Republicans shouldn’t be so quick to dump Trump

Photo credit:NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

By Kate Robinson

I have turned into a very skeptical person the last couple of years. I question our perceived reality on the daily and wonder if what we believe to be the truth is, indeed, factual. Some people might call me a conspiracy theorist, but I call myself a critical thinker. 

Like everyone in the Republican Party, I’m currently pondering who our next presidential nominee should be. Former President Donald Trump recently announced he would officially run for a second term, but the popular narrative is that this is likely a bad move for Republicans. People point to the party’s weaker-than-expected midterm performance, which resulted in the loss of several favored Trump-endorsed candidates, as reason to oust him from the top of the GOP. On the other hand, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising star before the midterms and who won reelection in a landslide, is being touted as the new face of the conservative movement. 

“Trump did a lot of great things, but it’s time for him to leave,” is the common phrase from Republicans these days. I feel like I’m in the minority among conservatives, but I truly believe Mr. Trump is still our best option. And for those Republicans who think otherwise, I have reason to believe the mainstream media is contributing heavily toward their opinion.

Not only does the media have an apparent left-leaning bias, but it also has an agenda rooted in corruption and fueled by elitists and foreign influence from places like communist China. Journalists cover current events that fit their narrative while downplaying, or outright rejecting, those that do little to serve their greater objectives. They distort reality.

It’s why a majority of the public believed Mr. Trump actually colluded with Russia in the 2016 election, even when there was never substantial evidence to prove it. It’s why they censored Hunter Biden’s laptop shenanigans for fear it would win Mr. Trump reelection. It’s why they’re still talking about Jan. 6 almost two years later, and why they call Mr. Trump and his supporters “conspiracy theorists” when they simply use their First Amendment right to question the legitimacy of elections.

Take the 2022 gubernatorial elections in Arizona as a prime example: In a recent editorial, The Wall Street Journal wrote that Arizona’s Trump-endorsed candidates lost because “many Republican voters simply don’t like being fed Trump baloney about the 2020 election.” The article also claimed that Republican candidate Kari Lake was defeated by Democrat Katie Hobbs partly because she lost independents by seven points, according to exit polls. But what the media is not reporting now is that there was malfeasance and voter suppression in Arizona, to the point that it very likely impacted the outcome of the election. 

Counties delayed certification while hundreds of voters and poll workers shared testimony of broken scanning machines in nearly half of all polling locations (which happened to be in areas of GOP strongholds), long lines, and “Box 3” ballots that were illegally mixed in with others. The ballots took weeks to count, and Ms. Hobbs, who conveniently happens to be the current secretary of state, oversaw the entire debacle. It has also been discovered that Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer was running a dark money PAC to defeat Ms. Lake. These are all facts. Objective truth. Shouldn’t mainstream media cover these stories?

If this is happening in Arizona, couldn’t it also be occurring elsewhere? Georgia also reported similar issues with its voting machines. Is it more than a coincidence that its senate race is heading into a runoff? Were other Trump-backed candidates purposely cheated out of their races? Why is the media silent on all of this? 

Because they don’t want us to know that it’s not really Mr. Trump who’s the problem. 

The current efforts to prevent Mr. Trump from making another run at the oval office is a coordinated attack from the left, using the corrupt media as a megaphone for their manufactured marketing campaign. Mr. Trump exposed them once and will certainly do it again. As a communication student who studies message design and public relations tactics, I know how easy it is to influence the masses. The formula for doing so really is quite simple, and it’s painfully apparent that that is what’s happening now.

I am convinced that the rather weak performance of Republicans on election day came not from Mr. Trump but from those within the party who fell into the trap of a corrupt media and the uni-party, establishment billionaires who leverage them. The evil deep state wants the Republican Party to be divided and to fight amongst each other, like we are now. Afterall, our weakness wins their battles. 

We must ditch their narratives and become independent thinkers. It’s the only way to preserve our party, and the only way we’ll prevail.

Ms. Robinson is a native Arizonan and junior at Chapman University. She is majoring in strategic & corporate communication and minoring in broadcast journalism and history.

Editor’s Note: Click here to read an opposing viewpoint by Ethan Oppenheim. Let us know who you agree with in the comments section.

