March 2023

Page 1



Cleveland State University’s Arts and Culture Magazine
ملاسلا أدبي ،ةايحلا لثم ءاسنلا عم ( Like Life, Peace Begins with Women)
Page 26
Cael Shaw,

12 Underrated Female Characters in Television and Film by Celeste Zirm

Up-and-Coming Female Authors by Emma Smallwood The Only Major that Matters by Cameron Mays

And the Oscar (Might) Go to... by Andrea Brazis, Jake Ryan

The Namby Pamby & Honeyland at Beachland Tavern by Amanda Cook

(Like Life, Peace Begins with Women) by Cael Shaw


A Humble Plea for a Bagel Shop by Abigail Jarvis

in this issue?
What to
for Women’s History Month by Grace Booze
Praise for Women
Tyler Jefferies Artist Spotlight 6 8 10 12 14 15 Women in College by Halle Elder Someone Like Me by Gabriella Kollar The Culture War is a Privitization Scheme by Riley Roliff 16 18 20 22 24 26 Paws on Campus
Andrea Brazis 28
the Girlies Have their Fun
by Abigail Jarvis
by Sophie Farrar
30 32
ءاسنلا عم ملاسلا أدبي ،ةايحلا لثم


Staff Heads

Cara Robbins Editor-in-Chief

Benvolio Nichols Copy Editor

Megan Mullaly Managing Editor

Abigail Preiszig Online Content Manager

Abigail Jarvis Arts Editor

Sophie Farrar Fashion and Wellness Editor

Riley Roliff Multimedia Manager

Cael Shaw Culture Editor

Emma Smallwood Features Editor

Andrea Brazis Social Editor

Jakob Roberts Art Director

Prathinav Dutta Assistant Art Director


Jakob Roberts

Prathinav Dutta

Gabrielle Wise

Sereen Soki

Naliyah DeJesus

Gabriella Kollar

Clara Watkins

Nico Fierro

Michael Durkin

Writers and Editors

Emma Smallwood

Andrea Brazis

Grace Booze

Benvolio Nichols

Cael Shaw

Abigail Preiszig

Riley Roliff

Sophie Farrar

Cameron Mays

Celeste Zirm

Abigail Jarvis

Amanda Cook

*The content of the Vindicator does not necessarily represent the opinions of Cleveland State University, its students, faculty, or staff: nor does it represent the members of the Vindicator staff or our advisors unless otherwise stated. The editor reserves the right to comment on any issue that affects the student body in general as well as the multicultural community at large. Letters to the editor and other submissions are accepted, however they must have the author’s name, address, major if applicable, and telephone number. All submissions become property of the Vindicator and the Vindicator reserves the right to edit submissions as deemed necessary. Magazine and newspaper theft is a crime; limit one per person.*

I Am Woman Watch Me Grow

That’s right folks, it’s that time of the year again — Women’s History Month.

Despite the fact that I am a woman (descended from a very long line of women, might I add), that certainly doesn’t give me the authority to speak on behalf of all women. And honestly, I think that’s the point — trying to apply a definition to womanhood is hypocritical. The patriarchal constructs of society build their foundations upon trying to define what women are or should be — a Madonna or a whore, a bitch, a trophy wife and golddigger, a feminazi or a bimbo.

Maybe that’s the charm of Women’s History Month. It’s all about the stories and moments from history that feature women existing (and thriving) outside of these labels. Women like Bessie Coleman, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Malala Yousefzai and more are etched into history because they so dynamically changed the game for how women around the world could identify themselves.

At the end of the day, womanhood is about choosing your own identity. Some women take societal expectations meant to weaken them and turn them into foundations of personality, creativity and identity — take makeup and women’s fashion for example. Other women find more strength in personally rejecting the expectations the patriarchy encourages. Similarly, plenty of women have found profound and fulfilling exploration of their gender through the process of motherhood, while a great deal of women find that they are far happier applying their skills and energy to projects and causes equally important to them.

In this issue, there are plenty of stellar articles exploring the wide world of women. In returning contributor Celeste Zirm’s “12 Underrated Female Characters in Television in Film” (page 8), she explores why some of your not-so-favorite characters from recent hit franchises might need to be bumped up further on your list. If you’re looking for some good book recommendations to celebrate the month, take a look at Features Editor Emma Smallwood’s “Up-and-Coming Female Authors” on page 10. And on page 26, Culture Editor Cael Shaw celebrates the amazing Cleveland State women who help ensure a safer campus in the aftermath of Alec Popivker’s harassment towards students.

If I might add my own small bit of advice on womanhood, based on my limited experience: you are the only person who can tell yourself if you are or aren’t a woman. Find what it means to you through self-exploration, trial and error, and pushing boundaries. Wear heels if you find it adds confidence to your stride, and take them off when your feet start to hurt.

Happy reading, and cheers to all the women that helped you get to where you are today.


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SECTION 5 | VINDICATOR PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES Let’s GET Serious ADVENTURE Cho e your Girls Just Want To Have Fun it’s Women’s Wrongs Supporting Women’s Rights and Wrongs Women’s Rights RBG HULU Dolores Youtube $3.99 Period. End of Sentance Netflix Oceans’s 8 HULU + Chicago Set it Off Tubi HBOMAX Thelma & Louise Amazon Prime 9 to 5 HBOMAX WHAT TO WATCH FOR WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH Here is a guide of suggested films to watch for this Women’s History Month and where they are streaming WRITTEN BY Grace Booze DESIGNED BY G abrielle Wise ARTS
Family Night Girls Rule, Boys Drool Women’s LGBTQ+
Paris is Burning HBOMAX But I’m a Cheerleader Paramount + Showtime
Jennifer’s Body HBOMAX Portrait of A Lady on Fire HULU
Brittany Runs A Marathon Amazon Prime Skate Kitchen HBOMAX Bend it like Beckham Disney + Against the Ropes Pluto Homecoming Netflix
League of Their Own Amazon Prime The Roku channel Whip It HBOMAX
Brave Disney+ The joy Luck Club Youtube $3.29
Wonder Woman HBOMAX Real Women Have Curves HULU
Hidden Figures Amazon Prime

12 Underrated Female Characters

in Television and Film

Giving credit where credit is due

Some characters are beloved by all. They impact audiences in profound ways that force viewers to exclaim, “I love them!” But what about the characters whom few consider to be their favorites? The characters who contribute so much to the plot, yet are often overlooked, or worse, downright disliked. In honor of Women’s History Month, here are 12 female characters from popular television and film franchises who are often misunderstood, overlooked, or underrated.

Padme gets very little recognition in the Star Wars franchise, despite being an awesome character. She dedicated her life to democracy, serving from a young age as the queen and senator of her planet. Those who claim she died from sadness are not fully considering the mental health toll of watching everything you’ve fought for fall apart in front of you, along with seeing the person you love become a villain.

Sansa is often disrespected because of her annoying, child-like wishes in the beginning of the series, but Sansa showed some serious character growth. She learned intellectual and political strategies from every person she interacted with, and used these lessons to protect her kingdom and defend her family. She may not have been physically strong, but her inner strength allowed her to survive the series and end up as a queen.

Nani is Lilo’s older sister who steps up as her legal guardian after their parent’s death. In addition to maintaining a house and dealing with Lilo and Stitch’s crazy antics, she also works many hours at different jobs to financially support Lilo and herself. She puts her life on hold to keep her family together and to be the best big sister she can be. She doesn’t get enough credit for the sacrifices and decisions she made to raise her younger sister.

Emily is often regarded as “stuck up” or “snobby,” but in reality she was just doing her job. In order to get the coveted role of assistant to Miranda Priestly, she had to work hard. Surviving in an industry as cutthroat as fashion requires a confidence that can be misconstrued as arrogance. Emily is definitely not the villain, but rather the product of her environment— and she deserves more recognition.

She may be the main character of her movie, but Merida never seems to get any credit as a Disney Princess, despite having a highly empowering story. Merida is fiercely independent and refuses to let her life be decided for her. Despite initially making things worse for her family, she works hard to restore her family and get the freedom she craves.

