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THE LUMBER JACK FEB. 25, 2021 – MAR. 3, 2021

Online at JackCentral.org

From the Editor


mulled this over for days, trying to figure out what to write. I read past letters from the editors and they all seemed so lively and animated but right now I just don’t know how to do that. Lately, every day for me has been filled with roommate drama. I used to be able to retreat to my social life or even just my apartment when I was feeling overwhelmed by school or the multiple jobs I have. However, recently I have landed smack in the middle of a sh*t-show that is my current roommate/ apartment life. It’s honestly made me do a 180 and now it feels like I am retreating into school and work to avoid my social life, which seems ridiculous but also feels like the only solution for my sanity at the moment. Maybe this sounds like a “pity-party” piece of writing but I promise that’s not my intention. I just feel like writing has always been a sort of outlet for me to express myself when I am having a tough time. For whoever is reading this, I guess I also just want to remind you that you can’t really plan for what life decides to throw at you. You might have your whole future laid out and maybe you have planned for every possible curveball that you could get hit with in terms of your education or work. But if you’re like me, you might take the CAMILLE comforts of the social life or home you get to collapse into at the end of the day SIPPLE for granted. That is, until it is all disrupted and all you have left is that daily school and work routine. Basically, my advice is don’t take anything for granted. NEWS EDITOR Appreciate every instance of life as it happens because, as I try to remind myself constantly, everything happens for a reason. Anyway, I just want to write a brief thank you to the staff of The Lumberjack. Ever since I started working on the paper as a staff writer I have loved it. Even as the responsibilities piled on when I moved my way up to News Editor, I have only love and respect for the paper and the people who make it happen every week. This newsroom is truly a family and I couldn’t ask for a better retreat when I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed at home. I know that I can walk into the MIC and see any number of friendly faces who are each working toward the same task as me and have just as much love for this newspaper that we work so hard to publish each week. I appreciate The Lumberjack more than anyone knows so I just wanted to say, thank you, all of you.

Continuous local and campus covid-19 coverage available at jackcentral.org

Online at Issuu.com Latest Edition & Archive Social media

Thank you for reading.

Phone: (928) 523-4921 Fax: (928) 523-9313 Lumberjack@nau.edu P.O. Box 6000 Flagstaff, AZ 86011

THE LUMBERJACK VOL. 111 ISSUE 7 Editor-in-Chief Scout Ehrler

Managing Editor Nathan Manni

Copy Chief Nayomi Garcia

Faculty Adviser David Harpster

Print Chief Jacob Meyer

Director of Digital Content Ash Lohmann

Media Innovation Center Editorial Board Director of Social Media Maddie Cohen

Op-Ed Editor Trinity Archie

Culture Editor Katelyn Rodriguez

Sports Adviser Rory Faust

News Editor Camille Sipple

Asst. Op-Ed Editor Kylie Soto

Asst. Culture Editor Kyler Edsitty

Director of Illustration Aleah Green

Asst. News Editor Mark Fabery

Features Editor Olivia Charlson

Sports Editor Cameron Richardson

Asst. Dir. of Illustration Maddie Cohen

Online News Editor Kylie Soto

Asst. Features Editor Emily Gerdes

Asst. Sports Editor Brenden Martin

Senior Photographer Michael Patacsil

Senior Reporter Molly Brown


Director of Photography & Multimedia Shawn Patti


Senior Photographer Brian Burke

On the cover NAU presdiential finalist José Luis Cruz, Ph.D. visited campus last week to get acquanited with NAU and its faculty, staff and students, Feb. 19. Brian Burke | The Lumberjack

Corrections & Clarifications The Lumberjack is committed to factual correctness and accuracy. If you find an error in our publication, please email Scout Ehrler at see86@nau.edu.

PoliceBeat Feb. 15 At 6:25 a.m., Facility Management staff requested assistance opening a door. NAUPD responded and assistance was provided.

At 5:33 p.m., NAUPD reported receiving a call about a car that had broken down on the roadway in front of the Honors College. NAUPD responded and assistance was provided. At 9:57 p.m., a student reported a person inside a vehicle yelling from a megaphone near lot 31. NAUPD responded and no contact was made. Feb. 16 At 1:49 a.m., Honors College staff reported damage to an exit sign. NAUPD responded and one nonstudent was cited and released for minor in consumption of alcohol and three students were cited and released for minor in consumption of alcohol and possession of fictitious licenses. At 4:47 p.m., Wilson Hall staff requested an officer to pick up a found vape pen. NAUPD responded and the item was placed in found property. At 8:17 p.m., a Performing and Fine Arts staff member requested assistance with being locked out. NAUPD responded and assistance was provided. Feb. 17 At 2:02 p.m., Flagstaff Police Department (FPD) requested assistance with an incident of harassment against a FPD officer off campus. NAUPD responded and took a report.

Compiled by Mark Fabery

At 3:27 p.m., FPD Feb. 20 requested assistance locating At 12:35 a.m., a Campbell a drunk driver off campus. Hall resident requested a NAUPD responded and welfare check on a subject assistance was provided. outside. NAUPD responded and a nonstudent was arrested Feb. 18 and booked into Coconino At 8:55 a.m., Eastburn County Detention Facility on Education staff reported two an outstanding warrant and nonstudents in the building. resisting arrest. NAUPD responded and the subjects were identified and At 1:56 a.m., an trespassed. anonymous subject reported 15 subjects talking loudly At 3:57 p.m., a student outside Skyview. NAUPD reported a suspicious person responded, but the subjects left outside Gabaldon Hall. the area prior to officer arrival. NAUPD responded and searched the area, but the At 10:51 a.m., a staff subject was gone upon arrival. member reported lost property outside the University At 8:15 p.m., NAUPD Union Fieldhouse. NAUPD reported initiating a traffic responded and the property stop on the corner of Santa Fe was stored for safekeeping. Avenue and Sitgreaves Street with a warning issued for no At 2:00 p.m., NAUPD license plate light. reported providing parking information to a nonstudent Feb. 19 in lot 42. At 12:14 a.m., a Wilson Hall staff member reported a Feb. 21 suspicious subject. NAUPD At 2:16 a.m., a student responded and a nonstudent reported falling and sustaining was booked into Coconino a head injury on the corner County Sheriff’s Office jail of San Francisco Street and for underage consumption of McCreary Drive. NAUPD, alcohol and resisting arrest. Flagstaff Fire Department and Guardian Medical Transport At 9:10 a.m., NAUPD responded and the student reported hearing a door alarm was transported to Flagstaff inside the Native American Medical Center. Cultural Center. NAUPD responded and found the alarm At 7:22 p.m., a Drury Inn was accidentally activated by & Suites staff member reported staff. a nonstudent requesting to speak with an officer. At 4:17 p.m., NAUPD NAUPD responded and it reported being told about was discovered the nonstudent criminal damage in the men’s had an active trespass warning. bathrooms in Tinsley Hall. No The nonstudent was cited and criminal activity was witnessed released for trespassing and was and witness information was provided a public assist ride off provided. campus. At 7:07 p.m., Gabaldon Hall staff reported a broken exit sign. NAUPD responded and a report was taken.

