Mount Hood

Pandemic Baby — growing up not seeing faces

Being born when voices are known and faces are unrecognized

Hannah Greene | Guest Contributor

I found out I was pregnant in July of 2020, smack dab in the middle of the pandemic. I was laid off from all three of my jobs and for some reason or another didn’t qualify for unemployment — but that didn’t matter, I was only filled with pure joy and excitement. 

Keeping the pregnancy on the down low was easy, especially while having to quarantine  — it was refreshing, being able to focus on my own health and happiness to let my body do its thing. 

Because of the pandemic, a lot was different — rather than going into the doctors for my first appointment it was over the phone, and once “real” appointments started, I had to check in on the bottom floor, get my temperature checked and get a badge to the correct floor that I was going to. This happened again once I checked in for the actual appointment. At first, it was interesting and totally different, but after four or five appointments it seemed normal and habitual.

Besides the new way of appointments, businesses being closed and everyone wearing masks, life didn’t feel that much different.

Fast forward to the birth of my darling little one — on March 15 I went into labor, but stubborn little girl didn’t want to arrive until the 18 — I was administered a COVID-19 test that I had passed, so I was able to have my mask off during the delivery, and luckily rules weren’t as strict as when the pandemic first started, so my partner was able to be there the entire time and even my mom was given permission to visit us after the birth. 

The realness of growing up in a pandemic hit when I was thinking back to the delivery of her; rather than getting to see smiling faces and hear happy voices about a new baby entering the world, my daughter was welcomed by masks and muffled words. Her first sight of her dad was with a mask, as well my midwife’s mask, nurse assistants’ masks and so on — the only one without a mask was me, and it wasn’t until a couple hours later that she got to meet her dad without a mask. 

Thinking about growing up in a world where people’s faces are covered wherever you go is so new and not something I had to do, but makes me question how children will develop with this gap of interaction, no matter the amount they get at home.

One positive to being a new mom with a new baby in a new world is not having to worry about people crowding her stroller to look at her, bother her, breathe on her, etc. Now, people are distant, respectful and allow me to be in control of who my daughter meets, how she meets them and when. Throughout my whole pregnancy, I was told how annoying it gets when you’re constantly being bombarded by people when you have a new baby, and how their manners go out the door. Luckily, this was not the case. I feel comfortable leaving the house knowing when I go on a walk with her, people will cross the street or step to the side to let us pass and never bother to put their heads close to hers to see her. I don’t have to worry about bringing her to restaurants or grocery stores knowing that rules are set in place and no one will not be wearing a mask around her.

Of course, this is only right now, and she doesn’t have daycare or school and isn’t involved in sports; I can only cross my fingers that things go back to “normal” when she starts to enter these stages of life. Until then, I’ll do my best as her mom to make sure she’s getting regular interaction to develop her social skills, seeing how her mom and dad interact with each other and the outside world.

Contact the author at

Press Release: BIPOC hidden figures at Western

Highlighting Elizabeth Braatz, the student behind the Satisfactory/No Credit Academic Policy

Makana Waikiki |‌ IFC Chair

April 24, 2021

Monmouth, OR- Black, Indigenous and Students of Color at Western Oregon University are consistently not given credit on the momentous changes to our campus policies that they led. Not only are they not mentioned in the publication of these changes, but their white counterparts are specifically congratulated for their hard work in creating that change. Often, when students of color speak up and claim the work that they did, they are told that it was a group effort and they are “hogging” the credit. Although there are many examples of this that occurred over the course of the last school year, there is one that cannot be ignored anymore. With the university beginning conversations surrounding the approval or extension of these changes, these incredible students need to be seen. The Satisfactory/No Credit grading option that was offered as an option this year was proposed and passed by Elizabeth Braatz through the faculty senate. 

Elizabeth Braatz is a Black, Hispanic, Native American, LGBTQ+ student here at WOU, Elizabeth also has an auditory processing disorder she was diagnosed with at seven years old. Throughout her time at this university, she has always advocated for students from all different backgrounds to ensure that they are given every opportunity to succeed here at WOU. As a Resident Assistant this year and an active student leader, she saw and heard the concerns and fears of her peers surrounding their success in classes during the pandemic. With so many students forced to take on extra jobs, assist their family and take on increased responsibility and pressure, their academics were the last thing on their minds. Elizabeth knew that if the grading policy remained the standard A through F, that the students here at WOU would suffer. She immediately began collecting statistics, drafting the policy and presenting it to the faculty senate. With the help of Faculty Senate President Leigh Graziano and ASWOU Senate President Liz Marquez Gutierrez, she was able to pass the Satisfactory/No Credit grading option policy for the 2020-21 academic year.