DunBroch of Merida Brave Daring Stark Sansa Game of Thrones Strategic Charlton Emily The Devil Wears Prada Driven Pelekai Nani Lilo And Stitch Altruistic Amidala Padamé Star Wars Poised
Wise Gabrielle Designer 8 | VINDICATOR
Zirm Celeste Writer ARTS

Perhaps the recent outcry against her new ride at Walt Disney World replacing a classic attraction makes Tiana feel particularly underrated right now. Her story is arguably one of the most relatable Disney Princess stories because she has a goal of opening her own restaurant and worked hard to make that a reality. It’s so refreshing to see a Princess who doesn’t need a man, but rather financial freedom and a place to be creative.

It’s about time Lady Catelyn gets the recognition she deserves. Catelyn defends her children with everything she has, placing family and honor above all else. In fact, if her son Robb had listened to her, the Red Wedding would never have happened. Even in her last moments, she only thought of her family. She really should have been talked about more throughout the series for all the things she did for House Stark.

Donna may be known for her singing and bold fashion choices, but honestly, she is an awesome mom who works hard to give her daughter a good life. She worked all night and day to pay the bills she had to pay as the entrepreneur and business owner of her hotel. She made the best of her situation and overcame a lot of hardship, and she doesn’t get enough credit.

Gloria doesn’t necessarily get credit for overcoming all she has in life. She raised her son, moved to the United States, and tried to give her son a better life, all practically on her own. While during the show we see her as being wealthy and beautiful, it is alluded to in several episodes how hard she worked to get to this position, and those struggles are not acknowledged enough.

For those who’ve only watched the show, Bridgerton, you probably don’t even remember Francesca. Most of the first two seasons she spends off-screen, due to the actress’s scheduling conflicts. Her story in the books, however, is one of overcoming grief and loneliness, and trying to find her place in the world. It’s a beautiful story, and I can’t wait to see how they play it out on screen in the coming seasons.

While none of the “Friends” characters are exactly underrated, Phoebe has a particularly interesting story. We often hear her talk about how her mom died when she was very young. Throughout the series, we learn that she never knew her dad, didn’t finish high school and lived on the streets. Despite all this, she never lets her spirit suffer, and ends up with a career and a great group of friends.

Despite being the leading lady for season two2, Kate wasn’t in much of the promotional content for the show. She is the definition of an older sibling, giving up everything in order to protect her younger sister Edwina from the truth and ensure she has a good life, even when that means putting her own needs aside. She only ever hasd Edwina’s best intentions in mind, even though Edwina does not appreciate it.

Modern Family
of Thrones
Donna Mamma Mia
Vivacious Tiana and the Frog The Princess
Bridgerton Francesca Bridgerton Calculative
Kate Bridgerton Dedicated Buffay Phoebe
Optimistic Pritchett Gloria
Resilient Catelyn


Female authors are taking the literary world by storm in 2023

Women have been changing the literary game for years – like seriously – for thousands of years.

Murasaki Shikibu wrote “The Tale of Genji” over one thousand years ago, which is considered to be the world’s first novel. Jane Austen’s iconic novels of the 19th century set the stage for literary realism, and Mary Shelley is recognised as one of the founders of the science fiction genre. Gertrude Stein’s powerful novels defied social standards and views on femininity of her time period, and Virginia Woolf challenged and expanded the literary modernism movement in the early 20th century. Women have been advancing the novel for as long as books have been around, and they’re not stopping anytime soon. Check out this list of upand-coming female authors who are following in the footsteps of thousands of women before them, creating groundbreaking, revolutionary works of art.

R.F. Kuang

R.F. Kuang released her debut novel, “The Poppy War,” in 2018, and this historical high fantasy novel immediately gained traction for its intricate world-building, complex cast of characters and haunting depictions of real-life events. “The Poppy War” is partially based on the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the story itself is filled with Asian and Chinese influence, giving this grimdark fantasy novel a root in realism. In the years following the release of “The Poppy War,” Kuang published the following two novels in this trilogy, which both received immense accolades. In 2022, Kuang released the thrilling novel “Babel, or the Necessity of Violence,” a scathing criticism of British imperialism and capitalism in the form of a brilliant fantasy story. Kuang’s next release, “Yellowface,” is set to release in 2023, and critics and readers alike cannot wait to see what this new coming author has in store. In the past five years alone, Kuang has left an impact on the fantasy world that is immense and long lasting, and fans of fantasy should follow her work to see what inventive novels she will produce next.

Charmaine Wilkerson

Charmaine Wilkerson has only released one novel to date, but it has made a mark on the literary world. Among some of its marks of honor is that it is a New York Times best seller, Barack Obama included the novel in his top books of 2022, and it is currently being made into a Hulu Original TV show. For those who enjoy realistic fiction or mystery, “Black Cake” should be immediately put on your to-read list. The novel follows a pair of estranged siblings as they struggle to piece their lives and their family’s history back together, after their recently deceased mother leaves them a traditional Jamaican black cake and a life-altering voice recording. This novel tackles a range of social issues, but at its core, it is a novel about culture, family and history. This character-driven novel is an exploration (at times both heartwarming and heart-wrenching) of what forgiveness and identity truly mean. The fascinating characters and plot combined with Wilkerson’s clear prose is a recipe for a fantastic novel, and “Black Cake” delivers. With such a promising debut novel, everyone should look out for — and look forward to — what Wilkerson will tackle next.


India Holton

India Holton has released two novels since 2021, with a third on the way. Holton self-describes her writing as “fuelled by tea, buttered scones, and thunderstorms,” and affirms that she writes books about “unconventional women and charming rouges… think slow burn romance with literal explosions.” Holton’s adventure packed, whimsical novels have been popular with readers who enjoy a good romance, fantasy, or historical fiction novel. Releasing her debut novel, “The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels,” in 2021, Holton’s “Dangerous Damsels” series was off to the races. “The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels” centers on a proper, charming young woman who must work with a crazed pirate to save her beloved aunt- but there is more to her than meets the eye. She is a member of the Wisteria Society, a crime sorority that flies around England blackmailing friends, acquiring treasure, and drinking tea. The following two novels in this series follow a similar premise- the second novel, “The League of Gentlewomen Witches,” centers on a secret league of women skilled in the art of witchcraft, and the third novel, slated to come out in 2023, “The Secret Service of Tea and Treason,” focuses on a secret government intelligence group.

Daphne Palasi Andreades

Daphne Palasi Andreades released her debut novel, “Brown Girls,” in 2022. While Andreades only has one novel under her belt, “Brown Girls” is so beautifully, poetically and thoughtfully written that readers can only wait with bated breath to see what she releases next. “Brown Girls” centers on a group of friends and their immigrant families from Queens, New York, and the trials and tribulations of growing up, especially as women of color. This novel is a love letter to the modern generation of brown girls, as well as an examination of womanhood, race and the intricacies of women of color forging their place in the world. Andreades excels at detailing the setting of this vibrant novel — it doubles as a love letter to Queens, with the city coming alive as you read Andreades’ beautiful prose. This blazingly original debut novel also uses a collective narrative, creating an intimacy between the characters in the novel and the readers, allowing a deeper look into these characters’ feelings, thoughts and loves. With such an enlightening and dynamic debut novel, readers should keep an eye out for what Daphne Palasi Andreades releases next.

MARCH 2023
Women have been advancing the novel for as long as books have been around, and they’re not stopping anytime soon.
“ “

PNK 285 - Producing the Voice Memo Single

Production of a song using the Voice Memo app. Through optimal phone placement, remembering to press record, and conversion to an MP3 file, students will have a high quality Bandcamp single that will be eventually listened to by their peers.

Year 3

PNK 311 - Guitar Workshop

Advanced fundamentals of punk rock guitar playing open to punk majors and music majors alike. Various guitar techniques such palm muting, controlled feedback, and low strap barre chords will be developed and mastered. One-onone instruction with a scene veteran culminates in a final presentation of learned skills. May be repeated up to three times.

PNK 311.5 Bass Workshop

A weeklong afterthought that focuses on identifying the root and playing eighth notes. Course instruction is delivered via YouTube tutorials. Advised not to be repeated more than three times.

PNK 367 - The McMansion Sound Students will begin work on an album that implements the sonic qualities found in the basement studio of upper middle class tract homes. Students will not complete the course with a finished album, rather, a folder of unmixed files condemned to hard drive incarceration. Prerequisites for the course include having a buddy who’s got a setup at the parent’s place.

