Calling for Transparency and Consistency: Eastern leaves students in the dark for remaining in Phase C.

And so here we are, 232 days since the start of the fall semester, and we are still in Phase C of Eastern University’s COVID-19 phases. I remember distinctly being told, at the beginning of last semester, that hopefully by next semester or earlier, we would be out of Phase C. Well as is now clear, this individual was wrong. We are still very much in Phase C.

I want to make it clear from the beginning of this article that I do have a bias. I am a commuter, so Phase C matters a lot more to me than it does to the average Eastern student. I do not have much to criticize concerning Eastern University’s approach to COVID-19. For the most part, I would say it was handled much better than other schools in the area. But if there is one thing I would complain about, it is that the Phase system is still in place and does not show any sign of leaving.

Before I write anything else, it would probably be best to give a brief explanation of what I call “the Phase system”, especially for those of you who do not even know what the word “Phase” means to Eastern students.

The Phase system was implemented by Eastern University to fight the spread of COVID-19 within the dorms. According to Eastern’s COVID-19 guidance page, the phase system consists of four phases labeled A-D, with A being the strictest and D the least. We are currently in Phase C, which according to the guidelines on Eastern’s website means, “Residential students may visit residential students in other residence halls. Commuters and non-Eastern students are not permitted in residence halls. Student rooms may not exceed one visitor per person assigned to the room at a given time. Roommates should discuss expectations for visitors.”

First of all, I have a sneaky suspicion these guidelines are not being followed. But putting my suspicions aside, these guidelines have become pointless. I am no expert in protecting people from COVID-19, but I do know that this is the only COVID-19 measure that Eastern has kept in place.

Furthermore, all residential students can go wherever they want and hang out with whoever they want. At this point, the only students who must suffer because of this measure are commuters, and of course, residents who want to have friends in their dorm.                                             

One reason I feel safe arguing against the Phase system is because COVID-19 cases have become minimal to non-existent in our area. The seven-day case average (April 18) for Delaware County is 66 cases with 0 deaths resulting from these cases.

I do understand why this is the only Covid restriction Eastern has kept. Quite frankly, it is practical for the university to keep it in place. Not allowing visitors and commuters in dorms prevents certain security issues. Visitors most likely pose a lawsuit risk to the university. I cannot verify these are the reasons that we still have the phase system, but because no clear explanation has been given, I can only begin to take guesses.

As a commuter, I would sincerely appreciate it if Eastern lifted the Phase system. I understand the dilemma they are placed in, but for consistency’s sake and the sake of its students, I call upon the university to get rid of this measure starting next semester. I understand that there may be a reason for these measures which I have overlooked. If this is the case, I would appreciate it if the university was transparent and explained exactly why the Phase system is still being used.

 Sources: eastern.edu, usafacts.org

Biden Administration Strives to End Title 42 Restrictions: Title 42 restrictions allowed for increased expulsion of immigrants at the southern border.

The Biden administration has taken action to end the Title 42 restrictions which allowed migrants to be quickly expelled at the southern border. The restrictions had been put in place by the Trump administration in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Biden administration is now intending to return to the original policy which requires migrants to be released into the country. The Biden administration has decided it is safe to return to this policy because of the decrease in Covid cases, the number of vaccinated Americans and new protocols that allow migrants to be vaccinated onsite at the border.

Individuals on both sides of the aisle have expressed concerns over the waves of migrants that will be entering the U.S. come May 23. Some Republican and Moderate Democrat lawmakers claim that there is not a sufficient plan in place to correctly manage these migrant waves.

The Biden administration, on the other hand, believes that this policy’s removal is long overdue, and has questioned the actual effectiveness it has on stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Many migrant advocates believe that this policy was implemented with political motivations at its core instead of the true focus being health and safety. Reasons for this theory come from former president Trump’s goal to enforce stricter border security. Any border legislation, restrictions or protocols have stirred up controversy ever since former president Trump began campaigning for presidency.

“Between 30,000 to 60,000 people are estimated to be in northern Mexico, waiting to cross the southern US border, according to a federal law enforcement official,” CNN said. Many of them are not from Mexico but have journeyed hundreds of miles from countries in Central America. It is possible that a maximum of 18,000 migrants could cross the border daily when Title 42 is replaced.

