Monday, December 19, 2011


The Warren County Newswire will be on hiatus during the Monmouth College winter break. We will resume publication in February. Thank you for your interest and support in 2011.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


By Robert Cook

After starting out in the food industry and serving over two million satisfied customers at Filling Station Three in Monmouth, Chuck Fry decided to move into a less time consuming business.

He chose handmade furniture and now supplies the surrounding counties with traditional, hardwood furniture, much of it traditional Amish hardwood. In the same building as his once famous restaurant, Fry has worked with Monmouth
College for the last eight years. Seven of the buildings in Monmouth College are furnished with handmade, Amish craftsmanship, including Founders Village, North Hall, Peterson Hall, Cleland Hall, Winbigler, the fraternity complex, and the new Greek house on Broadway. Iowa Weslyan College is now following in Monmouth's footsteps and filling its halls with Mr. Fry's products.

Traditional Amish Hardwoods is an international distributor of its unique products. "We do most of our business outside of Monmouth", Fry said, and explained how necessary it was to expand his business beyond the local community. Mail order is Fry's most profitable enterprise.

Small, homebound shops in Pennsylvania are Fry's largest producer of handmade furniture. Some are Amish, while others are merely dedicated to the craftsmanship. Fry is always honest about what furniture is of Amish make and what is not. The pieces can be custom or premade

to fit the customer's needs. Oak, quarter-sawed oak, cherry, and maple are the most common hardwoods used. When furniture is in need of repair, Fry often contracts the work to the original builders.

Questioning the product is every buyer's right, but Fry has no worries about his products. "It's solid, quality wood" he said, "our reputation speaks for itself." Fry gladly offers anybody to lift a chair and feel the solid construction of the furniture, some of which is even signed by the
artist. Fry warns against cheap, wood veneer that is glued on top of particle board to make a piece of furniture that merely looks like hardwood.

Fry does not bother with sales and coupons. He said he believes his product is worth the same price all year round and he does not need marketing ploys to sell it. So far, his honest, simple business has served him well.

Monday, November 14, 2011


By Kevin Lindsay

When you used to walk into a bar or grill, you would see what was perceived as normal; multiple televisions showing sports highlights, people feeding dollar bills into the gambling machines and some people playing the occasional pinball machine. But ever since 1989, Golden Tee Golf, a coin-operated videogame, has been changing the infrastructure of not only bars and restaurants but the changing the face of arcade industry as well. Golden Tee Golf is your typical stand-up arcade game (think a little bigger than a PacMan machine). The player stands in front of the cabinet and spins a trackball which is basically a cue ball . Depending on the way you hit the trackball, the golf ball responds in different ways such as the distance the ball goes, the height and the accuracy (how far left and right).

According to the website of Incredible Technologies, the makers of this revolutionary video game, Golden Tee Golf ‘is the most successful coin-operated amusement game in history. With more than one billion games played to date, Golden Tee has generated over $3 billion in revenue for thousands of small business owners around the globe and revolutionized the coin-operated amusement industry.’ To explain just how big Golden Tee Golf really is¸ Marketing Director of Incredible Technologies, Gary Colabuono said the following, “Since 1996 we've sold 50,000 cabinets but over a quarter million game updates.”

Over the past 23 years, Golden Tee has done what no arcade game has ever done and that’s evolved from a small time arcade game to a multimillion dollar a year success. Pac-Man was and still is a huge success but it never has obtained the status and the money that Golden Tee Golf has. One of the biggest reasons for all of the success was the beginning of the International Tournament System (ITS) in 1995. The creation of this tournament system linked every single Golden Tee across the world through a simple telephone line. This brought together monthly tournaments where players would spend more money playing more games in the monthly tournament in order to increase their ranking. With the release of Golden Tee Fore! in 2000, the ITS grew even bigger with the monthly tournaments being divided by brackets. Gold was the cream of the crop, silver was in the middle and bronze was for those players just starting off. Fast forward to 2005 and the release of Golden Tee LIVE changed everything. Players now had their own players account. Player cards have been around since 2000, but now a player could check in (and pay for their game) with a credit card, their Golden Tee Player card or gift cards. Gone were the monthly tournaments, because now, every game played was its own tournament. Every time a player started a game for prizes, they would be placed in a fifty man tournament. First place through 20th would win some sort of money. First place would win $10 and 11 through 20 would win a dollar back. 21st through 50th also wins a virtual golf ball.

With the release of Golden Tee LIVE 2012 in September 2011, Incredible Technologies now has a world ranking system and anybody who has played at least one game gets ranked. According to Colabuono, “we have had over 63,000 players play at least one game of 2012 in the last month and a half. There are also almost 17,000 people who have actively played each of the five 2012 courses as well.” Even though there are over 60,000 Golden Tee players, only a decent amount can say that they have made a living from the game. Brian Bernhardt of Alexis, Illinois has been playing Golden Tee for over 10 years. “I started playing Golden Tee while working at a bowling alley in Iowa City, Iowa. The more that I kept playing the game, the better I got. 10 games turned to 20 games and it just grew from there.” When Bernhardt was asked about his earnings over the years, his answer was astonishing, “I would have to say that I have made between 80 and 100 thousand from Golden Tee. I work for an operator (of arcade games, including Golden Tee) that’s based in Iowa and the way I found that job was through playing Golden Tee. If I didn’t start playing Golden Tee 11 years ago, I don’t know what I would be doing with my life now.”

For a lot of players like Bernhardt, the main reason they keep playing the game is for the money, but that’s not the only reason. The competitiveness keeps the guys glued to these games as well. Andrew Haas from Ohio explains it best, “I'd be lying if I said I'd play as much as I do now if there was no monetary incentive, but I really do enjoy the competition aspect of the game, especially the live tournaments. “Andrew Haas is a name that is instantly recognizable in the Golden Tee community. Haas is constantly at the top of the leaderboards. He credits his love for the game of golf and the live Golden Tee tournaments as one of his reasons for getting so attached to the game. “I always have enjoyed golf, so that's what initially drew me to the game, but going to my first live tourney and seeing how good those guys really were made we want to get better. Combine that with seeing how much money you could make on the monthly tournaments (and now daily tournaments), and I was hooked.”
Golden Tee Golf is one of the biggest entertainment entities in the video game industry.

The game has garnered mainstream media attention year after year, even having the Golden Tee World Championships taped for the Golf Channel a few years ago. Some of the biggest names in sports also play Golden Tee, including Chicago Bears player Brian Urlacher. From 1995 until 2001, professional golfer Peter Jacobsen’s name was included in the games title and to this day he still supports the game and appears as an on screen commentator for Golden Tee LIVE. With media playing such a pivotal role in everyone’s life, Golden Tee can only continue to grow from here. As long as there is money to be made playing the game as well as the occasional sand trap or water hazard to throw off player’s scores, Golden Tee will continue to be a coin-op success.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Good Year For Crops

By Kelsy Lewis

Farmers don’t have much to complain about this year. Gene Pool of Fulton County has been in the farming business for 38 years and explained that there were very few problems this year. Matt Frakes, a farmer of Warren County, also commented on the yield and price of locally farmed crops.

Pool farms beans and corn. Compared to last year, yield is up. Before harvesting this year Gene expected that the crops would be about the same as last year because it was mainly dry, but we also had a pretty wet spring. He referred to the fields as a “garden spot” for growing in these weather conditions. Corn yield is up about 30-45 bushels, from 135-150 bushels last year to 165-195 bushels this season. Beans were about the same as last year producing 55-70 bushels. This year corn is going for $6.25-$6.40/bushel and beans are going for about $12.00-$12.50/bushel for a Fulton County farmer.

Matt Frakes of Warren County farms corn, beans, oats, and alfalfa hay. Crop yield in Warren County tends to be a little higher than in Fulton County, getting about 231 bushels/acre, which is going for $6.40-$7.10/bushel. Beans are yielding 71 bushels/acre and selling at $12.97/bushel.

The two farmers agree that input costs tend to be the highest. The three main elements that go into crops are seed, fertilizer, equipment, and gas. Since farmers can trade in their equipment, it keeps cost lower. “Farmers incomes are effected considerably, but over the years losses and gains seem to average out. The farmer has the power to control what goes on.” According to Gene, “when the farmer has no money, the consumer has no money.”

