Preventing Sexual Violence through Education on Campus

Students at Clarke University, as well as students from all federally funded colleges and universities in the United States, are required to take sexual violence prevention training every year. To comply with the U.S. Department of Education requirements, Clarke provides a mandatory online training course to its students in the fall to be completed by October. The goal of this training, as well as other campus events, is to reduce instances of sexual violence and create a safe environment on campus for all students.

Sexual assault and sexual violence are not topics that college students she away from. Cases like Brock Turner and the Vanderbilt football players in 2015 caused an uproar of anger around the nation about sexual assault on campus and the justice system’s judgement on sexual assault cases. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), 11.2% of all undergraduate and graduate students experience sexual assault during their four years at college1. Clarke is not immune to this problem, even though it is viewed as a small, friendly campus. The online training program, and events like dramatic dialogue during CONNECT weekend, are created to educate students on sexual assault statistics, its implications, and resources available to them on campus. Through preventative education, Clarke works to change the environment on campus so that all students feel safe no matter what.

Education plays a vital role in the prevention of sexual violence on campus. One of the CDC’s five strategies to prevent sexual assault is to teach the skills necessary to prevent sexual violence through different areas of student’s lives2. Learning about healthy relationships and sexuality is one part of the education. For example, students are taught the warning signs of abusive tendencies so they know what to look out for in any kind of intimate or romantic relationships.

Kate Zanger, Vice President for Student Life and Title IX Coordinator at Clarke University, discussed what Clarke is doing to educate its students to prevent sexual violence. “One of the reasons we added the on-line sexual violence education class is to demonstrate that we are reaching students. It is not the only education tool we use. The CONNECT Orientation program for undergraduate students contains information about defining consent, by-stander intervention and our policy and resources including where to make a report and where to access confidential resources.” When asked why an online program, Kate explained that it is the best way to reach the most number of students, and that they have a high response rate. In previous years, Clarke has also asked coaches to require their athletes to attend on-campus events featuring films like “Hunting Grounds” followed a discussion by on- and off-campus personnel. Since Clarke’s student body has many athletes, requiring them to attend an event such as this ensures education is reaching a large percentage of students.

People are increasingly becoming aware of the prevalence and implications of sexual assault on campus. Instructing students regarding their rights and the resources available to them on campus can help victims and eliminate rape culture on campus. On this topic, Kate Zanger reported “I think as a result of our education efforts, we have experienced an increase in faculty, staff and students bringing concerns to me as the Title IX Coordinator for Clarke. I make an outreach to be sure the person knows their options for reporting and resources.” Through education, students can help each other and themselves fight through an impossible situation.




by Sydney Young



Clarke women’s basketball team to head to NAIA Divison I tournament

With the winter season wrapping up, the basketball season is wrapping up as well, and our Clarke basketball teams have had amazing season this year. As Clarke students, we wanted to acknowledge the great achievements that our men’s and women’s teams have accomplished in this basketball season.


It was recently announced that the women’s basketball team would be going to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, or the NAIA, Division I Nationals. The girls had a recent loss in the Heart of America Basketball Championships in the semifinals during their game against William Penn University, so the recent news of their place in the national competition is exhilarating. Our girls are sitting right now with a record of 21-11, 14-10 in the conference. They have also gone down as having the most wins in program history. The girls will start the NAIA Nationals on March 14 against Columbia.

Our boys have also had an amazing year. After coming back from a loss to Benedictine College in the Heart of America Men’s Basketball semifinals, the boys are finishing the season with a record of 16-16, 13-11 in conference. Losing only by 2 points in their last game with a score of 72-74, the men were on a 5 game win streak before their loss. With no announcements yet of the NAIA DI Nationals for men’s basketball, it looks like they have a pretty good chance at being brought in to participate.

Here at the Crux, we wish our girls and boys the best of luck for the rest of the season, as well as in seasons to come.


by Dane Shaull

How to build a profession: a personal look into Clarke’s Internship for Credit program

Becky Herrig, one of the heads of Clarke University’s Career Service Center, has been helping students pursue professional opportunities since 2011. Whether she be reviewing résumés, establishing contact with potential employers, or helping students build confidence as interviewees, Herrig is dedicated to the task of connecting students with internship experiences that will help prepare them for the working world.

