Feminism For All

by jmccoy3


Opinion


Feminism For All

Negligent Obedience Towards the Patriarchal System Benefits No Gender

Madeline Morkin ’22 

Feminism is not strictly for women. However, misconstrued idealities have long suggested that feminism exists solely for the benefit of women. In reality, the feminist movement advocates for equality among all genders and the inclusion of every individual. 

While the patriarchal system has wrongly gendered women to be soft, domestic, and male-dependent, this system has also unfairly assumed the roles of men, limiting what men can do, feel, and be. The patriarchy harshly devalues women’s abilities and identities in this male-dominant society. It also restricts men from assuming roles, behaviors, and identities which deviate from these narrow-minded assumptions of what it should look like to be a man. While the system may seemingly lift male-identified persons into more powerful statuses, it also wrongly forces them into generalized identities. 

The feminist movement focuses on striving to develop a society in which no individual is limited based on gender. Despite this, men may find it difficult to displace themselves from the patriarchy because it seems to routinely benefit them. This is not fully the case. 

Men do benefit the most from the patriarchy, and many of them happen to be passive in their acceptance to dominance. Being passive is no excuse and it does not erase men’s oppression of women whether they mean to do this or not. If men can embrace the feminist movement’s true purpose, they could feel liberated, empowered, and more freely individual in their existence as well.

By being passive to the patriarchy and avoiding better treatment of women, men are negligently degrading themselves to the statistics—of sexual assault and violence against women, of male demoralization towards women in the workplace, and of numerically quantifying men into groups which oppress the female gender.

Men being negligent and thinking they are not a part of the problem is truly a part of the female struggle itself. It is not enough to consider yourself apart from these negative statistics, because men cannot simply distinguish themselves from the patriarchal experience without passively supporting male domination. The feminist movement is for everyone, regardless of gender, and it seeks to liberate every person. Think about the mothers, sisters, and women who have strongly influenced your own existence, and consider the benefits that come with standing together in unruled individuality and equality. 

Do not be “man” enough to fear being a male feminist.   

 

Have Your Chocolate and Eat It, Too

by jmccoy3


Opinion


Have Your Chocolate and Eat It, Too

Valentine’s Day Can Be Sweet, Single or Taken

by Madeline Morkin ’22

Valentine’s Day does not have to mean doomsday for those not in a relationship. While the holiday emanates love—often in the form of romantic relationships—visions of interlocked hands over a fancy dinner reservation, pink roses gifted at front doors, and chocolate covered strawberries ribboned sweetly in heart-shaped boxes should not be symbols of love that evoke feelings of jealousy or anger for those who find themselves single around the holiday. 

Of course, Feb. 14 can be difficult for those struggling with personal perceptions of love, any inferiority experienced or exposed to in romantic relationships, and past traumas which may have scarred the potential for a tenderness towards the mere concept of love. Being single and being happy for those who are not on Valentine’s Day is within reach and cause for celebration itself. 

As college students, we are encircled by an extremely concentrated age group. For four years, many college students live directly amongst those that they relate to closest in age. So, it can be easy to feel subservient when observing other young adults seemingly succeed in areas where one might not, and this can be heightened on days like Valentine’s Day when it becomes explicitly transparent and public how many people are involved in these romantic relationships. 

This is not cause for concern though. From the time students enter college to when they graduate, they are constantly finding themselves in the friends they choose, the classes and fields they study, and the people they allow to enter and remain in their lives. Unlike being at home, parents and guardians have much less of a say on what goes on and with whom during college life. So, there is this new and exciting ability to understand one’s own personal needs and what expectations they have from others while they continue to discover themselves apart from the people, relationships, and experiences which have all influenced each person’s identity. 

Recognizing one’s own strengths and how one has changed as an individual during these years can be exceptionally instrumental in the formation of future lasting relationships, whether these happen to be romantic or not. By examining relationships outside of one’s own in observing friends, roommates, and classmates’ lives, people can also better understand themselves. By doing so, individuals begin to better appreciate what they want for themselves. That is not to say people should judge or criticize the relationships that they would not choose for themselves. Every person is entitled to find support, love, and happiness where it comes naturally to them, and everyone will find these in different people. 

