Jesuit Chronicle

Requirements for mandatory Zoom meetings draw mixed reactions from student body

Teachers+have+increasingly+made+use+of+mandatory+Zoom+sessions+based+on+feedback+from+the+administration.

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Teachers have increasingly made use of mandatory Zoom sessions based on feedback from the administration.

Citing a desire for more face time with students, the administration implemented a requirement beginning May 5 that each class must schedule a mandatory, graded Zoom session at least once per week. Teachers have two time slots available in the week to schedule meetings with each period. All time slots occur within the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with three blocks per day: 10:00-11:00 a.m., 12:30-1:30 p.m., and 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Zoom class meetings can last anywhere from 15 minutes to a full hour, with the average meeting, according to students interviewed, lasting approximately 30 minutes. Since most Jesuit students are required to take six or seven classes per day, Zoom meetings can now be anticipated to occupy three to four hours of students’ weekly coursework, a significant increase in time spent in live class meetings compared to previous Zoom policies. 

Prior to the policy shift, teachers had relatively wide latitude in whether to make Zoom meetings mandatory or optional, with many choosing an optional weekly Zoom meeting in an effort to avoid burdening or overscheduling students. Some teachers opted to avoid Zoom meetings altogether. 

Principal Paul Hogan says that the extended lack of face time—and the resulting disconnect between teachers and classmates—between Mar. 13 and late April for some classes prompted the administration to implement more stringent class meeting requirements.

“Students have not seen their classmates, nor been able to hear the teacher explain the material nor ask questions,” Mr. Hogan said. “We are a face-to-face community. We believe that in-person teaching is crucial to deeper understanding and building the kinds of relationships that lead to real communication.”

While a more regimented Zoom schedule and requirements for mandatory Zoom meetings virtually ensures that students will receive more direct interaction with their classmates and teachers, some students fear that the lack of flexibility associated with synchronous Zoom meetings will make completing coursework more difficult. 

In particular, students with jobs and pressing financial obligations to their families that have been amplified by the economic fallout of the pandemic may not have the freedom to simply reduce hours or abruptly shift their schedules to accommodate Zoom meetings. 

“Since I work, I’m constantly trying to find ways to either work around my schedule last minute or make up Zoom meetings for credit, which adds on homework at the end of my day,” senior Kaylee Jeong said. “I don’t rely on my job, but I can imagine students who actually need to work to support their family during a huge financial crisis are far more stressed out. It’s unfair to assume that during a time where so many families are financially unstable, students can just go about their day like normal.”

Though the students dependent on jobs in order to supplement their family’s income may comprise a small minority at Jesuit, an intensive schedule of Zoom meetings nevertheless presumes a level of financial privilege and scheduling flexibility that already vulnerable students lack. And despite the fact that such students can work around mandatory Zoom meetings by contacting teachers, constantly soliciting accommodations and make-up opportunities magnifies stress, says Jeong.

Students without stable Internet access face a similar hurdle. In order to excuse themselves from or to secure access to Zoom meetings, they must contact IT for accommodations, an additional burden that increases daily obligations.

Senior Nina Velu also expresses concern that teachers often don’t provide enough notice for when Zoom meetings are scheduled, as having two potential time slots for each period per week creates uncertainty around when classes meet. Velu emphasizes that after spending the past six weeks crafting her own schedule, the abrupt transition towards synchronous Zoom meetings has been confusing and disruptive. 

“I usually sleep in until 12, and that was what I got used to during digital learning days for a long time,” Velu said. “When a class schedules a meeting for 10 a.m., I can wake up, but it’s hard because usually teachers send out notifications maybe ten minutes before the meeting starts, and they don’t make any reminders super clear in our weekly schedule. It’s been disorienting.”

The administration says that it derived the mandatory Zoom meeting policy from comments offered by parents, teachers, and students. According to a schoolwide survey conducted by the administration, 28.9% of the 291 respondents placed their daily workload between 4 and 5 hours, while at least 81.2% of respondents said they completed their coursework in under 7 hours on average. Since the majority of respondents dedicated significantly less time to school-related activities than they would during normal operations, the administration felt comfortable replacing traditional homework with once-weekly Zoom meetings. 

“The typical JHS student would spend 10+ hours either at school or on homework in ‘normal’ times,” Mr. Hogan said. “I do not want to minimize the large amount of work students are now doing… But having 6 or 7 classes per week, which averages 1.4 classes per day, in an environment where students do not have a commute, should still allow students to get their work done and still get exercise and have time with their families.”

Sophomore Elina Deshpande appreciates all-class Zoom meetings as a way to reduce the tedium that accompanies endless homework assignments. “Zoom meetings are really refreshing to break up your routine and to see all the people that you truly miss the most,” she said.

However, thus far, Deshpande notices that some teachers use their allotted Zoom times as an aimless check-in rather than as a space for lectures or class discussions, which she feels is a waste of time. 

Jeong suggests that if teachers want to use Zoom simply to maintain contact with students and secure personal interaction, they can instead require some sort of check-in that can occur either over Zoom or email, allowing students to continue working under flexible conditions. 

“I think Zoom meetings are a good idea, but making them mandatory wasn’t,” Jeong said. “If the purpose is to encourage closeness between a student and teacher, I think being asked to just keep in touch with a teacher in some way works fine.”

About the Writer
Photo of Shawna Muckle
Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

Class of 2020 faces elevated uncertainty in the college selection process

While+the+class+of+2020+battles+the+unknown+in+their+college+selection+process%2C+colleges+also+struggle+with+uncertain+finances+and+enrollment.

Wikimedia Commons

While the class of 2020 battles the unknown in their college selection process, colleges also struggle with uncertain finances and enrollment.

The Class of 2020 is entering the final stretch of the college discernment process as the majority of schools maintain their May 1 enrollment deadlines. Many students are facing the unique, pandemic-driven reality that visiting campuses, some of which are thousands of miles away, will be impossible before decision day. 

Alongside many missed “lasts” of our high school careers, some of the pivotal “firsts” of seniors’ college experience, including scholarship competitions, admitted student meet-ups, and post-admission campus visits, have been either cancelled or postponed. Many colleges and universities, conscious of the difference that seeing a school makes in students’ decision processes, have expanded digital content and interactive experiences for prospective students through virtual tours, lectures, and informational Zoom meetings.

While comprehensive virtual content is a must-have for prospective freshmen still weighing their options or preparing to attend a school they’ve never visited, it doesn’t perfectly replicate the experience of seeing a school live, says senior Danny Murphy

“Being [on campus] physically, it’s really easy to get a read on the campus, and just know if it’s going to be a good place where you’re going to be happy spending four years of your life,” Murphy said. “I think on paper a college can look great, but actually going and physically being there is really different and plays a big role in making a decision. Not visiting just adds another element of uncertainty that I would rather not have.” 

Senior Serena Trika also observes that not all virtual content is made equally. While many schools provide imagery of buildings on campus, some don’t offer visual access to the inside of their facilities or their classrooms. 

“Past campus visits made me like the school more because I get to see all of the facilities and opportunities that they have,” Trika said. “Virtual tours don’t really show you inside every building, especially the ones I might primarily be in, so it’s hard to get an idea of where I will be everyday and what classrooms look like exactly.”

Right now, inadequate virtual exposure to campus life is a problem for students everywhere and for universities everywhere, creating a major incentive for institutions to enhance at light speed what were once relatively paltry digital resources for admitted students. Being able to schedule visits to campuses in the roughly four to six weeks after acceptance, however, has always been reserved for the financially privileged, whose families can afford time off from work, hotel expenses, and last-minute plane tickets. In that vein, the coronavirus’s role in pushing schools to better simulate academic and student life online is perhaps a welcome first step towards equity and access for low-to-moderate income  admits.

Several schools have also gone so far as to extend the traditional May 1 deadline for students to pay their enrollment deposits to June 1 and beyond. Some common colleges for Jesuit students that have delayed their enrollment deadlines by a month include Gonzaga University, Oregon State University (as well as its Cascades campus), Seattle University, and University of Portland. 

Most schools across the country, however, are maintaining their May 1 enrollment deadline, citing a desire to plan effectively for their incoming class at a time when yield rates, or the percentage of accepted students who ultimately choose to attend, are in flux.

“Most colleges are sticking with the May 1 deadline not to be pernicious, but to help with their own planning,” college counselor Mr. Johnson said. “The earlier that they know what kind of class they have coming in, the more productive they can be to plan for what fall of 2020 is going to look like in terms of enrollment, orientation, waitlist activity, that kind of thing. From the student perspective, with colleges having varying deadlines, it does give them a bit more time to seek reconsideration for financial aid, for example, which is not a quick process.”

Given the increasingly disastrous predicted outcome of prematurely lifting social distancing guidelines, shifting enrollment deadlines is unlikely to enable students to visit campuses in May. According to a model designed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, if governors choose to lift statewide shelter-in-place orders 30 days after ordering them, or in roughly mid-to-late April, the U.S. will likely see a deadly resurgence of the pandemic in mid-summer. Irrespective of whether states remain in lockdown by May, it’s unlikely that travel restrictions will be lifted or college campuses will be open for tours and visits.

Ultimately, the lack of alternatives for campus visits means the Class of 2020 will have to make college decisions based on more distant assumptions and information sources. With a critical aspect of the discernment process rendered inaccessible, seniors will also need more flexibility and willingness to adapt if they discover after arriving on campus next fall—or later—that the school they chose isn’t quite what they envisioned. 

“The class of 2020 will need to be a little more hearty in terms of making do,” Mr. Johnson said. “They may arrive at a campus that doesn’t meet all of their needs simply because they weren’t able to discern in the way that they would have liked, but I think that our students are stalwart enough to be able to see that through. Seek the services that are available at their future college, reach out, build relationships, meet faculty, and really give it the best shot that they can.”

Colleges and universities, too, are facing various elements of uncertainty, some of them perilous, when it comes to building their incoming class. Geographic distance may now be a much bigger consideration for seniors and their families, particularly for students that previously planned to enroll at colleges in the epicenter of the outbreak, such as New York City universities, says Mr. Johnson. In order to build a geographically diverse class, universities may need to incentivize student enrollment from distant regions of the country with increased financial aid packages.

While colleges wrestle with concerns about under-enrollment and a loss of diversity, they also may be contending with grim financial realities. In the 2008 global financial crisis, the endowments of both Harvard and Yale University, two of the most financially sound collegiate institutions in the country, shrunk by approximately 30%. It’s difficult to imagine that any school will exit this combined economic and public health crisis with a better financial situation than it had coming in. 

What this means is that while many students now weigh affordability more heavily due to the economic fallout of the epidemic, schools may be less able to dole out generous need-based and merit-based financial aid. According to the Washington Post, this may result in over-enrollment among in-state students at public universities, while private and out-of state enrollment shrinks. 

Even ongoing scholarship competitions have been heavily downsized in the past few weeks. Schools such as Loyola University Chicago, Syracuse University, and Duke University cancelled major on-campus finalist events. 

“I was supposed to have an interview for a big scholarship that just got canceled completely,” Murphy said. “I think that an interview would have helped my chances of getting the scholarship, so that wasn’t happy at all.”

Despite financial uncertainty, Mr. Johnson assures students that schools will most likely not revoke the current awards they have issued, and some institutions may be willing to engage with merit scholarship reconsideration in spite of financial contraction to increase yield rates.

“I have not seen colleges pulling back from existing commitments they have made via certain need-based aid or certain merit scholarship programs,” Mr. Johnson said. “Will discount rates increase at colleges for the class of 2020 in order to fill their class? I think it just depends on how healthy the institution is. All of higher education is at a pivotal point where there are colleges that are financially healthy and sound and will sustain themselves through this, and there will be other colleges that will be challenged financially.”

About the Contributor
Photo of Shawna Muckle
Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

    Thursday, March 19

    An Aloha High School student has tested positive for COVID-19 and attended school while infected.

    Oregon Live

    An Aloha High School student has tested positive for COVID-19 and attended school while infected.

    School updates: Online learning allows students to complete their tasks anytime that day, giving students lots of free time to occupy themselves with. To utilize these digital learning days effectively, Jesuit has decided to send out a google form today surveying student’s thoughts on how their online learning days have played out, as well as urging students to contact their counselors anytime they need help.

    In aid to some student’s potential anxiety, depression, isolation, or loneliness during this time of quarantine, Mr. Clarke and Mrs. DeKlotz encourage students to send “points of hope”, which could be anything from a song, work of art, or a meme. Mr. Clake places these “points of hope” at the end of his examen emails each day.
    World updates: Yesterday, the Beaverton School District and the Washington County Health Department reported that a student at Aloha High School tested positive for COVID-19 and was at school while sick the week of March 9. The Aloha High School case marks the first of only two cases reported in Portland metro area public schools and is the first case where a student has been infected. Washington County now has 23 cases of coronavirus, the most by far in Oregon, which only has 75 confirmed cases total as of Wednesday.
    Several states have already announced that they will either not re-open schools for the rest of the school year or they will not make up missed school days due to COVID-19. Kansas is the only state so far to officially declare that its public schools will remain closed for the rest of the year, though the governor of California has suggested his state will follow suit in coming days. Florida cancelled all tests and grades for the rest of the year, while Arizona has said that it will not require school districts to make up school days in the summer.
    In Washington, the race to provide economic relief to workers and families impacted by COVID-19 continues, with Senate Republicans unveiling a 250-page, White House-coordinated proposal that outlines the specifics of the direct payments to Americans, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars in small business and affected industry loans. The Republican proposal offers $1,200 cash payments to American adults who make $75,000 or less individually, as well as an extra $500 per child. It also offers $208 billion in loans to industries such as airlines and $300 billion in loans to small businesses, which are forgiven if they retain all employees on payroll. Democrats have suggested, however, that they want a seat at the table, and adjustments will need to be made to the package to secure bipartisan support.

