EC senior Rebecca Vogt receives Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in South America

By Kenneth Edison, Editor-in-Chief

Follow him at @krazo1

EC senior Rebecca Vogt was selected to receive the 2018 Fulbright Award scholarship on Friday April 20, allowing her to spend a year teaching English in Argentina. 

The Fulbright scholarship is a very competitive honor, with several thousand applicants vying for the award every year. Therefore, Vogt was understandably elated when she heard the news.

“It felt surreal and still does. I’m not a super emotional person but I’m pretty sure I shed a tear,” she said. “When I received the email that notified me that I received the Fulbright Award, I was just grabbing dinner at Chipotle before heading to a night class. Sitting there in Chipotle, I read the email about five times (because I didn’t believe it was real) to make sure I was reading it correctly.”

Part of the considering factors to receiving the award include the student’s GPA, in depth campus involvement and prior experience with studying abroad, something Vogt reflected on after receiving the scholarship. 

“In the past, through Elmhurst, I studied abroad for two j-terms; one to Europe and one to Costa Rica. I also studied abroad for a semester in Ecuador, my junior year,” she said. “Those study abroad experiences provided me with countless areas of personal and professional growth; travel skills, Spanish language skills, a sensitivity and awareness of other cultures, and more. Outside of that, it really fueled my passion and desire to have more experiences abroad, especially leading me to apply for the Fulbright.” 

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program allows students to travel to classrooms abroad to aid local teachers. Vogt, who is majoring in Spanish and Special Education, will be traveling to Argentina to teach English, a decision that Vogt attributed to her love for the Spanish language.

“As soon as I had learned what a Fulbright Scholarship was, I knew I wanted to apply to a country in Latin America,” she said. “It’s a perfect intersection of many of my passions: teaching, service work, living abroad, and the Spanish language.” 

Since the Fulbright’s inception in 1946, only six EC students have ever received the award. 

While Vogt is the official recipient of this year’s award, another EC senior Monica Mazurek was selected as an alternate in the event that Vogt is unable to accept the award. Mazurek aims to use the scholarship to travel to Thailand for the English Teaching Assistant Program. 

EC’s Fulbright Advisor is English Professor Mary Kay Mulvaney, who spoke out about the announcement that Vogt and Mazurek had received the award and alternate status respectively. 

“They’re outstanding students. They really have curiosity about other cultures, they’re sensitive to other cultures and they have respect for other environments,” said Mulvaney in an EC press release on April 20. 

The Leader elects veteran staff writer as new Editor-in-Chief for 2018-19 school year

  Photo by Abby Robb   EC Freshman Syeda Sameeha is elected to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of The Leader for the 2018-19 school year.

Photo by Abby Robb

EC Freshman Syeda Sameeha is elected to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of The Leader for the 2018-19 school year.

Staff Report

The Leader concluded its search for an Editor-in-Chief for the 2018-2019 school year on Tuesday April 10 when it elected staff writer Syeda Sameeha to the position. 

Sameeha won a popular vote conducted by the entire Leader staff at one of its weekly meetings. She ran against fellow staff writer Alexa Ash who predominantly had been a writer in the Press Play section before the election. 

“I felt really surprised and happy when I first found out I was elected,” Sameeha said. “I joined The Leader on my first day as a freshman at EC and I feel like I’ve really grown with the staff as a person and they feel like a second family.”  

Sameeha is a freshman political science major who claimed that journalism work is what she wants to make into a career. She cited her experience writing with The Leader as a guiding experience for her future career. 

“I consider the editorial board and Dr. Ron as mentors who’ve really shaped my writing and my view on journalism,” she said. “To be elected Editor-in-Chief is an honor and I cannot wait to lead and work with all of the talented people that work to put out this paper.”

Sameeha will serve as the successor to current Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Edison who will graduate at the end of the spring semester. Edison started as a staff writer in 2016 before being appointed Managing Editor and then Editor-in Chief in Spring 2017. 

Now that it is time to step down, Edison reflected on his time at the Leader, while congratulating Sameeha on her newly earned position. 

“It’s kind of surreal that it’s finally time to end my stint at The Leader, but I could not be leaving it in any better hands,” he said. “Sameeha has been a complete pleasure to have on the paper and she’s been an essential piece of this paper this year. She may be a new face, but I am confident she can do incredible things and I look forward to seeing all the awards she will inevitably win at ICPA next year.”

 As far as what the future holds, Sameeha hopes to continue the Leader’s legacy of providing information to EC’s campus.

“I hope under my leadership we continue our mission to inform, shed light on issues that need attention and bridge the gap between administration and students.”

Student body elects junior Madiha Ahmed as new president of student government association

  Illustration by Victoria Martin   SGA elections for president conclude with junior Madiha Ahmed and freshman Laura Rusk by a margin of 217 to 97 against opponents Josh Bucens and Carlos Cantu. 

Illustration by Victoria Martin

SGA elections for president conclude with junior Madiha Ahmed and freshman Laura Rusk by a margin of 217 to 97 against opponents Josh Bucens and Carlos Cantu. 

By Victoria Martin, News Editor

With SGA elections wrapping up on Thursday April 19, the EC student body has elected the 2018-2019 school year SGA board.

EC junior Madiha Ahmed and running mate EC freshman Laura Rusk, the new president and vice president of SGA, won with 69.1 percent of the student vote against their opponents EC juniors Josh Bucens and Carlos Cantu.

Ahmed, whose speech to the current SGA board can be found in April 17 issue of The Leader, ran on a stance of her experience as a member of SGA and meeting a variety of student needs.

“I feel like I have a good idea of how it works,” Ahmed said in her SGA speech. “[Ahmed and Rusk] love making the Elmhurst College experience better and our main goal is that the needs of students are met.”

Ahmed expressed her excitement to work with the new board and her expectations in their ability to help students.

“I’m just really excited to be working with the other amazing individuals on the board to hopefully meet (and exceed) the expectations of the student body,” Ahmed told The Leader in a Facebook interview.

Rusk added that she plans to work closely with Ahmed to better address the issues on campus affecting a wide range of students.

“Just few ideas we’ve come up with is maps and better visibility of all gender restrooms on campus, more resources for out of state students,” Rusk said. “[And] accommodations for commuter students and definitely emphasizing the continuation of partnerships that SGA has started for things like the winter weekend which I thought was very successful.”

EC junior Lauren Downer won the election for SGA secretary, as the sole runner, with 91.97 percent of 137 voters.  Downer ran with the hopes of growing her skills as a member of SGA and personal experience.

“I have been on SGA for 2 ½ years, but have never been on [the executive board],” Downer wrote in a brief description on the online ballet. “I also think that this will help me grow more, I have never taken minutes or done public relations and this will help me gain that experience as well as the experience of being on the executive board overall.”

EC junior Alex Shultz won his new position in SGA as Parliamentarian as the sole runner, winning 81.75 percent of the 137 votes.

The parliamentarian position is, according to Ahmed, a new position created to have someone on the board whose sole job it is to interpret the SGA constitution and make sure it is being implemented and followed as intended.

Senator positions were selected via an internal application and selection, according to Ahmed. 

To increase recognized organization and club participation, a new form of senator will be implemented in the fall of 2018.

The legislator position is designed to have a larger representation in SGA by student organizations.

Ahmed described the reasoning for the creation of the new position as a way to increase a noticeably dwindling organization participation.

“We feel that it is part of our responsibility to help each organization increase their outreach and activity,” Ahmed wrote in an email. “This role provides a platform for students of all different interests to come together once a month and inform SGA and the other groups on their initiatives or events they are planning. It’s meant to be a time for students to PR, share ideas, collaborate with one another, and voice concerns.”

Wheaton College professor examines the history of the Holocaust through poetry

 Poet and Wheaton College Professor Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner looks at the history of the Holocaust through poetry in her lecture in the Founders Lounge on Sunday, April 8.  Photo by Cheyenne Roper

Poet and Wheaton College Professor Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner looks at the history of the Holocaust through poetry in her lecture in the Founders Lounge on Sunday, April 8. Photo by Cheyenne Roper

By Cheyenne Roper, News Reporter

To explore the Holocaust through the lens of poetry, Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner asked her audience “Can poetry be written after Auschwitz?” during her lecture titled by her question on Sunday, April 8.  

Baumgaertner is a poet and emerita professor of English at Wheaton College, who wrote her first poem at the ripe age of 16 after visiting Dachau Concentration Camp, and has since immersed herself in to the literature of the Holocaust.  

The Holocaust Education project at Elmhurst College hosted the event just in time for the national Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was celebrated on April 11 and 12 in honor of all of those who lost their lives.  

“I believe that this genocide especially, but also all other genocides of the 20th century, have actually created a new form of literature,” said Baumgaertner. “One which defies the traditional dictum, the works of the imagination, works of art, brings order out of chaos, and involves moments of recognition and insight.”  

A Ceremony of Remembrance and Responsibility was held before the lecture, where nine candles were lit by EC students and Jewish families. A moment of silence fell over the crowd.  

Baumgaertner went on to explain how important poetry truly is after traumatic worldly events such as mass genocides. 

She then continued by quoting Susan Gubar, a Pulitzer Prize nominee. 

 “‘In an effort to signal the impossibility of a sensible story, the authors of poetry provide spurts of vision, baffling but nevertheless powerful pictures of fragmentary scenes, unassimilated in to an explanatory plot,’ he writes. ‘By abrogating narrative coherence and seizing images of the past, poets mark discontinuity, engaging the psychological and the ethical, political and aesthetic consequences of the calamity, without laying claim to comprehending it in its totality.’” 

Baumgaertner agreed with Gubar in that poetry is an important part of expressing emotions that can be difficult to convey when writing on such a heavy topic.  

EC freshman Leslie Robles discussed her thoughts on the lecture. 

 “I didn’t really consider how the Holocaust was presented through literature, poetry and the media because whenever we think of movies such as ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,’ we kind of think of it in a sympathetic way,” said Robles.  

Commemorating the Holocaust through the written word is important for not only the people who lived through it, but also the youth of the future who recognize this event as something that must not ever be repeated, according to Baumgaertner. 

“Poetry must be written after Auschwitz,” Baumgaertner concluded. “Poetry forces us to slow down, pay attention, reduce language to its bare essentials, ask the biggest question, and resist closure. This is important because poetry encourages us to lament.” 