Women’s Sports In Deep Water After NCAA Transgender Ruling

Photo Credit: Brett Davis

By Kate Robinson

I will never forget the feeling of joy that my 16-year-old self felt as I stepped on to the podium with my 200-yard medley relay team after finishing third at one of the biggest high school swim invitationals of the season.

I will also never forget the excitement that coursed through my veins one year later as I sprinted across the pool deck into my teammate’s arms upon hearing that we had just made the cut to swim in the finals at the state championship meet.

But as I watched Lia Thomas, the biological male-turned-female swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania place first in the women’s 500-yard freestyle at the national championships last week, I only felt disgusted.

Disgusted at the NCAA for its lax regulations, which are the reason Thomas is competing against women to begin with. Disgusted at USA Swimming for knowingly allowing this to happen, and disgusted that society has come to a point in which we are debating the merits of whether males should be competing against females.

It shouldn’t even be a question. Thomas is a biological male who went from being a decent, mid-500s ranked swimmer across all divisions in the men’s category to transitioning to a female and becoming a national champion.

Even though Thomas followed the NCAA’s shameful rules, which only require one year of testosterone suppressant to be eligible to compete, she still has the anatomic capabilities of a male that will never go away, like a larger heart for oxygen efficiency and bigger hands and feet to pull through the water more quickly – luxuries that cisgendered women are not afforded.

Thomas has advantages over the competition, and the proof lies in her swimming times. According to John Lohn, the editor-in-chief of Swimming World Magazine, there’s nearly an 11% difference between men’s and women’s record times. Since starting her transition and completing testosterone treatment, Thomas’s times have only slowed about three to six percent, nowhere close to the 11% average. It is evident that 12 months of treatment – or even the two and a half years that Thomas completed to even out hormonal levels that her body had spent over 20 years producing – will do next to nothing to put her in a place where she can fairly compete in the women’s division.

The science is undeniable, and recognizing it doesn’t make a person “transphobic,” as one British Parliament member recently claimed. Instead, it simply makes us team players who want an equal playing field for all.

Swimmers work too hard for too long. We train hours on end for years to hopefully cut just half a second off our best times. So, I now wonder: where are the self-proclaimed feminists? Are they not alarmed that women’s sports are currently being hijacked by biological men?

Of course, I support Thomas’s right to self-identify as whatever gender she chooses and for her to live her life freely. We all should. But we also can’t ignore the women who are negatively impacted by this.

I feel for Emma Weyant, the female who took second behind Thomas in the 500 freestyle last week. She’s the true definition of a national champion in my mind and the minds of many.

I feel for Reka Gyorgy, the fifth-year senior competing in the last race of her career, who finished seventeenth in the event that Thomas placed first in. Gyorgy missed her chance to swim in the finals by one spot. This is a pain that perhaps only swimmers will understand.

But, most of all, I feel for the young girls watching the meet at home, who dream of one day becoming collegiate swimmers, too. It saddens me to think what witnessing a man beating women is teaching our next generation of swimmers about integrity, sportsmanship, confidence, and self-worth. What does this mean for the future of our sport?

I only hope that swimmers and all athletes across the country rally to take a stand against the discriminatory policies that are destroying women athletes. If we continue to allow Thomas to set a precedent for males to compete against females in the name of “equality,” then there could very soon come a day in which a biological woman never feels the joy of stepping on to the podium or the excitement of qualifying for a championship final ever again.

Ms. Robinson is a sophomore at Chapman University majoring in Strategic & Corporate Communication. She is also a member of the Chapman women’s swim team.

China Guilty Of More Than Just Lab Leak

By Kate Robinson

A Wall Street Journal investigation recently revealed that three Wuhan, China lab workers participating in the gain of function research were hospitalized in November 2019 with COVID-19 symptoms. This occurred about a month before the “first case” – supposedly contracted from a bat at a Wuhan wet market and independent from the lab – was made public.  

The Journal’s discovery is now enough to prompt politicians and other health officials to investigate the possibility that the virus leaked from a lab. However, had one mentioned this theory a year and a half ago – as did then-President Donald Trump – he or she was probably deplatformed, ridiculed, or deemed an alt-right conspiracy theorist. 

So, instead, we opted to nod our head in agreement with the world’s elites for the last 18 months as they spun a story full of sick bats and infected wet markets, only for the lab leak hypothesis to never sufficiently be proven wrong. Buying into the twisted narrative of an accidental pandemic gone wrong is perhaps a mistake far more lethal than the destruction caused by the virus itself.  

