The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: October 2016 (Page 1 of 4)

Exclusive: The Student discusses racial justice with Shaun King, Black Lives Matter activist and New York Daily News Senior Justice Writer

 

What do you think the “War on Drugs” means for criminal justice in America?

That’s an important question. I think it’s one of the most important questions in our country right now. The War on Drugs started before, I think, any of us in the room were born. And what we’ve come to learn and understand is that when it was created, conceptually, it had nothing to do with treatment. It really had very little to do with ending drugs, ending drug addiction. It had everything to do with punishing people, particularly people of color, poor people. So what we see now, in great part because of the so-called War on Drugs, is that people are using drugs just like they were before the war, except now we have millions of people in jail instead of a few hundred thousand. No developed country in the world has a so-called war on drug users like our country does. And it’s a mess. It’s why we have 2.3 million people who are incarcerated and millions more who are under supervision or probation when sometimes they should have gotten citations or treatment. So the system is greatly ineffective at addressing the root issue. What I say everywhere I go is that the system is not broken: it was designed this way. A lot of people look at it, and it is an ugly system, and their gut reaction is, “Oh wow, the system is broken,” which suggests that it was a wonderful, well-designed system that now somehow messed up. That’s not what we have. It’s a terribly designed system that needs to be scrapped from the bottom up. I think [now] more than any point in my lifetime, people are starting to have that conversation. What do you legalize? What do you change? What should the penalties be? It’s not moving fast enough, but I think we’re probably in the early days of some meaningful reforms on that issue.

What do you think makes people uncomfortable with the phrase Black Lives Matter?

That’s a good question. Issues of race can be very uncomfortable to talk about in general, in part because sometimes people have no idea what they’re talking about. So what you get is people are very uncomfortable because they don’t know if they’re saying the right thing, if they’re being offensive, on a hundred different levels. So before Black Lives Matter made people uncomfortable, people have been uncomfortable talking about difficult issues around race, around racism, around bigotry. It requires us to push through that. You can’t be so easily irritated that if you do say the wrong thing and step on toes, that if you get blasted for it you never have a conversation again. I think there’s also some people [who] are being obtuse about what Black Lives Matter means. People have defined and explained to people [that] in an ideal world, all people are treated equally. Anyone who says that’s the reality in this country is kind of being willfully ignorant on that issue. There are layers and layers of discrimination for all types of people, for all different reasons. So when these three young women coined this phrase ‘Black Lives Matter,’ they coined it in response to black folk who were being treated like their lives didn’t matter. That’s the root of the phrase: even though society in a lot of different ways often treats black lives like they don’t matter, it’s a declaration, that yes they do. In this country, particularly if you are a black teenager, an unarmed black teenager, you’re almost 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than an unarmed white teenager. So when we say Black Lives Matter is to say, hey, why does this disparity exist? Where does it come from? Each case of police brutality is an individual case, individually complicated, but that phrase Black Lives Matter is a phrase that’s also affirming for people who feel like they’re under attack. Even if it requires an explanation, the phrase makes sense to me.

As Hillary Clinton would say, are the deplorables also irredeemable? Is it worth trying to overcome their ignorance?

I’ve been a very public critic of Hillary Clinton. I campaigned for Bernie. I had never heard that phrase before. The deplorables… It was a weird turn of phrase. I literally even thought I misunderstood it at first. I think I got the spirit of what she was saying. I think it’s true, and even some people within Donald Trump’s campaign have [admitted] because they have no choice, that large volumes of white supremacists and bigots and other people have been very, very supportive of his campaign. But when you’re running for President of the United States, you have to be very careful not to cause people to feel like you are grouping tens of millions of people into one box. Bernie, for instance, resonated with a lot of people who now support Donald Trump. I don’t think they were ever Bernie supporters. A small amount of Bernie supporters may support Trump, but I think had Bernie got the nomination, he would not have used that phrase. I think, thinking back on that, she would not have used it. The point is to say that to have a difficult nuanced conversation, you have to be careful not to group millions of people into one box. I’ve huge criticisms of Donald Trump and Donald Trump supporters. But it’s a little more complicated than that phrase gave into.

