For the 55 women who stepped forward about Bill Cosby

Jordan A. Sprogis
Editor-in-Chief

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On Wednesday morning, Bill Cosby was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, stemming from the 2005 investigation of an alleged sexual assault that occurred with Andrea Constand.

This is the first time Cosby has been charged with anything related to sexual assault since 55 women spoke up over the past 10 years, testifying Constand’s case as they recalled their similar, nonconsensual sexual experiences with him.

If Cosby is decided guilty, it is assumed that he will be given 10 years max, but former Pennsylvania assistant district attorney Michael Skinner says it is more customary to receive a sentence of two or three years.

The internet has responded, and I’d like to answer a few questions that people have asked while they attempted to challenge the victims’ credibility.

“If it was a date rape drug, then why are these women suddenly remembering what happened?”

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Well, they’re not suddenly remembering.

13 “Jane Does” (what the court referred to them as to remain anonymity, though they are all out in public now) testified for Andrea Constrand’s allegation against Cosby in 2005 after she filed a lawsuit against him.

I was only 11 in 2005 so I certainly wasn’t keeping up with the Cosby allegation. Many of my classmates and friends probably weren’t, either. So this isn’t new news.

Cosby admitted that in the ‘60s and ‘70s he possessed Quaaludes with the intention to give them to women. Quaaludes were taken off the market in the early ‘80s but before was popular with college students, in clubs, and even used as medication due to its anesthesia effects.

“When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” Troiani asked.

“Yes,” Cosby replied.

Quaaludes were commonly used during sexual activity because of “heightened sensitivity and lowered inhibition coupled with relaxation and euphoria.” Its slang term was “disco biscuits” because of its common use at clubs.

Its effects can include euphoria, drowsiness, reduced heart rate, increased sexual arousal, and with its heaviest doses, slurred speech and headaches. Quaaludes are similar to today’s Xanax and Valium.

No mention of memory loss or forgetfulness in side effects is mentioned with Quaaludes. If you recount each woman’s story, many of them woke up in a daze, half naked, with clear evidence that they were sexually violated.

“Why is white America trying to take down America’s iconic black TV father, who would have opened doors to the black community on TV?”

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There is so much race inequality in this world. But this is not one of those cases.

  • Woody Allen, a TV icon and alleged child molester. His stepdaughter Dylan Farrow wrote about how she was touched by him as a child and pulished it online. Though he barely suffered any repercussions by Dylan’s claims, her mother and his ex-wife, Mia Farrow, backed her up and many people are boycotting Allen’s films.
  • Jared Fogle, a Subway franchise icon who owned child pornography and participated in child sex acts. Subway doesn’t air his commercials anymore and he now faces 15 years in prison.
  • Josh Duggar, a religious, family-valued TV personality who engaged in extramarital affairs. The Duggars lost their TV show, Josh is under a ton of scrutiny, and is now in some sex rehab.
  • Jerry Sandusky, beloved Penn State assistant football coach with 14 counts of child sex crimes. Despite the public’s outrage, Sandusky faces 30 years minimum and 60 years maximum in prison.

All lost their credibility.

Bill Cosby, if found guilty, will receive 10 years max, though the former district attorney aforementioned says it’s more likely that he will receive two or three years.

This is not a question of race. This is a man who allegedly drugged and raped dozens of women.

If these women’s stories are false, then why didn’t they decide to concoct these stories in the ’80s when Cosby was in his prime? Why wait until now, when he’s almost 80 years old and is near retirement?

He’s already a billionaire. He already starred in one of the most popular family sitcoms of all time. He already became an established comedian. What are you taking from him at this point?

A handful of the victims are colored women, and they don’t care about Cosby’s skin color.

“Why did these women wait so long to tell anyone what happened to them?”

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Cosby’s lawyer has called the 40 plus sexual assault allegations “ridiculous” and “completely illogical” that no one called to make reports to the police, which seems to be their strongest argument.

Unless you were a victim of sexual abuse, assault, and/or harassment, then you do not have the right to ask why these women “waited so long to tell anyone.” When you are sexually assaulted, there is no immediate desire to get back at who did that to you. You want to recluse yourself from the situation and pretend it never happened because it’s easier than confronting who wronged you. You ask yourself how you could let that happen to you – as if it were  your fault. You feel so dirty and wrong that there’s no way you want to relive those memories, so forcing yourself to forget is the easiest thing to do.

