Question: What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Will Fisher-” Every year my family has ugly Christmas sweater cookie competition. I’m a 4x champion.”

Ben Stanzell- “Making Mommy’s cookies!”

Ishmon Foster:” Me and my mom sit on the couch and read the Christmas story!” 

Grace Jennings- “I go over to my grandmommy’s house and make deviled eggs.”

MC’s Newest Organization/by Austin LaBrot

The newest club on campus, the Sexual Assault Prevention Ambassadors (SAPA), hopes to raise awareness for sexual assault on Mississippi College’s campus, educating Choctaws on how to remain safe. 

Passed through SGA two weeks ago, Nathalie Rowell founded and leads the ambassadors as president, giving them information to spread across campus. 

“As a survivor of sexual assault, I knew I could use that pain in a way that either broke me down or build me up,” Rowell said. “I chose the latter and found a group of people who would help me spark change.” 

Mississippi College defines sexual assault as “an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including: forcible or statutory rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling, and incest.”

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the U.S.’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN estimates that 13% of all college students will experience rape or sexual assault. Undergraduate students particularly have higher cases of sexual assault compared to graduate students. RAINN estimates 27% of undergraduate females and 7% of undergraduate males will be victims of sexual assault. 

Only two sexual assault incidents have been reported to the MC Office of Public Safety in the past three years, said Assistant Director of Public Safety Brent Perkins.  

“Both of these occurred in residence halls,” Perkins said. “Remember that these are assaults that are actually reported to us. Over 75% of sexual assault incidents that occur on college campuses go unreported.” 

This is one way SAPA wants to create a difference on campus: preventing sexual assault from occurring on campus and providing resources for survivors, especially helping survivors reporting their assault. 

“We are working with organizations like SGA and Residence Life to bring about changes that would increase our students’ safety,” said SAPA’s Vice President Caroline McGuffee. “I would like SAPA to be a known resource, or stepping stone, that can provide resources to counseling, Title IX information, and the processes survivors can take.” 

Rowell believes that MC students, and students on all college campuses, need to be aware that sexual assault happens often, even though discussing the topic is often considered taboo.

SAPA is currently hosting meetings via Zoom. 

“We had a really good [first] turnout and expect to have roughly 20 members by the end of the fall 2020 semester,” Rowell said. “Everyone seems really excited to enact change on campus.” 

For students wanting to get involved with SAPA, contact Rowell or McGuffee via email. 

“Participate in any events we have, follow our social media, and help spread the word,” said McGuffee. “SAPA is an organization that any student on campus can receive helpful information from.” 

Editor’s Note: MC students who have experienced sexual harassment or assault can confidentially report to Campus Security (located in B.C. Rogers), contact MC’s Title IX Coordinator Dr. Debbie Norris (dnorris@mc.edu), or contact Jonathan Nutt (nutt@mc.edu) in the SLC. For more information on MC’s stance on sexual assault, the university’s policies, and university-offered resources, visit mc.edu/title-ix. 

Sarah Hodson Competes in MC’s Inaugural Women’s Golf Tournament/by Elliot Reeder

A new era of MC Athletics began with an inaugural tournament for MC’s new women’s golf program on Oct. 26-27, 2020. Freshman Sarah Hodson competed at the Carey Collegiate Classic hosted by William Carey and tied for 11th place in the two-round tournament. Hodson fired a 78 (six over par) in round one on the 26th and then an 81 (nine over) in round two on the 27th. On her performance, Hodson said, “I think I competed the best that I could. I think I could’ve come out a little better, but the experience was just amazing.”

MC President Dr. Blake Thompson and Athletic Director Mike Jones made the announcement in May that a women’s golf program would be on its way for MC athletics, coached by Brent Belton, and Hodson made the program debut with her two-round score of 159. 

Hodson wass excited about the opportunity to help build a program, be on the inaugural squad, and play in the inaugural tournament. She added, “It’s exciting because I’m one of the first people to start a program that is going to be here for years to come. And whenever this program becomes really good, those players will be able to look back and I’ll be one of the first people on this team and that’s just something I’ll be able to keep with me for a long time.”

Building a program from scratch is always difficult with there almost always being a lack of collegiate experience and, as is the case with MC, usually a small roster. The Lady Choctaws currently have two women on the roster with Hodson being joined by fellow freshman Jenna Belton. The tournament roster for most teams is usually five golfers with most teams having several more than that on the team roster.

