Category Archives: Campus

Islamophobia on the WSU Campus

Nada Hussein with her sign that sparked controversy.

A Winona State University student sparked conversation last week when she posted a photo of herself wearing a sign with facts about Islam on Facebook.

Nada Hussein, a senior majoring in political science at WSU posted the picture on the “Overheard at WSU” Facebook page and received mixed reactions.

Hussein’s sign reads: Stop Islamophobia; There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world; 0.003% of the Muslim population is responsible for terrorist attacks; Less than 27% of all terrorist attacks are carried out in the name of Islam; You have more chances of being killed by a bee than a Muslim.

The post and the reactions that followed got the attention of the university and prompted the visit of Dr. Sheikh Odeh Muhawesh.

Muhawesh, author and well-known theologian, came to campus to present “Islamophobia in America: How Did We Get Here?”

Muhawesh, an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas, discussed the misconceptions surrounding Islam and talked about the dangers of religious segregation during his visit to WSU.

Muhawesh said the greatest misconception about Muslims is that they are the “other.”

“Muslims in America are in every aspect of our society from armed forces to professors, to cab drivers, to doctors, to judges, to students. It’s a misconception to view them as somebody else. Muslims can be white Americans, African Americans, Scandinavian Americans, so that image that people have of Muslims being different is a big misconception,” Muhawesh said.

Hussein’s Facebook post started the conversation about Islamaphobia.

Hussein said some students responded positively by asking her if they could help support her cause.

One student wrote, “I’m a little late to see this post and the semester is almost over, but let me know if there’s anyway I can help out this semester or next.”

Other commenters’ linked articles to news reports from the San Bernardino shootings and the Paris attacks, pointing out the growing numbers of terrorist attacks coming from groups like ISIS.

Another student said, “Although I do not support the type of hate the likes of Trump seem to be espousing, It seems clear to me the world would be a better place without Islam. Further, the idea that ‘Islam is peace’ seems absurd to me. If you want a peaceful religion, you are going to have to look further east than the Middle East.”

Hussein said this type of response is not unusual and this was not the worst of the comments. She said she deals with the negativity by rarely answering people’s negative responses.

“It makes me feel really bad because I’m not trying to defend Islam, I’m trying to make a peace movement and tell people about what they don’t know.” Hussein said.

Muhawesh talked about Facebook in his presentation and said Facebook and most social media allow people to hide behind a wall and therefore it is natural Hussein would receive more hateful comments online than she would in person.

His suggestion to the people who posted negative comments on Hussein’s post is to have a conversation with a Muslim or visit a mosque.

“With interfaith dialogues, we encourage dialogue and face to face meetings. Go to people’s churches, mosques, coinages, temples and see people face-to-face because it’s a totally different feeling.” Muhawesh said.

According to Muhawesh, there are 45 mosques in Minnesota and as far he knows, there is an open door policy, no matter the faith of the visitor.

Muhawesh said the key to eliminating misconceptions of Muslims is to teach religion without evangelizing faith.

“I’m very much in favor of teaching about religions in public schools. Not as a matter of faith, but as a religion. Every segment of the population has a faith of some sort. We need to understand each other and without that education we will always, in each other’s eyes be the other, Muhawesh said.

Hussein came up with the idea to carry the sign with her shortly after the attacks on Paris. She’s vowed to carry it with her on campus every day until the end of the semester.

“Everyone said ‘pray for Paris’ but two days before, the same thing happened in Lebanon and no one said anything about it.” Hussein said.

Offline Hussein said people hardly ever come up to her in person and comment on her sign.

“I get more support from faculty members than I do students,” Hussein said. “Student’s don’t really care they just look at it and keep going. Its more likely for students to walk by and ignore me than say something hateful.”

Now other students are supporting Hussein by carrying signs around campus. According to Hussein, all of the students who asked to join her are all non-Muslim, American students.

“Its hard to be a Muslim around here,” Hussein said. “For me, people may not know by looking at me that I am Muslim because I’m not wearing a headscarf.”

The biggest misconception Americans have about Muslims, Hussein said, is that they are all terrorists or Islam is terrorism.

Hussein said the discrimination against Muslims has gotten worse in the four years she’s been in the United States. She said she thinks its due to the world events such as the Paris attacks back in November.

She said since ISIS has been on the upswing, things have gotten “out of control.”

Along with the recent terrorist attacks, Hussein said the upcoming election also makes her feel worried because of the policies Donald Trump is proposing.