When we stop blaming the victim, the victim will come forward.

But the worst part is that some of the women didn’t want to wait that long. Barbara Bowman, one of the 13 Jane Doe witnesses, wrote a piece earlier this year in The Washington Post called “Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?“, describing her encounters with Cosby when she was 17.

Cosby won my trust as a 17-year-old aspiring actress in 1985, brainwashed me into viewing him as a father figure, and then assaulted me multiple times. In one case, I blacked out after having dinner and one glass of wine at his New York City brownstone, where he had offered to mentor me and discuss the entertainment industry. When I came to, I was in my panties and a man’s t-shirt, and Cosby was looming over me. I’m certain now that he drugged and raped me. But as a teenager, I tried to convince myself I had imagined it.

Bowman described that while testifying for Constrand, she wanted to share her story to help but Cosby “settled the suit for an undisclosed amount of money,” so she never had the opportunity to.

Silently, the other victims read her story in awe, realizing that they weren’t alone. Someone else was wronged by him too.

I theorize that people want to challenge these women’s stories because they either A) love Bill Cosby and don’t want their childhood to be tainted or B) don’t believe that women get assaulted as often as they do and tend to “cry wolf.”

But if it was your mother? Sister? Best friend? Daughter?

Would you doubt her?

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WCSU’s MFA writing program to host readings

Jordan A. Sprogis
Editor-in-Chief

The winners of the 2011 Housatonic Book Awards in Poetry and Fiction will read their work with other writers in Danbury during the first week of January at the Ethan Allen Hotel on Lake Avenue, Extension.

Writers and readers include – but are not limited to – Matthea Harvey who will read from her poetry collection “If Tabloids are True What Are You?” at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4 and John Katzenbach will read excerpts from his award-winning novel “Red 1-2-3” at 7 p.m. on Jan. 5. 517-bSV4gWL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

The reading will also start with members of the WCSU MFA residency, such as Z. Z. Boone and Don Snyder at 7 p.m. on Jan. 3 in room 218 at the Westside Classroom.

Boone will read from his collection of short stories “Off Somewhere” and Snyder will read from his novels and memoirs, such as “Fallen Angel” and “The Cliff Walk.”

MFA coordinator Brian Clements will also read from his recent poetry collection “A Book of Common Rituals”, in room 218 at 7 p.m. on Jan. 6. Joining him will be Melissa Gordon, a fellow poet, who will read from her recent manuscript, “Fifth Force.”

The MFA in Creative and Professional Writing is a low-residency program designed to provide writers-in-training with hands-on learning experiences and training across a wide variety of genres and fields so that they are well prepared for careers as professional writers.

The Housatonic Book Awards are sponsored by the MFA in Creative and Professional Writing program at Western Connecticut State University. The awards honor excellent work by contemporary authors who serve as role models for professional writing students.

The readings are free and open to the public.

WCSU finance students take home trophy in state competition

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A team of finance students from Western Connecticut State University’s Ancell School of Business took top place at the state level of the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) on Dec. 11 and will compete in the finals in January. The WCSU team will face teams from such schools as Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago and Georgetown University.

 Sponsored by the Entrepreneurship Foundation, the state competition invited finance students and students interested in equity investment from Connecticut colleges and universities to participate. Students were challenged to allocate $100,000 among business plan finalists in a separate competition, the CT Business Plan Competition. This is the first year the VCIC was open to students, and competing teams were from Western and Quinnipiac University.

 The WCSU team  — comprised of finance majors Zachary Goodwin of Brookfield, Thomas Chin of Sandy Hook and Domenic Bartolomeo of Brewster, New York, led by WCSU Assistant Professor of Finance Dr. Carol Huang — will now be challenged to evaluate post-revenue companies seeking venture capital in the upcoming event.

 “These three students have worked very hard since early fall preparing for this competition,” said Huang. “We are very proud to see that our students are capable of synthesizing what they learned in the program and applying them in practical use without formally taking a course in Venture Capital.”

 For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

Man of 1,000 Thoughts: What is the meaning of life?

