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P ROFILE

THE HENDRIX COLLEGE

VOLUME 109 ISSUE 1

THE ISSUES ISSUE


THE HENDRIX COLLEGE

Let’s Talk About the Issues 4 5 6 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Undergoing Change Know the Facts Around the Corner Struggles from a Black Female Artist Continuing the Conversation Notorious RBG The Extreme 2020 Climate Catastrophes Athletics in a Pandemic? Orientation amid Uncertain Times Learning to Adapt Just how Liberal is Hendrix? Quarantine and Chill? COVID and Self-Care A Dangerous Pair

P ROFILE

Editor-in-Chief: MiKayla Millard Online Editor: Hannah Diggs Photography Editor: Rebecca Burks Copy Editor: Josiah Vallone Layout Editor: Monica Martinez Fact Checker: Roth Coats Fact Checker: Phillip Powell Photographer: Lauren Allen Staff Writer: Jay Vicente Staff Writer: Phillip Powell Staff Writer: Danielle Kuntz Staff Writer: Lauren Allen Staff Writer: Sophia Isely Staff Writer: Sophie O’Reilly

ADVISOR Dr. Erin Hoover

MISSION STATEMENT As a student-run and student-funded newsmagazine, The Profile uncovers the smart edge to campus culture: the people, places, ideas and trends that curious, confident students and faculty want, need and ought to know. By critically examining issues important to the Hendrix community, The Profile aims to act as a catalyst for change, a tool for transparency between the student body and faculty and a source of inspiration for its readers to begin thinking globally and acting locally.

@Hendrixprofile

The Profile At Hendrix

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Cover photo by Rebecca Burks


NOTE FROM THE EDITOR

MAK MILLARD EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

This Profile is backwards. With most issues, the theme comes first, and the story ideas flow from there. This time (it might go without saying), there was no shortage of content. Instead, we struggled to find a title that pulled together everything we wanted to cover. We tossed around puns on “Homedrix” that, although fitting, didn’t feel serious enough. In a year where the days pass like decades, how can a single word or phrase be enough? If ever there was a time for The Profile to embrace its place as a platform, a voice, and a point of connection — it’s now. Still, what would we call it? Well, sometimes the easiest answer is the right one. One day, in passing, a friend referred to it as “the Issues Issue,” and it stuck. This issue has problems, plain and simple. The world is on fire. Some of our heroes are dead, while many of our enemies prosper. Closer to home: no one knows what next semester will look like, and even without COVID-19 looming, the college has a long way to go in uprooting the racism embedded in our community. It’s hard to overstate the stress we’re under, many of us miles away from campus, and others who haven’t really gotten to meet “Homedrix” in the first place. But, hey — it can’t possibly be all bad news, right? Our hope is that you cherish the bright moments as well. We’ve offered some self-care tips and insight into how students’ sex lives are holding

up through quarantine (there are some tips and tricks in there as well, if you’re interested). Additionally, we’re more than pleased to feature student and artist Adaja Cooper in her own words; if you’re not following her work already, consider this your invitation. I want some of these pieces to make you angry. I want them to make you curious. I want them to make you feel whatever it takes to get you interested. Take care of yourself, but make sure you’re doing what you can to raise up your peers as well, from wherever you are. Since we can’t call it “the Solutions Issue,” we hope you’ll seek those out and fight for them, so we can write the comeback story we all deserve. Sincerely,

Have a question, response, or inquiry? You can reach us anytime at thehendrixcollegeprofile@gmail.com. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on the latest stories. OCTOBER 2020

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NEWS

UNDERGOING CHANGE

What you need to know about life at Hendrix Sophie O’Reilly| Staff Writer As COVID-19 continues to rapidly change and evolve, our community is changing too. Hendrix has made some meaningful updates to school policy and campus systems, particularly gearing up for the return to campus in the fall. Given our current chaos, some of these policy changes have fallen off the radar of students. We hope to bring some of these changes to the surface and underscore updates from the college. First and foremost, Hendrix has created a Frequently Asked Questions that covers COVID-19 related updates. Here, you can find the most recent communication from the university, as well as the COVID-19 dashboard, where you can review testing statistics for the Hendrix community and surrounding counties. This site also includes information about contact tracing, a frequently updated timeline for our return to campus, and general health and safety reminders. Checking this web page and all communication sent to your Hendrix student email is one of the best ways to stay up to date. As the website highlights, all Hendrix community members received an email from the college on October 1st with a slew of important university updates. It’s a doozy, so let’s try to break it down a bit: The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and Senior Leadership Team voted to continue learning remotely until January. Upgrades to technology services and internal contact tracing are underway. Dining services and air quality in campus buildings are currently under reevaluation. The new community health clinic is in the process of expanding its testing capacity, as well as shortening testing turnaround time. An optional tuition-free fifth academic year is being offered; the school has a dedicated web page with information about who’s eligible, what it will cost, and other details. Additionally, Hendrix will be releasing a reinvented tuition cost for students entering for the first time in the fall of 2021. Ryan Cassell, Vice President of Enrollment, notes

that the changes’ primary purpose was to bridge the gap preventing students from applying to Hendrix: the price tag is hefty, so the tuition decrease is intended to increase accessibility. To avoid having to recalculate everyone’s financial aid, current students will not be included in this shift. However, all students will still be paying the same amount as they would before the change. Percentage-wise, it works out to be closer to a net zero: tuition is being lowered, but so is financial aid. Thus, if you were paying $10,000 a year before the tuition change, you will still pay $10,000 now. Not all updates on campus are directly related to COVID-19, though. Title IX, a civil rights law that protects people from sex-based discrimination on campus, has been reformed on a federal level. Dr. Vetter, Hendrix’s Title IX investigator and Education Coordinator, highlighted a couple of particularly important updates to this legislation at a Student Senate meeting on September 8th. Some of the key takeaways are that (1) incidents reported under Title IX must have occurred on school property and between two Hendrix students, and (2) that a live hearing with a crossexamination component is now mandatory. Being informed about these changes is essential to keeping our campus safe. If you have any questions or concerns about these changes, you can reach out to Dr. Vetter at vetter@hendrix. edu. We know that this is a crazy time for everyone in our community and the nation as a whole. Because of this, we want to direct you to some of the resources provided by the college for coping with these stressful times. Most importantly, fret not, and begin preparing for the transition back to campus. Things will undoubtedly be different, but we will get through this. Keep up with communications from the college, wear a mask, exercise your right to vote, be kind to one another, and, most importantly, be kind to yourself.

