Year in Review 2020-2021

Page 1




Abbey London/The Ithacan

A special publication of THE ITHACAN




2020–21 EDITOR Arleigh Rodgers


DESIGNER Maya Rodgers

PROOFREADER Allison Reynolds

COVER PHOTO Abbey London




Connor Glunt



Cam Maxey Anna McCracken Kate Wolfel


Frankie Walls OPINION EDITORS Amisha Kohli John Turner NEWS EDITOR Alexis Manore ASSISTANT NEWS EDITORS Caitlin Holtzman Alyshia Korba LIFE & CULTURE EDITORS Maddy Martin Arleigh Rodgers ASSISTANT LIFE & CULTURE EDITORS

Maddy Martin Eva Salzman SPORTS EDITOR Arla Davis


Ash Bailot ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITORS Mikayla Elwell Eleanor Kay MULTIMEDIA EDITORS Erika Perkins Alison True PODCAST EDITOR Ilyana Castillo



Cassandra Logedo Frankie Walls AD SALES MANAGER


Michael Serino

CHIEF COPY EDITOR Sebastian Posada PROOFREADERS Bridget Hagen Lauren Leone ASSISTANT PROOFREADERS Bridget Hagen Brigid Higgins

© 2020–21 | THE ITHACAN


Senior Shoshana Maniscalco lights candles at a Feb. 24 vigil by the Ithaca College Library. The vigil was held in honor of faculty members who will be cut as part of the Academic Prioritzation Process, which sparked protests during Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan



A student bikes March 22 toward the Dillingham Center. Abbey London/The Ithacan

8–17 GLOBAL NEWS 10 August & September 12 October & November 14 December & January 16 February & March 18–21 Ithacan Index

22–35 PROFILES 24 Susan Salahshor 26 Sebastian Chavez 28 Will Walberg 30 Christine Kitano 32 Erienne Roberts 34 Warren Watson

36–91 NEWS 38 In Memoriam 40–45 RETURN TO CAMPUS 41 Fall 2020 42 At-home workspaces 43 LA Program & Commentary 44 Spring 2021 46–55 OPEN THE BOOKS 47 Faculty cuts overview 50 Department responses 52 Faces of Austerity 54 Commentaries 56–63 FIGHT FOR JUSTICE 57 Summer 2020 protests 58 Black Lives Mater counterprotest 60 ICTA BIPOC 61 Stop Asian hate 62 Commentary 63 Commentary & Tom Reed 64–73 COVID-19 IMPACT 65 Fewer student workers 66 Students lonely on campus 4

67 Commentary & “Ask a Freshman” column 68 Photo essay 70 Freshmen adjust to campus 71 Greenhouse research delay 72 Current events in class 73 Scholar in Residence eliminated 74–83 HEALTH & SAFETY 75 OT & PT clinics 76 Masks 77 Commentary 78 Public safety 80 COVID-19 vaccines 81 Remote CAPS services 82 Dining issues 83 COVID training 84–91 ELECTION 2020 85 Preparing for elections 86 SGC during election 88 Photo essay 90 Ithaca reaction to elections


A group of students walks on campus. Students returned to campus in Spring 2021 after a remote fall semester. Abbey London/The Ithacan

92–123 LIFE & CULTURE 94–111 FEATURES 94 Beekeeping 96 Fall and spring theater 98 Student filmmakers 99 Alumni documentary 100 Fan fiction 102 Handwerker Gallery reopens 103 Art and activism 104 Ithaca folklore 106 Virtual music classes 107 Whalen performances 108 Trader Joe’s 109 Steven Salvatore 110 SHARE farm 111 Buy Nothing Project 112–123 REVIEWS 112 Movie & TV reviews 118 Album reviews 120 Black creators spotlight 122 “Popped Culture” column

124–143 SPORTS 126 Liberty League timeline 128 Fall athetes 129 Spring athletes 130 Commentary 131 Athletic training 132 Spring sports spotlight 134 Photo essay 136 Untold Athletes 137 Miriam Maistelman 138 Ellen Staurowsky 139 Commentary & “Out of Bounds” column 140 Coaching virtually 141 Golf team 142 Luke Tobia 143 Athletes’ fifth years

144–149 MULTIMEDIA 146 Videos 147 Podcasts 148 Photo spread 5


Abbey London/The Ithacan

ARLEIGH RODGERS Editor, Year in Review

In September 2020, I visited Ithaca College’s apiary while working on an assignment about beekeeping during the COVID-19 pandemic. That morning, I crouched next to a congested hive, the swarm of bees angry because of the cold weather and, I assumed, my unfamiliar presence. When I consider my final year as a journalist and editor for The Ithacan, I select this moment as my most visceral — watching the beekeeper extract each frame, the honey dripping down onto the cool grass, feeling the wide circle of the beekeeper suit around my torso and flexing the stiff plastic of my protective blue gloves. It was a gratifying moment, the first time in months I felt I had truly reported in person. When approaching the themes we wished to illustrate in Year in Review, I remember discussing loss, a pressure that had snaked its roots into nearly every article we published. I longed for normalcy back in March 2020, when I thought regularity was still tangible. But while perusing those stories, it was obvious how swift their tones had changed. The pandemic’s impact, no matter how trivial, permeated our words. But rather than waiting for normal’s return, we trudged ahead. In a more ridiculous, well-trodden sense, we were reporting during “unprecedented times.” How deeply I despise, and laugh at, that phrase now. I meander between wistful and pessimistic when reflecting on my last year at the college. I’ve heard the many ways we refer to that muddled, once inconceivable time starting in the middle of March 2020 — a 6

period of odd nostalgia that I recall through the Zoom screens that lit up the room I shared with my sister and the prolonged, lackadaisical walks I took around my neighborhood. Summer seemed to pose an ebullient freedom, with its warm weather and opportunities to see friends outside safely. The upcoming fall semester could have been a fresh beginning too, and Spring 2021, a year after the pandemic’s inception, watched us with a faraway eye. In retrospect, I find it’s impossible to cherish our victorious highs without assessing our tumultuous lows. While I edited this book, the proximity these moments shared emerged more transparently to me. We saw Black Lives Matter protests resurge from police violence against innumerable Black individuals, and we saw these calls to action turn into a renewed push toward foundational change. We saw record recognition for Asian Americans in the film industry at the Academy Awards — and one day later, we saw the Atlanta shooting that targeted Asian-owned businesses and Asian women. Closer to home, we watched our college’s administration commit to seemingly boundless faculty cuts, disregarding professors, students and alumni — the very people who bear the weight of this institution — and we saw those professors, students and alumni wrestle back. We saw artists showcasing their art digitally and the toll virtual learning took on students. We journeyed back to campus, finally, starkly conscious of the contrast between this spring and the spring before.

Creating this book gave me a steadfast anchor to revisit the experiences of my senior year. But more importantly, it reminded me, as I hope it will remind you, that no force of power or commanding institutional voice can limit the intimately human experiences in these stories. And these stories are brimming with humanity — a community that fought to dismantle injustice, commentaries that breathed tangible life into an uprooted campus, athletes whose triumph on the field surfaced once again, freshmen who grappled with their first ever in-person semester, seniors who ache for the year we should have had, and the sophomores and juniors in the gray area of purgatory, with so much lost and yet so much to gain. As editors, we did not take this immeasurable impact for granted. I hope, as you read this, you feel it too.

The pandemic’s impact, no matter how trivial, permeated our words. But rather than waiting for normal’s return, we trudged ahead. – Arleigh Rodgers


Abbey London/The Ithacan


Editor in Chief, The Ithacan Every Thursday morning on my way to class, I would pick up a print edition of The Ithacan. There’s something that feels so distinctly special about seeing your name in print, to be able to hold a physical product of your work. In Fall 2020, as Ithaca College students sat in their bedrooms and logged onto their laptops to attend remote classes, the most I could do on a Thursday morning was go online to look at The Ithacan’s content from throughout the week. Admittedly, scrolling on Twitter just isn’t the same as flipping through a newspaper. But like so many other entities, The Ithacan had to adapt to continue its mission of providing community journalism to the students, faculty, staff and alumni. Shifting to a digital-first mindset is not easy, especially when editors, reporters and photographers are spread out across the country. It is even more difficult when there is no clear beginning or end to your day: Zoom classes so easily meld into Zoom meetings, which so easily meld into Zoom hangouts with friends. Wake up and do it all over again. Still, The Ithacan’s editors and staff members were committed to sharing stories with the campus community every day, in hopes of bringing everyone a bit closer together during a time when we were so harrowingly apart. The digital monotony of this year was staggering. But even if South Hill was quieter than usual in the fall, the campus community was still active. It was humbling to see that even if the world was seemingly on hold, the people who make Ithaca College what it is were not.

When we returned to campus in Spring 2021, I wasn’t sure what to expect. There was some relief, but along with that came the unsettling reality that campus would not look the same as a year ago. Honestly, I had some doubts that we would even make it through the whole semester on campus, especially when seeing other colleges and universities around the country falling like dominoes. On top of all of this uncertainty, the Academic Program Prioritization process and the cuts to programs, faculty and staff rattled our community. It’s hard covering an institution that you love so dearly. Ithaca College has been my home for four years, and it pains me to see it go through so many changes. It pains me even more to see some students, faculty and staff feeling like their voices are not being heard and losing trust in an administration that brought such a glimmer of hope four years ago. While the news that The Ithacan reports may not always be good press for the college, I believe that it is our obligation to cover these tensions and take a critical look at the issues that, though exacerbated by the pandemic, have always been present on our campus. We do this with the hope of coming out stronger in the end. As you’ll see in these pieces, there’s one word that I would use to describe the members of the Ithaca College community: tenacious. They don’t back down when things get bad. They question the systems around them. They advocate for justice and transparency. Undoubtedly, there were low points. But for all of the

heartache this year brought, there were moments of perseverance and community. Understandably, there is a yearning for life to return to normal. Even if students are fully back in the classrooms in Fall 2021 and Zoom University is a distant memory, I urge the campus community not to lose its momentum. In a time that has been so divisive, both nationally and locally, I have seen the campus community come together in ways I could not fathom in March 2020. It has been an immense privilege chronicling the stories of this community. Ithaca College is not what pulls us apart, but the ways we come together. An empowered student body is essential, and The Ithacan will always be here to amplify these voices.

In a time that has been so divisive, both nationally and locally, I have seen the campus community come together in ways I could not fathom in March 2020. – Madison Fernandez




Lev Radin/Pacific Press


Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News



AUGUST AUG. 12, 2020

AUG. 13, 2020

AUG. 23, 2020

Biden-Harris ticket set for presidential campaign

Postal Service draws attacks and support

Jacob Blake is shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Former Vice President Joe Biden named Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, elevating California’s junior senator as the first woman of color to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket. Harris was widely seen as a front-runner for Biden’s vice presidential pick, with her statewide experience as California attorney general and four years in the U.S. Senate. She was one of a half-dozen or so women considered among a diverse crop of contenders.

In August, President Donald Trump said he would block a funding boost for the U.S. Postal Service to handle an expected flood of mail-in ballots, admitting it was part of a White House effort to limit Americans voting by mail and raising chaos surrounding the election in November. Democrats had pushed to provide up to $25 billion in emergency funding for the cash-strapped Postal Service, which was under immense strain long before the coronavirus crisis.

The shooting of an unarmed Black American by police sparked more protests. Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by a white police officer after walking away from police who were trying to arrest him in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Huge protests erupted in Kenosha, and more violence followed: 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot three protesters, killing two of them, days after Blake was shot. Rittenhouse, who is white, was allegedly illegally armed with an AR-15 rifle.

Spotlight on pop culture & sports AUG. 11, 2020

Big Ten, PAC-12 call off fall sports The two conferences canceled all fall sports, including football, with the hope of moving their seasons to winter or spring. Other conferences around the country planned to carry on with other fall sports despite the pandemic. 10

AUG. 28, 2020

Chadwick Boseman Dies at 43 Actor Chadwick Boseman, known for his role of Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, died at age 43 from colon cancer. In February 2021, Boseman won a Golden Globe award for his role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”



Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87, leaves iconic legacy Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who championed women’s rights, died at 87. She was primarily known as a trailblazer for civil rights movements. In her life, she worked as an attorney who methodically chipped away at discriminatory practices. She was also the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, and she eventually became an unlikely pop culture icon. Shortly after her death, Trump quickly nominated conservative Amy Coney Barrett to replace her.

SEPT. 23, 2020

SEPT. 29, 2020

Police not charged in Breonna Taylor’s death

Trump and Biden face off in first debate of election

A grand jury decided not to hold police officers legally responsible for Breonna Taylor’s killing in Louisville, Kentucky. This decision generated protests in cities across the country. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the state found that the officers who entered Taylor’s apartment were justified in their actions March 13 because Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a gun at police first.

Shouts, insults and misinformation dominated the first presidential debate, as Trump sought to close a persistent polling gap againt Biden. Trump attempted to mobilize his base with conspiracy theories that veered into encouragement for pro-Trump “poll watchers” engaging in voter intimidation. The event quickly devolved into an incoherent volley, reflecting the harsh tone of politics in the Trump era.

Spotlight on pop culture & sports SEPT. 21, 2020

At 24, Zendaya wins Emmy award Zendaya became the youngest person to ever win an Emmy Award for Best Actress In A Drama Series for her role as Rue in the HBO show “Euphoria.” Zendaya was also the second Black woman to win the award, following Viola Davis in 2015.

SEPT. 25, 2020 Tik Tok user @420doggface208 goes viral A video of TikTok user @420doggface208, aka Nathan Apodaca, skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and drinking Cran-Raspberry juice went viral. The video has approximately 12.6 million likes and was recreated by other TikTok users. 11


OCTOBER OCT. 2, 2020

OCT. 8, 2020

OCT. 22, 2020

Donald Trump tests positive for COVID-19

Six men charged in plot against Michigan governor

Early voters make impact days before 2020 election

In early October, Trump and Melania, his wife, tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump was briefly hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with concerning symptoms. His diagnosis sparked an immediate response on Twitter, and some users blamed Asian Americans for his sickness. It was later revealed in February 2021 that Trump’s condition was worse than his team members led on, to the point that they discussed putting him on a ventilator.

The FBI announced arrests in a disturbing domestic terror plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Six men were charged with conspiring to kidnap the governor leading up to the Nov. 3 elections. Separately, seven others, who were linked to the paramilitary group Wolverine Watchmen were charged with allegedly seeking to storm the Michigan Capitol. The men were reportedly not happy about Whitmer’s strict COVID polices.

Trump and Biden made their final pitches for votes before the election. The two met in their second and final debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. It was the first such event to feature a mute button, after their earlier fiery meeting in September. Election officials reported that early turnout set records as voters sought to make their voices heard while avoiding crowds on Election Day.

Spotlight on pop culture & sports OCT. 23, 2020

‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ is released Sacha Baron Cohen’s sequel to his 2006 film “Borat” was released on Prime Video. The movie featured a controversial scene with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The film later won two Golden Globes. 12

OCT. 11, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers win the NBA championship The Lakers won the 2020 NBA championship after beating the Miami Heat. This win came approximately nine months after the death of Kobe Bryant, former Lakers player and legend in the NBA. This win marked the team’s 17th championship win.



NOV. 15, 2020

NOV. 21, 2020

Joseph Biden elected as 46th US president

Trump won’t concede, fight over votes ensues

Will Thanksgiving spark surge in COVID-19 cases?

Despite Biden’s decisive victory, Trump and his allies refused to concede defeat in the election. Republicans launched efforts to overturn the vote in key states, including Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Trump filed 62 lawsuits in total, 61 of which failed. His only win came from a Pennsylvania judge, though the decision did not affect a lot of votes or change the outcome of the election in Pennsylvania.

Between 800,000 and 1.1 million people flew in the days leading up to and after Thanksgiving, according to data released by the Transportation Safety Administration. Though those numbers were a fraction of typical Thanksgiving travel patterns, they were far higher than public health officials and epidemiologists hoped to see. The U.S. hit a record 12 million cases days before the holiday Nov. 21, just six days after it hit 11 million cases.

One of the most bitterly contested presidential races in American history finally came to an end as Biden defeated Trump. Biden won several states that had secured Trump’s victory in 2016. Biden also became the first candidate to rack up more than 80 million votes. The results were uncertain for several days after Election Day, but Biden’s victory was soon assured. Media organizations declared him the winner the weekend after the election.

Spotlight on pop culture & sports NOV. 17, 2020

Dolly Parton assists in COVID-19 vaccine funding After country musician Dolly Parton donated $1 million to coronavirus research in April, it was revealed that the singer also helped partially fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Her donation was made to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

NOV. 13, 2020

Harry Styles’ Vogue cover makes history and stirs up controversy Musician Harry Styles was the first man to appear solo on the cover of Vogue magazine. He wore a Gucci ballgown on the cover and caused waves on social media about Styles defying gender norms. 13



DEC. 14, 2020

Political unrest continues amid rising COVID cases

Facebook sued by US, 48 states in antitrust case

COVID vaccines approved by FDA

Trump and his allies in Congress and statehouses kept fighting to overturn results of the election. Their dubious legal challenges were almost completely rejected by courts nationwide. In a second recount, Georgia re-certified Biden as the winner of the state Dec. 7. On Dec. 8, COVID-19 cases nationwide surpassed 15 million, and for the first time, on Dec. 9, the U.S. surpassed 3,000 COVID-19 deaths, the highest in a single day at the time.

U.S. antitrust officials and 48 attorneys general sued Facebook Inc. in order to break up the company by unwinding its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. The government said these deals were part of a campaign to illegally crush competition. The New York-led Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general said they filed antitrust complaints against Facebook, alleging conduct that thwarted competition from rivals in order to protect its monopoly.

DEC. 7, 2020

After a year of tragedy and worry, Americans started receiving the coronavirus vaccine. New York nurse Sandra Lindsay was the first person in the U.S. to get the shot Dec. 14. Millions more followed, but logistical failures led to a slower vaccine rollout than hoped. The first vaccine approved was the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 11. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was approved Dec. 18. Both vaccines required two doses.

Spotlight on pop culture & sports DEC. 1, 2020

DEC. 13, 2020

Actor Elliot Page announced that he is transgender. Page is known for his role in the film “Inception,” and he was nominated for an Academy Award for “Juno.” The announcement was a significant moment for Hollywood’s trans community.

Taylor Swift announced the release of her second album of 2020, “evermore,” the sister album of “folklore,” which Swift released in July 2020. “Evermore” received generally favorable reviews from critics. It also includes features from Bon Iver and the band HAIM.

Elliot Page, actor in ‘Juno,’ is trans


Evermore is released Dec. 13


JANUARY JAN. 6, 2021

JAN. 13, 2021

JAN. 19, 2021

Pro-Trump rioters storm the US Capitol

After attack on Capitol, impeachment trial begins

Joe Biden inaugurated as 46th president of US

The storming of the United States Capitol was an attack on the 117th United States Congress. It was led by a violent mob of Trump’s supporters who attempted and succeeded in entering the Capitol with the intention of overturning Trump’s defeat. The storming happened while Congress counted the electoral votes to certify Biden’s victory. Lawmakers were evacuated while rioters entered the Capitol Building. Some rioters were armed. Five people died, and more than 140 were injured.

The second impeachment trial of Trump began one week after the riots at the Capitol. Trump was charged with incitement of insurrection. This trial marked him the only U.S. president and federal official to be impeached twice. This article of impeachment highlighted his attempts to falsify and overturn the 2020 election results, including his pressure on officials in Georgia. He was impeached by the House of Representatives but was later acquitted by the Senate on Feb. 13.

After weeks of turmoil, Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States in Washington, D.C. This marked the start of the four-year term of Biden as president. Harris became the first female, first Black and first Asian American to serve as vice president. Harris took the vice presidential oath of office before Biden, both of which were preceded by poetry readings and performances by artists like Lady Gaga.

Spotlight on pop culture & sports JAN. 8, 2021

JAN. 28, 2020

Musician and actress Olivia Rodrigo released her debut single, “Driver’s License,” a pop ballad that debuted at the top the Billboard Hot 100. Eight days after its release, the track became the fastest song to surpass 100 million streams in Spotify history.

Cicely Tyson, an Emmy- and Tony-winning actress, died at 96. Tyson was known for refusing to participate in blaxploitation movies of the ’60s. She returned to acting in “Sounder,” a several-time Academy Award–nominated film, including one for Tyson as best actress. She also received an Academy Honorary Award in 2018.

‘Driver’s License’ is released

Actress Cicely Tyson dies



FEBRUARY FEB. 27, 2021

FEB. 4, 2021

FEB. 10, 2021

House votes to remove Greene from committees

Texas without power following winter storms

Third vaccine approved in Biden administration

The U.S. House of Representatives voted

Following two severe storms in the Unit-

Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine received

230–199 to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor

ed States from Feb. 10 to 11 and Feb. 13 to

authorization from the Food and Drug

17, power outages and food and water

Administration. Before this, only the Pfizer

shortages thrust Texans into a power crisis.

and Moderna vaccines had been ap-

Frozen-over natural gas lines and a lack

proved. Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine

of winter preparedness were determined

is a single shot and 66% effective in com-

as the causes. Photos of Sen. Ted Cruz on

bating COVID-19 while Pfizer’s is 92.6%

a flight to Cancún, Mexico, during the crisis

effective and Moderna’s is 92.1%. Both

drew criticism on social media. Cruz said he

shootings. She had also called for violence

Pfizer’s and Modern’s vaccines require

was just accompanying his daughters on

a second shot. During the Biden admin-

towards Democrats and openly supported

the flight, but the trip was later revealed as

istration at this point, 50 million vaccines

conspiracy theory groups like QAnon.

an escape from the weather.

were administered.

Greene, a Republican from Georgia, from her two committee assignments — the Education and Labor committee and the Budget committee. The House voted her out following her controversial comments regarding the Parkland and Sandy Hook

Spotlight on pop culture & sports FEB. 7, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers win Superbowl LV The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV, beating out the Kansas City Chiefs 31–9. The last the team won was in 2003 against the Oakland Raiders.


FEB. 26, 2021

Billie Eilish releases documentary, ‘Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry’ Almost two years after her Grammy-sweeping debut album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” Billie Eilish released “The World’s a Little Blurry,” a documentary that captures her work on the album.



MARCH 16, 2021

MARCH 19, 2021

Woman’s death sparks conversations about safety

Shooter kills eight people at Atlanta-area spas

House supports bill against coup in Myanmar

Sarah Everard, a marketing executive from

A white gunman killed eight people, six

The House supported a suspension bill

London, went missing while walking home

of whom were Asian American women.

condemning a military coup in Myan-

The shooting ignited outrage among the

mar that forced out civilian leader Aung

Asian American Pacific Islander commu-

San Suu Kyi. All House Democrats backed

nity, a group that witnessed increased

it, but 14 Republicans voted against the

violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

measure. Daily protests in Myanmar

The shooter attributed his act to a “sex

have occurred for approximately a

addiction.” Rep. Bee Nguyen, the first Vi-

month and a half after the military took

etnamese American Georgia state House

control of the country Feb. 1. Protestors

Representative, said the attack was at the

demand the military give civilians back

this, police forcibly broke up the crowd and

“intersection of gender-based violence,

their power and abolish the military

arrested four people for COVID-19 violations.

misogyny and xenophobia.”

written constitution from 2008.

in South London. Police officer Wayne Couzens was arrested March 9, and Everard’s remains were discovered the day after his arrest. Couzens was later charged with Everard’s kidnapping and murder two days after police found her remains. A vigil in South London was held March 13. During

Spotlight on pop culture & sports MARCH 14, 2021

63rd Grammy Awards ceremony makes history At the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, Megan Thee Stallion took home a bounty of awards, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Song with Beyoncé, who that night became the most-awarded woman in the show’s history.

MARCH 18, 2021

NCAA March Madness highlights gender inequality in sports Videos of unequal workout equipment for teams at the National Collegiate Athletic Association March Madness tournament sparked outrage. Women’s teams were given a dumbbell rack and yoga mats while men’s teams had a custom-built weight room. 17



Sources: Ithaca College Facts in Brief, the Office of Analytics and Institutional Research, Ithaca College COVID-19 dashboard and HomerConnect






$46,610 Undergraduate majors: 91 Undergraduate minors: 76

Graduate majors: 25 Certificates (undergraduate, nondegree): 1

Enrollment at Ithaca College 2018–21 7,000 Spring Enrollment

Total Enrollment

Fall Enrollment


5,000 2018



Year 18





Testing for the spring semester at the college was done through a saliva self-collection process.

Total recovered COVID-19 cases since August 2020 as of April 6



• Athletics & Events Center • The Campus Center • Terrace 13



Positivity Rate Based on data from March 14 to April 6, 2021

Fall 2020 was fully remote for most students. Juniors and seniors in the physical therapy, occupational therapy and athletic training programs took classes in person for their clinical requirements.








Spring 2021 classes started in person Feb. 8. Students were allowed to take all their classes virtually in the spring if they chose to do so.








1,142 Eleanor Kay/The Ithacan 19



Timeline of the virus’ impact on campus OCT. 12, 2020 First county resident dies of COVID-19 On Oct. 12, the first resident in Tompkins County died due to COVID-19 complications. The elderly individual was admitted to Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) on Oct. 6. The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) did not release information about the resident because of medical privacy, according to a release from TCHD. At the time, there had been 464 total positive cases in Tompkins County since March 14, 2020.

Keegan Webber/The Ithacan

AUG. 18, 2020 IC holds fall classes remotely In an email to the Ithaca College community, President Shirley M. Collado said that she and the Senior Leadership Team decided to continue remote learning in Fall 2020 because of the continued severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2020, the college launched a COVID-19 dashboard that was updated every weekday and included data starting Aug. 14, 2020.

SEPT. 24, 2020 Two IC graduate students test positive Two graduate students who lived off campus tested positive for COVID-19. These were the first known positive cases among members of the college community since the college announced it would continue remote learning for Fall 2020. The students were placed in isolation in their local homes and received care, and there was no exposure on the college’s campus. Three days later, a third member of the college community tested positive for COVID-19.

Mikayla Rovenolt/The Ithacan


DEC. 10, 2020 County hits new high with cases On Dec. 10, Tompkins County broke another record for the number of active COVID-19 cases with 305. Before this, the county first hit the highest number of active cases on Dec. 1 with 219. Then, on Dec. 7, the county reached 293 total cases. TCHD attributed the rise in cases to Thanksgiving travel and small indoor gatherings. On Dec. 7, the county also saw the highest single-day increase in cases with 61 positives. In 2021, the county passed this record Jan. 20, when it had 62 new cases.


MARCH 19, 2021

Paige Tolan/The Ithacan

JAN. 15, 2021 First strain of UK variant found in Tompkins County TCHD identified a positive case of the U.K. variant of COVID-19 in Tompkins County. In a Jan. 15 announcement, the department stated that after a contact investigation, no close contacts were identified. The case was identified through Cornell University’s COVID-19 testing lab. The U.K. variant was first detected in the United States in December 2020. On March 22, 2021, TCHD announced that other cases of the U.K. variant, as well as the New York City variant and the Southern California variant, were found among Tompkins County residents.

Cornell University raises alert level Cornell University raised its COVID-19 alert level from green, which meant cases were rare and transmission was controlled, to yellow, which means there was low to moderate risk of transmission. In the week of March 10 to 17, there were 74 positive cases. President Martha E. Pollock and Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff sent a message to the Cornell community March 19 and attributed the rise in cases to students disregarding public health guidelines. Approximately half of the cases were linked to Cornell freshmen, and the rest were related to Greek life organizations, athletic teams, parties on and off campus, and travel outside of Ithaca, according to the message. Cornell previously raised its alert level to yellow Feb. 5 due to a cluster linked to a party. The alert level was lowered Feb. 22. In Fall 2020, the university also raised its level to yellow Sept. 3, lowering it Sept. 16, and Nov. 13, lowering it Nov. 19.

FEB. 5, 2021 College reports COVID-19 guideline violations At the end of a phased move-in process for Spring 2021, the college received multiple reports of COVID-19 guideline violations. In a Feb. 5 message to the campus community, Rosanna Ferro, vice president for student affairs and campus life, said large gatherings where COVID-19 guidelines were not followed were concerning. The college had 15 active cases at the time, seven of which were residential students, six were off-campus students and two were staff members. As of Feb. 8, there were 22 students in public health and isolation quarantine and four in travel advisory quarantine. Later in the semester, the college relaxed some restrictions related to COVID-19 due to a low positivity rate on campus. As long as cases remained low, students were allowed to visit other rooms on their floors starting March 1. When visiting other rooms, students were advised to remain 6 feet apart and wear masks.

Courtesy of Tompkins County Health Department

MARCH 3, 2021 Active cases in county fall below 100 Active COVID-19 cases fell below 100 in Tompkins County for the first time in months. There were under 100 active cases from Feb. 28 through March 10, 2021. The last time there were fewer than 100 active cases in the county was Nov. 11, with 73 cases. By the end of March, Tompkins County also saw more people get vaccinated. As of April 6, 46,405 people received their first dose of the vaccine and 25,145 received their second dose. The average number of new daily positive cases in Tompkins County also decreased throughout February 2021. The average for February 2021 was 16.3 cases per day, while the average for January 2021 was 31.2. In March 2021, the average was 15.5 cases per day.




Abbey London/The Ithacan


Abbey London/The Ithacan

Abbey London/The Ithacan




Abbey London/The Ithacan



Professor centers social justice in teaching By Emily Lussier and Luke Haworth

When she was just 8 years old, Susan Salahshor — assistant professor and founding program director of the physician assistant (PA) program at Ithaca College — cared for her first patient. Salahshor’s great-grandmother wounded her leg working in the yard. Because of her great-grandmother’s diabetes, and likely infection, doctors recommended that she get her leg amputated. She refused. Salahshor and her family tended to her great-grandmother’s ulcerated leg, and she lived beyond her six-month life expectancy. “I learned so much about medicine and really about the patient’s desires,” Salahshor said. Salahshor said that when she moved to the U.S. from Jamaica at 15 years old, she wanted to go to medical school. There are no PAs in Jamaica, she said, so she did not know what they were at the time. PAs are medical professionals who work in collaboration with physicians to diagnose illnesses, manage patient treatment plans, prescribe medications and more. One day, Salahshor got sick with an ear infection, and her mother set up an appointment with a PA because her doctor was unavailable. “My mother didn’t even know what a PA was, but all she knew was someone had to look at this ear, and that’s how I found out what PAs did, because I noticed she was doing the same things the doctor was doing,” Salahshor said. Now, Salahshor has been a PA for 25 years. Salahshor graduated from the St. John’s University/Bayley Seton Hospital PA program in 1994 with her bachelor’s degree and PA certification. She later went on to get her master’s from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and her Ph.D. from Capella University. She has previously worked at hospitals, clinics and private practices and as an educator at Florida State University (FSU). Salahshor has been working at Ithaca College since November 2019 as it develops a PA program in the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance (HSHP). Due to New York State Department of Education rules regarding the accreditation process, Salahshor said, she is unable to share any information on the college’s PA program. Linda Petrosino, dean of HSHP, said she knew Salahshor was perfect for the position. “She understood the human resource necessary to deliver the program and most impressive was the way she immediately engaged with community leaders and physician assistants in the surrounding locality,” Petrosino said via email. “She has worked tirelessly with her faculty and staff team to bring this program alive.” Salahshor chose to get her Ph.D. rather than a doctorate so that she could teach. She said it took her six years to finish her degree. During that time, she was working full time at the Mayo Clinic Florida working as a lead PA for the inpatient liver transplant team, volunteering with the Florida Academy of PAs (FAPA) — an organization promoting and protecting the PA profession in Florida — and raising children, Salahshor said. “I remember having my second child and taking my computer to the hospital, telling my husband to set it up so that as soon as I come out, I was on there typing up my homework.” she said. At FAPA, Salahshor served as its first Black president. Her biggest platform when running for president, she said, was leadership and advocacy. PA students learn to diagnose and treat patients while advocating for their patients’ needs, Salahshor said. “It’s not just the amount of time we have with a patient, it’s what we can do with that time that sticks with that patient,” she said. “One of our tenets is our ability to connect with a patient beyond the practice of medicine.” Salahshor said that, after working at FSU for three years — two as an assistant professor in the PA program and one as director of an

undergraduate program for health care students — she began looking for new opportunities in higher education. She said she was interested in academic or program director roles at schools either that were starting new PA programs or that had a diverse student body. When Salahshor attended PA school, there were no Black or brown faculty at her school, she said. According to Data USA, 73.7% of PAs in the United States were white as of 2019, while only 6.13% were Black. “When I was going through this process, I really started to realize I needed to spend more time mentoring Black and brown students because there was not enough PAs out there,” Salahshor said. She said that throughout the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have demonstrated how wide the health care gap is. “We saw because of this institutional racism in health care, in the housing environment, … all the pieces impacting Black people getting COVID-19 and dying,” Salahshor said. “We have hypertension. We have stroke. We have diabetes. We have all these things because we didn’t have access to care.” In Fall 2020, HSHP held a series called “Conversations on COVID,” where health professionals discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public health and medical care systems. Salahshor was featured in the series to discuss how the role of practicing PAs changed during the pandemic, including the surge in telemedicine and the use of online health services. She also discussed racism during the pandemic. In addition to fighting COVID-19, the United States dealt with an increase of highly publicized crimes against Black individuals, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. “Racism is a public health crisis,” Salahshor said during the conversation. “As we see right now, we’ve got to make the change, and I think health care providers are in the best position to make that change because we can advocate for our patients, no matter where they are. As a health care provider, our second role is to advocate.” Felix Alvelo, a former FSU student and mentee of Salahshor, said she has guided him since he began his studies and continues to encourage his career growth. “She’s always had high expectations for me, and at times, it’s been difficult to meet those, but it’s really pushed me to be the best person that I am,” he said. Michelle Gough, former vice president of FAPA, met Salahshor through the organization while Salahshor was president. Gough said that Salahshor is experienced as a PA and that she turns to Salahshor for advice and guidance. She said that having a mentor like Salahshor is very important. “You really need to have someone that you can call on for anything hard, and you need someone that can hold you accountable to make sure that you’re living up to your potential,” Gough said. Salahshor said she continues to learn from students. She said one focus she has now is making sure that teaching on the social determinants of health — for example, where one lives or works — is emphasized in PA education. “We really, as educators, have to do a better job taking what is currently happening in society and embedding it throughout our curriculum,” Salahshor said. She said Black and brown people within health care cannot do the work of addressing medical racism alone. She said she encourages white health care professionals and educators to ask their students and patients of color what they need in order to teach and care for them more effectively. “I no longer want my white colleagues to tell me they’re not racist,” Salahshor said. “I want them to tell me what they’re doing for the anti-racism movement. I think that’s where we can concretely impact what is happening.” 25



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I don’t do it for now. I do it for future POC. Any of my activist work is towards POC. It’s for their embetterment, and it’s to elevate POC’s communities ... in any way possible while I’m here in Ithaca. – Sebastian Chavez

Student spearheads change on campus By Grace Azaula

In the 2020–21 academic year, junior politics major Sebastian Chavez was one of the key players in attempting to create a more inclusive, diverse and transparent Ithaca College. Chavez said he entered college as an athletic training major but realized that he did not have a passion for the field after looking at the courses he would be taking. Chavez said that he had hoped to make a change within the department when it came to diversity and inclusion but that he felt that there was no opportunity to do so. Instead, he realized the Department of Politics was where he belonged. “I always had a passion to help people, but I didn’t know what people I wanted to help or what I really wanted to do,” Chavez said. “But it was something kind of like a calling. … On the day of registration for classes, I told my supervisor I’m changing my major. This is it, and I’m here now, so I think it was a good choice.” Chavez said he joined the Student Governance Council (SGC) as a senator-at-large his freshman year because of the lack of diversity at the college and the impact that it had on students and faculty of color. In 2019, Chavez became the first Students of Color Coalition (SOCC) senator. In this position, Chavez said, he advocates for the SOCC so that it can support other organizations for students of color on campus. Senior Alex Paredes-Ruíz, co-chair of SOCC, said Chavez uses his charisma and his position as a senator to amplify the voices of students of color. “He’s really good at communicating with people because he has a natural kind of ability, which is very remarkable,” Paredes-Ruíz said. “That’s something that complements the entire group as well because I think all of us bring different skill sets. That’s a big idea of SOCC, is that we’re all like a community-based group versus an individualistic-based group.” Chavez said that in Fall 2020, he got involved with Open the Books, a coalition that advocates for more financial transparency from the college. Chavez said he spoke as a representative for the SGC at one of the coalition’s first rallies and then became more involved because he felt that there needed to be more voices of color in the coalition. Chavez said he thinks the pandemic has led to an increase in activism, especially on the college’s campus, because COVID-19 has shed light on the systemic racism that plagues the United States. In summer 2020, George Floyd’s death sparked student involvement in protests across the country. Locally, there were weekly Black Lives Matter rallies in Ithaca that protested racial injustice and police brutality.

“[COVID] is very threatening to a lot of marginalized communities,” Chavez said. “But it also opened the door for a lot of conversations and a lot of dialogue and to provide evidence that Black people and Latinx people are dying more rapidly than any race in this country because of the communities they are placed in.” Junior Julia Machlin, an Open the Books organizer, said Chavez provided a crucial perspective rooted in intersectionality. “Something that has been super helpful with Open the Books is just being aware of what we’re doing and the impact that has both on POC students and BIPOC staff and faculty,” Machlin said. “When your organization is a little whiter, it doesn’t come up as much as it should, and he’s been doing a really great job of just keeping conversations going and holding people accountable.” Chavez said his engagement with organizations on campus is, and should continue to be, interconnected. “We have to focus on interconnecting SGC, interconnecting Open the Books and SOCC,” Chavez said. “If you notice in all three of those, there’s still a lack of diversity. There’s still a lack of inclusion. And not saying that none of them want them to be inclusive, but what I’m saying is there has to be a bigger platform and a bigger space.” Chavez said his activism is rooted in the work of other people of color and activists who have shaped him. “I don’t do it for now,” Chavez said. “I do it for future POC. Any of my activist work is towards POC. It’s for their embetterment, and it’s to elevate POC’s communities, individuals, education, in any way possible while I’m here in Ithaca. … My activist work isn’t something I see for myself. I see it for the improvement of others.” In the past, students have been vocal about change on campus, including holding protests over former President Tom Rochon’s inaction toward racism on campus. The Student Governance Association — the former name of the SGC — unanimously voted “no confidence” in the president. Rochon stepped down in 2017. Chavez said it is essential to continue holding the administration accountable, whether or not they are people of color. “Change does not happen in a day,” Chavez said. “To all my POC comrades and peers who I worked with and hope to work with in the future, know that no matter what place you are, you are important. You matter to the conversation because, without you, Ithaca College will continue to be this racist institution. Racism still exists. No matter what, but every day, once you talk about these issues, or when you just fight back and support one another in a solidarity form, we can make change for the betterment.” 27



Abbey London/The Ithacan



Video games become medium for virtual photography By Antonio Ferme

With a click of the button, Ithaca College sophomore Will Walberg captured a photograph of an old man fishing on a lake. The man stood next to his horse as the colorful horizon and cumulus clouds reflected in the water’s surface. Although the photo looked like it was taken in real life, it was actually taken inside “Red Dead Redemption 2,” a single-player Western video game. While quarantining in April 2020 at home in Chicago, Walberg, a cinema and photography major, used photo mode in video games to take photographs with a real-life quality. Walberg took these photos for his Introduction to Photography final project by applying the techniques he learned in class inside the virtual world. “Being online hurts the motivation to go out and do stuff, and it was the heavier part of lockdown,” Walberg said. “There were not a whole lot of opportunities for my final project.” Photo mode is an aspect of video games that allows players to take pictures of their adventures. In “Ghost of Tsushima,” another game Walberg also took photos of, players have the ability to change the weather and the time of day, a feature that affects the lighting. Other elements that can be changed are the speed and direction of the wind, falling leaves or pollen and the positioning of a character’s cape, creating one of the most complex photo modes to date. Because his final project was announced during quarantine, Walberg found he did not have many opportunities to take photos of people. On his photography Instagram account, Walberg often posts portraits. He was already familiar with the photo mode by playing video games, so Walberg said he had the idea to use these virtual photos for his final project. “A lot of the responses were just disbelief that the pictures I was showing were from a video game,” Walberg said. In the early 2000s, games like “Gran Turismo 4” and “Halo 3” popularized the feature. With releases like “Spider-Man,” the “Assassin’s Creed” franchise and “Super Mario Odyssey” adding photo mode, the feature became more mainstream within the gaming community. Players were given a different way to creatively interact with the game’s virtual universe. Walberg is far from alone in his exploration of this aspect of the game. Approximately 155,000 Reddit users have created a community on the subreddit r/SpidermanPS4, created in 2016, where they post photos they have taken inside the game on PS4 using photo mode. The PhotoMode, a free, monthly magazine, also showcases approximately 50 pages of photos taken in video games. Every photo includes a caption from the photographer about their vision for the picture. The magazine includes photos from games like “Days Gone” and “God of War.” The social aspect of video games and features like photo mode offer a level of creativity for players, said Leah Williams, a tech and entertainment writer who specializes in video games and pop culture at Kotaku Australia and Gizmodo Australia. “Ghost of Tsushima” is the most modern example of this. Its expertly crafted visuals and shooting styles create photogenic moments that users will want to share. “Photo mode will continue to become a tool for socializing with gaming at its center,” she said via email. “It’s a great way for sharing memories and moments with friends, and it’s sure to be a popular tool for the next generation of games as video game graphics and narratives evolve in the future.” Walberg said the freedom of photo mode can also be an obstacle to using the feature because it is not constrained by reality. He limited himself to taking pictures in ways he could replicate in real life, like setting his virtual camera at a street corner, peering in a building through a window or standing on top of a roof to capture the scene below. Walberg said the games’ high-resolution images also

helped photos to appear as if they were taken in real life. “What I enjoy about using photo mode is not so much taking pictures of the character that you’re controlling but the open world that the developers create,” Walberg said. Walberg said he first turned to Steven Skopik, professor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies, about his idea. Skopik taught the lecture section of Introduction to Photography while Michael Lewis, assistant professor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies, taught Walberg’s smaller breakout section of the class on a different day of the week. “It is a pretty unusual approach to a photo project,” Skopik said. “In that sense, it is really pushing the boundaries. I still kind of struck my chin and think, ‘Hmm, is this a real photograph?’ But in lots of ways, I think they are pretty similar.” Walberg said his selling point to Skopik was how photo mode grants the player access to essentially the same parameters photographers have, even though they are created on the computer. In the games, players have the option to change the aperture, alter the depth of field and move around within the world in a way that corresponds to what a photographer does when they frame a shot. “I had to explain to [Skopik] that it’s not pausing the game and taking a screenshot,” Walberg said. “I can change the focus lens and move around within the open world.” Once Skopik approved, Walberg passed his idea onto Lewis.

A lot of the responses [from classmates] were just disbelief that the pictures I was showing were from a video game. – Will Walberg

“He seemed sheepish when he first approached me about it, almost working out of the assumption that I would say, ‘Yeah, you can’t do that,’” Lewis said. “If it was not for us being at our respective homes, I don’t think he would have asked if he could pursue it.” In Lewis’ class, students needed to demonstrate their ability to shift focus from the foreground to the background while operating a camera. In photography, the foreground is the part of the image closest to the camera, while the background is the part farthest from the camera. Walberg said photo mode allowed him to do this, as well as change the aperture of his virtual camera to adjust the exposure. This makes a photograph look lighter or darker. Walberg said he thinks “Ghost of Tsushima” is a step in the right direction for the future of photo mode. He also said that he likes virtual photography as a hobby but that editing videos is what he hopes to pursue as a career. “There would be other games like ‘The Witcher 3,’ which would be such a perfect game because of the open world and beautiful graphics, but it doesn’t have it,” he said. “Now, almost every open-world game has a camera mode.” Lewis said he was glad to see Walberg pursue the project. “He came to the gaming world very knowledgeable but, as a photographer, very new,” Lewis said. “I came to gaming very new but as a seasoned photographer, so it was a very interesting intersection between the two of us.” 29



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As a poet, there are not a lot of ways that the work you do is visible to the people around you because poetry is not the most accessible or common art form. – Christine Kitano Writing professor appointed as poet laureate By Maddy Martin

Inheritance. Identity. Family. All these themes converge in the poems of Christine Kitano, assistant professor in the Department of Writing at Ithaca College. With creative writing classes and two poetry books under her belt, Kitano was bestowed another accolade — Poet Laureate of Tompkins County. The Tompkins County Legislature officially appointed Kitano as the county’s 10th poet laureate Jan. 19. The legislature established the position of Tompkins County poet laureate in 2001 to honor local poets and give them the platform to educate the community about poetry. A term for a poet laureate lasts two years. Kitano said Tompkins County poet laureates can be asked to write and read poems for local events. Kitano is the author of two collections of poetry, “Birds of Paradise” and “Sky Country.” She also is a faculty member for the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Kitano said she views the role of poet laureate as a community position and hopes to bring more community members into poetry. “As a poet, there are not a lot of ways that the work you do is visible to the people around you because poetry is not the most accessible or common art form,” Kitano said. “Especially for someone like my mom, who doesn’t read a lot of poetry, [being poet laureate] is something tangible. … This feels like something that’s more public.” Megan Barber, executive director at Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, the organization that assists in selecting the laureate, said poets can self-nominate or nominate another person for the position. Barber said that once the nominations came in, she put together a panel including herself, the 2019–20 poet laureate Melissa Tuckey and Tompkins County legislator Amanda Champion. Eleanor Henderson, associate professor and chair of the Department of Writing, said she immediately thought of Kitano when she heard about nominations for the position. “She is a professional,” Henderson said. “She is serious in her work ethic. She is dedicated and quietly works away on poems in her office. I have wonderful colleagues, but it’s difficult to find time to write, and she makes it a priority. She’s a really dedicated professor, and she’s also a really dedicated writer.” Barber said that when reviewing poets’ applications and writing samples, the selection panel considered the artistic qualities of the nominees’ work as well as their experience doing community work with poetry. “Everyone on the panel was moved by [Kitano’s] poetry,” Barber said. “It was accessible and personal and got people thinking about life in a way that maybe they hadn’t thought about before.”

