Colleges should place more emphasis on mental health

Lauren Enos-Asst. Opinions Editor

Upon admission to any higher education institution in the United States, medical forms are required to be submitted by every student. Colleges need to know if a student is up to date on vaccines, because that has the potential to affect many other students’ health. Colleges also need to know if a student has any physical health conditions that may affect their ability to attend class or learn. If a student ever needs to be treated medically on campus, the medical professionals need that student’s most recent medical information to do their job best. While physical health information is important for higher education, institutions to keep on record, I feel mental health is just as important and should be treated so.

Colleges and universities should place as much importance on mental health as physical health. Recently, especially in mainstream media, more importance has been placed on mental health awareness. While this is great for those who suffer from mental health issues, it may not be enough. I think colleges need to do more to ensure their students get the help they need.

Colleges could have mental health screenings for accepted students just like they have physical health screenings. This wouldn’t necessarily be a document that would influence or hinder a student’s acceptance, but a form that would be completed after they are officially a student. By having mandatory mental health screenings for students, it would ensure that all students with mental health issues get the opportunity to be treated effectively. This would also benefit the college or university because their students would perform their best if treated effectively.

Sure, students can register in the disabilities department if they already know they have a learning disability or mental or physical health issue. However, those suffering from mental health issues don’t always know it. Or, they may know something is wrong, but they don’t know what it is and never seek help. These students suffering in silence may not know where they can get help, or even if they should get help. They may not be able to make or keep an appointment with the busy schedule of being a full-time student demands.

The growing climate of acceptance regarding mental health comes with a responsibility of colleges to encourage awareness and promote effective change. At such a pivotal point in many young adults’ lives, higher education institutions should do more to ensure their students’ success in regards to their mental health. It would not only benefit individual students, but the school as a whole.

What does it mean to be an American?

Mary Ellen FernandezAnchor Staff

Almost 400 years ago, settlers arrived at the shores of an unfamiliar land, with high hopes for a better future. After fleeing their home in Great Britain, these settlers, the Puritans, were eager to escape religious persecution, and start anew.

These Puritans established the first colony, Massachusetts, which was quickly followed by the creation of 12 more colonies. Through trials and tribulations, the 13 colonies built a country that would respect its citizens’ natural born rights and create opportunity for generations to come – not to undermine their devastating impact the country would have on the Native Americans, or their cruel use and treatment of slaves.

It is true that this country was built upon less than admirable actions; proving that even our Founding Fathers didn’t know or understand everything. However, being an American in this country, was a concept no one had fathomed yet. Being an American meant people could be free as a bird – to live the life they pleased.

Fast forward through wars (of civil and global measures), economic depressions, injustices, victories, protests, presidents and all….and here we are, 2017. What does it mean to be an American today? Many still ponder this question because history has shown that our country is capable of progress, but of occasional regression as well.

Indeed, our country is prideful. We take the good with the bad and boil it down to sheer genius, that we, the United States of America, are and always will be the best.

Today, the tide may shift to a new form of patriotism: that being an American is more than just taking pride in our country of liberty, but understanding what liberty means. Decades of discrimination, racism and sexism have created an ever-thinning line. As a country, we react to things we deem as injustices. Just like the founders of this country got on a boat and metaphorically threw up the middle finger at the crown, we too, fight for our liberties in this country.

In our patriotism, we resist, meaning we let the government know when we feel our rights and liberties are being infringed upon. Being an American means we are allowed to protest, to exercise our moral standings. It means we are allowed to publish writings that coincide with our concerns of injustice. It means we are allowed to kneel at a football game to send a message to our country.

Being an American means we should be able to understand that with the good, there is bad; and with the bad, we must accept that our country has a responsibility to ensure the rights of its people.

The hypocrisy of ditching DACA

Catherine Enos-Anchor Editor

President Trump is a man of action— but don’t compare those actions to what he actually believes because he’s a hypocrite. In the first week of September, Trump decided to get rid of the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA allowed undocumented immigrant children to stay in America without the constant threat of being deported back to a country that they may not even remember.  

Though Mexican immigrants made up about half of all undocumented citizens living in the U.S., Trump spent most of his time demonizing this specific group of people. He famously made the claim that “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” and begrudgingly added to the end “Some, I assume, are good people.” Although this claim is completely unsubstantiated, he stands firmly by his words.

So, following his track record (which probably isn’t as big as he expected it would be), one would think that Trump would have already gotten rid of the program. However, he had given people reason to think that this wasn’t the case. He told The Associated Press that undocumented children should not worry because the administration are “not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals,” yet he still made the decision to get rid of DACA.

When the announcement was made that DACA would be ending, Attorney General Jeff Sessions (who made the announcement rather than Trump), told the press that the creation of DACA created a “surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences.”

