The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: April 2014

Supreme Court upholds Michigan’s ban of affirmative action policies

This past Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided to uphold an amendment to Michigan’s state constitution that banned race-conscious admissions policies in higher education in the case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.

Affirmative action has been a deeply debated issue since its implementation in the 1960s. It is seen by some as a way to level the playing field for minority students, a tool to give minority students the opportunity they might otherwise not have to pursue higher education. Others see affirmative action as unfair preferential treatment for minority students, who are accepted not for their merit, but for their skin color.

In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld a race-conscious admission policy at the University of Michigan Law School. In Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, the Court ruled that affirmative action is constitutional only if it treats race as one factor among many, and if it does not automatically increase on applicant’s chances of acceptance simply because of his or her race.

Displeased with the 2003 decision, opponents of affirmative action moved to amend the state constitution. By 2006, Michigan voters banned the consideration of race or sex in public education and employment.

The debate rages on. Brooke Kimbrough, a black high school student with impressive extra curricular credentials, applied to University of Michigan in the fall. After being wait-listed and then denied acceptance, she decided to fight the state’s ban on race-conscious admission policies in higher education.

Affirmative action was implemented to fix the historic wrongs against African Americans and Native Americans and to fight discrimination in higher education and employment. Affirmative action addresses the reality that most minorities attend inner city public schools that are not as good as the private schools or suburban public schools most white students attend.

Despite affirmative action’s goals to ensure more equal access to higher education, the Supreme Court, with its 6-2 decision, ruled to uphold Michigan’s ban of affirmative action policies. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for a three-member plurality, claimed that the ruling was a modest one. He sided with the voters who undertook “a basic exercise of their democratic power,” and who he claimed have a right to act through their state’s political process to decide on this issue.

“This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it,” Kennedy added.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued that it is not about who decides but how this issue is decided. She read aloud from her 58-page dissent, an act that often suggests how strongly a justice feels about a case.

Sotomayor stated that while the Constitution “does not guarantee minority groups victory in the political process… it does guarantee them meaningful and equal access to that process. It guarantees that the majority may not win by stacking the political process against minority groups permanently.”

The effects of the 2006 Michigan amendment can already be seen. In 2008, black students comprised for 6.8 percent of the freshman class at University of Michigan; in 2012, that number dropped to 4.6 percent. The Michigan amendment has already resulted in a 25 percent drop in minority representation in Michigan’s public universities and colleges.

Justice Sotomayor also addressed the conservative members of the court, who often suggest the best way to reach racial equality is to ignore race. As Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote in a 2007 case, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Sotomayor responded that this view is “out of touch with reality” and that “race does matter.” Affirmative action was put in place to address racial inequality, inequalities that continue to exist today and that have become institutionalized. As Sotomayor stated, “we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.”

If we believe that higher education is the way to improve one’s economic standing and to escape poverty, then shouldn’t we make higher education more accessible to those minorities that often live in poverty?

I would argue that we still have not come far enough in the fifty years since affirmative action was first implemented to dismantle now. Pubic universities still don’t proportionally represent the black or Latino population.

Fourteen percent of the state in Michigan is black; however, only 5 percent of the student body at University of Michigan is black.

Most suburban white students have the advantage of good public schools, SAT and ACT tutoring, and college counseling, while many black students that live in the inner cities don’t. Affirmative action was supposed to address this disadvantage. Without it, diversity is drastically declining at our schools of higher education.

I’m done with huge music venues (sort of)

So, if you haven’t caught on, I’m a big music guy. I think it’s fair to say I’ve seen a lot of shows – good ones, bad ones, but a lot of them have been life changers, or even favorite changers. No band is a band if they can’t seal the deal live – if they can’t make you go home and tell all your friends how awesome it was and why you all should now worship the front-man or the bassist or the triangle player of that band.

The problem becomes – how do you go to a concert, sip a beer, dance your backside down to the ground, and sing along, without getting demolished by the guy next to you who looks like one of the bad guys out of Breaking Bad? I know, I’m basically talking about rock concerts, but this applies to all kinds of gigs – the preppy white kids in tanks at Kendrick Lamar shows, the other worldly-lanky hipster at Local Natives shows, and the tatted up guy who’s way too old to be at a Foo Fighters show, singing along with his oddly perfect replica of Dave Grohl’s goatee and way too old to be obnoxiously shoving people around to tracks off the first album (which is always a bummer since they’re my favorite band).

