Agriculture

The Wildlife Society presents 2019 conclave

     This year, ABAC will be hosting the 2019 Wildlife Society Southeastern Student Conclave. This event is a competition between 22 to 24 colleges, all from 14 states across the Southeast.

     The event will have various physical and intellectual challenges for contestants: tree identification, skeet shooting, archery, orienteering and a wildlife lab practical.

     However, the quiz bowl will likely be the biggest part of the competition.

     Members of the Wildlife Society have been preparing for the event since the start of the spring semester. The event itself will be held at the end of Spring Break, starting Thursday, March 21 and ending with the awards on Saturday, March 23. Currently, there are still several volunteer positions open for anyone willing to help.

     The sign-up sheet can be found in the Yow Building’s lounge, and for more information, contact the Wildlife Society President, Matthew Cooper at mcooper10@stallions.abac.edu, or Yow advisor Dr. William Moore at wmoore@abac.edu.

Opinions

The best thing for Dems? Dump Hillary Clinton

     As the 2020 election draws closer with each day and more new candidates enter the race, there have been growing murmurs about whether or not a certain former Secretary of State will make yet another run. Indeed, after her shocking loss last time, it was always a question lingering in people’s minds: Will Hillary try again?

     While she has gone on record as saying she won’t run this time, that hasn’t stopped some publications from speculating that she still will. While this does come off as Hillary fans simply wanting their lord and savior to try again, it would be incredibly foolish to assume she is being truthful.

     It’s no secret that politicians of all stripes lie constantly. Hillary has been caught in an abundance of lies over the years, from her email scandal to claiming she landed under sniper fire. So no one should act surprised, should she announce her run. However, this would be the worst thing for the Democratic Party in its current state.

     As of right now, the Democratic Party is in a precarious position. With representatives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar sowing infighting within the party and earning them ire from outsiders, the party needs a candidate who can unify them, and be moderate enough to win over lost constituents. Hillary Clinton is the last person they should choose for this.

    While it’s been about three years since the election, there will surely be people still angry about her stealing the party nomination from Bernie Sanders. If she should get nominated again over Bernie, this will only re-open those wounds.

     As for winning back lost constituents, there isn’t a chance. After referring to Trump’s supporters as “deplorables” and insulting them as racist, sexist and everything in between, she has absolutely no chance of winning back those alienated voters.

    If the Democrats want to win back voters and have a chance of getting back the presidency, they need to do two things: first, reel their policies back towards the center. Focusing solely on identity politics and seemingly embracing socialism is not a winning strategy, and as long as they keep this up, they will continue to lose. They should be pushing the brakes on these policies, not the accelerator.

     And second: Get rid of Hillary Clinton. And not just Hillary Clinton, but Bill and all their ilk. One of Trump’s most successful lines during the campaign was to “drain the swamp.”

     While it’s debatable as to how much he has actually delivered on that promise, it is still an argument that resonates with people. It would benefit the party to learn from it, and there is no bigger of a symbol of the political swamp than the Clintons, with their countless scandals and infamous corruption.

     Of course, I’m not stupid. I’m confident that the Democrats will not push for reform and will continue to support corrupt candidates, be it Hillary, or somebody else. So go ahead.

     The further you push to the left, and the more you push corruption, the closer you push yourselves towards self-destruction. The only ones I will feel sorry for are the moderate Democrats who are powerless to reign in their colleagues and are simply trying to do what they think is right. The rest can lie in the bed of loss they’ve made.

Opinions

Vic Mignogna and the crime of being too nice

     If you are a fan of video games or anime, chances are you may have encountered the name Vic Mignogna at one point or another. It’s no surprise, as he voiced the main character Edward Elric in the “Fullmetal Alchemist” series, and is currently voicing the character of Qrow Branwen in Rooster Teeth’s popular show “RWBY.” Or, he was until recently, when accusations of sexual assault, of both adults and minors, as well as accusations of homophobia, began to gain traction online. These accusations have lead to him being fired by both Rooster Teeth and Funimation and ridiculed online.

