The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: November 12, 2014 (Page 1 of 3)

It happened then too: A literary window into sexual assault

There was once a Kasper Hauser Comedy podcast that pretended there was a game show called “Phone Call to the Fourteenth Century.”

The premise was that the contestants would make phone calls to the people of the Middle Ages to give them advice about how to live better (“Impart as much useful knowledge as you can to a resident of the 14th century in one minute!” the fake show’s motto says). The twenty-first-century phone callers shout out humorously accurate and arbitrary advice like, “Witches aren’t real, everybody floats!” and “Don’t throw out the middle of the donut, you can sell it!” as well as various suggestions for better hygiene and nutrition.

The fourteenth century was seven hundred years ago. Obviously the world has changed, and we like to make jokes about how much worse life was back then. Yes, medieval hygiene was usually terrible. People didn’t eat many fruits and vegetables. There was no electricity; houses and streets were terribly pitch black at night. Women couldn’t own property. The lower classes lived sucky lives. So of course we think, aren’t we lucky to live in the modern age? We understand the importance of bathing and eating colorful foods; we can stay warm in the winter with central heating and cool in the summer with air conditioning.

And yet, we have inherited something from the Middle Ages, something from the beginning of time really, that we still haven’t changed.

Sexual assault happened then too. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote about it all the time.

Chaucer was a poet and political operative living in London in the fourteenth century. He was born in the 1340s and married a lady-in-waiting named Philippa in 1366. They had a son a year later. In 1380, when Chaucer was about 40, he was accused of raping a woman named Cecily Champaigne. There isn’t an official record of the rape itself, but there is a record of Cecily dropping the charges against Chaucer for her rape. The witnesses to the document record were all men with positions like high-society businessmen, members of the royal court, a former mayor of London…so Chaucer was fine. He also continued to get life supplies of wine and money from the King of England as a reward for the diplomacy (purported espionage) he conducted abroad.

In The Canterbury Tales, the work that the Chaucer course in the Bates English Department focuses on, there are more than five tales that involve some sort of sexual assault or raise the issue of sexual consent. Hardly anyone today would guess that these issues appear in the tales before reading them, because we don’t always think of medieval literature or culture as something that revolves around sex politics. But Chaucer’s stories do.

One of the questions the students in the Chaucer course (disclaimer: I’m one of them) always have to ask ourselves is whether the women in the stories seem to want the sex they receive from men, who are sometimes their husbands and sometimes not.

In one case, two male students are staying the night in a family’s home, and they decide they want to have sex with the mother and the daughter of the family. Chaucer writes that the daughter didn’t even have time to scream, because the guy jumped on her so quickly. But maybe she wouldn’t have. The other guy gets into the mother’s bed while she’s in the medieval version of a bathroom, and when she gets back she has sex with him, thinking it’s her husband. But then again, Chaucer hints, maybe she knows it’s not her husband. Maybe she wants it. (Side note: All of the characters in this story are drunk at the time.)

That’s what’s tricky about the consent issue in Chaucer–he writes it in a way that makes you think he’s purposefully blurring the lines, purposefully making it as complex as a lot of sexual assault cases today, which makes you want to time travel back to the fourteenth century grab him by the collar, and ask, “Who wanted what? Did no mean no for you guys too?”

It’s almost too easy to guess what authority figures would have said if the mother and daughter had accused the men of rape. You didn’t say no, so it can’t have been rape. You know it’s pitch black in your bedroom (this is the fourteenth century), you should have made sure it was your husband. The modern reader just wishes Chaucer would tell us what he was thinking.

Aside from the fact that time traveling isn’t possible, the idea of this conversation in itself is crazy–that a person today could actually find something to talk about with Chaucer, and he would understand (although you might need a Middle English translator). You couldn’t talk to him about iPhones or Yik Yak or other creations of the modern world, but you could talk to him about rape and consent. It’s incredibly sad that a modern victim of sexual assault shares something in common with that daughter in The Canterbury Tales, because not only is it a horrible thing for any single person to go through, but it also shows us what we haven’t changed yet.

Which makes me want scream, Seriously? That’s what we’ve inherited? We could have kept a diet that was heavier on meat, or the beautiful castles without central heating, or the gorgeous books with gold-embellished pages. But we kept sexual assault.