Kitano said a lot of her poetry is inspired by the stories of her family that she heard growing up. Kitano’s mother immigrated from Korea when she was 16 and lived with Kitano’s grandmother through the Korean War, she said. Kitano’s father, a Japanese American, was incarcerated at Topaz Internment Camp during World War II. “I grew up with what felt like really important stories,” Kitano said. “Even though they were just family stories, they felt like they were historically significant.” In her first act as Tompkins County’s poet laureate, Kitano read a poem titled “Ithaca Domestic” before the legislature on Zoom. She said the poem was inspired by living in Ithaca and the resilience she has gained amid the pandemic. “I haven’t met [Kitano] in person yet, which feels a little weird,” Champion said. “I hope that at some point, I will get to meet her in person and get to know her a little bit. And hopefully later in the summer, maybe we’ll be back in our chambers and she can come read to us in person.” One of Kitano’s students, senior Mickey Snow, said she was impressed by the stories Kitano integrates into her poetry. “A lot of her poetry has to do with her heritage and being an American citizen along with having Korean and Asian heritage and trying to balance them both,” Snow said. “In America, it’s so hard to be yourself, and it’s so confusing trying to understand who you are. I see all of those attributes in her work.” Junior Olivia Notaro took Poetics with Kitano last fall, and she said it was her favorite class of the semester. Notaro said Kitano kept a structured plan while using Zoom and gave students enough space to learn and adjust to the new format. “She’s really open and understanding of everybody’s opinions and views,” Notaro said. “She’s great at facilitating conversation, and she’s a really genuine person when she’s reflecting about her thoughts on poetry and on literature in general and her entire perspective on what it means to read and write.” Kitano said she plans on organizing a poetry book club to help community members engage with poetry. “I hear a lot of, ‘I don’t want to read stuff that has to rhyme,’ and poetry doesn’t have to rhyme,” Kitano said. “Poetry is not just fun nursery rhymes that have nothing to do with real life. Even nursery rhymes are very much reflective of the culture in which they are written and the cultures in which they are celebrated. … It should be pleasurable and fun. There should be something about the language that just draws you in in the way that music draws you, and you don’t have to know anything about it to enjoy it.” 31



Courtesy of Erienne Roberts



Associate athletics director offers support to athletes at IC By Emily Adams

Erienne Roberts, associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator, is used to juggling complicated responsibilities in her job. From managing Ithaca College’s NCAA compliance to leading the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), Roberts is always on the move. Even during a year unlike any other, she has remained a constant source of support for the college’s student-athletes. The Bombers did not participate in any intercollegiate athletics from March 2020 to March 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Liberty League decided it would allow spring sport competition, and Roberts had her hands full adapting to the college’s return to in-person operations for the first time in a year. “With athletics, we are typically able to plan pretty well,” Roberts said. “Now, we just really have to be flexible. I think the biggest challenge is [getting] people to understand that ‘I just don’t know right now,’ or ‘I’m not sure right now,’ is the best answer that I can give sometimes. That’s even frustrating for me because I’m a very decisive person, a very strategic person.” The NCAA has also adapted to the pandemic, and Division III granted a blanket eligibility waiver to student-athletes who participated in collegiate sports any time since the beginning of the pandemic. This means that competitions since last March will not count towards the four seasons of participation that student-athletes are allocated. As the college’s point of contact for maintaining compliance with NCAA rules, Roberts said she has dealt with eligibility issues and restructuring before but never on this scale, she said. While individuals can always choose to take a season off due to injury or academic reasons, the NCAA has given every student-athlete currently competing a reason to consider extending their academic experience in order to utilize their full four seasons. “Where we can, we navigate and use the legislation with the understanding that we really want the academic priority coming first,” she said. “We don’t want that to take a back seat to completing our eligibility, so how we’re able to do that with that philosophy in mind has just been a little creative and different across what student-athletes look to do.” Susan Bassett, associate vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports, said Roberts has been essential in managing the administrative side of athletics in conjunction with the NCAA throughout the pandemic. “She’s very detail oriented and very thorough,” Bassett said. “She has just been instrumental in keeping a grasp of a constantly changing landscape of eligibility. She’s responsible for verifying enrollment of all of our student-athletes. She’s a deputy Title IX coordinator, and that’s a big responsibility. There’s a lot of detail to what her responsibilities are.” Roberts also supports athletes beyond their policy-related challenges. She has an open-door policy that she continued even while primarily working from her home in Ithaca. Any time she is not in a meeting or otherwise unavailable, athletes and coaches can join her in a Zoom office for a discussion about anything they might need. “For me, it’s rewarding,” Roberts said. “It’s fulfilling. Sometimes the conversations in my office are not about sports. It’s about everything else that they have to deal with and being able to provide them with some type of perspective. There should not be hurdles to get to an administrator. That’s not something I’m willing to negotiate, even if it does make my days longer.” Sophomore volleyball player Jennifer Pitts said Roberts’ efforts to build relationships with students make her an essential part of her experience as an athlete at the college. “Erienne is very hard working,” Pitts said. “She’s very good about knowing our names, addressing us by name, and she doesn’t have to

do that, but we really do notice how good she is about. She’s always at all of our games. She’s very humorous, and we like to joke around.” Leading the college’s chapter of SAAC also gives Roberts an avenue to connect with student-athletes. The group serves as a student government for athletes, and there is a national level of the organization that the college also reports to. Since Roberts was hired, she has helped to develop SAAC and has continued that work despite the pandemic. “We had such an amazing opportunity in the summer of 2020 to have a virtual seminar of leaders from across divisions talk to them about their values, their guiding principles, their mission, and how they deliver a student government structure that really meets the needs of their entire general body,” she said. “[The students] really took charge of what the pandemic offered by way of ‘How can I make lemonade?’ at this point. We had a lot of engagement opportunities we were looking to do in the community. Now we’ve switched that a little bit to be virtual so we can get those relationships together, and hopefully in the fall, more opportunities present themselves.” Junior Victoria Sestito, a field hockey player and co-chair of SAAC, said Roberts is a great leader for the group because of her commitment to the athletes and provides a positive experience for them. “Erienne is one of the best people I know,” Sestito said. “She’s so willing to go above and beyond for anybody. I think she is very giving and her ways — she gives things without expecting anything back in return.” Bassett said Roberts’ leadership skills and positive personality make her the perfect person to work with an organization like SAAC. “When we hired her, we knew that she had a real talent and interest for student programming,” Bassett said. “She just loves doing it. She’s just dynamic, and people are attracted to her. I think she’s been able to build a really good culture and environment for our student-athlete leaders.” The 2020–2021 academic year brought challenges beyond COVID-19. The United States and the college reckoned with the global movement for racial justice that gained traction in June after George Floyd was killed by police officers in Minneapolis. Roberts, the only Black woman in the college’s athletics administration, helped spearhead anti-racism education and other diversity initiatives within the department. Roberts has a partnership with the Institute of Sport and Social Justice, an organization that strives to make positive change in critical social issues through the power of sports. The Institute of Sport and Social Justice has a variety of different initiatives, some of which include fundraising, advocacy work and sport opportunities for youth. Roberts is trained through the Institute as a facilitator in diversity, inclusion and bias as well as gender-based violence. “One of the things that I really love about Ithaca College, that I really love about working with our leadership team and Susan Bassett, is that they allow me the space to develop that leadership of professional development,” she said. “That allows me to develop facilitation and engagement opportunities within our student-athletes and coaching staff.” Roberts said that her work in social justice adds some extra responsibility to her plate — but that this is a responsibility she enjoys and values highly. “I believe in student-athlete influence and the power of sport to create this social change and social justice that we need to get to,” Roberts said. “I think the power of sport is just incredible, and I can’t thank Susan, the administrative team, as well as the coaching staff enough just for being able to really embrace that I’m doing this and understanding that it is something that is important to me.” 33





A goal of mine is to be that voice for the college at the national level. I really don’t think anyone does it as good as we do, and that’s what’s really so special about being a Bomber. – Warren Watson

Football player named to national student-athlete council By Jack Murray

During the COVID-19 pandemic, leadership and resilience do not take the backseat. When junior Warren Watson, a defensive lineman for the Ithaca College football team, was accepted as the Liberty League representative position for the NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), he proved just that. Watson was turned down for the SAAC representative position the first time he applied. But when he learned that the former conference representative stepped down, the position opened up again, and he made a second-half comeback. As the new Liberty League representative in the national SAAC, Watson will help generate a student-athlete voice in the NCAA, respond to legislation impacting student-athletes and participate in the administrative process of athletic programs. Watson said the NCAA Division III SAAC is made up of units, which consist of two partnered conferences. The Liberty League is partnered with the University Athletic Association (UAA), so Watson works along the UAA representative. Watson began his term with the national branch in January 2021, and his term will last two years. Watson said that being appointed to this position was an honor. “I was just elated,” Watson said. “This is a great opportunity for us to have a voice directly correlated to college. That’s what I was really most happy about.” Watson serves as a current co-chair, alongside junior Victoria Sestito, a field hockey player, for the college’s SAAC, which is a chapter under the NCAA board. He will continue to be the college’s co-chair while serving on the national council. Sestito said that as co-chairs, they oversee the college’s chapter and work with the rest of the executive board to plan community service events, including National Girls and Women in Sport Day, Division III Week and Mental Health Awareness Week. “I know that my role is going to be similar to what I do here at the college with SAAC,” Watson said. “I’m just excited to be around those kinds of individuals and that kind of leadership.” Sestito said that working with Watson on the college’s chapter of SAAC is enjoyable and productive. She said she believes that he will thrive in this new position. “Warren and I are really close, and I really look at him as one of my close friends,” Sestito said. “He’s an awesome person and always goes above and beyond, no matter what we’re working on or what we’re trying to do. He’s really optimistic, flexible and has a personable

trait to himself.” Sestito said one of the reasons Watson is fit for his new role is his attitude. She said he has a way of placing the college over his own self-interests. “When he told us in our group chat, he was just so pumped,” Sestito said. “It wasn’t about him. It’s about Ithaca. That’s another thing about Warren: He’s always putting Ithaca and the organization above himself.” Watson has positively contributed on the gridiron for the Bombers. During the 2019 season as a sophomore, he got off to a hot start by racking up eight tackles and recovering one fumble in the first three games of the season. His progress came to a halt due to a torn pectoral muscle — a season-ending injury. Watson said he was disappointed by the injury, especially because it forced him to the sidelines for the 2019 Cortaca Jug at MetLife Stadium. But he said the experience helped him grow as a leader and become more appreciative of football. “You can work as hard as you possibly can, and you can put every single ounce of effort into football, and sometimes it just does not work out,” Watson said. “I feel like I have an advantage over some people in the real world because some of the things athletes go through, you can’t just rehearse.” Head football coach Dan Swanstrom noticed Watson’s desire to be a leader as soon as he started with the football program. He said Watson’s appointment to the position was not a surprise and represents Watson’s character. “He wanted to be a part of that organization before he was even a student here,” Swanstrom said. “He wants to set an example, and this is a perfect platform for him and his personality. His personal expectations and how he holds himself accountable to a certain standard made it easy for him to continue to rise in a leadership position, certainly within the football program and certainly within the Student-Athlete Advisory Council. He’s doing what we expected him to do when we recruited him here.” Watson said he looks at the position as a chance to learn while also having a direct voice in decisions made in the NCAA. “I’m looking at this as a great opportunity to enhance and grow as a person,” Watson said. “A goal of mine is to be that voice for the college at the national level. I really don’t think anyone does it as good as we do, and that’s what’s really so special about being a Bomber.” 35



Abbey London/The Ithacan


Alyssa Beebe/The Ithacan

Lexi Danielson/The Ithacan




Courtesy of Caywood’s Funeral Home

Courtesy of Abby Paquet’s Facebook

Carl Penziul

Abby Paquet

By Alyshia Korba

By Alexis Manore

Carl Penziul, lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at Ithaca College, died unexpectedly Nov. 26, 2020. Penziul’s death was announced to the college community Nov. 29. Penziul was 66 years old. Penziul taught courses in the Departments of Computer Science and Mathematics in the School of Humanities and Sciences, as well as in the Roy H. Park School of Communications. He also voluntarily served on several committees for the college during his time as a faculty member and coordinated the Ithaca Seminar Symposium. The announcement stated that Penziul was beloved by his students and that many of his classes were in high demand. “His students appreciated him, and we are certainly better people for knowing him,” one of his students said in the announcement. “Through his actions and words Carl made it clear that he wanted us all to be successful, and most importantly he showed how easy it is to simply show you care about others.” An obituary published Nov. 28 in the Star-Gazette encouraged people to direct all their memorials for Penziul to the Spencer Crest Nature and Research Center at SUNY Corning Community College. All services for Penziul were private.

Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado and Rosanna Ferro, vice president for student affairs and campus life, informed the college community via email that junior Abby Paquet died unexpectedly March 30. “Along with the entire IC community, we offer our sincerest condolences to Abby’s family, friends, classmates, professors, co-workers and all who are affected by her passing,” the email stated. “Let us all please pause to keep Abby and her loved ones in our thoughts and prayers, and to please continue to look out for one another.” Paquet was from Williamsville, New York, and graduated from Williamsville South High School in 2018. She majored in applied psychology in the School of Humanities and Sciences. Paquet was treasurer for the college’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a student employee for Information Technology, an inductee of the Oracle Honor Society and a Dean’s List student, the email stated. There was a gathering for the college community to remember Paquet on March 31 over Zoom. “We ask that you continue to take care of yourselves and one another, and to keep Abby and her loved ones close to your heart as we grieve this loss,” the email stated.



COVID-19 MEMORIAL On Jan. 19, 2021, Ithaca College joined other colleges, universities, businesses and communities in observing the National COVID-19 Memorial. The college adjusted the lights on Dillingham Center to amber to remember the hundreds of thousands of lives lost of COVID-19 in the United States. There were over 30.4 million total cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. between March 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, according to The New York Times. There were also 551,638 deaths since March 1, 2020, and in late March 2021, the U.S. was averaging approximately 64,000 cases per day — a 17% increase from earlier in the month but a lower daily average than in December 2020 and January 2021, when single-day increases often surpassed 200,000 new cases. Eleanor Kay/The Ithacan




Students lined up to check into their housing Jan. 28 at the A&E Center before starting a mandatory 24-hour quarantine. Alyssa Beebe/The Ithacan



Ithaca College held classes remotely in Fall 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students would have returned to campus by Oct. 5. Athina Sontis/The Ithacan

College reverses reopening plan, holds Fall 2020 classes remotely By Madison Fernandez and Alexis Manore

On Aug. 18, 2020, Ithaca College announced it would be holding classes remotely for Fall 2020, a change from its initial plans for in-person instruction. In an email to the college community, President Shirley M. Collado said she and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) made this decision based on the continued severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Necessary modifications, including facilities preparedness and population density, would negatively alter the on-campus experience, Collado wrote. “Personally, this saddens me greatly, and I have sincerely missed seeing our campus activated with our students’ energy and their zest for learning and for life,” Collado wrote. “I also know how very much our students want to return to IC — we have heard your voices so clearly.” The college had been communicating plans about returning to campus, including the implementation of the Return to Campus Task Force, since May 2020. That month, the college announced that the fall semester would begin with in-person instruction on Oct. 5, with reduced breaks during the academic year. At the end of June 2020, the college released an updated academic calendar with dual instruction beginning Sept. 8. This included a phased move-in process intending to bring all residential students back to campus starting Aug. 28. The college then released its reopening plan Aug. 11, approximately one week before Collado’s email reversing this decision. The document released Aug. 11 outlined the repopulation of the campus and monitoring the campus community’s health. Fall 2020 classes started Sept. 8.

The college was one of many institutions of higher education that reversed their plans for in-person instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 70 other colleges in the United States made the same choice for their fall semesters. Locally, Cornell University and Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) held in-person classes for the fall semester. Both institutions experienced COVID-19 clusters during their semesters, and TC3 closed for one week in November 2020 following 11 positive cases among students. The college did not lower tuition as a result of Fall 2020 classes being online, despite petitions and criticisms. Laurie Koehler, vice president for marketing and enrollment strategy, announced this at the All-Student Gathering on Aug. 19, when she also said that if tuition was lowered then financial aid would also have to be decreased. Koehler said a tuition reduction is not necessary because faculty members were prepared to teach their courses effectively. As a result of this announcement, students created petitions calling for the college to reduce its tuition for Fall 2020. The petitions cited that students pay for access to the Fitness Center, the library, the Writing Center, Park Portable Equipment Center and Services (PPECS) and practice rooms along with their classes and that because the college was remote, students would not have access to these and therefore should not have to pay for them. In Fall 2020, The Pantry — the college’s on-campus food pantry — PPECS, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services and the Hammond Health Center were open for students to access. The Fitness Center and the library were closed for in-person use. Senior Connor Shea, president of the Student Governance Council, said that regardless of what the

college says about tuition, he thinks that the cost is an issue for students. He said he and other students had a hard time believing that virtual classes will be the same experience as in-person classes. “Do you really think that this digital experience will equate to … the 50 minutes or hour or so that you have that professor in that room with those students?” he said. “You can’t tell me that’s the same experience.” The college’s timing of the announcement and refusal to lower tuition drew criticism from some members of the college community, the majority of which took place on social media. “Say sike [right now],” user @jakeplentz commented. “That wasn’t very cash money of you.” Some comments supported the college’s decision. “Thank you for keeping our safety at the forefront of your minds,” user @amurthaaa wrote. While the college did not lower tuition, it did not increase tuition for the 2021–22 academic year. In an email to the campus community sent Dec. 4, 2020, the SLT announced that tuition for the 2021–22 academic year will remain at $46,610, with the cost of a double room at $8,976 and a standard meal plan at $6,868. The total cost of attendance will be $62,454. The college increased tuition 2.95% for both the 2019–20 and 2020–21 academic years — the largest percent increases since the 2014–15 academic year. The Ithaca College Board of Trustees decided not to raise tuition because of financial strain due to the pandemic, the email stated. “We know that accessibility and affordability are always paramount concerns — even more so during a year that has left many facing uncertainty and financial challenge in the midst of this public health crisis and its economic fallout,” the email stated. 41


Students and professors showcase their workspaces for online learning

The Ithacan’s photo team invited Ithaca College students and professors to share the at-home workspaces that they created for the remote fall semester when the Ithaca College Library, computer lounges, study lounges and offices — to name a few — were not accessible. “Over the past few months, I’ve found that I spend a lot of time at my desk. Whether it’s for Zoom calls with friends, class, work or just for fun, my workspace is sort of like an all-in-one battle station.” – Sophomore Lucas Cavanagh Courtesy of Lucas Cavanagh

“My workspace has mostly personal items and K-pop albums as well as my computer and camera for [Introduction] to Photography.” – Freshman Deena Houissa Courtesy of Deena Houssia

“I am a first-year film, photography and visual arts major, and I wanted a new workspace that could inspire me when working.” – Freshman Adylise Nicholas

“I’ve carved out space in a sunny corner of the guest room where I’ve added some Carrie Fisher quotes and a cushy place for the cat to lie.” – Jaime Warburton, assistant professor in the Department of Writing

Courtesy of Adylise Nicholas

Courtesy of Jaime Warburton



Commentary: Spring 2021 should be virtual By Zeyneb Henderson

Quin Stocks ‘20, Julia Bergdoll ‘20 and Sam Butlien ‘20 in Los Angeles. Courtesy of Julia Bergdoll

ICLA program canceled for Spring 2021 By Caitlin Holtzman

The Ithaca College Los Angeles (ICLA) program was canceled for Spring 2021 on Oct. 14. Jack Powers, interim dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications, announced that the program was canceled during the Parent and Family Virtual Gathering on Oct. 14. ICLA is primarily available for Park School students and includes a semester-long internship along with classes related to television, radio, cinema, photography and communications. A lack of quarantine housing, medical staff on the ICLA campus and in-person internships for Spring 2021 led to the decision to cancel ICLA, according to an Intercom announcement Oct. 15. Powers said he did not want to risk students’ health by running the program. Juniors who planned to go to LA in the spring will have the option of attending the program in summer 2021, Fall 2021 or Spring 2022. Seniors will have the option to participate in summer 2021 Normally, the program starts in June and runs for 10–12 weeks, but summer 2021 may start later, Powers said. Stephen Tropiano, director and professor at the James B. Pendleton Center in LA, and Steven Ginsberg, associate professor and Pendleton endowed chair at the Pendleton Center, taught classes online during Spring 2021. Senior Gavin Berger was supposed to participate in the ICLA program in Fall 2020, which

was also canceled. Berger said that because the fall program was canceled, he was not shocked that ICLA was canceled in the spring. “I’m glad it was canceled earlier versus later,” he said. “For the fall program, they had everyone sign up for LA classes and then canceled it.” Senior Leah Ettinger also said she was not surprised by the decision. “Even if we went in the spring, it still wouldn’t be the typical LA experience,” Ettinger said. “We’d still probably be wearing a mask. We probably would be doing [internships] remote anyway.” Senior Christopher Ashe was also supposed to participate in ICLA in the spring and said he was upset that it was canceled. He and Ettinger said they have not had internships yet and were looking forward to having them in LA. “If the summer can work, it would actually benefit the seniors because they get to go right into the job field, but that’s if it happens,” Ashe said. Ettinger said she was not happy that the announcement about ICLA’s cancellation was made during the parent meeting and not made directly to students. Ashe said he heard about ICLA being canceled through word-of-mouth. “Some people were in the room with parents, and they were giving the information out to their friends, so [other students] weren’t hearing it from the school,” Ashe said. “That gives a little more anxiety to the whole thing.”

When Ithaca College announced its plan to reopen for Spring 2021, its community and students were left with nothing but questions. Will the college pull the plug on in-person classes again? In the midst of a pandemic, allowing students to come back does not come without risks. The decision to hang out with a friend, kiss someone at a party, party in general or smoke socially was not something we ever had to think about twice until now. The safety of Ithaca’s community would be put in the hands of the college and all its students. I do not believe the college should reopen for Spring 2021, but we need to be prepared for all scenarios. If the college reopens, the students will be responsible for the safety of Ithaca and need to return with compassion, treating the community as if it were their own grandparents. I’ve seen my own community thrown through the depths of fear and paranoia at the hands of college students. Over quarantine, I worked at the most popular cafe in Oneonta, New York. With the return of college students, I watched as Oneonta went from two active cases to a startling 105 in just a few days. By the third week of classes, over 700 students had tested positive for COVID-19. This could have been easily avoided had the students been more aware of the ripple that their actions would cause. Videos of crowded houses spread through Twitter, showing startling numbers of people cramming themselves into parties — no masks, no social distancing. I watched this outbreak plague my small upstate town and break the trust between its community members and its college students. Some longtime customers, consumed by fear, refused to step foot into the cafe. As students, we need to come back with an understanding that our actions will ripple throughout the community. Ithaca prides itself on how closely its students and locals work together, and I would hate to see this unity be thrown into division. How can a college send socially starved young adults into an environment where they are used to constant interaction and expect them not to do as such? Cold weather means indoor gatherings, and the time of year warrants flu season and also a rise in cases. I believe the smart decision is to halt reopening and keep students home. However, we are currently on track to go back and need to be prepared to handle it correctly. If this happens, students need to join together to avoid the catastrophe that I witnessed in my own community. Watching Oneonta be plagued by the virus gave me an inside look at the harsh reality of just how reckless college students can be. We can change this outcome. We can wear masks, limit social gatherings to only an inner circle, continue to get tested regularly and be smart about how we act — without negatively impacting the entire community. If Ithaca College follows through with its plan to reopen, I hope its students would come back with respect for the community and the understanding that their actions affect more people than just themselves. 43


Freshman Madelyn Donis studies March 22 near Muller Chapel on a warm afternoon. Abbey London/The Ithacan

IC welcomes students back to campus in Spring 2021 By Caitlin Holtzman

For Spring 2021, Ithaca College brought students, faculty and staff to campus after a remote fall semester. La Jerne Cornish, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Rosanna Ferro, vice president for student affairs and campus life, sent an email to the campus community Oct. 27, 2020, that detailed areas of interest for the Spring 2021 return to campus. The email came a day after an Oct. 26 student and family meeting discussing academics for Spring 2021 and echoed many of the same plans. Spring Semester and Academics Students at the college adjusted to taking classes in person again for the first time in approximately 10 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some faced challenges with the hybrid model of instruction. The spring semester started with fully online classes Jan. 25, and in-person classes started Feb. 8. There were 99 classes that required 100% in-person instruction, 1,142 hybrid classes, 139 online asynchronous and 687 online synchronous classes, according to HomerConnect. In Fall 2020, there were 42 hybrid classes, 265 online asynchronous, 1,651 online synchronous classes and 38 classes that required 100% in-person instruction. Professors had the ability to choose what modality they would hold their classes in, meaning students could have a different modality for each class. Students were allowed to attend all classes remotely. Those who elected to take classes solely online could live in their residence halls, permanent home addresses or off-campus housing if approved. Sophomore Madeline Miele said that out of her five classes during the spring semester, only one was fully online and the rest of her classes were hybrid. 44

She said that at first, it felt strange having some students in a classroom and others on a Zoom screen but that was an adjustment she got used to. Miele said she felt like professors had time to prepare to be in the classroom again, despite the return to campus causing some worries for her. “I do get anxious sometimes just because you’re sitting there and being like, ‘We’re in a pandemic and in a class,’” Miele said. “Then I remember all the precautions with testing and everyone wearing masks and sitting far apart.” In the spring, Miele had a class of approximately 20 students, but there were usually approximately 10 students in the classroom together. Miele said she was glad there were limits on how many students could be in a classroom. She said that if all students in one class were allowed in a classroom at a time, she would not have taken her classes in person. She said her professors had seating charts that allowed them to know which students were sitting close to one another in case someone tested positive for COVID-19. She also said she liked how she could choose to take a class from her room one day if she did not want to be in person. Freshman Alison Hitchen was also on campus in Spring 2021 and had three classes that she took in person. “I’m always in person in my in-person classes,” Hitchen said via email. “I feel as if the ones who are on Zoom do not get as good of an experience as we do in the classroom because the professors mainly focus on the ones who are in the classroom.” Hitchen said that while she usually attended class in person, it seemed like students on Zoom might not get

the best view of the professor or the board. She said it seemed difficult for the professor to hear them. “Just observing the atmosphere in the classroom, it is easy to see that students on Zoom are often neglected,” Hitchen said. David Salomon, associate professor in the Department of Art History, said one of his biggest challenges had been trying to connect with students in the classroom and students on Zoom. Salomon said that when he was looking at the camera, he did not feel like he was addressing the students in the classroom. He also said that it had been difficult to use whiteboard features on Zoom and that he could not point at a presentation being shown in class because students on Zoom could not see what he was doing. “It is harder to judge the engagement of students who are attending remotely,” Saloman said via email. Move-In Plan and Restricted States Phased move-in for students took place from Jan. 25 to Feb. 5. Freshman and transfer students moved in Jan. 19, 20 and 21. Had Fall 2020 been in-person, the college would not have allowed students from New York state’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory List to return to campus. For Spring 2021, students from restricted states or level two or three countries could make arrangements to quarantine for 14 days in either New York state or a state or country not on the advisory list. Students from these states or countries had to submit a form to the college showing that they complied with quarantining rules. Students who were unable to find their own place to quarantine were allowed to do so on campus. Emerson Hall was used for quarantine and isolation for COVID-19 positive students and close contacts.


Sophomore Ethan Tuomala pours fresh maple sap into a barrel March 14. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

The college provided students in quarantine and isolation with food, laundry, sanitation, and medical and mental health support. Students in quarantine or isolation could not leave their rooms until cleared by the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD). If a cluster of cases occurred on campus, a public notification would be sent out to alert the campus community, said Christina Moylan, director of public health and emergency preparedness. COVID-19 Testing and Health Protocols Students were asked to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus if possible. Students who tested positive could not return to campus until they were released from isolation. Upon arriving to campus, students were tested in coordination with the phased move-in plan. Surveillance testing occurred during the semester for students, faculty and staff who accessed campus. Students, faculty and staff were also required to sign the Community Agreement, a document that outlined policies the college expected community members to abide by. COVID-19 testing for the spring semester was done through a saliva self-collection process. Students were required to be tested twice a week. Employees who worked in high- or direct-contact positions were tested weekly, and employees in low- or no-direct-contact positions were tested every other week. Results took approximately 24 to 48 hours to be shared with students, and all testing was done through Cayuga Health System (CHS). Some students experienced delays in their test results during move-in. CHS notified students and the college when students were cleared to access campus. If a student tested positive, a contact tracer from either TCHD or the college notified the student and started contact tracing. After a positive case was confirmed, Moylan initiated a protocol to alert everyone who might have come into contact with the person. These could include dining halls, academic contacts and residence hall residents.

When eligible, some students at the college received the COVID-19 vaccine at vaccination sites like the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York. Mikayla Elwell/The Ithacan Ash Bailot/The Ithacan


Sophomore Kat Urbano walks near the Center for Natural Sciences while working on attention training with Jake, a 10-month-old Guiding Eyes for the Blind puppy. Lexi Danielson/The Ithacan

The college used a badge system to monitor student’s compliance with COVID-19 testing and completion of the daily health screenings. Different locations across campus, like the library and Fitness Center, required students to show their badges in order to enter. When entering some classrooms, athletic practices and the dining halls, students could be required to show their badge status. There were five badge status types: cleared or green, meaning the student had completed their testing and

daily health screening; overdue or yellow, meaning either testing or the daily health screening was overdue and needed to be completed; quarantine or orange, meaning the student was in quarantine and considered a close contact; isolation or red, meaning the student was in isolation from a positive test result; and not applicable or blue, meaning the badge was not enabled. Students accessed their badges after completing the daily health screenings or through the Hammond Health Center portal. 45



Open the Books is a movement created by members of the Ithaca College community who protested the cuts of 116 full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty positions as a result of the Academic Program Prioritization (APP) at the college. The phrase #OpenTheBooks was coined in a letter that requested shared governance and transparency during the APP process. The letter was written by a coalition of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members and was circulated in November 2020. The cuts hinged on the Academic Program Prioritization Implementation Committee’s (APPIC) document, “The Shape of the College.” Released Jan. 13, 2021, the draft recommended the elimination of 116 FTE faculty positions and over 20 department, major and program discontinuations. The final recommendations were released Feb. 18. On Feb. 24, President Shirley M. Collado and La Jerne Cornish, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, accepted these recommendations in full and moved forward with implementing them starting next academic year. Faculty, students and alumni were disheartened by the cuts, and many departments spoke out to oppose them. Protests enacted by Open the Books also occurred on campus, notably a display Dec. 13, 2020, at the Peggy Ryan Williams (PRW ) Center — the location of administrators’ offices — where protestors left posters and written messages on the sidewalk and PRW Center doors. Collado condemned this act, calling it unacceptable vandalism. On Feb. 8, Open The Books protestors gathered outside Phillips Hall to protest the proposed faculty and program cuts. Mikayla Elwell/The Ithacan



From left, junior Julia Machlin and sophomore Sara Stohl speak at a Feb. 8 rally at Free Speech Rock outside Phillips Hall. Mikayla Elwell/The Ithacan

Faculty cuts draw criticism from college community and alumni By Alyshia Korba, Alexis Manore, Jordan Broking, Caitlin Holtzman and Madison Fernandez

Where It Started At an Oct. 6 Faculty Council meeting, Cornish said approximately 130 faculty members at the college would lose their jobs because enrollment dropped for the 2020–21 academic year. As a result, the college would need to cut $30 million from its budget. Cornish said these impending cuts were the result of the enrollment crisis the college is facing. However, at the All-Student Gathering on Oct. 15, Collado said these cuts are not because of lower enrollment but are instead part of Ithaca Forever, the college’s strategic plan. “It’s not because of an enrollment crisis,” Collado said at the meeting. “It really is about shoring up that we’re a leaner organization ... but, most importantly, that we can really commit to protecting financial aid and growing it.” In 2019, the college created the Academic Program Prioritization Action Group, chaired by Brad Hougham, associate provost for faculty affairs. The group was made of faculty, students and staff who developed a set of guiding principles for the process moving forward. In 2020, the college created the APPIC and the Academic Program Prioritization Advisory Committee (APPAC), the two groups that worked simultaneously during Fall 2020 to decide the future of programs at the college. Laurie Koehler, vice president for marketing and enrollment strategy, said there were 4,957 undergraduate students enrolled for Fall 2020. This number decreased from 5,852 undergraduate students in Fall 2019 and 6,101 in Fall 2018, according to the Office of Analytics and Institutional Research (AIR). More students than

in past years deferred enrollment or took leaves of absence in Fall 2020. Koehler said 143 students deferred enrollment and 391 students took leaves of absence. The college usually expects 20 to 30 students to defer enrollment and 100 to 105 to take leaves of absence, Koehler said. The college was looking to establish a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. With a Fall 2020 student FTE of 5,256.9 and a faculty FTE of 547, according to AIR, the student-to-faculty ratio was 9.61-to-1 in Fall 2020. The faculty FTE has stayed relatively consistent over the years. Compared to other private peer institutions, Ithaca College had the lowest student-to-faculty ratio out of institutions with an enrollment between 5,000 and 9,999, as of 2018. The last time the college had a 12-to-1 ratio was in Fall 2011, when the faculty FTE was 545 and the student FTE was 6,654.7. In an Oct. 19 email to the campus community, Cornish and Collado outlined the reduction process and said that since March 2020, 264 staff members have been impacted by furloughs, position eliminations or reductions in hours. At the time, the college had not made any decisions regarding which departments and faculty members would be cut. Colleges all over the United States were making cuts to faculty and staff positions due to decreased enrollment and financial issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, received backlash from faculty and students for its decision to eliminate 39 positions. The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, cut 178 employees, including 96 unionized faculty members and 60 staff members. Robert Kelchen, associate professor of higher education and chair of the Department of Education

Leadership Management and Policy at Seton Hall University, said colleges were making cuts because of the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about finances. “[Ithaca College’s plan] is one of the most aggressive cuts I’ve seen in the country,” he said. Faculty Council Reacts to Cuts Members of the Ithaca College Faculty Council Executive Committee (FCEC) requested that the administration delay the cuts until after the COVID-19 pandemic. On Oct. 18, the committee sent a letter voicing criticisms to Collado, Cornish and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). After Cornish shared the news regarding faculty cuts, the college made it to national headlines in publications like Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Forbes. The letter was signed by FCEC members Chris McNamara, clinical associate professor and clinic director in the Department of Physical Therapy and chair of the Faculty Council; Jason Freitag, associate professor in the Department of History and vice chair of the council; Claire Gleitman, professor in the Department of English, women’s and gender studies coordinator and secretary of the council; Diane Birr, professor in the Department of Performance Studies and the Faculty Council representative to the Academic Policies Committee; Chrissy Guest, associate professor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies and council member-at-large; and Raul Palma, assistant professor in the Department of Writing and council member-at-large. The committee requested that the administration take two to three years to determine the proper faculty and staff size for the college. The committee suggested that the administration 47


Students, alumni, faculty, staff as well as community members stand along Route 96B at the entrance of the college Feb. 8 for the “Day of Action Against Austerity.” Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

focus its attention on strategies for bettering enrollment. According to the 2020–21 Facts in Brief, Fall 2020’s acceptance rate was 75.7%, making it the highest percentage in a decade. In Fall 2019, the college accepted 72.8% of its applicants. The Fall 2020 yield rate — or the percentage of applicants who were admitted to the college and decided to enroll — was 10.1%. This is the lowest yield since 2014, a rate that was 14.5%. The Fall 2019 yield rate was 14.6%. Additionally, the committee requested that the administration focus on increasing philanthropic giving. As of 2019, over the last decade, the percentage of alumni donating to the college’s annual fund, capital projects and endowments decreased by approximately half. The letter questioned if there would be administrative cuts, a move that would offset faculty and staff reductions. The committee also raised concerns about newer faculty members, some of whom are faculty of color, as well as nontenured and contingent faculty members being more vulnerable to losing their jobs. According to an email sent Oct. 25 from the FCEC to Faculty Council members, the FCEC met with Collado and Cornish on Oct. 21 to discuss these concerns. The SLT said it would not delay the APP process because it is not financially feasible for the college. IC Community Echoes Calls for Transparency As of March 2021, the Open the Books coalition’s letter from November 2020 criticizing the APP process received over 900 signatures. The letter was an early step in the coalition’s call for shared governance and for the college to show its financial information that is not available publicly. Rachel Fomalhaut, lecturer in the Department of Writing and Ithaca College Contingent Faculty Union Steward, said she hopes the letter emphasized how many people opposed the faculty cuts. “What we mean by ‘open the books’ is to insist on full financial transparency and just a sense of humanity 48

and community trust that’s involved in solving really big problems,” she said. “Are we a community, or are we not?” The #OpenTheBooks letter criticized a lack of transparency and questioned the SLT’s reasoning for staff, faculty and program cuts. Although members of the campus community were aware of the goal to find a sustainable size for the college, the letter claims that they were never asked for input. The letter also states that faculty members were aware of the APP process and gave input on which departments and programs should be consolidated, grown, reorganized or eliminated. However, faculty members were never allowed to give input on whether cutting faculty positions would be a good decision for the college, the letter states. The letter also states that enrollment information shared in graphs by Bill Guererro, former vice president for finance and administration, was misleading. The college also refused to disclose the current salaries of members of the SLT to The Ithacan and did not allow The Ithacan to cover its InFinity Presentations — financial presentations run by Guererro — in Fall 2020. Before the college transitioned to remote learning, the meetings were public. Students were allowed to attend the meetings again in Spring 2021. “I don’t think that anyone should trust their authority figures to make enormous changes, especially to take austerity measures against the community, to lay off tons of faculty, to lay off tons of staff, without community involvement in those decisions,” Fomalhaut said. “It’s extremely dangerous when any authority figure ... says, ‘Just trust me.’” Junior Julia Machlin, one of the students who signed the letter and a member of the Open the Books coalition, said she agreed that the college should make its financial information publicly available. “I think it’s literally the least they can do,” she said. The letter asked the SLT to discuss what the college

Senior Carmen Enge holds a sign at a rally Feb. 8 at Free Speech Rock. Mikayla Elwell/The Ithacan

will lose as a result of the APP process and “value its people over its budgetary bottom line.” Following the release of the letter by the Open the Books coalition, several protests occurred on campus in the fall and ramped up in the spring. At a Feb. 23 protest, the fifth one in three months, approximately 12 protestors lined the crosswalk by PRW, some of whom held a banner that stated, “The APP is a virus.” “We’re not going to let them forget about us,” senior Chris Griswold said. Other members of the Ithaca College community expressed concerns about the lack of a collaborative process regarding impending cuts to programs and faculty positions, citing insufficient transparency and uncertainty about the future of the college. Senior Mac Allen said he thinks that eliminating faculty positions during a pandemic is a bad idea. “I feel like there’s still a better way to go about it,” he said. “I don’t feel like the student body itself is being listened to currently, and it’s a little disheartening.” Tom Pfaff, professor in the Department of Mathematics, said he is worried the cuts will reduce choices of programs for students. He said that he understands the college is in a difficult financial position but that it is unclear to him what the administration’s view of the future of the college is. “There really isn’t any information there, just some rhetoric that says we’re going to do something, but we haven’t really seen any real concrete plans,” he said. Some have raised the possibility of tapping into the endowment to cover the deficit. Guerrero said the college cannot use the funds in this way because the college annually draws 4.5% of the endowment, approximately $15 million, to support operations and financial aid. “Unfortunately the endowment is not a piggy bank because it is governed by [the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act] and basically


made of many, many contracts between the donor and the college for specified purposes,” he said via email. “An endowment is for the current and future generations. Basically, it is to exist in perpetuity.” A faculty member and Contingent Faculty Union advocate who requested anonymity in the interest of job security said they wanted to see specific data regarding decision-making and finances. “Show us what’s going on, and let’s talk about this and see if that strategy that’s being put into place is going to benefit the majority of the community,” the member said. SLT Approves Cuts On Feb. 24, Collado and Cornish approved the recommended elimination of 116 FTE faculty positions. That evening, approximately 75 students gathered on the steps of the Ithaca College Library to honor the faculty members who will lose their jobs. In a Feb. 24 email to the college community, Collado and Cornish said the changes will occur over the next three academic years. In the same email, David Lissy, chair of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees, and Jim Nolan, vice chair of the board, stated that the board voted to support the decision to accept the “Shape of the College” recommendations. As of Dec. 16, 2020, there were 346 tenured and tenure-eligible FTE positions, 108 nontenure track (NTEN) FTEs, 28 one-year FTE positions and 60 part-time and overload FTE positions. The final document recommended the elimination of 10 tenured and tenure-eligible FTE positions, all of which were already scheduled; 29 NTEN FTE positions, six of which were already scheduled; nine one-year FTE positions, one of which was already scheduled; 38 part-time and overload FTE positions; and 30 attrition and reassigned time FTE positions. With the reductions, there will be 336 tenured and tenure-eligible positions — a 2.89% reduction; 79 NTENs — a 26.85% reduction; 19 one-year terms — a 32.1% reduction; 22 part-time and overload positions

— a 63.3% reduction; and 30 attritions and reassigned time positions. Community Concerns Continue to Grow In a Feb. 24 statement, the Open the Books coalition expressed its frustration with the approval of the plan. The coalition stated that even though the plan has been approved, it would still work to stop the cuts and push for shared governance and financial transparency. “We could be wrong,” the coalition said in the statement. “Heartless layoffs could be the only way to ‘save Ithaca College.’ But how would we ever know without a real, inclusive, non-hierarchical reconsideration of the APP process where ALL community members are equally and thoroughly consulted?” Some faculty members also came together to create an American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapter to fight the cuts. The AAUP chapter also pushed for shared governance and advocated for academic freedom. Zack Ford ’07, former president of the Student Government Association, now known as the Student Governance Council (SGC), and secretary of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, said it was heartbreaking to see many of the faculty and staff he knew during his time at the college be let go. “We all sort of recognize that the Ithaca College that we knew, that shaped our life experiences, isn’t going to be the same Ithaca College in size or scope moving forward,” he said. Senior Jordan Stecker said that he thinks the APP process was holistic and that he would focus on helping faculty members who will be affected. “I look forward to the changes that are going to be happening for our institution,” Stecker said. Sophomore Clare Martin said they felt that the administration dismissed student concerns. “The fact that the plan that’s going to cut so much is called ‘Ithaca Forever’ is the biggest joke I’ve ever heard,” Martin said.

Junior Sebastian Chavez speaks at a Feb. 8 rally outside of Phillips Hall. Mikayla Elwell/The Ithacan

Commentary: Farewell to Ithaca College By Sandra Steingraber

For the past 18 years, I have served as our campus’ scholar in residence, recruited by a previous provost with a vision for shaping the college into a laboratory for environmental sustainability. My post has been a joyful one. As a biologist with a master’s degree in poetry, a background in journalism and a national platform in the climate movement, I have represented Ithaca College around the world — in Congressional briefings, at the Paris climate meetings and inside church basements in struggling communities on the frontlines of environmental injustice. My interdisciplinary scholarship and activism were welcomed on campus, and I flourished, authoring books, editing monographs and collaborating with filmmakers to create narratives that speak truth to power. In addition to teaching my own class within the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences (ENVS), I serve as a guest speaker across campus. ... Each year, I lecture in 10 to 20 classes. Indeed, I may be the only faculty at Ithaca College who has taught or co-hosted programming in all five of our schools. What does climate change have to do with human performance? Well, higher heat and humidity represent health threats to outdoor athletes. In California, three-quarters of new oil wells are drilled in Black or Latino communities. To understand the permitting of fossil fuel infrastructure, one needs to understand systemic racism. Women and gender studies shows us that domestic violence and sex trafficking accompany oil and gas fracking. And music? Ask me about the wood used to make Stradivarius violins. It’s sourced from forests now being decimated by extreme weather patterns in Italy. Because climate is connected to everything we love, it is also connected to all the classes we teach. Last year, encouraged by Provost Cornish, I sought funding to launch a Center for Climate Justice at Ithaca College. My idea was to create a national destination for students seeking engagement with the climate crisis that would equip them with tools to envision a renewable future, and make it so. ... The good news: after a year of planning and writing, I got the grant. The bad news: both faculty co-chairs of the Climate Action Group are now among those losing their jobs as a consequence of Academic Program Prioritization, which, as far as I can see, is disaster capitalism for higher education. ... Here’s the thing: When an administration decides that the most important task is aligning the size of the faculty to the correct proportion and does so by eliminating non-tenure track faculty, unique, irreplaceable areas of expertise are lost. It’s our contingent and NTEN faculty who are engaged in some of the most innovative, intersectional, progressive teaching on campus. ... I’ll be leaving Ithaca College at the end of this year. I am sorry. I wanted to build a thriving Center for Climate Justice here, but I’m demoralized and aware that the collective intellectual capacity I was counting on is being sacrificed to austerity. Finally, and because I believe in transparency: my salary is $31,050. 49


Heather Brecht, lecturer in the Department of Communications Studies, which has a major set to be cut, teaches March 2. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

Students and faculty react to APP program cuts By Alexis Manore, Syd Pierre, Jillian Bleier, Jordan Broking, Alyssa Beebe and Chris Tolve

Over 20 majors, programs and departments were slated to be eliminated as a result of the Academic Program Prioritization (APP) process. Before and after the college approved the Academic Program Prioritization Implementation Committee’s (APPIC) “Shape of the College” document as part of the APP process, individual departments and faculty across different schools at Ithaca College voiced their disapproval of the cuts. Departments that were slated to be cut also reacted to the APP process. Each week, The Ithacan featured programs and departments that the APPIC recommended to be cut. Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies In the “Shape of the College” document, the APPIC recommended the elimination of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (RLS) and its majors, therapeutic recreation and outdoor adventure leadership. RLS is housed in the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance (HSHP). Junior Edie McRoberts said she found RLS after participating in the Jumpstart program Experiencing Connections by Heading Outdoors (ECHO). “My entire college experience would be so different if I hadn’t found that,” McRoberts said. “Those opportunities ... made a super, super huge impact on my life.” Jennifer Wells, assistant professor in the Department of RLS, has been teaching at the college since 2013. She said she was surprised by the recommendations and thought that the department would get absorbed into another department at the college. “It saddens me for the department,” Wells said. “It 50

saddens me for the students who are in the curriculum who found a home for their profession, for what they really want to do in their lives, because it is a question of passion. But also it saddens me for college as a whole because I feel like we are kind of the department that supports recreation and leisure for students.” Aging Studies Major Senior Mackenzie Schade was in a lacrosse meeting when her friend texted her saying that the aging studies major was to be eliminated as part of the APP process. “If I wasn’t in that meeting, I would’ve started crying immediately,” Schade said. The aging studies major is in the Department of Gerontology, housed in the School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S). Mary Ann Erickson, associate professor in the Department of Gerontology, spoke on behalf of the entire department. Erickson is one of two professors who will remain in the department following the cuts. “It’s hard on all of us as faculty members to see people that we know who are now slated to lose their positions,” Erickson said. “It’s not as hard on us, you know, obviously who get to stay, but there’s still that loss and concern for those who are leaving.” The APPIC recommended that the aging studies major should be discontinued, but the minor, in addition to the Gerontology Institute and Longview partnership, can continue. “[The minor] is really important to us because that means that most of the classes that we teach about aging will still be offered to the minors,” Erickson said. “We feel pretty strongly about the value of the minor.” Communication Studies Major Students, alumni and faculty of the Department of

Communication Studies were disappointed with the elimination of the communications studies major, which focuses on the verbal and nonverbal effects of communication. The department also includes the culture and communications major, which will be retained. Part of the heartache of the major being eliminated is the strong connection between faculty and students within the program. Scott Thomson, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and adviser for the speech and debate team, said faculty members try to be involved with their students “By the time students graduate, they really feel like they are a part of us,” Thomson said. The major was especially attractive to exploratory students like Sean Themea ’16. Themea began his freshman year in the exploratory program and graduated as communication studies majors. Themea said that before he found the communication studies major, he considered transferring to another college, but then he found the program. “If it wasn’t for Scott [Thomson] and the communication studies program, I might not be a Bomber,” Themea said. Undergraduate Teacher Education Majors Thirteen undergraduate teacher education majors will be discontinued within the next three academic years, though most will be substituted with equivalent graduate programs. All of the undergraduate teacher education majors in the H&S and the three majors in HSHP will be cut. Junior Hailee Agosti, an English education major who plans to attend a graduate program at another college, said she believes that cutting the education majors will be a loss for the college.


