The Eagle April 2024

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Editor‑in‑Chief Abigail Pritchard DEI Editor Zoë Bell Business Manager Eddie Rogers Assistant Business Manager Alexa Gelormini Online Managing Editor for Online

Neev Agarwal

Assistant Online Editor

Jack Stashower Social Media Editors

Max Borgenicht

Amelia Fortunato

Samantha Hiergesell

Manuela Gonzalez

Gabe Michelangelo Copy Managing Editors for Copy

Luna Jinks

Isabelle Kravis

Assistant Copy Editors

Liah Argiropoulos

Olivia Citarella

Sarah Clayton

Isak Gustafson

Romy Hermans

Ariana Kavoossi

Sydney Kornmeyer

Leta Lattin

Charlie Mennuti

Julia Patton

Spanish Copy Editor/Translators

Sarai Batallas

Aline Behar Kado

Valentina Sol Multimedia

Izzy Fantini

Haley Dymek

Imaan Hassan

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Sam Noll Photographers

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Sydney Affolter

Nolan Lee

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Madeline Miller

Gavin O’Malley

William Rogers

Gabriel Zakaib Videographers

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Maya Cederlund

Kate Corliss

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Phillip Kulubya

Lydia LoPiccolo

Daniel Midden

Sophie Milner-Gorvine

Owen Auston-Babcock

Margo Buchanan


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2 theEAGLE April 2024
Managing Editor for Multimedia
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Managing Editor for News
Administration Editor
Campus Life Editor Kathryn
Features Editor Samantha
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Abigail Turner
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Life Managing Editor for Life
Winick Arts and Entertainment Editor Marina Zaczkiewicz Environment Editor Clair Sapilewski Food, Wellness and Style Editor Eliza DuBose Silver Screen Editor Bailey Hobbs Life Staff Writers Jessica Ackerman Inés Daguillard Sydney Hemmer Kyle Galvin Conor Gillingham Gabby Landis Samantha Margot Connor McCreesh Gamze Mercan Caleb Ogilvie Arati Periyannan Chelsea Perry Alfie Pritchard Faith Starchia Sam Stashower Sports Managing Editor for Sports Delaney Hoke Sports Beat Editor Penelope Jennings Sports Staff Writers Anthony Bayyouk Ben Cunningham Anthony Gasowski Conor Gillingham Elizabeth Marlow Gabrielle McNamee Avi Paulson Richa Sharma Sidney Stern Connor Sturniolo Opinion Managing Editor for Opinion Jelinda Montes Assistant Opinion Editor Alana Parker Satire Editor India Siecke Satire Columnists Allie Grande Jack Leary Cara Siebert Jasmine Shi Satire Cartoonist Aidan Dowell Staff Columnists Julia Cooper Sophia Joseph Mari Santos Sara Shibata Ritika Shroff Emily Sohl Avyay Sriperumbudur Alice Still Quinn Volpe theEAGLE Delivering American University’s news and views since 1925 MASTHEAD CONTACT US CROSSWORD SOLUTIONS MISSION STATEMENT CORRECTIONS The Eagle has a commitment to accuracy and clarity and will publish corrections or clarifications. To report a mistake, email the editor-in-chief at The Eagle, a student-run newspaper at American University, reports news involving the campus community and surrounding area. The Eagle strives to be impartial in its reporting and believes firmly in its First Amendment rights. COVER GRAPHIC: IZZY FANTINI/THE EAGLE BUSINESS ONLINE COPY MULTIMEDIA NEWS LIFE SPORTS El ÁGUILA OPINION DOWN 1. CENTENNIAL 2. BANGIT 3. OWALA 4. BRIDGE 6. BUCKNELL 9. SPANISH 10. TERRACE 13. URINETOWN 15. STATS 16. CLEG 18. KOGOD ACROSS 5. NEBRASKA 7. LETTERBOXD 8. WONK 9. STORAGE 10. THEDAV 11. ALGER 12. SIREN 14. INDOORS 15. SPA 16. CLAWED 17. BURWELL 18. KENNEDY 19. TDR Twitter: @TheEagleOnline Facebook: Instagram: @theeagleau
Olivia Wood Jordan Young


17 — FAFSA calculó mal la ayuda estudiantil. ¿Ahora que?

18 — Construir comunidad a través de la comida: ‘Ese es el espíritu inmigrante’


19 — Opinion: Support your nonbinary neighbors

20 — Opinion: Housing for transfer students is an afterthought, Identities:

Letter from the Editor: My last kicker for The Eagle

After all the classes, adventures, friends and long nights that have made my college experience, when I reflect on my time at AU, I’ll think first of The Eagle.

I never expected that The Eagle would become the predominant part of my college experience. I never expected to think about the student newspaper every day for three years. Nonetheless, The Eagle changed my life.

The passion, dedication and talent that our staff display amazes me every day. Our sports writers, collectively, have barely missed a game this year. Our photographers routinely traverse the city, collecting the perfect images for our stories. Our social media editors update our pages every day and constantly come to me with new ideas.

Working as The Eagle’s editor-in-chief is the most challenging and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’m proud of all the investigations, features, breaking news and multimedia projects we’ve produced in the last year. We’ve raised our standards and challenged our-

selves to do better.

It has been a tumultuous year on campus. As we’ve covered protests and policy, we’ve made mistakes and learned from them. As I’ve pushed our staff to go the extra mile, to really understand their impact, they’ve exceeded my expectations at every turn.

Our diversity, equity and inclusion meetings have become a welcoming, comfy space where staff share their expertise and learn from each other. Our editorial board meetings are lively and considered. This is what The Eagle was always meant to be, and a collaborative learning environment has empowered us to do some of our best work.

I’m proudest of the community we’ve built, and I have so many people to thank for that.

Thank you to Jordan Young and Abby Turner, who were always available to take on a new task and who ran our News section with grace and tenacity. Your friendship and trust mean so much to me. Thank you Izzy Fantini and Neev Agarwal for always knowing what I meant before I could articulate it. Thank you Isabelle Kravis and Luna Jinks, who do far more work than anyone will ever know and who I can always rely on.

Thank you Sara Winick and the Life section for your creativity, Delaney Hoke and the Sports section for your dedication and Jelinda Montes and the Opinion section for your insight. Thank you Aline Behar Kado and Abigail Hatting for keeping El Águila alive. Thank you Zoë Bell for keeping DEI a priority for us.

Thank you Walker Whalen and Tyler Davis for making me laugh. Thank you Kathryn Squyres for pushing yourself and supporting your writers. Thank you Abigail Hatting for being my go-to. Thank you Sam Skolnick, Clair Sapilewski, Marina Zaczkiewicz and Lydia LoPic-

colo for your enthusiasm in representing The Eagle. Thank you Alfie Pritchard for being The Eagle’s first official nepo-baby, and for always giving me something new to watch.

Thank you to everyone who spent a whole weekend in the office with me to create this print edition.

To my roommates and family, thank you for reminding me when it wasn’t that serious, and for always supporting me when it was. Your love and understanding meant more to me than you could ever know.

Thank you Heather Mongilio, Courtney Rozen, and the many other alums and advisors who were there for me when I needed it and who trusted me when I didn’t.

Thank you professors John Watson and Amy Eisman for your advice and support — I couldn’t have asked for better mentors. Thank you professor Gregg Ivers for believing in me and for being one of The Eagle’s most valued readers. Thank you Nina Heller for everything.

To the staffers who love The Eagle as much as I do, thank you for trusting me. As your editor and leader, that trust has meant everything.

I know that I leave The Eagle in more than capable hands. Abby Turner has a vision and a passion for The Eagle under which it will thrive. As I take my place on the sidelines, ready to cheer on The Eagle in its 100th year and every year after that, I’m proud of what we’ve done and immeasurably excited for the future journalists who will be part of something so special.

3 theEAGLE April 2024 NEWS 4 — ‘SPA evolves as the world does’: Celebrating 9 decades of learning 5 — New leadership breathes life into Student Government’s CASE, Students toe line between political involvement and mental wellness 6 — Free speech privatized 8 — Stepping through history: Tenleytown Heritage Trail 9 — FAFSA miscalculated student aid. Now what? LIFE 10 — Chamber Singers foster connection through music 11 — Building community through food: ‘That’s that immigrant spirit’ 12 — Film students take a seat in director’s chair 13 — How to talk to a climate change denier SPORTS 14 — Where do AU’s athletes come from? 15 — Freshman Lorelei Bangit blazes through AU record book, AU volleyball graduates pass torch 16 — Eagles on ice: Building a club at the rink, The biggest supporters of women’s sports teams? Male practice players.
An immigrant’s daughter imposter syndrome 21 — Opinion: Opinion writers take on an ethical responsibility, Opinion: As President Burwell makes her exit, students have demands for her successor 22 — Advice from Opinion: Redirecting negative thoughts about rejection, Satire: Alabama-native sorority prospective expresses discontent with AU Panhellenic 23 — Satire: Pampered white boy says Letts Hall is ‘the hood,’ Satirical cartoon: Can o’ Words! 24 — Staff editorial: Vague policies silence student groups, Crossword
Abigail Pritchard Editor-in-Chief 2023-2024
‘SPA evolves as the world does’:
Celebrating 9 decades of learning
Students and faculty reflect on the school’s transformation over the years

Neil Kerwin thought he was finished with American University when he graduated from the School of Public Affairs in 1971. He had no idea he’d return as a faculty member, get promoted to acting dean, then dean, acting provost and eventually serve as president of AU from 2005 to 2017.

“I had never expected to be back,” Kerwin told The Eagle in an interview. “I didn’t have any idea where I would end up, but [AU] offered me the position and I took it, and as they say, the rest is history.”

Currently, Kerwin teaches public administration and policy in the same building where his journey began, the Ward Circle Building, which would be renamed Kerwin Hall in 2017 in his honor.

The past

After AU was chartered by Congress in 1893, SPA was founded at the height of the Great Depression in 1934 with a $4,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation — roughly $93,000 today adjusted for inflation. The program's goal was to provide training to 80 federal government employees who showed potential in downtown D.C. Less than 50 years later, enrollment exceeded 1,000 students, and in 1976, the downtown campus moved to AU's current Tenleytown campus.

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke at the inauguration of AU Chancellor Joseph M. M. Gray.

“Among the universities of the land, American University is yet young; but you have a great future — a great opportunity for initiative, for constructive thinking, for practical idealism and for national service,” Roosevelt

said at the inauguration.

The present

As SPA celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, students and faculty reflect on their time with the school, along with its growth and development over nine decades.

The school currently houses three departments: Government, Public Administration and Policy and Justice, Law and Criminology, as well as 13 centers and institutes.

“It doesn’t feel like three separate departments in the school. It feels like one team that’s part of SPA that’s moving forward with our mission,” Patrick Malone, the director of the Key Executive Leadership Programs and an executive-in-residence in SPA, said in an interview.

Malone has been a member of the AU community since 1997 when he was a PhD student.

“I’ve seen a place that has just gotten more and more impactful for our students, for our communities, for all of the fields of study that are represented in the three departments,” Malone said. “The school is just home to some remarkable researchers and scholars and teachers and staff. It’s all one team.”

Kareem Jordan, an associate professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology, is SPA’s first director of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Even though there wasn’t this formal position prior to spring 2020, SPA, the faculty, the students especially, had been doing this work since well before that time,” Jordan said in an interview.

He said his goals for SPA include recruiting and retaining more students of color, implementing course readings written by a diverse range of authors and drafting a schoolwide strategic DEI plan that is “grounded in inclusive excellence.” He also wants to increase the number of students in the new Race, Justice and Politics mi-


Interim SPA Dean Alison Jacknowitz said that in the 20 years since she has been at AU, the school has strengthened the policy area, adding focuses on data science and a Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy program.

“We are doing a lot of innovative research that can inform policy in the community,” Jacknowitz said. “We want our faculty to do their research, but we also want them to take their research to the community so that it can have a broader impact.”

She added that an identifying feature of SPA students is their passion for social causes and organizations.

“The students just keep getting better and better. More qualified, stronger, more passionate about what they believe in,” Jacknowitz said.

Ron Elving, an executive-in-residence and professional lecturer in the Department of Government, echoed admiration for SPA students’ enthusiasm for learning. He said that he looks to students to “bring fresh eyes and fresh energy” to the study of government and the governing of the country.

“I’ve been very happy with the student body and the degree of seriousness on the part of the students,” Elving said. “I hope I’m anywhere near as valuable to my students as they are to me.”

Senior Paulina Tes, the current president of the SPA Undergraduate Council — which aims to “serve and assist SPA students in reaching their full potential” — explained an initiative by the SPA Undergraduate Council which created a class competition for students to design and submit new classes as part of the SPA Changemakers program. A one-credit course on reproductive justice, designed by SPA senior Kyra Thordsen, came out of this.

“SPA is doing such a good job at making sure that the curriculum stays current and designing the curriculum in a way where it's interesting to learn about and you're able to apply it to things that are going on right now in the real world,” Tes said in an interview. “SPA evolves as the world does.”

The future

In 2023, the U.S. News and World Report ranked SPA as #10 among public affairs graduate schools. SPA’s centennial anniversary will be in 2034, and faculty expressed their hopes for more evolution of the school.