If Chaucer lived today, I would like to think that his assault on Cecily would be more thoroughly investigated, that he would be legally punished if he were found guilty of rape, that his status with political figures wouldn’t protect him, that the men in those positions would be sensitive to the girl’s situation, that the girl opening up about her rape wouldn’t be scared to pursue justice. It’s hard to tell whether all of those issues have improved by now.

If only we could use our phone call to the fourteenth century to say, “Start changing sex culture now. Start preventing rape from happening, and start creating a clear punishment system around it, because then maybe we wouldn’t still be having as many issues as we do.”

But since we can’t get a phone call to the fourteenth century, we just have to give a louder wake-up call to the one we’re living in.

Update on Milts’ renovations

On December 1, 2014 the Milts space will re-open as a printing and computer center, featuring one black and white Paw-Print printer and two computers. Additional features include counter workspace, USB and power outlets, wireless and cafe tables and chairs.

“In discussions with students, we heard that there was a desire for an additional printing venue on campus and this looked like the perfect opportunity to provide this service at minimal cost,” Andrew White, Director of Student Service said.

White, along with Michael Gustin, Project Manager of Facility Services, and Christine Swartz, Assistant Vice President for Dining, Conferences and Campus Events, worked together to plan this new space.

“We hope you find it a useful addition to public campus spaces. Bear in mind that the hours for the space mirror those of Commons,” said White.

Winter sports stocks, part one

Men’s Nordic: Stock Down

The men’s Nordic Skiing team graduated three seniors from last year’s squad, including three-time NCAA contender Jordan Buetow. The fearless fleet of Nordies recently competed in the Maine College roller ski championships in preparation for their winter season. The men had a solid showing, putting many racers in the top ten in the competition against Colby, Bowdoin, and UMPI. “We are really excited for this season,” said sophomore Wade Rosko. “We are hosting the first carnival races of the year, so hopefully we’ll get some support from the school as we compete in Rumford in January.”

Women’s Nordic: Stock Up

The Women’s Nordic team graduated only two seniors from last year’s team, Caroline Daniels and Gabrielle Naranja. Senior Hallie Grossman will look to build on her career best showing at Nationals last year, when she finished 25th in the 15 kilometers freestyle and 30th in the classical race. Grossman has every intention of making a return trip out west in her last hurrah here at Bates. With sophomores Tara Humphries and Sadie James seemingly poised for highly successful seasons along with junior Jane McLarney, the entire team looks destined for an excellent winter campaign.

Women’s Alpine: Stock Up

The female snow carvers are excited for another season of action, with a slew of new additions to the team. The leader of this year’s team is Emily Hayes ’15, who will be, according to coach Rogan Connell, “one of the top skiers in the east this year.” Kelsey Chenoweth ’17 will be returning to the team after having missed last year due to sickness. The squad is looking for a stellar comeback season from her as well as strong performances from three new skiers in Sierra Ryder ‘18, Hannah Johnson ‘18, and Brielle Antonelli ’18. That promising trio should be weekly carnival contenders in the top 15.

Men’s Alpine: Stock Even

Our male alpine skiing team is gearing up for another intense season as the snow is finding its way onto the peaks of New England. The team is salivating at the prospect of fresh snow and can’t wait to get on the slopes. “There are no seniors on the team, so it’s still a relatively young group” said coach Connell. “Cody Bullen ‘16, Zach Kinsella ‘17, Dylan Malone ‘17, and Charlie Klein ‘17 all have the potential to be Top 20 skiers in the carnivals, and with a good prep period they could make moves even higher.” The team will be led by Chris Bradbury ’16 and Tanner Dirstine ‘16, who Connell thinks both have a legitimate shot to make it to NCAA’s this year.

