Category Archives: News

Meet the Cabinet

By Abby Hoyt, Co-Editor-in-Chief

President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition team has been faced with its first major task: nominating over 4,000 people for positions throughout the federal government. These positions will help determine the direction of the country in major areas like health care, military action and international relations. His appointments will be crucial in determining the success of the Trump Administration in pushing their agenda for the next four years.

Most of his nominees will have to be confirmed by the Senate two weeks before Trump’s inauguration in January. Just three of these positions will not require the Senate’s confirmation: chief of staff (Reince Priebus), national security adviser (Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn), and chief strategist (Stephen Bannon).  

The following is a list of his nominees so far.

Treasury Secretary: Steven Mnuchin

The role of the Treasury Secretary is to oversee government involvement in financial markets and advise the President on financial policy.

Perhaps one of the most surprising nominations President-elect Trump has announced so far is Steven Mnuchin, whose lengthy resume on Wall Street has drawn criticism for contradicting Trump’s “drowning the swamp” rhetoric during the campaign. Mnuchin worked at Goldman Sachs for 17 years and bought IndyMac during its decline in the 2008 financial crisis.

During Trump’s campaign, Mnuchin was a loyal and heavy donor despite his lack of previous involvement in politics. His main goals in office include reducing financial regulations and reviewing trade agreements abroad.

Transportation Secretary: Elaine Chao

The role of the Transportation Secretary is to oversee infrastructure efforts, such as the building of roads, bridges and public transit systems.

Elaine Chao served as Secretary of Labor under Former President George W. Bush. She brings to the cabinet the perspective of a female immigrant from Taiwan. During the campaign, she was a member of Trump’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Council. Additionally, she has worked for Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and The Heritage Foundation, and she sits on the Board of Directors at FOX Broadcasting.

Health and Human Services Secretary: Tom Price

The role of the Health and Human Services Secretary is to advise the President on national health and welfare through agencies such as the FDA, NIH, and CDC.

Representative Tom Price has been serving in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2005. He has rebuked any legislation regarding a woman’s right to choose and has supported the defunding of Planned Parenthood. He adamantly opposes the Affordable Care Act and proposed a bill in 2015 to cut the nation’s federal health care programs.

Trump has expressed particular interest in Price’s ability to help him complete his goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act in the first 100 days in office.

Commerce Secretary: Wilbur Ross

The role of the Commerce Secretary is to develop business and industries both at home and abroad.

Wilbur Ross has a long history of buying troubled companies in the manufacturing industry, helping them get back on their feet, and then selling them. His plans in office include changing regional agreements like NAFTA into bilateral agreements and keeping American companies on American soil by getting rid of tariffs on American exports.

Education Secretary: Betsy DeVos

As head of the U.S. Department of Education, the Education Secretary helps draft and propose education policy to Congress.

DeVos advocates for a “school choice” proposal where students who prefer to have a private education over a public education are given a “voucher” from the federal government to help offset the costs of the transfer. While the intention of this program is to help all students have an equal opportunity to afford private education, critics say the reality is that private education is often times still unobtainable even with the voucher. These vouchers can result in less funding for public schools, leaving them with less to offer their existing students. In the past, DeVos has supported policy that minimizes the power of teachers unions through the controversial “right to work” legislation.

U.N. Ambassador: Nikki R. Haley

The U.N Ambassador represents the United States in all U.N. General Assembly meetings.

South Carolina Governor Haley rose to national recognition in 2015 after a shooting in Charleston where a white supremacist attacked an African-American church, killing nine. She responded by removing the confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol. During the primaries she backed Senator Marco Rubio and was attacked by the Trump campaign via Twitter after she criticized the real estate mogul.

Governor Haley has never held a federal position, nor does she have any foreign policy experience, but President-Elect Trump released a statement praising her for her ability to “bring people together regardless of background or party affiliation.”

C.I.A Director: Mike Pompeo

The Director of the C.I.A heads the C.I.A and reports to the Director of National Intelligence.

While in Congress, House Representative Mike Pompeo served on both the Intelligence Committee and the Select Committee on Benghazi. He was one of the interrogators that invested Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s involvement in Benghazi.

Pompeo’s original plans for 2016 involved running against Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, but the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan took drastic efforts to deter him from doing so. Pompeo has expressed concern for Muslim Americans who do not report potential threats to national security and has accused them of being “potentially complicit” with the outcomes of the attacks. Additionally, his close connections to the Koch brothers and his desire to return to former C.I.A detention and interrogation techniques has raised concerns within both parties.

Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

The role of the Attorney General is to act as legal counsel to the President and serve as the head of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Senator Sessions, who has been an active member of the Trump campaign since February, is most well known for his stringent approach to immigration. In 2014, he was dubbed “amnesty’s worst enemy” by the National Review.

This nomination has raised concerns nationwide due to the Senator’s behavior under the Reagan Administration. Sessions was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 due to multiple accounts of racist language and behavior. However, this did not end his political career; he was elected Senator and has held the position for the past twenty years.  