My first concert ever was The Who in MSG when I was fourteen – and that was fine, since I was lucky enough to be in seats up from the General Admission area. Along the way I went to the Izod center, MSG again, TD Garden, Cumberland County Civic Center, etc etc. The big gigs are great. But anyone with even a touch of discomfort at being pushed around may feel very claustrophobic.

Since the huge gigs, I’ve been more into the smaller club gigs. And it’s great! No big monster guy barreling into you and screaming out the demons that have entered his brain, no more waiting to go to the restroom for…6 hours (I think that’s my concert record), and you don’t get your feet trampled (if you don’t want that to happen that is – I think a good old boogy sesh is really the only way to go, and there’s bound to be some collateral damage). You can grab a beverage, stand wherever you want in the club – front, back, middle, in the balcony, in the exit – and it’s usually not a big deal to get back to your spot.

Now, there are some downsides to smaller gigs – no, you’re not going to see ‘Ye or T Swift or the Rolling Stones at a random club gig (unless you’re a frequenter of the Roxy in LA), but you will find some awesome musicians who are making some very non-mainstream, sometimes incredible, sometimes crappy, sometimes in-between music. And there’s something exciting about not knowing necessarily what to expect from a show – because regardless of who you see, if you like music I guarantee you’ll have a good time. That’s not to say that I will never go to MSG to see Foo Fighters or the Stones, because I definitely would seeing as they’re some of my favorite bands. I’m just sick of going broke every time I want to see a band that only plays these huge arenas.

I’ve certainly found some of my favorite current bands by showing up to small gigs at local music venues – Gary Clark Jr., White Denim, Lettuce and Thievery Corporation, to name a few. I’ve admittedly also seen some pretty terrible musical acts in my day – it’s all part of the fun. But the best thing about these smaller gigs is the low-stress vibe. When you’re going to see Kanye or some wild rock band, there’s a certain “concert” environment that is one of the more genuinely annoying things in the world – everyone finds it necessary to get zonked out of their minds, and a lot of pushing, moshing, aggressive arguments about your spot in the crowd, and spilling of beverages ensues. In small venues, it’s just a bunch of random people looking to have a good time hanging and jamming out. There’s room to stand without someone’s back sweat wiping off on your face or having someone’s overpriced Bud Light toppled onto your head as they try to push through the crowd. And finally, you’re not paying upwards of fifty dollars for a ticket (and that’s cheap for an arena show)!

So, go to your local music venue – The Sinclair is a great spot in Cambridge, The Mercury Lounge or any of the Bowery Presents in New York, or any dump that sounds of a stampede of overly amplified instruments – support local businesses and emerging artists, and have a better time spending fifteen dollars on a guaranteed better environment and experience. And when the Jay-Z or whoever the hell it is that thinks they’re God nowadays comes to town, save up those extra clams and enjoy the mayhem at the Garden if you must see them, because you know they’re not going to any small club anywhere.
That’s all for now – another rant about the plight of the contemporary music lover. Go small or stay home.

Bates theater portrays the dark side of humanity

What do you get when you combine punk rock, horror, sex, and memoir set in a New Jersey suburb amidst the backdrop of a toxic storm? The spine-tingling play, Hamilton Township, written by Jason Grote – that’s what.

From Thursday, April 3rd to Sunday, April 6th, four brave students shocked the Bates community with their performance in Gannett Theater. Directed by Andrew Overbye ’14 for his senior thesis, the play showcased the dark side of humanity and the power of theater.

IMG_1681“It was a complex production that explored a troubling situation in a really beautiful way through the use of physicality and a small, intimate setting,” states Allie Freed ’16.

Set in a New Jersey suburb known as Hamilton Township, the plays begins with Babydoll, a prostitute (played by Audrey Burns ’17), and Jason, a young, timid man (played by Colin McIntire ‘16), drinking wine coolers in a furnished family room while a toxic and mysterious storm rages outside and a comatose elderly woman (played by Katie Van Patten ’17), lays lifelessly still on the sofa. The night is allegedly Jason’s birthday and Babydoll, hired by a nameless character (played by Charlie McKitrick ’14) is paid to give Jason any sexual favors he desires which he continues to refuse. They then wait until McKitrick’s character, who remains nameless throughout the show, arrives with Jason’s birthday present: the supposed heart of his abusive stepfather.

The play then plummets into an utterly unnerving performance of crude sex, death, and blood – lots of blood. Glass is smashed, punk music is blasted, and punches are thrown all while the audience watches with wide eyes and gaping mouths.