WORLD IN REVIEW: United States and allies launch missile strikes on Syrian targets

 Missiles fly over the Syrian capital of Demascus in the early morning of Saturday, April 14.  Internet Photo

Missiles fly over the Syrian capital of Demascus in the early morning of Saturday, April 14. Internet Photo

By Kenneth Edison, Editor-in-Chief

Follow him at @krazo1

The United States and its western allies took forceful action against the Syrian government on April 14 when the United States launched a joint airstrike with British and French forces.

The attack came as retaliation for the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons in an attack near the capital city of Damascus on April 7.  While the Syrian government denies the use of chemical weapons in the attack, reports released on April 14 by the French government  claimed there was irrefutable evidence of chemical warfare. 

According to the Washington Post, the report was released just hours after the coordinated missile strike which targeted labs with the capability of producing chemical weapons. 

Though Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that there were no plans for additional attacks unless more chemical attacks occur, President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that the United States would be “prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”

While this is not the first time the United States has intervened in the Syrian conflict, the timing of the attack has increased implications for the United States’ dubious relationship with Russia, one of the largest allies of the Syrian government. 

This year has already seen US-Russian relations suffer when 60 Russian diplomats were dispelled from the country as a result of the Russian government’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of a Russian double agent on British soil. 

According to the New York Times, the Russian government has responded to the attack with threats of retaliation.

“We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences,” Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, said in a statement. “All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris.”

Associate professor Mary Walsh promoted to Director of Service Learning

By Alveena Siddiqi, News Reporter

Mary Walsh, the associate professor of the political science department has been promoted to replace EC’s director of service learning, to start in the fall semester of this year.

EC Dean of Faculty April Edwards, who appointed Walsh to take over the position, highlighted Walsh’s interest in the community as one of the reasons for picking her.

“She has a real passion for service learning - she teaches many of the service learning courses on our campus,” said EC Dean of Faculty April Edwards. “She’s obviously very committed to community engagement and social justice issues, and I think she’ll do well. She has some ideas for some new things she wants to start, and I think [the position is] a very good match for her talents and her interests.”

Throughout her years at EC, Walsh has incorporated service learning into her classes, involving students with organizations such as The EXODUS World Service, a Christian non-profit campaign focused on welcoming refugees to local communities, and the Human Rights Campaign, a non-profit LGBTQ advocacy group. 

Walsh emphasized the importance of service learning in Elmhurst’s newly approved strategic plan. 

“The new strategic plan has a number of pillars that will guide us moving forward, and it seems to me that there are two pillars that service learning is essential to,” she said. “The pillars of ‘Academic Excellence’ and of ‘Diversity, Inclusion and Social Responsibility.’ I think that service learning is necessarily apart of those.” 

Walsh continued with her enthusiasm for the years to come in her new position at EC.

“I’m really honored to be able to build on the foundation that’s been laid and excited to be part of the ongoing discussion about the role of service learning in the strategic plan going forward.”

Walsh also mentioned that current Director of Service Learning Michael Savage has played an important role in mentoring her throughout her time at Elmhurst.

“It was in my first year of teaching here that Mick introduced me to the possibilities of service learning in my classes and to the resources that the service learning department has to offer,” she said. “For example, it would’ve been off my radar that in my political justice class [to think] ‘Gosh, wouldn’t it be cool if they could link up with refugee families and think in that context about global justice? Or connect with the human rights campaign and think in that context about the concept of ‘rights’ itself?”

Savage will continue to play a role in helping Walsh to transition into her role over the summer before stepping out of the role to focus on teaching his classes in the fall. 

The process of finding a replacement to teach some of Dr. Walsh’s current classes is still under consideration. 

“Dr.Walsh will still be teaching two courses every semester, so it will really just be one course that we need covered. It could be an adjunct professor, it could be another professor in the department across campus,” said Edwards. “Typically for these types of appointments, we don’t replace the position. It’s a three-year appointment, so after those three years, Dr. Walsh may choose to rotate out and someone else may choose to rotate in as well.”

Temple University study uncovers reality of food insecurity and homelessness among college students

  Illustration by Victoria Martin   Study finds that 36 percent of college students are food insecure.

Illustration by Victoria Martin

Study finds that 36 percent of college students are food insecure.

By Syeda Sameeha, News Reporter

The broke college student trope has long been part of popular culture, from the kid who lives entirely on Ramen and boxed mac and cheese to the throngs of college students who crash events with free food. Perhaps many of these are exaggerated stereotypes on TV and the butt of many jokes, but it’s a reality for many.

In a study released Tuesday April 3 by Temple University and the Wisconsin Hope Lab, about 36 percent of students on college campuses are reported to be food insecure or to not have enough to eat. The report also showed that another 36 percent of students say they face housing insecurities and 9 percent report that they are homeless. 

The study was one of the first to include students from a wide number of institutions from community colleges, public, and private universities illustrating that food and housing insecurities are national conversations on college campuses all over the country including Elmhurst College.

EC Student Government Association [SGA] has been on the forefront in creating initiatives to combat this issue. 

At its March 15 meeting, the organization voted in favor of a proposal allocating funds to a J-Pass that could be used by the EC case manager to buy food for students facing food insecurity.

