Blogosphere

St. Olaf Sentiments: Unity

Manitou Messenger - 26 min 2 sec ago
As winter is slowly easing its way back into my life, I seem to be more nostalgic than I would typically be on a day-to-day basis on the Hill. Particularly, I have been thinking about the exact reasons why I left my perpetually sunny southern California hometown, and ended up at a college with a smaller population than my high school. It was because I found a unfound sense of warmth in the smallness of St. Olaf that I had never felt anywhere else in my life. I think the size of St. Olaf and the proximity of its buildings has a profound influence on the campus and its students. From the start of my freshman year I found enjoyment in the cyclic routine my fellow Oles and I take across campus. It captivated me and made me feel unity with everyone around me. However, this unity has slowly begun to stagnate into a double edged sword. I do not just see the beauty in the unity, I see the hurt. The hurt comes from my experiences being shackled to the very campus itself. The campus has a way of manifesting negative memories through my senses, from mundane things like tripping on ice near Skoglund, to significant moments of heartbreak. These memories are bound to the places where I experienced them, and every day I am thrust back into those moments. To the girl whose smoothie I knocked out of her hand while entering Tomson, I am sorry. To the iced tea I never got to drink because I spilt it all rushing to Great Con last year, I am sorry. To every person I have had an awkward interaction with at the doors entering Buntrock, I am sorry. The very simple act of going to the Caf can boil up such unnecessary anxiety that sometimes I wonder what captivated me about this school in the first place. But the beauty does come in waves as well. Though right now the bad may appear more often to me than the good, the good is often a stronger feeling, bringing me back up from the shadows of melencholy. The past echoes throughout this campus bringing memories of joy. Every time I look up at the stars on an especially dark night I remember stargazing during Week One with people I barely speak to anymore. But the joy is still there. Every time I walk by Holland Hall I remember Professor Taliaferro’s introduction to the philosophy major that completely entranced me. And of course, Ellingson Hall, the shining gem of my freshman year: every time I walk by it I am reminded of the friendships that I made there that continue to flourish this year. These are some of the memories that serve as the rock on which I base all my other experiences on this hill. Like waiting for spring in the winter, I know more good times will come after the bad.St. Olaf is a beautiful beast of emotion and memory. No other place has grabbed me by the heart and thrown me higher than the sky and lower than hell. It is in its walls that I feel the experiences I have had here, and as the highs get higher and the lows get lower, I will continue to battle with its complex unity. 


mattso1@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

The Failure of Words

Manitou Messenger - 26 min 2 sec ago
When you think about it, really hard, it makes no sense.How words fail to do their purpose,Of giving meaning to feelingOf describingNo matter how hard I try, Words will always fail me when I’m describing you.You are so much more than anything, than everythingMore than cute,More than kind,You’ll even always be more than all mineIt’s not just you,But everything about.The things you doThe words you sayHow I think about you every day.It’s always you, but I have no words.I’m more than happy, more than excitedWhen you’re around.More than disappointedMore than saddened,When you have to go.Understanding doesn’t make it easier.I can’t help the way I feel,How my heart still jumps when I see you,How my face lights up.I wish I could tell you all the things you do for me,All you make me feel.But we’d be here forever,And never scratch the surface.You are the reason I break out laughing when no one’s around.Why I seem to smile for no reason.Why some days are better than the weekend. 
peters18@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

Refuge

Manitou Messenger - 26 min 2 sec ago
Black tea
White snow
And the earthen rests of each
Make up the scale of this quiet day


Retreating from the cold blowing
Of thoughts titled “Can” and “Can-Not,”
I steeped, then poured
Then sat at the kitchen table
Watching thick flakes fall,
The laggards of the bunch


How simple, this clearing came
Swiped down like a pine
Beneath the axe of some flannel-clad viking
While I can sit here and imagine


The bright warmths are beautiful,
But it is the dark warmths that love
The blanket, the socks,
The ruddy cup of tea
Beating ceramic against my fingers 