Shaun King visited Bates on October 11. (Chris Petrella/Courtesy Photo)

Shaun King visited Bates on October 11.
(Chris Petrella/Courtesy Photo)

Unquestionably, Black Lives Matter has done a lot of work in elevating dialogue in our country. Can you offer some criticism to the movement, or what would you like to see change in the movement’s approach?

All movements could be better. I regularly see people say things like, ‘Dr. King would be turning over in his grave if he saw this or that.’ I see people say this and it’s really ahistorical. The civil rights movement was messy as a movement… They sometimes disagreed widely on how to approach those problems… So the Black Lives Matter movement is no different than that in the sense that some of us hardly know each other. Some of us see problems very differently. And so, a lot of people say, ‘Wow, I wish there was more unity in the Black Lives Matter movement.’ That’s never really been the case in any civil rights movement. There’s always disagreements and wildly different approaches. Less than a criticism, I’ll tell you where we’re going. I think, for the past two years, this movement has been focused on building awareness. And I think we’ve succeeded. You know, here we are at the campus of Bates College in Maine talking about it…. Most Americans are aware that there’s police brutality. And they were not aware of that just a couple years ago. But we’re pivoting away just from awareness, which we will have to continue to do, to solutions. And I think that’s a natural progression, and that you’ll see in most movements, for a long time you’re just trying to make people know that there is a problem. And once you’ve almost completely saturated the market, you then say, well how do we solve it? So, I think you’ll see more and more of us in the movement talking about what solutions are and how we approach them. But I think you’ll continue to see many of us disagree on many of those approaches. And I’m okay with that. I think it’s healthy that we approach the problem from many different angles.

What role, if any, do you think your religion and faith plays in your social justice work? Do you think that religious values are something that can unite people?

My religious background, faith [and] history guide a lot of what I do. One of the reasons I was excited to come here to Bates is a hero of mine, Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, graduated from Bates and I graduated from Morehouse College where he was president for 29 years and even before he was president, he was a professor and a debate team coach at Morehouse. And he was a man who had faith at the center of a lot of what he did, but did work that went way outside of religious circles… I think a lot about Dr. King when I do the work. One of Benjamin Mays’ students was a man named Howard Thurman. When he taught, Benjamin Mays was the debate coach at Morehouse before he became president. Howard Thurman was a student on the debate team. He wrote this book called Jesus and the Disinherited. And Dr. King actually had that book when he was assassinated. Dr. King, Howard Thurman [and] Benjamin Mays all believed that their version of Christianity was one that fought against injustice. And I believe in that as well. There’s a huge evangelical Christian support of Donald Trump that I just can’t make sense of. And I’m deeply disturbed by [it]. But Dr. King was disturbed in the same way. He wrote Letter from Birmingham Jail, and what it was really about was how he was confused and perplexed and bothered by his fellow white Christians in Birmingham, who seem[ed] to support segregation and worse. He just couldn’t make sense of it. What bothered him the most was not the ugliness. What bothered him the most was the silence of people who claimed to be Christian. So I don’t speak a lot publicly about my faith, but privately, it guides me, and it keeps me encouraged as well.

What sort of advice would you give with regards to motivation, inspiration? Who do you look to, and how would you guide young college students on their quest to make a difference in the world of social justice?

I said this at a class I spoke at earlier, but I’m actually in the scheme of this movement seen as this old guy. I don’t think of myself like that. But some of the most amazing leaders in this movement are in their early 20s… Particularly college students and young leaders who are functioning inside of systems that they feel are racist or oppressive…  I spoke at University of Kentucky last week, and earlier that day several students had people drive by in trucks and yell at them, have people throw stuff at them. This is 2016. And I felt terrible because I left that campus and flew back to New York. And I’m safe and I don’t deal with that. So I admire students who are there fighting it, speaking out against it. I just want to encourage students to know that if you look and study any movement over the last 100 years, students have always been involved, in part because they have a healthy recklessness that adults who have bills and jobs and all other things don’t have. There’s a bravery and a courage that students have that you need to use… Don’t assume you’re too young to make a difference. Don’t assume you’re too far away from discrimination. Like the country might talk about Charleston, or Charlotte, or Baltimore, but there are problems right here in Maine, right here on this campus that need to be addressed… Just use the time you have and use it well.

