The best and worst four years – Shane Inman

The best and worst four years

Shane Inman

Managing Editor

 

Stop stressing out over the idea that your college years should be the best of your life. The idea that one’s time in college is a pinnacle of life is something everyone has heard at one point or another. It’s one of those concepts that floats around the public consciousness and is occasionally delivered as sage advice to unsuspecting youths. It’s instilled in us at an early age and ultimately ends up causing a lot of undue anguish once we actually get to those “best” years of our lives.

Sometimes college sucks. Stressful life pressures, changes, financial turmoil and crippling uncertainty about the future can turn college from a grand opportunity to a dark and miserable chapter in a person’s life. “Am I wasting the best part of my life?” people ask themselves. “If nothing is better than this, what do I have to look forward to?”

The answers, respectively, are “no” and “quite a lot, actually.”

Sure, college can be an amazing experience for some, and indeed, it has the potential to be one of the high points of life, but this lofty ideal can’t pan out for everybody, and it doesn’t have to. College may occupy a unique space in our culture, but if life never lets up enough to let you enjoy it, that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. If you spend your time here gasping for air as everyone around you seems to be living life to its fullest, know that nothing is being wasted, only delayed.

If the good times aren’t here yet, you can be absolutely sure that they will arrive at one point or another, once you’ve left this uncertain place and found solid footing. Worrying about why you aren’t happy and why you aren’t taking full advantage of the moment is a meaningless error which accomplishes nothing. Accept that the opportunity of college was never as bright as you’d been told, and look ahead to everything beyond it.

While you’re in college, you’re building something and working towards something, even if it doesn’t feel like it all the time. It’s a career, sure, but it’s also more than that. You’re establishing control over your life—the kind of control which will allow you to shape yourself a life more welcoming to you than the whirlwind of college. The years you spend here are only a beginning. They don’t need to be a peak of your existence and they don’t need to be enjoyable. There’s more to come; remember that.

Standing by survivors – Derek Sherlock

Standing by survivors

Derek Sherlock

Anchor Contributor

 

Attending two of the five workshops provided by the Sojourner House on campus this week that tackled topics such as sexual assault and domestic violence got me thinking about what I, a person who is biologically a male but do not mentally and emotionally define myself as such, can do to stop the spread of sexual and domestic violence. What can other “males” do as well to end the cycle of violence towards women, men and trans people?

The first thing that comes to mind is for all of us to come together and denounce the slut shaming that women have to face and the gender shaming that males have to go through based on their perceived masculinity. Regardless of what a woman is wearing no one deserves to be subjected to assault. The same goes for males; even if they appear to be weak or feeble it doesn’t give you the right to assault them.

We need to call out our friends or classmates even if they are a star-swimmer for a school. If they have assaulted someone they need to be held accountable for their actions. We need to stand by our friends in these difficult times, let them know that they are not alone and encourage them to seek help whether it’s on campus through the Women’s Center or Counseling Center or by speaking to the police.

Some of the phrases I have heard countless times during some of the more publicized rape cases are quite possibly some of the vilest statements such as “boys will be boys,” “she was wearing revealing clothing,”or “we are dating so it’s alright.” Larger news outlets seem to paint rapists in a positive light or focus on how this case will ruin the rapist’s chances at succeeding in their future pursuits all while making little to no comment on how the victim is feeling about having to deal with the trauma from the actions of a terrible human being.

One of the most beautiful words to hear while you are in a relationship is the word “yes.” Whether you are with a woman, a man or a trans person when they give you consent to share in a beautiful act together you both will appreciate it much more.

Pick a side already – Conor O’Brien

Pick a side already

Conor O’Brien

Anchor Contributor

 

As we continue the push towards election day the media is becoming more and more saturated with stories of Clinton’s emails, Trump’s disgusting tape and even Gary Johnson’s Aleppo gaffe. Surprisingly, still some individuals are undecided as to which person they will support; to which I reply “Really?”

