All posts by Sarah Willson

Zirin Speaks On The Parallels Between Sports and Politics

by Patrick Gustavson

“Keep politics out of sports:” a phrase so often uttered by sports fans in the United States

But for Dave Zirin, the current editor of The Nation and the host of the “Edge of Sports” podcast, the mixing of the two has helped him make a living. And, according to Zirin, sports and politics have always mixed.

“I would say that sports are political, whether we choose them to be or not. There’s an old expression that you don’t have to believe in gravity to fall out of an airplane. And sports are political, so what I try to do is illuminate that and make these political connections and try to point out what’s already there,” Zirin said.

Zirin stated he believed it started as early as the 1968 Summer Olympics when runners Tommy Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during the National Anthem at the podium ceremony in an effort to protest racial segregation in the U.S.

The issue was brought back into the limelight in the 1990s when NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to leave the locker room for the National Anthem, once again citing the treatment of colored people in the U.S.

However, what makes the issue as relevant as it is today is the protests sweeping the National Football League, which started when Colin Kaepernick, then of the San Francisco 49ers, sat for the National Anthem, citing racial injustice and police brutality as his reasons.

“This is the bedrock of what makes free speech matter,” Zirin said. “He was trying to bring this discussion into spaces where it was not happening. He imposed that discussion on people and made them uncomfortable. And his courage was contagious.”

However, there was a mixed response to his protest.

“There has been a shocking response to their effort to exercise their First Amendment rights, an incursion on their First Amendment rights, to chill that speech,” Zirin said. “And that incursion has been led by NFL owners themselves, the President of the United States, by the police and by the deification of the armed forces in this country.”

President Donald Trump, who “poured gasoline all over the fire” by calling the protesting players “sons of bitches,” is among the many attempting to shift the narratives of the protests in an effort to make it about disrespecting the military and country rather than racial injustice.

“Since Donald Trump’s Huntsville, Alabama speech, more people identify that the protests are about police brutality and racial justice than before. But knowing what it’s about doesn’t mean being for it,” Zirin said. “I am very hopeful that the message will re-center around that because the people fighting are fighting to re-center it and people are hearing that.”

However, Zirin said he believed Trump is not the biggest threat to the free speech of these players, but rather the deification of the military is, pointing out that the tradition of players standing for the National Anthem goes back only to 2009, or, as he put it, “the third Fast and Furious movie.”

It is an agreement between the NFL and the Department of Defense that initiated this “tradition.” Zirin pointed to the recent celebration of Veteran’s Day. “Patriotism was for sale,” he said. He also referred to Martin Luther King’s three evils, which includes militarism and the NFL.

For both this specific issue, as well as the mixing of political sports, Zirin said he felt there is no end in sight, saying “I think these ripples last forever.”

As for Colin Kaepernick, Zirin believed he will be looked upon fondly, saying that “NFL owners wanted Colin Kaepernick to be a warning shot, a ghost story, a cautionary tale. But instead of becoming a ghost story, he became a martyr.”

“If history will be a guide to us, he [Kaepernick] will always have his haters but he will be viewed as a hero because he sacrificed and stood up for what he believes in, and people who do that tend to be looked upon fondly by history,” Zirin continued. “And as Dr. King said, ‘the art of history bends towards justice.’”

SGA Supplemented Nearly $100,000 More In Funds Than Planned

by Sarah Willson

The Student Government Association at Central Connecticut State University provided base budgets of approximately $100,000 more than originally planned for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.

The supplemented money brought the SGA total base budget allocation for both years to $450,000, according to SGA Treasurer Christopher Cappiello.

“Last year we gave out way too much money, close to one-hundred thousand more than we should have,” Cappiello said during the Nov. 8 SGA weekly meeting.

Cappiello said that the increase in budget was “done at the time because the SGA was receiving in the neighborhood of $900,000 for budget requests.”

According to Cappiello, it was suggested by Dr. Laura Tordenti, the previous Vice President of Student Affairs, that the then-SGA Treasurer, Brendan Kruh, raised the Student Activity Fee due to the fact that the SGA was running short on funds and “heavily relying” on reserves in order to fund clubs and other various expenses.

The increase in budget was approved by both President Dr. Zulma Toro and the Board of Regents.

“Last year we raised the Student Activity Fee in order to allow us more flexible spending,” Cappiello said. “The raise also helped out the other organizations that receive a portion of the Student Activities Fee.”

“That raised the money available for base budgets up to approximately $569,000,” Cappiello continued. “Last year when we did base budgets for this year, it was decided upon to take another $100,000 out of our reserve account as we did the past two fiscal years, which brought the total allocation for this past year to about $669,000.”

Despite this, it was realized by senate members that there was “not as a big of a rollover” regarding the reserve account as compared to previous years.

For the 2016-17 school year, Cappiello stated that the SGA started the year “with about $454,000 in reserves.” However, as for the 2017-18 school year, only $262,000 in funds were available.

“The decline in the reserves will not affect us this year,” Cappiello said. “However, when base budgets are done in this spring for [the] next fiscal year, we will not be supplementing the base budget account.”

Senator James Long, best known as Akai, told The Recorder that he supported the decision made by the SGA to increase base budgets for both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 year.

