Gen Z, we have to support the Green New Deal  

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 4:18pm

In my home state of Colorado, a fire that’s spanned over 100,000 acres has made the mountains invisible. Last week, we had three inches of snow and a record temperature drop. The sky in California is red. This increase in extreme weather and natural disasters is just a taste of what will happen in the coming decades if the problem of climate change is not dealt with. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that an average temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrialized levels will lead to disaster, with millions of people becoming refugees, a complete collapse in food production and wars over water. To stop a climate fallout, greenhouse gas emissions need to be at a net zero by 2050—we have ten years to get on track for this. This is a genuinely apocalyptic situation heightened by our government’s inaction over the past ten years. So, if the Green New Deal seems like an extreme solution, it is—for an extreme problem. 

The most common argument against the Green New Deal is about how much it would cost. It’s expensive to provide jobs and get to 100 percent clean energy, but the IPCC projects that the U.S. will lose about $500 billion in annual economic output by 2100 due to climate change. The possible economic effects created by combating climate change pale in comparison to the unprecedented economic collapse that the climate crisis will create.

Also, it’s cheaper to use clean energy. For the parts of the country that already use it, it’s the most affordable option. Sometimes, industries die off. This post-industrialized world is cursed by our continuing reliance on oil. It’s an unstable commodity, much of which comes from overseas. Jobs will be lost in the transition away from oil, but more can easily be created in clean energy. Sadly, the amount of money and political power that the fossil fuel industry and our largest corporations have is obscene. This is why we need to enact strong legislation to make the switch to renewable energy happen. 

The Green New Deal is much more concerned with aiding the U.S. economy than most people realize. The deal mitigates the threat of climate change while bolstering economic output and improving the lives of workers. You could whine about the program being too socialist, but programs like President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal massively stimulated the economy while making life better for the people. We can do that again. 

Last year, I joined the Sunrise Movement, a group of youth climate activists fighting for a Green New Deal and a liveable future. It’s amazing how passionate and energetic young people are about the climate, but it is because we have to be. We’re going to be the first generation to experience the effects of the climate crisis fully, but we can also be the one to stop it. 

Great strides have already been made, such as the primary wins of climate champions like Senator Ed Markey. But we need to do more. We need to listen to science and reason, and therefore, we need to make 2021 the year of the Green New Deal. 

Check out to learn more about the Green New Deal.

Charlotte is from Boulder, CO.

Categories: Colleges

The art of performing to an empty room

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 4:14pm

From pro sports to Broadway, institutions have undergone massive changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is not only the athletes, musicians, actors and TV show hosts but also the millions of avid fans around the world who face these unprecedented challenges. Therefore, we must ask—how important is it that fans flood back into stadiums and theaters?

Deprived of the chance to cheer on their favorite sports team, many fans jumped at the opportunity that Major League Baseball (MLB) offered to purchase cardboard cutouts of themselves or even their dogs to have a front-row seat in stadiums. Twitter blew up with tweets about sitting next to a celebrity at a baseball game or being sent the homerun ball if it hit your cardboard self, and a new type of excitement buzzed around the world of sports.

The MLB, the National Hockey League and the National Football League began piping crowd noise into the stadiums in an attempt to bring the spirit of the game back. The topic generated conflict because the fake noise may be more distracting for the players and ruins the feel of the game. Initially, the idea was to recreate the feeling of excitement and competition within the stadium and to cover the voices of the players so the integrity of the game would not be compromised. In theory, piped-in noise is a good idea to make the best of the situation, but when I watch games, I find that the cardboard cutouts of people’s giant heads and artificial cheering make the game more of a comedy. 

In the world of entertainment, comedians have taken to performing in front of virtual audiences. Broadway is streaming previously performed musicals, and the Grand Ole Opry is a ghost town for musicians. Similar to sports, we lose the excitement of being physically present watching the best of the best perform surrounded by an atmosphere of noise and nerves. Although the chat button and fake laughter attempt to bring the joy back, the feeling of physically attending these events is unbeatable. 

St. Olaf, as well as many other institutions, faces the likelihood that performances will be live-streamed and audiences will be absent or at least socially distanced outside until 2021 at the earliest. As fans, there is a loss of connection between the teams and performers that we love, and on the other side, there is a different energy without applause and shouts. Although performing to an empty room has its challenges, the effects of opening up too soon are far greater.

Zoe is from Braddock Heights, MD.

Categories: Colleges

The problems with St. Olaf’s Policy on Student Demonstration

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 4:12pm

Following the 7 Feet for 7 Shots protest and counter-protest, it became clear how much more work St. Olaf needs to do to support and uplift its Black, brown and minority students. The protest illuminates many policies that the College needs to change, including the silencing of the Policy on Student Demonstration that went into effect in 2017 after school-wide protests against racism.

The Policy on Student Demonstration outlines the types of protest that are welcomed and the ones that are banned or restricted. The policy begins by emphasizing the encouragement and support of free speech and then goes on to describe St. Olaf’s restrictions on the matter. Amplified music, blocking walkways, not cleaning up after an event and generally disrupting the usual flow of business are some of the restricted behaviors, all of which were a part of the 2017 protests.

The adoption of the Policy on Student Demonstration presents a major issue. It shows that those protests were not supported by the school. St. Olaf should be proud of students for standing up for what they believe in. Instead, the response was to silence students and stop a similar protest from happening again. 

The policy is extremely restrictive. The fact that St. Olaf wants to remain orderly even when students are demanding to be recognized shows a lack of care for the voices of the unheard. 