Overturning Trump-era policy has been a chief objective of President Biden who ran on the campaign slogan, “Build Back Better.” Some see this latest move as a purely political move to make a political statement, while others see it as an important step to overturn a policy that was doing more harm than good. A large surge of migrants could cause yet another crisis for President Biden to deal with as the midterm elections approach. At the same time, if the administration handles this transition well, it could give the Democrats a boost at the midterms.

Sources: CBS, CNN, Fox News

“Spring Forward ” to be Permanent: The U.S. Senate has united to pass a bill to remain in DayLight Savings.

News Flash! Russia starts a cold war with the U.S., Gas prices skyrocket and America looks more and more divided. Who knows, by the time this is published we might be in the middle of World War III.

But do not be afraid my friends, it is at times like these that we can turn our eyes to our leaders, especially Congress, the historic body formed from the very best of our nation. Many have lost faith in this institution. The factions and divisions that have torn its soul to shreds of partisanship, are indeed disheartening.

Yet, today I can bring you good news. The Senate, the governing body that is now formed of individuals who would all kill each other in duels, if duels were still legal, have decided to put down their weapons and step across the aisle in a gesture of peace.

You may wonder, what momentous occasion is the cause for such unity? After all, neither a global pandemic, nor a fight against racism, nor protecting our borders, nor police reform, nor protecting freedom of speech, nor limiting freedom of speech, nor confirming supreme court justices, nor increasing their own power, nor watching sports, nor ending a prayer has been able to add the smallest speck of unity to the Senate. 

It would seem that the Senate might unify if we had a World War III. Actually, I just lied, they definitely would not. In fact, only a week ago I would have made the argument that unity was impossible, but I must humbly admit that I was quite wrong. On March 15, the Senate unanimously passed a bill. What was it that brought the Senate together? It was spring ahead…

Yes, we are passing a bill to eternally remain in spring ahead time. I can’t really complain about the bill. I will definitely miss fall backs, but spring aheads are thoroughly disgusting. I feel like anything that causes us to be unified must be a good thing, at least hopefully. Sadly, we can’t get our hopes up too soon. The bill still has a long way to go because it still must pass the House of Representatives and then be signed by President Biden.

I honestly wonder why this is at the forefront of our Senate’s agenda. Are things not as bad as they seem? Or perhaps this is a power move, to show the American people that the Senate is still in control?  Perhaps it is to show the American people that the Senate is still boss: look, they can even make laws about time!

If this is a piece of legislation along these lines, I have a proposal. Why not just eliminate spring ahead, but keep fall back? Nobody likes spring ahead and everyone loves fall back. This would be the most appealing bill of all time. I know you’re thinking, “Christian, you can’t just add an hour every year. Where would you get it?” I beg to differ. After all, we print money, and we don’t worry about its value. What if we treated time the same way? Just think about that for a second.

ETHELS: The club’s spring party!

On Thursday, I had the privilege of attending ETHELS’s swing dance party. Because I was attending that night as a reporter and not just a dancer, I will attempt to be as impartial as possible—although I think ETHELS is one of the best clubs on campus (sorry, I had to slip that in).

  As all reporters should, I got to the event a half hour late, and the party was already in full swing (no pun intended). It was a Greek mythology themed party, and so the walls were hung with greenery and handmade symbols of various Greek gods, and many toga clad individuals were waltzing around the room. Honestly, some of the costumes were quite good, and some were very authentic. I am thinking of the bare chested toga wearer in particular. 

  As a reporter should, I immediately went to the snack table to sample all the food. I want it to be noted that they had some of the best grapes I have ever tasted. I don’t know if they were Greek, I don’t even know if they were organic, but they sure tasted good. While I was gorging myself with grapes, the dancers continued to whirl around the room to very Greek songs like Rockin’ Robin. The party was very dimly lit. The only light came from the little lights strung from the ceiling, and so it was difficult to see anything. Actually, the first time I danced, I crashed my partner into someone else. All reporters should try to fully understand what they are reporting on, and I took this motto to heart by trying to dance with as many people as possible. Sadly, as I said, I arrived late, and because it was dark, it was hard to remember who I had and hadn’t danced with, and so I cannot say I danced with everyone, but I did try my hardest. I tried for almost half an hour to dance with the Waltonian photographer, but he is the most stubborn anti-dancer I have ever met. I would have sworn he was a Baptist, except for the fact that I know he is Orthodox.  

