The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: January 2015 Page 1 of 4

A challenging time in France

After a long flight to Paris, finding my luggage and dragging my massive suitcase to the train station, I finally made it to Nantes late in the afternoon on January 7th, where I will spend the next few months studying abroad. However, as I would soon learn once I arrived at my homestay, while I was adjusting to the time change and the culture shock, the country was coping with the shock of the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

Charlie Hebdo is a satirical French publication whose office was attacked by extremists two weeks ago. The attack and the days following left a total of 17 people dead, and a nation shaken to the core.

The streets of Nantes are filled with tributes to Charlie Hebdo. JULIA MONGEAU/THE BATES STUDENT

The streets of Nantes are filled with tributes to Charlie Hebdo.

Walking to my first day of orientation the next day, signs saying “Je suis Charlie” were already in the windows of the shops and cafes. Once I arrived at the program center, we were informed by the program director of the situation and what the implications could be during our time here, such as the rise of global extremism and, in the case of Charlie Hebdo, the demonstrable threat to free speech and expression.

In the debate about free speech, the phrase “Je suis Charlie” has sparked some disagreement. As with other slogans of solidarity, often times the meaning behind the phrase can be misunderstood or misrepresented. In discussion with fellow students and as reported in both French and US papers, some see the phrase as a way to identify with the victims, while others see it as identifying with the newspaper itself—and as the publication satirizes established religious institutions, find it offensive.

Freedom of speech is something that is highly-valued in France, but when discussing what it means, there are differences and nuances that complicate the matter. The differences in points of view are among the French themselves, as well as visitors to France, whose home countries share a similar regard for the right to free speech.

Junior Emmet Shipway is also studying in Paris this semester. “A cultural difference I’ve found interesting between the states and France in the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo is that we’re both secular, but to different degrees,” Shipway said. “In France, blasphemy isn’t punishable by law, politics exist completely outside of religion.”

Junior ThuyMy Do, who is studying in Bordeaux adds: “It seems to me that the French take their separation of church and state very seriously. In many of my courses and during the orientation period, I’ve heard the term ‘laïcité’ [secularism] multiple times.”

It is this clear separation of church and state that is engrained into the fabric of the country—therefore, the attack against Charlie Hebdo by extremists where law and religion are one, makes the act not only heinous to the French, but also disconcerting and alien.

Nonetheless, a comfort to France has been the formidable solidarity that has been shared by countries across the world.

“The solidarity Paris has shown with the victims has been amazing. ‘Je suis Charlie’ is everywhere on cars, billboards, the Hotel de Ville,” Shipway said.

“I went to the march the following Sunday, which was attended by 140,000 people,” Do said. “The manif [protest] was very “quiet” in the sense that people didn’t really chant or yell…but “Je suis Charlie/Nous sommes tous Charlie” signs have been/are everywhere.”

As many expressed in the days following the attack, the solidarity comes from an increasingly shared experience, where abhorrent acts of violence affect so many countries—whether at the hands of a lone operator, or at the direction of terrorist cells.

The isolated acts of extremism in a city that spurned “people’s republics” is striking and also makes me think of another incident of fanatical violence—the Boston Marathon bombings.

I was at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013, waiting for my father to finish his first marathon. I was there when the explosions that killed three people and injured countless others occurred. I hate that it happened and I wish I wasn’t there, but that is not my point. Rather, as I navigate the metro, fumble through conversations in French and try to adjust to my new life in France, I am struck by how in two beautiful, historic, and powerful cities with a legacy built on the revolution against tyranny and oppression have been victims to a growing threat that operates on hate, fear and violence.

As we continue to spend a semester in France, the talk of Charlie Hebdo, the debate on free speech, and the rising threat of violent extremism will all continue as the country heals.

“5 Broken Cameras” is incompatible with MLK’s message

On Martin Luther King Day this year, the film “5 Broken Cameras” was shown during one of the campus “breakout sessions.”

I was very disappointed to see this on the program, as it does not reflect the fundamental themes of MLK Day. The film screening was directly contrary to objectives of dialogue, progress, and non-violent protest, themes upon which the whole day’s program was based.