The emphasis on free speech within the Policy presents a false sense of open discussion, when in actuality St. Olaf limits protest but not hate speech. The existence of the Olefront and Olefrontier Instagram accounts exhibits that harassment, hate speech and blatant racism are a part of our campus. There should always be disciplinary action in these circumstances. St. Olaf needs to be crystal clear about the types of discourses that are encouraged and the ones that are banned. With vague and positive language like that used in the policy, it is unclear where the administration stands in supporting minority students, who are often the ones protesting. 

I will not deny that the policy seems fairly standard in comparison with the policies of other private institutions similar to St. Olaf. This does not make it right. I want to see administration unafraid to be criticized and in full support of the voices of their students no matter what. 

Reading the current policy took me back to high school where we were asked to have a permission slip to do future walk-outs after the national walkout for gun control following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. It felt important to me not to sign that permission slip but to get suspended or sacrifice my grade in solidarity with the movement. That was the point of the walkout. The policy felt inconsistent with the merits and ethics of protest in general.

Nevertheless, the privilege of protesting securely is not ubiquitous for all students. The vagueness of the policy might leave students wondering what will happen if they don’t follow it, leading to questions about losing financial aid and other disciplinary actions. These questions are scary, especially for minority students who already feel like their place on campus is not always secure. 

As a community, we need to thwart the continued narrative that allowing free speech jeopardizes and oppresses the feelings of people who disagree. If the same amount of energy and emphasis was put into stopping white supremacy as was put into restricting demonstration, St. Olaf might be in a better, more encouraging place. 

I believe an updated policy needs to state a rejection of racism and hate speech, describe explicitly the disciplinary action that might occur if it is broken, loosen overall restrictions on protests and clarify the importance of accountability at a private institution. 

Caroline is from Pasadena, CA.

Categories: Colleges

HeartBeat: Get creative with your love  

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 4:07pm


Anyone who has ever gone to a supermarket with an empty stomach knows how appetite hampers our judgment and often leads to regrettable choices. This year, Oles came from quarantining with their families to campus in the same state of mind as that with which a hungry Costco cardholder sets upon a family-size box of bagel bites. That’s why the 2020-2021 school year is sure to provide a bumper crop of flings, embarrassing stories and Zoom breakout room flirting that is bound to make the third person in your discussion group really uncomfortable.

It is as much a time of risk as opportunity, however. A whole new set of questions face the Zoom student in search of love: “What’s under that mask?” “Is that a ‘Pulp Fiction’ poster in his room?” “Did I just send ‘great comment! ;)’ to the whole class instead of privately?” “Wait, that’s a first-year?”

Certain students will be thrilled to learn that your peers cannot smell you through a Zoom screen, fortunately permitting the consumption of a full loaf of garlic bread prior to a class with your imagined beau. Just as exciting is the face mask’s role in covering up an early-stage facial hair experiment. Wear it for classes and then, on your first caf date with the unfortunate student who liked your eyes, whip off the mask to reveal your caterpillar-lip and ask them to call you “Magnum.” That’ll work.

But with in-person clubs suspended, the hallway crowds thinned, Stav Hall socially distanced and the non-alcoholic gatherings that once defined Ole social life ruled out, it might be hard to get some quality time with the apple of your eye — the one who would probably fall for you if you were just pinned to their screen instead of exiled to the second page of gallery view. If slipping into their Moodle DMs is too forward for you, think creatively. Is your quarantine crush an athlete? Try stalking them on Strava or MapMyRun, and then jog the same Natural Lands routes, claiming to be a fellow passionate runner. By the time they realize you aren’t an exercise fanatic but are in fact an irrevocable creep, they’ll be too in love with you to be mad. Probably.

You could, of course, transfer to their schedule entirely for a little more quality time. Lying about who you are, what you do and the sort of things you’re interested in is one of the best ways to find a meaningful relationship. If you’re not willing to take that step, consider bribing your professor into pairing the two of you for some group work. Nothing brings about romance like a due date and something neither one of you wants to do. It works for married couples!

Ultimately, we’ll all need a dash of courage and good luck in our amorous adventures this year, no matter what stage of a relationship we’re struggling with. Flirting isn’t easy, but neither is keeping a relationship healthy with all manner of restrictions (and roommates who no longer have any reasons to leave the room, ever). So good luck, Oles, and find some closeness at a distance.

Categories: Colleges

MediaBeat: The new, live-action “Mulan” 

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 3:58pm

When I first heard that Disney would be making a live-action “Mulan” movie — one that didn’t have any musical numbers and wanted to be more faithful to the original story and culture — I was more than excited. I didn’t like the live-action remakes of other Disney Renaissance films because they tried to recreate the original shot for shot. Sure, there is some obvious enjoyment in seeing these live-action films, but they are still very much inferior to the original animated versions. I was ecstatic for “Mulan” because it sounded like it would set itself apart from the original. Now that the movie has been put on Disney+, costing subscribers an extra $30 to watch, one wonders: Is the price worth it? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. I’m glad I saw it, but I definitely have some gripes.

While I was excited for the fresh take on this film, the changes the filmmakers made didn’t feel nearly as impactful as they should have. The best example I can give is the phoenix, which replaces the character Mushu from the original film. I am glad Disney made this change in order to set a more realistic and serious tone. However, I was hoping the phoenix would have just as strong of a relationship with Mulan as Mushu had in the original. Unfortunately, other than a few moments of screen time, the phoenix does not do much aside from serve as visual eye candy. Plus, Mulan doesn’t really connect with it on a personal level. If the filmmakers wanted to justify the changes they made, they could have given it more meaningful contributions.

