The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: September 2015 (Page 1 of 7)

Lewiston Mayor wants to name and shame

In the past few days, Lewiston has made national headlines—including coverage in the Washington Post as well as on Facebook as a trending news story. Unfortunately, however, the news isn’t something we ought to be too proud of.

Our infamous mayor, Robert Macdonald, isn’t new to making national headlines. Back in 2012, Lewiston’s mayor gained widespread attention after making a controversial comment during an interview, telling immigrants coming to America, “You come here, you come and you accept our culture and you leave your culture at the door.”

To top things off, during a clarification, Mayor Macdonald actually made things worse by refusing to apologize for his previous comments and actually inciting more outrage by saying, “If you believe in [Somali culture] so much, why aren’t you over there fighting for it?”

These sorts of blatantly xenophobic remarks cannot be undone by generalized political rhetoric intended to sweep away all of the damage. In an effort to wrap up this debacle in 2012, the mayor stated, “As mayor, I value every person in the city of Lewiston.” These sorts of comments fall flat when these words are not backed by action.

Then on September 24th of this year, Mayor Macdonald wrote a piece for the Twin City Times, a weekly newspaper for Lewiston-Auburn. In the piece, the mayor starts by pointing out how there exists a website with the pension amounts received by anyone who receives this monthly check from the state of Maine. In an attempt to stretch that logic, the mayor called for all taxpayers to know where their money is going. That seems fair enough. People ought to know what departments and which services their tax dollars are funding. Instead, however, Mayor Macdonald is calling for a similar website that would list the “names, addresses, length of time on assistance and the benefits being collected by every individual” on welfare.

There are a number of issues with this sort of proposal. First, this is an incredibly targeted attack on one group of individuals, especially given that if the mayor’s motives are truly to expose how tax money is spent, the way to go about that would be to include all forms of governmental spending allocations. Furthermore, this is a disturbingly invasive suggestion. Consider the following thought experiment: is it outrageous to inform the public what percentage of taxpayer money is spent on public health services? Not necessarily. This type of information could lead to greater insight into how to better gain an understanding of the services used by citizens and what the government may want to focus more on. But to seriously suggest, for example, that the names, addresses, and types of illnesses, diseases, and conditions, of all patients on any type of public health service be revealed to the public would be an overt breach of privacy. Trying to drag this private information into the public sphere is, fundamentally unnecessary, and if anything, can actually set the stage for more harm than good.

Finally, Mayor Macdonald’s notion of “outing” welfare recipients is a targeted attack, one that will only add to the stigmatization of those individuals receiving any form of welfare benefits for any given number of reasons.

Call it what he may, this political tactic reeks of classism sprinkled with hints of xenophobia and topped off with arrogance.

After his inflammatory remarks in 2012, a petition was circulated calling for the resignation of Mayor Macdonald; however, Lewiston’s city charter does not have measures in place for the recalling of a mayor. However, the mayor is up for reelection this upcoming November. And with the upcoming election there exists a sliver of hope, an opportunity for change. This change requires votes to progress the place we call home towards being represented by someone who isn’t going to shame people for their culture or for their socioeconomic status.

Football loses season opener to Amherst, 37-14

It was an auspicious start. One play from scrimmage, one touchdown—thanks to senior Shaun Carroll’s 80-yard run. But the positive vibes and excitement of seizing a lead over last season’s undefeated NESCAC champions had disappeared by halftime. Amherst scored 28 consecutive points, erasing any ideas the Bobcats had about a season opening upset.

The game began to slip away from Bates late in the first quarter, when Amherst took a 14-7 lead on Nick Kelly’s five-yard touchdown run. Amherst’s balanced offense frustrated the Bobcats all day, accumulating 282 passing yards (from quarterback Reece Foy) and 274 rushing yards. On one agonizing second quarter drive, Amherst ran 18 plays and retained possession for 6:33. Bobcat fans saw why the Lord Jeffs didn’t lose a game in 2014.