Editor’s Note: The college’s COVID-19 dashboard can be found here, and up-to-date information can be found here. Spring plans for the college can be found here

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KNOW THE FACTS

During a time of rapidly changing information, it is essential to know where to go to get the latest updates on COVID-19 Sophia Isely| Staff Writer Since there is such a wealth of untrustworthy sources on the internet, it’s easy to assume the government is planning on microchipping us all with the COVID-19 vaccine or that we should simply inject ourselves with disinfectant as a replacement. On the other hand, the reliable and scholarly research about a potential vaccine can seem intimidating— let alone feeling unfamiliar and foreign to the large majority of us who are not immunologists. For many people, COVID-19 has turned into a political matter instead of concern for our populations’ general health. Even Dr. Fauci—the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for the past 36 years—believes that the political opposition to the virus has hindered the quality of our COVID-19 response. The views surrounding the vaccine could become more and more dangerous to the public health. According to the CDC, this vaccine should be accessible to Americans around January of 2021. Many people are—understandably—concerned that the creation of this vaccine is happening so rapidly. After all, China only published the sequence of this virus on January 10th of 2020—which means the turnaround on the vaccine itself would be about a year. This shorter period of vaccine development has delivered a miscommunication to the general public; the research behind this vaccine didn’t begin during the COVID-19 outbreak. The mRNA vaccination platform that many potential vaccines will be using has been in research since the SARS outbreak in 2002-2004. Advances in this technology allow the scientists behind the vaccine to do things in months that would typically take years; the speed of this vaccine’s development is not due to discarding scientific integrity or safety, but it is instead the result of years of tedious work from researchers. “But how do I know I won’t croak over the second I am injected with this vaccine?” Well, there are multiple vaccines in trial that are being tested on real humans. Some side effects are inevitable, but these trials are being tested on quite large numbers of people—one trial is being run with 60,000 people, another with 44,000 people, and one more with 30,000 people. According to Dr. Fauci, the researchers are also ensuring there is a diverse group of participants. The scientists controlling this research and development are ultimately looking for the safest vaccine with the highest efficacy. Once these trials are completed, the Food and Drug

Administration (FDA) must authorize this vaccine—a process by which they would notice any sneaky microchips. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Academy of Medicine (NAM), and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) also have to review the vaccine and vaccination plans. Then, the CDC will begin Phase 1, where they will only distribute the vaccine to critical populations -- i.e. places like health departments. In Phase 2, widespread doses of the vaccine will start to be accessible at our pharmacies or usual healthcare providers. Phase 3 will only be necessary if there is a need for an ongoing vaccine for COVID-19, and researchers are not yet sure whether or not the vaccine will need to be repeated like the flu vaccine. Although COVID-19 could only require a one time vaccination, Dr. Fauci states that it is also possible that this virus will recur and perhaps even become a seasonal sort of virus. Regarding where the vaccine is coming from, the federal government has contracted a pharmaceutical distribution company called McKesson. Although it may seem scary that a manufacturer that most people have never heard of is mass-producing this vaccine, the CDC actually has a good track record with McKesson. This company successfully distributed the H1N1 vaccine amidst the H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) pandemic in 2009–2010. Perhaps best of all about this partnership, no Americans should have to pay for the vaccine or its distribution—ensuring that hopefully, no potential recipients will have to face an economic barrier. Ultimately, there are a few vital things for you to know about the COVID-19 vaccine. First off, it is necessary for everyone who is able to get vaccinated for the protection of public health. I know it is hard to trust the government in such unprecedented times, but many scientists and committees will ensure the vaccine is safe. Although this vaccine should be crucial to stopping the spread of this virus, wearing your masks and social distancing also play a large role in controlling this pandemic. Secondly, the COVID-19 vaccine should be available in early 2021, and it should be easily accessible at your local pharmacy or healthcare clinic. Lastly: please don’t let your political views (or any myths you see on social media) negatively influence your decision to prioritize your health and the health of those around you.

Editor’s Note: For more and up-to-date information about vaccines and COVID-19, click here. To read about the mRNA vaccination platform, please click here. To see the U.S. government’s strategy for vaccine implementation, click here. OCTOBER 2020

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AROUND THE CORNER:

ELECTION DAY 2020

With election day just a week away, here is where the two major candidates Joe Biden and incumbent Donald Trump stand on major issues

Phillip Powell | Fact Checker With America a week out from one of its most contentious elections in modern history, it is easy to feel yourself getting lost in the noise from the headlines of the twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, no breaks or vacations, driving-you-up-the-walls news cycle. However, what those headlines get right is that this truly is one of the most consequential elections the student body of Hendrix may ever face, and so many students are voting for the first time. The two major-party candidates voters will choose between are incumbent Republican President Donald Trump, and Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden. The differences between these two candidates and their visions for America could not be starker; it would behoove us to take a look at where they stand on three of the important issues impacting this election.

Healthcare: Even before the Covid-19 pandemic was ravaging through the U.S. (we’ll get to that), healthcare was on everyone’s minds. While many students have the privilege of not having to worry too much about their health, so many students, and Americans beyond our campus, have chronic health conditions that are exasperated by the pandemic. Trump and Biden have very different proposals to address this problem. Joe Biden would pass legislation to expand Medicaid eligibility and increase Medicare spending by lowering the age to enroll in Medicare to 60, as well as capping the cost of insurance to 8.5 percent of income and establishing a public option plan to compete in insurance markets. On the other hand, President Trump repealed major parts of Obamacare and other regulations on health insurance companies, allowing insurers to offer plans that don’t cover essential care, discriminate against LGBTQ patients, and ending subsidies that help insurers cover lower-income people. Despite the President’s claims that he will protect Americans with preexisting conditions, the Trump Justice Department is supporting a lawsuit that would repeal Obamacare -- also known as the law that enacted protections for preexisting conditions. But hey, let’s be fair: Trump told Chris Wallace in a Fox News interview that he was going to propose a healthcare plan back on July 19th. Maybe he forgot?

Criminal Justice Reform Following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May, this year has seen some of the most active protests for racial justice, police reform, and prison reform in a while. Many Hendrix students have taken part in these protests, and for anyone not paying attention to the election yet, Biden and Trump have some very different things to say. Spoiler: neither of them wants to defund the police. Biden’s platform includes investing 300 million dollars in community policing, with that cash being used for independent prosecutors in cases of police killings, more accountability training for officers, as well as collecting data on police violence and use of force. Biden would also abolish the death penalty, mandatory-minimums, the cash bail system, as well as phasing out private prisons by ending their services at the federal level. Biden will also begin decriminalizing marijuana possession and expunge the records of those with possession offenses.

