Tragedy strikes in Las Vegas

Jacob Cotter-Asst. News Editor

Shortly after 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1, the United States watched in horror as one of the deadliest attacks in its history unfolded in Las Vegas, NV. This is the most violent shooting on record, with 59 deaths, and around 500 injured. The shooting was directed at the crowd of an open-air concert, which was a part of the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

According to CNN, the concert was interrupted around 10:08 p.m. by the sound of gunfire, and people immediately rushed to get to safety. The gunman fired from a window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel at the crowd, which was several hundred feet away.

The shooting began during a performance by Jason Aldean and, according to police, lasted roughly 9 to 11 minutes. The shooter has been identified by authorities as Stephen Paddock, a retired Nevada resident from the town of Mesquite. Paddock was a former accountant and had been twice divorced. He had no children.

When police arrived at suite 32135, they fell under fire from Paddock, who was inside. The officers decided to wait until SWAT arrived to confront Paddock. Once the hotel room was breached, officers found Paddock dead of an apparent suicide. He is believed to have been working alone.

23 weapons were found in Paddock’s room, some of which had scopes. In addition, ammonium nitrate was found in Paddock’s car. While searching his home, authorities found 19 more firearms, several hundred rounds, explosives and “electronic devices,” as described by police.

Investigators believe the weapons to have been purchased legally; a factor which has again stirred up national debate over gun control legislation. Paddock modified his weapons using a “bump stock,” an attachment which can speed up the fire rate of semi-automatic weapon to the point of a standard machine gun. Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline has proposed a bill in response to the massacre, titled the “Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act”.

The Act prevents the sale, import, distribution, manufacture and ownership of any attachments or otherwise modified weapons. As of Friday Oct. 5, 160 members of the House of Representatives have voiced support for the bill. The Bill is even supported by the National Rifle Association, which is generally against firearm legislature.

All of this comes shortly after President Trump’s decision to repeal the legislature put forth by President Obama that prevents citizens ruled as “mentally defective” under the Social Security Act from purchasing firearms. Regardless of political position, this tragedy will doubtless renew debate over the correct response to gun violence.

Our nation has once again faced a harrowing act of violence and it, as is American tradition, will hopefully serve as opportunity to unite our thinking and actions toward the common goal of self-betterment. Anyone able and willing is encouraged to donate blood in support of those still suffering in Las Vegas. Everyone’s hearts and minds will surely be with them in this difficult time.

RIC hosts forum on Race and Society

Aaron Isaac-Anchor Staff

Imagine you are in class discussing the recent Las Vegas shooting and someone says, “if the shooter were black or Muslim, the conversation would be completely different.” In that moment, would you feel comfortable talking about race and society? Judith McDonnell, a sociology professor at Bryant University, found herself in this exact situation. For McDonnell, the class went dead silent, and that silence spoke volumes. Following this experience, McDonnell was motivated to push her students out of their comfort zone concerning race. This past Wednesday, Rhode Island College offered McDonnell exactly the arena she was looking for.

McDonnell was one of 6 people invited to speak at last Wednesday’s campus Forum on Race and Society event in Alger Hall. Sponsored by Open Books-Open Minds, the forum was based loosely around the book Between the World and Me, a personal narrative of Ta-Nehisi Coates and his struggles as a black man in America. Coates’ book resonated deeply with the event speakers, described as a thrill, yet “painfully honest and honestly painful” by Professor Shawn Christian of Wheaton College. Victor Capellan, Superintendent of Central Falls, felt uncomfortable reading it because it challenged him “personally and professionally.”     

Photos by Aaron Isaac

The forum concentrated on the experiences of people who have been and are currently being discriminated against. Those who often don’t have a voice or whose voice is not listened to. Vanessa Flores-Maldonado, another forum speaker, emphasized this by mentioning that we all need to hear different perspectives on these issues. If we do not bother to listen to those who have been discriminated against, then we are not able to truly understand their struggle

Marco McWilliams, a practitioner at Brown University, drew attention to ongoing discrimination, asking the audience “Do you know how many times I’ve had to tell people, hey, Puerto Ricans are Americans too?” McWilliams challenged audience members to take a hard look at the institutions that not only attacked colored people by keeping them down economically, psychologically or even violently, but also at institutions that protect people who abuse, harass and otherwise discriminate against others.

