Editorial: EPA budget cuts will affect Toledo

A leaked draft of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2018 budget proposal indicates that the Trump administration intends to suggest cutting the program from $300 million annually to $10 million. It would be part of an effort to slash $2 billion from the agency and reduce its workforce by 3,000 employees.

Cutting down that far is sure to cause some sort of backlash. But from where? At our own university and in our own community.

The plan is to cut the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that was launched in 2010. This would “essentially stop restoration efforts in their tracks in states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio,” as said by Chad Lord of the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition to Cleveland.com.

The program’s action plan identifies four major focus areas: cleaning up the Great Lakes’ areas of concern, preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful/nuisance algal blooms and restoring habitats to protect native species.

This program is helping to research a serious issue that plagues our area. It wasn’t too long ago that Toledo had its very own water crisis. Algae took over our water. Citizens were warned not to drink the water and even to avoid using it all at one point. For several of our editorial staff, arriving in Toledo for our first semester just as the algal bloom affected people was disconcerting.

Money from the initiative supports programs to fight algal blooms that have threatened drinking water in Toledo, protecting marshes along the lakes and cleaning up pollution in rivers that drain into the lakes.

It’s disheartening that people feel unsafe in drinking their own water. Flint, Michigan has been dealing with their own water crisis for over three years. Their situation deals with the contamination of their source of water supply with lead from corrosive pipes. The EPA just gave Flint $100 million for water-crisis recovery.

The EPA is so very important to many in the United States. It’s hard for us to imagine a worse time for the president’s administration to abandon efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. Another algal bloom could happen. Flint is still struggling with obtaining clean water.

There is still so much left to be done, and there is so much we can do to help.

  • There are many protests across the country against the Trump administration’s proposed policies. A March for Science is planned for Toledo. Check out their Facebook page for event details.
  • Find your local district representative and start calling, emailing or even visiting their office.

Rejoinder: Unreported sexual assault is still sexual assault

Dear Editor,

On behalf of Jeff Newton, UT’s chief of police, and Donald Kamm, director of our Title IX office, I want to express our deep concern about the views expressed in the letter that appeared in last week’s edition of your paper about unreported sexual assaults at UT.

As I have stated in a previous communication to our students, sexual assault is never acceptable. We found the stories reported to be terribly disturbing, both because of the impact the assaults had on the women who told their stories, and also because of the perception of the University’s response to some of the incidents.

We take every report of sexual assault very seriously at the University. Members of our UT police department are trained to be sensitive to victims of assault and to provide as much support as possible to someone reporting a sexual assault. After reading the letter, our police chief personally reviewed all records to see if he could determine what may have transpired to have left the victim feeling so disillusioned. He could not find anything in his records that indicated a victim was treated improperly, but we realize that if a victim remembers her experience with the police in a negative way, perception is reality. We are so very sorry that she had that experience.

Our Title IX office also reviewed the case in which the victim felt the University failed to listen when she indicated she did not want to be contacted. The role of our Title IX office is to protect the rights of all students. We have policies in place that attempt to ensure all reported cases are investigated, even when a victim no longer wants to participate. This is done in the interest of protecting the safety of the victim, as well as others at the University. We are sorry that the student felt further violated by our attempts to learn the truth.

We feel strongly that the information you provided warrants more than a letter from us. In the next weeks, I will be convening a discussion with my senior leaders to discuss additional ways to address this problem. The safety of our students is my very first priority, and we want to do all we can to help eliminate these occurrences.

UT created the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness last year to strengthen our efforts to prevent sexual violence and help survivors. We have hired a full-time, dedicated counselor and victim advocate funded by the center. These efforts complement the support services provided by the Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program already happening at the counseling center and through our partner, the Hope Center. We are making progress, but it’s never fast enough. Any student, faculty or staff member can receive immediate assistance or have questions answered by calling 419-530-3431 (24 hours a day).

If anyone has ideas as to what else we can do to address this very serious problem, please encourage them to reach out to me at [email protected].


Sharon L. Gaber, Ph.D.


Simon: The deception of the melting pot

When I started school, I was taught that America was a melting pot. My teachers emphasized the words on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Emma Lazarus’ words were a promise that I believed in.

As the eldest child of immigrants, a lot of things about this country were hard to understand. Phrases and foods were difficult to get used to. The first time we saw the word “ski” appear in homework, it caused a lot of confusion.

The children in my kindergarten class would tell me I was “too dark” to play with their dolls. They were genuinely surprised that I lacked the “scent” that their grandmothers told them a black person would have.

