Eastern senior plans to go into Holocaust studies

While some people probably cannot even remember the topics of their middle school papers, Renee Meshach’s sixth grade paper on the Holocaust proved to be a turning point in her life.

“Ever since then I’ve been really interested in the subject,” said Meshach, now a senior at Eastern. “I just can’t get enough of it.”

Her interest in the Holocaust continued to grow and her curiosity only strengthened by experiences such as a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.

She took Dr. Gatlin’s Holocaust capstone last semester, and, upon graduating from Eastern, Meshach plans to continue studying the Holocaust at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, through their genocide studies masters program. She also hopes to one day teach Holocaust studies at a college level.

According to Meshach, when most people think of the Holocaust, they “just think of Hitler, Nazis, Jews. They don’t know the entire story.”

“I think it’s important for people to understand the totality of the Holocaust and how it affects people’s lives today,” Meshach said.

While most people seem to know the basics, Meshach mentioned that there are a lot of things that most people are still ignorant about, such as the artwork created during that time, diaries of Jews other than Anne Frank and the kinds of things that went on inside the concentration camps.

She said it is important to understand the Holocaust in order to prevent it from happening again.

“With knowing more you can see the warning signs of genocide,” she explained.

“How do we prevent another Hitler from coming to power and doing this all again? Learning about the Holocaust can lead us to answers about these problems.”

Meshach also said there are some who do not even believe that the Holocaust was as bad as it was.

“My one uncle, who is not a Nazi, doesn’t believe that six million Jews died-maybe a couple thousand,” Meshach said.

“There are a lot of people who think something that major couldn’t happen.”

Though she wanted to go, Meshach was unable to attend the Nazi rally at Valley Forge on September 25. However, she is not very impressed by today’s Nazis, saying that many of them are just trying to be rebellious.

“Sometimes [the neo-Nazi movement] is just a lot of younger to middle-aged people who are not that educated on the whole Nazi ideology,” she said.

“I don’t think the Nazis of today could accomplish what the Nazis of the 40s did.”

Concerning the Nazis of the 1940s, Meshach said she was amazed at the way they used their organization and propaganda to gain such a huge following. She said that if Hitler had not used all of his power to commit such terrible acts, “he could have accomplished amazing things for good.”

While her interest in the Holocaust shows no signs of waning, Meshach does not have a goal.

“I don’t know why I love this subject so much,” she said.

“I hope to find out the reason why, to read a book and say, ‘This is why I’m doing this.’ Until then I’m going to keep reading and researching.”

Nature path redone by Eastern athletes

In an effort to build team solidarity, the coaches of the cheerleading squad and the basketball team have come together to give a much needed makeover on one of Eastern’s more neglected walking paths.

At the beginning of the semester the men’s basketball team and the cheerleaders volunteered their time and effort to refinish the path through the woods behind the McInnis parking lot.

“We want our guys to give back to the institution,” said basketball coach, Matt Nadelhoffer. “We want our [athletes] to have pride in their institution and who they play for.”

Cheerleading coach Rebecca Nadelhoffer felt it was important for the cheerleaders to be involved in this project as well.

“We did it because we needed a team building experience that would benefit the community,” she said.

She said that the teams needed to do something selfless in order to bring them together and that the physical labor promoted discipline.

The teams cleaned out the path, pulled weeds, restructured the walk using logs and sticks and added mulch so it could be easily used.

Around 40 basketball players and cheerleaders completed a combined 125 hours of labor that would not have been able to be completed by plant operations.

“This brings to light the fact that more students should be involved. Students at Eastern are under involved,” said assistant basketball coach Chad Hunter.

“They [coaches and teams] just took the bull by the horns and did a great job,” said Rob Smith, director of campus services.

Hunter said that the players on the sports teams want to give back to the institution which supports them.

The path will be the first of many projects performed by the teams, and hopefully other student groups, teams and clubs will follow suit.

According to Smith, the path was originally created as a senior project several years ago. Smith could not recall the name of the student organizer, but he did remember that the path was to be maintained by the Earth Keepers club.

It had been neglected and when Smith was asked by the basketball team for a project idea, the path was the first that came to his mind.

At the beginning of both paths stones are arranged to spell “Eastern Pride.” These stones are to be maintained by the first-year players on the team.

“It was a great idea and it was a great team building exercise,” said Brian Nadlehoffer, captain of the basketball team.

Ryan Tozer, another team captain, added, “It was the first thing outside of basketball we did as a team. It was a fun experience to help out around campus…I hope it will last.”

Junior Suzanne Giuliano, captain of the cheerleading squad, said,

“God’s given us the ability for cheerleading and it’s great to be able to help out.”