The Carey Collegiate is the team’s only tournament scheduled for this fall semester. They currently have four tournaments scheduled for the spring semester (before the GSC championships scheduled for mid-April) with the Badger Invitational hosted by Spring Hill scheduled for Feb. 8-9. 

Even with a roster size of just two, this first year will be crucial for the program to begin building the culture and expectations that could be here for years to come. On the upcoming packed spring semester, Hodson said, “I’m just looking to work on some more things that I personally need to work on. As a team, me and my teammate Jenna, I think that just to get our feet wet into this program and just to begin to build a program so that next year when we have some more girls come in, we’ll have a bit of experience and we’ll help them out through that.’

“So really, just the idea of next semester is just growing a team, and getting that team atmosphere and getting ready for next year and years to come.”

“Spider-Man 3” Goes into Production/by Morgan Miller

“It’s time for Spider-Man 3. Let’s go!” exclaimed Tom Holland on a recent Instagram story, elation in his voice after having just landed in Atlanta to begin the project.

The news is official confirmation that Marvel has started production on the highly-anticipated sequel to 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” The ending of that film showed Peter Parker with his identity essentially exposed to the world, a bombshell revelation that left audiences speechless. Not long after, Sony pulled the character altogether out of the MCU for a while after having disagreements with the studio. Marvel was eventually able to negotiate the character back into its future films, but before any meaningful work could be done in pre-production, COVID-19 crippled the film industry.

While that industry is still not back to where it was (consistent delays of theatrical releases are a testament to that), many films are going back into production in an effort to combine safety guidelines with the need to get work done. Now, “Spider-Man 3” is the latest movie to join that line-up.

Not much is known about the film’s storyline beyond the fact that all the actors normally seen in this corner of Marvel’s neighborhood have reprised their roles. Besides the obvious Holland, this also includes Zendaya as MJ, Jacob Batalon as Ned, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, and Marisa Tomei as Aunt May. 

However, there are a couple of actors reported to be in the film that might raise some eyebrows regarding the plot.

Benedict Cumberbatch has been reported to reprise his role as Dr. Strange for this film, supposedly filling the role of Peter Parker’s mentor. More surprisingly, Jamie Foxx has reportedly been in talks to reprise his role of Electro for the movie. That comes as unexpected given that the last time Foxx played Electro was over six years ago when Andrew Garfield still held the role of Spider-Man.

There’s no telling what sort of plot Marvel will provide viewers with when the film eventually comes out. For now, however, the news of “Spider-Man 3’s” production is heartening for both superhero fans and the film industry as a whole, showing that even massive movies like this can strike a balance between work and safety guidelines during a pandemic in an effort to bring beloved stories back to audiences.

Editorial: Looking Back, Looking Ahead/by Kyle Hamrick

As I realized last week that the term papers I usually submit in the middle of December are now due in the middle of November, I opened my calendar to scrawl out a plan for the semester’s premature end. Once I finished charting my course, the result resembling more of a conspiracy theorist’s chalkboard than an organized strategy for success, I decided to flip back to the opening pages of the leather-bound book, back to the start of the year 2020.

I bought the calendar in December 2019 as its predecessor ran out, and I copied my notes for the final month of the semester into the new book. I published the semester’s last Collegian on Tuesday, Dec. 3, and attended a formal in New Orleans the following weekend. The week after that I took four finals, and then went home for Christmas. 

January 2020 looks like the aftermath of a shotgun blast, with presentation topics, Collegian meetings, and other assignments due one after the other. February followed a similar scheme, only more hectic. I started to think about COVID-19 after the Pearl River unleashed its third highest flood in history around February 17. The ultimate irony is the headline of March 3’s Collegian, which read, “Coronavirus: Cause for Concern?”

Whoever said journalism is the rough draft of history is laughing right now.

The late spring and summer seemed much longer than four months. Every day felt like a year, and every minute felt like a day. The disappointment and depression that marked those long months will never be forgotten. There were good times that came from being home to be sure, but the overall sensation was one of longing and anxiety. We wondered what the future would hold, and if classes and jobs would resume. 

And though I would like for this to be an obituary for the year 2020, there are still 58 days standing between us and what we hope is a brighter new year. 2021 could be just as bad, even worse, or better than its predecessor. I do not know; no one knows.