“He wants to give us identification cards and that makes me feel really bad.” Hussein said. “I think I’ll be leaving the country if he’s elected. Why would I stay somewhere and be treated like how Hitler treated people years and years ago?”

According to Muhawesh, hate speech and microagressive moves can lead to violence.

“We should tolerate freedom of speech and criticism. We should tolerate investigations and disagreements. But when that turns into hate and aggressive behavior, that is when we should stop it.” Muhawesh said.

As for stopping Islamophobia on the WSU campus, Muhawesh said students must stop microagressions by standing up to hate speech.


Second Warrior Debate engages students, faculty

By Phillip Pronschinske & Shane Carlson

Winona State University hosted its second Warrior Debate of the academic year this past Tuesday, March 15, in the Phelps Hall TV Studio. This debate focused on whether Winona State University should establish a social media code of conduct.

Each debate is led by a moderator, with each side given a limited amount of time to present their arguments.

First, those for and against the motion receive seven minutes respectively for opening statements. Next, there’s another seven minute period for rebuttals and questions posed by the moderator. This is followed by a brief period of questions from the audience. Finally, each side receives three minutes to make their closing arguments. Audience votes are taken before and after the debate using placards scanned by a tablet. The winner is determined immediately via tally.

Four Winona State students participated in Tuesday’s debate. Arguing for the motion were Benedict Linsenmeyer, a senior studying law and society, and Danielle Weiler, a senior majoring in individualized legal studies. Arguing against the motion were Duc Nguyen, a junior and Michaela Curley, a freshman, both of whom are majoring in business administration. Ken Graetz, WSU’s director of Teaching, Learning and Technology served as moderator.

During the debate, Curley and Nguyen argued against the motion on the grounds that Winona State’s current code of conduct already contains guidelines for appropriate social media use, therefore, establishing a new code would be redundant.

Arguing for the motion, Weiler and Linsenmeyer argued standards for social media conduct would not, in fact, limit speech, but rather encourage it and promote appropriate use.

WSU’s director of Student Conduct and Citizenship, Alex Kromminga, said an interesting aspect of the debate is students are not necessarily allowed to choose the position they argue.

“It really does take you out of your comfort zone,” he said.

Kromminga said the inspiration for these events came from a series of YouTube debates by a group called “Intelligence Squared.”

Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Life Denise Lloyd-McDowell said once Kromminga brought the idea to a board meeting it grew bringing together different groups on campus.

“The Warrior Debates was a brainchild that came out of the Student Life and Development directors meeting,” McDowell said.

Afterward, the idea was brought to Student Senate, where Kromminga said the idea was so well-received, they felt they should contribute. He said senate had discussed the idea of a social media code of conduct before and was interested in getting student feedback. This led to their proposition of the debate’s theme.

Regardless of the importance of the issue, Kromminga said these events are more about the act of debating itself rather than the outcome of the vote.

“A big thing to glean from it is understanding how to develop an argument,” Kromminga said.

He also said decisions made by the voters in attendance may not necessarily result in any policy change.

“Even though there’s a voting aspect to the debate just to give a sense of accomplishment for either team, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the university is going to adopt a social media code of conduct,” Kromminga said. “It’s an idea to figure out, ‘Do we need to have more conversations, more education on how the campus views social media and our responsibilities in those realms?’”

Kromminga said the university hopes to continue having these debates each semester. If they garner more interest, there is the potential for more, and perhaps the formation of a new club on campus.

“Our hope is, is that this movement would be more student-driven,” he said. “We really do want students to kind of start taking a lead and thinking of different topics…we’re hoping students that come and observe will show more of an interest and want to take on the next go-around.”

McDowell said she is optimistic about the future.

“I’m excited that Winona State University can create this opportunity for students and find yet another way to help another group of students get engaged in the college experience,” she said.

Kromminga said he hopes that these events can pave the way for more debates in the future.

“I think it would definitely be something a lot of students could benefit from.”


Alex Kromminga on the advantages of these events:

Denise Lloyd-McDowell on her reactions to the event:

Duc Nguyen on his preparations for the debate:

WSU Hosts All Male Panel on Gender Based Violence

Winona State University hosted the latest in its monthly panel series on gender-based violence this past Monday, Feb. 15. As a joint effort between the Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA) and Winona State’s RE Initiative Club, a panel is held each month focusing on gender-based violence in the community. Monday’s panel focused on how gender-based violence specifically affects males.

