World News Brief: What’s Happening in Syria?

by The Cowl Editor on April 19, 2018

National and Global News

by Gabriella Pisano ’18

News Editor

Photo Courtesy of

For the past seven years, Syria has been in the midst of a civil war. With different groups attempting to take control of the government, other countries are getting involved in the conflict.

On Saturday, April 7, a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, reportedly killed at least 70 people. After a joint inquiry by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons, the attack was attributed to the Syrian government. Both the Syrian government and Russia denied reports of the attack, claiming that all reports are fabricated.

In response to the Douma attack, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France fired 105 missiles to destroy chemical weapons factories in Syria on Saturday, April 14. This marked the biggest military attack by western powers against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. According to Pentagon officials, at least one building was leveled and Syria’s chemical weapons program was set back for years.

The missiles targeted three areas that were believed to be centers of chemical weapons manufacturing. The three areas include a scientific research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs and a storage facility and command post near Homs. After the missile strike, President Trump tweeted, “A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”

There have been mixed reactions to the actions taken by the U.S., the UK, and France. According to USA Today, “Russia’s U.S. embassy released a statement warning that the airstrikes will ‘not be left without consequences.’ It said that ‘all responsibility’ rests with Washington, London, and Paris.”

President Trump explained the reasoning behind the attack stating, “The purpose of our actions tonight [was] to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons.”

Leen Hamdan, a university student who lives in Bazreh, the district in Damascus where one of the bombed research centers was located, said, “Of course, I am against this strike because it’s an aggression against our country. It’s just an excuse like what happened in Iraq. No country has the right to intervene in other countries.”

There has been growing concern surrounding the legal justification of the military strikes. Moscow’s ambassador accused the U.S. of striking a sovereign country, to which Kelly Currie, the acting duty representative of the U.S., responded with an accusation against Russia claiming that they distract from the atrocities the Assad regime commits.

PC Travels to Fátima for Pilgrimage During Spring Break

by The Cowl Editor on March 15, 2018


Campus Ministry Sponsors First Ever Pilgrimage to Portugal

by Gabriella Pisano ’18

News Editor

Photo Courtesy Victoria D’Agostino ’20

In 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared to three children, Lúcia Santos, Francisco Marto, and Jacinta Marto in Fátima, Portugal. During her visits with the children, Mary told them of trials that the world would face. The children spread word of the Blessed Mother’s visits, making the site a center of pilgrimage.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady of Fátima, Providence College organized a pilgrimage over spring break. Twenty PC students along with a few staff members went on the pilgrimage to Fátima. This pilgrimage gave students a unique opportunity to spend their spring break deepening their relationships with God and visiting a site where the Blessed Mother appeared. Jeanne Conroy ’19 said, “We had the opportunity to pray here [in Fátima], and it was an incredibly touching experience being able to connect with our Blessed Mother in this way.”

While in Portugal, the students were able to spend time in Fátima, Nazaré, Óbidos, and Lisbon. Many of those who went agreed that the time spent in Fátima was the most meaningful time during the trip as it allowed them to reflect on their faith. Victoria D’Agostino ’20 said, “It was so incredible to be able to pray and reflect in the places where Mary appeared, and I grew closer to all the other students who went as well.”

In Fátima, the students visited various sites of the shrine including a small, open glass chapel with a statue of Mary where she appeared, a basilica at the site where the three children were buried, a more modern church, and a remote olive grove that was the sight of some of the Marian apparitions. John Duffy ’19 commented on the olive grove, stating, “This place was one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I have ever been to. It was the rainy season in Portugal while we were there, and the weather was extremely unsettled. This just added to the beauty of the site.”

Conroy explained how every night in Fátima, a rosary is said at the Shrine, which is the site of five out of the six Marian apparitions. “Because there are so many Pilgrims coming to Fátima from around the world, each decade of the Rosary is in a different language and is led by a pilgrim who speaks that language,” said Conroy. “It was so beautiful listening to all of the different languages being prayed as it meant that the message of Fátima has been heard all around the world.”

