Distant relationships: students and campus police

Everyone today has their own perception of the police, especially through the media’s representation of law enforcement officials. For some, when they think about police, they think about drugs, Michael Brown, or Eric Garner. Some people even think about biases that police have against certain groups.

However, the same is not true for Chatham University’s campus police. Many of the people that I have interviewed—varying in background, race, and gender—trust that the campus police do their jobs. But they do not support the distance between students and Chatham police.

“[One thing I would change about public safety] is [them] not sitting in their cars all the time,” said first-year Madison Mlinac, who is a criminal justice major and a member of Chatham’s first male basketball team.

I too agree with this statement. I see campus police riding around in their patrol cars or even sitting in their cars, and this time could be used to get to know the students and even the faculty. If their job is to protect, then why not get to know the people that they are protecting?

Asuka Kanazawa, a sophomore international student from Japan who is majoring in English, wishes to build relationships with the campus police.  

“I want to communicate with them,” she said. “It’s important, especially being [an] international student.”

Safety should definitely be a major factor for international students such as Kanazawa. These students are miles away from their homes, and Chatham and the United States and its culture are unfamiliar to them.

What we have to do is admit that there is a distance between students and campus police and try to find ways to bridge the gap between them.

In a previous meeting with the Chatham Student Government, Donald Aubrecht, Chief of Chatham’s Campus Police of four years, said, “All of the officers try to attend the sporting events, Easter egg hunts, [and other events] so that students can get to know the officers.”

This is a great way for campus police to get to know students because it lets the students know that there is a support system out there beyond their friends and peers; and also, campus police aren’t just there when something goes wrong.

I encourage all students to take advantage of campus police and get to know them especially since Chatham is a small campus. Although my mother works on campus, I still try to build relationships with other officers.

Every student I asked said that they knew Chatham’s police officers by face, but not by name. When I was in high school, this is how it started my freshman year. There were four security guards, and I didn’t get to know them until late in my sophomore year.

I ended up meeting them when I ended my friendship with a close friend at the time, which I hate to admit, because it should never take something bad happening to take advantage of the resources around you. We as students should feel obligated to have relationships with public safety because, in the end, when we need them the most, they will be there at our rescue.

The Lazy Fashionista: 8 definite DON’Ts in the fashion world

It seems like every major fashion publication has its list of “don’ts”—you can’t wear this, these colors don’t go together, people with this body type can’t wear this item of clothing. I take issue with these things; I really do.

Who are you to say that black and brown makes a frown? Or that just because I don’t have a flat stomach, I can’t wear a crop top? Or that wearing Uggs with a mini skirt is a complete faux pas?

Because of my dissent with these lists, I have decided to make my own list of “don’ts” in the fashion world.

DON’T suffer for the sake of fashion: if you can’t breathe or can’t walk, odds are, you are going to spend your whole day/night focusing on that, rather than enjoying yourself. Have fun!

DON’T wear something that makes you uncomfortable: if you know you are going to be tugging on a short skirt or high-necked top, don’t wear it! Again, if you are focusing on something bringing you discomfort rather than having a good time, it’s not worth it!

DON’T dress for a climate other than your own: look, I know that it is still 90 degrees in L.A. at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that all of us in PA should still be in shorts. Stay warm, stay cool—whatever the weather is, you should probably dress for it.

DON’T wear something that doesn’t make you feel confident: trust me, I understand the draw of wearing sweatpants every day for an entire semester—I did it, too! But the thing is, sometimes slouchy pants and ill-fitting t-shirts don’t make me feel like a rock star. But if they do for you, go for it! Find what makes you feel hot and wear the crap out of it!

DON’T wash your jeans every time you wear them: ain’t nobody got time for that.

DON’T piggyback on trends you’re not into: I get it that all of your friends may be into the hottest new trend—but that doesn’t mean you have to be! If you don’t like something or don’t want to wear it, never conform for the sake of society.

DON’T be anyone other than you: fitting in is pretty cool, but being yourself is way better! Regardless of what you wear, make sure you are expressing yourself in the best way possible.

DON’T let anyone tell you what you can and can’t wear: even me!

