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The truth behind the “dirty” water in freshman dorms

By Lucas Persechino

Social Media Editor

When Caitlyn O’Connor, ‘24 who lives in Alumni, wakes up in the morning and goes to the bathroom, she sees gray water pouring from the faucet.

“I wouldn’t drink from the tap water unless I was dying of thirst and Alliot was closed,” she said.
Since last year, students have complained of gray water pouring from the bathroom sinks in freshman dorms. These buildings include Ryan, Lyons, and Alumni. What students describe as a gray-ish fog in the water has led some to believe that the tap water is contaminated and unsafe to drink. With most water fountains on campus closed due to COVID-19, O’Connor’s main sources of drinking water are plastic gallons from Target. “I wish there were other sources of water on campus besides Alliot. As an athlete, it’s very inconvenient,” she said.

The reason behind the water’s gray tint, however is misleading. According to Benjamin Duffy, environmental health and laboratory safety manager at St. Michael’s, the problem resides in the aerators of each faucet.

“When functioning properly, aerators prevent air bubbles from forming as the water dispenses. There are no minerals or dirt, it’s just air bubbles,” Duffy said. When asked if he would test the water, Duffy said he doesn’t feel the need to. An aeration issue does not have the potential to contaminate the water. An aerator simply determines how much air is mixed with the water, he explained. Although the water is safe to drink, gray water running from the faucet is still an issue. To resolve this, Duffy has sent the “Master Plumber” to check all faucets and solve this aeration issue.

In a statement to the Defender, Declane McCabe, associate professor and chair of Biology, ensured that our tap water is safe to drink and is “held to a much higher standard than bottled water.” Professor McCabe explained that the Champlain Water District is the College’s source of water.
Joel Ribout, director of Facilities, was unaware of this issue until recently. He agrees that this is an aeration issue. “As for proof, we spoke to folks at the Champlain Water District and they agree that is most certainly the issue. We will be changing out all the faucet aerators,” he said. The question still remains as to why this is only an issue in freshman dorm buildings, and why these aerators are failing on such a large scale. “My guess is the freshman dorms were all changed at the same time,” Ribout explained.

Andrew Galvin ’24 , a resident in Lyons, is aware of the “murky’’ water. When asked if he drinks from the tap, he said, “I let it run before I drink from it. Sometimes you got to do what you got to do.” Galvin, like O’Connor, also relies on bottled water as his main source of drinking water.
The source of the tap water at St. Michael’s College, the Champlain Water District, is considered one of the best sources of drinking water in the United States. In 2015, the district won “Best of the Best” people’s choice water taste test. The Champlain Water District was also the first water supplier in the nation to receive the “Excellence in Water Treatment Award” for their completion of all four phases of the Partnership for Safe Water Program, according to Champlain Water District’s website.

“We have an excellent source of water, and we maintain the water quality because we do a great job distributing it to consumers,” said Mike Barsotti, Director of Water Quality and Production at the Champlain Water District.

Jay Nadeau, Retail Division Director at Champlain Water District, also agrees that the gray water is a result of faulty aerators. “Oftentimes, aerators will mix air in the water,” Nadeau said. “Within minutes, it clears.”. He also mentioned that aerators aren’t the only cause of gray water. When warm water is exposed to cold temperatures, or cold water is exposed to warm temperatures, air gets trapped in the water as a result and creates the gray look in the water, he explained. “It may be an aesthetic preference, but it will not affect anyone who drinks the water.” Nadeau said.

As misleading as this gray water may appear, it is still safe to drink. In fact, it’s safer than bottled water and more eco-friendly. To all residents living in Alumni or Lyons this year, and those unfortunate enough to quarantine in Ryan, you have no reason not to trust the tap water. If leaving the building seems too inconvenient, know that you can turn to the bathroom sinks for quick access to drinking water.

By Justin Madison

Contributing Writer

In-person event planning has changed due to COVID-19 at St. Michael’s College. With more understanding of the disease attained over the past year, new understandings to handle ourselves and keep everyone safe have allowed people to partake in more social activities. How exactly could in-person activities take place this year at St. Michael’s College?