Men’s Basketball: Stock Up

The Bobcats may have lost scrappy senior point guard Luke Matarazzo to graduation, but they’ve held on to an arsenal of lethal weapons. Junior swingman Mike Boornazian, a Maine Second Team All-State selection last year, showed the ability to score at a prodigious rate, averaging 15.9 points per game to go with his team-leading 6.7 rebounds per game. Senior guard Graham Safford (a captain, two-time Maine Player of the Week, former NESCAC Player of the Week, and Maine First Team All-State) will run the show for Bates. Though Safford averaged 16.3 points and 4.4 assists last season, he’ll look to cut down on his 3.5 turnovers per game. The Twin Towers Marcus and Malcolm Delpeche can make the Bates offense work if they manage to reliably score in the post, on hustle plays, and offensive rebounds. The shooting, versatility, and experience of senior guards Billy Selmon and Adam Philpott should help the team maintain a consistently high level of play.

Women’s Basketball: Stock Down

Some losses hurt more than others. The graduation of 1,000-point scorer Meredith Kelly (who averaged 21.6 points per game) is an especially damaging loss for the Bates women. Junior Chelsea Nason and sophomores Allie Coppola and Bernadette Connors will try to compensate for the absence of Kelly in the team’s lineup. Given the grueling slate of NESCAC games on deck, improving on last year will be a major challenge.

What’s Wind Down Wednesday?

It’s not at every college that you will be able to go to unique and fun events that serve alcohol on a Wednesday night.

Wind Down Wednesdays, just by being festive study breaks on Wednesday nights with various student organizations, have quickly become as much of a Bates staple as VCS.

Now in their fifth year, Wind Down Wednesdays were created to make use of the relatively new spaces in Chase Hall and the Underground in 280. Each Wednesday, a student organization takes over one of those spaces to host an event of their design. Any organization can apply for a space on any given Wednesday, and the spaces are given on a first come first serve basis. All types of organizations host Wind Down Wednesdays, from a Capella groups to various club sports to different cultural groups.

The Student Activities Office also hosts an event once a month. The events themselves are also different from one another and they mostly relate to the host organization. The club sports have watched videos of their sport, the a Capella groups have given a performance, the WRBC hosted several student bands, AASIA held cooking lessons, and the Robinson Players are creating a murder mystery party on November 12th.

The success of the events has led the Student Activities Office to consider adding a third space to allow for more clubs to take advantage of Wind Down Wednesdays.The Wednesday events are part of the college’s push to create more “wind-down” activities on campus, since there re not many opportunities off-campus for students to unwind, especially during the week.

Dean of Student Activities Keith Tannenbaum and Qui Fogarty, who is in charge of Wind Down Wednesdays, say that the events are meantto serve the tudent body as a study break in the middle of the week.

Eliza Kaplan ’15 says that “the best events are the ones where there is a concrete thing happening, such as music or poetry.”

Wind Down Wednesdays were not very successful in the beginning, though. In the first year of their creation, students would only go to events hosted by clubs they belonged to. Now, however, the events are attended by an average of sixty people each week, with some events bringing in over 100 people.

Because today’s students typically attend Wind Down Wednesdays regardless of the host, they get to see what various student organizations are like even if they aren’t members.

Eliza Kaplan ’15, one of the heads of Hillel, says that her club’s WDW was a “creative and different way to have a Hillel event and hold the event on a different night as well. We even had a large non-Jewish population who were able to experience what Hillel is about.”

At first glance, some would think it odd that Bates allows student organizations to buy alcohol (especially with the recent push towards a less alcohol-orientated campus culture). On the contrary, Tannenbaum explains that Wind Down Wednesdays “allow for alcohol that has no impact on residential life, is not mandatory, and promotes moderate drinking.” He also adds that the alcohol is meant to be secondary, and the reason for attending a Wind Down Wednesday should not be the alcohol.

Mary Anne Bodnar ’16 agrees. “Clubs make it about what you do, not what you consume.”

Nonetheless, alcohol still is a big draw for the events. The Bates Hillel event was comprised of almost entirely upperclassmen and had no first-years. Some first-years or sophomores may be intimidated by Wind Down Wednesdays because of the alcohol. Even though it may seem as though the events are catered to those over 21, the events are meant for the whole student body and are enjoyable regardless of the alcohol.

The events on the whole are part of Bates ongoing desire to create a more close-knit community that inherently promotes positive and safe social behavior. Whether you think Wind Down Wednesdays are effective in doing this or that it’s a waste of time in resources, it’s nevertheless a step in a proactive direction.