    Daily Coronavirus updates: what you need to know

    Oregon+Governor+Kate+Brown+is+routinely+updating+Oregonians+on+latest+extraordinary+measures+the+state+is+taking+to+prevent+the+spread+of+COVID-19.

    Statesman Journal

    Oregon Governor Kate Brown is routinely updating Oregonians on latest extraordinary measures the state is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Curious about the latest news on the COVID-19 outbreak? Check here for recent developments regarding Oregon and the U.S.’s response to new cases, as well as Jesuit’s efforts to keep students safe and proceed with a prolonged period of Digital Learning Days.

    Multicultural Week places spotlight on racism and microaggressions

    Both+portions+of+Multicultural+Week+contained+pointed+references+to+social+justice+issues+such+as+border+camps--and+most+significantly%2C+to+microaggressions+at+Jesuit.

    Jeanne Manthey

    Both portions of Multicultural Week contained pointed references to social justice issues such as border camps–and most significantly, to microaggressions at Jesuit.

    During this year’s Multicultural Week awareness assembly, student speakers shared their experiences as people of color and identified a broad array of racial aggressions and fears, many of which related to subtle experiences of ostracization and judgment.  

    Senior Arleth Rodriguez and sophomore Melanie Elizarazazz addressed the lingering shame and sense of inadequacy that have at times accompanied their immigrant families and the color of their skin. Senior Daniela Rosas shared the horrific, heartrending story of her mother’s deportation and its unseen ramifications. Junior Noah Lyman delivered a powerful poem on the systemic persecution of native Hawaiian people. 

    In all of their talks, these students communicated present, raw anger amid their racial experience. Within that enduring sense of anger, a few students’ speeches contained a pointed reference to an experience at Jesuit that had contributed to their sense of cultural alienation. Most of these anecdotes involved routine, offhanded, unintentionally racist remarks that went seemingly unnoticed or unaddressed—except, of course, by the students of color affected by those remarks.

    There is a term for these casual and unintentional instances of racism that has increasingly gained traction in conversations on race and identity: microaggressions.

    Psychology Today describes microaggressions as the “everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights… [that] communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.” Microaggressions often assume the form of a passing comment or even subconscious behavior, but they cause pervasive and resounding discomfort for the person impacted by the microaggression. Other forms of microaggressions include racist remarks passed off as jokes or satire.

    As widespread fear over the COVID-19 pandemic takes root in American culture, unfounded xenophobia and racism against Asian-Americans has become increasingly commonplace. Sophomore Jenny Duan notes that Asian-American students at Jesuit have had to contend with discomforting racist jokes and harassment due to the outbreak, on top of other offensive Asian stereotypes and jokes.

    “Especially right now, with the prevalence of the Coronavirus, there are a lot of jokes about Asian people having the Coronavirus,” Duan said. “Another example for me is that in freshman history class, during our unit on ancient China, someone made their Kahoot name in Chinese characters ‘yellow people eat dogs.’ I think that in certain situations there are moments where I do feel uncomfortable. People need to understand that jokes about race, especially when they’re directed at a person, they become a personal attack rather than a joke.”

    Various types of microaggressions

    Deeply hurtful jokes and attributions of disease against East Asian students amid the COVID-19 outbreak represent one type of microaggression: explicit racism protected under the guise of sarcasm or comedy. Racist jokes are often portrayed as the most intentional, most problematic, and most obvious form of microaggression. 

    Senior Ana Pacheco, sophomore Sara Tapia, and junior Kassandra Gomez all observe, however, that more implicit incidents, such as insensitive questions, assumptions, and double standards, represent the vast majority of microaggressions they’ve encountered at Jesuit.

    “One example [of a microaggression] is people will be talking in class and they’ll try to say something in Spanish, and then they always look at me, asking ‘oh, did I do it right?’” Pacheco said.

    Tapia adds that this type of interaction, while presumably innocent and lacking in racist intent, makes Hispanic students feel singled out.

    “They try to justify their actions by asking us if it’s okay, and it’s awkward if we say no,” Tapia said.

    Gomez also claims that when it comes to speaking Spanish, or speaking in a certain vernacular, Hispanic students are received much differently for embracing their own culture than white students who attempt to appropriate or make light of it.

    “The way we speak, they want to speak like us,” Gomez said. “When we say it, it’s ‘oh she’s kinda ghetto,’ but when they say it, it’s funny.”

    Pacheco and junior Amen Zelalem emphasize that white students asking questions, even ones that brush against cultural sensitivities, furthers racial discourse and isn’t necessarily a problem. However, they also observe that more often than not, students frame questions in a way that leads with racially biased assumptions.

    “If they ask about a tattoo, ‘is that a gang sign?’ then that’s uncomfortable. But if they ask, ‘what does that mean to you?’ there’s a difference to that,” Pacheco said. 

    Zelalem suggests that a spirit of open-mindedness in how non-minority students ask questions can help reframe how students of color receive them. 

    “If you’re open minded, that’s the best way to ask,” Zelalem said. “Don’t assume ‘this means this, right?’ People have to be open to being taught and being wrong. You can’t just get all defensive when somebody tells you [microaggressions you perpetuate] are not okay.”

    Even more covert than misguided questions or assumptions, subconscious behaviors among students can also make students of color feel ostracized, particularly during conversations about racism or racial atrocities.

    “When people start talking about slavery in class, people either are all not looking at you or all looking at you,” Zelalem said.

    Teachers can also perpetuate microaggressions 

    Beyond ignorance perpetuated by students at Jesuit, certain teachers and faculty have also been culpable of perpetuating microaggressions in their instruction or in classroom conversations, say Pacheco and Zelalem. With teachers, it becomes more difficult for students who do pick up on their microaggressions to feel safe calling them out or correcting the narrative.

    “Teachers will be telling a story or making a comment, and I’ll be like, ‘was that okay to say? Was that racist?’ Zelalem said. “They’re a teacher, so I’m not going to stop the class and say, ‘hold on, I don’t think that was cool.’ I feel like I don’t have the right to speak up in class because I think, ‘well, no one else is speaking up, so I’m not going to.’ And other times I worry, ‘oh, I’m just overreacting.’”

    Pacheco remarks that the overall lack of students of color at Jesuit makes it all the more difficult to stand up against teachers who foster an uncomfortable or unsafe racial environment, as she doesn’t always expect support or solidarity from her classmates.

    “A time when I feel a little unsafe is the first day of school when I walk into a classroom and I realize I’m one of only about two people of color,” Pacheco said. “People don’t think it makes that big of a difference, but it does, especially in classes like English if a teacher makes you [read aloud] the n-word. It’s really uncomfortable to be in that situation, to have to stand up for everyone because [my white peers] don’t realize what it’s like.”

    Safe Places

    While microaggressions represent a daily struggle for students of color at Jesuit and come from a broad swath of people with varying degrees of authority, there remain ongoing and future opportunities to create safe spaces for students of color and to more intentionally combat microaggressions as an institution.

    In particular, Pacheco, Gomez, Zelalem, and Elizarazazz all praise the Diversity Office as the place they feel safest and most supported at Jesuit.

    “In the Diversity Office, we can say whatever we want, we can talk to Ms. Lowery or Mr. Kato or whatever teacher is in here,” Elizarazazz said. “It’s mainly this room, and it’s the teachers that make it safe.”

    Moreover, the Awareness Assembly this year made important progress in how Jesuit approaches race. The fact that many speeches didn’t wrap up with a neat, satisfying conclusion and some students, like Rodriguez, had the latitude to call out peers who weren’t listening resulted in a more accurate representation of racial identity than assemblies past. 

    “If I were to talk in front of Jesuit, I always felt that I would have to say, ‘I’ve learned to accept myself and love myself even though I’m Asian,’ but that’s not really the reality, and I know that’s not the reality for my friends of color,” senior Kaylee Jeong said. “People need to know that we’re upset and things aren’t changing and not everything is going to resolve in a happy, loving way. The battle with your race is something that happens throughout the course of your life and it’s something that’s so much deeper than ‘okay, I’ve learned to love myself now.’ It’s so much more difficult.” 

    The willingness among the speakers to candidly convey the bitter parts of their experiences as people of color also helped attach a human face to common racial injustices and individualized racist behaviors. In particular, Pacheco notes that Rosas’ commentary on her mother’s deportation illustrated fears that many members of Jesuit’s Hispanic community grapple with.

    “A lot of people with immigrant families, they know from a very young age what to do if mom and dad don’t come home,” Pacheco said. “They know who to call, they know who they’re going to stay with, they know where the cash is if they need it. For [Daniela] to say that, it makes a lot of people see what we go through.”

    Finally, future efforts to embed race education into a four-year curriculum at Jesuit represents perhaps the most comprehensive tool to combat microaggressions. Because microaggressions are often implicit, nuanced, difficult to understand, and intermingled with more systemic racial issues, they require significant instruction for students to fully understand them. Indeed, finding a way to communicate the consequences of racial microaggressions may be Jesuit’s biggest challenge as it ponders how to become more culturally responsive.

    “My big thing about my experience at Jesuit is that we say, ‘yeah, racism is bad,’ and everyone knows that, but when someone says ‘why did you get a C on that test, shouldn’t you be doing better, won’t your parents get mad because you’re Asian,’ it’s hard to say anything and it’s hard to explain why that’s racist,” Jeong said. “It’s very obvious in a larger context, with bigger, more tangible issues, but the little stuff is what piles up and really gets to you.”

    About the Writer
    Photo of Shawna Muckle
    Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

    Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

      Washington County Commission Districts 1 and 3

      With Commissioner Schouten's retirement in District 1, Commissioner Rogers is the only incumbent running for re-election.

      Washington County, Oregon website

      With Commissioner Schouten’s retirement in District 1, Commissioner Rogers is the only incumbent running for re-election.

      In 2018, the Washington County Commission, a 5-member board considered the chief executive body for Washington County, had significant turnover, with three new members replacing longtime incumbents. Though the board is technically nonpartisan, members often have an implicit party association based on which county political party and interest groups endorse them. The party composition of the board in 2018 shifted from a 3-person Republican majority to a 4-person Democratic majority. 

      In 2020, two commission seats are up for grabs: District 1, which includes Jesuit and other parts of Beaverton, and District 3, which includes Tigard, Tualatin, and Sherwood. Commissioner Dick Schouten, first elected in 2000, is retiring from District 1, setting off a three-person race for his seat. Meanwhile, Commissioner Roy Rogers, the Commission’s longest serving member and the last remaining Republican-endorsed commissioner, is running for re-election against Ben Marcotte, a software engineer from Garden Home.

      Whether the Commission will retain its last remaining experienced member–and whether yet another fresh face on the Commission will change how Washington County approaches policymaking–makes the Commission race a must-watch for residents of Washington County.

        Beaverton mayor

        Beaverton+Mayor+Dennis+Doyle+has+served+since+2009.+He+is+currently+running+for+his+fourth+term+in+office.

        Wikimedia Commons

        Beaverton Mayor Dennis Doyle has served since 2009. He is currently running for his fourth term in office.

        For Jesuit students who live in Beaverton, Beaverton’s mayoral race may have significant consequences. Unlike every other city in the Portland metro area, Beaverton’s mayor functions as the chief executive of city government. Other cities, including Portland, appoint a city manager that collaborates with city council to institute policies. As a result, Beaverton’s mayor often exercises more authority compared to other mayors. Current Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle has two challengers, Beaverton City Councilors Lacey Beaty and Cate Arnold, who serve Position 3 and Position 4, respectively. 

        Doyle is 70 and has served three terms, while Beaty is 35 and was Beaverton’s youngest city councilor when elected in 2014. Beaty has made the race about age and generational differences, arguing that Beaverton’s next mayor should be thinking about the next twenty years, not just the next four, which she suggests Doyle’s age prevents him from doing. Beaty generally embraces similar goals as Doyle, such as affordable housing and business development. 

        Meanwhile, though the race has long centered around Doyle and Beaty as the lone two candidates, a last-minute entry by Councilor Arnold has shaken up the race. Arnold stresses that she is only running for office to promote the adoption of Beaverton’s revised city charter, which voters will also decide on May 19. The charter will limit the powers of Beaverton’s mayor and create an appointed city manager-style government, a change that mirrors the organizational structure of most city governments, while also giving the mayor a seat on the Beaverton City Council.

          Portland mayor

          Current Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (pictured above) assumed office in 2017 and is competing for a second term.

          Wikipedia

          Current Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (pictured above) assumed office in 2017 and is competing for a second term.

          Portland will hold a nonpartisan mayoral primary on May 19, with the top two contenders facing off in November. Incumbent Mayor Ted Wheeler has attracted four Democratic challengers due to widespread controversy over his handling of public protests, particularly in regards to white nationalist groups such as the Proud Boys, as well as perceived mismanagement over his handling of Portland’s homelessness crisis and the proposed expansion of the I-5 corridor in the Rose Quarter.

