The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: February 2015 Page 2 of 4

Religion and Rhythm: Tetsuo & Youth

Lupe Fiasco of Tetsuo & Youth (Taylor Blackburn/The Bates Student)

Lupe Fiasco isn’t like other rappers—or at least he doesn’t come off as one.

In his formative years, he despised the rap and hip hop that he heard on the radio, rejecting its misogynistic and vulgar themes, preferring jazz and poetry as his mediums for entertainment. Just a small vignette of Fiasco’s well-educated, well-cultured, and creative early life should give you just the slightest idea of the creative inspiration and general intellectual stance that he holds today, because that’s what Lupe is—an intellectual through and through.

Fiasco’s debut album, Food & Liquor, contained themes of rejection for following one’s interests in the pursuit of individuality in “Kick, Push.” The opening track contained samples of his chanting of the Qur’an. From the get-go, anyone who listened to Lupe knew he was legitimate, intensely invested in the matter about which he rapped, and most of all, independent.

After Food & Liquor, Lupe Fiasco continued along the same demagogic path, preaching to his listeners about the ethics (or lack thereof) in the music industry, acceptance of Islamic people in America, and, other than an over-commercialized and some would say banal release of Lasers, kept walking the righteous path and releasing quality songs.

And now he’s back, with Tetsuo & Youth, his first new album in three years. From the first look at Tetsuo & Youth, you can tell that Lupe has certainly dived headfirst into alternative hip hop. The cover, interestingly enough, is a painting by the artist himself, a work with broad strokes of warm, heavily textured paint and a modern, if simple, theme.

What’s inside the album cover, though, is what matters—and it’s anything but simple. After a minute-and-a-half long vignette featuring the sounds of children playing, burbling water, and a calming, atmospheric violin riff (if there ever were such a thing), the eight minute long track Mural finally plays. As the song’s title suggests, Lupe jumps into a massive auditory work of art. He covers subjects as mundane (for hip hop, at least) as drug abuse to contemporary issues like waterboarding and the dehumanizing effects that corporate ads have on women.

I’ll admit that Lupe isn’t completely abandoning the typical hip hop motifs: he’s just as quick to mention his “haters,” to brag about his poetic skills (“forge poetry like a young honorary Morrissey”), and to drop a line about talents in more sexual areas of life, but Tetsuo & Youth is a sophisticated album.

My favorite track, “Dots & Lines,” concerns itself with sacred geometry, the laws of nature and physics, and the corruption of men’s otherwise goals when mixed with the pursuit of money. “Little Death,” apart from its mellow, dissonant production, features similarly complex subject matter, examining the dichotomy between the truth that is offered from science and religion. The song’s title in French, “La petite mort,” refers to an intense transcendent spiritual experience during sex, or a brief period of melancholy or depression…the interpretation is up to you.

Tetsuo & Youth has what you want in a smart, pensive album. Need lyrics about police brutality, false imprisonment, Jim Crow, and terrorism? Looking for obscure references to 1922 mathematics publications? Look no further. Lupe Fiasco’s career-long, intense commitment to bringing intelligent verses to his audience, combined with the inventive instrumentals (“Prisoner 1 & 2” makes a masterpiece out of a garage band violin loop) found on this album together flirt with greatness.

All songs are equally accessible to hip hop heads and lovers of esoteric music, and that’s a difficult combination of audiences to reach. This just serves as proof that Lupe Fiasco is one of the more prolific and talented artists currently releasing music, and this reputation is well deserved.

Without Bean Boots and Patagonias

As the winter season progresses and the snow piles up, students look mostly identical.

One cannot walk into Commons without witnessing the mass number of Bean Boots and Patagonias. Whether for men or women, these two pieces are essential to the daily lives of Bates students.

Separate from the wave of similarity emerge two distinct students: Bridget Ruff and Joseph Alp. I have never seen either of these two students wearing Bean Boots or Patagonias; instead they dress in a style of their own.

Bridget hails from Maine, but she is not a stereotypical Mainer. She can be seen around campus in high-heeled boots and feminine dresses, all while maintaining an artistic vibe through her accessories and pixie haircut. She describes her style as “colorful and classic,” opting to wear clothes that she feels good in. When deciding what to wear, she said, “I try not to wear things that I’ll see a picture of in a year or two and think, ‘What the hell?’”