“The world has changed a great deal since 1934, but I suspect the world is going to change a great deal more than that in the next 90 years,” Elving said. “I would love to think that there would be an SPA in 90 years and we’ll be doing something similar and recognizable to what the original mission was and what our mission is today.”

Kerwin said he has faith in the future of SPA and the University as a whole.

“We’re at the epicenter of where change occurs,” Kerwin said. “You don’t survive long in this kind of environment without being innovative and conscientious and smart. I think AU has always been that.”

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New leadership breathes life into Student Government ’ s CASE

CASE supports students individually and advocates with University offices

The American University Student Government reintroduced the Center for Assistance with Services and Equity at the start of the spring semester after appointing a new deputy director.

CASE was previously on hiatus due to a lack of leadership. Salvatore Cottone, the speaker pro tempore of the Undergraduate Senate and a junior in the School of Public Affairs, said CASE’s main initiative is to guide students through any conduct violation situations they may become involved with at the University.

“We wanted to bring it back because of how important it is,” Cottone said. “We want to help students in every capacity, not just changes on campus, but students that are dealing with issues.”

Jeremy Acaba, a senior in the School of International Service, entered the role of acting director this semester after working to get CASE back up and running last semester and over the summer.

Acaba said CASE is an active resource on campus that provides student-led support to students through any University disciplinary process, including the Student Conduct Code, Academic Integrity Code, Equity and Title IX, Housing and Dining policies.

To connect with a student advocate for help, students should fill out an intake form found on the SG website with information about their case.

“Students come up to us through the intake process,” Acaba said. “Once they file the intake we see how we can best help them, and then we sort them into the proper department.”

Acaba said he likes to think of student advocates with cases as “student lawyers” who support students in drafting statements and sifting through policy language. These students have been trained through the University and by the director of CASE, according to Cottone.

“It can be scary, especially when an administrator from the school emails you a very bland email saying you have a case against you,” Acaba said. “We help ease those nerves and support them all through that process.”

Advocates will attend meetings and hearings with the student and assist in drafting statements. Student advocates also sign nondisclosure agreements to maintain confidentiality.

Beyond individual casework, CASE works more broadly to clarify different policies like Title IX through student-to-student interactions.

“The advocacy lies with meeting with department heads from the school for each respective department and voicing certain concerns,” Acaba said. “So putting in that student perspective, and feedback is definitely really important.”

CASE is currently looking for members of the community to fill various spots on its staff. The link to fill out an application can be found on their Instagram (

“This semester is when we’re really getting new

members inside CASE and then just hitting the ground running,” Acaba said.

Students toe line between political involvement and mental wellness

With the 2024 presidential election looming, many students feel conflicted. While some are excited to be at the center of the action in D.C., others dread the im pact it might have on their mental health.

“I would say I get stressed,” said Emma Kirby, a se nior in the School of Public Affairs.

According to a survey by the American Psychologi cal Association, consuming politics daily can negative ly affect mental health, particularly during an election season. After the 2020 presidential election, the Uni versity of Nevada, Reno, found that self reported anxi ety and depression levels peaked in November.

With yet another possible election between Presi dent Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, such symptoms take hold again. As hubs of political zeal, college campuses are especially afflicted.

According to an American University Sine Insti tute survey of 1,568 Americans aged 18 34, 30 percent of participants said they’re not motivated to vote and 20 percent said they are only some what motivated leading up to the 2024 election.

But not all students feel as apa thetic. Daniel Domsky, a sopho more in the Kogod School of Business and the School of Inter national Service said, “I think it’s really exciting being in D.C. during an election.”

Katherine Greenstein, a se nior in SPA, has worked in politics

since high school. To alleviate their nerves, they worked for two dif ferent campaigns this cycle: one in California and one in their home state of Missouri.

Although campaigns can be stressful, Greenstein enjoys the fast pace, characterizing it as “high risk, high reward.”

“The worst part of campaigns for my mental health is when you lose,” Greenstein said but added that this only motivates them to work harder.

and Psychological Services, recognizes the positive impact of involvement but still urges students to be mindful of a balance.

“It’s about finding that line of activism and civic engagement, but also not putting yourself in a posi tion where you’re overwhelmed,” Volkmann said.

Research shows that civic engage ment, such as working on a campaign, can positively impact mental health.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Pre vention and Health Promotion found that civic participation improves health and well being.

Jeffrey Volkmann, the executive director of AU’s Center of Wellbeing

The Voters of AU club also operate under these principles. The club works to alleviate confusion around the vot ing process by holding meetings and voter registration drives. Alyssa Levin, a junior in SPA and the president of Voters of AU, discussed the club’s im pact.

“I think making voting fun is such an important thing,” said Levin.

The club works to be a supportive community for students. In an elec tion year, “without an outlet, it starts to feel very overwhelming,” said Alli Templeton, a sophomore in SPA and the club’s inter nal outreach director.

Voters of AU emphasizes the importance of vot ing for mental health and the greater good.

“At AU, the undergrad population is like 8,000 people. There have been elections set by much less than that,” Levin said. “So anyone that’s feeling help less about it, their voice matters.”

theEAGLE April 2024

Free speech privatized

Students and faculty are confused following new policies and pattern of free speech suppression on campus

American University’s chapter of the Sunrise Movement is no stranger to protesting the AU administration.

The organization led a march inside the atrium of the School of International Service building on Dec. 1.

Members draped the building’s balconies in orange banners reading “REFUSE FOSSIL FUEL MONEY” and “WILL YOU STAND WITH US?” Meanwhile, students and professors filled the space with signs, chants, songs and speeches de-

the organization postponed its “fossilfree day of action” to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

But with the Jan. 25 announcement by President Sylvia Burwell and other administrators — which banned indoor protests and required clubs to “promote inclusivity” — Sunrise Movement and other organizations are worried about how far the University will go to regulate speech.

“Telling us what we can and cannot say in regards to that is extremely dangerous,” Leland said. “It’s censorship and prevents us from fighting for the issues that we are fighting for.”

In the email, administrators wrote that these changes aim to create a safe environment on campus and safeguard against antisemitism.

manding professors refuse research grants and funding from fossil fuel executives. President of Sunrise Movement AU and sophomore in the School of Public Affairs Julia Leland said the protest was extremely powerful.

“The School of International Service is where everyone can be seen and everyone will be highlighted,” Leland told The Eagle. “It’s just [a] great visual … where we have students all the way up top holding the banners. We have students gathered on the floor. It’s where everyone can be seen in our movement.”

The group is not only outspoken about climate justice, it also contributes to other social discussions on campus. In October,

Several organizations were quick to respond with their own statements criticizing the new policies. Among those groups was the chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace based at AU, which said the policies unfairly equate anti-Zionist activism on campus to antisemitism. The AU Coalition for Palestine released a statement cosigned by 18 student clubs and AU-based organizations that condemned the email and said the policies infringe on student voices.

“We call on all students to stand against AU’s clear move to suppress freedom of thought and speech on our campus,” the statement read.

In the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel and the subsequent Israeli bombardment of Gaza, student demonstrations have erupted at colleges nationwide. With more civic demonstrations, campuses struggle to balance commitments to free expression while maintaining productive learning environments.

Several private universities began regulating student groups and demonstrations. George Washington University, Brandeis University and Columbia University banned their respective chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine from their campuses. Columbia University also suspended its student chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. Other universities have put similar regulations in place and condemned student protests.

Campus confusion

In the wake of the policies, some AU student organizations are left asking: what constitutes protest and inclusivity?

Leland raised concerns about the poli-

going to thrive.”

The language of the policies also leaves questions about repercussions for those who violate it, John Watson, an associate professor in the School of Communication, said.

I am concerned that my presence on the committee will be interpreted as agreement with the premise animating its reconvening: that current events, whether on campus or globally, warrant revisiting or revising our free expression policies. They do not.
- Lara Schwartz

cies for their vague definition of “inclusivity” and when clubs violate them. Clubs particularly expressed confusion about what it means to be inclusive.

“If we are told that [race and class] are not directly tied to our mission because the administration deems it as such, that’s extremely dangerous,” Leland said. “We are being told that we’re perpetuating a lot of harm because we’re not inclusive. It’s not inclusive to exclude marginalized groups from our movement.”

In a guest column published in The Eagle, SJP wrote that Burwell told their leadership clubs cannot make political statements if the subject is not related to the club’s stated mission.

Claire McCafferty, the campaign chair of the AU Young Democratic Socialist Association chapter, said her organization has had frequent conversations about the policies.

“There is no explanation for what counts as protest indoors like [could I]

Megan Gayken, a first-year advisor and an AU staff union representative, said that protests need to disrupt the status quo to be effective.

“We need to be able to express our needs and positions on issues, without having the threat of having our jobs at [risk], if we have broken a code or policy,” Gayken said. “So it’s no longer freedom of speech if our jobs are at risk if we’re speaking out and telling the administration the ways in which they’re failing us as staff.”

How AU approaches free speech policy

The University formed the Working Group on Freedom of Expression in 2021 to refine its freedom of speech policy, last revised in 2016. After meeting for over a year, the group made recommendations that advised AU’s Freedom of Expression and Expressive Conduct policy.

Acting Provost and Chief Academic Officer Vicky Wilkins announced a new working group in a campus-wide email on Feb. 5. The new working group will evaluate how the protest and poster regulations intersect with the University’s commitments to free expression.


have a pin on my backpack that somebody doesn’t like, and that then counts as a protest indoors,” McCafferty, a sophomore in SPA, said. “If we’re fostering that kind of learning environment, nobody is

The group is set to produce a memo with its recommendations at the end of this academic year.

In a statement to The Eagle, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Matt Bennett confirmed the group is “expected to complete its work on schedule.”

Watson, who specializes in First Amendment law, said he was asked to participate in the initial 2021-22 working group. He left after attending for over a year. Watson said that while he was invited

6 theEAGLE April 2024

to join the group to offer a critical perspective of existing policies, his perspective was not represented in the material produced. He said he left feeling “very upset” and that the group was “a sham.”

Watson also said he is pessimistic about what the reconvened working group will produce.

“Although I recognize that, as a matter of public relations, they absolutely needed to form a new working group, if it functions the way the first one did, then I don’t see any change coming out of it,” he said.

Lara Schwartz, a senior professional lecturer in SPA and director of the Project on Civic Dialogue, formerly the Project on Civil Discourse, was also part of the 202122 working group when it first convened.

In December 2023, Schwartz agreed to join the new group after being told it would not be in charge of changing AU’s free expression policies. The request to reconvene the group cited “several specific controversies [that] have arisen” that raised questions about existing policies.

In a February email, she told Wilkins and Burwell that she had decided to leave the group.

“I am concerned that my presence on the committee will be interpreted as agreement with the premise animating its reconvening: that current events, whether on campus or globally, warrant revisiting or revising our free expression policies. They do not,” she wrote.

Different rules, different schools

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, also known as FIRE, sent a letter to Burwell on Feb. 9 condemning the new policies. The organization said these policies undermine how the University “leads students and faculty to reasonably interpret” that they have protections that align with the First Amendment. It demanded a response from the University by Feb. 23.

governments are limited in how they can restrict expression on campus, private institutions have no such limits, even though the University receives federal funding.

“Public universities have a legal obligation to adhere to the law,” Brian Westley, an adjunct professor in SOC and content counsel for Axios, told The Eagle. “Private universities don’t have the same obligations, although many private universities take the issue of free speech very seriously and are very much aligned with public universities on sort of how they respect expression. That’s mostly based on this idea of academic freedom.”

ment to craft their policies, because it was designed to be a check on the federal government’s power.

Some students who have voiced support for AU’s new policies say that, given rising tensions on campus, the University acted in the interest of student safety.

Instead, he said, regulations on speech can be necessary at universities to facilitate the goals of education. Those goals, according to Watson, are to teach students how to learn quickly and how to treat people with respect.

He said that AU’s policies do not achieve that goal.

At the very heart of this, there may have been an effort to maintain a respectful community. But, as you begin cutting away people’s freedoms, you have to do it with a very sharp and sensitive scalpel. They did it poorly, with a sledgehammer and not much thought at all. I think it’s the worst free speech policy I have ever seen.
- John Watson

Fitting free speech to private universities

Westley said in the last decade discussion around free speech has changed.

The University did not meet the deadline, but Bennett said they intend to respond.

The First Amendment applies to gov-

ernment suppression of speech, not to private organizations like AU. While public educational institutions overseen by state

“Part of this is just the struggle to figure out where the line is,” he said. “Speech that marginalizes may not cross that line, so at least under the First Amendment principles that apply to public schools it would be allowed — even though that may cause a lot of pain for people. Private schools have more leeway because, again, they’re not bound by the First Amendment.”

For some, this is a question of academic freedom and integrity.

“If we don’t have the ability to approach any question with complete freedom to inquire and explore it, I don’t think we can be a college now,” Schwartz told The Eagle. “That kind of freedom, it’s inherent in being a college.”

Watson said he doesn’t think universities should draw from the first amend-

“At the very heart of this, there may have been an effort to maintain a respectful community,” Watson said. “But, as you begin cutting away people’s freedoms, you have to do it with a very sharp and sensitive scalpel. They did it poorly, with a sledgehammer and not much thought at all. I think it’s the worst free speech policy I have ever seen.”

