I Marched Against Budget Cuts That Threaten The Writing Program

I Marched Against Budget Cuts That Threaten The Writing Program

The disrespect Sacha Kopp is giving to the adjunct professors and students within the Program for Writing and Rhetoric is the cause for the march against him and his decisions
83
views

On Wednesday, November 15th at 1:00 PM, nearly 100 students and faculty gathered outside the Humanities building at Stony Brook University to fight back against the budget cuts the administration, especially Sacha Kopp, are trying to enforce. These budget cuts affect no other than the Program for Writing and Rhetoric, an important minor here at SBU and one that I cherish and love deeply.

Throughout my time at Stony Brook, I have made amazing connections with faculty in the writing program and found my career path because of them. Even full-time professors, whose jobs aren’t going to be affected by the budget cuts, came out to show their support.

Sacha Kopp, however, doesn’t feel the same way. He sees this department as disposable, as if it doesn’t matter and what they are teaching doesn’t matter. In early October of this year, 20 adjunct professors, some who’ve been working full-time for 20 years, received a notice that they will be laid off at the end of the semester because the budget cannot support them. This last-minute announcement left many professors out of work and scrambling to find another job.

The disrespect Sacha Kopp is giving to the adjunct professors and students within the Program for Writing and Rhetoric is the cause for the march against him and his decisions.

Earlier in the semester, a handful of students scheduled an appointment with Sacha Kopp to talk through his decisions, but when their appointment time came, where was Sacha Kopp? He certainly wasn’t in his office. And to think this irresponsible and disrespectful man holds the power of professor’s futures in his hands.

After an exciting and powerful round of pep talks from leaders and faculty fighting for their jobs, we marched. We rallied through campus, chanting, showing support for our fellow professors. We got the attention of many as eyes were on us as well as phones and video cameras. We rallied over to Sacha Kopp’s office to hand him the petition that nearly 3,000 people signed to keep the adjunct professors. We crowded the hallways and made sure he heard our message loud and clear.

The bottom line is that everyone needs to know how to write. There is not a single field where someone will not need a writing skill set. Kopp’s plan to replace writing professors with professors from the sciences is not going to help, either.

The reason for all of this is because Kopp does not see the writing program as important. However, writing is just as important as STEM. STEM will not cooperate or stay afloat without writing students because writing students know how to effectively communicate through speech and writing, solve problems analytically, and work with a wide range of knowledge because writing students are not tuned to specific studies like STEM students are; writing students cover a broad variety of subjects.

I know I wouldn’t want a biology professor teaching me writing. I’m sure biology professors know how to write effective research proposals and articles, but how are they going to handle personal statements, resumes, and creative writing that comes to them? They are not trained in those areas like the writing professors are.

If you were taking a biology class, would you want a writing professor teaching you? I know I wouldn’t. The reason why writing professors teach writing is because they are good at what they do and students deserve to learn from them and have proper instruction because writing is something everyone needs to successfully do. Writing is important, just as the professors who teach it are.

With that, I pledge to keep fighting for the department that I love until Sacha Kopp backs down.

Cover Image Credit: Unplsash

Popular Right Now

4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.

59229
views

Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The First Punic War

The First Punic War was fought to establish control over the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica).

110
views

In 289 B.C., while Rome was overthrowing Italy, Carthage extended its empire over part of northern Africa, over Sardinia, the Balearic Islands, and two-thirds of Sicily, and covered the Mediterranean with its merchant vessels. Carthage had made conquests, no, like Rome, for the pride of command, but for the profits of victory.

It exploits harshly the vanquished, so that these, remain his enemies, while Rome, knows how to make of his subjects faithful allies and instruments of new victories. "Carthage was both a political and trade rival" (Cronin 21). Carthage carefully dismantled their cities, lest they become points of support for a revolt; but these open cities are no longer a bulwark for themselves. Finally, the Carthaginians use mercenary soldiers, believing that one can with money buy courage, loyalty and dedication. "Rome entered the war without a single battleship while Carthage had no fewer than 120" (Cronin 22).

