What’s in your head? Implicit bias training at RIC

Tim Caplan – News Editor

Implicit Bias has been a controversial subject in the social science community for over 20 years, especially with the 1998 invention of the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Project Implicit, who created the test, is a non-profit research foundation focused on studying implicit social cognition and was founded by three scientists from Harvard, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington.

Dr. Jordan Axt, Photos by Thomas Crudale

On Wednesday, March 20, Jordan Axt, a postdoctoral research associate from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Center for Advanced Hindsight, was invited to speak at Rhode Island College by the Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Axt is a member of Project Implicit. The event took place in the Gaige Hall Auditorium.

Dr. Axt began his presentation by speaking about the differences between the conscious and unconscious mind: “Your mind is an island, part of it is above water, the conscious mind, (and part is) below water, unconscious mind.”

Dr. Axt then displayed a series of photos which demonstrated how the mind often plays tricks on the senses of sight and sound. These pictures featured monsters in a tunnel that seemed to be different sizes but when the tunnel was taken away, it was revealed that they were the same size. Another picture by Edward H. Adelson, displayed a checkerboard with a shadow over it, which made 2 different squares labeled “A” and “B” seem as though they were different colors, but in reality were the same. These were meant to emphasize the fact that the human mind often works in ways that people are unaware of as it happens.

The presentation then continued with a large scale administration of the IAT to the audience, in which it judged that the audience correlated the faces of white people with pleasant words at a higher rate than the faces of Black people with pleasant words. Dr. Axt said that this was normal, however, and showed his own original test results, which were very similar to that of the audience.

There are many social psychologists who dispute the validity of the IAT, the most vocal of which is University of Connecticut Professor Hart Blanton, who claims “The IAT provides little insight into who will discriminate against whom, and provides no more insight than explicit measures of bias.”

Dr. Axt’s response to these criticisms were that on an individual level, the IAT scores are not as adequate as what some social scientists believe about the measurement of overall feelings in a society.

The presentation was concluded with Dr. Axt’s 3 major suggestions about how he felt an individual could counteract their own implicit bias, which were to use objective criteria when decision making, think slowly, and be vigilant about implicit bias.

One of the photos presented by Dr. Jordan Axt, Graphic courtesy of naniomo.com

RICovery Hosts Narcan Training

Sean Richer –Anchor Staff

As America suffers from the debilitating opioid crisis, more and more people are learning what to do in the instance of an overdose in their vicinity. RICovery, a student organization here at RIC, has been taking steps to spread such knowledge. The substance abuse support group hosted a training seminar in the Student Union Ballroom on administering the drug Naloxone on Wednesday, March 20.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a drug that is used to reverse an opioid overdose. It is commonly given through injection or nasal spray. It is an opioid antagonist and can reverse an overdose in minutes. This over-the-counter antidote has gained a lot of steam and has become a staple in the fight against opiate addiction in recent years.

The use of Naloxone is not free of controversy, however. Many critics have stepped forward saying that it facilitates addiction and the use of drugs by eliminating some of the risks of doing them. When asked about this hypothesis, RICovery President Roxanne Newman said, “I understand the reasoning behind it, but the way I see it, in order for someone to quit, they need to be alive first.” She went on to say that Naloxone is simply a “tool” and that wider access to it would mitigate the damage that opiates can inflict on our communities, including Rhode Island College.

This damage has been observed for years all over the country. Opiate overdoses have surpassed car crashes in terms of deaths per year. According to a study by the CDC, over 72,000 people died of an overdose last year. The RIC administration has since resolved to increase access to Naloxone on campus. Kits are currently available at the Browne Health Center and it is planned to become available at every residence hall on every floor. Despite its critics, it seems that Naloxone has found a long lasting place in the war against opiates, and at Rhode Island College.

The Womxn Project at RIC

Abigail Nilsson –Staff Writer

Do you want your voice to be heard? On March 19, Rachel Jarosz, a volunteer from The Womxn Project (TWP), was at Rhode Island College encouraging students to participate in the “postcard program.” This initiative is meant to engage anyone who wants to volunteer to take a bundle of 50 postcards, a list of 50 people, a sample note, stamps and anything else one may need to reach out to the public to take part in the pro-life and pro-choice debate on the Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA).