It may not come as much a surprise that P-day would be canceled this year due to Covid-19. The scale of the event in the past would be too difficult to accommodate with safety regulations this year in order to minimize the risk of an outbreak. Despite this event getting canceled the SGA is currently planning for a spring fair. “Our attempt with [the spring fair] is to have something instead of nothing,” says Anna Witkowski, co-secretary of programming, “We’re planning the spring fair so it’s a little tighter and a little cleaner [than P-day] so that we align with the Vermont guidelines for Covid.” As a result, the SGA is planning a Spring Fair. The event is planned to consist of multiple more dispersed events, such as club-hosted events or food trucks, across campus that students can partake in as they please. It is important to note however that events such as this are a privilege and as Sierah Miles, co-secretary of programming, “We don’t want students to take advantage of the opportunity, we want them to enjoy it but we also want to make sure we can have more events like this later on.”

Her point was emphasized by Witkowski saying “It would be a reward, not an ending to following the guidelines.” No other school is attempting to host an event such as this, because of that, both co-secretaries of programming emphasized that it is a privilege to be able to have an event like this planned and if students take advantage of it or disobey the guidelines, then these types of events can’t go on. In many ways, the spring fair will act as a test to see how events at St. Michael’s College would be able to occur.

Larger schoolwide activities of the past, however, would still be reliant upon the overall situation of the disease and how students manage themselves on campus. In order to host an event, Doug Babcock, director of Public Safety, says, “We would have to follow all requirements from the State of Vermont, and additionally make sure we followed the science about transmission and the circumstances in the state and on campus at the time.” He emphasized the importance of maintaining the general guidelines such as wearing masks and social distancing, which are all incredibly important to minimize the spread of Covid-19.

Adhering to these policies is one of the best things we as a community can do to slow the spread of COVID-19, and with opinion, potentially even hold events like prior years with accommodations due to health and safety protocols. This is still highly dependent on how willing students themselves are willing to adhere to state and school policies, however, so the spread of COVID-19 does not lead to an outbreak. When asked about how students can stay compliant with COVID policies, Babcock said, “The first and most powerful method of compliance is students taking responsibility for their actions and for encouraging their peers to do the same.”

Every person on campus this year has a major part to play in how the college is able to handle events this year, and one of the best methods of adhering to the policies is monitoring how you follow them and encouraging others on campus to do the same. With the ever-changing and evolving nature of the virus and how we have to adapt to our new normal, nothing is set in stone. The best way events at St. Michael’s College can proceed relies heavily on how the community conducts itself to keep our community as safe as possible.

By Connor Torpey

Arts & Culture Editor

COVID-19 has taken a lot away from the college experience of students at St. Michael’s, yet the college has tried to make commencement as normal as they can while also keeping things COVID friendly. One of these struggles that the college had to go through was figuring out how to have a meaningful graduation while simultaneously keeping within the COVID guidelines. On March 5, students received news that the 2021 class commencement would proceed on May 13, in a COVID friendly way.

The St. Michael’s administration, in conjunction with student leaders, plan to hold two separate ceremonies in May. On May 13 the first ceremony will take place in person, on the 300’s Field with only the graduating students attending. During this event COVID guidelines are to be followed with everyone sitting in chairs that are spread 6 feet apart. Due to the State of Vermont’s limitations on outdoor gatherings of no more than 150 people, family members will not be able to attend this event. In addition to the in-person ceremony for seniors, the college will hold a virtual procession on May 16th that families can attend. It is during the virtual ceremony in which degrees are received by the class of 2021.

Seniors have mixed feelings about the commencement in general. “I like the idea of trying to do an in person graduation,” said Callahan Hughes ‘21. “I really feel as though after committing four years to this, you really want something formal, and I feel as though online is not the same because we’re all burnt out from online classes.”

Hughes then expanded on this by saying, “I really appreciate that effort and I think outside is a good idea. It’s kind of weird not being able to have parents there or anything else. It kind of defeats part of the purpose I feel.”

On the other side of this, senior Marlon Hyde says, “My family and I are not upset about having a graduation [online]. Why? Because this is still my moment.” He then continued to say “it’s a special moment but not the only special moment we’ll have in our lives.”

