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A look into graduate student health care issues PG 8

Catfishing has increased during COVID-19 PG 14

Ali Johnstone found her way back to Ohio field hockey PG 16

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2020

Finding peace with pets


FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

‘The Post’ celebrates, reminisces about Halloween

H

MOLLY SCHRAMM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

alloween is quickly approaching, and though COVID-19 is restricting the typical festivities, the holiday is still something to celebrate. Halloween creates so many memories, whether it be carving jacko’-lanterns for front porches, kids picking out their yearly costumes or friends getting together for a scary movie night.

dress up together to go trick-or-treating. We went as Jack and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hermione and Dumbledore from Harry Potter, Alice and The Mad Hatter from Alice In Wonderland and more. Halloween bonding with my dad has always been one of my favorite memories, and for as long as I can remember, he would put in the effort to make the holiday special for me.

As we look ahead to All Hallow’s Eve, some of The Post’s section editors took the time to reminisce on the holiday and the memories they’ve created during it.

MARY BERGER, ART DIRECTOR Every Halloween, my family of seven always gets together to carve pumpkins and bake Pillsbury Halloween cookies. No matter how busy we are during October, we always make time to do this with our family, even as the size of our family is growing with new brothers-in-law and grandchildren. We still continue to do this every year, and I hope to do the same with my family.

MOLLY SCHRAMM, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF The Halloween season is my favorite time of the year and holds a special place in my heart. I have so many memories of my brothers and me picking out our costumes as kids and then trick-or-treating with neighbors. Nowadays, I love curling up on the couch and watching horror movies with my friends. Between its different activities, history and overall aesthetic, Halloween is such a memorable and fun holiday to celebrate. RILEY RUNNELLS, CULTURE EDITOR Every year for Halloween, my dad and I would

SHELBY CAMPBELL, LONGFORM EDITOR My two best friends (Luke and Kristin Kelley) and I are very into Halloween. Last year, we dressed as a cowboy, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Janis Joplin, and we celebrated together at a party with Ruth’s mock trial friends. This year, even though we are separated, I’m celebrating our traditions, knowing we’ll spend

Halloween together again in the future. NOAH WRIGHT, OPINION EDITOR Halloween is my favorite holiday by far, and for all the unnecessary hype around HallOUween, some of the best memories of my life have been on Halloween in Athens. It’s going to hurt not really having it this year, but I will never forget the times I’ve got to have with my closest friends, and hundreds of random strangers, living life to the fullest dressed as Steve from Stranger Things. I’ll still always love Halloween, but none will ever live up to the ones I got to have in college. IAN MCKENZIE, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite times of the year. Free candy was a big component in that. I also loved watching Scary Godmother on Cartoon Network because there was something about it that just put me in the Halloween mood.

Molly Schramm is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University and the editor-in-chief of The Post. Have questions? Email Molly at ms660416@ohio.edu or tweet her @_molly_731.

COVER PHOTO BY NATE SWANSON

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Molly Schramm MANAGING EDITOR Baylee DeMuth DIGITAL MANAGING EDITOR Matthew Geiger EDITORIAL NEWS EDITORS Abby Miller, Nolan Simmons ASST. NEWS EDITOR Ian McKenzie LONG-FORM EDITOR Shelby Campbell SPORTS EDITORS Jack Gleckler, J.L. Kirven CULTURE EDITOR Riley Runnells ASST. CULTURE EDITOR Keri Johnson OPINION EDITOR Noah Wright ASST. OPINION EDITOR Mikayla Rochelle THE BEAT EDITOR Madyson Lewellyn ASST. THE BEAT EDITOR Emma Dollenmayer COPY CHIEF Bre Offenberger SLOT EDITORS Eli Feazell, Anna Garnai, Katey Kruback, Molly Powers ART ART DIRECTOR Mary Berger ASST. ART DIRECTOR Olivia Juenger DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Kelsey Boeing PHOTO EDITOR Nate Swanson DIGITAL WEB DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Brianna Lender SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR Taylor Burnette DIRECTOR OF MULTIMEDIA Ethan Sands BUSINESS STUDENT MEDIA SALES INTERNSHIP MANAGER Andrea Lewis MEDIA SALES Grace Vannan

2 / OCT. 29, 2020

THE

POST

ISSUE 10, VOLUME 121

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Getting out the vote RYAN MAXIN FOR THE POST Taking part in the democratic process of voting is looking a little different this year thanks to COVID-19, but amid the pandemic, there is one thing breathing life into the voices of the electorate: early voting. Under normal circumstances, this upcoming election would look the same as any other — polls filled with students and residents alike on Election Day. These are not normal circumstances, though, and for the time being, early voting is the new normal. As of Oct. 27, the Athens County Board of Elections office has received 14,844 ballots early, accounting for nearly 38% of the 39,342 people who are registered to vote in Athens County, according to the Board of Elections website. Voters are more fond of early voting this year than in years prior, but that comes as no surprise due to the pandemic. Four years ago, 10,465 people cast their ballots early, according to the Board of Elections website. From then to now, the number of early ballots has increased by about 42%, and about 11% of the electorate has voted early in this election. Several political groups on campus — including Ohio University College Democrats,

OU Moderates and OU College Republicans — have acknowledged that early voting is a great way for people to engage themselves in our nation’s democracy, especially during these times. “OUCD advocates for early voting to ensure that anyone who wants to vote, has the ability whenever they have time,” Elanor Skees, a junior studying political science and the president of OUCD, said in an email. She went on to mention that mail-in voting is both safe and secure. Brad Kennedy, a junior studying political science and the political director of OUCR, said the group has no official stance in terms of early voting but did offer a statement. “Because of COVID restrictions, we encourage people to do whatever they believe is best to mitigate the spread of COVID,” Kennedy said. “(When voting), we just want people to do what they believe is best to stop the spread of any sickness.” Ellery Pollard, a junior studying English creative writing and the director of personal relations of OUM, said the group also does not have a concrete belief in relation to early voting. “Our club tries not to have … very set stances on political issues,” Pollard said. “The point of our club is to have discus-

sions on those views, so I think, generally, early voting is not a problem among our current members.” As for the prevalence of early voters within these three groups, there have been some mixed signals. “I do not have a concrete number (of members who voted early), but I know we have already had a handful of OUCRs vote early, may that be by absentee or in-person,” Chase Conklin, the president of OUCR and a junior studying environmental geography, said. “Personally, I’ve already voted in person.” To the best of her knowledge, OUM has seen about half of its members vote early, Pollard said, including herself. “I personally mailed my vote because my hometown is in Tennessee, and I can’t just drive to Tennessee any day of the week,” Pollard said, noting also that while there may be some discrepancies in members’ opinions of early voting, it’s a necessity for students who are a long way from home and have not registered in Athens. Skees was also unable to provide exact numbers regarding member participation in early voting, but she did offer an estimate. “Based on the discussion we have had with our members during our meetings this semester, as well as the number of posts on social media, it seems like a large majority of OUCD members have early voted in their district or sent in their mail-in ballot,” Skees said in an email.

(Left to right) Jennifer Trainer, Sara Andrews and David Rothwell wait in line outside the Athens County Board of Elections, anticipating their opportunity to vote early on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, with only a week left until polling locations close for the general election. (NATE SWANSON | PHOTO EDITOR)

In part due to early voting, people are keen to participate in the democratic process this year to decide county issues, the next president of the U.S. and everything in between. “You need to do your civic duty,” Conklin said. “Go vote. We have many ways to do that. You just need to get out there and do it.”

@RYANLMAXIN RM554219@OHIO.EDU

THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 3


NEWS BRIEFS

OU Southern campus professor announced as fall commencement speaker ABBY MILLER NEWS EDITOR FALL COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER ANNOUNCED Ohio University announced Monday that Purba Das, associate professor of communications studies at OU’s Southern Campus, will be the fall commencement speaker. Das conducts research about media and health narratives that surround marginalized groups in the U.S. and India. She has also worked on the One OHIO initiative, representing the Southern campus. Das is co-chair for the Inclusive Pedagogy Academy and co-chair of the newly formed International Think Tank, which examines international student services, alumni relationships, partnerships, research and more at OU. In the past, Das has also been involved in the Collaborative Online International Learning initiative. Fall commencement will be taking place virtually Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. due to the coronavirus. ATHENS CITY COUNCIL RECEIVES UPDATES ON ARTS/WEST, PUBLIC HEALTH Athens City Council was informed Monday during its committee meetings that the spread of COVID-19 in

Athens County is extending beyond university students. Jack Pepper, administrator at the Athens City-County Health Department, said it is no longer fair to blame the spread of COVID-19 entirely on OU students. Spillover is starting to be seen in the greater Athens community. The bulk of student spread at OU is coming from twoto three-person gatherings, Gillian Ice, special assistant to the president for public health operations at OU, said. Ice also said the university is attempting to begin biweekly COVID-19 testing for off-campus students next semester. Council also heard a recommendation for an ARTS/ West employee to return to work Nov. 2. Terri Moore, director of the Athens Community Arts, Parks & Recreation Department, recommended that program specialist Emily Beveridge resume her position. Beveridge was temporarily laid off from ARTS/West due to lack of work amid the coronavirus pandemic. ALTERNATIVE HALLOWEEN PLANS MADE DUE TO COVID-19 OU students and residents are trying to find safer ways to have fun this Halloween weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic. The city of Athens canceled the annual Halloween block party this year, which has been known to draw

large crowds and people from throughout the state in past years. The Honey for the Heart parade has shifted formats due to the pandemic. The “Honey for the Heart Parade in Place” event will instead take place Oct. 31 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the West State Street Park. Residential trick-or-treating will still occur between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Halloween as well. Trick-ortreating will be following Ohio Department of Health guidelines, Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said. The city will not be holding any alternative virtual events for Halloween, Patterson said, and no private groups have contacted Patterson with plans. Many students are making alternative plans in light of the pandemic. Nic Audette, a senior studying mechanical engineering, is currently living in Athens. He said he plans on having a small costume party with some old friends. Audette thinks many other people in Athens will have smaller parties this year since people don’t want to be alone for the holiday but still want to be safe.

