What To Do About Your Passwords?
By Joseph Amir
By now, some of you may have heard about the Twitch.tv hack that happened a week ago. The entire source code as well as salted passwords of the well-known streaming platform Twitch, owned by Amazon, were leaked online, totaling 125GB of data. And if you have an account on the platform, there is good reason to worry—your password may have been leaked. But don’t worry too much, there are some very basic strategies to keep your account information safe from any would-be hackers purchasing your passwords and login information on the dark web that you should take, regardless of whether you had an account on Twitch or not.
Firstly (and this is important), never use the same password on different sites. If you use the same password everywhere, and just one of your accounts gets compromised, the first thing that a cybercriminal will do is to try that same password for your login on every other site that you are signed up on, including your bank. This means that they can access any site that you are signed up on, and potentially steal your information, your money, or even details about your life that you’d like to keep private.
If you are worried that your information has been compromised, you can check on the site haveibeenpwned.com, a site that will monitor whether your passwords have been leaked and send you an email if an account has been leaked that contains that email. This way, you can find out whether your account information needs to be changed, or worse, you need to freeze your credit—I have personally been exposed to 6 data breaches, one of which was the infamous University of California breach that exposed my social security number, and led to me needing to place a credit freeze. This is especially important to us college students if any of us applied for a spot at a UC in the last few years: this data breach was catastrophic and could very well result in long-lasting consequences for our financial future.
Secondly, make sure you are using a password manager to keep track of those different passwords. I personally use iCloud Keychain, Apple’s built-in password manager in iOS and macOS, that uses biometric authentication and a master password to keep all your passwords safe in autofill. It even tells you when a password has been compromised so that you can change it immediately. However, there are many reputable managers out there, such as LastPass and 1Password, that can keep your passwords safe and ensure that you are always able to log into your accounts.
Lastly, always make sure that you have 2-factor authentication set up on sites that allow it. This is a feature of some accounts wherein you are able to log in with a password, and then they send a notification to a trusted device or an authenticator app that you need in conjunction with that password in order to be able to log into your account. SMS 2-factor authentication is the least secure method because it is vulnerable to other attacks such as SIM-jacking, but is still better than no 2-factor authentication at all. The most secure method is using a secondary app such as Google Authenticator, and you should enable it for sites that support it.
If you take these steps, you will ensure that it is as hard as possible for someone to hack into your accounts and keep your personal information secure. It isn’t necessarily the easiest task to go through all of your accounts and change the old passwords that you’ve used, but it is entirely worth it because it’s an investment into your future security, and you don’t want to be stuck doing it once you hear one of your accounts is breached. I personally found out that my social security number had been stolen mid-flight over the Atlantic Ocean, and had to spend half of my flight time freezing my credit on Experian in the middle of the night battling jet lag, which could have been easily avoided if I had just planned ahead and set better, different passwords. So take my advice, and invest in your future peace of mind by following these steps!
Twitter has gone crazy after Chappelle made an insensitive trans joke, but does he deserve to be canceled?
By Riley Mulcahy
Dave Chappelle released a new Netflix special called “The Closer” and Twitter has lost its mind. In it, Chappelle makes a joke about trans people, saying that he is “Team TERF,” which according to The New York Times stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist,” which the Times states is a term used for a group of people who argue that one’s gender identity is fixed at birth. In an internal document, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings argues that the debate is over “artistic expression,” however, only time will tell whether or not Netflix is on the right side of history.
The role of comedy in society is controversial. In many respects, comedians telling offensive jokes is what draws adoring fans to see Chris Rock or Amy Schumer or the late Robin Williams. Chappelle’s joke was in poor taste, and there should be a discussion on the language we use when we reference the LGBTQI+ community. Still, the fact that Chappelle could be canceled for one bad joke shows society’s hostile attitude. Where is the outrage when Kim Kardashian, who is not a comedian, hosts SNL and makes a joke about the first Black person she met, telling the audience to take a “stab in the dark” to who it is? For those unfamiliar with the context, Kardashian’s father, Robert Kardashian, was on the defense team and personal friend of OJ Simpson, who was accused of murdering his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995.