Clayton Spencer talks about changes made at Bates

Spencer discusses new introductions to Bates. MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

Spencer discusses new introductions to Bates.
MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

How is Bates’ approach in creating the Computational and Digital Studies Department different compared to other schools’ program?

How it’s different is that unlike a lot of our peers who’ve had computer science longer, this isn’t a program bolted onto a math department, and we don’t have legacy professors. … So we are starting fresh. We are in the process this year of recruiting the first faculty leader of computer science, and that will be a senior tenured position. … We are very conscious that this computer science program is located in a liberal arts curriculum, so one of the things you want to make sure is that even as you teach hard core computer science you are also teaching an interpretive, critical look at society, and that will be built into the core set of courses… We feel like given the scale of Bates, given the fact that faculty are so interconnected, that we’ve got the perfect situation to situate computer science both in societal issues and in intellectual issues in a way that puts us at the front of the pack.”

How has Purposeful Work evolved and grown in the past few years?

“We’ve got over 300 students doing funded summer work, which is fantastic progress… The core employer program in Purposeful Work has worked very well, where we’re now up to close to 70 core employers…Then the other piece is Practitioner Taught Courses in Short Term. They’ve gotten rave reviews from students… There [is] Purposeful Work infusion into regular courses, where [we have] curricular ties to potential career options. Purposeful Work Unplugged, where we bring in people. … I think the program was extremely well thought through and set up by the faculty originally. … I don’t think many colleges have thought it through as fundamentally as we have and tied it to mission. [Purposeful Work] is the third leg of the equity promise: We bring in students from a wide range of backgrounds, we do our best to support students for success and we’re making a series of strides there to improve that, and now we’re saying, but it’s not enough to say here’s your degree, now good luck with the rest of your life. We are now doing that bridge to life and work after college, and for students particularly from families who don’t have strong professional networks, that is critically important.”

Can you talk a little about Athletic Director Kevin McHugh retiring and what the hiring process might look like?

“I have enormous respect for Kevin and what he’s accomplished. He will be finishing his tenth year this year. I think he strengthened our athletic program competitively… But much more important are Kevin’s personal qualities s to the educational mission of sports…Personally he is beloved by coaches. He knows student athletes. He’s at every game. If half of life is showing up, Kevin is that guy. He is very well liked and respected by the faculty for his determination to situate athletics within the educational mission of Bates. … We’ll have a committee that includes faculty, coaches, and, I hope, students, and we’ll figure out a careful selection process for people with the right kinds of representation and experience. Then I think we will hire a search firm…, and that’ll happen, I would say, within the next period of probably six weeks, where it will constitute the committee, hire a search firm, have them come and begin interviewing people. … I never put an end date on a search because you never stop the search until you find the right person. But the goal is to have the next athletics director identified before Kevin leaves so that it is a smooth transition.”

What did we want to accomplish with the new dorm buildings at 55 and 65 Campus Ave? And how do we evaluate their success?

“In my experience, students vote with their feet. We will have housing lotteries. If nobody’s choosing those dorms, they’re not working. If people are choosing those dorms, they are working… We hired architects who spent a lot of time interviewing people all over Bates… The brick was made in Auburn in a particular size that matches, I think, the Chase brick. There’s lots of touches that are a new Bates for a new era, respectfully knitted into existing Bates with its history, values, and sense of community. There’s been a lot of suggestion that when Smith was chalk full, overloaded, a lot of sense that there weren’t informal spaces for students to gather, just hang out, play games, watch TV, study, talk, work on a project. So, you’ll see that those buildings have a lot of that space built in. The theory there was to enliven the street life there and create a much more attractive space, but also, the whole campus goes to Post & Print, and the whole campus goes to the bookstore. So it’s also a way of drawing more students into feeling comfortable using those spaces.”

