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Overwintering in the Arb

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 12:23am

Snow on the ground in the past week sends a clear and cold signal to the residents of Northfield: winter is fast approaching. Boots are retrieved from closet corners, shovels extricated from the garage, thin socks switched out for the woolen thick as we feel the sting of air temperature dipping dangerously close to the single digits. And, of course, the Arboretum is feeling it too.

A familiar question for Student Naturalists this time of year is the oft-asked “How does (blank) survive the winter?” The dark part of the year in Minnesota may seem impossibly inhospitable without an HVAC system, and it is endlessly fascinating to wonder how the little ones stay warm, or even alive, through the cold.

The answers vary. Beavers spend the fall building lodges out of sticks and mud where they will spend the winter insulated from predators and temperature, gnawing on strategically frozen wood as their only food source. White-footed mice find abandoned goldfinch nests which they “dome over” with plant fibers and fuzz to make warm winter homes.

For mammals like us, winter may only be a tribulation to endure. For some species, however, a midwestern winter is crucial to their life cycle. Most prairie plant seeds require several months of “cold stratification” in order to germinate. In other words, without the many weeks of freezing and thawing and freezing again, the prairie will not sprout come spring.

Overwintering in Northfield looks different for us all. For some, it is hunkering indoors with fireplaces and warm drinks, like beavers in their lodges or mice in their stolen nests. For others, it is actively braving the cold with snowshoes or skis, like seeds embracing the snow under open sky. For others still, it is studying abroad in the southern hemisphere, like bluebirds migrating to warmer climes for the season. But no matter how you get through the winter here, remember you are not alone: the Arb is patiently getting through it too.

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Categories: Colleges

Carleton introduces ROTC program

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 12:22am

Carleton College has just announced that it is starting an experimental ROTC program in partnership with the Department of Defense. This was surprising to many, considering Carleton’s lack of focus on being strong, avoidance of taking orders, and disclination to organized physical pursuits.

What makes the program experimental is that it includes courses that specifically appeal to future soldiers. Here are some proposed courses for the world’s first Liberal Arts War College:

  • PSYC 386: How to deal with PTSD without any help whatsoever
  • BIO 863: It’s still your kid even if it was born 2 years after you deployed
  • ENGL 007: War Authors, from Chris Kyle to Mitchell Zuckoff
  • CAMS 429: Zero Dark Thirty and other not propaganda films
  • CAMS 428: How to put a Go-Pro on your helmet
  • GEOL 983: Strategic advantages in oil-rich terrain
  • SOAN 834: How the US army doesn’t target at-risk youth
  • PHIL 576: Do people in the Middle East even have human rights to violate?
  • CS 608: Drone piloting
  • CS 765: Losing the encryption race to China (with grace)
  • PSYC 457: Enhanced interrogation techniques
  • HIST 789: Bombing runs in Cambodia, Chilean Intervention, and other things that didn’t happen
  • ENTS 909: The untold benefits of Bikini Atoll
  • WGST 511: Being anything other than male in the military.
  • CLAS 276: Semper Fi and other lessons from the Roman Army
  • PE 444: Carrying the weight of the atrocities you may commit
  • POSC 778: The easiest democracies to topple
  • ECON 343: U$ HegeMONEY
  • IDSC 823: How to think critically about critical thinking: the beauty of following orders
  • PHIL 101: How to not get radicalized by Neo-Nazis online

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Categories: Colleges

Side effects of liberal arts majors

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 12:19am

Numerous treatments have been proposed in response to the ongoing epidemic of EAT, or Excessive Awareness of Triviality, a condition associated with unwanted recognition of life’s meaninglessness and inability to function without the prospect of reward. The most effective treatment is not new but has been used by some subsets of the population for hundreds of years: a liberal arts education. Beyond treating EAT, liberal arts boasts many other benefits, including reduced likelihood of error in apostrophe use, increased ability to sleep in nontraditional environments, and significantly reduced sensitivity to both short- and long-term sleep deprivation through exposure therapy.

Despite its benefits, however, liberal arts treatment is not a perfect solution. Among its most common side effects is a decreasing ability to differentiate among topics and disciplines. In mild cases, a patient will struggle to distinguish a key concept in one field from the same concept in a different field. In more extreme cases, patients have become unable to differentiate between two of their assignments on entirely different topics. A sociology paper becomes an art history paper when its author proceeds logically from the last paragraph he wrote – which was all about the influence of past artists on their society – and then takes a philosophical turn. The paper, moreover, is submitted neither to the professors who assigned the papers. The risk of such mishaps increases when patients undergo concurrent exposure therapy for sleep deprivation sensitivity.

Most patients of liberal arts treatment also experience reduced ability to prioritize. Since they take so many classes and participate in so many activities, they can become overcommitted if they invest themselves fully in too many of these pursuits. And it is often unclear which of a student’s pursuits warrant their commitment.

The most effective treatment for liberal arts side effects is for each patient to select one field of study to focus on. This encourages factions to emerge among students as the “majors” in each department form groups, enabling clearer distinction between similar fields. A major also provides each student with a logical subset of high-priority classes, and the resulting opportunity for conscious disengagement from other classes; this ability to prioritize is associated with reduced anxiety and even with decreased stress.

However, this course of treatment can have major side effects. Some are predictable: art majors begin to see specks of paint on everything, even when there are none; chemistry majors worry their friends by referring to sliced apples as “rusting” when exposed to air for too long; Classics majors develop obsessions with correct Greek and Latin plurals in words that are supposed to have become part of English.

But some major side effects are more unfortunate. For example, we know that patients who major in STEM or even social science become wealthier than those who major in arts or humanities. We would expect that majors in these impractical subjects, discovering later in life that they can be happy with little money, would gain the necessary insight not to overvalue money. In fact it is the opposite: the belief that money can buy happiness is itself a long-term side effect of an impractical major.

A very recent study surveyed two groups of people with different income ranges, asking each subject the same question: “All else being equal, do you believe that more money tends to make people happier?” Members of the higher-income group were 53% more likely to understand that more money does not increase happiness.(Interestingly, 100% of both groups rated the following statement as “true”: “The more money my children make, the better their lives will be.”) Psychologists speculate that the possession of wealth helps to demystify its effects and to combat the misconception that it can solve personal and psychological problems.

In the end, EAT patients must make peace with some unwanted side effects from their majors. A widespread treatment for these side effects is the choice of a secondary academic focus, which can help to balance out the effects of the first; however, such a secondary focus will invariably have minor side effects of its own.

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Categories: Colleges

Shlept at Carleton Instagram mistakenly posts photo of dead student

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 12:14am

As finals approach, Carleton students are working tirelessly to prepare for exams and finish their lengthy essays. Many on campus are running on little to no sleep, relying on obscene quantities of coffee to keep themselves awake. Despite what students think, however, they cannot burn the candle on both ends forever. Carls must eventually cave into their humanity and take a power nap.

This is prime harvest time for the Shlept at Carleton Instagram page. For those who have been living under a rock, Shlept at Carleton is an instagram dedicated to photographing students who fall asleep in places other than their room. Candid photos of students curled up on sofas in Sayles or drooling on their laptops in the library are published weekly on the page. Some view it as a rite of passage to be featured, an honor bestowed only to those worthy and sleepy enough. Who wouldn’t want their non-consensual picture taken while they’re unconscious?

Unfortunately, on 9th Monday, the group posted a photo of a student who was taking an eternal study break. The photographer, whose name has not been disclosed for privacy reasons, posted an apology statement on Instagram.

“I am so sorry to everyone. I had no idea that the student had passed away, they just looked so peaceful. In my defense, everyone looks a little dead during finals. My only regret is that I didn’t notice the student hadn’t moved for three days”

Coroner reports reveal that exhaustion was the cause of death, which surprised exactly zero people on campus. The school is now forcing students to take a mandatory nap during Common Time in response to the incident. The Great Hall will be fully stocked with sleeping bags, pillows, melatonin, eye masks, and ear plugs for the campus-wide siesta. Posters with information about healthy sleep habits are being placed in strategic locations as another attempt to curtail the epidemic.

