Clinton and Trump Clash in First Debate

The first of three 2016 presidential debates was held on Sept. 26 with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton taking the stage at Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y. The two presidential candidates clashed over the topics of taxes, national defense, healing racial relations, and many more controversial national issues. NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt asked the questions and attempted to moderate both Trump and Clinton as the debate dragged on, with both candidates attacking each other’s platforms throughout the night.

Holt was seen as a partisan moderator as he failed to ask pressing questions to Clinton and seemed to only target Trump. Holt, for instance, referenced Trump’s inability to accept President Obama as a U.S. Citizen for many years despite the release of his birth certificate in 2011 stating that the President was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Trump brushed off this accusation stating “nobody was caring much about it,” and called for a return to the primary debate topics.

Additionally, Holt would press Trump, as many Democrats have been doing for months, to get the billionaire business owner to release his tax returns to the public. Trump stated that he will release his returns as soon as the audit by the government is concluded, despite there being nothing to stop him from releasing his returns now. Presidential candidates are usually expected to release their tax returns as a way to show who the candidate owes money to and how that can affect their policies once becoming president. Clinton would speculate during the debate that Trump refuses to release his tax returns because “…he had paid nothing in federal taxes…”, and that perhaps Trump is lying about his wealth, and that he also owes money to Wall Street bankers. Trump would respond to her accusation that he pays no taxes with “that makes me smart.”

Trump assaulted Clinton’s platform multiple times, the most explosive moments being when Trump claimed that the strategy to defeat ISIS was plain to see on her website, which he claims that she’s “…telling the enemy everything you [Clinton] want to do.” Clinton responded simply by saying “no, [I’m] not,” failing to give a substantial answer to this accusation. On the issue of ISIS and national defense, Clinton’s website does have a plan, but it mostly entails general ideas and actions rather than the intricate procedures of getting the plan accomplished.

Another fascinating moment was when Trump addressed Clinton’s highly controversial private email server, saying “why did she delete 33,000 emails?” to which she ultimately responds with “it was a mistake and I take responsibility for that.” Trump, however, was not satisfied and fired back with “that was more than a mistake. That was done purposefully…I think it’s disgraceful.”

It is estimated by C-SPAN and CNN that well over 100 million people watched the debate, marking it the most watched presidential debate in history. According to a post-debate poll conducted by CNN, 62 percent of debate-watchers stated Clinton won, with 27 percent claiming Trump won. Despite this, political analysts conclude that because of the highly partisan nature of this election, it is unlikely that either Clinton or Trump will gain any new supporters and likely were just able to solidify support they already incurred before the debate. Highly contested and important states to win such as

Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania continue to be highly deadlocked between the two candidates with either of them polling by just a hair over the other.

The next presidential debate will be taking place on Sunday, Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. In the meantime, voters can also watch the debate between the two vice presidential nominees, Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, and Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s running mate, on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at Longwood University, Va. The third and final presidential debate will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

An Evening of Music

The School of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with Saint Leo’s Music Ensemble Faculty, put on the Fall Faculty recital on September 20 in the Selby Auditorium.

The recital is an annual campus event featuring, as the name suggests, members of the faculty. The program was entitled “An Evening of Music” and it showcased performances of various styles of music on piano, bass, voice and guitar.

The night commenced with a masterful performance of “Poem,’ a piece by Czech composer Zdenek Fibich, performed by Inna Korotkevitch, who is a staff accompanist and piano instructor. Her performance was received well by the audience, who responded with a hearty round of applause.

The performances of the night flowed smoothly, following the mellow setting of the venue. “The Sun is Love.” which is are poems used in a song cycle written by Gwyneth Walker, was performed by Dr. Cynthia Selph.  Selph is an Assistant Professor of Music and Music Ministry as well as the director of the Saint Leo Singers.  

Selph’s performance was a song cycle, a set of related songs that follow a similar theme and are played sequentially to produce one entity or to tell a story.  The audience was asked to applaud at the end, as it would disrupt the flow of the story being told through the music.

The night concluded with a riveting ensemble of “Libertango” by Astor Piazzolla, featuring Inna Korotkevitch on piano, Kasia Dolinska on violin, Glenn Ireland on guitar and Mauricio Rodriguez on bass.  

The seats of the Selby Auditorium were packed. Members of the audience had to find comfort on the side steps of the auditorium, quite a surprising turnout for this type of event.

