The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: March 2016 Page 1 of 8

Questions raised about Bates’ response to terror abroad

Two Bates students are currently studying in Istanbul, where terrorist attacks occurred on March 19. HANNAH TARDIE/COURTESY PHOTO

Two Bates students are currently studying in Istanbul, where terrorist attacks occurred on March 19. HANNAH TARDIE/COURTESY PHOTO

After the March 19 bombing in Istanbul, two Bates students studying there gained a firsthand experience of the fear and isolation a terrorist attack brings.

Zaynab Tawil and Hannah Tardie chose to study in Istanbul, Turkey, for their semesters abroad. Tardie is at Koc University on a CIEE program and Tawil studies at Bogazici University with IES.

They are the only Bates students currently studying in the country. Tawil lives only one metro stop away from the recent attacks.

The Off-Campus Study Office reached out to Tawil and Tardie two days after the bombing at the intersection of Balo Street and Istiklal Street. The explosions killed four people and wounded 36 others, according to the Guardian’s report from March 19.

Both Tardie and Tawil’s individual abroad programs first alerted Bates about the attacks on Saturday, March 19 at 8:31 a.m. and 9:37 a.m, respectively. The Off-Campus Study Office reached out to Tardie on Monday, March 21 at 2:07 p.m., after her mother contacted the office, and Tawil at 3:41 p.m.

Associate Dean of Students and Director of Off-Campus Study Stephen Sawyer was out of town and “knew they were fine,” because the program had already contacted the office.

“We rely on the programs to provide immediate emotional wellbeing and follow up since they are on-site, know the setting, can monitor the students, and have staff in place whom the students know,” Sawyer said in an email to The Student.

Unlike other colleges and universities with a larger student body, Bates does not run its own abroad programs, aside from the annual Fall Semester option. Sawyer explained that Bates carefully selects these abroad programs, especially with regard to safety, choosing schools that “have the depth of resources to respond to crises with whatever is needed, not constrained by cost issues or inadequate staff.”

However, Bates does indeed play a role in connecting with students abroad and their families in times of crisis. “I agree that Bates has a role to play in reaching out to students as they react to these awful events; however, we are not first in line,” Sawyer said.

Bates’ response to the Turkey attacks seemed, to some, however, to falter in comparison with the College’s responses to other recent incidents.

There was no contact immediately following the attacks in Istanbul—no email was sent after the bombings to the students on campus, nor to the rest of the students studying abroad.

Yet an email to all the students abroad was sent March 23 after the March 22 explosions in Brussels. No student was studying there, as Bates has no approved program in the country. There are reports of one student who was in the area for a connecting flight.

When asked why no email was sent to the students in Turkey in light of the prompt and widespread response following the incidents in Paris and Brussels, Sawyer said the explosions in Turkey were “viewed as a different scale of exposure.”

“The nature of the Bates response varies with the context of each situation, with the scale of the incident and the exposure of Bates students the key variables,” Sawyer said in a follow up email to The Student.

Dean of Students Josh McIntosh spoke to The Student regarding re-evaluating the Bates protocol for addressing such situations. While only two students were studying in Istanbul, this does not make them “any less important,” McIntosh said in a phone call with The Student. He also discussed the importance of the ground level response from the host programs, but there are things that Bates can do from afar.

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, USA Today reported that some large schools were considering implementing automated response systems to track their students.

McIntosh noted that large universities like Syracuse have around 800 students abroad at a time through their own abroad program, while Bates has around 150 students abroad per semester.

“We are able to leverage our relationship differently,” he said, due to the small size of Bates. McIntosh encourages students to discuss their grievances with him so that Bates can improve.

“France was different because we had students very much exposed to the bombs there,” Sawyer said. A Bates student was in fact at the Stade de France when the bombs went off November 13.

In an email obtained by The Student, the Off-Campus Study Office contacted the three students in Paris at 10:10 p.m. on the night of the attacks there. Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Josh McIntosh soon followed the next morning (November 14) at 9:36 a.m. with a campus-wide email. This email was then forwarded to the rest of the students studying abroad Sunday, November 15.

Before Tardie and Tawil left for Turkey, Sawyer did contact them after the January 12 bombing in Istanbul to discuss their options: continue with their plans, switch programs, or return to Bates. The office made contact with these students again February 12 to check in with them following their arrival.

“The only faculty member besides Dean Sawyer that has communicated with me was my volleyball coach, Coach DeRan,” Tardie said in an email to The Student. Coach DeRan contacted Hannah hours after the attacks. Other Bates students, abroad and on campus, reached out to Tardie as well.