Pool found that beans were a little too dry and corn had nearly perfect moisture levels. This year the expense of a dryer was cut out, which impacted input expenses substantially. The dryer is used to dry the corn to get the moisture level at 15% to sell and about 14% to store. This year, monitors were reading that corn was picked at about 22%-23% moisture. In order to store beans, they need to be at about 13%, but this year when cut, they were at about 9%. The difference in the moisture levels in corn and beans is that a dryer can only be used on corn. Beans have to dry from the air for the moisture level to drop.

Most of the crops sell for exports. Gene says most farmers around Fulton County go to Havana, IL where they sell to river terminal barges that take the corn and beans along the Illinois River and then is transported through St. Louis, eventually connecting to the Gulf. Another option is to sell to ethanol plants in Pekin and Peoria Illinois.

Friday, October 28, 2011


By: Braunwyn Feil

The stands explode with cheering students sporting black t-shirts that read “Monmouth College Blackout.” While the fans continue cheering for their winning football team, they also continue to show their support for an important cause. As students walk by, their backs read, “Awareness, Understanding, and Respect.” This is the motto chosen to represent the cause, Easter Seals Disability Services. Hundreds of students attend the Blackout home game for football each year, and participate by buying a shirt for $10.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) gets the student body involved by selling the shirts as a way to raise money for Easter Seals. According to SAAC’s sponsor, Coach Bittner, 489 shirts were sold on campus this year. While students were eager to buy a shirt, many were unsure of what Easter Seals has to offer our community. According to the official Easter Seals website, “Easter Seals provides exceptional services, education, outreach, and advocacy so that people living with autism and other disabilities can live, learn, work, and play in our communities.” Over the past 90 years, 550 sites have been created throughout the United States, with services that include medical rehabilitation, children’s services, along with adult and senior services.

The Blackout originated in the fall of 2008 at Elmwood/Brimfield High School, with the idea that money should be raised for Easter Seals. The man behind the success is Todd Hollis, a coach for the Elmwood/Brimfield football team, that experienced Easter Seals through his daughter, who was receiving services at the time. Hollis explains, “Easter Seals represents a haven for families of children with disabilities… The kids are treated like rock stars when they go to Easter Seals.” The idea of the Blackout was born when Hollis took his football team on a tour of the facility where they became so moved by the experience that the players asked to raise more money. Hollis says, “That inspired me to grow our efforts the next year and the Blackout was the result of our brainstorming.” The Blackout consisted of selling t-shirts to all the high school students and the community, and hosting a Blackout football game. The fundraiser became an annual event that spread to surrounding schools, including Monmouth College. Participating in the Blackout is a great way to support a team and raise money for Easter Seals. Hollis says, “Over the four year history of the Blackout, we have had 30+ schools participate… with nearly 20,000 shirts in central Illinois.” The Blackout has been very successful and continues to grow each year, reaching more and more students who can help raise money for Easter Seals. Jess Bybee, a former Elmwood student, who now attends Monmouth, states, “It’s amazing to see something that started at my small high school reach the college level.

Buying a shirt was a small way to help the families of Easter Seals and support MC.” By buying a t-shirt, the students of Monmouth College are not only changing the lives of Easter Seals’ patients but also impacting their own lives. Hollis reminds us, “The message of the Blackout that they carry with them- the message of acceptance, respect, and understanding, can change their workplace, how they raise their children, and the environment that they live in.”

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Students Say Not So Fast

By Kevin Lindsay
For almost a year now the buzz among students at Monmouth College has been the proposal of a new academic calendar. Rumors started swirling last fall that the faculty senator was creating a committee to oversee this task. All of the tension between students and the faculty, and even between faculty members themselves grew to a T this month in a heated debate that spanned nearly three hours.

The faculty gathered to vote on a proposed calendar change to a 4-4 system. The 4-4 system would limit the classes that students had to take per semester to only 4 at a time with the possibility of 5, depending on the students major. The proposal failed with 48 faculty voting no and 47 faculty voting yes. When asked if he was disappointed about the failed vote, English Professor Mark Willhardt said “In one sense I am [disappointed with the vote] because, in my opinion, the changes proposed were actually minimal.” He further stated that “to eliminate the Human Societies rubric doesn’t mean those courses will cease being offered; to reduce the arts and sciences requirements doesn’t mean that the College fails to endorse the Arts, or the Sciences.”

When the Courier published an article covering the failed vote, student’s responded. In the middle of the heated discussion that some would call a faculty meeting, Political Science professor and faculty-senate member Farhat Haq believed that the faculty needed to stop postponing a calendar change. “I have been here for over 24 years and this is the most trustworthy administration I have seen thus far. It’s time to move forward and take the risk.” Many students who heard Haq’s words agreed. Junior Business major Steven Seers said “I agree with Farhat. We need to move on and take risks. We all took risks by coming to college and sometimes calculated risk equals what we need to make things for the better.” Senior Business major Joshua Williams shared some of the same views as Prof. Willhardt saying, “I think it was silly for the faculty to vote 4-4 down. From what most of the students know, it seems like it would lighten the workload for them a lot. Many people think that the students would party more instead of studying more, but others think with the school time managing better, that the students could and would probably do the same.”

Not everyone thinks that 4-4 would be easier. Junior Communications major Taylor Nania said “I understand what they're trying to accomplish with the 4-4 calendar, but I don't particularly agree with it because there are students on campus with multiple majors and multiple minors. Having the 4-4 plan doesn't allow students to take the amount of classes they want to achieve those majors and minors, therefore not letting them get the education they want.” Other students were not aware of the change at all, including incoming freshman and transfer students. David Hazlett, a sophomore transfer student told the newswire “I had no idea that there was even a proposed change until I read the Courier. You would think that the school would at least mention something to all of us considering the change will affect the future students the most.”

Junior Biochemistry and Chemistry major Jake Nysather had a lot to say about the proposed 4-4 change as well. “I believe the 4-4 system is a terrible idea for any students who are planning on going pre-professional or are planning on going into education. This [new system] will not prepare students as well as the system does right now. “ Nysather continued on with his praise for the proposal being voted down, “the new system would force students to stay an extra semester or year, which will drive students away and make the enrollment plummet. No one and their parents want to spend more money than they have to.” Whether the students agree or disagree with the proposed 4-4 scheduling plan, we won’t know anything about the next move until the next faculty-senate meeting on October 4th.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


By Ryan Bronaugh

“I’m here today to exercise my own 1st amendment rights to address the demonization of the Tea Party movement,” Associate Professor of Economics, Richard Johnston said as he opened the public speech he gave to a crowd of around 350 last Thursday at the 2nd Annual Tea Party Rally at the Lake Storey Lions shelter in Galesburg.

Professor Johnston took the stage following the Galesburg Area Tea Party President, Deb Marty’s welcome brief, which included a plea to respect the right to free speech by the evening’s speakers, the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem, opening prayer by Pastor Bob Malone, and Master of Ceremony speech by Knox County retired Judge Harry Bulkeley.

Chuckles and quiet applause could be heard as he warmed up the crowd saying, “If I sound like I am backing down at all, at the end of the speech give me an F. I have no intention of giving in to the political correctness that is like a metastasizing cancer throughout our society,” adding, “I will not remain silent because it might—quote, unquote—offend someone.”

The quiet applause turned to cheers when Johnston announced, “I am offended by the bankrupting ideology of out-of-control officials who demonstrate by their deeds that they have every intention of continuing to trample on our freedoms.”

Johnston’s first subject in addressing the demonization of the Tea Party movement he represented on Thursday, was the issue of racism. Many Tea Party members have grumbled over how, in their opinion, the Tea Party’s message is often presented as racist by news, and other media outlets. Johnston started by borrowing two quotes. The first came from the British American financial journalist, and one time editor for Forbes Magazine, Peter Brimelow, saying, “The modern definition of racist, is someone who is winning an argument with a liberal.” Johnston then lifted a t-shirt for the crowd to see and said, “the shirt reads as follows, ‘hate speech—any written or verbal communication that disagrees with the liberal-back-slash-socialist agenda or the policies of the Obama administration.’” Both quotes earned widespread applause from his audience.

