Mount Hood

Athletes in the Health and Wellness Center

Written by: Jaylin Hardin | Sports Editor

With the recent ice storm that struck campus, classes and resources usually available to students were canceled or unusable — including the weight room that athletes have for their team workouts. With their weight room being closed, this caused an influx of athletes in the Peter Courtney Health and Wellness Center.

While it was not a problem they were there — as they do pay tuition to be able to fund and use the HWC — the athletes did not follow many of the building’s safety rules and lacked etiquette.

One complaint from students was about the teams’ lack of spatial awareness, specifically on the weight mats. “They had their stuff strewn all over the mats and worked with several pieces of equipment at the same time,” said an anonymous student. “After I had a bench, someone was doing a plank right at my feet and someone used my bench, the bench that I was using, for rows.” 

During their time in the HWC, athletes left their bags in many different places around the lifting and cardio portion of the building, including the areas behind the treadmills and in the middle of walkways. In various spaces around the lifting and cardio floor, there are cubbies for patrons to store their belongings, reducing the risk of hazards. 

“We like to keep bags in cubbies, on hangers or in lockers, which is a safety thing,” an anonymous student worker said. “A lot of the athletes on the treadmills had their bags lined up along them, which was a huge thing because those bags could get caught and break our equipment.” This was a problem from Jan. 15 to Jan.19. 

Another issue HWC personnel had during this period was athletes dropping their weights on the ground, despite signage being posted all over the HWC. This included dropping dumbbells and barbells on the second floor. 

“We ask that you don’t drop weights,” the student worker said. “The reason for this is we’re a second-floor cardio and weight facility. It’s very damaging to the floors because it’s not on a base level, we’re on columns.”

The concern of an increase in the presence of staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that causes staph infections, was also voiced by a student, who was aware that the athletes were either not doing a good enough job of wiping their machines or not wiping them down at all. 

“We did a study recently with the biology department where we didn’t clean a couple pieces of our equipment and left that up to students and patrons to clean it themselves, and actively cleaned another set ourselves,” the student worker said. “We got swabs done and there was a higher likelihood of staph infections on the equipment we didn’t clean ourselves.”

A study conducted in 2019 by Mark Dalman and colleagues, collected a total of 288 environmental samples from 16 different facilities around the United States, from both sanitized and unsanitized pieces of equipment. The total prevalence of S. aureus was 38.2% on sanitized equipment, increasing to 62.5% on unsanitized equipment. 

Two female students also reported feeling uncomfortable in the space, which is unusual for the HWC. Generally, its patrons feel comfortable and relaxed in the campus-run space. 

“Typically, I feel safe at the gym. I have never felt objectified or even noticed at the Health and Wellness Center — it is a safe place for me,” one said. “However, the athletes made me so uncomfortable. Besides just them having no problem being in my space, they also had no issues staring at me and giving me looks that made me very uncomfortable.”

In the weight room that is specifically for student-athletes, each team has their own time they are scheduled to work out in the space. This often means that they do not interact with the other teams and those outside their sport in that environment. This could attest to the uncomfortableness in the HWC between the 15 and the 19, specifically with the male athletes. Female students reported being stared at by the athletes while they exercised.

The staff at the HWC request that they be mindful of the rules and mindful of the workers talking to them.

“We’re just students here, we didn’t make the rules.”

Many sources in this article chose to remain anonymous to protect their job or person. The Howl holds the right to these identities which have been verified. 

Contact the author at howlsports@wou.edu

Gender disparity in athletics

Written by:  Jaylin Hardin | Sports Editor, Libby Thoma | Staff Writer

Gender disparities are common in the world of sports. Female athletes are generally broadcasted less, paid less and pitted against others disparaged in the weight and size category. This problem is international and does seep its way into Western — although Western is better about these disparities than other schools and professional sports. 

One issue within the sports world is how limited professional sports teams have been for women. The first professional men’s sports league was Major League Baseball, founded in 1869, after the Civil War, with its first team being the Cincinnati Red Stockings — now the Boston Red Socks. The National Football League — NFL — followed suit in 1920. The United States eventually joined the Federation Internationale de Futbol and founded the National Basketball Association, known as FIFA and the NBA respectively, in 1930 and 1946.

