“VIVA” premieres at first annual International Queer Film Festival

By Anna Davies, Transcript Correspondent

Ohio Wesleyan will screen the movie “VIVA” on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Benes Room to launch its first annual International Queer Film Festival.

The festival is the creation of senior Ryan Bishop. Bishop said he created the festival because he was frustrated at the lack of representation queer people had in movies he enjoyed watching.

“I felt like I never see myself represented on screen as a multicultural queer man of varied interests and experiences…I think many queer people experience this moment of frustration,” he said.

Senior Meme Salazar Rodriguez, a representative of VIVA Latinx and the House of Linguistic Diversity, and junior Jason Perry, a representative of the Student Union on Black Awareness (SUBA) helped plan the festival.

“We focused on several levels of representation: regions of the world, sexual identities and gender exploration,” Bishop said about the films chosen for the festival.

“We hope to show people from various cultures experiencing their queerness – be it related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression – in various ways and in relation to different socioeconomic and religious situations,” Bishop said.

Other films being shown will focus on LGBT experiences in Iran, India, Greece, Thailand and Romania. “VIVA,” the first film, is set in a Havana slum in Cuba.

“We also tried to show different genres because as much as queer people want to see their stories represented, not every movie with queer representation has to be solely about experiences related to being queer,” Bishop said.

According to the official movie site, “VIVA” is the story of a hairdresser named Jesus who expresses himself through drag performances. Jesus’s freedom of expression is challenged when his estranged father suddenly enters his life again.

Bishop said he hopes the movie showings will foster discussions between both professors and students. He also said he hopes the event will be beneficial for both queer and non-queer students.

All movies in the festival lineup will screen in the Benes Rooms and popcorn will be provided. The festival is sponsored by People Regarding Individual Diversity Everywhere (PRIDE), SUBA, Spectrum Resource Center and the Chinese Culture Club.

People march in solidarity

By Anna Davies, Transcript Correspondent

Students of Ohio Wesleyan took to the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21 to march for women’s rights and express their freedom to protest the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

OWU’s trip to the march was a collaborative trip between students and faculty.

Senior Emma Nuiry said the march was not just for feminist issues, but also for issues affecting the LGBT community and people of color.

“Protests and movements are really messy,” Nuiry said. “It’s hard to measure change so quickly. Change is not always visible. Regardless, this march was an incredible moment for learning, making connections and inspiring those of us that have felt so heavy in the past months.”

“I truly believe that so much knowledge was produced in that space and many people were exposed to ideas that were new to them,” Nuiry said.

Sophomore Adrian Burr found inspiration in the march from being among so many women marching in solidarity.

“The trains leaving D.C. after the march were packed, but every time a group of people exited the train the entire car of strangers would cheer for them,” she said.

“The sense of camaraderie I gained with the other marchers was a gift in and of itself,” Burr said.

Ellen Sizer, a junior, said she was proud to support both people who went to the march and people who had to stay back home.

“The most breathtaking and awe-inspiring part of the march was being in the march itself,” Sizer said. “I felt like I was a part of history.”

Senior Jackson Hotaling said he loved seeing so many people marching for a common goal.

“Activists came with their own cause in mind, but the understanding that ‘women’s rights are human rights’ brought everyone together,” he said. Ohio Wesleyan students at the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21.

America’s oldest discussion series travels to Delaware to discuss foreign policy

By Anna Davies, Transcript Correspondent

The largest and longest-running grassroots politics education program is starting its 2017 series in Delaware on Feb. 17 at the Williams Street United Methodist Church.

The theme of this year’s Great Decisions series is U.S. Foreign Policy, according to an Ohio Wesleyan University press release written by former politics and government professor Corinne Lyman.

OWU professor of economics Goran Skosples is the first lecturer and will discuss the effect of Brexit on the United Kingdom.

Other lectures will include topics like Saudi Arabia’s political transition, the United States’ petroleum supply and nuclear security. The Foreign Policy Association, which runs the Great Decisions program, chose the topics in advance. Local groups then choose experts from their town that they want to see explore the Great Decisions topics.

The press release also said that at the end of each lecture, audience members will fill out surveys that will be sent to policy-
makers in Washington, D.C.

James Franklin, OWU professor and department chair of politics and government, will discuss Latin American political shifts. Franklin’s lecture will focus primarily on leftist populist leaders like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Rafael Correa of Bolivia and Evo Morales of Bolivia, he said.

These leaders fought against social elites and gained support from poor citizens who felt ignored by old political regimes.

“Recently, much of Latin America has experienced an economic slowdown, and there has been a shift back to the center-
right in some recent elections,” Franklin said. His lecture will explain this shift.

Franklin teaches courses at OWU about Latin American politics, which made him qualified to be the lecturer for this topic.

“I think the topic is relevant and interesting even outside of Latin America,” Franklin said. “There has been a rise of populist politics in Western democracies with the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump.”

