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Red dots cover the map of Middlebury’s campus. Nine on Battell, four on Proctor and one each on Axinn, Twilight, Munroe and the Admissions Office. Each dot represents one person’s experience of sexual assault or harassment. There are 108 in total.
These instances were put on display in Davis Family Library last week as part of the Map Project, an initiative by It Happens Here (IHH). Students contributed to the map by anonymously submitting instances of sexual assault and harassment via a go-link last fall. Each incident was then demarcated by a red dot on the building in which it happened.
IHH is a group of student activists that raises awareness about sexual assault and works to support survivors in their healing. Its medium of choice is storytelling, and it allows survivors to remain anonymous. In doing so, IHH avoids many of the challenges that typically prevent survivors from coming forward.
This is the second rendition of the Map Project, which was first conducted in 2013.
“The Map is terrifying. It is heartbreaking,” read a description beside the Map.
Observers were invited to share their reactions on sticky notes displayed on an adjacent bulletin board. The reactions expressed sadness and consternation over the prevalence of sexual assault at Middlebury that the map revealed. They included:
“Saddened and sickened that this happens at our college.”
“Looking at this map is really scary.”
“How does Midd let this happen???”
“Rape culture is real.”
“Rape culture is everywhere.”
“I think a lot about the strength the people who work closely with It Happens Here have because looking at this makes me panic but I know it’s important work.”
Last Friday, IHH leaders Taite Shomo ’20.5 and Grace Vedock ’20 facilitated a conversation to discuss reactions to the Map, proposed Title IX reforms, how sexual assault is being enabled at Middlebury and what can be done to dismantle campus culture surrounding sexual assault.
To start the discussion, the students and faculty members in attendance introduced themselves and explained why they chose to attend the discussion.
“One of those dots is mine,” Vedock said.
Included in the conversation’s main themes was the air of complacency surrounding sexual assault on campus. Participants said they felt the school’s treatment of sexual assault is often reactionary, rather than proactive.
“The Map Project makes visible and undeniable a problem that is so often brushed aside by the people on campus who can choose not to see it,” Rebecca Wishnie ’20, who attended the discussion, said in a text message to The Campus.
[pullquote speaker="Grace Vedock '20" photo="" align="center" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]One of those dots is mine.[/pullquote]
Participants emphasized that students must do more to prevent sexual assault than putting Green Dot stickers on their water bottles or attending IHH. They also pointed out that sometimes perpetrators attend IHH, which does not absolve them of their actions.
“This map is a testament to the fact that Middlebury’s Green Dot training and other programs do not address the full scale and range of the problems of rape culture and sexual violence,” Wishnie said. She said that programs like these often center the problem around party culture and substance use.
“This logic perpetuates a culture that blames survivors for entering such spaces and neglects all of the other places and ways that rape culture manifests, rather than recognizing the cultural shift in which we must all participate in order to make this campus safer,” she said.
They also addressed issues with defining sexual assault, rape and consent. Many survivors struggle to determine whether their experiences “count” as assault, and students raised the possibility that some perpetrators may not be aware of what they did.
Some attendees were surprised by the frequency of sexual assaults shown on the map. Others were not.
“When I was putting the map together I was not surprised,” Shomo said. “This in some ways was the worst part.”
[pullquote speaker="Grace Vedock '22" photo="" align="center" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]In a very un-malicious way, I want people to not be able to unsee the map.[/pullquote]
“For people that have been assaulted it’s not surprising,” Vedock said. “For people that know people that have been assaulted it’s not surprising. But if you don’t fall into either of those groups maybe it is surprising. In a very un-malicious way, I want people to not be able to unsee the map.”
They explained that most of the work being done on campus is by survivors themselves. Survivors are being forced to support themselves and each other with little assistance from the school.
“It’s a huge burden logistically and emotionally no matter who you are, but especially if the issue is personal,” Shomo said. Shomo and Vedock emphasized that it is important for people who are not survivors to get involved.
Their main message: students need to show up and people need to care, even if they have not been personally impacted by sexual assault.
“You should care because people are people, but you should also care because it’s your friends and your family members and your classmates,” Shomo said. Unless everyone commits to dismantling rape culture on campus, Vedock pointed out, the dots will not change.
The Map Project can be found at go/ihh/. This Spring It Happens Here will take place on April 18 at 8:00 p.m. in Wilson Hall.
To the excitement of many students, Steve Zatarain ’15 returned to campus last week to serve as the new interim Atwater Commons Residence Director (CRD).
Students in Atwater Commons received notification of his arrival in an email last Monday from Atwater Dean Scott Barnicle, announcing that Zatarain will serve as CRD until the end of the semester. He is filling a spot that was left vacant by Doug Desrochers, who left the position in January.
Zatarain has a long history with Atwater. He was a member of the commons as a student, served as an First Year Counselor (FYC) and Community Assistant, and also worked for two years as Atwater Commons Resident Assistant (CRA) — the predecessor position to CRD.
During a recent, coincidental trip to Middlebury, Barnicle said he asked Zatarain if he would be interested in the job.
“It was one of those cool moments where necessity creates creativity,” Barnicle said in an email to The Campus.
“It was a unique opportunity,” Zatarain told The Campus. He expressed excitement about seeing students graduate this spring who were first-years when he was in his first year as a CRA.
Several members of Atwater cited Zatarain’s upbeat personality and passion for creating community as two of his strengths.
“His people skills, compassion and professionalism are exemplary,” Barnicle said, adding that, due to his previous experience, Zatarain was able to step into the job part way through the year with relative ease.
Atwater Commons Head Sandra Carletti believes that Zatarain’s easygoing attitude will have a positive impact on the community.
“After spending the last year and a half working for the Posse Foundation in Los Angeles, he is bringing back to Vermont an even more accentuated California vibe,” she said.
Sandhya Sewnauth ’20 is currently an FYC in Allen and was a first-year during Zatarain’s last year as CRD. She expressed that, while she was sad to see Desrochers leave, she is happy to have Zatarain return to Atwater.
“Stevie brings such refreshing energy to our team in a new semester and it feels very natural to have him back,” she said. Sewnauth recalled his positivity and inclusive attitude from his time as CRA.
“I really love supporting students, that’s something I have a passion for,” Zatarain said. He has maintained these passions since his time as a Middlebury student, and said that his most rewarding work in Residential Life was when he served as a FYC and got to build a community on his hall to support transitioning first-year students.
Students often express confusion about what the role of CRD entails. To Zatarain, CRD is a community-building position, which to him means constantly being a presence on campus.
Barnicle similarly said that “caring about people and representing the institution” were the main responsibilities of the position.
Zatarain also acknowledged there will be challenges in his new position. He recognized that students often do not have time to take part in programing.
“I’m trying the gauge the room,” he said, explaining that he is talking to Residential Life members about what they want. He is trying to find ways to make programming relaxing, de-stressing and more accessible for students who often have a packed schedule.
Barnicle recognized the difficulties Zatarain might face adjusting to the new systems that have been put in place since he served as a CRA. Zatarain said that he is currently navigating the differences between being a CRA and a CRD, as well as figuring out these new structures.
“The key values of it, of being thoughtful for students, supporting folks and promoting diversity, inclusion and equity will all be there,” Zatarain said.
When asked why he was excited to have Steve join the Atwater ResLife Team, Barnicle rejected the use of the term “join.”
“Rejoin!” Barnicle said. “He was Atwater for six years, it’s a for-life thing.”
Divestment has been a long process involving protests and marches, panels of students and experts and votes by students, faculty and other community forums. This interactive timeline walks through some of the most important events along Middlebury's path to divestment.