Many of the students who went on the pilgrimage felt that the experience was educational both historically and spiritually. Duffy emphasized how the experience helped him come to terms with some of the most difficult parts of the Catholic faith. “One of the beautiful messages of Fátima is that we can make sense of all of the suffering and sacrifice that we experience in our lives by using it to bring love to someone else who needs it,” said Duffy. “There are so many people here at PC and elsewhere, who struggle so much to feel loved and to be vulnerable. But our faith teaches us that it is only through suffering and through struggle that we can learn how to love, and that we can bring love to people who need it.”

While the trip was full of serious, prayerful moments, Duffy reminisced about a joyful moment when the group was at a restaurant that happened to have a piano. The group took the opportunity to come together and sing.

The experiences of the students who went on the pilgrimage were no doubt unique, but they were each touched by God. Duffy emphasized how he felt so blessed to be able to go to Fátima with some of his closest friends. “To be able to visibly witness the graces given to both me and to every person on this trip was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Duffy.

BOP Puts on Successful Night in Peterson

by The Cowl Editor on March 1, 2018


Over 2,500 Students Attend the Second Black and White Ball

by Gabriella Pisano ’18

News Editor

Nicholas Crewnshaw ’20/The Cowl

With shimmering strands of lights streaming overhead, black and white curtains all around, and the cityscape of Providence in the background, Providence College’s second Black and White Ball commenced. Nearly 2,500 students flocked to the Peterson Recreation Center on Friday, February 23 to attend what is proving to be one of the Board of Programmers most popular events.

Last year, in honor of the centennial year, BOP along with other major clubs and organizations on campus, planned the first Black and White Ball. The event was especially unique not only because it was a celebration of the College’s centennial year, but also because it welcomed students of all grades.

Jamie Fugere ’18, a member of BOP’s Black and White Ball planning committee, said, “Since last year it was such a big event, we were nervous that people wouldn’t want to come this year either thinking it would be a repeat of last year or that it wouldn’t be as extravagant.” The worries of BOP were put to rest when approximately 2,500 tickets were sold, nearly the same amount as last year’s 2,600. While the Spring Concert is usually the BOP’s biggest event, with an average of 2,200 tickets sold, Black and White Ball’s popularity is making it one of BOP’s featured events.

“We’ve gotten so much positive feedback from students,” said Fugere. “It’s one of those dances that students stay at for longer than the single class dances. It’s special to invite the entire campus together in one place because we don’t do that a lot.”

Members of the Board of Programmers decided on the theme, “A Night in the City of Providence.” The transformation of Peterson into the city of Providence was accomplished by tying in key aspects of the city into the decorations. From the strands of lights resembling those on Westminster Street to the tapestry of the State House, the beauty of the city in which the College resides was highlighted.

“The best part about the dance was spending time with my friends from different clubs and organizations who weren’t from my grade,” said Allison Schmidt ’19. “The decorations were beautiful, the music was great, and it was a fun celebration to be together with amazing people.”

In addition to the decorations, the food set this dance apart from all of the others. A notable difference from last year was that the event fell on a Friday during Lent, meaning that meat was unable to be served. Fugere noted that when members of the planning committee first realized this they considered receiving a pardon from the bishop in order to serve meat.

Knowing that they wanted food that guests could quickly grab and go, they realized that there were a large variety of meatless options that fit into this category including soft pretzels, mozzarella sticks, fish sticks, and pizza.

Fugere noted that one of the top reactions from the event was positive feedback on the band, Sugarbabies. Playing hit songs including Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” and throwbacks such as blink-182’s “All The Small Things,” Sugarbabies had high energy that students felt powered the positive atmosphere of the night.

Kayla Krongel ’18 said, “It was great getting to dance with my friends to some of our favorite songs. The live band provided a lot of good vibes on Friday night.”