Her most “what the hell” item is the turtleneck. “I’m not sure if this one is in rebellion of winters [but] wearing white turtlenecks under everything, I really hate them. They’re not comfortable, flattering or fashionable.” Instead, to keep warm she’ll be wrapped up in a scarf, her winter staple. Why? “They’re super warm, an easy accessory, and if needed, an emergency blanket.” With the constant snowfall and single digit temperatures, a scarf is what everyone needs.

Joseph Alp was asked who or what inspires the way he dresses and responded, “Honestly? My grandfather. He always was the classiest gentleman in every photograph.” It is quickly evident that he dresses for no one but himself. He does receive jokes about his style, noting that he does get called “dapper,” but it does not prevent him from dressing the way he pleases.

Joseph continues to maintain his “modest and classic” look, involving button downs, chinos, loafers, and lots of knit sweaters. An interesting fact about Joseph is that he may be the only Bates student who does not own a pair of jeans. He prefers his corduroys because “they’re absolutely the best thing ever,” and the swish they made when walking is enough for anyone to want a pair.

As the semester continues, you can count on these two for your source of fashion inspiration. Before pulling on a sweatshirt and the same boots as everyone else on campus, stop and think, what would Bridget wear? What would Joseph wear? Probably something that required a little bit of effort.

Oscar-nominated animated shorts prove to be worth watching

You know that period of an hour during the televised Oscars event when everyone smiles and says, “That was a nice speech,” and they have no idea who won, for what profession, or what movie? I do, because it’s usually when the Academy presents their awards to the best animated or live action shorts.

Those who have no idea what short movies the Academy is honoring aren’t entirely guilty for being ill-informed. It’s not the norm that we venture to theaters to see an evening of short films when the full-length films seem to offer so much more.

But after watching the evening of Oscar-nominated animated at shorts at Guthrie’s Independent Theater this weekend, I wished that these compilations were more easily accessible throughout the year. I think this is the sixth time I’ve said this in the last week, but thank goodness for Guthrie’s.

This evening of animated shorts was so enjoyable partially because there was zero risk for audience members. The films have already been nominated for Oscars, so they are all succinct, appropriately humorous, lovingly sentimental, and un-insultingly reflective. Each offered a morsel of wisdom wrapped up in oddly shaped relatable characters and idiosyncratic environmental accents.

A short is far more difficult than a full feature, just as a nine-page paper is arguably easier to write than a six-page one. If you’ve done the work (which is where people who would have argued with me over the last statement usually drop out of the conversation), succinctly stating your opinion in a linear fashion is more difficult than rambling around an idea for nine pages. Makers of short films don’t have time to be circuitous. In the first frame of the animation, details in the way they portray trees and introduce the title speak volumes to the mood of the piece and effectiveness of the storyline.

This came across in the first short of the evening, Me and My Moulton, about a young Norwegian girl reflecting on the apparent burden and eventually unavoidable lovability of familial individuality though her quest for a bicycle. The layering of transparent circles formed trees that mesmerizingly changed with the season, but their transparency served to emphasize the themes of transparency, facades, privacy and delusion that lightly strummed through the narrator’s thoughts. It seems ridiculous that I’m obsessed with the trees, but they represent the most exciting fact of animated shorts. The myriad of worlds we experience come solely from the imaginations of the filmmakers.

This was also obvious in the short entitled The Bigger Picture, directed Daisy Jacobs, about the relationship between two brothers and the tension that arises when they have to care for their ailing mother. The occasionally stagnant frames each allude to painting style found in cubist paintings. Each one seems to have been crafted to capture the increasingly sensitive tensions of the two characters.

Then there are shorts like Feast from Disney Animation Studios that feature computer generated puppies eating epic amounts of human food. They don’t challenge us, and thank goodness they don’t, because who doesn’t love loyal puppies basking us with their benevolent glow and fake human effects sometimes?

American Sniper should not be a partisan talking point

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the Daily Show’s interview with presidential hopeful/crackpot Mike Huckabee. Huckabee used his television appearance to evangelize one of the most annoying subtexts in American politics: the culture war.

