Feb. 15, 2024

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An OU almuna helps her family in Gaza...pg. 4 Honoring your partner’s love language...pg. 20 Learn more about WAGS...pg. 23











Devotion to Emotion

Faculty retention, course offerings continue to decline across university

Gordy Hall on 51 Park Pl, Athens, Feb. 11, 2024, in Athens, Ohio.(JUSTIN DELGADO | FOR THE POST)

JACKSON MCCOY FOR THE POST Faculty retention rates at Ohio University are still dropping after the COVID-19 pandemic layoffs, leading to fewer course offerings for students and frustration among instructional faculty. As student-to-faculty ratios in large colleges like the College of Arts and Sciences are increasing, the number of credit hours being taught by nontenured instructional faculty is also rising. Those increases lead to professors doing more work, and often getting spread thin, Kyle Butler, OU’s American Association of University Professors, or OU-AAUP, vice president and associate professor in the Ohio Intensive English program, said. “Sometimes we get stretched, then we have to take on additional classes or teach additional things beyond what would be our normal class load,” Butler said. “So, not necessarily the number of students in each class, but the number of classes that I’m teaching can sometimes get increased.” Faculty are also displeased with their salaries not matching inflation, John O’Keefe, an associate professor of history on the Chillicothe campus and OU-AAUP president, said. In a data table provided by O’Keefe that the OU-AAUP compiled from other faculty contracts from different universities, OU news releases and human resource statements from the university, OU salaries have increased by 5% since 2019, whereas, other Ohio institutions like Kent State and Bowling Green have seen increases of up to 14%. In addition to larger workloads and lagging salaries, the university is not offering as many tenure-track jobs, despite

record enrollment, according to a previous Post report. Some schools at the university, including the Scripps College of Communication, have even seen a decrease in mean salaries for tenured and tenure-track faculty. Butler said the university is much more likely to hire instructional faculty because those faculty members cost less and do not receive the same long-term job security protection as tenured positions. He said, from certain perspectives, he understands the advantages of hiring instructional. The increasingly slim tenure-track offerings have made faculty more likely to leave OU for greater job security, O’Keefe said. He and Butler agree the layoffs and current tenure options made faculty lose trust in the university and consider jobs elsewhere. “There are some instructional faculty who would be interested in tenure-line who have the qualifications, who are publishing research and essentially doing most of what a tenured professor would be doing,“ Butler said. “But they’re doing it with no clear path to tenure and that can be really demoralizing. That is something that can really affect somebody’s morale and their sense of how valued they are by the institution.” The loss of faculty across fields of study at OU has been particularly damaging for smaller programs like African American Studies and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, or WGSS. Between the 2016-17 school year and the 2022-23 school year, the African American Studies Department lost 60% of its faculty, going from five full-time tenured or tenure-track

faculty members to two. The lack of staff has led to some courses not being offered at all. In WGSS, the number of total credit hours taught between 2016 and 2022 went down over 40%. Audrey Ansel, a sophomore studying communications studies, fears that she may not be able to complete her certificate in LGBTQIA+ studies because faculty members who teach required courses for the certificate are leaving OU. “I came to (OU), and the school stood out to me because of its LGBTQ Studies program,” Ansel said. “So, to have to just kind of give up on it is upsetting. And I also feel like it’s kind of false advertising to say that we’re a school that offers this.” Ansel also said students want to take these courses, but faculty have not been hired to fill the places of people who were laid off or left. There are currently only seven core faculty members within the WGSS program, and only one is a tenured or tenure-track faculty member. “I also am sure that it is probably nerve-wracking to be employed in a department when it’s clear the university isn’t putting resources and isn’t hiring people,” Ansel said. “Every WGSS class I have been in has been full. It’s not that there isn’t demand there. As an instructor, it’s like, do you matter? Do you matter to the university? How long can you stay here? How solid is your standing?”



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Card-reader broken in Bromley, banner stolen KENDALL WRIGHT FOR THE POST One man’s trash is another man’s treasure Possible trash and junk in the street on Mill Creek Road in Millfield was reported to the Athens County Sheriff’s Office. Upon arrival, deputies did not find trash in the road but noticed a vehicle parked close by. Officers spoke to the owner of the vehicle, who agreed to move it farther away. Thats not how you make friends... A telecommunications harassment in Washington Hall was reported to the Ohio University Police Department. OUPD took a report for an unknown individual extorting money for actions on social media. Forget catalytic converters, I want the whole thing! A suspicious vehicle in Trimble was reported to the Athens County Sheriff’s Office. Once officers arrived, they discovered the vehicle was stolen. They then contacted the owner of the vehicle, and as of Monday, the case is under review. Sorry, forgot my ID An offense of destruction of property at

Bromley Hall was reported to the Ohio University Police Department. A report was taken for damage done to a swipe-card reader. There must have been some fire drinks A drunk and disorderly male at Ray’s Harvest House in Albany was reported to the Athens County Sheriff’s Office. Officers spoke with the man and escorted him out of the restaurant after he paid his bill. Get better at acting sober An intoxicated person at Lincoln Hall was reported to the Ohio University Police Department. OUPD charged a student with an underage citation, consuming alcohol. W Dad Athens County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to Oakdale Road in Glouster to help a man retrieve his children, per a court order. After deputies arrived, the dad gained custody of his children without incident. No further action was necessary.

Invest in paper towels Destruction of property at Jefferson Hall was reported to the Ohio University Police Department. OUPD took a report of damage done to a hand dryer. Those dollar deals are just too good While the Sheriff’s Office deputies were patrolling in New Marshfield, they observed a verbal altercation in the parking lot of the Family Dollar. Officers stopped and spoke with the people involved, who then separated. No further action was necessary. RAs don’t get paid enough for this A theft in Shively Hall was reported to the Ohio University Police Department. A banner was stolen from the hall. Self-care day Officers were dispatched to check Fisher Road in Athens for a woman who had not shown up to work in days. Deputies contacted the woman, who told them she was fine and did not need help.


andPlay Concert 8:00 pm Glidden Recital Hall East End Game Nights Video+Board Games Snacks available Friday 7:00 - 10:00 pm Saturday 8:00 - 11:00 pm Jefferson Hall, 1st floor

Tuesday, February 20 Speak Your PIZZA Come together and discuss civil liberties- voting rights and body autonomy hosted by ACLU Campus Action Team 6:00 - 7:00 pm Bentley 021, 023

Wednesday, February 21 East End Movie Night Wednesday Night- Enjoy a movie in Jefferson Hall’s East End. Snacks Available 6:30 pm Tuesday, February 26 Danese Kenon Virtual Lecture hosted by NPPAOU 6:30-7:30 pm RTV 462

180: CRU Weekly Meeting 7:30 - 8:30 pm Morton 235

* To have your event included on this calendar make sure it is registered on Bobcat Connect!



Social Engagement & Student Org Events

Monday, February 19 Sophomore Housing Exemption Meeting 7:00 pm Schoon 145

We get it A complaint of a vehicle with a loud exhaust on Willow Creek Road in Athens was reported to the Athens County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies patrolled the area but were unable to find the vehicle mentioned. Officers returned to patrol.


Week of February 16th - February 28th Friday, February 16 Friday’s LIVE Season 52 E02 hosted by Carmen Szukaitis 8:00 pm Studio C (RTV 515)

You look beautiful through your window btw… An individual in Lodi Township told Sheriff’s Office deputies they received a strange text from their neighbor. Officers told the complainant about blocking the number or if they wanted to trespass the neighbor. The individual told officers they wanted to file a report in case something happened.

OHIO HOCKEY February 16 & 17 OHIO vs. Drexel 7:00 pm - Bird Arena February 2 OHIO vs. Liberty 7:00 pm - Bird Arena


The Front Room Baker Center

6:00 - 8:00 pm


for more events


Alum raises money to rescue her family from Gaza HARSHITA SINGHANIA FOR THE POST Every morning, Ohio University alum Samar Alkhdour wakes up with a sense of urgency. She is waiting to hear from her only sister, Seham, who is stranded in Gaza, along with Seham’s husband and two children. The lack of a stable internet connection in the Gaza Strip contributes to Alkhdour’s struggles to communicate with her family in Gaza. “I have to check the phone every minute,” Alkhdour said. She tries not to get consumed by feelings of despair, hoping her sister and her sister’s family can join her in Canada. The long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine escalated Oct. 7, 2023, has since had attacks on both sides of the border. According to a Washington Post article, last updated Wednesday, there was a recent jet strike in Gaza and there have been hostage-release talks. Alkhdour started raising money through a GoFundMe page Jan. 2. The fundraiser will help cover the transportation costs of getting her sister and family to Canada, which would involve crossing the border to Egypt and flying to Canada. However, leaving Gaza is costly, Alkhdour said. “I know the goal is big, and it could be seen as too much,” Alkhdour said. “Yet this is what we are obliged to pay as Palestinians to leave Gaza.” The goal is set at $45,000 in CAD — about $33,000 in U.S. dollars — to rescue four people: her sister, her sister’s husband and her niece and nephew. It also originally covered expenses to transport Alkhdour’s eldest daughter, Jana, from Gaza, who died earlier this January. The fundraiser has received more than 200 donations and accumulated just over $16,400 CAD, or about $12,000 in U.S. dollars.

(LEFT) Seham Alkdour and her family are currently still living in Gaza. Samar Alkdour, her sister, created a GoFundMe site to assist them in their travel expenses to Canada, so they can live with Samar and their other family members. (RIGHT) Jana Alkhdour, Samar’s daughter (13) died in Gaza Jan. 8. Both images provided by Samar Alkdour.