Coconino County COVID-19 Dashboard data

Community transmission Case rate

Substantial 174.9 per 100,000 pop.

Positivity percentage


Cumulative cases


Flagstaff Medical Center COVID-19 Resources

In-house COVID-19 patients Hospital capacity Critical care capacity

Positive: 21 | Pending: 5 213/300 33/55

NAU Student Cases

Current student cases


José Luis Cruz will become the 17th president of NAU Mark Fabery


osé Luis Cruz, Ph.D., who currently holds the position of executive vice chancellor and university provost at City University of New York will become the 17th president of NAU after an unanimous vote of approval from the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) Feb. 18. In a press release, ABOR Chair Larry Penley voiced his confidence in Cruz to become the next leader of NAU. “Dr. Cruz has an extraordinary record of academic leadership, and I am confident he is the right leader to build on NAU’s success and ensure a bold and boundless future for this beloved and historic university,” Penley said. “He is a proven innovator in higher education who keenly understands the enormous opportunities that NAU offers, as well as the challenges facing higher education. His unsurpassed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, coupled with a long track record as a leading national advocate to improve educational outcomes for all students — especially those who have historically been underserved — will serve Arizona and NAU well.” Previously, Cruz served as provost of California State University, Fullerton. He is a former vice president of higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust in Washington, D.C. and a former chief student affairs officer for the University of Puerto Rico system. In the press release, Cruz thanked ABOR for the selection to become the next NAU president. “I am honored that the Arizona Board of Regents has selected me as the finalist for the position of president of Northern Arizona University,” Cruz said. “Rima (Cruz’s wife) and I are very much looking forward to joining the proud Lumberjack family, serving the Flagstaff community and the peoples of the great state of Arizona. We truly believe a bold and boundless future is within reach.” Read more online at jackcentral.org




A day on campus with José Luis Cruz Scout Ehrler


f NAU’s next president, José Luis Cruz, Ph.D., had a motto, it would be, “equity and inclusive excellence.” The university’s 17th president, his wife Rima Brusi, Regents Lyndel Manson and Fred DuVal, along with a few others were carted around campus Friday, touring various facilities and meeting with community leaders. Throughout the afternoon, Cruz met with numerous deans and spoke with the faculty senate, as well as other leaders on campus. While getting acquainted with campus and some of its many figureheads, Cruz continuously expressed appreciation for and acknowledgement of NAU’s programs, faculty and students, as well as the surrounding landscapes. Cruz stated he plans to move to Flagstaff, and happily. “We are just so excited and hope that we will be able to build a life here in Flagstaff,” Cruz said during a forum with a group of deans in a University Union conference room. “This university … is a singular university, it is unique in the higher ed landscape in the United States. As I’ve said in other forums, there’s just no other institution that I know of that can be described in the same way — an institution that has a 120-year legacy of service, an institution that takes very seriously its possibility to provide opportunities to all Arizonans, especially those who are underserved.” An electrical engineer by training, Cruz currently serves as executive vice chancellor and university provost of City University of New York (CUNY), which is the largest urban university system in the country and serves 25 campuses and a quarter-million students, according to Cruz’s curriculum vitae. Prior to that appointment, he was president of Lehman College of CUNY and provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at California State University, Fullerton. His career in academics began in Puerto Rico, where he and his wife were both born. During a forum with regent professors — or exceptional faculty who have earned national or international recognition — in the Applied Research and Development building, Cruz shared an anecdote from the early days of his partnership with Brusi. The first trip they took together as a couple was to northern Arizona, Cruz said. “We didn’t really have any notion of what the future had in store for either of us or our relationship, but we did say during that trip


NAU presidential finalist José Luis Cruz, seated next to his wife Rima Brusi, speaks to the deans of NAU colleges about his vision of the university’s future at the Honors College, Feb. 19. Brian Burke| The Lumberjack

that we got to figure out a way to get back up here some day,” Cruz said. “I guess the magic of northern Arizona made it happen. I mention all of that because the attraction and the commitment to the work ahead is both intellectual in nature, it’s vocational in nature, it’s based in lived experiences, but it’s also based in romance. So, we really intend to be part of this community and build a life here and hopefully make a difference with your support.” With the beauty of the region in mind, sustainability is at the heart of much of what NAU does. Representatives from the schools of Earth and Sustainability, Biological Sciences and more spoke with Cruz about the importance of the program’s work and the prevalence of the issue within the local community. Recent Ph.D. graduate Stéphanie Arcusa touched on the importance of these topics, stressing that the NAU community takes climate change extremely seriously, and the university strives to be a leader in sustainability and climate research. Arcusa put forward four actions for Cruz to consider when entering office: Put intersectionality at the center of every effort, commit to being a leader in climate action, continuously fill the position of sustainability manager and elevate that office to the executive branch. Cruz said the university’s work in sustainability is just one of the reasons he was attracted to NAU. He praised the faculty and staff’s work regarding the disciplines of these programs as examples other schools on campus could look to, in terms of transdisciplinary, intersectional models.


“At the end of the day, if we are driven by equity, if we are driven by inclusive excellence, if we are driven by ensuring that we positively impact social justice issues across the world — if we’re really interested in doing that, then it’s great that it’s happening in your ecosystem, but we need to ensure that the entire university is organized in a similar way.” In regard to the Indigenous community and relevant retention rates, Cruz acknowledged the challenges that come along with making sure students, especially Indigenous or firstgeneration students, stay enrolled. “I’ve heard throughout this process that there is a distance we must travel to get there, not only in terms of recruiting the students, but also the retention and graduation, which says a lot about the magnitude of the challenge,” Cruz said. “We are in the top 10 in the country in graduating Native American students with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, yet our graduation rate is still 30 percent. So, it’s really a grand challenge … and I hope together we can not only be top in that number, but do so in a way that really amplifies those numbers in a productive manner.” Furthermore, Cruz stressed the importance of diversity on campus and stated “recruiting high-quality diverse faculty that reflect the student body” remains a high priority. While meeting with the faculty senate in the Student and Academic Services auditorium, Cruz said he reviewed two years’ worth of senate minutes to get a feel for the issues on campus — which was met with a laugh — and said firstly, he wanted to develop a shared understanding