At one point in the evening, I got to dance with an actual dance major. When I apologized for my bad dancing, or more accurately, the non-existence of my dancing, she said, “As long as you’re moving, you are dancing.” I am not sure if this quote is a profound insight on the nature of dance, or if it was just a half hearted attempt to make me feel better about myself. 

All in all, it was quite a wonderful party, even if I failed at getting drunk on the non-alcoholic grape juice. Near the end of the evening we danced a chaotic Greek wedding dance, and by the time I left, I was feeling quite Greek. If you missed it, too bad for you; events like this are not things you run across on a weekly basis. 

 

Politics Should Get the Heck Out of Sports!: Over the past few years politics has become more present in sports.

Whether it was Colin Kaepernick or The Washington Redskins, political ideas have more and more begun to slip into sports. You can’t watch a game without noticing a colored flag or a small slogan representing a political cause or ideology. Sports teams have chosen to change their names, and many players have begun to speak freely about their political views. But should politics even play a role in sports? I do not have a simple answer to this because it does not seem like a simple question. Politics, whether we like it or not, enter all areas of life. I think it is every human’s right to state what he believes and this extends into the realm of politics. So I most certainly want athletes to express their views, and if they deem it necessary, to share with their fans what they believe. 

This being stated, I don’t know anyone who thinks sports have become more enjoyable since leagues have become so accepting of political causes. In fact, I haven’t heard more ridiculing and complaining about sports in my life. I don’t know what others watch sports for, but I certainly don’t watch just for the cute little slogans on the player’s uniforms, or because a particular player voted for the candidate I voted for. Recently, I have begun to wonder why people really do watch sports? I always watched for the beauty of the sport; athletics at the highest level is beautiful to watch. I also watch them for the more basic and perhaps simplistic reason that they are a form of entertainment; a way to escape from some of the problems life presents, in a sense a form of relaxation. But as time goes on, sports become more like the politics and divisions I want to escape. When I turn on a sports game I am faced with the same arguments and debates I might have with my neighbor or hear on a news station. 

My dislike for the politics in sports is not because I disagree with the particular political views, sometimes I agree with the promoted cause and sometimes I don’t. Even if every political idea promoted by a league were something I agreed with, I would still be against leagues promoting politics, simply because it limits people’s ability to enjoy the sport for what it is. 

Sports have often been praised for their uniting power. While I disagree on how far certain people take this idea, it is most definitely true that sports have this effect. It allows people to come together around a common purpose, and it allows bitter enemies to remember that at the end of a day, they both like to watch the same sport, and even cheer on the same team. 

During World War One, there are accounts of trench warfare briefly stopping for games of soccer to be played. Imagine if our divided society could do this, but no, we have to fill our sports with the things that divide us. It is because of this that sports have lost their uniting power, and it is because of this that I am leery of endorsing politics in sports. 

Source: ESPN

Hard Pill to Swallow: Another approach to Women’s History Month.

I am about to write something that could be deemed offensive, so I just want you to be prepared. If I am going to be honest, I think women’s history month is unnecessary. I say this because I feel like it is a mockery of women. Why?

The answer is simple: it is not flattering or fair to only celebrate the history of women one month out of the year.

I should begin by saying that I think months dedicated to things are silly and unnecessary. Month-long celebrations are great, but random calendar months assigned to seemingly arbitrary celebrations make no sense.

Did you know that March is also National Cheerleading Safety Month? How can there even be enough cheerleading safety to think about for a month? Why do we need to dedicate an entire month to cheerleader’s safety precautions?

