By now, the major results of the election have been plastered on every newspaper, blog, and Facebook page for two weeks: Donald Trump won, and Republicans kept both the House and the Senate.
Trump’s speech, uncharacteristically positive in tone, came around 3 a.m. EST on the morning of the Wednesday after Election Day, following what many called a “surreal” night.
“While the campaign is over, our work on this movement is really just beginning…” Trump said. But this was not a night to reinforce divisions; instead, he focused on the need to move forward and unify. Speaking about Hillary Clinton’s late-night phone call to congratulate him on his victory, he said, “She congratulated us – it’s about us … we must bind the wounds of our nation.”
Clinton, too, was hopeful in her concession speech.
“Donald Trump is going to be our president,” she told listeners. “We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.”
Of course, the ballots included more names than just those of the presidential candidates. For voters in Haverford, Pennsylvania, it meant the election of Democrat Dwight Evans to the House of Representatives and re-election of Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
On a national scale, several referenda deserve a mention. In California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts, recreational marijuana was legalized. In Maine, a second referendum garnered attention: the allowance of ranked-choice voting, where voters rank the candidates rather than choosing a single favorite, in both state and federal elections.
After Trump’s unexpected victory, protests broke out across the nation. Citizens took to the streets in Washington, Portland, Manhattan and Los Angeles to protest Trump’s policies.
It is far from clear what that future will hold in terms of executive action. Trump announced that parts of Obamacare, which he originally planned to repeal altogether, will remain intact, and other promised actions may see major revisions as well.
Thomas Great Hall, the site of Bryn Mawr College’s official election watch party, buzzed with excitement on the night of Tuesday, Nov. 8. Students gathered at patriotically adorned tables and helped themselves to president-shaped Pez dispensers. CNN’s election coverage was projected at the front of the room, and many people alternated between homework and watching the screen. Throughout the night, raffle prizes were announced, adding to the festive mood. As the party began, many students said they were uncertain as to the results of the night, although some said they felt confident in Secretary Clinton’s victory. By 8 p.m., the vast hall was crowded and sociable.
Early results started trickling in around 8:30, and the room responded energetically even though it was too early to definitively call any of the states. When it was reported that Trump was beating Clinton by one tenth of a percentage point in Florida, the hall rang with boos and jeers. Shouts of joy were heard when Clinton pulled ahead of Trump in North Carolina and Ohio. The room became especially elated upon seeing Clinton’s early lead in Texas. When Tammy Duckworth won her senate seat in Illinois, cheers broke out.
At 9 p.m., when Clinton won New York the room again erupted with joy. Trump’s wins in Nevada, Wyoming, and the Dakotas garnered boos and yells. At this point, one student from New York predicted that Clinton would win the electoral vote while Trump would win the popular vote. She and others expressed fear and concern over Trump’s populist support –regardless of the outcome of the election.
When Trump won Texas, the hall was filled with boos and one wordless scream. One student commented that she felt “really nervous. I didn’t think that Trump would be a firm contender, so coming here and seeing how close it is very surprising.”
Throughout the evening, several optimist students led the Anass chant when CNN showed Clinton to have a lead in various states. By 9:30, the room was so full that some people were sitting on the floor, and one student noted that she was pleasantly surprised at Bryn Mawr’s apparent level of political engagement. At around 9:45, it was announced that the Republican party would keep control of the House, and students responded with disappointed yells. Fifteen minutes later, it was reported that Clinton had an early lead in Pennsylvania, which led to another Anass.
By 10:15, Thomas Great Hall had become so loud that it was difficult to hear or understand the election coverage, but the viewing party in the Campus Center, hosted by the BMC Democrats, was much quieter and focused toward the NBC coverage on the television. The lights in the Campus Center were dimmed. People sat in armchairs, on the floor, and gathered on the stairs. Some were talking quietly, but most watched in silence. There were some muted reactions to the election coverage, but for the most part it was a subdued environment. To be fair, this quiet was in large part a reaction to the shift in the election. Contrary to most polls, Trump won state after state.
