The Vindicator - April 2016

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Vindicator Cleveland State University’s Arts and Culture Magazine

APR 2016

every 21 hours there is a rape on an american college campus

APR 2 Letter from the Editor 3 Contributors 4 Online 5 Calendar ARTS 7 The Art of Movies 9 Celebrating Karamu House 11 #Twinning CULTURE 13 A Look Back 15 Traveling Korea 17 Essence is Everything 19 The Overlooked Candidates 21 Dating in the Era of Labels FEATURE 23 Surviving Europe 25 The Invisible Truth 31 What’s the Deal with Guns? SOCIAL ISSUES 35 Celebrating the US Military 37 Let’s Save A Planet Together 39 Going Vegan 41 Your Grade or Your Health? POETRY 43 My Mysterious Maria 44 Rolling Stone 45 Why? 46 Something Else


The Invisible Truth Holly Bland and Arbela Capas dig deeper into the staggering realities of campus rape

OUR FINAL ISSUE It’s hard to express exactly what school has taught me. In cramming absurd amounts of information into my brain in less than 24 hours, tossing unnecessary adjectives into papers to hit word counts, and feeling sheer doom and self-loathing at 5 a.m. upon finishing a project, I learned that I can always depend on myself to complete seemingly impossible tasks. In mastering the most efficient methods of stealing food from the cafeteria, falling asleep in a class with less than 10 students, and breaking a sweat on multiple occasions to catch public transportation, I learned that I’m okay with being socially unacceptable. What I’ve learned while being a part of the Vindicator is easy and seemingly more significant: our generation is heavily underestimated, bright minds feed off of bright minds, and thinking differently is undoubtedly better than being indifferent. This magazine has shown me how to deal with controversy and compromise and how to be a thoughtful listener among people who have a lot to say.

Wrapping up our last issue of the semester and my last issue as editor-in-chief, I think it’s long overdue that I acknowledge Becky Byron, my right hand in all things involving the Vindicator. In addition to being our art director, she serves as my co-editor, and I’m proud that we carried out the visions we shared for this publication. As a team, we’ve tackled depression, drug addiction, body image, sexual orientation, religion, civil rights, cultural taboos, women’s rights, and our last issue of the semester brings up the hugely important topic of sexual assault as a nod to Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Holly Bland highlights sexual violence on college campuses, Carissa Woytach discusses sexual abuse and refugees, and Arbela Capas features people who were bravely willing to tell us their stories. To finish off my last letter, I want to say that it genuinely means a lot that people are interested in what’s being said in the Vindicator, whether you agree with it or you don’t. Staying informed, keeping an open mind, celebrating leaders at CSU, and having empathy for complete strangers; this is the platform for your voices and I feel lucky to have heard them. Thanks for reading, and more importantly, thanks for reacting.



Faculty Advisor Julie Burrell Media Specialist Rodolfo Pagsanjan

CONTRIBUTORS Editor-in-Chief Reese Shebel Art Director Becky Byron Assistant Art Director Nicole Zollos Managing Editor Carissa Woytach Copy Editor Kyrie Anderson Multimedia Manager Evan Prunty Culture Editor Louis Walee Arts Editor Benjamin Heacox Online Content Editor Michella Dilworth Junior Designer Andriana Akrap Junior Designer Rebecca Petro Contributing Writer Arbela Capas Contributing Writer Chau Tang Contributing Writer Elisabeth Weems Contributing Writers Elizabeth Adaji Contributing Writer Gregory Elek Contributing Writer Kevin McGhee Contributing Writer Alana Whelan Contributing Writer Holly Bland Contributing Writer TJ Hayes Contributing Writer Jimmy Ellis Contributing Writer Vincent Bertrand Contributing Writer Chau Tang Contributing Writer Timothy Cox Contributing Writer Tim Lowe Contributing Writer Andy Hammersmith Disclaimer Magazine theft/fraud is a crime. Single issues of the vindicator are free, to obtain copies contact the Vindicator or student life. 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 editors and other submissions are accepted, however they must have the authors 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. 2121 Euclid Ave, MC 471, Cleveland, OH 44115 216 687 2118 3 VINDICATOR | APRIL 2016



what’s happening in...

APRIL Pillow Fight Day at Market Square Park

Grab your cushions and pillows and head to Market Square Park in Ohio City for this free, all ages event. When the horn blows at 3 p.m., bash friends, enemies and anyone else participating with your fluffy weapons. The fight goes on until everyone gets tired and goes home. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more information. April 2 3PM, MARKET AVE

Rachel & the Beatnik Playboys at the Music Box

A bluesy, country, folk mix by singer-songwriter Rachel Brown, who pays homage to Patsy Cline and friends as part of the Lucky 7 concert series at the Music Box’s Supper Club. Doors are at 6 p.m. with the show at 8 p.m., $7 general admission. Tickets are available through April 2


8PM, 1148 MAIN AVE

Westside Market’s new Sunday hours The Cleveland staple will begin opening its doors for another day of sales on April 3, allowing shoppers another day to browse the Market’s vast selection of food stuffs. The Market is free to shop at, except for parking, which is expected to cost some as renovations to the lot will be underway. April 3 12 - 6PM, 1979 W 25TH ST



Cleveland International Film Festival at Tower City Cinema CIFF40, running from March 30 to April 10 will showcase the best of the independent film circuit, all the while celebrating 40 years of classics in the making. Tickets are $13 per film for members, $15 for nonmembers. Show times are available at April 17


Come Wind with The Orphan, the Poet / Ledges / Bare Walls / New Neighbors at Mahall’s

BravoArtist presents these Ohio homies in a prog-alternative blender sure to melodically rock your socks off. Get ready for a night of mosh-worthy anthems from top to bottom of this feature show. An all ages event, tickets are $10 in advance from April 16 6PM, 13200 MADISON AVE




Seventh Day Sweat at B-Side Liquor Lounge & Arcade

While many use Sunday to take it easy, B-Side is always got something going on — any day of the week. Every Sunday join DJ White Rims for the top dance hits to keep your party from Saturday night going. No cover, 21+ only. April 10 7PM, 2785 EUCLID HTS BLVD

Build a camera, take a picture and participate in the global phenomenon known as pinhole photography. Made out of anything from a shoebox to a paint can, the simplicity of pinhole cameras has only served to romanticize their quirks. Prepaid registration is required; admission is $30 for CPR members, $35 for nonmembers. Contact CPR at info@ for more information or to register for the event. April 24 11AM, 2550 SUPERIOR AVE


THEVINDI.COM Watch to hear Raquel’s spoken word poety for Women’s History Month

“Every four years, the herpes rash that we have that is political significance flairs up. And it’s all because DC politicians are tired of their marriage and they want some strange. It’s totally psychological. We seem to get along just fine, until he tells us he’s back in town and just wants to meet for drinks. Then we get that flair up.” CONTINUE READING ONLINE

Check out our new and improved website!


S/o to @Vindi_CSU for their intersectional coverage of #WomensHistoryMonth. You’re setting the bar for inclusive campus publications.

Read past issues and other stories that didn’t make it in our print edition!





Download the ISSUU app on the App Store and search for The Vindicator − visit for more information.



The Art of Movies

By Gregory Elek





might not seem like it on a surface level, a lot of them can relate to humans on a deep level. The beginning and end of 2001 might seem like nonsense but when you ask why things are happening instead of demanding answers it might be a little bit more clear. The begining of 2001 symbolizes the rise of man and how we got here, but the end is a bit more bone chilling. You could look at it as how fast life moves and how quickly things can change. Obviously there can be a lot more too it than that that, but hey, it’s up to interpretation so I’m not

These movies were ballsy. They didn’t follow the traditional three art structure, they were weird..


ovies are weird. Everyone watches movies. Not only are they the biggest medium of art, but they also combine the most aspects of art out of any medium. So naturally when you have so much coming together that’s meant for such a huge audience you’re going to get a lot of mixed reactions, but why does that happen? Some movies with mixed reviews like Man of Steel have an easier answer. You’ll hear a lot of people talk about the source material being changed, and characters getting messed up, but what if we go deeper than that? What if we look at movies that purposely tried to challenge the status quo? Movies like The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick, Synecdoche New York by Charlie Kaufman, and perhaps the most popular film that really challenged how we watch movies, 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. These movies were ballsy. They didn’t follow the traditional three act structure, they were weird, they used a lot of imagery to tell the story, and most importantly they left a lot up to interpretation. So the question really could be did they go too far? What’s the difference between being artistic and pretentious? First off, there are some movies or shows that just aren’t meant to be left up to interpretation. These shows or movies would be the ones where we’re searching for answers with the characters. The mystery drives the story along. An example of a show like this would be Lost. The show was all about getting answers, so when the show ended on a note that didn’t completely tie everything together or answer all questions. Audiences were upset, and for good reason. Now that that’s out of the way, on to the movies and shows that were reasonably left up to interpretation. When watching any movie whether it’s budget is $200 million or $2,000 one of the first things that will draw people in is how relatable is it, and even though some of these movies

wrong and I’m not right. So 2001 has its artsy moments that could mean a lot, but what about a movie that’s like that the entire time? The entire run time of The Tree of Life is weird, different and not concrete. If you haven’t seen the film, it goes from a grieving family, to the universe being created, to dinosaurs interacting with each other all within about 25 minutes, so yeah it’s weird. So how were the filmmakers able to do that? How could they get away with an entire movie that is left up to interpretation. To be com-

pletely honest there’s not a real concrete answer. Depending on who you ask, the movie is either a masterpiece or pretentious hogwash, but the people who love it really love it. You might hear a lot of critics talk about how it reminded them of their childhood, which I think was the point. The movie felt very dreamy and it played the same way I tend to see memories in my head. The movie’s goal was to come off this way, and I was able to relate to the characters so I could enjoy it, others that didn’t relate might’ve had a different experience, and of course relating to characters is important in most movies, but especially a movie like this that’s meant to tug at your heartstrings and make you think about life, as I said before it’s all about that emotional connection. If the characters in the movie weren’t showing as much emotion as they were through the runtime, I couldn’t imagine anyone enjoying it. So there’s really two answers to the question that I stated earlier, what’s the difference between being artistic and pretentious. My first answer would be the emotion. If the movie’s goal is to make you feel emotional, the characters themselves have to portray emotions somehow. It doesn’t have to be through dialogue, but we somehow need to get emotion out of our characters. My second answer might be seen as a bit more of a cop out, and a huge contradiction since I just gave an answer, but answer number two is that there really aren’t any answers. I mean sure we could try to explain it and study it the best we can, but just like all art, movies are extremely subjective. Someone could make the most well-made perfectly executed arthouse film that was even more far out than the Tree of Life, and you might hate it just because that’s not your thing, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you like movies that are completely concrete that tie everything up in a bow that’s okay, and if you prefer movies that confuse you and make you sad to be alive that’s okay too. It’s just all about finding what you like. •






Celebrating 100 years of black culture and creativity in Cleveland // by Carissa Woytach




elebrating its 100th anniversary, Karamu House (2355 East 89th St.) has been a mainstay in Cleveland’s theater movement. As the first black theater house in Cleveland — and the oldest African American theater in the United States — its long history has served to shape the careers of actors and directors alike. Founded by two young, white social workers and recent Oberlin College graduates Russell Jelliffe and Rowena Woodham, in 1915, the pair set out to create a space where people of all race, religion and socioeconomic background could come together on common ground. First known as “The Neighborhood Assn. at 2239 E. 38th Street,” the settlement came together through the shared love of art and interracial harmony. Later renamed the “Playhouse Settlement,” the theater was supported by the Second Presbyterian Church and plays with an interracial cast began in 1917 — almost 50 years before a number of major civil rights legislations were passed. And while their ties to the church ended in 1919, they continued to produce and cast plays with the same founding dedication to overcoming racial strife through art. “Each person can, by his response to his environment, change the way it affects him,” Karamu House’s website states. “Everyone can discover his own, independent significance and make his personal, distinct contribution to life.” Through this dedication to individuality and betterment, Playhouse Settlement sponsored the Gilpin Players — originally named Dumas Dramatic Club before an honorary change after a visit from black actor Charles Gilpin