          His most significant challenge comes from Sarah Iannarone, an educator who has framed herself as an outsider and a progressive alternative to Wheeler. Other challengers include Theresa Raiford, an anti-gun violence activist, and Ozzie González, a TriMet board member.

            Oregon Secretary of State

            Oregon%27s+current+Secretary+of+State%2C+Bev+Clarno%2C+assumed+office+in+2018+after+the+death+of+her+predecessor%2C+Dennis+Richardson.+She+will+not+seek+election.

            Mail Tribune

            Oregon’s current Secretary of State, Bev Clarno, assumed office in 2018 after the death of her predecessor, Dennis Richardson. She will not seek election.

            Oregon’s Secretary of State is currently the only state executive office held by a Republican. Since Dennis Richardson’s death in 2018, the seat has been held by his interim replacement, Bev Clarvo, who has announced she will not seek election in 2020. As the last stronghold in Oregon’s state government for Republicans, there is a fierce primary battle underway for Democrats. 

            In the Democratic primary, three candidates are competing for the nomination. Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a Terrebonne Democrat who gained political limelight for her challenge against Greg Walden in 2018, announced her candidacy late last year. She has distinguished herself as a centrist, rural candidate who made some inroads in Walden’s ruby-red district last year, though she still lost by 17 points. Rep. Jennifer Williamson, a Democrat from Portland and the former state House majority leader, and Sen. Mark Hass, a former television broadcaster and a state senator representing Beaverton, are also vying for the nomination.  

            For Republicans, Sen. Kim Thatcher and Dave Stauffer will face off for the Republican nomination in May. Thatcher is from Keizer and has served in the state legislature since 2005. She has positioned herself as a pro-business, pro-transparency and accountability Republican, which echoes Richardson’s reputation as Secretary of State. Stauffer, meanwhile, is a former Democrat who ran for governor in 2016 and proposed alleviating traffic on the I-5 bridge by building water slides.

             

              Oregon Congressional District 2

              Oregon%27s+Congressional+District+2+covers+a+broad+swath+of+rural+portions+of+the+state%2C+including+all+of+central+and+Eastern+Oregon.

              Wikipedia

              Oregon’s Congressional District 2 covers a broad swath of rural portions of the state, including all of central and Eastern Oregon.

              The only Republican-held congressional district in the state, Congressional District 2, is being vacated by longtime incumbent Greg Walden, who has held the seat since 1999. While District 2, which encompasses much of Eastern Oregon, has traditionally been solid red, a slate of Democratic candidates hopes to capitalize on the tightening gap witnessed between Walden and his Democratic challenger in 2018.

              In the Republican primary, there are currently 10 Republican candidates running to replace Greg Walden. Some of the more well-known challengers include Knute Buehler, who ran for governor in 2018, as well as state Sen. Cliff Bentz, a Republican from Ontario who represents parts of central and eastern Oregon. While Buehler has the most centrist, moderate reputation of the Republican primary candidates, he has adapted his messaging to hue more closely to Trump and traditional conservative values in an effort to win the heavily conservative primary.

              In the Democratic primary, there are four Democrats vying for the Democratic nomination in C.D. 2, including Medford caregiver John Holm and Klamath Falls community activist Alex Spenser. The lack of established Democrats running for the seat is perhaps indicative of the presumably long-shot chances any Democratic nominee will face in the general election, as Cook Political Report continues to rate the district solidly Republican. 

               

              Must-watch state and local races for Oregon’s primary day

              Oregon%27s+2020+primary+day+is+May+19%2C+which+will+determine+general+election+candidates+for+several+competitive+state+and+local+races.

              Wikipedia

              Oregon’s 2020 primary day is May 19, which will determine general election candidates for several competitive state and local races.

              While national election coverage has blanketed TV airwaves and social media for the last few months, Oregon’s late-stage primary date, May 19, all but ensures that by the time it votes in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, both parties will have already solidified their eventual nominee. Despite the fact that Oregon lacks coveted status as a must-win presidential primary state, however, voters will also vote in key local primary races on May 19 that will determine the makeup of 2021’s county commissions, mayoral offices, and city councils. 

              Here are some of the must-watch state and local races in the upcoming May 19 primary: 

              Anti-semitism is troublingly normalized in Jesuit’s discourse

              In my Comparative Religions class last semester, there was an unmistakable decline in courtesy among some of my classmates when we reached our unit on Judaism. A group of senior guys jeered at basic Hebrew words we learned, pronouncing them with comic exaggeration. When a Jewish guest speaker explained her religious traditions, her display of Jewish symbols was met with scornful trivialization by those same boys.

              Pondering their escalating disrespect, unattended to by my teacher and even my most justice-oriented classmates, I knew there was something more than broad cultural ignorance at play. An equivalent level of disdain when learning about Islam, for example, would have propelled resounding accusations of bigotry. Why, then, did this display of anti-Semitism receive no rebuke?

              Senior Jane Koontz notes that more worrisome and overt displays of anti-Semitism have occurred during her time at Jesuit, such as an incident that occurred on her brother’s sophomore overnight for which the culprit received no punitive response.

              “My brother went on his sophomore overnight retreat, and someone drew swastikas all over his poster,” Koontz said. “Another time, it was overheard that someone in our class was coming up with all the Jew jokes he could think of just to piss [a Jewish student] off. His words were, ‘I wanna see if I can trigger them, so tell me if these are good.’”

              The number of students at Jesuit who explicitly identify as Jewish is estimated at less than 10, which means that in most cases, when other students perpetuate anti-Semitic tropes, no Jewish students are in the classroom to take offense—or to correct the narrative. Nevertheless, mockery of Jews is far more widely tolerated in our discourse, resulting in a culture that enables anti-Semitic microaggressions in Jesuit’s classrooms and more explicit displays in hallways and on retreats.

              In America at large, anti-Semitic attacks make up a disproportionate and increasing percentage of hate crimes. New York in 2019 reported its largest number of hate crimes since 1992. In 2018, more hate crimes were committed against American Jews than any other demographic in the U.S., with 835 separate incidents reported to the FBI. 

              With anti-Semitic violence escalating around the country, it’s worth examining what patterns of behavior or assumptions foment violence and, more commonly, prompt routine, obvious microaggressions against Jewish people. Particularly in the U.S., widespread misunderstanding revolves around the notion that most Jews are not just practitioners of Judaism, but ethnically Jewish. 

              Due to widespread segmentation and segregation among Jewish communities primarily in Eastern and other parts of Europe for the past millennium, those with Jewish heritage have a set of identifiable genetic characteristics alongside shared religious and cultural traditions. Oftentimes, the simultaneous racial and religious definition of what it means to be Jewish creates conflict with those of other religious traditions, including Jesuit’s own Catholic community. 

              “I’ve heard, just walking into school, people saying, ‘how is Judaism a culture? That’s like saying because I’m Christian, that’s my culture and ethnicity,’” senior Jane Koontz said. “They’re taking a very opinionated stance on something they know little to nothing about.”

              Beyond widespread ignorance about the ethnic contours of the Jewish identity, rising political tensions over the Israel-Palestine conflict have also unleashed hostility against Jews. Senior Alyssa Knudsen emphasizes that while Jews tend to support Israel and Jewish people’s right to exist in their homeland, that political stance doesn’t give students a right to hurl arguments at Jewish students about a sensitive political divide.

              “I’ve had 3 or 4 people come up to me who I don’t know and they demand an explanation for the Israel-Palestine conflict,” Knudsen said. “I’m happy to be a resource for educational purposes, but I am not going to put myself in a position where I am verbally harassed in person and online.”

              With being one of a mere handful at Jesuit comes a disproportionate amount of responsibility, spotlight, and perpetual expectation for Jewish students. Students who outwardly identify as Jewish are often expected to singlehandedly educate their peers, a burdensome assumption that only heightens Jewish students’ cultural otherness at a school where 69% of students identify as Catholic. (JHS Academic Snapshot)

              “There are questions coming up about Palestine and Israel, but it’s not up to that student to educate others on everything that’s going on over there,” Diversity Director Mrs. Lowery said. “If you’re being asked questions sometimes it’s hard to carry that weight of being one of very few here. Sometimes you want to be the educator, but that gets exhausting, and you don’t always want to have these conversations.”

              In light of misinformation and tension surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Diversity Office is currently organizing a brown bag that brings a broad spectrum of voices to the table—from Palestinian students to Jewish students who support Israel—and engages students in an honest, educational conversation that explores both sides of the divide.

              Perhaps most destructively, younger generations in particular often mistakenly perpetuate the belief that the Holocaust was an isolated, singular event, one long since relegated to the ash heap of history, and that its ramifications and the systemic marginalization of Jews no longer apply. The effacement of Holocaust history—not to mention little focus in U.S. History courses on xenophobia and discrimination against American Jews long before the Holocaust—has resulted in a prominent mentality among teenagers that anti-Semitism is a less real threat compared to other forms of bigotry. 

              As the assumption goes, the Jewish community is tight-knit simply incidentally, rather than out of a shared history of persecution. Offensive Jew jokes, swastikas drawn on sophomore overnight posters, and dismissive chortles at the back of a classroom are part of a subversive, ironic memeification of the Holocaust, rather than a contributing factor to anti-Semitic aggression and targeting.

              With all the current cultural forces and sources of ignorance that de-legitimize anti-Semitism at play, Jesuit should meaningfully and substantially increase awareness among all students, beyond the few who opt in by attending brown bags. Knudsen suggests outside, Jewish-based sources could offer solutions.

              “Something I think Jesuit should take advantage of is the programs offered by Jewish Federation, especially in conjunction with the Oregon Holocaust Museum,” Knudsen said. “They offer all sorts of different trainings about how to combat anti-Semitism specifically in schools, as well as stressing the importance of Holocaust education.” 

              Exposing students to comprehensive Holocaust education may indeed help deter casual and pervasive anti-Semitism. While most history classes reaffirm a broad knowledge of what happened during the Holocaust, rarely do those courses cover the current, enduring trajectories of anti-Semitism that the Holocaust inspired, or how deeply anti-Jewish biases penetrated, and continue to penetrate, longstanding institutions. Alongside Holocaust education, even simpler acts of recognition could also help counter anti-Semitism.

              “It’s going to be really difficult for a Catholic institution to have a really big part in this, but I think it should start in the classroom,” Knudsen said. “Have anti-Semitism brought up in the context of whatever subject you’re learning about in class. Or even less than that, we have an assembly for Martin Luther King Day, and we have two calendar days where we observe the Holocaust. Jesuit doesn’t even read a prayer over the PA system. They do that for 9-11, as they should, so why not also do it for the Holocaust?”

              In March, Jesuit plans to host a mobile educational exhibition of Anne Frank’s life as she hid from the Nazis during World War II. Schoolwide efforts to renew awareness about victims of the Holocaust, in tandem with faculty preparedness and willingness to confront anti-Semitism within Jesuit’s own student body, may reshape the narrative on Jewish discrimination.

              About the Writer
              Photo of Shawna Muckle
              Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

              Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

              Progress needed on responsive race education

              Students+at+Jesuit++have+disappointingly+limited+educational+exposure+to+discussions++on+race+and+identity.

              Jenelle Gaerlan

              Students at Jesuit have disappointingly limited educational exposure to discussions on race and identity.

              Jesuit stresses the purposeful pursuit of social equity and awareness in one of its five student profile attributes: “Committed to Doing Justice.” In Peace and Justice and with inclusivity-oriented school events such as the Martin Luther King assembly and Multicultural Week, Jesuit clearly includes racial justice under the umbrella of social justice issues it seeks to expose students to.

              Yet save an inevitably brief intro about the realities of racism in Peace and Justice, the times race is explicitly tackled in the classroom, in an educational environment, number very few. Many students, unless they actively seek out race education themselves, exit Jesuit with at best a surface-level, bare-minimum understanding of what marginalization means, of the aggressions both systemic and individual that compose America’s tumultuous, frustrating, ignorance-ridden racial landscape. This level of ignorance is inevitable without consistent, purposeful exposure to race and mandatory racial discussions beyond assemblies.

              Depending on their English class, sophomores may read The Other Wes Moore, or All American Boys, or American Born Chinese, and discuss stereotypes and discrimination from a literary lens. Students may spend a couple U.S. History classes absorbing a strictly factual account of the Chinese Exclusion Acts or the Civil Rights era. The quality of a student’s race education is dependent upon the classes they take, and even if they maximize their exposure to discussions about race, no curriculum across different departments at Jesuit specifically embeds comprehensive, continuing, multi-year education about many critical aspects of race.

              Inevitably, of course, race does intersect with certain disciplines at Jesuit. Problematically, however, many of Jesuit’s rare classroom-based explorations of race are completely unrelated to what they learn about race in the next class, making it next to impossible for students, particularly those without experience with racial discrimination, to draw connections or actually develop a nuanced understanding of racism and racial identity. 

              Students will obviously struggle with applying the diverse cultural experiences of authors they read in English class to the historical atrocities and institutional racism they learn about in Theology or History when there’s no continuous, interconnected educational progression guiding their understanding of race and culture. Worse yet, many topical racial issues, including issues that affect how students themselves respond to race and treat their classmates of color, go completely untouched. There are students who will leave Jesuit and never once engage in critical, intentional classroom discussions about their own implicit biases, about microaggressions, about cultural appropriation or police brutality or affirmative action.