A few points can be made from Sessions’ claim. For one, immigrants in general are much less likely to commit crimes or terrorist attacks than people that are native born Americans (businessinsider.com). Second, there’s research that demonstrates that the Mexican immigrant population has actually declined since the implementation of DACA in 2012 (pewhispanic.org) and there was no “surge of unaccompanied minors” that Sessions was talking about. Fourth, DACA only applies to undocumented immigrants that have been living in the United States since June 15, 2007. And the last, and most hypocritical part of this, is the fact that Trump feels that getting rid of DACA is a good idea from a humanitarian perspective.

If Trump truly wanted to be a “humanitarian,” not allowing child immigrants into America is kind of a baffling action. Trump bombed Syria to be humanitarian—he stated that his reason for bombing was “a chemical attack that was so horrific in Syria against innocent people, including women, small children and even beautiful little babies, their deaths were an affront to humanity” (cnn.com). So if Trump has a concern for women, children and babies, what is his reason for not allowing innocent children to stay in the U.S.?

No human is illegal

Derek Sherlock-Anchor Staff

As discussions concerning the border wall have increased and President Trump’s has decided to end Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the debate about “illegal immigration” has become a hot button issue in recent years. For myself, however, “illegal immigration” is something that I have been vocal about since I have been able to truly formulate my own opinions on issues that affect our world.

Since I was a young teenager, I have been vocal about allowing “illegal immigrants” into the country so that they may have the opportunity to better their lives. I have always thought that the term “illegal immigration” is a complete oxymoron. How can a human being be illegal? As a teenager, the term never made sense, and now that I am almost thirty years old, it seems utterly ridiculous.

For me, the belief that people are not illegal comes from personal experience — when I became friends  with some of these so-called “illegal immigrants.” For me, the idea of “illegal immigration” is no longer a faceless term.

When people say that we need to deport these individuals or even cause harm to them, I don’t think of an unknown individual coming across the border to seek a better life. Instead, I picture my friends, who I will not name because I don’t want any harm to come to them or their families due to their status.

Countless lies have been spewed forth from media members on the political right and from average people.

The most common lie I have heard is that they are taking our jobs and causing high unemployment. This statement is utterly false. Many of these people are working jobs that countless Americans see themselves as “too good” to even have. These jobs include dishwashers, farm hands, cleaners and even slaughterhouse work in some states.

Plus, a major reason for high unemployment is because many companies outsource their jobs to countries where they can pay their workers less than the federal minimum wage. Other factors have led to our high unemployment figures, but outsourcing is one of the largest contributors to unemployment.

Another lie I have heard is that taxpayer’s money goes to these individuals’ aid. This is also false. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you are not eligible for any type of benefits whatsoever. I have read, viewed and even heard countless stories of these individuals having to work anywhere between three to four jobs just so they are able to survive, because they often make nowhere near what minimum wage is.

So, in conclusion, leave them be. They fled horrific situations and should not be forced to return to those countries. Remember, no human is illegal.

Trump didn’t consider all of the facts, how refreshing

Brittney Donahue-Anchor Editor

When Donald Trump declared his candidacy in 2015, he did so by promising to erect a wall along the Mexican border. At the time, his campaign seemed like a bad joke or publicity stunt. Fast forward to today and we are living with a presidential administration that seems to have no problem hurting both the American people and our environment.

Despite experts cautioning that a wall would do nothing to solve the problems of illegal immigration and drug trafficking, President Trump is determined to plow forward. He is either unaware or (a more likely explanation) does not care about the impact a wall would have on an area that boasts arguably the greatest biodiversity in North America.

Graphic by Keane Patino-Cyler

The southwest regions of the United States are home to a wide variety of species that have been severely impacted by the miles of wall already constructed. This includes the severely endangered Mexican Gray Wolf, shown in the image. By the 1970s, this subspecies of the Gray Wolf was entirely wiped out in the U.S. with just a small population remaining in zoos and a handful more in Mexico. In 1998 the Fish and Wildlife service released 11 wolves into Arizona in the hope of reestablishing healthy breeding populations.  In 2011, Mexico enacted a similar plan, and there are now approximately 100 wolves north of the border and 35 wolves to the south.

This revival of an endangered species is great news, but a wall disrupting the free migration of the animals will mean frequent inbreeding of the separated populations, resulting in a weaker genetic pool. The population is simply not large enough to withstand limited mating options.

The Pronghorn, America’s fastest land mammal, will face a similar disadvantage. If a wall interrupts their yearly migration patterns, there will be devastating consequences on the long term health of the population. Even some birds, such as the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, will find themselves stuck on either side of the barrier. The tiny owl averages about 2.5 ounces and rarely flies higher than 5 feet into the air. The Center for Biological Diversity released a study saying that a border wall would threaten a total of 93 endangered species.

On August 27, at Trump’s rally in Phoenix, Arizona, he threatened a government shutdown if he did not get the estimated 38 billion dollars required to build this useless barrier. We can hope he was bluffing, but I urge everyone to stay informed and active. Exercise your First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful protest, and remind our Senators and Representatives that there are much better things on which to spend 38 billion dollars.