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Categories: Colleges

Convocation Review: Carly Bad Heart Bull on Dakota identity and resiliency

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 12:12am

When we think about Minnesota, the history of a people is often omitted. Long before colonialism made its way to this land, it was home to the Dakota people among other Native nations. The Dakota today continue to reaffirm their history and ties to this place that they originally called Mni Sota Makoce. In her convocation “A Lasting Legacy: Acknowledging Dakota Resiliency in Mni Sota,” Carly Bad Heart Bull spoke on honoring Dakota history in a society where many Dakota have been separated from their identity.

Bad Heart Bull Dakota is Muscogee Creek and a member of the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe in South Dakota. She grew up living away from Minnesota before moving back to her native homeland with her sister Kate Beane in an attempt to discover her identity as Dakota. Bad Heart Bull began by introducing herself in her native Dakota language, a theme that would be emphasized throughout the talk. Much of the convocation centered around Bad Heart Bull and her sister’s efforts in Minneapolis to restore the lake formerly known as Lake Calhoun to its original indigenous name, Bde Maka Ska (White Earth Lake). In an effort to make the area feel more welcome to traditionally underrepresented communities and to give a sense of place to the area, they worked to change the name from one that honored John C. Calhoun, a proponent of slavery and stealing Native lands to one that honors Dakota history. Bad Heart Bull stressed that growing up she felt that her identity as Dakota was erased. Throughout the country, indigenous peoples have been framed as a part of the past rather than as a people that continue to live intimately connected to the land.

The Dakota people were exiled from Minnesota after the United States-Dakota War of 1812 led to the execution of 38 Dakota men, the largest in our country’s history. Still today, most Dakota do not live in Minnesota. To a people who experienced mass upheaval and separation from home, a Dakota identity has been hard to affirm, “I never quite understood growing up… what did it really mean to be Dakota?” Bad Heart Bull said. “We felt invisible,” she continued, stressing the erasure of Dakota history in the United States. Bad Heart Bull has a particular connection to this place; indeed, her family once resided in a village here before her people were forced from their homeland. Bad Heart Bull stressed the importance of a sense of place and history to the formation of identity, highlighting the power of stories and names in establishing a sense of place.

Bad Heart Bull highlighted that some local residents see the name change of the lake as a contested issue. A small group of predominantly white upper-class citizens living around the lake has fought against the name restoration. Bad Heart Bull offered some explanation of their mindset: “They’re fearful that we’re going to do to them what John C. Calhoun and what some of their ancestors did to us. They’re afraid that we’re going to disconnect them from this place; and what they don’t realize is we’re not like that… We’re providing a gift of a richer perspective, of a broader understanding of history, of connection not only to place but to one another.”

As someone who has lived in Minneapolis my whole life, I am not unfamiliar with this debate over name restoration. Bad Heart Bull’s story gave a more holistic perspective to a beautiful area that I regularly see in my everyday life. Overall, her talk was effective in that it framed her own personal story well within a larger context of Dakota history and the pursuit of identity. Bad Heart Bull conveyed a clear picture of some of the work the Dakota community in Minneapolis is doing to establish sovereignty and practice self-determination. Before closing in her Dakota language, Bad Heart Bull asserted, “Just remember that names matter and stories matter. My story matters, your story matters, and the stories and names that we collectively honor and remember through having these conversations are what’s going to change or shift this dominant narrative, in order to ensure that the stories of all people of this land including the Dakota people, other indigenous people are heard, respected, and celebrated.”

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Categories: Colleges

Diversity classes: available, but not mandatory

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 12:08am

My gut response is no. As a black man who has attend¬ed a primarily white high school who is now attending a primarily white college, I can scream to the hills for ages about the merits of diversity. Colleges shouldn’t be anything but diverse. The very foundation of a college is the exchange of ideas and having your thoughts and views challenged. Diversity facilitates this exchange with exposure to different cultures, geography, music, food, and more. However, speaking from experience, I do not believe that shoving diversity down people’s throats is the answer to creating a more diverse, conscious, and aware campus.

During high school, I was a mentor of the freshman class for the “Peer Leadership” program and a discussion facilitator for a program called “Everyday Democracy.” Freshmen were required to attend “Peer Leadership” and students in general were re-quired to attend “Everyday Democracy” sessions. Diversity was a topic that was often discussed, and I must tell you, I am not confident that these mandatory programs made much of a difference. First, I believe there is a certain stigma around the word mandatory. It is a forceful word, and students are often turned off when being forced to do anything. Secondly, diversity, racial awareness, and prejudice mitigation are all serious topics and should require the attention of serious people.

Given that it is 2019, I would like to believe that more and more students are aware of why we need diversity, but there are always those who are indifferent to the cause and those who genuinely participate in making campus a place of multiplicity. Again, speaking from experience, those who are indifferent to the matter or generally do not like to be forced to take extra classes will only bring down the moral of the diversity classes with a lack of participation or needlessly provocative or ignorant comments. I believe the solution is to continue to diversify campus by admitting more students of various racial, ethnic, religious, and geographic backgrounds. Diversity classes should be available, not mandatory, and one can rest assured that those who are serious proponents of diversity at an institution like Carleton will show up to diversity classes of their own volition.

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Categories: Colleges

Carleton must expand diversity requirements

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 12:07am

Carleton, like any self-respecting Liberal Arts college, pays lip service to diversity. That is true inside the classroom as well as outside it.

I remember that when I was applying to colleges, Carleton, again like peer institutions, made a big deal of describing its distribution requirements for graduation. They guarantee, admissions representatives said, a breadth of knowledge that you wouldn’t find otherwise, if you were forced to only follow the requirements of your major. Or so they said.

In practice, I have found Carleton’s distribution requirements more than lacking. They serve as a formality to hedge the school’s liberal arts curriculum bets rather than to make students actually engage with material they would not seek out on their own.

I know a handful of people who have struggled to check all the boxes for graduation. A handful. And of the ones who do, usually the offending class is some¬thing like PE or lab science. Hardly diversity-related material. This wouldn’t be a problem if students were taking courses related to diversity, but often the reality falls far short of the school’s label.

Even worse, only two requirements directly engage with anything that could reasonably be called “diversity”—a loaded word that carries its own baggage of tokenization and drastic oversimplification. “International studies” and “intercultural domestic studies” are the college’s two less-than-valiant attempts to make privileged students engage with issues of identity that they perhaps would not otherwise. Social inquiry, like¬wise, is such a nebulous term that it can apply to economics or political science courses and the like that have nothing to do with issues of identity.

We can, and should, quibble with the framing of these requirements. “Intercultural domestic studies” sounds like a stuffy euphemism for studying people of color and other minority groups in the United States, but even that would be too generous a description.

Many of the classes that count toward this description devote only a fraction of their reading list and class time to so-called “intercultural” issues. That they are “intercultural” means that they engage multiple perspectives within the United States, which one would expect any reasonable class to do.

In other words, this requirement is tokenizing, misapplied, and almost meaningless. If you take a class on the United States, you’ll probably fulfill it without trying. Much better would be a more specifically tailored requirement (or several!) devoted specifically to Ethnic Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and other identity-focused disciplines.

Likewise, “international studies” could mean basically anything that references a country outside of the United States, and that includes European studies, which is unfortunately one of the largest and most robust of the various area studies programs.

Europe is literally international, but studying Europe lies outside the spirit of the requirement. We study Europe in every class already. Most humanities methods classes are already based on a canon of European theorists. Most readings we do come from Europeans or other white people. Why should the College give students a free pass to study what they already would? It’s irresponsible.

Moreover, it doesn’t help that our area studies offerings are not departments of their own, but interdisciplinary programs with no funding or academic structure beyond what other departments and the occasional designated professor or course can bring. And we have disproportionately more professors devoted to the white, cishet, male, upper-class canon than to underrepresented groups in academia.

Students have to do extra digging to engage these issues. I find this ironic considering that (one would hope) the goal of a distribution requirement is to engage exactly these kinds of issues. To make sure students have a vocabulary to discuss racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of structural discrimination.

But Carleton in the end would rather have students fulfill their requirements with some¬thing they want to take than with something they should take if they want to be good citizens.

What we really need is a complete overhaul of these graduation requirements. Students shouldn’t get to graduate with¬out critically engaging all the is¬sues of our time. At such a white, wealthy school, it’s especially imperative that students have the vocabulary to discuss privilege and prejudice.

