The Anchor: Fall 2021, Issue I

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Meet the Staff

Claire Buck

Eli Maxwell

Maddy Eppard

Mikayla Zobeck

Julia O’Halla

Valeria Lee

Katie DeReus

Aubrey Brolsma

Our Mission: The Anchor strives to communicate campus events throughout Hope College and the Holland community. We hope to amplify awareness and promote dialogue through fair, objective journalism and a vibrant Voices section.

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Sarah Stevenson, Photo Editor Lauren Schiller, Features Editor Valeria Lee, Web Editor Aubrey Brolsma, Campus Editor Gillian Skiba, Staff Writer Claire Buck and Eli Maxwell, Editors-in-Chief Julia O’Halla, Business Manager Katy Smith, Arts Editor Therese Joffre, Opinion Editor Mikayla Zobeck, Business Manager Katie DeReus, News Editor Grace Gruner, Copy Editor Mark Lewison, Faculty Advisor Claire Dwyer, Staff Writer Maddy Eppard, Production Manager Carole Chee, Staff Writer Emma Moore, Staff Writer Sarah O’Neil, Staff Writer Parker Cote, Copy Editor Bess Maume, Staff Writer Aurore Shima, Staff Writer Jonah Hill, Staff Writer
BusinEss ManagEr WEB Editor nEWs Editor CaMPus Editor Therese
Schiller Sarah Stevenson Grace Gruner Parker Cote Sarah O’ Neil Aurore Shima oPinion Editor arts Editor fEaturEs Editor Photo Editor CoPy Editor CoPy Editor staff WritEr staff WritEr
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Smith Lauren

For those of you who read the Anchor but don’t work for the Anchor, who don’t know what an Anchor print production day looks like, let me tell you about this first one.

I get to the newsroom around one o’clock. One of our section editors is in the room making pages, which is pretty typical; most people come in during the late afternoon. For a while, maybe an hour or so, everything is going the way it should. People are learning their way through InDesign (a brave, brave act), and production is going well. Later in the afternoon, though, things take a turn.

The most recent Adobe Creative Suite was installed in one of our computers. Great; let’s try it out. “Your operating system does not support this software.” While this doesn’t surprise me (the newsroom is still rocking Windows 7, somehow), it certainly doesn’t reassure me about how the day is going to go. That’s one computer down, four to go. Next one of our computers thinks it isn’t connected to the internet, meaning Adobe can’t connect to its servers and verify our subscription to the Creative Suite, meaning we can’t design pages on that computer anymore. Two down, three to go.

I should also mention that another one of our computers can’t connect to our servers. We can use it to design pages, but not really to store pages where they need to be. I’ll consider this half a computer down, since we’re still utilizing it, but it makes our process a lot more convoluted. We’re at two and a half out of five, and 50% is a failing grade.

Technology issues aside, Claire and I realized we hadn’t brainstormed any ideas for our cover image, nor had we planned for almost everything in the newsroom to completely and mercilessly abandon us in our time of need. At the risk of sounding too emo, I’ll quote Prince Zuko when he can’t make

lightning: “Why can’t I do it? Instead of lighting it keeps exploding in my face! Like everything always does.” While this piece of dialogue is frequently cited as the most emo, overdramatic line in “Avatar,” and rightly so, I think we’d be lying to ourselves if we didn’t admit to it’s resonance. Lighting-bending is sort of what making a newspaper feels like when things that are out of your control refuse to cooperate with your already limited agency. Lightning-bending is sort of what school feels like when every academically intense week is followed up by another academically intense week (or, maybe worse, a socially/emotionally intense week). Lightning-bending is sort of what life can feel like when you’re in a season of waiting or turmoil.

But to every emo Zuko quote, there is also a wise Uncle Iroh quote: “Sometimes life is like this dark tunnel. You can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you just keep moving you will come to a better place.”


I’ll be honest: I’m sitting here in the Anchor office at 7:16 on a Monday night, and I don’t want to write this Letter from the Editors. It’s been a long day of contending with InDesign and beating our heads against our Windows 7 operating system. There’s homework I haven’t done and obligations I haven’t met. The naturally-flavored juice-in-themiddle fruit snacks from Aldi that I bought this afternoon aren’t giving me the kick of energy I need right now even though I keep scarfing down the little packets. I just want to rest.

I get the sense that I’m not alone in feeling tired right now. For so many of us, the initial excitement of being back to a mostly unrestricted campus life has faded and the papers are coming due. The organizations that seemed so

fun to join at the beginning of the semester are starting to load us up with responsibilities. I don’t know if it’s the atrophy of our collective time management skills during the COVID semesters or the renewal of social pressures or the “extra instructional hour” that professors are adding to their class work, but something feels different about this fall. For some reason, we’re all struggling.

Last night, I had our News Editor and my good friend Katie DeReus on the radio show I host every Sunday on WTHS. Toward the end of the interview when we were talking about the strategies we’ve found over the past three years for dealing with the pressures of college life, she told me something that surprised me. According to her, she didn’t really feel like she had any consistent, go-to coping mechanisms for managing stress. Instead, what gets her through is simply the knowledge that every intense and exhausting semester comes to an end. No matter what happens, we’ll reach the

conclusion of our sixteen weeks and be done. Seasons change. Nothing is permanent.

I wish I had a better piece of advice or a more profound insight than “stick it out, we’ll make it to finals.” I’ve written and deleted three different phrases of encouragement because they all sound like the kind of tacky platitude that you’d see written in loopy calligraphy and hanging in a midwestern mom’s living room: “This Too Shall Pass.” But truly, though, if this semester is starting to spin off the rails, take heart. College doesn’t have to be the best four years of your life. This semester doesn’t have to be a straight-A success. In the end, it’s the months of patient, painful faithfulness to your academic discipline and the needs of your friends and the obligations of your work that form your heart to be gracious and resilient. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It won’t be fun. But — and I say this as someone who’s tired and frazzled and struggling to do math that’s the equivalent of high-school algebra — I really do believe it’s worth it.

It’s 9:03 now, and we’ve still got long hours of editing ahead of us. Still, the night has quieted, the stars are out, and I’m feeling grateful for the hard work of my staff in the midst of their own busy nights. We’ll get through this, Hope College.

from the Editors Eli
Entertainment Weekly Claire Buck Zuko is so bad at being a person. And sometimes so are we. Phoebe Bridgers is healing for the soul, but that healing only lasts for about a week.