Outside of Carroll’s early score, the Bates offense only managed one other touchdown, a three-yard run by junior Ivan Reese that trimmed the deficit to 28-14 with 13:10 left in the game. Given that they ran 27 less plays than Amherst (89-62), the offense needed to be efficient and incisive. They didn’t fare badly at that task; senior quarterback Pat Dugan completed 11 of 16 passes for 117 yards, Carroll notched 107 yards on 13 carries, and senior wide receiver Mark Riley continued his stellar form from last year, hauling in seven catches for 87 yards.

Riley commented, “Offensively we need to improve on limiting our penalties and focus more.” Though they avoided turning the ball over, Bates’ seven penalties did indeed hurt. To beat a team as good as Amherst, you have to minimize mistakes.

One positive for Bates is the emergence of several underclassmen. Sophomore defensive back Andrew Jenkelunas tied for the team lead in tackles with junior Ben Coulibaly, registering ten takedowns. Freshman Coy Candelario had eight tackles, and classmate Justin Foley punted nine times at an average of 35.3 yards, pinning Amherst inside the 20-yard line three times. “One good thing is it’s the first game under our belt,” said Riley. “For underclassmen who may not have had much experience, they have it and we can move on.”

Bates’ next opponents are the Tufts Jumbos, a team not nearly as formidable as Amherst. In 2014, Bates and Tufts finished with identical 4-4 records. Heading into Week 2 of the season, however, Tufts is a game ahead of the Bobcats in the NESCAC standings due to their 24-21 win over Hamilton in their season opener. According to Riley, “the keys to beating Tufts are being more physical and sticking to our assignments.” If Bates can execute at a high level, they have the ability to win on Saturday afternoon at Garcelon Field and to rejuvenate themselves along with the Bobcat faithful.

 

 

Field hockey “ready to make a rumble” this year

Bates’ field hockey team has played three games since last weekend, and have improved on their 1-2 record to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in the NESCAC, which includes their first NESCAC win in two years. The team is full of confidence and is looking forward to a great season. Sophomore Sam Reiss commented, “We have a strong group of 22 young women, all very skilled and willing to give 100% everyday. Our win against Wesleyan will set the tone for the rest of the season and show the other teams in our conference that we are by no means a team to be underestimated or taken for granted.” The team is fairly young, with plenty of underclassmen. However, that’s not going to hold them back, according to first year Taylor Lough. “The team is such a supportive environment; it doesn’t matter what grade a person is. We all share one goal, are all part of one team, and are all one family.”

On Wednesday, Bates hosted Thomas College and defeated them 4-0, with first year Taylor Lough scoring a hat trick, the first three goals of her college career. Bates scored their first goal in the second minute (Clair Markonic) and kept the pressure on the entire game. Thomas College failed to get a shot on goal in either half; this can be credited to sharp passing from Bates and stellar defending from the back line and midfield. The Bobcats did a great job possessing the ball and keeping the ball in their opponent’s final third. Bates outshot Thomas 20-1. The continual pressure led to nine penalty corners and Lough capitalized on two of them. Senior Katie Knox recorded her first shutout of the season.

On Friday, the Bobcats traveled to Connecticut to face Wesleyan College. The Cardinals opened the scoring in the tenth minute but Bates didn’t back down from the challenge and ended up scoring the next three goals to take a 3-1 NESCAC victory over Wesleyan. Senior Shannon Beaton scored the tying and go-ahead goal for the Bobcats, while Lough added her fourth career goal to seal the win. This is the first NESCAC win for the field hockey team in 14 games, a period that has lasted since October 5, 2013. It was a solid victory for the ‘Cats, who outshot the Cardinals 8-7, and earned eight corners to their opponents’ six. The win gave the Bobcats a lot of confidence that they can carry through the rest of the season. “In years past, Bates has been that ‘easy win’ for conference matches, but that is just not the case anymore. We’re forcing every team to start their best players against us and fight tooth and nail to compete with us,” Reiss stated.