“Learning is not a one-way street at these events,” Franklin said. “The Delaware community is very knowledgeable of international affairs, and they contribute to rich discussions of these topics. I encourage everyone to attend.”

The Great Decisions lecture series started in 1954 in Portland, Ore. According to the Foreign Policy Association’s website, it is now the largest discussion program on world affairs in the U.S.

Prof. David Caplan selected to serve on creative writing forum

By Anna Davies, Transcript Correspondent

Professor of English, poetry scholar and published author David Caplan will serve five years on the executive committee of the Modern Language Association’s international Creative Writing Forum.

Caplan’s term began Jan. 9, according to an Ohio Wesleyan press release.

He will act as secretary and chair of the forum’s executive committee in 2019 and 2020.

“The forum is working to address an important need: It brings together scholars and creative writers so members of both groups might benefit from the lively exchange of ideas and shared perspectives,” Caplan said in the press release.

The Modern Language Association (MLA) is an international promoter for teaching and learning language and literature.

Academically, Caplan specializes in contemporary poetry and poetics.

“I had American Images with [Caplan], and afterward, my papers improved by a 1,000 percent,” said senior English major Jordan Waterwash.

“I thought I knew how to structure a paper, but he pushes you to really narrow what you want to write about, and then pushes you to narrow it further. By the end, you really feel as though you can be proud of your work,” she said.

Senior Joseph Acero, also an English major, had classes with Caplan and accompanied him to the Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal.

This semester Acero is in Caplan’s poetry workshop.

“He is very enthusiastic when it comes to poetry, and is very interested in looking between the lines, recognizing literary devices and seeing how they all tell a story,” Acero said.

Acero said Caplan is well respected as a writer and professor in the English department. “He’s very professional when it comes to his work and has a deep respect for many styles of writing,” he said. “No matter where it comes from, he is able to see the art in each of them.”

Caplan has published four books and was a two-time Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Liege. He is also Ohio Wesleyan University’s Charles M. Weis Chair in English and the assistant director of the creative writing concentration.

Caplan is working on another book about American poetry and a poem collection of his own. One of his books, “Questions of Possibility,” is also being translated into French.

One Acts showcase creativity

By A.L Davies, Transcript Reporter

Giraffe breeding, humans on Mars and elderly Olympic synchronized swim teams were a few topics in the Ohio Wesleyan department of theatre and dance’s production of One Acts this year.

Thirteen plays were performed over two nights, Dec. 2-3, at 8 p.m. and were free to the OWU community. The plays were written by students in the Playwriting class and directed by students in the Directing class.

The plays ranged from comedic to serious in tone. Subject matter included custody battles, like in retired professor of theatre Bonnie Milne Gardner’s “Tonka Mom,” irrational fear of bugs in junior TJ Galamba’s “Stop Buggin’ Us” and loss of a parent in junior Alexia Minton’s “The Perfect Accessory.”

Performers did multiple onstage and backstage tasks. Sophomore Hannah Wargo directed Milne’s “Tonka Mom,” did light design for senior Alyssa Clark’s play “It’s Just Coffee” and organized all scene changes for Friday’s show.

Last year, Wargo acted in a play titled “Those Who Fly.”

As an actor last year, Wargo said she only worked with the director of the show she was in. This year, her responsibilities included working with the entire Directing class, planning callbacks and rehearsal schedules, watching auditions, picking actors and collaborating with the playwright.

Wargo also said One Acts usually attracts students who aren’t theatre majors and encourages them to get involved in the department.

“Theatre students are able to fill roles that they normally don’t get to,” she said. “Actors get to be directors or designers, designers get to act and playwrights get to direct or act.”

Wargo said she hoped people kept an open mind while watching this year’s show and realized that no subject can’t be put on the stage.

“I hope this year’s One Acts inspired people to keep supporting the arts and coming to theatre produc- tions,” Wargo said. “One Acts are written, directed and designed by students and are done so well, with only about three weeks of rehearsals.”

Faculty members also got involved, such as Japanese lecturer Jun Kawabe. It was her first time acting.

Kawabe performed in junior Charlie Lennon’s play “Going With the Flo” with her student Doris Ottman. The play was directed by another student of hers, junior Audrey Castaneda Walker.

The show also gave freshmen theatre students a chance to perform. First-year student Sarah Gielink acted as the character Girl in “Tonka Mom.”

“My performance in One Acts was very challenging for me,” Gielink said. “There was a lot of contradiction in my character … that I had to work on bringing out.”

“It was a great to be able to do this as a freshman, because it gave me the experience of working closely with my scene partner and my director,” she said.

Gielink also said she enjoyed seeing how the Playwriting and Directing classes are structured at OWU and what will be expected of her as an upperclass theatre student.

“I hope that people who saw our show will think twice before assuming someone’s backstory, and be reminded to not take the people in their lives for granted,” she said about the show’s plot.

WCSA 2017-18 leaders appointed

By Anna Davies, Transcript Reporter

Junior Christopher Dobeck and sophomore Michael Sheetz will be the 2017 Wesleyan Council of Student Affairs (WCSA) president and vice president respectively.