Following quotes borrowed from Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, Johnston said, “look this up on the internet, as a candidate for President, Senator Obama said the high deficits under President Bush were unpatriotic. I would have used the word immoral to describe those deficits, but who am I to quibble with the choice of words of a man whose greatest attribute is his ability to make speeches.

“The Tea Partiests are accused of being terrorist. I’m sorry to say this, but we are guilty as charged,” said Johnston. “Why?” he asked rhetorically. “I have no doubt the thought of not spending money you do not have, of not dictating we must buy health insurance, and of having a real choice as to the schools we send our children to, terrorizes those who want to keep the government boot on the neck of those who want freedom,” Johnston said.

“We don’t hate teachers,” Johnston said, “we just recognize, as was pointed out by someone else, socialism doesn’t work anywhere else, why would we expect it to work in education?”

Addressing the motivation behind the Tea Party’s stance on abolishing the minimum wage, Johnston said, “the true minimum wage is zero. That’s exactly the amount the unemployed person receives when no potential employer values their work at $8.25 an hour, or whatever other arbitrary value is conjured up by economic illiterates.” He then quoted Milton Freeman speaking on the minimum wage law calling it, “the most anti-negro law on the books of this land,” Johnston then said, “he’s right.”

The race issue was reintroduced into the speech later when Professor Johnston said, “I’m tired of being called—quote, unquote—racist by members of a political party who allow people such as—quote, unquote—Reverend Jessey Jackson, and—quote, unquote—Reverend Al Sharpton, to be in Presidential debates. You know Reverend Jesse Jackson, when he’s not busy making babies out of wed-lock he’s saying very Reverend-like-things about President Obama such as, and I quote, ‘I wanna cut his nuts off.’” Laughter could be heard from several sections of the crowd.

Tying the issue of poverty with one of single parent homes Johnston said, “of course I am required to say that some women do a heroic job of successfully raising a child by themselves—yada yada,” after pointing to unspecified statistics Johnston said, “you want the best predictor of a child being poor, it’s being raised by a single parents.”

The Galesburg Area Tea Party announces their scheduled meetings, times and locations in Galesburg’s The Registered Mail.

Monday, September 12, 2011


By Meg Grzenia

It’s mealtime and gallo pinto is being served in that corner, pot stickers are across the terrace, and the Irish lamb stew is right across from the beef empanadas. Of course, this is no ordinary luncheon. These and other delicious, ethnic foods were served last Saturday at Monmouth College’s 17th Annual Cultural Festival. The Brazilian-themed event was sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Life and Public Affairs Committee and included displays from the college’s international students and SOFIA (Summer Opportunities for Intellectual Activity) project members, as well as performances from a Brazilian dance company.

The SOFIA students began the festival with a bang as they sported towering headdresses and flashed samba moves choreographed with the help of Professor Diana Ruggiero, Associate Professor of Modern Foreign Languages. One of the projects assigned to the SOFIA students was to handcraft the headdresses which are part of the traditional Brazilian wear when samba dancing. Senior Ashley Lutz was excited about the project. “We practiced the dance about a million times and we’re really happy that we could share it with people today,” said Lutz.

Edilson Lima, a professional Brazilian dancer who also contributed to the creation of the SOFIA choreography, followed the students’ performance in a dazzling display of his own. Lima, who specializes in various indigenous-based dances, has been an established dance teacher in Chicago for 12 years. After his performances, the audience, persuaded by Lima’s incredible energy, was led in dances originating in Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon. Ten countries, including Brazil, were represented at the festival: Canada, Costa Rica, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Sweden and the Netherlands.

A great passion and wealth of information was shared by the intercultural students concerning their native countries, but they didn’t fail to mention how much they liked their new campus life, too. “My favorite class would have to be Introduction to Economics,” said senior Katie Murphy who hails from County Antrim, Ireland. “My professor definitely keeps the class entertaining.”
Monmouth College’s Director of Intercultural Life, Ruby Pentsil-Bukari, said that the turnout was noticeable compared to years past. “Many more students were engaged this year than in years before. Overall, [there was] great food and great participation from students, faculty, and community members. Thanks to Professor Ruggiero for her dance classes, the physical plant for setting up the equipment, and to God for great weather!”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

College Curriculum Debate Continues

By Meg Grzenia

Change may be the only certain thing in life, but Monmouth College’s latest faculty meeting proved that some change is dead without a fight. Nearly 100 faculty members met at the Stockdale Center Tuesday night to discuss and vote on the proposed calendar change for the college. The vote to pass the proposal was extremely close, with 47 faculty members in favor of the calendar change and 48 against it. According to The Courier, Monmouth College’s student-run newspaper, the proposal would have altered several aspects of the current curriculum beginning next year.

The introduction of a 4-4 schedule would see that students took only four courses each semester and that professors would teach only three courses. The proposal also demanded that the two science course requirements be lowered to one and the same would go for the two art course requirements. The human societies (i.e. history, religion, and sociology) requirement would be dropped altogether. What followed President Mauri Ditzler’s welcome address was a 2-hour dynamic dispute between opposing stances on the proposal. Farhart Haq, professor of political science and a member of the faculty senate, said that she believes substantial time was spent developing the motion over the summer. “We can reject the work that the summer group has done and the work that we have been talking about for a year and a half, or we can say we trust our fellow colleagues and administration,” said Haq. “I have been here for over 24 years and this is the most trustworthy administration I have seen thus far. It’s time to move forward and take the risk.”

Faculty members like Haq had hoped for the vote to pass, fervently considering the 4-4 schedule as a way to delve deeper into course material and enrich students’ learning experience. English professor Mark Willhardt was also among the proposal supporters and expressed that he valued the students’ right to choose.

Those who had misgivings about the proposal were anxious to speak as well. Kenneth McMillan, professor of economics, stated that his opposition began early on and wondered why the 4-4 proposal was the only solution offered if the faculty senate “truly wanted to improve the academic program.” He also voiced concerns for transfer and double-majoring students. “They’re going to have a harder and harder time meeting their degree requirements [if the proposal passes],” McMillan said.

An unexpected turn came at the beginning of the meeting when history professor Simon Cordery moved to postpone the vote until February 2012. “I feel that this should be revisited in a thorough fashion; we need to take a step back and say ‘is this really the structure that we want?’” Cordery said.

Despite the outcome of the vote, there is still hope for the 4-4 plan, or, at least a calendar change. Under President Ditzler’s request, the faculty senate remained after the meeting to discuss a modified proposal which will be announced to the entire faculty before surfacing at the next faculty meeting.

Monday, August 29, 2011


By Ryan Bronaugh

Two brave and dedicated Warren County residents have been whispering to bees. Not literally, perhaps, but nonetheless they have had their share of close and personal time with nature’s hardest worker. From bee rescues—taking bees from areas where they are not welcomed guests to a more formidable home, like the campus garden—to honey extraction, both had plenty of practice working with the, often misunderstood, pollinators.

Last weekend two Monmouth College professors, Craig Vivian and Marlo Belschner visited the hives in the campus garden to extract a little honey, as well as to check on how each of the five current hives were doing. Vivian pointed out that by this time next year, he would like to see ten additional hives in the same location. The Courier was on site to witness the process, and to ask many of the thousands of questions that come to mind when one watches someone intentionally interact with an insect that has the capability to cause painful stings, and even death if one is allergic to bee venom (Vivian pointed out that bees will often kill mice, and other intruders, by stinging them and then cooking them in a small bee-made furnace they produce by forming a swarm-ball around the body).

“If you’re going to keep bees, you need to have a smoker and a hive tool,” Vivian said. The hive tool looked very similar to a miniature pry bar, and was used in a similar manner as well. The bees produce a glue-like substance called propolis, which sticks the boards of the wooden hive together, as well as keeps the hive water and wind proof. The hive tool allows someone to lift the boards apart, cracking the propolis seal, and to lift the frames (panels the bees build the combs on, which can be removed in order to extract the honey without harming the bees or hives permanently) as well. The propolis also serves to keep all spaces which allow entrance to the hive to be no more than 3/16 of an inch; a space which bees can pass through but very few other creatures can. The bees collect tree sap and other products of nature inside their body in order to produce the propolis through their mouths.

