The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: October 5, 2016 (Page 1 of 2)

The good and bad of Colin Kaepernick and us as a nation

Unless you have been under a rock for the past month, you have probably heard about Colin Kaepernick protesting during the national anthem. There has been so much news and commentating on the subject that I wanted to wait and let everything marinate in my head before delivering my own thoughts.

After hearing the news on Terence Crutcher, and watching the difficult video, I felt even more compelled to speak on Colin and how we as a nation have reacted to his protest. As a black man growing up during this social turmoil, I personally understand why Colin is protesting the way he is. But I also believe the way he has gone about it is wrong.

The reason I say this is because his message has been blinded by the idea that he is disrespecting our military. In a way, his protest has backfired. People who do not understand his message are not looking at the substance of his protest, but are instead looking at the action itself. Until we can get those who have not had the historical experience with police that people of color have had to at least understand the meaning of Colin’s protest, we cannot truly get the conversation started.

A little while back I wrote an article on athletes as activists and where the line should be drawn. As I said in that article, I would like to see more athletes be more vocal about issues, but I do not expect them to be active. I love the news and attention that Colin has garnered, especially because many of his peers around the league have shown their support and protested in similar ways. His actions have not only spread to other players in the NFL, but also across other sports. For example, United States Women’s National Team soccer player Megan Rapinoe has shown her support for Colin by kneeling during the anthem before her games.

Since the summer, more players have slowly come out to voice their opinions on social issues. Whether or not that is because they see their peers standing up or the social unrest has hit a breaking point for them, we are seeing more athletes utilize their platform for something that is bigger than any sport. This growing activism in sports is getting the conversation started and this is only the beginning.

 

Emily Cain, Congressional Candidate from Second District, discusses issues important to Maine voters

Emily Cain discusses some of the main issues in Maine.  MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

Emily Cain discusses some of the main issues in Maine.
MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

Amar Ojha: What would the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) passing mean for jobs in Maine?

Emily Cain: TPP is bad not only because it’s something negotiated in secret by people and organizations and lobbyists who are not looking out for businesses and working families here in Maine, [but] because when we give away our labor standards, when we compromise our environmental standards, we’re not going to be able to compete on a level playing field in the world. And that means jobs in Maine are going to go away. I’ve been opposed to the TPP since day one. And it’s in stark contrast to my opponent.

AO: Cutting income taxes is often seen as a fiscally conservative staple. Can you talk a little about why you believe this to be vital for Maine’s families?

EC: I served in the legislature for ten years. I was Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee during the toughest recession we’ve seen. I was able to work across the aisle and balance five unanimous budgets that received overwhelming bipartisan support. A few years ago I was able to work with—as I was the Democratic leader—Republican Governor Paul LePage—Democrats and Republicans—on a budget that ended up being the largest tax cut in Maine’s history because of lowering the income tax.

AO: What role can Maine play in the fight against climate change? Specifically, what policies would you like to see implemented for the state to lead the effort?

EC: Our natural resources are the bedrock of our economy. Period. Our natural beauty is one of the things that makes us such a great place to live. I think Maine needs to be a leader … in things like offshore wind and technologies in solar that can really expand our access to clean energy, while at the same time reducing our carbon footprint and creating jobs here in Maine. I think that future generations are counting on us to act.

AO: What do you hope to accomplish to ensure every Mainer gets the quality health care they deserve?

EC: Everyone deserves to see a family doctor when they’re sick. Period. Right now, Congress is so stuck on doing things to benefit their special interest donors that they’re missing commonsense opportunities to lower prescription drug prices right now. There are thousands and thousands of Mainers who rely on Medicare. Congress has forbidden Medicare from negotiating down the cost of prescription drugs and using their buying power to lower the cost that seniors pay. That’s wrong. The Congressman we have now was a part of that. I’m going to bring that same tenacity to Congress that I brought to solving those kinds of problems here in Maine.

AO: What would you say to students who despite their hard work are unable to afford college tuition, or are suffocating under student debt upon graduating?