Clarke University itself has heavily incorporated experiential opportunities into their curriculum over the past decade or so. Most majors offered at Clarke now require some type of internship experience as part of their programs. For students involved in those majors, it is common for them to register the actual credits under their general academic schedule, therefore making the work experience part of their class routine.

According to the Clarke website, “Credit for an Internship for Credit employment experience is based on the job description and the number of hours a student works.” Students are required to work 60 hours within a semester to acquire 1 credit hour on their transcript. Those registering an Internship for Credit are “billed the semester rate,” though if they happen to already be taking the maximum 18 credit hours within a semester, they will be billed for each internship credit hour above that limit. Additionally, they will be charged summer tuition to take an Internship for Credit during the break months.

Due to this intrinsic tie between internship experience and academia at Clarke, many students opt to take up internship positions on campus. The Marketing department at Clarke has been known to host interns, as has the Margaret Mann Academic Resource, though these are only a few examples of the many work opportunities on Clarke’s grounds. Additionally, according to Herrig, all work study positions on Clarke’s campus have the potential to be both paid and valid for credit.

That is, of course, if the position meets the proper criteria. When I had the opportunity to speak with Becky Herrig regarding Clarke and its encouragement of work experience, it was made clear that, regardless of location, an internship must provide real and valuable work experience in order for it to be considered for credit.

“We’re not just turning any job into an internship,” said Herrig. “There needs to be outcome based objectives in the student’s field attached to the position. It has to be a well-rounded learning process and experience.”

Throughout our discussion, Herrig was adamant about this component of the internship process. “We’re preparing students for the working world,” she stated. “Having experience is a big deal. Sometimes students say, ‘Becky, I did this internship and I just realized that I don’t want to pursue that,’ and I say, ‘That’s fine!’ It’s better that students get to know what they want to do now instead of later.”

And that’s the kicker with some internships. While many can be fruitful experiences that lead to realizations about professional goals and motivations, others can simply be a fulfillment of credit. Some internship opportunities might lead to future employment or a fulfilling career, while others might seem like a waste of a summer or semester. Herrig sees benefits either way.

“I tell students all the time to get off campus and get out of their comfort zone. It’s one thing to sit in a classroom, but it’s another to become a part of a business or a company with transferable skills.”

Max Kyte, a senior at Clarke University who is majoring in Communication, shares this perspective. “I think an internship is definitely useful for making contacts and getting a necessary insight into the area of work you’re interested in,” said Kyte during our brief discussion on internships and their place in the curriculum. “They can help show whether what you’re doing is something you actually want to be doing.”

Kyte completed an internship with Novelty Iron Works last semester and continues to work with them through this academic period. “My position there has given me lots of good insight into promotions, marketing, and analyzing audience reach and response. They really worked with my schedule to find the best time for both of us, which was definitely useful for me.”

Ashley Smith, also a senior Communication student, had a similar experience in her time at an unnamed print production company. “I worked as a graphic artist there, making t-shirts, designs, and a lot of other stuff. I definitely think the experience was beneficial, especially because I hope that they’ll hire me after my position ends.”

That’s what much of the encouragement towards internships is about, after all. Potential employment. According to Herrig, “A lot of times, one internship will turn into another, which will turn into an employment placement. Even if you don’t get employment in the institution you originally hire in, they can refer you somewhere else!”

However, what happens when you’re employed and feel confident enough in your abilities that the idea of an internship seems more unnecessary than beneficial? Dylan Marquez, a senior at Clarke University who is currently completing his CIS degree, stated that, while his major encouraged experiential opportunities, he feels prepared enough without that extra step.

“As far as job hunting and preparation go—in my capstone, we’ve been working on résumés and putting ourselves out there for jobs to find us. There’s been courses where we’ve worked on our LinkedIn pages and we’ve learned a pretty equal amount about technical and personal skills,” said Marquez in a brief interview.

Marquez’s Computer Information Systems major does not require an internship within its curriculum, though it is highly recommended by professors. Speaking to that, Marquez stated, “I like that they only suggest taking an internship and that it isn’t required. I felt prepared through my classes, and while I feel like taking an internship could help, I feel like I’ve been given the necessary skills to succeed as I am now. If an internship was required, I feel like that would be a huge additional stressor on my already heavy workload.”