As Elizabeth Braatz has worked closely with the Faculty Senate President Leigh Graziano, we were able to get a quote from the Senate President herself. This is what she has to say regarding Elizabeth’s efforts. “Although it wasn’t mentioned in the Faculty Senate presentation on April 13, the proposal to revise our permanent S/NC policy is indebted to the activism of Elizabeth Braatz. It was Elizabeth’s presentation at the Faculty Senate in fall 2020 that prompted the Faculty Senate to vote to adopt this emergency grade mode again for the rest of the academic year. Learning from this moment, the Registrar brought forward a proposal to revise our permanent S/NC policy so that it is more useful for students and can be another vehicle of student success and retention. But, I think we are in this moment because of Elizabeth’s work, and it’s wonderful to see our policies being revised because of student-led activism.”

This policy allows students to opt in and use the Satisfactory/No Credit option for the courses that they are taking. Students have from the start of the term to the end of the seventh week to opt in. The academic policy is not functional for all programs, majors or courses. It is available based upon the various departments, and their decisions on whether or not they want to provide this option within their department. It is important that students seek advising from their academic advisors to find out if their courses allow for this academic policy, as well as if it is in their best interest to use this option. It is simply an opportunity for students to do what is best for them as we continue navigating through a difficult and challenging time in history.

We were able to speak with Elizabeth Braatz regarding her experience and thoughts about the Satisfactory/No Credit option. She said, “For awhile, I really did not mind being a hidden figure in a sense because ultimately, all I wanted to ensure was that students were given the opportunity to succeed during an extremely difficult and challenging time in our history. I was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder when I was seven years old, so I am able to understand the stress and difficulty in trying to adapt to new concepts, teaching styles, methods and curriculum. I have worked so hard to be where I am today, and I no longer wanted to go unheard or unseen. It is important for me to have my work be acknowledged, and to no longer be a hidden figure. It is important for credit to go to where credit is deserved.”

This incredible student leader deserves to have their hard work and commitment to student success recognized and appreciated. Without their courage and resilience the support we as students need to succeed here at WOU would not be possible. They are also just one of the hundreds of amazing and influential BIPOC students that have chosen WOU as their home and are fighting for change and inclusion. Our administration is leading us to believe that they are creating these changes, when it is the BIPOC students who pay to be here that are fighting for students and their success.

For more information contact Elizabeth Braatz at and Leigh Graziano  at

Press Release: Governor Kate Brown urges Oregonians to get vaccinated

15 counties qualify for extreme risk amid rapid surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations

Charles Boyle |‌ Deputy Communications Director

April 27, 2021

Vaccinations key to staying safe, fully reopening the economy: “There are appointments available right now all across the state.” 

Governor partnering with Oregon Legislature for $20 million emergency relief package to immediately aid businesses in Extreme Risk counties 

County health and safety restrictions to be evaluated weekly, with counties remaining in Extreme Risk for a maximum of three weeks 

(Salem, OR) — Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown today announced updates to county risk levels under the state’s public health framework. With hospitalizations rising above 300 people statewide, threatening to overwhelm doctors and nurses, 15 counties will move to the Extreme Risk level effective Friday, April 30 through Thursday, May 6. In addition, nine counties will be in the High Risk level, four at Moderate Risk, and eight at Lower Risk. A complete list of counties and their risk levels is available here.

“If we don’t act now, doctors, nurses, hospitals and other health care providers in Oregon will be stretched to their limits treating severe cases of COVID-19,” said Governor Brown. “Today’s announcement will save lives and help stop COVID-19 hospitalizations from spiking even higher. With new COVID-19 variants widespread in so many of our communities, it will take all of us working together to bring this back under control.”

Governor Brown is partnering with lawmakers to approve a $20 million small business emergency relief package to immediately support impacted businesses in Extreme Risk counties through the commercial rent relief program.

