A History of Parchman Prison and a Call for Reform / By: Kyle Hamrick, Editor in Chief

According to an article in the Jackson newspaper, the Clarion Ledger, dated Feb. 2, at least 14 inmates have been found dead in Mississippi prisons since late December 2019. Most of these wrongful deaths, the article continued, occurred at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Sunflower County, better known as Parchman Farm.

The article revealed the prison’s long difficulty maintaining the general health of inmates, with many bathroom facilities in states of disrepair, and mold and mildew running rampant on cell walls. Jay Z’s Team Roc is funding a lawsuit by two dozen inmates suing the state for the conditions of its prisons, especially at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, which the article called “a troubled Mississippi prison.”

That is a brief and delicate way of putting it that, sadly, only scratches the surface. Parchman’s history is dark and tainted with racism. In its early days, Parchman existed as an organ of a racist administration to keep recently emancipated African Americans under a yoke of inferiority and servitude to whites. In his 1996 book Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice, the American historian David M. Oshinksy dives into that dark past and brings it out into the light, revealing that conditions as a convict laborer at Parchman Farm were truly “worse than slavery.”

I read that book as assigned reading in Professor Melissa Jones’s Mississippi History class in the spring semester of 2019. With the passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865, slavery was abolished as an economic and social institution, with the stated exception as a punishment for a convicted criminal. I remember Professor Jones introduced the course with words to the effect of: “It’s a difficult thing getting Mississippians to modernize.” I think, after learning what I have learned, it’s a difficult thing getting Mississippians to humanize.

Parchman Farm was founded in 1904 in the wake of mass incarcerations resulting from Black Codes and other laws designed as stumbling blocks for recently emancipated African Americans. Oshinsky writes these Black Codes, which Mississippi was the first to legalize, were created “to control the labor supply, to protect the freedman from his own ‘vices,’ and to ensure the superior position of whites in southern life.” In addition to outlawing “mischief” and prohibiting the ownership of guns, the key element of the Black Codes was the Vagrancy Act. This act, “designed to drive ex-slaves back to their home plantations,” stipulated every African American over age 18 had to have a labor contract at the start of every year or pay a fine. The kicker was most African Americans couldn’t pay the $50 fine (they were just released from slavery, after all), so they would work for a white man in exchange for him paying the fine. This was the birth of a system called convict leasing, where prisons emptied their cells to large landowners who rented inmates for a day’s labor.

But convict leasing only existed from the 1860s to the 1890s, and Parchman wasn’t founded until 1904. Parchman was the answer to convict leasing. Independent farmers were upended by the state as employers of convict labor with the founding of Parchman Farm, a 20th century prison run like a 19th century plantation.

At Parchman, prisoners worked the cotton fields from sunrise to sunset in the hot Mississippi sun, routinely collapsing from sunstroke and exhaustion. Drivers on horseback ordered the prisoners to work, threatening them with the lash, “the true symbol of authority and discipline at Parchman,” if they fell behind the day’s quota. Prison officials defended whipping, administered by a lengthy leather strap known as “Black Annie,” claiming it was “the perfect instrument of discipline in a prison populated by the wayward children of former slaves.” This antebellum world would exist until a court case in 1972 declared Parchman undergo significant reform to become a “constitutional prison.” Parchman could no longer exist as “a farm with slaves.” Mississippians had to modernize.

But, despite how far Mississippi has come, there is still a little ways left to go.

The article in the Clarion Ledger I mentioned earlier cited studies that revealed mold and mildew running rampant through the jail. Several bathroom facilities are in squalid states of disrepair. An article on the CNN website corroborated those reported conditions with inmate reports of drains running over onto cell room floors, covering them with sewage. As gang violence causes cell blocks to go under lockdown, inmates are cut off from showers. Some inmates even reported that the gangs have some prison guards among their ranks.

