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Volume I

Volume I features the work of eight students writing in a variety of genres for their courses at Columbus State. We hope you enjoy their work!

Narrative: Narratives are anecdotal, experiential, and personal stories that allow writers to express themselves in creative ways.

A Call to Action

by
Ron Templin
Instructor: Kelli Nowlin

About the author:

Ron Templin was born in Kentucky and grew up in Columbus and Plain City. He spent a decade as an on-air personality, production director, and operations manager for several radio stations in Columbus and Connecticut. He currently supervises a staff of contract administrators at a major Central Ohio company. He is pursuing a marketing degree at Columbus State to advance his career and fulfill his dream of earning a college diploma. He is grateful to Kelli Nowlin for suggesting that he submit his essay and for sharing her belief that Ron has "something to say." He also appreciates Teresa Cennamo’s help in strengthening his communication skills.

About the assignment:

The assignment was to write a narrative for English 101, Beginning Composition.

Article 1.01 of the Ohio Constitution adopted in 1851 by the governing body states under the Inalienable Rights section: “All men are, by nature, free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and seeking and obtaining happiness and safety.” Yet currently gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered residents of the State of Ohio are being denied housing, employment and are in some cases thrown out of public establishments simply for being – or suspected of being – who they are. The rights of these individuals are being denied along with their “happiness and safety,” the very privileges that the Ohio Constitution guarantees all people.  This is because there is currently no law in Ohio preventing such discriminatory behavior.

I am proud to have been part of an effort to change that. Ohio House Bill 176, introduced May 12, 2009, would prohibit discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It was June 3, 2009, when I testified in support of this bill in front of the House State Government Committee on behalf of my employer, Cardinal Health. I remember it vividly as a warm day, but it was one on which I felt the most proud of myself and had the most courage. I’m not one to wear a suit or a tie – but this day was special, and formal attire was definitely warranted. It was a day in which I would get the opportunity to explain to part of our state’s governing body how important it was to my employer (and to me) to have this bill pass. With its passage, my employer would have the opportunity to attract and retain the brightest talent. Employees would be able to bring their whole selves to work, allowing them to flourish and work to their full potential. It would be good for business and for the State of Ohio to be welcoming and a great place to live and work. More important for me was the opportunity to make my voice heard, and to tell the state representatives how wrong it was for me as a gay man to lose my job or be denied a place to live simply for whom I choose to live my life with.

As the time drew closer to rise to my feet and confront the panel, my heart began to race and my thoughts began to turn to what questions the representatives would ask. How would I answer their questions? I knew there would be questions from the panel. I became more nervous and began to play out the various scenarios in my head. I thought about the potentially tough questions that would lie in front of me to answer. Would I sound intelligent when I answered, would I be coherent with my answers…….OH GOD! “Maybe I shouldn’t do this,” ran through my mind. “No! Stop it!” I pushed the negative thoughts from my mind. This was important to me, and it was important to thousands of people like me. I then realized that what I would say that day may affect the outcome of the days to come. It was then I realized that I could make a difference. I could change the course of my state.

It was my turn to speak. I was introduced by the Executive Director of Equality Ohio, and I rose to my feet. I nervously walked toward the podium with my stomach in knots, and my hands began to shake. I cordially said, “Chairman Gerberry, Ranking Member Daniels, members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today in support of House Bill 176.” As I spoke, I began to fidget with the edge of the paper and realized how out of breath I seemed, how dry my mouth was. I swallowed several times and continued on. “Cardinal Health is just one of the many companies and organizations across Ohio and one of the nearly 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies that already prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation.” I continued speaking and told the panel that embracing diversity makes all businesses stronger and more competitive, thereby helping our region and our state. Finally I neared the end of my speech. I began to look around and saw everyone nodding appreciatively. The air seemed cooler, and I realized that my sweating had subsided. I began to cool with the room. As I reached the end of my speech, I looked forward to using a portion of Thomas Jefferson’s 1801 inauguration speech. I took a breath and said proudly, “Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.” I took a deep breath and prepared myself for the questions to come.

Representative Matt Lundy began by asking, “Have you ever felt the need to hide who you are at work?” I replied, “When I first started at Cardinal Health I was told that it was a conservative company and that I should hide who I was.” He followed that question with, “Do you hide who you are at work today?” I thought for a moment and said, “Since our employee resource groups have begun and we now have a diversity and inclusion department on premises, I do not feel the need to do so.” He sternly said, “No more questions, Mr. Chairman.” I realized that Representative Lundy had just helped me make my point. To my relief there were no more questions.

As powerful as this experience was for me, nothing impacted me more that day than the story that I heard before I spoke. Jimmie Beall, a school teacher, was dressed professionally and looked to be in her late thirties or early forties. She had reddish hair, a large frame and wore glasses. She spoke in the soft yet demanding tone that would be expected of a school teacher. She began her story by discussing her career as a teacher with London City Schools. She described how she wanted to be a school teacher to “help people, to share the joy and excitement of learning in the moment – today, while opening up the potential and possibilities of what could be – tomorrow.”  I listened intently as she told about her final evaluation and glowing performance and was asked to be a part of the intervention team, only to find out two days later from the principal that her teaching offer was rescinded because of questions about her sexuality. Here she was suddenly with two children, a partner, and no income. She tried legal recourse but was informed that in the State of Ohio there were no laws protecting her. The school district was allowed to fire her for being a lesbian. Although this has never happened to me personally, Jimmie’s story moved me to do more, and to make sure that another Jimmie Beall story never happens again.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are currently twelve states and the District of Columbia that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Nine additional states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity. That leaves twenty-nine states in which it is legal to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals. That is more than half of the states of our nation. There is also no such law at the Federal level. The very country that we are citizens of, that some have fought and died for, and the very country that guarantees our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can take our right to income and the safety of home away from us.

According to the Ohio Legislative Services Commission’s status report, House Bill 176 was moved to the Ohio Senate Rules Committee on September 17, 2009. Senate President Bill Harris, who chaired this committee, scheduled no hearings to move the bill out of the committee. In a letter published in The Columbus Dispatch on October 29, 2009, Senator Shirley Smith wrote about the status of House Bill 176: “Unfortunately, it has yet to receive a single hearing in the Ohio Senate. So far, Senate leadership has shown little interest. In fact, the Senate president has expressed doubts that such legislation even is needed.” The bill died when the 128th General Assembly adjourned for the last time on December 21, 2010. This is unfortunately not unusual. According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s Final Report, out of the 617 bills introduced in the House during that General Assembly, 111 were passed and sent to the Senate. Of these, only thirty-three were passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor. Of the bills passed by the Senate, the average length of time to reach the governor was more than seven months. House Bill 176 spent 588 days languishing in the General Assembly.

Similar bills were introduced in both houses of the 129th Assembly. These are Senate Bill 231 and House Bill 335. These bills are broader: they also prohibit discrimination in “public accommodations.” A public accommodation is a place that is open to the public – anything from a retail store to a movie theater to a library. Senate Bill 231 is currently in the Judiciary Committee, and House Bill 335 is in the Commerce and Labor Committee. Both committees have held hearings.

How many bills must be submitted and how long do American citizens have to wait to be protected by the same rights as every human being who walks the peaceful land we call Ohio and our home, and in some cases dies on unfriendly soil to safeguard my freedom to write this very article? Where is the government of which Abraham Lincoln spoke, a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”? When do the Ohio House and Senate get to vote on what is right for Ohio and right for its citizens? How can one man, one committee, bring a bill to a screeching halt? I guess that’s why they call it politics. I urge you to talk with your elected officials, talk to your neighbors,  and talk to your family. Encourage them to contact their Representatives and their Senators, and ask them to support the Equal Housing and Employment Act. I’m not asking you to accept who we are; I’m not asking you to go against your religious beliefs.  I’m asking you to give us the opportunity to live peacefully and have the ability to work and build a life for our families just as you have yours. I’m asking you to ask yourself, “What if it were my son? What if it were my daughter?” Do what’s right, Ohio.

Works Cited

  • Beall, Jimmie. “House Bill 176: Proponent Testimony, House – State Government Committee.” 03 June 2009. Do What’s Right, Ohio. 14 May 2010. http://www.dowhatsrightohio.com/edocs/Beall%20Testimony.pdf
  • Cardinal Health. “House Bill 176: Proponent Testimony, House State Government Committee.” 03 June 2009. Do What’s Right, Ohio. 14 May 2010. http://www.dowhatsrightohio.com/edocs/Cardinal%20Health%20Testimony.pdf
  •  “House Bill Status Report of Legislation: 129th General Assembly: HB 335.” Ohio Legislative Services Commission. 28 August 2012.
    “Senate Bill Status Report of Legislation: 129th General Assembly: SB 231.” Ohio Legislative Services Commission. 28 August 2012.
  • Smith, Shirley. “Gay-Rights Proposal Needs Public Support.” The Columbus Dispatch. 29 October 2009: 12A. News Bank. Columbus Metropolitan Library. 14 May 2010.
  • “Statewide Employment Laws and Policies.” 17 February 2010. Human Rights Campaign. 14 May 2010. http://www.hrc.org/documents/Employment_Laws_and_Policies.pdf
  • “Status Report of Legislation: 128th General Assembly: Final.” Ohio Legislative Services Commission. 2 May 2011.
Response: In response pieces, writers usually ponder their own reactions to a particular text.

Response

Requiem!!

BalletMet Columbus
Capitol Theatre
by Jessica Cronin
Instructor: William A. Cook

About the author:

Originally from New Jersey, Jessica Cronin lived in Minnesota and Kentucky before settling in Ohio. A Columbus resident for twenty years, Jessica recently graduated from Columbus State with an Associate of Science degree and an Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology. Jessica’s career has involved work in the fields of cartography and data processing. Her favorite authors include Francis de Sales and Walt Whitman; other interests are music and foreign languages. Jessica says that the process of writing her performance-response essay brought a rich understanding of the performance.