     Some of the accusations have ranged from him hugging fans or kissing them on the cheek without consent, to him groping fans, as well as being rude to staff and homophobic in general. But without evidence, all these accusations can be considered is hearsay, rumors, or in some cases, flat out lies.

     Probably the biggest factor in support of the groping and sexual assault accusations are countless pictures of Mignogna hugging fans of all ages, or sometimes giving them a kiss on the cheek.

     People have come out to say that they did not give consent to this, however, there’s no real way to know if this is true or not. Like many of the stories being spread about him, this all amounts to “He-said-she-said.” It is known that, in at least one instance, it was consensual, as the girl in a picture with Mignogna came forward to clarify that she did ask for the hug and kiss.   

     It’s possible that many more asked as well. Mignogna is a star who draws crowds of adoring fans wherever he goes and has been very supportive of his fans, many of whom have come out in support of him. What I see is a man who loves his fans, who is very physical, and made the mistake of letting himself get too familiar with his fans too easily.

     As Mignogna said in an emotional convention speech shortly after being fired, “Just because 1,000 people want a hug doesn’t mean everybody does. And I got really lazy. Over the years I got really lazy. And I got used to being the same person all the time.”

     But if pictures out of context weren’t bad enough, now there have been leaked screenshots of a Facebook group trying to Photoshop pictures of Mignogna hugging a fan to make it appear as though he was groping them, to the shock of other members. (It has since come out that one of the people in the group might be a fake account impersonating another.)

    Some have argued that they were trying to smear Mignogna, others say that they were trying to discredit his accusers. That doesn’t change the fact that there have been talks of falsifying evidence. But sure, people don’t ever lie about sexual assault, right? It’s not like Emmett Till or the Duke Lacrosse team ever happened, right?

     As for the allegations of homophobia, this stems from Mignogna refusing to sign gay fanart of characters or comments he’s made about the sexuality of characters in shows he has been a part of. At a deeper level, I think it has to do with the fact that Mignogna is an outspoken Christian, and there are some people who can’t stand that.

     I personally don’t care about where he stands on the issue, be it the old-fashioned belief that homosexuality is a sin or the belief that it’s fine. What I do care about are his actions, and him not wanting to sign homosexual fanart is not a crime. He doesn’t have to sign everything that’s put in front of him by fans, and you are not entitled to him doing so.

     “But, these allegations aren’t new! They’ve been made against him for years!” people have argued. Some of Mignogna’s fellow voice actors have come out now and said that he’s always been this way. And to that I say: no evidence means no evidence. If you didn’t have it five years ago and don’t have any now, then it still amounts to nothing but rumors and accusations. Also, to the voice actors and convention workers who have now come out and said he’s been this way for over a decade, why didn’t you do anything?

     If you thought him hugging and kissing fans of all ages was wrong, or thought he was assaulting fans, including minors, why didn’t you speak up? Why did you wait until it became the trendy thing to do to dogpile him? Why did you work with him and behave friendly with a man who you thought to be a predator for years, only to speak up when you knew it would get you a lot of likes and retweets?

     Also worthy of note is that this movement only began as the newest “Dragon Ball Super” film premiered in America, a highly anticipated film that did well in Japan, and features Mignogna voicing one of the main characters. The timing appears suspicious.

     Now in the spirit of fairness, there have been fans of Mignogna who have sent death threats towards some of Mignogna’s accusers. Mignogna has since come out to denounce these people on Twitter. So there are bad actors on both sides.

     Now, maybe Vic Mignogna has done some of the things he’s been accused of. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a celebrity has been caught doing this sort of thing. But unlike people like Weinstein and Cosby, I see no evidence. If it ever does come out, then expect an opinion piece where I eat humble pie and admit I was wrong.

     But right now, all I see is a man whose only crime was being too nice without thinking first. So until this evidence comes out, I stand with Vic.

