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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

The Exponent’s 2023 wrap-up

2023 was a busy year in Berea and Baldwin Wallace University. Here are some highlights:
Designed by Alexis Watkins

Breaking News

A bus transporting members of the BW swim and dive team was struck by a stolen Kia Forte on I-40. (Courtesy of Seville Barnes)

Starting off in January, The Exponent reported on a collision that happened to the BW swim and dive team when they were on route to a meet. A stolen Kia Forte operated by two teenagers crashed into a BW bus headed for Notre Dame College.

Moving on to February, it was reported after a weekly Student Senate meeting that the living requirement would be bumped up to three years for the class of 2027 and beyond in order to “urge” students to stay on campus for a longer period of time.

In April, the community witnessed the upset reactions of theatre and dance students to beloved professor Heidi Harris being rejected for the tenure-track position in favor of someone who had never taught at the school before — a move that took away the majority of Harris’ classes.

This sticker was found in the University Circle area of campus. The Exponent condemns the hateful message in this sticker as it harms members of Berea and Baldwin Wallace Community. (Courtesy of Baldwin Wallace University)

Skipping to September, a story was done on white nationalist stickers being found around campus, specifically the University Market building, that linked to an organization’s website that preached hateful initiatives. These stickers highlighted an overall uptick in white supremacist movements around the United States.

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Also in September, The Exponent broke the news of a university budget deficit of over $3 million dollars due to unclear financial reports, spurring a hiring freeze and the beginnings of potential program cuts across the University.

In November, The Exponent broke the news of the program cuts that materialized due to the budget deficit, which included the possible cancellation of underfilled classes for the upcoming semester and long term talks about majors and minors that could be on the chopping block.

Berea Community

Throughout 2023, The Exponent has expanded its coverage of events in the city of Berea.  

Earlier in the year, El Toritos Tacos opened on Front Street, following their Middleburg Heights and Twinsburg locations. 

Stephan Manchir, participant in the 2023 Harvest Festival, celebrates with his friends in costumes. (Ryan Acevedo)

Berea stayed a lively community this year with events such as the Grindstone Festival, Harvest Festival and Jack Frost Festival. 2023 added a new addition of a Browns watch party to the Harvest Festival, as well as keeping old traditions like dressing up in costumes alive. 

Berea City Council managed the competing interests of Baldwin Wallace University students and Berea residents along with a 2023 election that ushered in new leadership. 

One competing interest between BW students and Berea residents was the management of two city-owned houses, which the city council members sought to place deed restrictions on not to allow student renters within Berea’s Historical District.

Retiring Berea Municipal Court Judge Mark A. Comstock. (Courtesy of Berea Municipal Court)

Berea Municipal Court Judge Mark Comstock retired this year, with Sean Kilbane taking his place after the Nov. 7 election. The court also welcomed the new Clerk of Courts, Joe DeMio. The November election also brought a contentious debate between competing tickets for the Berea City School District School Board following the politicization of school board meetings over the last year.

Alumni Success

Defensive back Armani Marsh #25 of the Tennessee Titans and Cornerback Anthony Kendall #40 of the Tennessee Titans during the preseason game between the Tennessee Titans and the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Minneapolis, MN. (Emily Starkey/Tennessee Titans)

Anthony Kendall, a 2022 Baldwin Wallace University graduate, defied the seemingly impossible just one year after graduation by continuing his football career into the National Football League. Kendall went from being the star cornerback at BW and an All-American player to claiming a place on the Tennessee Titans practice squad and eventually making the final roster.

In the film world, Steven Caple Jr., a 2010 BW graduate, directed his second feature film “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. This comes five years after his directorial debut with directing “Creed II” in 2018.  

This year, BW alumni Colton Ryan from the class of 2017, has earned a Tony Nomination in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. This nomination came from his performance of Jimmy Doyle in the musical entitled “New York, New York.” Ryan was nominated alongside some of Broadway’s best including Ben Platt, Christian Borle, Josh Groban, J. Harrison Ghee and Brian d’Arcy James.  

Allison Semmes as ‘Josephine Baker’ sits atop a piano while the Company of “Harmony” gather around her.

Colton Ryan was not the only BW alumni to find success on Broadway this year. Dan Hoy made his Broadway debut in “Harmony,” a musical telling the story of six men who were half Jewish and half Gentile during the rise of Nazism. 

As 2023 marked 100 years of The Exponent, staff reconnected with their alma mater and described what The Exponent was like when they attended BW. These alumni described the process of publishing a newspaper before advanced computers, smartphones, editing and layout software. Much like today’s newspaper, there were stories written by people from all different majors. Molly Freitag, Editor in Chief in 1992, said that The Exponent was “one place where we really could all come together and do something for the whole campus community.”  

Ohio Politics

Following a two-week restraining order on Ohio’s restrictive abortion law, abortion providers like Cleveland’s Preterm, pictured, can temporarily see patients seeking the procedure. (Austin Patterson, The Exponent)

Following the Supreme Court’s overruling of Roe v. Wade in 2022 and the immediate lifting of the injunction of Ohio’s so-called “Heartbeat Bill” that banned abortions once a heartbeat is detected in a fetus, 2023 has been a year for Ohio to solidify their stance on abortion rights. For most of 2023, abortions were available through 22 weeks after a Hamilton Court Judge blocked the six-week abortion ban. Ohio’s Attorney General, Dave Yost challenged the Hamilton Court’s decision, and the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to review the decision from the Hamilton Court judge in March. However, on Dec. 15 the court dismissed the case because of “a change in the law” following the passage of Issue 1 on Nov. 7 that enshrined reproductive rights into the state constitution. Throughout 2024, we can expect abortion rights to be continually challenged as four Republican legislatures spoke about their plans in a press release on Nov. 9 to “consider removing jurisdiction from the judiciary over this ambiguous ballot initiative.” 