Your votes are absolutely critical to making sure that the person you wish to represent you wins the presidency. Instead of focusing on a Ken Bone meme we should understand that Bone was an undecided voter and clearly could not make up his mind; this it not somebody to aspire to be. After all the stories about suspected tapes showing crude sexual remarks towards women, comments about Mexicans and other minorities, as well as name-calling is picking a side really a tough decision to make?

It is unfortunate that despite all of the information out there voters still can’t even decide on a third party candidate. The lack of attention voters give to the campaigns will only lead to low voter turnout that does not end well in the long run. Clinton and Trump may not be the two best candidates in history but the stories that have aired and debates should make it clear who aligns with your values and your view of human dignity, even if it’s not a 100 percent match.

The partisan supporters such as myself may scare undecided voters but at least decided voters have made a decision. Being undecided is fine at first however voters need to have made a decision by now, especially with only a few weeks until Election Day. It is frightening that voters still haven’t decided because it means either voters have not paid enough attention to campaign coverage and debates or they are pouting because a candidate lost in the primary.

For all those undecideds yearning for Bernie, vote for his presidential choice Hillary Clinton or for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. For Republicans disillusioned and disgusted by Donald Trump, good luck; the job of finding a candidate is tough this election cycle. Republicans against Trump will have to follow their conscience and vote for someone else like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein like Mitt Romney and fellow Republican representatives will do.

Most undecideds will have to swallow their pride and pick a side because this is going to be one of the most important elections in our lifetime and not voting is hugely telling of us as Americans and the importance we place on elections. Undecideds who are aware of what is happening in the campaign and say that voting is useless are the type of people that are unfortunately infecting our society and voting system. It’s time to decide voters, or face the consequences of having others determine your fate.

No chance in hell – Shane Inman

No chance in hell

Shane Inman

Managing Editor

 

Despite what your Facebook feed is telling you the third-party candidates don’t stand a chance. It’s easy to get swept up in an ideal, to get carried away by a beautiful dream and forget all the signs that show us it won’t be a reality. The 2016 presidential election is not the time for these lofty beliefs. Sure, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein might have some good qualities, and are in some ways more desirable than the major party candidates, but the numbers for them simply don’t add up.

If you’re anything like me, much of your Facebook feed is probably filled with calls to “change the system” and vote third party. Everywhere one looks young people online are riled up and ready to overthrow the two-party system. The problem is that this creates a sort of echo chamber where it begins to feel like almost everyone in the country is thinking this way, because hey, just about everyone you know seems to be, when this absolutely isn’t the case.

Social media activism attracts a very specific crowd which just so happens to have an enormous overlap with the demographics most likely to vote for third-party candidates—namely, fiery young people who want to change the world. Everyone seems to be planning to vote third-party because those who are planning to are incredibly vocal about this decision. At the end of the day, however, those in this group are still very much a minority. The numbers simply don’t add up enough to give Johnson or Stein a shred of a chance in the general election.

Think of it in these terms: A significant portion of those voting for third-party candidates are doing so because their desired Democrat or Republican candidates lost in the primaries. These voters were already too few in number to push a candidate to victory, and that was even with the help of voters who have since moved to one of the major parties’ candidates. Thus a losing minority of voters, who have dwindled further in number since their first loss, make up the backbone of the third-party support. This is not a winning equation.

As for the general public the vast majority are too uninformed about third-party candidates to even consider voting for them, therefore you can’t count on new voters joining the existing third-party ranks. Once again, the level of exposure Johnson and Stein receive on social media is wildly different from what they receive in traditional media. People who keep up on politics may be very aware of the perks of the third-party candidates, but most American citizens know little to nothing about them, and therefore have no reason to vote for them. Does this demonstrate a fundamental problem with the way our media influences elections? Absolutely. However, does it also mean that a third-party candidate has any chance of winning tens of millions of votes? Definitely not.

There will come a year when a third-party candidate will be a viable selection, and a vote for them will not be utterly wasted, but 2016 is not that year. If you want to see change, think about the big picture and vote for a major candidate because there are simply not enough third-party voters right now to make a difference.