Although many in the Campus Center cheered when Clinton won Virginia at 10:30, and later when she won in Montgomery County, the mood became increasingly tense as the race tightened. One student was extremely frustrated to find out how many Floridians voted for third party candidates. When Trump officially won Florida, some muffled “No!”s rang out, but there seemed to be little fight left in the group of Mawrters. When the news coverage panned a crowd of crying Clinton supporters, one student watching the TV sadly called out, “Same!”
By midnight, many students had left to watch the election in their rooms or go to bed. As the key states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania continued to be too close to call, the Campus Center was almost completely silent except for quiet groans and swearing. At several points, students became confused by the coverage, thinking that a state had been called when in fact NBC was simply showing a projection.
The energy in the room was even lower by 2 a.m.. There was some weak booing when Pat Toomey was victorious in maintaining his senate seat, and again when it became clear that the presidential race was over even though several states had still not been called. Many of the remaining students were visibly upset. Some, in disbelief, discussed the mathematics of Clinton’s loss, and others made phone calls to family and friends.
The next day, Nov. 9, dawned rainy and colorless. The campus was unusually quiet. People embraced each other in the libraries and hallways, offering words of comfort and support. Despite the difficult circumstances, there was a feeling of solidarity and communal grieving that offered some solace. Many professors took time during classes to discuss the results of the election, and it was unusual to hear a conversation that did not address the events of the previous night. A sense of shock and disbelief reigned on Bryn Mawr’s campus; there did not seem to be a consensus as to why Clinton had lost. There were numerous discussions about racism, third party voters, and economic concerns, as well as the fear and confusion about how to proceed. Many students went into Philadelphia to join protests following the election, while others found ways to attend events and organize on campus. On Friday, Nov. 11, the Bryn Mawr Dean’s Office sent a mass email to the student body, addressing the recent rise in hate crimes, and specifically the harassment of students around Bryn Mawr. The email encouraged all students to call Campus Safety if they feel unsafe.
Last week, the Bryn Mawr African & Caribbean Students Organization (BACaSo), organized a week devoted to Afro-Caribbean culture. The finale? A culture show called “Deconstructed.”
BACaSO faced various challenges putting the show and week together. Farida Ilboudo (’18) explained that much of the Bryn Mawr student body seems uninterested in BACaSO’s events.
“Afro-Carib week started on Monday and today is Wednesday and nobody knows. We had a film screening and nobody showed up… We do so much and we have so much fun with each other but no one comes.”
From a campus that claims to be culturally understanding and accepting, this was disheartening to members of BACaSO, who work hard to organize the event every year. Regardless, Ilboudo said, “We don’t care if people show up. It’s the reality we live in. This is for us.”
“Deconstructed” displayed elements of Afro-Caribbean culture through fashion shows of dance and singing, modern and traditional clothing and a drumming performance. The show attempted to deconstruct Afro-Caribbean culture in order to illustrate and celebrate its complexities. At the same time, it worked to bring together students and community members from a variety of countries.
After election night, the culture show took on an additional role: unifying and encouraging the student body against a president-elect that many have accused of blatant bigotry. “The road ahead is long and unpredictable but we will continue to fight for what we deserve, break stereotypes and have equal opportunity,” BACaSO posted on their Facebook page.
The event further attempted to unify the audience by giving a presentation on Black Lives Matter and the oppression of some elements of Afro-Caribbean culture. The crowd joined hands to represent how they would stand together against violence and hate. This was followed by an energetic performance by Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble.
BACaSO was happy with the turnout and audience’s response to the show. Aisha Soumaoro (‘20), a fashion model, said, “A lot of people came out to support the culture show. The crowd was very energetic. It felt like a supportive environment.”