One of the most ardent Chappelle haters is Jaclyn Moore, who identifies as trans and is the showrunner of the Netflix show “Dear White People.” She has vowed never to work with Netflix again because of the special and the joke in particular. Moore’s boycott is peculiar not because she disagrees with the joke but because she herself has some explaining to do. How can a white showrunner of a show intended for Black people to have a platform to address white people tell a Black comic when a joke crosses the line? Chappelle’s career has been about pushing the envelope and creating a space where everyone is celebrated (and roasted).
The outrage against Chappelle’s joke is understandable. What is not is the attempt to take Chappelle’s career away. In defense of Chappelle, a family of a former trans friend and Comedian of Chappelle’s Daphne Dorman came to his defense, arguing that Dorman understood that Chappelle was an LGBTQI+ ally and that she did not find Chappelle’s comedy “offensive.” What is so off-putting about this situation is that there is a duality to Chappelle’s approach. Off-stage, he is known to be an ally of the trans community; however, on stage, he has made transphobic jokes. Hastings’s statement is correct in the sense that Chappelle has the freedom to say anything within reason that will not offend the overwhelming majority of people. The overwhelming popularity of Chappelle’s work, regardless of the joke, shows that his comedy is still being celebrated. It is up to the individual to decide what they will consume.
Chappelle is not afraid to step into controversy. He was one of the first comedians to call out R. Kelly’s sexual tendencies and illegal behavior years before Kelly’s conviction for sexual crimes against minors. Chappelle had a show named after him, where he performed skits and invited Neo-Soul artists such as Erykah Badu to perform. In 2006, Chappelle ended his show and went on a hiatus, announcing a deal with Netflix in 2016. Chappelle said this will be his last comedy special for Netflix “for a while,” which might mean that we may not see him in the public eye any time soon, given this controversy.
Less than a month into the 2021-2022 school year, there have been 30 assaults reported
By Riley Mulcahy
With the recent events of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, there must be a zero-tolerance policy against sexual assault and sexual harassment. Student safety is the number one priority of any university. However, Santa Clara University, whose school year started September 30th, reported numerous sexual assaults early on in the term. The situation begs the question, how did the University get here? According to KRON-4 News, most of the cases have occurred at off-campus parties and involved the use of date rape drugs. Although Santa Clara University argues that it does follow the correct procedures, it can be tricky to handle off-campus situations.
According to Santa Clara University, the school has received three reports of sexual assaults that occurred off-campus. Although, officially, there have only been three cases reported, it is not surprising that survivors do not come forward; at times, there can be shame and guilt associated with sexual assault and the idea of going to a school to report a sexual assault. A couple of years ago, a case at Stanford ended with convicted rapist Brock Turner getting three months in jail because the judge thought that he “came from a good family.”
The Mercury News reports that according to “RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), which operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, said that 20% of female students ages 18 to 24 report sexual violence allegations to law enforcement compared to 32% of women in the same age group who aren’t students, citing U.S. Department of Justice statistics.” Furthermore, the data reveals that the main reasons why women did not report their assaults differed: “Twenty-six percent of female students said they didn’t report because “it was a personal matter” and 20% said it was due to “fear of reprisal.”
The data is startling. For years, college students have had to deal with the reality of going to a party and possibly being raped and then afraid to report to authorities or the college because of fear of retaliation. Colleges and universities have made an effort to have resources available on campus, but there is still a reluctance from students to reach out and try to use the support that the campus provides for them. The cost of reporting sometimes means revealing the most traumatic incident of your life to a stranger who does with the information what they feel is right, and there is a loss of privacy.
Although colleges and universities must do their best to eliminate sexual assault, one must question their role in these situations. If a survivor wants to press charges, why does the university need to be involved, not just the authorities? This question does not mean that students should not go to universities to reach out for help if they feel comfortable confiding in someone. Counselors on campus will help the survivor process the assault and provide resources if they want to report. However, it is still important to question the effectiveness of the college processes in how to report a sexual assault. There are massive discrepancies between assaults and the amount that the university is aware of. Bureaucracy has no place on a college campus when someone is violated, and sadly there are often roadblocks to survivors reporting, which means situations such as Santa Clara University occur.