Besides the contact Monday afternoon, Tardie and Tawil said there was no other contact from administration.

“It is strange to feel so connected to one part of the Bates Community, and yet feel so rejected and isolated by another,” Tardie said. “It is so easy to be isolated abroad, and the last thing I expected was to feel isolated by members of the Bates community.”

After the attacks, both Tardie and Tawil had the option to return to the U.S., but neither would receive Bates credit for their course work.

“I will absolutely finish my studies,” Tawil said.

Tardie will also remain in Istanbul to complete the semester, but the atmosphere of their abroad experience has definitely changed.

“The weekend of the attack was the emptiest I have ever seen Istanbul in my time here,” Tawil said. “It is a city of 13 million people. I live in one of the most crowded areas, popular areas. No one was outside. The streets were empty at rush hour. You looked into the eyes of your neighbors and felt absolutely nothing. It was like the fear and tension had forced the evacuation of their bodies, not just the city.”

“It is a hard dance between the survival life goes on performance and spending time to grieve, allowing yourself to fall victim to fear, to loss, to circumstance,” Tardie said.

Both students have made deeper bonds with Turkey as a result of this tragedy.

“In choosing Turkey I made the commitment to myself to join in a country that I knew was at risk,” Tawil said. “I have the privilege of being able to leave whenever I want to an arguably safer and protected community in America; I don’t believe it would be fair for me to exercise that privilege because I am ‘afraid.’ Everyone is afraid. I won’t leave the community now.”

As the threat of terrorist attacks persists, colleges and universities may need to review procedures for responding to acts of terror abroad and preparing their students to grapple with the reality of these crises.

Bates investigations: fact-checking legends of a tunnel deep in Bates’ labyrinthine libraries

At Bates, myths about secret underground tunnels abound. Perhaps because it’s so darn cold to walk anywhere in the winter. Many are theorized to exist: Lane Hall to PGill. Lane Hall to Hathorn. Nash House to the Barn. Commons to your dorm (only dreamed of). Bardwell’s basement to Lewiston Variety. Yellow House’s basement to a sinkhole. The list goes on.

However, the most widely discussed tunnel today is the one rumored to connect Ladd Library to the adjoining Coram Library. When I asked Ben Cuba ’16, studiously sharpening his pencil on Ladd’s first floor, about the purported tunnel, he responded immediately. “Oh yeah,” he said, pointing his pencil towards the mélange of stone and brick paving that sits between the new and old libraries. “This place has gotta cover something.”

“Where do you think it goes?” I asked.

“To the bomb shelter,” Cuba responded. “Where else?”

As with any institution that has been around since the Cold War, there have been rumors for years about a bomb shelter on the campus. An article in the December 7, 1973 edition of The Bates Student referred eleven times to an “infamous bomb shelter” and alleged that it was hidden in the basement of Lane Hall for the President and Trustees’ personal use. However, an October 1976 Student article entitled “Let’s Explode the Bomb Shelter Myth” revealed that what was long rumored to be the shelter was disappointingly the Lane Hall mailroom.

Since the bunker-busting of that theory, however, speculation fell upon another Cold War era construction, the architecturally confounding Ladd Library, completed in 1974. Its odd brick structure is the embodiment of sturdy, and its basement backs directly up to the elegant and majestic Coram Library, itself built in 1902. Nine other students I spoke to said they thought Ladd’s deep bowels held some sort of secret, and hypotheses were many. A tunnel to Coram? A bomb shelter? A top secret archive? “Where they store confiscated hard alcohol,” one student suggested wryly. I set out to investigate for myself.

Tipped off by an informant behind the Circulation Desk, I descended to the Periodicals section, the rectangular zone which looms above the Basement’s main study area. The deeper I delved, the more the aesthetic changed from Ladd’s typical bland three-color chic (garnet, forest green, red oak wood) to that of a Reagan-era bunker. The brick walls were painted with sterile white paint that curled from years of inattention. Pipes and metallic cross-beams crisscrossed the walls. Gray utility boxes with scientific names such as “Panel Top Cir. #7” and “Gas Ctl. #6” popped out from all directions. The traditional wood of Ladd’s stacks gave way to gun-metal gray shelves, claustrophobically packed together.

I squeezed past a rusting thermometer on the wall that read 63 degrees. Who needs a thermometer in a library? Holes in the wall were stuffed with stringy yellow tufts of insulation. Was I in a library or an industrial warehouse? My heart started to pound. A piece of graffiti—scrawled on the wall by some poor soul who had likely wandered down unwittingly thirty years ago and never escaped—cried Destruction is a Form of Creativity! At best, this place could be a bomb shelter. At worst—a tomb!