This is not the prison system the people of Mississippi deserve. It is a shame and a disgrace that such conditions should exist in 2020. I think prison should not be just a dungeon for criminals. It should instead be a place where people can learn from their actions and change for the better, receiving punishment tempered with rehabilitation.
In a country where African American offenders are called “super predators” in blanket statements on crime, I hear many of the same attitudes that dictated prison policy over 100 years ago. Many people in offices of influence are still being influenced by the assumptions and prejudices of long-dead racists. There comes a time where we have to let the past be the past. This state and this country need a constructive prison system that rehabilitates more than it punishes. We need a prison system that punishes through the sacrifice of certain civil liberties, not through the sacrifice of innate human dignity.

Let’s Get Hired/by Elijah Cardenas

MC’s Career Services has been working hard to prepare what Piper Walters, MC’s Coordinator of Student Employment, calls “our biggest event of the year.” Career Day is the annual on-campus opportunity for students to network with local businesses and pursue internships and jobs for the spring and summer.

Career Day will take place on Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Anderson Hall. Almost 80 employers from the Jackson metroplex and beyond will be in attendance, including such names as Chick-fil-A, Mississippi College School of Law, St. Dominic Hospital, and even the FBI. Businesses will be arranged by specialty, and each student will be given a map to help navigate the different stations.

Students are required to wear formal attire to Career Day, but there’s no need to fret if you’re missing a spiffy piece of wardrobe to wear. Career Services is partnering with J.C. Penny from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 16 to give students mini-makeovers and big discounts on dress attire in preparation for the event.

A preparatory event called Navigating Career Day will take place at 3 p.m. on Feb. 18 in Self 208. This event will help students to become familiar with the layout of Career Day, as well as answer any questions they might have about the event or about career applications in general. Immediately following from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the Community Bank will be hosting a Jobs and Jeans event in Self 208 to provide students with valuable networking opportunities.

Career Services also requires students to bring copies of their current resume with them to Career Day, but not to worry! Career Services will be offering a Rapid Resume Review Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on February 19 to help students craft, update, and print copies of their resume in preparation for the big event. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking for professional help in tailoring their resume.

For all MC’s fitness-minded job-hunters out there, MC will also be holding a one-mile Race to Career Day on Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. outside Nelson. The event is free, and students are invited to wear business attire on top and athletic attire on bottom as a festive way of getting excited for Career Day. The male and female winners of the race will receive a pair of Airpods.

And finally, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Anderson Hall, Career Day. In addition to the nearly 80 potential employers in attendance, Career Services will be taking free professional headshots for students to use in resumes and applications, making Career Day one of MC’s most profitable opportunities of the year.

Taylor Orman, the current Director of Career Services, has her office located in the Career Services offices on the third floor of Nelson Hall. The Career Services offices are open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students are encouraged to stop by and make an appointment with any of the Career Services workers to discuss career coaching, internships, resumes, or any career topic in between.

Breaking Down Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez/by Elliot Reeder

Recently a documentary that chronicled the story of famed NFL star turned convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez was released on Netflix. As someone who is a huge football fan and who was captivated and shocked by the Hernandez arrest, investigation, trial, and conviction, I knew I had to watch it. Here is my review of the documentary as it attempted to cover the entire Aaron Hernandez story, from football, to drug use, to questions about his sexuality, to a string of violence surrounding Hernandez and his associates, to the eventual arrest, conviction, and beyond.

Aaron Hernandez was an incredible football player. After dominating high school

football in Connecticut, Hernandez headed down to Gainesville to play college football at the

University of Florida. He was a part of one of the most enigmatic but talented college football

teams in the country. He helped Florida win the NCAA National Championship in 2009 (the

season was in 2008, but the title game took place in January of 2009). Hernandez was one of

the best collegiate tight ends in the country, which led to him getting a lot of hype from the

