The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: April 2014 (Page 1 of 2)

Baseball looks to win NESCAC tournament #DOGPILE

The Bates Baseball team earned their first series victory against the Trinity Bantams in the recorded history of the conference matchup, winning Friday, April 18th and splitting a doubleheader on Saturday, April 19th.

Senior left-hander and two-time this season NESCAC Pitcher of the Week Brad Reynolds received the 4-2 win on Friday, pitching 5 ⅔ solid innings with 2 strikeouts 2 unearned runs. Junior Sam Maliska took over in the sixth, posting 3 ⅓ shutout innings for his first save of the season. On offense, juniors Nate Pajka and Rockwell Jackson each went 2-for-5, while first-year Brendan Fox went 1-for-2 with an RBI double, contributing to the Bobcats’ 9-hit performance.

 sports inside the issueThe team took their momentum from Friday and showed up to play in their 12-7 extra-innings win in the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday. First-year Brendan Fox went 3-for-4 with three RBI’s, Junior Mekae Hyde notched three hits, and senior Griff Tewksbury recorded his fifth home run of the season.  Senior Chris Fusco pitched five innings, allowing only three runs while sophomore reliever Rob DiFranco picked up the win for the ‘Cats. Bates jumped on Trinity quickly going ahead 6-1 by the top of the fifth. Although the Bantams worked their way back in the next three innings to tie the game and take it to extra innings, the Bobcats came back strong in the eighth with six runs starting from a Pajka RBI single and Tewksbury double. Trinity answered with one run in the bottom of the eighth but it was not enough to stop sophomore right-hander Samuel Warren from closing out this win for Bates.  Warren remarked, “Everything came together for us to win the series. We are able to win because we have the mentality that it’s all about being part of the team.  We hang out with each other every night. It’s really a family.”

In the final game of the series, Trinity’s starter went seven innings, allowing only one run on eight hits, while Bates junior Will Levangie pitched 6 ⅓ innings, struck out five, and gave up only one run on four hits. Trinity scored first in the second inning with a bases-loaded forced run off a hit-by-pitch. Bates responded in the fourth as Hyde doubled home Tewksbury, tying the game 1-1. The Bobcats unfortunately lost the game in the bottom of the ninth with a bases loaded single. However, taking two of three in Hartford was a big achievement for Bates, putting them in sole possession of second place in the NESCAC East Division.

bballIn between NESCAC series, the Bobcats recorded three vital wins, one against Endicott (8-4) and two versus Husson (7-2 and 9-4), to solidify their standing and competitive edge in the region, outside of conference play.

The ‘Cats then reaffirmed their dominance in the NESCAC by capturing two wins out of the three game series against Colby College beginning on Friday, April 25th. In the first game on Friday, Brad Reynolds crafted 12 strikeouts in his first-ever complete game to bring Bates to a 5-0 victory against the Mules.  When asked what has contributed to his success on the mound, Reynolds responded, “I’d say the key for me is mental preparation. The continuous study of the mental ABC’s of pitching by H.A. Dorfman have been very helpful as well as daily visualisation and meditation…It allows me to do what I love and have a lot of fun doing it.”

Griff Tewksbury went 3-for-3 while Rockwell Jackson had two hits and two runs scored. Bates took a 2-0 lead in the third and added another run in the fourth on a wild pitch that scored Pajka. In the fifth, Hyde walked and Jackson singled, setting up Tewksbury’s double to score both of them, giving the Cat’s a 5-0 edge. The runs they scored were clearly the result of a team effort.  Jackson reports that they are coached to, “Get ‘em on [get on base], get ‘em over [put the runners in scoring position], and get ‘em in [bat them in for runs].”  Defensively, Reynolds finished the game strong facing just 14 batters over the last four innings.

In the second game of the series with Colby and the first of the doubleheader on Sunday, the Bates baseball team lost 2-1 in a well-fought game against the Mules. First-year righthander Anthony Telesca pitched six solid innings and gave up only one run on two hits. Colby won the game in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff walk, sacrifice, and pinch-hit single to knock in the winning run.

