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OU’s employment diversity doesn’t represent Ohio’s population PG 4 Graduating seniors look forward to Fall Commencement PG 11 COVID-19-safe date ideas for the holidays PG 22 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2020

Defining 2020 Exploring OU’s COVID-19 response


Reflecting back, looking ahead to Spring Semester


As week 15 of Fall Semester steadily comes to a close, finals are looming, and the relaxation of winter break is on practically all of Ohio University students’ minds. This Fall Semester has been one filled with unprecedented challenges, frustration fueled by online classes, COVID-19 regulations and more. But with all of those, this Fall Semester has also been filled with new possibilities, ventures, ideas and dedication at The Post. Despite everything the semester has thrown at us, The Post has created and published 14 wonderful, diverse tabloid issues, including this digital-only issue you’re reading right now. Furthermore, we’ve been lucky enough to recruit driven and bright staffers who have grown in their respective staffs and exemplified exactly what experiential learning looks like, especially during a pandemic. The Fall Semester has been one of trial and error and lots of exploration within The Post. For the first time, staff members tried out live blogging during Election Night — something staffs plan to include during future coverage. Otherwise, there’s been a more digital-forward mindset. Our social media staff has been think-

ing of inventive ways to share stories, photos and more. In fact, if you didn’t already know, The Post even has a TikTok account now. Looking forward toward Spring Semester, there’s lots of hope and optimism. Despite COVID-19 numbers rising, Athens will hopefully seem more alive with OU currently allowing students to come back to campus next semester. That prospect alone is enough motivation to get through finals week. In terms of The Post, the Spring Semester will mark even more exploration and experimentation with different aspects of our content. With the possibility of more students on campus, opportunities arise, and staff members are already brainstorming ways we can continue to be creative and innovative within our website and print publication. On top of our initiatives with content, the Spring Semester brings change to The Post. Around roughly late February, next year’s editor-in-chief will be chosen. After that, other executive and section editors will be hired over the course of the semester as well, marking a shift in roles and responsibilities. Over the course of Fall Semester, The Post has

continued to be dedicated to serving Southeast Ohio and acting as a pivotal news source to its readers and audience. That is something that, despite harrowing pandemics, forthcoming shifts in editor roles and innovative changes will stay true. While Fall Semester has been great and Spring Semester is looking promising, winter break is practically here. While there won’t be any weekly print publications or as many daily articles and stories as the usual week, stick with The Post as our writers, photographers, designers, coders and editors take a well-deserved break from the usual grind. 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.



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Student sues OU for allegedly violating the Americans With Disabilities Act; Graduate Student Senate voices concerns over OU compensation ABBY MILLER NEWS EDITOR Student sues OU after taking forced leave of absence for a mental health disability

An Ohio University student sued the university in late November after she was forced to take a leave of absence due to a mental health disability. The student, Sarah Letchford, is currently on military leave and filed the lawsuit Nov. 22. The suit alleges OU is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits general public businesses and some private businesses from establishing discriminatory activities on the basis of disability. Due to this alleged violation, Letchford is requesting through the suit that OU change its policies to ensure any individual with mental or physical disabilities receives full access to all services and activities the university provides to its students. Letchford was hospitalized in April 2017 because of her mental health disability. Her mother notified OU, which decided to withdraw Letchford from the semester because of the circumstances. Letchford alleges in the suit that her withdrawal was involuntary and that OU made no considerations of making an accommodation for her disability. When Letchford tried to re-enroll at OU for Spring Semester, OU denied the request, despite Letchford providing a note from a medical provider, according to the suit. She was also not given a tuition refund for involuntary withdrawals due to mental health reasons.

OU imposes “onerous requirements” on students trying to return to the university, according to the suit. Those requirements are allegedly applied on a blanket basis, which excludes students with disabilities who are hospitalized from reintegrating into all facets of the OU community. OU will not comment until it files its formal response in court, university spokesperson Carly Leatherwood said.

Athens County reenters highest warning level for the coronavirus

Athens County now has over 2,000 cases of COVID-19 and is on level three of Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System. Athens County has 2,170 COVID-19 cases as of Dec. 2, according to the Athens City-County Health Department. Of those cases, 505 are active. A level three, or red, distinction means the county has very high exposure and spread. Those living in level three counties are advised to limit their activities as much as possible. The majority of counties in Ohio are also at level three. Only nine counties are still at level two, or orange, and most are located in Southeast Ohio. In Athens County, about 69% of all cases are from individuals under the age of 30. That number is about 31% at the state level. So far, there have been over 100 new COVID-19 cases reported in Athens County every week since

November began.

Graduate Student Senate: Concern over graduate student compensation addressed

Graduate Student senators said Tuesday they do not receive compensation from Ohio University that reflects the cost of living in Athens and the amount of work graduate students complete. At OU, graduate students teach, grade and complete research, Courtney Silver-Peavey, biological sciences representative, said. However, all of this work doesn’t seem to be considered in the wages the university pays its graduate students. In addition to this, Silver-Peavey addressed OU’s budgetary issues, which she thinks are putting the university’s academic mission at risk. Due to those concerns graduate students have, Graduate Student Senate passed a resolution at its Tuesday meeting endorsing a teach-in event hosted by the Graduate Employee Organization, or GEO. The GEO will teach graduate students how to collaborate together and stand up for themselves since they cannot form a union, Alyx McLuckie, communication studies representative, said. The event will include sessions discussing issues such as livable wages, health insurance, quality education and teaching training.



Man steals snacks from car; catalytic converters continue to be stolen GRANT RITCHEY FOR THE POST

Snack Time

The Athens Police Department located two males in reference to cutting catalytic converters off a vehicle. Two men were arrested and charged with breaking and entering, felony theft and felony possessing criminal tools.

The Athens County Sheriff’s Office responded to Hocking Hills Drive in The Plains area in reference to a man being inside of an employee’s vehicle. The suspect ate the vehicle owners’ snacks from inside the car and also stole gift cards. The victim came to the scene and identified the man as the suspect. The subject was charged with theft and released with a summons.

Cut the line

Smoking What?

Catalytic Cutters Strikes Again

The Athens County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 hang-up call with static on the line on Salem Road. When deputies arrived, the homeowner was having phone issues. Deputies returned to patrol.

4 / DEC. 3, 2020

The Athens County Sheriff’s Office responded to The Plains, where the caller advised they located a cigarette pack and believed it had narcotics inside of it. The item was collected and

logged for destruction.

Chainsaw Massacre

The Athens County Sheriff’s Office took a report of theft of chainsaws. Deputies spoke with the complainant and suspect, who both advised there was an agreement to allow the use of the chainsaws. Both parties agreed to meet and return them to the owner. @RITCHEY_GRANT GR619615@OHIO.EDU

By the Numbers OU-AAUP data show Ohio University hires fewer Black, Hispanic faculty than what’s representative of Ohio’s population BEKAH BOSTICK FOR THE POST Ohio University’s employment diversity is not representative of the state’s Black and Hispanic populations, according to employment data collected by the OU chapter of the Association of American University Professors. The data, collected by OU-AAUP in collaboration with the OU Black Faculty Association, show the university employs a smaller percentage of Black and Hispanic faculty and administrators than what is representative of Ohio’s total population. The associations’ findings were made public over five months after the Black Faculty Association released a letter addressed to OU President Duane Nellis and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Gigi Secuban, calling out the university’s hiring practices. “Ohio University has not yet acknowledged its own institutional racism,” according to the letter. “This is most evident in the hiring of Black

faculty and staff, student recruitment and retention, disparate compensation, promotion into leadership positions, marginalization of Black faculty in the Ohio University colleges, schools and departments, and the absence of Black voices in decision making in general and with issues that concern our community in particular.” The data project, titled “Race and Ethnicity at Ohio University,” compares the actual number of Black and Hispanic full-time and part-time faculty and staff to the Black and Hispanic percentages of the state’s population to show just how diverse the university’s hiring practices are, Loren Lybarger, president of OU-AAUP and associate professor in the department of classics and world religions, said. “What I would hope is that the OU administration would look at this data and begin to develop a strategic plan for what we might think of as ‘cluster hires’ in these different schools that would strategically aim at increasing recruitments of African American Fac-