In attendance were students and faculty alike, including President Dr. William Lennox and Mary Spoto, the Dean of School of Arts and Sciences. Jennifer Orendorf, who is the Administrator of Events and Special Programs in the School of Arts and Sciences, hosted the program quite graciously. She spoke on the importance of programs such as this and its effect on the Saint Leo community.

“Saint Leo and the surrounding area is small, so when people need something local, there is a free performance. Clearly, there is a demand for it as we had a pretty packed house tonight and it’s important to take time out, and unwind and appreciate music.”  

Jennifer Orendorf also spoke on other events coming up, including an original theater production written by students from the university’s theater program. This play will focus on The Saint Leo Benedictine Sisters and will be performed in the new Black Box Theatre later this fall.

“An Evening of Music” kicked off the season of performances under the New Moon Concert Series, sponsored by the Department of Language Studies and the Arts. This free concert series allows students, faculty, and the Saint Leo community as a whole to participate and enjoy the various talents showcased in concerts throughout the year.

Women’s Golf Begins Their Journey

Caramel, Ind. On Sept. 12 the Saint Leo Women’s Golf started their 2016-2017 season by taking part in the University of Indianapolis Invitational. The Lions finished fifth overall, and the team was led by a senior, Marie Coors who took second place individually.

   The Lions started their campaign at the 6215-yard Prairie View course in a 36-hole tournament. Beginning the new season, the team seeks for a second consecutive qualification for the national championships, and the journey started quite well for the Lions as they finished in the top 5 and managed to defeat 12 other teams.

   After the first day of the competition, the team was ranked number two. Three of the players, Marie Coors, and juniors, Vilde Eriksen, and Margine Arguello all finished the day in the top 20. Coors led the Lions by placing herself on the fourth place individually after scoring an even-par 72. Eriksen finished the day on the 11th place while Arguello was ranked as number 16. The overall score of the team after day one was 298 (+10).

   Even though the team was just eight strokes behind the leader of the tournament during the first day of the competition, the Lions did not manage to hold the position until the end of the tournament. While Coors improved and advanced to the second position as an individual, the team fell to the fifth spot.

   Eriksen and Arguello were still the Lions second and third finisher, but they were no longer in the top 20. Along with the remaining two players, senior Sabrina Rumbaugh, and junior Amanda Jakobsson, whose points contributed to the teams overall score, the Lions finished the tournament fifth with the overall score of 603(+27).

   The winner of the meet was Dallas Baptist University, while the host of the event, University of Indianapolis, finished as number two. Tarleton State University, and The University of Findlay were both tied for third place.

   Saint Leo Women’s Golf comes back to action on Sept. 24-25 to play their second tournament of the season in Bluffton, S.C., at the Old South Golf Links in a tournament hosted by The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The Lions have previously taken part in this event, and they were winners in 2014 as well as 2015.

   The Lions have scheduled only four tournaments this fall, as the main part of their season starts in spring. To follow the team’s journey to the national championships, stay tuned to the Lions’ Pride newspaper as the season progresses.  

Volleyball Continues Their Winning Streak

The Women of the Saint Leo University Volleyball team won their third straight win last weekend, beating Rollins in a thrilling match on the night of Sept. 23 before beating Embry-Riddle on the afternoon of Sept. 24. With the home court advantage and many Saint Leo Fans in the gym, the Lions seemed unstoppable and determined to win.

The win against the University of Tampa was a special one. Tampa’s Volleyball team is a two-time National Champion and currently ranks as number sixteen in the Nation. Their last National title was in Louisville, Kentucky two years ago. In last year’s season, they slightly lost in the NCAA South Regional Tournament against Florida Southern.

“The win over Tampa is huge for us because it was only the second time in Saint Leo history. We are really excited to see what else we can do. We have so many players that can play every position. Every single person on this team has so much to contribute to this win tonight,” said Britt Sederholm, junior.

“I was really happy with the effort tonight. We had two good sets at the beginning, but then came in a little flat in the third. Then we realized it is just one game at a time and we bounced back nicely in the fourth set,” said head coach Sam Cibrone.

Sederholm is one of the key players this season with appearances in eleven out of twelve games. She scored 97 “kills” this season, while having fourteen assists. With an average of 2.62 points per set she is the second most scoring Lion after Hope Lemon with an average of almost four points per set.

During the Saint Leo white out game against Rollins, the Lions started off with a winning set, but then fell short against a strong Rollins offensive, taking the second and third set. In the fourth set, the Lions came back with a strong performance by Sophomore Avery Bradshaw, who scored thirteen points.