              Each and every student should be exposed to uncomfortable discussions from freshman to senior year, routinely revisiting more challenging topics and receiving exposure to cumbersome racial and cultural controversies. Without this curriculum-embedded emphasis on cultural responsiveness, many students miss out on participating in crucial, contentious political and cultural conversations, and their insularity leaves them unprepared to engage with those issues once they leave Jesuit. 

              Case in point: when Mosely Watta performed at the Martin Luther King assembly, he informed the student body that he would refrain from sharing his piece on cultural appropriation, which included mention of the n-word, because he didn’t feel we were ready to handle that topic—yet. Considering his audience included 14-year-old freshmen, his rationale made sense, but the connotation of the word “yet” suggests that we as a school will eventually broach discussions about cultural appropriation and have the capacity to grapple with its cultural complexity. With no intentional sequence for students to develop racial literacy skills, and no designated course that explores cultural appropriation, it’s doubtful that each and every student will ever get the chance to have a mature conversation about the n-word. 

              For students who want to understand cultural appropriation and other racial issues, they can; by attending the Ignatian Teach-In, for example, or participating in student-led projects and conversations with students of color, every student technically has access to race education. In all of these scenarios, however, students must dedicate extracurricular time to interacting with consistent, explicit forums about race, which means those who would benefit from race education the most don’t often receive it. 

              Even more concerning, without curriculum-oriented opportunities to address race and culture, a disproportionate and unfair burden falls upon the students of color already experiencing discrimination to educate their classmates on their own experiences and dedicate themselves to diversity projects, such as student panels for Ms. Myers’ Peace and Justice class and the Multicultural Week assembly.

              “With this idea that it should be student-driven, it’s just really tiring,” senior Natalie Tan said. “It’s really, really tiring to actually [explain your own experiences with racism], and it takes up a lot of your energy and your time. I understand it would be most effective student-driven, but at the same time when you’re experiencing [racism] and you also have to become the person to educate, and then you have to relive everything that’s hurt you, that’s really, really emotionally draining.”

              A lack of race education doesn’t simply produce a student body that is socially and culturally unresponsive in an abstract, global sense. Without a thorough understanding of race, identity, and marginalization, students are infinitely more likely to perpetuate microaggressions and indulge in racial stereotypes, even without conscious racist intent. Senior Kaylee Jeong notes that her teachers have at times refused to vocally address microaggressions as students perpetuate them against her and her classmates of color, a consequence of Jesuit’s broader aversion to confronting racism through an educational, interpersonal lens. 

              “I don’t need my teachers in every single class to be educating about race issues. I want to learn about biology and math, too, but I just want to be able to trust in my teachers that they’re going to be supportive of me if someone says something that hurts me in class,” Jeong said. “I want them to know why it’s problematic and be able to support me, because I don’t want that responsibility all to myself, to be like, ‘this is why you’re wrong, this is all the analysis behind it,’ while being respectful at the same time. That is so tiring.”

              It’s worth noting that Jesuit is not alone in its evident lack of race education. Many high schools, even after instituting more explicit classes on racial literacy such as Ethnic Studies, still struggle with imparting universal or even near-universal lessons on race. Cleveland High School, for example, had an incident in 2018 where hate speech, including hostile use of the n-word, was graffitied in a boy’s bathroom (OregonLive).

              Jesuit, in its expressed commitment to racial justice, still has a unique responsibility to try harder. To make observable changes for the benefit of racial literacy on a yearly basis, even if that means investing a lot of resources. To pursue both long-term progress towards an embedded, multi-discipline emphasis on cultural responsiveness and the many complicated dimensions of race and injustice, and by taking up every opportunity teachers have to design more inclusive courses. 

              Progress can follow two, hopefully coinciding, routes: in the long term, integrating a scope and sequence for racial literacy into freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior courses that specifically dedicates time to issues of race and identity, and right now, taking advantage of opportunities to revamp our current courses to make them explicitly about race.

              Regarding the first option, scope and sequence, race and racial othering and discrimination undergird just about every societal discussion we have. Thus, it makes sense to insert a series of smaller but progressive, culminating, interconnected lessons into different subjects throughout students’ four years.

              “Scope and sequence is where you say, ‘these are the skills, or this is the content area, that we want students to know,’ but we can’t do it all in one year or all in one class, and so you take it and you break it down into digestible chunks that are going to be covered over four years and ideally over a range of disciplines,” AP English Literature and sophomore English teacher Ms. Mathes said. “For example, in the English department, we have a scope and sequence of grammar skills. I think we should have something like that for what’s called racial literacy.”

              Right now, students don’t universally receive a basic, classroom-based introduction into bias and discrimination until they are upperclassmen in Peace and Justice. To effectively impart lessons on race, those conversations should begin in each student’s freshman and sophomore year. More challenging topics that often remain at the wayside altogether, including cultural appropriation, affirmative action, microaggressions, criminal justice and economic inequality, should be intentionally addressed in lesson plans and class discussions. 

              Developing an intuitive, effective, all-encompassing curricular response to the need for racial literacy will obviously take time. The administration and Diversity Office are currently pondering how to construct effective teacher training and rubrics that assess the quality and depth of race education. 

              “We need to make sure that we’re educating our teachers, that we’re implementing training for our teachers, and we need to figure out some sort of rubric to measure our progress,” Diversity Director Mrs. Lowery said. “It’s a long and difficult process, it’s uncomfortable, but as a school, we’ve been waiting for this time to come and we’re ready to dive into deeper work.”

              In the meantime, various departments at Jesuit still currently have the latitude—and the responsibility—to revamp current course offerings, particularly when such adjustments are already ongoing. 

              For instance, next year, senior English classes are transitioning to semester-long courses that examine literature through a certain lens. Examples include “Confinement and Freedom in Women’s Literature” and “Mythical Magic Meets Modern Meaning.” While some of the electives, particularly the women’s literature course, explore minority voices, none focus singularly and specifically on the intersection of race and literature like, say, an African-American Literature or Asian-American Literature or Chicana Literature course would. 

              Imagine a semester-long Asian-American literature class, for example. By focusing solely on the various dimensions of Asian-American storytelling, interweaving novels and short stories together so students understand all the messy contradictions and grave injustices defining Asian-Americans’ cultural experience, students will have access to a far more mature and honest portrait of what it means, for some, to be a racial minority in America, far beyond what a single assembly could impart.

              Admittedly, this is the first year the English Department is implementing focused senior English electives. To construct entirely new lesson plans featuring diverse works of literature in time for forecasting would take substantial work, fine-tuning, and the possibility of failure.

              “This is going to be a transforming program for a couple years,” senior English teacher Mr. Sprehe said. “We had been throwing this together in addition to doing our classes and doing all the other things we have to do outside of classes, trying to get this thing ready for forecasting. We may say, ‘wow, this was really so narrow, and I should have used other voices.’ The senior English teachers want to be responsive to student needs and our changing culture. It would be unfortunate if we made a change and it just basically stayed what it has been for years.”

              Though senior English electives will hopefully eventually include classes rooted in the cultural experiences of racial minorities, it’s still disappointing that there wasn’t a concentrated, full-throated effort to use one of Jesuit’s few opportunities to construct inclusive courses and create a meaningful course exploring racism and identity. Frankly, to try and fail to design a race-centric literature course this year would have been preferable to assuming it was unattainable. This process of kicking the can down the road, waiting another year or two, for the sake of designing the “perfect” way to approach uncomfortable, divisive issues and engage in uncomfortable conversations has squandered chances for bold strokes of change—and has potentially become an excuse for complacency.

              “I think sometimes we find ourselves thinking we are changing and doing some great things, but there’s deeper work that needs to happen,” Mrs. Lowery said.

              Overcoming inertia, especially at as long-lived and stable a school as Jesuit, is no small task, nor should the difficulty and sensitivity that it takes to construct a racially-driven literature or history course be neglected. At the same time, it’s impossible to deny that challenging faculty members and departments to engage with culturally responsive course restructuring when the opportunity presents itself is at best an afterthought, a concept easily scuttled by impending deadlines and scant resources.

              Faculty have understandable concerns about implementing explicitly race-based education. Some question their own white identity, doubting whether they can fully, seamlessly understand and articulate to students the nuances of an author of color’s personal narrative. Ms. Mathes, who redesigned her sophomore English curriculum to include racially diverse authors and discussions on race, acknowledges that the process was imperfect and difficult.

              “For me, I had to very intentionally push myself outside my comfort zone to find literature that wasn’t like the literature I studied when I was in college, and I had to intentionally teach that literature,” Ms. Mathes said. “The more I did it the better I got at it. It’s not particularly easy to teach the literature of another culture when you’re not of that culture, but it’s important to me, so I teach it.”

              Certainly, teachers of color who understand race at a base level are best suited to guide conversations about minority experiences. Currently, however, Jesuit has to pursue race education with the faculty it has, which places an attendant responsibility on each and every teacher irrespective of personal identity: become educated on both the rhetoric and institutions that hinder racial literacy and racial equality. Avoid misattributing false perceptions, trivializations, and clumsy language to literary, cultural, or historical interpretations of racism as much as possible. Acknowledge one’s own deficiencies, rather than peddling assumptions, when it comes to planning lessons and educating students on the experiences of people of color.

              Most importantly, make racial literacy and cultural awareness not just a reactive afterthought in times of racial tension and strife, or a one-off event coinciding with an annual memoriam, but a consistent part of how Jesuit students learn to pursue justice and critically question modern institutions. In this last, essential responsibility, progressing towards a four-year, interdisciplinary, culturally current racial literacy curriculum, and right now, taking advantage of the few opportunities we presently have as a school to pursue explicitly race-based courses, needs to be prioritized.

              For now, teachers, departments, and the administration should take up every opportunity to reaffirm among all students a greater degree of racial awareness and cultural competence. Continuously sticking with what’s comfortable, and failing to designate substantial resources to race-based lessons and classes, created this crisis of racial literacy to begin with. Both white students and students of color need more radical change in how Jesuit teaches about race, especially if we want to actually depart Jesuit as agents for justice.

              About the Writer
              Photo of Shawna Muckle
              Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

              Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

              Campaign finance controversies complicate civic engagement

              The+largest+donors+in+each+U.S.+state+are+often+major+corporations+or+unions.

              Bulletin.represent.us

              The largest donors in each U.S. state are often major corporations or unions.

              As the 2020 presidential election cycle edges nearer, solicitations for campaign contributions from various candidates have become almost unavoidable. Between targeted social media advertisements, spam emails from party affiliates, and conspicuous “Donate Now” redirects on candidates’ pages, it’s hard to imagine that most students haven’t at least considered the concept of political donations in the last few months. 

              At the same time, the amount of students who have spent their own money to donate to a particular policy organization or candidate likely number far fewer. For related reasons—a lack of monetary independence and a lack of voting eligibility—significant political engagement among high schoolers is rare, let alone a desire to spend their limited money on a political campaign. 

              Even among young people of voting eligibility (ages 18-29), only 9% report ever donating to a political candidate or party, according to a Pew Research poll conducted in 2017. Conversely, 32% of voters aged 65+ report donating to a political organization, campaign, or party. 

              The correlation between political donations and age stems from the fact that age typically accompanies more financial stability and, once past retirement, an abundance of time with which to be politically involved. For high schoolers and college students voting for the first time, significant transitions and rapidly evolving independence leave little resources to even consider the prospect of spending money on a campaign. 

              Irrespective of whether young people choose to donate to campaigns, however, individual, small-dollar donations are often portrayed as insignificant compared to multimillion dollar investments by outside donors such as corporations and lobbyist organizations. Students and younger generations tend to particularly focus on the NRA, for instance, as a corrupting influence in the gun-control debate..

              “What frustrates me about candidates accepting campaign donations from the NRA is that it almost seems like sometimes candidates don’t feel so strongly about the Second Amendment in the way that they espouse,” senior Ria Debnath said. “They feel pressure to exhibit those ideals solely because they rely on donations from a mega-corporation like the NRA.”

              The notion that larger, more influential organizations convince politicians and candidates to act against popular will has lead to increased clamoring for campaign finance reform. Generally speaking, campaign finance reform involves enhanced restrictions on the amount of money individuals, corporations, and outside political organizations can contribute to parties or specific campaigns. 

              Currently, federal election law prohibits corporations or labor organizations from directly contributing to federal campaigns. Individual donations are also capped at $2,800 per election cycle for a particular federal candidate or party organization. However, corporations and unions may establish Political Action Committees, which can collect from individual donors to raise large sums of cash with which to distribute to candidates or parties (Federal Election Commission). 

              The NRA, for example, has a PAC called the Political Victory Fund. PACs are subject to federal contribution limits, capped at $5,000 per federal election year. For the 2020 election cycle, the Political Victory Fund has spent $165,100 on direct contributions to candidates’ campaigns—but overall, the NRA’s expenditures total $1.4 million (Open Secrets). 

              Despite the seemingly restrictive limitations on individuals, PACs, and corporations, federal election law leaves a gaping loophole open for corporations and other unrestricted political organization, known as superPACs, to influence elections. Due to a ruling in the controversial Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC, the federal government may not restrict independent expenditures in support of a particular candidate or party. 

              As a result of the Citizens United ruling, organizations like the NRA, as well as the two major political parties, may spend unlimited amounts of money on political advertising as long as those donations aren’t directly contributed to a particular campaign. Additionally, superPACs may raise money from individual donors and corporations without restrictions, allowing superPACs to subsist solely on mega-dollar donations and avert federal contribution limits by using independent advertisements (FEC). 

