Dean of Students Office Offers New Resource Page
Pregnant and Parenting Students Are Provided with Resources
by Darren Squillace ’20
Last week, the Office of the Dean of Students added a resource page to the Providence College website directed at pregnant and parenting students and their partners. The purpose of this page, as quoted from the website, is “for any of our students or partners who find themselves pregnant or parenting during their time of studies,” and to support students who may be facing fear and anxiety if they find themselves or their partners pregnant.
Assistant Dean of Students Tiffany Gaffney and Campus Minister Sister Anne Frances Klein, O.P., both sat down to discuss what resources and options are available to a PC student who becomes pregnant. Both recognized that there are many rumors as to how the school handles pregnancy, several of which are untrue. The main myth is that if a female student discovers she is pregnant and discloses it to the school, she will either be forced or politely asked to withdraw as a student at the College. Not only did Gaffney and Sr. Anne Frances clarify that this belief among some is patently false, but that it is illegal.
Sr. Anne Frances went on to explain that the school cannot do this legally and how they would not attempt to under any circumstances. “Not only would doing that be illegal under Title IX, but it would be morally wrong of us to do to a student in a time of need,” she said. “It is a time where we may be called to a higher virtue and to show love to someone going through such a difficult time.”
They both emphasized the importance of debunking this myth. Gaffney said, “If there is one thing we hope comes out of this article, I hope it is that students who become faced with this situation, or know a friend that does, know that they will not face any punitive actions by us and that we are here to guide and help them along the journey and assist them in any way needed.”
They also made it clear to point out that not only would a pregnant student not be asked to leave, but that they also would not lose any scholarship privileges. On-campus housing is not revoked when a student discloses she is pregnant, either. Both Sr. Anne Frances and Gaffney stated that they would work with the students to try to find alternative living options for when the baby is born, as the dorms on campus are not equipped with the resources needed to raise a newborn child.
After meeting with Sr. Anne Frances and Gaffney, they made it clear that not only is such a situation handled positively by PC’s administration, but that as a community both faculty and students are called to embrace a student going through this difficult time with love. Also, they emphasized that it is important to make students aware of all the resources they have, including the ones on campus such as the Student Health Center and the Personal Counseling Center.
The quote from Pope Francis that is on the main page for pregnant and parenting students summarizes how the Catholic community is called to respond to instances of pregnancy on campus: “We are speaking of is an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next” (Laudato Si, 226). The new resource page can be found at https://dean-of-students.providence.edu/pregnant-parenting/
Diversity and Inclusion Committee Puts on Second Teach-In
The College Discusses Ways to Become a Beloved Community
by Darren Squillace ’19
Students at Providence College, whether freshmen or seniors, were all once faced with the difficult and imposing decision during high school of choosing a school at which the would spend their next four years. Many students, while excited to have made the decision to become future Friars, were still nervous about if they had made the right decision or not, how they would adapt to living in a totally new and different college atmosphere, and how they would integrate ourselves into the PC community. The theme at the Teach-In that was held on Monday is that here at PC, students are more than just parts of a larger community, they are truly part of one big “Friar Family.”
The teach-in was the second of such events PC has hosted this year, as the one held prior to Monday had been highly productive. The event is part of a broader initiative set forth by Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King at the College’s convocation for her father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which called for a “beloved community.” In what turned out to be a larger crowd than the previous event, the teach-in hosted a variety of not only student’s, but faculty and administration as well. Students sat with a mix of both student and administrators.
The goal of this event was to address possible shortcomings that our PC community has faced in trying to foster both a diverse and inclusive community. There were a variety of different issues brought up by each table. One of the most notable issues was the fact that many felt that as students entering the College as freshmen perhaps there could have been more programs or activities to help get students engaged with this message of inclusion. There were countless examples, including Moore Hall which had been discussed at length at one table, where there has potentially been a lapse in communication between students and as to what these resources signify within the PC community.
The lack of understanding that these programs and resources are actually meant to foster more inclusion among members of our community was surprising to the administrators that students interacted with. While there was obviously significant progress made towards reaching the goal of a beloved community set by Bernice King, it was also evident that there is still much work to be done by all members and groups on campus to reach a complete state of unity.