— through the 1920s and into the mid-40s. After their name change, the Gilpin players began emphasizing black theater, hosting premiers of work that focused on black life. The Playhouse Settlement attracted the best in African American artists, including dancers, printmakers, actors and writers. Jelliffe pushed the settlement to strive for excellence, striving for all individuals to reach their fullest potential. Classes were offered for community members to hone their crafts or find new passions, strengthening the cultural center within the Fairfax neighborhood. As the 1920s saw more African Americans move into Cleveland from the south, the Playhouse Settlement continued to grow. Acquiring a proper theater in 1927 named Karamu — Swahili for “a place of joyful meeting” — the name was again changed in 1941 to Karamu House. Following a fire that destroyed the space on East 38th St. in 1939, the House was rebuilt on East 89th St. and Quincy Avenue through the aid of Leonard Hanna Jr. and the Rockefeller Foundation. Langston Hughes, who lived just blocks away from the new location, attended classes at Karamu House. Though eventually moving out of Ohio, Hughes continued to keep in contact with director Rowena Woodham and the players, who would go on to produce a number of his works, including Little Ham (1935) and Joy to My Soul (1937). Into the 1950s, Karamu House became known as one of the best amateur theater and dance groups in the country, surging forward into the 1970s on the rise of Black Nationalism. As the decade progressed, the House continued to premiere black experience

Throughout the years and changes in leadership, Karamu House has continued to maintain its dedication to supporting the African American community thriving around it.

plays while offering art and writing classes to community members young and old. Appointing Margaret Ford-Taylor as the new executive director in 1988, Karamu House returned to its multicultural roots, further integrating its cast and classes while maintaining their dedication to the development of black artists in the area. The Youth Project was cited for its excellence by the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education in 1991 and won the first annual Anne Flagg Award for outstanding work in promoting multiculturalism in 1993. In 1994 Karamu House worked with Bank One, one of the largest banks in Ohio, to open the Karamu Community Banking Center to better serve the Fairfax community. Throughout the years and changes in leadership, Karamu House has continued to maintain its dedication to supporting the African American community thriving around it. Producing a schedule of six plays a year, they continue to provide classes in drama, dance, music and art in both before- and after-school programming as well as other community classes. Many actors have passed through Karamu House in its 100 year history, including Ruby Dee — a well-known and respected poet, actress, playwright, journalist and activist — and Robert Guillaume — stage and TV actor known for is roles in Soap, Benson and voicing Rafiki in The Lion King. Boasting three performing halls, a day care, summer camp and outreach program, Karamu House continues to be a cultural pillar in Cleveland and beyond. •

All historical information is courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, maintained by the scholars of Case Western Reserve University and Society. FEBRUARY 2016 | VINDICATOR 10




f you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to have a twin brother or sister, four Cleveland State students share exclusive insight into their experiences growing up with an identical sibling. The Vindicator set out to bust myths about whether these twins communicate telepathically and play pranks, like in The Parent Trap. What we found was that each pairs of comical twins has a unique and dynamic relationship full of brotherly love. Ime and Imoh Umosen, Social Science majors, can be seen walking around campus sporting dope hairstyles and vibrant personalities. Their father Ikwo is from Nigeria, and they have four other siblings with names just as cool as theirs: Ima, Ini, Inem and Iko. The pair work together at Abercrombie and enjoy playing basketball and having conversations while listening to great hip-hop beats. Exuberant Ime is


3/4”taller than his calm brother Imoh, who is 6’2”. With a few practice takes, you’ll eventually guess them apart by their looks. How would you describe your relationship? Ime: People sometimes say like [an] old married couple. Imoh: If you could get a little bit past like a best friend/closest relative, it’s closer than that. It’s like a mind thing. We’re close up here (points to forehead). Do you feel that you look similar? Ime: Man, actually a lot of the times, I don’t even feel like we look [alike]. Except there’s been maybe like twic, where we’re both looking in the mirror at the same time and I’m just like, ‘Wow, you do look like me.’ That only happened twice though. Most of the time, no.

Take a look into the lives of the cool doubles walking around our campus. // Elisabeth Weems

What are the physical differences between you two? Imoh: [Ime] is a little bit bigger than me, and a little bit taller, but that’s just ‘cause he came out first and when we were in our mom’s stomach, he ate the most food. That’s the myth. Ime: That’s not true. Did your parents dress you identically when you were growing up? Both, at the same time: Yeah. Imoh: Turtlenecks. Ime: Oh yeah, the turtlenecks, all the time. I’d have black and he’d have a gray one or something like that. That’s how it always was. Do you guys have any hidden talents? Imoh: Back to the basketball thing. I could go to the NBA, but I don’t want to…I’ve got a little music talent in me,

Do you have any other thoughts to add? Ime: I feel like we’ve been trying to work as a team, but we haven’t fully grasped [that]. I feel like if we learn to work together fluidly, we can do great things. Imoh: Before, when we used to talk… we wouldn’t even cut each other off at all. But now, anytime, like in this interview, we’re (both, at the same time) cutting each other off all the time. We’re working on the flow.


ons of two teachers, the hilarious John and Curt Lockhart are both earning their second degrees at CSU. Run into these robust Irishmen and you’ll get the good-cop, bad-cop routine from the upbeat and friendly Curt (Software Engineering major) and his bold brother Jon (Civil Engineering major) who isn’t afraid to speak his mind. They’re both servers at Shula’s 2, a steakhouse in Independence, and in high school, they formed a band whose name you won’t believe.

you know, hiding. I used to play the drums, [and] I was pretty nice. Ime: I used to play guitar, and we both did the piano, back in the day. Imoh: He wasn’t really ever good at playing guitar. Ime: That’s a lie. We had sessions together, what are you talking about?


What would you name your band? Ime: I feel like we couldn’t have anything twin-related in there. That would be too corny. It could be like, ‘His and Hers’ (points to Imoh). What do you like best about your brother? Imoh: I like that –I don’t want to say understanding, ‘cause he’s not understanding – but I’ll say our path has kind of been like the same, so he might know some things that I’m going through.

What was your band called? Curt: We were called S.O.S. and the reason behind it is [that] we played a lot of church gigs because those were the only ones that were paying...However S.O.S. was a joke because we were entering this Battle of the Bands and it was at a church and all of our friends said, what should we be, ‘Sons of Satan’?...and we never told people what it stood for. What’s it like go to school together again? Jon: It’s cool because you [have] somebody else holding accountability for you. For instance, I don’t usually wake up to an alarm, I wake up to Curt walking into my room and seeing myself exposed and him saying “[damn it] Jon.” What are some personality differences between you two?

I feel like if we learn to work together fluidly, we can do great things.

Ime: I feel like he’s a calm, chill kind of guy. I like that. You know, I don’t want anyone around me all the time who’s too hyper and too annoying and I can’t take it. But [Imoh is] still annoying.

Jon: I’m a little bit more blunt. I think that’s the best way to describe it. Curt: I think if Jon were single at this moment in time, he would openly walk up to a person and say, “Hi. I’m 25 years old, I still live with my parents, and I’m going back to school. It’s a pleasure to meet you”…Whereas I would [say], “Oh, you’re not going to find out that information until a little later on.” Jon: Nope, might as well get it out there. Any other differences? Jon: My feet are a little bigger. I might be a little taller when it comes to aesthetics. Curt’s bald patch on the top of his head is starting to get a bit larger. Curt: It’s not as bad as yours though. What do you like most about your brother? Curt: The thing I love about Jon is [that] at a very [young age], even if it was a complete stranger, Jon would walk up to them and just have this warm like, “Hey man, how’s it going.” Jon: I like that Curt’s my good cop. I’m the bad cop in any situation. Can you communicate telepathically? Jon: I think so, a little bit because we feed off of each other when it comes to our own personal emotions. As well as, “I’m drunk, you’re drunk. Taco Bell?” • APRIL 2016 | VINDICATOR 12


From a black culture newspaper to a multiculutral arts & culture magazine, a retrospective look at the transformation of our very own publication, The Vindicator. // Carissa Woytach




erving the Cleveland State University community for close to 40 years, The Vindicator, has gone through numerous changes in audience, mission and staff. From its start as a black student newspaper to its current iteration as a monthly arts and culture magazine, The Vindi has solidified itself within the Cleveland State community as a space for discussion, dissent and artistic growth. The Vindicator began in 1969 in response to a racially offensive cartoon published in The Cauldron — another on-campus student news source. Creating a long-standing rift between the two publications and sparking outrage among African American student on campus, sit-ins and protests were held in the weeks following the issue. It also prompted students to petition Cleveland State’s administration to start a counter-publication to serve as the voice of the black student community. While the administration was hesitant at first, The Vindicator published its first edition in 1970 and has continued ever since. A trying time in Ohio, protests were also held in solidarity with those at Kent State University — after the National Guard fired at and killed unarmed students May 4, 1970 — as well as in response to racial flares within Cleveland and beyond. While no remaining staff member has been on for the full 40 years, Timothy Cox has been active with the publication off and on for the past 10 years. First contributing in 2005, and then starting again in 2013, Cox has watched The Vindicator go through changes in format, style and design.


do it on my own, I was drowning” Phifer said, explaining how she rebuilt the staff after a short history of gross mismanagement. After meeting with Dan Lenhart about the constitution, Phifer and Gatewood worked to remove the ineffective EIC that was in place and then rebuild the staff, all while figuring out print schedules, by-laws and the publication’s constitution.

We had two weeks to get all this done.

“In [2005], The Vindicator was the black voice on campus, and I wanted to be a part of that,” he said. “[We] probably met in this room, but there were only three or four people on staff, so I wanted to be involved in an artistic sense, not so much in a journalistic [one] — in an artistic sense in writing poetry. The first article that I wrote was [about] Ferguson.” “I believe that The Vindicator has taken a multicultural sense, [LGBTQ] issues and different issues and things on campus from a larger sense — but I believe that the platform or the basic landscape for all the self-expression, the expression that is in The Vindicator now comes from its history as the black voice on campus,” he explained. “The voice of black students and African American students here on campus and it’s just been taken in and accepted by the university in a sense that it wasn’t before, I think.” From a handful of students to more than 30 consistent contributors, The Vindicator has grown, as Tim Cox demonstrated, from its historic roots to a multicultural, multi-issued publication. But that would not have happened if former Editor-in-Chief CJ Phifer and Art Director Robert Gatewood hadn’t stepped in in 2013. While The Vindicator does have a long history, it was not always a monthly magazine. Faltering in the early 2010s, it went down to one or two issues per semester. Unorganized and mismanaged, the publication threatened to collapse. “I brought Robert [Gatewood] on to be my right-hand man because I couldn’t

“We had two weeks to get all this done before the end of the semester or it wouldn’t get to campus on time,” she said. “But we ended up doing it and that was the stereotyping issue. And at that point we didn’t know about the metric [the number of issues required each semester] and it ended up being that if we hadn’t done that, that semester, the magazine would have lost its funding basically become null and void.” “Right after that was when we held a vote and I had originally told Robert I didn’t want to be Editor-in-Chief,” she continued. “[I] didn’t think I could do it, I didn’t think I could handle all the responsibility being a single mom and I already had

two part-time jobs at the time and full time school. [When] we got that last issue out and I started to organize everything together [I] realized that it wasn’t going to be as hard as I thought it would be.” Involved with The Vindicator for about a year and a half, Phifer and Gatewood laid the foundation for the current magazine, building personal and professional relationships along the way. “I enjoyed it, for the most part. I enjoyed everybody’s company and I enjoyed watching new people come in and see all their different personalities and then watch you guys argue with each other — that was always funny,” Phifer laughed. “I mean it was kind of exhilarating, [in] a way. Because I’d never been part of a group of people that were all so educated, interested in being somebody and having opinions based on well-rounded research and not just ‘because I said so.’” Designing The Vindicator helped Gatewood make connections and add to his professional portfolio. Still in the Cleveland area, he has continued to keep up with the magazine, though admits he did not know what to expect as the publication moved forward without him. “Taste changed, so there’s going be some turnover in how things aesthetically change,” Gatewood said. “I like the branding, it directionally feels different […] but it feels like a somewhat natural progression, given the staff, and it hasn’t really taken its eye off the ball in terms of the content — it’s still the same focus just a different perspective.” •






any times we are presented with an opportunity to do something great but we do not seize it 99.9% of the time. Being young means we can make rash decisions and get away with it with little to no regret. I was provided with the opportunity to travel to South Korea, located in Southeast Asia and officially known as Republic of Korea. It seemed impossible and meaningless but I took a leap of faith and I had the best experience of my life. South Korea has a rich culture and historic monuments. Seoul, its capital is a beautiful city with lights, tall buildings, and sounds like the city of New York. Contrasting it is calm and enriching Jeju Island like Hawaii. About half of the Korean populace live in the Seoul area and they lead a distinctive urban lifestyle. From the moment I set my foot in the airplane, I knew my life was about to change. But little did I know I would lose my baggage in Heathrow and I spend the entire time running around the airport. By the time I checked in my hotel, I was all shades of exhausted. I rested and woke up the next day hoping to God I would not miss my connecting flight to South Korea. I arrived in Heathrow just in time for check in and thankfully I did not. Lucky for me, my baggage was finally located and I continued on my journey. I arrived in South Korea and went through customs and met some foreigners also there on exchange. We each introduced ourselves and were soon on our way with the escort to the school. That was when I realized I had gone to the wrong school and I needed to find my way back as soon as possible. It was



th a w I m e b n si w ja w si st th g p ta

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the most frustrating experience carrying around my bags and trying to find my way around with minimal Korean, but I survived and the experience taught me to be resourceful with anything and everything that was at my disposal. Throughout my stay in this beautiful city, I learned that I would no longer visit South Korea without a significant other because everywhere I went, there were couples with matching jackets, shoes, bags, etc. It was cute to watch, actually, but it felt like it made single people feel miserable. The lessons I learned from the streets, from the Ajummas (older women) that sell in the market, to the curious grandparent who had never seen a black person and wanted his granddaughter to take a picture with me.

