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.

SCG and President Sanchez address declining enrollment and R.I. Promise

Sean Richer –Anchor Staff

Last Thursday, the Student Community Government, along with President Frank Sanchez and Dr. Jason Meriwether, discussed the lack of enrollment at RIC and the future of the R.I. Promise. President Sanchez began his statement to Parliament by clarifying the details of the R.I Promise. As it currently stands, the framework for the R.I. Promise requires students to have accumulated 60 credit hours by the end of their sophomore year, as well as maintain a 2.5 G.P.A average in order to receive support for the last two years of your undergraduate degree. Furthermore, the R.I. Promise only covers class tuition and mandatory fees. It does not cover other expenses such as housing and meal plans, and would only apply to Rhode Island Residents.

President Sanchez addressed SCG saying, “We’d like Student Parliament to back this resolution, and help fight misinformation regarding the R.I. Promise.” The President of the SCG, Josh Percy, expressed his concerns with the current state of the prospective bill, specifically in regards to the potential workload undergraduate students would have to take, many of whom hold a job outside of college. President Sanchez responded by saying, “Perhaps with the knowledge that the state will cover their last two years, they can relax their hours in order to focus on school.” Particular attention was made towards summer classes at RIC, which would most likely have to be taken in order to meet the 60 credit prerequisite. The RIC administration plans on expanding the programs available during the summer, including 6 credit hour courses. As it stands now, the proposal is still not finalized, and requires approval from the state.The second motion of the night focused on RIC’s chronic lack of enrollment. Applications have been in decline for the last decade, and the administration is continuing to look for solutions. Dr. Jason Meriwether of the Student Success Department shared his plan to remedy this issue. Instrumental to this plan is the expansion of the Northeast Neighbors Initiative, a program designed to cater to potential applicants in neighboring New England states. “We have been focusing on revamping our advertising efforts, specifically in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.” explained Dr. Meriwether. This includes an increased number of “RIC Days” in order to advertise the offerings on campus. The first of these RIC Days is set to happen in Hartford C.T. on April 16th. President Sanchez chimed in saying, “You’re going to start seeing advertisements for Rhode Island College more frequently. We are currently looking into a new newsletter system, to encourage people to apply and register for classes.” So far their efforts have not been fruitless, as the number of applicants from New Hampshire has doubled since last year to 60 applicants, as well as an increase in Connecticut from 62 to 105 to-date.

While the progress on both fronts seems promising, it is clear that there is still much progress to be made. Many question remain unanswered, particularly in regard to funding and student programs.

Second Summit with North Korea ends with “No Deal”

Sean Richer –Anchor Staff

Last week, President Trump and Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un met in Hanoi, Vietnam to continue negotiations regarding the denuclearization of the North Korea. While hopes were high after the first summit, the talks quickly broke down. According to the president, Kim Jong-Un requested that in exchange for dismantling his central nuclear research facility, that the U.S. lift all of its sanctions against the “Hermit Kingdom.” North Korean officials dispute this, claiming that they only wanted a fraction of the sanctions lifted.  

Many U.S. officials from both parties have praised President Trump’s decision to walk away from the discussion, with the belief that turning a deal down is better than agreeing to a negative one. The President is, however, not free from critics. Former Vice President Joe Biden has criticized the President’s self-proclaimed talent for deal-making as false. “He treats everything like it’s a real estate deal,” said Biden. He went on to say that the President needs to focus on empowering those in his cabinet for future negotiations, rather than taking a single personal approach.

The President has also been receiving criticism in regards to his handling of the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died soon after being released from North Korea, after a long sentence of hard labor in a prison camp in 2017. President Trump insisted that he did not believe Kim Jong-Un or any other high ranking officials knew of Warmbier’s treatment. He went on to say that because it would not be of directly beneficial to him, Kim Jong-Un would not condone such treatment. That family of Otto Warmbier have spoken out against the President saying, “Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son, Otto… No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”

These negotiations were pivotal for the Trump administration, as diplomacy with North Korea has been historically tense and difficult. While the President has been enjoying the the approval for his handling of the negotiations themselves, it seems he is still struggling to shake the public opinion that he admires and rubs shoulders with absolute, autocratic leaders.