ulty,” Lybarger said. The study found just under 4% of OU faculty members are Black, while Black people make up over 13% of the state’s population. The Patton College of Education has the highest percentage of Black faculty at OU, in which over 8% of faculty are Black. The Russ College of Engineering and Technology have the smallest percentage of Black faculty members, where under 2% of faculty members are Black. The office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion is the most diverse administrative unit at Ohio University, in which Black people make up over 18% of employees. The office of the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity is the administrative unit with the least Black representation, with zero Black employees. In total, 2% of OU personnel are Hispanic. In comparison, Hispanic people make up about 4% of Ohio’s population. The College of Arts and Sciences employs the most Hispanic employees, in which over 5% of the faculty is Hispanic. The Patton College of Education has the least Hispanic personnel, in which only .5% of the faculty is Hispanic. Over 6% of employees in the office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion are Hispanic. Alden Library, the Office of the President and University College have no Hispanic employees. “It’s really important for a university to achieve a certain level of representation,” Lybarger said. “African Americans (should) constitute a visible and coherent presence on campus. Otherwise, you get isolated individuals who are … just one or two persons within a dominantly white department. And that makes it hard for those individuals to begin to change the culture of these departments and to be able to advocate for the concerns of faculty of color.” The Black Faculty Association created a list of 28 items in its letter that the university must address in order to erdicate racial injustice and discrimination at OU. Included in the list was the need to recruit Black students and faculty

to a percentage representative of the state’s population. OU has never exceeded more than 7% of its student population having been made up of Black students, according to the letter. The letter also asks that the university raise the salaries of Black faculty to those of their white counterparts with similar experiences in their departments, schools and colleges. The Black Faculty Association also included the university’s need to hire Black faculty and administrative members in leadership positions and establish systems for Black students and employees to report incidents of racial discrimination. “Once we begin to recover from our budget situation and begin to hire faculty, this is something our chapter is going to focus on and be advocating for is hiring minorities that focus on recruiting and maintaining faculty of color,” Lybarger said.




Medical, nursing students adapt education for the COVID-19 pandemic MAYA MORITA FOR THE POST The COVID-19 pandemic has altered classwork for nursing and medical students at Ohio University and given some students the option to work hands-on during the pandemic through early graduation. Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, or HCOM, students have had to adapt to learning their required materials in a hybrid method instead of learning completely in person and hands-on. Beth Longenecker, dean of HCOM, said professors and students had to improvise during their labs in order to follow COVID-19 precautions. “It’s really hard to get that anatomical knowledge without being there with the cadaver, and osteopathic manual medicine skills is now being done online,” Longenecker said. “Our students come to campus Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays in smaller groups for these training sessions for the clinical skills, and we’ve actually structured that so you have the same lab partner constantly. You’re always within the same group. The groups are separated by 6 feet.” Leah Gregory, a junior studying nursing, believes that online learning has been easier. “Honestly, it’s easier because it’s online, and you can choose when you want to least listen to the lectures and take your notes and stuff like that,” Gregory said. However, Simon Moskowitz, a junior medical student, has had very few changes implemented in his classes. “As a third-year medical student, we spend most of our days in the hospitals and clinics providing direct patient care, so that has not changed an overt amount,” Moskowitz said in an email. “But normally, we would have weekly in-person classes which are now completely virtual.” In addition to the new format for instruction, COVID-19 has been implemented into coursework for students. “They had a course in COVID management, COVID contact tracing management infection, and we’ve partnered with the Ohio Department of Health, so that, in some of our regions, they actually solicited our students to help in contact tracing,” Longenecker said. “That was one of the things we did for our fourth years, and then we actually offered it to our third years before they went out on rotations.” Gregory said clinical projects for nursing were also altered to include COVID-19 information. “In one of my classes … we’re supposed to do clinicals for that class and, normally, we would go to schools and be school nurses or do flu clinics and things like that,” Gregory said. “But they had to change that around, so my group did a COVID information presentation to parents and moms about how to deal with their kids during this pandemic. And I know some other groups have done COVID-related projects, but we haven’t really learned about COVID. It’s more like projects and clinical things that we’ve implemented COVID into.” Longenecker said for this coming semester, HCOM classes will remain in a hybrid format because it will be the most beneficial for the safety of the students while maintaining a learning environment. 6 / DEC. 3, 2020


“You can’t learn to be a doctor completely online. You just can’t do it. So as we’re moving into this spring, we’ve made the decision to continue like we are now, with the hybrid, with the smaller groups and keeping students in these little pods so that we minimize the risk to them,” Longenecker said. “But we still can bring them in and let them be the next generation of doctors because you can’t stop making doctors and creating these opportunities for new doctors in the middle of a pandemic either — because we need them.” During the 2020 Spring Semester, HCOM made it possible for students to graduate seven weeks early in order to help with the pandemic. Fourth-year students had to be approved to skip elective courses in order to graduate early and participate in residency programs. “We applied to our creditor to get an exemption for some of their elective time … so that they could go out and join some of the residencies that were willing to accept students early into the residency training program so they could start taking care of patients,” Longenecker said. “So since you have to go through all of those steps, I don’t know if we’ll do that again.”

The pandemic itself has impacted how some students feel toward their majors in the medical field. Moskowitz finds the pandemic to be difficult on his mental health as a medical student. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been an undeniably, ever-evolving experience for everyone, and especially to future healthcare professionals in training,” Moskowitz said in an email. “The past year has been relentlessly demanding, frustrating, and both physically and emotionally draining. With that said, it has not swayed my interest from medicine, but instead, reinforced it, by adding another dynamic feature to an already rapidly changing field that I have the privilege of being an integral part of. I love what I do.”


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Looking back, moving forward A timeline of OU’s pandemic response TAYLOR BURNETTE SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR 2020 was defined by the coronavirus pandemic. On March 10, Ohio University originally suspended classes for two weeks as fears grew about COVID-19 making its way into the U.S. But March 16, not even a week later, the university suspended in-person classes for the rest of the Spring Semester. Classes moved online, something with which many students and faculty continue to struggle. Jenny Hall-Jones, senior associate vice president for Student Affairs at OU, was on vacation during one of the most confusing weeks of the pandemic. After returning home, Hall-Jones set up a folding table in her living room with her computer and desk chairs and began working from home alongside the students of OU. “It was probably around commencement time when I was like ‘Oh, OK, we’re in this thing forever,’” Hall-Jones said with a laugh, holding onto a bit of optimism even with the uncertainty. For many students, the movement of classes online signaled the beginning of a very different experience than the usual semester. “I’ve basically been just confined to staying at home,” Emily Cigan, a junior studying sociology and criminology, said. “I do have a job. So that’s, like, the only other time that I would leave my apartment.” Although Cigan said she struggled with online classes at first, she feels a lot more comfortable with them now than she did in March.


After classes were canceled, the state of Ohio issued a stay-at-home order March 22. That, coupled with online-only classes, began a period of isolation for many students. On March 25, not long after the order was issued, the first OU student tested positive for COVID-19 — a number that steadily rose, with 412 active cases as of Dec. 2. Athens County had its first COVID-19 death March 30, which recently rose to four deaths. The stay-at-home order has since been lifted. But Athens Mayor Steve Patterson has continued to encourage his constituents, both temporary and permanent, to be cautious. “It’s hard for everybody, as we’re looking at the things that we’ve got to sacrifice,” Patterson said. “I always view our own personal sacrifices as lives saved.”


By May 14, OU was looking to reopen for the Fall Semester. But many students were surprised to learn that 8 / DEC. 3, 2020

they would not, in fact, be invited back to in-person classes or invited back to campus at all. The university announced July 31 that classes would begin online for all students at the beginning of the semester, with a phased return for those in programs that require in-person experiences or equipment. “We didn’t have the testing,” Hall-Jones said. “Testing was really hard to come by in the fall, and we made the decision to be safe, right? … We got the testing ramped up. We were able to do it for Phase 2, and we kind of experimented.” The result of the university’s effort was bringing around 7,200 people back to campus, with even fewer living in the dorms.


Athens County hit 1,000 cases as of Oct. 11 and 2,000 cases Nov. 28 as the county returned to the red level on the state’s Public Health Advisory Alert System. Students returned home from campus to complete the semester remotely after Thanksgiving, continuing classes online until the completion of finals the week of Dec. 7. What stuck with students, however, was not the start or finish of classes. Hannah Gardner, a junior studying political science, was studying abroad in Denmark when the pandemic began to hit worldwide. She returned to the U.S. on

the Fourth of July, and as she left, people traveling from around the world apologized about her return home. “Every single person that noticed my American accent asked when I was going home and then were like, ‘I’m so terribly sorry,’” Gardner said. “Every person I talked to was pretty much like, ‘I wish you didn’t have to go home.’” Gardner remembers standing in a non-socially distanced line in a New York airport with an American flag in the background. Although she felt excited to see her family, there was a deep bubbling fear of uncertainty as she waited. The lack of pandemic precautions has stuck out to other students as well, some of them closer to home. Cigan said she has seen a lot of unsafe behavior in the time she has spent in Athens this year. Walking around town with her boyfriend, whom she lives with, she has made observations that concern her. “A lot of the time there’s people without masks, and there’s, like, big groups of friends walking together,” Cigan said. “Especially, we’ve noticed the bars, even though the bars have signs or notices that say to wear a mask or practice social distancing. If you look into the bar, there’s nobody doing that.” Patterson remembers back to June and July, around the same time he and City Council met during Council’s summer recess to institute a city mask mandate, seeing a much larger student population than in years past. “That was certainly a concern to me, and then we started seeing kind of an increase in activity Uptown,” Patterson said. Patterson took wording from similar ordinances around the state and compiled them to make Athens’ mask mandate. “It certainly helped because we started to see a stabilization of a spike or surge that we were seeing here in the city of Athens,” Patterson said. “And then it started to drop down, which was wonderful.” With the phased return to campus, Patterson said he also saw a spike with both Phase 1 and Phase 2. The age demographics for those positive for the virus has started to shift from college-aged people to older age groups, with many students living in different areas

Every single person that noticed my American accent asked when I was going home and then were like, ‘I’m so terribly sorry’. Every person I talked to was pretty much like, ‘I wish you didn’t have to go home,’” - Hannah Gardner, a junior studying political science, said

ILLUSTRATIONS BY MARY BERGER around Athens, Patterson said.