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Photo by Lauren Allen

When it comes to President Trump’s relationship to this issue: he infamously tear-gassed peaceful protesters to get a photo-op for his reelection campaign, sent border patrol agents to cities to pick up random protesters on the streets without identifying themselves, and spent the entire month of July campaigning to preserve monuments to the Confederacy. He also bragged about federal marshals extra-judicially killing a man in Portland at his rallies, so I guess we know where he stands. It is important to note that Trump did sign the bipartisan First Step Act, which was a good move towards fixing many of the problems created by mass incarceration, but it didn’t address policing problems.

The Pandemic This article would not be complete without an overview of where the candidates stand on the pandemic that has killed over 200,000 Americans, completely upending all of our lives. The candidates could not have a more night and day approach towards getting the nation through this crisis, and this is fairly obvious, given that one of the candidates (guess who) has been President for the duration of the pandemic. President Trump has left it up to state governments to beg his administration for lifesaving personal protective equipment (PPE), has refused to wear a mask (and has mocked reporters and others for wearing masks), doesn’t want to extend unemployment benefits for laid-off workers, has spread disinformation about the virus and its potential treatments, and is constantly downplaying the seriousness of a virus that has infected over 7 million Americans with no end in sight. He also said on national television, in one of his coronavirus press conferences back in April, quote, “...I see disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside...” Biden, on the other hand, has pledged to establish free testing nationwide, sign up 100,000 contact tracers to track and prevent the spread, support mask mandates, and support more federal funding for small businesses, schools, and child-care centers. All in all, this election cycle has been a doozy, and it has been a doozy that most of us are ready to leave behind. The only way out of this election is to see it to the end, and even though we are all exhausted, by the time this article is published it will only be around a week until November 3rd. So, regardless of who you decide to vote for, make your voice heard at the ballots. Photo courtesy of Hendrix Dining Services

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FEATURE

STRUGGLES FROM A BLACK FEMALE ARTIST Adaja Cooper| Guest Writer

Photos courtesy of Adaja Cooper

Editor’s Note: To support Adaja and her work, you can follow her on social media on

Instagram and Twitter @adajacooper and visit her website adajacooperstudio.com You can also find more information about the 7th Street Mural Project on Facebook

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Two years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of considering myself as an ‘artist,’ or even considering a major in art. That’s not because I don’t have respect for the profession (I definitely do), but because I didn’t think I would stick with art; I saw it more as a side hobby. My family and I pictured myself attending medical school and becoming a doctor. But as of right now, art takes up a significant part of my daily life. Growing up, I always had a sketchbook and pencil in hand. I doodled so much that teachers would make me redo my homework on ‘clean’ sheets of paper. It wasn’t until my last couple of years in high school when I started taking art more seriously. I used it as an outlet for emotions, energy bursts or to explain a feeling that I couldn’t put into words. It felt less like an assignment and more of a tool for comfort. I have learned not to use it as my only source of release, but as an option. I occasionally get critiques about my art, specifically the subject matter and the assumption that I only paint Black people. It is almost always said with an offended or curious tone of voice. That assumption has always puzzled me, and it has affected my identity as an artist. Do I paint the things I paint because I want to or because I feel obligated? Am I an artist or a Black artist… or an artist that happens to be Black? It is nearly impossible for me to create my art without relating it to myself and my experience. That is where some of my inspiration comes from – using my emotions to help guide me. Art has become a part of my identity, and as a result, my identity has integrated its way into my art. I have used my art to capture the joy and beauty of the Black experience and as a tool to give voice to Black historical figures. I typically work on canvases, but in mid-September, I had the opportunity to paint a

mural. It was part of the 7th Street Mural Project where different artists from around the state use the mural as a way to send a message, usually around social justice. I painted my mural inspired by the Sojourner Truth speech, “Ain’t I A Woman?” and made it a Black Feminism piece. Included in the mural were names of Black women who were victims of the medical system and police brutality, like Henrietta Lacks and Breonna Taylor. After it was finished, I felt so emotional about the meaning behind the mural, and I was overwhelmed by the stories behind the names on the wall. Not even a week went by, and someone completely covered the mural in paint – twice. I was devastated. It was hard for me to hold back tears even days after I found out. Sadly, I anticipated my piece being vandalized, but I never expected it to be so extreme. Fortunately, the mural was scrubbed clean, and I was able to repaint parts while keeping most of the original work. It was very difficult to not take the vandalism personally. I saw it instead as an attack on the meaning behind the mural. The attempts to silence my mural only served as another example of how this country has treated Black women and the stories of our oppression. Art has the ability to take messages that I can’t explain with words and have them shout from my canvases. It has helped to give me a voice when I am too emotional to speak. I am so thankful that my art speaks to others as well, and that for all the support my community has shown. With the state of our nation, and the future of the world in our hands, I believe that it is important to stand up for what you believe in, even if people are trying to silence you.

OCTOBER 2020

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CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION

Since March, students, faculty, and staff have been taking steps to facilitate talking about race on campus Jay Vicente| Staff Writer

In recent months, America has seen a surge in racist behaviors and racially charged incidents that have shaken this nation to the core. Racism happens everywhere, and as Hendrix students saw at the Cookies and Concerns meeting last semester, can take many forms. Recently, the Student Senate and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion have created new policies to combat racism and encourage diversity at Hendrix; their efforts only increased after the MDC Cookies and Concerns forum. According to Kesha Baoua, Hendrix’s Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, “MDC compiled a list of themes and concerns expressed during the forum and distributed [the list] to … the Senior Leadership team”. Since then, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the Diversity and Dialogue Committee, and MDC have been working to address those concerns. Baoua also disclosed that there will be a “campus-wide update on these issues in the near future.” Amy Cabrera, the Multicultural Development Chair, and Gifty Agana, Senate President, also shared their knowledge of Hendrix’s direction and response to racism on campus, specifically on the newest bill that Student Senate passed regarding this topic.

On Communication and Aspects of Racism Found on Campus

Racism on campus comes in many forms. Ms. Baoua says that “systemic racism exists at Hendrix as it exists in other institutions across our country.” Unfortunately, that means that every department at Hendrix is affected by racism, but “there are areas that have been the focus of discussions.”. The use of derogatory language in the classroom and stereotyping are some of those areas, but there are plenty more that have yet to be brought to light. Those conversations are hard, but Hendrix is working in multiple ways to start and continue them for the betterment of students. Several departments and organizations on campus regularly discuss topics of racism in formal in informal settings, but “that work has not always been communicated well” (Baoua). She says that the MDC and Office for Diversity have made progress in “increasing communication among diversity leadership” and are planning to do the same across campus as a whole.