The smoke is simply, smoke. Vivian used newspaper to stuff the smoker and get a small flame going, then, he later used dried leaves he collected off the ground to produce the smoke needed to calm the bees. The smoke makes the bees think there is fire, and in order to prepare for such a natural disaster they hunker down deep within the hive and feed on honey. Their bellies full, they then become slightly more lethargic and docile. Ready for handling.

As Vivian and Belschner began to dismantle the hive in a practiced and intentional manner, Vivian took the time to explain each process, why they did it, and what they were doing. Displaying a drone bee, he picked up one of the larger bees from the colony and rubbed it along his face to demonstrate the fact that drones have no stinger.

As the process carried along, it became easier and easier to relax around thousands of swarming, and crawling bees—protective equipment included a hat, and not much else. Two students, residents of the Garden House, wore nothing more than khaki shorts, not even shoes. Each hive presented new opportunities for Vivian to point out different characteristics of the bees and their hives. Some hives were much better prepared for the coming cold months, with masses of brood (the nurseries of the hives) surrounded by masses of honey.

Craig Vivian acknowledged that he does not like to handle the bees any more than absolutely necessary. Not because of any discomfort—Belschner said that she has seen him take as many as fourteen stings to the back of the neck without paying much attention to the attacks at all—but because he believes that the less they are messed with, the more docile they become; making them much easier to handle. The pair may take one more look inside the hives before the bitterest of winter hits, but they will not be extracting anymore honey. The campus hives are beneficial as teaching tools, as well as to give home to one of nature’s most stunning creatures.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


By Joe Testolin
In a recent survey of 1,043 college students at the University of New Hampshire, almost half said they feel guilty about texting during class when it's not allowed. Even so, texting is quite common: 65 percent said they send at least one text message during a typical class.

After reading this stunning survey Monmouth College's own journalism class decide to conduct a survey of their own to get professor's opinions on texting in their classrooms.

This survey required students to contact professors by phone using numbers selected at random. The survey offered 43 professors five possible solutions to state what their feelings were towards texting in their classrooms. Of those surveyed, 58 percent of professors said that texting wasn't a problem.

Of that 58 percent, a third of professors said they would not impose any restrictions on students texting in class. A quarter said that texting was not a problem in their class. While texting is not a problem for the majority of professors, 42 percent still saw it as an issue.

Of those that indicated that texting was a problem, 19 percent said they would permit students to leave electronic devices turned on, but require them to leave the classroom if they are seen texting, 16 percent would require students to turn off electronic devices when they enter a classroom, and 7 percent would permit students to leave electronic devices turned on but reduce a portion of their grade if they are found texting.

In another recent survey from the American Life Project found that 64% of teens with cell phones have texted in class; 25% have made or received a call during class time.

After being informed of the two surveys about the students texting in class, Monmouth College Professor Dr. Lee MaGaan found the results confusing of Monmouth's very own survey.

“If I was asked two years ago this question, I would say that texting wasn't a problem in the classroom.” said MaGaan. “But I feel that is a growing problem and I found it difficult to understand how most of the professors at the college didn't feel that there was a problem. Having a cell phone in the classroom causes problems when the students should be participating and listening in class discussions but are instead texting. This upsets the environment of the whole class and hurts the students. Those students who are eager to participate in discussions and the teachers who are teaching are being distracted by watching students’ send text messages and surfing the web on their phones.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Bright Alternatuve to Campus Drinking

By Lissa Sexton

Empty beer cans linger by sidewalks, accompanied by bits of shattered glass. The bathrooms of dorms are littered with half wet paper towels, while the hallways are masked with the smell of stale booze, old pizza, and discarded case boxes. Urine can be found drying in many elevators, and the ground is spotted with vomit while on your walk to the cafeteria. Inside, restless and tired students---the ones that have managed to awake for Sunday brunch---either stand by the soda fountains chugging glass upon glass of water while waiting for their greasy, stomach settling omelet, or are laughing about all of the trouble they have caused the last two nights, last night’s hair and makeup still intact.

Although this is a common Sunday morning scene on colleges and universities across the entire country, why do students at Monmouth College feel as though they have to get belligerently intoxicated weekend after weekend? “It’s simple,” says junior communication major, Jamie Schingoethe. “There’s nothing else to do. I would rather be out with my friends after a stressful week rather than sitting in my room doing nothing on a Friday or Saturday night.”

However, according to several of the representatives from school sponsored activity groups, such as A.S.A.P. and S.O.D.A., there are numerous opportunities for students to participate in non-drinking events on campus throughout the course of the entire year. The Association for Student Activity Programming, better known as ASAP, is the main activity programming board on campus. This organization is staffed by students and is advised by the Stockdale Student Center staff, which holds bi-weekly After Hours events, and is also the campuses biggest student organization. Aside from the weekly events, they also show movies in the Dahl Chapel, bring musicians, guest speakers, and comedians to campus, and are also in charge of planning Family Weekend, Homecoming, Holiday Banquet, and Scots Day. “All in all, we typically have about a hundred students attend each event on average, said Danielle Tucker, who is in charge of the organization. Although the number may seem small compared to the 1,347 students who attend Monmouth College, Tucker also noted that, “We are actually pretty satisfied with the attendance number, as it has continually grown over the last few years.” According to Whitney Hagy, an Illinois College junior who is also the Travel Coordinator for their Student Activity Board, she says that, “The turnout for our events changes, but we typically get between one hundred to two hundred students at each one. For traveling, I can normally only take around forty-five students at a time.”

A founding member of S.O.D.A., Derek Keist, says that, “When we first started S.O.D.A., we wanted our events to aim towards people who don't drink alcohol and, as a result, don't usually go out and socialize on weekends. Since Derek Huff and I worked as Head Residents, we both knew residents who instead stayed in their room and played video games alone. Therefore, our events started off as just hooking up video games to attract that crowd and help them socialize with one another.” With a general average of forty to fifty people at each event, Keist added that, “As our popularity grew and we were able to get more support from the school, we decided to target other people besides gamers. This is when we started holding events in the Huff with the sports equipment and the pool.”

With movies, musicians, comedians, talent shows, and game nights in the Huff offered to students almost every weekend, it seems as though the lack of motivation or awareness of the events may be the most prevalent reason as to why students do not attend the activities. “We promote our activities through Facebook, posters, flyers, emails, and get general input from surveys,” says Tucker. Regardless, the students just don’t seem to be getting the message. “I normally don’t even know about the events until after they have passed,” said Schingoethe. “I don’t really pay much attention to the flyers that are hanging up, and are too busy to read through every email that I get.” Libby Willis, a junior attending Eastern Illinois University, says that while the school is significantly bigger, activities on campus are well publicized, which in turn increases attendance. “There are constantly flyers and posters being hung throughout campus and instead of sending out daily email reminders, every Thursday a mass email is sent to the entire school which highlights the week’s calendar and activities. It makes it a lot easier to have everything organized into one, because it’s easy for others to get deleted.” Willis added that, “I’m pretty sure that at least 90% of our undergraduate population is involved in a school sponsored organization.” Hagy, from Illinois College stated that, “Our S.A.B. is broken down into five subcommittees (travel, entertainment, music, dance, special events, and impact), and each committee must produce six events. We promote our activities and events through posters, flyers, campus announcements, promotional giveaways, Facebook events, calendars, etc. Because we are very well organized and have such a variety of events for students to go to and become involved with, even when our numbers are low, most all IC students attend several events throughout the course of the year.”

While the attendance rates may not change and the awareness of events can only grow, members of Monmouth College’s A.S.A.P. would like to make it clear to all students that anyone can join the organization group. According to their Facebook page, “Anyone can join ASAP! We welcome new members throughout the year! We meet every Thursday at 6:00pm in the Tartan Room of Stockdale Center. Each meeting is different but ultimately you get to help decide what should come to campus! The meetings are always fun and we love to reward our members. You never know what surprises we may have!” Tucker added that, “With the exception of executive board members, we usually only have about fifteen students at each weekly meeting, but we would like a bigger turnout.” The same open meeting policy also goes for most other organizations on campus, which in turn can get a more diverse opinion on the type of activities offered on campus, thus increasing involvement, participation, interest, and attendance. Therefore, for students who are currently on campus, they are advised that instead of drinking (or at least before downing their first beer), that they should take the time to check their emails and take notice of the flyers posted in all of the buildings. Furthermore, thinking about how much better they will feel on Sunday morning after laughing at a comedian in the Dahl, rather than avoiding piles of throw up and taking a Tylenol with their fourth cup of water should be a substantial queue to check out the student based activities.