On Friday, Nov. 11th, the Jubilee Project documentary film “Save My Seoul” screened in Thomas, with a chance to hear from the directory afterward. The film focuses on the problems, often hidden to locals, of sex trafficking in South Korea.
In 2012, the Jubilee Project released a fictional short film on sex trafficking, called “Back to Innocence,” which can be found on YouTube. After seeing this film, a Korean church pastor reached out to the group and persuaded them to make a film on the hidden but widespread sex trafficking culture in South Korea – one that wasn’t fictional. After talking to the pastor, Jubilee Project Founder and Film Director Jason Lee traveled with his brother Eddie to South Korea, where they spent three years researching, interviewing, and gathering content for the film.
While there, they asked a number of South Korean civilians about their opinions of prostitution. Many of those interviewed did not think it was a significant problem.
“As long as there are men and women in the world, it cannot be avoided,” one of the interviewed men said.
When asked why they thought women chose to become prostitutes, most said that it was simply to make money. When asked if they ever thought of prostitutes as victims, most said that they did not because the prostitutes voluntarily chose to become prostitutes.
When Jason and Eddie tried to find sex workers to interview, most refused to be shown on camera. Then they found Crystal and Esther.
Although Crystal and Esther’s faces were not revealed, they spoke openly about their experiences as sex workers. They were both forced into the sex industry after running away from home and having no other way to earn money or make a living. In fact, more than 80% of minors in the Korean sex trade industry are runaways. Around 200,000 young people run away from home annually, and most end up as sex workers. Crystal and Esther revealed that prostitutes in Korea endure lots of physical and verbal abuse. They also often find themselves in lots of debt, as they end up owing their pimps large sums of money.
“After ten years, I checked my bank account,” one interviewee said. “I had no money, but I owed my pimp thousands of dollars.”
Unfortunately, the Korean sex trade industry does not lack customers: although most of the civilians interviewed expressed negative sentiments about sex workers, five out of ten Korean men admit to having paid for sex at least once in their lifetime.
There are NGOs dedicated to helping sex workers escape the industry and put an end to the cycle. At the same time, Korea does not want to draw attention to the issue. Fortunately, the end of the film revealed that Crystal and Esther were saved by an NGO. Esther is currently in college studying to help former and current sex workers.
Jason Lee was present for the screening and held a Q&A session after the film. During this time, he told the audience that Crystal passed away about three months ago. Although they are unsure of the cause, they suspect suicide. When asked how people can help the cause, Lee advised men to think about how they treat women, and women to think about how they should be treated. He also encouraged everyone to go to www.savemyseoul.com and join the movement.
In case you haven’t heard, it’s election season. For most students on campus, this will be the first opportunity to cast a ballot for the next president of the United States of America. But will they do it?
Historically, the Tri-College has had a less-than-stellar voting record. In the last presidential election, only 35% of Swarthmore students voted. According to Haverford College President Kim Benston, low student turnout is the result of a number of factors, including a general lack of understanding as to how important each student’s vote will be.
“As you get older, … and you start to realize your relationship to the taxation system, your relationship to the public infrastructure … you get a keener sense of how the political world affects that,” Benston told The Bi-College News.
At the same time, there are physical obstacles outside of students’ control.
“Students… have had their voting rights suppressed, to some extent,” Benston added. “Now, there’s as many of you as in my neighborhood, but I have a polling place that I can walk to and you don’t, so what’s that about? To me, that’s a political problem … It has not been made as easy for students, actually, as it could be.”
This year, however, there’s no excuse. Special Assistant to the President Franklyn Cantor has been organizing nonstop to ensure students can make it to the polls.
“The last two [voting] cycles have relied pretty heavily on students to get folks to the polls,” said Cantor. But this year, faculty and staff will be driving to ensure a constant flow of transportation, making the trip as convenient as possible.
“It’s a five-minute ride to the polls,” Cantor stressed. “We’re going to make sure folks have a chance to get there … I hope that we’ll have improved turn out, I really do.”
He’s not the only one interested in seeing an increased student turnout.