The RHCA would protect the legal right decided in the “Roe vs. Wade” Supreme Court decision into Rhode Island statute. This law would allow a pregnant person the legal right to obtain an abortion up to fetal viability. Fetal viability is the survival rate of a fetus taken out of utero, pre-term, that will be able to sustain life. After a certain time period, abortion would be limited to only life-threatening situations. This bill would guarantee that no matter what happens at the federal level, people in Rhode Island will continue to have the legal right to an abortion.

According to an October 2018 poll by the Providence Journal, The Public’s Radio, and ABC6, over 70% of voters and 61% of Catholics in Rhode Island want a bill that protects a person’s ability to make their own decision when it comes to abortion. “If this bill is not passed it is like we will go back in time,” said Lisa Hoopis at the Women’s Center.

Rachel Jarosz will be returning this Tuesday, March 26 to ask RIC students to help support this cause between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. For more information visit thewomanproject.org, or stop by the Unity Center and Women’s Center under Donovan Dining Hall on campus.

Campus Climate Survey Q&A

Tim Caplan –News Editor

From March 19 to April 19 students at RIC have the opportunity to take part in the Campus Climate Survey. Vice President of Community, Equity and Diversity Anna Cano Morales sat down with the Anchor on Friday, March 22 to explain the survey in detail in hopes of familiarizing the student body, faculty and staff with the specifics of it.

The Anchor: What is the Campus Climate Survey?

Anna Cano Morales: The Campus Climate Survey is a comprehensive, first-ever survey of its kind that is being administered by Dr. Susan Rankin and Dr. Emil Cunningham with Rankin and Associates. They have been working with the Campus Climate Working Group, which is made up of a diverse membership from across the [RIC] campus. It’s a survey that really measures how people experience and feel while they are either students, staff or faculty here. It’s really for everything that happens at 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Rhode Island College: How are we doing? How do we feel? Do we feel engaged, embraced, affirmed? Do we feel threatened, harmed, excluded? It’s really taking the temperature of the campus community.

Whose decision was it to bring this to RIC?

Ultimately it was my decision, but it was made in consultation and with unanimous support from the president and the rest of the administration. The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) lists conducting campus climate surveys under their tenants of “Best Practices” to really hear from everyone on your campus about how things are happening.

How do you feel this survey will affect the campus climate of RIC?

Well first we need to ask questions, right? We’re information gathering, we’re doing as much listening as we possibly can. I can say as a former student here that this is new, culturally to RIC. The fact that we are asking questions about how people feel in particular programs, how they feel about working or living here if they’re a dorm resident, how they feel interacting with their campus police or the faculty and administration. It’s important because we start to gather this information and make some actual plans that we can jump into as soon as the survey is over. One of the things that Dr. Susan Rankin and Associates promised us is that this will be a transparent process, that the results will be actionable, and that we were going to be using an instrument that was very much tailored to RIC. This isn’t an off-the-shelf, cookie cutter, sort of 500 pages of downloaded copyrighted tool. When people say someone “wrote the book” on something, well, Susan Rankin pretty much wrote the book on campus culture in the United States, so we’re extremely lucky to be able to work with her, and at the same time very privileged to create our own home grown product.

Can you walk us through the process of the survey for those who don’t know?

Everyone received an email from the office of the president through their RIC account on Tuesday, March 19. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. The survey is now in a link that is on a server that is not at RIC, so it is 100 percent confidential and anonymous, the information is not shared at all with any of the administration. All of the information goes straight to a server at the University of Pennsylvania which is managed by Rankin and Associates. The survey takes about 15 to 20 minutes. The really big important question is the first one, which is “Who are you?” are you a student, are you part-time or full-time, are you a faculty member or staff?… Once you identify who you are, then the questions will be generated accordingly. There is also an open ended section after almost every series of questions to just type whatever you want, whether you think a question was stupid or irrelevant or “by the way I have alot to say about this issue and here’s what i want to say…We’re going to be doing incentives to take the survey which you can sign up for like gear giveaways, tickets to sports event, lunch at a local restaurant with President Sanchez…we also have a paper and pencil option if people feel like they want to do that instead of using a computer, Rachel Greenleaf in the Office of the Provost has those…there also will be computer lab space open across campus to take the survey in Human Recources as well as other computer labs that will be available to anyone who doesn’t have computer access.