BREAKING: Progressives push for rational voting

In the Bates Student article published last week, Alex Daugherty argued, “Even if progressives are inclined to vote for Michaud to stop LePage, it does no good to our democratic process to push a viable third candidate to drop out.”

We respectfully disagree. If the “democratic process” means to give power to the majority, we see the case of the Maine 2014 gubernatorial election as an example of how discouraging a disputably “viable” third party candidate from running may indeed empower the will of the majority–in this case, the moderates and liberals of Maine.

For the next four years, political commentators and talk-show hosts will continue to speculate how mild Maine is led by America’s most right-winged governor–a man notorious for repeatedly vetoing bills to raise the minimum wage and expand healthcare coverage and his remark to the NAACP to “kiss my butt,” among other racist, sexist, and ableist remarks.

A widely accepted explanation for LePage’s repeated success is the split of the progressive and moderate vote among the Democrat and Independent parties. In the case of the 2014 gubernatorial election, independent candidate Eliot Cutler’s success in rallying a whopping 9% of Maine to “rebel” against the two-party system, thereby diverting votes from the Democrat Mike Michaud, can be seen as a direct cause of LePage’s victory.

Cutler had his chance at disrupting the two-party system in 2010 when he lost the Democratic nomination and ran as an Independent candidate. In 2010, Cutler ran a close yet ultimately unsuccessful race against LePage and beat the Democratic nominee by a large margin.

In this 2014 race, however, Cutler only stood a chance of disrupting the futures of Mainers who depend on viable political discourse and are directly harmed by the extreme policies of LePage. It is also important to consider that Cutler’s campaign was in part funded by Republican donors in an obvious attempt to siphon votes away from Michaud.

We think everyone can agree that Cutler was indeed a viable candidate for governor four years ago. Four years ago, Cutler and LePage were neck-and-neck and the Democrat split the progressive vote. If it were 2010 and not 2014, we have no doubt the Bates Democrats would have campaigned for Cutler over the Democrat candidate.

Let’s not forget that in 2012, the Bates Democrats advocated for Angus King for Senator, the independent candidate running in Maine. Why? The group thought rationally and did not see the Democrat, Cynthia Dill, as a candidate likely to win. In the spirit of promoting the progressive values the Bates Democrats endorse, we chose to support a candidate outside of the Democrat party. We do not, as Daugherty suggests, blindly vote for the “D” or the “R” or the “I.”

And yet, it is 2014. In the 2014 election, Cutler was in no way a “viable” candidate. He was in no way close to achieving success in the governor’s race. The most generous poll put him at 14%, with Cutler and LePage always hovering around the 40% mark.

The assertion that “members of the Bates Democrats attempt[ed] to convince Cutler to drop out of the election” is wrong for two reasons. First, at least half of the anti-Cutler progressives in the room were not affiliated with the Bates Democrats. Secondly, the majority of the questions were not explicitly framed to convince Cutler to drop out. Most were simply questioning how he attempts to end the hegemonic two party system through being governor of Maine, how he plans to eliminate money from politics as governor of Maine, and whether he considers his actions to be egotistical and politically minded.

It is true that those who spoke to Cutler made it clear that they respected and even in some cases, preferred, his policies on certain issues. However, as rational actors, it is important to realize that strategic voting is key. In order to avoid being stuck with your least prefered policy preferences (those of LePage), a voter must sometimes strike a middle ground and vote for the second best option. A voter must sometimes recognize that idealistic speculations (like those of Cutler’s) are important, but sometimes are exclusively enjoyed by a privileged class of people that aren’t forced to vote for material protection.

Daugherty’s statement that the Bates Democrats’ “calculus is decidedly political, as a two-man race between Democrat Mike Michaud and Republican Paul LePage would give a greater chance for the Democrats to win” could not be closer to the truth. Precisely: the Bates Democrats’ decision as a group to endorse Michaud was both political and calculated.

But this is not because, as Daugherty implies, the sole motivation was getting a “win” for the Democratic Party. To be frank, we (the authors, as well as several members of the Bates Democrats) don’t care whether Mike Michaud is a Democrat, Republican, Green, Independent, Socialist or Anarchist.