The next day, Bates competed against Williams, ranked 18th nationally. After a hard fought scoreless first half, the Ephs managed to pull away for a 3-0 win. Williams outshot Bates 20-4 and had ten corners to Bates’ four. While the loss to Williams is a setback, sophomore Delaney Nalen believes the mental strength of their team will be instrumental to their success this season. “Our biggest battle this season will be against ourselves from the past, as our program has a history of not winning NESCAC games. Winning against Wesleyan was a great ego boost, especially for NESCAC play.”

The team is absolutely confident in their ability to compete at a high level this year. Lough exclaimed, “We are the team everyone is talking about, that no one knows what to expect, because we have been building and growing and it has come time for us to show the NESCAC what we are made of.” Next weekend, Bates will show Trinity (2-2 in NESCAC) what they’re made of during Back to Bates weekend as parents and alumni watch them compete.

 

Outdoor Nation comes to Bates

Last Tuesday, outdoor enthusiasts and curious beginners alike convened in Pettengill Hall to discuss ways to make students more comfortable participating in outdoor recreation at Bates. The audience was a mix of all class years and leadership levels, working to make outdoor access more inclusive.

“[The program] is supposed to engage people beyond the Outing Club members” co-ambassador Adam Auerbach ‘16 said. Adam Auerbach and Chrissy McCabe are the two seniors spearheading Bates’ partnership with the non-profit Outdoor Nation, a program committed to breaking down barriers to the outdoors, as well as the National Park Service Campus Ambassador Program. Fellow senior Jordan Cargill first introduced the non-profit to the pair by enrolling Bates in Outdoor Nation’s Campus Challenge, aimed at getting as many students on college campuses participating in all things outdoors. The winning school will receive $2,500 at the end of the six week event.

This opened the door to Adam and Chrissy, who jumped on the opportunity for $3,500 in grant money to supply beginners with new gear and skills to explore Maine and beyond.

“People who voluntarily go and sign up for Outing Club trips, you are already engaged in outdoor activities,” McCabe said to the crowd, stating that while this program is separate from the Outing Club, she plans on working with students like herself, who are members of both. “I think there is a lot of interest in Outing Club and people are not really sure how to apply that interest to actual trips,” Caitlin Keady ‘18 added.

McCabe and Auerbach asked the audience about how they try to involve themselves in nature, or what prevents them from doing so. Discussion questions were scrawled on the chalkboards: What do you do outdoors? What kinds of skills or gear do you need to be more comfortable with outdoor recreation (in the future)? What types of trips would you like to see that haven’t been lead in the past? How can we engage?

Students brought up issues including the usual money, time, location and lack of expertise, but also some of the social obstacles preventing some students of different race and backgrounds from participating. One student discussed disparities in gender, race, and the acknowledgement of different cultural narratives in outdoor groups at Bates — she mentioned that many students of color are from inner city areas and have never had the exposure to the outdoors like some of their peers at school. She suggested that trip leaders be aware of varying degrees of comfort and that a representative from the Outing Club work with campus Mosaic groups to promote leader diversity.

Grace Huang ‘17 came up with the idea of group slots for trips, allowing a group of friends to go on a trip as a package and thus creating a more comfortable environment. “People are going to feel judged in a group of people that they don’t know,” Huang said. She sought to help encourage those who find inspiration in nature (like yoga and meditation) to feel welcome with what people consider a “traditional” outdoor enthusiast.

At the end of the discussion McCabe and Auerbach proposed their plans for this year. The leaders hope to coordinate three trips per semester designated for beginners. Semester trips will be divided between the Appalachian Trail and Acadia, both national parks to help increase national park awareness. The first semester will focus on trips in the Appalachian Trail, including the approximately three miles that Bates maintains. The second semester will travel the two and a half hours away to Acadia on Mount Desert Island to lead a possible beginner winter camping trip, as well as a trip during Short Term. McCabe also plans on starting an outdoor 101 series called “Bates Camp-Us” that will remain in Lewiston, teaching students basic skills like how to set up a tent on the quad, or how to boil water using WhisperLite stoves.

The two seniors encourage students to lead beginner trips themselves, where they will be eligible to tap the $3,500 in funds for park permits, food, and transportation.

 

Yogi Berra: 1925-2015

It ain’t over till it’s over. On September 22, one of the greatest players in baseball history and a gem of a human being passed away. Yogi Berra was 90 years old.