So, being single gives a special opportunity to recognize how those people closest to us have found a sort of unique happiness in their own relationships.  If Valentine’s Day seems to trigger feelings of displeasure or dissatisfaction in oneself, it is beneficial to reform those negative feelings into those of confidence and potential for the future of their own relationships. 

While people may seem to be coupled up in every direction, it is true that these same couples were formed by two people who were once living as single individuals themselves. This is the exact reason as to why days like Valentine’s Day should excite feelings of hope in a future where growth has brought someone into a position in which they can entirely and comfortably be themselves in a relationship where both their strengths and faults are continuously improved in the company of someone else. 

Find contentment in your coupled up friends even if you might not happen to be in a relationship personally. No matter what our romantic lives appear to be at the moment, every person is constantly maturing and finding growth as an individual which will affect every future relationship, and that is more than enough to appreciate and love this Valentine’s Day.

 

Tangents & Tirades

by The Cowl Editor


Opinion


Develop Your Global and Local Citizenship, At PC!

by Olivia Bretzman ’22

Languages can connect people on a level unlike any other. When attempting to speak another’s language, although one may feel silly, the effort means the world to the native speaker. Communication and respect for another’s culture in a world of chaos and disruption can unite two people.

 For this exact reason, amongst many others, Providence College students should take a language class in a formal, academic environment while they still can. The language department at PC offers a plethora of opportunities and intro-level classes in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese. 

Practically speaking, students benefit tremendously from the ability to understand and speak another language, helping them in their future career, studying abroad, and beyond. Many languages can also help in courses that tie in language components or even require a bit more knowledge on the roots of words and phrases. 

However, each of these language-based courses can do so much more than teach diction and grammar. They broaden one’s perspective of the world around them. This includes learning about cultural norms, traditions and values, and current events in countries where the learned language is spoken. This new perspective even allows one to explore their future on a deeper level—perhaps after taking a class, one will want to add a minor or major!

However one views their purpose for taking a language class, and no matter what level one is at, languages are truly keys that open doors to the broader world and community. 

 

Sadie Hawkins was a Genius

by Madeline Morkin ’22

Too often girls wait around hoping to receive a text, call, or conversation instead of taking action into their own hands and reaching out to someone they admire themselves. The reality is that all of this waiting and wishing is a huge time waster when it comes to forming meaningful and healthy relationships. 

Unavoidably, there is fear and stress that comes with reaching out first. The potential harm or hurt emotions that can occur from contacting someone first can also be helpful to avoid wasting more time with a person who does not reciprocate those same emotions. 

Nobody enjoys being brushed-off, especially if they think so highly and optimistically about a potential future friendship or relationship with that person. But is it really better to submissively give someone else control of an entire relationship before it has even begun? No. It entirely disregards your own thoughts and intentions, while also unfairly places expectations on  the other individual—who may be worried about reaching out themselves—to potentially work on this relationship alone.

So what’s the worst that can happen? Maybe they do not respond to your text or perhaps this person explains they are not interested in further developing your relationship. Ouch! Wouldn’t you rather be aware of this information instead of spending more time internally dreaming up that disinterested individual into an impossible fantasy? It is not easy to do, but if it is truly meant to be, reaching out first will not discontinue the future of that relationship and might even expedite its progression.

Reach out, respond in a timely manner, get rejected sometimes, and move on to someone who is actually willing to reciprocate equal interest. 

 

Don’t Break your Bank on Dresses

by Emily Ball ’22

One of the big excitements of senior year at Providence College is all the fun formal events that the school plans. With multiple formal dances, like Black & White Ball, Senior Ring Weekend, and Senior Week, there are many events that require formal or semi-formal attire. 

For girls, it seems like the only option is to buy a brand-new dress for each event. But this path is not the best option as it costs a lot in terms of monetary and environmental factors. 

Some girls argue that it is important to have a new dress for each event, which justifies spending money on dress after dress. But, this problem can easily be solved without spending the money by sharing dresses with friends, floormates, or roommates. 

A good quality dress generally starts around $40-$50, not including the price of shipping. By sharing old dresses with friends, you can mitigate the financial burden that these formal events may put on you. You can still wear a dress that you have not worn yet if you borrow it from a friend. 