Women’s sports, on the other hand, did not have the same starts or even advantages as their male counterparts did. For a period of time during the forties and fifties, there was the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was created over concerns about Major League Baseball’s viewership during World War II. After this period, women’s golf became popular, and is currently the longest-running women’s professional sport — the first Women’s Professional Golf Association Tour started in the 1950s.

In June of 1972, Title IX was passed, which prohibited discrimination based on sex or gender. From this point on, women began to get a leg up in, not only education, but also athletics and other federally funded programs. Professional Tennis also became very popular among female athletes at this time.

It was not without its faults, however. Following the passing of Title IX, women still faced misogyny in athletics, as well as the struggle to establish their leagues. The Women’s NBA, Women’s FIFA, Pro-Softball and Volleyball leagues were not founded until the nineties, with many struggling to stay afloat throughout their history. 

Another issue in the professional sports world is that the women’s leagues are paid less than their male counterparts. For example, NBA players receive 50% of shared revenue from their teams and leagues, while WNBA players receive only 20%. In numbers, the average NBA player’s salary is $7.5 million a year. The average WNBA player’s salary? $116,000 a year. That’s a $7.3 million difference.

Further, discrimination is still strong against female athletes and their level of play and abilities. For collegiate softball, one of the most common sayings against the teams is, “450, dead center.” This refers to the differences in field size and pitching style in softball and how most men believe they could easily hit a home run off the softball pitchers.

Western’s sport disparities are minimal but still exist. Although Western seemingly handles any disparities well, they do not handle it perfectly. 

One thing Western excels in is its treatment of male and female athletes. Throughout interviews, female athletes report being treated well, an equal part of the athletic population and happy to be involved with the sports. 

“If there was inequity or inequality in treatment, I would know about it,” said Michael Gonzalez, the Student-Athlete Success Advisor. “Any problems, they come to me.”

Western also does a phenomenal job at broadcasting and advertising female sports — equally to male sports, if not more so. This is extremely important for funding, as advertising and broadcasting boost funding. 

According to Randi Lydum, the executive director of intercollegiate athletics, funding is distributed based on schedule and number of athletes and coaches on the team. Those with a more demanding schedule will receive more funding, while those who may travel less or have fewer athletes receive less funding. 

Scholarships are divided based on the NCA framework that gives the maximum of scholarships that Western can offer. “We try to make sure that the number of scholarships we’re giving… matches the percentage of student participation,” Lydum said. 

The school tries to ensure that female-dominated and male-dominated sports receive the same amount of scholarships, percentage-wise. Lydum states that they take equity in funding and scholarships seriously. Lydum also states that there haven’t been any actual complaints about the amount of funding from athletes or coaches to her directly. 

“…if there is a problem I want to get it figured out. Although Western does equality well, it is not done perfectly. An anonymous athlete states that “There should be changes in the budget according to which sports are more successful,” said Lydum. 

Western’s 2023 Budget Reports state that football received 14,282 in general admin overhead, with baseball and softball getting 6,290. Football gets 165,000 in travel with baseball and softball receiving 85,000, which is the most out of all the other sports. Football exceeds all other sports in recruiting, receiving 12,240 with the other sports getting 1,700–5,100 at most. 

It is easily seen how much of a discrepancy football funds receive in comparison to other sports. Why is that the case when football is easily not the top-performing program?

Football game outcomes are highly disappointing — losing eight of eleven games, with a winning percentage of .273. This is comparatively lower when compared to women’s soccer’s record of 8-5-6, with a winning percentage of .579, or even men’s soccer’s 11-3-3, .735. 

This may be a gender issue, or this may be an issue of putting money towards ‘needed’ costs rather than wins. 

Gender disparities have been found in athletics throughout history, dating back to the very beginning of these sports. It is extremely important to ensure gender equity in our athletics department to set an example for others, and although Western is more careful about equity than other colleges and professional sports, Western can continue to discuss equity. 

Contact the authors at ethoma23@mail.wou.edu or howlsports@wou.edu

Stuffed animal science

Written by: Claire Phillips | Entertainment Editor

Stuffed animals have been a childhood staple since the late 1800s. They provide limitless opportunities for creation and imagination for young minds, in addition to being a soft, cozy toy. The joy plush toys bring to people doesn’t have to be confined to one’s childhood — they can provide psychological assistance throughout your entire life.