The final speaker, Len Cabral, is a renowned storyteller. He was affected by the Rodney King beating in the early 90s when he saw it on tv.

“Those beatings are still going on,” Cabral said bluntly. He mentioned the young black people who might see those kinds of injustices and mistreatments, saying “if the fire in young men is not recognized, it will burn down the village”. Cabral believes citizens should acknowledge and temper this fire by trying to understand one another, as the only way to save the proverbial “village” is to deal with the actual fire.

The forum was part of RIC’s Diversity Week and an ongoing discussion about race and society on campus. The next event sponsored by Open Books-Open Minds will be a student forum on Nov. 15 from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fortes Room located within the Adams Library. Students can also email the Unity Center to reserve a seat for the Defamation Experience, a live courtroom drama that addresses race, religion, gender and class, which will take place on Oct. 30 in the Gaige Hall Auditorium.

Congress called to action in the fight against opioid abuse

Lucille DiNaro-News Editor

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and 38 other State Attorneys General called upon members of Congress last week in an attempt to highlight the importance of passing the “Road to Recovery” Act. The letter, submitted on Oct. 2 to congressional leaders including Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy, stresses the importance of passing HR 2938 in its second congressional bid after failing to pass it in the Senate in 2016.

Graphic by Timothy Boutsady

Rhode Islanders are not unaffected by the growing opioid crisis. Preliminary data from the Rhode Island Department of Health states that 268 Rhode Island residents have suffered accidental drug-related overdose deaths within the past twelve months, 169 of which involved fentanyl.

The “Road to Recovery” act was introduced in the House on June 20 but has yet to come to a vote. Meanwhile, local efforts to combat drug abuse and assist in rehabilitation have picked up steam. The City of Providence installed the first of several NaloxBoxes in City Hall on Oct. 3. The NaloxBox is a wall mounted kit with four doses of naloxone, or narcan, a known treatment for opiate overdose. In conjunction with the installation of the NaloxBox, the City of Providence provided 45 minute training sessions that educated city employees in the administration of the drug and how to recognize the signs of an overdose.

The NaloxBox, designed by Dr. Geoff Capraro of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Claudia Rébola of the Rhode Island School of Design, is a relatively new concept that confronts the opioid crisis head on. Similar to a first aid kit, the purpose of these boxes is to have naloxone available in case of an emergency, and to make citizens feel comfortable enough to take lifesaving action.

While there are options available to drug users who wish to seek help, existing legislation limits treatment options and recovery time. The standing Medical Institutions for Mental Disease exclusion removes medical coverage for patients between the ages of 22 and 64 who are in substance use disorder treatment and residential mental health facilities exceeding 16 beds. HR 2938 hopes to loosen restrictions surrounding drug treatment while still protecting constituents in mental health institutions from inhumane practices.

Graphic by Timothy Boutsady

While the “Road to Recovery” Act is deliberated, those in need of assistance in battling drug abuse can seek help at Amos House, located at 460 Pine Street in Providence, and the Lifespan Recovery Center at 200 Corliss St in Providence, which has the capacity to treat up to 650 individuals. If you prefer to remain anonymous, the Opiate Hotline is available 24 hours a day at 888-654-9717.

Relieving Our Neighbors: Rhode Island aids Puerto Rico

Calli Renovato-Anchor Staff

Rhode Island’s Puerto Rican community continues to collect donations after suffering multiple hurricanes, the most recent being Hurricane Maria.

While the death count may be low, many on the small island are left without basic necessities such as water, electricity and food. This catastrophe has not only affected the island, but also Puerto Rican community at large, including the community in Providence and here at Rhode Island College. Many in this community have not yet reestablished contact with their friends and family, even following the installation of hotlines.

Rhode Island Democrats sent out a press release declaring a need to help the island. “There is an urgent need to rescue people and restore lives and property in Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of two of the harshest hurricanes ever,” said Rhode Island Democratic Party Chair Joseph M. McNamara. He goes on to say that,“our many friends and extended family members in that region will need emergency aid as quickly as possible; and to help that recovery process, we are urging Rhode Islanders to support the extraordinary efforts of the American Red Cross as they tackle what seems like an endless string of devastating storms.”