“I will be very interested to see what happens in this election,” said Benston. “This is honestly the most consequential election I’ve ever lived through. So if Haverford students don’t vote, I’ll be very, very saddened by that … It’s your world that’s going to be affected.”
It’s not just administrators who are working to get the vote out. Students have been tabling in Haverford’s Dining Center for weeks to register voters, and there have been a number of efforts to increase awareness throughout the election season.
Now that the campaigns are finally coming to a close, the only thing left to do is cast your ballot!
On Wednesday, October 26th, Edwidge Danticat presented a reading as part of the Bryn Mawr Creative Writing Program Reading Series. For more than thirty years, the reading series has brought various accomplished writers to Bryn Mawr. Danticat’s visit continued this tradition.
Danticat’s readings were framed around the current disaster in Haiti. Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on Oct. 4th, and the nation continues to struggle with the effects. Danticat pointed out that destruction of livestock and crops will make living in the already impoverished country even more difficult.
The author also spoke on the Haitian cholera outbreak, which was carelessly caused by doctors and other peace workers while providing humanitarian aid during the Haitian earthquake in 2010 and then further exacerbated by Hurricane Matthew. She connected the outbreak to slavery, the United State’s occupation of the Dominican Republic and America’s role in the creation of suffering worldwide.
The death and sadness created by the two natural disasters, her personal experience and American occupation of numerous South American nations led Danticat to select readings from her works, Claire By the Sealight, Farming of Bones, Create Dangerously and a currently unpublished memoir, The Art of Death. In these works, she explores the idea of bearing witness to events both sad and beautiful and learning how to honor and remember them.
Danticat explained the Haitian tradition of honoring someone a year and a day after their death. Some believe that when an individual dies, “the souls of the newly dead slip into rivers and streams and remain there, under the water, for a year and a day. Then, lured by ritual prayer and song, the souls emerge from the water and the spirits are reborn.
She discussed the year and a day tradition in reference to her mother and those who died in Haiti as a result of the hurricane and earthquake, as well as American occupation of the Dominican Republic and other South American nations. “It is unbelievable how horrors repeat themselves,” Ms. Danticat said, outraged by the amount of suffering that takes place in the world.
Finishing her readings, Ms. Danticat recognized the difficulty of thinking about such heavy topics and urged the audience to do its best to provide humanitarian aid to those currently suffering in Haiti.
The question of whether life exists on other planets is one of the most fundamental questions humans ask. It is also one of the most difficult to answer.
This week, Swarthmore College alumnus and Astrophysicist at the University of California Santa Cruz Andrew Skemer came to Haverford’s campus for a talk and informal lunch, both revolving around his research on exoplanets, or planets that orbit stars other than our sun. The first was found in 1995; as of now, more than 3000 have been detected.
“When I started grad school, there was like one exoplanet paper a week, and now there are like 10 a day,” said Skemer. “It’s a really exciting 10 to 20 years coming up in exoplanet imaging.”
Skemer’s work relies on something called adaptive optics, which take earth’s atmosphere into account to improve images coming from telescopes. In addition to teaching us about our own solar system, studying exoplanets lets us answer questions about the wider universe, including how common these orbiting bodies are.
“Planets around stars are ubiquitous. They’re everywhere,” said Skemer. This includes our nearest neighbors – earlier this year, neighboring star Proxima Centauri was found to have a planet orbiting it in its so-called ‘habitable zone.’ Exoplanet imaging and other detection methods promise to give us more information.
“In the next 20 years, we’ll have a spectrum of [Proxima b] and we’ll know if there’s oxygen and methane on it,” said Skemer, noting two atmospheric gases whose presence may be one indicator of life.
Arjun Khandelwal (HC ’17), a physics and astronomy double major who does exoplanet research of his own, highlighted the importance of Skemer’s work and studying exoplanets in general.
