The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

2017: Year in Review

Events that made 2017 history

Keeping up with the news in 2017 was like running a never-ending marathon. Some days, it felt like every time we stepped out of class, there was another major news story we were supposed to know about before we sat down for our next class. The pace of the news sometimes made it difficult to know what was happening and what was important. 

With the end of the year fast approaching, let’s take a look back at some of the most significant moments in politics, culture, our local community in Philadelphia and at St. Joe’s. Here’s what we think will be remembered when 2017 is written about in the history textbooks of the future. 

Inaugurating another POTUS

The inauguration of President Donald Trump on Jan. 20 marked a historic moment for American citizens, since President Trump was a businessman, rather than a politician, before taking office. This shift away from traditional government leadership is new in modern American politics. This last election also shifted power in the government from a Democratic president to a Republican one. 

Additionally, President Trump became one of five presidents who won the electoral college but lost the popular vote. Going into 2018, we will be looking at midterm elections for the Senate and House of Representatives to see if there will be more power shifts.

Protest at the Women’s March

The mission of the Women’s March was to “harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change,” according to the website. More than 3 million people marched on the streets in reaction to and opposition of President Trump and his inauguration. This march was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, exceeding the March on Washington in 1963, and spreading across more than 500 cities. This march was the beginning of a fight to give women and minorities a larger voice in the country. 

A global refugee crisis

About 65 million people worldwide are displaced worldwide because of conflict, natural disasters, ethnic cleansing crises and other factors, leaving us with the largest displacement and humanitarian crisis we’ve seen in the modern era. Of the 65 million, about 22 million people are refugees. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a statement urging the United States to accept more refugees, but the 2018 refugee limit was reduced by more than half to only 45,000 admittances. 

Similarly, the Trump administration signed an executive order in January that temporarily banned travel from the following seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. A revised order of this ban remains in place and continues to contribute to the global crisis we are facing. 

Russian interference in Election 

The CIA, the National Security Agency, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election through a misinformation campaign. The Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate whether the Trump campaign colluded at any point with Russian actors to assist in election interference. Mueller has brought three indictments so far in the course of the investigation. Most recently, former NSA director Michael Flynn entered into a plea agreement to work with the grand jury investigation on Dec. 1.

Hate Groups Rally at Charlottesville

White supremacist groups marched through Charlottesville, armed with weapons, torches and racist chants, and gathered the next day for a so-called “Unite the Right” rally to protest the removal of a Confederate monument in August. The rally quickly turned violent when altercations erupted between demonstrators and counter-protesters. The violence culminated when James Alex Fields Jr. drove a car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19 others. 

During his remarks on the events, President Trump disavowed violence and hatred at Charlottesville. He was sharply criticized for failing to unequivocally disavow racism and white supremacy and for drawing what many saw as a false comparison between racist ideologies and counter-protests.

A victory for diversity

The 2017 elections were a victory for inclusion and diversity, as Danica Roem was elected as a state representative in Virginia, making her one of the first openly transgender candidates elected to public office in the U.S. Roem defeated Republican Robert G. Marshall, who was Virginia’s most socially conservative state lawmaker. Marshall had refused to debate Roem and referred to her using male pronouns. Furthermore, Andrea Jenkins was elected to Minneapolis City Council, making her the first openly transgender black woman to serve in public office.

The rise of “fake news”

2017 has witnessed what most have dubbed “fake news.” Fake news usually refers to the spread of incorrect information on a widespread basis, but some have also used the term to describe a point of disagreement or uncertainty. The proliferation of social media has allowed false news stories to spread rapidly, creating an even stronger need for fact-checking, smart consumerism and ethical journalism in the media. The fake news uproar has underscored the need to verify information with multiple organizations before spreading news.