Student Congress Sponsors Kindness Tree on Campus
As Part of Beloved Community Campaign, Students are Asked to Be Kind
by Darren Squillace ’19
From now until Friday, March 16, you may notice a tree in the Slavin Atrium filled with dozens of paper leaves. This tree is not just for decoration; it is the Kindness Tree. The Kindness Tree is a collaborative effort between Student Congress and the Diversity and Inclusion Implementation Committee to help all students at PC feel both welcomed and respected here on campus. All of the leaves on the tree are filled with messages from students ranging from random acts of kindness, things they are thankful for, or just happy thoughts.
While it may be seen as simply a nice gesture to some, the tree is really part of a much bigger project that both Congress and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee are devoted to. Luciana Borrelli ’20, member of the Diversity and Inclusion Commitee, explained that there has been growing concern in light of recent events that have made some students here at PC feel unaccepted.
This tree, spearheaded by Borrelli and Sabrina Guilbeault ’18, is meant to spread kindness and love to all students, especially those who feel underrepresented or less included than others. The tree is also part of an initiative set forth by Dr. Bernice A. King in her speech on campus this past January advocating for a “beloved community.” More specifically, Dr. King’s vision calls for communities that embrace non-violence and unconditional love. The kindness tree is part of the school’s mission to accomplishing this goal, according to Borrelli.
A main concern, especially among those involved in Institutional Diversity, is that there is still no official executive position for implementing concrete policies of diversity and inclusion. According to Borelli, that lack of executive leadership will soon be eliminated. “We are currently in the process of looking for candidates to fill the executive position and will address diversity-related issues along with Father Shanley and Father Sicard,” she said.
Once this position is filled, there will be more initiatives like the Kindness Tree in order to put Dr. King’s words into action. As for the tree itself, it will be moved from Slavin Atrium after March 16 into its permanent home in Moore Hall. Until then, anyone who wishes to can stop by the tree this week to write a message on a leaf with a kind message meant for all fellow Friars to see.
Complications Arise at Last Home Basketball Game
Melted Ice Underneath Court Causes Game to be Postponed
by Darren Squillace ’19
Mother Nature and sports have not always had the best of relationships. When we think about weather conditions altering or getting in the way of a game, we usually think of delays and postponements due to rain during baseball, or the frigid and icy conditions of a December football game. What does not ever come to mind is a basketball game being cancelled due to weather. How could a sport played in an indoor arena ever be cancelled? Last Wednesday, in Friartown, we got the answer.
Fans booed and jeered as the announcement came over the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center PA system that the Men’s Basketball game versus Seton Hall University would be postponed until further notice due to wet floor conditions. There were just over 13 minutes left to play, which left fans wondering how such a situation was even possible. Head Athletic Director Bob Driscoll brought light to the situation by answering some questions.
As many had believed, Driscoll clarified that the leaking was due to condensation from the ice below the court. It was an unseasonably warm day, which caused more condensation than usual. Still, many of us are aware that like the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center, arenas like the TD Garden also house both a basketball and hockey team and have never had a situation quite like this arise.
As Driscoll explained, the difference between the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center and a professional-level arena is that many of them have dehumidification systems that turn on when the temperature rises to a certain level.
The Dunkin‘ Donuts Center does not have this amenity, and as a result, there needed to be different measures taken to try and prevent what happened. For example, the indoor temperature was set at 59°F to combat the warmer weather outside before being set back to its normal temperature as fans began to arrive at the arena.
While the effort to prevent the leaking from happening was not successful, Driscoll mentioned that this important event has prompted the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center to take action to prevent future events like this. A statement released by the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center states, “We have met with building management and mechanical engineers today to discuss plans to improve court conditions and prevent this from happening again. Our capital-improvement plan already includes a number of measures that should address the problem, including the installation in the coming months of a fully-automated energy management system.”
One of the other obvious questions to be answered after this game got postponed was, what happens to everyone who bought their tickets? The solution, according to Driscoll, was to credit season ticket holders their money back for their tickets towards a game next season. While this solution did not please many fans, Driscoll believed it was the only rational thing to do with just one regular season game left for the Friars.
At a typical weekday home game like the one against Seton Hall last week, Driscoll noted that they typically take in around $175,000 in ticket sales. Much of that will be going back to the fans as a result of this mishap, so this was a more than generous offer, according to Driscoll.
As the Head Athletic Director of a passionate fanbase, Driscoll certainly heard his share of complaints regarding both the ticket situation and the fact that non-student fans were not allowed to watch the conclusion of the game at Alumni Hall the following afternoon. As the Head Athletic Director for over 15 years, Driscoll said that this criticism is something he has not only become used to but even come to embrace.