My parents and I learned together what these insults meant. To be sure, these were clear signs that I was not an American, and my parents tried to tell me as much. But I was a child and I didn’t let that tarnish my vision of the “melting pot” I was told we live in.

Even though I experienced the racial divide through countless microaggressions in the years following, like people asking if I wash my hair or if either my toothpaste or soap were, in fact, black.

It wasn’t until my high school freshman social studies class that I knew for sure that the “we’re a land of immigrants,” “everyone is equal,” was pure indoctrination.

The teacher asked us what we thought was a simple question: “Who is an American?”  The class looked around confused. We thought we all were.

That’s when our teacher shattered my illusion of what America is. She told us to imagine an onion, each layer a characteristic of “an American.”

The first layer was male. Then the layers’ list went on to include white, able-bodied and heterosexual, but it didn’t matter.

From the very beginning, it was clear that I would never fully be American. My view of America was forever changed that day.

The 2016 elections felt like déjà vu. It brought back those same feelings of disappointment and shock.

The fact that much of the country voted against their own interests to elect the 45th president as the leader of the free world was a jolt to me and shattered another piece of my reality.

The realization that the people I see on the street, in my neighborhood, even my friends, heard his hate, the racism and the vitriol, and still chose him to be the leader of the free world has made me the most cynical form of myself that’s ever existed.

There’s a constant thought in the back of my mind that the person I’m speaking to considers me an unwanted inhabitant of this country. I’m still getting used to the feeling that a friend is smiling in my face knowing that he or she voted for a man who refers to me and the people who look like me as “the black.”

These emotions are further fueled by the fact that not one of these people I’ve known my entire life have said or done anything to denounce a single member of the current administration’s racist, false or completely insane comments.

They ignore all the horrible acts committed against minorities in the name of Trump’s America. The same people who overanalyzed and degraded every move and word former President Obama made have gone mute, and I can’t help but notice.

Between the doublespeak and lies the 45th president spews and the rise in hate crimes nationally, I don’t know what to trust in anymore.

I had successfully convinced myself that I belong here. I convinced myself that any discomfort I felt was just a minor inconvenience. But that couldn’t be further than the truth.  None of what I was taught about America is true.

All of a sudden, a former nude model is a more acceptable First Lady than an Ivy League-educated attorney. It’s no longer acceptable to criticize the person occupying the Oval Office when, months ago, our president was the devil incarnate.

Nothing makes sense anymore. Blindly following misinformation and downright lies is not patriotism. It’s idiocy.

The late Malcom X once said, “You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or who says it.” America needs to read these words now more than ever.

Most people in this country don’t even see me as a person, much less an American.

Shawna Simon is a University of Toledo alumna.

Ayoub: Which is better —doctor or pharmacist?

Parents only want the best for their children.

They want to see them grow up, succeed, get married and, maybe, have a couple kids of their own. All parents want their kids to have the best life, not to fall victim to the same mistakes they made and to be the best kind of person.

No one wishes anything less for their children. Perhaps that’s why we have all been told by our parents at least once in our lives to go into the medical field. Yup, this definitely brings back some childhood memories.

Oftentimes when we think of the medical field, doctors are the first thing that pop into our minds. What most people don’t think about is that pharmacists are doctors too. In fact, doctors and pharmacists work together daily.

Being an aspiring medical doctor that works in a pharmacy, I know this this for a fact. But which job is better? Which job will help people the most? There are many conflicting opinions regarding the importance of pharmacists versus medical doctors. As someone who’s had a taste of both, I feel I can give some strong points of either profession.

Going to medical school has always been my dream, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. Doctors treat and diagnose patients, whether they are working in the hospital or on vacation with friends.

A person doesn’t have to walk through office doors to be helped. Doctors can help anyone, anywhere, regardless of whether they have their white coat on or not.

They also have the power to write prescriptions, a feat that many pharmacists argue that they should have the right to do as well.

Pharmacists learn about drug interactions and their effects on the body for four years of schooling, whilst doctors go through a semester or two of pharmacology.

Though this may be true, pharmacists do not go through nearly enough schooling to know how to diagnose patients. Nevertheless, they are more accessible than doctors. If you have a question for your doctor, you can’t just call him up and ask. You must make an appointment, have him see you for five minutes, prescribe you a medication, and pay $100 for the office visit.

On the other hand, you could visit your pharmacist, tell him your problem, and he oftentimes is able to suggest something you could take over the counter, all free of charge. I think it’s pretty obvious which is the preferred choice here.

I have worked in the pharmacy for almost two years, and I’ve loved every second of it. Not only have I learned medication names, but I’ve learned how much doctors and pharmacists rely on each other, and how their jobs often go hand in hand.