I learned to appreciate myself and people around me in a new way, to appreciate that the differences in human beings is what makes us stronger.


Despite been a person of color in an Asian country where the population of black people is very small, I did not feel any different from the people around me despite surprising reactions from people. During my second week in South Korea, I decided to go to the mall to buy running shoes because of the mountainous terrain. Getting off the bus, an older woman patted my braids and I just smiled at her but she refused to let go of my hair and kept saying yepoyo (pretty) until we had to part to go our separate ways. Unusual but I was not surprised because back home in Nigeria where I grew up, white people get the same type of reactions. Also, when I left the US, I decided I would keep an open mind and I soon learned to bask in my newly found celebrity status. I learned to appreciate myself and people around me in a new way, to appreciate that the differences in human beings is what makes us stronger, and that we are all part of a whole society. To realize that everyone is great in their individual way, that we all might not live in the penthouse of the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world), but we're doing great things in our environment. We need to burst outside our bubble and meet people, experience life and sound of a different tune. A few months before I left South Korea, I met a girl on my campus who always thought I was tan because she never saw my entire body. She walked in on me dressing up one day and she received the shock of her life because she always thought my entire body was white except my face and arms. I was amazed! I thought it might be a joke but she looked so confused and I explained the biological process of excess melanin that makes me black and her white. I realized I would not learn things like these until I explore and share my tale to encourage others to open themselves up to the knowledge of the world. Plan a trip for the summer and explore some mysterious parts of the world. Thomas Jefferson once said "the earth belongs to the living,” you need to claim it. • APRIL 2016 | VINDICATOR 16




iversity is nothing new to America, neither is division. These two elements have been consistent in American society’s foundation, they’re likely to remain consistent even if this nation should happen to erode. A prime example of diversity and division in the nation today would be the 2016 presidential election. Candidates on either side of the political spectrum battling members of their own party for nomination, in hopes of defeating the


challenger and claiming the title of presidency. The purpose of this article is not to focus on the election itself, or the candidates, but to look briefly at how diverse and divided the nation actually is in essence, being the spirit (core) of the person, the people, and the nation. I believe that the election helps to serve as a catalyst in writing this piece because of its current relevancy. I intend to look underneath the surface, at things not so easily seen, commonly looked over. When you

look at the reactions and expectations, the ideas, thoughts, feelings, attitudes and experiences of the different groups of people that make up America, you see a nation so diverse, yet so divided it can be hard to make sense of things. America, when looking at the different people, cultures, religions, ethnicities and so forth, in my mind, are like paint colors thrown on a canvas. The emotion, which is tied to our most sincere and vibrant passions, our intuition, our instinctive

abilities influenced by circumstance, mood, relationships or experiences are felt by those who share similar emotions. These emotions are reflected in the lives and faces of the people and ar clearly seen by those who share similar emotions, ideologies and beliefs, and with similarity being seen as a familiarity. That familiarity allows us to see a person similar to ourselves as an extension of ourselves, hence a connection is born. In actuality, people, generally speaking, come together and unite with


The political race is showing the diversity of the American people. Why is there so much division? Is there a resolution to it all, and if so, what will it take? // Louis Walee


Those who support Sanders are polarized by a vision of optimism seen last with the election of President Obama. Many of the hopeful youth are energized by a man they see not just listening, but also understanding the complexities of their problems (student loans, debt, employment, etc.) and actually having solutions, not just ideas, to solve such things. Those who support Trump are polarized by a man who they see as honest, a hard worker, who wants to make “America great again,” who won’t back down and knows how to get the job done. While Sanders speaks to the socialist undertone of many millennials, who identify with socialism, as opposed to capitalism, Trump favors a White Nationalist (Supremacist) image that even if he doesn’t think is openly his image, many of his supporters suit that image and project it as they feel they finally have a platform to stand on to assert their true thoughts and feelings. The essence of the two runners resonates with those who identify with them. Diversity and division is seen, within all levels of American society. Whether it be by those participating in the 2016 presidential race, those choosing to vote believing that their voice will be heard and their ballot will decide the course of destiny, or those choosing not to vote believing it all to be a facade, an elaborate illusion

America, when looking at the different people, cultures, religions, ethnicities and so forth, in my mind, are like paint colors thrown on a canvas.

those who they share commonalities. They polarize around those commonalities-similarities, in essence “likeness,” and they become one even if they should still hold on to respective identities. Similarities and commonalities aren’t universal, if one group should unite based on one principle, another will unite based on another and the two groups may perceive one another as something else, as an enemy, as an alien, even if coming from the same nation. Practically speaking, the 2016 presidential election, as an example, shows the diversity and division in its physical manifestation. Front-runners, such as Bernie Sanders (D) and Donald Trump (R) bring out the diversity of division of those who support them, respectively. Many supporters for Sanders are young millennials, in favor of free tuition at public universities and colleges, breaking up big banks, and free universal healthcare. Many of his supporters come from a vast variety of backgrounds. Many Trump supporters are predominately rightwing White Americans, in favor of repealing and replacing Obamacare, deporting all undocumented individuals, freezing green cards, banning all Muslims from entering the United States (at least temporarily) and not cutting Social Security or Medicare benefits but instead growing the economy to save such programs.

designed to create an image of choice and freedom all the while the “powers that be” are truly pulling the strings and the public continuous to place their faith in a charade (voting-political system). The differences that are tangibly felt, whether they be among political affiliation, gender, economic, race-ethnicity, and culture or the things I consider to be in essence- the emotions, thoughts, attitudes and expectations- these things are reflective of America itself and the people who make it up. There is diversity and division, differences in every facet of American life. Conceding this presidential election, this piece serves to use it as an example to show its finer points. There is much more to be said, thoughts continue to ebb and flow, as do ideas and feelings that are so pronounced but time is of the essence. I believe it is necessary to be thinking critically especially in this American society where the narratives often aren’t accurate, or simply false. The society around us is very diverse, as it is divided. Understanding the points of contention are key to understanding the way the society and the larger world work. Diversity and division is constant, there will always be opposition and difference, which is why the essence of such things must be understood, in hopes of better understanding what it is that drives them. Essence is everything, and everything has some essence. Peace. •






Emidio “Mimi” Soltysik

is a political activist and ranking member of the Socialist Party USA, a third party within the United States. He has been nominated to be the party’s candidate along with running mate Angela Walker for President of the United States in the 2016 presidential elections. This is part one of three in a series of interviews with third party candidates. The next two will be available on The Vindicator’s website. // By Kevin McGhee 19 VINDICATOR | APRIL 2016

Kevin McGhee: What is your campaign’s central message or goal? Emilio Soltysik: I think this is all about doing whatever we can to make a contribution to the revolutionary movement in the U.S. The Socialist Party USA is a radical organization, and as such, mainstream media isn’t burning up our phone lines. That is, unless it’s the general election. And in this particular general election, for obvious reasons, there is a heightened interest in all things socialism. So, we thought we’d use that exposure to put forth a revolutionary message, and as folks respond, we do what we can to help connect them to movement work wherever they might be in the country. We’ve also been using the campaign as a forum for organizers to share their stories and their feelings. Ideally, this helps to humanize this work, perhaps putting folks who otherwise might be somewhat fearful of engaging in radical projects at ease.

ES: I was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, and was a skateboarding, punk rock kid who had a pretty hard time staying out of trouble. And I’m not talking about flicking boogers at the teacher trouble. From the ages of about seventeen to thirty-two, I played music professionally. I had a great time, but I still got into a lot of trouble and I also picked up a pretty hefty substance abuse problem, doing a real number to my health in the process. Things sort of came crashing down for me in my early thirties. My head was a mess, I was really disconnected from any sense of community, and I had real difficulty learning. I don’t necessarily want to say I had an epiphany, which might sound positive. This was a pretty rough time for me. To be honest, I found myself crying easily, confused and frustrated. But, eventually, I did find myself learning how to learn again. And I was able to put one foot in front of the other, taking small steps forward. And, perhaps most importantly, I started to listen. I think that, when you really start to take the concept of listening seriously, socialism isn’t too far around the corner.


KM: Can you give readers a bit of a history of your party? ES: The Socialist Party USA has its roots in the Socialist Party of America, which was the party of Eugene V. Debs. In 1972, the Socialist Party of America split. One group decided to work within the Democratic Party. That’s not us. The other group, which wanted to operate independently of the capitalist parties, and was staunchly opposed to the Vietnam War (the other group was not), became the Socialist Party USA. That’s us! KM: What is your take on the job President Obama has done and what do you think he could have done better?


ES: Obama, like his predecessors, is a war criminal. I hope that resonates with your readers. To a large degree, however, it matters little who sits in the Oval Office. The capitalist system is inherently racist, sexist, imperialist, on and on. You or I could win the election and we’d be war criminals on day one. KM: Do you think President Obama lived up to his campaign promises enough? ES: Like closing Guantanamo or revisiting NAFTA? No, I’d say he hasn’t. KM: Why do you think more and more Americans are starting to look at anti-establishment candidates?

ES: One reason is because the capitalist parties have so completely failed the people. Now, some might argue that capitalism is broken, or is failing. No. What we’re seeing is capitalism working properly. Sooner than later, we’re going to have to make a major shift from investing time and money into D.C. politics, even where “anti-establishment” candidates are concerned, and putting that energy into bottom-up efforts. We’re really out of time when we consider climate change to continue lending credence to reform-based approaches to our problems. We can reform capitalism, yes. But in doing so, we’re essentially saying we’re okay with a kinder, gentler racism, sexism, imperialism. That doesn’t cut it. And, our planet’s carrying capacity simply can not handle a reformed capitalism. We need radical change, and we need it now.

KM: Do you believe a third party will eventually emerge and really challenge the two-party establishment? If so, how long do you think it will be until we see that happen?

KM: What do you think about the Bernie Sanders campaign and do you think it’s fair when people call him a “socialist”?

ES: That we’ll see more folks join the revolutionary movement.

ES: I think that it’s great that we’re having a broader discussion about socialism, and I think the opportunity is there for the U.S. Left to step up and engage and participate in that broader dialogue. Whether or not he’s socialist, I don’t know. It appears he refers to himself as a socialist. When I think “socialist,” I think worker control of the means of production, community control, real democracy. What he appears to advocate is for an expanded social safety net. I don’t see his support for the apartheid state of Israel and his support for war as being part of any sort of responsible socialist program. KM: Can you give voters a few reasons to start looking at third party candidates? ES: I guess it depends on which third parties they are looking at? I wouldn’t be suggesting that folks start looking at the Constitution Party or some of the others out there. I would, however, suggest that folks start taking a peek at parties that are explicitly anti-capitalist, and parties that have some sort of vision for the future. The overthrow of capitalism is going to take an incredible amount of work (an understatement). I’d suggest that people take a good look at the science behind climate change, and the relationship of capitalism to climate change. I think that might make support for anti-capitalist alternatives something of an easy choice. I’d also ask that, when folks see a report about a family killed by a drone strike, or (yet another) report about the police slaughtering our communities, they put themselves in the place of the victims’ families. What might that feel like? This violence is systemic and it’s unacceptable.

ES: I don’t necessarily think that the two-party system is going to be challenged by another party. I think it’s going to be challenged, and overthrown, by the people. How long this might take? That’s hard to say. I know that there are many folks out there committed to revolutionary change, and that always has me hopeful. KM: What do you think the best-case scenario for the 2016 election cycle is? Whether that be congressional races, or the presidential race.

The capitalist parties have completely failed so many people.

KM: Can you give a little background on yourself? Upbringing, work, experience, etc?