Monday, April 18, 2011


By Sarah Zaubi

A recent survey done by the Pew Foundation indicated that daily text messaging among teens has increased from 38 percent of teens texting daily in 2008, to 54 percent in 2009. When a Visiting Professor of Communication Studies at Monmouth College read the survey results, he proposed a survey to see how texting was affecting classroom behavior.

According to Professor Joe Angotti “I decided to assign the survey because I kept hearing more complaints from colleagues that texting during a class was a growing problem.” Angotti told The Courier in an email. “Everyone seemed to have a different opinion regarding what to do about it.”

The survey was conducted by the journalism class at Monmouth College by phone using numbers selected at random from the college Redbook. The survey offered 43 professors five possible solutions to curbing texting in classes. Of those surveyed, the majority of professors, 58 percent, did not perceive texting to be a problem.

Of that 58 percent, a third of professors said they would not impose any restrictions on students texting in class. A quarter said that texting was not a problem in their class.

While texting is not a problem for the majority of professors, 42 percent still saw it as an issue.

Of those that indicated that texting was a problem, 19 percent said they would permit students to leave electronic devices turned on, but require them to leave the classroom if they are seen texting, 16 percent would require students to turn off electronic devices when they enter a classroom, and 7 percent would permit students to leave electronic devices turned on but reduce a portion of their grade if they are found texti

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Assistant News Editor

By the end of my interview with Monmouth’s new Director of Community Development Paul Schuytema, I was watching him explain a Sims-esque board game designed to help visualize the process of building and revitalizing a town. This may seem like an odd approach to revamping Monmouth, but for Schuytema it is just an extension of his diverse work background.

Schuytema graduated with an master’s of fine arts in science fiction writing, but held a variety of software-heavy jobs. After running student publications at Monmouth College and a game company in the city of Monmouth, Schuytema worked as the director of the office of creative software development with University of Illinois Extension.

“When I first moved to Monmouth after graduate school, I hated it,” Schuytema said, explaining the transition from software to government. “It was a small town and I was from Chicago. It took moving down to Dallas for three years, and trying to live in Dallas where everything is driving, with kids, to realize ‘Oh, I was wrong about Monmouth.’”

From that point Schuytema became a self-proclaimed “small town evangelist,” and made his way back to Monmouth to start a technology business. It was through the challenges of running a software company with limited small town resources (e.g. no infrastructure, no work forces, one dial-up phone connection) that he became interested in economic development in a small town.

“All along the last 10 or so years I’ve been working to evangelize Monmouth,” Schuytema explained, “because I love the small town, but also studying the challenges of running small businesses and being an entrepreneur in a small town. I’ve also been consulting with the Institute for Rural Affairs on small town economic development.”

All of this is to help revitalize the city of Monmouth, especially its downtown district. Schuytema seems optimistic about the outcome.

“I took pictures of all these buildings that people are like ‘oh this is so terrible, all the stuff that’s happening downtown,’” Schuytema said. “Then I go back through those pictures and say ‘that particular building, someone’s investing a quarter of a million dollars into, this one has architectural plans, this one’s purchased. There’s all the stuff going on that people don’t see all the time.”

Schuytema also hopes to start holding art festivals that will draw more people downtown, such as blues or art festivals. He emphasized that Monmouth has the foundation for a lot of great art and cultural events, events that are realistically within the city of Monmouth’s reach.

“Everybody is fighting for less and less resources,” he said. “The recession hit small towns last, and it’s toughest for us to get out of. So, we’re in a context that’s very challenging. The good news is Farmland’s put 50 million dollars in the plant in the last five years. They’re the biggest employer around. Look at the college. A few years ago made some changes to how it was going to recruit and grow and it’s really strong. And the fact that they’re going to build this building is a game changer.”

The connection between the health of the downtown area and Monmouth College was also a large focus for the new director.

“If you say that you put $800,000 in that building, put some really great lofts and apartments in it, some good businesses, it’ll maybe work out in the spreadsheets at $600,000. The tricky part is finding a way to fill that gap.”

What fills that gap can’t be loans, but according to Schuytema investments are the key. These could be investments from the city or even Monmouth College. If the college could invest hard cash, Schuytema explained, they could help close that gap and probably help steer some of the uses, such as studio space for art students.

For now, a wine store will be coming soon to the downtown area, as well as beautification projects and art and cultural events in the square, not to mention niche businesses.

“It’s a marathon not a sprint,” Schuytema cautioned.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Monmouth Alums in Japan Feel The Pain

By Wesley Teal
When the earthquake struck, Yoshiaki Obara, a Monmouth alumnus was chatting with a colleague. At first, he was not overly concerned. After all, a fifth of the world’s major earthquakes happen in or near Japan.

“We are (so to speak) used to the earth shaking,” said Obara via email, but he soon realized the March 11 quake was much worse than normal.

With the ground quaking under his feet, Obara and his colleagues began to evacuate their building. As they made their way to the evacuation area, he narrowly missed being hit by siding falling from the building.

The March 11 quake registered a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale and left much of northern Japan in shambles. According to UPI reports, 9,080 people have died as a result of the quake and ensuing tsunami. Another 13,561 are missing. In addition, 270,000 have been forced to evacuate their homes.

The CEO of Tamagawa Academy and University in Tokyo, Japan, Obara was spared the worst of the destruction. Tokyo was 231 miles from the epicenter of the quake.

In central Japan, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered serious damage during the earthquake and tsunami, resulting in the release of radioactive material On March 12, the Japanese government ordered the evacuation of all those living within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the plant. Radiation from the plant has also contaminated parts of the Japanese food supply.

“The nuclear accident has turned out to be a good occasion for us to realize how much we have depended on electric power and unless we cut down our level of living standard we keep depending on nuclear power,” said Obara. “We have to realize that it means a departure from US style [of] life, mass-production, mass-consumption style economy,” said Obara.

Quake reaches Monmouth

As repeated aftershocks continue to shake Japan, some Monmouth students are doing their parts to aid relief efforts.

When Yohei Yasukawa, a computer science major from Japan, heard about the disaster he began to contact his friends and family back home. After finding out his family and friends were OK, Yasukawa wanted to do something to help the people of Japan.

“What can I do with my specialty in computer science?” Yasukawa asked.

With some friends, Yasukawa began to develop an app for Android-based phones and iPhones. The app is known as “Whistle on Android” and simply “Whistle” on the iPhone.

“It’s an alarm for signaling S.O.S. in order to notify people around that there’s a person who needed help,” he said.

Yasukawa’s app has been downloaded over 10,000 times since it was posted on the Android platform on March 12, but is still waiting to be approved by Apple before it is added to the iPhone app store.

Others have turned to fundraising. Over the past two weeks, International Club has been raising money by giving away painted Japanese characters and dorm storming. The proceeds they receive will go to the American Red Cross Japan fund in Galesburg to aid relief efforts.

For the club’s three Japanese members, their efforts are especially important.

“We can’t do anything for Japan except for this,” said Ryo Tsumura.

Club president Scott Haynes said the response from students and faculty had been strong. In their first two days of fundraising, Haynes said the group had raised about $500. As of Tuesday, March 23, the group had raised over $930.

College Newspaper Reveals Privacy Violations

By Andrew Drea
Junior Jackie Deskovich spent the past semester abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece. While she walked the streets of the city and focused on her studies, private information including her social security number and Monmouth transcripts were available on the Monmouth network for any incoming or current student or faculty member to view.

Due to a wrongfully clicked security option on a directory on the school’s public folders system, anyone with a Monmouth College email address could log in to see any study abroad applicant’s entire application instead of a preselected list that was created but not activated. The applications included professor recommendations, transcripts, grade point averages, home addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers. All applicants who had applied to go off campus from 2008 to those applying for next year were open for public consumption, including those who were denied the chance to go.