According to a prepared statement from the club, Winona State University’s RE Initiative supports survivors of gender-based violence, and works to create a culture of respect and responsibility within the community. According to Kathreen Smith, President of the RE Initiative on campus, these panels begin a dialog about gender-based violence on campus. Smith said the panels are Q-and-A format, but often delve into more intricate discussions.

“Normally one question turns into a really great educational discussion,” Smith said.

According to her, they’ve been averaging around 30 attendees at each event. Numbers for Monday’s panel were in line with previous events.

Monday’s panel consisted of six men: two faculty members and four students.

Hunter Beckstrom, a junior who works in the RE Initiative as a peer advocate, served as moderator for the panel.

Before the Q-and-A began panelist Jacob Stock, a Women and Gender Studies (WAGS) minor, began by defining gender-based violence. Stock said it’s used as an umbrella term to refer to any type of violence in which gender plays a role. This can include sexual assault, harassment, stalking, domestic violence, and partner violence. Stock explained that typically this violence is perpetrated by males.

“As our training goes, it is most often the male figure perpetrating these crimes against a female figure, but of course there are exceptions to that as well,” Stock said.

Much of the panel’s discussion revolved around redefining masculinity, and the difficulties that brings. Ben Strand, a panelist and Senior Journalism major, said men often feel restricted by traditional definitions of masculinity and are pressured to conform to those guidelines.

“If males don’t fit into this spectrum of what is defined as masculinity in our society, then they feel like because they don’t fit in they don’t belong,” Strand said.

Stock explained males are typically socialized to be more violent and domineering throughout their lives, which contributes to this stereotypical idea of masculinity.

Alexander Hines, WSU’s Director of Inclusion and Diversity, was also on the panel. He gave an example of male socialization with an activity he frequently does with young men. He asks them to come up with 20 words that come to mind when they think about what it means to be a man. In this activity, Hines said the word that doesn’t come up is the most disconcerting.

“They talk about power, control and respect,” Hines said.

According to Hines, the word they don’t use is love.

“If you don’t love yourself, how are you going to love the body of that female?” Hines said.

WSU Student Senate President and panelist Joshua Hanson explained how society tells males they are supposed to act a certain way. Men are raised to believe they’re entitled to the privileges they’ve grown accustomed to, even though that’s not the case.

“It starts from boyhood and how you are told about masculinity,” Hanson said.

As an example, Beckstrom said walking home late at night in Winona, is radically different for males and females.

“Girls walking home at night have to have a whole game plan,” Beckstrom said, “I just walk home, it doesn’t matter where I go or what I do.”

A portion of the discussion revolved around portrayals of men in the media and how that contributes to societal ideals of masculinity and assumptions based on gender. The panelists emphasized critical analysis of the media along with the importance of continually questioning the messages it sends. Strand said people should ask themselves why certain characters or people are portrayed in a certain way.

To emphasize the importance of events like this, Beckstrom cited a statistic. Although Winona State is regarded as a safe campus, according to the most recent campus climate survey, it’s at the national average of one in five women being sexually assaulted during their lifetime. Hanson emphasized that having a conversation about these issues isn’t always easy.

“The conversations that you have to have aren’t always comfortable,” Hanson said. “You can’t be comfortable always in this work.”

As the panel neared its end, the focus shifted to advice on how attendees could prevent future gender-based violence.

“The conversation that we are having here tonight shouldn’t be ended when the last question is asked and the final answer is given,” Strand said. “It needs to extend beyond this room here,” Strand said.

After the panel concluded, Alexander Hines stressed the importance of greater faculty and administration attendance at these events. Hines said that getting figures of the university to participate in these types of events would help to spread this message.

The next panel in this series will take place March 25 in Stark 103 at 7 p.m. and will focus on how gender-based violence affects people of color.


Strand on his personal commitment to stopping GBV:

Stock on things students must be more aware of:

Hanson explaining the statistics:


Winona Diocese Braves Weather for March for Life

A blizzard could not keep a busload of 46 local high school teens, college students, and staff members from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona from attending the national March for Life in Washington D.C. over the weekend of Jan. 22.

This year marked the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, ones that extended women’s rights to have legalized abortions in all 50 states. The March for Life is a pro-life movement that opposes the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions with demonstrations held across the nation, with the national event held in Washington D.C. annually, according to Ben Frost, the Diocesan Director of the Office of Youth and Young Adults in Winona.

According to the March for Life website, the vision for the annual March for Life is to “bring together pro-life leaders and groups to organize and strategize around a common message, and to communicate this message to the government, the media, and the nation in a way that is powerful and life affirming.”

While an impending winter storm deterred some groups throughout the United States from making the trek, around 15,000 to 20,000 young people attended, said Frost.

