A remote goodbye

Azmeh Talha
Transcript editor

Looking back on the past couple of months, it’s all kind of surreal, isn’t it? And now we’ve finished spring semester in ways none of us could have ever contemplated.

Ohio Wesleyan University students from all over Ohio, the U.S. and around the world had roughly two months on campus before the novel coronavirus shut us down and forced students and faculty to head into the uncharted territory of remote learning.

Living through a pandemic has been life-changing and it has uprooted us in unexpected ways. No longer did we have the normal daily regime – waking up, getting to class on time, attending extracurriculars, working, like it or not, for extra cash, or heading to a favorite study spot to start assignments left untouched until the 11th hour.

We were stripped of the options to run downtown for hot java from Delaware’s coffee shops, grab a smoothie from Pulp, complete workouts at Simpson Querrey Gym, or satisfy cravings for Asian cuisine at Typhoon, Amato’s pizza or a taste of Greece at Opa’s.

It was demanding to adjust to remote learning. Getting into a focused study groove from the comfort of home, struggling with internet access or making it to class on time while living in different time zones across the world was not easy. The inability to visit professors during office hours while struggling to grasp course content or just to chat was the strangest new normal.

But we adjusted to these unanticipated changes and so I say to faculty, staff and students, I am proud of us all for making it work, as challenging as it was.

Professors across departments, thank you for your flexibility with students. Thank you for being patient and understanding throughout this overwhelming experience and most importantly, thank you also for going through the stress of learning how to remotely teach.

Special recognition should go to faculty who lead students through complex projects or lab or art assignments without having access to OWU’s distinctive classroom equipment.

Fellow Bishops, I am proud to call you peers. Through unprecedented circumstances, you displayed great strength in handling these stressful situations. If you can manage your responsibilities through a pandemic, you know you can do anything.

Being abruptly evicted from dorms, attending classes from home and the uncertainty of, well, pretty much everything, is a lot to handle. But you hung in and made the most of a mind-boggling situation. My hope is this pandemic will make us all stronger. You must be grateful this odd semester is coming to an end. I know I am.

Seniors, please take a moment to reflect on your four years at OWU and be grateful. Recall the all-nighters, the questionable food at Smith Dining Hall, the dorm roommate you loved, hated or peacefully coexisted with, studying in peaceful and aesthetic Slocum reading room, the hands-on experience of a liberal arts education and the fun and craziness of it all. Recall the close friends and new friends from diverse backgrounds that you may not have met elsewhere.

To the Class of 2020, you deserve a better goodbye. I have faith you will get it one day.

Meanwhile, plan an awesome-as-possible graduation ceremony with loved ones. You earned it. Get as wild and extravagant as virtual ceremonies can with your family and friends without blowing social distancing boundaries. You earned your bachelor’s degree; you deserve the festivities.

For the rest of us, this may not be the farewell we had in mind, but I hope this year at OWU was memorable. I hope you’ll look back on OWU as a place of opportunity, support and growth wherever you go from here. I wish you nothing but luck, success and happiness and I hope to see you again this fall.

This virtual goodbye does not seem enough, does it? It feels like we said farewell in March without really saying the actual words. Nonetheless, on behalf of The Transcript and its staff, goodbye to all of our strong, hardworking faculty, staff and students. We’re all family you know.

Stay safe, Bishops. And don’t forget – wash your hands.

Opinions vary over trouble in Kashmir

In August, the India government stripped statehood away from Kashmir, turning what was an Indian state into a federally controlled enclave, according to The New York Times. Pakistan also claims Kashmir as part of its country. People worry that India’s move could lead to another war between the two nuclear-armed countries.

A Pakistani and an Indian student at Ohio Wesleyan University were asked by The Transcript for their opinions about their respective country’s position regarding Kashmir.

Sophomore Haris Ali, from Pakistan, believes that war is inevitable between Pakistan and India.

Sophomore Parampreet Singh, from India, says Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi is making the right decisions.

Azmeh Talha

Arts and Entertainment Editor

War is inevitable

Ali: Although I believe that peace talks are very important and both countries should peacefully come up with a solution to this grave issue, it has not been possible in the past 72 years. The current political situation in India and Pakistan gives us no hope that this would be possible anytime in the near future.