@ABBLAWRENCE AM166317@OHIO.EDU

POLICE BLOTTER

Man is threatened on Facebook; man allegedly walking around with a machete GRANT RITCHEY FOR THE POST CYBER BULLYING The Athens County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a man being threatened over Facebook. The caller reported the Facebook account threatened to shoot him for sleeping with his wife. The man was advised to block and report the Facebook account. TALKING HEADS The Athens County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report in Coolville of a man talking to himself and not leaving his residence. Upon a deputy’s arrival, the man requested for an ambulance for various medical issues. 4 / OCT. 29, 2020

FRIDAY THE 13TH The Athens County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report in The Plains of a man walking around with a machete. The area was patrolled, and the subject wasn’t found. No other calls were made about a suspicious man holding a machete. PRANK CALL The Athens County Sheriff’s Office responded to an open 911 call in Coolville. When deputies arrived, they made contact with the two juveniles who made the 911 call while yelling profanity at the dispatcher. The two juveniles called the 911 dispatcher afterward and apologized.

BAREFOOT TRAVELER The Athens County Sheriff’s Office located a woman walking barefoot along State Route 13. The woman was given a ride to Chauncey, where she called for a ride.

@RITCHEY_GRANT GR619615@OHIO.EDU


Gyms adapt, experience losses during COVID-19 Students choosing where to workout could help local Athens businesses BEKAH BOSTICK FOR THE POST Gyms in Athens are adapting to COVID-19 and how the pandemic is affecting workout routines. Local gyms in Athens are feeling the absence of students more than Ohio University’s Ping Recreation Center. Jolene Quirke, owner of CrossFit SEO, said there are not as many students coming in compared to a normal COVID-19 free year. Typically, students make up about 20% of the members, but that number has gone down drastically this year. Ping did not expect as many visits as it is getting overall, but it did plan to reach max capacity regularly. Ping averages about 565 visitors per day right now, Brittany Barten, assistant director of operations and engagement at Campus Recreation, said. Last year, Ping was averaging 1,635 students per day during the same time of year. There can only be 150 people in Ping at a time, but the building has not yet reached maximum capacity. In order to make sure everyone is safe and to remain open, gyms have had to implement safety guidelines. Capacity is lower and cleaning efforts have increased. Masks must be worn when entering CrossFit SEO but may be removed when individuals are in the spot he/she will be using during class. Each individual has his/her own square that is laid out with the equipment he/she will be using during class. Each square has a sanitizing station as well, Quirke said. “We have numbers placed on the floor for flow of workouts,” Quirke said. “So, if you’re in box number three and you’re using a place on the rig, you will go to number three to minimize crossing paths with anybody.” Ping has limited the people who can visit its facility to OU students and Ping members. Visitors swipe their cards themselves, use hand sanitizer and complete a self assessment of their overall health when they enter the building, Barten said. Matthew Smrdel, a junior studying chemical engineering, said he prefers Ping compared to the other gyms in the Athens area. He feels safe working out

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, gyms and fitness centers such as CrossFit SEO, 762 W Union St., in Athens, Ohio, continue to hold classes on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (NATE SWANSON | PHOTO EDITOR)

at Ping right now, even with the threat of COVID-19. Masks must be worn at all times in Ping, including during physical activity. Lockers, showers and towels will be unavailable during this time in addition to traditional drinking fountains Touchless water bottle refill stations will remain open. Those using equipment are asked to limit themselves to one piece of equipment at a time and to wipe it down after they are finished using it, Barten said. All visitors must remain 6 feet apart from each other to comply with social distancing, including visitors living in the same house. There will also be no spotting during this time due to social distancing guidelines.

There are rooms in Ping with capacity said. “I don’t know how much longer we limits, which will be monitored and main- can really do this. We’ll just try to make it tained by staff throughout the day. Re- work with what we have.” strooms and other high-touch areas will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day, Barten said. Ping has some other options for stu@BEKAHBOSTICK dents to participate in if they either do not RB442218@OHIO.EDU feel comfortable going to Ping or are not on campus right now. Group classes are offered virtually as well as in person. Fitness coaching, however, is now completely online. Students can sign up for coaching that includes a fitness assessment, custom exercise programming and weekly check-ins for $10, Barten said. Adapting to COVID-19 has overall been difficult for gyms like Quirke’s. “It’s really, really hard right now,” Quirke THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 5


An aerial view of Tanaka, Sowle, Luchs and Carr residence halls on “New South.” (BLAKE NISSEN | FOR THE POST)

Boyd Hall residents faced confusion, frustration while in quarantine dorms Students expressed their frustrations over meals, communication and the university’s lack of planning ABBY MILLER NEWS EDITOR Some residents of Boyd Hall who were moved into quarantine following a hall-wide COVID-19 outbreak said the experience showed a lack of adequate planning from Ohio University due to their poor experiences with food and overall communication. After 37 of Boyd’s 94 residents tested positive for COVID-19, the 57 residents who tested negative were moved into quarantine dorm rooms Oct. 9. Those who tested positive were moved into isolation rooms. OU has eight residence halls set aside for quarantine and isolation, Carly Leatherwood, a university spokesperson, said in an email. Some of the Boyd residents were moved into Adams Hall. Emily Allen, a sophomore studying publication design who was moved into quarantine, said Boyd students received emails by floor section notifying them they had to be moved out by 10 p.m. The university shuttled students in groups of five to the Living Learning Center on South Green, where they traded their Boyd room keys for quarantine room keys. The email did not contain much other information, Tyce Patt, a sophomore studying marketing, said. Patt was unsure of what he needed to bring and ultimately packed about two boxes of clothes, his backpack and items he needed for school. Not much else happened that night after moving in, Patt said. Within the first three days of quarantine, Patt received a phone call and a few emails explaining the rules for quaran6 / OCT. 29, 2020

tine. The phone call was from his COVID-19 case manager, who is a registered nurse assigned to monitor a student’s symptoms, connect them to resources and provide documentation for school or work needs, Leatherwood said. That was the only phone call Patt received while in quarantine. Case managers are supposed to call students in quarantine every two days, Leatherwood said. Students need to answer emails and set up times for their check-ins with their campus COVID liaison, an individual assigned to help connect quarantined students with services and process their information to leave quarantine. Leatherwood said the university has had issues with students being responsive. This has led to additional texts from the Athens City-County Health Department being sent out, along with additional communications from OU about the need to cooperate with the care team. Patt said communication with OU throughout all of quarantine was poor. “Everything changed in one day,” Patt said. “I didn’t expect that to happen. And so then all of a sudden, I’m in the quarantine hall, and I don’t know if I have any questions. I’m not sure … Do I call my case manager? And I’m getting emails from 10 different people about it, too. So I think there’s just a lot of confusion with it right now, and I think they’re more worried about regulating things than actually making sure that students are in a good environment and actually safe and protected.” Allen, on the other hand, said communication was adequate. Since she wasn’t sick, Allen didn’t need many services OU was offering those in quarantine and isolation. She said she

still received a lot of emails from OU reminding her of what was at her disposal. During the first day of quarantine, OU provided food in the lobby of Adams Hall for students, Sebastian Beal, a sophomore studying marketing, said. How long the food was left out for was a concern for both him and Patt. “That food sat there for at least 24 to 38 hours,” Beal said. “And it was actually rotten, and the entire building and lobby smelled like this terrible, rotten food.” OU also has an online form where students can order meals that can be heated up in a microwave. Patt said he didn’t order food the first couple days because he didn’t have information on how it was done. The food services have been one of Allen’s biggest frustrations with quarantine. “Quality-wise, it’s just gross,” Allen said. “To me, it feels like whatever Nelson doesn’t serve. It’s like the leftovers.” Leatherwood said it’s important to the university that nutritious meals are accessible in quarantine. The university appreciates all feedback it has heard about its food services. Patt said the environment of quarantine made it hard for him to focus on schoolwork. The environment, combined with the food, made him decide to go home for most of the mandated period. To go home, Patt emailed his case manager, who told him to notify whoever was on duty in the hall that he was leaving. “Morale is definitely at an all time low in quarantine,” Patt said. “It’s just mentally rough on people to do that … I think they could definitely improve on that a lot.” Allen also struggled with the environment of quarantine. “It’s been just a little depressing, kind of, being by yourself 24/7,” she said. “Of course, it gets boring. I would love to go to Baker and get a coffee or something like that, like the bare minimum. So it’s still a little lame. But, I mean, that’s what I expected.” Boyd residents were able to leave quarantine Oct. 21 at 1 p.m., which Beal said was a frustrating process for everyone he knew. When Patt called the Athens City-County Health Department to request information that would clear him to leave, he was told the department never received notification from OU that he was in quarantine. Patt ended up missing part of his class beginning at 2 p.m. because of the mix-up. Allen said she had higher expectations for OU’s COVID-19 plans. “I’m disappointed that they didn’t expect this,” Allen said. “They emailed us about what (an) amazing plan that they had, and it seems to me that they had absolutely nothing in plan, other than shut up the kids that need to be in quarantine and then hope that they’re responsible as young adults.” Patt said better communication from OU would help those in quarantine be more informed and less stressed. He is working in conjunction with the College of Business dean to host a live event where students can provide feedback on their quarantine experiences, which he said is important to have moving forward. “I feel like most of the decisions being made right now are made without any student input, and that’s definitely something that needs to change, especially when it’s the students who are being quarantined, not the people writing the quarantine hall rules,” Patt said. “And I understand ... it’s very serious, especially for the college. They have liabilities that they face if anything happens. So I just think there’s a lot of cleaning up that can be done on the technical side of things.”