Another example of a disappointing change is the small role of the witch. She was my favorite part of the movie; I enjoyed seeing all of her cool powers on display while also witnessing her satisfying character arc. The story would have benefited from her being the main antagonist since her story parallels Mulan’s. Unfortunately, the witch doesn’t have much of an impact on the story aside from a small scene. Furthermore, it does not help that the main villain of the story is not exactly noteworthy. 

Simply put, not many of the new characters actually stand out. What is the point in changing these characters if they are going to serve a similar purpose as in the original? 

I would be fine with these small changes if the story itself was interesting enough to carry the film. I felt like everyone involved was going through the motions in terms of plot. Those who have seen the animated version will know exactly what happens at each stage of the story. A certain level of predictability is to be expected, but if the filmmakers really wanted to make the live-action version different from the original, changing at least part of the plot certainly would have helped. 

The filmmakers did not have trouble shaking up Mulan’s character in this film. Unlike the original, which showed her having to work her way to the top, she starts out being skilled and competent as a warrior. I honestly don’t mind this change, as it helps to color the narrative in a different way. It shows that no matter how hard she tries, Mulan can never be herself in front of the patriarchal society. Only when she proves herself through her commitment and courage do people understand and respect her. This strength then gives her the chance to be her true self. Sure, it’s not the most cohesive message, but I can at least appreciate the writers for trying to do something different. 

That being said, not only do her new powers feel like a huge deus ex machina, but they’re given so little explanation that they feel out of place. If at least one other person were seen channeling their chi in the same way as Mulan, it would make more sense. As it stands, however, it feels like the writers gave her new abilities just for the sake of her being a strong “chosen one.” Her natural superiority over everyone else gives less space for moments that truly resonate. Overall, the biggest problem of this film is that the story lacks substance and is ultimately a bland imitation of the original.

Of course, that’s not to say that this movie is a complete mess. This one definitely does a lot more to show appreciation for Chinese traditions and culture than the original ever did. Not to mention the backgrounds and cinematography are straight-up gorgeous, and the action scenes are truly spectacles to behold. I think the film is worth experiencing at least once if you’re even slightly interested. Definitely wait to watch it on Disney+ until December, though; that way, you won’t have to pay the $30.

It is clear that this remake has not brought honor to us all. Here’s to hoping that Disney can give future remakes better, more creative treatment.


Categories: Colleges

Postponed senior art show celebrates playful and contemplative pieces

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 3:48pm

Each year, at the conclusion of their time at St. Olaf, senior art majors undergo the creation of four to seven pieces of art. These pieces, exhibited in the Senior Show, are the culmination of the skills students have mastered over their four years at St. Olaf. 

Artists’ themes often have a personal message or demonstrate their experiences and ambitions. As I toured this year’s Senior Show, I was impressed not only by the beautiful art, but also by the range of topics addressed. The artists expressed themselves through their particular medium, artistic style and topic. Some decided to tackle significant issues, including sexuality, race, religion and environmental awareness. Through their evocative works of art, these creators called their audience to action and informed them of a variety of issues. 

Memorable pieces included Lesly Damaris Ramos Perez’s ’20 “Atrapada,” which focused on immigrant identity, and Sarah Guilford’s ’20 “A Theater Near You,” which highlighted the lack of minority representation in cinema. 

In addition to these important themes, there were also satirical pieces, including Elissa Krauses’s ’20 “The Pink,” which commented on consumerism in America. Other seniors decided to relay personal experiences or beliefs through their exhibits. In these playful and stunning pieces, you can relate to the artists on a personal level and see the world as they do. Less serious exhibits, though just as exceptionally artistic and fun, included Jose Gomez Jr.’s ’20 “Quirks,” an illustrative self-portrait of their unique habits.

Mediums varied between artists and included watercolor, photography, painted glass, sculpture, pottery, acrylic and oil paint. Individual artistic style was also apparent throughout the show; some pieces focused on realism, while others utilized surrealism, satire or advertisement.

The Senior Show is located in the Flaten Art Museum and is open on weekdays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekends from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. I would highly recommend supporting these artists and their accomplishments by stopping by to admire their work. There is a short written explanation of the artist’s inspiration and intention next to each work of art. As you take in the exhibit, I encourage you to read these insights and ponder the message of the artists.

Categories: Colleges

School districts turn to CARES Act to offset MSHSL's large fee increases

Northfield News - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 3:45pm
The Minnesota State High School League has taken a hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving member schools to deal with the consequences.
Categories: Local News

Giannis needs help

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 3:37pm

Giannis Antetokounmpo has climbed the NBA ladder. Coming into the league as a scrawny 6’9” forward with lots of room to grow, Giannis took advantage of every off-season until now to become a dominating force. Two league MVPs, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player — the list of accolades goes on. 

Yet, when we think of Giannis now, all we can think of is how the Miami Heat just cruised past the Bucks with a gentleman’s sweep. Why is one of the top players in the league struggling so much in the playoffs? The answer is as simple as not having a sidekick.

Throughout the years, Giannis hasn’t been paired up with many people that we can call “stars.” Kris Middleton has been the best partner Giannis has ever had, but most people would not call him elite. Middleton is a very good three point shooter and defensive player, but on any other roster would probably be seen as a third option. 

Yet on the Bucks, Middleton is seen as Giannis’s go-to guy when he is in trouble. That isn’t right. Lebron James has Anthony Davis. Kawhi Leonard has Paul George. Even James Harden has Russell Westbrook. All of the best players in the league also have someone else who is elite on the roster to take the pressure off. Super teams have become a necessity in the league to win championships the past years. I’m not saying that Kris Middleton can’t be a great player on a championship team, I’m just saying that they need someone better than him to go anywhere.