of those topics with the senate. Cruz expressed a desire for candid feedback and honesty from faculty leaders, and said his first orders of business will be to “learn and listen.” “We very much look forward to coming to an agreement about how to work together,” Faculty Senate President Gioia Woods said to Cruz during the forum. “I think it will be wonderful work — really looking forward to rolling up our sleeves … I think you’ll find our faculty to be incredibly engaged, so committed to this institution — people who really believe we can be our best selves, so you’re going to find some good people ready to get started and establish our relationship.” In a virtual evening address to the NAU community, Cruz introduced himself to the Lumberjacks and expressed his gratitude for his recent appointment as the next president. He gave the community a sneak peek into his objectives as president. “I am going to hit the ground learning by investing time and listening to you in the weeks and months ahead. I want to learn from you as we build together on the fabulous legacy at this vital institution — an institution that for 120 years has seen as its mission, one of being student-centered and one of helping others fulfill their potential.” At the end of his speech, Cruz shared his beliefs with the audience. Among them, he emphasized shared governance, retaining and supporting community members and bridging the divide between city and university. Cruz listed many of his values: transparency, accountability, diversity and inclusion, but above all, he said he wants to put students at the center of everything NAU does. Cruz expressed hope for the university’s future as the NAU community reaches nearly a year of uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While plans for reentry next fall are yet to be laid out, Cruz said he believes this community is “prepared to emerge from this crisis stronger, more unified and better prepared for a shared future.” “Today is just the first day, and in the days ahead, I look forward to meeting many more of you. And please know, this is exactly where I want to be, here in this moment, in one of the most absolutely gorgeous places on Earth, leading Northern Arizona University as we embark on this time of unparalleled challenge and opportunity.”


Flagstaff administrators set sights on a public safety model Molly Brown


he city of Flagstaff is moving quickly on a program to change the way people in the community are served when it comes to violations that may not require police presence or contact. Although the volatility of police involvement in altercations with the general public is nothing new, recent light shed on the issue by chants of “defund the police” have heightened awareness and led to calls for change in the way certain situations are handled. Sgt. Charles Hernandez II, public relations officer for Flagstaff Police Department (FPD), explained how the response to police presence is not always received as help in every situation. “So then we don’t run into the perception from the consumer who may need the assistance that, ‘Hey, the police are here, so I might be in trouble,’” Hernandez said. “As opposed to if they see someone that’s there to help them and able to deal with their needs immediately, then it’ll probably benefit the individual and again, get them the resources they need to hopefully prevent any escalation of violence when they see a police officer.” The need for coordination throughout the community is also something Hernandez talked about as a way for FPD to become more efficient in answering calls when they can work with other organizations to provide the best response. “If we can put them in touch with the resources they need, that may reduce anxiety and perpetuate them to continue to contact the police department, and those calls go through to get them resources when they’re in crisis,” Hernandez said. “So it’s a win-win for our agency, as well as the community. And then the community partnership that we build will only get stronger and

better as we develop the model.” The model Hernandez referenced is what city administrators are working toward in an effort to create an alternate response that works better in the local community. A Flagstaff City Council meeting of public service providers took place Feb. 3 and Flagstaff deputy city manager Shannon Anderson said it was a move in the right direction for establishing much-needed resources. “So we have had one town hall where we shared a scope of work with some of the stakeholders that provide similar services in our community to get their input on are we looking for the right types of services for a daytime center, as well as an alternate response, mobile response unit,” Anderson said. “We actually held that the first part of February, and we’ll be taking that feedback in order to make revisions to the scope of work so that we, the city, can actually distribute that for procurement at the end of February.” Anderson explained how Flagstaff is working to develop a brick-and-mortar location which provides 24/7 assistance unlike local shelters. This space would not only provide medical and behavioral health care and referrals, but would also encompass a way of helping out members of the community in need with such things as housing, food and employment. “[We’re] really trying to have this be a one-stop shop, where we’re bringing all of those services together to be able to refer someone or to take someone, and have that warm handoff and make sure that it’s kind of a seamless situation,” Anderson said. “And then, it will just have some self-care areas so if they need to shower, if they need to clean their gear, if they have a backpack, if they have clothing, being able to do that. If they are unemployed and they’re trying to find a job, we’d be able to link them to

employment services, so they can get help filling out applications.” Also included in this model is a mobile unit that would be able to respond to 911 calls that may not necessarily need police presence and, as Hernandez and Anderson both agree, would be able to dispatch the right services for the situation. The unit would be operated by an emergency medical technician and behavioral specialists who would be better equipped to respond to certain needs than a uniformed officer. With a large Indigenous population in the community, city councilmember Adam Shimoni said it is so important for the inclusion of services and recognition that resonates with that portion of the population, especially given the understandable distrust still present due to ongoing mistreatment. Rose Toehe, coordinator for Indigenous Initiatives at the Flagstaff City Manager’s Office, explained in an email how this model is working to bridge the gap when it comes to Indigenous inclusion. “The Office of Indigenous Initiatives and other Indigenous community organizations and groups are assisting the City of Flagstaff and police department [FPD] in understanding the complexities of cultural sensitivity and awareness, which include addressing the long-standing issues of miscommunication and misunderstanding, as well as the colonialism way of thought,” Toehe said. “Indigenous people are showing up to call attention to various issues in our community, some of which include our unsheltered relatives to concerns about systematic changes within the city, including law enforcement.” Anderson said proposals for this model will be up for discussion at the Flagstaff City Council budget retreat April 22 and 23.

Left: A protester holds up a sign outside Flagstaff City Hall May 30, 2020. Right: Flagstaff police officers stand post outside the many bars that opened their doors in the early morning for Tequila Sunrise in downtown Flagstaff Oct. 24, 2015. Shannon Swain | The Lumberjack




COVID-19 on a downward trend across the country William Combs III


he United States saw its darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic in winter of last year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker, Jan. 8 was the worst day in the pandemic’s history, with a reported 314,972 new cases nationwide. Although infection rates remain high in the U.S., case numbers have been trending downward over the last month. This trend seems to be in line with that of Arizona, as the state saw its lowest seven-day average since mid-November 2020, during the week of Jan. 14th-20th. Vaccination efforts may be playing a role in this shift in cases. In a press release from the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS), officials said one million vaccinations have been administered across the state. “Arizona has reached another major milestone today with our one-millionth individual to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said. “We are so grateful to all of the health care workers, staff and volunteers who made today’s acheivement a reality. There’s much more to do in the weeks and months ahead, and we are looking forward to making the vaccine available to all Arizonans as soon as possible.” There is still a way to go until Arizona reaches herd immunity, or 75% of the population vaccinated, which would be over 5 million people. AZDHS Director Cara Christ said she is optimistic about the vaccine campaign moving forward and the work health care workers across the state are doing. “We anticipate increased vaccine supply in the next few weeks to months and look forward to building on this momentum to get even more Arizonans vaccinated,” Christ said. While milestones have been reached in this regard, extreme winter weather across the country is disrupting vaccine shipments, AZDHS Communications Director Steve Elliott said. “Extreme weather affecting the rest of the country continues to delay shipments with this week’s allocations of both COVID-19 vaccines, but providers have received shipping confirmations that Pfizer vaccine doses are now on the way to Arizona,” Elliott said. “The federal government allocated 85,800 Pfizer doses and 90,800 Moderna doses to Arizona for a total allocation of 176,600 doses expected to be delivered across the state [in the coming weeks].


