Highway 19 to close between Armstrong & Hwy. 3 this week; Draheim discusses budget negotiations; Merlin Players present online ‘Running’

KYMN Radio - Tue, 05/11/2021 - 12:02pm
By Rich Larson, News Director And the Northfield Public Works Department will be closing Highway 19 between Armstrong Road and Highway 3 from 7am tomorrow until 5pm on Friday to repair a watermain and to perform maintenance on the railroad.  A detour will be posted using Eaves Avenue, North Avenue, Eveleth Avenue, 320th Street and

Rice Co. board will go solo with new $49M jail/law enforcement center

Northfield News - Tue, 05/11/2021 - 11:45am
Rice County will go it alone on a new jail and law enforcement center. The Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to build a new facility on an undeveloped site, forgoing an offer from its southern neighbors to co-own and operate…
Categories: Local News

Break out the lefse and krumkake: Norwegian Americans celebrate their roots

Northfield News - Tue, 05/11/2021 - 10:30am
In the United States of America, the Fourth of July is filled with patriotic celebrations including fireworks, barbecues and parades Norwegians share the need for similar celebrations for Syttende Mai (the 17th of May in Norwegian) with festivities including children's…
Categories: Local News

Project Friendship continues forging bonds during COVID-19

Northfield News - Tue, 05/11/2021 - 10:22am
In a year unlike any in the 56 years of Project Friendship , mentors from St. Olaf and Carleton colleges say one thing remains constant: The bonds they formed with their mentees over months will prove valuable not only for…
Categories: Local News

Jenelle Teppen recaps Dundas City Council meeting

KYMN Radio - Tue, 05/11/2021 - 9:04am
Dundas City Administrator Jenelle Teppen discusses the May 10 City Council meeting.  Topics include the new Economic Development Authority, the Tower Heights development, and more.

Dr. Matt Hillmann discusses graduation, safety protocols and more

KYMN Radio - Tue, 05/11/2021 - 8:54am
Northfield School Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann discusses making diplomas available for persons age 21 or over, upcoming commencement ceremony, safety protocols through the last day of school, Raider mascot, and more.

Labor shortage has businesses, restaurateurs scrambling to recruit workers

Northfield News - Mon, 05/10/2021 - 5:15pm
Since the January reopening of El Agave, Eber Noe Juarez has had trouble finding enough workers to operate his Mexican restaurants in St. Peter and Fairmont.
Categories: Local News

St. Olaf student awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship 

St. Olaf College - Mon, 05/10/2021 - 4:20pm
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded St. Olaf College student Laurie Balstad ’21 a Graduate Research Fellowship that will support her doctoral work in population biology at the University of California, Davis. 
Categories: Colleges

City Council Work Session Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Mon, 05/10/2021 - 1:13pm
Event date: May 11, 2021
Event Time: 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM
801 Washington Street
Northfield, MN 55057
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Curtain Call – May’s show with Charlie Black

KYMN Radio - Mon, 05/10/2021 - 12:13pm
Hosts Pauline Jennings and Kosmo Esplan talk theater with Charlie Black, who has been an active part of the Northfield theater scene for decades.  

Jesse James Lanes to close June 1; Board of Commissioners scheduled for jail decision tomorrow; Budget deadline looms in St. Paul

KYMN Radio - Mon, 05/10/2021 - 12:02pm
By Rich Larson, News Director   Owners Terry and Julie Heilman announced on Friday that Jesse James Lanes will be closed “until further notice” beginning June 1st.  In an email to friends and supporters Terry Heilman wrote that the bowling alley, restaurant and event center had struggled through the pandemic. The business was closed for

Senator Rich Draheim discusses budget, voter ID issues, emergency powers

KYMN Radio - Mon, 05/10/2021 - 8:36am
As the final week of the legislative session approaches, State Senator Rich Draheim discusses budget and voter ID issues, the Governor’s emergency powers, and more.


Tom Swift - Untethered Dog - Mon, 05/10/2021 - 1:11am

“I believe that good poetry can be as ornate as a cathedral or as bare as a pottingshed, as long as it confronts the self with honesty and fullness. Nobody is born with the capacity to perform this act of confrontation, in poetry or anywhere else; one’s writing career is simply a continuing effort to […]

The post Writing appeared first on Untethered Dog.

Categories: Citizens

Fine Tune #394 archive / mother 2021.05.09

KYMN Radio - Sun, 05/09/2021 - 7:20pm
Songs for Mother’s Day on this edition of Fine Tune… first heard in 2018: Mother of Earl / Bill Evans (Sometimes I Feel like a) Motherless Child / Charlie Haden & Hank Jones Mother’s Song / Gregory Porter Mother Jones / Mongo Santamaría A Mother’s Love / Snooks Eaglin Let the Mothers Step Up /

History Department to hire African American history tenure-track professor

Carletonian - Sun, 05/09/2021 - 4:36pm

The History Department is looking to hire an African American History tenure-track faculty member to begin Fall 2022. Professor Harry Williams, who came to Carleton in 1989 and taught courses including African American History and Black Atlantic History, retired this year, and the History Department hopes to find another professor to continue offering courses focused on African American History. 