Showing this film, which circles around the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, on MLK Day tries to imply that the Palestinian resistance has been non-violent, and seeks to subtly convey a skewed, one-dimensional, world where Israel is the violent aggressor.

To be clear, the demonstrations held in Bil’in, on which the movie focused, were generally non-violent. This is commendable, and something that I hope becomes more prevalent in Palestinian society.

However, the attempt to claim that this accurately depicts the conflict, or most Palestinian resistance, is absurd. Every day Israel is confronted with violent security threats, indiscriminately aimed at maiming and murdering Israeli civilians. From 2000-2012, there were 39,000 attacks, averaging nine attacks per day. These include stabbings on busses, rockets aimed at civilian centers, suicide bombings, and more.

It is also important to understand that the Palestinian resistance movement is fundamentally different than the African-American Civil Rights Movement. One major difference is that African-Americans never had a goal of destroying America, as many Palestinians do toward Israel.

For example, Hamas, the elected government in Gaza, states in their charter, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” They swear by Israel’s destruction, and it is the main focus of their agenda. In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority, who is in a coalition with Hamas, has a long history of honoring suicide bombers and terrorists as heroes.

We commemorate the success of the Civil Rights Movement specifically because of its courage and commitment to use peaceful, non-violent protest and dialogue as a means to achieve its goals despite great challenges and frustration.

The Black Civil Rights Movements did have their violent wings. There were Nat Turner, the Black Panthers, and a few others that were largely on the periphery and faded into the background of history. This is turned on its head in the Palestinian case, where the strategy remains terror, and non-violence is an occasional refreshing change. For example, a recent poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed 77% of Palestinians in favor of Hamas’s rocket attacks.

Furthermore, the Bates student organization ‘Students for Peace & Justice in Palestine’ and the Maine BDS Coalition sponsored the film showing and session. The BDS movement, supported by SPJP, is a program that intrinsically stifles interaction and debate. An example of a prominent BDS project was the American Studies Association’s academic boycott of Israel last year.

President Spencer, along with virtually all of academia, rightly rejected this proposal that attempted to cut off all ties with Israeli academia and institutions. Considering that I, and most of the world, believe that peace in the region must come from understanding, dialogue, and negotiations, this would have been wholly counterproductive.

The breakout session was not a program to debate the conflict, nor was it to address both sides and critically examine the situation. It was set up for a specific political purpose of slandering the state of Israel through the limited context of one-perspective.

Even the New York Times review deemed the film “hardly neutral.” I do not believe this is how progress occurs. It is divisive rather than unifying, and discourages mutual understanding and dialogue, further polarizing the participants and issue.

Finally, I believe that it is an insult to MLK to use his legacy and day in order to pursue a cause directly contrary to what he believed. MLK was a staunch supporter of Israel. In 1968, he reinforced his support, stating, “Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality,” and that “Israel’s right to exist as a state in security is incontestable.”

This program was meant to vilify Israel’s attempt to ensure its citizens’ security, encourage America to stop aiding Israel in its attempt to defend itself and its citizens, and incite hostility toward the state of Israel. As MLK stated then, as is true today, “Israel must exist and has the right to exist, and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.”

While I passionately disagree with SJSP and the BDS movement, I support their right to their opinion and presence as a group at Bates. If they had shown this film at one of their own meetings, I would have no objection. However, I was deeply disappointed to see that this problematic film was incorporated into a school-sanctioned event despite directly opposing the day’s very objectives.

Basketball buries Tufts

The Bates men’s basketball team took down Tufts 64-51 on Saturday in front of a boisterous home crowd at Alumni Gymnasium boosted by the extra bleachers on the stage behind the basket. The win raised the Bobcats’ record to 12-4 overall, and brought their conference performance to 2-2. With Bates nursing a slim one-point lead with just under fourteen minutes remaining, senior Graham Stafford took over the game and led the team to their final thirteen-point margin of victory. The Bobcats next play at St. Joseph’s on Tuesday and then finish the month with home games against Wesleyan and Connecticut College over the weekend.