In the end, which is better? In my opinion, they both are. Whether working in a hospital or at a retail pharmacy, you still have the reward of aiding sick patients. And that’s all us medical majors really want to do: help people.

Samar Ayoub is a second-year student in pre-med concentration.

Letter to the Editor: Unreported sexual assault is still sexual assault

Per national statistics, one out of 10 women will be sexually assaulted at some point in her lifetime. Some studies even suggest that the number is as small as one in four women on college campuses.

The University of Toledo has approximately 7,000 undergraduate female students, so this means that 1,750 will likely be victims of assault. The average student will attend school for four years, or 48 months. 1,750 divided by 48 gives us the number of 36.46.

This suggests nearly one or more rapes or sexual assaults takes place every day on the University of Toledo’s campus. How can the numbers be so different? The following are four narratives from young women at the University of Toledo who, for different reasons, did not report their assaults. The names in these narratives have been changed to protect those who were involved.

Paige was 19 in the spring of 2013 when she was raped in a stairwell of Memorial Field House on campus. Her attacker was her classmate, whom she would spent time with in the building before class.

He told Paige they were going down a stairwell to sit outside. This is when her attack happened.

“I felt powerless; I told him no. He physically silenced me,” Paige said.

Paige sought out help from the counseling center. A counselor told her that, if she reported, Paige would need to drop the class. She felt embarrassed and as if no one would believe her if she reported because her attacker was so well-liked and gave tours to incoming freshmen.

Gillian was a freshman in fall of 2013, and her first assault happened the first week of classes by somebody she did not know. Gillian reported this assault to the UTPD, and she said they treated her like a criminal.

She was placed in the back of a police car and questioned for hours without bathroom or water breaks. Gillian says she has a learning disability which makes it difficult to write and was given no help when filing a written report.

After moving to a new dorm, she was raped in October of 2013 by the young man she was dating at the time. Her reasoning for not reporting this rape was due to her previous treatment by the on-campus police.

“I knew I couldn’t put myself through that again, even though what he had done was wrong,” Gillian said. Her assailant was a well-liked member of his fraternity and has since graduated.

Zoe was hanging out with a male friend in his on-campus fraternity house in spring 2015 when she was raped. She said that they were fooling around and he had his pants off, but she was still clothed.

“Without warning and without asking, he flipped me on my back, pulled my pants down and began having sex with me. I never consented,” Zoe said.

Afterward, as he left the room and reunited with his friends, he told Zoe to leave so he could go drink with his fraternity brothers.

It was not until a few days later that she realized she had been raped. He held her down and she had not consented. She did not report because she was afraid she would be told she shouldn’t have been alone with him if she had not planned to have sex.

In November of 2016, Imogene was walking alone to her boyfriend’s off-campus house after her sorority’s chapter meeting for a movie night with him and a few mutual friends. The most direct route to her boyfriend’s house meant walking through an alley between Bowman-Oddy and the west parking garage.

Imogene said she caught the glimpse of a man out of the corner of her eye, but she did not pay attention to him. Suddenly, he was very close to her. She was then pushed against the building and assaulted.

“I was so scared I couldn’t even move, and I felt like I just let it happen. The faster he did it, the faster it would be over I thought,” Imogene said.

Imogene did not report because she didn’t know her assailant and said she would most likely be unable to pick him out of a lineup. She said she feared being asked intrusive questions, or, worse, be accused of lying or told she deserved it because she was wearing a nice dress.

Imogene said she disclosed this to a close friend, who reported her assault without Imogene’s consent. The following weeks, Imogene says she was contacted by the Title IX office, which led her to email the Title IX office saying she did not want to be contacted by them any longer.

After this, Title IX told her they could still investigate even without her complying. Her consent had not been taken into consideration even after surviving her assault.

These stories are only a small example of what takes place on the University of Toledo’s campus — just think what happens on a larger scale. Sexual assault is a real problem, one that often goes unseen. Just because it is not being reported does not mean that it is not happening.

Sincerely, four women and gender studies students.

Harker: Dealing with my hospital fantasies

My second year at UT, I had a schedule that would have made even the busiest of people cringe a little. I worked 40 hours a week on third shift for Oasis, attended college full time and wrote for the Independent Collegian on top of trying to maintain an unstable relationship.

I felt like I was drowning.

One day, I found myself in a 7:30 a.m. class with Dr. Abdel Halim, barely hanging on. The class was interesting, but I was dragging and could barely even get myself there, even in my sweatpants with my thermos full of coffee.