Jessica would like to thank Technical Writing Instructor Marianne Weber, who emphasized the need for clear language and structure when presenting facts; English Professor Steve Kaczmarek, who taught her to develop the thesis of an essay and to maintain focus throughout the work; and Humanities Professor William Cook, who showed her how to analyze theatrical presentations and specific elements of dance in order to demonstrate the meaning of a performance.

About the assignment:

The assignment was to write a response to a live performance for  HUM 113, Civilization III.
 
BalletMet Columbus opened their 2010-11 season at Capitol Theatre with the production of Requiem!!, a modern ballet that celebrates the life and work of Mozart, as conceived by Birgit Scherzer in 1991, the 200th anniversary of the composer's death. Housed within the Vern Riffe Center in downtown Columbus, Capitol Theatre provides a three-tiered auditorium with a maximum seating capacity of nine-hundred. The proscenium stage, approximately fifty feet wide at front, has a slight thrust, projecting eight feet into the auditorium. Because this presentation requires the audience's unobstructed view to the back of the set, the wing section of the orchestra and loge is closed to patrons. The dance incorporates Mozart's Requiem Mass to portray the effect of his death on those who mourn his loss. Through the unique arrangement of the music, the choreographer transforms the composer's forty-five-minute work to a full-length ballet, presented in three acts without interruption. Mozart's winter burial finds Death, personified as a watchman, overseeing the procession of mourners. Mozart dances joyously in his youth, while his family grieves his death. His admirers seek icons to keep the composer's memory alive. In Requiem!!, Scherzer considers the nature of creative expression, and the artist who strives to inspire others with his work, hoping to move the audience beyond entertainment.

 The floor of the stage is in the shape of a truncated triangle, as the walls narrow toward the back of the set, closing upon a ramp that is twenty feet wide at its base and rises to a height of five feet, with a doorway centered along the top platform, giving the set the appearance of a funnel. The matte gray walls have the texture of concrete, with the outline of eight doors etched on both sides of the set. At the front of the stage, a gray upholstered armchair, in the style of Louis XV, is affixed to the wall, ten feet above the floor. A narrow stream of snow falls beneath a single spotlight, and collects in a small mound of flakes on the stage. The door at the back of the stage opens, revealing the watchman, who is Death, standing in the doorway at the top of the ramp. An open umbrella, which is suspended from the ceiling, hangs above his head. He wears long black pants that flair from knee to ankle, and a thick black stripe of paint covers the middle of his face, darkening his eyes, nose and mouth. Bodies slide down the ramp onto the stage. They are dressed in pastel leotards; the men are bare above the waist, and the women wear gypsy skirts in colors that match their leotards. The twenty-odd dancers are barefoot, each carrying a pair of black shoes, which they place in a line along the front of the stage. The watchman looks on as the dancers explore the empty space of the stage and the bare walls.

Metal rods, draped with dark brown garments, slowly descend from the ceiling within reach of the dancers, who hesitantly pull the long-sleeved cloaks over their heads, letting the woolen fabric swallow their pastel clothing. The garments are slit from hip to hem to form panels that brush their ankles. The dancers try to tear the cloth from their bodies as they pluck at the sleeves and bodice, but are helpless to remove the shrouds. One woman breaks away from the crowd and tries to ascend the ramp, but she is unable to scale its steep face. Two couples dance with somber movements, and as one of the dancers pulls away in grief to face the wall, his partner brings him back to the duet. The distraught people return to the front of the stage to pick up the shoes they had placed there earlier, and carry them to the wall, where they tap and slide the soles of the shoes along the extent of the enclosure. The ramp transforms into a staircase, lit from behind, and the watchman descends the platform onto the stage. He scatters the ensemble who rest on the floor, and he pulls them up by their arms and tosses them toward the wall.

As the people press against the concrete walls, they discover hidden panels that revolve to their touch, revealing a mottled red surface on the back face that allows escape from the barren prison. A large, dark gray object resembling a maestro's cloak appears from behind the wall; its stiff material allows it to stand without support. The onlookers gaze with admiration on the icon and reach out to touch its surface and crouch within its folds. A female dancer carries the cloak to a private location at the front of the stage. She slips her arms into the sleeves and the object engulfs her. The watchman returns to his platform, and the staircase reverts to a ramp. The music stops, and he raps on the wall with his hand, keeping a steady beat. Four of the dancers kneel at the base of the ramp, drum the floor in unison, and clap their hands in rhythm with Death who stands above them. A youthful Mozart, wearing a green tunic and matching three-quarter length pants, dances alone to the unaccompanied percussion. As he leaps and turns, the shrouded mourners lie prostrate at the foot of the ramp, and the stage darkens.

The dancers emerge from the paneled walls as the light returns. They are dressed in workers' uniforms of loosely hanging shirts and short pants, the men in blue, and the women in green. Their dance grows ebullient as they move freely through the hidden panels. One by one, they stop to regard the chair suspended from the wall, high above their reach; they strain to grasp its legs and touch the cushioned seat. A man and woman stand beneath the umbrella at the top of the ramp, their form-fitting, flesh-toned costumes portraying their naked vulnerability. In a pas de deux, Mozart's parents lament their loss. The mother’s long hair cascades down her back like a shawl, and her facial expressions relay the depth of her anguish as the couple falls to the floor. The chorus of dancers surrounds Mozart who cowers on the ground, and with their arms bent, elbows protruding to the side in the form of wings, they poke their heads forward and flap their arms in a motion that resembles birds pecking a worm. Mozart's mother and father climb the pair of ropes hanging from the ceiling and remain suspended, as if entwined within a nest, as darkness floods the stage.

Light filters through the open wall panels, and the dancers anticipate the new day, languishing at the threshold of the stage. A mature Mozart enters the stage carrying a large suitcase. He is wearing straight black pants, white socks, and black shoes. Shirtless, the left side of his chest is painted red, decorated with black symbols that resemble hieroglyphs. His solo performance is a soft-shoe dance, in character of a minstrel act, and includes moves that mimic steps from modern rock-and-roll performances, such as Michael Jackson's "moonwalk,” and Chuck Berry's signature slide-step. The mourners return to the stage, carrying open black umbrellas above their heads. Death approaches Mozart and assists him into the trunk, whereupon he proceeds to carry the entombed artist up the ramp to a darkened platform. As the mourners congregate beneath the spotlight that marks Mozart's grave, heads bowed in supplication, a flame ignites one of the umbrellas. The lights are cut, leaving only the glowing embers of the burnt umbrella visible on stage.

The mourners experience the death of the artist as their own, as they plunge into the empty tomb at his graveside. Mozart's musical admirers cherish his memory and covet the items that symbolize his achievements, but those who mourn the loss of his creative work find the exit from the concrete prison, because his art outlives the artist. Birgit Scherzer's composition demonstrates the joy of the young prodigy as he dances to a steady rhythm, like a heartbeat, the sound he interprets as music. As his talent gains recognition, his patrons demand that he create works that fulfill their desires, pecking him until he concedes. As a mature artist, Mozart struggles with his wish to please an audience that seeks to be entertained. In Requiem!!, the choreographer blurs the distinction between life and death, and between art and the artist, allowing the audience to experience both the exhilaration and despair of Mozart's musical creation, and to appreciate the life of the artist's work that continues to move people long after his death.

Report: Reports typically collect and synthesize information in order to inform readers about a particular topic.

Save the Kittens

By Keegan Fitzpatrick
Instructor: Lisa Gordon

About the author:

Keegan Fitzpatrick was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He is in his third year of college, having recently transferred from Columbus State to Ohio state to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and then a PhD in organic chemistry.

Keegan wishes to thank Columbus State advisor Laura Shady, Columbus State English professor Lisa Gordon, Columbus State chemistry professor Adam Keller, OSU research advisor Chris Callam, high school chemistry teacher Ralph Nicolosi, and his family. Without their help along the way, none of his achievements would be possible.

About the assignment:

The assignment was to write a service-learning report for English 111, College Composition.

Part I. The Problem

The abuse of pets has been going on for years and does not seem to stop. According to Pet-Abuse.com:

Shon adopted a cat from Citizens for Humane Action (C.H.A.) on January 26, 1999. In the early morning hours of February 6, Shon beat the cat, poked out its eye, broke its jaw and legs, and left it bloody and in agony in a laundry basket in his apartment. He asked Melissa to come over and get it and take it to Delaware County Humane Society and tell them she found it along the road. She instead took it to Columbus Veterinary Emergency Service (CVES) who humanely euthanized it due to the extensive nature of its injuries (qtd. in “Mutilated”).

During the month of August in 2010, a couple in Ohio was charged with animal abuse, but in this instance abuse meant neglect. The couple went out of town and left thirty-three cats and dogs in a closed house, where pet waste accumulated. When authorities discovered the house, they needed respirators in order to search the house because it was uninhabitable (“Ohio Couple”). What is even more disturbing about these stories is that they happened in Ohio, with one in Columbus. Who could do this to an animal?

Another problem that occurs with animals, mainly stray cats, is overpopulation. According to Elizabeth Allison, writer for Leicester Mercury, if male and female cats that have not been spayed or neutered have kittens, they and their offspring can reproduce a total of 420,000 kittens in seven years. Dr. Charles Miller, retired veterinarian, is quoted as saying, “A female cat that has not been spayed is always pregnant, nursing kittens, or in heat. It takes two months and two days from inception to birth for a cat.” It is important that cat owners get their pets the surgery in order to stop overpopulation, but the problem is that the prices are very expensive for the surgery. Ownership means being responsible not only for the pets’ well being, but also being financially responsible.