“It was an honest error,” said Vice President for Student Life Jacquelyn Condon. “It was believed that only certain people had access to this and that it was not available to just anybody who wanted to look at it. We feel terrible about it.”

The problem was brought to the attention of the Office of Student Affairs on Monday after an investigation by the the staff of the Monmouth College newspaper The Courier. Applications for Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 were promptly deleted but the majority of applications from years past were still available. Those documents were closed to student access by Tuesday night and apology emails were sent out to affected students on Wednesday. However some, like Deskovich, are upset with the entire issue.

“That’s not really OK,” Deskovich said. “I would not like that on the internet. The fact that my social is on there is not OK. There’s no academic reason to have my social security anywhere on your website. None. Transcripts, that’s an academic thing that nobody can steal my identity from.”

While applications for off campus study often require a social security number on the cover sheet of the application, Monmouth College’s official transcripts only list the last four digits of a social security number, questioning the need for such an important number to be required for an application.

“I don’t trust anybody at this school enough to give them my social security number,” said Deskovich. “I don’t care; look at my grades. You’re my professors, you can see my grades but the only other people that ought to know my social security number are my parents. Other than that, no one needs to know that unless I’m filling out an application or something.”

An underlying issue is a violation of FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Students are protected from having their documents released to anyone other than faculty and staff. Students must even sign a form to allow parental access to files.

“Only people with legitimate educational interests should have access to information that’s in a student’s file,” said Condon. “And a file is either the paper or the electronic.”

Condon explained that legally, a school that violates FERPA could be fined through the withholding of federal financial aid. Normally, schools are alerted to FERPA violations by the Department of Education and are only fined if no action is taken to correct the violation, so Monmouth College will not be fined or even required to report the offense to the federal government. In addition, legal action cannot be brought against individuals at a school.

“This is not something that someone has done maliciously,” said Condon. “This is clearly an error.”

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monmouth Track Dominance Continues

By Dan Nolan
College Sports Information

MONMOUTH, Ill. – The Monmouth College men and women chalked up their 12th and 10th Midwest Conference indoor track championships, respectively, in dominating fashion at the meet held in Grinnell, Iowa.

The Fighting Scots had a combined 17 first place finishes for the men and women and set four school records. The women outdistanced the field by more than 120 points while the men were 89 points ahead of the pack. Roger Haynes was named the MWC’s men’s and women’s Coach of the Year and six Monmouth athletes were named the meet’s Outstanding Performers. Seniors Saidu Sesay (track), Peyton Lumzy (field) and Michael Blodgett (field) were the men’s winners while Mary Kate Beyer (track), Jae Moore (track) and Allison Devor (field) were the women’s representatives.

Beyer claimed two individual titles and a relay crown in her final indoor conference meet. The senior broke her own school record to win the 5,000-meters in 17:44.07. She led a Scots’ 1-2 finish in the 3,000, running a 10:19.17 to finish 13 seconds ahead of Rachel Bowden. Beyer also ran a leg on the winning distance medley relay. Marlee Lane, Kenzie Payton and Brittney Frazier joined Beyer to break the tape in 12:51.15.

Bowden was the bridesmaid three times in the championships. In addition to a second in the 3K, the sophomore took second in the 800 run with a school record time of 2:18.70. She clocked a personal-best in the mile, but was two-tenths off the pace to place second. Aron Jackson and Alyssa Edwards helped Bowden with points in the 800, finishing sixth and eighth. Edwards also picked up a seventh-place finish in the mile.

The Scots women dominated the throws where Devor led the charge. Monmouth filled the podium in the weight throw when Devor threw a school record and improved her provisional throw with a winning mark of 56’4-1/2”. Raven Robinson unleashed a personal best to take second, just ahead of Amanda Streeter. The trio nearly duplicated the feat in the shot put. Devor won with a throw of 43’7-1/4”, two feet ahead of runner up Streeter. Robinson took fourth.

Moore picked up two wins. The senior sprinted to a win in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.50. Kimarri Campbell placed third and Alexa Allen was fifth in the 55 dash. Moore ran the leadoff leg of the winning 4x400 relay on the final day. Moore, Morgan Leffel, Whitney Didier and Kaci Lierman clocked a 4:05.48 for the win.

Didier and Morgan Ryan were 1-2 in the pole vault where Leffel placed sixth. Didier cleared 11’7-3/4” for the title. Mackinsey Marquith, Bailey Jackson and Leffel took solid points in the long jump, finishing 2-3-4. Marquith improved her provisional mark with a jump of 18’0-1/4”.

Jackson turned in a personal-best to place second in the triple jump, just ahead of Marquith. Leffel finished fifth. Four high jumpers including Chelsea Widdop and Emily Tysma tied for second after clearing 4’11-1/2”. Widdop was awarded second and Tysma was fifth.

The women took advantage of their depth to bunch points in the running events. Moore and Allen were 2-3 in the 200 dash and Payton scored in sixth. In the 55-meter hurdles, Allen ran an improved provisional and personal-best time of 8.35 to take second and Ryan was fifth. Lierman and Didier each ran career-bests in the 400 meters. Lierman finished second, less than three seconds out of first. Didier took fourth and Leffel was sixth.

The sprint medley relay team turned in a school record. Payton, Leffel, Lierman and Didier clocked a 4:18.47 and finished third.

Sesay was the big winner for the men, claiming one relay and two individual titles. The senior’s career-best 6.51 in the 55 dash made him the champion by more 12-hundredths. Kainte Green sprinted to a third-place finish in the race.

Monmouth’s men nearly claimed the entire podium in the 200 where Sesay ran a 22.43 to earn his second crown. Green was just nine-hundredths back to place second and Logan Hohl was fourth.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


By Jacob Willis

Spring is in the air and College students across the country have one thing in mind: Spring Break! In less than two weeks campus dorms will be closing and students will be free to do as they please for over a week. Whether it is finding a beach on the coast, hitting the slopes, or even just taking a load off at home. Spring Break is a time for students to take a vacation from the stress of school and let loose. However, it is no secret that the freedom of spring break can lead to some dangerous situations. Here are just a few tips to keep you safe and feeling good this spring break.

Workouts: If you are not already doing it START! You want to be looking your best before you hit the beach or the sun, so the more time spent in the gym the better.

Save Big Money!: Its always better to have more than enough rather than not enough when heading on vacation.

*TIP- Students going on spring break should look to save about $500-$1000 to bring along. Don’t forget you have to save for food, drinks, alcohol, night clubs, etc. for every day you are on spring break. Most night clubs and bars will have a special deal for the week so make sure you do your research to save the most of your money.

Pack Wisely: just because it is spring break does not always mean the weather will feel like it. From experience last year, Panama City Beach can still be pretty brisk at the beginning of March. Temperatures may only touch 70 degrees on some days, which is not necessarily a no shoes, no shirt, no problem type day. Make sure you throw in a long sleeve T-shirt and maybe a couple hoodies just in case the weather is not the best.

Contact Person/ I.C.E: Make sure whoever you are traveling with including yourself, informs someone of your daily itinerary so someone knows where and what your are doing at all times. Check in with your contact daily and let him or her know if your travel plans change.

Watch your cash: Do not carry large amounts of cash with you. Anything can happen at any given point, and it could really put a damper on the trip to loose all of your cash at one time. Try and keep whatever you will not need of your cash locked up or hidden back at the hotel. This includes credit cards, debit cards, and any other forms of cash.

Alcohol: Know the law: Inform yourself and others of the drinking laws within the state you are traveling before you go. Find out beforehand what will happen if you violate these laws. In most cases forms of identification and A LOT of cash will be needed, so be smart. Otherwise, your trip may be ending earlier than planned.

Ride the bus: Drunk driving is nothing to play with while on break. Police will be using this time period to catch as many people as possible who fall into this category. Find out what public transportation is available around you. In most places they will offer public transportation for free. While out at night it is smart to put the number of a taxi service in your wallet of purse.

Protect your friends: If you see a friend that is non-responsive, make sure to lay them on their side to prevent choking on spit or vomit. Don’t take a risk, call someone immediately. Better safe than sorry.
Make a plan: Figure out how much alcohol you will be consuming at the beginning of the day. Make sure you incorporate a bottle of water into your plan after at least every 3 drinks. Also make it a plan to watch your drink. Stalkers are lurking everywhere on spring break, looking for that perfect opportunity when you set your drink down.