Alyssa Comeau ’20 conducts for the campus band prior to remote learning. Courtesy of Alyssa Comeau

“It is a really great program,” she said. “I think they are still expecting a lot of people to do the education minor because it is a big minor on campus, but there are a lot of differences between the major and the minor, and you just don’t get the same hands-on experience if you only do the minor.” Sara Levy, associate professor and chair of the Department of Education, said the cuts are not deep. “It looks really bad, but in terms of the day-to-day functioning of our department, not a lot really changes,” she said. “The cuts in undergraduate programs come with a recommendation and commitment to shift toward having the graduate programs really do teacher preparation.” Health Promotion and Physical Education Major Sophomores Adam Buttaccio and Jake Cole are health and physical education teaching majors at the college. Dreams of becoming coaches led them to choose their degree at the college. The dual degree in both health and physical education are among the programs to be cut as part of the APP process. “I thought it was a terrible decision, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” Cole said. Senior Molly Sear said she became a physical education major her sophomore year after initially enrolling as a journalism major. “Having such a close-knit family ... was perfect,” Sear said. “I couldn’t imagine myself going anywhere else.” Image Text Master of Fine Arts Ebba Zajmi-Gjegji, a first-year student in the Image Text Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at the college, is committed to teaching in her community. She said she was able to do this only because of the flexibility and support of the Image Text MFA program. The program is one of five graduate programs at the college that have been recommended for discontinuation by the APPIC. Created in 2016, the program is a low-residency, interdisciplinary MFA that focuses on the intersection

Raj Subramaniam, professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education, works with students March 24 in the Ben Light Gymnasium. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan Ash Bailot/The Ithacan


From left, senior Sarah Jennison, Longview resident Rachel Kaufman and Desirée Tolchin ‘20 chat as part of Ithaca College’s Sociology of Aging class. Jill Ruthauser/The Ithacan

between writing and photography. The program also includes the Image Text Ithaca Press, a press that publishes work from national and international artists as well as thesis work from students in the program. Catherine Taylor, co-program director for the Image Text program, said the program had 20 students enrolled. “I would hope that the administration would be able to see both the current successes of the program and its incredible potential and ... that in some ways, it feels that they are throwing away their own investment,” Taylor said. Masters in Music programs Out of the five graduate programs that were recommended for discontinuation by the APPIC, four were Masters of Music (M.M.) in the School of Music. These programs include the M.M. in Performance, Conducting,

Composition, and Suzuki Pedagogy and String Performance. Each M.M. is a two-year program with 30, 36, 30 and 32 credits required, respectively. Senior Jon Aldave, a music education student who applied for the M.M. in Performance in Fall 2020, said the elimination of graduate programs denies undergraduate students the chance to continue their studies at the college. “The graduate students do play a vital role in the community and add, kind of, like, a buffer between undergraduates and the professors,” Aldave said. Charis Dimaras, professor in the Department of Music Performance, said he also believes undergraduate students would lose mentors. “It cuts the bridge between our impressionable younger students that look at those graduate students ... and somehow are able to imagine now their future towards reaching higher and becoming more,” he said. 51


“Faces of Austerity” was a weekly series that aimed to put human faces on the faculty members who were notified of their termination as a result of the Academic Program Prioritization. The series was written by Harriet Malinowitz, lecturer in the Department of Writing.

Ash Bailot/The Ithacan


Lenora Warren


Lenora Warren is a lecturer in the Department of English at Ithaca College, with a Ph.D. in English from New York University in New York. She is an African American and Latina woman and has taught African American literature at the college for approximately two years. She left a tenure-track job at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, because her husband was the executive director of the Cornell Prison Education Program. “I didn’t want to become one of those super-commuter couples,” she said. As a scholar proposed to be terminated at the college, she felt herself to be in “a surreal position,” and “demoralized.” “I don’t have a position to support that,” she said of publishing her work. “When you’re not working for a college, academic work is unpaid labor.” Warren said she found it especially perplexing that the college claimed to believe in diversity and anti-racist education, yet “is cutting that part of the curriculum away.” She said she had to stop attending administration-run faculty forums “because at a certain point I started to feel very dispirited by the language of, ‘This is going to be hard for all of us; our college is going through a hard time.’ I realized that the ‘we’ being referenced were the ones who were staying, whose jobs were safe — not the ones being fired. It isn’t even my college anymore.”

Caroline Brophy/The Ithacan

Regina Carpenter Regina, or “Regi,” Carpenter, 63, lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies, has taught at Ithaca College for 10 years. She is also an alum of the college with degrees in music and art history and has lived in Ithaca since her undergraduate days. She has taught two sections of “Storytelling” each semester. She has brought her students downtown to perform in story slams at Buffalo Street Books and Autumn Leaves Used Books. She has won a number of awards and has held discussions about storytelling at TEDx Talks. She specializes in performances and workshops for grieving children and shares narratives about mental illness and recovery. One of the personal stories that she performs is “One Man’s Trash,” which depicts her dad’s knack for improvising family fun in a poor town. He would drive her and her siblings to the local dump to go “shopping” for discarded objects like television sets. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the only income she had was from her teaching. Now, that will be gone as well. “I’m a single, senior woman with kids who are grown and on their own,” she said. “This is where students come to learn the art of public speaking and contribute to global and community conversations. … I was so proud to be a teacher here.”


Couresty of Sergio Pedro

Couresty of Matt Volser

Sergio Pedro

Matt Vosler

Sergio Pedro, 56, assistant professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, is Portuguese by origin and is a specialist in 17th-century Spanish literature. He has taught in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures for 15 years and also teaches language and linguistics. The elimination of Pedro signals the potential end of the linguistics minor at Ithaca College. “Language and literature, language acquisition, linguistics — this is my world,” he said. “I trained my whole life to do this, and I love teaching.” Leaving the area was not a viable option because his life partner is a tenured professor at Cornell University. “My life is here,” he said. Often, he bridges the campus–community divide as faculty adviser to the student group Intercambios. The group engages in conversational practice with Spanish-speaking members of the Ithaca community and teaches English as a second language to area farmworkers. Pedro is also faculty adviser for the Ithaca College group Big Brothers Big Sisters, which provides mentoring for at-risk children, and he chairs the advisory board of its local chapter. When he is not engaged in those pursuits, he plays guitar and bass in local rock bands. “I teach because I love that moment when you get your students to understand that the culture and world they live in is just one among others, or when they read past what’s on the surface of a text and engage in critical thinking,” Pedro said. He said he feels strongly that the best thing about the college is its faculty and that the college would have been better served had decisions been left to them. He stressed that faculty would not focus on “corporate thinking” that prioritizes “putting millions into marketing to high schoolers and making the campus look good. To watch this blow be dealt to the college is heartbreaking.”

Matt Vosler, assistant professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, has a clear approach to mental wellness: get people outdoors. In his fifth year at Ithaca College, he has three advanced degrees and a work history that includes Outward Bound in Maine, Naturalists at Large in California and wilderness therapy in Utah. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder with a focus on wilderness medicine. His entire department is being cut, leaving no one at the college trained and certified to safely facilitate outdoor adventures. Vosler is the coordinator of the Nature Rx Program, an interprofessional group that “uses the restorative benefits of nature as a prescription for stress and depression,” he said. He is also the coordinator of the Ithaca Outing Club, which in its first three years became the largest club on campus. Vosler is also dedicated to blacksmithing, woodworking, scuba diving and traveling. He said he is dubious that he will find other teaching work. “I teach resilience and survival, so I’ll probably figure out what to do, though I still have loans to pay,” Vosler said. “Maybe I’ll go live in a van.” He noted the ways that the college incorporates the area’s natural wonders into its recent promotional material. There’s no clear demarcation between the town of Ithaca and the college in the new recruitment video, “A Place Called Progress.” Campus scenes are presented as if they are the same “place” as the lakes, gorges, waterfalls, rivers and fall foliage that surround Ithaca. “The natural beauty of the Finger Lakes is something we as an institution identify with, yet by cutting the department and clubs that provide the most access to that, the students will be losing a lot,” Vosler said. “It’s tragic.” 53



File Photo/The Ithacan

Communion in the Face of Austerity By James Miranda, John Burger, Mark Baustian, Rachel Fomalhaut and Tom Schneller

At the beginning of this month, the U.S. Department of Labor released a report revealing that institutions of higher education have eliminated 650,000 jobs since February of last year. This is a 13% workforce reduction over a one-year period — a shocking devastation to those who rely on the industry for their livelihoods, as those of us on the chopping block know here at Ithaca College. Financially, this strategy makes little sense as the elimination of dedicated faculty and staff will impoverish curriculum and student experience, while also failing to ameliorate deficits caused by the continuing COVID-19 crisis. But, as our administration likes to remind us, these problems loomed long before the pandemic’s existence. And this is true, though not in the way that they mean it: questionable management strategies in the areas of enrollment, yield and retention have made Ithaca College an outlier in the larger higher ed landscape. Whereas institutions in New York state saw, on average, a 4.1% dip in enrollment in Fall 2020, Ithaca College experienced a 17% loss in enrollment. In a very public ... defense of their austerity plan, the president and provost insist that they “are driving systemic change that dismantles the status quo.” ... But their austerity measures are precisely the status quo, taken from a playbook used by countless college administrations employing corporate management styles poised to exacerbate racial, gender and class inequities and solidify power in the hands of the managerial class. Magical rebranding of austerity cuts in the guise of “Ithaca Forever” won’t change the impact that they will have on the college community. Our college’s administrative policies, whether witting or not, rely on a divided campus from conception to implementation. The strategic plan depends upon scarcity-model tactics that split and isolate, even as it touts interdisciplinarity and inclusion in its outward-facing rhetoric. ... There is, however, a silver lining to our school’s predicament. ... We should be looking to the students in these times. ... They humble us with their confidence and vision each day, with their tenaciousness and unwavering sense of right and wrong. To our colleagues who feel helpless in the face of these impending decisions, please realize that there is an alternative to slow death by austerity, but it must be demanded. ... And to the administration, if you’d like to participate in truly dismantling the status quo, just take the elevator down three floors, to where those students are standing out in the wind and cold and snow, asking to be heard, demanding an alternative to business as usual, and listen to what they have to say. 54

Surina Belk-Gupta/The Ithacan

Will spring ever arrive at IC? By Julia Young

As I walk across campus this winter, I can’t help but notice how somber it feels. It’s not just the snowy clouds above or the missing students filling the paths to buildings, but the prospect of permanently losing part of our campus community. We will lose some of our valued mentors, and we may not even be able to say goodbye in person. I’m the president of a campus organization, and our advisor, Jennifer Herzog, a lecturer in the theatre arts department, is one of the faculty at risk of losing her position. She continues to play an integral part in ensuring that our organization is strong by providing us educational materials, attending meetings and giving us her own insight whenever we ask. Even after news of the faculty cuts came out, she continued to charge forward with the same passion she had when she first started. ... Rather than expecting a sense of hope that it’ll all go back to some semblance of what Ithaca College was like prior to the pandemic, I feel a sense of dread and worry that it will never return to what it was like — the full potential of IC that I only got to experience for a semester and a half. I’m a sophomore here, and I’ve seen the way the pandemic has impacted student morale and student engagement. ... Seeing each other virtually just isn’t the same as seeing each other in person and having to decide whether to attend school virtually or in person was stressful enough. Adding the Academic Program Prioritization recommendations makes everything feel colder, like the long winter is going to last forever, and spring won’t ever arrive. My time as the president of a student organization has taught me that professors do much more than educate. They contribute to campus culture, they are involved in student life and they motivate their students to be leaders in our community. As Ithaca College takes our professors away from us, they’re taking away our guides. ... Above all, what’s clear to us students is that few, if any, professors deserve their position to be terminated. I know that the college is in a tight financial situation, and I know that it has been exacerbated by the pandemic. However, the pandemic will eventually end, and some of these changes will not be able to be undone. ... I would still consider myself lucky. ... For the most part, I can still envision my future beyond Ithaca College. But what I am at risk to lose matters just as much: what my future at Ithaca College looks like. Now that the college has decided to implement the proposed Academic Program Prioritization, I’m afraid our community will lose what makes Ithaca feel like Ithaca. When all of this is over, I hope the leadership of Ithaca College does not look back and regret the long-term effects that its decisions will bring. When all the snow melts, I hope spring will come and students will still feel inspired.


Students, faculty and alumni wrote commentaries in The Ithacan about the college’s decision to cut faculty and programs as part of the APP process.

Brooke Bernhardt/The Ithacan

File Photo/The Ithacan

Reframing Ithaca College’s vision

Faculty cuts shrink degree value

By Naeem Inayatullah

By Elijah Breton

President Collado has bet the future of Ithaca College on swiftly hiring a diverse leadership team and changing the college culture, thereby attracting students looking for diversity, equity and inclusion. We can think of this as the president’s brand. Our administrators tell us that their emphasis on race and gender will make the college more attractive to students and faculty. Some faculty and students cheer for a leadership that is by design composed almost entirely of women and people of color. Others wish to be allies, believing that support is obligatory and that criticism reveals shades of racism and of sexism. ... What is the price of the administrative vision? Pursuing it ignores the damage created by disaster capitalism, with its authoritarian methods and hurried change. The cruel indifference of the APP policy severs the lifeline of 116 full-time equivalent faculty and their families. ... President Collado and her team have pointed out repeatedly that the pandemic permits them to accelerate their plans. Administrators have merely applied what is known as the shock doctrine. In The Chronicle of Higher Education, our president offers the following: “Seize the opportunity. Have a sense of urgency in getting a strong team in place to carry out your agenda.” Urgency is the administration’s leitmotif. It pushes the administration to bypass the cooperative process that faculty demand as their right. Many, and perhaps most, of my colleagues feel imposed upon. No one I know believes that this administration shares governance or has been fully transparent. ... The administration misunderstands an essential element of our dissent: a college community is founded on the relationships between students and faculty. These relationships ripple into a lifetime of connections both ideational and material. ... A pace that threatens to extinguish these relationships is reckless. They have chosen firings without considering the ripples. The damage is underway. Something in my body broke when I learned the names of those slated to be fired. I, too, had started on yearly contracts at my college and would have lost my livelihood had the pandemic struck earlier. ... The administration’s commitment to disaster capitalism has permanently divided our community. Our wounds are deep; they will not be easily healed. It doesn’t have to be this way. Within our collective shock, grief, and mourning, we have begun to find each other and our principles. ... To do so requires us to consider economic disparities with the same seriousness with which we treat injustices of patriarchy and white supremacy. ... Why not the following: “Ithaca College, where the budget is built on the premise that all workers are essential and not disposable.”

Over the past year, we have seen a global pandemic and struggling economy put higher education at a crossroads. ... Ithaca College is now grappling with how to move forward with a strategy that is both academically and financially sustainable to remain an institution with high standards. The problem with the latest Academic Program Prioritization Implementation Committee (APPIC) proposal is too much emphasis on finances with no critical thinking from an educational perspective. This puts the college in a precarious position long-term. We have known that given the current environment, budget cuts would be made and some faculty and staff would likely be cut. ... The path Ithaca is taking to make ends meet seems panicked ... and absent of true community discussion. In trying to do some research on the current affairs of IC, I was disappointed in realizing that alumni were not granted access to view the proposal or any dashboards in the APPIC portal. ... Alumni should be viewed as an equal stakeholder as current students, faculty and staff. One of the nine goals put forth as part of “Ithaca Forever” is to increase alumni and student engagement with the college. ... Alumni should have been afforded an opportunity to be involved in discussions that will shape the institution for years to come. The analysis provided by The Ithacan shows liberal arts will not play a large role in Ithaca College’s future, thus calling into question whether we can seriously consider ourselves a comprehensive institution. ... As someone who will likely have both of their liberal arts majors (Sport Studies, Communication Studies) eliminated in less than five years post-graduation, the value of my degree has depreciated significantly. We should not forget what liberal arts programs can offer the world by equipping students to ... have high emotional intelligence. There are also unintended consequences of the APPIC proposal: The first being that there will likely be a reduction in minority professors at an already predominantly white institution. ... A reduction in students will have a ripple effect on small businesses and housing that students typically rent. Looking at the financial numbers, ... cutting faculty creates more problems. ... The administration needs to be willing to burden some of the responsibility as to why we have not created a robust enrollment strategy. Our numbers back that up with a high acceptance rate and a low conversion of prospective students. ... We’ll now be faced with a fractured community and an institution that will struggle to foster a truly diverse education. Ithaca College is missing out on an opportunity to be a thought leader in the higher education space, and that is a damn shame. 55



A counterprotestor shouts into a megaphone Oct. 24 at the “Festival Against Hate” at the Bernie Milton Pavillion in Ithaca. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan



Junior Olivia Carpenter made face masks featuring a raised fist for herself and her father, Zavean Carpenter, to wear at a protest. Courtesy of Olivia Carpenter

IC students participate in protests against police brutality and racism By Alyshia Korba

In summer 2020, Ithaca College students participated in local protests across the country to speak out against racism toward Black individuals. Nationwide protests began May 26 in response to high-profile cases of police brutality and the murder of Black individuals, including the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery in 2020. Protests were held in all 50 states and U.S. territories, and the Ithaca community held racial justice rallies on Sundays starting May 31. Ithaca College also added to the national conversation by holding a virtual discussion for students about racial injustice June 4. Police kill Black Americans over twice as often as they kill white Americans. Data collected between 2015 and February 2021 showed 34 Black people per million are killed by police, while 14 white people per million are killed by police, according to the Washington Post. In Columbus, Ohio, junior Olivia Carpenter joined hundreds of protestors at the state Capitol building, the Ohio Statehouse, to protest police brutality June 6. The protest drew a large police presence but remained peaceful, Carpenter said. She said she attended the protest because she has experienced discrimination as a Black woman. Carpenter said a striking moment of the protest was when protesters laid down on the pavement for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to honor Floyd. This represented the amount of time that Derek Chauvin — a former Minneapolis Police Department officer who was later charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for killing Floyd — knelt on Floyd’s neck. “It was hot outside, so I might’ve burned my skin, but it doesn’t matter,” Carpenter said. “It doesn’t matter.

He didn’t choose to lay down on the ground.” She said she was surprised to see so many people supporting the movement. “I think it’s extremely important that white people and people with natural privilege come out for the Black folks,” Carpenter said. “Nothing’s actually going to change if it’s just Black people screaming into a void because the people that are doing the racist things are white police officers.” Junior Emma Robinson said she also noticed many white people at a protest she attended June 4 in Clinton, New Jersey. She said she felt that her presence as a Black woman in a predominately white protest served as a reminder of what the protesters are fighting for. She said she also participated in a protest June 6 in Flemington, New Jersey, where there was a higher attendance of Black people. “In the first protest I attended my presence there was more of a reminder that Black lives matter,” Robinson said. “The first one, I felt like I was still fighting to be seen, and the second one was really kind of a reminder to me of what amazing things can be done when you are seen and when you are valued and when you are centered as a Black person in America.” Robinson said she wanted to protest in these towns because she grew up nearby and wanted to promote change in her local community. “I’m in a position that I, very thankfully, can attend protests without having to fear for my health or what would happen afterwards, so I definitely wanted to go to some, and these two specifically were in my community,” Robinson said. “Those are the people I have gone to school with, the people I’ve grown up seeing, and I thought it was really important to spread my

voice there locally.” Senior Joe Friedman was involved in a Wisconsin protest that has received national media attention. On June 6, Wisconsin attorney Stephanie Rapkin was videod spitting on Eric Lucas, a Black 17-year-old, at a protest. The next day, Friedman said he was peacefully protesting by writing chalk messages outside of Rapkin’s home, like “I spit on a child. How dare you!” Rapkin then came out of her home and shoved Friedman. Friedman recorded the altercation and Debra Brehmer, Friedman’s mother, posted the video on Facebook. Rapkin was charged with disorderly conduct with a hate crime enhancer and battery to a law enforcement officer, according to the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access. Friedman said this movement was unlike anything he had experienced before. “This is a historical time, and it’s going to be talked about for a long time, and a lot of change is happening, and a lot of really positive things are coming from this, so it was amazing to get to witness it firsthand, and it was amazing to get to be a part of it,” Friedman said. Along with attending protests, Robinson said, she called her local elected offices and police departments to express her concerns about the law enforcement system. Robinson said that talking to law enforcement and lawmakers, signing petitions and donating to advocacy organizations is a good way for people to support the movement. “Protesting is in your face, it’s loud, it lets people not ignore the issue, but unfortunately protesting is not accessible to everybody, in terms of physically protesting,” Robinson said. “I think it’s important ... to support these other forms of advocacy so as to not shame people who cannot physically show up to protests.” 57


“Whose pavilion? Our pavilion!” and “Black lives matter!” rang across the Bernie Milton Pavilion on The Commons in Ithaca on Oct. 24. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

Hundreds of protestors show up to oppose Back the Blue rally By Skylar Eagle

“No hate! No KKK! No fascist USA!” This chant rang across the Bernie Milton Pavilion on The Commons in Ithaca. On Oct. 24, 2020, the Ithaca Democratic Socialists of America (IDSA) held a “Festival Against Hate” in response to a “Back the Blue” rally, resulting in a tense face-off in downtown Ithaca. The IDSA’s Festival Against Hate was held in collaboration with the Ithaca Pantheras, a racial justice advocacy group. The Back the Blue rally was an event that was held in support of the Ithaca Police Department (IPD). The rally was supposed to be held at the Bernie Milton Pavilion, the same place where Black Lives Matter protests were held on Sundays starting in summer 2020. The festival began at approximately noon with counterprotesters painting a large banner that said, “No Hate, No KKK, No Fascist USA.” Others mingled and danced to songs like “WAP” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion and “Don’t Stop,” also by Megan Thee Stallion. At approximately 1 p.m. — an hour before the Back the Blue rally was planned to begin — the completed banner stood as a barrier between the Bernie Milton Pavilion and the rest of The Commons. Russell Rickford, associate professor of history at Cornell University, spoke to the crowd of counterprotesters about how to achieve their goals of defunding the police. “Capitalism has accelerated its assault on working people,” Rickford said. “It has built up a massive police apparatus in order to protect the interests of the ruling class from working people and from poor people.” The concept of defunding the police refers to reallocating the money that governments spend on law enforcement to more services like job training, counseling and violence-prevention programs, according to the 58

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Every year, state and local governments spend upward of $100 billion on law enforcement. The proposed City of Ithaca 2021 budget was $12,418,616 for the IPD, down approximately 2.8% from the department’s $12,775,722 budget in the 2020 amended budget. The City of Ithaca Common Council approved the budget Oct. 29. At approximately 1 p.m., supporters of the Back the Blue rally gathered on the corner of East State Street and North Cayuga Street. Some wore “Make America Great Again” hats and waved American flags, flags supporting President Donald Trump and the “Blue Lives Matter” symbol, a black-and-white American flag with a single blue stripe. Approximately 50 people attended the Back the Blue rally, including at least one member of the Upstate New York Proud Boys Chapter — a far-right, male-only organization. Though they insist they are not a part of the “alt-right,” members of the Proud Boys attended the “Unite the Right” rally — a well-known white nationalist rally — in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Rocco Lucente, organizer of the Back the Blue event, spoke to the crowd, calling the counterprotesters a “vicious mob of terrorists.” “Where we are right now is almost in a state of soft civil war,” Lucente said to the crowd. “We have a situation in America where a group of people want to eliminate our rights and want to eliminate a group of people who defend those rights.” Ithaca and Tompkins County are known for their local activism and liberal population. In 2019, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, a Democrat, was elected for a third term as mayor. Tompkins County is primarily Democratic, with the exception of more right-leaning

places like Groton. There were 32,367 active registered Democrats and 11,176 active registered Republicans in Tompkins County as of November 2020. In the 2020 presidential election, the Democratic turnout in Tompkins County was 81%, and the Republican turnout was 78%. Overall, 77% of the county’s registered voters voted in 2020. Tompkins was also the only county in 2016 where Trump did not have the majority of the vote. The representatives for state and national offices are Republicans, including Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY ) and Tom O’Mara, New York state senator. The counterprotesters continued to occupy the Bernie Milton Pavilion on The Commons after the Back the Blue rally was slated to begin at the pavilion. Lucente said he originally had a deal with IDSA members that they would allow the Back the Blue rally to move to the pavilion after the counterprotest relocated to DeWitt Park. However, they stayed at the pavilion and did not move to DeWitt Park, so Lucente said he would not move toward the pavilion if the group was still there, out of respect. At 2:45 p.m. Lucente and members of the Back the Blue rally began marching toward the pavilion to face a crowd of at least 250 counterprotesters. The groups exchanged chants for over an hour, with the counterprotesters chanting, “Fascists, go home!” and some members of the Back the Blue rally responding “We are home.” There was an increased presence from law enforcement including the IPD. Myrick, Ithaca Police Chief Dennis Nayor; Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature; Tompkins County Sheriff Derek Osborne; and Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino cosigned a letter Oct. 23 that


Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

discouraged attendance at either event. “As the leaders of local government and law enforcement, we all feel that tempers are quickly spiraling out of control,” the letter said. “We implore our community to please work to find other outlets for political expression and help us avoid a potentially tragic clash in the heart of our city.” On Oct. 22, six arrests were made after a group of protesters gathered in front of the IPD station in response to the arrest of Ithaca community member Messia Saunders during a press conference held by Reed, outside the Tompkins County Republican Committee Headquarters in Ithaca. Businesses and homes in downtown Ithaca were also vandalized with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti. On the night of Oct. 25, Moosewood Restaurant and Sunny Days of Ithaca were covered with anti-Semitic graffiti and posters that mocked Black and Jewish people, according to the Ithaca Voice. Myrick tweeted that his office and the homes and offices of Jewish Ithacans have been targeted as well. He said the IPD has made finding the vandal its top priority. Ithaca College senior Carly Hough was at the Oct. 22 protest and said they felt scared when police arrested protesters after declaring the gathering an unlawful assembly. “Basically, a troop of, like, 20 police officers came down the hill told us it was now a nonsanctioned gathering and didn’t even give us 30 seconds to disperse before they just started yanking people off each other, assaulting people,” Hough said. Tension between the Ithaca community and the IPD is not new. In 2019, the police department faced criticism for its handling of an incident on The Commons involving Cadji Ferguson and Rose DeGroat, sparking multiple Black Lives Matter protests. DeGroat was initially charged with felony second-degree attempted assault, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration until charges against her were dropped. Ferguson was found not guilty of disorderly conduct. Hough also attended the counterprotest Oct. 24

Ash Bailot/The Ithacan


and said they want to see money redistributed from the IPD’s budget to community organizations. They also said they want to see a more direct response from city officials, like Myrick. “I’d like to see Svante actually condemn the police violence and condemn these situations and not just hang in the middle and be noncommittal,” Hough said. Lucente said the purpose of the event was to support the IPD. “We want to let them know that not everybody buys into the notion that the police are a systemically racist problem in our society,” Lucente said. Osborne said the sheriff ’s office worked with the IPD to keep people safe. He said he was satisfied with the outcome of the rallies. “We’re not here to take sides,” Osborne said. “We’re here to just protect the safety of everybody involved.” A representative of the Ithaca Pantheras, who preferred not to be named, said they did not have any concerns about possible violence. “We’re here today because we are trying to essen-

tially defend our community from threats from outside of our community,” the representative said. “The leader of this so-called Back the Blue rally, which is in essence a Trump rally, doesn’t even live in Tompkins County.” Cheri Valentine, an Ithaca resident, said she showed up to the Back the Blue rally because she was raised by law enforcement officers and is tired of seeing them disrespected by members of the community. “They’re my family, and I’m sick of it,” Valentine said. “There are bad apples in every profession, but I don’t want to see them get hurt and not be able to do their jobs.” At the Oct. 24 rallies, the Back the Blue supporters cleared out after 5 p.m., while the counterprotesters celebrated by dancing to songs like “Cupid Shuffle.” The representative from the Ithaca Pantheras said she was inspired by the turnout at the counterprotest. “As a Black woman, an immigrant, somebody who inhabits just about every minority position ... to see people come out and incredible numbers, it makes you feel 100% more safe,” the representative said. 59


A group of students and alumni wrote a letter to the college demanding an end to racist acts in the Department of Theatre Arts. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

IC announces plans to address racism in theater department By Alyshia Korba

A group of Ithaca College students and alumni called on the college to address a history of racist incidents perpetuated by faculty, students and staff in the Department of Theatre Arts. Ithaca College Department of Theatre Arts Black, Indigenous and People of Color (ICTA BIPOC) is a group of BIPOC alumni and current students in the Department of Theatre Arts that was created in response to racist incidents within the department. Kathryn Allison ’14, Hannah Guillory ’12, Donovan Lockett ’15 and Maggie Thompson ’15 began organizing ICTA BIPOC in June 2020. Allison, Guillory, Lockett and Thompson wrote a public letter July 30 after several meetings with the other ICTA BIPOC members. The letter contains student accounts of racism and discrimination and a list of demands aimed at holding perpetrators accountable and educating students, faculty and staff on being anti-racist. The college responded to the letter’s first two demands Sept. 25 in a letter written by Melanie Stein, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Belisa González, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity. On Sept. 10, the Department of Theatre Arts announced the appointment of two Equity, Diversity and Inclusion facilitators — Chrystyna Dail, associate professor in the Department of Theatre Arts, and Cynthia Henderson, professor in the Department of Theatre Arts — to work with faculty and staff in the department. In Fall 2019, an interim lecturer asked students to write racial slurs on a whiteboard. After students complained, the lecturer, Anne Hamilton, did not teach for the remainder of the semester. The Department of 60

Theatre Arts faculty was 90% white at the time, according to ICTA BIPOC. Collegewide, the student body is 72.2% white and is 23.7% people of color as of Fall 2020. Senior Christian Henry said he experienced racial microaggressions from a white professor during a class while performing a monologue by a formerly incarcerated Black male character. Henry said his professor began promoting stereotypes of Black incarcerated men while critiquing Henry’s performance, implying that formerly incarcerated Black men are inarticulate. “My brother is currently in prison,” Henry said. “He is not hardened by prison, at least not in the same way that you think being hardened from prison is based on your experience with ‘Orange Is the New Black.’” Henry said that the professor apologized to him once he corrected the professor’s mistake but that the experience still took an emotional toll on Henry. He sought out help from Henderson, who is the department’s first and only African American professor. “I talk often to my students about the fact that I don’t want to wipe out who they are as individuals,” Henderson said. “What I want to do is build on what they bring culturally, what they bring as individuals, what they bring based on how they identify.” The letter’s first demand requested the Department of Theatre Arts create a committee of theater arts staff, students and faculty selected by the student body and members of the Bias Impact Resource Team to investigate reported racist and discriminatory acts. Stein and González wrote that internal committees place more labor on faculty, staff and students of color. Some faculty members of color at the college have experienced cultural taxation — when faculty of color feel obligated to serve the college’s diversity needs.

The college has a Bias Impact Reporting Form for members of the college community to report acts of discrimination. The college plans to increase education for students on how to use the Bias Impact Reporting Form, Stein and González wrote in the letter. The second demand asked the college to implement Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training with a focus on microaggressions against Black people. In their letter, Stein and González explained that all incoming freshmen at the college are required to take an online DEI course as of Fall 2020. The Department of Theatre Arts will also implement a workshop for its students in the coming years that will expand on the DEI course. The other demands in the ICTA BIPOC letter included hiring more faculty members of color, increasing opportunities for prospective students of color, casting racially and ethnically appropriate actors, hiring diversity consultants to oversee productions, producing more shows by artists of color, having more diverse curricula and reviewing curricula with an anti-racist lens. Lockett said she was satisfied with the college’s response to the first two demands. “I feel relieved that the time-sensitive demands have been met, and we do, as a collective, feel that they have been met,” Lockett said. Senior Alexander Paredes-Ruíz said there were discussions about racism during weekly gatherings of theatre arts management students but only after he asked multiple times. González and Dail eventually lead these discussions. “It took a while, and it was kind of frustrating having to say it a couple times,” Paredes-Ruíz said. “But I think there has been more of a move toward talking about things.”


A shooting March 16 at Atlanta spas owned by Asian people resulted in the death of eight people, six of whom were Asian women. Molly Stanton/The Ithacan

Students mourn victims of mass shooting that targeted Asian people By Alyshia Korba and Syd Pierre

After a March 16 mass shooting in Atlanta that resulted in the death of eight people, six of whom were Asian women, Ithaca College senior Hana Cho, who is co-president of the Asian American Alliance (AAA) at the college, experienced extreme anxiety. Cho, a second-generation Korean American, said they were worried about their family’s safety as well as their own. “My mother is an essential worker in a white community, and I was already worried about her facing harassment during COVID,” Cho said. “Now, I am restless until she comes home.” The shooter in Atlanta targeted spas and massage parlors owned by Asian people. Although the majority of the victims were Asian women, the shooter claimed that the attack was not racially motivated. He said he has a sex addiction and targeted what he saw as sources of temptation. The police seemingly sympathized with the shooter, stating that he had a “bad day.” Many made it clear that the shooting was an act of racist misogyny. Cho said they have experienced discrimination because of their race. Although Cho does not identify as a woman, they have also experienced fetishization because they are often perceived as a woman. “It’s obvious that the shooting is connected with the fetishization of Asian women, and I can’t help but wonder if the harassment I face will one day escalate to something similar,” they said. Asian women have long been hypersexualized and fetishized in the United States. Media like the film “Full Metal Jacket” and the opera “Madama Butterfly” perpetuate harmful, racist stereotypes. The Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Hate report found that from March 2020 to February 2021, AAPI women

reported experiencing hate incidents 2.3 times more than men. Following the shooting, the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) released a statement March 18 that received criticism from members of the college community. “While the motive for the Tuesday killings of six Asian women in the Atlanta area remains unclear at this time, it is evident that the targeting of members of Asian communities has increased across our nation,” the statement initially said. Cho said they expressed their disappointment with the SLT’s statement in an email to President Shirley M. Collado and received an apology. “On behalf of the senior leadership team, I want to offer my sincere appreciation for your heartfelt and candid response to Thursday’s statement,” Collado said in the email to Cho. “We do understand that our message missed the mark and had unintended consequences.” Sophomore Paige D’Encarnacao, Class of 2023 senator for the Student Governance Council (SGC), said she felt insulted that the SLT’s statement said the shooter’s motives were unclear. “That was extremely hurtful to me because it was a racial-driven mass shooting,” D’Encarnacao said. The SLT edited its statement, but it still did not identify the shooting as a hate crime as of April 2021. The AAA put out statements about anti-Asian hate crimes and the Atlanta shooting. Both statements include resources for Asian people, resources for non-Asian allies to support Asian people, information on reporting anti-Asian assaults, and organizations that people can donate to in support of Asian people. The U.S. has seen an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former President Donald Trump fostered anti-Asian sentiments throughout the pandemic, calling the virus the “Chinese virus” and the “kung flu.” Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 31% of Asian adults in the U.S. have reported being targeted with racist slurs or jokes, and 26% of Asian adults said they felt like someone may threaten them, according to the Pew Research Center. Senior Connor Shea, president of the SGC, said the SGC was working on a statement but felt like it was not enough. “We could release it, but it’s like, ‘What more?’” Shea said. “We’re continuing to edit a statement, but ... is that what our community needs? Or is there something else that SGC can be doing?” Cho said the best way to support Asian people and Asian Americans at the college is by standing in solidarity with all Black, Indigenous and people of color. “Our struggles all have the same root of white supremacy, and sometimes it can be hard to remember that when individuals of color buy into the system of racism and attack other people of color,” Cho said. Cho said that although the college is a predominately white institution, student activism — especially Black students’ activism — has helped improve the campus climate for students of color. As of Fall 2020, 4% of students, 3.3% of faculty and 2.1% of staff were Asian American or Pacific Islander, according to the Office of Analytics and Institutional Research. “The Asian American population at IC is pretty small, and obviously not all of us face the same severity of racism as Black and brown students,” they said. “Asian American students are not very well represented, ... but I believe that ... we can create a stronger community.” 61


To anyone who needs it, Roswell Ecker ‘18 offers their shoulder and stated that community members deserve to be heard. Courtesy of Roswell Ecker

Commentary: IC has failed its survivors By Roswell Ecker

Trigger warning for abuse, assault. When Ithaca College announced Dr. Shirley M. Collado as our next president in 2017, I (alongside much of the campus community) was thrilled; as a woman of color with a background in psychology and a focus on trauma, she seemed like the perfect candidate, especially in contrast to her predecessor. That December, I participated in IC’s TEDx event where I presented my experiences with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). At that event, I had a personal exchange with President Collado where she looked me in the eye, shook my hand and told me how much she was looking forward to seeing me talk about DID. One month later, The Ithacan published an exposé revealing Collado’s 2001 conviction for abusing a former patient: one with DID. The victim’s story is corroborated by multiple sources from The Center at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington (PIW). Collado denies the abuse but does admit to inviting the patient to live with her: a massive ethical violation in its own right. PIW specializes in treating PTSD and dissociative disorders. ... Collado was working with vulnerable survivors with histories of abuse and still thought it acceptable to breach that boundary. What struck me most about the campus response was how devoid it was of empathy for survivors. The Board of Trustees revealed that they’d known from the 62

start and stood by her; a petition circulated among faculty and staff to share their support, and I heard peers, some even survivors themselves, parrot the same excuses we hear constantly: “It was a long time ago,” “The victim can’t be trusted,” et cetera.

What struck me most about the campus response [to the accusation] was how devoid it was of empathy for survivors. – Roswell Ecker

I was one of the few people publicly criticizing her at the time and received numerous messages from faculty and staff saying, “Thank you for speaking up. My entire department supports her, and I’m scared to say anything for fear of losing my job.” But all criticisms of Collado, regardless of validity, were dismissed as racist. The author of The Ithacan exposé is white, so it was largely waved off as a smear campaign. Survivors’ criticisms were similarly dismissed, even when they were people of color themselves. It’s well-documented that people of color are more likely than their white peers to be falsely accused of rape.

That’s a fact, so I can understand why people were wary of the story right away. But I kept waiting for them to read the article, to recognize that Collado herself admitted to violating one client-therapist boundary, and that never came. I saw friends, fellow survivors, drop out of school as a result. The college pointed us to the chronically overbooked CAPS, offered students group processing sessions through the Advocacy Center, and that was the extent of the formal response. To my knowledge, no resources were ever made available to faculty and staff. ... I can’t fully express how insidious it was for Collado to go out of her way to connect with me, to acknowledge my DID and paint herself as someone I could trust. And when her history caught up to her, she — like so many other abusers — cast doubts on the reliability of the victim. Despite evidence to the contrary, despite touting herself as an ally to survivors, despite having been professionally trained to know better, she blamed the victim, and it worked. A community that fails its most vulnerable is a failed community, and the college has been failing survivors for a long time. To the rest of the Ithaca community, I caution you to remember that someone who abuses their power in one arena often does so in others as well. If you haven’t revisited the exposé since its publication, or if you’ve never read it, please take the time; I know it’s long and unpleasant, believe me, but it’s important.


Tom Reed addresses harassment claims By Alexis Manore

Junior Olivia Brown asks why sexual assault on campus is not taken seriously. Courtesy of Olivia Brown

Commentary: The issue ignored on campuses By Olivia Brown

The news and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” — these were the two shows I watched consistently throughout the pandemic. ... I habitually flipped channels between the two nightmares, becoming numb to both. Watching these tragedies in tandem, I was suddenly lifted out of my haze as I saw a headline flash across the chyron: “Northeastern University Dismisses 11 Students for Breaking Social Distancing Rules.” Representatives for Northeastern said the harsh decision was made because the university has a zero tolerance policy toward breaking social-distancing rules. The representatives stated, “Northeastern … take[s] violations of health and safety protocols very seriously,” and, as a result, students “can expect removal from the community, including the immediate loss of university housing.” But is this zero tolerance attitude equally applied to all behaviors considered an imminent threat on campus? In short, no. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network reports that 26.4% of undergraduate [women] endure sexual assault or rape. ... This means approximately 1 out of 4 women on college campuses have been the victim of sexual assault. In the midst of the coronavirus, an epidemic continues to be felt on college campuses­— it is sexual violence. While colleges across America continue to dismiss students as a result of breaking coronavirus regulations, there is a lackluster effort toward adequate punishment for sexual offenders on campus. Colleges argue that their primary concern is for the safety of the student body. A student who attends a gathering

maskless and fewer than 6 feet from another student poses a threat to others. Yet, this logic is not similarly applied when concerning sexual predators on campus, even though they pose a great risk to all on campus. Taking a look at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, it is clear that the coronavirus is taken more seriously than sexual assault. Days after returning to campus, three students from the university were dismissed from campus for “failing to follow university standards” because they broke social-distancing rules. This quick response starkly contrasts with the six months sexual assault survivor Delaney Robinson waited while UNC was deciding her case. Although suspended from playing football, her accused attacker remained on campus throughout the lengthy investigation. As a college student, this leads me to question why universities pick and choose what they deem to be threats on campus. While it is unknown whether or not the students who break social-distancing rules are actively spreading the virus, ... they are still prosecuted quickly and with zero tolerance. I do not aim to question the severity of the coronavirus and its threat to students on campus. However, I do suggest that the response to the coronavirus affirms that colleges are able to respond to unsafe situations on their grounds in a speedy manner. If colleges can remove social-distance violators from campus, shouldn’t they be able to respond similarly to sexual offenses? Colleges must do better in protecting students’ safety. If they have the ability to do it sometimes, they need to be doing so all the time.

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY ) took full responsibility after being accused of sexual harassment and announced he will not run for public office in the future. Reed represents Ithaca, which is located in New York’s 23rd District, and was reelected to the congressional seat in the 2020 election. Reed represented the 29th congressional district from 2010 to 2013 and will represent the 23rd district until 2023. In a Washington Post article published March 19, a former lobbyist accused Reed of sexually harassing her in 2017. In the article, former lobbyist Nicolette Davis accused Reed, who was visibly intoxicated, of rubbing her back, unhooking her bra from outside her blouse and moving his hands up her thighs. Davis alleged that someone sitting next to her had to pull Reed away from her and escort him out of the restaurant. Davis’ story was corroborated by someone who was at the table that night. Reed has been vocal about issues of sexual misconduct. In 2014, he published an essay describing how sexual assault has affected his own life and expressed his support for No More, an organization that works to end domestic violence and sexual assault. In November 2017, Reed supported a resolution to restrict sexual harassment in Congress. “No one can justify sexual assault and harassment as acceptable,” Reed said in a 2017 statement. “It has to end, no excuses. The stories I am hearing are deeply troubling. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your title is. This needs to stop now.” In the statement, Reed said that he and all of his staff had taken sexual harassment training and that it is a basic requirement in his office. In a March 21 press release, Reed apologized to Davis. “Even though I am only hearing of this matter as stated by Ms. Davis in the article now, I hear her voice and will not dismiss her,” he said in the statement. “In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry and I take full responsibility. I further apologize to my wife and kids, my family, the people of the 23rd District, my colleagues and those who have supported me for the harm this caused them.” In the statement, Reed said he began receiving treatment for alcoholism in 2017 and was four years sober. He did not specify if this incident occurred before or after he began treatment. Reed stated that he will not run for public office in the future and that he will retire from public service Jan. 2, 2023. The statement said that when he first took office in 2010, he pledged to only serve for six terms, or 12 years. This current term is Reed’s sixth term. Reed had previously considered running for governor of New York after Gov. Andrew Cuomo began facing backlash for multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and accusations that he had altered data about the number of nursing home deaths related to COVID-19. 63



Residential Director Tanner Jones helps freshman Ava Goossen with check-in Jan. 28 at the A&E Center. Alyssa Beebe/The Ithacan



Senior Nicole Brokaw is a student manager at the Ithaca College Library, where there were fewer student employees in the spring. Abbey London/The Ithacan

Student employees decrease in spring semester By Caitlin Holtzman and Alyshia Korba

Some departments at Ithaca College had to adjust with fewer employees while former student employees looked for other jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Hayley Harris, vice president for the Office of Human Resources, said there were approximately 2,300 student employee positions filled in Spring 2021. However, she said that many students have multiple jobs and that there were likely approximately 2,000 student employees, which was around the usual number of students employed each year. “Some units were not able to employ their usual numbers of student employees over the past year,” she said via email. “These include Dining, Athletics and the Library — all areas that were impacted by our move from in-person to remote instruction, with its corresponding lessening demand on campus operations.” Scott McWilliams, director of Dining Services, said that as of Feb. 12, there were approximately 126 students employed by Dining Services. Usually, he said, there are approximately 200 student employees in dining. “Now, due to COVID-19 protocols, everything has to be served,” he said. “There’s nothing that students can touch. It takes a lot more hands to do that.” Food in the dining halls was served to students in a buffet-style line rather than students being able to serve themselves. McWilliams said that training student employees was also difficult. He said that usually training occurs in person but that in the spring, it was all done virtually. Junior Leizbel Perdomo was a student manager at Campus Center Dining Hall. She was able to get a retail job at home while the college was operating remotely but returned to her Campus Center position for Spring 2021. She said she chose to return to working in Dining Services

because of the sense of community among the workers. “Even though it is stressful a lot, and a lot of times, you’re like, ‘I want to quit, like, I hate it here,’ we’re all very close,” Perdomo said. “Even with the dish room people or the cooks, even with the people at the Pub, it’s a very close work community.” Perdomo also said she felt comfortable working in Dining Services despite the COVID-19 risks. “Honestly, I feel a lot safer than I ever did at my retail job,” Perdomo said. “We’re separated enough from the students to where it feels pretty secure.” Bernard Hogben, access services manager for the Ithaca College Library, said there were 38 students employed at the library before COVID-19 — 26 student assistants and 12 student managers. He said that in Spring 2021, there were 14 student employees, 11 student assistants and three student managers. Hogben said student managers have more library training than assistants and also receive training from the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management as they work overnight after regular library staff go home. Hogben said the number of students employed at the library depends on the library’s budget and hours. For Spring 2021, the library was open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday. Senior Nicole Brokaw was a student manager in the library and began working there her freshman year. She said the change in the library’s hours of operation affected the hours she works as a student manager. Brokaw said that she was working a similar number of hours as she did previous semesters but that her schedule had significantly changed. “I’m having to work different days of the week, like I don’t normally work on weekends, but I am working on weekends now to make up that extra, like, four hours that

I would normally be working overnight,” Brokaw said. “For students that, like me, have exclusively worked overnight, it’s like a little bit of a shift.” Junior Malaya Press worked for Interlibrary Loan during her freshman and sophomore years but was not rehired when the library returned to operation in Spring 2021. “Being remote for school, that did save in general because like housing and everything, but I currently don’t have very much income at all,” Press said. “So that’s definitely something I’m trying to figure out.” Approximately 13.3 million undergraduate students were worried about their financial future due to COVID-19. Approximately 38% of college students were worried they would not have enough money to cover school-related expenses through Fall 2020. Harris said students who received work-study awards were given priority to ensure that they had job opportunities. However, she said that jobs were not guaranteed and that if students were willing to consider multiple different positions, they could find jobs more easily. Press said her main concern was trying to find another job while departments on campus were reducing their staff. “I’ve been in that job since the beginning of freshman year,” Press said. “It’s mostly just a matter of having to figure that out again.” Hogben said that since COVID-19, the library shifted to more virtual services and began to offer curbside pickup for materials students wanted to check out. Hogben said he hopes that regular library services can return in Fall 2021. “I value and appreciate our student employees so much,” Hogben said. “I am very grateful for the fact that we are open for faculty, staff and students and our student employees and managers are back. I’m very grateful.” 65


Sophomore Britain Hodgkins lived in West Tower in the fall. She said that living on campus felt isolating at times. Mikayla Rovenolt/The Ithacan

Students living on campus feel lonely and isolated By Mikayla Rovenolt

The sounds of leaves rustling and birds outside are easy to hear when Ithaca College’s campus is not full of students’ voices as they pass between classes. Stepping out of the limited on-campus housing can feel lonely without the sight of staff and students walking around. Ithaca College students with extenuating circumstances were allowed to live on campus for Fall 2020, but some felt isolated because of online courses and social-distancing guidelines. Students who wanted to live on campus for the remote fall semester needed to fill out an exception form, provided by the college. Marsha Dawson, director of the Office of Residential Life and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, said there were 135 students living on campus in Fall 2020. Housing was limited to East and West Towers, the Garden Apartments and the Circle Apartments. “The most different part [of this semester] is not having the same sense of community and closeness with peers,” sophomore Britain Hodgkins said. “The campus is very empty right now, and it’s super isolating to be on Zoom all day.” Students were encouraged to apply if they were facing housing or personal hardships, but housing was not guaranteed. Applications were reviewed by representatives from the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life, the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Student Accessibility Services. Senior Camille Wrege lived on campus in Fall 2020 in her Garden Apartment with her roommate. Wrege said she lived in the same apartment last academic year and was able to squat her apartment over the 66

summer, as she anticipated returning to campus for a fully in-person semester. As an occupational therapy major, Wrege said she had some lab classes that were held in person, so she needed to be in Ithaca this semester. However, she said that being on campus was not perfect. “It’s been kind of isolating,” Wrege said. “We can’t really go anywhere because there’s not many places that are open, and we can’t have people over.” Isolation and loneliness increased because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social isolation can lead to a decline in physical and mental health as people do not get to interact with others. The college’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services offered telehealth appointments for students at no cost. The Campus Center Dining Hall and the campus Ithaca Bakery were also both open. For the Campus Center Dining Hall, students were given a green to-go box and two carabiners upon their arrival to campus. Every time they went to the dining hall, they exchanged the used container for a new one with their meal ready to go inside. “We go in, get food and leave to eat elsewhere,” Hodgkins said. Reginald Briggs, associate director for Dining Services, said the fall semester was difficult at times for Dining Services as well as the students. “We feel bad for the students and are upset that we can’t provide the hospitality that we’d like,” Briggs said. “We are trying to do our best with this new set up.” Hodgkins said there was a limited number of people allowed in every building. Part of the Community Agreement was daily screenings and, for students living on campus, a weekly COVID-19 test at the Athletics

and Events Center. If students did not submit the daily screening, they were not allowed to access any part of campus. Wrege said that every week she got an email reminding her to sign up for a COVID-19 test the following week. She said that she and her roommate got tested every Tuesday and that usually the next day they got an email with their results. Junior Selina Ali, also an occupational therapy major, said one of the most difficult things for her was the weekly COVID-19 testing during the fall semester. Ali said she lived in the Circle Apartments, which are far from the A&E Center. Aside from walking to the testing site, Ali was rarely on campus unless she needed to use the printing facilities in the Center for Health Sciences because at the time, the Ithaca College library was not open for printing. Hodgkins said that the workload that accompanied Zoom classes was overwhelming at times and that there were social aspects that Zoom lacked. “It’s a lot more difficult to make friends in your classes if you’re not sitting near them and hanging out before or after class,” Hodgkins said. “I’m hoping to have more socially distanced hangouts soon, but right now, I’ve been keeping to myself just in case.” Ali said she spent time with her roommates but kept overall socialization to a minimum. Ali said that before the pandemic, IC Unbound Dance Company was a fun way to socialize and be with friends on campus. “Sometimes, for fun, I will dance in my living room, which is kind of set up like a studio, in hope that one day, I’ll be able to dance again with my company friends,” Ali said.


