Drake Myths, debunked

October 2, 2015 10:00 AM


Myth: I can leave after 15 minutes if my professor doesn’t show up

At 12:34, exactly four minutes after class was supposed to start, a classmate proclaimed, “We only have to wait another 11 minutes until we can leave!” Is she right?

Well, a quick look at the Drake Student Handbook will show you that no such rule is readily published. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t leave. If a professor doesn’t take attendance, feel free to head out the door. If your prof does, you might want to stick around. In either situation, they can lecture for any part of the class they made it to if they want to.

As with most attendance policies, it is entirely up to the professor.

Myth: Herriott is Haunted

A while back, a student committed suicide in Room 2 in Herriott Hall. The door was locked, and it was combined with Room 4 to turn both singles into one single. Years later, students still room there.

Kelanie Crosswait, a first-year and Herriott resident, firmly believes Herriott is haunted.

“The first weekend I was here, we were hanging out in Room 4 and talking about it. Then, it got really, really cold and other typical ghost stuff,” Crosswait said. She described the entire experience as “creepy” and “spooky.”

“The boy who sleeps on that side of the room said he heard tapping at the window and scratching at the door or inside the wall,” Crosswait went on to share.

Students who live in Herriott but don’t believe it is haunted tended not to have anything to say on the matter. When Alex Freeman, another Herriott resident, was asked to comment, he laughed off the entire myth.

All the parts of a haunting line up, what with the scary death, the campus cordoning off the room and students experiencing things that go bump in the night. For some, it is likely that Herriott is haunted. But, as with all things paranormal, no one can be sure. Until we have concrete proof, this one is going to stay a myth.

Super blood moon shines for first time in over three decades

8:00 AM


Last Sunday, the world stopped for just a moment and looked up.

For the first time since 1982, the moon happened to align with the sun and the Earth, creating a rare “Supermoon” lunar eclipse.

“A lunar eclipse is when the moon passes in the shadow of the Earth,” sophomore astronomy major Katrina Sletten said. “It’s like your everyday shadow happening on the moon. What’s cool about it though is the moon turns like a red color. They actually call it a ‘Blood Moon’, I think that’s what the Mayans called it as well.”

The super blood moon is the result of a lot of happy circumstance. For instance, the moon happened to be closest to the Earth during the eclipse, causing it to appear larger and brighter in the sky than normal. It also passed through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, allowing a total eclipse and turning the moon the deep red color that everyone got to enjoy.

“It would be blanked out,” astronomy lab assistant Lauren Breman said, “except we have this big sun back here shooting light at us and we have an atmosphere that filters out the short wavelengths of light and that allows the long wavelengths to turn the moon in the deepest part of totality a beautiful, deep-reddish coppery orange. That’s what happens in a total eclipse.”

Many students watched the eclipse from Helmick Commons, but some took advantage of the Drake Observatory, which was open from 7:30 to 11 p.m. that night. At the top, there were telescopes where it was possible to see the moon in a lot more detail than with the naked eye.

“At the observatory, people can come out for free and look through telescopes and get some facts about (the eclipse),” Sletten said. “Luckily this year, the full eclipse happens at a time that’s reasonable. Most of them have been at 3 a.m. and only the dedicated people go out to see it.”

The lunar eclipse is an opportunity for people to gain a little perspective about the universe itself.

“Even though it’s just a shadow, and we see shadows every day, but then you see it on the moon and it kind of gives you cosmic perspective,” Sletten said. “It’s really cool to see something ordinary on a grander scale and it just gives us a different context to look at everyday life.”

A super blood moon is very hard to come by.

“It has to happen during a full moon,” Breman said. “But it’s also tilted relative to what’s called the “plane of the ecliptic”, which has the orbits of all the planets. You can’t have a total eclipse unless the moon’s orbit takes it right on that plane of the ecliptic. Plus, the moon (orbits in an ellipse) so it’s sometimes closer to the Earth than other times. Now we’re going to get a super moon eclipse.”

Even if you missed the super blood moon, there are plenty of pictures circulating through social media and news sites, and you can also catch the next one in 33 years.

Beaverdale Fall Festival grows in popularity and activities

September 28, 2015 12:00 PM


CINDERELLA waves to young members of the crowd at the Beaverdale Fall Festival Parade on Saturday. The parade featured over 100 entries including political candidates for local office, candidate supporters, businesses and local organizations. Candy, flyers and even hot dogs were tossed to parade-goers lining the Beaverdale streets. PHOTO BY ANNA GLEASON | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

CINDERELLA waves to young members of the crowd at the Beaverdale Fall Festival Parade on Saturday. The parade featured over 100 entries including political candidates for local office, candidate supporters, businesses and local organizations. Candy, flyers and even hot dogs were tossed to parade-goers lining the Beaverdale streets. PHOTO BY ANNA GLEASON | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

“Look, it’s George the Chili King!” A little girl sitting at the parade calls out. She’s right: George the Chili King is rolling down the street in a convertible, waving at kids and throwing out candy.