Illustration By Maddie Cohen

AZDHS is in close contact with our federal and local partners to monitor the situation, which continues to develop.” Elliott recommended that those who have vaccination appointments with providers administering the Moderna vaccine check in with the county health department or the provider in order to make sure the appointment will not be impacted by this delay. As for Flagstaff, Deputy City Manager Shannon Anderson said she is pleased with the downward trend in community transmission of the virus, but said she is also careful not to get people’s hopes up. At the peak of coronavirus transmission in Coconino County during the week of Jan. 9, the county saw 1,285 new cases, which dropped


significantly to 248 cases as of Feb. 13. “It is hard to say when things will return to normal and what normal might mean after a pandemic,” Anderson said. Flagstaff’s Re-Entry Plan, spearheaded by Anderson, outlines the criteria and circumstances which are required for the city to incrementally move back to “normal.” In the plan, there are four phases with a different set of criteria to be met. Phase 4, the final phase, is set for the end of the pandemic, where masks and other personal protective equipment will be phased out and most city facilities will return to prepandemic conditions. The city is currently not at this phase just yet, as transmission of the coronavirus is still occurring, but Flagstaff City Council continues

to have discussions regarding the plan and when to implement the next phase. The reopening of city facilities is included in the third phase, which is what city council will be discussing in an upcoming meeting. “The city will continue to share data with the city council and staff while having conversations about opening of city services,” Anderson said. “City staff will be discussing Flagstaff’s Re-Entry Plan next week on February 23 with city council to address areas such as field and event permits.” The U.S. has seen over 27 million infections and more than 500,000 lives lost since the start of the pandemic, a sobering fact in light of the progress being made.


Biden denies Congress student debt relief proposal Jorja Heinkel


resident Joe Biden said he will not honor the Congress proposal to cancel $50,000 in national student debt during a Milwaukee town hall hosted by CNN Feb. 16. Biden told the Milkwaukee audience he did not have the authority to enact the proposal by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, which asked the Biden administration to cancel $50,000 in national student loan debt and erase tax liability to boost economic recovery. Pressley’s resolution is intended to relieve the economic pressure on over 40 million citizens with student loan debt and give debtors the opportunity to participate in the housing market, form small businesses and increase overall quality of life during the pandemic. However, Biden said he will not provide $50,000 in student debt relief to the public. “I understand the impact of the debt, and it can be debilitating,” Biden told a Milwaukee audience after speaking on his own family’s struggles with student debt. “I am prepared to write off $10,000 debt, but not [$50,000].” Biden restated his 2020 campaign promises to make state universities free for families that make less than $125,000 a year and eliminate interest on student debt. He reiterated his intentions to revise the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to forgive $10,000 of student debt every year an individual works at a public service job, such as teaching or shelter management. “I don’t think I have the authority to [cancel $50,000 in student debt] by the signing of a pen,” Biden said. However, Eileen Connor, a professor of law at Harvard University, said this is not true. Connor is the legal director on Harvard’s Predatory Student Lending Project, which studies how for-profit colleges exploit students through predatory loans. Connor explained how federal

student loans are the government’s money given to students; even if the money is in the student’s possession, it still belongs to the government. The Constitution gave the federal government authority to control property and debt owed to it, which gives the federal government the right to demand that money back through monthly payments. When Congress gave the secretary of education the right to create student loans in the Higher Education Act of 1965, Congress also gave the authority to cancel student debts. “He can do it today,” Connor said in a video presentation, “without any other action by Congress.” Connor said this has been done before when the Trump administration issued an executive order using the Higher Education Act of 1965 to cancel student loan debts for disabled veterans. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Pressley also pointed to previous government bailouts and stimulus packages, such as the 2008 Wall Street Bailout signed by former President George W. Bush, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 signed by former President Barack Obama. “It has been done before and there is legal authority to do it again,” Schumer said during a Feb. 4 press conference. During the press conference led by Schumer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said a student debt relief package is necessary to create greater home ownership rates, higher incomes, higher gross domestic product, more small business formation and more jobs. “Canceling student loan debt is the single most effective executive action that President Biden can take to kickstart this economy,” Warren said. Warren’s claim was backed by Pressley, who said it is the lawmakers’ responsibility to ensure long-term financial recovery for students and communities that have been particularly affected by the student

Illustration By Christian Ayala

debt crisis. Student debt, Pressley said, has always been a racial and economic justice issue. “For too long, the narrative has excluded Black and Latinx communities,” Pressley said. “This debt has exacerbated deeplyentrenched racial and economic inequities in our nation.” Pressley referred to statistics showing Black and Latinx students are more likely to take on student loans, more likely to face labor discrimination, have longer repayment periods on student loans and experience long-term financial insecurity due to student loans. The majority of student debt belongs to women who, on average, pay higher monthly payments and hold debt two years longer than men, according to Education Data. Senior Ashley Bliss is the president of the Future Businesswomen of America, an NAU club that helps women prepare for a career in male-dominated fields. Bliss said between the difficult job climate and student loan interest rates after graduating, it is hard for female graduates to pay off their loans. “After we graduate college, we still have that pay gap that we are

“College should be a ladder up. For too many people, it is the anchor that weighs them down.” – Sen. Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer

trying to minimize,” Bliss said. “Men are more likely to get better paying jobs right after they graduate college.” While Bliss and the Future Businesswomen of America club fight for career equality at NAU, Congress Democrats like Schumer and Pressley have taken to Twitter to fight for the $50,000 Biden denied. Warren and Schumer, as well as Pressley, Rep. Ilhan Omar and other members of Congress, said the $10,000 student debt relief

proposed by Biden is not enough. They claim further action must be taken to recover from the economic recession, relieve the student debt crisis and shrink the racial wage gap. “College should be a ladder up,” Schumer said. “For too many people, it is the anchor that weighs them down.” Schumer has promised to pursue the student debt relief proposal until $50,000 is forgiven for every student in the country.