That’s because Mike Michaud, the Democrat endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Environment Maine, the AFL-CIO, teachers’ groups, human rights groups—and the candidate who wanted to increase funding for public education, raise the minimum wage, and bring clean energy to Maine—happened to be our best and only chance of usurping our recently re-elected tea party governor.

And yes, if anyone is wondering, we are a political organization. We are biased. We’re the Bates Democrats. What in our name implies we would be anything but liberally leaning, and that we would want the most liberally leaning candidate to win? Perhaps if our name was “Irrationally Voting Liberals” it would be safe to assume that we’d consider campaigning for Cutler, or remain passive as he blatantly threatens the well-being of Mainers in continuing his campaign on our campus.

Lastly, we would like to respond to the assertion, “It appears that the Bates Democrats value winning over principles, and as a fellow progressive it saddens me that both liberal and conservative individuals value a D or an R over policies they personally support.”

The principles of the Bates Democrats include helping and empowering people far less privileged than we are, supporting public education, fighting climate change, fighting apathy and those who support corporate interests over people’s interests. The principles of the Bates Democrats include working to bring people out of poverty through supporting candidates that pledge to raise the minimum wage. The principles of the Bates Democrats include supporting worker’s rights, women’s rights, the right to choose, the right to a sustainable livelihood, the right to be gay or a woman or a minority or a person with a handicap and not face discrimination.

If campaigning for a Democrat gets us one step closer to any of these principles, then that is what we’ll do. If campaigning for an Independent gets us one step closer to any of these principles, then that is what we’ll do. If encouraging a third party independent to drop out of a race to increase the chances these principles will be put into action, then so be it.

We will carry the burden you wish to place on us as being a group of aggressive and morally decrepit individuals if it means fighting the good fight. If you would like to label us as a purely party minded entity—blindly canvassing, phone banking, tabling, hosting events, encouraging conversations, meeting weekly, registering students to vote—just for the sake of a political party alone and not for the well-being of the people in Maine, then so be it.

However, we hope that you can now understand that this is not blind decision-making and party-following but careful and calculated steps toward progressive policy reform.

We meet every Monday at 8:00 P.M. in Pettengill.

The crime of compassion

90-year-old Arnold Abbott is no ordinary criminal.

On November 4th, he was approached by local police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and was condemned for his unlawful behavior. The following night, Abbott was at it again. A police officer walked up to him and commanded, “Drop that plate right now.” He was subsequently arrested for his unruliness as he continued to feed the homeless despite the warnings of local authority. Abbott now faces up to 60 days in jail as well as a $500 fine.

As of last month, city officials in Fort Lauderdale passed a new measure to stop people from giving food to the hungry and homeless. The National Coalition for the Homeless says that 31 American cities “have attempted to pass new laws that restrict organizations and individuals from sharing food with people experiencing homelessness.”

This degrading treatment of the homeless population does not stop there. The city of Fort Lauderdale is close to passing a new regulation that would make it illegal for anyone to store his or her personal possessions on public property. This effectively allows local authorities to confiscate the few things these people may own, including backpacks, spare clothes, photos, etc. simply because they left them on the ground. The city argued that the notion behind the measure was in the city’s “interest in aesthetics.” One community member commented, “The commission’s actions were backed by business leaders who said they were looking for some controls on a situation that scares away customers and makes visitors uncomfortable.”

Other countries have also taken revolting measures to hide the homeless from public view. Recently, London and Montreal were both harshly criticized for setting up “floor spikes,” numerous little metal cones probing out of the ground to prevent the homeless from loitering or sleeping outside supermarkets or apartments. Many protesters retaliated by pouring cement over these dehumanizing metal spikes of injustice and by collecting over 13,000 signatures on a petition, which eventually led to the removal of these spikes.