I sit here, drinking the dark,
Watching the light fall like stars
And put myself at ease
Between them

benjam1@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

White

Manitou Messenger - 26 min 2 sec ago
Staring out into the crowd from coat check, all I see are white people. So. Many. White. People. White and pale like lutefisk.White so normalized, home feels different.White like the snow you’ve been begging for.White like papers strewn across my desk.  White like my skin, summer tan fading.White like passing for Norwegian.White like cotton t-shirts.White like piano keys, all natural. White like a yeti, terrifying.White like bed sheets, until I bleed on them. White like coloring pages, until I fill them. White like my empty hands, until I shake someone else’s.  White like popcorn, until I coat it with butter or caramel.White like plastic bags, until I ask for paper. White like marshmallows, until I roast them.White like whipped cream, until I stir it into hot chocolate.White like these walls, until I paint them.White like eggs, until I break them.White like the White House, until I voted a black man into it. White like erasers, until I write in pen.White like my shoes, until I beat the pavement. 

mcmanis@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

Stage fright still affliction, despite experience

Manitou Messenger - 26 min 2 sec ago
Now, dear reader, let’s get something straight. I am primarily an actor, and I have been acting continuously since I was 12 years old. One would think that after performing for nearly eight years, I would have grown out of the infamous feeling of stage fright. After all, I have faced that fear quite a few times. Shouldn’t I be past stage fright by now? Have I not achieved the level of adult maturity where I no longer feel any fear? In case you missed the subtext here, I still get stage fright and I’m just a little bitter about it. As I’ve gotten older it actually seems to get worse. Stage fright doesn’t just happen during shows, though, let no one mistake. It really starts about a week or two before the show opens. Worries of missed entrances, forgotten lines and embarrassing costume malfunctions start appearing and floating through my head. Next comes the inevitable dream (or three, if the production is stressful enough) in which I wake up shaking in embarrassment after watching myself try to perform my role while totally naked.Of course there then come the backstage jitters. In the few moments before entrances onto the stage, time always seems to be moving at the speed of both lighting and molasses.  Suddenly that first line seems a lot more difficult to remember. That sweat that I can feel under my costume has got to be showing somewhere.The third and most well-known stage fright comes when I finally get on stage.  I would liken the feeling of walking on stage to cresting the hill on a rollercoaster.  The pit that has been forming in my stomach before my entrance drops suddenly, and I can only think about the exact moment that I am in, nothing before or after.I suppose one of the reasons that my stage fright has gotten worse is that my fear has only been affirmed by my experience. Missed entrances happen quite frequently, to varying degrees.  I once had a fellow actor miss their entrance by a very long five minutes.  Missed lines happen even more frequently, at least two or three times a show, if not much more.Additionally, mishaps from the realms of projections, lights, sound, props and set pieces happen even more.  On stage I’ve broken set pieces, accidentally kicked a wall in, torn expensive stage fabric, etc.  Believe it or not, there is an incredibly large amount of things that can go wrong on a live stage.The possibility of failure is always present on stage, in innumerable forms.  Stage fright will never be gone, and it exists partially for good reason: to keep performers aware of their environment and constantly ready to solve problems.I do find it funny, though, that even the most seasoned theater professionals experience stage fright.  It’s an inescapable feeling.  Try it sometime.

