in 1991, it was as an English professor. But, she also had the role of developing the classical literature offerings of the university.  Within nine years of being at GVSU, Rayor teamed up with fellow classics professors Barbara Flaschenriem and William Levitan, and together they founded GVSU’s Department of Classics. 

YEAR OF THE RAP: Rapper Rick Chyme fills the airwaves with sound. COURTESY | LOCAL SPINS

One artist, one producer, 387 songs and 365 days. In 2018, Rick Chyme, a Grand Rapids rapper, teacher and radio programmer, set out to create one song a day in a project that he would eventually call, “Daily Pieces 365.” Chyme said his original inspiration for this project came from a video posted by Gary Vaynerchuk (also known as Gary Vee), a serial entrepreneur and motivational figure whom he had spoken with before. The video featured the now-deceased rapper, Nipsey Hussle, and in it, Vaynerchuk mentioned the spark that would ignite Chyme’s flame. “Gary Vee said somebody is going to do something someday called something 365 and they’re going to release a song a day and it’s going to do something for them,” Chyme said. “I had already done 50 songs on my own, so I thought about it for a day, and then called my producer, Yelnam Evad. He was the only one I knew would be wild enough to consider something like that.” Chyme had known Evad for about a

decade before the project began. But, they had only made a few songs together before deciding to collaborate and create every single day in 2018. “He had blind belief in me,” Chyme said. “At that moment, he was saying, ‘I will give you thousands of my hours making beats and mixing records.’ He is ridiculous to say yes to that. I was so thankful to have a collaborator to plant these seeds with me and believe that there’s going to be a harvest.” The process officially began in December of 2017 when Evad began to produce music for Chyme, so that when January came, he would have a surplus of music to choose from to fit his song for the day. “Imagine having a really demanding pet you had to feed,” Evad said. “I wasn’t just creating soundscapes for him — I was also an engineer and had to match and edit the songs he sent me back. I was the cart and he was the horse.” Throughout the year, Chyme would send Evad one song (or more) a day to edit. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

A10 | LAKER LIFE LAKER LIFE BRIEFS TALK CURRENT EVENTS WITH OMA This week, the Office of Multicultural Affairs is hosting the first Conversations of Color event of the Winter 2021 semester. Those who attend can expect open and honest discussions about race, identity, popular culture and recent events in the news. For students seeking credit, the event is INT 100/201 approved. The discussion will take place virtually over Zoom from 12-1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and those interested can RSVP on the OMA website at www.gvsu.edu/oma. If you can’t make it to this Conversation, there will be two more this semester on Wednesday, Feb. 17 and Wednesday, March 17.


The Padnos International Center has suspended all their study abroad programs for Winter and Spring 2021, but they’re still here to help you plan ahead for future travels, potentially as early as this summer. To prepare, this week they’re hosting a Virtual Study Abroad Fair on Thursday, Jan. 21 and Friday, Jan. 22. Events range from covering basic information about study abroad, to explanations of specific trips to countries like Iceland, France, Tanzania (and many, many more). Those interested in exploring the opportunities available can find the event schedule in its entirety, as well as Zoom links to specific events, at the Padnos International Center’s website at www.gvsu.edu/ studyabroad.


This Saturday, Jan. 23, Grand Valley State University students, faculty and staff are coming together for a day of service in acknowledgement of Martin Luther King Jr. Day earlier in the week. The Community Service Learning Center has organized a full day of service projects and educational opportunities for those interested in getting engaged. Among the available events are an “upcycling” service project, a workshop on how to write letters to government officials, a panel on GenZ activism, and many more. A full schedule of the day’s activities, as well as registration for individual events, can be found on the CSLC’s website at www.gvsu.edu/service. Be sure to register ahead of time, as they will decide whether events take place digitally or in person depending on whether the number of attendees will work in accordance with social distancing guidelines.



Hauenstein Center discusses the Nixon Post-Presidency BY YSABELA GOLDEN LAKERLIFE@LANTHORN.COM