Professor Serena Zabin, the History Department Chair, said the department plans to find a person who only specialized in African American history but also “who can advance the college’s vision about how to be an anti-racist institution.” Zabin emphasized the “enormous significance of learning and teaching pre-civil war African American history and the history of slavery as a form of terrorism” to understanding our racial and political environment today. 

The position is listed as open-rank tenure track, meaning that those who already have tenure somewhere else can apply. Zabin said that the department chose to make the position open-rank to “have the biggest, most diverse, and most exciting pool we could.” 

The department planned on advertising the position and beginning interviews last year but decided to postpone the process because of COVID-19. Zabin is optimistic that the department can resume a normal search and have applicants interview in person with faculty and students this coming fall. 

In addition to bringing in more faculty specialized in African American history, the department has recently focused on hosting scholars and historians from around the country and the world through the Lefler/Broom Lectures and Discussions on Race and History. This year visitors have included Dr. Vincent Brown, Dr. Spencer Crew, and, most recently, Professor Sophie White, who on May 4 spoke about her newest book, Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana, which incorporates criminal justice testimonies to analyze the autobiographies of enslaved people in French Louisiana. 

This upcoming Fall and Winter, the history department is also excited to host a senior visiting professor, Noel Volts of Case Western University, who will teach Atlantic Slavery and Black Women’s History. While the college has always offered courses examining African American history to some degree, the increased racial tensions of the past year and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement pushed the department to introduce more focused and intensive investigations of Black America. 

The History department hopes that the open-rank application will bring in a professor who can both expand the college’s scholarship in African American history and contribute to the Africana Studies program. Zabin emphasized that the department is looking to hire the best candidate for Carleton who is “eager to teach and share what matters to them about explaining the African American past.” 

The death of George Floyd and countless other injustices brought to the limelight this year were aggressive demonstrations of the institutional racism that has deep roots in our American past. The History Department hopes that bringing in more diverse voices and professors of African American history will play a part in creating a more just future through the study and deconstruction of the past.

The post History Department to hire African American history tenure-track professor appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Campus-wide effort doubles student participation in HEDS Sexual Assault Survey

Carletonian - Sun, 05/09/2021 - 4:35pm

Content warning: sexual misconduct.

For most of April, flyers with Carlsfor4000 hashtags populated student email inboxes and informational billboards around campus. Carleton student groups, faculty, staff and administration collaborated to encourage students to fill out the HEDS Sexual Assault Survey. The result—a 38% response rate from students, a little over double that of the previous survey.  

The Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) is an organization of more than 100 colleges and universities across the United States that share knowledge and data on a variety of issues, including campus climate and sexual assault. Carleton is a member of HEDS and participated in the Sexual Assault Survey in 2015 and 2018 as well.

 This year, however, for the first time ever, Carleton pledged to donate $1,000 (up to a maximum of $4,000) to a local nonprofit for every 10% of Carleton students who complete the survey in order to incentivize higher response rates. Response rates in 2015 and 2018 were 24% and 18% of campus, respectively. 

That means that Carleton will be donating $3,000 to HOPE Center, a local nonprofit that aims to “create zero tolerance for sexual and domestic violence through healing, outreach, prevention and education.” HOPE Center, based in Faribault, provides direct support to survivors of sexual violence throughout Rice County. 

According to an email from Carleton’s Title IX Office to the student body, this year’s incentivization of student responses reflected a “recognition of how significantly [the survey] information can impact our community.”

“We received feedback from students that offering the incentive of a donation to HOPE Center would help increase the response rate and we are grateful to see this incentive had such a positive impact,” said Laura Riehle-Merrill, Carleton’s Title IX Coordinator. “We are thrilled with this outcome.”

 The survey asked students about their perceptions of Carleton’s climate regarding unwanted sexual contact and the extent to which they have experienced unwanted sexual contact. HEDS will later provide Carleton with campus-specific data and a comparison of Carleton’s results with peer institutions (other small liberal arts colleges), as well as all participating institutions. The results of the survey will then inform support services, policies and prevention programming on campus.

Director of Technology Support at Carleton, Austin Robinson-Coolidge, who has served either as a member of the Community Board on Sexual Misconduct or as Sexual Misconduct Support Advisor since 2010, was one of many staff and faculty members who urged students to complete the HEDS survey. 

“I believe one of the keys to reducing sexual violence at Carleton is better education, and, in order for that education to be effective, it needs to be targeted in ways that make it relevant and accessible.  The data collected in the HEDS survey will help tailor the education we provide to be more effective, and to gain a better understanding of what parts are working and what parts aren’t,” he wrote in an email to student workers. 

For instance, the 2015 HEDS Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey found that Carleton students reported a higher sense of satisfaction with the campus climate and reported a much greater sense of safety (overall and among men and women) than at peer institutions, but significantly fewer students perceived that campus officials would conduct an investigation against sexual offenders and hold offenders accountable. In addition, the survey indicated that drugs and alcohol surfaced as a factor in sexual assaults at Carleton more than at peer institutions. 