Part II: Cat Welfare Association

Cat Welfare Association was created in 1945 by a group of people who wanted to help abused and homeless cats in Columbus, Ohio. Their main goal is to promote better knowledge and care of cats. Every cat at Cat Welfare is cared for until they are adopted. This is amazing because when I was there, they had over 300 cats. It shows they are truly dedicated to their job. They have always been a non-profit organization that uses every penny they earn towards the shelter and the cats that live there. The income received is only from membership dues, fund raisers, and donations. There are six different levels of membership. There is lifetime, one payment of 250 dollars, patron, annual payment of 100 dollars, family, annual payment of 50 dollars, individual, annual payment of 25 dollars, senior citizen, annual payment of 10 dollars, and pet, which is 5 dollars annually. Funds that people can donate to are the Vincent fund, the Good Samaritan fund, Guardian Angels, Adopt-a-Cage, and Altering fund. Every Saturday from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Cat Welfare hosts the Catique. The Catique is a garage sale where they sell books, clothes, jewelry, artwork, other household items, and anything cat-related. They receive these items from donations; however they do not accept exercise equipment, televisions, large furniture items, or hazardous waste items such as paint. Anything that Cat Welfare does not sell at the Catique, they donate to organizations including Volunteers of America and AMVETS.

 What makes Cat Welfare so unique from other animal shelters is that their prices are low for adoption. To adopt a cat, it costs 80 dollars, or 60 dollars if it is a senior cat with special needs. When someone adopts a cat, the fee they pay covers vaccinations, de-worming, feline leukemia testing, FIV testing (of adult cats), micro chipping, and spaying or neutering. If you are already a pet owner with financial issues and need assistance with costs, Cat Welfare offers low prices for spaying and neutering. Neutering is 45 dollars for each cat, spaying is 55 dollars for each cat, and if the cat happens to be pregnant, it is 60 dollars for each mother cat. These low costs are Cat Welfare’s biggest strength because it helps many people who are suffering from financial issues. Cat Welfare understands that it is not only just about the cat, but includes the family who takes care of them, too (Cat Welfare).

Part III: My Experience

I had a very enlightening and positive experience while volunteering at Cat Welfare. Everyone was extremely thankful that I came to help. When I was there, there were only two volunteers, Gail, the director, Laura, the veterinarian, and myself. At first, my job was boring because I sat in a tiny, quiet, isolated room, watching the kittens in crates after they had surgery. I had to make sure they were eating and not licking the wounds, and if I caught them licking, I had to spray them with a water bottle to make them stop. It seemed kind of crude at first because they had the most confused look on their faces, thinking, “What in the world just hit me?” but then it became comical because the kittens gave me a death stare.

After about an hour, Gail asked me what I wanted to do when I was older, and I answered something medical related but I was not sure yet. Realizing this, Gail asked if I wanted to go inside the mobile vet van and help Laura Miller prepare for the surgeries. I had multiple jobs in helping Laura. I had to bring the kittens in crates to her, help her lay the kittens down on the table and make sure they did not jump on the floor before receiving the anesthesia, and also hand her the instruments in order to perform the surgery. Seeing the surgery was really interesting. I only witnessed the female cat surgeries. For the spaying, she cut a straight line down the linea alba, which causes no blood if done correctly, found the uterus within the body, cut the entire organ out, then sewed the linea alba with 2-O (aught) or 3-O stitches. 2-O were used for the bigger cats because it is a thicker thread while the 3-O were used for kittens because it is a thinner thread with smaller stitches. The time for the procedure depended on how big the cat was. For an average sized cat, it took about twenty to thirty minutes, and for a kitten it took about ten minutes longer because she did not want to damage any other organs in the body since kittens are smaller and everything is closer together within the body.

Cat Welfare is doing a terrific job of promoting better health, care, and understanding of cats. When I was there, they had over 300 cats roaming, playing, sleeping, and eating throughout the building. Every cat stays at Cat Welfare until it is adopted, and if it is not adopted, then it lives there until it dies. Cat Welfare is not very big either. It is only 5,600 square feet, and to have that many cats to take care of is insane. In 2009, Cat Welfare helped 2,663 cats receive surgery and 934 cats be adopted (Cat Welfare). No cat should have to be killed because it cannot find a home or because it keeps reproducing.

I think pet abuse and overpopulation will continue to increase as the years pass. People are becoming lazy not wanting to take care of their pets. Having a pet is expensive, especially with the way the economy is headed, so people may not be able to afford the cost anymore and just leave the cat somewhere. One way to decrease these problems is to have more television or radio commercials showing the statistics of abuse and overpopulation. Those commercials with Sarah McLachlan, avid supporter of ASPCA, are so painful and sad to watch, but they let society know the truth. Cat Welfare is able to help as well. However, their biggest weakness--their location--is what slows them down. It’s behind a tiny shopping center and a veterinarian hospital, so it is very difficult to find if one is not familiar with the area. The most ideal situation would be to move to a more open area, but if not feasible, then create a giant lit-up sign so that people can see and hopefully get involved. Despite that minor problem, Cat Welfare needs to continue everything that it is doing now because they are making a difference and will continue to make a difference in the future.

Works Cited

  • Allison, Elizabeth. “Why Cat Owners Need to be More Responsible.” Leicester Mercury.
  • 29 Nov. 2010. LexisNexis. Web. 30 Nov. 2010.
    “Cats Mutilated, Eyes Poked Out, Paws Cut Off Columbus, OH.” Pet-Abuse.com. Pet-Abuse.com, 17 May 2002. Web. 30 Nov. 2010.
  • Cat Welfare Association. Catwelfareohio.com., n.d. Web. 5 Dec. 2010.
  • Miller, Charles. Personal interview. 30 Nov. 2010.
  • “Ohio Couple Charged with Animal Abuse.” Dispatch.com. The Columbus Dispatch, 18 Aug. 2010. Web. 30 Nov. 2010.
Critical Analysis: In a critical analysis, a writer examines a text closely, often offering an interpretation or an evaluation.

Unity Beyond Division

By Andrew Willmore
Instructor: Dylan Canter

About the author:

Andrew Willmore is a Columbus State student who has a passion for writing. He also has interests in music composition and editing, in self-advocacy and leadership activities, and in the artistic beauty and depth of nature. Inspired by many of his middle-school, high-school, and college writing teachers to develop a voice as a writer, Andrew strives to share his knowledge and perspective with others through his writing.

Andrew extends his sincerest thanks to his college English teachers, as well as to Mrs. Robbins, Mrs. Kerschner, and Ms. Bissel, all of whom inspired and supported him in his journey as a writer.

About the assignment:

The assignment was to analyze a text for English 250, Writing about the American Experience.

Whether they are influenced by our nationality, cultural heritage, or something else, the identities that we bear are a central part of who we are. Some very clear evidence of this fact is in our history as a nation, since it has been filled with people who identify with a variety of different world beliefs, ideas, and groups of people. However, during times of strife, there have been voices that have called-- and even urged-- us to leave our smaller identities as “rich Americans,” “Black Americans,” “Asian Americans,” “feminist Americans,” and all of the other divisive labels behind. These calls for a greater identity have often caught the attention of our nation, and have led it to some of its most powerful moments in history. In Lewis Lapham’s “Who and What is American?” this idea is clearly represented, as the author theorizes that the American identity is comprised of virtuous qualities that the nation’s people cherish. However, at several different points, Lapham also seems to make claims about the American identity that run contrary to his initial message. Still, if read carefully, it is not hard to discover that Lapham’s real claim is not that we are unified only because of what virtues we value, despite his apparent contradictions. Similarly, he is also not stating that we should seek to bear only smaller identities, such as ‘African-American’ or ‘Republican-American’ in place of an all-encompassing American identity. Rather, he hints at an identity that not only centers on virtues that should be at the core of every American’s identity, but he also makes the claim that we can still unite around a single identity despite our different backgrounds.

To start off the work, Lapham presents a problem that he has noticed about the American identity: that it does not have any prominence unless there is a label attached to it that specifies what kind of an American one is. He then goes on to explain how this “subordination of the noun, ‘America’” serves the purposes of the media, the press, and political leaders and candidates of the country, and how this same fragmentation of American unity also causes sides to be taken and social conflict to arise. After several examples to back up these claims, and hinting at a larger focus for the essay, Lapham asks the question that drives all of the remainder of his work: “What traits of character or temperament do we hold in common?” (Lapham 129). His answer is that every American, because of the virtues and things that they value, and because of the premise on which the country was founded, shares “a unified field of emotion” that serves to drive us not apart, but together, as we attempt to solve the problems and overcome the obstacles that are thrown our way throughout the journey of life (Lapham 129).

In the second half of the essay, to further strengthen this point, Lapham dedicates the rest of his work to deconstructing the facades surrounding four myths that politicians and those in charge of reporting the news in our country have assumed to be true about America’s people. While deconstructing each of these myths, Lapham points to the virtues on which he claims America has functioned. Curiously, though, he also speaks of the importance of American diversity in several passages, and does so in such a way that, when looked at more closely, seems to contradict his view that the people of our nation can unite under a single identity. Finally, he ends the essay with a short conclusion, leaving the choice of whether or not to create an American identity up to America’s people, though his hope that they will is clearly evident. For the reader who has noticed the apparent contradiction centering on Lapham’s appreciation for diversity while calling for a single national identity, a few doubts still rise strong in their minds, and during a light second read through the text, one might end up assuming that Lapham has failed to resolve this contradiction. Despite this assumption, however, the reality that Lapham saw becomes clear when one examines his essay with a critical eye; Lapham correctly argues that Americans can be both a diverse and a unified people, different from each other, and yet even so, united by common virtues that transcend class, race, gender, culture, and all other lines of division.

By capitalizing on the universal respect people in America insist on preserving between one another, Louis Lapham is able to show us how we have used our desire to respect others to cross the dividing gaps between identities. Throughout some of the later passages of “Who and What is American?” Lapham provides an example of a virtue valued by American society that could provide the American people with a way of constructing an identity for everyone within the nation. For example, there is a passage in which Lapham tries to demolish the political myth that all Americans believe in the same ideas of what is right, what is good, and what is true. In this part of the essay, Lapham points to out that our desire to help others and provide grounds for treating others fairly does not exist because we “believe that every American is as perceptive or as accomplished as any other,” or because we are all the same, “but [because] we insist on the preservation of a decent and mutual respect” (Lapham 133). This respect, he argues, bridges the chasms that divide white Americans from black Americans, and creates a connection between the rich and the poor in our country, along with spanning other divides between smaller identities. Obviously, the respect that we show to each other is not completely chained by the differences we have between each other; there are many people who, though they cannot fully understand other’s cultures, learn to respect the differences between who they are and those other people they come across throughout life. As a result, it is easy to conclude that the respect such a unifying identity requires is not, in fact, an aspect of some far off dream, but is instead an achievable goal. We just need to learn how to respect others in order to make this goal a reality, and though our current divided identities may stand in the way of that, the goal is still not impossible to achieve. Still, respect alone is only one thing that would be necessary in achieving an identity that people agree to nationwide; there are several other qualities that all Americans need to have in order to establish a national representation of the whole country’s population. Fortunately, Lapham knows what these traits are, and has provided other examples of character that span the fissures of difference in our nation.

Like the steel framework that may hold together the walls of a giant skyscraper, our appreciation for the freedom to forge one’s own trail in life strengthens the respect, kindness, and understanding American people have for each other, in spite of our differences. Louis Lapham would have been hard pressed to put it better when he pointed out that we value the freedom to walk down our own road in life. Because “[we] protect the other person’s liberty in the interest of protecting our own,” we create a mutual agreement that capitalizes on helping each other, and, aided by our established desire to respect one another, helps us ascend to a plane above that of our lesser divided identities (Lapham 133). By protecting each other’s freedoms, we protect the individual’s right to journey through life along whatever path works best for that individual, and invite them to join in the process of creating an atmosphere in our country that traverses the hostile abysses made by feuds between lesser identities. In turn, by respecting one another and by being kind, we ensure that this plane, this field of mutual appreciation and understanding, becomes an environment in which a more universal identity can be made, one that can close the fissures and unite the people of the country together. It will not matter that we are divided now if we can begin to close the gaps between cultures, races, and classes in the present day; doing so will further unify us, and help us change a grim reality of divisions into an existence held together by our positive emotional bonds. Still, in the case that the skeptical reader may not yet be convinced that this is Lapham’s true argument, there are several passages in which Lapham himself explains why our different backgrounds and our different identities in the present still are not enough to keep us divided.

Despite the idea that since we are all from different cultures and backgrounds, bearing different identities and unique minds that work in different ways, America is still a nation where its people can unite around a common goal. As Lapham himself states, it is because “[we have] always [been] a country of becoming, not being; about the prospects of the future, not about the inheritance of the past,” that we can strive towards a future that lifts us above the walls keeping us apart (Lapham 130). To even further strengthen this point, Lapham references our national history, along with the message and purpose of our constitution, to show that we have strived as a nation for a holistic identity instead of individual identities. The only thing that holds us back from uniting everyone in the country around a common identity is the fixation on the idea that people are white or black, rich or poor, male or female, instead of on the idea that everyone can share the same virtuous dream. If we remain fixated on this idea, we will remain unable to create a national identity under which we can solve our problems. However, if we all gather to work towards the same dream, under an identity that allows us to understand one another, then we can see that dream made into reality. It is only our erroneous belief, the one stating that differences prevent similarities, which holds us back from relating to each other, and it is also just this belief that causes us to think of Lapham’s argument as a contradiction instead of a sound and ingenious point.

Despite the claim by some that Louis Lapham’s “Who and What is American?” is an essay that contradicts its own message by praising diversity while calling for a single identity at the national level, the points in the work are sound. In reality, the work bears no contradiction, but instead makes an especially important and exceedingly true point: that our assumption that we cannot bridge the gaps between people of different classes, races, cultures, histories, and backgrounds is a false construction. We most definitely have the potential to unite as a people under a common identity to accomplish a common goal; whether or not we do so is up to us, and it is our choice to believe that we cannot unite that is the only obstacle in the way. As Lapham himself clearly states at the end of his article, “we still have to rebuild our cities and revise our laws. We can do the work together, or we can stand around making strong statements about each other’s clothes.” Which one of these two we choose is completely up to us. In fact, if we do succeed in creating a national identity that allows for an environment filled with respect, kindness, and a number of people, each on their own unique journey through life, we may be able to extend that new reality to the rest of the planet, and make from it a better whole world. The choice to do so, and the right to do so for the sake of all the others around us, remains our own.

Works Cited

  • Lapham, Louis. “Who and What Is American?” English 250 for Columbus State Community College. Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2010. 127-137. Print.

Reckless Abandonment

By Brian James
Instructor: Rini Ranbom

About the author:

Brian was born and raised in Shelby, Ohio, a small suburb of Mansfield. From a young age, Brian enjoyed reading novels and writing. Brian graduated high school in 2006 and joined the workforce shortly after. A few years later Brian moved to Columbus, Ohio and continued his education at Columbus State. Brian is currently in the process of transferring to Ohio State to complete his Bachelor’s Degree.

Brian would like to thank the writing and literature teachers who introduced him to great pieces of literature over the years. He also thanks his mother, Sharon James, for “exposing my growing adolescent mind to the wonderful world of reading and writing in the first place.”

About the assignment:

The assignment was to analyze a text for English 101, Beginning Composition.

Today, more than ever, mainstream music is a vehicle to express angst and abandonment that was amassed during childhood. This can be seen more in today’s music because in previous generations the norm, for the most part, was a nuclear structured family. As the children of the past generation grew into adulthood, they stated that they had been cheated out of a family. In Mary Eberstadt’s essay, “Eminem Is Right,” Eberstadt discusses the failing structure of the nuclear family of the past generation, and the resulting feelings of abandonment as conveyed by popular rap artist Eminem. To support this trend in music, in Blink 182’s album, “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket,” there are multiple songs about growing up in broken homes and the resulting feelings from such an experience. Mary Eberstadt and Blink 182 both recognize what this generation is going through. Today’s music is a monologue of broken homes and adults who never got to be children expressed through lyrics filled with angst and abandonment speaking to younger generations.

The essay, “Eminem Is Right” by Mary Eberstadt explains that a lot of the rage, vulgarity, and violence in popular rap artist Eminem’s lyrics are simply expression of feelings that have been locked away since childhood. Parents and the government alike ostracize him for his foul language and gruesome pictorials that he draws with his music. The problem with this is that Eminem, albeit foul mouthed, is expressing the feelings of abandonment and guilt for an entire generation. As one draws to the conclusion of the essay, they begin to see that Eminem has become the unlikely voice of a generation lost, in the same way Blink 182 created an album that recognizes the feelings of abandonment and hostility towards a nonexistent nuclear family. Two songs on this album, “Stay Together for the Kids” and “Anthem Part Two,” demonstrate this through songs dealing with abandonment and the resulting feelings.

Music today is spotted with artists who sing about real life experiences to which an audience can relate. Whether it is a rap artist or a popular punk band, the story is the same but with different words. These artists are more commonly experiencing the reality of being raised in a home with a broken or nonexistent nuclear family. As Mary Eberstadt states in reference to Eminem, “He returns repeatedly to the same themes that fuel other success stories in contemporary music: parental loss, abandonment, abuse, and, subsequently, child and adolescent anger, dysfunction, and violence” (225). Is this true; could someone really sell records singing about such sorrowful and dark times? Look at the highly popular pop-punk band Blink 182’s album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. This album has songs that sing about the abandonment with lyrics such as, “Their anger hurts my ears/ Been runnin’ strong for seven years/ Rather than fix the problems/ They never solve them/ It makes no senses at all.” Another lyric that really demonstrates this is from the song, “Anthem Part Two,” which declares “We really need to see this through/ We never wanted to be abuse/ We’ll never give up, it’s no use/ If we’re f----- up you’re to blame” (Blink 182). Despite the negativity and anger in their songs, both of these artists are regularly on the top selling albums charts.

Is there a correlation between people making music out of dark and depressing topics and the popularity of the records? If one were to read the essay by Mary Eberstadt, one might come to the conclusion that Eminem is nothing more than a foul-mouthed nuisance capitalizing on the shock value of his lyrics. However, if one were to delve a little deeper into the essay, they would see that even though his choice of words are a little colorful to say the least, much of the lyrics in his rap songs are about the lack of a family structure. Mary Eberstadt recognizes this in her essay as she says, “In the song ‘8 Mile’ from the movie soundtrack, for example, the narrator studies his little sister as she colors one picture after another of an imagined nuclear family, failing to understand that “Momma’s got a new man/ Wish I could be the daddy that neither one of us had.” The same can be said of Blink 182’s lyrics. The song “Stay Together for the Kids” has many examples in its verses like, “I'm ripe with things to say, the words rot and fall away/ My stupid poem could fix this home, I'd read it every day” (Blink 182). Even though these two artists are on opposite ends of the music spectrum and are using different words, they’re both still singing about the same exact thing.