On the New Senate Bill

The newest Senate bill (Bill 001) focuses primarily on Diversity and Racism across campus. The Senate started working on this bill after MDC’s Cookies and Concerns and wanted to “do something permanent, specific, and long-lasting” (Gifty Agana). For this particular bill, the Senate focused on “aspects of student interactions from the classroom to [Public Safety].” Issues concerning curriculum were tabled for a later date. The issues covered and discussed in this bill are all based on those “brought up by members” (Amy Cabrera). Cabrera described the bill as a general guideline as to what is considered racist and how to avoid doing or saying those things. As far as the bill’s language goes, considerable thought was

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put into the drafts from beginning to end. The bill “started out as a small resolution that grew into three separate task forces” (Agana) before becoming an actual bill. It took months and a lot of trial and error to “[present] ideas correctly while being adequately worded for the public” (Cabrera).

On New Directions and Next Steps

The Cookies and Concerns Forum was “actually the final of a series of diversity discussions last year,” and was “the most wellattended,” according to Ms. Baoua. In the wake of that event, the Student Senate, MDC, and other diversity offices and departments are working hard to keep their momentum going in regards to fighting racism and encouraging diversity. There are plans to begin a Hendrix chapter of the NAACP; information about these plans are being shared with students through email. The NAACP has a history of fighting for civil rights, and seeing as it is a “multi-generational organization, students would benefit from the type of age diversity within the affiliation that is crucial in social justice efforts” (Baoua). As far as the Senate goes, they are “taking a step back” (Agana) to look at the bigger picture and take other issues the student body faces into account when creating new bills. Agana says that there will “most likely be another task force focused on diversity.” Cabrera assured me that “change won’t be fast but will happen little by little” and that the Senate continues to work towards that change.

On Student Involvement

Ms. Baoua shared with me that there are numerous opportunities to participate in this ongoing conversation, from “participating in a student organization [to] attending campus and community events.” She also pointed out that students can contact Dean Wiltgen and Dr. Allison Vetter if they experience racism. She assured me that “[students] can always receive support and assistance from...counseling services, the Chaplain’s office, and other campus resources.” Students are also encouraged to interact with the conversation outside of the Hendrix community by talking to their family members and challenging racist comments or ideologies when they come across them. If any student has a question about the new Senate bill or anything regarding diversity and racism on campus, they can contact Academic Policy Representative Kavi Modi or any senators, executives, and chairs. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is also open to questions of any kind. Hendrix is moving towards ridding the campus of racism and diversifying the community as a whole, largely thanks to students demanding to be heard and create change. That change is happening, and even though the process is long, students can count on administration and their peers in Senate to make sure the process runs effectively and positively.

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Hendrix NAACP chapter, contact hendrixnaacp@hendrix.edu. For other concerns, contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Dean Wiltgen, or your Student Senator


Phillip Powell| Fact Checker

Photo by Rebecca Burks Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away at the age of 87 on September 18th of this year from pancreatic cancer. She died an American hero and resolute champion of human rights. Her story is filled with struggle, discrimination, love, triumph, and the tireless pursuit of justice for all. It is the most American of an American story, and it started in Brooklyn. RBG was born into a working-class Jewish family in 1933. She attended James Madison High School, where she excelled academically. Her mother, Celia Bader, was extremely impactful on RBG’s life. Celia taught Ruth the values of education and independence. Celia couldn’t attend college herself because her parents decided to send her brother instead of her. She worked in a factory to help her family save up for her brother’s education and this act of selflessness was deeply inspiring to Ruth. Unfortunately, Celia would pass away from cancer a day before Ruth’s high school graduation. RBG attended Cornell University and unsurprisingly graduated first in her class. The very same year she graduated she married her husband and life-long partner, Marty Ginsburg. Marty was law student, but soon after their marriage the young couple moved to Oklahoma when Marty was called up to active duty in the military. Ruth worked for the social security office in Oklahoma but was demoted after she became pregnant with their daughter, Jane. RBG arrived at Harvard Law in 1956 where she was one of nine female students in a class of five hundred and dealt with a hostile male dominated environment. She and the other female students were even chastised by the Dean of Harvard Law for taking spots that he claimed should have gone to men. Hardship struck the young family when Marty was diagnosed with testicular cancer that same year. Ruth cared for their young daughter, her sick husband, and took notes for her husband’s classes; all while keeping up with her own classes. Fortunately, Marty Ginsburg recovered, and Ruth transferred to Columbia Law after Marty found work in New York. She graduated at the top of her class in 1959 as the first woman to be part of both the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review. Ginsburg struggled to find employment in the legal field after her graduation, with Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter rejecting her from a clerkship due to her gender. Ginsburg landed a clerkship with District Court Judge Edmund Palmieri in the southern district of New York after a Professor at Columbia Law told Palmieri that he would never send him a clerk again if he didn’t take on Ginsburg. After clerking for Palmieri, Ginsburg learned Swedish so she could write a book with a Swedish lawyer when she worked with The Project on International Procedure at Columbia Law School. Ruth’s career continued when she became a Professor at Rutgers University Law School. She became the first female professor to receive tenure at Rutgers, and shortly after she received tenure she began teaching a pioneering class on gender discrimination. By 1971, RBG was a volunteer attorney for the ACLU and she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU the year after. She served as the founding director of the program throughout the 1970’s. She wrote the brief for Reed v. Reed in 1971 when the Supreme Court expanded Fourteenth Amendment protections to women and set the precedent that gender discriminatory laws should be challenged. Between the years of 1973 and 1976, Ginsburg argued six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court and won five of them. Ruth continued her work with the Photo byRights Rachel Elmakiss Women’s Project until she was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter. Her reputation on the U.S. Court of Appeals was that of a centrist who preferred incremental progressive change. In fact, she had even criticized Roe v. Wade in the past as being too