Meat is murder – Kristy O’Connor

Meat is murder

Kristy O’Connor

Secretary

 

If you eat meat you do not love animals. You may think you love animals very much but chances are the love that you have for animals is conditional.

You only love animals that you don’t find on your dinner plate. Think about it, which animal do you love? Dogs, cats, ferrets, hamsters, guinea pigs, elephants, giraffes or turtles? All of these animals have one thing in common, they are not typically found in a human’s diet.

If you can’t bear to witness the way that animals are treated when they are being slaughtered then you should not be eating meat. The conditions of factory farming are absolutely horrific. Animals are treated like they can not feel pain; they are simply tossed around like you would toss your dirty laundry. They are tortured, mutilated and kept in horrific conditions where they are not free to move around. Saying you do not care is a clear reflection of the the expression–ignorance is bliss.

So many times I will listen to people justify why they eat meat like they think I will suddenly have an epiphany of understanding. Some people actually say that the only animal they eat are chickens because they are unintelligent, which isn’t true for anyone who has spent time around the birds can tell you.

Imagine if we started treating everyone in the same manner just because they are unintelligent. Treating someone cruelly for a lower IQ would be considered unethical and inhumane so how can we justify this with animals?

I do not despise meat eaters, I just do not agree with people who claim they love animals, but fail to actually understand what that means. Regardless, meat eaters have a moral obligation to be informed about how animals are treated. If you envision a great open pasture where animals frolic happily and then just agree to have their lives taken then you need a wake up call.

Loving animals does not only encompass how they are treated in the slaughterhouse, but also being conscious of corporations and research facilities that test their products on animals.

When you claim that you love all animals that means every single animal out there not just the cute furry ones that live in your home.

Animals do not have voice to tell factories they need love and respect but there are numerous organizations that stand up for animal rights. Yet consumer demand means animals are still subject to these brutal conditions. Change happens when people come together and refuse to accept what is happening. We do this with so many worthy causes and now is the time to make animal rights a priority.

Bias media cried wolf – Ryan Foley

Bias media cried wolf

Ryan Foley

Anchor Staff

 

If one only watches ABC, CBS and NBC they would obviously conclude that Donald Trump is a very dangerous man unlike any other presidential candidate in U.S. history. There is no doubt that Trump has said some very offensive things in the past and his campaign is currently dealing with the fallout as we speak. At the same time, WikiLeaks has been releasing emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff members that reflect very poorly on her character. When comparing the coverage of the Trump scandal to the coverage of the Clinton scandal on the three major news networks the results are astonishing.

The Media Research Center analyzed 2,137 minutes of campaign coverage from the evening news shows of ABC, CBS and NBC spanning from Jan. 1 to June 7. Out of that time the news agencies spent a combined 432 minutes on the Trump scandals while spending only 105 minutes on Clinton’s scandals. Why would the media cover two equally important candidates so unequally?

Maybe because they have a hidden agenda. Take a look at some of the top political analysts on the major networks: Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press” worked on the Democratic presidential candidate Tom Harkin’s campaign in 1992 and co-host of ABC’s “Good Morning America” and moderator of its Sunday talk-show “This Week” George Stephanopolous worked on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign as a communication director. In addition, many notable journalists have reportedly given money to the Clinton Foundation. This comes at the same time that the line between opinion and hard news journalism appears to have been erased.

The truth is that the media always makes Republican candidates for president out to be monsters. The media made Mitt Romney to look like an elitist after he said that 47 percent of the people will never vote for him and they used his “binders full of women” comment to make him look like a misogynist. CBS News even published forged documents that were critical of President George W. Bush’s record in the Air National Guard. How do we know their disdain for Trump isn’t just politics as usual?

According to the Washington Post, just 7 percent of journalists are Republicans. The media has long since abandoned its constitutional role as the public’s watchdog and more often than not behaves more like a cheerleader. Those Americans looking for fair and honest reporting without a political slant are going to spend a long time searching. Maybe the media is right this time and Donald Trump does pose a serious threat to the United States but taking into account their track record it might be impossible to take their claims seriously.

