First Amendment Heroines

By Vicky Diloné

This past week there was a display on the Admin lawn sponsored by the College of Art and Architecture and the organization For Freedoms. They asked students to write about what freedom means to them and what specific freedoms they want. There was a lot of talk on the nature of rights in general, but I want to focus on the rights granted by the First Amendment.

As a journalism student I am required to study the First Amendment, its origin, and how it has been used in history. As a US citizen, I think it is important to know exactly what our country can do for us, what we can demand of our country, and how we are protected from government overreach. Continue reading “First Amendment Heroines”


From Me to Me


Well it’s official, I just received my cap and gown and I’m graduating in December. I’m looking forward to being done with school but I can’t help looking back. I don’t think I’d change a thing honestly but there are some things that maybe I would change. Maybe I always knew and neglected them, or maybe I learned along the way. This I want to share.


So here it goes, in an address to my past self here are seven things for your consideration.

  1. Mary: your first love will break your heart; your best friendship will end; you will have the worst anxiety that you’ve ever had in your life; you will ruin dynamics, friendships and hurt people unnecessarily; and you will party a bit and not study enough. While having an unconventional college experience, you will have it all, and it will be more than you bargained for. Stop with the ‘woe is me’ you little dweeb and listen to yourself because I’m proof that we make it to graduation, and we do damn good outside of school.
  2. Move up here solo. You always knew that friendship wasn’t sustainable and despite your best efforts, there was no changing that without major change on both sides. Pay attention to the red flags; it’ll save you time and drama, and you’ll only have to move once.
  3. Those boys you think you could like romantically and try to date. Don’t. Just don’t. You know it’s not going to work out. They were fantastic friends, and you’ll miss them later. Keep them as friends. The one we didn’t date is probably one of the coolest humans. It will also help in those moments when Moscow feels like an island in the wheat. Keep those connections so you can see each other and chat!
  4. Something you’ll have to really work at. Just call your friends. Call home. You always feel better afterwards, so I don’t know why it’s so hard to do. And for the most part you can get a hold of them, you aren’t intruding, you aren’t an inconvenience. If they can’t talk then they aren’t ignoring you it’s part of adulthood’s learning curve. Everyone has their own stuff going on. It’s hard to sustain bridges without support and eventually some of them will crumble and some of them will burn.
  5. Ask mum when she got Breast Cancer. And, if it was estrogen receptive (it is) before you go to look at forms of birth control. Do your research don’t just get the shot on the spot. It works for others, but it’s still new and gets a little weird for us for a while so maybe save some grief and just don’t.
  6. Don’t work three very part time jobs until you’re exhausted. It’s stressful not knowing when you will or won’t have cash but it will also hurt your studying and especially with French it’s going to suck. Also you will walk away having liked none of those jobs.
  7. I only started doing this really this last year, but I should have done this sooner despite the juggling. Get to know your English department. It is made of the most phenomenal group of people who, despite common misconception, want to help even your uncommunicative class dodging butt. Go to class, talk to them, take their words in because they may not be illustrious or have the proper funding to do a lot all of the time but they know what they’re about and the crazy thing? They’ll check on you in their own ways! They’re empathetic humans, they have families, and they’re brilliant. Especially enjoy your grad students though, you’ll follow them on social media but let me tell you they relate and it’s inspiring to see them grow into published authors. You won’t regret it one bit. Lauren Westerfield is a kindred spirit with possibly the neatest reccomendations. Mike McGriff’s image heavy but his work is fantastic and so are his classes and his text recommendations. Erin James knows her stuff listen to her no matter how many times you have to re-read Cloud Atlas. Alexandra Teague is brilliant, her women in poetry class will make you think bigger. Brian Blanchfield will introduce you to all sorts of poetical masterminds and host probably one of the best groups. Stephan Flores will always have different perspectives to ponder and always has the best stories to share. Toby Wray and Jodi Nicotra are wonderful and probably some of the most personable people in charge you will ever meet. Anna Banks and Jan Johnson are experts in their fields so expect those classes to be outstanding.Also dude, suck up your pride go to the writing center and meet Mary Anne Judge and learn a thing or two. Nelson is a fantastic help when learning French it may not hurt to introduce yourself earlier. Mac Donald and Ladino are new to us in our last semester but there’s a reason that they’re legends before you even have a class with them, trust me it’s never a dull moment. Also bless Jen Baillargeon-Hauck for counseling you and going out of her way even when it wasn’t her job, she does so much its a wonder that she’s only one person.