Pushing this issue a bit further, one could make an educated statement and say that music today truly is filled with the shortcomings of parental figures of the past generation which is now relating with today’s generation. A study conducted in 1990 says that there is, “Evidence of the breakdown in the traditional family structure. Nearly 25 percent of all children live in single-parent families. More than half of all mothers of babies more than a year old work outside the home” (Germani 14). With these facts being presented and put onto the table, one might argue that this study was conducted 20 years ago, and therefore is outdated and inaccurate. Accordingly, if one were to compare the ages of musicians such as the members of Blink 182 (38, 35, and 35), and Eminem, (38), one would see that all these men are in the same age group and all would have been children closely related in age while this test was conducted. The range of their ages in correlation with today’s young adults solidifies them as the past generation that was the subject of this study. As Mary Eberstadt puts it, “Therein lies a painful truth…Today’s teenagers and their music rebel against parents because they are not parents—not nurturing, not attentive, and often not even there” (Eberstadt 228). It seems that Mary Eberstadt is onto something with this statement and backing her opinion up Blink 182 writes in their song, “Anthem Part Two:” “Everything has fallen to pieces/ Earth is dying help me Jesus/ We need guidance, we've been misled/ young and hostile, but not stupid” in reference to the nonexistent parental figure in teenagers lives.

To say that every child who listens to music that touches on the darker topics discussed earlier is just looking for reassurance would be ignorant. Seeing no correlation in older generations speaking to younger generations in popular music would also be horribly ignorant. Today’s music is popular among youths for a reason; the youth of today relates to the message delivered by the artists. If the record sales do not speak for themselves, simply ask a youth. The ability of the youth to relate to the artist is the reason that today’s music, albeit sometimes dark and depressing, is so popular; the lyrics speak an unspoken truth that the kids are not alright.

Works Cited

  • Eberstadt, Mary. “Eminem is Right.” The Blair Reader. 7th Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner, and Stephen R. Mandell. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005. Print.
  • Germani, Clara. “Panel Addresses Child Problems.” The Christian Science. 13 July 1990. 14. Print.
  • Blink 182. “Stay Together for the Kids,” “Anthem Part Two.” Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. MCA Records, 2001. CD.
Argument: In argumentative pieces, writers take a position on a topic and support that position with evidence.

Mamma Mia, That's-a Spicy Meat Ball-a!

By Giovanni Palermini
Instructor: Valerie Acton

About the assignment:

The assignment was to write a persuasive piece for English 111, College Composition.

Seated at the kitchen table is a mustachioed man, clad in a starched, white shirt and suspenders. He is served a plate of spaghetti by a pudgy, matronly woman, her hair pulled back in a bun. He takes a bite and exclaims, “Mamma mia, that's-a spicy meat ball-a!" The depiction of Italians in this 1970 commercial for Alka-Seltzer is an enduring media stereotype.

In our politically correct society it somehow remains acceptable to malign Italians. The media would have us believe that all Italian men fall into two categories: goombahs – macho, violent mobsters; and guidos – under-educated, blue collar, womanizing buffoons. Media portrayals of Italian women include: volpes – attractive fashion mavens, fiercely dedicated to family; sanctas - devout Roman Catholics, but slightly superstitious; and matrons – controlling, overbearing mothers who rule both the kitchen and adult children. Regardless of the specific stereotype, all Italians are generally portrayed as pasta-obsessed food connoisseurs.

The commercial success of the mobster film genre allows the proliferation of the stereotype. Hollywood recognizes this formula and continues to perpetuate the stereotype that all Italian men are violent, indiscriminate killers. Exploding cars, blood-soaked rooms, and piles of bullet-riddled bodies are obligatory scenes in mob films like The Godfather (1972) and Goodfellas (1990). Television capitalizes on this same gangster persona with shows such as the HBO hit series, The Sopranos. Carmella Soprano (Edie Falco) is a classic example of the volpe, dedicated to her goombah husband.

According to the documentary, Beyond Wiseguys, the American entertainment business “depends on, circulates and prolongs ethnic stereotyping, ultimately embedding the images in the American ‘collective unconscious,’ and affecting the real lives of whatever community is being depicted.” A study conducted by the Italic Institute of America reveals that, since 1928, Hollywood has produced nearly five hundred films with an Italian mob theme. The study also indicates that, of the twenty million Italians living in America, “Italian gang members never numbered more than 5,000, which amounts to less than .0034% of the overall Italian American community.” The stereotype persists due to the revenue it generates for filmmakers and television networks.

Originally intended to generalize Italians from the northeastern United States, the guido stereotype is now commonly accepted as indicative of all Italians. Exaggerated hand gestures, poor grammar and elocution skills, over inflated egos, and a lovable obnoxiousness are prime characteristics of the guido. Television readily transports this image into American living rooms, and a list of Italian characters reads like a passenger manifest from an Alitalia flight to Rome. Generations of television guidos include: Vinnie Barbarino (John Travolta) in Welcome Back, Kotter; Tony Banta (Tony Danza) and Louie DePalma (Danny DeVito) in Taxi; Arthur Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler) in Happy Days; Laverne DiFazio (Penny Marshall) and Carmine Ragusa (Eddie Mekka) in Laverne and Shirley; and Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) in Friends - all intellectually challenged, working class (but loveable) Italians.

Television’s latest insult is the MTV reality series, Jersey Shore. This show selects the lowest life-forms from the primordial ooze, then splashes their guido images across television sets world-wide. The shenanigans of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino are enough to trigger epileptic seizures in the cultured Italian. Although this stereotype can apply to a small percentage of any ethnic group, it seems beyond the comprehension of television executives that millions of Italians are successful professionals. It may be a stretch of the imagination to picture “Snooki” as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, but it is not implausible to imagine Joey as the archeology professor (and Ross the ethnic buffoon) on Friends.

The media portray Italians as primarily Catholic, with a tendency toward the superstitious. In the film, Moonstruck (1987), Loretta Castorini (Cher) has an encounter with a sancta at the airport. “I put a curse on that plane that it’s gonna explode, burn on fire, and fall into the sea,” the old woman exclaims. We see the sancta again in the television series, The Golden Girls. In the episode titled, “The Mangiacavallo Curse,” Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) exacts revenge on a former lover via a curse.

While some superstition is embedded in the Italian culture, Italians hold no patents on mystical beliefs. Italians can often be seen wearing a horn-shaped pendant (corno) dangling from a gold chain, an amulet to ward off malocchio (the evil eye). Rosemary Ellen Guiley explains the origins of this ancient Mediterranean superstition in her book, The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft. As old as time itself, this superstition surmises that one person can bring misfortune to another person, simply by looking at them, or their prosperity, with an envious eye.

About ninety percent of Italians identify themselves as Roman Catholic. Religious traditions from “the old country” are still celebrated in many Italian American communities. The November 2007 edition of Fra Noi, reports on one such tradition – the parading of a shrine of the Virgin Mary through neighborhood streets. Through this veneration of the Madonna, Catholics show their ardent devotion to Mary as the giver of life and the receiver of the dead. It is an honor to be selected to help carry the shrine. As first generation Italian Americans are rapidly lost to age, so too are these traditions. In younger generations, only one third of identifying Catholics actively practice the religion.

Italian appreciation for good food is not a superstition. A centerpiece of Italian culture is the large gathering of family and friends to share a meal. According to Chef Mario Batali, “Italians were eating with a knife and fork when the French were still eating each other.” The typical Italian meal is a celebration of life, family and friends, regardless of the cuisine that is served.

Is there any merit in the stereotype of the pudgy, matronly Italian woman slaving away in the kitchen? There is no substantive evidence that modern Italian females spend more time in the kitchen than women of other ethnic origins. Furthermore, an Italian man is as comfortable in the kitchen as an Italian woman is in a pair of Prada pumps. During a recent dinner at Carfagna’s Kitchen, a local Italian restaurant, patrons witnessed the admonition of a waitress by the male chef. Waving a wooden spoon, he said, “No mi dire come cucinare! Esche della mia cucina!” Translation: “Don’t tell me how to cook! Get out of my kitchen!” It is clear through their friendly banter that this man rules the kitchen.

Italians are fun loving, hard working, family oriented people who value tradition. They are proud of their ancestral contributions to art, science, architecture, music, and exploration. Poke fun at them if you like. There will be no cries of bias or discrimination. They will not pummel you, nor place a “hit” on your family. Instead, Italians will laugh with you. They will serve you a plate of spaghetti. They will then sit back in their Versace suit, give you “the evil eye,” and watch as you choke on your spicy meat ball-a.

Works Cited

  • Alka-Seltzer. Advertisement. 1970. Television.
  • Batali, Mario. BrainyQuote.com. BrainyMedia. 2010. Web. 2 Nov. 2010. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mario_batali.html.
  • Beyond Wiseguys: Italian Americans & The Movies. Dir. Steven Fischler. Beachcomber Films and Pacific Street Films, 2008. DVD.
  • Distasio, Jim. “The Feast of Maria SS Incoronata.” Fra Noi. Nov. 2007: 80. Print.
  • Friends. Creator David Crane. NBC, 1994 – 2004. Television.
  • Goodfellas. Dr. Martin Scorsese. Warner Brothers, 1990. Film.
  • Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft. New York: Checkmark Books, 1999. Print.
  • Happy Days. Creator Gary Marshall. ABC, 1974 – 1984. Television.
  • Italic Institute of America. Image Research Project: Italian Culture on Film.  Floral Park, NY: Italic Institute of America, 2007. Print.
  • Jersey Shore. Creator Mackenzie Tout. MTV, 2009. Television.
  • Laverne and Shirley. Creator Gary Marshall. ABC, 1978 – 1983. Television.
  • Moonstruck. Dir. Norman Jewison. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1987. Film.
  • Taxi. Creator James L. Brooks. ABC, 1978 – 1982. NBC, 1982 – 1983. Television.
  • The Godfather. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Paramount Pictures, 1972. Film.
  • “The Mangiacavallo Curse.” The Golden Girls. Creator Susan Harris. NBC, 1985 – 1992. Television.
  • The Sopranos. Creator David Chase. HBO, 1999-2007. Television.
  • Welcome Back, Kotter. Creator Gabe Kaplan. ABC, 1975 Television.