Masks must remain mandatory Caroline Snelling

T Why 43 Republican senators betrayed Americans


he attack on the United States Capitol resulted in the deaths of at least five citizens and left 65 others injured. Insurrectionists shattered windows and kicked in doors of the Capitol building. Offices were ransacked, statues were damaged — all in the name of Trump. On Saturday, Feb. 13, the Senate found former President Donald Trump not guilty of inciting the insurrection. Trump was not acquitted because the facts were on his side, nor because his attorneys made an indisputable case in his MARLEY defense. He was acquitted because Senate GREEN Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and WRITER Senate Republicans voted on semantics. The team of House managers made a compelling case to convict Trump. It included videos from inside the Capitol that day and historical examples of precedent. They declared the founding fathers could not have intended for it to be possible for a president to commit an impeachable offense in January and get off the hook after a new president is sworn in. Rep. Joe Neguse asked how many lives might have been saved if Trump said “stop the attack” with “even half as much force as he said ‘stop the steal.’” Looking solely at the facts, it is clear Trump incited the insurrection, not only through his inflammatory “fight like hell” quote, but by sowing doubt in the election results since before voting even began. Sen. McConnell himself said there was no question Trump was “practically and morally responsible.” The New York Times reported he said impeachment would make it easier to ostracize Trump from the GOP moving forward. This left me wondering how it is possible McConnell stood and said “not guilty” when his name was called on the Senate floor Feb. 13 — or the 42 others. The answer is simple: money talks. It is no secret Trump is a multibillionaire. It’s also no surprise, then, that 43 Republican Senators are hoping for a substantial donation to their reelection campaigns. Trump has been making donations to prominent politicians since 1989, including McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham. Politicians can benefit not only from Trump’s financial support, but also from his verbal support. Despite losing the election, he still has many die-hard supporters across the country. On Feb. 13, 43 Senators showed us that Trump’s support and contributions are more important to them than the sanctity of U.S. democracy and holding government officials accountable.



he year 2020 was like no other. Along with the pandemic, we have become accustomed to wearing masks in public places to lower the spread of COVID-19. While the pandemic continues to carry on, it is necessary to maintain the mask mandates to keep people safe. In early April 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mask usage for anyone showing COVID-like symptoms. The masks were quickly flying off shelves and were soon on backorder everywhere for weeks. They became more common to see in public places and soon required. While there were originally some discrepancies about the efficacy of face coverings, many studies have proven that mask mandates led to a slowdown in daily COVID-19 transmission rates. A 2020 study published in online journal BMJ Global Health measured mask effectiveness in 124 households where at least one family member was COVID-19 positive. The study results found face masks were 79% effective in preventing transmission, if they were used by all household members prior to symptoms occurring. That same study held true in weeks to come, proving masks slow the spread. To me, wearing a mask that has been confirmed to lower the rate of COVID-19 is a no-brainer. Masks can efficiently keep you safe when worn correctly. Some people in the United States are against wearing masks and are urging their government officials to roll back mask mandates. It is obscene to even test this idea. Masks are helping prevent the spread in public places that would otherwise be virus epicenters. While an initial concern with masks was the shortage of personal protective equipment for medical staff, we are now 12 months into the pandemic and have excessive amounts of face coverings and cloths that have still been deemed protective. It is time to work together to help this pandemic end as soon as possible and masks will help that happen. The CDC clarified that a mask worn properly covers both the mouth and the nose, allowing most inhaling and exhaling particles to remain trapped within the cloth covering. Wearing a mask and abiding by the six-feet-apart rule ultimately decreases the chance of contracting COVID-19.

Safety procedures were put in place by experts and have been specifically trained to handle pandemics. If members of the CDC are suggesting you wear a mask, it is beneficial to not only your health, but the health and well-being of all those around you. I highly suggest you listen to them. The pandemic has been in full-force for a year now. The debate on masks seems quite old to me when there is significant evidence that in places where there is a mask mandate, transmission rates decline. There has been much devastation and loss due to the pandemic, and I know I and many others are willing to do anything to get past it. Masks have now been administered everywhere and it is possible to find them at gas stations, grocery stores and can be ordered from many online retailers. You can find them at reasonable prices, even under $5. The pandemic will not stop if measures are not properly taken and followed. Listen to the officials who are working to protect you. Continue to wear your masks. Advocate for those around you to do the same and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Illustration By tonesha yazzie


Pints 4 Paws: Drinki Michael McClure


High Country Humane volunteers (from left to right) Allison Fluckey, Bailey Cunningham, Brea Furman and Pops the chihuahua met diners at the Dark Sky Brewing Co., Feb. 21. Madison Easton | The Lumberjack



ebruary at Dark Sky Brewing Company marks a month of helping out and donating to less fortunate furry friends and creatures many keep as pets. High Country Humane has paired with Dark Sky Brewing Co. in its first Pints 4 Paws drive. This fundraiser aims to donate money from beer sales and supplies from customers throughout the month of February to give to the shelter. Dark Sky Brewing Co. is located on Beaver Street in downtown Flagstaff and according to its website, the brewery is known for a wide selection of craft microbrews made in house, along with an occasional collaboration with other local breweries. In the same unit as the taproom is Pizzicletta, which serves a variety of appetizers, pizzas and gelato for those with a sweet tooth. Alex Dangerfield, the assistant manager at Dark Sky Brewing Co., provided insight into the fundraiser and explained exactly what the brewery is looking to achieve. “Our main objective is just to donate as much money as we can to the humane society,” Dangerfield said. “Profits made from our Gimme Shelter Double West Coast IPA are being collected and will also go toward our contributions for the humane society. The owners here are very big fans of dogs, so it comes naturally that they are looking to help out.” The downtown restaurant partakes in monthly fundraisers for numerous different causes, as mentioned on its website. Certain fundraisers do better than others, but Dangerfield said the Pints 4 Paws drive is doing better than anticipated for February in a pandemic. He said they are looking to make this an annual event. “This fundraiser is definitely a popular one, but not huge,” Dangerfield said. “Most of the donations Dark Sky is making comes from the Gimme Shelter [beer] cans. Surprisingly a lot of people have been donating to our bin in the taproom, so that has made us a little bit happier.” According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, upward of 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters every year. Roughly 1.5 million of those animals are euthanized in an effort to mitigate growing population problems. About half of the animals in shelters get adopted annually. Efforts from High Country Humane and Dark Sky Brewing Co. aim to alleviate these issues in northern Arizona. On Feb. 14, the shelter brought puppies down to the Dark Sky taproom patio for a meet and greet with customers and the possibility of a sameday adoption, if the prospective owner met the humane society’s requirements. As mentioned on its website, High Country Humane is a shelter that provides high-caliber animal shelter services to elevate animal welfare throughout northern Arizona. Its mission is to transform lives by providing exceptional animal care, doing adoption services and supporting the bond between pets and people. The organization offers adoption services for a wide range of pets along with a pet