U.S. leaves Paris Climate Accords

President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords on June 1. The Paris climate agreement is a historic pact to prevent irreversible change to the Earth’s climate. The goals of the agreement include preventing a rise in global temperature above two degrees Celsius and to reduce greenhouse emissions to zero by midcentury. The United States is the only country of the original 195 to withdraw from the agreement. More than 200 mayors and some governors have announced that their cities and states would continue to comply with the goals of the agreement despite U.S. withdrawal.

A peaceful transition of power

After holding onto dictatorial power for 37 years in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe resigned as president after protests with little violence. Yes, the 93-year-old was under military detention and pressure from his own party when he stepped down, but Mugabe’s resignation represents a relatively peaceful transition of power compared to the violence that typically occurred amidst protests in the region. While Zimbabwe, and some other African nations, still face authoritarian rulers that repress civil rights and liberties, Zimbabweans showed unity in their protests against Mugabe. Outrage prevented Mugabe’s wife from taking power, and now Emmerson Mnangagwa will gain control. Mnangagwa’s rule still presents obstacles to any hopes of implementing protection of freedom for the country, but this historic change of power is monumental nonetheless.

Fighting the oppression of women

Saudi Arabia announced that women will be allowed to drive, a proclamation which overturned a longstanding policy of oppressing women. This change will take effect in 2018, thanks to protests and also the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This reform follows recent progress in women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, such as the 2015 decision to allow women to vote and run for seats on local councils. This decision is expected to face much dissension, and women are still far from equal to men in Saudi Arabia, but this decision symbolizes another step toward equal rights for men and women.

St. Joe’s CAS welcomes a new dean

St. Joe’s College of Arts and Sciences welcomed a new dean in August: Shaily Menon, Ph.D. Menon is an accomplished biologist and administrator who was previously the associate dean for research, facilities planning and community engagement in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

St. Joe’s receives Maguire donation

This past summer, James and Francis Maguire made a $50 million “transformative” gift to the university, which was the single largest donation in the institution’s history. Part of the scholarship will support the Maguire Scholars scholarship program, which will be enhanced and the university’s number one ranked insurance and risk-management program will be supported. This donation marks a historic point for St. Joe’s and begins a period of growth and prosperity.

Philly African-American monument

A statue of civil rights advocate Octavius V. Catto was installed at City Hall in Philadelphia this past September, marking the first public monument in the city dedicated to an African-American. Catto was an educator, scholar, writer and baseball player who was successful in protesting to desegregate Philly’s trolleys and fought for voting rights for black citizens. Finally, after more than 140 years since his death, he is getting the commemoration he deserves.

Moonlight won an Oscar

“Moonlight,” a film written and directed by Barry Jenkins, won the Academy Award for Best Picture this year at the Oscars. This was a momentous occasion, because the film took a hard look at American reality through the lense of Chiron, an impoverished young black man growing up in Miami. The movie sheds light on issues of race, sexual orientation, drug abuse, mass incarceration and school violence, so this Oscar win represents an awareness of the importance of these issues.

First black Bachelorette premiered

Rachel Lindsay made her premiere as the first black Bachelorette on ABC on May 22. Considering almost 90 percent of shows feature white protagonists, Lindsay’s debut as the Bachelorette was a small step in encouraging more diversity in the media.  Still, Lindsay’s feature sparked conversations regarding prejudice, race and gender in America.

Total solar eclipse amazes the nation

The total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 was not only a once in a lifetime event—it was a moment of national unity. Family, friends and neighbors came together to witness the eclipse and share safety glasses during with gatherings across the nation. Whether you were directly in path of totality for the eclipse or witnessed a partial eclipse, this day brought the country together to celebrate a single event.

Empowering the #MeToo movement

The rise of the #MeToo movement has encouraged men and women who are survivors of sexual assault or harassment to speak up with their stories. This movement has empowered many who have been silenced to share their own experiences and call for conversations to bring attention to sexual assault issues. Recent allegations against Hollywood stars, politicians, and other influential members of society have also encouraged this movement.

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