PNK 395 - Showmanship 3: The Venue Show

Combining the skills developed in PNK 182 and PNK 278 is a capstone course daydreaming the playing of a show in “a real venue”. Much of the course would

be spent in fantasy, hoping to be asked to open for a reunited L.A. hardcore act.

Core classes aside, Punk Studies has the capacity for multi-disciplinary engagement. A course in conjunction with the Economics department could explore the bumming micro-economy. A Political Science and Punk Studies course could introduce the Ramone spectrum of punk politics. The educational potential of Punk Studies is undeniably limitless from a learning perspective and a monetary standpoint. The biggest concern with studying the humanities in college is future job prospects. It should come as great relief to educational institutes and students alike that Punk Studies is unburdened by this concern. Instead, the post-collegiate period for a Punk Studies major is far more fluid but yields a different sort of failure or success. Failure is selling out, typically signified by a law school application. Success is any successful re-engagement with the scene, this time on more favorable terms. A well heeled Punk Studies alumnus might find themselves the frontman of a noise band, the owner of a bar with no bathroom doors, or, if they are truly lucky, the convenience store clerk that doesn’t card.

Punk Studies
(PNK) can be taught anywhere that has a “scene.”

Singing Praise For SingingWomenPraise For Women

Here at the Vindi, we love jamming out to artists of all genres and backgrounds, and this month we are taking the time to spotlight some of the most incredible women in music we can think of. Women and feminine fans are at the epicenter of popular culture, media, and history making performances – and this playlist proves shows that. From modern girl bosses like Kasey Musgraves to powerhouse icons like Cher, this playlist has all the tunes you need to celebrate Women’s History Month.

Ebony Adele On The Cover Of Vogue And British Vogue November 2021 Coup De Main Magazine Check out the playlist here! playlist/4tk4SjUAuMVRx WL6iSn1va?si=996941451e 77451e 14 | VINDICATOR ARTS
Photo credit:
Contributer via Getty Images
ART BY TYLER JEFFERIES @planet33design


A story of education equity through the lens of time.

Women’s place in education, especially higher education, has been a hard fought battle that is still continuing today. In places all around the world, women are working side by side to secure a place in higher education in order to learn, grow and make their mark on society, but the battle for equality in education is far from over.

Women from all over the world have fought and won, or are still fighting these battles for education, but this article will focus on the select history of women in the United States of America’s battle for equality.

In the U.S.A today, around 58% of all undergraduate students are female, according to The National Center for Education Statistics, meaning that women are actually in the majority of college students, but it has not always been this way. For centuries, women tried to gain a place in higher education, but were often banned from universities, or if accepted, would not be granted degrees. However, the tides began to change for American women in the 19th century. Despite this change, the options were still incredibly limited, mostly consisting of two options; a small number of coed institutions and women’s only colleges.

CoEd Institutions

Although it was an action that often saw large amounts of backlash, some universities decided to allow women to attend on a degree path during the early to mid 19th century. The first school to do this was Oberlin University in Ohio which first became a coed institution in 1837, admitting four female students that year. Oberlin also became the first institution to admit Black students, which resulted in the first Black woman, Mary Jane Patterson, to receive a bachelor’s degree in 1862. However, despite Oberlin’s surface level equality, the battle was still not over in this institution for women to be treated as equal to men in the educational setting. For many years after admitting females into the institution, all female students would be dismissed from classes every monday in order to do the male students’ laundry. Despite these challenges, women in this country continued year after year to fight for equality in their education. As the century went on, more and more universities made the jump to being coed, and along with them, introduced female professors that paved the way for younger students. By the start of the 20th century, over half of the universities in the country were admitting women into their programs.

Women from all over the world have fought and won, or are still fighting these battles for education
Mary Jane Patterson, the first black woman to recieve a bachelor’s degree

However, prestigious universities held out much longer and the Ivy League schools did not admit women until well past the 1950’s, over 100 years after Oberlin opened their doors to female students. Male students alongside professors at these universities claimed that their concerns with coeducation were that women were “an unneeded distraction”. There are even claims from this time that undergraduates from Dartmouth hung banners that read, “Better Dead Than Coed”, from their dorm windows when discussions about opening the college to women were occurring.

Women’s College’s

In the early 1800s, the only options for women as far as continued education were “Teacher Schools” that trained women to be primary school teachers. These eventually turned into “Normal Schools” for women and later became women’s colleges. The first Women’s only university was Wesleyan College which opened its doors in 1836. Within another 60 years, 50 more Women’s Only colleges opened in the U.S. While these schools had their benefits for female students, they functioned and were treated as a “less than equal” option when compared to other institutions of higher learning. Historian Helen Horowitz explained that these early women-only colleges were viewed as “dangerous experiments”. The common ideology at this time was that an increased education would push women away from the traditional feminine roles and ideas. This resulted in these schools to be created more like seminaries than traditional colleges at the time. Men’s colleges were modeled as “academic villages” with dorms and classes in separate houses across a campus. However, these women-only colleges were built to keep women contained. Often, everything was in one building, so that the students could be monitored at all times. Improvements from the past had been made, but there was still so much further for women to go to receive the same educational experience as men.

Modern Day

As mentioned earlier, women account for about 58% of undergraduate students in America. This has been the case since the 1980s and has been true since then. However, this success in undergraduate education still does not guarantee equality in education as a whole. Females with a bachelor’s degree still to this day earn significantly less than their equally educated male counterparts. This wage gap has been a source of concerns for many years and there are ongoing efforts to decrease this margin. Women are also often persuaded into certain fields of study and warned against going into the STEM fields because of the difficulty levels associated with these careers. However, people are fighting against

this and are forming organizations at universities across the country that are made to support women in STEM and encourage young students to consider these fields. Another concern is that while females make up a large majority of undergraduates, there is a significant drop in those who pursue graduate degrees as well as women who are actively working in academia. Only around 37% of full-time faculty are female and 27% of women account for tenured faculty. Those numbers drop significantly into the single digits for women of color. Women still have a ways to go to truly receive educational equality, but from the growth that has been witnessed from hard fought battles over the last century, I believe it is fair to say that women will not give up the fight to receive the access to education that they deserve.

Note from the author: The information in this article accounts for females and female presenting students in the U.S.. While I acknowledge transgender and non-binary students as well, there is unfortunately a lack of research and data on individuals outside of the male/female binary, especially when looking into education in the past. For these reasons, these individuals were not mentioned in this article, but it is safe to say that their battle for education is ongoing as well.

“ Women account for about 58% of undergraduate students in America

ME Someone like

The importance of lgbtq representation and why graphic novels are the right medium for the job.

Seeing yourself represented in the media is one of the fundamental components of belonging for people in the 21st century. Unfortunately for many LGBTQ people, this is not reality. Media representation is often rooted in stereotypical or harmful false depictions of LGBTQ people. There is even a trope called “bury your gays” refers to the frequent, eventual death

of LGBTQ characters across all forms of media. While society has made great strides in the past decade, it is still not where it should be. One of the mediums that has really spearheaded inclusivity is graphic novels. Countless examples of graphic novels feature LGBTQ characters, whether or not the story centers around the characters being LGBTQ. These characters and stories not only affirm LGBTQ identities, but also work to bridge the gap between cisgender/heterosexual and LGBTQ readers. While graphic novels are a great learning device, it is their impact on LGBTQ youth that is most paramount. Seeing representation in popular culture can be the difference between life and death for some kids. According to an article from The Trevor Project, “LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers.” The CDC also notes that the prevalence for poor mental health is significantly higher in LGBTQ kids. This is not the result of being LGBTQ, but rather the discrimination and exclusion they face in today’s society. In an article about LGBTQ representation in graphic novels, Dana Simpson, a transgender cartoonist, admits the heartwrenching truth: “If you never see characters like yourself, or if you only see characters like yourself as bit players in some ‘normal’ character’s story, that sends a powerful message. If I had encountered characters in fiction who were anything like me in that way, I might have gotten to be happy a whole

lot sooner than I did.” For many LGBTQ kids and young adults, seeing characters like them is the only solace they get. When LGBTQ characters get their happy endings, it creates hope that LGBTQ people can live fulfilling lives, too.