suther1@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

Resurgent men’s hockey topples Augsburg

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 25 min ago
Following two consecutive seasons in which it only managed to to win 31.5 percent of its total games, the St. Olaf men’s hockey team headed into the 2016-17 season with several new faces and much to prove. After serving as head coach for 19 seasons, leading the Oles to nine MIAC playoff appearances and a trip to the NCAA tournament in 2006, Sean Goldsworthy was dismissed during the offseason and replaced by Mike Eaves, most widely known for his 14 years of Division I coaching experience with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Furthermore, only eight of the team’s 40 roster spots were occupied by seniors this year, making St. Olaf a very young team prone to change under Eaves’ new philosophical approach. It seemed like the Oles were making serious strides to right the ship back to a winning record and, with some luck, a return to the MIAC playoffs.A 0-4-0 start to the season quickly dashed that optimism as St. Olaf seemed in danger of falling apart in its first year of new leadership, on pace for its worst record since 1997. However, during the past two weeks the team has regrouped and found some chemistry, only dropping one contest since Nov. 19 thanks to a resurgent offense and vastly more impenetrable defense. The Oles’ recent success culminated in a shocking 2-1 upset victory over sixth-ranked Augsburg, handing the Auggies their first and only loss so far this season while earning Eaves his first conference win as St. Olaf’s head coach.The Oles opened the two-game series at home on Friday, Dec. 2, and immediately found themselves in a 2-0 hole following two quick goals by Augsburg’s Will Peterson at 3:28 into regulation and Corbin Chapman at 13:20. However, St. Olaf remained a tough opponent to put down, as Will Dittrich ’20 netted a goal 40 seconds later to cut the lead in half right as the Auggies were starting to pull away. The score remained gridlocked at 2-1 through the second period, but eventually the Auggies struck again, 18 seconds into the third with a goal by Nate Flynn. The Oles kept their wits about them and once again pulled within one goal of Augsburg for the second time on a power play goal by Tuukka Totra ’20. Sadly, their offense couldn’t manufacture a tying goal before the clock hit zero – in a last act of desperation, St. Olaf emptied its goal during the final minute in order to push for a tie, but once Augsburg’s Drew Anderson stole the puck he easily netted the game’s final, clinching goal. Despite a tough fight, St. Olaf’s push for an upset came up just short.The next day told a different story, proving how tenacious this Ole squad can be. This time around, playing Augsburg at its home arena in Minneapolis, St. Olaf gained the early momentum when Jonas Fredericksson ’17 struck quickly at 8:43 in the first period, giving the Oles their first lead of the series and tremendous confidence against a capable opponent. Augsburg came back just over seven minutes later when Lukas Gillett tied the contest. However, 55 seconds into the second period Totra added to his phenomenal weekend by issuing his second goal in as many days, assisted by Drew Otto ’18 and Steven Sherman ’17, the latter of whom is now third in the MIAC with 10 assists for the season. The rest of the contest, nearly two periods of play, remained scoreless thanks to an exceptional outing from goalie Jude Hull ’18, who saved 31 of Augsburg’s 32 total shots on goal. Hull’s strong performance raised his save percentage to .924, boosting him to the top five among all conference goalies. The strong team effort displayed by the Oles resulted in a 2-1 victory, their biggest upset in recent memory.St. Olaf’s victory indicates that Eaves’ coaching approach is rapidly making a positive impact on the Oles’ overall performance. Their quality of play has spiked during the last two weeks, and their record is gradually starting to show evidence of it. Since Nov. 19, St. Olaf has allowed more than three goals in a single game only once, against Augsburg last Friday. Prior to then, it had surrendered four or more goals in every contest except one. Different players are stepping up during critical moments, such as Totra against Augsburg or Otto with a two-goal performance against Lawrence last weekend, indicating a focus on teamwork that minimizes selfishness and maximizes efficiency. The overall state of the Oles’ game is much crisper than it has been in a very long time. Their 3-8-1 record can be attributed to a sluggish start, but if this recent surge is indicative of what the Oles are capable of under Eaves’ guidance, then it’s time to start getting excited about the future of the St. Olaf men’s hockey program.