EC: You should be able to pay that debt off in a way that makes sense, the same way when you buy a house, you can refinance your mortgage. Congress is so beholden to the big banks and Wall Street that they won’t even take it up. They laugh it off. It’s awful. We can’t overlook the role of two year degrees and certificate programs, skill-based programs, not just for young people, who want to become small business owners, but also for those who’ve lost their jobs across Maine. We need to make sure especially those two year and skill based programs are as affordable as possible, if not free, because those are the kind of skills we need to put to work in our economy right away to build things.

AO: What changes, if any, must we make to address the gun violence epidemic without infringing upon legitimate Second Amendment rights?

EC: Here in Maine, the right to keep and bear arms is important at the family and community level. Background checks are an important way that we can keep guns out the hands of dangerous criminals, domestic abusers, and those with serious mental illness. In the legislature, I am proud that I’ve worked with gun owners on keeping the right to bear arms and to do it safely here in Maine.

AO: How do you intend to work with police departments across the state to change the culture of policing as well as ensuring they are trained to do a very demanding job?

EC: Maine has one of the lowest per capita murder rates in the country. But if you are murdered, you are most likely to be murdered … through domestic violence. One of the ways we’re working to combat that is by working with law enforcement to give them more tools to respond effectively, to de-escalate situations, to prevent a lethal result, and to protect victims. We do that by allowing for greater interaction between law enforcement, community members, and the judicial branch to share information, so that when a response comes in, it’s the right response to the incident, not one that doesn’t match the situation. I think that same philosophy of working with law enforcement as a partner … get into such deeply seated issues of racism. I’m proud to have done that kind of work and that’s the kind of community-based leadership that I would want to be a part of to help solve these issues, bring more understanding, and reduce the violence.

AO: What would you say to the many individuals who are disheartened by the divisive and dangerous rhetoric seen on both a state and federal level by government officials or candidates?

EC: It’s not about policy, positions, or plans. It’s about personalities. That’s not what our democracy is based on. Our democracy is based on an exchange of ideas, about compromise, about being able to speak your mind, be heard, and have the ability to listen to others as well. I believe I can be a productive part with my experience having worked with Governor LePage, having worked with Democrats and Republicans to bring that sort of commonsense results-based leadership to Washington. Sit down and think about what [you] care about most. Is it student debt? The environment? An international affairs issue? The Supreme Court? Sit down and look at where the presidential candidates [are] on those issues, and go to the polls this year for your issue. You don’t have to go cause you like one better than the other. Go because the issue you care about matters.

 

Bates students host the first presidential debate

Students watch Trump and Clinton debate for the first time. MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

Students watch Trump and Clinton debate for the first time. MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

Monday September 26th was the first presidential debate of the year and it certainly did not go unnoticed within the Bates student body. The Bates Democrats hosted a Debate Watch Party in Chase Hall Lounge for all students on campus, along with the Democratic Representative candidate for the 2nd District of Maine, Emily Cain. The debate party had drinks and snacks as well as a debate themed bingo game.

The debate, located at Hofstra University in New York, was the first of three presidential debates between the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The debate was the first time that voters could see both candidates advocate for their policies as president, and challenge one another on the current issues facing America including globalization and trade, national security and terrorism, and race and policing.

By 9:00 PM on Monday night the hall was packed with students who were interested in seeing the debate, and while the debate moderator for NBC, Lester Holt, may have told the audience in New York to remain quiet throughout the debate, the viewing in Chase Hall was not without jeering and shouting from enthusiastic Bates students.

One of the coordinators of the Debate Watch Party, Alli Rabideau ‘17, was more than happy to give her feedback about the debate party.

“I was impressed by how many people who came in chose to sit and be quiet throughout the entire debate. In previous years, people would come in and watch a few minutes of the debate, but so many people were completely invested with the debate this year that most stayed for the whole time,” says Rabideau.

In regards to the experience of a large group viewing, “it was interesting to see how people reacted as a group and to think, is this the way they would have acted had they been on their own? And would they have interpreted what was said the same way?”, says Rabideau.