They do not see that their mercenaries fighting for a foreign cause will fight softly, will demand a lot and will compromise all wars by their indiscipline. On the death of Agathocles of Syracuse, a large part of his mercenaries are unemployed. These mercenaries or Mamertins come from Mammertum in Bruttium (Calabria). They seize then Messina, massacre a part of the inhabitants and take control of the city. The First Punic War was fought to establish control over the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica).

At the beginning of the third century, two independent Greek colonies oppose the Strait of Messina: Messina (present-day Messina) in Sicily and Rhegium at the tip of the Italian boot. Since the 5th century B.C., Syracuse fought against Carthage in a long conflict or neither of the two belligerents could take over the other. In 315 B.C., Tyran Agathocles of Syracuse starts a new war against Carthage.

In 309 B.C, he landed in Africa, seized Tynes the white and ravage the surrounding countryside. He won several important battles against the Punic troops, rallied cities subject to Carthage in his camp and took the opportunity to descend to the south. In 307 B.C., he is defeated and must go back to Sicily.

This defeat allows Carthage to assert its presence in the western part of Sicily. Shortly after, the Romans intervene on the Greek cities of the south coast of Italy, with Rhegium, with Thurii and face Tarente which requests in 280 B.C., the military aid of Pyrrhus. His intervention in Italy then in Sicily puts him in conflict with the Romans then the Carthaginians. The latter agree by treaty in 279 B.C. against their common opponent. This treaty excludes any separate peace with Pyrrhus, and provides for assistance from the Carthaginian fleet, however none of these clauses will be respected.

On leaving Sicily, Pyrrhus exclaimed: "What a beautiful battlefield we are leaving to the Romans and Carthaginians!" Neither Rome nor Carthage can in fact abandon to a rival power this great island situated in the center of the Mediterranean, which touches Italy and from which Africa can be seen. After his departure, the powers resume their positions: The Carthaginians recover west of Sicily, the Romans seize Taranto in 272 B.C. then Rhegium in 270 B.C. This capture of Rhegium deprives the Mamertini of Messina of their ally.

In 269 B.C., Hieron II, the new Syracusan tyrant (Syracuse) manages to defeat them and take part of their territory. The Mamertins appeal to Carthage and Rome. The Carthaginians who are in nearby Lipari intervene immediately and install a garrison in Messina, forcing Hieron to give up submitting this city.

Rome hesitates to intervene. This delay is put to good use by the Carthaginian general Hannon the Great, son of Annibal Barca: he lands with an army in Sicily, strengthens the Carthaginian positions and agrees with Hieron of Syracuse against Messina who managed to get rid of his Carthaginian garrison. Rome ends up sending in 264 B.C. Appius Claudius Caudex consul to Rhegium, from where he manages to land in Messina.

The military escalation reached its fatal point: Hannon and Hieron besieged Messina, Appius Claudius enjoined them to raise the siege. Hieron refuses, replying that he is exercising just reprisals against the aggression of the Mamertins. The war was declared. After some successes on the ground against the Carthaginians and the surrender of several cities, the Romans impose on Hieron of Syracuse a truce of 15 years, and return to him his prisoners for ransom. Syracuse retains its territory, and leaves the Carthaginians alone in front of the Romans.

Despite this setback, Carthage began to regroup troops in Agrigento, but the Romans led by Appius Claudius and Marcus Valerius Messalla take the cities of Segesta and Agrigento in 261 B.C. after a seat of 7 months. The city is ransacked and the population reduced to slavery.

In order to catch up with the Carthaginian navy, Rome is revitalizing its navy. In 260 B.C., in two months the wood is cut, shaped and the Romans launch on the seas 140 ships of wars, built on the model of a captured Carthaginian ship. The military genius of the Romans made them find a way to defeat the Carthaginians on their own element: they invented a war machine the raven, a sort of footbridge of fangs or a bridge which, falling on the galley enemy, seized with crampons of iron, holds it motionless and delivers passage to the soldiers. Henceforth it is no longer, so to speak; that a land battle where the legionnaire finds all its advantages.

The Roman troops are led by the consul Gaius Duilius who commands the infantry and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio (the uncle of African Scipio), the Navy. Unfortunately, Scipion is captured with 17 ships near the island of Lipari. At the same time, off Mylae on the northern coast of Sicily, 125 Carthaginian boats confront the Roman fleet commanded by Duilius. The Carthaginians are defeated and lose 45 boats. It is the first naval victory of Rome.

