Heritage Preservation Commission Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Tue, 06/01/2021 - 12:26pm
Event date: June 10, 2021
Event Time: 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
801 Washington Street
Northfield, MN 55057

City Council returns to in-person meetings; ‘Pride in the Park’ set for Saturday; School District will offer online learning permanently

KYMN Radio - Tue, 06/01/2021 - 12:02pm
By Rich Larson, News Director For the first time since March of last year, the Northfield City Council will convene for a meeting in the Council Chambers at City Hall tonight at 6pm. Among the items on the agenda the city will hear presentations from the Northfield Hospital + Clinics regarding the 2020 Hospital Audit, and the

Sam Temple discusses Northfield Public Broadcasting

KYMN Radio - Tue, 06/01/2021 - 8:57am
Sam Temple discusses Northfield Public Broadcasting.   Temple is the NPB Station Manager for the City of Northfield.  Northfield public broadcasting can be found on Spectrum channels 180 and 187.  

Frank, Swenson named NHS AAA winners

Northfield News - Tue, 06/01/2021 - 7:36am
Northfield High School seniors Annie Frank and Robby Swenson were recently named the school’s Triple A award nominees for the immeasurable time they spent volunteering and participating in school activities.
Categories: Local News


Tom Swift - Untethered Dog - Tue, 06/01/2021 - 6:27am

“The title essay of her second collection, ‘The White Album,’ (1979), offers the clearest glimpse of how that reimagination happens. The heart of the essay is a cluster of ‘Points West’ columns: brief reports on protests at San Francisco State, a Huey Newton press conference, a studio visit with the Doors — her normal craftwork […]

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Categories: Citizens

Hospital-produced videos meant to advance vaccination efforts

Northfield News - Mon, 05/31/2021 - 10:50pm
Though preventative health measures intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 are ending as more Minnesotans become vaccinated, polls show a continuing portion of the population is choosing not to be inoculated.
Categories: Local News

Rickman named regional president of APG Media of Southern Minnesota

Northfield News - Mon, 05/31/2021 - 1:15pm
Adams Publishing Group, the parent company of the Northfield News and its sister papers in the region, announces the appointment of Randy Rickman as the regional president of APG Media of Southern Minnesota.
Categories: Local News

Carls shine at Track and Field National Championships

Carletonian - Mon, 05/31/2021 - 12:12pm

This weekend marked the end of the collegiate Track and Field season as four Carls—Matt Wilkinson ’21, Amanda Mosborg ’21, Lucas Mueller ’21, and Clara Mayfield ’23—competed in Greensboro, North Carolina for the D3 National Championships. 

Amanda Mosborg

Mosborg competed in the 5k on Saturday, May 29 alongside teammate Clara Mayfield. Mosborg, a senior, was competing in her first outdoors national championships and did not disappoint. She showed her veteran strength in the grinding middle section of the race, running a 5:34 second mile before closing in a 5:38 final mile. She finished in 17:20, good for thirteenth place in her final competition in a Knight’s singlet. 

Clara Mayfield

Mayfield proved her incredible resilience this weekend if nothing else. She started off the weekend with the 10k on Thursday. She ran a gutsy race, putting herself in seventh with less than a mile to go when disaster struck. Mayfield experienced a combination of debilitating cramps and heat stroke brought on by the heavy North Carolina heat (almost 90 degrees at racetime) that left her unable to finish the race. After such a physically draining and heartbreaking experience in her first national championship race, no one would have guessed Mayfield would come back with such vigor in the 5k only two days later. She finished fourteenth on Saturday with a time of 17:22, only two seconds and one place behind her teammate Amanda Mosborg, and closed with a blistering 1:17 final lap. 

Matt Wilkinson

Wilkinson was quite simply the star of the whole weekend. He took home the national title in both the 3k Steeplechase and the 5k. In the Steeplechase on Friday, Wilkinson dominated, running 8:47 to win by more than 20 seconds due to the scorching heat (more than 85 degrees at racetime). Doubling back in the 5k on Saturday he declined to chase the record, yet he still was mere seconds away from the 8:43 meet record mark. The decision to save for the 5k proved wise, as Wilkinson took what was supposed to be a tight race and blew the field out of the water. He stuck in the back of the pack for the first mile before making a strong move and simply running away with the race, soloing the last 2 miles before bringing it home in a blistering 60-second-flat last lap to finish in 13:55.27—just .27 seconds off the meet record of 13:55.00, but securing his second national title of the weekend. 