Not without humility, Rabideau went on to say that the success of the debate was not a result of her alone, but all the volunteers who helped and the students who attended. Apart from the Debate Watch Party in Chase there were various other campus sponsored events including a pre-debate commentary from members of Bates faculty in Pettigrew Hall.

However, the debate scene was not confined to just Chase Hall and Pettigrew. All across campus, spontaneous debate watch parties popped up, highlighting the serious involvement of Bates students in this year’s election. Unfortunately, many students went away from the debate feeling discouraged or disappointed by what they saw.

Katie DeSantis ‘20, who watched the debate with her friends in their dorm room, morbidly remarked, “I am glad to see my country going to shambles”, and Mary Turnage ‘19 who was in Chase Hall for the debate viewing commented that the debate was “sadly entertaining.” Yet not everyone was pessimistic about the debate. Rabideau remarked that while there were many things that concerned her about the debate, she “was excited to get to see my candidate perform and it felt great to see them doing well against their opponent.”

With two more debates left, the long 2016 election cycle appears to be reaching its dramatic climax and conclusion. However, for the Bates student body, the first debate appears to only be the beginning of another year of devote political activism on campus.

 

Clinton debate

A common misconception presented to me both on campus and beyond Bates is that, at this point in time, women and men have the same rights, face similar obstacles and are exposed to similar educational and economic opportunities; the only thing women face that men do not is the likelihood of rape (or so these sources say). However, if you are looking for any evidence that male privilege does still in fact exist beyond the facet of sexual assault, you only have to look towards the current presidential election.

While the presidential debates and this year’s election as a whole have been an overwhelming unveiling of privilege of all types (globally as well as domestically), for the sake of brevity I will focus mostly on privilege as a repercussion of Trump’s maleness versus Clinton’s femaleness. While it is important to recognize that both candidates present as white, heterosexual, and cis gender, I am not positing that any of these factors contribute to Clinton’s “oppression.” In fact, I think her treatment as inferior would be even more shocking and belittling if she identified as any sort of oppressed minority group other than the umbrella “woman.” Secondly, this is in no way the only or primary flaw of the presidential election and the privilege it displays. The conflict in Syria, the refugee crisis, and the BLM movement are just three small examples of global and national emergencies that didn’t get mentioned at the first debate.

Nonetheless, the treatment of Trump versus the treatment of Clinton as candidates is a display of male privilege that is too disturbing to ignore. According to PBS, Clinton was interrupted at the debate 51 times. According to USA Today, Trump interrupted Clinton 25 times within the first 26 minutes. This potentially means that Clinton could have had one full minute of interrupted talking. One. Not only is it extremely disrespectful and demeaning for one candidate to blatantly interrupt another candidate this many times, it is equally as disrespectful and demeaning that the mediator, Holt, did not intervene.

Sadly, this kind of behavior linearly follows our cultural narrative all too well. Men can speak whenever they want; men have important opinions; male voices matter. This narrative excludes female power by silencing the voices of women. This narrative excludes any prospect of female success by interrupting a woman before she can make her point. And this narrative excludes any prospect of female leadership by making sure that women do not have oratory authority.

By allowing this kind of behavior to go unchecked, unnoticed, and unaccounted for in our political system, we are supporting a system that places men as talkers and women as listeners. We are supporting a system in which women are subordinate to men in every intellectual capacity, in a system that is already created to support inherently masculine qualities. The candidate with the louder, deeper voice, assertive behavior, and ability to fill a room with their presence is favored. So allowing the candidate who stereotypically does not have this skill set (as it was systemically trained out of her at a young age) to be continually silenced is disgusting.

The labor Hilary Clinton must commit to in order to obtain a voice, an identity, and a body of her own was overwhelmingly apparent at 2016’s first Presidential Debate. And the labor that Clinton must continue to commit to in order to forge her own voice as an American woman is not an isolated labor.

Mobilization and management

Amidst the stress and chaos of the upcoming election, Bates invited Stephen Skowronek to give a public lecture about Mobilization, Management, and the Modern American Presidency. Skowronek was presented as the keynote lecturer of the Bates 2016 Election Season Series.