In order for students to succeed academically, the campus must support them emotionally, especially when trauma is involved. Students who survive sexual assaults should not have to go through barriers and roadblocks to reach out for help in one of their lowest moments. If colleges streamlined the process, established total confidentiality, and worked with law enforcement to create accountability, students would know that sexual assault will not be accepted. We must protect survivors and punish the criminals, not the other way around.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual or domestic violence, SMC’s CARE Center is here to support you
Public health is not a matter of personal choice.
By Roya Amirsheybani
Since the announcement of the wider mandate of getting vaccinated against Covid-19, Covid-19 deniers and vaccine resisters have kept busy finding more and more loopholes to justify their lack of care for public health concerns. A popular highlight within the multitude of excuses given by anti-vaxxers includes religious exemption claims, which is a request made by a religious individual subject to a vaccine requirement to avoid such a requirement. As one might expect, this antagonism has led to significant clashes between employers and leaders that wish to protect the public and those that feel unfit to comply.
On Saint Mary’s campus, the provided option of claiming exemption from the Covid-19 vaccine due to religious beliefs is a controversial subject. According to the college’s website, 97% of students and faculty are vaccinated against Covid-19, meaning that a small percentage of those on campus have claimed an exemption, which begs the question “Is this justified?” From the perspective of a non-religious, pro-vaccine advocate for protecting the safety of others, using religion to justify not getting vaccinated against Covid-19 should not be an option in either setting.
A quick Google search reveals that no significant religion actively opposes being vaccinated against Covid-19. According to NPR journalist Laurel Wamsley, many religious groups, including Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Catholic Church, have issued statements that contradict the very existence of the option of claiming religious exemption. Pope Francis, the pope of the Catholic church, has also voiced his opinion on the COVID-19 vaccine, referring to it as an “act of love.” Seeing that Saint Mary’s is a religious college affiliated with the Catholic Church, it should not be a question whether or not those living and learning on-campus may be exempt from the Covid-19 vaccine due to religious reasons. However, for some reason, the College (and a large percentage of universities in the United States) are accepting religious exemptions as a form of permission to let educators and students on campus. While it may seem like a minuscule detail, the availability of this as an option leads me to question how far institutions will go to garner as much tuition as possible.
These revelations lead me to question the honest truth behind this faith-backed excuse. In my opinion, it seems highly likely that many vaccine resisters that seek an exemption from the vaccine are making an excuse to justify their lack of concern for the general public and distrust of the American government. According to the Associated Press, Chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci has expressed concerns that people who resist vaccination against Covid-19 due to religious reasons are not making legitimate claims. I share this concern, and question why any employer or institution would ever consider approving a religious exemption. While the United States of America has been known as “the land of the free,” the quest for personal freedom should not apply in a health crisis as dire as the Covid-19 pandemic.
As all Gaels are (hopefully) aware, Saint Mary’s is guided by the five Lasallian Core Principles, which include: concern for the poor and social justice, faith in the presence of God, quality education, respect for all persons, and inclusive community. Let us all have respect for one another by getting vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to promote the safety and health of our fellow Gaels.
I want to put this on the table. I believe that we are in a time where women and LGBTQIA+ people deserve to be heard and in power. However, I do not believe that cis-men should be discriminated against and not be allowed to sit at the table.
An event that honestly piqued my interest as a Women’s and Gender Studies major was the “Exploring Masculinity” event hosted by the Intercultural Center. I was shocked that there was such an opportunity for cis-men to join one another and talk about masculinity. Often times when masculinity is brought up in the classroom or even popular youth media, it is shot down and demonized. To provide sympathy or pity towards men is social suicide and seen as heterosexual feminists being brainwashed and subservient to their male partners. I can see why.
I was in a long-term relationship at one point where I had to compromise my feminist self and almost suppress it in order to be happy with a traditional lifestyle with a white-picketed fence, children, and the only spin was that I wanted to work. I guess that is what I get when I think I am invincible to toxic masculinity, as all I talk about is the social constructs of gender and its history. So why on God’s green earth am I entertaining the thought of giving men space when for the majority of my life all interactions with men have been sexist and objectifying?