expansive a decision because it acted as a focal point for an opposition movement to abortion rights. Ginsburg believed it fueled the “right-tolife” movement and turned state legislatures against abortion rights. When she was being considered for the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993, many activists took these comments to indicate that Ginsburg didn’t necessarily believe the right to choose was a fundamental right. Oh, how wrong they were. She served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for thirteen years until President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court in 1993. Ginsburg was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 96 to 3 and became the second woman (and first and only Jewish woman) to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. One of the first major decisions RBG authored was the decision in United States v. Virginia in 1996. In this decision the Supreme Court ruled that the Virginia Military Institute’s male only admissions violated the Fourteenth Amendment and must be integrated to allow women to attend. In 1999, Ginsburg also wrote the majority opinion in Olmstead v. L.C. when the Supreme Court ruled that mental illness and disability is covered under Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In 2000, Ginsburg wrote a dissenting opinion in Bush v. Gore, where she argued that the recount should not have been stopped. RBG quickly became renowned for her powerful dissenting opinions on the Supreme Court. She dissented in Gratz v. Bollinger in 2003 that ruled affirmative action at the University of Michigan unconstitutional. One of Ginsburg’s more famous dissents was in the Ledbetter v. Goodyear case when Lilly Ledbetter was arguing pay discrimination from her employers. The Supreme Court ruled against Ms. Ledbetter arguing that women who were victims of pay discrimination had a very narrow window to challenge pay discrimination. Ginsburg’s dissent in this case led to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first law President Obama signed, and a law that made it much easier for victims of pay discrimination to sue. Of course, Ginsburg was also instrumental in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision that established marriage equality as the law of the land. Despite RBG’s trailblazing on women’s rights and minority rights, it is widely viewed that her most powerful dissents were in cases of voting rights. RBG viewed three cases that occurred in her last decade on the Supreme Court as the cases in which the court did the most harm throughout her tenure: Citizens United v. FEC (2010), Shelby County v. Holder (2013), and Rucho v. Common Cause (2019). Ginsburg dissented in all three of these cases that allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, dismantled the Voting Rights Act, and barred the federal courts can do nothing to stop partisan gerrymandering. She Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and career exemplified the constant and tumultuous fight for justice and equality for all. She lived a life of activism not only in her work as a feminist lawyer and Supreme Court Justice, but also through her personal life in a marriage that embodied gender equality when most marriages did not. Marty Ginsburg passed away in 2010 from cancer and was famously quoted on his relationship with Ruth as, “My wife doesn’t give me any advice about cooking, and I don’t give her any advice about the law.” The day after his death, Ruth was at work at the Supreme Court for the last day of the 2010 term saying that Mary would not have wanted her to have missed it. Last month this country lost an icon who for so many young people made America a more just place in which nothing would be out of reach for them. Rest in power, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. OCTOBER 2020

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Danielle Kuntz| Staff Writer

THE EXTREME 2020 CLIMATE CATASTROPHES Photo by Lauren Allen

What do they mean for our future? Over the past few years, weather events that we once considered rare have only become more common. The recent wildfires blazing across the West Coast and the hurricanes that have come so far as to even affect those of us in Arkansas raise concern for the health of our planet and how it will affect our future as humans. It is our duty to educate ourselves on these present, strange weather events; such events are so imperative because they are a reflection of how humans treat the Earth and may point towards whether or not we will continue to exist for as long as we would with a healthy planet. Just in 2020, California has had the most destructive wildfire season on record for the state, and Oregon has had one of its most destructive wildfires on record. There are about 60 separate recordings of wildfires in California in 2020 consisting of a number of individual complex fires, which are fires that contain even more individual fires. One of the most notable complex fires this year is the August Complex Fire which originated as 38 separate fires. Keep in mind, these 38 separate fires only count as one of the 60 separate recordings of wildfires so far in 2020. In fact, as of October 2nd, 8,155 fires in California have burned 4,142,656 acres. Meanwhile, fires in Oregon have burned more than 1,000,000 acres, and 90% of the fires have been attributed to human cause possibly due to increased outdoor activity because of the COVD-19 pandemic. However, wildfires are certainly not the only natural events in 2020 that have caused concern. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has consisted of 25 named storms and is the second most active season on record behind the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. Of those storms, 9 made landfall in the U.S. which ties with the record set in 1916. For residents of the U.S., the most notable of the named storms are likely Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Sally. Though Hurricane Laura, which hit the U.S. on August 27th, only weakened into a tropical depression for Arkansas residents, it tied with the 1856 Last Island hurricane as the strongest landfalling hurricane in Louisiana since 1851. It killed 42 people in the United States and devastated areas in Louisiana and Texas. On the other hand, Hurricane Sally killed 8 people after touching down on Gulf Shores, Alabama, also causing wind damage between Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida. These extreme weather events, which often force people to evacuate their homes or even lose their homes forever, have proved to be a hindrance to students especially in the online world. Professors announce that they are aware some students might be affected by

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the hurricanes and may lose power, so it is understandable if they are forced to leave in the middle of online class. However, one can imagine the amount of students displaced because the land around them is burning, or their houses are gone through the devastating effects of either fire or water. In the online world especially, students need access to power, a computer, and study materials for their classes, all of which could be lost in a hurricane or in a wildfire. Though the present effects of the extreme weather events in 2020 are certainly notable, they raise some questions about the future of the planet and the occurrence of similar events. For instance, the wildfires are largely caused by California’s severe increase in heat and dryness— factors that are caused directly by climate change, hence the name “global warming.” Wildfires are not the only event whose likelihood is increased by climate change, however. Scientists have found a statistically significant connection between hurricane intensity and warmer waters, the latter of which is directly caused by climate change. Scientists also believe that climate change may create supercharged storms in the future. 2020 has brought the world record-setting extreme weather events, from the millions of acres burned in California and Oregon, to the billions of dollars in damage caused by a multitude of tropical storms. Though an extreme case of wildfires and hurricanes is to be expected once in a blue moon, these weather events most certainly should not be occurring with the frequency that they are today. These events are a mere outline of what could come in the future if we continue to perpetuate climate change instead of reducing the amount of carbon we produce. Scientists dedicate their lives to studying the natural world, many of them studying climate change and the environment specifically. The least any of us as students, consumers, and human beings can do is educate ourselves on the topic of climate change and implement practices in our daily lives that prevent us from fabricating our own doom. In order to ensure a healthy planet for ourselves, for our children, and for the continuation of humanity, conduct your own research, form your own plans to reduce your carbon footprint, and encourage others to do the same.