@ABBLAWRENCE AM166317@OHIO.EDU


GAMES

CELEBRATE WITH YOUR QUARANTEAM KEEP GATHERINGS SMALL

DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS DEAN OF STUDENTS

THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 7


The Health Insurance

Problem

Graduate students at OU struggle to negotiate health insurance policies GRANT RITCHEY FOR THE POST When Habiba Abdelaal arrived at Ohio University in the summer of 2017, worrying about health insurance didn’t cross her mind. Abdelaal was enjoying what the city of Athens had to offer — food, nightlife and new friends. She believed in the American dream and had dabbled in the idea of staying in America after getting her master’s degree in engineering. Now in 2020, she wants to leave on the first flight back to Egypt as soon as her diploma touches her fingertips. “I feel like here, I am nothing,” Abdelaal said. For Abdelaal, a $990 health insurance bill, paid in four installments throughout the semester — along with school fees, rent and utility bills — was starting to add up. Then, she received an email from the university in August of 2019, stating the unbelievable: Health insurance costs were rising to $1,410 a semester. “How the hell are we going to pay for this?” Abdelaal said. When she applied for her visa, Abdelaal had to provide bank statements, so the U.S. knew she could afford to live in Athens. Ohio University, however, wasn’t like the U.S. government. “We didn’t sign up for this,” Abdelaal said. In 2016, the cost of health insurance provided by UnitedHealthcare was approximately $990 per semester after subsidies, according to a previous Post

ILLUSTRATIONS BY OLIVIA JUENGER 8 / OCT. 29, 2020

report. The cost has since increased over 29%, making the payments $1,410 in 2020. The university also requires every international student, like Abdelaal, to have Emergency Medical Evacuation & Repatriation, which costs an extra $90 for an academic year, according to OU’s website. “The current insurance options available to students through Ohio University were recommended by the Student Health Insurance Policy Advisory Committee, which includes students and administrators,” OU media relations manager Jim Sabin said in an email. “The committee met last year to review options in an effort to maintain premiums as close as possible to last year’s. Premiums are determined based on claims utilization, plan design and payable benefits.” Abdelaal knew the UnitedHealthcare plan was set in stone but hoped there could be alternative health care plans for her to choose from. What she and other students found, however, was a list of criteria that needs to be filled for the university to accept another health care plan. “Students who do not wish to purchase the student health insurance have the option to waive the student health insurance by submitting their alternate health insurance information,” Sabin said in an email. “This applies to both international and domestic students.” Options for students who are not on their parents’ health care plan include the state marketplace or through a private broker, Sabin said. Sabin said many students qualify for Medicaid or a government subsidy for a marketplace plan based on their income. Health care can’t change in a day, weeks or months, Abdelaal said. It takes countless hours of meetings with board members and meetings with health care officials — negotiating prices, premiums, stipends, what gets covered and what doesn’t. When health care literacy understanding is a setback for a majority of Americans, according to a survey from Policygenius, the barrier for international students is an even greater setback. “Some domestic students don’t understand it,” Abdelaal said. “Imagine we’re coming from different countries from different languages, and you’re giving us 40 pages to read and to understand those medical terms and subsidies … that we don’t understand, honestly.” Abdelaal’s frustrations don’t end at the costs. She has reservations about how the insurance plan is

fanned out throughout the school year and into the summer. The UnitedHealthcare insurance plan is included throughout summer, where Abdelaal and many other students are not at the university. Either on a vacation or visiting home, they are still on the university’s health insurance plan. “I have to pay health insurance in the United States when I’m not in the United States,” Abdelaal said. “That could save us about $500 per semester.” Abdelaal knew her bills weren’t going to go away. Her rent, electricity, water, trash and gas for her beige Toyota Camry was still piling up. As a master’s student, Abdelaal works in an apprenticeship through the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, where she makes approximately $1,400 a month. But she is only allowed to work 20 hours a week, due to federal law, according to a previous Post report. Throughout all the confusion and anxiety Abdelaal was enduring, she found a way to change her situation — joining Graduate Student Senate. That would allow her to be a part of her university and community. She could talk with university officials, other graduate student senators and everyday students who walk the streets of Athens. Now, she is the mental health affairs commissioner for the academic year of 2020-2021. She also became a part of the Health Insurance Committee, where graduate student senators would try to find ways of lowering the price or changing the health insurance system at OU. “I joined the GSS just to advocate for the health insurance,” Abdelaal said. Graduate student executive members like President Kaelyn Ferris and Vice President Amal Shimir have been working on solutions to help either spread out the health insurance payment plan or reduce health insurance fees, according to a previous Post report. The Office of the Bursar has declined some of its plans. On March 4, the Health Insurance Committee found that the national inflation rate is “not as high as (the university’s) increase” in health insurance pricing. The US Health Care Inflation Rate was at 4.48%, compared to 4.57% last month and 1.90% last year. That was lower than the long term average of 5.28%. As of October, the inflation rate is at 4.20%. One of the committee’s demands was a problem Abdelaal also had with her health insurance plan: sum-


GRAPHIC BY MARY BERGER DATA PROVIDED BY KAELYN FERRIS mer payments. “Allow us to have the option of paying for summer health insurance or waive it because that will save us $470 per semester and Save us $117.50 dollars per month” was a demand made in a GSS meeting agenda obtained by The Post. Ferris and other GSS members found that OU subsidizes only 10% of the total health insurance cost, with the rest being covered out of pocket, according to GSS records. The data also shows that peer institutions average between 70-80% subsidy of their graduate student health insurance. The Health Insurance Committee demands a subsidize increase of 12-70%, according to that agenda. On Feb. 19, Mary Magdalene Chumbow and Suleyman Gurbanov, both media arts Ph.D. students, and other international graduate students attended a general body Student Senate meeting to voice their concerns about the increase. University officials gave a presentation about the updated health care plan provided by UnitedHealthcare. When the students entered Room 235 of Walter Hall, they only had one wish — to be heard. Chumbow felt like she was being exploited by the university, and she was ready for change. Gurbanov was right beside Chumbow at the Stu-

dent Senate meeting, sharing similar concerns about the increase of health insurance. Gurbanov said he is tired of talking about the health insurance fiasco; he just wants answers from the university. “We wanted to be heard,” Chumbow said. “Everybody was angry. Everybody was feeling used and exploited.” Sabin said OU does not profit from its health care policies with students. “Ohio University remains committed to helping students in need however possible,” Sabin said in an

email. “The Bobcats Helping Bobcats program was set up to ensure that those in need had access to additional resources, including emergency microgrants, housing assistance, Cats Cupboard, and more.” Whether a student comes from Egypt or Cameroon, graduate students want to see a change in health care policy. “Even if I’m leaving, I don’t care,” Abdelaal said. “I care about the students who are coming to Athens.”

@RITCHEY_GRANT GR619615@OHIO.EDU

THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 9


students and others with an open forum, but they also help them recognize differences in people in everyday situations. “The takeaways and the conversations people have are extremely important and provide LGBTQ+ individuals with a judgment-free safe space,” Huebenthal said. These presentations also help open people’s eyes to situations and people they have never seen before. It can help people realize what members of the LGBTQ+ community have gone through. “People do not realize how important it is to highlight identities that have been marginalized and silenced in the past,” Grijalva said. For Cooley, SafeZone presentations allow people to see what it means to be a helpful ally to LGBTQ+ people. “Participating in the SafeZone training helps me increase my own awareness as well as teaches me how to be a better ally,” Cooley said in an email. Not only are the SafeZone presentations impactful for those who attend, but they’ve also proved to be impactful to those who work in the program, like Grijalva. “It means a lot to me to see people come together to engage in these dialogues,” Grijalva said.

@ABBY_BROWN20 AB852019@OHIO.EDU The PRIDE wall inside the LGBT Center on Monday, March 2, 2020. (ERIC BOLL | FOR THE POST)

In the Zone SafeZone training goes virtual ABBY BROWN FOR THE POST As the world continues to change, conversations and ideas are too — not only in an academic setting, but also in the workplace. In order for new ideas to be put into effect, change and conversations need to happen. Ohio University’s LGBT Center is hosting SafeZone presentations for students and professors who are interested in making changes and starting conversations. SafeZone is a series of presentations that allow for individuals to learn about how to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ people, both students and professionals. “Our mission has been the same since we started: to educate and support those in the LGBTQ+ community. Even though we are going virtual, that mission does not 10 / OCT. 29, 2020

change,” Jan Huebenthal, assistant director of the LGBT Center, said. SafeZone training allows for open discussion for basic knowledge and questions, along with more in-depth questions and materials. The trainings are also open for multiple different groups of students, ranging from freshmen to student organizations. “SafeZone experiences differ from group to group, since each one has an audience with members from diverse backgrounds,” Gabriela Grijalva, a social work intern for the LGBT Center, said. Typically, representatives from the center will go to different lectures and areas of campus for these presentations. This year, however, these presentations will be virtual. “We were a little nervous at first, but I

feel like they really have been going super well,” Huebenthal said. So far, only a few professors have requested the program for their classes. Either Huebenthal or Micah McCarey, director of the LGBT Center, presents the programming. “Micah, myself and many others working with us have been doing as much as we can to be available for these conversations,” Huebenthal said. Most of the presentations are done via Zoom. Students can email either Huebenthal or McCarey to request access to the presentations. Student organizations can also get in touch with Huebenthal to have the presentations on Zoom. While the training is virtual, the center wants it still to be a valuable experience. “What I love about that training is that they always bring a group together to acknowledge, uplift and validate the LGBTQ+ community,” Grijalva said. Students who have participated liked the program. “SafeZone training is a fantastic way to expose people to issues around LBGTQ+ identities and the nuance involved in each situation,” Luvina Cooley, a sophomore studying anthropology, said in an email. Not only do the presentations provide

Our mission has been the same since we started: to educate and support those in the LGBTQ+ community. Even though we are going virtual, that mission does not change,” - Jan Huebenthal, assistant director of the LGBT Center


Jackie O’s teams up with Planned Parenthood for fundraiser KAYLA BENNETT FOR THE POST Jackie O’s Public House Restaurant, 22 W. Union St., recently held a fundraiser with Planned Parenthood. With the creation of a craft beer titled “Who Chooses For Me,” Jackie O’s has been able to support the Athens Health Center for a number of years now. With the event taking place for over 10 years, Jackie O’s and Planned Parenthood had to find a way to make it happen amid COVID-19 regulations and guidelines. Jackie O’s had to think outside the box for the execution of the fundraiser. The staff decided to move the fundraiser online. The crafted beer was offered for purchase digitally. Online sales started Oct. 2. On Oct. 10, the annual “Beer and Cheese Incident” was hosted virtually. With the money made before and during the fundraiser, Jackie O’s annually donates a portion to Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. The residents of Athens look forward to this event, and Jackie O’s has consistently generated enough business to make the fundraiser annual. With the home mentality, Jackie O’s works to create an amazing atmosphere for their guests – even if it looks different this year. “Jackie O’s is an amazing restaurant with a great atmosphere,” Delaney Baker, a senior at Ohio University studying forensic chemistry, said. “Not to mention, their staff is great, too.” With the supportive environment it offers to students and townies, Jackie O’s was able to continue to gain support

through a screen this year. Laurel Powell, director of media relations and advocacy communications at Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said this partnership aids in building an engaged town with lasting support. “We are always looking for opportunities to partner with the local community,” Powell said. “As an important part of the health care network in these areas, we always want to find new opportunities to let folks know, ‘Hey, you know we’re here.’ We can be an evaluated health care provider for you. And we’re also just always trying to find ways to connect with the community and hear what people are concerned about and, ultimately, being here for what they need.” Planned Parenthood also creates a welcoming atmosphere, and this fundraiser helps reinforce and direct more attention to what the health clinics provide. Patty Stokes, a women’s, gender and sexuality studies associate professor at OU, is affiliated with the rape crisis center in Athens and lives only blocks away from Jackie O’s. She, too, has been adamant about this fundraiser and raising a healthy stereotype for Planned Parenthood. “Five years later, the rape crisis center is thriving – one of our supporters has been Jackie O’s,” Stokes said. “I think it just goes to show that they have a track record of supporting projects that support women.” However, this support did not come without struggle. Planned Parenthood offers many services, few of which are abortions. However, with the battle for and against abortion, Athens gets caught in the crossfire.