That day in class she played a Ted Talk video of a woman who explained something that she called a “hospital fantasy.” A hospital fantasy is when you daydream about being taken so ill that you end up in the hospital and are physically incapable of fulfilling your obligations. Apparently, it is a pretty common daydream among women.

To some people, this may sound silly or even crazy, but for me it was all too real. I would often think about being in a car wreck, falling down the stairs or catching something and that illness would land me somewhere my responsibilities could not follow. I was suffocating, and I didn’t know how to stop.

Unfortunately, this realization did not fix the problem, but, as it turned out, the end of the semester did. Once college and the newspaper stopped requiring my constant attention, my world came to a grinding halt.

Who was I if I wasn’t constantly working? What purpose did I fulfill? My anxiety started to become worse and worse until I started applying for internships. I ended up with two new jobs and, at first, even that didn’t feel like enough. It didn’t take long, though, for me to be overworked again and fall all the way back to square one.

It was a vicious cycle, one a lot of college students find themselves stuck in time and time again. But what can you do? How can we stop it?

For me, it came in small steps. In being honest with myself and forcing myself to take the time to do the things I enjoyed, instead of just fulfilling my obligations, I found that I was climbing my way out of the dark place I was in.

At first it was hard, but the more I did it and the more I talked about how I was feeling, the better my life was becoming.

Now, over a year later, I’m doing better. I’m free from my toxic relationship, I do yoga, I spend time reading books I enjoy and playing with my cats. I’m still insanely busy, but I’ve found ways to incorporate self-care into my everyday life.

I’m not suggesting that meditation and a go-getter attitude are going to magically fix your anxiety, depression and other problems. I still take medicine for my anxiety. It’s the entire package that has finally gotten me to a place where I can say that I’m okay.

So take the time to take care of yourself, on whatever level you need it. New hobbies, friendships or even taking the time to chill: Find out what works for you. The cycle doesn’t have to keep spinning. But only you can be the one to stop it.

Jessica Harker is a third-year communication student and the IC’s Editor-in-Chief..


Abayateye: Secor — for the greater good

Self-interest and self-preservation: These are important motivations of individual action.

We can all claim to care more about others than ourselves in every situation, which could probably be true — sometimes. But the truth is that commitment to impeccable altruism tends to fade away when we realize that our right to self-preservation is challenged.

I think this is what explains the contentions around the proposed expansions to the section of Secor Road between Bancroft and Central.

It’s not that people feel the expansion isn’t needed; it’s more about whether they’re willing to make the necessary sacrifices in order for it to happen.

No matter its form, the proposed expansion would require residents to forfeit aspects of the lifestyles they’re used to. It may mean leaving the neighborhood altogether or losing the benefits of a luxurious Ottawa Hills school district education for their kids or, yet, the worst: losing good chunks of their yards.

The question that we must all answer, however, is whether these sacrifices are necessary — of course, for the greater good?

We should ask ourselves if it’s right for us to expect these people — most of whom have lived in their homes for decades — to just give up this right. And would they be greedy in choosing to double down and stay put, especially in a society that prides itself in guaranteeing protections for private rights and properties?

Frankly, I’m in a dilemma about these issues, and I hope you are too because these don’t lend themselves to a simple “yes” or “no” answer.

I do think that individuals have the right to seek personal preservation. Yet, in severe situations such as this I believe that the collective good should take precedence.

Let me put this situation into perspective. That stretch of road has two lanes in both directions with each measuring nine feet wide. It’s a very narrow stretch, one which had 199 crashes between 2013 and 2015 alone. It’s probably fair to call it one of the most terrifying roads in Toledo, regardless of whether you’re an experienced driver or just a novice.

The City of Toledo and Village of Ottawa Hills presented residents with four proposals to consider.

The first two would widen the existing lanes, add a left-turn lane and a median as well as two roundabouts at both the Bancroft and Kenwood intersections. The only difference between these is the additional walkways on either side included in only the first proposal.

City officials and engineers would prefer one of these choices, but the residents criticize the negative impacts they come with. Particularly, they pointed to both potential personal losses and revenue losses to the Ottawa Hills school district. Instead, they would rather have two broader lanes with a turn lane at the middle or, rather, leave the road as it is presently.

What is not in dispute is that motorists know something needs done about the situation. But, clearly, that’ll not happen if we continue to count on these residents to know and do what is right by society.

It helps the democratic process that the authorities are trying to explain all the benefits of expansion and get them to support it, but if all of what they see are the personal losses, it’d be hard to get this support.

It’s in these types of situations that established authorities become important. Both the city and the village have legitimate power to get these residents to do what they must do.