Prism hosts annual Coming Out Party

As the semester starts to ramp up, student organizations are embracing a renewed event schedule. The MSO Prism is no exception, holding their annual Coming Out Party this week! The Coming Out Party has a substantial importance to Prism, being their first open event two springs ago, showing that their community was ready to be heard and seen. Acting almost as an anniversary, the Coming Out Party marks the beginning of Prism’s official acceptance into campus life. Holding such value, Prism’s Executive Board members have been working tirelessly for several weeks to acknowledge and ensure the event goes as smoothly as possible and is inclusive for everyone. The Anchor talked to Prism PresidentElect, Elizabeth Rocha (’23) to get the inside details on this event.

While the main goal of Prism’s Coming Out Party is to have fun, Rocha shared behind the scenes details on more serious matters with The Anchor, stating, “As much as everyone likes to focus on decorations and snacks, we also wanted to place an emphasis on inclusivity.” Rocha continued to highlight Prism’s exec board’s dedication to detail and involvement, adding that, “When planning events such as our Coming Out Party, we carry this [inclusivity] idea with us and it influences every decision we make.

For example, the graphics that have been created for this event are carefully crafted to ensure that they are legible to everyone.” Prism is also a MSO, supported by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, with the mission of embracing diversity and offering a safe environment to those who need it or are simply just interested in getting involved and educating themselves. As Rocha put it, “Prism was founded on the idea of creating a space for everyone, despite their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, disabilities, etc.”

As the conversation progressed deeper, Rocha was asked what Prism’s presence on campus means for Hope College as a whole and, more specifically, moving forward in encouraging inclusion and acceptance. Rocha provided many examples of the impacts Prism has had for people of the LGBTQ+ community on campus, stating, “Prism’s presence on campus is such a big step for improving the culture of Hope College. Even these last few years, the number of queer people on Hope’s campus is increasing steadily. This means that people who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community are seeing the work being done, and are becoming less afraid of attending school here. I believe that there is a lot of work that still has to be done, but I’m proud of the progress that we have worked towards.” Additionally, Prism isn’t solely just for members of the LGBTQ+ community to be a part of either. As Rocha stated, “I would encourage everyone to get

involved. As long as you are trying to educate yourself and are accepting of others, we would love to have you take part in this organization. When we say that Prism is a place for all, we mean it and we hope that it shows through everything we do.” The main goal of Prism is to allow people to feel welcomed, as they work towards making Hope College a more aware and inviting environment for all people.

Despite being officially granted authorization to commence their student organization in the spring of 2020, Prism’s fight for a voice is far from a new concept. With heightened tension growing as laws and rights have changed, the LGBTQ+ community at Hope has been speaking out against injustices for quite some time now, especially gaining attention in 2016 and continuing through 2021. Until very recently, Hope College had an enforced rule, the Statement on Human Sexuality, only repealed in 2019, which banned the support or recognition of any club or organization with affiliations pertaining to sexuality or identity against that of certain interpretations of biblical text. Many students during this time sought a group such as Prism, who offers refuge and support to students facing discrimination and/or scrutiny, and simply provides a safe environment to be oneself.

On a slightly less serious note, Prism’s Coming Out Party is a

celebration! Open to everyone, regardless of if you identify with the LGBTQ+ community or not, the Coming Out Party is “a time to forget about all of the days’ struggles and have fun with people who accept you and all of the little things that make you unique. It is a time to take a break from the hard work of the school year and outside work and celebrate you.” This is reflective of Rocha’s personal perspective, being, “Events, and everything in life really, is the most fun when people with different perspectives and life experiences can get together and have a good time.” The event is important to so many LGBTQ+ students and allies as a way to remember the hard work, risk, and dedication it took for their voices to finally be heard, the open and earned celebration of their official welcome and recognition to the college, and as a way to broaden their outreach and message to those all around the Hope community. The party will be held this Friday, October 1, at the Old Kletz, kicking off at 8 p.m. and open for you to stop by and mingle until 11 p.m. You can receive more information about Prism by visiting the Keppel House on Monday nights, located in between Gilmore Hall and Cook Hall, or by visiting the Student Organizations page on Hope’s website. Any questions or interest in getting involved can be directed to

Photo from Prism’s first annual Coming Out Party in 2020, which was held after Prism’s founding on campus in 2019.

Push for the Pull: A Traditon Returns After COVID

The Pull was first mentioned briefly in The Anchor 123 years ago in 1898, “Come out and see the tugof-war between the Sophomores and the A’s and Freshmen.” The “A’s” referencing the Seniors as the letters represent classes in descending order (A’s-Seniors, B’sJuniors, C’s-Sophomores, and D’sFreshman). The Pull seemed to be pretty informal and off the record until about the year of 1909. In fact, some alumni from 1909 believed that they had started the event and had little to no history of the past tug of wars between the sophomore and freshman classes, this leads us to believe that there may have been some sort of long break between The Pull in 1898 and The Pull in 1909.

In 1910, more standard rules were set in place which have led to the current parameters for The Pull. Now, The Pull can only last a maximum of three hours and the gain or loss of each side is measured at the end of the time limit. There are usually about 18 pullers on each team, which must remain on the rope at all times, along with their moralers, which are the “puller’s eyes” and direct them in their actions. This means a total of 36 people are used, but a minimum of 24 on each team are needed (12 pullers and 12 moralers). However, the pull has recently had a struggle in recruiting people, a moraler commented that “it may be normal to struggle with recruiting evry year, it could also be because we took a year off that recruitment is struggling this year.” Failure to bring in enough people could lead to a cancelation. The Pull had only been cancelled four times (1918, 1943, 1944 and 1957) due to a flu outbreak before 2020, when the event was eventually cancelled after being postponed due to the COVID-19

pandemic. If recruitment becomes a problem for multiple years in a row, the event will be cancelled yearly until it no longer takes place.

In order to get more people to join, The Pull might have to lower their standards. It has been said that “the practices are demanding and the coaches yell at the team, demanding their respect.” To encourage attendance, the coaches could consider making the practices less intense, both physically and emotionally. Meaning the coaches would yell less and possibly have to give more breaks. The other huge factor in becoming part of The Pull is the time commitment, everyone practices three hours every week day and eight hours on Saturdays for three weeks straight. Many people have other commitments, despite being able to come late or leave early from practice, it is still difficult to make enough time to commit to doing The Pull. However, there is great incentive to continue on with this tradition. For instance, freshmen do not want to be known as the class who let one of the longest-running college traditions in the U.S. die.

Also, this year the Pull will have the most women pullers in history, meaning the chances for men and women to pull is becoming much more even. We could make our years one of history for The Pull.

