Candidates speak out at forum
Winners of faculty caricature contest
Great movies for the holiday
Oct. 31, 2016 Vol. 64, Issue 3
Math lab fees reduced for Winter Leah Thomas Editor
Students will be allowed to use their own computers in math class starting this winter. That was one of the math changes announced at the MCCC Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 24. Grace Yackee, vice president of Instruction, said the college will be piloting a program that offers two traditional math classes that combine Math 090 and 092 beginning in the 2017 Winter semester. The changes are to the redesigned math program, which was launched five years ago. The program centered on an online math program, MyMathLab, for the fun-
“The faculty are very receptive to opportunities to improve what we are doing in mathematics.” Grace Yackee Vice President of Instruction damental math classes. Students had to buy a computer from the college for the class. Yackee announced that math lab fees will be reduced from $315 to $100 dol-
lars beginning this winter. This is the first change in the program since it began in 2012. She said research showed 60 to 70 percent of students enrolled in a math class brought their own computers to class, so
they decided to allow students to use their own computers and no longer include a computer in the course material provided. Starting in the Winter semester, the lab fee will give students access to MyMathLab and cover the cost of the workbook, Yackee said. Sue Wetzel, Vice President of Administration, said they are looking into offering computers in the bookstore for students to buy if they need a computer for class. The piloted traditional math classes are reserved for students who test in the high end of placement in Math 090 or students who test in the low end of placement in Math 092. The classes will cover Math 090 in four weeks and then spend 11 weeks covering
Math 092 material. Yackee said the students must test high in Math 090 to handle the accelerated pace, but low in Math 092 so they do not get bored with the four week review. “Most often the students who are testing in the low end of 092 will significantly benefit from that review of 090 and also allows them to adjust to the technology,” Yackee said. The review will give students time to learn how the computer program operates before they start learning new math concepts. Yackee said 60 students can enroll in the pilot program this winter.
See Math, Page 2
MCCC millage campaign hits final push
Leah Thomas Editor
Students, faculty members, and community members have all joined the millage campaign. Parmeshwar Coomar, dean of Applied Science and Engineering Technology Division, has been helping since President Kojo Quartey asked for help from community members about three months ago. Coomar said campus facilities are decaying, which has left our campus behind. “It is important we keep up with the rest of the state to attract students to a safe and modern facility,” Coomar said. “An asset to the community, such as the college, needs community support to continue to serve the community.” If the millage passes, the college will have more opportunity for modern facilities such as adopting new technology, Coomar said. “The college will be here long after we are gone as individuals,” he said. “The college is bigger than any individual; it is all of us together.” Coomar has organized community members and students and staff in the Technology Division to spend weekends canvassing Frenchtown Township. “We have put up signs, talked to businesses, gone door-to-door, and facilitated voter registration to help with the effort,” Coomar said. He said anywhere from 10 to 15 volunteers have come out to help so far. “I am very proud of our student volunteers, staff, faculty and community members that have helped,” Coomar said. Kate Hall, an MCCC alumnus, said she decided to go door-to-door because she supports the millage, and the college needs it. Community member Deb Dushane said she helped because it needed to be done. Dushane said the millage is going to help secure funds for much needed updates at the college. Doreen Amarh, an MCCC alumnus, said she volunteered to go door-to-door because it will help students and help improve facilities. She wants the school to stay open. “For the last two years, I’ve been working for the millage,” Amarh said.
Photo by Emily Cornett
President Kojo Quartey, Kate Hall, Deb Dushane, and Doreen Amarah discuss their strategy for going door-to-door in Berlin.
Quartey said maintenance workers Dale Parker and Brian Rorke have also assisted in door-to-door campaigning. As Election Day looms two weeks away, Kojo said he hopes to finish going door-to-door within the next
week. They have sections of Berlin, Bedford, Frenchtown, Ash, Ida, and Luna Pier to finish, then the doorto-door campaigning will be complete. Although door-to-door campaigning is coming to
an end, Quartey has a few more plans. “We won’t stop,” Quartey said. “The last week we begin to ramp up and hit some special areas and do some special campaigning.”
See Millage, Page 2
College says goodbye to two popular employees Math/Science division misses Vinnie Maltese
Tim Dillon leaves Writing Center legacy
Math/Science dean Vinnie Maltese retired after 17 years of touching the lives of hundreds of students. “What I did as an instructor directly touched the lives of every student enrolled in each of my classes, but what I did as an administrator indirectly touched the lives of every student enrolled in each course in the division,” Maltese said. Maltese began at MCCC as a professor. He taught 13 different math classes from Basic Mathematics Skills to Calculus. “The best part of being in the faculty was the direct relationships with students and their learning,” Maltese said. “The impact I wanted to make at MCCC was to make the lives of each student I met better than if they had not had that encounter.”
Some people work for a living and some people forever dream of what they want to be. Then there is Professor Tim Dillon, who is living his dream. When Dillon, an MCCC English professor, retires in December, it is tempting to say Monroe County Agora Photo Community College will be a lesser place. Dillon reclines in his office chair in the C building. However, that is not true. The college is much richer for his time here. The Writing Fellow program was never just a teacher. He has been a mentor and is his legacy. a life coach. “I love watching my students grow, especially “He could have failed me on a paper I was doing,” my Writing Fellows,” he said. “They learn so much confirmed Rachel Billock, a current Writing Fellow. about themselves along the way. Some even discov- “Instead, he handed it back to me and showed me er they really like helping others and this encourages them to perhaps pursue careers in education.” See Writing, Page 2 Since Dillon began teaching at MCCC in 1994, he
Photo by Mark Spenoso
Maltese presents at a college awards ceromony.
Kathy Shepherd, professor of Science and Mathematics, said Maltese was a friend not only to her, but also to the students on campus. “He was always passionate for students and always a student advocate,” Shepherd said.
See Maltese, Page 2
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October 31, 2016
Faculty, college reach tentative pact Agora Staff
MCCC and its faculty reached a tentative agreement for a new contract on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The previous contract expired Aug. 23, 2016, and the faculty began the semester without a new contract. After months of negotiations, the faculty began wearing black tshirts and picketing outside of the college entrance at the beginning of October.
The contract outlines faculty work duties, responsibilities, work load, benefits, and salaries. Both students and faculty were happy to hear that the nine months of negotiations had finally brought about a tentative agreement. “Whoa! I’m glad the faculty’s hard work – all the meetings and picketing – has paid off,” said student Tanner Irwin. “I wish it could have been done sooner, but I’m relieved that they’ve come to a decision,” said
Chemistry professor Lori Bean. “I believe it’s a good thing. We’ve got a lot of good staff here at Monroe County Community College and they deserve this,” student Bonnie Fetterly said. Tracy Rayl, the chief faculty negotiator, and the chief negotiator for the college, Molly McCutchan, declined to share any details concerning the new contract until it has been approved by faculty and the college Board of Trustees. The board has scheduled a
meeting to discuss and ratify the proposed agreement on Monday, Oct. 31. The faculty will meet to look at the agreement and vote on it Tuesday, Nov. 1.
MCCC professors picket at the entrance to campus. Photo by Leah Thomas
Maltese ends one career and begins another Continued from Page 1
She said Maltese wanted to see students succeed, and he stood up for them. Josh Nocella was one student touched by Maltese. He knew Maltese as a professor and dean. Nocella graduated from MCCC in 2005; then, with Maltese’s help, he returned as a math tutor nine years later. Nocella continues to tutor students in the math den today. Nocella said tutoring makes him feel like he has accomplished something. “I feel like it has given me a lot more confidence in my abilities,” Nocella said. Because Maltese gave him the opportunity to tutor, Nocella said he is thinking about pursuing a teaching profession. “I wish him only the best in the future,” Nocella said. Roger Spaulding, professor of Physics and Astronomy, said Maltese had a contagious laugh. “It was common in our division to hear his laugh reflecting off the walls and down the halls and we would find ourselves gravitating to the source of the laugh. Upon our arrival, we would inevitably find one or two of our colleagues laughing, telling stories, and jokes,” Spaulding said. “Most would agree that Vinnie always had the best stories.” Shepherd said Maltese told stories of his world travels as an engineer. Before teaching, Maltese worked as a licensed marine engineer for 20 years and concurrently served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve for seven years. He retired from a career as a marine engineer in 1998. When Maltese applied at MCCC, Spaulding was a member of the selection committee that interviewed Maltese for the mathematics position. “I will never forget the interview,” Spaulding said. When Maltese said he was a “retired
Photo by Tom Hawley, Monroe News
Maltese shows his snakeskin wallet at 2015 One Book One Community event.