Graphic novels have spearheaded the movement towards diversity and representation. The stories not only feature gay and lesbian characters, but bisexual, transgender and nonbinary identities as well. Jacqueline Vega argues in “Making the Case for LGBTQ Graphic Novels” that this movement in support of LGBTQ graphic novels will help normalize and reduce alienation of LGBTQ people and their identities. Often children internalize their parents’ opinions, especially when it comes to LGBTQ topics. If their parents say it is wrong, they take that as fact, and never get the chance to form their own opinions. Literature especially has a way of making readers feel empathy for characters that come from backgrounds different than their own. Storytelling has the ability to transcend the most stubborn prejudices, which is crucial for LGBTQ people today. Not only can graphic novels help to destigmatize LGBTQ identities, but they can also be the perfect outlet for dispelling myths and misconceptions about gender identity and sexuality, specifically in English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms. From thinking LGBTQ people are predatory to thinking their identities are all for attention, to thinking queerness is unnatural, lots of myths remain to be dispelled. Currently, LGBTQ topics are not a component in primary education: not typically taught in health class, and even omitted from most history textbooks. Some schools have incorporated LGBTQ topics into their curriculum, but they are considered both progressive and rare. At its core, ELA is about learning to see the world from a different perspective. Avoiding topics and issues,

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki The Backstagers by James Tynion IV, Rian Sygh and Walter Baiamonte

especially ones increasingly relevant to society today, is counterintuitive to the goal of teaching literature. ELA has taken on this job of teaching diverse backgrounds many times, including issues relevant to women and people of color. It makes sense that ELA could take on LGBTQ issues as well, especially because libraries are full of educational and insightful LGBTQ stories.

Vega maintains that graphic novels have the unique ability to enhance understanding due to the visual and textual nature of the medium. Kids are more interested and engaged with graphic novels than chapter novels. Bright colors and illustrations are more appealing than the usual black words on a white page. Despite what some say, these features do not detract any educational value. In fact, they can even make it easier to talk about complex and difficult topics. Literature can show you an LGBTQ character’s life and then encourage you to reflect on the issues the LGBTQ community faces, rather than blatantly asking “what do you think about LGBTQ people?” Instead of LGBTQ topics being taboo, they can be discussed with empathy and educationally accurate statements. The first step to understanding is listening, and literature provides that in a noninvasive way.

But sometimes, when we take one step forward, we take two steps back. One of the issues the LGBTQ community faces is Florida’s HB1557, which has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill proposes a ban on teaching LGBTQ topics from grades K-3. While the ban refers to kindergarten through third grade, it also states that the state education department will decide what is appropriate for all grades above. The contradiction here is that kids are already thinking about gender and sexuality, and some of them are experiencing serious turmoil. The ban would only increase the stigma that makes LGBTQ children feel “different” or “wrong.” The reasoning for the bill is that teaching LGBTQ topics would mean teaching children about sex. But LGBTQ topics are about much more than sex, and not talking about it does not make it go away. Kids may be too young to be thinking about sex, but they are already thinking about gender and who they love. Some kids have

had crushes since preschool, and others may already be questioning their gender. Children are already thinking about these topics and they could avoid so much grief if it were simply talked about. The notion that LGBTQ identities and communities are only about sex is both false and ridiculous. People who are against including LGBTQ content hypocritically cite that “a person’s sex life should be private,” even though heterosexual content is ingrained in society. It does not take much to see the complete double standard. They do not want children to think about gender, but they color code them before they are even born. They do not want children to think about sexual orientation, but there is rarely a G-rated movie without a romance between a girl and a boy. Reducing the LGBTQ community to sex is dismissive and disdainful when the community is about so much more. It is their identity, it is how they love, it is how they dress, it is how they act, it is what they believe. Unfortunately, the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill has already been passed in Florida, but there is still time to stop its spread and continue to provide LGBTQ kids with affirming content.

Despite being reduced to sex by many, there are graphic novel authors and illustrators who write LGBTQ books specifically for kids that are G-rated and age-appropriate. Shannon Watters, co-creator of the “Lumberjanes” series (which features two young girls who are dating) states: “We thought about what is an age-appropriate crush or romance at that age. You hold hands and you tell each other secrets and you want to hang out with each other all the time and you put your head on each other’s shoulder and you give each other furtive looks. That’s a universal experience, whether you are straight or queer.”

With the creators in the game right now, the future looks bright for LGBTQ representation in media despite the obstacles in the way. Watters puts it simply. “I want kids to see characters like Mal and Molly and say ‘I can be happy living my truth,’ and have that be once again just a fact. The fact of these characters’ happiness, of these characters being accepted for who they are, is so immensely important.” Change is a long process, but there are more people now than ever on the side of the LGBTQ community.

“ “
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel Lumberjanes by Stevenson, Ellis, Watters, and Allen PHOTO CREDIT GOOGLE IMAGES
But LGBTQ topics are about much more than sex, and not talking about it does not make it go away.
“ “
When LGBTQ characters get their happy endings, it creates hope that LGBTQ people can live fulfilling lives, too.


With hundreds of thousands of lives uprooted, over a thousand deaths and hundreds of billions of dollars in damage, hurricane Katrina took no prisoners. As the world looked upon New Orleans in horror, one man saw an opportunity. “This is a tragedy,” wrote famed economist Milton Friedman in the Wall Street Journal. It is also an opportunity to radically reform [New Orleans’] educational system.

By radical reform, Friedman meant privatization. Like hawks to prey, a score of billionaire-backed right-wing think tanks descended upon the ailing city to carry out Friedman’s plan. With the support of President George W. Bush, New Orleans’ public school system was almost completely replaced with charter schools, publicly funded but privately run institutions, before much of the low-income population could return from exile. Teachers unions were scrapped and most of its members fired. The school board was disbanded, and all public accountability disappeared.

Katrina accomplished in a day… what Louisiana school reformers couldn’t do after years of trying...

said an article from the right-wing think tank American Enterprise Institute.

For a long time, wealthy school reformers have been hard at work trying to hack away the United States public school system. Their aim has been to institute charter schools, which are publicly funded and privately managed, and voucher systems, where the state supplies families with vouchers which can be used like coupons on private schools. They

are regularly stymied by the immense popularity of public schools, which is shown by repetitive failures of privatization schemes at the ballot box. To circumvent this popularity, reformers need a crisis, a hurricane of panic to cloak their agenda. Enter: the culture war. Public schools are devious factories indoctrinating innocent children with race hatred and anti-americanism, grooming them behind their parents backs into questioning their natural gender identities and aggressively cancelling anyone that questions their woke agenda. Turn on any conservative television show, podcast, news site, facebook group or even open the op-ed page of the New York Times and this is what you will see.

Central to the culture war and school privatization movement is the interconnecting web of think tanks and organizations bankrolled by a handful of right-wing billionaires. The think tanks, including The Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the State Policy Network (SPN) and its 65 state-specific affiliates, the Manhatten Institute for Policy Research and more give an official and non-partisan veneer to propaganda. The think tanks directly connect with legislators by supplying lavish donations, holding excessive banquets, writing model legislation and providing briefs on issues that further the interests of their donors. They connect with the public by supplying toolkits to help parents confront local school boards and making media appearances. The organizations, such as Moms for Liberty, Independent Women’s Forum and Parents Defending Education, mobilize individuals into activism by supplying scripts for public comment at school board meetings, providing activist trainings, making media appearances that appear to give a grassroots veneer to the culture war, and presenting a platform at events for pro-privatization politicians and donors to spread their message.

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research contributor

“ “
Inside the billionaire plot to overthrow public education

Christopher Rufo stated in a speech at Hillsdale College, a conservative private school bankrolled by pro-privatization right-wing billionaires, that in order “to get to universal school choice [another word for charter schools and voucher programs], you really need to operate from a premise of universal public school distrust.” With articles like “Time for the school choice movement to embrace the culture war”, “Empowering parents with school choice reduces wokeism in education” and “School choice: Protecting parental rights, resolving curriculum wars, and reducing inequality”, the Heritage Foundation regularly connects the two topics. The annual Moms for Liberty summit features the heavy hitters of both the culture war and school privatization movements. The 2022 summit featured school choice activists slandering public schools as “maoist thought reform prisons”, former education secretary Betsy Devos calling for the abolition of the Federal Education Department she once ran, former HUD secretary Ben Carson advertising his “Little Patriots” curriculum and Florida Senator Rick Scott calling for attendees to run for their local school boards. Attendees also awarded Florida governor Ron Desantis with a “liberty sword” for his support of “parents rights.”