National Football League (NFL). Hernandez decided to skip his senior year at Florida and enter

the 2010 NFL Draft. Many believed that he had the talent to be selected in the first round of the

draft, but concerns over off the field issues and rumors of failed drug tests caused his draft stock

to fall. The documentary told of some of the issues he faced at Florida such as Hernandez

allegedly punching someone at a bar because they asked him to pay for his drink. He was also

connected to a double shooting in Gainesville in 2007 although no charges were ever filed. He

was also suspended for a game at Florida for a failed drug test. Hernandez ended up being

selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round. Hernandez quickly became one half

of the NFL’s best tight end tandem alongside fellow 2010 draftee Rob Gronkowski. Hernandez

played so well over his first two seasons in the NFL that the Patriots awarded him with a 5 year,

40-million-dollar extension in 2012 (the second largest extension ever given to a tight end right

behind the one given to Gronkowski). The Patriots seemed set at the tight end position for years

to come.

Then, in the summer of 2013, the sports world and the New England Patriots were sent

into complete shock. Hernandez’s home was searched in relation to the murder of Odin Lloyd

(Hernandez’s fiancé’s sister’s boyfriend, a friend of Hernandez). Hernandez was soon charged

for the murder of Lloyd. The documentary focused a lot on the trial of this case. They

interviewed the prosecutor heavily and also focused in on a lot of the people connected to

Hernandez. Through this trial, a connection was made between Hernandez and a previously

unsolved double homicide in Boston back in 2012. After a lengthy trial, Hernandez was

ultimately found guilty of the murder of Odin Lloyd. Then the state turned their eyes towards the

double murder. Hernandez hired famous lawyer Jose Baez (who represented Casey Anthony in

her famous case) and was ultimately found not guilty of both murders in the double murder

case. The documentary placed far less focus on the second trial.

Just five days after his acquittal of the double murder charges in 2017, Hernandez was

found dead in his prison cell of an apparent suicide. The suicide came as a surprise to many

due to the fact that he had just had some of his first good news in some time. He had also started appealing his conviction in the Lloyd case. Due to an odd Massachusetts state law, since

Hernandez died during an open case, his murder charge was dropped. The family of Lloyd

appealed this decision and in 2019, the murder charge was put back on Hernandez.

One of the most shocking revelations in the documentary was the fact his former high

school teammate alleged that he and Hernandez had performed many homosexual acts with

each other in high school, and that it was a part of who Hernandez was in high school. Since

the documentary came out, another former high school teammate of Hernandez claimed that those stories were completely untrue. We do not know exactly what the truth is here in the situation, but nevertheless, it was quite a shock.

The documentary attempted to show a myriad of reasons why Hernandez was the

way that he was. It touched on alleged sexual abuse that Hernandez suffered as a child

as well as his alleged homosexuality or bisexuality. The documentary also showed a lot of evidence in Hernandez’s brain of CTE (a disease that affects the brain due to repeated trauma and blows to the head) which affects decision making. Hernandez also had a very difficult relationship with his mother, which the documentary hints at being a part of what made Hernandez who he was. Hernandez was also heavily involved in drugs throughout his football career and even admitted to being high on marijuana while playing football. One thing I did like about the documentary is that it presented all of these as reasons that helped turn Hernandez into a convicted murderer, but they were not excuses for what he did or what he became. Ultimately, he, not his issues, committed the murder.

 

The documentary was not very well put together in my opinion. It jumped around a lot,

and it felt like they were trying to tell 15 different stories all at the same time instead of just going from one story to the next. I feel that this documentary is so riveting because of the

content and the people involved, not because of how it was put together or presented.

I would recommend this documentary to people just so that they can see just how crazy

of a story this was. Also, it shows that people are not what they seem. Even if someone seems

to have one personality, they could be a completely different person in secret. Also, the

celebrities that we put on a pedestal often do not live up to the expectations that we give them

as role models. Two quotes that stuck out to me from the documentary were “he

was able to play football by day, and gangster by night,” and then “no one has allegedly

murdered two people and then played an entire season as a professional athlete.” I would give

the documentary as a whole a grade of 7.5/10.