What will the fate of Chase Hall be?

“It is up for grabs…The institutional planning report says we at least ought to consider enlivening Chase as a real campus center. And that could be done in the same way the Den and the OIE have been done, which is to go into the space, make it cool, but you’re not doing some hugely expensive renovation… If we move towards a comprehensive fundraising campaign, there’ll be a lot of competition for resources – we have to make sure there’s plenty of money for financial aid, plenty of money raised for endowment, some money raised for facilities. So there’s been some talk, so do we want to renovate Chase and make a fancy student center? Well that might compete with a science building. So this is all really to be sorted out, very much in dialogue with students… I think it’s going to be a fun and very collective, collaborative process to figure that all out.”

Do you have a timeline for that process?

“I’m not aware of a firm timeline yet. I think we’d rather do it right than fast, but it probably needs to be right and fairly expeditiously so that we’re not leaving space [unused].”

How does Bates address parents’ pressure to avoid or question the liberal arts with regard to its ability to prepare students for a competitive job market upon graduation?

“Personally, I think the liberal arts have never been better aligned with the needs of the world. The jobs that require what the liberal arts quintessentially teaches are the jobs that are the most secure, and people are seeing that. … We have to do a very good job delivering on what we say we do. We really do need to offer a rigorous education that understands how to work across differences and ideas and human beings. That’s something that a residential liberal arts college does best. … Purposeful Work is one example… How do you actually embrace the notion that we are preparing our students for the world of work, as well as life, as well as social contribution? Now there’s broad, almost universal access to content… We’ve lost the disadvantage we had relative to larger universities. But we still have the advantage we’ve always had, which is you’re working with tenured faculty members on your thesis… So I consider this the golden age of the liberal arts.”

A recent announcement letter from the University of Chicago explicitly eliminated safe spaces. How do we at Bates balance intellectual discourse and open exchange of ideas with some sort of sensitivity towards topics such as racial micro aggressions, cultural appropriation, sexual assault triggers, etc.?

“I think it’s a false dichotomy, and I think the discourse is freer, more open and richer, if you’re also in a sensitive way taking account of the diverse backgrounds, viewpoints, etc., and some of that needs to happen in places where you have the freedom to explore. I like to think of it not as free speech versus limits on free speech, but free speech and utter respect for the humanity of every one of our students and every member of our community. If you keep both of those principles in mind, I think you can navigate through in a way that serves both parts more fully.”

 

Planning MLK Day

In a few months, Bates will be observing Martin Luther King Jr. day–more precisely on the 16th of January in 2017. On this day, faculty cancels all class meetings and lesson plans, in order to allow students to attend Workshops throughout the day. In addition to the workshops, there are also “readings, artistic offerings, and films that align with a theme related to the life-long work of Dr. King.”

The theme for the MLK Day will be “Reparations: Addressing Racial Injustices” and the MLK Day Planning Committee is currently accepting applications and proposals from people interested in holding inclusive workshops. The three committee co-chairs Mara Tieken, Susan Stark, and Michael Rocque described the process of selecting participants where they “allow participants the freedom to create workshops and panels that fit broadly within the theme of the day. We look for diversity in type and content of panel but we do not tend to reject proposals unless they are cost prohibitive or not related to the theme. We encourage anyone to submit a panel that would be of interest to them and to the Bates community. In terms of selecting panels, we have a MLK day committee that is composed of staff, faculty, and students and we discuss submissions in our meetings.”

The committee is interested in proposals that relate to the theme, as in they focus on ways to repair or address racial injustices. The theme was discussed and was in the works a year before the events could occur. The Co-Chairs of the committee “try to pay attention to issues that are in the news or related to current events. Reparations was a topic that has always been at the forefront of discussions of racial justice due to policies such as affirmative action but Ta-Nehisi Coates’ work in the Atlantic on reparations thrust the issue into the limelight last year. We wanted to focus more broadly on fixing past wrongs rather than reparations specifically and so as a committee, we worked together and also sent out a survey to the Bates community to allow input on possible iterations of the theme before ultimately deciding on this year’s theme.”

