‘Think 30’? I think not!

One student’s perspective on a college initiative designed to help students succeed

by Alexia Davis

The photo of a student in a graduation cap and gown that accompanies the DCCC “Think 30” initiative. Photo courtesy of Delaware County Community College

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I think about numbers a lot. The number of meals I will prepare for my family in a year is 1095. I will wash, fold and put away approximately 730 loads of laundry in a year and spend at least 104 hours running errands.

Then, there are the smaller numbers. I have one home with a mortgage and maintenance needs. I have two children, ages 6 and 7, for whom I have an enormous responsibility.

The numbers don’t stop, which is why I refuse to buy into the “Think 30” initiative at DCCC.

The message of the program seems clear. Students should take 30 credits per year so they can complete their degree in two years. In the end, students will be like the photo accompanying the initiative, graduates smiling in their caps and gowns.

When I began my journey at DCCC almost four years ago, I knew what I wanted. I also understood, having been in the workforce, that a degree is nothing if it stands alone. Only growth and knowledge can make it meaningful.

My success, I decided, would always be measured by the knowledge I acquired. If I wasn’t learning, I was failing, regardless of what my grades reflected. That is why I have never taken more than three courses per semester.

I remember sneaking back to the computer to work on assignments while my kids napped or became preoccupied with an activity. Then, after tucking my babies in at night, I would again return to the computer, hoping for enough energy to get some more school work done.

I am not alone. In my time at DCCC I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many individuals. I learned that the majority of them are also raising a family, working fulltime jobs or both.

Those on the “Think 30” path admit to doing the bare minimum to get through and pass their courses. Even if they wanted to be getting more from their education, they couldn’t because there’s simply no time. Their academic career must always run parallel to the responsibilities of the real world.

Of course, it would be ideal if all students could manage and maintain the momentum needed to get their degree in a fixed amount of time. But at what cost?

There is an underlying message, whether intentional or not, in the DCCC “Think 30” initiative. That message is “just push through and get it done.” It is a message that shows no concern for the process of learning or the real success that comes from quality education.

It is a message that no educational institution should ever support. It is also a message that lacks any regard for the importance of maintaining a high grade point average (GPA).

Students who take on more than they can handle risk sabotaging their GPA, and in turn, their educational opportunities when it comes time to transfer. I can say with certainty that my GPA, currently a 4.0, would not have been possible if I had been on the “Think 30” path.

The goal of every student should not be to “just get it done.” It should be growth and knowledge, two things which drive momentum and motivation. That is the path to success, at least in my experience.

It’s time to rethink “Think 30.” We have enough numbers in our lives. What we need, is to “Think Success.”

Contact Alexia Davis at communitarian@mail.dccc. edu

A sign on the DCCC Downingtown campus conflicts with schoolwide “Think 30” initiative. Photo by Alexia Davis

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Living while black: the quickest way to die

By Andrew Henry

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A supporter holds a picture of Jemel Roberson outside of the Midlothian Police Department in Midlothian, Ill., onFriday, Nov. 16, 2018. They demand the firing of the officer who fatally shot 26-year-old Jemel Roberson, who was detaining a suspect outside a Robbins bar. Photo courtesy of Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Black people, especially men, are dangerous. Before you stop reading, allow me to explain. How could I, a black man living in America, possibly make such a bold, racist claim?

Let me give a few examples.

Trayvon Martin was a young black man.

Martin was walking through a suburban neighborhood in Florida one night when a neighborhood watchman, who was told by police to stop following him, shot him dead and served no jail time for it. Martin was wearing a hoodie and carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea.

Hoodies, Skittles, and tea are not inherently dangerous. There is only one logical reason for Martin’s death: as a black man, he was too dangerous to live.

If that isn’t convincing enough, then what about Eric Garner? Garner was selling cigarettes on a street corner in New York City. Although deadly, cigarettes are not considered a lethal weapon.

Nevertheless, while Garner was apprehended, one of the officers put him in an illegal choke hold until he could no longer utter the words “I can’t breathe.”

Selling untaxed cigarettes is illegal, but I am unaware of any place where selling them would be an offense punishable by death.

The only logical explanation? Again, he was a dangerous black man, so he had to die.

Still unconvinced? Jemel Roberson was a legally armed black man working as a bouncer at Manny’s Blue Room Lounge in Chicago, when around 4 a.m on the night he was working, a man entered the bar and opened fire.