Both teams have more service activities planned for the year. The basketball team has planned free clinics in Philadelphia at a YMCA. Also in the works is a spring project pending approval from plant operations.

The cheerleaders have a free cheerleading clinic planned before Christmas break. The cheerleaders also have a kids day for later on in the season.

According to Giuliano, the cheerleaders are looking forward to using their talents to help those around them

As far as the cheerleading season goes, Guiliano commented, “It’s a really good group of girls. Even though we’re small, we’ll be able to do a lot.”

“Expectations are high, but there is great energy and a great freshmen class,” said Brian Nadelhoffer of the upcoming season.

Professors voice opinions about theft

In light of the recent bumper sticker theft, what shines from the professors who owned the stickers are various beams of opinion regarding the motive.

Dr. Wendy Mercier, Dr. Kathy Lee and Mark Hallen all found their political bumper stickers stripped from their doors on September 22.

“Theft should be investigated. It’s illegal,” said Mercier, biokinetics professor.

Although she has taken the matter to Bettie Ann Brigham, vice president of student development, Mercier said that she has heard no official response.

According to Brigham, the adminstration has no leads as to who might be responsible.

“Anonymous vandalism is a very difficult policy violation to confront,” Brigham said.

“One approach we take is not to make too much out of it so as not to draw more attention.”

Mercier found it bothersome that someone would choose to voice his or her views at the expense of her private property.

“I find that theft is an inappropriate way to sound your political voice and alarming if a student at Eastern did so to boost the Republican Party,” she said.

Mercier recently posted a reward sign on her door for $20 in response to the theft.

Lee, chair of the political science department, has had her share of responses to the sign she posted after the theft. The sign welcomed any person who wished to express his or her political voice in a conversational manner.

Lee found her sign ripped to pieces and shoved beneath her door a few days after the incident.

“I put those stickers on my door to voice my opinion,” Lee said. “Yet I don’t think that action such as this needs police interrogation.”

Lee explained that grounds for this type of action are not so much disregard for property as they are rooted in students’ anger.

Like Lee, Hallen, director of theatre, sees the theft as a symptom of a graver disease of unspoken and unheard student voices.

“I have no problem with it,” said Hallen about the theft.

” The issue is that students have no venue to voice their opinions.”

Hallen described students as volcanoes who are boiling with lavas of frustrations and concerns regarding the policies implemented in the societies they live in.

He believes Eastern needs adequate instruments and arenas to ensure that students can release what is brewing deep within their hearts.

Hallen remarked that students feel powerless in teacher-student relationships. Students feel their views are threatened by the power professors exert over them in as simple a matter as grades.

“Jesus was the ideal shepherd,” Hallen remarks, “he let his sheep wonder in freedom. Satan on the other hand wants us to be afraid.

“The same applies to students. They must exercise the freedom Christ has given them to voice their differing points of view. It is in this way that we are the body of Christ.”

OPINION: Voting should not be a fad

With the Presidential election drawing nearer, there have been a plethora of issues concerning me. The issue that most concerns me is the notion that people of color, particularly African Americans, will determine this year’s election.

As a young African American in today’s society, I find it very interesting to see the attention that has been given to this campaign, particularly in the hip-hop culture.

Rappers and entertainers in the hip-hop culture have come a long way since the stoic days of the shell-toe Adidas. Blacks have traditionally voted Democratic – the Democratic Party realizes this and has placed television ads on networks like Black Entertainment Television (BET).

A currently reocurring ad states that Democratic candidate John Kerry went to the NAACP convention in Philadelphia and that President Bush did not.

They did not include, however that a year or two earlier, Bush showed up at the convention and was disrespected onstage. Kerry capitalized on that opportunity.

Who would want to be disrespected in such a manner? It is in my humble opinion that ads such as this have turned Black Entertainment Television into Black Exploitation Television. What kind of message do ads like these send? We live in a very impressionable society where both young and old believe what they are told.

Many have seen the “Vote or Die” t-shirts that hip-hop mogul Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs’ clothing line, Sean John, has created. I respect his ingenuity for creating these shirts.

When young voters see P. Diddy on various television networks wearing “Vote or Die” shirts, what do you think is on their minds? Yes, voting is good, but who is he attracting these votes toward? Just because Diddy affirms it, is it okay? Are we voting just to be voting, or are we making wise decisions?

Surely, the hip-hop influence has bolstered voter registration. African Americans will go out in numbers on November 2. We can vote or die all we want to, but we need to know the facts.