Further, many formal dresses are designed for short-term ownership, which is bad for the environment because the chemicals in the dye from clothing can cause environmental issues. By sharing dresses instead of purchasing multiple new dresses, we are actually helping the environment as well as our bank accounts. 

Although there is a glamorous excitement in purchasing a brand new cocktail or semi-formal dress, there is just as much excitement and benefit in borrowing a cute dress that has been gently used from a friend. 

 

Women Wanted: $10,000 Reward

by The Cowl Editor


Opinion


Women Wanted: $10,000 Reward

Texas Senate Bill 8 Sets a Dangerous New Precedent

 

By Julia McCoy ’22 & Madeline Morkin ’22

 

Texas Senate Bill 8 came into effect on Sept. 1, 2021 and quickly drew headlines as one of the most restrictive “heartbeat bills” the country has ever seen. This bill’s draconian assertions far exceed the traditional abortion debates that we often discuss. Going beyond just defining life at the detection of a heartbeat, this bill seeks to encourage vigilantism, hatred against, and criminalization of women and those who support them in their endeavours to have an abortion. 

The prohibition of a woman to terminate a pregnancy after just six weeks becomes an issue when considering that even a birth control pill taken flawlessly and consistently will still inevitably fail 1-2 percent of the time. Additionally, 45-49 percent of pregnancies are unplanned. So, the new Texas abortion law expects women to make life-altering decisions in a six-week period that many are unaware they have even begun. 

The Texas law covertly argues that women are incapable of making decisions for themselves by themselves. A woman’s choice is not considered at any point in this bill; not even whether or not she chose to engage in sexual relations. Texas’ new law bans abortion regardless of how a woman becomes pregnant. This means that a victim of rape or incest is going to be forced to carry the child to term, which could have significant impacts on her physical and mental health. So, even in cases where a woman might not consent to sex, she will be forced to carry and birth the child of her abuser.

What has led Texas to make such decisions about victims of rape? In a statement after the bill was passed, Governor Greg Abbott assured his constituents that Texas was doing everything in their power to “eliminate rape.” A valiant cause, no doubt, but certainly not an issue that can be solved overnight or by preventing women from getting an abortion as a result of rape. By saying this, governor Abbott undermines the difficulties that many rape survivors face in trying to hold their assaulter accountable. 

The Department of Public Safety in Texas accounts for just under 15,000 reports of rape in the year 2019, with only 2,200 people arrested for rape in the same year. Given the staggering discrepancy in these numbers, the question arises: how can Governor Abbott rid his state of rape if its existence has never been approached vigilantly? If there was a feasible way for rape to be altogether eliminated in our society, it would be welcomed. But until it is, it seems wrong to deny women the resources they may need to deal with the effects of sexual assault. 

The only circumstances in which a woman will be allowed to terminate her pregnancy in Texas are in the cases that it could “endanger the mother’s life or lead to ‘substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.’” Thus, women will need to prove that their lives are on the line in order to have any access to safe abortion. 

Although, in either of the previously stated special cases which have both been deemed excusable to Texas’ new abortion law, women may still be denied access to safe abortions by the subjective opinion of certain law enforcement and judicial officials—many of whom are men and will never need to make this decision for themselves. So, for the women whose “endangerment” or “substantial and irreversible impairment” are not certified as valid enough to receive legal abortions, there then also becomes a bigger likelihood that they seek unsafe or illegal means of termination of their pregnancy elsewhere. 

Additionally, SB8 puts a bounty, beginning at $10,000, directly on the head of any person getting or performing an abortion past this 6-week period. In theory, this bounty was put into place to help lighten the burden on police when they should be focused on enforcing other laws, making authorities aware of violations of the abortion ban. In reality, it pins people against each other by deputizing the citizen and introducing incentives for even the suspicion of an abortion.  This subjects pregnant women to significant abuse. Vigilantism, in general, is extremely problematic because lawful authority essentially is turned over to untrained citizens, without many guidelines. Thus, by placing the power into the hands of the people, there are bound to be some citizens – emboldened by this newfound deputism – that feel more inclined towards reward than regard for their fellow citizens. In this case, women’s private lives are put on display and in danger for a quick buck. 