#Metoo and #Himtoo can coexist

Alexis Raposa –Anchor Staff

Countless women and men who’ve been victims of sexual violence have used #MeToo as a way to share their stories to bring awareness to the growing rate of sexual violence. But just like with any movement, #MeToo has its own set of vocal criticizers. Some people claim that those using the hashtag are capitalizing on the movement to get attention or that the victim was simply asking for it by wearing provocative clothes. But the most popular criticism of the #MeToo movement is that the victims were simply lying, and that the real victims are the men being falsely accused.

#HimToo is a counter movement against the false accusations of men committing sexual violence. While I don’t disagree entirely with #HimToo, I think it’s important to point out that this movement is based on discrediting the victims of sexual violence rather than bringing justice to false accusations. In fact, based on a study done by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, only about two percent of reported sexual violence cases are deemed false. Two percent is not a big number especially when only about sixty-three percent of sexual violence victims report to the police and even less make it to trial. #HimToo is a movement being used to victimize men instead of focusing on the actual problem.

When discussing sexual violence, we mostly talk about it being a crime against women which is mostly true. About one in three women will be victims of sexual violence, but at the same time one in six men will be victims. Men are more likely to be victims of sexual assault or rape than they are of being falsely accused of committing sexual violence. Likewise, male victims are even less likely to seek medical attention or report these crimes.

We need to normalize the reporting of sexual violence and make it so men, women and non-binary people feel comfortable enlisting the help of law enforcement. Talking about these crimes is the first step of combating rape culture. So while I empathize with the men who are falsely accused of sexual assault or rape, I don’t think #Himtoo should be done in order to silence those who are actual victims.

Both conversations can coexist without speaking over each other; a lesson everyone can learn, especially in  today’s political climate.

Considering atheism (Part 1)

Victor Martelle –Technology Director

Atheists are a largely undiscussed and misunderstood population.

Pew Research suggests 45 percent of Americans state that belief is necessary to have good values, and astonishingly, a plethora of studies propose atheists are at trust levels of rapists. When it comes to voting with respect to religion, a 2015 Gallup poll claims Americans would vote for a Christian (95 percent), a Muslim (60 percent), and at the bottom of the list, an atheist (58 percent). Some states even forbid atheists from holding office. Perhaps, consequently, not a single person in Congress identifies as an atheist.

I believe this discrimination arises from perceived origination of morality. What I gather from these statistics is that many people wouldn’t trust an atheist like myself, primarily based on my moral standing aired by my atheism. How could they though, when I ultimately have no divine laws to adhere to? In the words of Steve Harvey, “…if you don’t believe in God, then where is your moral barometer?” A thought-provoking question! Where do my morals come from? How can you trust me if I seemingly have none?

If we want a direct answer, we can look toward science and philosophy. From there, one can make a case that morals are deeply rooted in evolution and culture, where even right and wrong are observed in other “non-religious” intelligent species.

Morals have also changed throughout time with the advancement of philosophies, ideas and laws. So much so, that even some teachings that were once followed in many of the popular religions are now disregarded or excused. From this evidence, it looks as though morals are built through many years of both Darwinian and philosophical evolution.

While atheists are not bound to laws set by a god, truth be told, you can still trust them as much as anyone else. Hypothetically, if you decided to be atheist, would you suddenly become unhinged? Unless you can cut evolution, the answer is almost certainly not. And if you’re confident that you would indeed abandon your morals under this circumstance, then perhaps the atheist barometer shouldn’t be questioned, your individual self-control ought to be instead.

Putting morals aside, the more important, immediate question is “why?” Why do I and other atheists not believe in something that so many people do? Maybe there is some merit to it.

In next week’s article, I will be answering this question, and perhaps even convince you that atheism is a sensible and reasonable position.

The greatest horror movie ever

Derek Sherlock –Anchor Staff

“When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.” This is the tagline from George A. Romero’s 1978 horror classic “Dawn of the Dead.” I have seen hundreds upon hundreds of horror movies from all over the world, old and new, but I believe “Dawn of the Dead” is the best film in the history of horror cinema.

It is both iconic and influential – one of the reasons it is superior to other classic films such as the original “The Thing,” “Halloween,” and “Jaws.” Some might argue that Romero’s first film “Night of the Living Dead” is his best film, but I believe that it set the bar for horror movies after its release in 1968. “Dawn of the Dead” is the genesis of modern horror movies in terms of slow burning terror, its special effects and storyline. Although it is about zombies, it is not just another zombie movie. “Dawn of the Dead” further expanded the lore of the flesh-eating ghouls. Many zombie-esque films take their cues from this film.