Though it is easy to give in to fear and worry, I say we adopt a more optimistic perspective. We made it through a global pandemic, the destruction of a soaring economy, the narrowing of a wide job market, masks, online or socially distanced classes, riots and protests, a polarizing and hard-to-watch election, and murder hornets to name a few. As of right now, students of MC will return to campus next semester for on-campus classes. We can do this. We are strong, resilient, enterprising, endeavoring, daring, brave, and history will record this generation among the greats. 

This holiday season, I encourage you to eat enough, get some bigger britches, and rest, because the new year is coming whether we are ready or not. As Winston Churchill told the students of Harrow School in October 1941, “We have only to persevere to conquer.” 162 years earlier at the Battle of Flamborough Head, the American naval commander John Paul Jones famously said, “I have not yet begun to fight!” 

Time goes on, readers, so must we; and by the grace of God, we will. 

Updates from Our President/by Austin LaBrot

As the fall semester draws to a close, President Blake Thompson provides insight into the coming weeks and the upcoming spring semester.

A chief concern for many students over the next few weeks is how final exams are going to work. Simply, finals will continue as normal. Professors oversee how they administer finals, Thompson said. 

Another change for the next few weeks is loosening restrictions on student gatherings. Clubs and tribes will be able to host events outside, and intramurals will resume, too. All students at these events are encouraged to social distance as much as possible, and must wear masks while in attendance. 

“I am very thankful for the Fall Opening Task Force and all they have done,” Thompson said. “Dr. Ambrose has a direct connection to students.” 

Ambrose has been tasked with leading the Spring Task Force alongside co-chair Education Dean Cindy Melton. Other members include Erin Norcross, Patrick Connelly, Keith Randazzo, Damon Wright, and Jonathan Nutt. 

“The Spring Task Force has the benefit of the Fall Opening Task Force. They know what to be aware of,” Thompson said. 

Before the spring semester begins, students will be retested for COVID-19 as they were in August. As students travel for the holidays, it is more likely for students to come into contact with the virus.

“Testing was very effective in controlling the spread this past semester,” Thompson said. “This is why we are testing again for spring move-in.” 

As of yet, no information has been released concerning the spring schedules of Choctaw Athletics. “We have no updates on spring sports. We rely on the Gulf South Conference [to take appropriate actions],” said Thompson. “The NCAA has given guidelines, and we are following those. Decisions for winter sports will be coming soon.” 

Lastly, administration is asking all students who need financial assistance to apply for MCares before the end of the semester. There is still money available to students according to Chief Financial Officer Laura Jackson. 

As the semester continues, administration intends on keeping students informed about these big issues. 

Clinton’s Choices for Congress/by Stone Clanton

The City of Clinton is located in Mississippi’s Second Congressional District, and its representative is up for reelection this year. 

Born in Bolton in 1948, Bennie Gordon Thompson began his activism through the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while at Tougaloo College, organizing voter registration drives for Blacks throughout the Mississippi Delta before becoming a schoolteacher. From 1969 to 1972, he served as an alderman in Bolton, then as mayor from 1973 to 1980. Thompson was then elected to the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, where he served from 1980 to 1993. Following Mike Espy’s appointment by then-President Bill Clinton as the Secretary of Agriculture, Thompson ran in a crowded special election held in April of 1993. He won the seat again in 1994 and has been reelected twelve times.

Earlier this year, Representative Thompson faced Sonia Rathburn in the Democratic Primary for the Second District, and defeated her very easily. Now, on Nov. 3, he faces the Republican nominee for the seat, Brian Flowers. Flowers, a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, describes himself as a “fiscal and social conservative.” Flowers is running on supporting U.S. veterans, putting a stop to illegal immigration, bettering the educational system, upgrading infrastructure, voting “pro-life,” and defending the Second Amendment.

Flowers has virtually no chance at unseating Thompson. There are only a couple of occasions where an incumbent is easy to beat: the term right after their first, or when the incumbent has done something the voters see as concerning (i.e., a scandal, the health of the office-holder). As for the voters of Mississippi’s Second Congressional District, according to the polls of the last 12 years, I don’t believe they feel that way.He has served in D.C. for more than 27 years (the longest-serving Black congressman from the State), and at 72, I don’t see him stopping anytime soon. 