One and a half years ago, the Carls Talk Back movement made rethinking graduation requirements a central tenet of its campaign. Instead of, or in addition to, the current vague categories, students would need to take an ethnic studies class and a women’s and gender studies class before graduation. Carleton is a liberal arts college, and should prioritize as such: these topics are critical toward engaging humanistic issues not only here, but in the world at large.

This is a basic step, and in my opinion it does not go far enough toward correcting the biases in our classrooms and our world. But it is a step, and it would set us on a more responsible path. Other, smaller steps can go along with it, too.

Departmental review committees should know students want these kinds of classes. Give feedback wherever you can. And, of course, take classes in these areas. This is our school, our education, and we should get as much out of it as we can. As Carls Talk Back has noted, if extensive demand for certain classes exists, the College will have no choice but to oblige.

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Categories: Colleges

From Lahore Music Meet to Exit 69: spotlight on internationally known musician Abdullah Siddiqui ’23

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 12:02am

Among the various reasons Carleton’s website offers about why to choose the school, the college is not marketed as the perfect place to get a safety degree in case a career in Pakistan’s pop music scene doesn’t pan out — but that’s exactly the line of thought that drew Abdullah Siddiqui ’23 to come.

Siddiqui’s music production hobby took on a life of its own after the then-sixteen-year-old submitted “Forcefield,” a single he’d put together in his own bedroom, to the selection committee for Pakastani music festival Lahore Music Meet. Two weeks before the festival, Siddiqui remembers, “they emailed me back and said, ‘You can come on in and perform.’”

The start of his performance was memorable, if not promising: “I got up on stage,” he admits, “and fell flat on my face. I was so mortified I didn’t talk, I just got up to the mic and started singing.” But his last song, in which he used an iPad to map out and play the electronic accompaniment, “got people’s attention” in a big way; by the end of that night, he’d signed with an electronic label.

Since that moment three years ago, Siddiqui’s popularity has steadily increased; his YouTube channel boasts almost 7,500,000 subscribers, a clip from his guest appearance on reality-TV show “Nescafé Basement” has racked up well over three million views, and BBC Asian network called him the “electro-pop version of Ed Sheeran.” Now, people recognize him on the street at least “a few times a month,” and his resulting celebrity has led to a few fairly unique experiences.

After featuring on popular reality TV show “Nescafé Basement,” Siddiqui says he’s decided to make music his “Plan A.” The only problem: “there’s no real precedent for successful musicians in the Pakistani industry… it’s all very risky.” So Siddiqui decided to get a “safety net” for his future in the form of a liberal arts degree that would still allow him to continue his music on the side.

Here at Carleton, this pursuit of music has predominantly taken the form of participation in the Exit 69 a capella group.

Working with the group, he says, has been “entirely different” from his previous experience with music: “it’s always been just me alone with a laptop in a bedroom. So that collaborative process, that’s something I’ve never experienced before, and it’s so refreshing.”

Witnessing the group’s song arranging process has also offered Siddiqui “a new outlook on how harmonies are constructed”—something he says will definitely impact his own songwriting. Siddiqui also says he’s hoping to take this collaborative process into a new dimension by arranging one of his original songs for the group.

Overall, Siddiqui says his celebrity doesn’t have much impact on his daily life at Carleton, though it’s a bit more present online and at home.

In these spaces, it’s resulted in some fairly surreal experiences. Once, he was pulled over on the side of the road after narrowly avoiding a car crash, when a stranger “knocked on my window…took a selfie with me, and told me I’m a terrible driver.”

Another time, Siddiqui was surprised to read in the comments of one of his videos that the commenter didn’t like him because he supported controversial political figure Nawaz Sharif. “I’ve never said anything remotely related to Nawaz Sharif’s administration, in any context,” he laughs, “but this guy decided to imagine that I’m a Nawaz Sharif supporter and then to hate me for his imagination.”

Still, Siddiqui says he’s able to keep this celebrity musician persona “compartmentalized” for the most part. “I’ve felt like, the person who has my identity on the internet space, that isn’t really me.” He likes to think of his songs as relatively separate from the person who created them: “I don’t do Instagram live, I don’t like to be a public persona. I don’t have that muscle. And it serves to really let the music speak for itself.”

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Categories: Colleges

Going underground: What’s become of Carleton’s tunnels

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 12:01am

For most Carleton students, mentions of the infamous tunnels conjures up stories from alums and years past. Although they were closed in 1988, the lore surrounding their existence and closure is still abound on campus, as students trudge across the Bald Spot on snowy November days, cursing the lack of underground passages.

So what happened? Why are we walking through snow instead of using the many tunnels that run below campus, between buildings? After storing my bike in the Watson-Evans tunnel one summer, and finally seeing one of these tunnels in the flesh, I had the same questions on my mind. And I decided to do some digging.

“The first tunnels were constructed in 1910 when the original steam plant was being constructed and are mostly serving the west side of campus,” said Steven Spehn, Director of Facilities. “These original tunnels are smaller and were not designed or ever used as pedestrian tunnels. Their purpose was for the placement of steam lines that branched out from the central steam plant to the various buildings. Additional tunnels were added over time and the campus expanded and buildings added.”

According to a Carletonian article from 1990, the tunnels were originally closed in October 1988 after one Northfield teenager broke into the tunnels and knifed a swimmer in Cowling. What seemed like a temporary closure of the tunnels was met with student outcry, which only worsened when the closures became indefinite, as the administration cited further safety and security concerns. The tunnels also grew increasingly hazardous as the college expanded central cooling and used the tunnels as pipeways.

A Carletonian article published shortly after the closing of the tunnels expressed regret at the College’s decision to do so. “The tunnels are an integral part of the Carleton campus and as such merit more consideration than has seemingly been afforded to them,” the columnist wrote.

A campus organization by the name of “Initiative” formed in the fall of 1989 in an effort to pressure the administration to re-open the tunnels. Initiative went on to sponsor “Tunnel Awareness Days” to publicize their campaign to re-open the tunnels through creating buttons and a “mock tunnel.” The organization was mostly sponsored by upperclassmen who had experienced the tunnels during their underclassmen years at Carleton, and who hoped to garner support from underclassmen, who arrived at Carleton after the tunnels had been shut off.

A Carletonian columnist who went by the name of “Tunnel Tina” and snuck into the tunnels in 1999 and documented her experience. To supplement her own writings, Tina interviewed a number of alums from the 80s who lamented the loss of the tunnels as a loss of important communal and social spaces as well as a loss of beloved tradition with historical continuity.

Steve Young, an alum from the mid 80s stated, “It was a way in which we could read what someone had painted there, had scrawled there, in 1965… of being in touch with the past. You really had the feeling of belonging to something.”

The tunnels seem to be particularly notable for their graffiti and for their role as a space for Carleton subculture to exist literally below ground. In speaking with alums about the tunnels, they often share and reminisce on irreverent and famed elements of tunnel “art,” particularly in the pedestrian passageways on the East side of campus. There’s the twister board painted onto the ground, the Yellow Brick Road, and a tunnel painted to look like a train terminal. But alongside these famed works of art, there are also political statements, notes to friends, poems, and odes to various floors (3rd Musser, 4th Watson), and groups on campus.

Today, although the graffiti and art still exist on the walls, the tunnels are used “mostly for utility routes for heating, cooling, electricity, phone, and data networking,” said Spehn, and are also not likely to reopen any time soon.

“At this point it is highly unlikely it would be these same tunnels. If there was interest [in reinstating the tunnels], it would likely have to be new tunnels,” Spehn added. A number of Carletonian articles over the years have examined the costs it would take to reopen or rebuild new tunnels, and despite their compelling arguments on the importance of the tunnels, construction is expensive and unlikely to commence any time soon.

Based on my brief foray into the tunnels, I too, like many alumni and students, emerged from the underground wanting more. Like “Tunnel Tina” said in 1999, “I left the tunnel feeling more a part of Carleton, more in tune with what it is to be a student here.”