Lady Choctaw Softball Team Looking to Build Off of Last Year’s NCAA Tournament Run/by Elliot Reeder

The Mississippi College softball team has quickly become one of the most consistently high-performing teams in the GSC since making the jump to Division II in 2015. Last season, the Lady Choctaws won 40 games overall and won two games in the NCAA Regionals before falling in the region final. MC head coach Brooke O’Hair believes that that run will help motivate this year’s team: “Anytime you go to the postseason, every step you take further is a tease. So with every returner we have, that just motivates them even more.” She added, “Going into the regionals last year and making it to the final game [of the regional] was a testament to what our girls do day in day out, but at the end of the day, it’s not good enough for us. They always want more. Our goal is to get past the championship round of regionals.”

Sophomore pitcher Hannah Creel said, “This year’s returners now know what it takes to get to a championship, and we want to get there again this season. Losing in the championship game really motivated us more than anything because we do remember what it felt like to go home empty-handed. Going to a regional and winning those two games to get to the championship helped us understand what it is we are playing for, and we are ready to fight for it again this year.”

So far this season, the Lady Choctaws have faced a grueling schedule to open up the season. MC has played in two tournaments and of their first seven games, three of them have been against preseason nationally ranked teams in Division II. The Lady Choctaws are 4-3 to start the season, but senior outfielder Shayla McKissock believes that the tough schedule will help the team in the long run: “It would be easy for us to come out with a poofy schedule and start out 8-0, but I think the fact that we are playing these harder teams is testing us and showing us where we need to improve. Also, it shows us where we are strong. We are getting to know exactly who we are as a team, and how we can build forward from there.”

Coach O’Hair also pointed to how the tough schedule will help the team in terms of strength of schedule and potentially getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, like last season, if the team falls short of winning the GSC tournament. She remarked, “In order to be the best, you have to play the best.” Both O’Hair and McKissock believe that the tough schedule will help prepare them for the daunting GSC schedule. O’Hair says, “It really prepares us for conference play because I consider our conference to be the best Division II conference in the country, so in order for us to compete and win conference championships, we have to play the top teams in the country to prepare before we start conference play.”

The Lady Choctaws sat at 2-3 after an opening game loss to Henderson State in a tournament Feb. 8 and 9. MC had already lost to two nationally-ranked teams on the season and all three of the team’s losses had been by a combined five runs. The team’s upcoming game was against preseason #2 nationally-ranked and reigning national runner-ups Texas A&M-Kingsville. The Lady Choctaws came out firing at the plate and Creel was brilliant on the mound as MC would pull away late to win the game and pick up the upset 8-1. Creel added, “Beating Kingsville was huge. They were undefeated at the time, and their stats were pretty good. We knew that we were walking into a big game, and we would need to play our best. We came out swinging, and our defense and offense was solid. It was a big win for us, and I am happy that I got to play a part in it. We are playing tough teams early on to make us better. We could easily be undefeated right now if we really wanted to be by playing weaker teams, but that won’t benefit us at all when it comes to conference games. We are able to face some of the best pitchers and hitters in the country right now, and I truly believe that we will be better down the road because of it.”

Coach O’Hair believes that that win might be a turning point to this team and shows just what they are capable of. “We had a couple of games that we had won until the later innings,” she admitted. “Some of it is inexperience. Some of it is that we haven’t been on the field much practicing due to the weather. So there are some things that our team needs to learn, and the best way to learn is through games. This team learns, and they learn quickly. We played a pretty flawless game, and everybody did their job no matter what was going on. To see it all come together was just a testament to what kind of talent is on this team. It also encourages us to continue to work and to have faith, because this team could accomplish a lot of great things this season.”

This is a young Lady Choctaw team that has two freshman and three sophomore starting position players with a sophomore ace in Creel and a freshman pitcher in Avery Barnett, who has already thrown 15 innings this season. A big part of the young players being able to compete so quickly is recruiting. 

