By Grace McIntosh Contributing Writer
US Supreme Court Justice nominee Republican Brett Kavanaugh was officially confirmed by divided senators in a 50-48 vote. Kavanaugh’s recent confirmation has sparked heated debates and public outcry across the nation.
Over the past few months, Kavanaugh’s name has been headlining news due to accusations of sexual assault. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick all came forward with allegations against Kavanaugh. The White House has stood by Kavanaugh’s denials.
Treasurer of UMF College Republicans, Isaac Michaud, explained mixed feelings on the situation. “On one hand, I believe that his judicial record and belief in precedence makes him a good candidate for the Supreme Court,” said Michaud. “On the other hand, I believe that the sexual assault allegations brought up by Dr. Ford made me not want Judge Kavanaugh confirmed.”
Michaud stated that if it had been up to him he personally could not vote “yes” or “no”, he would have not been opposed if they decided to end the confirmation hearing to put another judge up for consideration.
Jeffrey Willey, President of the UMF College Democrats, feels strongly that Dr. Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh were genuine. “Dr. Ford was clear and concise in her testimony and various people, including Mr. Kavanaugh’s college roommate, believed that the actions of Kavanaugh recounted by Dr. Ford were believable and truthful,” said Willey.
Willey believes that the reputation of the Supreme Court’s reputation has been tarnished by the decision by the Senate. “This was a blatantly political appointment to a Court that is supposed to be non-partisan,” said Willey.
Political science professor Scott Erb believed in confirming Kavanaugh before allegations surfaced. “I originally favored confirming him, believing he was intellectually solid and had a strong moral character,” said Erb.
Erb changed his opinion when people began coming forward with accusations of sexual assault. “A lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court is a major honor, given only to people one can believe has true integrity,” said Erb. “Any doubt is enough to say no, this is not ‘innocent until proven guilty.” He said that when he saw Kavanaugh’s “hyper-partisan” and “anger laced” testimony, he strongly opposed the confirmation.
Senior Aislinn Forbes, a registered Democrat, says that she is not surprised by the outcome. “It’s very clear that this administration doesn’t care whether a woman is telling the truth,” said Forbes. “They just want to win at all costs. Brett Kavanaugh is at the very least an extremely biased alcoholic, and unfit for the Supreme Court…”
Forbes explained that Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was not a trial of law, meaning the only “consequence” for him was the chance of not being appointed. “Anyone who claims this would have ‘ruined his life,’ is either willingly ignorant or purposefully trying to deceive you,” said Forbes.
Maine Senator Susan Collins was one of the 50 senators to vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “I listened to her 45 minute speech and could hear in her voice the long hours of thought, discussions, and research she put into her final opinion,” said Michaud. “I think she voted the best way with what she had to work with at the time of the vote.”
Professor Erb simply stated, “She succumbed to pressure within her party, rather than deciding to the right thing.”
With the upcoming election on November 6, there is the possibility that the recent events will cause an increase in voter turnout. “I hope it means more people will vote. I hope it will make people realize that we need ranked choice voting and more regulation of how people can run for office and how much they can spend,” said Forbes.
By Abby Shields Contributing Writer
91.5 WUMF is a radio station/club on campus, that plays various genres, with a hope to bring out of the ordinary music to campus. “The station’s philosophy is to bring new, unheard music to UMF and the greater Farmington community,” said station manager Nathaniel Red.
“The radio station is on at all times. When DJs have their show, the floor is theirs to play what they want, but otherwise we have a rotation of music, that’s submitted by the music directors, and that music plays over the air continuously, when a show isn’t happening,” said Red.
There is a wide range of music played from alternative, hip- hop/RPM, local, loud rock, and world music. These different “stations” were picked as it helps them cover a large range of music, allowing a different assortment of to be heard.
The station plays a variety of different music with each music director in charge of a different genre. The music directors help students find music to play during their radio shows. “We play a little bit of everything on the radio, it’s just based off what is submitted to our station to be heard,” said Red.