National Security Adviser: Michael Flynn

Along with the National Security Council, the National Security Adviser researches intelligence reports and advises the President on issues of national security.

Lt. Gen Michael Flynn served in the Asia-Pacific region during his time in the military and was chosen by Trump for his determination to fight ISIS. Flynn recently published a book called “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Isla and Its Allies,” in which he claims that there is an alliance between “radical Islamist terrorists” and the governments of countries like North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

He has been called out for past Islamophobic behavior, particularly a tweet from 2013 that stated, “Fear of Muslims is Rational.”

White House Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus

The White House Chief of Staff is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Executive Office of the President.

Former head of the Republican National Party, Reince Priebus came highly recommended by prominent Republicans like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Some view the choice as Trump’s attempt to strengthen ties with the Republican Party.

After the primaries, Priebus began to work with Trump on his presidential image and tried to help him formulate concrete policy plans. He has never served in the capacity of an elected official, but he was Head of the Republican National Party for five years.


Chief Strategist: Stephen Bannon

The Chief Strategist’s role is relatively undefined but is primarily to act as an assistant to the Chief of Staff and a close confidant of the President.

Stephen Bannon, head of the conservative news outlet, was originally in the running for Chief of Staff but was instead appointed to Chief Strategist due to his harsh comments towards the Republican Party during the 2016 election. Breitbart was pro-Trump throughout most of the election and is often dubbed by Bannon as the “platform for the alt-right,” an ideology frequently associated with white nationalistic and misogynistic viewpoints.

From the print edition published Dec. 7, 2016

John Coleman: Garbage Collector, Cook, President

By Charlie Lynn, Staff Writer

John R. Coleman, Haverford College’s ninth president and a leader in the effort to make the college co-educational, died on September 6th. He was 95.

Coleman, who was a labor economist and the first non-Quaker to lead the college, served from 1967 to 1977. In an email to the student body, current Haverford President Kim Benston described Coleman as “one of the most beloved, influential, and storied figures in the College’s modern history.”

Born in Cooper Cliff, Ontario, Coleman received his bachelor degree in economics from the University of Toronto. He served in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II and completed his graduate work at the University of Chicago. Prior to arriving at Haverford, he taught in the economics departments of MIT and Carnegie Mellon University.

Coleman’s concern for the separation between academia and the wider world motivated his work throughout his academic career. He created a television course called The American Economy, which was shown nationally, and hosted a program on CBS entitled Money Talks. Perhaps most noteworthy was his sabbatical from presidency at Haverford, during which he worked as a garbage collector, ditch digger, and cook. After returning to Haverford, he published a well-received book, Blue Collar Journal: A College President’s Sabbatical, detailing his experiences.

At Haverford, he presided over an era of significant transformation. Most well-known was his support for making the college co-educational. Coleman advocacy on the issue was inspired by firm belief in equality. At the time, Coleman explained that the “unique opportunities of Haverford should be available to anyone of motivation, ability, and character.” His support ultimately led to his resignation when the Board of Managers decided to only admit women as transfer students in 1977.

It was only after his resignation, and the decision three years later to admit women as freshmen at the college, that Coleman’s significant role in the college’s history was fully acknowledged. He was awarded an honorary degree in 1980.

Coleman’s leadership also had other significant impacts on the college. He disbanded the football team and ended the college’s ban on students with beards or long hair from playing on college teams. Additionally, Coleman’s tenure saw the construction of the Dining Center and the North Dorms.  

Coleman helped lead the college through discussions regarding diversity and the Vietnam War, of which he was an active opponent. In May 1970, he organized for fifteen buses to bring members of the college community to Washington to protest the war.

After his tenure as president, Coleman continued his campaign for equality. He served as the president of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. There, he focused on prison reform and even went undercover again, serving as both a guard and a prisoner on multiple occasions.

Kim Benston recalled in his email to the college community, “I had the privilege of enjoying his warm friendship in recent years. From our correspondence and conversations, I grew to understand well the intensity, curiosity, and generosity that so captivated his generation of Haverfordians.”

Coleman is survived by his children, John, Steve and Nancy and seven grandchildren. The memorial service was held on Sunday, Oct. 2.

From the print edition published on Oct. 5, 2016

Bryn Mawr Student Wages and Employment: Expect Changes

By Emilia Otte, Copy Editor 

Administration, students, and faculty of Bryn Mawr College met on Wednesday, September 14 for the first diversity conversation of the year to discuss changes in the way student employment on campus will be structured, with a particular focus on wages and professional development.

Two major changes are currently in the works. The college is planning to restructure student jobs in order to equalize pay rates across departments. In addition to this, the administration is also exploring ways to provide more opportunities for professional development, so that students are able to acquire skills that will be useful when applying to jobs after graduation.

According to President Cassidy, the question of pay inequity on campus surfaced during last year’s Community Day of Learning. Over the summer, senior staff members of various departments looked into the question and discovered that rates of pay were not consistent across campus. In order to fix this, the college plans to create four distinct “levels” of employment that will be defined within every department in which a student can be employed. Students employed at the same level will be paid the same hourly wage, regardless of what department they are in. For example, a level one worker in dining services will be paid the same rate as a level one worker in the athletics department.