In terms of recruiting, coach O’Hair says she looks first at if a player will fit in with the team: “I have to make sure that they will fit our culture. We always say that of softball program, ‘We’re good because we are talented, but we are as good as we are because we create a good family environment,’ and if kids can’t fit into that type of environment, the way that we work, the way that we encourage one another, how we are there for one another, and how we build a good family team, then they won’t fit in; therefore, they will be a bad egg within our team, and we can’t have that.”

The Lady Choctaws are a young team, but they still have high expectations and are looking to continue what is one of the best multi-year runs in program history. On expectations, Creel added, “At the end of the day, expectations don’t win ball games. We have to go out every game and perform at our very best. If we play the way I know we can play, we will have no problem meeting expectations.” McKissock added, “I think every single person’s goal is to make it to that National Championship, to make it all the way. Seeing the competition we’ve seen so far this year and knowing that they’re top-ranked teams and we’re beating or competing with them strongly, I know that we have the talent as long as we continue to build and grow together in chemistry on the field.”

 

Why Pam Beasley Is Overrated/by Elliot Reeder

Pam Beasley is viewed by many as a lovely mother and the main female protagonist in the show The Office, but here is the thing: She’s not the greatest thing since sliced bread. She’s not this unbelievably incredible female role model. She is very overrated. Here is why.

Pam led Jim Halpert on for years while in a committed relationship. Look, we call agree that Roy is a terrible person, but Pam was still in a committed relationship with him while leading Jim on (which is not only unfaithful, but was emotionally destructive to Jim). 

Some arguments are that she did not even notice that she was leading Jim on, but if someone is so naive that they could not tell they were leading Jim on in those situations, then that person does not have the mental or emotional capabilities to be a functioning adult. 

Then, after Pam led Jim on for years, he finally moved on and began dating Karen. Pam started getting antsy and began playing the victim. Jim was not leading Pam on at this point; she was just wallowing in her all of a sudden unrequited love for Jim. She did not let Jim in, and then the moment Jim went somewhere else for love, this did not fit within Pam’s parameters, and so it was not ok. 

Then, she completely overreacts to Michael Scott dating her mom. Would I be infatuated with Michael dating my mom? No, but at the end of the day, Michael and Pam’s mom are both adults and are capable of making their own life choices. Plus, Michael had shown a long history of caring deeply about the people in his life. 

Outside of Toby, most of the problems that Michael causes is because he loves people too much. (I can admit though that Pam was fully in the right in slapping Michael after the whole birthday breakup fiasco), but Pam was completely childish in how she reacted to hearing the news that her mom was dating Michael. Pam is not the mother of her own middle-aged mom. She does not get to make life choices for her mom or enforce her own will on Michael.

The next point is in season 9 when Pam brings lice to the office and then just allows everyone to shame and blame Meredith for being the one who brought lice into the office. This is one of the most selfish acts on the show. It was not just that Meredith took the fall, but that she began to be bullied by her coworkers for it, while Pam just sat around and conivingly let it happen.

Also, frankly, Pam is a quitter. She quits all the time. She quit art school. Then she quit Dunder Mifflin to go short-sidedly join the Michael Scott Paper Company. Then she was ready to quit the Michael Scott Paper Company and jump right back to Dunder Mifflin the moment that the MSPC hit rough waters. She is pretty much incapable of sticking with anything professionally. 

Also, while with the Michael Scott Paper Company, she was unwilling to do menial tasks because they were below her, and she did not want to be seen as a receptionist again. Here’s the thing…it is a THREE-PERSON COMPANY. The company is not in a place yet where anyone will have any defined roles. Everyone has to do things that they do not want to do in a three-person company. Everyone has to do tasks that they are overqualified for because those tasks have to get done in order for the company to survive. But here is the great Pam Beasley unwilling to do tasks that have to be done in order for the company to succeed just because she is too selfish to do them. Everyone has to sacrifice in order to make a three person company succeed, and Pam was completely unwilling to do it.