“I think that funding clubs is our main priority… it should be our main priority,” Long said. “I think now that we experimented with the budget we need to think long-term [about] how we implement it for the future.”

“I know personally that [the] SGA has a lot of funding procedures, where even with an increased budget a lot of clubs still aren’t seeing that money,” Long continued. “A better job needs to be done on dividing the money up more fairly… A conversation needs to happen with the Senate members.”

When asked by The Recorder to comment on the budget increase, Kruh said he agreed with all of the statements provided by Cappiello.

Sexual Harassment Should Not Be The New Normal

Over the past month, dozens of women have come out of the dark to voice their tragic stories of sexual abuse by their powerful male counterparts in the workplace.

The #MeToo campaign on Twitter that started at the end of October encouraged women from not only the United States, but all over the world to come forward and share their stories.

The victims come from all walks of life, from famous Hollywood actresses to everyday women.

One of the biggest sex abuse scandals that came to light recently involves Harvey Weinstein, an American film producer who sparked the campaign after multiple women accused him of sexual assault. 

Stories of abuse closer to home have also been coming out. Breanna Stewart, a member of the University of Connecticut basketball team, shared her story on Twitter about being molested as a child.

Stewart is only one of the hundreds of American athletes who have undergone abuse.

U.S. Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney also came forward with allegations that their doctors had sexually abused them while they were in training.

What is heartbreaking is the fact that women, whether in the workforce or not, even have to deal with abuse from their male counterparts.

What is worse is that these incidents are often downplayed.

There is no doubt that Weinstein essentially ignored the 57 women who accused him of sexual misconduct, ultimately making matters worse not only for himself, but for the victims as well.

Weinstein is not the only man to downplay allegations made against him.

President Donald Trump has also written off the statements at least 12 women have made saying that he had molested them in past years.

A 2005 Access Hollywood video was leaked last year before the presidential election, where Trump talked about how he feels “entitled.”

Trump downplayed his remarks by saying it was “lockerroom talk,” and denied he had ever kissed or groped women without consent, according to CNN.

Trump denied the allegations, saying that the women were “liars.”

The claims of sexual harassment against Weinstein can be seen as similar to that of Bill Cosby: after one victim shares their experience, more victims seem to come out and share theirs with the public.

Cosby has been accused of drugging and sexually harassing dozens of women, many of which testified against him during his trial. The Cosby trial was declared a mistrial back in June, according to U.S. News. No new information has been provided since then.

People like Weinstein and Cosby have allegedly committed acts that are unforgivable. If people do not come forward and share personal experiences of sexual harassment, then these offenders will never realize what they are doing is wrong and no justice will be served.

Speaking out about personal sexual harassment experiences can be a long and difficult process; however, it can be rewarding.

If a person affected by sexual harassment does not speak up about it, there is no way in knowing if that person will ever harass others. Keeping quiet about traumatizing events can cause mental instability for some people, like post traumatic stress disorder.

SGA Bullets

by Sarah Willson

The Student Government Association meets every Wednesday at 3:05 p.m. in Bellin A and B in the Student Center.

  • Chris Williams, a former student-athlete who graduated in 2013, has requested the support of the SGA  to allow him to speak on campus in regards to sharing his personal success story at CCSU on leadership and time management skills. More details to come.
  • Anyone interested in participating in “Competition for a Cause” should speak to President Brendan Kruh, as he has stated that although it is going well, participation from more clubs and departments is necessary.
  • The Good Neighbor Campaign will take place on Dec. 2 at 9:45 a.m. in the Sprague Carlton room. According to the SGA, there is an online sign-up sheet to participate.
  • The Coffee Talk event will take place next Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m. in Student Center.
  • CCSU’s very own therapy dog going is to be on campus on Nov. 29 in Student Center.
  • The motion to reconsider Central’s Organization for Latin American Awareness Dance Contingency Request of $3,687.00 has been approved. 

SGA Bullets

by Sarah Willson

The Student Government Association meets every Wednesday at 3:05 p.m. in Bellin A and B in the Student Center.

  • The CCSU Central Activities Network (CAN) has decided to no longer work with the Student Government Association for Spring Concert due to time restrictions and communication issues between the SGA and CAN.
  • The SGA will no longer provide CAN with a check of $70,000 for the Spring Concert due to the decision to part ways after both parties collaborated together for over two months.
  • The motion to appoint Senator Dante Solanó as the alternate representative to the Student Advisory Committee has been approved. As a result of this, bylaws are being violated due to the fact that the SGA failed to recognize the SAC position on the spring ballot.
  • It has been requested in a public hearing that the SGA form a “joint committee” with Phi Delta Theta in order to sponsor their annual ALS Walk, which has raised  $20,000 in past years.
  • On Nov. 15  from 1 to 3 p.m., the Academic Affairs Committee will be hosting a coffee talk and issuing surveys on academic advising in an effort to encourage students to bein class sign-ups.
  • The motion to provide $2,733.84 for Travel and Equipment for the Winter Guard Club has been approved.
  • The motion to reconsider A Capella’s contingency request of $7,194 and $4,716 for Sing Strong and Boss has been approved.