If a bounty has been implemented as an incentive to protect the lives of any and all people, specifically unborn children in this case, why has it been applied to SB8 and not other crimes, like those of speeding or drinking and driving, which also have the potential of causing potential and real harm to others? In any case, legally supported vigilantism, which encourages untrained citizens to enforce laws at the expense of other citizens, is extremely dangerous territory for the U.S. 

We don’t have to conjure up an imaginary dystopian future to see what the consequences of a law of this nature could be. Authoritarian approaches to abortion laws have been dangerous to women in countries where such laws have already been implemented. In 1998, El Salvador banned abortion in its entirety and has enforced prison sentences of up to thirty-five years for women who are accused of having an abortion. This stringent policy has led to 140 women being charged in the small country. Doctors are obligated to call the police if they suspect that a woman has had an abortion. The issue with this, however, is that there is no noticeable difference between a women’s body after an abortion versus what it would look like after a miscarriage. As such, women have been imprisoned for a tragedy they could not control. Not only do they have to deal with the physical and emotional ramifications of a miscarriage, they are forced to do so in prison. The introduction of vigilantism in SB8 serves as an example of what happens when vigilantism is prioritized over a woman’s safety and health.

Despite being in effect for less than a month, individuals are already trying to reap the rewards of an illustrious $10,000 bounty. In the first case, Oscar Stilley, a disbarred attorney from Arkansas is filing a suit against Dr. Alan Braid, who publicly stated that he performed an abortion in opposition to the law. Stilley has seemingly no connection to the case itself, Dr. Braid, or the state of Texas. So, why is he filing a suit against a doctor with whom he has no prior relationship? As Irving Gorstein of the Georgetown Law Center said, “this person seems to be somebody who has no objection to abortions. He just wants to earn a bounty.” The possible ramifications of this are staggering. Will Texas courts be able to handle an onslaught of citizens – some with no relation to their state – looking to take advantage of this newfound bounty? 

Texas did a lot more than subvert the precedent set by Roe v. Wade. The state has created a culture in which neighbors are asked to turn on their neighbors and instilled a mentality that no one can feel safe in making decisions for themselves. If an Uber driver can get arrested for dropping a passenger off at a clinic, we must consider: what comes next?

Tangents & Tirades

by The Cowl Editor


Opinion


Tangents & Tirades

No Mask? Smile Up!

Olivia Bretzman ’22

“Masking up” commonly connotes masking any emotions.  In a way, it makes an individual rather lifeless—their facial features and expressions compromised in every social interaction.  

Last year, wearing masks outside created a really unemotive, often cold environment for Providence College students as they walked to the few in-person classes they had, the dining hall, or Slavin without expression, recognition between peers and professors, or easily breathable airways.  In all honesty, this aspect of mask wearing in public made it incredibly difficult to find joy in the little things and in the people around us. 

This semester, students should take advantage of unmasking outdoors as much as possible. The entire experience of walking on campus or going to class will be entirely altered with a mindfulness of masks!

Thus, to take advantage of these policies, one should really try to smile at their classmates, professors, acquaintances, and even random strangers.  With an emotionless year, it is clear that even the simplest of gestures such as a smile or wave can truly make a difference.

This mindfulness can also be applied to reconnecting with old professors and classmates. There is a blatant, awkward tension between those who “knew each other” pre-Covid and now are suddenly smacked with the reality that they will see people they only met on a screen or have not talked to for more than a year! We should not be afraid to say hi, smile, or even just wave to those individuals.

Each of these aspects of mindful behavior will make a world of difference on campus and an incredible impact on the mental health of those around you.

 

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, Don’t Speak.

Madeline Morkin ’22

Talking poorly about other people reflects far worse on the person doing it than it does on whoever is being talked about. Nobody likes to hear that their name has been dropped into some conversation in a negative way, yet people continue to talk poorly about others—even when they have experienced that bad feeling themselves. 

There are a multitude of reasons why someone taints another person’s reputation by making fun of or judging certain behaviors or aspects of another—they might be lacking self-confidence, letting out anger at a person for something else entirely, or reflecting a pessimistic view onto other people because they simply are not happy with something about themselves or their own life. While it is so common, it really does hurt both sides—the person being spoken about and the speaker. 