Heading into the contest, the Bobcats were determined to avenge last year’s devastating four-point loss, and walking onto the court to a tremendous ovation really set an emotional tone that lasted throughout. With all the excitement and support from the Bates fans, the Jumbos knew they had to fight an uphill battle. Feeding off the energetic crowd, the team played excellent defense, holding the Jumbos to season-low of only 51 points.

The Bobcats played with the kind of energy that put constant pressure on the visitors. After the loss, freshman Tufts starter Thomas Lapham stated, “We knew it was going to be a tough game going into it, especially in their gym with that crowd. They outplayed us on offense and defense and were the better team that day.”

After senior Billy Selmon’s impressive dunk in the second half, the crowd erupted with excitement. As freshman spectator Christina Olali put it, “I had every intention of reading for my philosophy class, but after Billy’s dunk, Tolstoy had to be put away.”

Junior Mike Boornazian led the Bobcats in scoring with 20 points, including two three-point shots in the second half that pulled the Bobcats into a one-point lead. Although the three-pointer can either shoot you into or out of a game, on this night it worked to near perfection.

When asked his opinion of the game, Boornazian commented, “I think it was a great performance. We were able to get back into our transition offense and really lock up on the defensive end. Any time you can do that and get some easy baskets it’s great, because everyone starts feeling good, and having the crowd around you is just incredible.”

In the cold, dead, dark of winter, the snow falling outside was definitely no match for the heat inside Alumni Gym. As the buzz from this performance travels through campus, the team expects more overflow crowds and epic performances. This victory could be the start of something special for Bates men’s basketball.

Selma: Worth the history lesson, but only an abridged one

Selma is the story designed to provide an almost microcosmic moment of the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) converge strategically on Selma, Alabama to begin a socially salient series of marches, most notably those from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Director Ava DuVernay, the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at Sundance for her Middle of Nowhere in 2012, focuses her lens on capturing this particular moment of the Civil Rights Movement as it really was.

Her camera tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement in Selma as raw as it was, eschewing the ephemerality of modern day activism and devoting her attention to capturing the violence, tensions within the Movement, and desire to self-determine that the Movement brought to the eyes of the American people.

In many ways, her camera casts, in a contemporary and historiographical frame, the status of the Civil Rights Movement as it was in 1960s while placing in contradistinction this vignette of a seemingly endless struggle with the current status of affairs.

The film begins with King’s acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and ends with LBJ’s proposal to draft the Voting Rights Act (although we never actually see him do it), a major section of which was recently repealed in a 5-4 vote by the Supreme Court. It should not be forgotten that the early Civil Rights Movement was initiated by women in 1955 with the Montgomery Bus Boycott; the movement “made” King.

Selma, winding around King’s involvement with the movement, is far from a traditional biopic. With every monologue underlined by myriad platitudinous piano sonatas, the story told is that of the Movement, with an importance on action, as opposed to who is doing it. The story is told through the eyes of King; central figures to the Movement such as Diane Nash (Tessa Thompson), Malcolm X (Nigel Thatch), John Lewis (Stephan James), James Forman (Trai Byers), and Hosea Williams (Wendell Pierce, The Wire) played roles confined to the periphery.

This limits the audience to hearing not what was being said, but what was being done by whom (the marching, the violence, carried out by a mass of protesters, with key leaders standing to the side), effectively limiting the historical nuance that any modern history book would grant the reader, even in lay terms. Common and Oprah also made appearances.

I was especially caught by the mixing of historically potent moments in American history as dripping with the gloss of the entertainment industry. Throughout the film, the logs of the FBI as they tracked King appear across the screen, typesetting the obvious, serve to add a noir aspect to the film in that even the most intimate details of the lives of King and his family are being followed by both FBI and audience, and yet neither group truly comes away “knowing” King (or any other figure in the film for that matter). This reinforces the excitement of Hollywood, as well as distances us from King as narrator, and predetermines audience as observer.