Safe sex: If you choose to have sex over break use protection every time. Condoms are easy to stash in a wallet or purse and will do the deed to prevent pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.Keep Sex Sober: Having sex under the influence can bring up some potential risk you would rather not deal with. Even if you think there is consent, having sex under the influence can be considered sexual assault in some cases.

Choose Wisely: It is very easy to make friends on spring break. But be sure to really get to know the person before trusting them. It is hard to tell where someone has been let alone who they have been with just by talking to them.

These tips could be life savers while on your stress free vacations, so make note. Be smart, be safe, and most importantly be responsible this spring break.

Friday, February 4, 2011


An Interview with Professor Petra Y. Kuppinger

Petra Kuppinger is an Associate Processor in the Department of Sociology/Anthropology at Monmouth College. Since coming to Monmouth in 2000, Kuppinger has published eight professional articles. Most of her work stems from dissertation research in Cairo, Egypt, where she spent years doing fieldwork. In 2009 she presented a related paper about female leadership in Muslim communities at Oxford University. She is now on sabbatical in Stuttgart, Germany conducting research in German Islam, which she hopes to turn into a book.

Professor Kuppinger was interviewed by the Warren County Newswire and Monmouth College Courier via email on
February 3.

Courier: Were you surprised by the anti-Mubarak demonstrations, or could you see them coming?

Before the uprising happened in Tunisia earlier in January few, including myself, would have foreseen the current events in Cairo. When the protesters in Tunis were successful and ousted their dictator in a matter of days, it was clear that people in other Arab countries and here in particular the vast ranks of the younger generation were watching these events very carefully. They took and compared notes. At that point it became increasingly clear that Tunisia could become a model.

Courier: What do you think of the response by the Obama administration?

The Obama administration (and here I would also include the major European leaders, since I am in Europe at present) were too slow and hesitant to take clear sides with the peaceful demonstrators in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities. Of course, the situation is tricky as US and European administrations had been backing Mubarak and his regime for three decades. They had been pleased to have a staunch ally in him who reliable took their side in various Middle Easter and global conflicts, and in the “War on Terrorism.” That Mubarak did this often at the expense of his people and certainly as the expense of democracy did not so much concern Western governments. Thus the situation was difficult for Obama, Sarkozy, Merkel and others as they had to find the appropriate moment to drop their former ally and switch sides. They soon realized they had to switch sides as otherwise years of lecturing the Arab World about democracy would sound even more hypocritical than it had always sounded to the Arab masses.

In addition Western leaders were/are struggling with irrational fears of all things Islamic which is one reason why they supported Mubarak, Ben Ali and Co. for so long, as these dictators promised to keep the “Islamist” threat in check. How many of this was a useful hype remains to been explored in the future. As Western leaders debated when and how to drop Mubarak their most urgent concern was/is: what role with Islamic forces and here in particular the Muslim Brotherhood play in the future of Egypt. This fear, I think, led them to hold on to Mubarak and disregard the people of Egypt for much too long.

Courier: What kind of government is likely to evolve from this movement? Do you see any legitimate leaders emerging from the demonstrations?

The people in the streets of Egypt and in particular the core of courageous demonstrators who hold their positions on Cairo’s central Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) are a broad cross-section of the population. It is a grass root movement in the truest sense of the word. They fight FOR Egypt and they fight FOR a better future. How exactly this will unfold is yet unclear. All these people know is that they have been treated like immature children for decades and they will no longer put up with this political system. They have seen their political leadership and economic elites amass huge fortunes and keep an utterly corrupt system in place for decades.

Mohammed Al-Baradei or Ayman Nour (local liberal opposition leader) could take positions of interim leadership until a reasonable political system has been established and the constitution changed accordingly. Details will have to be negotiated along the way. I think one of the amazing features of this protest is that it is a project in the making. No political group has set up a scheme or master plan for these events. It is the people, and here very much the electronically linked younger generation who are driving this movement. There are no ideological slogans or banners.

Courier: What are the chances that the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood could form a government that would be acceptable to the people?

The role of the Muslim Brotherhood is interesting and at the same time secondary in these protests. The Brotherhood was as surprised as anybody else by the recent events. That’s why it took them so long to issue statements and get onboard. The Brotherhood has in the meantime joined the protest, not as a leading force, but as participants. If one is familiar with the Egyptian political scenery, it is interesting to note that demonstrator do not use Islamic symbols or slogans to claim ownership of the events for Islamic groups (note that all demonstrators wear westerns style clothes, they wave Egyptian national flags, nobody carries Islamic banners like the old Brotherhood slogan “Islam is the solution”).
In the Western hype about Islamists the Muslim Brotherhood who denounced violence a long time ago has been demonized for too long. While militant Islamist groups exist, they are increasingly marginal. The Brotherhood is certainly not one of them. Over the past two decades, in particular, the Brotherhood has turned into a political force not unlike various European Christian Democratic parties. The Brotherhood is also thoroughly pro-capitalists (as it includes numerous wealthy business people) which in part explains its initial hesitance to support the protest as they also fear the anger of Egypt’s disenfranchised masses.
The Brotherhood could be a likely partner in a larger political coalition of parties. They are the only larger organized opposition group (even though they were/are illegal). If the Brotherhood plays a role similar to the AKP, the current ruling party in Turkey of Prime Minister Erdo─čan, they could play a rather positive role in the struggle to fight corruption and make Egypt into a more democratic country.

Courier: What are the chances that a new government might produce Iran style Islamic rulers?

Egypt is not Iran and 2011 is not 1979. When Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran in 1979 he triggered hopes for similar regime changes in many Muslim countries. Islamist political movements mushroomed in the 1980s. As the movements (see for example in Turkey, but also the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt) watched the situation unfold, they realized fairly quickly that the Iranian model did not produce the type of society they had hoped for, or even wished to live in. One after the other these movements corrected their agendas and designed new ways and models. They ushered in a period of “Post-Islamism” in particular in the Middle East and among European Muslims. The term “Post-Islamism” (termed and elaborated in particular by the sociologist Asef Bayat) denotes new/revised movements with drastically reworked agendas. These groups, parties and movement search to develop ways to produce a democratic system that includes Islamic groups and agendas. Again Turkey is the best example – and indeed is carefully watched in the Arab world for that matter. Egyptians today can see the example of Iran and Turkey and there can be little doubt that Turkey is the more attractive and successful one for the masses in the street.

Courier: What is your reaction to the pro-Mubarak forces that attacked demonstrators yesterday? The Western press has described them as "goon squads" hired and paid by Mubarak. Do you agree?

There can be no doubt that the Pro-Mubarak demonstrators are predominantly paid thugs and plain clothes police men. They are brought to Tahrir Square to push the demonstrators of the square. It is not surprising that they came in on Wednesday after Mubarak announced, what he and his political buddies thought was a great compromise, that he would not run again for the elections in September. This announcement added insult to injury for the demonstrators and once more testifies to just how far removed from the masses the Egyptian leadership is. Mubarak and his buddies seemed to have seriously thought that this announcement would send the millions home happily, and their own predicament would be over. As this, of course, did not happen they took out their time-honored tool box of violent repression to deal with their opponents. So they brought in their thugs. Since then the regime has shown its ugly and repressive face once more in full.

In the meanwhile numerous journalists (Arab and Western alike) have been beaten and their cameras taken away. Numerous international TV crews who all have office in the building close to the Egyptian TV had to leave that building as the thugs were attacking in particular the office of Al-Arabiya, one of the well-respected Arab Gulf networks. The German public TV crew, for example, reported that they had to move to a nearby hotel (not a bad deal, a five star high rise hotel with an excellent view onto the square). The very latest report (Thursday early afternoon, Cairo time), however said that bookings in these local hotels would not be renewed. This is one more sign that the government is involved here. Who else could tell an international hotel chain (in this case the Hilton Hotels) how to handle their bookings?

Personal Note
I am in total awe at the courage and dedication of the Egyptian people. They have my utmost respect. I wish them success and hope they establish the kind of democratic system they wish for and deserve!