Everyone should be able to form their own opinions of others without the preexisting knowledge of another person’s particular biased impressions. When speaking poorly to fill conversation or in an unsuccessful attempt to elevate themselves, people tend to target the most trivial or superficial attributes of another person. The negative speaker might poke fun at a person’s wardrobe, appearance, financial situation, or upbringing, amongst many other personal realities that concern no one besides that individual. 

Friendships formed on the basis of criticism are unhealthy and do not allow for real uplifting contentment. Every person is unique, and what a boring world we would live in if that was not the case. 

If another person is happy with their life and isn’t hurting anyone, nobody else should judge or diminish their joy by slandering them in conversation. Be kind and try to only speak from a place of positivity because it will allow you to be a happier person as well.

Check in on Yourself

by The Cowl Editor


Campus


Check in on Yourself

Alone Time Is Still Necessary as People Begin to Return to Normal

By Maddie Morkin ’22

 

 Returning to school after a long summer away from friends is often an exciting time filled with happy reunions. 

While friends and classmates settle back into Friartown together, it is also important to remember to take time alone to reflect on your own mental health.

 Last year, COVID-19 swept through Providence College’s campus, forcing students to physically distance themselves from even their closest friends.

 Emotionally, students battled their own stresses regarding the pandemic. Internally, every individual student thought somewhat differently about the virus because of their own personal circumstances—their mental state, living situation, political beliefs, health status of loved ones, personal health issues, etc.  

While every student had to consider these innumerous new pressures, they were also being forced to avoid the physical comfort and company of some of those who they love spending time with the most. 

Friartown felt lonely, but it had to in order to keep people healthy and avoid further spread of COVID-19. Mentally, this was difficult. 

Students struggled, and without being able to connect normally with family and friends, it could feel like everyone was struggling alone.

These necessary considerations and adjustments around COVID-19 took an emotional toll on many people. 

The College saw an opportunity to aid students by implementing sporadic mental health days in the 2021 spring semester.

 On these days, students could spend time catching up on work and relaxing a bit without having to also attend classes. 

These days off acted as a nice break from all the pressure of students’ schoolwork and personal lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 PC is not implementing these same days off into the 2021-2022 academic calendar. Although students will not have the relief of designated mental health days, it is still equally as important to remember to take time to check in on your mental health individually. 

PC students must acknowledge that spending time with friends and being able to be physically present together is equally as taxing as it is exciting for many people.  

After several months of loneliness, trauma, fear, isolation, and stress induced by the COVID-19 virus, it can be easy to become consumed by the normalcy that seems to be somewhat returning. 

Masks are not mandatory in many places, some businesses are back to allowing 100% occupancy, and social gatherings are allowed to exceed the previous limits. 

While some things may appear to be normal, that does not mean that the virus is gone. 

Today’s more lenient COVID-19 world might take away some of the worry caused by the initial shocking spread of the virus, but it is important not to become overwhelmed with the excitement of it all. 

The virus seemingly took a negative toll on everyone’s mental health. 

So, while it will be exciting to be back with friends and spend more time physically together, it is important to step away every once in a while, and be alone to check in on your mental health and the past year. 

Students do not want to feel lonely or distanced from friends again, but taking time every so often to acknowledge what happened and how you  have changed will allow for a better, more comfortable social life now and, eventually, post-pandemic.

Tangents & Tirades

by kwheele4


Opinion


More Than a Post

No one can deny that the past year has been riddled with social issues that need to be addressed by the greater population. While sharing an infographic is a great starting point to provide information to a larger audience, Instagram should not be the only avenue of education on a topic. 

Issues surrounding mental health, social justice, and gender equality are significant, and while it is promising that the younger generations are willing to have these conversations, there is so much more to a movement than what you might see on social media. That is why it is important to go beyond the app and study the issues being addressed. 

The best way to do this is through thorough research. If you are interested in an issue, make sure you can understand it from all sides, rather than one (likely biased) account on Instagram. 

Of course, posting these infographics is not necessarily harmful. In fact, they can make people aware of issues they may not have heard of before. So sharing is okay. But a person should fully read a source before sharing it to a large number of followers. Compare it to a source on an essay: would it be smart to cite something you’ve only skimmed?

Overall, staying up to date on the news is necessary. And sharing issues you are passionate about is an effective way to use social media. But remember that life and information continues outside of those apps and that it might be better to inform yourself further on more requitable sites.

