Students respond to the election

Universities across the country have been receiving negative media coverage for responding to election results by cancelling classes the day after the election and offering special counseling for those students who are experiencing strong negative feelings about the election results. While most universities are not taking such drastic actions, Tech’s student body is reacting in its own way, initially through chalk art.

Starting on Nov. 9, messages including “Love Trumps Hate”, as well as supportive messages aimed at minority populations began to appear, most notably on the sidewalk in front of the Van Pelt and Opie Library. Other messages elsewhere on campus focused more vaguely on the concept of unity. While it is possible that the chalking in front of the library was likely organized, other smaller instances seem to be the acts of individuals.

Elsewhere on Campus, “Trump” had also been written, although in most cases it did not remain unedited for long, as other students wrote other words around or over it. While some of the instances form popular or articulate slogans or statements, in one case the word “Tacos” was written in large font over Trump’s name.

Larger and more visible responses were also planned, including a peace-walk involving students carrying signs walking from campus to the miner statue at the end of College Avenue before crossing the street and coming back to campus. Word of the event was spread primarily through email listservs, as some professors and advisors saw fit.

Several signs were made on campus using supplies available in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. “A student dropped off markers and posterboards,” said Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion Kellie Raffaelli, “Nothing big, just regular nine by eleven inch paper.”

While the University Administration has taken very active roles in similar events in the past, the university has not officially advocated the event as of the writing of this article. “The only things I did were forwarding the email and posting the email on our facebook page,” said Raffaelli.   While mentioning feelings of hopelessness and despair, especially among minorities after the election, the email, which was originally sent by Neffertia Tyner, a member of Tech’s Title IX committee, specifically says that it is not a protest event stating, “This will not be a protest against the results of the election and it is not a protest against anyone’s beliefs. This is a demonstration to offer reassurance and support and show people that we will not accept hate on our campus or in our community.”

In other areas of the country, marches and protests in the wake of the election have not been so peaceful. Riots have broken out in Los Angeles, Portland, New York, Atlanta and others, according to the Washington Post.

President Obama encouraged cooperation in an address at Arlington National Cemetary, but has been criticized for not yet giving a formal address in response to the riots.

Conservative political commentators have criticized the sometimes aggressive responses following the election, and have noted the concern that Democrats expressed regarding concessions in the event of a Trump loss, as many were concerned about potentially violent behavior in that situation.

International Night 2016

On Oct. 12, the International Club hosted I-Night 2016. To start off, this was an event I was completely excited for, since the theme for the event was holidays, right on the brink of Thanksgiving break. But the twist in the tale was that it included performances from international students, students who are thousands of miles away from home. That raised the intrigue of this event to a whole other level. Apart from that, food from multiple countries was on the menu, raising the hungry man’s expectations.

The night started off with a blend of cuisines, ranging from Iranian Aush as appetizer to Sri Lankan Dosa for the mains and ending with Turkish Baklava as dessert. It also included chai at the end, which is a type of brewed Indian tea. The food was quite simply delicious, and you could sense the efforts of the team who were behind it. I had seen this team working behind the scenes, and even though they seemed tired from the work, they were overjoyed when they saw the guests devouring the food with absolute pleasure.

After the dinner, we started off with the performances. The kick-off was a Finnish dance celebrating the summer season. The Kivajat dancers’ performance depicted a traditional Finnish dance around a midsummer bonfire. Even though there wasn’t an actual bonfire, the heat of this performance was beyond limits. I have never seen such young dancers exhibit such professionalism and it was a perfect way to start this plethora of events.

This was followed by Sangwon Lim performing an instrumental Korean folk song called Arirang, which is considered the unofficial national anthem of Korea. Though it was a slow song, the audience was hooked onto every note that emanated from his guitar. After finishing Arirang, he shifted to a Spanish instrumental theme, which took the audience back to a warm summer afternoon in Spain. A cute moment in this performance was when he missed a note in his music and immediately got up to bow to the audience in the form of an apology. The combined performance was endearing and it left the crowd wanting more.