Giannis recently told the media that he isn’t planning on going anywhere. That’s right Bucks fans, you can breathe for now. Still, there is one possibility that crossed my mind. It is a beyond extreme thought, and as a Portland Trailblazers fan, I dream about it every night. That’s right … a Giannis and Damian Lillard team up.

Now hear me out: imagine Giannis getting frustrated in Milwaukee because of their lack of wanting to surround him with talent. Giannis leaves Milwaukee and comes to Portland. It would be perfect! People would be scared of Damian Lillard’s ability to shoot from anywhere and the paint would be wide open for Giannis to dunk to his heart’s content. Add in CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkić and you have a championship contender right away. I’m just saying Giannis … maybe think about it?

With all dreams aside, Giannis actually needs help. With the roster the Bucks have at the moment, nothing but good regular seasons and sad playoff disappointments are in store for them in the future. They need somebody big time. A Superman to Giannis’ Batman. A second player who can also do heavy lifting. Please hurry Milwaukee. Your window is closing.

Categories: Colleges

Platform for change: St. Olaf athletes take key role in anti-racist activism 

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 3:32pm

“George Floyd mattered. Breonna Taylor mattered. Black Lives matter. As St. Olaf athletes, we’re fighting for change.” 

In a video created by St. Olaf athletes this summer in response to the murder of George Floyd, members of St. Olaf sports teams voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. In doing so, they joined a nationwide chorus of athletes calling for an end to racism and police brutality. 

The Milwaukee Bucks received international attention in August when they went on strike to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake by police and continued police brutality against Black Americans. The NBA strike followed in the footsteps of work done by the WNBA, who have been key leaders pushing for racial justice, boldly moving forward conversations about the role of athletes and sports teams in anti-racist work. 

The debate in the United States over the place of athletes in activism has raged for decades, as white spectators and franchise owners desired to be entertained by and profit off of Black and brown athletes, while those same athletes fought to be treated as human beings in a racist country. Today, on soccer fields, basketball courts, in tennis tournaments and courtrooms, an ever-increasing number of athletes are publicly demanding racial justice.

Both professional and college athletes are uniquely positioned to use their platform to disrupt spaces and call attention to injustice. 

“It’s important for athletes to take the initiative and take on those roles because then people can see it constantly instead of just on the news,” K’Lynn Lewis ’22, a player on the St. Olaf women’s basketball team, said.

And while professional athletes are most visible on a national level, Division III college athletes are visible within their own communities.

“We can’t always rely on professionals,” Lewis said. “There’s so much we can do here at St Olaf.” 

One of the groups taking action at St. Olaf is Oles Against Inequality (OAI), a group led by members of the football team. OAI organized the recent “Seven Feet for Seven Shots” protest and march. One of the organizers, Gabe Alada ’22, said that he hoped that the march would prompt dialogue and bring awareness and urgency to fighting for racial justice. Alada also said that he hoped OAI would help “start those conversations between teams.”

St. Olaf athletes are not only fighting structural racism in the United States, but also within the athletic department. 2020 is the first year that the athletic department has talked specifically about racism and anti-racism. I asked athletic director Ryan Bowles why this was. “I don’t know, quite honestly,” Bowles said. “I don’t have a good reason for you.” 

The murder of George Floyd in May was a catalyst for Bowles. 

‘“I had a conversation with Bruce King … and said ‘It’s time to start using the r-word racism and call it what it is,”’ Bowles said. 

Yet Bowles’ statement raises the question — why was it not time to address racism when Philando Castile was murdered? When Trayvon Martin was murdered? When horrific racism has been happening since long before St. Olaf was founded?

Just saying the word “racism” is a long way from creating the systemic change necessary to dismantle institutional racism, and the lack of action by the athletic department has caused harm to many athletes. 

Lewis highlighted the lack of women of color, especially Black women, in sports at St. Olaf, a critical issue that is overlooked far too often.

“My coach and my teammates have my back,” Lewis said. “But there are certain things that they will never understand when I step out on the court. How people see me and how people think I am. It’s not just basketball. There are so many other sports where you don’t see women of color.”

Anti-racism work in athletics must center women of color, yet St. Olaf is one of many institutions that fail to support women of color in sports. 

“The WNBA have always talked about the issues and never get the credit,” Lewis said. “They’ve been doing it since the beginning.”

In our conversation, Bowles was quick to acknowledge the learning that he and others have to do to create change. 

“This has been a time of reflection for me as the athletic director, both me personally and the athletic department as a whole,” Bowles said. 

Before the “Seven Feet for Seven Shots” march on Sept. 4, Bowles expressed his support for OAI.

“I want them to use their voice,” Bowles said. “I want them to use their platform. I want them to be a part of the change. We’ll be right there with them, supporting them, and we’ll never tell them to not do something.”

Yet in the aftermath of the protest, amidst increased calls for racial justice, Bowles’ response highlighted the discrepancy between the athletic administration’s words and actions. While he expressed support for student athletes using their platform to cause disruptions and demand change, that support did not extend to athletes calling out administration and racism at St. Olaf. 

Late on the morning of Sept. 6, athletes on the swim and dive team posted a statement on their Instagram account in support of the Cultural Union for Black Expression (CUBE), BLM and BIPOC students. The first sentence of their post stated that, “The St. Olaf swim and dive team condemns the despicable unwillingness of PDA and the administration to take action against institutional racism and the systematic oppression of BIPOC students on campus.” 

By the afternoon, the post had been archived. 