All four actors embodied their characters effortlessly, making the show seem hauntingly realistic, like the audience was watching real sex and real murder unfold before them. McIntire developed well throughout the play, showing how taking a human life can leave a lasting, detrimental effect on a person. Burns was powerful and captivating in her performance, revealing the ugly side of sex and what happens when Sadism and Masochism goes too far. McKitrick was absolutely terrifying on stage, embodying his character so well that I was too afraid to congratulate him at the end of the show. And lastly, although Van Patten did not have a single line in the show, her ability to portray the fragility of human life was absolutely heart wrenching.

It’s safe to say that this was the most disturbing yet brilliant production ever performed at Bates. It was horrifyingly real, depicting the sinister side of humanity. And perhaps that’s what was so frightening about it. During the darkest of moments, some audience members did not know how to handle the scene before them, causing them to laugh and chuckle nervously. The play tapped into a side of humanity many people never think about and made the audience question what they would have done in a similar situation. It showed them how animalistic humans can be, how sex isn’t always romantic, and how death isn’t always peaceful.

“It was an extremely heavy production,” states Caroline Paikoff ’16, “but it was refreshing to see something at powerful and moving done well at Bates.”IMG_1696

Overall, Hamilton Township was totally unforgettable. It was funny, frightening, and violent, showing how powerful theater can be in capturing human emotion. The set was simple yet the demands of this show were not. It tested the actors emotionally along with the audience, revealing how, perhaps, there is darkness within all of us.

Men’s Lax ends with loss to Colby

In many ways, the ‘Cats loss to the Mules in Waterville last Wednesday was emblematic of a season long struggle. The final score of 12-9 carried the team’s heartbreaking knack for coming up just short, and failing to produce offensively when it mattered most.

Colby had already secured their place in the playoffs before the opening face due to Bates’ failure to pick up a win in their final home stand against a talented Connecticut College team. So although the matchup had no playoff implications, Bates was determined to beat a long time rival and perhaps end a terrible season on a high note.  The game also stood as one to commemorate former Bobcat captain Morgan McDuffee and Mule Derrik Flahive.

Bates, the visitors on a cold Waterville day, came out hot scoring the first three goals of the game and dominating the first quarter. But the Mules went on run of their own and 6-5 lead at the break. Some of the struggles of these ‘Cats haunted them once again as Bates’ 9-6 second half lead was met with 6 straight goals from the home team to close out the game. Despite three goals from standout Jack Allard, the Bates offense couldn’t get the goals they needed and the well ran dry as the ‘Cats failed to convert anything in the closing quarter.

Sophomore goalie Joe Faria kept Bates in contention saving 11 shots from the Mules, but freshman Austin Sayre out of Summit, N.J. proved too much for a talented ‘Cats Defense. Sayre’s 6 goals and junior goalie Tyler Will’s 19 saves helped a balanced Colby squad take care of the ‘Cats and close out the game with authority. While Colby converted its chances, made big shots and big saves, Bates failed to do so and ended the season with the same result that had defined their record in the NESCAC, a lowly 1-9.

But, there is little doubt the heart and the talent was there all season for a team that lost six games by less than three goals and coupled with just one out of their 10 NESCAC contests. After nabbing their first in-conference win in an impressive and decisive matchup at Hamilton on March 29th, the ‘Cats commenced to lose their last five outings and complete a winless month of April.  An 11-10 loss to Bowdoin on a cold night on Garcelon showcased the teams’ ability to play with some of the conference’s top talents, but the team just couldn’t manifest its talent or ability in the win column.

This season has certainly been one to forget and the ‘Cats who will be around next year are staying hungry. Sophomore defensive midfielder Ken O’Friel reflected on a season marked by disappointment, “It was a disappointing season where there were winnable games that we gave up due to some bad decisions.” The wins were certainly in their reach, and it has become clear that the ‘Cats have to do something to turn some L’s into W’s. O’Friel continued, “Hopefully we will make some changes and do much better next year.” The talent is there to do so, but it will come down to whether the ‘Cats can make those changes, whatever they may be, and return to the NESCAC playoffs again to play for a long awaited title.

Real talk

When I read Jake Villarreal’s article in a coffee shop in London, I had to take a minute to mentally repeat in a loop, “Preach.”

Like all situations and issues in life, there needs to be an acknowledgement of a problem before discussion of a working solution can take place. While I agree with Jake on various points, I want to further develop this discussion by focusing on the activists who partake in activism and the community in which activism takes place in.

