College students, faculty reflect on importance of civil discourse

January 26, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgIn the weeks leading up to the April 12 “Gun Rights are Women’s Rights” event organized by the Saint Mary’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), differing perspectives on the issue of gun rights emerged in a very visual way: vandalism of the pre-approved advertisements strewn across campus.Whether it be through tearing the posters down, writing vulgar comments on the flyers or reporting discomfort to the College, some students vocalized their objections to the occasion through a variety of methods. The event featured Antonia Okafor, founder and president of EmPOWERed, who spoke to the Saint Mary’s community regarding her views on gun rights. EmPOWERed advocates for concealed carry on college campuses as a method of self-defense for women, according to Okafor’s website.Freshman Cecelia Klimek said she saw advertising for the event on Facebook and throughout campus, and her discomfort led to her reaching out to vice president of student affairs Karen Johnson. Klimek said she had many qualms with the event, the most immediate being its contradiction with her interpretation of Catholic teachings.“My issue was if you’re going to say you’re a pro-life college, then you have to enforce that in every aspect,” she said. “You can’t pick and choose which controversial issues you’re going to allow speakers to come and speak about. They would never allow a pro-choice speaker to come to campus because it’s against Catholic teaching, but they’re going to allow someone who advocates for the AR-15 rifle which literally shreds your organs. It results in a loss of life.”Though Klimek did not see the event as aligning with Catholic traditions, Johnson said the College examines its educational value in the approval process for all speakers. “We are guided by our values as an institution of higher learning and our Catholic tradition to choose speakers that foster the open and civil exchange of ideas,” Johnson said in an email. “This does not mean that the College endorses the speaker or his [or] her content, but rather believes that the sharing of diverse ideas and opinions leads to greater opportunity for discourse and learning.”While Klimek understands the benefit of sharing multiple points of view, she said she still felt the College should have used more discretion in the handling of such a sensitive topic. “I was just very disappointed in how the administration handled it,” Klimek said. “I don’t blame the club because they have their right to speak their truth. That’s totally fine, and that’s why we have clubs on campus.”Justice studies and philosophy professor Andrew Pierce said it is important to acknowledge both the difficulty some feel in expressing their views and the advantages of engaging with a variety of perspectives. “It’s important to be able to hear and react to opinions that you disagree with,” Pierce said. “If someone were to go through their whole college or university education without being confronted with ideas that they disagree with, that would be problematic. They would be missing something important there.”Senior Clare McKinney, YAF’s president, said she advocates for discussion between people of opposing viewpoints, rather than making assumptions. “If you actually talk to people, maybe you would see that there is actual personal experiences that make people think the way they do,” McKinney said. “I just think people are so prone to just stereotyping and generalizing on both sides of the political spectrum. So many people think I’m crazy, but I just wish that they would talk to me. I’ve heard girls openly say things, like in hallways or just in school, and they’ll say I’m a racist. My husband’s Cambodian, and I just wish people would talk to me and see that I’m not some crazy person. I just am really passionate about what I believe in because I think it’s the best way to help our society.”Along with participating in these discussions, McKinney said students should be more willing to listen to the other side. In the case of the “Guns Rights are Women’s Rights” occasion, she said she felt higher attendance would have defused the situation. “I would have wished that more girls did come who didn’t agree, because then they could come, hear what Antonia had to say and they might have learned something new,” McKinney said. “They might have shifted their perspective. Or, they could have been like, ‘Oh my God this is insane, I am more hard-lined in what I believe.’ But I feel like by ripping down the posters and not going, you are not allowing yourself to have that experience and to have that personal growth.”After approaching the administration with her frustrations, Klimek said she and professors with views different from Okafor’s decided to attend the event and ask questions to understand the other side’s point of view.“It was definitely hard to go into, but I was definitely glad I went in the end because I got some perspective and I felt more validated in my own beliefs and in what the College upholds as a Catholic institution, much more so after the presentation than before,” Klimek said.On October 29, 2015, Feminists United organized a display to present information on other services Planned Parenthood provides outside of abortion. McKinney said this event alone provided a year’s worth of controversy between differing points of view, but now she feels that level of controversy is more frequent.  “[The Planned Parenthood display] caused a lot of problems, but that was the one incident for the whole year,” McKinney said. “That was the one tense thing between ideologies, where I feel like now there’s something every month where people are just getting really upset. And they don’t really want to talk about it, they just want to make it not happen.”McKinney said she has been making an effort to reach out and involve different organizations in YAF events by reaching out to those she feels would be interested. However, McKinney said she encountered difficulties throughout these attempts. “No one got back to me — so I feel like I’m trying and I’m trying, and nothing,” she said.Klimek also recognizes this lack of communication and said she hopes to see more discourse in the future. “I hope for future reference that next time a controversial speaker comes to campus — on the Saint Mary’s students’ part — that we engage in more discourse about this, and we all share our opinions,” Klimek said. “If we don’t speak out about this, then one club is allowed to display their agenda all over campus, and the rest of us are silenced by our passiveness.”Although a college setting may allow for the avoidance of practicing civil discourse, knowing how to engage in these types of conversations is a skill students will need after college, Pierce said. “I suppose it’s possible to avoid [civil discourse] in this sort of bubble of a college or university, but it’s really not possible to avoid it in the world,” Pierce said. “You know, after people graduate and go out into the world they are going to have to sort of wrestle with these ideas and hopefully wrestle with them in a productive way that doesn’t just shut out everyone that disagrees, but actually finds a way to negotiate those differences and those disagreements.”Tags: civil discourse, gun rights, young americans for freedomlast_img read more