Despite the continuation of the pandemic, both OU and the city of Athens are preparing ways to cope and ways to find the good within the pandemic. Students living on campus will be tested with saliva testing, compared to nasal swab testing, Hall-Jones said. On campus residents will be tested once a week, while off-campus students will be asked to test once every other week. “We are very confident that we could come back to campus and do it safely, even if the numbers keep getting worse in the state,” Hall-Jones said. “We feel good that we can keep our students and our faculty and staff community safe through constant and really good testing.” However, Hall-Jones said she worries most about student engagement going forward. “I think students are still going to be lonely,” HallJones said. “I think it’s still going to be hard. We’re still going to do most of our things online, even though we’re going to open up and try to do some in-person events in the spring.” Looking forward toward the future of Athens, Patterson does worry about how the pandemic will affect Athens in the years to come. Without the students who went home being counted in the 2020 census in the region, there is a large number missing from Athens’ population. If the efforts to increase census involvement in the region were not effective, that could be reflected in its funding as well. “I’m hoping the new administration will take that up and recognize that … the pandemic did affect traditional

urban undercounted areas and sort of the inner city, hard to count areas as well as college towns, which also experienced that mass exodus back in March,” Patterson said. The city of Athens could lose between $20 million and $40 million in federal funding over the next 10 years because of the miscount, Patterson said. However, Patterson hopes despite the challenges, people will continue to take precautions to keep others safe. “(I’m) just encouraging everyone to continue to do the

best that they can, given the situation that we’re living under to mask up,” Patterson said. “Wash your hands often, social distance and defer getting together with family and friends until we can get that vaccine starting to become deployed, even though everyone still needs to remain vigilant.” Gardner adapted to life and school back in the U.S. and was very happy to see her family, but she, like many Americans, has dealt with the ramifications of the pandemic. Her mother, a music therapist, has lost the majority of her clients. She said her views on America have shifted and, as she looks toward her future, few things feel certain. “I am just waiting for the fog to lift,” Gardner said. “The fog of the world, the fog of the future, the fog of my literal brain fog. I think I just want out of the U.S,, which is a lot of sacrifices, like I’m gonna be leaving behind my family for the most part and my amazing boyfriend, but I just don’t trust the U.S. to have my best interests at heart anymore.”



From SAC to Student Orgs

MOLLY WILSON FOR THE POST Student organizations at Ohio University have been forced to deal with the economic impact that the coronavirus has had on their ability to function. Student organizations that wished to receive funding through the Senate Appropriation Committee, or SAC, which is responsible for allocating funds to these organizations, had to have their fund requests turned in by October, and many question the financial impact that COVID-19 will have on the delegation of funds. SAC strives to ensure that all student organizations receive as much funding as possible in order to function and fund events 10 / DEC. 3, 2020

ILLUSTRATION BY OLIVIA JUENGER that benefit the Athens community, according to the SAC website. Fewer organizations are reaching out for money this year, Sarah Packard, vice commissioner for public outreach within SAC said. SAC removed the previous $1,500 cap on the bi-weekly fund budget “to encourage organizations to reach out for money,” Packard, who is a junior studying MIS business analytics and management said. Sphere magazine, a literature magazine focused on publishing poetry, nonfiction and fiction, is an organization that received more funding through SAC than they were

expecting, Andrea Gapsch, managing editor at Sphere, said. “This year we were really concerned we weren’t going to get the funding because we weren’t able to print last spring due to the pandemic,” Gapsch, a senior studying English, said. “We were asking for two times the amount of funding than we usually do.” Sphere magazine requested $3,600, which funds the printing of 700 copies of the magazine and allows for Sphere to ship extra copies to graduates who worked on its staff in the past. SAC did not fund Sphere for its website.

Instead, Sphere is receiving funds through the English department to keep the website running. The unexpected and large amount of funding that Sphere received “has really made it so much easier to focus on working on submissions and making sure that we put out the best magazine possible now that we have the money to do so,” Gapsch said. Conversely, some organizations that are not fully funded by SAC have to use other university options to fund their events. Ohio University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, or PRSSA, is not fully funded by SAC, Casey George, vice president of finance for Scripps PRSSA said. Instead, PRSSA raises the majority of its money through fundraising and yearly dues that members pay. PRSSA works with the campus involvement center to gain access to the money from its account that is necessary to host events and to reimburse members for purchases made for the organization, since it will not receive SAC funding this year. Requesting access to money through the Campus Involvement Center has been slow this year, George, a junior studying strategic communication, said. “We haven’t been able to really buy a lot of things,” George said. “Normally, we buy everything that’s needed for an event, and this year, it’s been very scattered with reimbursements.” Requests must also be very specific, as the involvement center wants to know where the money is going, how it will be used and ensure that all events are COVID19-friendly, George said. SAC funding requests are also looked over carefully. When it comes to funding in-person events, SAC has been assuming that the event is university-approved. If it was not, SAC will take back the funds, as they have been focusing on making sure all funded events are COVID-19-safe, Packard said. “We want every dollar of the budget to be used so that it can go back into the community, and we can see it help people or engage with people,” Packard said.


A Farewell to Fall Seniors relieved, hesitant about virtual commencement ISABEL NISSLEY FOR THE POST Ohio University is a hub of intellect and humanity nestled within Athens. The campus’ brick buildings and tree-lined streets have entertained students for more than two centuries. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many college students are now separated from the town they love. As graduating students reminisce about their college experiences, they also grapple with the reality that their time at OU is ending in a less-than-ideal way, finalized by a virtual commencement ceremony. Lydia Cox, a senior studying marine biology, was drawn to OU’s campus and its academic programs. However, when deciding where to attend university, the strength of OU’s online curriculum was never a consideration of hers. Now, finishing her senior year virtually,

Cox is burnt out. Marine biology is a handson major, lending itself to in-person learning experiences, but this semester, Cox navigated her lab work online. “It was just really hard to do virtually because you can’t really see anything or touch it,” Cox said. Similarly, Chad Quanrud found himself trudging through his final semester of college. Quanrud, a senior studying applied mathematics and economics, felt that the online delivery of his classes made them “not as useful” as in-person classes he took in the past. “I definitely do not see the semester as being worthwhile,” Quanrud said. Victims of circumstance, both Cox and Quanrud almost feel relieved about their intended graduation this December. “I’m glad because I don’t want to do another semester like this one,” Cox said. “But it’s still kind of sad, especially since our graduation’s going to be kind of

non-existent.” Because of the pandemic, OU shifted the 2020 Fall Commencement ceremony to a virtual format. The university’s decision was made with guidance from the CDC and Gov. Mike DeWine. The virtual ceremony will be hosted Saturday, Dec 12. Graduates names will be read while a slide displays information about them during a livestream. “We know that 2020 has presented many challenges and some opportunities for so many of us,” Liz Pahl, associate director of event management at OU, said in an email. “Our greatest hope is that graduates of OU understand that the inability to be in the same room does not diminish their incredible accomplishments.” Many graduating seniors did not imagine the end of their college careers looking like this; traditionally, the day is social and celebratory, as graduates revel in their final moments as OU students.


“I was kind of hoping to just get together with all (my friends) before, maybe take some photos if we wanted to,” Quanrud said. “Maybe go to Union Street Diner or something, basically have a whole day of it. Now, I feel like it’s kind of just like I’m going to be attending a class — but it’s not a class. It’s my commencement.” However, the unconventional ceremony is allowing students to forge their own traditions to celebrate graduating. Quanrud is forgoing a cap and gown; instead, he’s opting for a “goofy hat” to wear when they call his name. He sees some positives in the virtual format for the 2020 Fall Commencement Ceremony. “Honestly, it might be more enjoyable to be doing it from the comfort of my home with my family,” Quanrud said. After the virtual ceremony, students will be sent off into the “real world” as OU alumni. Cox is pursuing graduate school options. Quanrud is looking for a job, specifically in the insurance industry. Both feel that OU has prepared them for their futures. Although OU’s Fall 2020 Commencement ceremony is virtual, it is still an opportunity for students to celebrate and reflect on the years they spent at OU. “Even though it sucks and it feels like we got cheated out of one semester, we still have three years of great semesters and meeting good people,” Quanrud said. “You know, we have an entire lifetime to do everything else. Eventually, all this will hopefully end. So just focus on what matters now, and work through it.”