Julia McCoy ’22


Making up for Lost Time

During the past two semesters of the 2020-2021 school year, Providence College students have been through it all with the COVID-19 pandemic: on-campus buildings were forced to close, strict pods were enforced, and the ability to hold both on- and off-campus social gatherings and important events became essentially impossible. 

As of late April, PC has been able to lift some of these restrictions and mandates as many students are becoming partially and fully vaccinated. 

While this school year has been undeniably unforgettable, there were also many events which could not be forgotten because they were never able to take place. So, as we near our three-month summer vacation and excitedly await the potential of a far more social return, it is important to make up for all the lost time as much as possible.

While we cannot gain back the semesters we have lost to social distancing and other unforeseen and unfortunate realities, we can set social goals and plans for the fall 2021 semester to make sure that we see the people, go to the places, and do more of what we have all literally and figuratively missed. 

By taking time to reflect on this past year and set goals over the summer vacation, we, the Friar Family, will return more united than ever, ensuring that another year will not be lost to missed opportunities. 

—Madeline Morkin ’22


Talking on the Phone Trumps Texting 

Texting has quickly grown to become one of, if not the most popular form of communication. Psychologists and other experts are even starting to study texting as a separate language, including emojis and their meanings. While texting is a quick and efficient way to get your message across, calling on the phone is a far better form of technological communication.

Some argue that talking on the phone is way more awkward and uncomfortable than texting. Teenagers especially, who grew up with this technology, would prefer to hide behind the mask of their iMessage. However, making a phone call is better because it helps the caller to practice social skills, unlike texting. 

Tone is often misunderstood in text messages, which can make things uncomfortable for both sides. A text sent with a period may seem to some to be just a simple declarative sentence, but others may view it as a passive aggressive message. In contrast, with calling on the phone, people can communicate their tone with their voices, making conversations a lot less awkward and vague. 

With phone calls, you can save voicemails from loved ones that have a much deeper meaning than text messages. The several recorded voicemails I have saved from my late grandmother are so special to me because I can hear her voice; text messages do not convey this type of deep connection. 

While texting is good for small and trite messages, calling on the phone is good for practicing social skills, which often seem lost in this technologically driven world, and hearing the voices of loved ones. 

Emily Ball ’22

The Friar Family and the Friars’ Families: PC Should Allow Senior Students Two Guests to Their May Commencement

by kwheele4


Campus


Due to the pandemic, the Class of 2021 is currently not allowed to bring guests to their graduation ceremony, like students of past years could do. Photo courtesy of Providence.edu.

The Friar Family and the Friars’ Families: PC Should Allow Senior Students Two Guests to Their May Commencement

By Madeline Morkin ’22

Asst. Opinion Editor

Last spring, colleges everywhere were forced to make the difficult decision to cancel in-person commencement ceremonies for the graduating classes of 2020. Students had worked their entire lives to graduate in front of parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family and friends who had supported them through their educational journeys. Unfortunately, though, the unplanned and worrisome nature of the COVID-19 pandemic denied much of the world of such a possibility. 

Most commencements were pushed online in the form of group video calls. The personal acceptance of a well-earned diploma and handshake on stage was no longer an option. Parents, guardians, and students who had worked long hours and saved their money to obtain an education were denied the ability to complete the educational journey in the way that they had originally planned. 

In mid-April 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading across the United States. That being said, case numbers are dropping, the number of people who are half or fully vaccinated is going up, state-wide mask mandates are being lifted, and the world is slowly returning to normal. On April 8, the Washington Post released news tarly 20 percent of the United States population had been vaccinated, and on April 18, NPR published that over 50 percent of the country had received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

There is outrage as well as excitement regarding the ways in which the country and world have been attempting to return to normal. After over a year of struggling with a lack of social gatherings and physical human connection, some are ready to return to normal while others are still concerned about the fatal and unforeseen effects of COVID-19. 

There is no perfect solution to how the world should attempt to return to normalcy, but there are precautions that can still be taken to ensure a more comfortable transition back into what life was like pre-COVID. By wearing masks, social distancing, and remaining outdoors as best as we can in social situations, even while more people become fully vaccinated and worries of COVID-19 begin to become somewhat of an uncomfortable memory, the safety of everyone will be considered and protected to ease this transition back to normalcy. 