Currently, Skowronek is a Pelatiah Perit Professor of Politican and Social Sciences at Yale University. He has authored multiple books including the Building a New American State, The Politics Presidents Make, The Search for American Political Development, and Presidential Leadership in Political Time.

His presentation was a historical perspective and analyzed the institution of presidency and elections since the 1800s compared to the present times. Election season, according to Skowronek, is the worst time to analyze the policies of the candidates because the focus is on the personalities, strategies, and campaigns, which are all tactics used to attract voters. However, the Presidential institution continues to evolve.

There are two techniques used by candidates to attract voters during the campaign process—mobilization and management. Mobilization is the act of speaking about possible political changes, while management is promising to fulfill the government operation and duties, for there is an obligation to be fulfilled. The distinctions between the two have slowly disappeared.

Candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were campaigning from the mobilization point of view because they were both outsiders to the political system and attacked the establishment of the president. Hillary Clinton, however, focused on leadership and used her competence, management skills, and prior experience; she wants to make the political system work, as opposed to transforming it. Yet, it would be beneficial to Trump if he focused on management that is, proving to us that he can manage the government and would be beneficial to Clinton if she started to mobilize with minority groups.

While it is critical to look back at history and analyze the behavior of candidates when they were running for the position of president, it is also critical to remember that times have changed. Social media and television has become an important platform for Trump and Clinton to share their ideas and attacks on one another. Saturday Night Live, Twitter, and multiple talk shows have been used multiple times by the two leading candidates.

Neither Trump nor Clinton holds the magic recipe to fixing the institution of elections. Typically, in the past, presidential candidates would attempt to mix both mobilization and management when campaigning; however, it can be seen in the 2016 election that there is a clear divide between the two.

Further, there is the notion that, as Alexander Hamilton stated, independent candidates threaten the government. That is, every time a new President enters office, he threatens the position and the management.

Skowronek finished the talk by asking a rather pertinent and pressing question—when can this institution be reconstructed, for it does not depend on who wins the presidency.

 

Sticks and balls

The path from Merrill to commons seldom remains empty; and throughout the day, even during the late hours of the evening, the path is full of cheerful Batesies hauling various sports bags and athletic equipment back to their dorms. Somewhere amidst all the sticky bustle lies the beauty of college sports: the fact that different levels of competition (varsity, club, and intramural) allow anyone to compete.

But while some of these levels require certain skill and commitment, all produce similar benefits for the student participating. Bates college is no exception to this, in recent years, club and intramural sport participation at Bates has sprouted, with the involvement of over 60% of Bates students in club and IM sports.

Club and varsity sports, respectively, have huge benefits for students. For many students who may be bored of the treadmill or who perhaps lack the motivation to go to the gym at all may find playing a club sport an easy cure to their workout blues. By focusing on the competition at hand, instead of the tortuous “calories burned” meter on that elliptical, students are able to attend fast-paced practices that help them stay healthy and have fun.

Research done by the New York Times suggests that playing a sport helps reduce stress, for sometimes all it takes is getting active to get rid of that writer’s block or re-energize yourself for a night of note-taking. Additionally, playing a sport teaches valuable time management skills that allow you to make the most of those blocks set aside for strictly studying. With all of this information in mind, it is not surprising to find flourishing club sports and intramural teams at Bates. This year, there have been additional club sport opportunities added, particularly exciting is the creation of the Bates Women’s Club Lacrosse Team.

Although the Bates Women’s Club Lacrosse team was established in the 2014-2015 academic year, it slowly lost momentum and the team never actually got around to playing a full game. This year, however, under the leadership of Brie Wilson 18’, the Bates Women’s Lacrosse Team is briskly gaining momentum, with the participation of over 10 ladies.

Although lacrosse is typically a spring sport, the team has already committed to practicing this fall. “Although we have made it clear that there is no pressure in attending our Thursday and Sunday practices, there have consistently been about 10-15 girls who have shown up,” Wilson excitedly relayed. “That is the beauty of club sports,” she goes on to say. “You can be involved in the sport but still have time for other interests and academics as well that perhaps are not possible with a varsity sport.” This is a form of college athletics without the pageantry or prerogative, and that’s the way athletes, like Brie Wilson, in club sports like it. They devise the practices, make the team rules, decide whom to play and when, budget the money for uniforms and game officials, schedule the hotel and travel arrangements and manage the paperwork.

Joining the team is easy and all levels of fitness and lacrosse experience are welcomed and encouraged. “Some girls who come to practice have never picked up a stick, others played on travel and varsity teams in high school. The diversity is awesome!,” Wilson contends. Interested in learning more about club lacrosse? Contact Brie Wilson at bwilson@bates.edu.

 

Women’s Volleyball falls in two weekend conference matches

The women’s volleyball team headed south (but not as far south as the cross country teams) this past weekend, to compete in back to back conference matches against the western Massachusetts NESCAC schools, Williams and Amherst. They fell in both matches, losing in five sets to Williams on Friday and straight sets against Amherst on Saturday. Williams moved to 2-2 in the NESCAC after their victory over the Bobcats, while Amherst improved to 4-1 in conference. Bates is now 1-3 in conference, 4-9 overall after their weekend slate of games, and sit in 9th place in the NESCAC standings.

Jordan Camarillo ‘20 leans into a serve. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

Jordan Camarillo ‘20 leans into a serve. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

 

 

In their Friday match against the Ephs, Bates dropped the first set, before recovering to win the second and third sets by the same score of 26-24. Williams then regained control of the match, winning the last two sets to secure the grueling, full-length victory. The Bobcats defended well, tallying 11 blocks and 87 digs, but struggled to match the Eph’s steady service game and hitting percentage, scoring a hitting percentage of just .124 and only 5 aces, to the Ephs .210 and 12, respectively. McGrath ‘17, led the way for the Bobcats with twenty kills.

After their quick turnaround, the Bobcats could not muster much of an effort Saturday against Amherst, hitting at a paltry .026 pace, and falling in straight sets. Fortunately, the team will be back in Lewiston this weekend, taking on Wesleyan and Trinity in one of the feature events for the ‘Back to Bates’ weekend.

 

Men’s Soccer loses two in a row

It was a tough weekend for the men’s soccer team. Two NESCAC matches, both away, resulted in two losses for the Bobcats.

On Saturday, Bates took on Trinity and faced them very evenly throughout. Bates had many scoring opportunities, recording ten shots, seven of which were on target. Unfortunately, the Trinity keeper, Domenic Quade, was up for the challenge, saving all seven of those shots, including a late penalty. The Bantams scored the first goal in the 30th minute off a corner and then doubled their lead two minutes later on a free kick. Bates needs to work on their set piece defending in order to prevent easy goals in the future. The Trinity defense held firm throughout the game, preventing Bates from penetrating their goal.

On Sunday, the Bobcats faced defending national champions Amherst on their home turf and got blanked 4-0. Amherst is currently ranked 4th nationally. Both teams had about the same total shots, but Amherst was more accurate, recording ten shots on goal to Bates’ five. Bates keeper Robbie Montanaro had six saves on the day, but Amherst scored two goals in each half to finish with a 4-0 victory. Bates had a handful of opportunities, with shots just barely missing from Peabo Knoth ‘17, Justin Yacovino ‘18, Matt DiVite ‘18, and captain Luke McNabb ‘17.

Target striker Peabo Knoth 2017 commented, “I think overall we played well but we lost focus a few times and every time we were punished for it. There is definitely room for improvement, but pieces are coming together so we just need to put in a fully focused 90 minutes.”

Despite the losses, Bates is not out of the playoffs just yet. With two upcoming home games against Conn and Colby, the Bobcats look to take the hometown advantage for a couple of victories. Come support your boys as they fight for playoff contention.

 

Women’s Cross Country puts together a stellar team performance on national stage

If you haven’t started paying attention to this year’s women’s cross country team, it is about time you did. The squad finished 2nd out of 39 competing teams at a pre-national meet in Louisville, Kentucky last Saturday. Lead runners Jessica Wilson ‘17 and Katherine Cook ‘18 finishing in 9th and 12th place respectively, out of a 332-runner field.