Finally let me tell you where you’re at this morning. You’re listening to music with the person you love, they made you a coffee that smells heavenly, there are flowers on the table, and you feel like home together. You have a cat, a dog, and two beans that love you. Your friend group is pretty awesome and inspiring even if you’re still awful about keeping in contact. You can see all the fall leaves of Moscow out your window, you have goals and purpose which you didn’t before, and you’ve been actively working towards them for a while now. You’re writing, you’re involved, and you’re comfortable with others beyond the superficial customer service way that you thought was enough. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty proud of us.


This is a letter I would never send because I needed all of it to grow and I hope to those of you still reading that you can pull something out of it. I wouldn’t say life gets easier, I’d say parts do, parts get better, but in the last two years since moving to Moscow on my own I’ve learned to navigate it all. Navigating life becomes easier because I’ve grown, and that’s what I’m going to miss about college. But now I get to learn a new way to grow and if there’s anything my misadventures have taught me it’s that I should look forward to the next one.

Quisqueyans en America (Dominicans in America)

By Vicky Diloné

Like many Dominicans, my family has a long history in New York City. And as an aspiring journalist, of course I want to live in the Big Apple. Getting to work for an important network and helping the city one person at a time. Four more years here at UI and I’m buying my one-way ticket across the country. My dad was more realistic than me and suggested we go to research a local charity for an internship before I get stranded alone in the city. That is how we ended up running through the downpour in West Harlem, taking shelter at City University of New York. Wandering inside the campus we came across the Dominican Studies Institute, “the nation’s first university-based research institute devoted to the study of people of Dominican descent in the United States and other parts of the world.” There we talked with Sarah Aponte and Jhensen Ortiz about the history of my ancestors in Dominican Republic and the States. Most of the history shared in this blog comes from extensive research from the Dominican Studies Institute (DSI).

A stretch of Broadway was renamed Juan Rodriguez Way in New York City.

Los Dominican Yorkers

Juan Rodriguez is not a household name amongst New Yorkers, but he should be. As the first non-native settler of Manhattan, Rodriguez was born and raised in the Spanish settlement of Santo Domingo, the capital of what is now Dominican Republic, by his Portuguese father and African mother. He became a talented linguist and was hired by a Dutch captain as an interpreter in his voyage to the Native Americans living in Manhattan at the time. When the ship and crew returned to the Netherlands, Rodriguez stayed behind, marrying a native woman, raising his family, and owning a trading post. DSI considers him to be “first immigrant, the first person of African heritage, the first person of European heritage, the first merchant, the first Latino, and the first Dominican to settle in Manhattan.”

Rodriguez unknowingly became the first in a trend of Dominican migration to New York City, a trend that continues to this day. According to Migration Policy Institute, forty-seven percent of Dominican Americans live in New York. Many came over during the three-decade dictatorship of Trujillo from the thirties to the sixties. While many Cubans were escaping communism to Miami, Dominicans found their safe haven in New York City. Dominicans in the twentieth century strongly believed in the American Dream and anyone who could make it out of the country was believed to have equal opportunity to prosper. Women especially saw the opportunity to get an education and enter the workforce. Continue reading “Quisqueyans en America (Dominicans in America)”

Sex Talks: Plural

By Kate Ringer

Like many people of my generation in the United States, I got my sex education from the internet. Luckily for me, it wasn’t porn that I learned from, as it is for many teens. In fact, 42 percent of teens admit to watching porn in the last year, and the true number is probably much higher. I got my sex education from a YouTube channel called Sexplanations, which posted its first video when I was sixteen years old. I was lucky because this resource caught me just in time; I had not yet engaged in any sexual behaviors that put me at serious risk for psychological, social, or physical harm. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have benefitted from the information I learned on that channel about anatomy, birth control, menstruation, and other topics if I had been exposed to it a lot earlier.

Purchase this book at 

I have to give my mom credit, she tried to give me and my sisters the information that we needed. She probably went above and beyond what many people get from their parents. When I was nine years old, she gave me and my sisters a book called The Care and Keeping of You. I came back to this book time and time again when I had new questions about what I was experiencing while I went through puberty. My mom even got me my first bra around that time; I wanted one, but I definitely didn’t need one. However, when I got my first period, I was so embarrassed that I didn’t tell my mom for over 24 hours, subsisting on a couple of pads that the nurse had given us at school. I wrote her a note and gave it to her when those pads were gone, running from her room to mine so I wouldn’t be there to see her reaction. I don’t know if I have ever been so ashamed.