For children, stuffed animals are tools that can help regulate tactile sensory skills and act as a “friend” to promote security. Especially for neurodivergent folks, these benefits may carry on into adulthood. However, carrying around a stuffed animal as a twenty-something or above is not as socially accepted as a toddler.

Let’s face it — adults are more likely to have chronic stressors as opposed to adolescents. So what is the harm in practicing whatever self-care skills we can to regulate our mental health? A lot of adults these days, especially college students, could also still learn a thing or two about sensory regulation.

Additionally, the way we play with stuffed animals as a child may play a role in shaping our social and emotional development. Engaging with these toys may help children practice empathy and communication, while providing a safe space for them to express their feelings. These are critical skills that are used in everyday adult life, such as at work, school or in personal relationships.

I’m not looking to start a trend or anything, but it is exciting to watch young adults continue to enjoy things that once made them happy. Jellycats, Squishmallows and those weighted dinosaurs from Target have, in my opinion, been popularized by teenagers and adults more than children — their original intended audience.

The moral of the story is, at the end of the day, if you still love snuggling up with your teddy bear at night, don’t let anyone stop you. Take your favorite soft stuffie to your upcoming doctor’s appointment. Keep a small support friend in your bag for a job interview or a final exam. They are still cheering you on, every step of the way.

Contact the author at howlentertainment@wou.edu

Mother v. Mother Earth

Written by: Ruth Simonsen | Digital Media Manager

Content warning: Taylor Swift hater ahead

In 2023, Taylor Swift was the celebrity with the highest carbon emissions for the second year in a row. This is absurd. Of course, these were the same years in which she went on her global Eras tour, which contributed to these massive amounts of carbon emissions. 

While this could constitute a valid excuse, there are many other artists and bands that went on world tours during this time. Foo Fighters, for instance, hit five continents on their world tour, the same amount as Taylor Swift, but their carbon emissions did not even make the 2022–2023 list.

The difference between Taylor Swift and the many other artists who went on tour during these years is the possession of a private jet. Many artists who are going on worldwide tours still need to fly to different countries, but they often use public transportation, while celebrities such as Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian and Travis Scott get around in privately owned jets. 

Taylor Swift also owns not one, but two private jets. This is simply unnecessary. There is no valid reason that anyone should own two private jets, even if they do go on world tours and have a boyfriend in the NFL. 

With a net worth of over one billion dollars and single-handedly costing the earth a vast amount of its health, Taylor Swift needs to change her act. To the public, she preaches global health. 

“Swift’s lyrics frequently reference nature, and she has been a public advocate for several environmental causes, including global clean water access and protecting endangered wildlife,” Forbes quotes. “She also called climate change one of the ‘horrific situations’ plaguing the world.” 

This is insane. No one in their right mind would be supporting ideals like this while also contributing the highest amounts of carbon emissions, approximately 8000 tonnes, out of every celebrity. Some of these trips were for her tour, which could leave room for some justification. Other trips were to see her boyfriend play his sport. Her hypocrisy is baffling.

Instead of contributing to the number one thing that is rapidly killing the earth, she could just watch him play his little game on the television screen like the rest of us. I understand the importance of being a supportive girlfriend, but it should never be at the cost of the planet. 

There are many different, eco-friendly ways of traveling, especially for someone with as much wealth and amenities as Swift. She has thousands of resources at her disposal, all accessible to her through her millions of dollars. It is entirely inexcusable for her to act the way that she is. Change needs to happen, and it can only come about by calling Swift out. 

Instead of discussing her newest revision of her already-made albums with your friends, bring up her lack of care for the environment that we all live in. I promise it will make for an interesting conversation.

Contact the author at howldigitalmediamamager@mail.wou.edu

The dangers of media with young kids

Written by: Claire Phillips | Entertainment Editor

Media consumption in the present day is a major concern for developing adolescents. For pre-teens, especially young girls, social media apps such as TikTok are major sources for the latest trends. However, are they the most accurate sources?

Anyone can be easily influenced by the internet. Short videos and status symbols in the form of consumer items have a knack for drawing attention from the young and old. 