If COVID-19 really did escape from the Wuhan lab, then it so clearly illustrates China’s attempt to intentionally wage war against the United States. To not recognize it means that China is already winning. Unless we fight back, our unwillingness to counter an authoritarian, evil regime is only the beginning of what will eventually lead to China’s world domination. 

China’s plans have been a long time coming. In 1963, China released a list of “45 Communist Goals” which were read into the United States Congressional Record by Florida Democrat Rep. A.S. Herlong, Jr. All 45 objectives are centered around China gaining ultimate power over the rest of the world and its biggest competitor, the United States. The most alarming, and familiar to us now, include “(capturing) one or both of the political parties in the United States; (getting) control of the schools; (gaining) control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures; and (discrediting) the American Founding Fathers.” For the past 58 years, the communist regime has chipped away at its plan, subtly converting and targeting compromised US politicians, celebrities, and other top officials to its side.  

So why, then, would we be so naive to assume that The Communist Party of China did not purposely create and leak a virus to the rest of the world that would undoubtedly allow itself to move even closer to achieving its ultimate goal of destroying the backbone of our country from within?

In the past year and a half, the Democratic party has become more left than ever, dictating when we leave our house, what we wear on our face, and how much we purchase from the grocery store. The party has been captured.  

Millions of students have been forced out of school because of a virus that has been proven not to lead to substantial community infection (should instruction remain in-person). The nonsensical school shutdowns have been a concerted effort to make the next generation more reliant on online learning programs that discredit our country’s history and propagate the communist agenda. The education system is under attack.

News coverage of the pandemic, BLM riots, and American politics has been manipulated to portray the classic left-leaning bias that turns citizens of the U.S. against one another. China leverages news outlets such as NBC News, CNBC, and MSNBC, to name just a few, and controls at least 8,000 American major motion pictures.

The endless lockdowns made for a strange 2020 election cycle, causing our citizens to question the seemingly limitless power of government that the Founding Fathers tried so hard to curtail 234 years ago. It has never failed us before, so why would it now? 

The answer is clear. The release of a global pandemic and the subsequent coverup and likely lies about its origin are just what China needed to crash the U.S. economy. China, now more than ever, has the United States in its grasp. It is up to us, as Americans, not to let Her crumble.

We must fight against government mandates that control our daily lives. We must protest to return to in-person school. We must consume news from sources that China does not have a hand in. We must remember that democracy will always prevail.

I finish with a prophetic warning from my great-great grandfather, a United States immigrant who fled then-communist Yugoslavia nearly 100 years ago. “America will one day be destroyed, not from a bomb or a bullet, but from within.”

I hope we prove him wrong.

Ms. Robinson is a freshman at Chapman University majoring in Strategic & Corporate Communication and a columnist for The Hesperian.

President Biden and the Nefarious ‘Newer’ Deal

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum

By Kate Robinson 

As if forgiving student loan debt was not generous enough, President Joe Biden is paying Americans’ bills yet again. This time, it is through his recently enacted $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which includes such a significant level of handouts of federal unemployment benefits that businesses across the United States are struggling to find people to hire. 

Forget any so-called “rescue.” This progressive piece of legislation is shaping up to be nothing more than another FDR-style New Deal package. It sounds good, but it is really just one of the Democratic Party’s classic, power-hungry handouts in disguise. 

FDR’s New Deal reshaped the political left, leading future Democrats like Biden to believe that a high level of government oversight is reasonable and even accepted in the United States. The New Deal opened the door for potential long-term damage to the fundamental strength of our economy and society. Now, Biden’s American Rescue Plan will finish the job, so long as he continues down the same path as his predecessor. 

During FDR’s term in the midst of the Great Depression, the unemployment rate peaked at 25.6 percent. But, instead of telling Americans to stay home, FDR encouraged them to find jobs. In fact, he even went so far as to create jobs for people. Sure, it is easy to believe that FDR’s vast implementation of government programs was beneficial to the economy, but really, it is the same as Biden’s approach – just more subtle and positioned differently. Incentivizing Americans to stay home is even more destructive than FDR’s temporary and artificial job policies from 100 years ago. 

The unemployment payments today are so high that they are equivalent to someone making $15.95 an hour during a 40-hour work week. It looks like Biden has finally figured out a way to raise the minimum wage after all. 