An example of reparations in the current news can be seen in Georgetown’s plan to offer “preferential admission to the descendants of slaves.” Given that numerous institutions have benefitted and succeed at the hands of slavery, it is critical that they attempt to fix their wrongs.

According the committee chairs, Bates is not considering implementing this policy; however, there will be numerous discussion about Bates’ “own history and relationship to this issue.”

For those interested in submitting a workshop proposal, you must do so by October 15th. The application can be found in the “Bates Today” email.

 

Welcome to our season

We are with the rhythm of fall. This is the soft hymn of rain drowning the soppy leaves that were once dehydrated, but do not thirst anymore. This is the soft rhythm which is not always a downward spiral into the disappearance of vitamin D and midterms and embarrassing presidential campaigns. This is not only the slope we ski down but also the lift that we take up in the morning. This is your favorite leaf deciding it’s time to let go, time to disappear into the sloppy dust it came from– the secret time we save for nutmeg and extra crunchy apples and maybe some caramel and maybe some squash. This is our egos dripping with the pulp and grinding with the cinnamon seeds we churned when the air was warmer. When the air was warmer we didn’t know the trees and the sky and the ground only look good below 60 degrees and every time I play with the orange yellow and red it loses its footing. This fall is the smell of cider and the smile of your sister’s baby when she wakes up at 5 pm for dinner, this fall is the oscillation of sweet and savory, the candy we wanted as kids and the satisfaction we crave as adults. This fall believes that its beauty will die with the entrance of winter, when the snow comes to clear us all out. And this fall knows that in death there is always something leftover, something to find when the ice of the gray chill fades away slowly, something to look at under the dusk-milk that makes your shoes wet and dirty and stinky whenever you walk inside. This fall is the look in your grandfather’s eye when he tells you that he has been lost too, a while ago. When decay of nature is transposed with poise and beauty, what are we left to feel other than loss and whole? When we watch the big branches shed their skin and skinny up for winter as our bodies expand to form blankets for our brains and we pack any ounce of life we have left into the car with us,  how can we know anything other than this is exactly where it is supposed to begin? This is exactly where the death happens so that we can live; this is exactly where the rotting birch on the side of the road peels away your forgotten scab; this is exactly where we forget that the trees will come back to us in some time; this is exactly the time of orange painting pink in the tree-sky crescendoes on our eyelids for that too-short moment; this is exactly where we remember fall is our family– and we have known our maple hearts would meet with a tilt.

Women’s Volleyball rights the ship, sweeps home NESCAC

It is do or die for the women’s volleyball team. As the home stretch of the season begins, NESCAC teams are jockeying for position to qualify for the 8-team conference tournament. Featured prominently in the Back to Bates weekend schedule, the Bobcat volleyball team secured two crucial conference victories against Wesleyan and Trinity. Bates, 6-9 (3-3), are now tied for 6th place in the NESCAC, just a game and half out of second place, and are now in great position to not only qualify for the postseason conference tournament, but for one of the top seeds.

“The combination of playing in our home gym as well as having the support of our families felt like the perfect culmination of circumstances,” said Chandler McGrath ‘17.

Bates efficiently dispatched their opponents, winning all six sets they played by five points or more. McGrath was the star of the weekend, tallying a total of 31 kills in the two combined matches. Through six total conferences matches, McGrath now ranks first in the NESCAC in kills per set, averaging an impressive 4.1. McGrath is leads the NESCAC in points per set, scoring at a 4.4 point per set clip.

Bates’ next match is away against Tufts, 14-1 (7-0) who sit comfortably at the top of the standings with a two and a half game lead over the teams tied for second. This match will be a challenge, but the combined conference record of Bates’ three remaining opponents after Tufts is just 9-10. There is still a lot of volleyball left to be played, but this past weekend’s performance has set the ‘cats up for success at the end of the year.

 

Debate comments

Darrius Campbell ’17

Lester H: Hilary, as of right now in this presidential debate you seem to be destroying Trump, how does this feel?