Furthermore, with so much great music coming out of the Civil Rights Movement, how does it make sense that Common’s “Glory,” a dry, feel-good rap with choral-gospel overtones featuring John Legend (it sounds like every song on every album I’ve heard of Legend’s), wins the Globe for Best Original Song? I appreciate the film’s associations with the very contemporary style of Common’s music, but the music of the 1960s was so potent in terms of the movement that, in my book, a song made in the 21st century is precluded from hitting the mark, especially when the director opts to use footage from one of the marches to capture the movement’s true essence.

The magic of this film lies in its tactfulness in placing a contemporary frame around a profound series of historical events, relating the 1960s to the 2010s.

Guthrie’s expands with new theater

There are few places in Lewiston where you can eat a kale salad and enjoy a local brew while listening to locals discussing the societal implications of addicting and well-made television shows, but She Doesn’t Like Guthrie’s has always been one of them.

While screenings in the restaurant have been going on for the past five years, the desire for an established space eventually blossomed, and a recent successful Kickstarter campaign helped push the dream in the right direction.

The new theater will enhance the artsy atmosphere even more and will feature independent films. The space will also host other arts events, such as the monthly venue known as “The Corner,” a storytelling event similar to “The Moth” on the radio, that boasts a different theme each month. The theme of the next Corner night, Feburary 12th, is “Odd Couple” for the week of Valentine’s Day, during which attendees and hosts will share spoken (not written) stories about relationships.

This coming weekend, the theater will be showing the documentary Citizen Four, which was recently nominated for an Academy Award. Citizen Four is a must-see particularly for millennials and anyone who clicks “Allow” when an app asks permission to access location services.

As Guthrie’s continues to expand to include more creative events and attractions in their programming, one can’t help but wonder at the hardworking individuals behind the scene. Bates’ own Colin Kelley co-founded the Maine Microcinema film series with local filmmaker Craig Saddlemire, and part of their early showings involved setting up a projector and sheet at Guthrie’s.

When they founded Guthrie’s, Heather and Randy Letourneau wanted to create a business that supported family, community, and environment. It only seems fair that patrons feel their entertainment for the night is supporting local artists just as their biodegradable take-out containers are supporting the environment.

This doesn’t mean that the restaurant itself will not be enjoying bursts of culture as before. Last Thursday, Guthrie’s hosted an event called “Hooked,” in which a philosophy professor from the University of Southern Maine cultivated a discussion on the TV show Breaking Bad. It was just one night in a series dedicated to what is becoming a distinguishable art form. There is an emerging world of well-made televisiown, and we’re very able today to discuss the outcomes, plotlines, artistic direction and historical accuracy of television programs more than ever before.

Show creators such as Matthew Weiner and Aaron Sorkin make it possible for us to invest fully in the artistry of select television programming, and events like “Hooked” allow us to break through the embarrassment and pessimism that reality shows have infused in us regarding our desire to have earnest discussions surrounding television.

It’s important, particularly in light of the recent petition that shed light on the types of movies brought to our local Flagship Cinemas, that Batesies support local organizations that foster and feed authentic creativity and thought. Without this action, Batesies aren’t doing their part in the self-reflection and cultural analysis that society demands of its hopefully open minded twenty-somethings.

Other upcoming events at Guthrie’s include the Seth Warner Trio, which will be playing at the restaurant on January 30th from 8:00-10:00 p.m., and a showing of the Oscar-nominated animated short films from February 5th to February 7th.

Next stop: Rails, a destination for deliciousness

Within the last decade, the dining business in Lewiston has become extremely prominent. One need not look further than Lisbon Street to see a plethora of restaurants and dining options. Eateries such as Forage, Fuel, and Mother India are among the many restaurants that Bates students have the luxury of enjoying.

Joining this family of upscale eateries is the newly opened “Rails” restaurant. Located at 103 Lincoln Street, this new dining spot is sporting its own unique brand that will surely fit into the nuanced food culture in Lewiston.