Column: Motivation during a pandemic By Mikayla Tolliver

Freshman Deena Houissa discusses COVID-19’s impact on her mental health. Eleanor Kay/The Ithacan

Commentary: Social anxiety in the Zoom age By Deena Houissa

I have lived with social anxiety and bipolar disorder my whole life. Keeping in control of my anxiety and mental health in general has been pretty difficult for me, especially in the age of Zoom. Feeling like nothing is certain amplifies my anxiety. How many COVID-19 cases are in Tompkins County? How will I meet up safely with that cute guy I asked out on Discord with the pandemic going on? How do I feel in control when the world around me is so confusing? Having a therapist helps a lot when it comes to dealing with my mental health issues amid a pandemic. She helps me unpack a lot of these uncomfortable feelings that I have been bottling up for a long time. Because of COVID-19, being able to meet people in person isn’t a possibility. I find it pretty difficult to connect with people through the Zoom calls, but it’s a start. I met most of my friends on the internet, but what sucks the most is that I can’t meet up with them. The stigma of mental health in the United States is still a pretty big issue, and mental health awareness is very important. I have parents who are both immigrants from Tunisia. Opening up about my mental health wasn’t the easiest thing to do. In most Arab countries, talking about mental health isn’t even a thing. The usual view of mental health in my parents’ home country is, “Pray it away. It will probably go away.” With everything virtual, although the physical aspect of social interactions is gone, I still feel anxiety when I’m on a Zoom call. I still feel that painful feeling in my heart when I’m called on in class

randomly. I still have to show my face in all my classes, and talk to people when I have no idea how they will react to my existence. I know this sounds a bit dramatic to some, but this is how it feels. My palms still sweat, I still feel lightheaded when I’m in a bigger lecture. These are all downsides to having anxiety. These things used to affect me even when COVID-19 did not exist, but now they’re amplified. I think more about myself than the actual classes that I’m in. Zoom fatigue is also too real for me. I feel like I’m staring at a screen all day and don’t get actual work done, considering everything’s online. I take my medications, which subdue my symptoms, and have regular therapy sessions, but this anxiety still is an overwhelming issue for me. With social anxiety and bipolar disorder, it’s hard to tell when I’m going to feel amazing and when I might feel like the whole world is against me. I have many friends who are supportive of me and my mental health, which helps significantly. I sometimes feel like an alien with all my issues. But hey, I’m human. I breathe the same air as you, and I am equal to you, no matter how many mental health struggles I have to deal with. Dealing with mental health on Zoom is a pretty weird thing to get used to when you’re so used to talking to people face to face, without their masks on. Everything almost feels unnatural when dealing with my mental health online, because this is the first time I’m dealing with everything like this. I am learning to adjust, but most importantly, others need to be more aware of these issues.

There are some days when I show up to class, dressed up, notebook open, camera on and ready to have a class discussion. Those days usually involve me following a strict schedule and to-do list that I’ve created for myself. With each task I complete, I have the motivation to keep going, and I end up being very productive. But there are some days when I am simply not feeling it. I’ll wear sweatpants, doodle in my notebooks, turn my camera off, zone out, think about what’s for lunch and check my phone. These days are hard, and they’re not few and far between. In a classroom, students are surrounded by their peers, and being in that type of environment is much more encouraging than studying alone all the time. I’ve found that the best way to keep myself motivated is by scheduling out my day by the hour and making to-do lists. The night before, I’ll decide what time I’ll wake up, make a list of what needs to get done and assign how much time I’ll spend on each task. It’s pretty effective. The most important thing I do when it comes to motivation is to let myself have those days when I don’t wake up on time and I start to get lazy. I notice this happens after several days of following a rigorous schedule. Instead of beating myself up for not getting everything done, I am learning to be kind and to not be so hard on myself. When I have these days in which I barely check things off my to-do list or wait to do tasks another day, I find that the following day I am able to bounce back with newfound motivation. It is dangerous to be so hard on ourselves, especially during a global pandemic. If I wake up day after day after day, pushing myself to give 110%, that’s when I start to burn out. I don’t feel guilty about not doing a task if it makes me feel better. I just don’t make a habit of procrastination because that never does any good either. It’s about balance and giving yourself time to just be, if you need it. I am a writing major, and there are days when I free write for a personal story instead of doing homework. I journal and do yoga too. The little things help. Giving yourself a chance for self-care, reflection and the opportunity to take a break is what works for me when finding motivation the next day, even if the day before was not productive. Even more, the announcement that we will return to campus in Spring 2021 has kept me motivated. There is a part of me that is using this hope to push through the difficulties of online school. Overall, my advice when it comes to motivation is to not be too hard on yourself. In such a strange world, it’s better to give yourself the chance to take breaks when you need them instead of forcing yourself to work through the stress. Mikayla Tolliver was a freshman at Ithaca Collegein2020–21.Inhercolumn,“AskaFreshman,”she answeredquestionsaboutherfreshmanexperience. 67


Ithaca College students adapt to campus life during pandemic Sophomores Rachel Rose and Meredith Garrity work in the Ithaca College Library during the first mini-break Feb. 16. The college gave students five of these in place of this semester’s spring break. Mikayla Elwell/The Ithacan

Freshman Scout Frost walks through the “Entrance Only” doors into Phillips Hall. Bec Legato/The Ithacan 68


Students convene in the Emerson Suites on the second floor of the Campus Center, where they can sit without masks on. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

Freshman Vanivy Delaney hugs her mother, Ivy Morgan, as she finishes moving into her dorm Jan. 28. Students had to remain in Tompkins County for the entirety of the semester. Alyssa Beebe/The Ithacan 69


Freshman Scout Frost sits on campus March 15. Frost said they had to readjust to life as a freshman after testing positive for COVID-19. Jill Ruthauser/The Ithacan

Freshmen struggle to adjust to campus life after virtual semester By Alyshia Korba

Freshman Kathryn Gilbride dreamt of attending Ithaca College since her freshman year of high school, but her first-year experience had her questioning whether she would return for Fall 2021. “I feel like I’ve tried everything to make this experience work,” Gilbride said. “I just don’t know if I can do it because it’s ruining me. There are very few things that are keeping me here.” Freshmen beginning at the college in Fall 2020 had an unusual start to their college careers, as classes were held remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the campus reopened for Spring 2021, the college experience was limited by COVID-19 guidelines. Brian Petersen, director of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), said that in a typical semester, freshmen generally struggle in three areas of adjustment: living with a roommate, experiencing homesickness and making connections with people. Petersen said that this was still the case during the COVID-19 pandemic but that the pandemic presented new obstacles within each area of adjustment. There were 778 freshmen enrolled for Spring 2021, which was 322 students fewer than the 1,100 freshmen who were enrolled in the fall semester, according to the class standing tab from the Office of Analytics and Institutional Research (AIR). In 2017, 25.9% of freshmen at private, four-year, not-for-profit colleges in the U.S. dropped out during their first year at the college, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Jacqueline Winslow, director of New Student and Transition Programs (NSTP), said the Retention and Engagement Strategy Team (REST) partnered with other 70

offices and organizations on campus to support freshmen. REST and the Exploratory Program held events to help students make a four-year plan. “The Retention and Engagement Strategy Team is working with a number of campus partners to help students recover, revive and thrive in the wake of a tremendously difficult year,” Winslow said via email. Freshman Darby Dutter said she found it difficult to make friends due to the COVID-19 restrictions. At the beginning of the semester, students were not allowed to enter other students’ dorm rooms. After March 15, students could visit other dorm rooms within their residential building while wearing a mask and social distancing. There was a limit of one visitor per resident. “It’s really hard because it feels like you have to pick between following what the school wants you to do and having a social life because the rules are just so all over the place,” Dutter said. Freshman Emily Koudelka said she did classes remotely this semester and felt that it would be difficult to get involved remotely. “I’m hoping next year, it’ll be different,” Koudelka said. “I’ll be able to actually make friends.” A 2018 study by Jaclyn Kopel, then-doctoral student at Walden University in Minneapolis, showed that students who remained at their respective colleges or universities cited personal connections as their main reason for staying. The study is based on research at an unnamed private, four-year, not-for-profit university. Gilbride said that she struggles with mental health disorders like anxiety and that her mental health has deteriorated since starting college. She said she struggled to find treatment at the college. She sought help from CAPS because her usual therapist is not licensed to work

with clients in New York state. Petersen said that although freshmen have extra obstacles in their transition to college this year, CAPS has seen a decrease in students seeking services. Petersen said this is because more therapists adopted telehealth practices for clients who have left for Ithaca. The college participated in the annual Healthy Minds Study throughout March 2021. All students at the college were encouraged to take the survey, which asked questions about issues like mental health and substance use. The college uses the results of the survey to determine what resources are needed on campus. Koudelka said that even though her freshman year was not what she expected, she believes her experience will help her enjoy the rest of her time at the college. “I think it might make me appreciate it a bit more, like actually look forward to doing the small things, like going to the dining halls or whatever because I can’t do that right now,” Koudelka said. “I think I’ll try not to take it for granted.” Gilbride said she used the Fresh Start Program after she struggled with classes in Fall 2020. The program — created by Kathy Lucas, former assistant dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences in 2011 — helps freshmen who had a GPA less than 2.0 during the fall semester. Students can take a leave of absence or defer suspension under an academic contract that requires students achieve a minimum GPA of 2.3, have no more than one grade below a C and complete a minimum of 12 credit hours. Gilbride said she made it a goal to get through the semester. “I think the worst thing I could do is go home and not know if I could have done it,” she said. “That would kill me forever.”


From left, seniors Seth Ormsby and Nina Ng sit in front of the greenhouse. Students were not able to work in the greenhouse in Fall 2020. Jill Ruthauser/The Ithacan

Remote fall semester delays student greenhouse research By Arleigh Rodgers

When Ithaca College senior Seth Ormsby returned to Cazenovia, New York, to complete classes at home in Spring 2020, his work and research at the college’s greenhouse halted abruptly. The hands-on learning required for his research at the greenhouse was not transferable to a virtual format, he said — and a Fall 2020 that could have made up for lost time became another semester of longing for the humid, windowed space. “It was really frustrating not being able to go to the greenhouse at all or being able to do the regular maintenance that I was doing,” he said. “I was getting really good at it, and I was enjoying it.” Ormsby was accepted to a research group with Paula Turkon, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, in Fall 2019. He would have spent summer 2020 and Fall 2020 continuing research on and maintaining the aquaponics system in the greenhouse. The system combines aquaculture and hydroponics, or caring for the greenhouse’s fish and cultivating plants in water, respectively. “There’s a lot of in-person or hands-on classes or research opportunities that are not really being focused or emphasized right now,” Ormsby said. “Not having it right now or allowing … people to actually do that is kind of harmful.” Senior Nina Ng was also part of the research group. While Ormsby hoped to continue research in the greenhouse in Spring 2021, Ng submitted a research proposal that did not depend on in-person research so she could start in Fall 2020 instead of waiting until the spring semester. Her project analyzed the ways aquaponics and community gardens can help reduce food deserts — a location with limited access to affordable food.

“We would love to be able to grow plants and test their nutrients compared to store-bought … because that was something that I was planning to build off of [from a previous student’s research],” she said. “You don’t get that hands-on experience, which is a huge part of being in a lab and doing research.” Rosanna Ferro, vice president for student affairs and campus life, said the dean of every school at the college reviewed the academic programs that require hands-on experience for licensure or certification. Students from these majors who need to complete the professional phase of their degrees were allowed to return for in-person classes in Fall 2020. “With respect to student workers, only those identified as essential to business continuity were granted permission to access … campus,” she said via email. The collaborative research group, an independent study class for two credits, would have usually met in person on Thursdays. These shifted to Zoom meetings in Fall 2020, during which students in the group discussed the progress of their research, even if momentarily halted like Ormsby’s. Every year, Turkon selects two students in the research group to assist with greenhouse maintenance, one of which is Ng. However, Turkon cannot do general maintenance work at the greenhouse because of the campus restrictions. Greg Hornbrook, former greenhouse technician, was furloughed in March because of budgetary issues related to the pandemic, Turkon said. After Hornbrook was furloughed and because students could not assist with the maintenance of the greenhouse, Jessica Kerns, laboratory coordinator in the Department of

Biology, and Laura Bechtler, animal care technician in the Department of Biology, stepped in. At the entrance to the greenhouse and near the bubbling fish tank, hand sanitizer, disinfectant and gloves were available for Bechtler and Kerns to use. Only one person was allowed in the greenhouse at a time. Like Ng would have done, Bechtler and Kerns check on the aquaponics system and care for the plants and animals living in the greenhouse. Before coming to the college, Bechtler was a zookeeper for eight years. Bechtler oversees the health of all animals on campus, including the greenhouse’s tilapia and bluegill fish. She cleans, feeds and performs all of the conservation duties the animals need. “You must be very detail oriented, have good time management and understand animal behavior,” she said via email. “It has been a new and challenging six months learning [about the greenhouse] and making sure I am properly caring for the plants and the aquaponics system.” While classes were in person, Turkon visited the greenhouse daily. After classes went online, these visits dwindled to weekly, hourlong ones on Sundays. She said that being in the greenhouse at that time provided a brief repose from the freezing weather outside. “Think about being shut up in your home, especially in the wintertime, and then you walk into this warm and sunny place, with plants all around and water sprinkling,” she said. “I did dillydally sometimes.” Bechtler said she had a similar experience. “I love how bright and warm it is in there,” she said via email. “I am not an expert in plants that is for sure — I love caring for the animals. But there is something calming about being in there.” 71


Faculty members adjusted their courses to integrate current events into their curricula through open discussions and debates. Anna McCracken/The Ithacan

Professors alter course curricula to address current events By Syd Pierre

In Fall 2020, faculty members at Ithaca College changed their course curricula to address current events that impacted students, including 2020’s divisive election, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and racism across the United States. Kari Brossard Stoos, associate chair and associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education, taught a course called Disease and Lifestyle. She said she discussed social determinants of health, including institutionalized racism in the health care system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites discrimination and racism as factors that can contribute to increased risks of contracting COVID-19. The CDC also reported that Black people have a 2.9 higher rate ratio of hospitalization from COVID-19 and a 1.9 higher rate ratio of death compared to white people. Stewart Auyash, associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education, taught a class called Front Page Public Health: Policy and Epidemiology. He said he has been teaching about pandemics since the 1990s. In Spring 2021, Auyash taught a new course called Cholera to COVID: A History of Public Health. Like Brossard Stoos, Auyash said he tries to put as much of a positive spin on the pandemic as he can. “I don’t think it’s going to end anytime soon, so I don’t want to get people’s hopes up,” Auyash said. “I think managing it in a way that benefits all of us is probably the best strategies we teach, equally intellectually, emotionally and psychologically.” Chee Ng, assistant professor in the Department of Finance and International Business, said that for his class, 72

Boom, Bust and the American Economic Cycle, he acquired data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis about the quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2020. He said that the first two quarters of the year had a negative GDP, which qualifies as a recession, and that in the third quarter, the GDP increased by 33.1%. Ng said his class has discussed how many Americans were affected by this economic downturn and subsequent improvement, an occurrence that was spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Donald Beachler, associate professor in the Department of Politics, said his course, Elections in the U.S., garnered more interest from students this semester. He said there is generally higher student interest in the course during a presidential election year. Beachler said the election provided direct examples for students to learn from. “We talked a lot about whether voters are capable of making informed decisions because they have often very limited information,” Beachler said. “We talked about whether there’s a new authoritarian trend in the United States with Mr. Trump. We spent a lot of time talking about polarization and racial divisions in the United States.” Racism and police brutality have been long-standing issues in the U.S. In 2020, police killed 1,127 people, 28% of whom were Black people despite being only 13% of the population. In summer 2020, the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake in November led to widespread national protests against police brutality and racism against Black people. The increased focus on racial inequality has led approximately half of Americans to say it is very important for people in the U.S. to

educate themselves about the history of racial inequality in the country, according to a 2020 Pew Research study. Alex Reed, associate professor in the Department of Music Theory, History and Composition, said he changed his class — African American Popular Music: Blues to Hip Hop — to keep students engaged in the class even while it is remote. Students led presentations on over 30 artists, like Nina Simone and Prince, he said. Jake Brenner, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, said he worked with Pranietha Mudliar, assistant professor in the Department Environmental Studies and Sciences, to revamp his course, The Environmental Crisis, to focus more on current events, including the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Freshman Lydia Brandt said she took the course because she was interested in environmental science. “We’re learning about what’s going on in the real world,” Brandt said. “I think more than ever we should be learning about environmental justice and the injustices in the world. The only way that we’re going to make changes is if we understand what’s going on and how to make change and the solutions that we can make.” Chris Holmes, associate professor and chair of the Department of English, taught an honors seminar for freshmen about guns in the U.S. Holmes worked with sophomore Isaac Schneider, the course peer leader, over summer 2020 to integrate the election and racism related to gun violence into the course. “If … you’re dealing with something that is so interconnected and ever-changing with what’s going on right now, my personal opinion would be it wouldn’t be an option to keep the curriculum the same as before,” Schneider said.


Pedro Molino was a visiting scholar-in-residence at Ithaca College since Fall 2019. The program was eliminated in Spring 2021. Courtesy of Pedro Molino

Visiting international scholar-in-residence program eliminated By Alex Hartzog

After escaping from Nicaragua on Christmas Day in 2018, Pedro Molina, Ithaca College’s International Visiting Scholar in Residence, struggled to plan his future after the college decided to end the Scholar in Residence program in Spring 2021. The Ithaca City of Asylum (ICOA), an organization that offers asylum to international writers, scholars and artists, has sponsored writers-in-residence, many of whom have been exiled from their homes, since 2001. The Office of the Provost and the Honors Program at the college supported three writers beginning in 2012. The Honors Program was set to be moved from the Office of the Provost to the School of Humanities and Sciences. This restructuring began in Fall 2019, the same year that Molina began his residence. Dave Maley, director of public relations, said Molina’s residency will end with the 2020–21 academic year. The process of phasing out the program began before the Academic Program Prioritization (APP) began. The Office of the Provost told the ICOA in September that it would not seek a scholar-in-residence for the upcoming year, said Barbara Adams, assistant professor in the Department of Writing and founding member of the ICOA. Adams said the ICOA helped Molina search for alternative placements and positions that would allow him to stay in the U.S. and sponsor his visa, as ICOA does not have necessary funds to sponsor Molina’s residency without support from the college. ICOA helped pay visa, legal and housing fees for Molina and his family while in Ithaca, Adams said. Molina is a cartoonist who draws daily comics for Confidencial, a Nicaraguan digital publication. Molina

fled Nicaragua after police raided the offices of Confidencial, killing one journalist and jailing two others. He said that being able to continue his work safely made him no longer fear for his or his family’s safety. “The problem is, the situation in my country — the crisis — is still going on,” Molina said. “It’s even worse than when I left. Going back is not an option.” In the spring, Molina taught three courses, two in the Department of Art and one in honors. Molina said he felt the main benefit his involvement in the Scholar in Residence program had on his students was the unique perspective he was able to provide. “[The reason the program is valuable] to the Ithaca community is that they are able to learn from a different perspective, different sensitivity, about what is happening around the world and how the rest of the world sees what is happening in the U.S.,” Molina said. “You are learning firsthand from other cultures, other ways of life, other problems that could be happening in the world without you even knowing.” Raza Rumi, former scholar-in-residence, director of the Park Center for Independent Media and board member of the ICOA, said the Scholar in Residence program was extremely valuable to him and his family. His two-year residency spurred him on to continue teaching at the college. “It enabled me, first of all, to become a part of a very vibrant community on campus and outside the campus, and it enabled me to continue work on my writing and journalism,” Rumi said. “When I started teaching, I started liking it very much, so I chose to adopt this as my new career.” Alicia Swords, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and former director of the Honors Program,

said the Scholar in Residence program allowed Honors to offer classes from the perspectives of those who were being targeted for their actions and views. “I think the innovative contribution of this program is that it brings people who suffer personally — human rights abuses and violations of their rights — to be educators at our college,” Swords said. “I think that’s a model that really should be replicated, not undone. … It’s a real shame that Ithaca College isn’t resourcing this program.” Sophomore Taspia Arpee took Molina’s honors class about political cartoons in Spring 2021. Arpee had no experience in cartooning or politics, but Molina’s perspective made the class enjoyable, Arpee said. “When we talk about Latin America in specific, he talks about how so many journalists don’t have the space to talk about things and how that kind of changes the way that their political cartoons are made,” Arpee said. “We can see the difference between the ways certain events are portrayed in different countries compared to how they are here.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Molina’s time at the college has been different from the previous scholars because he had to move to remote instruction for his classes. Molina said this hindered his ability to create relationships with the college community. “I was hoping that I could get a chance to remain at IC, but I have been told that because of the budget restrictions that the pandemic put onto the college that it would be very difficult,” Molina said. “The reason I left Nicaragua is because there is a dictatorship going on down there, and me being a cartoonist, I was drawing about this stuff, so I had to get out to keep doing these cartoons.” 73



From left, freshmen Hope Warren and Annalise Winegard sit outside March 22 near Phillips Hall to enjoy the warm weather. Abbey London/The Ithacan



Junior McKensie Galusha, a physical therapy student, treats a patient at the Ithaca College Physical Therapy Clinic. Bec Legato/The Ithacan

School of HSHP clinics operate amid COVID-19 pandemic By Makayla Carozzolo

Although clinics within the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance (HSHP) at Ithaca College were emptier and had fewer patients and staff, clinical students still worked to get hands-on experience and assist the community in Spring 2021. The Sir Alexander Ewing-Ithaca College Speech and Hearing Clinic offered in-person service only to the hearing portion of the clinic. These audiology clients also received service through teletherapy and curbside service. Speech-language pathology services were offered remotely through telepractice. The Occupational and Physical Therapy Clinic (OT/PT Clinic) also offered in-person and telepractice services in the spring. The clinicians worked hands-on with patients while wearing safety gear like gloves, face shields and masks. In Fall 2020, the clinics mostly operated through telepractice, except for the PT clinic, which treated a fellow student-clinician and a staff member in person. The college held classes primarily remotely for Fall 2020, but some students were allowed on campus for the PT Boot Camp. In addition to telepractice, Amie Germain, assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and OT/PT Clinic faculty member, said the OT clinic held virtual therapy sessions with families through Zoom for students to learn how to engage with children in an online setting. Chris McNamara, clinical associate professor and clinic director of the Department of Physical Therapy, said that in the fall, both PT and OT students did case study–based learning scenarios. These were published or made-up cases of patients that taught students to develop care plans. Tayo Akinboboye — a first-year physical therapy graduate student and student-clinician — said the OT/PT Clinic opened Jan. 25, 2021. Akinboboye said that when the clinic

opened, he and the other student-clinicians learned about the rules and started working in the clinic. Akinboboye said that by Feb. 1, they had their first client. McNamara said patients were required to complete a daily health screening to access the clinic. She said that the clinic was not treating pediatric patients in person because they are typically accompanied by parents or siblings and that the clinic could not fit additional people due to lowered room capacity. The hearing clinic opened in person Feb. 8. Amy Rominger, clinical associate professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, said the in-person services were only offered to community members approved to access campus. Patients were required to complete daily health screenings and answer health questions prior to their arrival. Patients wore masks during appointments, and clinicians wore masks, gloves and face shields, Rominger said. In addition to the safety equipment, the hearing clinic no longer reused supplies. “This is where infection control and budget concerns always come to play,” she said. “Anything that was multiuse before is now single-use as far as supplies go, with the exception, certainly, of the actual equipment that we have. We just disinfect and sanitize that.” Jessica Freeborn, a first-year occupational therapy graduate student, said similar protective gear was worn in the OT/PT Clinic. She said OT student-clinicians wore masks and goggles and remained socially distant from each other and patients. Akinboboye said the PT students wore the same protective gear with the option to wear a face shield instead of goggles and gloves depending on whether the clinician or client wanted them. The hearing clinic was also operating with fewer student-clinicians at once. Rominger said that previously,

she would have two student-clinicians with her at all times. Due to the lower patient population this semester and the rotation of student-clinicians for a week or two each, only one student-clinician worked with Rominger at a time. Kate Quigley, a first-year speech-language pathology graduate student, worked in the hearing clinic for the first time Feb. 18. She said that she had one hour of direct client contact and that she was able to administer a hearing evaluation to a client. She also said that in the spring, each student-clinician worked five to six hours per week in telepractice and in-person work combined. Quigley said it was exciting to be in the clinic and to get in-person experience. “I felt 100% comfortable,” Quigley said. “Of course I wanted to make sure the client also felt comfortable because there were some things that we had to get closer to the client than others, so it’s all about the client’s preference. But with the proper protocols we have in place, I felt really safe, and I didn’t really have much concern.” Akinboboye said that he enjoyed his experience working in the clinic this semester and that he appreciates the interpersonal relationships between students studying PT, OT and speech-language pathology. Freeborn said she values the opportunity that working in the OT clinic provides. “Personally, I think that it’s a great experience, especially because a lot of the OT students will be going on their first round of clinicals or fieldwork experiences at the end of March,” Freeborn said. “For me, it’s like a really great way to kind of get my toes wet and see what this might be like when I go on fieldwork, whether it’s telehealth or different protocols with sanitization or [personal protective equipment] and how treating clients and in person or face-to-face might look different.” 75


The Center for Print Production had the goal of creating a universal mask that could be made using materials found in the shop. Courtesy of Jeffrey Goldren

IC community makes masks and promotes COVID safety By Syd Pierre, Makayla Carozzolo and Caitlin Holtzman

Staying safe at Ithaca College during the COVID-19 pandemic meant following physical distancing and testing regularly. It also meant masking up in public spaces, a challenge that different groups on campus took head on. Making Masks Unconventionally The Center for Print Production at the college usually produces posters, road signs and materials for classes, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it pivoted to producing masks and face shields for members of the campus community and the greater Ithaca area. On March 20, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York state was in desperate need of personal protective equipment (PPE). The print shop answered Cuomo’s call and began creating a universal, inexpensive mask that could be easily produced using preexisting materials found in the print shop, said Glen Harris, operations manager of the print center. The face shields were made out of a thinner version of expanded PVC material that is used for signage, and the masks used a buckle system made out of similar material. The only outside materials the shop needed were the elastic and fabric needed for masks. The team purchased medical-grade fabric from a company called Sustainable Solutions. For the elastic, Harris said he had the idea to salvage material from elastic men’s belts. By September 2020, the print shop had produced 12,000 face shields and approximately 45,000 masks. The print center continued to produce signage for the college, including information about social distancing and COVID-19. During the fall semester, 76

the print center supplied students with masks, Harris said. The masks were available 24/7 in the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management lobby, and off-campus students could request to have them delivered. Move-in Mask Issues Students returning to campus in Spring 2021 were provided with two face masks. Later, the college asked students to stop using the masks it provided because they did not meet the expected quality standards. Christina Moylan, director of public health emergency preparedness, sent an email to students Feb. 10 requesting that they return the masks to collection bins that are located at the COVID-19 test drop-off sites: the Athletics and Events Center, the Campus Center, Terrace 13, the Circles Community Center, the Peggy Ryan Williams Center and Terrace Dining Hall. Students voiced concerns about these masks’ quality. Several videos on social media showed that students were able to blow out a flame through the mask. Some researchers recommended that people test the quality of their masks by trying to blow out a candle while wearing one. If the flame is easily blown out, the mask is likely not effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19. Masks are Hot A group of Ithaca College students worked to make sure that “using protection” had a new meaning for those who are trying to safely hook up amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks are Hot consisted of five Integrated Marketing Communications students: sophomores Rachel Kaiser, Linnea Carchedi, Katherine Krom, Emily Smith and Natalie Tribiano. Their mission was to provide

coronavirus-related dating information in a manner that college students would be receptive to. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a mask to protect people from contracting and infecting others with COVID-19, but this challenges the hookup culture in college. Masks are Hot started as a final project in their Public Relations course with Jen Huemmer, assistant professor in the Department of Strategic Communication, in the fall semester. In collaboration with Alex Estabrook, instructor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies, Huemmer tasked the groups in class to develop a PR campaign and a PSA video to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Hooking up is defined as “intimate interactions outside of dating or exclusive relationships.” Approximately 60–80% of college students have had some sort of hookup experience during their college career, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). “As college students, we know how dating and hookup culture is so integral to the college experience,” Carchedi said. “It’s going to happen whether or not you’re in a pandemic, and if you have messaging out there that will frame it in a safe way, that would be appealing to people.” The group continued to run Masks are Hot through an Instagram account in the spring semester. The account provides eye-catching information on its feed, including infographics on the number of active COVID-19 cases and safe date ideas. “There is not much information on how to date during a pandemic, so we decided to be that information,” Krom said.


Erin Shaw is a junior public and community health major. As a SHEL, Shaw assisted the Return to Campus Task Force. Mikayla Elwell/The Ithacan

Commentary: A SHEL Perspective on community solidarity By Erin Shaw

A SHEL, or a Student Health Emergency Liaison, is a new position on the Ithaca College campus this spring. We’re a group of student interns who work in Emerson Hall, Terrace 13 and across campus helping the Return to Campus Task Force. A normal day in the life of a SHEL involves arriving at Emerson Hall and being greeted and briefed by the SHEL members who were there before you. The member that was at the desk will wipe down everything that they touched and head out of the office so you can maintain proper protocol of 6 feet. Alex Devers and Samm Swarts, the coordinators, will then pop out of their office and ask you to complete whatever task they might have. Some examples include running meals to students or setting up quarantine rooms. Things started to get more hectic as more students started to arrive. I’m currently a junior public and community health major with double minors in legal studies and health policy and management. The SHEL position with Ithaca College granted me the opportunity to further my passion for public health and given me an inside look at just how important it is. To be quite honest, I don’t think anyone knew just exactly what SHELs were going to do. Devers and Swarts just knew they were going to need extra help

with safely bringing students back to campus. The other SHELs and I were fitted with N90 respirators so we could safely be around COVID-positive students along with proper PPE and HIPPA training provided by the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management. We then went through hours of training with Alex and Samm about responding accordingly to sensitive situations.

Coming home from a long day at work after wearing a respirator ... and seeing images of 50-plus kids at a party is a slap in the face. – Erin Shaw

SHELs have a lot of responsibility, as this is a full-time internship for us. Most SHELs are receiving anywhere from two to six credit hours this semester. We do everything from virtual check-ins with students and handing out dinner to setting up quarantine rooms and doing rounds on the isolation floor. Along

with that, some SHELs also assist with sample collection across campus. As a group, we have to follow COVID protocol and uphold professionalism, as we’re dealing with sensitive information daily. It’s important to note that even though I have this position, I’m still a 20-year-old student. Yes, I want to go to parties, hang out with my friends and have a normal semester, but I know I can’t. I have a responsibility to keep myself and my community safe. I’m not saying I’m perfect — I’ve slipped up a few times this pandemic and been around too many people at times. Having this position on campus has shown me just how dangerous that is. I feel we need to do better as a community. Coming home from a long day at work after wearing a respirator for six or more hours and seeing images of 50-plus kids at a party is a slap in the face, to be honest. As I stated before, the more students that arrive on campus, the more hectic my job gets. My team and I are doing the best we can. We’re really trying to make sure everyone gets a full semester on campus, but if parties and large gatherings continue, it’s not going to be easy, or it might not happen at all. This is a group effort. I hope that sharing my struggles and concerns about what I’ve been seeing only three weeks into the semester will educate students and help students and faculty see the importance of staying safe this year. 77


City of Ithaca and Tompkins County officials released a 98-page draft for police reform to the public Feb. 22, 2021. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

Ithaca community reacts to public safety reform By Syd Pierre

Proposed plans for public safety reform in Ithaca received mixed reactions from the Ithaca community. Ithaca’s “Reimagining Public Safety Collaborative” initiative was created following an executive order from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which required all municipalities with police departments to adopt a plan for police reform by April 1. Through the months of November and December 2020, the City of Ithaca hosted weekly public forums over Zoom in which community members voiced their opinions. In January, the collaborative prepared its findings and recommendations. Ithaca City and Tompkins County officials and officials from the Center of Policing Equity (CPE) released the 98-page reimagining draft to the public Feb. 22, 2021. The draft included 19 recommendations, including replacing the City of Ithaca Police Department (IPD) with a “Community Solutions and Public Safety Department” that will include “armed, uniformed first responders called Community Safety Officers” and “unarmed first responders called Community Solutions Officers.” There were 63 funded sworn officer positions in IPD when the draft was released. There was one chief and two deputy chiefs. There were four lieutenants and nine sergeants. There were also eight civilian employees and 16 part-time school crossing guards included in the 2021 IPD budget, according to the draft. The draft did not include the proposed number of armed and unarmed officers that the new department would have. The draft proposed establishing a pilot program 78

for nonemergency calls and collecting and evaluating data based on the results of officer-initiated traffic stops. The proposal also suggested transferring ownership of the SWAT mobile command vehicle to the Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response, creating a “Tompkins County Public Safety Review Board” and evaluating “existing models and [implementing] an alternative to law enforcement response system for crisis intervention and wraparound health and human services delivery.” The draft did not include any recommendations related to Ithaca College’s Offiice of Public Safety and Emergency Management or Cornell University Police. Ithaca College is not located in the City of Ithaca. At a press conference Feb. 22, Tompkins County administrator Jason and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick emphasized that the draft was just the beginning of the process. Tracie Keesee, Co-founder of CPE, said the recommendations were not embraced by the entire community. She also noted the historical mistrust many people, especially people of color, have in issues surrounding policing. “I want folks to understand [that] although we created a process we felt, for the time period that we had, that we could reach out to folks and to get that information,” Keesee said. “But I would have to be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that we have some folks that just did not trust in this process, and that’s okay because that’s meeting people where they live and where they are.” The draft was mentioned in an article about Myrick that was published in GQ on Feb. 22, prior to the public release of the draft. The draft was presented to the

Ithaca City Common Council on Feb. 22 and was met with mixed reviews. At the Common Council meeting, IPD Chief Dennis Nayor said he was frustrated with how officers in the department learned about the draft from the article first, rather than from himself or city officials. “They just feel so dejected and devalued,” Nayor said. “Now, knowing that their jobs are in jeopardy, it’s the reality of it. They are the key stakeholders that can allow this to be successful.” Myrick later apologized to the IPD and Common Council for the timing of the article. He also issued an apology at the public forum Feb. 25. Some Common Council members expressed concern about the budgetary impact the recommendations would have. “I recognize you can’t put dollar amounts against every one of these ideas at the moment,” said Rob Gearhart, 3rd Ward Alderperson and associate dean for the Roy. H Park School of Communications. “But the sooner we can understand the scope of what we are hoping for and what impact that has on our budget, and how things might not be able to be funded and what impact that has on the plan, that will be really important.” The Ithaca Police Benevolent Association (IPBA), the IPD union, strongly objected to the proposed recommendations. At a press conference Feb. 26, 2021, IPBA president Thomas Condzella encouraged Common Council members to reject the draft. “We remain open to change, we are open to reform, but the Ithaca PBA will not stand for bully tactics, underhanded politics and union busting, and nor should any other labor organization,” Condzella said in a public statement released











Source: Tompkins County and City of Ithaca

by the IPBA. In February and March 2021, the public was able to comment on the proposed changes, though the city was under no requirement to implement any suggestions. After this public comment period, those involved with the initiative finalized and adopted plans to be submitted to the state by April 1. Approximately 156 community members attended a virtual public forum Feb. 25 in which the draft was also met with primarily negative reactions. Community members asked how the recommendations would hold police officers accountable. They also expressed concern about how the recommendations would impact ongoing mental health work and asked for clarification on the differences between the IPD and the proposed “Community Solutions and Public Safety Department.” Myrick said the recommendations would not rebrand the IPD but instead design a new department. Some community members also criticized Myrick for sending mixed messages about his opinion on the IPD, noting specific incidents that have occured over the past 10 years in Ithaca. There were ongoing protests against police brutality and racism in Ithaca throughout 2020, specifically aimed at incidents involving the IPD. Shawn Greenwood, a Black Ithaca resident, was killed by Ithaca police officer Bryan Bangs on Feb. 23, 2010. Bangs was cleared of any wrongdoing in July 2010. The IPD also faced criticism for its handling of an incident on The Commons involving Cadji Ferguson and Rose DeGroat, two Black Ithaca residents, in 2019. DeGroat was initially charged with felony second-degree attempted assault, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, but her charges were later dismissed. Ferguson was found not guilty of disorderly conduct. In October 2020, Vincent Monticello, IPD Deputy Chief, defended a man who told a Black protester to “Just die, go kill yourself.” Monticello then proceeded to arrest the Black protester for “obstruction.” The Community Police Board cleared Monticello of wrongdoing

in January 2021. After this, there was a petition on calling for Monticello to step down, which received over 1,500 signatures. In January, IPD officer Kevin Slattery was suspended for 30 days and demoted as a result of body-camera footage in which he bragged about beating up a suspect. Some community members at the college have also had negative interactions with the IPD. In 2016, Kyle Goldstein ’18 was allegedly detained and arrested by Ithaca police officers. Goldstein suffered permanent eye damage as a result of being pepper sprayed. As of January, Nayor announced his resignation, set for April or May. Three professors at the college, Paula Ioanide, professor in the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity (CSCRE); Belisa Gonzalez, associate professor and director of CSCRE; and Sean Eversley Bradwell, assistant professor in the Department of Education, helped develop the reimagining initiative. There were five working groups that tackled different parts of the reform movement: a leadership administration/budget group, an IT/data analysis group, an academic/research group, a communications/community group and a law enforcement/public safety group. Ioanide was a part of the IT/data analysis group. Gonzalez and Bradwell were both part of the academic/research group and the communications/ community group. Gonzalez and Bradwell declined to be interviewed until after the reform plans were submitted April 1. Molino headed the collaborative and said he wanted faculty members involved to bring an additional perspective to the table. “They’re members of the community, they have a level of expertise, … and that’s an important piece as we go through this and assess the information and look at solutions,” he said. Ioanide said that she thought the community engagement aspect of the collaboration was extensive but

that it was unclear whether community input in the process would result in actual concrete policy changes. “Partially why I wanted to get involved was to make sure the community input is well represented and not misappropriated to do something else,” Ioanide said. Over the past few months, Park Scholars at the college partnered with WRFI Community Radio and the Ithaca Voice to create a five-part radio and podcast series that covered the reimagining process. The radio and podcast series was titled “Which Way Forward: Redefining Public Safety.” The coverage explored solutions to address policing and public safety through interviews with city officials and community members. The series aired from Feb. 1 to 5. Senior Skylar Eagle worked on “Which Way Forward.” She said the goal of the project was to continue building on existing discussions around police reform in the community. She also said the audio series was created to encourage more communication on the local level. The series looked at alternatives to policing, community responses to police brutality in Ithaca and grassroots organizations that worked for equitable public safety. It also covered the community’s experience so far with reforming public safety and explored preventative approaches to policing. A bonus episode in June 2020 covered local politicians’ stances on police reform in the 2020 election. “We kind of collectively decided that this was something that we needed to cover, especially since these conversations were starting to happen locally and all of these protests were happening weekly,” she said. A part two of “Which Way Forward” was in the works and was set to air in May 2021, Eagle said. Junior Danny Malone said he was surprised to see Myrick take a radical approach to reform. He said he was supportive of the draft. “Regardless of if the proposal is approved or not, I think it will fuel conversation and action,” Malone said via email. “Also it goes against the grain of what progress is, especially here in Ithaca. We’ve had enough symbolic victories and it’s time for true change. This proposal, I think, is the first step.”


NOV. 6–DEC. 5, 2020

FEB. 22, 2021

MARCH 30, 2021

APRIL 1, 2021

Tompkins County and City of Ithaca announce public safety reform collaborative

Community Voices Town Halls held

Recommended report is released, feedback sessions occur throughout February and March

Tompkins County Legislature approves plan

City of Ithaca Common Council approves plan, final report submitted to New York state

Source: Tompkins County and City of Ithaca



From left, Danielle Johanson and Nina Bustamante, sixth-year physical therapy students, show off their COVID-19 vaccination cards. Courtesy of Nina Bustamante

IC community members receive COVID-19 vaccines By Alyshia Korba

Ithaca College community members eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine got vaccinated in Spring 2021. Community members qualified for the vaccines when the vaccines were given to health care workers, first responders, teachers, people 65 years or older and some essential workers. People with certain underlying conditions became eligible to receive the vaccine Feb. 15, 2021. College faculty teaching in-person classes were also among the eligible populations. Tompkins County struggled with a short supply of vaccines. New York state distributed the vaccines and received its supply from the federal government. Doses were distributed to counties each week, but the number of doses varied. County health departments made requests to the state each week for the number of doses needed but were not informed ahead of time of how many doses the county would receive. Marella Feltrin-Morris, associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, said she did not have to wait long to get her first dose of the vaccine and was able to get an appointment in Broome County, where she lives. “I was actually very fortunate because I live in the Binghamton area, so there was a place very close to me,” Feltrin-Morris said. “I didn’t have to travel at all. It took me 10 minutes at the most to drive over to Johnson City.” Feltrin-Morris said she was able to get an appointment on a Saturday so she did not have to miss any work, and her appointment for her second dose of the vaccine was also on a Saturday. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention 80

(CDC) authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one. Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be administered 21 days apart and Moderna 28 days apart. Feltrin-Morris said she expected the vaccination process to be more difficult. “For me, it was actually much easier than I thought,” she said. “So ultimately, we had a very good experience. It was not difficult.” Paula Turkon, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, said she had to travel approximately one hour to Syracuse, New York, in Onondaga County to receive her first dose of the vaccine and had to cancel one of her classes. She said she was able to have students in that class attend another section of the class, so it did not greatly impact the course schedule. Turkon said that although she had to go to Syracuse for her vaccination appointment, the appointment itself was an efficient process. “A bunch of other people that I know have gotten the vaccine, and the process is getting more and more streamlined, and it’s taking less and less time,” Turkon said. Some students have also been able to get the vaccine. Sixth-year physical therapy student Nina Bustamante received her second dose of the vaccine Feb. 12 at the Shops at Ithaca Mall vaccination site. She was approved to be vaccinated through the Department of Physical Therapy because she works with

patients in person. “The vaccination process was very accessible,” Bustamante said. “I am a physical therapy student and will be working one-on-one with patients in about a month, so having both doses in my system to not only protect myself but to protect all of my patients is very reassuring, and I am really lucky that the PT department was able to get us students approved for vaccinations.” Bustamante said she did not have to miss any classes or work to get vaccinated. She did not have severe reactions, but she did experience body aches and chills following the second dose of the vaccine. She said that because of the timing of her vaccination, these symptoms did not interfere with her work. “I was able to take the rest of that Friday to relax and rest after each dose, so there was no major effect on work or school,” she said. According to the CDC, common side effects of the vaccines include pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, chills, lethargy and headaches. Patricia Humsinger, lecturer in the Department of Art, said she was able to get vaccinated at the Shops at Ithaca Mall site but had to miss work because of the timing of her second dose appointment. She said she also had to miss work because of the side effects she experienced. Humsinger said she experienced swelling at the injection site and lethargy. “I don’t think ‘accessible’ is even considered,” Humsinger said via email. “We all want the vaccination and will sign up for it at any time as long as we can even get it! It’s like a lottery. If you are lucky enough to get the vaccination, you’ll compromise whatever it is you must do so that you can get the shot.”