Lucas Mueller

Mueller kicked off the weekend with a downright gutsy performance in the 10k on Friday. He took the reins early with a move to take the lead before the mile mark in the six plus mile race. Mueller then slowly brought the field into the twilight zone with the help of the Greensboro heat. As the race progressed all but three competitors dropped off. Mueller was able to break Matthew Sayre of SUNY Geneseo, but the favorite Jared Pangallozzi proved too fit, closing in a 4:35 (Mueller himself closed in a 4:44). Mueller finished runner-up, dramatically outperforming his seed time and completing a ridiculous comeback, as it was unclear if Mueller would ever qualify for the national meet at the beginning of the season. Yet he wasn’t done. On Saturday he came back in the 5k to prove he had both guts and brains. He ran a brilliant but out-of-character race, sitting on the chase pack instead of his signature frontrunning. Mueller was near last place for much of the race before pouncing in the final lap, closing in a 4:36 last mile to secure eighth place with a time of 14:26 and the final All-American spot—finishing the weekend with two All-American awards and as national runner up in the 10k. 

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Categories: Colleges

Archer House a total loss; Lippert discusses vaccine incentives; Memorial Day Services available

KYMN Radio - Mon, 05/31/2021 - 12:00pm
By Rich Larson, News Director Six months after a disastrous fire left the building unusable, Rebound Partners issued a statement on Friday announcing that the Archer House has been declared to be a total loss.  The iconic building, which has stood on Division Street since 1877, was heavily damaged by a fire that broke out


Tom Swift - Untethered Dog - Mon, 05/31/2021 - 11:41am

“When you see another in power, set this against it, that you have the advantage of not needing power. When you see another rich, see what you have instead of riches; for if you have nothing in their stead, you are miserable. But if you have the advantage of not needing riches, know that you […]

The post Freedom appeared first on Untethered Dog.

Categories: Citizens

May 2021

Tom Swift - Untethered Dog - Mon, 05/31/2021 - 4:04am

31 May Van Gogh in person. Connection. If only for a couple hours. Gauguin. Sadness. Shame. The chance to reframe. The way you feel. The chance to overcome that. A Charles Bukowski poem at the right time. The writing life boat. Even when you think you don’t want to take it. The Love Boat. R.I.P., […]

The post May 2021 appeared first on Untethered Dog.

Categories: Citizens

Fine Tune #482 memorial 2021.05.30

KYMN Radio - Sun, 05/30/2021 - 7:15pm
Memorial Day is on my mind on this edition of Fine Tune: Battle Cry of Freedom / Bryan Sutton – – The Faded Coat of Blue / Norman Blake, Nancy Blake, James Bryan – – Take Your Gun and Go, John / Loretta Lynn – – Dear Old Flag / Vince Gill – – When

Vacunas y emblema/mascota de las escuelas de Northfield

KYMN Radio - Sun, 05/30/2021 - 4:35pm
Hablamos de la nueva jornada de vacunas en Allina el sábado 5 de junio de 8 am – a 12 pm. La antigua mascota de las escuela de Northfield se ha eliminado por posibles significados racistas, hablamos sobre la imagen.    

Carleton celebrates end of steam use after 111 years

Carletonian - Sun, 05/30/2021 - 3:01pm

At around 3 p.m. on Friday, May 21, Carleton turned off steam power for the last time ever. This concludes 111 years of using steam to fuel our campus and help students survive Minnesota winters. The college has now fully transitioned to hot water geothermal power, a shift that indicates Phase 2 of the Utility Master Plan has been completed. On May 20, just a day before the end of steam, the new geothermal system was running at approximately 600% efficiency, so hopes for the future are high. This milestone achievement was marked by the End of Steam Celebration. 

Two commemorative aspects of the End of Steam celebration began before the 21st. First, on May 12 an exhibit commemorating the last 111 years of steam power opened in the Gould Library Anthanæum. Photos, artifacts and 80-year-old boiler blueprints are all on display to commemorate those who powered the steam boilers in Facilities throughout this era. Additionally, Alex Miller collected oral histories from several former boiler operators. The exhibit will remain until June 4. A recorded walkthrough, a digital exhibit of Carleton utilities history, and an online photo archive are also available. 

Second, each evening this week Carleton’s smokestack was illuminated with bright lights and text reading “Carbon free by 2050” and “100 years of steam”. The lights cover the smokestack 360 degrees from top to (nearly) bottom. The lighting display was designed by Tony Storeri (’13) and executed with the help of several current students. 

On May 21, festivities began with a convocation given by climate leader Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. Dr. Johnson co-hosts the podcast “How To Save a Planet,” she published the “All We Can Save” anthology, and she founded the Urban Ocean Institute think tank. 

Dr. Johnson began by explaining her background in the environmental movement, which entailed “avoiding being forced to choose” a specific component of the environmental movement. Rather, she has explored the intersection of different aspects of environmentalism. 

Johnson also emphasized the need to center marginalized people and communities in the environmental movement. As Johnson sees it, without social justice, “[sustainability] just won’t work.” Without an intersectional approach, “we won’t have the right people around the table coming up with solutions that work in every place and every sector.” The simple answer for Johnson was that “we need to listen.” This means dispelling the expert-centric ‘we know what’s best for you’ approach to environmentalism. 

Dr. Johnson also talked at length about how collaborative climate action must be. To find your place in the movement, Johnson recommends asking yourself “What am I good at, of all the climate solutions needed, which am I the most passionate about, and what brings you joy?” Where these three intersect on a Venn Diagram is a great place to start. 

15 minutes after Convocation concluded, attention turned toward Laird Stadium, where remarks were given by Sustainability Program Coordinator Alex Miller, President Steve Poskanzer, Emeritus Vice President and Treasurer Fred Rogers (’72), former CSA President Andrew Farias (’21) and Manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability Martha Larson 

Each speaker offered unique insights into the geothermal energy transition for Carleton. 

President Poskanzer remarked about the significance of the geothermal system, but that there remains ample work to be done in order to realize our commitments. Poskanzer added that “We would all do well to match the professionalism” of those who ran steam power at Carleton.

When Fred Rogers spoke, he reminisced about the first Earth Day in 1970, during which he was a sophomore at Carleton. Rogers highlighted the tremendous influence that campus-wide geothermal energy has had across higher education—over a dozen institutions are now following Carleton’s lead. 

Andrew Farias looked back to Fall 2017, his first term at Carleton. He recalled the sounds of concrete breaking being “one of the best natural alarms” to wake up in the morning. The geothermal construction that autumn was in full swing, and despite an inconvenience then, Farias now views the project as well worth it. 

Martha Larson expressed her gratitude to the hundreds of people who helped realize this transition. She gave thanks to those who worked all day in challenging conditions, MEP Associates who helped engineer the project and to the staff who operated the boilers. Larson also compared the commitment needed in sustainability to Sunrise Carleton. Their namesake, as Larson sees it, reflects how we all get up and work toward sustainable goals, sure as the sun rises; in turn, to do it all again tomorrow. Larson concluded her remarks by singing an excerpt from “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash.  

With that, attention turned toward Facilities, where steam began to get out of the building one last time. The high-pressure release created a loud noise that was hard to miss on west campus. By 3 p.m., the geiser-like blowoff had quieted to a gentle exhaust, as Carleton ushered in a new era of campus energy. 

These festivities were planned by Alex Miller, Martha Larson and Sustainability Assistants Rebecca McCartney ’21 and Simran Kadam ’23. Additionally, the Communications Office, Archives Team, and Gould Library staff were instrumental in the planning process.

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Categories: Colleges

College announces relaxation of outdoor mask guidelines

Carletonian - Sun, 05/30/2021 - 3:00pm

In a May 14 email, Dean Carolyn Livingston announced that individuals and small groups will no longer be required to wear masks outside. A subsequent email defined a “small group” as 30 or fewer people.

The new protocol was met with surprise from the student body, alongside a number of emotions ranging from excitement to anxiety. 

For Alex Gallin ’23, the change of rules felt sudden but not unwelcome. 

“I was surprised that it went from ‘you can’t have any gatherings’ to ‘you can have 30-person gatherings’ because they’ve been very slow to relax rules in other ways,” he said. “But I think it’s a good change,” said Gallin. 

Doug Thompson ’24 echoed these sentiments: “I was happy about the changes. I’ve been waiting for it to happen for a while, seeing the progress and the vaccination rates.” 

“As a freshman, it’s a huge relief,” he added.

For freshmen like Thompson, this is the first time they are allowed to socialize with their peers in person and unmasked. 

With no new COVID cases on campus in the past month, some students are starting to feel safe without masks, a substantial departure from the widespread concern during  Fall and Winter Terms. “I feel safe on campus. I trust the vaccine. I don’t really worry about COVID when I’m going outside anymore,” explained Thompson.

Gallin similarly supports the decision from a safety perspective: “I think it’s a fine decision safety-wise. Most of the science says that being unmasked outdoors is relatively safe, especially for vaccinated people. The more important restrictions about wearing masks inside haven’t been relaxed, so I feel like it’s a pretty common-sense decision.”

While the change marks a fresh start and symbol of hope for many students, not everyone on campus shares in the excitement. For immuno-compromised students and those with other high-risk conditions, the prospect of unmasked outdoor gatherings is unthinkable. 

Maya Rogers ’22 shared in the surprise at the announcement, but not the enthusiasm. 

“I understand the reasoning behind it for sure, but I was very surprised, both at the change on a country-wide level and at Carleton,” she said. “I don’t feel as safe on campus as I did last term, for example. It’s a very big risk for me, and I understand that it’s not as risky for other people, but I liked it more when the guidelines were more on the cautious side.”

The update in policy comes with drawbacks, even for students who view the change positively. “The thing that bothers me the most is that they’ve been pretty inconsistent with different types of groups. Social gatherings can be pretty big now, but club sports still have really strict rules, which feels like a big disconnect,” said Gallin, who is a member of the club rugby team. For a school that so highly values its club sports, it seems unintuitive to continue to not allow teams to practice to the same extent as varsity sports.

For Gallin, the climate on campus feels lighter since the college’s policy changed: “The campus atmosphere is a little more relaxed. There was a lot of tension beforehand but now it’s like, you can have a normal-sized gathering and not worry.” 

This newfound relaxation is not universal, however. For Rogers, the changes brought a fresh wave of anxiety. “I feel weird about people around me not being as cautious as me. It feels like it gives people a reason to be less careful. It just means I have to be even more aware and more careful.” 

“But I do feel that the changes are pretty reasonable based on what the CDC and state of Minnesota have been doing,” she adds, reflecting upon the nationwide lifting of restrictions and mask mandates.

While no one knows what the pandemic will look like in the coming months and in the fall, students and officials from the school alike have anticipated that by September, the college will be able to operate with no mask requirements at all. Thompson sums up the hopes of Carls for the future: “Hopefully we’ll be able to come back in a few months and not have masks inside either!”

The post College announces relaxation of outdoor mask guidelines appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

How did news of Carleton’s antiracism training spread to conservative websites?

Carletonian - Sun, 05/30/2021 - 2:57pm

On Monday, May 24, faculty and staff participated in their last anti-racism training session, marking the end of a series of monthly community-wide webinars and affinity group discussions that have been required since January.   

The impetus for the training was the August 9 “Open Letter for Carleton College” and demands made by the Ujamaa Collective—which is composed of student leaders from the Black Student Alliance, African and Caribbean Association, Men of Color and Student Department Advisors for Africana Studies. 

This document outlined experiences of racism, discrimination and disenfranchisement of Black students, staff and faculty, and included “mandatory anti-racist training for all incoming and current faculty, staff, administrators, and students” among its initial set of demands.  

In response, the college developed a plan for a “required program of externally-provided anti-racism training for all current faculty and staff and critical volunteer groups”—which includes members of the Board of Trustees, Multicultural Alumni Network Board, Parents Council and Alumni Council.  

By September, Kathy Evertz, former Community, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (CEDI) co-chair, was appointed as project manager and tasked with carrying the anti-racism training forward.  Evertz shared that the CEDI Action Team then researched more than 30 potential trainers, and the Antiracism Training Task Force—a group that had some overlap with the Action Team—completed interviews with potential trainers in order to develop a short list.

They identified Minnesota-based Dr. Bryana French and Dr. Stephen Brookfield of as “the trainers most able to respond to the spirit and recommendations of the CEDI Action Team Proposal,” said Evertz.  French and Brookfield had previously worked together to address race and racism as a Black and white, female and male team.   

Once appointed, French and Brookfield submitted a proposal to “lead a conversation across institutional silos that would familiarize everyone in the Carleton community on some issues surrounding race and racism” and to introduce a “common vocabulary” over the nearly five months of training, as part of a multi-year effort for institutional change.  

Their first college-wide presentation on January 21 stated their intent “to ‘normalize’ race talk by making it an expected theme that will inform everyday meetings, teaching and planning across the community—not something that only arises when hate speech or some other event clearly diminishes Carleton BIPOC community members.”

The training was structured around four main themes: racial identity, racism, microaggressions or implicit bias and bystander interventions or allyship.  Brookfield said they decided to begin with racial identity because “in predominantly white institutions we’ve worked in we’ve noticed that some of the white majority don’t acknowledge that they have a racial identity at all.”

Each month, French and Brookfield opened with a community-wide webinar.  Faculty and staff were then expected to choose from one of twelve “affinity groups”—including one biracial/multiracial group, three BIPOC affinity groups, one “open to all racial identities” group, and seven white affinity groups—in which they discussed the topic introduced at the community-wide event. 

French led all the BIPOC groups and Brookfield led all the white affinity groups, and together they facilitated the “open to all racial identities” group.

“In our experience, there are benefits to processing the experience of race and racism with people who have a shared racial identity or racialized experience,” said French. “The same reasoning behind shared experience and positionality influenced our decision of who would lead which sessions, and is a strength of our team.”

Nonoko Sato ’00, who participated in the training as a member of the Carleton Alumni Council and the Task Force, said that “as an Asian woman, [she] appreciated the opportunity to break into affinity groups to be with other folks of color.” She also liked having two facilitators of different genders, race, age and experiences, as they were able to cater to the wide range of participants.

French and Brookfield write, “We appreciate that these affinity groupings may feel overly simplistic and binary given the complexity of racial identity development, yet believe the benefits outweigh the limitations.”  

These affinity groups are what led a number of right-leaning websites to pick up the story.  On April 19, The College Fix published an article entitled “Minnesota college forces faculty to attend racially segregated anti-racism training” and within the week, it had spread to a number of other sites—including The Center Square, Newsweek, and The Daily Wire.

French was the first to learn of this coverage, when she received an email from an editor of The College Fix asking for her response to some questions about their approach. 

She then also received an email from Mark Perry—an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint who is associated with the American Enterprise Institute—who had “concerns about the affinity groups.” Dr. French consulted with Carleton leadership and chose not to respond.

The College Fix mentioned a particular presentation slide from March, which read: “we’ve been told that in some groups that after saying that there’s no racial problem at Carleton some people just refuse to participate.”  

Evertz said she was unsurprised by this statement because “you’re always going to see a range of reactions to anything that’s mandatory, and I think the intensity of some reactions can be attributed to the subject matter.  I recall hearing about a few refusals to participate—in the small breakout discussions—during the first month or two training […] but this was not a widespread reaction.   

Dr. French said that “for people participating in the BIPOC and Multiracial groups, a particular appreciation was shared for a space to feel supported and affirmed as a racial and ethnic minority on campus, and many expressed hope to continue those affinity groups,” while she acknowledged that she and Brookfield “have also received critiques and are aware of limitations.”

Some of the feedback they received was: “the desire for unit-specific discussions, discussions with people at similar levels of expertise around race [and] racism, and a concern that this will not lead to institutional change.”

According to Evertz, CEDI will be working with Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research and Assessment Todd Jamison in the coming weeks to assess the training.

Update: Tuesday, June 1 — A number of small stylistic updates were made following a final revision of the article by the author. The content of the piece was not changed.

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Categories: Colleges

A hard look at Carleton’s endowment

Carletonian - Sun, 05/30/2021 - 2:55pm

At the May 21 Convocation, climate action leader Ayana Elizabeth Johnson wasted no time. “Has Carleton divested its endowment from fossil fuels?” she asked with a knowing smile. “Not completely yet, no,” came the response from Kerry Raadt, Director of Events and moderator of the discussion. 

Carleton’s endowment, currently valued at $1.1 billion, is supposed to be the “lifeblood of Carleton’s mission,” per a December 2019 Inside Carleton article. But the extent to which the endowment—both in its placement in the market and its use on campus—supports that mission and the values of the community remains in question for many students who see the endowment as an amorphous sum of money that supposedly exists but can never be seen. 

Endowments of wealthy private schools across the country have come under fire in recent years for prioritizing the accumulation of wealth over enhancing financial aid and other resources to make an elite education more broadly accessible. In his 2015 New York Times article “Stop Universities from Hoarding Money,” University of San Diego law professor Victor Fleisher contended that wealthy institutions spend a disproportionate amount of their endowments on compensation for hedge fund managers whose job is to make the institution indefinitely wealthier. 

Fleisher wrote, “We’ve lost sight of the idea that students, not fund managers, should be the primary beneficiaries of a university’s endowment. The private-equity folks get cash; students take out loans.” In a subsequent interview with NPR, Fleisher said, “It’s striking that in those circumstances where you would expect the universities to tap into the endowment for a lot of support, they didn’t. Instead, the focus was on growing the endowment back to the previous size.” He was referring to the 2008 financial crisis, though the COVID-19 pandemic produced similar effects. 

As far as numbers go, Carleton’s endowment seems to be no different. In the past decade, it has grown from $653 million to $1.1 billion as of April 2021. According to Carleton’s Chief Investment Officer Kelsey Deshler, when the COVID-19 pandemic started to affect U.S. stock markets in February and March of 2020, the endowment experienced the largest drawdown in value since 2008 and 2009. However, it did not take long to not only rebound from the financial effects of the pandemic but surpass the previous benchmark. “We’re up about 31% since [March]. So we are well beyond where we were, in terms of our performance before COVID,” she said. 

In spring 2020, as the pandemic hit the United States, Carleton students looked to their institution for financial support as they purchased emergency tickets home, boosted their technology resources for a term online and supported family members. 

In response to the lack of immediate resources, some students took matters of aid into their own hands. Several Carleton students launched a GoFundMe fundraiser with the explicit purpose of providing financial support to peers “at a time where the college will not loosen its spring break work policies nor provide immediate relief to students disproportionately impacted by this crisis and the college’s decisions,” according to the fundraiser’s website. Students’ frustration was compounded as they looked at the hundreds of millions that Carleton had and seemed to be hiding from them.

According to Carleton’s 2020 Financial Statement, “endowment funds include donor-restricted net assets and funds designated by the Board of Trustees for the long-term support of the College.” The key word “donor-restricted” thwarted students’ efforts to access some of Carleton’s standing wealth in a time of immediate need: 64% of the endowment in 2020 was marked by donors to be granted to members of the Carleton community for pre-specified purposes.

Eric Runestad, Vice President and Treasurer since June 2020, said, “We talk about the endowment as if it is one fund, but it is actually made up of more than 800 different funds, each of which has a particular purpose and a written agreement between the donor and the college for how we will use the fund. We are obligated by this legally binding agreement to only spend according to our policy and only for the agreed-upon purpose.” 

The spending policy of the endowment—about 5% of the total, adjusted for inflation—is a fixed calculation that does not allow for emergency expenditures. According to Deshler, about a quarter of the college’s yearly operating budget comes from the endowment—roughly $44 million per year. Tuition revenue supports the majority of the rest of the budget. 

Runestad continued, “The notion of pulling money out of the endowment to cover one-time expenses flies in the face of one of the core principles of any endowment, which is referred to as intergenerational equity. This means that if we pull money out for today’s needs, we sacrifice what we can do for the next generation with those same dollars. We feel an obligation to future generations of Carls to be disciplined in our decision-making today so that the endowment can continue to grow and provide support for tomorrow’s students as well.” 

While $1.1 billion is no small sum, Carleton’s endowment lags behind those of many peer liberal arts colleges. The Carletonian reported in 2019 that Carleton was one of a few such colleges with endowments under $1 billion at the time, with many close to $3 billion. As these colleges continue to up the offerings to students and faculty in the form of better facilities, research opportunities and student experiences, Carleton feels pressure to keep up. 

President Steven Poskanzer warned in a recent interview with the Carletonian, “My worry is that lots of liberal arts colleges may not survive the coming decades. I think you may see a lot of closures and mergers. I’m a hundred percent certain that there’s going to be a continued robust desire for a set of great liberal arts colleges, and we need to be one of those.” Deshler confirmed Poskanzer’s outlook for the college’s future. She said, “I would personally be very surprised if Carleton had to go through any kind of shift like that.”

When asked whether the primary purpose of Carleton’s endowment is to make money on itself, Runestad said that “the purpose of the endowment is to support the mission of the college in perpetuity” through practices that will ensure that future Carleton students and faculty have the same or better resources available to them as we do today. If supporting the college means growing the endowment indefinitely, it seems that enough will never quite be enough.

The investment policies that allow the endowment to grow so rapidly are determined by the Investment Committee, a subset of the Board of Trustees, which is a 32-member council of alumni and parents. However, a variety of student groups work to make Carleton’s investments better match the values of the campus those investments are supposed to represent and benefit. 

One of those groups is the Carleton Responsible Investment Committee (CRIC), a committee of nine student and faculty members formed in 2010. CRIC’s primary function is to compile an annual report of recommendations for the Board of Trustees of demands to make on the companies it supports. The recommendations span a variety of ethical concerns, including those related to the environment, corporate transparency and labor rights.  

CRIC’s major project over the past few years was helping the college transition into an Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) investing policy, which Carleton officially adopted in 2020. As Alison Block ’22, chair of CRIC, puts it, ESG means “looking at whether it’s economically beneficial for those companies to engage in that activity, but also what environmental impact looks like. The Investment Office has made it part of their official policy for hiring managers.”

In 2020, 76.8% of respondents to a CRIC survey of students, alumni, faculty and staff said that they felt it is “extremely important” or “very important” that “environmental and social considerations should be incorporated into investment decisions.” In 2015, CRIC recommended full divestment from fossil fuels to the Board of Trustees, only to be met with a resounding “no.” Since then, according to Block and her fellow CRIC member Waleed Iftikhar ’21, CRIC wants to use Carleton’s status as a shareholder in large companies to pressure them into better ethical practices.

Such a slow approach to social change is not enough for Divest Carleton, which advocates for the removal of Carleton’s funds from companies that directly or indirectly—as through their loans, for example—perpetuate the fossil fuel industry. 

Part of the difficulty for organizations such as Divest—and the reason Raadt’s response to Johnson’s question was a shaky “not entirely”—is that the public equity holdings, the investments that are available for the public to view, are not invested in any fossil fuel companies. As of June 2020, 35% of the endowment was in public equity. The rest of the endowment is stretched across hedge funds, privately-owned companies, real estate, and “real assets,” which, according to the 2020 Financial Report, are “oil and gas partnerships, alternative energy partnerships, and mineral holdings.” These holdings are not required to be publicly reported. 

Aashu Lele ’23, a member of both Divest and CRIC, explains private equity as “a chunk of stock that is not traded openly on the stock market. It’s basically a backroom deal between the investor and the investee. The reason it’s private is that it’s a way to beat the market by not telling everyone what you’re doing so people don’t immediately catch on to what the good investments are.” 

Since these investments are so highly confidential, organizations like Divest and CRIC only look at the public portion of the endowment. Lele said, “CRIC doesn’t have any purview over where the rest is invested in. We have no idea where it is, or in which companies, or anything about it.”

Block added, “There’s this sense of distrust, like, are they investing in all these sketchy companies behind our back? We don’t know. And I don’t think that’s necessarily the case, but I think we’ve always advocated for transparency and accountability as part of CRIC.”

Deshler said the ESG policies apply to private equity holdings as well. She added that the transition to divestment from fossil fuels will be more gradual than organizations like CRIC and Divest might envision. Part of the motivation, she said, is that the fossil fuel industry is fizzling out and is no longer a wise investment for a long-term fund like the Carleton endowment.

“The risk reward [of ESG investments] is so much better than in traditional oil and gas. The market is not for those assets. So while we don’t have divestment, you can see through our portfolio that we’ve just been de-emphasizing traditional energy as a source of return potential and opting for more clean sources,” Deshler said. 

Block added that while she would personally prefer the divestment strategy, “ESG is almost getting there in the sense that it recognizes that the actions of these companies are detrimental and have long-term economic and social and environmental consequences.”

Even if the going is slow and the Board of Trustees seems resistant to divestment advocacy at every turn, Lele said that the campaign to divest from fossil fuels needs to continue. He said, “I don’t think it’s an option to believe that Carleton won’t ever divest, mainly because if I do believe that, then we just have to pack up and go home. I think we still have a chance. Especially with the new president coming in, I have some hope.”

Lele clearly had Johnson’s support. Her message to the students listening to her discussion is that  “[divestment advocacy] is a very important use of your energy. Your voices matter hugely in that regard.”

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Categories: Colleges

Carleton cryptids: Perish House

Carletonian - Sun, 05/30/2021 - 2:54pm

The school year is nearly over. Practically doubled over from the weight of their leaves, the trees mask the still-roaming spirits. And I prepare to abandon my column for the summer and drift back home.

I’m from Illinois, in case you were wondering. Not the Al Capone part of Illinois. The Huck Finn part. I’ll be working at my parents’ hog farm. My record for shucking an ear of corn is 8.57 seconds. I intend to beat it.

But I digress. I am only reviving the past because I cannot live in a future without Steven G. Poskanzer.

One aspect of this campus I have never been able to appreciate is the extent to which we mock our president. He awakens each morning in Nutting House, dons his academic robes, and sets to work bolstering our student lives. Yet we assail him with cutesy nicknames, as though this man is not the purest and liveliest being on this haunted campus. As much as I detest the mockery, I never imagined President Poskanzer would pack his bags and leave. Something more sinister was at play.

But in the weeks following the initial announcement, all I could concentrate on was mourning. I piled so much food upon my sorrows that even the Vendetta Machine in my residence hall lobby began refusing to feed me. Next, I descended on the LDC brownies—yet the fly-shaped flavor spirits took pity on me and abandoned the desserts, taking their sweetness with them.

At this point, I had not slept in several days. I decided that if the spirits would not let me taste, I might not as well not waste meal swipes. A fistful of grass from outside the Weitz was halfway to my mouth when I heard an ethereal chittering. That benevolent guiding spirit from my first-ever Carleton paranormal investigation, the Whitened Wildlife of the Weitz, stood before me, stretching on its hind legs to meet my eyes. 

I rolled a nearby acorn its way, peering at it desperately. It understood. Its eyes glowed a deep, squirrely black as it flexed its tail into a straight line pointing directly behind it. Like a compass. So I walked. I didn’t stop until I found myself in the shadow of a broad, stately brick house.

A sign bolted next to the door read “Parish.” And that, readers, was when I knew I’d been on to something when I began these columns.

Unlike that odd place on the other side of town, Carleton is not a religious school. There is no need for a genuine parish on campus. At best, this discrepancy was a typo. More likely, however, someone had switched the letter E for an A to conceal the horrors within. Perish House is where existences go to cease. No doubt, it held the clues to President Poskanzer’s sudden disappearance.

Unfortunately, the ONE Card reader didn’t let me in, so I had to wait until a student came out and held the door. Even though he was likely an apparition, I thanked him anyway because that’s what one always does. 

The door groaned short behind me, sealing me nowhere. I could discern no walls or ceiling; the dust motes congregated where they pleased, spreading sheets of darkness like picnic blankets. I took a careful step to reassure myself there was a floor, then continued forth. “Hear me,” I called out. “I do not fear the spirits. I write about them in what is otherwise the humor section of a school newspaper. If you have brought me here for a reason—”

And then I was lying at the feet of a tall man. I could only assume it was his feet—the only part of him I could see was his hand, which held a flickering brass lamp. Of course, there is only one brass aficionado who calls this college home.

“William Carleton,” I said.

“Yes,” replied William Carleton. The smoke from the lantern stung my eyes, though the tears were already brimming. “You wonderful WASP,” I whispered. “I wish you had been able to see this college bear your name after you donated $50,000 to it back in 1871.”

“And I would gladly give you $100,000 now if you cease your paranormal investigations,” he intoned. His voice sounded like the brass instruments he made.     “They will land you in harm’s way.”

I firmly shook my head because I knew he couldn’t see me. “Mr. Carleton, with all due respect, investigating ghosts is to me what manufacturing various utensils is to you.”

“Then you may be the hero I linger here for,” he said. “Long has my soul simmered like the flame in my lamp as I waited for someone to quell the spirits that betray Carleton College’s good name. Even now, they have ousted our president and installed a puppet.”

“Just like what happened with the 2020 election,” I said.

“Maybe stick to ghosts, buddy. In any case, I must go, for they draw near even now. If you wish to continue, your next clue lies in the middle of the night.”

I shook the noble ghost’s hand, strengthened my resolve, pondered his words, and stepped outside—and bumped into a security guard. And then another security guard.

Perhaps I wouldn’t be breaking that corn-shucking record this summer after all.

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Categories: Colleges

Arb notes: night life in the Arb

Carletonian - Sun, 05/30/2021 - 2:53pm
American toad.

Ever taken a walk (or a nap) in the Lower Arb when the sun is down and the moon glares bright? The woods, steeped in milky mist spiked with moonlight, slumber in the absence of the scorching sun that has been bothering us for the past week. Nevertheless, plenty of activities are going on in the liquor-esque night.

Gray Treefrogs (Hyla versicolor) and Cope’s Gray Treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) are in the height of their breeding season. Standing above Kettle Hole Marsh or Turtle Pond, you can appreciate the boiling chorus of the two species:  the higher-pitched, liquid gurgles of the Gray Treefrog, and the harsher croaks of the Cope’s Gray Treefrogs. A few weeks earlier, Western Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) would have been the leading vocalists. Beneath the overwhelming calls of treefrogs, you can also hear the prolonged creaks of American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus).

At dusk, Common Nighthawks (Chordeiles minor) agilely sweep over treetops on their long, tapered wings to feed on swarming insects. Barred Owls (Strix varia) hoot in the distance: “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all”. American Woodcocks (Scolopax minor) occasionally skitter across the trail or let out a buzzy “peent” under the cover of prairie grass. The males perform a high, spiraling flight accompanied by a chirpy song as their courtship display.

If you walk quietly enough, you might also run into White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) out foraging with their fawns. 

As the full moon approaches its zenith, it is high time we leave the stage to the nocturnals.

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Categories: Colleges

Comic: ally B

Carletonian - Sun, 05/30/2021 - 2:52pm

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Categories: Colleges
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