Fugere said that her favorite part of the event is the very beginning when students enter. “Watching people walk in and seeing the excitement on their faces is the best,” said Fugere. “We get to see the culmination of all of our hard work and that makes it all worth it.”

Featured Friar: Ingrid Brugnoli-Ensin

by The Cowl Editor on March 1, 2018


Girl Power: Meet the President of Women Will and The Vagina Monologues

by Gabriella Pisano ’18

News Editor

Photo Courtesy of Ingrid Brugnoli-Ensin ’18

Ingrid Brugnoli-Ensin ’18 has found her home at Providence College in what some might consider the least acknowledged areas of the College. During her freshman year, Brugnoli-Ensin joined Women Will, a club that focuses on women’s and gender issues. Women Will quickly became Brugnoli-Ensin’s favorite thing she was involved in at PC. “It’s shaped my friendships, my academic and political interests, and virtually my entire experience at PC,” she said.

Brugnoli-Ensin explained how through Women Will co-sponsoring events with other clubs and organizations, she was able to meet great people and become even more involved. “Women Will introduced me to The Vagina Monologues and the Women’s Studies department,” she said. “It’s given me a voice when it sometimes feels like I don’t have one at PC.”

Brugnoli-Ensin is a health policy and management and women’s studies double major. Many of her extracurricular activities deal with issues relating to her areas of study. At the end of her freshman year, Brugnoli-Ensin was elected onto the executive board of Women Will and she has served as the club’s president for the past two years. Similarly, she joined a group of students who produced Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues, her first year at PC and has been serving on the executive board of this organization since her sophomore year.

In addition to Brugnoli-Ensin’s involvement in Women Will and The Vagina Monologues, she has been a mentor for the Liberal Arts Honors Program. It was through the Honors Program that she met two of The Vagina Monologues’ executive board members.

With The Vagina Monologues, playwright Ensler started a global movement, V-DAY, to end violence against women and girls around the globe. Brugnoli-Ensin explained, “The monologues are everything from shocking to humorous to offensive, but they’re all real experiences of women.” This year, 22 female PC students put on productions at the Columbus Theatre on Wednesday, February 21 and Saturday, February 25.

Even though 13 years ago The Vagina Monologues was banned from being performed on campus, students continue to put on the production and fundraise to combat violence against women. All proceeds from the production go to Sojourner House, a resource advocacy center for victims of domestic abuse.

Brugnoli-Ensin explained that while the ban makes it difficult to recruit members and advertise on campus, it has also made those participating in the play a stronger force. “We become a tight-knit group who rely on the support of each other and allies rather than the administration,” said Brugnoli-Ensin.

Ensler directly responded to the ban of the play in an open letter to Father Brian Shanley, O.P., defending many aspects of the show. In her letter, Ensler writes, “[TVM] are at times shocking, heartbreaking, and even humorous. They are not politically correct; they are real. In places, they are offensive. Violence against women and girls should be offensive.” Brugnoli-Ensin stressed that this what student performers are aiming to bring attention to. Even though posters and flyers for the production that are put up on campus are taken down within hours, students who continue to promote the event and bring a good audience together.

Stephanie Clark ’18 has been a part of The Vagina Monologues with Brugnoli-Ensin for the past two years. Clark enjoyed working to put on this production with a group of women who are so passionate about women’s and gender issues.

Brugnoli-Ensin believes that The Vagina Monologues are so impactful because of the diverse representation within the play. “I think virtually every woman can connect with some part of The Vagina Monologues. The monologues tell the stories of queer woman, transgender woman, older woman, young girls, homeless woman, etc. It sheds light onto so many experiences of being a woman.”

Each year, Ensler adds a “spotlight” to The Vagina Monologues emphasized Brugnoli-Ensin. “I loved this years update of ‘Over It,’” she said. “Rather than tiptoeing around the issues, Eve called out sexual abusers, assaulters, harassers, and exploiters.”