Bowles explained in an email to the team, “While the St. Olaf Swimming and Diving account may be entirely student run, it represents you, all of your teammates, your coaches, me, every staff member, our athletic department and our college, the good and the bad. A post, on a team account, becomes the stated opinion of and viewpoint of all of the aforementioned groups. It is not an account where the personal opinions of you or a group of you should be posted.” 

A captain of the swim and dive team, Olivia Jones ’21, expressed her team’s frustration at the athletic administration’s response to her team’s post. 

“We’re pretty upset because we felt like it was our duty to express our support of the students who spoke out on Friday, and just in general who are being treated so poorly by admin,” Jones said.

Jones also voiced frustration at the hypocrisy of the athletic department, who calls on athletes to use their voices yet silences them when they speak out against administrative racism at St. Olaf.   

“We’re encouraged to be leaders on campus and make a change for the better,” Jones said. “And while it doesn’t align with the admin’s perspective, we don’t think President Anderson is actually working to enact what is stated in the mission statement and what we all came here hoping would be true of the campus climate, which is why we felt like we were still in line with the values of the St. Olaf community.”

While the athletic administration encourages athletes to “use their voices,” disruptions that condemn racism at St. Olaf are deemed unacceptable. Using the swim and dive team’s Instagram as a platform for speaking out “seems so much more useful and powerful,” Jones said. “But it was taken away from us.”

Yet athletes are continuing to mobilize. Alada expressed a desire for more communication and unity amongst all of St. Olaf’s sports teams, a goal that he plans to pursue with OAI. The football team is also having conversations about kneeling during the national anthem to call attention to racism and police brutality. 

While Bowles told me that he supports student athletes making the choice to kneel, the athletic administration has failed to issue an official statement of support. 

Regardless of administrative support, Alada said that he will likely kneel during the national anthem this season. In doing so, he will be following in the footsteps of members of the St. Olaf football team who kneeled in 2017. 

For Lewis, change necessitates a greater focus on female athletes of color, as well as  administration taking the time to check in on BIPOC students.

“There are so many things happening in the world that really affect people of color and it’s just kind of like, oh it happens, let’s move on and go to your classes,” Lewis said. “I don’t think they realize that it hurts us a lot, and we think about it all the time. It’s hard to focus in classes. That could have been my dad. That could have been my uncle.”

Along with other athletes, Lewis is prepared to use her platform to push for the change she wants to see. 

“If we want administration to do more, we can’t just have this march and event and sit down and be quiet, we have to do more,” Lewis said. “Athletes are visible on campus and I think it’s very important that we use our voices. People on campus can see and [we can] give them that courage to speak up.”

Athletes who boldly call out racism and advocate for systemic change often face backlash. At the same time, athletes have unique platforms on which they can demand justice and inspire movements — to use that platform is a powerful action. 

When I referenced athletes and activists like Colin Kaepernick, who was blacklisted from the NFL for daring to disrupt and unequivocally assert that Black lives matter, Alada spoke with reverence.

“To know that what they’re standing for is the right thing to stand for is a beautiful thing,” Alada said. “They’re using their platforms in the best way. They’re tired of this. I’m tired of this.” 


Disclosure: Gabe Alada, interviewed for this article, is a Sports Writer for The Olaf Messenger.

Categories: Colleges

Kansas City Chiefs dominate in NFL kickoff game, easy favorites to repeat 

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 3:27pm

Football is back, baby. After months of speculation, worry and COVID-19 induced chaos, the NFL officially kicked off its 2020 season on Sept. 10. In a 2019 AFC Divisional Round rematch, the Houston Texans took on the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. 

The Texans never stood a chance. While Houston may have only lost by two touchdowns in a 34-20 defeat, it was only Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson’s magic that saved Houston from this game being a complete blowout. With almost any other quarterback, the game would have been an absolute stomping. 

The awe-inspiring quarterback Patrick Mahomes once again put up godlike numbers in his first game since bringing home the Super Bowl MVP, tossing 211 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 32 attempts. The Chiefs’ new rookie running back out of Louisiana State, Clyde Edwards Helaire, also had himself a hell of a day, rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in his NFL debut.

All things considered, it is the opinion of this writer that the Super Bowl is done and dusted. Kansas City is essentially a lock to repeat. Not only did they maintain their core, offering huge contracts to stars like Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones, but they actually got better, and improved their offensive line as well as brought in an effective running game for the first time since Jamaal Charles left the team in 2016. 

Now, this team is not perfect — their defense still has some notable holes, especially in their back end. However when compared to the rest of the league, they are far and away the best team. The only club that might have stood a chance was the Baltimore Ravens and their dynamic reigning MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. But with the loss of Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas in the offseason, there is little chance Baltimore’s defense will be able to contain the ridiculously high powered Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman-led Kansas City passing attack. 

Barring catastrophic injury luck, the Chiefs have got the 2020 championship in the bag. The rest of the league may as well pack it up and go home. 


Categories: Colleges

More than a timesheet: student work during the pandemic

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 3:22pm

The cancellation of fall collegiate athletics has been a blow to the morale of students on campus and around the country. Many of us can empathize with the athletes unable to finish the final seasons of their lifelong sports, and while the fight for competition to be played at the Division I level continues, the fate of fall seasons for Division III athletes has long been determined.

But there is another group of students affected by this pandemic who seldom find themselves acknowledged in the conversation of athletic cancellations: student workers. St. Olaf employs over a thousand students in the work study program each year, many of whom work in the athletic department.

Their work is instrumental to the operation of varsity and intramural athletics on campus, serving as statisticians, student managers, photographers, groundskeepers and more. For these students, the value of work study reaches beyond the income it provides. It allows them opportunities to engage with communities in the sports they love and those they never knew existed. While many first-years begin work study expecting it to be boring and short-lived, it rarely takes them long to find a sense of belonging with a group of students who are quick to identify each other not just as co-workers, but as friends.