The weekend consisted of attending the “Life is Very Good” conference on the eve of the march, followed by the Rally and Mass for Life the next morning, presided by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington.

“They gain a real sense of courage; a courage to be able to go into this world, that oftentimes diminishes the worth of human persons,” said Frost.

It was Frost’s third time attending the march in Washington. “This was a unique experience,” he said because the weather provided some challenges, and a blizzard was on the way. Frost said there was a special message from Pope Francis given by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.

Carly Radke, a senior at Saint Mary’s University double-majoring in theology and psychology, and is president of Students for Life. She organizes events at SMU that align with the values of the pro-life movement, and this is one of their biggest events of the year.

This was also Radke’s third time experiencing the March for Life weekend in Washington. She says “just going and being around like-minded people to be a witness was powerful.”

On the bus ride from Winona, Radke said Father Andrew Vogel encouraged students to practice talking with each other about the power of respecting life from the time of conception, so they could educate others.

With the pro-life movement being such a hot-button issue, Radke said “it’s really encouraging” to see young people coming together as a community to serve as witnesses to life.

One of the highlights she said was after leaving the Mass for Life at the Verizon Center prior to the start of the March. Radke said she saw people looking out their windows at the demonstration and watching the group start their march towards the nation’s capitol. She said it was powerful because maybe they were able to influence some people who were on the fence about the topic of being pro-life.

Ultimately, the snowstorm forced the group from Winona to cut the trip short. Instead of participating fully in the march, they made the decision to climb back aboard the bus and head for home, but not before saying a prayer for all those who would forge ahead until reaching the nation’s capital. The risk of getting stranded on the highway was simply too high, Frost expressed.

In addition to a bus going to Washington, a bus of Saint Mary’s University seminarians, who participated in a similar rally in St. Paul over the weekend.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona is comprised of more than 100 parish groups. Eight of those parish groups helped raise funds to cover the transportation, hotel, and food expenses, according to Frost.

Frost said the trip cost between $275 and $300 per person.

The Diocese makes an annual trip to either Washington D.C. or Saint Paul, it depends on what day of the week Jan. 22 lands. If it happens to land in the middle of the week, Frost says it’s challenging for students to miss at least two days of school.

Though the trip got cut short because of the snowstorm, Frost was adamant when he said, “it was a beautiful witness of faith…it was a very powerful trip.”

For more information on the March for Life, find them on the Web at, or call 202-234-3300.



Winona State Laptop Program Falls Short Of Expectations for Some Students

by Tobias Mann & Tom Wick

The Winona State University Digital Life and Learning program, known around campus simply as the laptop program, started in 1997, when it began putting laptops in the hands of every full time student on campus.

In 2002 the program was made a mandatory part of attending WSU.

Today, students are offered their choice of a Mac or PC. As of summer 2014, WSU offered Apple’s Macbook Air and HP’s Elitebook 840.

These notebooks while sufficient for most university tasks fail to meet the needs of a subset of students and faculty.

Many departments such as graphic design require students to use a Mac. For many this means trying to get their computationally intense work done with the rather anemic Macbook Air.

For much of the work done in the graphic design department the laptops simply cannot cope with the workloads associated with 3D modeling.

Because of this, many students must spend long hours in computer labs sharing a limited number of machines just to get their course work done on time due to the computationally intense nature of encoding video or rendering 3D models.

This is true for many students in departments across campus including students in the Mass Communications and Engineering colleges.

Many electronic media students in the Mass Communications department are asked on a weekly basis to shoot and render high-definition video, a process that is painfully slow for the Macbook Air; it can take as long as fifteen minutes to render a 90 second video clip.

Senior broadcasting student Lina Tawfik said, she was glad the University offered laptops to students but was disappointed by how slow they are for working with video.

“It takes me longer, I feel like, on my Mac, than it did on my older PC, to finish rendering and exporting my videos,” Tawfik said. “And a couple of times it would just crash.”

Some students such as senior graphic design student Andrew Massat say they’d be better off using the money spend on the laptop program on a computer that met his needs.

“Winona State’s laptop program leaves something to be desired,” Massat said. “It’s very limiting in terms of how often it crashes because of a lack of resources.”

Winona State however, doesn’t plan on allowing students to opt-out anytime soon, according to Robin Honken, director of user services for IT.

“The faculty know exactly what hardware and software students have available to them and 90-95 percent of students are satisfied with what we do provide,” said Honken. Limiting possibilities has economic as well as pedagogical reasoning.

