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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University

Some HHC Students Not Shy about Sharing Opinions, Creating Controversy

Hutton Honors College students pursue a wide range of interests, but the editorial board of the Indiana Daily Student during Spring 2012 provided an opportunity for the diverse interests of some HHC students to come together and be given a voice. "We tried to create as much diversity as possible when we hired," said junior Francisco Tirado, who was a Co-Opinion Editor along with junior Patrick Beane. "We were extremely varied as far as subject matter."

Beane highlighted this variety. He said that some writers were more interested in elections, some were more sports-oriented, some focused on feminism while others stuck to pop culture. While the HHC students on the board were in the upper-echelon as far as grammar, style and ideas, Beane said they stood out in one more way. "All of them were incredibly strong writers, some of the best we had," Beane said. "But they were procrastinators, the lot of them, with the exception of Drake Reed."

While the board sometimes had difficulty reaching consensus for editorials, they formed a cohesive group that opined about issues surrounding the Occupy movement to those surrounding the IU Student Association. Here are some of the HHC students who contributed to the IDS editorial board.

L to R: Katie Beasley, Aidan Crane, Patrick Beane, Drake Reed, Colleen Leahy. Not pictured: Stefan Sokolowski, Sidney Fletcher.

Patrick Beane, junior from Bloomington, studies gender studies and English.

Beane said he tended to write about contemporary political issues, but that he also had some focus on pop culture. "I write through a queer-focus lens, and I've written a few times from a townie perspective," Beane said.

While he described some of his former columns as "wishy-washy," Beane said he tried to pick up the slack as editor and write more serious columns. "I'm proud of the controversy we were able to spark now and then," he said. Sample Patrick Beane column.

Katie Beasley, sophomore from Fort Wayne, studies public and nonprofit management.

Beasley's tagline, "The Bright Side," is an apt description for her columns. While many of her columns focused on pointing out flaws, Beasley said she wrote about "broader themes to reach a more positive revolution. "I like to be more touchy-feely, more inspirational." For balance, she usually alternated between writing about a political issue and a more personal column. A popular column of hers was "Say yes to unions," which she said attracted attention from people outside the IU community, including a political blogger in Washington. Sample Katie Beasley column.

Aidan Crane, junior from Indianapolis, studies gender studies and English.

"I generally wrote about feminism or with a Marxist take on current events," Crane said. These issues, he said, "are fairly important but often not well represented in opinion columns." He said that he often received hate mail, and noted the influx of such mail for a column he wrote in support of Iran.

One of his favorite columns of the year was "Mourning without an end," in which he wrote about how we should remember 9/11. Sample Aidan Crane column.

Sidney Fletcher, sophomore from Zionsville, studies mathematics.

Fletcher's focus was on political issues, national as well as local. "I often wrote about institutional distress," he said. One column of his, "Ban the Banks!" spurred much discussion and garnered more than 90 comments on the IDS website.

Fletcher said he had fun on the editorial board. "I didn't have any journalism experience before, but I enjoyed being able to write a column," he said. Sample Sidney Fletcher column.

Colleen Leahy, sophomore from Zionsville, studies religious studies.

Leahy wrote mainly about the issues of sexual assault, rape and victim blaming. She said she finds these issues interesting and topical. "They're extremely relevant, being on a college campus," Leahy said. "Paying attention to media, you begin to notice these things happening again and again."

Leahy also occasionally wrote about the local food movement. Sample Colleen Leahy column.

Drake Reed, sophomore from Pendleton, studies economics and theatre.

Reed avoids mainstream political arguments, "I would say I wrote about more social issues and things I notice, things I think are important and resonate with students," Reed said. For instance, he said that although it may seem counterintuitive, his column about George Clooney's arrest in front of the Sudanese Embassy, Classiest arrest to date," was very apolitical. "I applauded him for taking a stand," Reed said, "rather than acting like a red-carpet celebrity." Sample Drake Reed column.

Stefan Sokolowski, junior from South Bend, studies English and political science.

The most outlandish column Sokolowski said he wrote for the IDS was titled "Feeding us fetuses?" It concerns a proposed law in Oklahoma banning the manufacturing and sale of foods containing aborted human fetuses.

"I tend toward the political, toward some sort of satire," Sokolowski said. One satirical column of his was titled "Stefan as undercover Republican." Sample Stefan Sokolowski column.

To read more columns by these HHC students, go to idsnews.com and type one of their names into the search box.

Celia Grundman '14