In a country where $618 billion was spent on the military in one year, only 3% of that money would be needed to fully eradicate homelessness in the United States. Furthermore, the very fact that there are nearly six times as many vacant houses as there are homeless people should be enough to raise concerns regarding the efficiency of an economic system designed to promote the greatest well-being for the most people, claiming to give everyone the opportunity of living a prosperous life. Such an evidently problematic issue that can be taken care of in what is often considered a “developed society” raises questions of our society’s priorities. The quality of any person’s life should not be contingent on the socioeconomic lottery that a person is born into, a watered-down and covered-up caste system of sorts one in which the healthiest food options are only available to the most well-off; in which a legitimate education is contingent upon the town a child’s parents can afford to live in; in which every health care plan comes with an asterisk, allowing for insurance companies to wiggle their way out of paying costs that put a dent not only in bank accounts but the lives of families.

Many of these communities are bothered by the discomfort they feel when they see these impoverished men and women. Instead of dealing with the true problem, however, they choose instead to tuck away these humans and their difficulties into the forgotten pockets of cities to wither away in a society that cannot come to terms with the suppressed.

In a pathetic effort to forget about these victimized people and their unfortunate situations, cities are setting up ways to deter the presence of these individuals by setting up unnecessary third arms in park benches to prevent them from sleeping there, erecting miniature armies of silver spikes, and confiscating the very few personal items these people have.

Shifting from side to side in discomfort, many towns and cities find it easier to ignore these people, walk past them in the coldest of winter, and scoff at their “laziness.” It’s time to seriously consider the type of society we are creating by unfairly judging these people for their misfortunes and not getting them the help they need. Instead of trying to help these men and women overcome their situations in their darkest of times, we as a society choose instead to turn a blind eye, and if they dare enter our privileged field of vision, to punish them for their existence.

A letter from President Spencer

Dear members of the Bates community,

I write with regard to the removal from the Ladd Library Arcade on Tuesday morning (Nov. 4th) of a large-scale collaborative art project by Professor Pamela Johnson’s class in Visual Meaning. The removal of the installation was a mistake – it should not have happened. The decision resulted from a series of miscommunications among staff in various departments, all of whom were acting in good faith, but with imperfect information. I want to express my sincere apologies to Professor Johnson, her students, and the entire campus community for this serious error.

I visited with Professor Johnson and her class last night and learned that the installation, which involved a large number of boxes carefully arrayed against the back wall of the Arcade with a succession of messages displayed above them, was an evolving work designed to be in place for four days, with changes introduced each night. Before putting up the display, Professor Johnson’s students had reserved the Ladd Library Arcade for this purpose through the college’s Event Management System. The class had also secured the permission of a Security staff member to bring a vehicle into the library area in order to unload the large volume of materials needed to set up the installation.

This is the second time within a short period that college staff have removed displays on campus, unwittingly risking important and related community values – artistic expression in the case of the Ladd Library exhibit and freedom of expression in the case of the boat display placed in front of Commons last week.

These recent decisions have occurred in no small part because of a lack of common understanding at the college regarding public displays. Clearly we need to review and clarify our policies and principles governing installations of public art and other forms of expression so that everyone on campus feels supported in their work. I welcome advice from interested faculty, staff, and students as we establish a more coherent approach to these issues.

In the meantime, I have spoken with the departments involved in these decisions and emphasized that any action to disturb a campus display of any kind that does not involve an immediate threat to safety should be made in consultation with my office.

Thank you for your patience as we work together to align our policies and practices with important community values.


Clayton Spencer

Trustee Profiles: Mary Pressman ‘78 P’10, Vice-Chair of The Bates Board Of Trustees and Chair of the Campus Life Committee

Mary Pressman was an assistant teacher working with autistic youth at the League School of Boston the year after graduating from Bates. She has worked as an admissions counselor at Hamilton College, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s graduate school, and Emma Willard School and as a private banker at Connecticut National Bank. Her daughter, Emily, graduated from Bates in 2010.

Mary serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees and is a member of the Executive (Vice-Chair), Campus Life (Chair), Board Governance, Nominating, and College Advancement Committees within the Board of Trustees.

Phillip Dube: What are your fondest memories of your time as a student at Bates?