What it all seems to boil down to is the idea of balance. In interviewing a number of students and the head of the Clarke Career Center, it’s become clear that Clarke’s view of work experience is revered and, at times, beneficial. However, the constant push and pull of academia versus experiential opportunities can be tiring.

I myself have completed a number of internships, from paid to unpaid, “for credit” and “not for credit.” Each has been valuable in some way, even the ones where I did nothing but copy and paste for eight hours a day, five days a week. These opportunities have provided me with some fantastic professional relationships that will, hopefully, aid in my job search post-graduation. In that same vein, I’ve also gotten the chance to better investigate what exactly I want to do for a living.

However, it was all under the veil of necessity. I’ll admit, there is definitely a benefit to having internships be required for course credit in certain majors. There’s a popular belief that students won’t do or complete anything unless there’s a grade attached to it, and while I don’t think that idea is 100% true, I do believe that the requirement of work experience adds an extra layer of motivation. That being said, there is the problem of internships becoming nothing more than an extra stressor for some students.

I myself am completing a major in Communication with a minor in Writing. Altogether, my programs require me to complete 6 internship credits. Taking into account Clarke’s hour/credit ratio, that means I’ll have to accomplish 360 hours of internship work in my time at Clarke. This, of course, is in addition to the 16 to 18 credit hours I’ll be taking each semester.

What I’m trying to get across is that there’s a line to be drawn when it comes to completing work experience while in an academic environment. Part of the appeal of university is that being a student becomes your fulltime job. So what happens when you take on a fulltime job…and then get another job? Some students are already working as a means of paying for their education, and the jobs they’re working aren’t necessarily ones that can be counted for internship credit. Where does this leave them in the grand scheme of things?

While there’s absolutely no harm in encouraging experiential opportunities, there can be harm caused when students become overwhelmed with the combination of work and academics. I can recall too many nights where I’ve put off homework to an unreasonable hour, trying to complete a spreadsheet for a supervisor of mine.

There should, I feel, be an iota of flexibility when it comes to Internship for Credit requirements. All in all, it should be a conversation between the students and the wonderful support system at the Career Center, along with the advisor and head of the program. Each student’s schedule (and life) is different, and a million things are viable to impact an individual’s ability to complete not only a degree, but an internship.

As it is now, students should look to the likes of Becky Herrig and their professors to learn more about what kinds of opportunities they can pursue to build their own professional repertoire. There are plenty of benefits in work experience, and there are tons of resources at Clarke University that can help in the process of finding and securing a professional position.

You can contact Becky Herrig at her Clarke email ( to set up an appointment to discuss your options based on  your program of study. For more resources, you can also explore Clarke’s Career & Internships page.

Regardless of whether your major requires internship credits, it’s a good idea to look into your options. Whether you want to take on a remote internship that only requires you to work two hours a week, or whether you want to throw yourself into a full-time position career style, what you’re ultimately working towards is building your own professionalism. Analyze what works best for you, and what you think you can handle. Talk to your advisors and your peers, and keep moving forward. After all, “success is no accident.”



by Mimi Ottavi, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Clarke Crux 

Don’t wait to see Waiting for Godot

From March 7th to the 10th, the Clarke University Drama and Musical Theater Department will be performing Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett at Terence Donaghoe Hall. The show features a five person cast, including students Jamese Kane, Kayla Winandy, Riley Beckett, Alannah Walker, and alumnus Colin Muenster (‘08).

Waiting for Godot is, according to director Joe Klinebriel, a piece of work that belongs to the “Theatre of the Absurd.” According to the notes included in the shows program, the term was coined by Martin Esslin in his 1962 book of the same title. Essentially, absurdist theatre is a form of drama that is meant to call attention to the absurdity of human existence.

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“It’s essentially two men waiting for this fictional character named Godot who never comes,” says Klinebriel of the production. “But what it’s really about is what we do to validate our existence in the meantime. The games we play, the things we do, the relationships that we have and that we form to help us figure out what it is that we’re doing while we’re passing our time.”

The subject and plot of the play may seem abstract and difficult to understand– but that, according to Klinebriel, was Beckett’s point. “He was very particular about silence and timing and the use of language, but he won’t answer too many questions. People always want answers to this play, and I think they’re going to bring their own meaning to it.”

Riley Beckett, a senior at Clarke University who is currently pursuing a degree in drama, says that the particulars of the play were gratifying, though difficult.