Huckabee referred to America as “bubba and bubbles,” where the majority of “real” Americans who live in “bubba” country are subjected to liberal pop culture “bubbles” from both coasts. According to Huckabee, educated individuals and urban dwellers are not real Americans and force abhorrent morals down the throats of unsuspecting children.

Bradley Cooper as sniper Chris Kyle in a scene from American Sniper. (Taylor Blackburn/The Bates Student)

Bradley Cooper as sniper Chris Kyle in a scene from American Sniper. (Taylor Blackburn/The Bates Student)

The use of culture war as a political wedge issue is foolish; it’s mostly used in public discourse by eager Republicans trying to shore up support among the party base.

However, many liberal Americans are just as guilty at poking the culture war bear with their recent criticism of American Sniper. The classic, worn-out criticism of the movie is that it glosses over the political realities of the Iraq War and suggests that America invaded because of 9/11. Additionally, critics contend that Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in American history, is portrayed as a flag-waving hero instead of the cold-blooded killer he really is.

Both of these assertions are absurd and draw liberals into the same vapid debate that has made the Republican Primary season look like a hilarious spinoff of Survivor.

American Sniper is a biographic look into the life of Kyle and his experiences serving four tours of duty in Iraq. It is not a film that attempts to portray a holistic account of the political context surrounding the decision to invade Iraq. Additionally, American Sniper does show many individuals, including women and children, that Kyle shot. However, it is clear that there is a moral compass guiding Kyle’s actions. He implores a child that picks up an RPG to put it down and waits until the last possible second to choose whether or not to pull the trigger. When the child drops the weapon, Kyle does not shoot.

Director Clint Eastwood is undoubtedly the target for criticism. While Eastwood has some Republican-leaning political views, he is hardly extremely right-wing or jingoistic. Eastwood claims that American Sniper is anti-war and personally opposed the invasion of Iraq. I personally wouldn’t characterize American Sniper as anti-war, but it certainly shows the human and emotional tolls that war can cause. In fact, Eastwood’s previous war films, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, portray the same battle from the American and Japanese sides. Eastwood is hardly a war-mongering neoconservative and his portrayal of Kyle attempts to capture the cruel realities of war with a human face.

The film’s final scenes focus on Kyle’s struggles adapting to civilian life along with the physical and emotional trauma that many veterans face. Eastwood paints a very sobering picture of the reality of many American veterans and humanizes Kyle in the process.

However, many liberal voices like former DNC Chair Howard Dean have been quick to criticize the film. “There’s a lot of anger in this country and the people who go to see this movie are very angry,” Dean said on Real Time with Bill Maher. Dean’s foray into the culture war argument made him look just as asinine as Huckabee. Lumping entire groups of the country by geography, political affiliation, and education level is bad politics. Dean was forced to apologize for his remarks and admitted he never actually saw the movie.

The culture war argument is an antiquated trope that both sides of the aisle should eschew in favor of actual policy arguments. American Sniper may not be everyone’s must-see movie, but it certainly isn’t right-wing propaganda. Our veterans deserve better than having their emotional experiences of war being boiled down into political debates.

Men’s basketball is perfect at home

Mens Basketball Pic 1 by Drew PerlmutterIt has been an absolutely incredible year for the Bates men’s basketball team. Not only has the team showed up to play fantastic basketball, but the student body has been out in full force showing opposing teams why Alumni is truly one of the toughest Division III gyms to play at in the country. This past weekend, Alumni was the loudest it has been in recent memory as the ‘Cats got two wins against very good NESCAC opponents in Williams and Hamilton.

“Being 12-0 at home feels incredible because the fans come out every single game and bring so much energy into Alumni,” junior Mike Boornazian said.

The team got things cooking on Friday in front of a packed crowd. In a game where it seemed like the Bobcats were going to run away with it, Williams kept it close throughout 38 or so minutes of play. But behind a strong team effort in the clutch, Bates eventually prevailed 70-68.

In the first half, guard tandem of Daniel Wohl and Hayden Rooke-Ley combined for 29 of Williams’ 36 first half points. The duo shot 43% from the floor and were key in keeping Williams in the contest. For Bates, the distribution of scoring was much more even, with both senior Graham Safford and Boornazian tallying 10 first half points apiece. The Delpeche twins, sophomores Malcolm and Marcus, did their job on both the defensive and offensive ends of the court in the first half, combining for seven rebounds and 10 points.