When Nadia Murad was taken captive as a sex slave by ISIS in August 2014, she was 19 years old — the same age as many of the students who packed Wilson Hall to hear her speak on Tuesday night. Today, at age 26, Murad is using the atrocities she and her community faced to fuel a life of activism. Her talk, “Pursuing Peace and Justice: A Conversation with Nadia Murad,” explored her story as an activist and captive of ISIS and her recognition as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, which she was awarded last fall. Murad became both the first Iraqi and Yazidi to receive the prize.
The talk Murad gave on Tuesday was originally scheduled for Oct. 5, but Murad had to cancel her visit last minute because she was awarded the Nobel Prize on that day. Murad and her co-winner Denis Mukwege received the prize “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”
Murad’s apology for the cancelation at the beginning of her talk on Tuesday was met with laughs from the audience.
The talk was introduced by Vice President for Academic Development and Professor of American Studies Tim Spears and facilitated by Associate Professor of History Febe Armanios. Murad was joined on stage by her fiancé and translator Abid Shamdeen.
Murad opened her talk by describing her background as a member of the Yazidi, a little-known ethno-religious minority group. The Yazidi only number around 500,000 to 700,000, and most of them live in Iraq. The region of Sinjar in northwestern Iraq is the Yazidis’ home, and Murad’s home village of Kocho is located in this region.
Kocho was home to around 1,700 people, and most families were dependent on farming and cattle. The youngest of 11 children, Murad was the only one of her siblings to attend school, as they could only afford for one child to go. “Our life was simple,” she said.
But by June of 2014, ISIS had begun to attack many villages around Sinjar. Members of other religious minorities, such as Christians, were given the option to stay in their homes and pay a fee or flee the territory. When ISIS entered Sinjar on Aug. 3, the Yazidi were not given such options.
“They had a specific plan of eradicating Yazidis from that region,” Murad said. “A specific plan of executing men mostly and enslaving women and children.”
The United Nations has classified ISIS atrocities against the Yazidis as acts of genocide. Six of Murad’s eight brothers were killed in the attack along with her mother and many nieces and nephews.
While much of the Sinjar region has been liberated from ISIS, political competition, reflecting regional conflicts, along with a lack of resources and reconstruction has made the Yazidi homeland difficult to return to, Murad said. Rather than return home, many Yazidi remain in refugee camps around the Middle East.
“It’s not a stable environment for Yazidis to go back to,” Murad said.
Today, over 3,000 Yazidi women and children remain in captivity in ISIS territory in Syria. Many are missing including Murad’s sister-in-law, who disappeared two years ago.
Many Yazidis are displaced, including about 350,000 who are living in camps in Northern Iraq along with more living in refugee camps in Greece and Turkey. About 65,000 Yazidi have returned home, Murad said, but those who did face daunting challenges, including poor health and lack of electricity.
While Yazidis have received some support from governments in Canada, Australia, France and Germany, Murad has called on regional governments, such as Turkey, for help.
Last year, Murad returned to Iraq and met with many local leaders. They discussed why the Yazidi people remained unprotected by the government even after the genocide and talked about ways in which the government could help support the Yazidis so they can start rebuilding Sinjar. Murad also helped obtain approval from the Iraqi government to build a genocide museum in Sinjar.
During her visit, Murad returned to Kocho, where she attended a religious celebration meant to honor the dead. This was the first time they celebrated the holiday since the genocide.
“I wanted to do this as a restart of our culture and traditions and to help people start doing the same thing we used to do,” she said.
In 2016, Murad founded Nadia’s Initiative, a nonprofit organization working to address issues of sexual violence, advocate for victims and aid communities affected by crisis. In the talk, Murad discussed the difficulties of using her personal tragedies to construct a life of activism.
“For me as a woman, as a survivor, someone who has lost family members and been through this trauma it was especially difficult for a woman from the Middle East, from that region, to break taboos and speak about these stories,” she said. “But I had no other choice but to do it.”
Murad explained how she hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will help further her goals.
“We are hoping to use this recognition to put more light on these communities that are facing persecution and genocide and prevent these acts to take place in the future,” she said, stressing the importance of recognizing the genocide in real terms to ensure against the extinction of the Yazidi community.
Murad recognized the possibility that the Yazidis will leave their ancestral homeland in order to seek better and safer lives somewhere else. But, even when Yazidis have made it to different places in Europe, she said, many still face discrimination. Their homes are raided by police looking to deport them, and many have been denied asylum.
She described what is has been like to live away from her home for the past few years. In addition to drastic cultural and day to day differences, she discussed the sad truth that her perpetrators were able to stay in her homeland while she had to flee.
Murad finished her talk with a message for young people, and Middlebury students in particular.
“You as students here are lucky to have the chance to come here and study and choose your own path,” she said, emphasizing that not all young people have these opportunities.
Murad also highlighted that governments and weapons can’t solve all these problems and that she counts on young people to accomplish her goals.
Following the talk Nora Peachin ’21 reflected on the importance of having Murad speak at Middlebury.
“The takeaway for me is there really is no excuse not to be doing activism work and speaking out and fighting for justice and peace,” Peachin said.
After being known for 27 years as the CFA, the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts is undergoing a name change. College officials have decided to rename the building the Mahaney Arts Center, or the MAC — a change that has provoked confused reactions from students, some of whom insist on continuing to use the building’s old name.
The Center’s weekly ArtsMail message to the Middlebury community on Sunday, Feb. 3 highlighted the change and outlined the history of the building’s name. According to the email, the building opened as the Center for the Arts (CFA) in 1992, but was renamed the Kevin P. Mahaney ‘84 Center for the Arts (MCA), in 2007. While this acronym was officially used by the college, it was never widely used by students or other members of the college and Middlebury community, who continued to refer to the building as the CFA.
[pullquote speaker="Liza Sacheli" photo="" align="center" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]With this change, we hope to achieve some much-needed clarity about the building’s identity, and its programs, too.[/pullquote]
“With this change, we hope to achieve some much-needed clarity about the building’s identity, and its programs, too,” said Director Liza Sacheli in an interview with The Campus. “We hope that the shorter, catchier name is easier to remember and use.”
The decision was made by college administrators, Arts Center staff, the Office of Communications and Marketing and the Office of Advancement. The changes were also approved and supported by Mahaney.
Quickly following the Feb. 3 email, the Facebook group Middlebury Memes for Crunchy Teens erupted with comedic criticism of the acronym change. “CFA ‘til I die baby,” Christian Chiang ’20 titled his post. “BREAKING: New Big Mac Not Going to Stop Students from Being Petty About Meatless Mondays, More At 6,” wrote Susan Deutsch ‘19.5.
Students also reported their discontent with the name change to The Campus.
“The MAC just sounds like an order at McDonald’s,” said Kaitlynd Collins ’19, a Theater major, who felt strongly about the change and criticized both its purpose and its implications. “There is no clear reason to change the letters in a freaking acronym!” she said in a text message, arguing that the college is trying to change the way students talk.
“Literally, why?” Elizabeth Sawyer ’19 said. “How is this going to do good in any way? What are we gaining?”
Collins speculated that the name change could have been done to provide greater publicity to the building’s namesake, a major college donor, though she did not see how changing the acronym would further recognize Mahaney.
[pullquote speaker="Kaitlynd Collins '19" photo="" align="center" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]If someone says, ‘I’m headed to the MAC,’ it’s not like Kevin P Mahaney’s face will be projected in a golden light as the letters leave their mouth.[/pullquote]
“If someone says, ‘I’m headed to the MAC,’ it’s not like Kevin P Mahaney’s face will be projected in a golden light as the letters leave their mouth,” she said.