According to The New York Post, unemployed people are currently receiving $300 per week from the federal government, plus approximately $320 more in state benefits. This averages to about $638 per week, which means that someone can make $30,624 per year by just sitting at home. Biden is paying people to stay on their couch, leaving governors to fight against his backward policy with their own incentives to get people back to work. 

Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey, for instance, announced last week that he plans to pay people $2,000 to return to work and that he is no longer accepting federal money starting July 10. Montana’s Republican governor, Greg Gianforte, recently announced a similar plan. Any unemployed individual who accepts a job and maintains it for at least a month will earn a bonus from the federal unemployment grants. While both of these are still not ideal approaches, they are better than knowingly running the economy into the ground, which Biden is doing very well. The Labor Department reported last month that employers added 266,000 new jobs to the market (a significant and disappointing decline), leaving approximately 7.4 million positions open. Both numbers are obvious signs that the economy is ready and has room to grow, and probably would be growing at a very quick pace, if it were not for Biden incentivizing Americans to stay home. 

If he were around today, FDR would surely agree with Biden’s attempts to keep the economy in the government’s grasp. In fact, it was FDR himself who masterminded the idea of big government. And now, Biden is taking it to the extreme. 

FDR favored unions, Biden has passed legislation to increase their power; FDR implemented the federal minimum wage, Biden has just figured out a way to effectively raise it; FDR wanted government control, Biden has cleverly concocted a way to kill small businesses, forcing a majority of Americans to rely on government support from cradle to grave. 

While some may find the American Rescue Plan to be a suitable piece of legislation to help ease the country out of the artificial depression caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns, others know that – like FDR – President Biden does not really care about our families, jobs, homes, education, nor livelihood, as he so claims. Instead, he simply wants us to rely on the government (and, more specifically, Democrat politicians), and the surest way to do that is to keep Americans dependent and docile. 

A Newer Deal, indeed.

Ms. Robinson is a freshman at Chapman University majoring in Strategic & Corporate Communication and a columnist for The Hesperian.

Biden Promised Bipartisanship, but Now He Just Bumbles and Backtracks

By Kate Robinson

April 30 marks President Joe Biden’s 100th day in office. What started as a pleading call for unity and bipartisanship is shaping up to be nothing more than a far-left train wreck. Thus far, the 78-year-old commander-in-chief has proven that his administration is incapable of exhibiting competent leadership and clear articulation of its policies. 

President Biden is so concerned about behaving in direct opposition to Donald Trump’s widely-criticized demeanor that he is turning himself into a weak and confusing ruler. This is seen in the way that his frustrations are masked through mass signings of executive orders (currently totaling over 60), his refusal to meet Republicans halfway on the COVID-19 stimulus bill, and his failure to elaborate on his radical policy proposals, such as his ultimate thoughts on a vaccine passport or his inability to explain the truth about his so-called infrastructure bill, which is really more of a progressive spending measure in disguise. So much for an honest leader who pledged to reach across the aisle. 

Upon entering office, President Biden had one important task that the American people were counting on him to fix: the COVID-19 pandemic. He knew about this challenge before the inauguration, giving him ample time to devise his Seven Point Plan for tackling the virus, set a “goal” of 100 million shots in the first 100 days (even though the Trump administration was already close to accomplishing this) and work with governors to efficiently distribute the vaccine. 

Even with the benefit of time, President Biden admitted that even he did not have control over his own agenda. “There’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.” How is that for a confident leader? 

Perhaps that is why, when migrants unexpectedly flocked to the southern border a few weeks ago in the highest numbers that the United States has seen in three years, the Biden administration handled the event in the way that any weak leader would – by blaming the “dismantled” and “unworkable system” (as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki deemed it) on the former president. 

Anyone who followed the recent developments at the border would know that it was not Mr. Trump’s sound immigration policies of green card limitations and refugee restrictions (which were especially necessary during a pandemic) that were suddenly beginning to cause damage. Instead, it is simply that our current president had no plan for such a crisis and panicked. Perhaps this is why journalists were not initially given access to facilities and why children were haphazardly granted permission to enter the United States.

Core policy intentions aside, we actually have a President who cannot properly handle unforeseen challenges, let alone ones he was prepared for. No wonder thousands of migrants thought they could get away with entering our country illegally.