Roberson subdued him, and held him until the police arrived. According to the Chicago Tribune, Roberson’s hat read “SECURITY” across the top.

The witnesses said the cop gave no verbal commands before shooting and killing Roberson.

Wayne Lapierre, the CEO of the National Rifle Association, once said, “the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

This good guy had a gun. Jemel Roberson did indeed stop the bad guy with a gun. Even as patrons of the club told the officer that Roberson was a security guard, the police officer still killed him.

I guess the good guy with a gun rhetoric only applies if the good guy with a gun is not black. An unarmed black man is dangerous enough. Give him a gun and he deserves death.

Period.

Need another example? Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford, Jr. was at Riverchase Galleria Mall in Hoover, Ala. on Black Friday this year when shots rang out.

After pulling out his legal firearm, Fitzgerald began waving people to safety. After a police officer came to the scene and saw an armed black man, he shot him dead, without so much as a second thought.

The police officer was praised a hero, while Bradford was painted as a mass shooter. The police department involved, after heavy public pressure, redacted their statement portraying Bradford as the shooter, finally admitted that the actual suspect was still at large.

I can only imagine one reason that a “good guy with a gun” would have been murdered within seconds by police.

Black people, specifically black men, are dangerous.

If black people aren’t dangerous, then why do we make up only 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 data, but 30 percent of the prison population, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons report of the same year?

Also, why does FBI data indicate that black people made up 31 percent of people killed by police in the U.S. when, once again, we only make up 13.4% of the entire population? It doesn’t proportionately make sense, so there is truly only one logical explanation: black people are dangerous.

Contact Andrew Henry at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

The ‘Brett bounce’: what the GOP will rely on for midterm elections

By Dean Galiffa

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Brett Kavanaugh was sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 8 as a result of a 50-48 vote, one of the slimmest margins in American history, confirming his lifelong position as an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

The majority ruling was determined by two coalitions of the same bloc. The larger group, led by senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, believes that granting an alleged sexual predator life tenure is a fair price for a 5-4 conservative majority.

The smaller group, led by senators Susan Collins and Jeff Flake, could not conceive the concept of abstaining from their ideologies for the sake of morals, although both credited the insufficient FBI investigation into accusations made against Kavanaugh as the basis for their decision.

Unfortunately, Kavanaugh’s appointment has seemingly intensified a partisanship divide between both legislatures, with Republicans hoping to hold their majority position in the Senate, due to what some have called a “Brett bounce,” a new wave of support for Republican candidates as a result of the successful confirmation of Kavanaugh.

Democrats, on the other hand, are ostensibly projecting that their votes will secure a more liberal House of Representatives because suburban swing districts, especially those that heavily voted for Trump in 2016, are predicted to vote blue.

According to FiveThirtyEight, as this paper goes to press, there is a 77.4 percent chance Republicans win control of the Senate, with a 22.4 percent chance Democrats do. However, there is a 77.9 percent chance Democrats win control of the House of Representatives, and a 22.1 percent chance Republicans do.

But four weeks is a long time in politics, and the Republican support for the Senate is naive and fleeting, almost an ignorant bliss. Historically, political parties are more likely to stay angry longer than happy, so there is a greater likelihood that the Democratic party will sustain the same energy.

Some believe that Kavanaugh has been subjected to mischaracterization surrounding events that allegedly took place during his academic career. Testimonies accusing the new Supreme Court Justice state that he sexually harassed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and other women. However, both Ford and Kavanaugh went under oath and gave their testimonies.

After several hours of sharing her claims and answering any and all questions that arose, Ford’s patience and calm demeanor never faltered. Furthermore, what does Ford have to gain by lying? She has subjected herself to lifelong assault for her testimony, including villainization. So why bother if she is not telling the truth?

Kavanaugh, on the other hand, was in hysterics after at least 20 minutes of questioning. While some may argue this is the mark of an innocent man in question, I would say that this only characterizes his unfit ability to serve on the highest court of the land.

Registering to vote is the most proactive and efficient way to resolve the current judiciary dilemma.

Contact Dean Galiffa at communitarian@dccc.edu

Mixed emotions about the newest member of the Philadelphia Flyers

By Caroline Sweeney

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Gritty, the new flyers mascot, poses for his debut. “It me” Gritty tweets. Photo curtsey of Gritty’s twitter @GrittyNHL

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot, Gritty, Sept. 24. The orange Gritty looks like a mix of Cookie Monster and Grimace from McDonaldland.