“This would provide food for hungry students as they need it and as they come, just to have it to be a more discrete way,” said SGA President Estrella Vargas. “I know we were talking about a food pantry which sometimes that isn’t as discrete, but having this way would provide funds to people that need it the most.”

SGA is also working in partnership with Chartwells to allow students to donate leftover J-Pass money to the fund to help students in need.

“When people have leftover money at the end of the year inevitably instead of buying cases of Gatorade, they can just put it towards donating to that fund,” said Vargas.

While EC does not collect any records that would show how many students are actually in these types of situations and many students may feel stigmatized or embarrassed to reveal their situation, this issue does exist at this campus.

Monisha Murjani is the newly hired case manager at Elmhurst College who works with students who may have academic concerns or financial concerns like food and housing insecurities. 

“I know people may be shocked this happens on a college campus, but this happens everywhere,” said Murjani. “I think these issues cut across all demographics and all populations. It’s not like a cookie cutter thing, it affects all people. Some people don’t understand these issues and what these issues are because there is fear to talk about it and there is not a lot of info out there.”

Murjani also noted that the definition of a traditional college student has changed. 

“I think a traditional mode of a college student being 18-22 years old is not always the case. A lot of our students are working multiple jobs, they may be older and may be supporting families so it’s not a ‘traditional’ college student,” said Murjani. “I think that’s not always visible because people are either trying to hide them or not openly talking about them, so I think it’s important to remember students come from various backgrounds.”

The majority of EC students are commuters. As EC chaplain Scott Matheney notes many of these students may come from different communities with varying levels of resources and support.

In fact, according to a 2013 report by Social IMPACT Research Center, a leading poverty research program in the Midwest states that about 27,540 Dupage County residents live in extreme poverty.

“A lot of the stories are there is a lack of family structure, so nowhere to turn to, and no other community they can turn to for help such as a faith community. Then there’s the whole embarrassment issue and the fear,” said Matheney. “I see that a lot with a lot of our commuter students, they’re just scraping together, poor college student model, but they’re just barely getting along and when they have to cut, where they cut is in stuff for themselves. So there’s essential things like room and board, place to sleep, car, gas, tuition and that’s the stuff we watch a lot, people have some, but they’ve got nowhere near enough and every month they’re struggling to get through, to get to summer so maybe they can work.”

The College is currently working on developing resources for these types of students. Right now, offices like the Niebuhr Center or the Office of Student Affairs buy extra food for students in need to come in and take what they want through out of pocket funds.

Another resource is Murjani, who is trained to help students dealing with these issues.

 “Whether that’s connecting students with campus jobs or working with them to connect them with food pantries in the community - I will work to find community resources from them, I will work to find counseling services or temporary housing or work opportunities. It’s case by case and I’ll work with a student directly to kind help them with the issue they are facing.”

“Some of these issues are not easy for students to talk about. So it’s not like I’m getting droves of students saying I’m food insecure or I’m homeless, explained Murjani. “I’m getting folks to know our office, who I am, what I do, so they feel comfortable enough coming in and talking to folks here about what is going on.”

In terms of housing insecurities, the college has opened up dorms for students in need during Spring Break. 

But as Murjani noted, this can be an issue for students who don’t have any place to go when campus is closed during other breaks or the summer.

“I would recommend that if student is struggling with housing and worried about that, they just meet with me directly and I can either figure out if there’s something in the community.” said Murjani.

“I’ll be honest, I think there is a lot of work to be done, but I think it’s great because there is a lot of work being done and then it’s just hopefully sooner than later some of these initiatives get started.”

Staff and professors react to potential move toward digital books

By Syeda Sameeha and Cheyenne Roper, News Reporter

EC may be using more digital books with the upcoming loss of space in the library and the physical book being seen as “yesterday’s technology” by an EC board of trustee member.

Christina Kujawski, store manager for Beck’s Books, discussed the possible future of the campus bookstore. 

“Eventually we might consider moving more towards the e-book platform just because it’s cheaper for the students and most of you already have computers, phones or tablets,” said Kujawski.

It was also revealed by Kujawski that Beck’s may end up becoming a spirit shop in the near future if more professors head to the digital platform. 

“With technology moving forward as fast as it is, it’s a lot easier and a lot more effective to have e-books than it is to get the physical print copy book,” added Kujawski. 

EC English Professor Lance Wilcox cannot imagine the move from

digital to physical working out in anyone’s favor.

“Reading poetry on a Kindle would be like drinking a fine wine through a plastic straw,” said Wilcox. 

Despite the technological take-over, Head of EC’s A.C. Buehler Library Susan Swords Steffen, described how print book checkouts from students and faculty have remained the same as they always have.

“For students, browsing print books is still a valid way of gaining information and always has been.”

However, she also indicated how the library tries to do its best to cater to students in this very modern age, which includes offering access to books in every platform—including hundreds of thousands of e-books and other technologies. 

“We have access to over 350,000 e-books in the A.C. Buehler Library,” said Steffen

 Nowadays, a person can choose between physically holding the book in their hands and the experience of flipping the pages, or clicking a button on a tablet or computer. 

“There’s comfort in holding a book,” said EC senior Yuval Dohn.

However, Dohn also mentioned how there are aspects to both that can be useful. 

