The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: May 2018 (Page 1 of 2)

A Stutterer No Longer, on Paper at Least

When does a secret become a secret? Is it when someone whispers into another person’s ear and begs them not to tell? Or maybe it happens more gradually, merely a result of choosing not to talk about an aspect of your life.

I did not intend for my stutter to become a secret. But nonetheless, it seems like it did.

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Softball Team Sweeps Colby

The Bates softball team has had an impressive regular season, culminating with a sweep of rival Colby this past weekend. With their 20-13 record (5-7 in the NESCAC), they are headed to the NESCAC tournament.

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Bates Joins in on Rebuilding Lewiston

On Saturday, April 28, 2018, volunteers from Bates College and Rebuilding Together L/A gathered together at 7 in the morning to drink coffee and eat donuts to fuel for the long day ahead of them. Rebuilding Together L/A is a non-profit that repairs homes of the needy and elderly in the Lewiston/Auburn community at no expense to the homeowners.

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Club Spotlight: Philosophy Forum

 

Each Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m., philosophically inclined Batesies make their way up to the Philosophy Lounge in Hedge for an informal discussion about a wide array of topics including thought experiments, metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, and other topics they discuss in class. This week, The Bates Student went to investigate a typical Philosophy Forum meeting.

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Frisbee Teams Fight Rainy and Cold Short Term Weather

The weather forecasts might have finally climbed above 50, but it seems to me that Bates is about to experience another cold front.

Coldfront, the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team is the unofficial spring varsity sport. So far this year the A team has a record of 18-1, winning a bid to Nationals in a few weeks in Rockford, Illinois. They also won sectionals, came second at regionals and won the New England Open. Arguably, they’ve been the team with the most wins this season.

But beyond their athletic accomplishments, Coldfront also has a team dynamic unlike any other.

First of all, there are no cuts. In the fall, both A and B teams practice, socialize, and play together, forming a broad community that isn’t separated by skill. Teams are determined in the spring, and even then each player has the choice to try out for either A or B. This promotes leadership, unity and a bond that you can actually see. Upon sitting down with a table of frisbee players this week, the closeness of the team was very clear to me. I couldn’t differentiate between who plays for which team. Yet even if you aren’t on the frisbee team, it’s hard not to take notice.

Frisbee grabs your attention all over campus. First at the activity fair, covered in glitter and tutu’s — what one member properly called “ridiculous flair” — throwing around a frisbee and blasting music. Then on Garc on Friday afternoons, yelling so loud I can hear them from the Puddle. This flair is the culmination of the personalities of everyone on the team; quiet, loud, first-year or senior, cat or dog lover. It is a representation of the culture of the team, and reminds everyone to have fun and not take things too seriously. And that seems to have worked out in their favor.

“I have played high level soccer all my life, and yet have never been on a team that is so competitive,” says Annie Boyer ‘21.

If you didn’t already believe me, here are some more examples.

There is always something going on for the team. Whether it be some of the best themed parties you’ve ever seen, apple picking at Wallingford’s Fruit House, pasta dinners or simply making a ruckus in commons, these girls are genuinely friends.

“It’s been an incredible experience to be a part of such an inclusive and supportive team, especially as a first year and I’m really looking forward to seeing this program continue to grow throughout my time at Bates,” says Liz Casey ‘21, who plays on the A team.

Jamie Siegart ‘21,  who plays on the B team couldn’t agree more.

“My favorite part of Coldfront is that we are one big family, regardless of if you are on A or B team” Siegart says. “Everyone seriously cares about each other and wants you to be the best player that you can be. You can come onto the team with no prior frisbee experience at all and are welcomed with open arms and smiling faces. Joining frisbee was the best decision I’ve made thus far at Bates.”

Although a club level sport, they are led by confident and extraordinary captains at both team levels. But above everything else, the succeed because everyone on the team cares.

“The program is driven more by people on the team than by the school so we can define and create what we want as a team and as a culture,” says Adair Andre ‘18.

Input is important, every members opinion matters, and that shows through the time they spend together (as well as team meetings, strategy conversations, surveys).

I could go on and on, but I suggest you see for yourself and keep up with Coldfront’s success at Nationals the week of May 19.

Men’s Field Athletes Lead Bates to a Fifth Place Finish at NESCAC Championships

The men’s track and field team competed at the NESCAC Championships last Saturday, April 28 at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. The Bobcats placed fifth out of 11 teams, with the field athletes earning all but a few of Bates’ total points.

Bates earned 78 points total, losing only to Middlebury (172), Williams (140), Tufts (137) and Bowdoin (110). Out of the 78 total points scored by Bates, 72 were scored in field events. In total, Bates left the meet with eight All-NESCAC honors, earned by placing in the top three of each event, and two NESCAC champions.