“The experience for me was challenging because, during the time my character is onstage, he doesn’t speak very much, so my performance was mostly physical,” says Beckett of his rehearsal experience. “For the lines that the character does have, I had to do a lot of reading and research to figure out what exactly the character was saying and why. The language was difficult to grasp at first because it’s very different from what I’m used to and Samuel Beckett’s use of language is very creative and unique.”

Thankfully, the cast itself is very small, giving Klinebriel a lot of time to work intimately with the actors and crew on the construction of the show.

“Whenever I get an opportunity to work with a smaller group of actors or people it’s a much more intimate experience,” says Klinebriel. “In an educational setting, it’s even that much more fulfilling for me and the actors because there’s just more devoted time between me and them.”

To see the Clarke Drama Department in action, come attend Waiting for Godot on either Thursday, Friday, or Saturday at 7:30 p.m. or Sunday, March 10th at 2:00 p.m. Tickets prices are $10 for general admission, $7 for seniors, and $5 for non-Clarke students. Students of Clarke University can attend for free. All tickets will be available at the door.



by Charlotte Rodewald

Clarke University announces new president, Dr. Thom D. Chesney

On February 26th, Sister Joanne Burrows announced Dr. Thom D. Chesney as the new president of Clarke University. Burrows, who has been the president of Clarke University since 2006, announced she was going to be retiring from her position in July of 2018. Her announcement sparked a nationwide search and concluded with a unanimous vote from the Board of Trustees, electing Chesney as the 16th president of the university.

Thom Chesney photo

via Clarke University

According to a biography issued by Clarke University, Dr. Thom Chesney previously held the position of president at Brookhaven College of Dallas, TX. He also maintained a number of administrative positions at other surrounding universities and colleges around Texas. Among these are The University of Texas (UT) at Dallas, vice president of academic affairs and provost of Collin College, and additional faculty and administrative roles at UT Dallas, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Texas Wesleyan University, and Whitman College. Chesney earned a doctor of philosophy in English literature, a master of arts in creative writing, and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish.

His background has been a positive point of discussion among many members of the Clarke community. Some students have expressed excitement about his involvement in liberal arts programs. The press release issue by Clarke University also revealed that Chesney’s wife, Noelle, is also deeply involved in the arts—holding a doctorate of musical arts in vocal performance.

Hannah Ingles, a junior at Clarke who is currently studying Graphic Design, said, “I think his leadership has the potential to bring about some exciting opportunities for some of the arts programs at Clarke. I’m really excited to see what changes he makes in promoting programs like mine. I hope he’ll be an advocate for the fine arts—all of them.”

In Chesney’s time at Brookhaven, he attempted to encourage student enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. Additionally, according to Clarke University’s press release announcing his appointment, Chesney has also been a reliable and active member of his community. He served on the board of the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce, which named him 2014 Citizen of the Year, and also took part in a number of other community programs.

Dr. Thom Chesney, along with his wife, Noelle, and two kids, Drew and Ellen, will be joining the Clarke community July 15th. Sister Joanne has stated that there are a few things she wants to complete before making her departure this summer, but is overall happy to pass the torch to Dr. Thom Chesney.


by Dane Shaull


Who will take home the Oscar? Predictions for the 2019 Oscar ceremony

With the Academy Awards coming up tomorrow, many movie fans are on the edge of their seats, wondering what movies are going to win. Well, as your resident movie lover, I have some ideas on who I think should win based on my personal tastes and interests.

Keep in mind I said personal choice. While I’d consider myself someone who has a lot of film knowledge, I am no major critic or movie aficionado. I’m just a fan. So buckle in! Here are my hot takes on what movies should receive an Oscar!

Actor in a Leading Role

My Pick: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)

Bohemian Rhapsody has acted as a dark horse candidate for the Academy Awards, and while it had average reviews, I do think Rami Malek deserves the Oscar. His portrayal of Freddie Mercury was fantastic, making fans truly believe that the lead singer of Queen was alive again. Spending hours perfecting the accent, the mannerisms, and learning to speak with a massive mouth prosthetic on, Malek’s dedication to the role was obvious from the moment he appeared onscreen.