Clinical providers switched to telehealth care without facing legal restrictions when colleges went online in Fall 2020. Anna McCracken/The Ithacan

CAPS provides resources to students despite restrictions By Ashley Stalnecker

The Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselors were limited to providing clinical resources to those residing in New York state because certification requirements vary among states. A psychological license only allows the holder to practice in the state they are certified for, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). When colleges suddenly transitioned to remote learning in Spring 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinical providers switched to telehealth care without facing legal restrictions because in emergencies, some state licensing laws allowed for exceptions to the normal state-to-state restrictions. Brian Petersen, director of CAPS, said counselors completed telehealth certification in Spring 2020 to offer free virtual services to New York state residents in Fall 2020. Approximately 250 students utilized telehealth for clinical appointments in October 2020, both individual and group, Petersen said — a 27% reduction from 2019 at this time. He said this reduction was likely because of students seeing clinicians at home and a decrease in freshmen. Many have faced mental health challenges during the pandemic. In June 2020, 40% of adults in the United States reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Social isolation, anxiety, fear of contagion, uncertainty, chronic stress and economic difficulties may lead to the development of stress-related disorders or increased suicidality. “I really want students to think that CAPS is available to them, because we are,” Petersen said. Telehealth was senior Nicole Charland’s best option.

Charland said that in July 2020, she signed up for BetterHelp, an organization that matches a client with a therapist best suited for their mental health needs. At first, Charland was looking for local providers in Rochester, New York, who would take her insurance but did not find anything. BetterHelp is approximately $65 per session, and once she notified BetterHelp that she was a student, they offered her a reduced price. “I’ve done both, and I really liked the telehealth version more because you’re in your own bedroom and you’re in a safe place,” Charland said. “Sometimes it can feel kind of daunting to go to a therapist office and sit in a therapist’s chair and talk to them straight to their face.” There are currently 12 members on CAPS’ clinical staff. Petersen said five or six counselors became temporarily certified in some states so they could continue to provide counseling. International Students United States psychologists are unable to administer clinical services to students in other countries. There were 96 international students enrolled at the college for Fall 2020, many of whom were in their home countries. Junior Leticia Guibunda had been using CAPS before she studied in Spain in Spring 2020. In Fall 2020, she used resources in Brazil, her home country. Guibunda said that in Brazil, she used online therapy services provided by the Brazil Ministry of Health at no cost. The services were in Portuguese, her native language. Therapy in one’s home country is not always welcoming. Sophomore Armani Sampat is currently living in her home country, India, and cannot continue with her CAPS counselor, whom she built a relationship with since her freshman year. She said she has struggled

with finding a therapist in India because the societal norms are different than in America. Sampat said the most affordable therapists tend to be judgmental because women in India face restrictive societal expectations. Sampat said that because therapy is stigmatized, her family is not receptive to paying for a therapist. “Every single time I move around, going to a new therapist or new psychiatrist can get extremely hard because you’re starting all over again,” Sampat said. “The point of therapy is to start on a path and continue. But with these constant breaks in therapy, it’s really hard to sort of get clarity on what you’re trying to figure out with your mental health.” Student Organizations Offer Resources The Ithaca Ambassadors Program, a student organization that pairs upperclassmen with freshmen to help them adjust to college, offered guidance to students who wanted to improve their mental health. Junior Kaitlyn Katz, vice president of the organization, said the program is not a substitution for clinical psychology. Junior Michelle Pei, co-president of Active Minds at Ithaca College, said she was frustrated with the licensing restrictions. Pei said that texting services, in addition to current telehealth resources, should be available through CAPS. This would allow students a more private avenue of therapy. With shared spaces and other extenuating circumstances, talking over the phone or on Zoom would not always viable options for students. “It’s hard because the idealistic part of me will always want more from our school, and the realistic part of me understands that our school is going through an economic crisis, and funding is at a difficult spot right now,” Pei said. 81


Brian Buchman, Terrace Dining Hall employee in Spring 2020, hands out prepackaged salads, fruits and desserts to students. Eleanor Kay/The Ithacan

Dining halls open with restrictions and issues with distancing By Caitlin Holtzman and Alyshia Korba

During Spring 2021, Ithaca College dining halls underwent changes to abide by COVID-19 regulations, causing some concern among students trying to get their meals. The Campus Center Dining Hall and Terrace Dining Hall were the two dining hall options for students with meal plans on campus in the spring semester. Students reported long lines with a lack of social distancing at both dining halls, especially on weekends when there was only one dining hall open each day. At the Terrace Dining Hall, the line went out the entrance, leaving students exposed to the weather. Freshman Nadia Narkiewicz moved in Feb. 5 and said she was feeling some anxiety due to the long dining hall lines. She said she was not surprised to see the minimal social distancing. “It was disappointing, but it was expected,” she said. “We’ve been hearing about colleges just around the U.S. not really doing everything that they said they were going to in terms of keeping the faculty and the student body safe.” Dining adapted to follow new health and safety protocols in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scott McWilliams, director of Dining Services, said all food services on campus followed the New York state guidelines for COVID-19 precautions. To maintain social distancing among guests, there were marks on the floor for people to stand in line, and there are reduced number of chairs at each table. Seating in IC Square was reduced as well. Lines were controlled by rope barriers, and there were 6-feet stickers placed on the ground in the dining halls, McWilliams said. An Intercom announcement Feb. 9 recommended 82

that students should try to go to the dining halls during nonpeak hours if their schedules allowed. The announcement also reminded students to stand 6 feet apart and not in groups. Sophomore Sara Ostermeier said she posted a complaint in the Overheard at IC Facebook group in response to the lines at the Campus Center Dining Hall at approximately 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6. “The line was out the dining hall door, … but inside, no one was social distancing,” she said via email. “Absolutely no one. People were standing in the lines they had set up, but everyone was clumped together.” She said that she saw groups of people standing next to each other in line and that the 6-feet-apart stickers on the ground had been peeled off and moved around. “It was appalling,” Ostermeier said via email. “When I was there, none of the workers said anything or tried anything to get people to separate, and it felt extremely unsafe.” Ostermeier said she thinks there needs to be a stronger message from the college that these guidelines are in place to keep the campus community safe. She said that while there were dining hall employees swiping students in, she did not seen them enforcing social distancing. Students could submit a possible Community Agreement violation through the Community Agreement Reporting Form. “I did have high expectations for the students,” she said. “I really thought that I would at least see people trying. I figured people would break rules partying, but I didn’t think that it would be in public spaces where the rules are clear and other people can see what you do.” The long lines and early closing of the dining halls and retail dining options also forced students to order

food from off-campus locations or spend Bomber Bucks at retail dining options on campus rather than use meal swipes in the dining hall. Narkiewicz said that while off-campus food is good, it proved to be expensive. Sophomore Tom Cohen also said he did not always feel comfortable standing in line when there were many people not social distancing. Cohen said that he believes Dining Services has an effective system to keep people safe but that students are creating an unsafe environment by not following the guidelines. “It’s more the students’ fault that people aren’t spacing out,” Cohen said. “I think that’s not really on the dining hall. They do have the dots, and they do have a pretty good system of spacing people out, but I don’t think it gets enforced enough, and it does get a little bit close together, which makes me a little nervous.” Employees in Dining Services also had to adjust to these changes. Vincent Burgess, vegan cook at the Campus Center Dining Hall, said the biggest challenges for him were knowing how much food to make and serving guests quickly. Dining employees also have the added responsibility of reminding guests to wear their masks properly and social distance, Burgess said. Cohen said he thinks students need to be more respectful of the dining hall employees and not blame them for issues they have with Dining Services. “I think it’s so important to treat them well and not be rude to them if you have to wait for so long,” Cohen said. “I can’t even imagine the stress that they’re going through seeing that line start to get longer, and that’s not on them. They’re just trying to get a shift in, and I think that it’s important to be nice and keep them in mind.”


From left, sophomores Liam Spellman and Samuel Levine wait in line on the social distancing markers Feb. 9 at Terrace Dining Hall. Eleanor Kay/The Ithacan

Training series helps students address COVID-19 concerns By Caitlin Holtzman

Some Ithaca College students expressed concern about witnessing their peers not following the college’s COVID-19 guidelines. Eileen Harrington Roth, off-campus community living coordinator, held three De-escalating COVID-19 Situations meetings for students, faculty and staff March 2, 3 and 8. The trainings focused on providing verbal and nonverbal ways of handling situations in which students may not be following the college’s COVID-19 guidelines. Some of the techniques included educating peers on the correct COVID-19 guidelines, using body language or reporting the behavior through the Community Agreement Reporting Form. Harrington Roth said that at the three training sessions, there were between three and 25 people. She said she also held five specific trainings that included approximately 12–20 residential assistants in each, approximately 15 Student Health Emergency Liaisons and approximately 15 Campus Center staff members. Senior Nicole Brokaw, who works at the Ithaca College Library, attended the training March 2. She said her supervisor encouraged her and other employees to attend the training. Brokaw said that although she sometimes saw students not following guidelines, generally students wore their masks in the library and sat where they were supposed to. Brokaw said the training gave her some confidence to approach students not following guidelines. However, she said that as a senior, she felt like she had more confidence than a younger student employee. “I think me, in my position, I could approach any sort of student,” she said. “I definitely feel comfortable approaching students to correct them or remind them.”

Some of the verbal tactics included telling students that they noticed they were not wearing a mask. Harrington Roth said in the meeting that it was important for people to assess the situation and do the best they could while being safe. She also discussed needs-based confrontation, which is focusing on what is in people’s best interest, and feelings-based confrontation, which is appealing to people’s emotions. Sophomore Katherine Urbano worked in the Campus Center Dining Hall and saw students not following social distancing guidelines multiple times daily. She said that as an employee, she was not explicitly told to intervene, but she saw nonstudent employees speak up to students. Urbano said that she told students to follow the guidelines but that they sometimes did not listen. “I feel like if it’s people not wearing their mask right or people bunched together, I’m putting myself at risk by putting myself forward to go near them,” Urbano said. “Even in the dining hall, it’s a risk for me to be around people and trying to get them to listen to us just asking nicely.” Urbano said she was unaware of the training but felt like it could have been useful to give her the confidence and tools to approach students. She also said she did not receive any training from Dining Services as to how to handle these situations. “We’ve been in this for so long, so people should just know by now to follow the guidelines,” she said. “We all understood that by coming here on campus, we’d have to follow these guidelines.” Some students previously expressed concern over the long dining hall lines coupled with minimal social distancing seen, as well as little enforcement of

guidelines. Junior Rebecca Emery said she worked at the information desk in the Campus Center and saw many students disregarding the guidelines. “Nobody’s reading the [furniture] stickers or putting furniture where it’s supposed to be,” she said. “With the furniture moving, that means people are going together in groups with their masks off.” She said she sometimes saw people sitting in larger groups at tables only meant for one or two people and also watched people keep their masks off even when they were no longer eating. The guidelines allowed people to remove their masks only while actively eating. Emery said it was difficult to go up to other students and tell them to follow the guidelines. “I am terrified to approach people due to the fact that I do not want to get sick,” she said. “When I’m approaching someone or a group of people without masks, my chances of getting COVID are a lot higher.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth in public settings. When a healthy person wearing a mask interacts with someone infected with COVID-19 who is not wearing a mask, the chances of infection are higher than if both people were wearing masks. Sophomore Rachel Paskowitz said she witnessed a group of student-athletes not following social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines in the Campus Center Dining Hall. “They were behind me not wearing their masks; they were doing their COVID tests behind me at one point,” she said. “It was really uncomfortable. I asked them to step away from me, and they just gave me a look.” 83



A community member raises his middle finger and Make America Great Again hat Nov. 7 to people celebrating after Biden’s win. Jill Ruthauser/The Ithacan



The 2020 election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is considered one of the most important elections in recent history. Eleanor Kay/The Ithacan

Ithaca College community prepares for upcoming elections By Ryan Bieber

In the days leading up to the 2020 presidential election, Ithaca College students geared up to vote. In the midst of a pandemic and national protests against racism and police violence, the 2020 election between Democratic nominee Joe Biden and Republican nominee President Donald Trump was poised to be one of the most important elections in recent history. With so much uncertainty, organizations at the college came together to increase voter education before Nov. 3. IC Votes, a campuswide nonpartisan voting initiative, was formed in Spring 2020 by senior Elijah Nishiura in partnership with the Student Governance Council and Center for Civic Engagement. Nishiura took off Fall 2020 to work for the Biden campaign, so IC Votes carried on with the help of senior Connor Shea, president of the SGC, as well as IC Democrats, the Ithaca College Republicans and the Center for Civic Engagement. IC Votes is nonpartisan, something Shea said he hopes will bring the campus community together. “I’ve heard from a lot of students that we have these silos that we put ourselves in based on whatever affiliations we have,” he said. “This is providing a sense of community for everybody, which is really exciting.” Sophomore Lucy Calderon, president of IC Democrats, echoed the nonpartisan intentions, encouraging students of all political parties to come together and vote. Emphasis on the student vote has come to the forefront in the past few years. One in 10 eligible voters were between 18 and 23 years old in 2020, and people aged 39 and younger made up approximately a third of eligible voters. Younger voters consistently go to the polls at lower rates than other groups. But this trend has shifted in the past few years.

The youth vote rose from 20% in 2014 to 36% in the 2018 midterm elections. Voters 18 to 23 years old were twice as likely to vote for Biden over Trump, according to a Politico poll, but 45% of respondents supporting him said they were voting against Trump and not in support of Biden. David Harker, director of the Center of Civic Engagement, has been working with IC Votes and emphasized educating students on political issues. “I want people involved in the process, and I want people to know about what they’re voting for,” he said. “Not everyone cares about the same issues in the same way, but everyone has issues that are really important to them, and no matter where you stand, I want you to be able to have the resources to make an informed decision.” The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed the way many people voted. At least three-quarters of Americans were eligible to vote by mail for the 2020 election, and a record-shattering 100 million votes were cast by absentee or mail-in ballot before Election Day — more than double the number in November 2016. According to the Pew Research Center, Biden voters were nearly twice as likely as Trump voters to say they voted by mail, with 46% of all voters using absentee or mail-in to cast their vote. A larger percentage of Trump voters went to the polls in person, with 37% of Trump voters saying they voted in-person on Election Day and 30% in-person before Election Day. Among Biden voters, 17% voted in-person on Election Day and 24% voted in-person before Election Day. Mail-in voting caused turbulent controversy in the weeks following the election. Trump consistently denied the legitimacy of mail-in votes, some of which launched Biden to victory in key states like Georgia. IC Republicans officially endorsed Trump in a statement

on Instagram on Aug. 28, 2020. The organization refused to endorse Trump for the 2016 election because its members believed he did not embody conservative values. Senior Michael Deviney, president of IC Republicans, highlighted the significance of local elections, despite the focus on the presidential election. Starting in Spring 2020, members of IC Republicans campaigned for U.S. Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY ) — who won reelection in 2020 to represent Ithaca within New York’s 23rd District — through phone banking rather than door-to-door in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Local elections are important because it’s how policies are made,” Deviney said. “I think the local elections are probably going to be as important as the presidential election just because the Senate is Republican majority and the House of Representatives is Democratic.” Other local elections included the race for the 58th District state Senate seat, where Democrat Leslie Danks Burke challenged incumbent Republican Thomas O’Mara. Republican Peter Oberacker and Democrat Jim Barber ran for the 51st District state Senate seat. Democrat Shauna O’Toole challenged incumbent Republican Pamela Helming for the 54th District state Senate seat. O’Mara, Oberacker and Helming won their elections in 2020. Ann Marie Adams, instructor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies, worked alongside Jack Powers, interim dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications, to create this initiative as a way to get more students involved with the political process. “There is so much value to understanding the process and how you can get engaged with it,” Adams said. “I would say this is just another way to get individuals involved in the process if it’s the incentive they need to make it worthwhile for them.” 85


From left, junior Reed Pollard, former vice president for academic affairs, and senior Connor Shea, president of the SGC, at a meeting. Jill Ruthauser/The Ithacan

SGC encourages student participation in 2020 election By Syd Pierre and Alexis Manore

Before the 2020 election, the Student Governance Council was heavily involved with creating awareness around voting and political issues among students. The SGC passed bills to increase voter turnout among students, and after the election, it condemned the Ithaca College Republicans for its aggressive social media posts about the storming of the United States Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021. Voting and Poll Worker Bills In October 2020, the Ithaca College Senior Leadership Team (SLT) declined to enact two bills passed by the SGC that provided voting accessibility for students. The 2020 Ithaca College Voting Act and the Excused Absence for Poll Workers Recommendation were passed at the SGC’s Oct. 5 meeting. The 2020 Ithaca College Voting Act recommended that students be excused from classes to vote on Election Day. The Excused Absence for Poll Workers Recommendation asked the college to give students who are working at polls an excused absence. The SGC unanimously passed the 2020 Ithaca College Voting Act 11–0 and passed the Excused Absence for Poll Workers Recommendation 10–0. The 2020 Ithaca College Voting Act recommended that students be excused from classes if they provided 86

documentation, like pictures of them at a polling station, to prove they voted in the 2020 general election. Students who already voted in the general election via mail-in ballot but still needed to drop the ballot off at their designated election offices were also excused. The Excused Absence for Poll Workers Recommendation asked the college to temporarily change its attendance policy so that working at a poll was an excused absence. The current attendance policy does not allow this. Lack of Transparency from SLT The SGC learned informally Oct. 15, 2020, that the voting act and the poll workers bills were not enacted. Senior Agnes Scotti, a sponsor of the 2020 Ithaca College Voting Act, said she was disheartened after learning that the bills did not pass. “Voting has never been more important, and I’m just a bit confused why the administration wouldn’t want to get behind a bipartisan bill like this that aims to unite people even in the worst of times,” Scotti said via email. “While I respect my college and all that it stands for, more transparency is preferred.” SGC President Connor Shea then received an email Oct. 22 from La Jerne Cornish, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, stating that the bills would not be enacted because the college has no

formal policy for excused absences but that faculty should be flexible with students on this day. The college’s attendance policy states that course instructors must give students attendance guidelines and that students may miss class for religious reasons, health emergencies or required appearances in court. The policy also states that students may be excused for participating in college-authorized cocurricular and extracurricular activities. Cornish’s response to Shea and copies of both bills were sent to faculty and students Oct. 26. In the email, Cornish encouraged faculty members to accommodate students on Election Day. “On behalf of the senior leadership team, please know that we are proud of our students’ commitment to the electoral process, by planning to vote and by volunteering to serve as poll workers, but Election Day is not a holiday and we do not have a formal policy for excusing absences,” Cornish said in the response. Shea said he met with President Shirley M. Collado on Oct. 26 and learned that one reason the voting bills were not enacted was because the Faculty Council did not officially vote on them. Shea said Collado told him the bills needed a vote from the Faculty Council because they involved course attendance.



46.8% TRUMP


73.6% BIDEN

Source: The New York Times

Dave Maley, director of public relations, said via email Oct. 30 that “President Collado did not tell Connor that the bills were not enacted because Faculty Council did not vote on the bills, since that is not how the administration makes policy.” Faculty Response At the Faculty Council meeting Oct. 6, Shea informed the council about the bills. Many faculty members commended the SGC for passing these bills but did not hold a vote. Chris McNamara, clinical associate professor and clinic director in the Department of Physical Therapy and chair of the Faculty Council, said the Faculty Council does not vote on bills passed by the SGC, including bills involving course attendance. “Connor Shea brought the bills to the Faculty Council meeting, described them and answered some questions about them during open session,” McNamara said via email. “The bills were generally well received by the faculty, and I instructed the faculty to inform their constituents about the bills. As for voting on them, they were not brought as motions. I understood Connor’s intention in bringing them to be to inform faculty.” Jonathan Ablard, professor in the Department of History and Latin American Studies coordinator, said he sent a message to his students about an alternate attendance assignment for students planning to participate in the elections. “There are lots of other things that faculty can do to kind of substitute for the missing class that day,” Ablard said. ”I think it’s really important that faculty are really explicit about making sure that that day is treated differently than other days.” In response to The Ithacan’s Oct. 26 editorial about the college not enacting the bills, some faculty members commented that many professors will allow students to miss a class. “Faculty across campus discussed this in detail, and I’m sorry the message didn’t make it to students,” Susan Adams Delaney, associate professor in the Department of Writing and director of the Integrative Core Curriculum, wrote on the post. “While we were unable to make adjustments to the academic calendar this year, I hope that this can be considered for future fall terms.” Looking Ahead Freshman Jordan Wiener, who sponsored the voting act bill, said that making voting accessible for students was especially important this year because students are spread out across the country. “There is voter suppression in different ways … across the country,” Wiener said. “We always try to push the narrative that, ‘Oh, voting is so easy,’ but it isn’t, and we need to find ways to make voting more accessible and equitable for every student, no matter where they live.”

In his meeting with Collado on Oct. 26, Shea said, they discussed setting up a process between the administration and the SGC regarding recommendations the SGC passes. Future recommendations will be sent to Collado and Rosanna Ferro, vice president for student affairs and campus life. Shea said the SGC is not deterred from bettering students’ experiences at the college. “We stand by the work that we’re doing,” Shea said. “And we are more than willing to work with the [SLT] to get these things done.” SGC Denounces IC Republicans’ Statement IC Republicans received backlash from the SGC and members of the campus community after the organization’s Twitter account voiced its support for pro-President Donald Trump rioters who mobbed the U.S. Capitol. IC Republicans posted a now-deleted tweet, saying, “Whatever goes around comes back around,” at 3:35 p.m. Jan. 6, in reference to the rioters, many of whom were armed. Two pipe bombs and a cooler of Molotov cocktails were found near the Capitol Building. Five people were killed, and 140 people were injured. The riot was an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden as president of the United States. Trump and his supporters attempted to undermine the results of the election through baseless claims of voter fraud. IC Republicans then retweeted a statement from the College Republicans National Committee that condemned the violence and voiced its support for the law enforcement. “Violence, in any form and in the name of any political or policy preference, has no place in America,”

the statement said. The SGC denounced IC Republicans’ message. “SGC strives to foster a campus community that is inclusive and safe for all members of IC,” the SGC wrote in a statement. “This tweet actively disregards that idea.” Community Reacts to IC Republicans’ Tweets Members of the college community also voiced their indignation over IC Republicans’ tweet. “Absolute cowards, just like their daddy @realDonaldTrump,” user @alharris1138 responded. Collado said in a statement that she was shocked by the display of violence in the Capitol. “Not only must we decry this activity ... but we must use this moment to affirm our collective responsibility, as a nation, to engage across difference with respect and grace,” she said. The statement was shared on the college’s social media accounts, where some members of the campus community further expressed their frustration. “Good statement,” user @randomerey wrote on Twitter. “Now stand by it and strip the IC Republicans of any recognition they get from the college.” Maley said Collado’s statement applies to everyone. “President Collado’s statement ... applies to all, including anyone who might be a member of the IC community,” Maley said via email. The organization tweeted Jan. 7, “The Ithaca College Republican Club in no way supports mob violence by any group!” “In no circumstances do the IC Republicans endorse or condone actions that ... destroy the sacred essence of our history,” it said in a statement. “The violence done in Washington D.C. is utterly disrespectful to our Congress and should be condemned.”



Americans voted by mail in the 2020 presidential election.


2,507,000 Americans voted early in person in the 2020 presidential election. Source: The New York Times



Americans rally, protest and cast their votes Rallies, protests and early-voting lines highlighted the weeks leading up to the 2020 general election. With voters able to send in their absentee ballots weeks before the election and increased early voting in some states, many people cast their votes before Nov. 3. Voters in line during early voting expressed a desire to make sure their ballots were counted as soon as possible, anticipating a delay in results on election night and in the following days. There was no revelation in the early morning hours the days after Election Day — absentee ballots were still being counted, delaying the results of not only the presidential race but also Senate and House races and smaller local races. The Ithacan photographers documented the election from their hometowns in Colorado, Vermont, New York and Washington, D.C.

Voters line up to cast their ballots early Oct. 25 at the Crash Fire Rescue in Ithaca. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan


Sisters Tracy and Nancy Washburn attend a cookout supporting Trump in Elizabeth, Colorado.

Hector Velez, resident of Newfield, New York, and sociology professor at Cornell University, stands in line to vote early Oct. 25 at the Ithaca City Hall.

Alyssa Beebe/The Ithacan

Ash Bailot/The Ithacan


A child climbs on “The Big Gun” at a Trump parade at Evans Park in Elizabeth, Colorado. Alyssa Beebe/The Ithacan

Hauppauge and Smithtown residents stand in line to vote Nov. 3 in Hauppauge, New York. Lucas Cavanagh/The Ithacan



Ithaca community members celebrate U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s projected win Nov. 7 in Ithaca. Jill Ruthauser/The Ithacan

Ithaca community has mixed reactions to Biden’s projected win By Alexis Manore, Ashley Stalnecker and Mikalyla Rovenolt

A sense of relief and exhilaration filled the air Nov. 7, 2020, at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on The Commons in Ithaca, only an hour after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden secured the projected win over President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Pride flags, Black Lives Matter flags and flags supporting Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris billowed behind cars as they drove down Green Street with passengers hollering out of the windows. The people in the crowd on The Commons raised their fists in solidarity and looked toward the stage for the Every Vote Counts rally. After officials close to Trump said that he would likely not formally concede the election, the rally was organized to demand a that peaceful transfer of power take place and that every vote to be counted. With the Democratic victory, the rally became a celebration. Some speakers noted that they had edited their speeches from being uncertain to cautiously optimistic. They still encouraged attendees to keep fighting for the progressive movement and marginalized communities. Biden’s projected win came at the end of an extremely close race. With a projected win in Pennsylvania, Biden exceeded the needed 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. Nia Nunn, associate professor for the Department of Education at Ithaca College, spoke at the rally. She said that Biden would need to clean up many messes left from the previous presidency but also would need to create innovative methods of democracy. Nunn said it is important to continue the momentum of advocating for structural change following voting 90

Biden into office. “It’s heavy,” Nunn said. “It’s intense. I simultaneously think it’s critical that we remain vigilant, that we remain aware, that we remain conscious and that we don’t welcome any complacency at all. If anything, there’s even more intense work to be done.” At the event, Sandra Steingraber, distinguished scholar-in-residence for the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, spoke about her experience as the co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking and Concerned Health Professionals New York, which both helped win a fracking ban in New York state. “The people who are hurt first and worst by the climate crisis, who are hurt most by the toxic exposures from oil and gas extraction, are not at the political table,” Steingraber said. “We cannot unfrack our nation without unsuppressing the vote.” Maintaining power plants and fracking is more expensive than turning to clean energy, Steingraber said. She said the jobs in fracking are more dangerous. Though fracking jobs in Pennsylvania were a hotly contested part of the campaign, Steingraber said she thinks that is not what kept people from voting for Biden. “The places that are voting for Biden are also the places that fracking is happening,” Steingraber said. Steingraber said just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of the world’s industrial greenhouse emissions. In his campaign, Biden said he did not support an outright ban on fracking but favors a ban on new fracking on federal land. Biden also created the Clean Energy Revolution climate plan with goals to achieve a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050. Students at the college have had mixed reactions to Biden’s projected win.

Junior Sebastian Chavez said he was disappointed that both Biden and Trump are old, white men who have said and committed racist actions. Trump has a history of discriminatory and racist speech against Black people, Latinos, Muslims, Jewish people, immigrants and women. Biden was one of the primary senators who worked to pass the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. This law contributed to mass incarceration and disproportionately affected people of color, specifically Black men. “I actually was not going to vote,” Chavez said. “I actually voted on Nov. 3. I checked if I was registered in Ithaca. If I was, I was going to do it. … Being a POC [person of color] and being a Latinx man, it kind of disappointed me that I had to pick the lesser of two evils. … These old, white men won’t change any barriers or any stereotypes.” Chavez said it is important that Harris will be the first woman of color to become vice president. He said that he does not agree with her previous political actions but that he thinks it is important to show that women can hold high positions in politics. When Harris was attorney general for the state of California, some of the legislation she put in place disproportionately affected Black people. Senior Connor Shea, president of the Student Governance Council, who has been working on IC Votes, an initiative to encourage students at the college to vote, said he looks forward to seeing what Biden and Harris’ administration will bring. “With the announcement of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, we now must shift our focus and look to what’s next,” he said via email. “It is crucial that we hold this administration


accountable, continue to organize and collaborate and stay engaged. There will be elections before 2024, and I ask that we all think about those local and statewide elections that impact our communities and continue to vote and think critically.” A record-high of approximately 159 million people voted in the 2020 presidential election. The youth vote in also increased compared to the 2016 election, with approximately 53–55% of people aged 18–29 voting in the election. Senior Agnes Scotti said the United States is facing many issues that will not go away now that Biden has been inaugurated. “We need to change a bunch of the systems in our country,” she said. “There’s a bunch of things that we need to fix, but Biden is not the solution for them. He’s just a better choice.” Ithaca community members echoed these sentiments in an informal postelection rally, called “Beyond the Ballot Box,” on Nov. 4 on The Commons. Speakers from Ithaca Tenants Union, Ithaca Pantheras, the Poor People’s Campaign and the Party for Socialism and Liberation spoke about goals they believe others should have, no matter who wins the curren election. Approximately 100 people attended. Even before the election, there were allegations from Conservatives of voter fraud with mail-in ballots. Many of the allegations were false. The accusations, which were primarily made by Trump and his allies, continued long after the election. Senior Michael Deviney, president of Ithaca College Republicans, said he believed there was voter fraud with the increased number of mail-in ballots for the election. “I believe there is more voter fraud in this election than in any other,” he said. Trump had filed at least seven lawsuits challenging ballot counts in states like Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin. In total, Trump filed 100 lawsuits that challenged the presidential election, 71 of which have failed. The sole victory was dealt by a Pennsylvania judge, who ruled

that voters could not “cure” their ballots if they did not provide proper identification three days postelection. This decision did not affect many votes, nor did it change the outcome of the election in Pennsylvania, where Biden won by 80,555 votes. Ithaca College Democrats released a statement Nov. 8 on Instagram congratulating Biden and Harris for their win. “Waking up this morning, we can exhale knowing that America is on the right track to a brighter, more peaceful future for all of its citizens, and to truly heal from these last four years,” the statement said. “Though we endorsed Biden and Harris, and still do, we will continue to hold them accountable in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.” Deviney said he was satisfied with the congressional elections so far. On Nov. 7, Democrats and Republicans were tied in the Senate. But after wins for Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia Senate Runoff Election on Jan. 5, a 50–50 split now exists in the Senate. Chavez said he is excited about the increase in diversity in elections across the United States. In Delaware, Democrat Sarah McBride became the first transgender state senator. Democrat Mauree Turner became the first nonbinary state legislator, the first Muslim legislator in Oklahoma and the first Black person to represent the state’s 88th District. Democrats Zohran Mamdani and Jenifer Rajkumar became the first South Asian people elected to the New York State Assembly. Democrat Cori Bush is also the first Black woman to be elected to the House of Representatives in Missouri, and Democrats Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres became the first gay, Black members of Congress. “If we look at local politics, we are coming up,” Chavez said. “There’s a lot of diverse candidates who were just elected — transgender, POC. It’s amazing to see POC getting involved and actually getting elected at local levels, which will soon rise up to higher levels.”

Ithaca residents gather Nov. 4 for the “Beyond the Ballot Box” rally. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

Commentary: Republicans won big this election By Michael Deviney

An archeologist finds a bone and says, “Hey, there might be dinosaurs.” People say they’re just bones. With President Donald Trump leading in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada on Nov. 3, many Republicans slept happily. But after absentee ballots rolled in, the media announced Joe Biden as president-elect. This caused some unrest among Republicans. But there have been some positives for the party, with Republicans gaining seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. This election demands scrutiny. In November, there were 2,600 in-person votes that were uncounted in Floyd County, Georgia. Election workers rescanned approximately 8,000 votes to resolve the problem, and the Floyd County Board of Elections and Voter Registration fired its executive director after the incident. Although this case was attributed to human error, the conversation must be open to see if this happened in other counties across the nation — questioning, and possibly changing, the electoral outcome. As seen in the past, the country’s election system isn’t perfect. In June 2020 in Paterson, New Jersey, Councilman Bill McKoy filed a lawsuit over ballot tampering in a city council election. Two councilmen were accused of delivering mail-in ballots that were not theirs and of submitting voter registration applications for people who were ineligible to vote. A judge declared that there needed to be a new election. Similarly, an illegal ballot scheme was discovered in Raleigh, North Carolina, in February 2019. Over 1,000 absentee ballots were involved in the scheme for congressional candidate Mark Harris (NC-9). While these ballots had minor effects on results, Republicans and Democrats questioned how trustworthy their election was. Ruling this out would be naive because we saw it in the past under circumstances different from COVID-19 mail-in voting. This is why Trump’s base, including myself, supports his fight. We are living in a time when people ignore history unless it fits their narrative. Even though fighting in courts may not determine different outcomes, our system is manipulated. The GOP freshman class is the party’s most diverse ever. With House gains, at least 17 GOP women join the 117th Congress. Two Black Republicans — Byron Donalds (FL-19) and Burgess Owens (UT-4), who is a former NFL player — joined Congress. Nancy Mace (SC-1) is the first congresswoman to graduate from The Military College of South Carolina, known as The Citadel. Michelle Park Steel (CA-48) and Young Kim (CA-39) are two of the three Korean American women in Congress. Victoria Spartz (IN-5) is the first Ukraine-born representative. Carlos A. Gimenez (FL-26) served nine years as mayor of Miami-Dade County. Additionally, zero Republican incumbents in the House lost reelection and all Democrat incumbents lost to a woman or minority congressperson. This election rejected Trump, not the GOP. Even if the media’s right, Republicans won this election, flipping House seats and keeping Senate seats. The polls projecting Democrat gains were wrong again. 91


LIFE & Life & CULTURE Culture

Frankie Walls/The Ithacan


Mikayla Rovenalt/The Ithacan

Courtesy of Devin Balloqui-Smith



Jason Hamilton, professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, cared for the apiary alone in Fall 2020. Mikayla Rovenolt/The Ithacan

Bees stay busy during campus closure By Arleigh Rodgers

Seven buzzing pastel beehives sit in a grassy field next to a dirt road behind the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management. This is Ithaca College’s apiary, where Jason Hamilton, professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, cares for the bees on campus. As Hamilton carefully extracted the frames from the hive, the amber honey dripped from the comb, and he searched for signs of health among the herd. “Bees experience epidemics and pandemics just like people do,” he said. Hamilton was the apiary’s sole caretaker while Fall 2020 classes were held online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the fall, Hamilton usually teaches the class 94

Ecological Applications: The Nature and Necessity of Bees, in which students assist in caring for the bees. Before winter, the insects produce honey and bundle up by huddling into a tight ball and vibrating to keep themselves warm. The class did not run during the fall semester, and Hamilton traipsed that path alone. “I like interacting with the colonies,” he said. “I would rather give up personal time with the bees and have the students do it.” Senior Emily O’Neil, an environmental science major, said she was first hired as the apiary’s head beekeeper — usually a paid position on campus — her sophomore year after working as Hamilton’s lab assistant in Spring 2018. She moved to Ithaca in

August 2020 but was not able to visit or work at the apiary because of restrictions for students working on campus. “It hurts a little knowing that they’re so close and I can’t really do anything,” she said. “It’s my passion. That’s what I love to do.” Hamilton said that because students could not work at the apiary in Fall 2020, he expected greater colony losses. Bees die every year, as is normal during the winter months, but Hamilton said he could not care for the colonies consistently without students’ help. For the same reasons, he also expected that he would not be able to extract as much honey. Hamilton said he considered donating the harvested honey to the Ithaca community


rather than the typical method of selling it through South Hill Forest Products, a business run by students with support from the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences. On a cool September morning, Hamilton wore a white protective bee suit with a hood and screen that separated him from the swarm. He walked through the grassy apiary, armed with a hive smoker to calm the bees, ready to conduct a routine hive inspection. Using a hive tool to open one of the apiary’s five Langstroth hives — which have vertically stacked frames — the sound of a sharp crack issued from the pastel box as he pried the top off. The stark noise was a result of the cold weather, Hamilton said. The humming hive mingled with the smoke. “They’re a little less touchy than those other ones,” Hamilton said, referring to the bees in one of the apiary’s two top-bar hives, where a bee stung his bare hand. Bees start to emerge from their winter-long hibernation sometime in April. The summertime months are their most active ones. They flit between the apiary’s hives and the nearby garden, carrying pollen back to their homes. When the hives grow busy and full, some bees perch themselves on the front of their home, the equivalent of taking a seat on the front porch, Hamilton said. Hamilton observed the full frame of capped honey, or honey that had been sealed into the comb with wax. He also sought out indications of disease, like the common American foulbrood. Hamilton said that within a few weeks, the honey would be ready to harvest. O’Neil said that while she understood the need for regulations for students coming to campus, she wished she could continue to help to take care of the bees. “The bees are our animals,” she said. “They’re wild animals, but, at the same time, we have to take care of them and we have to make sure … they’re healthy to go into

Bees experience epidemics and pandemics just like people do. – Jason Hamilton

winter. … We have to be there.” Though Hamilton and O’Neil feared large colony losses at the college’s apiary, there were fewer losses among bee colonies in the United States in 2020 compared to 2021. The Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) conducted its 14th survey on bee colony losses in the United States. The study took place from Oct. 1, 2019, to April 1, 2020, or the approximate hibernation period for honey bees. Approximately 22.2% of all honey bees were lost, a decrease of 15.5 percentage points from its previous survey from Oct. 1, 2018, to April 1, 2019, in which BIP discovered a 37.7% loss. Honey bees and other pollinator bees assist in crop production, approximately $170 billion worth,

and a continued increase in losses would have devastating effects on crop production. The Dyce Lab for Honey Bee Studies at Cornell University is another apiary in Ithaca that has been affected by the pandemic. Scott McArt, assistant professor of pollinator health, said the off-campus lab was operating at approximately 50% of its usual work in Fall 2020 than during a normal year. Research at the Dyce Lab was shut down in March 2020, when the university first went online for the semester. Work was reinstated slowly, McArt said, because the university only allowed fieldwork-based research to begin in June 2020. It wasn’t until August that indoor lab work, like projects in the Department of Entomology, was allowed to recommence with masks and limited density. McArt said that during the portion of the summer when only fieldwork research was allowed, he felt as if he was able to reconnect with the bees by spending time caring for them. “I can just drop everything for a while and just do some beekeeping, just go enjoy these colonies,” he said. “I’ve greatly enjoyed just getting back to my roots and just enjoying spending some time around the bees.” O’Neil said that since her sophomore year, she wanted to incorporate beekeeping into her job post-graduation. She said she would pursue this by applying to the Dyce Lab’s 15-monthlong Master Beekeeper Certification. The certification includes a four-course program that educates students on bee biology, evolution and behavior. In a different year not affected by the pandemic, both Ithaca College’s and Cornell’s apiaries would have hosted events that brought the Ithaca community to the hives. McArt said Cornell’s apiary usually hosts the Empire State Honey Producers Association’s annual summer picnic. However, the event was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. The apiary at the college has also hosted open houses for the college community in the past. “From the bee’s perspective, nothing changed,” Hamilton said. “They don’t care about COVID-19. They just kind of live their lives.” 95


Ithaca College filmmakers reworked their approaches to filmmaking during the pandemic, adjusting shooting and scripts. Courtesy of Devin Balloqui-Smith

IC filmmakers develop new ways to shoot during pandemic By Grace Azaula

When classes went online in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ithaca College senior Devin Balloqui-Smith went from making films in Ithaca with professional equipment, actors and fellow filmmakers to being quarantined at home with nothing to work with but his phone and his thoughts. But Balloqui-Smith adjusted quickly, working on two films for his classes throughout the remainder of the spring semester. The first short film depicted a love story between himself and a body pillow. The second was about a workout session that quickly turned into a song, with the trainees transforming into instruments. Both were shot on his phone. “Filmmaking is a series of problems, and you have to figure out how to solve those problems,” Balloqui-Smith said. “While this is not ideal or really fun for anyone, it is an unexpected challenge.” In Fall 2020, Balloqui-Smith worked on a film for his senior thesis class called “Red Herring.” The story follows two former best friends who reunite to go on a treasure hunt. He said his team wrote the film prior to restrictions for film sets as a result of the pandemic. The script requires only two actors and a limited crew, and Balloqui-Smith said he felt fortunate to have written a script that allowed for a smaller group because other teams needed to rewrite scripts to adapt to the new safety precautions. Senior Jackson Gallati, a cinema and photography major, said that being at home during Spring 2020 forced him to rethink his production plans. “We had just spent the first half of the [spring] semester putting together this one idea,” he said. “Suddenly, it’s all out the window, and you don’t have any 98

camera from the school. You don’t have any equipment from the school. You don’t have any crew. You don’t have any cast, so right away you just start asking yourself, ‘Well, what kind of movies can I make?’” Like Balloqui-Smith, Gallati had no professional equipment at home. He said his film for class last semester was about him and his brothers reuniting during quarantine. Instead of shooting a new film on his phone, for example, Gallati compiled footage from the 2001 GameCube game “Super Smash Bros. Melee” to re-create nostalgic themes. For his senior thesis class, Gallati and his fellow classmates were required to submit a safety proposal outlining what precautions they would take to keep everyone on set healthy. Gallati said that film is dependent on collaboration but that there were fewer opportunities for that. “I was very aware that I was alone the entire time, where usually I like operating at a team level where everyone’s contributing,” Gallati said. Hollywood filmmakers have also needed to adapt — or simply shut down production — during the pandemic. Filming in large groups or public locations is not as commonplace as it once was, and films in the next few years may have fewer characters with smaller crews. Anthony Carbone ’98 is a showrunner and executive producer for “Tough As Nails,” a reality competition show on CBS. Carbone is also an executive producer for the Netflix game show “Floor Is Lava,” where contestants have to complete an obstacle course without falling onto the floor. Carbone said the pandemic changed how sets look. In preparation for filming season two of “Floor Is Lava,” he said he and his team created a detailed safety plan

that included implementing a pod system where only six to 10 people work together. He also said the crew used proximity badges that beeped if they get within 6 feet of another person. The badges retain the history of when and why someone buzzed, a feature that helps with contact tracing. Carbone said he thinks the way people consume film and television is shifting as well. “At what point will people feel comfortable in a large enough group to go to theaters?” Carbone said. “The answer to that is, ‘Who knows?’ Because we have so much content at home, and we have other distractions, it’s not a loss to many people right now.” Idrissou Mora-Kpai, assistant professor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies, said this industry slowdown decreased the number of jobs for actors, producers and directors, as well as jobs related to film festivals. The 2020 Cannes Film Festival, scheduled for May 12–23, 2020, was postponed in March 2020 before being canceled. Over the next five years, the theatrical industry is estimated to lose $24.4 billion as a result of the pandemic. “You can imagine how many people move to Cannes for two weeks of a film festival, and … the economics of the city play a big role,” Mora-Kpai said. “Imagine, worldwide, how many people are affected by what is happening right now.” Junior Joe Berardi said the pandemic has changed what films can look like, both at the college and within the film industry as a whole. “I just think it shows that there are so many unconventional ways to shoot film,” Berardi said. “You don’t need a cast and crew of 500 people. You can make a great story independently.”


Kristen Harrison ‘20, left, and Alisha Tamarchenko ‘20, right, film Sonya Sanders, center, during the production of “On the Fenceline.” Courtesy of Alex Klein

Documentary by IC graduates selected for film festivals By Gabrielle Topping

“You don’t stop the fight,” said Sonya Sanders, a Philadelphia resident and member of Philly Thrive. “You still have to fight because somewhere down the line, someone is going to have to listen.” Sanders is just one of the activists advocating for environmental justice in the documentary “On the Fenceline: A Fight for Clean Air,” produced by four recent Ithaca College graduates. Tara Eng ’20, Kristen Harrison ’20, Alex Klein ’20 and Alisha Tamarchenko ’20 spent nearly every weekend filming the documentary during Fall 2019. After spending four-hour car rides traveling from Ithaca to Philadelphia and countless hours working together, they became close friends. The four are members of Picture 2 Picture Productions, a documentary group that was created in Documentary Workshop, the capstone course of the documentary studies and production major. Even after the class ended, Picture 2 Picture Productions continued its work through spring and summer 2020. The documentary tells the story of Philly Thrive, an activist organization seeking environmental justice after an explosion at a South Philadelphia oil refinery in June 2019 left Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) bankrupt. Philly Thrive fights to keep the refinery closed because the pollution from PES has been linked to heath issues. “On the Fenceline: A Fight for Clean Air” was selected for a number of professional film festivals, most of which took place virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the documentary was shown at the Newark International Film Festival from Sept. 9⁠ to 13; the Nashville Film Festival from Oct. 1 to 7; the Better Cities Film Festival from Oct. 8 to 11; the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival from Oct. 14 to 18; and the

SCAD Savannah Film Festival on Oct. 30. In 2021, the film screened at the Wild & Scenic Festival on Jan. 14 and the Colorado Environmental Film Festival on Feb. 12. “We put a lot of love and care into representing this story, and it’s really heartening that other people are finding meaning in it,” Eng said. “We’re living in a time where wins for environmental and racial justice really need to be widely celebrated.” Klein said the group, including lead researcher Marlee Brooks ’20 and assistant camera and sound recordist Alfio Vasta ’20, spent the first few weeks of Fall 2019 researching topics. Eng and Harrison are from Philadelphia and said the explosion was prevalent in the news in September 2019. Ben Crane, associate professor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies, said that in Documentary Workshop, he looks for compelling stories that illuminate important issues. Crane said that in the past, alumni have also been honored by the Sundance Institute and the Directors Guild of America for work done both in and outside the class. He said the films produced in Documentary Workshop have been shown in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Klein said he didn’t run cross-country his senior year so he could dedicate his time to working on the documentary. “I came into the semester knowing that I would be sacrificing my social life and everything for this one class,” Klein said. “Once we started getting going with the project and seeing how much fun we were having and the real-life production experience we were getting by making a film and the struggle and creating a bond with everyone was really worth it.” Eng said one of her favorite aspects of filming the

documentary was the tightly knit community of Philly Thrive. Harrison said that as Picture 2 Picture Productions volunteered with Philly Thrive over the weeks, the students became closer with the group. One of the aspects that stuck out to her the most was the dynamic of the community. Postproduction for the documentary was completed in June 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While editing, the group members tried to make decisions unanimously and sanitized the hard drive as they passed it among one another. “There was a lot of trust in our team, creatively and logistically, which I think really helped us with this process,” Eng said. “We made the best documentary we could have possibly made because we all approached this with different experiences and viewpoints.” First-year graduate student Christopher Tinti said that he had not heard about the explosion before watching the documentary. Tinti said one strong suit of the documentary was Picture 2 Picture Productions’ exploration of how the oil factory plant affected residents of the area. “My initial reaction to seeing the documentary was an emotion of awe and shock at the same time,” Tinti said. “The shots, editing, sound and camera angles were all amazing and felt professional.” Klein said Picture 2 Picture Productions’ main goal was to share Philly Thrive’s message. “Seeing the success and power that Philly Thrive has on your screen in the form of a film will give confidence to others fighting for their own rights, whatever their struggle is,” he said. “Sharing that message with the world and sharing Philly Thrive’s fight is so important to make our world a better, more hospitable place to live.” 99


Bella Swan and Edward Cullen enjoy a date at Moosewood Restaurant in a “Twilight” fan fiction by user MeilleurCafe. Illustration by Anna McCracken

Student compiles spreadsheet of Ithaca College fan fiction By Maddy Martin

One day in Ithaca, a disheveled woman named Bella Swan shows up at Edward Cullen’s veterinary clinic with a stray cat she found. Sparks fly at their first meeting. Edward looks up Bella’s address to find she lives only a few miles away on Aurora Street. A day later, they go on their first date at Moosewood Restaurant. But of course, the protagonists of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” don’t actually live in Ithaca. It’s all from a fan fiction titled “The Good Doctor” by user MeilleurCafe. On July 19, Ithaca College alum Chloe Landau ’20 posted a spreadsheet listing Ithaca College-centric fan fiction on her Twitter account. The spreadsheet, officially called Ithaca College Fanfictions, amassed a following of students beyond what Landau said she expected. Landau began writing and reading fan fiction in middle school. She said fan fiction plays a large role in creating fan communities and giving fans their fix when their favorite works are on hiatus, between seasons 100

or have ended. “I can’t believe that the Ithaca College community has responded to the spreadsheet as much as it has,” Landau said. “If this is the Ithaca College legacy I leave behind, I’m totally OK with that.” Fan fiction is fan-created content, usually written stories, that utilizes fictional characters and worlds from popular media like “Harry Potter” or “Star Wars.” Others focus on the lives of musicians and other real-life celebrities. Some fan fictions are so popular that they gained mainstream attention. Anna Todd’s novel “After” started as fan fiction with Harry Styles as the main love interest. Jaime Warburton, assistant professor in the Department of Writing, specializes in fan studies. She said fan fiction functions as a way for people to leave one world and come to another. “Fan fiction is a portal,” Warburton said. “When we’re consuming a story or a universe, we can see it, but we can’t really get into it, and that’s what people are trying to do when they cosplay, when they go to the giant

Disney theme parks and when they write fan fiction.” When Landau Google searched “Ithaca College fan fiction,” she noticed that most of the fan fictions she found were for “Twilight.” She posted her findings on Twitter, and it instantly caught the attention of students. Discovering that there was interest in the topic, Landau searched the web for more fan fictions and posted her findings in a spreadsheet. Landau said that from July 16 to 19, she spent hours of her free time searching for Ithaca-related fan fictions on popular fan fiction websites like Wattpad. The current fan fiction count on the spreadsheet is 50. “Twilight” is still the most represented fandom on the spreadsheet with a total of five. “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” “Riverdale” and “Glee” are tied for second place with four each. The amount of “Twilight” fan fiction is likely because the Cullen family moves to Ithaca during the events of the series’ second novel, “New Moon.” This led fans to imagine the characters as students and professors at Ithaca College.