Amidst this pandemic, a once abundant list of athletic work study offerings has disappeared, leaving many students without meaningful alternatives. 

I talked to Doug Byers ’21, a veteran of the athletic department, about what work study has meant to his college experience. Byers started working in the athletic department over winter break of his freshman year. The normal crew that worked video was short staffed, so he volunteered to help film the livestreams for basketball and hockey games. After working a few different miscellaneous gigs that winter, Michael Abdella, now the assistant athletic director for strategic communications, gave Byers an official job as a statistician for the department. One of Doug’s roles involved sitting at the scorers table of basketball games to keep track of each player’s performance.

“For the most part it’s me and other athletes working the games,” Doug said. “The person working the scoreboard, the people working the music, the spotter of the official book. At the table, there are a few adults, but it’s mostly student workers.”

I asked Doug if his role in the athletic department has gone beyond being a way to fulfill his work award and earn money. 

“First and foremost it’s a job, but it’s absolutely become a part of my livelihood. Working with the same four guys pretty much every game, we have a lot of fun with it. It’s a great experience to feel a part of the game,” Doug said. “People like to sell you on the community at St. Olaf, and for me, work study is a big part of that. If you’re a senior and you’re still doing your work study, it’s because you enjoy doing it. So it’s sad to think that’s all changing because of the pandemic.”

With fewer hours available to work this year, Doug has been picking up shifts at the local McDonald’s to make up for the lack of income. As a senior he says that if athletics were to return this winter, he’ll be given first priority on the hours, but understands that the same luxury won’t apply to underclassmen.

When I think about my own work study at St. Olaf, I always come back to the idea of finding community in an unlikely place. I never expected how much my job working intramural basketball games would contribute to my experience on the Hill, and how many friends I’ve made through work study that I otherwise wouldn’t have met.

Since the end of last spring, it’s safe to say that we’ve all grown an appreciation for the little things we never thought we’d miss until they were gone. So much of our news cycle is about the scale on which the pandemic has affected us, but often lost in this coverage are the small moments we miss and may never get back.

As much as I miss my work study, I recognize it’s lower down on the list of things I can expect to return as the year progresses. For the past week, I’ve walked by the Cage in anticipation of the day that chicken tender melts find their way back on the menu, or the day I can sit in the Pause and eat a poorly cooked quesadilla after a long night of homework or play pickup basketball in the Tostrud fieldhouse. 

While the return to campus has been enjoyable in many ways, some things just haven’t been the same. And for someone like myself, the least talked about changes have often been the hardest to live without. If there is a silver lining to the abnormality of our current routines as college students, it will be the newly found joy and appreciation we derive from normality itself. To me, work study is one of the unsung experiences that help define life on campus before the pandemic, and something I will never take for granted again if it ever comes back.

Categories: Colleges

The Board of Regents, explained

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 3:13pm

This piece is part of a larger series on the Board of Regents and power structures in St. Olaf’s college governance. 

St. Olaf’s Board of Regents is the College’s governing body and holds power to shape the College’s policies, infrastructure, administration and priorities. Many students and organizations view understanding the power that the Regents hold as central to their goal of creating change on campus. 

Legally, St. Olaf College is a nonprofit corporation, and Article VI of the school’s Articles of Incorporation establishes that, “The management and direction of the business and affairs of the Corporation shall be vested in the Board of Regents.” 

St. Olaf’s Board of Regents is composed of 28 voting members who are elected or appointed by current Regents. Twenty-five of the members are elected to serve six-year terms, with the possibility of re-election for a second term. Two members of the board are appointed to three year terms, one who is a recent graduate of St. Olaf and the other as an alumni liaison. The final voting member of the Board is the College president, who must be “a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or its successor” as well as “elected by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of Regents,” as written in the Board bylaws.

The power of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) in the governance of St. Olaf extends to determining the composition of the Board of Regents. As written in the Board’s bylaw, at least 40 percent of Regents must be members of the ELCA, and a majority of Regents must be “members of the [ECLA] or another denomination with which the [ELCA] or its successors has established full communication.”

The existence of colleges as corporations with governing bodies in the United States has origins to the mid-1600s. In 1650, Harvard College was granted corporate status in a charter by the legislature of Massachusetts. Throughout the following centuries, thousands of colleges and universities were established in the United States to be corporations controlled by governing boards of trustees. By the turn of the 20th century there was a marked shift to board members being businesspeople as colleges and universities assumed a business model of operation. 

The emphasis on capital is seen in the current St. Olaf Board of Regents membership. Regent Mark Jordahl is the president of private wealth management at U.S. Bank and at least eight of the Regents work or have worked in private equity, venture capitalism or investment banking. 

Eight is also the number of Regents who are women. There are no Regents who are women of color. 

At St. Olaf, beyond the power of electing other board members and the College’s president, the Board of Regents controls both the school’s annual budget and long term finances, assesses the quality of academics, approves tenure for professors, oversees campus infrastructure and “monitors student outcomes, community well-being and institutional effectiveness.” 

In October, February and May the Board of Regents meets to make decisions as well as create and advance the College’s strategic plan. However, the Board or Regents has been more active than usual since the COVID-19 pandemic began, participating in virtual special meetings every month to orchestrate the College’s response and re-opening. 

The Board of Regents Student Committee (BORSC) is a branch of St. Olaf student government intended to “examine and relay student concerns, perceptions and interests to the governing body of St. Olaf”. All of BORSC attends the October and May meetings on campus and gives presentations to the Board of Regents. The February meeting is a school-funded out-of-state meeting and only the BORSC Coordinator attends from the committee. 