By limiting the number of machines offered it is easier to provide support, and it ensures replacement parts or even entire laptops are on hand so students don’t get behind if their laptop breaks, Honken said.

This economy of scale means that the first time a student breaks their laptop they are only assessed a $100 fine instead of the full cost of a replacement. Additionally, much of that nearly $500 per-semester fee goes to support infrastructure like campus Wi-Fi and email systems.

Even with only two different models of laptop available to students at any given time, there are at least seven different laptops in service.

“For every machine we add the support costs increase exponentially,” said Honken.

The university saves money by buying in bulk, but that isn’t possible when buying in small quantities, Honken said.

WSU IT is working with academic departments to provide labs with more specific hardware, but the costs are significant. The engineering department has a lab full of high-end PCs and the mass communication department is currently designing a trans-media lab to teach interactive media.

However, according to Honken at this time there are no plans to provide lab type machines for the trans-media lab.

The graphic design department took the issue into their own hands last year, when they received a grant to purchase two base-model Mac Pros, each valued at more than $3000 apiece.

According to Massat, the Mac Pros are in use pretty much 24/7 for tasks like rendering and encoding.
The new Mac Pros join a handful of aging Mac Pros already there, but the 6-8 machines are still spread thin by the sheer number of students in need of them.

Winona State’s international services helps international students transition; students share their experiences

By Kayle Paul and Kayla Langmaid

 Two international students Aaron Khaw of Malaysia, a cell and molecular biology major, and has been at WSU for two years; and Wee Leen Chin of Malaysia, an advertising major, and has been at WSU for one year, prepared for a club event in the international services office on Monday.
Two international students Aaron Khaw of Malaysia, a cell and molecular biology major, and has been at WSU for two years; and Wee Leen Chin of Malaysia, an advertising major, and has been at WSU for one year, prepared for a club event in the international services office on Monday.

When international students choose to study at Winona State University, the International Services-Cultural Outreach office on campus provides services to help foreign students transition to Winona.

According to Kemale Pinar, WSU’s Director of International Services-Cultural Outreach, there are more than 280 degree-seeking students from other countries at WSU this year.

Pinar said she believes there are a group of international students who stick together but not all international students only hangout with international students.

“When I see international students stick to one another, they are forming their own family,” Pinar said.

“When you are in a total new place, you are trying to cling on to the only thing that is familiar to you,” she said.

Pinar said she doesn’t see this as a problem but as a cultural phenomena.

The international services office mission statement board for international students at WSU.
The international services office mission statement board for international students at WSU.

“Rather than saying there is something wrong, I look at it and say this is correct, this is normal,” Pinar said. “When I see students stick to one another, they are forming their own family,” she said.

Pinar said her office does offer cultural and language exchange matching where an American student is matched with an international student.

An American student chooses a culture they are interested in learning more about.

“The students have lunch or go to the movies to encourage that relationship, but we recognize the international student will choose a comfort friend from their own culture,” Pinar said.

Pinar asked, “Do international students have to have an American friend while they’re here? I think more importantly they have to have the acquired skills to interact with them and to become successful and make the contribution that is expected of them,” she said.




Rasoga Samarasinghe is an exchange student from Sri Lanka. She is now attending grad school through WSU.
Rasoga Samarasinghe is an exchange student from Sri Lanka. She is now attending grad school through WSU.

Rasoga Samarasinghe is a graduate student in the leadership program at WSU. She is from Sri Lanka and has been a student at WSU since her freshman year of college.

“Being an international student is a great experience that really builds your character,” Samarasinghe said. She wishes there were more opportunities for international students to communicate and create a network of friends with American students.

Samarasinghe said she learned from personal experience. International students meet people from outside their comfortable clique by putting them themselves out there, Samarasinghe said.

“I was very depressed my first year here,” Samarasinghe said. “I was homesick and nothing was familiar to me. Eventually I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and started joining clubs. Because of that, I got over being depressed and met great people,” she said.

Samarasinghe said she wished more students got out of their comfort zones and stopped clinging to what’s easy and natural to them.

Hyunji Lee is an exchange student from South Korea. Lee is studying Mass Communication at WSU. Submitted photo.
Hyunji Lee is an exchange student from South Korea. Lee is studying mass communication at WSU. Submitted photo.

Hyunji Lee, an exchange student studying Mass Communication from South Korea at WSU, said she attended an International Student Orientation Week before spring semester. The services also provided car shuttles to buy necessities.

“It could be better if the international office provided some opportunities to hang around Americans.”