With the series split, a playoff berth for either team rested on the outcome of the third game.  Head coach Mike Leonard gathered his players in the outfield and encouraged the team, “If we just play our game, no one will beat us.”  Sophomore Sam Warren reflected on the perspective of the players, “No one was concerned.  We were just motivated.”

Their motivation translated into resilient play as the Bobcats took a 1-0 lead in the third with a RBI double by Warren. Colby tied the game in the bottom of the inning but Bates came back with another run in the fourth. The Bobcats stretched their lead to 4-1 with two runs in the sixth. Senior Steve Burke singled and eventually scored on Mekae Hyde’s double. Pajka doubled to bring Hyde in as well. Bates got two insurance runs in the top of the ninth after sophomore Conor Reenstierna led off with a single and Warren blasted a two-run-homer to contribute to his 3 RBIs and 2 hits for the game. In reference to his success at the plate, Warren said, “It’s not about individual accolades. We have a team mentality and we get the job done because we work as a team.”

Bates’ win combined with Tufts’ doubleheader sweep of Bowdoin solidified their first-ever bid to the NESCAC tournament. Bates has shown determination and fight throughout the season, highlighted by their strong pitchers and irrepressible offense.

With eight games left, Bates can clinch the #1 playoff spot by defeating Tufts in both games of their doubleheader at Bates on Saturday May 3rd. Mike Leonard and the 34-man roster hope to display how deep talent and a team mentality can result in a NESCAC Championship.

When asked to explain why the back of the team’s shirts say ‘Dogpile,’ junior Aidan Sullivan responded, “The goal from day one [of preseason] was to win a NESCAC Championship.  It’s a reminder of the success we are trying to achieve.” Classmate Jackson added, “Our coach [Mike Leonard] reminds us each day that no one can beat us but ourselves; so if we keep playing our own game and focusing on that team concept, no one will beat us.”

Reynolds feels strongly about winning the NESCAC tournament for reasons beyond the team: “Our community has been through a lot this year and I would love nothing more that to win it for them.”

Tree Street Youth and education inequality in Lewiston

The Lewiston and Auburn communities are only getting younger – “younger” as in a significant proportion of the population  are under 18 years old.

This demographic is one reason Julia Sleeper ’08 and Kim Sullivan ’13 founded Tree Street Youth, a center that supports and encourages the youth of the community, and provides a safe space for their academic and personal growth. The center started as a homework help program, then after an enthusiastic response, the program expanded.

Tree Street Youth was developed out of need and a necessity. At a recent panel discussion, on Tuesday April 22nd, Sleeper and Sullivan, along with Lewiston High School Seniors Mana Abdi and Sahra Hassan, brought to light the issue of education inequity in the community. Education inequity or inequality, at the simplest level, can be understood as disparities in educational opportunities amongst students. Disparities can range from location and access, as well as occur within the same system, but affect students because of ethnicity or economic backgrounds.

Sleeper prefaced the discussion by emphasizing that the “point is to learn.” For that one hour discussion, attendees were asked to suspend all judgments for a learning experience about Lewiston schools and Tree Street Youth.

While Sleeper and Sullivan facilitated the discussion and described Tree Street in detail, Mana and Sahra offered some enlightening first person accounts of their time within Lewiston public schools. These accounts represent the barriers that impact the community’s young students, barriers Tree Street acknowledges and tries to transcend.

Mana Abdi moved to Lewiston in 2010. She has since then experienced success both in school and on the track, which she explained for me after the panel.

“I was junior when I won this race and it was a 5k race,” said Mana. “I have never won a race before this race so when I realize that I just won an entire race I was honestly overwhelmed. It was an amazing feeling.”

And this feeling of pride was not only in her victory, but what that victory symbolizes. “I hope to change the community as a leader in school and on track by showing that just because I am girl it does not mean that I am not cable of accomplishing something great…I have already proven to everyone that I can be a runner but also a Muslim girl who is covered from top to bottom,” adds Mana.