College Corruption

By Keegan Fitzpatrick
Instructor: Lisa Gordon

About the author:

Keegan Fitzpatrick was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He is in his third year of college, having recently transferred from Columbus State to Ohio state to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and then a PhD in organic chemistry.

Keegan wishes to thank Columbus State advisor Laura Shady, Columbus State English professor Lisa Gordon, Columbus State chemistry professor Adam Keller, OSU research advisor Chris Callam, high school chemistry teacher Ralph Nicolosi, and his family. Without their help along the way, none of his achievements would be possible.

About the assignment:

The assignment was to create a researched argument for English 111, College Composition.

In the world of college athletics, it is illegal to give the athletes money or any kind of “special treatment.” This is where sports agents come into play. Sports agents work with the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, and other professional associations, and help the athletes sign with a professional team after they graduate or leave college early. The main goal of an agent is to negotiate the best contract for its client, which will result in higher salary and more endorsements. However, sports agents have been breaking NCAA rules and have begun to recruit athletes who are still in college or in some instances, high school. Sports agents are giving the athletes money, cars, houses, and even helping the athletes’ parents, hoping the athletes will sign with the agent when they are legally allowed to. When the kids are caught, they and their universities are punished, yet the agents are not.

An example of this would be the Reggie Bush incident. In 2010, the NCAA cut thirty sports scholarships, enforced a two-year bowl ban, and forced the University of Southern California to vacate fourteen football victories for the 2005 season because Reggie Bush received cars, money, and clothing from a sporting agent (Tanner). Reggie Bush also forfeited his Heisman trophy. The reason the NCAA had to enforce these punishments is because Reggie Bush was considered ineligible by NCAA rules. According to the NCAA, if a player receives extra benefits outside of sanctioned scholarships, he is ruled ineligible whether he is caught or not. This rule means USC was playing with an ineligible player, which is cheating. The university and its current players are facing the consequences of a conflict with an agent from five years ago. This injustice is why the NCAA and NFL need to work together to stop sports agents from corrupting college athletics.

In a recent issue of Sports Illustrated, George Dohrmann’s article focuses on Josh Luchs, a certified NFL agent for 20 years, and includes the names of 30 former college football players who are alleged to have taken money or some other extra benefit in violation of NCAA rules (Dohrmann). Josh Luchs is quoted as saying, “I will never forget the first time I paid a player. There are moments you will always remember, like your first kiss or your first home run or the day you met your wife. For me, the first time I broke an NCAA rule to try to land a client is just as indelible” (qtd. In Dohrmann). Luchs ended up giving Kanavis McGhee, linebacker for the University of Colorado in 1990, $2,500 in order to help his mother who lost her job, but when it came time for Kanavis to sign with an agent, he ignored Luchs (Dohrmann).

In 1992, Luchs moved onto UCLA and began to work with Harold (Doc) Daniels, one of the first prominent black NFL agents (Dohrmann). Luchs explains what he learned from Doc by telling Dohrmann, “Giving money in one shot didn’t build a long-term relationship with a prospect; I had to give smaller amounts each month so the player would stay in regular touch” (qtd. In Dohrmann). Luchs gave money to Carl Greenwood, Othello Henderson, Jamir Miller, Bruce Walker, Vaughn Parker, Ryan Fien Matt Soenksen, and Chris Alexander (Dohrmann). Luchs continues his interview by confessing, “The lunches, the money each month, the bail, the concert tickets, those were all NCAA violations, of course, but in my mind I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Doc would say to me, ‘We ain't members of the NCAA. We didn’t agree to follow those rules’” (qtd. in Dohrmann). Carl Greenwood, Othello Henderson, Matt Soenksen, Chris Alexander, Bruce Walker, and Jonathan Ogden confirmed to Sports Illustrated that they had received money and benefits from Luchs while other players declined to comment on the allegations (Dorhmann). Sports agents are corrupting college athletics because they are knowingly breaking NCAA regulations by giving athletes money, cars, houses, and other contributions.

Ed Graney, writer for the Las Vegas Review, lashes out against Josh Luchs, calling him, “Part of the monster that has eaten away at the integrity of college athletics.” Josh Luchs, according to Graney, is a foolish man because of his attempts to rationalize paying players in college. Agents only care about signing the top prospects in the NFL draft so they can make more money. It is all about money in today’s world. Luchs even acknowledges this when he states, “The maximum commission an agent gets for negotiating an NFL player’s contract is 3%. This makes the competition for the highest draft choices even more ruthless” (qtd. in Dohrmann).

Writer John Feinstein of Sporting News agrees with Graney’s point on agents, arguing, “Some agents do have consciences. But it doesn’t stop them from lying. Or breaking the rules. Agents will do whatever they feel they have to do to sign or keep a star player. Luchs’ actions confirm Feinstein’s opinion on corruption because he paid Ryan Leaf’s credit card debt of $5,000, bailed out Bruce Walker from jail for shooting a gun, and took Jonathan Ogden to a Janet Jackson concert (Dohrmann). Tim Ross, a tennis agent for thirty years, admits, “There are times when, for the good of your client, you have to lie. I don’t like doing it, but it comes with the territory” (qtd. in Feinstein). It makes perfect sense that these players are taking money because of the situations they are in. Some kids have families in poverty so they want to help out, or the players may need money because their scholarship does not cover things like food, clothes, and entertainment. It’s the fact that the sports agents are preying on the athletes and bribing them with something they know they will accept. What person would not take $2,500 in order to help their mother who just became unemployed? Based on Luchs’ experiences and Ross’ remark, it is proven that sports agents are corrupting college athletics and it is up to the NCAA and NFL to stop them.

There are several ways the NCAA and NFL can work together to cease the corruption. Feinstein asserts, “Rules should be passed stating that any agent who so much as introduces himself to a college athlete can’t negotiate an NBA, NFL, or MLB contract for two years. Second offense: five years. Third offense and you’re gone forever. And an athlete caught taking any payoff doesn’t just get his college in trouble, but should be suspended from playing professional for a year, two or more.” This resolution is excellent because not only do the agents suffer, but the players as well, even if they are professional. If the student taking money from an agent is still in college, then the athlete needs to be suspended for at least half the season, or even the whole season. One to two game suspensions are not harsh enough because it does not teach a lesson. If the NCAA suspends athletes longer and the NFL suspends agents longer, the corruption will slow down.

Tanner, writer for USA Today, however, has a different proposition to end the corruption. Tanner thinks the NCAA should consider paying stipends to college athletes so they will be less tempted to take money illegally. Stipends are fixed payments like a salary. It makes sense to pay the athletes, but in reality it is impossible. Universities would run out of money if they had to pay every single male and female athlete for a varsity sport, which is why the best way to stop agents from corrupting college athletics is through Feinstein’s ideas because it gets both the NCAA and NFL involved. Once the NCAA and NFL begin working together, they will be able to decrease the corruption the agents create.

Update: 2012

Since the time this paper was written, the country has seen a new side of collegiate sports corruption; one that people may never recover from. On Friday, June 22, 2012, Jerry Sandusky, former defensive coach at Penn State and founder of the Second Mile charity, was convicted on 45 of 48 accounts of sexual assaulting 10 boys. During Sandusky’s time as a Penn State coach, he created the Second Mile program to help troubled youths in hope that he would give them an opportunity to have better lives. For 10 anonymous boys, Sandusky did the exact opposite of Second Mile’s mission, sexually preying on them and making their lives an instant hell with horrific memories that will never leave. To source a few examples, in the Grand Jury report, Victim 1 stated that Sandusky performed oral sex on him more than 20 times through 2007 and early 2008. Victim 2, witnessed by Coach Mike McQueary, “[had] his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky.” Victim 4 testified that Sandusky would wrestle with him in which they would end up with each other’s genitals in their faces, resulting in Sandusky ejaculating (Grand Jury).

As if sexually abusing children could not get any worse, the country was notified by the Freeh report, a report by Louis Freeh, retired FBI director, that this investigation of Sandusky was covered up by “legendary” coach Joe Paterno, president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, and vice president Gary Schultz. According to the Freeh report, these Penn State employees "failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade" (Freeh). These four individuals continued to allow Sandusky permission to be around the Penn State campus and take children to football games even after knowing of his actions within the decade. In 2011, Schultz, Paterno, and Curley testified against a Grand Jury, where all three denied knowing of any other incidents besides what was reported by McQueary in 2001. Paterno lied when stating, “I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved in of that nature, no” (Freeh).

On July 23, 2012, the NCAA punished the Penn State football program. Penn State must pay a $60 million fine, have a four-year post-season ban, vacate all wins from the 1998-2011 seasons, and lose 20 scholarships each year for four years. Along with these punishments, Penn State administrators decided to take down the beloved Paterno statue. People are right, this is not the traditional “death-penalty” that SMU had received; this is worse. Much worse, and well deserved. Some believe it is tough to say whether or not the Penn State football program should be punished because Sandusky has been convicted, Paterno is dead, and the remaining men will face charges and are not employed. However, the worst scandal in college football deserves the worst punishment. To those who say this punishment is not fair to the students, fans, and players, well, life is not fair. Is it “fair” to those victims who have to deal with a living hell for the rest of their lives? USC was still punished even though Pete Carroll and Reggie Bush were gone and Ohio State suffered while Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, Dan Herron, and Mike Adams left for the NFL. The NCAA is being fair, allowing the Penn State players to transfer and play without having to sit out a year. Instead of mourning the post-season ban, the statue being taken down, and vacating wins, people should be mourning these victims. The love for football should never exceed the protection of a child. Let’s hope that the country will never have to witness another scandal like this. After all, this will be with us for the rest of our lives.