She also had to make up a fake job title and defraud the company by calling herself the “office administrator” just because she failed at being a saleswomen.

Also, there’s the whole emotional and relationship disaster between Pam and Jim. Let me preface this by saying that Jim was also equally at fault in this conundrum. Pam and Jim seemed completely incapable of having any sort of adult-like communication. They were basically two kids in adult bodies that got married and procreated. Then one moved part-time to Philadelphia and the other took on way too many duties around the house and began to resent the other for leaving the family. The relationship continued to delve into chaos, and neither Jim nor Pam were capable of being adults and communicating. Also, Pam does not know how to record a video on her phone.

I’m sorry if this article offended you or your favorite character from The Office. She is just not the best role model when it comes to this particular show. With The Office leaving Netflix at the end of 2020, maybe you should look back and see for yourself.

Graduation Changes/by Austin LaBrot

New traditions for the Choctaw family will be here soon. Spring commencement will be held on Friday, May 8, in various locations across MC’s historic campus. 

“This will be MC’s first ceremony on the Quad,” said graduation marshal Kyle Brantley. “The school decided to change graduation after Dr. Thompson’s inauguration ceremonies.” 

Dr. Thompson’s inauguration went smoothly, Brantley noted. “The Quad has a more relaxed atmosphere.” 

Deans of individual schools will preside over ceremonies before and after the Celebration Ceremony on the Quad. 

At 8:30 a.m., walking ceremonies will be held for the School of Science & Mathematics and Interdisciplinary Studies, Christian Studies and the Arts, and Humanities and the Social Sciences. 

At 10:00 a.m., the entire campus is invited to gather on the Quad for a celebration ceremony. Around 3,000 people are estimated to attend. The ceremony will include alumni pinning and a keynote speaker who will be announced by administration soon. The celebration ceremony will be open seating, and no caps and gowns will be worn. Cake and punch will be served. 

At 12:30 p.m., walking ceremonies for the School of Education, Nursing, and Business will take place. 

“What’s great about this year’s graduation is that it is all on one day,” Brantley said. 

For more information about upcoming graduation ceremonies, check out the university website at mc.edu/commencement.

“Guava Island” and Childish Storytelling/by Meredith Stratmann

In 2019, Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, produced a short film, “Guava Island.”  This short film spans just 56 minutes, but it sure is a whirlwind. I found this nugget when I was staying up late one night and streamed it on Amazon Prime. If you’re looking for something off-beat and a bit confusing, this is the film for you.

“Guava Island” starts off with a Moana-type intro. The animated title sequence outlines the history of Guava Island and then follows the story of Glover’s character Deni Maroon, and his significant other Kofi Novia (Rihanna). I loved this intro, and my curiosity was piqued. I was so excited to watch the rest of this film to see what happened to the upbeat Deni, even when the island was against him. 

“Guava Island” is considered a musical, but I would say that it focuses more on the dance aspect, rather than the vocals. It features a number of Glover originals, which he either wrote or co-wrote. I’m not gonna lie, a couple of them were bops. The dancing is phenomenal, and if you think Glover is attractive, it’s worth watching just for that. 

While “Guava Island” abounds in quality Childish Gambino vocals and dancing, it lacks in other areas. The plot is a bit spotty. While the basis is sound, the execution is poor. Often the storyline is lost under a song. Rather than always adding to the movie, and advancing the plotline, some of the songs simply just exist. They’re fun and catchy, but at times confusing.

While Deni and Kofi’s characters have some development, that’s the end. Actor Nonso Anozie’s character Red Cargo plays a significant role, but he just kind of shows up without a proper background. I felt there wasn’t enough focus on developing characters, relationships between them, and explanations for events.

I was admittedly confused at times, but my biggest complaint was that Rihanna was not utilized as she should have been. I mean it’s Rihanna. This is the queen that gave us “Diamonds” and “Umbrella.” She’s an icon, and her vocals were not utilized at all. Imagine a flawless Childish Gambino and Rihanna duet. There was so much potential, but “Guava Island” did not meet its full potential. 