When discussing how The Vagina Monologues shaped her PC experience, Brugnoli-Ensin said, “I have met incredible women and found amazing allies. I have learned how to speak up for myself and defend my beliefs. But also, it has given me a home away from home at a school that often silences opposing views.”

Bursting the PC Bubble: Valentine’s Day Shootings

by The Cowl Editor on February 15, 2018

National and Global News

Shooting at NSA Headquarters

by Brian Garvey ’20

News Staff

NSA Headquarters
Photo Courtesy

On Wednesday, February 14, a vehicle attempted to force its way into the front entrance of the National Security Agency Headquarters in Maryland. After stopping the vehicle, shots were fired, but no injuries or fatalities related to firearms were reported. Three men were taken into custody, with the driver currently in the hospital due to injuries sustained during the crashing of the car.

An NSA police officer and a civilian onlooker were injured as well, but no serious injuries have been reported. The NSA is a national-level security agency and a wing of the U.S. Department of Defense. Specializing in global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, the NSA has been riddled with political controversy over the tracking and storing of “metadata,” or the personal information of millions of citizens.

The FBI special agent in charge, Gordon Johnson, said, “We don’t believe there is a nexus to terrorism, we believe this was an isolated incident. We are still trying to figure out why they were there. We’re still in the fact-collecting business right now.” The driver and two other men have not had their identities made public, and the two uninjured men are currently under questioning with the FBI. At this point in time, the FBI has said that this is not an act of terrorism, but rather an isolated incident. Law enforcement sources told news sources that the suspects were not “targeting” the NSA or Fort Meade. It is unclear whether they were running from local police, but they ended up at the gate, crashed through it, and then tried to exit the gate. The incident shut down MD 32 in both directions at Canine Road during rush hour. Anne Arundel County fire personnel assisted the Fort Meade Fire Department and cleared the scene around 8:45 a.m. Maryland State Highway Administration reopened the road before 9 a.m. This is not the first time an incident like this has occurred at the NSA front gate. In May 2015, two people attempted to drive a stolen SUV through the front gate, resulting in one being shot and killed and the other injured.

According to the White House, President Donald Trump has been “briefed on the shooting” at Fort Meade. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected,” said spokeswoman Lindsay Walters in a statement. “We will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

Shooting at a Florida High School

by Gabriella Pisano ’18

News Editor

Parents search for their children in the chaos
Photo Courtesy of NBC News

A shooting at a South Florida high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, marks the 17th school shooting in the United States in 2018. While the story is still developing, as of Wednesday night many were injured and at least 17 were killed.

After having a fire drill earlier in the morning, the fire alarm was again pulled at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 14 when shots were fired at the high school in Parkland, Florida. Just last year, Parkland was named the safest city in the United States.

With a student body of around 3,000, the school was immediately evacuated. Some students and faculty locked themselves in classrooms while some left the building. The SWAT team and emergency responders rushed to the scene. Parents gathered outside the school waiting to hear from their children.

Fourteen-year-old Hannah Siren told a reporter, ”The people next door to us must have not locked their door. They all got shot.”

Nineteen-year-old suspect, Nicolas de Jesus Cruz is in custody. A former student of the high school, Cruz’s motive is still unknown. Jim Gard, a former teacher of Cruz, told the Miami Herald, ”There were problems with him last year threatening a student, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”

Black and White Ball: Part Two

by The Cowl Editor on January 25, 2018


by Gabriella Pisano ’18

News Editor

Last year marked Providence College’s centennial year. To celebrate 100 years of PC, the College held many events, with perhaps the most memorable being the Black and White Ball.

On Friday, February 17, 2017, Peterson Recreation Center was transformed for the ball, marking the first dance open to all PC students in a long while. With ceiling to floor drapes and curtains, chandeliers, and lights, Peterson was unrecognizable. Because the event was such a success, another Black and White Ball for all students is happening.