This article is in no way, shape or form meant to shame parents. However, parenting is the cause of many children wanting to grow up quickly. Lack of internet restriction and access to outdoor entertainment may have led to this phenomenon. 

Millennials and older Generation Z alike are stunned at the newest generation’s trends. When you take a closer look, they’re not all that different from what we had — simply in new plastic packaging. 

Older generations were drawn to bright colors and glitter in the ‘90s, 2000s and even into the early 2010s, but Generation Alpha’s draw to pastels and muted colors may have stemmed from their parents — yes, the children of “sad beige” and “millennial gray” parents are growing up, and these parents are enabling their children to engage in dangerous behaviors.

The biggest worry of older generations dealing with the next generation maturing has to do with behavior. Many of these younger kids have exhibited disrespectful behavior when sharing public spaces, especially with those who are older than them.

My advice to anyone who does not identify with Generation Alpha — do not let these kids get under your skin. Some of their critical developmental years were stolen by the pandemic and they have not yet learned their place in the world. They are not yet teenagers — sometimes not even close, so it’s on you at this point if you let them push you around. The internet is not the greatest space to complain, since it has also become the most popular space for Generation Alpha to hang out.

From a psychological standpoint, so much has been stolen from Generation Alpha. Parks are being bulldozed and COVID hurt cognitive development, all while the internet is becoming more accessible every day. Now, it’s up to the older generations to guide and shape the children who will someday be leading us.


Contact the author at howlentertainment@wou.edu

Domain expansion, Gojo’s international fame

Written by: Liberty Miller | Lifestyle Editor

Anime is a long debated and frequently frowned upon part of society. The dislike of anime stems from certain aspects that are rooted in misogynistic and objectification culture, as well as language barriers and the perception of animated shows being aimed towards younger audiences. 

However, there is a fast-growing population of anime consumers, especially within recent years, that have initiated anime’s mainstream media appearance through viral videos, media and demand. While many shows such as Demon Slayer, Naruto and My Hero Academia have garnered high amounts of publicity and box office appearances, the star of the show is none other than Jujutsu Kaisen — more specifically, Satoru Gojo. 

Jujutsu Kaisen is a shonen anime depicting the journey of Yuuji Itadori — a high school boy who is thrown into the world of curses and jujutsu sorcerers. The series introduces a massive amount of extremely overpowered characters with a wide array of techniques, allegiances and goals. 

One of the biggest talking points of the show is the lack of male fan service. It’s typical for there to be many sexualized female characters in anime series that are aimed to attract male attention. There is a noticeable lack of fan service for female characters, but a new phenomenon has taken place — female fan service. A majority of Jujutsu Kaisen fans are familiar with the superb animation and voice acting of the male characters, namely Kento Nanami, Fushiguro Toji, Ryomen Sukuna and the ever-so-famous Gojo Satoru. 

From figurines and posters to Gojo shrines, drinks and businesses, the blue-eyed, white haired jujutsu sorcerer has captured the hearts of the masses. Gojo Satoru is known in Jujutsu Kaisen as “the strongest” in the anime verse, easily defeating some of the most challenging villains and curses in the first few episodes. He is at the top of the power rankings with a power called the “six-eyes,” a hereditary power that enables him to control and wield cursed energy much better than others. He developed skills such as the reverse cursed technique, which allows him to heal mortal wounds, and “limitless,” which allows him to control space to an extent to which no one can touch him. 

While his powers are unique and the strongest in the series, his looks and personality granted Gojo favoritism and unending support from his fans. With pure white hair, shocking blue eyes and a slight build, as well as a glib, cocky and charismatic demeanor, Gojo Satoru has won the hearts of his fans. Most recently, superstar performer Usher has been selected to perform at the Superbowl. Usher’s hit Hey Daddy — Daddy’s Home — which has reached 123,096,622 streams on Spotify, has been used as a homage to Gojo Satoru within the fanbase. 

A petition on Change.org has collected 36,181 signatures for Usher to perform “Daddy’s Home” in honor of Satoru Gojo, and many fans have taken to TikTok and Instagram comments to appeal to Usher directly. On Jan. 15, Usher posted a Gojo cosplay and earned 9.8 million views as well as 1.4 million likes, his sixth most popular video onTikTok. 