“(Athens’) Planned Parenthood has never provided abortions, to my knowledge,” Stokes said. “Not in the 20 years that I’ve lived here. They get caught in the crossfire and the defunding that occurred by the state of Ohio. I’m not sure how bad that it hit, but I’m sure that private donations are more important now than they were in the past.” With the donations of businesses, like Jackie O’s, Planned Parenthood can continue to support women amid the struggles. The annual “Beer and Cheese Incident” creates a safe space for people to gather and enjoy a conversation over a craft beer. “Without their work, like these events, (fundraisers) wouldn’t happen, and they certainly wouldn’t be as successful,” Powell said.

@KKAYYBEN KB084519@OHIO.EDU

Jackie O’s Brew Pub, 24 W. Union St., in Athens, Ohio. (NATE SWANSON | PHOTO EDITOR)

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Ohio University student Lauren McCain finds solace in the company of Fiona, a new companion McCain adopted in the early quarantine stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. (NATE SWANSON | PHOTO EDITOR)

Furry friends face uncertainty Pets provide owners with emotional support during pandemic LILY ROBY STAFF WRITER As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, quarantining and social distancing is the norm in many places across the globe. As people spend more time alone and at home, many are becoming increasingly dependent on their pets as a source of joy. Cara Tee, a senior studying Spanish and Spanish education, depends on her cat, Luca, for emotional support when anxious. Tee has had Luca for a year-and-a-half. Her cat is able to tell when she’s anxious, she said.

“(Luca being there for me) helped lessen a lot of the anxiety that I would feel and made it significantly more manageable,” Tee said in an email. “I think that COVID helped us become more aware of each other’s needs. He notices a lot more when I’m in a bad mood and need comforting, and I notice a lot more when he needs attention and specifically what kind of attention he needs.” Separation anxiety has been a hot topic regarding pets and the coronavirus. Lots of pets have become used to their owners being home 24/7. Many people expect their pets to develop separation anxiety when they return

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to work or school. Jacob Lamp, an undecided junior, has experienced separation anxiety problems with his 4-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Quasi. “He’s a little dog with a lot of love and a big personality, he fit right into our family,” Lamp said in an email. “That being said, he already does have some acute separation and general anxiety, so I’m sure when things start to pick up more he will probably notice. But it’s nothing some treats and some attention can’t fix.” Quasi has been with Lamp for three years. Both before and throughout the pandemic, Quasi has made the Lamp family happier by providing cuddles. Quasi also keeps his owner active, as the two go outside on regular walks. Like Tee, Lauren McCain, a junior studying journalism, also gets emotional support during COVID-19 from her newly adopted dog, Fiona. Fiona is a 3-year-old mix of Staffordshire bull terrier, rottweiler and shar pei. McCain adopted Fiona from an animal shelter in Columbus three months ago. McCain, who was dealing with both COVID-19’s impacts and her mental health issues, felt that Fiona would help her feel better. “I mean, pets are work,” McCain said as she pet Fiona on her front porch. “It’s not like you can just get one and be like ‘OK, sit, be cute.’ She’s definitely sometimes a little difficult on the budget — her food and stuff — but, I mean, it’s worth it. I feel so much better, like, I was paying for therapy anyway. Why pay for therapy when you can pay for a dog?” McCain said if she had been alone during

her quarantine and social isolating, her experience would’ve been more difficult. For McCain, though, Fiona can be costly, but she’s overwhelmingly worth it. McCain and Fiona have bonded especially deeply because McCain has only had her, stuck at home, during the pandemic. McCain mentioned she and Fiona may even be a little too attached. “When I leave for a little bit, she kind of freaks, and I (even) take her with me when I’m going to the grocery store,” McCain said. “But when I (have to) leave, she kind of freaks a little bit, and I don’t know what’s gonna happen when we go back. They’re gonna be left at home, and it’s gonna be sad.” McCain believes a lot of pets will feel this impact. Even her dachshund back at home has become overly attached to her mom. However, strong attachment is part of what McCain values most in her relationship with Fiona. “Dogs give you something to wake up to every day,” McCain said. “And with COVID, it was more of the same, every single day. Now, you wake up and you don’t do anything, but with a dog, you’ve got someone there … She’s special.”

@THELILYROBY LR158117@OHIO.EDU

Dogs give you something to wake up to every day,”

- Lauren McCain, a junior studying journalism

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Professors, students talk about benefits of plant-based diets COLLEEN MCLAFFERTY FOR THE POST As the appeal of plant-based diets grows, more of its impacts can be seen in aspects like nutrition and the economy. Plant-based nutrition is not a new trend. It’s been a common diet for centuries, stretching back thousands of years to the Greeks, where evidence suggests some philosophers followed a vegetarian diet. “When we say plant-based, we mean plant-dominant diet, where there are less animal-based products,” Deborah Murray, an Ohio University nutrition professor, said. Some examples of these diets are vegetarianism, where the consumer cuts out meat but not all animal products. Veganism is a more restrictive diet, allowing for no animal products whatsoever.

However, recent nutritional studies and further access to plant-based products have increased the attraction of these diets. Murray said she believes interest in plant-based diets are severely growing. “I think that it is,” Murray said. “We find plant-based diets just lower chronic disease. Some chronic diseases are diabetus, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Controlled studies definitely keep showing that the more plant-strong someone’s diet is, the lower the risk their heart disease is and the lower their blood pressure is. We recognize that people who eat plant-based diets are among the healthiest people in the world.” Murray also listed a second reason for the popularity of these diets: people are realizing the planetary impacts of reducing animal product consumption.

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“We are recognizing climate change; we recognize our finite water sources,” Murray said. “We recognize that animals produce more carbon dioxide compared to plants. The carbon footprint is much, much lighter for plants compared to a heavy animal diet.” Julia Paxton, an economics professor at OU, agrees with Murray on the importance of plant-based diets for the earth. “People who choose a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle are helping the world utilize its resources efficiently,” Paxton said in an email. “By making the choice to eat a plant-based diet, vegetarians and vegans are all allowing for an efficient use of agricultural land. We live in a world where agriculture is expanding onto marginal land, destroying the natural habitat that is needed for a healthy planet. As we move forward, utilizing land efficiently will be a critical part of protecting the world’s natural resources.” She also said plant-based diets would impact the economy through reducing the demand for animal products. Despite less demand, the price for animal products would actually increase due to other factors, such as increases in world population and global incomes. The growing interest in plant-based diets has also impacted local business in Athens. Sol Island Bar and Grill, 700 E State St., has many plant-based options as well as traditional food with animal products. “Interest in vegan and vegetarian items have grown to where we have a separate menu for them,” Ashley Wilson, an employee who has been vegan for four years, said. “Sol has many breakfast options. We also have lots of appetizers we can do as well. We even have vegan cheese right now, which is a bit harder to come by.” Wilson also said she felt having mul-

tiple vegetarian and vegan options made Sol Restaurant more attractive to customers. Customers often have many questions and want to order off the vegan menu. Savannah Dawson, a vegan and freshman at OU, has expressed her enjoyment of Athens’ many plant-based options. “One of the reasons I picked OU was the amount of vegan options the college provided and the fact that almost every restaurant up town has at least one option for me,” Dawson said in a message. “It’s so great.” Dawson said she had been a vegan for two-and-a-half years. She gave up animal products due to the connection she felt with animals as a competitive horseback rider. She even considers it the best decision she’s ever made. “Emotionally, I feel so much better because I don’t have the weight of that on my conscience anymore,” Dawson said. “Physically, I have less acne and overall more energy. I don’t get as tired easily, and I always feel full after I eat.” Murray, Paxton, Wilson and Dawson all agree there are a lot of quality benefits to veganism and vegetarianism, be it health-related or even business-related. They hope people consider looking into a plant-based diet. “It’s our health and the health of mother nature,” Murray said. “(Veganism and vegetarianism) could be a win-win for everybody.”

@COLLEENBEALEM CM832719@OHIO.EDU

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Catfished During Coronavirus Students reflect on their catfishing experiences during COVID-19 RILEY RUNNELLS CULTURE EDITOR Sierra Mihu just wanted something to pass the time. The fourth-year biological sciences major felt bored during the pandemic, so she decided to download Bumble. This way, she’d combat her boredom and meet new people at the same time. Then she met Brian, 24, from Lancaster. She swiped right and messaged him. “He messaged back, and he was really nice,” Mihu said. “The next day, he messaged me and went out of his way to ask me how my exam was that day. He gave me compliments and was really nice.” It seemed that Mihu had found a nice guy – someone she felt good talking to. After the two of them talked for a while, Brian asked for her Snapchat. Feeling comfortable enough, Mihu gave it to him. It was all downhill from there. “He said, ‘Do you want to see what I look like?’ in the messaging part of Snap,” Mihu said. “I didn’t really know what he meant by that, but I said ‘sure.’ He continued to send me a collection of photos of him, but it didn’t have his face in it.” 14 / OCT. 29, 2020