Works Cited

  • Dohrmann, George. “Confessions of an Agent.” SI.com 12 Oct. 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2010.
  • Feinstein, John. “Wanted: Agents of Change to Clean Up Collegiate Corruption.” Sporting News. Sporting News, 16 Aug. 2010.
  • Freeh, Louis. Report of the Special Investigation Counsel Regarding the Actions of The Pennsylvania State University Related to the Child Sex Abuse Committed by Gerald A. Sandusky. 12 July 2012.
  • Graney, Ed. “Cheating Team Game in College Athletics.” Las Vegas Review. 14 Oct. 2010. LexisNexis. Web. 18 Oct. 2010.
  • “Sandusky Grand Jury Presentment.” Web. 26 Sept. 2012. http://cbschicago.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/sandusky-grand-jury-presentment.pdf .
  • TTanner, Jim. “Athletes, Agents, and the NCAA: It’s Time for a Fix.” USA Today. 4 Aug. 2010. LexisNexis. Web. 19 Oct. 2010. 
Fiction: Fiction is imaginative or creative writing.

Find Your Way Home

By Susan Morriss
Instructor: Amber Rife

About the author:

In real life, Susan Morriss is a lab tech. In her fantasy life, she is a prolific and much-loved writer of urban fantasy. She has a wide variety of interests which include reading, writing, making books and paper by hand, and dressing as a wench and attending renaissance faires. Susan has a keen interest in the world and its inhabitants and is often caught staring. She loves the written word, especially the words “serendipity” and “figgy pudding.” She wishes to acknowledge and thank Alfred Bradshaw, her “beloved partner in crime.”

About the assignment:

The assignment was to write a short story for English 210, Introduction to Creative Writing.

David woke to the sound of voices and the smell of wood smoke and cooking food. His back hurt from sleeping on the ground and his head pounded fiercely; the aroma of roasting meat made him feel queasy. He was disoriented for a moment, until he realized he was lying at the base of the fountain in the market square and merchants were setting up shop for the day. He had no recollection of how he got there.

The previous evening had begun at the local inn, where he and Stanhope met with a few others from the East India Company. He remembered eating a dinner of boiled mutton, a proper English dinner, and everyone proposed toasts to England and the new Government of India Act. His memory got hazy after that.

Sitting up, he patted himself to make sure he still had his wallet. Pulling it from his coat pocket, he found it was empty save for a slip of paper on which was written, “We’ve left for Bombay ahead of you. The Lady Beatrice sails in a month’s time. Make haste, man, or we sail without you. Stanhope.”

Crushing the note in his fist, David cursed his friends under his breath. He expected as much from the others, the low-class sods, but had thought Stanhope his friend.

When he returned to the bungalow they shared, he found the door standing open and the rooms empty. All that remained was a box of his things; his prized Starley Rover bicycle was propped against it.

“Well, at least they left me that,” he snarked. “I’ll just hop on and ride to Bombay, shall I?” He ran his hand lovingly over the waxed sheen of the hard leather saddle and admired the spare geometry and shiny black finish. The first time he saw the sleek design of the new “safety bicycles” as they were called, he’d parked his penny-farthing in the shed and never ridden it again.

He inventoried the contents of the box: his clothing, his collection of first edition Dickens novels, and a few medals he’d brought from England thinking he’d impress the ladies with them. “That was a success, all right,” he muttered, shaking his head.

What he failed to understand was the harder he tried to impress people, the less they were impressed. He wasn’t stupid nor was he unattractive. He had expressive brown eyes, wavy black hair, and a mischievous grin. The scar that ran from his hairline to just above his right eyebrow enhanced his good looks, rather than detracted from them, yet he still felt like he didn’t measure up.

He weighed his options and regretted that he had no money. He looked wistfully at the signet ring he wore - heavy gold with a large square-cut ruby in the center – which he had inherited from his grandfather. Slipping it from his finger, he sighed and went to find a money changer.

David felt somewhat better after making the exchange, although he still felt that he’d been cheated; both he and the money changer knew the ring was worth far more than he’d received for it, but he expected no better from the local savages. It was done, though, and now that he had a bit of money in his pocket, he didn’t feel quite so helpless.

He still didn’t know how he was going to get from Calcutta to Bombay before the ship departed - he didn’t have that much money but he did still have his Rover - and he wondered if he’d be able to make the trek by bicycle. He knew he’d be cutting it close; Bombay is over 1900 kilometers from Calcutta.

“But it’s mostly plains,” he said to himself. He really didn’t see that he had any other choice. The thought of selling the bicycle never crossed his mind.

“A guide,” he said to himself. “That’s what I need, someone who can help me with the language and the locals.” He recalled seeing deliverymen on bicycles near the market and decided to hire one of them.

Finding a willing guide proved more difficult than David expected. No one wanted to leave Calcutta, it seemed. As he left the marketplace, David spotted a bicycle of sorts down a dusty side street. He’d never seen anything like it before. It was roughly bicycle-shaped but appeared to be comprised of mostly rust, and it had a sort of wheelbarrow-looking thing attached to the side. David assumed the owner of the strange conveyance was the loudly snoring pile of rags in the sidecar.

He stood for a moment and then coughed; the sleeping man didn’t move. David coughed a little louder. Still the sleeping man didn’t stir. David coughed and gave the bicycle a shove. The man bolted from the vehicle causing his turban to fly off and land in the dust near David’s feet. He stood with his bare feet apart, ready to fight, his eyes searching wildly about.

David’s snicker changed to a cough when the man glared at him. David looked from the turban to the man, thinking. The man certainly didn’t look like much. He was short, rail thin, and wore a shabby grayish dhoti (a traditional Indian garment) and whatever that thing was about his chest was little more than a rag now. Still, bleary-eyed as he was, he looked intelligent enough. If one could say that about an Indian native, David amended.

He regarded the man haughtily and finally said slowly and loudly, so as to be understood, “I must be in Bombay in a month’s time. Guide me, get me there safely, and I shall reward you handsomely.” He jingled his pocketful of coins. The Indian man looked at him from heavily lidded eyes, snorted, and looked away, shaking his head.

David continued, “We’ll go by bicycle. Yours looks road-worthy enough. We’ll load our supplies into your sidecar and ride across India.” He pantomimed as he spoke to ensure there was no confusion.

The Indian man looked at David as if he was a resident of Bedlam and laughed with his mouth open, revealing a set of shockingly white teeth. David surreptitiously ran his tongue over his own teeth, regretting not brushing them more often. “No… leave… Kolkata!” the man said, slowly and loudly, while pounding his chest.

David brought out his fistful of rupees and said to the man, “All of this is yours if you lead me to Bombay.”

The Indian man eyed the money, then looked into David’s eyes and finally nodded. “We go.” David relaxed. “Next week. We go,” he said still nodding his head.

“No!” David exploded. “We have to leave as soon as possible, tomorrow at the latest.” The Indian man mounted his bicycle and pushed off as David ran alongside him. “Work with me, man,” he panted. “It is of the utmost importance.”

The man continued to pedal but assessed David with a calm stare. “Tomorrow, we go,” he relented.

The next morning, David found his guide packing the sidecar of his bicycle. His appearance was so different from the previous day that David didn’t recognize him at first. The man had bathed and shaved and wore a new dhoti; his rags had been replaced by a clean but threadbare kurta and he sported a new turban with a gold brooch. All were as dazzling white as his teeth.

He held out a bundle of clothing for David. “You wear,” he said. David looked at the bundle as it if was a dead animal and shook his head. He took pride in his appearance, always wearing a waistcoat and cravat; he believed it was one of the things that separated the civilized from the savages. “Your choice,” the man shrugged, strapping David’s things into the sidecar. “We go now.” And he hopped on his bicycle, turned it around, and headed west out of town. David watched for a moment before realizing the man wasn’t stopping. He mounted his own bicycle and followed his guide out of Calcutta.

They rode in silence all day, stopping briefly every couple of hours. By mid-afternoon, David was hot, sweaty, and exhausted. They stopped under a shade tree for a water break. The man, whom David had taken to calling “LS” or “Ellis” – for “little savage” – handed him a skin of water, which David promptly drained, pouring the dregs over his head. Ellis looked at him with disgust; that skin of water was David’s ration for the entire day.

David removed his coat, which he had doggedly refused to take off despite the intense heat, and wrung it out. His shirt was badly sweat stained and stuck to his back. It also stank. David eyed the bundle of clothes that Ellis had offered him that morning. He glanced at Ellis who looked much cooler in his loose cotton than David felt in his own clothing, so he snatched up the bundle and went behind a bush to change. He chose to ignore Ellis’s snicker. He emerged wearing cool cotton paijamas, which were white with a pale green band at the hem, and left his English clothing hanging from a bush.

Aside from minor inconveniences, nothing notable happened the first few days. David was unused to spending time out of doors, and never slept on the ground, so he woke each morning stiff, sore, and out of sorts.

Ellis was up early one morning, had water boiling for tea, and was humming as he set out a round of hardened chapati for David. David, who much preferred jam and toast with his tea, grudgingly broke off pieces of the chapati and softened them in his tea.

David returned from relieving himself to find Ellis perched on the Rover. Pointing at his own rusty bicycle, he said, “You ride.” Before David could argue, Ellis had pedaled off, leaving David with no choice.

Ellis looked back and laughed at David who stood on the pedals in an attempt to get up some speed. Ellis rode right into a large rock in the road which caused the bicycle to stop instantly. He catapulted over the handlebars and his head connected with another rock with a sickening smack. He didn’t get up.

David leapt off the bicycle and slapped Ellis lightly on the cheek. “Come on, man. Wake up,” he urged. Ellis didn’t move. David had no idea how to administer first aid, but he thought he needed to elevate Ellis’s head, so he shoved Ellis’s turban under it. “Hmm,” he mused. “Maybe it was the feet.” So he elevated those too. He vaguely remembered that you should keep the person warm, so he tore open a bedroll and covered Ellis, tucking the sides under him. Lacking further inspiration, David sat down and waited for him to wake up.