She also pointed out that prompting students to recognize Mahaney in this way could be uncomfortable for some individuals. Last January, Mahaney was accused of covering up the rape of a 20-year-old woman, In March, the charges were dropped. “He potentially covered up a sexual assault and I don’t want to acknowledge him in my day-to-day life,” Collins said.
Sacheli reported positive reactions from students, faculty and staff regarding the changes, adding that people expressed excitement over the simpler name.
“Count well,” Dennis Wygmans’ attorney Willem Jeweet jokingly called over his shoulder, a gesture illustrative of the cordial, friendly atmosphere that characterized the vote recount of the Addison County state’s attorney race.
The recount ended Tuesday evening after two days of counting. Wygmans, the incumbent, maintained his victory over Bevere and widened his winning margin to 21 votes.
In the original count, Wygmans had beaten challenger Peter Bevere by a mere nine votes.
“No one expects to win or lose by such a close margin,” Wygmans said in an interview with The Campus on Nov. 6, Election Night.
On Monday morning, a team of volunteers started the process of recounting ballots in Court Room 2 of the Addison County District Court House, only a few doors down from the very office the candidates were vying to occupy.
[pullquote speaker="ADDISON COUNTRY STATE SENATOR CHRISTOPHER BRAY " photo="" align="center" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]I wanted to make the time, just to come in and ensure that people are entirely confident in the voting process in Vermont.[/pullquote]
The recount committee is composed of volunteers appointed by each of the candidates, some of whom are paid $30 a day while others are compensated by their employers.
The process goes town by town, moving through the 17,500 or so ballots that were cast in Addison County. Volunteers sit in pairs at tables of four. Each pair consists of one volunteer appointed by Wygmans and one appointed by Bevere. Ballots are sorted into piles of 50 and counted out by the pairs, who then review each ballot. Ballots in which the ovals are completely filled in are scanned through a tabulator to be counted.
Ballots in which the ovals are overfilled, underfilled or marked in other ways are set aside to be hand counted. Pairs are obligated to determine the intent of the voter and agree on which candidate they voted for. If the pair cannot agree, the ballot is deemed “questionable” and submitted to a judge who decides the voter’s intent.
Will Senning, the director of elections in the office of Vermont’s Secretary of State, was in the room to oversee the process. He supervises recounts across the state every election cycle.
“The statute is really specific in this instance,” he told The Campus. This means that every recount runs in a similar manner, but, he added, “each one has its own character.”
The Addison County recount felt like a community gathering. Committee members chatted with their neighbors, people caught up with friends and many headed out in groups to the Co-op during their lunch break.
Senning said that usually only a small handful of ballots are “questionable” and sent to a judge.
“If the margin coming out of here is less than the number of questionable ballots, the judge’s decision will determine the actual outcome,” Senning said.
During this recount, ten ballots were deemed questionable, and thus will not change the outcome of the race.
Addison County State Senator Christopher Bray served as a member of the recount committee. Bray won his own election this past midterm and volunteered to help with the recount process.
“I had the time, and I wanted to make the time, just to come in and ensure that people are entirely confident in the voting process in Vermont,” Bray said. “I think we do a great job in Vermont.”
Bray explained that the goal of the committee was to move as efficiently as possible — ballot counting, after all, is a labor- and time-intensive process. “The goal is not to have anyone sitting still,” he said.
Election Day is all about politics, Bray explained, but the recount is not. “The politics end when the votes get count,” he said.
Sheila Conroy, another member of the recount committee, has a lot of experience counting ballots. As a Justice of the Peace in Sailsbury, she counts votes every election night. Salisbury, like many of the smaller towns in Addison County, hand counts votes instead of using a tabulator.
Conry was appointed by Bevere. “I can see where mistakes could be made. Counting gets fatiguing after a while,” Conroy said, remembering that they were up past one in the morning on election night. “People are weary at that hour.”
Senning was pleased with the process of the recount. “It’s nice to see how many people are actually willing to come out and help,” he said.
Over a hundred students from liberal arts colleges gathered this past weekend at the college for the fourth annual Creating Connections Consortium (C3) summit aimed at diversifying higher education. Twenty-two of the students that attended were from Middlebury and 98 came from other undergraduate schools for this year’s event: “Reimagining the Academy: Constructing Inclusive and Participatory Communities in Challenging Times.” Fifteen faculty and staff members from the college also attended and participated along with 31 graduate students from the C3’s partner research universities.
The consortium aims to provide students with greater opportunities to participate in higher education. By engaging undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, staff and administrators with diverse backgrounds in discussions around inclusion and equity, C3 aims to provide students with opportunities to learn, strategize and create lasting connections and information sharing networks with one another.
The weekend included a number of panels and speakers, and presentations from several students, including Nia Robinson ’19, Lulu Zhou ’19 and Marcelo Marcelo López ’19.
Professor of Political Science Jessica Teets and Chief Diversity Officer Miguel Fernández were members of the planning committee.
“Students are creating networks of faculty, other students, and administrators that are so vital for future success,” Teets said. “This is the primary disadvantage faced by low-income, minority, rural, and first-generation students, the lack of professional networks.”
López said that the Summit gave participants the opportunity to envision graduate school as an attainable possibility, and that students felt much more confident about pursuing higher education by the conclusion of the weekend.
Beyond giving students the opportunity to look forward, the summit also provided them the opportunity to reflect on resources the college provides underrepresented students.
“Yes, colleges are admitting more underrepresented students, but how are these students doing when they actually enroll? What can colleges do better to support these students succeed during and after college?” Zhou questioned.
Teets and López echoed that it is time to move past recruitment and to begin thinking deeply about the ways in which the college can truly include and support students from diverse backgrounds.
“There has to be a large focus not just on the recruitment of these individuals, but also the retention of said individuals,” he said.
López said that equity for first-generation students should begin with changes made in the classroom. Professors should recognize that every student walks into the classroom with varying degrees of preparation and different styles of learning.
“My personal opinion is that we need to teach and grade differently to create more equitable learning conditions,” Teets said, arguing that every office and department on campus need to make equity part of their central mission.
The summit also gave students the opportunity to consider how the college compares to other liberal arts colleges represented in terms of their support for students.
Zhou noted that many of the schools are grappling with many of the same issues, including student socioeconomic diversity, financial aid, faculty racial diversity and support programs for first-gen students.
However, she did find that many of the schools represented had created support programs for first-generation students earlier than the college. The college’s First@Midd program was started in 2016.
Lopez also cited First@Midd as an important program for first-generation students and one that did not exist when he was a first year.
“Programs like First@Midd make all the difference in supporting first-gen and low-income students,” he said.
He also cited many other ways in which the college is improving how it interacts with first-generation students. Lopez listed work stipend supplements for January term courses such as MiddCORE and the new initiative to fund ski lessons.
“It makes me happy that future students will be able to benefit from these initiatives – things that were not available during my time at Middlebury,” he said.
Overall, Lopez said he saw the Summit as a success. “Many students left Middlebury with a renewed sense of confidence” he said. “I am excited for what the future holds for these individuals.”
Zhou said she hopes that college will in the future do a better job publicizing the event and encouraging higher community participation.
Teets expressed the importance of programs and events in which promote discussion of how to make Middlebury more diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
“This is hard work in which we all need to participate, so the more we can talk about how to do this, the better for our community,” Zhou said.
Tuesday’s midterm election proved that every vote does indeed count, with the Addison County state’s attorney race being decided by a mere 10 votes, according to unofficial data from the Secretary of State’s office.
Incumbent Dennis Wygmans appears to have won re-election, fending off a challenge from Peter Bevere ’96, who ran as an independent. However, due to Wygmans’s slim margin of victory, Vermont law grants Bevere the right to request a recount, and the Addison Independent reported Thursday that he plans to do so.