Student Government Vice President Onio Finster ‘22 acknowledges that the college is facing difficult decisions about commencement. “The college is in a very unique position, in trying to plan for commencement,” says Antonio Finster, current Vice President and Junior, who is a current member of the eboard. “Not only do they sort of have to address the needs and concerns of students but they are also governed by the state guidelines and what they’re allowed to do.” It’s a very unique position in which they have to answer to two separate entities whose views might be somewhat opposed.”

This controversial approach to graduation may not be exactly what students wanted for their final year at St. Michael’s, but may be the only way students can have a graduation in person without breaking state guidelines, and most importantly without risking infection.

By Mikey Halligan

Managing and Visual Design Editor

While weekly COVID-19 testing continues on campus and single-digit positive cases remain steady this semester, many students are confused and frustrated as to why the current “Orange” alert level has not changed.

“I honestly don’t know what is going on with the alert levels,” said Owen Wieland ’22. “Every week, we have been getting really low positivity counts back, so why are we still at the ‘Orange’ level and why aren’t we able to hang out with more people,” he questioned.

The alert levels are set by the College’s Executive Policy Group (EPG). The EPG is comprised of cabinet members (President and Vice-Presidents), and senior staff including the Emergency Management Director, the Director of Health Services, faculty leadership and a few others. It is a function of the College’s broader Emergency Operations Plan that helps set COVID-19 precautions around campus.

“We have a number of factors that we consider regarding the status on campus,” said Doug Babcock, director of Public Safety and member of the EPG. “This includes the actual number of cases and contacts, the relationship between contacts, the trend week to week and more. We also consider the area around us, rising or falling infections in the community, number of hospital beds available, testing resources, etc,” he said.

Although these factors are important in the decision-making process with the current state of the COVID-19 Alert Level, it’s what the students are doing on campus that have the biggest impact. Dawn Ellinwood, vice president for Student Affairs and member of the EPG, said at the Zoom Town Hall meeting on March 11 that students who are violating COVID restrictions are the biggest set back to changing the alert to “Yellow.”

“It’s not just student behavior and gatherings, but it’s also a good amount of students who are missing our mandatory testing each week that plays into this. So, once we get a groove and those numbers go down with conjunction with everything else, then we will most likely move into ‘Yellow’,” she said.

Due to the number of COVID violations and sanctions on campus over the past several weeks, the EPG has been reluctant to ease restrictions.

“We also consider the risk that can come with changing level or easing restrictions, where students become more lax than the new level intends, putting the community at greater risk,” Babcock said.

Alex Bertoni, director of Marketing & Communications and member of the EPG, also emphasized student behavior as part of the problem.

“There have been more sanctions issued this semester. Discussions about moving to Yellow have been held up largely because of conduct issues.”

Babcock also explained that the reason for these low cases is because of the protocols and measures the school is taking. Due to the limitations of group sizes, besides classrooms and labs, the College has yet to experience a large outbreak of COVID-19 on campus, he said.

“We understand it is difficult, and we regret that. However, it is premature to lift limitations on group size,” Babcock said.

Students are also confused as to why some of the elements within the “Orange” Alert Level have been altered and changed. The current state of what is “Yellow” or “Green” isn’t clear, but once decisions are being made about changing the level, then that information will be given to the students, Bertoni said.

It is important to keep in mind that the level guides on the St. Mike’s website are not set in stone rules. The restrictions within these levels are being updated and modified because of the frequent changing status of COVID on campus and around the community. Indoor dining, for example, opened up after two weeks of test results showed a low prevalence of COVID on campus and because of the safety protocols Sodexo has placed.

“If we transition to a less restrictive level, we still have to adhere to state guidelines, which are also subject to change,” said Kristin McAndrew, vice president for Enrollment and Marketing, and member of the EPG.

There is a rumor on campus that the current alert level will change to “Yellow” sooner than later. Members of the EPG can neither confirm nor deny if that decision will be made soon.

“Sadly, there are no guarantees when it comes to a pandemic, but adhering to COVID guidelines is the best thing students can do,” McAndrew said.

Red Rocks Park, South Burlington

By Will George

Photography Editor

As you open your car door, the smell of trees and the coast come rushing towards you. Surrounded by dirt, there are three paths to choose from. The one in front will take you deeper into the trees, the path on the left goes down to the shoreline, and the loop trail starts on the right.