Mana also offered some eye-opening information about her experiences with Lewiston High School and Tree Street Youth. Mana dreams of going to college – which she will in the fall, though has yet to make her final decision – then eventually on to medical school.

“Tree Street helped in so many levels because the people there were the first to actually believe in most of us. They encourage us to try hard and show the world that we can accomplish something,” says Mana. Unfortunately, both Mana and Sahra do not always receive the same support in their school. Sleeper and Sullivan acknowledged this problem as well. Tree Street serves students in grades K-12, but Sleeper mentioned that in the middle school, very few teachers are aware of the program. There is growing recognition in the high school, Sleeper notes, largely in part because of the evolvement of the superintendent and vice principal. The relationship is described as a working relationship, but Sleeper said they “can’t deny when something works.”

Mana and Sahra talked about some difficulties with teachers during their time at Lewiston High. Sahra recounted a time where she had to teach herself the material because the teacher would not help her when she asked for clarification – the teacher told her she should’ve learned it in fourth grade. But Sahra was not in the school system in fourth grade. Much of the education inequality is due to the language and cultural barriers. “There is just unfairness everywhere in our school system and I hope overtime things change,” says Mana.

Bates sophomores Nicole Bermudez and Becky Schwartz attended the panel discussion because they have both volunteered with Lewiston students before, and wanted to learn more about their education experience. Both were surprised by the lack of support from the administration. “It’s interesting to see how the different systems work together and are dependent upon each other, whether they want to be or not,” notes Schwartz.

Tree Street notices these barriers and tries to assuage and improve these issues. It is a place where students can grow and succeed more than just with their academics – Mana mentions the most important thing she learned from Tree Street is acceptance. Sleeper and Sullivan concluded the discussion by emphasizing that Lewiston is a small enough community that programs like Tree Street can make a big difference in combating education inequity in the community.

Call Me Crazy, a film that resonates

How well do you know your friends? While this question might seem absurd because one might think ‘I spend all my time with them so logically I should be able to say I know them very well,’ I ask this question because most people don’t tend to share what is truly troubling them. To give perspective on this issue, consider for example how 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health disorders. If this is surprising, then you might be shocked to learn how two thirds of the population that suffer from mental health disorder do not receive the help they need. The problem is not that there is no help, however. Rather, the problem is that we do not share what is happening in our lives.

Last week, this issue was represented in the film called Call Me Crazy, sponsored by Bates Active Minds and NAMI Maine. The film is broken up into five interlacing sections that each depict different stories. We saw through the stories of Lucy, Grace, Allison, Eddie, and Maggie, how it doesn’t matter how smart, how funny, or how rich one is, mental health issues can affect anyone.  Lucy for example had graduated as magna cum laude from college and was in Law School when she underwent a serious schizophrenic episode that made her drop out of Law school. Academic success does not always mean mental well-being.

The falseness of our assumptions was exemplified in Eddie’s story as well. Through Eddie’s story we saw how just because he made other people laugh, it did not mean that he was immune to any problems. Eddie actually suffered from depression. This showed how the people that we would least expect to be suffering from mental health issues are still susceptible. Maggie’s story is an example of how even families can be uninformed of their own kin’s mental health issues. Maggie had never told her father that she suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder. Her father finally came to know the truth after she underwent an episode that was so serious she was put on trial to determine whether she should retain custody of her son.  One might think it’s no big deal that this is actually part of growing up; learning to solve your own problems. Having this belief is problematic though because if you aren’t able to address the issue in yourself, then the issue just might escalate into something worse.

What can one do then to alleviate this quietness? One can’t make someone share something that they don’t feel comfortable sharing so then what can be done? The solution given in the movie was to show kindness and love to every person. As more students were able to see the seriousness of the issue, students like Tommy Graziano commented: “makes you want to be nicer to everybody because you don’t know what they are going through…” Even former Mayor Larry Gilbert realized how we might be “taking people for granted.” What we have to do then is realize that while there are not so accepting people of divergences; there are far more people that do care.

Here at Bates for example, there are several programs built to combat the quietness of the issue. Max Silverman’s Active minds is aimed at “changing the culture of Bates…to get more people talking” about mental health issues. One does not even have to personally have a mental health issue as well. The stories of Grace and Allison both showed how one can equally be affected by mental health issues by just having a relation that suffers from it. Active Minds is just meant to be an open forum that helps students receive the aid they need. Let’s not be afraid to share anymore. You are not in this alone! Too many think that they have to deal with their problems alone. Remember then as you work to change the world that you ARE cared for and that you are NOT alone.

Rowing victorious in President’s Cup

Spring Break 2014 hits Bates College, and as the majority of the student body left for home to relax and decompress, the Bobcat rowing team got on their proverbial grind, racing twice over break, and again this past weekend at the Presidents Cup.

First-year coxswain Kate Traquina cogently described the teams break, saying “We slept, ate, and rowed.”  Fellow first-year rower Adam Rintell had more to say on the dynamics of break for the team.  “While it was frustrating we couldn’t get on the water because of the weather, it was great to improve team chemistry.”

rowingThis time of year, most Batesies are able to hangout, relax, and enjoy all that Maine has to offer, but our rowers find themselves in the full-swing of a challenging race schedule as their spring season gets underway.  Over break the men and women traveled to Worcester Massachusetts, finishing with scores of 6-2 and 9-2 respectively.  They both concluded their breaks competing again in Massachusetts, the men finishing with an 8-1 score at the Greater Boston Invitational on the Merrimack river, and the women tallied a 5-1 finish on the Charles in Boston.

This past weekend Bates hosted the President’s Cup, a competition between Bates Colby and Bowdoin, as well as the Bates Invitational which included more teams from the greater New-England area, on the Androscoggin River.  The Scog provided just the home-river advantage our Bobcats needed, propelling the men and women to collective team victories in both the cup and the invitational.  “We were very pleased with our successes at the race last weekend, even amidst rain and heavy winds”  said First-year rower Elise Emil.  “We hope to take this speed into our upcoming Championships.  It was also great seeing so much support from the Bates community at our regatta.”

The team travels back to Worcester this weekend to compete in the New-England rowing championships.

Track & Field continues winning in spring competition

The Bates men’s and women track squads managed to shatter several team records on Saturday at the NESCAC Championships in Waterville, Maine while also performing well against their conference competitors.

For the women, senior Kallie Nixon continued her dominant season by winning the 800 and 1,500 meters. Nixon earned NESCAC Women’s Track Performer of the Week on April 7 in recognition of her third place finish in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the Sam Howell Invitational at Princeton University. She was the only Division III runner in the field, beating Division I competition with her personal record time of 10:38.63. On Saturday, her winning time of 2:14.62 was another personal best on a major stage.

While Nixon’s victories were key points for the Bobcats, who finished sixth out of the 11 teams at the NESCAC Championships, the entire team made significant and in some cases historical contributions. In the preliminary heats of the 100 meters, senior Angeleque Hartt set a new Bates record with a time of 12.45 seconds. Hartt finished sixth in the 100 meter final. Speaking to her ability to consistently tear down old records, Hartt commented, “I think I’ve been able to continually improve my personal records because of the type of coaching and training I receive from my coaching staff. They push me and challenge me to be better everyday.”

Freshman Allison Hill’s fifth place time of 15.22 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles eclipsed the previous Bates record in the event. Hill was thrilled with this accomplishment, as well as surprised that she was able to break the record in her freshman year. She credited her coaches and teammates immensely, stating, “I’ve learned from my teammates that your biggest competitor is yourself and that’s really how I’ve pushed myself to improve every week. The set of coaches at Bates are also phenomenal and have helped me transition from high school level track and field to the collegiate level.” Hill and Hartt teamed up along with junior Quincy Snellings and sophomore Alexis Dickinson to break yet another Bates record in the 4X100 relay.

The Bates women scored in every single track event at the NESCAC Championships, a very promising sign heading into the New England Division III Outdoor Championships this Friday and Saturday.