Universal employee fired for flashing controversial OK sign

September 20, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgA Universal employee was terminated after flashing a controversial upside-down ‘OK’ sign in a Colorado family’s photograph.The family was outraged after discovering that an Orlando employee dressed as the ‘Despicable Me’ character Gru was flashing what some believe is a white power symbol.The photo in question was taken in March, but the family did not notice it until months later while selecting images for their 6-year-old daughter with autism’s school project.Tiffiney Zinger, who is black, and her husband, Richard Zinger, who is white, then went through their smartphone photos and videos to find more evidence of what they were seeing.Shortly after, they found a 29-second clip that confirmed “their worst fears.”The photo and video in question features the couple’s two biracial children, who were six and 2-years-old at the time, at a character breakfast hosted by the Universal Loews Royal Pacific Resort.A Universal representative spoke out about the controversy Tuesday, confirming that the employee in question no works at the theme park.“We never want our guests to experience what this family did. This is not acceptable, and we are sorry, and we are taking steps to make sure nothing like this happens again, said Universal spokesperson Tom Schroder. “We can’t discuss specifics about this incident, but we can confirm that the actor no longer works here.”“We remain in contact with the family and will work with them privately to make this right,” Schroder added.The Zinger’s are reportedly planning to take legal action.last_img read more

Week 14 Fantasy Rankings: TE

August 27, 2020 0 Comments

first_img​WEEK 14 DFS CASH LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings11Antonio Gates, Chargers vs. Bengals. This may seem crazy, but Gates has been getting a bit more involved with the Chargers offense in recent weeks. He caught a two-point conversion last week and saw another catch in the red zone called back due to penalty. The Bengals have had a lot of trouble covering TEs this year, so Gates could be in position to log a score in this contest.12Cameron Brate, Buccaneers vs. Saints. In the past two games since O.J. Howard went down for the year, Brate has 10 targets and has totaled 62 yards and a TD. He should continue to see volume as a red-zone weapon and one of Jameis Winston’s most reliable targets. That said, Brate may have a tough time producing against the Saints, who allow the second-fewest fantasy points to the position and haven’t let any player put up more than 6.8 points against them this season.13Kyle Rudolph, Vikings @ Seahawks14Jonnu Smith, Titans vs. Jaguars. Smith has steadily improved as the season has gone on, and he has 214 yards and three TDs in the past five games. The Jaguars have been solid against TEs not named Eric Ebron this year, but Smith is still a threat to rack up some yardage as one of the Titans’ top receiving targets.15Trey Burton, Bears vs. Rams. Burton has had a weird season, and he only saw one target last week against the Giants. He still has TD upside against the Rams, who have allowed a TD to a TE (or offensive lineman) in each of the past four weeks. So, it’s possible that Burton could be a solid option this week, especially if Mitchell Trubisky returns to play QB. WEEK 14 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight endWeek 14 Fantasy Rankings: TEThese rankings are for standard, non-PPR leagues1George Kittle, 49ers vs. Broncos. Kittle is averaging 9.0 targets per game over his past four outings. In that span, he has 309 yards and a TD. The Broncos are a bottom-10 team against TEs, so Kittle could have a huge game if Nick Mullens continues to target him at a high rate.2Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. Ravens3Eric Ebron, Colts @ Texans4David Njoku, Browns vs. Panthers. The Panthers have been one of the worst teams in the league against TEs this year. They have allowed the second-most TDs to the position (8). Njoku has been up-and-down in recent weeks, but look for Baker Mayfield to target him and exploit the favorable matchup.5Rob Gronkowski, Patriots @ Dolphins WEEK 14 DFS GPP LINEUPS: Yahoo | DraftKings | FanDuel6Zach Ertz, Eagles @ Cowboys. Last time the Eagles and Cowboys faced off, Ertz had 14 catches for 145 yards and two TDs. Those were all season highs. That said, the Cowboys’ defense has improved in recent weeks, and odds are that they will focus on shutting down Ertz. Ertz will still be a weapon, but he might not outproduce some of the other players above him in better matchups.7Jared Cook, Raiders vs. Steelers. Cook has put up a TD in three consecutive weeks and was able to break the 100-yard mark against the Chiefs last week. The Steelers have had issues against TEs this year and have been in the bottom 10 against the position for most of the year. Cook could be in for a good outing.8Jordan Reed, Redskins vs. Giants9Vance McDonald, Steelers @ Raiders. The Raiders just allowed Travis Kelce to total 168 yards and two scores on 12 catches. Granted, Vance McDonald isn’t Kelce, but the fact of the matter is that McDonald has a