But let me return to my main point. I believe women’s history month, while well intended, is a mockery of women’s accomplishments. To a casual observer, aka myself, women’s history months seems to be saying, “Women’s history gets to be celebrated one month out of the year, while men’s history gets to be celebrated the other eleven months”.

Now this just isn’t even fair. Don’t women make up half of society? If we were going to do it equitably, we would celebrate women’s history for six months, and men’s history the other six months. But why bother to do that at all? This is the moment in this article where I would like to present a very original idea.

What if, I know this might be strange, but what if we decided to stop sorting everyone into categories, and just had everybody under one large umbrella called “history.” This would allow us to remember women and men together, equally.

After all, it’s kind of hard to separate women’s and men’s history. It’s not like we live mutually exclusive lives. And it’s not like any woman has ever accomplished anything without a man’s help. And I know for a fact that no man has ever accomplished something without a woman’s help.  

I understand that the purpose of Women’s history month is to draw awareness and honor women’s accomplishments throughout history. Let me be the first to say that, throughout history, women’s achievements have been ignored. But doesn’t it feel more like an afterthought to give women the month of March to celebrate their history. It’s like, “Oh, your achievements have been ignored for so long? Here is a random gloomy month to celebrate them.” How is that showing women respect?

There is no men’s history month, and God willing there won’t be. People will say the reason for this is that there is no need for raising awareness of men’s history. This might be true. (It also might not be; I can think of countless men whose deeds will go forgotten.) But whether true or not, are we going to let men get away with celebrating their history 11 more times than women.

I say, NO! I say we should rise up and prevent this injustice. Let us no longer categorize and classify people. Let us stop giving groups discarded months in which to celebrate their history. Instead, I say we abolish arbitrary month-long observances once and for all, and ask that every human be treated as equals in history.

Mental Health in Professional Sports: Basketball player Ben Simmons has not played in about a year citing mental health.

Of late, mental health has become a hot button topic in sports due to recent revelations from players, with the most recent coming from 76ers star Ben Simmons. While some are shocked by this, I do not find it surprising. Sports are a high pressure environment. Think about what other jobs people commonly struggle with, mental health wise. The first that comes to mind is soldiers. Soldiers are in perhaps the most high stress, high pressure environment imaginable, and the number of suicides alone, speak for their struggles with mental health. 

It is quite evident that we do not want people committing suicide as a result of their job, but it is not only that; we do not want people to suffer mentally in anyway as a result of their job. Over the past week, Ben Simmons spoke out for the first time after being traded to Brooklyn by the 76ers. For the past half year he had barely played at all, let alone practiced with his team for which the 76ers fined him. Nobody was exactly sure of the reasons for him not playing, but at the press conference, Simmons finally revealed that the main cause was his struggles with mental health.

The major question this situation brings to a front is whether sports are to blame for Ben Simmons’s struggle with mental health. Over the years sports have become more aware of the physical damage their game has inflicted on players, and changed the rules to help protect the players. I am not in the position to judge the moral value of these changes, but I do know that when rules are changed, the sport often loses something that made it what it was. I think this applies to any rule change to protect players’ mental health. A sport has rules that make it the sport it is, and if you choose to play it, you choose to accept those rules. 

Ben Simmons is a basketball player. Nobody has forced him to play basketball. When a man chooses to become a basketball player he is taking on a responsibility and agreeing to play by a set of rules. These could be the rules of the league, or even the rules of the team he joins. He is an employee just like any other employee, and must abide by what his boss (the league owner and the coaches) dictate. As an employee he has the rights of an employee, if he decides that basketball affects his mental health he may quit his job or negotiate with his boss like any other employee. In fact, I would encourage any athlete, whose sport is taking a mental toll out of them, to quit. 

Not everyone can take the sweat, the struggle, and the mental burden of athletics, and that is okay. If Simmons can not handle the pressure of professional basketball, I encourage him to make the choice that is most beneficial to himself and quit basketball, instead of weighing down his team and hurting himself. Perhaps there is athletic shame in this, but there is no shame from the standpoint of being a human and doing what is most healthy for yourself and others. 

Source: Sports Illustrated

Old Films Are Gold Films: A student shares their opinion on what makes a film “great.”