Yet despite student involvement in the Board through BORSC, “The Board of Regents doesn’t have any accountability towards us,” said Fricka Lindemann ’22, this year’s BORSC Coordinator. “So we can tell them whatever we want and they can do whatever they want.” 

While BORSC is designed to address the Regents, students and alumni can communicate their concerns in other ways. In the summer of 2020 the organization Oles for Racial Awareness, Change and Equity (ORACE) submitted a petition to the Board of Regents calling for a new College president and provost. 

In the Board’s response, Chair Jay Lund wrote that “the Board is fully committed to continuing the important work to make St. Olaf an anti‐racist institution. We also fully support President Anderson and his leadership team. We are confident we have the right leader to lead the College through this extraordinary time as we navigate the global pandemic and confront the racial injustices that plague our society.” 

As students attempt to create change on campus through the Board of Regents, many students are questioning the nature of the power structures between administration and the Regents. Understanding this power balance and decision making processes is a main goal for Lindemann this year. In the past, Lindemann said she has viewed the dynamic as the administration taking the lead and only turning to the Board when “there is a really major decision to be made”.

“I’m now wondering if it’s more reciprocal and the Board of Regents also reaches out to the administration,” Lindemann said. “Especially with the racial justice side where the school already, at several points in time, denied the idea of demands from the students to [the Board] without any discussion really. And I’m wondering if the Regents have any real influence there.”

As BORSC works to understand the true nature of the Board of Regents’ power, the committee is also taking steps to give the general student body a platform to voice their concerns to the Board of Regents. 

In an email sent out on Sept. 14, BORSC encouraged students to fill out a form to “share your opinion and experiences, also anonymously, however long or short.” The questions that BORSC is focusing on for this fall, as written in their email, are “What actions need to be taken by the College and on campus regarding race-related matters?” and “How did the reopening during a pandemic go?” BORSC will use responses to the form to share student input when the Board of Regents meets next on Oct. 8.  

Categories: Colleges

Contact Tracing Team work quickly to slow spread

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 3:05pm

While all members of the St. Olaf community are adapting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, day-to-day operations have shifted for the 34 members of the St. Olaf Contact Tracing Team. Made up of three lead team members who organize and plan the contact tracing approach and 31 contact tracers, the Contact Tracing Team are existing staff members who have an increased capacity for other work in the COVID-19 age, such as event coordinators and travel management positions. 

This team is “set up to succeed,” according to Aida Mejia-Fergen, one of the three team leads — ready to jump into whatever task needed to best suit the needs of the St. Olaf community.

The process used for the contact tracing of COVID-19 is nothing new in the public health community and has been used for hundreds of years to reduce and stop the spread of other outbreaks. All team members are trained in this effective method of contact tracing through a five to six hour onboarding training through Johns Hopkins, recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health.

According to Mejia-Fergen, “a major reason COVID-19 is a pandemic is because of how easily it is transmitted,” and emphasized that the more we know about reducing the spread, the better we can keep the community healthy. Contact tracing can quickly become an around-the-clock task to maintain its effectiveness in the St. Olaf community.

After a positive COVID-19 result comes back, the contact tracing process begins. Generally, one of the two registered nurses on staff delivers the results. One of the team leads then assigns each positive case a tracer who quickly contacts the individual by phone or email. 

“Time is essential to stop the spread,” Mejia-Fergen said. “So we must act quickly to let them know their next steps and to start separating them from others.” 

After the positive individual has been informed, they work closely with a contact tracer to retrace their steps. First, they are asked when — if ever — they started feeling symptoms and what date their positive test was conducted on in order to determine a window of time and inform which days are necessary for isolation and investigation of their close contacts.  

A student life case manager then works with the students to guide them through the steps to isolation. Before reentering the St. Olaf community after a positive test result, an individual must go through a 10 day isolation period and not exhibit symptoms for at least 24 hours.

The individuals are also asked to recall anyone who was within six feet of them for more than 15 minutes of time in order to identify close contacts. Then, these identified individuals are informed and follow a similar process with a 14 day quarantine. 

One of the main parts of contact tracing is confidentiality. Throughout the entire process, individuals are only referred to by ID numbers or initials and never have their information shared with Student Life or the President’s Leadership Team. Any information the community has about cases or positive tests comes from other sources, such as friends or community members, and not from the contact tracers. 

Overall, the contact tracing team, “only wants to know what’s relevant to stopping the virus,” Mejia-Fergen said. “The biggest goal is to separate infected individuals from the non-infected population. The virus can multiply quickly, but can be gone faster if people are cautious, wise about decisions and follow standard safety precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing.”

One of the most important characteristics that a contact tracer can have is being a good listener. 

“Everyone comes to a situation with their own backgrounds, experiences and life situations,” Mejia-Fergen said. Being told they have to quarantine can mean different things for different people, and contact tracers must have people skills, patience and willingness to work with people during a challenging time.

“The contact tracing team is here to provide support and resources to those infected and those exposed without any judgement whatsoever,” Mejia-Fergen said. 

Through contact tracing, team members learn that beyond all of the tools, training and formulas, contact tracing is, “an art within a science,” Mejia-Fergen said. The strategy is never complete and constantly needs to be tweaked and updated. Flexibility and adaptability are essential for team members as tests may come in at any time and need to be responded to as soon as possible.

“Keep the focus, move quickly, and don’t get frazzled by the chaos that surrounds COVID,” Mejia-Fergen said. “The only job is to move forward and get the job done.” 

Additional resources about COVID-19 include the campus dashboard on the infection data and the contact tracing team contact information. Please email if you think you may have COVID or have been exposed; any information shared will be kept confidential. 

Categories: Colleges

The co-curricular fair hits the web

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 2:55pm

The Office of Student Activities (OSA) held their first virtual co-curricular fair on Sept. 5. This event, which provides opportunities for students to sign up for extracurriculars, is normally held on the quad behind Buntrock Commons where students would be greeted by booths with make-shift signs advertising merchandise and candy.

Due to COVID-19 policies, the OSA had to plan the event using new methodology. 

“It was definitely very different than any of our student orgs and student leaders are used to,” Brandon Cash, associate director of student activities, said. “It was a virtual conference.”

The OSA decided to use Remo for the fair, a program that would allow for an interactive virtual experience. The Piper Center for Vocation and Career first introduced Remo to the Student Organizations Committee (SOC) because it offers a virtual space for student organizations to broadcast themselves through their own table. Students were able to virtually traverse the rooms to speak with organization leaders. Remo also allowed access to different floors, each arranged by organization category. 

A month before the fair, student group leaders were still struggling in planning what it would look like. 

“It freaked me out that I had to be a planner for that,” Jessica Hollister ’22, coordinator of the SOC, said. “We were definitely pushing for an outdoor plan.” 

There were three different scenarios planned depending on the COVID-19 impact on campus. These included an indoor plan, an outdoor plan and an online platform, Volunteer Network Coordinator Terence Kwok Choon ’21 said. 

“I would not want to compare last year’s fair to this year’s,” Hollister said. “Last year you got to see everyone for the first time in months, have dinner, and it was warm outside. Of course this year wouldn’t match up.” 

Despite the setbacks, coordinators saw it as an unabashed success. The organizational structure of the program allowed for a more laid-back and less overwhelming experience, Cash said. With over 750 students in attendance, the coordinators were happy with the way things turned out. 

“However you choose to get involved on this campus, it’s perfect,” Cash said. “We want to support them in that.” 

Categories: Colleges

New website provides learning resources for critical ethnic and indigenous studies

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 2:49pm

The St. Olaf race and ethnic studies (RACE) and sociology/anthropology (SOAN) departments have announced a new website called “Learning Resources for Critical Ethnic and Indigenous Studies.” 

The project, abbreviated as Critical Learning Resources, aims to provide learning and teaching resources on a variety of topics including settler colonialism and police abolition. 

Critical Learning Resources receives funding through a grant from To Include is to Excel, an $800,000 St. Olaf initiative that receives funding from an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant.

Associate Professor of English and Director of Race and Ethnic Studies Jennifer Kwon Dobbs and Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Chris Chiappari, along with St. Olaf alumni Israa Khalifa ’20 and Or Pansky ’20, created the website to strengthen the resources of the RACE program, but they also had goals in mind beyond St. Olaf.

“The project has in mind how it also functions as public intellectual work to support community praxis,” Kwon Dobbs said. 

By design, the website serves as a collection of resources not just for St. Olaf faculty and students, but also for anyone looking to learn about critical ethnic and indigenous studies. Given this broad audience, the creators aimed to “make complicated concepts accessible and therefore useful,” Kwon Dobbs said.

Critical Learning Resources provides both analyses and definitions of important ideas in race and ethnic studies and directs users to additional resources in the discipline. Due to the intersectional and interdisciplinary nature of race and ethnic studies, the website touches on a wide range of topics and learning methods. 

The project provides definitions of terms like “intersectionality” and “discourse,” and brief explanations of ideas like “Zionist settler colonialism.” It recommends books, articles, syllabi, YouTube videos and podcasts. 

The RACE program is currently planning an expansion of the learning resources through a cooperation with the St. Olaf Norwegian department, focusing on Nordic colonialism. The new phase of Critical Learning Resources will come this winter and spring — stay tuned for updates.

The website is and is open to all.

Categories: Colleges

Nfld Chamber updates on CARES funding and Candidate forums

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 1:38pm
From Lisa Peterson, President of Northfield Chamber of Commerce: I have a couple of very important updates for you this week! Businesses and nonprofits looking for financial relief due to COVID-19 can apply for CARES Act funding through the City of Northfield. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides for payments to state,

River clean up for community, connection and conservation

Northfield News - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 12:45pm
As people look for a safe way to have some fun during a pandemic, many are turning to outdoor recreation.
Categories: Local News

13 member citizen task force to review Nfld police reform; Rice County looks at how to spend CARES $; Dundas to use CARES $ to redesign website; Nfld School Board using re-fi to save $

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 12:02pm
By Teri Knight, News Director In April 2020 the Northfield Police Department contracted with Lexipol to begin updating their policy manual. Shortly after was the death of George Floyd, leading to civil unrest and calls for police reforms. The Northfield City Council voted on a resolution to establish a Citizen task force. Chief Elliott told

Missing person alert

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 11:42am
UPDATE 8:30am ***CANCEL*** The Itasca County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank everyone that assisted in looking for Timothy Dasovich. He was located deceased in Itasca County on 9/20/2020. The Itasca County Sheriff’s Office is requesting assistance in locating Timothy Dasovich, age 39. He was last seen in the city of Nashwauk on 9/14/2020 and

Nfld yard waste options

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/17/2020 - 11:23am
Northfield residents have three options to dispose of leaves and other yard waste this fall. Northfield residents can still enroll in the yearly carted curbside yard waste service, which runs through November 15. In addition to the cart service, residents are allowed to place 10 compostable yard waste bags by their cart for pickup on
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