Another central player is Hillsdale College, a private conservative christian school funded by the same right-wing billionaires behind the previously mentioned think tanks and organizations. Larry Arnn, the president of the college and a board member of The Heritage Project, led the Trump Administration’s 1776 commission. The commission sought to create a “patriotic curriculum” in response to the New York

Times’ 1619 Project, which they smeared as racist and anti-American indoctrination for examining the role of anti-Black racism in U.S. society. The college is also involved in building charter schools across the nation. Early last year, Tennessee governor Bill Lee announced plans to partner with Hillsdale College to launch up to 50 charter schools in the state. Lee said the schools would use the 1776 curriculum to foster “informed patriotism” and combat “antiamerican thought.”

The utilization of racism to manufacture consent for school privatization hearkens back to the 1950s. After the supreme court struck down racial segregation in public schools through its 1954 ruling Brown v. Board of Education, Virginia began giving vouchers to families which could be used on private schools. The available private schools accepted only white students, leading to a system where black students were either stuck in severely underfunded public schools, or had no accessibility to school at all. Virginia became a blueprint for the rest of the south, leading to over 200 private segregated academies popping up throughout the region by 1969.

“Simply setting up voucher programs isn’t their ultimate goal,” said Charles Siler, former lobbyist and PR person for State Policy Network-affiliate Goldwater Institution, in an interview with the Washington Post. “’s just the current next step towards their ultimate goal…They want the weakest and leanest government possible in order to protect the interests of a few wealthy individuals and families who want to protect their extraction of wealth from the rest of us.”

Many think tanks, organizations and individuals involved make direct connections between the culture war and the privatization of public schools.
“ “ THEVINDI.COM | 21 MARCH 2023

“And the Oscar (might) go to....”

Nominations for Best Picture:

“All Quiet on the Western Front”

“AVATAR: The Way of Water”

“The Banshees of Inisherin”


“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

“The Fabelmans”


“Top Gun: Maverick”

“Triangle of Sadness”

“Women Talking”

Nominations for Actor in a Leading Role:

Austin Butler Elvis

Colin Farrell The Banshees of Inisherin

Brendan Fraser The Whale

Paul Mescal Aftersun

Bill Nighy Living


for Actor in a Supporting Role:

Brendan Gleeson The Banshees of Inisherin

Brian Tyree Henry Causeway

Judd Hirsch The Fablemans

Barry Keoghan The Banshees of Insiherin

Ke Huy Quan Everything Everywhere All At Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once” is named 20 times in this.

**this article may contain spoilers for Oscar-nominated movies**

2022 was a year filled with extraordinary movies– and some, just ordinary.

Nominations for Actress in a Leading Role:

Cate Blanchett TÁR

Ana De Armas Blonde

Andrea Riseborough To Leslie

Michelle Williams The Fablemans

Michelle Yeoh Everything Everywhere All At Once

Our prediction

Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn in “Everything Everywhere All At Once”


Michelle Yeoh gives a well-rounded performance as Evelyn, accurately portraying a wide range of emotions while acting alongside her co-stars. She quite literally does everything, and it’s all done very well. This is by no means a simple or conventional role, but she brings it to life, giving Evelyn her own pizzazz. Plus, how many other performances can you think of where the actor switches between three languages throughout the film?

Our prediction

“Everything Everywhere All at Once”


“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is like nothing that’s ever been seen before in cinema. It’s a chaotic, stressful, emotional movie that evokes one too many tears. The cast is filled with memorable actors, all of whom bring a special performance to a complicated movie. Notably, the editing of this movie is phenomenal and we certainly can’t disregard the fact that the editors were self-taught, learning from YouTube clips. Truly, this film is hard to capture in all its glory, but please trust us when we say it’s an honest-to-God great movie that will undoubtedly be the best picture of the year.

Our prediction

Colin Farrell as Pádraic Súilleabháin in “The Banshees of Inisherin”


Colin Farrell has a history of being phenomenal in every role he lands, and “The Banshees of Inisherin” is no exception. This movie holds darker tones and a deeper message than other nominated films of the year; Farrell is composed, adding a lot of character to a fairly somber part. You can feel every negative yet realistic emotion between him and Brendan Gleeson (Colm Doherty). “The Banshees of Inisherin” is an unconventional movie and Ferell’s unique performance shines through.

Our Prediction

Ke Huy Quan- “Everything Everywhere All at Once”


Every movie’s characters need depth. With Waymond Wang, Ke Huy Quan gives the performance of a lifetime. I don’t think of him as an actor playing a role, even now, weeks after having initially watched the film. I think of him as Waymond, the lovable husband and father who wants what is best for his family. Or, in some cases, the multiversal secret agent bent on stopping the evil Jobu Tupaki. Ke Huy Wang will pick you up, break you down, and give you a big hug to cheer you up when it’s all said and done. A welldeserved nomination.


Nominations for Actress in Supporting Role:

Angela Bassett Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Hong Chau The Whale

Kerry Condon The Banshees of Inisherin

Jamie Lee Curtis Everything Everywhere All At Once

Stephanie Hsu Everything Everywhere All At Once

Our prediction

Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”


We would be lying if we didn’t note that we went back and forth for hours between Angela Bassett and Stephanie Hsu for best supporting actress. In “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Stephanie Hsu puts on a well-rounded, emotional performance as Jobu Tupaki; her character development and personal antics only improved it. However, Angela Bassett, despite her shorter time on screen, puts on a powerful performance — the kind that sticks with you. She has a way of connecting with the audience, making them feel every heartbreaking emotion, every enraged moment that Queen Ramonda feels — and that is powerful.

Nominations for Animated Feature Film:

“Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio”

“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”

“The Sea Beast”

“Turning Red”

Nominations for Cinematography:

“All Quiet on the Western Front”

“Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths”


“Empire of Light” “TÁR”

Nominations for Music (Original Score):

“All Quiet on the Western Front” Volker Bertelmann


“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Our prediction

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”


There’s phenomenal options for this category — “Pinnochio” won a Golden Globe, and “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” has glowing reviews from every major and minor movie critic across the globe. However, we think that “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” will take the title. Reviews have considered it “wholesome, heartfelt,” and honestly, it has no right being this good. I mean, come on: this is the Shrek universe that we’re talking about. Why is this silly movie about a cat with a sword making us tear up? Because it’s amazing and one of the best movies of last year, animated or not. That’s why

Our prediction

“All Quiet on the Western Front”


How do you relay the horrors of war? You show them. In “All Quiet on the Western Front,” cinematographer Justin Friend shows us up close and personal shots of death and destruction. The terror reflected in the eyes of the soldiers is horrifying in a way that one would only think possible from photographs of real war. The contrast between young boys, eager to fight for the glory of their nation, and grizzled men worn down from the years of close quarters trench invasions and seemingly infinite, life-threatening sprints across no man’s land, will stick with viewers long after the credits roll. That is due in no small part to the cinematography.

Our prediction

“Babylon,” Justin Hurwitz

Justin Hurwitz

Carter Burwell

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” Son Lux

“The Fabelmans”

John Williams


There’s something mesmerizing and addictive about jazz music — the swing, the tempo, the trill of notes followed by octave movements and staccatos. A whole new feeling emerges when rock ‘n’ roll riffs are added to these upbeat, fast-paced tunes. This is the kind of music that gets you on your feet, even at the crack of dawn. This isn’t Justin Hurwitz’s first time working with director Damien Chazelle, either. Their previous and most popular production, “La La Land,” earned glowing reviews for the tunes and legato sounds performed in the movie. We have no doubt that “Babylon’’ will follow in its footsteps, earning the title of best original score.