Adedire Fakorede ‘18 earned 24 points for the team with three top-three finishes in the throws. Fakorede won the discus throw for the second year in a row with a throw of 160-7 (ft), placed second in the hammer throw with a mark of 173-4 and third in the shot put with a throw of 49-3.75.

In one of the most remarkable outcomes from this meet, Bates took first and second in the pole vault with not one, but two Bobcats vaulting the winning mark of 15’5”. Garrett Anderson ‘18 earned the conference title and David Dick ‘18 took second place, earning a solid 18 points for Bates.

“My mind is just blown,” Anderson says. “It was the first outdoor meet where the weather was good for us this year, which can be really important in the vault, but I didn’t expect to jump quite so well. For me to meet my PR from last year and David to come out and have a ridiculous one foot PR jump to tie me was just not something that I could believe would happen. All of the Bates vaulters had a really great day, and I think we capitalized on that energy well.”

Head Coach Al Fereshetian “Fresh” agreed: “The vaulters were amazing. I knew they could do well, but I never imagined a 1-2 sweep at 15’5”. David and Rett have established themselves as the best vault duo in Bates history.”

In the high jump, Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene ‘20 placed second with a season-best mark of 6’6”, only two inches lower than first and four inches higher than third.

Two first-years from Bates, John Rex ‘21 and Zack Smith ‘21 earned All-NESCAC honors in the hammer throw and javelin throw respectively. Rex threw a personal record of 171-7, earning him third place in the event. Smith similarly hit a personal record in the javelin with a mark of 168-1, also earning him third place.

Other scorers in the field include Tom Endean ‘18 who placed fourth in the discus throw (140-2), Tyler Harrington ‘19 placing fifth in the javelin (167-7) and Caleb Stotz ‘18 placing eighth in the triple jump (42-2.25).

“I do think that having the head coach directly involved in the throws and vault specifically is a big factor [in the success of Bates’s field events], and it shows,” Anderson says. That being said, we have a really great coaching staff on all sides.”

On the track, Bates’s 4x800m team comprised of Ian Wax ‘19, Jonathan Sheehan ‘19, Ryan Nealis ‘21 and Jack Kiely ‘18, placed sixth with a time of 8:04.86. The 4x400m team, run by Ryan Corley ‘19, Michael Somma ‘19, Mark Fusco ‘19 and Rob Flynn ‘18, earned seventh place with a time of 3:25.46, and the 4x100m team of Michael Bennett ‘18, Corley, Kimpolo-Pene and Frank Fusco ‘19, placed eighth in 43.94. Each of these relay teams received points which contributed to Bates’ total score.

However, even with Bates’ solid fifth place at NESCACs, Coach Fresh says that Bates was holding back.

“I think it was a great meet for our entire team and it should set us up very nicely to be even more competitive as a team this weekend at the New England Championships,” Coach Fresh says. “We had a great meet two weeks ago at States, but it’s hard to put strong efforts together three weeks in a row so we rested some guys and let others run in other races for developmental reasons this past weekend knowing that we had a sizable point base to start with, but not likely enough to contend for the title.”

For many athletes, the NESCAC Championship will be the end of their outdoor track and field season. However, others will continue on to compete this week, May 3-5, at the New England Division III Championships hosted by MIT in Cambridge, Mass.   

Stephen Engel talks Gay Rights and Dignity in Kroepsch Award Lecture

As a part of his receiving of the annual Ruth and Robert Kroepsch Award, Associate Professor and Politics Department Chair Stephen Engel was given free reign to lecture on a subject of his choosing. His talk “The Conservative Potential of the Supreme Court’s Gay Rights Jurisprudence, or Why Justice Neil Gorsuch May Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Same-Sex Marriage,” delved deep into some of his biggest focuses in the classroom: constitutional law and LGBT rights.

In his lecture, Engel examined the legal justifications used in major recent LGBT rights cases in the Supreme Court, such as United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges. Ultimately, he concluded that some of the language used in these cases could, seemingly counter intuitively, be used in future cases as groundwork to support more socially conservative causes such as anti-affirmative action laws and opposition to late term abortion rights.

After a brief introduction from Dean of Faculty Margaret Gresh, Engel began his talk with an examination of conservative Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s seeming embrace of same-sex marriage, which Gorsuch called “protected by the Constitution,” in his confirmation hearing. Engel believes that Gorsuch may support cases like Windsor and Obergefell because they allow for marriage equality on the basis of the right to “dignity” rather than a “suspect class” justification.

According Engel, the “dignity” argument focuses on the way marriage bans harm LGBT people on an individual basis, rather than viewing them as a collective group who have historically been oppressed, as they be under a “suspect class” justification. In this way, says Engel, cases like Windsor and Obergefell allow for same-sex marriage equality without delving into identity-based policy, making the rulings more conservative than meets the eye.