On Saturday, hundreds of families crowded the Beaverdale streets to enjoy situations just like this: kids throwing candy, local politicians shaking hands and hotdogs cooked on moving grills.

That is what being at the Beaverdale Fall Festival is like. Children grow up going to the festival and then bring their children to the festival. The event has been going on for more than 20 years, and the excitement grows each year. Jean Swanson, a member of the Beaverdale Fall Festival Committee, told me that an estimated 35,000 people attend the parade. She guessed that around 50,000 kids and adults enjoy various events over the entire weekend.

“I just like the feeling of watching everyone have good time,” Swanson said.

Swanson’s husband was on the council for many years, but when he passed away, his friends invited her to take over many of the duties. From there, it was a quick transition to her being on the council.

“I’m proud to be a part of it,” Swanson said.

Swanson looks forward to watching the Beaverdale Fall Festival grow and change.

Every year they add new events, Swanson explained. This year, they added a game street for kids with pictures with Cinderella in addition to the rides, face painting, booths and music they had in past years.

Andy Boyce of The Wooden Kitchen is selling his products at a booth this weekend. He worked in construction for a long time, but decided to pursue a new path.

This new direction includes cutting boards, pizza paddles, tables and benches. His wife, Kristina Boyce, makes rope baskets and totes, and they sell their products together. When selling at the farmers market, they were approached about having a booth at the festival. Now that people are starting to think about Christmas presents, Boyce says business is starting to pick up. He believes people like buying his products because they are of higher quality that customers can pass on to grandchildren and turn into an heirloom.

When walking into the fall festival for the first time, it’s obvious to see why many people adore it. People of all generations are running from booth to booth and cheering at the parade floats. A dinosaur in a Bernie Sanders shirt is probably not a tradition, but kids and parents flock to him anyway. Beaverdale seems in its element at this festival.

A twelve-year-old bulldog named Brewster, known by his parents as “The Beaverdale Bulldog”, was also present for the festivities. His parents were hoping he would make it to Beaverdale Fall Festival this year. Brewster exemplifies how much love this event carries in the Beaverdale community.

Des Moines natives at Drake are also fond of the festival.

“I love Beaverdale,” said first-year Juna Schmitt, who has attended the festival for years. “I go every year, and this is the first year I’m missing it.”

This event is a labor of love for the planners and 150 volunteers, and it shows. Year after year, people return to play games, shop locally, watch the massive parade and contribute to the legend that is the Beaverdale Fall Festival.

Recent crimes near campus bring Public Safety into spotlight

9:00 AM


DRAKE PUBLIC SAFETY can often be seen cruising around campus and in parking lots both at night and during the day. The vehicles have become symbols of observation and safety on the Drake University campus in recent weeks when crime in the Drake area has spiked. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

DRAKE PUBLIC SAFETY can often be seen cruising around campus and in parking lots both at night and during the day. The vehicles have become symbols of observation and safety on the Drake University campus in recent weeks when crime in the Drake area has spiked. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

During the first few weeks of this semester, there has been some disturbance around campus.

Two serious crimes have happened within blocks of Drake, causing some students to feel unsafe.

The first crime was a double homicide reported just before 2 a.m. on 22nd Street on Sept. 11. Drake Public Safety sent out a Timely Warning email to inform students in order for them to take proper safety measures.

A Bulldog Alert is an emergency notification that can be about anything from weather to crimes or something happening at the moment that poses an imminent threat. A Timely Warning is set for something that happened already, such as a robbery, that Drake Public Safety would like to inform students about.

The second crime was an armed robbery that occurred on University Ave. The suspects fled to Greek Street during rush events, where they were arrested. Nobody was hurt, so Drake Public Safety thought it best to not send out a Bulldog Alert or Timely Warning since there was not an ongoing investigation or a threat to the students of Drake.

Director of Public Safety Scott Law and his staff have to decide whether to inform the student body or not, taking into account the safety concerns and the possible panic it could cause.

“We usually send out a Bulldog Alert when we have an emergency situation near the campus or on the campus and we want students to take immediate action to protect themselves,” Law said. “Since we had no suspects (for the double homicide), we had no description for anyone to look out for, there wasn’t really a lot to tell people.”