Opinions

Democrats currently don’t look too hot for 2020

   With the 2020 election approaching, one question is present in the mind of voters: who will be the Democratic nominee?

   At the time of this article’s writing, one of the most speculated possibilities is Joe Biden.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is obviously considering running; Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Obama’s former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro have announced their plans to run, and Maryland Representative John Delaney announced his campaign back in 2017.

  There is some speculation that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will run again, though this is not as certain, and neither have officially declared anything. So what does this all mean for Democrats? Are any of these prospects good? Can they beat Trump?

   First and foremost, I want to start with a warning to people who think Trump will utterly demolish any competition: that’s exactly what people thought about Trump vs Hillary.

   Hillary was seen as a shoo-in and had mainstream media, Hollywood celebrities, many Democratic politicians, roughly $1 billion from her campaign and affiliates, and she still lost.

   Come 2020, Trump will have his avid supporters, partisan Republican support, and the advantage of being the current president. Despite the president’s major wins and talk of how his supporters will get tired of winning, 2016 proves that nothing is ever a given.

  That said, two of the most noteworthy names, Biden and Warren, are terrible picks for the nominee. Joe Biden carries the baggage of the Obama administration, and Elizabeth Warren has become a living meme after her Native American claims, DNA test and her Instagram Live video.

   Delaney, Gabbard and Castro do not have as much baggage, but also not as much name recognition—though that may not be a bad thing.

    And then there’s the issue of what the Democratic National Committee will do. It’s proven that they stabbed Sanders in the back in order to make Clinton the nominee. Will they learn from their past mistakes, or will they steal the nomination in favor of an establishment candidate? If they do, this will probably hurt them just as it did in 2016, with disenfranchised voters going to support other candidates in protest.

   There’s still a while before the 2020 election, and there are no doubt many more politicians who will announce a run on both sides in the year to come. However, none of the current declared and likely candidates bode well for the Democrats.

   If they wish to have a chance at retaking the presidency, they need a candidate who is truly in touch with lower and middle-class Americans, who doesn’t have a whole repertoire of bad history and baggage, and actually allow the candidate to have a fair run.

Agriculture

A man of forestry, Kip Hall

ABAC has seen a fair share of professors come and go over the years, with new faces coming, and old, familiar faces retiring. But there are some professors who have been here for quite a while and have no intention of retiring soon.

In Dec. of 1985, Kip Hall was interviewed for a teaching position at ABAC. The very next day, he signed a contract, and by the start of spring semester, was teaching, “and the rest, as they say, is history,” Hall told The Stallion.
Back then, ABAC was primarily a two year school, and the Forestry program was much different than it is now.

“Well… some of the areas of specialty were Silviculture, the Insects and Disease class, industries in the summer.” With the addition of a baccalaureate program, Hall has branched out to teach Fire Ecology and the Forestry Issues class.

Before becoming a professor at ABAC, Hall studied as a biology undergraduate at Marietta College, working as a teaching assistant for a dendrology class. According to Hall, this is when he began to consider the idea of becoming a college professor.

He continued to work as a teaching assistant when he went to get his master’s at Penn State, solidifying those thoughts of teaching.

“Again, it’s kind of like, ‘Hey, maybe I’d like to do this,’ and then when the position came open at ABAC, it’s like, ‘Wow! I’ve actually already taught some of these classes. I think I can do this.’”

Having been a teacher at ABAC for over 30 years, most of that time has been spent working in the field that Hall considers his “first love.” While Hall still loves the field, he does feel that his priorities hadn’t been balanced.

“With the power of hindsight, I’ve probably overdone the career thing a little more than I should have.” Though Hall’s more than 30 years of service hasn’t gone unnoticed; during the spring semester, Hall received the W. Bruce and Rosalyn Ray Donaldson Award for Teaching Excellence.

And after all these years of service, Hall says he has no plans to leave ABAC anytime soon. “There are so many young, talented professors here now, I guess given my age and health… I don’t really have any plans to hang it up, at least imminently.”