The MTU Swing Dance Club was up next and they were performing in celebration of Frankie Manning’s birthday, May 26, 1914. They split up into two line dances, one of them decked in blue and the other decked in red. Though I’ve not seen much swing dancing, the enthusiasm in their performances was evident, as were the expressions of pure enjoyment on their faces. That crowd was upbeat during this performance and the dance club fed off the energy of the crowd, to create a passionate performance that would be hard to replicate.

Next up was Masala Chai, a musical group comprised of Indian students. At the risk of sounding biased, this was my personal favorite performance of the entire night. They put their hearts and souls into the music that they played and the crowd responded with absolute delight. Since it was a medley of American and Indian songs, it called out to the crowd in every way possible. Every note was hit with perfection and every heart in the audience beat along with those emanating from the tabla or from the vocal percussion given by the guitarist. My highlight of this performance would be the beautiful flute work by Ninad Gadre, a first year grad student here at Tech and the melodic combination of EnglishHindi songs done by both the vocalists.

After the intermission, Yuika Fukui was set to perform a couple of songs in Japanese. Since she is a close friend of mine, I knew she was nervous going into this performance. But once she got on stage, you could see the tension melt off her face. The audience nodded along to every little progression that she played, and I even observed a Mexican wave of sorts taking place. The songs she played were about springtime and farewell, so it fit into the whole theme of international students celebrating holidays away from their families beautifully. At the end of her performance, the applause that followed told the story.

The MTU Houghton Hoopers were up next, and this was easily one of the most pumped-up dances of all time. The sheer skill which was on display by these three ladies was beyond astounding. Until this point, I did not know that there were so many things that could be done with a hula Hoop. These ladies redefined my understanding of the concept of hula hooping. It was a mixture of athleticism, balance and skill, all combined into an enjoyable performance.

Next up was a performance all the way from China. Three Chinese students sang a song about a Chinese girl who misses home. The interesting part was that they were presenting a slideshow of the English translation of the lyrics. Since many of us are spending holidays away from our homes and our families, this struck a chord in our hearts. Coupled with the sentimental and soothing voices of these performers and the slow and nice rhythm of the guitar, this act made me a bit emotional, reminiscing about the times I spent back home.

Following this, GSG President Will Lytle made a small thank you speech. This was followed by an impromptu dance lesson by Indian students on a very catchy tune. It was surprising to see almost everyone get up and try to learn the Indian dance moves. Being Indian, I was mesmerized by this part, because it was awesome to see people nailing the dance moves perfectly on the first try. You’d almost think that they were taught this before.

Last but not least was an act by the Indian Students’ Association team. They danced to a host of South Indian songs. Needless to say, they blew the roof off the place. The sheer expressions of enjoyment, the cocky styles, the upbeat rhythm and the craziness of the dance motions brought almost everyone to their feet. I could observe people in the crowd dancing along in their seats with this performance. It could be called the perfect ending to a perfect event.

Congratulations are owed to the International Club on a smooth and memorable event. The team was on their toes most of the time, paying attention to the detail and comfort of the audience. The food was delicious. The performances were spellbinding.

World Report: Myanmar, Colombia, Wikileaks

Religious minority targeted in Myanmar

The Myanmar army killed 25 people, including women and children, in minority Rohingya villages in the Rakhine region of the country. The Rohingya are a population of about a million Muslims who are not recognized as citizens of Myanmar, which has a Buddhist majority. Independent media does not have access to the region, but the official army account says that soldiers were defending themselves after men armed with machetes and wooden clubs attacked them. The army account also states that the Rohingya were lighting their own homes on fire to “cause misunderstanding and tension”. Social media accounts from the region tell a different story, with soldiers attacking civilian populations. The government of the country has refused to allow for a credible independent investigation to take place.