After halftime and down the stretch, things became much more electrifying, as the game remained close with time ticking away. With less than six minutes to go, senior Adam Philpott sparked a Bates run with a three pointer that gave the Bobcats a 61-60 lead. This proved to be key, as it got the fans on their feet and as senior Billy Selmon noted, was important in the eventual outcome.

“We remained focused on what was necessary to win throughout,” Selmon explained. “We remained positive and confident that we would win. When we play solid defense there are few teams in the country that can beat us.”

This proved to be true down the stretch; key defensive stops and plays, particularly a combined effort forcing a bad three point attempt from the Ephs in the final minute, were the deciding factor in the eventual 70-68 victory. Williams advanced all the way to the National Championship game last season.

For the game, Safford led all Bobcats with 21 points to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds. Boornazian and Malcolm Delpeche both had 13 points apiece. From there, the Bobcats kept the ball rolling with another intense, 73-71 nail-biting victory the following day over Hamilton.

In front of a blacked out gym, Billy Selmon sealed the deal for the Bobcats with a decisive steal late in the game and the go-ahead finish on the other end. The basket was the 14th lead change of the game, but it would be the final one, as the ‘Cats finished off a 12-0 regular season home schedule.

It was fitting that senior guard Cam Kaubris got things rolling for the Bobcats early in the game, drilling a deep three. The Maine native is one of four Bobcats who played their last regular season game in Alumni this past weekend along with Safford, Selmon, and Philpott. Not only have the seniors had an impact on the court, but they’ve had a major influence off it as well, especially for swingman Boornazian.

“Those four guys have taught me so much since the first day I stepped on campus,” he noted. “They bring a level of focus and leadership to our team that instills confidence in each and every one of us and gives us all the desire to improve every day.”

Much like the game the previous night, lead changes were frequent in the Hamilton game, as it was a back and forth battle for most of the game. The Bates defense, one of the best in the NESCAC, was the deciding factor once again. For the game, the team forced 21 turnovers leading to 17 points.

“When we play good, solid defense there are few teams in the country that can beat us,” said Selmon. “At the end of both games we needed key defensive stops in order to take or maintain the lead, and we got those stops when we needed them the most.”

Down the stretch, the Bobcat defense stifled any Hamilton comeback attempt, and clutch shooting from Boornazian sealed the deal. With the victory, the Bobcats are now in sole possession of second place in the NESCAC standings heading into the final weekend of action.

“In order to stay on the winning track this weekend we need to have three great practices leading up to the rivalry games this weekend,” Selmon explained. “We are solely focused on Bowdoin right now because that is who we play first. We can’t win two games over the weekend without winning the first one,” he concluded.

For the Hamilton game, Boornazian led all scorers with 21 points and seven rebounds. Malcolm Delpeche chipped in 14 points to go along with five rebounds. As a team, the Bobcats shot 41% from the floor. The efforts of the student section must also be mentioned, as they clearly earned MVP status for the game with their continuous involvement and electric presence in Alumni Gym.

Bates has three road contests remaining, two against NESCAC foes Bowdoin and Colby. However, they have a week of preparation before they hit the road on Friday the 13th.

Ultimately, though their focus has shifted, the accomplishment of finishing 12-0 at home in front of a sold out gym resonates with every player. Boornazian commented, “Anytime you get the opportunity to put on a Bates jersey, you’re representing something so much bigger than yourself, and to do this in front of the best fans in the NESCAC is truly an honor.”

Measles and Mickey: Don’t let politics get in the way of science

Long lines, crying children, and the scorching sun might not be the worst things anymore at America’s favorite theme park. Recent reports have revealed that 26 cases of measles have been linked to an outbreak in Disneyland. One must keep in mind that in 2015, over half a century after the measles vaccination was first licensed, the reported cases continue to rise. Before 1963, there were between 3-4 million reported cases and over 500 deaths per year in just the United States as a result of measles. Why is it then, that decades later this horrendous disease has reared its ugly head once again? As one writer adequately answers: “Science denial, celebrity endorsement, and apathy”.