Overall, I enjoyed this film. It’s a fun, bubbly film that is also serious, funny, and full of catchy songs. I like the island vibes and the dancing to go along with it. I also appreciated that it has the appeal of suspense. At the same time, it lacked plot and character development. Rihanna was not utilized to her full potential. 

If I had to give “Guava Island” my Rotten Tomatoes score, I would give it a 72%.  It really is unlike any other film I’ve ever watched, and it deserves something for that. I just wish Gambino would’ve stretched the entire film out in order to allow it to unfold more naturally.

Choctaw Baseball Has Built a Championship-Caliber Program/by Corey Rholdon

The Mississippi College baseball team has built a championship-caliber program over the past few seasons. Just a few years ago the team was 12-34, but the past two seasons they have won a combined 64 games including a Gulf South Conference (GSC) championship. This season there are a lot of new faces, and it has gotten off to a rocky start. But confidence and expectations are still high in Clinton.

“We have a new group, and it was going to be interesting to see how this year will go with all the new guys gelling with the returners,” said assistant coach Josh Perez. 

The team is currently 3-3 coming off two losses in a home series against Young Harris. Even still, Perez is confident that his team will start clicking. “So far, I’ve felt confident on what we have done on the mound, and what we have done defensively. We have been battling some injuries early on, but our last game we really showed what type of team we can be offensively. Our offense really didn’t struggle until the third game of the opening series, so what we worked on is simplifying thingsgetting back into rhythmand things fell into place. We went back to that on Sunday, and we ended up ten run ruling a really good team in Young Harris,” said Perez.

 Infielder Grant Barber has been at Mississippi College for four years, and he has seen the rise of the program. Barber feels confident going into the opening series of the GSC. “We have a lot of new guys, and it is a learning curve just to see what everybody does well. I think every game we will start gelling more and more. Right now we are just going back to the basics, and we are trying to figure everything out individually. We have plenty of talent, and we start GSC play this week, and we have a good feeling about it,” said Barber.

One of the brightest spots on this Choctaw baseball team has been the emergence of newcomer Caleb Reese. The first basemen is hitting .412 with a homerun and 5 RBIs.  “This past weekend gave us a wake up call on what we need to do during practice, and prepare for the upcoming series against West Alabama,” said Reese. 

Mississippi College put in a turf field this off-season, and it has been a big advantage for both on field play and off. “We got to host the last series against Young Harris moved back to our place, and I don’t ever think since I’ve been here that’s happened. Fielding-wise it has helped tremendously, as we are fielding over .970 right now, and our only errors have been on bad throws. We are not missing any days because of rain, and it has been awesome for recruiting,” said Perez.

The strength of the team has been their speed and athleticism. Perez and Barber are ready for the team to gel and show to that potential. “We have a lot of athleticism and speed. The first game we stole 11 bases. If our guys are getting on base then we can really apply pressure to the other team. We have a lot of pop, even though we haven’t performed where I wanted them to. We are averaging over a home run per game right now,” said Perez.

“Our new guysKen, George, Woogie, and Kalebhave so much talent, and once it starts clicking, I know we can be one of the most dangerous teams in the conference and in the country,” said Barber.

“This team can go as far as they want in regards to talent. We were really deep; we have had some guys step in because of injuries. When our offense is rolling and this team is clicking, I think we can go as far as we want. We can win the GSC, we can go into regionals, and we can compete for a National Championship,” Perez said.

Mississippi College will see if they can put it together this weekend as they open up GSC play against West Alabama.

New Library Hours: How Could You?/by Marquisha Mathis

The library was the number one place on campus where students could stay until 2:00 a.m. during the weekdays and 1:00 a.m. on the weekends. The change in the hours should have been a conversation since we got back last fall. What was MC thinking?

