Issue 18

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Common Language Document Prompts Protests, Outrage Shawna Chen ’20 and Zach Jonas ’22 Editor-in-Chief and Managing News Editor

Photo courtesy of Matai Curzon ‘22

In response to the college’s statement on the Common Language Document, student organizers displayed the document in central locations around campus, as well as President Martin’s response crossed out with an X.

Members of Men’s Lax Involved in Anti-Semitic Incident Shawna Chen ’20 Editor-in-Chief A swastika was drawn on the face of an unconscious person at a men’s lacrosse party in December 2018, according to information obtained by The Student. Members of the men’s lacrosse team then took photos of the person and circulated them on social media. Since the matter was brought to the attention of the head of athletics and the Office of Student Affairs later that month, the college has not taken public action to address the incident. It is unclear what forms of discipline, if any, were subsequently employed. According to a student who requested anonymity due to fear of retribution and/or threats, the men’s lacrosse team held a party at their off-campus house in De-

cember, during which an unknown person drew a penis and a swastika, among other images, on the face of an unconscious person. Team members then took pictures of the person, two of which were posted to Snapchat and were accessible to many in the college community. The Student obtained copies of these photos and three names of the players involved. The swastika was a symbol used by the German Nazi Party, which committed systematic murder and violence against more than six million Jews during World War II. Since then, the swastika has been widely recognized as a hate symbol and sign of anti-Semitism. Photographic evidence of the symbol was brought to Athletic Director Don Faulstick and Senior Associate Dean of Students Dean Gendron. According to The

Student’s sources, both administrative members commended the students for reporting the incident and assured them consequences would be taken. One student said Gendron asked what they thought the college should do, and the student said a public apology from the team was necessary. These meetings took place before winter break. No public statement has been made since. Three months later, it is unclear what kinds of action were taken. The college athletics website shows that two of the three men named to The Student did not play the first two games of the season. A student with knowledge of the events told The Student that based on her understanding, the three team members involved were suspended for two games. One was already injured and out for the season; he

is not included on the team roster. It is unknown whether the reduced playing time was a direct result of the incident or a response to something else. Multiple sources nevertheless cited concern with what they saw as a lack of appropriate disciplinary action. “I don’t think they thought about how people not on the team were affected,” said one student who also requested anonymity out of fear of retribution. Lack of playing time doesn’t necessarily mean that a person has understood the gravity of their actions, the student added. All of The Student’s sources expressed fear of backlash or retribution from the athletics department and/or the men’s lacrosse team,

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The college was embroiled in controversy last week after the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) released the Common Language Document (CLD) in a community-wide email. Reactions to the document, which outlined and defined terms related to diversity and inclusion, were wide-ranging across the college. On Wednesday, March 20, all students, faculty and staff received an email from the ODI in which Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Angie Tissi-Gassoway wrote that she was excited to share the CLD, a new resource “created and written by the Resource Center Team within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and in collaboration with various campus partners.” The document begins with an “About” section that introduces the CLD and explains that it “emerged out of a need to come to a common and shared understanding of language in order to foster opportunities for community building and effective communication within and across difference.” The rest of the document is divided into sections, containing and defining words associated with race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual and romantic iden-

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News March 18, 2019 - March 25, 2019

>>March 18, 2019 3:34 p.m., East Drive An officer responded to a minor motor vehicle crash with no injuries. >>March 21, 2019 12:11 a.m., Hitchcock Hall Officers responded to a report of an unauthorized party and found the group leaving prior to their arrival. >>March 22, 2019 7:58 a.m., Campus Center Loading Dock An officer responded to a motor vehicle accident that resulted in some property damage and no injuries. 9:48 a.m., Merrill Lot A vehicle was in violation of parking regulations was towed. 5:08 p.m., Morris Pratt Dormitory An officer observed students smoking cannabis in a residence-hall. 5:30 p.m., James Dormitory An officer responded to a report of items stolen from a laundry room. 10:53 p.m., Appleton Dormitory A laptop was stolen from a residence hall room. >>March 23, 2019 1:33 a.m., Mayo-Smith House An officer observed a number of party policy violations, including alcohol, at the conclusion of a registered