engineer,” Spaulding heard “tired engineer,” which made everyone laugh. “Of course, being a tired engineer was never part of Vinnie’s makeup. As a teaching faculty, Vinnie worked tirelessly becoming the best instructor he could be. We were lucky to have Vinnie’s knowledge, academic background, professional experience, and his teaching enthusiasm,” Spaulding said. After seven years of teaching, Maltese was offered the position as dean of the Mathematics and Science division. “When he was selected dean, his enthusiasm for teaching and working with students was transferred into a new and broader enthusiasm of leading the division,” Spaulding said. “Vinnie was the most faculty/student orientated dean I have had the privilege of working with. I have been fortunate to have had qualified deans in my years at MCCC, but none was more committed to students, faculty, and the college than
Vinnie.” “He was often attending conferences, helping faculty, working on a new project for students, or advising an individual student on next semester’s registration,” Spaulding said. Maltese served as the dean of Science and Mathematics for 10 years and volunteered to be the interim dean of Humanities and Social Sciences for three years. According to Maltese, it took more than 40 hours a week to meet the needs of one position, so juggling both positions was not optimal. Maltese said he did not prefer teaching or administration. They were equally rewarding both personally and intellectually. Every year Maltese listed goals he wanted to accomplish at the college. He said he accomplished most of them. As a professor, he implemented the AMATYC Student Mathematics League
Competition and mentored the only community college students to present at the Michigan Undergraduate Mathematics Conference. When he was a dean, he improved the student science laboratory experience by hiring a dedicated science laboratory coordinator, improved the ability for students to be successful in developmental mathematics by studying and understanding why they were not, and created a math den where students can get drop in help with mathematics and meet to study and discuss mathematics. Shepherd said Maltese did what was best for students although some of his decisions were not popular. “He always did what he believed was in the best interest of students, his division, and the college,” Spaulding said. One of his most controversial accomplishments was the math redesign program. Student Austin Eby started a math petition last semester and asked the board of trustees to add traditional math classes to the program. Maltese’s retirement may have been a surprise to some. When students and faculty came back for classes this fall, Maltese was retired. Nocella said there was a lot of ugliness involved with Maltese’s retirement in the wake of the math petition, but he did not know the details. Both Maltese and Molly McCutchan, director of Human Resources, declined to address the matter. Maltese said the goal he did not accomplish was achieving the NAEYC Accreditation for the Early Childhood Education Program. “That is currently in progress and my only true regret about leaving the college so suddenly was not being there to help see that project through,” Maltese said. One full-time professor is still working on the accreditation process for the pro-
gram. “I am sure that she will be successful, and I admire her for her dedication to her students and program,” Maltese said. Some of Maltese’s fondest memories at the college were advising the MASS club, serving as Commencement Grand Marshal in 2014, and running a series of chalk talks on campus. Chalk talks were mini-lectures by faculty on topics that they had expertise in but were not necessarily included in any of the courses. “It gave the audience exposure to topics they may never have had experienced,” Maltese said. “The entire series was outstanding and well attended.” Maltese submitted his letter of resignation from the college effective May 23, 2016 and he retired from the Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System (MPSERS) on June 1, 2016. “Vinnie was generous with his time, his gifts, his leadership, and his presence,” Spaulding said. “Vinnie is missed by me and our entire division.” Although Maltese is a retired MCCC faculty member, he does not plan to stop working. He is scheduled to teach part-time as a Mathematics professor at Jackson College. He has earned the equivalent of 201 undergraduate and 117 graduate semester hours. In addition to the credits, Maltese has completed 24 technical and professional training courses. He is completing his last course to receive an MBA at Baker College. He is also enrolled in a PhD program in Higher Education Leadership at Western Michigan University. Maltese considers education a life-long hobby, and he continues to welcome new job opportunities. “If an interesting opportunity arises, I will go for it,” Maltese said.
Writing fellows reminisce about Dillon’s impact Continued from Page 1
what I did and how to do it properly. I learned so much from him.” “Definitely,” said Faith Funk, another Writing Fellow. “I literally was having panic attacks on a daily basis when I first started this. Today, I am totally confident. It is because he so reassuring.” Emily Cornell, who is in her second year as a Writing Fellow, is certain Dillon’s legacy – the Writing Fellow program – will continue. “I have no worries on the future of the Writing Fellow program,” she said. “Professor Dillon truly cares about us and I am sure he will have everything set when he leaves.” No matter where ever life after MCCC takes Dillon, literature will always be his passion. It always has been.
The Agora Editor: Leah Thomas Adviser: Dan Shaw Staff:
Joseph Abrams Leigh Cole Emily Cornett
Miranda Gardner James Quick Vanessa Ray
Editorial Policy The Agora is published by the students of Monroe County Community College, 1555 S. Raisinville Rd., Monroe, MI, 48161. The editorial office is located in Room 202 of the Life Sciences Building, (734) 384-4186, firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions: The Agora encourages submissions by anyone in the college community, including free-lance articles, opinion columns or letters to the editor. All submissions must include a name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. The Agora reserves the right to edit for clarity, accuracy, length, and libel. The Agora is a student-managed newspaper that supports a free student press. It is a member of the Michigan Community College Press Association, the Michigan Press Association, College Media Association, Associated Collegiate Press and the Student Press Law Center. Story suggestions are welcome. Let us know what you would like to see in The Agora - it’s your newspaper. Email submissions to email@example.com.
“I was always a compulsive reader,” he said, leaning back in his chair. “I don’t know why, no one else in my family was,” he laughed. “But I always loved to read.” In true renaissance fashion, he can converse in nearly any topic. It is readily apparent he takes his reading seriously. His reading list runs the gamut, from classic Greek literature to 19th century American authors like Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Stephen Crane, and Walt Whitman, to modern authors such as Haruki Murakami. Topics run from quantum physics to history, to technology and also current novels. Dillon’s passion for literature also extends to his music. He is an accomplished guitarist whose band in high school, The General Contractors, once opened a show
Photo by Joseph Abrams
Dillon hosts his last Poetry Night.
in Ann Arbor for the legendary rock group The Yardbirds. Tim has also shared
the stage with the likes of Detroit legends Bob Seger and Mitch Ryder. Although at one time he enjoyed playing popular rock songs, he says he has moved on to more complicated and classical styles. But it’s still a song’s lyrics that captures his attention. “I like songwriters who have a story to tell,” he said. “Jackson Browne is my favorite. He would be the one artist’s music I would take to a desert island. Bob Dylan is another.” His motivation to teach is truly altruistic. It is also a lifelong dream come true. “I first thought I would like to be an English professor when I was in high school,” he said. “I would be sitting in class thinking, ‘I could do this.’” After high school, he attended MCCC as a student from 1969 to 1971 and went
on to Oakland University, and the University of Toledo where he graduated in 1976. He continued to pursue his graduate degree from the University of Toledo. “I don’t like failing grades and I never failed anyone who tried,” Professor Dillon said. “I always wanted to reach those borderline kids.” Tim is a great believer in second chances. His goal, he states flatly, was not to fail students, but help them to understand how to write, how to think and accomplish the task and to grow from it. “I want to know what people can do, not can’t do,” he said. After retirement, Professor Dillon plans to travel. His favorite destinations are the United Kingdom and Europe. He especially is looking forward to visiting London, England.
Math changes and updates Continued from Page 1
The other change in the math program is that Math 090, Math 092, and Math 151 will be combined in the winter, Yackee said. Currently, Math 092 and Math 151 are combined and Math 090 is taught separately. The data collected over the past year by Jamie DeLeeuw, Coordinator of Institutional Research, Evaluation and Assessment, showed that Math 090 and 151 were successful, but Math 092 was problematic. Yackee said they found that students who took Math 090 were more successful in Math 092 than the students who did not take Math 090. By combining the three classes, students were more likely to successfully complete all the courses, Yackee said. “We also wanted to increase the opportunities for students to interact with each other in small group settings,” Yackee said. “Students excelling in the course are likely to help
the students in the lower sections.” Yackee thanked the math professors for their willingness to explore this pilot program. “The faculty are very receptive to opportunities to improve what we are doing in mathematics,” Yackee said. She said they were willing to look at the data and make changes that not only maintained the integrity of the redesign program, but also looked at student needs. “It is nice to hear that the faculty are listening,” math tutor Josh Nocella said. President Kojo Quartey said the program is data driven, so he hopes it will lead to student success. “I commend the math faculty for moving in this direction. There is still a ways to go yet in some areas but this is great,” Quartey said. DeLeeuw presented the Fall 2016 Student Profile Data Report to the board. The data in the report did not include direct college stu-
dents. Seventy percent of students on campus are enrolled parttime, DeLeeuw said. Josh Myers, executive director of The Foundation, reported that there are two new endowed scholarships. The college now has 50 endowed scholarships. He also said the college implemented a Student Emergency Fund. The college was able to use the money in the fund to help one student buy back books lost in a fire, and there is more money in the fund to help more students in similar situations. The next MCCC Board of Trustees meeting is Nov. 28. Seventy percent of students are enrolled part-time. There are two new endowment scholarships, which makes a total of 50 endowment scholarships offered at the college. The college implemented the Student Emergency Fund, which offers financial assistance to students in unfortunate circumstances.