In an effort to speed up the return to normal business operations, county COVID-19 data will be evaluated weekly for at least the next three weeks. Any updates to county risk levels next week will be announced on Tuesday, May 4 and take effect on Friday, May 7. Counties that improve their COVID-19 metrics will have the opportunity to move to a lower risk level. Counties will remain in Extreme Risk for a maximum of three weeks.

Continued Governor Brown: “The fastest way to lift health and safety restrictions is for Oregonians to get vaccinated as quickly as possible and follow the safety measures we know stop this virus from spreading. I recognize the burden these restrictions place on Oregon businesses and working families. My goal is to lift these restrictions as soon as it is safely possible, and keep Oregon on the path for lifting most health and safety requirements by the end of June so we can fully reopen our economy. But we will only get there if enough Oregonians get vaccinated. There are appointments available right now all across the state.”

Governor partnering with Legislature for $20 million for immediate aid to businesses in Extreme Risk counties, announces updates to outdoor capacity limits

Governor Brown is also partnering with legislators on a $20 million emergency relief package to provide immediate aid to impacted businesses in Extreme Risk counties through the state’s commercial rent relief program.

Governor Brown continued: “After conversations with legislative leaders, I am confident we can move quickly to bring relief to businesses and their employees in Extreme Risk counties. The vast majority of Oregon businesses have followed our health and safety guidance to protect Oregonians from COVID-19, even though doing so has come with an economic cost. This emergency aid will help businesses in Extreme Risk counties.”

In addition, the Governor announced that outdoor capacity limits for bars, restaurants, and other sectors will be raised from 50 to 100 people in Extreme Risk counties, with health and safety measures, including physical distancing, in place.

Added Governor Brown: “We know that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is lower outdoors. I am urging all Oregonians, if you choose to gather with others, keep it outdoors. Indoor transmission is a key driver in the COVID-19 surge that is making renewed health and safety restrictions necessary.”

The Oregon Health Authority will also be working to align Oregon’s outdoor mask guidance with the CDC guidance announced today.

Three-week limit placed on Extreme Risk level, Portland-area hospitals to closely monitor capacity

Under the Risk Level framework, counties move to (or remain in) Extreme Risk when they meet the county metrics for case rates and percent positivity, and Oregon meets statewide hospitalization metrics: COVID-19 positive patients occupying 300 hospital beds or more, and a 15% increase in the seven-day hospitalization average over the past week.

Counties will stay in Extreme Risk for a maximum of three weeks, and will be able to move to a lower risk level sooner if their COVID-19 case rates are brought down in the intervening weeks, or if Oregon moves below 300 statewide hospitalizations or the seven-day hospitalization average percent increase goes below 15 percent.

The Governor has also worked in partnership with Portland metro-area hospitals to ensure systems are in place to closely monitor and manage hospital capacity. Health systems in the Portland area are using the coordinated system developed at the beginning of the pandemic to manage hospital surge capacity, bed space, essential services and non-urgent procedures as needed over the next three weeks in order to preserve hospital beds and critical care capacity.

Continued Governor Brown: “I want to thank hospital and health care leaders for the work they are doing to manage hospital bed space, so that no Oregonian is turned away from receiving the health care they need. Now, I am asking Oregonians to do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities so we can help support our nurses, doctors, and frontline health care workers.”

The Governor has asked hospital leaders to alert the Governor’s Office and OHA immediately if additional measures are needed to preserve hospital capacity.

If, after three weeks, Oregon still exceeds statewide hospitalization metrics and one or more counties still meet the case rates and percent positivity for Extreme Risk, the Oregon Health Authority will evaluate why and make recommendations to the Governor’s Office.

For more information, call Media Contact, Charles Boyle, at 503-931-7773.