If you haven’t heard of Yogi Berra, odds are you’ve heard something he’s said. The 5’ 7’’, stout, smiling catcher is indisputably the most “quotable” man in the history of sports. Why? His “Yogi-isms” transcend sports. A sampling of my favorites include the following: “It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much,” “It gets late early out here,” and the incredible, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

I doubt Berra himself could have predicted all the fame and success in his future as a kid in St. Louis. Before he played in the big leagues, Yogi (born Lawrence Peter Berra) served in World War II for the United States Navy, and he was right in the middle of the action, bravely firing machine guns and missiles at the Germans amidst a storm of nearby bullets.

Yet it wasn’t until he was called up to the New York Yankees on September 22, 1946 (69 years to the day that he died) that Berra became a recognizable hero to the American public. As a ballplayer, Yogi’s achievements during his 19-year major league career are unfathomable—18 All-Star games; three American League MVP awards; ten World Series championships. While he may have been easy to laugh at when he said things such as, “He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious,” Berra commanded respect. He wasn’t just surrounded by greatness with legendary teammates like Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle; Yogi himself was great.

Despite my distaste for the “Evil Empire” of the Yankees, I cannot conceive of anyone having something negative to say about Yogi Berra. His legacy lies in the wisdom and laughter he’s gifted to future generations. In Yogi’s words, it’ll be “like déjà vu all over again.”

Still room for improvement to 80s night

For someone who calls herself an introverted extrovert, ‘80s Dance was a nightmare. I’ve been to concerts before, and parties, so this was nothing new to me. But as I stepped onto the dance floor (or rather pushed myself, to be honest), I felt confined. And the one thing I absolutely love about events like these is that I always feel free—without care, like I can dance my heart out. But here, I felt pressure. I felt pressure to act a certain way, look a certain way, to be a certain person. I kept asking myself this question: if I can’t have fun here, will I ever be able to have fun? For me, the night was filled with trying not to ‘mom’ my friends, toes getting stomped on, and awkward conversations with people who had no interest talking to me. Was this supposed to be what fun looked like?

I am confused and angry as to why the administration would sponsor an event that felt like a breeding ground for sexual assault and alcohol abuse. It was so easy to lose your friends, and hard to find them when you needed them most. The dorms were practically empty, as were all the other areas on campus. I felt as if this dance was not all-inclusive. The alternative options to the dance were not advertised very well, and at the end of the day it felt like I was being forced to choose between being cool and staying at the ‘80s Dance, or being a loser and going home. I think all of these things can be fixed with time and energy. I am not attempting to ruin anyone’s ‘80s Dance, but I do believe that safety and inclusivity are two factors we must focus on to make the dance even better.

Response to previous article: “Ahmed’s Clock: What should the discussion really be about?”

I would like to start off by stating that I am in no way trying to belittle or deny the dangerous problems that this country has with weapons, more specifically, guns, in schools. The statistics for school shootings in this country are way too high to be overlooked, and I do think a significant amount of time needs to be taken to assess school security and weapon control laws in this country. The case of Ahmed’s clock, however, is not the place for this conversation.

The first issue with linking Ahmed’s clock to safety issues at school is that his clock in no way resembled a gun, but instead looked more like a bomb. This distinction accounts for a drastic statistical shift between the epidemically high number of school shootings and recorded school bombings that occur each year. Moreover, the connection between a young, Muslim male carrying a bomb is too conveniently made, which leads me to the bigger problem hovering around the situation.