The federal government does this well when it invokes the “eminent domain” clause. This clause allows the government or its agency to take private property for public use after providing some compensation. Local authorities have their own ways around this issue too.

That leaves us with the other question about whether expanding this road is an urgent public need. Each person’s response, I’d imagine, depends on where he or she stands on the issue — especially whether he’ll or she’ll be directly affected by the construction.

Yet whatever our motivations are for answering the question, I hope that we’ll all agree to do right by the public.

I understand that it is hard for a person to give up a place that he or she has become emotionally attached to, but is that emotional attachment worth the possible loss of human lives?

The truth is that sometimes I feel safer on I-75 with all those semi-trailers and box trucks competing over the highway with me than I feel on Secor.

And the fact that I feel that way, and I have reason to think others share this feeling, should matter to the people entrusted with making the difficult but necessary policy choices for this city.

It should also matter to Secor’s residents that the majority of their fellow city residents feel this bad about something they’re so unwilling to let go.

Of course, these people are entitled to staying put and enjoying the sanctity of their properties, but so are the majority of us who care about our safety on Secor.

So back to the question of whether it is right for the majority of us to expect the residents to make these sacrifices: I say yes. Yes, not because I care less about their right to self-preservation, but because in this case, I feel the greater good justifies that request.

Philemon Abayateye is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography and Planning and the IC’s Opinion Editor.

Sennett: “The King and the Clown”— A Review

It is rare for the University of Toledo to explore the east. The theatre season is usually booked with Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and anything from the American Great White Way. But, this spring, we were given something unusual: a play from South Korea.

“The King and the Clown” is based on the 2000 play called “Yi” and tells the story of 15th-century Korean King Yeonsan and his relationship with the cross-dressing court clown, Gong-gil.

The king’s complicated ego leads to something of a romance with his effeminate court jester and, eventually, his downfall.

What makes this particular production special is that it is its first-ever performance in English.

Student translators worked hard to bring “The King and the Clown” to Toledo. They blended the language into our northwest Ohioan setting.

Student director Keeyong Hong placed the indescribable into his creative blocking. This helps to avoid focusing on some of the untranslatable idioms found in the original Korean play.

Often, characters do not speak at all and perform in dumbshow to carry their dramatic points. If I have any criticisms here, it’s that there weren’t enough of these silent moments that held me in such genuine suspense.

Hong seems to have a very natural talent for blocking. The actors flow organically with the bold scenery, designed by Daniel Thobias and crafted by Nathaniel White.

Thobias based the backdrop on a real Korean temple. This temple was simplified to fill Toledo’s intimate theatre space and functional for the characters to enter and exit dramatically.

The subtle haze that fills the theatre, in collaboration with the traditional Korean pre-show music, creates a thick atmosphere for the story that never seems to leave. It is a short play, but a dense one.

Yet, I expected much more sex from a play marked “mature audience only (17+), due to sexual situations and adult material.”

I often complain about UT’s shows and how they tend to make sexual innuendo too obvious, to the point where it is not innuendo at all, just gratuity.

But this is a play that does not call for innuendo. This is a play that requires the direct address of its sexual content. It is a study in 15th-century queer politics and could most certainly be an allegory for today.

I wanted to feel the dagger and the pain of the conflicted characters more, but it feels like something was cut at the last minute. Some crucial element must have been wrongly judged as going “too far,” or else the sign should have said (13+).

Evan Sennett is a second-year studying film and English literature, and he is also an IC cartoonist.


Thomas: Taming my natural, curly hair

Black History Month is over, but the struggles of the black girl continue daily. A central part of this struggle is what black girls do to keep our natural hair straight and acceptable to the public.

For many girls like me, it would not be exaggeration to say that I hated my hair. It was thick, unruly and natural.

I hated Sundays when my mother would divide my hair and comb it, and this feeling only got worse as I grew. She’d angrily rake through my hair for hours just to remove the kinks.

She knew that keeping my hair straight was important for me to conform to the ‘norm’ and to be considered ‘acceptable.’ The public loathed the natural, curly, black hair, and we had to make them happy.

My mom would use the ‘creamy crack’ relaxers to tame my hair. Without that, the semblance of straightness we got after long hours of combing would barely see Tuesday, especially in a humid temperature.

Forget that this relaxer may have some dangerous chemicals like alkali and ammonium thioglycolate—the lengths black girls go to be accepted!

I’d watch TV and idolize those who had straight hair as my mother combed vigorously. As much as I hated the Sunday routine, I still wanted to be like the people I saw on TV.