seidel1@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

Petition shows student desire for a sanctuary campus

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 25 min ago
Over the past few weeks, students have been tabling outside of Stav Hall, petitioning to make St. Olaf a sanctuary campus. Similar to a sanctuary city, a sanctuary campus would refuse to cooperate with and/or assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents if they were to come onto campus. At press time, the print petition had close to 700 signatures and an online version of the petition was expected to have a couple hundred signatures. “We ask that St. Olaf refuse to allow ICE agents from conducting activity on St. Olaf property as allowed by a 2011 U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement memo,” the proposal read. “We ask that St. Olaf protect all individuals in the St. Olaf community, including its students, faculty, and staff … doing so will demonstrate that St. Olaf takes the safety and wellbeing of the St. Olaf community seriously,” the proposal read. Samantha Wells ’17 is the go-to student contact for the petition. The organizing students’ intent is not to demand that administration make policy changes, but rather to bring to administration a proposal that already has significant student support. Wells plans to share the proposal first with Student Senate and then with college administrators. Wells has been in contact with President David Anderson ’74, who connected her with General Counsel Carl Lehmann ’91 for assistance in understanding the legal details surrounding current college policies. Anderson said that he is supportive of protecting student privacy and would be interested in supporting students in any way that is legal and appropriate. As of Dec. 2, the petition and proposal had not yet been brought to St. Olaf administration. The definition of “sanctuary” is flexible; there is no legal definition for a sanctuary city or sanctuary campus, but most often it refers to a city or institution that refuses to cooperate with ICE officials. For a city, this could mean limiting how extensively government employees and law enforcement will work with federal immigration officials. For a campus, it often means refusal to disclose private student records and limiting the access that federal immigration officials have on campus.College campuses across the country have been pushing to become sanctuary spaces. Unlike cities, campuses have special privileges under a ICE memo that allows them to refuse to cooperate with ICE officials in some circumstances. A memo issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office on Oct. 24, 2011 states that ICE agents are not allowed to perform actions including “(I) arrests; (2) interviews; (3) searches; and (4) for purposes of immigration enforcement only, surveillance” on “sensitive locations.” The memo defines a college campus as a sensitive location. That being said, immigration agents are still able to do some things, including “obtaining records, documents and similar materials from officials or employees, providing notice to officials or employees, serving subpoenas, engaging in Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) compliance and certification visits or participating in official functions or community meetings.”St. Olaf already has student privacy policies in place that protect student information from being handed over to federal agents. “Under our current policies, we do not disclose information about students – except in very limited circumstances – and that would include a student’s immigrant status,” Lehmann said. “So if a government agency came to campus and said ‘we want to know the names of students who are not legally authorized to be in the United States,’ that’s not information that we would voluntarily provide without a subpoena or a court order, or if there was some emergency.”One of the biggest bargaining pieces in the sanctuary city debate is President-elect Donald Trump’s threat to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities. Because St. Olaf isn’t a public institution, it doesn’t necessarily have a horse in this race. Whether or not federal aid for St. Olaf students would be included in this threat is unclear. “Our students certainly receive a lot of federal aid, and our ability to participate in Title IV programs, grants and student aid, is something that all our students should be concerned about,” Lehmann said. “We would want to continue to participate in federal financial aid programs.”Lehmann is still waiting to see the final proposal but is encouraged to determine how administration might be able to work with students to soothe some of their immediate concerns. “If students want assurances that their right to privacy are going to be respected, we can certainly provide those assurances,” he said. “If the initiatives are aimed at defying federal law or a court order or something like that, I think that would be something that the college wouldn’t be interested in being a party to because we have to abide by court orders and the law. In the proposals that I’ve seen with other colleges, that’s pretty consistent with the positions that other institutions are taking, too.”The sanctuary campus petition comes after the Northfield city council decided to further discuss making Northfield a sanctuary city. At the Nov. 16 city council meeting, members agreed to further research sanctuary cities and the council will likely begin discussions on the topic at its Dec. 13 meeting.
whitfo1@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

Philosopher extols beauty

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 25 min ago
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the philosophy department hosted Dr. Douglas Hedley of Cambridge University as a guest speaker on ethics and beauty. Hedley has interests in contemporary and early modern philosophy of religion and the history of Platonism and Neoplatonism. He is the author of over six books, most recently “The Iconic Imagination,” and was a member of the Cambridge Platonists, a group of philosophers that coined terms such as “theism,” “consciousness” and “philosophy of religion.” As Dr. Hedley comes from the United Kingdom, he was welcomed with a British parade.Prior to the lecture, audience members enjoyed cider, cucumber sandwiches and desserts. When 4 p.m. hit, Professor of Philosophy Charles Taliaferro played “Rule Britannia” and sprinkled holy water over attendees while they sang along. Most of the students in the audience were current philosophy students. Drawing from Plato, Aristotle, Meister Eckhart and Immanuel Kant, Hedley proposed that beauty is an innate realization rather than an aesthetically pleasing vision. In other words, beauty is an internal truth. Hedley, as a philosopher, seeks to explore this beauty. He also proposed that a person is layered, and in order to find the inner beauty, or internal truth, one must peel back the layers. “One is not transparent to oneself,” he said. In other words, one cannot just look inside and simply find one’s inner truth. Discovering this beauty is complicated. “Self-knowledge is a difficult task,” he said. Ethics, on the other hand, is the quest for this inner beauty.During the lecture, Hedley spoke of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” comparing the life of the philosopher to that of the man in the cave. The philosopher, like the man in the cave, turns toward the sun of knowledge and realizes the shadows have only been an illusion. In this way, when a person finds the inner beauty, he or she determines that the material aspects of the world become unimportant. Hedley emphasized that by turning outwards, even toward external virtues, the true self becomes completely hidden.This was the third time Hedley lectured at St. Olaf. In the past, students have greatly enjoyed his discussions, and this lecture was no different. “I only wish it could have been longer,” said Jessica Whittenburg ’19, who attended the lecture. If, like Jessica, you enjoy a good talk on beauty and ethics, this lecture just might have been your cup of tea.