KM: Best case scenario for your campaign? Realistically. ES: The overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a socialist United States. KM: What do you hope to achieve with your campaign? ES: As I mentioned earlier, we just want to make a contribution. We aren’t out here for the votes. We’re out here for revolution. KM: One last question, a softball for you: Describe Donald Trump in three words. ES: Brawndo has electrolytes. •





et’s start with the cliché that every other person writing an article on this says these days (pointing it out makes it okay right?). Our committed relationships are different than they used to be. Many articles want to tackle the many different ways we search for and connect with people before we get into a relationship. This is great, but let’s examine what actually happens when we ultimately find ourselves “head over heels in love.” The first issue we usually come across is we have to label our relationships so everyone around us, including ourselves, can really understand what’s the status in our new relationship. People have always been interested in labels so they can tell how serious a relationship is and if that means two people are exclusive among other things. So why is this an issue today? Feeling the pressure to let people know what is going on in our relationship is a common occurrence.


One of the main allures of social media is to get a peek into someone else’s life. Relationships are often seen as the most interesting and dramatic parts of the everyday person’s life. So, when people feel left out, they begin asking questions. They aren’t posting about eachother. Are they in a fight? Is something wrong? Are they still together? This type of intrusion is just something to be expected in a social media world. Fortunately, it is not actually important to the actual

to worry about. But wait.. how should we label ourselves? Labeling isn’t necessarily important and can actually cause more harm than good sometimes. Everyone has different meanings of dating, such as friends with benefits vs. exclusive. These labels can help a general group of people understand what is going on, but on the personal level, it is paramount to actually talk to your partner or potential partner and see what you both want and what you mean by dating or seeing each other.

relationship. People will talk and have expectations, but at the end of the day as long as you and your partner are comfortable, then you have nothing

Having boundaries and understanding what exactly is going when starting a relationship is super important. Letting anxiety and the fear


Is social media putting too much pressure on the modern relationship? // Evan Prunty


of “over complicating” by putting a label on your new fling is actually just counter productive and if you want it to be carefree and not as serious then just say that. You don’t have to put pressure on yourself; you are in control of the situation but you also have to take the other person’s feelings into account. Many of us are afraid to communicate what we want and need, yet wonder why we aren’t getting it. By being open and honest with ourselves, as well as our partners, it makes life a lot easier. Maybe a relationship is doomed from the start because personalities and values clash at some point, but it’s better to find out right away then to find out when things actually start to get serious. Too many times, people seem to forget that a relationship isn’t just about them. Yes, when you’re in a committed relationship or getting to know someone, your feelings are important, but actually getting to know and care about someone else can make or break the experience. We’ve all been through our own trials and tribulations, some worse than others, but that is not for you to decide. A relationship is not a contest of who has had it worse; it should be about making each other’s future better. All of our bad experiences affect us in some way or another, but ignoring them in others is selfish. Actually, learning about a person can be an extremely rewarding and will help you grow as a person as well as maybe even helping someone else out in the process. Many of the emotional scars we have are from people who just didn’t take the time to actually get to know us. We become insecure and doubtful of who we really are because someone we thought we were close with didn’t take the time to really examine what made us, us. These individual issues, anxieties, fears, and vices make us who we are for better or for worse. Many members of our generation find themselves afraid of

commitment and I can understand this. Marriage and serious relationships come with a lot of responsibility and pressure. This being said, that doesn’t mean that a meaningful connection or getting close with someone automatically leads to marriage. I feel this is where many people miss out. You don’t need to put this pressure on yourself--if it happens it happens. If not, that’s okay too, because moving on and growing out of relationships is a part of life. Talking about this sort of pressure once you are starting to feel more “serious” can make a huge difference. When you face this pressure head on, you open yourself up for more meaningful experiences. One final thought: you don’t have to even open yourself sexually right away. If you want that, it’s one thing but if you don’t feel that, don’t feel pressure to rush in. Someone who really cares about you will understand. My humble advice is if you’re really looking to be somewhat serious with someone just learn about them and then if it’s not safe or just seems off, bail. If they were then to do something horrible, it would be obvious what their character is and they are a horrible, disgusting person. You can save yourself a lot of heartache this way. Of course, sex can make things very complicated too, so at least keep that in mind. I’m all for sex, but if you’re not comfortable it’s okay to feel things out first, but it’s important to realize the emotional repercussions from sex. On both sides, if you want to have sex with someone or they want to have it with you. Anyone who pressures into you into sex is just wrong. Overall, we all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and the ones we become close with. Just taking a little more time to communicate can make a lot of difference in your relationship. I wish all of you the best in your relationships! Enjoy meeting new people and getting close with the ones that deserve your commitment. •



SURVIVING IN EUROPE The danger for LGBTQ people seeking asylum in Western countries. // Benjamin Heacox


n June 28, 1969, police raided Stonewall Inn, attacking patrons of the bar because they were gay. In response to this raid, gay men, women, and allies around the city of Manhattan began to riot in protest of this harassment. In those days, LGBTQ men and women were fighting an anti-gay legal system, police officers that would harass them, a culture that wanted to contain them, and real physical violence. Following that awakening riot, we gained ground towards a goal of equality. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that all states must allow same sex couples to obtain marriage licenses. A similar ruling took place in Ireland month’s prior, and all across Europe in years before. It seems the past fifty years of battle have lead to success for many LGBTQ individuals, mainly for those who express love for people of the same gender - the transgender community still has a long battle ahead. The strides of the western world towards equality are certainly powerful and important, but in a world apart, gay people are still being persecuted. Much of the world still fears and hates our community. Many are suffering alone – fighting anti-gay legal systems, harassment from law enforcers, rejection from religious institutions and family, and cultures that seek to wipe them away. With the horrible war and chaos unsettling countries over seas, many gay people from countries like Syria, Iraq, Morocco, and the Middle East at large have fled their homes for shelter from the violence or some for economic reasons. When they flee their homes, they come to the Western world seeking asylum from both the wars that endanger them and the cultures that suppress them. However, what


they find here is often much more dangerous than what they left behind. In migration camps around Europe, desperation and poverty only add fuel to the collective anti-gay hatred LGBTQ individuals hoped to escape. While the promise of acceptance lies just out of reach across a border or outside an asylum shelter, many gay migrants are bullied, attacked, harassed, and even killed.



A Swedish court sentenced an asylum seeker to five months in prison for threatening, harassing, and grabbing the throat of a fellow refugee in a center in Jonkoping. When the victim - a homosexual man - collapsed onto the floor, the attacker kicked him unconscious. Witnesses and a surveillance video backed all these claims. The motive behind this attack was strictly the victim's sexuality. The attacker, in his own words, was "outraged that Sweden protects homosexuality and [homosexuals] should be killed by slaughtering.” Later in December, another incident of Moroccan refugees in Sweden, aged only 16 and 19-years-old, murdered a gay man. Police recovered a video from the 16-year-old’s cellphone, which shows the gay man battered and bound on the floor of his apartment. The 16-year-old could be heard screaming and cursing at the man in the video while slinging homophobic insults. The victim was found dead, the corpse sloppily dressed in women’s clothing by the attackers. A dead snake was found wrapped around the victim’s neck as well. It was mindless violence and brutality all on the basis the victim was believed to be gay.




Germany has been praised for their acceptance of refugees from the turmoil in Iraq and Syria, but it is not a safe haven for everyone. The Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany found nearly 110 cases of violence against gay and transgender refugees in Berlin between August 2015 and February 2016. Many were in refugee centers, among them are the most desperate individuals trying to escape the war zones in Syria and Iraq. Refugees have been actively seeking out the assistance of gay rights groups all over the country, but are afraid to ask police for help for fear of having their asylum applications rejected. 50 gay individuals have been removed from asylum shelters into private homes in the past year to protect them from homophobic violence. The 50 individuals who escaped those camps are a very, very small minority of the LGBTQ migrants in Germany who still fear for their lives each day in those camps.






The Netherlands

Spring 2015, four gay asylum seekers arrived together in a migrant center located in Ter Apel in The Netherlands. Five minutes in, groups of other male migrants began looking on in disgust. Ten minutes in, the crowds start talking, pointing at one of the men named Ammar – wearing tight jeans and earrings. Hours later himself, along with the other few openly gay migrants were attacked. Fighting broke out, and there was chaos. This is one of many incidents of violence and rioting erupting around the presence of gay people in migration shelters in The Netherlands, and it is also happening across the rest of Europe.

Many are suffering alone..




In Spain, migrants from Cameroon, a third of whivh were from Morocco, were harassed and attacked after others discovered their sexual orientation at shelters, according to the Pueblos Unidos Nonprofit. These men are now seeking asylum status, petitioning that their sexual orientation means they need special protections by the Spanish government. Whether or not these migrants will receive asylum is unclear. After all, they are migrants and have never been Spanish citizen who enjoy equal protection under the laws of that land.

ll of these incidents are just a few of the already sparsely reported cases of violence against gay migrants. Those that are brave enough to speak out about the dangerous world they face coming into Europe describe a culture of fear and darkness in this community. Each refugee and migrant is desperate enough to leave their home, and the population of these shelters often consists of some of the poorest individuals. The Middle East is already a dangerous place to be open about one’s sexuality or sexual identity, but in places like these camps where poverty and desperation reign over these people, LGBTQ men and women are abused even more horrifically. I myself, a gay man from the United States, live in some fear for my safety, nothing I have faced for the sake of my sexuality has ever compared to the battle these people are facing each day. These horrific incidents happening across the ocean remind me just how delicate a gay person’s civil rights can be in the face of profound hatred and desperation. Even in the forward-thinking countries of Europe who have built cultures and legal systems around equality, there is no safe-haven to be found for a gay man who is from the Middle East. It reminds me that when I get comfortable with our progress here in the United States, when I cease to demand that I be treated fairly, when I become content with the status quo, I will be reminded that there are others like me suffering a world away who need me to fight just a little more. We have made great progress for LGBT people in our society, but there is still much work to be done in our land and abroad. We cannot forget that around the globe, people are being slaughtered daily for who they are. As long as this injustice persists, the liberation movement that began at Stonewall in 1969 must not be allowed to die off. We’re not just fighting for our own civil liberties; we are fighting for justice around the world. • APRIL 2016 | VINDICATOR 24







pril is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, highlighting prevention of all instances of sexual assault. Relative to college campuses, it is vital to practice consent, as well as respect, safety, and equality to all people around us. Going away to college can be intimidating in itself. New surroundings, heavy course loads, extracurricular activities; employment and internships barely scrape the surface of added stress while receiving an education. College is more than going to class and getting your homework done. For many, it is making lifelong friends, connections with faculty, and enjoying ourselves by attending events both on and off campus. The one thing college should be, in addition to the previously mentioned meanings, is an environment free of sexual assault. For many, if something is not spelled out and alarmed with sirens, people remain oblivious to whether or not something is an issue. Sexual assault on college campuses is all too common, but mostly goes unreported. Reasons can vary, but most commonly is the fear of not being believed. It is our responsibility as a community to remain respectful to everyone, and raise awareness of sexual assault. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, (, “We can all help create a culture of empathy, respect, and equality. Prevention starts with challenging victim-blaming and believing survivors when they disclose. In your personal life, you can model supportive relationships and behaviors and speak out when you hear sexist, racist, transphobic or homophobic comments. Each of us is essential in challenging harmful attitudes and the societal acceptance of rape.” Sexual violence has no preference. It can affect any community, wholly affecting society. Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual contact. This includes words and gestures of sexual nature

without and against a person’s consent. It is absolutely necessary to recognize that consent can be taken back at any time, and that it must be mutual. The inability to consent includes age, disability, illness, and being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Ultimately, sexual violence is anything non-consensual between two or more people. Additionally, it is common that people who are sexually assaulted often know their abuser. It is vital to know that the victim is not at fault, and that help is available. Together, we can prevent sexual assault. Although it is not commonly broadcasted, it is often reported that 1 in 4 women experience sexual assault in their lifetimes, in addition to 1 in 7 men. This is just reported data, not including the statistics of those assaults remaining unreported. If you are a victim, remember that it is not your fault, and that there are many people in the community dedicated to helping in any way that they can. Spreading awareness and prevention is a priority to many on campus. To ensure safety on campus, many groups remain committed to being proactive in the attempt to change campus culture. Creating a Safer U is Cleveland State’s Sexual Violence and Prevention Council. This is a “cross-section of the campus community consisting of faculty, students, and staff who serve in an advisory capacity to the Provost to provide comprehensive, integrated, and a consistent approach to the issues and concerns of the CSU community on matters relating particularly to issues of gender-based violence and sexual harassment,” Co-founder Yulanda McCarty-Harris shares. McCarty-Harris also serves as Director, Title IX Coordinator of the Office for Institutional Equity, and works with Co-Founder Boyd Yarbrough on Sexual Violence Prevention Council, whom is also VP of Student Affairs. McCarty-Harris stated that the council consists of four subcommittees, all focusing on different approaches in handling sexual assault on campus. These include preparedness-fo-

1 in 4

college women will be a victim of sexual assault during their college career.