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Categories: Colleges

Guest Lecturer Mariana Hernández Burg delivers talk on indigenous activism in Mexico

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 11:57pm

On Thursday, November 7, the Gould Library Athenaeum was filled with students, faculty and community members eager to hear guest lecturer Mariana Hernández Burg present a talk entitled “Resistance to Counter-Insurgency in Southern Mexico.”

Hernández Burg is a community organizer and public educator with a degree in anthropology who has taught about language, culture and bilingual education in Mexico City. She is currently the head professor at the Autonomous University of Social Movements (AUSM) in Chiapas, Mexico, where she teaches students from the United States how to work towards social change.

Caro Carty ’20, a Sociology/Anthropology major, met Hernández Burg when they studied abroad with AUSM in Chiapas during their junior year. “I have learned so much from Mariana about what it means to be a community member and activist,” said Carty.

With this in mind, Carty worked with the Center for Community and Civic Engagement’s Peace and Conflict Cohort, the Department of Political Science and the Carleton Student Association Senate to bring Hernández Burg to campus.

Hernández Burg began her talk by commemorating the 25th anniversary of the War Against Oblivion, in which the Zapatista movement rose up in Chiapas against the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Mexican government responded by bombing the city; at 14 years old, Hernández Burg was already involved with a liberation theology group which responded to the massacre. She then detailed the ongoing struggles of the Zapatistas and other indigenous movements to resist the government’s systematic removal of their autonomy by forming their own collectivist societies. Throughout the talk, she highlighted indigenous women who have emerged as leaders in these movements.

If I took anything away from my evening in the Athenaeum, it was the importance of organizing in support of the social movements in southern Mexico. At the end of her talk, Hernández Burg delivered a clinching line: “the only thing [the Zapatistas] have going for them is national and international solidarity… the only thing they want is that you organize here against capitalism and systems of oppression.”

Her passion for activism came through here; however, it was sometimes obscured by an overload of information. By the time she finished flipping through her extensive slideshow, the talk had run long. Many students had to leave before the question and answer section. I admire Hernández Burg’s commitment to teaching about Mexican history, a subject that isn’t covered often enough in school curriculums. However, the level of detail she went into seemed too deep for an hour long presentation.

I was more interested in the relevance of Hernández Burg’s research to activism in practice, so I caught up with her after the talk to hear what the social movements she has studied can teach us about community organizing. After all, she has been working on the ground with the Zapatistas since that first action when she was 14, mostly by setting up autonomous education.

The most important skill she has acquired in that time, she told me, is “learning how to learn and learning how to listen.” Only then, she said, can we “build bridges and networks between people who are doing this already and focus on what unites us.” This is critical to all kinds of activism.

But to accomplish any of this, Hernández Burg said, you have to set up “spaces where all are welcome.” She has worked to do just this between students, faculty and staff at the AUSM, and according to Carty, she has succeeded. I stopped to pick up a brochure for the program on my way out, telling them that I was excited to learn about a new study abroad opportunity. Carty smiled. “This is a good one,” they told me.

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Categories: Colleges

Men’s and Women’s Basketball look sharp, open season with W’s

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 11:50pm

The 2018-2019 season was not a kind one to Carleton Basketball. Both Men’s and Women’s Basketball were put through trials and tribulations perhaps unprecedented in both programs’ respective histories. After winning three of their first four, Carleton Women’s Basketball dropped a whopping 21 straight contests, finishing with no wins and 18 losses in conference play, including a 62 point blowout to St. Thomas. At the season’s conclusion, Head Coach Cassie Kosiba resigned.

Men’s Basketball had its own share of institutional issues. Following a disappointing 7-18 season (5-15 in MIAC play), eight of the returning 10 players had decided to step away from the program, seven of whom followed through. Six former Knights actually left Carleton, leaving Men’s Basketball with Seniors Kent Hanson and Henry Bensen, sophomore Alex Battist, and a lot of question marks.

Though each squad has a season’s worth of basketball left to play, this week’s victories seemed to be an indicator that things are moving in a positive direction for both programs. The victories themselves are not necessarily suggestive of a systematic turnaround, but the manner with which both teams competed could be. This past Friday, the Carleton Women defeated visiting Martin Luther by a score of 69 to 46, recording 22 steals, third most by the Knights in a single game in program history. The following Tuesday, the men dropped 82 points on North Central, three points more than their highest single game offensive output of the 2018-2019 season, en route to an 82 to 67 win.

In just one game, both groups of Knights appear to have significantly improved the weaknesses that plagued the previous year’s squads. Last season’s men’s team, as with nearly all of defensive wizard, and Head Coach, Guy Kalland’s teams, played excellent defense, holding opponents to 68.6 points per game, good for second amongst MIAC schools. Offensively, however, they ranked dead last, scoring three points per game less than the closest competitor. The women fared even worse, ranking last in both points per game scored and points per game allowed, plagued by turning the ball over 20 times per game, and only forcing 13 turnovers on defense.

Though Martin Luther is not a particularly strong basketball program, Friday’s result, along with statements from point guard Jill Yanai ’22, shows that defensive mindset for the women’s has changed. Yanai referenced systematic changes to the Knights approach to defense. When asked about their defensive philosophy after the victory, “Coach is always talking to us about using high hands, to make them throw high passes that we can intercept,” said Yanai. “We kind of use this cat and mouse type of thing with the high post, which allows us to be in control on defense. Our philosophy is really just systematically thinking a step ahead for the next pass, and I feel like it’s been working.”

The coach Yanai is referring to is Tammy Metcalf-Filzen, who returned to the Bench for the Knights in place of Kosiba. Perhaps none are more qualified to coach the Knights than Metcalf-Filzen. A Carleton ‘C’ Club Hall of Famer, Metcalf-Filzen coached Women’s Basketball at Carleton for thirteen years before retiring in 2010, winning three MIAC championships along the way, and finishing with the best winning percentage for a coach in program history. Interestingly, Metcalf-Filzen actually coached Kosiba during her playing days as a Knight.

Metcalf-Filzen is renowned among coaching circles as imposing a disciplined style of play on her teams, one that has obviously led to success. She institutes a systematic approach on both ends of the floor, preaching to the Knights the importance of patient, intelligent team basketball. Between the 22 steals and skyhigh 45 percent shooting percentage, Metcalf-Filzen already has the Knights playing more efficiently than last season. Though MIAC championship contention is not imminent, there is no doubt that Metcalf-Filzen has Carleton Women’s Basketball moving in a positive direction.

Unlike the Women’s program, Men’s Basketball hasn’t had a coaching change for three and a half decades. Kalland is in his thirty-fifth season at the helm for Carleton, but perhaps has never had to face such a roster transformation as he did this past offseason. In addition to having to completely fill out his roster with first-years, Kalland had to deal with the departure of his second leading scorer, and the only other Knight to average at least double figures besides Hanson, Matthew Stritzel ’21. Considering the Knights appalling lack of offense in 2018-2019, losing a scorer like Stritzel very easily could spell doom for the 2019-2020 Knights.

Though one game can never be a completely accurate barometer of a team’s future success, the Knights’ offensive performance against North Central gives reason for optimism. First years Ike Tessier and Jeremy Beckler lit up the scoreboard, combining for 50 of Carleton’s 82 points in their debuts. Tessier finished with 27, scoring the majority of his points on acrobatic finishes over multiple defenders. Beckler added 10 rebounds in addition to 23 points of his own, shooting 63 percent from the field, while knocking down three of six from beyond the three point stripe.

Neither team captain Henry Bensen nor Kalland were surprised by the outpouring of offense from their first years, however. “They’ve been doing it all camp,” Bensen remarked. “Those guys play hard, they get after it. It’s really a testament to the work they’ve put in this preseason, getting ready for this first game. They haven’t seen any college action and picked right up from where they were in high school.” “I’m not stunned…maybe only forty-eight,” joked Coach Kalland when asked if he expected fifty from Beckler and Tessier.

The MIAC is chock full of very strong programs. The Knights young squad will have to face the gauntlet early, as later this month they’ll travel to play St. John’s and St. Thomas, ranked 12th and 15th nationally, respectively. Like the women, Men’s Basketball might not be ready to compete for a championship quite yet, but they too are trending upwards. With a talented young core of Tessier, Beckler and Battist, the future is bright.