Dakota Sarantos
Managing Editor

Dear Man of 1,000 Thoughts,
What is the meaning of life?
– Ant Man

Mr. Pym, Rudd, Anthony…whatever you’re calling yourself these days, I’m not immune to the colorful, attractive nuances of idealism. Just a few days ago I was determinedly aloof; trapped too deep in thought and brooding over the difficulty and misfortune of my existence. Then, as I stared down the darkness, face up on my bed, I had a romantic thought. Sure, I’m working part time for minimum wage while going to school and trying to afford rent and food. But besides people having it worse than I do (they really do), I decided it would be fun to simply change my perspective. I was looking at these things as negatives when I could look at them as…something else #Arrow.

I’m going to school and I’m days away from graduating with a Bachelor’s. That’s not even something I dreamed of a kid. I’m a first generation college student, and college wasn’t an idea for me until my junior year of high school. I have a part time job that I’m using to support myself. I am completely supporting myself through my own efforts and living on my own. That’s powerful if I stop to really think about it. If I weren’t doing these things right now, it would mean I’m not on track to graduate and I’m living at my mother’s place with no job. I am making the bare minimum work, and that’s impressive. How long will these thoughts last? I don’t know. Like I said, I’m not immune to idealism. It’s my favorite way of looking at things, but I’m not sure it’s my natural thought process. I fear that at heart I’m a cynic and try not to think about the crude reality. I’m afraid that I mask the pessimism with forced ideals because I totally hate being a downer; it’s lame. Sometimes these things seep through. The same night I twisted my view on my life, I thought about my death. To me, the scariest thing about death was always that I’d no longer exist. That’s really just a bummer. As much as I hate my life sometimes, I definitely always want to exist. I’m not trying to get into a theology thing here. If you’re on board with an afterlife idea, that’s totally cool. I’m not completely sold on the atheism bit and I like to keep my options open. I’ve seen too many sure people look too stupid too many times to say I know for sure what’s going on in this universe.Anyway, the scariest thing about death USED to be the (potential) concept that every part of me is done. My consciousness is gone. There’s nothing.

As my life went on and I got to experience the depressing reality of 2015 society and what’s standard in this world, the idea of nothing wasn’t bad. There are times when it sounds absolutely wonderful and peaceful. But I was in bed that night and thinking about my death and came to a personal realization that the scary part about death is we’re separated from our loved ones and we never get to be with them again. It was and is absolutely sadder than my 999 other thoughts.

Again, if you’re chill with that afterlife game then more power to you. I am forever jealous of the people who are comfortable not with their mortality, I’m okay with that, but with their existence. And I guess that’s where we land on your answer. There is no meaning of life; there’s a meaning of your life. At least, that’s the one that should matter to you. Maybe there’s like a meaning of the general existence, too, but who gives a shit?

Everyone’s life meaning is not the same. Some people have theirs come easy to them, and they know from a young age and can pursue their passion their whole lives. Most of us are not that lucky, but it’s okay to not know and have fun until you find something. You don’t wanna spend all day digging turds out of your ass. Just have a good time.

Citrus Slide

The Espier

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Yet another Oddity of the University: apparently, there’s a stray storm cloud coasting around the Campus Center on Westside dropping copious amounts of citrus slices, particularly lemon and lime. Western never ceases to impress.

I took this picture a few days after seeing these slices for the first time because the first day I saw them it was pouring rain. Not only do I prefer my cameras not drenched, but I expected them to be picked up and removed the next day when it wasn’t raining. You can imagine my surprise when I passed by the same area nearly three days later and saw the same citrus slices lying outside the Campus Center near the staircase leading into the side of the Classroom Building. They were all withered and dried up at that point, but still, with so many prospective students roaming both campuses, you’d think someone would notice the mess and do something about it, but I suppose that wasn’t the case here.

My theory on this one is that Sodexo was catering for an event and was either going to the event or cleaning up after it and dropped a tray of lemon and lime slices that were meant to accompany water or maybe guacamole or something. Why Sodexo wouldn’t bother cleaning them up is beyond me, but it just communicates laziness to me more than anything else.

I found it quite funny actually.

Here I am, stressed about the end of the term and all the work I have to complete so I can go home and watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in peace and I stumble upon a field of citrus slices. It got a good grin out of me, then got me thinking: if today it’s citrus slices, then what will it be tomorrow? A tray of desserts? Steaks? Cheeseburgers? A sticky puddle of syrup?