Dobeck said his main concern is wisely spending the WCSA budget in ways that will improve student life and happiness. He also said improving transparency between students and administration is crucial.

Sheetz and Dobeck said they want to make WCSA more accessible to the OWU community. “I would like to have a monthly letter in The Transcript from WCSA to the students. I’d also like to do ‘reside chats’ on the Facebook page,” Dobeck said.

Dobeck also said he wants to create an archive of current and past WCSA records. “Any self-respecting institution should have a record system for itself and to keep its heritage alive,” he said.

He also mentioned wanting to create a student film festival sponsored by WCSA. “We’d show student-made films as a celebration of OWU artistry,” he said.

Sheetz, who has worked with Dobeck on bills for WCSA, said, “(Chris) has an amazing ability to keep a group going and keep a group cohesive, where my skill set lies more in getting specific projects done.”

“I am most excited about having a voice at the highest portion of our school’s administration,” Sheetz said about his new position. “I firmly believe that every student has a right to know what the administration’s thoughts and feelings are on any part of the school that they so wish.”

Sheetz said he wants to work with the Provost to make an easier system for student feedback. “The most important thing in my eyes is open communication and students being able to voice their complaints in a safe environment,” he said.

Sheetz said he also wants to include Greek Life and Small Living Unit (SLU) communities in the WCSA budget, improve campus sustainability and continue campus inclusivity.

Dobeck previously served a year as a senator for WCSA’s Administration Policy Committee (APC). Sheetz first met current WCSA vice president Sam Schurer through the men’s ultimate frisbee team and joined the Student Life Committee after learning more about WCSA from Schurer.

Dobeck said he started thinking about running two months before the elections. Sheetz reached out to him and said he wanted to join the campaign. The two will hold their positions for a year.

Dobeck said he values Sheetz’s professional attitude. “He had experience other people didn’t,” he said.

Other candidates that ran include Robert Gossett for president and Brad Marcotte for vice president and Armando Polizzi for president and Adriana Rodriguez for vice president.

Outgoing President Jess Choate and Vice President Sam Schurer spent much of their term working to increase representation of minorities on campus. Out of that came the Student Inclusion Advocacy Committee (SIAC). WCSA of officers that sit in on the SIAC Committee are elected directly onto WCSA to be on this committee. The students elected to this committee include: Ryan Bishop, Jason Perry, Cindy Huynh, Ahmed Hamed, Cara Harris, Spencer Zhang and Marisa Grillo.

Elections were held on Nov. 11. The new of officers will begin their terms at the start of the spring semester.

Former R.E.M manager discusses education reform in schools

By Anna Davies, Transcript Reporter

Ohio Wesleyan University’s Arneson Institute hosted a lecture with Bertis Downs, former manager of R.E.M., educational reform activist and entertainment lawyer, on Monday, Sept. 12 in the Benes Rooms.

The lecture was a conversation between Downs and politics and government professor Sean Kay. The discus- sion opened up to students near the end. About 50 people were there and it was a mix of OWU students, professors and other community members.

Downs, an advocate for public schooling, said what he’d like to see from public school policymakers is a change from focusing on standardized tests to helping students from all walks of life learn valuable skills that help them rise in the workforce.

“Circumstances and privilege should not determine what you can achieve. There’s always examples of diamonds in the rough,” Downs said. “How do we get more of those first generation college students? They’re the future of society.”

“I think the reason I’m so interested in race and privilege is because as the son of missionary parents in Taiwan, I’ve been a minority,” Downs said during the lecture.

Downs said his ideal school system would have adequate funding, teachers making a decent wage and not having to deal with the stress of constant standardized testing, a diverse curriculum and a multicultural student body.

“You need true integration,” he said.

Downs praised small liberal arts schools for teaching students how to be critical thinkers and learn skills that go beyond typical workplace knowledge.

Downs also talked about his time spent with R.E.M. He said an especially impactful event was watching R.E.M. play a show in Hyde Park in London a week after a terrorist attack.

“I remember someone in the crowd was holding a sign that said, ‘Thank you for staying,’” Downs said.

“They (R.E.M.) were good at what they did. I had some- thing to do with business planning and strategy,” he said. “I had a pretty light touch as a manager. They didn’t want a lot of control.”

Downs said he was proud of R.E.M. for getting involved in social activism and playing benefits for Neil Young’s Bridge Schools, Bruce Springsteen’s Vote for Change and for helping get the Motor Voter bill signed into effect during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Downs also said R.E.M. helped get the first liberal fe- male mayor elected in their hometown of Athens, Georgia.

Emma Sampson, a student in Dr. Kay’s American foreign policy class, said she hoped the lecture would be a good example of intersecting interests, an important part of OWU’s education plan.

Michael Wadsworth, who is in Dr. Kay’s global issues class, said, “I’m pretty excited. It’s about rock music…and I’m happy to be here.”