I was first curious as to why the owners of Rails decided on a railroad-themed restaurant. To me, a railroad did not exactly depict enticing images of savory cuisine or a grand dining experience. However, the deliberate choice of a railroad inclusive theme is to pay tribute to “the process of building the railroad, and the exchange of goods the rails afforded” which “were instrumental in the early evolution of American food,” the restaurant said on its website.

Rails is located in the Historic Grand Trunk Station of Downtown Lewiston, giving the restaurant a warm and inviting atmosphere, as if it is still a place where many people would come together to commute. The Grand Trunk Station was once a bustling traveling hub where tens of thousands of migrants traveled to during the boom of the textile industry in Lewiston. The location of the restaurant in the Grand Trunk Station is an integral aspect of the Rails’ mission—to serve as a place where people can reconnect with their roots, meet new faces, and explore the “comforts of North American food traditions.”

The cuisine honors the culture of rail food, which is described as being comforting and wholesome. The crew at Rails describes the dining as “local+motive dining”, an obvious play on words, but also a genius explanation of the holistic approach to their ingredients and dishes.

Owners Steve and Claire Dick explain this as recognizing “our role in both the local food system, and the local economy. Lewiston+Auburn’s industrial identity in farm-rich rural Maine makes it an exciting local food destination. We are proud to be a part of preserving a healthy farming economy, while nourishing a thriving industrial center.”  The restaurant places great importance on the sustainability and cultural awareness of their cuisine practices. Kitchen scraps are returned to farms as animal feed, oil is recycled for clean-burning fuels, and leftover grains from their brewer is used to feed pigs.

As for the food, well that is just something you are going to have to experience yourself. The menu casts a wide net to satisfy nearly every kind of diet and appetite. The menu items indeed represent a sense of comfort food; roasted chicken, ratatouille, steak and grits. There is no shortage in taste and deliciousness on this menu. Their interpretation of “chicken scratch”—an overwhelming mélange of Fried Common Wealth Farms chicken breast, short-stack of corn cakes, soft-poached egg in potato hay nest, BBQ syrup, and bacon butter—put me in a food coma before I even had a chance to visit the restaurant.

I found that the food items, while executing their goal of being homey and comforting, also exhibited homage to the French culture that permeates much of Lewiston’s society. Charcuterie Board, Chicken Brochette, Ratatouille Goat Cheese Gratin all draw from French roots. And of course, how could we not have a soft spot for a restaurant that features a burger on their menu titled “Bates Burger.”

Rails is likely a dining experience that will fit perfectly into the increasingly popular landscape of intricate cuisine in Lewiston. The location and aura of the physical space are comforting and friendly, the cuisine practices are honest and environmentally sensitive, and the menu items invoke a longing for home cooked meals. So get out there, put on your bibs, grab a pint and a hearty meal and give yourself some good eats.

Nico writes on behalf of Nash, The Food and Culture House

Women’s and men’s track and field finish third and fourth at Bowdoin Invitational

The women’s and men’s indoor track and field teams travelled the scenic drive eastward on Highway 196 on Saturday to compete in Brunswick, Maine at Bowdoin College. The Polar Bears were hosting several teams from around Maine and the greater New England area, as the indoor track and field season is getting into full swing.

The women’s team had a solid day of competition, finishing with 88 points, good enough for a third place showing out of nine teams. Only Tufts and University of Southern Maine tallied better team totals then the Bobcats, coming in first and second with 137 and 115 points respectively. Senior captain Elena Jay set a personal record of 5:10.41 in the mile, finishing first in the field. Jay’s leadership as a captain has been invaluable for the team so far this year.

“Being a captain for the team this year has been really fun and rewarding. We have a fairly young team, which is exciting because every meet we have more and more athletes coming into their own and having breakout performances” said Jay. “We are excited to move into the next two weekends of qualifying meets, and then the championship season to follow.”

The men’s team hauled in a fourth place finish with 97 points. Only Tufts, University of Southern Maine, and Bowdoin totaled better scores in Brunswick.