Rebecca Flores and Lydia Perez, both having family in Puerto Rico, are determined to help the island. Flores is the founder and president of the local non-profit The Natasha Love Foundation and Perez is the Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Institute for the Arts and Advocacy. They have collected everything from toiletries to medical supplies at a local drive. Missed it? They are still collecting monetary donations in the form of checks or money orders to be made payable to The Natasha Love Foundation, P.O. Box 8902, Cranston, RI 02920.

Among the many helping, the Rhode Island National Guard sent an aircraft full of water, ready-to-eat food and even Lester Holt and his news team down to Puerto Rico.

Graphic by Timothy Boutsady

At a national level, President Donald Trump made his way to Puerto Rico this past week after previously criticizing the its people. He began the visit by comparing it to Katrina, saying Maria wasn’t a real catastrophe. Between saying “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico – you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack…,” telling a family left without power to “have a good time” and playing basketball with paper towels, the visit has been highly criticized. Trump, however, returned to the White House with the stated goal of wiping out Puerto Rico’s debt; a move which would certainly ease the long recovery phase they will surely endure.

Our state may be small, but we are always taking strides to do what matters most: helping fellow Americans. Want to help out? The American Red Cross is always looking for blood donations and volunteers. Find out more at redcross.org.

Providence Police begin training with body cams

Mike Dwyer-Anchor Contributor

Throughout the month of October, Providence police officers will begin training with body cameras while on patrol. According to the department, the cameras will be fully operational within three months. The square cameras will be worn while on active duty or detail, and officers are required to activate the device when responding to calls. Mayor Jorge Elorza said the cameras are “an innovative tool that will enhance the community policing done in Providence.”

“It’s not just for the community,” said Jim Vincent of the Providence NAACP. “It’s also for the officers who may feel they need to be vindicated, in cases where they might be falsely accused.” The NAACP has been vocal in their support for the program in light of police shootings across the country, and have praised the move as a step in the right direction.

Just last month, the city of Providence agreed to a $48,000 settlement with a woman who filed suit claiming she was assaulted and pepper sprayed by city police while working as a bouncer in 2012. Kali Reis, a professional boxer, was working a security detail for the former Club Karma when an altercation left a colleague of hers unconscious. While providing first aid to her coworker she claimed she was punched, pepper sprayed and handcuffed by Officer Gregory Daniels, who has since retired. She was not charged with a crime and claims she was subsequently released after apologizing to the officer in question.

Similar incidents have made headlines over the years in Providence. A high profile incident that occurred in 2009 involving city police and security officers from the Rhode Island School of Design resulted in a $255,000 settlement in 2015. Luis Mendonca, a resident of Central Falls, was pursued on foot after officers suspected him of theft and trespassing. He was detained in a nearby parking lot, where surveillance footage recorded Det. Robert DeCarlo striking Mendonca in the head while he was in handcuffs, causing him to slip into a coma.

“Body cameras can be a great tool for police transparency and accountability, but ultimately the devil is in the details,” said American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Steven Brown. The state chapter of the ACLU has raised privacy concerns, as well as questioning the effectiveness of the body cameras given they rely on the officer to activate them manually.

Providence is not the first department in the state to employ the use of body cameras. Police in Newport began using them earlier this year, and have 10 cameras that are rotated between officers coming on and off duty.

From our archives

Catherine Enos-Opinions Editor

As a student, juggling responsibilities can be tough. Years ago, one scholarly responsibility for Rhode Island College students was attending a mandatory chapel service. Apparently, some students seemed to take this more seriously than others.

Photo courtesy of Rhode Island College


In an editorial column in the fall of 1960, one of the students penned a scathing exposé about other students who decided to place their priorities elsewhere. Over 100 students skipped out on chapel one week. The worst part — the “violation of principle,” similar to “the crime of perjury”– was the fact that they lied about it.

Though many students today have religious affiliations, RIC is a diverse campus, and it may be hard to imagine what a mandatory church session would be like at a public institution. This student’s derision of their classmates for skipping service really serves as a testament to just how much times have changed.