Capturing Earth’s Beauty

The Western Howl staff shares their favorite nature photos they’ve taken

Compiled by The Western Howl Staff

Abiqua falls starts with an adventure hike that leads to beautiful views.
– Kiara Wehrenberg
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most stunning places in the U.S. Its unique geology creates a wonderland of incredible sites.
– Allison Vanderzanden
My first real camping experience and hike was at Big Basin, California; and, though it was grueling, the view was worth two hour hike.
– Cora McClain
The awe-inspiring, wondrous sunsets of Poipu beach will always have a place in my heart. A hui hou kakou.
– Kyle Morden
Taken while on a fishing trip while at a local lake, searching for trout.
– Natalie Dean
Taken in my grandparents backyard while I was visiting. Idaho always has such pretty sunsets that are perfect for pictures.
– Rylie Horrall
These beautiful trees are all over Oregon and their blossoms stay for only a short-time. Enjoy them before they are gone!
– Stephanie Moschella
I took this photo in 2018 when my grandma and I were visiting the Oregon Garden. I have no idea what these flowers are but they are pretty.
– Sydney Carpenter

Press Release: BIPOC students call on WOU Board of Trustees to meet student needs

Black, Indigenous and Students of Color at Western explain their all encompassing proposal to the WOU Board of Trustees

Makana Waikiki | ASWOU IFC Chair

For Immediate Release

April 3, 2021

Proposal from Black, Indigenous and Students of Color at Western Oregon University Calls on the WOU Board of Trustees and WOU Administration to Meet Student Needs

Monmouth, OR — Black, Indigenous and students of color at Western Oregon University released a comprehensive proposal to the WOU Board of Trustees which they will present at the April 21, 2021 Board Meeting, bringing attention to student needs through funding and re-evaluation of needs that WOU and it’s administration have failed to provide for students, staff, faculty and the community.

The proposal is separated into two categories of student needs at WOU; fiscal and re-evaluation. Over the past several years, students at WOU have shared their frustration due to lack of support through resources from the administration. Students of color continue to be some of the most impacted student groups on this campus and have been advocating for a center on campus that brings them together, that it is a safe space and one that promotes and celebrates the diversity and richness of their cultures. The first fiscal demand is to fund the Freedom Center, a space created by BIPOC students for BIPOC students at WOU. This space will provide study rooms, technology, and a place where students of color can go for support, resources, and most importantly a safe environment on this campus.

Our proposal also addresses the serious need for a post-secondary education at WOU that is affordable, accessible and provides students the resources they need to succeed. The Incidental Fee is an important revenue source that funds vital services, programs, resources, like the food pantry, and employment opportunities for students and staff. These services and programs need to be funded however, it is tied to enrollment and with the decrease in enrollment rates that we continue to witness it leaves areas that provide essential services and resources underfunded. We are asking the Board of Trustees to subsidize the cuts the Incidental Fee Committee (IFC) had to make this year (~$203,000) so that all IFC funded areas that benefit students will be fully funded going into the next academic year.

Through the Incidental Fee Committee’s open hearings, student athletes voiced their concerns that they are in need for new uniforms and gear. There needs to be investments to support the student athletes on our campus that help recruit new students to our campus. We are asking for $122,000 to be allocated to the Student Athletes for their uniforms and gear. This allocation would double each sports’ budget as they are severely underfunded.

This past year we have witnessed increased attacks directed towards communities of color and how this has affected the mental and physical well-being of the students of color on our campus. This university wants to pride itself in its core values of diversity and respect stating that “equity and inclusion are a fundamental basis in human diversity” and yet students of color are the ones demanding and working towards creating the Freedom Center. Students should not be the only group of people on our campus that want to create a safe and welcoming environment; this should be a mission we all strive working towards. The Board can take action to help address this issue by funding a Director of Equity and Inclusion. Funding for this position would be for 2 years and would be hired by a committee of BIPOC students, faculty and staff. This position would address instances of systemic racial and social injustice, support students, staff, and faculty of color in achieving their goals at WOU.

The Board of Trustees must also re-evaluate how faculty and staff are hired. There is a lack of BIPOC representation in the administration, faculty and staff positions. President Fuller must prepare a plan to set a new policy to hire faculty and staff positions, and a plan that includes representation from no less than one BIPOC student, no less than one BIPOC faculty member, and no less than one BIPOC staff member, by the next Board of Trustees meeting. Additionally, the Board of Trustees must reconsider our plan around campus reopening for fall term at their next Board of Trustees meeting, with a dedicated agenda item with 30 minutes of public comment on the matter. The board must also collaborate with ASWOU to hold a series of public forums next Fall 2021, in which students, faculty and staff will be able to provide feedback on the following topics: Campus Public Safety, faculty racism in the classroom, Student Health & Counseling Center, institute first year cultural competency and systematic racism class for all WOU students to take their first year, instituting cultural curriculum into all classes offered for Undergraduate and Graduate degrees in consultation with the Director of Equity and Inclusion, and COVID-19 Response.