Shopping Small Small businesses Uptown prep for holiday season

COLLEEN MCLAFFERTY FOR THE POST As the holidays roll in, this season looks a bit different for Athens businesses. Instead of the usual bustle and magic, most of their focus has been on surviving the ever-rising number of COVID-19 cases. “I think (COVID-19) is negatively impacting our business,” Karen McGuire, manager of Import House, 68 N. Court St., said. “Athens is a pretty depressed area, so we rely heavily on the university, as do all the businesses Uptown. So with the cuts in the university and decreased enrollment on top of the virus, it makes for rough times for small independent retailers like us.” Lee Barber, manager of Universitees, an Ohio University-themed apparel store at 30 N. Court St., concurred with McGuire in a message. Barber said the shop’s business was directly impacted by the lack of OU students in Athens. With the obstacles of operating a business in pandemic, retailers have adapted, offering new virtual platforms to reach consumers and new procedures to protect them. “We’ve adjusted our store hours (and) added special in-store promos,” Barber said. “(We) have also activated our online store and also offer curbside pick-up.” McGuire said Import House, a clothing and jewelry store, made precautionary adjustments but ensured its employees weren’t affected by shortened hours or job loss. “We shortened our hours; we used to be open until 8 p.m., and now we close at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on the weekends,” McGuire said. “We did not decrease our staff. We have some very long-term, wonderful employees, and we didn’t want to affect their livelihoods. Actually, the owner has stopped taking a pay12 / DEC. 3, 2020

check, really.” For local clothing store Kismet, 19 W. State St., the pandemic pushed the shop to finally complete its retail website, Mackenzie Weber, store manager, said. The pandemic has also led Kismet to rely on its social media accounts to communicate with its customer base. The uncertainty of the pandemic has also brought some concerns about af-

fordability with the holidays just around the corner. With the financial hardships that have accompanied lockdowns and quarantines, retailers have pivoted to ensure affordability. “Although big box stores have enticing deals and big advertisements, don’t count out your local merchants when looking for affordable gifts,” Weber said. “Follow their social media or join their email lists where you can often find special deals or get notified of their sales.” McGuire thinks that homemade, sentimental gifts are just as sufficient as store-bought ones — and sometimes more affordable. But she also stressed that people who are looking to buy gifts should consider purchasing from businesses that give back to charities, especially during this turbulent year. “Part of our store (Import House) is dedicated to the Athens County Humane Society ... and 100% of the proceeds of our socks and T-shirts go to that,” McGuire said. McGuire further said Import House decided to donate its profits after learning that charities were having a hard time with fundraising this year,

another adjustment to accommodate changes brought on by the pandemic. “With so much uncertainty, people are just simply more cautious right now; that includes their spending,” Weber said. “But we are grateful that there is a lot of encouragement out there to support the local businesses in the community.”



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Secret Santa for Seniors Southeast Ohio Regional Kitchen Secret Santa program benefits seniors with meals, gifts RILEY RUNNELLS CULTURE EDITOR The Meals on Wheels Secret Santa program is an opportunity for people to give a little extra holiday cheer. Sponsored by the Southeast Ohio Regional Kitchen, the program benefits housebound seniors in Athens and Hocking counties. What started as an idea from Food Services Coordinator Naomi Squires three years ago turned into a full-fledged donation program with meals, gifts and practical supplies. “Many of our seniors are homebound, which is why they receive these delivered meals, and the negative health effects of social isolation can deepen during the winter, when there isn’t as much sunlight; the weather gets cooler and the roads become more and more difficult to travel,” Claire Gysegem, public relations manager of Hocking Athens Perry Community Action, or HAPCAP, said in an email. “This program is a way to give back to our seniors who have already given so much to us in our communities.” HAPCAP is a community action program that serves Hocking, Athens and Perry counties in Southeast Ohio. HAPCAP is the parent organization of the Southeast Ohio Foodbank, which serves 10 counties in Southeast Ohio. The Meals on Wheels program specifically serves Athens and Hocking counties, where the Secret Santa program also focuses its time. Traditionally, people looking to donate go to the Southeast Ohio Foodbank in Logan or HAPCAP’s main office in Glouster and select a name tag from a Christmas tree. This year, however, the organization encourages people to check out its Amazon Wish List as a way of digital giving, no in-person contact required. If people aren’t looking to purchase from Amazon, they can also donate Amazon gift cards or share information about the program with family and friends. Some of the suggested donations include gloves and hats, gift cards for pet food, slippers and socks, ChapStick, cough drops and tissues and/or tea and crackers. Those looking for the traditional 14 / DEC. 3, 2020

name tag tree-method can call the Southeast Ohio Foodbank at 740385-6813 or send an email to info@ hapcap.org. “On a larger scale, we’d like to encourage you to call your elderly relatives often to check up on them and to chat,” Gysegem said in an email. “Those phone calls mean so much to them, and we notice that our Meals on Wheels seniors love to share stories about their family with our drivers.” Meals on Wheels receives funding from the federal government, so HAPCAP encourages people to reach out to representatives in support of these social programs that serve as lifelines for seniors. “I love the thank-you cards our seniors write,” Gysegem said in an email. “I don’t know if this will be possible given the pandemic, but some of our drivers take photos of our seniors receiving gifts, and to see the surprise on their faces is heartwarming.” Students also see the benefits of the program. “It’s important for Meals on Wheels to have people donate and host this event during the pandemic because, for people (who) are immunocompromised, such as the elderly—it can be difficult for them to safely acquire food during this time,” Sophia Hoersten, a freshman studying pre-nursing, said in a message. “Meals on Wheels allows those people to receive food without leaving their house.” Other students have firsthand experiences with Meals on Wheels and encourage others to participate as well. “I think Meals on Wheels is one of the most selfless and genuine events of the year,” Grace Braslawsce, a freshman studying photojournalism, said in a message. “My family used to help out with Meals on Wheels in their hometown and would do it year round. So I have seen the outcome of this, and seeing the smiles on peoples faces makes it all worth it. It’s truly beautiful.” Especially during the 2020 pandemic, Gysegem thinks it’s more important to help out now than ever before. “Our seniors are high-risk for the Coronavirus, and if they weren’t completely isolated before, they are now,”

Gysegem said in an email. “We need to be able to reach them safely in their homes, and we want them to know how much we love and care for them. Also, this pandemic has had a devastating effect on not only the working class, but for people who were already poor. The pandemic has shone a light through the gaping holes in our social safety net,

and we need to continue to fight for the well-being and protection of our most vulnerable neighbors.” More information on how and what to donate can be found on the Southeast Ohio Regional Kitchen’s Facebook page or hapcap.org/news.


I love the thank-you cards our seniors write. I don’t know if this will be possible given the pandemic, but some of our drivers take photos of our seniors receiving gifts, and to see the surprise on their faces is heartwarming,” -Claire Gysegem, public relations manager of HAPCAP, said in an email

The Southeast Ohio Foodbank at 1005 CIC Drive in Logan, Ohio. (KELSEY BOEING | DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Sustainability Stressed Season Officials, students discuss waste, sustainability around the holiday season KERI JOHNSON ASST. CULTURE EDITOR As Thanksgiving passes and students graduate, it appears it’s gift-giving season once again. According to the Ohio EPA, Americans throw away 25% more trash during the holidays as well as 33% more food. However, things tend to slow down wastewise in Athens this time of year, Crissa Cummings, office assistant at the Athens-Hocking Recycling Center, said. “Typically students go home about now,” Cummings said. “This year is gonna be a little different. We’re not sure what to expect.” Recycling during the holiday season is important because there is a greater accumulation of waste both in food, paper and other recyclables, Emma Linn, a senior studying urban planning and sustainability, said in an email. “Especially during the holiday season, you see an increase in food waste, glass, paper, cardboard and other materials that consumers typically purchase to wrap their gifts for the holidays,” Linn, events coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, said. Cummings said what people wrap their gifts in matters; most wrapping paper is recyclable, she said, but not if it contains metallic paint or tissue paper. However, the recycling center’s biggest contaminant is plastic bags. Recycling materials in bags cannot be recycled, she said. “We accept paper bags in the mixed recycling,” Cummings said. “Any recycling that comes to us in (plastic) bags gets thrown away. It doesn’t even get opened; it gets thrown in the trash. (People) need to make sure recycling is loose in the bin.” Other contaminants including special recycling items, such as clothes, batteries and electronics, can be dropped off at the Athens-Hocking Recycling Center’s office at 5991 Industrial Drive. A popular recyclable this time of year is Christmas lights, Cummings said. On Monday, Nov. 30, Ohio University’s Office of Sustainability hosted a Virtual Sustainable Gift Giving Workshop on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Using the hashtags #OHIOSustainableGiftGiving and #OHIOupcycledgift, the office shared information on