Photo by Emily Cornett
Community member Kate Hall stuffs mailboxes.
Millage in final phase Continued from Page 1
They focused on larger populated areas for the door-to-door campaigning, so Quartey plans to reach the rural areas by placing millage material into some of their mailboxes. The special campaigning includes robo calls and printing the millage story Monroe Evening News ran in their Friday, Oct. 21 edition that announced the county commissioners endorsed the millage.
Quartey said the Democratic Party will help make calls. “The most likely voters will get robo calls from us,” he said. Quartey said they will print 1000 to 1500 copies of the county commissioner story on quality paper and distribute them. “The commissioners represent the various townships in the county,” Quartey said. “The fact that they are supporting us means that essentially the entire county is supporting us.”
October 31, 2016
mcccagora.com • The Agora
Trustee candidates speak out on issues
“If you have problems in your home, you repair them. That’s what we want to do with our home.” Edward Feldman Retired physician
“The college must “Education has made emphasize the trades all the difference in that are our my life and I look forfuture workforce.” ward to making sure William Bruck everyone has had the Small business owner same opportunities.” Steven Hill Business consultant
“Students are able to take classes without purchasing these books, so what they see is a savings.” Aaron Mason Bank executive
Candidates focus on the millage, financial responsibility of MCCC Cassidy Maier For the Agora
Money woes were on the minds of four Monroe County Community College Board of Trustees candidates. The candidates were asked a variety of questions at a forum sponsored by The Agora and each came back multiple times to the topic of the college’s money issues. Aaron Mason, Edward Feldman, William Bruck, and Steven Hill all agreed financial responsibility is the top priority for whomever is elected and expressed their desire to see the five-year millage pass on Nov. 8. Current Trustee Mason is running unopposed for a four year term on the board, but the other three are vying for two sixyear terms. Feldman is also a current trustee; he and Mason were appointed last December. Hill and Bruck are both newcomers. Each of the four touched on the vari-
ous areas that could make a positive difference in the school’s future, including passing of the millage, building relationships with people in the community, a reform of the K-12 education system, and making tuition more affordable. “Education has made all the difference in my life and I look forward to making sure everyone has had the same opportunities for success that I have,” Hill said. Hill works with small business owners as a business development executive with Eby-Brown Corp and serves on the Allen Park Charter Review Commission and with Business Network International. He encouraged minimizing the cost of tuition and building better relationships with high schools and AP classes to ensure students are ready for college. Mason also highlighted the need for more college preparation. “Middle college students have a higher GPA than a regular college student,” Mason said.
Mason is a vice president at Monroe Bank & Trust and group manager of Mortgage and Consumer Lending at the bank. He also is a former MCCC student. He explained how higher levels of college prep from the area schools would ensure new college students would not have to worry about taking remedial classes before moving on to classes that counted for college credit. He went on to talk about strategies to lower the costs of classes to make a college education more accessible for prospective students. Feldman elaborated on the cost of tuition. Feldman is a retired Monroe physician, and a former MCCC instructor. He would like to see tuition costs go down and scholarships be extended to part-time students, instead of just fulltime students. He discussed the college’s finances, then transitioned into tuition and the need
for campus repairs. “If you have problems in your home, you repair them,” Feldman said. “That’s what we want to do with our home.” He said the millage needs to pass, so that the college could make necessary repairs and give students the opportunities they deserve. Bruck said the college could offer students more opportunities if relationships were cultivated throughout the community. Bruck is the owner of the home health care agency, Visiting Angels, a journeyman lineman electrician, and an active Army Reservist. He said good relationships have the potential to make a bad situation much better and mentioned the need to build these relationships with both current and future students. Bruck also said that in the future tradesman work will be in high demand, so the college should offer more opportunities to
enter these fields. Not everyone can get a master’s degree and become a doctor, he said. “Is the college a stepping stone to higher education or is this the education the people of the community are looking for?” Bruck asked. “The college must emphasize the trades that are our future workforce.” He said better relationships with the people of the community would show them the opportunities at the college, including those available through the middle college program. He momentarily touched on veteran’s benefits and conveyed his desire to be a voice for veterans. In closing remarks, the candidates discussed their various hopes for the future of the college and for themselves.. Several again touched on their support for the college’s millage, which is on the ballot Nov. 8.
Photo by Joseph Abrams
Students line up for the costume constest held during the Writing Center’s Poetry Night. Haley Finley, dressed as the old woman, won the contest.
Writing Center holds Poetry Night, costume contest
Joseph Abrams Agora Staff
Despite a warm and muggy environment, the Writing Center’s Poetry Night filled the room with people on Oct. 27. Poetry Night gives students the opportunity to go up on stage and read poems to one another. Students could read their own creations, or poems written by someone else. Authors of original poems had the chance to win a contest. The Writing Center has been hosting
the event for 11 years, according to adviser Tim Dillon. “A few writing fellows came to me with this,” Dillon said. “I’m glad they had this idea.” Dillon said that events to enrich culture are hard to find in a community college, as students are so busy with classes and their lives that they don’t have the time to sit and enjoy something as simple as poetry. The event filled the Little Theatre in the basement of the C building. Even though
it was crowded, the audience members were enthusiastic to listen to poetry (or they were there to receive extra credit from their professors). Kellyann Navarre, one of the writing fellows organizing the event, said she was impressed with the audience. “Out of the last two or three years, this is one of the best turnouts we had,” she said. The event had a few contests as well, including a costume contest and a raffle to win a bowl of candy.
One of the poetry readers, Haley Finley, won the costume dressed as an old woman. She said her poem was given to nurses by an elderly man, and the poem was about how even though the man was old, he was still young inside. Savannah Thorne won the candy raffle. Peter Coomar, dean of the Technology Division, read a poem in his native tongue of Bengali. He handed out papers to all those who attended so that they could read alongside him, and everyone who attended joined in on his invocation.
This reading was the poem Navarre found the most interesting. She said that she always appreciates Coomar’s poetry because it is a learning experience. This is the last Writing Center poetry night with Dillon as the director, and he was very practical about it. “The ends of things are the ends of things, and this is just one more thing I’ll never do again,” he said. The Writing Center will be holding another poetry night in February for Black History Month.
Clown phenomenon scares, annoys MCCC students James Quick Agora Staff
Most people have heard about the creepy clowns that have been running around, spiraling out of South Carolina and across the country. Why people are dressing up like this and going out to scare the pants off others is anyone’s guess. Some people have been arrested in relation to self-admitted “clowning,” including a couple in Wisconsin that left their toddler home alone while they went out to be creepy clowns. There haven’t been many reported instances in Monroe County, and only one in Wayne County – in Brownstown. While there’s probably nothing to worry about and MCCC has not been besieged by clowns, people are still taking note around campus. “It’s terrifying,” says student Jake Adams. “I think it’s creepy,” Jessica Ryder says. “But I also think people are taking it out of hand.” She’s not the only one to think so. Several others on campus feel this has gotten a bit overdone.
Artwork by Leigh Cole
Phantom clowns creep up on people
“I think it’s kind of stupid and that people are overreacting,” says Brianna Brown. “But I am frightened of clowns, so I would get scared if I saw one. Though really, I think it’s all really overdramatic.” Mackenzie Morelli agrees.