The passionate fans, he believes, make his job more exciting and helps our team bring as much energy as they do to the court every night. Driscoll, a passionate fan himself, ended his discussion of the event with a mighty “GO FRIARS!”
The College Seeks to Fill New Security Position
Search Committee Made for New Associate VP Position
by Darren Squillace ’19
Over the past few weeks, a search process has been conducted to replace the longtime head of our campus security in Major John Leyden. While Major Leyden’s experience here on the campus will be sorely missed, a search committee was constructed to interview three highly-qualified potential candidates to serve as the new chief of campus public safety.
As many students are aware due to the influx of emails sent out regarding this important position, each candidate was given an opportunity to meet with faculty, staff, and students and present their qualifications in an open session, on-campus interview. Elizabeth Walsh, assistant vice president for human resources, was responsible for keeping everyone in the loop about this ongoing process through email. While the new position of associate vice president and cheif of campus safety, will be similar to the previous position Major Leyden filled, it will also include the responsibility of transitioning of the department into a hybrid system which will include both campus police as well as security.
Walsh gave some insight into how this committee and search process began. “The search committee comprised of faculty, administrative staff, and student representatives began the search process in late August or early September,” said Walsh.
“The process involved the review of 91 resumes, initial phone screenings, and in person interviews with the committee,” Walsh continued. The pool was narrowed down to three candidates who were brought to campus to interview with various campus constituents over a two-day period.”
The search committee to fulfill the task of fielding the lengthy number of candidates encompassed seven individuals, Walsh included, that serve a variety of different roles here at PC. The members of the committee include executive president of Student Congress Phionna-Cayola Claude ’18, Lt. John Dunbar, crime prevention and campus relations officer, Tierra Marshall, the office of institutional diversity, Maureen Outlaw associate professor of sociology, Steven Sears, dean of students and associate vice president of student affairs, and Gregory Waldron, senior vice president of Institutional Advancement.
Each of the three candidates Walsh refers to come from a variety of different backgrounds regarding campus security at their respective universities.
The first interviewee in January was Edward Rodriguez, who currently serves as chief of public safety and emergency management at Quinnipiac University. Later that week, the second of three candidates, Paul Shanley, was interviewed. Shanley serves as the deputy chief of police at Brown University. The last of the three interviews took place the following week for Stephanie Hill. Hill is the director of public safety and chief of police at Central State University in Wiberforce, Ohio. Between the three candidates, they have over 90 years of experience related to and around law enforcement.
According to Walsh, now that the interviews have concluded, and everyone has been given the opportunity to evaluate each candidate extensively, the search to fill Major Leyden’s position is in its final stages and will be filled in the coming weeks. The board of trustees will review each candidate and their applications thoroughly before putting the decision to a vote.
Regardless of who is ultimately chosen, each of the three candidates hopes to lead the charge in several advancements and enhancements to campus security to ensure that safety remains one of the top priorities here on campus.
Bursting the PC Bubble: The Trump Presidency Turns One
Trump Delivers His First State of the Union Address
by Darren Squillace ’19
President Trump gave his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 30. Reading off of a teleprompter, Trump’s speech was concise in comparison to his usual off-the-cuff speeches that viewers have grown accustomed to. Instead of trying to divide those on both ends of the political spectrum, Trump tried to rally Americans together with unifying statements such as, “So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong.”
In regards to the content of the speech itself, it has received a mixed bag of reviews. According to a poll conducted by CNN, Trump’s speech received the least positive reactions in recent history, with 48 percent of viewers giving his speech a “very positive” review.
Throughout his speech, Trump included both heartwarming and inspirational stories that showed America and its people in the best light possible. Some of these stories included that of Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy who started an initiative when he realized there were no American flags over the graves of veterans on Memorial Day and raised over 40,000 flags as a salute to veterans.
When discussing the external threats Americans face from rogue regimes, Trump told the story of Ji Seong-ho, a North Korean defector who escaped the dictatorship on wooden crutches after injuring his legs in a train accident that led to the amputation of his left leg without the use of anesthesia.
These stories, regardless of partisanship or ideological agenda, received applause from both sides of the aisle. However, when Trump got to the meat of his speech, discussing issues facing the United States, the audience in the Chambers of Congress became completely divided.