In order to make these “systemic changes,” President Cassidy explained, the college is considering bringing in outside people, possibly inviting student employment leaders from other colleges to offer their input, “just to get more expertise.” The goal is to have this new structure in place by the start of the 2017-2018 academic year.

The college also hopes to enhance students’ work experiences by providing them with skills that will give them extra leverage when applying for jobs in the future. Providing training for supervisory positions, offering students a chance to reflect on their own experiences as student-workers, and instituting formal interviews and resumes as part of the job process are a few of the ideas currently being considered.

Another concern which came up during last year’s Community Day of Learning was the treatment of student workers, particularly those in dining services, which is the largest student employer on campus. According to President Cassidy, the reactions of students to their peers working in the dining halls has created a situation in which these workers are “treated in ways that are almost inhuman.” Referencing the experiences that students recounted during the Day of Learning, President Cassidy said, “It was really hard to hear those stories.”

Students are already taking steps to prevent these kinds of situations from occurring in the future. This year for the first time, first-year students took part in an hour-long workshop during customs week that focused on treating dining service workers with respect. Entitled “Humanizing the Hat”, the workshop began with an ice-breaker intended to prompt students to engage in a dialogue and ask questions. Afterwards, the dining hall supervisors facilitating the dialogue finished by sharing and reflecting on their own experiences as workers in dining services. Mercedes Aponte ’17, Co-Student Manager at Erdman, headed the project.  

Bryn Mawr College currently pays wages for 1,719 jobs on campus. Last year, the college averaged 618 students under employment- about half of the student body. Some of these students hold multiple jobs. Wages range from $9.50 to $10.50 per hour, with a few exceptions, such as TAs and graders, who are paid more.

Students on campus are technically permitted to work no more than 17.5 hours per week, but this rule is not necessarily enforced, in part because students sometimes hold multiple jobs, or else work part-time off-campus. The Dean’s Office recommends that students work no more than 10 hours per week. Dean Raima Evans said that she has witnessed first-hand how going outside these guidelines “impacts their [students’] performance here in a very significant way, over time.” Yet sticking to the prescribed number of hours has not enabled students to earn enough money to pay for the necessities of life at Bryn Mawr.

One student suggested that the college might consider providing additional benefits to its employees, such as subsidized housing for Hall Advisors. Another student brought forward the idea of offering a stipend to Customs people who, as of now, are not paid. If the college were to provide these things, it might lessen the pressure on students to work multiple jobs.

Further discussions on these topics will take place at a future date. Additionally, Dean Jennifer Walters will be holding open conversations on Wednesdays at 12 pm in the Dorothy Vernon Room in New Dorm Dining Hall.

From the print edition published on Oct. 5, 2016

President Obama Expands and Creates Groundbreaking Marine National Monuments

By Kate Hawthorne, Staff Writer

On August 26, 2016, President Obama announced the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea (pronounced papa-ha-now-moh-koo-ah-kay-ah) Marine National Monument in Hawaii.

Papahanaumokuakea was established under President George W. Bush in 2006.  At 140,000 square miles, it was the largest marine reserve at that time, and is home to more than 7,000 species, as well as the world’s oldest living animal, a black coral estimated to be 4,500 years old.  President Obama more than quadrupled the size of the monument, expanding it by 583,000 square miles.

Rachel Merz, a Professor of Marine Biology at Swarthmore, explains the ecological benefits of expanding the reserve. “Tropical islands are of special conservation importance because of their high proportion of endemic species…, so protecting a whole tropical island chain [which this expansion does] makes it much more likely that a wide diversity of organisms… will be sheltered.”

This expansion is important from a political standpoint as well as environmental standpoint. Professor Don Barber of Bryn Mawr says, “For better or worse, high-level policy statements…  matter, because they express the values, knowledge and understanding of … society. … President Obama’s sweeping expansion of a Pacific National Marine Monument expresses that we [US citizens…] value the ocean and hope to protect it….”

Less than a month later, President Obama   announced the creation of another momentous marine reserve—the first one of its kind in the Atlantic Ocean. This monument, called the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, is roughly the size of Connecticut and is located off the coast of Cape Cod. It encompasses four seamounts and three marine canyons and is home to several endangered species, including sperm whales, fin whales, sei whales, Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, ancient deep-sea coral and species of fish unique to the region. According to The New York Times, the monument is in an area of the Atlantic where ocean temperatures are projected to warm as much as three times as fast as the global average, making these species even more endangered.

Barber elaborated on the importance of this site. “The move to protect large areas in two very different regions of the ocean underscores that we value and consider it important to protect a diversity of marine habitats. … While the expanded Pacific region holds some coral atolls that we often consider ‘pristine tropical paradise,’ the new site in the Northwest Atlantic is rather different due to its higher latitude.”