Well, it’s because I feel like men do not have the chance to even reflect on their masculinity without either A) enjoying the privileges of it B) not getting the opportunity or C) getting shot down every time they try to bring up their experiences as a man. Don’t get me wrong, I do think mansplaining is a problem, but I think what is even more of a problem in our modern times is not actively providing men the chance to redefine what masculinity is in a healthy way.
I think we have tried this by presentations and learning feminist theory. But, we really haven’t sat down and actually asked them: “What do you think masculinity is? And what do you think it should be?” You can ask just about any man, and they will say some of these expectations that they have participated in were not their idea alone. Another is they feel robbed of the ability to make intimate connections with their peers out of the fear of being seen as less manly and even potentially gay. Now, despite the male privilege that most of us cite on a daily basis when referring to men and the power that they have over society, we cannot ignore how incredibly sick and inhumane it is that men, on a daily basis, cannot acknowledge the basic emotional and mental needs of a human without either A) being shamed for it B) being labeled as something they may not identify as or C) being told woe is me, cry me a river. Because of this, I feel that it is incredibly important that we make more space for cis-men to explore masculinity and gender.
This is entirely necessary so that men can have the opportunity to redefine what masculinity means to them and see that identifying as something other than a man is okay. In the end, we are not only helping men feel like people, but we are giving the people who are in power the tools that they need to dismantle the system that confines them the most and oppresses the rest of us. By actively providing cis-men the outlet to explore what their identity means to them, we can then invite them to the table where we can change the system and liberate us all. Even if the likelihood of this happening feels impossible by providing this opportunity at a small liberal arts school, I can say with certainty that this is the way that we need to go in order to enact change and create a society that we are equal and happy no matter our gender and sexual orientation.
A recently published Insider article reveals the racist and fatphobic truth behind a popular women’s clothing brand.
By Roya Amirsheybani
Like many California girls, I discovered Brandy Melville as a young teenager. Eventually, the brand’s ever-changing aesthetic was the sole determining factor of my personal style, and owning and wearing the boxy cropped tees and knit sweatpants became an obsession. While Brandy Melville’s clothing does not look remotely remarkable to the average person, to me, not even the most expensive brands could compare. That is, until recently.
On September 8, 2021, Insider journalist Kate Taylor published her article “Brandy Melville’s CEO Doesn’t Want Black People to Wear the Brand’s Clothing, According to an Ex-Store Owner”. As if the title was not alarming enough, Taylor goes on to reveal that Steven Marsan, the CEO of Brandy Melville, aimed to market the brand exclusively towards thin, white teenage girls, and says that overweight and black customers “ruin the brand’s reputation”. Fraco Sorgi, a former store owner, is suing the brand’s North American operations claiming that his termination was due to his lack of discrimination based on appearance and race when hiring employees. While this was occurring, friends and coworkers of Marsan exchanged offensive memes that featured the N-word or anti-semitic humor.
This information left me extremely disturbed. As a supporter of Black Lives Matter and an advocate for body positivity, I am extremely embarrassed and ashamed that I was once an avid fan of Brandy Melville. Needless to say, I highly recommend that anyone that currently supports this brand should stop doing so immediately.
“But the clothes fit me so well!” If you can fit into Brandy Melville, I can almost guarantee that you can fit into the clothes made by more inclusive and sustainable brands. Nobody *needs* to shop at Brandy Melville (or any clothing brand for that matter), especially not those who benefit from thin privilege and have the ability to fit into most clothing brands’ standard sizing. For example, clothing brand Universal Standard carries sizes 00 to 40, and 7forallmankind offers a variety of petite sizes for those that claim that Brandy Melville clothes are the only ones small enough to fit them.