Regardless of the feelings and rationales that the authority figures had in the situation, at the end of the day, a young Muslim boy was assumed to be carrying a bomb around school that wasn’t actually a bomb, and was wrongfully arrested for it. This is just an isolated event in the grand scheme of this country in which authority figures (most commonly police officers) wrongfully accuse, assume, and attack people of color (POC) for possessing weapons that they don’t possess. When a POC is found in a compromising situation, they are treated as guilty until proven innocent. This is directly contradictory to the judicial rights that white people and non-POC have. This mistreatment is rooted in an irrational and malicious ideological framework that authorities in this country have towards POC. Whether the accusation and arrest of Ahmed Mohammed was purely a safety precaution or not, there is no true way to exclude race from the conversation. For this reason, I think that the backlash against these authority figures that ensued on social media, as well as President Obama’s reaction, was completely warranted, and furthermore, necessary. We can no longer, as a country, passively respond to the possible mistreatment of POC, no matter the circumstance. The systematic oppression of POC in this country has gone on for too long to ignore its presence. One of the ways that this nation can fight against this oppression is to call it out whenever we see it, even if it is not the major problem or conversation that needs to be had about the situation. It is necessary for this country to be proactively hypersensitive about these issues if we ever hope to resolve them.

Strengthening donor relationships and boosting productivity

Long has the Bates Student lamented about the college’s endowment compared to our NESCAC peers. Like this: just this June, the Bowdoin Investments Office released a financial report valuing their endowment at a staggering $1.4 billion—Bates reported $264 million as of 2014.

Bates’s strong commitment to financial aid, in conjunction with the low endowment, leads to what is called a high fee dependency. Most of the money that Bates pulls in comes from students and parents, making the endowment closely tied to tuition, annual giving, and other fundraising campaigns.

The market returns on an endowment only average around eight percent, with three percent taken off for inflation adjustments. At Bates, five percent of the endowment flows directly into the operating budget. This curse of the low endowment and high cost of a liberal arts education could be discussed ad nauseam, which is why The Bates Student is looking at the other side.

An unprecedented trend has been set by President Spencer and the Office of Advancement. Since 2010, the endowment has increased almost 33 percent, with annual giving taking the lead in contributions. Last year recorded $21.6 million in gifts, an increase of 35 percent over 2013-14, making it the second straight year where gifts increased by over 30 percent.

There are many ways to give to Bates, helping potential donors assess the best option for them. The Bates Fund, the largest channel, raised $6.36 million from parents, alumni and friends in 2015. Other options include giving societies targeted at specific initiatives and even a young alumni program to help establish annual donation habits.

President Spencer and vice president of college advancement, Sarah Pearson ’75, anchor their strategy in establishing long-term, meaningful connections. “What are we doing as an institution that excites people,” President Spencer said. She hopes to build consistency in relationships and trust in the institution.

Pearson, a Bates graduate herself, has experienced both sides of Bates’s advancement campaigns. Pearson states that donor connections are “relational and not just transactional.”
“Think first about how to communicate, and then how to engage,” Pearson said. “One of the measures [of engagement], of course, is giving, but also who reads Clayton’s emails, who reads the magazine.”

Part of this increase in engagement stems from the increase in alumni and Bates-related events across the country. Regional events drew more than 1,000 attendees. Nearly 400 people attended an event at the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, making it one of most highly-attended off-campus Bates event ever.

Events such as Bates in the City do not even ask for donations, but are simply for establishing alumni networks and positive relationships with the college, and what Bates means to them in Boston, or Seattle. “We are not marketing nostalgia,” President Spencer said, “but what you love about Bates and how Bates is positioned in a leading world.”

These relationships allow alumni to keep a finger on the pulse of Bates. Pearson often uses these events to educate alumni on new school initiatives, or how Bates is committed to maintaining good values, while providing the best education possible. “Alumni want to know what Bates is about right now,” Pearson said. She also conducts a survey 48 hours after events to gauge approval ratings, with usually “85 percent and above say[ing] that they approve of the direction of the school.”

Bates alumni are even connecting remotely. The Bates website won two national awards for the redesign to make the site more user friendly. The college has also taken social media by storm to convey information in a different format. Instagram (@batescollege), Twitter (@BatesCollege) and even Snapchat have been added to the marketing strategy of the college.

But how are current students seeing these gifts? Students can see the numbers, read the articles and watch their Instagram feeds, but what are the tangible results? Most obvious is the construction of the two new dorms across Campus Ave. Chase Hall renovations like the OIE and the Den are all results on annual giving and fundraising campaigns, as well as practitioner taught Short Term courses and Late at Bates activities. These funds also helped the school provide 289 purposeful work internships this summer, giving more students the opportunity to pursue previously unpaid work.

Spencer and Pearson, along with their colleagues in advancement, are pushing the school out into the open and back into the lives of alumni and friends. The duo are committed to strengthening people’s connections to Bates and remind them what it feels like to engage with such a lively place. As Spencer phrased it: “People want to join a winning team,” and Bates is winning.

 

Women’s tennis competes at ITA Northeast Regional Championships

he Bates’ women’s tennis team brought both excitement and a drive to compete as they traveled to Middlebury, Vermont for the ITA Northeast Regional Championships on Friday at Middlebury College.

The ITA Northeast Regional Championships feature some of the most talented men’s and women’s tennis players across the country. Over 8,000 eager student-athletes from NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, Junior and Community Colleges compete across 85 USTA/ITA Regional Championships around the country. Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Trinity, Wesleyan, Amherst, and Williams were among the NESCAC schools present at this tournament.

The competition was tough and every single player fought hard. Alexandra Hakusui, one of the team’s former captains, recalls that “the team really left it all on the court. Emma Mattson’s performance on court and Emma Blakeley’s enthusiasm really kept the team optimistic throughout the match.”

Isabella Stone, a first-year, started the day off strong with a win and was the highlight of the tournament. Competing in her first collegiate match, Stone, from Concord, Mass., defeated Izzy Gorham of Wheaton College 7-5, 6-4 and impressively advanced to the second round in the vast field of 64 talented players. Unfortunately, Stone was defeated in the second round, 6-1, 6-0, to seeded player Lily Bondy of Middlebury.

Maisie Silverman, a sophomore from Brunswick, Maine, and Kelsey Pearson, a junior from Orange, California, were among the other fearless participants in this fierce bracket of competition. Silverman competed in the singles field, falling 6-3, 6-3 to Zoe Miller of Tufts. Silverman also teamed up with Pearson in the doubles field. Despite their potent efforts, the pair dropped an 8-2 match to Amherst’s top-seeded team of Vickie Ip and Sue Ghosh.

As the team continues to tackle and compete in what is an abbreviated fall schedule, they will have the home field advantage and battle Merrimack College this Sunday, October 4.

 

Open and active investigation following September 21 incident

A campus wide security alert was sent out Monday, September 21st after two students reported separate encounters with an unidentified person on Bates College Campus. A student reported that a man in his 30s followed her from Carnegie Science towards her place of residence near Admissions. The individual was “possibly in his 30’s, 74″-76″ tall, heavy build, wearing a dark hoodie and cargo shorts,” as recounted in the campus-wide alert. Another student reported seeing someone fitting the general description of the individual on Campus Ave prior to the encounter by Carnegie. Security requested that any students on campus who may have seen someone matching that description to contact them immediately.

No new information has come to light,” Director of Security and Campus Safety Tom Carey said Sunday evening, one week after the incident. “Although additional students did respond to the alert, nothing was generated that resulted in new information.”

“From Security’s perspective this investigation is open and active,” Carey added.

An alert like this is rare, but is part of the measures in place to help security respond quickly and keep the campus safe. Security officers are always on duty and are ready to respond to any emergency that may arise. When the situation calls for it, security maintains an open line of communication with the Lewiston Police Department. The LPD can provide additional support and information regarding individuals who may pose a threat to the campus.

There are measures in place to handle situations of this nature.

“No two situations are the same, but on duty personnel will make a judgement on actions to take, etc. based on their training and experience,” Carey said. “If it is of such a serious nature, based on the incident, the Director will be contacted relative to possible additional steps to take, as well as courtesy notification to the on-call Dean for other action as deemed necessary. Additionally, the LPD will be notified if appropriate.”

Though these occurrences are rare on Bates campus, students should always take precautions. “Be alert to your environment, know where you are and how to get to a safe location (public area, open building, campus building, car, etc.),” Carey said. “Second, let someone know where you are going if you are not on campus or home. Preferably, there is strength in numbers, at night walk with others and walk in well-lit areas.”

 

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