These results pointed campus officials in the direction of what “next steps” to take to improve Carleton’s campus climate. 

 In 2015, 10-11% of women and 3-4% of men reported being sexually assaulted since coming to Carleton, according to a 2016 Learning and Teaching Center session that examined and discussed the results of the survey. Higher proportions of queer students and students of color reported unwanted sexual behavior or contact. 

Any numbers—even low numbers—are a cause for concern because sexual harassment and assault have such a huge impact on students’ lives and ability to remain and succeed at Carleton.

If students want to report sexual misconduct, they can reach out to Laura Riehle-Merrill directly, fill out a Community Concern Form or visit the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response page for more information.

The post Campus-wide effort doubles student participation in HEDS Sexual Assault Survey appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Future of Archer House still uncertain eight months after fire

Carletonian - Sun, 05/09/2021 - 4:34pm

Many Carls will vaguely recall the chilly November afternoon that marked the downfall of Northfield’s historic Archer House River Inn, which, along with beloved restaurants Chapati and Smoqehouse, was forced to close for the foreseeable future due to severe structural damages as a result of an accidental fire in the kitchens of Smoqehouse. 

The Archer House River Inn has stood as an iconic landmark in historic downtown Northfield since its opening in 1877. The Inn’s once-impressive facade shows the destructive path of the fire, with the roof caved in over Smoqehouse, leaving several guest rooms visibly exposed—even now, eight months after the tragic accident.

The November 12 fire blazed through the night, travelling internally through the walls and thus escaping detection in some areas until significant damage had already been inflicted. Reports have stated that firefighters used as much as two million gallons of water during the 24 hours that the fire burned. 

With repairs still not yet underway, many in the community are wondering what the future of the Inn holds. Paper Petalum, a shop formerly in Archer House, has already relocated; Chapati is reportedly searching for a new location as well. 

Original reports characterized the Inn as “a total loss,” but more recent evidence suggests it might be possible to salvage the iconic building. The owners of the Inn have shared concerns that the ongoing insurance investigation is leaving the building vulnerable to further water damage and is potentially harming any chance of restoring the historic site. While repairs are delayed, the building continues to deteriorate visibly. 

According to Brett Reese, an official representing the Inn, it is still uncertain whether the Archer House can even be salvaged, given the extensive damage done to the building and lack of communication with the Inn’s insurance company. Reese shares the frustration and disappointment brought by the continued setbacks in restoration. The longer the building is exposed to the elements, he explained, the less likely it is that a full restoration will be feasible. 

The damage varies in different parts of the building. Areas near Smoqehouse and on the upper levels suffered the worst damage, with near-total destruction; other parts of the building that remained more intact still suffered extensive smoke damage and water damage, along with continued exposure to the elements. Reese also shared that the movement of heavy machinery through the building during the investigation might have inflicted further damage.  

The owners of Archer House said that they are not able to make a decision regarding the future of the historic building until insurance claims are processed and the building is fully assessed for damage. Only then will they begin “in earnest the process of assessing future options for the site,” said the owners. This could include restoration, replacement or redevelopment. 

In the event that the building is unable to be salvaged and is torn down, representatives of the Inn have shared tentative plans to ensure that a new building in the same space would carry the memory of Archer House with similar architectural charm. 

The post Future of Archer House still uncertain eight months after fire appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

President Poskanzer exit interview: a conversation on legacy, racial equity, climate change, and the post-pandemic future of liberal arts colleges

Carletonian - Sun, 05/09/2021 - 4:33pm

On August 28, 2020, President Steven Poskanzer announced to the Board of Trustees his intention to step down as president following the end of this academic year while staying on as a professor of Political Science. Poskanzer’s departure ends an eleven-year tenure as Carleton’s president. Halfway through Poskanzer’s final term of leadership, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Sam Kwait-Spitzer sat down with Poskanzer over Zoom for an exit interview — discussing, among other things, the president’s legacy, his hopes and anxieties for a post-pandemic future, issues of racial equity, climate change and his argument for the enduring (and increasing) value of liberal arts colleges. A less abridged version of this conversation will appear in the Carletonian’s online edition. This interview has been abridged for clarity.

Sam Kwait-Spitzer: You began your presidency barely two years removed from the greatest financial crisis in a generation. And you are leaving the college in the midst of a pandemic, amongst other crises. How have these bookends of crisis impacted your decade as president?

President Poskanzer: I don’t know whether you know this, but actually in the fall of 2010, when I started, there was a massive hundred-year flood in Northfield too. So it really kind of feels like I came in with a flood and I’m leaving with the pandemic. But actually, there’s an underlying point here that I really do think is very important. And that’s about the resilience of great colleges and universities. So, you know, there was a recession in 2010, but we came out of it really, really strong. We have the most applications we’ve ever had. The yield, the students who we admit who choose to come here, is at record levels. There’s more diversity in our student body. We’ve had a lot of success in hiring faculty and staff. We’ve had record-breaking fundraising. We’ve had new buildings. So we came out of that recession really strong. We’ll do the same thing from the pandemic, especially because I think this pandemic is very likely to reinforce the value of a residential liberal arts education. 

SKS: Recently, you faced criticism from students for slow and immaterial responses to the murder of George Floyd and many other acts of racial violence. What are your feelings on both how you and the institution have responded, in the past months and years?

I would say that I think we are responding in very substantive and also very important ways to both the national and the local institutional imperative to address racism and racial violence. And let me give you some examples of the substance here. We’ve put in mandatory anti-racism training for all faculty and all staff and all trustees and all important volunteers. Carleton has never done that before. We launched a very focused and important community plan for inclusion, diversity and equity with a particular focus on the Black experience. And that’s something Carleton has never had before. That’s very substantive. We set up a George Floyd scholarship. We made donations to North Minneapolis community organizations. We’ve provided additional support to the Africana Studies program. We’ve created a whole new Office of Intercultural Life that is focused just on meeting the needs of BIPOC students. We’re hiring new BIPOC staff, especially in  SHAC right now. We’ve promulgated a land acknowledgment statement to recognize on whose soil this college sits. With all of that said, I do think we really have to recognize that we live in a world where racism is still ever-present and at a college where racism is, of course, still present—and the work of making Carleton a truly inclusive college where everybody can realize their aspirations, I think that work’s not done yet. It’s far from complete, and we have to do that work right now. 

When you started as the president of the college up until now, in what ways have conversations about race amongst the faculty and the institution changed?

Like I just said, you’ve got to start with acknowledging that there is structural racism that’s baked into the culture and the DNA of Carleton that is undeniable, and we have to work, and we have to work now in concrete and measurable ways to uproot that. You know, the fact that you could say the same thing, that there’s similar institutional racism at every other college or university, I don’t think that’s all that relevant. It doesn’t excuse us from the work that we have to do here that we’re called to do right now. And like I said, I don’t think that work really ever gets done, alas, but we’ve got to take the actions that we can take right now. 

So from my perspective, I’m really proud of how much more diverse the student body is. Over my tenure, when I came here in 2010, we were about 27% historically underrepresented or international students. And now we’re 42% in 2021. That’s good, but that’s not good enough. I mean, we still need to keep going in that direction. I’m really proud of the numbers of BIPOC faculty that we’ve hired and especially the numbers of faculty of color that we’ve tenured over the last decade. I think our faculty is more diverse in gender and race as well. And, candidly, I’m also really proud of the senior-level administrative hires that I’ve made, who are committed to IDE work, and who’ve diversified that the senior ranks of administration here. But having said all that, I would like our student body to be even more diverse than it is right now, especially with more low-income and more middle-income BIPOC students. That would make us stronger still. And even though we’ve raised $125 million for need-based financial aid, I worry, quite frankly, that a Carleton education is still unaffordable for too many of the students that we would most like to have enrolled here. I hate it that when we’re making our admissions decisions, there are still times where we have to be what’s called “need-sensitive” in the trade. It’s like a wound in my heart. I wish we didn’t have to do that, but we know the answer to that. It’s getting more money and endowment, and more scholarships, and we can talk a little bit more about that. 

One of the other things that I worry about—and maybe that’s the change that’s taken place in the dialogue over the years—is there are inequities in what I would call institutional capital. How ready folks are to take advantage of what college is like. I don’t know whether you’ve ever read any of Anthony Jack’s work about this. He’s a writer at Harvard grad school of education. And, you know, it’s one thing for a student who shows up at a college who comes from maybe an academic family and knows that going to office hours is a really good thing, and hears the word “syllabus” and knows exactly what that is. Some students don’t know that stuff when they show up at college. And so they are relatively disadvantaged in terms of just that institutional capital. And we’ve got to work to correct that even as we also work to correct financial imbalances, either for financial aid during the year, or—I’ve spent a lot of time and energy worrying about giving money and raising funds for summer internships so that somebody could afford to take an unpaid summer internship without having to sacrifice the money that they would otherwise have to work on to pay for college. Unless that playing field was even, BIPOC students, disadvantaged students are going to be at a further disadvantage. That’s not acceptable. 

In your inaugural address in 2011, you asserted that “the sustainable stewardship of our planet is a defining issue of our time. Colleges and universities have an intellectual and moral obligation to engage deeply with this issue.”  In your tenure, the college has taken many positive steps, like moving to geothermal heating and the expanded stewardship of the Arb, and continuing to be on track to hit the carbon neutral by 2050. However, the college’s public equity holdings continue to include companies that fund and engage in environmentally destructive practices, and the college has remained noticeably silent on the more recent Line 3 debate. What do you see is your environmental legacy? 

Well first, and this goes through a bunch of questions. I’ve got to compliment you. You really read my inaugural address. I think that makes you, my mom, and me the three people who read it really carefully. So really, I appreciate it.