As both a team and as individuals, the Bates men have several major recent achievements to their names. The Bobcats won the Snowflake Classic at Tufts University, defeating 26 other teams at the meet. They also were victorious yet again at the Maine State Outdoor Championship, their 12th state title in 13 years. Sophomore Rudy Pandora continued with his recent emergence as a thrower, winning both the shot put and the discus. Junior Sean Enos, who was fourth in both of the events won by Pandora, was state champ in the hammer throw. Another Bates state champion was senior John Wisener, who cleared 14’ 1.25’’ in the pole vault.

At the University of New Hampshire meet on April 5th, Wisener soared to a Bates record, cementing 16’ 0.25’’ as the new mark to beat after 16’ had stood for 10 years. That performance earned him the titles of NESCAC and ECAC Performer of the Week. Wisener shared the fascinating story of how he started out with this unique event; his older sister began vaulting in high school, and was scheduled to go to a pole vaulting camp in the summer, but “on a family trip to Iceland she sprained her ankle chasing sheep down a hill. She was unable to go to vault camp the following week. The camp refused to give my mom a refund but they did agree on having her 12 year-old son go vault with the high schoolers in my sister’s place. I began to vault there and I knew that was something I wanted to pursue.”

Wisener finished second at the NESCAC championships, where the Bobcats as a team came in third. Reflecting on his passion for the sport, he said, “My favorite part of vaulting is the feeling of flying.” He also enjoys the subtle technical elements and adjustments that have allowed him to keep jumping higher. He stated, “My goals for the rest of my senior year are to get over 16’ 5’’ if not higher, become All-American for Bates, and to continue to enjoy the event.”

The Bates men, including Wisener, will have another opportunity to excel in their respective domains like their women counterparts at the New England Division III Outdoor Championships this weekend.

A letter from a Batesie abroad

Dear friends, hello from the dusty Israeli desert! I’m spending the semester on a kibbutz (socialist-style village) close to the border with Jordan in Israel’s Arava Valley, probably the hottest and driest place I’ve ever lived. I’m studying at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, which brings together Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, American, and other international students and interns to examine the ways in which regional environmental issues affect and are connected to and impacted by regional political issues, specifically the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I’m not sure how to contain this whole experience in a few paragraphs so here are some highlights/things that have stood out to me:

Living with people from vastly different backgrounds. The variety of traditions that we all bring to this community has made for a wonderfully eclectic student culture. It can sometimes be difficult to navigate, but it’s ultimately really enriching. Some of the most interesting moments I’ve had so far have been talking with an Israeli student about identity construction in Israel as compared to the States. Also, I liked connecting with one of my housemates, a Palestinian who lives in Jerusalem, about the importance of being able to remember and hold pain in our cultural pasts while not letting it stop us from moving forward and seeking to build the best future for ourselves, our children, and our neighbor’s children.

Being immersed in something, while studying about it. Understanding regional water issues takes on a new dimension when our showerheads and sink faucets frequently clog due to salt buildup; the waste management problems in the West Bank became immediately clear when we watched a giant plume of greasy black smoke rise from trash being burned on the roof of an apartment building in Ramallah. It’s inspiring to experience some of the solutions to these problems; for example, our dorms are connected to an experimental greywater treatment system, which collects the water from our sinks and showers and runs it through a natural bacteria-powered filtering system and produces water clean enough to use for irrigation. At the same time, it’s horrifying to know that some of my close friends, who live in Jordan, might not have easy access to drinking water in the next 10 years because Jordan’s water strategy has planned for 30% of their water to be provided by a desalination project that is probably never going to happen.

Learning new cities by walking them. I have a full schedule of classes during the week, but I’ve spent several weekends traveling. It turns out my favorite way to experience a new place is not to make a schedule of places and sights to visit and see, but rather to find the center of the city and walk around aimlessly. Doing this led me to discover a gorgeous old residential neighborhood in Jerusalem, to find a juice vendor selling honeydew-pineapple fruit shakes in Yaffo (an Arab city on the beach) and to notice some really incredible graffiti/street art. Unfortunately it also got me stuck outside in the middle of an intense wind and dust-storm, and then it started raining, but at least I got a good story out of that!