In an email, Wygmans said he was surprised by the narrowness of the results, though he felt that Bevere ran a strong campaign. “I thought it would be close — not nine votes close,” he said.
While Wygmans would obviously be content to let his victory stand, he said he would not be opposed to a recount request from Bevere, who has not responded to a request for comment.
“The will of the people is what matters in these instances,” Wygmans said.
The Addison County state’s attorney race is a battle of the husbands. Democratic incumbent Dennis Wygmans is the spouse of Nicole Curvin, director of admissions and coordinator of multicultural recruitment at the college. His independent challenger, Peter Bevere ’96, is the spouse of Kelly Bevere ’99, who works as the college’s assistant athletic director and softball team head coach.
Lawn signs supporting each candidate have popped up around Addison County — and, in a reflection of the candidates’ college ties, in the window of at least one campus dorm.
Two years ago, Wygmans was appointed to the role of state’s attorney by then Governor Peter Shumlin, after his predecessor was appointed to the Vermont Superior Court.
After graduating from the University of Vermont, Wygmans took a unique path to becoming a lawyer, something he had always known he wanted to do. In 1993, he and his brother opened Club Toast, a live music venue in Burlington. The club eventually shut its doors in 1998, but the lessons Wygmans learned while working there still influence him.
“It informed me a great deal about what makes people tick,” he said in an interview with The Campus. “I consider people’s motives and think about ways we can address the underlying issues in a more complete way.”
After the club closed down, Wygmans moved to Massachusetts to attend law school at Seton Hall University School of Law.
Prior to his appointment as state’s attorney, Wygmans worked as a deputy state’s attorney in both Addison and Chittenden counties, prosecuting many sexual and domestic violence cases. On several occasions, he tried cases involving the college, including two high profile rape cases, though Wygmans said he does not interact as much with the college in his current job.
“It is a pretty peaceful campus generally,” he said.
Wygmans said he sees mass incarceration as not only a national issue, but one he must address in his role. He said he learned early on that jail is not always the right solution, describing it as a “monolithic approach to criminal justice.” Wygmans is looking to pursue more options, including rehabilitative housing, a system that has been proven to be effective in other states.
“Creating rehabilitative housing allows for people to be sentenced to where they can be in the community, where their treatment provider is already, and they don’t have to have an interruption in treatment, where they don’t have to lose their job, and they certainly lose contact with their family,” he said.
Wygmans also addressed the fact that Vermont incarcerates African American men at a higher rate than any other state in the country. He often uses a system of charging blind, a process in which he does not know the race of each defendant until afterwards.
“This is more than just a prosecutor’s problem, this is a society- and community-wide problem,” he said. Judges play a large role in the mass incarceration of African Americans, yet their sentencing data is rarely reviewed. Additionally, the penalties the legislature chooses to place on certain crimes disproportionately affect African Americans.
“The blame is to be passed around amongst us all,” he said.
Wygmans cited the opioid crisis as another frustrating issue. During his time in the state’s attorney’s office, Wygmans has advocated for a treatment court, a voluntary program that helps users recover and offers defendants a path to having their criminal charges reduced or dismissed. To maximize funding, Wygmans developed one in conjunction with Chittenden County.
Wygmans also wants to rethink how mental illness is approached in the criminal justice system. “Instead of engaging prosecutors we should be engaging practitioners in these areas,” he said. This would ensure that the treatment assigned is appropriate and addresses the dangers facing the individual.
Wygmans also discussed practicing restorative justice.
“When you go into a restorative justice model, the victim has an immediate say in what they want to have happen as far as resolution is concerned, within reason,” he said. This often allows for both a more productive and just process. He has partnered with restorative justice programs in Addison County to find more effective methods for promoting justice.
“My job is to make sure that people don’t come back,” he said.
A “firm believer in second chances,” Wygmans stressed that individuals’ mistakes should not ruin their lives forever. For example, he believes in creating pathways for expungement, a way for people to find a fresh start.
“Justice means that at some point you have paid your debt to society,” he said.
Bevere has long been interested in the job of Addison County state’s attorney. Currently the Chief Deputy State’s Attorney in Rutland County, Bevere has worked as a prosecutor for 12 years.
“I have experience in almost everything there is to handle in a criminal courtroom,” he said in an interview with The Campus. During his time, he has seen serious felonies, handled numerous homicides and, in his current position, works many cases of sexual assault and the physical abuse of children.
Bevere generally considers himself politically independent.
“I don’t like to be boxed into one party’s position or the other,” he said, adding that he views the state’s attorney job in similar terms. “It’s not our job to make the law, it’s our job to make sure it’s being fairly and equally enforced.”
As an alumnus of the college and the spouse of a college employee, Bevere interacts with the school on a regular basis. He spends time with the softball and football teams, the latter of which he played for as a student. And he has taught a Winter Term course called “The Trial of Jon Snow: An Intro into the Criminal Justice System.”
In the window of one of the college’s Ridgeline townhouses, student residents have placed a sign supporting Bevere’s campaign. Irene Margiotta ’19, a softball team captain, lives in the house with another team captain.
“Peter is a great guy, always super supportive of the team and is always willing to help out,” Margiotta said. Bevere often attends games and spends time on the sidelines with the players’ families. “We just think he’s a real stand-up guy,” she said.
“As state’s attorney, I would like to have, and think I could have, the ability to work closely with the college,” Bevere said. He believes it is important for the college and the state’s attorney’s office to maintain a strong relationship.
“I want to continue to be a strong voice for Addison County and make sure that Addison County is not to be overlooked by some of the larger counties,” he said. This means getting deputies and victim advocates the resources and support they need.
In sexual violence cases, Bevere discussed his “victim-centered approach.
“I always emphasize that we’re never going to do anything that they don’t want to do,” he said.
Bevere noted that the decision of whether to report sexual violence, and subsequently pursue legal action, is completely up to the survivor.
“It’s not about re-victimizing them just to hold someone accountable,” he said.
On issues of racial bias, Bevere believes that the state has made great strides in addressing the state’s disproportionate incarceration of African American men.
“I think as state’s attorney it’s important that we’re looking at cases and we’re being fair and impartial, as to what we’re charging and that we’re consistent,” he said.
Bevere recognized that mental health plays a significant role in criminal justice.
“What is shocking to me is the number of victims of crime that I’ve come across who have mental health issues, and the lack of resources that are available to them,” he said.
Throughout his time as a prosecutor, Bevere has come to see justice as a balancing act.
“You have to balance your communities need for protection, and a victim’s need for protection,” he said. For this reason, Bevere supports the use of restorative justice programs, especially in relation to treating the opioid crisis.
Bevere sees aiding children as his most important work. He often works with children who are victims of physical or sexual violence.
“Those kids come up to you and say, ‘Thank you for believing me,’ because not everybody does,” he said. “This is why I do this.”
Bevere’s campaign is centered around two main ideas, beginning with the diversity of his experience. “I think that it’s important that your state’s attorney has experience in just about everything there is to experience,” he said. Compared to Wygmans, Bevere said, “I bring more experience to the table.”
Second, Bevere is focusing on his residence in Addison County. In Vermont, state’s attorneys do not need to live in the same county they serve in public office. But Bevere, who lives in Middlebury, has made an issue of Wygmans’s residence in Chittenden County.
“I’m the only candidate that’s from Addison County, and I have a family I am raising here, friends here, I have a vested interested in the well-being of our county, our community,” Bevere said.
Wygmans has pushed back on Bevere’s claims. Having grown up in rural Vermont, Wygmans feels that he has a great understanding of what life is like in Addison County. Additionally, having worked in Addison County for six years, Wygmans believes he has fostered the relationships necessary to perform the job.