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Categories: Colleges

Knights Football aims to finish on a high note on Senior Day

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 11:42pm

For seniors Emanual Williams, Mack Journell, Jay Na, Peter Hagstrom, Christian Cavan, Aaron Prentice, Carlos Lua Pineda, Joe Lewis, Eric Stadelman, and Fletcher Metz, Saturday’s home game against Concordia College marks the final football game of their careers. This season has been, without a doubt, the most successful one in which the class of 2020 has participated. In 2017, the Carleton football team won zero games and sustained losses of 63-0, 49-0, 35-0 and 52-0. Since then, thanks to this senior class, the team has trended in an upward direction and looks to continue for seasons to come.

The Knights started fast this year, demolishing Macalester at home in the “Book of Knowledge” game 41-0. Quarterback Beau Nelson ’22passed for 301 yards and Mack Journell, a receiver, had one of the best games of his career, reeling in 14 receptions for 181 yards and two touchdowns. The next week the Knights traveled to Appleton, Wisconsin for a contest against Lawrence University, where they won again by a score of 20-10 in a phenomenal defensive effort, totaling five sacks and holding Lawrence to less than 200 yards of total offense. The Knights moved to 2-0, their best start since the 2013 season.

The next stretch of games opened up MIAC play (Macalester football is not part of the conference). The Knights dropped three in a row, including losses to #4 Saint John’s and #7 Bethel, to bring their record to 2-3. However, they were able to bounce back with two consecutive MIAC wins against Hamline and Augsburg. Sean Goodman ’21 ran for a go-ahead 30 yard touchdown to defeat Hamline on the road, and the defense did its job once again. Travis Brown ’21 tallied a game-high 14 tackles. They defeated Augsburg on Homecoming, starting off fast on offense with a 70 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jonathan Singleton ’23 to Williams. Both were fantastic; Singleton threw for a career-high 417 yards and six touchdowns, while Williams had 14 catches for 226 yards. He scored three times on catches of 71, 30 and 17 yards. Singleton’s performance tied him for the most touchdown passes in a single game in Carleton history. Williams had the second-most receiving yards in a single game in Carleton history, the most for a Knights receiver since 1990. In every sense, the Homecoming victory was an offensive explosion destined to happen for quite some time.

Though the next game brought a 63-15 loss at home to #18 St. Thomas, it was by far the best performance this Knights team has had against the Tommies. The Knights led most of the first quarter 6-0 and was only down 14-9 at halftime after kicker Trent Ramirez ’23 drilled the longest field goal in Carleton history, a 48 yard kick with one second left in the half. Singleton threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns against a vaunted Tommie defense. The Knights couldn’t keep up in the second half, but their performance in the first half against the nationally-ranked program is something to applaud. In spite of a four-touchdown performance from Singleton at Gustavus Adolphus the next week, the Knights lost again. With one game left in the season, their overall record is 4-5 (2-5 in the MIAC).

This Saturday at Laird Stadium is sure to be an emotional one for the football program. Senior Day marks the departure of multiple Knights who have contributed to the program for four years, including the standout receiver duo of Journell and Williams. Although the seniors will surely be sad to finish their football careers, they have to be happy with the state they’re leaving the program in. With an influx of young talent and quality games against good teams, the Knights football program looks to be rising from the ashes of a dismal past couple of years. This season was their best start since 2013, when the Knights finished at a .500 win percentage. With a win at home on Saturday, the Knights will return to .500 once more.

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Categories: Colleges

Prof. Barbara Allen receives Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize for latest book, Truth in Advertising

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 11:41pm

On Friday, November 8, Barbara Allen, Carleton’s James Woodward Strong Professor of Political Science and the Liberal Arts, accepted the American Politics Group 2019 Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize. The prize was awarded to her latest book: Truth in Advertising? Lies in Political Advertising and How They Affect the Electorate, co-authored with Daniel Stevens, Professor of Politics at the University of Exeter.

Allen traveled to London to receive the award at a ceremony that she said was “very, very nice.” The prize was presented by Baroness Shirley Williams, a member of both houses of the British Parliament and Richard Neustadt’s widow. Allen was thrilled that she had read the book, and said that “she gave a passionate and empowering speech at the presentation. It is spectacular to have models of service such as she is.”

Allen began researching political advertising with the Carleton College Election Study in 2008. She had originally put together the study in 2000 to examine election news coverage. With John Sullivan, that year’s Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor, and Stevens, then a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, Allen led her students from all of her classes in a comprehensive content analysis of four local news stations. In 2004, Professor Greg Marfleet joined in, enlisting students from his Political Research Methods class, but the study otherwise remained the same.

Then, Allen said, “in 2008, we totally lost our minds.” Not only did the group start studying national and cable news channels along with the local ones, but they began an entirely new analysis of more than 700 political advertisements. This was groundbreaking work. Never before had a study analyzed both the sound and imagery of campaign ads, fact-checking them along with looking for misleading video editing that distorted the narrative.

Allen credited a number of student research assistants in her book, including Jeff Berg ’14, who co-wrote a chapter after spending three summers on the project. “I joined the project the summer after my first year, primarily to translate Spanish language political ads,” said Berg. Although I wasn’t considering a major in Political Science (or even doing research at all) at that point, I really enjoyed working on the project, and Barbara graciously allowed me to continue doing so following that summer. My responsibilities grew from there—by the time I graduated, I had content analyzed hundreds of ads, conducted statistical analysis, and presented our results at various conferences. I’m deeply proud to have been a part of it.” Berg ended up majoring in Political Science and Cognitive Science, and is now pursuing a PhD at New York University.

Allen said that many more of the students who worked on the project went into “really cool political jobs,” including Tommy Walker ’08, who now works for Amy Klobuchar.

Carleton academic technologist Paula Lackie and her student group “the DataSquad” also helped with the research process. Lackie trained these students and guided Allen with data directly. According to Lackie, it was “exceptionally labor-intensive work of qualitative analysis,” but it was well worth it. “Without this kind of research,” she said, “we are at the whim of opinion. You can see where that’s gotten us so far.”

From Allen’s previous research on election coverage, she had expected to find some lies in the 700 advertisements, but “mainly ‘not the whole story’ mistruths.” Instead, she said, “there were some things that were so outrageously false that it was just shocking.” On average, every advertisement had two deviations from the truth, with more in negative advertisements that targeted a candidate’s opponent, and in ads for candidates who trailed in the polls. Allen and her team found that the lies in any ad had the potential to seriously mislead voters, even those who were well-informed. The danger, according to Allen, is that “you can’t dislodge the lie” once it’s entered your mind.

Allen has published her findings in political science journals, but “in a journal article,” she said, “you don’t get to say a lot about the more fundamental problem.” Lies in political advertisements are dangerous enough, she thinks, that the courts should be “protecting political speech that is truthful.” Her book communicates this to an audience “beyond academics with an interest in political communications.”

Allen hopes that receiving the award will direct attention to the topic. “It will get the book into libraries,” she said. “I hope it will help spur conversations about ways we can have an effect.” Lackie agrees. “In an era of anti-intellectualism and anti-science,” she said, “it’s reassuring that someone is paying attention to evidence-based political writing. Ideally, they’ll apply what they’ve learned and spread the word to enlighten the more casual consumers of political messages.”

Meanwhile, Allen continues to analyze political news, this time from the 2016 election cycle. She is also currently working with students on a study to see if change in ownership of local broadcast stations, including stations that have been bought by right-wing media outlet Sinclair Broadcast Group, “have changed election news coverage in any significant way.”

Note: This article was was updated from the print version to fix the end of the last paragraph being truncated.

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Categories: Colleges

November 7-12

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 11:32pm

Thursday, November 7
Early morning: An ill student was transported to the hospital by ambulance.

Morning: Security and the Northfield police responded to a college-owned house because of a reported break-in.

Friday, November 8
Evening: Burnt food set off a fire alarm. Security was able to silence and reset the system. No fire.

Saturday, November 9
Early morning: Security called for an ambulance to check on an intoxicated student. This person was cleared by paramedics to remain on campus.

Early morning: Security called for an ambulance to check on an intoxicated student. This student was left in the care of a friend for the remainder of the night.