Chairman of the Council for Indian Foreign Policy V.P. Vaidik said the Kashmir issue can be resolved through dialogues amongst all stakeholders – Pakistanis, Indians and the Indian and Pakistani occupants of Kashmir. However, whenever efforts are made to resolve the Kashmir issue, there is always some setback.

Elections in Pakistan or in India are often the cause of postponement of peace talks as politicians use anti-Pakistani or anti-Indian rhetoric to win elections.

In 2018, the newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, extended an invitation to India for peace talks. The two countries were set to meet in the United Nations.

However, Indian elections were close, so the Indian government changed their mind and refused to attend the scheduled talks, according to a statement by India’s ex-Minister of External Affairs, the late Sushma Swaraj. India cancelled the meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart less than 24 hours after agreeing to what would have been the first high level contact between the nuclear-armed neighbors in three years. In a situation like this, it is highly unlikely that peace could remain in the region forever.

My analysis of this situation of war and peace has led me to the conclusion that war is inevitable. Every year there is a violation from either side which postpones the idea of any kind of peace. Pakistan and India have already fought four wars. Hundreds of border skirmishes have taken place in which hundreds of thousands of civilians and military personnel have died as a result.

The only reason that there has been no major armed conflict since 1999 is the acquisition of nuclear weapons by both countries. The international community wants peace in the region – nuclear war must be avoided at all costs – but the religious sentiments of Muslim and Hindu extremists on either side, as well the media, spread hate in the hearts of the common people on both sides.

As a result, the army and the government have to please their needs. If World War Three were to ever take place, India and Pakistan could potentially start the war.

I strongly condemn the recent violations of civil and human rights of Kashmiri people by the Indian government. From mass killings, enforced disappearances, torture and rape to political repression and suppression of freedom of speech, I do not understand how the literate population of India can elect a prime minister who encourages this behavior.

These are heinous and shameful acts and do not affect either country in any way but has ruined the lives of thousands of Kashmiris. I can’t even imagine being forcefully taken away by armed forces from my mother and sister, not knowing what would happen to us.

I for one do not hate Indians. I visited India back in 2017 and had a great experience. I did not feel ‘out of place’ and everyone treated our group as guests; and I go to college with Indian friends. My point being that the hatred and angst shown on social media and news channels is wildly inaccurate.

A common Pakistani or an Indian does not want war or any sort of conflict with each other.

As a Pakistani, I unequivocally believe that Kashmir should be a part of Pakistan. However, as a rational person, I think that an unbiased referendum should take place in Kashmir.

The people of Kashmir should decide whether they want to join India or Pakistan or if they want a separate nation for themselves. I might be too optimistic too believe that this would actually happen, as neither side would agree to this.

Modi took the correct action

Singh: The action of our prime minister, Narender Modi, took regarding revoking the Article 370 was really a positive and a bold action.

I know there was a huge debate about how the government of India treated the people of Kashmir, but if they had let them know about the action they took, it [would have been] impossible for the government to revoke the Article 370.

It was supposed to be something quick and instant. That’s how the government of India did. This step will integrate Kashmir and put it on the same page as the rest of India.

I also feel that the people of Kashmir should have been treated in a better way. However, I don’t know what the consequences would have been if the government hadn’t blocked the telephone lines in Kashmir. It could have been worse.

Being an Indian, I feel this is a positive for India.

The Transcript, I thank you

Upon returning to Ohio Wesleyan for my junior year in the fall of 2017, I had no plans of writing for The Transcript, let alone join their staff. Being a journalism major, I knew I had to do it at some point, I just didn’t think that semester was the right time.

I was taking the notoriously difficult Data and Ethics class with Paul Kostyu, associate professor of journalism and department chair. That class alone, now knowing from experience, can increase a student’s stress level beyond normalcy.

Only two students were in that class: myself and Aleksei Pavloff, the sports editor for The Transcript at the time. From the first class, Aleksei pushed me to join the Transcript. He continued to do the same in every class after that.

I’m now incredibly grateful that he did.

Fast forward a year and half later, and here I am, writing my last editorial as editor-in-chief of The Transcript.