We already have to deal with the fallout of The Commons being closed due to the great Chick-fil-A coming in the fall.

Since the beginning of freshman year, many of us have wanted an increase in visitation hours, among other things but not at the cost of the library closing early on Fridays at 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Now we have to study in our rooms, which leads to many distractions such as watching videos on Tik Tok, reading comments on Twitter or watching a good movie on Netflix. So, we have no choice but to leave campus and study in a place where we know we won’t do anything else but homework.

The library is quiet, and it’s especially convenient for those who do not have cars to have a place on campus to focus on studies when they need to. Why should we mess that up? 

It would be different if The Commons was still open because people would have at least one place to study, but we don’t, and the library is needed now since The Commons is closed.

Many students have been complaining about the library hours and how it could close so early, especially on a Friday night. Around this time, students have started to work on projects and study for tests, and the library was the place where they could really crack down and do it because working in their rooms would not cut it.

We know employees of MC have to go home, but we’re just all wondering why the change? As college students, we have so much work to do, and we have to be organized in our thoughts. We need the library. So, the library adding on to our stress by closing early has really shifted our life.

Junior Katherine Parker said, “Their library hours are inconsistent with students’ needs.”

“I think the library hours are very inconvenient for students. It’s especially inconvenient for those who study better late at night,” said student Hannah Cox.

MC, we’re just trying to be great and reach our fullest potential, and that won’t happen if we can’t get the library hours which we are paying for.

Alex Thompson said, “Now that The Commons is closed, the library is the only place for students to study. The library’s new ill-advised hours make studying harder by students having to find places off campus to study.”

What are we supposed to do? Midnight is late, but not late enough. We need the library, especially on weekends, and not just until 5:00 p.m.

The library is the quietest place on campus. We need it. Will you consider changing it for the students in order for us to continue our greatness and maintain our GPAs?

Campus Checkup 2.0/by Austin LaBrot

A collective hush fell upon the Mississippi College campus on Dec. 18 when finals finished, students traveled home, and many walked across the stage at graduation. However, it was go-time for the Physical Plant crew. 

Like summer break, the Physical Plant had a to-do list of quick improvements they wanted the campus to experience in January 2020.

Reported by The Collegian last semester, one checklist item was the replacement of Lowrey’s elevator. Unfortunately, this replacement was unable to take place. 

Tom Williams, Executive Director of Campus Operations, has high hopes Lowrey’s elevator will reach new heights over spring break. “Lowrey’s elevator is one of the oldest on campus.” He said replacement parts are no longer manufactured since the original elevator business no longer exists. 

To not interfere with daily operations of the university, it is best the elevator gets replaced during an extended break. Thus, spring break is the next viable option. 

Williams continued, “We keep the original elevator box, there’s nothing wrong with that.” It’s the mechanics that will be replaced over spring break by outside contractor Schindler Elevator, according to Williams. Once the parts arrive, the elevator will be up and running as usual. 

Other elevators to be replaced in the future include Aven and Jennings Hall. Williams and the Physical Plant team would like to see a new elevator per school year. 

Collegian reporter Morgan Miller’s article cited a lack of adequate lighting on the Quad at night, and the concerns raised in her article are getting addressed. Citing her piece specifically, Williams cheerfully gave an update to the lighting on the Quad. 

Last week, Williams and the Physical Plant team contracted a lighting expert to highlight (pun intended) problem areas on the Quad. 

“We don’t want to mess with the ambiance of the Quad,” Williams said. “But there are so many beautiful trees on the Quad blocking existing light. The trees create a curtain.” 

The Physical Plant team’s predicament: illuminating the Quad without cutting down trees, adding a plethora of light poles, or over-brightening the Quad. 

“We can’t have everything,” Williams said. “We don’t want to take away the feel of the Quad, but we want safety.” 

The Physical Plant crew, along with the lighting expert working on the Quad, installed LED lights in all parking lots across MC last summer. Feedback has been positive and LED lights might be the Quad’s future as well.