Continue reading “Sex Talks: Plural”

LGBTQIA+ Rights in Idaho

By: Madeleine Clow

It came to my attention earlier this year, simply by mistake, that the LGBTQIA+ community is not protected by hate crime laws in the state of Idaho. I have lived in Idaho as long as I have been out of the closet, since 2015. Same-sex relationships have been legal in Idaho, but same-sex marriage has not, until the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize Gay Marriage under federal law, nationally in 2015. I honestly believe that if same-sex marriage had not been legalized nationally, that it would still be illegal today in the state of Idaho.

Idaho capitol building lit in support of Pride Month

When I learned that my life was not protected under law by discrimination due to my sexuality, I felt very unsafe in the environment that I call home. I began to research what other rights the LGBTQIA+ community has been excluded from, and I was astonished to find out that Idaho does not prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Idaho does not protect from employment discrimination, or public and school harassment and discrimination, and conversion therapy is still legal.

Continue reading “LGBTQIA+ Rights in Idaho”

Then to Now: An Analysis of Rape Culture

Heart Shaped Bruise” by Nan Goldin, 1980

Warning: The information that follows is explicit in nature and will discuss sexual violence and other sensitive topics.

By Remington Jensen

Continue reading “Then to Now: An Analysis of Rape Culture”

What Now?


Like many women in the nation, I watched events unfold regarding the Supreme Court, namely Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination and subsequent appointment. I watched as a man accused of sexual assault got appointed to the highest court in the land. I watched, as a kindred spirit, as  Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was cast aside. I watched a man turn vile and hateful towards every woman talking to him in that courtroom. I watched and recognized that any notion of the idealized “good ol’ days” where rapist couldn’t even be employed had died.

My parents, now in their late fifties, have talked about the good old days, when “men were men, ladies were ladies, and America was at its peak,” blah blah blah. They want to go back to that, and yet they endorse the administration that puts a man publicly accused of assault on the Supreme Court? When my parents were growing up, had a man been accused of sexual assault in such a public way, in most cases he would have been tried, and he wouldn’t have made it to the Supreme Court, at least not if those good ol’ days were as ideal as I’ve been told, but he’s a white middle aged man and in 2018 that’s a privilege that will bring a “respectable” person back from the edges of ruin.

And you know what? I’m mad about it. I’m mad, I’m scared, and I recently learned that others on the court, Clarence Thomas, for example, had been accused of sexual assault and maintained their jobs as well. It’s infuriating.

Men can be shamed and laughed out of their jobs for having a consensual affair but when they’re potentially a sexual predator, there’s somehow no way that they could have done it. No. I don’t subscribe to that and like many women I have a lot of feelings wrapped up in this for my future and my kids’ future, and frankly I don’t know what to do since the senate gets to make this decision and we the people have no say in it.
I’m going to vote. I’m going to do my part to make a change even if it seems insignificant, but what can we do right now? In a nation where hope is failing, and we have all of these immediate feelings, how do we deal with them and how do we cope? The university offers counseling to students, but how do we let this out on our own time? I know women who are having events to break stuff, so they can smash piñatas today and the patriarchy tomorrow. There are groups of sexual assault survivors on Facebook, on campus, and the U of I Women’s Center also has many great resources.

On my own time, I’ve been writing. I’ve been reading up on candidates. I’ve been cleaning, cooking, talking to other women to try and build them up during this time. I’ve been discussing with my male friends why this is so upsetting. I want to talk it out, but that’s not for everyone.

The problem is that life moves on, and right now, it’s scary to keep moving forward in this world and as a woman. So right now, if you are scared, inhale deeply through your nose and hold it for a few seconds. Let it go through your mouth, and breathe.

In our capitalist society, we shop, we make comfort food, we jibber jabber on about things that we don’t even care about because we want to please others, but that time is done. Women, humans, it is not your job to please anyone; you aren’t weak or crazy for being upset or scared. The people who work in counseling want to help you, your friends want to help you and if neither of them can help you in the ways you need, I’m going to tell you right now you don’t need them to, and it is okay to move on and look for other outlets for your own sanity. Be full, be sad, be angry, be beautiful, be smart, be creative, be who you are, and if that someone is upset right now, then be that and fight. Fight for sex education of all genders, fight for equal rights, fight to keep each other safe.

If you can though, focus on something positive. Clean, cook, smash stuff safely, talk, swear, scream, go for a jog, go hit a punching bag, read and escape to another world, write to build your own, get a squeezy stress ball thing, but you aren’t going to get anywhere by eating all of your emotions, or shopping into debt or lashing out at the wrong men, or deciding that humanity is garbage because this happened. One man got one job; he shouldn’t have. It shouldn’t stop you from pursuing everything you want.

Go out, go vote. Get the representatives that you want and be the hero that you and your daughters need whether it be voting or maybe running for office yourself one day.