I played with my Barbies, admired their silky straight hair and wondered why I didn’t have the same.

As time went by, my mother had to put in more hours at her factory job. That naturally took away our Sunday routines, and my hair got little attention.

As a compromise, she took me to the salon to get a relaxer. And if you don’t know already, relaxing your hair is different from the simple process of washing it.

A relaxed hair is no longer natural—you have to grow it again if you want that naturalness. I was only in third grade, but I fully understood the implication of that decision.

My first relaxer was a distinct experience, one I’ll never forget. My mom warned me against scratching my scalp because the relaxer would burn it. I did not listen. The beautician sat me near the washing bowls, then layered the relaxer on my hair like a cake decorator would dollop frosting on a cake.

I had to wait for about 15 minutes, but by five minutes into the process my scalp began to burn. The smell was pungent. I ran to the beautician, who immediately started rinsing the relaxer out of my hair. I felt the water from the nozzle in my hair almost as hard as the tears coming down my face.

She gingerly blow-dried and styled my hair. At the end, my new hair was as long as anything I had never seen before.

The pain from that first process made it hard for me to have another relaxer until fifth grade. This time, too, I experienced a lot of pain. By seventh grade, I started wearing braids.

But my hair remained relaxed—unnatural—and I could remove the protective style and straighten it without complications.

By high school, I knew I needed a new look. Yet I also knew I’d never use relaxers again.

The braids were getting played out, so I started installing sew-in weaves. This is a type of hair extension where wefted hair is sewn onto small, tightly woven braids.

I bought a new weave from the hair store every few months for this process. Typically, I maintained the same center part with straight hair that ranged anywhere between 14 and 24 inches.

Each time my stepmom did my hair and ensured that my sew-ins revolved like clockwork. So I never had a weave that looked like it was struggling to maintain life.

I wore my straight weave until my sophomore year of college. By that time, I  had graduated from buying weaves from the hair store to buying bundles from online vendors. Which cost a lot of money.

Eventually, maintaining the sew-in became too expensive, so I decided to take a break. My leave out was extremely heat damaged. That section remained straight while the rest of my hair reverted to curls.

These struggles with my hair and with keeping up appearances have cost me significantly. But I’m excited about my ability to accept my hair the way it is.

I won’t lie and say that it doesn’t intimidate me sometimes, yet I feel more comfortable with my natural hair. And though I still have a semi-straight section in the front, I love my curls. I realize that it’s a distinct characteristic of being African-American.

I slick my edges up with my dynamic duo water and Eco styler gel. I found that the less heat I put in my hair, the more my hair began to grow and flourish. The feeling was like falling in love.

It’s inspiring to hear prominent black women in our area talking about wearing their natural hairs. The support of the campus black community also makes it easier for us to accept and wear our curly, natural hairs.

Today, I honestly stopped caring about what other people would think of my curls or about what society considers the ‘norm.’ How could I truly love myself if I can’t accept everything that I came with?

My hair, of course, is like the mane of a lion. It has a texture similar to curly ribbon and is as bold as the afros of the 70s. My hair is thick, unruly and natural, and I love it. I make no apologies for it. Now that’s a Black History Month story for you.

Amber Thomas is a fourth-year marketing and professional sales student.

Editorial: Spending Spring Break on a budget

Everyone knows Spring Break is right around the corner. While some of us have big plans to travel to Myrtle Beach, Vancouver or even France with family and friends, not all of us get this chance. But who says that not going on a big trip means the end of Spring Break?

It doesn’t have to be; The Independent Collegian has our top 10 things to do for Spring Break on a budget.

Ann Arbor

While this idea does require having a car you can use, we definitely recommend checking out some nearby cities you may never have realized were trip-worthy. Take for instance Ann Arbor, only about 40 minutes away from Toledo and the perfect place to spend all day window shopping, checking out the cool graffiti and getting to know the culture.


Another good idea for a day trip is a trip to Plymouth, which is also about 40 minutes away. Plymouth is less well-known than Ann Arbor but still has a lot to offer, including cool local shops, great places to get desserts, like Grand Traverse Pie Company and The Cupcake Station, and the Penn Theather, which is showing “La La Land” and has $3 tickets.

Value movie theater

But you definitely don’t have to travel all the way to Plymouth to see a cheap movie. In fact, the Maumee Indoor Theater has discount tickets every Wednesday for only $4.50. You can also catch a ride to the Rave Motion Pictures in Franklin Park Mall on Tuesday for their discount days. Don’t forget your student I.D. for an even better discount!