The Buzz on “Bee School.”

Calli Renovato-Anchor Staff

Have you thought about taking up a hobby on Friday and Saturday mornings? Well, Rhode Island College and the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association might be able to fill your time.

Starting in February, the RIBA is teaming up with RIC to offer beekeeping classes on Friday and Saturday mornings. Welcome to the public, this course will cover the life cycle of the honey bee, getting started, assembling the hive, catching bees, and much more. The course will run you about $65, but includes everything you need for the class, including books, handouts and weekly demonstrations.

Photo courtesy of RIC

“We work with the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association. They teach the classes and we run two sections every year, it’s a five-week course on beginner beekeeping. We do it on Friday mornings and Saturday mornings. And after you go through those five or six weeks, you’ve pretty much, learned all you need to know to start a hive.” Says Jim Murphy, RIC’s Sustainability Coordinator and campus beekeeper.

With the alarming decline of the honeybee population, RIC opened the Bee Education Center in 2014. The Bee Education Center has an outdoor classroom, a pollinator garden, and a three hive apiary. Murphy said that he sees about four to eight hundred students a year, from kindergarten to high school, during field trips throughout the year.

Photo courtesy of Lucy DiNario

Murphy said that he “could be doing that eight hours a day, but I got all this other stuff, so I’m the lucky guy who gets to do the show and tell!” Murphy gets a lot of help from the RIBA itself, but also from Jim Lawson and the Department of Environmental Management.

The Bee Education Center isn’t just used to collect honey and show off during field trips, but it also serves as a classroom. One of RIC’s Assistant Professors of Biology, Dr. Geoff Stilwell, is working on a grant and publishing a paper regarding the small hive beetle in Rhode Island and it affects on the honeybees and their hives.

During this past weekend, Murphy gave out tours to several groups wanting to see the hive during Homecoming weekend. If you missed it, however, Murphy said that if you go see him, he has about 15 beekeeper suits and he’ll take any RIC student who would like to see the bees!

The sign-ups for the classes aren’t yet listed on their website, but the RIBA does recommend signing up for the advanced notice list. To get on the list, email your name, contact information and preferred location of either northern RI (RIC) or in Southern RI (URI, Kingston.) to Betty Mencucci: bmencucci@verizon.net or send by mail to RIBA Bee School, PO Box 64, Greenville, RI.

From our archives

Catherine Enos –Opinions Editor

At the beginning of this fall semester, Rhode Island College unveiled its newly renovated Gaige Hall. While the building has become very modern on the inside, its history is long and distinguished.

Gaige Hall, as well as several other buildings on campus, saw their first year of students in 1958. The school moved its entire campus, then a single building in downtown Providence, to where we are today.

Photo courtesy of Rhode Island College

The need for and process of expansion occurred at the same time as the appointment of a new president, William Gaige, in 1952. He pushed for growth at the original campus of “Rhode Island College of Education” and advocated for expansion in different areas. Gaige, as well as others who advocated for the new campus, obviously prevailed in their efforts. They had their new campus in 1958 and a new name, Rhode Island College, in 1960.

In one of the first issues distributed after the “new campus” was built in June, The Anchor paid homage to RIC’s elaborate past, as well as its beautiful old home.

RIC takes the lead in sustainable development

Lucille DiNaro-News Editor

The issue of climate change has become a global conversation which cannot be avoided. As citizens look to become more environmentally competent, they scrutinize the financial, ethical and environmental actions of the institutions and brands they affiliate with much more heavily. As a recent recipient of the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Postsecondary Sustainability Award, Rhode Island College assuages the concerns of students by proving its commitment to students, community and a sustainable future.

Sustainable living initiatives championed by RIC students and faculty include the Community Garden and the Bee Education Center. The Community Garden, the brainchild of recent RIC graduate Casey Doyle, is an organically fed and maintained garden located near Fogarty Life Science. Produce from the Community Garden is even utilized by the Donovan Dining Center. Currently presiding over the Community Garden and Bee Education Center is James C. Murphy, RIC’s Sustainability Director and Environmental Justice Club Advisor. Read more about our Bee Education Center on page 5.