The Board of Programmers (BOP) executive board and Sharon Hay, director of student activities and cultural programming, have been excitedly planning the event. Hay said, “It was wonderful to see the success of last year’s Black & White Ball which brought nearly 2,500 students together. Thanks to the generosity of Student Affairs, it’s exciting to be working with BOP to bring a second Black & White Ball to the campus. Plans are well underway to transform Peterson Center – it will be a night to remember. Be sure to get your ticket when they go on sale February 1st.

Elizabeth Jancsy ’18, president of BOP, said, “One of the things I loved about the Black and White Ball last year was how inclusive it was. The ball welcomed faculty, staff, and all PC students. To see Peterson transformed into a beautiful ballroom for everyone to come together is amazing. We want to make it a tradition every year at PC.”

This year’s Black and White Ball, which has an estimated budget of $35 thousand, will be held on Friday, February 23. Tickets will be available to all PC students for $15.

While last year’s ball was celebrating 100 years of PC, this year’s ball will be a celebration of the College that students call home. “The Ball is a celebration of all of the students of Providence College coming together and celebrate PC as a whole,” said Jancsy.


This year’s Black and White Ball, which has an estimated budget of $35 thousand, will be held on Friday, February 23. Tickets will be available to all PC students for $15.

While last year’s ball was celebrating 100 years of PC, this year’s ball will be a celebration of the College that students call home. “The Ball is a celebration of all of the students of Providence College coming together and celebrate PC as a whole,” said Jancsy.

Nicole Murphy ’18 expressed her excitement about the ball. “I was abroad last year when the Black and White Ball happened. I’m so excited that it’s happening again so I’ll be able to take part in it,” said Murphy. “It’s nice to have an all-class dance. I think it increases community amongst the student body.”

The theme of the Black and White Ball of 2017 was the Friar colors of black and white. This year, the theme is the A Night in the City of Providence. Elements from the city of Providence will be incorporated into the event.

From the Providence State House to the food you can find on Thayer Street and Federal Hill, the ball will call attendees’ attention to the beauty of the city the College is surrounded by.

BOP and Hay began discussing the idea of having another Black and White Ball in the beginning of fall semester. Jancsy explained that the decorations, food, drink, and music will be on a larger scale than single-grade dances.

“A lot of people were blown away by the look of Peterson last year. People loved the idea of dressing up and being at an event celebrating PC,” said Jancsy. “The event was more elegant than past PC dances, and we’re hoping to recreate that atmosphere where people feel transported to a new place while still keeping it fresh and new.”

The ball will have food, a beer garden, and a live band. While last year’s entertainment included a live band and a DJ, the BOP Black and White Ball planning commit-tee decided they wanted to create an elegant aesthetic they think students will appreciate in a large-scale event.

The ball will be reminiscent of last year’s Black and White Ball, but Jancsy emphasized that the event will be unique and different. BOP put a great deal of thought into the planning of the layout of the area. Instead of the two beer gardens that were at last year’s ball, there will be one larger beer garden with multiple bars with one for beer and another for wine and specialty drinks. Jancsy explained that they want to make it a destination for everyone 21+ while still keeping the event fun for everyone to mingle.

“I hope students are excited to re-experience last year, but I want people to come with an open mind of what the new year can hold. The fact that last year was such a success makes us want to build up this even more and make it an even bigger success,” said Jancsy.

Janscy explained that BOP strives to make students feel welcome and accepted. “Having an event of this scale for everyone is so exciting. BOP wants to create an environment for students to get together with friends and meet new people and Black and White Ball accomplished this,” exclaimed Jancsy.

Featured Friars: Student Leaders in NOLA

by The Cowl Editor on January 18, 2018


by Gabriella Pisano ’18

Co-News Editor

Over Winter break, 14 Providence College students traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA), on the NOLA Immersion trip. The service-immersion program is sponsored by Campus Ministry. The purpose of the program is said to be “to cultivate, through active service and the lens of faith, a sense of solidarity with women and men living on the margins.”