Hilary: It feels great to be the first woman to run for president and hopefully my gender covers some of my past mistakes and illegal activities.

Lester Holt: Trump, how does it feel to be owned by a woman in the 2016 presidential debate?

Trump: Well, you see the Wall will keep out illegals, I can end terrorism, and Vladimir Putin is my friend.

Lester: And ladies and gentlemen, these are the two candidates we chose to represent our country…smh.

Jacqueline Forney ’18

Following the vice-presidential debate last Tuesday night, I read an article on the Washington Post called, “The vice-presidential debate 2016, or the battle of the dads, recapped.” It was a comical spin on both the presidential and vice-presidential debates. Alexandra Petri, the author of the article, referred to the debate as a “parent-teacher conference” between Senator “America’s Stepdad” Kaine and Governor “America’s Father-in-Law” Pence because Hillary and Donald got into an argument and the people of America wanted to understand where they were coming from. The article sheds light on the overall divisiveness of the election particularly in each candidate’s presidential campaign rhetoric. So, if you’re looking for an entertaining read, I’d say go for it!

Austin Lee ’17

For those of you who didn’t watch, Senator Kaine and Governor Pence spent a substantial amount of the debate discussing foreign policy, social security, tax plans, and race relations.  In other words, it was super boring.  TV ratings for the debate were the lowest of any VP debate since 2000.  The Trump-Clinton debate on the other hand, was the most-watched in U.S. history.   It’s easier to watch candidates hurl personal insults at each other for 90 minutes than to go in-depth on public policy. People may not admit it, but they love the kind of gutter campaign Trump has run this year.  People don’t want a debate. They want a reality TV show.

Julia Panepinto ’19

The presidential debates so far did not tell me anything I didn’t already know. Trump obviously has no specific policy ideas while Hillary has concrete, detailed plans that will continue to move this country in the direction Obama began. In regards to the vice presidential debate, the uncontrolled and disrespectful manner of both candidates toward Elaine Quijano made the debate almost unbearable to watch. However, the inability of Pence to defend Trump when it came to his radical comments made it clear that the debates were going to do nothing more than help the democratic party. Ultimately, I have no idea how any thinking, non racist person could support the Trump-Pence ticket.

Bates Football records first win, 29-17 over Williams

It’s hard to argue against Frank Williams ‘18 winning Offensive Player of the Week. After all, you can’t ask for much better offensive production than nine catches, 223 yards, and three touchdowns in a winning effort.

Bates football entered Saturday’s “Back to Bates” matchup against Williams seeking their first win of the season, having lost road games to Trinity and Tufts. The game did start auspiciously for the Bobcats, who gave up an early touchdown to the Ephs. However, the team got a spark of energy from their special teams unit. Sophomore punter Justin Foley, who averaged 43.4 yards per punt on the day and pinned Williams inside their own 20-yard line four times, boomed a 55-yard punt. The Ephs’ Jaelon Moaney made a mess of the return, deciding at the last second to return the punt. Junior Mickoy Nichol immediately hit Moaney to force a fumble, and Trevor Lyons ‘17 recovered. Bates quarterback Sandy Plashkes ‘19 then hit Williams to put Bates on the board.

Although Bates led 19-14, thanks to another couple big Plashkes to Williams connections and a spectacular catch in the corner of the end zone by Marcus Ross ‘19, the Ephs stayed competitive until the end. They just never found a solution to stop the elusive Williams, who went for a 73-yard touchdown in the third quarter to give Bates a 26-17 lead.

Despite his outstanding individual effort, Williams credited his teammates for his career-best day: “Winning player of the week is obviously a huge honor,” he said. “But at the end of the day, that award is because of the team I have around me. Whether its Sandy, our offensive line, the defense, or the guys on special teams, I wouldn’t get that award without the other guys on the team.”

The Bates defense did indeed play a major role in the team’s victory, as the Bobcats combined to sack Williams quarterback Jansen Durham seven times and limited the Ephs to 207 yards of total offense.

Bates will aim for a second straight home win this Saturday at 1:00 pm against 2-1 Wesleyan.