“Interestingly, Supreme Court Gay Rights jurisprudence since [the 1991 case Clark v.] Roemer have achieved equal rights recognition without relying on suspect class or classification doctrine, and as such may hint at a conservative alternative to the doctrine,” said Engel.

Engel went on to explain how Justices could possibly use the precedent set in these cases, as a result of the dignity justification, in future cases to reach more conservative outcomes. According to Engel, the language of recent marriage equality cases paves the way for something called “suspect classification” in cases, which views any form of identity politics, not just discriminatory laws, as potentially unconstitutional.

“The latter [suspect classification] would treat attempts to remedy discrimination with identity based policy, such as bussing for school integration, as constitutionally suspect,” said Engel.

For the last thirty years, the Kroepsch Award has been given to a Bates faculty member to honor “outstanding performances as teachers. A committee of staff members who have previously won the award decide each new recipient, using written student testimonials and nominations. Testimonials about Engel ranged from more lengthy anecdotes to one student who simply called Engel a “freakin’ genius.”

“With the Kroepsch Award, we honor a colleague whose teaching has changed the way students think and reason and the way they understand themselves,” said Gresh.

The lecture was held on Monday afternoon in the Keck Auditorium, where Engel was greeted with a full audience. As is typical of many Bates events, cookies, pastries and coffee were served beforehand.

 

Millenium Dance Delivers a Pleasant Surprise

Britney Spears. OutKast. Lil Mama. 50 Cent. Do those names ring any bells? Hit songs from the 2000’s rang across campus this past weekend, as Bates celebrated the final decade’s dance of the year, Millennium Dance.

The decade’s dances were introduced a few years ago as a way to bring all of campus together in celebration of a particular musical and cultural era; now, the dances have grown to be some of the biggest social events on campus. The three dances, 80’s, 90’s, and Millennium Dance, often involve era-themed music playlists, outfits, and celebrations across campus. They typically occur in the Ladd Library Arcade, and a DJ or live band performs on the elevated platform as students bump around on the main arcade floor.

This year, Bates celebrated the last decade’s dance of the year in style. The DJ played chart-topping tracks from the early 2000’s, and I loved the mix of music. Hits from childhood, though now realized to be inappropriate, included “Yeah,” by Usher, “Gold Digger,” by Kanye West, “Stacy’s Mom,” by Fountains of Wayne, “Since You Been Gone,” by Kelly Clarkson, and “Turn Me On,” by Kevin Lyttle. As students gyrated to the beat, each time a new song came on, students screamed and started yelling lyrics at the tops of their lungs.

Summer Peterson ’18 also enjoyed the music; according to her, “the music was fun. The dancing was fun. It was music we all actually knew, because we were alive when it came out.” Here, she brings up an interesting point; in a few years, all college students will be born after the year 2000, and, consequently, may not remember many of the songs featured in the Millennium Dance. I wonder what their experiences will be like, as they will be less likely to have grown up with the music of the dance.

As the music blared, students were grinding and bumping to the throwback tunes. Taryn Bedard ’18 observed that, “It was less of a culture of slimy interpersonal interactions,” then continued to clarify that people seemed to be more respectful. She observed less unsolicited contact between dancers, such as inappropriate touching or unwanted advances. I also picked up on this pleasant trend; while I am sure that many dancers experienced undesirable physical contact, I saw much less of it compared to past years.

Despite these positive reviews, something peculiar occurred at Millennium this year. I recognized several Lewiston High School students in attendance, brought to campus by family members or friends. I taught in the high schools this spring and was shocked to see some of their familiar faces amongst the fray in the Arcade. While Bates dances remain open to all community members by default, I wasn’t expecting to see my high school students mixing in at our college dances. Despite my discomfort, they appeared to be having a good time, which is the entire purpose of the dances in the first place.

As my last decade’s dance, it was bittersweet to participate in this Bates tradition for the final time. The 80’s, 90’s, and Millennium Dances have been a huge part of my Bates experience, and I hope that other Bates students take the time to determine what traditions they enjoy and choose to participate in them prodigiously.

 

Understanding the Importance of Opinions

When I began working for the forum section in the fall of this past year, I didn’t know what to expect. What would I write on? Who else would contribute to the section? Did my articles really matter if no one read the paper? Time and again, I was surprised by this section and by the importance opinions had within our community. Every week, I learned about a range of topics from a recent spike in violence in Bangladesh to the qualities of one of our own Lewiston mayoral candidates. I learned that the paper has a strong readership and that students are not afraid to respond to articles published in The Student. But what struck me weekly about every piece was the nuanced arguments authors made and many times the thought-out responses and conversations that were born out of 550 to 750 words. The eloquence and intelligence of my peers provided me with solace knowing that these Batesies would go out into the world with the same poised passion they displayed in their articles and have a hand in shaping the future of our world economically, politically, socially and in a myriad of other ways I cannot even conceive of at the moment.