Beetle and hedgehog appreciation. The climate in this part of Israel is hyper-arid, meaning that it typically receives less than 100mm of rain each year. As a result, there aren’t that many animals that can survive in this harsh desert. Aside from the multitudes of stray cats, the majority of the creatures here are beetles of varying sizes, shapes, and colors. They’re actually kind of sweet in a weird way, and the way they move through grass is really hilarious (it looks like a strange version of breaststroke). I’ve also seen a few hedgehogs at night, which are unbelievably cute and also really hilarious when they run.

The last thing to mention is the study abroad time warp: I’ve been here for a little over two months and I have a little less than two months left, but it feels like I’ve been here forever and will never leave. It’s easy to forget how impermanent this community is, and also kind of hard to imagine what it will be like to walk to class without a view of the Jordanian mountains. It sounds amazingly cliché, but it’s completely true of my experience.

Sending love and warm thoughts from the Middle East! See you so soon! -Adina

President Spencer holds campus-wide meeting after disciplinary incident

Last Thursday afternoon, students ceased their respective Short Term activities to attend President Spencer’s mandatory assembly in the Grey Cage. Groups of students made their way across campus to partake in what felt like a Bates family meeting. Students sat on the floor of the Grey Cage armed with suggestion pencils and notecards received at the door, anticipating President Spencer’s speech. The spotlight is, once again, on Bates College.

Late Tuesday night April 15th, Bates Junior Mac Jackson allegedly entered the wrong White Street home in search of a friend. This resulted in confrontation with the home’s elderly owner. The events that ensued have not been fully disclosed to the Bates community. However, it is known that Jackson is being charged with aggravated assault and criminal trespassing following the altercation with the elderly man, who fell and was sent to the hospital with a broken hip.

Local news stations and papers have already jumped on the opportunity to report the incident, placing negative attention on Bates, reminiscent of the arrests made during “Throwback” in 2010. Maine station WMTV News 8 aired a segment from White Street discussing the, “Bates problem” with Lewiston resident May Burke, while the Sun Journal outlined the criminal charges and disciplinary actions that Jackson currently faces. Incidents like these fragment the schools relationship with the surrounding community.

Beginning with her email two days after the White Street incident, President Spencer made it clear that Jackson’s case is not unique, and comes in conjunction with other drinking related incidents that have occurred in the past few years.

“There have been several breaches in behavior that have shocked and concerned all of us, endangered our students and our neighbors, and put at risk basic community norms,” said Spencer in her email. President Spencer called for the College to take on a more active role in the counseling and drinking culture of Bates, something that many colleges and universities are struggling with. The first step was to hold a mandatory meeting when students returned from Spring break.

“I don’t really know how she is going to approach this. A lot of us fear that there are going to be new policies that will affect Short Term and Senior Week,” said one concerned sophomore, who like many in this article, wished to remain anonymous. Some students were critical of the mandatory meeting, “They are photographing us walking to get disciplined. I’m not sure how this is supposed to do anything.”

Once the meeting began, President Spencer quickly announced that Short Term and Senior Week would remain, putting students at ease. Spencer stated that the meeting was held to initiate a discussion among students, faculty, and the administration as colleagues. “There is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde vibe at Bates College,” Spencer stated frankly, “We are not looking to contain fun, quite the opposite, but when dorms are trashed Monday mornings, and members of the Lewiston/Auburn community are disturbed or even injured, we keep doing reputational damage to Bates.” Respect was a key theme of the discussion. In order to improve the current situation at Bates, students need to start talking to each other in order to foster a, “strong and positive campus culture,” as Spencer puts it.

Students were very receptive to the “family meeting”. One point Spencer mentioned hit particularly hard with many students, especially seniors. President Spencer talked about how with each incident Bates has, the value of our education and diploma goes down. One student stated, “Bates has worked hard to develop its academic reputation. No one wants to see that hard work go away, especially over issues of mutual respect among students and the community that can be easily solved.”