“[Exoplanets] help us answer one of the grandest questions in the world: whether we are alone in the great enveloping cosmic dark,” said Khandelwal. “Most exoplanet work focuses on finding them in indirect ways because imaging them is really hard, but adaptive optics … is a wonderful technique to actually get pictures of alien worlds. It’s amazing that we have the ability to do that!”
Alien life or no, exoplanets promise to be important in the future of astronomy. Skemer pointed out that, when it comes to some areas of astronomy, like stars, we have answered most of the basic questions. We can observe a star and determine things like its mass, age and composition.
“With exoplanets, I promise you, we’ve answered almost none of the questions.” And that, Skemer says, is exactly what makes this such an exciting field.
For now, we can’t say much about the possibility of life on even the planets around the closest stars, but stay tuned.
“The next two or three decades will be the first time in human history that we’ll be able to detect life on other planets, if there is any,” said Khandelwal. “I was always fascinated by that question growing up, and it’s absolutely incredible to me that it might be answered in just the next couple of decades.”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine held a rally at a chilly Dunning-Cohen Champions Field, at Penn Park on Saturday, Oct. 22. Numerous Haverford College students took advantage of the opportunity to experience the campaign in person.
Sophie Frank ’19 and Magdalena Yeakey ’19 said they had initially planned to attend an earlier event for Hillary Clinton at the Haverford Community Recreation Center, but were unable to attend due to classes. Rebecca Hickey ’19 added, “I just wanted to see her.”
Frank’s attendance at the rally was not her first interaction with 2016 presidential campaign.
“Earlier this year, I protested at a Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico with some other Haverford students,” said Frank. “But, I really wanted the experience of participating not in opposition to something.”
Despite the huge numbers of people, most Haverford students said they did not wait in line for more than hour. The Clinton campaign estimate that around 7,750 people attended the rally.
Ali Corcoran ’19, who is involved on campus with the group No-Labels registering Haverford students to vote, explained that she was incredibly excited to be voting and participating in the process. She offered that, “I’ve loved watching the debate from the sidelines, but I really wanted to experience a campaign event.”
Yeakey noted before the debate that she was hoping to hear something more upbeat than much of the current political rhetoric.
“I look forward to hearing a different tone from the debate,” she said. “I’m looking for positions of positivity.”
Before the arrival of Clinton and Kaine to the stage, State Representative Dwight Evans, a candidate for Pennsylvania’s Second Congressional District, Josh Shapiro, a candidate for Pennsylvania Attorney General, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, and Senate candidate Katie McGinty spoke to the crowd.
Although Clinton’s consistent and significant lead in Pennsylvania polls has seemingly pushed any hope of Donald Trump victory in the state out of sight, the race between incumbent Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty is significantly tighter. All of the night’s speakers, including Clinton and Kaine, worked to connect Toomey with his party’s nominee’s controversial statements. Democrats view a victory in the Pennsylvania race as key to retaking the Senate from Republicans in November.
McGinty explained the importance of removing Senator Toomey from office in order to enact the agenda of Hillary Clinton, telling the crowd, “Our mission is urgent”. Throughout her remarks, McGinty relentlessly attacked her opponent and connected him with Trump. She told an energetic crowd, “What does Pat Toomey need to hear? You failed!” She continued to point out that Toomey’s failure to fully back away from Donald Trump mean that he could no longer be trusted to represent Pennsylvanians. McGinty maintained that, “Pat Toomey has failed the test of leadership. He has failed the test of political courage.”
After a brief break, shortly before 9 p.m., Kaine and Clinton took the stage to raucous applause. Kaine introduced his running mate and explained the importance of Pennsylvania voters participating in the election offering. “If we win Pennsylvania,” he said, “this race will be over. We need your help. If we win here, you can guarantee it.”
As well as taking the opportunity to remind Pennsylvanian voters of the importance of voting and highlighting the qualifications and policies of Clinton and McGinity, Kaine repeatedly attacked Trump, asking the crowd, “Has Donald Trump even read the United States Constitution?” He added, “You all would know a bit about that here in Philadelphia.”