Despite the fact that not everyone wants to actually participate in the event, it can get quite competitive. The Pull coaches try to get everyone involved by holding rallies and encouraging the team. In fact, the rivalry gets pretty intense about a week before The Pull, you may have noticed the sign with a 25 on it at the top left corner of Phelps Hall or the sign behind Phelps Dining Hall which clearly states the time and date of The Pull rally. In fact, there have been past years when teams have published a writing to intimidate their opponents. In 1916 the excerpt read “A shot rang out, the pull was on, It was sad as sad could be. The Freshmen looked pale, thin and wan, The SOPHOMORES happy and free.” Despite this smack talk and example of freshmen hazing, the sophomores and freshmen actually tied that year, which has only happened a few times in the history of The Pull.

Highlights and Monumental Years

1898: first time The Pull is mentioned in the school newspaper

1909: the first time a winner of The Pull is declared

1916: Draw (after 45 minutes the strain was endangering participants)

1918: The Pull is cancelled

1926: originally determined a draw, later determined the sophomores as the winners after a basketball tiebreaker game

1943: The Pull is cancelled

1944: The pull is cancelled

1952: Draw

1956: The shortest Pull (2 minutes and 40 seconds)

1957: The Pull is cancelled

1974: The Pull is postponed until the following Monday due to rope breakage

1977: The longest Pull (3 hours and 31 minutes), and considered a Draw

1993: The Pull begun being held on Saturdays, as opposed to Fridays

1994: The first woman tried out to be a puller (despite ending up as a moraler)

1995: The first woman was chosen as a puller

2013: A new rope is used, “It is 600 feet long, 2.5 inches in diameter and weighs approximately 1,000 pounds”

2020: The Pull is cancelled.

Scenes from the 2019 competition, the last Pull to take place before COVID-19 canceled the event for a year Holland Digital Archives
Hope’s traditional tug-of-war competition between freshmen and sophomores predates color photography. This image is from the 1923 Pull.

Hope grad makes an impact on an unexpected platform

Near the end of 2016, a new app by the name of TikTok emerged from the ashes of the recently deceased and Vine. The first impression many people had of it was that it was going to fall just as fast as its predecessors, but that seems to have not been the case thus far.

Instead, “creators” use the app for expression, whether this be through music, dance, or acting. Some also use it to make informative videos to spread awareness about social justice, or they might even utilize it to advance their career. This is the case for Hope College alumni, Gracie Lorincz (’21).

Lorincz applied to be a brand ambassador at Ava Lane Boutique in Detroit this past summer. She said, “I was drawn to the job posting because of their seemingly woke philosophy on women and beauty.” She also felt like she had the experience needed for the position because she had majored in business and had worked in retail prior to applying.

But things took a turn for the worse when the vice president of the company accidentally attached her to an email that was meant to go to the hiring committee. It read, “This girl is fresh out of college (Hope College) and not that cute. She applied for the sales model position. Are you sure you want me to interview her?”

This was a surprising email for Lorincz to receive and it ate away at her self confidence. She said, “I was embarrassed that I thought that I was beautiful and that I might have been mistaken.”

Because of how bizarre the

situation was and how horrible it made her feel, Lorincz decided to take the issue to TikTok. She explained the entire situation and showed the email as proof. The responses that she got were overwhelming.

The TikTok video blew up fast; so much so that the VP even made an apology video and popular news sources such as BuzzFeed were talking about it. Even though this is seemingly good (who wouldn’t want to go viral?), there were also numerous hate comments that Lorincz received on the TikTok.

“The [VP’s] comment ate away at me, but the worse comments were the ones on the TikTok I made, and on all of the media platforms my TikTok reached. I would wake up in the morning and read those comments and sob. They were hurtful and created a variety of insecurities I had never had before.”

Even though TikTok can be a fun video-making experience, many people go out of their way to comment negative things on people’s posts. This is the fault of social media.

In an article about the pros and cons of social media, HelpGuide said, “About 10 percent of teens report being bullied on social media and many other users are subjected to offensive comments” (Lawrence Robinson and Melinda Smith). Not only are people of all ages affected by cyberbullying, HelpGuide also stated that there are also many who experience inadequacy about their life and appearance.

People only post about good experiences or things that they want

to draw attention to. Lorincz feels that people are “more interested in views than maintaining their moral values.” People don’t post pictures that they feel insecure about on their Instagram feed. You don’t see the bad things that others are going through. Remember that the next time you catch yourself scrolling.

Even though the negative comments and the overall incident hurt Lorincz, there was some good that came from posting the TikTok.

Lorincz got many positive comments on her TikTok that helped to combat the negative ones. She received not only support from her friends, but random strangers as well. On this she said, “The amount of support and love that I received certainly couldn’t take away all of those negative comments that I received, but I realized that I should not let random people tear me down, but I need to look around at who I am surrounded by and know that all of those people love me no matter what I look like.” Her confidence might not be fully back, but the experience did make her realize that there are people that love her and support her.

Her video also reached a broad audience, “The audience that a single TikTok can reach is incomprehensible. When I received [direct message]’s from people in Japan hearing my story and wanting

to let me know that they supported me, it was absolutely insane. How someone from metro Detroit reached Japan is an absolutely crazy thought.”

When Lorincz discovered that she had a platform, she used this to her advantage. “Once I saw I had a platform I wanted to use my new platform to promote gender inequality in the workplace (towards women). I created a website, and we sold merch, which is now available on RedBubble. I am donating 10% of the profits to a non-profit that supports employing women. I also gained a lot from my new platform such as I’m a brand ambassador for Albion Fit, a company that is family-based, and supports women. I also am currently an intern at the Detroit News doing Social Media.”

Lorincz’s story is a great reflection on both the pros and cons of Tiktok. Yes, it is a new form of self expression and art entertainment. Yes, it can be used for educational purposes. Yes, it is a beneficial tool to build a platform. But, it can also decrease self confidence, it can be addicting, and it can set unrealistic societal expectations.

Nevertheless, you have to decide for yourself: is TikTok a fun, fresh, new way of expression, or should we all just delete it?

Chuck DeGrendel, Vice President of Ava Lane, in their apology video Gracie Lorincz, a Hope grad, learned the power of social media after a hurtful encounter with potential employer. Gracie Lorincz Ava Lane Boutique


What is the United Nations General Assembly all about?

On Tuesday, September 21, the 76th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) began in New York. Meetings were scheduled through Monday, September 27. While last year’s session took place completely virtually, this year the UNGA members gathered together to deliberate on two parallel challenges: ending the pandemic and redefining the post-pandemic global economy to be healthier for the planet.

That began with COVID-19 vaccinations, a hot topic right off the bat. While the state of New York requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for indoor gatherings, the UN abided by a “vaccination honor system.” Many visiting dignitaries arrived without any vaccines and refused to visit the one-shot vaccination station that will be set up on-site. The UN continued to take other mitigation measures, including a mandatory mask mandate and mandatory vaccination for UN staff.