Some skeptics might believe the film to be dated because it is a product of the 1970s, but the satire the movie possesses still resonates today. In “Dawn of the Dead,” Romero compares the zombies, who aimlessly shamble around a mall, to the un-living-dead who walk around malls shopping for the latest thing to hit shelves. Just go to Providence Place Mall on a weekend and observe so many people mindlessly buying products.

In comparison to his first zombie film, Romero’s characters are more fleshed out (no pun intended), showing his growth as a director. It has spearheaded the splatter-house type of films that made up the 1980’s horror films like “The Thing,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th.”

I wish many horror movies today would be like “Dawn of the Dead.” Instead, we are stuck with the same old jump-scare-gore-fest type movies like “Saw.” If the greatest horror director, George A. Romero were here, things would be different. I doubt we’ll have another like him.

Trash collection won’t save our coastline. Governor Raimondo, will you?

Lucille DiNaro -Business Manager

Rhode Island, known for its 400 miles of coastline, is projected to witness sea level rise up to nine feet by the year 2100. Talk about ‘Ocean State.’ Governor Gina Raimondo’s response? Allocate an additional $1.5 million to the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). Underwhelmed? Disappointed? Me too. While I’m always happy to hear that our government is investing in state parks, a more efficient maintenance staff at Misquamicut Beach isn’t going to protect us from the consequences of climate change. As the Governor of Rhode Island, a state extremely vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding and erosion, Raimondo can do better.

The $1.5 million that Raimondo’s parks initiative calls for will be used to support the personnel costs of eight new employees at the DEM; six maintenance staff and two business development officers. This comes with the hope that more maintenance staff will ensure that basic needs of patrons are met, such as clean facilities and bathrooms. This initiative is accompanied by a proposed 33 percent fee increase at beaches and campgrounds statewide. The assumption here is that well maintained parks will draw more patrons, and the more time people spend outside the better apt the state is to produce environmentally conscious citizens. If you’re looking for impactful legislation, this is not it.

With little to no organization or consensus on climate change at the federal level, it is up to the states to be proactive about waste reduction, clean business practices and incentivizing choice. Sustainable business practices don’t just happen overnight. Unless it is a personal choice or it is cost efficient, no business owner is going to completely overhaul their day to day operations over a climate prediction. No school system is going to hire additional custodial staff to ensure proper waste management and recycling. And the list goes on. My frustration with Raimondo’s park’s initiative lies in her lack of urgency and foresight. For someone who has stated that she wants to “…make sure that our kids have the same opportunities that we did,” this $1.5 million check to the DEM doesn’t cut it.

It’s no secret that coastal resiliency, flood management, and waste management are critically important to the future health of our state. Members of the General Assembly have proposed excellent legislation this session that addresses climate change head on. Our legislators are working diligently to ensure schools comply with recycling and composting laws, retailers cut down on plastics, and greenhouse gas emission goals are met; and that barely scratches the surface. When these bills reach Raimondo’s desk, I hope they earn her signature.

Climate change is always a tough budget item to negotiate. With limited resources, prioritizing climate change can be hard to rationalize. However, in a state with a traveller economy, environmental resilience is of the utmost importance. In her next four years as Governor, I implore Governor Raimondo to support our legislators and to support Rhode Island.

Africa gets its first ever UFC Champ, Jones defends title

Tim Caplan –News Editor  

Kamaru Usman became the first ever African born fighter to win a UFC world championship on Saturday when he won the welterweight title in a dominant 5 round decision against longtime reigning champion Tyron Woodley in the co-main event of the evening.

UFC 235 took place at a sold out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 2.

“The Nigerian Nightmare” pressured Woodley in every aspect of the fight. He cut off the cage and took Woodley down repeatedly, who looked tired and unlike his usual explosive self throughout the fight.

In the post-fight Octagon interview, holding his young daughter in his arms, Usman paid respect to Woodley, who had defended his title four times before this, saying, “ When you talk about the best welterweights of all time, that man needs to be in the conversation.”

The Nigerian born Usman improved to 15-1 and became just the fourth fighter in UFC history to start his career 10-0. Woodley, who has been undefeated since 2014 with six wins and three finishes falls to 19-4.

The main card started off with a match up between former UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody “No Love” Garbrandt and number nine ranked 135 pound Brazilian Pedro Munhoz. This was Garbrandt’s first fight since being knocked out twice by the current champion TJ Dillashaw. The two began throwing heavy leather after a short feeling-out process and pandemonium ensued in the Octagon during one of the most exciting bouts of the night. Munhoz threw heavy low kicks to the calf of Garbrandt which impaired his movement toward the end of the round. Munhoz threw an overhand left that buckled Garbrandt’s knees and after a brief scramble “No Love” got back up to his feet and threw a flying knee to the head of Munhoz. Garbrandt began swinging with reckless abandon and was caught and sent to the floor with a stellar right hook from Munhoz with just 9 seconds to go in the first round.     

“Funky” Ben Askren made his much anticipated Octagon debut on Saturday as well in a fight against former 170 pound champ and number six ranked “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. After being dropped on his head and punched repeatedly, Askren managed to secure a bulldog choke and was declared winner after a controversial stoppage by referee Herb Dean at 3:20 of the first round. Lawler’s arm seemed to go limp but contested that he hadn’t gone out immediately following the stoppage. Askren’s record is now 19-0-1 and will warrant a top five opponent in the division if not a title shot.

The main event was a match for the 205 pound UFC Light HeavyWeight Title between champion Jon “Bones” Jones and Anthony “Lionheart” Smith.

Jones came out cautious as he tested the range and made reads on Smith throughout the first round, landing a few spinning back kicks and hooks to the body.

Down the stretch, Jones’ cage pressure, along with his elliptical and outside leg kicks built a heavy lead in his favor.

Smith was unable to deal with the eight inch reach advantage of Jones and although he landed intermittent strikes throughout the first three rounds, was visibly unable to match Jones’ skill and experience. Aside from an illegal strike in the fourth round that cause a two point deduction, it was a flawless performance for the Jackson-Wink MMA fighter Jones.

This was Jones’ first title defense since winning it back after a series of suspensions spanning over three years.

It is unclear at this point who Jones will fight next, because he fought and beaten every top contender at 205 pounds since 2010, Brock Lesnar is a name that Jon has mentioned before, but as of right now UFC President Dana White says that Brock is still under contract with WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and will be in contact when he is ready to fight.

Anchorwomen relish underdog label as season draws close

Joseph A. Griswold -Assistant Sports Editor

Entering the 2019-2020 season, the Rhode Island College softball team is ranked last in the preseason Little East Coaches poll. The team looks to capitalize on their underdog label and learn from last year’s 10-20 record.

The team will be led by second year head coach Brian Claypool. From the outside, Claypool understands why the team is placed where it is, “We lost three kids that hit over .300 last year and with only 12 players on the team, do the math.”  

Coach Claypool, however, is not on the outside, “Fortunately, for me I get to live the reality with these girls and see how they have grown and developed over that last year.”

In his first year, Coach Claypool focused on laying the foundations of a championship team and instilling his philosophy that “sport is a metaphor for life,” and being time-oriented, disciplined and forward will benefit you far beyond the softball diamond.

At the end of the season Coach Claypool understood improvements needed to be made, especially in the number of the players on the team. Now in his second season, Coach Claypool was able to fill a full roster, “Competition generates improvement, these girls now understand that they do not own their position themselves,” Claypool said. “If we all push each other this team will get better.”

Despite a small roster last season, RIC has nine returning players which they plan to lean heavily on. Two of the important players are senior pitchers Briana Gough and Erica Fleming, who will be crucial in determining how the season goes for the Anchorwomen. Both Gough and Fleming will handle a majority of the team’s pitching and have, “grown a lot from last year both as far as physical strength, pitching ability and a lot between the ears,” Coach Claypool said. Senior catcher Emma Simmons serves as the energy and spark to the team while senior Cristin Chiaverini, “has made the most growth of any player in 12 months,” Claypool said.

The returning core will look to mold the incoming talent and grow this team into a contender in the Little East. This process begins with the Anchorwomen’s trip to Virginia Beach for spring training to play some top-talent. This trip is aimed to help the Anchorwomen to meld together, form chemistry and learn to handle the big moments.

The future of the Anchorwomen looks bright, but only time will tell if all the pieces can come together and dispel the preseason poll.

The Anchorwomen open their home schedule in a March 18 double-header against the Coast Guard Bears.