Spring 2017 - Issue 7

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New College of Florida's student-run newspaper







Who is to blame for bias?

New College and Herald-Tribune debate data that inspired judicial oversight bill BY JASMINE RESPESS AND PARIESA YOUNG A study authored, but not released, by Director of Data Science Patrick McDonald and several data science graduate students is making waves in the headlines and legislature. The study called into question the findings of a Sarasota Herald-Tribune report, which revealed that Florida judges unfairly sentence Black defendants to more time in jail than White defendants. New College President Donal O’Shea decided to get McDonald involved in the research, because he believed that judges were being specifically targeted as biased, especially Judge Charles Williams, a Black man. “There was something serious going on in there, but to blame the Black judges seemed to me to be just [...] like an old story,” O’Shea said. “Whether you

Giulia Heyward/Catalyst

At the April 9 Towne Meeting, Donal O'Shea appeared to answer students' questions about the recent Herald-Tribune article.

should assign that to judges is difficult and whether you should say the judges are biased is another thing.” In sociological studies by professors at places such as Northwestern University, it has

been proven that people of color face bias in the criminal justice system. Reporters from publications such as the Washington Post have used these findings to report that racial bias causes Black Americans to face greater

challenges at every stage of the justice process. When Black individuals are three times more likely to have their car searched by police, twice as likely to be arrested for drug possession and given sentences 10 percent longer than white counterparts, according to Slate, there is not much room for debate over whether racial bias occurs in the criminal justice system. Yet the debate over whether a judge, the foremost authority in the courtroom, plays a role in this bias still rages on. Bias on the bench The findings of the Herald-Tribune report specifically highlight the role that judges play in an implicitly biased system. By analyzing sentencing data from across Florida, the paper found that despite legislative mechanisms in

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Growth Planning Charrette designs future of New College BY JORDI F. GONZALEZ New College is in the midst of a transformative era with the four-day long (Apr. 3 to 6) Growth Planning Charrette finished and the Sweet Sparkman Architects design team delivering creative ideas for impactful improvements on campus. All of this is tentative until a final decision is released by the Board of Governors’ Budget and Finance Committee whether the over $70 million will be granted to fund the large scale project. The charrette was meant to investigate the desires the New College community had for alterations of the campus. In architectural education, a charrette occurs when a group of students are given a challenging task to complete in a short time. Groups usually pull all-nighters and work intensively until the task is done. That’s just what Jerry Sparkman and the rest of the design team did to have a clear illustrative mapping of future endeavors. “The idea of this process is that we will end up with a pretty clear


idea of what the construction might be,” Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies David Brain said after the first charrette on Apr. 3. “So, if we get the funding, then we’ll kick into gear and do the next step” of finding the right contractors and workers to finally start sticking shovels in the ground. The design team mainly concentrated on community feedback and was most interested in fulfilling needs expressed by participating students, faculty and staff. They focused on gathering and assembly areas, food service, multi-purpose recreation, student organization spaces and more. Multi-Purpose Facility The most popular idea at the first brainstorming meeting was a sort of multi-purpose assembly and gathering area. From graduations that could house up to 1,500 people to having more food service options and more student-use space, the proposed facility may be built where the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC) and the Palmer buildings stand currently. The complex would include outdoor gathering space that may



Jordi Gonzalez/Catalyst

Illustrations of the New College campus helped attendees visualize how designs would impact the area

include a water feature and vegetation to provide shade. The design team was persistent proposed a wider overreaching top floor to provide efficient shade for the outside ground level as well. Housing Additional residential space would be added just behind the aforementioned multi-purpose facility.



The school may acquire land which would create significantly more room for housing to the west side of campus. Unfortunately, B-Dorm could be gone, so this is an attempt at replenishing those lost spaces and going beyond what once was.

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NASA’s first Cuban-American astronaut will enter space in 2018


Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) first CubanAmerican astronaut, will be sent to the International Space Station in November of next year. Born in Indianapolis to a Cuban father and American mother, AuñónChancellor originally began working with NASA as a Flight Surgeon in 2006. She was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2009, among a pool of an estimated 3500 qualified candidates. Auñón-Chancellor received her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1997, and a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 2001. She also completed an aerospace medicine residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch, in addition to a Master of Public Health in 2007; unsurprisingly, she is board certified in Internal and Aerospace Medicine.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons The first Cuban-American with NASA to be sent to space was selected from a pool of about 3500 candidates.

“Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be an astronaut, but I didn’t know what path I needed to take to achieve it,” Auñón-Chancellor told NBC Latino. “I always loved the sciences. Engineering was a good tool because it teaches you to think critically and to solve problems, but my instincts led me to study medicine. I earned my degree in 2001 and went on to do two residencies: internal medicine and aerospace medicine.” Auñón-Chancellor received the United States Air Force Flight Surgeons Julian Ward Award in 2009, the Outstanding UTMB Resident Award in 2007 and the William K. Douglas Award in 2006 for her medical achievements within the field of aerospace. According to a press release sent out by NASA, Auñón-Chancellor will depart in November of 2018, launched from the Baikonur, Kazakhstan space center. It will be her first visit to space. Information gathered from babalublog. com and nasa.gov

Coral bleaching damages nearly two-thirds of Great Barrier Reef BY JACOB WENTZ New aerial surveys have shown that two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has been damaged by unprecedented coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is the loss of algae living within the tissues of coral, resulting in a pale white version of the once-colorful invertebrate. This expulsion of symbiotic algae happens when corals are stressed by changes in condition such as temperature, light or nutrients. The bleaching affects a 1,500 km (900 miles) stretch of the reef, according to scientists. The new damage is concentrated within the middle section of the reef, whereas last year’s bleaching affected mainly the northern section. Coral is able to recover from bleaching, but the close proximity of the two instances raises fear that the coral will be forever damaged. "Since 1998, we have seen four of these events and the gap between them has varied substantially, but this is the shortest gap we have seen," James Cook

Image courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration University Professor Terry Hughes told the BBC. "The sooner we take action on global greenhouse gas emissions and transition away from fossil fuels to renewables, the better." In 2005, the U.S. lost approximately half of its coral reefs in the Caribbean due to a massive bleaching event that

"Where's Maria?" © 2017 the Catalyst. All rights reserved. The Catalyst is available online at www.ncfcatalyst.com, facebook.com/NCFcatalyst, @ncfcatalyst The Catalyst is an academic tutorial sponsored by Professor Maria Vesperi. It is developed in the New College Publications Lab using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign and printed at Sun Coast Press with funds provided by the New College Student Alliance.

was caused by a dramatic shift in water temperature. The warm waters around the northern Antilles near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico expanded southward, creating a thermal stress that was greater than the previous 20 years combined. In January 2010, cold water

Pariesa Young General Editor Giulia Heyward Managing Editor Ryan Paice Copy Editor Magdalene Taylor & Jacob Wentz Online Editors Audrey Warne & Layout Editors Anya María Contreras-García Katelyn Grimmett, Staff Writers Jasmine Respess, Dylan Pryor, & Photographers Jordi Gonzalez, Jason D'Amours, Kelly Wilson, Cassandra Manz,

temperatures in the Florida Keys caused a coral bleaching event. Water temperatures dropped approximately 12 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the typical temperatures observed during that time of year. The latest damage happened without the assistance of El Niño, a weather pattern previously associated with bleaching events. Researcher Dr. James Kerry said the damage was unprecedented. "The central third this year, I would say, was as severe in terms of bleaching as what we saw as the northern third last year," Kerry told the BBC. "For those reefs that were hit two years in a row, it is effectively a double whammy. They have had no chance to recover from last year's events." The Great Barrier Reef was given World Heritage status in 1981. The UN asserts that it is the “most biodiverse” of all World Heritage sites, and that it is of “enormous scientific and intrinsic importance.” Information gathered from bbc.com and oceanservice.noaa.gov Direct submissions, letters, announcements and inquiries to: The Catalyst 5800 Bay Shore Road Sarasota, Florida 34243 ncfcatalyst@gmail.com The Catalyst reserves the right to edit all submissions for grammar, space and style. No anonymous submissions will be accepted. Submissions must be received by 12:00 p.m. Friday for consideration in the next issue.


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NCPD keeps up the ‘pace’ on campus safety with AEDs BY GIULIA HEYWARD Portable orange devices, with the ability to quite literally restart a pulse, have been placed in buildings all across campus.These devices are known as Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) and are part of an initiative spearheaded by the New College Police Department (NCPD) in the face of overdose, alcohol poisoning, or any other heart-related condition. “AEDs are used when your heart stops beating, it could be because of alcohol use, drug use, drowning, electric shock or a heart defect from birth, or heart attack,” NCPD Chief Officer Michael Kessie said. The NCPD officers are formally trained in using AEDs, as well as the Metz staff. However, AEDs are designed to be accessible enough that, in an emergency situation, a student could be able to operate one. “It’s very simple to operate these,” Kessie said. “When you open these up, it gives you instructions on exactly what to do so, you don’t have to be a doctor, and you don’t have to be trained, in order to use an AED.” The AED is designed to register when a potentially unconscious individual’s heart is no longer beating, meaning that it erases the potential to use the equipment unnecessarily. The AED comes with written instructions, and can give instructions orally in both English and Spanish. According to Kessie, AEDs are currently in every single NCPD vehicle, the lobby in the Cop Shop, Hamilton “Ham” Center, Sainer, Physical Plant, the Jane Bancroft Cook Library and the Fitness Center. The NCPD plans to secure AEDs in Sudakoff Center and College Hall in the near future. Each AED comes to a whopping $1500, meaning that approximately $18,000 worth of equipment is now on campus. The NCPD has appointed Officer Adam DeSantis in charge of doing monthly check-ups of the AEDs. The pads for the AEDs need to be replaced every two years and each AED

comes with an 8-year warranty. “I think the cost [of the AED] is a lot of money but, if you can save a life, you can’t put a price on that,” Kessie said. According to Kessie, the NCPD paid for the AEDs on NCPD vehicles and in the lobby of the Cop Shop, while Student Affairs, the New College Student Alliance (NCSA) and the NCPD split the cost for an AED in Ham, and the Dean of Libraries and the NCPD split the cost of an AED in the library. The AED located in the Fitness Center was paid out of the Fitness Center budget. “Time is your biggest enemy,” Rob Williams, Senior Territory Manager for Cardiac Science, said. “As every minute goes by, your chance of survival goes down by 10 percent. [...] It’s important that AEDs are available across campus and in police vehicles because they are now publicly accessible.” Cardiac Science is based in Wisconsin, where the company manufactures AEDs. Williams serves as the Senior Territory Manager for the state of Florida. According to Williams, Cardiac Science has also sold AEDS to college campuses such as the University of Florida (UF) and Florida State University (FSU). The AEDs have not been reportedly used on any individual on campus yet. “To me, it’s just another tool we have to protect our community,” Kessie said, while also referring to the naloxone - a drug used to reverse opioid overdose - and the supply of bike locks available on campus, as other equipment that the college has paid for. “The quicker you get this on somebody, the better chance they have to survive rather than waiting for an ambulance to get here. There have been a lot of times where these have saved peoples’ lives so, for us, [having them] was really a no-brainer.” For more information about AEDs or Cardiac Science, Williams can be emailed at RWilliams@cardiacscience.com.

Growth Charrette CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Parking “The one thing I think could’ve been focused on more was parking,” second-year Iyanu Corniel wrote in an e-mail interview. “It seemed that even though we will be accommodating more students, additional parking areas seemed like somewhat of an afterthought.” Outdoor Classroom Lastly, taking advantage of the incredible view of the Sarasota Bay we have accessible on our campus, the design team thought of building a small structure near College Hall that would

serve as a sort of auditorium style classroom with glass screens that allows for a grandiose view of the nature right outside. Overview of Charrette “I was actually impressed by the conceptual level of each of the tables [groups that brainstormed in first meeting],” Brain said. “There were just a ton of great ideas that came out that gave the designers a lot to work with.” To read the full article, visit ncfcatalyst.com



Hiring a Title IX Coordinator: What you need to know


Thanks to Title IX, students are legally protected against sex and genderbased discrimination on their college campuses, but recent developments in the Trump administration caused some to question whether these national protections will be rolled back in the future. On our own campus, one person holds the potential to drastically influence New College’s implementation of this law – our new Title IX Coordinator. According to the official job description, “The Director of Campus Programs […] will serve as the campus Title IX Coordinator. […] The Director will develop, implement, and assess programs, experiences, workshops, seminars, and opportunities in order to educate the campus community on issues of Title IX. The Director will work with a variety of campus constituents to work towards a campus culture and climate of civility and respect as well as an absence of harassment and discrimination.” Because the Title IX Coordinator will work so closely with students and staff, each of the three candidates will be giving presentations and organizing activities related to Title IX. Anyone is welcome to these public events and students are especially encouraged to attend. “This position will be expected to have strong relationships with the entire campus community, especially students,” Dean of Student Affairs Robin Williamson said in an e-mail interview. “It is important to me to know that the students had a chance to meet with all candidates and give their opinion on them.” New College’s Title IX Coordinator will have to adjust to the unique needs of our campus, a fact that has been an obstacle for some of the candidates. “We have a huge trans population here, much bigger than most other schools, so it’s really important that we have a candidate who is knowledgeable about trans issues,” second-year Emily Via said. Approximately 40 percent of New College students identify as LGBTQIA+ and about 10 percent identify as transgender, much higher than the national average of less than 1 percent. “I have very limited knowledge in transgender aspects at all so it’s going to be a learning curve,” Daniel Hoover, one of the Title IX Coordinator candidates, said. “I think gender expression, transgendered, whatnot, I think for me, if I came in as a Title IX Coordinator, you know I’m not an expert on everything. I still think I can do the job. […] Are there areas where you feel uncomfortable because you don’t know everything the student is talking about? Sure, but you’ve got to educate yourself. Just because that

Anya Maria Contreras-Garcia/Catalyst Interviews with candidates were open for students to attend.

isn’t necessarily my identity, I can still learn.” Some students feel that an experienced and knowledgeable Title IX Coordinator would be most beneficial to the campus community. “I would want [a Title IX Coordinator] who is aware of the complicated aspects of consent and sexual violence,” Via said. “I want someone who will dispel rape myths and do good programming around Title IX, sexual violence, sex and gender discrimination. We need someone who can talk openly with students.” The first of the three candidates, Daniel Hoover, discussed these issues at his presentation on Monday, Apr. 11 in Sudakoff. “What is consent?” Hoover said during the presentation. “There’s a difference between drunk sex and rape, you know? You have a beer and you have sex, okay, that’s one thing. You have sex with somebody that can’t even consent, that’s a different story. […] I think it’s very grey area. […] It’s all case-by-case.” Hoover also discussed the issue of fairness and equality in Title IX processes to support all students involved. “I think we do focus heavily on the victim and I think that’s great,” Hoover said. “I don’t think all the time we think about how it impacts that other person. Especially on small campuses like this, I bet if someone did something on campus everyone would know. So where is that person getting support? They’re still our student, so how do you support them? I feel in a Title IX process you need to be able to support both students regardless of the situation.” Issues like these are integral to the daily work of Title IX Coordinators which is why students are so heavily encouraged to attend these