Freshman Julia Stitely first came across the spreadsheet on a student-run Discord server. As a fan fiction reader and “Percy Jackson” fan, Stitely followed the spreadsheet and thought about writing her own fan fiction for it. “I’m trying to think of as many ‘Percy Jackson’ ideas as I can to beat ‘Twilight,’” Stitely said. “Because if we can just beat ‘Twilight’ at something, that would be great.” As of March 2021, the longest fan fiction on the spreadsheet is a 112-chapter-long, approximately 697,171-word “Heartland” fan fiction titled “What this is,” written by user Heartland Rider. “Heartland” is an ongoing drama television show that premiered in 2007. The series follows the lives of the Fleming family on its ranch in the Rocky Mountains. The fan fiction takes place eight years after Heartland’s eighth season and imagines several of the characters as Ithaca College professors. The fan fiction also includes a piano recital in the James J. Whalen Center for Music. It is difficult to confirm exactly who the authors of most of the fan fictions are. Some of the stories are over a decade old, and fan fiction authors rarely give out their real names and locations, favoring made-up handles and vague bios. Warburton said this comes from a tradition

of anonymity on the internet that predates the social media era in which people are expected to be more genuine on the internet. Waburton also said that fan fiction often involves erotic themes and that this also plays a part in authors’ desires to remain anonymous.

When you draw your actual environment and your imagination in at the same time, [stories] can start to feel like reality. – Jaime Warburton

“It’s not something people want to attach to a professional brand, usually,” Warburton said. “Anonymity allows people to have fun.”

One of the only fan fictions with a clear connection to a student from the college is “Psychopomp” by IC Shinigami, published in 2008. The fan fiction was based on the anime “Bleach,” and, in an author’s note after the first chapter, IC Shinigami states, “I am a student at Ithaca College, and I love it here.” Warburton said authors, regardless of genre, will often write about the places they’re from, places they have heard of or places they have read about. She said that when real locations appear in fiction, it makes fictional worlds feel closer to reality. She also said people love it when their hometowns are mentioned in movies or other types of media, and fan fiction is no exception. “Ithaca College can be both a part of our real lives and our fantasy lives,” Warburton said. “I think of it like a crossover episode, and crossover episodes are fun because they feel like proof that those two worlds are real. … When you draw your actual environment and your imagination in at the same time, [stories] can start to feel like reality.” A junior at the college and fan fiction author who goes by the pen name Kashikoi-kun contributed to the spreadsheet by writing his own Ithaca College fan fiction titled “7 Years Later,” which imagines characters from Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” as Ithaca College graduates who reunite after Cat Valentine’s grandmother dies of COVID-19. Kashikoi-kun wrote the fan fiction after losing a family member to COVID-19. “It kind of helps me move on or grieve in a creative way and help others hopefully with the same process,” Kashikoi-kun said. Kashikoi-kun said he noticed an increase in fan fictions being read and written on the internet since the pandemic began. He said that “7 Years Later” received approximately 100 views a day and that his other fan fictions also spiked in readership. “I feel like creative people are just spending more time writing and creating other forms of art, whether it be fan fictions or scripts,” Kashikoi-kun said. “People just don’t have much to do, and, when you have more views, for some writers that motivates them to write more.” Because of the pandemic, freshmen like Stitely were not able to experience living on campus during their first semester. Stitely said the spreadsheet was her introduction to campus life. “I guess this is my firsthand experience of Ithaca,” Stitely said. “In books and writing, you can put yourself in the place of a character, and, in [the fan fictions], I can put myself in a character who’s on campus when I personally can’t be on campus.” Fan fiction was an escape for Landau throughout quarantine. She said she thinks the spreadsheet became popular because others were looking for an escape when they found it, too. “It’s provided a valuable distraction, an escape from reality and a source of entertainment,” Landau said. “I am both pleasantly surprised and really happy that it caught on as well as it did, and the hours of research that went into it were absolutely worth it for the joy it was able to bring the IC community.” 101


Art preparator Brian Quan and senior Annie Shaw work hard to prepare the Handwerker Gallery for its opening Feb. 24. Frankie Walls/The Ithacan

The Handwerker opens its gallery doors once again By Eva Salzman

During Ithaca College’s remote semester in Fall 2020, the Handwerker Gallery could not provide students with the in-person art viewing experiences that so many appreciated. But with students on campus for Spring 2021, the Handwerker prepared for gallery-goers to return to the space. The gallery featured two exhibitions that ran from Feb. 24 to April 9. “Do it (home),” curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, offered an interactive aspect. The exhibit encouraged viewers to enter the artists’ world by following a set of instructions. “A CLOSER LOOK” featured work from 13 artists who were originally part of a permanent art collection created for the college between 1963 and 1972. This revived exhibition pulled works from the collection that were relevant to some events in 2020. When it was announced that the fall semester would be completely remote, Mara Baldwin, director of the Handwerker Gallery, adapted the gallery to be accessible virtually. The virtual exhibitions featured 360-degree virtual scroll photographs that gave viewers a detailed view of each exhibition as if they were walking through the gallery. With students on campus for the spring semester, Baldwin was looking forward to bringing the traditional in-person experience back to the gallery. “I hope that people are able to find some joy and 102

insight in experiencing the gallery and doing something that seems more normal,” Baldwin said. “I think that’s why so many students came back this semester — because of the desire for access. And, you know, intimacy, like being in space with others, even with the constraints that we have to work around to be safe.” Like other galleries have done during the pandemic, the Handwerker Gallery shared a portion of the show on its social media accounts. Each day, the gallery’s social media accounts featured a set of instructions from the artists of the “do it (home)” exhibition. Virtual galleries were also available for both exhibitions on the Handwerker’s website. Senior Carly Hough, a Handwerker Gallery monitor, said they looked forward to getting back into the gallery space. “I love working there,” Hough said. “I really love the location of the gallery because I feel like I see a lot of people when I work, and I really miss having events there and getting to work with artists.” Hough said they hoped students who have not been into the gallery would take the opportunity to go in. “I think that sometimes people are a little intimidated by the gallery, like, not sure what it is and not sure if you have to pay to go in,” Hough said. “So I hope that people who haven’t been in before will be like, ‘This is an opportunity I should really take to go see

some art.’ And I hope that it can be like a way for people to de-stress.” The gallery adhered to the COVID-19 regulations that the college put in place in order to keep visitors safe. This included the addition of markers on the floor to indicate a 6-foot distance. Baldwin said she and her staff worked hard to ensure these regulations were followed in order to keep the gallery open. “The gallery is a small space, but it’s also pretty easy to keep an eye on things,” Hough said. “I have a feeling that most people at Ithaca are going to be pretty respectful of that. I’ll definitely miss getting to have big events in there, but I’m just happy to be in the space at all.” Sophomore Ellen Chapman said she planned to return to the gallery when it reopened. “I’m just looking forward to the Handwerker reopening,” Chapman said. “It’ll be nice to have another spot on campus to visit, plus I like going to see other people’s art. It’s important to appreciate their hard work, even if they don’t know you are.” Chapman said that before the pandemic, she frequented the gallery and saw it as a place to relax. “I really enjoy the fact that the Handwerker is a nonjudgmental space,” she said. “I went there alone a few times, and it was really nice to just look at the art. There isn’t any pressure to try and interpret or explain it. You can just stand there and be like, ‘That’s pretty,’ and that’s enough.”


Ten years after the original Underground Railroad mural on Green Street was painted, it was revitalized by four local artists. Jill Ruthauser/The Ithacan

Stories of justice painted into Ithaca murals By Grace Azaula

Bold, bright colors express even bolder ideas at the Underground Railroad mural displayed beneath the Aurora Street bridge on Green Street. The mural showcases paintings of slaves on their journey to freedom, along with portraits of abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Fredrick Douglass. Originally painted in 2010, the mural was created as a way to honor Ithaca’s role in the Underground Railroad. Saint James AME Zion Church, located in Downtown Ithaca, was an Underground Railroad station. Ten years after the original mural was painted, it was revitalized by four local artists, including Ithaca College senior Cyepress Rite, an integrative studies major with a focus on the “art of resistance in gender Blackness.” Rite said they wanted to use this project as a way to honor the history of the Black community in Ithaca. “There’re so many particular landmarks in Ithaca that are very related to abolitionist movements and civil rights, so it’s important and special that not only is there representation in a city that does have Black people, does have brown people, does have people of color but also that this representation is telling our story honorably,” Rite said. Ithaca Murals held a fundraiser Aug. 16–Sept. 5, 2020, on its website with the goal of raising $20,000 to pay for preliminary wall repair, painting materials and compensation for the artists. The fundraiser received 49

donations totaling $6,931. Using murals for social change came with challenges. The Black Lives Matter mural — organized by Harry O’Smith, founder of Black Hands Universal, and painted by members of the Ithaca community Aug. 22, 2020, at the intersection of Plain Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Street in Downtown Ithaca — was covered in paint Oct. 4. The next day, members of the community gathered to restore the mural. Rite said this incident forced them to think about the Underground Railroad mural being defaced. “It’s not even about the visuals necessarily,” Rite said. “It’s really about the narrative and the energy. … I can’t get discouraged by that pushback because then I’m doing exactly what they want me to do, which is to stop, and that’s exactly what we’re not going to do.” Art has been essential to the social justice scene in Ithaca, especially in light of the national racial justice protests that resurfaced in 2020. Protests in Ithaca against racism and vigils for Black individuals who had been killed started at the end of May 2020, when the community gathered every Sunday. Other students at the college, like senior Daniela Rivero, contributed to social justice movements through their art. Rivero said her most recent project was shown in Amalgam/a, an exhibition at the Community School of Music and Arts in Downtown Ithaca created in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Rivero

said she created collages for the exhibition that depict queer, nonbinary and trans people from the Latinx and Caribbean diaspora. She said much of her art is inspired by her experience growing up in Mexico. “As a child, really what I connected with and what I bonded to was the marketplaces that I would go to with my grandparents,” Rivero said. “All the murals that you would see around Mexico City and the really vivid landscape of people … were things I bonded to.” Bill Hastings, assistant professor in the Department of Art at the college, said this increasing awareness of social issues has been a trend among the college’s students over the years. “It’s important to foster an environment where all voices are welcome to be heard,” Hastings said. Hastings said art has been a part of activism throughout history. Mexican artist Diego Rivera created politically charged murals between 1907 and 1957 that expressed pride for his community and heritage. Today, artists like Kara Walker use art with traditional silhouettes to express the atrocities of slavery. Rivero said she believes that art is a crucial part of social justice movements. “The role of the artist is very much to inspire revolution and to also fuel people’s spirits, and I very much see in the same way that art is a form of spiritual sustenance for me,” Rivero said. “I think it very much is for movements as well.” 103


The Ithacan’s Life & Culture section compiled a list of terms that students should know while they settled into campus life. Frankie Walls/The Ithacan

The abbreviated encyclopedia of Ithaca College student culture By Maddy Martin, Arleigh Rodgers, Avery Alexander and Antonio Ferme

Ithaca College has inhabited many forms. Before the college settled on South Hill, there was the Ithaca Conservatory of Music, founded in 1892 and run out of four rented rooms in a house on East Seneca Street. Over the decades, the music conservatory slowly took over old downtown. On South Hill in 1960, the first campus building — Egbert Union, now called the Campus Center — was erected. Since then, the campus has continued to grow, and with each generation of students comes new traditions and stories. This year’s new students spent their first semester off campus and therefore might not have had the chance to hear the urban legends and histories passed among students. The Ithacan’s Life & Culture section has compiled a list of stories, terms and traditions that students should know about the college’s culture as they settle into campus life. Pubs Before ‘The Pub’ “The Pub” is a common nickname used by students to refer to IC Square, a campus food court in the Campus Center. But there is some history to this nickname. According to the Feb. 12, 1987, edition of The Ithacan, the pub and coffeehouse sold nonalcoholic drinks from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and alcoholic drinks from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. Roger Eslinger, former director of Campus Center 104

Student Activities and Conference and Event Services, worked at the college until 2002. Eslinger said the first on-campus pub was located on the floor below where Towers Marketplace currently is. He said that in the early 70s, the pub moved to the second floor of the Campus Center, then called Egbert Union, where it remained until 1986. Eslinger said students used to walk down from the library to enjoy drinks at the Egbert Hall pub before heading back to their dorm rooms for the night. “It was never the big go-to,” Eslinger said. “It was never a drunken crowd, ever.” The pub was student-run, with students working as servers, bartenders and managers. Faculty members would make brief appearances in the pub to connect with students in a more casual setting outside of class, Eslinger said. “The power structure was taken away when the faculty member wasn’t standing at the head of the class and being all-powerful,” Eslinger said. “When he came to the Egbert Hall pub, everybody was on equal ground, and that was done on purpose.” In the mid-80s, Egbert Hall underwent a renovation, Eslinger said. IC Square was completed in 1987. The Feb. 12, 1987, edition of The Ithacan explains that the pub and coffeehouse concept was implemented to make the space inclusive to students who were both under and over 21 after the drinking age was raised

from 19 to 21 years old in 1985. Eric Howd, assistant professor in the Department of Writing, graduated from the college in 1990 and said he remembers playing keyboard in his band at the pub and coffeehouse when he was a student. Howd said there was a triangular stage located in the corner near where Ithaca Bakery is today. “It was just a blast,” Howd said. “It was really sad to see [the pub and coffeehouse] go, but I can see why they took away the alcohol and the stuff like that, and I kind of like referring to it as ‘The Pub’ still.” Now, The Pub is officially called IC Square, a food court–style dining area with no alcohol in sight. Kendall Day Crushed beer cans strewn across a field. Drunk college kids. Kegs open to celebrate the end of a semester. This is Kendall Day, the annual block party on Kendall Avenue, a road behind the South Hill Recreation Way trail. On the Saturday before finals week in May, students celebrate the end of classes and sometimes the warm weather. Kendall Day is a “darty” — a “day party.” Kendall Day-related celebrations began in 2008, when Adam Young ’09 and a group of friends hosted the first massive party at 164 Kendall Ave. Twelve years later, the celebrations have become a day of tradition similar to Cortaca, the annual football game between the college and SUNY Cortland. Kendall Day was not thrown in


Students are advised not to jump in the Dillingham Fountain before graduation, a superstition that, if completed, would make the jumper not graduate from the college. Anna McCracken/The Ithacan

Some students say the elevator in East Tower is haunted. Molly Stanton/The Ithacan

2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and because the majority of students were not living in Ithaca after Spring 2020 classes transitioned online. Senior Alessandro Vecchi said the event is humorous to him because of the timing — partygoers head to the event, typically inebriated, a few days before finals week starts. But Vecchi said that having the event during the daytime actually allows for studying the rest of the day, if necessary. “I think it reminds people that while academics is a priority for most people, it’s okay to take a day for yourself,” he said. “It’s the weirdest way of saying, ‘Self-care is good.’” Senior Kate Sinclair said she remembers going to Kendall Day in 2018, her freshman year, with some friends on her floor of West Tower. “I feel like people will definitely go hard on Kendall Day,” she said. “It’s so crazy thinking about that now with COVID, having that many people in one congregated space. But I feel like it, especially as a freshman, … [was] a new sense of freedom.” Not everyone participates in the morning’s festivities. Richard Ramos ’20 said he did not participate in Kendall Day while at the college. “I’m not the type of person that goes to too many parties per se,” he said. “Near the end of the semester, there’s a lot of exams at that point that I prioritize.” Textor Ball The sculpture that stands proudly atop Textor Hall has been the source of hypothesis for students ever since it was installed back in 1967. The structure goes by the Textor Ball, the Fish — even the golf ball from the gods. The official title is the Textor Disc, but that fact has not dissuaded curious students from their speculations. One urban legend surrounding this ambiguous piece of art is that if a virgin graduates from the college, the ball will come loose and roll down the hill. The structure was created by Jack Squier, an artist, Cornell

Peisner tried to call campus security, but her phone didn’t have any service, so she said she yelled to her friends to call them for her. “It wasn’t really scary because I was on the first floor,” Peisner said. “If the elevator dropped, it would have dropped, like, a foot, and I would have been completely fine. But it was a pretty interesting experience.” Don’t Jump In The Fountain … Or Else The Dillingham Fountain, with its five geysers overlooking Cayuga Lake, is one of the most iconic features of the college — and a location rooted in tradition. Every student looks forward to plunging into the fountains on graduation day for Senior Splash. Teachout, a President’s Host, said the hype for Senior Splash starts during the campus tours before students are even enrolled. Part of the tour involves warning prospective students not to jump into the Dillingham Fountain before Senior Splash or risk not graduating due to bad luck, Teachout said. They said the President’s Hosts speculate that the story was created by the administration to stop students from jumping in. “It makes your Senior Splash a little more special,” Teachout said. “You finally get to jump in with your entire class and have that moment of finally being done, even though it’s usually freezing cold and not really worth it. But it is worth it because it’s the thing that they marketed to you since going on your first tour.” Howd said that in his days as a student, the stories of bad luck didn’t exist. Seniors jumped in the fountains during graduation, he said, but it was not an event organized by the school. Jumping into the fountain became a part of Senior Week in 2000 to limit injuries and property damage, according to the college. “It was more of a rebellious type of, ‘They don’t want us to do this, so we’re going to do it anyway because we’re seniors that deserve it after four years,” Howd said. “I purely remember it as an act of defiance and rebellion of the senior class.”

graduate and former Cornell professor. In an interview with The Ithacan in 2014, Squier said the sculpture was created by embedding a steel frame in foam, encasing it in resin and fiberglass and then covering the structure with aluminum leaf. “It’s an abstraction based on a series I did called ‘Heads,’” he said in the interview. “This was a big version of one of them. [I] decided to call it a Disc to keep it from sprouting mustaches.” The Ghost of East Tower Past The elevator doors don’t open sometimes. They stop on random floors without being prompted. Sometimes, they just stop working entirely. With all the issues the residence hall East Tower elevators have, it’s no wonder students say they’re haunted. Senior Carley Teachout said they lived on the 11th floor of East Tower their freshman year. Teachout said they would frequently walk up 13 flights of stairs to avoid the elevators altogether. “It always stopped on the ninth floor, and then it would randomly go all the way to the 13th floor and not stop at all,” Teachout said. “And then it would go all the way back to the ground floor. It was weird things like that that would leave you scratching your head. You’re waiting for it, and the lights start flashing, and then you go, ‘I’m going to take the stairs.’” Teachout said students in East Tower became more cautious of the elevator after a room on the 10th floor caught fire in Spring 2018. Water damage from the sprinklers made the elevators even less reliable. “It was at that point I personally had given up on the elevators and stuck to walking up the stairs,” Teachout said. Junior Jennifer Peisner said she lived on the sixth floor of East Tower her freshman year and once got stuck in the elevator for 30 minutes. She said she went into the elevator, the doors shut, the elevator moved a foot and it stopped.



Senior Karly Masters said that learning trombone and French horn in Fall 2020 was difficult because of virtual classes. Emily Lussier/The Ithacan

Virtual classes fall flat for music students and faculty By Emily Lussier and Arleigh Rodgers

In past semesters, senior Alex Renna spent her time practicing in her professor’s studio in the Ithaca College James J. Whalen Center for Music or struggling through late-night study sessions with her peers. But in Fall 2020, she spent most of her time in the living room of her house on Danby Road in Ithaca, hoping that when it came time to sing, her roommates would be quiet upstairs. “I hate practice rooms,” Renna said. “I have never wanted to be in a practice room more than I do now.” Renna was a vocal music education student at the college, where online classes for Fall 2020 posed difficulties in teaching and learning for faculty and students in the School of Music. Adapting programs to hybrid or online models presented challenges for music conservatories across the country. Issues included working with technology, like audio problems or delays, working across time zones and performing remotely or socially distanced. Renna said it was challenging to plan practicing for class around her roommates’ schedules. “My living room is my practice room now,” she said. “Whenever I have to practice or record something, I’m like, ‘Hey, you guys can’t watch TV right now. I have to do my school,’ which is difficult, and I feel bad for the people I live with for that.” Renna’s two roommates, seniors Kelly Campbell and Taylor Stefanik, said that living with Renna was not disruptive to their own virtual classes. Campbell and Renna lived in Ithaca after classes first went online in Spring 2020 while Stefanik returned home. Stefanik said that because she was a physical therapy major, she either had classes early in the morning or 106

on campus for labs. There was little overlap between Renna’s afternoon classes and hers as a result, she said. On the other hand, Campbell warned of Renna’s potential singing to her classmates as a way to break the ice before presentations. Campbell said that when Renna practiced her opera pieces, she sometimes heard Renna stop abruptly, swear when she made a mistake and start again. “I’m a singer too, and I know that if I had to sing like that, and I knew that people could hear me, … I would feel really uncomfortable,” she said. Senior Karly Masters, a viola music education major, also lived in Ithaca with two other music students in the fall. She said noise is a problem in her house, where the walls are thin and sound travels easily. Masters also said that having instrument lessons over Zoom was difficult. “As many people might have realized, the quality over Zoom is not too good with the audio, so it’s really hard to pinpoint specific things in your playing that are not really visual,” she said. “You can hear a lot of stuff, but really just the nuances of your playing is hard to judge over Zoom.” Mike Titlebaum, associate professor and director of jazz studies in the Department of Performance Studies, said it was impossible for students who study jazz to re-create the in-person interaction of a performance, particularly with improvisation. During his classes or practices with the Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble, Titlebaum asked students to mute themselves while he played a piano accompaniment. This way, students played their instruments without worrying about lagged audio, he said. Titlebaum said his classes in the fall and rehearsals with the Jazz

Ensemble revolved around skill-building, like teaching his students how to play in every scale. Titlebaum said this new approach focused less on students’ final performances and more on the foundational elements of jazz. “We spend so much time and energy, rightfully or wrongfully, thinking about the concert,” he said. “All those rehearsals were actually what the learning was all about, and the concert is more of a snapshot in time of what we’ve learned up until that point. … Learning to interact with other musicians, learning to give constructive feedback builds this culture of mutual support and admiration, and that’s all an important part of it, too.” Sophomore Nate Oczkowski, a music education major and trumpet player in the Jazz Ensemble, said he missed the adrenaline and anticipation of playing live. “It’s so exciting to just be like, ‘Hey, I got a concert coming up. Come hear some great music,’” he said. Renna said she felt more stressed in the fall because her music courses demanded more time spent working outside the class period due to online learning. Students in the School of Music face demanding workloads, harmful competition and unbridled criticism. They usually take 18 credits or more every semester, placing an impermeable strain on their mental health and lives outside school. Oczkowski said that as a member of the men’s track and field team, he finds it difficult to balance his extracurriculars with classes but that the value of taking breaks to prioritize mental health over work is essential to his routine. “I feel like at home, there are so many things that can distract us that sometimes it’s hard to find that space to really complete work for classes,” he said.


Junior Harris Andersen, a piano performance major, performed his junior recital March 20 in Hockett Family Recital Hall. Caroline Brophy/The Ithacan

In-person performances return to the School of Music By Grace Azaula

Masked instrumentalists sat 6 feet apart, waiting anxiously to perform in person at the Ithaca College James J. Whalen School of Music for the first time since the start of the pandemic. A small crowd filed into the seats of Ford Hall, excited to experience the joy of live music again. This semester, students in the School of Music adjusted to a hybrid form of practice and performance. After March 1, in-person concerts in Whalen were accessible to students and faculty with limited seating. Interim Associate Dean Ivy Walz said that in order to reopen Whalen, she created a 36-page return plan featuring extensive research and safety precautions. Walz said this plan was then condensed into a webpage that shows the safety status of the School of Music — green, yellow, orange or red level. In late March 2021, Whalen was at a green status. Instrumentalists were required to maintain 6–12 feet of distance, and vocalists maintained 12–20 feet of distance while performing. Appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE), like masks and bell covers, were required while performing in groups. PPE could be removed when practicing alone with the door closed or for solo performances with recorded accompaniment and no live audience. At the yellow level, all of the same precautions were expected, but students had to use PPE at all performances. At the orange level, solo practices were permitted, but students had to use PPE at all times. At the red level, there were no performances, rehearsals or instruction permitted in the building. Freshman Alex Renzoni, a music education major, said in-person classes were nerve-wracking at first.

“It’s definitely been a learning curve,” Renzoni said. “I definitely have had to reacquaint myself with being comfortable in large group settings and reassure myself that we’re all taking the precautions that we need to be safe. But overall, I do feel safe.” Walz said that coming up with effective safety protocols and policies required collaboration with Interim Dean Keith Kaiser; Erik Kibelsbeck, manager of concerts and facilities; and other faculty members. “It really was a huge schoolwide collaboration in terms of working together to understand the different instruments and the science available,” Walz said. “We were pretty lucky that by the time we were ready to open in the spring, we felt confident that we could open safely with use of extra personal protective equipment.” Senior Evan Schreiber, trumpet performance major, said he was excited to be performing in person. “I don’t think any of us will take live music for granted,” Schreiber said. “While you could complain about the protective measures we need to take in order to play in person, it’s a breath of fresh air to be in the same room playing music at the same time and getting back to what we’re used to.” Renzoni said he was overjoyed to be performing live again. “Live music right now is filling the void that so many of us desperately need to be filled,” Renzoni said. “I think that that’s been really refreshing for all of us in the School of Music, something that we’ve needed. … It’s in our blood. It’s in our souls. We need it.” Senior Anthony Pilcher, vocal performance major, said that although it was nice to perform in person again, it was stressful adapting to the new guidelines. “Even just from an emotional standpoint, because

I am giving a senior recital later in the semester, just knowing that my parents or any of my friends that aren’t students at the school can’t attend is kind of sad,” Pilcher said. Kibelsbeck said there were approximately 100 live concerts booked for Spring 2021 as compared to approximately 210 live concerts performed in 2019. Kibelsbeck said the number was lower in the spring because elective recitals were not scheduled in main halls, there are no guest artists and remote students are not performing live. Luke Klingensmith, webcast services coordinator for the School of Music, said that in addition to live performances, all performances in Ford Hall and Hockett Family Recital Hall were livestreamed and approximately 30% of performances were recorded, whereas only approximately 35 performances were livestreamed and recorded before the pandemic. Klingensmith said that he thinks all events should be livestreamed but that he does not expect this feature to remain in place post-pandemic. “I anticipate not doing this again,” Klingensmith said. “Livestreaming something like this is more of an emergency feature because family members can’t be in the building. But once we can open back up to the public, we would go more or less back to normal.” Schreiber said that within the music field at large, he hopes musicians remain creative and continue making new music. “It’s scary going into a field that doesn’t have a clear path, and with the world right now, everyone wants some stability,” Schreiber said. “I just hope that people are brave enough to keep putting out content that they feel impacted by and that they think impacts others.” 107


On Feb. 19, shoppers lined up outside the store at 744 S. Meadow St. to scour the newly installed, tightly packed shelves. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

After much anticipation, Trader Joe’s docks ship in Ithaca By Arleigh Rodgers

The words Ithacans have been waiting to hear: Trader Joe’s has docked ship in Ithaca. On Feb. 19, shoppers lined up outside the store at 744 S. Meadow St. to scour the tightly packed shelves. When Samantha Maione — a store leader called a Mate — arrived for her shift at 6:45 a.m., she said, she saw customers already waiting in anticipation. An approximately 100-person line formed before the storefront, stretching to the TJ Maxx a few storefronts down. Word of a Trader Joe’s in Ithaca surfaced in March 2020, when the Ithaca Voice reported that a location in Ithaca was in its early stages of development. Locals have expressed their desire for the California-based, nautical-themed grocery chain to open a store in Ithaca, even forming social media groups like Ithaca Needs A Trader Joe’s, now renamed Ithaca HAS a Trader Joe’s. The store’s opening was confirmed Jan. 26. Previously, the closest Trader Joe’s was in Syracuse, approximately a one-hour drive away from Ithaca. Ithaca College senior Natalie Smith said she arrived at Trader Joe’s on opening day around noon, where she sought out nut butters and dried mango. “Their products are unique, and you can’t get them anywhere else,” Smith said. “Every time I go to Trader Joe’s, the workers are just so nice and helpful.” Trader Joe’s has generated a fandomlike following among shoppers based on its individualized products and shopping experience. From limited-release experimental products to staples like 19-cent bananas, grocery shopping at the store is tailored to seem less like a chore and more like a curated, customer-first experience. Chanel Courant ’20 graduated in December and lives in Ithaca, so she applied to be part of the Crew. 108

She works at the cash register, unpacks daily deliveries and stocks shelves. Senior Jules Baumann was also part of the Ithaca Trader Joe’s Crew. From May to August 2020, Baumann also worked at Trader Joe’s in Denville, New Jersey, where along with being a crew member, she created shelf tags for products and designed signs in chalk for outside the store. Inside each store is a painted mural, and the Ithaca location features images like Buttermilk Falls, Cayuga Lake and East and West Towers. Courant said the majority of her training was in customer service and working the register. During her shifts, Courant and other employees would pretend to shop and run through the register, both to get acquainted with checking items out and to practice striking up natural conversations with a customer, she said. “I’ve worked in retail before, but I’ve never worked a job where there was so much of a focus on customer interaction and just making sure that the customers feel really welcomed,“ Courant said. Trader Joe’s is also known for its relatively low prices compared to other healthy food stores. To keep its prices low, Trader Joe’s buys products directly from suppliers and sells them under a private, self-titled label, according to the Trader Joe’s website. The result is high-quality items for cheaper prices. In a 2018 study by Consumers’ Checkbook, Trader Joe’s prices were overall 16% lower than the average prices at surveyed area stores. Compared to Target and Walmart, two options for groceries in Ithaca, Trader Joe’s prices were 12% lower than Target’s but 5% percent higher than Walmart’s. Wegmans — a popular choice among college students — also sells items under its own brand,

some of which are cheaper than popular brands. Some Trader Joe’s items are also cheaper than similar Wegmans-brand products. Baumann, who lived off campus, said she planned to switch her shopping to Trader Joe’s from Wegmans. “Our store makes it so accessible, between all of their frozen meal options, and those are enough to give you ideas for what you can make even using their fresh stuff,” she said. “I think that students in general are going to be really excited just to have a Trader Joe’s.” But affordability is a relative term. Sophomore Bianca Sessegolo said that because she is paying for all her current expenses, namely groceries and rent, she does not find Trader Joe’s products within her price range. She said she spends approximately $100 on groceries per month, half of a cost she splits with her roommate. They buy most of their groceries at Price Chopper, the Dollar Tree or Walmart, she said. Sessegolo said that when shopping for food, she often must compromise healthy options for cheaper ones. “I do care a lot about the food that I eat, but what happens in the end, it just comes out too expensive,” she said. “There were certain things that we just couldn’t maintain, so we just had to start opting for whatever was cheaper.” Monica Lewis, a two-year resident of Ithaca and associate dean for alumni affairs and development in the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University, said she will stick to her usual rotation of buying groceries from Wegmans, GreenStar Co-op and the Ithaca Farmers Market and go to Trader Joe’s for specialty items. “There’s a consistent high quality to their products and a novelty factor that actually hits the right mark,” she said.


Steven Salvatore’s most recent accomplishment is the publication of “Can’t Take That Away,” which was released March 9. Courtesy of Steven Salvatore

Ithaca College alum earns the spotlight with their new book By Molly Sheets

Carey Parker is standing on the stage, their divalike voice filling the entire auditorium. Tears fill their eyes at the end of the song. They realize they cannot sing this song in the Sunnyside High School production of “Wicked” due to the discrimination they face at school for their identity. This is the plot of “Can’t Take That Away,” the debut book of Ithaca College alum Steven Salvatore ’08. Salvatore, an adjunct professor at colleges in Westchester County, New York, has always enjoyed writing. Salvatore’s most recent accomplishment was the publication of “Can’t Take That Away,” released March 9. The book was ranked 25 on Amazon’s Teen and Young Adult ( YA) Theater Fiction. The book follows Carey, a genderqueer teen. Carey auditions for the typically female role of Elphaba in their high school production of “Wicked.” They get the part but are eventually kicked out of the musical after a series of prejudiced actions from a teacher and classmate. Carey and the rest of their friends then rally in protest and attempt to get Carey reinstated as the lead. Salvatore said that writing the book was a good way to process their own genderqueer identity. “I wanted to work through all of the things that I was feeling,” they said. “I wanted to channel that into a character who is in a lot of ways like me but also in a lot of ways not like me at all. I’m not a singer.” Salvatore said that through personal experience they were able to understand the struggles that come with being a genderqueer teen and that they hope queer young adults can see that they can overcome prejudice. “I wanted to give a voice to genderqueer teens and

genderqueer people in general who just never really got a chance to see themselves and who need to see themselves,” they said. Salvatore’s book came at a time when LGBTQ characters in YA literature became more prominent but still remained in the minority. Mainstream publishers published 108 LGBTQ YA books in 2018, according to writer and researcher Malinda Lo. However, according Lo’s report, only 4% of these books had a nonbinary or genderfluid main character. Salvatore said they hope that their book sparks an increase in the publication of more LGBTQ forms of media. “I can’t name another published young adult book that has a genderqueer main character,” Salvatore said. “There’s something wrong with that. So then that means that my book then represents everybody who is genderqueer, which is inherently problematic because my experience is not a universal experience.” In 2007, Salvatore took the Writing Children’s Literature course at the college. This course piqued their interest in YA literature. “Taking that course actually opened my eyes to all the possibilities of YA,” they said. “Young adult literature tackles stuff that adult fiction doesn’t with the same amount of depth and nuance. In young adult fiction, it’s more poetic.” The Department of Writing at the college not only helped Salvatore learn about their passion but understand their identity. “When I was at Ithaca, there was an out professor that I knew in the writing department,” they said. “This made me feel safe and comfortable. It allowed me to see that I want to teach college writing one day, and I can

actually have that.” Rachel Fomalhaut, lecturer in the Department of Writing, taught Queer Studies at the college in Spring 2021. The class included large and small group discussions that highlighted topics like queer history and sexual identities throughout time. Fomalhaut said she believes that books like “Can’t Take that Away” and classes like Queer Studies help students further understand who they are. “In some ways, it’s wonderful to feel how intensely a lot of the students are connecting the material,” she said. “Many of the students needed this class.” Junior Z Prince writes coming-of-age stories with queer themes. Similar to Salvatore, they base many of their novels and short stories on personal experiences. “Since all my characters are queer, I resonate with them,” they said. “It feels cathartic, in a way, to write as someone who is not me and have their situation be different.” In the spring, Prince was working on a queer YA fantasy novel inspired by “Cinderella.” The novel features magic, a childhood friends-to-lovers romance and the relationship between selfishness and self-preservation. “Most of my characters need to figure out who they are and who they want to be,” they said. “Those are oftentimes two different things.” Although Carey’s story has some hardships, Salvatore said good things come out of hard times, a testament to their own life. “There’s a lot of pain and there’s a lot of hardship that Carey experiences in the book, but there is a balance between the darkness and the light,” they said. “Even though there are painful moments, there is also a lot of hope, and it’s empowering.” 109


The SHARE farm holds a peach tree-planting ceremony and invites nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to participate. Courtesy of Cayuga SHARE Farm

Indigenous land and SHARE farm saved by the community By Grace Azaula

Like all land in the United States, Ithaca was the home of indigenous communities that existed before landmarks, like Ithaca College, were established. New York state was home to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, originally composed of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca nations. The Cayuga Nation, or Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’, and the Onondaga Nation lived in what is now known as Tompkins County. The Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ Nation was forced off of its land during the Revolutionary War. The Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ returned in November 1794 when the Treaty of Canandaigua was signed, granting 64,015 acres of land to the nation. New York quickly ignored the treaty, and the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ pursued a land claim against the state until the 21st century when they decided to regain land by purchasing it. Recently, New York state has posed a new danger to the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ Nation, declaring that it will take over the Strengthening Haudenosaunee-American Relations through Education (SHARE) farm if the nation is unable to pay $126,000 by April 16, 2021. The state claims that the fine is needed to cover unpaid property taxes. A GoFundMe was started to raise the funds to maintain ownership of the SHARE farm. The GoFundMe reached its goal March 3, 2021. Now that the money has been raised, the Cayuga County Legislature will review the Nation’s application to reacquire the land. “The SHARE farm has always symbolized healing,” said Joe Heath, general counsel for the Onondaga Nation. “So, to see the overwhelming support of so many neighbors brings joy to my heart.” The SHARE farm is 70 acres of land on Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ 110

homeland in Cayuga County. The farm became an important place of healing and community connections, with annual peach tree plantings in the orchard and picnics during the strawberry moon, according to the farm’s website. Heath said the SHARE farm represents the return of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ to Tompkins County, as it was the first piece of property that the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ Nation reclaimed when it bought the farm in 2005. He said this symbolism is especially important given the deep connection between indigenous people and land. “The land ... is a living relative to these people,” Heath said. “It would be very similar to losing an aunt or an uncle. It would be that detrimental.” Heath said he worked for traditional Haudenosaunee governments for the past 30 years. Heath said that according to Indian Law Section Six and Real Property Tax Law Section 454, it is illegal for New York to tax indigenous communities. Nevertheless, Heath said the state continued to tax the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’, sending notic��es to a post office box that was no longer being used by the nation. Heath said the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ were unaware of the notifications until last summer. “Because there is this denial that there is a reservation, the counties just blatantly go along and levy their taxes, try to foreclose when all of that is illegal,” Heath said. Junior Peyton Falk, a member of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, said she was frustrated by the news but was not shocked given the constant erasure of indigenous culture in Tompkins County. “I think the Cayuga people are often erased in the normal conversations, especially through Ithaca

College,” Falk said. “No one really talks about their importance, of their cultural significance in the area.” Community member Steve Henhawk, a member of the local Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ Nation, said that when he first returned to the homeland of his community, he was shocked by how the indigenous history had been wiped away from the area. Henhawk said he was especially surprised that the signs around Cayuga Lake fail to address the present-day relationship between the area and the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’. For instance, one sign reads, “Site of Landing of Moravian Missionaries of Zeisberger and Cammerhoff June 27, 1750.” Henhawk said that in order to address the potential erasure of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ language and culture, he began teaching classes on the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ language and culture in 2019 at Cornell University. “This place has been colonized now,” Henhawk said. “I think that the people should know at least the true history.” Ithaca College offers a Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) minor. Paula Ioanide, professor in the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity (CSRE) and interim coordinator of the NAIS minor, said there is a lack of resources allocated to the minor. Falk said that allocating resources to this minor is essential to creating a diverse community at the college. According to the 2020–21 Facts in Brief, seven students enrolled at the college identified as American Indian or Alaska Native. “When you look at the numbers, I don’t think their focus is actually having a diverse institution,” Falk said. “To keep funding or encourage funding and staffing, I think they actually have to put a foot forward.”


The Buy Nothing Project connects members in the same community to establish a local gift-giving economy. Courtesy of Buy Nothing Project

Buy Nothing Project comes to Ithaca By Sydney Brumfield

In a time when communication and interactions that build up communities are forced to occur online, Ithaca community member Yayoi Koizumi managed to bring a chapter of the international Buy Nothing Project to Ithaca. The group’s mission is to connect members of the community with the intent of increasing awareness about sustainability and promoting the resistance of buying new. The Buy Nothing Project began as an experimental local gift economy on Bainbridge Island, Washington, in July 2013. Since then, it has become a worldwide social movement. The Buy Nothing Project offers people a way to give and receive, share, lend and express gratitude through a network of local gift economies, progressing the narrative that wealth is found in relationships rather than material goods. Koizumi said she started the Ithaca chapter of the group in September 2019 primarily with waste reduction in mind. Her initial Facebook page was a success, she said, and it gained large support from the Tompkins County community. There is now an Ithaca group, a Lansing group and a Newfield/Danby/South Hill Ithaca group, the latter of which started in February 2021. All of these groups try to keep their membership numbers below a roughly 500-person maximum. “We like to be small,” Koizumi said. “That’s our strength. When the group is so busy, it gets messy because we get no-shows and real big competitions for items. We want to keep it small and keep it in the neighborhood so we can get to know our neighbors.”

Community member Sam Miau — who is an admin of the Facebook page along with Koizumi — said the primary mindset of the organization is to reduce individuals’ waste and think sustainably by encouraging them not to buy new. “We always want to make sure it is hyperlocal and not just people coming in from outside of our boundary just to grab stuff,” Miau said. “There are plenty of other buy-and-sell groups out there. We really want to focus on building the community and trust between neighbors.” In order to be accepted to join the Buy Nothing Project’s Facebook group, an individual must be within a certain geographic area, over 21 and not in any other Buy Nothing Group. Koizumi said the group tends to keep the group among local residents. The Facebook pages operate by utilizing a series of three different types of posts. A member can post regarding gifting, receiving or gratitude. Gifting is when members gift items, knowledge or time. Koizumi said that gifting knowledge and skills is just as important to the functioning of the group as tangible objects. Community member Rachel Lori La Valle is an admin of the Facebook group as well and said that to her, the process of gifting items helps place that emphasis on a no-waste lifestyle. “There is something that is literal waste to one person that someone else just around the corner who is two minutes down the road might actually be looking for,” La Valle said. “People see that they don’t need to trash or throw out items, there are people who will take it and use it, and that feels really good.” Receiving is when members ask for help, answers or

objects. A gratitude post is when members give thanks for something they received through the project. For instance, Koizumi said that last summer, a member grew her own catnip in her garden and offered it up in a gift post at the end of last year. Now members who received the catnip have been posting about it in the group, showing videos of their cats playing with the catnip. Jason Hamilton, professor in the Ithaca College Department of Environmental Studies, offered more insight into the impact of environmental grassroots movements. Hamilton said any action that is taken by one person has no real positive impact on the environment because it is only one person compared to the total population. “Whether it is a hyperlocal gift economy or anything else, the way to make this have any positive impact at all is to make it be a community and to try to take whatever lessons you learn and encourage other people to do it also,” Hamilton said. “It’s absolutely crucial to do the personal everyday things because if you don’t do that, you have no credibility, and you don’t inspire anybody, and you don’t build communities.” Koizumi said not everybody is on Facebook, an aspect that makes it more difficult for more people to participate. Koizumi said that currently, the Buy Nothing Project is working on developing web- and phone-based apps so more people can join. Miau said another goal of the group is to show how material goods are less important than personal connections. “Transformative change individually or within a society happens through deeply personal participation, so open your heart, make some friends because it’s a great community,” Miau said. 111


Courtesy of Participant


Historical film intensified by superb acting and drama


By Jackson Noel

In 1968, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover exclaimed that the FBI would do anything in its power to “prevent the rise of a ‘messiah’ who could unify and electrify the militant Black nationalist movement.” As presented in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” the target of this message is clear: Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois Black Panther party — here played superbly by Daniel Kaluuya — who at the time of Hoover’s speech was likely handing out free meals for the People’s Free Food Program. However, the FBI needed evidence to put a bullet in Hampton, so they sent Bill O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) to gather enough proof that Hampton was a violent combatant. So begins the painfully relevant biblical tragedy of Hampton’s death and the infighting within the Black community purposely sowed by outside aggressors. Hampton and O’Neal should be fighting on the same side. Early on in “Judas and the Black Messiah” — directed by the talented Shaka King — O’Neal is the target of police hostility. The two have a common enemy in the unjust policing that holds them down, making the central betrayal that lends the film its parabolic title all the more heartbreaking. King presents the film’s historical endpoint as an unfortunate determinate. The film follows O’Neal from petty carjacker to FBI informant working undercover in the Black Panthers with aching detail. Even though the film reaches emotionally potent heights, the script moves through a number of stale, detectable beats to earn them. The inclusion of FBI agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) gives the narrative a cliched

antagonist. His scenes show cartoonish villainy that undermines O’Neal and Hampton’s complex dynamic. O’Neal’s depiction falls short at points as well, with its lack of depth exhibited through his character constantly reminding the FBI that all he cares about is the paycheck. However, Kaluuya and Stanfield anchor these characters in the deep humanity that only truly fantastic acting can provide. In a particularly powerful scene, O’Neal must lie about not working as an FBI informant. But as soon as he’s alone, his defense disappears, and tears stream down his face. For anyone who has followed the news for the last couple of years, the pain that Black individuals face is recognizable. O’Neal has gone through so much pain himself, and the best he can do in order to survive is put up a stern face in front of others. Doubling down on the power of Hampton’s abilities as an orator, King’s camerawork glides through these scenes to focus on the stellar actors. After emerging from a brief stint in prison for a petty crime, Hampton arrives at a speech for the Black Panthers to an entranced audience chanting his name. He cries out, “I don’t believe I’m going to die in no car wreck, I don’t believe I’m going to die slipping on no ice, I don’t believe I’m going to die ’cause I got a bad heart, I believe I’m going to die doing what I was born for!” In this moment, viewers believe Hampton could be the messiah that Hoover fears he is. Is that a bad thing? “Judas and the Black Messiah” argues no. Great political films extend to conversations beyond the screen, and “Judas and the Black Messiah” is an award winner with something germane to say.