Sunday, November 10
Early morning: Security and the Northfield police responded to a 911 hang-up inside of a residence hall. Everything was all right. Two words: butt dial.

Monday, November 11
Early morning: Security responded to the report of an indecent exposure incident.

Morning: Security responded to a wellness check on a student.

Morning: A faulty boiler caused the carbon monoxide detector to go into alarm in a campus house. Facilities responded and fixed the issue.

Tuesday, November 12
Early morning: Security transported an ill student to the hospital.

Evening: Security responded to the report of a malfunctioning smoke detector.

Evening: Security responded to a complaint of a marijuana smell in a residence hall.

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Categories: Colleges

Gender pronoun option to be added to campus directory by winter term

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 11:29pm

On Monday, October 21, Carleton Student Association (CSA) Senate passed a resolution giving students the option to display their preferred gender pronouns on the campus directory. This resolution reflects efforts among students and administration to increase visibility of gender diversity on campus.

The resolution to add gender pronouns to the Carleton campus directory was brought to CSA by Evie Kortanek ’22, Ozzy Cota ’22 and Molly Zuckerman ’22. According to Kortanek, the resolution was inspired by a petition, entitled “Let Carleton Students Display their Gender Pronouns on the Campus Directory,” created by Naomi Brim ’21 last June. In the petition, Brim writes that “It is essential that students learn and respect each others’ gender pronouns to foster a safe and inclusive campus environment.” By including gender pronouns on the campus directory, Brim continues, the Carleton community “could make a step towards demonstrating that we are a campus that respects and acknowledges people’s gender identities—especially for non-binary and trans folks who might be tired of being misgendered or reminding people of their pronouns time and time again.”

Similarly, Kortanek sees the inclusion of gender pronouns on the campus directory as a way to “both increase visibility of gender diversity on campus and provide an infrastructure for holding each other accountable in avoiding the inequality that can occur when individuals are misgendered.”

“Transgender/genderqueer/non-binary students still experience some extent of invisibility and inequality on campus,” Kortanek continued. “We hope that making student pronouns visible helps in raising awareness of the inherent difference between biological sex and gender identity—and, thus, the harm in assuming one’s gender identity—and leads to a decrease in the instances of misgendering so that trans students can be recognized and affirmed as much as their cis counterparts.”

Students can choose to have their gender pronouns displayed on the campus directory, or they can opt out of the process. Kortanek said “We proposed that pronoun inclusion on the campus directory be optional to acknowledge and support those who are not comfortable sharing their preferred pronouns on the directory for whatever reason or who are still determining which pronouns they prefer.” Cota agrees, saying “It’s optional because by doing so it avoids forcing people to conform to gender pronouns and come out as being trans or gender nonconforming.”

“Everyone will have the choice to submit their preferred pronouns or not,” said Director of Web Services Julie Anderson. “If not submitted, nothing will show on the directory.” When asked what steps will be taken to ensure the privacy of students, Anderson said that “Student information is only shown to Carleton community members who have logged in.” According to Cota, “parents would require a student login in order to see the pronouns.”

This CSA resolution was passed on the heels of a college initiative to include gender pronouns on faculty rosters. On August 27, Dean of Students Carolyn Livingston sent an all-student email introducing this new initiative. “We now have a process by which you may communicate your personal pronouns electronically to your adviser and the professors of the courses in which you’re enrolled each term,” wrote Livingston. Personal pronouns would be reported on a Personal Pronoun Form, and communicated to advisors and professors through the Registrar’s Office.

In the email, Livingston emphasized that “This is an optional process for students who wish to share this information and is intended to provide a more discreet mode of communication offering an alternative to in-class sharing of pronoun preferences. Your submission will appear on your adviser’s and professors’ electronic rosters.”

Cota is hopeful that the new CSA resolution, “in conjunction with the college initiative where faculty were provided with a student’s pronouns beforehand” will “help mitigate the numerous cases in misgendering that I myself have experienced, as a non-binary and they/them pronoun user, and that fellow trans folx have experienced.”

According to Anderson, “The plan is to have pronouns in the directory by end of spring break.” Adding gender pronouns to the campus directory will be a multistep process. “The data needs to be made available to the directory, and the directory needs to receive it for display,” said Anderson. “The first step will take some time, partially because there is other work in progress that need to be completed first.”

However, Cota said that since Monday, November 11, the project “timeline has shifted.” According to Cota, CSA President Anesu Masakura ’20 announced that ITS will be working on the project over winter break, and that it should be implemented by Winter Term.

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Categories: Colleges

GSC Director Mathews makes public statement, Cota ‘22 pushes for change in attitudes toward GSC

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 11:26pm

On Thursday, November 14, Carleton Student Association (CSA) President Anesu Masakura ’20 sent a campus-wide email entitled “GSC Statement.” “I invite folx to share their feelings about their experiences with the GSC and its changes,” reads the statement from Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) Director Danny Mathews. A URL included at the end of the email links to an anonymous feedback form with one question: “What are your feelings about the GSC and your experiences with the office?”

Last Spring, the Carletonian reported that of the ten students employed as Gender and Sexuality Associates (GSCAs) in Fall 2018, only two had retained the position by the end of Spring term. Mathews was hired during December 2018, and all eight departures occurred after the change in leadership.

Four former GSCAs interviewed in the Spring 2019 Carletonian article raised concerns about “the development of an unsupportive work environment where student opinions were disregarded, a loss of community in the GSC and a significant decrease in campus engagement with the GSC.”

“Over the last several months, the GSC has experienced some changes,” reads Mathews’ statement. “The professional staff in our office are available to meet one on one for conversations about these topics.”

“We care about supporting LGBTQIA+ people and communities at Carleton and maintaining a space that is welcoming and inclusive,” Mathews continues.

The statement came about largely because of the efforts of Ozzy Cota ’22, who met with Mathews individually on Tuesday, November 5. “I met with Danny to voice my concerns, as a queer and nonbinary student, about what the GSC was doing,” said Cota.

“I suggested he send me a statement about what the GSC was doing,” said Cota.

“I suggested that he send me a statement about what the GSC will be doing as a next step forward, considering all the harm and chaos that has been happening,” said Cota. “I also suggested he acknowledge any residual and rightful anger that some of these students may have by attaching an anonymous Google form for feedback.”

Cota, who serves as a Class of 2022 Representative on CSA Senate, reported on their conversation with Mathews to Senate on Monday, November 11.

In their Senate address, Cota said “I have been working on fixing the relations of the GSC. During my conversation with Danny, he made a series of acknowledgements and apologized for the way that space has been characterized and more importantly has acted. We shifted the conversation to talk about what would rebuilding trust look like.”

Cota believed Mathews’ statement should be released by the students in Senate, as opposed to the GSC or the Dean of Students Office. “CSA Senate represents the student body,” noted Cota. “Sending the statement to students via Senate shows that this message has been deliberated on by straight, cisgender, and queer students on Senate. I didn’t want it to be a clinical thing presented by Danny, whose credibility is underground, or the Dean’s office, because then it might appear like the administration had been doing this work. The reality is that students worked on this. It was a student-led initiative—it shows that students have the power to get things done through conversations.”

Cota met with Vice President and Dean of Students Carolyn Livingston on October 16 to discuss the GSC. “She said that if students did have concerns about Danny, they’d have the liberty to file a Human Resources complaint,” said Cota. “It’s interesting because I didn’t know we had Human Resources.”

“Students should complete community concern forms if they have concerns, observations, or questions regarding faculty, staff, visitor, or student behavior,” said Livingston. “Faculty concerns are addressed by the Dean of the College, student concerns by the Dean of Students. Human Resources is involved if there is a concern relating to students employment and each division is made aware of the concern and will work with HR to resolve the student employment issue.”

“One of the things Senate is working on, and that I will be working on, is trying to understand the Human Resources process and streamline that information,” said Cota. “So if in the future a situation comes where another staff member is being problematic to the community and action needs to be taken, there will be an accessible and easy way of doing it without having to go through all this work.”

GSC office staff

Of the two GSCAs employed at the end of Spring 2019, one is currently studying abroad, and the other is now working for another Division of Student Life office.

Currently, three students are employed as GSCAs, all of whom are new to the position: Anna Bridgeman ’22, LouLou Ferrer ’20 and Veronica Alvarez-Zavala ’22.