Because these crimes have been so severe and so close to campus, Public Safety is increasing the amount of security guards and officers on campus.

“We will be hiring a Des Moines officer to work specifically for Drake between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.” Law said.

Along with the officer, there will be another Drake Public Safety car on patrol and another Safe Bus in use on weekends.

Students should not be afraid to report something unusual to Public Safety or talk to an officer about anything going on.

“(Security) do what they’re supposed to do and they aren’t scary at all to me,” freshman Allison Canaday said. “I would feel safe walking up to them and talking to them.”

The most important way to keep safe is to use caution in all situations, especially emergencies.

“I’ve learned where to go and to just stay on campus because nothing has ever happened on campus,” senior Taylor Floyd said. “I’m also definitely cautious. I’m aware of where our school is located and I’m not going to walk home by myself.”

Drake Public Safety encourages students to download the Rave Guardian app, which has a feature where people are able to anonymously report incidents.

“I think one of the important things to stress is to report something if you feel uncomfortable with it,” Law said. “If you see something, say something.”

Republican debate reveals character of candidates

September 25, 2015 2:00 PM


“The circus.”

That is why Josh Hughes, first-year, came to Harvey Ingham last Wednesday night to watch the debate. The Republican debate on CNN could best be described as “pizza and circuses.”

From the outset, Drake Democrats, Drake Republicans and the Drake Political Review staff were gathered for a dramatic and entertaining affair. Ever since Trump’s stratospheric ascent, he has added an amusement to the race that drew in politicos faster than the smell of complimentary pizza.

For weeks, candidates like Bush, Carson, Fiorina and even Walker had been preparing rebuttals to Donald Trump’s continued aggression and obstreperousness. Now was their chance to fight back against the monolithic Trump.

Avid eyes gathered in Harvey Ingham to see the spectacle that would—like the last debate— likely revolve around Trump. Madeline Meyer, a senior, came to see “how Trump would handle himself” and “how the candidates would respond to Trump.”

From the very beginning of the debate, Trump showed his characteristic antagonism.

Minutes into the forum, Trump said that Rand Paul should not even be on the debate stage. Rand Paul rebutted by saying that the frontrunner for the GOP should not be lashing out at people, especially not based on their appearance, as Trump had done to Carly Fiorina. In a perfectly-timed response, Trump said, “I never attacked him or his looks, and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there.”

Alex Klein, a sophomore, argued that the debate strayed away from policy contentions at times.

“It’s more concerned with how they carry themselves,” Klein said.

Much of the audience of Harvey Ingham laughed at the raucousness and patent absurdity of Trump’s prods. However, other candidates soon began to take aim at Trump.

In a performance that far exceeded that of the previous debate, Jeb Bush seemed much more confident and ready with answers. That being said, his performance still paled in comparison to many other candidates and did not seem fitting for someone who was the presumed nominee.

Although he initiated the nascent rumblings of a discussion over mass incarceration with Rand Paul after having admitted to smoking marijuana, the conversation did not last nearly as long as Bush’s confrontations with Trump. Bush argued that Trump had tried to donate to his campaigns in Florida in an effort to get gambling laws changed. Trump denied the claim vociferously. Bush said that Trump should apologize for his comments about Bush’s wife; Trump refused.

Scott Walker made some valiant attempts to rescue himself from his precipitous decline in recent weeks, especially in Iowa, where he was originally predicted to do quite well. (Walker would drop out of the race six days later.) Ben Carson maintained his non-aggressive demeanor and stalwart conservatism that has helped him climb closer to Trump’s summit.

However, the real story of the night was Carly Fiorina.

“I was looking forward to seeing Ms. Fiorina perform,” said Ryan Wiskerchen, a junior. “I was also afraid that it would just become another episode of the Trump show.”

Other students noticed Fiorina’s boldness during the debate.

“One of my favorite moments has been Carly Fiorina’s response to Donald Trump’s remarks about her when he was with Rolling Stone.” Meyer said. “I thought her response was pretty simple and eloquent.”

Fiorina was asked by the debate moderator, Jake Tapper, to respond to Trump’s diatribe: “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” Trump later tried to argue to numerous news outlets that he was referring to Fiorina’s “persona.”

“Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush clearly and what Mr. Bush said,” responded Fiorina, referring to Trump’s attacks on a Bush gaffe relating to women’s health. “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”

Carly Fiorina has become a leading figure in the primary process as someone who has shown an inordinate ability to absorb insults and remain calm while sticking to her policy ideas.

“I really liked Fiorina’s talking about how the security of the country was one issue that needed to be addressed, but that the character of the United States was also of vital importance,” Wiskerchen said.

Almost all of the candidates seemed better prepared for this debate than the first. The only real loser, especially after Fiorina’s incisive comeback, was Donald Trump. It should be noted that he seemed to be unable to offer coherent policy positions and answer tough questions at the last debate, but Trump managed to reach strong polling figures in its aftermath.

In the second debate, however, all of the candidates were more willing and able to take on Trump. In exchange, Trump harped on Rubio’s absentee voting record, Fiorina’s failed tenure at Hewlett- Packard, budget shortfalls in Walker’s Wisconsin and Bush’s dependency on mega-donations from special interests.

Throughout the whole debate, he also seemed better armed with facts, figures, and clearer, if not transparent, policy suggestions. Wiskerchen said that Trump “actually talking more about policy” was a big take-away from the debate last Wednesday. This clearer policy terminology could help Trump appeal to the moderates he still needs to win over after his poll numbers started to reach an upper limit.

That being said, Trump started to slump in energy toward the end of the over three hour-long debate and leaned against his podium. Near the end, he also made an easily-refuted assertion that vaccines can cause autism. The repeated attacks against Trump from every side on every issue were well-parried, but they were not without effect.

On the other hand, candidates like Christie, Cruz and Rubio, despite years of being involved in politics, were desperate to portray themselves as political outsiders.

Christie argued that being a Republican in New Jersey qualified him as an outsider. Cruz referenced his unusual, anti-establishment conservatism that has put him at odds with the Senate leadership. Rubio said that his absenteeism was a result of learning how broken Washington is. In a season of political outsiders like Trump, Carson and Fiorina, other candidates seem to want to join that bandwagon.

Even after these developments, it is difficult to determine a favorite.

“I am still trying to navigate the many Republican candidates,” Meyer said.

The conversation often seemed to get distracted from principled debate into “no decorum, no order,” Hughes commented. Those factors were not helpful for those trying to seriously consider who they want as their future president.

However, it is important to remember that it is still early in the season, and there is plenty of time for candidates to jostle for position. Nevertheless, Wiskerchen said, it is possible that with these debates, “the field will narrow a bit,” and the real contenders will emerge.

Quad reduces amount of sides given to students as part of meal plans

10:00 AM


QUAD’S CHANGE in the number of signs is explicitly outlined in posters. The change from two sides to just one side for students on meal plans dining at Quad Creek has brought strong reactions. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

QUAD’S CHANGE in the number of signs is explicitly outlined in posters. The change from two sides to just one side for students on meal plans dining at Quad Creek has brought strong reactions. PHOTO BY YING CHYI GOOI | PHOTO EDITOR

Quad Creek Café kept students on their toes this semester by changing the number of sides with each meal.

In previous semesters, students would be able to choose from two different sides with their meal. This fall, students can only pick one.

The decision was based on surveys from Student Senate for health reasons, according to General Manager Aaron Knutson.

“The sides are now bigger than they were last year. We’ve added healthier options with different kinds of chips and more whole fruit,” Knutson said.

A few students on campus have expressed mixed feelings about Quad serving one side compared to two sides like last semester.

“I’m generally disappointed that we don’t get two sides anymore,” said sophomore Margo Wohlfeil.

Wohlfeil believes the change is not equal to Hubbell Dining Hall.

“If you choose to eat in (Hubbell) you get basically unlimited sides and now in Quad you just get one,” Wohlfeil said. “I used to take one and save one for later as a snack.”

Sophomore Megan Rush agrees with Wohlfeil and doesn’t see the significance of changing the sides.

“I don’t see the benefit of the change. Room and board tuition increased, yet we are getting less bang for our buck,” Rush said.

Sophomore Sami Clarke agrees with Rush that the sides were better last semester.

“I hate it because you used to get two chips and then you would only eat one and save the other for a snack, or you could have a banana and cookies and have a healthy option,” Clarke said.

Not every student is against this change, however. Some students appreciate the larger serving sizes and new options.

“I don’t actually mind the change; the sides options are healthier and larger portions,” said sophomore Erica Gannon.

She adds that prior to this semester, they didn’t have oven-baked chips and it was mostly refrigerated options that were much smaller.

Director of Operations Mindy Murphy states that students who don’t appreciate the change will be reluctant at first to the new change but then grow to accept it.

“We did re-price everything and a lot of the items got cheaper. It’s less expensive to add on sides now. You can buy a cookie with your fruit,” Murphy said.

Knutson states that he is “obviously open to suggestions.” Students can put their feedback in the comment cards or go to the Drake University Sodexo Facebook page to give input.