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BLM moves to Newtown to address local issues BY KATELYN GRIMMETT Black Lives Matter Manasota met at the Goodwill in Newtown on Monday, April 10, after several months of recess. Attendees from Newtown, New College and all around Sarasota-Manatee sat down to discuss the chapter’s main goal: empowering Black lives. With the election of Donald Trump, direct actions and national organizing occupied most of the chapter’s work. Now, it’s ready to get back to local issues and community building. BLM Manasota previously held their meetings at New College of Florida but decided to shift into Newtown in order to increase accessibility for Newtown residents. Newtown is a Historic African American Community and 90 percent of its population is African American. “We felt to address the needs of the [Black] community, we needed to have our meetings in the community most affected,” Greg Cruz, one of the chapter’s leaders, said. The meeting’s agenda moved through from a general introduction to Black Lives Matter (BLM), to focus groups and ongoing projects, to a generous chunk of time allocated to open community discussion. At the start of the meeting, a presentation on the Rodney Mitchell case was given by his mother, Natasha Clemmens. Mitchell was shot and killed by police officers in 2012 after being pulled over for allegedly not wearing his seatbelt. Rodney Mitchell has been at the

Jasmine Respess/Catalyst A Black Lives Matter protest held in November over racist policing took place in Bradenton.

forefront of the Manasota chapter’s work since it’s genesis in July of last year. An initiative to have a street in Newtown named after him is launching next month. The chapter plans to collect 1,000 signatures from Newtown residents and petition city commissioners to memorialize Mitchell’s life and death. Mitchell’s story was recently included in the Tampa-Bay Times’ six year study, “Why Cops Shoot,” as one of the six case studies focused on in the investigative piece. “Why Cops Shoot” as well as the Herald-Tribune’s article “Bias on the Bench” were discussed in detail at the meeting. The two recently released studies both address racism in the criminal justice system.

BLM Manasota has been in contact with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) regarding the legislation inspired by “Bias on the Bench” which intends to increase oversight on racial discrimination in the judicial system. Additionally, New College students are keeping in touch with the chapter’s leaders to relay their own efforts to have a new study done all together, this time with the involvement of Black and brown people. As the meeting opened up for discussion, two major issues prevalent to the Newtown community became apparent. One of them was gentrification. “Personally, being a resident of Newtown, I definitely see the

difference in the last few years,” Cruz said regarding the visible changes in Newtown’s landscape. “I’m all about redevelopment but they’re not using community resources and nothing is community first.” The chapter intends to hold educational services to make people aware of the property in Newtown that is still up for grabs. The second issue discussed at the meeting was the recent city ordinance that shut down street vending along Martin Luther King Boulevard. Several business owners directly impacted by the crackdown were in attendance. As with the gentrification issue, BLM Manasota’s main strategy “Everything boils down to education, the community needs to know how things are directly affecting them,” Cruz added. An ongoing project the chapter is working on alongside New College students and professors is a demand for local media organizations to cease the use of mugshots in news unrelated to the arrest. “We’re ready to present it but we want to make sure we make the most of it,” Cruz said. Moving forward, the chapter plans to form focus groups to better address particular issues such as restorative justice and community business. Future meetings will also incorporate general training like rights education and deescalation. BLM Manasota’s next meeting is set for April 24. To get involved, email blmmanasota@gmail.com.

Neil Gorsuch confirmed as Supreme Court Justice BY JACOB WENTZ Since the 2016 death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a 14-month vacancy within the nation’s highest court has influenced tension between democrats and republicans. This vacancy was recently filled, however, by President Trump’s nominee, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, who gained a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court after a dramatic Senate showdown. Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate to be the 113th justice of the Supreme Court. This event marks a victory for Trump, who has struggled to produce significant successes in the first months of his presidency despite pledges of sweeping change. “As a deep believer in the rule of law, Judge Gorsuch will serve the American people with distinction as he continues to faithfully and vigorously defend our Constitution,” Trump said in a statement. The final tally within the Senate was 54-45 in favor of confirmation. Three Democrats crossed party lines in favor of confirmation: Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) was not present for the vote. Over the 14-month vacancy period, Senate Republicans refused to consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Merrick B. Garland. Rather, they aligned themselves with the idea that the choice of next justice should belong to the next president. Within hours of Justice Scalia’s death on Feb. 13, 2016, Republican majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the seat would not be filled until the new administration came to power. The confrontation between parties changed the Senate. Gorsuch’s confirmation vote was only made possible after the Senate discarded traditional, long-standing rules. These rules were meant to ensure mature deliberation and bipartisan cooperation in considering Supreme Court nominees Democrats waged a filibuster against Gorsuch in order to deny him the 60 votes required to advance to a final vote. In response, Republicans lowered the threshold on Supreme Court nominations from 60 to a simple majority vote. This alteration allowed Gorsuch to be accepted into the

Supreme Court for life. During his confirmation hearings, Gorsuch faced 20 hours of questioning from senators. According to the New York Times, he said almost nothing of substance during his questioning - he merely “presented himself as a folksy servant of neutral legal principles.” Though both sides have little doubt that he will be a reliable conservative committed to following the original understanding of those who drafted the Constitution, Gorsuch’s appointment has raised opposition from civil rights organizations like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). “We are deeply disappointed by the Senate Republicans’ decision to pave the way for the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, who throughout his career has dismissed the role of the courts in protecting individual and civil rights,” President of the HRC Chad Griffin said in an online article. “He does not believe the Constitution protects marriage rights for same-sex couples. He has twice ruled in cases that undermined equality for transgender people. In his Senate testimony, he repeatedly dodged answers about the fundamental equality of LGBTQ+ people. If you

harbor any remaining doubt about his dangerous worldview, consider for a moment that Judge Gorsuch’s idol is none other than Antonin Scalia.” Many argue that Trump’s appointment was made in an attempt to keep the views of Scalia, who was traditionally quite conservative, alive within the Supreme Court. According to the HRC, Gorsuch has had a long and troubling career opposing civil rights. In a 2004 dissertation from Oxford University, Gorsuch revealed that he did not think the United States Constitution protected the right to marriage equality. In addition, he joined a 2015 ruling against a transgender woman who was denied consistent access to hormone therapy while incarcerated. This ruling dismissed the prisoner’s claims that the denial of care showed cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court has been divided 5-4 along ideological lines in multiple human rights cases. Justice Gorsuch’s vote, therefore, will prove crucial to the judicial process. Information gathered from washingtonpost.com, nytimes.com and hrc.org