It was a joy to look back. Beautifully written. 

Certainly one important thing here is that we collectively, as a community, developed and are really now hard into implementing a Climate Action Plan that includes both operational matters, but also really importantly includes an educational focus on climate change. And I will say here, the part of our legacy, the ideas that are being generated here at Carleton, by faculty and students in their scholarship—and especially the students that graduate from this place who care passionately about environmental issues and are equipped with the right type of intellectual tools to actually take action that will save our planet—that’s a huge part of what we need to do here. So I want to start with that. 

But I would say probably that the centerpiece of my environmental legacy—and I’ll come back to that phrase—is the fact that Carleton’s carbon footprint has decreased by 53% from the baseline that we set in 2008. We did that because we’ve made major investments in campus utilities infrastructure, and we also made wise energy conservation practices. I would say to you that that’s a very rapid acceleration of that projected 2050 timeline for achieving carbon neutrality. We’re way ahead of where we thought we would be. And I’m proud of that. I think that’s critically important. 

Now, I want to be modest here. This has happened on my watch, and I have certainly aggressively supported those investments and I’ve gone and fought for, you know, spending these monies to do that. But it’s really important to note that the progress here is the work of many, many faculty and staff. People like Martha Larson, who’s our manager of campus sustainability, student environmental associates. So, you know, it’s not like Steve made that happen. I don’t think it’s fair to take that kind of credit. 

Let me go into a little bit more details and stuff that you asked about. Actually, I think you want to double-check with the investment office, because I think you’re wrong that we don’t currently have any public holdings in any fossil fuel companies right now.

There are no public holdings in fossil fuel companies, but there are a decent number of companies that kind of participate and fund various fossil fuel industries.  These large companies are very connected, but I did want to press you on that a little bit.

We haven’t taken a public institutional stance on the Line 3 pipeline projects for the same reason that Carleton doesn’t take a public institutional stance on all kinds of other environmentally-sensitive development projects across the state of Minnesota. And we also don’t take a public stance on endorsing political candidates as an institution. We’re fundamentally an educational system, and so the places where we will take stances, as an institution, are going to be on educational things where we have expertise. Should there be affirmative action? Yeah. We know about that. That’s appropriate for Carleton to take an institutional stance on. Should there be educational opportunities available to DACA students? Yes. That’s an educational institution. Should a pipeline run in a particular place? Should this project get built versus that project get built? Those are not educational issues in the same kind of way. It’s entirely appropriate—it’s great—that individual students and faculty are engaged in activism and take on an institution, and taking a stance. Hopefully, we’ve equipped them with what they need: the knowledge to do that. But that’s different from whether Carleton as Carleton gets involved in those types of issues. 

Broadening out, what are you most proud to have accomplished during your tenure? And what do you wish you had accomplished? And you did allude to this a bit earlier regarding endowed scholarships and not fully being able to be need-blind. Any other things that you’re very proud of and things you wish you had done?

There’s this old adage that, if you can, you’re supposed to leave the forest better than you found it. And so like that, I have always wanted to try and leave Carleton stronger than I found it when I came in. And I think that’s something that has been achieved by each of the presidents who came before me. I believe it’s true in my case, just in the same way that I believe it will be true for my successor as well. 

So some of the things that I’m most proud of, I would say, are the following: I’m really proud that Carleton implemented a strategic plan that really set priorities for this place and made hard choices, including better career preparation for students, which was something that the college had really not paid as much attention to in the past. Increased socioeconomic diversity of the student body—and I’ll come back to that in a moment when we talk about scholarships and also collaborating with other liberal arts colleges—all that stuff came from our plan. But I’m really proud that we’ve raised already $430 million. We had a $400 million target in this campaign. We’re already way over it, and the largest share of that money is to endow scholarships for need-based financial aid. I’m really proud that Carleton emphasizes and has dramatically expanded need-based financial aid for low-income students and also for middle-income students. I would not want us to have a student body that is really wealthy, full-pay kids and really needy, full-need kids. You want the whole spectrum. Lastly, I would say I’m proud that our endowment value has increased. It was about $460 million when I walked in the door. It’s over a billion dollars right now. But in short, I would say the academic quality of Carleton is better over the last decade, and I’m really proud of that.

You know, I wish I had raised enough money that we could never take financial aid into account—but that will be hundreds of millions of dollars more before we get there. But every step we take towards that is great. I wish that we’d launched the IDE planning effort that we’re doing now five years ago, you know, 10 years ago. But you know, there’s an awful lot that I think we have gotten right. But there’s always more to do.

How do you think you have changed as a leader during your tenure?

I would say that I think when I came here, I was a pretty modest, unassuming person. I like to think that I am, but I can assure you that Carleton has made me even more humble and respectful of the wisdom of others. I am just constantly, regularly impressed by how smart, how devoted my colleagues, the administration, the faculty and the students are. And I learned from other people all the time. And in answering this question, I would also want to give a particular shout out to the staff of Carleton, and I don’t mean the vice presidents. I mean, the food service and ground crew, people and custodians that are the unsung heroes of Carleton. They have this incredibly deep knowledge of this place and how to get stuff done here. And in my experience, they try and put students first, and I learned a lot from watching them.

How did the nickname “Stevie P.” come about, and how do you feel about it?

Sure, so when your last name is hard to pronounce and hard to spell, a nickname is probably inevitable. But when I came here, one of the first questions people asked me was, “What do you want your nickname to be? What do people call you?” Students at SUNY New Paltz, where I used to be president, called me “Stevie P.” I actually like “Stevie P.” As far as nicknames go, it’s a pretty good nickname. It’s much better than the nicknames of other Carleton presidents that I’ve heard of. And maybe they had other nicknames that were even worse. Maybe I have other nicknames that are worse too. But I like “Stevie P.” And it’s also alright just to call me Steve too.

There is a photo pretty famous on campus of you shaving in the mirror while holding the bust of Schiller. And I’ve always been curious if it’s a real photo, or if it’s been expertly  photoshopped. Can you comment on the authenticity of the photo and then if it is authentic, a little bit of the story behind it.

Okay. So there’s a long story behind it. So it’s absolutely authentic. I took it with a self-timer. In hindsight, I should have pulled the towel up a little bit more than I did. [laughter] So maybe not my best effort. It’s actually part of a series of photos from the fall of 2010, for the then-Guardians of Schiller. I had said when I was being recruited that I really wanted to be sure I met Schiller. And so the Guardians basically allowed me to borrow Schiller for a weekend if I would take a whole bunch of pictures of me with him. I am sad to say though, that because the Guardians have turned over, many of what I think are the best pictures of me and Schiller together have never yet hit the light of day.

I think there’s a picture of Schiller and me, me tucking him into bed with cookies and milk, and there’s a picture of Schiller reading my book and me reading Schiller’s book. And I think a picture of Schiller and me watching hockey together. If the Carletonian wants, I might be able to find some of those older photos.

Yeah. Well, when we publish this spread, if you have the time to find them we by all means would totally run them. If you have the time to find them!

You want them?


Alright! I will take a look. I think I might know where they might be.


But yeah, the towel photo is real. [laughter]

I assume you will no longer be living in Nutting House after you step down. What will you miss most about the house? 

I don’t want it to be a mysterious place on campus. I love this house. The library in the house is my most favorite room. It’s really kind of cozy and classy and all the books are there. And I will really miss decorating the house for the holidays and having my family here. I will miss having pizza parties with students who we would troop up into the attic and into the basement and let see where the family that lives in the house really lives and play with the cats and dogs.

Now moving into the final section: “Looking forward.” Why have you chosen now as the time to step down?

So there’s kind of like a natural cycle to this job. What typically happens is a president comes in, they learn all about the place, then you do a strategic plan. Then you implement that plan. Then you run a capital fundraising campaign to pay for all the things you said you were going to do on the plan. And then you started all over again. And that cycle is now done this June with the capital plan and the strategic plan being implemented. And so I either needed to be willing to commit to another whole cycle of this, which would have been another seven to 10 years, or I needed to be willing to do what was right for the institution and kind of get out of the way and let the next person do it. And I felt if I started to do it again, that that would mean I will be president here for 17 or 18 years. That felt too long. It didn’t feel healthy for Carleton or for me. 

In your inaugural remarks, you mentioned the growing potential for online education and also the indelible value of in-person education. So with the pandemic and the emergence of Zoom and other analogous programs, what is going to be the future of the liberal arts college in 10, 20, 50 years? And how has the pandemic changed this future? Speaking both about Carleton, but also the liberal arts college more broadly.

So I could write long essays about this. So I’ll try and give you a shorter answer instead. I’m absolutely convinced that a liberal arts education is still the best bet for smart young people. It’s the most flexible, capacious, adaptable type of education. And that’s what you need for a world that’s changing as fast as our world is. But I also think, and this is something I touched on earlier, I think the residential aspect of this is absolutely critical to the learning. And the pandemic has brought that back home to us, this hunger for human connection and seeing the value of being proximate to each other.I think that is more important than ever before. So I think the best liberal arts colleges, with strong reputation and good demand, are going to double down on residential character going forward, even as they’ll still take advantage of online things that are available. 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. We’re one of them right now, but our responsibility is to make sure that we continue to be one of that handful of places. 

This leads nicely into the next question. What will be the biggest challenge for the new president to solve at an institutional level and, relatedly and hopefully, in a post-pandemic era?

If you’re going to give generous scholarships—and we want to do that to bring in more lower and middle-income kids here, if you want to pay competitive salaries to faculty and staff, if you want to have the best types of facilities for teaching and learning, and if we want to support students in their emotional and their personal growth, which should be part of college, you got to have the wherewithal to pay for all of this.

And I don’t see us in an era where you can keep raising tuition in ways that are going to make the college less affordable, less within reach of families. And we can’t always assume that there are going to be generous donors who are going to step forward and do things. So that economic thing worries me.