The President of the General Assembly, Maldivian Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, opened the session with a vision statement that laid out his priorities for the assembly: “Five Rays of Hope” that include recovering from COVID-19, rebuilding sustainably, responding to the needs of the

planet, respecting the rights of all and revitalizing the United Nations.

President Biden was one of the first speakers, and emphasized working toward a “peaceful, prosperous future for all.” He called for global unity against common threats, namely the coronavirus, climate change, emerging technological threats and the expanding influence of autocratic nations such as China and Russia.

“Our security, our prosperity, and our very freedoms are interconnected, in my view as never before,” he stated. “No matter how challenging or how complex the problems we’re going to face, government by and for the people is still the best way to deliver for all of our people.” This is Biden’s first time at the United Nations General Assembly and comes in the wake of a frantic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which ended a 20-year occupation and war.

As of Saturday, September 25, other notable moments from the

assembly thus far include the extremist group the Taliban’s nomination of a UN envoy to represent Afghanistan, a startling development. Additionally, the new Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi furiously denounced the United States’ exertion of power on other areas of the world. Later, President of China, Xi Jinping, announced that his country “will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad” in aim to tackle climate change. Xi spoke out against America’s portrayal of China as authoritarian and expansionist, arguing that “not a special right reserved to an individual country.”

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines brought up the dire issue of vaccine inequality, pointing his frustrations directly at the world’s richest nations for hoarding vaccines while the poor “wait for trickles.” According to the World Health Organization, over 70% of vaccines have been administered in just 10 rich countries, including the United States.

If the UN General Assembly and the work it does have piqued your interest, perhaps you’d like to learn more about Model UN. “Model UN is one of my favorite things and I would love it if more people were able to be involved!” said

Abby Vander Vliet (‘22), who has been involved in Model UN both in high school and at Hope College.

Model UN is a simulation of the United Nations where students can learn and participate in diplomacy, international relations, critical thinking, and public speaking through representing the views of a different country to debate on current international issues. Here at Hope, Model UN is a twocredit class offered in the fall that fulfills the Social Science II general education requirement. Model UN was originally a program at Hope to create a conference for high schoolers; however, since the fall of 2018, Model UN at Hope is preparing college students to go to the American Model United Nations conference in Chicago.

Vander Vliet, who took the course previously, said that it “helped me with public speaking and realizing my interest in international relations… I’ve loved the opportunity to learn more about current events in other countries. Model UN is a great way to understand where people are coming from and why people hold differing beliefs.

If you’d like to learn more about being involved in Model UN or get more information, reach out to

Carole Chee Staff Writer
“A peaceful prosperous future for all.”
Abby VanderVliet Hope students participate in the 2018 Model UN conference in Chicago Twitter The UN General Assembly reconvened in person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

2016 US Olympic Gymnastics team testifies before Congress

On September 15, four of the nation’s top gymnasts testified before Congress on the abuse they suffered under team coach Larry Nassar and how the FBI and other investigators mishandled the investigation. Olympians

McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, along with elite gymnast Maggie Nichols gave emotional testimonies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee highlighting not only the abuse they suffered under Nassar, but the system that allowed him access to them in the first place.

Nichols was the first victim of Nassar to report him to USA Gymnastics in 2015. It is estimated that around 120 athletes were abused by Nassar since he was first reported to the FBI. The hearing largely centered on the failing of the FBI, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to properly investigate the situation and to prohibit Nassar’s contact with the athletes. Maroney added that her testimony to the FBI was later falsified in the official report, and that the FBI repeatedly downplayed the abuse she suffered. “They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me but countless others," Maroney said, according to CBS News. All four gymnasts

had similar stories, with each saying that the FBI failed to help them and their fellow gymnasts. Despite this, no one in the FBI or the Justice Department has been indicted or charged with the mishandling of the case. Maroney added, “It is the Department of Justice's job to hold them accountable. I am tired of waiting for people to do the right thing, because my abuse was enough and we deserve justice."

Nassar began working as a team doctor for USA Gymnastics in

the late 1990s, and he also worked as a physician for gymnasts at Michigan State University, where he continued to abuse athletes. At both gymnastics clubs he worked at and Michigan State, reports were made against Nassar’s conduct with athletes starting as early as 1997 and 1998 respectively, but nothing was done after the reports were filed, according to USA Today. Nassar also attended multiple Olympic Games with Team USA as a physician for the gymnastics team in the 2000s.

In 2016, the Indianapolis Star broke the story about Nassar’s abuse, and how both USA Gymnastics and the FBI actively tried to cover up reports of his abuse. In 2015, the FBI was first notified of Nassar’s abuse. Nassar was fired from USA Gymnastics in 2015, but did not leave Michigan State University until 2016. Additionally, the FBI failed to notify officials in Lansing after Nassar remained at Michigan State University, again allowing him to continue abusing others.

In late 2016 and early 2017, Nassar was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and criminal sexual conduct with a child under 13, as well as being indicted with federal child pornography charges. In late 2017, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography, and in 2018 was sentenced to an additional 40-175 years in prison for sexual assault.

Although the FBI and Justice Department vowed to reach for justice, the gymnasts say the impact of the abuse remains. "The scars of this horrific abuse continue to live with all of us. The impacts of this man's abuse are not ever over or forgotten," Biles said. "A message needs to be sent: If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. Enough is enough."

McKayla Maorney (left) and Aly Raisman. MPR & NPR Vanity Fai and Women's Health Magazine Maggie Nichols (left) and Simon Biles testified about athlete abuse.

Timeline of events: The Gabby Petito case

The events leading up to and following the death of Gabby Petito have rocked the nation. Here is a timeline of the significant events so far.

July 4: Beginning the trip

Gabby and her fiancé Brian Laundrie leave North Port, Florida for a four month excursion across the United States. They plan to drive the entire way, sleeping in their van, and documenting the trip via YouTube and Instagram. Gabby also plans on setting up a blog for people to follow their travels later on the trip.

August 12: Domestic dispute and police encounter

After witnessing a physical altercation between Gabby and Brian (specifically a male hitting a female), a passerby calls the local police. Upon arrival, the officer sees the couple’s van speeding and swerving and pulls them over. After separating the pair, the officer and the backup ask the two of them questions about what had happened. The police report states, among other things, that Gabby hit Brian. It’s unknown whether or not the police knew the content of the 911 call or simply categorized it under the term “domestic dispute”.

August 19: Last upload to YouTube

Gabby and Brian’s last video upload entitled “Van Life” shows them laughing and kissing while sitting in their tent.

August 24: Salt Lake City

The pair are allegedly last seen in person leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City. However there are doubts about the legitimacy of this claim.