Editor’s Note: For more information on how you can help, Hendrix’s Environmental Concerns Committee (ECC@hendrix.edu) is a great place to start


SPORTS

ATHLETICS IN A PANDEMIC? Student athletes find new ways to practice during the remotelearning period Josiah Vallone| Copy Editor

Photo by Rebecca Burks

By this time last year, sports teams at Hendrix College were blazing full steam ahead, whether they were playing in the fall or practicing for their spring seasons. This year, new challenges from last-minute plans for remote learning have thrown a wrench in usual sports plans. From interviewing players from different teams, I was able to gain more insight into how Hendrix sports have been coping and how they plan to move forward. On July 29th of this year, with just a little over two weeks before the start of the fall semester, President W. Ellis Arnold III released a student-wide announcement that explained why we would not be returning to campus in the near future. Initially, students were unsure of this decision’s extent, questioning if sports teams would still be allowed to live on campus to continue their sport. Cole Bolen, a central midfielder on the men’s soccer team at Hendrix, shared a little about how he first felt about this news: “The word that I used talking to Coach Kern and my teammates was ‘numb.’ It may seem contradictory, but even though I wasn’t surprised - and even supported the college’s decision - I was still in shock.” Within the next week, it was confirmed that the sports teams would be remote learning with all the other students. The question of whether students would meet once again later in the semester was still inconclusive. With this dramatic switch for the Warriors sports teams, innovations and changes have had to be made. “We’ve really tried to use the technology available to create as much a sense of normalcy as possible–we meet three times a week for skills and agility sessions through teams and have just started weekly 5ks in small groups,” said Bolen. Over on the swimming and dive team, Marni Younger shared some of the struggles they are facing during this transition: “Most of my fellow swimmers don’t have pool access, and most have limited gym access. It’s

more or less impossible for all of us to be training at the same caliber while remote. Swimming and Diving are unique in that we can’t practice our sport unless we are physically in the water, so our coaches are encouraging us to stay in shape in whatever way we can, whether it’s strength-training, biking, running, etc.” Marni brings up an important topic. While it is possible for some teams to practice from home, not all sports (like the Swimming and Diving team) have that option. A significant part of sports is working together towards a singular goal as a cohesive team. Now that each player is separated from the team and responsible for themselves, training dynamics have completely changed. Oli Steven-Assheuer, a diver from the Swimming and Diving team, had an optimistic view on the obstacles they are facing: “Despite the challenges, our coaches and trainers are really putting their best foot forward for the upcoming season. We all are expected to train on our own, which is a nice way to build self-motivation and accountability.” While this seems like a good alternative, it also questions if a team can keep track of every player and their progress in the same way during past seasons. Bolen had some excellent insight into this situation while discussing what the spring season might look like: “Whatever the new normal ends up being, and whenever we get there, it’s going to highlight the work that people have or haven’t put in during this difficult period.” On October 1st, nearly midway through the fall semester, President W. Arnold III made the official announcement that students would not return to campus for the remainder of the semester. While students and faculty are hopeful for this spring, everyone will have to wait and see how the college’s on-campus protocols play out in real life.

OCTOBER 2020

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CULTURE

Lauren Allen| Photographer

ORIENTATION AMID UNCERTAIN TIMES

Photo by Lauren Allen

The class of 2024 experienced the Freshman introduction to Hendrix much differently than previous classes “You should be super proud of yourself,” Dr. McKim told the students who showed up to her TEC class, Ethics and Hope in Film, a few minutes early. Like many Hendrix professors, McKim understands the unique situation that students are experiencing right now. However, despite the positive affirmations, many students are feeling overwhelmed and under-validated. These feelings are resonating particularly hard with Freshmen students. “I think it’s easy to become disillusioned with our school right now, especially because we have no memories tied to the campus yet,” one freshman said. Where classes are concerned, low motivation seems to be the general mood. “I’m having problems focusing that I didn’t have in high school” shared freshman Ronni Laslo. “I’m constantly distracted,” said another, Arlene Perez. Arlene has also had persistent internet issues which have made paying attention harder. Students have been able to share their struggles and frustrations in a class GroupMe made in February by freshman Bauer Lee. Though he initially made the chat to start connecting with classmates, they “became more important [to him] once quarantine began and everything went online.” “I’ve made a lot of great friends thanks to [the GroupMe],” Arlene said. Most people seem to agree that they’re getting out of this experience what they

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put in it, which has required many students to step out of their comfort zone. Some students, such as Taylor Aishman, still have friends from high school at home. For Taylor, he has opted to spend time with them rather than attempt to make friends online. “It would be nice [to have Hendrix friends], but after 5+ hours in front of a screen almost every day for classes, I don’t want to spend any more time on Zoom or Teams,” Taylor told me. Freshmen orientation had mixed reviews. While many students felt really good, some said the virtual-style orientation felt “forced” and not engaging. Ronni Laslo, a freshman who is living on campus, said they were trying to move in during orientation and felt stressed by all of the programs. Taylor Aishman echoed this and added that he hopes freshmen get another, “real” orientation when we get to move on campus. On the flip side, there were also lots of students who enjoyed Orientation. Of those students, almost all mentioned the “Here at Homedrix” segment as one of their favorites. “The skits were really engaging,” said freshman Zoie Keys. Overall, every student that I interviewed mentioned that their professors are working extra hard to be accommodating and understanding. To mimic Dr. McKim’s sentiments: we all have something to be proud of for persisting through these difficult times.


Lauren Allen| Photographer

LEARNING TO ADAPT

Students share how their non-traditional class dynamics have changed since transitioning to remote-learning

Photo by Rebecca Burks

Physical activity (PACT) courses and labs have always been an integral part of a student’s semester at Hendrix. So, how have these classes been going while we are virtual? I interviewed three different students about their experiences thus far. Abigail Rose, a sophomore, took both a lab and a PACT class last year while students were still in person, and is in another PACT course this semester. She says this semester’s PACT class has gone pretty well -- considering the circumstances. She credits this to the instructor, “[who has] still been able to make it engaging and fun” despite being virtual. Abigail also told me that her lab class has been easier online – the downside to this is that a lot of the work “feels like busywork.” “I don’t feel like I’m learning anything, but [the labs are] also very easy, so it’s a win-lose situation,” Abigail said in the interview. On the other hand, Somi Matthews, a freshman, has had a largely positive experience in her lab class so far. She likes being able to “connect with professors and students anytime [she] needs to.” Most of these reactions can be expected -- it’s hard to mimic one hundred percent of the in-person experience while online. However, some students say that the stress of online classes has negatively impacted their grades. Sophomore Courtney Cranton noted that not having the proper equipment or space for her exercises in PACT has caused her trouble. In addition, poor wifi has been “really stressful,” as she is only allowed to have three absences in her PACT. While professors are trying their hardest to adjust their teaching into a virtual style, students have shared a wide range of experiences that are both negative and positive. Editor’s Note: If you are having persistent issues with a class or professor, you can contact the Academic Policy representative, Kavi Modi, at modiKV@hendrix.edu OCTOBER 2020

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JUST HOW LIBERAL IS HENDRIX? Danielle Kuntz | Staff Writer