The trip to New Orleans took place from Wednesday, January 3 to Wednesday, January 10. While there, the PC students participated in service activities, community bonding, and site-seeing. During the week, students split into three groups and worked with different organizations such as the St. Bernard Project, the Harry Tompson Center, Greenlight New Orleans, and the Lower Ninth Ward Village.

To prepare for the trip, during the fall semester, students met weekly to learn more about New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, and the other people going on the trip. Students studied different aspects of New Orleans culture including food, art, and music.

PC student Tom Nee ’18, who took part in the NOLA Immersion, said, “New Orleans is like its own country. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There are places that look like Katrina just happened, but it is filled with such hope from the energy of the people.”

Describing the atmosphere of New Orleans, Nee told a story of an art studio he visited while on the trip. A piece of art in the studio, which was full of graffiti art, had a prominent quote, “Baptized when the levee broke.” Nee stated, “To me, that art and quote described the community of New Orleans. There is a personality of perseverance and hope.”

Nee’s favorite part of the trip was a mass at St. Joan of Arc Church. “It was a Catholic mass deeply entrenched in the African American Gospel community,” said Nee. He noted how welcoming everyone was and how they were charismatic in their faith.

Rob Lesch ’20 said, “my favorite part of the trip was interacting with the people of New Orleans. They are so kind, friendly, and inviting in every possible way. They always cared to introduce themselves and learn your name, even if you were never going to see them again.” Lesch said that when working with one of the organizations they changed old light bulbs in people’s homes to energy efficient ones. He noted that those whose homes they went to were so inviting and loving.

The NOLA Immersion information page on the PC website states, “The NOLA Immersion is both a general response to the Gospel call to do justice and a specific response to the reality of post-Katrina New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA). The NOLA Immersion has at its core a commitment to the dignity of the human person, lived out by accompanying our neighbors in the journey toward justice.” While service plays a large part in the program, those who have taken part in the program stressed the impact of experiencing the community of New Orleans.

“Immersing yourself in the culture allows you to learn about how to truly act as a community,” said Josh Santos ’20. “The people there welcome you into their community with such hospitality. It is amazing to see the vibrant community that remains despite the hardships faced.”

Santos explained that by rotating the days in which they visited service sites, they were able to meet so many different people and hear their unique stories. He emphasized the importance of keeping your mind and heart open and not being afraid to get out of your comfort zone.

Reflecting on his experience in New Orleans, Lesch said, “We talked to so many people and learned so many different things about them, their culture, and their problems. I left New Orleans with a new mindset that there is a lot of change that is needed in this world, but that there are a lot of people willing to dedicate their lives to solve them.”

Shooting at the Providence Place Mall

by The Cowl Editor on January 18, 2018


by Gabriella Pisano ‘18

Co News Editor

Photo Courtesy of Tony Pacitti

While Friar fans filled the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Monday, January 15 to watch the Men’s Basketball team beat Butler University, a shooting took place in the parking garage of the Providence Place Mall. The mall and surrounding areas such as the Veterans Memorial Auditorium and the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel were all placed on lockdown.

19-year-old Leonard Liriano of Cranston, Rhode Island was the only victim of what police say was a targeted shooting. Liriano was shot in the leg. His injuries are not considered life threatening.

Surveillance videos show a fight taking place outside of Footlocker shortly before the shooting occurred. The fight took place between two groups of kids, prompting the police to search for up to 10 suspects.

Hours after the shooting, police arrested a suspect, a 17-year-old male. He was charged with conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon. Surveillance videos from the mall provided the police with the license plate number of the suspect’s car that was seen leaving the garage after the shooting.

The suspect, whose name is not being released due to his age, was ordered to be released on home confinement. Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements Jr. said that other arrests related to the incident are possible. The investigation is ongoing, and the Chief did not rule out gang-related activity. The pretrial hearing where the suspect is due back in court is to take place on Feb. 13.