I don’t know, but hopefully we don’t see these oddities again, and if you happen to, send the pics to the Echo and we’ll post ‘em for you guys.

Keep your eyes open.

 

 

Star Wars Holiday

Alana Branch
Arts and Entertainment Editor

What better way to end the semester than to go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens? On Friday, hysteria will commence – as if it hasn’t already -as people of all ages who adore the epic series will take flight with their favorite characters mixed in with a handful of new ones.

The seventh installment, which is bound to break cinematic records, is helmed by director/co-writer J.J. Abrams.

Are you excited to see the movie or are you like me and just plan to lie in bed with Netflix and a cold beer?

 Either way, you had to have seen the official trailer. If not, check it below!

 

 Be safe and Merry Christmas!

 P.S. Feel free to submit reviews on the movie once you see it!

Professor Bozzone publishes ‘Off Somewhere’

Dakota Sarantos
Managing Editor

After nearly three decades of playwriting, WCSU’s maverick Creative Writing professor William Bozzone released his first book “Off Somewhere”, a collection of short stories published by Whitepoint Press on Nov. 17 to positive reviews. Why is he a maverick? Bozzone wrote the stories under the penname Z. Z. Boone, because it’s not about him.

 “I wanted the book to be about the writing, not about me. It’s easy to let ego run wild—I did it as a dramatist—and this time I felt the need for Bill Bozzone to be as invisible as possible,” said Bozzone.

 It was time for a change of pace.

 “I’d spent close to thirty years writing for the theatre, and it started feeling a bit stale. I wasn’t really enjoying the collaboration as much as I once had.”

 Looking to do something new, Bozzone went to his old passion of writing fiction.

 “I’d written fiction in college and graduate school, and one day I just realized how much I missed it. I didn’t know if I’d get anything published, but I knew I wanted to try. One story led to the next, and after a lot of rejection, I finally had a collection.”

 He spent several years putting together the collection, and even more time after that shopping it around to publishers. His journey putting together the collection was a gradual one.

 “I try to write 500 words of semi-polished prose a day. Sometimes I get more, sometimes less. The bad days are the ones when I get nothing, due to laziness.”

 He is already working on a second collection, but hopes it won’t take quite as long to release the finished product.

 “Write the kind of things you enjoy reading,” Bozzone said, giving advice to those who want to get published.

 Click here to buy the book from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

WCSU Men’s Rugby: Season Recap

Shiny S. Patel
General Sections Editor

The ruggers of WestConn had an action-packed season of thrilling wins and a few close losses. From the first Round Robin against Fairfield and Columbia, to the games against Springfield, Westfield, and Quinnipiac’s New Blue, this season was nothing less than exciting.

Watch the video below for a highlight reel on not just what our men have accomplished, but what the sport is truly about.

Halal, a New and Rising Rap Group

Emilia Dabrowski
Staff Writer 

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It’s only been nine months, but Halal is determined to mark its presence in the rap scene.

 Halal’s members are all Westconn students: Bryan “Blizzy” Ewell, Kevin “Habib” Rosario, Alswel “Ozzy Wavy” Brown, Reginald Lorius, and Brad   Bulter.

 “You can’t be scared to be bad at something you want to be good at,” says Rosario. This motivated Ewell to start rapping.

Right now, Halal makes music for fun to express views and thoughts, with goals to eventually have a larger audience and to make more music.

 “We spent a lot of money on this, we want to make it big one day,” says Brown.

 Rosario in the past went to Newark, New Jersey, and was moved by the large Muslim community. After learning a little of the Muslim culture, Rosario was inspired by the word Halal because it means to be allowed to do something.

 “Halal means permissible according to Islamic Law,” says Ewell.

 “Halal is a word that inspires the group to feel good about themselves, it builds culture,” comments Brown.

 The songs released so far are heavily related to the crimes in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The lyrics in their songs capture the anger towards current events.

 “There are a lot of people going to jail and dying and they are getting closer and closer to me. The song ‘Get Yourself a Gun’ means a lot to me of what’s going on where I come from,” says Ewell.

 Check out their songs on SoundCloud.