favaro1@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

Sex trafficking survivor shares story, talks prostitution laws

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 25 min ago
When Jennifer Gaines ran away from home at the age of 14, she did not expect to become involved in prostitution. Neither did she expect to eventually become an officer for Breaking Free, an organization that advocates for sex-trafficking survivors, after nearly 30 years of work as a prostitute. The St. Olaf community had the opportunity to hear her sad yet educational story on Nov. 16 in the Black Ballroom in Buntrock Commons. The event was sponsored by St. Olaf Leaders Abolishing Slavery (SOLAS).According to Gaines, prostitution includes three stages: recruitment, initiation and enslavement. “There are many ways women get recruited into prostitution,” Gaines said. “Some get in by force, drugs and alcohol, torture, or generational prostitution.” Generational prostitution, she explained, is when girls are born into families where all women are involved in prostitution.Child runaways are especially at risk of recruitment into prostitution. According to Gaines, within 48 hours of leaving home, one third of children who run away are lured to prostitution. “I ran away from home when I was 14,” Gaines said. “Literally within 48 hours I was approached by a trafficker.”Gaines also discussed sex traffickers, and how they don’t always conform to society’s understanding or perception of them. Her trafficker, she said, contradicted typical depictions.“Everybody liked him, he had wonderful social skills,” Gaines said. “He would take over the room when he came in. Very charming. If you had not known what he was doing, you would have liked him too.” During her recruitment, Gaines was taken to bars and praised as a princess. Often, her recruiters attempted to depict prostitution as a path toward a life of luxury and ease, and a life that could enable women to take care of their families. “There is a reason traffickers go after children,” Gaines explained. “It is because they can be programmed. They can be brainwashed.”After a few unsuccessful months of attempting to recruit Gaines into prostitution, the trafficker made up a dramatic event in an effort to manipulate her. “He told me that his gang members were after him, and he needed $400 by nine o’clock at night. If he did not have this money, they would kill him,” Gaines said. That is when she was sold into prostitution. Gaines, who now works for Breaking Free, provided thoughtful reflections on various aspects of prostitution. First, she broke the myth that legalizing prostitution would make it safer for women. “I worked in regions where prostitution is legalized and I was still raped and I was still beaten,” Gaines said. “What happened is that traffickers, whenever they found out that prostitution in a region is legal, they fled the law by bringing their girls with fake IDs. It is safer for the men but not for the women. So that’s a myth.”Second, she offered useful information regarding prostitution in Minnesota. According to Gaines, the FBI identified Minneapolis as one of 13 cities where a significant number of children are recruited into prostitution. She believes part of the reason behind the growth of prostitution in Minnesota is because people come to the state for its “great welfare system” in order to escape poverty, and poverty is a source of not only women in prostitution but also traffickers. “I often heard my trafficker and his friends amongst each other and they would say things like, ‘You know, I got into pimping because that was my only option. Because in my neighborhood, the only options were prostituting, pimping, being a rapper or selling drugs.’ So depending on your skill set, maybe you should pick pimping,” Gaines said.On the other hand, Gaines expounded on the advances Minnesota has made regarding legal counters to prostitution, including the advanced law that sufficiently covers the kaleidoscopic forms of prostitution, and the Safe Harbor Act, which states that women under 18 years old engaged in prostitution will not be criminalized, but instead provided with shelter and services.According to Sophie Rossiter ’19, co-leader of SOLAS, this is Gaines’ second visit to St. Olaf. This time, the talk was more focused on the issue of sex trafficking within Minnesota and the underlying causal mechanism rather than a general view. The organization is also planning to bring in other speakers to connect different perspectives on sex trafficking in the Twin Cities.The discussion received positive responses. “I have been to Gaines’ presentations before and they are always fascinating,” Katie Bickley ’18 said. “I learn something new every time and I am really glad she is back on campus.” 

nguyen7@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

Mellby Lecture explores gender, religion

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 25 min ago
On Thursday, Nov. 17, Associate Professor of Religion David Booth gave the 2016 Fall Mellby Lecture. Booth teaches classes at St. Olaf on Christian theology, feminist theory, religion and culture in a variety of contexts. During her introduction of Booth, Professor of Religion Mara Benjamin spoke about Booth’s role and contributions at St. Olaf, as well as in her own career and life. “[Through David I found that] theology was an enterprise that not only included, but necessitated difference and diversity. It was not the property of any one interest group or set of institutions,” Benjamin said. “It was a process of reflection on how we make our way in the world and through which we forge a just society.” As Booth began his lecture, he introduced his topic of the North Carolina bathroom wars in the context of theology. The controversy is rooted in the debate over whether individuals who do not conform to the customary male and female gender binary should be able to use public facilities that do not match their biological sex. He initially addressed the importance of this particular subject in the wake of the election. “The nation has elected a president, and in particular a vice president, who defends a supposed religious freedom of citizens to ignore certain civil rights of some of their neighbors,” Booth said. “Against my wishes, my remarks tonight may be too relevant.”He argued that whether an individual is religious, atheistic or agnostic, theology can help both individuals and communities better understand the present and work toward a future where all people have equal access to what Booth called the blessings of life. He then presented his claim that the gender binary must be regarded critically, and that the stigmatization of gender non-conformers in the name of religion must stop. “I plan to plead for your sympathy for the simple notion that every person ought to be empowered to live out a gendered identity that speaks to the truth of their own self understanding, without regard for whether that identity is comfortable to a customary strict binary of women and men,” Booth said. Booth explained that politicians and citizens believe that public facilities should be organized based on biological sex because they find it the most logical way to order society. This system is also based on the belief that keeping biological males out of female bathrooms is an attempt to protect women from sexual assault in the context of their inferior position in the gender binary. “In any case, one can hardly find a case of trans women menacing others in women’s restrooms, while reports are common of harassing trans bathroom users simply because they make them uncomfortable,” Booth said. He emphasized that such an aggressive attack against gender non-conformers is the effect of this very hierarchy being defied. “Men can be president. Whether women can be president we don’t know yet,” Booth said. “There are stakes and stakeholders in defending a binary gender order. The existence of gender non-conformers threatens the stakeholders in a gender binary order.”He then continued to tie the everlasting debate over the gender binary, and public efforts to alter its ubiquity, to St. Olaf. He described how through the general education requirements, and the theology requirement in particular, St. Olaf aims to prepare students to clearly articulate and understand their own beliefs. Booth was also sure to emphasize that what is more pressing in the present are students’ abilities to converse with those who have differing ideologies, and that the BTS-T requirement is St. Olaf’s defense against religious ignorance and animosity. Booth introduced his belief that while some parts of the General Education (GE) requirements are beneficial to St. Olaf students, others need to be reevaluated. “I hope that a new infusion of energy in our GE will respond to the remarkable transformations of the world our students will navigate,” he said. “In particular, the rich diversity of peoples and cultures, the increasing demand to recognize the real dignity and rights of previously marginalized people, and the enormous challenge, never more pressing than it is right now of sorting … the legitimacy of ideologically tainted knowledge claims.”  One of Booth’s consistent goals as a professor is to communicate some of the ways in which theology is an effective way to analyze and navigate the world, employing the public usefulness of theology. “Theology is reasoning about meaning and truth. It seeks to clarify what the claims of a religious community mean. How do these claims fit together and constitute a total way of living? It proposes ways of thinking about what is true, in respect to the truths of history… [and] scientific inquiry,” Booth said. His lecture informed the audience about the importance of the coherence of truths, whether they are religious, scientific, literary or historical, in order that religious claims and communities don’t mindlessly refute important knowledge about the reality of the world. 


ellfel1@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

Today’s news update – Land purchase on hold for Mill Towns Trail; Dundas has banner year and 2017 looking good; Winter parking and Winter Walk

KYMN Radio - 2 hours 15 min ago

Land purchase on hold for Mill Towns Trail The Northfield City Council discussed the possible acquisition of 2 properties for the Mill Towns Trail.  They are 1700 and 1900 Dundas Blvd between the river and the RR trax behind Perkins Transportation.  Mayor Dana Graham said there is a local trail there but it crosses over […]

The post Today’s news update – Land purchase on hold for Mill Towns Trail; Dundas has banner year and 2017 looking good; Winter parking and Winter Walk appeared first on KYMN Radio - Northfield, MN.

Radical group brings hate speech to campus

Manitou Messenger - 2 hours 26 min ago
On Wednesday, Nov. 15, a table of representatives from the Rolling Meadows Mennonite Church sat on the second floor of Buntrock Commons at the base of the stairs to the cafeteria, passing out pamphlets. The materials varied widely in subject matter, with some as harmless as “The Gospel According to John.” Many of the rest, however, echoed hateful sentiments, most obviously one brightly colored card which read in large print, “AIDS: The Real Problem Behind the Scourge.”This piece of writing, among several other pamphlets disseminated by the group, claimed that HIV and AIDS are divine punishments for an immoral lifestyle. Their writing claimed “The Real Problem is not HIV. It is one even more deadly. The Real Problem is often the sin of immorality,” continuing that “Many times AIDS is God’s judgement on immorality.” Another piece, titled “What do you want from life,” showed an image of an arrow pointing from a cradle to a grave, and further explored the group’s definition of sin. “Sin leaves us unhappy and disappointed. Our sinful lives lack purpose and peace. And sin condemns us to death.” It then went on to assert that the only way to escape the punishment for sin was to accept their god.A pamphlet titled “The New Morality or the old immorality,” featured a drawing of a young man with tattoos and a loose-fitting gold chain around his neck, looking around a deserted city street with “No Fear” etched into the wall behind him. The pamphlet claimed, “God speaks through AIDS. And people are paying attention...finally.” The pamphlet went on to provide what it claimed to be a direct message from God, which read “the new morality is nothing other than the old immorality that I have always abhorred. It is sin, and it results in death.”The same packet also deemed various practices sinful and reflections of modern immorality, including adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, lust, bestiality and youthful lusts. Each section offered one or more Bible verses that the packet purported to prove the immorality of the practices. When addressing homosexuality, the packet claimed that “God condemns this sin. Because of this sin and others, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire.” This comparison was echoed in the piece regarding lust, which equated modern cities to Sodom and Gomorrah and claimed that byproducts of modern city life “stimulate lust, and a person who lusts in his mind soon sins in his deeds. The person who sins (whether in thought or in deed), will die.”The group was quickly met with resistance from the campus, including several students confronting it for spreading hate speech. Cosi Pori ’18 was one of those who directly addressed the radical religious group, expressing anger at the impact the group may have had on students struggling with HIV or AIDS.“I went back and gave a speech at them, and said ‘hey, the real problem is you guys [who are] perpetuating the stigma against AIDS and HIV, [making] people more afraid to live with it and come out having it. I took one of each [pamphlet] and the rest I took and threw in one of those recycling bins,” Pori said.Another pamphlet, titled “True love...knows how to wait” featured two roses on the front and vilified premarital sex, specifically in regards to women. Offering purported testimonials from young women, the pamphlet claimed that men who engage in premarital sex with women are “guilty of destroying her longings and dreams.” Later on, it shifted the blame to women, claiming that “the man is not always the one at fault. Of course not! There are young ‘ladies’ who do not deserve any respect. They dress provocatively; they flirt; they are easy to have; everybody can hug them, pet them, or kiss them, and they do not resist. Young lady if this describes you, you are partly at fault for the consequences of your appearance and behavior.”Pori also expressed their anger with the “True love” pamphlet and its equating of women’s value to sex and the blame it placed on women for dressing “provocatively.”“On this campus, which already has so many problems with sexual assault, someone might have picked this up and read it, and that’s just ridiculous,” Pori said.Pori also suggested a political motivation to the tabling, stating that when another student asked if the group’s presence had to do with the recent election of Donald Trump, they affirmed that it was related.After a relatively substantial student response, the Mennonite group was asked to leave campus and President David Anderson ’74 sent out a message condemning the group and affirming that they would not return, despite having apparently been on campus before.“...they have apparently been on campus before without us being aware of their message. This tells me that we need immediately to undertake a review our of policies relating to permitting outside groups on campus towards the goal of having a more rigorous and robust screening process so that an incident like this does not occur again,” Anderson wrote. “I apologize on behalf of the College to everyone who was hurt or who, like me, was offended by this group’s words and acts. They do not represent who we are, and I am grateful to the students who called them out.”Many received the message well, but expressed frustration at Anderson’s apparent lack of knowledge of the hate-group’s previous presence.“I was very impressed with how fast it all got handled, but what was weird to me was that in PDA’s email he said he had no idea about it and that it has happened before. I was told by other students and alumni that they remembered this group,” Pori said, expressing concern with the possibility that the administration could remain unaware of such a situation.Greg Kneser, Vice President for Student Life, offered some explanation for the group’s repeat appearances.“About five percent of the groups simply ask for a table and are charged a small fee, as this group did,” Kneser said. “We do not ask to see materials for pre-approval or interview them to see what they intend on discussing, in the same way we do not do this with student groups. If there are complaints, we deal with them immediately. The Mennonite group will not be welcomed back to campus, which has happened to other groups in the past.”He also offered an explanation as to how St. Olaf’s screening process for outside groups might be reformed.“Our goal in all of this is to keep the campus an environment where there is a free exchange of ideas and that students and others will have access to services, commerce, ideas and opportunities for engagement outside of the ‘bubble’ that lots of folks talk about,” Kneser said. “In order to achieve that balance, we will have a policy in place so that any groups who wish to interact with our community agree to abide by the values of St. Olaf College, in much the same way that student organizations are expected to act. They will have to actively sign off that they understand our expectations before being rented or granted a space. We are drafting that language now and will share it with the community when we are done.”
campbe1@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

Northfield, DNR consider moving part of Mill Towns Trail nearer to Cannon River

Northfield News - 2 hours 47 min ago
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and city of Northfield staff are hoping to partner on a realigning part of Mill Towns State Trail along Dundas Boulevard.
Categories: Local News

Community News: Winter Walk activities highlighted!

KYMN Radio - 3 hours 16 min ago

Northfield Chamber of Commerce Director of Tourism, Lisa Peterson, talks with Jeff Johnson about all the fun stuff happening during tonight’s 18th Annual Winter Walk!  Click below for all the details and check out the Chamber of Commerce website too! winter-walk-12-8-16  

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Community News: NAFRS Spaghetti dinner for Christmas Sharing

KYMN Radio - 3 hours 23 min ago

Fire Rescue Squad Captain Aramis Wells talks about the upcoming Spaghetti Dinner hosted by NAFRS and the Rescue Squad for Christmas Sharing!  New toys and cash donations will be accepted to bring a smile to local kids!  Wells says they helped over 800 children last year.  The dinner will be held this Saturday (Dec. 10th) […]

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Family of craftspeople take on craft of songwriting with first album

Northfield News - 4 hours 15 min ago
Two sisters and their husbands working together may sound like the start of a sitcom. Instead, it’s the basis for the band “The Blacksmith’s Daughters.”
Categories: Local News

LTE in Dodgeville Chronicle

Carol Overland - Legalectric - 5 hours 1 min ago

See the lower 1/2 of MISO’s MVP project 5, running from near Dubuque, IA to the northeast to the “Cardinal” substation near Madison?  That’s the Cardinal – Hickory Creek transmission line.

The Dodgeville Chronicle ran my Letter to the Editor, just in time for the meeting last night, held by Rural Utilities Service, about the Cardinal – Hickory Creek transmission project:

From 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7th, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is hosting a scoping meeting at the Deer Valley Lodge in Barneveld. RUS will again collect scoping comments for its Environmental Impact Study as it decides on a loan to Dairyland Power Cooperative for a share of project costs. RUS held scoping meetings October 31-November 3, 2016 – why more scoping meetings now?

The Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project stretches from a substation near Peosta, across the Mississippi River and Wisconsin, near Dodgeville, to a substation near Madison. Last April, as reported in this paper, American Transmission Company’s Jon Callaway reported that the project schedule had been pushed out to 2018 or beyond. The reasons weren’t clear, and should be specified and made part of the RUS record.

Cardinal-Hickory Creek and the under-construction Badger-Coulee transmission lines are MISO’s (Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.) MVP project “five” revealed five years ago in MISO’s MTEEP 11 report. That was 2011, and it was “postponed” in 2016. Why the delay? MISO’s 12.38% rate of return for construction has been successfully challenged in federal court. There’s a glut of electricity where even marketing electricity cross country is not alleviating the industry’s overproduction. MISO’s MVP economic modeling no longer hold under current scenarios. And maybe the delay is that and more!

Now’s the time to tell RUS to consider the economics, need and causes of delay in its financing decision. If delay is right for the project developers, RUS should also delay, and put financing on hold.

Carol A. Overland, Esq.
Red Wing, MN

Categories: Citizens

Rice County court reports for Dec. 7

Northfield News - 5 hours 48 min ago
Here are the court dispositions for Dec. 7.
Categories: Local News

Minnesota's changing: Here are key takeaways from new Census data

Northfield News - 6 hours 36 min ago
When the U.S. Census Bureau released its five-year block of data this week, it confirmed several theories about Minnesota's population trends: We're getting older, we're becoming slightly more diverse, but we're slow to adapt to both of those changes.
Categories: Local News

Community News: Stroke Support Group meets Dec. 15

KYMN Radio - 7 hours 14 sec ago

Stroke Support Group meets Dec. 15 The Stroke Support Group will meet on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 3:00 pm in the Conference Center at Northfield Hospital. This is a new support group for stroke patients, their caregivers and loved ones. The group provides social, emotional and practical support for those adapting to life after a […]

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