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A Wednesday Dilemma

2018 is going to be a weird year for Catholics.

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This year, February 14th marks two holidays: Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. Ironically, the deliciously sweet things eaten and celebrated on Valentine’s Day are usually avoided on Ash Wednesday. Such a coincidence hasn’t happened since 1945.

Mainly Catholics and Christians attend mass on Ash Wednesday to acknowledge the beginning of Lent, a 40 day long season lasting until the week before Easter, although this can affect anyone. Fox News reports, this celebrates the number of days Jesus was in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry. Lent symbolizes a time to reflect and become a better follower of Jesus.

Ashes are spread on individuals’ foreheads in the form of a cross as a way to clean the soul before fasting during Ash Wednesday. It is also a reminder that life is a precious gift given to us by God and that it will not last forever. Ashes are usually created by burning the palm crosses that were blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday. The holiday is recognized by fasting, carrying out extra acts of charity or by making other promises like reading the Bible or exercising more.

Being that Ash Wednesday requires giving up food or habits through fasting and Valentine’s Day involves festivities and junk food, believers should celebrate the two holidays separately to avoid conflict. A fancy Valentine’s dinner is ideally a juicy steak with a tall glass of wine, but eating any kind of meat on Ash Wednesday contradicts the traditions of Lent. There are always other ways to express love.

Romance is much more than just receiving a dozen red roses, chocolate covered strawberries and balloons. Ash Wednesday is a day to ask yourself how you can be better and improve your love for others. The fact that this holiday falls on Valentine’s Day may just be a reminder to focus, look deeper and discover how you can celebrate both without going against your beliefs.

These same followers will see a second holiday overlap April 1st. on this year’s calendar when April Fools falls on Easter Sunday.

 

Dani Matias is a student at the University of Texas. She is working toward a Bachelor's degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish. She is an active member of Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc., NABJ and NAHJ.

Campus Crime

Pennsylvania University Stunned by Child Pornography Allegations

Popular philosophy professor at Bloomsburg University charged with possessing child porn.

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Scott Lowe, a professor of philosophy at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, was arrested late last week and charged with with four counts of possessing child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. The charges against the popular professor have left students and administration at the school of just over 9,000 students shocked.

The school’s newspaper, The Voice, reported:

Steve Hales, the head of the Philosophy department, expressed his disbelief for the situation, “It seemed like must be some kind of disturbing mistake which I couldn’t understand.” Hales was a friend to Lowe and, like many who knew him, could not understand what was happening. Lowe was known to be easy to get along with, reliable and was a very popular professor. Lowe enjoyed hanging out with his friends and playing pub trivia, according to Hales.

Bail for the 56-year-old Lowe was set at $250,000 and a preliminary hearing scheduled for February 28.

According to Lehigh Valley Live, a routine audit on the professor’s computer turned up “alarming malware associated with his internet usage of the Bloomsburg University network,” which led to a police investigation.

Several students told The Voice that they got no messages from the school about the situation and were surprised to find that classes were either cancelled or that other professors had stepped in to teach.

Miranda Jacobs told the paper that she had “heard a lot of stories about this guy about him being really nice and just very family oriented.”

 

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National News

Did the College Board Use Florida Shooting as Advertising Strategy?

A controversial mass email sent by the College Board on Wednesday has gone viral.

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A controversial mass email sent by the College Board on Wednesday has gone viral, eliciting a wave of public backlash against the organization’s alleged attempt to exploit last Wednesday’s Florida school shooting massacre to advertise the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

In his email to fellow colleagues and education administrators, College Board President David Coleman began his message by conveying College Board’s condolences to individuals and families affected by the tragedy. Coleman progressed to commend the efforts of student activist coalitions and draws upon Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez’s plea for gun control legislative reform.

He emphasized on how he felt “compelled to share the unadulterated, impassioned voice of a student,” whose exposure to AP Government has equipped her with necessary skills to identify evidence. However, Coleman expressed his conflicting perspective to Gonzalez’s position on gun control, asserting his belief that Gonzalez could have attempted “to better understand the positions of gun rights proponents.”

Coleman also references a published interview of another Stoneman Douglas student David Hogg, in which Hogg credits his AP History class for spurring his interest in the role of journalism in society, declaring that David Hogg’s words honor Advanced Placement teachers everywhere, for they reflect their power to open worlds and futures to students.”

Provoked by the contents of the email, several recipients have unleashed their ire on social media platforms. Andrew B. Palumbo, the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, tweeted his outrage in a reply to Jon Boesckenstedt, the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing at DePaul University, calling for College Board to immediately issue an apology to the public.

Former chairman of College Board’s science academic advisory committee, Jennifer Pfannerstill, tendered in her formal resignation on Thursday afternoon, citing that she is unable to “advocate for, and stand by, [an] organization that in one of our nation’s times of trial, would question the very students who allow them to exist and would promote itself as the only program to teach students how to use evidence”

The College Board has since broken its silence, publishing a public apology in an attempt to appease its angered social media followers and critics, exerting that they had no intention of diverting the attention away from the plights of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivors and their community.

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National News

College Grants Scholarship Aid to Slain Police Officer’s Family

Eric Joering was fatally shot while on duty on February 10th.

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The children of slain Westerville Police officer have been awarded full-ride scholarships to attend Otterbein University.

The private four-year university first disclosed its decision to sponsor the daughters of Officer Eric Joering, who was fatally shot while on duty alongside Officer Anthony Morelli on February 10th, 2018, at a Westerville City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 20th. In a subsequent press release published on its website and social media accounts on Wednesday, the university expressed its hopes of providing a system of support for the Joering family as they transition through this difficult period by ensuring that each daughter “has sufficient support to complete an undergraduate degree at Otterbein.”

Otterbein University has also dedicated a Spotlight tribute in honor of the two officers, extending the university’s condolences to the families of the fallen officers as well as the Westerville Police Department.

Authorities have charged the 30-year-old perpetrator, Quentin Smith, with two counts of aggravated murder of Joering and Morelli. Officers Joering and Morelli were said to have arrived at Smith’s townhome residence after having received an urgent 911 domestic violence call where they were met with a hostile Smith. Former reports have indicated that there were several prior domestic violence incidences where police similarly had been called to Smith’s property, albeit without any arrests made.

Smith was reported to have been critically injured upon his arrest and was promptly hospitalized. Smith has since been discharged and is currently held without bail.

 

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