Omnium Gatherum

Jacob Akey, Crier Staff

This is the first attempt at what will (hopefully) become a regular variety column. Through it, I aim to inform and entertain in equal parts while commentating on events international, national, local, and Anselmian. The title, omnium gatherum, is a Latin phrase meaning a miscellaneous collection of people or things. I am easily impressed by anything in Latin, and the term certainly fits the hodgepodge theme of the column. So, in the words of Prince Phillip, “I declare this thing open, whatever it is.”

Cold weather has started to creep into New Hampshire from the icy wasteland to our North (Canada). With the dropping temperature, shorts and  t-shirts are being replaced with sweaters or pants, but usually not both. I, for one, welcome the change. It gets too hot in the dorms.

Afghanistan under Taliban control: Since the fall of Kabul, and especially since the end of large-scale American evacuations, commentators have begun speculating on what a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan would look like. Foreign policy officials and media figures alike have asked whether the Taliban would allow women into high-ranking government offices, allow higher education for girls, and show leniency to former foes. They have even hypothesized about how the new theocratic regime could achieve international recognition. These commentators are either incredibly optimistic or are ignorant of modern history. The Taliban government (before they became an insurgency group) has been credibly accused by international watchdogs of genocide against cultural minorities, the use of child soldiers, and blocking food aid for political ends. According to a 2000 UNICEF report, fewer than five percent of school-age Afghanis were enrolled during the Taliban’s previous reign. The Taliban banned photography, oppressed its people, and destroyed educational institutions in the country. These are not the origins of a stable, internationally recognized state. The commentators who predict that the group has turned a new leaf are likely to be disappointed. I wish it weren’t so. Pray for the Afghan people. 

Be wary of food poisoning claims. As students have voiced complaints against Saint Anselm College’s new food provider, AVI, several rumors of food poisoning have cropped up. I question the veracity of these stories. Changes in diet often lead to an upset stomach. That is far from the violent illness that food poisoning causes. Students should be careful that dissatisfaction with AVI does not lead to mistruths and smear campaigns.

Deli is not coming back. Our school’s AVI director said as much during a town hall this Thursday, the 16th. Until labor shortages disappear, we’re stuck with sushi.

Texas Heartbeat Bill first volley in states v. Biden. Support for the widely publicized Texas bill that allows private citizens to sue doctors for performing abortions after fetal heartbeat can be detected has proven a shibboleth dividing conservative officeholders and Democrats. President Biden claims the bill “blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade.” The protests and counter-protests inaugurating the bill will likely reemerge over a variety of high-profile issues as the Biden administration ages. Republican state attorney generals will sue the administration, and the Garland-headed Department of Justice will sue states who disregard the administration’s wishes. Such animosity is expected, and the word unprecedented is overused. 

A generational gap in mask-wearing has become apparent here on the Hilltop. More professors prefer to wear masks than do their students. To the best of my knowledge, every class still wearing masks during in-person sessions is doing so at the behest of their professors. Most students would prefer to go mask-less as the overwhelming majority are vaccinated. Why does this gap exist? 

Perhaps professors are cognizant that they travel off-campus daily and therefore present the greatest risk of bringing Covid-19 on campus. Perhaps they feel the social pressure on students to not force their peers to mask up, so they have decided to become the proverbial “bad-guy” and require masks. Or maybe, there really is a generational gap in opinions over masks. Either way, I hope the need for masks goes away soon, and with it, any debates on their value.

Alcohol and drug abuse on campus is an issue nobody wants to talk about. But, every weekend night, when the red lights of an ambulance invade our dorm rooms, we are reminded how many of our friends and peers are in danger. If you know someone struggling, talk to them.