Some of the main issues Trump focused his speech on were the economy, infrastructure, and immigration. Trump touted several recent economic successes since he has taken office, including approximately 2.4 million jobs that have been created since his election victory, the investment in and building of distribution plants in the U.S. by corporations such as Apple and Fiat-Chrysler, and the lowest African-American and Hispanic-American unemployment rates in history.
He attributed many of these successes to the GOP tax bill that was recently passed, which has lowered the corporate tax rate to 20 percent and lowered the taxes of many individuals yet has been unfavorably perceived by the majority of Americans according to most polls.
The one issue that Trump really tried extending an olive branch of unity towards Democrats in was immigration. To the dissent of his supporters, Trump proposed a four-pillar plan for immigration in exchange for the permanent citizenship of 1.8 million “dreamers” who are here in the U.S. under the provisions of DACA.
Trump’s proposed barter on immigration and his speech in general was universally criticized by Democrats, as many saw his reference to MS-13 gangs as well as other crimes committed by illegal immigrants as a cruel overgeneralization of a vast majority of people who genuinely wish to become contributing Americans. Trump’s speech reinforced his stance on many controversial issues, including unemployment and immigration. With Republicans holding the Senate at 51-49, the effect the State of the Union address will have on the upcoming mid-term elections remains unknown.
Bursting the PC Bubble: The Government Shutdown
Why the U.S. Government Shutdown, and What it Means to You
by Darren Squillace ’19
For the first time in nearly five years, the United States federal government shut down when the clock struck midnight on Friday evening, and did not re-open until Monday morning. The shutdown came as a result of senators failing to come to an agreement on a deal to fund the government that was passed through the House of Representatives. Immediately after the shutdown began, the discussion around Capitol Hill immediately shifted to whose fault it was. President Trump was quick to blame Democrats for the shutdown.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement about the shutdown as it was occurring, stating, “We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators.” The Democrats, on the other hand, were quick to retaliate and lay blame upon the majority party in Congress. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer went as far as to label it “the Trump shutdown.”
The shutdown, however, turned out to be briefer than the one we experienced in 2013 that revolved around the budget of the country. By Monday night, President Trump signed a bill officially ending the weekend shutdown that established a plan to fund the government for the next three weeks. Yet the bill that was ultimately passed by both chambers of Congress was not just an agreement on how to properly fund the government.
The shutdown was also a fight over the negotiations that are to take place over immigration in the coming weeks, specifically Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), as Sanders had suggested. The bill required a bit of deal-making, as Republicans assured Democrats that legislation would be put on the Senate floor in the immediate future that will address issues surrounding immigration and border security. Trump immediately took to Twitter, stating, “Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown. Now I want a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats, and DACA, but especially for our Great Military and Border Security. Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table!”
While the congressional vote temporarily resolved the issue of funding, neither side of the debate is out of the woods as it pertains to this issue or those pertaining to immigration. The DACA program alone has allowed approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrant children to live here in the United States.
How both Democrats and Republicans move forward and handle the key issues that triggered the shutdown could be crucial to how the 2018 midterm elections will play out for both sides, as the Republicans currently hold a one-seat advantage over the Democrats in the Senate. At the center of it all will be President Trump, who will be forced to put his deal-making skills to the test.
Shrine is Dedicated in St. Dominic Chapel
by Darren Squillace ’19
Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to an elderly man named Juan Diego in the form of the Virgin Mary. It was 1531, and not only was Juan Diego elderly, he was also a peasant laborer. This is not the first person many would call upon to carry a message to the bishop asking him to erect a church. This is what Our Lady of Guadalupe did, however, as not only did she look past the social status of Juan Diego, but chose him to carry out her will due to her belief in the good and humility of her people.
When Juan Diego initially went to his local bishop to relay what he had witnessed, the bishop naturally had difficulty believing the peasant’s story and required that he have the spirit give a sign of her presence. When Juan Diego’s uncle came close to death due to illness, Our Lady of Guadalupe cured him along with giving him the sign the hesitant bishop and his advisors had required.
When Diego had returned to the bishop for the third time, he again told him and his advisors what had occurred while opening his tilma what revealed flowers along with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The temple that was ultimately built and remains to the day is one of the most notable sites of religious pilgrimage in the world today.
When asked about the newly erected shrine in St. Dominic Chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Father Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P., explained the purpose and stated that the shrine will fulfill. “The new Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Dominic Chapel is a space to pray and ask Our Lady of Guadalupe to offer our prayers to God,” Fr. Peter Martyr said. “The image, which was donated to the College, is a reproduction of the miraculous tilma in Mexico City and shows her maternal care not only for the people of Mexico but also for all of the Americas.”