“There are definitely some mixed feelings with that fourth place finish. Our main goal for this meet was not necessarily to win, but to get better seed times for upcoming races like the State meet, and we definitely had some individuals who stepped up to this challenge” said Patrick Griffin ’17. Griffin set a personal record in the 600-meter race, finishing in second place with a time of 1:21.9.

John Stansel ’15, who had a stellar showing during the cross-country season this past fall when he qualified for Nationals, has continued his dominance during the indoor season. Stansel won the 3,000-meter race with a time of 8:37.23.

Stansel commented on the transition from cross-country to indoor track: “For the distance minded folks on our teams, it’s just a natural extension of our training, just a change in venue. The training is similar, but with focus on intensity and speed since many of the races are shorter.”

Both teams will be competing together next Saturday at the University of Southern Maine Invitational, and relish the chance to improve.

“All of our training is geared to produce the best performances toward the end of each team member’s season, and with all the talent and motivation already present, we can only go up from here,” Jay remarked.

“The team is excited about the chance to fight for another Maine State title. A lot of development took place at Bowdoin; however, we have a ton of work to do to achieve our goals. It should be an interesting rest of the season,” said Stansel.

BQDC takes Malaysia by storm

While many Bates students were home during Christmas Break, a small entourage of elite debaters left their first semester for a somewhat contentious, argumentative trip to the World Universities Debating Championship at the Universiti Teknologi MARA in Shah Alam, Malaysia.

The three teams of two, comprising Taylor Blackburn ’15 and Matt Summers ’15, Zoe Seaman-Grant ‘17 and Ben Claeson ’15, and Alex Daugherty ’15 and Matt Kahn ’16, escaped this delightfully frigid New England hellscape to compete in what is widely regarded as the world’s largest debating tournament.

Out of 410 teams from across the globe, the teams of Blackburn and Summers, and Seaman-Grant and Claeson found themselves running in the top 48. Blackburn and Summers completed the tournament tied for 30th place, after having competed with teams from Auckland, Belgrade, Columbia and Harvard. Although they were surpassed by Belgrade and Harvard, they are the first team in the history of the college to win an outround at a world championship. Blackburn finished 41st overall and was ranked the best female speaker from North America. Summers was 68th overall.

“Matt and Taylor are a product of an entire team effort,” Claeson said. “Their success at Worlds is due to years of coaching and practicing and they are amazing debaters.”

The BQDC’s effort in Malaysia mirrors their recent performances at the World Universities Debate Championships. Last year in Chennai, India Blackburn and Jac Stewart ’14 along with Summers and Stephanie Wesson ’14 advanced to outrounds. Two years ago in Berlin, Cat Djang ’13 and Ben Smith ’13 were Bates’ first team to break to outrounds since the early 1990’s.

“Bates has about as much name recognition in the debate world as top schools like Harvard and Yale,” Summers said.

There are two styles of debate: American and British Parliamentary. In the American circuit, Bates College was ranked ninth this past fall, with the team of Summers and Seaman-Grant ranked as seventh in the nation. It is a strong fall semester that the Brooks Quincy Debate Council (BQDC) uses to polish its style prior to engaging in an international arena, with competitions every weekend around the country that give everyone from novices to seasoned vets the chance to fire a few test rounds.

The World Championship, however, uses the British Parliamentary style of debating. In this style, each debate consists of four teams with two speakers each. After having been given a topic, the teams have 15 minutes to craft their speech. Once each team has presented, the teams are ranked one through four, with a point system ranging from 0 to 3.

The second team to compete against the world’s top 48 was Seaman-Grant and Claeson. They were eliminated only after having competed with teams from Stanford, Auckland, and The Air Force Academy, of which the former two continued.  Seaman-Grant was ranked 82th overall and the third strongest American woman. Claeson finished 89th overall

The team consisting of Kahn and Daugherty was highest-speaking team on 15 points. Out of 800 combatants, Daugherty finished 112th overall and Kahn finished 134th.

“We’ve never had a sophomore break at worlds before and we haven’t had sophomores that are competitive on the international circuit in a long time,” Summers said.