The fresh air beats the air in the dorm rooms. I have been in the habit of staying inside and not going out to do things since Covid has started. Since the majority of the activities we used to do is no longer possible, we have to adjust. Instead of hanging out in a friends room, go on a small little hike together. Talk and joke around like you normally would, but also enjoy being outside. Feel the sunlight and the wind on your face. Pick a nice day and take a break from all the screens and masks that have become normal in our everyday lives.

Red Rocks Park has a lot of variety within itself. There are trails all along the park to hike and a beach on Lake Champlain. There are a few cliff jumping spots, but it might be a little too cold for that right now. The Red Rocks loop trail is a trail that takes you all along the park and it is a total of 2.7 miles long. It is a nice short walk that won’t take you too long. The park has 700 feet of shoreline on Champlain and there’s a grass hill above the beach that you can sit on to eat or take a break after walking the trails. There are also plenty of picnic tables if you don’t want to sit on the ground.

The trails can get pretty muddy in spots so I would suggest boots and if it’s snowy/icy out a pair of ice cleats would help, but they are not necessary. Winter in Vermont can be hectic with the changing weather, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay inside when it gets snowy.

I can just imagine what all the trees would look like covered in white. While the weather is nice, you can sit on the rocks on the waterfront. It is honestly one of my favorite spots near campus because it reminds me of a beach where I live. The park does have a leash policy so if you want to walk your dog, it needs to be on a leash.

To get to Red Rocks Park, go to 47-1 Red Rocks Park Rd. It is a 12 minute drive to the park from campus with decent parking. This park is beautiful at sunset, especially since it is on the water. Downtown Burlington is also right there so you can grab a snack after exploring the park. Red Rocks has plenty of options from sitting on the beach to hiking through the trees and I’m sure everyone can find something to do there.

There are many things we can do while keeping socially distant. You could bring a frisbee or soccer ball if it is a nice day or maybe a snowball fight would break out if it is snowy. You never know what might happen until you get out there.

By Lucas Persechino

Social Media Editor

You have probably heard the name GameStop a lot recently. You also might know that something happened with GameStop’s stock, GME. That’s because on Wednesday, Jan. 27, history was made on Wall Street. This time around, the average investor claimed their fortunes in what was a huge loss for hedge funds on Wall Street.

For those who don’t know, GameStop took a huge hit financially as their revenues decreased about 24% in 2020 when the Covid Pandemic reached the US, on top of a 3% decrease in revenues the year before according to Macro Trends. Hedge funds, who are groups of Wall Street investors who pool their money together for use in the stock market, started shorting GameStop (GME) stocks. In other words, making a profit off GME’s steady decline using the stock market. For years, hedge funds have made millions of dollars off shorting the stocks of companies like Blockbuster, Cinemark, and Bed Bath and Beyond according to The Hedge Fund Journal. However, a subreddit account on the popular app Reddit, called “r/wallstreetbets” made some of the biggest hedge funds in Wall Street panic.

Users on the server simply began discussing how unfortunate it was to see their beloved GameStop on the verge of bankruptcy, and called for everyone to pump money into the GME.

Users on the server simply began discussing how unfortunate it was to see their beloved GameStop on the verge of bankruptcy, and called for everyone to pump money into the GME stock. After the trend started to pick up, the GME stock price went from $37.37 Jan. 20 to $354.83 on Jan 27. This led to an anonymous user posting “yolo” as he put $50,000 into GME and turned it into $47.9 million. The surge of GME’s stock price caused a “short squeeze” which is basically a huge loss for hedge funds that shorted the stock. Because the price of the stock was going up rapidly, Hedge funds no longer made money off their prediction of the stock price staying low. In other words, by using social media to get a bunch of people together and invest in one company, average investors beat hedge funds at their own game. Melvin Capital, a hedge fund who shorted GameStop, was at a 53% loss in January following the GME surge according to cnbc.com.

Wall Street did not take the loss so well, and reasonably so. This led Robinhood, a brokerage app, to cease all sales of GME stocks in a statement that read “In light of volatility we’re restricting transactions for certain securities to positions” according to cnbc.com. Robinhood’s actions sparked outrage all over social media, especially twitter, regarding not being able to buy into GME.