This is just the beginning of a new approach to Bates student life and culture. President Spencer is looking to form a committee that will work intensively on this issue and to implement programs that will promote positive behavior. Students can continue to enjoy Short Term, knowing that any changes made in the future will be positive.

The issue of mental health

A number of recent events have brought the seriously neglected epidemic of mental health issues on college campuses to my attention. These cases have led me to examine the ways in which Bates has emerged ahead of the pack on this front, and also the ways in which it still falls short. The reader will have to excuse the vague nature of this article, as it is a necessary precaution used to protect the privacy of any students whose cases have brought these details to light.

In many ways, Bates succeeds in providing excellent mental health resources to its students. Many who seek counseling services report positive experiences provided by compassionate individuals who truly care about the students with whom they work. These counselors prove to be very helpful in directing students to other resources they might require. All health center professionals – clinical social workers, physicians, nurses, directors, and secretaries – work in a collaborative way in order to determine the best course of action for each student and ensure his or her continued care. The friendly environment of the health center contributes a welcoming feeling for many, something that is absolutely essential for encouraging students to seek the help they need.

However, a number of improvements to the system could be made. Currently, Bates employs one psychiatrist who is available one day a week. She is consistently booked full between the hours of 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM every Friday, and scheduling an appointment often requires two or more weeks of notice. While psychiatric consultations are not necessarily required as often as counseling appointments, this lack of availability is a clear indication that the current system is saturated to the point of overload. Increasing the availability of psychiatrists, even by adding one additional day of appointments every week, could greatly alleviate this strain on the system.

In addition, when issues of mental health begin to affect other aspects of life at Bates, the reaction of the college has displayed a concerning order of priorities. When academic performance becomes a concern, the involvement of the deans is, of course, necessary. However, the process used to address this concern could use an overhaul. Students have reported feeling interrogated, incriminated, and punished as a result of academic shortcomings, as well as made to discuss personal information in an uncomfortable and hostile environment. The goal, it seems, is to maintain the college’s shining academic reputation by making an effort to forcibly remove a struggling student from the school for a considerable period of time, despite any counterarguments citing strong support systems and the availability of resources that may not be as accessible elsewhere.

This should not be the deans’ primary objective. Instead, they should strive to serve the mental, physical, and emotional well being of every student. The college should display genuine concern for the happiness of its students above all, not merely because happy individuals make for successful students, but because it is the right thing to do. Therefore, it is essential that the process evolve to better pursue the achievement of this goal. A more complete collaboration between health center professionals, the deans, and professors could potentially provide a much more comfortable environment for the student involved and will ensure that decisions are made with his or her best interests in mind.

Changes such as these have the potential to drastically improve the lives of a number of Bates students, as well as to create a more compassionate environment for all. It is essential that the college and all associated with it make an effort to continue improving our understanding and treatment of mental illness, as this is an issue that must not be ignored.

Men & Women’s Tennis wrap-up

The men’s team finished up their season with a 3-4 record in April. The Bobcats lost to Amherst 9-0, bested Tufts 7-2, lost to Williams 6-3, and beat Brandeis 5-4. Within the last week, the team played Bowdoin, Trinity, and Wesleyan. Bates was without 3rd singles and 3rd doubles player Chris Ellis, who had to pull out due to a hamstring injury. Bates beat the 11th nationally ranked Bowdoin team 5-4 for the first time since 2007.

The ‘Cats started out strong, sweeping doubles with Timmy Berg and Pierre Planche winning 1st doubles, Ben Bogard and Peter Yanofsky winning 2nd doubles, and Henry Lee and Eric Ruta winning 3rd doubles. The Polar Bears bounced back, winning four singles matches in a row. However, freshman Pat Ordway won his match at fifth singles to tie the match up at 4-4. The only match left on court was one singles, where Timmy Berg and Noah Bragg were grinding in a close match. Both sets went to a tiebreak, but Berg persevered to close out the victory in straight sets. “This win is probably one of the more memorable matches I’ve ever played” said Berg. “The whole team really came together and fought hard.”

tennisAfter the big win against Bowdoin, Bates traveled to Connecticut to face Trinity and Wesleyan. They lost a close 6-3 match to Trinity, who went ahead 2-1 in doubles and kept up the pressure the whole time. “I felt the team competed well; the results just didn’t go our way” said captain Ben Bogard. Bates put the loss behind them and went up against Wesleyan the next day. The Bobcats went up 2-1 in doubles play, but the Cardinals won 5 of the 6 singles to defeat the Bobcats 6-3. With the loss, the team fell to 3-5 in NESCAC play and as a result was not selected to the NESCAC tournament bid for nationals.