ing for dogs in need “Surprisingly a lot of people have been donating to our bin in the taproom, so that has made us a little bit happier.” – Alex Dangerfield, Dark Sky brewing co. assitant manager food bank, spay and neuter clinics, foster programs and a barn cat program designed to allow feral cats a place to live rather than face euthanization. The shelter also has volunteer programs for those looking to help lend a hand to animals in need. Allison Fluckey is the animal care and events coordinator for High Country Humane. She said the humane society had 11 puppies arrive recently, and with it being winter, those figures will likely go up. The shelter has to be able to afford food, toys and bedding until the puppies are able to be spayed, neutered and adopted. Fluckey said the shelter is grateful for the restaurant’s willingness to partner with them for this event. “This is our first time partnering with Dark Sky to do the Pints 4 Paws drive,” Fluckey said. “Not only are they doing a monthlong event, but they are allowing us to come twice this month to do physical adoption events on the patio outside [of the Dark Sky taproom]. From our last event, we brought two dogs down and both were adopted quickly after the event, which was really nice to see. Dark Sky has been so awesome and helpful throughout this fundraiser and it has really been an incredible event. We honestly have no clue as to how much money we anticipate raising and we are happy with anything. Any donations financially will be directed through Dark Sky then given to us.” Fluckey said businesses across the city are working to provide donations for the animals at the shelter. She said the help and supplies received from individuals, volunteers and businesses are crucial to its success. “The community here in Flagstaff is amazing and so easy to work with,” Fluckey said. “Just this week, Findlay Honda helped us get 11 pallets of puppy food here to the shelter. We go out to PetSmart twice a month, the Flagstaff Mall and a few other locations monthly for adoption events. Our community is just so amazing and they do so much for us and our animals.” High Country Humane and Dark Sky Brewing Co. alike are giving dogs in need a second chance by finding them a forever home. Pints 4 Paws has shown to be a hit among patrons, and both Dangerfield and Fluckey mentioned they hope to see this event in the years to come.

“Dark Sky has been so awesome and helpful throughout this fundraiser and it has really been an incredible event. We honestly have no clue as to how much money we anticipate raising and we are happy with anything.” – Allison Fluckey, High Country Humane Events coordinator

High Country Humane has been hosting a Pints 4 Paws event every Sunday of February at Dark Sky Brewing Co. in downtown Flagstaff, Feb. 21. Madison Easton | The Lumberjack




Story compiled by Lauren Anderson, photos courtesy of featured students College is a formational time where students can learn more about themselves and gain life experiences with the company of some like-minded people. One of the ways students can make their time on campus well-rounded is by joining one of the many clubs offered. Getting involved with different communities can uncover a hidden interest or get students connected with other individuals who share the same passion. These students share the impact that clubs have had on their time at NAU, as well as some resources and tips to help stay on schedule while in school.


Ashley Santana Sophomore Physics and astrophysics

Lilliana Cervantes Junior Environmental sustainability

“I think it’s honestly really important just to go to even one [club] meeting because that one meeting can kind of show you about the club in general,” Santana said. “There were some clubs where I tried one week and it didn’t work out, but sometimes that first week can get you involved and help you find something that you really want to do. “Just find a club that you really vibe with because you don’t want that club to be a chore. Sometimes getting involved seems really daunting, but at the same time it’s really cool.”

“I think it’s a lot of dedication, but it’s so worth it,” Cervantes said. “I think that a lot of students are scared to get involved, but if you just do it and dive into the deep end you get used to it. “Get involved in as many things as you can, see what interests you and what doesn’t. Now is the perfect time to grow and build those connections, and that’s what I always tell people is the most important part. Growing, building connections and being happy learning about yourself. That’s why I think it is important to get involved.”

Alexander Torgler Junior Environmental sustainability

Rachell Krell Junior Strategic communication

“To anyone who is looking at a club, it can be the foundation for a lot of your experiences through college,” Torgler said. “[Hiking club] has led people through five different states and little pockets in Arizona, so you never know where it will take you. It’s hard to put that on a club description, so if you have an inclination, just go for it.”

“I love everything that I am involved in, otherwise I would not be doing all this because it’s so much,” Krell said. “I keep an actual calendar and a Google calendar, which helps me to know what to prioritize. There are some times where I just have to be a student for a week or I can’t give as fully to certain things due to how busy it is.”

Maria Machelor Freshman International affairs and Spanish

Morgan Smith Sophomore English

“I feel like I get more involved in the NAU community just to have more of a feel of how campus life is, or meeting students that are either above my grade level or different ages,” Machelor said. “I just think that you need to remind yourself of your priorities and what comes first and see what you have to do that day. I go by day and schedule by day. I do what’s due and what I need to prioritize.”

“I decided to give it one more chance and over winter break,” Smith said. “I went on the True Blue Connects page and wrote down every [club] that I was interested in and just tried to put myself out there more. That really changed my whole experience at NAU. It was definitely hard those first few months, but as soon as I found my people, it changed it all.”



NAU students are building resilience during COVID-19 Annika Beck

A goodbye ‘To All the Boys’... finally Warning: This article contains spoilers will be the first to say I am a romantic at heart. I have always been a fan of those cheesy rom-com flicks, old and new. So when the first installment of the Netflix film series “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” was released in 2018, I, like every other chick-flick enthusiast, couldn’t wait to see it. Honestly, I did enjoy the first film. I mean, it wasn’t up there with any of the classics, such as “10 Things I Hate About You” and “The Notebook,” but it was a nice reprieve from the real world and had a decent plot. However, I wrongly assumed this would be a one-time feature film. On Feb. 12, 2020 “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” was released on Netflix as a sequel film to the first installment of the series and an adaptation of the second CAMILLE book in Jenny Han’s trilogy. This installment continued SIPPLE the story of Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky, but NEWS EDITOR this time as a couple. Through the anticipated twists and turns of the second movie, including another love interest, Lara Jean ultimately chooses to stay with Peter. Released on Feb. 12, the newest movie picks up almost exactly where the second one left off because Lara Jean and Peter are, in fact, dating, but at the time, Lara Jean is on a spring break vacation in South Korea with her family. It is quickly discovered by the audience Lara Jean and Peter are now in their senior year of high school, which means college applications and graduation are soon to follow. Peter has been accepted to Stanford University on a lacrosse scholarship and is pushing Lara Jean to join him at Stanford. This was the first aspect of the movie that annoyed me because I knew couples in high school that were so obsessed with each other they didn’t pause to think about their own personal futures in terms of college and careers that didn’t involve their high school romance. However, the film does a good job of making sure Lara Jean discovers what would be best for her in terms of a college education, instead of simply which university is closest to Peter. Ultimately, Lara Jean does not get accepted to Stanford, but is accepted into several other universities, including University of California, Berkeley and New York University (NYU). After their class takes a senior trip to New York City, Lara Jean has a revelation that NYU just might be the best place for her, much to Peter’s dismay. The typical fight and sad breakup montage ensues after Peter realizes Lara Jean intends to go to NYU, which would effectively put an entire country between them. The movie, however, wraps up with Peter surprising Lara Jean by writing a detailed account of the first day they met all those years ago in her yearbook and explaining he is willing to do anything to make their relationship work. It all wraps up with Lara Jean signing her name next to Peter’s at the bottom of his yearbook message, a nod to their contract in the first movie, as they decide to make a long-distance relationship work. Overall, the film itself wasn’t awful, but in my opinion, the series has been drawn out too long and perhaps could have been better.