“It’s silly,” he says. “It’ll be over in two weeks. It’s just giving the radio hosts something to talk about. Really, it’s the newest fad.” “I think it’ll die off soon,” Ryder says as well, also stating her belief that it’s a fad. They’d be right to assume so. Contrary to some reports, this is categorically not the first time there’s been a rash of creepy clowns skulking about suburban America. The phenomenon has been dubbed “phantom clowns,” usually because no one can find the clowns after they’ve run off. The original report of such ghouls comes from 1981, when children in Massachusetts claimed they were being approached by clowns. The clowns were always accompanied by a sinister van that they would try to goad the children into. The counselor for the Boston Public School District, Daniel O’Connell, issued a warning to all schools that clowns had been sighted trying to lure students away. Teachers were put on watch, and parents were advised to make sure they knew what routes their kids were taking to school. There were no reported abductions from
that outbreak, which died down around the time adults noticed they’d never seen these supposed kidnapping clowns, and that all the “victims” were aged 5 to 7. Take note of that last part. It shows what most of these reports are: mass hysteria. Only now we have social media to magnify things, so it seems as if it’s coming from all sides and that there’s a clown around every corner, waiting with an inflatable hatchet. Not all the historical encounters were just mass hysteria. Two cities over a thousand miles away reported something terrifying a few weeks after Boston’s 1981 brouhaha. They were both Kansas City – which straddle either side of the border of Missouri and Kansas. On the Kansas side, a group of children reported they were chased for several blocks by a murderous clown wielding a sword. Soon, the Missouri side chimed in with a similar story. Upon investigating, the police hit pay dirt. What they found was a clown in a windowless yellow van. He was clad in coal black face paint, a bright white wig, a tshirt emblazoned with the devil, and black pants with candy canes running down the sides. In addition, he had on the prereq-
uisite big red shoes and nose… and was carrying an enormous knife. What’s worse was that this man was identified by people from no less than six separate schools in the area. He’d been observing the children, as if studying them to pick the right one to lure away. The police chased the van for some time before it eventually vanished. The man was never found, nor was the van. To this day, there’s no official explanation for whether he was just a lunatic in a clown costume, or a bona fide phantom clown. But one thing’s for certain: he wasn’t a figment of the mass hysteria. He was all too real. Bear in mind that was more of an isolated incident than an everyday occurrence. Nothing so gruesome or spine-chilling has happened during this current hysteria. In all likelihood, as the autumn pales into winter and November drags on, the clowns will vanish with the leaves under the snow. People will come to their senses, focus on some new meme on the Internet, and look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas. So sleep easy tonight. It’s all going to be okay.
4| mcccagora.com •
October 31, 2016
Documentary examines human trafficking Joseph Abrams
“I was hungry, I was tired, he gave me something to eat, he gave me a beer; that was the first time I ever drank alcohol. ...
Deborah Monroe was only 13 years old when she was taken. After years of toxic relations with her family, she ran away from the little home she had. Eventually, she found her way to the Jackson County Fair. That was where she met a man, a very affable and kind man. “I was hungry, I was tired, he gave me something to eat, he gave me a beer; that was the first time I ever drank alcohol,” Monroe said. “The next thing I know I was on my way to Detroit. I didn’t know what his intentions were, because he hadn’t been anything but nice to me.” This is one of the stories told in the documentary, “Break the Chain,” which was shown Oct. 20 at MCCC. After the film, producer Laura Swanson answered questions alongside Michigan State Police community trooper Trissa Duffin. The documentary follows the lives of Deborah, a survivor of sex trafficking, and Kwami, a survivor of labor trafficking. The documentary also investigates the problem of human trafficking in Michigan. “He took me to a place called Crestwood Motel; it was a place where they were prostituting and that’s where I turned my first tricks,” Monroe said. “That night, I was told by the older girl that what I needed to do was stand in line, I had to give him every dime that I made.” This story is sadly all too common, vulnerable people being taken advantage of for the profit of others. Though the issue of sex trafficking is often ignored, its sibling labor trafficking is outright neglected. Half of the film followed the story of Kwami, a boy from Africa who was taken to America. He was exploited and abused by his caretaker, and used as a source of cheap labor alongside other children. These children had no idea that the life they were living was not the American life, and that the abuse and hatred they received was not normal. “He had never been to America, and he had no idea how he was supposed to be treated in America,” Swanson said. Kwami had his name and identity changed to get into the country illegally;
“The next thing I know I was on my way to Detroit. I didn’t know what his intentions were, because he hadn’t been anything but nice to me. ... “He took me to a place called Crestwood Motel; it was a place where they were prostituting and that’s where I turned my first tricks.” Deborah Monroe One of the people profiled in “Break the Chain,” a story of human trafficking. Photo by Joseph Abrams
MCCC students Rachael Lopez, Elisabeth Sickler, and Kellyann Navarre show off their Break the Chain bracelets.
the man who exploited him lied upon applying for asylum and claimed Kwami as his son. Kwami had to pretend to be four years younger than he was, and he was not allowed to speak with others. Kwami could only agree with what his trafficker said. The reason people would dehumanize and exploit another person like this is quite simple, the profit gained from it is massive, Swanson said. There’s little barrier to entry, the victims can do the job over and over, and the demand is always high, she said. The law even protects the ones buying sex, pointing the finger at the prostitutes as the criminal and the customers as victims. Monroe, who attended the MCCC screening of the film, spoke from her experience. “The females were looked at as the criminals because usually they didn’t have family or support, and was out there, to them, committing the crime, even though they were forced into it,” Monroe said. Generally, the men were seen as middle class men with families, jobs, and
as members of the community, so they weren’t prosecuted and got away with buying sex, she said. The issue of blame for sex trafficking might seem obvious, but when people begin to discuss who is to blame for labor trafficking, things quickly become muddy. The more people point their finger, the more they realize, eventually the finger points back at them, Swanson said. People buy goods made by companies who utilize labor trafficking, and by voting with their wallets they are in fact promoting this sort of behavior, she said. In efforts to cut costs as low as possible, companies will hire independent contractors to round up a group of people desperate for work and pay them a barely livable salary while trapping them in debt, the film said. The film couldn’t even list the companies it found responsible, for fear of legal action against them. “I was told you can’t say that, you’re gonna get sued, you can’t do that, you’re gonna get sued, almost daily,” Swanson said.
Employees back in their offices By Leah Thomas Agora editor
All the MCCC employees who were temporarily relocated for the HVAC renovations moved back to the A building on Oct. 17. “I’m proud to say that the Admin building is formally opened. Everybody is back in,” said Jack Burns, director of Campus Planning and Facilities. At the Oct. 24 MCCC Board of Trustees meeting, Burns announced that the geothermal portion of the project is nearly complete. Sue Wetzel, vice president of Administration, said they have spent $12.7 million of the $16.1 million that was allotted for the project. Burns said they are on time and
on budget. He said all the informational signs that pointed to temporary relocations have been removed. Workers are finishing the connections in the boiler houses and then the pipefitters and electricians will work over the winter, Burns said. Ceiling tiles out around campus mean someone was probably checking out the sensors, he said. “There should not be as much of a crunch in the spring as we had originally anticipated,” Burns said. They are currently in the testing and balancing process. The A and C buildings are directly affected by the testing, Burns said. “Some points it is really warm,
and some points it was really cold,” Burns said. “That was just them fine tuning.” He said usually they do the testing before the building occupant moves in. “We all get to experience this kind of stuff together,” Burns said. The geothermal contractor will be on site the last two weeks of October, Burns said, filling the system and pressurizing it to check for leaks. The project will wind down for the winter time. The buildings will be heated by the old system this winter, Burns said. The new system is scheduled to be fully online my summer 2017.
MCCC wins marketing awards
MCCC has won ten District 3 Medallion Awards at a conference for the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations in Ann Arbor. The Medallion Awards honor outstanding achievement in communication for two-year colleges. The ten awards the college received are the most of any community college in the state, only behind Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College and Illinois’s Moraine Valley Community College in the district. District 3 itself covers most of the Midwest and the Canadian province of Ontario. Two gold, five silver, and three bronze comprise the awards won. The gold were for the Lifelong Learning Schedule plus the Current Affairs and Diversity Flier Series. All award-winning projects were developed by the college’s Office of Marketing and Communications.
International club raises funds
The members of the International Studies Club collected change in October for a project by alumnus Sarai Richter, a member of the Peace Corps. The project will give fresh water and sanitary bathroom facilities to girls’ schools in Cambodia, where Sarai first visited with Study Abroad in 2009 and is currently stationed. The club collected $108.33 and sent it on to the Peace Corp in the name of our MCCC alum serving in Cambodia, Sarai Richter.
People are ignorant of this problem and who’s at fault, and it’s in part due to media misleading people, said the film. Trafficking is not the overblown dramatic performance media often make it out to be. People are trapped in the industry, not by chains and being locked in a basement, but by their own inability to leave, Swanson said. The common preconception seems to be that people are locked up, unable to leave by force of some means. Swanson said that she even had this thought when starting the documentary. “How are they transporting them here? What boxes are they using?” She joked. In reality, most people willingly follow their trafficker. The victims of trafficking are manipulated into staying, preying on insecurities and addictions the people may have. “It’s really, really hard not to go back to something you know,” Swanson said. Duffin related the experience to those facing domestic abuse, and how they feel trapped into staying. “They will leave their trafficker seven
MONROE COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
5-Year Maintenance and Improvement Millage PROTECTING OUR COLLEGE Due to substantial losses in property tax revenue, Monroe County Community College has had to delay many maintenance and improvement needs that are now critical to its future.