“But no other brand fits my aesthetic!” While the store might seem to have a look all its own, it is, in fact, heavily influenced by current fashion trends. This means that if Brandy Melville sells a particular item, it was likely copied from a vintage or trendy clothing item. A short browse on the brand’s website is enough to notice that the majority of the clothing items available are catering to the early 2000s aesthetic that is popular on TikTok currently, and similar items can be found in thrift stores or purchased from online resellers on apps like Depop. In addition, purchasing Brandy Melville dupes second hand is a lot more sustainable than purchasing from the brand, which manufactures a lot of their goods in sweatshops with poor working conditions.
“But the quality is so good for the price!” While I used to share this opinion, I have found that it is not true with several of my Brandy Melville clothing items. Many dyed garments fade very easily, and shirts with delicate hems are prone to tearing. For example, when I visited the store last during summer 2021, I noticed that several of the tank tops had holes where the strap and bust hemlines met, and many of the sweaters were already starting to pill. In exchange for a slightly higher price, more sustainable and high-quality items can definitely be found elsewhere.
Next time you consider buying from Brandy Melville, consider this: Do you really want to support a brand that is overtly racist and fatphobic for the sole purpose of maintaining your personal aesthetic? Is a heart-printed lace tank top really worth it?
The surprising decision came more than a year after the college announced its impending closure.
By Riley Mulcahy
In March 2020, COVID-19 became more and more of a reality, and the adjustment of this new reality set in for everyone. Still, for Notre Dame De Namur students, there was another level of uncertainty. The school, located in Belmont, California, released a report in October 2019 announcing its dire financial situation and drastic measures for the school to stay open. Listening sessions, conflicting communications, and a student-led protest ensued until it was finally revealed after California’s shelter in place order that undergraduate students (except for those graduating in the Spring of 2021) would have to transfer. In light of last week’s news that the school’s campus will be sold to Stanford University, a sense of shock has come over alumni and a weird sense of closure as well.
Notre Dame De Namur’s history in the Bay Area is rich and diverse. Founded in San Jose in 1851 and relocated to Belmont in 1922, the school was the first California college to give women baccalaureate degrees. The school was recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and the majority of its students were supported heavily through financial aid. Stanford’s campus purchase feels misplaced, as the students served on the two schools’ campuses are drastically different from a socio-economic standpoint.
As an alum of NDNU and a grateful transfer to Saint Mary’s, I am personally at a loss for words. It is hard to understand how a school whose mission was to serve students who might not otherwise have the chance to go to college could sell its campus to a research magnet university. In a press release, Stanford notes that the purchase of the campus could “unlock opportunities to provide space for programs that are emerging from the Long-Range Vision and extend the reach of the university’s Continuing Studies course offerings to more Bay Area residents.” As someone who participated and helped plan protests when NDNU was not giving us any information on its possible closure, the phrase “Long-Range Vision” seems ironic. Maybe instead of buying the campus for its personal gain, Stanford could have given NDNU the tools to reopen itself to undergraduate students who need a small, supportive college in the center of the Bay Area.
The details of the impending purchase and how NDNU will benefit from the sale have not been made immediately available. In a statement about the upcoming sale, NDNU’s newly minted President, Dr. Lizbeth Martin, remarked that the sale provides NDNU “the flexibility to grow again in new and exciting ways.” Stanford announced that it does not see the purchase as an opportunity to move any research or offices from their campuses in Palo Alto or Redwood City. The use of the Belmont campus will be in addition to the work that it is already doing.
Several students from NDNU, including myself, transferred to Saint Mary’s last year after a stressful transition to online learning in the midst of knowing that the college we had been at for two or three years would no longer exist. Although I am happy with my Saint Mary’s experience thus far, there is still a part of me that cannot believe I attended a school that no longer gives degrees to undergraduate students. Stanford’s campus purchase marks a finality of an era of uncertainty for many of us, but the transition into a Stanford campus will take years. Stanford will have to go through the process of making improvements to the campus, and NDNU will still have a graduate school for the time being.
Even though the sale is surprising to me, I am hopeful that Stanford will honor NDNU’s history somehow, and it won’t just turn into another Stanford campus. NDNU is adjacent to Notre Dame Belmont and a Province for nuns, but only NDNU’s campus is included in the sale.
Ryan Ford '23,