Foodie on the Half Shell: Party food edition

So I know I said I’d stay away from doing the whole recipe thing in my column, but I am totally breaking the rules. This is actually a public service announcement, and you all should be happy, because this had to be said.

Your party snacks suck. IF YOU EVEN HAVE SNACKS AT YOUR PARTY. Seriously people, just because you are under the age of 30 doesn’t mean you can’t have a good party with some nosh action.

It’s Halloween party season and I am here to advise you all on some easy and lovable snacks to serve at your next costume party. Don’t worry, you can still have your I.C. Light and Doritos, but a dip won’t hurt!

The best kind of dip in the world, according to me, is crab dip. Even those crazy people who “don’t like seafood” will eat crab dip if there is enough cream cheese involved. So here is my Spicy Crab Dip:

What you will need for a big party:

4 Tbsp. of butter

1 small minced red onion

2 cloves of minced garlic

2 minced jalapenos

1 ½ cups of cream

8 oz. of cream cheese cut into pieces (I prefer a light cream cheese to cut the calories)

1 ½ cups of sharp cheddar cheese

1 Tbsp. of smoked paprika

1 Tbsp. of cilantro to sprinkle on top and make it fancy

1 ½ cups of lump crab (add more if you want a very thick dip)

Salt and pepper to taste.

Alright, time to get your hands dirty. Melt the butter over medium heat then add the onion until it is translucent. Now add your garlic and jalapenos along with the smoked paprika. Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer. Now add the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Now fold in the cheddar cheese, whisking to combine. Lastly, fold in the crab, stirring for a couple more minutes until it is hot throughout. Finish with a few pinches of salt and pepper, and garnish with cilantro. This is super easy to serve if you put in a crock pot with a plate of pita chips and veggies to dip.

Hearty Vegetarian Nachos (a hit for the carnivores and herbivores alike):

1 bag of tortilla chips

1 can of black beans

1 bag of veggie crumbles cooked and seasoned with chili powder

2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese (more is always okay. Always.)

1 small red onion chopped

1 green bell pepper chopped

1 avocado chopped

Pickled jalapenos

Salsa and sour cream for daysss

This is simple. Put the chips on a cookie sheet. Put half of the beans down, half of the veggie crumbles down, half of the cheese on top. Now repeat. You should have two layers of cheesy goodness. Pop in the oven with broiler on low for about 5-8 min. Please check regularly. When it is all gooey, take it out. Spread the red onion, bell pepper, avocado, and jalapenos all over the nachos. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. I like to put big spoonfuls of salsa and sour cream right in the middle of the nachos so it easy access for dipping OR buy some ranch dressing in a squirt bottle and drizzle it all over the nachos in a fancy pattern.

To add to these delicious dishes, buy some cookies, some Doritos, and ask your bestie to bring some stuffed mushrooms and you are in business. You only need to pick one of those recipes, and you have already improved your party by 100%. Please eat responsibly.

Did you try one of these recipes out? Hashtag #FoodieOnTheHalfShell on Instagram!

Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” falls short as a sequel

Many a student has had the pleasure of having Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a part of their high school curriculum. A novel that promotes acceptance, tolerance, and persistence, it has acted as a tour-de-force for decades. However, Lee’s follow-up novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” fails to match up to the standards of her previous piece.

Initially written before “Mockingbird,” “Go Set a Watchman” was a piece thrust away for years and just recently published. It focuses in on an adult Scout, now going by Jean Louise, and the perils that follow being a supporter of civil rights in the deeply racist South. Now the edited final product succeeds in literary style and panache, but has a spotty storyline.

Acting as a sequel to her first novel, it is peculiar that Lee does not draw many ties from the prior novel. Several iconic characters, like Boo Radley and Miss Maudie Atkinson, are not even a part of the piece. The main focus of “Watchman” is Atticus Finch — and his racist tendencies. Atticus, a character who was such a champion for civil rights in “To Kill a Mockingbird” is portrayed as a crabby old white supremacist for the majority of the novel. While the focus of Jean Louise and her story of developing moral ideals stays in tune with her character, many scenes of this book are inconsistent with the characterization of Maycomb County in “Mockingbird.”