Runner Up: Christian Bale (Vice)


Actor in a Supporting Role

My Pick: Mahershala Ali (Green Book)

Being that Ali has already won a well-deserved Oscar for supporting actor in the film Moonlight, there’s absolutely no mistake about what a phenomenal actor he is. While there are many great actors like Sam Rockwell and Sam Elliott who are also up for the award, Ali has been clearing the board at award shows from the Golden Globes to the Critic’s Choice. His depiction of a jazz artist set in 1962 traveling through racist America is top notch, and easily deserving of a second Oscar.

Runner Up: Sam Rockwell (Vice)


Actress in a Leading Role

My Pick: Glenn Close (The Wife)

This was one of the hardest picks. With such great actresses like Olivia Colman and Lady Gaga, it was difficult to decide who I feel came out on top. I truly think Close’s performance in The Wife was a golden one. Being that she has already been nominated for six Oscars previous to this year, she has been long overdue for a win.

Runner Up: Olivia Colman (The Favourite)


Actress in a Supporting Role

My Pick: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)

With a lot of recurring Oscar favorites in this category, this was another pretty difficult decision. Amy Adams has had a lot of positive reception for her depiction of Lynne Cheney in Vice, but due to the fact that King has been sweeping the floor at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards for her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk, King will most likely come away with the win. If Beale Street Could Talk is one of my underrated favorites that I thought should have been in the nominations for Best Picture. Hopefully, If Beale Street Could Talk will get at least a bit of recognition with a win for Regina King.

Runner Up: Amy Adams (Vice)


Animated Feature

My Pick: Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse

While my favorite movie in this category is Isle of Dogs, Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse takes animation to the next level with its mixture of 2D detailing and 3D animation. Not only that, but the story deviates from the normal timbre of superhero movies. Miles Morales, a sweet and somewhat naïve kid who is thrust into the world of superheroes and, of course, supervillains, is a breath of fresh air in a genre that has started to take itself too seriously over the past couple of years.

Runner Up: Isle of Dogs



My Pick: Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)

This year’s nominations for cinematography are fantastic, many of these movies using ideas that were used in older cinema. However, none of these films had the stunning visuals, details, and amazing long-takes better of Roma. From the mind of Alfonso Cuaron, who was originally only going to do cinematography but last minute had to step in as director, this movie’s visuals are outstanding. Each long-take feels like a strain on your emotions that just makes this film heart wrenching in all the best ways.

Runner Up: The Favourite (Robbie Ryan)


Costume Design

My Pick: Ruth Carter (Black Panther)

This one is a pretty obvious pick. While I think Black Panther doesn’t deserve the sheer amount of nominations it has, I think this award is one that’s well deserved. Carter puts so much effort into each individual costume, calling upon hundreds of references to not only make the film as beautiful as possible, but also as authentic as possible. The clothes in Black Panther are a mix of futuristic style and traditional dress, a juxtaposition that’s difficult to pull off. Carter was, somehow, able to execute it perfectly.

Runner Up: Sandy Powell (The Favourite)



My Pick: Spike Lee (Blackkklansman)

Another easy pick. Lee’s unique directing shines brightly in Blackkklansman, a true story based in the 1970s about a black police officer infiltrating the Klu Klux Klan. While there are other fantastic contenders, like Alfonso Cuaron (Roma) and Adam McKay (Vice), I think this award easily belongs to Blackkklansman.

Runner Up: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)


Documentary (Feature)

My Pick: Free Solo

While I admit that I was not keeping up with many of these documentaries, I had heard rumors of Free Solo being a box office explosion, and I have to say, it’s really good. While I am upset that the amazing documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” was not nominated, this will be my pick for the Oscar. This documentary is an amazing depiction of climber Alex Honnold and his preparation to do a free solo climb of famed El Capitan’s 900-metre vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park.

Runner Up: RBG


Film Editing

My Pick: Barry Alexander Brown (Blackkklansman)

With many strong contenders like Hank Corwin (Vice) and John Bottman (Bohemian Rhapsody),I truly believe that Blackkklansman and Brown deserve the award for their amazing editing. The emotion and power in many scenes is translated only through cuts and sequencing. Each moment is perfectly timed, and that brings the film together beautifully.

Runner Up: Yorgos Mavropsaridis (The Favourite)


Foreign Language Film

My Pick: Roma

Being that Roma is the only movie in this category nominated for best picture, Roma obviously deserves to win best foreign film. As I said before, the film is amazing in its shot composition and writing. Everything about it tugs at the heartstrings, regardless of any language barrier.