When do you think you’ll have all of the information back from Rankin & Associates?

The survey will close April 19, giving participants 30 days… we will get preliminary themes in the early summer, I would say the end of May. Then there will be a series of community forums where the entire report will be delivered to this campus. One thing that’s very important to note is that before we entered into our contractual agreement with Susan Rankin, she had a very direct conversation with President Sanchez and myself in which she said that she only works in institutions with presidents that allow the results to be shared with the community before the presidents see the results. We will all see the results at the same time, and if the president does not agree to that, she won’t work with that institution.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about the campus climate survey?

Just that I hope every single person will take 15 to 20 minutes to take it. The survey just went live on the 19th and so far enthusiasm is palpable…I’m very grateful to faculty and students who are using their own leadership positions to facilitate the taking of the survey, mentioning it in classes or clubs…Industry says we need 30 percent of students to take it for the results to be valid so we really want our participation rate to be competitive because we really want to compare our results to other peer institutions, so if it’s not we won’t have access to that other generalizable information.

The long road to school: Commuter students frustrated with driving to, and parking at RIC

Tim Caplan –News Editor

In 2018, the non-profit national transportation research group TRIP ranked Providence roads as being America’s ninth worst in urban areas with a population of 500,000 people or more. TRIP claimed that 46 percent of Providence roads were in poor condition as of October.

According to RIC.edu, 85 percent of students who attend Rhode Island College are commuters. The Anchor set out last week to find out how commuters felt about traveling to school and the effect that these roads have on their cars.

“I worry at least once a week about my car while driving into school,” said commuter Josh Dibastiani.

Photo Courtesy of Sam Scetta

Perla Torres and Aria Nirandone are two commuters who come by way of Mount Pleasant Avenue. They both spoke of serious concerns with the amount of potholes in the streets when coming to RIC. “Sometimes I take the bus because at this point I want no more problems [driving],” said Torres.

The Mt. Pleasant route to RIC was not the only one in which students expressed dissatisfaction.  Kim Hout makes his commute from Cranston to Johnston and vice versa. “Coming and leaving construction sites are especially [problematic] right now,” said Hout. “When there’s potholes they don’t fill them until they finish everything [at the site] and when they fill its not complete, and tires that are more flat tend to consume more gas mileage”.

While the roads leading into the college were the primary concern of commuters, several people also conveyed disappointment in the maintenance of roads on campus.

“When it snows, they don’t plow right away, the cars slip and hit curbs,” said Tabatha Karlowicz, a student at RIC, “also the sand is unnecessary, and they don’t clean it up when the snow is gone, and snowbanks take up spots to park in.”

The Anchor found at least four different spots in lots J and K which had snow banks that either partially or fully obstructed parking.

Bishop Joe Walker III and Dr. Stephanie Walker discuss what makes a relationship work

Erica Clark – Assistant News Editor  

Harambee, a multicultural student group focused on promoting cultural and social awareness of African and Caribbean students, held an event discussion Monday night in Gaige Auditorium with the co-authors of “Becoming A Couple of Destiny: Living, Loving and Creating A Life That Matters” Bishop Joseph Walker III and his Wife, Dr. Stephanie Walker.

Joseph Walker is highly renowned for being the charismatic pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church located in Nashville, Tennessee. His wife, Steph, is a former Assistant Professor of Neonatology at Vanderbilt University.  

The overall theme of Monday night’s discussion was the question, “What makes a relationship work?”

When most people are asked that question they think loyalty, consistency, honesty. Though, in the simple words of the couple, “Because if you know, you know.”