Athens-Hocking Recycling Center in Athens, Ohio sifts through loads of recyclables in the beginning of a work shift for many employees on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (NATE SWANSON | PHOTO EDITOR)

holiday waste and upcycle craft ideas. “There are plenty of ways for people to reduce their waste during this holiday season,” Linn said in an email. “Reducing the waste that you accumulate through gift-giving can be a little daunting, however it is a great opportunity to get creative.” Allison Shyrock, a senior studying environmental studies and geography, said other packaging materials waste increases this time of year. Shyrock, social media and marketing coordinator at the Office of Sustainability, helped organize Monday’s event. “Supporting local businesses (is) a great way to (reduce packaging waste); many have sustainable packaging options for shipping and you’re supporting your community,” Shyrock said in an email. “If you’re online shopping, check for sustainable packaging options; having items shipped in one box, none of the plastic air packs that are included in a lot of boxes.” Cummings, Linn and Shyrock all agree that composting is a great way to handle food waste this time of year. Despite the prospect of leftovers, Linn recommends only taking what will be eaten. Cummings also said artificial Christmas trees cannot be recycled; however, real trees are sometimes picked up by the city of Athens for free, other times donated to a goat farm via the center. Real trees that are recycled must be free of ornaments and sprays. Plastics one through five that are marked recyclable are recyclable, Cummings said. Ornaments, on the other hand, though usually made of plastic, more often contain plastic polymers that cannot be recycled. But one valuable recyclable sees an increase this time of year: cardboard. “There tends to be an increase in online shopping

during this time,” Cummings said. “We do want all the cardboard. It’s pretty valuable all of the time, particularly right now. It’s used to make toilet paper.” The Ohio EPA recommends reducing waste by a number of means: e-cards, reusing packaging, re-gifting, buying “experiences,” such as event tickets, memberships or gift cards, composting and more. Both Linn and Shyrock mentioned re-gifting as well as upcycling to reduce waste and save money. To Shyrock, sustainability should always be kept in mind when making purchases for the holiday season. “A home-made gift can sometimes mean a lot more than a store-bought one,” Shyrock said in an email. “I like to give gifts in reusable bags so that the person can reuse it, too. I like to shop at local businesses, too. Sustainable gift-giving doesn’t have to be perfect, but individual actions can make a difference!”




Frank Solich looks ahead to challenge against undefeated Buffalo J.L. KIRVEN SPORTS EDITOR During his time as coach of the Bobcats, Frank Solich has been Buffalo’s kryptonite. Solich is 9-6 against the Bulls all-time and 6-1 at home. The last time Buffalo came to Peden Stadium was in 2018 when Ohio sent the Bulls back to New York with a humiliating 52-17 defeat. But Saturday’s game could yield the best version of Buffalo that Solich’s seen yet. The Bulls are undefeated (4-0, 4-0 Mid-American Conference) and led by one of the best running backs in the nation. Buffalo has the best offense in the MAC (50.8 PPG) and the second best defense. Luckily for Solich, he has the first best. “Our guys have really risen to the occasion,” Solich said. “If you look at what they’ve accomplished these last two games, I think it has been somewhat special because of all of the adjustments they’ve had to make.” Ohio’s defense was the closest it has been to full strength during the Bobcats’ 52-10 win over Bowling Green on Saturday. After missing half of the season, redshirt juniors Kai Caesar and Alvin Floyd returned to the field. Caesar’s size and leadership had been missed among the defensive line, and Floyd provided instant production to the secondary with an interception in the second quarter. “At kickoff, I was a little jittery because I’m like, ‘It’s my first game of the season,’” Floyd said. “And that pick — ooh, that was exciting to get that.” Ohio is playing its best defense at the right time. After struggling against Central Michigan, the Bobcats have a conference-high five interceptions, matching last year’s total for the entire season. The Bobcats have been impressive these last two games, but one must take into account that their showings have come at the expense of the two worst offenses in the conference. Bowling Green’s quarterback Matt McDonald has thrown only one touchdown (against Ohio) and six interceptions this season, while the Zips haven’t been much better. Buffalo’s offense will pose a much bigger threat to the Bobcats. Bulls running back Jaret Patterson is second in the nation in rushing touchdowns with 16. What makes that stat even more impressive is that he’s only one behind Alabama’s Najee Harris, who has played four more games than Patterson. Last week, Patterson made national news after tying the FBS record for rushing touch16 / DEC. 3, 2020

downs in a game (eight) against Kent State and setting the MAC record for rushing yards in a game (409). Solich understands the problem Patterson can pose against the Bobcats but isn’t interested in making him out to be an offensive boogeyman. “They’re not overly complicated in what they’re doing with him (Patterson) in the running game,” Solich said. “But what they’re doing, they’re doing it really, really well.” While the matchup between the MAC’s best offense and best defense will be at the forefront, the battle between Ohio’s offense and Buffalo’s defense could be more intriguing. If the Bulls were to have one weakness, it would be its defense. The Bulls easily handled Kent State and Northern Illinois but gave up 41 and 30 points, respectively. Ohio proved Saturday that it has the weapons to light a scoreboard.

Running back De’Montre Tuggle rushed for 185 yards on 15 carries and, once again, emerged as the leader of the offense. The Bobcats will need him to have another big game, considering there will again be questions at quarterback. Starting quarterback Kurtis Rourke was knocked out of Saturday’s game after landing hard on his left shoulder in the second quarter. Solich said Rourke’s condition is something to monitor, but it’s most likely backup quarterback Armani Rogers will get the start. Rogers did a fine job of running the offense, but he only attempted three passes. The Bobcats will have to threaten the Bulls through the air if it wants any hopes of freeing up Tuggle. “We haven’t had a chance to develop his (Rogers) passing game as much as we would like,” Solich said. “But he’s gotten a ton of them in practice, and he’s a very good thrower, and

we think that’ll be displayed when it comes time for him to be in the ballgame again.” Ohio’s matchup against the Bulls will be the toughest of the season, but make no mistake, the rewards are worth it. If Ohio defeats Buffalo, it’ll be one win away from a trip to the MAC Championship game. If Buffalo wins, however, the Bulls will win the MAC East. “Obviously, it is a challenge to them,” Solich said. “But our guys have always accepted the challenge as well.”


Ohio University football coach Frank Solich enters the field with the Ohio football team before the game versus Miami on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, at Peden Stadium. The Bobcats lost the game 24-21. (ANTHONY WARNER | FOR THE POST)


Ohio’s defense has its toughest test of the season approaching JACK GLECKLER SPORTS EDITOR Saturday is the day Ohio has been preparing for all season. If there’s any hope for a Mid-American Conference Championship game, it lies in if Ohio can defeat Buffalo. It’ll be Ohio’s toughest game this season. The Bulls are the best team in the MAC, period. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. The Bulls haven’t lost or canceled a game this season and pummeled their closest contender, Kent State, by 29 points to become king of the hill. Meanwhile, the Bobcats have been riding high. A 52-10 obliteration of Bowling Green has raised morale around the team. It was the fruit of an unexpected 18-day break following the cancelation of the Battle of the Bricks against Miami. Those 18 days were almost a second fall camp for Ohio. Coach Frank Solich was able to step back and plug the leaks in the ship. Tristan Vandenberg has shortened his stride and, as such, improved his kick accuracy. The defense hammered away at forcing three-and-outs. Kurtis Rourke and Armani Rogers looked fully adjusted to the two-quarterback season. “They set out to play great football every week, and you know you can’t just try to piece together a driving force to play better football,” Solich said. “There’s a lot of things that go into playing great, great football, and you better get all those bases covered.” A 52-10 victory sure covers all the bases. Ohio looked the best it had all season last Saturday. Now, it’s speeding toward the game that determines its season. But it doesn’t feel like it. Practice goes on, and no one is treating Buffalo with any more seriousness than Bowling Green. At practice, players have reiterated the same words every day this week: “It’s just another game.” No one wants to get caught up in the what ifs and worries of Buffalo. Not to say Ohio’s being lackadaisical — far from it. Players are more focused than ever, but they refuse to get caught up in the implications. Solich isn’t cocky. He knows to take a good team seriously even when he has a 6-1 record at home against that team. Even then, playing at Peden won’t foster much of an advantage. It’s difficult to reap the benefits of being the home team when the