A truly disturbing chapter of the piece shows Jean Louise finding a pamphlet called “The Black Plague” and spying on her father attending an extremely racist hate speech. The Atticus Finch we have all grown to know and love as a truly objective and open-minded individual has been reduced to a Southern stereotype with little dimension. Yes, Jean Louise is the main character of the novel, but Atticus helped shape her into who she is.

Alone, “Go Set a Watchman” is beautifully written, telling the story of a young woman learning to deal with a racist neighborhood after coming back from living in New York City, but as a sequel, it is disjointed and confusing. As a fan of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I can say I was disappointed. Even though “Watchman” is a fantastically written piece, the plot had holes that did not match up to Lee’s initial goal with the books.

Why is women on currency a political issue?

    The concept of getting a woman on one of the paper bills of the U.S. Treasury has been one on the minds of many government officials for a while, and citizens have been vouching for a change.

The United States Treasury has been looking for new representatives to be the face on a crisp new ten-dollar bill, and Chatham University had the pleasure of an alumna being in the running for the position. Rachel Carson was one of the women nominated to be featured on the redesigned paper money, but she did not make the final cut for the four top contenders.

    While the concept of a Chatham graduate being on a ten-dollar bill is exciting and forward, a woman in general is a step in the right direction for those seeking feminist equality everywhere. However, the political nature of this decision is at the core of the debate. The debate was brought up at the most recent GOP Debate, and candidates appeared flustered and confused when they were asked which woman they would like to see on currency. Two candidates, Jeb Bush and John Kasich, did not even choose American citizens. Bush chose Margaret Thatcher and Kasich chose Mother Teresa. There is an obvious gap between what is feminist and what is American in today’s politics.

    GOP candidate Carly Fiorina said she would keep the currency as it is. As an audience, we cannot presume to know the thought behind her reasoning, but we can witness a woman saying something that would, in some lights, be portrayed as an anti-feminist argument. In defense of Fiorina, she is the only female Republican candidate running for President in the 2016 election, and she is often overshadowed by the more controversial candidates, such as Donald Trump. As a woman in a mainly male-dominated field, she is cast aside as a secondary character in the election season.

    Women on money is not a foreign concept for the United States, considering at points in time both Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea were on coins. Yet somehow, paper money is a more validating stance. Some women who are in the running are Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Eleanor Roosevelt, to name just a few. These women had an extreme impact on the advancement of women, and the idea of putting them on money is going to give whoever is chosen well-deserved recognition.

Still, these women are no less great if they do not make the cut. Their contribution is still important to American society.

Secretary of the the Treasury Jacob J. Lew has been posting updates on the redesign of the bill online, and younger people have created a large social media following. Follow the progress of the new ten-dollar bill at thenew10.treasury.gov.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Cooking with wine

As pretty much anyone who knows me or reads my column knows; I love food. I love to try new recipes with interesting ingredients and different methods of cooking them. I love how food tastes, and I also love how it looks. I love everything about food (other than the large amounts of calories in things that I love, like butter). I also love drinks, though. I find it really important when I am describing my passion for the edible world that I include the words “food and drink.”

I bartended for a short time in my hometown, and I loved it almost more than I love to cook. There is a different feeling you get when you put a perfect martini in front of someone rather than a perfect bowl of noodles or a perfect sandwich. There is something a little naughty and fun about the whole interaction. We know that if it’s good enough they may even have another, which has the potential to be even more wickedly fun (or not so fun for some).

I don’t enjoy alcohol just because it has the potential to intoxicate me, nor do I just enjoy food because it nourishes me. What I love is the complexity of flavors different types of drinks hold. The best part of wines, spirits, and beer is the fact that they don’t always need to be drank to be enjoyed—they can also be cooked with! If you are someone who does not drink, this article is still for you because if you cook with alcoholic beverages, the alcohol itself is cooked out of it. Here are some really fun ways to incorporate your favorite adult beverage into your food.

Beer mussels: The ocean taste of mussels pairs well with just about any kind of beer. Want to dump some Pabst Blue Ribbon in the pot? Go for it! Seriously! You can also go for your favorite IPA to give the broth an awesome punch. Sauté garlic and onion in a pot and then dump in some water, a can or two of beer (depending on the amount of mussels), and maybe some tomato sauce and chili flakes to make it really delicious. Dump a bag or two of mussels in the pot and cover it with a lid. Cook until all of the mussels are open.