Bar Louie

This isn’t a joke. Every Tuesday from 5 p.m.–close, Bar Louie has dollar-burger night! You can get a burger for a dollar with the purchase of any drink. So, if you’re looking to fill up on something cheap before you head to the theater or if you’re looking for a place to head on your night out, we highly recommend checking it out.


Frankenmuth is about two hours away and is known as “Little Bavaria.” This cute little tourist trap is filled with tons of shopping and great places to eat. For a more expensive experience, take a seat at Zehnder’s, famous for their chicken dinners. If you are looking for a cheaper option, check out La Crepe du Jour. For shopping, or window shopping, head over to the River Place Shops, to Bronner’s, a 361-day Christmas store, or to the Birch Run Premium Outlets. Frankenmuth also has a lot of activities you can pay for, like the Ultimate Mirror Maze, the Laser Vault Challenge, only $7.99 for a day pass, or a day pass to Zehnder’s Splash Village Waterpark, starting at $31.

Maumee Bay State Park

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the outdoors on a day with good weather, we recommend you check out Maumee Bay State Park. You can go swimming in the water, walk or bike on the trails and even go fishing. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a little fun in the sun while you still can.

Toledo Museum of Art

We know, it’s a little cliche. Students definitely don’t need another reminder that the Toledo Museum of Art exists and that they have the ability to take a bus there for free whenever they want to.

But what a lot of people don’t realize is that the museum also offers a bunch of other presentations that are also free and are actually pretty cool. They offer glassblowing demonstrations, musical presentations and much more.

Plus, students park for free with their I.D.’s; just make sure you park in Lot 3.

The Zoo

While the zoo can sometimes be a little expensive, it’s definitely worth the trip this Spring Break. The Toledo Zoo offers discounts to groups larger than 20 (if you have a lot of friends), but they also have coupons available for smaller groups, including a coupon for 50 percent off of admission that’s going on right now!

But if you’re from Toledo and are sick and tired of the Toledo Zoo, we recommend driving an hour north to visit the Detroit Zoo. It’s something different and fun to try at least once! However, make sure that if you do decide to take the trip to Detroit, you plan to leave at a time without a lot of traffic, since I-75 South is closed right now.

Imagination Station

The Imagination Station is a great place to spend a day in town that you have nothing to do on. It’s totally free, and you can take the bus into downtown if you don’t have a car or can’t drive. While a lot of the stuff available is centered around younger kids, it’s still a great place to go with friends and embrace your inner child.


Joslin: Bowling IS a sport — trust me

I get the same look when I tell strangers that I bowl collegiately — a cocked eyebrow and a face full of disbelief.

And then they start to explain why they’re so surprised.

Normally, it starts with trivial comments like “anyone can bowl.” Or “all that you do is throw a ball at pins; it’s not even hard.” It doesn’t take long before they harshly conclude that “bowling isn’t a sport.”

Having played soccer, basketball and softball growing up, I can definitely say that bowling is the hardest sport I’ve ever played. It is so much more than just throwing a ball at pins.

First and foremost, you can’t see the one thing that’s going to influence the game the most—the shot-glass worth of oil spread across the lane.

More oil in one spot can cause a ball to slide, not hooking at all. But less oil in one spot can cause a ball to find friction and hook. You may think that’s simple enough, right?

Not so fast. If you were looking at the oil on a lane as a topographical map, a difficult pattern would be a similar landscape to a craggy steppe, and an easy pattern would resemble a gentle hill. The only way to tell the difference is to watch how your ball moves.

To make things worse, this invisible opponent changes with every throw of the ball. Oil can be carried farther down-lane by your ball, pushed inside, outside or even burned up entirely. No two lanes are going to play the same way, even if they were originally the same pattern. Paying attention to these transitions and minor differences is key to high scores.

The next difficult thing about bowling is ball selection. You may think that all bowling balls are the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you want to move past bumpers and glow bowling, then you must abandon the desire to choose your ball based on appearance. Gone are the days of six-pound neon colored balls that glow under black lights.

Instead, say hello to differences in ball materials, core materials, core shapes, coverstocks and differentials.

Say hello to heavier weights and personalized drilling. Say hello to having multiple balls that all do different things. Also say goodbye to your paycheck because all bowling balls run anywhere from $100 to $250 each — not including that customized drilling.

Over the course of a tournament, you will be faced with moments when you could make a switch in balls and drastically change the game. However, there are no field guides to when to make these transitions. Instead, you have to rely on watching ball movement and knowing how the rest of your equipment might compare.

But even with all that, the most difficult part of bowling is entirely in your head.