Every 21 hours

there is a rape on an American college campus.

1 in 7

college men will be a victim of sexual assault during their college career.


of college women who experience rape and sexual violence report it to police.

9 in 10

victims of rape and sexual assault previously knew their offender.

cusing on policies and procedures, and clear response protocols and training; prevention- focusing on providing education and awareness programs, and activities that address how to prevent sexual assault and violence before it happens; response- focusing on best practices to respond to Title IX issues, and also ensuring report mechanisms are in place that include anonymous reporting and requirements as it relates to Clery Reporting Requirements, since CSU has a Sexual Violence Response Team; and recovery/referral- focusing on ensuring the proper referral and resources are in place that include confidential resources like CSU’s Counseling Center and the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. The newest organization at Cleveland State that is dedicated to helping victims of sexual assault is the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Currently located on the third floor of the student center, and soon to move to the Hallie Building. Among many prevention and comprehensive resources, the CRCC has on-campus counselors, and everything disclosed to these counselors is completely confidential. Because the CRCC is not directly affiliated with CSU, it is not required to report any claims or concerns, acknowledging that this can be a very intimidating and stressful process for the victim. It serves as a safe place on campus, and is easily accessible to any student or faculty member. None of its tools are tied to CSU; it has it’s own phone number and computers. Even if you are not or do not consider yourself a victim of sexual assault, they offer counseling and services to anyone that feels impacted by sexual assault or violence. Another on-campus resource that provides counseling is the Cleveland State Counseling Center. They traditionally provide a large range of services to faculty, students, and staff. This can serve as a vital resource to any person who has experienced sexual assault on campus by having the ability to speak to a counselor in complete confidence. Even if you call APRIL 2016 | VINDICATOR 26



Peer Education program established through CSU’s Health and Wellness area. She said that in the program, students in groups like Greek life, athletics, multicultural students, and the LGBTQ community will be trained by campus and community professionals, using the best practices and training techniques for peer training, sexual violence prevention, specific referral and help-seeking skills, and safe, effective messaging practices. They are looking to train students that represent the diversity of our campus. Another development by The Sexual Violence Prevention Council is launching a Campus Climate Survey during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. They are planning a series of programs and activities throughout the month, including a survey, resource fair, bystander prevention program, and an event called Take Back the Night, which mission is to ending sexual, relationship, and domestic violence. McCarty-Harris stated that the event often includes marches, rallies and vigils intended to protest and direct action against sexual and gender-based violence. Luckily, Cleveland State University is filled with students and staff dedicated to maintaining a safe campus by onstantly remaining aware, respectful, and supportive of your peers. Continue to spread awareness, and always lend a helping hand to anyone in need. Let’s end sexual assault on college campuses together. •

W a g ra to ra b p sh a re n si a Je a w a th th d in a in d es b o to

WHERE TO GET HELP CSU Counseling Center 216-687-2277 CSU Health and Wellness Services 216-687-3649

Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center of Cleveland 216-229-2420 Witness/Victims Service Center 216-443-7345

CSU Maryjoyce Green Women’s Center 216-687-4674

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center 216-619-6192

CSU Police Department 9-1-1


during a time that the office is not open, you will be given the option to speak to a counselor on the phone. The counselor will be available any time of the day or night, and can offer support and information as needed. In addition to multiple support groups on campus, Cleveland State’s Police Department actively combats sexual assault. The CSUPD follows the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Response Guidelines for Law Enforcement Agencies. Chief of Police Gary D. Lewis Jr shared they work in collaboration with the Cleveland Police Department to investigate all reported assaults that occur on CSU’s campus. He also stated that any victims of sexual assault are encouraged to follow specific procedures in order to receive necessary medical and psychological assistance as well as to preserve valuable evidence. Lewis also mentioned that CSUPD remains committed to responding, and rendering assistance to any victim of sexual assault. He said that Officers are made well aware of the traumatic impact sexual assault has on victims, both emotionally and physically. “Recognizing this, when responding to these incidents they will perform their duties in a respectful, non-judgmental manner.” He said, “All complaints of sexual assault reported to this department are documented and then forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for review.” As required by the university policy and procedures, officers provide information for the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center as well as the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE). As Cleveland State remains aware of sexual assault and the chance it could be an unspoken problem on campus, the Sexual Violence Prevention Council shared that they recently applied for a grant through the Ohio Department of Higher Education through a new state initiative, Changing Campus Culture. Yulanda explained this grant will be used to continue to develop a

W so fo p ra

REAL PEOPLE, TRUE STORIES WARNING: These stories are true accounts of rape and sexual assault submitted by students around the country. Some accounts are graphic and may be triggering to survivors. // Compiled by Arbela Capas and Evan Prunty

Jessica. Cleveland State


We interviewed Jessica to ask her about her experience as a transgender woman when it comes to rape culture in our society. She told us about a time when she was raped last summer. She remembers waking up after a night of partying, feeling bruised and sore, she was barely able to remember anything. She did remember receiving drinks from a guy the night before, and then feeling sick and blacking out shortly after. Based on the evidence, Jessica believes she was roofied and assaulted. She knew there was nothing much she could do about reporting it, but she knew that something wrong happened the night before. She eventually decided to tell her therapist who in turn said that it was her fault and asked what she was wearing, and how much she had to drink. As a trans woman, she feels especially endangered for not only being raped but also being hurt or even killed after the assault, she told me.

Anonymous. Cleveland State

When I was 15, I was raped by someone I knew and felt comfortable with. The day it happened, it didn’t feel like what rape typically was described as.

I wasn’t kidnapped, completely held and bound against my will, or seriously injured. All I knew was that I was young, scared and didn’t want it. But saying no was not enough to stop it. He was a little bit older than me, four years or so. So technically, this classified as statutory rape. I did fight back a little; I said “no,” “stop” and I pushed back. I think he mostly just felt I was being bashful, scared, or nervous. I don’t really think he meant to hurt me. We had been around each other frequently, and being a younger girl around an older boy, I would flirt on occasion. But that is not an open door for sex. Afterwards, I told my best friend at the time about what had just happened. I told her that I had been raped and she responded with “you’re just embarrassed, you wanted it.” With that reaction from her, I refrained from telling anyone else for almost a year. I just blocked him out of my life, number, media, and all. I told my mom when I mentioned I needed to be put on birth control, she asked how many partners I had and I burst into tears and told her about the event that happened a year or so prior. She immediately called the police, they took a statement from me, but I urged to let them know that I did not want to press charges. I did not want to go public about

the event, and pressing charges would definitely eradicate the issue in my eyes. Eventually, word got out about it. The boy who assaulted me and his friends continued to harass me about it, accusing me of lying until this past year. For 5 years I was called a liar for accusing someone of rape. I don’t feel my rapist is a criminal. I believe that everyone makes mistakes and in the moment he may not have realized the long lasting effect to his actions. I think this should serve an example that anyone, regardless of gender, should ensure the person they are trying to be intimate with give complete consent. No means no, stop means stop, and pushing back isn’t being rough.

Anonymous. Ohio University

I've been raped twice in my life. Once when I was 15 and then again last year when I was 20. The more recent time, I was at a bar that I used to love, when waiting on the upper deck for my friend to come meet me. It was the Wednesday or Thursday night before finals week and my friend, who I'll call Stella, suggested that we study together over a pint at our favorite bar, it was a "townie/biker bar" and was pretty chill so we figured we could get some studying done there in a

less boring atmosphere than the dorms. My phone was not working (technology has never been my friend) and so I just planned to meet Stella there since I couldn't text her when I was on my way. I got there around 7 pm and walked up and outside onto the upper deck/ patio because it was nice weather outside and wasn't yet dark. No one was there but a screechy techno band down stairs inside the bar, and a few people listening to the band. It was very loud and possibly the worst music I'd ever heard. At that point I was just waiting for Stella to come so I could tell her that maybe we should just go to the library. Stella never came. I later learned that she had texted me saying that she was caught up with roommate drama so she wasn't able to meet me. I was waiting there for about half an hour until a man who appeared to be in his 30s came up behind me and slammed my head and face down on the wooden table I was in front of. I remember not being able to see for the next few seconds. It felt like minutes, but I'm sure it wasn't more than 10 seconds. As soon as my face hit the table my mind went back to what happened when I was 15. The intensity of that kind of fear is overwhelming. It was difficult to process everything at once so I began to scrape my face from APRIL 2016 | VINDICATOR 28



I didn’t talk to anyone or say anything about it until the next day. Even then I lied about how severe it was. I lied and said it wasn’t a big deal. I lied and said it didn’t destroy me.

under his hand/arm and yell, but when I did, he shoved three of his fingers so far into my throat that I vomited. He kept his fingers there for the rest of the time. He put his stubbly, sweaty face on my face, and told me that I needed to relax because that would help me enjoy it. After that he told me that he liked me, but if I tried to scream again he could kill me. I remember the blood and vomit in my nose since I was being forced to breath through one nostril, the only airway that wasn't obstructed by the weight of his body on the other nostril or his hand in my mouth. That scent is very much burned into my memory. That and the salty taste and scratchy texture of his hand. The way my body kept attempting to void my already emptied stomach over and over and over. There were moments when I chose to fight, and seconds when I thought I was just going to suffocate. I didn't "fight my way out" of the situation. I tried and failed. But I'm not going to talk about the rest of it because that's not really necessary. I managed to escape and disappear through the sea of people down stairs in the bar. After: I didn't talk to anyone or say anything about it until the next day. Even then I lied about how severe it was. I lied and said it wasn't a big deal. I lied and said it didn't destroy me. I lied and said I cut my bangs to look like Zooey Deschanel, not because I wanted to hide an unexplainable wound. I'd been through what I'd been through and couldn't do anything but process what had happened to me by myself. I knew that if I showered it would wash away the evidence needed to report the man who raped me, but I showered anyway. I was not in any frame of mind to be thinking about the "greater good", I was only thinking about getting clean. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have done anything differently because it was what I needed to feel a tiny bit better in that moment. Knowing that close to 0% of rapists ever spend a day

-Anonymous Ohio University

in jail is another statistic that eases my guilt about not reporting. When the odds are that stacked against you, who would choose to re-traumatize themselves in order to possibly be in the 3%? I applaud those who do. I can't imagine your courage. I did report my story about 5 months later because my boss found out (after a mental break down in his office) and he was mandated to report sex crimes to the university. But it didn't do any good. It was an extremely callous process and it didn't seem to me that they believed my story. They didn't offer me any kind of support that I didn't already know about. I know that whoever reads this may think that it was my responsibility to report this crime, but I'm sorry, that was 100% not my responsibility. The only thing that I was responsible for was surviving and then eventually getting to a place where I no longer hate myself for my choices. This wasn't my fault, so why am I obligated to explain and defend myself ? I survived, I did my job. The mark it's left: My bangs still aren't fully grown out (ha-ha). I have extreme control issues now. It shows up in my life in really weird ways that I don't connect back to what's happened until much later. I am afraid so annoyingly often. And I am (was?) the type of person who thrives off of brazen actions and adrenaline. Now I'm scared of shadows and men with beards. The most challenging part of this for me is being the victim of multiple traumas. And I've been shown statistics, it's not rare for women to be victims of multiple traumas. Not rare, like at all. I know in my brain that I did nothing to cause either assault, but my soul tells me something else. And that brings a whole different kind of shame with it. It makes me feel like I'm a magnet for predators. It makes me feel like I should be living my life just waiting for it to happen again. I don't know how to answer the question, "How could that happen to you twice,

though?" without just saying "uh fuck you," because I truly don't have a better response. I can't even kiss my boyfriend if he has stubble because of the memories I associate with that. It's an uncomfortable conversation. And it's an unfair conversation for all parties involved... It's all just quite fucked up. His response when I told him about the stubble was "Whatever you need, I'll do." And that is what I think everyone needs in order to heal. A person, or people, who understand and who are ready to give you the control back. You need support. There are a million different ways to heal but if you don't have a support system it's going to be exponentially more difficult. Even if you don't want to talk about it, that's okay, that's you're choice, but having people around you that you know have your back and love you is incredibly powerful. There's OBVIOUSLY a problem with rape and sexual assault on campuses and in our society. 1/5 right? And my guess, just by the sheer number of people who have come to me and told me about their own experiences, is that that number is higher. It's repulsive and horrendous and it's hard to talk candidly about it because of just how horrendous it is. But if people don't recognize it by now, I guess we just have to paint a more clear picture.