Being abroad has led many epiphanies on Bates. Firstly, the small community and engaging education is what attracted me to the come all the way to Maine. The personalization and access to administration and professors is an incredible asset, which you quickly notice when you attend a school of 25,000 in the heart of London. Relationships you build in such an insular community are precious when you are thrown into the bustle of a global city.

Secondly, the work we do at Bates is well-intentioned, but most often, a significant portion of those who need to be exposed to these important issues the most are often left untouched by the messages. If you think about it, approximately 2,000 of some of the nation’s and world’s most brilliant, capable minds come together for four years seeking to be inspired, to create, and to learn. Are we as a school fulfilling this and providing our diverse cohort of students the sufficient resources to execute this vision of impacting and innovating in a greater world? I’m not asking this just to administration and faculty – but also to us, as peers and friends. The key tenet of activism is meaningful, purposeful work, which is something we want to cultivate here at our institution. In order for good activism to happen, we as individuals in a common collective have to be seeking for meaningful and purposeful work.

So much of what I envisioned Bates to be left me disheartened and disillusioned for some time. While I will be the first to acknowledge that I have grown so much as an individual and that Bates has been a large contributor to my development in many positive ways, a large proportion of the negative experiences have also led to the most important character developments.

I understand so much more about society than I ever did before, but it does not necessarily make me a happier human being – although it has led me to understand much of why people are unhappy and why bonds between people are so important. I studied Sociology and was given language and terminology to describe what I was experiencing in my day to day life at Bates: gender, race, sociological imagination, class difference, white privilege, male privilege, and the extensive list goes on. When you think about experience in these terms, are self-aware and able to distinguish the very real injustice that occurs on campus, the seeds of cynicism take root and start to grow in an open heart. I consistently wonder, is it just Bates or is Bates a microcosmic representation of a greater American problem, at large?

During my freshman year of college, I had a random white male at a party approach me at Yellow House, clap his hands together and utter a spew of racist ching chong mutterings at me. Then there were the more eyebrow-raising comments such as, “I’ve never slept with an Asian girl before, I’ve always wanted to,” on the occasional Saturday night on Frye Street. When you experience these things alone, it can be quite isolating if you don’t realize that it’s the structures beyond you that are being reinforced and a mere lack of education (ironically). You can often be misunderstood, labelled as “overthinking” it, or called the angry minority, which is quite frustrating and delegitimizes an experience that is still very true and alive in our supposedly progressive community.

It wasn’t just me who experienced these comments, it was a group of visibly different students who were keeping their discriminations invisible – as minorities are often taught to do when they hold the minority opinion. “Don’t cause disruptions to the system.”

Subsequently due to our freshman year experiences at Bates as Western-born Asian students, Kevin Deng and I started AASIA, a space for Asian-American and HAPA students. In retrospect, the journey to start AASIA was actually quite ridiculously hilarious.

There was much reluctance to have an Asian-American activism and solidarity group on campus in conjunction with Sangai Asia (which predominantly caters towards International Asian students, who have a wholly different experience from us). At one point, when I was meeting with an unnamed Dean to make our case, I was sharing how there was a growing Asian-American culture in music, to which he asked me with the most serious face, “Wait, there’s such thing as Asian-American music?” I did a double take and thought I had just been transported back to the 1960s. Said person illustrated my point exactly – there’s such a need for more representation and education on campus. There’s LA’s Dumbfoundead, Seattle’s Blue Scholars, the sweet-hearted Kira Grannis, electro house guru Steve Aoki, classical musician Yo-Yo Ma, the soothing Priscilla Ahn and Top 40’s Bruno Mars, to name a few. This lack of sensitivity, while surprising, is set amidst a backdrop where the Office of Intercultural Education has been undergoing such a tumultuous change in a time when it needs the most stability. We are recruiting students from a wider set of experiences and backgrounds at an unprecedented, historical rate for our college and yet we do not have the adequate infrastructure in place to support these students when they arrive through and leave our doors at graduation.

Yes, as a community, we like to brand ourselves as progressive, liberal, and Democrat, but how many of us are actually practicing this in our social groups and our everyday lives? The Class of 2015 has an overflowing amount of Economics majors who often aspire to work at Barclays and consulting firms such as Analysis Group. These students will potentially produce high incomes and give back to the Bates Fund – but how can we engage our future economic leaders to take part in combining social strategy and profit, which is where the future of sustainable business models are moving? How can we encourage students to take classes and truly engage with the content in Sociology (for example) – and care?