Second thing that worries me, like I’ve said before, this is a moment where we have to center inclusion, diversity and equity work, because that’s how all faculty and staff and students at this place are going to succeed. And at the same moment that we have got to make that central to our work, we also have to reinforce and deepen what I would call the trust and the goodwill that we have at each other, and the grace, for lack of a better word, that we extend to one another. That’s a really hard thing to do right now when the pandemic has taken such a terrible medical and social toll, especially on people who’ve already been the most marginalized and disadvantaged in society. 

Oftentimes, the political issues of the day feel like they are the largest political issues. And students on campus now will only be here for these four years. But can you speak to some other political moments and dynamics at the national level that filtered down to campus that maybe precede the students here now with a four-year window?

Sure, think about the fights about affirmative action, they’ve been going on for a long time. You know, this started in the 1970’s when I was in college, and there have been a string of Supreme Court cases that have chipped away at some of the rationales for affirmative action. I’m thrilled that Harvard won at the First Circuit Court of Appeals, but I’m very worried that that case is going to come down and end the ability to expressly take race into account to provide educational diversity.

I’m worried that there is a growing anti-intellectualism in society that questions science and questions truth, as provisional as truth sometimes is, and that picks on great colleges and universities, that thinks that they are just hotbeds of flawed thinking and wants to punish places like this.

It was very disturbing to me in 2017 when the government passed a tax that literally just taxes the endowments of private colleges and universities. They didn’t tax Texas and Texas A&M’s endowments, which are far bigger than Carleton’s endowment. There’s sort of an anti-educational spirit afloat in the world right now, and that’s troubling to me.

What does it mean to be an intellectual now with media being consumed in more bite-sized ways, like Instagram stories and Tik Tok and things like that? What is the unique value of learning in a more long-form way in an institutional setting? 

It’s a great question. That value is absolutely necessary and as transcendent as it has ever been, and maybe even more important in a world where there is more flash, sometimes less substance, less time and attention and care given to issues.

We need to stop and really focus and pay attention to the things that need to be paid attention to. The really hard questions don’t have quick answers and don’t fall quickly into the purview of any one discipline.  If we’re going to solve climate change, there is a biological element, a climatological element, a sociological, a political element, an economic element. You need all these things brought together. They need to be brought together in subtle and nuanced and complicated ways that understand the consequences. If we don’t have experts and we don’t listen to the experts, we won’t try and test the thinking of those experts in really rigorous, thoughtful ways that take time and attention and energy. We’re really not going to develop the good solutions. So I get that pace of the world moves faster. I get that people want quicker answers. Quick isn’t always best. Sometimes we’ve got to be more thoughtful and take the time to get it right, because the stakes are too high.

Moving forward to your successor, whoever they might be, what is on your list of must haves for the next president of the college? And what do you hope the next president brings to the office that perhaps you could not offer? 

Yeah, I think this one’s for the search committee and the board to answer, probably not for me. If I started right now to list all of what I would self perceive as my deficits, we will never finish this interview. So let’s not go there.

What excites you most about Carleton’s future and what keeps you up most at night? 

Let me go on to the more exciting stuff right now. I think the answer here is really pretty easy. It’s the students, it’s the remarkable young people that choose to come to this place and that embraced their studies and embrace this community. I think I really honestly believe that Carleton College students are the fundamentally most likable and thoughtful college students I’ve ever known. They’re smart. They’re curious, and they’re kind, and they’re caring and they’re funny. 

I don’t know what you, this is an older story, but you know, previous presidents have liked to refer to Carleton students as being quirky. And when I came here, I had all these students come up to me and say, “Stop saying we’re quirky. We’re not quirky”

And I agree with the students because students are not quirky. Quirky has this kind of odd, weird, negative connotation to it. I think Carleton students are earnest. They’re idealistic. They want to make a difference in the world. They want the world to be better. They care about their families and their communities and their teachers.

These are amazing students, and this is why I work in higher education. Every single day I get to wake up and take care of and be part of a community that is full of this kind of young people. And that gives me optimism. That gives me faith, that the world will get better, that we can solve even daunting problems like climate change and racial injustice.

How would you like to be remembered as the college president?

I want to be remembered as an empathetic person and a forward-looking leader who was really devoutly committed to making Carleton stronger and better and who did so, but who did so while sharing credit with other colleagues, who did so always acting with integrity and always trying to put the long-term interest of the college first.

A year ago, the Carletonian had the opportunity to interview you in an article titled “Hopeful words in a wrenching moment: a Q&A with President Poskanzer.” We ended that interview with the question, “Do you have any last words of encouragement for the Carleton community?” And I’d like to ask you the same question to finish this interview. 

There’s still some time to go, but based on where we are right now, what I would say is I have never been prouder of our students and seeing how considerately and how bravely they are navigating this year. That is an unprecedented, really awful and hard year. And then I really have the utmost faith in the future, of our students and in the future of this place.