Surrounded by scandal and a second impeachment, United States President Donald Trump has drawn many comparisons to another Commander in Chief in the final days of his office: Richard Nixon. According to a report from CNN on Thursday, Jan. 14, a few inside the White House have paralleled these two Presidents as well, leading to Trump reportedly banning even the mere mention of Nixon (and the possibility of resignation) from the mouths of his advisors. While Trump is the first president to be impeached twice, Nixon was the first and only president to resign from the office. The New York Times has suggested that the closest historical analogue Americans may have for the approaching Trump post-presidency is that of Nixon’s — a president who left Washington to avoid being impeached in a time of scandal and disgrace for the office. The resemblance may not be perfect, however. According to those who’ve studied his life, Nixon felt remorse and regret for his actions in the years following his presidency, developing a sense of responsibility as a statesman that led then-President Bill Clinton to praise Nixon after his death in 1994. One historian making the case for Nixon’s reform is Kasey Pipes, a former advisor to both President George W. Bush and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Nixon had come full circle and people had accepted him again,” Pipes argued in the Times article. “It’s going to be much more difficult for Trump to achieve that level of public acceptance and the main reason is that we haven’t

TRICKY DICK: The Hauenstein Center’s last presentation focused on how President Richard Nixon shaped the idea of post-presidential involvement. COURTESY | CHICK HARRITY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

seen any public accountability from him whatsoever. And if we know anything about Trump, I don’t think we will.” Last December, Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies hosted Pipes for their final event of the Fall 2020 semester, “The Resurrection of Richard Nixon - Our Elder Statesman.” Over the Zoom seminar, Pipes discussed Nixon’s post-presidential career, a subject on which he has recently written the book “After the Fall: The Remarkable Comeback of Richard Nixon.” “(Nixon) falls as far as a human being can fall,” Pipes said in his opening remarks. “He has to find something he can do, useful, for the rest

of his life. He begins to crawl his way out of the abyss (...) not politically, in the sense that he was never going to run for office again, but in the sense that he mattered again.” According to Pipes, Nixon forever changed what the ex-presidency could look like in the United States. “When Nixon left office, there was really no guide for him,” Pipes said. “If you look at some of his predecessors — with the exception of Herbert Hoover — there’s really nobody who went off and did something significant after he left office. Most of these folks followed the George Washington, Cincinnatus model of returning back to being a citizen.” Nixon didn’t necessarily have a citizen life to return to. Disbarred in New York and California, Nixon had no obvious way to continue earning a living for himself, compounding his existing financial problems. “He creates this new model that most of our ex-presidents today still follow,” Pipes said. “You give speeches— in many cases these days, for money. You write books and you maintain your contacts in Washington and New York and in the media so that you can still have an influence.” Nixon focused his efforts in all three of these areas on what he was most admired for during his presidency: foreign policy. “People bought his books because they still cared what Nixon thought about the world, what he thought about China and Asia, and especially the Cold War, ‘’ Pipes said. “George W. Bush has got another book coming out this year, Barack Obama just had a new one come out with two more to follow... These are not just memoirs, they’re books that are trying to influence policy, and there’s very much shades of Nixon in that.” LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE




The GVSU swimming and diving team won their first competition of the 2021 season against the University of Findlay. The Lakers men’s team won 193-91 and the women’s team won 209-77. The women’s team was especially impressive as they won all 16 events they competed in. They were led by Delaney Wihebrink, who set a new pool record in the 100-meter breast by finishing first with a time of 1:03.11. Wihebrink again set another pool record, along with fellow swimmers Melina De Cort, Alysa Wager and Emma Bliss in the 200-medley relay. They finished the race clocking in at 1:44.25.  The men’s team finished one event short of a full sweep as well, as they won 15 events. They featured familiar winners in events like Oscar Saura-Armengol, who won the 50-meter freestyle (20.80) and 100-meter fly (49.08). Keegan Hawkins also made his presence felt by winning three events: the 100-meter breast (57.04), the 200-meter breast (2:04.22) and the 200-meter IM (1:52.43). Freshman Eric Heiber won his first two events as a Laker in the 1,000-meter freestyle (9:22.53) and the 500-meter freestyle (4:33.77). 


The GVSU track and field team wrapped up their first event of the new year at the Bob Eubanks Open. The women received seven NCAA Division II provisional qualifications and the men received one automatic qualification and ten provisional marks. Allie Ludge won the mile race with a time of 4:50.23. Olivia Brian took first place in the 3,000-meter with a time of 9:48.52. Nicole Sreenan won two events in the open, placing first in the 60-meter (7.51) and the 200-meter (24.11). In the long jump event, Angelica Floyd took first with a jump of 5.49 meters.  Caleb Futter (4:06.26), Dennis Mbuta (4:09.15) and Connor Schwartz (4:10.55) took the top three spots in the men’s mile run. Justin Scavarda received the only automatic qualification for the Lakers. In the shot put event, Scavarda received his qualification on an 18.55 meter throw. 


Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at GVSU were represented last week as they received GLIAC honors. Christian Negron and Emily Spitzley were named the GLIAC’s Players of the Week. In her first ever start for GVSU, Spitzley contributed 17 points and nine rebounds. To follow up that performance, she recorded her first ever double-double the very next day with an 18 point and 12 rebound game. In the first game of the weekend, Negron scored 12 points and added in 11 rebrounds. He followed up that performance by scoring a career high 25 points with 12 rebounds and four blocks in the next game.


Women’s basketball sweeps rival Ashland BY JOSH CARLSON SPORTS@LANTHORN.COM

The Grand Valley State University’s women’s basketball (4-0) team has a new look this year, and it’s a good one. There were uncertainties coming into this season. The Lakers returned none of their starters for last season and had to find out who would step up, especially against a team like Ashland University (2-2), who dealt the Lakers their three losses last season. Coach Mike Williams knew coming into this week playing Ashland back-to-back, the those three losses from last season would be something on the back of their minds. “The last five years, the games we have played against them have been unbelievable.” Williams said. “We have been watching film from last year, and two years ago in our gym and their gym. You can see the crowds, the players on the floor, and the intensity of the game, and you just know you are playing Ashland. This is a new group, so it’s not their trademark, but it’s certainly in their minds that this a team we have battled for five years.” The Lakers ground out their first win of the weekend, a 73-68 win on Saturday Jan. 16, which ended the Eagle’s 33-game win streak – the second longest in the country and included a 25-game conference win streak in the GLIAC. In the first quarter, the Lakers came out with high energy jumping to an 11-2 lead before Ashland called a timeout to settle the Lakers run. The Eagles then continued to try and chip away at the Laker’s lead, but the Lakers had other plans and were lights

UP AND AT ‘EM: Despite an entirely new starting lineup, GVSU’s women’s basketball team is off to a strong start to the season, including beating Ashland back-to-back. COURTESY | GVSU ATHLETICS

out shooting from beyond the arc. They were led by junior guard Brooke McKinley, who went 3-4 from three in the first half to bring their lead up to 42-30 by halftime. “I thought we played well in the first half,” Williams said. “We did a great job with decisions, made some shots and I thought we defended well.” Coming out of the half, the Eagles were not ready to go away quickly and came out with a 10-2 run of their own, bringing it to 42-40 and eventually tying the ball game at 44-44.

“We knew they would make a run at us,” Williams said. “We told our players you’re going to see what you’re made out of. This is going to be a great test for you; how are you going to respond?” The Lakers showed what they were made of by answering back at Ashland every time they came close to taking the lead. LOG ON TO: www.lanthorn.com FOR THE FULL ARTICLE


Men’s basketball revs up for electrifying season BY HOLLY BIHLMAN HBIHLMAN@LANTHORN.COM

As most of Grand Valley State University’s spring sports are trickling back into the spotlight, GVSU’s men’s basketball team has been preparing for a season the NCAA is sure to notice this year. Last season ended with the heartbreaking news of the team not making the NCAA Tournament despite their over-qualifying stats. Some of the seniors on the team have made it their goal to show the NCAA what they’re really made of.

Off to a stellar start, the boys won their first weekend of games Jan. 9-10 against Saginaw Valley, being one of two teams that left the weekend 2-0. The first game ended with a score of 76-59 and the second 72-67. However, this past weekend’s games in Ashland broke their winning streak on Saturday. They won their first game against the Eagles 6552 and lost the second by four points at 61-65. With limited practice over the summer and all pre-season, numerous challenges have led the team to be working twice as hard with individual practices and work-

outs. Seniors Jake Van Tubbergen and Christian Negron both see room for improvement as the season progresses, which can only mean the team is sure to impress. One of the more unusual challenges presented by COVID-19 is quieter games. Fans have a tendency to dramatically change the atmosphere, so without them, the games don’t quite have the same energy. Head coach Ric Wesley and his team have been working on adapting their game mentality without an audience.  “We preach the importance all the time to the guys about self-motivation,” Wesley said. “Even when we go on the road we might go to a place where we have no fans for us, so it’s important to support each other and find that fire within.” When a player’s mental game has to be just as strong as their physical game, a whole new set of struggles comes into play. Wesley has created a team of guys that care about the game as well as each other, so they can always lean on their teammates when their families aren’t able to cheer them on. LOG ON TO:

OVER THEIR HEADS: Leading senior Christian Negron (11) stretches over a defender near the hoop. The men's team is 2-0 after beating Saginaw Valley and Ashland. COURTESY | GVSU ATHLETICS

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Grand Valley Lanthorn vol. 55 no. 14  

Grand Valley Lanthorn vol. 55 no. 14