The expansions have caused concern among the fishing industries. Fisherman in the Pacific fear that the expansion of Papahanaumokuakea to include territory previously used for fishing will hurt the fishing industry. Atlantic fishing, lobster and red crab industries are not thrilled with the establishment of the new reserve near Cape Cod, predicting that it will likely hurt their economic yield. To mitigate this effect, the lobster and crab industries will be  given a seven-year grace period before they will be required to stop all proceedings in the area.

Both marine reserves were created under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which allows the president to create national monuments in order to protect natural, cultural or scientific entities. During his administration, Obama has used this act to protect hundreds of millions of acres—more than any other president.

His actions have caused a great deal of contention among Republicans who believe he is abusing his power. This is likely because “both actions weigh long-term values more heavily than short-term economic benefits,” as Professor Carol Hager of Bryn Mawr points out. “It is difficult to do this in normal policy making because of the power that interest groups have in our legislative system … There is always a trade-off between use for immediate, usually economic benefit and preservation value for generalized, not always economically quantifiable benefit. In this case there will be long-term economic benefits in that the oceans will become more resilient against climate change. However, as President Obama pointed out, it’s about more than that. These unique, beautiful seascapes are part of who we are.”

The results of expanding and establishing these marine reserves may not be immediate, but they are valuable enough to grab our attention. “We should care…if we care about having a healthy planet with a diversity of species.” Professor Joshua Moses of Haverford says. Hager says, “You should care because this is your legacy. The long term is where your children will live. What kind of world do you want them to live in?”

Everyone should be expected to do their part to keep these unique ecosystems from being lost. Merz notes, “We all make dozens of small decisions in a day that impact natural systems … Over our lifetimes and over the lifetimes of the people we influence those small decisions add up to big differences … Being conscious of the environmental consequences of those … decisions is a responsibility we share.”

From the print edition published on Oct. 5, 2016

Hitting the Ground Running in the First Presidential Debate of 2016

By Abby Hoyt, Co-Editor-in-Chief

In this historic election, it is extremely important that voters remain informed of the actions, past and present, of both candidates. There have been a lot of scandals bouncing around the media recently,, so let’s take this opportunity to break those down and look at the facts.

Clinton: The FBI investigation into her personal email account:

Most government employees are encouraged to have two separate devices and accounts: one for official governmental affairs and one for personal correspondence. However, during her tenure as  Secretary of State, Clinton merged the two onto a single device and a single email account on a home server that was left over from her failed 2008 campaign. According to Politico, having a personal email account doesn’t break any rules, but the use of private servers does raise concerns about security. . For this reason, government employees are instead encouraged to forward emails to official accounts so that they can be recorded.

Beginning in 2011, Clinton’s email server started to experience “brute force attacks”, characterized by several unsuccessful attempts at guessing a username and password. The account was hacked several times and links containing viruses were consistently being sent to the email account . In March 2013, the server was hacked by a man named Marcel Lazar Lehel with the intention of distributing the information to the public.

Although the media’s focus on the scandal seems relatively recent , the existence of the private email account first came to light during the investigation into the Benghazi attacks in Libya in February 2013. When the State Department pulled their relevant documents they noticed that they didn’t have on record a lot of Clinton’s emails and asked her to produce them. She complied with their request.  Clinton announced her campaign for the presidency in April 2015, but the emails were not released to the public until February 2016.

The subsequently released FBI investigation summary concluded that although  her actions were “extremely careless”, criminal prosecution was not necessary. Additionally, the Select Committee on Benghazi, which was formed in 2014 to investigate events leading up to the 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya, found no evidence requiring court action against Clinton.

Trump: Where are your tax returns?

The “that makes me smart,” comment from Trump in response to Clinton’s accusation that he hadn’t paid taxes in two decades certainly confirmed some rumors floating around about Trump’s tax record. Trump’s excuse for failing to release his tax returns is that the IRS is auditing him. He has said on multiple occasions that when the audit is complete, he will release his tax returns.

Presidential candidates release their tax returns in order to to reveal any potential conflicts of interest. Every other presidential nominee since 1976 has released their tax returns to the public during his or her campaign. The problem with Trump’s excuse, however, is that being audited doesn’t prevent one from releasing their tax returns.

The Clinton Foundation:

The Clinton Foundation is a NGO that supports programs around the world that   influence economic development, climate change, health, and women’s issues. As a global charity, they accept donations from any country in the world.

Critics have argued that this donation policy violates the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), which explicitly forbid foreigners from giving financial contributions to any election on the federal, state, or local level. Throughout the duration of Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, The Clinton Foundation has continued to receive foreign donations, but if Clinton is elected in November, then the foundation will renounce these sources of funding. Until then, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told CNN that the existing donations will continue to go towards this “important, life-saving work.”

The Blind Trust:

Normally when a presidential candidate takes office, they put their assets into a blind trust to avoid any conflicts of interest. A blind trust is a temporary transfer of investments to an independent trustee. The original trustee is not permitted to direct or advise the independent trustee for the duration of the trust’s existence. Donald Trump, however, recently said that he would “probably have [his] children run it with [his] executives,” an arrangement which does not constitute a blind trust. 