August 25: Gabby’s last Instagram post

The last Instagram post on Gabby’s account is made depicting her by a Butterfly Wall in Ogden, Utah. Some have speculated that the post and caption style resembles Brian’s posts more than hers, but this is unconfirmed.

August 27: The first text

Gabby’s mother receives a strange text from her daughter asking about her grandfather “Stan.” Gabby’s mother said that this was concerning, as she never calls him by his first name and now suspects that it wasn’t Gabby who sent the text, implying it might have been Brian.

August 29: Miranda Baker and Brian

A TikToker by the name of Miranda Baker claims that she picked up Brian Laundrie hitchhiking without Gabby or their van. She says that after she dropped him off in Jackson Hole that “he got out, and you know, he was thankful and he was kind of in a hurry. He said he was going to go across the street into the parking lot and find someone else to give him a ride, but, when we looked back 10 or 15 seconds after he got out of the vehicle he was just gone.”

August 30: Second text

Gabby’s phone texts her mother a second time. She declined to comment on what it said at first, but according to some wild guesses from Instagram and YouTube commenters, it read “I’m sorry about your daughter.” This rumor was dispelled later however as the attorney for the Petito family said that the text simply read “no service in Yosemite.”

September 1: Brian’s home Brian returns to North Port, Florida to the house where he lived with Gabby; however, he was alone.

September 11: The Missing Persons Report

The Petito family officially files a missing persons report for their daughter. They had apparently not heard from her since August.

September 15: Person of Interest

Police say the Brian Laundrie is refusing to cooperate and names him as a “person of interest” in the missing persons case.

September 17: Protestors

Protestors gather outside Brian’s house to call for his cooperation in the case to find Gabby. The rumors that he may have been involved in her disappearance and may even be responsible start to gain more traction.

September 18: The official search begins

Officers begin their search of the 24,000 acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota, Florida. Laundrie’s parents said that this is where he was headed last. Unfortunately, they found no evidence that he was actually there.

September 20: Search Warrants

After remains are found near the previous location of the couple’s van, the police obtain a search warrant for the home of Brain Laundrie. They seize his car and hard drive, believing that they may contain “evidence that a felony has been committed.”

September 21: Homicide

A coroner identifies the remains found as Gabby Petito. They also determine the original cause of death to be homicide. This also marks the day that an arrest warrant for Brain Laundrie is issued, and the FBI announces that they would be taking over the case.

September 26: Memorial for Gabby

Gabby’s parents organized a memorial service for their daughter. The Long-Island funeral home held the service and the general public was invited to mourn along with the family. Her eulogy describes her as a girl who was “always willing to help others.”

ABC 7 News Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie on Gabby’s YouTube channel. Conde Naste Traveler Salt Lake City


Support for Hope Theatre: An inside perspective

Hope College’s Theatre Department has always been an integral part of our campus involvement and an important academic major. The Arts have struggled to fit into higher education for the extent of its existence, and Hope is no exception. Valerie Dien (’22), a senior Theatre student, and Michelle Bombe, the Chair of the Theatre Department, spoke about their different experiences and involvement with theatre and what they hope for the future.

Can you tell me about your involvement with the theatre department?

Michelle Bombe: I am starting my 31st year here at Hope. I am the resident costume designer and the chair of the Theatre Department. I went to college in southern Indiana, but I worked for the summer [repertory theatre], so I was an acting intern years ago. I fell in love with Holland, and it has been my home for a long time.

Valerie Dien: I’m minoring in Theatre, and I also have a DAA (Distinguished Artist Award Scholarship) for Theatre. I work in the costume shop, and I started doing that in the first semester of my freshman year, so I have worked there consistently. I finished taking my acting classes last semester, and I was doing those every semester. Some semesters I’ll try out and actually act in things, and I am normally

working — either wardrobing or stage managing — one of the big stage productions each semester.

How do you feel Theatre fits into higher education, and at Hope specifically?

MB: What excited me about theatre is the power of a story to help us understand the world. I think and I hope that our productions are conversation starters on our campus [and] that we bring up topics that might be difficult and hard to talk about. Art gives people a way to have language about difficult things. All of [these] add to what I think should be an integral part of a student’s education as they are trying to figure out who they are, what they believe and what’s important to them. [The arts] just enhance everything we do. So that’s what I hope the arts do at Hope for both our students and our audiences.

VD: Honestly, I think that the perception of the theatre department is not bad, because the college doesn’t hinder the theatre department in any way. They let us run ads and use certain spaces for rehearsals and shows, which is good. I don’t think they do a particularly good job of supporting the theatre department, but they don’t harm the department overall.

Does the size of the department affect the way it is treated and managed?

MB: Well, honestly, what is difficult about the theatre is that we are expensive. It costs a lot of money to produce productions and so if you are only looking at it by the numbers then we are only falling at the bottom or the top, whichever is worse. But you have to look at the totality of what I think our department gives to the campus,

which I think goes beyond the numbers, because we are integral. We go into the classroom, professors from many different disciplines have us come into the classroom after we have done a performance and talk to the students about what they have seen, students come and see the work. It is that value added portion that the numbers don’t reflect.

VD: Compared to the art program (because I am kind of involved in both) I think that the numbers are very comparable, I might even say that Theatre might have more people. I think perception wise, it is no big deal, it is just another major. However, I do think that the college just prioritizes more things over theatre. [It’s] not like I really need them to prioritize theatre, but I do think it is a little unfair how a lot of the other student groups, specifically sports, are sponsored more.

Have you seen a change in how the Theatre Department is treated in your time here?

MB: I think that we have been really fortunate in getting support from the administration, but I also think that there has been a genuine love of theatre, or certainly a recognition of support of theatre. When I received the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for Excellence in Theatre Education at the Kennedy Center American Theater Festival in Wisconsin, President Knapp came to that ceremony. Hope was invited to perform at this regional festival in Indianapolis and Interim president Voskuil and his wife drove down and saw the performance and supported us financially to go. For that, [our department] has been invited multiple times to perform productions, and Hope has been willing to support that. That costs money, and I think that we have been very fortunate that every time we have won one of these awards they have supported us traveling to receive it.

I think we have to be careful as a college that we continue to [support the arts]. Because we are in so many ways, the perfect liberal arts. We encompass learning in every single

Michelle Bombe Valerie Dien Valerie Dien (’22), Hope College theatre minor. Michelle Bombe, Chair of the Theatre Department and department Costume Designer.
“I think and I hope that our productions are conversation starters on our campus [and] that we bring up topics that might be difficult and hard to talk about. Art gives people a way to have language about difficult things.”
- Michelle Bombe

Continued from p. 10

discipline, so everything comes together. We are studying the human condition, we are studying political, social norms and we’re delving into everything and so I think that’s going to be the challenge for the college moving forward, is how can we continue to support the arts.