Ohio’s QB Nathan Rourke (#12) hands the ball to RB De’Montre Tuggle (#24) in the third quarter of the first Mid-American Conference against the Buffalo Bulls in Buffalo, NY on Friday, Oct. 5, 2019. (NATE SWANSON | PHOTO EDITOR)

only people attending the game are sitting in the press box. “Now, obviously, it’s a challenge to them, and you know our guys have always accepted challenges well,” Solich said in a press conference Monday. “You don’t play a great running back, a great quarterback, a great receiver without there being a challenge there for guys that are playing on the other side of the ball.” Ohio’s biggest concern is 5-feet, 9-inches, 195 pounds and goes by the name Jaret Patterson. The running back has been the scourge of the MAC this season. Against Kent State, Patterson rushed for 409 yards and eight touchdowns — by himself. He managed to surpass De’Montre Tuggle’s combined 2020 stats in an afternoon. That’s not even mentioning quarterback Kyle Vantrease and wide receiver Antonio Nunn. Buffalo’s offense is disgust-

ingly well-rounded. It leads the conference in points scored and leads the division in passing yards. “(Patterson) is a good running back, and they’ve got good offense,” safety Alvin Floyd said. “Everybody’s got to do their job and be aggressive because both their running backs and receivers are good. So you’ve got to respect it.” Ohio’s defense will be the defining aspect of the game Saturday. Whatever lit the fire Ohio’s defense had burning against Bowling Green is needed more than ever. The strongest offense in the conference is coming to town, and Ohio needs a wall on the field to stop it. Alvin Floyd thinks the best way to bring the defense together is through communication. He’s not alone. Ohio players carry with themselves what’s called a “nextman-up mentality.” Every player knows his job and what he has to do for a win.

“We come together as a team communication-wise,” Floyd said. “On everybody’s position and what everybody’s job is to do. And our job is to stop the run, so that’s what we got to do: be aggressive up front.” The pressure is on, but Ohio isn’t feeling it. Saturday may be the biggest game of the season, but if Ohio plays well, the path to Detroit lays open. And why should the Bobcats stress themselves out? It’s just another game.




Jett Elad breaks out in first year in a new role J.L. KIRVEN SPORTS EDITOR After snagging an interception out of the air against Akron, Jett Elad sat on the bench with the gold accessory draped over his shoulder pads. It was the turnover belt, the award that’s bestowed to whomever records a takeaway on Ohio’s defense. Last season, the belt made few appearances and wasn’t worn by anyone more than once. Don’t tell that to Elad, though. The gold really makes the redshirt freshman’s jersey pop. And if he continues the way he’s been playing, it could become a permanent part of his uniform. Elad currently leads the team with two interceptions and is tied for first in the Mid-American Conference. For Elad, his breakout year wasn’t unexpected, but in ways, it has been a wild ride. “It’s a blessing to be honest,” Elad said. “It’s really big for me to get the role that I’m in right now so I’m just taking it day by day … And it’s kind of surreal for me coming from Toronto, Ontario. It’s like I’m far away, but now I’m here, and it’s just surreal for me.” Jett-Cornelius Elad was born in Minnesota but soon after moved to Mississauga, Ontario. Mississauga is only 20 minutes away from Oakville, the town Ohio quarterback Kurtis Rourke hails from. Elad may have been born in the U.S., but he’s proud of the Canadian culture he was raised in. “Nobody really knows about it (Mississauga) but I’m trying to be the one who puts it on the map,” Elad said. Elad is off to a great start. In only his second year at OU, Elad has held down the nickelback position. Nickelback is one of toughest positions to play on defense because it incorporates roles from the linebacker, cornerback and safety positions. When Elad moved to Cleveland as a freshman in high school, he played cornerback for St. Ignatius. Elad has been able to use some of the techniques he was taught to help him learn his new role. What may have been his greatest lesson, however, was the wisdom he received from T.J. Carrie, a former Bobcat who currently plays for the Indianapolis Colts. At the time, Carrie played for the Browns, so when Elad ran into him at a movie theater in Cleveland, he had to strike up a conversation. Carrie played nickelback for the Bobcats so there was nobody better to talk to. “I talked to him a couple times on the

18 / DEC. 3, 2020

phone about it,” Elad said. “And he was telling me the exact same thing about (how) he was playing nickel and how he was playing the hybrid position.” In order to be a hybrid, you have to have the athleticism to be able to pull it off. For Elad to be successful, he has to be quick like a corner, strong like a safety and aggressive like a linebacker. There’s only a few players on the team who can handle the role. Ohio coach Frank Solich believes Elad has what it takes to be special. “He’s got the whole package,” Solich said. “You’re asking those guys at times to step up into the line of scrimmage and make a tackle once they recognize (the) run and take a gap, and yet be able to have the ability to play … (he’s a) smaller kind of guy in the slot with a lot of great quickness and speed. Plus, when he’s in the zone, he’s got a lot of range and he sees things, and he’s able to break on the ball

very, very well.” Solich isn’t the only person that sees the potential. Elad’s teammates have praised his ability to learn the defense and make plays on the big stage. “I’ve always said he’s one of the most athletic guys I’ve ever played with,” linebacker Keye Thompson said. Elad will have put that athleticism to test Saturday against Buffalo. Elad will most likely have to make multiple big-play saving tackles on Jaret Patterson, the Bulls running back who many feel like could be a high draft pick in the NFL. Elad’s inexperience can’t be a liability to the Bobcats. He’s making sure that he’s ready for the challenge. “I saw that Jaret Patterson had a great game,” Elad said. “We’re going to take that into note, but it’s not going to change anything that we do we’re going to do the exact same measures.”

Elad’s preparation will be key for him to have success Saturday. If he plays his position right, it could be the third straight week that he wears the turnover belt. Either way, he’ll be ready to fulfil his role.


Ohio University’s redshirt freshman, Jett Elad (6) attempts a tackle during the home game against Akron University on Nov. 10, 2020. (KELSEY BOEING | DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY)


Ohio universities are devising plans for Spring Semester. Here’s what’s happening. KAYLA BENNETT is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University Colleges throughout Ohio are releasing their plans for Spring Semester and considering what to do about on-campus housing. The uncertainty of what the future holds regarding COVID-19 leaves everyone in an ominous sea of choices. This Fall Semester, most college students were given one option: staying home and continuing their studies virtually through the world of Zoom. However, some colleges chose to allow all their students on campus, although the classes were likely to be online. Only a small number were to be in-person or hybrid. With the arrival of new and eager college students, on-campus housing not only welcomed students to their new dorms but, more specifically, welcomed them to the world of college culture. This choice could have been a factor of the spike in COVID-19 cases. College students are inexorable when it comes to socializing. College students crave social events, new people and the act of togetherness. COVID-19 was destined to become a friendly next door neighbor. In October, Ohio ranked fourth in COVID-19 cases among college students. Multiple universities faced spikes in the first week of letting students back on campus. Some even had to place their students in nearby hotels in order to quarantine. Ohio State University students turned a dorm building into a quarantine hot spot.

The question is, with what has happened this semester, will colleges choose to do the exact same thing next semester? Ohio University, which originally kept many students home this Fall Semester, partook in a phased return. OU chose to allow all students to have the choice of living on campus this spring. Classes will stay online or take on a hybrid format. OSU decided for the fall and the Spring Semester to keep matters identical. It has decided to bring all students back to campus and keep all students online the first week. Miami University began its semester one week earlier than other Ohio universities. In the fall, Miami hoped to bring back all its students to in-person classes, but these hopes were soon crushed by the lieu of online classes. The spring allows students to stay home and continue classes virtually, but encourages students to stay on campus and participate in hybrid classes. University of Cincinnati encouraged students to come back to campus in the fall, but classes were to be held virtually with a small number in person. It followed a phased approach, like OU. Spring looks the same as the fall but with more COVID-19 regulations. Bowling Green University, like UC, held students on campus with majority online classes and some in person. The university plans to continue its method next semester. The University of Dayton brought its students back in the fall, but it experienced dif-

ficulties. UD plans to continue allowing students back on its campus in the spring. These universities are also making it difficult to have a semester in permanent residency. In order to proceed with college at home, all classes have to be online, and that isn’t always the case for many students. Therefore, even if staying home is a student’s first option, they may not be able to due to their university’s restrictions. Universities don’t want to lose their money, but there’s the information the majority of the university websites choose to leave out: the rising COVID-19 cases on their campuses. UD had to rent out the Marriott next to its campus to hold quarantined students, and it had to move all classes to an online format for a couple of weeks. Miami University experienced the same thing. Miami decided to bring back many of its students before the start of first semester. COVID-19 numbers grew rapidly with the return of students from all around the U.S. These actions were caused by students taking the liberty to go out to packed bars, frat parties and group gatherings. Then again, what did colleges expect to happen when putting college students together? With Spring Semester dawning, universities seem to be leaving the choice up to their students. Commonly, colleges are abolishing their spring breaks in order to keep students from visiting others. This plan seems smart, but where do universities think everyone is

going to be during winter break? It seems as if this virus needs to go through everyone before the U.S. can make conquest and colleges can soundly send their students back to campus. Online schooling is obviously not the ideal medium for learning. However, online schooling allows for safe and socially distance learning. Learning new material in school is not the only learning curve people are struggling with –– learning how to handle this pandemic is first and foremost the most difficult lesson of them all.

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.


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Let’s talk about ‘Ratatouille: the Musical’ MIKAYLA ROCHELLE is a senior studying strategic communication at Ohio University TikTok trends and meme culture alike are constantly changing and developing. With thousands of TikTok videos made a day, trends can pop up out of nowhere and consume the whole platform for a week and then disappear as quickly as they popped up. Internet memes are the same way. One newfound TikTok trend that has also made itself a meme that seems to be here to stay is Ratatouille: The Musical, also known as Ratatusical. Now, you must be thinking: why is a Pixar movie that came out in 2007 about a rat who becomes the best chef in Paris taking TikTok by storm, and why in musical form? It seems like such a random choice that it makes you stop and chuckle to yourself, which is partly why it has picked up so much traction. There is really no explanation as to why of all non-musical animated movies Ratatouille is

what content creators picked up on. TikTok and the internet in general work well off randomness, and it’s difficult to quantify exactly what will make something trend online. One fact is certain, though: the content has been simply amazing. The trend started with a video created out of quarantine boredom by TikToker Emily Jacobson in August. From there, other creators became inspired, and several people started writing and composing songs for other scenes and characters of the movie. What started with songs quickly transformed into something more. People in the theater world starting choreographing dances, creating possible set designs, an unofficial poster and a Broadway producer, Ken Davenport, has even expressed his interest in producing a real-life Ratatouille: The Musical on Broadway.

There has been a TikTok account made that has compiled all of the Ratatouille: The Musical creations onto one account called @rattatouillemusical2021, and seeing all of the content together in one place makes it very evident that what started as an internet meme has gained so much traction and has so much content with an open door for more that it truly could be a Broadway musical. If all of this content made mostly by bored teenagers and young adults stuck in quarantine can come up with, imagine what can be done with it by actual musical professionals. This trend not only speaks to how creative and talented Gen Z can be, but it speaks to the new type of creation that TikTok has generated. Never before has it been possible to crowdsource a musical or large creative project. Thanks to TikTok, that is now a reality. Ratatouille: The Musical and TikTok have given a creative voice to those who maybe never would have been able to have one before. Teenagers or college students with dreams of theater production have now been able to be a part of a project that Broadway producers

and choreographers are also a part of. Keep an eye out for Ratatouille: The Musical to gain further traction. A lot will have to happen for this brilliant musical to become a reality, but if there is anything that the boom of TikTok has proved, it’s that anything can happen. 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.


‘Home Alone 2’ is superior to the first JACKSON HORVAT is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University The snow is falling down, the decorations are going up and November has finally given way to December. With Thanksgiving having come and gone, the Christmas season is officially upon the world, which means it’s the perfect time for some jolly-fueled hot takes. The stance for this year? Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is better than the original Home Alone. Now, this isn’t to paint the first film in any negative light at all. If it weren’t for little Macaulay Culkin’s portrayal of Kevin McCallister and the sufferings of the Wet Bandits at the hands of Kevin’s many booby traps, the second film would never have been possible. For technicality’s sake, we will, however, discredit the existence of Home Alone 3, Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House and Home Alone: The Holiday Heist entirely, Yes, there are three other films. No, do not watch them or consider them in any conversation about the first two. It’s pretty easy to write off Home Alone 2 as a cash-grabbing carbon copy of the original film. It has the same basic struc20 / DEC. 3, 2020

ture and premise as well as all the characters from the first. The McCallister family falls into the same trap of leaving Kevin behind, and the now Sticky Bandits again fall into the traps set by Kevin. The key to the sequel’s success, though, lies in its ability to make everything feel more comfortable while also being bigger and grander in scale. The plot of the sequel takes it up a notch considerably while also coming off in a more believable manner. Some unfortunate, yet extremely convenient, steps had to be taken in the first film in order for Kevin to be left alone. The second is still a bit out there, sure, but a child getting lost at the airport feels a lot more realistic than a thrown-away plane ticket and a neighborhood kid being counted as your actual kid. The added doses of realism even add a bit more emotional weight to the sequel. While the plot becomes more comfortable in its own skin — of course, due to the help of a bigger budget and more trust from the studio — so, too, do all of the actors. Everyone — from the originals

to the new characters — give their all in Home Alone 2 and really play it up in the most entertaining way possible. Culkin is older and more experienced yet still a very lovable child actor. And, of course, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the beloved bandit duo of Harry and Marv truly own their iconic roles even more so than they did in the first. Home Alone 2 really works in its goal to follow what worked in the original but also do everything it can to kick it all up a notch. Similar tropes like the misunderstood character return, but instead of a supposedly murderous neighbor turning into a family-loving helping hand who’s still good with a shovel, viewers get a scary pigeon lady in the park who turns out to be quite lovable and ready to unleash her pigeons on the burglars. It’s brilliant in the fact that the movie knows it’s copying stuff from the first, even seen in Marv and Harry’s more cautious approach to their second run-in with little Kevin, but nothing feels cheap or overly rehashed. Instead, it feels fuller and more playful in the best way a classic Christmas film should be. Even down to the little details, like the film within a film, Angels With Filthy Souls, having a sequel within the sequel, Angels With Filthier Souls, there are countless

fantastic and hilarious homages to the first that ultimately come off as overall improvements. Plus, who can’t help but fall in love with New York City as the ideal Christmas movie setting? So, while Home Alone may be a bit more quotable and shown on TV stations a bit more consistently, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York really takes the skeleton of the original and beefs it up with more chaotic holiday fun. This shouldn’t dissuade anyone from bingeing both of these classics an unhealthy number of times in the coming month, though. Just be sure to steer clear of anything past the number two. Jackson Horvat is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Jackson by tweeting him at @ horvatjackson.


Go back to childhood roots, get in Christmas spirit with ‘Dash & Lily’ RILEY RUNNELLS CULTURE EDITOR It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but with Christmas time comes cheesy, new media in an attempt to get everyone excited for the holiday. Though most of the films and television shows end up being a flop, Netflix’s adaptation of David Levithan and Rachel Cohn’s novel Dash & Lily is the perfect binge-watch to get you ready for the spirit of Christmas. From Be More Chill creator Joe Tracz and directors Brad Siberling, Pamela Romanowsky and Fred Savage, Dash & Lily follows the two titular characters: Dash (Austin Abrams), who hates Christmas and generally has a snarky attitude, and Lily (Midori Francis), who adores Christmas and only spends time with her family and is looking to get out of her comfort zone. When Lily leaves a red notebook of dares in a library to see who will find it and play, Dash is quick to take the challenge. The two get to know each other through the notebook, and their lives begin to get complicated. Abrams and Francis are the frontrunners of the show and completely nail

the performance. For Abrams, it’s refreshing to see him in a character you can root for after his performance in This Is Us and Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark. Though his character resembles the troubled but lovable Henry in Chemical Hearts, Abrams’ performance of Dash perfectly resembles a screwed-up teen with familial issues who thinks he’s much more mature for his age but is really just an immature teen. Francis, on the other hand, radiates positivity, kindness and light. She’s the picture-perfect performance of an innocent, awkward teen who isn’t actually perfect and is just trying to be “charming” but is legitimately uncomfortable in her own skin, all while trying to be her own person. She’s brilliant, kind and the best choice for the role. Not to mention, the chemistry that flows between them is quirky, quippy and not over the top. The subtlety makes it a much more accurate depiction of a teen love story. The supporting cast, namely Keanna Marie as Sofia, Dante Brown as Boomer and Troy Iwata as Langston, are also really

well chosen. Brown brings this innocent, fun-loving energy to the performance, counteracted by Marie’s sultry, sweet and seductive character style. Iwata is what every girl wants in an older brother, with his own issues yet boundary-pushing advice. Most importantly, the show has a lot of great representation without calling attention to it. The Asian representation comes from Francis and the rest of the actors playing her family as well as the references to their culture that don’t call attention to themselves. In addition, there are several LGBTQ+ couples throughout the show, including Langston and his boyfriend, Benny (Diego Guevara). In an interview with People, Francis said, “It was incredible because this was the first time that I’ve really even been on a set or in any kind of production where they took the time and care to make sure that every single Asian actor on set was of Japanese descent. And in a time when you’re just lucky if they get the general vibe right of the race, it meant so much that they really took that time.”