The pictures were risque shots of Brian, unclothed. This was Mihu’s first red flag that something might not be right. “I was uncomfortable that he even did that because it didn’t seem like him,” Mihu said. “It didn’t seem like this nice guy who would ask about my day and who would compliment me and have a good conversation.” Then, Brian asked for photos of Mihu in exchange. She trusted her gut on this one and told him “no” – point blank saying she didn’t trust him. He tried to prove to her that he was who he said he was by sending a mirror selfie. Immediately, Mihu consulted with her roommates to show them the sketchy photo. There was a border around the picture, like Brian had taken a photo of another photo. She told Brian that she still was unsure, and he blew up. “He got so angry,” Mihu said. “He was like, ‘What do you mean you don’t know that it’s me? I sent you a Snap; there’s no way I could be fake,’ pretty much gaslighting me, making me feel like the bad guy. Then he said ‘This always happens,’ which was another red flag.” He tried to convince Mihu that his outburst was due to trust issues, saying the last woman he talked to saved

his photos, then blocked him. Mihu was still nervous, citing human trafficking as one of her main concerns, and refused to send him photos. Their conversations soon became awkward. Brian played the victim card and complained that Mihu thought he was ugly. Mihu ended up blocking him on Snapchat. The next day, she was watching the MTV show Catfish – unrelated to her situation – and the host of the show did a reverse image search. Mihu was inspired. “I was like, ‘You know what? Just out of curiosity, I’m going to do this image search, and the literal first result was a Twitter page of the exact same photo,’” Mihu said. It turned out Brian was posing as a model from a different country. Mihu was catfished, or lured into a relationship from a fictional persona online. Just last year, Americans lost $201 million to romance scammers, with Ohio having the No. 9 slot of most victims. The FTC reported that romance scams increased by 40% last year, up from $143 million in 2018. Catfishing has been a growing epidemic during the coronavirus. In a study from SocialCatfish.com, a record 26.6 million people are using data apps in 2020, which is an 18.4% increase from 2019. Additionally, 31% of users said they are spending more time on dating apps. But it’s not just dating where people are getting scammed. Reese Little, an Athens resident, lost around $40 from an online “bathing suit sale” that was offering a $5 sale. Then, the sale charged her twice for $20 for a membership that was hidden in the fine print. “I was so mad,” Little said. “I can’t do anything about it. I couldn’t get a hold of the people, and I didn’t have the money to pay for a membership. That’s why I did the sale in the first place because it was only $5.” Similarly scammed, Christos Ioannou, a sophomore at Capital University, wanted to build his Twitter presence by procuring the handle @Christos, which had been snagged by a Greek Spanish web developer well over a decade ago. The man with the handle approached Ioannou to set up a trade: $100 for the handle. After setting up a GoFundMe, receiving several Venmos and contributing $20 of his own, Ioannou sent the man money. The man promptly stopped responding, and that’s when Ioannou realized he was scammed. With the help of his mom and his bank, he was able to get his money back and refund everyone who donated, all within a week or so. “At the end of it, I felt like a schmuck because there were so many red flags that I should have seen,” Ioannou said. “I fell hook, line and sinker.” Mihu, Little and Ioannou believe the coronavirus pandemic has played a large role in the increase of catfishing and internet scams. “Ever since March, I’ve been much more terminally online,” Ioannou said. “I think it’s one of those things where, now that so many more people are not forced to be online, but a lot more of our social interactions are through social media, it makes it tougher. Not to mention catfishing specifically ... just thinking about all the people who are that starved for contact, I have to imagine that it’s gone up significantly.”

@RILEYR44 RR855317@OHIO.EDU


HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

What’s next for Nelsonville-York? SCOTT THOMAS FOR THE POST Nelsonville-York’s season was nearly a disaster. The Buckeyes started the season 0-2 with losses against Trimble and Wellston. They also lost Brandon Phillips, a senior and one of their most productive offensive players, for the season. In week four, the Buckeyes were losing by 14 to Vinton County at the half. They could’ve given up, but instead, they scored 17 unanswered points in a double-overtime thriller. This was a turning point that led to a five gamewin streak heading into the regional quarterfinal at Fairland. Nelsonville-York had another opportunity to give up against the Dragons but instead rallied for a 13-point comeback in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes took the lead with under 30 seconds, but their magical season was cut short by a highly controversial pass interference call as time expired. The loss forced Nelsonville-York to ask two questions: what just happened, and what’s next? While the answer to one of those questions might not be well received, the Buckeyes do have a bright future in 2021. Perhaps the most encouraging sign for next season is that quarterback Drew Carter will return for his senior season. Carter was the centerpiece of the Nelsonville-York offense, and he only got better as the year continued. The junior got off to a rocky start in just his second season ever starting at quarterback, but as the season went on, he settled into the role. Carter had one of his best games of the season in the regular-season finale against Athens with 230 yards and two touchdowns. He carried the offense in the final quarter of the Fairland game on the ground, with 61 yards and a touchdown on one drive. Carter will lose some weapons around him like running back Colton Snyder and receiver Ethan Gail, but some of the younger players on the roster who contributed at times will be ready to step up next year.

Freshman Makhi Williams was one of the fastest players on the field this season, and he made his mark with a few big plays, like a game-tying touchdown on a hook-and-ladder play against Vinton County. Sophomore Hudson Stalder also received a good number of carries and looked good as a downhill runner. Defensively, the biggest loss will be Snyder, who was a four-year starter at middle linebacker and the leader of the team. The defensive line will lose Christian Wiseman, who mostly played in the interior line. On the outside of the defense, the Buckeyes are in pretty good shape. After a couple of injuries, sophomores Dakota Inman and Leighton Loge took over and played very well for being undersized. Critter McDonald will be hard to replace as the top corner for Nelsonville-York on the other side. All of this isn’t new, of course, for head coach Rusty Richards, who has to replace a senior class every season. After the game Saturday, the most important thing to replace for the Buckeyes will be the attitude of this year’s seniors. “I asked the underclassmen, ‘Every time we had a chance to quit this year, did the seniors let you quit?’” Richards said. “They said ‘no.’ I said, ‘That’s your job in the future.’ Buckeye football, we don’t quit.”

Nelsonville-York’s Dakota Inman runs the ball during the Buckeyes’ game versus Athens on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. Nelsonville-York won 36-6. (ANTHONY WARNER | FOR THE POST)

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FIELD HOCKEY

Ali Johnstone’s journey has always led back to Athens ASHLEY BEACH FOR THE POST Ali Johnstone has been the head coach of Ohio’s field hockey team since the 2018 season, returning to the staff after spending six seasons at Northwestern. However, Johnstone’s journey with the Bobcats began before her coaching career. Johnstone played at Ohio during her college career and left as one of the most prominent field hockey players for the Bobcats. Johnstone began playing field hockey when she was 8 years old, and her parents signed her up to burn off some of her energy. The older she got, the more invested in field hockey she became. Soon enough, she was trying out for the Olympics. “I got selected for certain teams, and I kept following this path,” Johnstone said. “It was my goal to play in the Olympics, and that never happened, but it was my goal for 20 years of my life.” When she decided to enroll in college, she found Ohio University, the Athens community and the many opportunities it would hold for her. “Athens is such a small town. The community is really embedded within the university, and athletics is embedded in the university itself,” Johnstone said. “I come from a small town, so it just has that same feeling of safety and comfort.” This community allowed Johnstone to blossom as a player. She eventually became the first Bobcat to win All-MAC honors in each of her four seasons in Athens and was honored as Ohio Female Student-Athlete of the Year in 2001. Johnstone also set the career record for assists (36), ranks third in all-time points (106) and fourth in career goals (35). After graduation, Johnstone played field hockey professionally for several different teams. She was a member of the Canadian National Team and other professional clubs, giving her the opportunity to see the world. “I got to travel to Mozambique and Botswana,” Johnstone said. “I played in a pro league and lived in Germany for a year, and I played in Australia and lived in Australia for a year.” Eventually, Johnstone would find her 16 / OCT. 29, 2020

way back to Athens, but this time as an assistant coach. With her help, the Bobcats won the Mid-American Conference in 2009 and went to the semifinals of the conference tournament in 2010. Johnstone left Ohio after the 2010 season, spending the next six seasons at Northwestern. She was the associate head coach for the Wildcats during her last four years and helped the team to earn two Big Ten titles. In 2017, Johnstone returned to where she had been most successful. That November, Ohio announced that Johnstone would be the new field hockey head coach. “Seeing the people here now that were here when I was a player is reassuring that it really is a family, and it’s special to be a part of,” Johnstone said. Coach Johnstone looks to continue the tradition of family and excellence in the program, something that she was able to experience as a player. Now in her third season as head coach for the Bobcats, she believes she’s found just that. “Coaching this age group, you get to meet some amazing young women, and you get to see their transition because they come in straight from high school very nervous,” Johnstone said. “But by the time they graduate, to see them grow into confident young women is the best part of this job for sure.” This season will allow Johnstone and her staff to bond with the players more due to fall sports being moved to the spring. “It’s certainly different,” Johnstone said. “Normally, we have two weeks to prepare, and it’s a whole new team. I’ve always wondered what it was like for spring sports to have a preparation before they actually play, to get to know the freshmen and actually let them go through the transition.” Despite having to overcome several obstacles, her main goal as a coach remains the same. She wants to produce strong, confident women while winning MAC championships as much as possible. Her staff works to create an environment for her players to become leaders and not just as a captain. Coach Johnstone has been a key part of Ohio’s field hockey program for

New head field hockey coach Ali Johnstone stands for a portrait in her office on Friday, March 30, 2018. (MCKINLEY LAW | FOR THE POST)

years, whether as a former player or as a coach. She understands the value of community and fosters it with her team each and every day. Coach Johnstone and the Bobcats will be back in action for their first game of the season Mar. 12 at Miami University in Oxford.