Colombians reach new peace deal

The Colombian government and Farc rebels have reached a new peace deal after voters rejected the first one in a shocking referendum. The new deal addresses areas of criticism in the original. Among them is a provision that rebels hand over all their assets, which will be used as reparations for their victims. One aspect of the deal they were unwilling to change was to allow former rebels to hold public office, arguing that allowing them into the political process was the point of the argument. It is unclear whether Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos will push for another referendum or ask their parliament to ratify it.

Wikileaks founder questioned by authorities

Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy four years ago to escape possible extradition to Sweden, where he is accused of rape. He claims that the charges are politically motivated, and that the Swedes will extradite him to the US to face charges related to the release of over 500,000 secret military documents. Now, the top Swedish prosecutor Ingris Isgren has been granted permission to interview Assange, albeit in a roundabout way. The questions were submitted in Spanish and presented to him by an Ecuadorean prosecutor, and no follow-up questions were allowed. A lawyer for Mr. Assange indicated that the Wikileaks founder was happy to finally cooperate in the investigation.

Humanities produces two new PhDs

The Department of Humanities has recently held two Doctor of Philosophy dissertation defenses by Keshab Acharya and Joel Beatty. Their PhD research revealed the interdisciplinary nature of the department, after almost five years of interrogating the interconnected academic disciplines of rhetoric, theory, history, literature, scientific and technical communication, philosophy and culture. Beatty’s advisor was Professor Stefka Hristova and Acharya’s was Professor Ann Brady.

Beatty’s work, “On the Logic, Methods and Scientific Diversity of Technical Systems: An Inquiry into the Diagnostic Measurement of Human Skin” explored the history of color measurement in general and that of the human skin, in particular, through the lenses of biology, anthropology, natural philosophy, language, medicine and technology.

According to Beatty, his interest in human skin stems from his initial curiosities about “color representations,” but his inquiries into color led him into archeology and history. From here he found that “digital color technologies are kinds of biological applications” that have been developed over long historical periods, from the Greeks to the present.

He argues that the diverse histories of human skin measurement inform the present scientific innovations of skin measurement. These innovations in digital applications “go beyond just health diagnosis and are creating new technical categorizations of human skin divorced from the established ethical mechanisms of modern science.”

Speaking to the Lode, Beatty said his work contributes too many fields of study, but fundamentally reminds us that “we should look at history from a new way” so that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. In this sense one may think of how science was manipulated for harmful reasons like biological weaponry and racial categorizations that resulted in the infamous transatlantic slave trade.

“Older Adults as Audience: Exploring the Nexus between Usability, Information Design, and Aging in Technical Communication” is the title of Acharya’s dissertation. According to him, his interest in aging was inspired by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats’s “Sailing to Byzantium” which talks about the life cycle.

Acharya’s work focuses on how innovations in design could consider age, which has generally been overlooked, as a demographic factor in information design. He said his motivation was to make designers see aging from a positive light, as against the generally held negative notions of today. “I am against gerontology because aging is not a disease. You cannot diagnose aging and treat it, so it cannot be seen as a disease,” Acharya said.

During his research, Acharya went through 3,900 articles on older adults published in seven major journals in technical communication and usability studies and found that only 14 concentrated on older adults as audience in the technical communication field. His work, he believes, fills the great vacuum that is left unfilled. The work suggests that “technical communication instructors take older adults into consideration as audience and change the academic framework to afford students opportunities to explore more effective user centered design approaches needed for better design and documentation.”

About their futures, Beatty said he will work to turn his research into a book as he looks forward to taking up a faculty appointment when the chance comes. Acharya also said he will add some ethnographic research to his work and publish as a book in the future, as he has recently accepted a faculty appointment in a university.

General election results

The next President of the United States is Donald Trump, alongside his Vice President Mike Pence.    Nov. 8th, 2016 America elected a new President. Results slowly poured in from the different states. The race was very close throughout the evening, keeping Americans on the edge of their seats. Final official results came out around 2:30 a.m. EST. At the end of the night the electoral vote was 278 to 218. Three states were still counting when Trump received his 278 electoral votes.

As results continued to come in the final count ended at 232 votes for Clinton and 290 for Trump. Trump won 28 states including Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Indiana, while Clinton won only 19 states. Maine split their electoral vote. Three of their electoral votes went to Clinton and one vote went to Trump. The election has raised new concerns over the Electoral College, as Clinton won the popular vote with 47.8 percent of the popular vote to Trump’s 47.2 percent.

Also on this ballot across the country, 469 congress seats are up for election, 34 from the Senate and all 435 House of Representatives. 51 seats are required for a majority win in the Senate. The House of Representatives requires 218 seats for a majority to win. With that in mind, the House majority is currently Republican. After counting the 34 Senate seats up for election, the majority is Republican. This leaves the government with a Republican Congress and a Republican President. The last time this occurred was during George W. Bush’s first term in office.

Since the election, Trump has met with President Obama, and has begun selecting potential cabinet members. Trump announced Nov. 13 that Reince Priebus will be his White House Chief of Staff. Priebus is Chairman of the Republican Party. Stephen Bannon was also considered for the Chief of Staff position, however Trump named Brannon Senior Counselor. Bannon is best known for his work as a media figure and for running Breitbart News. The other cabinet positions have yet to be officially appointed but Trump has a list, according to the New York Times, of potential people who he will consider.

During his meeting with Obama, Trump was reportedly subdued and nervous compared to his previous behavior. He was once known for questioning President Obama’s nationality and for criticizing the president’s policies. However, after the meeting, Trump reportedly told press that President Obama is a good man and that he looks forward to working with him to learn more about the position.

The two discussed current issues facing the country. President-elect Trump will also be receiving a version of the President’s daily brief to prepare him for current issues he will face starting as soon as he steps foot into the Oval Office after inauguration on Jan 20, 2017.

A recap of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

A play consisting of 25 cast members in total, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui ran for three nights in the McArdle Theatre and sold out every night. Intended to be a satire on the rise of Hitler in Germany, the show follows the story of Arturo Ui and how he gained power over the Chicago and Cicero produce market through brute force.

Tom Klonowski, a mechanical engineering technology student, played several parts. “I had the roles of Butcher, a member of the Cauliflower Trust, an unnamed man in scene eleven, and an unnamed vegetable dealer in the final scene. I also voiced the radio broadcast used in scene three,” Klonowski said. The fast talking Chicago accents, while a little hard to understand, fit well with the style and cadence of the era. Preparations for the play began at the beginning of the semester and parts were sent out thereafter. Considering the difficulty of the accent and vocal pacing for this specific play, the preparations of the cast members were of particular interest. “I didn’t know much about The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui when I got a part in the show, so I…turned to YouTube. I couldn’t find much on my specific characters, but I did get an idea of the kind of show I was about to do. I had to use an accent to match the background of the characters. I’ve been doing voice impressions since before I can remember, so I worked through the voices I could do and matched them as close to the characters’ [voices] as possible,” Klonowski said, explaining his process.

Considering the satirical and rather controversial nature of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, it was natural that the cast formed personal connections to it. “Arturo Ui became a sort of protest for me and I’m sure much of the cast felt the same. We were speaking up against the charismatic figure that aimed for a position of high power, claiming only they can solve our problems while using marginalized or minority groups as scapegoats to blame for the cause of these problems. The show is a strong reminder of how history can repeat itself if we don’t recognize the red flags behind all the promises, no matter how good they seem. Considering the recent election, we were all disappointed we weren’t able to get our message out sooner,” Klonowski recounted. It is true that the timing of the play was off for getting a message out, but timing couldn’t have been better for box office sales. Selling out all three nights, it’s surely those who cared deeply about the election results that purchased the majority of tickets.

Given the variety of plays that are shown on campus, a student might be curious as to how they could join. According to Klonowski, the first step is just showing up. “We like seeing new faces. There isn’t just the acting side, either. There are classes available that deal with the technical aspects of the shows, which range from woodworking and sound design to costumes and makeup,” said Klonowski. “It’s also a good idea to take an entry level theater course, such as Theater Appreciation or Beginning Acting. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door by getting your name out in small projects.”

Students can find a voice through acting in the same way that they can find a voice through politics. The lesson of the Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is that we must speak out against injustice if we intend to maintain our freedom. With everyone participating in the political process, we can resist another misogynistic, bigoted, aggressive and wholly unsavory Arturo Ui from getting into power again.

Creators Among Us: Music by women

On Saturday, Nov. 12, the featured works of many contemporary women musicians were brought to the Rozsa Center. The pieces of Jennifer Higdon, Kathryn Salfelder, Julie Giroux, Libby Meyer, Carolyn Bremer and Mollie Budiansky were performed by the Michigan Tech Superior Wind Symphony. Particular highlights such as Emmy winning Julie Giroux and Grammy winning Maria Schneider were featured as well. While women have been creating remarkable music for hundreds of years, the greats of the age have since continued to be just that. Arising modern concepts in music from the recent decades such as the “spinning melody” of Elena Ruehr and Alex Shapiro’s electroacoustic pieces made their debut as students showed off their talents for the crowd. Profound dirges resembling the Star-Spangled Banner and Riften Wed were just a few of the marvelous compositions chosen for the event.

Led by Mike Christianson, the group has chosen a different theme annually to set the ground for their concerts. This year, the trend was “Bringing It Back.” From the Backstage Jazz break in October to Creators Among Us, the modernized classics have been appreciated by students, faculty and community members of the Houghton area.

“I love classical music; it has always been a joy in my life. The students here are really dedicated to their work and it’s fun to watch. Classical doesn’t have to mean boring,” said Megan Schultz, a first year environmental engineering student. She herself plays the French horn.

In addition to the sound itself, it is important to recall the significance of such work. Women are being recognized amongst their peers regarding their long hours of study, practice and commitment to their music. In the words of Christianson, “precocious, intelligent women have set the bar high with their compositions.” In fact, he could not have stated it better. From MIT professors to Juilliard graduates, the best of the best discovered their roots and then set their life in sync with passion. For the students of Michigan Tech, these ladies set a prime example of how far one can go if choosing to be immersed in their interests.

Aside from introducing new music, the Michigan Tech Choirs and Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra will be holding a Christmas concert entitled “Messiah” on December 10 at 7:30 p.m. This Christmas event is free for students with the Experience Tech fee and costs $19 per ticket for adults. Children’s tickets cost $6 each. Be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming events this holiday season at https://events.mtu.edu/.

The last regatta

This past weekend the Michigan Tech Sailing Club sailed in their last regatta for the fall at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Joined by 14 other teams, they sailed a fleet of 420s, which are small, two-person boats. Inside each boat, there is a skipper who steers and controls the mainsail, and there is a crew member who is in charge of the jib and balancing out the boat. Small dinghies, such as the 420, are easy to capsize when there are strong winds. To level out the boat and keep it upright, the sailors have to hike out, or basically lean way off the side of the boat. Sometimes, the winds are so strong that the sailors have to lean into the water just to keep their boat upright. No matter what kind of boat the crew sails, they’re bound to get wet at some point. Thankfully, the Sailing Club owns a variety of dry suits to keep dry. When it is warm outside, getting splashed is no big deal; however, the temperature was around 40 degrees in Holland, making getting wet undesirable. The weather was cold enough on Saturday that the sailors had to scrape the snow and ice off their boats before launching them off the docks.

When participating in a big boat regatta, the whole team can fit on board and work together to sail the one boat, but in small dinghy races, only two teammates can go at a time. Because of this, the regatta is split into two classes, an “A” class and a “B” class. As soon as they get back to the docks, everyone switches boats and the next class heads off again. It can get very fast paced, but no one complains once they fall into the swing of the schedule. By the end of the regatta everybody is sore and exhausted. The only good part of Michigan Tech being so far north is that the members of the Sailing Club can sleep for a while during the nine hour drive back home before having to switch drivers. Sailing might not be for everyone, but for some people, it’s everything. The smell of the water draws them near, and the sound of the waves hitting the boats and the sails flapping in the wind makes them stay. They don’t notice how their hands form blisters from the ropes or how their shins have turned purple with bruises. They’ll do anything to get on a boat, no matter how cold or windy it might be. Michigan Tech’s Sailing Club might be small, but the dedication and love the members have for the sport is huge.

