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The Miscellany News September 24, 2009 Since 1866 | Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY Volume CXLIII | Issue 3 Presidential candidates for 2013 vie for position Jillian Scharr News Editor T Molly Turpin/The Miscellany News he Class of 2013 President will be announced tonight in the Retreat. Voting took place online starting Tuesday, Sept. 22, and continues until 9 p.m. tonight. One of the candidates, Clayton Masterman ’13 is memorable not for what he says, but how he says it. He was captain of his high school debate team and speaks without hesitation. “Our battle to extend library hours is on,” Masterman writes in his campaign statement. In an interview, he named the library hours, as well as transportation and increased interaction with Poughkeepsie, as his priorities, and also encouraged events to promote social interaction among Vassar students. “Some freshman are feeling homesick and out of place—together we’ll keep freshman morale up and make sure everyone feels at home in the Vassar family,” he says in his statement. Masterman has no previous experience with student council, though he said that “towards the end of high school, I wished I had. I wanted to get involved — and I see college as a chance to do it.” Having been senior class president in high school, Daniel Lempert ’13 sees involvement in student government as “natural.” Asked about building class community during the debate, Lempert said he “would initially try to throw a party in UpC,” then mentioned “a freshman pride day” and the revival of class colors. He placed the greatest emphasis on student organizations, calling the Vassar community an “eclectic group with a lot of chemistry.” During the debate he promised to “get creative” with finding ways to finance organizations without which the campus “would just be an abandoned, very pretty arboretum.” When asked for a final comment on his campaign, he replied with a modest but somewhat theatrical sigh, “Guess I have to shamelessly plug myself.” After a pause, he said “my best strength is experience,” while acknowledging that student government is “[on] a different scale in college…I don’t know what to promise…but I like fixing things, doing things, seeing things realized.” “I’ve never done anything with student government,” said Patty Walton ’13 in an interview. “It occurred to me [to run] in the first couple of weeks at Vassar…I just kind of decided,” she said with a smile. “People will complain about things but never go and do something about it,” she observed, waving her hands emphatically. “I want to be vocal.” She discussed her fascination with college economics and finances, saying of Vassar, “there are so many interesting people, all of different backgrounds, different places—if we were not need-blind we’d lose a lot of what makes Vassar interesting.” “I’m a very approachable person,” Walton said during the debate. “It isn’t really to the president to decide, [but] to follow through on what the students want.” “Experience starts somewhere,” she concluded. “The goal of the freshman president is to ease assimilation into the Vassar community,” Eli BernsZieve ’13 said in an interview, and his campaign statement enumerates very specific means to that end: extended library hours, expansion of the VCash system among local businesses, better relations with the Security Department. He also spoke about activities to increase solidarity among the freshman class, explaining that interdorm events would foster “unity within the freshman class, then with the rest of the Vassar community, then from Vassar to the Poughkeepsie area.” See FRESHMAN on page 3 Chair of the Vassar College Board of Trustees William Plapinger ’74 and Chair of the Academics Committee Sally Gordon ’82 answer students’ questions at the Sept. 13 forum in the second floor of the Students’ Building. Forums cause review of relationship between trustees and student body Ruby Cramer O Editor in Chief n Sept. 9, at 10:02 p.m.—four days before this month’s Board of Trustees open forum—Thomas Clarke ’11 updated his Facebook status with the following: “Thomas Clarke needs some self-identified, smart, activisttype people to meet on Saturday to discuss ways to be prepared for the Board of Trustees meeting. They’re coming to tell us what’s what. Don’t let them patronize and lie to us.” “The status wasn’t entirely serious,” said Clarke, who explained that while he was mostly using a bit of sensationalism to “get Vassar students out of their chairs,” he was also addressing what he said was a strained relationship between the student body and the Vassar College Board of Trustees. “The relationship right now between the students and the Board is tense,” said Clarke. “I think a lot of it is that the Board is only here a few times a year. Because of that distant relationship, there’s a natural tendency for students and other constituencies of the College to view them as these distant shadows that just move money and don’t see people. “They are normal people, and they are human beings,” he continued. “It’s just difficult to see them that way when they don’t come to campus that often, and when we do talk to them, they just tell us what’s what, and then they leave.” Anastasia Hardin ’10 echoed Clarke’s sentiments, explaining that when she went to the first Board of Trustees open forum—held in May 2009—she was disappointed to find the format less of a discussion and more of an informational meeting. “They were telling us about the decisions they had already made. I think now students are pushing for more than just information,” said Har- din. “They want to be involved in the decision-making process. I know a lot of students that are somewhat disappointed with hearing lectures from the Trustees, rather than having a discussion with them.” “There should not be a speakerlistener dynamic,” said Clarke of the forums. “I think ideas need to be exchanged, and we need to bring people together into a group that’s not a semicircle, but a full circle. We need some sort of meeting where people are treated as equals.” At the Sept. 13 open forum, the two attending trustees—Chair of the Board William Plapinger ’74 and Chair of the Academic Committee Sally Gordon ’82—began with brief opening statements before transitioning to questions from the audience, which was compiled of about 40 students, including the entire Vassar Student See TRUSTEES on page 8 Grafitti exposes unexpected tension around all-female groups Chloe McConnell V Courtesy of Indecent Exposure The Indecent Exposure audition sign-up sheet, which was posted inside Sanders Classroom, was defaced on Sept. 11 by an unidentified person. Inside this issue 5 FEATURES Local farm project increases student involvement Contributing Editor assar students who enroll in Women’s Studies classes or simply engage in conversations about the gender binary on campus quickly learn that gender debates are rife. The all-female comedy troupe Indecent Exposure, established in 2004 to encourage Vassar’s female students to get into comedy and stand-up, recently found themselves at the center of these discussions. During the Comedy Preview Show on Sept. 11, all of the Vassar comedy groups posted audition sign-up sheets in Sanders Classroom hoping that interested students in the audience would sign up to audition for the troupes they most enjoyed. To remind prospective members which group they were, Indecent Exposure printed an icon of a smiling face and a women’s gender symbol on their sheet. When the group collected their 13 OPINIONS Humor Page: Vassar worst-case scenario handbook sheet at the end of the evening, they found that few new names were added. This was abnormal, as students sign up to audition every year and their preview show had been a success. Upon closer inspection, they saw that someone had penned the following in the margins, paired with an arrow pointing to the female gender symbol: “You enforce and legitimize gender binaries.” In Indecent Exposure’s first full meeting after the show, the group enjoyed their usual fun, high-energy and quirky atmosphere. The remark written on the sign-up sheet was, initially, at the back of the members’ minds. Joking with each other, sharing anecdotes and drawing strange diagrams on the blackboard was simply their natural way to interact. Once the group started discussing what had occurred, however, the significance of the quickly-scribbled phrase was undeniable. 20 SPORTS “It’s just one of many instances where it is so difficult [to deal with] because it was anonymous, it was so small and it was clearly intended as some sort of joke,” Indecent Exposure President Molly Cahen ’10 said. “I’ve never felt weird about being in an all-female comedy group; it’s actually always been a source of pride,” troupe veteran Catie Tombs ’10 said. “I’ve never had that kind of reaction in the past. I was really freaked out by it and by my own response to it. I didn’t understand.” The group puzzled over why an anonymous person would vandalize their sign-up sheet, which was essentially their property. Had their preview show offended someone? Did their comedy skits support stereotypes? They felt the answer to both questions was no, so the group was left feeling shocked, self-conscious and confused. See EXPOSURE on page 6 Bard and RIT to join Vassar in Liberty League

Miscellany News | Volume 143 | Issue 3

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