Lee said most of the people in Winona really welcomed her.

Lee said the bigger problem is the exchange program could be better organized.

“All I do in here is just take class. That’s not bad, but it is better if the exchange program provide some other activities also,” Lee said.


Niklas Meyer is an exchange student from Germany. He is a senior at WSU and will graduate with an recreation and tourism mayor.
Niklas Meyer is an exchange student from Germany. He is a senior at WSU and will graduate with an recreation and tourism mayor.

Niklas Meyer, a senior international student studying political science and recreation tourism and therapeutic recreation at WSU, said he learned English at a young age.

“Unlike many international students who come to Winona, I had been in America for one year,”

Especially in a smaller community like Winona, Americans shouldn’t be afraid to get in contact with international students, Meyer said.

“Once you break the language barrier, it isn’t hard to get to know them,” Meyer said.

Meyer said international students might need some extra help. He said to acknowledge international students and he encouraged talking to international students after class.

Pinar said speaking out of firsthand experience, there are two things people need to have to make the possible adjustment to another country. “One is yourself and how confident you are and the other is your culture,” Pinar said.

“Jumping into a conversation is probably a much bigger problem,” Pinar said. Language is one of the most difficult things to overcome.”

Kemale Pinar talks about what it is like for international students to come to America, and Niklas Meyer talks about what most international students struggle with once they get to school.

Minnesota artist’s exhibit about family violence sparks controversy at Winona State University

By Kayla Langmaid

A Minnesota multi-award winning visual artist’s exhibit has brought controversy to Winona.

Shirl Chouinard of Cambridge, Minnesota, designed “Unspeakable,” an exhibit to promote awareness of family violence and sexual assault.

The exhibit featuring 10 life-sized fabric dolls was placed in the lobby of Winona State University’s Maxwell Hall from March 23 to April 10.

The dolls represented abused women and families, according to Chouinard.

Chouinard’s dolls in the exhibit had black patches of fabric, which represented bruises.

Emily Meskan, Winona State junior, said she overheard students who said the exhibit was creepy.

She said it took her “away” that the exhibit was placed in Maxwell’s lobby.

During a university tour, a family was brought through the lobby, according to Meskan.

Meskan said she saw a look of sheer terror on a little girl’s face while she passed by the dolls.

“That doesn’t seem fair to have people who are unsuspecting of it,” Meskan said.

Ruth Charles, a WSU social work professor, said she saw Chouinards’s artwork exhibited at a conference last June.

Charles said Chouinard was the only art exhibit at the conference and it stood out.

“I wanted to bring her here,” Charles said.

Charles explained the 10 pieces could represent one day in a social worker’s life.

“In life experiences you might not have experienced this or seen this,” Charles said.

“Other majors, they might not know what actually happens behind closed doors and this is the chance to open those doors to know what happens,” she said.

Charles said she tried to have the exhibit featured in Winona State’s Watkins Art Gallery but there wasn’t space for it.

Abigail Eucker, a freshman at Winona State, sat in the lobby to study. Eucker said she thought the dolls were creepy at first.

She saw why the exhibit might upset people.

When Eucker read the information about the exhibit, she didn’t think it was so bad.

Chouinard spoke at Winona State on Wednesday, April 8, about why she made the dolls.

As a part of the lecture series, Consortium of Liberal Arts and Science Promotion, Chouinard explained she was abused as a child.

Shirl Chouinard an artist from Cambridge, Minnesota spoke at Winona State on April 8 about her exhibit “Unspeakable.” The exhibit was displayed in the lobby of Maxwell from March 23 to April 10.
Shirl Chouinard an artist from Cambridge, Minnesota spoke at Winona State on April 8 about her exhibit “Unspeakable.” The exhibit was displayed in the lobby of Maxwell from March 23 to April 10.

“Many – many years horribly abused as a little girl,” Chouinard explained. “I was raped three times before I was 13.” Chouinard said.

Chouinard said the doll named “Monica” was made in honor of one of her sisters.

“I earned the right to make this work,” Chouinard said.

Chouinard said she knew there was controversy because of her exhibit.

She said she knew there was a post on a

WSU Confession Facebook page from an anonymous student.

A part of the confession said, “As a rape and assault survivor, it really haunts me to walk in there. It makes me feel sick. The way to end rape culture isn’t to put up traumatic art exhibits, it’s to educate our young men. I can’t even walk into Maxwell right now.”

For Chouinard, if at least one person talked with her after her lectures, then it would make a difference.

“This will reach a person,” she said.