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The first time I was assaulted to my knowledge I was underage. Same sex fooling around where she pushed it too far and I didn't understand what was happening. 2nd time I was assaulted I was 18, in Mexico, on a surfboard, by the surf instructor, in the middle of the ocean, and my body wouldn't let me move or react. After he molested me, he told me he wanted to take me on a special trip to the forest. Got PTSD. Fam never found out even though they were 20 feet away on beach. Last month drugged in a bar. Last week, I slept at a

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friends house. She brought a man home to sleep with. In the morning I woke up to him trying to molest me and kissing me awake. These are the worse ones, I have been harassed/followed since I was 10 years old so many times it's impossible to recount. I can't begin to tell you how many of the people I went to 'liberal' arts high school with were abusers, some self proclaimed feminists who probably used it as a guise to abuse my peers and friends. Or how much of this was known amongst their friends. OR how much of this happened publicly at parties. Or how many friends were coerced/manipulated into sexual situations and don't know if they were abused or not, and are trying to coming to terms with still years later.


I've been sexually assaulted twice within a span of a couple months. I was younger at the time I thought that my innocence and youth had been taken away from me. I told my mom about the first time and she blamed it on alcohol. i still have to see the person who raped me often, and we have mutual friends. the second time was by an older guy who wouldn't take no for an answer. the worst part was that everyone thought I was overreacting when it truly fucked me up for life.

Anonymous Ohio University

When I was around 8 years old, my cousin would come over to babysit me and my siblings. He is maybe 7-8 years older than us, so he was about 15-16 years old. We always had had a good relationship. I was blessed to have been brought up in such a good family. But this time, he babysat us and had to sleep over. So he asked if we all wanted to have a sleepover in the living room together (my siblings, him, and I). So we all slept together and he slept next to me with my sister on the other side of me.

In the middle of the night, I woke up to him caressing in between my legs and vagina. He kept touching me and saying weird things, but I just pretended to be asleep. I would stir and move to try to get him off me, but he would always somehow keep touching me. I was so scared and uncomfortable. I didn't know why he was doing this and I knew that it was wrong what he was doing. But I was so young and scared that I didn't know what do do so I just let him continue. I would try to keep moving away and getting in positions to make him not touch me. I just tried really hard to fall asleep. A few weeks later he babysat again and he had to sleep over again. This time I said I was going to sleep in my room, but he kept asking me to sleep in the living room with him and the rest of my siblings. I agreed but said I was going to sleep on the couch this time, but he kept asking my to just sleep on the floor next to him. So I thought maybe he wasn't going to touch me again. Maybe that was a one-time thing. Or maybe he was sleeping when he did that and didn't even realize what he had done. So, hoping for the best, I slept next to him again, and again, he began putting his hands between my legs. I was terrified. He was doing the same thing that he has done just a few weeks prior. I just laid there for about 10 minutes. I didn't know what to do so I pretended to wake up, go to the bathroom, and then went straight into my room for the rest of the night. I was so scared that he was going to come into my room and try something else, or more, but he didn't. The next morning he asked me where I went that night and I just pretended that I didn't know how I got in my room. I haven't told anyone. Till this day no one knows. I tried to forget about that happening, and it worked for a few years, till I was old enough to know that he sexually assaulted me. I didn't

report it. I didn't know what to do when I was just 8 years old. I knew it was something bad, but I figured it would just be best to keep this a secret especially because he was my cousin. Then by the time I realized that he sexually assaulted me, I thought it was too late to do anything about it. There is DEFINITELY a problem with rape and sexual assault in our society and college campuses. We will get a few emails every year about a sexual assault that has been reported. And those are only THE REPORTED assaults. As a young girl, I felt like it was something to keep secret or somehow my fault, especially the second time. I have met so many women, and men, who have been sexually assaulted but do not want to report it because they don't want to get anyone in trouble or make it a big deal. BUT IT IS A BIG DEAL! We can't allow for cases to go unreported. Better yet, we can't allow ourselves to do such inhumane acts-- as in men/women sexually assaulting someone. We need to bring about awareness about how it happens to anyone. I live in such a loving family that I would have never thought something like this would have happened to me, but it did. If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone. It's an uncomfortable topic but that's because it is not talked about! If we keep bringing about awareness and talking about it and teaching others that sexually assaulting someone IS NOT OKAY and that it is NOT the victims fault, than we will be moving in the right direction.


It was at a party during my sophomore year of high school. I was highly intoxicated, basically unable to move on a couch in the main room of the party. An acquaintance of mine took the opportunity to put his hand down my pants and touch me without my consent. I was very aware of what was happening but unable

to do anything. The saddest part is that my "friends" saw this happening but did not do anything. I have been forced to brush it off by those friends with the reasoning that he was drunk.


I was sexually assaulted when I was in 4th and 5th grade. It was by the man who married my aunt, someone I refuse to call my uncle. It started when he asked me to come watch something with him, which happened to be a porn movie online. I was scared and didn't know what to do, so I stayed. This was a common occurrence every time I visited their home. Then it started to escalate when he would touch himself in front of me and ask if I wanted to join. I never did, I always said no thank you. One night, while my little sister and I laid sleeping on the futon, he came into the room and started watching his videos and touching himself. I was awake, but pretended I was sleeping as he walked over and began to touch me. I was fidgeting and crying, and eventually he gave up. After that night, I always made excuses to not go to their home. Eventually they got divorced, and he was later caught jacking off at a playground. To this day, I've never told a single person of this incident.


The first time was when I was about three or four years old. It was my baby sitter’s teenage son. He told me it was "a game that big kids play" The second time was my first friend in college. We spent every day together. I thought I trusted him. One night my boyfriend and I got in a fight and I drank a whole bottle of cherry vodka. My friend sat next to me smoking and drinking a beer. I didn't know until a month later what happened that night. But all of our friends did. No one stood up for me. •





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un control has been a hot topic for years, and not without reason. Between murders and mass shootings, firearms have America pretty shaken up. For this reason, we need to facilitate a discussion between both sides of the argument so that a conclusion may be reached. Action must be taken, the only difference between those who support gun control and those who support gun rights is the opinion on what action must be taken. I’m going to be plain with you, I am not a fan of gun control. I am proud a supporter of gun rights. That said, there are many arguments I have for my position that I will not get into. I won’t talk about the Second Amendment, nor the historical backing for the more conservative reading of it. I won’t talk about the personal benefits of shooting, nor will I discuss the concerns dealing privacy, national security and general crime. I won’t talk about my view on the government, nor on our rights and responsibilities as Americans. I don’t have the space in this article to do so. That said, please remember that the thoughts recorded here are barely the tip of the iceberg, and that there is much more information available for those curious about the topic. While I am an avid supporter of gun rights, I understand the arguments made by many on the opposite side. The logic of their most common argument is simple, by limiting accessibility to these weapons, we can help stop gun deaths. They have a few

groups of people in mind when they argue for more control- the victims of mass shootings, of accidental shootings, and of suicide. I am all for saving lives. Every person is precious, and valuable. If we could stop gun-related deaths permanently, I would jump at the opportunity. Here’s the problem though, the situation is far more complex than most people are willing to admit. The boiled-down logic of either side can never give the whole picture, and unless people are educated on the topic, they are unlikely to make an unbiased decision based on the facts. Unfortunately, in an effort to solve the problem of gun-related deaths in the short run, many supporters of gun control overlook the underlying problems in our society that result in these deaths. They ultimately faily to look at the bigger picture, and to prepare to handle the challenges posed to the generations yet to come. Of the three types of victims I mentioned earlier, those of mass shootings receive the most attention in the media. Gun control may reduce accessibility to guns by would-be perpetrators of these crimes, but I suspect that the problem would only manifest itself in different ways, potentially just as harmful. The people who commit these crimes are desperate, often for a voice, and the media has made it clear that the only way to be heard is to commit unspeakable acts of violence.The perpetrators of these crimes become famous, for a day, whether they live or die, and they do not pass out of existence unknown. If one tool were removed, another would rise in its place. Perhaps homemade bombs would become

more popular. Maybe if the perpetrators are desperate enough, they would go to greater lengths to still obtain the weapon of their choice. Either way, the problem would not be solved, the effects merely shifted. Unfortunately, it is likely that we’d see a similar shift in suicide. Accessibility to firearms makes it easy for people to take their lives, but these people are not limited in opportunity, with or without gun control. If they are desperate enough to take their own lives, they have many alternatives, perhaps even more accessible. It is important to note that in this scenario, as well as the first, desperation plays a key factor in these deaths. Out of all the deaths gun control might prevent, accidental deaths might be the most realistic hope, depending upon the restrictions. These deaths, however, can be reduced, without infringing upon the rights of American citizens. Through the responsible handling of firearms. Responsibly handling a firearm would include, at minimum, treating it as if it were always loaded and pointing it in safe directions accordingly, developing an awareness of the weapon’s mechanics (to the point that you know what will and will not stop a bullet from each specific weapon you own) and the careful education and supervision of all who wish to see, touch, or use your firearms. Amateurs should always seek to shoot under the supervision of someone more experienced, and parents in every household should be able to communicate gun safety practices to their children. In my experience, guns do not have to spell out death. I

have gone shooting recreationally, and I have legally shot high caliber firearms under the supervision of those who own them. I am a member of a community of people that takes pride in their ability to handle weapons safely and responsibly. I think we can do this on a larger level. If we really want to help save the lives of our people, we shouldn’t sweep the underlying problems under the rug, allowing them to resurface at a later point in time. Instead, we should dig below the surface, uncovering the roots of the problems we see in today’s society. Too often we see gun-related deaths and label them the issue. The deaths are not the issue, they are merely symptoms of a larger problem, a problem we need to seek out and address. We need to begin asking questions like, what is the media reporting and what is it failing to report? What are the trends, and what can they tell us about the situation we’re dealing with? What can we do to help desperate people who are prone to taking violent action against others? Why is violence even an option when the vast majority of people we interact with share the moral stance that it is wrong? Of course there are more questions we need to ask, more answers we need to discover. Until we are willing to address these questions, however, the issues will remain. Perhaps gun control can save lives in the short term, but at what price? I believe that gun control measures will ultimately fail to secure the safety of the American people because it fails to address the underlying problems for which gun violence is a symptom. //Anonymous APRIL 2016 | VINDICATOR 32




s public safety has become an unfortunately partisan issue, the conservative response to gun violence has become laughably predictable. First, gun rights advocates pray for the families of the deceased, and hope that God will eventually get around to stopping these horrible mass shootings (God forbid Congress does anything about it.) Second, they do their best to characterize the shooter as a sick/ evil person whom the community should have done more to recognize. Finally they ask the dimwitted question, “what if they had guns to defend themselves?” In response to mass shootings, at schools specifically, some conservatives have proposed that students and faculty be allowed to conceal and carry firearms on college campuses. The rationale behind this idea is that shooters will either be scared from attacking a school or that shooters who do attack will be taken care of by the students and faculty. The first time I heard of this argument, I thought it was coming straight from The Onion. The idea is so obviously dangerous and flawed that I couldn’t possibly take it seriously. This idea, however, is taken very seriously by some conservative lawmakers and officials. There is a very real possibility that open or concealed carry will become the norm at some universities across the United States. Frankly, the thought of students freely carrying guns to school is as terrifying as it is idiotic. Forget the right to bear arms, conservative hardliners are fighting for the right to take those 33 VINDICATOR | APRIL 2016

guns anywhere, including schools. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The gun rights movement, spearheaded by the NRA, has a long history of supporting even the dumbest ideas if it means more freedom for gun owners, public safety be damned. This is the same group that fought for the rights of domestic abusers to own guns, even if they are a significant threat to their family. This is the same group that is currently fighting to make suppressors easier to buy. This is the same group that opposes any and all bans on fully automatic weapons. The list goes on and on. I could fill a book with all of the idiotic things the NRA has advocated for, but the idea that kids should be carrying guns to school is a new low even for them. The idea that an armed school can deter, prevent, or stop shootings is absolutely crazy. Just think about it for a minute if every student or faculty member was allowed to carry a weapon, would school shooters really be deterred? Of course not. Most of them go into a school shooting with the knowledge that they are going to die. For many, it is simply a grandiose method of public suicide. School shooters aren’t just going to be scared away from committing murder if they want to die anyways. You may be thinking that even if they can’t prevent it, they can at least take the gunman down faster than if they had no weapons. To those who truly think that this is a wonderful, well thought out idea, simply ask yourself this, if the school had concealed carry, and an active shooter was on campus, what would police do when they arrived? How could they tell the difference between a mass shooter from a law abiding student or

Too many bad people get ahold of firearms, yet the conservative gun rights movement seems intent on making guns as easy to access as possible.

faculty member trying to save the day? The answer is obvious, they couldn’t. This gets to the heart of the issue here, oversimplification of dreadfully complex issues. Honestly, it surprises me how much conservatives will fight to put guns in schools, but how many of them go after the root cause of mass shootings? Too many bad people get ahold of firearms, yet the conservative gun rights movement seems intent on making guns as easy to access as possible. The NRA opposes criminal background checks using the generic fear of the government making a list of gun owners as an excuse. Gun rights activists oppose the banning of assault weapons without even giving a logical reason why one would need them in the first place. These are common sense steps we can take to reduce violence at schools. Among all of the possible things we could do to help reduce school shootings, gun rights activists continue to return to the tired old argument of “more guns!” As if it is some panacea for all of America’s troubles. The gun rights movement has always oversimplified issues. The sort of black and white mentality that they have is the reason that fully automatic weapons are not banned. When they see the second amendment in the constitution, they don’t think about framers intent, the time at which the amendment was written, or the fact that the constitution can change if we really want it to. They see the Second Amendment, build their own interpretation of it, and hold the right to own any weapon they want as sacred. In a way, this fiasco over guns on campus sums up the gun rights movement in its entirety. //Jimmy Ellis




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I believe that gun purchases should be regulated by the government and people should be required to pass a background check in order to get one.