Plain Jane website debunks myths about body image

Two years ago, 45-year-old actress Jamie Lee Curtis posed bluntly for More magazine, in a sports bra and spandex underwear-without makeup, special lighting or air brushing-in defiance of Hollywood’s standard for physical appearance. Little did Curtis know the full impact her decision would make.

Jessica Devaney, a first-year at Lake Forest University’s masters program in North Carolina, was so impressed with Curtis’s statement that she decided to take similar action.

“[Curtis] just said ‘I’m not going to contribute to the body image problem anymore,'” Devaney said. “I thought that was really novel and inspiring. How much more moving would it be if it were peers that had that same mindset of who they were.”

Devaney started by involving her friends, including fellow visionary Kristin Bryant, in brainstorming design and researching for a new website: www.noplainjane.org. The group compiled alarming statistics of national body image problems, made a list of actions to take to improve self-image (including: “send your razor on a vacation” and “boycott diets”) and, like Curtis, posed for their own bold pictures to decorate the site.

Next came the actual web design. “We wanted it to be strong and bold and we wanted it to be a motive,” Devaney said. She added that the group used their own artwork for the logo and backgrounds and chose earthy tones over the typical feminist template of hot pink and black.

Though it could be mistaken for one, noplainjane.org is not meant to be a feminist site.

“There are so many gifted women that are trapped in self-loathing and lack of acceptance of who they are,” Devaney said, explaining that this “trap” is sometimes called “the corset” by feminists.

“[The corset] takes a lot of their energy away from whatever else they would be devoting it to,” she said. “It just saddens me and I want to do whatever I can to affirm the dignity of every woman.”

Devaney takes her convictions farther than self-esteem improvement.

“I won’t purchase magazines that I think perpetuate this body image standard like Vogue or Glamour, that have things on the cover like ‘how to please your man’ and ‘lose 10 lbs in one hour,'” she said. “I think that’s important too.” Devaney also avoids any product that particularly objectifies women in its advertisements, and refuses to use deodorant spray. “It tells women that they have to smell like flowers, which is ridiculous,” she said.

For those seeking a launching pad for such activism, noplainjane.org is open to web-forum discussion and more postings of personal Curtis-like pictures. For this reason, Devaney hopes to get her website further publicized, and not just in her home town. Her hit list includes talk show-hosts Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres.

“Why not?” she said. “Everything’s worth a shot.”

Until then, the website continues to get more traffic with time. Besides Ellen and Oprah, there is another celebrity who Devaney is hoping will soon notice her site. Though Curtis has proven to be a hard person to reach, Devaney has not given up trying to contact her inspiring role model.

“I’m sure [Curtis] would love to know that she inspired many movements,” Devaney said.

Pennswood residents relate life at Eastern University’s off-campus residence hall

To on-campus students, there is a sense of mystery surrounding Pennswood, Eastern’s off-campus residence hall.

“It’s a piece of heaven!” said Kevin Maness, Pennswood resident director.

Pennswood is a three-floor residence hall located at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr. Eastern University rents the top floor. The building is shared with students from Harcum and Villanova University.

“It’s weird living with three different colleges,” first-year Khileedah Mitchell said.

“You don’t know who to trust, but you get to meet a lot of people who don’t go to your school,” she said.

Pennswood has a very diverse community, according to Maness. Along with the usual Eastern crowd, the hall houses students from Urban Promise and 14 Korean nursing students.

However, he said that some students feel isolated because Pennswood is off-campus and further away from on-campus friends and activities.

“I don’t like [living at Pennwsood], because I have to run back and forth to practice every day,” said Emily Davis, sophomore field hockey player.

The community of Eastern students at Pennswood is very close, looking out for each other by organizing car pools and shuttles to Eastern’s campus.

Interaction with the other schools in the building has not come as naturally, but there are plans for activities, such as a video game night, which will involve all the schools represented in the hall.

The rules at Pennswood are much the same as those at Eastern’s on-campus housing, with a few notable exceptions. Pennswood’s visitation hours are a little more lax because there is no physical separation between the guys’ and girls’ halls. They are literally right around the corner from each other.

Also, according to Mitchell, quiet hours have been instituted between 11 p.m. and 11 a.m. because of the usual noise level.

Perhaps the most notable difference is the fact that Eastern students are allowed to smoke on Pennswood’s grounds. Harcum College has a designated smoking area and Eastern students have permission to smoke there as well.

Eastern’s rules on alcohol consumption are still upheld, even though both Harcum and Villanova allow their students to drink in their rooms.

Maness said that Pennswood has always been tainted with “the stigma of housing the unwanted students” and late applicants, which may be true in a few cases.

“I’m here because the school messed up my housing from last year,” said Davis. “I was bumped down here because it was the last choice.”