Providence College has made continuous efforts to aid in this transition, such as informing students of when and how to get vaccinated, developing COVID-19 plans for vaccinated students who are contact-traced by a COVID-19 positive person, and already planning ahead to ensure the certainty of next fall’s in-person classes. That being said, despite much of the world’s efforts to return to normal, Providence College has still denied even the possibility of guest attendance to the senior class commencement. 

Unlike last year, seniors will be able to graduate with their classmates. In May, these students will, for the last time, be together (albeit six feet apart) in an outdoor setting. While the College has continuously emphasized the phrase, “You are never alone in Friartown,” there will still be some sense of loneliness at this commencement. One important part of the ceremony will be missing: guests. 

Of course, it is not an easy task to cater to the individual wants of every student and family. Although, the general consensus of the senior class is a desire to include some of the women and men, sisters and brothers, friends, and others who have influenced their efforts and abilities to receive their diplomas in May. 

PC should consider allowing graduating students two guest tickets to invite these people to their outdoor graduation celebration. By mandating that everyone wear masks both indoors and outdoors during this graduation weekend and providing a socially distanced setup for the ceremony itself, the College could please both the people who desire guest attendance at this year’s in-person graduation and those who do not. In the case that the College allows for such a possibility, it would then be up to each individual student and their families or friends to determine who can attend, if they would like to. 

The College has supported these graduating seniors for four years. The 2021 graduating class has been through a lot, especially with PC going fully online last spring and remaining somewhat online this 2020-2021 school year. 

By allowing each graduating senior two guests at commencement, the outdoor ceremony would be a more exciting and familiar scene which is well-deserved by such a group of hardworking students whose families and friends have also worked so hard to get them to this point. In doing this, the College would also be reminding students of their emphasis on and support of the Friar Family. There is a way to transition back to reality in a safe and comfortable manner, and this would be a fantastic step as PC moves back to life pre-COVID.

Allowing Remote Attendance: Professors Should Respect Students’ Wishes to Zoom Into In-Person Classes

by kwheele4


Campus


Although students may not be registered as fully-remote, professors should be lenient about allowing them to attend class via Zoom. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Allowing Remote Attendance: Professors Should Respect Students’ Wishes to Zoom Into In-Person Classes

by Madeline Morkin ’22

Asst. Opinion Editor

While many Providence College students are on campus, all were given the opportunity to study remotely for this semester, just as they were last semester. With COVID-19 outbreaks still occurring worldwide as well as on campus, an option for online attendance is entirely necessary for students who need to be at home full-time, in isolation if they contract the virus themselves, or in quarantine if they are a close contact of a student who tests positive for COVID-19. 

This opportunity for students to attend classes remotely through Zoom has left professors to figure out how to deal with the difficult issue of split classroom—students attending class in person and online simultaneously. 

While professors should be given some slack when it comes to the inevitable imperfections and malfunctions of the split classroom, professors should also understand that some students who are not fully remote or in isolation or quarantine may feel the need to attend class remotely from time to time. 

It should be noted with gratitude that professors have experienced intense stress while attempting to maintain any bit of possible normalcy inside the classroom and on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, it should also be understood that students are still figuring out their own routines with this new normal. 

With it now being over one year since COVID-19 entered and took control over the country, the majority of PC students have now experienced much irregularity and discomfort, including the serious illness and loss of acquaintances, friends, and family members. The proper and well-deserved grief which should follow such experiences is not only unlikely but also often impossible to attain during a time of isolation and six-feet-apart mandates. 

For these reasons, it may be difficult for any student to attend a particular class in person. Oftentimes, though, professors become irritated with the fact that students who have the ability to attend class in person are not doing so because this disrupts the potential for normalcy in the classroom that professors are trying so hard to maintain. 

PC’s on-campus outbreaks have left many students hesitant to leave the comfort of their dorms or houses. Illnesses and losses over the past year have pushed students into less stable mental states where they may feel irregularly emotional or uncomfortable inside a classroom full of students. Increased testing on campus and a decreased desire to be forced into quarantine have pushed students to stop showing up in person. 

For these reasons, among many others, professors should understand that the potential of on-campus normalcy might not be necessary or possible at this time. 