When you tell friends or family that you go to Hendrix College, the chances are that they comment about “that liberal school,” and they’re not just talking about the fact that Hendrix is a liberal arts college. No matter how that phrase is understood, Hendrix is known for having a very forward-thinking student body. In light of the 2020 election and the prevalence of activism in the Hendrix community, I was curious as to whether or not we, the students of Hendrix College, are truly as liberal as we think we are. With the help of other members of The Profile staff, I created an anonymous Microsoft Form survey of political views to make the data easier to analyze. The questions in this survey consisted of student information like gender, class year, and major. Then, the students were asked to rate their political views on a scale of 1-5, 1 being very liberal and 5 being very conservative. The rest of the survey consisted of five questions derived from the 2016 ANES (American National Election Studies) survey. These questions were hand-picked from the survey with the belief that the answers could easily be defined as liberal or conservative. After publicizing the survey via e-mail and Microsoft Teams, we ran the survey for about a week and a half and gathered a total of 155 responses before closing it. Upon first closing the survey, I discovered that the average number of students rated themselves on the political view scale was 1.88, which shows that, for the most part, students believe themselves to be closer to liberal (2) rather than very liberal (1). At a glance, pie charts of the responses to the 5 ANES questions also showed a similar result. The majority of students seemed to choose answers that indicated a liberal way of thinking. However, we wanted to go deeper with this analysis to cover multiple questions about students’ political views and how they relate to other factors. We assigned each question a certain number of points to create a liberalism score. The items on gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, and abortion were weighted more heavily than those of gun control and the death penalty. The score is on a scale of 0-36 points, 36 indicating someone who is as liberal as possible according to this survey. With this new scale, we created the following graph:

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As you might see by the negative skew of this graph, the great majority of Hendrix students who completed the survey had liberal political views. There is a degree of uncertainty about the generalizability of these results, however, given the small sample size. It may also be argued that those who lean liberal might be more likely to complete a survey like this. However, one phenomenon we observed from the data is interesting to note. Though most of the respondents’ self-reported political views were in line with their liberalism scores, a few respondents’ liberalism scores (or answers to the ANES questions) showed that they are more liberal than they believe themselves to be. This phenomenon is illustrated below, with self-reported scores being on a scale of 36 as well.

Interestingly, the data also shows a correlation between students’ liberalism and majors. Those who are majoring in the “arts” category -- which encompassed theater and art majors -- were the least liberal according to this survey, while those majoring in Anthropology/Sociology were the most liberal. We also measured how accurate each reported major was in their self-report of political views. Anthropology/ Sociology was the most accurate, actually being slightly more liberal than they reported. Religious Studies/Philosophy majors and those undecided were more conservative than they reported. However, Health Sciences majors were the most inaccurate with their self-reports, showing themselves quite a bit more liberal than they reported. Keep in mind: it should again be noted that the survey pool was small, so any major correlations should be taken with a grain of salt. So, to answer the burning question of how liberal Hendrix is— we’re pretty liberal. In fact, it appears that some students’ views are more liberal than they think they are, which could be a result of the “liberal influence” of the Hendrix student body. Ultimately, however, it is important to note that having diverse political views on campus is not a bad thing— it can encourage people to be more open-minded, as well as encourage healthy debate. As long as their views are not harmful to others, the next time you come across one of your peers who does not have the same opinions as you, try to hear them out. Whether either of you is convinced by the other’s argument, you might be able to introduce each other to a new way of thinking, at least.


QUARANTINE AND CHILL??

Knowing how to stay safe during a pandemic is just as important in public as it is during intimacy

Sophia Isely| Staff Writer Editor’s Note: This piece contains explicit mentions of sex and related topics Many areas of our lives have been upset by COVID-19, and for plenty of us, our sex lives are no exception. But you don’t have to let quarantine dampen your sex life completely. I recently sent out a Quarantine Sexual Health survey to Hendrix students that yielded insightful results. Unsurprisingly, the amount of sex that respondents have been having has decreased. Also, about 70% of survey respondents seemed open to tips about maintaining sexual health during the pandemic. If you are not feeling entirely content with your sex life at the moment, you are not alone! If you have a partner that you cannot visit physically, there are some interesting ways to virtually spice up your sex life without ever touching one another. First off, utilize modern technology! Almost everyone has heard of sexting (which is totally cool, too), but Facetime or Skype sex can help you feel that much more connected with your partner. Dirty talk or mutual masturbation can make a super fun time—and you don’t have to include your face or genitals if you don’t want to. If you aren’t comfortable with being verbal, you could watch videos together. Perhaps you have a more creative side; try creating erotic art or writing an erotic piece for your partner. You could try playing a striptease game over the camera—build up anticipation! Most importantly, do whatever you and your partner are comfortable with, and don’t let physical distance discourage you. If you have ended up in quarantine with a partner, you can also do anything mentioned above—except in person. As long as it is entirely consensual and you are not harming yourself or any other parties, then consider exploring new kinks. If your sex life with your partner seems stagnant, you could try something brand-spanking-new. Don’t feel embarrassed about what you enjoy; it’s nearly a guarantee that any kink you have thought of has been tried before.

As you have probably heard many times before, you are your best sex partner—no one knows your body as well as you do! That being said, masturbation can be a suitable replacement for sex with a partner during this time of social distancing. According to the survey results, those of you that are having less sex have been masturbating more. Props to you! If you are by yourself (or even with a partner), one way to intensify your masturbation is by trying a sex toy. 65% of survey respondents had never used a sex toy before COVID-19, and 61% have still not ever used a sex toy. First off, I want to encourage you to browse the internet’s vast selection. It is worth mentioning that many adult shops ship in discreet packaging, in case you live with family or roommates. There are numerous vibrators in many different shapes and sizes, depending on the strength and area of your desired vibrations. Some toys are specially crafted for my trans pals out there, like specific masturbation sleeves. If you enjoy penetration, there are dildos in literally any shape, size, or color that you could imagine. Seriously, look it up if you don’t believe me. You won’t know what you like until you experiment. Perhaps most importantly, you must be conscientious about still practicing safe sex during such strange times. Try to only have virtual sex with partners you trust—especially when a photo could be taken that includes your face. If you decide to try a sex toy, make sure you practice good hygiene to avoid infections. Lastly, if you and your partner make the decision to have sex and you aren’t quarantined together, it is best to avoid oral interactions—including kissing—and to have sex in positions where you are not facing one another. That being said, these measures will still not entirely eliminate your COVID-19 risk. At the end of the day, just be mindful of your decisions when finding the best way to get your groove on!