@ASHLEYBEACHY_ AB026319@OHIO.EDU


FOOTBALL

Shane “Hollywood” Hooks is ready for a star’s role J.L. KIRVEN SPORTS EDITOR Shane Hooks is so Hollywood. During his senior year at Olympia High School in Orlando, Florida, Hooks decided he needed more swag before football practice. To the astonishment of his coaches, he came out sporting a pair of sunglasses under his helmet. Hooks looked like a star who had come straight out of a movie. And like most stars, Hooks needed a nickname. “I was just messing around in practice, just having fun,” Hooks said. “And then my coach was like, ‘You’re so Hollywood. That’s going to be your nickname ... Hollywood.’” Shane “Hollywood” Hooks has the potential to play a lead role in Ohio’s offense. The redshirt sophomore is coming off a season where he was tied for first in receiving touchdowns (five), second in receiving yards (515) and third in catches (26). Sporting a 6-foot, 4-inch frame, Hooks can go past defenders or over them. When graduate transfer quarterback Armani Rogers first arrived in Athens, he and Hooks were paired as roommates. Rogers quickly found out his roomie can ball. “We talk football a lot,” Rogers said. “We’ve been building chemistry since the day I stepped foot out here.” For most of the summer, Hooks couldn’t showcase the growth taken since the end of last season. COVID-19 had postponed the season, and due to guidelines, Ohio couldn’t return to the field. With his family back in Orlando, Hooks had to find ways to pass the time. He’d watch film, talk to coaches and play UFC against his roommate with his favorite character, Conor McGregor. None of that replaced the thrill of competition — something he learned to love growing up in Florida. Hooks is originally from Miami, Florida, yet went to school in Orlando. Being an athlete from Florida means a lot to him. Growing up, he’d seen many local players go on to play professional and college ball. His high school quarterback was Joe Milton, the current starting quarterback for Michigan. But Hooks doesn’t think it’s just the talent that separates the Sunshine State from the other 49. He believes being from Florida grants you an extra gear to outwork the competition. “We basically feel like we’re top athletes as well,” Hooks said. “We just got that ... I want to say that grind, that hustle.” He’s got the stats, the hustle and the nickname. What else does Hooks need to be a bonafide star at Ohio? There’s a lot of great players out there, but if you don’t look like a great player, then the fans might never remember your name. That’s not an issue for Hooks. When fans watched Hooks last year, they saw him ball in style. Green arm sleeves to match the sleeves on his legs, colorful rubber bands around his wrist and curly twists with green hair dye made Hooks a hard player to take your eye off. But one new accessory Hooks sported last season was something he had been waiting a lifetime for, and it was a golden moment when he got it. If you’ve ever been to Miami, it’s hard not to spot someone wearing a grill. Hooks had always wanted one and figured it

was time to get it. The process, which requires picking the type of gold you want, how many teeth and then sitting with a nasty molding mix in your mouth, was worth it. And when Hooks smiled and saw his teeth glisten for the first time, the smile turned more genuine because the wait was over. “I was like a little kid with a little present for Christmas, just happy waiting to get it,” Hooks said. Hooks also felt like a kid at play when he learned the season was coming back. Last year was a good introduction, but Hooks has quickly shown coaches throughout fall camp that the sequel could be even better. “He’s (Hooks) grown up daily,” Bobcats offensive coordinator Tim Albin said. “He’s just showing maturity. He’s not a freshman anymore. He’s a three-year player for us, and we’re going to rely on him to stretch the field vertically and make some plays in the red zone.” Hooks’ first chance to do that this season comes on Nov. 4 against the defending Mid-American Conference West

division champion, Central Michigan. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN in prime time. It’s bound to be one of the biggest games Hooks has ever played in. He’s not nervous, though. It’s been a long time coming, and these are the moments that Hooks knows he’ll have to deliver in order to leave the legacy that he wants at Ohio. “I have to take advantage of every opportunity that I get on the field,” Hooks said. When Hooks steps foot on the field, he’s looking to make an impact. He hopes that it helps lead Ohio to victory. The pressure, the bright lights and the big games have always been something he’s wanted to take part in. But it’s his time now. The camera’s on him, and Hollywood is ready to put on a show. So get your popcorn ready.

@JL_KIRVEN JK810916@OHIO.EDU

Ohio University wide receiver, Shane Hooks (#5) attempts to shake Northern Illinois University defense during the home game on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (KELSEY BOEING | DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY)

THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 17


FOOTBALL

Kai Caesar wants to improve himself, the defensive line JACK GLECKLER SPORTS EDITOR All Kai Caesar has wanted to do for seven months is tackle somebody. The redshirt junior has been itching for his fourth season at Ohio to begin since spring camp began in March. When Ohio’s season was suspended until spring, all Caesar could do was bide his time until he could take the field again. “When I found out I was like, ‘Man, I really do want to hit someone,’” Caesar said. “But even if they said no season, at the end of day, we will have a season eventually.” The Cache, Oklahoma, native hasn’t been home since the pandemic began. He elected to remain in Athens in order to focus on football and to keep himself safe from COVID-19. Caesar has also done his best to remain isolated while still in Athens. He hasn’t seen many people aside from his teammates and kept his daily schedule oriented around preparing for fall camp. His routine over the summer was simple: exercise in the morning, watch game film and then call his coaches to see what he can improve upon. Tremayne Scott, the defensive tackles coach for Ohio, gets notifications from Caesar constantly. “I’d be at home watching films, and I text (Scott) and say ‘Hey, coach, I think we need to do this,’ or “Hey, coach, how can I be better here?” Caesar said. “I call him probably about four times a week.” Caesar has also taken to watching game film of pro players to improve his game, most notably Aaron Donald for the Los Angeles Rams. Donald is quick on his feet for a defensive tackle, and Caesar wants to implement it more into his play style. At 310 pounds, Caesar is the second heaviest on the defensive line. If he can improve his speed, the redshirt junior will be a dominant force on the defense. Caesar has been encouraging his fellow linemen to do the same. After an underwhelming last season, the defense is looking to improve. “Our biggest thing, especially on the defensive line, is just getting off the ball,” Caesar said. “Using the speed that we have and using the strength that we have as well so the linebackers can play off of us now. And we’re attacking a lot more, which is perfect.” Caesar will have a chance to influence the defense more practically now. Alongside Jared Dorsa and Austin Conrad, Caesar was named one of the team captains for defense this season. With his new leadership, he has an obligation to look after the rest of the players in his position group. Caesar isn’t worried about his line, however. Aside from freshmen Dane Middlebrook and Joey Woolard, the rest of the defensive line are confident in what to focus on this season. “Everything is a mental game and just being mentally in task,” Caesar said. “That’s one thing I appreciate: these guys just come out going, ‘You focus on yourself. Focus on the things that you need to do so 18 / OCT. 29, 2020

you can make us better.’” The defensive line has been hungry to improve from last season, and they have the energy to match. Caesar has noted that his teammates’ nose-to-thegrindstone mentality has remained as strong during practice as it was this summer. Caesar considers himself a high-energy person, and he wants to rub off on his position group and keep the energy high during practice. As long as the energy stays high, Caesar believes Ohio will improve. And so far, the results have been impressive. “We have great energy every day in practice,” Caesar said. “We bring it every day, and we coach each other. We like to compete with each other, in individuals and then on the field. Everyone’s getting better every day.” As colleges began their seasons this fall and the return of the Mid-American Conference seemed like an inevitability, Caesar and the defensive line only worked harder in case they would be returning to

camp. If Ohio were to return in the middle of the pandemic and come out with a MAC Championship, it would show how far its players will go to win. “It just got me closer to my teammates, the fact that we’re playing through a pandemic,” Caesar said. “That’s something we can tell our kids later on in life, so this is a very great opportunity for all of us.”

@THEJACKGLECKLER JG011517@OHIO.EDU


SO LISTEN

Poll watching is voter suppression

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is a senior studying strategic communication at Ohio University Voter suppression has a long and ugly history in this country. Many groups of people — particularly Black people, the elderly, students and people with disabilities — have faced voter suppression in elections. Voter suppression can occur in a few different ways. In the past, laws have been enacted to suppress votes. Poll taxes have been put in place to add a financial hindrance to voting. Voter registration records have been purged to unregister people from voting. Some people even believe that the current process of registering to vote is itself an act of voter suppression in some states. One of the simplest forms of voter suppression is something that President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are urging their supporters to take part in: poll watching. Poll watching, by definition, is not inherently bad. Poll watching is when people — usually a volunteer for or hired by a political party —keep an eye on the process of the election. The laws differ state by state, but usually poll watchers don’t have much authority outside of standing at the precinct and watching. Poll watchers are there to make sure that nothing “shady” happens, and usually, party politics are heavily at play. The issue is poll watchers don’t really do anything that the poll workers aren’t already doing, and historically, poll watchers have been used as a form of voter intimidation and suppression. This sort of vigilantism is pointless, when the poll workers are already there to make sure nothing goes wrong and all votes are counted. If the concern is that the poll workers will attempt to interfere with the election, those fears can be dismantled by learning about poll worker training and the Election Day process. At every precinct, half of the poll workers are Republicans and half are Democrats, and a republican and democrat must be

paired up at each table, and one member from both parties must sign off on or be a part of every process at the precincts on Election Day. The Trump Campaign is calling for poll watchers to be at every single precinct in the country. In a video on Trump’s campaign site, Erin Perrine of Trump’s Election Day team calls on his supporters to join the “Army for Trump” and fight for a “fair and honest election.” “We all know that the Democrats will be up to their old dirty tricks on Election Day to make sure that President Trump doesn’t win,” Perrine says in the video. What that means exactly is unclear, as that is all she says on the topic. There is an insurmountable amount of evidence that voter fraud is not a threat to the legitimacy of this election, yet Trump’s campaign continues to stoke this fear by pushing for poll watchers. It’s obvious through the way Trump has been speaking about the election and through this “Army for Trump” that Trump is afraid he is going to lose this election and feels the need to employ intimidation tactics to help his odds of winning this election. Poll watchers are simply a form of voter suppression, and if it doesn’t scare you that Trump’s campaign plans on having them at every single voting precinct in America, it should. Mikayla Rochelle is a senior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Mikayla by tweeting her at @mikayla_roch.

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BENNETT’S BALLOT

Superhero movies are just another source of politics KAYLA BENNETT

is a freshman studying journalism Captain Marvel became a statement around the world when bringing, arguably, Marvel’s strongest superhero to the big screen. This action sparked political outrage while discussing diversity. Brie Larson’s role as Captain Marvel was a concern of the politically obsessed. Her role was assumed to have been too much of a step in diversity because God forbid there is a woman superhero. Captain Marvel was seen as controversial by critics, but superhero movies have always pushed a political agenda. Since the invention of comic books, politics and propaganda have been pushed in superhero media. Observing the Marvel world closer, Black Panther, like Captain Marvel, automatically creates a political base for trying to increase diversity with their main characters. With a cast full of people of color, Black Panther creates a foundational look at the treatment of black people in the U.S. Also, in Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa’s, or Black Panther’s, father is killed by terrorists at a U.N. meeting. The movie

stoked American fear of terrorism ever so subtly. This is something studios have done time and time again to keep Western audiences interested and engaged. Superhero movies have had a political bias since they were comic books. Superman, created by two German men, could be seen fighting Nazis in his early comics. The release of these comic books correlated with WWII in 1938. The timely release of Superman led antisemites to accuse Superman himself of being Jewish. Being in the turmoil of WWII, Germans had a lot to say. Readers, or Nazi-sympathizers, despised that Superman represented the American agenda to destroy Germany, even though the main target was Nazis. This same political concern was created with another superhero in 1940. That’s right: Captain America could be seen punching Adolf Hitler in his early comics. In Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America’s sole purpose in the beginning was to defeat the Nazis. In fact, that’s why he originally joined the army in his disheveled shape. Throughout Captain America, the audience is introduced to the villain: Red Skull. Red Skull is was speculated to closely repre-