Just because he does not live in the county, Wygmans said, does not mean he does not care about it.
“I am on the scene when people die in car accidents, I am on the scene when people OD,” he said.
“It’s hard to say what my opponent actually stands for,” Wygmans said, adding that Bevere has chosen to focus on each candidate’s residency, rather than the issues.
“I want to talk about what we can do to make Addison County a safer place, but also a place that addresses the issues head on,” he said. “And all he wants to talk about is being a local guy.”
The hearings and subsequent confirmation of now-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sparked national outrage that resonated with many members of the college community over the past two weeks. Across campus, students and faculty publicly expressed their support for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and survivors of sexual assault with signs, a “Walkout Against the Patriarchy” and chalked messages on pathways.
Signs Supporting Survivors
“WE BELIEVE SURVIVORS,” declared signs that surfaced across campus after the tumultuous Senate hearing addressing Dr. Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Justice Kavanaugh. The lead organizer of the postering campaign, who requested anonymity given her probation status from the Charles Murray protest, printed several posters and emailed the PDF file of the posters to multiple co-activists including Grace Vedock ’20 and Taite Shomo ’20.5.
“I wanted to do something to help make women and survivors feel supported on this campus. To help them feel heard. Believed. Safe. They were my motivation,” the student wrote in a message. “Beyond campus, my sisters were my motivation. My mom. My friends. My future nieces.”
However, responses have not all been positive. Certain signs, such as one posted outside of Proctor Dining Hall, were almost immediately ripped down. Throughout the next few days, additional signs were vandalized and restored. Soon after the initial incident, the Community Bias Response Team (CBRT) weighed in, condemning the vandalism in an all-school email and noting that it violated “the general principle of respectful behavior and community standards.”
A similar action took place outside the suite of Juliana Dunn ’19.5, Vee Duong ’19 and Nathan Nguyen ’19. In a Facebook post, Dunn shared that a student continued to erase the “WE BELIEVE CHRISTINE” text on the whiteboard outside their suite and remove similar paper signs. As of Tuesday evening, the messages had been collectively vandalized nine times.
[pullquote speaker="" photo="" align="center" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]Supporting survivors should be the norm, not a radical act.[/pullquote]
“As a suite we are unsurprised but still stung by the ripping down and erasing of our signs of solidarity; it felt particularly painful to those of us who are survivors,” the suite members collectively wrote in a message to The Campus. “Supporting survivors should be the norm, not a radical act. We want to expect more of our peers and the institution, but our experiences on campus have largely taught us to prepare for less.”
The primary organizer of the poster campaign also wrote “BELIEVE SURVIVORS” on the chalk message board next to the mail room, including the hotline for WomenSafe (800-388-4205). Throughout the twenty-minute setup process, dozens of women stopped to express their gratitude and identify themselves as survivors.
Protest Against Patriarchy
A “Walkout Against the Patriarchy” started small but grew to a crowd of about 40 professors and students outside of Proctor on Oct. 4. Participants gathered in front of the steps to the dining hall with signs protesting Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination and many passersby joined in after seeing what was occurring.
The mood was somber. Participants expressed their frustration at the Republican Party’s continued support of Justice Kavanaugh despite the accusations of sexual assault, and shared their belief that recent events put women across the nation at risk. Many said they were afraid that Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would threaten the right to abortion protected by Roe v. Wade.
Participants also discussed concrete ways to make a difference, such as voting and talking about uncomfortable issues with family members and friends. Some suggested that to create change, they would need to look outside of the “Middlebury bubble” and engage with the world at large.
The professors in attendance hoped that their students and their students’ generation as a whole would work hard to protect sexual assault survivors and improve the lives of all women.
Gender Studies professors Laurie Essig and Sujata Moorti, Writing and Rhetoric professor Catharine Wright and Director of Chellis House Karin Hanta arranged the event with help from other faculty members.
“It was last minute,” Essig said. “We got some posters up and put it on Facebook on Wednesday, the day before.”
“I just happened to stumble upon the protest on my way home and stayed a bit to hear people’s thoughts and responses to the situation,” Melisa Topic ’19 said. “I appreciated the mixed student-faculty attendance because I believe it showed both unity and support from all sources on this campus, and demonstrated the diversity in individuals that are feeling some type of way about the Kavanaugh nomination.”
The next day, Feminist Action at Middlebury (FAM) and the Student Government Association (SGA) encouraged students to participate in a “blackout” by wearing black to show support for survivors of sexual assault and for Dr. Ford, Ramirez and Swetnick.
On Saturday, the Senate voted 50-48 to confirm Justice Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. He was sworn in later that day.
Chalk in Solidarity
Using a rainbow of chalk, students scrawled messages of frustration, despair and support in response to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Some of the messages were longer: “Men Need to Hold Other Men Accountable” and “Age Does Not Excuse Assault,” while others were simple and impactful: “Believe Survivors” and “We Believe Dr. Ford.”
The chalking was organized by Taite Shomo ’20.5 and executed on Monday and Tuesday.
“I happen to believe those allegations, but his appointment to the Court is much larger than just him. It’s a symbolic message to survivors of sexual assault and abuse that our experiences don’t matter,” Shomo said.
[pullquote speaker="Shomo '20.5" photo="" align="center" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]The idea that a person can inflict something so painful and traumatizing on another person with no consequences is devastating.[/pullquote]
“I was assaulted when I was 13, only a little younger than Dr. Ford when she was assaulted,” she said. “The idea that a person can inflict something so painful and traumatizing on another person with no consequences is devastating.”
Shomo wonders if she, or other survivors at Middlebury, may someday have to experience what Dr. Ford has gone through, and if they do, whether their story will even matter.
“Chalking campus felt like a cathartic and immediate way to channel some of the anger and sadness I’ve been feeling since Kavanaugh’s appointment in a constructive way” she said.
The purpose of the chalking was not only personal expression. Shomo also hoped to send a message to both survivors and assaulters on campus.
“There are people here who care about what survivors have been through and care about assaulters being held accountable for their actions — even if those actions took place in high school or college,” Shomo said.
Shomo described one moment of the chalking that was particularly rewarding. As she and her girlfriend were writing in front of Proctor, a student walked up to them and asked to borrow their chalk. The student scribed two powerful words: “Me Too.”
Hungry students in search of a late-night snack are now facing limited options on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Starting this semester, The Grille will close its doors at 2 p.m. on those days, while maintaining its typical hours during the rest of the week, closing at midnight on Wednesday and Sunday and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Detora explained the cut in hours as part of an ongoing effort to review dining options on campus, citing lower student traffic at The Grille on Monday and Tuesday nights. He explained that the college is trying to better satisfy student needs while also being fiscally responsible.
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Baishakhi Taylor defended the cut to Grille hours, citing the greater number of students who eat in dining halls early in the week. “Monday dinners averaged 99.6 percent participation last year and Tuesday averaged 98.6 percent,” she said. These numbers drop throughout the week as more students make use of alternative dining options.
Student services is currently evaluating dining options on campus by studying how students use the facilities. Taylor reiterated Detora’s goal of allocating resources to the places where students use them the most.
Student Government Association (SGA) President Nia Robinson ’19 explained that while the SGA discussed the closing, it is ultimately outside their jurisdiction since it is a staffing, budgetary and usage issue. Robinson noted that while many students are upset, they understand the rationale for the change.
Robinson acknowledged the concern around student access to late night dining options on campus. However, Taylor emphasized that the college had actually expanded — not reduced — the eating options for students by making this change.
