The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Matt Morris (Page 1 of 2)

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.

 

Former Ambassador Burns Takes Trump to Task

Students, staff, and the rest of the Bates community had a chance to hear a lecture from a former United States Ambassador and current Harvard Kennedy School of Government professor Nicholas Burns on Thursday night in the Olin Arts Center. Burns was an ambassador to Greece and the North American Treaty Organization (NATO), an alliance that includes the United States and most of Western Europe.

Following an introduction by both President Clayton Spencer and politics professor Jason Scheideman, Burns began his speech on a lighthearted note, telling the story of how he had been waitlisted by Bates as a high school senior and jokingly letting President Spencer, an old friend from their work on Capitol Hill and at Harvard University, know that he was “still waiting.”

“We [Clayton and I] have known each other, I won’t say how many decades,” Burns joked.
From there, Burns spoke of the need for America to be confident in itself on the global stage and spoke optimistically of the future, including the current generation of students.

“Our generation will very quickly be handing the baton to you, to be the teachers in our schools. To run on school committees and city councils; to be our CIA; to run our businesses; to run Bates college. I think there’s a lot we can be hopeful for,” Burns told the audience.

Burns spent the bulk of speech laying out the ways in which he believes President Donald Trump has deviated from previous presidents on foreign policy issues, which he organized into four categories: alliances, trade, immigration, and the promotion of democracy worldwide. Overall, across each of these issues, Burns was highly critical of President Trump and presented his foreign policy as a push towards isolationism that hadn’t been seen since before World War II.
Burns called on his experience as a former NATO ambassador to explain the way the United States has needed its allies in the past, and criticized Trump for not doing enough to support its allies or focus on diplomacy in general. Burns gave the example of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

“Right now, we have a situation where the largest economy in the world, the second-biggest carbon emitter in the world, is saying that we’re out of the game… We said we’re not going to work with the rest of the world,” said Burns.

Burns was also critical of Trump’s flippant attitude toward the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a trade agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Burns views NAFTA as a net positive for the United States economy. In particular, Burns singled out Trump’s criticism of Mexico in speeches as being bad for the alliance.

“He [Trump] somehow makes Mexico out to be an enemy of the United States, when Mexico is a virtuous friend of the United States… he is disavowing what made us great economically: seventy years of trade with the rest of the world,” said Burns.

Towards the end of the speech, Burns also criticized Trump on his handling of domestic issues, like the violence surrounding a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last summer. Burns felt that Trump did not do enough to disavow the “racist, American neo-Nazis,” involved in the protests.

According to his Harvard staff page, Burns also served as the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, the third highest position in the State Department, for three years under President George Bush.

Congressional Candidates Vie for Voter Support

Four candidates running to be the official Democratic Party nominee for Maine’s Second District, which includes Lewiston, spent time at a Q&A panel in Carnegie Hall on Thursday, March 22. While each of the four candidates – Jonathan Fulford, Jared Golden ’11, Craig Olsen, and Lucas St. Clair – agreed on many of the issues discussed in the Q&A, each tried to highlight what set them apart from their peers.

The panel utilized pre-scripted questions that were asked by members of the community. Each candidate was given a chance to give their answer to a question, and signs were used to indicate to candidates how much time they had left to give their answers. Topics ranged from hot-button issues like gun control to a discussion of the differing responsibilities of state and federal governments.

One area where the four candidates held differing opinions was whether federal government should raise the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour. While three of the four supported such a measure, St. Clair felt that there were more effective ways to reduce income inequality, calling fifteen dollars an hour an “arbitrary number that doesn’t make sense in a lot of places.”

“I think that a requirement for corporations to have the highest bidder and lowest bidder to have a smaller margin makes sense. I think regionalizing our country and then focusing on the GDP of each one of those regions and requiring a minimum wage in each [makes sense],” said St. Clair.