It’s clear to anyone who knows or has read our issues and pieces over the past year that The Transcript wasn’t always perfect. Not by a long shot. I was constantly emailed/notified about the problems in the issues, as well as spoken to about them in person. There were even instances where I had the paper shoved in my face, with the person citing a very specific inaccuracy.

Yet although this was frustrating at points, it didn’t mean these problems that arose weren’t backed up with validation. Just ask Kostyu, and he’ll show you his edits (which I’m sure he keeps) of each issue after it was published, each page marked to the brim in black ink. Thinking on it now, he did leave less white space.

Kostyu wasn’t alone in his criticisms. Ingles also edited each issue, and although there was less ink when she edited (and in purple), she made sure to point out the biggest problems. Even TC Brown, instructor in journalism, joined in on critiquing here and there.

While that may not sound like the most joyous experience, it had many positives. The presence and dedication of these mentors, whether through outside guidance or critiques, has proven both beneficial and necessary, as without it the staff, and paper, would have gone into a tailspin.

The challenges of having such a small staff have been apparent over the last year and a half. Recruiting was certainly hard when I first started as editor, especially when there wasn’t much interest. The number of stories assigned to one person sometimes seemed to much for their own sanity. Designing was a strenuous process, but necessary.

Regardless, we as a publication have certainly come so far. This semester, we experienced The Transcript evolve into a fully-digital publication, with our designed issues being sent out solely in PDF format to our subscribers via email. We saw a complete re-branding of the website, including a new theme. We added new features never used in previous versions of the site. We increased our social media following, as well as participation. The deadlines to turn in a story were changed from a week to three days maximum, although great encouragement was put on turning it in that same day. Because of this, we post stories daily, providing a more consistent form of news. We now design our e-editions once a month, instead of bi-weekly. Most recently, we saw our highest viewed story on the website to date, as evident by Jesse Sailer’s piece “Ohio Wesleyan’s ‘invisible problem,’” (3,000 reads and counting). We truly, I believe, have set up The Transcript for a positive future.

Throughout my tenure, I’ve come to realize that nothing could have been possible without you, the reader. It’s your feedback, whether positive or negative, that has kept us going, particularly over this year. The sense of pride felt when one of you picked up the paper or viewed one of our stories online was, and still is, incomparable. As I stated before, I know we weren’t perfect, but we do, and always have, appreciate your continued support. I encourage you to keep giving feedback/suggestions/whatnot, because sometimes the best ideas may come from the people on the outside.

The Transcript has become part of my routine over the past year and a half, so much that it has become normal. There have been moments that I will cherish forever, and situations that will no doubt benefit myself and the rest of the staff going forward. For example, tips from my predecessor, Gopika Nair, have been engraved in mind for years to come.

It truly is hard to believe my term as editor-in-chief is coming to an end. Throughout the ups and downs, working for The Transcript has been one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had, working with many fantastic people along the way while improving my skills as a journalist.

I wish the new editor-in-chief and editorial staff the best as they continue to keep the Transcript heart beating. Whoever that may be, I have full confidence that they will do an amazing job, and positively make their mark on the Transcript’s long history.

That being said, it has been an absolute honor to serve as editor-in-chief of The Transcript for the past year, and I thank everyone who has joined me on this thrilling ride.

Trump and his new transgender policy

By Maddie Matos, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Trump administration announced to the world that it is considering defining gender by genitalia at birth, threatening the rights of transgender people across the nation.

The news comes at a time where people of all minorities feel threatened daily by an administration that seems to be against them at all costs. The announcement created a social media storm, with people tweeting and posting that they stand with transgender people and the policy, if it proceeds, threatens the human rights of over one million people in the United States.

By identifying gender at birth, many people will be confined to whatever gender they are born. This can lead people who have had their gender markers changed on legal documents have to revert back to their birth gender.

Donald Trump’s policies differ drastically from President Barack Obama’s policies. Obama allowed for looser restrictions on gender and sex, allowing people to define it when they want to, not at birth.

The Department of Health and Human Services is also attempting to alter transgender rights by establishing a legal definition of sex under Title IX, according to the New York Times on Oct. 21. The efforts leave transgendered and other marginalized people feeling uneasy.

Restriction of human rights is not new to the American political system. Throughout our history, Americans who are not the typical heterosexual white male have had to fight for basic rights. America has long ignored these problems until the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, which forced citizens of the United States to see for the first time the plight of others in the nation. The LGBT movement is experiencing the same issues.

Allying ourselves with marginalized peoples will not only strengthen their causes but bolster our causes as well. Unity in numbers as well as ideals is what the United States has valued for decades, leaving the opportunity for a new era of campaigning and protesting in our able hands.

Out With the Old and in with the New: First Thoughts

By Kit Weber, Photo Editor

The beginning of a new semester can be rough, but it can be even more rough with a new food service provider.

AVI Foodsystems joined the campus community in May and has brought more hours and no declining point system. Students at Ohio Wesleyan now have anytime dining, which means food at the Smith Hall cafeteria all day, any day and the Marketplace in the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center is open from morning to evening. 

But with change comes confusion. 

Burnt coffee, pink meat, mislabeled food and more have left some students reconsidering their dining expectations.

Coffee is a staple of the college student diet. But Sunday morning left a friend saying one of the coffee choices was so watery that it looked like tea, while another friend said it was so burnt that no creamer could change its color.

Undercooked food has left some hanging too. My roommate had once cut into the chicken with a pink center and ultimately refused to eat it. When I scooped up some unusually hard rice, I had to stop too.

If you chose the smallest meal plan, there is no dining dollars unless you put money out-of-pocket on your card. This means no Merrick, T-store, or the Science Café without using personal money. 

Even though anytime dining at Smith and the Marketplace are unlimited swipes, it does not always mean they are my first food choice. 

This change is new and will naturally have some obstacles until things settle. I think some issues have easy solutions, such as simply adding more dining dollars to each meal plan, including the lowest. Even on the medium plan, I do not see myself having enough dining dollars to get me through the semester.

When it comes to the food, attention and communication would both help. Talk with students and figure out what dishes could be improved or added. Students wanted the T-Store to remain on the residential side of campus instead of moving to Hamilton-Williams, and it stuck.

Better communication between employees and students will improve the new system together and expectations can be achieved. 

How to protect and lengthen your pets’ life

By Kit Weber, Photo Editor

One of the major financial concerns in owning a pet is the question of whether to get it spayed.

When an animal is spayed or neutered, the reproductive organs are removed, usually to help limit the chance of future unwarranted offspring.

Although many owners opt for this option, it is still slightly controversial. Some believe you shouldn’t spay your pet in fear of interfering with its personality or way of life. Others believe you should spay your pet to keep them from searching for mates, potentially causing them harm by escaping. What’s the right answer?

According to The Humane Society of the United States, there are an estimated 6 to 8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Barely half of these animals are adopted, and the rest are euthanized.

When an owner allows their pet to have even one litter, it adds to this overpopulation. This overpopulation first needs to be fixed by increasing adoption of animals at risk of euthanization from kill shelters.

Even if homes are found for all the offspring of an unspayed female, there are then less homes available to pets who already need them.

Neutered male dogs live 18 percent longer than those not neutered and spayed female dogs live 23 percent longer than unspayed females, according to The Humane Society of the United States.

Another benefit of neutering is a reduced urge to roam and mark their territory. By not going into heat and searching or fighting for mates, pet owner headaches are lessened.

Often, an unneutered pet’s instinct is so strong to look for mates they will cross busy streets and be struck by moving vehicles. Even with purely indoor pets, spaying or neutering prevents potential behavioral concerns.

According to Ten, a movement to end feline homelessness, foregoing spaying or neutering an indoor cat increases the risk of reproductive cancers and undesirable mating behaviors.

When it comes to food and finances, there have been studies showing neutered pets simply require less. According to The No-Kill Cat Nation Home, pets who are neutered need fewer calories than those unneutered due to a lowered metabolic rate. This caloric difference can sometimes can reach up to 25% less for those neutered.

More truths are hidden when owners claim they want to breed their dog or cat as a “purebred,” so they remain unneutered.

The truth is about one in every four pets in a shelter is purebred or designer breed according to Ten.

One of the largest issues people have with neutering their pets is the price. The lesser known reality is that charitable organizations, even veterinarians, offer lower prices.

Consider the costs of raising your pet’s cute, new litter: the food, the vaccinations, the time and more. Ultimately, the option of spaying or neutering your pet is much cheaper, healthier and happier in the long run.

The future of the prince of England

By Maddie Matos, A&E Editor

An heir and spare were already in the British royal family. Now there is an extra spare.

On April 23, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a son. He is the third child between Middleton and her husband William, the Duke of Cambridge.

The baby was born at the historic St. Mary’s hospital in  London, England. This location has been the hospital of choice for royal births, with both baby’s siblings and its father born there.

In September last year, Kensington palace announced that the couple were expecting their third child. Later, in October of 2017, the expecting date was released to the public.

The sons name has not been released to the public yet, but traditional British names are being considered in the public’s eyes. The duke and duchesses’ oldest child is named Prince George and their second oldest is named Charlotte.

The new baby is fifth in line for the throne, behind his grandfather, Charles, Prince of Wales, his father the duke, and his two older siblings.

The likelihood of this new prince becoming king is slim, but he will have many other royal duties and be in the public eye. He will most likely have roles like his uncle, Prince Harry.

The British royal family has been a source of constant public press and criticism in the last century. The marriage and divorce between Charles and Princess Diana has been one of the most public relationships in history, with Diana’s untimely death pushing the royal family to harsh criticism that is still common to this day.

Marriages and new children provide positive press for the family, making their popularity reach record highs every time. Yet this new baby has not received all the hype that his siblings did.

Being fifth in line to the throne can be hard. The public can easily dismiss you or forget about you. The chances of you gaining any true power is slim. Yet this prince should not be discounted. Throughout history, there have been rulers of England that have succeeded to the throne when they were previously thought to be nobody. Both Queen Elizabeth’s were far from first in line for the throne. So was King Henry VIII. So was Queen Victoria
I for a brief time.

These kings and queens all are remembered as rulers, rising in the ranks as a forerunner for the throne. The new prince has just as much of a chance as any other person in line for the throne.

Firing Tomahawks at Syria, why and why now?

By Tung Nguyen, Online Editor

President Trump, despite his past denouncements toward president Obama’s policies in regard to the military fluctuations in Syria, publicly announced his firm stance against President Putin and President Assad as well as his decisions to get the “nice, new and smart” Tomahawk involved.

In the same tweet, President Trump also mentioned his concern about the violations of civil rights toward President Assad by calling him a “Gas Killing Animal.” The big question has been raised immediately of why President Trump, who has been completely indifferent of such subject, did so and why now.

First of all, President Trump may want to regain his public credibility and people’s trust in their leader after the ongoing “call and response” economic war with China recently. Earlier this month, Washington and Beijing have been attacking each other turn by turn with the inflated tariffs on China’s products. This trade battle put an overcast above the U.S’s domestic market and dropped the President’s approval rating to a much lower level. As a president who cannot care more about his support rate and the heat between China and the U.S. does not seem to cool down anytime soon, President Trump now has to redirect the public to an international affair.

On the other hand, by publicly stands against President Putin, President Trump can soothes the uprising doubts regarding to the probability of Russia dipping her hand in the U.S.’s last election. The investigation is close to its climax when Robert Mueller, the Special counsel, accused 13 Russians on February 16 for their attempts to spend millions of rubles on Trump’s campaign. More than that, recently, according to the CNN, the White House revealed to the press that President Trump is capable of firing Mueller and hiring a different Special counsel. Even though there isn’t any official decision made yet in regard to the future of Mueller, this could be something worth raising

Second of all, President Trump can leans on his concern toward the violation of civil rights in Syria to retake the U.S.’s military presence in the Middle-East. On the global political chessboard, Russia is becoming more and more dominant on this regions after many constant military interferences in Syria. Moreover, the announcement of the U.S. retreating her troops from the Middle-East by President Trump worried the Western allies and created doubts about the leading position of the U.S. By warning Russia and President Assad about the possible counter-attacks with Tomahawk and, recently, firing these missiles at East Ghouta, President Trump is showing his capabilities to the whole wide world and calming the European fellows in some ways. This seems to be the only choice for the U.S. to regain her possession of this troublesome region.

However, firing Tomahawk at East Ghouta can be very risky for the presidency of President Trump. I personally think that if President Trump cannot keep these strikes on check and sinks himself in the prolong wars that have been broken out for almost a decade, not only many other soldiers and civilians from both sides will be crushed but the U.S. will also be positioned in a face-to- face war with Russia. Who knows what can happen if the tension
remains unsolved, if not escalated.

OWU faculty expels reporters on a secluded ballot

By Maddie Matos, A&E Editor

On Monday night, the faculty of Ohio Wesleyan University put into writing that reporters are no longer allowed into their meetings. Transcript reporters are no longer allowed into the meetings and the editor-in- chief will be emailed the summary of the meetings each month.

The staff voted 56-18 to keep reporters absent from meetings. This was conducted by a paper ballot.

The same night, the faculty also approved the committee for free speech on campus.

The idea of having a committee for free speech while banning journalism, the constant provider for free speech and freedom of the press, is blasphemy. The school is being hypocritical for endorsing free speech but taking away the right for someone to report on these meetings.

In an era of “fake news” and distrust of the media, it can seem almost impossible for anyone in the business to try and do their job. Most reporters simply are covering their stories and reporting facts, not attack someone or an institution.

The OWU journalism department is a small one. We often struggle for stories at the Transcript, are understaffed and are overworked. We each are attempting to learn what it means to be a journalist in the modern age, and the faculty closing off access to these meetings is inhibiting us more than ever.

Faculty meetings let us know, as both students and journalists, what different departments are doing. They tell us which professors are receiving different awards, what events are happening on campus. Meetings let us get the information out to the reader as soon as possible. Without these meetings, how can we do our very jobs?

The whole purpose of journalism is to inform the public of what is happening in the world. And at a campus as small as OWU’s, faculty meetings are an integral part of any journalist and their work.

In short, every single person on campus will now suffer from this decision. Whether it is a lack of information to the reader, a lack of communication between departments or simply a distrust between each other, we all suffer from this decision.

Marvel: The birth of a comic supernova and rise of a cinematic universe

By Kienan O’Doherty, Editor-In-Chief

The evolution of Marvel can only be described in one word: surreal.

Marvel studios dominates the super hero movie genre, releasing on average two films a year with release dates scheduled up to 2019. Marvel shows no signs of slowing down as it redefines and re-imagines the comic-based film. Marvel’s reach includes T.V. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. soon begins its second season and Daredevil hits Netflix in 2015. What makes Marvel Studios so successful? With phase two coming to a close, where is the Marvel Cinematic Universe going?

The entertainment empire has leveraged its cast of comic-book characters into a multi-billion-dollar film universe with three full trilogies, eight distinct franchises, and a decade of blockbusters and counting. In total, it has made around $11.8 billion since that very first Iron Man movie, unadjusted for inflation (and not including Spider-Man: Homecoming or Thor: Raganarok’s $427 million in returns and counting).

The answer may be in an article written by Quora, and it states “Marvel ensured that the foundation of their universe was built upon the essence of what people loved about their comic books. They also understood that to bring the masses to what has historically been a niche culture requires gentle coaxing. They slowly and smoothly fed us Iron Man and used Nick Fury to make us curious about Captain America and then Thor. They got us to love those three characters and then satiated us by pulling them all together in The Avengers.”

The answer may also lie in a new study from online research provider ZappieStore. Using facial and emotional recognition software called Affectiva, the company sought to find out how much a person loved a comic book movie trailer, how it grabbed their attention, and how likely they’d be to share the trailer on social media.

It was found that audiences emotionally connected more with characters when watching a Marvel trailer, with humor playing a major part in driving up engagement. For instance, 78% of people were considered “lovers” of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer because of its engaging characters, humor, action, and music (Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”). The trailer for Captain America: Civil War got a 75 percent “love” rating. The ability of these trailers to affect behavior was indicative in both instances, as viewers said they’d be willing to share the preview with others.

The future of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe looks promising. They’ve developed a formula sure to please both movie and comic book fans alike. If Marvel keeps producing great films with lovable, relatable characters, fans will keep flocking to midnight showings and filling seats opening weekend. The only way they can go is up.