Red wine poached pears: This is perfect for a fancy looking dessert that is super simple. Place skinned whole pears in a pot and cover with red wine and a little sugar. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. For a little extra flavor, add a couple cloves and an orange peel. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Vodka tomato cream sauce: This is my family’s favorite sauce for their spaghetti, and it is so simple. Sautee some olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes in a pan till fragrant. Add about a half a cup of vodka in the pan (change depending on how much pasta and how much of the vodka you want to taste). A half cup of vodka is enough for sauce to serve about six people. Add the red sauce immediately, and let simmer for five to 10 minutes. At the end, add enough cream to make the sauce a dark pink color. Put the sauce on top of your favorite type of pasta.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Easter brunch

I feel as though the topic of family holidays is something we find genuine and entertaining, because we can all relate on a certain level. Like don’t we all have an Uncle Jim? And an Aunt Kim? I vote those to be the most common uncle and aunt names, ever. And isn’t there always that weird tension between your parents and their siblings? Because whose fault is it that we haven’t gotten together in two years? “It’s Uncle Harry’s fault! He never takes the time to drive to our house. We always go to his house and everything we eat is out of a plastic tub!” says my mom, even though she will see him, give big hugs, and blame herself for the lack of contact.

I want to talk about my Easter 2015, because there is a lot of good food and a lot of good food metaphors about my family’s dynamic during the holidays. My mom’s side is made of Sicilians and Poles, which is an awesome mix of food cultures. But for our holidays, the Polish food is what we stick with. My Grandma was 100 percent Polish, and pierogies, kielbasa, and sauerkraut were all staples during either Christmas and/or Easter.

My mom’s side is full of pretty traditional people. Their interests range from canoeing, boy scouts, baking, military, and the impeachment of our dear president. My dad’s side on the other hand…let’s put it this way: they all had a little too much fun in the 60’s and now there’s only two survivors.

This Easter is busy because my nephew is getting baptized. Which is a huge deal because we are Polish and Italian, and God is still a very concrete idea of a man in the sky who blesses little babies so they aren’t stuck in purgatory if they die…actually my immediate family is Episcopalian and we see the ole purg for what it is…another Catholic excuse not to go to hell.

This Easter we are putting on a Baptismal brunch. I am excited about the menu because I put it together. We are having fresh and smoked kielbasa. The smoked kind you can get anywhere, while fresh, Easter kielbasa is harder to find. Stanley’s Market in Toledo is great for the real deal. You can go there yourself to get it fresh, or you can order it online and receive it frozen. For the pierogies, I have made two new recipes for fillings. One includes a smoked salmon recipe and the other is a smoked paprika, potato, and cheese pierogi. This may cause a bit of controversy in a house full of Polish people, though.

My Uncle “Sam” is comparable to a plain cheese and potato pierogi. He is traditional, and has no interest in health benefits. I can already imagine him making sideways comments about my smoked salmon, red onion, capers, dill, and cream cheese filled pierogies. He will laugh and say they can’t even be called pierogies, and he’ll look around eager for someone to agree. No Uncle Sam, this is the best pierogi recipe in the world and your idea of a pierogi needs salt and there is too much chewy dough. From there we have a toasted almond torte–which I guess is a pretty awesome Pittsburgh treat–and roasted rainbow carrots.

I love my family. My cousins are pretty much cooler versions of their parents. Some of them have cute babies now and are smart and attractive. The best thing in the world is drinking beer with your cousins and remembering the times when we were children and peed in weird places, collected salamanders, misplaced aggression, and had impromptu dance parties. All parts of my family are completely different and really we have very little in common, other than food and love. But when it comes right down to it, what else is there?

Little Red Riding Vogue: An introduction to the wig theory

As someone who’s interested in fashion, I can’t overlook all of the different possibilities for fashion—all of the places where I can perfect my look. If I’m really trying to put something together, every detail matters. If I’m invested in a look, my accessories, hair, and makeup will communicate the look as well.