According to Williams, “The key to getting another win will be having a great week of practice, because as our coach always says: a game isn’t won on Saturday, it is won through how we practice during the week.”

That preparation certainly paid off in a big way for Williams and the Bobcats this Saturday. Williams is far from a secret weapon now, but he’ll undoubtedly be a lethal resource in Bates’ arsenal this year.

 

Student Government updates

With a new year at hand, Bates College Student Government (BCSG) has more updates in order to make this year’s campaign run even smoother. The Student sat down with the Bates College Student President, Adedire Fakorede ’18  to discuss some of the upcoming events.

Currently, the BCSG is in the process of running the election for class representative, in which 38 students signed up to represent their class; their responsibilities include working to improve Bates and being the voice of their class. As the voice of their class, the representatives have to acknowledge and understand what the members of their grade are going through and then brainstorm ideas and plans to fix the issues.

Fakorede stated that the Class of 2020 representatives are showing a lot of enthusiasm, which is what the BCSG needs, for it is critical that they are willing and ready to address any concerns that may arise. The members who are selected to represent their class will join the BCSG and other elected officials on a day-camping trip to Camp Kieve. The purpose of the trip is for BCSG members to bond with one another as it is important for to develop a strong relationship as a community across class years.

Also  important to note, the BCSG is concerned with the relationship between students and campus security. Students are under the impression that campus security is invading their privacy; therefore, the BCSG wants to dispel these feelings and address concerns of students and faculty within the security office. In order to build a strong relationship between the students, specifically the first year students, and campus security, Fakorede said there will be more programs between security and students.

Further, colleges or universities that receive federal funding have to report crimes that occur on campus as well as ways in which the school plans on improving the crime. This protection law obligates campus security to report crimes, so by asking Bates security to stop reporting underage drinking is impossible because by law, they have too and we as students need to respect that.

Last year there was some concern over laws being changed in order to keep someone in a particular position, but that is changing. The BCSG is working on a way to hold elections for the student body president in March. The election typically takes place in December, around finals week, but seeing as the election takes place in December, there is always a period when no student holds office. To avoid this situation Fakorede hopes to make the student body presidential elections in May.

Besides making Election Day in March, the BCSG is also working to make the Constitution more defined with concrete rules, so that the student body may know exactly what is stated and how to more accurately defend their rights.

Before our conversation ended, Fakorede mentioned two other issues that he deemed important: EMS and the Facebook page. Recently Bates EMS received a raise in terms of funding, and the student government plans to work closely with Bates EMS to determine how this funding can be used beneficially in aiding students who require emergency medical service. In terms of the BCSG Facebook page, BCSG is working on creating a platform on which students can receive announcements for events that are occurring as well as voice their opinions. If voicing your thoughts on Facebook is not enough and you want to do it in person, Fakorede encourages students to attend an open BCSG meeting, held every Sunday at 7pm.

 

Athletic teams use Back to Bates weekend to foster community

Last weekend was ‘Back to Bates’ weekend, the new and exciting intersection of homecoming and parents weekend that is unique to the Bates fall schedule. The three days were replete with panels, tours, information sessions, wine and cheese tasting, myriad sporting events, and of course the brewfest beer tent. But in addition to all of this, several of the Bates athletic teams took advantage the wider Bates family converging on campus to foster their own niche communities at the college by organizing several events of their own for parents and alumni.

“Just as it is for the college generally, it is hugely important for us to tie our events into the weekend when the most alums and parents are on campus. It allows us to showcase the student-athletes, our programs and our facilities to our biggest supporters,” said athletic director Kevin McHugh. In addition to many fall athletic teams having home games this weekend, several other teams had organized events to bring their current players, their families and alumni together. The Men’s basketball team held their seventh annual golf outing at Martindale Country Club in Auburn to kickoff the weekend Friday afternoon, and the club Rugby team organized a social for players, alums and families in the Den following their victory Friday night.