One issue that Golden in particular, as a veteran who served time in both Iraq and Afghanistan, felt strongly about was a need for a president to seek congressional approval before declaring war, an idea that is enshrined in the constitution, but hasn’t actually happened since World War II.

“Anytime we’re going to be putting troops in combat, I want to see congress taking a vote…they owe it to everyone that fights in those wars. I wish that they had done it for me,” said Golden.

Each candidate used their closing remarks to emphasize respect for  their Democratic opponents, as well as their previous experiences that would make each of them an ideal nominee.

Olson went first and declared that whoever won the primary, he would work to support them. Golden followed and discussed his previous experience as the Democratic Assistant Majority Leader in the Maine House of Representatives. Fulford discussed the “sense of unease about the future” he saw campaigning that could be harnessed to create a movement for change.

“We can create a movement that will have more potential for change than we’ve seen since FDR’s first five years. That is what we actually have to do to right: fix the direction we’ve gone as a society,” said Fulford.

St. Clair gave the final closing remarks of the night and discussed his experience working “to rally thousands and thousands of people” to make the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument a reality.

Maine’s Second Congressional District covers the vast majority of the state, including all of the state’s land north of Augusta. The Lewiston/Auburn metropolitan area is the largest city in the district.

The Democratic Primary Election will take place on June 12, with the General Election on November 6. Whichever of the candidates receives the Democratic nomination in June will face the Second District’s current congressman, Republican Bruce Poliquin, in the general election.   

Amy Bass Discusses Her New Book and Lewiston Soccer’s Dream Season

During the fall, members of the Bates community were able to watch Lewiston High School’s boy’s soccer team play their home games on Garcelon Field on the road to a state title. On Wednesday, students got to hear from an alumni and author who wrote a book about the team’s first title run, in 2015, and its importance to the town.

Amy Bass ’92, a sports writer and professor at New Rochelle College in New York State, returned to her alma mater to talk about her newest book. Entitled One Goal: A Coach, A Team, and the Game that Brought a Divided Town Together, the book looks at Lewiston High School’s 2015 state title run in boy’s soccer. In particular, One Goal tells the story of how Lewiston’s coaches were able to bring together white and Somali players behind a common goal.

Bass began the talk by introducing Lewiston High School Soccer Head Coach Mike McGraw, a major presence throughout the book, who was in the audience. McGraw and received applause from the crowd when Bass introduced him. Bass called McGraw, “such a good friend and such an important part of this story.” From there, Bass discussed the process of writing and researching the book and “embedding” herself in the Lewiston community.

“In so many ways this book is a first for me. It’s not an academic book, it’s my first attempt writing nonfiction and to tell story in a way I hadn’t told a story before,” said Bass.

Bass continued by reading a excerpt from her book and discussing the McGraw and team’s frequent use of the word “together,” which she claimed was the single word she heard McGraw say the most during her time with the team. Lewiston’s coaches encouraged white and Somali players to not only spend time together during practice, but also off the field, something that McGraw did see as much of as would have liked initially.

“If you’re going to the store, if your going to class you need to do it together. High fives in the hallway. You need to hang out together…You need to stick up for each other,” read Bass from One Goal, quoting McGraw.

Bass also discussed the process through which the first members of the Somali community to arrive in Lewiston came, as well the tension that it caused. Bass felt that Lewiston’s soccer team has set an example for the rest of the town, and the nation, on a path moving forward as a unified whole. In response to an audience question, Bass said that she saw soccer as a sport was particularly well suited for bringing people from a variety of backgrounds together because of its global popularity. Many of the student members of the audience were Bates’ soccer teams.

After graduating from Bates, Bass received Masters and Doctoral degrees from Stony Brook University. She has One Goal is Bass’s fourth book. Her others have ranged in subject matter from legacy of NAACP founder W.E.B Du Bois to the 1968 Olympics. Bass has won an Emmy Award for work for NBC at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Club Spotlight: Badminton Club

Every few weeks The Bates Student covers one club out of the nearly one hundred clubs on campus. This week, we’re covering the Badminton Club which meets every Sunday at 4:30 p.m. in the Gray Cage. Though club meetings are casual and always welcome to new players, the club’s members are looking to test their competitive chops in the next year.   