The Debate:

The first presidential debate was held at Hofstra University on Monday September 26. According to CNN, over 80 million people tuned in to watch Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off. This is the highest recorded viewing population in the past 60 years.

While the debate was mostly characterized by dialogue between the two candidates, it did address  some central campaign issues, such as the economy, responses to their respective scandals, and fighting terror at home and abroad.

Clinton’s economic proposal includes increasing jobs in technology, infrastructure, clean renewable energy and small business, whereas Trump proposes giving tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations that can use the money they save to open more locations and create more jobs.  The economic approach that Trump recommends,  called “trickle-down economics”,  has been criticized for being a contributing factor in the formation of the Wall Street corruption that caused the housing bubble to burst in 2008.

The candidates also spent a lot of time discussing their plans to increase American job opportunities. Clinton’s priority lies within “helping families balance the responsibilities at home and the responsibilities in business.” She spent most of her allotted two minutes talking about how she was going to fight for equal pay for women, paid family leave, affordable childcare, and raising the minimum wage. Trump instead focused on the international implications of our job market, stating, “Our jobs are fleeing the country.” He  maintained that the actions of the Obama Administration and Janet Yellen, Chairwomen of The Federal Reserve Bank, were forcing companies to leave the United States and move to China and Mexico.

Both candidates were also given the opportunity to address their biggest scandals. Moderator Lester Holt began by referencing  Trump’s inability to release his tax returns to the public, and posed the question “Don’t Americans have the right to know if there are any conflicts of interest?”  Trump repeated the same answer that he has given to reporters in the past; he assured Holt that he would release the tax returns once the audit was complete. However, when Holt tried to inform Trump about the possibility of releasing taxes during an audit, Trump merely  repeated the  same answer.

Clinton responded to questions about the FBI’s investigation into her use of a personal email account to conduct business during her tenure as Secretary of State, saying,. “If I had to do it over again I would obviously do it differently. But I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake and I take responsibility for that.”

Given how tight the race is and just how much is at stake, Holt’s final question pushed each candidate to address how they would respond were they not chosen as the next president of the United States. Clinton took this opportunity to stress the importance of voting in this election, declaring, “this election’s really up to you [the voter].” Trump took a more direct approach. “I want to make America great again. I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Hillary will. The answer is if she wins I will absolutely support her.”

This debate was only the first of three. The coming two debates will be held on October 9 at Washington University in Saint Louis and October 19 at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Debate Topic Highlights:

Debate Topic Trump Clinton
Jobs “Ours jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico they’re going to many other countries.” “First we have to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. That means we need new jobs, good jobs with rising incomes.”
Clean Energy “We invested in a solar company, our country. That was a disaster.” “We can deploy a half a billion more solar panels. We can have enough clean energy to power every home. We can build a new modern electric grid.”
Taxing the Rich “Under my plan I will be reducing taxes tremendously from thirty-five percent to fifteen percent for companies, small and big businesses. That’s going to be a job creator like we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan.” “And so what I believe is the more we can do for the middle class, the more we can invest in you, your education, your skills, your future, the better we will be off and the better we will grow. That’s the kind of economy I want to see again.”
Scandals (releasing tax returns and email) “I don’t mind releasing. I’m under a routine audit. And it will be released. And as soon as the audit’s finished, it will be released.” “And if I had to do it over again I would obviously do it differently. But I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake and I take responsibility for that.”
Race Relations “And we need law and order. If we don’t have it, we’re not going to have a country.” “We have to restore trust between communities and the police. We have to work to make sure that our police are using the best training, the best techniques, that they’re well prepared to use force only when necessary.”
Terror “The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe, it’s hardly doable. But I will say, we are not doing the job we should be doing. But that’s true throughout our whole governmental society. We have so many things that we have to do better, Lester. And certainly cyber is one of them.” “We are not going to sit idly by and permit state actors to go after our information. Our private-sector information or our public-sector information. And we’re going to have to make it clear that we don’t want to use the kinds of tools that we have. We don’t want to engage in a different kind of warfare, but we will defend the citizens of this country.”
Birther Movement “When I got involved, I didn’t fail, I got him to give the birth certificate. So I’m satisfied with it, and I’ll tell you why I’m satisfied with it.” “He [Trump] has really started his political activity based on this racist lie that our first black president was not an American citizen. There was absolutely no evidence for it, but he persisted. He persisted year after year because some of his supporters, people that he was trying to bring into his fold apparently believed it or wanted to believe it.”
Hillary’s Candidacy “She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country you need tremendous stamina.” “Well as soon as he travels to one hundred and twelve countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release if dissidents, and opening of new opportunities and nations around the world or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”


*all quotes are taken from NPR’s debate transcript. A copy of which can be found at

From the print edition published on Oct. 5, 2016

Fall 2016 Plenary Reaches Quorum in Record Time

By Sophie Webb, Features Editor

Bryn Mawr students passed one resolution at Fall Plenary on the evening of Sunday, September 25, after reaching quorum in 59 minutes.