On Saturday the first football tailgate took place, while the lacrosse team held their alumni scrimmage followed by a ‘Life after Bates’ event for current players and Alumni. “The turnout demonstrates to Alumni and current students alike that people care enough, are invested enough to keep returning and playing the game they love,” Said head coach Peter Lasagna.

There were several other breakfasts/community gatherings throughout Saturday morning with the swim and dive team, squash, and baseball, at which new head coach Jon Martin was introduced to family and alumni.

Saturday afternoon included a dedication of the women’s volleyball and basketball locker room to Marsha A. Graef, longtime coach of both programs, and remarks at the introduction of the new turf recently installed on the campus avenue field hockey field. Sunday capped off the weekend’s bevy of athletic events, with the nordic and alpine ski team’s 5K fundraiser and the men’s lacrosse golf outing.

“I think it just says that we understand how important community is at Bates and so tying (events) into the weekend really showcases the Bates community (and) reinforces everything that we are about,” said McHugh, in reference to the fundamental values of Bates athletics and taking advantage of the ‘Back to Bates’ weekend.

“I can’t really pick a favorite – for me jumping from place-to-place, event-to-event made everything sort of roll into one overall B2B experience and it was terrific!”

 

“Tomorrow in the Battle” questions the meaning of reality

There are days in which we wake up and life seems like something that happens to us rather than something we have under control. That is the world of “Tomorrow in the Battle,” a play directed by Visiting Assistant Professor Sally Wood. Three complex characters that form a love triangle show the audience their points of view regarding what is and what could have been. Anna, Simon and Jennifer – the characters, played by Christina Felonis ’17, Brennen Malone ’17 and Sukanya Shukla ’20 – are faced with the psychological threat that is living lives that do not correspond with their expectations. Each of them speaks to the public in monologues that occasionally overlap each other. No struggle is more real than the other and the overall feeling is powerlessness in face of chance and randomness. As audience, we feel the same. We are powerless in the face of a reality that is never fully our own.

In their monologues, the characters tell the story to the audience in the past tense. Each character tells what happened according to their subjectivity and the audience then can construct a storyline. All we know is that that the relationship between Anna and Simon is crumbling apart on multiple levels. We believe their words – no scene has actually happened. In real life we can look at each other, touch each other and talk to each other but we will never know what really goes on inside. Living a life in a monologue is oddly relatable, since many times we believe to be alone in the world.

This feeling of isolation that makes “Tomorrow in the Battle” so powerful. Existential threat permeates the play: there is nothing to hold onto. It is all a game of chance in which we can’t calculate the odds. Even the setting induces a vanishing state: one chair and three characters trapped in a white cube. “90% of nothing is better than nothing,” quoting from Anna, one of the central characters. As the parallel stories connect momentarily to each other, love changes, people change and characters feel under pressure at a multitude of situations. The very meaning of their personal realities is confronted with what they could have been under a slightly different situation. Had Simon stayed at home in the day he met Jennifer, “Tomorrow in the Battle” would be about another battle happening in another day.

The struggle of power in the play is very clear. Anna works for the Ministry of Defense and talks about missiles, Simon is a heart surgeon and Jennifer works for a finance company. The characters have missiles, money and someone’s heart on their hands. In their relationships too, they show what inhabits our unconscious minds: wanting to dominate or be dominated. There are days in which we want to conquer the world or to feel that someone’s life depends exclusively on us. There are other days when we just want to lean on and hear someone say that everything will be alright. “Tomorrow in the Battle” is as much about chance as it is about our society. At the same time that the characters are individualistic beings living inside their own monologues, they depend on each other’s approval.

After the audience leaves the doors of the Blackbox Theater, they lose the comfort of knowing what goes on inside someone else’s minds. Living, dying or loving goes back to being a game of chance in which all we can do is bet on how someone else thinks. Knowing that we are one step away from infinitely different lives is a source of tension. When one door opens, others close — and we never really know where we are going. We weep for what reality could have been and we cringe for how few steps we are from what we wished to be. All as soon as we leave the doors of Blackbox Theater. Had we not watched “Tomorrow in the Battle,” I can only imagine what could have happened.

 

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