lot of upside playing a weak defense. He also saw seven targets last week against the Chargers, so if he can get that volume again, he should put up solid numbers.10Jimmy Graham, Packers vs. Falcons. Somehow, Graham is playing through a broken thumb that was supposed to sideline him for a few weeks. Last game against the Cardinals, Graham saw 11 targets and caught eight of them for 50 yards. If Graham continues to get that type of volume, he will be a TE1. That said, the Falcons are solid against TEs, so Graham is a bit lower on this list than he would normally be. Remember the beginning of the season at the tight end position? Those were tough times. Injuries took their toll and knocked out some of the best starters across the league, and that led to fantasy owners being forced to stream frequently at the position. Well, we’re getting back to that time again. With Greg Olsen now out for the season after aggravating a foot injury, our Week 14 fantasy TE rankings are back to being ultra-thin. And that means that if you want to win a fantasy football championship, you might have to hit the waiver wire for a matchup-based sleeper.It also doesn’t help the cause that the top TE in fantasy, Travis Kelce, has a tougher matchup that normal against a good Ravens defense. We’re not downgrading Kelce much, but it’s going to be hard to trust him as a top option. Also, it’s notable that Zach Ertz (@ Cowboys) also may have trouble this week, so it’s just not a very good week for tight ends.center_img Week 14 Rankings:Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | D/ST | KickerOf the streaming crowd, there are a few that stand out. Vance McDonald has a great matchup against the Raiders, and he could be a threat to catch a TD in the Steelers high-powered offense. Antonio Gates (vs. Bengals) also has an easy matchup, while Cameron Brate (vs. Saints) should continue to be a TD threat for the Bucs. All can be fired up as low-end TE1s in what is looking like a bad slate at the position.Note: We will update these rankings and add analysis during the week, so check back often. MORE WEEK 14 DFS: Stacks | Values | Lineup Builder16Evan Engram, Giants @ Redskins. Engram is still recovering from a hamstring injury. If he recovers in time for Week 14, he’ll be a middling play against a decent Redskins defense.17Mark Andrews, Ravens @ Chiefs. The Chiefs just allowed Jared Cook to put up 16 points on them and they have largely struggled against TEs this season. Andrews has four catches for 121 yards in the past two weeks and is establishing himself as one of Lamar Jackson’s favorite targets. He could be a nice sleeper option this week.18Dan Arnold, Saints @ Buccaneers. Arnold has taken over as the primary pass-catching TE in the Saints offense, essentially replacing Ben Watson in recent weeks. Arnold has at least two catches and 20 yards in each of the past four weeks, but playing in the Saints offense gives him a lot of TD upside. The Buccaneers have been a bottom-five team against TEs this year, so Arnold is a potential streamer for Week 14. 19Austin Hooper, Falcons @ Packers. Hooper is averaging just over eight targets per game in the past four games, and he has established himself as a middle-of-the-field weapon for Matt Ryan. However, the Packers are good against TEs and have allowed just one TD to the position this year. That makes this a week to avoid Hooper if you can.20Ian Thomas, Panthers @ Browns. Thomas will take over for the injured Greg Olsen, and he logged a season-high five catches and 46 yards in relief of Olsen. Still, he will be competing for targets with Devin Funchess, D.J. Moore, and Curtis Samuel, so it may be difficult for him to produce at a high level again this week.21Jordan Thomas, Texans vs. Colts22Chris Herndon, Jets @ Bills. Herndon has seen 14 targets in the past two weeks, but the Bills limited him to just 34 yards last time the two played. The Bills are good against TEs, so Herndon seems likely to repeat that average-at-best performance.23Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals vs. Lions24C.J. Uzomah, Bengals @ Chargers. Uzomah has seen 19 targets in the past two weeks, and he will probably be a bigger part of the Cincinnati passing game if A.J. Green does miss time as expected. That said, the Chargers haven’t allowed a TE to score more than 5.2 points against them in the past four games, so Uzomah doesn’t have a lot of upside in a tough matchup.25Matt LaCosse, Broncos @ 49ers. The Boss only saw one target against the Bengals last week and didn’t catch it. He has another good matchup, but it’s hard to trust him to get consistent targets as Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders seem to be absorbing a lion’s share of the available targets in Denver.26Gerald Everett, Rams @ Bears27Nick Vannett, Seahawks vs. Vikings28Charles Clay, Bills vs. Jets29Vernon Davis, Redskins vs. Giants30James O’Shaughnessy, Jaguars @ Titans31Michael Roberts, Lions @ Cardinals32Tyler Higbee, Rams @ Bears33Ed Dickson, Seahawks vs. Vikings34Hayden Hurst, Ravens @ Chiefs35Dallas Goedert, Eagles @ Cowboys36Geoff Swaim, Cowboys vs. Eagles37Mike Gesicki, Dolphins vs. Patriots38Jesse James, Steelers @ Raiderslast_img read more