Support for the policies

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and advocacy organization Jewish on Campus filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. The complaint said that AU has created a hostile environment for Jewish and Israeli students that violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It cites repeated antisemitic vandalism on AU’s campus, disputes over posters that depicted images of Israeli hostages and a pro-Palestine demonstration inside SIS on Nov. 9 — which the complaint says interfered with classes.

“They can [protest] on the quad, they can do it at Capitol Hill, they can do it in front of the White House, they can do it in places that aren’t violating the academic freedom of Jewish and Israeli students,” SIS sophomore Noam Emerson-Fleming, the president of the Jewish Student Association and pro-Israel student organization AmeriPAC, told The Eagle. “All that people are saying is you can’t harass people and create an unsafe environment in academic buildings where people are going to get their degrees and go to class. I think that’s reasonable.”

Campus speech in the past

Many students and organizations say that suppression of speech has been a consistent trend on AU’s campus.

Most recently, AU SJP wrote in a statement to The Eagle that the policies were a response to protests the club organized.

“AU has been dangerously restricting student speech on campus when it comes to talking about Palestine,” AU SJP wrote. “We have witnessed new policies pop up in direct response to SJP actions, which include repressing protests and coalition-building.”

“The directives were implemented to address challenges facing our community, support safety, and assist with students’ sense of belonging,” Bennett wrote in response. “The directives were developed for the whole community and apply equally to student organizations.”

Lillian Frame, an AU alumna, said the University prevented her speech when organizing walkouts protesting sexual violence on campus.

Frame said that the email she and fellow organizers created for the walkouts was barred from emailing to AU addresses. When they tried to send emails to AU addresses, they were met with a “Message blocked” notification.

“We are unaware of any issues regarding email delivery in this matter,” Bennett wrote.

FIRE has also previously filed multiple claims against the University on students’ behalf.

In 2002, FIRE filed a claim when AU punished an undergraduate student for filming a public speech by Tipper Gore citing multiple student policy violations,

7 theEAGLE April 2024

namely theft of intellectual property.

They filed another claim in 2015, when the then-Office of University Center & Student Activities didn’t officially recognize the group Students for Rand — an organization dedicated to supporting Sen. Rand Paul in the 2016 presidential election — on the basis that the organization

disagreed about the leaked Dobbs v. Jackson decision with a Christian classmate in a group chat. The Christian student reported the group claiming religious discrimination and the other students were notified that they were being investigated. FIRE then filed a complaint on the investigated students behalf.

We are about challenging power-makers and decision-makers, and when we don’t have the freedom to do that, we can’t do anything.
- Julia Leland

had a “national election campaign focus,” which it claimed it could not support under federal law as a tax-exempt nonprofit institution. The decision was eventually

Also in 2022, The Eagle opened a case with FIRE when the University implemented barriers for student journalists trying to talk to staff, faculty and student workers.

overturned by University administrators.

In 2022, AU’s Office of Equity and Title IX investigated eight law students who

Now what?

The politically-active community at AU is reckoning with what these limitations might mean for the University’s future; both on the quad and in the classroom.

Schwartz said she will continue to advocate for the protection of free expression on campuses, believing it to be an essential value of higher educa-


cannot be

Leland said she wants to see a change to the policies because they limit her organization’s ability to function.

“We are about challenging powermakers and decision-makers, and when we don’t have the freedom to do that, we can’t do anything,” Leland said.

Multiple organizations echoed the desire to keep pushing the envelope at a school that values change-makers.

“People in power are not going to make changes or adjust what they’re doing if they’re able to just see a protest happen, dismiss it and keep going,” Gayken said. “If they’re not being put in a position where something they value is disrupted, they're not going to respond.”

“We’re supposed to be the new changemakers, and we’re supposed to be developing critical thinking skills and expressing our opinions and challenging ideas,” Leland said. “When we’re not able to do that, especially on the organizational front, we

Stepping through history: Tenleytown Heritage Trail

A look at American University's very own history marker

Tenleytown houses Wawa snacks, Target shopping, spots to wait for the Metrobus and an important lengthy history in the Tenleytown Heritage Trail. The trail has 19 points on a walking path — all of which highlight the hidden history of one of D.C.’s oldest neighborhoods.

The Tenleytown path — one of 17 D.C. neighborhood trails that feature local historical events — was erected in 2010. The heritage trail was a collaboration between

the nonprofit Cultural Tourism DC, the Tenleytown Historical Society and oth-

ers. The trail, named “Top of the Town,” stretches three miles and aims to teach visitors and residents about the town they call home.

Dania Jolley, the deputy chief of staff and cultural affairs at Events DC, explained that these trails offer an opportunity to learn local history in the background of the nation’s capital.

“[The program] began with two goals,” Jolley said. “One is helping visitors move beyond the federal monuments and memorials to learn about and enjoy Washington, historic neighborhoods and also promoting local neighborhoods.”

She added that American University students “should know about the area that they live in and walk around every day.”

AU has its own marker on the trail, #17, on Ward Circle. According to The Historical Marker Database, the sign emphasizes the history of the University and mentions Methodist Bishop John Fletcher Hurst — who founded AU — and the original landowners of the area that the campus rests on, but leaves out the fact that Hurst was an enslaver. The inscription also highlights John F. Kennedy’s commencement speech in 1963.

Devry Becker Jones, the regional and topical editor of The Historical Marker Database, said that AU’s marker is the most popular on the website and explained that the marker “tells a nice story” for students, later adding that the organizations that created this specific trail were very well researched.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Walking Town DC. The program will celebrate with 25 walking tours, starting with the heritage trails in September. Walking Town is an annual walk that takes visitors through the eight wards of D.C. “to showcase the city’s art, culture and history.”

The heritage trail highlights Tenleytown’s namesake of John Tennally’s tavern (marker #8), Kermit the Frog’s birth at WRC’s headquarters where NBC4 currently sits (marker #18) and Fort Reno’s impact on Civil War history — which has since been demolished to make an underground water reservoir (marker #5).

Matthew Frumin, the Ward 3 councilmember, helped create the trail during his time serving on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3E and talked about AU being one of the “first things other than Reno City that’s up in this area.”

“Sometimes the neighbors think, ‘oh, American University, the kids impose on our quality of life in some way.’ They were here first, right?” Frumin said, adding how he feels about the history that the trail shares with readers.

“The trail enables us to be conscious of a really critical view,” Frumin said. “It's just an absolutely great thing.”

8 theEAGLE April 2024
that functions.”
Note: SOC professor John Watson serves as a faculty advisor to The Eagle. He is not involved in any of The Eagle’s editorial decisions, including reporting, writing and editing.
Visit The Eagle’s YouTube channel, “The Eagle Multimedia,” to view a short docu mentary about this article or scan this QR code.

FAFSA miscalculated student aid. Now what?


remains committed to regular financial aid timeline despite Department of Education error

American University’s timeline for financial aid offers remains in place after the Free Application for Federal Student Aid was impacted by the U.S. Department of Education’s failure to adjust for inflation.

The Department of Education said in a Feb. 5 statement that it will support more college students and families after this year’s FAFSA experienced issues that may cause financial aid offers for college students to be less generous and inclusive than in previous years. The department also announced that it would delay the release of the FAFSA and other financial information to universities until March.

Three years ago, Congress set out to alter the FAFSA form to be simpler to use and extend the threshold for aid eligibility to help more lowincome students. The Department of Education was told to use a “more generous formula” to include more families of various financial statuses. Congress also told the department to adjust for current inflation rates, but it did not. Instead, the department used old figures from 2020, before the current spike in inflation.

Specifically, the department failed to adjust income protection allowance — the basic living expenses of a family — calculations to modern levels, and recent rises in inflation made this all the more important. Without adjusting for current inflation rates, more of one’s income is calculated to apply toward financial aid — making it seem as though a family’s disposable income is more than it is.

Dhruv Patel, a junior in the School of International Service, said the possible disruption or miscalculation of financial aid could hurt many students’ situations. Patel said the department should work to resolve any potential mistakes as soon as


“FAFSA should acknowledge the error they made and rectify the situation quickly by adjusting the calculations and communicating with individuals and families to ensure they were not penalized for the mistakes made by the [Department of Education],” Patel said.

May Morgan Lusk, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences, agreed it is important for students to receive financial aid letters on time and that they accurately reflect their financial situations. Lusk said the University should consider the possibility of the FAFSA distributing lower quantities of aid when giving out aid.

to the annual FAFSA data release form.

According to the form, the amount of outstanding loan balances for students across the US has increased by $35.9 billion since the fourth fiscal quarter 2020 to 2023, and the number of borrowers has increased by about 300,000 people. Additionally, the number of federal loan recipients at private universities increased by 100,000.

Although the FAFSA aid distribution may be disrupted on a national level, AU’s Internal Communications Manager Jasmine Pelaez said the University will remain consistent with the original timeline of financial aid distribution in the upcoming academic year.

“AU does not anticipate a disruption

cial needs.

“We have advised families of prospective undergraduate students to complete the required CSS Profile so we can utilize the financial data to provide a comprehensive financial aid letter,” Pelaez said. “This data allows us to closely approximate prospective students’ federal aid eligibility.”

Pelaez said further information can be found on the FAFSA 2024-25 webpage which will continue to be updated with future information that becomes available from the Department of Education.

The department released a statement on Feb. 5 that says it will begin several new initiatives to help make the FAFSA more accessible and easier to complete, better helping students, colleges and families with the financial aid process.

“The Department’s top priority is to ensure students can access the maximum financial aid possible to help them pursue their higher education goals and bring college in reach for more Americans,” the statement said.

“Students around the country are waiting to see if they can feasibly continue attending college with the release of the FAFSA,” Lusk said. “American University has the resources to provide said students with their award letter on time and provide low and middle-class students not receiving funding from FAFSA with higher grants.”

The office says there are about 119,000 D.C. borrowers who have received some form of FAFSA loan as of September 2023. The office indicated an overall outstanding balance of $6.4 billion across all D.C. residing loan borrowers, according

to our review nor awarding of needbased aid for our current undergraduate students,” Pelaez said in a statement to The Eagle. “Our priority deadline for filing the FAFSA is May 1, providing sufficient time for the Financial Aid Office to review and provide financial aid offer letters by July 1.”

Regarding the incoming class of undergraduate students, Pelaez said the University is diligent about reminding students to complete the form so AU can get an accurate description of their finan-

The department introduced a FAFSA College Support Strategy which will aim to improve the financial aid process by sending federal expertise to colleges to prepare and process financial aid forms, providing technological resources to support “under-resourced” colleges and giving colleges any additional tools to efficiently “record and deliver financial aid packages.”

According to the statement, the department is allocating “$50 million in federal funding that will be provided to non-profit groups specialized in financial aid support and services.”

Traducción al español en la página 17.

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2020202020202020202120212021202120222022202220222023202320232023 $0 0 $100 0 $200 0 $300 0 $400 0 $500.0 $600.0
Federal Fiscal Year D o l l a r s O u t s t a n d i n g ( i n m i l l i o n s ) Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Direct Loan Portfolio: Private Universities


Chamber Singers foster connection through music

The American University Chamber Singers is a tight-knit vocal group striving to share its talent and music with the campus community.

Chamber Singers is one of several music performance groups on campus and is a highly selective ensemble of 26 to 32 members.

Currently, there are 30 singers involved in Chamber Singers. According to Daniel Abraham, the director of choral activities, a professor of music and chair of the Department of Performing Arts, members are highly dedicated to developing their craft with a mission of giving back to the community.

“Chamber Singers is an amazing academical group,” Abraham said.

Chamber Singers was first established in 1934 and existed under many directors before Abraham. The

“It was that group that very quickly said, ‘Well, we want to keep this going,’” Abraham said.

It took five to 10 years for the Chamber Singers to develop a distinct separation from the larger chorus. As the group gained stability, they created a separate credit-bearing course that was a part of AU’s class schedule, as well as a distinct rehearsal time.

Since 2010, Chamber Singers has had the resources to properly challenge its musicians and maintain membership. The group encourages students to audition and join the ensemble, regardless of their major or minor.

“Whatever your background is, whoever you are, whether you’re a major in the DPA or not,” said Abraham. “If you’re there and you have the skills to be a part of the ensemble, it becomes an incredibly close-knit group very quickly.”

Auditions for all choral ensembles take place at the beginning of every semester. Vocal training, sight reading skills and musicianship are all factors directors take into consideration when assessing who moves forward as a potential chamber singer.

Luke Stowell, a senior in the School of International Service and the Department of Performing Arts, has been a member of Chamber Singers since his freshman year. The ensemble is one of his favorite commitments and communities.

music falls into the genre of “Westerncentric choral tradition,” Abraham explained. The group explores different varieties of music including European compositions, 18th-century music with instrumentalists, jazz, folk and more.

“I don’t think we’re afraid to approach almost anything,” Abraham said.

Chamber Singers’ performance this spring, titled “In Nature’s Realm: Our Environment and Care for the Earth,” centers around ecology and the beauty of nature. The program includes pieces with themes of stopping climate change and global unsustainability.

The ensemble intends to incorporate social and political issues into artistic expression as a constructive way to raise awareness. They hope that by doing so

their performances will have a positive impact on the communities around them.

“There’s been a goal or a mission to return something to the communities as a whole. To look at the public good and to bring art or the questions that art composes to a community for furthering thinking,” Abraham said.