In the fifth and final set the Lions quickly took the lead before the Rollins Tars came back. Sederholm brought back the Lions and they did not give their lead back until they sealed the win.

The Lions saw a career high performance by Bradshaw scoring sixteen points, while having eight digs. Defensively, Jamee Townsend tailed 26 digs, which puts her only 27 digs away from her 1,000 career digs.

Townsend, a senior from Plant City, FL, has been a stand-out player for the Lions. She recently earned her second Sunshine State Conference Defensive Player of the Week award after having a massive performance in the game against Tampa. She had a match-best nineteen digs and is leading the SSC with an average of 5.14 digs per set.

However, in the game against Embry Riddle, someone else had a standout performance. Junior setter Maddy Powell put on a show by having 25 assists, while having ten digs and scoring nine points. The Lions clearly dominated the match by winning all three sets that saved them their third consecutive win.

The Team now has a season score of 8-4, while being unbeaten on their home court. Next up, they face four more conference team before having a three day tournament with other South Regional teams.

Death Star: Everyone is a Super Weapon

In addition to being able to play on the Death Star, players will have the ability to play as the quirky Astromech droid, R2-D2..jpg

Since its release on Nov. 17 of last year, the Electronic Arts-published video game “Star Wars: Battlefront” has seen a lot of criticism from critics and fans alike. As an online-only multiplayer shooter, “Star Wars: Battlefront” needs to have an extremely robust amount of content to keep its players satisfied; however, the game simply didn’t have this at its launch. It launched only with a minute number of game modes, planets, and playable “Hero” characters (characters from the films), especially in comparison to the last game in the “Battlefront” franchise, “Star Wars: Battlefront II.” Because of this, the game was shunned by many as an inconsistent and unworthy reboot of the franchise.

In response to this, EA DICE, the developers of the “Star Wars: Battlefront” video game, have created several Downloadable Content Packs (DLC) to compensate for the game’s lack of content. Currently, there are four planned DLC packs, and three have been released so far. The first, Outer Rim, is set on the planets of Sullust and Tatooine, specifically in Jabba’s Palace from “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.” The second, Bespin, takes place in Cloud City, a main location from the film “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.” The third and latest DLC pack, Death Star, takes place both inside and outside of the Death Star, the flagship weapon of the evil Galactic Empire and a major location from “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.”

Each DLC pack includes a number of in-game items to players who purchase it (it is available for $15 alone or for $50 as part of the Season Pass, a collection of all the DLC packs for a reduced price). These items include pieces of content such as weapons, levels, abilities, and new “Hero” characters that weren’t available in the original game. In the Death Star DLC pack, the famous “Star Wars” character and best friend of Han Solo, Chewbacca, is available for play. The Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk is also available as part of this DLC pack. New weapons from other “Star Wars” games, such as the Bryar Pistol made famous from the “Dark Forces” series, is made available through this DLC as well.

The biggest addition to this DLC pack is the Battle Station game mode, which sees to recreate the destruction of the Death Star from “A New Hope.” In this mode, players, both Rebel and Imperial, will try to attack and defend with the ultimate object being to destroy and protect the Death Star, respectively. This game mode is unique in that, unlike any other game mode, Battle Station may take up to three phases to complete. In each of these phases, the Imperials must stop the Rebels from completing an objective. In the first phase of the game, the Rebels must destroy an Imperial Star Destroyer; in the second phase, the rebels must escort R2-D2 from one end of the Death Star to the other while inside of it; and in the third phase, the Rebels must complete the famous Death Star trench run and destroy the Death Star. If the Rebels succeed at all three of these phases, they win the game. However, if the Imperials succeed in stopping the Rebels during any of the three phases, the Imperials win the game.

The Battle Station game mode, is, in theory, a very interesting mode. It’s always an exciting treat to relive moments from the actual “Star Wars” movies, and when actually succeeding as the Rebels in destroying the Death Star, actually seeing the massive space station blow up is a very rewarding sight. However, the problems of this game mode are set in the balance of it. It seems as though the Imperials always have an advantage in this game mode; this is mostly due to the fact that, if the Imperials win a single phase, they win the entire game. In the second phase, in which the Rebels escort R2-D2, it’s very easy to stop R2-D2 from moving, and if R2-D2 does not reach his destination in time, the Rebels will lose. In addition to this, the game mostly consists of flying – a feature that not many “Battlefront” players are fond of – and the only other modes included in the DLC – Blast and Fighter Squadron – don’t add very much variety to the DLC pack overall.