Bishop Joe and Dr. Steph bring the audience into detail on why they think we can’t be selfish with who is brought into our lives.

“We are never brought together by our own pursuits,” said Dr. Steph, who believes she met Bishop Joe to come together to inspire people about religion and their book.

The Walkers started their discussion on perspectives of women in relationships and the expectations they have, comparing it to being a little girl playing with Barbies.

“When you play, you idolize the idea of a white picket fence, a dress… Then there’s Ken.”         

Women going into relationships, overall, mature at a faster rate than men, especially in their early 20s.  This is a time in many women’s lives they realize how different men are wired.

The Walkers also discussed the reality many college students deal with on a daily basis—seeing and creating images online that are not based in reality.  

“When you meet a person who is not serious about perception, they begin at integrity” Dr. Steph made the audience conscious of how much work it truly takes to understand someone’s reality, that isn’t always easy to relate to.

One thing that many college students find it difficult to bear with is the lack of commitment in 21st-century relationships.  

Though, The Walkers recited how important it is to work towards yourself and when you find that self, you will come together when you find that purpose.  

The Walkers specified the theme of what you are looking for, is looking for you.  As some people may not have faith in this statement or have lost hope, Joe and Steph also express that, “It’s not always bad to wait. Don’t feel pressured in the wait. I’m waiting while I’m still grinding.”

“It can be your time, but not your turn” Bishop Joe said shortly after relating the idea of waiting for something to happen that you are unsure of.  

“There is a reason and a season for relationships” Bishop Joe pitched, hearing the audience filled with snaps, claps and woo’s of breath.

The Walkers gave the advice to people in the audience listening in their 20s to “Take your time, and give yourself room.” The whole idea of once you realize it is not about you, it forces you to keep going.  Each one of us, as human beings, can determine what we want, and respect each other’s perspectives.

It was also emphasized the importance of, during heartbreak, to make sure you’re healing correctly.  “Always deal with isolation in community” Bishop Joe uttered. The process of giving yourself time to heal helps us transform into a better understanding of self.  “Once you know who you are and your worth, it will dictate how everyone will treat you.”

Cornel West delivers a message of love in Black History Month lecture

Tim Caplan –News Editor    

Anticipation filled the air as every seat in Roberts Hall Auditorium filled on Thursday night in anticipation of renowned intellectual, author, and civil rights activist Dr. Cornel West.

Dr. West is a Harvard Professor who has been active in public life since 1979 writing books, giving lectures, making TV appearances, and participating in social and political activism.

West was invited to speak for the culmination of the Black History Month celebration by the RIC campus club Harambee.

The Anchor caught up with Dr. West before his speech to discuss politics, his philosophy and some of his influences.

Dr. West was a very vocal supporter of the 2016 Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign, and has once again thrown his support behind the democratic socialist from Vermont for 2020, “But his time he’s going to win.”

“I think people are hungry for the real thing, many fellow citizens they thought they were going to get it with Trump, but now it’s backfired in a number of different ways, but you have to have someone who can generate real passion and enthusiasm for something bigger than them, and Bernie has an integrity that’s hard to find among politicians, most politicians say one thing and change their mind in two years, Bernie has stayed consistent,” says West, “People can see the authenticity.”

West publicly campaigned for former President Barack Obama in 2008 as well, however over the years has expressed his strong discontent for several Obama Administration policies and practices, such as drone strikes in the Middle East and a what he sees as a suspicious relationship with Wall Street. When asked if he was worried a Sanders presidency would produce a similar disappointing result, West was unbothered.

“Bernie is a different kind of person, he’s got a stronger backbone, he’s got a stronger determination to fight against very entrenched interests of Wall Street… [Obama] already had a lot of Wall Street folks in his campaign,” says West, “It was clear his whole economic team were in the back pocket of Wall Street.”

West’s philosophy centers around the ancient Greek concept of “learning how to die,” or letting your ideas change all the time based on new evidence, this, based on the socratic and what he calls the “prophetic legacy of Jerusalem” form his philosophy on life. West talks about the difficulty “learning how to die” in the politically polarized social media age of America has become.