Jorge Elorza, mayor of Providence, responded to the shooting saying, “The city is not only a safe city, but it’s a much safer city in the past couple of years than it has been in our history. I’ve mentioned homicide rates in 2016, lowest it’s been in 30 years. Shooting rates are down 29 percent over a five-year average. Burglaries are down in the five-year average, about 30 percent. But there’s no question, Providence is not only a safe city but it’s the safest it’s been in a very, very long time.”

The FriarALERT system was not used on Monday when the shooting occurred.

Over winter break, the FriarALERT system, which is used to notify members of the campus community when immediate action is necessary, was tested. Those using the FriarALERT system received three messages indicating a test of the system was taking place.

Last semester on Nov. 9, 2017 the FriarALERT system was used to notify faculty and students that shots were fired near Providence Place Mall. The alert said to avoid I-95 and Rt. 10 near the mall.

The Emergency Management Office was not available to comment as to why the FriarALERT was not utilzed on Monday.


Opportunities for New Student Leaders

by The Cowl Editor on November 30, 2017


Orientation and Residence Life Applications are Now Available

by Gabriella Pisano  ’18

Assistant News Editor

Photo Courtesy of the Office of OTL

With two of the three application deadlines for admission into Providence College past, the  class of 2022 is coming together. As the first semester of the 2017-2018 academic year comes to an end, PC is already beginning to prepare for this incoming class. Applications for positions on the Orientation and Residence Life staffs are now available for students.

While the Orientation program is continually evolving to create the best orientation experience for new students, the Office of Orientation, Transitions, and Leadership is planning on keeping the logistical structure of the 2018 Orientation staff similar to that of the 2017 Orientation staff.

As in the past year, a first year hall RA will be paired with a team of two orientation leaders. Leslie Heller, director of orientation, transition, and leadership, explained that this gives RAs of first year halls an opportunity to connect with the first year students they will be working with throughout the school year. The RAs are grouped with students from their hall as well as students from either their brother or sister hall.

Heller discussed how these positions, while requiring dedication and hardwork, are rewarding. She emphasized that leadership skills are obtained from being a part of the planning and execution of orientation. Among the benefits are development of leadership, problem solving, and communication skills. In addition, these positions can act as stepping-stones to other leadership positions. Heller said, “The biggest benefit is having a lot of fun. It’s also meaningful for students to mentor other students and make those connections. We always say being a part of orientation staff means you’re going to make more than 100 friends.”

Jacqueline Michels ’19, a member of the Operations Team for 2017 New Student Orientation, emphasized how orientation connected her with other students. “During the semester I spend a lot of time with the people I’m involved in clubs and classes with. Orientation was fun because I met people who are involved in other clubs who I don’t normally cross paths with during the semester. Orientation was a fun way to meet new people and learn more about the school,” said Michels.

Members of the Orientation and Resident Assistant Staff are required to move in seven days earlier than the new students. These days of training prepare students on the staff to fulfill their duties. “During the training, we cover everything from what the program will look like to how to respond to issues new students will be facing when coming to school,” said Heller.

Heller emphasized that the staff learns about all of the resources the Campus has to offer. It is the hope that knowledge of these resources will be utilized not only by the new students in their Orientation groups or in their Residence Halls, but by the staff members themselves.

Orientation Leader Allison Schmidt ’19 said, “Orientation training was tons of fun. I was a little apprehensive coming into it becuase I did not know many people, but I can definitely say I left that week of training with very close friends. They are some of the best people I have met in Friartown.”

Orientation staff alone consists of over 100 positions. The Office of Orientation, Transitions, and Leadership is currently in the process of interviewing for the five available Orientation Coordinator positions. The Office plans on hiring 78 Orientation Leaders for the fall program, 12 Operation Team Members, and 16 Orientation Leaders for the June Advising Days.

The first part of the application process is available online. To apply for any position, students are required to complete the joint application for Orientation and Resident Assistant Staff. In addition to the application, applicants must have a staff or faculty member fill out the online recommendation form. Returning staff members are not required to obtain a recommendation. Students who have only attended PC for one semester, meaning primarily first year students, can receive a recommendation from someone unaffiliated with PC such as a high school teacher or coach.