In high school I discovered the wonders of hair dye. My hair has been brown, black, a natural red, orange, fire-engine red, black with blond on the bottom, black with blue on the bottom, magenta, hot pink, blond, purple. And with every color I found a new piece of myself. It was like finishing a paint-by-number puzzle. As you get the puzzle together and paint the pieces, you can see more clearly what the picture is.

I developed what I called “The Wig Theory”—the idea that if I changed my hair, I could be someone else, the way and actress becomes a different character with different hair and makeup styling. It was so freeing and exhilarating. And as someone who changes their mind constantly, I found myself changing my hair on a monthly basis—if not weekly.

Unfortunately, as many of my fellow hair dye junkies can attest, there is a breaking point. If you dye and bleach your hair too much, you’ll kill it. When I had it blond, I had bleached it too quickly—leaving my hair falling out in chunks at the end. It felt like straw and it had to go.

I went back to a salon for the first time in about four years and got my hair trimmed into a short bob. I had it dyed back to my natural dark brown and got extensions. And I waited for it to grow back strong and healthy.

Fast forward a year and my hair had grown long enough that I could cut off the ends and have completely healthy virgin hair. It was so soft I could hardly believe it was my hair—the hair I’d grown used to being so rough and ugly. I never wanted to dye it again.

But soon, I found temptation nagging me and giving my bangs a trim wasn’t quite enough. I was losing my mind when I stumbled upon a fashion blog on Tumblr. The blogger wore different colored contacts and wigs every day to make each outfit unique. The incomprehensible amount of combinations knocked me off my feet. I was in love.

So I started doing research. I found places to get good, but cheap, colored contacts and circle lenses. I ordered a few high quality wigs and a bulk of cheap ones. When I posted a picture of myself suddenly having long auburn hair and blue eyes, no one even questioned it—they just all loved my new look. I felt empowered and excited.

I started changing it up more often—blond with green eyes, black and white hair with blue eyes, silver hair with brown eyes. Some people would ask about the thought process behind it all, but I never encountered anyone judging me to my face.

And my morning routine was so quick! I never had to worry about having a bad hair day! I would pull together an outfit, decide which color hair would look best with that color scheme, and coordinate my contacts with my makeup.

I was just starting out at Chatham, and no doubt I was confusing people during orientation, but people thought it was fun. They’d ask to see my wigs and try them on. And eventually, my natural hair grew longer and that was enough for me. I packed up my wigs and contacts and settled for brown hair and brown eyes. I was becoming more of a professional and it felt like a more professional look. Eventually I tried a subtle ombré and loved that as well.

But I was started to feel stuffy and boring—and getting a septum piercing just wasn’t enough. My tattoo artist told me her hair stylist was a wizard with color and I started looking up colorful hair. I settled on a red ombré and had it done over Spring Break.

Now here’s the deal. I’m sure people might look at the color of my hair and think I’m less professional than I really am. I have piercings, tattoos, and bright red hair. In some people’s minds, that means I’m not a professional. But I’ll never understand that. I would never judge someone’s skills by the color of their skin—so why would someone judge me by the color of my hair?

To be fair, no one has approached me about my hair yet, but this isn’t just about me. As the last print version of this column this year, I’m asking that we all look at the people around us and appreciate the way they look. Let us love each other’s scars and blemishes. Let us not judge people for their weight or their height. Let us not judge a book by its cover. I promise not to judge you if you can return the favor.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Five reasons why I won’t go gluten-free

If you read my column, you know that a lot of my focus is on health. I try out most new fad diets to see what I think about them, and some of them are great while others aren’t so much. I understand that we are all trying to figure out what the key to health and fitness is—I am too! I also know that the true answer is a well- rounded diet with exercise. But I would like to make one thing clear: gluten is a part of a well-rounded diet. I think flour products are some of the most divine edibles to be put on this earth. When I heard that a very large group of people were saying that gluten was evil…well I just about freaked out.

Gluten has been my friend for twenty-one years. It has never betrayed me, and I couldn’t believe that so many people had negative feelings toward it. I felt like I didn’t even know some of my best friends anymore. They were saying things like “Olivia, have you tried this quinoa pasta?” or “Yummm, cauliflower crusted pizza is better than that gluten infested stuff that the others eat.” I didn’t know what to do. I was hurt, confused, and angry. Most of all, I knew that I had to stick up for gluten. Here are five huge reasons why gluten is the best thing ever.