While few will dispute the utter importance of granting citizens the personal freedom to make their own decisions, there is a point where this type of “personal freedom” may begin to endanger individuals or even the population at large. Responding to the uproar surrounding the topic of vaccination, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie responded by citing the importance of parental choices in these matters. Note: his office was quick to respond by releasing a more appropriate statement regarding the importance of vaccinating children. Senator Rand Paul was quick to follow, adding that he had personally heard of cases in which children receiving vaccinations led to “profound mental disorders”. Needless to say, in most of these cases, the politicians’ views on science are far more dangerous than vaccines are.

Much of the anti-vaccine hullaballoo can actually be traced back to an exact date, something that is rather rare. On February 28th, 1998, a paper was published in The Lancet, a medical journal, written by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, which claimed that a link existed behind the MMR vaccine and an appearance of autism. Since then, the experiment was unable to be reproduced with the same results, the paper was withdrawn from the journal, and his medical license was revoked in the UK. A couple of institutions looked into the possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorder, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the US National Academy of Sciences, the UK National Health Service, and the Cochrane Library, all of which found no relationship between the vaccine and the disorder. The paper had large implications on starting a small, yet powerful movement that fueled a campaign against vaccination. Since then, this false “vaccine-autism link” has been called, “the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years”.

Since then, pockets of individuals have started campaigns to “green our vaccines”, many led by celebrities who carry a large influence, notably Jenny McCartney. One underlying tactic used in anti-vaccine rhetoric is the relentless urging to move away from “chemicals” and “toxins” being injected into one’s body, citing the idea that anything found in nature is somehow always good, and anything made artificially cannot possibly be good for one’s body. While this may be an appropriate rule-of-thumb when dining, it is certainly not always the case. Citing the mercury-based preservative thiomersal found in vaccines is not a legitimate reason to forgo vaccination. Obviously, mercury, or other mercury-based products should not be consumed; yet one must remember that these vaccines are carefully prepared chemical compounds, thoroughly researched and examined going through a number of trial stages by medical and pharmaceutical professionals before being approved for distribution.

The next fear tactic employed by far too many politicians is the presentation of the Orwellian dystopia in which the government begins taking over our lives, by telling us which cars to drive, which light bulb to use, and restricting our sandwich-rights when children are asked to avoid bringing in peanut-butter sandwiches as a student in the class may be allergic. Without even pointing out the fact that many of these exact same politicians are often the first to promote governmental interferences in reproductive rights or marriage licenses, there are legitimate concerns looming in the background. Governments ought to promote individual liberties, but only up to where individuals are not in peril. People should not have the “freedom” to bring about harm or suffering, whether intentional or unintentional, to anyone, and must be restricted from doing so.

The U.S. allows for competent adults to decide if they wish to be treated or not in a number of cases. It is true that many adult patients choose to forgo treatments that would often work, resulting instead in suffering; yet we acknowledge that this was their decision. The issue becomes a lot trickier when they start making decisions for others, namely their children. In those cases in which a child can be saved or treated yet parents are refusing the treatment, a court order can overrule their decision and proceed as medically necessary to help the young patient. This partial “suspension” of “personal rights” occurs when one is trying to exercise a “right” that could ultimately harm another person when it is preventable. That is where the line must be drawn.

In a similar case, the “choice” to not vaccinate a child could easily lead to that same child becoming infected with something that could have been completely eradicated from the world, yet these few incessant individuals leave many at risk, specifically those with weak immune systems, such as many of the elderly, babies too young to be vaccinated, or those who cannot be vaccinated. Vaccinating ourselves creates “herd immunity”, protection for those vulnerable individuals by safeguarding them from these diseases.

In 2000, the United States declared measles to be virtually eradicated in the country; yet there were more measles cases in January of this year than nine of the past fourteen years in the country. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention calls measles “the most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses”. While recognizing the undeniable importance of individual freedom, we cannot continue to grant citizens “freedoms” that ultimately expose individuals and larger populations to preventable dangers. At the end of the day, rights and freedoms are meaningless when there isn’t a life to accompany them.

8 Questions with Norberto Diaz: A new kind of President

Bridget Ruff: Why did you want to run for Student Body President in the first place?

Norberto Diaz: The reason I wanted to run was that I felt that the student body wasn’t represented very well. A lot of my friends are in Student Government, and I had conversations with them about what was going on and [also] with people who weren’t part of student government. The shocking thing was that nobody knew what was going on in [the] student body government or even who their reps were… So that kind of lit the fire for me. I’m not a politics major. I’m not doing this for a resume—I’m doing this because I genuinely care about the student body.