Courtesy of Netflix

Fincher’s latest fails to invigorate stale narrative

Courtesy of A24

Vibrant film charts family’s evolving dynamics

By Jackson Noel

By Antonio Ferme

Orson Welles’ 1941 film “Citizen Kane” documents the rise and fall of influential newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane — a character directly based on William Randolph Hearst — through the eyes of a reporter trying to interpret his final words. Director David Fincher’s newest film, “Mank,” proves there is an interesting story behind “Citizen Kane,” but the narrative never presents itself. Set in the early 1940s, the titular Mank (Gary Oldman), full name Herman Mankiewicz, is given the chance to write a film in collaboration with wunderkind Welles. Mank’s writing process — which culminated with the creation of “Citizen Kane” — was a swirl of alcoholism, film studio politics and writer’s block. Alongside Oldman is Amanda Seyfried as actress Marion Davies, Hearst’s mistress. Her portrayal is larger than life, and she is a glamour magnet whenever present. While the theme of an aging artist struggling with creating his masterpiece is present in the film, it’s left unexplored. The film instead focuses on Mank drunkenly interacting with big names like Louis B. Mayer (Arliss Howard), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios head, and producer Irving Thalberg (Ferdinand Kingsley) in scenes of acerbic dialogue. The characters in “Mank” often talk about the demise of artistry in Hollywood in favor of money-mongering business practices, themes that inform “Citizen Kane.” But “Mank” never fully develops these themes, and the film feels stale as a result. Fincher’s direction makes a cursory attempt to make “Mank” feel and look like a film from the 1940s. The monochrome cinematography and crackling grain gives the film an old Hollywood feel. But Fincher’s characteristically frigid direction ruins his attempts to replicate the warmth of classical Hollywood filmmaking. The use of anachronistic technology like the Steadicam and the widescreen aspect ratio break the ’40s verisimilitude. If Fincher wanted to break through from bleak thrillers into generic dramatic filmmaking, this is a weak attempt. Where are the revelations that led Mank to write “Citizen Kane”? What role did Welles play in the writing process? Apparently, the real-life answers are still buried in the annals of Hollywood legend.

In “Minari,” directed by Lee Isaac Chung, 7-year-old David Yi (Alan Kim) and his grandmother, Soonja ( Youn Yuh-Jung), slowly walk into the forest to collect water and check on their minari plants. Soonja explains to her grandson that the minari, or water celery, is growing well. She says minari is the best because it grows everywhere, like weeds, and can be used in soups or even as medicine. Unlike the root that can flourish anywhere it is planted, the Korean-American family in “Minari” struggles to grow both economically and spiritually after moving to a quaint farm in Arkansas. The film focuses on the family overcoming the challenge of feeling alienated in a new environment. The film focuses on the relationship of David’s parents, Jacob and Monica. This part of the film is defined by Jacob’s desire to throw most of their finances into the farm. Monica is portrayed as a loving yet protective mother who begins to lose faith in Jacob’s ambition. With a kind eye, the film explores the intriguing, contradicting perspectives of this married couple, who both learn to accept each other’s flaws. Cinematographer Lachlan Milne’s gentle style is absolutely stunning. His precise camerawork balances between close shots set on the characters and giving them space during tense moments. The bright and vivid colors of the scenery, paired with composer Emile Mosseri’s harmonic score, bring an element of warmth to the film. “Minari” is a poetic glimpse into Chung’s real-life experiences as a Korean-American child growing up on a farm in Arkansas. His superb depiction of these experiences gives the story authentic and tender layers. Chung does not shy away from illustrating how the family feels isolated from the American characters. He brings to life the covert racism he personally faced while growing up. By putting it in a creative medium like film, he invites viewers into his childhood, and the effect is striking. Chung’s film shines brightest when he explores these meaningful themes with such levity. But “Minari” is not just another great film depicting Korean culture — it is a story about an immigrant family making sacrifices to achieve the American dream. 113




SOUL Courtesy of Pixar

By Avery Alexander

“Soul,” another stunning animated Pixar movie, follows the story of Joe (Jamie Foxx), a middle school band teacher with dreams of being a professional jazz musician. When Joe dies in a freak accident, he is sent to The Great Beyond, where he meets an unborn soul known as 22 (Tina Fey) and explores what it really means to be alive. The film offers a glimpse into niche aspects of African American communities that non-Black audiences may not be familiar with. A primary example of this comes in a scene in which Joe and 22 visit a barbershop. In many Black communities, barbershops and hair salons are social hubs where people gather to meet with friends and talk. “Soul” uses the barbershop setting in this scene to realistically portray Black people in a relatable and recognizable setting. Another important aspect of “Soul” is its soundtrack. “Soul” focuses on small-ensemble jazz bands. Not only is the music gorgeous, but it also ties the narrative directly to the soundtrack, a move that brings the audience closer and allows it to truly understand Joe’s deep-seated passion for jazz music.

THE PROM Courtesy of Ryan Murphy Productions

By Sydney Brumfield

Adapted from the hit Broadway musical, “The Prom” follows four Broadway has-beens. As a publicity stunt, they decide to join high schooler Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman) in her fight to take her girlfriend, Alyssa (Ariana DeBose), to the high school prom against the wishes of their conservative town. Instead of taking “The Prom” to new heights, filmmaker Ryan Murphy relies heavily on an incredibly talented cast made up of Meryl Streep, James Corden, Andrew Rannells, Keegan-Michael Key and Kerry Washington. The well-executed musical numbers distract from the mediocre character development and weak writing, and this all-star cast makes the boring dialogue as exciting as possible. Nominated for seven Tony awards during its run on Broadway, “The Prom” comes equipped with a great soundtrack. The high-budget dance breaks in the film are energetic. But the environment is never truly utilized in the dance performances. Most disappointing is the underdevelopment of Emma and Alyssa, who are supposed to be the film’s leading couple. It’s a missed opportunity to provide a dynamic representation of lesbians in popular culture.



Courtesy of Bron Studies

By Evan Miller

By Elijah de Castro

The passing of Chadwick Boseman in 2020 was a heartbreaking moment in what was already a devastating and challenging year. But Boseman gave his final — and what may be his very best — performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” The film is an adaptation of the August Wilson play of the same name and takes place in a 1920s Chicago recording studio. It is in this recording studio that the renowned Mother of Blues, Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), accompanied by a band of musicians, carries out a recording session. One of these members is Levee (Boseman), a talented and ambitious cornet player with dreams of having a successful band of his own and playing music the way he wants to play it. As tensions rise, crushing truths come to light that give each member of the band a new perspective on life. Director George C. Wolfe does an absolutely fantastic job of making the viewer feel the claustrophobic nature of the recording studio and the intense heat of Chicago on the particular day that the film takes place. Both of these details play a substantial role in successfully building tension as the film goes on. Screenwriter Ruben Santiago-Hudson also does a phenomenal job of maintaining the heart and soul of the original stage production. This is an incredibly funny film with quick and snappy dialogue, but it is not at all afraid to get extremely heavy and dramatic. Boseman brings a charismatic and confident energy to Levee, who has a dark past that Boseman expresses in several heavy monologues. If there is one thing that this film reaffirms, it is how gifted Boseman was as a performer.

Both Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf make significant gains as actors in “Pieces of a Woman,” an intimate Netflix drama that offers immense grief and tragedy during a time when the real world has too much of both. “Pieces of a Woman“ tells the story of a Boston couple — Martha (Kirby) and Sean (LaBeouf ) — who are more than ready to become parents. Kirby, who is widely known as a next-generation femme fatale in “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” and “Hobbs & Shaw,” brings a physical performance to motherhood, proving her versatility as a rising star. LaBeouf, who is fresh off of “Honey Boy” and “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” delivers a performance as a broken father with no idea what to do with himself. The film does not stop short on the technical aspects either, offering intimate, vibrant cinematography and a soundtrack with soft, tasteful piano concertos and waltzes. “Pieces of a Woman” also features an astonishing opening act — an approximately 24-minute scene that captures the pivotal home childbirth in one continuous shot. “Pieces of a Woman” certainly hits a few dull spots in its second act as Martha and Sean grapple with their failing marriage and the effects of the home birth. However, “Pieces of a Woman” has an ending that is just as powerful as its beginning scenes. The film therefore leaves the audience with a story that simultaneously empathizes with those who are mourning and celebrates the beauty of the creation of life itself. 115


Courtesy of Disney+

Beyoncé celebrates Black women through visual album By Avery Alexander

A black screen fades into a shot of a wicker basket floating gently down a rolling river. This peaceful scene is reminiscent of the biblical story of Moses in which his mother, Jochebed, sent the baby Moses out onto the Nile to save his life from the pharaoh. Biblical references are a common motif throughout Beyoncé Knowles’ visual album, “Black Is King.” From allusions to the mother Mary, cathedrals and crosses, Beyoncé packs the film full of meaningful religious imagery. Besides leaning heavily into this symbolism, “Black Is King” is an unapologetic celebration of Black culture. It is difficult to capture the sheer beauty of this film in a short review. In fact, it is nearly impossible. “Black Is King” is so much more than a simple collection of beautiful shots and engaging music — it is a powerful symbol for generational trauma, systematic oppression, Black diaspora and sexism. The film also uses motifs like water, sand and nature as a vessel to discuss lineage and the importance of recognizing one’s history. “Black Is King” loosely follows the plot of “The Lion King,” using the familiar tale as a framework to follow Black people’s journeys from tribes in Africa to modern, urban North American settings. Narration comes both in the form of Beyoncé speaking directly to the audience and in sound bits directly pulled from Disney’s 2019 remake of “The Lion King.” The narration is also mixed in with spoken-word poetry and 116

speeches from Black people that talk about Blackness. This seamless mesh of different types of narration and music is incredibly moving and does a wonderful job of uplifting Black people and their stories. One of the most enticing themes throughout the album is the discussion of toxic masculinity and sexism within the Black community. For years, Black women and their contributions to politics and social justice have long been ignored. Both Black men and white people have contributed to this erasure. This visual album works to show how precious Black women are to the history of this country and denounces the way society has always treated them. Songs in the film detail the importance and contributions of Black women, including “MOOD 4 EVA,” which has lyrics like “I’m so unbothered, I’m so unbothered / Y’all be so pressed while I’m raising daughters / Sons of empires, y’all make me chuckle” that discuss the aforementioned systematic oppression that Black women face. This portion of the film alludes to the female lion pride in “The Lion King,” showcasing the unbreakable community of Black women and their unshakable strength in the face of adversity. “BROWN SKIN GIRL” is entirely dedicated to celebrating women with brown skin, especially dark brown skin. Black women of all shades stand in a ballroom in large ball gowns as Beyoncé, Carlos St. John (known as SAINt JHN), Blue Ivy Carter and Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (known as WizKid) sing about the excellence of

brown girls. This song also carries on another important motif of the album — the relationship between mother and daughter and the bonds among women. Seeing a group of brown girls being celebrated for their skin, as opposed to being praised for fitting into Western beauty standards, is profoundly beautiful. It is a love song written for every single girl who has felt unappreciated because of her skin. Nothing in “Black Is King” is superficial. Everything has some kind of history behind it. Even the gorgeous costumes are a blend of modern pop culture styles with plenty of sparkles, sheer bodysuits and statement pieces, as well as traditional African clothing — head wraps, balgha, boubou, masks and more. The music has traditional African beats and lyrics in the central African language Hausa mixed with conventions of American pop and R&B music. The dancing features many moves associated with African dance. “Black Is King” effectively gives love to many kinds of Black excellence and art, from fashion to music. Viewers must go into “Black Is King” with an understanding of what it is. Approaching any piece of the album without acknowledging the complicated issues it attempts to address would be a disservice to the art. It is joyous, melancholy and tragic all at the same time. It leaves the viewer tender and tearful and full of hope. Beyoncé reminds the audience that remembering the past is a fight, but it is a fight worth having.


Courtesy of Netflix

Romantic comedy series is stereotypically cheesy By Elijah de Castro

C’est très cliché… How viewers respond to “Emily in Paris” will be entirely dependent on who they are. If they have a soft spot for adorkable, on-the-nose rom-com silliness, “Emily in Paris” could be a piece of Parisian escapism they desperately need. For other viewers, the show will likely be three hours of overly sweetened, eye-roll–worthy absurdity. “Emily in Paris” is “Sex and the City” showrunner Darren Star’s new Netflix show. It follows Emily (Lily Collins), a hardworking social media whiz from Chicago who suddenly moves to Paris for a year when a job opportunity is dumped on her. Of course, she speaks no French beyond poorly accented “bonjour’s” and “s’il vous plaît’s.” She also has thick Midwestern sensibilities that put her at odds with her French colleagues. There is no getting around it. “Emily in Paris” is ridiculous. The show is pumped full of every possible stereotype of Paris — walks along the Seine, heavy smoking, beret-wearing, endless bottles of wine, baguettes galore and dog poop everywhere. The characters are also caricatures of every French stereotype viewers have learned over the years, including the mean boss, the sexy chef and the pretentious philosophy professor. The cliches are endless, so much so that there have been numerous articles published offering French people’s reactions to the show’s stereotypes

of their culture. The show wears these cliches on its sleeves, leaving viewers two options: Love it or leave it. When Emily arrives in Paris, she begins her work at Savoir, a French marketing firm where everyone shows up late to work and dresses like they’re on the cover of Vogue magazine. Emily’s boss, Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu), is a coldhearted French woman who seems to dislike Emily simply because of her strong American accent and puppylike smile.

It’s not great, maybe not even good, but [Emily’s] overwhelming charm smooths out the goofiness of the story.

Her downstairs neighbor and running love interest is Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), an uncomfortably attractive young chef who, of course, cooks for the straight-out-of-“Ratatouille” restaurant across the street. The show follows her life across 10 episodes as she mingles with numerous French guys, befriends

a fellow English speaker and organizes a luxury fashion show. But somehow, despite all of the cheese, hackneyed relationships and childish writing, the show works. It takes a few episodes to get into it, but the show’s unabashed sweetness is anchored by Collins’ leading performance. One could compare her performance to Melissa Benoist as Supergirl — overacted and cringeworthy but at heart, lovable and sweet. It’s not great, maybe not even good, but her overwhelming charm smooths out the goofiness of the story. Collins’ optimistic, happy-go-lucky attitude juxtaposed with the villainous nature of her boss makes for some genuinely funny but surely unrealistic moments. There is never a moment of boredom either. When episodes aren’t following Emily as she ogles the beauty of Paris with her Instagram followers, they are offering viewers some absurd piece of drama about Emily and her latest Parisian lover. So is “Emily in Paris” a good show? On paper it’s terrible, but the hypersaturation of French stereotypes and Collins’ lovable performance make for a severely entertaining piece of trashy escapism. It’s for a niche audience, one that will fall for all the cliches, kooky pieces of dialogue and pain au chocolates. Most audience members likely won’t give themselves up to it. But the ones who do just might find themselves longing to visit and explore the city of love. 117


Courtesy of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift returns to love-song roots in “Folklore”


By Jackson Noel


Taylor Swift’s eighth album, “folklore,” finds the musician returning to a sound she left behind nearly a decade ago — at least on the surface. The soft-spoken balladeer and acoustic love-song penning side of Swift’s music never evaporated completely. “Folklore,” however, marks the first time an entire album is composed of this stripped-back, intimate tone since “Red” was released in 2012. What makes the return to this sound special is that “folklore” was written and recorded during quarantine. In the interim, Swift’s music grew with a complex wisdom, creative appetite and emotional maturity. This makes “folklore” Swift’s best album in years, and she sounds like a musician reborn with a newfound spirit. In her social media post announcing the album, Swift wrote that these songs on “folklore” were born out of her lockdown imagination. Dreams, conversations, imagery and history all became the jumping-off point for writing “folklore,” and Swift centers her album around the idea that stories, no matter how small, are meant to be told. The best tracks on “folklore” appear to be ripped from the pages of Swift’s personal diary, recorded inches away from a microphone and accompanied by the earthy warmth of acoustic guitars. In particular, “cardigan” and “betty” inject all of the romance of an ephemeral love affair and nostalgic reflection. But “August” is a machine designed for dopamine

production. The song is an ode to struggling with independence and crushing on someone with unshared feelings. Each broken verse sails into an explosive chorus that deserves nothing less than to be sung from the top of one’s lungs. Songs like the elegiac “the last great american dynasty” recounts the Gatsby-like tale of Rebekah Harkness, a socialite and composer known for throwing lavish parties in the early 20th century. This track sees Swift at her most ambitious, drawing comparisons between the oft-scrutinized public image of Harkness and herself. A slow instrumental build to the song’s final moments erupts into chamber-pop perfection, swirling synths and baroque strings that reveal a musician at home with her confidence. Some of the weaker songs in the tracklist, like “mad woman” and “epiphany,” feel redundant only through their commitment to the more well-trodden topics of Swift’s lyricism, like failing relationships and freedom gained once they’re over. But even at its most feeble, “folklore” bleeds with clever fervor and balmy, easy-listening production. Sometimes hidden, but often not, there is something to cherish in each song on “folklore.” Something to sing about. Something to cry about. Something to shout about. Swift has flawlessly captured her emotional fireflies in a bottle to create the soundtrack of love in the age of isolation — an album to express the warmth of accumulated yearning created by distance.


Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment

Miley Cyrus follows her heart into rock ‘n roll

Courtesy of Dead Oceans

Bridgers is faultless in soul-bearing second album

By Eva Salzman

By Arleigh Rodgers

Made for rock, Miley Cyrus kicks her way back into the music scene with her latest project, “Plastic Hearts.” Self-assured and clever in this glam-rock album, Cyrus exhibits her evolution since not only Hannah Montana but the days of swinging on a wrecking ball. Cyrus maintained her popularity throughout back-to-back eras for completely different reasons, but “Plastic Hearts” seems to bring it all full circle. Cyrus may certainly have a long history of shocking her audience, but “Plastic Hearts” instead feels like a shock back to life. Cyrus combines electric guitars, edgy bass lines and iconic gravel-voiced hooks to curate her new image. In “WTF Do I Know,” the album’s opening track, Cyrus is electric and fed up. She growls out lyrics that sound like the thoughts of a tired party girl seeking revenge. “WTF Do I Know” perfectly sets the tone for the album, complete with rock hero references and full-bodied emotion. “Plastic Hearts” also pays homage to Cyrus’ country roots. In the song “Never Be Me,” Cyrus shows that she’s finally developed the style of strong storytelling by illustrating her heart-first mentality when it comes to love. She lyrically references the great Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” and “Ring of Fire” in a tear-jerking realization of who she is. One of the best elements of “Plastic Hearts” is its tributes to the greats, though this falters in the album’s features. The only exception to this is found in “Edge of Midnight,” a remix of Cyrus’ “Midnight Sky” and Stevie Nicks’ iconic song “Edge of Seventeen.” “Edge of Midnight” features Nicks herself, creating the perfect duo of raspy-voiced rock stars. While Cyrus has seemingly transformed into the widest breadth of identities, this one feels like a good fit. From Disney Channel sweetheart to the devil-may-care drug user to beachy hippie to leather-wearing rock star, Cyrus offers a sentimental symbol of her growth. “Plastic Hearts” reminds listeners to recall their roots and acknowledge that it’s OK to stray from them so long as you find your way back home.

In “Punisher,” Phoebe Bridgers knows exactly who she’s talking to: everyone. As she proved in “Stranger in the Alps,” her debut album from 2017, Bridgers is more than just one idea, feeling or tone. What sets her apart in “Punisher” is her quiet confidence and nonchalance when admitting sharp, intense and tender feelings, accompanied by battering drums or a low electric guitar. After the short and distorted prelude, “DVD Menu,” Bridgers launches her dark and stripped brigade with “Garden Song,” the first of three spectacular singles from the album. “Garden Song” feels classically Bridgers — evocative, confessional and bolstered by limited instrumentals. Her voice is elevated by the song’s simplicity and the deep background vocals layered atop hers in the chorus. It feels as though the song never concludes — as if “Garden Song” could loop forever without growing weary. “Moon Song” and “Savior Complex” follow in this cyclical fashion, but Bridgers’ simplicity is never boring. “Kyoto” and “ICU,” the album’s other two singles, carry the exhilaration of her monumental song “Motion Sickness” from “Stranger in the Alps.” “ICU” in particular is a hazy dream — an electronic-laden UFO message from an otherworldly, talented artist. The same applies to “Chinese Satellite,” in which her trademark quiet revelations are simultaneously heartbreaking and thrilling. She also rhymes “evangelicals” with “vegetable.” Who else could do this with such ease, like these two words were meant to be laced together? The concluding track, “I Know The End,” destroys all notions that Bridgers thrives only on velvety, low-tempo songs. The song is a crescendo of bright horns and, eventually, Bridgers herself screaming long and loud. She again floods this song with waves of bursting drums, an invited suppressing force that engulfs the listener. Yet she lets up just at the end, her screams turning into a whispered exhale. She chuckles slightly. This must have been the conquering end Bridgers said she knew — an end in which her album would ask to be played on a constant loop, superb in execution and tremendous in its conclusion. 119




Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Static Shock

Courtesy of Netflix

Nappily Ever After

By Avery Alexander

By Frankie Walls

The superhero genre is dominated by white characters. Out of the 138 individual characters listed on the DC Comics’ website, only eight are Black — an unbelievably small 5.8%. While superhero films like Marvel’s “Black Panther” or “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” are some recent portrayals of Black superheroes in mainstream media, they are not the first superhero endeavors to include Black voices. Superhero fans will recall “Static Shock,” a show that follows Virgil Hawkins (Phil LaMaar) after he gains the ability to manipulate electricity and becomes the titular superhero, Static. The show not only features Black people but takes time to reflect on the difficulties and hostility that Black people, especially young Black men, face daily in the United States. While mainstream franchises like “Black Panther” are fantastic portrayals of Black people, there is something incredibly raw about “Static Shock” that “Black Panther” does not have. The show is constantly based in reality, an aspect that makes the implications of the racism that Virgil faces feel uncomfortably real.

“Nappily Ever After” is a 2018 Netflix film directed by Haifaa al-Mansour. The film focuses on Violet Jones (Sanaa Lathan), a young African American woman, and her relationship with her natural hair. Violet seems to fit the strong Black woman trope. The pressure from her mother and the societal standards for Black children — feeling like she needed to straighten her natural hair — convinced Violet at a young age she was only “perfect” when her hair was straightened or relaxed. It’s clear that the power and security Violet has within herself as an adult comes from outward validation and looks. She does not have a strong sense of self, and she is always looking for men to validate her. Instead of focusing on her love life, Violet rediscovers and learns to love herself after an incident that ruins her hair. Love takes somewhat of a backseat. This is important because Black women have always been policed for their hair. Hair is a big part of a Black woman’s identity, and “Nappily Ever After” shows that it is never too late to discover one’s self.


Courtesy of Orbit

The Rage of Dragons

Courtesy of Brittany Howard

Brittany Howard

By Maddy Martin

By Arleigh Rodgers

Evan Winter is the new author to watch. After he self-published his first novel, “The Rage of Dragons,” in 2017, it was clear there is no such thing as a dull moment in the book. Readers are thrown spiraling into a large-scale battle in a centuries-old war. The book drags readers mercilessly through betrayals, murders and exiles. The story follows Tau, a warrior seeking revenge on the nobility who got away with killing his father. To avid fantasy fans, this type of story is hardly new, but Winter’s vivid and Afrocentric world-building sets it apart from many books in the genre. The fantasy genre has been overwhelmed by Eurocentric worlds and white characters and authors for decades. Winter is part of a new generation of authors looking to bring other perspectives to the table. “The Rage of Dragons” follows a cast of Black characters in a setting inspired by medieval Africa. The novel explores the fictional Omehi people, a society with a rigid caste system. The story explores universal ideas of oppression and the cycles of violence created by inequality. “The Rage of Dragons” was nominated for Best Traditional Novel by the BookNest Awards and has received over 5,000 five-star reviews on Goodreads. Winter’s bio on the back of “The Rage of Dragons” says he was inspired to write the book because he didn’t want his son to grow up and find there were no fantasy heroes who looked like him. And as more attention is drawn to Winter’s book, more readers will find themselves in the narrative.

Where Brittany Howard goes, all who admire will follow. In a genre often defined by white rock musicians like Jack White or Bruce Springsteen, Howard is spectacular in all positions she holds. She leads the charge as vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter of rock bands Alabama Shakes and Thunderbitch. Her 2019 album, “Jaime” — a namesake of her late sister and nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 2021 Grammy Awards — further established her exceptional track record. Perhaps above all, her powerhouse vocals are the reason that she’s so loved by all who listen. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s not difficult to get lost in her strong, soulful voice. Sitting solidly at approximately two million monthly listeners on Spotify, Alabama Shakes made waves when its album “Sound & Color” won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. It was also nominated for Album of the Year. “Hold On” — Alabama Shakes’ most-streamed song on Spotify with approximately 117,000,000 streams — was additionally nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Performance, an award that has largely been given to bands with white members, like Mumford & Sons and The Black Keys. It’s no wonder how the band reached these achievements when its sound is so consistent and clean. But it’s worth wondering if the situation might have been different if Howard wasn’t at the helm of “Hold On” and “Sound & Color.” 121



Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

Black nerds are necessary to fandom culture

Nepotism in music industry leads to inequality

By Avery Alexander

By Eva Salzman

I am an anime-watching, comic book–reading cosplayer. I identify not as a nerd but as a blerd, or “Black nerd.” My dad, the person who introduced me to most of my nerdy interests, also wears his blerd badge with pride. Before the popularization of the term in the early 2000s, Black nerds would hide their passions for fear of being judged. These people existed outside the all-too-common “cool Black guy” stereotype, and their nerdiness could be perceived by other Black people as assimilating into white culture. The term “blerd” was introduced into the mainstream in 2006 when Dr. Chris Turk (Donald Faison) from the medical comedy-drama series “Scrubs” called himself a blerd in season 6, episode 2. Since then, cultural recognition for blerds has grown exponentially. One major reason for separation of the blerd identity is the ever-present gatekeeping in the nerd community. The typical depiction of nerds in the media is the antisocial white male archetype. This character type reinforces a narrow image of what nerd culture is. Now that nerd culture is becoming more inclusive, many nerds have defended their interests from the unwelcome shift. This gatekeeping often comes with discriminatory undertones. In the cosplay community, in particular, people will often criticize brown-skinned cosplayers of color, telling them they are “too dark” for a character. I have received quite a few comments on my cosplays that smartly point out, “That character isn’t Black.” I’m the lightest Black cosplayer I know. In a way, Black people have directly boosted the popularity of anime. The hip-hop industry has also influenced the popularization of anime in America for decades. Older rappers like Kanye West and RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan have been vocal about anime’s influence in their work. Anime in hip-hop has continued today with newer rappers like Denzel Curry, who said he connects to anime because of the underdog narrative. In anime, the main character is often an outcast from the rest of the world. Anime like “My Hero Academia” and “Naruto” lean heavily into these themes. Black actors like Michael B. Jordan have also expressed love of the medium. Jordan even created an anime-inspired clothing line with Coach. In 2017, Hilton George provided the throngs of blerds a place where they could fully invest in their nerdiness. He created Blerdcon, a convention dedicated to promoting intersectionality and acceptance in the nerd community. With the help of nerdy Black celebrities and inclusive spaces like Blerdcon, blerds are slowly working their way into the mainstream consciousness. This broadening of the nerd identity to include everyone shows no sign of stopping any time soon.

The past few years have seen bedroom pop, a subgenre of indie music, explode into the scene. With the the internet making it easier to share music on streaming platforms like Bandcamp, SoundCloud or YouTube, it seems as though anyone can produce the next hit. That is, if your parents are rich, white and have the right connections. While the bedroom-pop community may seem inclusive, the reality is that when aspiring artists come from a wealthy, well-connected background, they are much more likely to get to the top. Other artists, especially people of color, can be more talented but have a harder time breaking into the industry. Enter Claire Cottrill, the bedroom-pop artist who goes by Clairo. After Clairo gained views on her singing videos on YouTube, she released her self-produced song “Pretty Girl,” on the same platform, where it exploded in popularity. Flash forward to 2017, and she was signed with record label FADER Label. However, Geoff Cottrill, Clairo’s father, was appointed vice chair of MusiCares, a philanthropic organization associated with the Grammy Awards. Given his accolades, Cottrill knew both how the industry worked and the people who made it tick — like Jon Cohen, co-founder of FADER Label. Clairo, it seems, prioritizes aesthetics over substance. While “Pretty Girl” is catchy and cute, the vocals are shaky and the drumbeat is overused. Given these aspects, someone who has never heard the song before would have to think Clairo has an amazing voice, right? Nope. Clairo’s voice is painfully average. While some listeners may give Clairo credit for “using her resources,” how is that fair? It’s not hard to find undiscovered, extraordinary talent on sites like SoundCloud or Bandcamp. It seems as if one has to be the very best of the best to get recognized for their ability while the rich, well-connected, average musician just has to say “please.” The biggest issue with this privilege is that there’s even more that plays into certain people’s head starts in the music industry. For years, barriers have kept Black people out of the indie music scene. As a result, the indie genre is seen as a very white one, despite all of the Black artists working in it. In an interview with Pitchfork, Black indie musician Shamir illustrated the different standards of success that Black artists are held to when compared to white artists. These elements, he said, continue to perpetuate the systemic racism in indie culture. These racially charged practices and beliefs are embedded in the indie music industry and culture. The result is defeatist commentary from others in the industry, impossible standards and the expectation to conform to others’ ideas — all of which stand in the way of genuinely talented, do-it-yourself artists who want to create.



‘Popped Culture’ is a weekly column, written by Life & Culture columnists, that analyzes popular media like music, film, books and video essays.

Abbey London/The Ithacan

Trump-era ‘whistleblowers’ make money off books

Abbey London/The Ithacan

Video essays give a voice to all film fans

By Elijah de Castro

By Liam Conway

In 2020, journalist Bob Woodward, Republican consultant John Bolton, and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders became pseudo-whistleblowers, publishing books that recounted politically damaging backdoor experiences with President Donald Trump. This trend started during Trump’s first impeachment trials. During the thick of the trials, John Bolton, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, announced that he would be publishing “The Room Where It Happened,” a memoir published June 23, 2020, that recounts Trump’s corruption and amateurism in awesome detail but was ultimately an overweight brick with little nuance or character. Disturbingly, it seems that somewhere in the process, we forgot that Bolton is an establishment warmonger who has had his grubby hands involved in a running list of things the United States should be ashamed of — the Iran-Contra affair, the Iraq War and conspiracy theories that former President Barack Obama secretly is a Muslim. Not soon after the release of Bolton’s book, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s former White House press secretary, released her memoir on Sept. 8, 2020. Huckabee’s book would also contain off-the-record stories of Trump. Released under the ridiculous title “Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House,” the book sold copies because it contained the headline story that Trump jokingly told Sanders to sleep with North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un. It seemed that Sanders had turned on the President. But the released book showed that she had done anything but that: “President Trump empowered me. Not just as a woman but as a working mom.” That same month, Woodward, a famous Watergate-era journalist, published “Rage” on Sept. 15, 2020. The book describes the disastrous coronavirus response by Trump and his administration. Partnered with the release of Woodward’s book was audio of Trump admitting privately that he knew that the coronavirus was deadly and downplayed it to the public to avoid panic. “Rage” had a structure and delivery that creates a layered character study of the President that is fascinating. However, because the audio was withheld until its release, there is no conclusion to make other than that Woodward withheld evidence for personal gain. While Bolton’s, Sanders’ and Woodward’s books release different pieces of insider information on Trump, they all seem to be profiting off of Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip, self-preservationist style of running the county. Despite the media romanticizing Bolton, Sanders, and Woodward for sharing this insider information, they aren’t heroes. They’re opportunists.

Using energetic voice-overs and editing that pops, a video essay effortlessly takes someone through every step of an argument. Video essays are exactly what they sound like: an essay in a video format. These types of essays are prominent on YouTube as a way to study both film and television. Today, the video essay has created a landscape full of differing opinions and novel thoughts. Video essays have reached an almost comical level of saturation on the internet. There are video essays about video essays and so many video essays about the Marvel Cinematic Universe or “Star Wars” that it is tough to imagine how much more those franchises could be unpacked. Some essayists take a comedic everyman approach to their video essays. Channels like “24 Frames of Nick,” created by Nick Cross, have all but cornered the market on nostalgia. Cross specializes in making comedy-centered essays that focus on media from now and his childhood. At 21 years old, Cross is also notable for his young age and participation in this new wave of internet creators who grew up with YouTube. Many new creators have grown up with YouTube and learned everything they know about the film industry from other creators. Because of the steadfast nature of video essayists and film critics, many young people feel like their opinions are objective facts rather than subjective thoughts. Some creators like “The Cosmonaut Variety Hour” or “HiTop Films” thrive on making content that often goes against the grain of popular thinking. That’s not to say that this content does not have value, but it often ignores the middle ground in favor of statements like, “This is the best thing ever,” or “This is the worst thing ever.” Another creator inhabiting this comedy essays space is “Mr Sunday Movies.” He and his co-host, Nick Mason, began as comic book fans making a podcast about comic book movies. While that is still their main focus, they are not a proper news outlet nor are they film critics. They are two comedy-focused men who try to demystify movie-going and often remind their viewers that movies are just movies, and you don’t have to kill someone because they disagree with you. Some creators take their formal education and use it for good. Patrick H. Willems is one of the best creators on the internet with his video essays that cover films from Michael Bay to Hayao Miyazaki. Willems has a degree in cinema studies, and his videos are about filmmaking and its effectiveness. Lindsay Ellis, an essayist with a degree in film studies, specializes in long-form content that often looks at feminism in film. These creators seamlessly blend scholarly opinions with easy-to-understand rhetoric. Video essays can create a world where everyone gets to participate in a discussion about films. They each offer something for everyone, whether it be silly accessibility, controversial opinions or well-informed studies. 123



Courtesy of Miriam Maistelman


Abbey London/The Ithacan

Ash Bailot/The Ithacan




Abbey London/The Ithacan


Abbey London/The Ithacan

JULY 7, 2020

AUG. 18, 2020

Division III gives start date for fall sports

IC reverses decision, athletics canceled

The Liberty League announced July 7 that

The college announced Aug. 18 that it

all fall athletic competitions would begin no

would hold classes remotely for Fall 2020, a

earlier than Sept. 26.

change from its initial plans for in-person in-

Ithaca College announced that the Office

struction, because of the continuing severity of

of Intercollegiate Athletics leadership team

the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this deci-

would meet with the Student-Athlete Adviso-

sion, the athletic department’s phased move-in

ry Council on July 8 to consider its plans to

plan with increased COVID-19 precautions for

return to campus and begin athletics again.

practices but no competition was canceled.

JULY 22, 2020

OCT. 15, 2020

Ithaca College suspends fall competition

Winter sports plan for Liberty League play

The college suspended intercollegiate

The college’s Office of Intercollegiate Ath-

athletics for the Fall 2020 season because

letics planned for winter sports seasons to be

of COVID-19 safety concerns. Athletes would

condensed to Liberty League competition.

have been allowed to practice but not

Prior to the college’s decision to not allow

compete. The plan for return would have

students to return to campus in Fall 2020, the

included testing upon return to campus,

Office of Intercollegiate Athletics had planned

mandatory daily symptom screenings, divid-

for a phased approach to returning to fall

ing athletes who tested negative into smaller

sports competition safely. Susan Bassett, asso-

practice groups, a two-week quarantine pe-

ciate vice president and director of the Office

riod for those who test positive and returning

of Intercollegiate Athletics, said the plan to

COVID-19 and mental health screening forms.

return to winter athletics would most likely be

The fall sports that were impacted by

similar to the previous plan. She also said the

this decision included men’s and women’s

plan would include an acclimation period for

cross-country, crew and sculling, tennis and

students to become readjusted to the physical

soccer, along with football, field hockey,

strains of practicing, considering most had not

volleyball and women’s golf.

competed in approximately a year.


Abbey London/The Ithacan

Alyssa Beebe/The Ithacan

NOV. 9, 2020

FEB. 18, 2021

Liberty League cancels winter athletic competition

Cornell and Ivy League cancel spring athletic competition

The Liberty League canceled winter athletic competition

Cornell University did not participate in spring sports compe-

because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Men’s and women’s bas-

tition following the Ivy League’s decision to cancel competition

ketball, swimming and diving, and indoor track and field at

due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ivy League spring sports include

the college were affected by the league’s decision. The wres-

archery, baseball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, sailing, softball, tennis,

tling and gymnastics teams also followed the Liberty League’s

track and field, men’s volleyball and women’s water polo. Eques-

decision. Wrestling competes in the Empire College Wrestling

trian and rugby, not NCAA-recognized sports, were affected by

Conference and gymnastics competes in the National Collegiate

the league’s decision. This was the second spring season in a row

Gymnastics Association’s East Region.

that the Ivy League canceled competiton due to the pandemic.

FEB. 3, 2021

MARCH 1, 2021

Winter championships canceled due to lowered participation

Liberty League moves forward with spring competition

The NCAA canceled all winter athletic championships for the

The Liberty League announced that there would be athletic

2020–21 academic year due to lack of participation from mem-

competition this spring after canceling fall and winter sports for

ber institutions. Ithaca College would not have been eligible to

the 2020–21 academic year. League competition would start no

compete prior to this decision because of the Liberty League

earlier than March 26. The league’s return-to-play protocols

conference’s decision in November to cancel winter sports.

included precautions like COVID-19 testing protocols, contest

In order to host effective championships, the Championship

cancellation, nonconference competition, season cancellation,

Committee decided that 70% member participation was neces-

hygiene suggestions and protocols for specific on-field roles like

sary for wrestling and men’s and women’s ice hockey, while the

coaches, officials and health care providers. Although all Liber-

other six winter sports only needed 60%. Wrestling was the clos-

ty League schools were permitted to have athletic competition,

est with 61.8% participation across the division. Men’s ice hockey

each member had the ability to opt out.

had 52.3% participation, while women’s was 51.4%. Men’s and

The news impacted men’s and women’s golf, men’s and wom-

women’s basketball, indoor track and field, and swimming and

en’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s rowing, men’s and women’s

diving were all below 50% participation.

tennis, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, baseball and

Despite the decision to cancel winter championships, the

softball. The Bombers began competition the weekend of March

Bombers still practiced. Some teams, like men’s and women’s

6, when the men’s and women’s track and field teams competed

track and field, held intrasquad meets.

at Nazareth College. 127


Junior football player Michael Roumes lifts while working out with his teammates in their outdoor, at-home gym. Arla Davis/The Ithacan

Athletes find creative ways to grow stronger during pandemic By Arleigh Rodgers

In summer 2020, Ithaca College junior Tim Hector, a swimmer, conducted workouts for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams. Rather than diving into a pool early in the morning, Hector and his teammates assembled on Zoom — not exactly what he had in mind as a captain of the team, he said. When the college decided in March 2020 to hold the remainder of Spring 2020 classes online, athletes like Hector adapted to an at-home, no-gym routine because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as gyms in New York state opened in August 2020, athletes still found pandemic-safe ways to prepare for their seasons. Hector said he and his roommates in Ithaca, who are also his teammates, created a home gym, something he did not have while living with his parents. While living at home, he did bodyweight exercises and occasionally used spare dumbbells for strength training. However, he said the loss of cardio, like swimming, was the biggest hit, as he was not able to train in a pool in Spring 2020. Instead, he used a rowing machine while wearing an altitude mask, which limits the intake of breath, to replicate what his breathing would have been like while swimming. Hector said that prior to 2020 spring break, he felt as if he was in the most athletic part of his swimming career. In the fall, that feeling was gone. “You could never actually replace the actual swimming,” Hector said. “It was really disheartening because … I went from being in one of the most possibly inshape points in my entire life to not even being able to do a simple swim workout.” The Liberty League canceled all fall competition in July 2020, something junior libero Jordyn Lyn Hayashi 128

said was disappointing to her and her volleyball teammates. Then, the college reversed its decision to hold classes in person in August 2020. What might have been an unconventional season and opportunity for Hayashi to reconnect with teammates became another semester stuck at home, with teammates still rooted in different parts of the country. “I was heartbroken because I was so excited for the upcoming season,” Hayashi said via email. “However, I think it was the smart thing to do, especially with everything going on in the world right now.” Hayashi said that over the summer, the volleyball team was given a strength and conditioning packet with adjustments for home workouts. Along with her strength packet, she would skateboard or follow workout videos on YouTube. While living in Ithaca in the fall, Hayashi and her teammates hiked, ran and met virtually twice a week for circuit workouts. Sophomore basketball player Liam Spellman said he created weights from items around his home, stuffing bags with old baseball gloves or holding chairs while squatting. Spellman and a few friends in his hometown of Waterford, Connecticut, created a small-scale, word-of-mouth basketball league. Victor Brown, head coach of strength and conditioning in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports, said the department usually begins planning fall athletic strength and conditioning programs in April, shortly after the college first shifted to remote learning. Brown said he wanted to create workouts that were accessible and safe for everyone. “In terms of COVID-19 safety, we have created strength training programs for student-athletes that can

be completed in the weight room ([New York state] guidelines require masks in facilities) and at home with minimal or no equipment,” he said via email. The strength and conditioning program utilized media platforms to demonstrate exercises and educate student-athletes about remote training techniques. Brown said it was important for the remote fall season to foster a sense of connectedness among athletes. Junior offensive lineman Andrew Testani and his roommates in Ithaca, who are also members of the college’s football team, have been able to create this sense of unity in their training. At their house, the players created an outdoor weight room, complete with a squat rack and bench press, where they lifted together several times a week. Testani said that prior to moving back to South Hill, he did not have access to this kind of equipment, so he was forced to be inventive during training. “I started off by purchasing 300 pounds of sand from the local hardware store and then did what I could with five sandbags,” Testani said. “They were each 60 pounds, so I would tie two together and do overhead presses.” Hector said that because the swimming and diving team was not in season, it did not have a strict strength and conditioning packet. Instead, he and his teammates who were living in Ithaca trained with Swim Ithaca, a local club team with an outdoor pool. Before spring sports were cleared to compete in 2021, Hector said he hoped to have a season, even if it was abbreviated. “I think part of the stress right now is that people are super not motivated because ... they don’t know for sure if they’re going to have a season or not,” he said.


From left, freshman Cate Evanko, senior Alexa Ritchie, freshman Lexi Kellish and junior Mallory Chamberlain practice Feb. 5. Ana Maniaci McGough/The Ithacan

Bombers return to the field after almost a year of no competition By Arla Davis

Most athletes have a pregame, pre-match or pre-competition routine, whether it is wearing their hair in a special style, listening to a specific song or even putting on their shoes and socks in a certain fashion. When athletics returned to Ithaca College after almost a year away, athletes added new elements to these rituals: masks, practice pods and COVID-19 tests. The Bombers faced challenges they never experienced before, like practicing in smaller groups, tweaking drills for athletes to be 6 feet apart and finding ways to connect with new team members without being together physically. Coaches and athletes found ways to overcome these obstacles. Although the Bombers did compete in winter sports, they practiced. Prior to starting practices, athletes had to get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine. Athletes coming from contiguous states only had to quarantine until they received a negative result, but those from noncontiguous states had different requirements. Senior lacrosse player Indira Varma is from Menlo Park, California, and said she had to arrive in Ithaca before her teammates because she had to quarantine for longer than most. She said she quarantined for four days and started practicing a day after her teammates once she was cleared. For some Bombers, training looks much different than it did prior to the pandemic. Junior lacrosse player Connor Brumfield said the team practiced in three pods that were based on who lives together. He said the first two weeks of practice consisted of noncontact drills, like passing and shooting, but the Bombers were able to implement small group contact drills like one-versus-one player scrimmaging.

For junior pentathlete Logan Bruce, women’s track and field practice was reorganized to fit NCAA return-to-play guidelines. The pentathlon consists of five events: 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and the 800-meter run. Bruce said that because the NCAA placed restrictions on training intensity to protect athletes as they returned to training after months off, multi-event athletes focused on just one event or conditioning each practice. “It’s nice to spread it out a little bit more,” Bruce said. “Last year was like constantly doing a million things and very hectic, but now you go in, you have one goal, you get to do that and then you move on.” Practices looked especially different for contact sports like wrestling. The Bombers usually train in their own wrestling room, but this season, junior wrestler Logan Ninos said the team transitioned into the Ben Light Gymnasium to have more space. In a normal season, wrestling would have full-contact practices almost every day, but Ninos said that in the spring he and his teammates had noncontact practices on Mondays and Thursdays — the days that they take COVID-19 tests — that consisted of weightlifting, conditioning and other noncontact wrestling drills. Contact practices were on Tuesdays and Fridays, based on their test results. He also said the team was able to have contact practices on Wednesdays because wrestling was the first team to utilize the college’s rapid-testing system on this day. Ninos said the wrestlers signed up for appointments with assistant athletic trainer Jessica Gammons to have a nasal swab test done rather than a saliva test. They then received their results that same day before going to practice. The Bombers were split into two larger pods — one

for wrestlers living on campus and one for those off campus — and then into two smaller pods within them. The smaller two were based on wrestlers’ weight classes. Ninos said that despite all of the change, it felt good to be back training again. “It was definitely weird and is going to take some time to get used to, but it was nice,” Ninos said. Some sports were lucky to not face as many changes. Junior softball player Julia Loffredo said that because softball is a naturally distant sport, social distancing guidelines did not affect the Bombers’ training very much. “We’re trying to make things as normal as possible with being safe,” Loffredo said. “We can’t go in and say a cheer or give each other high fives because we’re all apart, so it’s pretty much the same, just a little unconnected, but we find our ways.” Freshman basketball player Triston Wennersten said that COVID-19 guidelines made it difficult to adjust to a new team but that being able to practice made the transition much simpler. “I’ve been connecting with my teammates in many ways,” Wennersten said. “Practice is one of the places where [we] all get to just play and have fun. … It’s been easier adjusting to college with my teammates here.” Bruce said her responsibilities as a captain changed this year without fall practices, which are usually run by the track and field captains. With new guidelines to follow and routines changing daily, she said she led by example. “I can’t preach certain things to the team or try to hold the girls accountable if I’m not holding myself accountable,” Bruce said. 129


Junior Katelyn Hutchison writes about how she adapted to the changes in her track and field season because of COVID-19. Emily Silver/The Ithacan

Commentary: A pandemic won’t stop my grind By Katelyn Hutchison

After being an athlete for seven years, there are many things that I’m used to. I’m used to structure. I’m used to community. I’m used to having my own facilities. I’m used to having easy access to things I need. I’m used to training for championships. What I’m not used to is a pandemic putting my track career on hold. In September 2019, my coach was preparing my team to win a national title. She made it clear that everything we do must be geared towards that goal. How we sleep, how we eat, how we think and how we train. We internalized what she said and set out on that mission. Several weeks before the big day, we were ranked number one. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to finish the job. And in 2020, it’s possible we won’t have a job to finish. It’s hard to stay motivated when everything you’re used to disintegrates around you. People know that I’m always pushing for greater things and trying to instill as much confidence and motivation as I can in others. I pride myself on the positivity I can bring. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a struggle to keep that up. In a world of ifs and possibilities, it’s important to 130

find things that can ground you. For me, it’s focusing on my problem areas, like my acceleration phase or block starts. I had a relatively great season this past year, but there’s still so much to improve on. By focusing on my problem areas, I can continue to make practice interesting and fun, since there’s always something to learn. This helps since I’m usually practicing alone or with very few people, something that feels foreign since I’m

I’ve decided to stop asking when I may be able to compete again and instead focus on what I have in front of me. – Katelyn Hutchison

usually around 60 other girls. It also lets me rest. If I can continue to perfect these areas, I’ll be able to perform

how I want whenever that time comes. I often wonder when that time will be. There is so much uncertainty and inconsistency with how sports are being handled across the country. The NCAA could decide to cancel everyone’s season. They could decide to keep the seasons, but Ithaca may opt to stay remote again for the spring semester. Ithaca and the NCAA could allow seasons but the Liberty League, the athletic conference Ithaca College participates in, can choose to say no. With all the scenarios, there isn’t one person who can answer the question of, “When?” So I’ve decided to stop asking when I may be able to compete again and instead focus on what I have in front of me. While the uncertainty has given me more stress than I need, I’ve gotten two opportunities to get more work experience, something I’ve been struggling to do since I started college because of sports. It’s also given me the chance to really focus on what I need from myself athletically and academically. I believe I’ve developed a certain level of focus in regard to my sport that will be extremely helpful when things return to normal. Until then, I’ll continue to work on myself, praying that the next time I hear the gun go off, it will be one day soon.


Todd Lazenby, clinical professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training, teaches junior athletic training majors. Courtesy of Paul Geisler

Athletic training program continues despite empty stadiums By Ian Whitfield

Fall at Ithaca College usually consists of fan-filled bleachers at Carp Wood Field, intense rivalry at Butterfield Stadium and nail-biting buzzer-beaters at Higgins Stadium. But Fall 2020 looked a little different. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic left not only the stadiums and fields empty but the athletic training rooms too. Without athletes on campus, the college’s athletic training program built the Patientless Clinical Education Program. Paul Geisler, professor and program director in the Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training, said this program consisted of two parts: clinical pods and a virtual preceptor program. The latter was a new method that Geisler created for the program in Fall 2020. A group of 28 alumni became virtual preceptors, and every student was matched with a preceptor who matched their career goals. “It is a very crucial issue,” Geisler said. “One of the biggest teaching challenges right now is trying to deliver the hands-on learning material.” Although the college chose remote learning for most students in Fall 2020, juniors and seniors in the physical therapy, occupational therapy and athletic training programs were able to attend some in-person classes because of the clinical education requirements that include hands-on work. Underclassmen took classes completely online in Fall 2020. Underclassmen requirements consist of courses more focused on learning information before practicing it in clinicals as upperclassmen. Freshmen and sophomores take courses like general anatomy and physics

classes online, in addition to major-specific courses. The in-person classes at the college had strict protocols. Every student wore a mask, a full-face shield and gloves when working in the Hill Center. Geisler said students were required to go through proper sanitation and were only able to enter and leave class through certain doors. Students and staff members got COVID-19 tests weekly and filled out daily symptom screenings any time they accessed campus. Geisler said athletic training students were separated into clinical pods — nine groups of three students — that met six to eight hours a week with a professor or clinician, sometimes live and sometimes virtually. The virtual preceptors met online for at least an hour a week, discussing case presentations, policy and position statements, professional growth and other student needs. Geisler said the program was exciting and may continue in the future. Serving as a preceptor was not a new role for Tara Condon ’16, an athletic trainer and performance coach for the New York City Football Club. However, she said that in Fall 2020, it was her first time being one virtually. “I usually enjoy the opportunity for hands-on learning,” Condon said via email. “In that type of environment, I can demonstrate, explain and then allow the students to exercise the skill; however, with virtual learning, it was a great challenge to discover the best way to maintain engagement and keep a high level of excitement.” Condon said she and the students at the college she worked with discussed unique case studies, planned

graduate program applications and exam communication strategies, and talked about philosophies that she uses to approach sports medicine and sports performance. Condon said the virtual preceptor program is something she would have found beneficial during her time as a student at the college. Even with new ideas and programs being created in the department, not having athletes on campus was a hit to a program that works so closely with them. Sophomore Grace Isaksen said that for some of her classes, she took videos of her performing assessments and submitted them virtually to get feedback from professors. “There’s just a different aspect of being in person,” Isaksen said. “In person, they can be right next to you and ask, ‘Do you feel this?’ They can help you both know how everything is supposed to feel and look right then and there. With video ... it can be hard to get the right angles, which then makes it hard for them to be able to see everything that you’re doing.” In Fall 2020, junior Caroline Davenport worked on a literature review, which is a form of research conducted in order to compile the best evidence-based medicine for athletes, with her virtual preceptor, Nancy Patterson Flynn B.S. ’06, MS ’08. Davenport said the review compares anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction to ACL repair. “There are a lot of silver linings to this pandemic regarding our program and education,” Davenport said. “I have gained so many other positives from this experience to be too upset.” 131





Senior Garrett Callaghan is an outfielder on the baseball team. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan


Senior Jacqui Hallack is a midfielder on the women’s lacrosse team. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

Women’s Lacrosse

By Tommy Mumau

By Emily Adams

After a year of anticipation, the Ithaca College baseball team returned to the diamond and resumed competition with a determined club and several new faces. When the season was suspended in Spring 2020, head coach David Valesente was in the midst of his first season at the helm for the Bombers. Valesente said that he was excited to hear that his program would have the opportunity to return to action and that he was looking forward to the opportunity ahead. “We’ve been waiting for that news for a year,” Valesente said. “We really feel like we’re in a safe place to be able to compete.” The team returned to campus in January 2021 and trained indoors for a potential season. These workouts took place in pods by position to limit the number of players that were in a space at a given time. Senior Garrett Callaghan, outfielder and captain of the team, said Valesente has done his best to prepare the team for this unusual season. “We’re just really excited to get going on the field and playing against some outside competition other than ourselves,” Callaghan said. This was also the first full season that the program competed in the Liberty League, meaning they faced several new opponents. The club played primarily a conference-based schedule, including a few games against other local programs. Valesente said he was looking forward to his squad returning to play. “The guys are hungry,” Valesente said. “They want to play and are anxious, and we’re excited to see them get out there and start doing it.”

At the beginning of the 2020 season, the Ithaca College women’s lacrosse team looked like one of the best Division III squads in the nation. Although COVID-19 ended that strong start prematurely, the Bombers were focused on playing with gratitude every single day. Head coach Karrie Moore said the team’s greatest strength for the spring season was its core group of upperclassmen. Twelve of the squad’s 26 roster spots were filled by senior athletes, and Moore said their leadership was essential to the smooth transition back to on-campus activities and competition. “They do a great job of pushing their teammates,” Moore said. “They came in as a huge group of freshmen, and they have just really grown as a group.” The biggest challenge for the South Hill squad was overcoming the yearlong setback caused by COVID-19. Gill Hanson said that returning to practice was strange because of the college’s COVID-19 protocols. “We first started off as playing in three different pods, which was so different than years before,” Hanson said. “However, since we did that, it made us bond as small groups so much better and get to know the freshmen a lot better.” Moore said she was focused on developing the squad’s teamwork and competitiveness during the spring season. “Lacrosse is a game of mistakes, so you have to be okay with failing on the field sometimes,” Moore said. “The best teams get over it right away. That’s what I want to see on the field. Do they stay connected? Do they stay together? Can we carry each other through a game? It’s about playing with the right emotion and mindset on the field.”


Freshman Jalen Leonard-Osbourne is a sprinter on the men’s track and field team. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

Men’s Track and Field By Quintin Pelzel

It has been a long hiatus for the Ithaca College men’s track and field team members, who were sidelined for a year because of COVID-19. The Bombers participated in outdoor events for the first time in nearly two years and looked to capitalize on the opportunity to finally compete again. With many inexperienced underclassmen joining the program, there was added pressure for head coach Jim Nichols to prepare his team for the upcoming season. The Bombers placed first March 6 in their first indoor meet in exactly a year, totaling 208 points. In addition to the team finishing in first place, two school records were broken. Freshman Jalen Leonard-Osbourne won the 60-meter dash in his collegiate debut with a time of 6.92 seconds and ranked 12th in Division lll overall. “I was actually expecting to run a little faster,” Leonard-Osbourne said. “I was a little sore. … The feeling after I crossed the finish line was great because I knew I won.” The Bombers had eight seniors on the team for Spring 2021. This number was comparatively small when looking at the two previous seasons, when they had 15 seniors in 2020 and 13 seniors in 2019 graduate. The underclassmen relied on this year’s senior class to help them stay focused and prepared for the outdoor season. “My motto for leadership is to lead by example,” senior Benjamin Tiber said. “Don’t actively try to be a leader because then you could get in the way and actually become a nuisance.” Tiber said he saw a lot of potential in the team and had his eyes set on setting new personal records. “Right now, the Liberty League championship is what we are hoping and striving for,” he said. “However, track and field is mostly an individual sport, and we are always striving to set new personal bests. My personal goal for outdoor season is to break 4:00 in the 1500 meters and break 15:00 in the 5K.” Leonard-Osbourne had some high individual expectations for the spring season. “My goal is to break the 100-yard dash record and run 10.4 in the 100 this coming season,” Leonard-Osbourne said. “I know that I have to better myself overall and try to get better every day.”

Senior Ariyahna Bernard is a thrower on the women’s track and field team. Ash Bailot/The Ithacan

Women’s Track and Field By Daniel King

The Ithaca College women’s track and field team looked to build upon its strong 2019–20 indoor season and earn its third straight outdoor Liberty League championship in Spring 2021. The Bombers were again under the leadership of head coach Jennifer Potter, who was named National Women’s Coach of the Year in 2020 by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. She was the only woman to be nominated for the award. Potter said travel was one of the significant differences this year. Potter added that because the college does not have a competitive outdoor facility, the Bombers had no home meets. One returning athlete was senior thrower Ariyahna Bernard. Bernard, who placed second in the Liberty League weight throwing competition and first in the shot put event, said she looked to build off the end of her 2019–20 season and take the top spot in the weight throwing category. “I’m just trying to gauge where I was last year versus this year,” Bernard said. “Last year, I had a personal best and was really close to qualifying for nationals. Seeing my progress right now has really helped me stay focused on moving on.” Potter said the Bombers expected strong performances from freshman sprinter Katarina Gomez and freshman pole vaulter Gwen Gisler. Both were brought to the Nazareth Invitational on March 6 and earned spots on the podium. Gomez placed second in both the 60-meter dash and 200-meter dash. She also ran the third leg in the winning 4×400 relay for the Bombers. Gisler earned second in the pole vault event after clearing 3.35 meters. Potter said she wanted the team to keep its attention on the outdoor Liberty League championship and outdoor NCAA national championships. “We’re a postseason program,” Potter said. “Everything takes time, and we are in no hurry. There’s no reason to get injured on March 6 when we’re focused on May 6.” Above all, for senior athletes like Bernard, this season was a chance to represent the college and compete with her teammates one last time. “We’re extremely hungry and have this thirst that has not been quenched,” Bernard said. 133


One year later, athletes start competition with precautions

Spring sports returned to practices and competitions in Spring 2021 — approximately one year since their last season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With their return, teams added new aspects to their routines, including masks, social distancing through practice pods and COVID-19 tests. Freshman Lexi Kellish runs drills with her team during practice in Higgins Stadium. Ana Maniaci-McGough/The Ithacan

Sophomore Abby Marraccino performs a dive at diving practice Feb. 19 at the Kelsey Partridge Bird Natatorium. The team held an intrasquad swim meet the next day.

Sophomore Tyler Scerbo works on his orbit during hammer throw practice March 12 in the circle.

Abbey London/The Ithacan

Abbey London/The Ithacan



Junior Alyssa Spady practices her shots in the Ben Light Gymnasium. Alyssa Beebe/The Ithacan

Graduate student Buzz Shirley pitches March 21 at Freeman Field in a game against Elmira College. Abbey London/The Ithacan



Junior Donte Garcia celebrates after Ithaca College defeated SUNY Cortland in the 61st annual Cortaca Jug in 2019 at MetLife Stadium. File Photo/The Ithacan

New platforms give athletes place to share their stories By Michael Memis

With sports seasons abruptly canceled, Ithaca College athletes were dealt challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic that a lifetime of competition could not prepare them for. But, as a result of the pandemic, student-athletes were given new platforms to speak their minds and informational sessions on topics like self-talk, intuitive eating and self-care. Two new virtual platforms athletes at the college have been engaging with are Untold Athletes, a national social media platform and website that formed in March 2020 for athletes struggling with the sudden loss of their seasons, and The Hidden Opponent, a national nonpro it organization that is working to destigmatize mental health in sports. The pandemic has continued to have a negative impact on student-athletes’ mental health. In February 2021, the NCAA released results from a Fall 2020 follow-up to its NCAA Student-Athlete COVID-19 Well-Being Survey, first conducted in Spring 2020. In both surveys, participants reported struggling with mental exhaustion, anxiety, hopelessness and depression. These results were especially high among women, student-athletes of color, LGBTQ student-athletes and those facing economic hardships. Untold Athletes also gave athletes a space to voice their opinions on topics like the pressures of being an athlete, race in sports, gender inequality and mental health. The program came to South Hill in September as its first college satellite branch. The partnership was in part due to an effort between Erienne Roberts, associate director of athletics, and Whitney Johnson, the Untold Athletes chief of business development. 136

“I wanted to make sure we highlighted DIII athletes, and Ithaca came first to mind,” Johnson said. “Instead of just highlighting a few of [the college’s] athletes, let’s help them build something where all of their athletes can get a voice and be heard and really just show off the amazing institution that Ithaca is.” Three Bombers who had the opportunity to be featured on the national platform prior to the partnership were junior Katelyn Hutchison, a track and field athlete; junior football player Donte Garcia; and soccer player Devon Morris ’20, who said she was surprised by the reaction her story got. “It was kind of mind-blowing reading some of the comments underneath the actual post on Untold Athletes,” Morris said. “It really didn’t hit me until it was actually posted and out there and people were reacting to it.” Garcia’s interview with Untold Athletes was the first time he had anything published about him. “I think the whole point of it was to help us find our voice and get our voices heard, and I definitely felt that,” Garcia said. “It kind of gave me the confidence to continue to want to grow.” Similar to Untold Athletes, The Hidden Opponent gives athletes a platform to share their personal experiences with mental health. Victoria Garrick, a former University of Southern California volleyball player, founded The Hidden Opponent in 2019. The Hidden Opponent has held events to help athletes with issues such as identity loss and life after sport, depression and anxiety, and eating disorders. Madeline Barlow, former swimmer at Bloomsburg University and sports psychology coordinator at Drexel University, hosted a talk in January 2021 with The

Hidden Opponent athletes called “How to Fall Back in Love With Your Sport.” Barlow said there are aspects of mental health that are specific to student-athletes that make it important for them to prioritize it. “I think it really is about that pressure, that expectation, and the ‘Do the most, be the most, or you’re not enough’ [mindset], and those are things that can really negatively impact an athlete, especially at the college level,” Barlow said. A little over a year after The Hidden Opponent was founded, the Campus Captains program was launched. The organization has been increasing engagement with hundreds of Campus Captains on more than 30 campuses nationwide. In Spring 2021, the Bombers had two Campus Captains for the college’s chapter, which formed in November. Senior tennis player Max Prestwich was the president of the chapter, and sophomore Arla Davis, a field hockey player, was the vice president. The chapter was recognized officially by the national organization but had just started the process of becoming an official club at the college and planned to have biweekly meetings once more athletes became involved. Hutchison said she hopes to see more platforms like Untold Athletes and The Hidden Opponent develop in the future so athletes are given a space to speak about issues outside of their sport. “I definitely think more platforms like that will become more common,” Hutchison said. “The common notion has been athletes are just supposed to shut up and play. We’re really not supposed to have our own opinions. Now we’re seeing more athletes being open to talk about social injustices and other things that are affecting them, like dealing with gender, race, disabilities and things like that.”


PHOTO COURTSEY OF ALEX KLEIN Sophomore softball player Miriam Maistelman took a gap year from Ithaca College to backpack around the United States. Courtesy of Miriam Maistelman

Softball player spends gap year off the grid gaining experience By Connor Glunt

From paddling down the rushing whitewaters of Idaho to scaling the steep canyons of Utah, sophomore softball player Miriam Maistelman left Kostrinsky Field behind to canoe and climb through the wilderness. “I think it’s the athlete in me that searches for that rush,” Maistelman said. “It’s pretty taxing, ... but I’ve just chased that desire.” Maistelman initially planned on taking a gap semester during Fall 2020 to backpack and hike from Idaho to Arizona, but she expanded the semester into a full year when she was offered a job to live and work on a tree farm in Washington. Maistelman began her expedition with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) canoeing in Idaho, then backpacking through Utah and Arizona. The farm she worked at partners with Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), an organization that provided her a place to live while she logged and maintained the health of the forests. NOLS is a nonprofit school that focuses on outdoor learning experiences. WWOOF is a program that places WWOOFers on farms all around the globe to learn and practice sustainable living. Maistelman first enrolled in a NOLS program in eighth grade. She has also continued to pursue her passion for backpacking ever since her first hike on Mount Washington when she was 5 years old. Maistelman has backpacked and hiked throughout her childhood, so she did not find these experiences daunting — rather, she said they offered her a more productive way to spend her time compared to online classes. Maistelman is an environmental studies major at Ithaca College, and she said that working on the tree farm has taught her about forestry, logging and sustainable farming.

“A standard education is beneficial for most students, myself included, but I have gained a wealth of knowledge through this experience,” Maistelman said via email. “With NOLS, I was able to acquire more technical skills, network with people like me and experience a rugged and brutal aspect of the wilderness that gave me a deeper understanding of myself and my potential.” For someone who had her sights set on hiking in Banff, Alberta, and backpacking the Appalachian Trail, the NOLS and WWOOF programs provide Maistelman with the experience she needs to be prepared. She spent her final days in Washington wrapping up her work with WWOOF before traveling home to Wisconsin. When Maistelman was at home, she prepared for the upcoming softball season. “I have a facility where I’m able to hit and throw and work on my velocity, my hitting, my glove work and all of those different variables,” she said. “But in terms of skill, whenever I’m home, I’m going to have to take advantage of my time and resources to make sure I’m still with it.” Maistelman stayed in contact with softball head coach Hannah Quintana since the team had its Florida trip interrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19 in Spring 2020. The two have talked about Maistelman’s academic and athletic futures as well as the opportunities that could stem from Maistelman’s work over the last six months. Quintana said she thinks Maistelman will be up to speed when she returns to South Hill in Fall 2021. “She’s someone that, when she commits her mind to anything, she’ll go in 100%,” Quintana said. “I know when it is time to start training again, when she does get back on campus in the fall, she’ll be ready to go.” The softball team trained on campus in Spring 2021.

Quintana said that although it would be ideal to have the whole team together in preparation for its season — which, at the time, the Liberty League had not made a decision about yet — she believes Maistelman made the right choice taking a gap year. During her canoeing and hiking trips during Fall 2020, it was hard for Maistelman to stay in touch with her teammates. Sporadic service and delayed communication allowed small windows for her to reconnect with her friends from Ithaca, making it difficult to catch up on the missed time. When Maistelman’s teammate fifth-year Frankie-Ann McCauley thought of something she wanted to share with Maistelman, she wrote it down in a notebook and shipped it out to Wisconsin, McCauley said. McCauley said that she is excited that Maistelman had the opportunity for these experiences but that she is looking forward to Maistelman’s return to South Hill. “When it’s the right time for her to come back, she’ll be here, and it’s going to be so exciting,” she said. Returning in the fall will certainly take some adjusting. The cool autumn seasons of Ithaca do not share many similarities with the dry deserts of southern Arizona, and her days will no longer be spent on outdoor adventures. Instead, most of Maistelman’s August will involve preparing for the upcoming softball season and getting back into the pattern of being a student-athlete. “I think I’ll be able to find a way to have that balance of working and recreation and traveling,” she said. “I have the entire month of August off before I go back to South Hill, and I think I’m going to be spending a lot of that time just getting myself back into the headspace of being a student-athlete and familiarizing myself with the details and my skill.” 137


Ellen Staurowsky returned to Ithaca College after she left to work at Drexel University in the Department of Sport Management. Courtesy of Ellen Straurowsky

Professor earns national recognition for college sport research By Aidan Charde

Ellen Staurowsky, professor in the Department of Strategic Communication, returned to Ithaca College’s sports media program as her research on racial inequality in college sports earned national recognition. Staurowsky’s study, “How the NCAA’s Empire Robs Predominantly Black Athletes of Billions in Generational Wealth,” was recognized in several major outlets, including Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times and the Columbia Daily Tribune. The study, which she worked on with Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, was published in July 2020 and discusses the NCAA’s exploitation of Black Division I football and men’s basketball players. Staurowsky and Huma discovered that the average college football and men’s basketball player creates about $1–$2.7 million in revenue for their institution in their four years of eligibility. The NCAA does not compensate athletes and cites “amateurism” as its reason. Staurowsky returned to the college after she left in 2011 to work at Drexel University in the Department of Sport Management. She brings her interests in social justice and activism among athletes to the program. “Holding the sport industry accountable in terms of exploitative practices [is important to me], and that breaks down a couple of ways along race and gendered lines,” Staurowsky said. Staurowsky also published an article, “Exploring Narratives of Scarcity, Uncertainty and Opportunity in Women’s Sports Coverage During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” in the International Journal of Sport Communication in 2020 with senior Grace Dury, Ben Koch ’20 and Cooper Hayes ’20. Getting students involved in faculty research is something Staurowsky said is 138

important to her. Dury said she appreciates Staurowsky’s dedication to including all students in her studies. She had only met Staurowsky in person once before joining her on the research. “I emailed her, and I didn’t think she would want me to join the research project just because she had never seen any of my writing,” Dury said. “She was the kindest soul on the face of the Earth.” Staurowsky said she planned to add new classes to the curriculum, like one potentially called “Women’s

I think it’s just as valuable for male students ... to have her and bring that new perspective to the forefront of the curriculum. – Grace Drury

Sports Media Incubator” that will address overlooked opportunities in women’s sports coverage. In Fall 2020, she taught “Introduction to Sports Media” and a senior workshop in sports media. Staurowsky is the only woman of six professors in the sports media program. Before she returned, the only other female professor was Annemarie Farrell, associate professor in the Department of Sport Management, who switched to the sport management department in

Ithaca College’s School of Business in 2011. As of Fall 2020, there were 122 students enrolled in the sports media major, according to the Office of Analytics and Institutional Research. Just 17 of them were women. Dury said it is important to have a female professor who cares deeply about women’s sports. “Having had male professors in this department, I just always expected it to be a guy, even as a woman,” Dury said. “I think it’s just as valuable for male students as it is for female students to have her and bring that new perspective to the forefront of the curriculum.” Part of the reason Staurowsky wanted to come back was to experience the personal interaction with students that comes with being in the Roy H. Park School of Communications. The last time she taught at the college, sports media was part of the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance. Mead Loop, sports media program director and professor in the Department of Journalism, said the major has gone through significant growth since the move to the Park School. Huma said Staurowsky has played a crucial role in much of the work the organization has done in advocating for racial equality and players’ rights. “We have incorporated her research into action, whether it be empowering players; public pressure on NCAA sports; disseminating information to lawmakers on the local, state and federal levels; and even in informing the media so that they have a better understanding of what’s going on in college sports,” Huma said. Loop said it is vital for students to get the chance to work with professors on research projects. “That’s graduate-level work at the undergraduate level, so that’s where that peer or mentoring role is really important,” Loop said.


Column: Athletes can use their voices for change By Emily Adams

Student-athletes at Old Dominon University at the March for Social Justice. Courtesy of

Commentary: College sport amateurism is a tool of oppression By Ellen Staurowsky

Tools of oppression are sometimes disguised within stories of admirable intent. In the college sport industry, one such tool is the principle of amateurism, presented to mass audiences through happy narratives about “student-athletes” chasing dreams of athletic excellence while pursuing their educations, playing for glory and the love of alma mater. In this time of racial unrest and calls for genuine reform, seeing through the facade of amateurism reveals the layers of institutional racism that have long existed within the NCAA and the Power Five conferences. The term “student-athlete” was invented by officials at the NCAA in the mid-1950s and perpetuated through an orchestrated propaganda campaign. Its purpose was to obscure the fact that an athletic scholarship was not about education but compensation on the field. Amateurism should have no place on college campuses committed to achieving racial justice in the 21st century. The roots of amateurism are anchored in the British upper classes of the 1800s, a hierarchy that sought to preserve sport for a monied and powerful white aristocracy. Devised to exclude and control members of racial and ethnic minorities, the threads of those intentions are embedded in the regulations that govern college athletes’ lives today. It is no accident that the most restrictive rules — ones that surround player compensation, regaining college athletic eligibility status after competing professionally, limited access to representation and restrictions around player mobility — apply to athletes in the sports designated expressly in the NCAA’s Division I philosophy

statement as “revenue-producers.” Some of the most restrictive rules that have had a dramatic effect on college athletes in football and basketball were passed at the height of desegregation in the late 1960s and early 1970s. College sport leaders responded to athlete protests, 37 of which were led by Black athletes and student leaders, by enacting rules that made it easier for coaches to remove perceived “troublemakers” and “malcontents” from their teams. NCAA Bylaw 15.3.4, known as the “fraudulent misrepresentation” rule, allowed a coach to take away an athlete’s scholarship if they failed to show up and play. That rule remains in the books today and explains why college athlete boycotts are few and far between. The NCAA seeks relief from the U.S. Congress for state laws that directly challenge its conception of amateurism and restore rights to college athletes to profit from the use of their names, images and likenesses. When faced with an opportunity to address the central issues of racial and economic injustice in big-time college football and basketball, the overwhelmingly white college sport power structure opted instead to exert further control over a player labor force made up primarily of young men and women of color. The NCAA’s principle of amateurism is the linchpin that perpetuates systemic racism through its policies and practices. The end result is a transfer of wealth to coaches, administrators and institutions that, over time, represents the loss of billions in generational wealth to players. The NCAA’s principle of amateurism must be dismantled if there is hope for meaningful change.

As the world watched the 2020 U.S. Presidential race unfold, Democratic candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock was waging a crucial campaign against incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler for the seat of U.S. senator for Georgia. Loeffler also happens to be a part owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream. She dramatically miscalculated the power of the athletes’ activism against the ultraconservative talking points that she thought would help her retain her seat in the historically red state. Loeffler dug her own grave when she publicly opposed the league’s social justice work during the season. She published a letter written to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert that rejected the Black Lives Matter movement and criticized the incorporation of “politics in sport.” In a league that is 83% nonwhite, condemning an international movement for racial justice did not go over well. WNBA players immediately mobilized, calling for Loeffler’s removal from ownership of the Dream. New York Liberty guard Layshia Clarendon, who played for the Dream from 2016–18, said in an interview with ABC News Live that Loeffler’s comments showed she didn’t care about her athletes off the court. The WNBA players turned anger into action when they actively campaigned against Loeffler in her Senate race. Players from across the league sported “Vote Warnock” T-shirts to games in support of Loeffler’s opponent and endorsed him on social media. On Election Day, their efforts made a difference — Warnock led all 20 candidates in the Senate race with 32.9% of the vote and eventually won the runoff election in January 2021. Ithaca College athletes have been an enormous part of movements on South Hill. Black athletes and other athletes of color spearheaded conversations about racial tensions and spoke up in front of their peers at the Voices of Experience event in January 2020. Junior Katelyn Hutchison, who is a captain of the women’s track and field team, also took the initiative to start Student-Athletes of Color, a club in which nonwhite athletes can find a community and advocate for issues that they face within a predominantly white institution. While the college’s athletic department still has a long way to go, it demonstrated what it had learned from the work of Black athletes during the Black Lives Matter movement in summer 2020. Athletes are constantly told that they are examples and role models for the communities around them. That is never more true than cases of athlete activism. If a handful of professional women’s basketball players could change the political alignment of the legislative branch, then student-athletes can create accountability for racial equity in their own institutions. Athletes have a platform that is unmatched to make their voices catalysts of change. “OutofBounds”wasacolumnbyseniorEmily Adamsthatdiscussedissuesinsportsbeyondthe playing field. 139


Second-year graduate student Anna Bottino shared her passion for field hockey virtually with players of all ages during the pandemic. Paige Tolan/The Ithacan

Field hockey graduate assistant finds ways to coach virtually By Emily Adams

After Ithaca College canceled fall sports for the 2020 season due to COVID-19, second-year graduate student Anna Bottino, a graduate assistant for the women’s field hockey team, missed the game she loves. Because Bottino could not be on the field, she took her coaching skills online in the forms of one-on-one Zoom training sessions and a new Instagram account called Field Hockey Training Collective (FHTC). Bottino played field hockey at the University at Albany as an undergraduate, and she reconnected with her former teammate Kelsey Briddell to create the FHTC account. The pair posted content three to four times weekly, aimed at teaching young field hockey players both the physical and mental skills of the sport. “Amongst the array of things that have happened in the past year, it really caused myself and a lot of my old teammates to reflect,” Bottino said. “I sat down with [Briddell], and I was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had an Instagram page where we could just post everything about field hockey but from the perspective of bringing in multiple dimensions of the game?’” The Instagram account launched Jan. 15, 2021, and had 1,087 followers in March. “It’s not where we want it right now because it’s really new,” Briddell said. “We’re hoping that with consistency of the things that we’re posting and the quality of them, that will end up gaining more attention and more followers. I think it can be so much bigger than it is right now.” Bottino typically kicks off the week with Mindfulness Mondays, when she shares tips to improve mental wellness and performance. Bottino was a graduate 140

student in the sports psychology program at the college in Spring 2021. She pulls from her academic and personal experiences to come up with mindfulness practices like journaling and positive affirmations. Kaitlyn Wahila, head coach of the field hockey team, said Bottino’s knowledge of mental health and mindfulness techniques were a huge contribution to the program during her time as a graduate assistant. “She is just so mature beyond her years and has been so grounding for our team,” Wahila said. “She has brought an awareness to mental health that, to be honest, I really didn’t have before she arrived. She has really helped the players recognize the importance of it.” On Wednesdays, Briddell creates and posts a TikTok video showcasing a unique skill or trick using her field hockey stick. Through the Instagram account, she encourages young field hockey players to post themselves trying out the trick as well. All of the skills are easy for athletes to try in a small indoor space since many do not currently have regular access to field and training spaces. Fridays are fun days, when Bottino and Briddell post anything that they want related to field hockey. So far, their Friday content has included throwback photos from their days playing at the University at Albany, a tutorial on building a goal cage out of PVC pipes and fabric and a video of field hockey tricks using a roll of toilet paper. Bottino said her favorite part of the account is the Sunday Coffee Talks on Instagram Live. Their first guest was Michelle Simpson, associate head field hockey coach at the University of Maine, who previously coached Briddell and Bottino when they played at the University at Albany.

“Every other Sunday, we’re talking to someone in the field hockey world about field hockey, life, sports,” Bottino said. “I’m really passionate about it because I love a good conversation.” On top of co-managing the Field Hockey Training Collective account and helping to coach the Ithaca College field hockey team, Bottino held individual virtual training sessions for young field hockey players all over the country. She worked with athletes ages 6–17 on improving technique through exercises that can be done in an athlete’s basement or living room. Bottino conducts these training sessions on Zoom and has athletes set up cones in one formation that she adapts to different drills throughout the 30 minutes. Bottino said that the training helps players work on their skills amid pandemic restrictions and that it keeps her engaged in the game. “I love working with young kids,” Bottino said. “It’s such a blast, and for them I think it’s a much-needed break from sitting down in Zoom class and trying so hard to pay attention. I definitely want to be able to incorporate more athletes and find more creative ways to train remotely as we work through everything and in our current circumstances.” Wahila said Bottino’s involvement in field hockey beyond the college’s team has been helpful for the Bombers to see and engage with as well. “She’s working to provide an environment where any student-athlete — high school, college, anybody — can see,” Wahila said. “Whether you’re working on your mental health, your individual skill, recruiting advice, she’s to bring it all together and offer this platform where student-athletes can show up and learn something.”


PHOTO COURTSEY OF ALEX KLEIN Sophomore Christea Park works on her drive in the course simulator March 5. The simulator was installed in Spring 2016. Frankie Walls/The Ithacan

Golf team uses simulator to train during winter months By Arla Davis

Despite the Ithaca College golf team being unable to take its usual spring break trip to Florida to compete, junior Caitlin McGrinder escaped the South Hill winter weather a couple of times a week when she trained in the team’s course simulator. McGrinder virtually golfs on courses in sunny North Carolina in the back of Glazer Arena in what used to be a utility closet. The golf simulator is a virtual reality system that allows players to train on driving ranges and golf courses around the world. The system uses a projector to show the range or course on a screen in front of players. McGrinder said there are four cameras that the system uses to detect motion from both the player and the ball. She also said there are weights in the floor that allow the motion sensors to recognize how a player’s weight shifts when they hit the ball. When a player drives a golf ball into the screen, the simulator measures the speed, distance and spin direction of the drive. Sophomores Mary Gersec and Christea Park both said they preferred the driving range settings on the simulator rather than playing full courses because they can focus on their individual techniques. Gersec said she worked on the placement of her elbow when she drives the ball to create more power and on keeping her hip turned back as long as possible. Park said she has been using it to work on shortening her drive’s backswing, her impact on the ball and making her overall drive more consistent. She said that to improve her technique, she decides on a certain distance and drives it 20–25 times at the end of practice. Park said she enjoys the chance to focus on herself in the simulator. “Personally, for me, I love my team and team practice,

but there are times when you just want to focus on yourself and your own thing,” Park said. “If I’m having a hard time fixing something, I can go and just do certain drills, which is something I love about the simulator.” Head coach Keith Batson said the course simulator was installed in Spring 2016. Starting in February 2021, the Bombers used the system while the weather was unpredictable and while they waited for their home course, the Country Club of Ithaca, to open. Batson said this was the time for players to make changes to their techniques in preparation for the new season, making the simulator a useful coaching tool. “It’s most helpful for me as a coach to show them exactly what is going on in their swing instantly,” Batson said. “A lot of times, players can’t feel what they are doing wrong until they can see it. ‘Feel versus real’ is what we call this. … What you feel like you’re doing and what you are doing will likely be very different, and so if you’re not monitoring your progress, you won’t achieve the desired outcome. Seeing each swing on video and analyzing it allows you to do this.” When the Bombers finally returned outside and on the course again, the Country Club of Ithaca was under new ownership, according to the Ithaca Times. New owners Sean and Jennifer Whittaker rebranded the club as “RaNic” after their children, Rachel and Nicholas Whittaker. The couple purchased the club after it struggled financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The club was expected to open in April. The team would usually be able to have approximately six players in the simulator at one time, but with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, only one player and coach were allowed at a time. The Bombers have full team practices on Mondays and Fridays, when they

rotate through hitting drills in the track and field throwing cages while players work individually with Batson. The stations consisted of short hitting and putting drills, while the simulator was used for long drives and hits. During the rest of the week, players were expected to sign up for an hourlong time slot to work in the simulator by themselves in addition to lifting twice a week. In previous seasons, players were able to go practice whenever they had free time but are unable to do so with COVID-19 regulations. Gersec said that while she missed the freedom of being able to use the simulator whenever she pleased, she felt like having the time slot held her more accountable to train. “In previous years, you could just go whenever you wanted based on your schedule that day, but now it makes you more accountable, I feel like,” Gersec said. “Now it’s built into my schedule every day, so I know I’m going to the gym at this specific time and then the simulator from whatever time, and nothing can get in the way of that.” Gersec said that she felt lucky that golf was one of the safe sports to play over the summer and fall during the pandemic and that she was able to train multiple times a week. “Throughout COVID, it was my stress relief,” Gersec said. “I would schedule my days around it and look forward to playing golf all day.” Park said that while she loved utilizing the simulator to improve her individual play — especially during icy Ithaca winters — she was excited to be back out on the course with her team. “Being outside is such a nice environment,” Park said. “With school online, it is such a head-clearer, being forced outside and in fresh air.” 141


Junior Luke Tobia plays on the defensive line for the Bombers football team. He is also a thrower on the men’s track and field team. Courtesy of Artie Tobia

Multisport athlete returns to play after a year away By Arla Davis

On March 12, 2020, then-sophomore thrower Luke Tobia stood outside a hotel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where the Ithaca College men’s track and field team was staying. The Bombers were set to compete in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 13. Just moments prior, Tobia found out that the national championship was canceled due to COVID-19. “I remember going out to the parking lot to call my dad,” Tobia said. “My parents drove down to watch me compete, and I was just shocked. There were probably 50 or 60 people outside in the parking lot. People crying, on the phone, people giving each other hugs. For a lot of these people, it was their last shot.” After his first opportunity to compete for a national championship was canceled, Tobia said he and the rest of the track and field team hoped for a chance to compete outdoors, but they found out quickly that they would lose that season too. However, this did not mean extra time off for Tobia. It just meant it was time to start training for football. In addition to throwing for the Bombers, Tobia also plays defensive lineman for the college’s football team during the fall. He said he was recruited out of high school to play football for the college but was convinced by Tyler Burdoff, former assistant track and field coach, to compete in the shot put, discus and hammer throw events once he arrived on campus. Tobia said he felt lucky to have another season to look forward to. “It’s kind of a unique situation for me,” Tobia said. “A lot of people didn’t get the opportunity of looking forward to something, so a lot of people seemed to have a sense of hopelessness, where for me it was like, ‘All 142

right, well, I don’t have track, but at least I have football,’ and vice versa.” Between football, indoor and outdoor track and field, Tobia’s only time off from competition is the summer. He said that competing nearly year-round has benefited him mentally in both sports and has helped him overcome losing his past three seasons. “I think it gives me a competitive edge just because I’m in it year-round, so I get a lot of experience just in competition itself,” Tobia said. “I’ve always had an ‘adapt-and-overcome’ mentality. Whatever the situation is, you got to just take it and do whatever you can with it, especially now. You can’t take anything for granted.” Tobia’s mindset has not been overlooked by his teammates. Junior defensive lineman Ed Longest, Tobia’s roommate since freshman year, said he has noticed this mentality day in and day out. “He shows up every single day with a great attitude and level of focus,” Longest said. “He attacks the day with whatever it is he’s got going on, whether it be classes, school, practice, film sessions, things like that, and at a really high level of focus, attention to detail and effort that’s just contagious to be around.” Tobia said this mindset has helped him transition from the track and field season to the football season not only mentally but in his physical training as well. Head football coach Dan Swanstrom said the strength and power required to compete in the shot put and hammer throw events complements Tobia’s position as a defensive lineman. “Picking up something heavy and throwing it a couple hundred times a day and being explosive can only help him be a better football player,” Swanstrom said. “It’s just going to make him a more well-rounded

athlete. He’s added so much strength.” Tobia is on the five-year track for accounting in the School of Business and said he plans to utilize his extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 during his fifth year. Tobia said that as a junior, he stepped into a leadership role by trying to help underclassmen become accustomed to both teams’ cultures. Swanstrom said that as an upperclassman, Tobia will lead his teammates by setting an example of commitment for younger players. “We’ve really kind of changed how we view leadership roles within this program,” Swanstrom said. “We want as many people leading by example as possible, and I think he can do that. … He will be a committed athlete on the field, and he’ll do it day in and day out, and people will take notice.” Despite all of the obstacles the pandemic brought Tobia, he said his goals remained the same. For football, he said he hopes to see the team win the Liberty League, then compete in the national playoffs and potentially win a national title. He said he also wants to see the men’s track and field team win the Liberty League followed by regionals. Personally, he said he hopes to compete at track and field nationals as an individual. Jess Craven, a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach, coached the throwing events for the Bombers in Spring 2021 since Burdoff left to coach at Towson University in Maryland in the fall. Craven said Tobia brings a positive spirit with him to the throwing circle that makes himself and his teammates better. “He definitely contributes significantly to the atmosphere of practice,” Craven said. “We try to keep things light and fun, and whenever Luke’s at practice, I think everyone’s engaged and having a good time.”


PHOTO COURTSEY OF ALEX KLEIN From left, senior Julia Nomberg, sophomore Jamie Rossig and junior Meghan Matheny run at a Feb. 21 track practice. Frankie Walls/The Ithacan

Athletes consider using extra year of competition eligibility By Arla Davis

When senior football player Andrew Vito first heard that Ithaca College and the Liberty League canceled Fall 2020 sports competition, he said, he knew right away that he would take a gap year in order to compete one last time. In October 2020, the NCAA Presidents Council approved a blanket waiver for Division III stating that athletes could compete during the 2020–21 academic year without losing participation or academic eligibility. This means that all Division III competitors may compete for a fifth — or even sixth — season. Athletes may delay their graduation by taking a leave of absence, enrolling in fewer credits for the semester or adding another major or minor. They may also continue to compete while studying in a graduate program. Erienne Roberts, associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator at the college, said fall and winter athletes currently have two semesters of eligibility and one additional semester of competition, while spring athletes have three semesters of eligibility and two seasons of competition. “The NCAA has actually been really good on administrative and presidential waivers for a leave, specifically related to eligibility,” Roberts said. “I guess even really working with what we’re given as far as a legislative booklet, they’ve just been really good on providing additional interpretation, some flexibility, leniency in different places, and that’s been incredibly helpful for our purposes.” Roberts said the most difficult part is understanding the NCAA’s eligibility guidelines for students who are still planning to graduate on time but want to continue to play as they pursue an extended or second degree

or graduate program, as the guidelines for graduate students vary among Divisions I, II and III. She also said this is a unique experience for Division III athletes because college is often their last chance to compete. “When we look at Division III athletes, this is it,” Roberts said. “Very rarely do they go on and play at a professional level. ... This is what they’ve been doing their whole lives.” Junior Meghan Matheny, a track and field athlete, decided to stay at the college for a fifth year while pursuing another minor. She currently majors in business administration with concentrations in sport management and sport marketing. She also currently minors in photography and plans to add a graphic design minor. Matheny said she planned to graduate in four years and considered going somewhere else for graduate school prior to the pandemic and receiving two extra years of eligibility. However, she said she most likely will not compete for a sixth year if she goes to another university for a graduate program. “I’ll still end up having another year after track that I could use as a sixth year or something,” Matheny said. “I’ve only ever had [Matt Scheffler, assistant track and field coach for pole vaulting] as my coach, even in high school. I think it would be a little weird being like, ‘I pole vaulted for 10 years now, and for one singular season of three months, I’m going to have someone else be my coach,’ so I’m probably going to finish out five years and call it after that.” Vito, who is a business administration major, said he decided to take a leave of absence in the fall semester and worked for a medical supply company. He reenrolled in Spring 2021 and will graduate this December. Vito said he is just one of two football players in his

graduating class using the extra eligibility and feels that finances played a huge role in this. “To come back just to play one semester of football is not conducive for a lot of people, especially myself,” Vito said. “I wasn’t going to spend ‘X’ amount of dollars just to come play football, so that’s why I mapped it out the way I did. For some guys, scholarships didn’t carry over, or they thought they maybe would get into a grad program but weren’t given the scholarship they previously had. Money gets tight, and you know it’s Division III football at the end of the day, despite how much we love to play.” Despite having the extra season of eligibility, some athletes have chosen not to take advantage of it for reasons other than academics and finances. After months of consideration, senior Katie Dick, a field hockey player, who is in the college’s five-year occupational therapy program, said she ultimately chose not to because of an ongoing shin injury she faced during her junior year. “My injury definitely played a part in my decision because my dad had so many injuries that have required surgery now that he’s older,” Dick said. “I can’t be waddling around hurting for the rest of my life. Like, I’m still only 21. I still have a lot of life left in my legs.” While Dick said it was difficult to make the decision to end her field hockey career, she felt that she was ending on a high note after a former strength and conditioning coach spoke kindly of her at the team’s senior banquet, which was held in December over Zoom. “I feel like some people are ready to be done, but I wasn’t ready to be until after hearing what Dakota [Brovero] said,” Dick said. “I don’t need to push it out any further than it needs to be. I had a good three and a half years.” 143




Ash Bailot/The Ithacan


Courtesy of Human by Design

Eleanor Kay/The Ithacan




Erika Perkins/The Ithacan

Erika Perkins and Alison True/The Ithacan

Spring Sports Preview: Behind the scenes

Human by Design Headshot Night

Filmed and edited by Erika Perkins

Filmed by Erika Perkins and Alison True Edited by Alison True Human by Design, a new student organization, held its first event as a club Feb. 23, where members took headshots of models.

The design and photo editors of The Ithacan worked together to photograph athletes who were featured in the Spring 2021 Sports Preview.

Mikayla Rovenolt/The Ithacan

Eleanor Kay/The Ithacan

Trader Joe’s finally opens in Ithaca

IC Drone Squadron has first Fly Day

Filmed and edited by Alison True

Filmed and edited by Alison True

The first Trader Joe’s store to come to Ithaca opened at 8 a.m. on Feb. 19 to a crowd that had been there since 7 a.m. ithacanonline 146


IC Drone Squadron is a student organization for drone enthusiasts on campus. At its first Fly Day, participants learned about drones and witnessed them flying firsthand.

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The Ithacan



Hosted by Rachael Weinberg and Sydney Brumfield Fall 2020 and Spring 2021

Hosted by Gabby Laccona and Kaitlin Maniscalco Fall 2020 and Spring 2021

Each week, senior Rachael Weinberg and sophomore Sydney Brumfield watch and analyze new films and compare them to the classic movies that influenced them.

“How IC Sports” covers sports and student-athletes on campus. Seniors Gabby Laccona and Kaitlin Maniscalco sit down with athletes and discuss their experiences.

Hosted by Arleigh Rodgers Fall 2020 and Spring 2021

Hosted by Sobeida Rosa Fall 2020

“Re:Mixing” is a music analysis and criticism podcast in which senior Arleigh Rodgers asks guests to create a playlist with songs that represent some part of who they are.

“The Brown Girl Chronicles” highlights the life experiences of senior Sobeida Rosa. Each episode, Rosa invited a guest to discuss topics like social justice and intersectionality.

Hosted by Frankie Walls Spring 2021

Hosted by Nijha Young Fall 2020

In “The Intersection,” junior Frankie Walls discusses how a person’s identity is key to their life and how their experiences can shape who they wish to be.

“The Moon Rises Too” explores making peace with oneself by accepting the darkness within. Sophomore Nijha Young teaches listeners about journaling, spirituality, meditation and more.


Ana Maniaci McGough/The Ithacan

YEAR IN REVIEW Printed by the YGS Group in York, Pennsylvania. Global News photos provided by Tribune News Service.

Lexi Danielson/The Ithacan

Eleanor Kay/The Ithacan

Lexi Danielson/The Ithacan

Mikayla Rovenolt/The Ithacan