“People are fearful of being vulnerable, everybodies defensive, and when you have that kind of fear on the one hand, and the sense that you can’t really trust the other person, so you have fear and distrust together, then paideia doesn’t have a lot of space to operate.”

He began his speech the way he always does, thanking various members of the community including Harambee President Mariama Coker-Kallon, and saying that his greatest honor after 65 years was still being the son of his parents, and that “I am here because someone loved me.”

West’s lecture focused on love while observing Black History Month. He referred to the works of James Baldwin and Aretha Franklin and most notably “A Love Supreme” by John Coltrane, which West feels was the embodiment of facing cruelty and injustice with love. His speech focused on his influences in music and literature, referring to a wide range of works and quotes from Plato to Frederick Douglass.

This was the last in a series of events held this past week held by Harambee for Black History Month.

From the archives

Catherine Enos –Opinions editor

This archived article is from the February 26, 1979 issue of The Anchor.

People like to think of college as a time where students take on more mature roles and start their transition into adulthood. Apparently, this didn’t seem to be happening in 1979, when food fights in Donovan Dining Center started to become commonplace.

Authors Bill Hardman, David Medberry and David Gorham didn’t seem to enjoy the frequent flinging of food in the dining center and told The Anchor as much in a letter to the editor 40 years ago. In the letter, they express their contempt for their fellow students (or “animals,” as they refer to them) and ask for the administration to create a more high school-like environment, asking for repercussions such as suspension.

On the one hand, times seem to have changed––luckily, no one in the dining center is throwing food at others. A curious, somewhat unrelated ending to the letter shows us that maybe things haven’t changed so much: “RIC does not want to become another URI.” It seems as if URI had already obtained its status as a “party school” as far back as 1979. Though it’s a minor part of the article, it shares with us a part of Rhode Island’s history.

Greek life students have bonding time in stuck Student Union elevator

Marisa Lenardson –Online Media Manager

Six students were trapped in the elevator in the Student Union last Wednesday.

Cameron Charron ‘22, Isabel Connors ‘21, John Daly ‘22, Shannon Joyce ‘20, Zack Pierce ‘21, and Randy Sai ‘20, who all knew each other through Greek life, were confined in the elevator, which had become stuck between two floors.

They called Campus Police. After an hour, the students were freed and provided water and granola bars.

“Overall it was a good, nice bonding moment for all six of us. We watched the beginning of an episode of ‘Friends’ and we kinda just talked,” said Charron.

The elevator became very warm while the students had to wait. Two students were minorly injured in the process of firefighters and police getting them out.

“Well, the ceiling came down and cut my finger open,” said Daly. The elevator ceiling grate also hit Connors on the head.

A hatch in the elevator had allegedly been welded shut due to a campus visit from former President Barack Obama in 2014. This delayed the process of authorities getting the students out.

“I’m never going in that elevator again I can tell you that,” said Daly.

Despite being made late for class and minor injuries, the students talked for a few minutes about their experience, made a demand for better elevators, and then went their separate ways.

RIC students and their vehicles faced with strong squalls

Abigail Nilsson –Anchor Staff

What do trees, cars and RIC students have in common? All were affected by the powerful wind gusts last Monday and Tuesday.

Late Monday afternoon, strong gusty winds toppled a massive tree on the Rhode Island College campus in the Fogarty Life Science building parking lot on three cars, one of which was occupied by a student at the time of the incident. The student was treated for minor injuries at Health Services and was released. All three cars were majorly damaged by the tree, which was then sawed up and removed. There were no further reported injuries from this on-campus incident.

The winds also blew over several other trees, as well as power lines, which knocked out power to thousands of National Grid customers in Providence and Washington counties.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts into the 50s and low 60s. These winds not only took down large objects but also turned up sand and pebbles making protective eyewear a necessity when walking from class to class.

There was nothing that could have predicted or prevented this tree from crashing down on campus. RIC did not release the identity of the student in their statement.