Without anything better to do, David thought he would read; so he pulled out his copy of Great Expectations. It was his favorite Dickens novel and, though he’d read it dozens of times, he never tired of it. As he opened the book, a letter fell into his lap. He recognized Stanhope’s handwriting.

David,

I hoped to never have to tell you this but feel I am left with no choice. I hope you will understand and forgive me. For the past two years, since we came to India, I have been in your father’s employ as your guardian. He was concerned, and rightly so, for your future - a subject for which you seem to have little regard. He had hoped that time spent in India, finalising his business interests here, would give you a sense of accomplishment and, perhaps, a measure of pride in yourself and your work. You do have pride but not the sort a father finds comforting. At every opportunity, you have wasted and squandered, without a moment’s thought for anyone but yourself. It was your father’s wish that I leave you in Calcutta, on your own, to find your way back to England. As your friend, naturally I refused, so he fired me and ordered me back to England. I am confident that you will find your way home.

Best regards, Charles Stanhope

David was stunned. He wasn’t sure which bothered him more: his father’s lack of confidence, his friend’s betrayal, or being stuck in this godforsaken country. Ellis stirred beside him, so David put the letter away, fetched a water skin, and helped him drink.

Ellis had a large knot on his forehead and was clearly in no condition to ride which, under the circumstances, was irrelevant. When the Rover hit the rock, the front wheel bent, rendering the bicycle unusable. David left Ellis under a tree and rummaged through the sidecar until he found a wrench and began dismantling the Rover. If he was going to ride Ellis’s rusty bicycle, at least he’d have his comfortable saddle.

He put all of the usable parts from the Rover into the sidecar and removed his set of books. Leaving them in their oilcloth wrapping, he set them, along with the Rover’s frame, under the tree beside Ellis. He hoped someone would come along, find them, and love them as much as he did. He helped Ellis to the sidecar and settled him into the depression left by the books. Standing on the pedals again, he glanced down at Ellis. He saw the smirk Ellis didn’t quite hide and wondered exactly how injured the little savage was.

A few days later, Ellis was well enough to take his turn riding the bicycle. David had developed strong leg muscles from days of riding Ellis’s crude bicycle. Still, he didn’t mind when Ellis insisted on doing his share of the riding.

David had no idea how far they were from Bombay, but he thought they might still be on schedule. He knew they traveled generally westward but that was all. He relied on Ellis to read the maps and navigate.

The day they came to the river with no bridge, David gave up. The river was too deep to wade across; they’d never make it to Bombay in time now. Ellis walked upriver until he found a ford. The water was high there too but he thought they could push the bicycle across.

They were almost across when David lost his footing. He was behind the bicycle pushing, while Ellis was in front pulling it up the riverbank. With a great heave, Ellis pulled the bicycle to safety, just as he heard a splash. David was in the water, thrashing around, and yelling that he couldn’t swim. Ellis calmly took off his sandals and his shirt and jumped in after David.

Later as they lay on the bank drying in the sun, without looking at Ellis, David said, “I have always heard that when you’re about to die, your life flashes before you. I never believed it until today. Just now, in the water, my entire life was laid out before me and I was ashamed. I have been given so much and have thoughtlessly taken it all. I’ve never given anything back and I never knew it until just now.” He paused, and then continued quietly, “I really thought I was going to drown. Thank you.” It was the first time he had thanked Ellis for anything and both of them were mildly surprised. Ellis smiled up at the sun and propped his head on his arms.

Exactly thirty days after leaving Calcutta, David and Ellis reached Bombay. His one last shred of hope was dashed when they found that The Lady Beatrice had set sail two days before.

David looked across the harbor for a time, then looked at Ellis and said, “I’ve lost everything that I once held dear: my wardrobe, my books, my bicycle, my social standing, even my family. But just now I really don’t care. Just now I feel like my life is starting anew.” Ellis nodded his encouragement. “Ellis, do you have to go back to Calcutta?” Ellis shook his head. “What do you think about riding to England?”

In perfect English, Ellis said, “I hear it’s simply lovely this time of year!”

David was speechless. “You speak English!” Ellis nodded smugly. “Why did you pretend you couldn’t? All this time …”

Ellis shrugged. “You didn’t think I could, so I didn’t.” It seemed perfectly reasonable to him.

“From now on,” David said, “please, just be who you are.”

“I will if you will,” Ellis countered.

“It’s a deal,” said David. As they slowly rode north toward England and new adventures, David thought of something. “What’s your name, Ellis?”

“Prabhodan. It means knowledge, but you can call me Ellis. I’m used to it now,” he smiled.

David thought Knowledge a fitting name for his friend and he laughed joyously for the first time in ages.

Professional Writing: Professional writing is writing that occurs in the workplace.

Administrative Judge Law Decision

By Steven L. Daw
Instructor: Thomas Sico

About the author:

Steven Daw has been married for 19 years and is blessed with four beautiful children, ages 16, 13, 10, and 8. He is a graduate of Columbus State with an AAS in Paralegal Studies. Steven has been a professional musician for most of his adult life but decided in 2008 to add another professional skill to his resume by pursuing an interest in the legal field. He would like to acknowledge his wife Veronica and their children for their love and support, and his fellow classmate, Eddie Hamilton, for the healthy competition in the classroom.

About the assignment:

The assignment was to impersonate an administrative law judge by examining evidence in a case and making a ruling in regards to a previous decision. The assignment was for LEGL 226, Administrative Law.

Via Certified Mail

General Counsel for SSA
200 SSA Blvd.
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20020
 
Counsel for Leah A.
220 Albatross Way
Suite 102
Worthington, OH 43082

RE: Final Order: Reversal of decision below for denial of SSA disability benefits

Final Order

As an Administrative Law Judge for the Social Security Administration (SSA), I hereby order, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1381, and in light of the evidence and existing SSA rules, that the denial of SSA disability benefits for Leah A. be reversed, and that the appellant be awarded coverage retroactive to 6 months after she submitted the application for SSA disability coverage. Continuing eligibility will be assessed annually according to SSA administrative rules and applicable laws.

Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

In issuing this order, I have thoroughly reviewed the case file; evidentiary letters from attending physicians, psychologists, chiropractors, hypnotists, nutrition experts, other specialists; SSA handbook; federal codes; and administrative rules and definitions. My findings are:

1. The SSA has the jurisdiction to rule in this case.

2. Leah is not gainfully employed and has not been for over 3 years.

3. Her incapacity has progressed to a point of severity, and steadily so over a period of eight years.

a. This has been made clear by the numerous reports of medical and psychological specialists in the case file.

4. Leah has met the standard of 20 C.F.R. 404.1508 (1980), What is needed to show impairment.

a. “A physical or mental impairment must be established by medical evidence consisting of signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings, not only by your statement of symptoms…”

5. Leah’s condition qualifies as a listed condition under 20 C.F.R. app. 12.02, C3 (1980), “Current history of 1 or more years' inability to function outside a highly supportive living arrangement, with an indication of continued need for such an arrangement.”

6. Leah’s condition meets a listed condition under 20 C.F.R. app. 12.06 (A), (C) (1980).

7. The letters from relevant professionals in the case file relate that Leah has been unable to perform her past relevant work and is likely not to be able to in the near future.

8. There are viable work options available for “work at home” situations and they are available to Leah to pursue in this geographical area.

9. Leah’s psychological condition has resulted in a severe decline in her physiological condition.

10. Leah’s recovery schedule, frequent doctor’s visits, frequent headaches and dizziness, along with possible spinal cord difficulties would, most likely, prevent even “work at home” options.

Analysis

Although there are ample opportunities for Leah A. to work at home and not have to leave her domicile, there is also ample evidence in the record that, due to her agoraphobic symptoms and psychosomatic condition, there may be some spinal cord problems that would prevent her from even sitting for extended periods of time. Even if Leah were able to work for minimal amounts of time, it would not be enough to support her rigorous recovery schedule and doctor visits. From all the diagnoses available from licensed medical and psychological practitioners, the letters they have provided, and by statutory standards, Leah’s condition is certainly severe.

Leah has a demonstrated impairment, and her condition meets at least two listed conditions from appendix 1: a) 20 C.F.R. app. 12.02 (1980), Organic mental disorders, and b) 20 C.F.R. app. 12.06 (1980), Anxiety-related disorders. Her condition has not allowed her to function outside of a highly supportive living arrangement for two years longer than the statutory requirement of 1 year. According to all of her doctors, the prognosis indicates that she will need her current living arrangement to continue “as is” for the foreseeable future. In addition, several medical professionals stated that Leah’s attitude toward recovery and regaining a normal life is very upbeat and positive. She is not depressed and remains hopeful about her recovery.

I have also considered the fact that, since Leah has been dealing with this severe level of incapacitation for 4 years, any and all other means of support have run out. All short and long term disability benefits through past employers are now gone and have been for some time.

Conclusion

I find that the SSA abused its discretion when denying SSA disability benefits to Leah A. The abuse of discretion occurred when the SSA did not apply the administrative rules correctly, nor the standard of what qualifies as a disability under appendix 1 of 20 C.F.R. 404.1501 (1980) et seq. Furthermore, because Leah’s recovery schedule will not allow her to have gainful employ of any consequence, whether in home or otherwise, she is deemed unfit for work at this time. Therefore, I adopt the recommendation of counsel for Leah A. to reverse the denial of SSA disability benefits and award benefits retroactively back to the date of 6 months after she submitted her application for said benefits. I also recommend that the amount and subsequent continuation of these benefits be subject to review on an annual basis by administrative hearing as Leah begins her road to recovery.

__________________________________
Steven L. Daw
Administrative Law Judge, SSA

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Date