Britta Nichols

On January 12, the Illinois House passed a massive income-tax increase to help the state dig out of a $13 billion deficit. The question now is whether the tax hike will help or hurt the Illinois economy. According to Ken McMillan, Professor of Political Economy and Commerce at Monmouth College, the state faced a dilemma. “There was a major crisis in the state of Illinois, and the state had two options: to reduce spending or to increase taxes.” In the short term, most state officials say Illinois had no choice but to increase taxes which will allow the State to decrease some outstanding debt and pay this year’s bills. But will the tax increase hurt the state economy in the long run?

In addition to an increase in individual income-tax rates from 3% to 5%, there was a corresponding corporate tax rate increase from 4.8% to 7%. McMillan, a former State Senator, says it’s the corporate tax hike that will hurt the state in the long run. “Illinois’ corporate tax is the highest in the country. As of now, Illinois is a much less attractive place to live in.” Companies look at the facts and see that corporate income taxes are now higher than surrounding states; so many companies may choose to go elsewhere.

To many college students, the tax hike may not seem relevant, but when reality sets in after college, graduates will see the effect of the income tax on their paychecks . Less money in a paycheck means less money spent on extra activities that could boost the troubled economy in this country, and especially Illinois. And if Illinois corporations decide to leave the state, it will mean fewer jobs for college graduates to fill.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


By Dan Nolan
Just days after the Monmouth College track team was ranked among the nation’s best by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the Scots men and women are rated in the nation’s top four when it comes to dual meet competition.

The USTFCCCA compared teams based on a dual meet setting and the Monmouth women garnered 118.31 points. That’s enough to be third in the dual meet rankings, just 12 points out of the top spot. Monmouth’s men scored 128.72 points to rank fourth, less than 11 points out of second. The top four men’s teams are all in Monmouth’s region.

The USTFCCCA uses a formula based on Division II automatic qualifying standards. An athlete’s top performance for the season is calculated into points for head-to-head team competition. The virtual meet is then scored as a regular meet to determine each team’s dual meet power ranking.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


By Michelle Bruce
This semester, students who were eligible for the Monetary Award Program saw a painful decrease in their funding. For the spring semester, students suffered a 5% decrease in funding that is used to pay tuition and other college expanses.

The MAP Grant gives grants to Illinois residents who attend approved colleges in the state and who show financial need. Eligibility is shown based on information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or as we know it, FAFSA.

Monmouth College students received an email from Jayne Schreck, the College Financial Aid Director, saying that the reduction reported at the beginning of the semester was an estimate, and will be finalized at the end of the semester. .
For the last couple of years, the funds for the MAP Grant have been diminishing at a rapid pace. To be eligible to receive the MAP Grant for this coming year, applicants have to file FAFSA as soon as possible. Schreck adds, “The deadline is an unknown moving target which will occur when the state’s funds are depleted.”

Last year, the budget for the MAP grant was cut in half, losing around $200 million, and 130,000 eligible students were denied funding because the program ran out of money. For the 2010-2011 school year, a projected 22,000 students did not receive money.

Like many students, Megan Lehrer is afraid of losing the MAP Grant, “If I don’t get the MAP Grant next year, I don’t even know if I will be able to come back for my senior year.”

. This huge reduction means fewer students will be eligible for the MAP Grant and those who are eligible will receive less money. The Financial Aid Department is stressing the importance of filing FAFSA as soon as possible. While FAFSA requires completed tax returns, Schreck suggest students file with estimated numbers because “it is more important that it is filed early/before the deadline.” Students can always re-access FAFSA and change tax information.

Friday, January 28, 2011


By Charlie Jo DeMay

The Monmouth College Vita program has discovered new and improved ways to provide the community with its important service. Continuing its twelve-year tradition, the program is again giving free low-income tax service to Monmouth residents. This year, however, there will be the added attraction of a Spanish-speaking interpreter to assist Hispanics in tax preparation.

John White, the intercultural outreach coordinator with the University of Illinois Extension contacted VITA program coordinator, Judy Peterson, and offered to assist with free translation. VITA will also be having another important addition to the program. At each location there will be a member of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to assist families with FAFSA preparation. “Income taxes are a huge part of filing for FAFSA, so we are excited to have them here to help out,” said Peterson.

The first session starts February 2nd and will kick off the tax preparation at three different locations: the Warren County Public Library; the Galesburg Public Library; and at Monmouth College in the lower level Wallace Hall. The Spanish interpreter will be available at the public library location.

Judy Peterson and co-coordinator Patrick Montgomery have continued make VITA prosper for the students participating in the program as well as the patrons they serve.
Student program coordinator Kylie Near has been involved in the VITA program for two years now. “I did VITA for the first time last year and really had a blast doing it,” Near said. “Not only did I get 2 credit hours that I could use towards graduation, but also I can use my experience to put on my resume. I learned how to interact with the public and how to accomplish filing low-income taxes.”

Local resident Sandra Simpson has been utilizing the free tax service since it started. “I can’t afford to hire a private accountant to file all my taxes, so when I first found out about this program I was thrilled,” Simpson said. For more information about where you can get VITA tax preparation service go to the Monmouth College website at

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


By Michell Nutting
When Roseville Elementary closed its doors in 2010, residents of Roseville wanted another option for an elementary education in town. Roseville Community Christian School located within the Living Light Tabernacle Church, has opened and is in full swing for the 2010-2011 school year.

Teacher Karyn Beavers and her four students, Mea Blunt, Timothy Pence, April Rogers and Jessilyn Wainman are making sure that RCCS operates like a traditional school.
“We try to run our school like a normal school. Our kids get here at 8 o’clock, we run on the Monmouth-Roseville Junior High schedule because our kids can use those buses to get here. We come in in the morning; we usually open with prayer, we do our morning activities and the kids get started on their individual school work,” said Beavers.

The four students range from second to fourth grade which sometimes is a challenge for Beavers. “It’s a lot of preparation. You have to be prepared and you have to know what you are doing. They are all doing very well, and definitely with the small class size they get a lot of one on one attention.”

Beavers also says that although this is a private school her students are still involved with other activities, like girl scouts.

With the building of the old elementary school being turned over to the Village of Roseville, Beavers is not sure whether they will be able to occupy the vacant building or not. However, Beavers is optimistic about enrollment for next year. RCCS plans on having a few open house events for people to come visit their school. If you would like further information you can call the school at 309-426-1787.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Lawrence University at Monmouth College, Monmouth, Ill.

Monmouth 75
Lawrence 39

Monmouth jumped out to a 12-0 lead and never looked back in a 75-39 win over Lawrence. Colleen Forrest buried eight three-pointers to break the school record for threes in a game with Tina Forth. The Fighting Scots’ defense held the Vikings to 13 first half points and 25 percent shooting for the game. Monmouth used 15 players in the game to post the home win, a night after suffering their first home loss in a year. Forrest led all scorers with 24 points as she connected on 8-of-15 treys.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


By Dan Nolan

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth area youth will get a little extra when they attend the Monmouth College basketball games against Lawrence University on Jan. 15.

For the second consecutive year, the Fighting Scots basketball teams, as part of the NCAA’s Take a Kid to the Game (TAKG) initiative, are encouraging adults to bring children ages 14 and under to Saturday’s contests at Glennie Gym. The women’s game tips off at 2 p.m., with the men’s action to follow.

Admission is free and fans 14 and under will have the opportunity to win prizes and to participate in a variety of halftime activities. Monmouth’s mascot, Big Red, is also scheduled to be in attendance and available to have his picture taken with fans of all ages.

“This is a great way to introduce kids to the college game and experience college basketball in person,” said Scots’ women’s coach Melissa Bittner. “You miss so much of the atmosphere of college ball if you just sit at home and watch it on TV. Our hope is that by coming to the game, kids will become interested in athletics and become more physically active and healthier. You’ll want to get there early, while we still have plenty of prizes.”

Members of Monmouth’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will be assisting in the giveaways and activities. Last year, more than 30 youth participated in the effort.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our college community and the Monmouth community to make a connection,” said Bittner. “We do numerous community activities throughout the year, but this is specifically designed to benefit Monmouth’s youth.”