Runner Up: Cold War


Makeup and Hairstyling

My Pick: Vice

With the amazing makeup and hairstyling of Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, and Patricia Dehaney, Vice makes you feel like every actor could be a doppelganger to their real life counterparts. Being able to make fiction into near reality is challenge enough, but Cannom, Biscoe, and Dehaney pull it off with ease.

Runner Up: Mary Queen of Scots


Music (Original Score)

My Pick: Terence Blanchard (Blackkklansman)

While I do quite enjoy the Japanese-influenced score of Isle of Dogs and the entirety of the Black Panther soundtrack, I think this another win for Blackkklansman. Blanchard does an amazing job mixing orchestral sounds with electric guitar, creating a perfect ambiance for a film with a 1970 style of rock and funk. Indicative of the fictional era its set in, Blanchard made sure the audience tapped their feet while watching.

Runner Up: Ludwig Goransson (Black Panther)


Music (Original Song)

My Pick: Shallow (A Star is Born)

It’s no surprise to see this one winning. With its major uprising in the pop genre, as well as the beautiful sounds of Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, and a guitar, I think “Shallow” deserves the Oscar.

Runner Up: All the Stars (Black Panther)


Sound Editing

My Pick: A Quiet Place

With a movie who’s plot is completely based entirely on sound, and the absence of it, this movie pays great attention to even the smallest of sounds. A shift of cloth sounds like an explosion in A Quiet Place, where a breakage of silence can mean a death sentence.

Runner Up: First Man


Sound Mixing

My Pick: A Star is Born

Despite having many huge competitors in this category like Bohemian Rhapsody, Black Panther, and Roma, I think A Star is Born has this in the bag. The entire film is based around sound and music, similar to Bohemian Rhapsody. However, what sets A Star is Born apart is its attention to perspective. Music and ambient sounds are different depending on the character being shown. The audience even gets a first-hand look at Jackson’s (Bradley Cooper) struggle with tinnitus, having a sharp ringing noise invade their senses when the camera moves to convey his experience. With this much care and attention being payed to even the smallest of details, I think A Star is Born is more than deserving of this win.

Runner Up: First Man


Visual Effects

My Pick: Avengers: Infinity War

Out of all of the movies in this category, Avengers: Infinity War is the one that has made history. While the visual effects in First Man and Ready Player One were fantastic, Avengers truly lives through its usage of visual effects. The world Avengers lives in would not exist without the help of CGI and other forms of video manipulation. Not a hard decision here.

Runner Up: First Man


Best Picture

My prediction: Blackkklansman.

Not a shocker if you have seen the whole list. With a great director, amazing story, great editing, and a killer score, I feel that this movie is the most deserving of an Oscar win. Though director Spike Lee has been known to make films that are hit or miss, he did an amazing job on the writing and directing for Blackklansman. This movie offers likeable characters that we root for til the end, and the story itself is an amazing retelling of the heroic act of a black man sneaking his way into the Klu Klux Klan to put an end to their more violent acts. The film itself is a commentary on real world racism, both of the 1970’s as well as today. Out of every movie up for the Best Picture nomination, Blackkklansman is the one that moved me the most, and I hope it wins.

Runner Up: Roma


Are you planning to watch the Oscars? Who do you think is the most likely winner for each category? Leave a comment down below or share your thoughts with us on social media @TheClarkeCrux !



by Dane Shaull

Dirty Computer: The biggest snub of the 2019 Grammys

From the get go, I will admit that I am biased. I have been a fan of Janelle Monáe since she released the song “Tightrope” in 2010. From the moment I saw her dancing across an asylum in a tuxedo, I was in love.  Through the releases of her more eclectic ArchAndroid and ElectricLady albums, I retained a deep seated respect for her and her work.

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via Rolling Stone

The 2018 release of her fifth studio album, Dirty Computer, only strengthened my love and respect for Ms. Monáe. A fusion of Afro-funk, rap, ‘90’s R&B, bubblegum pop and Prince-esque guitar riffs, Dirty Computer is a futuristic celebration of diversity. Paired with a gorgeous 48 minute visual or, as Monáe calls it, “Emotion Picture,Dirty Computer is a concept album which follows the life and rebirth of Jane 57821. Featuring hits like “Pynk”, “Make Me Feel,” and “Django Jane,” it was no surprise that Monáe earned Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best Music Video.