70% of Monroe County residents or their immediate family members have taken classes at MCCC
• Safety: Enhance and improve safety and security across campus, including a door key card system, emergency lighting, security cameras and fire sprinkler systems. • Accessibility: Make facilities accessible for people with disabilities, including the Learning Assistance Lab, restrooms, elevators and door hardware. • Technology: Upgrade technology network infrastructure, including updates to classrooms and the fiber optic network.
For a full list of proposed projects, please visit: www.monroeccc. edu/millage
How much will it cost the average homeowner?
Monroe County grads get their college start at MCCC!
Emily Eleniewski runs the Student Government popcorn machine at National Student Day.
How Will the Money be Used?
• Updating the Learning Environment: Renovate specific areas to maintain and improve the academic environment. These include the Library and various classrooms.
Photo by Vanessa Ray
times before getting out,” she said. This was Swanson’s purpose for making this film, she said. She wanted to dispel the preconceptions of what human trafficking is, so the truth can be brought into the light. “That’s why I decided to quit doing work as a psychologist and get into film, so that I can educate people, and move them through art,” Swanson said. One of the biggest problems people face with this topic is when they think something is wrong but don’t know what to do, Swanson said. “They don’t even understand what is happening is human trafficking,” she said. People don’t know about the resources available to them to help them out of that situation, and people outside of the situation don’t realize what is happening. When asked what people could do to help, Swanson said that many victims feel as though they are ignored or that their calls for help are taken as jokes. “One of the biggest things you could do is ask if they’re okay,” Swanson said. “And really believe them.”
• Deferred Maintenance: Ensure and maintain the quality of facilities campus-wide through roof repairs and replacement of doors, windows, roofs and other outdated items.
For a home with a market value of $100,000 (estimated taxable value of $50,000), the cost of the millage will be $42.50 per year – less than 82¢ a week.
Bookstore celebrates students
MCCC celebrated National Student Day on Oct. 13. It was a day dedicated to promoting and growing student social responsibilities through a variety of events. The day was sponsored by the MCCC Bookstore. There were a variety of booths and events, including a popcorn and pizza stand operated by the Student Government.
Student Gov. donates socks
Student Government participated in a Socktober drive during the month of October. The aim was to give a vital yet rarely-donated resource to homeless shelters – new socks. Donation boxes were placed around campus and the Whitman Center throughout the month.
Students with physical disabilities must go through loading docks to access certain areas.
Masonry ribs along the Life Sciences Building will eventually collapse if major structural repairs are not made.
Support columns at the Whitman Center in Temperance are sinking and causing critical damage.
Campus News mcccagora.com • |5 Faculty, students discuss politics in classroom The Agora
October 31, 2016
Vanessa Ray Agora Staff
With the election fast approaching, political talk is at an all-time high. It seems nearly impossible to escape discussion of Clinton’s e-mail server and Trump’s views on… everything. We’re bombarded by a constant stream of news headlines and television shows; all giving their two cents. For many, this talk extends into the college classroom. Gay marriage, Black Lives Matter, Colin Kaepernick and the First Amendment. All of these current topics are undoubtedly political in nature and professors may feel it is their duty to discuss them in class. But do some professors take it too far? “This election is so crazy, you can’t help but talk about it,” said student Emily DiMeglio. DiMeglio went on to say that political talk does not bother her. “Professors giving their opinion doesn’t bother me,” Dimeglio said. “It’s not like they’re going to change my mind.” DiMeglio’s sentiment seemed to be a common view. Alexa Angel, a student who works for MCCC Board chairman Joe Bellino, said that politics in the classroom do not bother her, either. “I don’t mind it. I’ve had professors where I could tell who they’re voting for,”
Angel said. “But they never tried to force anything on us.” “In the past, I had a teacher who talked about his political views a lot, but it never felt like he was trying to force us to believe the same way he did,” said Emma Muth. “He shared his opinions, but at the same time, he wasn’t trying to indoctrinate us.” Professor Tim Dillon agrees that teachers should be allowed to discuss politics with their classes. “Professors should absolutely be allowed to discuss their beliefs,” Dillon said. “It’s called academic freedom.” Academic freedom allows both teachers and students to engage in intellectual debate without the fear of punishment or censorship. Dillon went on to say that professors should make sure that they are allowing students to respond. “I don’t think it’s proper to push political beliefs without also allowing students to have a voice,” Dillon said. Professor George Conklin, who is both a practicing lawyer and political science professor at MCCC, agreed that educators should be able to voice their political beliefs. “As long as the professor states that it is their personal opinion, I do not see anything wrong with it,” Conklin said. Like many of both the professors and her peers, MCCC student Alex Potratz
Artwork by Leigh Cole
agrees that teachers should be allowed to give their personal political opinions. “My political science professor gives both sides when discussing political views,” Potratz said. “He doesn’t ever say that there’s a right or a wrong way. He just gives us the information and allows us to decide.”
Dillon said he believed that these types of discussions were important because they force students to examine their views. “I will always take the position of the author we are reading, although it may or may not be my position regarding an idea, philosophy, etc.” Dillon said. “I also
always tell my students, because literature should challenge your thinking, if you have not been offended by ideas we have discussed by the last class of the semester, please raise your hand and I’ll do my best to offend you by challenging your thinking that day.”
Quarty gives annual State of the College address Vanessa Ray Agora Staff
Architecture and Design | Arts and Sciences | Engineering | Management
Keeping the word “community” in community college was the theme of this year’s State of the College address. Held Oct. 25 on the fourth floor of Monroe Bank and Trust’s downtown headquarters, the event overlooked the very community it was pledging to support. Moderated by President Kojo Quartey, the address featured a variety of speakers who focused on the millage and the importance of the college. Quartey started the presentation by going over some of the positive changes, such as the new partnership with Spring Arbor, enrollment and the reemergence of the Whitman Center. “After several years of decline, enrollment has started to stabilize,” Quartey said. “The Whitman Center, which we were discussing shutting down, is vibrant again.” Often quoting notable authors when discussing how MCCC changed his life, Al Barron, Monroe Township Supervisor and MCCC alumus, gave an entertaining presentation
Photo by Joseph Abrams
MCCC President Kojo Quartey gives his annual State of the College address.
“I never let my schooling interfere with my education,” Barron said, while quot-
ing Mark Twain. He also addressed those who opposed
the millage. “I hear those who ask, ‘I don’t use the college. Why do I have to pay for it?’ My answer is simple – we live in a community. A community is we, not me,” Barron said. “If you think education is expensive, what do you think ignorance costs.” Julie Bestie Waltz, an MCCC alumnus and secretary of the American Nuclear Society – Michigan and Ohio session, spoke about the ways that MCCC has changed her life. Bestie Waltz shared about the uncertainty she felt as an employee of the automotive industry during the 2008 crisis. “I happened to see an ad in the Monroe Evening News for the MCCC nuclear engineering technology program.” Bestie Waltz said. “I spoke with Mark Hall and decided to try out a class.” The education Bestie Waltz received at MCCC helped support her plans. “Thank goodness the college was there for me,” Bestie Waltz said. Current MCCC student Gunner Badillo was the last speaker, however, his words were some of the most powerful. Dressed in a suit, bowtie, and MCCC
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cap, Badillo spoke about his life before college. “I was at The Orchard and close to dropping out,” Badillo said. “Luckily I was given a chance at MCCC.” Badillo has been accompanying Quartey going door-to-door for the millage. “I saw a cause that I felt strongly for,” Badillo said. “If I don’t step up, I can’t expect anyone else to.” He said that the community response to the millage has been positive. “People have been responding very well. A lot of people just don’t know what they have to do. They at first see us as solicitor’s and say no,” Badillo said. “As soon as I tell them I’m from the college, they listen.” Quartey closed the meeting by emphasizing the importance of the millage. “Two weeks is an eternity in politics,” Quartey said. “We appreciate whatever help you can give us.” “Let’s keep the word community in community college. It’s important,” Quartey said. “It’s essentially our middle name.”