BCDQ debaters at Malaysia tournament. TAYLOR BLACKBURN/THE BATES STUDENT

BCDQ debaters at Malaysia tournament. TAYLOR BLACKBURN/THE BATES STUDENT

Debate knows no seasons. Bates’ master debaters may have fought valiantly in the battle that is World Championships, but the schedule of appearances to be made doesn’t cut off when the victors are named in Malaysia. Seaman-Grant and Blackburn competed in the semifinals at the North American Championships at NYU against the best teams from the US and Canada.

“We had a quarter of the best teams in North America,” Summers said. “It is one of the most competitive tournaments of the year, a lot of former debaters who are in grad school came back, and it was a lot of fun seeing Matt and Zoe performing at that level and blowing sophomores, juniors, and seniors out of the water.”

Summers and Kahn made it to the quarterfinals just before being bumped by Princeton (a school that Bates is currently ranked higher than in American style debating).

“Just a few years ago, having a team break at NorthAms would have been a huge deal and having two is evidence of their further success,” Summers said.

Last weekend, two novice groups from Bates made it to novice semifinals at Dartmouth. Cole Limbach ’18 and a Brandeis debater fought their way to the final round just before being snuffed out by a team from Middlebury.

“We have one of the deepest and most enthusiastic novice classes in recent memory, they are all showing the potential to be some of the best debaters in the country,” Summers said.

Santi Rozas ’18 and Bennett Saltzman ’18 captured a spot in the semifinals before losing to Limbach and the Brandeis debater while debating the merits of the Mushroom Kingdom in Mario.

“We’re definitely hoping to repeat the win at BP Nationals and excited to have a strong junior class back with us from abroad,” Summers said.

A look inside WRBC

On Saturday, January 30 from 8 P.M. to 8 A.M., WRBC 91.5, Bates’ student-run radio station, is hosting its annual all-night trivia night. Named one of the top college radio stations by The Princeton Review, WRBC has a firm position in the Bates and Lewiston/Auburn community. Written on the walls of the DJ booth are the signatures and thoughts of jockeys dating back 20 years, providing snapshots of music history.

For this all-night event, students compete as teams, calling into the station to guess the names of songs and artists, in addition to performing a physical challenge every hour. Many of the call-in questions are open to interpretation—points are awarded for creativity.

Jordana Gluckow ’16, Treasurer and Board Member of WRBC, noted that trivia night is a “survival of the fittest” kind of event. “Every year we have a solid number of groups standing at 8 am the next day,” Gluckow said.

In addition to providing events like trivia night and Bates’ annual rave, last year WRBC released an interview with Clayton Spencer, and this fall, recorded the forum reacting to the elimination of Trick-or-Drink. The forum can be found on WRBC’s website.

In the spring of 2014, WRBC also hosted Block Party with the Chase Hall Committee and the DJ Society. This year, however, WRBC has dedicated much of its funds toward improving the station, rather than hosting a number of different concerts.

Given a larger budget, Gluckow said she would bring better concerts and events to Bates and invest more in digitizing the station by making WRBC’s music collection accessible from the station’s computer.

“For the Bates community, WRBC is about providing a fun space to chill out or play music,” Gluckow said. “I know people who did their radio from 4-6 AM in the morning, and every morning once a week the person who worked at the tollbooth would call in. Making those sorts of bridges is really cool.”

WRBC has roots in the larger Lewiston-Auburn community, bringing in many local DJs such as Music Director Bill Morse and Hunter Wilbur, a blind youth DJ who was profiled in The Sun Journal for his work with WRBC.

“One thing that makes WRBC really cool is that we have a group of community DJs who have been really long standing and come in weekly to do their shows,” Gluckow said. “It’s rare to have a club on campus that is connected to the community in that way because over the summer when students aren’t here they take the helm and fill up our air time. It’s cool to have people like that who understand the history [of WRBC] and are a part of the fabric of the station.”

Working at WRBC has provided Gluckow with professional radio experience, opening doors to opportunities such as communicating with the Federal Communications Commission.

Along with Gluckow, the WRBC board consists of General Manager Lauren Piccirillo, Publicity Director Emma Lutz, who’s responsible for sending out the station’s schedule and creating publicity for the station’s events, Tech Director Alfred Russo, who makes sure the stations equipment is working and up to date, Concert Director Adam Ellerton, who’s responsible for contacting artists’ management, Programming Director Linnea Brotz who is responsible for creating the schedule and enforcing rules and World Music Director and Summer Manager Neil Bement.

“We have a really tightly knit board, and we also have a group of phenomenal interns who will eventually replace the WRBC board members when they graduate… so it’s really a team effort in that sense,” Gluckow said.

Obama SOTU: Moving us forward

President Obama delivered a passionate address last week, charged with ambitious plans for the next two years of his Presidency, thoughts unobstructed by the looming dread of another presidential campaign he would have to run.

Six years ago, it would have been difficult for President Obama to imagine himself standing in front of the joint body of Congress delivering yet another State of the Union Address after not being elected once, but twice as the President of the United States of America.

The theme of the night appeared to be doing as much as possible in the remaining two years, making as much of a direct impact on the quality of as many lives as possible. These issues ranged from childcare and daily life to the greatest threat our only planet faces and the partisan push to deny this legitimate threat.

The President’s economic piece began by citing the rebound that the nation’s economy has recently seen, from the drop of gas prices to the unemployment rate being lower than it was before the recession. He called attention to raising the minimum wage, something that many cities have approved for the coming years (Seattle at $15/hour, D.C. & San Diego at $11.50/hour, and San Francisco at $10.74/hour).

The President also did not shy away from the fact that the U.S. remains the only advanced country that does not guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to workers, something that affects 43 million American workers.

Finally, the President called out the inexcusable fact that in 2015 there is still debate over whether or not a man and a woman ought to deserve equal pay for equal work. Thus, Obama recapped positive economic growth trends while also setting realistic goals and ambitions that the American population should keep in mind in the coming years. This, consciously or inadvertently, may create expectations of the type of society we are striving to create, possibly leading to discontent if these realistic goals are not met.

On May 9th, 2012, President Obama became the first sitting President to openly endorse gay marriage, citing his “evolving” views on the topic. Less than three years later, he once again made history by, for the first time in a State of the Union Address, mentioning the unacceptable persecution of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. While it ought to be rather apparent that this should have been a realization that humanity stumbled upon quite some millennia ago, 2015 is better than later.

The President then turned the nation’s attention to one of the largest topics of the evening: the future of the nation. Obama began by overtly pointing to what he deemed to be the greatest challenge for future generations, namely climate change. Instead of skirting around an issue that large pockets of Congress does not even believe exists, the President stressed the importance of funding cleaner and greener energy in the coming years, lessening our dependency on fossil fuels.

President Obama then turned his attention to the inhabitants of the future, the children’s generation. He began by emphasizing the importance of creating a better childcare system, referring to the universal childcare system that was enacted during a time when his own grandfather was fighting in World War II and his grandmother had to join the workforce.

He conveyed that this issue is not for others to worry about at a later time, but a pressing matter. “It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us,” Obama said.

With increased attention given to the suffocating college debts that most college students graduate with, the President recapped his bold plan for free higher education that recently made national news. Explaining how two-in-three jobs will require higher education, Obama noted how the twentieth century boomed thanks to making high school free for American youth. He proposed extending the idea of “free schools” to one higher level, that of college.

Before the masses hurl another socialist label on our incumbent President, it is important to seriously consider the implications of instituting free higher education in our nation. Free community college tuition would provide more opportunities than limitations through taxation. The act can be seen as a sentiment that millions of Americans feel: no one should be denied an education merely on the basis of a financial situation. Without explicitly stating it, education has slowly been nudged over alongside other inalienable rights that the President hopes can be shelved with the other resources that can make the American Dream a waking possibility.

President Obama once again called attention to our nation’s differences in sex, age, race, identity, orientation, and ability, and made one final effort to call what may be one of the most divisive identities in the United States government today in an effort to continue striving for and creating a better America.

“I want [future generations] to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America.”

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