There are 11 positions on the executive board, a few being the station manager, production manager, alternative music director, hip-hop/RPM music director, world music director, local music director, and loud rock music director. All these directors have similar jobs, however none are the exact same. Each varies depending on their genre, etc.
Kai Smith, World music director, said, “I keep up with all of the songs we’re sent that are from other parts of the world and/or music genres that don’t fit in the other categories. It’s a mix between all sorts of genres from all over the world, as well as jazz, blues, and country.”
Red said, “Generally the executive board is filled with members of the club who really love music, and love to be a part of college radio, similar to the rest of the club members too!” When it is time to fill positions for the next year, each member votes for one person, for each position and whoever wins the vote has that role for the following year.
Not only does WUMF play music, they also do interviews. Their latest include John Five, a American guitarist, Butcher Babies, a heavy metal band from Los Angeles, and OK Go, a American rock band originally from Chicago, Illinois.
“We’re always looking for more people to come and join the club! We’d love for students to come and have their own radio show. Also, we accept local bands music, so if anyone has some tracks out there, send them our way, and maybe we can get them some air time,” said Red.
Students who are interested in joining the club should contact the productions manager Sylvia at firstname.lastname@example.org. “They’ll help any student who wants to become a DJ,” said Red.
Students can stop by the office anytime to speak with an executive board member. The office is located by the door behind the station in the student center. Students can also contact them at an address listed on the contact list located on the station door.
To request a song on-air, just call (207) 778-7353.
By Andrea Swiedom Contributing Writer
Countless times I have made the mistake of asking seniors what their plan is after they graduate. Usually there’s an eyeroll and a sarcastic remark like, “Oh, I love that question.” So here’s an idea for those who are unsure what comes after UMF: an all-expenses paid year abroad.
Riding Horses was Sarah Gould’s favorite pastime in Mongolia (Photo courtesy of Sarah Gould)
Recently, Professor Anne Marie Wolf, UMF’s Fulbright Program Adviser, presented information on the Fulbright Award. This postgraduate opportunity is available to baccalaureates up until they receive their doctorate to teach English or conduct independent research abroad for nine to twelve months. Awardees are provided a living stipend, a roundtrip ticket, medical insurance and in some cases, funding to attend a masters program.
The Fulbright looks prestigious on resumes and graduate school applications, but according to Wolf, the major benefit is, “You get to live in another culture and learn y’know, how other people see us, see life, how they kind of go about their daily lives.”
Sarah Gould, a UMF alumna, was a 2017 Fulbright teaching assistant in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She spent the 20 required hours a week co-teaching English in classrooms at the National University of Mongolia. Gould also pursued extracurricular activities such as riding horses in the Mongolian Steppe and taking a sunset camel ride in the Gobi desert.
While she expressed cultural and climate shock– temperatures in Mongolia can reach -45 degrees C. “Stepping off the plane in Boston [upon returning], I was flooded with this feeling that I had accomplished a challenge that during the year seemed impossible,” said Gould in an email.
This may be one of the most influential side effects from the Fulbright–the scope of impossibility narrows. Gould is now pursuing a degree in International Migration with a specialization in Human Rights Law at the Brussels School of International Studies.
The research award requires applicants to pose a question that they plan to investigate an answer to while abroad. This is not as intimidating as it sounds since the proposal is a mere two pages.
“They don’t expect these projects to produce groundbreaking research that saves humanity,” said Wolf. “But they want you to have some kind of goal and curiosity that you’ll be pursuing over there.”
Although the number of annual UMF applicants is usually no higher than three, the university has an impressive acceptance rate. There have been seven students in the past four years who have received the award to countries such as Spain and Thailand. Despite these promising numbers, only three people,myself included, showed up to Wolf’s Fulbright presentation.
Perhaps students automatically assume they are underqualified, but as Wolf adapted to our small group and perched herself on a table close to us, she spoke candidly about the award’s misperceptions. The teaching assistant award does not require applicants to be education majors, they just need to demonstrate some inclination towards teaching such as tutoring.