6| mcccagora.com •
October 31, 2016
MCCC hosts discussion over Kaepernik
Vanessa Ray Agora Staff
There has been much talk as to whether Colin Kaepernick and other athletes are justified in their protest of the National Anthem. About 70 people attended an Oct. 18 forum at MCCC on the topic that was moderated by president Kojo Quartey and consisted of seven panel members. Each member of the panel, which included professors, a state representative, and the Republican nominee for sheriff, agreed that Kaepernick should be allowed to express his view. “He has every right to protest,” said former MCCC professor Bob Leski. The debate between the panelists centered on the way in which the quarterback was performing his protest. “I totally agree with the protest,” said adjunct professor and Agora Chorale director, Catherine Brodie. “I just wonder if there would be a better way to do it. Perhaps the players could kneel before the kickoff?” Brodie said she is concerned about how Kaepernick’s protest is affecting veterans. “I think it’s wrong to disrespect veteran’s. We need to be careful of hurting the families of someone lost in battle. I’m
Photo by Vanessa Ray
Dave Yule and Catina Polk look at Bob Leski as he makes the black power sign.
ashamed that we still haven’t learned to live peacefully,” Brodie said. This train of thought was questioned by Meadow Montessori student Emily Jason, a member of the audience. “What about the families of the black men who have been killed?” Jason asked. Brodie reiterated that she absolutely did understand both sides and supported Kaepernick’s right to protest. She just thought we should consider the feelings of others. “We all hurt each other too much,” Bro-
die said. Professor Leski said there was no “right way” to protest. “There was a terrible time in our history when you couldn’t protest war,” Leski said. “During World War II, over 100,000 citizens of Japanese descent were put into concentration camps here in America. Colin Kaepernick kneeling is one of the least forms of protest we have.” Representative Bill LaVoy said that he believes that the athletes are trying to get
people to think. “I think they are trying to do it in as respectful a manner as possible,” LaVoy said. “Some are offended, but they have every right to protest.” Catina Polk, a social scientist and adjunct professor, brought up statistics that show that even though African-American men make up 7 percent of the U.S. population, they represent 40 percent of those incarcerated. “The entire Black Lives Matter movement is about getting some change,” Polk said. Jim DeVries, a former MCCC professor and veteran, showed support for both Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement. “When people respond with “all lives matter,” what they’re really saying is, ‘go away,’” DeVries said. DeVries also talked about how insidious he believes racism is in America. “There is an endless permutation of racism. We need to admit, on a cultural level, that we are racist,” DeVries said. Robin West Smith, an adjunct professor and wife of a Detroit Police Officer, said she was grateful for the awareness that Kaepernick was bringing to police brutality.
“We look at the numbers, we see it with our eyes,” West Smith said. “There are just as many black people dying today as died at the hands of lynch mobs.” Josh Taylor, a student, asked the panelists why they weren’t discussing a statistic that claimed 91% of all Black people were killed by other Black people. Taylor falsely claimed that it was an FBI statistic. “Those are not FBI statistics,” West Smith said. “The stats he referenced came from a white nationalist website.” Upon checking, the Agora discovered that the statistics did in fact come from a white supremacist website and were retweeted by Donald Trump. Dave Uhl, a police officer for 40 years and the current Republican nominee for sheriff, received a round of applause when discussing how to bridge the gap between the police department and the community. “We need to break down the wall that currently exists and interact more with citizens,” Uhl said. “There needs to be change.” A.J. Fischer, MCCC’s Director of Financial Services, asked the panel where we go from here. “What do we do next” Fischer said. “You can ask me that question on Nov. 9,” West Smith said. “I won’t have an answer for that until we know the results of the election.”
College night offers students many choices
Joseph Abrams Agora Staff
Choosing the right college is difficult, and everyone has different priorities. To help students make this decision, MCCC held College Night on Oct. 18, an event where local colleges are invited to talk to students. College Night helps students learn what colleges are out there and what each has to offer. One of the students at the event, Justin Zboch, was surprised at the amount of alternatives. “It’s given me a lot of options to look more in-depth at my choices,” Zboch said. Most at MCCC have heard about the University of Toledo, but how many know about Bowling Green State University or Ferris State University? It is easy for smaller colleges to go un-
noticed when paired next to goliaths like the University of Michigan, but these colleges also have much to offer. The event was packed with students and their parents, many from the college but also from local high schools. According to Joyce Haver, one of the counselors who helped organize the event, about 350-375 people attended. Many students flocked to the booths of the popular giants, but most also stopped and looked at even the smallest colleges. When it comes to deciding where to go, there are many things to keep in mind like tuition, location, scholarships, prestige, programs, and student population. Still, what students want out of college seems to change from person to person. Zboch was primarily concerned about which classes and credits transfer to his college of choice, while other students’
priorities were different. “Tuition, obviously, is a big one,” student Matt Robertson said. Still, for some students, the price isn’t as important as the education they’re getting. “First, programs they have,” student Michael Simms said when listing his priorities in college. Simms said he is looking for a college that offers his field of work, electrical drafting. Kenley Jewell, a student from Summerfield High School, is in the same boat. She said her top priority is looking for a college offering a four-year criminal justice program. Student Government members assisted with the event. While they were helping, they were also learning. Javed Peracha, Student Government
MCCC councelor Steve Mapes runs the MCCC booth
treasurer, was happy with the way the event went. “I think it was amazing,” Peracha said. “It’s difficult to visit each college.” Peracha said the event should be held
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Photo by Joseph Abrams
every year, perhaps even each semester. On the other hand, Student Government member Brian Friley pointed out that if the event was held every semester, the attendance might suffer.
October 31, 2016
Arts & Entertainment
mcccagora.com • The Agora
Spine-tingling classics to fright and excite James P. Quick Agora Staff
Boo! Scared? Hey, don’t be. It’s just your friendly neighborhood journalist, here to regale you with tales that are sure to terrify and intrigue! Or, in plain terms, here’s reviews of two classic horror films. Horror is a genre that is both simultaneously broad and niche. In the past, it had wider appeal. Just look at the decade-long box office sensation Dracula and Frankenstein created with their feature film debuts in the 1930s, or the ongoing slasher film craze kickstarted by John Carpenter’s classic Halloween the 1980s. Nowadays, horror seems to have a few set topics: stupid, horny, unrealisticallyattractive teenagers hunted down by a serial killer (usually masked, disfigured, or both), someone (usually a child) possessed by a ghost or demon, or the standard jumpscare-filled gore fest. These days, if you’re a real horror connoisseur wanting to find some true gems, you either go for the classics or for films that really didn’t have a theatrical release. Films such as Thirty Days of Night and Creep received solid reviews, but not a peep in most theaters. When I began this article, I intended to review a couple of favorite horror films from faculty and students. However, the student-suggested films were unavailable
– my apologies to those looking for the movies they suggested. What follows are two reviews: The Exorcist, suggested by English professor William McCloskey, and Halloween, suggested by Speech professor Mark Bergmooser. 1973’s The Exorcist is a true juggernaut of horror history. Its weak sequels aside, the film is a testament to the fear of the unknown, and to the psychological trauma that can befall humankind when we’re in over our heads. “The film was directed by Friedkin, I think, and written by Blatty… I think,” says McCloskey, who cited the film as his favorite. He’s right on both counts – William Friedkin was specifically requested by William Peter Blatty to direct this adaptation of his 1971 novel. The book itself was based on accounts from Loudun and Louviers in France circa the 1600s and the late 1940s case of Roland Doe. “I think I liked it because it was doing things in the horror genre that just hadn’t been done before,” McCloskey says. He’s mostly correct. The only other film that touched upon the subject matter of demonic possession before this one seems to be Häxan, a 1922 Swedish-Danish silent film that focuses more on how witchcraft can be interpreted as mental illness. While demonic possession films are a dime a dozen now, in the 1970s this was a fresh new pasture. When audiences saw the film, they were terrified. Some theaters issued barf bags especially for the film! Audiences had never seen such things before, on or offscreen. And what’s worse, it hit close to home for many mothers. The crux of the film is the motherdaughter relationship between Chris and Regan. As much as it’s about demonic possession, the film is also about the emotional trauma and sense of helplessness felt by most of those involved. After all, if you saw your only child doing what Chris sees Regan do in the film, you’d be hysterical, too! But what was truly striking was the sound design. These earlier horror films rely as much (or more) on sound design as they do on
visuals. While everyone remembers Regan’s diseased appearance, head-spinning, and pea soup vomiting, they’re actually relatively minor parts of the film. The sounds are what get you: the ringing noise plaguing the priest in the Iraqi marketplace, the ungodly, demonic noises Regan makes once she’s possessed, the cracking of her neck when it spins. All the sounds come together into a perfect storm of unease that really helps the movie set its tone and keep the tension at a fever pitch almost throughout. Another movie that makes effective use of sound – or, rather, lack thereof – is
Movies hitting theaters for holiday season Sawyer Jackson For the Agora
2016 is almost over. Over these last 10 months, I’ve seen many great films, some of which will end up on my Top 10 list at the end of the year. But November and December are special months for film. That’s not only when I can finally round out my Best of the Year list, but we start getting acquainted with films we will be hearing about during the upcoming awards season. In these final two months, you will possibly see a few releases that will go on to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. However, this list isn’t about the awards season, but rather it’s about the final batch of highly anticipated films of the year. If summer bummed you out (it most certainly bummed me out), then the holiday movie season looks to turn things around. Here are just some of the films to look out for this holiday season.