This comprehensive proposal from BIPOC students at WOU addresses major concerns WOU students have expressed for years and we urge the Board of Trustees to take action by approving our budget asks and re-evaluation recommendations. It will take all of us — students, faculty, staff, the administration and the Board of Trustees to save our university and restore the level of trust, transparency, accountability, inclusivity and most importantly our sense of community.

For more information, contact ASWOU IFC Chair, Makana Waikiki, at


April 11th, 2021

“We as a community have put our trust in people and systems that don’t deserve it. We are putting ourselves at risk everyday we get up and try to get an education here at WOU. With the increase of hate crimes, the lack of resources for marginalized communities, and increase in the price and difficulty of higher education, we need the Board of Trustees to prioritize our needs. The students of WOU are bringing this proposal forward, of our fiscal and re-evaluation needs that WOU and it’s administration have failed to provide for their students, staff, faculty, and community. It is time for change.”

— Makana Waikiki (she/they) Student Leader and Student Rights Advocate

Press Release: Reign in University Construction Spending

Student Government Leaders at Public Universities Across Oregon Call on State to Invest in Financial Aid

 N.J. Johnson |‌ ‌ASWOU President

Thursday, March 11, 2021 

The Student Body Presidents at University of Oregon, Western Oregon University, Eastern Oregon University, Oregon State University, and Portland State University released a joint letter today to members of the Oregon State Legislature and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission calling for the state to address rising tuition increases and improve governance and oversight of public universities in Oregon, which were deregulated in 2015.

The Letter Reads:

To: Higher Education Coordinating Commission and the Oregon State Legislature

Fr: Oregon Student Association & Associated University Student Governments

Re: Higher Education Priorities for the Legislative Session

Understanding that the effect of COVID-19 and the financial recession that has followed have had immense impacts on students, we the student body presidents of the public universities across the state of Oregon call upon the state legislature to take meaningful efforts to reevaluate the course of higher education funding.

Upon careful assessments of our campus priorities and the needs of students in the midst of this pandemic, this association has determined that emergency investments into the Oregon Opportunity Grant to be a top priority. Currently, less than 1 in 4 students who qualify for the Oregon Opportunity Grant receive the funding. This stands out as a deeply concerning flaw in state distribution of funding. We believe that financial aid investment is a fundamental part of any strategy for long term economic recovery across the state. Students pursuing higher education make up a large portion of the working class population in the state of Oregon, without further financial assistance we anticipate these students will be forced to choose between their pursuit of higher education opportunities and financial stability. 

This pandemic has further revealed the inequities of our many social systems. Specifically, under the analysis of the financial distribution to our public universities, we have seen a recurring trend in funding initiatives and projects across state universities that do not directly contribute to the needs of students. While OSA supports investing in safety updates and retrofitting, as well as building equity centers, multicultural student centers, and dreamers resource centers, student needs are not always taken into account when institutions prioritize new building projects. We are well aware of the potential financial recovery that capital construction initiatives offer during these difficult times, however, we weigh the

financial burdens that students are facing as a higher priority for state funding. As it stands, capital construction funding will not directly support the needs of students, especially when these projects have projected completion dates years in the future. University administrations have argued that investments in capital construction will mitigate the enrollment crisis and make education more affordable. Instead, the data collected over the last decade shows enrollment declines and alarming tuition increases. We are asking that students and the needs of students be a direct priority during this session. We ask that legislators work with students to reevaluate and reimagine the incentives, governance, and priorities of our public universities.

Thus, we the student body presidents of the public university in the state of Oregon call upon the legislature to make meaningful emergency investments into the Oregon Opportunity Grant to aid financially suffering students during the long session. We call upon the legislature to support students calls for increased transparency and accountability on public universities to ensure funds are directly supporting students’ needs. Lastly, we call upon the legislature to oppose the ongoing drift towards privatization of our public universities through planning for meaningful investment and meaningful governance reform.