Before we can think about activism, we should consider the dynamics of the activists on campus, or rather – the dynamics of our students on campus. Are we united? Are we synchronized? Are we one in our fight against injustice? Without the core grounding of unity and recognition of different beginnings, activism is moot and disorganized. Why are there practically no Asians in the Women of Color group on campus? Are Asian women not women of color? And if they are, why aren’t we “labeling” ourselves as such. White males in their late teens and early twenties are one of the largest demographics for rap and hip hop, yet why do we see barely any white faces at any of the open mic and hip hop nights, but instead a sea of color? I know I heard Juicy J and A$AP Rocky blaring out of the men’s bathroom in 280, and it wasn’t coming from the one black male on my floor. How many friends in your social circle look different from you, have a different sexual orientation or come from a different faith?

Here’s a case for you: we have so much environmentalism going on at Bates that is predominantly spear-headed by white women. Yet, I’ve never heard the green movement utter this truth that a fellow minority friend mentioned to me, “The irony is that poor people recycle the most, because they can’t afford not to.” Activism needs to be inclusive of activists from all backgrounds, classes, and experiences. Just because you take up a cause does not mean you automatically understand all the nuances and layers to it – it is a continuous negotiation that we perpetually immerse ourselves in. bell hooks writes poignantly about it in her “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center:” When the contemporary feminist movement began, many of its proponents argued that women shared “bonds of sisterhood” across race and class lines. This “essentialist” position as it was later called, presumed that the common experience of being born female in a patriarchal social structure transcended in importance and impact the very dissimilar experiences that divided women of diverse classes and race.” Causes and activism are very personal to each individual, and since we all have different experiences, this translates in different ways but is often lost in a conversation led by the dominant group.

The most disappointing realization is that so many people at Bates who are seeking to make change experience marginalization of their marginalization by those who are closest to them – who don’t quite get it or are unwilling to open their minds to acknowledge that there are still some serious problems taking place in our beautiful campus. Being critical is the first step to improvement. Admitting that something needs constructive improvement is not insulting to Bates, but rather a continued dedication to development and progression. As we are on the process of becoming true, we should focus on working towards being better, open-minded people who actively PARTAKE in building meaningful relationships with others. We should work on the activists first before the activism. It will make our cases all the stronger and our work so much more powerful when we can understand, empathize, and support one another. When you start seeing more of the world and meeting more of the world, there is more common ground between us than we all realize. It’s something that I love most about my friends and our community at Bates.

It happens here too: Gender-based violence at Bates and beyond

Sexual misconduct is a serious and prevalent problem on college campuses today. And the sad truth is, it happens here too. In response to a growing desire for more courses that analyze and address this issue and its components, Heather Lindkvist, Bates Title XI Officer, is offering a course this short term, Gender, Sexuality and Violence: The College Campus and Beyond, to examine sexual culture and gender-based bias on college campuses.

Not only will the course increase students’ knowledge about the different forms of gender based-violence, including sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking,  but it will also allow Lindkvist to work with the students to examine the sexual culture at Bates and develop ways to address sexual violence on our campus. Lindkvist also hopes that some of the students in the class will become Sexual Respect peer educators at Bates, as part of a new program in the works for the school.

In addition to discussions, lectures and film viewings, Lindkvist mentions that the class will consist of advocacy training and workshops with community partners, including Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services, Safe Voices and the Lewiston Police Department. Both the classroom and community component will be significant in enhancing participants understanding of gender-based violence. Lindkvist notes that the class meetings allows students to examine the “forms and dynamics of gender based violence and the modes of intervention used to address such violence, in particular on college campuses.” The workshops will allow students to be aware of the response services available in the Lewiston/Auburn community.

The community component will provide for an opportunity for the students to create a Community Action Project to implement change on campus or in the Lewiston/Auburn community. “Using community-engaged learning, such as participating in workshops with community partners, students will focus on a specific form of gender-based violence, identify a mode of intervention to address this particular gender inequity, and then develop a community-based project that catalyzes change and, if appropriate, promotes sexual respect,” says Lindkvist. She understands that given the limited time of short term, the projects may not be implemented immediately, but she intends for the students to have a plan for how to establish their program during the fall semester.

Jonah Greenawalt ’16 is a part of the course this short term. Though already an active member of Men Against Sexual Violence here at Bates, he admits that his knowledge on issues of sexual assault are either “theoretical or pertaining specifically to Bates.”

“Despite my passion for addressing the issue, I haven’t taken the time to examine penal policy and mandated forms prevention anywhere in the world, let alone at American colleges. I hoped this course would fuel my interest while widening my scope of what has worked for other institutions,” says Greenawalt.