BR: So what exactly does the Student Government do for Bates?

ND: We work a lot with clubs, Bates’ policies, and money for certain events like concerts. Even down to things like GECs and Minors. All of that. However, it’s been so spread out over the past years that it kind of doesn’t even look like student government any more. We have all of these committees, and that’s one thing I want to work on. I want to get back to [a] student government where the student body is more in control.

BR: If you could change one thing tomorrow, what would that be?

ND: I would change the guidelines and the requirements of our reps. I want to structure it so they actually have to do something. I know that sounds bad, but right now I feel like they don’t have to do much. They’re just figure heads that have control in the sense that they represent a house but the people in the house don’t even know who they are. I’m an RC and I vaguely know who my reps are, but not really. I want to change that. I want to make them do something, I want to hold them accountable.

BR: How do you think we can do a better job of making the committee system effective?

ND: Everything is so spread out that you lose sight of what’s even going on. To be completely honest, I don’t even know what’s going on. I’m meeting with everyone who is just giving me a lot of information. And what I get is that we need to stay away from these kinds of committees. It’s just overwhelming to students. They get all of these emails and go “Alright, I don’t care.” I want to bring that back to the RA.  [For example] with Budget committee, a club goes to the Budget committee and says “We need this about of money”. Budget committee says “Okay” and they work on that and present to the RA. Why do we need to have that middleman? Why can’t we have that club just go straight to the RA and say “This is what we need” and have our representatives vote on it right then and there? There’s no need for something like that.

BertoBR: What are other issues you’re interested in pursuing?

ND: Things that I [do] like are movements like It’s On Us. Sexual Assault is something that is not new. I’m happy we’re shining a light on this. [Sexual assault rates] are going up, which is a bad thing… those rates were always there; we just had a blind eye to [them]. Things that I want to change [are] increased things to do on the weekends as far as straying away from the drinking culture. I’m all for it. I’m 22 and I do partake in the party scene. But I do want to sometimes relax and find something else to do. And I think the Chase Hall Committee and Keith Tannenbaum are doing a great job on expanding that.

BR: What can the average Bates Student do to get involved and to help you with some of your ideas and reforms?

ND: I think the best thing is to talk to me. I’m sending out emails, I’ll be [meeting] with all the reps, and I want to meet with the student body. I’m holding office hours Mondays and Wednesdays. I’m going to be in Commons in the Fishbowl from 11 to 2. I’ll be relaxing, doing work, and I really encourage people just to come and talk. I love having conversations, and I’m very approachable. And [there are] even the RA meetings on Sundays–you can step in, too! Anybody from the student body can just walk in. See what we’re all about and give us some of your input. If you don’t know your rep and you don’t like how you’re being represented, come to these meetings.

BR: Is there anything else you would like the student body to know?

ND: Thank you! That’s the big thing. I’m definitely going to give it all I’ve got. And please, just come talk to me. If there’s an issue, something that’s going on. You feel like you’re not happy here at Bates or something is bothering you about Bates, just come talk. And I’ll put in a good word, and I’ll fully try to represent everybody.

What is activism at Bates?

This year, Bates has seen an increase in both social activism and active demonstration in the form of protests, performances and artwork throughout campus. Bates College is rooted in a liberal arts atmosphere for open communication among students, faculty and the surrounding community—activism is nothing new.

Activism at Bates is divided, separating nationwide issues from Bates specific tensions. Some students are attempting to bridge this divide, delivering national issues to the Bates community in an accessible way.

Sophomores Annakay Wright and Olivier Brillant, co-directors of this year’s SANKOFA performance, spoke to The Bates Student about the different forms of current activism that exist on campus.

This year’s SANKOFA was titled “From Selma to Ferguson: 50 Years of Nonviolent Dissent.” Wright looked to use SANKOFA as a way to articulate difficult issues for the Bates community in a digestible fashion.

“We use performance to portray our ideas and beliefs… Telling stories about ourselves and people of the cast to the student body,” Brillant added. Different acts within SANKOFA appealed to different interests and groups of people, hopefully spreading the overall message as effectively as possible.