How do you relay the horrors of war? You show them. In “All Quiet on the Western Front,” cinematographer Justin Friend shows us up close and personal shots of death and destruction


A concert review of three Cleveland bands

If you weren’t at the Beachland Tavern on Saturday, Feb. 12, let me set the stage for you. With a capacity of less than 150, you’re in for an intimate show. You’ll be greeted by friendly staff and you can eat some delicious food between sets. The room is dimly lit to let the stage lights shine. But enough about the venue — let me introduce you to Honeyland, the Cleveland locals who opened the show. Their upbeat tempo and energetic stage presence got the crowd going from the start. The band was formed by Evelyn Lindrose, Andi Chakraborty, Seth Bennett, Alex Scalzo and Ben Bildstein in the summer of 2021. The highlight of their time together so far was one of the first gigs the fall of that same year. Being “one of a million acts on the bill,” Lindrose said, the night brought them closer together than ever before.

The main act of the night, The Namby Pamby, cooled things down with their smooth, melodic tunes. With the stage covered in a soft blue light, it was hard to resist swaying along to the moody music. The threepiece made up of siblings McKenna and Emily Parks and longtime friend Payton Knerr came from Fort Wayne, Indiana to tour their November 2022 debut album, “Marketplace.” Vocalist McKenna has a way of pulling on the audience’s heartstrings with her emotional yet relatable lyrics. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the night was when she stood alone plucking her guitar while her bandmates took a seat on the stage. While the phrase “namby pamby” means “without strength or courage,” I’d have to say this act represents the contrary with McKenna’s vulnerable lyrics and unique sound.

The show was wrapped up with another Cleveland based act, Honey Pocket (not pictured). Consisting of brothers Alex and Nick Vihtelic, along with their friends Brett Korsok and Harrison Brill, the selfdefined “Lake Erie Surf Punk” band brought the energy back up to 11 as they shredded the night away. By the end of the night, my ears were ringing but I couldn’t complain because the show was so much fun. I’d highly recommend checking out all three acts, especially if you want to get ahead of the bandwagon.



Photo 1: Seth Bennett, guitarist of Honeyland

Photo 2: Evelyn Lindrose, singer of Honeyland

Photo 3: Andi Chakraborty, bassist of Honeyland

Photo 4: Payton Knerr, drummer of The Namby Pamby

Photo 5: McKenna Parks, vocalist and guitarist of The Namby Pamby



ملاسلا أدبي ،ةايحلا لثم ءاسنلا عم ملاسلا أدبي ،ةايحلا لثم ءاسنلا عم
life, peace begins with women…”

*Content warning: Islamophobia, racism, sexism

For at least the last year and a half, journalists on Cleveland State’s campus have covered the presence and ill effects of Cleveland Heights resident Alexander Popivker on our campus. Their “saga” came to a peak within the last few months, as reports have come in that Popivker allegedly came to people’s private places of work, using duct tape on the CSU fountain, and the now-infamous alleged theft of the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) student organization banner from the Student Center. The CSU Cauldron Newspaper reported on Jan. 25 that Popivker admitted to stealing the SPHR banner on his public Instagram account, a statement that he would almost completely replicate in his Persona Non Grata hearing Feb. 1 of this year.

Over the summer, I can report that Popivker repeatedly contacted me on social media. His rhetoric, in my opinion, was disrespectful and antagonistic. I repeatedly told him to leave me alone until I decided to block him. I have learned that Popviker did the same thing to many CSU students, especially the women he targeted in-person on our campus. In the fall, prior to President Bloomberg’s Veterans Day event, Popivker and an unknown CSU student used duct tape on the CSU fountain and attempted to label the university as antisemitic. Over winter break there were reports of Popivker continuing to contact students on social media, along with reports of Popivker even appearing at CSU students’ private places of work. This spring, Popivker came to our campus every Wednesday to spread his ideas and argue with students, particularly Muslim women.

It is because of this radical and dangerous rise in activity, paired with other elements including pressure from the CSU Cauldron and six key women on campus that the University took action. I am proud to say that campus is a little bit safer and a lot more welcoming because of the work put in by the “Power Six.” On Feb. 2, the University banned Popivker for the theft of the banner and hoisting a flag on University infrastructure, among other things.

I had the privilege to sit down for a conversation with Student Government Association (SGA) President and SPHR Treasurer Nina Faisal, activist and CSU Cauldron contributor Victoria Fields, SPHR President and CSU Cauldron contributor Haneen Hamideh, SPHR Vice President Fatima Abuabsa, SPHR Secretary Summer Husein and SPHR Media Coordinator and CSU Cauldron contributor Amina Hamdan, to chat with them about their harrowing feats.

Each of the “Power Six” had disrespectful and hateful interactions with Popivker on our campus dating back to three years ago. Through investigation and conversation with CSU Office of Institutional Equity, Popivker would wrongly label CSU students “terrorists” on social media and even dox these students to open them up to more hate from the online community.

*The following questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity*

In our conversation, President Faisal informed The Vindicator of the nature of Popivker’s harassment on campus. Faisal stated: “He began stalking me on social media… [he] reached out to the department where I work and told them that I shouldn’t be involved in SGA because I am Palestinian … one time in particular I left the library and, unprovoked, he called me a terrorist. I had not even said anything to him to provoke that kind of behavior.”

I watched him chase these women across the plaza. I saw the fear in their eyes when he would shout terrible things at them. “
The motivated women behind the push for a welcoming campus

Fields highlighted a difference between free speech and hate speech. She said, “What compelled me to stand up was his targeting of visibly Muslim women. I watched him chase these women across the plaza. I saw the fear in their eyes when he would shout terrible things at them.”

When I asked Faisal why she thinks that the majority of people who worked hard to make campus safer — the “Power Six” — are women, she said: “I feel like in this situation, women are more targeted. Especially Muslim women who wear hijabs or headscarves … The Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights board are all women as well.”

When asked the same question, Fields highlighted that “the men on campus tended to counter-protest against [Popviker] in the moment — the women did as well but tended to bring that energy to the administration to demand change and protection for a safer campus.”

Working through bureaucracy is tough. It is especially tough when you get “the Cleveland State Shuffle,” where one administrator puts you in touch with someone else, who puts you in touch with someone else, and so forth in what feels like a doom loop of “we’re looking into it.” I asked Hamideh about working through a bureaucracy like this and she said, “You can’t be ignored forever … so as long as you continue to use your voice and get others to share their experience as well, something has to change.”

I also had the privilege to talk about wading through bureaucracy with Husein, who stressed that, “If you are standing up for what you believe in and what is right and you feel unsafe in a certain manner … no one is going to shut you down. And if someone tries, open the next door and walk through it.”

“Politics aside, it was about safety,” said Abuabsa. “I want to focus on a well-rounded subject where safety on campus is at the forefront, it’s more important to emphasize … Safety on campus is something that the school should assure regardless of political or religious views.”

With the weather getting nicer and the warmth returning to Northeast Ohio, we will start to see other people come to our campus who might preach hate or target students for their identities or religions. Hamdan gave this advice to the student body. “It is important to have patience, when you interact with people who are visibly angry or upset then you are just adding fuel to the fire. The best thing to do is to just walk away from them because you are taking away their power. The longer you stay around them and the more you interact with them the more likely they are to keep coming back to campus.”

But making our campus safer was not a fight restricted to women. Some other notable students that the “Power Six” felt deserved recognition include the editor-in-chief of CSU newspaper The Cauldron, Jaden Stambolia. Through his leadership,The Cauldron put Cleveland State’s administration under pressure to make positive change for our community. He also made the decision to let Cauldron contributors continue to write about the Popivker saga under the alias “CSU Cauldron,” so no individual student can be targeted.

When I reached out to Stambolia he said, “Once I became aware of what Alec Popivker was doing to Palestinian and Muslim students at CSU, I believed it was The Cauldron’s duty to make the campus community aware of his actions and to report on the administration’s handling of the situation.

You can’t be ignored forever … so as long as you continue to use your voice and get others to share their experience as well, something has to change “

Our platform was needed to give a voice to the voiceless. I’m proud of The Cauldron’s coverage because Palestinian rights are human rights. The Cauldron will be a platform to ensure all students feel safe at CSU.”

The “Power Six” believe that the Muslim Student Association (MSA), SGA, the CSU Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the CSU Office of Institutional Equity all deserve recognition for taking a stand against hate.