VD: I feel like it has kind of been about the same. I feel like I should add that the department is doing more obscure shows now, which isn’t doing them any good. When I arrived, and even before then, they did a few more shows that were well known which drew a lot more people to our department. I understand that you can’t always do that, and I understand that academically and artistically it is good to try different things like new plays and alternative acting styles. [However] it also tends to fail the department if you don’t do a show that people know. I also think that COVID just wasn’t good for the department either.

How do you think Hope could better serve the arts moving forward, specifically the theatre department?

MB: We are down a faculty

member right now, so we definitely need to get that tenure line replaced. That is kind of integral to our next steps. We are hoping down the line to have a refurbishment of our theatre, and we desperately need a new studio theatre where we can really do the kind of work that students need to work professionally after they leave here. So it would help us to have the space in order that we can do our work better. Those are the things I think we need, and I am just hoping that as we embark on a new general education curriculum that we are intentional about helping students recognize the power of art in their lives--all of the art departments. I hope we can continue to make strides. I would like to see more students in our audiences, and we can better [inform students] that the theatre is a cool place to go and can be part of our intellectual community and a regular part of our lives that you can continue experiencing after you leave Hope.

VD: I would like to see better performance spaces personally. I think that can go for a lot of the arts, not just theatre. I think that we need to utilize a little bit of public space

more often. I was the stage manager for “Twelfth Night” last fall and that was outside. I think that we got a lot more of the college and Holland community to come out just because that was outside and they saw us practicing outside all of the time. It was just a little more accessible that like all students need to. I think Hope College also needs to work on the whole ticket situation for students, whether that’s theatre or sports. Because it is really annoying to either have to physically walk to the ticket office and get a ticket, or go through the somewhat old and complicated online thing.

Come See “The Wolves”!

From these two perspectives we see that there are things to be grateful about that Hope has done to support the Theatre Department. They also remain hopeful to change in the future, and they urge Hope to not simply continue support, but to work harder to give the department what it needs to be the best that it can. Theatre can and should be a place for everyone, and academic arts should not have to suffer. More attention and support will only improve all of these areas and is a necessary investment in the arts for the entire campus community.

ARTS | FALL 2021
Erik Alberg Hope’s 2018 production of Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”.


A conversation with Student Congress President Luke Rufenacht

Everybody in the Hope College community knows the name Matthew Scogin. A familiar face at campus events and the star of the many videos posted to social media, Hope’s current president is certainly a known presence on campus. However, Scogin is not the only president found at Hope.

Senior Luke Rufenacht is the current president of Hope’s Student Congress. An active member of Congress since his freshman year, Rufenacht took on the role of president last year, as a junior. He was encouraged to run for president by members of Congress’ executive board the year prior, which helped him come to the conclusion that this was something he wanted to pursue.

“I was like, you know, it’s a cool way to be able to represent my peers. It’s something that I’m passionate about,” Rufenacht said. “I love, you know, the opportunity to not only represent just my class of 2022 but the whole student body. And so, I thought about it a lot, and ultimately I decided to do it.”

Now in his second year as president, Rufenacht has experience to inform how he will approach the role this year. One responsibility as president that he stressed was facilitating the branches of Congress and making sure matters run smoothly. This involves helping equip other members to do their best.

“What I really learned last year was just the importance of - I never like using the word ‘delegation’, I prefer the word empowerment - but empowering our members to take on these positions in various groups within Student Congress that then put students in a place to be able to represent our peers,” Rufenacht said.

Going from being a class representative in Congress to being the president was certainly an adjustment for Rufenacht.

“My mindset had always been, freshman and sophomore year, okay we have an ice cream event, I’m the one scooping ice cream and handing it out,” Rufenacht said. “But then I made the transition to [where] I wasn’t just the hands and feet, I was overseeing all of this big broad stuff.”

Rufenacht has now found his groove and is using everything he learned last year to guide Congress

to success. His confidence in the role has not gone unnoticed, and his experience is greatly appreciated by Congress’ Vice President, Senior Mara Benitez.

“It is so comforting and very nice that he did this last year. Like, this is his second year being president, so for me, in my first year being vice president, and really my first year on exec, it’s really nice to have Luke as someone who kind of has experience under his belt,” Benitez said.

For Rufenacht, “president” is much more than just a title. He has used his position to initiate real changes on campus. For example, he headed up a new initiative within Congress called assessments. This involves taking a look at various groups on campus that impact the students and making sure they are serving students in the best way possible.

“I was like, ‘Why can’t we be more of a proactive organization that’s gonna be actually looking out for the concerns students have?’” Rufenacht said.

This prompted the group to come up with the assessments program. They have created different task forces that address one of three areas: student life, ministry affairs and academic affairs. Interviews of people who work in those groups, as well as students who interact with them, will be conducted. Students will also have the opportunity to fill out surveys describing their experiences with campus groups like Dining Services and Campus Safety. This is all being done in the spirit of working together to create the best possible experience for the student body.

Additionally, it is Congress that is responsible for the new patio and outdoor dining space between Phelps and Lubbers Halls, something that Rufenacht is really proud of. Students can also look forward to renovations coming to the outdoor area between DeWitt and the Bultman Student Center. Rufenacht shares that there are plans to convert that space into a kind of natural amphitheatre with a stage. Both of these projects were funded in part through money raised by Congress.

“It’s pretty incredible to see how much power the student voice actually has on campus and how we can do these things that are… huge and that are more money than I think most students are used to

working with,” Rufenacht said of endeavors like these renovations.

Rufenacht is adamant about the fact that projects like the assessments and renovations are not just the result of his efforts, but those of everybody in Student Congress. He said that one of his favorite parts about his time in Congress has been seeing how much potential each one of his peers has and watching them tackle such big undertakings.

While Rufenacht applauds his fellow members of Congress, Benitez credits him for creating an environment that encourages everyone to take on big projects.

“A great characteristic of his leadership is that he’s very goaloriented, but he uses that in a way to inspire and motivate us, both by setting ambitious goals and running after them, but also using it as, ‘Hey guys look at what we did,’” Benitez said.

Despite his passion for Student Congress, Rufenacht says that his political career will not continue after college. As a political science and business double major, he came into college with plans of going into politics, but these plans have since changed.

“After joining Student Congress, my passions shifted a little bit, and I’m actually planning on going into

higher education. So, hopefully student life, student development, that kind of stuff,” Ruenacht said. “So not the political side of Student Congress, but the higher education side of Student Congress.”

For now, though, Rufenacht is still in office and is just as dedicated as ever to making Hope the best that it can be. For him, that means listening to student concerns and being an advocate for them. He encourages students to reach out to him, regardless of whether or not they know him.