Where is the unity and bipartisanship that President Biden constantly preached about? Where is the strong, “moderate” leader that claimed we would be able to trust and count on? President Biden is governing the country as if Democrats slaughtered Republicans in November,  as if more than 74 million Americans did not vote for his opponent. His narrow victory was certainly no mandate. 

I would think that of everyone in Washington, D.C., President Biden, a former 36-year senator and two-term vice president, would be the first to recognize a leader whose agenda is wishy-washy and very misleading. But apparently, old age and being a career politician have gotten the best of him. 

President Biden still has a chance to recover and make his first term a decent one. After all, he lucked out with an evenly-split senate and a close-to-equal House of Representatives. A strong and fair leader would use this opportunity to advocate for compromise and bipartisan policies – a rare commodity in politics. 

The United States is witnessing a leader who has no plan, switches his tune depending on the day, and is still obsessing over replicating Obama’s presidency and trashing Trump’s. Our country deserves a president who can work with both sides of the aisle and be upfront about his views on policies, even when he might receive backlash or opposition. Unfortunately, President Biden is doing none of this. 

To that, I say, “C’mon, man!”

Ms. Robinson is a freshman at Chapman University majoring in Strategic & Corporate Communication and a columnist for The Hesperian.

Student Loan Forgiveness Forgets Who Actually Foots the Bill

By Terry LaBan

By Kate Robinson

As college seniors across the country prepare for graduation in May, the age-old debate about student loan forgiveness is once again taking center stage.  And now, with a new president in office who has more than once pushed for making this a reality, it is worth noting the unendurable damage this policy would impose on our country.

Part of President Biden’s plan to help stimulate the economy includes canceling $10,000 of student loans per each borrower.  He positions this as a moderate idea, especially compared to progressives, such as senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer, who support a cancellation of up to $50,000 in the form of an executive order by the president.  But when there are approximately “45 million student loan borrowers who collectively owe $1.7 trillion,” President Biden’s plan is anything but moderate. 

When the president wants to simply “cancel” student debt, the loan still needs to be paid back, so he is just shifting the debt to another citizen to pay off.  That is not fair.  The strength of our economy relies on the fundamental principle of borrowing and lending.  This process allows individuals to make investments that will lead to growth and has been the foundation of our country’s economic success for centuries.  Should the government (and its citizens) attempt to disrupt this process, there will be consequences, such as higher taxes. 

If all the Biden administration wants to do is help Americans in debt, it should come up with a plan to cancel the $9.6 trillion of mortgage loans, or credit card debt, that Americans are carrying. 

Maybe this plan is just a way for the president to appeal to the younger generation; however, in doing so, he completely disregards two key disadvantages of student-loan forgiveness.

First is the overall small economic impact that his proposal offers.  According to The Committee For a Responsible Federal Budget, student loan cancellation is “an ineffective form of stimulus [for the economy].”  If a person were to get his or her debt cancelled, he or she would only get the monthly interest and principal payments back, not a full check with the total loan owed.  

The Committee claims that the amount given back to the borrower is typically between $200 and $300 per month.  This is not only a small portion of total loan forgiveness, but it is also hardly enough to make a significant difference in someone’s life for the long term.

Moreover, his plan adds fuel to the fire of never-ending increases in college tuition.  Student loan forgiveness, at least under President Biden, essentially becomes free college for nearly 15 million loan borrowers.  A person receives money from the bank and never has to give it back.  The government seems to believe that this is necessary in order to incentivize people to attend college, but what it is failing to realize is that colleges and universities also benefit with higher tuition. 

In other words, “free” college increases the demand to attend, which allows schools to increase tuition.  Then, because cost is so high, people are forced to take out bigger loans, eventually causing taxes to go up (assuming a majority cannot pay back the money).  It is a never-ending cycle that will only continue to spiral out of control. 

I absolutely support students taking out loans for college if necessary.  But I am not in favor of people borrowing money and stealing fellow citizens’ hard-earned dollars only to be let off the hook with no penalty.

We are a capitalist society, and nothing comes free.  Someone is going to be tasked with paying for a stranger’s higher education, and it will likely be the person who worked hard to get a stable job, has smart money habits, or, worse, paid off his or her own student loans independently.  How is it fair to punish those who obey the rules of our economy? 