Over the past semester I have written multiple movie reviews for this paper, and I am sure you have often wondered, “Why the heck does he always write about those stupid old movies? What is he, some old person?” First, I must confess that, sadly, I am rather eldery before my time, (I often wear khakis and white sneakers, and complain about gen Z). But, leaving my sad elderly state aside, I wish to explain to you why I like these “stupid old movies”; it seemed only fair after I plagued you with my opinions for so long. 

First of all, just because a movie is old does not mean it is better. Trust me, it can often mean the opposite. Pick a random movie from all the movies made in the 1940s and most likely you will watch a very boring movie filled with corny dialog, characters who seem to be no more than cardboard cutouts of a stereotype, stories that end in unrealistic happiness, generally all packaged in some cheesy moral message. To add to the misery, the movie will be filmed like a stage play, with the camera rotating back and forth between two or three angles. So let me be clear, I do not like old movies because they are old, and a majority of old movies can and should be forgotten forever. 

Now, I must explain why I dislike new movies. First, what people classify as a good movie today is very sad to say the least. One group of movies that are considered to be “good” are the action packed entertainment flicks. The other group includes any movie that has a feeling of artistic flair, that does anything different or has something different to say. I reject both these groups, since the first provides only a slice of what a movie should provide, and the second is considered great only on the false assumption that being different or new, always means great artistry.   

Just because our society values mediocre movies does not mean that great films are not being made. In fact, I would argue that this very year, somewhere in the world, there could be a movie being made that will rival the greatness of Citizen Kane, or Vertigo. But finding this movie could be practically impossible. Many great movies, such as the two previously mentioned, were flops on their release. It can take decades for a film’s true greatness to be understood, or for the movie to even be discovered. People will long debate what makes a great film and what films deserve this title, but I believe there is one judge superior to all of them, and that is time. Time has a clever way of weeding out the bad movies from the good ones. Twenty years from now, the greatest films made in 2022 may be films we have never heard of. 

This is the main reason I watch old films. Simply, because they have passed the test of time. An old movie can not be a short term trend. It can not live off of media hype or advertising campaigns. It can not live off a temporary political ideology. It must appeal to multiple generations and multiple decades. Put simply, what it says and what it shows must be universal and must be something of genuine quality if it wants to stand the test of time, and become known as a great work of cinema.

Rams Win Super Bowl Nail-Biter: The Rams came out on top 23-20 in a close defensive Super Bowl.

Well, thus passes another super bowl. Super Bowl Sunday is officially finished with L.A. beating Cincinnati 23-20. To begin with, I hated it, but that is only because the Bengals lost, and a team from L.A. won. Nothing good, sports wise, comes out of Los Angeles. On second thought, maybe nothing good at all comes out of Los Angeles. But overlooking the unforgivable fact that Los Angeles has won another sports title, I have to admit it was a pretty decent super bowl. 

Since the modern sports fan is only interested in watching offense, the game could have been viewed as boring. Each team punted the ball six times, the bengals allowed seven sacks, and the Rams threw two interceptions. But just because the game dragged at times it was very intense, especially the final five minutes. There were moments of excitement and moments of boredom. Moments of flashy offense, like when Joe Burrow threw a 75 yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins. And moments that were far from flashy, like the 12 punts during the game. L.A dominated early and still led at the half 13-10. But all the momentum swung to begin the second half. During the first play, Tee Higgins caught the 75 yard touchdown pass which was immediately followed by the Bengals intercepting the ball and scoring again. 

Then there was a long boring stretch of almost zero offensive activity. And then, there was the final six minutes. They were some of the most suspenseful six minutes I have witnessed, but not in a good way. For someone rooting for the Bengals (against L.A.) like myself, it was not the exciting suspense that is created by a close sports game, but more the kind of suspense created by getting a tooth pulled, or waiting for a court to hand out a guilty verdict, or an execution to take place. From the very beginning of the drive the Bengals seemed doomed. The Rams began a slow tedious drive down the field. Everytime it looked like they were stopped, some miracle, normally in the form of Cooper Kupp saved them. Then there was the two minute goal line stand, during which multiple pass interference flags were thrown against the bengals. Finally, after too many plays and flags to count, the Rams scored, taking the lead by three. The Bengals got the ball back with less than a minute and a half left, and started a very convincing looking drive. But a dumb run play on 3rd and 1 brought up a 4th and 1. Predictably, Joe Burrow was sacked which gave the ball back to L.A. ending the game. 