AU Health Promotion runs the Resilience Project to help people cope and manage difficult situations during the pandemic. The Build Your Resilience During COVID Zoom call took place Feb. 17 from 2- to 2:30 p.m and occurs every Wednesday. All faculty and students are welcome to join this virtual event. Health educator Kristen Natonie with Campus Health Services hosted the meeting. “One of the things we did learn through a COVID survey last semester was that students are still feeling very high levels of stress right now,” Natonie said over Zoom. “Students have to deal with online classes, deadlines and there’s stuff outside of that, such as roommate problems, relationship issues, work situations and family things. Feeling overwhelmed can lead to high levels of anxiety.” As a result of the survey, the NAU Resilience Project was created. It is an online toolkit that plans to help students bounce back from tough situations and adversity. The toolkit offers resources, such as stories from fellow NAU students and even expert advice on depression, anxiety and how to deal with suicidal thoughts. Even though stress can be expected from coursework, COVID-19 has impacted everyone differently. “Learning how to push through those challenging times, adverse events, difficult things we go through and be able to come out the other side with some skills and feeling more positive about the situations,” Natonie said. “Those are a couple great things as far as resilience goes.” The Resilience Project allows access to any NAU students who might feel overwhelmed. The project has many videos that cover a variety of issues. For example, there’s a page on trauma that has a video containing tips on stress management, nutrition and sleep, mindfulness, breathing activities and other community resources available. However, during the pandemic, many students have struggled to stay afloat. Sophomore health sciences major Layna King explained her struggle during COVID-19. “I have faced many new challenges since the pandemic,” King said. “I recently tested positive for COVID-19, which not only took a toll on my mental health, but physical as well. It was difficult to just even get out of bed to complete my schoolwork and other needs.” According to NAU’s student COVID-19 resources page, out of the 1,924 individuals tested during the week of Feb. 7, 84 tested positive. The school has made multiple efforts to contain the spread of the virus by requiring

students to quarantine even if they are asymptomatic. Not only did the virus affect King personally, but she also faced struggles outside of school. “In March of 2020 my job shut down and I wasn’t able to work for future bills that I needed to pay for school,” King said. “This caused an unnecessary amount of stress and anxiety about how I was going to pay for textbooks and my rent.” King explained the Resilience Project helps her manage stress and anxiety. The menu button at the bottom of the page has different categories, such as things other students wish they knew before coming to NAU, discussion about difficult issues, as well as values and strengths designed to specifically fit students. Natonie touched on the importance of the website and the helpful link to students. “‘What I wish I knew’ videos are on current students that are talking about topics that they wish they had known before they had gone to college,” Natonie said over Zoom. “That’s a great section, along with ‘real talk,’ which is an important part of this module. Students who are uncomfortable talking about certain topics, such as intrusive thoughts or depression, are all topics that are filmed podcast-style that students can learn from experts in that field. They are not just random people on the Internet sharing their ideas.” The dashboard on the project tracks accomplishments, and even provides a certificate of completion. The project resources are available any time throughout a student’s college career. Multiple TED Talks are obtainable as resources on personal strengths, bouncing back and shifting into a positive mindset. The Build Resilience at NAU module identifies steps to encourage students to overcome obstacles and continue to have an optimistic outlook on the future. Natonie also mentioned the Stressbusters Wellness app they encouraged students to look into, which is free for students and notifies them of current campus events, along with relaxation tips and other wellness advice. The Stressbusters Wellness app is available on Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Through this challenging time, NAU Health Promotion has created a project to allow students’ resources and accessibility to help during stressful situations. There are a lot of new skills available from the program that encourages students to reach out for help. The Resilience Project offers new skills and supplies to help create a strong environment for students.




F1 is a must-watch sporting experience


ere in the United States, NASCAR is the most popular form of auto racing. With famous sports figures like Michael Jordan, Brad Daugherty and Alvin Kamara investing in the sport, NASCAR is becoming more and more mainstream. However, the most popular motorsports league in the entire world is Formula 1 (F1), with legends such as Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton leaving their mark as sports icons. Even though the races air earlier in the morning, here are three reasons why SEAN CLARK you should brave the early start times and watch every F1 race. WRITER First, outside of NFL RedZone, F1 has the best broadcasts to provide the most exciting viewing experience for fans. Unlike NASCAR, there are no commercials while the racing is occurring, allowing viewers to see everything that happens live. With state-of-the-art graphics, the broadcast does a fantastic job keeping viewers up to date with the standings and situations of every driver. The cherry on top is the best announcing team in motorsports, with the excitable David Croft describing the action with auctioneer-style announcing and over-the-top emotion. Martin Brundle reacting and analyzing the action with exuberance makes this one of the best broadcasting duos of all time. Also, the midfield battles provide some of the best entertainment in sports that are on par with the NFL playoff races in December. Mercedes-AMG Petronas, Red Bull Racing, and outside of 2020, Ferrari, are usually at the top of the standings every year. However, the teams that are battling for positions in the constructor’s championships are brutal and entertaining. While the argument can be made that the same few drivers winning every race can be repetitive, the midfield battles are always entertaining, and when a midfield driver wins a race such as Pierre Gasly winning the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, it becomes a special moment no one will forget. Lastly, F1 can run in the rain, making it much harder for races not to start on time, and because cautions don’t halt the races as much as in NASCAR, the races feel more fast-paced. Also, outside of red flags, races do not last longer than two hours, allowing for a set time to watch a race. I love NASCAR, but I think everyone in the U.S. should brace the early start times and watch F1. It provides a sporting experience unlike any other with the fluid and commercial-free broadcasts, the exciting midfield battles and the shorter racing times allow for a satisfying watch.



Muhammad Ali celebrates his win and taunts over an unconscious Sonny Liston, May 25, 1965. Photo courtesy of Neil Leifer | Sports Illustrated

Feb. 25, 1964: Clay upsets Liston Evan Mcnelia


he date is Feb. 25, 1964. World heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston is scheduled to fight 22-year-old Cassius Clay. Liston comes into the fight with a career record of 35 wins and only one loss. Clay, the rising star and Olympic gold medalist, is undefeated in his young 19-fight career but comes into this bout a massive underdog. Oddsmakers are placing Clay’s chances of victory at +700, or 7-1 odds, according to ESPN. This is not a slight to Clay, but a testament to Liston’s dominance coming off two back-to-back wins by way of knockout. Looking back on this fight 57 years later to the day, it is hard to forget how much the sporting world has changed. Clay would

go on to achieve victory in this fight after Liston’s corner threw in the towel between rounds six and seven. Beyond that, history will have two stories. If the media were to have the mass presence it does now in 2021, this event wouldn’t have been out of the news circuit for months. Prefight tension was already high with mental warfare being waged by Clay. The night the fight contract was signed, Clay bought a bus, and with block, movie-theater style letters on its side, “Liston Will Go In Eight” was written out. He then proceeded to drive the bus to Liston’s upper-class residence in Denver at 3 a.m. to loudly taunt him from the streets. Harassment and threats like these fueled Liston’s camp to work in rage in preparation for the fight. However, this ended up being a distraction rather than motivation for Liston come fight time.