Meetings generally start with setting up nets and to retrieving the equipment. Players warm up by rallying back and forth before playing games in pairs or one-on-one. According to Eric Feng ’20, one of the club’s presidents, the club meetings are very relaxed.

“I played badminton competitively when I was in high school, but we don’t have that kind of vibe here. It’s just a casual thing,” said Feng.

While Feng does have a competitive background in badminton, the overall club is made up mostly of players who discovered badminton far more recently. According to Feng, about 70 percent of new members have never played Badminton before in their life. The club takes the time to let more inexperienced players learn skills.

“We usually have two courts where people are playing games and one court where we’re teaching them [new players] how to play,” said Feng.    

Member Morgan Baxter ’20 echoed Feng’s sentiments about the welcoming nature of the Badminton Club. Baxter played badminton when he was in middle school in Japan, where the sport is more popular than in the United States. He stepped away from badminton for several years until joining the club, however. Baxter said that the club has been great to use as a “study break on a Sunday afternoon.”

“Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been playing for years, there’s something for everyone,” said Baxter.

The club currently only has interteam competitions; however, it is looking to change that next year. Many of the other NESCAC scbools have badminton clubs as well, and the Bates club has allotted money in its budget to potentially invite them to Lewiston for a tournament.

“Starting next year we’re going to get some NESCAC connections, hopefully get enough interest for a tournament. Hopefully people are willing to make the trip up,” said Feng.

Playing badminton requires a specific kind of racquet as well as a shuttlecock, a plastic sphere with a cone of mesh coming out from behind it. Players hit the shuttlecock over a net and attempt to get their opponents on the other side of the net to miss, which results in a point. The first player to score twenty one points is the winner. The dimensions of a badminton court vary slightly depending on whether a singles or doubles game is being played.

According to the Olympic website for the sport, modern Badminton was developed in England in the late nineteenth century, but was heavily influenced by an Indian game called Poona. The sport is named after Badminton House, a property of the English Duke who is credited with first introducing Poona to England. Today, the sport is played worldwide and is especially popular in parts of Asia.

Matt Dunlap Talks Lawsuits and Legislation

Maine’s Secretary of State, Matt Dunlap, addressed members of the Lewiston and Bates community Wednesday night in Muskie Archives. Though Dunlap has been involved in state government for decades, he recently received a large amount of national media attention after he was named as a member of a commission created by President Donald Trump to investigate voter fraud in the 2016 election. Dunlap eventually sued the commission, which disbanded shortly thereafter, a situation which was the main topic of discussion on Wednesday.

The talk began with an introduction by Harwood Center Director Peggy Rotundo, followed by a thirty-minute discussion between Dunlap and Bates politics professor John Baughman. The talk concluded with Dunlap taking time to answer audience questions.

Dunlap began the talk by discussing his typical duties as Maine’s Secretary of State, along with the experiences that lead to his ascendance to the office. He spoke about his time at the University of Maine in Orono and as a mill worker before getting involved in politics, as well his current job duties that involve overseeing state elections.

Last year, Dunlap was given a surprising proposition when Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who Dunlap gets along with well personally, but disagrees with politically, offered him a position on a commission that he was chairing to investigate voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election. Despite not believing that any widespread fraud had occurred during the election, Dunlap agreed.

Though Dunlap, a Democrat, said that he faced a backlash from many of his usual supporters when he agreed to join the Commission on Voter Fraud, he felt that it was an important opportunity to his and others’ (who have similar views) voices to be represented on the commission and to ultimately highlight the lack of widespread fraud in America.
“They [election workers] perform it with a religious zeal. They want to get it right. And we do get it right…the idea that there’s widespread voter fraud is more of a myth,” said Dunlap.