All five scoring runners for the Bobcats finished in the top 42, as they clawed their way to an impressive finish that only the Flying Dutchmen of Hope College could top, one of the premier cross country programs in the Midwest. The 6K course the meet followed will also serve as the route for this year’s national championship meet, in E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.

“It was a great opportunity to run the nationals course midseason. We are now able to start thinking ahead at the possibility of making it to nationals, and being able to preview the course and also excel as a team on the course was highly advantageous to us,” said Wilson.

The course relative to Bates’ home trail at Pineland Farms was flat, so changing their race plan accordingly keyed the exciting team result. “We had to adjust our race plan to be slightly less conservative and more brave in the first mile,” said Wilson.

In a sport that can at first glance seem to be all about individual ability, working together as a team, and specifically having runners push each other during the race, has been crucial to this team’s ability to effectively execute race plans and coming up with a series of impressive meet results so far this fall. “The strength of our team this year is that we have lots of women at the same ability levels,” said coach Jay Hartshorn. “We try to run our races together as much as we can until the end”

The team, travelling over a thousand miles away from campus, made sure to enjoy the chance to break out of the New-England bubble. It was actually an easy weekend of travel,” said Hartshorn. “On Friday we were able to sleep late, run the course and see some of the sites in Louisville. Being so far away helps leave the stress of Bates behind as many of the women had tests and papers last week.”

“We made the best out of the trip by adventuring around Louisville the day before the race and bonding as a team through the trials and tribulations of airport TSA,” quipped Wilson. If this team has any more problems with security in the future, after their performance on Saturday, we know they can simply outrun them.

 

Unpopular peculiarities

Over the weekend I ventured out of the ‘Bates Bubble,’ seven minutes down the road to see Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  As a fan of the book by Ransom Riggs, I was very excited to see the film.  The film was beautiful, but often confusing– even for someone who had read the book a few years ago.  The plot was hard to follow and in some places was downright nonsensical.  One thing I did notice during the movie was the overt lack of diversity.  The sole actor of color is Samuel L. Jackson, who plays the film’s villain.  This did not go unnoticed by other viewers, either, who took it upon themselves to ask the director, Tim Burton, about the film’s overwhelmingly white cast.

His answer was far from satisfying: “Nowadays, people are talking about it more…[but] things either call for things, or they don’t. […] I remember back when I was a child watching ‘The Brady Bunch’ and they started to get all politically correct. Like, OK, let’s have an Asian child and a black. I used to get more offended by that than just… I grew up watching blaxploitation movies, right? And I said, that’s great. I didn’t go like, OK, there should be more white people in these movies.” I am not exactly sure what Burton means when he says some projects “call for things” while others don’t, but I am going to assume he means an effort at diversity.  In other words, some films have an obligation to try and be diverse, but others don’t, including Miss Peregrine. I argue that every film should strive to represent a population of various ethnicities, genders, abilities, and backgrounds, but to say this film didn’t “call” for diversity is an overt fallacy.

Miss Peregrine tells the story of a home for children with unique abilities, ones which often make them pariahs.  The story emphasizes that, although these abilities are often ostracized, they give the children strength and creativity to problem solve and eventually save the day.  They are a community of people who don’t fit in with the mainstream, so why are they all white? In her book, Black Looks: Race and Representation, bell hooks quotes filmmaker Pratibha Parmar, “Images play a crucial role in defining and controlling the political and social power to which both individuals and marginalized groups have access. The deeply ideological nature of imagery determines not only how other people think about us but how we think about ourselves.”

Representation in films and television is so supremely important, especially to children.  As a society saturated in media, children especially form their identities partially on the images they see around them.  I think that Miss Peregrine would have been a great opportunity to demonstrate the power of difference and diversity, not just in magical superpowers, but the very real identities that go beyond whiteness.  Tim Burton completely missed the point in his response to criticism. There’s a huge difference between a want for diversity in predominantly white mainstream films versus believing there should be more white faces in films with predominantly black casts.  Burton, a titan in the film industry, should understand the historical power dynamic in mainstream film and culture.  Hollywood favors whiteness and his ignorance to this seems more evasive than genuine.

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