This Fall, the GSC hired eight office assistants, a new GSC position. The position was not assigned as a summer employment assignment to first-years, but rather advertised and filled early fall term. While GSCAs are considered peer leaders, office assistants are not, and their tasks are more administrative than programmatic, said Bridgeman. Six of the eight office assistants are first-years, Bridgeman said. Mathews declined to confirm this number.

“Our GSC Office Assistants have been a great addition to the team,” said Mathews. “Students are an important part of the work happening in the GSC, and we will continue to offer opportunities for students to get involved at whatever level they are comfortable.”

Bridgeman applied to be a GSCA during the peer leader application period in Spring 2019.

As a prospective student, Bridgeman attended a GSC event. “I loved it, and had a great time. I thought: ‘This is the job I want to have when I come to Carleton.’ Last year, things were going on with the GSC, but I just said to myself: ‘I’m going to make prospie Anna happy, and apply for the job anyway.’”

“Some days after I applied for the job, the Carletonian article came out, and that was stressful, definitely. I thought: ‘What have I done?’ But I talked to one of the GSCAs who stayed, which was a reassuring conversation,” Bridgeman continued.

“I’ve had a good experience working at the GSC,” said Bridgeman. “It’s been nothing where I’ve thought I needed to leave. I don’t want to invalidate people who had those feelings, because I’m sure there were reasons. But for me, it hasn’t been bad; it’s a nice job. My experience with Danny has just been in staff meetings, when he’s mostly just checking in on what everyone is working on.”

“My experiences with Danny’s leadership are very different than the GSCAs from last year,” said Ferrer. “The past and the present are very different things. He’s trying to adapt more to the Carleton system. He has good intentions, entirely. I personally don’t have tension with him—not to invalidate anyone else’s experience.”

Of the two GSCAs employed at the end of Spring 2019, one is currently studying abroad, and the other is now working for another Division of Student Life office.

Currently, three students are employed as GSCAs, all of whom are new to the position: Anna Bridgeman ’22, LouLou Ferrer ’20 and Veronica Alvarez-Zavala ’22.

This Fall, the GSC hired eight office assistants, a new GSC position. The position was not assigned as a summer employment assignment to first-years, but rather advertised and filled early fall term. While GSCAs are considered peer leaders, office assistants are not, and their tasks are more administrative than programmatic, said Bridgeman. Six of the eight office assistants are first-years, Bridgeman said. Mathews declined to confirm this number.

“Our GSC Office Assistants have been a great addition to the team,” said Mathews. “Students are an important part of the work happening in the GSC, and we will continue to offer opportunities for students to get involved at whatever level they are comfortable.”

Bridgeman applied to be a GSCA during the peer leader application period in Spring 2019.

As a prospective student, Bridgeman attended a GSC event. “I loved it, and had a great time. I thought: ‘This is the job I want to have when I come to Carleton.’ Last year, things were going on with the GSC, but I just said to myself: ‘I’m going to make prospie Anna happy, and apply for the job anyway.’”

“Some days after I applied for the job, the Carletonian article came out, and that was stressful, definitely. I thought: ‘What have I done?’ But I talked to one of the GSCAs who stayed, which was a reassuring conversation,” Bridgeman continued.

“I’ve had a good experience working at the GSC,” said Bridgeman. “It’s been nothing where I’ve thought I needed to leave. I don’t want to invalidate people who had those feelings, because I’m sure there were reasons. But for me, it hasn’t been bad; it’s a nice job. My experience with Danny has just been in staff meetings, when he’s mostly just checking in on what everyone is working on.”

“My experiences with Danny’s leadership are very different than the GSCAs from last year,” said Ferrer. “The past and the present are very different things. He’s trying to adapt more to the Carleton system. He has good intentions, entirely. I personally don’t have tension with him—not to invalidate anyone else’s experience.”

Current GSC efforts

Tea Time, a weekly social event hosted by the GSC, has seen low attendance this term, according to Bridgeman.

“Attendance has been pretty low, and it’s about half people who work at the GSC,” said Bridgeman. “So it’s kind of disappointing.”

“In terms of who comes to the GSC, the demographics are different this year,” said Ferrer. “We have a significant amount of first-years. My first year at Carleton it was more of a balance between first-years and upperclassmen.”

A November 5 GSC e-newsletter included a link to a “Tea Time Experience Survey,” which included questions regarding students’ attendance at and preferences about the event.

“We’re trying to get student feedback to try to revamp it and bring it back to life,” Bridgeman continued. “We’re trying to figure out ways to make it more interactive, to keep things exciting.”

“In looking at survey responses, a lot of the reason people enjoy Tea Time is for community-building,” said Bridgeman. “And it’s kind of hard to build a community when there’s no one there.”


On August 30, an Instagram account by the handle @c.a.r.l.s2019 posted an image of a rainbow-striped raised fist, with text reading: “What else do we need to prove? Fire Danny Mathews now! Protest Danny Mathews, save the GSC; LGBTQ+ Carl Communities deserve better.”

The post was uploaded by a new coalition called Carls Advocating for the Rights of LGBTQIA and Sexual Identities (CARLS), founded by Cota and two former GSCAs.

The Instagram account currently has 81 followers, and the post advocating for Mathews’ firing received 35 likes.

“We made the post because we were upset over the things that had transpired during Danny’s leadership,” said Cota. “We decided to make the first agenda item the firing of Danny Mathews and the restoration of the GSC as a safe space. That was our position coming into fall term.”

CARLS no longer advocates for firing Mathews. Neither does Cota personally.

“I changed my mind the moment I left Danny’s office,” said Cota. “I thought: it actually seems like we can do something now. All the effort and resources we would’ve put into firing him can be put into creating new, diverse initiatives.”

“I think that Danny has proven himself to care about making a positive change on our campus,” said one of the former GSCAs who founded CARLS with Cota. “He is simply learning to familiarize himself with our campus and its infrastructure.”

“There was a lot of anger and hurt that was very much palpable and evident in the queer communities at Carleton,” said Cota. “But we are no longer advocating for firing Danny Mathews.”

Cota pointed to other dynamics that caused CARLS to reconsider its stance on Mathews. “The problems that arose with advocating for his firing were connected to the conflation of anti-Danny rhetoric with general animosity for the GSC,” said Cota.

“Since the Carletonian article came out, there has not been any visible effort toward trying to fix the GSC situation. Cisgender and heterosexual folk are capitalizing on this ‘woke’ activism, where now it’s the ‘right’ thing to be against the GSC, without any genuine concern for what that means for queer communities.”

“I think the route I took was very difficult, personally and emotionally,” said Cota of his activism this term. “Change can happen on campus, but if you’re going to have such a strong initiative, make sure you’re taking care of yourself first. And make sure you do most of the work when you’re on break—that made this a lot easier for me. I’d done a lot of the researching, reaching out, and brainstorming over the summer.”

“This all goes to show how important dialogue is, continued Cota. “In a perfect world, I would’ve liked to have been my radical self. But for the sake of bettering the queer community as it stands, there was that ideological sacrifice I had to make. And it seems to be working for the better. So, here’s to change.”

Looking forward

“Right now, we’re in a stage of trying to figure out what role the GSC can serve for students, and trying to figure out how to re-engage students who’ve stopped coming,” said Bridgeman. “We’ve had pretty good engagement with the first-year class, which has been really exciting. We’re just trying to make sure people know that the GSC is a space that’s open and available for them.”

“We knew going in that there was this tension around the GSC,” said Ferrer. “That was part of why I wanted to work there: to help ease that tension. We need positivity.”

“The GSC is going through a process of healing,” Ferrer continued. “We’re trying to connect with other offices, and we’re trying to expand more around campus. We’re trying to heal. We want people to come to the GSC, we want people to show up, and relax.”

“I have full confidence in the leadership of GSC, the GSCAs, and the student assistants who are conducting meaningful and thoughtful work with and for the GSC,” said Livingston.

“Ultimately, it is my goal to communicate that the GSC still cares and that we’re here for every student,” reads Mathews’ statement in the all-campus email. “I hope each of you will join us as the Gender and Sexuality Center turns the page and begins a new chapter.”

