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Going home for spring break felt oddly similar to traveling to an alien planet, mostly because there were dozens of massive, grotesque plastic weeds pockmarking yards and medians, making everything look more like something Dante made up than like the town I grew up in. Imagine the horror that struck me upon the realization that many of these ugly weeds were not there on accident, but had been planted by many of my own neighbors! The horror, the horror!
The Islamic State, or ISIS, is a growing concern for many international actors as attacks are rising around the world. In order to manage the crisis in Syria, President Obama announced the U.S. policy of counterterrorism efforts to thwart the organization’s success, primarily dependent on airstrikes.
Enough is enough.
On Saturday, I went to breakfast with my mom in celebration of her birthday. Upon greeting her, we traded kisses on our respective cheeks and exchanged a warm salutation. As is our custom, she then gave me this week’s copy of the New Yorker, and its felicitous cover, artfully illustrated by Kadir Nelson, jointly stoked feelings of refulgent optimism and deep reflection. The cover donned Harlem Renaissance giants like the legendary composer and pianist– and my favorite musician– Duke Ellington, as well as skilled authors James Baldwin and Zora Neale Hurston and Civil Rights leader Malcolm X. Seeing them displayed so elegantly, resolutely, and unapologetically infused into me an insuperable sense of pride about the history of black men and women in America.
Unfortunately, I cannot bring myself to write a love letter to transgender and non-binary identified students at UR, as I recently did for students of color. Don’t get me wrong – I would much rather write that op-ed than this one. The difference here is not that I don’t care about the success, well-being, visibility, and future of trans and non-binary students – because I certainly do. Rather, I cannot speak with the same kind of experience and wisdom about being trans/non-binary as I can about race and racism. I can’t effectively love the beauty, creativity, brilliance, kindness, and bravery of you – my fellow trans and non-binary folk – because I’m still wrestling with loving myself.
Waitlist. It’s the dreaded term you hear from colleges who have too many qualified applicants. The phrase professors use when both of you know you aren’t ever going to get into the class. The problem students face when trying to get help for mental health issues on University of Richmond’s campus.
“Dr. Grollman, this is the worst chapter of my life,” a Black woman student revealed to me in my office two years ago. Her comment was heartbreaking, especially coming from an individual who has lived but two decades and was on her way to finishing her degree at this world-class university. I refrained from trivializing her comments, avoiding some flippant response like college supposedly being a time of fun and self-exploration as though she had chosen, instead, to be miserable. Rather, I told her that I believed her, as I would when anyone has revealed that they have suffered from violence (in her case, the intersections among racism, sexism and classism). I pointed out resources that were available to her to help her survive and, ideally, thrive on campus. And, I asked that she consider finding ways to leave the campus in better shape than when she arrived, for I do not want to hear cohort after cohort of Black University of Richmond students reveal their misery to me.
The Alice Haynes room was packed. Students gathered to participate in the viewing of "The Hunting Ground," a recent documentary dealing with the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. The event was a part of the *WILL lecture series on justice. In watching the film, students engaged in a moment of solidarity, and are certainly still looking for answers to this ongoing issue.
Nothing excites college students more than a snow day.
If you’ve been keeping up with recent news, then you probably heard about the Mexican drug lord “El Chapo,” who was recently apprehended in a military raid. The raid, which can be viewed online, was conducted by the Mexican military, purportedly under the supervision of American law-enforcement agencies.
A University of Richmond student tells me she has felt suicidal for some time. She can’t get out of bed or find motivation to do work. She often finds herself thinking of home, her brother, and her sister, and the pain they feel or felt. Her friends want to help, but they can only do so much. They just don’t understand.
Before leaving for Morocco I got a lot of mixed reactions from friends and family. "Are you going to have to cover your head there?" "Is it dangerous for an American woman?" "Aren’t you worried about a terrorist attack?" My answer to all of these was a resounding no. I could not wait to get to this exotic and mysterious country, to learn about their culture and heritage and immerse myself within the community I would be living in.
Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Charleston and most recently Umpqua are the sites of some of the most infamous mass shootings in American history. Year by year, this list continues to grow. When will it stop?
Jacqueline Mone, junior studying abroad in Madrid who was visiting Paris when the attacks took place.
It doesn’t take much more than a quick Google search to find instances of college campuses reacting poorly to students in mental health crises. Mentally ill students are often demonized, blamed and condemned for their health problems, and sometimes end up kicked off campuses.
Recently, several American peers and I visited two elementary schools in Bangalore, India for a class about primary education. We entered a private school to a warm welcome from one hundred young students, dressed in pristine white uniforms. This school is privately run, and the headmaster spoke proudly about the school’s academic and extracurricular offerings. I watched as the students performed prepared songs and recited facts about important figures in Indian history. The students from this school are by no means wealthy, especially by American standards, and the school compensates when parents cannot afford the fees, but their educational program is nevertheless far stronger than most in the country.
With the race for presidential nominations underway, terms used to categorize people of Spanish-speaking descent have been tossed about freely in both the media and during conversations with the candidates themselves. Is this new or surprising to anyone? It shouldn’t be.
Any healthy democratic society fosters discussion among constituents, but I think our national “discussions” have morphed into something completely and entirely unproductive.
The biannual Richmond Restaurant Week is happening from Oct. 19-25, and there are definitely some restaurants that you will want to visit.