This led to Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) condemning their actions, and senator Ted Cruz agreeing to the statement in the same twitter thread. AOC tweeted “We now need to know more about @RobinhoodApp’s decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit.”

Ted Cruz retweeted AOC saying, “Fully agree.” The Twitter thread is something many people thought they would never see as AOC and Ted Cruz are on two opposite spectrums of American Politics.

After the situation calmed down, the question still remains: what does this mean for the future of investing? In the age of social media, it could mean a huge change in how people invest. Does GameStop’s example prove to be a bright future for the average investor? I certainly think so. After what happened with GME, the stock prices of AMC went from $3.29 on Jan. 20 to $20.34 on Jan. 27, and Black Berry’s stock price went from $13.23 on Jan. 20 to $20.25 on Jan 27. Neither AMC or Black Berry are comparable to GME, but all are part of the same trend. All three of these companies were in the top ten of most shorted stocks. I believe that people caught on to short squeezing hedge funds to make a profit, using social media. I think GME set an example of coming together on social media and driving up the stock price of companies that hedge funds feast on, thus changing the way we invest.

Everything you need to know about campus outages

By Sam Heyliger

Staff Writer

Saint Michael’s College students received a slew of emails regarding a network outage on Tuesday, Feb, 2. This outage caused campus-wide issues connecting to Canvas, Zoom, and other programs requiring an internet connection. While not an unfamiliar occurrence, this was the first outage since students returned to campus for the Spring semester. Three emails were sent out, which left some students wondering what caused the outage.

To answer this, it’s important to understand how the network functions on our campus.
“There are many pieces to our network, but as far as the internet goes, we have two internet connections that go through an internet service provider that we work with, called, First Light,” said Shawn Umansky, network engineer at Saint Michael’s College. “We have two paths for redundancy, so if one goes down, the other can stay up.” “When we’re talking about the network, we’re also talking about the services that may be connected to the network. Examples include wireless, Canvas, Knightvision, printing, Office365, and One Drive. Not all these services are handled the same way,” he said.

Tuesday’s outage was caused by a failed switch, Umansky explained. “One of our core switches had a hardware failure, which any service that was tied to that was impacted. Wi-Fi was one of those services.” The engineers had to move all of the service traffic over to another switch after taking the non-functioning one offline. “There were certain components of our Wi-Fi infrastructure that were tied to that first switch. A lot of the Wi-Fi stayed up because some of the Wi-Fi was tied to the other switch,” Umansky emphasized.

An ongoing issue with network outages on campus is the pressure for students to keep up with classes in the midst of technical problems. “It’s important to be patient when the network goes out on campus because it seems like it’s something they can’t control, but it can be really frustrating when it happens in the middle of a class.” said Adrien Harwood ‘23, one of the many students affected by this outage.

“I think students should try to have a positive outlook if they can. There’s not much we can really do to control the situation but I do think they should be slightly critical.”
“Be generous to each other and try to be forgiving,” said Christina Root, professor of English. “Communicate with your teacher. It’s bound to happen when we’re in a pandemic.”

Can network engineers predict the timing of network outages on campus? Well, not exactly, according to Umansky. Routine checkups can be made to monitor potential problems in the future, but knowing when exactly an outage will occur is nearly impossible. Thousands of feet of cabling run underneath College grounds, allowing for network and service accessibility to every building on campus. Therefore, relying on detection systems is crucial in preventing outages on campus. Outages can also happen off campus, and will affect the ability to use internet services. “When there is an outage, what services are impacted are dependent on the location of the problem, and what services may be running in the area of the network,” Umansky explained. In Tuesday’s case, a hardware failure on one of the core switches caused the outage, he said.

However, the cause can vary. In fact, squirrels have been known to have bitten through cables on campus before and caused outages.

Considering the importance of network reliability, an outage is never good news. This outage was solved the same morning and students could continue classes as scheduled for the rest of the day. However, these network outages aren’t completely avoidable, so patience is important.

As a student, there are some measures you can take to help keep the network running smoothly. Pay attention to things like laundry machines, vending machines, printers, classroom computers, network jacks, and other services around campus that are connected to our network. If you see them unplugged or not functioning, and are experiencing network problems, contact the Help Desk. “We encourage you to bother us,” Umansky said. “Our job is to support you and make sure that you have a good experience on campus and you can do what you need to be successful in your classes, and outside of your classes.”