At the end of a row of long-forgotten periodicals (like the bafflingly named American Review of Reviews, 1928-1934), I hit the jackpot! My heartbeat accelerated as I turned a corner to find a metal door built suspiciously like a bank vault’s. It was huge, green, and  had triplicate levels of security: a traditional lock, a keycard scanner, and impressively, two fire alarms. A sign read in bold letters, “Emergency Exit Only: Push Until Alarm Sounds.” Very fishy. What are they hiding? I pushed my ear against the cold metal. Only a tantalizing silence from the other side. If there was a secret bunker or tunnel, it had to be here.

I wasn’t about to be foiled by a locked door, I thought, as I hastily ascended to the fresh air. I had done some prior research in Muskie Archives and had found mentions of a structure called the “fishbowl”—an extension to the back of Coram built in 1947. When Ladd was completed, its basement swallowed the Fishbowl whole and integrated its walls, which give the front of the Periodical section its distinctive brick-window appearance. I harbored hopes that the architects had left some sort of connection to get me through that door.

Exiting Ladd, I jogged over to Coram Library. Even though Coram is home to some of Bates’ most modern technologies—including a 3-D printer and a device with the descriptive name of Nikon Stereoscopic Zoom Microscope SM71500—the building still feels irrepressibly old. It classical façade speaks to old-world elegance, and its front doors still have anachronistic wrought-iron gates engraved with a royal European fleur-de-lis pattern. There had to be something hidden down there.

I’d never been in the basement of Coram, and from the sound of it, neither have most other people. Julie Retelle at the Library’s circulation desk informed me that in ancient times some student clubs used to meet down there, but no longer. Multiple staff and faculty members who have offices in Coram’s quiet second floor said that they only went down there if compelled. “I just go down there to use the bathroom,” said Matt Duvall, Imaging Center Manager. “It’s not a very pleasant space.” Intriguing.

Upon descending the stairs, I found out why. Ladd’s periodicals were spacious compared to Coram’s cramped intestines. The only light came from the windows two floors above, illuminating the dust piling up on the floor. There were doors all around. I tried rusting handle after handle. All locked. Finally, after fumbling my way past a pair of freezing 1950s-era bathrooms, I reached an open door.

It creaked open, and I found myself in a pitch-black, crypt-like hallway. Pipes and boilers ran alongside the wall. On the ground was a mammoth machine that looked like an ancient steam engine, with broken pressure gauges and funky spouts. Funky. As I felt my way along the wall, I realized that it was made of the same white-painted bricks in Ladd’s bunker of a periodical section. Was I getting warm?

In my zeal to examine the wall, I failed to see the set of metal stairs that appeared at the end of the hallway. With a Clang! I tripped down all six, ultimately slamming my shoulder on the dusty ground. I cursed to myself as I reached for my iPhone and flipped on the flashlight. The floor around me was filled with substantial tumbleweeds that had taken up permanent residence years ago. My eyes widened, however, when I looked in front of me.

I had landed directly in front of a large blue door with a massive bronze handle. I pulled the handle. Nothing. However, my heart leapt as I gazed at the security safeguards running alongside the door’s frame: One lock! One keycard scanner! Two fire alarms!

Was this forgotten portal the fortress-like door that I found in Ladd’s Periodical section? Had I found the secret passageway between the libraries, or was I just delirious from all this time underground? I’d gotten so twisted around in the basement that it was impossible to tell which direction was what. If I had to guess, that door likely holds the key to the Ladd-Coram tunnel myth. However, as my informant at the Circulation desk reminded me later with a smile, there are many more locked doors in the basement of Coram and Ladd. Are there many more tunnels or other hidden treasures? I guess you’ll just have to find out for yourself.

Classic Gritty’s: Always an excellent choice

Going to dinner in L/A tends to be a Bates favorite, no matter where it is. Last Friday night, Gritty’s was calling my name. The cute and quaint bar and grill sits on the corner of Main Street and Court Street in Auburn, and it never fails to provide a lively atmosphere and an excellent dining experience with a group of friends.

As one of the most prominent and successful breweries originating in Portland’s Old Port, Gritty McDuff’s started brewing and serving its own beer and offering delicious food in 1988. However, they have been doing more than just serving first-class beer and delicious meals; they also give back to the community through sponsorships with The Dempsey Challenge (a Bates favorite), Trek Across Maine and Good Shepherd Food Bank. Plus, you can get your own Gritty’s merchandise! Who doesn’t want another t-shirt?