The series cinematography by Eric Treml, the production design by Jennifer Dehghan, the art direction by Annie Simeone and the set decoration by Amy Beth Silver were all fantastic. People could watch the show just for the beautiful production alone, as it’s so lovely to put in the background during the Christmas season. The fact that the content is enjoyable is just a lovely bonus. If you’re looking for an easy watch with around a three-hour total runtime for all eight episodes, Dash & Lily is the way to go. There’s even a Jonas Brothers cameo, so with a lovely mood and fantastic acting, what’s not to love?



12 COVID-19-safe dates for cuffing season Dive into cuffing season and the Christmas season with these socially distanced dates JULIANA COLANT FOR THE POST The holiday season is upon us, and with that comes “cuffing season” as well. Cuffing season reaches its peak in December. This is because singles are looking to couple up during the most festive time of year. Check out this list of date ideas that are fun and will keep you safe at the same time:


Take advantage of the winter weather, and go on outdoor dates that embrace the holiday season.

Ice skating

Whether you’re athletic or not, ice skating is the perfect ice-breaker date. Bundle up, put on a mask and head to the nearest rink. You don’t need to be a pro skater to have fun. Learn how to skate together, and there’s guaranteed non-stop laughter as you try to glide along the ice. Keeping your balance makes a great excuse to hold your date’s hand.

Christmas lights

Take a walk around your neighborhood, visit a grand light

display or go to a drive-thru light show. Walk and admire the twinkling lights together. Since it will be chilly, grab hot chocolate afterward to warm up or bring it with you as you walk around.

Build a snowman

Online game night

Hop on your favorite gaming console with your date for a night of competitive fun. Dust off the Wii and race in Mario Kart, play Animal Crossing or relive the old days on Club Penguin.

Spend time together by building a snowman. These snow sculptures are a perfect way to spread holiday cheer in your neighborhood. Go all out: complete with a hat, scarf and carrot nose. Build more than one to make a cute snowman family. Think outside the box, and build a snow sidekick like a dog. Bonus: playing in the snow is a perfect opportunity for a spontaneous, friendly snowball fight.

Read a book together


Baby, it’s cold outside, so bring the picnic indoors. Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean you should skip on the grandeur. Lay out a picnic blanket, and add a few throw pillows on the floor so you sit in style. Load up the picnic basket with your favorite foods and enjoy a night of fine dining, picnic-style.

Find a huge hill, and grab a sled! Who doesn’t love sled riding? You and your date will have a blast feeling like kids again and racing in the cold air.

Virtual or in-person

These date ideas are festive and fun. They can be virtual or, if that special someone is in your bubble, in person.

Start a book club for two. Choose a book that interests both you and your date. After reading, meet up over coffee or on Zoom. Discuss the book. Did you relate to the characters? Would you reread the book? Was the ending shocking? Did the book introduce a new point of view?

Indoor picnic

Gingerbread house

All the materials to build a gingerbread house come in convenient kits at most retailers. Build the ultimate gingerbread house. Get creative with your decorations using candy and icing.

Virtual double date

Do you and your date share mutual friends? Double dates can be tough to plan, especially with COVID-19 restrictions. So, do a virtual double date and schedule a Zoom call with another couple! Catch up on life, use Netflix Party to watch a movie or play an online game like Among Us or 5 Second Rule.

Create vision boards together

For a crafty date, create vision boards together. Use art supplies and make your vision board for the upcoming year. 2020 hasn’t been what we expected, so focus on 2021 by creating a board for how you would like to see the new year.



WHAT’S GOING ON? Shop at the Dairy Barn’s Holiday Bazaar; hone your winter painting skills


FRIDAY, DEC. 4 Virtual Shabbat at 6 p.m., hosted by Hillel at Ohio University via Zoom. Although the event is online, students are still encouraged to lead prayer, of fer a D’var

or contribute musically.

tray a vintage truck using acrylic paint on a 11-by-14-inch canvas. The class is intended to be interactive and fun. Admission: $30, PAC members get a 20% discount


val of Trees. The trees are located within the historic Blennerhassett Hotel, and the event benefits the United Way Alliance of the MidOhio Valley. Admission: $40 live auction, $25 live stream and to-go party food pick up

Holiday Bazaar 2020 at 10 a.m., hosted by The Dairy Barn Arts Center, 8000 Dairy Lane. Shop for arts and crafts at The Dairy Barn’s yearly Holiday Bazaar. The event has adapted to include COVID-19 precautions. Masks are required, social distancing will be maintained and shoppers must reserve a time to shop via the Dairy Barn’s website. All proceeds from purchases benefit the participating artists.


Admission: Free Online/Zoom OR Outdoor Power Flow with Liz at 10 a.m., hosted by Bodhi Tree Guesthouse and Studio, 8950 Lavelle Road, or virtually. Strengthen your mind and body in this vigorous yoga class. Focusing on breathing techniques, the instructor, Liz, will take those comfortable with yoga fundamentals to the next level. Participants need to bring their own mats. Admission: $10

Admission: Free Vintage Truck FineTime at 6 p.m., hosted by the Parkersburg Arts Center, 725 Market St. Hone your winter painting skills in this advanced art class with Tracy Love. Participants will learn how to por-

SUNDAY, DEC. 6 Festival of Trees at 7 a.m., hosted by The Blennerhassett Hotel, 320 Market St. Marvel at the intricately decorated trees at the yearly Festi-



TOP OF MILL ST. 2021-2022

10-12 BEDROOM and 6-7 BEDROOM unit available Off Street Parking, close to uptown, Yard and Porch for entertaining


the weekender Passion Work’s Artist Popup allows for a safe way to shop for holiday gifts


Passion Works’ Artist Popup started hosting artists from around Athens to fill its parking lot with art earlier this month. These Artist Popups will take place Saturdays until Dec. 19. Passion Works arranged these events just in time for the holiday season and for anyone needing to buy gifts. There will be an array of different types of art, such as a variety of ceramics, prints, brooms, clothing, calendars, jewelry, cards, textiles and more. “We just wanted to give,” Nancy Epling, an artist-in-residence at Passion Works, said. “Since it’s kind of a weird time, people are not able to do craft shows or, even just this summer, do festivals and different big gatherings and events, so we decided that we would give some of those artists an opportunity to sell in the parking lot and also to do something that was safe.” At first, the event was only going to take place Nov. 28 for small business Saturday. However, the turnout was better than expected. “We did just a quick one (Artist Popup) a couple of weeks ago,” Epling said. “We were like, ‘How do we try to boost sales and get people into the gallery?’ So we were like, ‘Oh, let’s try this.’ So we had about eight artists come out and sell their stuff, and it was super successful. It was a really busy day in the gallery and store. We decided to do more, which are the ones coming up.” There will be free hot coffee from Donkey Coffee, Fluff Bakery and Brenen’s Coffee Cafe. With the coffee, there will be snacks to enjoy alongside outdoor heaters to keep the cold away. Many artists plan to make an appearance at these events to put their art on display for the community of Athens to observe or purchase. “They have certain events like this, but I’m not sure if they’ve done anything with other community artists

selling their work,” Quinn Amorette, of Quinn Amorette Ceramics, said. “But I think adding the community artists, like other mediums and stuff, that’s a newer thing that they decided to do, and they did the original one, which was a couple weeks ago, and then they decided to continue it for the holidays.” The Artist Popup allows for Athens to become more acquainted with the local talent and support small businesses this holiday season. Furthermore, it allows for a moment of togetherness to be practiced safely during the season of giving. “I would just want everybody to not feel tied down to doing something that they don’t love,” Annabelle Heart of Dumpster Score said. “Keep being weird, also, just embracing yourself and figuring out what your passion is and going for it.” Passion pulsates in the air, and the artists plan to create an inclusive environment that introduces nearby residents to a broader spectrum of people

and allows the introduction to anomalous mediums of art. The holidays can be a stressful time, and Passion Works wanted to create a space for local residents to appreciate. These events allow for friends and family to come out and safely enjoy holiday shopping that was made with love. “This is a really good opportunity,” Amorette said. “Obviously, we’re dealing with a pandemic right now, so I know a lot of people are being really cautious about where they’re going. But I would say this is definitely a good event if you’re looking for local gifts. It’s hard right now to kind of experience your community. But I think the way that this is set up, there’s enough room to social distance from people, and it’s going to be outside. So, I would say, if people are looking for a chance to support local businesses and support local artists and get some holiday shopping done, this would be kind of a good, safe way to do that.”


IF YOU GO WHAT: Passion Works’ Artist Popup WHEN: Saturdays: Dec. 5, Dec. 12, Dec. 19 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. WHERE: Passion Works’ parking lot, 20 E. State Street ADMISSION: Free

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