This naval victory will have a great impact. Rome will be very proud of it and will reward as much as she can for her general by unusual honors. In addition to the ordinary triumph, he will be given the right to be sent home at night by candlelight and the sound of flutes; moreover, a column will be erected in his honor at the Forum, bearing his name and victory engraved.

This success was almost offset by a setback. A Roman army was enveloped in Sicily in a parade. It could only be made from this bad step if one occupied a hill that covered the road. A legionary tribune, Marcus Calpurnius Flamma, offered himself to settle there. It was walking to certain death, because all the effort of the enemy was going to concentrate against this post. He found, however, three hundred brave men to die with him.

The Carthaginians were only so sure of this handful of brave men, that the Roman army, saved by this sacrifice, had left the defile. They took revenge on them: all perished. However, the Romans, returning the next day to the hill, found there Calpurnius Flamma still living under a heap of corpses. He received a crown of grass from the consul, says Pliny, "the most noble reward;" for this simple crown meant that he to whom it was given had saved the lives of Roman citizens. In order to catch up with the Carthaginian navy, Rome is revitalizing its navy. In 260 B.C., in two months the wood is cut, shaped and the Romans launch on the seas 140 ships of wars, built on the model of a captured Carthaginian ship.

The military genius of the Romans made them find a way to defeat the Carthaginians on their own element: they invented a war machine the raven, a sort of footbridge of fangs or a bridge which, falling on the galley enemy, seized with crampons of iron, holds it motionless and delivers passage to the soldiers. Henceforth it is no longer, so to speak; that a land battle where the legionnaire finds all its advantages.

The Roman troops are led by the consul Gaius Duilius who commands the infantry and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio (the uncle of African Scipio), the Navy. Unfortunately, Scipion is captured with 17 ships near the island of Lipari. At the same time, off Mylae on the northern coast of Sicily, 125 Carthaginian boats confront the Roman fleet commanded by Duilius. The Carthaginians are defeated and lose 45 boats. It is the first naval victory of Rome. This naval victory will have a great impact. Rome will be very proud of it and will reward as much as she can for her general by unusual honors. In addition to the ordinary triumph, he will be given the right to be sent home at night by candlelight and the sound of flutes; moreover, a column will be erected in his honor at the Forum, bearing his name and victory engraved.

This success was almost offset by a setback. A Roman army was enveloped in Sicily in a parade. It could only be made from this bad step if one occupied a hill that covered the road. A legionary tribune, Marcus Calpurnius Flamma, offered himself to settle there. It was walking to certain death, because all the effort of the enemy was going to concentrate against this post. He found, however, three hundred brave men to die with him. The Carthaginians were only so sure of this handful of brave men, that the Roman army, saved by this sacrifice, had left the defile.

They took revenge on them: all perished. However, the Romans, returning the next day to the hill, found there Calpurnius Flamma still living under a heap of corpses. He received a crown of grass from the consul, says Pliny, "the most noble reward;" for this simple crown meant that he to whom it was given had saved the lives of Roman citizens.

With his success at Cape Ecnome, Marcus Atilius Regulus tries to repeat the strategy of Agathocles of Syracuse landing with 15,000 men near Carthage in Africa to divert the Punic troops of Sicily. Regulus meets a Punic army in Adys and easily wins. Carthage wants to negotiate with Regulus.

The terms of surrender issued by Regulus are so restrictive that the Punic finally decide to fight whatever the cost! A group of Greek mercenaries under the command of Spartan commander Xanthippe arrives in Carthage. Xanthippe took command of the Carthaginian army (12000 men, 4000 horsemen and 100 elephants). In a short time, he changed the face of affairs, tired Regulus by a crowd of small fights. At the battle of Utica, the Roman troops are cut in pieces, 500 Romans are captured including the consul himself.

Meanwhile, the Roman fleet under the command of Marcus Aemilius Paullus runs aground near the Sicilian coast of Camarina.The loss of this army, the destruction by storms of several Roman fleets forced Rome to renounce Africa and postpone the war in Sicily, where hostilities languished for several years.