  1. Pizza. There is nothing that can replace a good pizza pie. Whether you’re in the mood for a crisp crust or a soft crust, gluten is there is for you. This whole idea of using other vessels like vegetables is just a joke. We all know it isn’t the same. Liking cauliflower crust doesn’t make people think you are hip. It makes us think that your judgment is poor.
  2. Spaghetti. Sofia Loren said it herself: “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.” Now that is a woman after my own heart. Spaghetti makes you strong, smart, and beautiful. I have no facts to back that up, but I really believe it, and so should you guys.
  3. It goes with butter really well. Almost anything that contains gluten tastes amazing with a nice big smear of butter. You can make it even better by making a shallot and herb butter. Or spread some delicious stinky cheese on a crisp slice of bread.
  4. It makes you happy. Have you ever noticed that people who eat gluten seem to be so happy? Like me! I am looking forward to this weekend because I am going to eat spaghetti and garlic bread. You know the people who “don’t eat gluten” want it, though, and have their guilty pleasures. Me? I don’t like to limit myself to pretty much anything. Yes, I’m a pescetarian for the most part, but bacon is love.
  5. Sandwiches. There is just nothing like spicy capicola with provolone, lettuce, tomato, hot peppers, and some oil and vinegar between a freshly baked baguette. I am drooling just thinking about it.

So if you actually have celiac disease, then this probably doesn’t apply to you and you probably shouldn’t indulge if it will hurt you. Those of you who are pretending just to be cool, please stop. I want to eat pizza with my friends and not have to remember that they are sensitive to the food of gods. Psh.

What SAE fraternity and the Oklahoma City Bomber have in common

There is nothing so great as watching someone truly awful get what they deserve (occasionally with a side helping of getting skewered by the court of public opinion). If there is justice in the world, the skewering will be swift, merciless, and as enduring as the results of a glitter bomb. Unfortunately the caveat exists that, as awful as someone is, there will be someone just as awful who is willing and able to help them try to get away from the punishments they so richly deserve.

A few weeks ago, a video surfaced on youtube of two members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma leading their fratmates in a chant that was racist, offensive, and in no way shape or form acceptable conduct. Public opinion rose up and the frat was eventually banned from campus, with the two alleged ringleaders being expelled. One of the ringleaders did give a rather half-baked apology that makes it sound like he would have done it, and would continue to do it, had he not been caught.

If the story ended there, it would be a good story. The good parts of this story include the national chapter of the SAE disavowing all knowledge and ties to the Oklahoma chapter and taking their charter away into the bargain. The excellent version of this story (in a perfect world), would end with the disbanding of the fraternity and academic suspension and/or expulsion for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, the fraternity has hired a lawyer in an attempt to reverse the judgment rendered on them. And the lawyer, Stephen Jones, is very good at what he does. The man has a history of representing clients who are awful people, the most notable example being Timothy McVeigh (the Oklahoma City Bomber).

Stephen Jones is someone you hope looks like a mustache-twirling villain, cackling and rubbing his hands together. Instead, he looks rather normal and a bit like that one grandparent you don’t talk about unless it’s to groan. His current repertoire of excuses for why the men of the fraternity acted the way they did include the usual finger-pointers (helpfully supplied by outside sources): rap and hip-hop are evil and corrupted the minds of pure, innocent young men. Naturally, they are not to blame for anything they said or did. A song called ‘Waka Flocka’ is taking most of the blame, despite being an injured party in this case.

The parents of one of the men expelled from the university say that he is a good boy and that he will live with the consequences of his actions. Unfortunately, society being what it is, he and his fellow expellee will eventually be remembered by the press as misguided young men who made some bad choices and were unjustly punished by a society that didn’t understand them. Sadly, this is not a new thing: young white men are caught being racist, called out on it, and the young men will be defended by the press as misguided youths corrupted by the new trifecta: rap, hip-hop, and violent video games.

If there is justice in the world, Stephen Jones’s push to get the fraternity reinstated and the expulsions overturned will fail.