The purpose of Chamber Singers is to perform and bring music to communities both in the D.C. area and abroad. Every two years, ensemble members tour internationally in an effort to exchange their craft with others and strengthen their bonds with each other.

Through cultural diplomatic touring, the chamber singers travel to locations off the beaten path. Abraham said that by taking risks and going to less populous cities, the students experience a special cultural exchange.

vocal ensemble was a strong group until the early 1990s when choral director Vito Mason retired, Abraham explained.

Three different directors attempted to replace Mason after his retirement, but frequent leadership changes within a short period of time resulted in the group disbanding and losing its spark. After this, the singers met occasionally, but they weren’t part of a robust program.

“The membership was greatly diminished,” Abraham said. “It was not in good shape.”

When Abraham became choral director in 2000, he was asked to rebuild a larger chorus and revitalize an ensemble of chamber singers. That January, he held auditions for a spring showcase and chose the Mozart Requiem to draw students into the program.

Abraham cultivated a group of chamber singers by identifying around 24 of the best vocalists from 90 new chorus members. During the last 20 minutes of a regular chorus rehearsal, the smaller group of singers practiced “Jesu, meine Freude,” one of Bach’s motets, to prepare for the spring performance.

According to Stowell, Chamber Singers is a select and competitive group due to the advanced musicianship of the vocalists. However, these traits are also what makes the group work well together.

“The skill level is pretty high, so we can make some pretty cool music pretty easily,” Stowell said.

Rehearsal times are usually twice a week for two and a half hours each. For Stowell, the best days of his week are when he has long rehearsal blocks.

“We really enjoy the music we’re able to create together,” Stowell said. “Everybody’s really happy to be there.”

Due to the group’s smaller size, each individual plays a vital role in the production of each piece. Abraham explained that every single voice is what makes the ensemble unique and different.

“When one person is absent, we feel it,” Abraham said. “We feel it in rehearsal, we feel it in concert … the makeup of the group at any time has an impact on the sound, on the musicality.”

The style of the Chamber Singers’

“We want to go to small places where … we can have an impact and it can have a different kind of impact on us,” Abraham said.

Their most recent tour in May of last year was to Central Europe, where the group performed in Hungary, Slovakia and Czechia. Their next tour will be in May 2025.

Abraham and Stowell encourage all students to audition, become part of the choral community or attend their shows.

“Chamber Singers is just one of the great ways to be part of the community,” Abraham said. “I really hope that students from across campus continue and energetically explore all that’s offered.”

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Building community through food: ‘That’s that immigrant spirit’

Local restaurants uphold culture, tradition

Perched on the busy corner of Florida Avenue and U Street, El Tamarindo, the longest-standing El Salvadoran and Mexican restaurant in the District, helped transform D.C.’s food scene.

When Jose and Betty Reyes first opened their doors in 1982, it was not uncommon to see Latino restaurants offering “SalMex” cuisine. Their daughter and the restaurant’s current manager, Ana Reyes, said when Salvadorans first immigrated to D.C., using “Sal-Mex” branding helped introduce residents to El Salvadoran pupusas, soups and snacks through Mexican cuisine.

Home to 175 embassies, D.C. is bound to be food-forward. Most people in the District are used to eating food from five different countries in a week, Ana said. More likely than not, that food is where people find their community.

“It’s so normal for us that it’s almost like we are world citizens through our exposure to food,” Ana said. “It’s an opportunity that we have just by living in D.C.”

The proceeds were donated to La Clínica Del Pueblo, a comprehensive medical center advocating for inclusion and health equity for Latino immigrants.

“In most places, the immigrant community is kind of like the heartbeat of the restaurant that doesn’t really get credit for anything,” Ana said. “It’s the chefs or the restaurant groups that will get the credit, but you look into

and family

Eritrean food since 1987, the familyowned cafe is among the last Ethiopian businesses in the neighborhood.

When the first wave of Ethiopians immigrated to D.C. in the 1970s and ’80s, they made their homes in Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. Later, many businesses and homeowners moved farther down the U Street corridor as they were priced out of

the cafe as low cost as possible.

“I know we’re not making enough money, but I love what I’m doing; I love when people come and leave happy,” Gebre said. “Especially the students, when they come and can eat good food, affordable food, it makes me happy.”

Family and returning customers keep Keren Restaurant afloat, but city development is raising the cost of living. The cost of living — expenses that include housing, food and healthcare among other factors — in D.C. is 51.9 percent higher than the national average according to ApartmentList, an online marketplace for apartment listings.

The District is a hotspot for international cuisine. In 2023, Datassential, a food and beverage company, ranked D.C. number four out of the top 10 U.S. cities for “food forwardness,” and WalletHub declared D.C. the 17th best foodie city in America.

Ana credits El Tamarindo’s success to the local Latino community. Back in the day, she said, there were no sanctioned organizations and coalitions to help keep the restaurant running; it was a community effort.

“It was really family, friends, neighbors coming together and making sure that the business developed and thrived,” she said. “That’s that immigrant spirit.”

In thanks, Ana includes community outreach as a part of her role as manager. Every year, El Tamarindo collaborates with local chefs, DJs and performers to celebrate National Pupusa Day on the second Sunday of November.

For National Pupusa Day 2023, El Tamarindo served unique twists on the traditional corn pupusas, including an Eritrean-El Salvadoran blend. The doro wat pupusa, prepared by Chef Elias Taddesse, is made from spicy Ethiopian chicken and paired with signature berbere sauce and pickled turmeric slaw.

most kitchens in the city and it’s the immigrant community that’s doing all the work.”

Adams Morgan.

Today, a majority of the Ethiopian community resides outside of the District, finding more affordable living in Silver Spring, Maryland and Falls

A separate survey conducted between Aug. 14 and Sept. 5, 2022 by the National Restaurant Association found that of 944 respondents, 52 percent said they eat at home more often because of increased prices and 43 percent eat out less often.

A survey from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington said post-pandemic recovery has placed pressure on local restaurants, reporting the closure of 50 locally owned restaurants in 2023.

Unlike El Tamarindo and Keren Restaurant, Balangay, a Filipino restaurant, has faced location insecurity since opening. Owner and chef Erwin Villarias, who goes by Wing, immigrated to D.C. intending to serve authentic Filipino food.

“Filipino food is completely different than [what people] expected,” Wing said. “My main goal is to make Filipino food that looks different, is presented differently, but to maintain the authenticity of the flavors.”

Lemlem Gebre, co-owner of Keren Restaurant located just across the street from El Tamarindo, said that family helped keep her restaurant alive. Serving

Church, Virginia — making the greater Washington region home to the largest concentration of Ethiopians outside of Africa.

Gebre, known to her family, friends and customers as Lele, relies on word of mouth to draw customers while keeping

Wing first opened Balangay as a pop-up in 2021 in Bullfrog Bagels and Sospeso. After opening a restaurant location in Petworth, he was unable to continue renting all three locations and transitioned to a pop-up near Union Station. Without location stability and steady interactions with neighborhood restaurants, Wing has made forming community a learning pursuit.

While transitioning locations, Wing taste tests other Filipino restaurants and samples from other cultures. He said he’s grateful for D.C.’s large international community because it challenges him to innovate and cultivate close ties with other restaurants as he finds greater footing in the city.

“I think having a lot of restaurants is good because you can see the diversity of the place,” Wing said. “It’s more culturally rich. The more diverse the places, the more we can learn from.” Traducción

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al español en la página 18.

Film students take a seat in director ’s chair

Capstone film projects reflect talent and commitment to advocacy

As American University’s Class of 2024 watches their college career come to a close, many seniors in the School Of Communication’s Film and Media Arts Division begin their most challenging assignment – their capstone.

“This is actually my first time directing a film like this,” said Taemin Kim, a senior in the program. “I’ve worked on a lot of other people’s productions, but this is the first film that

partnered up to produce a film together and share the responsibilities.

Seniors Lulu Bernard and Whitney Foote co-directed “Under the Same Sky,” a film about a college student who becomes homeless and is helped by a professor.

“We’ve collaborated all the way through the process,” Bernard said. “For pre-production, Whitney is focusing on the shot lists and the mood board. I’ll be doing some of the breakdown of scenes. But even with that, we’re going to be getting input from one another.”

Not all of the capstone students took orthodox paths to get here; some, like Kim and Foote, came in as other majors before being drawn into filmmaking.

“I’ve always loved movies, but I just never thought it was a possibility for me,” Kim said. “Until I saw a couple of interviews by this Asian American director, Lulu Wang, where she was talking about her film ‘The Farewell,’ and that just made me realize, ‘oh, people do film and they do get to tell stories.’ It’s a hard journey, but you can do it.”

Rogers is finishing up his film, also with Au, another senior in the program, called “The Informidable Death of My Mother,” a black comedy about an orphaned girl who learns to grieve through a twisted instruction manual.

These friendships have proved invaluable as seniors prepare to release their films and get ready for life after graduation, giving them connections, direct film experience and strong bonds with their peers.

“Tristan’s become one of my closest friends,” Rogers said. “We’re each doing our own thing, but we’ve decided to tackle this by entering the film industry together and I think having a friend you can do that with is far more important than any film you can make.”

the most comfortable depicting.”

So far, Kim has cast three local Asian American actors for the film’s leads and staffed her crew with other Asian American filmmakers.

“I’m enjoying seeing that identity reflected in both the people who are in front of the camera and behind the camera,” Kim said. “You have to have both for it to really mean something

I’ve written, directed, produced with myself at the helm.”

Kim’s film “Rest Stop” is about two characters coping with personal traumas, who have a random encounter at a rest stop that transforms their lives.

Kim, like many other film students, is creating a ten-minute film that represents the culmination of their work and studies while at AU.

Outside of feedback from professors and mentors, they coordinate every aspect of the filmmaking.

Others, like Bernard, came to AU to study film and found their love for the craft expanded as they joined the film department.

“I’ve learned a lot throughout the process that has made me more inspired

to be in film,” Bernard said. “I came in interested in film but not knowing that much, but the knowledge I’ve gained has made me want to pursue it even more.”

Outside the classroom, students hone their craft through extracurricular film shoots, working alongside their peers in the industry.

“I started getting with my friends and being like, let’s just make movies,” Cody Rogers, a senior in the program, said. “Last year, I went to Tristan Au and I was like, ‘let’s make a movie this summer.’ And we filmed this elaborate, long, complicated film called ‘The Story’ which is currently in post-production.”

The students have high hopes for their films and plan to send them to festivals or screen them locally. This is reflected in the themes of their scripts and filmmaking process, which demonstrate a commitment to making positive change in the industry and world at large. “We aim to spread awareness about homelessness, and also empathizing with other people in our community,” Foote said. “COVID has made the social environment even more isolated. So now more than ever, it’s important that people look out for each other and start paying more attention to the people around them.”

Kim discussed how casting and hiring crew is another way to be an advocate.

“I’m interested in telling stories that reflect my experiences and the way that I want to see stories being told,” Kim said. “As an Asian American person, as a Korean American person, that’s the experience that I feel


beyond just basic representation.”

As they get ready to graduate, the seniors have begun to reflect on the lessons they learned.

“You just have to do the thing and make what you want to make,” Rogers said. “It’s about finding what it means to you as the artist, what you need to tell and show to the world … Nobody’s going to give you a bullet point, step-bystep process to doing this. You simply need to start now and write something, pick up a camera and go film it and have it mean something. If you do that, you’re going to graduate having something to say about the world, which is the most important thing.”

Editor’s Note: Tristan Au is a former Life managing editor for The Eagle.

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How to talk to a climate change denier

Astrophysicist, author and educator Jeffrey Bennett weighs in

Climate change holds a prominent and permanent place in the environmental policy conversation — especially for college students and young people.

“My biggest concern about climate change as I become an adult is watching the world fall apart,” Kelsey Mackert, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, wrote in an email interview. “At this point, we are headed for a twodegree increase in global temperatures which climate scientists have warned will cause irreversible effects.”

The impacts of climate change include increased severity of storms, global water scarcity and industrial disruption. These effects are felt daily at increasing magnitudes, furthering partisan divides between candidates, parties and nations on an issue that ultimately impacts everyone.

“I know that the reality of climate change is somewhat difficult for people who haven’t necessarily experienced it, or who aren’t going to experience the worst effects of it before they pass,” Kat Raiano, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the 2023 Academic Achievement Award for Environmental Activism, wrote in an email interview. “And I know some people don’t believe in it out of denial or mistrust of the scientific community or don’t see it as a realistic policy issue.”

Jeffrey Bennett, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Biophysics from the University of California at San Diego and an MS and PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, has worked extensively in scientific fields throughout his career.

His past endeavors have included — but are not limited to — positions at NASA and the Voyage Scale Model Solar System installment on the National Mall in collaboration with the National Air and Space Museum. Bennett also contributed to Story Time From Space, which facilitates children’s book readings recorded from the International Space Station.

Bennett attributes his dual interest in astronomy and climatology to his studies of weather patterns on Venus, which he says are strikingly similar to those on Earth. These similarities make understanding climate change “a really natural thing for astronomers” according to Bennett.