“I prefer a print book because I enjoy taking a pen and highlighter to a book, especially if I’m looking into themes and motifs, but I do like having e-books because they’re cheaper and can highlight something and can search for a term and it comes up.”

Urban Studies Department Head and Associate professor of political science Constance Mixon, as an author and as a professor, comes at the issue from two sides.

“The publisher for my book, ‘Twenty-First Century Chicago,’ was really pushing for an e-book because it would be cheaper for students, they don’t have the same costs of publishing and we can update content more frequently,” explained Mixon.

“As an instructor I want the best learning experience for my students—that they are learning the way that they learn best,” Mixon added. “I don’t care whether they’re reading on a computer or a hard copy of the book, they are still responsible for the material.” 

As for “books being yesterday’s technology,” Wilcox disagrees.

“Print books are absolutely not becoming a thing of the past. I expect both print and e-books to remain in widespread use for the foreseeable future,” said Wilcox.

Republican duo stages counter- protest during walk out

By Victoria Martin, News Editor

Armed with pocket constitutions and a yellow flag with a snake in the middle, EC Republicans silently protested the walkout against gun violence on Wednesday, March 14.

Among the 100 students and faculty members, two EC Republican members stood in back of the gathering crowd, brandishing a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

The presence of EC senior Costaki Danegelis and EC Junior Zach Dixon slowly grabbed the attention and deterred from point of the walkout according to EC junior and student organizer Katrina Mioduszewski.

“It’s annoying that everyone is talking about this counter protest rather than what the walkout was about,” said Mioduszewski.

“It takes away from the discourse and I wish [the counter protest] was not what people were focusing on,” Mioduszewski continued.

“I think that it was a weak counterprotest as well as inappropriately placed. While, yes, this event had a blatant political agenda

it was just as much an event to mourn,” said EC Sophomore Noah Pearson. 

After the demonstration had finished Dixon told The Leader that there was no disrespect meant and that they understood everyone’s right to mourn.

“What happened was a tragedy and deserves to be mourned,” said Dixon. “That’s why we stood in the back rather than go in the middle of the patio and make a huge scene and mess up others right to express themselves and mourn.”

Some found the entire demonstration to be uncalled for and misplaced.

“I think it was disrespectful of them to come,” said Mioduszewski. “They came for selfish reason and not with the intention of respecting the lives lost.”

Pearson also found the counter protest to be a nuisance and inappropriate compared to what the majority of students present were trying to accomplish.

“I understand the nature of protest is to be disruptive but at best it was disrespectful and kind of irritating, but at worst it was confusing because again, who even are you and why are you here?” 

Because of the disrespect felt, Mioduszewski felt that the opinion of the EC Republicans was not one worth having or being heard.

 “Their opinions do not matter,” said Mioduszewski. “The facts are clear that guns are evil and harmful to society and people’s lives. Those in favor of guns have no right to express their opinions.”

Over Facebook, Pearson pointed to his feelings on the lack of message sent by the EC Republican students.

“I think having a counter-protest such as theirs is useless as they have no action, presented no counterpoint, had no clear message; yes, you’re a libertarian good job, what about it?” 

Pearson even went as far as calling the organization the two students represented lazy and undeveloped.

“They represent what is clearly the laziest body at this school and I think their protest was representative of that. It seemed reactionary,” said Pearson. “I doubt they will ever make [what they want] clear and instead of ever having an agenda or organizing on their own, that they will always co-opt events like this to boast their own unclear and undeveloped agenda.”

While handing out their pocket constitutions Danegelis and Dixon made it clear they simply did not agree with what was being said and that the focus is not on the real issue.

“If you look at the most recent example, the shooter was tipped off to the FBI several times and the FBI did not do their jobs and report what they knew,” said Dixon. “If they had, [the shooter] would have had his guns confiscated and the shooting would have never occurred.”

Looking at the issue of protocol not being followed, Dixon added changes need to happen to better protect the general population.

“What needs to happen is a change in how that slip up was allowed to happen and then look at that and make sure it cannot happen again,” said Dixon. All the gun safety processes are failing somehow because you are required in all fifty states to have a background check to even own a gun and if you fail that check for whatever reason, you are not allowed to buy a gun.”

World in Review - April 3 2018

By Syeda Sameeha, News Reporter

State department signs off on $1 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia

Despite concerns raised by human rights groups, the US State Department approved of a $1 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia as reported by Al Jazeera.

The New York Times reported that the approved deal includes 6,700 missiles and spare parts for American made tanks and helicopters that are already owned by Saudi Arabia. 

Shortly before his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, President Trump said, “Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation, and they’re going to give the United States some of that wealth, hopefully, in the form of jobs, in the form of the purchase of the finest military equipment anywhere in the world.”

According to The Guardian, the approval was announced on March 22, just two days after the Senate rejected a bipartisan effort to end the US support of the Saudi airstrikes campaign in Yemen.

Human rights groups like Amnesty International have called this three year  military campaign a war crime and of having “serious violations of international law” because of the vast number of civilian casualties, with thousands of civilians dead or displaced in a country driven to famine.

United Nations has said if the situation in Yemen doesn’t change, the country could be the “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster for 50 years”.

Facebook takes user outrage after it is revealed that user data was stolen by analyst firm Cambridge Analytica

Facebook is facing backlash in the wake of its data scandal with analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. 