Unfortunately, student loan debt is a problem, mostly self-inflicted.  Our secondary education system should shoulder some of the blame, too.  The curriculum is weak in teaching students how to properly manage a budget or save money, and high school teachers and counselors excessively push students to attend college, even though there are many other options, like trade school, workforce, or military.

There are so many better ways to fix the broken cycle than to simply bail students out.  And I should think all new graduates, as future taxpayers, would agree.

Ms. Robinson is a freshman at Chapman University majoring in Strategic & Corporate Communication. She writes an opinion column for The Hesperian.

President Struppa, the Time Has Come to Open Our Classrooms

Before COVID-19, Chapman University students walk in front of the historic Smith Hall, which houses the Psychology Department

By Kate Robinson

It was another day of monotonous discussions in my English class last Thursday morning. We were talking about societal norms, but I could think of nothing other than clicking the red “leave this meeting” button on my computer and crawling back into bed. 

With a mere five minutes remaining, my professor asked the question that pulled me back to reality, the question I had been waiting to hear all year: “Who is thinking about coming back to in-person classes following spring break?” 

Just a few weeks ago, Chapman University announced that as long as COVID-19 numbers remain low and health authorities approve, we would begin hybrid and in-person instruction on Monday, March 29. After months of little hope, I was finally on the threshold of walking into my first college classroom. Or so I thought. 

My professor proceeded to say, “We’ll see what happens. Chapman’s administration isn’t telling us too much right now, so things could definitely change.” I climbed back into bed feeling unsure and very skeptical. After all, the administration has played this game one too many times before. 

It all started last year in April with university president Daniele Struppa confidently telling reporters that Chapman, because of its smaller size, would be able to achieve at least some level of in-person instruction in the fall. In mid-May, he even told CBS Los Angeles that “it’s very possible that some classes will be held outside on the football field or other outdoor spaces.” By summer, “in person” had changed to “hybrid,” and by August, school was still completely online. 

Looking back, I wish Chapman had exhibited transparency, like some of the larger state schools in the area, instead of stringing us along with false promises about in-person classes. The weekly emails from the Office of the Provost excitedly told the Chapman community that it is “looking forward to being together again in the fall.” Residence Life pushed incoming students, such as myself, to fill out the dorm roommate questionnaire, and the Chapman administration launched the “CU Safely Back” plan, a set of guidelines put into place last summer, which aimed to decrease the spread of COVID-19 on campus. All of that meant absolutely nothing. 

The only part of this ludicrous talk that remains constant is the “CU Safely Back,” with its advice to wear masks on campus and not congregate in large groups. It has yet to guide us to victory. 

Do not get me wrong. The crux of the plan and its requirements make sense if we are allowed to begin hybrid or in-person instruction. With so many people accessing campus and filtering in and out of classrooms, of course it is understandable for COVID-19 screenings to be filled out daily, for faculty and staff to be tested weekly, and for temperatures to be checked upon entering a classroom. But what is the point of doing this when Chapman will not even allow us to step foot into one? 

And now, with a vaccine out and many professors protected, what is the point of a never-ending university closure? We are a mere microcosm of the state we represent, and California, like Chapman, is in a significantly different situation than Florida – a state with a radically different approach but better outcome than California. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed some of the strictest lockdowns in the country, completely shutting down the economy, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held off, initially keeping child-care facilities, construction sites, hotels, and beaches open.  Now, the state is functioning close to normal, with businesses, schools, and amusement parks open.

Gov. DeSantis was mocked nationwide for the past year, but his hands-off approach to handling the virus in the Sunshine State has actually proven to be way more successful than Gov. Newsom’s shutdown strategy. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “Florida’s [COVID-19] death rate among seniors is about 20 percent lower than California’s” (even though Florida’s elderly population makes up a larger share of its state). And, of the new cases reported between Nov. 1 and Feb. 28, “there were 6.4 new cases in California per 100 people, and only 5 in Florida.” 

For colleges and universities across the country, a Governor DeSantis-type of approach is the way to go. 

According to a New York Times article, “More than 530,000 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic [for colleges and universities combined].” Of this number, there have been only about 100 deaths, with the vast majority being in 2020 and involving mostly employees. 

Lives lost are obviously unacceptable and tragic, but if Chapman is truly fearful of students dying – and if that is the reason the administration is keeping us from returning to campus full time – then it would surely be more concerned about the estimated 1,519 college students who are killed every year nationwide due to alcohol-related injuries and accidents. Under Chapman’s logic, the student body should be banned from consuming alcohol. 

Chapman needs to understand that, even with the vaccine, an estimated 70 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated in order for herd immunity to take place. That’s 248 million people who have to get vaccinated, or COVID-19 itself, in the United States. Probably not happening anytime soon. 

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is not suddenly going to disappear. Students are still going to contract the virus in the months and years to come, so every time this happens, are we suddenly going to have to shut down campus? Right now, Chapman is setting a dangerous precedent for this to be the case. 

For example, at the start of the spring semester, the school had an on-campus positivity rate of less than 1 percent, and even after all of the Greek Bid Day parties that occurred two weeks ago (with Instagram accounts to prove it), we currently only have one positive case on the March 8 weekly COVID-19 dashboard

How much longer do we need to wait until Chapman University can fully commit to in-person instruction, without following it up with “we’re listening to our local health authorities and the numbers aren’t looking good?” Chapman is a private university and should exercise its flexibility in its decision making. And the Chapman community is made up of strong young adults who have the ability to think for themselves. It is a shame that the administration is incapable of recognizing this. 

So, please, President Struppa, the time has come to open our classrooms. We understand the mitigation strategies and the inherent risks of COVID-19. Professors have had the opportunity to be vaccinated. 

We have completed the online modules that teach us how to wash our hands and wear a mask. We have spent a year on Zoom classes. We have sacrificed athletic seasons and graduations. We have missed meeting new friends. We have selflessly given up a year of important and crucial development, only to be led on, with, apparently, no end in sight. 

Allow our classroom doors to stand wide open, regardless of how many cases are in the school, county, state, or country. If someone feels uncomfortable about returning, then online is still an option, and can be, for years to come. For the rest of us, we believe the benefits of going to school outweigh the risks.

Please trust us to make a decision that is right for ourselves and our families, and if you are going to continue controlling the means of our education, then Chapman University will no longer be a place where “Anything is Imaginable.”

Ms. Robinson is a freshman at Chapman University majoring in Strategic & Corporate Communication. This opinion piece is part of a running column written by Robinson.

Not Voting is NOT a Crime

By Kate Robinson

It was mid-September, and I was engaged in a political discussion with a friend. After a few minutes of casually talking about current events, I asked her which presidential candidate she planned on voting for in November. What she said next stopped me in my tracks: “Oh, I’m not voting.” She said it so confidently, almost as if she felt proud to not be filling out a ballot. I was absolutely shocked. How could she not vote? As far as I was concerned, voting in your first election is a milestone. Now that we were finally eligible, why would she waste this chance, especially with such a critical election just months away? Trying to hide my surprise (and annoyance), I quickly asked her why. Without skipping a beat, my friend looked at me dead in the eye and said, “Because I don’t know anything.”

We are taught from a young age that voting is the most important way to prove that we are good citizens. Our elementary school teachers touted it every year during civics lessons. In fact, mine even went so far as to hold school-wide presidential elections. I clearly remember shuffling down to the library with my first-grade class in 2008 to cast my “ballot” for either Barack Obama or John McCain. I did it again in fifth grade for the 2012 presidential election. While this was something that the school just wanted to have fun with, it left a lasting impression on me. I grew up believing that we are expected to vote when we are of-age. I always assumed that everyone did it, and I never questioned the alternative.

Once I entered high school, my prior assumptions regarding voting became more solidified as I listened to my teachers passionately speak about the importance of voting. I read tweet after tweet from celebrities urging their fans that they must – no matter what – vote. This year, it seems as if every website I go to, every commercial I hear, and every email that appears in my inbox is telling me that I should register. There was a time when I would have enthusiastically agreed. After the conversation with my friend, not so much.

It is ingrained in us to believe that the way to get the best candidates in office is to increase voter turnout. But, what if we instead stopped caring about this number? Maybe voter turnout would go down from its high of almost 60 percent in 2016, but is that such a bad thing? No, because it ensures that without people controlling who is registering or setting goals for a fixed turnout rate, we are truly getting passionate, educated voters.

More importantly, a quality-over-quantity result would send a message to our politicians: “We have done our research, we know what your positions are, and we are going to hold you accountable to meeting your campaign promises or we will vote you out next cycle.” They will feel more obligated to meet the needs of the people because they know that they won based on their platform and what the voters truly cared about. If the voters were passionate enough to vote them in, then they will be passionate enough to vote them out. 

When just about everyone casts a ballot, though, politicians know that most of the people do not really care whether they are in office or not, they are just voting because they are told to. And the politicians know this because every year they are the ones who spend millions of dollars on voter registration efforts targeted at people who should not be voting at all. Former Democratic presidential nominee Mike Bloomberg spent between $15 and $20 million this year to register 500,000 new voters in swing states that President Trump narrowly won in 2016, such as Wisconsin and Michigan. Yet the media portrays this as nothing more than citizens who love civic engagement. If only. Anybody who has to be reminded by organizations or celebrities to vote is nothing more than a pawn in the elites’ game to put the “right” people in office. And we listen to them.

As a student at Chapman University, I am surprised at how far our school is going to make sure we all cast ballots. The Civics Engagement Team set a goal for a 100 percent voter turnout rate this November, and I cannot help but wonder how many people on our campus have been pressured into voting without being fully prepared to make informed decisions. What if there are people like my friend (who knew so little about politics that she thought we have to vote separately for vice president)?

Whether Chapman realizes it or not, there are uneducated, indifferent people like this who they are enabling to vote. I respect Chapman for its efforts to get students civically engaged, and I want the university to still provide resources to help students register if they approach them voluntarily, but I do not believe this initiative is the best way to do this. Sometimes, choosing not to vote is as much of an empowered statement as voting is. Informed voters may choose to opt out of voting because they do not feel comfortable supporting either candidate.

For so long, the majority of Americans have believed that we, as citizens of the United States, have the right to vote. This is a false claim, as the Constitution does not explicitly state this. Yes, there are amendments that permitted certain groups (minorities, slaves, and women) to vote, but this did not give them the right; rather, it just allows them to. The Supreme Court echoed this in its decision on the Bush v Gore case, stating that there is, “no federal constitutional right to vote.” Instead, each state is able to determine how it wants to conduct elections, which is why some states are more lenient than others when it comes to casting a ballot. For example, prisoners in Maine can vote, but those in Wisconsin cannot until they complete their probation. It is also why voter identification laws vary by state, some stricter than others.

Since voting is not technically a right, then it must be a privilege. It is something that you earn the right to exercise by being an upstanding, law-abiding citizen. Just as easily as it is granted, it can be taken away.  

Having the privilege of something as sacred and powerful as voting means that we should take it seriously. After all, there was a time in our country when people did. After church on Sunday in the 1840s, Americans spent Monday traveling across unpaved roads in slow-moving buggies in order to make it to the polls by Tuesday.  

Today, we complain about having to drive just fifteen minutes down the street to get to a polling station (that is, if we go at all). Most of us are so apathetic that we need ballots mailed to us, even though there are no great challenges to us being able to vote in-person. This has turned ‘Election Day’ into ‘Election Month.’ Unlike the Americans before us who dressed up to go to the polls and made Election Tuesday a very special occasion, we now rely on voter registration drives and incentives, such as “I Voted” stickers to encourage us to go to the polls. We have stooped so low that we need to have a National Voter Registration Day to remind us to engage in this privilege.

We wonder why the politicians we elect are crooked, lazy, and out of touch with their constituents. Maybe it is because we encourage the wrong types of people to vote through these flawed tactics. For example, pop star Billie Eilish holds voter registration drives as fans are literally walking into a concert venue likely drunk, high, and most certainly not in a political state of mind. In other words, it is probably not the best place to recruit people deciding the fate of our country.

I want to see people register to vote when they decide to themselves. I want to see people actually take the time to read up on candidates and issues. If politicians and celebrities care so much about civic engagement, then they should use their influence to help educate the constituency. I want to see more in-person polling stations in order to reduce the number of people who vote by mail. Lastly, I want to see schools educate their students about how to be informed and think critically for themselves. 

Collectively, we need to change the culture surrounding voting and remind people that it is still a choice and not a chore; that it is a privilege, not a right; that it has effects. And, if not executed correctly, voting can be harmful to the soul of our country and the people who live here.

Kate Robinson is a freshman at Chapman University majoring in Strategic and Corporate Communication.