You have to trust yourself to consistently make well-executed shots. Missing your target by an inch can lead to a nasty split or a dizzying washout. A deceleration in arm speed can lead to a completely different ball reaction. Not bending your knee at the line can lead to an opposite reaction. The list goes on.

You have to fight past bad breaks and errors in judgment and move on to the next frame. You may throw what you think is a perfect ball, but leave a 9 pin. Or worse yet, a pocket 7-10 split. It happens. But the game goes on.

You have to take your time to analyze your shots but at the same time avoid overthinking your way into a mistake. A missed spare one frame can lead to a string of missed spares if you over-adjust. A missed lane adjustment can leave you tens of pins behind the competition.

Now imagine combining all of those things while spending 12 hours straight on your feet with no breaks for meals — only the occasional snack here and there. Then imagine having to repeat that process over again the next day with little sleep. Complete physical and mental exhaustion are the result, yet you must push forward.

In times like those I wish it were as simple as just throwing a ball at some pins.

If you don’t want to consider bowling a sport, that’s fine. Keep your neon balls and rented shoes. I’ll continue to think that it is a sport, even without your approval.

Savannah Joslin is a fourth-year communication student with a focus on public relations.


Nieszczur: Becoming a stronger woman

Life as you know it: Gone. Vanished. Changed. The girl with every second of her life planned out is now sitting with a blank slate facing her.  It is an ominous, vulnerable and terrifying feeling.  How can she trust again? How can she pick herself up? Who will be there for her? Who will understand?

These are all the thoughts that have been haunting my mind for the past few months.

Life suddenly changed and stopped me in my tracks.  No longer did I have my perfectly planned out life sitting in front of me.  Instead, I was faced with uncertainty, doubt and guilt.

First, it was disbelief.  I refused to accept my situation.  I convinced myself that it wasn’t real, that it was a phase and that it too would pass. Then it hit me like a brick in the face. The reality of my situation set in.

I was alone for the first time since I was 14. What would my life be like without a significant other?  Who even was I without him?  How would anyone view me without being attached to him?  Who was I even, really?  I was devastated and depressed.

I am the eternal optimist, but I found myself loathing and wallowing in my situation.  I tried to avoid help from those who cared.  I shut myself out from situations that would involve me giving explanations.  In all honesty, it was the darkest time of my life.

Thankfully, in my case, I found acceptance.  I know that it is all too easy to get stuck in the rut of disbelief and depression.  However, I came out a stronger woman.  I picked myself up, brushed myself off and decided that I would choose happiness. I wouldn’t have any regrets, and I wouldn’t cover myself in hatred anymore.

Life is all about living and learning, picking yourself up and making for better days. I moved on because I had to and because it was what the all-too-long hushed strong woman inside of me was yelling at me to do.

I decided I would no longer let this unfortunate life event determine my mental state. Through this experience, I found a whole new degree of self-love that I had never previously experienced.

I saw myself as a strong, independent woman who knew her own worth.  I didn’t feel the need for attention or sympathy.  I found myself and focused on her for the first time in much too long.

They often say that it takes a difficult situation like mine to truly make you appreciate the support system that has been around you the whole time. This was true for me.  People stepped up when they needed to.  My friends and family checked in to make sure I was doing well.  I was offered places to stay and was given plenty of comfort, food and girls’ nights. My relationships with those around me grew stronger, and I grew more thankful for those who took the time to care about me.

The unsure road ahead no longer seemed as ominous.  Rather, it looked like a clean slate: It is a time to live, experiment, have fun and fall more in love with myself.

For the past six years, I had only known myself as a package deal with my significant other. I had never given myself the chance to truly get to know me and embrace who I was really meant to be.  Today, however, I am loving who I am. My self-confidence, which was eternally low, has found a new reason to rise. No longer did my happiness depend on the opinions of others; I found it within myself and in my own strength.

I became my own hero, and I sought endlessly to better develop myself.  It was truly refreshing to not know what the next day, month, year or several years looked like. I put my situation in God’s hands and trusted that he would take care of me — and he has.

I’m using my painful experience to encourage you that life cannot always be planned and may not always turn out the way we expect. You truly cannot “put all your eggs in one basket” and know what your future will look like five years down the line.  Life happens, and we must be willing to adjust to the changing times.

Live in the moment, and don’t let your happiness be tied to anyone but yourself because you are stronger than the battles that are before you.  You will come out of the hardest situations stronger than you ever imagined.  See the beauty in the chances of a fresh start.

Love yourself and embrace the strong woman within you, for she is in every one of us, just waiting to be discovered.

Alexis Nieszczur is a third-year PharmD student in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.