sent the Führer of Nazi Germany. Captain America: Civil War creates everything an audience fears. The plot creates the idea of a war between the two “good guys,” alluding to the internal struggles of the U.S. The audience is able to watch the possibility of authoritarian America. Civil War discusses the battle of humanity and the politics disguised in it. This fantasy of morally sound American attempts to draw parallels between these characters and American political heroes, which do not truly exist. WWII is not the only American history super hero movies propagandize. 9/11 is warped to fit the narrative of many superhero stories and plot lines of other superheroes. 9/11 is referenced in countless movies, and this causes conflicts when teaching what actually happened. Avengers: Age of Ultron is an example of blatant 9/11 symbolism. Spider-Man was actually thought to have helped the healing of 9/11. Superman Returns and many other superhero movies create the idea that 9/11 could have been stopped if we only had real superheroes, despite our actual government’s real failures to prevent the terrorist attack. Dipping into the DC universe, Batman

does not go unscathed. The Dark Knight Rises is speculated to have supported Barack Obama’s political campaign. The villain Bane was thought to be an influence on voters. However, Bruce Wayne seems like he would be a mascot for those right-wingers. Besides, Batman is a fascist who is money driven but never had to work for wealth, right? In real life, Batman would likely be criticized by the left for using his resources to dress up in cosplay and assault criminals instead of devoting funds to solving crime. Superheroes are a perfect way to silently share political agendas and share politicized history. These superhero movies could be the reason there is more diversity and, theoretically, could be the start to understanding politics. I’m here for that, but they’ve also been used to push harmful political narratives and historical propaganda. They make America the good guy and create fictional villains to represent complex, bad actors in the real world. Kayla Bennett is a freshman studying journalism. Please note that the views and ideas of columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Kayla? Tweet her @kkayyben.

WORTH A REMINDER

Lobbying to label employees as independent contractors is a scary precedent CAMDEN GILREATH is a senior studying journalism If you know someone who drives for Uber or Lyft or delivers for DoorDash or Instacart, labeling them as an “employee” who is subordinate to an “employer” would technically be incorrect. Under current policy, these transportation and delivery gig companies designate these positions as independent contractors, arguing that liberties such as adjusting one’s own work schedule gives them more power than the typical worker. While this may seem like a minor technicality, it actually results in a massive discrepancy between what these workers are entitled to in terms of overtime pay, wages, insurance and protections. Why is this issue coming to the forefront as the upcoming election looms? The state of California recently implemented labor legislation last year that threatens gig company’s freedom to relegate workers to lower standards. The bill, titled AB 5, enforces a criteria called the ABC test, which distills the definition of an independent contractor to three qualifications: Contractors are not under direct control of the hirer, they perform work outside of their company’s primary business or they previously had an established independent trade, occupation or business. Uber and Lyft’s model of worker blatantly violates these criteria. Even though they’ve been able to circumvent past legal obstacles to classify their workers as mere adjuncts, their defeat looked to be inevitable. Or is it? Now 20 / OCT. 29, 2020

that California law mandates gig companies to entitle their workers to the same baseline of benefits, wages and protections as every other corporation, they aren’t going down without a fight, especially with an opportunity like the election coming. Proposition 22 is a concession of sorts to the new law, but it still entails “app-based drivers” being classified as independent contractors and receiving benefits that severely pale in comparison to the ones prescribed in AB 5. Five gig companies — Uber, Lyft, InstaCart, DoorDash and Postmates — have mobilized to spend a combined $199 million on lobbying and campaign efforts to get this initiative on the ballot in California. This is record spending on a ballot initiative in the history of California, signifying its importance even further in terms of precedent and legislative posterity. Currently, their investment has awarded them some hope that this could be passed. According to polls of likely voters, 46% approve, 42% oppose and a pivotal 12% are undecided. The proposition requires a simple majority to pass. Digging deeper into why gig companies are fighting so assiduously to shortchange their workers, the motive is purely financial. According to Reuters, Uber and Lyft alone would save nearly $400 million in additional payroll taxes and workers compensation costs if this initiative gets passed. But there’s something deeply insidious about prioritizing tax expenditure over the welfare of laborers, especially when these gig companies have no

shortage of venture capital at their disposal. DoorDash and the like are not only impervious to the economic effects of the pandemic (relative to the economy’s general decline), but it thrives during a time when people aren’t leaving their homes and relying on deliveries more than ever. Mentioned earlier were the reduced benefits and protections, but how much less really is it? The companies claim their initiative presents a marginal decrease in benefits but justifies it with the fact that workers have liberties in other areas like setting their own work schedule. This is a complete farce. These are still real people who are taking real risks every minute they complete a service request. Just like other corporate services that inherently present danger to the worker, gig companies should have to pay workers’ compensation. Under the proposal, they will provide occupational accident insurance to contractors, which typically costs the company much less than workers’ compensation. It’s also far less comprehensive coverage for the worker and depends highly on the quality of the insurance the company decides to buy — which, in essence, leaves the amount of money provided for medical expenses, lost income and disability to the discretion of Uber and not the state. There is a guaranteed wage floor that appears to be unusually magnanimous at first glance, and that’s because it is. While the initiative guarantees 120% of the state’s min-

imum wage, plus 30 cents per mile driven, it only accounts for “engaged driving time,” which is delineated as the period between the acceptance of a service request and the completion of that request. A study commissioned by UC Berkeley found that after adjusting for these factors, including wear and tear on the vehicle, the value of a contractor’s wage under this initiative would be less than half of the state’s minimum wage of $13 per hour. If Prop 22 is passed Nov. 3, it constitutes a devastating blow to not only workers in California, but the entire country’s working class. If a steadfast lobbying effort is all it takes for companies to push their agendas into democracy, all for the sake of their own economic welfare and eroding labor rights in the process, this is a precedent that endangers all Americans. For now, it affects just app-based drivers in the state of California. But if more corporate-sponsored initiatives manage to evade pre-existing law and end up dictated by a voting majority, Prop 22’s success story will be a main culprit. Camden Gilreath is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Camden know by tweeting him @ camgilreath23.


5 feel-good, uplifting Instagram accounts to help detox a feed EMMA DOLLENMAYER ASST. BEAT EDITOR Everyone knows and talks about how mentally draining and toxic social media can be, especially Instagram, where the sole purpose of the app is to have users post photos that supposedly depict their life. However, as human beings, we are inclined to mainly share the positive parts of it, causing others to have a false and often fake perception of who we are as an existing individual outside of a screen. This leads to many individuals comparing themselves to not only influencers, but their own friends. The questions of why several people’s lives aren’t as fun or aesthetically pleasing as others arise. But the truth is, everyone, even the most seemingly perfect influencers, deals with their own daily battles, hardships and insecurities. Though, as one scrolls through their Instagram feed, this can be a hard concept to remember and accept, making the platform an overall degrading app, when, instead, it has the ability to be an uplifting space with just a few simple alterations. A cleanse can ultimately be beneficial for everyone, especially during the time of prevailing seasonal depression. Encouraging and reassuring quotes can make all of the difference in one’s day, as these posts have the power to motivate people to shift their mindset, be productive and remind themselves of their worth. To construct an affirmative feed, all you need to do is unfollow the accounts that make you feel of lesser value and follow those that are more of substance. Here are

five inspirational Instagram handles: @wetheurban We The Urban is a “Black-owned digital platform celebrating inclusivity, self-love and marginalized voices,” according to the account’s bio. We The Urban posts healing reminders, affirmations their followers might need to hear for the day, reasons to keep going, hard truths and so many more helpful confirmations. When scrolling, having the opportunity to stop, pause and process what the post is trying to genuinely convey and say can be a breath of fresh air. Though it has been said it is not healthy to go on your phone first thing each morning, for those who do, visit this account first to start off your day on a mindful note. Your mind deserves peace before tackling the day head-on. Additionally, an October healing playlist can be found in its description. @goodhumansonly Similarly to the last account, this one has a lot of reminders — some harsher than others — to recall when you may be feeling like an inferior version of yourself. The account’s central goal is to play a small role in reminding those of their worth and also helping them embrace being powerful, independent and strong. The creator of the account, @karlialtman, encourages her followers to be caring, empathetic, forgiving and, most importantly, loving. She stresses the importance of, yes, loving others, but most importantly loving and prioritizing yourself because at the end of the day all you have is you, so you better be proud of who you

are — and if you’re not, take the time to get there. Start by visiting Good Humans Only and finding a post that resonates with you. Growth must begin somewhere. You can even sign up to receive a free daily text for an emotional boost from the account. @werenotreallystrangers We’re Not Really Strangers is an account that challenges the way we love ourselves and our romantic partners, crushes or even those with whom we have complicated relationships. Actually, We’re Not Really Strangers is a card game for those who are seeking meaningful connections and those who may be seeking to understand the way they love themselves and others on a deeper level. If you’re someone who runs away from their feelings, the game and posts can truly provoke you to become more in touch with them. The account warns that the game and posts may cause feelings to arise, but it is truly a good check to ensure you are accepting the love you deserve and not the love you think you do. @thegoodquote Simply, this account is all about just what it sounds like: promoting good quotes. It shares positive and motivational quotes while also advocating for mental health and self development through literature and discussion with all 21 million of its followers. Many of their quotes come from novels, poetry and activists, making the account diverse with reputable sources. The founder of the account, @roxannesvibe, tackles multiple hardships and areas

FILM REVIEW

of distress and doesn’t just stick to one topic. The quotes come in all different forms of writing styles, making it fit for genuinely everyone. Conclusively, these vast array of quotes have the capacity to remind you of your overall self worth, which is something that should be identified each and every day. In reality, we don’t make this known, oftentimes as a result of a detrimental amount of social media intake. Take this as your sign to detox and add in a quote each day from @thegoodquote. Try even screenshotting some of your favorites and switching up your lock screen each day with a new post from the account. You then are forced to open your phone after inhaling positivity. @girlsbuildingempires Lastly, this account is for all of the ambitious women out there who are striving to make an impact. Girls Building Empires is a motivational and educational account for independent ladies who want to take control of their life and remember they are simply badass. The account is not only trendy, but it most essentially emphasizes self-love for the mind, body and soul. It’s about recognizing your potential, working to meet it, respecting yourself, your boundaries and all around your womanhood. Girls Building Empires helps girls do exactly that: build an empire within themselves and give reminders that dreams and a nourishing lifestyle are attainable. Every evolving woman naturally needs this account and its empowering essence.