I didn’t even watch any of the post game. I have been told Cooper Kupp won the MVP which he deserved. On the Rams’ game winning drive he caught nearly all the major passes, including the one in the endzone, and ran on 4th and 1 for a first down. Despite my righteous anger at L.A. winning, I am quite happy for Mathew Stafford. The poor man hadn’t won a playoff game till this year and this was not because he was a bad quarterback. He just played for one of, or perhaps the, worst team in the NFL. My general analysis of the game is this. Good super bowl, would have been better if the right team had won.   

Source: USA today 

The Freedom Convoy Takes Ottowa:​​ Canadian truckers rally together outside of the Canadian Parliament to protest mask and vaccine mandates.

On Feb. 6th, Ottawa Mayor declared a state of emergency in the capital of Canada. Since the previous weekend, Ottawa’s streets have been jammed with tractor trailers, which is preventing people from entering and exiting the downtown area. They call themselves, “The Freedom Convoy.” 

Not only this, during the previous two weekends, protestors from all over Canada rallied together to protest the newest COVID-19 mandate. The rule requires unvaccinated truck drivers to quarantine after crossing over the U.S/Canada border. 

What started out as a trucker specific protest quickly spiraled into a protest against all COVID-19 policies and mandates in Canada. Many of the protestors claim they will not leave until all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. In addition, some of the protest’s organizers claim they have enough funds to extend the protest for over a year. 

Originally, the protest raised over 10 million dollars, before Go Fund Me, the platform they used, halted the campaign, and refunded the donors. During the protests, truckers ran their trucks for most of the day presumably causing substantial amounts of fumes. Every half an hour they would honk their horns for minutes on end.  

    However, what is arguably more concerning for the Canadian, and the American government, is a new blockade, which formed on the Ambassador bridge connecting Detroit and Canada. This blockade was so successful, car manufacturing plants in the U.S. were forced to halt production. 

   The story develops further in Canada as the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, declared a state of emergency for the entire nation. This is only the second time this has happened in Canadian history. Some of the emergency powers Trudeau is wielding include being able to tow any trucks and arrest protesting truckers. The Canadian government now has authority to freeze any bank account associated with the protest.      

      This situation is obviously very concerning for the Canadian government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family moved out of Ottawa to an undisclosed location near the beginning of the protest. Having the capital blockaded was symbolically damaging to the nation, but having an essential bridge blocked is economically damaging. The bridge is now clear, but it may be a while before the capital is cleared of trucks and truckers.

A question this story poses is whether protests like this are effective, and if they pose a threat to a nation? Whether it was effective is yet to be seen. Multiple Canadian provinces have lifted certain COVID-19 restrictions because of the protests. Now, it will be interesting to see if the Canadian government can arrest the remaining truckers. 

The second question is easily answered. They pose a very great threat. With already fractured economies because of COVID-19 restrictions, these trucker convoys can wreak havoc and are perhaps the most effective protest in years. The effectiveness of the Canadian trucker convoy is evident just by the way the Canadian government has responded. There are already additional trucker convoys rallying to protest their nation’s handling of COVID-19. I would not be surprised if American truckers begin staging similar protests. 

I am very sympathetic towards these truckers and anyone who protests vaccine mandates. From my own research, there is not enough evidence to justify them. Many politicians have used COVID-19 to gain more power. I think it is time people come to their senses and speak up against the ridiculously unnecessary, overreaching restrictions. I support the truckers in Canada. 

However, I do not want the protests. They will hurt our economy, and they will cause divisions. But it is time people effectively pushed back. In the end, people must stand for what they see as right. And if we really desire a free society, we must attempt to protect it instead of sitting back and letting it die. 

Sources: BBC, CNN, Fox, Huffpost, National Review, Newsweek