The actual weapons included in the DLC are also extremely game-breaking. Both the TL-50 Heavy Repeater blaster and Bryar Pistol come with an extremely strong secondary fire that melts enemy soldiers with little to no effort. The Bryar Pistol’s secondary fire in particular is even able to destroy Imperial vehicles in just a few shots, making it the most popular weapon in modes that include vehicles. This also creates frustration for players who drive vehicles. This could, in the long run, destroy the overall balance of the game.

The Death Star DLC is decent, but probably the most disappointing one so far. Its lack of variety in the modes and extremely powerful weapons make the DLC feel less like an expansion and more like a general update—and a rushed one at that—than anything else.

Wells Fargo Cheats its Customers out of $20 Million

Wells Fargo has been fined for fraudulent activity for its employees creating about 2 million fraudulent accounts, cheating their customers out of $20 million.

Wells Fargo admitted that there was illegal activity going on through a release of a statement on Sept. 8, admitting fault and apologizing for the creation of fraudulent accounts: “Wells Fargo is committed to putting our customers’ interests first 100 percent of the time, and we regret and take responsibility for any instances where customers may have received a product that they did not request.”

They are being fined from three government agencies, so far. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is one of these agencies and their $100 million dollar fine is “the largest penalty the CFPB has ever imposed,” according to CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a press release.  Also, according to a report that the CFPB issued to customers who were affected, CFPB stated “The historic $100 million fine we imposed on Wells Fargo is in addition to the money the bank must pay back to harmed consumers.” The other government agencies who are fining Wells Fargo are Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and City and County of Los Angeles, who are penalizing the bank $50 million and $30 million respectively.

This adds up to $185 million that Wells Fargo has to pay in fines alone; however, this seems like merely pocket change for Wells Fargo. In fact, the company reported to earn $5.6 billion in the second quarter of 2016 alone and the company, according to Chicago Tribune, made a profit of “more than $20 billion in 2015.” On top of the profit bank is earning, the executives are already receiving hefty bonus payments.

The CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, is worth more than $200 million in Wells Fargo’s stock, according to Chicago Tribune. Another one of the executives who is receiving a lump sum is Carrie Tolstedt. She oversaw Wells Fargo during this fraudulence and announced her retirement earlier this year, and she is expected to be paid about $125 million as a “retirement package,” including thousands of shares of Wells Fargo stock, according to the Chicago Tribune.

However, for those seeking repercussions from Wells Fargo’s higher ups, there is talk about “clawing back” for Tolstedt’s millions in bonuses in particular, according to Dr. Ricky Scott, a professor in the Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics.  “Claw back” is essentially the recovery of funds already distributed, and the idea of “clawing back” was heavily suggested in the financial crisis due to business executives, who received millions dollars in funds, whose companies lost a significant amount of money or went bankrupt.

And for those desiring even bigger retribution for the company itself, the company is reportedly suffering from a drop of billions of dollars in market capitalization, probably due to the loss of trust from its customers. The bank was deemed “the highest valuable bank” with its market capitalization surpassing other banks in recent years because Wells Fargo was once reaching $300 billion in market capitalization in July 2015, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, as of Sept. 13, CNN Money reports that Wells Fargo, which, has dropped 6% in market gap to $237 billion, resulting in JP Morgan Chase bank surpassing Wells Fargo as the highest valuable bank. That drop in market cap is certainly costing the company; therefore, even though the fines and lawsuits may not harm Wells Fargo’s money, certainly the loss in business from customers will hurt it quite a bit as shown by the market cap.

“Banks need trust and they lost a lot of peoples’ trust, and this could be a long term bad effect,” said Scott about the situation of Wells Fargo.

This bank created so many fraudulent accounts without being detected until recently. However, once a spotlight was put onto the Wells Fargo, some may wonder what the aftermath for the customers and the employees may be.

“It’s going to have a huge impact but I don’t think we’re going to have many victims who lost more than a few hundred dollars. And of course they are getting that few hundred dollars back and then some,” Scott mentioned.

A senate hearing was set to be on Sept. 20 for Wells Fargo, according to Scott. Stumpf seemed to be the executive in the forefront of the hearing and seemed to avoid many of the questions asked by giving little explanation or no explanation at all when he answered. In fact, Fortune reports that “facing the Banking Committee, Stumpf was stumped by the most basic questions. How could this pattern of corrosive misconduct of two million unauthorized new customer accounts have continued over more than five years despite public reports? Why was the problem surfaced by The Los Angeles Times before internal discover? Why has there been no independent investigation?” The senate hearing, the fines and drop in market cap is among the many things that Wells Fargo has to face due to this scandal.