Many weeks, I struggled to settle on a topic or felt that the opinion I took in a piece would somehow reflect poorly on me or bring to light the true princess qualities I like to keep hidden from the majority of people. However, as the year progressed, and I got feedback from friends, professors, and peers on the work I was doing, I came to understand that every viewpoint is valuable; you may not agree with it, you may find it offensive, but there is always something to be gained, a new piece of knowledge to discover when well-supported opinions are presented, understood, and debated about. Even when you feel your opinion may be a minority one or you may face backlash for expressing it, it is valuable, even if it is only known by you. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable to say something you don’t think will be well received or to put yourself in a position to take criticism, but if we all exist within our careful constructed circles of similar opinions, we miss out on expanding and affirming our own beliefs. Encourage varied viewpoints, but don’t seek them out just to say you did. Understand your own opinion and why it is valid in order to allow yourself to see validity in all opinions, provided they are not threatening to the safety of others.

So what is my point here? The biggest takeaway I have from my year with the forum section is opinions matter, oftentimes more than facts. Read a lot, learn a lot, and engage with as many different types of people as possible. In the current sociopolitical climate, things can feel hopeless and cyclical. Insecurity and the feeling of being unheard can hinder progress on individual and organizational levels. We must ground ourselves in the lessons we have learned at Bates, use our knowledge to express nuanced opinions, and work to make sure every opinion is heard. At this point in all of our lives, about to embark on a varied set of great paths, a general feeling of lack of control can haunt us, but we must remember our voice matters, our vote counts, and we are capable of change.

 

Why a Canadian Team Needs to Win the Stanley Cup

I know, I know, at this point you’ve probably scoffed and switched to reading a different article, but hear me out.

When you think of Hockey, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? A toothless Hoser in a tattered Canadiens jersey just playing a little pond hockey with some Timmies and an ice cold Molson.

Personally, I can name 20 of my high school classmates that fit that bill.

Yes, there it is: I am Canadian. But I assure you that, just because our money looks like it came straight out of a game of Monopoly, doesn’t mean I can’t give my two cents (pay no attention to the fact that Canada also no longer has pennies…). All jokes aside, while Canada is often synonymous with Hockey, no Canadian team has won a Stanley Cup in 23 years.

In 2016, not a single Canadian team made the playoffs.

The Montreal Canadians have won the most Stanley Cups in history (24), but haven’t made it past the first round of playoffs in the last three years, and haven’t won a cup since 1993. It’s still too soon for me to talk about the Vancouver Canucks’ loss to the Bruins in 2011, or as my Grade Six teacher called it at the time, “The Choke of the Century.” The Flames have missed out on a playoff bid for two of the last three years, and up until 2014 hadn’t won a playoff game in ten years. Edmonton had high hopes when they acquired Connor McDavid, now the youngest captain in NHL history, but, last year, made the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons. Ottawa has had such a bad year that the owner threatened to move the team. The Jets haven’t been much different, only making two playoff appearances since relocating in 2011, with this year marking their first playoff series win in franchise history. And with the Leafs’ tough loss to the Bruins last Wednesday, the city of Toronto will mark its 50th year without winning a Stanley Cup.

So why does Canada — the country which is credited with inventing the sport — consistently have such a hard time reaching a post-season series? I could go on about that for pages and pages. But as nice as it would be to finally get a win in what essentially is Canada’s national sport, there is another reason why this is Canada’s year.

I was sitting in the Den watching the pre-game report on last Wednesday’s Bruins – Maple Leafs game seven, and I saw on the b-roll a sign that said, “Toronto Strong.” In the wake of the attack by a man who plowed into a crowd killing 10 and injuring 14 two days before, Toronto really needed a win. They fought hard, and it was a fair game, the Leafs were simply outplayed. But after what feels like a never ending series of mass deaths in Canada in the last few weeks, Canadians need something to place their faith in again. The entire National Hockey League, and the entire country, has united in their support for the Humboldt Broncos, the SJHL team that was involved in a 16 fatality crash earlier this month. But it is the neighboring province’s Winnipeg Jets that have become a symbol of the strength and resilience for which hockey players are known. The same could be said for plenty of other teams; e.g. the Tampa Bay Lightning in the wake of the Parkland Shooting. But in a league that has come to rely so much on young prospects, overshadowed by the fact that 10 young players with dreams of winning a Cup will never get there, maybe the Winnipeg Jets can restore the Canadian faith and win it for the Humboldt Broncos.

 

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