According to Dunlap, his tenure in the commission was marred by a lack of both transparency and communication from the commission’s leaders: Kobach and Vice President Mike Pence. At one point, Dunlap said that he was chastised by another member of the commission and accused of being a leaker for giving a journalist information about the date of an upcoming commission meeting; information that Dunlap said should have legally been available to the public. Dunlap jokingly said that the situation was similar to being accused of “leaking a press release.”

Eventually, Dunlap found that commission leaders were leaving him out of planning and ignoring his requests for more information. The most significant, and humorous, example that Dunlap offered was an occasion where he found out second-hand that an activist group was set to speak at a commission meeting that he had not been invited to. Dunlap found the situation disheartening, illegal, and in sharp contrast to the more open and bipartisan approach taken in Maine state politics.

“I come from Maine, where we pick up the phone and figure it out,” said Dunlap.

After spending some time reflecting, and with the encouragement of a congressman, who, Dunlap says, reached out to him secretly through a Facebook message from their Chief of Staff, Dunlap sued his own commission for the information he felt that he, and the American people, were entitled to. Rather than give it to him, the commission disbanded. The lawsuit, however, is still pending.

The Voter Fraud Commission was created by executive order by President Trump to investigate his repeated claim that three to five million people voted illegally in the 2016 Presidential election, which prevented Trump from winning the popular vote. To date, no evidence has been found to support Trump’s claim. In addition to the logistical issues discussed by Dunlap on Wednesday, the commission had a difficult time getting many states to give them the information that they requested; a reason that Trump ultimately noted in a tweet was the reason for the commission dissolution.

Search Committee for Associate Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Seeks Student Input

As a part of their search for a new Associate Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, Bates Title IX Officer Gwen Lexow and Assistant Director of Campus Life Nick Dressler held a listening session last Friday. The session was designed to give students a space to discuss the kinds of traits and ideas that they felt would be important in a candidate for the position. Though sparsely attended, the listening session successfully sparked conversation for those in the room.

The title of Associate Vice President of Equity and Inclusion is a new name for an existing position, previously known as the Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity. The new name is meant to reflect changes in the responsibilities involved the position that have taken place naturally over the last few years.

According to Lexow, while the holder of the position had previously overseen the Office of Intercultural Education’s (OIE) programming, the search committee is now hunting for someone who will be more focused on big picture issues rather than day to day operations.

“This [position] is not work that sits in one office. This is work that sits everywhere,” said Lexow.

Lexow and Dressler came to the meeting as representatives of a larger search committee. The committee includes four faculty members, four staff members, and is in the process of seating two student representatives.

Each student representative will have an equal say in committee matters. In addition to Friday’s listening session, another student session will take place on Thursday, February 15. On the in between, a listening session will be held for staff members on Monday and faculty members on Wednesday. The focus on including multiple parts of the Bates community in the search process as either committee members or through a listening session is something that Lexow feels is important because of the scope of the job.

“This person has to be able to interact with and earn the trust of a variety of constituents,” said Lexow.

When asked what they personally considered key attributes of a candidate for the position, Dressler and Lexow both said that they felt that an ability to listen to a wide variety of people, acknowledge different experiences and a focus on social justice issues on campus were important qualities in an ideal candidate.

“I think with regards to students, we want someone with a firm grasp of Student Development Theory, especially Student Development Theory not rooted in dominant identities,” said Dressler.

Dressler went on to explain that Student Development Theory is a mode of thinking that focuses on finding a variety of ways to get students to learn successfully. For Dressler the ultimate goal of Student Development Theory is to level the playing field for all students.    

Though only one student not from The Bates Student was present at this meeting, conversations on a variety topics relating to the position and campus life took place.

Both Dressler and Lexow are hoping for increased student participation at their next listening session and noted that students wishing to share their input can reach the committee through emailing avpequitysearch@bates.edu.