To make up for the reduction in Grille hours, Wilson Café will now be open until midnight on Monday and Tuesday with a full menu, and GrilleMe will deliver bagel sandwiches as an alternative to Grille food. GrilleMe completed their first round of bagel sandwich deliveries on Sept. 24.
Midd-Xpress will continue to be open until midnight and Crossroads will stay open until 10 p.m. Midd-Xpress offers healthy snacks such as yogurt parfaits and fruit cups along with new Grab and Go sandwiches, wraps and salads as well as a new pizza option with a variety of toppings.
In an interview last year, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration David Provost said that he would like for McCullough to become more of a student center. “I don’t believe it reflects what most student centers on college campuses look like,” he said.
While the cut in Grille hours might appear to contradict this goal, Detora explained that he plans to set up an advisory committee that will discuss ways to improve the Grille this fall. The committee will consist of students, faculty and staff.
Taylor expressed an ongoing commitment to strengthening social life on campus. “We seek to understand more about what students show us they want, which is not always the same as what they say they want,” she said.
Students on the full meal plan will continue to have a $25 declining balance each semester. Taylor said that, looking forward, there are improvements to be made at the Grille and even opportunities for food options at the Athletic Center.
While some students may be disappointed that they can no longer order a Dr. Feel Good to accompany their Monday night homework, Nicholas Nonnenmacher ’21 affirmed that the Chicken Parm sandwich from Wilson Café is “an artfully crafted masterpiece.”
THE GRILLE CHANGES HOURS
The Grille has modified its hours for the rest of time. Previously open from 11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. and from 8 p.m.-12 a.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, it will now close at 2 p.m. and will no longer operate for the evening on those days.
Although only affecting two days of operation, this change reduces the number of options for on-campus late night dining for students. However, on Mondays and Tuesdays, there are still three late night food options: Midd-Xpress and Wilson Café will continue to stay open until midnight and Crossroads Café will continue to stay open until 10 p.m.
— Eric Kapner
CHRISTINE HALLQUIST TO VISIT MIDDLEBURY
On Sunday, Sept. 16, The Middlebury College Democrats are hosting a screening of the documentary “Denial,” which documents Christine Hallquist’s transition during her time as the CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative. Hallquist is the current Democratic nominee in the Vermont gubernatorial race and is the first openly transgender nominee from a major party for the office of governor in the United States.
After the screening, there will be a Q&A featuring Hallquist and Ruth Hardy, the executive director of Emerge Vermont. Hardy is also running on the Democratic ticket to represent Addison County in the Vermont State Senate.
Emerge Vermont is an organization that trains and supports women to run for public office in the state. Their mission, as stated on their website, is “To increase the number of Democratic women leaders from diverse backgrounds in public office through recruitment, training, and providing a powerful network.” 34 of the candidates in the 2018 Vermont elections are women trained by Emerge Vermont.
The screening and discussion will take place at 7 p.m. in the Dana Auditorium. The event is being cosponsored by Feminist Action at Middlebury and Middlebury Women Leaders.*
— Eric Kapner
CHANGES TO RES LIFE ROLES
Derek Doucet is now serving as the senior associate dean of students. Amanda Reinhardt is now the head of the Student Activities Office, where she will report to Doucet.
Doucet’s new role will involve overseeing the commons and residential life system — apart from the Commons Heads, who report to dean of the faculty Andi Lloyd — new student orientation, and the Student Activities Office. He will work with Reinhardt to handle the day to day proceedings of student orientation and will directly supervise the commons deans.
Doucet said he hopes that his transition will be as seamless as possible for students.
— Cali Kapp
FATAL CAR CRASH EN ROUTE TO PROCTOR
A mechanical issue at Proctor Dining Hall on Sunday afternoon caused the building’s bathrooms to fill with smoke, forcing staff to evacuate and delaying the beginning of dinner by one hour.
The incident also resulted, indirectly, in tragedy nearby. A utility vehicle from Cornwall Fire Department — one of several vehicles summoned to the scene as a precaution — was involved in a fatal crash on Route 125 near The Knoll, while on its way to Proctor. The Addison Independent reported Monday that at around 3:45 p.m., the utility vehicle collided with a pickup truck driven by 44-year-old Deane Rubright of Shoreham, who died at the scene.
As a result of the accident, a portion of Route 125 was closed for several hours, and the lights of ambulances on the scene were visible from campus into the early evening.
— Nick Garber
* Editor’s Note: Ruth Hardy is the spouse of Jason Mittell, The Campus’ academic advisor. Mittell plays no role in any editorial decisions made by the paper. Any questions may be directed to email@example.com.
The college’s Open Campus Initiative (OCI) hosted a talk on free speech in large part through funding from the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), a libertarian think tank. Charles Koch, an astronomically wealthy champion of the right who has helped back the Tea Party among other Republican causes and politicians, is on the board of directors of the IHS.
IHS is based at George Mason University. According to donor agreements released on Monday, in exchange for multi-million dollar donations to the university, the Koch brothers and other donors have played a role in hiring and firing faculty members. George Mason has denied this connection between the Charles Koch foundation and the university for years.
The OCI brought Jonathan Rauch to campus on April 19 for the talk, entitled “Why Free Speech is the Only Safe Space for Minorities.” Rauch has authored six books and is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Much of Rauch’s research focuses mainly on public policy issues, though he has also written about cultural issues. As an openly gay man he has stood up for gay rights, most prominently in his 2004 book “Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America” and his 2013 memoir “Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul.”
Sam Zieve-Cohen ’19.5 and David Rubinstein ’18 founded the OCI at the college this fall with an aim to foster the discussion of diverse opinions. Zieve-Cohen and Rubinstein serve as president and treasurer of the OCI, respectively.
“The group aims to facilitate discussions, lectures, and other activities to overcome cultural and political balkanization on campus and beyond,” Rubinstein said.
Rubinstein is also co-president of the College Republicans and a member of the American Enterprise Institute.
When asked about the seemingly politicized source of funding, Rubinstein said that the choice of speaker was not influenced by the IHS and denied serving any political agenda.
“In dealing with potential sponsors, we make one thing very clear: the leaders of OCI – and no one else – need to have full control over the event,” Rubinstein said. “We would reject any funding that comes with political strings attached.”
According to Rubinstein, the OCI reached out to the IHS for funding after they had decided on bringing Rauch as a speaker.
“Our choice of speaker was made by Sam and I alone,” Rubinstein said. “Only after choosing our speaker did we go about soliciting funding.”
This was the first event that the OCI had received external funding for, as all previous events had been funded by the Student Government Association. This was also the OCI’s first event with a speaker; the group only hosted informal discussions in its first months.
Rubinstein said he was not opposed to accepting funding from the IHS for future events.
“We do not discriminate against any potential sponsors on the basis of their politics,” Rubinstein said. “If our conditions for student control were met, we’d accept funding from a foundation with George Soros on the board. In the same vein we’d accept further funding without strings from a foundation with Charles Koch on its board.”
Last spring, following national press about free speech on college campuses, students established an organization called the Open Campus Initiative at Harvard University. Harvard’s OCI’s mission statement reads: “We believe that a liberal arts education benefits from ideological diversity and we aim to offer that ideological diversity for the student body.”
The Harvard OCI brought Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto psychology professor who speaks out against non-binary gender and refuses to use pronouns other than “he” and “she,” to their campus in April 2017. The Harvard OCI invited Charles Murray to speak the following September.
While the Harvard and Middlebury groups bear the same name and similar purposes, Rubinstein said, “The Middlebury Open Campus Initiative is an entirely independent organization and has no connections to clubs at other colleges or universities.”
When the OCI applied to be a student organization in the fall, the Student Organization Oversight Committee (SOOC) rejected their application due to lack of organization, according to Trisha Singh ’18, committee chair of the SOOC.