              This major monetary loophole in federal election law helps explain how the NRA and other politically-affiliated organizations manage to invest massive influxes of cash each election cycle in spite of strict contribution limits for PACs and individuals. 

              Further complicating how campaign contributions are limited, federal contribution limits only apply to federal elections, or presidential and congressional races. For state races, including governor’s races, states determine contribution limits for all organizations and individuals. 

              “How much freedom individual states have to limit money’s influence in politics is something that I think the Supreme Court is still trying to figure out,” AP U.S. Government and Politics teacher Mr. Flamoe said. “What are the controls of how much financial constraints a state, if they choose to, can place on state campaigns?”

              In Oregon especially, campaign finance will be a closely watched issue in 2020. Oregon’s state constitution specifically precludes the state government from obstructing contributions, making it one of five states with absolutely no contribution limits for individuals, corporations, unions, and PACs. The state legislature has placed a constitutional referendum on the 2020 ballot, allowing voters to determine whether they want to open the door to financial limitations in state politics (Portland Tribune).

              Given the ever-present loopholes that independent expenditures and superPACs invite, some students question how Oregon’s attempt to equalize the playing field for political donations will actually counter the impact wealthy organizations have in politics.

              “If I’m a corporation and I can’t donate money, then I can just go online and create a self-sponsored ad for that candidate with that money,” senior Cole Crystal said. “There’s always going to be workarounds, so then [governments] have to say that you can’t use your money to make any poIitical ads or commentary pieces about a candidate, and then you’re violating free speech. I think it gets a little risky using the argument ‘everyone should be equal,’ because you’re not going to change how the rich and how corporations influence the candidates they want to win.”

              Though campaign finance reform remains a major pillar of many 2020 Democratic campaigns, the actual complexities of finding a foolproof way to contain independent expenditures—at least while Citizens United exists—make it more difficult to imagine a path forward for limiting money’s influence in politics. 

              Mr. Flamoe, however, suggests that the rise of social media and alternative means of advertising offers some optimism for alleviating the need for money in campaigns at all. 

              “Most people are getting their political information through non-traditional means,” Mr. Flamoe said. “They’re not necessarily going to be seeing political ads on the major news networks. They’re going to be getting those ads in their social media feeds. Now that you can micro-target populations of voters [with social media], it almost seems that if you have really good information, you can have influence on the target population you’re trying to reach without those large sums of cash that were once necessary.” 

              For civically-minded students feeling disillusioned by the seemingly unstoppable, disproportionate influence of mega-organizations in politics, social media also offers a forum to engage with a campaign without the same inequities that monetary contributions involve.

              “I don’t think that one should feel like their financial solvency and their ability to donate to campaigns is the only thing that can legitimize their passion for a candidate,” Debnath said. “There’s other ways to express your support: you can share what [a candidate] says on social media, you can attend campaign events they hold. You can do whatever is within your means to support that candidate. Affluence doesn’t have to be the only deciding factor.”

              About the Writer
              Photo of Shawna Muckle
              Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

              Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

              What should “merry Christmas” mean?

              Holiday+greetings+ideally+promote+unity%2C+regardless+of+the+verbiage+used.

              Steele Clevenger

              Holiday greetings ideally promote unity, regardless of the verbiage used.

              December at Jesuit is almost indisputably magical. Between extravagant Christmas-themed Food Drive assemblies featuring “Santa Clarke,” candy cane sales, and the Christmas Mass of Anticipation, the holiday season transforms campus in appearance and spirit.

              Curiously, however, Jesuit’s intensely Christmas-oriented festivities diverge from America’s cultural progression towards a more Christmas-neutral holiday season.

              As American society becomes more conscious of what it means to uphold inclusivity and diversity, some have questioned whether exclusively Christmas-based marketing and celebrations cause discomfort—or at least an intangible sense of isolation—for members of non-celebrating faith traditions. For the sake of appealing to a larger spectrum of beliefs, many businesses in the customer-service industry, most notably Starbucks, have embraced holiday-neutral slogans and memorabilia. In particular, the phrase “happy holidays” has become a neutral alternative to “merry Christmas.”

              Like most rhetorical shifts towards inclusivity, “happy holidays” has incited political controversy. In May 2018, President Trump declared, “we’re starting to say merry Christmas again… You notice a big difference between now and two or three years ago? It was going in the other direction rapidly, right?” (The Hill).

              According to a poll conducted by NPR/PBS in December 2018, among registered Democrats, 42% prefer “merry Christmas” compared to 47% who prefer the neutral greeting. In contrast, among registered Republicans, 86% use “merry Christmas,” and only 13% prefer “happy holidays” (NPR).

              The fact that Christmas greetings are at the center of a partisan cultural battle raises a critical question: is the argument really about Christmas as a religious holiday? Or do the Americans holding onto “merry Christmas,” the politicians posturing over Christmas’s apparent decline in holiday marketing, simply cast Christmas as a religiously-detached American tradition?

              “We are in a co-opting fight [against Christmas’s commercialization],” Campus Ministry Director Mr. Clarke said. “When Black Friday sales are the ‘start of Christmas,’ you have to wonder whether the political fight is really about Christmas as we at Jesuit celebrate it.”

              If the alleged “war on Christmas” is less about religion and simply centered on a relatively commodified tradition, then the purported controversy surrounding “happy holidays” appears overblown. Though Christmas is deeply intertwined with many Americans’ cultural identity, attempts at avoiding offense with neutral holiday greetings don’t necessarily void America’s Christmas-steeped holiday aesthetics and Christmas traditions that remain prevalent.

              The shift towards “happy holidays” among certain Americans is neither a serious attack against Christian values or American values. Instead, like many cultural inflection points, the dispute over inclusive greetings during the Christmas season is simply another drop in the bucket of a “politically correct” terminology battle between progressives and conservatives, a rallying cry for those concerned with the erasure of what it means to be American via contrived means of inclusivity.

              It’s concerning that some politically reactionary Americans, including President Trump, would wield “merry Christmas” not as a genuine expression of religion or of holiday spirit, but as a taunting, incendiary response to increased efforts for inclusivity.

              Moreover, if the culture war over “merry Christmas” really is a co-opted dispute over Americans’ broad sense of identity, not over Christmas’s connection to a sacred biblical event, then Jesuit’s wholehearted acceptance of Christmas begins to make more sense. Jesuit’s status as a Catholic school deeply associates it with Christmas’s religious roots.

              The Jesuit community, however, doesn’t exist in an insulated cultural bubble. Many students are familiar with the battle surrounding the holiday season’s two standard greetings—a battle exacerbated by those who employ the more exclusive greeting for political purposes—making it crucial to consider what rationale should prompt “merry Christmas” and other Christmas-oriented traditions.

              “When I say ‘merry Christmas,’ it’s an expression of my faith and belief that Christmas is a holy day,” Mr. Clarke said. “I certainly don’t mean to offend anybody, and I’ve never been offended by ‘happy holidays.’”

              America’s celebration of Christmas is at its core meant to instill joy. For Christians, Christmas is a celebration of something even greater, a celebration of life, freedom from sin, and justice brought about by the birth of Jesus. Whether as an expression of faith or of general holiday cheer, “merry Christmas” should be used as a means of spreading that joy, not as a weaponized, less-PC alternative to “happy holidays.”

              For those concerned with whether it’s “okay” to still specifically reference Christmas, intent matters much more than specific terminology. If “happy holidays” truly inspires a sense of cultural insecurity for some Americans, that’s a sign that arguments over Christmas greetings are a proxy for an ultimately unrelated social conflict.

              Regardless of one’s manner of celebrating the holiday season, inclusivity is most enhanced by embracing the collective sense of fulfillment that the holiday season is meant to emphasize.

              Senior Alyssa Knudsen notes that with the way Jesuit honors Christmas, her Jewish faith doesn’t prevent her from appreciating the beauty of Jesuit’s Christmas celebration and the unity it inspires.

              “I love Christmas at Jesuit. With the lights strung around campus, walking down the halls, Christmas is really beautiful,” Knudsen said. “I think that as a Catholic school, it makes sense that we emphasize Christmas, because it’s so entrenched in the Catholic ethos and the American ethos.”

              With the religious reverence associated with its Christmas festivities, Jesuit seems to set an example for how Christmas should be celebrated. “Merry Christmas” at Jesuit doesn’t signify an exclusionary verbal weapon meant to minimize other celebrations of faith. Rather, it signifies a broad sense of community, love, and purpose that transcends artificial barriers between those who celebrate Christmas and those who don’t.

              Senior Janie Koontz also emphasizes that while Jesuit typically centers its holiday season around Christmas, faculty and administration have made concrete efforts to acknowledge other religions and broadcast the voices of students from non-Catholic religions in other capacities, such as brown-bags. 

              “I definitely think they’re currently making attempts to bridge the gap and not make [kids from other faith traditions] feel as isolated, even though there are very few of us at Jesuit,” Koontz said. “Continuing to do that and letting kids who have different faiths speak up and share their experiences and share their faith even when it differs from the main one at Jesuit is a step in the right direction.”

              About the Contributors
              Photo of Shawna Muckle
              Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

              Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

              Photo of Steele Clevenger
              Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

              Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

              Young Conservatives for Change encourages partisanship on campus

              Young+Conservatives+for+Change%2C+a+newly+established+club+this+year%2C+explicitly+champions+conservative+values.

              World Atlas

              Young Conservatives for Change, a newly established club this year, explicitly champions conservative values.

              When students register to vote at 16, one of the first questions they must respond to is which political party they would like to join. Party association, most often presented as a dual choice between Democrat and Republican, is so pervasive in political discourse that it’s difficult to be civically engaged without adopting a partisan lens. 

              In light of the supremacy of the two major political parties and their corresponding ideologies—conservative and liberal—it may seem surprising that Jesuit’s clubs surrounding political goals or discussions steer away from partisan labels. Instead, neutral names such as “Current Events Club” or “Junior State of America” provide a space for students of all political philosophies to educate themselves on topical issues and develop a more nuanced perspective. 

              Clubs like JSA provide a useful forum for a large coalition of politically-engaged students: those questioning their party affiliation, those who consider themselves independent or somewhere in the center, as well as students with relatively defined partisan stances who are looking to challenge their existing beliefs. 

              “Being partisan-related makes it super constrictive about what is okay to say,” JSA leader Brian Xu said. “Here we’re all about ‘you can say anything you want’, and you might say something [controversial] and get repercussions for it, but at least you can express your opinion. I think the majority of people who join JSA would rather debate about the issues, whether it’s a Republican or Democratic idea.”

              However, neutral current events clubs still have their limitations. While high school students have a reputation for being politically ignorant or for juggling emergent, uncertain political views, a significant majority feel attached to a particular party. In a November 2018 Jesuit Chronicle survey, 75.1% of respondents expressed a preference for either the Republican or Democratic Party, with only 15.3% identifying as unsure. 

              Senior Parthav Easwar decided to join the Democratic Party after informing himself extensively on its platform and on current issues, but he emphasizes an acute awareness of its flaws. “I felt that liberal ideology more aligned with my own beliefs about how the world works and how the world should be,” Easwar said. “I don’t necessarily like everything the Democratic Party does, and if there was a party that aligned with my beliefs more, I would subscribe to that over the Democratic Party.”

              When the labels Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal remain abstract, secondary facets of political discussion, it’s easy to treat each of the major parties as a monolith representing only a single policy viewpoint on crucial issues. Yet in reality, both the Republican and Democratic Party have internal intra-party fissures and contradictions that demand discernment for those who identify with a broad party banner.

              Organizations like Young Democrats and Young Republicans, while nearly universally absent among high schools, are ubiquitous on college campuses. Often falling somewhere between an ideological safe space and a forum for hashing out intraparty variation and disagreement, party-based clubs for students can help establish a clearer outline of the contours and ideological breadth of each political party. Party-affiliated organizations can also provide a place for students to find agreement, rather than dissent, that uplifts their principles and helps them better defend their policy stances. 

              That philosophy has received representation through Jesuit’s only current ideological club: Young Conservatives for Change. Established this year by senior Caesar Tyson, the club outlines its purpose as “a space for students that identify with more traditional conservative values or beliefs to engage in healthy discussion and debate, as well as introducing ideas to others and establishing a rough idea of this ideology” (Jesuit Clubs and Activities Guide). Tyson declined a request for comment. 

              Given Young Conservatives’ mission statement, the club’s pursuits appear twofold: it attempts to create a mutual space for conservative students while also establishing the merits of conservatism. However, both the name of the club and its description leave unclear what precise branch of “conservative” ideology it plans to emphasize. 

              Even some students with a partisan affiliation are hesitant towards the precedent Young Conservatives sets for ideologically-oriented clubs on campus, particularly concerning their potential for creating an echo chamber in an already fraught partisan environment. 

              “If you have Young Conservatives club, and if we were to have a Young Liberals club, all that’s happening is people are going to go to the clubs that they align with and they’re going to be indoctrinated with what they already believe,” Easwar said. “They’re never going to get the idea that this country is one that’s built on cooperation and bipartisan relationships.”

              Young Conservatives for Change has yet to meet since its creation, and as a monthly club, its impact on political discourse outside the confines of the club remains indeterminate. However, rumors have abounded among the student body since word spread of Young Conservatives’ existence, suggesting students have more opinions about party affiliation than politically neutral outlets allow for. 