SPORTS Upon his entrance to weigh-ins, Liston was immediately under attack by a crazed Clay hurling threats and face-to-face taunts with Liston. The situation escalated to such a dramatic point that Clay’s blood pressure was deemed too high by a Miami Boxing Commission physician to medically allow him to participate in the fight. His blood pressure came down an hour later and the fight went on as scheduled. This wasn’t an issue for long as Clay came down shortly after his outburst. It later came out that he knew Liston would not fear Clay as a human. After Clay stunned Liston, Clay said “Liston’s not afraid of me, but he’s afraid of a nut.” The fight went on like any other for the first three rounds. The two competitors battled it out, trading shot for shot, but the underdog had the upper hand and controlled the fight. In the fourth round, Clay began to feel burning in his eyes and lost a majority of his vision. Almost being disqualified for the disruption, his trainer had one word for him: run. And that’s what Clay did, circling his way through the rest of the round and making it through. When Clay’s vision returned in the sixth round, the fight was over. Clay controlled the rest of the match, and the champion’s corner would throw in the towel before the start of the next round. From here, there are two different accounts of how the losing corner came to their decision to fold — one from Clay’s biographer and one from Liston’s biographer. The decision on whose account is the truth is subject to those perceiving it, but the core of the debate boils down to Liston being forced to give in by his trainers, or Liston giving in to the better fighter. Whichever you subscribe to, in their rematch slightly over a year later, Clay would go on to knock out Liston in one minute and 44 seconds into the fight with the world-famous “phantom punch.” This would also solidify him as champion, silencing claims of the first fight being fixed. Shortly after the first fight between the two, Cassius Clay announced his belief in the Islamic faith and changed his name to Muhammad Ali, which you may better know him by. Ali would go on to have an illustrious boxing career retiring after 61 fights at the age of 39 with a career record of 56-5. As well as being a boxer, Ali was known as an actor, musician, activist and philanthropist. In 1997, Ali founded the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. The center has treated many patients in its 24 years, including Ali himself who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years after his retirement in 1984. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali spent the final decade of his life in Paradise Valley, Arizona, making treatment easier for his declining health at his new, nearby medical center. Ali died at the age of 74 in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he will be remembered in the community not only as the greatest ever in boxing, but for his contributions outside of the ring. Exactly 57 years after he claimed his first title, Ali is remembered as the greatest competitor of his time, a man who stood up for what he believed in and a legend in and out of the ring.


A hysterical Cassius Clay taunts Sonny Liston at the weigh-in for their first fight, Feb. 24, 1964. Photo courtesy of Neil Leifer | Sports Illustrated

This week in NAU Athletics: WAC Swim and Dive Championships - Thurs.-Sat., Big Sky Cross Country championships - Sat FEBRUARY 25, 2021 – MARCH 3, 2021 | THE LUMBERJACK



NAU football players sing the fight song after a home win, Aug. 29, 2019. Michael Patacsil | The Lumberjack

NAU football returns Saturday AFTER LONG HIatus Evan mcnelia


s Week 1 approaches for Big Sky Conference football, fans can look forward to opening weekend. With a three-game slate this weekend, it will be the first time a Big Sky team has played a football game since Dec. 21, 2019. The 2020 fall FCS football season was postponed until spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With several schools opting out of the spring season due to pandemic concerns, those participating are slated to play a shortened six-game season, but in the middle of a long and challenging pandemic, spring football can provide a respite for fans. In Flagstaff, NAU gears up to take on conference rival Southern Utah University in The Lumberjacks’ first game of the season. Last season, both teams were near the bottom of the conference as they finished with Big Sky records of 2-6. When they met Nov. 16, 2019, it was a back-and-forth game that resulted in a 31-30 NAU loss. Former starting quarterback Case Cookus


threw for 325 yards and one touchdown to redshirt junior wide receiver Brandon Porter, who talled 150 yards receiving. The Grand Canyon Rivalry has been on the schedule in the Big Sky since 2012 when Southern Utah moved into the conference. However, with Southern Utah leaving for the Western Athletic Conference in 2022, the future of the rivalry is only guaranteed for the 2021 spring and fall football seasons. After that, conference implications will be lost. NAU currently leads the overall series with 13 wins in 23 meetings. In the last 10 years, Southern Utah has bested NAU in seven out of 11 matchups. However, five of Southern Utah’s wins were by seven points or fewer. For NAU head coach Chris Ball, this is only his second game in the rivalry and could potentially be a huge opening week win for NAU. Southern Utah’s head coach Demario Warren is heading into his fifth season as the Thunderbirds’ head coach and has gone 3-1 thus far against NAU. NAU has many new transfers, but just as


many key losses, most notably: Cookus. The Lumberjacks’ all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns graduated after the 2019 season, leaving the starting quarterback role open for competition. Emerging as the two frontrunners are redshirt senior Keondre Wudtee and redshirt freshman Jeff Widener. “Early on, we may need to head into [games] with a two-quarterback system,” Ball said. Widener saw playing time in one game his freshman year against Western New Mexico University. He attempted and completed one pass for 3 yards, while also picking up 14 yards on a scramble. Widener is also a recipient of the Golden Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award, which recognizes student-athletes for their accomplishments on the field while maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Wudtee has spent one year in the NAU program after transferring from Oklahoma State University. He has appeared in two games for NAU, and in limited snaps has 6 yards passing on two attempts and 33 yards rushing on 10

attempts. With an unknown year of FCS football approaching, there will be some differences in the playoff format. One of the changes to the playoffs will be the reduction of playoff spots in a normal FCS season. While 24 teams usually duke it out in the late fall for the FCS Championship, this year, only 16 teams will make the playoffs. The first 10 playoff bids will go to each conference champion. The remaining six will be decided at large by a selection committee. NAU is coming into this year with high ambitions and a championship in mind. In a shortened regular season with a young and untested roster, NAU will seek its first Big Sky Championship since 2003. The season opener against Southern Utah is scheduled to take place Feb. 27 at the Walkup Skydome. With no fans being permitted during the 2021 season, Lumberjack fans can catch games for free livestreaming on Pluto TV Channel 1058 or The Lumberjack Radio Network.




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The Lumberjack -- February 25, 2021  

The Lumberjack -- February 25, 2021  


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