Bennett sees education as a vital catalyst for understanding the relationship between human intellectual advancement and the environment, which he believes is the best way to work towards a solution. He has spoken at multiple academic institutions to promote and garner a holistic understanding of a variety

of his works, namely for his widelyreviewed “A Global Warming Primer: Answering Your Questions About the Science, the Consequences, and the Solutions,” originally published in 2016.

Bennett also founded Relativity and Global Warming Demystified Tours and Big Kid Science, Co., which provide kid-friendly curricula on physics and astronomy, making science and climate education accessible. Occasionally, Bennett covers his travel expenses to national venues.

“I like to say that the sooner we educate everyone and stop making the problem worse, the better off we will be,” Bennett said in a phone interview.

Bennett also acknowledges partisanship and political ideology as an element in the climate change conversation, saying that, “The polls show whether you’re conservative or liberal, almost everybody understands that this is real.”

A collection of surveys done by the Yale Climate Communications Center found that about 70 percent of all Americans are at least somewhat concerned about political action regarding climate change. The surveys also found that every state — even those that tend to vote Republican — has at least 50 percent of voters who say climate change concerns them.

As many college students and young adults know, however, the clash of partisan perspectives on the magnitude

of climate change between political ideologies has detrimental impacts, even within families. Bennett takes a unique perspective on this problem, and advises advocates to frame the issue through a familial lens.

“Tell your [relatives] that this is the world [Generation Z] is growing up in, and climate change will become an issue of the wellness of young people in the future,” Bennett said. “For young people, I think this is a really important message to get across.”

Mackert, who has had many of these conversations with her older relatives, echoes Bennett’s sentiment in her approach.

“I would get personal and explain how climate change is affecting me and how it will affect me in the future, explaining my worries, fears, and tangible things that will happen if we don’t act now,” she said.

Bennett continued by discussing how, even if people don’t necessarily support an environmentalist political ideology, they should naturally want the best for their children and grandchildren, meaning they would at least support climate action in that sense.

“They care about you, they want what’s best for you, and if that means supporting notions that climate change exists as a major problem, they will begin to support or at least accept it as something real,” he said.

Bennett said that as children see

the days getting hotter, specifically winters, or even see their parents’ jobs and livelihoods become impacted, they will grow curious and become acutely aware of climate change’s implications. This would propel the conversation further into the future, beyond any current denial.

“I don’t think you have to have mandates [for in-school climate change education],” he said. “But I think you have to have people deciding that they care enough about it to come up with the policy changes that will move the needle.”

Bennett’s goal is to promote a more optimistic outlook on a “postglobal warming future” that starts with a universal understanding of environmental education, human rights and partnerships between the public and private sectors, among other topics.

As more people become educated, he hopes, as stated on his website, for “a future in which today’s children will someday be able to talk about global warming as a once-serious problem that we found a way to solve.”

A list of his upcoming events, along with two recorded events, can be found on his website, https://www.

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Where do AU’s athletes come from?

AU is the only DI school in the District without a DC-native athlete

American University draws students from far and wide, including for its student-athlete population. A

large portion of AU athletes are recruited from the Northeast, but athletes also travel from the Midwest and West Coast. Closer to the University, there are plenty of athletes from states surrounding the District, but there are no AU athletes currently listed as hailing from D.C.

Georgetown, George Washington and Howard all have at least one athlete from D.C. on their men’s basketball teams alone. So why doesn’t AU?

Next year, new women’s soccer commit Maddie Hurowitz will become AU’s only D.C.-native athlete. Hurowitz is from the District and will stay close to home next year.

“I'm really excited that my parents are pretty much gonna be able to come to every single game,” Hurowitz said. “I feel like a support system is super important in soccer and college in general. So to be able to like have some people to lean on will be really nice.”

Hurowitz currently attends BASIS DC and plays for the Alexandria Soccer Association. AU coaches first saw her play when she attended their identification camp in April 2023 where high school athletes had the chance to show their skills to American’s coaches and play with some current AU athletes.

Pennsylvania leads all states for AU’s recruiting by a large margin — with 44 athletes hailing from the Keystone State. New Jersey follows with 32 athletes and Maryland is close behind with 31. There is at least one athlete on every single team from both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and just two teams, women’s basketball and field hockey, are without a Marylander. Adjusting for population can paint a fuller picture. Maryland leads with the greatest number of AU athletes per capita. For about every one million people in Maryland, five of them are American University athletes. So while athletes may not be coming directly from D.C. to AU, there are plenty from the area competing for the Eagles.

American is also known for its large international student population as 10.6 percent of undergraduate students are international. Similarly, 8 percent of the studentathlete population is international.


Women’s soccer’s absence of international players is not due to a lack of trying — the program is not fully funded, meaning they do not offer the maximum amount of scholarships allowed. This can make it more difficult for international players to commit to playing at a school where they may not receive a full scholarship.

“Our ability to go out and see them is limited also because of budget and recruiting budget and all those sorts of things,” women’s soccer head coach Marsha Harper said.

On average, AU spends about $17,000 per team on recruiting for its eight women’s sports. Meanwhile, it spends an average of $24,000 per team on recruiting for each of its six men’s sports, according to Equity in Athletics. The women’s soccer team has no international players while the men’s team has four.

The field hockey team has the highest percentage of international students compared to the other AU teams. There are 24 total players on the team. Seventeen are from the U.S., two from Argentina, two from South Africa, one from England, one from Germany and one from the Netherlands. In addition to having the greatest number of international players, they also have players from the greatest number of different countries with six. Men’s soccer follows close behind with five unique

The figures are alike, but the percentage of athletes from outside of the U.S. is still smaller than one might expect. The women’s soccer team is one of two teams at American without an international athlete, with lacrosse being the other.

Lacrosse as a whole is much more popular in the U.S. than in the rest of the world, but soccer is famously an international

countries represented.

“I would definitely love to have some international student-athletes,” Harper said. “But that’s kind of our situation, we’re working on it.”

As for why American doesn’t have more studentathletes from the District, part of the problem is a lack of club teams within D.C. Many are based in Maryland or Virginia and draw talented players away from the District itself, according to Harper.

“One thing that our staff tried to do consciously when we got here was create a relationship with the local clubs because we noticed too, there weren't even players from D.C. or Virginia at the time we first came in,” Harper said. “I think there’s one club that is in D.C. in particular, which makes it hard just from just the player pool standpoint.”

theEAGLE April 2024 SPORTS

Freshman Lorelei Bangit blazes through AU record book

Eagles expand the growth of the track and field sprinting program with freshmen runners

This year, freshman Lorelei Bangit and her fellow American University indoor track runners smashed through the AU record books and set school firsts, thanks to investments in sprint events under head coach Sean Graham.

Bangit, an elementary education major, was

named Gregorio’s Trattoria Athlete of the Week on Jan. 29 after an outstanding January. Since then, she has broken multiple school records and placed fourth in the Patriot League finals championships in the 400.

She credits AU’s track and field coaching staff for her success. “They’ve helped me with my nerves and just overall confidence, through training and at meets,” Bangit said.

Sprinting coach Tyra Massey worked with Bangit to help her mental game, “Just letting her know that, you’ve done the training, everything’s going to be fine,” Massey said.

The Eagles indoor track team has set school records at a fast pace, especially the sprinting program. AU ran the 4x200 meter indoor sprint medley for the first time in program history in the 2023-2024 season.

Bangit was part of the record-setting 4x200 relay team with teammates Ciera Thacker, Adeline Dipaolo and Jessica Bakas. The quartet achieved a 1:47.17 which will serve as the benchmark time for any future AU sprint teams placed in the event.

Additionally, Bangit participated in an all-freshman relay team in the 4x400 to put up an impressive and record-breaking 4:05.25 time in the Father Diamond Invitational on Feb. 16.

“It was a big deal for us to get to that record,” Bangit said. It was an even bigger deal when, in the Patriot League Semi-Final Championships, AU beat its school record again with Bangit, Dipaolo, Hannah Puckett and Grace Kirk. The benchmark now stands at 4:01.23.

Bangit currently holds the 400-meter record for AU.

“I didn’t choose it, but it chose me,” Bangit said.

Her regular season indoor PR was made on Feb. 3 at the Boston University Scarlet and White Invitational. In the Patriot League Championships, Bangit returned to the Boston track where she set her record. Going into the weekend of championship racing, Bangit was hopeful. “I want to do really well … I want to make finals,” Bangit said.

In the semi-final races, Bangit raced in both the 200 meter and the 400 meter, beating her regular season record to set a new school record in the 400 with a speedy 55.65 time and qualifying for finals.

In finals, Bangit once again beat the school record in the 400 as she ran a 55.42, placing fourth in her first Patriot League Championship race.

Bangit will carry her freshman-year growth and success into the outdoor season. “I’m excited to see what I can do when we get outside,” Bangit said of the upcoming season.

“She puts in the work,” Massey said. “She works really, really hard.”

AU volleyball graduates pass torch

Zeynep Uzen and Carlie Fikse reflect on their legacy

The graduation of seven players from an 18-member volleyball roster signals a substantial change, as just under half of the team prepares to move on. When that loss includes the best player and outside hitter in the conference in graduate student Zeynep Uzen and a second-team all-conference middle blocker in graduate student Carlie Fikse, a coach might worry about the team’s future.

American University volleyball coach Ahen Kim is walking confidently into his second season at AU, backed by six returning freshmen whose performance propelled the Eagles to a six-game win streak late in the regular season and an appearance in the Patriot League championship game against Colgate.

In Uzen’s fifth season, she ranked first in the Patriot League with kills, notching 477 on the season, beating out second-place Lehigh’s Megan Schulte by 113 kills. This performance led her to win the Patriot League Player of the Year award.

Uzen plans to continue playing volleyball professionally, either in the U.S. in the newly founded Pro Volleyball Federation, elsewhere in the States or in Europe. “I’d love to stay here, though. I already know the culture of American volleyball,” she said.


Osterdahl did not see the court much in her first season with the team but is excited to make a larger contribution. She emphasized the value of getting playing time this season, early in the year and for the final two sets of the championship match. “I thrive in ‘do-or-die’ situations. It’s

who hits harder than Zeynep [Uzen], it’s Sofia. She’s got a mature disposition about her and she’ll be one of our go-to hitters this spring,” he said. “Hitting the ball hard is a skill that’s hard to teach, so having her with that skill on our team is invaluable.”

Osterdahl thanked Uzen for her guidance throughout the season, both spoken and shown. “I’m big on watching and learning, so watching Zeynep [Uzen] play is helping me in a big way,” she said. She told the fans to expect “someone who will keep working on what they built, keeping up their energy and hustle while doing it” from her next season.

For the outside hitters coming up behind her, Uzen had one message: “You’re going to do great. If I can do it, you can do it too.”

The group of returning outside hitters consists of Osterdahl, rising sophomores Holly Hopkins, Carly Sciborski and Maiden McLoughlin, as well as rising junior Adelina Berisha.

“When I came in, I felt coach Barry [Goldberg]’s legacy. I hope the team continues to carry that forward,” Uzen said. “I was so happy to be a part of it during my time, I can’t imagine myself playing for a different program.”

As Uzen parts ways with her decorated college career, she passes the torch to freshman outside hitter Sofia Os-

good to be on the court,” Osterdahl said.

Osterdahl has already made an impact as a freshman, contributing 4 kills in her two sets against Colgate. Kim had high praise for Osterdahl. “If there’s anyone

theEAGLE April 2024

Eagles on ice: Building a club at the rink

Club Hockey creates a family for everyone

On cold Wednesday nights, the Cabin John Ice Rink in Potomac, Maryland is home to American University’s club ice hockey team.

Without a Division I hockey program, the members of the club hockey team create a culture students can’t find elsewhere on campus. Senior captain Connor Cain described the team as very close-knit; a family who spends time together on and off the ice.

“We’ll go out to a restaurant,” Cain said. “Me and my roommate are both on the team together, so we’ll host something at our apartment once a week or so.”

Cain said that when he was applying for colleges, finding a school with club hockey was important. Without a DI hockey team at American, students may struggle to find a place where they can express their love for the game.

“Having that culture, having that community where I can have friends outside of classes; I had a structured place where I could make friends and build a community on campus,” Cain said.

Sophomore co-captain Brooklyn Spathies has been on the team for two years and, like Cain, appreciates the community.

“We have a good time, there’s no hard issues. We’re like a family,” Spathies said. “We always have a good time in away tournaments and even just here.”

The Eagles play along the East Coast against schools in Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. During the regular season, the team took four road trips.

Now, entering the playoffs for the first time in three years, the Eagles prepare to face teams in the ACCHL Division III Tournament.

The team’s success this season has largely been thanks to their line. Cain, freshman Miles Frasca and senior Joe Fareed have become the top-scoring line in program history, showcasing the team’s continual growth.

Nonetheless, there is certainly room for beginners. This year, junior Connor Wall joined the team and was new to hockey, but still “got full minutes and had a couple goals,” Frasca said.

The team practices once a week, making participation low commitment. The biggest obstacle for newcomers is price. Each member of the team pays dues, but Cain says if cost is an issue, the club will work to help anyone play.

“We don’t want cost to be a barrier for playing hockey,” Cain said.

As the program grows, each player has their hopes for the team. Cain hopes the club’s campus presence will increase.

“Not many people know we have a hockey team on campus. The people who do come to the games say they love it,” Cain said. “I think it will also bring in some more opportunities to again, reduce the cost and build the program out a little bit.”