Isaiah Boyd, President Associated Students of University of Oregon

N.J. Johnson, President Associated Students of Western Oregon University

Keegan Sanchez, President Associated Students of Eastern Oregon University

Motutama Sipelii, President Associated Students of Portland State University

Isabel Nuñez Perez, President Associated Students of Oregon State University

In the five years since the Oregon University System was dismantled and institutional boards were put in place, tuition has increased by 18.5%, a faster rate than the five year span directly leading up to the end of the Oregon University System. This leads to massive inequities in higher education access. At the University of Oregon, for instance, there are about as many students whose household income is in the top 1% of income earners as there are students whose household income is in the bottom 20%.

Meanwhile, private fundraising at the universities which students were told would go to help keep tuition down has gone instead to high profile construction projects, often with little formal student input. In the 17-19 biennium, the state of Oregon allocated $330.8 million to capital construction projects at universities. This is more than twice the amount allocated to financial aid that year–the Oregon Opportunity Grant received $146.1 Million. A white paper published by SEIU Local 503 in 2019 demonstrates that from 1999 to 2019, the share of state financial support for universities going to construction debt servicing rose from less than 3% all the way to 16%.

Of the letter, ASUO President Isaiah Boyd said: “In this past year, the Covid-19 epidemic has demonstrated the growing flaws in our systems of higher education. We’ve witnessed the socioeconomic issues faced by students pursuing higher educations become all the more exacerbated. Higher education pursuits across the country are reaching the critical point where students will no longer have the financial stability to go after their dreams.”

NJ Johnson, student body President at Western Oregon University said: “With the unsustainable increases in tuition correlated with statewide enrollment decline, now is the time to invest meaningfully in access and affordability to end this cycle.”

For more information, contact ASWOU President N.J. Johnson by phone at (503) 838-8555 or by emailing; or, contact ASUO President Isaiah Boyd by phone at (541) 346-0624 or by emailing 

Dungeon Delving for Dummies: “Ghosts of Saltmarsh”

“Ghosts of Saltmarsh” is Wizards of the Coast’s most boring adventure guide

Stephanie Moschella |‌ ‌Digital Media Manager

For new dungeon masters, “Ghosts of Saltmarsh” is a suitable adventuring guide that lays out the groundwork ahead of time. However, for anyone that has played Dungeons & Dragons more than a handful of times, it is aimed extremely towards newbies and not seasoned players. There are many interesting moving pieces, including a haunted Shadowfell forest and hidden vampires; but, at the end of the day, it falls flat in comparison to some other campaign guides. 

With seven adventures and three new factions, there really isn’t a lot of new content in this guide. It is much too similar to the “Tales from the Yawning Portal,” with an assortment of adventures that can be added to any campaign. There isn’t one Saltmarsh adventure that screams “sea pirate shanty.” If anything, things can be taken out from this book and put anywhere else. This guidebook doesn’t convey these adventures well at all, and there is little to no character or story when it comes to these adventures. 

If DMs were planning on only running Saltmarsh ⏤ something that I tried to do ⏤ there will be a lot of times where they have to take full and utter control. With the lack of balance between adventures that are played in the lower levels compared to mid-to upper-levels, DMs have to throw a lot of freebies to their players. It’s hard to really push the boundaries of playstyle when it is almost set up for players to fail. 

I don’t get why so many people are saying this is a great adventure sourcebook. I know it’s hard to review campaign guides already, but it’s even harder when the book just kind of sucks. The artwork is amazing, and there are some characters that when heavily expanded on, can be great set pieces in a campaign. But that’s just it, it relies too heavily on the DM making choices to change and improve upon characters, which in the end, only the character name is something Saltmarsh provides. 

The location of Saltmarsh is cool I guess — the run down coastline town can be an interesting start to campaigns; but, honestly, within the first couple of sessions, it can become extremely small and claustrophobic fast. I just kept thinking about how glad I was for being born in the suburbs right next to a major city.

Overall Review: If DMs use parts of this adventuring guide in their own campaigns, it can add a fun and interesting twist. However, there isn’t anything new presented in this guidebook hence, it can just be dismissed. 4/10 would recommend to DM’s and players alike. 

Contact the author at