Anime has been discussed before by celebrities such as Michael B. Jordan and Megan Thee Stallion, but Gojo Satoru may have the chance to gain recognition on the NFL stage, making a clear break into mainstream media as a singular character, which would be a notable feat. 

Gojo Satoru has an ever-expanding fanbase that has gained the attention of millions of fans, including celebrities and international figures that will continue to shatter stereotypes and stigma around anime.

Contact the author at howllifestyle@wou.edu

Barbie isn’t what you think

Written by: Libby Thoma | Staff Writer

Barbie, the hot pink movie that made over one billion dollars, made history by “…instantly (becoming) the biggest debut ever for a film directed by a woman.” 

This movie was seen as the feminist movement of the century. It even earned a whopping 88% on rotten tomatoes but controversially, I don’t see it that way. There were many instances within and outside of the movie that diminished the movie’s “feminist” premise entirely. 

Starting with the movie itself, I enjoyed America Ferrara’s speech in the movie, and I thought Barbie’s subjection to the reality of the world — along with its treatment of women — was well put and interesting. I enjoyed the messages of bonding between women, anti-beauty standards, critiques of the patriarchy and more. 

However, I thought these lessons were leveled by two things in particular. The first was how easily and quickly the Barbies fell into patriarchy, and, the second, was how quickly the Kens were able to take over a long laid land of women. 

Although this might not have been the intent, how easily the Barbies were brainwashed portrayed them as ditzy — a stigma that the whole film was trying to fight. I think this sequence made it so that the Barbies were more easily labeled as stupid girls, or as Jo Koy alluded to, “…nothing more than a doll with big boobies,” even though Barbies should be and are so much more than that, especially in the current world. 

Along with this, I can not stand the ending scene where Barbie apologizes to the Kens, where they repeat that not every night has to be girl’s night. 

This is a problem in two ways, firstly, we should not be teaching any girl that a “Ken” has to be included in their safe space, or that Kens have to be included in their private home life at all. Along with this, little girls are already taught to think about and cater to men’s feelings in addition to tending to their own mental health. While men, on the other hand, aren’t. 

As a society, we are trying to step away from this, and the movie did a poor good job of supporting this notion. I understand there may be some deeper meanings to these apologies, and maybe the movie is even trying to show men ‘how it would feel,’ but as a movie that is classically marketed to a younger audience, many may not understand and take this idea of inclusivity and catering to men, to heart — even if that’s not what it’s meant to be. 

All of this also made the movie more so about men than it should have been. I wish the movie would have been more focused on apologizing to and focusing on women, not men. Although I have many complaints about the movie’s lack of feminism, there were still many important parts throughout the movie, which were then diminished multiple times by the Oscars. 

Firstly, there was the joke made by Jo Koy, stating that ‘Oppenheimer’ is based on a 721-page Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project, and ‘Barbie’ is on a plastic doll with big boobies.” 

This joke had many upset, completely ignoring the attempted point of the movie, and broke hearts around the world as many — other than myself — found it to be an important feminist film. 

Another joke Jo Koy made was, “The key moment in ‘Barbie’ is when she goes from perfect beauty to bad breath, cellulite and flat feet. Or what casting directors call character-actor!” 

The whole point of the character Weird Barbie and the transformation of Barbie herself is not to judge other women based on their appearance, and a short bald man commenting on Margo Robbie’s looks is ridiculous either way. 

Maybe Jo Koy should have watched the movie before writing his “jokes,” or maybe he’s just not that funny. 

Finally, Ryan Gosling has spoken out about his win at the Oscars, stating that there would be no Barbie without Greta Gerwig or Margo Robbie, for they were responsible for the film. 

Margo Robbie did not win best actress, even though she and America Ferrara carried that movie, but Ryan Gosling, who should have been a silly addition to the movie, won best actor for it. Absolutely ridiculous. 

In the future, I would like to see a movie solely about empowering women, leaving out ditziness and any apologies to men. Hopefully, when the next major feminist movie comes out, men like Jo Koy — and the other men in our lives — will understand its importance, and maybe the awards will focus on women. 

Contact the author at ethoma23@wou.edu