Mary Pressman: It is difficult to come up with a fondest memory. I made many wonderful friends during my time at Bates who continue to be an important part of my life. My classes were challenging, and I loved finding connections between the different things I was studying. I participated in a particularly wonderful Short Term course in New York City. It was a religion course that explored the intersection between faith-based organizations and social services in East Harlem. We were about 20 Batesies loose in the city! Each student had a placement with an agency or church where we saw the challenges of meeting the needs of the people in that part of the city at a particularly difficult time. In addition, we explored the rest of the city. We lived at the Vanderbilt YMCA (an adventure in and of itself!), ate wonderful food, saw some amazing theater, went to jazz clubs and concerts, and did the typical sightseeing stuff. Oh yes, we also attended classes and wrote papers! It was a magical course for us all.

PD: Can you describe your work with the Campus Life Committee?

MP: The Campus Life Committee works with the Dean of Students office regarding what is happening on campus outside of the classroom. Additionally, through the students on the Board of Trustees Advisory Committee, we hear about issues that are important to the student body and bring them to the board as a whole. This helps us have a better understanding of the Bates College experience now. While much remains the same as it was for those Trustees who were students here, some things have changed and we should be aware of these changes. One of my favorite things about my board experience is the relationships that I have developed with the students who are or were on this committee.

PD: What is your favorite part of being a Trustee?

MP: I have wonderful colleagues on the Board. We all care deeply about Bates and want to see the College succeed in its mission in preparing students to be thoughtful and committed leaders in an ever-changing world. Each year this group of people works together to support the College and provide advice and counsel to the administration. Our foremost objective is to advance Bates College by helping to secure the resources that it needs to achieve its goals and in making sure that those resources are used wisely. The bottom line is that we Trustees must be focused on raising awareness of Bates in many circles and on raising the funds necessary to make these priorities possible. I cannot overstate the importance of this last point.

PD: What’s your favorite hangout spot at Bates?

MP: The Den. I’m so happy that it is back in constant use.

PD: Do you have any advice for students? Is there anything you know now that you wish you had known as a student?

MP: Find something you love to do and get deeply involved with it! Take advantage of the availability of your faculty. They are a terrific resource. Sit with people you do not know in Commons. Make sure that you explore the wonderful opportunities through attending special events that are offered, even if you do not have any idea what they are about. I regret that I did not go to more concerts, art exhibits, lectures–there are so many things happening that might expose you to something that you never could have imagined. ASK QUESTIONS! This is such a cliché, but these four years will be over before you know it. Don’t waste a moment!

PD: What can students do to support Bates now and in the future?

MP: Make every moment that you are a student at Bates count. Get involved! Everything that you experience at Bates is a result of the dedication and generosity of those who preceded you at the College. I would ask you to pay it forward. Make Bates a priority as you consider the relationships that have the most meaning in your life. This means that you will reach out to students after you have graduated–help them realize their dreams, as I hope that current alums will help you. Tell prospective students that Bates would be a great place to consider for their own college experience. Support Bates with your time and with your donations as long as you are able. There are so many ways that you can help make the College a better place. Every student should be aware that the relationship that they have with Bates will last a lifetime. I hope that, for each of you, this relationship will be as rewarding and bring as much joy as it has to my life.

Fall Dance Concert to bring creativity, talent and two theses to the stage

The annual Fall Dance Concert will be held the weekend of November 14th, expressing the creativity and incredible talent of Bates students.

The show will consist of pieces created by visiting choreographers fulfilling their residency on campus, including the work of Sean Dorsey, Laquimah Van Dunk, and Bates’ own Rachel Boggia. Aside from them, two senior dance majors, Talia Mason and Regan Radulski, will be presenting their theses at this performance.

Mason’s piece was inspired by her personal visit to Rwanda, where she met Elise Musomandera and learned of her experience in the Rwandan genocide.

“I spent my time at the Bates Dance Festival this summer avoiding the content of my thesis because I couldn’t fathom creating a dance with Elise’s words. The first thing I did was visualize her experience and the story she told me to very eerie and haunting music.”

Mason worked with her hand-picked cast to grapple with the idea of losing a voice and not being heard and being shut out by a community that does not recognize the voices of genocide survivors.

“I knew that I needed to do extensive research on Rwanda and prepare my cast extensively beforehand,” Mason said. “I have been learning about the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi of 1994 since my first year at Bates, and it is so exciting to see all of these elements within my respective interests come together in my final dance thesis. I hope people leave and remember Elise’s story, and share it with others.”