Banning assault rifles and automatic weapons would not be taking away a constitutional right. It would help keep America safe.



Civilians should not be armed. This would only cause more mass shootings, not deter them. TRUE



I believe that gun free zones are necessary. Keeping public spaces free of weapons will reduce the amount of mass shootings in the US.








Stricter gun control laws will reduce the amount of violent crime, not increase it. TRUE FALSE UNSURE

There is no reasonable purpose for having guns in the home. It poses a threat to children and should not be allowed.





WHERE DO YOU STAND? A recent poll by the Huffington Post shows that American college students are divided 43% to 43% on the issue of gun control with 14% being unsure. Take our quiz to find out where you might stand, but be sure to research on your own as well, and educate yourself on each side of the issue.




For Gun Control

Against Gun Control

In The Middle

You believe that stricter laws will help to reduce the amount of violent crimes in the U.S. and will keep guns out of the hands of criminals. You do not believe that guns help to keep the country safe, but pose a threat.

You believe that owning a gun is a right that the government should not be allowed to take away. You believe that carrying a gun can help keep the world safe against mass shooters.

You aren’t quite sure of what the solution to gun violence is. You may find pros and cons in both sides of the arguement. Do a little more research and find out some more information about each side.





’er the Land of the Free, and the home of the Brave.” The United States of America is the most free, and well-established country in the world. Like any great country, there is a need for brave men and women to keep us safe. For the United States, we have the brave the men and women who have served and all too often payed the ultimate price to protect our freedom. The Armed Forces of the United States has been around since 1775, pre-dating the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Since the establishment of our Armed Forces, this country has been given the protection that she deserves. There are heroes who have served this country in several wars all over the world and some of those heroes are here at Cleveland State University. There are over 600 U.S. veterans attending CSU and their service ranges from those who have recently enlisted and have yet to be deployed to veterans who served in the Vietnam War. With this article, I want to give those heroes who have served the thanks that they deserve. As many already know, there are five branches of the Armed Forces: The United States Army (USA), the United States Navy (USN), the United States Air Force (USAF), the United States Coast Guard (USCG), and the United States Marine Corps (USMC). Other components of the Armed Forces are the Ohio Army National Guard (ARNG), and the Ohio Air National Guard (OANG). From 1776 to the present, the United States Armed Forces has been involved in over 100 different wars, the first of which being the American Revolutionary War to the most recent being in Afghanistan which U.S. troops have been engaged since 2002. Though I have not served in the military, my family has quite the military history in their own right. In World War II, my late grandfather and both of his brothers served this country. My grandfather served in the United States Army Air Force (forerunner of U.S.A.F.) as a physical trainer preparing pilots for hand-to-hand combat. His younger brother also served in the Army Air Force, and their eldest brother in the Army. When I was younger, my grandfather told me a story of how years after the war, a former pilot that he had trained thanked him. This veteran has told my grandfather that his plane had been shot down by one of the Nazis in which eventually resulted

in them facing each other on foot. He told my grandfather that if it weren’t for his training, he wouldn’t have been able to take the Nazi down and escape. Though not in the Forces during WW2, my late grandfather on my father’s side worked in a factory assembling weapons that assisted the Allied Forces in winning the war. Two of my late uncles on my father’s side also served, my eldest uncle in the Navy during the Vietnam War, and another uncle in intelligence in the Army also during the Vietnam War. One of my cousins, the son of my late uncle who served in the Navy is currently serving in the SEALS, with the rank of Commander. To learn more about the experiences of those who have served in the Armed Forces, I interviewed personnel from Cleveland State's Veteran Student Success Program, also known as the Viking Vets. Viking Vets ranges from students who have recently enlisted, to as early as the Vietnam War. I asked them who they are, when they joined and which branch. I also asked them why they joined, what was their rank, when they left, if they are still in service, and what advice they would give to those considering enlisting. These are their stories. One student, who requested to remain anonymous, joined the Army on April 8th, 2015. Their reason for joining was “To find direction in my life.” This student is currently in the Reserves and is also, an undergrad at CSU. This student’s advice was “Know what you’re getting yourself into, and do it for the right reasons.” Sam Leftwich joined the Marine Corps in February, 2010, and left December 15, 2012 as a Corporal. Sam said that his reason for joining the Marines was “I wanted to serve my country.” Sam’s advice was “Read any paperwork before you sign. Always listen to the ones who have been there longer than you.” A student named Mike was in the Navy from December 15, 2008-December 15, 2012 completing his service as a Petty Officer Second Class. His reason for joining was “[We needed] money for college.” As for advice, Mike had this to say, “Choosing your job and branch makes a huge difference in lifestyle.” Another student also named Mike was in the Army from December 18, 1988-July 26, 2012, retiring as an E-6. Mike’s advice to those considering enlisting into the U.S. Armed Forces is “Do your research, and be true to yourself.” Prior to interviewing veterans for this article, I was unaware that one would be able to go into another branch in the Military after their service was complete in the

branch they were currently in. Until I met Jim, who has been in the U.S. military since January, 2012. Originally, Jim had served in the U.S. Army and left in January, 2016, and is now serving in the Army National Guard. After asking about Jim’s reason for joining the U.S. Armed Forces, he gave two reasons. “1. Somebody has to. 2. The G.I. Bill.” When I asked about Jim’s advice, he said “Know why you are doing it.” At Cleveland State University, there are military personnel of all ages, including a student in the ROTC who requested to referred to as “Cadet J”. Cadet J joined the ROTC with aspirations to join the Army on October 20th, 2014. He was a Private First Class, and is now a Cadet. His reason for joining was “To better my life, start my Military career, and to pay for college.” Cadet J’s advice for those considering enlisting is quite eye-opening about the reality that being in the military is not easy. “Become as strong as you can be before you ship out. Understand that basic training is all a mind game, and get as comfortable as you can with stress. Both mentally and physically.” Like any organization at a University campus, there needs to be someone to lead it. That leader is Bob Shields, who is the Coordinator of the Veteran Student Success Program. Bob served in the United States Coast Guard for 30 years and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Bob’s reason for joining the USCG was “I had some very limited choices, I was about to be drafted. I enlisted voluntarily, but the draft was a push.” When I asked Bob his advice for those considering joining, his answer was quite interesting. “There are 5 branches in the Armed forces, take a close look at all five. Then decide which is best for you based on the mission. He calls them “the five flavors of the Military.” The purpose of this article is intended as a message to the Military personal at Cleveland State University. That message being, “Thank you!” If it weren’t for your bravery, the United States of America would be in a state of chaos. If you are an active or former member of the Armed Forces of the United States, and would like on campus resources, you can do so at the Viking Vets Office at Rhoads West: Room 210. Or if you are interested in joining the military while still at Cleveland University, you can do so by visiting the ROTC Office in room 211 of CSU’s Main Classroom. Norman Schwarzkopf, General, USA says, “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” • APRIL 2016 | VINDICATOR 36



t’s hitting the end of spring semester yet again and to many people that means the beginning of the final stretch towards Summer Vacation. However, one major day has to happen before we can get there. EARTH DAY! One of this country’s most forgotten holidays like Flag Day and Arbor Day. Earth Day brings around the idea of taking a moment and truly recognizing our mother earth. There are 7 million people and growing that call this planet home and yet many of us treat it like our bedrooms at home. We have no sense of regard to what truly is happening as results of our daily activity. One MILLION plastic bags are used every minute worldwide. It’s not hard to see why: who wants to carry an armful of groceries inside or remember where you put the re-usable one. Some days I’m even tempted to ask for BOTH paper and plastic when I’m at the good ol’ checkout line. The reality is, plastic is convenient - so convenient we don’t think about the aftermath of using a plastic bag. But, here’s the inconvenient truth: by using so much plastic and disposing of it in improper ways, we are slowly suffocating our earth. Many people do not truly


realize that plastic bags are made from polyethylene, which consists of long chains of ethylene monomers. Now, to put this back into some simple terms -- natural gas and petroleum. These are considered fossil fuels - the fuels made of old dinosaur bones. If we keep consuming plastic bags, it will only increase our dependence on fossil fuels, indirectly leading to more C02 emissions - the primary greenhouse gas created by humans causing global warming. There’s also a waste factor of using too many plastic bags. The ecosystem naturally recycles substance like dead animals, plant matter, paper, animal waste, you name it. However, the plastics from these bags does not break down very quickly when exposed to mother earth’s natural digestive enzymes and bacteria; covering the planet with substances it cannot recycle through normal ecological means. When the plastic does eventually break down, it leaves behind harmful toxins that can kill off the animals and plants that make up an ecosystem. Even when disposed of properly, plastic bags are leaving behind these toxins in landfills and those toxins can spread to the surrounding world.


April 22nd is Earth Day, so take this month to evaluate how you can keep our planet clean. // Vincent Bertrand & Benjamin Heacox


Even in light of this truth, plastic use continues to rise in the Western economy, not just bags, but also many of the other products we use like nail polish texture, automobiles, and smartphones. It’s a real problem, but there is some hope, and it can start with a change in how you consume plastic bags. So what can you do to reduce your plastic-y footprint? Unfortunately, many a retail and grocery stores have made the switch towards the cheap disposable enemies to the environment we call the plastic shopping bag. Inevitably, you encounter them in daily life. There are alternatives like the reusable bags found at those same supermarkets and big box stores like target and Whole foods, but you will be hard pressed to find them in retail stores. American Eagle made the switch towards plastic only after the Christmas of 2014. Not only does this make the plastic epidemic worse, but it’s also impractical for sales associates who hate trying to neatly stuff clothes in them. Yes, the ever so convenient plastic bag causes issues for retail workers, but it’s not enough to eliminate them. It’s up to the shopper. It is great to use your reusable shopping bags at

grocery stores and farmers markets, but to truly begin to stop the influx of plastic into our ecosystem we must begin to have a mentality towards using them everywhere, including clothing stores kudos to Urban Outfitters for their work here. We then have the paper over plastic option. The first thought may be to cut back on cutting down trees to help with the CO2 levels but it is all in the sustainability. Using reusable bags will be your best bet at eliminating your carbon footprint and to save the dinosaurs, but sustainable paper bags made of recycled material are a good alternative as well. Back in 2009, Whole Foods made the switch to only using sustainable paper bags at there check out lanes taking enormous pressure off of virgin forests by using reprocessed paper helps to protect the biodiversity found in Earth’s Forests. So, the next time you’re at the grocery store, ask if they’re using recycled paper bags. Right now, the answer is no in many chain grocery stores, but with Whole Foods setting a trend towards sustainability, you may want to consider buying a few groceries there the next time you’re shopping at Giant Eagle.