To share your thoughts on the border wall Tweet @TheAnchorRIC or email asst_lifestyles@anchorweb.org.

September 11: a day of remembrance, not debate

Catherine Enos-Opinions Editor

September 11, 2001 was one of the most devastating days in US history. Around 2,753  people died, including nearly 400 first responders. In addition to those that were killed, thousands have contracted illnesses, such as the 70 types of cancer (many of which are related to the respiratory system) that have been caused as a result of exposure to Ground Zero.

The day that we’ve deemed “Patriot Day” should be a day of respect. Some say that Patriot Day hasn’t been deemed a “holiday” because it would soon be commercialized and the true horror of 9/11 would be forgotten. Instead, to pay our respects to those that lost their lives on September 11, Patriot Day is considered a national day of service and remembrance.

Photo courtesy of cnn.com

So it seems disrespectful when people call into question those terrible events that occurred on the anniversary of the attack. When people discuss who “really” orchestrated the event, whether it was a terrorist group or the US government, we disregard what a day of remembrance is really supposed to be about. Instead of paying respects to those that died, people are too concerned with arguing if the attacks were an “inside job” or not.

Though we are all entitled to our own opinion, we aren’t necessarily always going to be correct about it. When we spend September 11 theorizing about how it happened, we make the day about ourselves, and that’s not what it should be about.

We should remember the people that we lost that day. We should remember the people that are affected by the events every day of their lives— whether they lost a loved one, they were in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, or were a witness to the event that still haunts them through respiratory diseases or post traumatic stress disorder. And we should remember those that worked hard to make sure they saved as many people as they could— the firefighters, the police officers, the doctors, the nurses and countless other everyday, ordinary people that were extraordinary heroes that day.

Movie nights on campus and you’re all invited

Derek Sherlock-Anchor Staff

Over the summer, I was given a tour of the Rhode Island College’s newly renovated Gaige Hall that was completed over the last academic year. While the building is technologically and architecturally beautiful, the real show stopper for the new building is the auditorium.

As a former employee of Showcase Cinemas, it looks exactly like a mini-movie theater–which made me think that it would be a great idea for the school to start having a movie nights during the week.

Last year, I had written an article about how the school should have more events or entertainment for students who live on campus or for the commuters who want a cheap place to do things. Turning this new state-of-the-art auditorium into a mini movie theater over the weekends while school is in session would be helpful in alleviating some stresses students face from classes. It can also help incoming students meet new people and build new friendships.

Gaige Hall could host new releases on Saturdays–movies that just came out on DVD in the past week could be shown on Saturdays. In addition, they could also do a “survey day Sunday” in which students vote for what movie they would like to see on Sundays. During the week, Student Activities could post a survey for students to fill out of various movie titles (both older and newer titles) and the movies with the most votes would be screened Sundays.

Photo courtesy of photex.com

During the first week or so of classes, Student Activities often show movies near the Student Union, but a Gaige Hall movie screening could be nice as a year-round type of event. If money is a concern for not doing something like this, they could sell popcorn and soft drinks to get some money back.

I feel that this would be an amazing way for incoming and current students to meet, discuss movies, and begin friendships that normally would not start without the aid of a forum like this. This could be something that Student Activities could consider doing for an upcoming year to see if this is an initiative that the student population would be interested in having. I know for me, I would like to see this happen on campus. I hope that this is an opinion shared by other students, as well as someone in power on campus that could implement an activity like this.

Book companies cashing out at the expense of college students

Mary Ellen Fernandez-Anchor Staff

For college students, budgeting is typically the most difficult part of everyday life. Between school payments, meal plans, groceries, gas money and other expenses, it can be difficult to balance it all. On top of that, back to school spending isn’t complete without the dreadful expense that is buying school books. Buying a New York Times bestseller for $20 is fine, but a paperback anatomy textbook for $170? Yeah, no thanks.

Photo courtesy of flicker.com

The prices of books have skyrocketed and it only seems to be getting worse. The most horrendous scam the millennial generation has seen is the cost of textbooks. The textbook companies are no fools, they know students have no choice but to buy books.

In recent years, however, students have found new ways to keep the costs down; for instance, Chegg. Chegg is a book sharing website that allows students to rent books, as well as other helpful materials, for dirt cheap.

As much as students try to save, though, the book selling companies find a way to shut students’ efforts down. In order to prevent students from saving their money (heaven forbid), the companies have begun to use expensive tactics: Ebooks and access codes. Basically, along with the book, students must have an internet access card that is, of course, non-reusable. More classes are requiring Ebooks and access codes, and it is becoming increasingly expensive to purchase the materials necessary to do well in classes.

The fact is plain; school textbooks are way too expensive. With the prices of tuition rapidly rising, it is almost impossible to understand why everything involved with getting an education must be so overpriced. Attending a secondary school for a degree is an investment for the future, but when the expenses, such as books, begin to increase, it leaves students wondering: how much am I really willing to invest?