Worse than a slaughterhouse – Mike Dwyer

Worse than a slaughterhouse

Mike Dwyer

Assistant News Editor

 

In a statement carried by the Itar-Tass news agency last Wednesday, Russia will broadcast live images of civilians evacuating during the scheduled “humanitarian pause” in air strikes.

Activists inside the besieged city of eastern Aleppo, Syria have reported that government planes have been dropping leaflets calling for the remaining rebel fighters to leave the city “because they have no other choice.”

Coincidentally, an anonymous diplomatic source told the Reuters news agency that Russia was “deploying all of the northern fleet and much of the Baltic fleet in the largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War.”

Russia has said the fleet will take aim at the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. However, according to the Reuters source, “this is not a friendly port call. In two weeks, we will see a crescendo of air attacks on Aleppo as part of Russia’s strategy to declare victory there…with this assault, it should be enough to allow a Russian exit strategy if Moscow believes Assad is now stable enough to survive.”

On Monday in Luxembourg, European foreign ministers decried the “disproportionate” scale of air raids targeting eastern Aleppo, the last city remaining in opposition control.

“The deliberate targeting of hospitals, medical personnel, schools and essential infrastructure, as well as the use of barrel bombs, cluster bombs and chemical weapons, constitutes a catastrophic escalation of the conflict….and may amount to war crimes.”

According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 400 people have been killed in joint Syrian-Russian bombardment of eastern Aleppo since a ceasefire agreement collapsed in late September. Last Monday, 47 people were killed in airstrikes on the city in just 24 hours, including 14 members of one family. Those strikes came just two days after US Secretary of State John Kerry convened new talks alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and seven foreign ministers from the region, as well as top diplomats from the United Nations. The meeting took place in a luxury hotel on Lake Geneva. After four hours of discussion, the participating countries concluded without making a joint statement and had not agreed upon any new actions.

Tensions between Russia and the west have been dangerously high following a veto of a French-drafted resolution by Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin. The resolution called for the immediate halt of the aerial bombardment, and would have passed the UN Security Council had it not been for the Russian veto. A subsequent proposal by Russia failed to garner enough support.

“The Russian proposal failed because it failed to demand an immediate end to the aerial bombardment of Aleppo…It’s a sham. Just as Russia’s hollow commitment to a political process in Syria is a sham. The indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Aleppo is sickening and barbaric. Please stop now,” Matthew Rycroft, Britain’s ambassador to the UN said.

“The UK should stop supporting terrorists instead…stop supporting all the villains across the world, including terrorists…stop interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign states. Stop your colonial habits. Leave the world in peace and then, maybe, things will improve in many areas and regions of the world,” Churkin said in response to Rycroft’s comments.

Not much has changed in the reality of eastern Aleppo since the collapse of last month’s ceasefire. At the time, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon asked the UN Security Council to “imagine a slaughterhouse” before clarifying, “this is worse. Even a slaughterhouse is more humane.”

The diplomatic arguments matter little to those on the ground, who only wish for respite from the violence no matter how temporary.

 

Administration tight lipped on embezzlement scandal – Taylor Dame

Administration tight lipped on embezzlement scandal

Taylor Dame

News Editor

Administrators have declined to give further detail about the ongoing investigation into the head of the Theatre Department Dr. James Taylor for allegedly embezzling over $60,000 from the school. In a short media statement provided to The Anchor by the Associate Director of Communications in the Office of the President, it was said that the ongoing investigation and the college’s human resources policies prevent them from disclosing additional details.

The official statement included the admission that, “there were recent irregularities not compliant with standard RIC fiscal practices and procedures that, in more than one instance, involved a specific faculty member.” According to a state police press release, the college filed a complaint with the Financial Crimes Unit regarding suspicious checks.

The state police investigated and said that Dr. Taylor made multiple requests for checks from the accounting department at the college. They went on to state, “review of Dr. Taylor’s bank records showed that 38 checks had been deposited into his personal bank account and that the money had been used for his own personal gain.”

Dr. Taylor had requested that the checks be made payable to various businesses; none of them were made out directly to him.

Dr. Taylor has been on leave since the beginning of the semester, reportedly due to the death of his cousin in Chicago over the summer.

The college says that it is cooperating fully with the state police and, “out of an abundance of caution, the faculty member has been suspended with pay.”

Dr. Taylor was arraigned in Sixth Division District Court and was released on $10,000 personal recognizance. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 12, 2017 for a pre-arraignment conference. He is being charged with obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500. The charges carries a punishment of up to a 10 year prison sentence and a fine up to $5,000.

Sex offender released early due to ‘human error’ – Mike Dwyer

Sex offender released early due to ‘human error’

Mike Dwyer

Assistant News Editor

 

    A sex offender who was sentenced to serve more than 200 years for his crimes was recently released in what a Massachusetts prosecutor referred to as a “human error.” Richard E. Gardner is a class three offender, meaning that the likelihood of a repeated offense is high. All class three sex offenders are considered a danger to public safety.

Gardner’s crimes date back almost 30 years. A few days after his 21st birthday, Gardner lured a 12 year old boy into a wooded area, where he proceeded to sexually assault the child. Gardner was charged with kidnapping, rape, indecent assault and battery, for which his mother paid a $3,000 bail. He plead guilty to those charges the following summer but remained free on bail while awaiting sentencing. Judge John Sheehan was later criticized for ignoring the recommendations of a probation officer’s report, stating Gardner was a “threat to the community.” Two months after his guilty plea, Gardner went on a 34 hour rampage, kidnapping and sexually assaulting young children in Massachusetts and neighboring Rhode Island.

In 1992, the Rhode Island Supreme Court overturned his entire conviction because a psychologist had been unjustly barred from testifying as to whether or not Gardner was mentally fit to stand trial. His sentence was drastically reduced, and he served a total of 20 years in Rhode Island before returning to Massachusetts to serve time there.

This past April, the office of Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz received an email from the state Department of Corrections stating that Gardner was due to be released in six months. Under Massachusetts state law, Cruz’s office had the ability to petition the court and declare Gardner a “sexually dangerous person,” which would have seen him committed to a facility in Bridgewater. Cruz did not take action, and Gardner was released on Oct. 3, 2016.

Lucy’s Hearth gets much needed expansion – Mike Dwyer

Lucy’s Hearth gets much needed expansion

Mike Dwyer

Assistant News Editor

 

Lucy’s Hearth, a shelter that serves the needs of homeless women and children in Middletown, recently celebrated the grand opening of its new and expanded facilities. The new location is an upgraded 9,300 square foot shelter on Valley Road in Middletown that can house up to 16 families in need, a 60 percent increase from its original capacity.

For the past 30 years, Lucy’s Hearth has been working out of a former convent in Middletown. The Church Community Housing Corporation, alongside the Northeast Collaborative Architects, has refurbished the shelter that now sits atop 2.2 acres and includes a 99-panel solar array, which will decrease the cost of utilities going forward.

Lucy’s Hearth is taking the lead in a $2.5-million capital campaign, which has raised nearly $1.7 million to date. An additional $300,000 is required by Dec. 31 to amass adequate funding renovations, equipment, furnishings and occupancy. The remaining $500,000 of the fundraising goal is for long-term building maintenance and will be acquired in 2017.

For some in the community, the upgrades are a long overdue adjustment to the social services outreach in Newport County. Despite the label of luxury attributed to the island community, thanks to its tourism industry, the city of Newport has some of the highest rates of domestic violence and child poverty in the state.

The city’s rate of child abuse and neglect– 26.9 victims per 1,000 children as reported by Kids Count– was the second highest in the state at the time of the report in 2015. Alarming statistics such as these have been catching the attention of residents at the annual Kids Count fact book presentations since 2011, when Newport topped the list.