While professors and students alike long for the same sense of normalcy that they were once able to exhibit thoughtlessly when teaching and attending classes over a year ago, it is currently not an option. Professors and students should equally respect each other’s needs during this time. 

Students living on campus do not necessarily imply by their mere presence that they feel secure enough to attend classes in person. What their presence on campus does mean is that they felt ready to step outside of the homes which they were stuck inside for months during the nationwide quarantine mandates that were provoked  by COVID-19’s initial entrance into the U.S. over a year ago. 

Students’ presence on campus means that they thought or once felt that they were ready to see other students and professors six feet apart. Their presence on campus should not imply that attending classes in person is always an option for them mentally. 

Professors should not be disappointed on days when an on-campus student’s name pops up virtually on Zoom. Attending class online is still attending class, regardless of the reasons for choosing to be online. 

So, while PC’s professors and students lament a more normal campus life, there should be a mutual understanding of each other’s needs on any given day. While this mutual understanding will benefit campus life for now, it is also important that the College recognizes such stresses and discomforts for the fall 2021 semester. 

PC should continue to offer a fully remote option for students who may not feel mentally or socially ready to attend classes in person even once the vaccine is more widely distributed. The COVID-19 pandemic was unexpected for everyone, and the College needs to be continuously understanding and intentional when considering the healthiest options for the members of its community. 

Walking Women Home: Do Not Just Offer It. Do It.

by kwheele4


Campus


Male students at PC tend to walk female students home their freshman year, but
unfortunately that trend tends to disappear after that point. Walking women back to
their dorms should be considered essential all four years of college. Photo courtesy of Providence College Instagram

by Madeline Morkin ’22
Asst. Opinion Editor

When it comes to safety and security, it is not easy to be a woman. An unfortunate reality for women everywhere, and at any age, is the need to prepare for the worst possible situations when leaving for a night out with friends, taking an Uber alone, or walking home at night. Whether it be developing a special code word with female friends strictly to be used when help is needed, carrying pepper spray on their person, or having certain safety phone numbers pre-dialed and memorized, women and society have gotten too comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

While many men are not the problem themselves, they also are not working hard enough to be part of the solution of making women feel safer. Men do not necessarily care to understand all the precautions that women are forced to take because they, themselves, do not have to consider many of the safety risks women do. There is one simple fix to improving the situation of women’s safety, and it can be done on campus, at home, or relatively anywhere: walk women home with no other intention but to make sure that they get there safely. 

From discussing this issue with female students, it seems overwhelmingly the case that male students walk their female friends home freshman year of college far more often than they do sophomore, junior, and senior year. Arcelia Peña-Bobadilla ’22 says, “I don’t remember a single night freshman year when I had to walk home alone. Someone always offered. That really doesn’t happen anymore though.” 

There is no rational reason as to why male students might stop the trend of walking their female friends home after a night out, a study date in the library, a shared Uber ride together, or any other situation, but it seems to be largely the case in Providence College campus life. No matter how old women get, how independent and strong they may be, or how much they want to not need protection, they do.

In 2018, Guzman Hall, a male freshman dorm on campus, crafted a list of dorm rules. Amongst rules regarding the general cleanliness and expectations of the males who lived in the dorm, one read, “Walk female guests home.” In response to this rule, a lighthearted phrase began being tossed around amongst these Guzman residents: “Guz guys walk girls home.” While this phrase was true at the time, it did not remain true for many of them after they left Guzman Hall in the summer of 2019.

Another issue with the infrequency of female students being walked home is that, more often than not, a walk home is offered rather than just done. Oftentimes, women do not want to ask for help or accept such an offer because it seems to inconvenience the male who offered. Because women like to be self-sufficient, they might decline a walk home offer with, “It’s okay.” Unfortunately, it is okay until it’s not, and it takes one traumatic night or situation to fuel a lifetime of anxiety and overcautiousness. For this reason, do not ask a woman if she wants to be walked home, simply do it. While doing it, intentionally treat her respectfully as if she is a close friend or a sister. 

At this point, it is not a matter of chivalry but a matter of safety. Ultimately, campus culture is at stake when safety is not prioritized, and students do not look out for each other. Boys, walk girls home.