              “I think that underneath the surface there’s a lot of stigma based on the connotations each party has,” senior Lauren Haines said. “If your parents are conservative and constantly talking about how stupid the other party is, then if your friend is like, ‘hey, I’m a liberal,’ there’s going to be at least an undercurrent of malease.”

              Regardless of whether Young Conservatives for Change will prove itself an effective forum for students to transparently discuss their interpretations and disagreements with party labels or if it will devolve into an insulated safe space, Haines acknowledges the cultural tension that avoiding partisan discussions creates within the student body. 

              “Young Conservatives is grounded in rumor and speculation, and the same problem exists with liberalism and conservatism at this school,” Haines said. “If people are not willing to talk explicitly about it, if you can’t talk about something to etch out its nuances, you’re not going to be able to define conservatism more than this shadowy figure, and I think that’s the problem with party and politics at this school.”

              About the Writer
              Photo of Shawna Muckle
              Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

              Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

              Bell schedule adds “flex period” for upcoming year

              Bell+schedule+adds+%22flex+period%22+for+upcoming+year

              Bell Schedule altered for 2020-2021

              Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, Jesuit will adopt a new bell schedule that contains a few notable changes. The most major update to the schedule will implement two “flex” periods, longer breaks where students may meet with teachers, work on homework, or meet with friends, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

              To accommodate Tuesday’s flex period, school will begin at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesdays, as opposed to 9:25. Occupying those additional 40 minutes on Tuesdays will be a 40-minute flex period in the middle of the day.

              Thursdays will also have an embedded 40-minute midday flex period. School will still begin at 7:45 a.m., but each class will last only 50 minutes to accommodate the flex period, which will occur after 2nd period in lieu of break.

              Many elements of the bell schedule will remain the same. School will start and end at the same time on Monday and Wednesday-Friday. Passing periods will still be five minutes, and each class will still meet 4 times per week. The rotation of 7th period and the placement of Friday Mass also remain untouched.

              While the changes to the bell schedule are relatively modest, a faculty-based bell schedule committee who designed and finalized the new schedule hopes that flex periods will offer students a much needed chance to rest or organize themselves twice a week. The committee relied on research, insights from other Jesuit and Oregonian high schools, and faculty and student input to make its final decision.

              A committee is still determining exactly what the flex periods will involve, but it’s anticipated that students will have a faculty advisor and a homeroom to check in to before dispersing. Students may use the period to work on homework or schedule longer meetings with a teacher during the school day.

              Assemblies can be programmed into a flex period if they are shorter or only pertain to one grade level. Flex periods provide a natural window for assemblies and virtually eliminate the need for assembly schedules 1, 3, and 4, according to the bell schedule committee report.

              At the core of the administration’s and faculty’s rationale for flex periods is student wellness. The bell schedule committee’s report cited a fishbowl discussion with 10 students in which many of them reaffirmed the importance of break for relaxing and spending time with friends or for organizing themselves before their next class period. Twice-weekly flex periods extend the downtime break offers, giving students the opportunity to address their mental health, visit their counselors, and manage their stress levels.

              “At least one day a week we really do want there to be downtime or free time,” Principal Mr. Hogan said. “Part of what we really want to develop is students’ ability to manage their free time efficiently because you’re going to have a lot of it in college and you don’t have a lot of it right now.”

              Jesuit’s faculty and administration have been deliberating if and how to alter Jesuit’s bell schedule for over two years. The process began with a faculty committee who determined whether the schedule should change at all.

              “Jesuit’s unusual in that we have not significantly changed our bell schedule for 30 years,” Mr. Hogan said. “Most schools evaluate and shift their schedule every 5-10 years. We felt like our schedule works pretty well, and there are a few things in there that are important to us. The reason we really entered into the process is that we could see for a variety of reasons that students and staff felt our schedule is a bit frenetic, especially as we continue to add programs and courses.”

              After the initial faculty committee decided Jesuit should change the bell schedule, another faculty committee, chaired by Vice Principal of Academics and Student Life Ms. Hagelgans and English Department Chair Mr. Falkner, compiled information to determine specific changes the new bell schedule should adopt. The 10-person committee included at least one teacher from each department, a counselor, and an administrator.

              The bell schedule committee drafted a final report that stated conclusions agreed upon by a majority of members. Each conclusion garnered either unanimous approval or had only one dissenting vote.

              One major consideration the committee debated was whether to change school start and end times by moving them back approximately 30 minutes every day. While the committee recognized teenagers increasing struggle with sleep deprivation, they concluded that moving start times back would likely incentivize more before-school activities. The final committee report argued that moving start times back would only promote sleep for the student body if before-school activities were restricted, a step that the school currently doesn’t plan to take.

              The 2020-21 bell schedule has not yet been publicized to students, but some students have been informed by faculty of planned changes. For senior Kavya Ravishankar, flex periods provide a useful time for conferences with teachers and assemblies, but she questions how scaling back Tuesday’s late start will affect students.

              “I think the students who have the current Tuesday schedule are used to coming in at a certain time [on Tuesdays],” Ravishankar said. “They’re going to have to adjust how they balance their Monday-Tuesday work and schedules.”

              Junior Amreen Sandhu embraces the attempt by the administration to recognize student’s wellbeing as well as the time management benefits of the new schedule.

              “I like the idea of flex periods,” Sandhu said. “I think it’s an attempt by the school to value students personal wellbeing. A lot of teachers are unavailable during lunch, and break is too short for us to ask teachers questions while taking time for ourselves.”

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              About the Writer
              Photo of Shawna Muckle
              Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

              Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

              Jesuit’s lack of treatment-based education perpetuates addiction stigma

              Jesuit%E2%80%99s+lack+of+treatment-based+education+perpetuates+addiction+stigma

              Addiction: Education and Treatment for High Schools that Face a Potential Crisis

              OPINION

              {{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-857a195b43cc727aa9d187f95147ec4b' }}

              SHAWNA MUCKLE

              Chief Editor

              JUUL usage among high school students has inspired concern about the reemergence of nicotine addiction. With this increased concern comes a need to examine the defects of current addiction education and stigma—defects that Jesuit is by no means immune to.

              Many high schools, including Jesuit, offer widespread preventative education for addiction. Preventative education teaches students about the addictive properties and harmful physical, mental and emotional effects of various substances. In health classes, teachers have begun placing an emphasis on e-cigarettes in particular, encouraging students to initiate their own questions. “I think it’s important to have vaping education, but I also think it’s important for kids to ask the questions they want to know,” Health teacher Ms. Kaempf said. “I want my students to have ownership over their own learning.” While understanding the science behind addiction remains a crucial deterrent for teenagers considering experimentation with substances, it does little to help kids already struggling with addiction, where symptoms are beyond their control.

              The other side of addiction education is treatment education: education that focuses on assessing treatment and rehabilitation options for existing addictions.Education on addiction resources, including school resources, may seem geared only towards addicted students, but treatment education provides important information to the entire school community. It confronts stigma and misinformation surrounding people suffering from addiction, and it helps students feel safe coming forward about potentially addictive behaviors in themselves or their peers, rather than leaving addiction assessments to adults on campus.

              For faculty, detecting seriously-addicted students is often difficult. Given that most adults on campus are only able to observe and look out for students during the school week, faculty have limited insight into students’ substance usage and level of drug dependence, including nicotine. On-campus drug usage, although a serious breach of school rules, is one of the few methods the administration has to identify struggling students.

              “If a student is doing these things frequently on campus, it leads me to believe they have a problem,” said Mr. Maxie, Vice Principal of Academics and Student Life. “I am first and foremost concerned about their health and well-being. I want you to get the help that you need, which means I’m going to connect you with your counselor and hopefully together we’ll be able to find out if there’s a true issue there.”

              On-campus drug usage typically involves suspension, and in most circumstances students are still allowed to be part of the community. However, the administration addresses drug use on a case-by-case basis, depending on a student’s prior discipline record.

              While Jesuit has not standardized treatment-focused education in any particular class, Mr. Maxie stresses that the administration prioritizes directing students it knows are struggling with substance abuse towards their counselors to develop a treatment plan that is effective for them, whether that’s rehabilitation, counseling, or other methods to treat addiction. 

              School counselors are not considered mandatory reporters regarding illegal substance abuse, and students can come forward about problems about substance addiction without necessarily having those issues referred back to the administration or to law enforcement. Counselors also serve as the primary contact between outside psychiatrists and rehabilitation centers for a variety of mental illnesses, including addiction.

              Among the student body, however, rumors and a lack of clarification by the administration have led students to believe the protocol for substance abuse is entirely centered around consequences. No class emphasizes giving students information on any of the internal and external resources Jesuit has to help students caught using substances—leaving many with the assumption that those resources don’t exist at all.

              “I do think when there’s actual instances of drug addiction or nicotine usage in the Jesuit community that we fail to address the issue, which is the addiction itself and not the fact that rules were broken,” junior Lucy Keane said. “I think it’s centered around consequences like suspension. I think it would be more beneficial if rehabilitation resources and resources that would support the student in overcoming this challenge they are facing were more available.”

              "No class emphasizes giving students information on any internal and external resources Jesuit has to help students caught using substances—leaving many with the assumption that those resources don't exist at all."

              The misinformation that surrounds Jesuit’s role in treatment assistance also helps explain the minimal amount of students who reach out about addiction-related problems. 

              “We have not had many students or families contact us looking for resources to help deal with addiction of any kind, partly because of the stigma [around addiction] and they don’t want the school to know, but hopefully because they are actively seeking their own programs,” Principal Mr. Hogan said.

              The stigma that prevents students from coming forward links back to the flawed standards for addiction education. In light of climbing addiction rates, Oregon implemented more standards in 2018 for presenting information on the risks and problems associated with addiction to students (The Lund Report). However, no expectations—either at the state level or in Jesuit’s current preventative curriculum—clearly address possible treatments or the specific consequences school has in place for substance abuse.

              Without education on Jesuit’s efforts to treat addiction, students are unlikely to assume they will be cared for by their counselors or the administration if they are caught with substances or come forward on their own. 

              When objective information on how to curb addiction, not just how to avoid it, is neglected in health classes, students experiencing addiction have trouble evaluating different treatment options. For nicotine addiction from e-cigarettes in particular, medical treatment options commonly prescribed to students may have no evidence to confirm their efficacy.

              Nicotine-replacement mechanisms meant to minimize the symptoms of withdrawal, such as gum and patches, have little evidence for lessening nicotine dependence in young adults addicted to vaping (Time).

              Without a comprehensive education on addiction treatment, or substantial counselor aid in assessing their options, addicted teenagers often feel too stigmatized to seek additional help in assessing treatment options. They often end up choosing the first treatment method their doctor suggests, which may be non-evidence based (Vox). Even more likely, students may feel too ashamed or in denial to seek treatment at all, especially if their parents haven’t recognized any addiction symptoms. 

              While Jesuit may only rarely have incidents with students experiencing addiction, of the 20% of high school students who vape on a regular basis (Washington Post), many may be developing a dangerous dependence. Jesuit students have received enough education to recognize that dependence, but few have learned how to combat it. Some likely have yet to come forward or seek help.

              Treatment education, alongside education on the science and risks behind addiction, should become an emphasized aspect of the health curriculum and a central component of schoolwide efforts to improve addiction education. Students should know much more about the resources available to them in the counseling department for dealing with addiction and other mental illnesses. The consequences of substance use should be honestly portrayed to students and shouldn’t remain subject to rumor and conjecture. 

              A straightforward explanation about how addiction can be treated, and in cases of on-campus drug usage, what both the punishments and treatments offered to students are, by no means encourages more students to abuse substances. 

              Having a clear picture of the realities of having an addiction, namely treatment, will enable students to rationally self-assess their behaviors and choose appropriate, evidence-based treatment. Being informed on their available resources within Jesuit will empower students whose symptoms and usage are “undetectable“, particularly common among e-cigarette users, to come forward with less shame or uncertainty.

              As for the students who aren’t currently struggling with substances, understanding that addiction treatments exist even within our school, even for high schoolers, will help eliminate addiction’s reputation as an ugly, incurable disease. 

              Seeing addiction from a solution-based standpoint, alongside the cautionary information that preventative education offers, is integral for eliminating the stigma around addiction that prevents others from seeking treatment. Addiction is so widespread, and nicotine addiction is increasing so rapidly among high schoolers, that no student should remain ignorant about various treatment resources.

              About the Writer
              Photo of Shawna Muckle
              Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

              Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

                Violence against Jews stems from troubling normalization of anti-semitism

                Violence+against+Jews+stems+from+troubling+normalization+of+anti-semitism

                Of the two recent instances of high-profile religious violence committed in America, the Apr. 27 Poway shooting and the October 2018 Tree of Life shooting, both have one chilling characteristic in common: both are synagogues, places of worship for the Jewish faith.

                Any discussion of religious violence must be accompanied by an ugly truth in America: anti-semitism hangs like a weight over our current culture, and it is not necessarily isolated to acts of violence. Questionable rhetoric by politicians and major publications has created a need to address the many ways anti-semitism manifests itself in American society.

                In the Poway shooting, the suspect’s anti-semitism was not only overt, but palpable. In a letter posted online prior to the shooting, the suspect expressed multiple anti-Semitic and white nationalist statements. The Tree of Life shooter wielded anti-Semitic slurs in social media postings (CNN). In the 2017 Charlottesville white nationalist rally, white nationalists chanted, “Jews will not replace us.”
                When faced with such heinous acts and expressions of anti-Semitism, it’s easy to denounce them and stand in solidarity with Jewish people. What becomes more difficult is recognizing how anti-semitism seeps into institutions, media portrayals, and casual conversations, mirroring other forms of discrimination.