OCTOBER 2020

Photo by Rebecca Burks

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COVID AND SELF-CARE How to Care for Yourself When Nothing Feels Good Jay Vicente| Staff Writer Right now, reality feels like a dumpster fire. With the election, racial tensions, and a global pandemic creating a maelstrom of negativity everywhere we look, it’s easy to forget to care for yourself. If you’re anything like me, you’ve gotten caught up in everything that’s been going on and haven’t taken enough time to simply relax and ground yourself recently. Whether you have five minutes or five hours, the following list of self-care tips and tricks can help you keep your mind and body at peace during these chaotic times. If relaxation is what you need, focus your energy on “powering down” activities like journaling or getting caught up on your skincare routine. Hot baths or showers with luxurious body washes and fun smelling lotions can do wonders to release tension and built up stress after a long day. Yoga is another way of releasing stress and calming down. There are also tons of yoga routines and poses out there to help with any issue and fit any experience or intensity level. If pampering is more your style, then doing your nails or having a small (or large) spa day might be the way to go! Treating your body gently and showing it some extra love can help improve your mental state immensely; if that doesn’t sound like your thing, then you could pamper yourself by buying or making some of your favorite food and drinks. Humans derive happiness from eating good food, so whether it’s a salad or a giant plate of pasta, making food can help nourish your body and make your brain happy. While these “romanticized” iterations of self-care are a valid and good treat every once in a while, doing basic care tasks are really important as well. Showering, washing your hair, drinking water, making your bed, or cleaning off your desk are essential ways to take care of yourself and set you up for a better mindset. If any of these tasks seem too daunting to do all at once, try the “brain break” method. Go about your day like you normally would but take five to ten-minute breaks every now and then. Set alarms or timers if you have to — but during those minutes, clean a small part of your room, or get a drink of water or a healthy snack. Celebrate every completed task, and slowly but surely, you’ll have taken care of yourself without completely draining your stores of energy. Always remember that your mental and physical health comes first before anything else. Even though we’re distanced, and human connections are hard to keep up right now, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends and family when you need them. Talking and interacting with people is one of the most effective ways to take care of yourself and get out of any funks you might find yourself in. If you don’t feel like you have someone to talk to or need more professional help, don’t forget that Hendrix offers online counseling in many different forms. The counselors will help you in any way they can, and will provide resources in the event that you need them. You are important, and I hope you know that people care about you and want to see you flourish. Times are tough right now, but we will make it through this, and we will be stronger because of it. Remember to drink enough water and get enough sleep, but also go bake those brownies. After all, you deserve it.

Editor’s note: For more information on mental and physical well-being during quarantine, click here. Additionally, counseling services can be found on the college’s website, and you can also reach out to Student Senate’s Mental Health Committee or the Well-Being Coalition

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Photo by Lauren Allen


A DANGEROUS PAIR: OPINION CHRONIC ILLNESS AND COVID-19 Sophie O’Reilly| Staff Writer

I was in second grade when doctors told my parents that my quality of life would never improve. Upon reflection, I guess that 2008 and 2009 as a whole were action-packed years for my family and my health. I spent three weeks undergoing testing at a hospital in Colorado. PBS flew out to Tulsa to document my family’s experience with being unable to access life-saving treatments. During the H1N1 outbreak, we were told that if I contracted the disease, I would die. You can only imagine the chaos that ensued when I was diagnosed. I was 18 years old when I had the epiphany that my medical experiences were nowhere near universally relatable. I was chatting with a group of friends about the sensation of an IV flush: “You know that feeling where your whole mouth tastes like salt and your blood feels like shaved ice?” They did not, in fact, know that feeling. Given that this realization only came within the last year, it came as the biggest shock of my life that, in the face of a worldwide pandemic, people were not willing to do the bare minimum necessary to protect their health and well-being. It wasn’t necessarily a shock, though, that they weren’t willing to protect mine. Early in the outbreak, I would often wake up in the middle of the night and spending hours awake wondering what it must be like to have never worried about dying in an operation room, or not being able to afford care, or not being able to live a “normal”, healthy life. I’ll admit that even now, months into the pandemic, I haven’t reached a conclusion. Part of me thinks that I wouldn’t want to know the answer even if I could. Try as I might, I can’t seem to escape the bombardment of social media posts

of friends visiting with others, maskless. I’m sure you know them, too, so I won’t waste time expressing my frustration about that. The self-perceived sense of immortality that those around me exhibit can only be because of one thing: they’ve never had to make a sacrifice for their health. While I’ve never made a sacrifice as significant as what the pandemic has required of me, I am well-acquainted with health-related discipline. Before perusing any further, I want to make one thing abundantly clear: as with any population, disabled and chronically ill people are not a monolith. We are a vast spectrum of varying and compounding conditions and non-medical experiences that make up who we are. You, too, might belong to a community with tons of variation. That’s normal. No one person’s lived experiences are more worth discussing during these turbulent times. I am here to give you a glimpse into the world of just one pocket of the COVID experience and one that I feel is often overlooked. My mental and physical health are utterly inseparable; as my physical health deteriorates, my mental health follows suit. I have horrible night terrors, my OCD is through the roof, and I get unbelievable migraines from stress. It feels like the moment I patch out one fire, another one appears. This has always been true with my medical history: I’ll be diagnosed with some rare condition, they won’t be able to treat it, we try and beat down the symptoms a bit. All I can do is try and stomp out the flare-ups as they appear, but this time, unlike any other period of my life, I feel like I’m doing it alone. You might have never had to prioritize your health above all else before, and that’s okay! I wouldn’t want you to have the conditions I have.

That being said, I’m sure you can find a nugget of my experience that you can empathize with. Maybe it’s the frustration you feel when seeing others break social distancing protocol or the headaches from school. Maybe you have a condition, too. That’s because there is room in the pandemic for common ground in what would otherwise be entirely different lived experiences. Remember that phase of quarantine where the CDC said that 94% of individuals who died as a result of COVID-19 also had underlying conditions? In reaction, I saw a wave of people take this as their COVID-isover signal. “See? Only sick people are dying! I’m not sick, so I should be fine.” A couple of things worth noting: 1. Those people still had COVID-19. Their cause of death was not their condition, it was COVID-19. 2. Right. Sick people are dying. Given the amount of resistance there is to creating a universal healthcare system to help serve those individuals, I feel like the absolute bare minimum we could do is wear our mask and try to protect them. It’s particularly important, now more than ever, for able-bodied, healthy people to reflect on their privileges and attempt to advocate for at-risk, vulnerable populations. When I say this, know that I don’t necessarily mean write a letter to your state representatives (while that certainly wouldn’t hurt). It can be as simple as checking in on a friend you know has a chronic condition or participating in meaningful discourse. No one expects you to have the “right” answer about issues about the disabled and chronically ill community because we certainly don’t have those answers either. We do, however, expect you to wear a mask, vote, and not forget about us.

OCTOBER 2020

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