Gritty is similar to the Philadelphia Phillies, Philly Phanatic. Both have an expressive face and a gyrating stomach. However, Philadelphia fans are not giving Gritty the same love as they do the Phanatic.

The new mascot was meant to be the embodiment of the Flyers team: tough, scrappy and gritty. But that’s not always what mascots are supposed to be; mascots are inherently dumb for professional sports teams. They are cartoon characters. They are meant to be entertainment for the fans and something people visualize when talking about a particular sports team.

Most mascots are endearing characters, and Gritty is not. Gritty has beady googly eyes and a wide-open smile that was meant to be charming; instead of being cute, Gritty’s animated features make the new mascot fairly scruffy and scary looking, especially to children.

Others agree.

Gritty’s face is really what has provoked a negative response by fans and national media. Gritty has been compared to horror film characters like Chucky and Jack Torrance from The Shinning. He was described as being “nightmare fuel” and just flat out terrifying to look at.

The rest of Gritty is pretty normal. He has the gyrating stomach like the Phanatic and is just a furry creature in a Flyers jersey.

Even though Gritty’s appearance is horrifying to some, he is slowly capturing the hearts of some fans because of his strange demeanor and shenanigans from the Flyers preseason game on Sept. 24 against the Boston Bruins.

Gritty has also already made himself a meme by referencing Kim Kardashian’s break the internet Paper Mag cover. And this photo has already become a favorite on Twitter and among fans.

Gritty has furthered his popularity with his goofy behavior on the ice at the Flyers v. Bruins game when he slipped and fell on his back and shot an ice service employee in the back with a t-shirt gun.

This goofy behavior is exactly what makes Gritty endearing for fans, despite his appearance. Clearly, Gritty is a success for the flyers. There has been a lot of coverage over the past few days on Gritty.

Gritty has had mixed reviews since he debut, but like every other Philadelphia mascot fans will have to get used to him. Gritty hasn’t been a part of the Flyers organization for more than a week, but with his goofy personality and weird appearance he is probably here to stay.

Contact Caroline Sweeney at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

New York Times’ anonymous op-ed adds to the darkness

By Andrew Henry

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On Sept. 5, The New York Times published an op-ed piece titled “I am Part of the Resistance inside the Trump Administration.” In doing so, they broke with a longstanding tradition of revealing the author of op-ed articles.

Instead, the Times decided to protect the identity of the author since he is a high-level official in President Donald Trump’s administration.

The op-ed piece sheds light on what is really happening within Trump’s White House; in other words, it gives the American people a glimpse behind the scenes. In short, the highly controversial article revealed a chaotic team of Trump staffers trying to reign in a rampaging toddler by taking anything dangerous out of Trump’s path. The author even went as far as to describe how Trump’s aids will take potentially damaging policies off his desk before he has the time to sign them.

I appreciate the article being published, but I can’t help but feel a sense of betrayal from the Times for shrouding the author of this op-ed in anonymity. The Times is and has been a credible source for news from its founding. Something like this could deal a major blow to their credibility, especially considering the subject matter. The op-ed piece was basically an unsigned letter.

The decision to protect the author’s identity for fear that he or she may face retribution should not be the concern of a news agency.

It’s true that sometimes important sources are kept anonymous. Imagine if Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the reporters who broke the Watergate scandal, had to reveal “Deep Throat,” the source that helped them to bring down a corrupt president and his administration.

However, the op-ed article is different because its author is not, to our knowledge, cooperating as a source in an ongoing investigative reporting process that could last more than several months. His contribution was more like a “hit and run” that resulted in more questions than answers.

Worst of all, instead of making Americans feel reassured that someone is working from within to stop Trump from enacting harmful policies, the op-ed only heightened the level of anxiety among the already concerned constituents. Telling us that there are people of sound mind in the White House, while keeping your name a secret, does not calm us. It only escalates the fear that the president of the United States is not of sound mind, something that those closest to him are noticing.

Finally, while it seems plausible, we have no proof that whoever wrote this article is, in fact, an official in the White House.

The Washington Post proclaims, “Democracy dies in darkness.” By publishing this anonymous op-ed piece, the Times is essentially adding to the darkness that America is already shrouded in.

Contact Andrew Henry at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu