Letter to the Editor: A Response to “The Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh”

By Brandon Marx

 

While I may not be a registered Independent, I still do make quite the effort to block out bias and so-called Fake News before formulating an overall opinion on anything political. In a past edition of the Farmington Flyer, an article was featured that conveyed the opinions of UMF students and staff on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The publication came under heated critique with a featured letter to the editor in issue 4 of the flyer. Dave Larsen, the author of the letter, was quick to call out the editor, asking why they didn’t “condemn this behavior.” Dave stated that it is a newspaper’s responsibility to “call out injustice” and to be honest, fair, and “let your readers decide for themselves.” All of this was in response to Dave’s perceived bias in the author’s original piece.

I find fault in Dave’s criticisms. He insinuates that the author and the editor’s political opinions blinded them from reporting the story objectively. Reading the original piece, the author refrained entirely from reporting their own opinions and did a superb job in ensuring the fairness of the piece. They reached out to multiple people, encompassing a larger perspective and reporting many opinions, not her own. Both Isaac Michaud, treasurer of UMF College Republicans, and Jeffrey Willey, President of the UMF College Democrats were interviewed, and their vastly differing platforms were reported, unedited and without any fake news. I would ask Dave rather if his political bias got in the way of digesting this piece as the truly fair article it was. I would argue that Dave’s predetermined opinion on the issue resulted in a “quick to judge” fashion of reading.

However, I would like to address a more troubling quote in the letter. Dave asks “who’s going to say something when [sexual assault reporters] come for us.” To this question, I offer one piece of advice— don’t sexually assault women. Kavanaugh, “one of the best of us,” according to Dave, was put on trial for sexually assaulting Dr. Christine Ford. It happened. It does happen. And not just by creeps and pervs, and they don’t all get caught. In fact, according to the criminal justice system, out of every 1,000 rapes, only 310 cases will be reported and a terrifying 994 perpetrators will walk free. These statistics should be frightening. So, instead of worrying about who will come to the rescue of abusers when women start reporting them, we should be more focused on helping victims report their assaults without fear.

Dave closes his remarks with a statement to the editor. He says, “…be honest, fair, then let your readers decide for themselves.”  I agree with Dave completely here. Editors and journalists should be just that: honest and fair. In fact, I don’t think the article in question could have been more honest or more fair. I praise the author for her objective, unbiased, and overall brilliant reporting of UMF’s student and staff opinions on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. I also praise the editor for their ability to see the true honesty and fairness in the publication.

Women’s Cross Country Wins NACS

By Abby Shields Contributing Writer  

    On October 28, the women’s cross country team set out on the course, striving to get to their goal of being conference champions at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, Maine.

   “I felt very confident in our students to go out and run to their potential. I feel very fortunate to coach outstanding student-athletes,” said Joseph DiSalvo, coach of the cross country team. “They all prepared very well for this race, and I had confidence in them that they would go and execute well,” said Joseph Disalvo, coach of the cross country team.

 The course was destroyed for the meet, because six races took place there the day before. It had also been raining and snowing leading into race day, making the course very muddy and slippery. The entire course was covered in water and mud, making it a tougher challenge, but they were all very prepared.The weather conditions were cold and rainy,” said Gwen Baker, a senior at UMF. “The women’s team however had always performed well in poor conditions and this day was no exception.”

   Everyone on the team had a different way of preparing for the race that day. “ To prepare for races I go over the course in my head and look at the teams we are going against,” said Julia Labbe, in an email interview. “I look up their past times to see who I should be around, and who I should look out for. I imagine where I can (or want) to make my moves in the race, and it helps me form a positive, motivated mindset.”

  Their total score ended up being a 41, beating Husson by 5 points.  After hearing the news from assistant coach Ryan Smith, many emotions arose for the runners who gave it their all. “I felt many different emotions. The top five runners score for their team.  Team packing is crucial in attaining a low score,” said Baker. “We finished 3rd, 4th, 8th, 12th and 14th place. It was an amazing, surreal moment.”

   “This win was really exciting because UMF was seated second, only one point behind Husson so we knew we had to give it our all,” said Labbe. Everyone at that meet gave it their all, pushing each other to a great finish.

   “I am very proud of each and every student on this team,” said DiSalvo. “It takes a full team effort to win a conference championship, and they certainly worked hard for this accomplishment.”

   Every runner stepped up and ran strong for the UMF cross country team, representing Farmington very well. Ending the season with first place in all conference was a huge accomplishment for the women’s team.

 “We had a strong consistent women’s team. We dominated in many of the meets that had our conference teams in them,” said Baker. “With bigger meets we still did well and I’m excited to see what the women’s team can do next year! We’re going to be even better with gaining back strong runners we didn’t have this year.”

 

Men’s Basketball Defeats UMM in Home Opener

Men’s Basketball Defeats UMM in Home Opener

By Kaitlyn York Contributing Writer

UMF Senior Milani Hicks (22) looks to make a lay-up between two defenders (Photo by Jeff Lamb Photography)

   Dearborn Gymnasium buzzed with excitement as dozens of fans piled into the bleachers to support the men’s basketball team during their home opening game against the University of Maine at Machias (UMM) Clippers. Months of preparation for the new season paid off as the Beavers pulled off their first win of the season.

   Riley Robinson, a junior on the team, came ready to play with an positive attitude. “I felt confident. We expected a challenge,” said Robinson. “We knew they were a good team, but I was confident in my guys.”

   Anthony Owens, also a junior on the team, entered the gymnasium with confidence. “I felt great about what we were going to do, and that’s all that we can control.”

  As the team ran onto the court sporting their new uniforms, the crowd roared with enthusiasm. Just twenty seconds into the game, Robinson scored the first two points for the Beavers. For the first seven minutes of the first half the teams were scoring back and forth until the Beavers began to take over both offensively and defensively.

   Head Coach, Richard Meader, said that he was very pleased with the way that the Beavers played. “We really played well defensively and got a lot of fast breaks,” said Meader. “We played the way we had hoped to play.”

   Coming into the second half of the game the Beavers were up 46-27 over the Clippers. “I felt confident, but I knew there was still a lot of game left and we needed to execute,” said Robinson. Execute they did, the Beavers checked back into the game stronger than before. They continued to secure their lead as they scored repeatedly throughout the half.

   The team managed to pull off their first win of the 2018-2019 season with a score of 96-64 over the Clippers giving them a 1-0 record.

   Though they won the game, the team recognizes that they have some work to do during their practices leading up to their next games. “We can always become better on the defensive end, though we do play solid defense,” said Meader. “Any team can always shoot better. We need consistency with the shooting. You gotta make shots to win.”

   Robinson was the leading scorer for the Beavers with 24 personal points in the game. Robinson was followed in points by Milani Hicks, a senior, who scored a total of 15 points. Overall, the Beavers made 41 out of the 76 shots they attempted during the game, creating a 53.9% average.

   Meader has been coaching for UMF for 26 years and has found this years team to be exceptionally special. “They practice well, they listen in practice and try to do what you ask them to do,” said Meader. “They are a good group of guys who are excellent students and they have skills.”

   As they look forward to the rest of the season, they have high hopes for their team. “We got a great group of guys and if we keep working together, the goal has to be a NAC championship,” said Owens.

   The teams next home game will be Tuesday Nov. 27th at 7:30 p.m. in Dearborn Gymnasium against the Polar Bears of Bowdoin College.

Exchange Students Share Their Experiences at UMF

By Anna Manuel Contributing Writer

 

   As UMF students make decisions whether to study abroad, there are students from other countries doing their study abroad in Maine who are drawn to UMF’s small campus and the friendliness of the people here.

   Kesuma Lazier grew up in northern Tanzania where he finished middle and high school. After high school, he attended Kents Hill located in Kents, Maine for a post grad year before attending UMF. “I wanted a small college where I can make connections,” said Lazier. “Also to grow as an individual, not only around my peers but professors and other faculty.”

   Shaoning Gu is a student from China and an English major. “At UMF, the small group of discussions in class and frequent interactions with the classmates and professors are all very impressive for me,” says Gu. “People I met here are mostly friendly, kind and with smiles and greetings.”

  Clementine Leroy is from Le Mans, France and is an English major. Leroy came to UMF in August 2017 and will be here until May 2019. “I was really excited about the snow which I am not very familiar with,” said Leroy.

   Leroy says that there many differences from her university back in her hometown, Le Mans University. “In France, people are graded out of 20 points, while in the United States people are graded through letters,” said Leroy. “I have way more classes in France but less homework than in the United States.”

   “[In France], we do not choose our classes when we pick our major,” said Leroy. “We all follow the same curriculum.” There is no creative writing program in France or an education major, it is only a Master’s degree. “This comes from the fact that people need a Master’s degree in France if you want a job,” said Leroy. “You are not likely to have any opportunity otherwise.”

  Gu attended Fudan University (FDU) located in Shanghai Shi, China before attending UMF. At FDU, Gu lived with three other roommates. “It made me feel at home but sometimes it was too exciting to be quiet,” said Gu. “I enjoy a quiet room and a good book here at UMF.”

     Attending a University with English as a second language was a rocky transition for Gu. “The fast-speed oral English and hardly comprehensive texts in class were difficult,” said Gu.

   Lazier agrees that classes here can be challenging. “Depending on the level of the class, in my classes with writing, it is more challenging since English is my third language,” said Lazier.

   This semester Gu has learned poetry, how to play the piano and joined a chorus class. Some of her favorite memories here so far is,“trying to play kick ball and walking on the mountains trails,” said Gu. “They are sufficient reasons for me to be grateful and satisfied for this precious opportunity to experience a different lifestyle.”

   Leroy, like Gu and Lazier, has enjoyed her time at UMF so far. “Each teacher believes in their students success and that the whole campus revolves around the idea of being successful,” said Leroy.

From Tanzania to the United States: Fellow Beaver Returns Home

From Tanzania to the United States: Fellow Beaver Returns Home

By Emilee Eustis Staff Reporter

2016 Graduate Elizabeth Ferry made a strong connection with her students in Iringa (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ferry)

   The Peace Corps is something everyone knows and hears about, but how many people get to say they did it? Elizabeth Ferry, a UMF graduate, embarked on a journey that not many will experience in their lifetime and is excited to be bringing the adventure home with her.

   Ferry graduated from UMF in the year 2016 with a degree in Secondary Education and a concentration in English. “I expected to immediately jump into teaching at a local Maine high school, coach sports, and live a happy, contented life,” said Ferry. “The incredible UMF faculty and my student teaching mentor encouraged me to take a risk and apply for Peace Corps.”

   That risk landed her in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania where she taught English to 9th through 12th graders. Ferry also implemented health education projects, cultural exchange activities and leadership development.

   “Teaching in Tanzania was supremely different than teaching in the U.S.,” said Ferry. “However, the goal of being a confident, caring, competent educator while putting my students’ needs above all, is an international best practice.”

   Beyond teaching, Ferry was entrenched in a world that not many American citizens understand. Living without indoor plumbing, electricity and varieties of foods could be horrendous to some, but enlightening and enriching to those experiencing it firsthand, and since returning home, Ferry has been sorting between the life she lived in the rolling hills to the life she is living now.

   “I’ve been balancing guilt and gratitude,” said Ferry. “I am trying to acknowledge and appreciate the things I lived without, while also adjusting my priority list to things I need versus things I want.”

   Since returning to the US, Ferry hopes to spread the word about the incredible opportunity that the Peace Corps gave her and encourage students to take the leap that she once took. “My favorite part about being back in the States is sharing my experience with American students,” said Ferry. “Their curiosity and eagerness to learn about a new place has given me goosebumps.”

   Ferry’s teaching degree is being put to good use as she was lucky enough to land a part-time teaching job at Mt. Blue High School upon her arrival in Maine, and besides teaching three English classes a day, Ferry does Peace Corps school visits as much as she possibly can.

   “It’s said that Peace Corps is ‘the hardest job you’ll ever love,’ and I think that is quite accurate,” said Ferry, thoughtfully. “Having the opportunity to organically live in another culture, work alongside its people, and learn what qualities make us all human, is invaluable.”

   Ferry will be presenting on her time in the Peace Corps in the Fusion Space on December 4th at 6 p.m. and encourages all who can to come hear the retelling of her once in a lifetime experience. During the presentation students can expect to learn some Swahili – the language Ferry is now fluent in, try on some traditional Tanzanian clothing and look at breathtaking photos of the colorful landscape and wildlife that occupies the country.

   As for those considering such an experience as hers, Ferry encourages students to just go for it. “Do it. Peace Corps has the best method and philosophy for foreign aid and I could not recommend it more,” she said. “I’ll never forget what I learned in Tanzania and I hope to continue to tell the stories for the rest of my life.”

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