Life in Athens: 2017-2019 “Contributing to this fundraiser is going to help save one family,” Alkhdour said. “Yet, I want a bigger impact, especially with the awareness happening amongst the youngest generations in the U.S. and Canada and Europe.” She asks people - including students of Ohio University, her alma mater - to donate if they can, but more importantly, educate themselves about the conflict. After graduating from the Islamic University of Gaza, she received a Master's in International Development Studies from OU in 2019. A Fulbright Scholar at OU, Alkhdour made the difficult decision to attend school in Ath-

ens with two of her three children in 2017. Her eldest daughter, Jana, and husband, Mahmoud Elkahlout, were denied visas allowing them to exit Gaza, prohibiting them from crossing the border. Alkhdour said her time in Athens was an experience she will carry with her forever. Risa Whitson, professor and director of women's, gender and sexuality studies, taught Alkhdour. They have been in touch since. “The way that I interact with her in some ways (is) more like a peer, who I was mentoring, teaching," Whitson said. Whitson, who considers herself inactive on Facebook, has tried to share Alkhdour’s fundraiser to encourage friends and family

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to contribute. She said she hopes the fundraiser performs as well as other ones she promoted on Facebook. Through months of grueling efforts, Elkahlout obtained his visa in 2018, traveling to the U.S. to support Alkhdour in raising their two youngest children. Jana remained in Gaza with Alkhdour’s in-laws, and she waited for her visa and air ambulance to join her family. Living in Canada, Now “I have a constant feeling of being worried, being scared that something might happen to them, especially when there's no connection, no communication,” Alkhdour said.

Alkhdour said she has to remember to take care of her two other children and her husband, who are living with her in Montreal. Alkhdour moved to Canada in 2019 after graduation, where she sought asylum. She was granted refugee status in 2021. “I would say we were forced to do that,” Alkhdour said. “It's not a choice that we had made or had taken.” Alkhdour now works as a community case worker for family services and youth protection in Montreal. Her husband is learning French, the first language of Quebec, to join the workforce. At a French school, Alkhdour’s two younger children, a daughter and a son, attend fourth and first grades. Half a world away, 13-year-old Jana was

still living with her paternal grandparents in the war zone.

I have a constant feeling of being worried, being scared that something might happen to them, especially when there’s no connection, no communication.” - Samar Alkhdour, Ohio University alum

“When I was in Gaza, we used to take care of her, like her father and me, and even their extended family,” Alkhdour said. “And she was smiling all the time.” Back in Gaza Jana was born with a severe degree of cerebral palsy. She died Jan. 8 – four days after her 13th birthday – in Gaza due to malnutrition and lack of medicine. Alkhdour’s in-

laws chose not to evacuate from their home. Alkhdour asked her in-laws to drop Jana off at Holy Family Church in Gaza, where disabled children and adults were given care. However, due to blockades and surveillance, church members were given a limited food supply. “They were not able to get enough food for everyone in the church, and that's what caused Jana to pass away,” said Alkhdour. Alkhdour recalls the risk taken by those working at the church who laid Jana to rest. “It was those working in the church who buried Jana,” Alkhdour said. “There was no family around her, not my in-laws, not my own family. It was a very risky thing because snipers would shoot at anyone.” Remembering Jana, Alkhdour reminisced about non-verbal cues they would communicate in: “She would be smiling, you know, whenever she hears my voice, she’d be smiling.” She remained unsure of Jana’s feelings when she heard loud sounds from bombardments and wondered if Jana would giggle or feel scared.

are displaced in Gaza. “They have no ceiling over their heads,” Alkhdour said. “There's no access to food, no access to clean water, no access to toilets. All those basic needs of life, they don't have them.” She said she feels her family members are alive but not safe during these destructive circumstances. While Alkhdour’s children attend school in Montreal, they feel the emotional effect of loss from half a world away. “Even though (my children) are far from what's happening in Gaza yet, it is still impacting them emotionally, mentally and in many ways, and even that's gonna impact their future,” Alkhdour said. For Alkhdour, she wants to continue to spread awareness about the conflict in Gaza even after her sister eventually arrives in Canada. She said she wants people to be more aware of the situation of Palestinians in Gaza. “My sister's story is one of tens of thousands of millions of Palestinians; I am not the only one,” she said.

Fundraising for Family Alkhdour shares a special bond with her sister, Seham, who is nine years younger. “She is not only a sister,” Alkhdour said. “I felt like she is my daughter.” She dearly loves Seham’s children and tried to get all of them out of Gaza even before the war started. Seham and her family



Samar Alkdour, her husband and two other children celebrating Christmas in Canada. Provided by Samar Alkdour.

2024 Lazaroff Memorial Lecture

Roma, Jews, and the Holocaust

presented by Professor Ari Joskowicz, Vanderbilt University

Thursday, February 29th 7:30 pm | Baker Theater Join the Ohio University History Department for the 2024 Lazaroff Memorial Lecture. Guest Speaker, Professor Ari Joskowicz from Vanderbilt University will discuss the history of the genocide of Roma and Jews during World War II and their quest for justice. A pre-event reception will be held in the Baker Theater Lounge

sponsored by:

This event is FREE and open to the public.


Cat’s Cupboard: Providing students, staff with food assistance CAMI SEYMORE FOR THE POST Food insecurity is a growing issue worldwide and is prevalent in Athens County. Food insecurity can be caused by several circumstances, including low wages, lack of access to healthy or nutritious food, adverse social and economic conditions, rising food prices and neighborhood conditions. Data from Feeding America indicates there are 1,360 kids (under the age of 18) in Athens County who are food insecure. According to the Athens Food Rescue Fund, 20.4% of Athens County citizens are currently suffering from food insecurity, compared to the national average of only 14% and the state average of 16%. Finding nutritious and healthy food at an affordable price is increasingly difficult, especially in Athens County. In response to food access challenges, a patchwork of public, private and nonprofit initiatives have emerged over the years. Local food pantries, meal programs for children and seniors, SNAP outreach services and community gardens are working hard to reach those in need. However, many advocates argue more needs to be done on the policy level to address the root causes of hunger in Athens County. At Ohio University, meal plans are an additional cost that makes attending the uni-

versity even more expensive. OU offers a variety of meal plans ranging from 10-20 meals a week, including the traditional and the flex plan. While the flex plan provides additional dining options on campus and more flexibility, it is more expensive than the traditional plan. Meal plans cost anywhere from $2,127-$3,597 per semester, a price tag not all students can afford. College is expensive, and students should not have to sacrifice their nutrition for their education. Luckily, OU recognizes that not all students have the funds to eat daily and has several resources that combat the issue. Cat’s Cupboard, located in Baker University Center, is an on-campus food pantry. It is a completely choice-based service that any student, staff or faculty member can utilize if they sign up with their OU email and PID, allowing them access to the pantry and shop up to two times a month. Carly Pabin is a graduate assistant for Basic Needs, which covers food, housing and finances. Pabin helps oversee Cat’s Cupboard and its day-to-day functions. “It’s a resource that’s available to everybody,” Pabin said. “While it might not be able to provide every single thing you may need, we hope it can provide some security and support to the people who use it.” Cat’s Cupboard relies on donations and



Have you ever wanted to try the game of baseball? OU Women’s Baseball Club is recruiting currently enrolled female students. BEGINNERS WELCOME. Join us Fridays 7:30 pm @ Walter Field House Scan to email Akisa for more information Next practice 2/23


grants to supply the pantry and also receives donations from OU’s Culinary Services from the markets and dining halls. The pantry often hosts donation drives to maintain variety and bolster its stock to ensure that it is consistently available for any community members who might need it. Reginald Morrow is the Basic Needs Coordinator at OU, whose group oversees Cat’s Cupboard while also managing the Meal Bank Program and offering resources to aid with housing, food, bills and loans for students. “We do rely on donations,” Morrow said. “We have funds to purchase things, but when you’re purchasing for over 100 people a week, those funds deplete really quickly.” Students are also able to help through the Meal Bank Program, where Bobcats can donate their leftover meal swipes at the end of an academic period to other Bobcats in need. This program occurs once a week every semester, once before fall break and another before spring break. Students can donate up to three meal swipes per day at the dining halls. The number of students using these basic needs resources is only increasing, as food insecurity is an ever-present issue on campus and in the area. “We are seeing around 115 visitors per week,” Pabin said. “I would say that food insecurity is a prevalent issue on campus. We

15hour + GAS $

also saw an increase in numbers since the beginning of last semester and even more following winter break.” Besides the programs that OU offers, several food banks in Athens County accommodate other Athens residents. The Southeast Ohio Food Bank, GoodWorks, the Athens County Food Bank, Monday Lunch and Community Food Initiatives (CFI) are just a few in the area. The First Presbyterian Church on 2 N. Court Street also serves free hot meals on Thursdays for college students. Another option for food assistance is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which can help low-income Ohioans stretch their grocery budgets and buy healthy food. Donating or volunteering with Cat’s Cupboard or at a local pantry, helping to maintain a community garden, or simply donating meal swipes are ways OU students can help both their fellow Bobcats and other Athens residents who are in need. By simply lending time, energy and a voice to the ongoing food insecurity issues in this community, they can be part of the solution.



Seeking individuals with maintenance experience including: basic plumbing and electrical Must have their own tools & reliable transprtation.

Email: OUrentals@yahoo.com or Call: 740-594-9098

Performing Arts and Concert Series entertains the masses SOPHIA ROOKSBERRY FOR THE POST Tucked in a corner of Glidden Hall, Andrew Holzaepfel spends his days surrounded by keepsakes of his past work. The Executive Director of the Ohio University Performing Arts and Concert Series has worked with the program for 23 years, and his office walls are plastered with posters commemorating those years of artistic service to the OU and Athens community. “The Performing Arts Series encompasses everything from a classical quartet to a Broadway show to a country concert, and everything in between,” Holzaepfel said. In the fall 2023 season, the Performing Arts and Concert series held 41 public performances and 24 outreach activities, reaching a total of 34,985 attendees. A past audience member is Sophie Hillis, a sophomore studying art therapy. Hillis attended the Step Afrika! performance in the fall of 2022 as a requirement for her dance class, but still found the event interesting and entertaining. “It was really cool to see the culture, and they also integrated the audience into the performance, so that was nice,” Hillis said. Hillis said she believes that cultural exposure is an important aspect of the series. She hopes to continue seeing a variety of artists come through, including dreams of an eventual appearance by Lana Del Rey. “There are so many people here of different cultures, and I think it’s important to highlight that,” Hillis said. Holzaepfel affirms the importance of diverse performances and hopes to continue expanding the program throughout the region. “I want to provide as many opportunities for Ohio University students, but even larger, Southeast Ohio, to experience big city entertainment … at a really reasonable price,” he said. While the journey isn’t over yet, the Performing Arts and Concert Series has already experienced a notable evolution. Under his predecessor, Holzaepfel began his work with a traditional model of eight to 10 shows a year. “We built on that model that … previous people had established; we started adding pop concerts and other things,” he said. “(There’s) more revenue generation on that side to support the mission-driven activities on the other side.” These days, the series hosts up to 90 shows in any given year. According to Holzaepfel, the booking process for these shows differs on a case-by-case basis. The main series, which includes an eclec-


tic mix of jazz, theater, dance and music, is planned far in advance; Holzaepfel is currently in the process of scheduling the 20242025 season. In contrast, the pop and concert events are booked throughout the year. “We take recommendations from students,” he said. “We are often approached by agents with artist availability.” Student opinions and booking agents aren’t the only influences on the series. As of July 2024, the series falls under the umbrella of the College of Fine Arts. That opens the door to collaboration with faculty and student employees, and an updated ticketing model that has increased sales. “There’s a synergy,” Holzaepfel said. “It has not eliminated our ability to work throughout campus or with the community. It’s strongly encouraged by Dean Shaftel at the College of Fine Arts to continue all those relationships and expand on them. It’s just provided some additional resources.” The continued transformation of the series, and the variety of artists and experiences involved, has allowed Holzaepfel to hold

his position for 23 years and still love it. “The best part of my job is that every day is different,” he said. “Tomorrow we’re working with the School of Theater … next week I might be working on a country concert, the following day it may be a comedian. Every day I come to campus, it feels like it’s a different kind of day, and that variety is what keeps it very interesting to me.” Holzaepfel is particularly proud to have had Noah Kahan perform at Memorial Auditorium last spring when he was “right on his way up.” Meghan Martin, a sophomore studying environmental science and sustainability, was in the audience for that show and said it was a favorite of the many concerts she’s been to. “The tickets were cheap … I didn’t have to wait in any long lines, I didn’t have to … deal with any of that stuff you normally would at a normal concert,” she said. “My friend and I just went in, we got our seats, and it was pretty quick.” Martin said she believes Athens is a good

place for events like these because of the variety of cultures and interests the community represents. Additionally, the location adds additional convenience and accessibility for Athens residents. “Outside of the school, it’s a smaller community, so people who don’t want to drive to Columbus to go see a concert, they can just come here,” she said. The Performing Arts and Concert series has provided Athens with thousands of world-class performances and events dating back to the 1950s. The series represents collaboration and support across the community and is a testament to a communal creative vision. “Every time I get to stand out and watch the audience respond to a performance that I brought in adds an extra bit of energy,” Holzaepfel said.



Student Spotlight: Jalen Tolbert stays busy, cultivates musical message SOPHIA ROOKSBERRY FOR THE POST National champion of speech and debate, Ohio University Student Senate Judicial Panel Chief Justice, rapper J-Tolb and occasional Rufus the Bobcat — these titles and many more belong to one student: Jalen Tolbert. Tolbert is a junior studying communication studies and pursuing minors in political science and African American studies. Additionally, he uses his creative energy to pursue music, a journey that began during his sophomore year of high school when he collaborated with his friends on their first song. His first musical venture was inspired by artists from his childhood, ones he still takes inspiration from today. “I love to go back and listen to some of the pioneers,” he said. “My dad put me onto Tupac when I was young, and he was a poet, he called himself a poet.” Tolbert cites André 3000 of OutKast, Kendrick Lamar, Mick Jenkins and Isaiah Rashad as some of his other influences as a musician. He also has found himself influenced by the music he hears in the community. “There is an incredible music scene when it comes to the local bands that I try to immerse myself in because I love hearing people creating stuff and doing stuff that they’re passionate about,” he said. However, Tolbert also considers Athens to be a blank canvas in regard to a rap scene. He recently hosted an event for Midnight Music in his basement, a visual metaphor of the “underground rap scene” he hopes to cultivate. “There’s a lot of untapped potential,” he said. “I want there to be that kind of … uprising in a little bit of a rap scene because that hasn’t really existed up to this point.” As far as his own music goes, Tolbert is focusing on the aspect of the art form that means the most to him. “I’m much more about the message right now because I feel like that’s where I can hang my hat, I love to write,” Tolbert said. The artist's passion for writing extends beyond the world of rap music. Tolbert is a member of the OU Speech and Debate team, through which he practices his love for the written word and entertaining an audience. “I’m performing on weekends in a suit and tie, I’m being judged on my words and on my performance,” he said. “It’s subjective, so sometimes you’ll get the top ranks and sometimes you’ll get the bottom … but getting used to performing and getting critiqued has made me comfortable enough to perform at any venue.” One of Tolbert’s biggest fans at any venue is his duo speech partner and coholder of the national champion title. Soren Starkey, a 8 / FEBRUARY 15, 2024

Jalen Tolbert poses in Schoonover Center in Athens, Ohio, Feb. 9, 2024. Tolbert is a junior studying communications. (ETHAN HERX | FOR THE POST)

senior studying political science, said J-Tolb was his most-streamed artist last year. “He appreciates art and creativity in all its forms,” Starkey said. “He’s a good reader, he cares about the visual arts, he does this (speech and debate) which is a super artsy thing. You can see that in the way his music sounds, he takes inspiration from all these different art forms.” Someone who has seen the fusion of these art forms up close is the John A. Cassese Director of Forensics and coach of the speech and debate team, Jennifer Talbert. She coaches Tolbert on his speeches and said he is “one of the most conscientious performers.” “Some people get their dander up when you offer constructive criticism, and that’s not Jalen,” she said. “He’s constantly striving to make himself better.” Talbert also listed several of Tolbert’s additional responsibilities outside of the speech and debate team and said he has one of the busiest schedules of any student she’s ever met. “He sometimes is stretched too thin, he has a lot of irons in the fire, but I think he does a good job balancing,” she said. Tolbert recognizes the weight of his many

commitments and acknowledged having his hand in so many activities. “I feel like … there’s a lot of tools in my bag that I’m excited and proud I have, and I don’t think I would have those same tools if I wasn’t involved in so many different things and in different ways,” he said. One thing Tolbert has enjoyed exploring is a collaboration with Midnight Music. Nick Thompson is a senior studying media arts production and the co-founder of the Athens entertainment company. Thompson and Tolbert met when the latter was brought onto a Midnight Music set for one of their first shows in 2022. “We kept collaborating and he became part of the group … and now we’re all grouped together making cool stuff,” Thompson said. “He’s been really invaluable to us.” According to Thompson, the style of J-Tolb blends rap with jazz, R&B and a hint of soul. Thompson finds this style refreshing in a music industry of oversaturated rage and drill rap. “More organic production lends itself to more organic reach as far as audience,” he said. One of these audience members, Starkey, said he believes Tolbert has a talent for cre-

ating his music and message in an accessible way for a wide audience of people. This belief is a testament to Starkey’s respect for the artist's mind, saying Tolbert is one of the smartest people he’s ever met. “His goal is to be understood by as many people as possible, and not a lot of people are good at … making what they’re saying accessible,” Starkey said. From Tolbert’s perspective, accessibility is an important factor in what he creates, as well as using his music as an important creative outlet in his life. “Making and creating things that are going to resonate with other people as well as be a cathartic release for me is the main goal now; if that turns into my profession that would be really dope,” he said. Talbert believes the sky’s the limit for Tolbert’s future, and also said she believes his personal motivation to serve people will carry him through the rest of his life. “One thing that is important to Jalen, regardless of where his future leads him … (is that) he cares about people,” she said.



KNOW YOUR NUMBERS Student organizations celebrate Black History Month DISHA HOQUE FOR THE POST With February observed as Black History Month, student organizations are coming together to celebrate and unite for the occasion. Student Senate hosted its “Forward We March” event on Monday. The event, taking place in the Walter Rotunda, honored and celebrated Black life, art and culture. The event was hosted in collaboration with multiple student organizations, including Divine Feline, Black Student Cultural Programming Board, Black Student Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. Precious Powell, a junior studying art therapy, is the Black Affairs Commissioner for the Student Senate and was a leading organizer for the event. Powell mentioned that much of her campus involvement stems from her desire to make a difference on campus and connect with peers. “Being a transfer student, I just wanted to get involved in some type of program or organization that can make a change on campus,” Powell said. “Forward We March” honored Black history through poetry, singing, dance and food. Along with the “Forward We March” event, Black student organizations are hosting other fundraisers and activities throughout February for students. Partnering together, Black Student Union, or BSU, and Woman 2 Woman, or W2W, are hosting “Love, Sex and Romance,” a semiformal event on Feb. 17 from 6-8 p.m. The event, located in Baker Theater, will promote both sexual inclusivity and open conversations about sexual health. “Love, Sex and Romance” will also celebrate multicultural art and acceptance through student dancers’, singers’ and poets’ performances. “We wanted to really do something that was big, that could contribute to the commu-

nity in ways that we had not yet seen before,” said Alexis Thomas, a junior studying hospitality management. Thomas is involved in a plethora of student organizations, which includes serving as president of W2W and vice president of BSU. Other Black student organizations are stepping into the Valentine’s spirit this month offers as well. Multicultural Student Business Caucus, or MSBC, is selling cake pops outside of Baker in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. Desmond Owusu, a junior studying management information systems and data analysis and a member of MSBC, is helping with the cake pop sale. “We’re hoping to generate some revenue to support our organization in terms of encouraging new members to come to meetings and generate more funds,” Owusu said. MSBC works to increase professional development and help students of all backgrounds gain business experience and leadership skills. “(We) recruit multicultural professionals and help them gain industry experience, internships and get them ready for the world outside of college,” said Owusu. With various events being hosted by student organizations to celebrate Black History Month and diverse voices at OU, student leaders are working to make the university an accepting and positive space for students from many different backgrounds. The events and activities occurring on campus in the coming weeks allow students to celebrate Black culture and unite with others. “I hope to encourage students to live unapologetically and to take up space on this campus unapologetically, no matter what their identity and their culture is, and understand that (they) are well appreciated and welcomed in this space,” Thomas said.

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Ohio set to take on Toledo BOBBY GORBETT SPORTS EDITOR Ohio (13-11, 7-4 Mid-American Conference) took a bit of a step back in its final nonconference game of the regular season against Arkansas State on Saturday. Ohio has a long time to recuperate between its loss and its game on Friday against Toldeo (15-9, 9-2 MAC). Ohio will be up against one of the conference's best teams. Toledo has only lost two games in conference play, and the two losses have come against the other two teams currently in the top three of the MAC, both games having been on the road. Toledo hasn't lost a home game since Dec. 20 against Vermont, a game Toledo fell 86-60. Since then, the Rockets have gone 5-0 at home in the conference. The Rockets and Bobcats squared off in what was both teams' MAC opening game. The Rockets won a close, high-scoring game in Athens. Ohio was led by Elmore James with 17 points, while Toledo was led by Ra'Heim Moss and Dante Maddox Jr., who both finished the game with 18 points. However, Maddox Jr. and Moss found very different ways to get there. Moss took 15 shots and

made six of them; Maddox Jr. took just five shots but made 11 free throws. Toledo's free-throw shooting was a big storyline as the team shot 31 free throws. To pick up a huge road win, Ohio will have to do a better job of defending Toledo without fouling. Here's everything you need to know about Friday's game:

Meet the Opponent: Head Coach: Tod Kowalczyk (14th season) Projected starting lineup:

especially efficient from the field, both are huge parts of the Rockets' offense. While Moss provides more of a threat as a passer, Maddox Jr. is more of a threat from 3-point range. Ohio will have to try its best to stop both players if it wants to pull off the road upset.

00 Ra'Heim Moss 01 Javan Simmons 03 Sonny Wilson 21 Dante Maddox Jr.

Game Information:


Opponent: Toledo

Ohio has had a lot of difficulties against Toledo recently. The Bobcats have just one win against the Rockets in their last 11 tries. Ohio has had two five-game losing streaks against Toledo since 2018, split up by an enormous win from Ohio in the 2020-21 MAC tournament. Ohio eventually went on to win the MAC tournament and beat Virginia in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Date and time: Friday at 9 p.m.

23 Tyler Cochran Statistical Leaders Points: Moss (16.5 per game)

Location: Savage Arena (Toledo)

Rebounds: Cochran (6.7 per game)

How to watch: ESPN U

Assists: Moss (3 per game)


Steals: Cochran (2 per game) Blocks: Cochran (1 per game)

Player to watch: Toledo's Backcourt

Field-goal Percentage: Simmons (58.4)

Given Moss and Maddox Jr.'s place as Toledo's two leading scorers, combined with both players' strong outings against Ohio in the first matchup, make them easy selections as players to watch against Ohio. Even though neither player has been

Three-point Percentage: Bryce Ford (43.5) Free-throw Percentage: (84.8)


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DII Hockey: Ohio’s loss to Michigan ends an otherwise positive season

Ohio University team celebrates after scoring their first goal against Dayton at Bird Ice Arena, Athens Ohio, Feb. 4, 2024. (TALITHA MALOY | FOR THE POST)

BRANDON GROSS FOR THE POST Ohio’s season ended in the TSCHL playoffs after two games. Ohio picked up a 4-0 victory against Louisville on Friday night in round one. In the second round, Ohio fell 4-3, losing in overtime against Michigan on Saturday night. Ohio dominated Louisville the entire night as Ohio’s defense didn’t allow a single goal to be scored by Louisville. The first quarter was more defensively focused, as neither team was able to muster a goal. In the second period, however, Ohio forward, Nick Ventura scored a goal to put Ohio up by one against Louisville. Louisville wasn’t able to answer during the second period and it ended with Ohio up by one goal. To close out the game, Ohio put on a show, scoring three of its four goals in the final period alone. The first and second goals of the period came from defenseman Ethan Tamborski while the third and final goal of the period came from center Jack Mueller, and was assisted by winger, Ryley Scanlon. The strong ending allowed Ohio to walk out

of the game unscathed and head into Saturday’s game having just shut out Louisville. Saturday night, Ohio lined up across Michigan. Despite no scoring happening from either of the teams in the first period of play, the second period contained a lot more action. The second period saw a combined four goals scored, three from Ohio and one from Michigan. The first goal was scored by Ohio winger, Peyton Botich and was assisted by defenseman Mike Campbell. Ohio also got the second score of the period, this goal coming from forward Salvatore Poggiali and being assisted by Tamborski. Michigan broke up Ohio’s scoring streak with a score from defenseman Tej Kothari and was assisted by forward Ryan Williams. Ohio was able to get on the scoreboard one more time at the end of the period with a goal from Tamborski to take a 3-1 lead against Michigan with the momentum having been swayed toward them heavily. Michigan was the only one of the two teams to score in the third period, putting two pucks in the net to send the game to overtime. With goals from forwards Ash-

er Connolly and Patrick Burke, Michigan was able to rally back and take the game to overtime just having been outscored by two goals in the second period. Overtime was over quickly though as only 1 minute and 39 seconds into the overtime period, Michigan scored a goal courtesy of Connolly completing a two-goal comeback heading into the third period. Despite a disappointing loss to Michigan in its last game, Ohio played very well this season. In its division, the Tri-State Collegiate Hockey League, it finished with the third-best record behind Indiana and Miami. Ohio had a record of 19-8, with two of its losses being shootout losses and another loss being an overtime loss. Ohio had a winning percentage of 74.1%. Ohio was first in its division in the prevention of goals scored against it, as only 61 goals were managed to be scored against its defense this season. Ohio’s goals-allowed number is slightly deflated because the team played fewer games than some of its counterparts, but the fact the team gave up 18 less than the next closest Kentucky, which allowed 79 goals this season, proves the team’s

proficiency on the defensive end. Ohio had started this season with a 4-1 record in its first five games, the only loss being against Bowling Green. The Bobcats had two losses following the opening stretch but were able to bounce back with a fourgame win streak in early November propelling them to an 8-3 record. Ohio continued to trade losses and wins with teams until the weekend series of games against Xavier in Jan., in which the team started its six-game win streak to close out the season. The Bobcats closed the season out with wins against the likes of Kentucky and Dayton. Ohio had a very strong start and end to the season but was a bit shaky during December and the games in early January, which will be something the team aims to improve next season. Ohio has a lot to look forward to next season with a quick offense and stout defense. Even with the loss to Michigan, Ohio looks to build off of this successful season to continue to contend in the coming years.





Hockey funding, support necessary to return to NCAA

Ohio University Golie Justin Damon (1) Defends the goal against Syarcuse University, Nov. 3, 2023 in Bird Ice Arena. (BECKETT STARK | FOR THE POST)

12 / FEBRUARY 15, 2024

rom 1962 to 1973 Ohio Hockey was a member of the NCAA. Ohio was one of the founding members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, or CCHA, conference along with Ohio State, Bowling Green and St. Louis. Ohio finished at the bottom of the conference the two years it was a part of it, according to College Hockey News. The university stopped funding the program due to “austerity measures,” Allison Jalowiec, assistant coordinator for athletic director operations and communication, said in an email. Since then, Ohio Hockey has seen a lot of success in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, or ACHA, at the Division I and Division II levels. From 1994 to 2004, Ohio won four national championships, according to the ACHA website. The team has continued to be successful in recent years, which raises the question, “Is it time for Ohio Hockey to return to the NCAA?” Teams have made the switch from ACHA to the NCAA in the past and seen success. Arizona State started its switch in the 201516 season in which it played a split ACHA and NCAA schedule, according to Bleacher Report. In 2016, the Sun Devils made the full switch to the NCAA. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as it sounds to make the change. By far the biggest factor that allowed ASU to make the transition is the $32 million donated to the cause. Since making the transition, the program has been successful at the NCAA level. In 2019, the Sun Devils made the NCAA Tournament. Arizona State opened its new facility, Mullett Arena, in 2022, which it shares with the Arizona Coyotes, according to the arena’s website. Starting next season, the Sun Devils will join an NCAA conference, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, or NCHC, according to the conference website. The investment in the transition is already paying off for Arizona State. Ohio Hockey would require a lot of fundraising to make the NCAA dream a reality. Hockey is an expensive program which is why a lot of schools only have club teams if they have any team at all. Ohio would need to revamp Bird Arena or, like Arizona State, create a new arena altogether. Mullett Arena cost nearly $137.2 million to bring to life, according to the ASU website. However, some of those renovations include modifications to accommodate the Arizona Coyotes. The University of Connecticut also built a new hockey arena that opened in 2023, according to the Hartford Business Journal. The Toscano Family Ice Forum is a $48 million state-of-the-art hockey arena. It seats 2,600 spectators, which is 600 more than Bird Arena currently seats. Ohio does not have to make investments this big, but facilities are a big part of bringing in recruits.