                Implicit anti-semitism often reveals itself through “humor,” especially at the high school level. Jokes about the Holocaust, while generally perceived as deeply offensive, are still made on a daily basis.
                “What’s also left out of holocaust education is the continuing repercussions that Jews face,” junior Alyssa Knudsen said. “A lot of people see the [Holocaust] and say ‘okay, that happened in 1945, no big deal,’ but they need to understand that the ramifications are still present today.”

                In terms of ongoing ramifications, inappropriate and offensive humor at the expense of Jews doesn’t stop in school hallways. Anti-semitic humor is present even in major institutions. The New York Times recently published what many labeled a blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon, which was then promptly taken down. While The New York Times apologized and claimed that the publication of the offensive comic was the result of a lack of oversight, the worrisome example of a major, respected publication contributing to anti-semitism had already become deeply apparent.

                On the political stage, anti-semitism is often a consequence of the controversy over U.S. support for Israel, a nation that was designed to be a haven for oppressed Jews fleeing genocide in Europe during and following World War II. The controversial actions of the Israeli government in recent decades, namely human rights violations against members of the neighboring country of Palestine, have fueled debate over whether the U.S. should maintain such close ties with Israel.

                While the Israeli government has committed unjust actions against its Palestinian neighbors, anti-Israel politics at times contribute to rhetoric that furthers the social oppression against Jews, a majority of whom have denounced the Israeli government’s actions as unrepresentative of the Jewish faith.

                “You see the blurring of the line between the Jewish identity, the ritual, and the tradition, and the government representatives who you think are acting unacceptably and oppressive,” Knudsen said.
                When it comes to combating instances of anti-semitic violence, it seems clear that shutting down “unintentional” anti-semitism is the most pressing task for the average person to take on. The use of anti-semitic language by the perpetrators involved in religiously motivated attacks is not simply derived from small, niche communities of bigots. “Harmless” or “misinterpreted” statements by mainstream society, including those in power, have enabled a culture that often trivializes anti-semitism in its most widespread form.

                About the Writer
                Photo of Shawna Muckle
                Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

                Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

                  Pop music artists appropriate aspects of black culture

                  Pop+music+artists+appropriate+aspects+of+black+culture

                  Ariana Grande has recently come under fire for adopting popular elements of black culture in both her music and public image, which many have labeled as cultural appropriation.

                  Cultural appropriation is defined as “the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society” (Dictionary.com). Particularly important in cultural appropriation definition is the term “unacknowledged”. Many white celebrities have had accusations of cultural appropriation levied against them not necessarily because they adopted the customs or styles elements of different cultures, but because they failed to acknowledge the culture when adopting those elements.

                  In 2016, Kim Kardashian styled her hair in cornrows, for which she received a great deal of attention and praise. However, Kardashian insisted on calling her hairstyle “boxer braids” and never acknowledged the black community’s unique connection to her hairstyle (Teen Vogue). By changing the popular name of her hairstyle—the name embraced by black culture—Kardashian shunned the origins of her hairstyle, instead unilaterally claiming credit for popularizing it.

                  While cultural appropriation has been well-documented in a variety of spheres, pop music remained relatively isolated from any major scandals until the last couple of years, when hip-hop collided with mainstream music. As more black artists have gained popularity, some features of black culture, once the source of discrimination and stereotypes, have become major trends for white and black artists alike to flaunt.

                  “Black culture has definitely become pop culture recently,” junior Yosan Tewelde said. “In one sense, it shows the influence these black artists are having if other artists are trying to be like them, but on the other hand, [white artists] are getting the acclaim that no other artist of color has gotten before.”

                  Ariana Grande has been accused of perpetuating the trend of white artists artificially adopting and popularizing black culture. She has been noted to consistently speak in a “blaccent”, an oversimplified version of African-American dialect, and makes regular use of the word “issa”, a word created and used by the black community. In terms of appearance, some have criticized Grande’s intense tanning, which changes her skin tone to dark olive, as an attempt to appear “racially ambiguous” and earn diversity points.

                  On a professional level, Grande’s song “7 rings”, a blend of pop and hip hop influences that features a rap-based chorus, has received accusations of plagiarism from two black artists, Soulja Boy and Princess Nokia, who accused Grande of stealing their beats. 2 Chainz also accused Grande of imitating a pink trap house he set up in Atlanta in her music video for “7 rings” (The Atlantic).

                  While the accusations of plagiarism have yet to be substantiated, Grande certainly has adopted elements of hip hop, most of them originating from black artists, into her music style and filtered parts of black culture into her public persona.

                  What makes Grande’s case complicated is that she has made attempts to acknowledge the artists that influence her music, most of whom are African-American R&B singers (Buzzfeed
                  News). Though she certainly hasn’t offered extensive credit in “7 rings” to any sources the beats and styles are derived from, Grande has at least made some effort to afford recognition to the oftentimes marginalized voices and talent of black artists.

                  “Acknowledging who came up with the idea or whose culture is from is half of it,” Tewelde said. “I think that’s the difference between appreciating and appropriating.”

                  On the other hand, Grande has never acknowledged the origins of her dramatic shift in dialect. Comparing her speech in interviews prior to her pop music fame and her recent interviews, Grande appears to have become heavily reliant on black vernacular only recently.

                  While many instances of cultural appropriation are like Grande’s, unintentional and blurring the lines of what defines cultural appropriation, it seems clear that Grande could at least offer more explicit credit to black artists in her music and acknowledge the origins of–or even scuttle altogether–her vernacular. A more concerted effort by white artists to acknowledge original creators and cultural influences may not rectify systemic barriers for artists of color, but they could help them receive the same acclaim and profit as the white artists who popularize their creativity.

                  About the Writer
                  Photo of Shawna Muckle
                  Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

                  Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

                    Tracking apps potentially infringe on boundaries and privacy

                    Tracking+apps+potentially+infringe+on+boundaries+and+privacy

                     

                    Location apps such as Find My Friends, Snapchat maps, and family locator apps have become increasingly popular among smartphone users, often utilized by parents to keep track of their child’s location or by groups of friends. While location tracking is marketed as a safety precaution, many see location trackers as invasive and argue they can easily be exploited to control students’ lives by their parents and peers, creating a need for boundaries surrounding location apps’ usage.

                    The ability of smartphones to track their users’ location at all times has always carried concerns about privacy. Previously, most concerns were strictly legal; until a 2018 Supreme Court ruling, law enforcement was able to access location data from a smartphone user’s wireless carrier without a warrant. However, as location tracking becomes commercialized and accessible to the general populace, social concerns also arise about how and when voluntary location “sharing” between two parties is permissible.

                    For parents anxious about their child’s whereabouts, location sharing offers a convenient method of alleviating their concern and enforcing any rules about “off-limits” zones for their children.

                    On the other hand, for students who do have to share their location, they may feel limited in their freedom to travel, fearing punishment and judgment from their parents. Constant location sharing also negates any need for parents to develop a sense of trust in their child, which can create a barrier in students’ relationships with their parents.

                    “Whenever [my parents] wonder where I am, they check my location,” freshman Chris Jeong said. “I’m usually not doing anything bad, but the fact that they check my location rather than just asking where I am makes me feel like they don’t necessarily trust me.”

                    Despite location services’ potential for abuse, having a mutual understanding between parent and child about when using location services is acceptable—for instance, restricting their usage to times when the child isn’t responding to other methods of communication, such as a phone call or text—can help to alleviate any negative effects on parent-student relationships.

                    “I actually suggested that [my parents and I] share our location with each other because I wanted to know where they were… just for convenience when they used to pick me up and stuff,” junior Danny Murphy said. “90% of the time, they don’t check my location, and I know they trust me when I tell them where I’m going.”

                    Beyond creating difficult dynamics between parents and children, location apps also have the potential to strain relationships between students, as having a mutually shared location gives students an unprecedented ability to access their friends at all times.

                    “Some of my friends are creeped out when they realize that they share their location with me and they forgot that they had done that,” Murphy said. “But it’s really nice… [because] I know when my friends are home, so if I’m looking for people to hang out with, I can sadly scroll through Find My Friends and see who’s at home.”

                    Some location sharing services, particularly Snapchat maps, enable the user of the app to track all of their friends locations simultaneously, which may create additional social pressure and tension.

                    “If you see a bunch of people in the same place and you don’t know why they’re there, then you might think that there’s some party that you’re not invited to, whereas before [location sharing] you would have just not known about the party,” junior Dominic De Bettencourt said.

                    Though they often straddle the line between convenience and invasiveness, for many students, location sharing services are a natural progression in the increasing access that smartphones and other forms of social media offer into other people’s’ lives. Location sharing is voluntary, so the responsibility lies in students to determine under what situations and with who they are comfortable sharing their location, and to engage in conversations to address any discomfort they feel with location sharing.

                    About the Writer
                    Photo of Shawna Muckle
                    Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

                    Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

                      March for Life controversy exposes political tensions

                      March+for+Life+controversy+exposes+political+tensions

                      The MAGA hat is again the subject of controversy following a video circulated Jan. 20 showing an interaction between a group of Catholic high school students wearing MAGA hats at the March for Life and a Native American elder. The division caused by the video, which was ambiguous enough for both sides of the political spectrum to find someone to blame, is indicative of the tense, oftentimes deeply emotional cultural tensions surrounding the MAGA hat and, more broadly, surrounding Trump-era conservatism.

                      The original video showed a group of high school students wearing MAGA hats appearing to surround Nathan Phillips, a Native American elder beating his drum in close proximity to the students. One student, Nick Sandmann, drew particularly intense criticism for appearing to smirk at Phillips, which many interpreted as a gesture of entitlement.

                      Following the original clip, a more extended video was released showing Phillips approaching the group of students of his own volition. However, the initial outpouring of emotions and radical perceptions of the exchange—some accused the Catholic high school students of racism and white entitlement—had already sparked an intense debate over the symbolism of the MAGA hat.

                      The “Make America Great Again” hat, a simple red hat emblazoned with Trump’s iconic campaign slogan, became an object of mass popularity and controversy during Trump’s presidential campaign. For many Trump supporters, the hat is a symbol of war against the political establishment, a refusal to accept what Trump describes as the “globalist” regime of relaxed borders, international alliances, and open trade.
                      Inside Trump’s signature rejection of globalism, however, comes many contradictory or offensive policy stances and statements that obstruct America’s stride towards inclusion and equality, perhaps even denying core American values.

                      With Trump’s connection to the “Make America Great Again” slogan, does the signature red MAGA hat necessarily embrace all aspects of his vision for American politics? Or can we really define its symbolism in our current political culture at all?

                      Like any presidential campaign, Trump’s message was construed in a dozen different ways by different people, and Trump’s appeal does not lie solely in the extremes of his rhetoric towards immigrants or other marginalized groups.

                      For some, “Make America Great Again” coincides with deeply held, rational principles. Some support Trump because they believe him more likely to get the U.S. out of conflict zones, as he demonstrated with his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. Others support him from a deregulatory, fiscally conservative standpoint.

                      And however noticeable the “Make America Great Again” wing of the Republican Party may seem in the mainstream portrayal of conservatism, the Republican Party is by no means a monolith. Trump’s platform substitutes longtime Republican principles like free trade for protectionism, global intervention for isolationism and nationalism, and takes a much stronger stance against immigration than Republicans did during the Romney era. While Trump’s existence has molded the principles of many conservatives, other Republicans continue to espouse the traditional platform of the Republican establishment.

                      “I don’t think [Trump] is ultimately a conservative at all,” junior Cole Crystal said. “I think he is just a blob of real ambiguity that has no clue of what he’s gravitating towards unless it favors him… I think Trump is a symptom. I don’t think he’s the conservative way. I think people were so fed up they needed someone who could throw mud right back at the mudslingers in the first place.”

                      Examining all the competing individual interpretations of Trump’s platform among his supporters, as well as the competing verdicts on Trumpism in the Trump-era Republican Party, it’s important to remember that the MAGA hat can’t unquestioningly be tied to a racist or xenophobic ideology like other toxic symbols.

                      “It’s such a complex issue because a person may be trying to say something with a [MAGA] hat and the person seeing that hat is going to view it in the way they want to see it, and that gap of communication is just going to widen,” Mr. Flamoe said.

                      About the Writer
                      Photo of Shawna Muckle
                      Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

                      Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

                        A post-mortem on the 2018 midterm elections

                        A+post-mortem+on+the+2018+midterm+elections

                        The outcome of last month’s contentious midterm elections—with wins and losses for both parties—invites a broad spectrum of conclusions about what motivated voters and how the new balance of power will impact government.

                        Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives, a widely anticipated outcome due to President Trump’s consistently low approval ratings, which weakened vulnerable Republican candidates. While Democratic gains, 40 seats, closely aligned with historical precedent for the opposing party, the geographical centralization of Republican losses indicated a consistent trend in voter attitude towards Republicans (The New York Times). Unlike previous years, almost all lost seats belonged to Republicans in districts with affluent suburbs, once a Republican stronghold. In Orange County, California, one of the largest Republican-leaning suburbs, Republicans lost every single one of their congressional seats, despite previously holding four out of six of the county’s congressional districts (POLITICO).