With all this talk of the dreaded plastic baggy, we’ll leave you with this request: this upcoming Earth Day, remember how your small choices can impact the world around you. If you’re going to use these plastic devils, be sure to re-use them as much as possible and dispose of them responsibly. We also urge you to consider alternatives to your plastic bags like a cloth bag or a box. And lastly, consider changing your shopping habits. Support retailers and grocery stores that have taken the initiative to use sustainable bags. We hope you’ll take our advice the next time you’re at a checkout line and together; maybe we can save a dead dinosaur or two. •



GOING VEGAN Why switching to a vegan diet may make the world a better place for more than just the animals. // Alana Whelan



he word “vegan” undoubtedly scares almost everyone who hasn’t considered trying that sort of lifestyle. The idea of not eating meat, cheese, cows milk, or eggs, at first appears to be restrictive, difficult, and possibly even unhealthy. However, even though foods like eggs and milk have become a staple in the American diet, they are not always necessary to keep humans healthy. We eat these foods because we were raised eating these foods, and most of us have never really considered that countless alternatives are possible. It is possible to eat a fully plant-based diet, and to still get all the nutrients needed in order to live a healthful life, and without real “restriction.” Eating a plant-based diet means eating in abundance, and eating in order to become a more compassionate human being. Diet is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of life. It is what determines how we feel, how we sleep, our attitudes, and so much more. While the way we eat seems like something that can be overlooked, it plays an extremely significant role in every person and animal’s life. The choice of what food we put into our bodies not only affects our health, it also affects the earth and all the beings that inhabit it.

eat meat should become simple. The conditions of factory farms in the United States and throughout the world are extremely saddening. 99% of farm animals raised for meat in the U.S. are raised on factory farms, which means that the majority of the meat consumed by the population on a daily basis has been fed with hormones and unhealthy antibiotics. According to a study done in 2011, over 80% of the antibiotics produced were fed to livestock. Birds suffer the most inhumane treatment in the United States. Chickens have their beaks cut or burned off on most factory farms because workers do not want them to peck each other to death. These chickens often live in cages the size of one sheet of paper, with the alternative being a huge barn crammed full of chickens (this is usually what “free-range” is referring to). Along with this, male chicks are ground up in the egg industry because they are unable to lay eggs, and are therefore no use to buyers. In the dairy industry, cows have their calves taken away from them at birth because the milk that would otherwise have been for the calf is used for milk and other products. With all these things considered, animals raised for food are not raised or killed humanely.

For the Animals

Going about our day-to-day lives and having to get tasks done in order to sustain ourselves can cause us not to pay attention to our indirect, but extremely important, impact on the environment. While various factors contribute to how the environment is changing, the meat and dairy industries play significant roles in the environment’s deterioration. What is probably the most obvious way the meat industry is changing the environment is with the diminishing of the world’s forests. 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared each second. While livestock, or food grown for livestock, takes up about ⅓ of the Earth’s ice-free land, about 45% of the Earth’s land is occupied by livestock alone. This is bad news for the environment and for people because livestock cattle consume about 16 times more grain than they produce when turned into meat. So, the land used to grow livestock and their food could be used to grow more food for people, therefore reducing world-hunger. Climate change is also a huge prob-

Eating meat is so simple. It is served in nearly every restaurant and fast food chain throughout the world, it is available at almost every grocery store, and it has become seen as a nutritious, protein-rich food source. It is easy to eat meat because it is culturally acceptable, and almost everyone is doing it. However, eating meat becomes difficult when it compromises our morals. Morally, most people would agree that killing is not right; that it is only necessary when done in an act of self-defense. Yet, many people who agree with this will also agree that it is right to kill an animal if it is done humanely. Vegetarians and vegans everywhere will say that killing animals can never be justified, no matter how “humane” it is. In the developed and technologically advanced world we live in currently, humans are generally no longer hunter-gatherers, and therefore have the choice of what food products to purchase and put into their bodies. Being aware that animals can feel pain, the choice not to


For the Environment

lem that the meat and dairy industries help contribute to. It has been a heated topic in the news over the past few years for obvious reasons, and will eventually affect each person’s everyday life drastically if proper action is not taken. Animal agriculture plays a significant role in the earth’s climate change. Around 18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture, which is more than the combined exhaust from all transportation in the world. Adding to this, cows produce about 150 billion gallons of methane each day. This is not even mentioning the large amounts of water used to produce beef, cheese, and eggs (2,500 gallons to produce 1 pound of beef), and the exploitation of the oceans from overfishing. The carbon footprint of a vegetarian is about ⅔ of an average meat eater’s, while a vegan’s is even less. Although the impact the meat and dairy industries have on the environment is easy to overlook, it is an important part of what determines the health of our planet.

For Health

Despite controversy surrounding vegan diets, studies have been done to show the monumental benefits they can have. If done the correct way, converting to a vegan diet can reduce chances of heart disease and type 2 diabetes because eating foods like nuts and wholegrains increase cardiovascular health. Eating plant-based can also decrease the risk of colon and breast cancers, as well as lower high blood pressure. Along with this, eating less meat and more fruits and vegetables can increase mood, reduce headaches, and contribute to higher energy. The number of people who consider themselves vegetarian or vegan in the U.S. increases every year. While eating less meat can be difficult, especially in today’s society, it is a very important step to becoming a healthier person, reducing pollution in the environment, and saving the lives of innocent animals. Vegetarian and veganism may not be an option for everyone, but reducing meat consumption, even if only by a little, can make a substantial impact on the world. It is very important to be aware of the influence eating animal products has, and to take into consideration what it is doing to our bodies, the animals, and the earth. •

Healthy Substitutions

Applesauce or bananas

Instead of Cheese

Instead of Milk

Almond, soy, coconut milk


Instead of Eggs for Baking Cashew and soy cheese

Instead of Meat

Black beans or tofu



// Arbela Capas




tress on college campuses is usually seen as a normal thing that isn’t out of the ordinary. It’s usually seen as something necessary that every student goes through once they start college. There are core values that we all strive for and we have been reminded of throughout our lives; always succeed and never give up. We are taught to be tough, relentless and strong. While these are all good qualities to strive for, there needs to be a humanistic reminder set into students when starting school, that you sometimes can’t be the best, but that doesn’t make you worthless. Whether it’s pressure from families, yourself or other outside forces, the stress you put yourself through is never worth putting yourself through mental anguish. Sometimes, these expectations become unrealistic, and even become harmful to our mental state. But why is it that our generation of college students are so stressed out? I interviewed two juniors, Emma and Erik Raulinaitis from Ohio University to get their perspective and opinion on college stress. Both of them, who work as Resident assistants at OU, believe that our generation of students are definitely more stressed than others before us. They both pointed out how the pressure of financial problems, as well as academic expectations are the main causes of excessive stress in college students. Erik made of point of saying that, “College is less valued these days” which shocked me at first, until he explained that going to college is just simply expected of our generation. It’s not seen as a luxury or a huge

triumph, but rather a necessary thing to check off your list. There can be many factors that work into this. One thing is that college is very different for us than it was for our parents. College is no longer something to brag about, but rather an affirmation you tell your family and people around you. It’s still an accomplishment, but not as big or praised as it used to. The scariest thing about college these days, is that it is only the first step of the long road of a successful and prosperous career. Many psychologists have also seen a shift in the expectations that students set for themselves. Suddenly, disappointments such as getting a B, turn into catastrophes in some student’s eyes. But are they really wrong to freak out? Emma also told me about how many students struggle with getting a job after college. In today’s age, a degree isn’t as easy to get as it used to be. And, almost always, the degree is not enough; you must have a certain amount of experience, a certain kind of degree, and certain skills that specific employers are looking for. Additionally, while some generations before us were able to get the degree they wanted in 2-3 years, the average today is about 5-5 ½ years. Needless to say, the pressure is on. Our generation of college students look at getting a college education much differently. Sometimes, the pressures to attend elite schools or get exceptional grades doesn’t even come from parents actively overbearing their kids. A lot of times, it’s the students comparing themselves to their peers, siblings or families and creating an image of themselves that they must strive for, no matter

SELF CARE TIPS FOR HOW TO HANDLE STRESS IN COLLEGE: Eat well, Drink a lot of water. Stay hydrated. If your body is happy, your mind will be too. Just because you have a test coming up or a paper due tomorrow doesn’t mean that’s an excuse for you not to eat or drink for hours. Meditation Do it on the bus, before bed, or just taking a walk, anywhere. Meditation give yourself a chance to lose yourself, and just do nothing and think about nothing in particular. Find A Balance Give yourself time to see your friends and family. This is a crucial part of being a functioning human being. You need to see other people in order to Set realistic end-goals You can’t do everything all at once in the perfect. You should remind yourself you are a human being who is not perfect, and cannot achieve everything. Know Your Limitations An A, B, or even a C is by no means a reason for you to start hating yourself. It doesn’t matter what your parents say or how seemingly well your other peers are doing, it’s not worth losing your mind over. Learn from mistakes, and move on.

what.There is nothing wrong with wanting to strive for your best and want a good future, but once you have a future in your head that is set in stone, this creates little leeway if something gets messed up. Because life does gets messy, and things are never going to work out exactly the way we want them to. But because of the expectations and implications that we have in place on top of us, We are told that being stressed out and working and studying with no rest is a good thing. That the only way to get through college is to be completely ruthless with your studies--even if it means overlooking your mental health. This is often not seen in the students because part of this toughness is to seem happy and self-assured and relaxed like all your peers, when a lot of us are having trouble handling everything. A survey of college counseling center found that more than 50% of their clients had “severe psychological problems” and that this has increased by 13% in just two years. Our generation becoming the stressed out generation, and it’s not fair to ignore the mental problems so many people are facing. A lot of this stress is greatly influenced by the way we’re seeing more magnified look on ourselves and the people around ourselves. With the influx of social media, it’s becoming even easier to view the world around us, but this can become overwhelming at times.This doesn’t only mean changing the conversation once students enter college, it also means not giving unrealistic advice to high school students.•



My Mysterious Maria By Tim Lowe

Calling for Maria Lost all in Maria Left my heart for Maria I just want Maria Never had Maria Beautiful poison Beautiful truth Wrapped in a beautiful lie But if I love Maria She might die Who am I? Oh Lord who am I? Calling for Maria Lost all in Maria Left my heart for Maria I just want Maria Never had Maria Dance with such lovely death While I glance at whatever’s left Maria Maria These games we play To never be forever All these emotions intertwined within a simple hey


Calling for Maria Lost all in Maria Left my heart for Maria I just want Maria Never had Maria


rolling stone by Timothy Cox i shipped out to the college & came back half insane blue as the sky is long when the sun is high and pouring rain a woman calling herself professor said young man, you’ll need this paper to say you have learned all you’ll need to lay yourself down again for your boss’ greed & they said, roam these halls for as long as those winter nights did seem yes they said, roam these halls until you’ve the time to dream what you may gain for yourself in the college’s sight what you may do with ideas of what is good and right yes, so you will be principled, the highly esteemed student these thoughts come to be in the notice of a moment take this shakespeare & have this aristotle to keep and to know and i sat in the depth of the mind in spring’s lift and winter’s blow i went to the professor with the question of why, turning the page of a book with a sigh, of what use and good can i take with me down this path? having bought the university’s degree to last this high education of protocol, rule and code the open mind’s discouraged, though it is the only compass of this road a song for the genius child, to have and to hold a rolling stone bent towards freedom as its only goal


yes, i shipped out to college & came back half insane blue as the sky is long when the sun is high and pouring rain had my writing & my work reached you in the grips of distress all is well, all is well! for i did my best a rolling stone gathers no moss, yes i did say a blue sky as far as the eye could see, on this graduation day!


Why? It’s scary that I don’t feel anything at all My mind is hazy, it’s like a jungle in my mind. Got purple bruises on my arm, Too much blood, my body’s shaking. I wish I was a doctor to heal my own pain. You told me you wouldn’t abuse me again. You didn’t mean it, cause you’ve done it again. Am I a punching bag to let your anger out? Do you look past my fear without a doubt? You’ve heard my screams, I lost my voice I’ve done so much to make you happy But you haven’t done the same for me. Where was the man that I first fell in love with? He wasn’t like this, a violent man who doesn’t give a damn I gave you so many chances but I can’t keep doing this. I pulled out a knife that was by your side, I stabbed you in your chest next to your heart. I saw the blood coming out of your scars and I felt a sense of relief. Father please forgive my sins, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I know I’ve killed him cause he’s stone cold. Goodbye, you’ve gotten what you deserve. I know you can’t hurt me anymore.


by Chau Tang

Something Else by Andy Hammersmith

How can I truly be loving, if I’m still uncovering myself ? Do I stand the test of time, or do I fall beyond the wayside? Listening all this time becomes destructive in the end. A voice spoken but left unheard. A noise left out in the cold, given no room to inhale. Best left to harden, to fall susceptible to those who find it repulsive.


I can still be loving, in its own way. I can still show my love, once the door opens again.