However, Maness assured that this is not the case for all Pennswood residents.

“Many choose to live in Pennswood and are here because they want to be here,” he said.

Former bartender paints observations

“The four horsemen of the apocalypse walk into a bar…” What sounds like the beginning of a joke is actually the inspiration behind artist Marcy Abhau’s “Behind Bars.” The series of paintings reflect experiences she had as a bartender while attending art school.

“I wanted to paint all the people who came into the bar and took their seats to drink from me and then turned to each other,” Abhau said.

“Everyone who came in brought with them a mood, a temperament, a desire, a problem,” she said.

Abhau shared her collection of paintings and the stories behind them with Eastern students and faculty on September 29 in the Baird library. The presentation was part of the “Ways of Seeing” series of arts seminars organized by English professor Betsy Morgan for her Creative Process class.

Though the desire to portray the people she encountered as a bartender came to her while she was still in art school, Abhau said she did not pursue the project until thirty years later. Instead, for the first thirty years of her career, she became adept as a painter of landscapes and flowers.

Her first attempt at recreating the bar atmosphere depicted customers seated on barstools against the light backdrop of shelves of liquor bottles. It was not until she got the idea to incorporate cowboys into the scene that the project came to life for her.

“Painting is a work of the imagination and you can do whatever you darn well want,” Abhau said.

Whiskey for me and my partner became the starting point for an entire series of paintings using metaphor and imagination to incorporate all kinds of characters into bar scenes.

One painting that featured three men in togas seated around a table in the bar was titled, Plato, Aristotle and Socrates discuss the meaning of life over martinis.

Unfortunately, Abhau’s work has received criticism because of its narrative qualities, and she has had difficulty selling the paintings as a result.

Abhau has no intention of giving up the project, however.

“What I care about in the painting is the authenticity of the experience. This is the way I want to paint,” she said.

BOOK REVIEW: The Nazi Doctors

Doctors are healers. We take this fact for granted, trusting in those who take an oath to protect the sick. But as Robert J. Lifton’s The Nazi Doctors shows, that trust has a dark side.

Lifton’s book details how the traditional physician’s vision of healing individuals was applied to the Nazi biological vision of “healing” the Aryan race.

In this new vision, the Jews, along with many others, were the cancer that needed to be destroyed for the health of the German body. Doctors, therefore, were the ideal candidates to head the regime’s early “euthanasia” program, to make selections in Auschwitz and turn the gas valve. In the name of healing, healers became killers.

At 504 pages, The Nazi Doctors is an intense read. Beyond presenting many disturbing statistics, the book draws from 121 interviews Lifton conducted with Nazi doctors, Nazi officials and imprisoned Auschwitz doctors who worked on medical blocks in concentration camps.

This approach lends a sense of humanity to Lifton’s work, even if that humanity becomes capable of horrifying acts.

That horror is the crux of the book: that ordinary men, who were eager for the acceptance of a group of peers, advancement in society and the advancement of science, were able to rationalize murder as a medical act.

These men were not stereotypically mad scientists, yet they were the ones who devised and performed numerous cruel experiments on Jewish prisoners. They were the ones who threw themselves proudly into the work of “euthanizing” mentally deficient children and adults.

They were the ones who decided who would live and who would die on a particular day in Auschwitz, and who set the meager diet that sentenced all to death.

Lifton’s basic psychological approach is an apt and haunting look into the mindset of the Nazi doctors even though it sometimes gets bogged down when psychologically categorizing Nazi rationalizations.

While those interested in the Holocaust, medical ethics or psychology will find the book especially interesting, The Nazi Doctors is a worthwhile but emotionally challenging read that everyone can take something away from.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Chapel would be much better if we had biblical preaching each week’

I think chapel would be much better if we had biblical preaching each week-that means, the speaker tells the students to open up to a particular passage, reads the passage and explains what the passage means in its context and how it applies today.

I have had enough of Christian pep-talks, pithy catch phrases, and funny illustrations. I am not saying those things are bad, indeed, they can be quite helpful-so long as they clarify biblical preaching, not take the place of it.

If the speaker wants to encourage his listeners what better way then through the promises of God’s Word? Does he want to speak to us of sin and lead us to repent? What better way then through examples of penitence in Scripture!

Does he want us to grow in the knowledge of God’s grace? Why then does he not preach on the doctrinal truths found in the epistles?

The Bible is the way we commune with God and learn more about Him. In my life I find it difficult to keep consistent Bible reading. Chapel then should always motivate us to Scripture by bringing its meaning and message week after week.

When we hear the Bible, we are hearing God preaching to us, as Packer once put it. Who else would you rather hear preach at chapel?