Allow me to re-introduce myself

Beth Rankin

Editor’s note: For her own safety, Beth Rankin’s home address was removed from this column.

I am an advocate for transparency.

By that I mean I think every organization on campus – from USS to the Anime Club to the administrators who run this university – should feel compelled to be completely honest with us about their meetings, budget and policies (I’m lookin’ at you, USS). After all, our money pays for what they do, and their decisions affect us. Therefore, we should have the opportunity to be included in the discussion.

And since I don’t think it’s fair for me to ask for transparency when I haven’t been as open myself, I think it’s time for full disclosure.

Perhaps this will give you a better idea of who that person is scowling at you from the unattractive headshot at the top of this column.

My full name is Elizabeth Ann Rankin. I am 22 years old. I live alone with only my cat and guinea pig for company, and any of my former roommates can say – save for Becky, my freshman-year roommate – that their time living with me ended on a sour note. That said, I still think fondly of all my former roommates – except for you, Sean, but that’s because your actions directly contributed to the death of my cat, Harvey. But one day I’ll forgive and forget because I don’t hold grudges easily, nor do I care to.

I have a boyfriend named Rami who I’ve been with for three and a half years. To answer the question I can telepathically hear in your head, he is an American whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Palestine before he was born. He is a nice boy and a very talented photojournalist. He is cute and buys me presents.

I can play three types of saxophone, speak conversational Spanish and Arabic, and I occasionally coach children’s cheerleading, being a 10-year veteran of the sport (yes, it is a sport). Thanks to the two titanium rods fused to my spinal column (a result of severe childhood scoliosis), I cannot water ski, do sit-ups or play professional hockey. If you place two large objects on either side of me while I am lying down, I will be unable to get up.

I am a senior visual journalism student who’s on the five-year plan. I’ve been involved with student media (the Stater, The Burr, Fusion and Uhuru magazines and so on) since my first semester in college, and there has been plenty of controversy since my first semester on the Stater’s op-ed page.

In September 2004, while covering protests outside of the Republican National Convention in New York City for my student politics beat, I was arrested and spent two days in jail. I was charged with parading without a permit and disorderly conduct, but the charges were dropped and my record expunged.

Shortly after my return to Kent, I was fired by the Daily Kent Stater just before the 2004 presidential election. In short, I was fired because my personal blog said some inappropriate things about my personal thoughts on Republicans.

The longer story is that, during this time, I was splitting up from my high school boyfriend, who ascribed to certain conservative political ideologies I thought were bigoted and hateful. Also during that time, I was covering a lot of Kent State College Republican meetings hosted by former president Tony Cox, who would consistently – although at the time he was underage – host parties for the group that involved a lot of alcohol. The more alcohol consumed at a College Republican party (and consumed by Tony in particular), the more difficult it became to cover their events, as they made it clear that my presence wasn’t particularly welcome.

One day, I felt fed up with Republicans altogether, and posted on my LiveJournal something about how I didn’t quite understand Republicans; that they touted conservative values, yet, on this campus, seemed to me to be the most reckless. (This was, for the most part, aimed at my ex, Justin, who had severely mistreated me in our years together.)

The blog was brought to the attention of my editors, and I was fired. I cannot say I disagree with their decision.

These days, I keep busy working a full-time job for the School of Journalism, taking my last semester of classes, freelancing and poking fun at campus Greeks.

Anything else you want to know? I will gladly tell you. E-mail me at my address listed below, or visit me at work in Room 114 of Franklin Hall. My desk line is 2-2468.

I think you’ll have a hard time thinking up a question that I won’t answer.

Beth Rankin is a senior photojournalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].