As first reported by The Observer, Christopher Wylie, former employee of Cambridge Analytica revealed how data scientist Aleksandr Kogan shared Facebook user data through a personality quiz to Cambridge Analytica, a UK based data company that  focuses on voter behavior and is backed by prominent political affiliates in the US such as Robert Mercer and Steve Bannon. 

About 270,000 people were recruited by Kogan to take this survey and were told their data would be used for “academic purposes” according to Quartz. But, a loophole in the app allowed  Cambridge Analytica to access not only the data of the 270,000 people who took the survey, but also the data of everyone in their friends list. Because of this, the total number of user profiles Cambridge Analytica had access to was almost 57 billion according to The Guardian.

As reported by Quartz, these actions violated Facebook’s 2011 agreement with the US Federal Trade Commission that states that Facebook would not share user data without users permission.

In a report by Channel 4 News, Cambridge Analytica was revealed to be behind the “ defeat crooked Hillary”  ad campaign as well as using fake news and shady practices to influence politics not just in the US, but in other countries such as Nigeria.

The report also included secret recordings of the company’s head Alexander Nix who said, “We just put information into the bloodstream of the internet and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again over time to watch it take shape….And so this stuff infiltrates the online community, but with no branding, so it’s unattributable, untrackable.”

In a complaint filed with the the US Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice, the non partisan group Common Cause alleges that Cambridge Analytica broke a US ban that prohibits foreign nationals from being part of the “decision-making processes” of an election or campaign as reported by Politico.

Calls to boycott Facebook with #DeleteFB has been trending on social media especially after founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed in a March 21 statement that the tech giant had first known about the data breach in 2015, but did not inform its users. The company’s stock is also plummeting, with almost $80 billion wiped out from its market value as stated by CNN Money.

Board of Trustees favor Learning Center plan that would downsize library space

By Syeda Sameeha, News Reporter

The Elmhurst College Board of Trustees seem to lean towards downsizing library space for summer renovation despite not having any set plan at their Saturday, March 10 meeting.

Trustee Kent T. Dahlgren spoke about the Learning Center’s move to the first floor of the A.C. Buehler Library. 

“I think libraries tend to be less effective as books have become little bit of yesterday’s technology, so I think this will be a great use of space, and it will be great for students,” said Dahlgren.

Trustee William A. Nelson, however, questioned whether this move would take up space that students utilize.

“I frequently go to the library whenever I’m here, what I always find striking is that I have to struggle to find space,” explained Nelson. “My question is maybe a lot of commuter students use that space for studying and working, so will this decrease the place for commuter students or any student to really have a quiet place for studying?”

EC President Troy VanAken supported the idea of condensing space and books in answering Nelson’s concern.

“I think the answer is that we are trying to actually make it so there is some more space, so part of that is that you condense the books, or you come with other ways that increases floor space. And there’s a lot of additional opportunity for that to happen in the library,” said VanAken. 

VanAken also touched on the collaboration for this project being the reason for the planning process taking longer than anticipated.

“We’d love to have it all wrapped up in a nice solid proposal to you so you could approve the exact plan that we would begin doing this summer, but part of that is we’ve been having a lot of discussions with the librarians and other individuals impacted there, so we can try to take into account into all those considerations.”

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty April Edwards agreed.

“This is a collaborative effort to make sure that this improves services for our students and other resources,” said Edwards.

In an interview after the meeting, Dahlgren in response to a question of where in the first floor of the library will the Learning Center move to said “The plans are really preliminary, but I think they are thinking about moving that kind of fishbowl part. It’s still so early in the process, so I couldn’t tell that for sure yet.”

Additionally, the board approved of revisions of the faculty manual at the meeting. 

In a unanimous decision, the board voted in approval of these revisions as per the Academic Affairs Committee recommendation. These revisions were regarding lecturer positions, teaching load for full time faculty, and terms of appointment as well as teaching responsibilities of faculty. The vote approved the new lecturer position at the college.

The board also approved the college’s strategic plan which is a charter detailing the college’s plan for the next five years.

VanAken talked about the next steps.

“We want this to be a living breathing document, so additional comments and revisions can be done, but we’ve been very transparent with everybody that this is our strategic plan and this is what we are going to do,” said VanAken. “The next step is really inform the operating plan, and that is another opportunity for us to continue to add more detail to what we are going to be actually doing. This is great and it will read nice, but we all know that there is another piece to this that well be talking about which I believe is next for you at the June board of trustee meeting.”

EC’s mock trial team takes second place in Midwestern regionals, advances to national championship tourney

  Photo courtesy of Mary Walsh   The EC mock trial team poses with their trophy after taking second place at the Midwestern regional tournament. 

Photo courtesy of Mary Walsh

The EC mock trial team poses with their trophy after taking second place at the Midwestern regional tournament. 

By Kenneth Edison, Editor-in-Chief

Follow him at @krazo1

For the second time in EC’s history, the underdog mock trial team looks to capture a national championship as they travel to Ohio for the national tournament on March 23.

The 10 person team, one of the nation’s smallest, qualified for the opening round of the national mock trial tournament (ORCS) when they placed second at the Midwestern regional tournament, beating out teams from Northwestern University and University of Michigan.