By Annie Serkes

Staff Writer

Although College students may be at the end of the line for the COVID-19 vaccine, questions about vaccine safety and hesitancy are being raised. While some students are excited to move past the pandemic and return to normal life, others want the same, but are skeptical of the vaccine.
Vaccine hesitancy is not a new concept, there’s always been opposers, known as anti-vaxxers, that refused to accept other vaccines for their own reasons. Now, with the COVID-19 vaccine, despite top doctors and scientists in public support of the vaccine, there are people who have displayed hesitancy towards its effectiveness and safety.

“My biggest concern is that it’s been less than a year since the vaccine was made. The side effects of the vaccine concern me more than actually getting COVID-19,” said Julia Fitzgerald ’22.
“Even though it seems that very little time has occurred to produce these vaccines, they have been in production for years, thus, needing less reconfiguration to match the COVID virus, the FDA is one of the most stringent clearing houses for approval of medicines and vaccines in the world,” explained Mary Masson, director of Bergeron Wellness Center.

According to Mark Lubkowitz, professor of biology, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
“If you look at the risk benefit analysis and look at the number of people who have been vaccinated compared to those who have died from COVID-19, it’s not even close,” he said.
The CDC has also stated, there can be side effects after COVID-19 vaccinations, but they are said to only be temporary.

“Although there have been some reports of side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines, most subside in days, and they can be a good thing,” Lubkowitz said.

Having symptoms from the vaccine gives reassurance that your immune system is recognizing the virus in your body, and if you happen to come in contact with the virus, your immune system can fight it off.

“With my second dose of the vaccine I experienced headaches, muscle aches, and low-grade fevers, but that’s a byproduct of my immune system doing what it should,” Masson explained about her experience after her second vaccination.

When the vaccine becomes readily available to the general public, the goal is to reach herd immunity so life can revert back to normal.

“My biggest concern is that not enough people will get the vaccine to reach herd immunity, and it won’t be effective if there aren’t enough people getting it,” said Ava Albis ’23.

“To end the pandemic you need 60-70% herd immunity for all people to get an increased level of safety around it. One way we can get herd immunity is for everyone to get exposure to the virus, but that would take years, cost many more lives, and be a disaster economically,” Masson said. “Our best solution to this is a safe and effective vaccine.”

(Scene 1)

By Professor Dr. Mr. Glosherberg

Contributing Writers

INT. Post Office – Day

[Professor Glosherberg is shipping a questionable package through the US Postal Service. There is no accurate description of professor Glosherberg, he is a human enigma. The initial postal worker does not care for his job, but his supervisor is very dedicated to his craft]

GLOSHERBERG
Hello Post Officer.
(Throws body bag on the counter with great effort)

POSTAL WORKER
Hello Sir, how may I help you today?
(Visibly confused, slightly scared)

GLOSHERBERG
This is for my motha!
(With zeal, slaps rear of body bag; continues to rub rear throughout the scene)

POSTAL WORKER
I think you’re gonna need some stamps for this

GLOSHERBERG
Ah, yeah! I feel ya! Slap that baby on the scale

POSTAL WORKER
I don’t think that your… package is going to fit on the scale

GLOSHERBERG
My mother lives in Phoenix ya know!

POSTAL WORKER
Uhhh… Let me grab my supervisor
(Postal Worker leaves… comes back with the supervisor)

SUPERVISOR
(A bureaucratic man in a suit who looks condescendingly at Glosherberg. Turns to POSTAL WORKER)
Thank you, Neil, I will take it from here.

(Neil Leaves Returns to his Computer)
(Turning to GLOSHERBERG)
Hello sir, I am Thorton Henderson Reginald-Fairbanks Childs IV, a seventh-generation postmaster of the greater Weehawken area. How, sir, may I be of assistance?

GLOSHERBERG
I’m mailing this to my motha!

SUPERVISOR
Very good sir. To your mother you say?

GLOSHERBERG
Uh-huh, she lives in Phoenix, near the University

SUPERVISOR
Very good sir. I myself am a graduate of the Harvard School of the Postal Sciences. Mail deo paria. Mail, God, and country son, in that order.
(Walks from behind the counter and approaches the audience)

Mail deo et paria. Mail deo et paria. A nation without mail is not a nation. There is a reason, you see, that the postal service can be found in our Constitution. A nation, my boy, without the mail is a nation without laws, without order, without liberty. My God man, why did Rome fall? For want of mail! For when the roads did clutter with the discarded armor of the barbarian mercenaries hired to defend in her dying gasps the far-flung extensions of her then benighted empire, it prevented those brave couriers from their rounds.

For want of the mail, Rome failed.
(yelling now)
Mail makes the world turn! It is all that stands between man and beast, between the divine and the base. You, sir, see before you the pinnacle of human advancement, the post office! Man’s temple to his own greatness. By God’s grace alone do we enjoy the fruits of our postal prosperity. We are a society within a society, a band of brothers who have served as a great connection across space and time. We stand with Herodotus, who said in that creed we all now know…

(a legion of postal workers emerge and create a phalanx behind the SUPERVISOR. The lights dim.)

ALL THE POSTAL WORKERS, IN UNISON
“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from their appointed routes”.
(Light shines brightly on the face of the SUPERVISOR. Prolonged pause)

SUPERVISOR
(softly and emotionally)
Mail deo paria…
(Returns behind the counter, lights go up, Neil returns to the computer, extra postal workers exit the stage to the left and right)
You were saying something about a package?

GLOSHERBERG
Actually, it’s a letter!

SUPERVISOR
(Plops large book on the counter, flips through quickly)
May I draw your attention to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, e-CFR, which states in Chapter I, subchapter E, part 310, section 310.1 Definitions, which notes of letters that the term shall not be construed to refer to “(i) objects the material or shape and design of which make them valuable or useful for purposes other than as media for long-distance communications unless they are actually used as media for personal and business correspondence, and (ii) outsized, rigid objects not capable of enclosure in envelopes, sacks, boxes or other containers commonly used to transmit letters or packets of letters.”

GLOSHERBERG
Ah, but sir, if you turn your attention to paragraph a(3) of the same code, you will note that it is in fact a letter under the definition of a selective delivery plan.
(Supervisor flipping through the book, looking for this section)

SUPERVISOR
Ah, very good sir, you are quite correct. We are now obligated to weigh it, to ascertain how many postage stamps are required for the proper shipping and handling.

GLOSHERBERG
Slap that baby on there!
(slaps rear aggressively)

SUPERVISOR
My good sir, I am delighted by your enthusiasm for the postal arts. What are you mailing today?

GLOSHERBERG
It’s a… a life-size Ralph Macchio doll
(The initial postal worker comes back)

POSTAL WORKER
Hey, hey… Ralph Macchio is 5’9” that doll is at least 6’1” you’re not fooling me, buddy!
(Outraged)

SUPERVISOR
Is this true my good sir?
(Shocked and appalled)

GLOSHERBERG
Alright, alright, you got me, it’s not just any Ralph Macchio doll. It’s Ralph Macchio… as a lady, those extra inches are the high heels

SUPERVISOR
Well, we still have to weigh it
(struggles to get doll on the scale, eventually gets it on)
(Scale breaks)
Not to worry, sir I was able to get a reading of the weight in time. It weighed 140 pounds, which exceeds the limit for a letter by 3 ounces… and 139 pounds.

GLOSHERBERG
But what if I told you I have two stamps?
(Aggressively slaps a smiley face stamp on the rear of bodybag, tenderly places the second next to thefirst)

SUPERVISOR
That is insufficient sir

GLOSHERBERG
Fine, I will take my business elsewhere

SUPERVISOR
It is your loss
(Glosherberg hauls body bag over his shoulder and walks off scene)

-End Scene 1-

INT. Car – Mid-day
[Glosherberg is driving with the body bag in the passenger’s seat.]

GLOSHERBERG
Well, buddy, we’re going to Arizona!

[Weird Al Yankovic’s “Amish Paradise” plays in the background. Glosherberg is bobbing his head up and down in rhythm with the music. The camera pans to a white guy (preferably Steve Buscemi type) with the Coolio haircut. He is driving in an inner-city neighborhood; the camera pans to a sign that says “This Way to Inner City Amish Community.”

GLOSHERBERG
(Rubs leg of body bag)
Maybe we can pick up some butter for the trip.

Greetings readers. The saga of Professor Dr. Mr. Glosherberg was written by six Saint Mike’s students working alongside their favorite professor. This being said, the original format was that of a screenplay, and therefore will include some (hopefully) humorous additions to the mere text. This will be the first of multiple installations of the Glosherberg Files. We hope you enjoy!

Why students at SMC are pushing for a Death Spire

By Connor Torpey

Arts & Culture Editor

A rusty spike laden tower pierces the sky, the bones of what was once a junior are being cleaned of their flesh by a rabid tiger, and fear grips the locals who see this mile high structure out in the distance from what should be the comfort of their homes. This is the dream of many students here at Saint Michael’s College.

When arriving back on campus this semester one would be met with a strange sight. Students with picket signs were marching up and down the campus sidewalks, brows furrowed in determination. “BUILD THE SPIRE OR WE WON’T TIRE!” they hollered as their signs bounced up and down, all bearing the name “DEATH SPIRE”.

This Death Spire movement supposedly started as far back as October when Saint Michael’s campus was locked down due to alarming amounts of COVID cases on campus. Students were looking for solace and hope in the bleak darkness that had covered the campus. In its depressing silence, an idea was sparked, an idea that would overcome the dullness of a COVID shut down. This idea was the Death Spire.

The Death Spire can be described as a giant rusty nail that extends almost a mile into the sky and would be located between the Three’s Field and Ross/Tarrent gym. Covered in spikes and nails of varying shapes and sizes as well as a plethora of deadly booby traps, it would immediately oppress anyone who dare have the courage to look upon its vastness. The goal would be to climb to the top and survive all the trials and obtain a valuable prize (A Cumberland Farms gift card, coupon for a free Dunkin Donut, a large stuffed bear, etc.) here are, however, many disagreements about the description of the Death Spire. What traps should it have? How many traps should it have? Should it have traps at all? The most divisive design choice is whether or not it should have an interior. The Interiorists and Purists are conflicting factions that cannot agree on the right option.

“An interior provides an alternative option for those who are not as ready physically for the challenge of climbing the tower, and want a more mental challenge,” said Mille Hardwell, current junior and leader of the Interiorists. “The interior would be a maze full of puzzles and traps that only the smartest of students could figure out,” Hardwell added. Upon being asked about her opinion of the Purists she responded, “The Purists views on the spire are outdated. Their view that the tower can only be climbed on the outside, and that excludes people who may want to climb the tower, but aren’t able too because of the state of physical being. That is why we have the maze so it’s more easily accessible to people, but still just as deadly.”

When talking to Chris McArthur, a senior and leader of the Purist movement, he said, “The original idea for the death spire was for it to be climbed on the outside for the prize on top, as someone would scale a pizza hut for a whiff from the chimney. We want to keep this original vision, because we think it makes more sense. First of all building an interior filled with traps and puzzles would be extremely expensive. It would be very difficult to get that money and would make it far less attractive to the college to do. Also, the idea of the Death Spire is to watch and root on your friends as they defy death to go and claim victory against all odds. But, with an interior it’s no longer a spectator sport. You can’t see someone going in through the bowels of the tower. You just have to guess and wait to see if they make it out. Unfortunately, Millie and her followers have lost sight of this very important aspect of the tower.”

Administrators at school are not exactly fans of the prospect of this Death Spire. “The Death Spire is a ridiculous idea,” said Dr. Sosana Dourkoffski head of Student Proposed Structures. “The idea of students falling to their deaths on our campus under our watch. I mean who’s going to clean it all up? The grounds keeping staff have enough work as it is cleaning up after students, but now they have to clean up the students themselves! That’s just asking for too much.”

Despite the administrative backlash, students are still pushing hard for a way to counter the COVID blues. I have even been informed that as soon as The Student Government Association is back up and running there will be a bill passed to try to fund the Saint Michael’s Death Spire. Now I know I’m not supposed to give my opinion on this being a reporter and all, but personally I believe that this is a terrible idea. I mean a tower that people climb that leads to their death? That’s awful! Now an obelisk that people climb to their death, that I can get behind!