Nor does the Fulbright require a 4.0 GPA. Wolf explained that applicants just need to show good academic standing. This reminded me of my Spanish professor, Steven Wenz, who has expressed his regret for not applying for the Fulbright before going into a doctorate program. The stereotypes associated with the award prevented Wenz from ever trying. “I saw it as something almost mythic…like somehow you had to be a genius to get a Fulbright,” said Wenz.
By the end of Wolf’s presentation, I was convinced more students at UMF could successfully apply for a Fulbright Award. Don’t feel as though this opportunity is out of reach. Besides, it’s a lot more fun feeling freaked out about your future in a foreign country.
Contact Professor Anne Marie Wolf at email@example.com for more information.
Aislinn Forbes Contributing Writer
Returning students are sure to have noticed some changes to the Mantor Library, including the larger menu at Mantor cafe and the new layout of the second and third floors.
Tamra Hartley is the full-time supervisor at Mantor Cafe, and she had a lot to say about the new menu. Last year, Hartley and two student workers created specials nearly every week, and Hartley said customers enjoyed that. “We took the most popular ones and added them to the menu,” said Hartley.
Barista Jane Metsker whips up many of the drinks featured on Mantor Cafe’s new menu (Photo by Keely McConomy)
The updated menu includes frozen beverages and fresh spices. The chai tea is now homemade, entirely with fresh ingredients. “The old Chai we had was pure sugar,” said Hartley. “I know that students and faculty are tired, stressed, and sick, so we want to give them the best.”
Not to mention, some of the best selling specials from last year are now full-time items. Hartley assured that there would continue to be specials again this year created by the staff. “It’s a real group collaboration,” said Hartley.
The menu isn’t set in stone either, new favorites will continue to be added if they have enough support. “It’s about having a real cafe experience,” said Hartley.
While Tamra and crew were updating the cafe, the summer Mantor staff were busy doing manual labor. Three summer work study students and the full-time staff moved nearly all of the books that were on the second floor into the basement or third floor by the cartful. It took them about a month to get all of the books shifted into their new homes. Opening up the second floor has turned the space into a quiet study area, as well as a place for presentations.
Bryce Cundik, the library director, felt that the move provided the best use of space for the library. “We just finished a seven year “weeding project” which freed up a lot of shelf space,” said Cundik.
Weeding is the process of removing books that are outdated or not in use, something Jessica Isler, the Head of Circulation, described as a normal and necessary practice for a good library.
The weeding process left a lot of empty shelf space. This presented Cundik with an opportunity to solve another problem he had noticed in the library. “Pre-Student Learning Commons, [the first floor] was our reference area and it was a quiet space,” Cundik said. “We removed the shelves there and turned the whole reference area into the active learning space that it is right now.”
While Cundik recognizes that the Learning Commons is great and popular, it’s no longer quiet. “One of our goals was to get a silent study space back into the library,” said Cundik.
There is another reason the space would be useful on campus. When Cundik spoke to Eric Brown, the Interm President, Brown was interested in having a new meeting place on campus. “If you’ve got the Chancellor coming, and you want to have a nice room to meet in with everybody, something that’s not necessarily as big as Lincoln, but you’d like it to look nicer than the North Dining Hall,” said Cundik. “We didn’t really have anything like that.”
Despite the multi-use of the space, both Isler and Cundik said that quiet study space would take priority. Around Midterms and the final two weeks of the semester, the second floor will be exclusively for students. “We’re very protective of the idea of keeping a quiet study space for students,” said Isler.
These changes have been made to create a library that’s more welcoming to everyone, and an opportunity for students to influence campus. “This is kind of like a work-in-progress, this is not the final itteration,” Cundik said.
If students have ideas about how to make the second floor a better place, email firstname.lastname@example.org or stop into Cundik’s office in the Learning Commons.