Carthage sends Regulus to Rome to ask for peace in his name (250 B.C.) subject to his word of honor to return to Carthage if his mission fails. This general had nobly supported his captivity. When he arrived near Rome, he did not want to enter the city. "I am no longer a citizen," he said; and, as he was also charged with proposing the exchange of prisoners, instead of pleading a cause which was his, he dissuaded the senators from accepting it.

They wanted to pity him on himself: "My days are numbered," he answered, "they gave me a slow poison;"and he left, notwithstanding the entreaties of his friends and the prayers of the whole senate, in spite of the tears of his wife Marcia and his children. He had given his word. True to his oath, he returns to Carthage where he is tortured before being put to death.At the end of the year 252 B.C., Carthage, after having mulled a revolt in Africa sends a new army in Sicily under the command of Hasdrubal.

The Carthaginians decide to attack the Roman army commanded by Consul Lucius Caecilius Metellus near the city of Panormus. The Romans rout Hasdrubal's army, capture his fighting elephants and send them to the circuses in Rome. Hasdrubal is recalled to Carthage to be executed. This defeat ends the land campaigns of Carthage in Sicily. There are no longer in Sicily, in the Carthaginians, but Drepane and Lilybee.

The war is concentrated around these two cities. In 249 B.C., the Appius consul Claudius Pulcher wants to surprise a Carthaginian fleet in the port of Drépane. But omens are sinister: the sacred chickens refuse to eat! "They do not want to eat,"said the consul, "well, let them drink!" and he has them thrown into the sea. The Romans are defeated in advance by this impiety, which makes the soldiers fear the anger of the gods, and that Claudius cannot repair by clever maneuvers. The attack is a disaster, 93 Roman ships are captured, only 30 ships manage to escape. A few days after this defeat, another large Roman fleet commanded by Consul Iunius Pullus carrying new reinforcements for the siege of Lilybaeum was wiped out in a storm.

In 247 B.C., Carthage sends to Sicily a great general, Hamilcar Barca, the father of Annibal (Hannibal). Cantoned in Eryx, in an impregnable post, he held for six years the Romans in check. The war could have lasted so long, for Rome had renounced the sea, the storms having destroyed more than seven hundred galleys. Roman patriotism will give the senate a new fleet. All the citizens took their treasure money to waste.

One gave arms, the other slaves to serve as rowers; still others gave ships. Rome will have another fleet of 200 ships with its 60,000 sailors. The consul Lutatius Catulus orders them. He surprised, near the Egate Islands, a Carthaginian fleet (March 10, 241 B.C.). The battle is short and at the first shock, Carthage loses 50 ships, 70 ships and 10,000 prisoners are captured. This victory makes the Romans masters of the sea.

Carthage resigns itself to put an end to this ruinous war. Rome, master of the sea, Sicily is no longer tenable for Carthage with its empty treasure. Peace is signed under the following conditions: Carthage will not attack Hieron of Syracuse, ally of Rome; it will abandon Sicily and the neighboring islands, render all the prisoners without ransom, and pay in ten years three thousand and two hundred euochic talents. In 241 B.C., Carthaginian Sicily is reduced to Roman province and the first Punic war was over. "The battle for Sicily resumed in 254 but was largely stalemated until 241, when a fleet of 200 warships gave the Romans undisputed control of the sea-lanes and assured the collapse of the Punic stronghold in Sicily" ((The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica). Both cities after 20 years of conflict are bloodless and impoverished. Hamilcar Barca agrees to leave Sicily and the Lipari Islands.

On the other hand, he obtained the recognition of the entire Carthaginian territory. Both cities undertake not to make war and not to raise soldiers. "The surprise of the war was that the Romans, who knew nothing of seamanship before it, won six of the seven naval battles" (Cronin 24). Romans captives will have to be returned without ransom and a contribution of 3200 talents over 10 years is imposed on the vanquished. Carthage undertakes not to make war in Syracuse. Apart from the territory of Syracuse, allied with Rome, all Sicily will become the first Roman province.

Cover Image Credit:

Storia in rete

Related Content

Facebook Comments