The search committee hopes to have a list of semi-finalists to interview for the position by the middle of April, and to ultimately have a select group of finalists come to campus and interact with students, faculty and staff in May.        

Circus Club Prepares for Gala Dance

Come one come all! Over the last few years, members of the Bates Circus Club have met up to practice their skills, learn new tricks from other club members. Now, the club is looking to demonstrate their skills on stage at the Gala dance later this year.

Club practices typically take place weekly, though attendance at each practice is not mandatory and members come as often as they can. According to club president Mary Szatkowski ’18, a typical practice will have around four participants from a pool of around eight members. The club has had a recent surge in interest after the recent winter activities fair and is expecting to get a few more steady members.

Practices are loose and casual. After warming up with some stretches and “basic climbs,” members take turns practicing tricks and teaching others new skills. Tricks can be performed with a variety of equipment including “aerial equipment” like silks, which hang from the ceiling to the floor and can be climbed and used for a variety of acrobatic feats, as well as “ground equipment” like juggling balls and unicycles. According to Szatkowski, practices usually last about an hour and members will often spend time socializing after. Official meetings are weekly and members will sometimes meet up on their own time to practice.

“Occasionally we’ll meet up unofficially a second time a week if people are free but we only have one planned meeting on Sunday,” said Szatkowski.

While the Circus Club hasn’t had a performance in over three years, this year will be different. The club’s members will be performing as part of the festivities at Gala, an opportunity that the group is extremely excited about. According to Szatkowski, the club is looking to hone its skills over the next few months in hopes of wowing the crowd.

“The last few years we’ve just been doing this for fun. We just found out about [the performance] last week, so we have two months to figure out what we want to do and plan our routine and look graceful,” said Szatkowski.

Szatkowski added that the performance will match Gala’s theme, which she chose not to reveal, as it is still “secret.” Gala will most likely be the club’s only performance this year. In preparation for the Gala performance, club members are hoping to not only to improve some of skills that they already know, but also pick up new ones.

“We hope to have some variety…we have some equipment in storage, so we’re also going to take a look at that and see if people are interested in learning something new in the next two months,” said Szatkowski.

Though small in numbers, the Bates Circus Club has many dedicated members. One member, first year Emma Proietti has been practicing circus arts for six years at a gym in her home town and looked specifically at colleges with circus clubs. Other members, like Szatkowski, have been active in the club starting from their freshman year.

“When I toured Bates, the tour guide was the star of the circus club and told me about it. So when I came to Bates this was the one club I was planning to join,” said Szatkowski.

Whether swinging through the air and climbing towards the sky with silks or balancing on a unicycle, the members of the Bates College Circus Club have a unique set of talents. Their skills will be on full display come Gala.

 

Fusemachines wants to take Artificial Intelligence Worldwide

For many people, artificial intelligence (AI) may seem like something out of science fiction novel. For the employees of Fusemachines, including Bates alumni Nate Levin ’16 and Sameer Maskey ’02, AI technology is simply a part of a regular day at the office.

In a partnership with the Career Development Center, Levin returned to Bates to talk to students about Fusemachines and provide information about a summer internship opportunity at the company’s New York City Office.

Levin began his presentation by discussing the services that Fusemachines provides as well as their overall philosophy. The company rents out engineers capable of working with AI technology, who are paid on a month-by-month basis. According to Levin, this business model allows Fusemachines to reach out to start ups and other smaller businesses who might not have the money to hire an AI engineer on a full time basis but still want to implement the technology.

“Our mission is ‘Democratize AI,’ meaning that we make artificial intelligence accessible to everyone,” said Levin.

Fusemachines carries the ‘Democratize AI’ beyond the clients that they attempt to attract. The company also actively looks to train engineers from parts of the world that typically don’t have a large presence in tech industry. Though based out of New York City, the majority of Fusemachines’ employees are based out Kathmandu, Nepal. The company is has also recently opened offices in Rwanda and the Dominican Republic. To train engineers at each office, the company provides a math test to candidates. Those who pass are given a year-long online training course. The decision to take an international approach to hiring came from Maskey, the company’s founder, who grew up in Nepal before attending Bates.