Despite the tough loss, Coach Paul Gastonguay was thrilled with how the team competed. After the match, the team stood in a circle and Coach Gastonguay said, “It’s been a pleasure working with you guys this season and I’ve never been more proud of another team that I have coached.” The team really embraced a culture that led to their success and competitive spirit. Senior Timmy Berg and junior Pierre Planche will represent Bates in the national division 3 doubles tournament at Claremont Mudd-Scripps.

The women’s tennis team finished up their last month of play with a 1-8 record overall. In early April, the team posted a 5-4 victory over Babson. Unfortunately, the ‘Cats faced some of their toughest opponents, the majority of whom are nationally ranked inside the top 25. The team lost to MIT, Amherst, and Trinity 9-0. They also suffered two 7-2 losses to Wellesley and Wesleyan. The team lost to Brandeis 6-3 and to Tufts and Bowdoin 8-1. Despite the losses to end the season, the team finished with a 7-9 record overall. The women’s team has a strong freshman class and is looking forward to competing just as hard next year as they did this year. Freshman Kate Rosenthal commented, “This season was a lot of fun. We have a great group of girls and I know next season will be just as enjoyable as this one.”

Softball concludes season

The fact that captain Alayna Garbarino was the sole senior honored for the Bates softball team prior to their season finale against Bowdoin on Sunday tells you just how little experience this squad has compared to their NESCAC opposition. Still, the young Bobcats, who finished the year with an 8-20 record, learned plenty this season about what it takes win games

sball1One obvious winning ingredient for any team is good pitching. The Bobcats’ two primary pitchers this year were juniors Brenna Callahan and Kelsey Freedman, who has a penchant for striking out hitters. In the second game of a doubleheader sweep over Maine Maritime on April 21st, Freedman broke Bates records for strikeouts in a game, season, and career. She commented, “It was a personal goal for me from day one to break the season strikeout record because I was so close last year, but I had no idea that I would be able to break all of those…never mind in one day.” Rather than relying on one pitch, Freedman believes that, “Keeping the hitters off balance and guessing is what really makes for an effective pitching performance against any team.” If Freedman can be dominant again in her senior year, it would be a massive boost for the Bobcats.

One promising young player the Bobcats will look to in the years to come is freshman Maddie Inlow, who played in every game. Inlow played multiple positions this year, and said, “I feel as though I have improved my understanding of the game through this and have learned to do my job for the team.” She stated that she’s realized she needs to focus on the intricacies of her game as well as improving her skills at the variety of position she might be asked to play.

sball2Freedman echoed these sentiments, commenting, “The offseason is really the time to improve on the fundamentals and create a good team culture.” A key to that team dynamic next year will be transitioning a large group of incoming freshman to the college level. This year, a major adjustment for the Bobcats was playing for new head coach McKell Barnes, which involved certain players moving to different positions and adopting unfamiliar roles for the team. But Freedman believes that strong team chemistry helped the Bobcats make these moves with minimal friction.

Next year, solid production from the freshmen would be a welcome addition to the bats already in the Bobcat lineup. Sophomore Karen Lockhart led the team with a .330 average, while juniors Kira Shaikh and Freedman also hit over .300. The team collectively improved from their early defensive struggles, although their season ending .940 fielding percentage is below what they’d like it to be next season. Still, the sense from this young team is that their improvement throughout this year is indicative of a brighter future. According to Inlow, “We have grown so much over this season and I know we will continue to grow over the next few years.”

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