Heller said, “This is a great opportunity that students sometimes overlook. They might think they don’t fit the team and they doubt their qualifications, but I urge everyone to apply.”

Applications can be found online at: and are due Friday, December 8, by 4:30 p.m.

Controversial Photo Sparks Discussion

by The Cowl Editor on November 2, 2017


Photo courtesy of

By Gabriella Pisano ’18

Assistant News Editor

Late at night on Wednesday, October 25, a photo was sent around and posted on the “story” of a Providence College student’s Snapchat. The photo was of a male Providence College student, dressed in baggy clothing, a backwards baseball hat, fake dreadlocks, with gold chains around his neck, sunglasses on his face, and a grill in his mouth. The photo included a caption containing a racial slur.

Following the photo being posted, many students reacted by sharing the photo on social media platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter, along with comments expressing their disapproval of the racism portrayed in the photo. Many of the posts included the hashtag, “#PCbreakthesilence,” calling for people to speak out when injustice is observed. The photo soon went viral.

As the photo continued to spread, the College released its first official statement on Thursday afternoon in an email to the campus community from Kristine Goodwin, vice president of student affairs, and Father Kenneth Sicard, O.P., executive vice president. The email explained that the “inappropriate, offensive photo and caption including a racist slur” was reported to Residence Life and Public Safety and was under investigation.

Later on Thursday, students were invited to attend a meeting at 8:30 p.m. in ’64 Hall, in which the student in the photo would engage in conversation and share his side of the story with those in attendance.​Information about the forum was not communicated in any official way, but instead through word of mouth and group messages. While the forum had over 300 members of the PC community in attendance, some students expressed regret that they were unable to attend that it was not more highly publicized.


Students attending the event grabbed a seat from stacks of chairs, sat anywhere in ’64 Hall, and listened to the conversation about the incident. Steven Sears, dean of students, welcomed everyone and asked that everyone be present and remain respectful. Sears explained that it was the student’s desire to address the PC community in person.

The subject of the photo was then given the microphone. He stated that he had dressed up as rapper Lil Wayne. He explained that he had not realized how the costume could be perceived as an offensive act of cultural appropriation. He apologized for any offense he caused, explaining that that was not his intent. Addressing the caption that was included on the photo, he said that he had no knowledge that the caption was added to the photo until hours later. He went on to clarify that the caption, which appeared in quotes, was in fact not a phrase that was said.

Whispers broke out, and students questioned who wrote the caption and why they were not present. Dean Sears addressed this issue stating that the individual was identified and it was up to them to come forward and address the community. The individual responsible for the racial slur will be adjudicated through the Office of Community Standards.

The meeting then turned into an open forum, in which students were given the opportunity to express their feelings. Many students expressed their anger and hurt over the photo, yet each person who spoke thanked the subject of the photo for talking about the incident.

One student observed that while anger turned towards the individual responsible for writing the caption, the incident says something about the PC community. This student expressed frustration with administration’s slow integration of the demands that were made two years ago, including orientation programs addressing issues of diversity and inclusion.

The conversation, which was student-led, morphed into a platform in which students were sharing thoughts about racial bias on campus. The atmosphere remained respectful and receptive. While there was some disagreement seen through shaking heads and questioning glances, students remained receptive to the opinions of others.

Many students expressed that while the incident was unfortunate, it serves as a learning experience. One student commented on the high attendance of the forum, stating that a positive outcome of the incident is that a diverse group of students attended the event.

The following day, Father Brian Shanley, O.P., president of PC, wrote an email to the campus community explaining the events that occurred the previous night. He also mentioned that he met with a small group of student leaders “to seek their input as to how we best learn from this incident and move forward.” As a result of the meeting, the idea of a campus-wide teach-in was settled upon. Fr. Shanley said that this will take some time to put together, and students will be updated as things move forward.