Both Lindkvist and Greenawalt acknowledge that a goal of the course is to understand sexual violence in a broader social and cultural context. Lindkvist sees the course as an opportunity to empower students to implement change on the campus and understand that combating sexual misconduct is a “community effort” between students, faculty and staff here at Bates.

Greenawalt adds “I think that like taking a W1 or completing a lab component, examining sexual assault and gendered codes of behavior is crucial to an education that claims to offer the spread of liberal arts.”

Understanding different forms of gender based violence is crucial to implementing change on our campus to create a safe, respectful environment. It is an issue that affects everyone, for each member of the Bates community must play a role in promoting sexual respect in order to combat this issue. Bates is not immune from incidents of gender-based violence, but the work of the Lindkvist’s short term will only enhance the resources already in place and work towards implementing social change in our community.

A teammate’s perspective on the Mac Jackson incident

If you’re an average Batesie, you probably now know the name Mac Jackson for all of the wrong reasons. You heard about his actions on the news, from President Spencer’s e-mail, or through a friend. But if by some obscure chance you missed the gossip, here it is: Mac got too inebriated one night and made a regrettable decision, which resulted in his arrest and the serious injury of a member of the Lewiston community.

However, despite my teammate’s reprehensible and reckless action, I strongly believe that Mac Jackson should not be expelled.

When I heard the news, I was utterly shocked. I think most of my teammates were, actually, because the Mac we all knew would never intentionally harm anyone. I can hardly remember a time when he wasn’t smiling. The Mac we all knew was the hardest worker on our team at practice, in the weight room and in games. He was the guy you would go to battle with, not against, and if he ever asked for anything, I would help him without hesitation. The Mac we all knew never asked for help though. He gave his all in everything he did, whether he was helping out a teammate or friend in need or spending many dedicated hours in the third floor of the library.

Allow me to be clear: I fully understand the rationale behind why Mac should be expelled. As President Spencer said in her e-mail to the College on April 18th, “At Bates, we take pride in our values as a healthy, intellectually serious, and caring community, which we intentionally define to include our neighbors in Lewiston and Auburn.” Mac very clearly violated these standards with his excessive drinking, resulting in an injury. His actions are inexcusable and immature, and have resulted in Bates being portrayed in a rather negative light. But perhaps more importantly, they have also negatively impacted the College’s standing in the community at a time when we as a school are making an even more concerted effort to reach out to our neighbors.

As a lacrosse player, our team constantly preaches family. It’s on the back of our shirts and the bottom of our socks. And it’s true: our team is a big, albeit occasionally dysfunctional, family. When watching Lilo and Stitch over break, a line found new significance for me: “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” Whether the Student Conduct Committee, the administration and President Spencer want to admit it or not, Mac is a part of the broader Bates family, and despite their likely inclination to expel him, I strongly believe they should make the more courageous decision of suspending him and allowing him to return to Bates, regardless of how unpopular and difficult that decision may be.

This kind of benevolence and confidence that the College can exhibit should not come without a higher set of expectations. Mac should be required to do an excessive amount of community service, perhaps even working directly with the member of the community he injured in rehabilitation. He should be required to attend therapy, and required to passionately participate in an alcohol treatment program—all while continuing to be barred from athletic teams.

While it may seem that this would not properly hold Mac accountable for his actions, and could understandably be negatively viewed by some, I think allowing him to return to Bates allows him to deal with the consequences of his actions more directly. Every day he would be faced with these consequences as he works in the community, and interacts with fellow students, staff and faculty members at Bates.

As President Spencer said, “At Bates, we take pride in our values as a healthy, intellectually serious, and caring community, which we intentionally define to include our neighbors in Lewiston and Auburn.”

This means that allowing Mac to come back to Bates is well within our core values. Bates can allow him to continue his serious academic pursuits and helping him find a healthier way in which he can conduct the rest of his life. This College shouldn’t turn its back on a student in a time of need due to a bad mistake. Mac is a member of the Bates family, and that means he shouldn’t get left behind or forgotten. He should be helped.

Get whisked away in The Wiz

Before the Robinson Player’s beloved Short Term tradition of “Stages for All Ages” hit Schaeffer Stage in mid-May, I got to sit down with director, Liza Danello ‘14, a Theater and English double major, to get some inside information on what to expect from this outrageous soulful musical, The Wiz.

The Bates Student: How does the performance for Batesies differ from the one put on for young children?

Liza Danello: The performance for Bates is sort of an opportunity to open the pandora’s box of “adult themes” that are latent in the script and throughout the rehearsal. We keep the structure and all of the main aspects of the show the same but then everything else is subject to change. The actual performance ends up being a lot of improvisation and the actors are given some free license to add or change what they want about their parts. The whole evening is raucous fun for actors and audience alike and its different every year. We never know quite what to expect but it’s sure to be memorable!

TBS: Are there lots of themes or issues you’ll be addressing in “The Wiz” that “The Wizard of Oz” never touched on?

LD: A lot of The Wiz is just a modernization of The Wizard of Oz. It certainly recognizes the classic that it reinterprets and a lot of time the dialogue will poke fun of the sometimes-ridiculous moments that crop up. All the familiar characters are back from The Wizard of Oz – Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Lion, the Witches, the Flying Monkeys – but most of them have a fresh quirk that differentiates them from the original Wizard of Oz. For example, Addaperle, the good witch from Munchkinland, is a bit of a washed-up showgirl who’s lost some of her knack for magic. I think that many of the characters share this shade of imperfection that we see in Addaperle. All of the characters have moments of insecurity or inadequacy.

TBS: What’s the allure of staging something “Wizard”-esque in the 21st century?

LD: The Wizard of Oz or The Wiz are great shows because they incorporate so many diverse characters and situations into an imaginative world onstage. These magical worlds lend themselves to theater specifically because we are able to do so many extraordinary things onstage. There is something about the theater space that makes even the simplest moments really special. I think that the world of The Wiz is one that keeps the audience engaged because it keeps transforming.

TBS: Where and how is the play set in relation to the original “Wizard of Oz”?

LD: Like The Wizard of Oz, the play has a shift from the flat world of Kansas into the strange, vibrant world of Oz. But the places we see in Oz in The Wiz are a lot funkier than those from The Wizard of Oz. We are going to play up the dynamism of this world with flashy colors and big structural set pieces to make Oz seem like a land far, far away.

TBS: If you could choose the one biggest difference between “The Wiz” and “The Wizard of Oz”, what would it be?

LD: The biggest difference is probably the style of music that they use. The Wizard of Oz has all the sweet classics like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” but The Wiz is a much more lively show. The singing and dancing makes you want to get up and groove along with the performers. The music is jivy and gives the show a 70s funk feel. The sound is very bright and fun to listen to and I think that this upbeat blend of music will be very appealing for the young audience.

TBS: Will there be unexpected turns those familiar with “The Wizard of Oz” won’t see coming?

LD: Well I don’t want to give too much away! There will definitely be several moments that may surprise an audience, whether or not they are familiar with The Wizard of Oz. Our Technical Director, Dan Paseltiner, has some thrilling ideas for our set that will have a forceful visual impact. The tornado is one moment that will be very different from The Wizard of Oz. Its actually a dance, the “Tornado Ballet,” and will feature some of the dancers that we have working on the project as well as some dramatic set movement and lighting. Just because we can’t build a tornado like Hollywood may doesn’t mean that we can’t build something amazing.

TBS: What would you call the biggest selling point of “The Wiz”?

LD: The biggest selling point of our Wiz is the incredible cast and crew that we have collaborating on this project. The Short Term musical is an exciting project because we have Batesies involved who wouldn’t normally have the free time during the school year. Our cast and crew is a consolidation of many of the exceptionally talented people at Bates who bring their energy, enthusiasm, and passion to the show. It’s wonderful to see all these faces of Bates come together on a project of this scale and build something astonishing in only about three weeks.

So mark your calendars and be sure to see The Wiz within the coming weeks. Please check out the Short Term Arts Schedule for more information. This is a production you do not want to miss!

Experimental College: New short term experiences

It is no secret that Short Term is a period to try new things. With more time, sleep, and energy, students have the opportunity to get involved in interesting activities, delve into different disciplines, and fulfill some of their interests that the stresses of the normal academic year leaves no space for. In the spirit of this investigational time of year, the Student Activities Office is once again sponsoring the Experimental College during Short Term.

The Experimental College has been in existence since 2006, and is an opportunity for any member of the Bates Community to participate in a three to four week non-credit, extracurricular course. Each of the courses are almost entirely autonomous, leaving the curriculum up to student, faculty, or staff member teaching them to organize the classes, meeting times and lesson plans. Anyone with an interest in teaching a particular topic is allowed to create their own course; there is no limit as to the possibilities of courses. In previous years there have been classes taught on coffee, slacklining, and even an instructional longboarding course intended to increase the number of female longboarders on campus.

This year eighteen courses are being offered, instructed by a variety of student, faculty and staff instructors. There is an incredible assortment of courses being taught this semester ranging from: Five Useful Tasks for Grownups which teaches students how to change a tire, sew a button, play poker, meditate, and start a fire; Coping Without Commons instructing students on the basics of budget-friendly and nutritious food preparation; Crossfit 101 providing participants with an understanding of this powerful exercise tool; all the way to the Group Investigating God (G.I.G) which seeks to explore some of life’s largest questions.

Brad Reynolds, a senior on the Bates baseball team, is teaching a course called Baseball Philosophy and How to Maintain a Baseball Field. The course is intended to investigate the mental components of ‘America’s pastime’ and the important life skills that can be learned from it. The class will also place a special emphasis on field maintenance. Reynolds decided to instruct this class because, “

I wanted to offer a course that would further create a baseball culture at bates. It is one of the things I love most in life and would like to give this joy to others. Baseball is also a microcosm for life and has many valuable lessons to teach us.”

Montana Hirsch, ’16 is teaching the Poetry and Prose Writing Workshop alongside students Chris Shaw and Hannah Zeltner. The workshop is designed to give participants the opportunity to take part in informal creative writing. The class will foster constructive feedback and is intended to create a relaxed environment that will enhance creative growth. When asked why she wanted to co-teach this course, Hirsch stated: “I wanted to teach this course because I want to give students the chance to have a laid back workshop experience, especially if there is no room in their schedules to take any creative writing at Bates! I personally did not begin writing until last year, but it has made a great impact and allowed me to express myself in new ways. I believe that as emotional people, it seems fitting that we should be able to have a space in college that acts as an outlet for our own personal, funny, sad, joyous and philosophical thoughts and where we can explore our own dreams and subconscious minds.  I think the writing workshop is one of those places, so I would like to create a fun, laid-back, and safe environment for those interested to share these thoughts through poetry and fiction.”

The Experimental College is truly the essence of Short Term: short-term study cultivating life-long interests. There is still room to sign up for some Experimental College courses. For a full list of the class listings, visit the Bates website and start something new this Short Term!

Women’s Lax falls to Trinity in NESCAC quarterfinals

The Bates women’s lacrosse team fought hard in their first round playoff matchup against the No. 2 ranked Trinity Bantams, but ultimately could not muster up the same magic that allowed them to upset the Bantams earlier in the season, falling 12-7. Previously, on March 15th, the Bobcats had pulled off a stunning 6-3 win over Trinity, utilizing spectacular goaltending from sophomore Hannah Jeffries as well as timely scoring by the offense.

Last Saturday, however, the Bantams did not take the Bobcats lightly, preventing Bates from jumping out to any big leads. The game began with the two teams playing evenly, with Bates sophomore attack Alex Briody and senior attack Blair Shrewsbury providing early goals en route to a 2-2 tie halfway through the first half.

With fifteen minutes remaining in the half, the Bantams rattled off five unanswered goals in a ten-minute span, capitalizing on faceoff opportunities and free position shots to build a 7-2 lead. Sophomore midfielder Cara Cappellini and senior midfielder Bridget Meedzan got Bates back in the game with goals just prior to halftime, and the Bobcats went into the half down 8-4.

Unfortunately, Bates was unable to overcome the deficit in the second half, producing only three more goals while allowing the Bantams to score four. The Bobcats excelled in taking advantage of Trinity’s mistakes, with sophomore midfielder Emma Noto, first-year midfielder Kaileigh Maguire, and Bridget Meedzan all scoring on free-position shots. However, Bates’ set plays were frustrated again and again, and the Bobcats could not generate significant momentum.

Despite the loss, there were many bright spots for Bates all over the field. Hannah Jeffries again played well, tallying six saves and three ground balls. Furthermore, senior defenders Melanie Watson, SooHee Yoon and Cat Dioli did well in limiting the opportunities for a potent Trinity offense.

While not as successful as they had hoped, the season was not a lost one for the Bobcats. The team earned a respectable 8-8 overall record, going 4-6 in NESCAC play. Given one-goal losses to Williams and Bowdoin, as well as an overtime loss to Tufts, their record could have easily been much higher.

Unfortunately, Bates will lose a deep and talented senior class to graduation, with top producers at every position. The good news is that there is still a wealth of talent amongst the younger players on the team, highlighted by Jeffries, Cappellini, sophomore attack Moriah Greenstein (who led the team with 48 points), and Junior defender Aly Dowey.

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