Hamideh told me that film and media arts student Illan Cardenas-Silverstein deserved recognition. In my talk with Cardenas-Silverstein, he expressed his concern with Popivker being the dominant Jewish voice on campus. “To the students of CSU, I am sorry he had to come … my family came here fleeing hatred and violence in the 1930s and 40s. They sought refuge here in the same way many Muslims are today. They don’t want to go, but they have to. Judaism, to me, has always been about acceptance and tolerance. I want everyone to know that we are an open, loving and accepting faith that has been at the forefront of civil rights for many, many years.”

The Popivker saga was emotional, complicated and full of drama. More importantly, it helped many students find their voice. The “Power Six” took a stand for what they believed in: a safer campus community. Many students believe that campus is now more welcoming, accepting and safe. Unfortunately, each of the “Power Six” believe that their struggle did not set a precedent on our campus.

They are, however, hopeful that the university learned from this ordeal. Hamideh said, “I hope it set a precedent. I hope that it set a precedent for the students as well. I hope they know and feel more comfortable to use the media and lift other student’s voices in any future instance of harassment.”

It is through my talks with Hamdan, Abuabsa, Fields, Cardenas-Silverstein, Husein, Faisal, Stambolia, and Hamideh that I am now able to draft this letter to the student body. The following letter is a culmination of my own work, paired with the advice and emotions from the brave students who used their voice to make campus safer.

To the CSU Student Body,

When dealing with bigotry or hatred of any kind, anywhere… do not back down. Use your voice and not your fists, stand up and do what is right. If you are hurting from hateful rhetoric on or off campus just know that you are not alone. Your voice may not be the loudest but it becomes harder to ignore when there is a groundswell of people taking a stand. To those students who were afraid to use their voice, we understand and we are here for you. Haneen Hamideh and Amina Hamdan both stressed that there are resources available to each of you both on and off campus for dealing with stress or anxiety. The biggest resource, however, will be your fellow students. We are all in this together, and we should all be working together.

If you were not hurt but you saw the pain in the eyes of those who were… stand up and be an ally. Fields told me that “good allyship is not speaking for others but, rather, amplifying their voices. Good allyship is not speaking over someone or for them but with them.” Stand up, use your voice to uplift everyone. “Lift every voice and sing.”

I am proud of the student body’s resolve and passion for campus safety. Philosopher Karl Popper is accredited with the discovery of the paradox of tolerance, which is the idea that a tolerant community must be intolerant of intolerance. That is exactly what our student body stood for and we were successful. Thank you all.

Our Viking community will never stand with or for hatred. We stand to protect our fellow Vikings with compassion, intellect and pride.


P.S. Throughout the interview and writing process, I came across an account on Instagram with the tag @nina_faisal_fanpage. I took the time to ask Faisal about her seemingly growing fanbase and she informed The Vindicator that once that account reaches 100 followers she will follow it. To whoever runs the Nina Faisal Fanpage, we see you, we hear you, keep up the good work!


Paws On Campus! Paws On Campus! Paws On Campus! Paws On Campus!

From the day our four-legged friends stepped foot on our campus, they’ve been loved and adored by everyone. Rune and Thor are brother yellow lab therapy dogs from Lewis Center, Ohio, owned and cared for by CSU’s Police Department (CSUPD). These two have had their fair share of public appearances at CAB events, athletic games and meets and other random places on campus throughout the week. Rune is currently partnered with CSUPD officer Toni Jones and Thor is partnered with CSUPD officer Thomas Lear.

Rune is what some might call the “day guard,” as he makes his campus appearances during the morning and early afternoon. Thor is the “night guard,” he makes his appearances in the evenings, when campus is a little less crazy.

The demand for mental health counseling on campuses is constantly increasing and therapy dogs seem to be an alternative solution.

On average, there are about 300 law enforcement agencies in the nation that include therapy dogs into their programs. Research shows that therapy dogs have many positive effects on people including enhancing socio-economic development, reducing stress and anxiety and improving energy levels, among many other things. Simply petting a dog has been shown to decrease blood pressure and heart rate, as well as lower levels of stress hormones and increase levels of oxytocin. “Dogs offer a unique type of social support, as they can provide unconditional affection in a way that humans sometimes cannot,” said Lauren Powell, a postdoc at the School of Veterinary Medicine, in an article by Penn Today. Therapy dogs offer a variety of cognitive, socioemotional and learning benefits for students across the United States.


The mere presence of therapy dogs in a classroom setting may improve levels of concentration, relaxation and motivation, creating effective displays of learning.

Interacting with therapy dogs can assist with problem-solving and reading skills, as well as memory. Reading aloud to therapy dogs is a beneficial method for children to feel more comfortable and gain some experience. According to the website Weareteachers, therapy dogs not only help children with their literacy skills, but they also give them a chance to connect with other students, helping social-emotional learning as well.

Socio-Emotional Effects:

Therapy dogs are friendly companions and listeners that can easily become a friend to young children, increasing self-confidence and lowering aggressive tendencies in them.

“The NIH study states that interacting with a therapy dog has a “social catalyst” effect, which leads to “increased stimulation of social behavior,” says Elizabeth Mulvahill contributing editor of the website Weareteachers,

“The relationships between the dogs and students help develop trust in children, and such children are also more likely to develop a broader capacity for empathy,” says an unidentified author of an article by Alliance of Therapy Dogs.

Cognitive Effects: In spring of 2022, Cleveland State made history.
” “
There’s something extra special about Rune and Thor.

Therapy dogs shouldn’t be confused with service dogs as there’s a distinct difference between the two. Service dogs typically assist individuals with specific disabilities, such as visual impairment or seizure disorders. They are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and their work and services directly correlate with their patient/handler. Service dogs are permitted to enter most public spaces, under the protection of ADA.

Contrastingly, therapy dogs offer support and a sense of calmness and use social instincts to improve overall mental health and well-being. They are typically pets and offer comfort to individuals in places such as nursing homes, retirement facilities and hospitals. Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs aren’t allowed in many public spaces unless they’re given a specific invitation.


A glaring difference between service and therapy dogs is the level of access they each have to public spaces. For example, pet friendly hotels aren’t allowed to charge a guest extra for bringing a service dog with them, and hotels that prohibit pets aren’t allowed to deny access to service dogs or separate them from their owner. However, pet friendly hotels may charge an extra fee to guests bringing a therapy dog with them, and hotels that prohibit pets are allowed to deny access to therapy dogs.

You might wonder why every college and/or university doesn’t implement a therapy dog program. Unfortunately, a few setbacks and concerns have stopped schools and universities from joining these programs now or in the future. The first concern is cost. Training and good maintenance must be

considered prior to joining a therapy dog program. Both the dog and its handler need to be trained and the dog must remain healthy. Additionally, cooperation and assistance from administration and staff is essential, as well as making sure that the dog is still being treated ethically and is not being overworked in any setting. Frontiers notes, “a lack of knowledge as well as resistance amongst other staff due to various reasons during the phases of therapy dog planning and implementation is also another challenge which handlers need to navigate.”

A second concern is allergies. Many people are mildly to severely allergic to dog fur. Having therapy dogs frequently in a school or college setting could disrupt their quality of learning. A third concern –and a pretty common one – is sanitation. It’s often insinuated that dogs may carry disease or illness that may be transferred to humans or other animals. But do these risks outweigh the plethora of benefits that therapy dogs offer? Only time will tell.

Therapy dogs themselves have many positive effects on people. However, there’s something extra special about Rune and Thor. Rune and Thor have bridged a gap between students, peers and CSUPD. Having these two lovable furballs around campus has undoubtedly increased serotonin levels and given students an opportunity to interact with both the dogs and their handlers.

Rune and Thor also serve as “placeholders” for some students who may be homesick or missing family or pets. These dogs offer a sense of calm and reassurance. They create a sense of belonging in communities and schools alike.

The implementation of therapy dogs at CSU has been a wonderful way to bring together the campus community and create an inexplicable level of joy. Rune and Thor have made an important impact on CSU and have certainly lived up to their namesake “man’s best friend.”

These dogs offer a sense of calm and reassurance. They create a sense of belonging in communities and schools alike. ”
Photo credit: Cleveland State University Flickr website.