@EMMADOLLENMAYER ED569918@OHIO.EDU

‘After We Collided’ continues a dangerous message for young women RILEY RUNNELLS CULTURE EDITOR In 2019, the Wattpad book-turned-published-novel called After hit Netflix as a film starring Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Josephine Langford. The film quickly garnered a huge teen following with its PG-13 themes and sexual situations, creating a new couple for the TikTok age to latch on to. Now After’s sequel, After We Collided, is stepping up its game with an R-rating, a softcore porn-esque feeling and a sub-par script that easily earns the film franchise the title of “teen 50 Shades of Grey.” The sequel takes place a month after the events of After and Hardin (Tiffin)’s big lie. Tessa (Langford) has an internship with Vance Publishing and is establishing herself as a professional, while Hardin is falling off the wagon missing her. Among her coworkers, Tessa meets Trevor (Dylan Sprouse), and the two become friends fast. The rest of the film follows Tessa and Hardin’s complex on and off relationship, as Tessa tries to decide whether she can trust Hardin again.

Arguably, the only good thing about the film is the performances. For the poor content the actors are given in the script, they do a great job. Tiffin and Langford are the perfect depiction of a toxic relationship and almost always deliver their lines in a realistic way that anyone who has been in either of their shoes will find themselves cringing at the truthfulness. However, it’s Sprouse’s performance that absolutely saves the film. Sprouse is adorable and brings such cute, dry humor to the film that is the only truly wonderful part to watch. It’s fun to see him back in a mainstream franchise and killing his role, too. The first noticeable thing about the sequel (so noticeable it is almost distracting) is that this is just a teenage version of 50 Shades of Grey. The two share plots that aren’t entirely exciting, an innocent heroine trying to advance her career who meets a toxic bad boy type that changes her world. The main focus is the steamy sex scenes and the almost uncontrollable nature the two main characters have around each other. What is bothersome is the fact that the first film structured itself around having a teen/

early 20s target audience and then created a sequel that is highly inappropriate for anyone who hasn’t yet reached college. The way the sequel shifted to an R-rating from the PG-13 predecessor is shady because the younger audience who watched the more vanilla first installment is now hooked. I’d imagine the film franchise’s content will continue to get worse, only furthering the curiosity of younger minds. However, it’s naive of me to assume that high school kids aren’t exposed to sex on an everyday basis. I was once in high school, and I know what people talk about and what people do. The sexual content isn’t even the issue, although the first installment may have been misleading with the expectations. The real issue is the glorification of toxic relationships. Anyone watching this is made to root for Tessa and Hardin. They are the two main characters and the ones the writers are setting up together in every installment. However, it’s really disturbing to watch a film that’s made for the teen and early 20s audience, particularly young women, promote a relationship where the toxicity radiates through every interaction. Hardin’s substance abuse and treatment

of Tessa, i.e. possessiveness, overstepping, isolation from her loved ones, etc., are made to be “romantic”? What type of message are you sending to young women about the treatment they should receive from men? Worse yet, what type of message are you sending trying to say you should stay with someone toxic, hoping they will change? It’s something that women who are younger with less experience in relationships are bound to latch on to and look to as an example for when they enter a toxic relationship. It is highly upsetting that this type of content is still being pushed to younger audiences who don’t know any better. Any sane person watching this will rip their hair out, wanting Tessa and Hardin to leave each other alone. But the fun isn’t over yet. There are two more sequels that have been confirmed. Guess we’ll have to see if the franchise makes the smart move and helps both characters to live emotionally healthy lives, or if they’ll finish by promoting the toxicity yet again. @RILEYR44 RR855317@OHIO.EDU

THEPOSTATHENS.COM / 21


the weekender Ceramics celebrated at local pottery sale KERI JOHNSON ASST. CULTURE EDITOR

As the saying goes, some things come around rarely — “once in a blue moon.” This weekend’s pottery sale, at 7888 Luhrig Road, is one of them. The Blue Moon Pottery Sale is this Friday and Saturday. Hosted by Emma Silverstein, the sale will boast hundreds of handcrafted, unique pottery pieces. Silverstein and guest artist Lily Fein will have pieces for sale. Silverstein has been an artist her whole life, but she never really thought it would be her career. From the East Coast, she attended Syracuse University and got a BFA in ceramics. Later, and more recently, she attended grad school at Ohio University. “I’m not really into the academic art scene,” Silverstein said. “I started grad school at OU two years ago, but I dropped out last winter, and it was a great decision.” Silverstein sees great value in art education, but school isn’t for her. Instead, she built a small, home studio this summer to continue making ceramics. Both Silverstein and Fein attended Syracuse and have maintained a strong relationship. Fein visits Silverstein about five times a year, she said. Fein finds she doesn’t really have a homebase, unlike Silverstein and her Athens studio. Ceramics are affected by environment, location – a lot of things, Silverstein said. “My work is more functional,” Silverstein said. “I make pottery for the home: kitchen, living, dining space. The kitchen is the test zone – like, an inspiration and a collaboration.” Fein often travels and makes her pieces in different seeings. Fein’s pieces for sale this weekend were made in Texas and Montana. “When I make work in a new place, I am inspired by artists and working together and the natural environment,” Fein said. “It ends up being different each time.” 22 / OCT. 29, 2020

Also unlike Silverstein, Fein’s work is more “artistic,” and Silverstein’s is more “utilitarian.” Fein also said her work is more delicate and sculptural, whereas Silverstein described her work as “everyday, sturdy and somewhat antiquated.” Paige Nico, Silverstein’s friend and housemate, thinks Silverstein’s work captures the little things. “Emma is sage and relishes in the pleasures of slow food and respective economies,” Nico said in a message. “Her work captures the small moments of sensory delight without relinquishing tradition or being too flashy.” The field of ceramics is very vast, SilverEmma Silverstein (left) and Lily Fein talk outside of Silverstein’s pottery studio, a half shed in her backstein said. Silverstein yard where she works in the warmer months, on Oct. 26, 2020, in Athens, Ohio. (KELSEY BOEING | DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY) and Fein also make their work with different methods; Silverstein uses a manual @_KERIJOHNSON wheel, while Fein hand-builds. There her work move on. KJ153517@OHIO.EDU “It’s nice to show what you’ve been are also different types of ceramics, working on,” she said. “It’s a nice time such as porcelain. But both must use kilns to finish where people are thinking of gift-givtheir pieces. Kilns solidify the clay and ing. It’s timely.” IF YOU GO Fein and Silverstein estimate there make it usable. Otherwise, a mug would will be about 300 pieces for sale this dissolve mid-morning coffee. “This winter I’m going to Middle- weekend — everything from small WHAT: Blue Moon Pottery Sale sex, New York, to have access to a f lower pots, vases, pours, jugs, pitchkiln,” Silverstein said. “The work I ers and more. WHEN: Friday and Saturday, 12 “It’s a wide spectrum,” Silverstein made here (in my home studio) is to p.m. to 6 p.m. said. “There will be all different obcontinue my creativity.” Silverstein’s home and studio sit jects with different purposes. Some right outside of Athens in a beautifully are even versatile.” WHERE: 7888 Luhrig Road The pottery sale runs from 12 p.m. to peaceful, wooded area. She quite literally builds her pieces from her inspira- 6 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. Masks ADMISSION: Free are required, and cash, Venmo and tion — with clay from a nearby stream. Silverstein loves a good home sale checks are accepted. Parking across and is excited for her pieces to find the road in the gravel lot is requested. their forever homes. It feels good to see


WHAT’S GOING ON? Join OU Hillel for virtual Shabbat; parade in place with Passion Works ISABEL NISSLEY FOR THE POST

FRIDAY, OCT. 30 A Peace of My Mind: American Stories Exhibit at 10 a.m., hosted by Parkersburg Art Center, 725 Market St., Parkersburg, West Virginia. Connect with the stories of others through art at the Parkersburg Art Center. Featuring portraits and personal stories, John Noltner’s A Peace of My Mind: American Stories seeks to bridge divides and spark conversations. This multimedia exhibit highlights shared humanity in our increasingly polarized world. Admission: $2 for the public, free for members Trunk or Treat at 5:30 p.m., hosted by The Market on State with Global Gymnastics, 1006 E. State St. Get in the Halloween spirit in a socially distant fashion. With themed trunks set up by local businesses, kids can “trick or treat” for fun goodies. Masks are required.

SATURDAY, OCT. 31 Level One Flameworking: Black Cat at 11 a.m., hosted by Hocking College at the Visual Arts Center. Pick up the skill of flameworking with instructor Sabrina Suman. Participants will create a small black cat using glass rods and a torch. Beginners are welcome. Admission: $35 Honey for the Heart Parade in Place at 1 p.m., hosted by Passion Works Studio at Jaycee Ball Fields. Come see Honey for the Heart giant puppets, costumes, music, goodies and surprises, all from the safety of your car. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes and decorate their cars for this “parade in place.” The event features music from Professor Bubblemaker, DJ B-Funk and the famous Passion Works Music Box. Admission: Free Walking Tour of the Historic Athens Asylum at 5 p.m., hosted by the Southeast Ohio History Center, 100 Ridges Circle. Walk and talk about the history of the famed Athens Asylum, the renowned landscaped grounds, historic cemeteries and the evolution of mental health treatment from the inception of this storied institution with long-time asylum employee George Eberts. The tour will last for roughly two hours and will occur rain or shine. Admission: $15 for Southeast Ohio History Center members, $18 for regular non-member adults, $10 for students with a student ID, free for children 12 and under.

STA Y I NFOR ME D WAS H YOU R H AND S AVOI D C LOS E C ON TA CT WEA R A MA S K CL E A N A ND D I S I NF ECT MONI TOR YOU R H EA LT H

SUNDAY, NOV. 1

Virtual Shabbat at 6 p.m., hosted by Hillel at Ohio University via Zoom. Join OU Hillel for a student-led, virtual Shabbat. Although the event is online, students are still encouraged to lead prayer, offer a D’var or contribute musically.

Strong Challenge at 9 a.m., hosted by the Parkersburg YMCA, 1800 30th Street, Parkersburg, West Virginia. Strengthen your mind and body during this free, virtual six-week challenge. All community members are invited to participate and join the YMCA of Parkersburg’s STRONG Challenge Community Facebook Group, which offers motivation, challenges, workouts and giveaways.

Admission: Free

Admission: Free

Admission: Free

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