Author’s note: After I turned off audio recording, President Poskanzer mentioned his intention to answer a final question we did not get to: his favorite Carleton meal. His answer: “A series of Bon App staff and professors will confirm: Chicken parmigiana and the Arcaine Burger.”

The post President Poskanzer exit interview: a conversation on legacy, racial equity, climate change, and the post-pandemic future of liberal arts colleges appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Miyagi, Wilkinson and Kataria earn MIAC Athlete of the Week Honors

Carletonian - Sun, 05/09/2021 - 4:32pm

Kristin Miyagi (Jr./Honolulu, Hawaii/‘Iolani School), Matt Wilkinson (Sr./Greenwood, Minn./Minnetonka) and Yuv Kataria (Fr./Kolkata, India/Weil Academy & College Prep) were selected as MIAC Athletes of the Week for Women’s golf, Men’s outdoor track & field and Men’s tennis, respectively.

Kristin Miyagi of the women’s golf team surveys the course as she prepares to swing.
Photo by Carleton Sports Information.

Miyagi won the individual title at the MIAC Championships held last weekend at Emerald Greens Golf Club in Hastings, Minnesota. By posting scores of 73, 75, and 72, she tied former teammate Alyssa Akiyama’s MIAC Championship 54-hole scoring record. Miyagi was in third place early in the final round, but that day she totaled five birdies—including four on her second nine—and won the tournament by four strokes. This marked the eighth consecutive time that a member of the Carleton women’s golf program won medalist honors at the conference tournament.

Men’s track and field runner Matt Wilkinson competes in the steeplechase.
Photo by Carleton Sports Information.

At the Bolstorff Invitational, Wilkinson took part in his first steeplechase competition since the 2019 NCAA Championships, and pulled away from the field for a winning time of 8:56.04. That broke the Carleton school record by more than nine seconds and is the fastest time in NCAA Division III this season by nearly 11 seconds. Wilkinson finished 44 seconds ahead of the next closest runner in Saturday’s race.

Men’s tennis player Yuv Kataria eyes an incoming ball in preparation for a hit.
Photo by Carleton Sports Information.

Meanwhile, after going 8-0 with four singles wins and four double triumphs between April 26 and May 3, Yuv Kataria earned MIAC Men’s Tennis Athlete of the week honors. More importantly, he also helped Carleton to a 4-0 record during that time period, cementing their spot as a number 2 seed in the MIAC playoffs. 

Kataria faced conference foes from Bethel, Hamline, Macalester, and Saint John’s with four wins coming at either No. 1 singles or No. 1 doubles. Kataria has regularly found success regardless of whom he is playing alongside, demonstrated by the fact that he was part of three different doubles pairings last week. 

Kataria is now 7-1 in singles play this season and improved his ledger to 8-1 in doubles. He has seen time at No. 1, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 singles this year while bouncing between No. 1 and No. 2 doubles is also the second member of the Knights’ program to receive conference weekly honors this season, joining Leo Vithoontien (Sr./Bangkok, Thailand/Bangkok Patana School) who was selected for April 12-18.

This article has been slightly adapted by Sports Editor Ryan Flanagan from content published on the Carleton Athletics Website.

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Categories: Colleges

Former Carl Freddie Gillespie inks two-year deal with NBA’s Toronto Raptors

Carletonian - Sun, 05/09/2021 - 4:31pm

On April 28, Freddie Gillespie cemented his spot among the best basketball players in the world when he signed a two-year deal for the NBA minimum (around $900,000 per year). Gillespie, who hails from the Twin Cities suburb of Woodbury, played his first two years of college ball for the Knights. Gillespie got only 16 total minutes of action his freshman year before averaging 10 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks a game his sophomore year and earning Second Team all-MIAC. 

Gillespie then decided to walk on at Baylor, where he averaged 9.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game and was named Big 12 Most Improved Player, Second Team All-Big 12 and named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. Quite the jump for someone who rode the pine in a DIII program. 

But Gillespie’s career has been defined by big jumps. After graduating from Baylor in 2019, he went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft. He was later selected 2nd overall in the G League (the NBA’s development league) Draft by the Memphis Hustle, an affiliate of the Grizzlies. 

Gillespie dominated the G League, posting 10.5 points a game, 10.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting 57 percent from the field and recording six double-doubles.

In April, Gillespie signed two consecutive 10-day contracts with the Toronto Raptors, and over the course of 14 games, he has put together a slew of impressive performances on both ends of the floor, including a five block outing in a stifling defensive showing against the Brooklyn Nets. On Sunday, he scored a career-high 11 points against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Gillespie has turned heads on the Raptors for his goofy personality off the court, including a rendition of Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” that he performed during his rookie initiation. Despite leaving Northfield after only two years, Gillespie appears to have held on to his Carleton quirks. 

The Raptors, however, will need more from him beyond his falsetto. Toronto remains on the bubble of the NBA playoffs, and sits 27th in the league in defensive rebounding and 24th in offensive rebounding. Gillespie brings relief on the boards, as he is already averaging almost four rebounds in only 15 minutes of action per game.

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Categories: Colleges
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