Doctor Strange (Nov. 4)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a franchise that is unrivaled. While we are already seeing other studios try to ape this method of an interconnected series of films, the MCU will remain significant because it was the first and because it is constantly evolving and growing wider. After the fracturing of the Avengers (spoiler alert) in the Phase Three starter “Captain America: Civil War,” the MCU is about to get stranger with its 14th installment (pun intended). The film introduces a long-awaited hero in Dr. Stephen Strange, played by the brilliantly casted Benedict Cumberbatch. After a horrific car accident ends his career as a neurosurgeon, Strange begins his journey around the world to heal himself, but instead finds himself learning the ways of the mystic arts.
“Doctor Strange” will introduce us to the supernatural side of the MCU. With the supernatural come alternate universes, parallel dimensions, and time travel; all with a dash of the metaphysical. As someone who saw 15 unreleased minutes of the film in IMAX not too long ago, I can attest the trailers’ “Inception”like visuals of buildings and cityscapes folding and twisting into each other won’t prepare you for the mind-tripping visuals that I saw. It’s hard to describe them in detail, but words I would use are trippy, hypnotic, and kaleidoscopic. In other words, do not take any hallucinogens before seeing this film. The film is just two weeks out at the time of this writing, so if you want to start off the holiday season right, check out the last comic book movie of the year.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Nov. 18)
To say “Harry Potter” had a massive impact on both pop culture and the world, is an understatement. A fictional universe like the one J.K Rowling created only comes around maybe once every generation. Even with the book series having ended almost a decade ago and the film series wrapping up five years ago, the wizarding world’s presence in the public conscious hasn’t faded one bit. So it was inevitable that Warner Bros. would try to keep the cash coming by bringing the franchise out of retirement with a new prequel series set 70 years before the events of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” On the surface, this sounds like a typical greedy studio desperately trying to make money off a well-known property by putting the bare minimum effort into it. And it would be if it wasn’t for the fact that Rowling herself is making her screenwriting debut with this film. Warner Bros. needs Rowling more than she needs them, so her involvement adds much credibility and confidence in the film. Whether it pays off, we’ll find out soon. Either way, get ready for a new era in the wizarding world.
La La Land (Dec. 9 limited release; Dec. 16 wide release)
I had to include at least one possible Oscar contender on the list. Based on early word of mouth, its Oscar chances have been cemented. From writer/director Damien Chazelle, who directed one of 2014’s best films in “Whiplash,” comes a contemporary musical/drama/comedy/romance in the vein of a classic Hollywood picture.
Its two leads are Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in their third collaboration. They play two lovers who dream of fame and success in Los Angeles. Again, early word on the film has been astounding so far after playing at several film festivals these past couple months. I’ve spoken to people who have seen it and they have nothing but magnificent things to say. Just going by the trailers, everything from the atmosphere to the tone to the actors suggests this is one of those films people are going to fall in love with. I can’t wait to see for myself come December.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Dec. 16)
This one is a no-brainer. I’m positive I would have people screaming directly in my face if I left this out. Just so it’s clear, expect a new “Star Wars” film to pop up every December from now until the end of time (at least that’s what Disney wants). But before we check back in on Rey, Finn, and Luke Skywalker next year with “Episode VIII,” we’re going back before the events of “A New Hope,” where the Rebel Alliance forms a team to steal plans for the Death Star. Whether you have seen any trailers or not, that is about as far as I will go with plot details. “The Force Awakens” worked well on its first viewing because of how little I knew about it beforehand (I’m still surprised that in the Internet Age that I was able to go in completely spoilerfree). “Star Wars” is quite possibly one of the most iconic film franchises of all time, so I don’t feel like I need to sell anyone on its significance. The fact that “Star Wars” is back with a new film every year is worth getting excited about.
1978’s Halloween, directed by celebrated horror director John Carpenter. This is Bergmooser’s favorite horror film. “I love the whole atmosphere,” he says. “From the music, to the editing, to the acting. It was a minimalist approach, and it really generates fear.” Really, if we wanted to call it a day, that’s the movie’s best aspects to a tee. The music is never obtrusive and is used sparingly to great effect. The cast all give strong performances, even the children. And the editing and minimalistic approach – results of having a small budget mostly blown on getting Donald Pleas-
ance to appear – lend the film a stark, almost alien atmosphere that grips viewers by the shoulders and squeezes just hard enough to be uncomfortable. What really held my attention during the film is something most don’t actually pick up on. Namely, that Michael Myers has a sense of humor. Watch carefully and it’s clear that he’s having the time of his life here. Slasher movies like this are always some variation on a cat and mouse game, and the cat, in this case Michael, always has a whale of a time. Even more than that, Michael makes little jokes. Early in the film there’s a scene with the main character, Laurie, and her friend, Annie, on the street. Michael drives by rather quickly and Annie calls out that “speed kills!” The car abruptly brakes, and sits, idling for a bit while the girls mutter amongst themselves. Then it takes off. It demonstrates Michael’s sense of humor and also freaks them out a bit. The growing horror of the monstrosity that is Michael. Later on, Laurie’s other friend, Lynda, and her boyfriend, Bob, are about to have sex. Only one problem: Michael’s killed Bob. Michael turns up to kill Lynda, pretending to be Bob by wearing his glasses over a white sheet ghost costume. He stands in the doorway until she gets unnerved and calls Laurie, then strangles her with the phone cord. Now on the face of it, this seems like standard slasher fare. But think about this. Why did Michael turn up like that? Why not just stab Lynda (who’s still naked, and thus almost totally defenseless) and be done with it? Because, in his own sick way, Michael’s having fun. He clearly saw Bob’s glasses and thought, “Oh, I know exactly what to do with these!” Then he used his knife to carve holes in a sheet and went upstairs in Bob’s stead. I suppose it’s true what they say: if you do what you love, you never actually work a day in your life. All in all, I’d say that along with the professors, I recommend these movies – provided you have the stomach for them.
Shenandoah concert impresses audience Leigh Cole Agora Staff
MCCC played host to the legendary Country Music group Shenandoah on Oct. 22 and was rewarded with a show they won’t soon forget. The night opened with Monroe native Cory Young, a former Luna Pier volunteer fireman and cancer survivor turned music performer. Cory was well received by a small but enthusiastic group of former co-workers at the show, and he acknowledged their presence as any returning hometown performer would. Musically, his acoustic performance was a rum-soaked fusion of Jimmy Buffet and Kenny Chesney’s styles. Cory’s writing and music seems to center on Florida, boating, and a nonstop celebration of inebriation. There was a short break between sets, and people mulled quietly about as guitar technicians set the stage for the featured act. A quiet anticipation filled the air and all conversation ceased as the lights went down. A pre-recorded tape began to play the voice of Ronald Reagan, followed by snippets of mid-1980’s and early 1990’s sound bites. Finally, the lights came on, and there they were. The CMA awardwinning super group Shenandoah. From the opening notes of the hit, “Next to You, Next to Me,” it was obvious the audience was in for a very special night. Lead singer Marty Raybon was in fine form. His voice had not changed in thirty years and the band delivered its unique, powerful, driving brand of country music. The band has generated a powerful catalog over the last thirty years, and played them all. These are experienced musicians who know how to bring excitement to a live show as only seasoned professionals can. Raybon proved to be a showman of the highest order. He told stories between songs and worked the crowd. His style is to make everyone feel as if he was singing just for them. In addition to playing megahits like “Two Dozen Roses” and “Sunday in the South,” the band introduced new songs from its upcoming album and then took some unexpected detours. Noting the April passing of songwriting legend Merle Haggard, the band seamlessly transitioned into a medley of his hits that had everyone singing the familiar classics like “Silver Wings,” “Working Man Blues,” “Okie From Muskogee,” and others. Based on the reaction of the audience, they were deep into friendly territory. “2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ showed us the truest meaning of love and compassion by dying for us all,” Raybon
Photo courtesy of MCCC
Lead singer Marty Raybon
said, “and that’s what this song is all about.” The crowd cheered enthusiastically as the band played “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart.” Shenandoah won a Grammy with Allison Krauss for this 1991 hit. Giving thanks to God is not new for Shenandoah. Their writing has always retained a Gospel flair, so it is no surprise the band’s latest effort, “Good News Travels Fast,” is completely Southern Gospel. The album received a nomination for The Dove Award’s 2016 album of the year. This led into the next segment, two Christmas songs, beautifully executed in Shenandoah style. Although it’s a bit early for Christmas music, the mini-set was well received. Next, Raybon noted the band formed in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the “hitmaking capital of the world in the 1960s and 1970s,” and the group dove into another medley. This time, it was an ode to the famous studio. Music from Otis Redding, to The Rolling Stones, to Aretha Franklin and Bob Seger was effortlessly churned out, putting the deft musical diversity of this band on full display. Finally, the band bowed to the audience, and exited the stage. Of course, no one left their seats, and quickly, Shenandoah returned for the obligatory encore. This was a rousing performance of the band’s biggest hit, “Church on the Cumberland Road.” Following the show, Marty came out to meet with the audience in the lobby. He spent the better part of two hours conversing, singing songs, taking photographs with fans, and signing merchandise. No one left disappointed. The crowd departed with a genuine warm feeling. The conversation was upbeat and happy and laughter filled the air. Marty and Shenandoah had truly touched their hearts and provided a welcome buffer, if for a short time, from all the turmoil and chaos in the world. It was truly a night Shenandoah’s fans will not soon forget.