The post GSC Director Mathews makes public statement, Cota ‘22 pushes for change in attitudes toward GSC appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

CSA Senate proposes pay for top three executives

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 11:13pm

This year, the Carleton Student Association (CSA) has reintroduced a motion that would give pay to their executive leaders. This idea has been proposed before, but its benefits and drawbacks have proven difficult to balance, according to Student Body President Anesu Masakura ’20. Former Student Body President Walter Paul ’18 proposed this idea during Masakura’s freshman year, but due to complications, the motion was stalled.

Masakura charged a working group of CSA senators to do research on this issue and find out what other liberal arts colleges pay their student government executives. Whether the current proposal will ultimately pass remains undecided. “The Exec team does a lot of work, and it’s good that CSA is having this discussion,” said Hanah Diebold, Assistant Director of the Student Activities Office (SAO).

The CSA Secretary position has been a paid position for some time, constituting a maximum of 8 paid hours of work/week. If the executive positions were to become paid, they would follow a similar structure, said Masakura. “You are paying them the hourly wage at Carleton, which is $10.75” he said. Because CSA is a student governing organization that is independent of the college’s administration, it is unclear how the supervision and “employer-employee” dynamic will be implemented. Masakura said, “For CSA, who’s your supervisor? That gets tricky … SAO is there to help us, not to supervise us.” St. Olaf has paid their student body executives yearly stipends while other colleges have classified these positions as the equivalent of an on-campus job. Masakura said that Carleton has made clear that they do not want to pay their executives through stipends. “I don’t think that’s an option,” says Masakura.

If the motion passes, Masakura does not know what stance Carleton will take, but has stated that as of now he and his colleagues are wanting more information on this topic so they can raise a thoughtful discussion.

Masakura also expressed his concern over who will be eligible to attain the position of a CSA executive. At Carleton, many students do not qualify for campus jobs, whether that be for financial aid reasons or the Gates Scholarship. The Gates Scholarship is a financial award offered to help fund the collegiate education of students from minority demographics. Walter Paul, Masakura’s predecessor, was, in fact, a Gates Scholar. If CSA executives were to become paid, Masakura said that a discussion would need to be had regarding exceptions to this. “The money to pay the executives would come from the CSA budget,” said Masakura.

According to research being done by Carleton’s CSA, student government executive pay exists at select liberal arts colleges nationwide. For example, St. Olaf, Whitman, and Colorado College all offer select members of their student government a monthly, annual, or semester-based stipend. Many colleges argue that this is not only beneficial for the students occupying these executive positions, but also the leadership of the colleges. Masakura argued that by not paying CSA executives, many students at Carleton who might require financial assistance may not see any of these positions as attainable. He says that Carleton’s student government may be “losing talent.” Masakura explained that for the unpredictable and unregulated hours that he works as student body president on a weekly basis, it is like working two jobs, both as a peer leader and CSA Executive.

Considering the responsibilities that being a CSA Executive has, Diebold thinks “compensation for these positions could be justified and could allow students to focus on their CSA responsibilities, possibly without the worry of having to find additional employment on- or off-campus. As someone who has only recently started their work at Carleton, it has been very rewarding to see the current Exec team members in their roles. They take on and do so much, and if compensation for those in the role in the future helps take one worry off their shoulders, I think it is an option that should be considered.”

CSA Executive roles have been unpaid for the last 108 years, and participation has always been voluntary. Weighing this against pay, President Masakura said that “I think getting paid changes the meaning of the position.”

“It is good to pay your executives, but there are always other considerations,” Masakura continued. On this note, Masakura noted that deciding who to pay could be more challenging than simply drawing a line between the executive roles and the rest of CSA. “Another senator could say ‘I’m putting in 20 hours a week, why am I not getting paid for that?’”

“Getting paid definitely narrows the pool of people who can be executive leaders,” said Masakura. This speculation is founded upon challenges that arise for those receiving a Gates Scholarship, a highly-selective scholarship for exceptional minority students which affects their opportunity to attain campus jobs, as well as other students in similar situations. Given a student in this situation was to obtain an executive CSA role, Masakura said that making an exception could be problematic: “It’s tricky. If you are making exceptions, you might as well make them for everyone.”

As was previously mentioned, executive pay also entails strengthening the connection between campus administration and the CSA. Masakura explains that “I think pay changes the dynamics of our relationship with the administration.” While Masakura praises the administration, he further suggests that this increased connectivity may make CSA “an extension of the administration, of which we are not.”

When asked about the fairness of CSA executives receiving pay while other executives of student organizations do not, Masakura said, “I do think it’s fair to say that CSA is different from other organizations on campus; we actually charter (officially recogniz) and fund other student organizations on campus. Our focus is not confined to one activity; rather, we’re a representative student government that deals with all aspects of student life. Given the time Execs commit to making these things happen, some might see that as a justification for executive pay. I’m not using that as a justification for executive pay; I’m just saying we’re still in the talking stages and we haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet. But if someone were to bring up that concern, that’s how I’d respond to it.”

“CSA is a thoughtful student government,” said Masakura. Masakura himself would not benefit from this policy, as it would go into effect this coming fall at the earliest. Over the next few months, the CSA intends to continue researching and debating this topic: “The fact that we are doing research on other liberal arts institutions doing the same thing shows that we do try, and we want to do this right,’’ Masakura explains. Ultimately, Masakura believes that “If the cost, not limited to financial costs, of having a paid executive position is greater than the benefits, then we might as well stick with our current system.” Masakura intends to reach out to the student body for input on the matter, and Diebold agrees: “Once more details have been decided, I think it would be good to hear from the student body.”

The post CSA Senate proposes pay for top three executives appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

October 31-November 5, 2019

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:39am

Thursday, October 31

Evening: Taxi vouchers were given to a student for transport to the hospital.

Saturday, November 2

Early morning: Security transported an injured student to the hospital for treatment.

Early Morning: Security took a report of a missing wallet.

Evening: Security responded to the report of lost power in a dorm. Security reset the circuit breaker.

Tuesday, Nov 5

Morning: Security took a report of inappropriate behavior by an employee of a service vendor from off campus.

Evening: Security arranged transportation for an ill student so they could get to the Northfield Hospital.

The post October 31-November 5, 2019 appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Why Settle on Date Knight

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:14am

Don’t worry, he’s nothing like the Game of Thrones “short king.”

The post Why Settle on Date Knight appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

In a rut: signs of white-tailed Deer mating season

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 11:54pm

It is mid-autumn in the arboretum: many trees are bare, a few hearty bird species remain, and white-tailed deer mating season is in full swing.

Referred to as the “rut,” white-tailed deer mating season occurs from October to December. Because whitetails are short-day breeders, behavioral changes are trigged by reduced daylight in mid-to-late autumn. With days now growing shorter and nights growing longer, signs of the rut are scattered throughout the arb. Two of the most easily recognizable signs are rubs and scrapes.

Rubs are formed when bucks scrape against trees and shrubs, shedding a layer of velvet from their antlers. The velvet, which begins to grow in the spring, is a thin layer of living tissue that provides nourishment for the antlers. By fall, this tissue begins to die and is no longer necessary. In addition to shedding velvet, rubs are used to mark a buck’s territory. When a buck creates a rub, it secretes a musky scent from a gland just below the base of the antlers. This scent acts as the buck’s “signature,” indicating the deer’s age, social ranking, and breeding status to the remainder of the herd.

Several weeks after the first rubs appear, bucks begin making scrapes. Scrapes are identified by bare patches of earth on the edge of open areas and below low-hanging branches. A buck begins the scrape process by chewing buds from overhanging twigs, then secreting scent onto the branches from his forehead, preorbital, and nasal glands. He will then paw the ground beneath the branches, creating a bare patch of earth. Most bucks will also dispense scent by urinating in the scraped area. In the period about two weeks from peak rut, bucks will make 6-12 scrapes for every hour they are on their feet.

Rubs and scrapes only tell a small part of a complex story. While they do not show the sparring matches, the stare-downs, or the starvation caused by a buck’s one-track mind, these signs offer us a glance into the busy world of whitetails in mid-autumn.

The post In a rut: signs of white-tailed Deer mating season appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges