Blogosphere

StoReads: “Crying in H-Mart” is a brutal, touching memoir about grief, family, and food

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 2:49pm

I shouldn’t have read this book in public. Despite the activity’s affinity with the book’s title, crying on the fourth floor of Rolvaag Memorial Library is not a look. I got stares, and probably deserved them. 

“Crying in H-Mart” is a memoir from Michelle Zauner, likely better known by her indie-rock project Japanese Breakfast. Both the book and much of her critically acclaimed music are trying to do the same thing — help her process her grief from her mother’s death. 

Zauner’s memoir is written with a beautiful sentimentalism, at times both touching and wrecking. You feel a strong affinity with Zauner in her masterfully told anecdotes of eating with her mother. Food, in particular Korean cuisine, served as a link between Zauner and her mother, even through her tumultuous teen years. Korean food also holds significance for Zauner as it connects her to her Korean heritage, which comes from her mother — her father is white, and met her mother while selling cars to the U.S. military in Korea. 

These anecdotes of love and food set the grounds for what comes later. Your appreciation of their mother-daughter relationship turns into sharp sadness when, after chemotherapy for stage-IV cancer, Zauner’s mother vomits up everything she tries to cook, everything that once tied them together. And the waterworks flow. 

You start the book already knowing that, when Zauner is 25 years old, her mother dies. There is no surprise, or turn, or twist ending. Zauner’s writing is just so honest and raw that, when her mother’s headstone is miswritten, you feel a facsimile of her pain. 

“Crying in H-Mart’s” storytelling is far beyond just pain, of course. Her ability to communicate remarkably complex emotional experiences is astounding. When Zauner makes progress in processing her grief by learning to cook Korean food — many tales of maternal Korean cooking guru Maangchi abound — you feel more than just happy for her. You feel a warmth as if she’s your childhood friend. 

Even people who only appear briefly in Zauner’s life get a loving and sympathetic treatment. Zauner writes about her teenage experiences ripping music off of limewire with her stoner crush, and in instances like these there is a charming mix of disarming self-deprecation and proleptic sympathy. You simultaneously chuckle at and find yourself in her youthful misadventures and failures. You nod along knowingly to stories of awkward interactions with relatives. You smile when she stops paying a therapist to instead buy fancy lunches twice a week. For a book about death and grief, much of it is remarkably funny. 

The book is also quite hopeful. I’ve often found memoirs centering self-improvement and growth to be riddled with cliche and disingenuous positivity. “Crying in H-Mart,” however, grapples with genuine, overwhelming despair, and still finds light on the other end of the tunnel. Despite the ultimate “happy ending” focus on Zauner’s journey of coming to terms with her grief and holding onto her Korean identity, her huge success as an artist gets relatively short treatment. A lesser memoir could have centered the rockstar narrative, but Zauner is too honest, too insightful, too astute for that. The moment of catharsis for her, the climax of the book’s arc, doesn’t come from selling out her dream concert in Seoul. It comes from a moment, alone, on the floor of her New York City apartment kitchen, preparing Kimchi. 

At this point, there isn’t much more praise I can heap onto this book without being redundant. My highest accolade actually comes from my crying in Rolvaag. Very rarely does art make me cry, and never in public. A masterful memoir, full of emotional texture, honestly told, “Crying in H-Mart” is maybe the only book I’ve ever read that I would universally recommend to everyone. It just makes you feel more human. 

 

graham10@stolaf.edu

 

Categories: Colleges

“Parables From the Edge of Time” rocks viewers with sci-fi greatness and powerful performances

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 2:48pm

The St. Olaf Theater Department has yet another show included in their fall productions. “Parables on the Edge of Time” opened on the weekend of Nov. 12, and it will include a second weekend of performances on Nov. 19-21. 

This show is the culmination of research and devising spearheaded by Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater Bryan Schmidt. Schmidt is known for his devised work, a process often called collective creation, where a script or performance comes out of collaboration or improvisatory work by a performing ensemble.

In the case of “Parables on the Edge of Time,” this production combined two existing one-act plays and added new scenes and characters to put them in conversation with each other. The two existing shows included in this production are “The Insanity of Mary Girard” by Lanie Robertson and “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell. 

The production opened with two characters traveling through time, having been pushed off their time paths, lost in space and floating between decades. These two characters, the Visionary Historian played by Mary Maker ’23 and the Warrior played by Elena Pierson ’24, ground the play in a theme of imagination – that history spans all time and gives us lessons for today. 

Those two time travelling characters witness a woman, Mary Girard, strapped into a tranquilizing chair, a type of torture device for people deemed insane in the late 1700s. This is how we enter into the first one-act. 

“The Insanity of Mary Girard” was haunting. Following the story of a woman institutionalized by her husband, we watched her unwind, interact with various people in her life, and come to terms with the future of a life within a grim, eerie, and bleak hospital. 

Mary, played by Dorienne Hoven ’22, was a force on stage. She went through a rollercoaster of emotions, representing both immense strength in the face of hopelessness as well as intimate vulnerability. The show was held by the ‘furies,’ different characters that represented ghosts, and changing characters within Mary’s psyche. Dressed in all white, they creepily moved through the space, representing Mary’s various voices, as well as other hospitalized people. They inhabited the space with amazing power and presence, embodying the supernatural. 

The second story, “Trifles,” began with two crime podcasters getting lost in one of the crimes that they were about to unpack for their listeners. Whilst recording a podcast episode, they suddenly lose sense of time, and find themselves in the house of a man who was recently murdered. This story takes us through the investigation of the murder, giving voice to the way that women in the 1900s had a secret communication of their own. 

Instead of the men in authority assigned to solve the case, women in the background are able to put pieces of it together because of small hints left by the man’s wife in their house. This telling was powerful in a gentler way than the Mary Girard piece, it focused on guiding the audience to recognize the capability and strength of women. It draws you to think about who controls stories, and how general narratives may be false. 

The lighting and sound design stood out throughout the entire production. Flashing lights, various colors, and effects made the madness all the more obvious for the audience. The sound cues were crisp and well timed to heighten certain moments of tension or spiraling. The sound was designed by Parker Love ’22, with lighting designed by Ariel Bodnar-Klein ’23. 

Both stories meticulously unpacked what it means to be ignored and misunderstood, while also recognizing the scary and mysterious quality of time. These stories gave voice to the experiences of women in the past, forcing us to think about how madness and womanhood have been connected in the U.S. 

If you are interested in some historical, feminist, imaginative theatre, then “Parables on the Edge of Time” is for you. The show is approximately two and a half hours in length and will be performed in Kelsey Theater on Nov. 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m., as well as on Nov. 21 at 2:00 p.m. Students are eligible for one free ticket by registration on the St. Olaf website. Students can also show up without reserving a ticket on a first-come first-serve basis.

 

peacor2@stolaf.edu

 

Categories: Colleges

Heartbeat

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 2:46pm

Polyamory is becoming increasingly popular in younger relationships, especially queer ones. Now TikTok is debating polyamory, people are sharing resources about polyamory, and many couples on campus are starting to explore polyamory. However, polyamory must be done correctly to be successful, and many young people tend to struggle with the logistics of polyamory to make it work.

I am in a monogamous relationship. I have no real experience with polyamory, but I have been watching all of the TikTok discourse about polyamory and have done some digging on the subject. Polyamory is somewhat like an open relationship at its most basic level, but practicing polyamory tends to have many working parts, challenges, and dynamics that an open relationship cannot account for.

For starters, polyamory, as it is currently practiced in the U.S., tends to focus on the premise that there is a primary relationship between two people and one or both of the people in the primary relationship are looking for secondary relationships. Also, the originally monogamous relationship can collectively incorporate a third person into the relationship — and sometimes more than a third! Reasons for polyamory can range from exploring sexuality to bringing out different aspects of yourself with different people.

This practice can work. I think it is possible for this kind of polyamorous relationship to survive, but I think too many relationships fail to take into account some logistics.

For starters, Western polyamorous relationships focus heavily on jealousy and ownership. In the “All My Relations” podcast, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate professor Kim Tallbear points out that “a lot of these conversations are shallow.” She describes how many polyamorous conversations center on how the people in the relationships are jealous because of a miscommunication or a misuse of ownership.

The concept of having a primary and secondary partner implies a hierarchy of relationships and ownership. If a primary partner feels threatened, the balance of ownership falls apart. And this happens a lot.

This isn’t to say that jealousy and ownership are bad. They are inherent in a monogamous relationship, but once a polyamorous relationship begins, Tallbear emphasizes that there must be a focus on having “good relations” rather than primary and secondary partners. 

There are just too many ways to mess up a polyamorous relationship. People often get into polyamory for the wrong reasons: the thrill of a new relationship, unfulfilled lust, a sudden attraction to someone else, or just plain boredom. If these are your reasons for starting a polyamorous relationship, then you need to reevaluate your current monogomous relationship and maybe break up. For example, if you are sexually unfulfilled, this might not be the relationship for you.

That being said, Western polyamory can definitely function for people. According to a 2014 article from Psychology Today, at least 9.8 million Americans are in a polyamorous relationship. I imagine that the number must have at least doubled by now.

Western polyamory is fine, but I’m advocating for something more like Tallbear’s polyamory: good relations, freedom from being owned by other people, sharing desires and experiences with people, and absolute sexual and romantic liberty. It’s hard, especially for us individualistic Americans, but it’s possible, and it’s the best that polyamory can do.

If you find yourself thinking about polyamory, first think about why you are interested in polyamory. Then, do some research to figure out what kind of polyamory you want to partake in, and, finally, communicate, especially if you are already in a monogamous relationship.

 

larion1@stolaf.edu

 

Categories: Colleges

Ole Opinions: What’s the best dish at Thanksgiving?

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 2:44pm
Sweet potatoes, the elite Thanksgiving dish

The best Thanksgiving food is definitely sweet potatoes. Turkey? Basic. Stuffing? Kinda good but like, in a gross way. Pecan pie? Obviously wrong. But sweet potatoes? Sweet potatoes are where it’s at. Their warm orange glow, the potential for yam puns, and the scent of cinnamon and cardamom wafting up to your childhood bedroom bring peace, comfort, and the holiday spirit with it. Before all your scary relatives show up.  

Sweet potatoes originated in Central America, so on this holiday that glorifies colonization and taking advantage of the native community, sweet potatoes provide a nice non-European addition to the table. 

So this holiday season, try out the best Thanksgiving dish of all time, sweet potatoes. Covered in honey, pear juice, cinnamon, cardamom, and lots and lots of brown sugar, sweet potatoes are by far the best dish that will grace your table this year.

 

slaven1@stolaf.edu

Martha Slaven is from

St. Paul, Minn.

Her major is art history.

Pecan pie is the best thing you’ll eat this Thanksgiving

There is one dish that stands out every Thanksgiving, and if you think it is a pureed starch, you are beyond hope. No dish describable as some kind of gloop deserves to be considered a top contender; how can anything that ignores the quality of texture hope to compete?

And let’s be honest; we all know that turkey is far from the real star of Thanksgiving. There’s a reason we don’t make it a regular entree for the rest of the year. Stuffing may be up there as a dish, but the real star of Thanksgiving lurks in the dessert course, and it’s not pumpkin pie. By the time you make it to pie, you’ve already gorged yourself on the aforementioned starch slops; you don’t need a gourd custard to back it up. You might as well just scoop your mashers into a pastry crust and pour on the gravy.

Instead what you need are some new flavors; something nutty, something sweet, something eggy. Pecan pie is all those things, every flavor that has been missing from your meal, and your mother has covered it in bourbon brown sugar whipped cream. It is the taste of November, family, and excess. It is godly.

 

emmons1@stolaf.edu

John Emmons is from 

Seattle, Wash.

His majors are Chinese and 

political science.

Mashed potatoes; consistently spectacular 

Amongst the sea of food at the Thanksgiving table, there’s one dish that outshines them all. Mashed potatoes are the star of the meal, whipped to perfection with the perfect amount of butter and salt. Homemade gravy made from delicious turkey drippings only bolsters this flawless act. 

The combination of smooth potatoes, butter, a pinch of salt, and homemade gravy is really all you need from the Thanksgiving feast. They are nearly impossible to mess up, unlike turkey which is so often dry. Not to mention, if there are leftovers, mashed potatoes are the best Thanksgiving food reheated the next day when you’re still recovering from the food coma of the previous evening. 

 

schill6@stolaf.edu

Lauren Schilling is from 

Manly, Iowa.

Her majors are history, art 

history, and race & ethnic 

studies.

Thanksgiving is all about stuffing

Although I prefer to eat my Thanksgiving foods all together on one overflowing plate, if I had to pick a favorite, it would be stuffing. I can’t even tell you what’s in it, but maybe that’s what makes it so great. It’s just a mysterious conglomeration of something that tastes like goodness. 

Stuffing also deserves the top spot because it is the most unique to Thanksgiving, in that it becomes nearly inaccessible for the rest of the year. Mashed potatoes and green beans make frequent dinner table appearances. Turkey, though most commonly associated with Thanksgiving, shows up at dinner now and again, and is on our sandwiches year-round. But you won’t see stuffing at any time other than Thanksgiving (and the leftovers that follow, if you’re fortunate enough to have them.) It is the most Thanksgiving-y Thanksgiving dish there is, and that, combined with its comforting savory flavor, makes it the best.

 

lagar1@stolaf.edu

Harper Lagares is from 

Bellingham, Wash.

Her majors are gender & 

sexualities studies and theatre.

It’s not Thanksgiving without sparking cider

Stomachs full of turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie, families search the table for a refreshing beverage to top off their Thanksgiving meal. The classic green bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling cider shines like a beacon amongst the dull, brown foods lying in front of them. 

While food is essential to creating a meal, it is never complete without a beverage for accoutrement. Sparkling apple cider offers the drinker a sophisticated taste of fall. The bead of its tiny bubbles can capture the joy of the start of the holiday season. Sparkling cranberry juice may be a close second, but apple cider remains a superior taste for all ages. A Thanksgiving feast is not complete without a glass.

 

esterl1@stolaf.edu

Zoe Esterly is from 

Ottowa, Canada.

Her major is psychology.

 

Categories: Colleges

Say nevermind to Nirvana’s most popular album cover

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 2:33pm

“Nevermind” is the second studio album released by the legendary grunge rock band Nirvana. Released in Sept. 1991, it reached #1 on the Billboard 200 by Jan. 1992, and its lead single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” topped both the single and video of the year polls. The iconic artwork that adorns the cover of this popular album features an infant Spencer Elden, swimming underwater with a U.S. dollar bill on a fishhook just out of his reach. According to lead singer Kurt Cobain, the cover was conceived while watching a television program on water births.

Although the “Nevermind” cover is still easily identifiable despite being 30 years old, it has been no stranger to controversy over the years. Kurt Cobain was insistent on not censoring the penis of young Elden from the cover art, which led to controversy upon its release. The cover made some uncomfortable, and gave others yet another reason to condemn the rock genre as a whole. However, in the years following the albums critical acclaim, these complaints faded away in the awe of the albums success, simply being attributed to another strange quirk of Kurt Cobain’s character. 

As the album aged, so did young Elden. He continued to be featured in the band’s cover art, however, recreating the iconic picture for the album’s 10th, 17th, and 25th anniversary covers. In a Jan. 2015 interview with The Guardian, Elden said “I might have one of the most famous penises in the music industry, but no one would ever know that to look at me. Sooner or later, I want to create a print of a real-deal re-enactment shot, completely naked. Why not? I think it would be fun.” 

In the following 2016 25th anniversary reshoot, Elden expressed interest in once again appearing on the album cover nude, but was not permitted by the photographer. Instead he is pictured in swim shorts, his torso sporting a real tattoo of the album title that launched his fame, “Nevermind.” Later in 2016 during an interview with Time magazine, he confessed “[When] I go to a baseball game and think about it: ‘Man, everybody at this baseball game has probably seen my little baby penis,’ I feel like I got part of my human rights revoked.” These two separate statements seemingly convey completely different responses to his childhood experience as Nirvana’s poster boy, and one has to wonder if Elden’s conflicted feelings about the use of his likeness began after this reshoot. 

Fastforwarding to 2021, Elden is now involved in a lawsuit with Cobain’s estate and Nirvana’s surviving members. He claims that the use of his likeness on the album cover was done without his consent or the proper approval of his legal gaurdians, and that it violated federal child pornography laws. Therefore by using this artwork on the album cover without censor, Nirvana failed to protect him from exploitation and exposed him to lifelong emotional damage. To remedy this the plaintiff is seeking $150,000 from each of the fifteen defendants. Critics in the field of law argue that the case is a cash grab that causes offense to what they would consider more important cases of child sex abuse in America.

The argument would certainly hold more weight if Elden had not profited so heavily financially and socially from reshoots of the cover art over the years. Yet still, it could be a landmark case in creating tighter restrictions on the use of minors in media who are much too young to consent to their roles, no matter the intentions of the plaintiff himself.

 

robins19@stolaf.edu

Ethan Robinson is from 

Osceola, Wis.

His major is English.

 

Categories: Colleges

PAC column: “Defund the Police” big loss begs the question: What’s next for police reform?

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 2:31pm

Over the past few weeks, the political climate in Minnesota has been nothing short of electric due to the heated mayoral election and proposed charter amendments for the city of Minneapolis. Ballot Question 2 in the Minneapolis Municipal Election last Tuesday once again elicited discussions surrounding police reformation. The proposed response to systemic police brutality would be to enact a Department of Public Safety that the police department would report to. The Department would be directing relevant response workers to specific situations: a police officer to an armed robbery or a social worker to a mental health crisis. The goal: to ensure that the proper officials respond to the situation they are best fit to resolve. Additionally, the reformation would include divesting funds from MPD to pay for the new office and increase civilian oversight.

PAC asked the St. Olaf community on Thursday how they felt about the topic and results. 51 individuals provided their responses to Ballot Question 2 and a majority were disappointed by the results. Those in favor felt that it was a step towards more significant change within the police system. Those who were hesitant or conflicted on the issue thought that the proposition was ‘not a bad idea’ but needed more clarity on the amendment itself. Opponents of the amendment have qualms with higher authority acting above the police department. An unnamed respondent opposed the amendment, saying that “there should be no force acting above the Police Force in reacting to crime-related situations.” Supporters of the amendment were not surprised about the electoral results, believing that change was unlikely due to the vast hesitancy surrounding police reform in the United States. That being said, the consensus on campus seems clear. As Hassel Morrison, Vice President of Student Life, told us, “People want to feel physically safe but also want to feel safe from the standpoint of not being targeted or profiled.”  He continued to say, “It’s a no-brainer; there should be a partnership between public safety and social services-I mean, why wouldn’t we do that?”

So what do we make of all of this? In summer 2020, Minneapolis, ground zero for the new wave of social unrest following the murder of George Floyd, was inundated with media coverage outlining the myriad of cries from community members demanding change. Why then, in this epicenter of outrage, did Minneapolis fail to implement a new system of public safety?  One possible answer comes from the recent spike in violent crime.  Minneapolis experienced a 17% increase in violent crime in 2020 according to the Associated Press, which evoked many concerns about how a newly structured system would address this issue.

The Black community in Minneapolis was deeply divided on the issue. There were activists in favor of defunding who saw the proposition as an important first step but also those concerned about rising crime in their communities, areas predominantly occupied by people of color.  Minnesotan politicians were also split on the topic, with progressives Ilhan Omar and Keith Ellingson coming out in support and moderates Amy Klobuchar and Tim Walz against. Ultimately this failed proposition shows just how much the “Defund the Police” slogan conveys the wrong message for progressives trying to pass this kind of legislation.  Perhaps the idea needs to be reframed to represent the goal of expanding the scope of public safety rather than simply defunding the police. The movement here is not dead. Rather, it simply awaits the right answer to the complex dilemma that is policing in America.

 

falvey1@stolaf.edu

potek2@stolaf.edu

goff4@stolaf.edu

 

Categories: Colleges

WRIs hurt everyone, even English majors

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 2:25pm

Students were filled with stress in the days before and after class registration this year as they tried to secure a spot in their courses. Even after registration closed, many were stuck anxiously awaiting override requests to be accepted.

I was no exception to this stress — 15 minutes before my registration time was to begin, only six of the 21 spring courses offered by the English department were left open. Last spring, I declared my English major, and I had hoped to take more than one department course this upcoming semester. While six courses would still allow me to enroll in a class from the English department, my options were further limited as some of the remaining courses I had either taken previously, or they conflicted with another course I needed to take.

Confusion outweighed my frustration — why were there so few spots left in the English department? I quickly noticed a trend in the courses that were filling up — they all counted for the Writing in Context (WRI) requirement which is part of the 2008 General Education (GE) curriculum. Students on the 2008 GE system are required to take four WRI credits in addition to First-Year Writing. With the new Ole Core Curriculum, students only take three writing credits — First-Year Experience: Writing in Rhetoric, Writing Across the Curriculum, and Writing in the Major. The class of 2025 is the first class to follow the Ole Core, but the classes of 2023 and 2024 were given the option to switch to Ole Core. Despite this option, many ’23 and ’24 students, including myself, have decided to stay on the 2008 GE system to avoid overcomplication in transferring the GE credits. In turn, WRI credits continue to be high in demand.

In contrast to the majority of the 2008 GE requirements, WRI credits are most often found in upper-level courses. The exception? Classes in the English department. Almost all English courses provide a WRI credit and/or the Artistic and Literary Studies: Literary Studies (ALS-L) credit. These courses also need fewer prerequisites than other WRI courses, only requiring the completion of a First-Year Writing course. Thus, seniors and juniors who are hoping to finish off their WRI credits tend to lean towards the English courses. The order of spring registration is by seniority, so by the time sophomore or junior year English majors register, classes they were hoping to take are filled up.

The English major requirements are less strict than those of other majors, so the department encourages majors to use their elective courses to form a specialized focus within their degree. This specialization is near impossible if you are unable to explore the different literary genres in your sophomore and junior years.

English courses are valuable to all students, no matter the major. They improve communication and writing skills, benefiting students in their future careers or education. The 2008 GE curriculum’s WRI credits encourage students to take English courses, causing  a limited amount of seating options for English majors of lower class status. Ole Core’s writing credits will better prepare non-English majors for their future careers, while also allowing English majors to have more course enrollment options. These benefits will be most apparent in a few years.

 

franci3@stolaf.edu

Ainsley Francis is from 

Charlotte N.C.

Her major is English.

 

Categories: Colleges

The need for persistence: Catherine Coleman Flowers speaks to students about climate change

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 2:22pm

On the night of Oct. 10 at 7 p.m., environmental justice activist Catherine Coleman Flowers spoke to the St. Olaf community over Zoom in a virtual conversation sponsored by the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón Gautier and the Orientation & Transition Experiences team. Community members had the opportunity to join virtually or attend an in-person screening at the Lion’s Pause Mane Stage. 

Flowers, who Zoomed in from Glasgow, Scotland where she was attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference, has done extensive work throughout her life fighting for environmental and racial justice. Her many professional accomplishments include founding the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, serving as the Vice Chair on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and receiving the 2020 MacArthur Fellow for Environmental Health Advocacy. 

She also wrote the book “Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret” published in 2020, which focuses on racism, sanitation, and exposes the wastewater problem that many Americans have turned their eyes away from. It was selected for the St. Olaf 2021 Common Read, which serves to teach new students about equity and inclusion and unite them through a shared reading. The virtual conversation served as a way for the St. Olaf community to continue engaging with Flowers’ work and the opportunity to learn from her. 

In an email to The Olaf Messenger, Pabón wrote, “The part that resonated the most with me was when Flowers talked about celebrating small wins. Her journey and the impact she has had in the field is an accumulation of small wins, patience, perseverance, and community. This was extremely powerful to me because it helps me (and I hope everyone who was listening to it as well) see the long term impact. It helps me to trust that even though I may not see the seeds germinate, they will bring their own fruits in this work.” 

One of the main points of the conversation focused on centering rural communities in conversations about environmental justice and sustainability. Flowers grew up in a rural area herself, in Lowndes, Alabama, an impoverished community with inadequate wastewater systems that often led to sewage failures. She spoke to the strong sense of community there and the importance of being able to depend and collaborate with those around you. Growing up there inspired her interest in community organizing, climate change, and sanitation. 

Additionally, the conversation covered student activism and the necessity of persistence. She also spoke of how it is okay for people to take mental health breaks when it comes to activism, but also how action is good for peoples’ mental health.

Pabón also wrote to The Olaf Messenger about how Flowers’ talk connects to St. Olaf and this community. “There are so many intersections between environmental and racial justice. However, we are not in the practice of making space to hold both conversations at the same time. Catherine showed how she does it and the importance of not having one without the other,” Pabón wrote.

The conversation ended with a Q&A where community members asked about Line 3 and how to support indigenous activists, how to engage in conversations about climate justice, and how to stay motivated. She ultimately closed with the powerful message that students are renewable energy.

 

miller56@stolaf.edu

 

Categories: Colleges

St. Olaf Hurts and St. Olaf Flirts Facebook pages spark discourse surrounding sexual assault on campus

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 2:19pm

Content Warning: this story mentions sexual assault and retaliation.  

 

Discourse around sexual assault and misconduct on campus has intensified in recent weeks. Students took to the St. Olaf Flirts and St. Olaf Hurts Facebook pages to discuss the prevalence of sexual misconduct on campus, the Title IX process, and a wide range of other related grievances.

The St. Olaf Flirts and St. Olaf Hurts Facebook pages recently published posts about sexual assault that alarmed the campus community. These posts were anonymous but often divulged specific details about cases of sexual misconduct. Despite these posts being deleted shortly afterwards, students have continued to debate how sexual misconduct is handled on campus.

St. Olaf Flirts and St. Olaf Hurts are public Facebook pages that post anonymous messages from people on campus. Students click a link, type what they want posted, and the anonymous moderators of the pages post them. In theory, Flirts posts flirts from the community, and Hurts posts inconveniences. When the moderators chose to post sensitive information about survivors and perpetrators of sexual misconduct, the situation quickly grew out of hand. One of the posts contained links for people to write down names of perpetrators and other posts were sharing personal information and experiences of sexual misconduct.

Many submitted and published posts have been deleted due to the harm and risk of the content. “We’re really grateful to have established a level of trust with students that makes them feel able to share information like this with us,” the St. Olaf Flirts moderator wrote in a message to The Olaf Messenger. “But there are some posts we choose not to publish because they seem to have potential to hurt people.” Eventually, the number of posts and their level of harm led the Flirts moderators to post a message sharing resources on campus and opposing vigilante justice.

St. Olaf Hurts has been disbanded after only a year on Facebook when a student messaged them about these recent posts, but St. Olaf Flirts has stayed up.

The discourse on Hurts and Flirts raised alarm among students in the Sexual Assault Resource Network (SARN). They were concerned that the discourse could be harmful to survivors of sexual misconduct.

SARN chair Zoe Golden ’22 explained concerns surrounding the Facebook pages. “A lot of the Hurts indirectly were victim blaming,” Golden said.

Another key concern for SARN was the potential for backlash from perpetrators of sexual misconduct. In an email to the student body on Nov. 8, SARN chairs Golden, Caroline Peacore ’24, and Emma Dougherty ’22 highlighted a harmful potential effect of the sort of discourse happening on Facebook. Under Title IX law, if an alleged perpetrator believes they have been discriminated against or harmed by the public with regard to a Title IX case, the case may be nullified, a concept called retaliation. Retaliation also takes more direct forms. “If a perpetrator hears ‘through the grapevine’ that aspects of their private lives have become public, they may reach out to the survivor, threatening the privacy and safety of the survivor,” the SARN chairs wrote in their email.

“Vigilante justice and public naming of perpetrators is also very harmful because of this element of retaliation,” Golden said.

During the week of Nov. 8, SARN hosted three events centered around supporting survivors of sexual misconduct. The events were planned before the online discourse gained momentum but adapted to discuss the evolving situation. SARN hosted a Supporting Survivors event on Nov. 9 and collaborated with the Music Department Student Committee on an event on Title IX policy and the music department on Nov. 14. Rhea Alley ’22 organized “Arise: A Safe Space for Women of Color” on Nov. 11 with assistance from SARN.

The event on Title IX policy and the music department holds particular relevance for the St. Olaf community because many of the Flirts and Hurts discussed the dangers of sexual misconduct in choirs, bands and orchestras. Dougherty credited the Music Department Student Committee for reaching out to SARN and expressing interest in a collaborative event. The committee is a unique feature of the music department that enables some degree of official communication between music students and faculty.

Students have been concerned about the music department’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations. Dougherty, who is also a member of the St. Olaf Orchestra, explained that the issue comes in part from the special nature of music ensembles, especially when on tour.

“It’s just really easy for these boundaries to be crossed. A basis of sexual respect is really valuable and important, and so it’s understandable why this is such an important issue for the music department especially,” Dougherty said.

The SARN chairs also noted that issues around sexual misconduct at St. Olaf go beyond the music department. “That’s not to say that there aren’t similar issues in other departments on campus who do not have the same kind of student momentum to reach out to SARN,” Dougherty said.

“Every department should be having this conversation,” Golden said.

SARN plans to continue putting on events to raise awareness about these topics. The Consent and Sexual Respect Initiative in collaboration with the Sexual Respect Team and the Wellness Center is also doing work to combat sexual misconduct on campus. 

 

Note: SARN chair Caroline Peacore is also a News Editor for The Olaf Messenger.

 

larion1@stolaf.edu

klinef1@stolaf.edu

 

Categories: Colleges

Former Alibi owners facing new allegations

Northfield News - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 1:35pm
The former owners of Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville are facing new allegations in Dakota County civil court that they used the Limited Liability Company’s bank account for personal expenses, driving the account balance to zero in less than four months.
Categories: Local News

Environmental Quality Commission Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 1:08pm
Event date: December 15, 2021
Event Time: 06:30 PM - 08:30 PM
Location:
801 Washington Street
Northfield, MN 55057

The Weekly List – The Neil Diamond Show

KYMN Radio - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 12:02pm
Rich and Dan profess their undying love for the great Neil Diamond. Seriously. Don’t knock this one. Just sit down and listen.

Police Chief Mark Elliott discusses winter parking ban, Rice Co. Chemical & Mental Health Coalition, and more

KYMN Radio - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 8:35am
Northfield Police Chief provides a reminder of the winter parking ban (no parking on city streets 2-6 a.m.) that began November 15, discusses the Rice County Chemical & Mental Health Coalition, traffic changes near Bridgewater Elementary School, use of body cameras, and more.

Comments on 7849 & 7850 Rulemaking

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 8:14am

Last minute way-too-quick slap-dash comments filed on the rulemaking, on the road with the project from hell, but I don’t feel too bad about doing a crappy job because I’ve filed so many detailed and intense comments over the last NINE YEARS of this “rulemaking.”

Overland-Comment-7849-7850_11-17-2021Download

The Comments of Commerce-EERA were good, they do not support the rules as proposed, and some good comments about specifics:

Commerce-EERA-Comments-11-17-2021Download

And a lot of requests for hearing, we’re far over the 25 needed to get a hearing.

Categories: Citizens

Meet Sam Gershman, LBSA’s Lead Family Navigator

Laura Baker Services Association - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 6:35am

For six years, Sam managed to work as a radio producer at WDLB and WOSQ, all while serving at-risk children through AmeriCorps. Sam explains that he worked with youth who came from a variety of backgrounds – whether they had disabilities, a bad situation at home, emotional disorders or maybe needed extra homework help after school. That isn’t all – he also used to be a youth mentor at his old...

Source

Categories: Organizations

Embrace the Mess, Every Step of the Way

Laura Baker Services Association - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 6:28am

2020 AND 2021 HAVE BEEN VERY MESSY YEARS. Both internally at Laura Baker Services Association (LBSA), and in the world at large. At LBSA, our biggest challenge continues to be finding enough staff members to support our services. We’re joining with other Northfield organizations to appeal to the broader community to help. ( Read the Care Can’t Wait letter on the Advocacy section of our website.)...

Source

Categories: Organizations

CARE CAN’T WAIT

Laura Baker Services Association - Thu, 11/18/2021 - 6:20am

To our neighbors, Our caregiving community is in crisis. The pandemic has created an employment crisis in our community. The causes of this dramatic shift in employee hiring and recruiting are complex, but its impact is blunt. We have a shortage of employees within our organizations to provide the level of service our community needs. While our current populations who are served within our...

Source

Categories: Organizations

Northfield elementary school reports concerning spike in confirmed COVID cases

Northfield News - Wed, 11/17/2021 - 6:29pm
The coronavirus is hitting Northfield's Bridgewater Elementary School hard.
Categories: Local News

Environmental group: limits on drinking water contaminants too lax

Northfield News - Wed, 11/17/2021 - 2:15pm
A new tool by the Environmental Working Group is allowing Minnesotans to see what’s in their tap water.
Categories: Local News

Despite Covid, Peterson optimistic about Northfield tourism; County Courts taking steps to clear backlog; HPC meets today on Archer House demolition

KYMN Radio - Wed, 11/17/2021 - 12:02pm
On Tuesday night, the Northfield City Council heard a presentation from Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Peterson regarding the 2022 budget for the Northfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. Among the many industries that were hit hard by Covid-19, no industry was hit harder than tourism and Peterson’s presentation showed that in detail.   The
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