Singh said that members were also concerned about how the organization would ensure it represented a diverse array of viewpoints.
“The committee was concerned with the potential of the club’s membership to be comprised only of people with the same viewpoints,” the official statement specified.
“The OCI lists ‘encouraging and seeking viewpoint diversity’ and ‘encouraging reasonable, free, and civil discussion across differences of opinion’ as a part of its purpose on its constitution,” Singh said. “When asked about how they would ensure the viewpoint diversity and differences of opinion at their meetings and events, they did not seem to consider it as a priority and did not give a convincing answer.”
According to Rubinstein, the OCI has members who are Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
“The OCI is strictly non-partisan and committed to welcoming any interested community member,” added Zieve-Cohen. However, he also described himself and Rubinstein as sharing only mildly differing political beliefs.
Despite the initial concerns, the SOOC approved the group with reservations during winter term. The group’s student organization status is guaranteed for a year. At the end of this period it will undergo a review during which the status can be either revoked or renewed.
Singh clarified the committee’s support of the group.
“The SOOC fully supports OCI’s goals and mission and its decisions so far have only been based on logistical concerns about whether the leadership is well organized and whether they will fulfill the goals listed in their constitution,” Singh said.
The talk was also sponsored by Ross Commons and the Political Science department, in addition to the IHS, though the Political Science department did not provide any funds for the event.
Chair of the political science department Bertram Johnson said that the department’s decision to sponsor the talk was an easy one, as the topic of the lecture, free speech, pertained to interests of the department and the department was not providing funding for the talk.
Johnson also said that he views the department’s role as sponsor as a chance to support dialogue in general.
“I see our role as not being the place where dialogue gets shut down,” Johnson said.
Political science professor Keegan Callanan serves as the OCI’s faculty advisor. Callanan did not comment on the organization’s choice of funding or mission when contacted by The Campus.
The group does not currently have more events planned, but hopes to hold more lectures and discussions in the future.
THE CAMPUS ELECTS NEW TOP EDITORS
The Campus editorial board elected Will DiGravio ’19 editor in chief for the upcoming academic year. Nick Garber ’19 and Rebecca Walker ’19 were elected managing editors.
DiGravio, who ran for the position unopposed, began his tenure with the paper as a news writer his first semester and became a news editor the following year. He currently serves as the paper’s managing editor.
Garber also joined The Campus staff as a news writer and became an editor for the section during the winter term of his sophomore year. Walker joined the paper’s local section during her first semester and became an editor for that section during winter term of that academic year. Both Garber and Walker served as senior editors for their respective sections this past fall before departing for semesters abroad.
This is the first year The Campus has elected two managing editors.
— Sabine Poux
PATTON ELECTED TO ACADEMY of ARTS & SCIENCES
President Laurie L. Patton was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ 238th class of members last week. The academy has honored leaders in a variety of disciplines since its founding in 1780. Once inducted, members are expected to participate in a variety of initiatives and publications managed by the academy.
Patton was elected for her excellence in academic scholarship and administration.
“The primary criterion is excellence in one’s field — as an interclass candidate, this means she was chosen for excellence in both religious studies and academic administration,” said Kristin Gustafson, the academy’s director of membership and elections.
“I’m still trying to absorb the news,” Patton said in a Newsroom article published last week. “I’m deeply honored to be part of such a remarkable group of individuals elected to this year’s class and to join the members who have preceded us in the academy’s history. They will always be my teachers.”
The class of 2018 includes 213 new members, including author Ta-Nehisi Coates, actor Tom Hanks, 44th president of the United States Barack Obama, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
An induction ceremony will take place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in October. New members sign a book that includes the signatures of members such as Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost and Martin Luther King, Jr.
— Elizabeth Sawyer
SGA TO HOLD STAFF APPRECIATION DAY
In celebration of Staff Appreciation Day, the Student Government Association will sponsor a free dinner for the college’s staff members on April 30 in Atwater dining hall. Staff members are encouraged to bring immediate family to the event, which will be catered by the Waybury Inn.
“Every day, Middlebury students are positively affected by the contribution you make to our campus, and this deserves celebration,” said the SGA in an email to the entire college staff.
The SGA also sent an email to students asking for short thank-you messages for staff members for a video compilation that will be presented at the dinner. The email additionally called for student volunteers to help set-up, serve and clean-up at the event, as well as volunteers to babysit children of staff members.
Students can visit go/thankyoustaff to contribute to the thank-you video compilation.
— Sabine Poux
COLLEGE JOINS AMERICAN TALENT INITIATIVE
The college recently joined the American Talent Initiative, an organization that aims to “attract, enroll, and graduate 50,000 additional high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students at the nation’s top colleges and universities” by 2025, according to their website.
Institutions associated with ATI strive to boost access to higher education. As a member, Middlebury will take steps to matriculate a larger number of low-income students, which complements existing policies at the college, including need-blind admissions, grants for unpaid summer internships, and First@Midd.
Some of Middlebury’s new strategies will include improving recruitment and transfer processes, prioritizing of need-based aid, developing systems that help raise lower-income students’ graduation rates and increasing the number of applicants and students eligible for Pell Grants.
ATI was made up of 30 member institutions when it formed in 2016, and has grown to include 100. Seventeen states’ flagship universities, the entire Ivy League, and dozens of other private colleges are already members.
— Nicole Pollack
Diane Nash, a pioneer of the civil rights movement, urged students and community members to carry the lessons from the movement and its activists into the future in an address in Mead Chapel on Monday. Nash called on the audience to take our future into our own hands.
Diane Nash played a significant role in the civil rights movement throughout the 1960s as one of the founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee and an organizer of the 1961 freedom ride from Birmingham, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. She also worked with peace movements that promoted the end of the Vietnam War.
Nash became involved in the civil rights movement as a student at Fisk University in Nashville in 1959 and was taken aback by the overt racial segregation she observed. While segregation was present where she grew up on the South Side of Chicago, Nash said it was far more obscure than what she was exposed to in the South.
Nash described the segregation she experienced as a black woman in Nashville as “degrading and humiliating.” She began to look around her campus for organizations that were combating this discrimination but was questioned by other students, who warned her that she would fail and would get in trouble. That was until she found Reverend James Lawson, a student of Gandhi’s nonviolence who conducted weekly workshops.
Nash prefaced her talk by explaining her distaste for the terms used around the civil rights movement. The movement is often described as “nonviolent, ” and while this might be accurate to an extent, Nash does not feel like it is the appropriate word, because it only communicates a very small portion of the work they did during the civil rights movement.
Alternatively, Nash spoke to the ideas that she viewed as most influential to the movement and her own principles as an activist, many of which derived from Ghandi. He “developed a way that thousands and thousands of people . . . can focus and exert their love energy on an opponent . . . in order to bring about desired social change,” she said, rather than choosing to use violence.
From this idea of love as energy, Nash introduced the word agape, which connotes love among humankind. She then presented the term agapic energy, which she used to describe the work that was done during the civil rights movement. An agapic energy campaign or project has six steps: investigation, education, negotiation, resistance and taking steps to ensure that the problem does not reoccur.
Using agapic energy, Nash and her fellow activists successfully desegregated restaurants in Nashville. When discussing this process, she explained the importance of targeting ideas, not people. She said that if you use violence and attack people rather than political and economic systems or unjust attitudes, “you kill individuals but leave the oppressive system untouched.”
Nash also expressed her opinion that “oppression is a partnership,” stating that in all unjust relationships, the oppressed must consent to their oppression. Without such consent, “the system will fall.” Nash argued that while most people assume that activism focuses on changing other people, it really should focus on controlling oneself. If a person refuses to conform to an oppressive system, then the system will shift to accommodate that person. According to Nash, black Americans during the civil rights movement “changed [themselves] into people who could not be segregated.”
Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. While Nash has enormous respect for King’s work and is one of the few people who can say she has double dated with him, she said that she believes the depiction of King as the leader of the civil rights movement is harmful. She expressed that “it was not Martin Luther King’s movement, it was the people’s movement.”
Nash said that though people look to leaders like King when they see problems today, the civil rights movement was the result of everyday citizens standing up and refusing oppression in their societies. She urged citizens not to rely on elected officials or any other individual leaders, saying, “there is no one to solve problems but you and me.”
Nash ended her talk with a call to action.
“I am frightened for our country, I think it is time to get scared,” she stated. Citizens must take the future of the country and the fate of oppressed people around the world into their own hands, just as Nash and her fellow activists did over half a century ago.
Starting in early to mid-June, the tennis courts behind Atwater dining hall will be bulldozed in order to create new parking in E-lot. The new parking will replace the space lost due to construction of the temporary computer science building located behind Johnson Memorial Building.
John McLeod, a professor of architecture whose downtown firm on Frog Hollow Alley is designing the building, said that the once the courts are bulldozed, part of the area will become parking and the other portion will be converted to grass.
The Atwater area originally had six tennis courts, four of which were removed when the dining hall was built. The two remaining courts are used recreationally.
The project is currently pending approval under State of Vermont Act 250 considering land use and environmental permitting standards. Upon consent, the courts will be bulldozed following commencement and reunion and the new parking will be available for use starting in the fall of 2018.
Tom McGinn, project manager, describes the new computer science building as an “interim academic space.” The project was initially introduced as a temporary space and was potentially going to house trailers. However, as the project developed, it was decided that it was more practical to construct a longer-lasting building.
The building will consist of mainly metal material and will thus have a life of between 25-30 years. After this time, the building could be restored or, because it will use “very little non-recyclable content,” it could be moved or recycled.
McGinn explains that the new building will allow the college “to renovate existing buildings and to expand the Bi Hall programs.”
The building will house the computer science department on the top floor and office space on the floor below. Departments from different buildings will be moved into this space while their current building is renovated. This process will start with the faculty in Munroe Hall during the fall of 2019. Over the course of about eight years, other buildings including Warner Hall, the Adirondack House and potentially the Johnson Memorial Building will go through the same process.
Once this process is completed, McGinn explains that the space can be “easily reconfigured” and repurposed for many potential uses.
McGinn said that the new building is part of a campus-wide initiative “to see how well we are utilizing our existing space and how we could utilize it better.” Middlebury has contracted Biddison Hier Limited, a company which helps colleges and universities with resource planning and management. Biddison Hier is currently performing a campus space utilization study, which is analyzing classroom, residential and dining space with hopes of determining what permanent buildings should be constructed in the future.
In accordance with student and Student Government Association (SGA) feedback from last year, the housing process has been refined. In an interview with The Campus, dean for residential life Doug Adams explained the new process and gave advice for students as they navigate the various draws. Adams acknowledged that the process can cause anxiety but advises that preplanning can reduce stress.
- After spring break, juniors and seniors will have a period of time to fill out their housing applications on StarRez, the online housing draw platform. The first draw for seniors will take place between April 3 and 6. The second, for juniors and mixed grade groups, will occur between April 19 and 24. The final draw for sophomores will take place between April 11 and 16.
- Since many students will not receive their first choice for housing, Adams advises students to make a list and develop contingency plans. Going into the draw process with several alternatives can reduce students’ stress once the process has started and housing options begin to fill. Once housing is drawn it is final, so all students should feel comfortable and confident with the selection they make and with the group they enter the process with. Adams recommended entering the draw with at least one other person because if a student is not available during their time slot, the person they entered the draw with can act as their proxy, even if they do not choose to live together.
- Each individual or group will be randomly assigned a time slot, with slots spanning the course of several days. In order for a group to receive a time slot the group leader must “verify” the group is complete after all members have joined. The length of each time slot for the upperclassmen draws will be dependent on the number of groups who enter into the draw, but will likely be 15 minutes.
- Once a time slot has begun, the individual(s) in that slot will have from then until rooms are selected or the process has closed. However, new groups will join the draw when their time slot begins. When a group is choosing housing during their slot, they can either opt to remain as a large group or section off into smaller groups or chose to room as individuals.
- At the end of each draw day, the residential life team will release information regarding which housing options are still available for students to claim. This will allow students who have not yet drawn to plan accordingly.
- There will be a drop-in session today from 1:30-3:30 p.m. outside of the box office in McCullough with members of Adam’s team to help students plan for the housing draw. Additionally, during the application process there will computer lab space available where students can receive assistance with their applications.
Adams encouraged any questions to be directed towards firstname.lastname@example.org or Karin Hall-Kolts (email@example.com). There is detailed information about Middlebury housing available on the Middlebury Residential Life website at go/floorplans and go/quicklist.
Middlebury students received an email from the Parton student health center on Monday, Feb. 19 regarding an outbreak of the viral illness mumps at the University of Vermont and St. Michael’s College. A small number of students at these institutions had been affected so far, and there had been no cases reported among faculty or staff. The email assured Middlebury students that there had been no reported cases at the college.
Mumps is a viral illness most present in communities where people live in close quarters, like a college campus. For individuals who are immunized and in good health, mumps is usually mild and relatively non-dangerous. Middlebury College is considered a highly vaccinated community, with 99 percent of the student body immunized, according to the email from Parton.
But mumps is much more serious for those who are not immunized or have compromised immune systems due to other medical conditions. The virus is spread through sharing drinks or eating utensils, kissing, coughing and sneezing. Symptoms of mumps include tenderness and high swelling of the parotid gland, located between the jaw and ear, fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.
“High vaccination coverage helps limit the size, duration, and spread of mumps outbreaks,” Parton medical director Dr. Mark Peluso said. Since the mumps vaccination program started in 1967, the number of reported mumps cases in the United States has decreased by 99 percent, proving the effectiveness of the program.
But the program has not completely prevented mumps. One dose of the vaccination is 78 percent effective while two doses is 88 percent effective.
Under Vermont state law, all Middlebury students must receive two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine before coming to campus. A student may only be exempt from this law if the vaccine is detrimental to their health or if they have a religious exemption.
According to the health center’s email, the college is directly contacting students who have not been adequately vaccinated, and these students will be able to receive the necessary immunization.
The last time there were reported cases of mumps at Middlebury was in 2008, when a few cases were reported. Since then, there have been a few suspected cases, but no outbreaks. In 2016 and 2017, Bates, Bowdoin and Colby Colleges saw small outbreaks of mumps on their campuses.
The number of mumps cases reported each year in the United States has varied greatly. In 2009, there were 229 reported cases. In 2016, there were 6,366 reported cases.
Peluso also noted the challenge of diagnosing mumps in a highly vaccinated community.
“Vaccinated individuals may shed virus for a shorter period and might shed smaller amounts of virus,” he said, “thus degradation of the sample has greater consequences for successful detection of virus.”
Other viruses, such as the flu virus and the virus that causes mononucleosis, can also result in parotid swelling, making mumps challenging to diagnose and confirm.
If a student is suspected of having mumps, Parton will socially isolate the student for five days to prevent the spread of the virus. If three or more students are suspected to have mumps, or the college receives directions from the Department of Health, the school will encourage students without the vaccination to leave campus.
Peluso encouraged students to get eight hours of sleep a night, drink two to three liters of water every day, eat a well-balanced diet and avoid sharing saliva in order to avoid mumps.