“Since we’re a small team we kind of all talk and think the same way,” said EC senior Gina Lealil, a second year member of the team. “When we’re in the middle of a trial we can’t really talk to each other because we’re in front of a judge and you have to treat it like a courtroom, but we can just shoot each other a look and our teammates already know what we’re thinking.”

Many of the larger schools often view the EC mock trial team as an easy win, which Leali pointed out as an aspect that makes their victories that much more satisfying.

“When we go against Northwestern or University of Michigan everybody downplays who we are and what we can do,” she said. “They think ‘oh this is going to be an easy round’ and they relax a little bit and then we come in and took the ballots from both of those schools and they got mad as hell afterwards.”

The de facto coach of the mock trial team Judge Thomas Dudgeon attributed the groups recent success to the experienced nature of the current roster, as most mock trial students usually only participate for a single season.  

“What makes this group special is that with some of these members they’ve been with us for two seasons. I haven’t had a team yet were we’ve had a real core of people that have been with us for two years,” he said. “They’re not cocky, but they know what they can do. And they’re not going to be intimidated even when going up against the powerhouses of what we do.”

As the date of the ORCS tournament draws nearer, the members of the mock trial team have begun a new level of preparation as they prepare to make their attempt at history.

“It feels like it’s almost kicked into another gear, we know that all the competition that we’re going to have in this tournament is going to be top notch. So we’re really trying to prepare for that,” said EC senior Ali Ahmed, one of the second year members of the team.

Despite the heavy level of preparation, the competitors will not actually know who they are competing against, or whether they will be defending or prosecuting until 30 minutes before the actual trial.

“You find out your opponent 30 minutes before the round starts and it’s up to you to run and grab your phone to figure out what you’re up against,” said Leali “You don’t know if you’re prosecution trying to put someone away or if you’re defending your client. So we just have to flip a switch in our brain 30 minutes before.”

“The toughest part is that we don’t even know who the witnesses are either,” added Ahmed. “We are given a pool of witnesses beforehand and only three can be picked and you don’t know who they’re going to pick until 30 minutes before. And then from there you have to prepare cross-examinations for that.”    

Despite being one of the smallest teams in the nation, the members of the mock trial team claim to use their underdog status to their advantage.

“A lot of schools are so big they have an A team and a B team, some of them even have a C team and a D team,” said Ahmed. “It’s an advantage and a disadvantage. On one hand there’s less minds, less things to bring to the table, but at the same time it’s more cohesive because there’s so few people that we just work better together.”

Art Education Program is removed in proposal made to academic counsel

By Victoria Martin, News Editor

The Art Education program will be closed as of Sept. 2018 according to a memo passed through academic council and approved during a faculty meeting on Friday, March 2.

With a major drop in enrolment and budget cuts, the program cannot afford to continue according to Chair of EC Department of Art and Director of Art Education Mary Lou Stewart’s memo.

“[...] Although there has been enhanced interest in the program,” Stewart wrote, “the art department is unable to maintain this small program due to past budget cuts and lacking a critical mass of students to teach the required methods courses.”

 

“[This decision] is not an easy outcome for me, I [have] been directing this program for over twenty years and we have some terrific art teachers”

-Mary Lou Stewart

 

Over the past seven years, according to the memo, the number of enrolled students in the program has dropped from 13 in 2010 to five in 2018 with an average of two students all the other years.

On top of the decreased number of enrolled students, the Illinois State Board of Education [ISBE] plans on making changes to their program standards that would make licensing difficult on a department whose staff is 53 percent adjunct.

“ISBE requires a full time faculty member to be responsible for each content/licensure area and therefore this position cannot be assigned to an adjunct faculty member,” Stewart wrote.

Stewart had discussed the changes and issues prior to faculty meeting with Dean of Faculty April Edwards, who did not comment due to time constraints when asked by The Leader about the changes being made to the program.

“After discussing these issues with [Edwards],” Stewart wrote, “she contacted the Education Department and Admissions and she shared with me that they confirmed their support for closing the Art Education program.”

 Despite the changes and closing of the program, Stewart plans to continue “to support the current art education students’ progress through the program.”

“[This decision] is not an easy outcome for me,” Stewart writes. “I [have] been directing this program for over twenty years and we have some terrific art teachers working in the community [...].”

Author and television personality Rick Steves maps out the connection between travel and politics

  Photo by Cheyenne Roper   TV personality Rick Steves uses visual aids in his lecture on travel and politics on Friday March 2.

Photo by Cheyenne Roper

TV personality Rick Steves uses visual aids in his lecture on travel and politics on Friday March 2.

By Cheyenne Roper, News Reporter

Rick Steves visited Elmhurst College to discuss how travel can be used as a political act at his rescheduled lecture on Friday, March 2.  

 Known for his popular PBS television show, Rick Steves Europe, Steves’ lecture discussed how traveling can have a way of opening one’s eyes to the different ways of life across the world. 

“My mission is to inspire and encourage Americans to go beyond Orlando,” joked Steves.  

He went on to continue how Orlando should not be a life-time travel destination, but rather recommends branching out to places such as Sweden or Portugal.  

Steves, through his many years of traveling to-and-fro Europe, feels that there is so much more than staying at trendy hotels and visiting popular tourist destinations while traveling abroad. 