There are some comparable schools that Ohio University would be in direct competition with when it comes to recruiting. Bowling Green State University and the University of Miami both have NCAA Division I hockey programs. The MAC does not support hockey, so Bowling Green competes in the CCHA and Miami competes in the NCHC. Both schools have much larger hockey arenas than Ohio. According to its website, Miami’s Goggin Ice Center opened in 2006 and was constructed at the low price of $34.8 million. Bowling Green’s Slater Family Ice Center was constructed in 1967. The Slater Family Ice Center is much older than Goggin Ice Center, but it seats 5,000 spectators compared to Goggin’s capacity of approximately 4,000. Those comparisons to two other similar Ohio universities are important to keep in mind while recruiting. However, bringing in recruits is not a worry for current Ohio Hockey Head Coach Lionel Mauron. “You see the success that we've had recruiting here at the club level,” Mauron said. “We can only imagine if we're able to give out scholarships and compete against big universities.” Brandon Wright, assistant professor of instruction in sports administration, said he believes that bringing Ohio Hockey to the NCAA Division I level is a real possibility. Wright worked for the NCAA as a “Governance Intern” from 2010 to 2011. He worked to bring together different boards and committees that would deal with rules, regulations and schools applying to be Division I programs. “If Ohio University wants to have Division I hockey, I think they've got the infrastructure and the talent to be able to do so, but there is going to be some work on the back end,” Wright said. “If the athletic department and the university at large, (as well as) the community here in Athens, is willing to do it, it's very possible.” Wright is not the only one who believes it could be a possibility. Ohio Hockey Alum Jason Danner was a part of the 1995 national championship team. His son, Xander, is a sophomore center for the Ohio Division II team. Jason Danner said he believes that moving to the NCAA Division I level would be great for the university. He is not very optimistic that it will happen anytime soon, but he would still like to see this dream become a reality. “(It would bring) a lot more notoriety and national exposure,” Jason Danner said. “There are a lot of teams from when I was playing, Penn State, Arizona State, those two come to mind, that are D-I now … (but) I don’t think it’ll ever happen. You’re going to need a lot of backing from the university.” Another issue that OU would face if it were to try to make the jump, is Title IX. Title IX requires that there be an equal number of men's and women's programs at any university or high school. One possibility is that Ohio could try to begin a women's hockey program here. Ohio

State University has seen a lot of success with its women’s program, winning the national championship in 2022 and being the runner-up in 2023. If Ohio were looking to promote a program that already exists, it could consider the women’s rugby team. The team is currently a club team but has a lot of members. Ohio University would have to invest even more money into this program as well, though. If Ohio Hockey and the university could get past all those hurdles, then there is a possibility that it would be successful. Arizona State found success very quickly when it made the jump to the NCAA. Bowling Green and Miami have both seen their share of triumph over the years as well. All of that leads Mauron to believe Ohio University would be a sought-after program in the NCAA. “I think our school going Division I would be, in less than five years, a top 10 program in the country,” Mauron said. “You see the fan support that we get, being a club team, filling out the rink every game. I think we could be the number one sport on campus pretty quickly.”

Ohio's Tommy Kloepfer (2) faces off with a Syracuse player during a puck drop, Nov. 3, 2023 in Bird Ice Arena. (BECKETT STARK | FOR THE POST)


Noah Holt’s journey f rom Alaska to Athens

OU hockey player Noah Holt (9) discusses his hockey career in Bird Ice Arena, Feb. 7, 2024, in Athens. (MEGAN VANVLACK | FOR THE POST). In-game photos by VanVlack and Ethan Herx

EMMA ERION MANAGING EDITOR Brookville is a town about 20 miles outside of Dayton with a population of just barely 6,000 people. It’s one of those towns where everyone knows everything about everyone else, like something out of “Friday Night Lights.” In that same vein, there isn’t much to do there, so most people flock to the local high school football games to cheer on their favorite rivalries. Virtually every athletic kid ended up playing football, so how did Noah Holt end up on skates? Holt is Ohio’s newest addition to its star-studded lineup of forwards. The Bobcat’s last breakout newcomer, Luc Reeve, ended up winning both ACHA Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Holt has been on a similarly impressive trajectory in his first season, earning 35 points, the third most on the entire team. Holt ended up on an ice rink and not turf because of his family. “The whole town kind of revolves around football, but my older brother decided he wanted to play hockey because my dad was interested,” said Holt. “I just wanted to do whatever my older brother did, so I followed suit.” His older brother eventually stopped playing hockey, but Holt stuck with it – and that took him pretty far from home. His juniors career started in Springfield, Illinois, but he only played half a season there before being traded to the Kenai Brown Bears, a team in Alaska. Kenai is 4,000 miles away

14 / FEBRUARY 15, 2024

from Brookville, and Holt felt every inch of distance between him and home. “Kenai was tough, especially the first year,” said Holt. “We weren’t doing very well, and it was just hard being away from family.” But things eventually started looking up, with Holt finding family among his teammates and getting promoted to team captain. Plus, it’s hard to be sad when you’re in one of the most stunning natural environments on Earth. “Alaska was great, the scenery is just unbeatable,” Holt said. “We were having bonfires on the beach with volcanoes in the background. It is another world up there.” The natural beauty of Athens helped Holt choose to continue his career by playing for Ohio. It also helped close the gap between him and his family, plus coaches Lionel Mauron and Jamieson McVicar made him feel more than welcome. “Lio and Jamie did some heavy recruiting on me … I just really liked the effort they were putting in and I wanted to go to a bigger school with good scenery …. So it was just a combination of all that and it was meant to be,” said Holt. While Holt spends most of his time on the ice in Athens, hitting a puck around isn’t his only hobby. “We’ll go golfing just like three or four times a week and then if we’re not golfing, we’re fishing,” said Holt. “I’m not that good at it. I seem to get my lure tangled in the tree all the time. But yeah, every year my family and I go on a trip to the lake and it’s just like fishing for a whole week.”

Holt had always been an outdoorsy sort of person. Growing up on a farm made him love that kind of thing, especially with the number of animals his family still has. Besides his beloved Labrador Louie, Holt’s family also has four ducks that live in “their own little world on the pond” and an abundance of chickens. Spending the majority of his life on a farm has reflected itself in Holt’s personality, specifically regarding his work ethic. Of course, no one wants to be caught not pulling their weight on the farm. “There’s a lot of chores and stuff to do around the house, lots of discipline on doing those and if you don’t do those ... Your parents are going to be mad,” Holt said. “Just like working harder on the house and helping my dad … shaped me into who I am.” At the end of the day, Holt is glad he chose to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and pursue hockey over football because that is ultimately what landed him in his new home in Athens. “I love it, it’s seriously the best place on Earth,” Holt said. “I mean fans pack this place (Bird Arena) every weekend, the hockey is great. I love all my teammates and coaches. I love the school. It’s seriously like a dream come true.”


Baseball: Everything you need to know for Ohio’s 2024 season ROBERT KEEGAN III SPORTS EDITOR CHARLIE FADEL FOR THE POST Ohio enters the 2024 season with a roster loaded with new talent. The team will be looking to improve upon a 19-30 finish to the 2023 season which saw the team come up just a few games short of qualifying for the Mid-American Conference tournament. “Kind of a disappointing finish to (last) season, I think that has motivated the returners,” Ohio Coach Craig Moore said. “That’s kind of been their fuel for the majority of the year … the fact that we did not finish the way that we wanted to finish and we are going to work to finish the season right this year.” The team will return just 22 players with 19 newcomers on the 2024 roster. Of the 19 new players, 9 are true freshmen. A couple of those freshmen have stood out to Moore so far in camp and will look to make an impact right away. Positional players JR Nelson and Pauly Mancino are two freshmen whom Moore expects to make a difference. Nelson, a freshman out of Illinois, is ex-

pected to be Ohio’s shortstop to start the season. Mancino, a freshman out of Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, has shown well enough in the preseason to tally some innings in the outfield from the start. Ohio will also look to a few freshmen and transfers for help for its pitching staff, who will be looking to take a step forward in 2024.

This year we have some more options and some more depth than what we’ve had in the past.” -Craig Moore, Ohio head baseball coach

Ohio’s downfall at the end of last season was its inability to stop teams from scoring. This season, the pitching staff is looking to

recoup from a 7.60 combined ERA last season. “This year we have some more options and some more depth than what we’ve had in the past,” Moore said. “That’s another exciting thing about the plan that we’re putting together here for our pitching staff.” Moore has cited transfer players like Blake Gaskey and Tim Knapschaefer as guys who could make an immediate impact to start the season. Knapschaefer is a graduate student who played at Ohio Northern University last season where he posted a 4.63 ERA over 11 starts. Gaskey is a junior from Southeastern Community College who posted a 5.49 ERA over 23 career starts in his two-year collegiate career. Freshman Jack Geiser out of Medina is another option for Ohio in terms of new pitchers. Of Ohio’s returning players both Luke Olson and Jacob Tate will be the leaders of the inexperienced pitching staff. Olson and Tate led Ohio in innings pitched. This group of pitchers will be looking to replace the 2023 departures of Braxton Kelly, the team leader in saves, and Brendan Roder, who led the team in ERA for the 2022 season (among pitchers with at least one inning

pitched per game). Notable position players who are returning for Ohio include fifth-year utility player Alex Finney, senior outfielder Gideon Antle, senior utility player Cole Williams and redshirt junior infielder Nick Dolan. Ohio will be losing its top two players in terms of batting average from last season in both Alec Patino and Mason Minzey. Will Sturek, the team’s leader in home runs from 2023 is also no longer with the team. Earlier in the week on Tuesday, Ohio was ranked 5th in the MAC Coaches Preseason poll, a projection that puts Ohio right where it finished in last year’s conference standings. “It wasn’t a real shock about where we were at,” Moore said. “But again, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. You play 10 weeks of conference baseball and then you finish up where you want to finish and that’s in Avon at the tournament.”



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Professional sports leagues need to do more about sexual assault

Robert Keegan lll Former MLB Pitcher and Cy Young award winner Trevor Bauer recently appeared on the “This past weekend w/ Theo Von” podcast, where he made the bold statement that he would play for any team at the league's minimum contract. In 2021, a year after Bauer won the Cy Young Award, the right-handed pitcher was suspended for violating the league's sexual assault policy. Bauer has since served the full length of his 194-game suspension; however, the former Reds and Dodgers pitcher is not on an MLB roster — and he shouldn’t be.

The way that the MLB owners have handled the Bauer situation sets a healthy precedent that will hopefully soon be the norm for all professional sports leagues. While the MLB’s handling of Bauer has been a step in the right direction, it is an unprecedented and unfortunately surprising change of pace for baseball fans. In the past, if a player was accused of sexual or physical assault, a suspension would be given, and at its conclusion, everyone would move on like nothing had happened. Players like Aroldis Chapman and Domingo Herman are both on MLB rosters to this day despite being accused of domestic violence early in their careers. Nearly every major sports league has had athletes accused of sexual assault, but what each league decided to do about it is vastly different. Some leagues, like the NFL, have shown particular negligence in handling such allegations toward its players. Professional athletes are primary candidates for many young children to idolize. When these athletes are accused of sexual or physical assault, and the governing bodies of their league do little to nothing as pun-


ishment, young people continue to idolize them. Players like Deshaun Watson, Ben Roethlisberger, Adam Jones and Adrian Peterson are all treated like gods by the fan bases of their respective former teams. Those fans are quick to forget that each was accused of assaulting women. Roethlisberger was paraded around the city of Pittsburgh to the enthusiasm and appreciation of millions when he retired. The former Steelers quarterback was accused of sexual assault twice in his career and proceeded to become one of the most idolized figures for young fans of the Steelers. Roethlisberger served only two separate 4-game suspensions following his two alleged assaults. Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher even went as far as to state that “He (Rothelisberger) truly represents what a Pittsburgh Steeler is,” following his retirement. Deshaun Watson is another example of this — he received a $250 million contract just a few short months after facing 24 accusations of sexual assault. Watson faced only an 11-game suspension.

The NFL recently revised its sexual assault policy stating that a player who violates the league's policy regarding sexual assault more than once will be automatically banned. If this clause had been added from the start, players like Roethlisberger never would have been given a platform following his second alleged sexual assault back in 2010. While policy changes are a step in the right direction, players like Watson, Chapman and German still walk out onto a field every day and are glorified by the people in attendance. The MLB’s treatment of the Bauer situation, though it has faced criticism from some fans, should be the way all leagues handle sexual and physical abuse. It’s time to stop glorifying horrible humans because they can play sports. Robert is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views expressed in this column do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Robert? Tweet him @robertkeegan_.

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Appreciate platonic love this Valentine’s Day

Layne Rey Early adulthood is consistently characterized as years of loneliness. Leaving or being left by those you love to further education, work or even other relationships is inherently lonely. However, there is so much love to be found during these years – and not in the way that is most likely front-of-mind. There is an underlying pressure to follow the unspoken timeline of romantic love during these years. The immediately meeting someone in a new place to falling in love and getting married trope is far more dreamy than it is realistic. The pressure to find a romantic partner is high and heavy. Dreams do come true though, for some. As for me, I have chosen to focus on a different kind of love in my life that is just as deserving of finding and experiencing during early adulthood. I’ve realized that good pla-

tonic friendships are invaluable to me at this age. Platonic love is arguably more beautiful of a concept than romantic love. A relationship that cannot be rooted in sex appeal or the sole desire to be loved romantically is unwaveringly more comforting for me right now. That’s not to say that all or any romantic relationships are surface-level; it is to say that platonic relationships simply can’t be. Platonic friendships are beautiful in the sense that there is a mutual desire to just be around or in contact with one another. It is purely an emotional connection. Romantic love is usually spawned over the good part of a lifetime in a society where you live and raise children with a romantic partner. However, platonic love absolutely has peaks. The number of good platonic relationships at any given moment is typically based on situational factors. It only makes sense that young adulthood will bring about many platonic relationships — whether they are continued from the past or developed in new circumstances. I think that’s worth appreciating at the moment rather than dwelling on forms of love that may be lacking. As a self-proclaimed, chronically single friend, I have heard time and time again to enjoy this time in my life. Eventually, I had no choice but to just listen. There is so much peace in knowing that perhaps this time in my life is actually meant

to be spent loving and being loved platonically. Romantic love will come. I watch my mom hang out with her friends from college now and then as they are consumed with their outside lives. Nothing makes me want to appreciate experiencing an abundance of platonic love right now more than that. What I lack in romantic love is made up a million times over in platonic love. Lacking any kind of love — platonic, romantic or self — is not a fault. In fact, it opens room for even more love in the other forms. A balance between all kinds of love would be ideal, but who’s that lucky? This Valentine’s Day, love those who love you – in whatever way that may be. Layne Rey is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Let Layne know by tweeting her @laynerey12.

Wrap it up for Valentine’s Day

Bed Post Staff Writer As a November Scorpio birthday, I’m pretty selfish when my special day rolls around. I can’t deny my love for attention on my birthday. However, the celebration comes to a halt fairly quickly when everyone and their mother has a birthday in November and I am quickly overshadowed. All this because you can’t control your horny urges come Valentine’s Day. Everyone loves the idea of Valentine’s Day sex and the so-called holiday of love. In fact, 85% of people believe sex is an important

part of Valentine’s Day. As a result, it is estimated that 10,408 babies will be conceived from some love day hanky-panky. That is a lot of V-day babies and a lot of people I have to inevitably share my birthday with. It’s disheartening. As of November 2022, Earth’s population reached 8 billion people. That’s plenty for me, folks. I think we need to limit as many accidental mishaps as we can. Avoid making more people because there are too many already. Now, I believe sex should be an exciting part of Valentine’s Day if that’s your thing. Sex should be fun and at its core, it really is the act of making love, which is what the holiday entails. However, unless you’re ready to pop out a Scorpio in nine months, you should grab a condom and use it. Please. Now, I know being a Scorpio and telling people to stop being horny is the definition of being a hypocrite. But I’m tired of having my birthday roll around and constantly being reminded of what my parents did that fateful day in February. Gross.

I also have no problems with my fellow Scorpios, I actually love you all. The world is just against us. Especially being on a college campus, there is no need to go absolutely ham on your partner for Valentine’s Day. I’m talking more to my friends in the dorms. Be respectful of the single people around you who are sick of hearing you and are also jealous. My valentine can’t be my vibrator, try to control yourself, you all know too well those walls are paper thin. If you are planning on having a grand old time in the sheets, my best advice is to be prepared. Use the forms of contraception available on campus. There’s no reason to be ashamed or guilty for grabbing a free condom. There is a range of contraceptive options available through Ohio Health Campus Care at Ohio University and additionally, there is free contraceptive counseling for those looking to explore different options. Yay for sex education. When you celebrate this highly antici-

pated holiday of love, please be safe, ask for consent, communicate and enjoy yourself. But always prepare beforehand so you and your partner can get down and dirty without any worry. On your way to grab some flowers, be sure to grab a condom or two as well. Control your urges to get crazy in the bedroom. You can sprinkle a few rose petals, and maybe light a candle if you’re responsible. Have sex, of course, but there’s no need for anything too out of the ordinary for a holiday some couples don’t even celebrate. Be safe and enjoy each other, but maybe hold off on trying out everything you read in “Icebreaker.” BedPost is a sex and relationship column that does not reflect the views of The Post.


Timing of the Rafah bombing was no coincidence

Brianna Tassiello In the early hours of Monday, Feb. 12, the IDF, or Israel Defense Force, bombed Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, which borders Egypt. The 25-square-mile city is densely populated, currently holding over a million displaced Palestinians who have been seeking refuge there since the IDF declared it a safe zone. At least 67 Palestinians were killed, with the number of casualties expected to rise, and dozens more were injured. While this massacre was happening, the U.S. was preoccupied with the Kansas City Chiefs’ back-to-back Super Bowl win, and naturally social media was flooded with photos from

the afterparty and clips from the game. Barely any attention has been paid to the horrific actions that were committed in Rafah or the terror that is still being unleashed there. For the 123.4 million Super Bowl watchers, it was a night full of beer and finger foods. For more than one million others in Rafah, it was a night “full of horror, strikes, death and destruction,” according to a Palestinian man who is staying in Rafah and witnessed the bombing. Of course, though, the timing of the attacks was a strategic decision made by the IDF. The IDF chose to airstrike Rafah when it knew the U.S. would be distracted, just like it chose to bomb the AlMaghazi refugee camp Dec. 24 – while people were wrapped up in Christmas Eve festivities, it murdered more than 70 Palestinians. The IDF continues to commit its most heinous attacks when it knows it is not being watched, and its tactics are working. Perhaps worst of all, the attacks are U.S.-funded. On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid package, $14 billion of which will go toward Israel’s military campaign, significantly more than the $9.2 billion in humanitarian aid split between various war zones around the world. The consequences of that are sure to be devastating. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed the bombing of Rafah was justified, as it was carried out in the name of bringing home the Israeli hostages still being held in Gaza. Ironically, though, there were serious talks of a peace

Editor-in-Chief | Katie Millard Managing Editor | Emma Erion Equity Director | Alesha Davis EDITORIAL News Editor | Madalyn Blair Asst. News Editor | Donovan Hunt Culture Editor | Alyssa Cruz Asst. Culture Editor | Abby Jenkins Sports Editor | Bobby Gorbett Sports Editor | Robert Keegan III Opinion Editor | Tate Raub Asst. Opinion Editor | Megan Diehl The Beat Editor | Aya Cathey Asst. The Beat Editor | Grace Koennecke Projects Editor | Hannah Campbell Investigative Editor | Alex Imwalle Copy Chief | Addie Hedges Slot Editors | Arielle Lyons, Jackson McCoy, Ashley Pomplas, Tre Spencer ART Art Director | Abbie Kinney Asst. Art Director | Emma McAdams Director of Photography | Alaina Dackermann Photo Editor | Zoe Cranfill DIGITAL Director of Web Development | Tavier Leslie Audience Engagement Editor | Logan Jefferies Asst. Audience Engagement Editor | Jenna Skidmore Director of Multimedia | Cole Patterson Asst. Director of Multimedia | Kendall Timms BUSINESS Media Sales | Gia Sammons, Molly Wilson Director of Student Media | Andrea Lewis 18 / FEBRUARY 15, 2024

deal that would include a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages back in January, which Netanyahu vehemently denied, vowing to gain “total victory” over Hamas. It is clear that Netanyahu’s actions have nothing to do with the release of the hostages and everything to do with the likes of a man who will stop at nothing to actualize his genocidal desires. Framing himself as a caring leader who valiantly sends troops to battle to rescue his people is a gutless move, though it appears to be an act convincing enough for U.S. lawmakers. Rafah was Gaza’s last safe zone – if one could even call it that – and now, there is nowhere else for Palestinians to go. It is nothing short of evil to deem a place a safe haven and then viciously bomb it. The nightmare the IDF is inflicting on Palestinians transcends physical peril and borders psychological torture. If the airstrikes themselves and the rapidly increasing death tolls are not telling enough, the timing of the Rafah bombing should prove that Netanyahu knows what he is doing is wrong, otherwise, he would have no problem doing it while all eyes are on him. Brianna Tassiello is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the opinions expressed in this article do not represent those of The Post. Want to talk to Brianna? Email her at bt977520@ohio.edu.

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Honoring your partner’s love language SIMONE TILLMAN FOR THE POST In 1992, Baptist minister Gary Chapman published his nonfiction book, "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate." While the book was relatively successful, the idea didn't become widespread until the "The 5 Love Languages" quiz took the internet by storm. Following the era of BuzzFeed quizzes on topics ranging from Hogwarts houses to Disney princesses, lovers headed to The 5 Love Languages quiz to determine what they wanted most out of relationships. Knowing what you most want from your partner is undoubtedly important, but learning how you can respect what others are looking for is also essential. Understanding your partner's needs doesn't have to stop at romantic relationships. Knowing the five love languages can benefit friendships and familial relationships, too. Acts of service Acts of service require doing helpful things for your partner. This can range from grandiose acts, such as changing their car tires, to simpler acts, like a massage after a long day. These acts are intended to ease your partner's stress. Doing a chore so they do not have to worry about it later is an easy form of affection. This love language often raises the "If they wanted to, they would" debate. This quote has been in comment sections on social media apps, suggesting that if your partner loved you enough to do something, they would simply do it rather than needing to be told. While putting in effort is a sign of genuine affection, it is necessary to communicate within relationships. Whether you have been together for a week or three years, detailing your expectations rather than waiting to see them take shape will greatly benefit the relationship's future. Words of affirmation Sometimes, all a partner wants to hear are words of kindness, assurance and gratitude. Words of affirmation involve communicating to your partner why you love them. People with this love language often appreciate love letters, compliments, words of encouragement and specificity when it comes to praise. A useful tip for any expression of love is to practice spontaneity. Yes, a rehearsed speech on why you love your partner is beautiful and deserving is a nice thing to do, but do not let the little moments pass by. A small, direct compliment that is seemingly out of the blue will have your partner marveled each day.

ALAINA DACKERMANN | DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHERY Receiving gifts For some, a gift is worth a thousand words. Valentine's Day is the perfect holiday for lovers who enjoy tangible displays of affection. Give your partner a thoughtful gift that is meaningful to their interests or relevant to your relationship. Let them know what they mean to you through objects, big or small. Keep an open ear whenever they talk about the things they like or want and surprise them to show you care. Spontaneity is a great practice for strengthening relationships, but do not overlook the importance of precision. Be purposeful with the gifts you buy. Have a reason for each thing you place in the gift box. Sure, a cute teddy bear is a great gift, but why did you choose that teddy bear? Let your partner know. Quality time Quality time is more than time spent together. Quality time is intentional and meaningful. A partner with this love language doesn't just want to be in your presence, but

they want to be basked in it. They want your undivided attention. Some think of a dinner date in a dimly lit restaurant, while others think of their living room couch at home. Either way, the location is less important than the time spent. The intention is all that is needed to honor this love language. Quality time can exist anywhere with anyone. All you have to do is be intentional about how this time is spent. Eye contact is an easy way to ensure your focus remains on your partner. It is easy to start to forget someone is there once you become comfortable in their presence, but quality time requires meaningful and purposeful engagement. Physical touch Far too often, this love language is associated solely with lust rather than affection and romance. However, physical touch is just as vital and beneficial as all other love languages. Physical touch refers to expressing closeness with your partner through physical contact. Sex should not be taboo when it comes to

discussing relationships. Consensual sex can be a great way of expressing sentimentality. However, it is not the only way to utilize physical touch. Hand-holding, hugs, kisses and cuddling can be just as gratifying. The key to this love language is comfort. Make sure you and your partner are comfortable and actively listening to each other's preferences. Valentine's Day is often known as the pinnacle of romance. It is the one day you devote yourself entirely to your partner's wants and needs. However, this should not be the case. Every day is an opportunity to show how much you care about the people you love. Take the time to learn their love language. Remember to remain comfortable, intentional, spontaneous and communicative. Love is a practice that gets better with effort. Use Valentine's Day as a reminder of all the work it takes to show how much you care.


5 alt-indie love songs to sweep you off your feet this Valentine’s Day


GRACE KOENNECKE ASST. THE BEAT EDITOR While many people despise Valentine's Day when it creeps up after the holiday rush of Thanksgiving and Christmas, its musical soundtrack can at least make up for all of its extravagances. In particular, the alternative indie genre has had an array of love songs within the last several years for people in relationships, whether platonic or romantic, that continue to sweep people off their feet. Here is a list of five of the best alternative indie love songs to celebrate with this Valentine's Day: "The Only Exception" by Paramore Paramore's classic love song is among the best in the last 15 years. Released in 2009, lead singer Hayley Williams serenades listeners about her struggles with accepting love when it comes in your life, especially after a family history of divorce, on "The Only Exception." Most music fans instantly can recognize the first few chords of this song and are transported into Williams' inner fears. The bridge roars as she sings, "I've got a tight grip on reality / But I can't let go of what's in front of me here / I know you're leaving in the morning when you wake up / 20 / FEBRUARY 15, 2024

Leave me with some kind of proof it's not a dream." You can feel the desperation for her partner in this moment, and it's extremely wholesome for those who have a significant other in their life. "Archie, Marry Me" by Alvvays Another staple of the alternative indie scene is Canadian band and recent Grammy-nominee, Alvvays. In particular, its song "Archie, Marry Me" is a blissful example of getting carried away when one daydreams about the future with their partner. The main protagonist begs her lover to go through with an impromptu wedding ceremony with lead singer Molly Rankin belting, "Hey, hey, marry me, Archie." An upbeat love song with hints of outdoor sounds like birds chirping, this song feels like a breath of fresh air, especially if this Valentine's Day is your first with a significant other. Its beautiful, carefree lyricism and use of imagery make this another song to stream this holiday, and you can easily play it anywhere with the person you love. "Everybody Wants to Love You" by Japanese Breakfast For those celebrating Valentine's Day with loved ones or friends instead, that's OK because Japanese Breakfast has just the right

song for you. "Everybody Wants to Love You," released on the band's first record, "Psychopomp," is a shoegaze rock song about simply admiring the people you love in your life. While there are themes of romance, this song represents more of a platonic bond between two people and wanting to do anything to please them. Its overall message is one of passion for the people closest to you, and its repetitive, catchy chorus will get you up and dancing instantly. With hints of psychedelic instrumentation and Michelle Zauner's unique vocal tone, there's no other love song like this one. "Solid" by MUNA Thanks to its smash-hit "Silk Chiffon (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)" back in 2022, MUNA has become a recognizable name in the alternative genre. However, the trio's song "Solid" is an underrated love song about attraction and sensuality. Similar in tone to the rest of the band's self-titled record it's placed on, this song is definitely for those in a longterm relationship. Full of sexual innuendos and a tone full of desire, lead singer Katie Gavin tells listeners how "solid" her relationship is with her partner. She said, "She is not a mirror in what you reflect / Yeah, she is of material substance / She's so, so, so solid (She's so solid, my baby, she's so solid)," and you can feel the sense of

pride beaming throughout the chorus. Overall, if you want to listen to a song that allows you to appreciate your partner to the max this Valentine's Day, "Solid" is the right choice. "Michael" by Remi Wolf "Michael" by Remi Wolf is a powerhouse ballad that grabs on and holds you close as soon as the singer's wails come to the surface. Finding herself in an obsessive state of mind over her lover, Wolf's thoughts become more concerning as she cries out in pain. So deep in love, the singer uses her lyrics and strong soprano to make the song so intriguing that it's almost concerning how much she loves this person, falling deeper into insanity by the end of the track. Purposeful and poignant, Wolf's use of imagery is also heartfelt. It's clear in lines like, "Michael, / Hold my hand and spin me / 'Round until I'm dizzy / Pullin' out my centerfold," as the singer professes her love in such a memorable way that it will make you want to do the same. Whether you have a crush or are in a relationship, this song is one you can relate to this Valentine's Day.





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Media intrusion in the lives of Hollywood stars GRACE KOENNECKE FOR THE POST Since Hollywood was established as a municipality in 1903 and later consolidated into Los Angeles, the emergence of rumors and celebrity obsession has greatly impacted female-identifying artists. From actors like Clara Bow to Gloria Swanson, the 1920s, in particular, saw an increase in celebrity coverage as silent films boomed in Hollywood. News coverage of celebrities, especially at TV and movie premieres, increased during the 1950s and 1960s. Stars like Elvis Presley, Audrey Hepburn and Sidney Poitier rose to fame through consistent media coverage, and reporters became more inquisitive about celebrities’ lives and personas. However, this curiosity led to intrusion. In the late 1950s, paparazzi exploded in Rome after photographers like Tazio Secchiaroli and Marcello Geppetti began to follow celebrities in their daily lives, wanting to capture their informalities. Meanwhile, premieres became bigger spectacles, adding in award shows and red-carpet interviews that we see now at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards. Those new reporting styles allowed news organizations to gain popularity and expand the topics they could report on. But they also served as an extremely harmful development. Celebrity journalism soared, taking inspiration from the early 1700s and 1800s tabloids. During that same period, a writer named James Boswell wrote over 70 columns for the London Magazine, using gossip he heard about celebrities and politicians to gain mass appeal. Boswell and many others who followed him would discuss daily rumors they heard, fabricating lies that would increase readership. By the mid-18th century, sex scandals and relationship drama became common occurrences in many writers’ works, especially as printing became more accessible. The 1980s and 1990s adapted these tabloids into television shows like “The Jerry Springer Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” focusing reporting on pop culture updates and events. Celebrities also started

22 / FEBRUARY 15, 2024

speaking out about their horrible experiences on television shows like these. In one incident, Oprah Winfrey interviewed Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen during an episode of her show. She asked both actresses if they had eating disorders after rumors had circulated about the subject. The Olsens both said they tried “not to read the good or the bad” rumors about themselves, causing Winfrey to then pry about their clothing size. The two actresses both looked extremely uncomfortable, and Winfrey has since received backlash after the interview resurfaced in 2021. Fabrication and misinformation were also used to inform audiences about celebrity news, making it a period that saw invasive behavior increase on a global scale. For example, Princess Diana was hounded by paparazzi after her marriage to Prince Charles in 1981, and it followed her through the news of her husband’s alleged affair. According to TIME, she became the most photographed person in the world, with photographers valuing her photos up to $656,000. The princess’s private life was extremely exposed to the public; in 1993, she sued Mirror Group Newspapers for printing photos of her at the gym. As she became more famous, Princess Diana began confronting paparazzi but her pursuers only used this to their advantage. Some photographers called her outbursts “loon attacks,” using these instances to take photos of her crying or with her head down. She died in 1997 after a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. While the police found the driver guilty of operating the vehicle intoxicated, many people blamed the paparazzi who were chasing the car. Diana’s tragic passing proved how the lines between public and private were intensely blurred for celebrities. Jurors ruled she was “unlawfully killed” by the driver and photographers, and tabloids like The Sun and The Mirror recorded their lowest sales figures since 1962. For decades, women have been the targets of intrusion by the media and public. With the rise of the internet and social

MIA PISHOTTI | FOR THE POST media, people have used these platforms to continue attacking their relationships, friendships, styles and bodies. The 2000s was arguably one of the worst eras of intrusion in entertainment journalism. Celebrities like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and Beyoncé were subjected to hateful comments on not just their talent but more specifically, for breaking gender and societal norms and stereotypes. It also brought about a radical shift from gossip and rumors to conspiracy. Spears, who shaved her head in 2007, was labeled as “crazy” by the media, an unjust reaction based on beauty standards of the time. Lohan’s car was deliberately crashed into in 2005 by Galo Cesar Ramirez, a photographer who had been following her. When the actress wanted to get law enforcement involved, Ramirez rammed into her Mercedes. He was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga was rumored to have a penis after a fan took an inappropriate photo, causing her to deny the claim once major news sources like ABC News took hold of it. The claim also sparked rumors about her sexuality, where the singer said, “I don’t think being gay or being bisexual or being sexually free is anything that should be hidden. Everybody has a right to their secrecy, of course, but I don’t feel particularly shy about it. It is who I am.” Jackson was also frequently questioned about race in the 2000s when many media outlets reported he had bleached his skin. However, his skin changes were due to a skin disorder called vitiligo, which destroys the pigmentation of the skin. In an interview with Winfrey back in the 1990s, the singer denounced rumors that he

was ashamed of his race, saying, “I’m a Black American. I am proud to be a Black American. I am proud of my race, and I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride and dignity of who I am.” Similar to Jackson, Beyoncé’s race became a major motivator for people to attack her music and brand as an artist. As one of the most successful Black female musicians of our time, the media has continued to bully and downplay the singer’s accomplishments. As Jay-Z pointed out this year, she has never won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards despite being the top Grammy winner with 32 awards. The singer has also been subjected to questions about her love life. Her relationship was widely reported on after the release of 2016’s “Lemonade,” which dealt with her husband’s infidelity. With the media producing multiple articles over a rumored divorce, Jay-Z responded to The New York Times by debunking the rumors, revealing that the two both were using their music as therapy to move on from his infidelity. There are countless examples of how the media industry has abused female celebrities, but celebrity coverage is so lucrative that it will likely not end anytime soon. As sensationalism and misinformation continue to be promoted by social media platforms, and as certain members of society keep promoting traditionalist values, successful women will be forced to deal with this kind of scrutiny.


Why do we care who athletes are dating? SA AGS:



aylor Swift has been a household name since her debut album hit the charts. At 26, Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast in history. But what does Brittany Mahomes have in common with them? All three women fall into the WAGS group: wives and girlfriends of athletes. Starting in the early ‘90s, European footballers became some of the most desirable bachelors. With the start of the Premier League in 1992, young athletic men were being signed to play football in multi-million dollar deals. David Beckham’s relationship with his wife, Victoria, was particularly remarkable because she was a member of one of the biggest girl bands in the world, the Spice Girls. Unlike other athletes’ girlfriends, her career was just as intriguing to the tabloids as Beckham’s. At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the term WAGS exploded. Several wives and girlfriends attended the games to support their partners, and their faces appeared all over British magazines. In the weeks following, these women were photographed at luxury stores, lavish restaurants and hotels, big parties and nightclubs. Everyone wanted to know what they were wearing, where they were shopping and how they got their tans so glowy. English tabloids fueled the WAGS phenomenon and people were obsessed with many of the women’s journeys from middle-class nobodies to the women in the arms of professional soccer players. Many WAGS who had their own fame, like Victoria Beckham, Shakira, Alex Morgan, Perrie Edwards and EMMA MCADAMS Charlotte Pirroni, were degraded and overlooked as their partners’ success overshadowed their own. Even though the term has sexist origins, some women have been able to turn their image in the media around. Brittany Mahomes is married to Patrick Mahomes, the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. Often, these athletes want their personal lives to stay relatively private, but social media has changed this. Brittany Mahomes uses Instagram to talk about her life being married to a famous football player. She posts about her kids, soccer and baking. With the help of her athletic husband and former soccer career, she is now starting to model, according to WWD. While she is not quite a household name, many people now know Brittany Mahomes. Taylor Swift’s love life has never been incredibly under-wraps, so the announcement that she and Travis Kelce had been dating in secret surprised both their fan bases, says Independent. Because of her Eras Tour, Swift has been everywhere recently, both figuratively and literally. Now, her fans even get to watch her at football games. Travis Kelce’s fans have been hesitant to accept Swift into the football community. Even though this has been annoying to some, according to HuffPost, people will not stop watching football games because they do not want to see Swift, but Swifties will start watching them for that reason. According to Entertainment Weekly, putting Swift on TV has arguably been the best publicity boost for ESPN in recent years. Simone Biles is an Olympic gold medalist who recently tied the knot with Jonathan Owens, a safety for the Green Bay Packers. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Owens

said that he was the famous one in their relationship, which created a stir on TikTok. Many men and women duetted the video, asking their partners if they knew who Biles was and then who she was married to. Most people knew Biles, but not nearly as many knew Owens. These videos will likely not make people watch more of the Olympics, but there is a good chance that it has made some girlfriends and wives of Packers fans sit down to watch at least a quarter of the game to figure out who Owens is. Like Biles, La La Anthony was famous before she got married to a famous athlete, but it brought her brand no fame. La La Anthony was a big MTV star at the beginning of the 2000s before she got married to Carmelo Anthony, says Stadium Talk. In addition to working for MTV, La La Anthony worked in film and television. The two have since split, but La La Anthony continued to work in film and television even after their divorce. Their tumultuous marriage story was not a huge hit to her career and likely not a publicity stunt, but no one could blame the former WAG if it were. One other issue with WAGS is that they face harsh scrutiny. As previously mentioned, Brittany Mahomes is starting a modeling career. According to Newsweek 90, people wonder if she got these opportunities because of her husband or if she was just a good candidate. If Taylor Swift suddenly became the center of controversy, then Travis’ fans might think she is a bad influence on him and could potentially ruin his image. WAGS and their husbands highlight a glaring issue of self-obsession and gluttony. “Power couples” are held to unrealistic standards of wealth and beauty, which is a hard thing to overcome when celebrities are constantly watched and their privacy is nonexistent. In a way, many WAGS are influencers. Although people may think being married to an athlete would make for a rich, easy life, WAGS share their side of the story with the world. They let us know that they also have real lives and face challenges just like everyone else, says Girls Club. These women sometimes have to uproot their lives, put their careers on hold and watch games where their husbands play potentially life-threatening sports. Some of them have tried to share tips online in an attempt to let other WAGS know that they are not alone. Athletes with more “interesting” lives get more attention in the media. Narratives that engage viewers include sob stories, famous families or relationship drama. The same thing goes for having attractive and interesting partners. When athletes marry or date “attractive” women who are somewhat active in the media and their partners’ lives, audiences like them more. That is what has happened with Taylor Swift – she is an award-winning singer with a young fan base, so they put her on the TV. If these wives are deemed less interesting or attractive than others, then they will likely not be shown on television. The fame that social media is bringing athletes and their families has been both bad and good; some women have been able to steer the term WAGS away from its misogynistic and sexist roots. As women turn it around and let themselves be seen as more than trophy wives, we will see how media and the surrounding stigma start to change.




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