“We’re growing the program,” Frasca said. “We should make a championship run in the next few years.”

Despite holding a wide range of hopes for upcoming seasons, each team member agreed: the club is like a family.

Freshman Lev Belopolsky agreed: “It’s nice to come to school and have someone who will throw punches for you. Literally.”

The biggest supporters of women’s sports teams? Male practice players.

It was a normal Tuesday afternoon for freshman Marin Broadbent-Bell, who laughed as blood pooled on his bottom lip. A basketball had just slammed into his face after a pass from senior guard Anna LeMaster, before senior Ivy Bales recovered the ball and ran him straight into an Emily Johns screen.

“DI women’s basketball is no joke,” he said. “It’s a grind practicing with them every day.” Bell is one of the several players who consistently American University’s basketball team — a strategy that women’s collegiate sports have used for decades to bring more physicality to their training.

Women’s soccer has also recruited male practice players in recent years and currently has five men’s club soccer players training with them.

“The reason we play against guys is because they’re usually bigger, stronger and faster,” said women’s basketball head coach Tiffany Coll. Training with male athletes gives the women’s players experience against a greater variety of players so that they are

prepared for any in-game scenario.

The role of the practice players is to adapt to the style of play of opposing teams. They act as a scout team, which helps the athletes get a better feel for the players they will soon face and determine their strategies beforehand.

“Our role in the team is different some days than others,” said junior Leon Bellenbaum, who trains with women’s soccer. “Sometimes, it’s to act as a defender to apply pressure on their backs during passing drills. Other practices, it’s acting as a center back to block crosses and shots.”

Importantly, the teams have great relationships with their practice players — the coaching staff, athletes and practice players say they have a unique bond.

“They’re just as much a part of our team as we are,” said women’s soccer freshman Lily McBride. “They’re a key part of our team’s culture.”

Practice players are invited to pregame meals, team dinners and formals just like the rest of the players, even receiving Patriot League rings when women’s basketball won the conference championship in 2022.

“It’s a family,” said Broadbent-Bell. “It’s truly our favorite people, and we get to spend every day playing a sport we all love with each other.”

Another benefit of having practice players is that the athletes have to take fewer repetitions of drills in training. Fatigue is common, especially near the end of the season.

“They can get worn out,” said freshman Garrick Onggo, who trains with women’s basketball. “I think it’s refreshing to play against new bodies who aren’t in your team.”

The male practice players are responsible for pushing the athletes physically, but they must be conscious of their size and physicality so that no one gets injured.

“We obviously know we’re a little bit bigger, so we’re just more cautious with any sort of physical contact,” said junior Farouk Chehabeddine, a women’s soccer practice player. “But other than that, we go full on 100 percent. The coaches have an expectation for us, just like they do with their players.”

theEAGLE April 2024


FAFSA calculó mal la ayuda estudiantil.

¿Ahora que?

La Universidad sigue comprometida con el cronograma regular de ayuda financiera a pesar del error del Departamento de Educación

El cronograma de ofertas de ayuda financiera de American University permanece vigente después de que la Solicitud Gratuita de Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes se vio afectada por la incapacidad del Departamento de Educación de los Estados Unidos de ajustarse a la inflación.

El Departamento de Educación dijo en una declaración el 5 de febrero que apoyará a más estudiantes universitarios y familias después que la FAFSA experimentó problemas este año que podrían causar que las ofertas de ayuda financiera sean menos generosas e inclusivas que en los años anteriores. El departamento también ha anunciado que retrasará la publicación de la FAFSA y otra información financiera a las universidades hasta marzo.

Hace tres años, el Congreso propuso modificar el formulario de FAFSA para que fuera más facíl de usar y ampliar el umbral de elegibilidad para recibir ayuda para ayudar a más estudiantes de bajos ingresos. El Departamento de Educación fue ordenado que use una “fórmula más generosa” para incluir a más familias de varios estados financieros. El Congreso también le dijo al departamento que se ajuste a la inflación, pero no lo hizo. En su lugar, el departamento utilizó cifras antiguas del 2020, antes del actual repunte de la inflación.

En particular, el departamento no ajustó el subsidio de protección de ingresos — los gastos básicos de subsistencia de una familia — cálculos a niveles modernos, y los recientes aumentos en la inflación lo hicieron aún más importante. Sin ajustar a la inflación, se calcula que más de los ingresos se aplican a la ayuda financiera — lo que hace parecer que el ingreso

disponible de una familia es más de lo que actualmente es.

Dhruv Patel, un estudiante de tercer año en la School of International Service, dijo que la posible interrupción o el error de cálculo de la ayuda financiera podría arruinar las situaciones financieras de muchos estudiantes. Patel dijo que el departamento debería trabajar para resolver cualquier potencial error lo más rápido posible.

“FAFSA debe reconocer el error que cometieron y rectificar la situación rápidamente, ajustando los cálculos y comunicándose con individuos y sus familias para asegurarse de que no fueron penalizados por los errores cometidos por el [Departamento de Educación],” dijo Patel.

May Morgan Lusk, estudiante de segundo año en la School of Public Affairs y en la College of Arts and Sciences, está de acuerdo en que es importante que los estudiantes reciban cartas de ayuda financiera a tiempo y que reflejen sus situaciones financieras con precisión. Lusk dijo que la Universidad debería considerar la posibilidad de que FAFSA distribuya menores cantidades de ayuda cuando ellos dan ayuda.

“Los estudiantes de todo el país están esperando para ver si pueden seguir asistiendo a la universidad con la liberación de FAFSA,” dijo Lusk. “American University tiene los recursos para proporcionar a esos estudiantes su carta de premio a tiempo y proporcionar a los estudiantes de clase baja y media que no reciben fondos de FAFSA con subvenciones más altas.”

Dentro del área de D.C., la oficina dice que hay alrededor de 119 mil estudiantes que han recibido algún tipo de préstamo FAFSA a partir de septiembre de 2023. La oficina indicó un saldo pendiente general de $6,36 mil millones en todos los prestatarios de préstamos de D.C., según el formulario anual de publicación de datos de la FAFSA.

Según el formulario, la cantidad de saldos de préstamos pendientes para estudiantes en todo Estados Unidos ha aumentado en $35,9 mil millones desde el cuarto trimestre fiscal desde el 2020 al 2023, y el número de prestatarios ha aumentado en alrededor de 300.000 personas. Además, la cantidad de beneficiarios de préstamos federales en universidades privadas aumentó en 100.000.

Aunque la distribución de ayuda de FAFSA puede verse interrumpida a nivel nacional, la gerente de comunicaciones internas de American University, Jasmine Pelaez, dijo que la Universidad seguirá siendo consistente con el cronograma original de distribución de ayuda financiera durante el próximo año académico.

“AU no anticipa una interrupción en nuestra revisión ni la concesión de ayuda basada en la necesidad para nuestros estudiantes de pregrado”, dijo Pelaez en una declaración a El Águila. “Nuestra fecha límite de prioridad para presentar FAFSA es el 1 de mayo, lo cual proporciona tiempo suficiente para que la oficina de ayuda financiera revise y proporcione cartas de oferta de ayuda financiera antes del 1 de julio.”

Con respecto a la clase entrante de estudiantes de pregrado, Pelaez dijo que la Universidad es diligente en recordar a los estudiantes que completen el formulario para que la Universidad pueda obtener una descripción precisa de sus necesidades financieras.

“Hemos aconsejado a las familias de estudiantes potenciales de pregrado que completen el CSS Profile requerido para que podamos utilizar los datos financieros para proporcionar una carta de ayuda financiera integral,” dijo Pelaez. “Estos datos nos permiten aproximarnos lo mas cerca posible a la elegibilidad de ayuda federal de los estudiantes potenciales.”

Pelaez dijo que se puede encontrar más información en la página web de FAFSA 2024-2024, que continuará actualizándose con futura información que esté disponible en el Departamento de Educación.

El departamento emitió una declaración el 5 de febrero que dice que comenzará varias iniciativas nuevas para ayudar a que la FAFSA sea más accesible y más fácil de completar, ayudando mejor a los estudiantes, universidades y familias con el proceso de ayuda financiera.

“La principal prioridad del departamento es asegurar que los estudiantes puedan acceder a la máxima ayuda financiera posible para ayudarles a alcanzar sus metas de educación superior y llevar la posibilidad de atender a la universidad al alcance de más estadounidenses”, dijo la declaración.

El departamento introdujo una estrategia de apoyo universitario FAFSA, el cual tendrá como objetivo ayudar a mejorar el proceso de ayuda financiera, mandando experiencia federal a las universidades para preparar y procesar formularios de ayuda financiera, proporcionando recursos tecnológicos para apoyar a las universidades “con recursos insuficientes” y dando a las universidades cualquier herramienta adicional para “registrar y entregar paquetes de ayuda financiera” de manera eficiente.

Según la declaración, el departamento está asignando “50 millones de dólares en fondos federales que se proporcionarán a grupos sin fines de lucro especializados en apoyo y servicios de ayuda financiera”.

Available in English on page 9.

17 theEAGLE April 2024
Construir comunidad a través de la comida: ‘ Ese es el espíritu inmigrante ’

Los restaurantes locales elevan la cultura, la tradición y la familia

por Samantha Margot

Traducido por Aline Behar Kado

Ubicado en la esquina de Florida Avenue y la calle U, El Tamarindo, el restaurante salvadoreño y mexicano más antiguo del distrito, ayudó a transformar la escena gastronómica de D.C.

Cuando Jose y Betty Reyes abrieron el establecimiento en 1982, era común ver restaurantes latinos ofreciendo comida “Sal-Mex”. Su hija y la gerente actual, Ana Reyes, dijo que cuando los salvadoreños emigraron a D.C., la comida “Sal-Mex” ayudó a introducir a los habitantes a las pupusas salvadoreñas, sopas y botanas a través de la comida mexicana.

D.C. es hogar a 175 embajadas y tiende ser una destinación centrada en comida. La mayoría de las personas en D.C. están acostumbradas a comer platos de cinco países diferentes en una semana, dijo Reyes. Lo más probable es que la comida es donde las personas encuentran su comunidad.

“Es tan normal para nosotros que es como si fuéramos ciudadanos del mundo a través de nuestra exposición a la comida”, dijo Reyes. “Es una oportunidad que tenemos solo por vivir en D.C.”

El distrito es un punto de acceso para la cocina internacional. En 2023, Datassential clasificó a D.C. de número cuatro en las 10 ciudades principales de Estados Unidos en cuanto a “avance de alimentos”, y WalletHub declaró a D.C. la 17ª mejor ciudad gastronómica de Estados Unidos.

Reyes atribuye el éxito de El Tamarindo a la comunidad latina local. En el pasado, dijo, no había organizaciones y coaliciones autorizadas para ayudar a mantener el restaurante; era un esfuerzo comunitario. “Realmente se trataba de familiares, amigos y vecinos que se unían y se aseguraban de que el negocio se desarrollara y prosperará”, dijo Reyes. “Ese es el espíritu de los inmigrantes”.

En agradecimiento, Reyes incluye alcance comunitario como parte de su papel como gerente. Cada año, El Tamarindo colabora con chefs, DJs y artistas locales para celebrar el Día Nacional de la Pupusa, el segundo domingo de noviembre.

Para el Día Nacional de la Pupusa 2023, El Tama-

rindo sirvió giros únicos en pupusas de maíz tradicionales. El doro wat pupusa, preparado por el chef Elias Taddesse, fue hecho de pollo etíope picante y se combinó con salsa berbere y ensalada de cúrcuma en escabeche.

Las ganancias fueron donadas a La Clínica Del Pueblo, un centro médico integral que aboga por la inclusión y la equidad de la salud de los inmigrantes latinos.

mantienen a flote el restaurante Keren, pero el desarrollo de la ciudad está elevando el costo de vida.

“En la mayoría de los lugares, la comunidad inmigrante es como el latido del corazón del restaurante que realmente no recibe crédito por nada”, dijo Reyes. “Son los chefs o los grupos de restaurantes que se llevan el crédito, pero si miras la mayoría de las cocinas de la ciudad, es la comunidad imigrante la que está haciendo todo el trabajo”.

Lemlem Gebre, copropietaria del restaurante Keren, ubicado justo al otro lado de la calle de El Tamarindo, dijo que la familia ayudó a mantener vivo su restaurante. Sirviendo comida eritrea desde 1987, la cafetería familiar es uno de los últimos negocios etíopes del barrio.

Cuando la primera ola de etíopes emigraron a D.C. en las décadas de 1970 y 1980, establecieron sus hogares en Adams Morgan y Columbia Heights. Después, muchas empresas y propietarios se mudaron a la calle U, ya que el precio de Adams Morgan los excluyó.

Hoy en día, la mayoría de la comunidad etíope reside fuera del distrito, convirtiendo la región metropolitana de Washington en el hogar de la mayor concentración de etíopes fuera de África.

Gebre, conocida como Lele, confía en que las personas hablen entre sí para atraer clientes y mantener el café lo más barato posible.

“Sé que no estamos ganando suficiente dinero, pero me encanta lo que hago; Me encanta cuando la gente viene y se va contenta”, dijo Gebre. “Especialmente los estudiantes, cuando vienen y pueden comer comida buena, comida asequible, me hace feliz”.

La familia y los clientes que regresan

El costo de vida — gastos que incluyen vivienda, comida y atención médica, entre otros factores — en D.C. es 51.9 por ciento más alto que el promedio nacional, según ApartmentList.

Una encuesta realizada entre el 14 de agosto y el 5 de septiembre de 2022 por la Asociación Nacional de Restaurantes, encontró que de 944 encuestados, el 52 por ciento dijo que come en casa con más frecuencia debido al aumento de los precios y el 43 por ciento come fuera con menos frecuencia.

Una encuesta de la Asociación de Restaurantes del Área Metropolitana de Washington mostró que la recuperación posterior de la pandemia ha puesto presión en los restaurantes locales. La encuesta informó sobre el cierre de 50 restaurantes locales en el 2023.

En diferencia a El Tamarindo y el restaurante Keren, Balangay, un restaurante filipino, se ha enfrentado con inseguridad de ubicación desde su apertura. El propietario y chef, Erwin C. Villarias, quien se hace llamar Wing, emigró a D.C. con la intención de servir auténtica comida filipina.

“La comida filipina es completamente diferente a lo que la gente esperaba”, dijo Wing. “Mi objetivo principal es hacer que la comida filipina se vea diferente, se presente de manera diferente, pero que mantenga la autenticidad de los sabores”.

Wing abrió por primera vez Balangay como un puesto temporal en 2021 en Bullfrog Bagels y Sospeso. Después de abrir un restaurante en Petworth, no pudo seguir alquilando los tres locales e hizo la transición a una tienda efímera cerca de Union Station. Sin estabilidad de ubicación y interacciones constantes con los restaurantes del vecindario, Wing ha convertido la formación de comunidad como una búsqueda de aprendizaje.

Durante la transición de ubicaciones, Wing probó otros restaurantes filipinos y muestras de otras culturas. Dijo que está agradecido con la gran comunidad internacional de D.C. porque lo desafía a innovar y cultivar vínculos con otros restaurantes a medida que va encontrando su lugar en la ciudad.

“Creo que tener muchos restaurantes es bueno porque puedes ver la diversidad del lugar”, dijo Wing. “Es más rico culturalmente. Cuanto más diversos sean los lugares, más podremos aprender de ellos.”

Available in English on page 11.

Opinion: Support your nonbinary neighbors

Bridging the gap through understanding

The following piece is an opinion and does not reflect the views of The Eagle and its staff. All opinions are edited for grammar, style and argument structure and factchecked, but the opinions are the writer’s own.

I don’t remember when I put my pronouns in my Instagram bio — first as she/they, and then they/she.

I never told anyone explicitly about this, except eventually my sister and close friends. In my first serious relationship, I kept my pronouns as she/they out of fear that being truthful would hinder the normality of a partnership that I cherished.

After we broke up, I changed my pronouns on Instagram to they/she and told no one. My sister started using they/ them for me almost exclusively, and I was so grateful. Only a few people in my entirely queer friend group did the same, and I told them I didn’t really care. To this day, I don’t know how much I do.

I never want to be the white person who acts oppressed because of my queerness or gender identity because I am not oppressed. Even for my perceived womanhood, I am lucky. I am feminine, from a well-off family and safe to organize for causes I care about, largely in socialist spaces.

Black transgender and nonbinary people are at a much greater risk of violence due to their identities, according to a Human Rights Campaign report, and to address the violence that queer people face in the United States, we must acknowledge this.

On days when I hear about young people being killed for being like me, I remember how hard it has felt to be so painfully misunderstood in my gender identity. I accepted that most people didn’t really care to understand.

In early February, Nex Benedict, a nonbinary and Native American high school student, faced a violent attack and died the next day at just 16 years old. Ignorance and inaction by Benedict’s school and the state of Oklahoma could lead to more kids dying and facing bullying because of how they identify.

The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization aiming to “end suicide among LGBTQ+ young people,” consistently finds that environment is an important factor in terms of queer mental health. In its 2023 U.S. National Survey on the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people, the Trevor Project reported that almost one in three LGBTQ+ young people said their mental health was poor because of policies against queer people and almost two in three said hearing about these policies makes their mental health much worse.

Policy dictating queer people’s livelihoods directly impacts how they live and can affect their mental health deeply. Over 40 percent of LGBTQ+ people considered suicide in the past year, according to the report. Transgender and nonbinary people are at a much greater risk of suicidal ideation than their cisgender counterparts.

Transgender and gendernonconforming people, especially Black transgender women, are also at risk of fatal violence, according to another report by the HRC. Even after queer people are killed for their identity, they are often not taken seriously by the police.

In a world where trans and gendernonconforming people are not prioritized, they are at risk of suffering violence and death. In spite of this ugly truth, Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters

called reactions to Benedict’s death “woke gender games.”

People like Walters may never change, and it is dangerous that he is in a position of power while using this sort of rhetoric. My goal for queer activism, though, is to include those who are willing to learn and understand so they can further support their queer neighbors.

An article from Harvard Law Review refers to nonbinary people as those who wish to “reject, permute or transcend” the gender binary. However, I have found that many sources — even others from Harvard — get it wrong. Sources refer to nonbinary people as choosing a third gender option when, by name and definition, being nonbinary rejects a gender binary altogether.

At the same time, any attempt to strictly define nonbinary is futile. Though some may argue that this is necessary to legally address the violence transgender and nonbinary people face, each nonbinary person sees their identity in a different way and therefore must be accommodated differently.

The Harvard Law Review article refers to the legal abolition of gender as “the old radical feminist dream of an androgynous or unisex society.” This comparison calls into question the importance of gender, as advocacy for a genderless society would likely face serious backlash because the truth of the matter is that gender is important to a lot of people — especially queer people, because it can help us label how we feel.

Gender is a social construct that shapes our society, communities and interpersonal relationships in innumerable ways. On the contrary, a Psychology Today opinion piece argues that “gender cannot simultaneously be

socially constructed and inherent to the individual.” Though gender is inherent for many gender-conforming people, meaning gender can be important to a person’s identity, it is still true that gender norms are created and upheld by everyone, whether this is intentional or not. Gender is ultimately what we make of it and have come to accept as a society, not something that is intrinsic to every single person.

While gender applies to people in different ways, nonbinary people can just as easily find importance in the absence of gender as genderconforming people can find in the presence of it.

If you haven’t considered much of this until now, it is not too late to start caring about and including nonbinary people in your political and personal conversations. It is not too late to acknowledge and learn from misconceptions about nonbinary people.

We deserve your attention, respect and care. We deserve not only to be represented legally but also protected from the violence that kills people like Nex Benedict and hundreds of others each year. Even more face sexual, physical and emotional abuse, with a disproportionate number of victims being people of color, houseless people and sex workers. The first step toward a better future for transgender and nonbinary people is a shared, intentional and compassionate understanding.

Quinn Volpe is a sophomore in the School of Communication and Kogod School of Business and a columnist for The Eagle.

theEAGLE April 2024
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Opinion: Housing for transfer students is an afterthought

The following piece is an opinion and does not reflect the views of The Eagle and its staff. All opinions are edited for grammar, style and argument structure and factchecked, but the opinions are the writer’s own.

About three months into my first year of college, I realized I was in the wrong place. It was heartbreaking. I spent all of high school daydreaming about college and how fantastic it would be, working tirelessly to get myself there — it felt like I’d done all that for nothing.

I filled out transfer applications feeling pretty hopeless about the whole thing. I was accepted to a few other schools and eventually chose American University. I let myself feel excited about it despite all the uncertainty of the transfer process. As a first-year coming to a new school, everything is built for you. Coming from a less conventional path, like transferring, I knew it wouldn’t look quite the same and I was worried I wouldn’t feel like a part of the AU community. That’s why I decided to live

on campus.

When I filled out my housing application, I noticed I was in the “transfer” category. Great, that means I’ll get sophomore housing or some kind of priority, right? I was a bit confused that I never filled out anything on roommate preferences like sleeping habits or cleanliness — which first-years generally do. I marked my preferred preference as Centennial Hall and felt confident I would get it because I wasn’t a first year.

Imagine my surprise when I got my housing assignment and it was Letts Hall Terrace.

Letts is described on AU’s Housing website as a hall that houses only firstyear and transfer students. This in itself is problematic. Why are transfer students, who are almost exclusively sophomores and juniors, given the same residential standing as freshmen? The only two halls listed with transfer student populations are Letts and McDowell Hall, commonly accepted as the worst halls on campus — and the most out-of-date. Why allow transfer students to mark their first choices, knowing they will be placed in the least desired ones?

It left me feeling like an afterthought.

The two all-transfer floors are Letts Terrace and one floor on McDowell. It felt isolating to be stuck in such an undesirable space.

Ruth Ghebremichael, a second-year transfer student, described to me feeling “alone in the process” of housing and as if “[transfer students] got whatever the leftovers were.”

It’s difficult and isolating enough to transfer to a new university, and having the least desirable living spaces on campus only aggravates this issue, making transfers feel even more coldshouldered. I’m glad I ended up at American, and if I could go back in time, I would come here again, but that doesn’t absolve the University of any wrongdoing — or mean some of my fellow transfers don’t feel differently.

AU ought to offer transfer students a wider variety of availability in residence halls throughout campus instead of isolating them in all-freshman living spaces. More than anything, though, AU should be clear with transfer students about what their housing will look like.

Julia R. Cooper is a sophomore in the School of International Service and a columnist for The Eagle.

imposter syndrome
Success was never an ‘ option’ — it was a means to survival

The following piece is an opinion and does not reflect the views of The Eagle and its staff. All opinions are edited for grammar, style and argument structure and factchecked, but the opinions are the writer’s own.

I was born in 2003 into the grapevine of Haiti’s diaspora. My father immigrated from Haiti to the United States at 16 years old. My grandfather stressed the importance of education to every member of our family.

My father has his master’s degree, as does my mother. As a Political Science major, graduate school seemed like the only option to achieve my dream of working at a think tank. But what happens when every other applicant is seemingly just as intelligent as me and just as involved in extracurriculars as I am? Applying to colleges was hard enough, but graduate school? Suddenly, I was lost in a sea of imposter syndrome.

According to Psychology Today, imposter syndrome causes someone to believe that “they aren’t as competent or intelligent as others might think — and that soon enough, people will discover the truth about them.”

Despite my extensive resume and the fact I had worked tirelessly the last three semesters, in many ways, I felt as if I was not good enough. What do you do when the person telling you you’re not good enough is not a peer or relative, but yourself?

Being raised in an immigrant family, success was never an “option” — it was a means to survival. For my family to leave Duvalier’s Haiti, they needed to thrive and persist. In the United States, that theme of excellence continued. My father was always the prodigal child in his family and parts of me desired to emulate that. Being in an immigrant family often means living in the shadows of those who have achieved lifetimes of success. So then

how do I beat imposter syndrome?

It began with an hour-long visit to the Career Center. I sat in the chair across from an advisor, and with weeks’ worth of anxiety built up, I finally said: “I don’t think I’m smart enough for grad school.”

I learned a lot during this visit — how holistic admissions processes are and how there is no such thing as a “perfect” applicant. Imposter syndrome’s hold on us exists by insisting that perfection is something anyone can achieve, and to not achieve it signifies failure. However, perfection is ultimately unattainable — it is meant to hold us back, not push us forward.

I am the daughter of an immigrant. My life exists as a dichotomy of emotions and beliefs. I know it is not just me struggling with my identity in terms of imposter syndrome.

So what’s the next step?

We, as the children of immigrants, are the result of generations of sacrifice. Our existence was never a mistake. Our intelligence, drive and work ethic make us inherently unique. I believe the only way to overcome imposter syndrome is to remind ourselves of our identity in duality — the blood of the homeland and the blood of the U.S. pumps through us.

Sophia Joseph is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and a columnist for The Eagle.

theEAGLE April 2024

Opinion: Opinion writers take on an ethical responsibility

The following piece is an opinion and does not reflect the views of The Eagle and its staff. All opinions are edited for grammar, style and argument structure and factchecked, but the opinions are the writer’s own.

When I applied for The Eagle last year, I had a tough decision to make about which section would best suit me. After significant thought, I chose the Opinion section for one main reason: I am incredibly opinionated. Little did I know how much responsibility I would be taking on.

Opinion writing is often dismissed as a simple, easier form of journalism than investigative pieces or other reporting. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Opinion pieces usually begin with an experience, whether noticing that a blue light tower isn’t working, being displaced by a fire in an off-campus apartment or being confronted with the number of calories in food at Terrace Dining

Room. Then, we find a way to connect our experiences to the public. We ask ourselves, is this something other people also worry about? How

at The Eagle, I’ve read a handful of irresponsible pieces that fail to consider the task they are taking on.

write opinion pieces is something that concerns me. During my time

An AU graduate student published a guest column last December in response to being quoted out of context in a news article from The Eagle. The author spoke about his position on the Israel-Hamas war and managed to offend almost every group he mentioned in the article. He seemed to confuse fact and fiction,

at it. Having an opinion isn’t enough to write a powerful opinion piece. You have to use a journalistic lens, integrity and responsibility while still sharing vulnerable experiences and ideas. It seems easy enough until you’re the one doing it.


our pieces are ethical, impactful and persuasive to the communities reading

Opinion writing is hard, and writers have to work to become good

Opinion: As President Burwell makes her exit, students have demands for her successor

The following piece is an opinion and does not reflect the views of The Eagle and its staff. All opinions are edited for grammar, style and argument structure and fact-checked, but the opinions are the writer’s own.

A new day is approaching for American University and students deserve change. At the semester’s end, President Sylvia Burwell will step down. Her tenure has been tumultuous, and there is, now more than ever before, an outcry for a shift in the administration.

The Class of 2026’s first week on campus was met with the staff union picketing, holding signs and handing out posters reading “Where’s Sylvia?” This came after the administration continually refused to meet in contract negotiations, and AU employees struggled to make ends meet.

At convocation, nearly the entire class walked solidarity with the staff union just before Burwell spoke. Since then, criticisms of not just her, but the administration as a whole, have not let up.

All this to say, incoming president Jonathan Alger is stepping into an incredibly difficult

position and has amends to make.

This past October, the Project on Civic Dialogue hosted an event where students could participate in a moderated discussion on the search for a new president. Over and over, students lamented the president’s inaccessibility.

As a smaller school, AU has a more intimate feel that should be reflected up to the highest level of power. A president should converse with all students — not just student leaders — and not just at coordinated events. This is no small feat, but engaging in day-to-day conversations will make students feel seen and represented.

Many students at the event questioned the utility of even having a president. Is it really useful to have a singular person, whom students have little to no say in choosing, making decisions that impact us? We ought to prioritize the faculty senate and student voices rather than putting all our eggs in one administrative basket.

The reality is that there is a new president. So, at the very least, his administration must be transparent with the community about how they come to decisions, and rather than creating policies unilaterally — consult community members that those policies impact.

Alger must prioritize working with students and addressing issues presented by student organizers. In November 2023, students staged an

anniversary walkout in protest of the University’s handling of the break-in and sexual assault in fall 2022. Organizers presented a list of demands, updated from the demands presented at the first walkout that the University didn’t meet. It is paramount that Alger recognizes that student activism on this campus is not going anywhere — despite the banning of indoor protests or limiting what issues clubs can and cannot address. Students have a vested interest in the betterment of the University. The stake we have in ensuring that this campus is a safe, equal and prosperous place for us to thrive is not conducive to a student body that must sit idly by while a president makes crucial decisions.

Rather, it should be a space where students can access their president — who represents them — to influence decisions and discuss demands that thousands of students stand by and work with to move American University forward.

Alice Still is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and a columnist for The Eagle.

theEAGLE April 2024
Parker is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and School of Communication and the assistant opinion editor for The Eagle.

Advice from Opinion: Eject the rejection blues

The following piece is an opinion and does not reflect the views of The Eagle and its staff. All opinions are edited for grammar, style and argument structure and factchecked, but the opinions are the writer’s own.

I got rejected from my dream internship this week. I know, big deal. Rejection is a universal experience, but it’s common to personalize it, and see

it as a specific flaw.

For many, including myself, there is something about the constant influx of rejection letters that continues to consume our thoughts, feelings and even confidence. I find myself thinking, ‘Is there something genuinely wrong with me?’ Sure, I haven’t cured cancer or solved world hunger, but surely I’m still a good candidate, right? You still most certainly are.

Despite what others say, it’s okay to be rejected. The classic phrase “rejection is redirection,” might sound cliché, but rejection does what success cannot: it gives us perspective. Ask instead: what does the universe want me to learn from this? What do I actually want for myself now that I’m no longer blinded by shiny things? This is how we find ourselves and our true

interests — through strife and determination. Rejection makes us grateful for the things we have already accomplished. Our perspectives become clearer, and we build a better relationship with ourselves.

The unspoken truth is that achieving success is amazing, but it is also okay for things not to work out. As difficult as it may be, look for the blessing, not the curse. We must choose to understand rejection is truly a redirection to something greater.

Mari Santos is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and a columnist for The Eagle.


Satire: Alabama-native sorority prospective expresses discontent with AU Panhellenic

DEI = Don’t Even Initiate

The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.

Early in January, deep in the Letts Hall terrace with subtle sounds of Morgan Wallen in the background, a storm brewed in Amberleigh Jones’ heart as she navigated the treacherous waters of Panhellenic recruitment.

Gone were the days of exclusivity and conformity, replaced instead by a wave of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. With each mention of intersectionality and cultural sensitivity, the Southern belle felt herself clutching her pearls tighter, her mint julep losing its sweetness and her carefully cultivated image of genteel exclusivity crumbling like cornbread.

In a world where southern charm collided with progressive ideals, she

found herself adrift in a sea of feminist speeches and woke slogans, clinging to her monogrammed bag as if it were a life raft in a river of political correctness. She longed for the days when rushing meant sipping sweet tea on the veranda and judging girls based on pedigree rather than their commitment to social justice.

On the last night of recruitment, Amberleigh ran back to her room in her Lilly Pulitzer pants, scream-crying to “Sweet Home Alabama.” She immediately opened her Simply Southern stickercovered MacBook and started the Common Application for transfers. By 3 a.m., she had already applied to the Universities of Alabama and Georgia, as well as Syracuse.

“Why can’t these people be normal?”

she wept to her mother as tears stained her fake tan. “I don’t even know what a she/they is!”

The next day, in a conversation with her sister, Elleigh, she asked what it means to

be bisexual. “The president of Ligma Sugma was explaining how accepting the chapter was when she came out as bisexual,” she asked. “Who cares if she speaks another language? Don’t we all?”

Members of AU’s Panhellenic community shared their not-so-pleasant experiences with Amberleigh. One member of Alpha Phi Phallic explained that Amberleigh made comments about the organization’s blonde-tobrunette ratio, stating that at least half of the brunettes should have to bleach their hair for her to even consider pledging.

The president of Sigma Coitus said that they were willing to give Amberleigh a bid. “We just kind of felt bad for her,” she said. “Remember that book the Class of 2024 read for AUx? The one about the neo-Nazi who was integrated into liberal

education and changed his political beliefs?” she asked. “We thought we could’ve done that to her — and I really needed to finish my psychology capstone.”

Moving forward, AU Panhellenic seeks to open its arms to potential new members of all backgrounds, hair colors and cultures. An anonymous representative stated that they were “disheartened” by Amberleigh’s reaction and wished she could have made it to bid night where she surely would have been even more disappointed. “We single handedly seek to keep AU’s transfer rate high,” they said. Amberleigh was last seen staring back at Letts as her stepmother and former nanny packed their Hummer. In the backseat, Amberleigh looked back, waving goodbye to her roommate, who had just noticed that the license plate of Amberleigh’s car said “l8r p00r pp1.”

Allie Grande is a senior in the School of International Service and a satire columnist for the Eagle.

theEAGLE April 2024

The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.

“It ain’t easy living on this side of the tracks,” freshman Kevin Manero somberly explained. A resident of Letts Hall, Manero bravely volunteered to share with Seagle reporters his experience living in the slums of the fifth floor.


Satire: Pampered white boy says Letts Hall is the hood Kevin shares his struggle coming up in an underprivileged living-learning community

Though on the surface Letts Hall may seem like an average residence hall, Manero assured The Seagle that he is living in the most abysmal conditions imaginable.

“The showers are always cold,” he explained. “Just bone-chilling. Okay, maybe not always, but at least like 50 percent of the time. Actually, I guess it’s more like 20 percent. But trust me, that 20 percent ... Anderson could never understand. Some people are just privileged like that.”

Not only do the air conditioning units break when you break them, he la-

“I didn’t choose the Letts life,” Manero recalled with a sigh. “The Letts life chose me — well, technically I chose the livinglearning community ‘God Complex Scholars’ based in Letts, but I mean, how could you pass up the opportunity to feel superior?”

Satirical cartoon: Can o’ Words!

mented, but the custodians took almost two full days to replace the paper towels Manero had soaked and pelted at his friends in the bathroom.

Furthermore, Manero recalled his shock and disgust last semester when he found a pile of vomit splashed across the floor in front of his room. He condemned the custodians for not attending to the situation and claimed that even though his pounding back of twelve shots of Smirnoff may have led to the unfortunate accident on the floor, American University should be ashamed of the state of its facilities.

“I just don’t understand what’s so difficult about keeping these dorms clean,” remarked Manero. “When I throw up at home, our housekeeper Carla always cleans it up. But hey, I guess when you live here … you learn to be tougher than everyone else.”

listens to King Von avidly and knows Black people, making the two neighborhoods synonymous.

He also went on to boast about an alleged run-in with law enforcement.

“Yeah, I’ve been busted by the feds before,” Manero said with a nod. “They ain’t shit.” Although Manero once again admitted that his initial story may have been exaggerated, he remained adamant that being written up by the RA over a noise complaint was essentially the same thing as being cuffed on the hood of a squad car. On the bright side, Manero believes that he has identified a way out of Letts by securing a nearby apartment.

“I just pulled myself up by my bootstraps,” claimed Manero. “Kept my GPA above 3.0 so Daddy would buy me an apartment. It’s not that hard. I’m proud to say that the American Dream still exists. All you need is hard work, perseverance and generational wealth.”

Despite his perceived challenges, Manero also stated that living in Letts was just like living “back in the crib on O-Block.” When asked for clarification, Manero admitted that while his home is technically located in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, he both

Jack Leary is a freshman in the School of Public Affairs and a satire columnist for The Eagle.

theEAGLE April 2024

Vague policies silence student groups

New policies don’t promote inclusion, they limit expression

The Eagle’s editorial board is comprised of its staff but does not represent every individual staffer’s views. Rather, it provides an insight into how The Eagle, as an editoriallyindependent institution, responds to issues on campus.

American University’s recent free speech restrictions have left students, clubs and organizations fearful of punishment and hesitant to act around vague policies.

On Jan. 25, the University sent a community-wide email announcing three new policies attempting to address antisemitism, discrimination and hate on campus. The directives were put in place shortly after a complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights by Jewish On Campus and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.

The policies ban indoor protest, require student clubs to be welcoming to all students and mandate that posters and University-sponsored events promote inclusivity. On its face, these policies may not sound particularly harmful, but — beneath euphemistic language — these mandates censor political action and speech.

The ban on indoor protest was seemingly a direct re-


sponse to an AU Students for Justice in Palestine indoor protest in November, which was mentioned in the OCR complaint and which SJP alleged in a statement to The Eagle. This ban was the clearest of the policies, but the potential punishment for violation was only described as “disciplinary action.”

The second policy requires clubs to be welcoming to all students, but that is not exactly what the policy seeks to accomplish. When clubs and organizations are forced to only comment on topics directly connected to the group’s purpose, the concept of intersectionality is completely disregarded. How can clubs take stances or align themselves with a cause without excluding those who might disagree? Furthermore, the policy prevents clubs from making such statements on posters, which must now exclusively promote approved on-campus events.

Student leaders across campus are now questioning which actions are and aren’t allowed. Some have felt pressure to self-censor to avoid possible punishments, like the University revoking a club’s charter and funding.

These policies seek to “support the sense of belonging on campus, promote safety, address the immediate challenges at hand, and help build broader community for all,” according to the University’s announcement. However, this blatant action against free speech makes it


so student organizations cannot address the “immediate challenges at hand.” Broader community building is further harmed when cross-club coalitions are barred from expressing opinions on important issues.

All of these mandates are legal because American University is a private university. Public universities, on the other hand, cannot so blatantly censor student speech because they are considered government institutions bound to the First Amendment.

An Inside Higher Ed opinion piece published on Jan. 5 argues that private universities should follow the First Amendment, not out of legal obligation but to protect productive discourse. “It seems that allowing students to debate hard topics within the broad — though not boundless — limits of the First Amendment may actually promote both education and order, two things sorely needed in these challenging times.”

AU’s actions are supposed to promote education and order, but silencing student voices directly and through the policies’ vagueness accomplishes nothing.

1. A term for a hundredth anniversary, or an AU residence hall

2. “She’s a runner she’s a track-star”

3. Popular water bottle brand, oft associated with an Australian marsupial

4. Connecting two points across a bay, or a good place for a pick-me-up

6. University that ended the AU men’s basketball season, represented by garish colors and a plains creature

9. Language studied by some SIS majors likely to be useful in coming years

10. Often used to describe a raised patio or veranda, at AU refers to the basement floor

13. Alarmingly-named DPA musical

15. A math class most students are *likely* to take as a graduation requirement

16. A major, difficult to explain outside of AU

18. AU’s home for those who think in dollars and cents


5. Building named for a U.S. state near the community garden’s new home

7. Social media home to many humorous and sassy movie reviews as well as The Eagle’s

8. A term for a policy aficionado, or AU student

9. A frequent concern for out of state students in the summer

10. Bustling, often crammed coffee lounge located in SIS

11. Incoming AU president

12. A sound, which might be heard on campus at any time

14. Where protests are banned at AU?

15. AU school, ten years short of its 1 down

16. Beloved AU mascot, aptly named

17. Current (red cowboy booted) AU president

18. U.S. President who famously spoke at AU on the need for a “Strategy for Peace”

19. A world-class dining locale


theEAGLE April 2024
GAVIN O’MALLEY, IZZY FANTINI AND ABIGAIL PRITCHARD 24 /24 6:36 PM The Eagle Spring 2024 - Crossword Labs
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