The shrine, like Our Lady of Guadalupe herself, serves as a representation of both God’s and her own love of all human beings, not only those who are perceived to be righteous. Anyone who wishes to visit the shrine and offer up prayers to Our Lady may feel free to do so at any time.
“There are prayer cards available in the Shrine with some history, info, and prayers in English and Spanish, and it’s a quiet place to sit and pray. So please come by for a beautiful experience of prayer on campus.”
Featured Friar: Brandon Piris ’19
by Darren Squillace ’19
The relationship between a man and his barber is a very delicate one, one that is built on accrued trust. Knowing that your barber knows exactly how to style your hair and cut it just the way you like it is always a great feeling. And when a man finally finds that one barber that he likes, he will make sure to go back to that barber again. When Brandon Piris ’19 came to Providence College, he quickly realized that there was a glaring need that had to be fulfilled here on campus.
“Most people get their hair cut before school, around Aug. 25. But after that, they’re going to need a cut for when they go back home Columbus Day weekend. I lived in Guzman freshman year and kids started asking me to do their hair for them because it was convenient.”
Piris noted that many students do not have the time or the extra funds available to book an appointment with a barber, pay for the Uber to the barber shop and back, and pay for the haircut itself. Not only is convenience a big factor that draws students to Piris, but his skills as a barber quickly spread through word of mouth as well.
When Piris was asked where and how he started cutting hair, he was eager to answer. “This is always my favorite question. I pretty much have a family of barbers; my dad and uncle have a shop down in Florida and I started there as one of the sweepers. I learned a lot from them and by watching tutorials on YouTube,” he said.
Piris also said that he started cutting hair for his friends for fun during his sophomore year of high school, which allowed him to gain experience. When I asked him what he plans to do with his highly sought-after talent after PC, Piris surprisingly said he will likely stop cutting hair after he finishes school.
“I really just do this as a hobby. If I wanted to do this as a career I would have gone to school for it, but it’s just something I do for fun,” he said. As a business management major, Piris said a main takeaway he hopes to get from his experience are connections and friendships that he can parlay into a future career in business.
For anyone who is either tired of the hassle and expenses involved with going to a barber off campus or simply wishing to experience Piris’ haircutting services for themselves, you can follow his Instagram page, @pcfadefactory, and book an appointment!
Bursting the PC Bubble: Indictments
by Darren Squillace ’19
Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is being indicted on felony counts by Robert Mueller, who was recently appointed this past year by the Justice Department to be special counsel in the investigation into potential Russian hacking and interference during the last presidential election.
While this seems damning to Trump and his victorious campaign on the surface, as Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager for several months, the exact ramifications from this indictment are unclear to many.
Though the investigation was originally intended to inquire specifically into Russian interference in the election and their communications with the Trump campaign, it was later expanded to investigate corruption within Trump’s campaign circle as well as any other potential foreign ties. Many believe that Manafort was fired from his position as Trump’s campaign manager because the interactions with foreign governments became too glaring to ignore.
This past week Special Counsel Mueller brought up Manafort on 12 counts, including conspiracy and money laundering charges. More specifically, Manafort is being accused of laudering money to political parties in Ukraine while failing to register as a foreign agent. These are not charges that relate to Russia or the potential meddling that occurred to rig the election in favor of Trump.
Court documents state that Manafort and an associate of his were both lobbying for and laundering money to a pro-Russian and Putin allied political party in Ukraine. It is believed that as much as $75 million dollars in payments were laundered to the party.
By not registering as foreign agents when making these transactions, Manafort illegally neglected the Foreign Agents Registrations Act, known as FARA. FARA is an act set forth by the Justice Department that requires people to register with them in order to serve as agents to foreign governments. On top of these charges, Manafort and his associate are accused of laundering money from their Ukrainian business into U.S. bank accounts and did not report these funneled-in funds to the Internal Revenue Service. Mueller has also accused them of making false statements about their business dealings to multiple government entities such as the State Department.
While this is not the smoking gun discovery that many Democrats are hoping to get out of these investigations relating to Russia and their potential meddling in the election and ties to the Trump campaign, these charges are in fact very real and very significant. They could also lead to investigations into other members of Trump’s entourage, both former and current, that could lead to findings similar to the ones that have been discovered regarding Manafort. The federal judge on this case has issued a gag order.