Kaine also emphasized many of Trump’s controversial statements. Discussing Trump’s comments about Clinton not having “the look” of a president, Kaine explained of his running mate, “I think she looks damn presidential.” He continued that, “Hillary has heard from people her whole life that this might not be the time, and she has never let that stop her.”
During Clinton’s portion she continued to urge Pennsylvanians “to spend the last seventeen days doing everything to send Katie to the Senate.” She also attacked Toomey, questioning whether he would be able to stand up to special interests given that he seems unable to stand up against Donald Trump’s more controversial remarks.
Clinton continually attacked her opponent on his business career, joking to the crowd about Trump’s losses from his casinos, “I don’t know how smart it is, losing a billion dollars on a casino. I thought the house always won.” She also questioned whether Trump’s claims that he may not accept the result of election disqualified him from being president. She offered that, “We’ve always had a peaceful transfer of power in the United States. We’ve always had democracy over dictatorship, rule of law over a strongman. The United States is bigger than Donald Trump.”
She even joked to supporters who might know people considering voting for Donald Trump, “You know, it’s not too late to stage an intervention. Friends don’t let friends vote for Donald Trump”
Listing a variety of issues from immigration and criminal justice reform to college affordability, Clinton stressed the significance of the participating in this election. She added, “This is a crossroad election. There could not be two different agendas and visions than between me and Donald Trump.”
Ending her speech, she told the crowd, “You’d better vote. Think about the future we want, think about the future we can create and remember love trumps hate.”
Haverford students were overwhelming enthusiastic about the evening. As she left the event, Corcoran said simply, “It was just amazing.”
Last Wednesday, Dr. Adrienne Shaw, an assistant professor at Temple University, gave a lecture in Chase Hall on Haverford campus entitled “Representation Matters. Reframing Arguments for Diversity in Digital Games.” After a short introduction from representatives of the college’s Distinguished Visitor and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program – a sponsor of the lecture – Dr. Shaw began her presentation.
Shaw’s talk was heavily based around research done for her book, Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture, published in 2015. This research consisted of interviews with individuals within the gaming community, during which Shaw asked the participants about representation in video games. From this method of information gathering, Shaw said she became aware that gamers considered representation “nice when it happens.”
“Representation,” in this context, refers to the inclusion of characters or situations that replicate the experiences of groups that are typically less visible in media: for example, women and girls, persons of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Aware of this trend, Dr. Shaw framed her goal in relation to addressing the problem-fraught issue of representation in gaming: more and better representation can be achieved by looking at the areas where there is no need for it. To emphasize this idea, Dr. Shaw presented evidence collected by Rosalind Wiseman and Ashly Burch, presented at the Game Developers Conference in 2015. In a study of children, male and female, young and adolescent, they found that kids don’t have strong preferences for the gender of the character they select in-game.
So why push the gaming industry for better representation? As Adrienne Shaw explains it, this movement is fourth-wave feminism. Also known as cyberfeminism and occasionally post-feminism, fourth-wave feminism has emerged in response to post-World War Two shifts from female to male computer operators. As men returned from war and took over jobs in the computing field, they were set on the path to dominance in the gaming industry, which emerged in the 1970s. Studies of those employed in said industry show that games are made by overwhelming majorities of white heterosexual males. Fourth-wave feminism presents itself in “Women in Games” efforts, popular especially in the early 2010s.
Dr. Shaw accepts that “change takes time,” and compared the current “wave” of feminism to a slow but powerful eroding force which will continue to challenge game-makers to push themselves toward greater representation of minorities in games. Her current work involves a longitudinal study of LGBTQ+ inclusion in games, spanning the last three decades. After a handful of concluding questions from the audience, Dr. Shaw wrapped up her presentation with a warning: the gaming industry will need a structural renovation before it embraces the diversity of gamers.
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