                        The magnitude of Republican suburban losses reaffirms a common observation from pollsters and political analysts: conservative suburban voters have largely rejected Trump. Some theorize that presidential blunders surrounding race, immigration, and other sensitive social issues may be to blame, while others observe that Republicans may have alienated voters with certain policy priorities such as overturning the Affordable Care Act.

                        “This election was ruled by healthcare,” senior Kees Wybenga said. “We started to see Republican candidates in different positions of national government, even local governments, market a different view on healthcare than they had before…. Republican healthcare bills in both the House and the Senate really focused on combating Obamacare, especially for… pre-existing conditions.”

                        Republicans’ botched 2017 attempt to repeal Obamacare never explicitly targeted pre-existing conditions. Both the Senate and House versions of an ACA repeal bill explicitly forbade insurers from refusing service for pre-existing conditions, but the bill promoted by House Republicans did allow states to waive pre-existing condition protections if they could prove it would significantly reduce insurance premiums, enabling a potent Democratic line of attack that cast doubt upon Republicans’ support for people with pre-existing conditions (Wall Street Journal).

                        The muddled Republican messaging towards pre-existing conditions ultimately proved fatal to many congressional Republicans. According to exit polls, 41% of voters described healthcare as their greatest issue of concern (NBC News), and many of those voters likely cast their ballots for Democrats.

                        Gun control may also have significantly swayed voters towards Democrats. In the House, 15 Republicans with “A” ratings from the NRA were replaced by Democratic candidates with “F” ratings from the NRA (Wall Street Journal). Given that 66% of registered voters supported “stricter gun control” following the Parkland shooting (Quinnipiac), it is highly possible that a significant segment of those voters broke for Democrats, who prioritized reform and denounced NRA lobbying.

                        Republican officeholders in Oregon experienced major defeats as well. In the election for Washington County Commission chair, Republican Bob Terry lost to Democrat Kathryn Harrington, shifting the commission from Republican control. One of the most prominent Republicans in the state legislature, Representative Julie Parrish, also lost her West Linn seat after being vilified as the driving force behind Measure 101, which targeted funding for the Oregon Health Plan.

                        However, the 2018 midterms certainly weren’t a complete failure for Republicans. In the Senate, where almost all of the competitive races involved vulnerable red-state Democrats, rural voters broke heavily for Republican candidates and increased the Republican majority by a net gain of two seats. Democratic senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Bill Nelson of Florida all lost their seats to Republican challengers (Washington Post).

                        In states like North Dakota and Indiana, where manufacturing and farming feature prominently in the states’ economies, Trump’s “America First” rhetoric and aggressive tariff protections for American manufacturers resonated strongly with disaffected rural voters. Perhaps most significantly, the Kavanaugh showdown provided unexpected momentum for Republicans.

                        “Specifically to the Senate, I think [Democratic losses] are indicative of the fact that Democrats stalling the Kavanaugh confirmation seemed to have ignited Republican partisanship [due to] the fact that they feel… that Kavanaugh should have been confirmed right away,” junior Parthav Easwar said.

                        With the looming reality of a divided government in 2019, any successful policy pursuits will have to become bipartisan, a high standard in an era of intense partisan gridlock.
                        “The system was built in the spirit of compromise, [but] you can make some arguments that we’re at a more confrontory standpoint,” AP Comparative Government teacher Mr. Hahn said. “The question really becomes: how, if at all, can we return to that spirit of compromise, or is nothing going to get done for the next two years?”

                        Though most hot-button issues fall on partisan lines, a few reforms have been championed by both parties: paid family leave, lowering prescription drug prices, and criminal sentencing reform all leave opportunity for legislative compromise.

                        About the Writer
                        Photo of Shawna Muckle
                        Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

                        Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

                          Female politicians make strides in Congress

                          Female+politicians+make+strides+in+Congress

                          Gender politics have defined the 2018 midterm elections, prompting a surge in female political engagement for candidates and voters. For the House of Representatives alone, 436 women filed for candidacy and 239 women are currently competing in general elections—many of them leading in the polls—foreshadowing a significant upheaval of the current gender balance in the House. In comparison, in 2016, only 272 women filed for candidacy in the House, 167 competed in general elections, and 84 women were elected (Rutgers University).

                          The dramatic increase in women taking electoral risks has led many pundits to label 2018 the “Year of the Woman,” yet crucial questions remain about what injustices encouraged women to run and what women must do to win.

                          With a recurring stream of headlines bringing allegations of blatant sexual assault and harassment against male politicians to light, it appears many women have become frustrated with the workplace environment perpetuated by an overwhelmingly male Congress.

                          The #MeToo movement has revealed just how deeply sexual misconduct permeates the highest levels of government. From progressive Democrats like Senator Al Franken of Minnesota to stalwart Republicans like Representative Blake Farenthold of Texas, male politicians across the political spectrum have been accused of sexual harassment and publicly shamed out of Congress. For many Americans, the need for more women in Congress has never been more apparent.

                          Preceding 2017’s series of congressional sexual misconduct scandals, President Trump’s adverse conduct towards women, including recorded evidence of blatantly misogynist behavior in a leaked Access Hollywood tape, sparked a wave of female activism opposing his election. The day after Trump’s inauguration, 4.2 million people in cities across the country participated in the first Women’s March (Vox), a demonstration intended to rebuke Trump’s behavior towards women and embrace social and legal equality for women.

                          Beyond a broadening social desire to shatter the glass ceiling and dismantle gender barriers in government, controversial abortion policy issues have also inspired more women to run. In 2017 alone, states passed 63 laws curtailing reproductive health rights (Guttmacher Institute). Many female candidates have fueled their campaigns with promises to pro-choice female voters to weigh their interests in reproductive health more than male politicians, particularly Republicans.

                          Though the electoral climate may favor women more than past election cycles, many female candidates still must carefully tailor their public image in order to appeal to voters. Women oftentimes have to overcome pervasive gender stereotypes that paint them as emotional and temperamental, limiting their rhetoric more than their male counterparts.

                          “Female politicians often have to hide their passion in order to be more ‘masculine’ because that’s what voters are used to,” junior Alyssa Knudsen said. “They’re used to someone who is very logical and straightforward and less emotional. I think it’s important that women keep their emotions in check during debates so that people won’t think the wrong things based on unfair stereotypes.”

                          Not only are more women running for government positions, but women also appear more driven to vote in upcoming elections than ever before, with an increasing majority voting Democratic.
                          Polls done by NPR show that women have recently swung more Democratic while men stay nearly split or leaning slightly Republican. In a poll conducted by POLITICO, among Democratic female voters, 71% said they were “very motivated” to go out and vote, making them the most motivated demographic in this year’s elections. For Republican women, 69% said they were “very motivated” to vote, making them the second most motivated demographic (POLITICO).

                          Due to the increasing amount of Democratic female voters, 2018’s partisan gender gap could surpass even 2016’s drastic gender gap of 22 points. According to NPR polls of likely 2018 voters, women favor Democrats by an overwhelming 21 points and men favor Republicans by 3 points, making the partisan gender divide a total of 24 points.

                          Many of the factors that emboldened more women to run for office can also explain the increased motivation among female voters.

                          “The #MeToo movement plays a part here,” Peace and Justice teacher Ms. Steiert said. “I think that it spurred women to speak up for themselves, to defend themselves.”

                          Along with female empowerment movements and the #MeToo movement that can attribute to the increase in female voters, many believe gender controversies plaguing the Trump presidency play a role in more women voting. Most recently, Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court in spite of sexual assault claims against him left many women outraged towards the outcome, promising to make the 2018 midterms a referendum on how sexual assault allegations affect men in power.

                          As for the partisan gender divide, broad female opposition to anti-abortion laws and legal threats to reproductive rights could have a significant part in why women are leaning away from putting Republicans in office.

                          “The [Republican] hope to overturn Roe v. Wade has gotten [many women] to vote in opposition,” Ms. Steiert said.

                          About the Writer
                          Photo of Shawna Muckle
                          Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

                          Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

                            Oregon gubernatorial race ends in victory for Brown

                            Oregon gubernatorial race ends in victory for Brown

                            After months of competitive campaigning between incumbent Gov. Kate Brown and her Republican challenger Knute Buehler, Oregon’s governor race concluded Nov. 6 with a victory for Brown.

                            While Oregon typically elects Democrats for statewide office by large margins, Buehler, a state legislator from Bend ran unexpectedly competitively. However, Buehler never gained enough momentum to surpass Brown in polling, maintaining an average of about 6 percentage points behind Brown. In the end, Buehler lost by about the same margin on election night, pulling 44% of the vote to Brown’s 50%.

                            Much of Brown’s success is due to Multnomah County, Oregon’s largest county that encompasses the city of Portland and parts of its metropolitan area, where 74.2% of voters cast their ballots for Brown over Buehler. In Washington County, the margin between the two candidates was slimmer, though still in favor of Brown, with 55.4% of the electorate voting for Brown and 39.9% voting for Buehler (The New York Times).

                            Buehler’s unlikely competitiveness in the gubernatorial election stemmed from a uniquely moderate platform and campaign style, one that focused on where Brown failed as governor rather than political divisions. Buehler strenuously emphasized his pro-choice credentials in campaign advertising and debates, basing his platform on reforming Oregon’s education system, granting more housing to the homeless, and fixing Oregon’s notoriously corrupt foster care system.

                            Buehler also avoided channeling the Republican Party’s bombastic rhetoric and distanced himself from President Trump. When asked who he voted for in 2016, Buehler revealed he had written in moderate Ohio governor John Kasich rather than vote for Trump. Even going so far as to call for Kavanaugh to step down, Buehler sought to sway centrist and even left-leaning voters in his favor by rising above partisan rancor.

                            Brown’s counterattack against Buehler, one that alleged his more liberal campaign promises were deceptive and couldn’t be trusted, appeared to sway more voters on Election Night. The race was called for Brown shortly after polls closed. Brown will now serve her second and first full term in office until 2022.

                            About the Writer
                            Photo of Shawna Muckle
                            Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

                            Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

                              Clerical abuse scandal prompts introspection within Catholic community

                              Clerical abuse scandal prompts introspection within Catholic community

                              A recent grand jury report detailing over 1,000 documented cases of sexual abuse by Pennsylvania Catholic priests has prompted both introspection and a push for transparency at all levels of the Catholic hierarchy, including Jesuit’s own spiritual community.

                              The findings of the grand jury follow a summer rife with controversies for the Catholic Church, namely the May resignation of Theodore E. McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., following allegations of sexual misconduct. Pennsylvania’s grand jury report sheds light on a decades-long systemic moral crisis among hundreds of high-ranking Catholic officials, with revelations focused on both the priests committing sexual abuse and the powerful church officials who protected the perpetrators.

                              Many critics have pointed to the hierarchical organization and the centralization of power as a major enabler of clerical sexual abuse. Bishops, archbishops, and cardinals across the United States, as well as the rest of the world, have little oversight other than the Pope, leaving many major decisions concerning the handling of sexual abuse allegations in the case of a single authority figure with no system of checks and balances.

                              “The fact that bishops and archbishops and cardinals have essentially unlimited power… means that some of them are going to be really good and effective, and some are going to not be,” Principal Paul Hogan said. “I don’t think it’s reasonable for the Pope to be in a position where he’s supposed to oversee thousands of people all over the world and hold accountable that enormous kind of power.”

                              According to the grand jury report, instances of rape by priests were frequently disclosed by Catholic superiors as merely “inappropriate contact”, and rather than being removed from the church, accused priests were often reassigned, placed on “sick leave”, or investigated by colleagues unfamiliar with sexual abuse (New York Times). The corruption inherent in the sexual abuse scandal has raised questions in all echelons of the Catholic community on how to proceed and improve from such a devastating verdict on the Catholic Church’s systemic level of accountability—and morality.

                              “It makes it difficult to be Catholic,” Mr. Hogan said. “For many people, it is a crisis of faith within our church leadership and within the structure of the church itself. We’re really trying to wrestle with this and how to lead students and parents through these conversations.”

                              As an involved part of the Catholic community, Jesuit has been impacted as much as any Catholic institution by the news from Pennsylvania. Students and parents must grapple with surfacing questions about how to be responsible, informed citizens while maintaining a relationship with the Church, as well as how to navigate student relationships with priests and clergy while maintaining transparency.

                              The difficult questions posed by the allegations, however, do offer some empowerment for the Catholic community at large. In moments of institutional disarray, many members of the Catholic Church, from students to local officials to major Catholic authorities, have unique potential to amplify their voices and insist on reform.

                              “If we can say, ‘God is with me, and this is terrible, this reality of abuse is terrible, but God is with me, and with God I’m going to hold people accountable and take responsibility within the Church as a person who can make a real difference… then not only can we remedy this situation, but realize the Church is all of us,” Jesuit priest Fr. Calderón said.

                              The Pope and top U.S. bishops have also begun the first steps to addressing sexual abuse in the Church, meeting Sept. 13 to discuss the moral and institutional shortcomings that engendered such a large-scale crisis (Washington Post). Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a top West Virginia bishop, Michael Branfield, Sept. 13 following accusations of sexual abuse, ordering the archbishop of Baltimore to launch a further investigation into Branfield’s conduct. Whether the various bishops and high-ranking church officials accused of covering up sexual abuse will be subject to further church-wide investigation or removal, however, remains undecided.

                              About the Writer
                              Photo of Shawna Muckle
                              Shawna Muckle, Alumni 2017-2020

                              Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

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