Girls run the world. No really, they do, and not just because Beyoncé says so. For years, teenage girls have pioneered what is perceived as “cool” in our society. The music we are listening to, the clothes we are wearing and the movies we are watching can all be tied back to teenage girls. Even before the fangirl Tumblr days of 2014, teenage girls have been the rulers of pop culture, and they continue to remain in reign today, cultivating cultural movements through trends on TikTok. From the Beatles to One Direction, teenage girls have the power to launch anyone and anything they deem fit to stardom.

And yet, simultaneously, society has continually ridiculed teenage girls and their interests. Continuously, the interests of teenage girls are diminished to things that shouldn’t be taken seriously, simply because they are liked by teenage girls. At the same time, the girls are called crazy, immature and silly for the passion that ignites their interests. This hatred goes as far as degrading the artists and people behind the interests simply because their fan base consists of teenage girls. Musicians such as Taylor Swift and media such as romance movies have been dismissed and disregarded because of their appeal to teenage girls. Hatred towards Swift exceeds her fan base as well, rooting itself in the

fact that she got her start as a teenage girl herself. But what did teenage girls ever do to deserve such formidable force against them?

It comes down to the inherent misogyny that society thrives on. We are taught from birth, through the systems that surround us, the lie that women are lesser than men. The roots of this untruth are so intrinsically intertwined within our society that we sometimes don’t even notice them. But when you begin to look slightly below the surface level, the misogynistic underbelly of American society is easily revealed. Think briefly about the interactions women have daily and the hoops we have to jump through to get through our days. It goes without saying that it’s hard to be a woman in the U.S. with the way society is pitted against us from birth.

Now, we can’t tackle the patriarchy and solve all our societal issues by simply respecting teenage girls and their interests. But we can certainly change the narrative around them by doing so. It’s undeniable that a positive change can be made by treating teenage girls with kindness and common courtesy. It’s time to stop hating teenage girls and everything they like, and start respecting them for the culture cultivators and humans they are.

I’m begging society to let the girlies have their fun! Please, let teenage girls express their enthusiasm for the things they love. Think of how much duller

It’s time to stop hating things because teenage girls like them.
PHOTOS BY Raphael Lovaski Nico Fierro

From The Beatles to One Direction,

our life would be without the fierce fervor of a teenage girl. Beyond that, think of how different our world would be without them! For example, would we have history-making, generation-defining musicians like Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish without them? I think it’s safe to say no, considering that they began their careers as teenage girls themselves.

Can we simply let people like what they like without brutally obliterating them with harsh criticism? There is so much hatred already in the world — why must we start to drag down the things that people love? It doesn’t make you any cooler or more mature to hate something just because it is liked by a lot of people or a certain demographic. It just makes you look small-minded and, honestly, kind of lame.

Obviously, people are allowed to have different tastes. We all like what we like. I’m not insisting that you should devote your life to worshipping Emma Chamberlain or only listening to BTS. However, I am asking you to self-reflect and make sure that the reason you don’t like something isn’t merely because a bunch of teenage girls do. Not a fan of pop music because you prefer a heavier sound? No worries — to each their own! Not a fan of pop music because it’s primarily liked by teenage girls? Not cool.

The notion to respect others’ interests extends to all ages of life. No matter who you are or how old you are, you should be considerate to those younger or older than you and what they like. If you are a teenage girl, don’t discount something just because your parents like it. If you’re a parent, don’t discredit your kids’ interests in certain musicians or movies just because you want to feel like a superior adult that is above those things. Expanding our interests beyond the boxes we put ourselves in can allow us to learn new things about ourselves and others.

The time of overlooking teenage girls and their cultural impact is over. The next time you hear a teenage girl raving about her favorite TV show, movie or musician, online or in-person, try listening! They might just be setting the stage for pop culture’s next biggest thing. Or, who knows, you might just discover your next favorite thing as well.

Author Sophie Farrar poses in her merchandise for Harry Styles and One Direction in front of her posters.
“ “ MARCH 2023 THEVINDI.COM | 33
teenage girls have the power to launch anyone and anything they deem fit to stardom.


Hear me out — downtown Cleveland needs a bagel shop

We need a bagel shop.


Every great city in America has a bagel shop. New York is famous for its bagels — you head into a classic Jewish deli or a bodega and you feel like you’re home. Well, maybe if your home is like “hurry the f*** up, what kind do you want, you need a schmear of cream cheese, hey can’t you tell I’m working here, here you go, shut up and have a nice day.” Ahh, New York. That is exactly the kind of hard determination and passion for bagels we need in this town.

You may be thinking, Abigail, we already have a bagel shop in Cleveland— the lovely local Cleveland Bagel Company, with multiple locations around the city! This is true and you’re absolutely right. But it is essential to me, and all bagel-less CSU students, to have one closer to our campus.

This is my opportunity to be heard and I will not be silenced on this issue any longer. We need a bagel shop downtown, within walking distance from Cleveland State University. I implore Mayor Justin Bibb, President Laura Bloomberg, the Cavs, the Browns, the Guardians, and Playhouse Square to come together on this fundamental issue within our city.

My dear President Bloomberg, I know you have very large goals for Cleveland State… dare I say bold new blueprints that show a campus jumping from CSU 2.0 straight to CSU 27.0. Listen, if we could tweak those imaginative plans, just a smidge, and include a bagel shop, I think the campus would be far more attractive. I know that you hope to create


an atmosphere that encourages more on campus living and participation, and a bagel shop would most certainly contrib ute to that dream. I can personally attest that I would eat bagels there. I’ll be long since graduated by the time that plan rolls around– but I hope my patronage would be a vote of confidence nonetheless for a Cleveland bagel shop.

Why would this dining location be beneficial?

Bagels are affordable, quick, healthy and filling meal options — all things that are important as an onthe-go college student. Bagels are just so practical! They’re easy to carry, they come in a wide variety of flavors, they’re not just limited to breakfast, and you can dress ‘em up fancy or leave them classic.

I am a typical cream cheese kind of gal, but in no world would I turn down a hearty bagel, egg, ham, cheese and spinach sandwich. I know most of the time CSU gets critiqued for its parking but I think the lack of a bagel shop is an equally pressing matter.

Mayor Bibb, a bagel shop downtown would be incredibly beneficial to you and your constituents. Imagine a bagel shop a little closer to where you work at City Hall. A large dark roast coffee and an everything bagel to help you achieve everything you need to in a day for the great citizens of Cleveland. You gain the unshakable support of CSU students forever after you grant us the glory of having bagels near our campus. This is a plan without any flaws.


Now I appeal to my Cleveland sports teams. Think of the catering. Think of the fans pregaming with bagels in the Muni Lot! Think how wonderfully energized your players and staff will be after carb loading and how much better they would perform after a scrumptious bagel.

Speaking of performing, think of all the performing artists working in Playhouse Square who would enjoy a wonderful bagel. There’s the employees for all of the theaters, especially those at Cleveland Play House who share a building with Cleveland State students. Technicians, theater staff members and actors would be able to break far more legs after being serenaded by a beautiful bagel shop.

Cleveland needs to be unified by bagels. Not only that, we are drastically out-bageled by other cities. Of course, NYC bagel shops are the role model of what we can be. Utopia Bagels, a bagel shop in Queens makes 100,000 handmade bagels each day. Each day, we are being dusted in the world of bagels. I am concerned, because when you google cities known for bagels do you know who appears on a list before us?! Columbus. If we want to improve our reputation to being more than “the mistake on the lake,” we need to step up and become the bagel capital of Ohio. After that? We take on the world. Cleveland bagels against the world. We won’t just be known as The Land — we’ll be The Land of Bagels.

In summary, here is why we need a bagel shop downtown:

1. To feed bagel craving CSU students (me) and improve the quality of our campus.

2. To compete in a national, nay, global bagel market.

3. To improve our sports teams’ performances. Lord knows the Browns need it.

4. Mayor Bibb can’t work with an empty tummy. Get this man a bagel.

5. To feed the fans and employees of our sports teams and theaters. The entire entertainment scene of Cleveland hangs on the very balance of having a bagel shop.

MARCH 2023
Cleveland needs to be unified by bagels. “
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