I only raise one question: “Should a person spend this long of a time in Congress?” By no means is Thompson the only person to use public office as a career pathway, but you must think about this when heading to the polls. I’m not questioning any of his actions or votes, and I’m not endorsing his rival party’s candidate, by any means, but I am simply raising awareness that the American voter has a history of reelecting incumbents they don’t actually like that much. For example, 2012 voters reelected 91% of Congress, yet a Gallup poll showed the same Congress only had a 10% approval rate. That should throw up some red flags. I mean, with a 90-some-odd percent disapproval rating, you would imagine that 90-some-odd percent of the politicians would lose their jobs. Again, I’m not advocating for Thompson to be voted out or kept in, I’m just using this election to make a point.

I’d like to explain how we can fix this problem with a few simple steps. One, we should reintroduce civics and other practical subjects like resource management back into our classrooms. We need to educate our future on the civic process, because they (we) are the people that will be leading this country soon. Second, we need to take personal responsibility and actually research candidates. When an individual analyzes issues of this importance on only the surface level, they have no business voting. Take responsibility and actually research a candidate (and other things pertaining to politics) before you head to the polls – you aren’t the only person your vote is affecting. Third, we can push for term limits on Congress to hold our representatives accountable to their words and goals.

Election Day 2020 will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Stay informed. Study America’s history. Research the candidates. Make a difference.

Netflix Offers a Take on Religion with “The Devil All the Time”/by Bryan Matthews

On July 12, 2011, Donald Ray Pollock published a novel by the name of “The Devil All the Time.” This novel was well-received critically and commercially for its Southern Gothic setting, complex characters, and deep themes. Many compared it to William Faulkner’s stories about Southern honor and familial strife over the generations. The author has gone on to report that he wrote the story based on his own personal experience, having lived in the little town of Knockemstiff, Ohio, where most of the story takes place. After this, the author sold the film rights to this piece of literature to Netflix who promised to make a feature film in the coming years.

In 2020, new movies have been scarce to say the least. However, Netflix has done their best to bring us star-studded, entertaining films with the likes of “Extraction” with Chris Hemsworth, “The Old Guard” with Charlize Theron, and “Enola Holmes” with Millie Bobbie Brown and Henry Cavill. That being said, “The Devil All the Time” is probably the brightest, most star-studded cast that’s been released this year. It isn’t every day you see Spider-Man, the next Batman (or Edward from “Twilight” if that’s your jam), Pennywise the dancing clown, the Winter Soldier, and John Connor from the “Terminator” franchise all in the same movie. The acting is by far the best aspect of the piece. Tom Holland is wonderful as the protagonist of the story, and Robert Pattinson plays one of the slimiest dudes you will ever find in any film gleefully. 

However, the film’s story for these characters can come off as a little convoluted at times. Turning a 300-page novel into a two hour and 15 minute movie is no easy task. A lot had to be cut, but the film is run down at times because of rushed subplots or dead ends that produce little merit. The film’s narration can come off as filler for us to connect the dots at times, but in its defense, the narration is performed by the author, Donald Ray Pollock, which is a very cool twist on traditional, god-like narration – here’s looking at you, Morgan Freeman. In essence, the film is a literal extension of the author’s voice, which I found to be refreshing in an unexpected way. 

While this film is in no way a masterpiece, it was great to see a lot of actors known for their roles in big, blockbuster films tone it down and play complex characters for a change. The writing is strong, and the character work is good, but the film struggles to find what it is really trying to say. Is it a story about the families who live in the country with haunting ghosts of their pasts? Sure. Is it a story that dissects the importance and hypocrisies of the Christian faith? Kind of. Is it a story that offers interpretations for why people are the way that they are? Sort of. Ultimately, there is no real answer, and maybe that’s what the author and filmmakers were going for. However, a well-realized theme would have been the necessary push this film needed. 

The film’s dissection of the Christian faith is one that will discomfit a lot of my fellow believers. As a Christian and a movie nerd, I personally welcome people’s interpretation of faith and religion in art. It’s a way to understand how other people perceive Christians, however flawed or grandiose their interpretation might be. Granted, this film does not do a service to Christianity in any way. I found it interesting that the devil himself is only referenced once in the entire film while God or faith are mentioned in almost every scene. Was this a subtle jab at Christianity and the film’s identification of who the devil really is? I am inclined to think that it is. That being said, this film got me thinking: what am I doing to change the way people like the author look at me as a believer? Am I living for the Lord and showing the people around me His love, or am I showing a blind devotion to a legalistic religion?

It is rare that I feel convicted after viewing a movie. This film did exactly that. The story is entertaining to watch and holds some of the best acting this year, but it should also be a call to Christians that we have a job to do, one that will never be completed because the devil is at work all the time.