The events in Ferguson and the continued unrest over the Eric Garner ruling have pushed many students to speak up, while others remain apprehensive. The Die-In in Commons—to protest unjust police killings of minorities—lasted 30 minutes, giving students a chance to critique the demonstration and their thoughts on the issue. Some students applauded the determination of the demonstrators, while others failed to see the how lying on the Commons floor helps the issue. The co-directors explained the dynamic surrounding certain activism on Bates campus and how it is received—not always positively.

“When it is something that comes out of that Bates bubble, people get uncomfortable,” Brillant said. Students avoid issues they feel do not pertain to them, or that may place them out of their comfort zone. Negative responses to recent protests surfaced on Yik Yak, highlighting disagreements among the student population. But the co-directors understand these reactions.

“Ignorance is ok,” Brillant said. “You can’t take that too heavily… you cannot yell at someone who is not educated about something.”

Part of the goal of many demonstrations and forms of activism at Bates is to bring an issue to the surface and to educate the student population. However, these forms of social activism have been placed in the same category as public displays and secret instilation like those conducted by the anonymous Juice Boys.

Paintings on the columns of Lane, destroyed derby cars parked in front of Commons, the infamous S.S. McIntosh sinking into the mud—all displays hint at what activism means at Bates. These works convey messages specific to the Bates community, meaning most students are able to relate to the message.

Acts of the Juice Boys, explained Wright and Oliver, which may be inflammatory towards the administration, do not nearly receive as much vocalization against them as events like the Die-In. The co-directors state that they point out this division not to defame the Juice Boys, but simply to acknowledge that Bates activism is complicated—not all protests are created equal.

Bates activism is still finding its place. Founded by abolitionists in 1855, Bates has always been looking ahead. Discussion around protests and public displays continue this legacy of change—Bates needs to take the plunge into the difficult issues.

Students brave super storm Juno

On January 27, many Batesies braved whipping winds and trekked through treacherous ice and snow as they braved superstorm Juno on their way to classes. Commons was bustling with students hunkering down with hot chocolate, snowshoers trudged across campus and the Bates Nordic Ski Team even skied to Denny’s.

Soon after Juno’s rage died down, however, the mountainous piles of snow that blocked the Bates’ campus walkways quickly disappeared. Thanks to the tireless team of eleven full-time facilities employees who worked 75-80 hours the week of the storm, our dorm’s doorways were kept clear, and we didn’t have to tackle three feet of snow making our way to Commons.

Manned with 3 pickup trucks, 2 Bobcat tractors, and 6 shovels, this group ensures that every stairwell, doorway, and curb gets plowed. Their work shifts on a snowy day can range from 8 to 24 hours.

“If it starts snowing at night, we’ll be there by five in the morning. We stay with it as long as we need to,” said John Griffiths, Head of Facility Services.

With such long hours, keeping Bates’ campus cleared is no easy task. A few of the workers admitted that it would be helpful to have more employees, especially during major storms.

They also noted that some of the equipment needs to be upgraded, especially one tractor that has been in use since 1993 to pile up snow. “Every day we get out of it we’re lucky,” one of the workers said.

juno 1In general, though, several workers agreed that they feel respected and appreciated on campus. “We’re always willing to help a student out. They’ll usually be very appreciative. If it weren’t for the students, we wouldn’t be here,” said groundskeeper Adam Wright. Tim Kivus and Wright are in charge of maintaining and plowing the snow off of all athletic fields.

John Deschene, Grounds Manager, who is in charge of maintaining all of Bates’ Facilities Services vehicles along with Norman Chouinard, shared, “We were having dinner in Commons the other day, and a student thanked us for clearing the snow. We thought that was pretty appreciative.”

Mike Adams, who’s been with Bates Facilities Services for 31 years, added, “[Bates] always been a great place to work. I’ve always had a job; my check’s never bounced.”

When these workers aren’t plowing snow, their jobs vary from doing trash/recycling pickups, setting up and taking down major events and all other grounds work.

One employee Bill Bergevin is in charge of maintaining all of Bates’ flower beds and trimming and cataloging every tree on campus, even during these harsh winter months.

Additionally, Facility Services has a good relationship with the City of Lewiston. They clear some of the city’s sidewalks not associated with Bates, and in turn the city provides them with resources when they need them.

While snow removal was in full swing, students took advantage of the winter wonderland on the Bates campus.

The Bates Outing Club (BOC) has hosted a number of different winter activities ranging from winter camping to snow kayaking and sledding down Mt. David. The BOC also had a learn-to-ski seminar at Lost Valley.

“I almost have the most fun sledding on trays here on Mt. David,” said sophomore Equipment Room Director Noel Potter. “A lot of the time someone will send out an email to the Outing Club listserv saying they need a study break. There’s something about the spontaneity of just being able to go over to Mt. David.”

This past Saturday, the BOC went on a winter camping adventure on Range Pond in neighboring Poland, Maine. Sadly, their winter tent, outfitted with a wood stove, caught fire, and campers had to return home. “I heard someone scream fire,” sophomore Emma Marchetti said. “I said, ‘Yeah we just started one [for dinner]’ But they meant a real fire.” The BOC Safety Director and trip coordinator quickly put the fire out.

This upcoming weekend students can continue to enjoy the snow at the Mt. Washington Ice Festival, a winter camping trip available to people of all experience levels (although some experience is recommended).

“A lot of people probably think the best thing to do on a snowy day is to stay inside and read a book. I think the best thing to do is to go out there, go skiing, go snowshoeing,” Potter said. “For me at least, it’s more fun for me being out there.”

Dorm construction surrounds Lewiston residence

Though the student body has yet to be greatly impacted by the ongoing construction of the Campus Life Project at 55 and 65 Campus Avenue, many residents of Lewiston are finding themselves intertwined with developments.

Spanning the length of Campus Ave. across Central Ave., Franklin St., and Bardwell St., the new dormitories will house 230 students of all class years, in addition to space for the Bates Bookstore and Packaging Center. Some of the new features of construction will mimic 280 College Street dorms, including window seats, luxurious laundry facilities, varied study rooms and game rooms

A view of the 65 Campus Ave. construction site from an upper story of Lewiston Middle School on Jan. 9, 2015. At right, the orange boom and the two concrete trucks roughly indicate the placement of the student residence. (Doug Hubley/Courtesy Photo of Bates College Office of Communications)

A view of the 65 Campus Ave. construction site from an upper story of Lewiston Middle School on Jan. 9, 2015. At right, the orange boom and the two concrete trucks roughly indicate the placement of the student residence. (Doug Hubley/Courtesy Photo of Bates College Office of Communications)

As dramatic, extensive additions to Bates housing, the dorms will undoubtedly affect the Lewiston community. Numerous buildings were taken down to accommodate the large-scale project, some owned by Bates and others owned by Lewiston locals. Bates offered to buy those houses owned by the people of Lewiston at fair market value, which most people accepted.

However, 84-year-old Selma Nelson, the resident of 101 Franklin Street, refused Bates’ offer. Nelson was not interested in moving out of the home she and her late ex-husband built fifty-two years ago.

Nelson was an English teacher at Lewiston High School for thirty-five years before her retirement and holds strong ties with the city and her home.

Despite Nelson’s refusal, Bates has proceeded with its construction project, essentially building around her two-story home.

Ms. Nelson and her family do not resent Bates for continuing with the project, reported the Sun Journal, as they have been kept in the loop with the progress in order to avoid any damage to the house.

In the Journal’s recent article interviewing James Nelson, Ms. Nelson’s son, compares his mother’s situation to that of Mr. Fredrickson in the Pixar movie Up. Due to the sensitivity of this scenario, Ms. Nelson declined an interview.

After hearing about the impact of the construction, Bates students sympathized with Ms. Nelson.

First-year Jake Shapiro said, “Imagine being 84 and having to watch your backyard view transform from grassy fields to construction vehicles, fences, and giant pits.  Just doesn’t seem right or fair.”

Samantha Grant, also a first-year, feels “saddened that Ms. Nelson no longer has neighbors or scenic views of her neighborhood, but is happy to know that Bates has been respectful of Ms. Nelson’s wishes.”

Due to the need for more housing, Bates construction persists, but the College will not neglect the needs and desires of Ms. Nelson.

Echoing the feelings of many students, first-year Cam Veidenheimer said, “Bates must find a balance between prioritizing Ms. Nelson’s needs and eliminating the current housing predicament.”

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