Varsity roundup

Football

The Huskies fell to the University of Findlay this past Saturday, losing 59-21. Saturday was also Senior Night for the Huskies and Michigan Tech honored senior players on the field.

“This senior class is a great group of kids and their first year here earned GLIAC Championship rings,” said head coach Tom Kearly. “They played in the national playoffs, had four winning seasons, and they all have bright futures ahead of them.”

Kearly announced his retirement as head coach, effective this past Monday. Defensive coordinator Steve Olson will take his place, becoming the sixteenth head coach in Michigan Tech history since the program began in 1920.

Hockey

Michigan Tech remains undefeated on home ice after sweeping the Lake Superior State University Lakers this weekend.

The Huskies won 6-1 Friday, earning Head Coach Mel Pearson his hundredth victory.

Freshman forward Gavin Gould was named WCHA Rookie of the Week this week. Gould scored two goals against LSSU Friday night.

Saturday the Lakers came back strong, but the Huskies came back stronger, winning 4-2 to seal the weekend. This past weekend is the only time the Lakers and the Huskies will meet this season.

The Huskies are back on the road to play Alaska-Fairbanks and Alaska-Anchorage the next two weekends.

Volleyball

Husky volleyball swept Lake Superior State 3-0 on Saturday to finish the season 16-14. The Huskies went 11-6 in conference, and will go to the GLIAC tournament as the No. 5 seed.

Graduating seniors Aubrey Ficek and Rachel Pohlod were recognized before the match. Ficek led the team in kills over the day, scoring 11 over the games and Pohlod led with three saves.

The Huskies will start the GLIAC tournament after press time on Wednesday, Nov. 16 with a game against No. 4 seed Saginaw Valley State.

Sidelines: McGregor and UFC 205

UFC 205 was a hoot, for anyone who missed it. UFC President Dana White has said that the event “broke every record in UFC history.”

The event took in more $17.7 million at the gate, which not only broke the record for UFC, but also for Madison Square Garden, where the event was hosted.

Professional mixed martial arts weren’t allowed in the state of New York until earlier this year, when Governor Cuomo signed a bill to legalize it.

Perhaps the most startling record broken at the event, however, was Conor McGregor’s victory over Eddie Alvarez. The Irishman knocked out the Philadelphia native three minutes into the second round and became the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold two championship belts: he now stands at the top of both the featherweight and lightweight categories.

Regular readers may recall our “Reasonable sports opinion of the week” several weeks ago, where I discussed McGregor’s ambitious goal. Well, now he’s done it.

His rise to star power has been swift. Growing up in Crumlin, a suburb of Dublin, McGregor had no interest in any particular career path. His mother set him up as an apprentice plumber, which he hated.

McGregor ditched plumbing and started MMA fighting in 2008. By 2013, he had his first UFC contract, and today he is widely considered to be the most influential fighter in the UFC.

McGregor’s success has been attributed not only to his fighting skill, but also to his talent for flagrant self-promotion.

The way he smack talks his opponents and builds up his challenges brings a sense of drama to the matches that adds greatly to the entertainment.

McGregor’s appeal is absolutely about his personality. More than 70,000 people applied for tickets to his press conference. Watching a fight is one thing, but watching a fighter answer questions?

Then he showed up late.

McGregor is a masterful entertainer who happens to be pretty good in a fight. With that attitude, he’ll go far. He’s already asked for an ownership stake in the UFC, arguing that he’s done so much for their popularity that he deserves it. Looking at the numbers, that’s hard to argue against.