Radulski’s piece, entitled “micro:MACRO,” explores the similarities between the movement of proteins and human movement.

“I approached my thesis similar to a scientific experiment,” she said. “Rehearsals were “lab” times, where we played with different scores to generate movement. My dancers were very much involved in the creative process as collaborators. Instead of exploring how my movement looks on other bodies, it has allowed me to experience and display my dancers’ personalities and styles.”

Presenting a dance thesis is different from drafting a thesis for another major. Many seniors are getting ready to turn in the first few chapters of work while Mason and Radulski are preparing to perform the polished product this weekend.

As someone interested in teaching at the collegiate level, Mason does not feel the pressure or nerves that stereotypically comes along with presenting a dance thesis since she plans on creating many more pieces in the future.

“Professor Boggia always tells us to think of the creative process and composition in this respect: ‘it isn’t the piece, it’s a piece.’ That has been very important for me, as I combat deadlines and deal with the pressure of making a piece that is so heavy and so intense to re-enter day in and day out,” Mason said.

Radulski said, “It almost makes me want a little more time, however, it’s very exciting to have our work onstage with an audience.”

The pieces will be physically challenging, emotionally mature, and all so important to the dancers and choreographers responsible for them.

“I think the audience is in for a wonderful, eclectic series of performances. Each piece in the concert has a very different focus and hopefully there will be something for everybody,” said Radulski.

Mason said, “Dancers and non-dancers alike should come to this show, because it is the culmination of a phenomenal semester of dancing, and everyone should see the hard work that we make. There are pieces that are intellectually complex beautiful and there are quirkier or zanier pieces.”

The Fall Dance Concert will have performances this Saturday at 5:00 p.m., Sunday at 2:00 p.m., and Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Schaeffer Theater.

Parents alerted after attempted robbery

A mass text message and voicemail was sent to Bates students and their designated emergency contacts on Saturday night after an attempted robbery on Campus Avenue.

While on his way to John Bertram Hall, a male student heard feet shuffling briskly towards him near the intersection of Campus Avenue and Nichols Street. The student turned around and was confronted by three males who pushed him and demanded his wallet. At this point, the student punched one of the assailants in the face before fleeing. The robbers did not take anything from the student.

“The report indicated that because the student did not recognize his attackers, they were likely not Bates students,” Director of Media Relations Kent Fischer said. “The incident was at the fringe of campus and it led him to indicate that his attackers were not students, but we do not know for sure.”

The report identified three male attackers. Two were black males and one white while one of the attackers was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt.

Bates Security was not alerted of the attempted robbery, which occurred around 8:30pm, until approximately 11pm when the victim approached Security Officer Kyle Matthews in John Bertram Hall and told him about the incident. Matthews contacted Director of Security Tom Carey who made the

decision to issue a notice to the student body and their emergency contacts.


The notice was sent as a text, email, and voicemail. Parents living on the East Coast received a phone call from Bates Security shortly after 11pm.

“There’s no way to pick and choose who is in the database to be contacted,” Fischer said. “The system isn’t complicated enough to do this, it includes people who would rather not get a late night phone call.”

This was the first time that the campus-wide alert system was used in this way. Other incidents involving Bates students, such as a recent burglary in John Bertram Hall, did not necessitate the use of the campus-wide system.

“Federal regulations require colleges to make timely notifications regarding ‘significant emergencies or dangerous situations involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees,’” Fischer said. “So, the first step in the process is assessing whether there is a dangerous threat, and if that threat is immediate. If the answer to these questions is yes, we implement the notification system.”

The emergency system was not used in the case of the JB burglary because the theft wasn’t reported until the following day when there was no longer an immediate threat to student safety.

Many students and parents were unsettled by the message given its timing and the gap in time between the incident and message. Bates Security did everything in their power to get the message out as fast as possible once they learned about the incident.

“We need to figure out potential changes to our database in the future,” Fischer said. “There was enough of a concern raised that they (Tom Carey and other members of the administration) will go through the database this week to determine optimal ways to send out a text or email alert.”

The victim chose not to make a police report, although Bates Security did place a call to the Lewiston Police Department. As of November 10th, no arrests have been made.

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