8| mcccagora.com •
English professor/rockstar Tim Dillon
Arts & Entertainment
Political Science professor/politician Joana Sabo
October 31, 2016
Psychology professor/Lucy Melissa Grey
Dillon, Grey top caricature vote Agora Staff
In the Oct. 10 edition of The Agora, we asked students to vote for five professors they wanted to see Agora artist Leigh Cole caricature for Halloween. The poll, which included 25 professors, wound up with 1,110 votes. The five winners, caricatured above, were English professor Tim Dillon with 249 votes, Psychology professor Melissa Grey, 152, English professor Carrie Nartker, 111, Political Science professor Joanna Sabo, 108, and Nursing professor Holly Boylan, 95. The first two runners-up were Nursing professors Nicole Garner with 87 votes and Dawn Lymond with 77. Cole chose to caricature Tim Dillon as a Rockstar, Joana Sabo as a politician, Melissa Grey as Lucy from Peanuts, Carrie Nartker as maid Marian, and Holly Boylan as Florence Nightengale. Thanks to all the readers for voting in this poll. And congratulations to the winners! We really hope you all enjoy your caricatures. (Now then, can we use these as blackmail? Just kidding!)
Caricatures by Leigh Cole English professor/maid Marian Carrie Nartker
Nursing professor/Florence Nightingale Holly Boylan
Tis’ the season for fall game releases
So if you’re a fan of pokemon, but tired the same formula for generation after generation, give “Pokémon Sun and Moon” some consideration. It seems to be trying to do something different this time around.
Joseph Abrams Agora Staff
• Owlboy (PC) – November 1 • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – November 4 • Football Manager 2017 (PC) – November 4 • Mario Party Star Rush (3DS) – November 4 • Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization (PS4, Vita) – November 4 • Eagle Flight (PSVR) – November 8 • Assassin’s Creed: Ezio Collection (PS4, Xbox One) – November 11 • Silence (PC) – November 11 • Dishonored 2 (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – November 11 • Watch Dogs 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC) – November 15 • Planet Coaster (PC) – November 17 • Killing Floor 2 (PS4, PC) – November 18 • Pokémon Sun and Moon (3DS) – November 18 • The Crew Calling All Units (PS4, Xbox One, PC) – November 29 • Final Fantasy XV (PS4, Xbox One) – November 29 • Star Trek: Bridge Crew (Rift, Vive, PSVR) – November 29 With the end of fall nearing and Christmas in sight, the holiday season has arrived. Like many other markets, the holiday season deeply affects the sales of Video Games. To capitalize on this, game companies have taken to releasing highly anticipated games at the end of the year near Thanksgiving. This year is no different, some of the most anticipated games of the year are set to release in November, and here are some of the notable highlights.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Xbox One, PS4, PC) - Nov 4
Anyone who is even remotely interested in videogames knows about the “Call of Duty” series. This prolific series seems to have a new game coming out every year, and while this has left some fans disenchanted, some are eagerly awaiting the next release. The newest game in this series, Infinite Warfare, has met with some hot and cold reaction after its announcement. The game takes place in outer space
Final Fantasy XV (PS4, Xbox One) – November 29
this time around, featuring equipment like a zero-gravity suit, a grappling hook, and thruster packs offering massive mobility. While I’m not personally a fan of first person shooters, even I cannot ignore the massive popularity the series has generated with loyal fans who buy every new edition while being hungry for more. If a futuristic first person shooter is what you’re looking for, this game will hopefully fill the niche.
Dishonored 2 (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – November 11
Dishonored 2 is the sequel to Dishonored, a stealth action-adventure game. In this series, you play as a character with special powers, who will use these powers to either sneak past enemies or take them down. The first game had you as a man with powers such as the ability to teleport a short distance, slow down time, or dissolve corpses to prevent enemies from seeing them. While the last game you had only one character, the sequel introduces a new character to use alongside the main character of the last game. The new character is a woman who has powers like using a long tentacle type object to grapple on to objects and pull herself to them, or tying the fate of enemies together so killing one kills the others. Unlike the first game where the power you had could only be used one way, the sequel has introduced a skill tree system that lets the player choose from different versions of a power.
This means all the powers have some sort of nonlethal option for players who want to play stealthily. If you’re looking for a stealth game, or liked the original, then Dishonored 2 may be a game to pay attention to.
to undo the negative light the first game shone upon it, and hopefully it will. I could always use a game with a unique and fun premise. If you’re willing to give this series a second chance, or liked the first game, give it a look.
Watchdogs 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC) – Pokemon Sun and Moon (3DS) – November 15 The original “Watchdogs” released November 18 about the same time the new systems came out, and the game received mixed feedback. Though the game is reviewed favorably by the big gaming websites, the user review section reveals a more critical look. Some people liked it just fine, while others used it as proof that the new console generation was lackluster. In “Watchdogs” you play as a hacker who uses their abilities to do things like manipulating security cameras, traffic lights, and hack into people’s personal information to learn about them. This was a unique idea, but it was ruined in some people’s opinions by including a heavy focus on gunplay alongside it. Marring the identity of the original idea, and made the game feel bland. While a player can hack and sneak your way around, it far more likely that the player will just grab a gun and do the time honored fashion of hide behind waisthigh cover and shoot. Then the mess of technical issues that accompanied the PC release only cemented a lackluster feeling, which left people wanting more than it delivered. The sequel to this game must work hard
Pokemon is one of those series that seems to be either love it or hate it. Though, even those that love it might be growing tired of the formula Nintendo uses with each release. Every generation has added more and more features, but rarely do the games shake things up too drastically. “Pokemon Sun and Moon” are promising to change this formula from the tried and true “beat eight gyms, fight the enemy team, beat the elite four, you win.” The formal gym leaders that players have come to know are gone. Instead they have something known as trial captains, who appear serve a similar, yet different, purpose. “Pokemon Sun and Moon” are also introducing strange creatures separate from pokemon known as Ultra-Beasts. These beasts are powerful creatures whose purpose is not quite clear at this moment, but I’m confident players will have to fight them at some point. Alongside these new beasts, old favorite pokemon are also getting a facelift with the Alolan form. Old pokemon with designs, stats, moves, and typing different from their classic form.
Of all the games coming out this month, this is probably the one I’m looking forward to the most. If only from a purely spectator standpoint. “Final Fantasy XV” is the newest game in the Final Fantasy series, a long running RPG series that has been around since the Nintendo game system around 28 years ago. However, “Final Fantasy XV” was not always a main entry in this series, and back when it was originally announced it was a side game for Final Fantasy XIII called “Final Fantasy Versus XIII.” “Final Fantasy Versus XIII” was announced 10 years ago. This game has been in development in some capacity for a decade or more now, and has left people scratching their heads. Why has this game taken so long to come out? Throughout the years the game has gone through many changes, with the battle systems, graphics, platforms it’s on, and gameplay changing all the way through development. While the main character has stayed the same the entire time, the story undoubtedly changed throughout development as well. The game follows the main character and his friends traveling across the land, and it has a real ‘road trip with your buddies’ type of feeling. The Final Fantasy series is known for grand stories that fill the world these games take place in, and I’m willing to bet this game will be no different. While I am a fan of the series, I’m also interested in how the reception of this game will be. Being in development for so long can only raise expectations, perhaps to unrealistically high levels. Sometimes reality can never measure up to the fantasies people have. This game has been in development for almost half my life, so I’m eager to see how it finally turns out. If you love RPGs then give this one a look, it’s sure to go down in history if only because of the odd circumstances surrounding its creation.