It was a surprise that she lost.

I hold nothing against Kacey Musgraves, the winner of this year’s award. However, I do have to question the criteria the Recording Academy are using to decide their winners. Are they looking for originality? Musicality? Creative lyricism? Because Janelle Monáe, in my book, checks every one of those boxes.

If you give Dirty Computer a listen yourself, which I highly recommend, you’ll see exactly why I’m so outraged. Not only is the album full of empowering hits that cross nearly every genre line— each and every song is filled with unmistakable heart. As a queer woman myself, songs like “Don’t Judge Me” and “Screwed” sound like anthems. The lyrics range from heartbreaking to funny, flirty, and outrageously relatable.

Past the wit, though, there is an underlying tone of seriousness and sincerity. In Monáe’s Emotion Picture, the character Zen (played by Tessa Thompson) admits at a pivotal part in the story that “People used to work so hard to be free. But we’re lucky here. All we have to do is forget.”

This single quote holds boatloads of cultural significance, especially in our current political climate when topics such as freedom and expression are highly debated.

At the end of the day, I believe that the Recording Academy avoided granting Dirty Computer Album of the Year for one reason and one reason alone: fear. The album itself is practically a love letter to progress, individuality, and independence. If I were to compare this years snub to a another famous Grammy brush-off, I’d say it was similar to the 2016 Adele vs Beyoncé debacle. People were outraged when Queen-Bey didn’t win Album of the Year for Lemonade, a stunning audio-visual masterpiece that celebrated and illustrated her experiences as a black woman in a strained relationship. Even Adele herself dedicated her acceptance speech to Beyoncé.

Not every detail fits, but the parallel is clear.

Regardless of the Recording Academy’s decision, I know in my heart that I will never find a more well-thought out, creative, and joyful album than Dirty Computer. It’s not only a collection of songs, it’s an experience— one filled with joy, hope, and above all, love. In years to come, I hope to see Janelle Monáe get the kind of recognition she deserves. After all, she’s Jane Bond, never Jane Doe.



by Mimi Ottavi

The Super Bowl was super boring


via CNN International 

I think a lot of us can agree that Super Bowl LIII wasn’t the spectacle that people were hoping for. To a lot of people in the United States, the Super Bowl signifies the biggest sporting event of the year. However, with recent details about the viewings of this year’s night of football coming to light, it’s been revealed that this year’s Super Bowl has garnered the lowest ratings in history, only pulling 98.2 million views. To put this into perspective, Super Bowl LII received 103.4 million views. That is a loss of 5.2 million views, making it one of least viewed Super Bowls since 2008.

So, why such a huge loss? Well, there are a number of factors to be taken into account, one of which being the controversy of the Rams placement in the game. On February 3rd, the night of the Super Bowl, a protest broke out in the French Quarter. It appeared that a number of New Orleans locals had felt the Saints were cheated from a spot in the game after a blown call in their match against the Rams that caused the Los Angeles team to win. To show their distaste of their team being cheated, many Saints fans flooded Decatur Street to protest the Super Bowl, leading to a massive drop of views from that area of the U.S.

But surely one town couldn’t make such a difference in views, right? Well, New Orleans wasn’t the only town to avoid the big game like the plague. Kansas City, home of the Chiefs who had lost to the Patriots, were also turned away from watching the game. Their numbers, while not as extreme, showed an 11% drop in viewership.

Finally, to put it bluntly– no one wants to see the Patriots in the Super Bowl anymore! Of course, there are a couple diehard fans that will be happy to see Tom Brady and the gang coming up the ranks annually. However, this is their third consecutive year, and this win gives them their sixth Super Bowl win overall. While many people rode the Patriots hype train around 2014, many can now reach the consensus that they have become a nuisance. No one wants to see the same team every year, let alone the same win. Viewers want to see more underdog teams, those who aren’t talked about enough. They want to see their own athletes have a chance. Hopefully, this next season will give those fans a chance to be surprised.

Overall, this Super Bowl was considered uneventful by many. With a low scoring game in a sport known for its fast-paced action and amazing plays, Super Bowl LIII just felt like a high school game. Even the half-time show and commercials were lackluster. Hopefully, the NFL will  take into account their low viewership and try to make next year’s game the spectacle fans are aching for.



Dane Shaull