Sunday’s plenary was slightly different than plenaries of the past.  According to current SGA President Rhea Manglani, “Starting at 7 p.m. was the biggest [difference]. We reached quorum so fast… in the [SGA] constitution it states that we can wait for quorum for up to 3 hours, but the move to night plenaries looks permanent right now so we’re looking into updating that rule to be significantly shorter.”  

Quorum, the gathering of one-third of the student body, or 460 students, has previously taken close to three hours of waiting for students to trickle in. On this Sunday, quorum was reached in a little under an hour. Jocelyn Martinez ‘18 said, “It was a little surprising, to be honest. As a senior I’ve had the opportunity to experience my fair share of plenaries… I was moved that the Bryn Mawr community finally came through on fulfilling our civic duties.”

Hosted by the Self-Governance Association (SGA), Plenary is one of Bryn Mawr’s oldest traditions. Formed in 1892, Bryn Mawr SGA became the first self-governance association at an institution of higher education in the United States. Since then, SGA and Plenary have provided the opportunity for students to voice their ideas and create change within the college, a defining aspect of the Bryn Mawr experience.

Bryn Mawr’s plenary is operated under the system known as Robert’s Rules of Order.  The rules call for one-third of the student body, quorum, to be present before the proceedings begin, and allow for time-specified discussion and voting. On Sunday, the single resolution, presented by Genesis Perez-Melara’19 and Mariana Garcia ‘19, called for an updated resignation process within SGA itself.

 The resolution, which, after some discussion and amending, passed by a visible margin, stated that, “any member of the assembly who needs to resign their position must send a resignation letter at least four weeks before their official resignation date.” The resolution also stated that if a representative must resign their position immediately, they must find a temporary replacement until a new representative is voted on.

Students in general seem pleased with how plenary went.  Creighton Ward ’19 said, “I was pleased with how quickly we reached quorum and how smoothly the process went.” SGA president Manglani acknowledged that, “It was a little rough at times, but it was our first plenary and with the hours you spend planning, the quorum wait, and the constant anxiety of how plenary will go, things are bound to not run perfectly. But overall, I hope we can keep a similar model for the Spring just with more resolutions and shorter waiting time.” Although Manglani believes things could have gone smoother, she is excited because, “we received a lot of good feedback that we’re going to use to make next semester’s plenary run a lot more smoothly, so stay tuned for that in the spring!”

From the print edition published on Oct 5, 2016 

Amid Potential Policy Changes, Haverford Resolves to Protect Students

By Chloe Lindeman, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Throughout his campaign for presidency, Donald Trump made immigration regulation one of his key tenets. For supporters, his call for stringent restrictions was a sign of his commitment to making America great again. But for those with less favorable opinions about Trump, it was — and remains — a major area of concern.

Now, Haverford College has taken an official stance on the issue. President Kim Benston sent out an email on Dec. 13 with a resolution that outlined not only Haverford’s policy on protecting students and their private information but also some of the initiatives that are being taken on campus.

“In particular, we affirm the College’s solidarity with students, faculty, and staff who are non-United States citizens and/or members of vulnerable religious minorities who might in the future be subjected to harsh government restrictions, ranging from reduced status to deportation,” the email said in its introduction.

The resolution went on to state “its continuing adherence to strict practices governing the protection of student and employee information” and to declare “residential, dining, and learning spaces as ‘restricted’ areas” so that immigration officers need a warrant to enter.

Ideas expressed in the email mirror those of so-called “sanctuary campuses,” or schools that provide protection of some kind to undocumented students. But the word “sanctuary” is absent from Haverford’s message.

“If you look closely, we actually don’t use the term sanctuary because it doesn’t have a clear meaning,” Benston told The Bi-College News. Instead, the goal was to make it clear exactly what Haverford can and cannot do.

“It’s really … a focused reaffirmation of our commitment to anyone who comes into the community that we will do what we can do within legal boundaries to protect them,” Benston said.

The issue of “sanctuary cities,” from which sanctuary campuses were born, came up in Pennsylvania politics well before election night. The House voted in October in favor of placing sanctions on areas unwilling to follow certain Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rules, and a new bill may threaten funding for institutions of higher learning that declare themselves sanctuary campuses.

But a main motivator for the promise of some protection was spurred by national, not state, politics. President-Elect Donald Trump has pledged to get rid of much of Obama’s immigration policy, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which helps protect undocumented students.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Nimisha Ladva, who teaches courses with an emphasis on immigration, says she worries about possible impacts of policy changes and negative rhetoric toward immigrants.

“Many [international students] reported that they chose America among other options to go to and now they are worried that maybe they will regret that choice,” said Ladva. “Those are legal immigrants who we invite to study, and they are expressing some concern.”

For Ladva, Haverford’s resolution is a step in the right direction.

“I think that we are in this together — students, faculty, staff, administration; that we are a community together,” said Ladva, “We are on the same side to continue making Haverford a safe space, a place that we can all come together … We have to be vigilant, we have to be mindful, we have to take care of each other.”

While the resolution makes Haverford’s position official, President Benston encourages “a continued dimension of dialogue” rather than the end of conversation. He invites students with questions or concerns about the issue to express them through student publications, by emailing him, or by speaking to him in person.

A number of other schools in the area have released similar statements. The University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore have both received press recently for declaring themselves sanctuaries, and Bryn Mawr College President Kim Cassidy sent out an email in early December voicing Bryn Mawr’s support for DACA and undocumented students.

“I think what we’re seeing is a broad collective affirmation that DACA students are a really important dimension of many campus communities,” said Benston. “Campuses feel enriched by their presence and also dedicated to ensuring that they have the same opportunities as all their other students to succeed and to thrive at their institution.”

Learning about Criminal Justice Reform with Emily Bazelon

By Diana Pope, Staff Writer

Criminal justice reform was a recurrent theme throughout this past election season. Yet even now, with the elections decided, Americans continue to debate the trustworthiness of our judicial system, especially when it comes to the death penalty. Emily Bazelon, a graduate of Yale Law School, came to Bryn Mawr College to offer her own insights on this controversial topic, along with scintillating observations about the methods of prosecution in the United States. Bazelon is currently a staff writer for New Yorker Magazine and a leading expert on the malignant effects of bullying. She received many positive reviews from the New York Times for her book about bullying, titled “Sticks and Stones.” In addition, Bazelon has written various articles for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Mother Jones.

In this lecture, Emily Bazelon wanted to provide information about the current power of prosecutors in the judicial system. She provided countless facts that made audience members question the fairness of America’s court cases.  Bazelon argued that prosecutors “have more power than ordinary police on the streets,” and asserted that all incidents of mass incarceration can be traced to these important figures in courts of law.

Poor prosecution is hardly discussed as one of the symptoms behind the failures in America’s judicial system. Prosecutors are employed by the city, state, or federal government and decide whether or not to prosecute criminals based on evidence. Bazelon noted that most criminal cases are resolved by prosecutors without the process of a trial. Currently, 95 percent of criminal cases are resolved outside of the courtroom without guilty pleas.

Sadly, not all prosecutors follow ethical obligations, and some will imprison innocent individuals because they are short on time with a given case. Some prosecutors may receive as many as 50 cases in one week. Bazelon added that these individuals may have “tunnel vision” and may pull in evidence to quickly incriminate a person and move past a case. Prosecutors are prone to giving long sentences to innocent defendants without incurring any penalties to their professional career. In most cases, Bazelon stated that these individuals are “immune from suit in their professional capacity” and that state bar boards usually don’t find grievances against prosecutors.

In her work with journalism, Bazelon remarked that one of the most alarming trends that she’s noticed is the social inequality of criminal courts. From her research, over 90% of all prosecutors are white individuals. She’s interested in following the career of Kim Foxx, a prosecutor who grew up in Chicago. Foxx plans to initiate criminal justice reform in this city because it is known for mass incarceration of people of color.

Bazelon concluded this lecture by suggesting that judges should have more discretion with all court cases across the country, and prosecutors should have less supervision of final court decisions. She understands that judges make imperfect decisions, but feels they should be “mutual referees in all court cases.”

Bazelon’s talk forced audience members to think twice about the underpinnings of America’s judicial system. Her lecture shed light on a crippling issue in modern society that is frequently swept under the rug. Bazelon’s greatest hope is that prosecution will be fixed someday that the judicial system will function more effectively with fewer issues of social inequality.

Beijing Opera Singer Yonghong Jia Performs at Haverford

By Charlie Lynn, Staff Writer

Kun and Beijing Opera singer Yonghong Jia visited Haverford’s campus on Wednesday to sing two short opera pieces and discuss the history and performance of Chinese operas. Jia performed portions of both The Peony Pavilion and The Drunken Beauty Yang after a brief talk on the numerous styles of Chinese opera and the years of practice necessary to perfect their performance.

Jia arrived in the United States from China in 1999 as part of New York’s Lincoln Center Festival’s production of The Peony Pavilion. From 1999 to 2003, Jia toured with the production around the world, visiting multiple countries  including Australia, Italy, Singapore, Australia and Denmark, to name a few.  Jia currently lives in New Jersey and continues to perform as well as educate people about Chinese culture and art.

“I am always interested in spreading the art of Beijing opera.” Jia said, “I was so thrilled to be able to talk about this art from today.”

During Jia’s talk, she gave examples of the four main characters in Beijing opera: sheng (male characters), dan (female characters), jing (male characters with painted faces) and chou (clown-like characters).  Each character has multiple sub-types. Jia explained that specific types of characters are assigned to performers at a young age. Different character types not only differ vocally, but they each have a specific way of moving on stage.

Jia also detailed the intensity of training for young performers of Chinese opera. Many begin studying at eight years old. Chinese opera, she said, soon becomes their main focus. Jia herself was a latecomer to the art form. She explained, “I didn’t start learning until I was 17. Firstly, because I had been a dancer when I was young, so that was my main focus. Also, I didn’t want to lose something in my education.” She joked that many of the schools in which Chinese opera is studied, “are like the army” in the intensity of their practice.

The first piece that Jia performed was from The Peony Pavilion. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of author of The Peony Pavilion, the Ming Dynasty era playwright Tang Xianzu. Haverford Professor Shizhe Huang compared the works of Tang with those of William Shakespeare.

“This year we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and of Tang Xianzu, maybe China’s Shakespeare.” She characterized the performance of The Peony Pavilion by Jia as “part of this celebration.”

During a break for a costume change for Jia, audience members were invited on stage to try on some of the other Chinese opera costumes Jia had brought along with her. Pablo Teal HC‘20, who at one point was dressed in a bright gown and headpiece, complete with a sword, described the experience as fantastic.

As a third-year Chinese student, he explained that it had been highly recommended by his Chinese professor that he attend the event.

“I haven’t seen Chinese opera before, but I think it’s fantastic. It’s really cool. He added, “As someone who also studies music, the meter is so different. The approach is so different.”

Nicholas Banks (HC ’20) said he also enjoyed the performance. Banks was already familiar with Chinese opera, but, he said, “It was really great to learn more specific details about this art form. Obviously it’s something that’s not talked about that often. It’s just great to understand more about it.”

Testimony: Holocaust Liberator and Holocaust Survivor Recount Experiences

By Kate Hawthorne, Staff Writer

“There are stories that the entire world must know. Today we are here to hear these stories,” said Rabbi Gurevitz to the large crowd gathered in the Rohr Center at Haverford College. On Wednesday, Nov.16, the Tri-Co Chabad hosted a program called “Crossing Connections: Holocaust Testimony.” The two guests were 91-year-old American liberator Don Greenbaum and 87-year-old Ernie Gross. They met each other 71 years ago at the liberation of Dachau, a death camp near Munich. They reunited about four or five years ago when Gross realized he wanted to start telling his story. Last year, they were both featured in a documentary for the anniversary of the liberation of Dachau, known as “The Liberators.”

Don Greenbaum was 18 years old when he arrived at Dachau with the US troops. He was a member of the artillery and his job was “Forward Observer” – he went ahead of the company to locate the enemy and reported back about what he found. He fought through France, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg without much resistance, but when they reached Germany the warfare intensified. On November 9, 1944, while in Germany, Greenbaum was wounded in action (for which he received the Purple Heart) and was sent to a military hospital to recover before returning to the front in time for the Battle of the Bulge.

In 1945, his unit was ordered to destroy a supply depot outside of Munich. A mile outside of Munich, Greenbaum and the other “Forward Observers” found a sign that said “Dachau.” As they continued past the sign they began to smell a bad odor, and a mile away, the sky was black overhead. Shortly after, they found 25 box cars filled with corpses. Beyond the box cars they found a camp filled with emaciated people and surprisingly little resistance. Greenbaum and his unit did not have enough food to feed them, but radioed to the troops behind them to tell them to bring extra supplies, which they distributed to the people before continuing on. Fifty years after Greenbaum left the army, as Holocaust deniers became more vocal, he began speaking about his experience.

Ernie Gross was one of seven children in a family of nine from Hungary, one of only two siblings who survived the Holocaust. On April 15, 1944, the last day of Passover, Gross and his family “went to sleep in freedom.” At 5 a.m. the next day there was a knock at the door, and two Hungarian police told them, “If you have money or jewelry leave it on the table… in an hour be in the synagogue… when you leave the house don’t lock the doors.”

The entire Jewish population of their town was held in the synagogue without electricity, water or plumbing for three days with both the doors and windows closed. After three or four weeks of rail travel, with only one stop in between, the family arrived at Auschwitz. When Gross disembarked the train, he was warned by a worker to say his age was 15, rather than admitting that he was, in fact, a year younger.

This tip likely saved his life, as he was directed to the right instead of the left, like his parents and his two younger siblings, to the gas showers. While in Auschwitz, Gross lost track of his two older brothers and went on alone to the city of Calvarim (Camp number one). While there, he learned a very important lesson that helped him survive: put yourself first… don’t share food, not even with family, because every bit helps.

After he was liberated, he kept this mindset for quite some time. Later on, he was sent to Camp Lagerältester, one of the last stops before a death camp. People remained there for one to three days before being shipped off to a death camp. In Gross’s case, the camp was Dachau. Just as he was arriving at Dachau, a jeep pulled up and Gross’s Nazi escort was scared off by the Americans. Gross included many jokes in the telling of his story, as a way of coping with the horrors he faced during the Holocaust.

Listening to stories like these are important because in ten or so years there will be no Holocaust survivors that remember the events. People need to learn from history before it repeats itself. Gross and Greenbaum both made this very clear in each of their own speeches. Gross, however, ended the speech with these words, part joke and part serious message: “Follow these four steps. One, find a partner in college ‘cause once you’re out of college, it’s not easy. Two, find a hobby … Three, you have to get a job that you like. … Four, you have to believe in God, as everything that has happened, happened because of God. And five, you have to remember I told you so.”