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Katelyn Grimmett/Catalyst

Trump launches missile strike against Syria in response to chemical bombings BY DYLAN PRYOR On April 4, dozens of people died when one of the worst chemical bombings in Syria turned a northern rebel-held area into a toxic kill zone. On April 6, dozens of missiles were fired at a Syrian air base by the United States on orders from Donald Trump, taking the lives of 80 civilians. “Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air base in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” Trump said in remarks at Mar-a-Lago just hours after he ordered the strike. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.” The decision to fire 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Al Shayrat airfield marked a dramatic change in Trump’s stance on foreign policy, specifically as to whether the U.S. should take action against Syrian President Bashar alAssad’s regime. Trump said the choice was prompted in part by what he called the failures by the world community to respond effectively to the Syrian civil war. Russian forces were notified before the strike, which targeted Syrian fighter jets, hardened aircraft shelters, radars, ammunition bunkers and fuel and air defense storage sites. No Russian aircraft were at the base at the time of the strike, although there were Russians present. The full details of their role are not currently known. Russian officials later said the strike will undermine the war on terror and warned they would likely freeze cooperation with U.S. forces. "This is an act of aggression against a UN member," head of the Russian Federation Council’s defense committee Viktor Ozerov said. "Cooperation between the Russian and U.S. militaries may be shut down after the US strike." On April 9, Trump officials countered the warning by demanding that Russia stop supporting the Syrian government or risk deteriorating its relationship with the U.S.. “I hope Russia is thinking carefully about its continued alliance with Bashar al-Assad, because every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russia closer into some level of responsibility,” Tillerson said on ABC’s “This Week.” Conversely, Republican lawmakers generally supported the decision - although many, including Sen. Rand Paul, warned Trump against starting a war without consulting Congress. Among those supporting the decision were Senators John McCain

and Lindsey Graham, frequent critics of Trump. "Acting on the orders of their commander-in-chief, they have sent an important message the United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin's Russia, slaughters innocent Syrians with chemical weapons and barrel bombs," the two senators said in a joint statement. Trump administration officials maintain that the strikes and the resulting escalation of the role of the U.S. in Syria represents a graphic message to the rest of the world that Trump would no longer stand by and tolerate Assad’s violence in the Syrian civil war. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporter the strike was “proportional because it was targeted at the facility that that delivered this most recent attack.” On Tuesday, Tillerson arrived in Russia for his first visit as secretary of state and analysts predict that Moscow’s interest in easing sanctions placed on it by the U.S. will be greater than its loyalty to Assad, which may provide maneuvering room for Tillerson. Information for this article was taken from the New York Times, CNN and the Washington Post.

The Activist Newsletter BY ANYA MARÍA CONTRERAS-GARCÍA This week (4/12 – 4/19), activists have the opportunity to participate in film screenings, vigils, protests and meetings! Read on if you want to get involved in the community regarding immigrant rights, environmental issues, American politics or racial equality. Check out ncfcatalyst.com every week for an extended calendar of events! Thu, Apr 13 U.N. Human Rights / Police Accountability Documentary @ 7 – 9 p.m. West Tampa Branch Library, 2312 W Union St, Tampa, Florida 33607 Join Showing Up For Racial Justice Tampa for a guest talk that will provide activists with a basic understanding of the United Nations' human rights violations processes and the global impact of racism. The expert discussion will be followed by a screening of a riveting documentary on police accountability. For more info, check out the event page on Facebook. Thu, Apr 13 Love thy Neighbor Vigil for Human Rights @ 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Federal Building, 111 S Orange Avenue, Sarasota FL 34236 Join All of Us Sarasota at the "Love thy Neighbor" Vigil for Human Rights, a powerful community action calling on House Rep. Vern Buchanan's (R-Sarasota) to end his support for the Trump Administration's divisive antiimmigrant agenda. For more info and to RSVP, check out the event page on Facebook. Fri, Apr 14 Boycott Wendy’s Protest @ 6 – 7:30 p.m. Wendy’s, 1601 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34239 New College of Florida students will be ending a 5-day fast in solidarity with The Ohio State University students as part

of a campaign against Wendy's due to the company's refusal to join the Fair Food Program. Join NCF student fasters, farmworkers and Sarasota-area allies for a highenergy protest in support of the CIW's national Wendy's Boycott. For more info or to sign-up for the rideshare, check out the event page on Facebook. Sat, Apr 15 The Truth Matters Tax-Day March @ 12 – 4 p.m. "Unconditional Surrender" Statue, Island Park Drive, Sarasota, Florida 34236 Join activists marching for truth, transparency, media respect, human rights, environmental protection and for President Trump to release his tax returns. For more info, check out the event page on Facebook. Tue, Apr 18 Preserve the Celery Fields @ 6 – 9 p.m. Fogartyville Community Center, 525 Kumquat Ct, Rear, Sarasota, Florida 34236 Join activists in preserving the history and beauty of the Celery Fields! There will be slide show presentations by speakers explaining what's at stake on April 26th Sarasota Board of County Commissioners. This is a potluck event. Please bring food to share. Attendees are encouraged to bring plates from home to reduce waste. For more info, check out the event page on Facebook.

“Got Dignity?"

Students pressure Ben & Jerry’s to join Milk with Dignity Program BYJASON D’AMOURS While hundreds made the trip to the local Ben & Jerry’s to snatch a free ice cream cone on April 4, a group of students ride-shared to the St. Armand’s Circle location for a different purpose: to spread awareness of Ben & Jerry’s lack of commitment in joining the Milk with Dignity Program (MDP). The MDP was modeled off of the Coalition of Immokalee Worker’s (CIW) campaign for Fair Food after a farmworker survey revealed the challenges migrant dairy farmers face. It similarly calls on food corporations to take responsibility for any worker mistreatment or abuse that occurs in their supply chains. The MDP is composed of five essential elements: (1) to ensure a farmworker-authored Code of Conduct (CoC), (2) to provide education of the rights promised by the CoC, (3) to create a third-party monitoring body that enforces compliance with the CoC and handles worker complaints and reported violations, (4) to require corporations to pay an extra premium to farmers and farmworkers and (5) to require participating corporations be

bound to these agreements under the law. In 2014, members of Migrant Justice - a human rights and food justice organization based in Vermont - conducted a survey of 10 percent of Vermont’s dairy farm workers and found that 40 percent of farm workers receive less than the state minimum wage, 29 percent regularly work seven or more hours without a break to eat, while 26 percent never receive their pay stubs. Ben & Jerry’s sources most of its cream from St. Albans Cooperative farms, where many of Vermont’s approximately 1500 dairy farm workers are employed. This prompted the members of Migrant Justice and allies to call on Ben & Jerry’s, a company with a distinct and longstanding commitment to social justice, to join the MDP. One year later they publicly committed to adopt the program in their Northeast supply chain. “Ben & Jerry’s is proud of its longstanding relationship with the family farms within its Vermont supply chain,” the company said in a statement in June of 2015. “The member family farms of the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery share the vision and values

and work every day to deliver a dignified life for everyone working in the Vermont dairy industry. Our united vision is to ensure that everyone within Ben & Jerry’s Vermont dairy supply chain work under fair, just and dignified conditions.” But now in 2017, two years have gone by and Ben & Jerry’s has still not implemented the program, prompting the April 4 action to flood Ben & Jerry’s stores across the country to educate and spread awareness to consumers of their lack of initiative. “We signed an agreement to work with Migrant Justice to implement the Milk with Dignity program within our supply chain,” Ben & Jerry’s said in a statement on March 30. “It was a year later when we received the first draft of the program from Migrant Justice. We've been working diligently with them since then on the details of how to successfully operationalize the program, which still needs finalizing. We strongly support the goals of Milk with Dignity and believe that a worker led program is the best way to protect the rights and dignity of the workers on Vermont’s dairy farms. We remain committed to the agreement we signed and are continuing to work towards

a successful conclusion with Migrant Justice.” Rick, the owner of the local St. Armand’s Ben & Jerry’s, met students outside and urged them that if they needed anything to just let him know. Student’s delivered letters and signed statements of support from customers to Rick, who promised to pass the message up to his higher-ups. Second-year Kayla Kisseadoo appreciates Ben & Jerry’s efforts towards a future that protects and ensures justice for dairy farm workers, but believes it is important to continue the fight and sustain the pressure. “Until our migrant families are working in clean and safe environments, until they are paid fairly and on time and until they are no longer abused, we shall not rest,” she said. “This is a positive step, but we need to see commitment!” To learn more about Migrant Justice or to get involved with their initiatives, visit migrantjustice.net. Information for this article was gathered from migrantjustice.net, thinkprogress. org, benjerry.com and coworker.org.

Some individuals argued with New College students about the supposed necessity of the Milk with Dignity Program.

all photos Jason D'Amours/Catalyst (left) Individuals on Migrant Justice's email list received an "action pack" with printable signs to bring to the April 4 action. (right) Second-year Ximena Pedroza talked to Ben & Jerry's free-cone goers to spread awareness of the Milk with Dignity Program.

New College students ask Ben & Jerry's, "Got Dignity?" and "Leche con Dignidad."


The [forum] is back, but why did it break? BY MAGDALENE TAYLOR For a little over a week, the student body and alum community no longer had an easy venue to seek roommates, report missing items, share opinions and start virtual arguments. Instead, they were left to posting to the StudentsList email server, or even to social media, as the forum moderator worked to figure out why the forum was no longer working. The forum is a listserv that runs under the domain ncfforum.com, a domain purchased via GoDaddy, a domain registrar and web hosting platform. For years, the domain was continually renewed, though the details of this renewal weren’t clear or passed on to the forum moderators each year. However, some research was done last year by the previous forum moderator, thesis student Catherine Wooster. According to Wooster, the last forum moderator to renew the domain was a student named Justice Mills. Mills had been paying for the domain for the last seven years and was set to expire during Wooster’s time as moderator. To ensure that the proper information about the domain would be passed along to each year’s moderator, Wooster set up the domain to renew each year. This way, future moderators wouldn’t have to track down the information via alums, like Wooster did. When the domain expired again this year, current moderator David Finch had to retrieve the password and name of the original domain owner


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 2017 www.ncfcatalyst.com | @ncfcatalyst

to GoDaddy in order to be allowed to renew the domain once again. For now, the forum will be set for another year. The role of forum moderator has always been loosely structured, with little information being passed on as the position is handed off each year. In previous years, the position was handed down among friends. According to Wooster, Mills claimed that the forum used to be a “monarchy” and that he was the first “democratically appointed moderator.” Today, the position is voted upon in NCSA elections. Anyone can run for the position, and the essential duties are to ensure the forum runs according to the Great Book and the Student Code of Conduct. In the past, the rules of the forum weren’t always strictly enforced. “I’ve heard that an old forum moderator used to post pornography,” said thesis student Marley Disalvo. “I remember getting a lot of ‘@13’ animosity,” thesis student Marianna Bonilla said. “I was very scared [of the forum],” Disalvo said. “I lost my phone one time and almost had a panic attack about it. I had to have it proofread.” Both Disalvo and Bonilla agree that the forum is a much calmer place than it was in the beginning of their time at New College. “People are a lot more careful about what they said,” Bonilla said. “Content warnings weren’t a thing our first year.” “I can’t even remember a single forum war this year,” Disalvo said.


Games, rides and free food at CWC Spring Carnival BY CASSIE MANZ On April 5, students wandered outside the Jane Bancroft Cook Library for a collective study break and found a New College-style carnival experience hosted by the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC). The CWC hoped the event would be a way for students to unwind from the rigorous academic campus environment and spend time with friends. "I'm having fun. I'm contemplating how much of a dork I want to look like riding the mechanical shark," thesis student and former New College Student Alliance (NCSA) co-President Paige Pellaton said, as she walked over to the ride. For the record, she didn’t look like a dork. There were several other rides and attractions besides the interesting Floridian take on the classic mechanical bull that was catered by Let’s Jump Events, “your premier event party rental source,” according to their website. Employees at the CWC handed out free snow cones, hot dogs and cotton candy, as well. “I’m enjoying this. This is fun,” first-year Lucy Sanz said. “I need a snow cone.” Anne Smith, a certified medical assistant at the CWC, is responsible for the recreational events hosted by the

Center and does it all as a volunteer, “because I love it.” She plans everything in her spare time - at night and on weekends - and spent around five months planning the carnival. “I love watching the kids have fun and I shouldn't say kids but because I’m old that’s how I view everybody,” Smith said. “I love to see everyone smiling and laughing and having a great time and socializing, so I think that’s important. And me, it makes me happy.” Smith received funding for the carnival from Student Affairs. The Office of the President also chipped in, which helped to buy the neon monkeys that were given out at one of the game booths as consolation prizes. Smith hopes to throw one more event before the end of the school year, maybe something around Easter. For now, she was satisfied with the turnout for the carnival and said it was “very positive.” “I just wanted something colorful and fun for campus. Nothing heavy, we've got enough going on on campus,” Smith said. “We're doing our last run up until graduation, we wanted something fun and exciting for an afternoon where we can kind of mingle with you guys too on a whole different level than in [the CWC].”

“Queer and Here”: Pride Ball kicks off Pride Month BY CASSIE MANZ Pride month kicked off at New College on April 4 with an arts and crafts poster making session in ACE lounge hosted by Queery, an LGBTQ+ student organization on campus. Posters with phrases like “Queer and Here” and “NCF Pride” written in glitter covered the floor as they dried. The signs now decorate the residential side of campus as “reminders about New College pride,” according to thesis student Oliver Goldsmith, who helped coordinate the event. The first week of Pride month continued with Pride Ball on Friday night. “We did something similar like [the poster making session] last year and we made a bunch of decorations for the Ball and that was really fun and successful,” Goldsmith said. “I think when you can get the whole community involved in generating art or just like self-expressing together that's like a really cool, powerful thing and that just generates a lot of New College Pride.” For Goldsmith, celebrating Pride month at New College is an “important way of supporting everyone, the whole community, through visibility and celebration.” “I think it’s really important

Cassie Manz/Catalyst Alyson Wonderland and Kiki Butter Lords performed at Pride Ball last year as well.

because there are LGBT people everywhere and even at New College where it’s something really accepted I think a lot of people here are all on journeys of self-discovery and so even if you enter here thinking you're one way, you know, you might find that you end up some place completely different,” Goldsmith said. “So I think Pride month, Pride ball, it’s all really important to gain visibility for the LGBT community because when someone sees that then they won’t be as afraid to express their own identity in the same way.” Queery also used the posters to decorate Palm Court for Pride Ball on

Friday night. Pride Ball was introduced to Goldsmith as “a big New College annual tradition” in his first year with drag performances by students. “It was just like a ridiculous celebration,” Goldsmith said. “That's what I love about New College because you can get on stage and perform and no one's going to judge you or anything.” When it didn’t happen his second year Goldsmith said, “There was just this realization that I had that if it’s going to happen then I would have to be the one to sort of make it happen and this year's Pride Ball is a continuation of that.”

At last year’s Pride Ball, professional drag queens Kiki Butter Lords and Alyson Wonderland performed in the drag show, many students’ first drag show, according to Goldsmith. “It was just so entertaining, so funny, so happy,” Goldsmith said. “It was just a hit.” Goldsmith and third-year Sara Gregory, who co-hosted the event last year and this year, brought the same performers back for Friday night and also created a lineup of student performers. It was an objectively good night, a showcase of the community New College creates and provides when students come together around something like Pride. Students cheered each other on during their performances and collectively raved over the drag queens’ shows, again and again. The night felt like one of those rare moments when one could believe they were feeling the same things as the stranger next to them: shock and excitement, awe and appreciation, maybe even the same sappy, unexpected rush of love for one’s school or friends but definitely pride, for oneself or for the people around or both.


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Bias on the bench

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 place to ensure fairness and consistency in sentencing, Black defendants still spend more time behind bars and judges around the state vary in their verdicts on otherwise equivalent cases. “No one has ever denied the bias in the criminal justice system that we found, but time and time again all we kept hearing was ‘It’s not me,’” Josh Salman, a Herald-Tribune investigative reporter who worked on the project, said. “The more we dug into it, the more we found that absurd.” The report, entitled “Bias on the bench,” was the product of over a year’s work from the Herald-Tribune investigative team and was released over the course of a few days beginning Dec. 11, 2016. The report came to several conclusions about the state of sentencing in Florida, mainly highlighting that in general, Black defendants are sentenced to more time locked up than White defendants, when comparing cases that are similar except for race. The paper also reported that this disparity is affected by – among other factors – the judge who presides over the case. The data used for the series came from the Offender Based Transaction Statistics (OBTS), which is compiled by state clerks of court, and Department of Corrections (DOC) data, which comes from the prison system. Herald-Tribune investigators analyzed documents from 2004 to 2016. Calls for judicial oversight The Herald-Tribune investigation precipitated a bill in the Florida Senate (SB 382) which would increase judicial oversight, creating a public database of judicial sentencing patterns which would be shared with the judges themselves and state officials, and reassign the cases of judges who show racial bias in their sentencing. On March 3, McDonald assented to two of his preliminary findings to be used to combat SB 382. Lawmakers temporarily postponed voting on the bill on March 10, to allow for further discussion after pushback from judges across the state. The bill was endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Poverty Law Center, but received criticism from judges and others who argue that it is not judges who hold the onus for patterns of racial injustice in the criminal justice system. The methodology and findings of the report which initiated the legislation have also been called into question. Questioning intentions and conclusions Day four of the investigation reported that Judge Charles Williams was reported to show significant racial bias in his sentencing. With a closer look at graphs of his sentencing patterns in the Herald-Tribune’s searchable database, Williams sentenced Black defendants who commit third-degree felonies for twice the time of White defendants. The opposite is true for first-degree felonies, where White defendants received higher sentences.

“Chiles appointed Williams to the bench in 1997 [...] Since then, the 59-year-old has sentenced whites to an average of 1,060 days for robbery, according to data compiled by the Florida Department of Corrections,” the article said. O’Shea, who has known Williams as a community member since the judge delivered a New College commencement address in 2013, was surprised to see Williams singled out in the HeraldTribune report, especially since he knew of Williams history as a member of the community. “It just seemed like an attack,” O’Shea said. Williams, who left the bench in 2004, had only one year of data available for the Herald-Tribune investigation, however the article spoke of his sentencing patterns since he was appointed as the circuit’s first Black judge. O’Shea did not think this was long enough for overarching conclusions to be made. He does not believe the HeraldTribune intentionally blamed Black judges for racial bias in the justice system, but that the article could have been misinterpreted to that end. However, the paper wrote in their first article in the series that as a whole, “Blacks who wear the robe give more balanced punishments.” A study published in the Southern California Law Review came to the conclusion that “minority judges tend to assess discrimination claims differently than white judges,” arguing that a judge’s race, among other demographic and social characteristics, does play a role in how they sentence. Taking another look After reading an op-ed O’Shea had published in the Herald-Tribune, Judge Williams and his colleagues reached out to see if the college had the expertise to prove that the Herald-Tribune findings were misleading. “I do think it’s important to speak out when somebody attacks a single member of the community,” O’Shea said. “The judges were delighted on the article.” In an email acquired by the Herald Tribune dated Dec. 20, 2016, McDonald told O’Shea and several circuit judges that “we have the expertise to do the required analysis.” However, in a statement to the Herald-Tribune, McDonald wrote, “I am a mathematician, not an expert in criminal justice.” The Herald-Tribune spent over a year cleaning up their data, the coding for which required an inch-thick book. They consulted often with system administrators who compiled the data to ensure that their interpretations of complicated codes in the data reflected reality. “It’s a really really complicated database,” Michael Braga, investigations editor at the paper, said. “Months and months of cleaning [...] We feel sorry for Pat McDonald, because he had to do it in less than a month.”

The Herald-Tribune received a request from the 12th Circuit Court for access to the raw data they used, but the paper did not turn the database over, despite offering to go over their methodology, as well as sharing the codes used to run their analysis. In a letter to Judge Williams signed by McDonald, the paper’s transparency was called into question. McDonald wrote that at minimum, the paper should have provided its raw data, software, code, a discussion of their interpretation and a measure of confidence in their findings. “When the 12th Circuit originally approached [Herald-Tribune] for the data, they said ‘Can we have your data?’ and I said ‘It’s actually your data,’” Braga said. “They are the ones that type it in.” The data used by the HeraldTribune had all identifying information redacted, while the 12th Circuit keeps unmodified databases of information. “I said to them, ‘Get it yourself, your data is better,’” Braga said. “They took that as me refusing to give them the data.” McDonald worked with the court to file the same records requests that gave the Herald-Tribune access to OBTS data, however he did not use the DOC data in his report, as the OBTS numbers were the ones used to make the initial claims about Judge Williams, he said. After gathering the data and coding it for analysis, McDonald worked with a group of 12 faculty and students to produce a report in under a week. A Herald-Tribune article titled “Judges defend role in sentencing with flawed study” published April 2, released both the 29-page preliminary report that McDonald had shared with judges and many emails between O’Shea, McDonald and staff from the 12th Circuit Court. The back and forth Once the Herald-Tribune investigative team gained access to the report authored by McDonald, it was clear to them that many errors had been made in the attempt to correct their work. They sent it to experts who agreed that the study rebutting their findings was flawed. “It wasn’t a true effort to understand what was going on in the justice system,” Salman said. “It was just an effort to exonerate the judges.” The study created a framework to analyze the sentencing patterns of only 12th Circuit Judges Williams and Lee Haworth, but was created with the intent for others to be able to replicate and change parts of the code to analyze any judge in the state. McDonald’s report that was finished in March highlighted several aspects of the Herald-Tribune investigation which were considered a cause for concern; “failure to control for confounding by plea deals, failure to control for time dependent guidelines and sentencing norms, and failure to control for strong coupling of charges in the computation of aggregates.” The most salient of these concerns, cited by Judge Williams, O’Shea and

McDonald, was the inclusion of plea deals, through which the majority of sentencing occurs in circuits throughout Florida. “I think a lot of the bias happens in the plea part,” O’Shea said. “I was appalled, because [Williams] had explained that only two percent of cases even go to trial.” Plea deals come with recommended sentences, where judges may change or alter the sentence, or open sentences, where the judge is ultimately responsible for choosing the length of time a defendant will spend in jail or on probation. While some judges simply approve any legal plea that crosses their desk, others alter the offered plea based on their experience and professional opinion. Although the plea is presented by an attorney, judges still play a role in the final verdict and approve the final plea. “We had reached out to numerous criminal justice and data experts who had done these types of studies before and they said ‘you absolutely include plea deals in your data analysis,’ so we did,” Investigations Reporter Emily Le Coz, who has worked on the Bias on the Bench series from the start, said. Although New College, the 12th Circuit and Herald-Tribune are still at odds about the exact mechanisms causing bias in sentencing, there is no denying that the criminal justice system is biased against people of color. “I think we should be honest and look at everything,” O’Shea said. “I think there is a bit of bias each way you go through [the criminal justice system.]” O’Shea explained that cops, public defenders, prosecutors and judges are all responsible for what happens in court. They are all responsible for serving justice. McDonald expressed a similar idea. “In 30 years there has been a movement towards mass incarceration and the burden falls heavily on people of color,” McDonald said. “It is by design [...] Lots of people contributed some consciously and some unconsciously. [A lot] rides on keeping the things the way they are. [...] Changing it won’t be easy.” Yet the jury is still out on how to research and remedy the racial bias. It is unclear whether lawmakers will move forward with SB 382 or propose further legislation to increase judicial oversight. The complete Bias on the Bench series may be found at projects.heraldtribune. com/bias.

Information for this article was taken from heraldtribune.com, slate.com, washingtonpost.com, americanbarfoundation.org.



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Mixing new and old traditions at the First Interfaith Passover BY KELLY WILSON After a very brief introduction to Gulf Coast Halal and an inclusionary prayer by campus reverend Melanie Kim, the interfaith passover celebration held in the Ringling College of Art and Design’s library began with an interesting discussion of the items on the Seder plate. The plate featured three semiuntraditional Seder plate offerings. The first was a tomato, to represent and bring attention to the oppression and liberation of farmworkers who work on harvests in the United States. This is an issue close to the hearts of New College students with the recent ColumBUS protest during spring break, which you can read about in a previous issue of the Catalyst, and the participation of five students in a five day fast which is part of a nation wide program to show support for farm workers. The second non-traditional item on the pate was an orange. The is said to represent inclusion, which was an important part of the celebration as Reverend Melanie Kim pointed out. “This is an appropriate time to invite neighbor and friend to come together [...] this is a spiritually significant holiday,” Kim said in her introduction to the event. However, the orange signifies inclusion especially for disadvantaged groups such as LGBT people of the jewish faith. “The Orange on the Seder plate has come to symbolize full inclusion in modern day Judaism for those who were traditionally not seen as full

Kelly Wilson/Catalyst

(left) The Passover Seder officially begins with the physical event of lighting candles and saying a blessing over them. (right) Community members observe Passover.

participants or leaders in Jewish life and traditions, especially women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people,” the Haggadah, the text governing the Seder celebration, states. The final non-traditional item on the plate was a Passover yam. This is a replacement for the Passover lamb, done not for the pun, but to symbolize the vegetarian’s celebrating Seder. Although New College students can appreciate the opportunity to recognize the a good pun, this replacement becomes relatable to them as a large percentage of the New College population identifies as either vegetarian or vegan. After the explanation of the items on the Sedar plate, the guests were instructed to drink their first glass of “wine” which was actually grape juice, because the event happened on Ringling College property. Keeping with tradition that no one should pour

their own “wine” each guest had their “wine” poured by a neighbor. Next guests were offered the opportunity to wash their hands, as is tradition for passover, usually done in a smaller intimate setting by the hosts. However, since there was a large amount of guests this step became optional in the interest of time. The next step was breaking the Matzah, a bread that represents the bread made by the Jewish people who did not have time to bake their bread as they ran from slavery. When the Matzah was broken the larger piece was hidden for someone to find later in the dinner, for a prize. After the Matzah came the Four Questions and the stories of the Four Children, and then the explanation of the ten plagues of Egyptian society. This Haggadah offered ten modern plagues as well, including things like homelessness, hunger and

environmental destruction as things that plague our modern society. Next, the matzah was blessed, and the guests were led through the Korech - the mixing of the bitter and the sweet. This is a moment where Charoset (a sweet apple and wine mixture) was mixed with maror (horseradish) between two pieces of matzah to create a hillel sandwich. This is done to tell the story of the Jewish people. “We mix the sweet charoset with the bitter maror, mixing bitter and sweet of slavery and freedom all in one bite,” explains the Haggadah. Then, finally guests were allowed to enjoy the Passover meal. This meal offered many vegetarian options out of respect for the vegetarian population as well as non vegetarian options for those who chose them. After the meal, the hunt for the hidden piece of matzah was on. It was eventually found and passed around for everyone to take a bite of. When that was over, there was a final celebratory act of drinking the final cup of “wine” and then opening the door to let the spirit Elijah into the room. The event commenced with a traditional Jewish song, “Who Knows One.” However, this Passover event was not the only chance for students to celebrate the holiday. There are Seder celebrations to go on throughout the Passover period. Even Metz, the food provider of New College’s Hamilton “Ham” center, has agreed to participate in passover this year by creating completely kosher options for Passover.

The history of Easter finally explained BY KELLY WILSON During the 17th century children would leave carrots out for the Easter Bunny, similar to the way kids leave out cookies and milk for Santa. They did this in hopes that the Easter Bunny would leave them extra candy. The first known mentions of the mythical Easter Bunny date back to 1680. 17th century German Literature, in a story - published in 1680 - about a bunny that laid eggs in the garden for children to find. It was brought over to the United States when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania, eventually mixing the holiday with Roman Catholicism, the predominant religion in the area at the time. When the tradition changed, the nests, which German children used to collect eggs called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws,” morphed into baskets filled with fake Easter grass and pastel colored plastic eggs. Carrots were no longer left out for parents, who were probably grateful for that change. Instead the holiday is now celebrated with a family dinner, easter egg dyeing and hunting, lots of candy and chocolate. However, students at New College are putting their own spin on these

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Have you ever wondered what rabbits and chocolate eggs have to do with religion?

traditions. “I want to dye eggs with mulberry juice and spinach and turmeric, because I've done this every year since I was little and I think it is a fun tradition,” first-year Ella Denham-Conroy said in a survey of New College students. Other students are taking the

time to spend with their families, “[I am] Going to mass then having dinner with my grandma (and possibly some other relatives); she's a devout catholic and I'm not, but I enjoy spending time with her and I'm happy to have some family to be with during the holiday, since I'm out of state,” thesis student

Blaise DeFranco said. Keeping in the New College spirit of updating old traditions, in recent years the company Eco-Grass, owned by the same parent company as Surf Sweets which are sold in the C-Store, has created a biodegradable Easter grass to conquer the problem of Easter grass having a large carbon footprint. But historians continue to focus on the past. They theorize that the association of bunnies with Easter goes back farther than the 17th century German settlers. Historians at the University of Florida’s Center for Children's Literature the origin of Easter and the Easter Bunny can be traced back to Pagan traditions in the 13th century. Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility, who was symbolized by the rabbit because of the rabbit’s high reproduction rate. Feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox. However, the date of Easter was originally supposed to fall after the Jewish holiday of Passover, because the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ happened after Passover. Since the date of Passover is based on Solar and Lunar cycles it changes every year, and thus the date of Easter does as well.


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 presentations and meet candidates. “It’s really important for students to get involved with this because this can really affect them,” Via said. “See if their values align with your values and what the school’s values should be. You don’t have to be an expert in social justice to care about this kind of stuff. Any information you can give to the hiring committee about your impressions of a candidate is important information regardless of if that student knew a lot before they got there.” The next Director of Campus Programs presentations with be Friday, Apr. 14 and Friday, Apr. 21 at 1 p.m. in Sudakoff. For more information, contact Dean of Student Affairs Robin Williamson at rwilliamson@ncf.edu.

Anya Maria Contreras-Garcia/Catalyst

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Cubs look to repeat, competition heated early as MLB begins BY RYAN PAICE After the longest title drought in MLB history came to an end in the Chicago Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory, a route to contention and teambuilding was revealed to the rest of the league: youth guided by veteran leadership. With a star-studded core of youthful stars in third baseman Kris Bryant, infielders Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez, backed by veterans Jon Lester, Jason Heyward, Jake Arrieta and Ben Zobrist, the Cubs have a built a team for both today and tomorrow. Across the league, youth has been the fire behind many of the top teams, whether it be MVP runner-up Mookie Betts in Boston or ace pitcher Noah Syndergaard with the New York Mets. Competition throughout the league has also perhaps never been tighter. Despite the Chicago Cubs having claimed the title last season, and posing a significant threat to repeat, numerous teams throughout the MLB have a legitimate shot at finding themselves in the 2017 MLB World Series. In the National League, the NL East is topped by recent powerhouses Washington Nationals and the New York Mets, the NL Central houses the champion Cubs, as well as the perennial

contenders the St. Louis Cardinals, while the NL West is led by the evercontending Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. The Washington Nationals have one of the best rotations in the league, headed by the two-headed monster in aces Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Despite a down year for 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper, any return to form would bring the lineup to becoming a force, behind his bat, along with breakout second baseman Daniel Murphy and the newly-signed catcher out of Baltimore, Matt Wieters. Having started the season tied with the New York Mets at 4-3 for the top of the NL East as of April 10, the Nationals have all the talent to make it to the World Series. The Mets could, too, if Syndergaard continues to ascend into superstardom while backed by decent run-scoring – last season’s lineup depended too much upon Yoenis Céspedes. While the Cincinnati Reds lead the NL Central as of April 10 after a startlingly good start at 5-2, the Chicago Cubs linger only one win away at 4-2. The Cubs will consist of almost entirely the same team they won the World Series with last season, except the return of Kyle Schwarber could factor in significantly to Chicago’s quest

to repeat. The Pittsburg Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals follow up the Cubs in the NL Central, with both possessing contending potential. In the NL West, the Arizona Diamondbacks have started the season on a tear at 6-2, perhaps reversing their luck from their bottom-feeding 69-93 2016 season. The Dodgers and Giants have struggled so far at 4-3 and 3-5, despite being the number one and two of the NL West last season and consistently reaching the playoffs in recent years. Counting out either LA – led by the best pitcher alive, Clayton Kershaw, and a young, talented lineup – or San Francisco – led by aces Madison Bumgarner and former Red, Johnny Cueto, all the while having won in 2010, 2012 and 2014 – would be wildly premature. As the 2017 season heats up, there is no safe declaration of contention for any singular team. Young stars head many of the best teams in the league, and a new generation of baseball superstars have taken the MLB by storm. With over 150 games to go for each team, the 2017 MLB season is only just beginning.

SFF ‘Block Party’ attracts New College students BY GIULIA HEYWARD Hours before Pride Ball, students could be found at JD Hamel Park listening to live performances and waiting in line for food trucks as part of the Sarasota Film Festival’s Sea and Be Seen Block Party. The block party took place on April 7 from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. and featured live performances from Hannah Jae and Twin Limbs.The event was centered around the theme Sea and Be Seen, the theme of films the Sarasota Film Festival released for this year. Attendants were encouraged to dress “to be seen.” The hundreds of attendants had found out about the event through word of mouth or social media. “This congregation of festival VIPs and top talent is always full of surprises, and is without a doubt the scene to see and be scene!” read the event’s Facebook page. Entry to the event cost anywhere from $50-150, depending on a person’s VIP status. Each attendant was given meal and drink tickets that allowed them to access several of the food trucks present--including creme brulee from an artisanal coffee food truck and delicious burgers from subs-n-grubs, as well as access to the bar for beers, martinis and wine. Several New College students were in attendance including students who worked with the festival as assistants and interns, as well as those who had

Subs-n-Grubs was one of the food trucks that exchanged spicy burgers and coconut shrimp for meal tickets.

all photos by Giulia Heyward/Catalyst Third-year Kailah Santos waits in line for a meal from the food trucks.

worked with the festival in the past. “[Sarasota Film Festival Director of Outreach] Shakira Refos has invited us. We had previously worked with her previously on Black History Month events with New College,” NCSA coPresident and third-year, Miles Iton, said. “It was so cool to see Sarasota’s nightlife!”

Thesis students Shelby Statham and Kayla Evens were in attendance at the event.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 2017 www.ncfcatalyst.com | @ncfcatalyst


New College student performs in local


Freestyle Competition BY GIULIA HEYWARD A local freestyle competition attracted would-be rappers in south Florida, including one New College student. Third-year and New College Student Alliance (NCSA) co-President, as well as student-facilitator of the Freestyle & Floetry tutorial, Miles Iton, performed at the local freestyle competition at Goodies Gentlemen’s Club. Iton is currently in the Floetry: Recording & Artistry tutorial, sponsored by Classics Professor Carl Shaw. “After seeing how hard the students worked last semester and how impressive their work was, I talked to them about a composition tutorial to complement the freestyle tutorial,” Shaw wrote in an email-interview. “They have exercises and assignments, but their major project for the semester is a collaborative mix-tape.” The club, located at East Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa, invited amateur performers to compete, oneby-one on Thursday, April 6. The event began at 12:30 a.m. and continued well into the next day before the winner was announced. Iton, who went by his stage name, Irie Givens, at the event, was the youngest competitor. Iton was fourth to perform in the intimate venue, where audience members could stand around all of the hopeful rappers, cheering them on. Some would yell and encourage the individuals on, while

others would grab mics and serve as a hype team. Iton found out about the competition after having attended a previous freestyle competition. The winner of this competition at Goodies is set to perform as the opening actor to famous rapper, to be decided. “Miles and a few others from the tutorial performed at a rap-battle in Bradenton two weeks ago - I went to be supportive and help get some video,” Shaw said. “When we arrived, they announced that the winner would go on to perform in Tampa, and the winner there would get the chance to open for a national act. When Miles won, I promised him a ride and wanted to see it through.” Although Iton did not win, the sheer amount of those who came to support him was, in itself, inspiring. Also in attendance was the facultysponsor of the Freestyle & Floetry tutorial, Professor Carl Shaw, as well as New College students, who came to support Iton. “There is so much camaraderie and support,” Shaw wrote. “And to watch all of Miles' hard academic work manifest in this way is pretty amazing, especially after his successful talk at the Allen University Hip-Hop Studies Conference the day before.”

all photos by Giulia Heyward/Catalyst

iPhones and cameras were out and recording all of the performances during the battle.

More information about Goodies Gentlemen’s Club can be found on their website and Facebook page.

Third-year Miles Iton was the only New Colllege student in the competition.

(left to right): The competition took place in an intimate venue that allowed attendants to cheer on each competitor. The battle took place at Goodies Gentlemen's Club.

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