Ohio State Senator Catherine Ingram, a Democrat from Cincinnati and member of the Workforce and Higher Education Committee. (Courtesy of Sen. Catherine Ingram)

The state has wrestled with many other questions over the past year, drawing the attention of our community.  Right out of the bat on Jan. 1 2023, the state legalized sports betting, bringing concerns and potential opportunities to Baldwin Wallace University students. One piece of legislation proposed in March of this year that sparked debate from professors and students was Senate Bill 83, which would withhold state funding for private universities if they require diversity, equity and inclusion training and do not show proof of encouraging “intellectual diversity” and “free speech” on campus. However, reporting from News5Cleveland has recently shown that SB 83 may not move out of committee. Ohio voters also decided to legalize marijuana in a state-wide ballot initiative on Nov. 7.

Student Involvement

Left to right: Student body president Matthew Perry stands next to student body vice president Maree Horne. (Alexis Watkins)

Baldwin Wallace University’s student government led the charge at the start of this year with participation at a town hall where the unopposed candidates shared their platform of increasing involvement across campus. 

Student organizations looked to social media to increase involvement this year with new departments and clubs creating social media accounts to spread awareness.

Jake Grasso, academic assistant director of the Baldwin Wallace esports team, addresses the room at the grand unveiling of the new facility. (Konner Hines

One field that grew in 2023 for BW was esports, with a new competition arena unveiled in Loomis in September. 

BW’s Black Student Alliance continued to support its members through different experiences, and the creation of Asian Student Alliance brought about a safe place for Asian students on campus following the rise of anti-Asian sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A new sunset watching group, The Rise, was created near the end of 2023 to encourage students to join together to watch the sunrise. The group is expected to continue into 2024. 


Marvel released several movies this year, most of which fell flat. “Quantumania” headed into theaters in February and was the studio’s first release of the year. A previously humorous and enticing franchise is continued with a work of bad CGI and jokes that don’t land. The release of “The Marvels” is another example of Marvel’s worsening output. Though the movie holds themes of feminism, the film sacrifices plot for comedy. Marvel did redeem itself with their summer release, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which has over 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.

A scene from “Thanksgiving,” showing the axe-wielding character plotting his steps.

Several horror movies were also released throughout 2023. Several franchises were continued. This includes the release of “Scream VI,” one of the earliest of the year, with its theater debut in March. Later in the year, the horror genre takes a turn for the worse. “Cocaine Bear,” “The Nun II,” “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and “Thanksgiving” deliver underwhelming horror that leaves fans disappointed by the lack of scare. 

The year was filled with masterful works as well. Barbenheimer took the world by storm with the release of Christopher Nolan’s epic “Oppenheimer” and Greta Gerwig’s comedy “Barbie.” “Oppenheimer” boasts phenomenal acting, jaw-dropped imagery without the use of CGI and intricate storytelling that make it well worth its three-hour runtime. “Barbie” shocked audiences with not only its fabulous acting, writing, and set design, but the supposed “comedy” featured social commentary that highlighted the harmful truths of the patriarchy and holds powerful messages of female empowerment. Several notable directors put out work this year. Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla,” and David Fincher’s “The Killer” all came out towards the end of the year and were technically impressive and enjoyable watches.

Coriolanus Snow, played by Tom Blyth, and Rachel Zegler, played by Lucy Gray Baird in a scene from “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”

Lastly, the prequel to the Hunger Games franchise, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” showed to be one of the most well received movies of 2023 with audiences impressed with the performances, singing and score. 


The music departments saw a lot of attention in 2023. Students were treated to performances and talks from artists such as Fire & Grace in February and Eric Whitacre in October. The conservatory was also the presenters of many productions, such as the 89th annual Bach music Festival in April and the countless performances by BW Beatles, the BW choirs and all the other large instrumental ensembles. 

Coe performs on stage at Front St Social on Sept. 1. (Isabel Rivera)

The opera department also presented many works this year, including the Midwest premier of “We’ve Got Our Eye on You,” a presentation of the classic operetta “The Pirates of Penzance,” and the recent production of Handel’s “Giulio Cesare.” Finally, many students took part in their own musical endeavors, with groups like Coe and Lilieae performing at local venues in the greater Cleveland area. 


Throughout 2023, fashion trends have come and gone, and I’ve already predicted the fashion forecast for the coming year in the last issue, so let’s look back and revel in the enjoyment of 2023’s defining styles. 

2023 also saw Pinterest lovers and associates moving beyond small Bluetooth earbuds, opting for more of a statement piece. Enter the Airpods Max, a stylish and bold way to listen to music.

The slick “clean girl” style still stood strong throughout the past year, wielding cute matching gym sets and green drinks. Staples of this style include gold earrings, athleisure and the quintessential capsule wardrobe pieces that can be used to make a variety of outfits, like a simple tank top and jeans. 

To rival the clean girls, a new challenger appeared: Indie sleaze. Harking back to when people just had a good time in 2009, wore beanies and shutter sunglasses, and woke up covered in glitter. 

Also, this year, people really liked dressing up as mermaids and sirens, making lots of creative pieces from shells and beads. Adidas Sambas and low-key sneakers continued to thrive from the hype of 2022. Checkered blanket scarves looked great on those looking for that Copenhagen look. 

First-year vocal performance and music industry double major Hannah Tramonte rocks a hairbow, a fashion trend I expect to continue through 2024. (Courtesy of Hannah Tramonte)

For my 2024 fashion predictions, read here.








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