“No matter who you are, we wanna hear your voices, so never be afraid to reach out,” Rufenacht said. Follow @hopestudentcongress on Instagram to keep up with their projects or email congress@ with any concerns.

Hope College Student Congress Instagram Student Congress Executive Board Student Congress President Luke Rufenacht Hope College Student Congress Instagram

International students find home away from home

It has been just over a month since Hope College students packed their bags and said goodbye to their friends and families to embark on this college journey. We’ve gathered from all parts of the world eager to find ourselves and to begin our academic endeavors at Hope. For some of us, it was easy. We were excited to finally move out of our parents’ house and have the independence we desired. But for others, college means leaving everyone and everything they have ever known behind.

Since Hope was founded, the college has aimed to integrate international students and Third Culture Kids (TCKs) into its community. Third Culture Kids refer to children who were raised in a culture outside of their parents’ during their upbringing. The Center for Global Engagement at Hope has programs and activities that allow these students to build a home away from home, including international orientation. We interviewed freshman international students to learn more about their experiences and transitions at Hope.

“Hope College first appealed because of its friendly atmosphere, Christian community and good academic program,” said Jimmy Hwang, a freshman international student from Deajeon, South Korea. Hwang also lived in China for two years and in the United States for one year.

Danai Mandebvu, an international student from Zimbabwe, cited similar reasons for choosing Hope. “It’s a Christian institution, a smaller college to connect and build relationships and the theatre program was very attractive to me,” she said.

For both Mandebvu and Hwang, international orientation helped

ease the transition between choosing to go to Hope and actually arriving on campus.

“International orientation was one of the best experiences I have had at Hope so far,” said Hwang, “It allowed me to have friends that comfort me and relieve my stress. It’s good to have someone to talk and relate to.”

Mandebvu agreed. “Being away from family and friends was hard. As soon as I got to the dorm, I felt homesick, but international orientation made me feel less homesick and lonely. The orientation allowed me to feel acquainted with campus and Michigan. I was with people that understood me and could relate to,” she said.

That doesn’t mean, however, that international orientation took away all the difficulties of attending college in another country.

“It’s the small things I miss,” Mandebvu said. “When I speak English, [speak] the Shona language and realize that no one understands, it has been difficult. [So has] seeing something and thinking that I should

tell my mom or sister and realizing there is a 6-hour difference.”

Nevertheless, both Hwang and Mandebvu have enjoyed their time at Hope so far.

When asked to describe his experience at Hope in one word Hwang said, “Welcoming.” He elaborated, “There were moments where I was so lost, but friends, professors and upper classmates reached out and helped me. I didn’t expect that because it’s college and you are on your own. But Hope tries to help people and get through this together.”

For Mandebvu, the word for her experience at Hope thus far is “transformational.”

“It’s transformation because traveling here has supplemented a lot of things that I have been learning about myself, and my community. Having to make decisions for me and live with those decisions has been very interesting and transformational,” Mandebvu further explained.

Even though Hope College may lack the diversity of a

larger institution, Mandebvu is still comfortable in her skin. Hope is a community that embraces diversity by allowing for the interaction of cultures, making it safe to be yourself.

For other international students, Mandebvu offers this advice: “Don’t think that America is ‘the promised land.’ It’s not jolly rain and sunshine, it is still a country with its issues and pleasant things to enjoy and experience, but it is a normal place with both good and bad. Be open-minded and be intentional about experiencing life. Take a break if you need it, but don’t deprive yourself of experience and joy because of fear or discomfort. That is when life happens.”

Overall, Hope College can become home for us all. The small community allows us to build intimate relationships and get to know each other. It’s a place where even President Scogin helps freshmen move in during orientation. Truly, Hope is a home away from home.

“Take a break if you need it, but don’t deprive yourself of experience and joy because of fear or discomfort. That’s where life happens.”
Our new classmates from Zimbabwe, South Korea and other countries from around the world pose for a group photo at Orientation. International students gather along Lake Michigan. International Student Orientation Directors International Student Orientation Directors

The great reconnection: Not just being in a crowd but being together

We’re a few weeks into the fall semester and starting to settle into a rhythm that is . . . relatively normal! We’re gathering in chapel, attending sports games, holding rallies for the Pull, eating together in Phelps. Life on campus looks starkly different than this time last year, where there were no sports. No in-person chapel. No pull. No ice cream in Phelps. Let’s not forget how much we missed those things . . . and missed each other. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from COVID-19 is to never take community for granted.

Fitting, then, that one of our themes this year is the Great Reconnection. Because there’s power in being together. We sorely felt the absence of that in our rhythms over the last year and a half, and we’re leaning into togetherness as we reconnect this fall.

Yet togetherness can be hard. It requires vulnerability. Compromise. Cooperation. In some ways it is easier to NOT be in community. It’s easier to not have to be accountable, to keep our business to ourselves. It’s easier to make decisions alone, not have to build consensus in a group. Commitment is harder than keeping our options open. And sometimes it’s easier to interact behind a screen— mediated, filtered, able to be muted—than in the unpredictability and messiness of the real world.

It’s hard, but we need it. In the last year and a half, we as a society have been more isolated than we’ve ever experienced—and we’ve seen negative effects. Anxiety and depression increased considerably during lockdown. We’re built for community. So much so that solitary confinement—the complete

removal of all forms of community— is a type of punishment, saved for the worst offenders. And it can drive people insane.

Community is hard, yet we need it. It is not good for man to be alone. And that goes to the core of what Hope College is. Community is one of the most important things we do here. It’s intentional that the Christian liberal arts classes we offer are situated amid residence halls. We’re not a commuter school. You learn and live with your classmates.

This is what Hope College is about: excellent academics and Christian formation, in the context of community. The value of that transcends the fun of weekend activities, or even the soft skills you learn that employers demand these days (although those things are good things). It’s about experiencing belonging. Establishing justice. All towards modeling a foretaste of the future human community established by none other than God himself.

Community is at the end of the trajectory of history. It’s the destination. The new heavens and new earth in Revelation start with a city coming down out of heaven. A city is a human society—a community. It’s the very purpose of salvation. Yes, salvation is about pardoning sins and forgiveness and grace. But all that is only a means to an end. The end is the new city. A glorious, restored human community. Where there’s no broken relationships, no injustice, no anxiety.

Our hope is that Hope can be a foretaste of that. A little glimpse into, perhaps the beginning of, what is to come.

Establishing that new society requires the renovation of our hearts and habits, and that’s what the Hope community is for. That’s what we’ve missed over the last year and a half. And that’s what we have to lean into as we reconnect this fall.

Leaning into togetherness isn’t just showing up to class or to chapel. Being in a crowd is not the same

as being in community. Being in community takes intention, and sometimes hard work. And yet it may be the most important thing we do.

So in this semester of reconnection, let’s live into it fully.

Leaning into togetherness means leaning on each other. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Join that club or that Bible study. Eat in Phelps instead of taking your dinner back to your dorm.

Share your struggles with someone you trust.

Take the initiative to invite someone to coffee or visit your professor.

Write your classmate a birthday card.

Take responsibility to fix a problem that affects everybody, not just yourself.

As we gather together, let’s help each other to never take community for granted. And let’s make this fall a truly great reconnection.

The Jim and Marty Bultman Student Center Hope College Hope College Students at Greek Life function

Is race a lie and idol? Two professors model a healthy dialogue

An African, Catholic philosopher and a white, liberal race and Christianity professor talking about race and racism: nothing else is more intriguing, am I right? The Saint Benedict Institute brought this event to Hope College to demonstrate what a healthy, respectful conversation looks like between two drastically opposed individuals. This comes at a time where I believe this civil discourse is rare but necessary.

You can go on YouTube and listen to the full event with fast-paced Dr. Kevin Kambo, who brought laughter and humor into a hard and serious conversation. On the flip side, you can hear a powerful voice from Dr. Matt Jantzen, whose seminary training shines brightly with deliberate pauses and a preacher-type method of speaking. The way these two speakers presented themselves contrasted just as much as their opinions.

President Matthew Scogin moderated the event, not only to serve as a middle man between both professors, but to further advertise and draw attention to it. Scogin emphasized that this conversation only showed two perspectives and was not attempting to represent all perspectives on the issue of race. I, for one, loved this idea. While a nonmoderated conversation might have provided a clearer picture of both side’s opinions, it is not feasible for an onstage type of event. I enjoyed Scogin’s preliminary comments on what this conversation is for and why it is important. He stated that “we have replaced the art of conversation with clicks and comments.” I cannot think of anything more true in this day and age. Instead of peers having conversations about race face-toface, they resort to commenting or reposting tweets, sliding up on Instagram stories or sliding into people’s DMs. We at Hope College needed this conversation to happen.

Kambo and Jantzen are both relatively new professors at Hope, only in their fourth year of teaching. However, the similarities end there. Since Kambo grew up in Kenya, being “Black” was not a category. He didn’t have to think about his race until he came to America where he selected “other” instead of checking the box saying “Black” or “African.” In its place, he wrote in his Kenyan

tribal name. On the flipside, Jantzen grew up in Vermont and Maine, two of the whitest states in America. He moved down to Durham, North Carolina — a blue city within a red state. Jantzen witnessed the war on terror, an escalating crisis of contemporary capitalism, the rise of dark money, backlash from a newly elected Black president, gerrymandering and more. All of these events and experiences shaped Jantzen’s progressive take on many issues. Kambo’s experience of being introduced to race once he came to the States and growing up in Africa supported his viewpoints. It is interesting that these two men had completely different backgrounds but somehow landed here at Hope College in western Michigan, where they met through becoming professors in the same year.

Although all of this background information is great, I came to this event to hear these two discuss race and racism. Kambo dove first into the topic by dropping one hot take: race is a lie. As a young student surrounded by other young students, I’m guessing this idea is not everybody’s cup of tea. However, he went on to explain that the concept of race is really an idol. It is man-made, it has a resemblance to something in the real world and in the end it demands sacrifice. Now you may ask, how does race demand sacrifice? He supported his answer with an example from the COVID-19 pandemic when health officials didn’t want to privilege older adults in the timeline of vaccine availability since a large majority of the elderly are white. Their solution was to move them down in the order of demographic groups who would have access to the vaccine at the expense of these elderly people not getting the vaccine as fast as

they probably should: sacrifice.

After the mic was turned over to Jantzen, I surely thought that he would disagree right off the bat. Surprisingly, I was wrong and he agreed that race is a lie and an idol. Even so, the origin of race being a lie and an idol is where they disagree. Jantzen explained that race was produced by people who would be labeled “white” in order to justify their domination and ruling of others. He went on to say that race is idolatry as whiteness is idolatry since he believes white people redefined what it meant to be human using their own white standards.

Although I may lean towards Kambo’s ideology, I appreciate the arguments that Kambo and Jantzen threw down, and I see the logic in both sides. Logic is hard to come by nowadays. Kambo’s idea on sacrifice and Jantzen’s idea on the idolization of whiteness were both big concepts that could have filled the rest of the discussion. To be honest, I would’ve loved to have experienced a full discussion on one idea where the two could have gone back and forth, digging into each other’s philosophies with metaphorical picks. Alas, the conversation had to move on to the notion of antiracism.

Kambo decided to take a humorous approach to this tough subject where he compared people of color (POC) with non-playable characters (NPCs) in role-playing games. The POC’s only job is to give white people quests, just like NPCs in these games are background characters who support quests for main characters. To put it in plain words, Kambo was pointing fun at the idea that many people, especially those of color, rely on white people to create the change or lead the charge, allowing them to sit back and enjoy the show. To bring it all

back home, Kambo emphasized the idea of not aiming the spotlight on whiteness or outcomes, but to look up to those solving real problems and asking more questions relating to concrete issues and communities. Jantzen instead preached about the need for personal transformations and conversions to become more antiracist, which leads to truth, justice and community. He stressed that ordinary people can work together across lines to build a new world and transform society in a revolutionary way. Both these testimonies juxtapose each other so well in tone, mood and in actual content. Kambo based his philosophy on many of his own experiences as a Black man living in America. But should we instigate change based only on experiences instead of statistics? Coming from a STEM-based background, numbers are my friend. Jantzen took a different tactic, citing facts that I thought may or may not be questionable and circling the idea of whiteness over and over again. It seemed that Jantzen was going off on tangents instead of directly answering the question at hand. Through it all, I think many people—no matter what side they were on—resonated with both arguments. I myself have taken bits and pieces from Kambo and Jantzen to mull over and research.

Overall, I thought this event was well done since we were able to understand what each man thinks on the subject of race and racism and why. What we weren’t able to hear is their reactions to what the other said about a particular issue. I fully believe that this act of listening is scarce in our modern world where noise pervades our every waking moment and few people are willing to seriously ponder opinions that oppose theirs. Instead, they listen for faults in the opposing argument so they can immediately come back with a nasty curveball to the other’s rationale without actually hearing what they have to say. The most important part of conversation is learning what experiences or personal backgrounds molded that person’s belief system. That is where the core of listening resides. It is something that is not explored very often but isn’t too late to venture into.

Dr. Kambo, President Scogin & Dr. Jantzen Jon Lundstrom

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