 In an effort to reduce environmental impact and costs, RIC continuously works to incorporate more efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems. Despite obvious environmental incentives, Murphy notes that to any business owner or institution, energy saving is common sense.

 “It’s about the dollars and cents. If you’re spending a million dollars a year on electricity, then you should be conserving electricity and getting that cost down as low as you can.”

A gradual turnover to LED lighting systems and motion sensored lighting is one of the cost cutting techniques employed by the college that Murphy describes. The LED Project, finalized in 2016, aims to decrease annual electrical consumption by 2.8 million kilowatt hours.

Recent improvements to Alex and Ani Hall secure the proper handling of wastewater created in ceramics and photography labs. Excess water is entered into a closed water system and contaminated water is redirected to Triumvirate Environmental to have contaminants removed.

One of the projects Murphy is most passionate about is the installation of twelve water bottle filling stations across campus. These can be found in the Student Union, Donovan Dining Center, Fogarty Life Science, Physical Plant, and Roberts Hall.

Murphy hopes to change the paradigm when it comes to waste management on campus, stating that “Students need to talk to each other about [recycling]. If someone throws a plastic bottle in the garbage, does somebody say something if they notice it? Thats where you can make a difference.”

While RIC does provide recycling bins across campus, there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to the frequency of these receptacles in all academic and administrative buildings.

Following trends in Providence and Cranston, RIC is exploring the idea of installing solar panels on campus. Prime locations for solar panels include the Donovan Dining Center and the Student Union, buildings that have received new roofs this summer and have the structural integrity required to support the solar panels for their 30 year lifetime. While this is a feasible task, Murphy claims that “We are in a unique situation because we’re a state institution and we have to adhere to state purchasing regulations. Putting this out to bid can be a tricky situation.”

RIC plans to continue their partnership with Ameresco, an independent consulting agency that provides energy efficiency solutions, in order to achieve these lofty goals.

Rhode Island loses a special smile

Kathryn Myrtle-Ads Manager

Maddie Potts, a Chariho High School senior, collapsed during her soccer game on September 23 and tragically passed at Hasbro Children’s Hospital early the next morning. She had suffered a brain aneurysm.  

Photo courtesy of Nikki Hewins

This unfortunate death has touched students and faculty across the state, myself included. I had the honor of playing soccer, training and spending time with Maddie throughout my early and mid-teen years. She was a beautiful girl who wore a smile that could turn anyone’s day around. Maddie was a gifted artist and photographer, a great student, an all-division, all-state lacrosse and soccer player. She was captain of her high school lacrosse and soccer teams and was an active teammate of her indoor track team. She participated in yearbook, was the photographer for her class council, and excelled in her AP drawing class.

Every life has value. Some people take a lifetime trying to find and express their value and some, unfortunately, never succeed. Other people, however, have a unique ability to harness their value, and utilize it to its maximum potential, all while helping others do the same. That was Maddie Potts. The Chariho boy’s soccer team played a game on September 26 which was dedicated to Maddie. Maddie’s parents and sister attended the game to support the team who, like them, are also struggling to heal after witnessing Maddie’s tragic death. The selflessness shown by her family was the embodiment of Maddie’s strength and her commitment to others.

The impact Maddie had on her community and state is indescribable. Coping with sudden death is difficult for all, but especially difficult for those who knew her and witnessed the tragedy. A candlelit vigil that took place on September 25 at Chariho High School’s soccer field was attended by over 1,000 people. On social media, you may see the hashtag, #Forever11, in honor of the number she used for her sports teams. High schoolers all over the state honor her by wearing her favorite color, blue. Past teammates who now attend various colleges such as Johnson and Wales University and Nichols College honor her by asking their sports teams to wear blue as well.

Rhode Island is a small state. When we suffer the loss of such a special person, the pain is felt by all. As the next few weeks go by, keep in mind your friends and classmates that may have been lucky enough to have known Maddie. Send your good thoughts to Maddie’s family, teammates, and friends. When you see number 11 or #Forever11, keep Maddie in your mind. But most of all, spread kindness as Maddie always did: “Kindness makes ripples, ripples make waves, waves bring treasures to the shore”.