“The pinnacle of the Maslow’s Hierarchy of travel needs is to get out of your comfort zone and gain an empathy for the other ninety-six percent of humanity,” said Steves. “And then you come home with that most beautiful souvenir and that is a broader perspective.”  

Americans who “travel as a political act” are capable of having the times of their lives while in an unfamiliar country and can return home with a clearer understanding of the interconnectedness of today’s vast world, according to Steves.  

“Another great thing about travel is you meet people you wouldn’t normally meet, you get out of your comfort zone, and hang out with people who see things differently. It’s healthy, and to me it carbonates your whole experience,” said Steves.  

With many different perspectives under his belt, and observing many various ways of doing things across the nations, Steves notes the similarities and differences between the things he perceives in Europe as compared to back in the U.S.  

Steves continued by explaining one of the sights he recently saw in Germany.  

“I was recently in the train station of Munich, taking pictures of the trains in the station – specifically what used to be cute little birds, squished on to the windshields. I thought: this is a surreal image, a bird squished to the window of a train,” noted Steves.   

 

“If you interact with people, or come across situations that you normally wouldn’t, it’s definitely something that can broaden your perspective, and you can come back with a better understanding of the world.”

-Rick Steves

 

One of his anecdotes included an observation of how one would never see a thing like that in the states. However, in Europe something like a bird being the equivalent of a bug on a car windshield is not uncommon. 

The differences between what is noticed abroad as compared to what people are used to back home, even something as small as a “squished bird” on the train, gives a broader understanding of the world live, as Steves points out as one of his main principles for utilizing travel as a political act. 

EC Senior Fransisco Jiminez, who will be traveling to Amsterdam for spring break, spoke on how he viewed travel as a political act.  

“If you expand your horizons, things seem a lot less scary,” Jiminez said. “If you interact with people, or come across situations that you normally wouldn’t, it’s definitely something that can broaden your perspective, and you can come back with a better understanding of the world.” 

Jiminez continued by making the comparison of how he views Rick Steves as “the Bob Ross of traveling” and revealed that Steves’ lecture made him feel more comfortable to step out of his “American bubble” while in Amsterdam, and truly enjoy and absorb the full experience of being in a foreign land.  

“When we take home that most beautiful souvenir, a broader perspective, and when we implement that broader perspective here, in this great nation of ours,” Steves concluded, “we’re making travel a political act and that has never been more important.” 

New vending machines bring fresh food to campus

  Photo by Abby Robb   An EC student makes a purchase from the Farmer’s Fridge vending machine in the Frick Center.

Photo by Abby Robb

An EC student makes a purchase from the Farmer’s Fridge vending machine in the Frick Center.

By Syeda Sameeha, News Reporter

New vending machines have been placed around campus that offer students healthier snacking options.

Farmer’s Fridge vending machines have been recently installed at Elmhurst College with three campus locations: Faganel Hall, Frick Center, and the A.C. Buehler Library Cafe.

Director of Dining Services Kelly Schmelter feels these new vending options give an answer to the difficult to solve problem of healthy after hours meal and snacking options.

“We struggle I think a lot with the after hours options for the students and this was a great option for them, so that’s kind of how the idea to bring Farmer’s Fridge to campus came about,” said Schmelter

Through a partnership with the company, EC received the three vending machines free of charge. A percentage of the vending machine profits go to the college while Farmer’s Fridge receives the rest of the revenue. Schmelter declined to comment on the percentage EC takes.

According to the Farmer’s Fridge website, the Chicago based company has a mission to provide people with easy access to healthy food through their fresh salad jars and snacks vending machines.

Each vending machine provides an assortment of fresh salads and healthy snacks made daily in Chicago’s Fulton Market district with local produce.

The vending machines are restocked with fresh goods at 4:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. All foods that are leftover by the end of the day are removed and donated to a local pantry of the company’s choice as stated on its website.

With its mission of sustainability, the new vending machines have sparked a lot of interest.

“I’m  especially excited because they have a special compartment in the machine where you can put your empty jars in after you used them and I believe the company reuses or recycles these jars. I think it goes very well with our sustainable efforts on campus,” said Lisa Dubin who is student leader for Food Recovery Network, the organization on campus that leads sustainable efforts. 

The Fridges have particularly been popular with student athletes at EC, who usually look for healthy options. 

First year student and member of the EC Men’s Lacrosse team Ryan Moran agreed.

“I know a lot of guys on the team really like them. It provides healthier options than a cookie or a muffin and its good stuff.” said Moran.

“There was a soccer team that came in from out of state and they were taking pictures with the vending machines because they never seen it before and thought it was a unique idea,” said Schmelter. 

With the concept relatively new, EC is working to increase the number of users.

“We are working with the Farmer’s Fridge company to format their machine, which now only takes credit card, to also accept J-Pass,” said Schmelter. “Eventually students would be able to use their credit card or their J-Pass, which we hope will be a big draw.”

Schmelter agreed food options from the Fridge, a salad costing $8, may be a little pricey, but said you’re getting your money’s worth because it’s a good meal.

“I’m all about healthy and trying to get the kids healthy and sustainable food, which is really important to me. I wouldn’t promote this if I didn’t stand behind it,” said Schmelter.