“Approximately 5,300 employees have been fired because they were opening accounts without permission from shareholders among other things,” said Scott. “Most of these people had preexisting accounts with Wells Fargo, say if they had a checking account and then they would open a home equity line or give them a credit card or open a savings account. Actually some of the people had minimum paying fees and going down minimum balance and that cost some people some money.”

“I did find out the first investigation was a local one in LA, three years ago. And so they really should have known, seems like to me.  The managers should have said this is happening local let’s make sure this isn’t happening anywhere else but they didn’t do that.”

This illegal activity came about due to the large amount of pressure placed on the employees from the CEO down. According to Scott, this chain of pressure to increase sales goals started from the upper level and continues to the regional manager, then the lower level to the branch manager to the workers at the single branch. This pressure extended to incentives of getting bonuses if sales were increased and even went so far as to threaten to fire people if they did not reach the sales goal. In fact, according to Scott, “some of the managers were actually showing lower level people how to do this [engage in the fraudulent activity].”

“If you are compared to other branches [that] are cheating – well, if you don’t cheat, you’re going to be the low person, and you’re going to be the one that gets fired. It became kind of an epidemic. It’s kind of like baseball when the other players are using steroids and hitting 40 home runs and you’re not using steroids and hitting 25 homeruns; you’re going to end up on the bench.”

“From the CEO down, I think there is blame to go around… There were probably people who didn’t know this was [happening],” said Scott. “It really does go down to the individual employee; there were 5,300 employees that was pressure to do something they weren’t able to do: increase their sales to a certain level. That pressure should have been there, but on the other hand, there really is no excuse to doing something unethical or illegal. And so that 5,300 people deserved to get fired.”

Wells Fargo may seem like the only bank creating this overbearing sales goals for its employees; however, almost every other bank tries to get their customers to open new accounts from saving to checking to money equity and more. It’s called “relationship building,” according to Scott. In fact, many other banks have similar incentives that Wells Fargo has, encouraging employees to invite as many customers into having as many different accounts as possible. And this can be mutually beneficial for customers, avoiding to have multiple accounts in different banks, if done legally, of course.

“We believes Wells Fargo isn’t the only one doing this,” said Scott. “Certainty, the same incentive plans could result in this. Almost every other bank I am sure is taking a look at this to make sure this isn’t happening now. Wells Fargo, with the good reputation they had – if they were doing this, there’s a good chance other people were doing it too.”

Wells Fargo is certainly trying to find ways to prevent this fraudulent activity from ever happening again. In fact, Wells Fargo, according to their website, will end sales goals effective on Jan. 1 of 2017. This effort to end sales goals is probably an effort to gain favor of their customers and gain their trust again.

“Our objective has always been and continues to be to meet our customers’ financial needs and drive customer satisfaction,” said Stumpf, on the Wells Fargo story website. “We are eliminating product sales goals because we want to make certain our customers have full confidence that our retail bankers are always focused on the best interests of customers.”

Some may wonder if there is any other way to prevent this from happening at any other bank, especially for those banks that encourage its employee to relationship build and to push for their customers to open multiple accounts.

Regulations could possibly be tightened; however, this may prevent other banks from relationship building. “We want banks to try to sell their services but we don’t want this,” said Scott.

It is highly likely that some victims notified Wells Fargo to inform the bank that they had charges which were not incurred; however, the bank probably insisted that it was mistake. However, Scott suggested that a “simple solution” would be having a “whistle blower hotline.” This way if there is an incident and it occurs multiple times from the same bank, an investigation done can possibly be done.

However, according to Scott, even this solution can possibly be an issue because if every call received is investigated, the bank might actually make a mistake. Also, if resources were provided to investigate every incident, this would eat at tax-paying dollars. However, some people may think some type of regulation needs to be enforced. This hypothetical regulation could prevent other banks’ executives and managers from placing pressure onto employees to meet sales goals, thus preventing fraudulent activity as large as this from happening.

“Management created a situation where this could happen, but it couldn’t have happened unless the people chose to do something wrong and they knew it was wrong,” said Scott. “And that’s a valuable lesson for our students, I think, because, in the working world, sometimes you are pressured to do something wrong and you need to think about the consequences. I always urge people to the ethical thing and sometimes that might mean losing your job.”