As a group of seven ravenous 19 and 20 year-olds, my friends and I headed to the restaurant Friday night and were certainly satisfied. While their menu was short and slightly limited, it offered the perfect variety of sandwiches, appetizers, salads, burgers and steak. It wasn’t overwhelming, which is always a plus because no one like having too many options, especially when it comes to money and food. I ended up with a steak and cheese panini, while other selections at the table included ale-battered chicken sandwiches and juicy burgers.

The wooden picnic tables and the old hardwood floors that creak at every two feet only add to its character and charm. It wouldn’t be complete without various paintings on the walls and sporting events on the TVs, making the atmosphere comfortable, casual and perfect for chill conversations and good times. The huge windows overlook the Androscoggin River on one side and the city-like street on the other.

Sarah Curtis ’18 truly enjoyed her visit to Gritty’s. “The service was quick, the food was great. It’s an excellent place to go if you’re just trying to have a nice off campus dinner with your friends. Ten out of ten would recommend this place. The staff was all really friendly and made the space lighthearted and enjoyable. The restaurant was definitely oriented towards younger people and was very comfortable for the college audience.”

Gritty’s has won countless awards for their ale in festivals across Maine and across the country, including “Maine’s Best Brew Pub,” “Best Maine Microbrew” and “Best Bar,” among others. However, you’ll have to experience the food and atmosphere for yourself in order to get an authentic and unforgettable Gritty’s experience.

Religious motivations and the war to come

So here we are again. On the 22nd of March, just months after the carnage in Paris, the world was witness to another round of savagery, as innocent men, women and children were massacred at an airport in Brussels. The body count at the time of writing is 31. ISIS has taken credit for the attack.

At this point, I hope I do not need to tell you what the reaction of the world has been. If you are curious, just take the time to look up what your favorite public figure had to say about Paris in November, and it should fit quite nicely for Brussels. It’s quite possible the world has run out of original things to say about terrorism. One narrative you often hear is that the perpetrators of such attacks are not “true” Muslims or that they have twisted the faith to fit political goals. I want to convince you that this narrative is a lie.

Islamists are Muslims who seek to impose Islam on all aspects of public life, often through acts of violence. Not all Muslims are Islamists. What I will be critiquing in this article are either Islamists or Islamic ideology, by which I mean the scriptures of Islam (the Quran and Hadith) and the example of the Prophet Muhammad.

There is a misunderstanding about what motivates Islamists. And how this is possible I cannot fathom, as Islamists are telling the world, ad nauseam, what motivates them. This point will be made clear with a couple of examples. Here is ISIS on its use of sex slaves:

“Yazidi women and children [are to be] divided…amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations [in northern Iraq] … Enslaving the families of the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Koran and the narrations of the Prophet … and thereby apostatizing from Islam”

ISIS argues that not only did the Prophet endorse sex slavery, but that to reject his actions and words is to reject Islam. Boko Haram, the ISIS-affiliated group, also makes this argument in defense of sex slavery. And when one reads the Surahs, there is very little there to split hairs about theologically. In no uncertain terms, God permits the Prophet to “lawfully” possess wives who are prisoners of war (33:50-51, 4:24).

The act of sex slavery is not the only crime defended by Islamic ideology and, consequently, Islamists. In defense of suicide attacks, the Taliban also borrows from the Quran (2:207):

“And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah: And Allah is full of kindness to (His) devotees.”

This line, they claim, is God’s sanction of martyrdom, which becomes all the more necessary in defense of the faith. The edict seems to have had an effect. According to the University of Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, since 2002, Muslims have committed 87% of the suicide attacks in the world when the religion of the perpetrator is definitively known.

Speaking of jihad, scripture is once again the justification of holy war within Islamist circles. Read the letter which was attached to secular filmmaker Theo van Gogh’s mutilated body. To justify both van Gogh’s murder and the threats against Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islamists make explicit reference to the Quran (80:34-42) and cite a “war against Islam.” This letter states that the “blood of martyrs” will bring Islam to victory.

What all these examples have in common is the confession of an explicitly religious motivation. This is key to understanding what drives Islamists and what kinds of attacks to expect in the future. That is not to say that all or even most Muslims adhere literally to their religious texts. Clearly, the majority of nominal or moderate Muslims interpret their religious documents peacefully. And this is a good thing.

Yet far too many still live in the shadow of Islamic dogma. And this is a problem. If you are still dubious, I encourage you to look up the Pew polls which show, among other things, that 74 percent of Muslims in the Middle East believe that Sharia should be official law, and, of those, 56 percent believe the death penalty is the proper punishment for leaving Islam.

Some will say that Islamists do not really believe their doctrine, and are motivated by geopolitical disputes or economic disparity. This has a kernel of truth. Islamists will often claim certain terrestrial motivations. But behind these claims, there is always the backdrop of theological conflict.

For instance, one of ISIS’ principle gripes is the infamous Sykes-Picot Agreement, dividing much of the Middle East between the French and British Mandates without consideration of religion. But why was the arbitrary division of the Levant such a problem in the first place? Many, myself included, would say that the Europeans did not realize the pre-existing theological disputes in the area, and thus did not foresee the years of sectarian violence which would arise as a consequence. One hardly needs to explain the extent to which religion underpins this “political” conflict.

But the explanation I just gave is not exactly the concern raised by ISIS. According to ISIS, the agreement was a problem because it put borders on Islam. The Christian crusaders had no right to split up “Muslim Land,” never mind that this territory was home to millions of non-Muslims. And once again, the same language and reasoning is used by other Islamist groups, such as Al-Qaeda. Here is what Osama Bin Laden had to say in defense of 9/11:

“For over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places…turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.”

This is the language of someone who sees the world as a collection of religious domains in conflict. Thus we see how Islamists view even ostensibly political grievances (European Imperialism, the U.S. presence in Arabia) in terms of religious affiliation.

Why do we doubt the religious motivations of Islamists? When Christians speak against gay rights, who among us doubts that they are doing so primarily for religious reasons? Who claims that they’re “not true Christians” when they quote Leviticus? Oftentimes, these people (e.g. members of the Westboro Baptist Church) are desperate to quote verses from their texts, and oftentimes they’re supported by a literal reading of their texts. Yes, the Bible says homosexuality is an abomination (Leviticus 20:13). Yes, the penalty for apostasy is death in Islam, according to Sahih al-Bukhari 4:52:260. Yes, the Quran condones slavery (Quran 24:32).

It is grating when people use #prayforparis or #prayforbrussels. Religious piety is precisely what is killing our brothers and sisters. We can argue all we want about interpretations, but the bottom line is Islamists are driven by their faith and the scriptures do not explicitly contradict them.

None of the terrorist acts committed by Islamists makes sense without religious motivation. Political oppression does not explain the murder of aid workers, or the attack on Charlie Hebdo, or the killing of Theo van Gogh, or the destruction of world heritage sites and national treasures at the hands of ISIS. Disabuse yourself of the notion that the principles of Islam (the Quran, the Hadith, and the example of the Prophet) are unequivocally peaceful. And disabuse yourself of the notion that people do not actually believe in these principles.

We find ourselves in an ideological war with the religious doctrine driving these fanatics to action. Not just the interpretation offered by religious fundamentalists. We are at war with the principle that any book is sacred. We are at war with the idea that any man is more than a man. We are at war with the notions of martyrdom, jihad and the ummah, which serve to divide our world into sectarian communities divided along religious lines. And we are at war with the example of the Prophet and his empire, who spread the faith with the sword and committed atrocities on their path to world domination. This is a war we can ill afford to lose, and the sooner we acknowledge its existence, the sooner the fighting can begin in earnest.

Spring Dance Preview: Featuring Creativity and Exploration

Dancers rehearse for “In This Place,” the Spring Dance Concert. RILEY HOPKINS/THE BATES STUDENT

Spring has sprung and that means it’s time for the Spring Dance Concert. The Theater and Dance Department hosts the concert each year to showcase the pieces choreographed by students in Intermediate and Advanced Composition courses.

Student choreographers hold an open dance day in the first week of winter semester as a way to choose their casts. Rehearsals commence as soon as possible and students work on the performance throughout the semester.

Many pieces in the concert were created by experienced dancers who are also first-time choreographers. One choreographer in Intermediate Composition, Riley Hopkins ’18, is putting together a piece in collaboration with his dancers for the first time in his career. He noted that this piece “didn’t go as planned…I totally didn’t expect the piece to be what it is now.” To find inspiration, his cast watched Beyoncé’s “Formation” music video as well as other pop-culture sources and drew ideas from the movements therein. Creating a piece means that you can take whatever creative liberties with your movements that you wish, and Hopkins enjoyed exploring all the possibilities with his cast.

Since the choreographers have influence over who is in their cast, they have some liberty with what type of movement vocabulary they want their dancers to have. Keila Ching ’18 selected a cast of movers experienced in ballroom dance, Thai kick-boxing, soccer, lacrosse, cross country, and theater to augment the movements that she choreographed. Each dancer was able to generate some original material. Their unique movement backgrounds allowed their movement to be drastically different from both each other and what Ching would have created. Ching said, “It is through this mixture of vocabularies that my piece has been created.”

Charlotte Cramer ’19 had an exceptional experience choreographing a piece this winter. Her piece discusses the inner workings of the human mind, such as the way the mind thinks and the way we feel emotions. She was able to take emotions and experiences from her life and put them into a piece. She said that it has been “the most amazing experience of [her] life.” Further, exploring the impact that lighting and sound score have on the perception of emotions and movement has enhanced her piece and elevated it to a higher level.

The composition process as a whole emphasizes the meaning behind movement, and it can raise questions that dancers hadn’t previously addressed. As each choreographer explores their piece’s meaning, the piece itself may change.

In Advanced Composition, Mallory Cohen ’17 created a piece utilizing the movements of her dancers as inspiration. Her piece started as an exploration of dance and recovery of the joy it can bring, in recognition of the difficult technique classes dancers often take and how they may limit personal expression. With that background, Cohen expanded her piece to discuss female sensuality through movement, as this “allows us to say who we are disregarding what society tells us we should be.” She also has been working with musician Ned Thunem to compose an original piece for her movement.

Other pieces in the concert will highlight a feeling of home, comedy, and explorations of the self, as well as two senior theses in Dance by Mary Anne Bodnar ’16 and Kelsey Schober ’16.

Come see all of these lovely works created and managed by your very own Bates peers this weekend. Concerts are Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and you can reserve your tickets online.

Batman, Superman and a Whole Lot of Other Stuff (Spoiler Free)

Fret not, Batman v. Superman is nowhere near as terrible as the reviews say it is. Actually, it isn’t terrible at all—it’s pretty good! Simply that the movie has both Batman and Superman together is enough to put a grin on your face for most of the movie, and the addition of Wonder Woman will be enough to put you over the edge.

As with many Zack Snyder films, style is more important than substance. The plot of the film is not exactly clear of holes and the storyline relies very heavily on impossible coincidences. As with any Batman film, we open with the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. That scene surprisingly comes into play later in the film in an interesting way. Despite the plot holes, the film does not go in the direction you would expect. The plot is very different than The Dark Knight trilogy, which is nice to see. The trailers did ruin some plot twists, such as the villain, Doomsday, or even the reveal of Wonder Woman. Even worse, Doomsday and the circumstances surrounding his creation are the worst and most predictable parts of the movie. The last half hour is very predictable, which makes the movie’s ending less impactful.

Yet, Wonder Woman is by far the best part of the movie. Gal Gadot is awesome as Wonder Woman—her character is so cool and in charge of every scene she is in. Her solo movie will certainly be amazing. Furthermore, the theme song that comes on whenever she is on screen is amazing. It is different for the rest of the score which makes Wonder Woman’s scenes feel special and separate from the rest of the movie. She can fight and it looks like she could have beaten both Superman and Batman together. She’s the adult in this movie.

Ben Affleck is just as good if not better than Christian Bale. He gets to spend more of the movie as Bruce Wayne than Batman, which allows him to create a fully formed Bruce Wayne. Henry Cavill is a respectable Superman, neither amazing nor terrible. It’s still impossible to believe that Superman can be on national television with his face fully in view and then he can put on glasses and be completely unrecognizable. With not so subtle metaphors, the film spends a ton of time positioning Superman as God.

Films centered around a fight between two of the most popular superheroes is an odd decision to start with. For some reason both DC and Marvel have decided to do just that, with Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War coming out in May.

The motivations between Superman and Batman’s fight is a little forced, but it is not how the trailers paint it out to be. The fight is not a cop-out and there is a clear winner to the fight. The battle is very visually striking with each hero pulling out all the tricks they have while still looking super cool when they get beat up. There is not much new when it comes to the fight: one hero finds a way to get the upper hand and proceeds to beat up the opponent, until the other finds a way to get the upper hand. Luckily the film does not center around the fight, and so its sketchy beginning and resolution of the fight do not bog the film down too much.

Be prepared for Inception-esque dream within a dream sequences which of course are packed with metaphors that people will be writing analyses about for the coming weeks. The sequences all raise questions and plant seeds for future movies (either for Justice League or possibly for a Batman solo movie). One of the dreams randomly pops up in the middle of the movie and is probably the most important scene in the movie (and arguably the coolest) as it provides the biggest hint of things to come. Other dreams hint at Batman’s tortured past and even Superman’s past.

Overall, Batman v. Superman is an experience worth having. There are problems with the plot and how the film juggles being its own movie, while being a prequel to Justice League. Seeing the Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman together for the first time on screen is absolutely awesome. The DC universe may never top Marvel’s universe, but with Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and of course Justice League coming up soon, you cannot ignore this movie and the DC universe.

Africana Fashion Show

Students show off the musical tastes of African cultures. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

The fashion show features different dance styles that our students bring to the stage JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUENT

The Africana Fashion Show took place on March 25 in Olin Arts Center. With everything from modeling to West African dance and song, this performance truly captured the rich culture and diversity of the African continent as well as at Bates. Gift Kiti ’18 expressed that “this is the one time where we engage together in celebration of who we are through dance, song, poetry and fashion showcasing. For many of us, it is a way of keeping in touch with the African continent and its array of culture and tradition. Most importantly, this annual event builds and strengthens the relationship between the African community here at Bates and the African diaspora in Lewiston.”

Students show off their African culture at the fashion show JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

Another model joyfully struts down the runway. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUENT

This event fostered an immensely high attendance as more faculty, students and community members came to see and support the vibrant African culture on our campus and in Lewiston. Kiti said, “Crowd favorites were the Dance off, featuring participants from the audience, the West African Music and Dance Ensemble and the Africana Dance group’s highly energetic West African inspired dance.”


Getting to know lacrosse standout Jack Allard

Senior Jack Allard fires one of his 22 goals on the season. (John Neufeld/The Bates Student)

Senior Jack Allard fires one of his 22 goals on the season.
(John Neufeld/The Bates Student)

Senior Jack Allard was the hero in the men’s lacrosse team’s win on Wednesday against Keene State, as he has often been throughout his Bates career. In a rematch of their NCAA Tournament matchup last year, Allard scored with 17 seconds left and gave the men a 14-13 win. Allard, who scored four goals in the game and is tied for first on the team with 22 on the season, helped his teammates to their third consecutive win on Saturday, tallying one goal and two assists against Williams. In his four years on the Bates lacrosse team, Williams was the last NESCAC team Allard had yet to defeat.

I had a chance to meet with Allard on Sunday. After the first five minutes of interviewing him, it felt like a casual conversation. He’s very insightful and comes from a family who prides themselves on their love for one another and passion for athletics. One of the things that stuck out the most in our conversation is how much of a team player he is; especially given the immense talent he has, his team-first mentality is really impressive. What follows are excerpts from our interview.

Bates Student: Where are you from, and how did you hear about Bates?

JA: So I’m from Ridgewood, New Jersey. Which is like northern New Jersey right outside of New York City. I’ve been playing lacrosse pretty much my whole life; my dad coached me when I was younger. He coached my grade from third grade to eighth grade and then I stayed at Ridgewood High School, where I played lacrosse.

Then going into my senior year I was trying to get recruited by certain schools because I wanted to play lacrosse at the next level. I found out about Bates and contacted Coach Lasagna, and asked him to take a look at me and told him which camps I was going to. After he saw me he called me and said, “We’re really interested and we want you to come check out the campus.” It wasn’t hard to choose Bates; a lot of people can agree when you come up here it’s really easy to want to be here. The people, the campus, the aesthetics, it was an easy choice to decide that I wanted to play lacrosse here.

BS: Awesome. And you said your pops coached you when you were younger- how has that relationship been with him? To have your dad as your coach and mentor must make you bond even deeper; I’m sure he is your biggest fan.

JA: Definitely, he comes to as many games as he possibly can. It’s around a six-hour drive, and he makes the home games and a lot of the away games as well. It’s fun, you know? He knows the game, when something happens in my game he will talk to me about it later and ask me, “What happened on this play? What’s your guy’s strategy? What kind of play are you setting up?” So it’s fun to talk to him about that.

BS: Nice, you told me before he played at Princeton, correct?

JA: Yeah, he played there—he was a faceoff guy. Because I don’t play Division One, I am allowed to root for them! They are the team I follow because my dad played there.

BS: Exactly, represent! What position do you play?

JA: I am an attacker. Only offense. It’s funny because my dad would teach me how to shoot, he would say, “You need to shoot overhand,” and I do the complete opposite. Just because it is a father-son thing does not always mean you do what he did.

BS: Do you have any siblings? If so, do they play any sports?

JA: Yeah, I have a sister Katie who goes here, actually—she’s on the women’s lacrosse team. She is a freshman and is having a good time so far. I have always followed the women’s team closely, but it is more fun now because my sister plays for them.

BS: Did your Mom play any sports? Did she play lax?

JA: Actually my mom was an All-American swimmer at Villanova.

BS: Woah!

JA: Yeah, and my dad was not All-American so we tease him sometimes and say that my sister and I got all of our athleticism from mom.

BS: Okay, so if you could tell incoming freshman Jack Allard anything, what advice would you give him?

JA: I think if I were going to talk to myself coming into Bates I would say for classes for first semester I should definitely take 100-level classes. I took some 200-level ones and it kind of hurt me a little bit. And then for lacrosse, I would tell myself to stick with it and keep working hard because the more effort you put into it, the better it’s going to be. Because my freshman and sophomore years we had tough seasons, and it was hard to keep pushing forward, but I would definitely tell myself it will work out.

BS: Good advice. How is the season going for you guys? I know it’s still early.

JA: Yeah, it is. We’re 7-1 right now. We’re definitely keeping the momentum we had from last year.

BS: Definitely. Now for a few miscellaneous questions: Favorite book, favorite TV show, favorite vacation spot, and perfect pizza?

JA: Favorite book is Freakonomics; favorite TV show is Parks and Rec; favorite vacation spot is Long Beach Island in New Jersey, and my perfect pizza is buffalo chicken pizza from my local pizza place back in New Jersey—Anthony Francos.

Common(s) Courtesy

Did you know one day in Commons, nearly 38 lbs. of food was wasted just by spills on the counters alone? If that’s the common practice, that adds up pretty quickly, averaging to about 10,000 lbs. of waste a year, according to a poster provided by Dining Services. And that’s just the food that gets wiped off the counters.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have three meals a day prepared for them by trained professionals and culinary artists—not to mention that these are some of the kindest staff members on the Bates College campus. Imagine how undervalued they must feel when people are careless and disrespect the food they work so hard to create.

Leaving tea wrappers on the counter, dropping food on the floor and leaving it for someone else to pick up, or dumping lemons in the fountain drink dispenser are a few behaviors that are an unfortunate occurrence in the dining hall. We see it everyday. Plenty of us have sat at a table covered in spills and food remnants, or grabbed the serving tongs only to find them covered in sauce, or sticky with jam. And I’m sure everyone at one point or another was the cause of these spills.

Some of this may be a matter of mere discomfort. For others, however, it is a matter of their personal safety. Cross-contamination is a serious matter, and Dining Services has made extensive efforts to ensure the wellbeing of all students with food allergies or dietary restrictions.

Back to the jam example: butter and jam makes toast all the better. Using a utensil that has already come into contact with nut butter or peanut butter, however, contaminates the jam for the rest of the campus community and makes the food extremely dangerous for anyone with a food allergy.

Heard this all before? Have you seen the signs posted at various stations? Sure you have. Now it’s time to take it to heart.

Those cross-contamination signs are not in vain. The nut and peanut butter station does not exist by chance. Everything Dining Services does is intentional and meant to make everyone’s meal time in Commons a happy and safe one.

“New” Commons as we know it today opened in the Winter of 2008 and has been staple of many students’ Bates experience. It is a social place, a community gathering place. Time, energy and heart go into the food that is put out each day for us to enjoy. So the next time you go up for seconds (or thirds), think carefully about how you treat the food, and the people, who make our dining experience feel like home.

Tennis hits the road

Bates men’s tennis traveled to compete at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia over the weekend of March 18-19, beating both number 31 nationally ranked Swarthmore, 7-2, and the number 21 home team, 6-3.

The top three singles seeds led the charge against Swarthmore; number one Ben Rosen ’18 beat Swarthmore’s Mark Fallati 7-5, 6-4, number two Chris Ellis ’17 defeated John Larkin 6-1, 3-6, 6-2, and number three Fergus Scott ’18 triumphed over Ari Cepelewicz in a comeback 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory.

Against Mary Washington, the key to victory for the men was a clean sweep of the doubles, plus another perfect record for the first three seeds. After starting the season 0-3, the men have won three of their last four matches and are currently ranked 23rd nationally. They next play at Colby on Thursday, followed by a matchup at Brandeis on Sunday.

The Bobcat women also were at the University of Mary Washington from March 18-20, taking on Case Western Reserve, The College of New Jersey, and the hosts. Bates had a difficult weekend, dropping all three matches. Their lone individual victory came against number 21 nationally ranked Case Western, from sixth seed Olivia Voccola.

Following their matchup at Colby on Tuesday, the women will next be in action at Tufts on Saturday. Both the men and women have a busy month of matches scheduled before the NESCAC Championships commence in early May.


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