According to Levin, working for a company with employees spread out across the globe is not without its challenges, especially when it comes to timing and communication. Several steps have been taken in each office to try to bridge the gap.

“Our Nepal office runs for about twenty hours a day with a dayshift and a nightshift,” said Levin.

Levin concluded the presentation by discussing a summer internship opportunity available for Bates students to apply to. Levin, himself a former intern for Fusemachines, spoke positively of the experience. He noted that the internship deals mostly with sales and marketing and that no engineering experience or knowledge is necessary. The internship is based out of Fusemachines’ New York City office, where Levin said that because of the office’s small size, day-to-day tasks could vary widely.

“Until shortly before [the internship] starts we may not know the areas of need,” said Levin.

After addressing the work that the company does, as well as its international approach, Levin moved on to discussing some of the projects that the company’s engineers have been working on recently. These projects varied widely: from using AI technology to help makes sales databases more efficient, to designing an autonomous drone to deliver medicine to rural towns in Nepal.

Fusemachines was founded by Maskey after he finished his undergraduate degree at Bates and then graduate school at Columbia University. Previous to founding the company, Maskey, who grew up in Nepal, created the first ever Nepali speech-to-text program.

Free Speech Panel Discusses New Policy Implimentation

As a part of Bates College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day programming, students, staff and members of the community gathered in Pettengill Hall to discuss some of the issues surrounding free speech on college campuses. Ultimately, the intended goal of the meeting was to provide feedback on a “Free Speech Statement of Principles” for the school that will be released in the near future.

The event opened with comments from a panel of faculty members from a variety of departments, lead by Associate Dean of Faculty Margaret Imber. From there, students broke up into small groups to discuss four different free speech-related scenarios and to decide how the planned statement of principles might apply to each one.

According to the panel members, the idea to craft a Statement of Principles came after watching several colleges that have had free speech-related issues, often with planned speakers and student responses to those speakers, draft statements of their own.

While the faculty noted that Bates has not had a similar controversy in recent years, the administration felt that it should create a statement that could be applied to any similar situations, rather than being “reactionary.” According to Nathan Faries, an Asian Studies and Chinese professor who was a member of the panel, releasing a statement was a way for Bates to stake its claim on a national issue.   

“We want to be a part of this discussion,” said Faries.

Most members of the audience who commented agreed in the importance of drafting a Statement of Principles. According to Morgan Baxter ’20, an attendant of the event, the idea of a Statement sent a clear message on how Bates wanted its community to engage.

“Bates wants to build pen discourse built on mutual respect. That was my takeaway,” said Baxter.

While many students appreciated the idea of a written position, some didn’t feel that the sentiments expressed in the words matched the administration’s actions.

One student, Maddy Smith ’20, felt that the school’s policy on protests, which states that protesters who disrupt class time can be punished and that protesters should coordinate their demonstrations with the school and limit them to certain locations, limited free speech. Smith ended her statement to the panel by connecting the importance of protest to the work of Martin Luther King Jr.

“All these events for MLK Day are the result of activism,” concluded Smith.

While Imber agreed with Smith’s general sentiment, she noted that that it would be difficult for the school to endorse activities that broke up the educational process, as that was something the school valued as much as protest.

Imber also noted that protest could be very effective when breaking the rules because it created “spectacle.”

Following the discussion of protests, the audience was broken into small groups to discuss four hypothetical scenarios involving free speech on a college campus. The scenarios ranged in content from a controversy surrounding a professor’s Twitter account to students who refused to do certain class assignments due to religious beliefs. After about twenty minutes the audience reconvened as one group to discuss their takeaways.

The Free Speech Panel was a part of a larger set of programming sponsored by the school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Programming began with a morning keynote address by Dr. Na’ilah Suad Nasir and continued throughout the day.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén