The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Keenan Brent Page 1 of 2

Student involvement could redeem administration’s poor approach

I want to make one thing clear before you read any further. I was itching to write this article last year, but refrained, thinking it would interfere with my ability to speak at Commencement. I was afraid that if I spoke my mind, certain powers at Bates would suppress my voice. To all those out there that didn’t already know, this is the current state of Bates College.

On the issue of Trick or Drink: a mix of anger and passion fanned the flames in my words earlier this week. While Bates has ramped up security surveillance and made a point of trying to catch every person who wants to enjoy a beer this year (from what I’ve heard), I misspoke when I said students are living in a “police state.” Feathers were ruffled, zingers were zung, and I apologize for the offense taken. If I could amend my previous statement from “I’ll gladly keep my money instead of enabling my alma mater to continue to turn Bates into a police state,” to “I will not provide financial support to an institution that uses a police force to suppress any act that conflicts with the administration’s policies that are arbitrarily decided on without student representation,” I would. As it happened, I did not, which has made it necessary for me to expand on and add clarity to my previous statements while furthering the discourse on this issue at the same time. Being optimistic rules.

To write off the recent mobilization of Bates College students as a party brigade, hell bent on gaining back the liberty to rip shots until they pass out, is a gross simplification of the situation as well as an alarmingly uncreative opinion. Alas, we are yet again caught up in the twisted tango of HOW, not WHAT. Anytime a governing body goes ahead and starts brandishing its totalitarian muscle, there’s going to be problems. Not one person should be surprised. As Americans we are raised to despise autocracy, so when it plops itself into our lives it really isn’t any wonder that we don’t smile when we have tyranny smeared toast shoved down our gullet. If students were involved in the decision, fine. If the administration worked with students to find a compromise, okay. If Trick or Drink still occurred but was changed to not allow the serving of alcohol–it still sucks, but for some reason I’m not nearly as angry. So, yeah, there is going to be some pushback, because in the end everyone agrees that being patronized blows and that’s exactly what just happened at Bates.

“But these immature kids only care about partying, why aren’t they all up in arms about something more, uhhh, legitimate?” This is a popular opinion that can be undressed using relatively simple language. Half my life at Bates College was devoted to academic excellence and the other half was focused on having a ton of fun. Perhaps it’s childish of me, but the freedom to experience joy – often occurring in a party atmosphere – is right atop my list of social causes. Grimace away. I rarely get caught up in social movements. Plainly put, it hasn’t been my style since I left D.C. However, one social cause that will fire me up without fail is the vilification of underage drinkers (This is a deeply personal sentiment that I’m not going to expand on here, but if you’re interested feel free to visit It happens all too often and to be brutally honest the drinking laws in this country are the absolute laughing stock of our legal system. Did anyone reading this wait until they were 21 to have their first drink? Did Clayton? Did any of Bates Security? Perhaps. But I’d volley a guess that all of the above did not. And yet as soon as we turn 21 we all too quickly regard underage drinkers as criminals. What a bunch of crap that is. I might have graduated to the “right” age, but I still remember the terror that was running from the police and my heart plummeting to hear of a friend getting in trouble for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Am I an advocate for underage drinking? You betchya. I don’t think underage drinking should exist because I don’t believe there should be a legal drinking age at all.

Sometimes I wish I could politely put my mouth right up against Clayton Spencer’s ear and whisper, “College kids are going to drink no matter what, and there is nothing you can do to change it.” To be clear, I harbor a ridiculous amount of respect for Clayton Spencer. That woman is one of the most intelligent, driven, well-spoken, resourceful leaders that I have had the pleasure of meeting. Which is why her policies on drinking are all the more frustrating, surprising, and in my opinion not in accordance with the liberal arts mission. My reasoning? Banning anything takes the least amount of thought possible. Think suits around a table with big stamps that say NO with plenty of red ink. Seriously, was there any critical thinking applied when this decision was made? Did someone try to approach the issue from a different angle or did the powers that be simply yell “no” over and over again until they vomited all over their bibs? They could have consulted the History Department and asked for the results of Prohibition, or approached the Psychology Department to better understand the innate reactions to patronization, or perhaps looked at other colleges’ policies on the matter. I’m sure not every small liberal arts school has a mile-long rift between its student body and its president. Unless that’s what she is going for; it seems that way at least. How could a person capable of such cunning not predict her inevitable lack of popularity when decisions are made without the slightest bit of creativity or student input? It leaves one to assume that Clayton is looking to appease other parties with no regard for the students. Not a great move, C. Spence.

The thing about all this is that it is not a Bates specific issue, it’s a nationwide issue. College kids are going to drink. Administrations are going to try to stop them from doing so and prolifically fail. There’s an amazing pattern here. Prohibition doesn’t work, but education and providing a safe environment to drink does (relatively speaking). Instead of pretending the issue will go away if another rule is made, let’s use the awesome creativity we possess as liberal arts students to find unorthodox solutions. And let’s start by involving students in the discussion. I might be an alum, but I’m not giving up on ya, Batesies. Since I am not directly on campus and therefore privy to the pulse of the situation, let me know if you need an advocate or simply a bit of extra passion. I love Bates with all my heart and I do not want to sit idly by as the school tears down not only social traditions, but also its tradition of student empowerment.

A letter from 91 Elm Street

Dear Bates Community,

We, the residents of 91 Elm Street, write to you first and foremost because we love Bates. We love Bates because it has allowed us all to come together: a house of six different majors; a house of activities that range from Captain of the Bates Swim Team to Co-Chair of the Senior Gift Committee; a house where, on paper, most of us have little to nothing in common with one another, but were brought together by Bates. We were brought together in the halls of Smith (which we rarely left), hours spent in Commons and Ladd Library, but also through traditions like Trick or Drink, which Batesies of all class years were not only permitted to attend but also warmly encouraged to do so by upperclassmen.

The fact that reasonable, safe, community-driven alternatives to the previous Trick or Drink structure were imagined by the senior class within twenty four hours of the administration’s decision should not be surprising to anyone who knows the character and caliber of the Bates community. This opportunity to improve Trick or Drink, however, was never offered to us as an option. Trick or Drink was simply eliminated without warning or discussion and without identification of which aspects drove the administration to their decision. Moreover, the email was sent the day before Fall Break in an effort to stifle anger from the student body.

We sincerely hope that the Bates administration will endorse the altered make-up of the event once known as Trick or Drink that representatives from our class are proposing. We maintain, however, that at this point, even administrative acceptance of a reformed Trick or Drink format is not enough. First, the immense backlash received makes at least some concession virtually necessary. Beyond that, however, this incident, like several others before it, is exemplary of a larger issue: an issue of an administration that executes top-down, surface-level reforms that are, to be frank, both impeding the quality of Bates life as well as completely ineffective in increasing safety within the drinking culture. I do not think any Batesie is against improving the health and safety of the Bates campus…but then again, we have not been asked.

The Bates College about which we bragged to our friends, family, and prospective students was a place where respect dominated the culture; where relationships between the administration, students, and Security were not only cordial but also stepped beyond that into the realm of true friendships; where promotion of health and safety dominated the discourse so much that even when we heard something we did not like we listened, because we knew those in charge had our best interest at heart. Today’s Bates is no longer that Bates.

With all of this said we do recognize both the qualifications and talents of President Spencer, Dean McIntosh, and the rest of the Bates administration. They would not be here otherwise. What we hope to illuminate is not their shortcomings, but rather point to what seems to be a rapidly growing cleavage between how the administration sees the future of the College and how the students, alumni, and parents of Bates hope to maintain the place of community, respect, and transparency that they have grown to love.

It has been presented to us that President Spencer and Dean McIntosh simply did not realize the genuine disappointment and frustration that has permeated from groups such as student athletes and off-campus residents this year, a frustration united under the battle cry of the elimination of Trick or Drink. If that is the case, and we sincerely hope that it is, we hope that an effective dialogue can begin and continue to ensure that the Bates student body, as well as its administration, share a common goal for the future of the place we all love the most.

All anyone wants, whether it is the students or the administration, is for Bates to be the best that it can be. However, the way that “best” is interpreted should not solely be a reflection of the administration’s concerns. It should be a joint effort between the administration and the students. After all, it is students who rush to greet each and every incoming freshman and haul their luggage up flights of stairs each fall. It is the students who organize four-day-long camping trips into the wilderness to create lasting friendships between upperclassmen and underclassmen. It is the students who make Bates everything it is, and it is the students who should have a say in its future.

Yours Truly,

91 Elm Street

Let’s get our priorities in order

I was sad when I received the email from Dean McIntosh declaring the end of Trick or Drink. I think the ability to have fun is something that makes Bates a special place, and in many ways Trick or Drink is connected to that pursuit. Yet I must say that I am shocked – and frankly upset – to see the Bates student body so galvanized over this topic. I can recall no other singular instance during my time at Bates that has motivated such a vocal response calling for change our campus.

During each of the three years that I have been at Bates there has been a bias incident reported to the entire student body. The most recent incident consisted of two white men yelling racial slurs and chasing after a student of color. In another, one individual student of color was subjected to hate speech three times in the span of two weeks. I cannot recall any “” petitions to start a campus dialogue on the occurrence of these horrific events. And these are simply the officially reported incidents that our entire student body is made aware of. Instances of “othering” underrepresented students happen at Bates frequently. From classmates saying you’re only at Bates because of affirmative action, to racialized catcalling on the weekends, or getting turned back from parties because you’re not perceived to be a Bates student – I could go on for a very long time.

This is why the consistent theme of inclusion has struck as a rationale of students commenting on why they support Trick or Drink. I appreciate that my peers articulate the importance of inclusion in their community. Most seem to be referring to seniors opening their off-campus homes to students of all class years for Trick or Drink. It is interesting for me to see this specific and limited view of inclusion. Our social life at Bates is extremely segregated, and to be validating Trick or Drink based on inclusion seems opportunistic to me. On any given weekend night, I have a good idea of where different teams, organizations, clubs, and cliques are, and these groups are often closely correlated to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. To see Bates students call on the idea of inclusive community for this event when failing to have a similar dialogue on inclusion in a broader sense is disappointing.

Some people may argue that this debate is about more than one event – it is about a culture shift that is destroying traditions and stripping Bates of its identity. I ask where your outrage was last year, when for four months the Office of Intercultural Education was staffed by two 2012 graduates. Before cultures and traditions around drinking were established at Bates, we had a culture and tradition of supporting women, students of color, and other marginalized groups. The instability and lack of trust created by having the entire staff of the OIE turn over two full times during my time at Bates is not support. Our institution’s mission statement calls upon students to engage over the transformative powers of their differences, yet they failed to support this endeavor that is supposed to be intrinsic to a Bates education. I am far more outraged over that hypocrisy and betrayal than the end of Throwback or Trick or Drink.

In the face of so many paradoxes, I’m forced to ask myself what makes the end of Trick or Drink different from many other issues plaguing Bates. Perhaps this is the first time majority students on our campus are being directly affected by an issue. My frustration is much less about the energy being devoted towards Trick or Drink, but rather it is targeting the fact that I have never seen so many Bates students care this much about something on our campus. Please recognize the immense privilege of having the end of Trick or Drink and restrictions on underage drinking to be your biggest problems at Bates.

Another trick: Will Tuesday’s forum lead to real change?

Since when did the administration choose to disregard fundamental tenants of the Bates College mission statement? Not only does the statement claim that Bates “educates the whole person through creative and rigorous scholarship,” but it also purports to do so in a “collaborative residential setting.” The mishandling of “Trick or Drink” is just the latest in a series of unilateral administrative actions that lack appropriate communication, collaboration, and transparency.

Last Tuesday, Dean McIntosh informed the off-campus houses in a terse, threatening email that “Trick or Drink” was cancelled. Three hours later, he emailed the rest of the student body, claiming he had “already communicated with students residing off campus.” There was no indication that students had been consulted beforehand, nor that a safe, alcohol-free compromise was ever considered. In an empty claim that the student perspective would be considered, McIntosh stated that he “will convene a group of students, staff and faculty to lead a comprehensive effort toward a healthier campus culture.”  Summing up the recent administrative approach he then stated that “the decision to end Trick or Drink is consistent with the work this group will embrace.” Clearly, the decisions of this committee are predetermined. This demonstrates that the administration currently is, and plans to continue to be, unreceptive to student voices that are not congruent with its own agenda.

This comes on the heels of another disappointing episode in student-administrative discourse. In her alcohol policy reform meeting last Short Term, President Spencer claimed that she was interested in collaborating with the student body to improve Bates’ alcohol culture. However, this conversation was short-lived.  The façade of collaboration and transparent communication crumbled when President Spencer overhauled the enforcement of the school’s drinking policy over the summer without informing the student body that changes had been made.

To be clear, our concern is not about drinking. Our concern is the administration’s lack of transparent communication with the student body. Here’s the disturbing trend: Seemingly to mitigate student discontent, the administration claims that student voice will be heard but then makes all meaningful policy changes without student participation, and behind closed doors.

We recognize that handling underage drinking is a huge challenge for the administration; federal law demands they take action, while the realities of college life make doing so safely incredibly difficult. However, is this opaque form of governance really the model the administration wants us to emulate after Bates? Solving this complex multifaceted problem seems like a perfect time to develop the capacity for the “informed civic action”  Bates claims to cultivate.

Dean Macintosh and President Spencer, how can we become “leaders sustained by… a commitment to responsible stewardship of the wider world,” when we’re excluded from participating in the responsible stewardship of our own college community? These real-world problem-solving opportunities are the exact type of “purposeful work” in which we’re supposed to engage. By denying student input, you undermine your most fundamental pedagogical goals. We sincerely hope that the forum will defy the established pattern and commence a productive conversation, rather than just diffuse student unrest.

Bates should embrace European policies

This fall I decided, as many juniors do, to spend the semester studying abroad. I chose to study in Austria where, as perhaps may be expected, I have encountered a significantly different drinking culture than in the United States. While specifics vary by country, in Austria one can consume beer and wine at 16 and purchase any alcohol at 18. Furthermore, open container laws are nonexistent and it is common to see people carrying a beer in almost all public spaces from the subway stations to parks. The openness and regularity of alcohol consumption here stands in stark contrast with policies in the United States. Police, parents, and universities here acknowledge that drinking is a part of growing up, and as such most begin drinking in a safe and open manner. Drinking a beer with dinner is a common, and normal occurrence that normalizes safe and responsible alcohol consumption. Though alcohol plays a significant role in many cultural traditions here, the opportunity to drink does not hold the mythical significance for minors that it does in the U.S. As a product of harsh policies that inhibit the promotion of healthy consumption habits, many American students come to college completely unprepared to appropriately handle situations where alcohol is present. The lack of knowledge and healthy examples is a pervasive cultural problem that programs such as Alcohol.Edu cannot resolve, rather we as a community must address in a larger conversation.

When I visited Bates as a prospective student, discussion of the strike system stood out amid the slew of academic and athletic statistics that every college tour contains. I found this policy to be an innovative and productive approach to the issue of college drinking culture. It is a system that acknowledges a reality of college life, that alcohol consumption will occur, while attempting to control more dangerous situations such as binge drinking. The establishment of this policy formed an agreement between the students and administration, that punishment for beer and wine would be relatively relaxed at the price of a three-strike policy with regard to liquor. With the fundamentals of this system Bates has attempted to embody what I have seen abroad, the normality of responsible and moderate consumption of alcohol. Through increasing breadth and frequency of strikes and changing security policies, however, Bates has strayed from the origins of this system. In my first year, if a security officer saw a student with a beer, more often than not, the only punishment was being told to pour it out. This is no longer the case; interactions with security have become increasingly hostile and aggressive. While we as students are not entirely innocent, it is unreasonable to think that sudden and unclear changes to security practices would be met with anything less than frustration and anger.

The accusations of an increasingly aggressive security force and nostalgia for the Bates of years past is not a fiction invented by upperclassmen. Using the College’s own data, liquor law violations referred for disciplinary actions have on average increased 141% per year since 2011. I do not wish to speculate, but I have trouble believing that over the past three years Batesies have been partying four times harder or drinking four times as much. Rather, I think this indicates the increasingly vigilant, aggressive, and omnipresent tactics of Bates Security. In addition to threatening the social culture of our college, this change threatens the safety of our students.

Alcohol consumption will always occur in some form on college campuses. Therefore, the goal should not be to eliminate it, but to promote a safe and moderate environment for it to occur. A stricter and more hostile security presence pushes alcohol consumption further underground and into more dangerous territory. If students are increasingly afraid of academic or athletic punishment, they will be more likely to drink in situations where they are less likely to be caught. This translates to the consumption of often large amounts of alcohol alone or in a small group before going out. This is not a safe practice, and one the College should seek to avoid encouraging.

It is common knowledge that the current administration would like a significant change in the College’s drinking culture. I do not deny that there is room for improvement. However, pushing alcohol consumption further out of sight into quiet dorm rooms is not how we promote a safe community. This is not the culture I want the classes of 2018, 2019 or all the future classes of first-years to be exposed to when they arrive at Bates. We should strive to promote a safer, more open dialogue about alcohol consumption similar to that seen in Europe. Medical amnesty policies have shown that a more open and forgiving legal structure will promote a safer community. Unilaterally tightening the reins will not effect the desired change. It will only serve to exacerbate tensions between students and the administration as well as to foster more dangerous consumption practices. If we want to be a strong, progressive institution, we must set intelligent and well thought out policies that truly promote a positive change.

Cross country takes on tough competition at the Paul Short Invitational

This past weekend, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Lehigh University to compete in the Paul Short Collegiate Invitational meet. Over 40 teams competed in each race, with teams coming from all three collegiate athletic divisions. The women’s team had a strong showing, finishing seventh out of the 20 competing Division III teams and 14th overall. The men’s team, dealing with a number of injuries, did not fare as well. They finished fourth among Division III teams, but 35th overall.

Senior Erica Gagnon said the meet was a good experience for the team to compete against a larger field and learn how to work as a team while running in a larger pack. “When you have such a large amount of runners, the start of the race is very overwhelming,” Gagnon commented. “It’s important to get the chance before postseason to practice going out at a faster pace than normal and be able to still work as a team and settle into a rhythm.”

Finishing first for the Bobcats was sophomore Jess Wilson in 77th place overall. Senior Elena Jay finished just one second after Wilson, with the two crossing the finish line in 23:01 and 23:02 respectively. The rest of the Bates women finished in a pack, with just 0:21 separating the runners in this group.

“We have our workout groups in practice, and when you get to run with those same girls alongside you in the meet it’s always encouraging when you’re starting to get tired,” said Gagnon. “If you feel as if you’re starting to fall behind, you can just think to yourself, ‘I ran with her every step of the workout this week. If she can do this, I can do this.’”

The team could only bring ten of their runners to the meet, and in their meet next weekend they will also be unable to bring the whole team. The next time the entire team will be able to compete together will be on October 18th, at the Maine State Meet in Farmington, ME.

Though the men’s team did not place as well as they had hoped, they still had a strong showing, beating several Division I teams and competing with many Division III rivals.

Senior John Stansel came in first for the Bobcats, finishing the 8K race in a personal best 25:10 and in 90th overall. Five of his teammates also beat their personal bests in the race.

Stansel reflected on some of the changes to the team that took place over the summer: “Last year we graduated a large portion of our top runners, which meant that this year we felt like we really wanted to develop some ‘big race’ experience.”

This race appeared to give the men’s team some of that experience. “All in all, the guys ran very well and most showed big improvements,” said Stansel. “It was great to see them develop as runners, and to come out of the meet having beaten teams like UConn and University of Miami (FL), I would consider the meet a success.”

Coach Al Fereshetian agreed that the meet was a good effort, and looks to future meets to help the team get into a good competitive rhythm for the rest of the season. He plans to take a fresh set of runners to their next meet, all-divisions Open New Englands next Saturday.

Like the women’s team, the men will all come together again in the Maine State Meet.

“In the grand scheme of things, we still have our most important races ahead of us,” noted Stansel.

Papal conclave to choose new Pope

Following Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation from the papacy on February 28, more than one hundred cardinals met in Rome to make the most important decision of their lives. On Tuesday, March 12, the group of cardinals began the Papal conclave to decide who will succeed Pope Benedict.

Pope Benedict’s resignation is the first since 1415, and has come following much controversy over the direction and actions of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict was ordained as a priest in 1951, and in 1977 he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising by Pope Paul VI. He rose among the cardinals, to eventually become the Dean of the College of Cardinals and one of the most influential cardinals under Pope John Paul II. Following Pope John Paul’s death in 2005, he was elected to the papacy.

In his eight years as pope, Pope Benedict focused on the Church’s return to fundamental Christian views. He worked to reincorporate these traditional values into an increasingly secular world by stressing the importance of prayer and charity.

Last Thursday, Lewiston native Monsignor Charles Murphy spoke at Bates College about the upcoming Papal conclave. Murphy is a graduate of Holy Cross College, with a master’s degree from Harvard University and a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He worked under Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Ratzinger) as a part of the editorial group to draft the fourth version and current of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He now serves as director of the Diocese of Portland.

Murphy discussed the direction which he believes the Church is headed with Pope Benedict’s successor.

The commencement of the Papal conclave comes only after the cardinals – from six different continents – spent time getting to know each other in Rome. Many of the cardinals have met only a few times, so the time preceding the conclave is very important, according to Murphy.

Murphy says that there are a few key attributes that the cardinals will look for in Pope Benedict’s successor. He says it is important for the pope to be young and active enough to keep up with an intense travel schedule, he should be able to handle his own administrative work, and he should have vast linguistic abilities.

Another essential issue to consider when electing the pope, says Murphy, is that of “New Evangelism.” New Evangelism is the Church’s mission to reintroduce people to Christianity – whether it is young people or older people who have lost their faith.

“To be in touch with [the issue of New Evangelization] is more important than age,” says Murphy.

Although the cardinals can select the new pope from any baptized Catholic male, they have selected a fellow cardinal for more than 600 years.

The pope has often hailed from Italy, but according to Murphy, Pope John Paul II made it possible for non-Italians to become pope. The trend toward electing popes from more diverse backgrounds will be present in this conclave – where frontrunners come from Asia, South America, and North America. Italy does, however, have more cardinal electors than any other represented location aside from the rest of Europe.

 Some of those considered to be frontrunners include Cardinal Angelo Scola of Italy, Cardinal Cardinal Luis Tagle of the Philippines, Odilo Scherer of Brazil, and Sean O’Malley of the United States.

Only Scola and Scherer have experience working in the Vatican, with the Italian administration – and neither of the two are particularly close with the current administration.

Once the conclave begins, the cardinals are forbidden from contact with the outside world. They will vote four times daily, until they reach a two-thirds supermajority. On each day until a new pope is elected, black smoke will exit the Sistine Chapel’s chimney. When a decision is reached, however, white smoke will leave the chapel’s chimney, alerting Rome that a new pope has been named.

Secretary of Defense nomination stirs controversy

On February 1, former Massachusetts Senator and Presidential candidate John Kerry was sworn in as the nation’s 68th Secretary of State.  He was approved by the United States Senate with a 94-3 vote.  Kerry replaced Hillary Clinton, who served under President Barack Obama throughout his first presidential term.

Following Kerry’s approval and swearing in, the Senate’s shifted its focus to Obama’s Secretary of Defense nomination.  Obama nominated former Nebraska Senator, Chuck Hagel to succeed Leon Panetta.

Hagel, a Republican, has kept close ties with the Obama administration since 2008, when he was rumored to be on Obama’s short list of running-mates.  In 2009, he stepped down from his seat in the Senate.  He is currently a professor at Georgetown University, serves as co-chairman of Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board, and is a member of the Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee.

The Senatorial hearings concerning Hagel’s nomination began on January 31, and have been a topic of much controversy since then.  He has been under fire from many Republican Senators for his positions on sanctions against Iran and negotiation between Hamas and Palestine.  Some of his views have been criticized as directly in conflict with those of both the United States and its allies.

Hagel’s views on United States relations with Israel have additionally been in question throughout the hearings.  He has previously been accused of anti-semitism and has been called a weak supporter of Israel.  Despite such criticism, a number of United States ambassadors to Israel have recently written letters of support for Hagel’s nomination.

Both the Obama administration and Hagel have maintained that as Secretary of Defense, Hagel would prefer to use militant force as a last resort only.  This, among Hagel’s other various views, have been challenged with politically charged questions throughout the duration of the hearing.

“They talked a lot about past quotes, but what about what a secretary of defense is confronting today?”  Panetta said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “What about the war in Afghanistan? What about the war on terrorism? What about the budget sequestering, what, what impact it’s going to have on readiness? …All of the issues that confront a secretary of defense, frankly, those were — we just did not see enough time spent on discussing those issues.”

While Hagel has been criticized as cracking under the pressure of the hearings, Obama stated that he was confident that Hagel would be confirmed by the Senate.

Introducing the Sportsmen’s Club

In early December, freshman Sam Glasgow led Bates College’s first official Sportsmen’s Club meeting. Students gathered to hear about the opportunity to learn about firearm use and safety and to discuss the direction of the new club. The meeting was well attended, and the club will now have regular meetings.

The concept for the club was developed by Glasgow and first-year Evan Molinari, after the two discovered their mutual appreciation of shooting sports during their AESOP trip.

Hoping to connect with others who shared our interest and introduce novices to shooting,” says Glasgow, “We decided to start the club.”

The pair proposed the idea for the club to the school’s student council, and the club was approved shortly after.

Thus far the club has held several meetings, and according to Glasgow, the Bates student body has shown significant interest in the club.

Both meetings were very well attended by both men and women,” says Glasgow. “In total 61 people came to our meetings or reached out about the club.

Glasgow and fellow officers – Molinari, Nick McCarthy, and Lydia Merizon – already have several outings planned for the club.

The first outing held by the Sportsmen’s Club will take place on January 27th. Club members will take a firearm safety class at the Androscoggin County Fish and Game Association (ACF&GA) in Auburn.

Glasgow places particular importance on firearm safety. “Safety is paramount to everything we do… Attendance [to a safety class] is required before partaking in out shooting outings,” said Glasgow.

Other planned events for the club include trips to the ACF&GA to play trap and target shooting – both of these involve shooting targets from up to several hundred yards away. While trap shooting, the shooter attempts to hit clay pigeons which are launched by a machine. Target shooting allows a shooter to practice accuracy at the distance of their choice, by shooting at a stationary target.

In addition to the shooting component of the club, Glasgow and the other officers hope to incorporate fishing into the club’s regular set of activities.

Glasgow says, “[We hope to offer] trips to local streams and rivers. Fishing is also very much in the fabric of Maine life, but also absent from the Bates campus.”

The club’s meetings will continue regularly throughout the remainder of the school year, and with improvements in the Maine weather, outings will become more frequent. Glasgow hopes that the club will not only introduce Bates students to something new and fun, but also will prove to enlighten Bates students about safe recreational firearm use.

Shooting [and fishing are] a historic American pastime and very much a part of Maine life,” Glasgow says. “I hope that the Sportsmen’s Club will provide an opportunity for the Bates community to connect with this tradition.”

Only time and the unpredicatable Maine weather will tell.

Welcome home, President Spencer

On October 26, Bates College faculty, staff, students, and alumni gathered inside Merrill Indoor Gymnasium to formally welcome President A. Clayton Spencer to her new home.

In 2011, Spencer’s impressive résumé and “Bates” personality convinced the Board of Trustees that she was the right pick for the school’s next president. Her vast experience with education began working as chief education counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. During this time, she worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy and made significant contributions to the nation’s education legislation and policy.

Spencer then went on to work in several positions at Harvard University before becoming the school’s Vice President for Policy. During her time as Vice President, she played an essential role in the redesign of the school’s financial aid program and helped to create the Crimson Summer Academy for gifted, yet financially-disadvantaged, high school students.

Since the official start of her term as Bates’ president in July, Spencer has been an ubiquitous presence on the campus, and her inauguration long-awaited.

Representatives from each part of the Bates community began Spencer’s inauguration ceremony
with kind words of welcome. Speaking on behalf of the students, Jacqui Holmes told Spencer, “It’s your down to earth nature and sense of humor that make you so Bates.” Alumnus Jennifer Bouchard assured the audience, “With President Spencer at the helm, the rest of the world will hear from Bates.” With each greeting from the community, it became apparent that Spencer had already profoundly impacted the lives of many and that each member highly anticipated her continued work with the college.

To conclude the series of greetings, President Adam Falk of Williams College applauded the president’s work in the educational field and offered further insight to her personality. As a classmate of Spencer’s at Williams College, Falk shared some of the pair’s personal experiences and added to the chorus of praise for the president.

“You understand as well as anyone I know, what makes colleges and universities work,” he stated, “That you have heart in abundance has already been shown… in your new home.”

Following the greetings from the Bates community, President Drew Gilpin Faust of Harvard University formally introduced the college’s new president with a summation of Spencer’s stay as Harvard’s Vice President of Policy: “Everything good that happened from when she arrived in 1997 to when she left in June was because of Clayton Spencer. Everything bad that happened while she was here was something she objected to.”

Spencer was then presented symbols of the office: the presidential collar, record book, and keys. The presidential collar was a gift from the Class of 1904, and has been worn for ceremonial events since 1954. The record book is meant to “represent the [college’s] longevity, high aspirations, and historical legacy,” while the keys represent the president’s authority.

With this presentation, the remainder of the ceremony was handed over to Spencer. Her sense of humor and presence on the stage commanded the attention of the audience as she accepted the symbols and moved to deliver her speech.

Almost immediately, Spencer took on a serious tone – urgently addressing current changes in the framework of the nation and drawing upon words of the same tone from past presidents of the college. Now, she said, it is critical to focus on both maintaing and improving the principles upon which the college was founded. To further expound upon this message, she related the story of late Bates alumnus, Benjamin E. Mays.

Mays’ story highlighted the essence of Bates College, but also called to attention changes that Spencer said will need to be addressed. With the story, she sought to show the Bates community the values necessary to improving the college.

“At Bates, we don’t have time to waste. We know who we are and what we stand for, and we stand ready – together – to challenge ourselves and to engage the world,” Spencer concluded.

The inauguration came to an end as faculty, staff, and distinguished guests marched out of the gymnasium to the beats of the Steel Pan Orchestra. Words of Harvard President Faust, however, lingered: “Bates is blessed to have found its perfect president.”

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