Sommer Hayes Thoughts on Theses

party. 1:44 a.m., Hitchcock Hall An officer observed party policy violations, including alcohol, at the conclusion of a registered party. 7:04 p.m., Greenway Building D Officers responded to an alarm in a fourth floor room and found no smoke or fire in the area. >>March 24, 2019 12:22 a.m., Powerhouse Officers responded to a report of a possible fight occuring and found no disturbance upon arrival. 2:07 a.m., Powerhouse A phone was left unattended on the floor and was taken from its protective case. 2:55 a.m., Lipton House An officer confiscated two false licenses. 2:45 p.m., Amherst College Police Department An officer assisted a UMass student with a stolen phone which was reported earlier in the day. 4:39 p.m., Charles Drew House An officer responded to an alarm in a room on the first floor and found it was caused by cooking smoke. 8:45 p.m., Powerhouse An officer responded to assist a party host with ending an event.

Department of English

Sommer Hayes ’20E is an English and religion double major. Her thesis explores southern identity and her childhood growing up in Texas. Her thesis advisor is Writer-in-Residence Shayla Lawson.

Q: What is your thesis about? A: My thesis is an exploration of how southern identity is created, both in white and black communities. Specifically, I’m looking at Texas because I’m using my own story and my own childhood to explore that connection. A lot of it is going to be centered around education and how that happens in the home space versus the school space. Q: How did you decide your topic? A: Whenever you’re preparing for a thesis, they always tell you, “Choose something you can spend a very long time working with, since that’s exactly what you’re signing up to do.” For me, a huge part of my identity is being from the South and growing up in Texas, and that experience really informed how I came into college and what I chose to do here. I was sort of finding that a lot of my own experiences weren’t reflected in the subject matter that I was learning about. I really wanted to deal with people who knew about me and where I came from. I think it was the end of my junior year that I was like, “The only way I’m actually going to get that experience is if I do it and build it myself.” Q: How’s the process been so far? A: I just recently got the go-ahead from Lawson to start creating content. I was really impatient for it, but now I’m stressed because I have to start writing. But up until this point, it’s been a lot of reading what other authors have done surrounding their childhoods, surrounding telling their own story, surrounding discovering their own blackness or literature — how other people in the field have

written about their own selves. It’s a huge thing for me because I want to write in hybrid forms, incorporating poetry, essays and prose — I want to incorporate all of that in what I’m presenting, so I’m looking at other people that’ve been doing that to see examples of how to think about how I want to portray my own experience. Q: How would you describe this work? A: Creative nonfiction. I definitely do want it to still be a critical work, but I want to change what it means to write critically and what it means to make an argument… Growing up for me, learning was a lot more demonstrative and a lot more of you experiencing the world and coming to your own conclusions about it, and I want to reflect that in my writing. Q: What expectations do you have for your thesis? A: I just want to make something that I can show my parents and other people back home, who don’t necessarily see themselves reflected in academic work or in books and stories. I want to create something that I can show them and they can engage with the way I wished I could engage with some pieces while in college. Q: What are the most challenging parts so far? A: Going back to that place in my memory has been really hard. I don’t know — there are just so many things you move on from. Especially in college, I’m so used to talking about present-day experiences and how I’m currently processing things, and now, to think that my childhood

is important, and I actually have to talk about that — I’ve been looking at old toys that I used to play with to get myself in that frame of mind. I think that’s been the most difficult part — articulating things I knew in childhood but didn’t fully know how to say. Q: What do you want to gain through this thesis? A: I want to have a fuller understanding of myself — just really understanding where I came from and how that made me who I am today… I’ve always had a strong desire to help people and to create spaces where people feel included and worth something, that their voices are important. I think I’ve been doing that while I’ve been on campus, I’ve been doing that through my writing and now I just need to figure out a way to do that and get paid for it. Q: Do you have any advice for future thesis writers? A: Early in the stage, preparation is so important. It’s easy to want to jump into the writing and creating process immediately, but I’d say to take stock of where you are and what you bring to the table… Taking stock of that and your starting point is just as valuable as finishing your product. … I’ve been meeting a lot of kids who took a semester or a couple of semesters off and are still trying to figure out, “Can I do a thesis; can I do the things that I came to college wanting to do?” And yes, you absolutely can. I loved having those role models myself, so just sending my encouragement to them as well. — Ryan Yu ‘22

News 3


Photos of Drawn Swastika Circulated By Men’s Lax Players Continued from Page 1 and only provided information on the incident under conditions of anonymity. Chief Student Affairs Officer Karu Kozuma provided a statement to The Student on Tuesday night after members of the administration were made aware of The Student’s investigation. “The incident was brought to the attention of the athletic director, who immediately reported it to the appropriate administrative offices,” he wrote. “The college undertook a prompt investigation and, based on the available information, completed the Community Standards Adjudication Process. We were unable to identify the individual(s) who drew the swastika.” He did not comment further on the disci-

plinary actions taken. According to the college’s webpage on Community Standards, when a complaint is filed, the Community Standards Adjudication Process can result in a number of sanctions ranging from warning to expulsion. Section 14 of the Student Code of Conduct lays out possible sanctions and corrective actions that the college can take against students who have violated the Code of Conduct. One such action is “limitations on participation or loss of privileges,” including participation in “intercollegiate athletics.” Financial restitution, community restitution such as community work, course penalties and residential probation are other possible consequences. Given that the photo was broadcast to the larger communi-

ty on a social media platform and impacted people beyond party attendees, sources say the lack of public action regarding the incident is especially troubling. When student-run magazine The Indicator revealed in December 2016 that members of the men’s track and field team had exchanged sexually explicit and derogatory emails, the administration launched an investigation that resulted in putting the team on probation for four semesters and suspending individuals more deeply involved for specified periods of time. The most serious offenses resulted in suspension from athletic participation for the rest of the athlete’s time at Amherst. The administration also required every individual involved to undergo what Faulstick called an “educational process” before re-

turning to the team. Some students suspect that the matter involving men’s lacrosse was kept quiet so the team could maintain its competitive reputation from prior seasons. Last year, the team went 15-4. As of March 27, the team is 8-0. Faulstick and Gendron both declined to comment, citing federal privacy laws. “The athletic department’s practice is to not release information about individual suspensions or other discipline,” Faulstick wrote in an email. Gendron later added that “we condemn and take very seriously any manifestation of hatred directed towards a group or groups in our community. At the same time, we respect the confidential nature of individual disciplinary action, as

required by law.” Head coach of men’s lacrosse Jon Thompson and assistant coach Ian Kadish ’18 also declined to comment. The Student reached out to a few members of men’s lacrosse but received no response. Anti-Semitism has been on the rise globally. Hate crimes targeting Jews and Jewish institutions in the U.S. increased by 37 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to FBI data released in 2018. UMass Amherst also faced two hate incidents involving swastikas on campus in December last year. Shortly after, a rally of 200 faculty, students and staff demanded that the university better address issues of white supremacy and racism on campus. The Student will update this story as it progresses.

College Denounces Common Language Document Continued from Page 1 tity, class, politics and policy, global power and inequality and disability. According to Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Norm Jones, the resource team had been collecting terms and definitions for the last two and a half years; they did not work directly with students so as to prevent imposing additional workloads on students who often face “the burden of having to represent various identities and experiences.” The document, Tissi-Gassoway wrote in her email, would be available on the ODI’s website and in print. Intended to help facilitate conversations across difference, “it is a living document and by no means a comprehensive list, but it is a good place for us to start,” she said. “We understand that language around identity, privilege, oppression and inclusion is always changing, evolving and expanding.” Later that day, The Daily Wire published an article titled “Amherst College Releases Insane ‘Common Language Document.’” The article quoted a statement from the Amherst College Republicans (ACR). “While we appreciate the Office of

Diversity and Inclusion’s efforts to make all feel comfortable on campus, we believe they failed to reach their lofty goals today,” the statement said. “The statement upon release claims that the office put together this list, ‘in collaboration with various campus partners,’ yet we were never consulted, and have serious problems with some of the ‘definitions’ provided.” The Daily Wire also noted that AC Republicans “took issue” particularly with the document’s definitions of “capitalism” and “American exceptionalism.” “We believe in capitalism and we believe in American exceptionalism, yet, on the school’s website, these terms are attacked with derision. We believe in the sanctity of the rule of law, yet, on the school’s website, we are told this is ‘highly racialized’,” their statement said. Boston Herald later published a similar article calling the document a “PC language guide” on Thursday, March 21. Following the publication of The Daily Wire article, Jones sent a community-wide email, writing that sending the document from his office to the entire community was “a

mistake … because of the implication that the guide is meant to dictate speech and expression or ideology on campus.” “It does not represent an official position of the college or an expectation that everyone on campus should use any particular language or share a point of view,” Jones added. “The goal was to help create greater awareness of the ways many people at Amherst and beyond understand their own identities.” The document was taken down from the college website later on Wednesday and replaced with a statement from President Biddy Martin calling the document “a very problematic approach” to creating a sense of belonging on campus. Though she acknowledged the “understandable” motivations of those involved, “when the approach assumes campus-wide agreement about the meaning of terms and about social, economic, and political matters, it runs counter to the core academic values of freedom of thought and expression,” she wrote. “I was not aware that the document was being produced and I did not approve its circulation. It cuts against our efforts to foster open exchange and independent thinking. It

is not a formal college document and will not be used as one.” “Awareness and understanding of backgrounds and experiences other than one’s own are vital,” she added. “Using language that conveys respect for those differences is part of building community. But prescribing a particular language and point of view is anathema.” The word anathema, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means something “intensely disliked or loathed.”

Immediate Aftermath Students quickly responded. On Thursday, March 21, a group of 30 to 40 students organized in Frost Library to discuss the document. Isiaha Price ’21 and Tejia Pavao ’21, who led the initiative to meet, began by talking about their own opinions on the CLD. A Kentucky native, Price said he found the guide helpful in providing language for discourse. He was disappointed by how quickly the administration moved to distance itself from the document. Pavao acknowledged that the method of distribution was maybe not the best, but they took issue with Martin’s response. “She said it

was ‘a very problematic approach,’ … [which] completely goes against what the guide is for,” Pavao said. “[ODI] said it was something for reference; for Biddy to say that it was a violation of expression is not true.” One student also questioned whose speech the college was protecting. “What are the bounds of these core values she’s talking about?” they said. “How do we create that balance? If we’re going to uphold freedom of speech, how will you deny one group and allow another?” Other students felt that the document was an educational resource — many commended the ODI’s efforts to put together the terminologies — and that Martin’s response was a denial of the identities represented in the CLD. The group decided to post copies of the document around campus and online as a way to protest Martin’s initial statement. They also posted copies of Martin’s statement with a red X drawn over it. By midday the next day, unknown people had torn down some of the posters in Keefe Campus Center, the Science Center and buildings in the first-year quad.

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News 4

Release of CLD Leads to Community-Wide Fallout Continued from Page 3 ACR Vice President Brantley Mayers ’19 said that to his knowledge, his group was not involved in tearing down the posters or writing on the whiteboard. When he received Tissi-Gassoway’s email, Mayers initially didn’t understand what the document was supposed to represent. “I perceived it as a guide to discourse on campus and I took issue on that,” he said. Mayers’ friend is a reporter for The Daily Wire, and he reached out to her with the AC Republicans’ statement. Other news outlets contacted him after the story was released. After conversations with Chief Student Affairs Officer Karu Kozuma, other students and statements from Martin, however, he changed his perceptions of the document. “I understand that the [CLD] is supposed to serve as a resource, not an end-all-be-all set of definitions,” Mayers said. “I see some value in it as a resource for people to come together and discuss certain things. If someone wanted to learn about gender or sexual orientations, there could be value in that.” He subsequently reached out to The Daily Wire, and an update was added to the article stating that Amherst did not police speech and that that was not the purpose of the CLD. Screenshots of the AC Republicans’ GroupMe, however, show a number of comments ridiculing the student movement in Frost Library and mocking gender-nonconforming people. “Are they all planning on ‘packing’ in order to raise awareness?” says one comment. The CLD defines packing as “the act of wearing padding or a prosthesis to give the appearance of having a penis.” When the CLD was first released, comments in the GroupMe showed disbelief and outrage. “You’re allowed to think what you want so long as it follows their religious law Or what they are calling ‘common terms’ prescribing to the terms that they are sensible and reasonable, when in fact a majority of them require any sound sane person must suspend reality to believe them,” one

comment said. “Fuck an oped, we should publish our own definitions of this words. Half of which would be ‘Not a real word or phenomenon,’” the same user wrote at a different point in time. At another point, a user writes, “How would the definition of ‘packing’ aid dialogue on campus? The only thing the document did was inspire dialogue about how idiotic it was.” “I found a bulk order prosthetic penis outlet DM me if you’re in on the order,” another user writes later on, appearing to refer to the term “packing.” An unknown member of the AC Republicans seemingly attended the meeting in Frost with Price and Pavao, messaging updates to the GroupMe as it progressed. In response, a user wrote, “The QRC employees have arrived. It’s officially bananaland.” A later thread makes light of those questioning their gender. “Can someone confirm that they have a copy of the common language guide or do I need to go convince the QRC that I’m questioning my gender choice to get access?” says one comment. Another user replies, “Regardless, I believe if you emphasize that you believe you have a ‘choice’ of gender that should pass their entrance exam.” The student group borne of the Frost meeting brought copies of the GroupMe to administrators, but it is unclear if any action was taken. When asked about the GroupMe comments, Mayers said that he did not remember individuals mocking anyone’s gender or sexuality. “I don’t think that occurred,” he said. “It’s possible that it could have happened … and if it did, it should not have. If it did happen — and I know the individual who I’ll have a conversation with — it’s counterproductive and illogical.” “We came out against the guide for questioning our belief in capitalism, so why would we then come out against these people for what makes them uncomfortable?” he added. “We will talk about it in our next meeting. Attacking someone’s iden-

tity is not acceptable.” On Friday, March 22, tour guides were asked in an email from the Office of Admissions to “share your thoughts in a way that does not undermine the official stance of the college” if anyone asked about the CLD. Throughout the day, Martin, Jones, Tissi-Gassoway and Kozuma met with various student groups. According to Price, Martin emphasized in their meeting that the removal of the CLD was because of a procedural error, not an ideological one. “On one hand, I feel like certain people who work for the school are in a very tight position,” Pavao said. “When you are part of the institution, you can only speak from that perspective and not what you think is right or wrong. That goes for everyone, including Biddy. We definitely commented on the language of the document and what we wanted moving forward. The question I have is what happens to the document in the future?” ACR had also been in close communication with Martin through

email but did not have an in-person meeting. “Communication with Biddy was through Rob Barasch ’19 — one of the two presidents of ACR,” Mayers said. “They have always had a good relationship, so he reached out to her.” What Martin told Barasch closely resembled her first statement: it is not the college’s role to police speech on campus and that she had been unaware of the release of the CLD. On Friday, March 22, Martin released a second statement in a community-wide email. She restated that the motivations behind the creation of the CLD was to “come to terms with the experiences and perspectives of marginalized groups and create an environment in which understanding and a sense of community could grow.” Maintaining that she “did what [she] considered to be right on the basis of [her] understanding of principle and protocol,” she acknowledged that “mistakes will be made, as they are made everywhere — on campuses and off. All we can do is acknowledge missteps and work to

do better.”

Reactions from the Community At an impromptu faculty meeting held on Thursday, March 21, faculty members displayed a range of reactions, according to Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought Michaela Brangan. Some faculty members didn’t see the big deal surrounding the document. Others pointed out that maybe the incident was necessary for people to care about the issues and identities represented in the document. Brangan, among others, thought the distribution of the document was “Orwellian.” Brangan didn’t read the document when it was originally sent, but when she received the subsequent statements from Jones and Martin, “I wondered, ‘Hmm, I wonder what the controversy is.’ I thought it was the right wing blowing it up and weaponizing speech,” she said. “But when I read it, I was like, ‘Wow, there are a

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While a student group met in Frost Library to discuss the college’s response to the Common Language Document, members of the Amherst College Republicans mocked their gathering.

News 5


Community Shows Mixed Reactions to CLD

Photo courtesy of Matai Curzon ‘22

After student organizers posted copies of the Common Language Document across campus, the papers were quickly taken down. It is unclear who was responsible for their removal. Continued from Page 4 lot of problems with this document.’ Part of it was that it was framed as a dictionary, a genre … I found it to be really conclusory. A lot of the definitions were in my view inaccurate.” The document, she said, was an attempt to encompass a wide-ranging number of ideas and issues in a “definitive way.” There is a lot more to power or imperialism, she said, than four or five lines. Similar documents at other colleges have included extensive citations and footnotes. “For me, as someone who does teach in the humanities at the intersection of politics, law and literature, I deal with these subjects all the time and they’re very intertwined,” she said. “They can’t be pulled apart at all. I know from the research that I engage in that these things can’t be pulled apart in this way.” “One of the main things that I thought here were, ‘Why weren’t faculty consulted?’, especially because the materials that are in there are things that a lot of faculty both teach on and also known for doing research about,” Brangan added. A diverse range of faculty contested the CLD, Brangan said. Some called it “anti-intellectual” while others deemed it “dehistoricized.” These were not comments on the ODI staff — those in the ODI are experts in their field, she later added — but rather a remark on the scope and collaboration needed when address-

ing complex terms. To Professor of Philosophy Nishiten Shah, many — “although certainly not all” — of the CLD’s definitions “take stands on controversial issues, and by stating these positions as declarations, the authors imply that these are not to be contested, but merely accepted as true.” “Put simply, we are in the business of teaching students how to think, not what to think,” Shah wrote in an email interview. “Framing controversial positions as definitions of common terms forecloses, or at least makes it more difficult, for students to freely discuss these issues and come to their own opinions about them. Even if all of the positions taken in this document are correct, by framing them as definitions of common terms they block students from discovering these important truths for themselves.” Professor of Black Studies and Film and Media Studies John Drabinski, however, said that “all the ‘free speech’ and ‘free exchange of ideas’ stuff are non-sequiturs and poison the well.” “That reaction, if I can be honest, is a symptom of race and sex panic,” he said an in email interview. “Freedom of expression, research, and teaching has no relationship to the common language document. It’s just not there and no one has shown me how it is there … Casting it in those terms is paranoid and diverts us from the real hard work of being a

respectful community of difference.” If we are working toward a “respectful community of difference,” Drabinski said, then “the individuals who ran to The Daily Wire with this guide need to think about their actions and how inviting right-wing trolls to harass students, staff and faculty of color and LGBTQ+ is so very destructive to whatever accomplishments we’ve made as an inclusive community. The administration’s silence on that has been very strange and disconcerting. Real harm as been done without even aspiration to exchange of ideas.” While Professor of History, American Studies and Film and Media Studies Frank Couvares also felt that the CLD was a mistake, he emphasized that last week’s events could serve as a good thing for the college. “It’s inaugurating in a somewhat higgledy-piggledy way, inaugurating the kinds of conversations we will inevitably have in a decade where identities are so fluid and so different than the kinds of identities we’ve been used to in the past,” he said. “This was not in the best way imaginable, but we can look at this as not such a terrible thing.” Though Brangan acknowledged that she and others may appear overly critical of ODI, she emphasized that “I actually believe they were trying to do what they believe their charge was. By the end of the [faculty] meeting, I think it was clear that faculty and the ODI need to work

more closely together.” Rachel Kang ’21, however, questioned the reasons for ODI’s existence if it isn’t allowed to carry out its work of educating. “Then what is the purpose of ODI practically, from the day to day?” Kang said. “Is it a separate part of the college that we put in the backroom and cover from the media outlets and pretend it doesn’t exist? That’s just stupid.” A student staff member in the Center for International Student Engagement (CISE), Kang said she has never questioned the definition of “American exceptionalism” at Amherst; it’s why she was surprised when she read that AC Republicans had problems with the term. “If that fundamental ideology that justifies the foundation of CISE is gone, then I don’t know why I have my job,” Kang added. “I don’t know what CISE can reasonably accomplish on campus anyway.” Eden Charles ’19, president of the Council of Amherst College Student-Athletes of Color, was also disappointed with the way the document was handled. “I thought that Biddy’s statement did invalidate a lot of identities,” she said. Martin’s second statement, Charles added, “didn’t add to anything.” The document is especially important, Charles said, because it helps provide people from low-income or marginalized backgrounds with working language in discussions about diversity and inclusion. “In my first sociology class, people would throw around words and I wouldn’t know what they meant,” Charles said. “[The CLD] evens the playing field for people coming in.” Nathaniel Ashley ’22 also saw the CLD as an educational resource. “One reason it’s important is that a lot of people growing up where I am from, rural Tennessee, didn’t have access to words like ‘packing’ and other words relating to sexuality and gender,” Ashley said. “We didn’t have sex-ed in school, so we never heard about stuff like that. Having a resource for that is very helpful to learn about the terms and acknowledging that they exist.” Contrary to Martin’s statements on free speech, Charles felt that the document was “really critical for

freedom of speech.” “When you don’t know the language people are using, it makes you almost unable to respond to free speech,” Charles added. “If they don’t know these definitions, it really limits people’s speech.” Pavao noted that it is difficult to “force a department that’s really political” to be apolitical. “This work can’t be apolitical — it never will be,” they said. “Allow [ODI staff] the freedom to do and move what needs to be done, especially uplifting the resource centers. They’re one part of the institution that I feel supports me the most, and for them to not be a thing or struggle a lot when the budget be tight — I really hope this college better supports people of marginalized backgrounds.” Constructive dialogue is needed, Charles said. “I’d really like to figure out why people were really upset with the definitions they saw,” she said. “I think engaging with dialogue would make it easier to find some common ground, and I would hope that Biddy does validate identities and come out with a response that more people are looking for.” Because ACR promotes free speech on campus, Mayers said, they would be willing to work with the ODI and with other students to revise the terms in the document. “We have always said that we want dialogue. At the end of the day, that’s why we’re all here. We want to learn from each other and have a constructive middle ground,” he said. Ashley, however, does not agree that ACR should be consulted. “I don’t think their opinion really matters. Sure, if they’re queer, they can consult on the queer stuff,” Ashley said. “But this document is to correct the dominant narrative that they have been pushing. For example, they say capitalism is good and racism is over. They have already had their share for thousands of years. I don’t think they should have any more.” The Association of Amherst Students held an open meeting on the CLD on Monday night. Student groups are still meeting with Jones and Kozuma. The college has not yet released concrete next steps.


News 6

Admissions Scandal Highlights Wealth Disparities at Amherst Colleges and universities across the country were embroiled in scandal on March 12 when federal prosecutors disclosed charges against more than 50 people involved in a conspiracy to bribe college officials and inflate students’ test scores. Wealthy, upper-class parents were revealed to have paid anywhere from $500,000 to $6.5 million to William “Rick” Singer, who operated two firms involved in the scheme, to guarantee their children’s admissions into top schools including USC, Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Georgetown. The FBI investigation is known as Operation Varsity Blues and is the largest case of its kind to be pursued by the Justice Department. Many of the parents paid to have their child take college entrance exams with a proctor who would correct the test as they went along; others paid to have their child recruited by coaches by falsifying their athletic qualifications. The scandal has since caused a national reckoning with socioeconomic privilege and the flaws of admissions to institutions of higher education. Over the next month, The Student will examine the various factors affecting admissions across the nation and at Amherst specifically. The four-part series will investigate athletics, legacy admissions and inclusion. This week, we begin by framing the conversation around admissions. Amherst College is one of 104 institutions of higher education in the nation to practice need-blind admissions policies, meaning that a student’s financial need is not considered when making admissions decisions. Of those 104 institutions, about half of them — including Amherst — claim to meet full demonstrated financial need. According to the Office of Financial Aid’s website, over 60 percent of students receive financial aid, with the total grant money awarded adding to $56 million. The average financial aid package amounted to $55,000, with the cost of attendance at the college for the 2018-2019

school year totaling at $76,654. The college also removed loans from all financial aid packages in 2007, replacing them with grant money. In the class of 2018, 70 percent of students graduated without student loan debt. Though the number of students receiving aid represents more than half of the student body, lower-income students represent a small portion of the population. The college’s most recent Report to Secondary Schools detailing demographics for the class of 2021 shows that only 20 percent of the class are Pell Grant eligible, an indicator of low family income. Eleven percent of the class of 2021 identified as first-generation college students. Wealth disparities across the student body are even starker. According to a 2017 report published in The New York Times by Harvard economist Raj Chetty, 20 percent of students at Amherst hail from the top one percent of the income bracket, meaning that their families make over $630,000 per year. Meanwhile, 24 percent come from the bottom 60 percent of the income bracket, with their families bringing in less than $65,000 per year. The same report also showed that 60 percent of students come from families at the top 20 percent of the income bracket, with a mere four percent of students coming from families at the bottom 20 percent of the income bracket. Last year, the Amherst First-Gen Association signed an open letter asking the college to “make all internally written admissions policies and data about legacy treatment public and to charge a joint committee of students, alumni, and administrators to re-evaluate its use.” The letter cited a nine-year study of the top 100 universities that found no statistically significant evidence of legacy admissions impacting total alumni donations. “This campaign is not about whether or not legacy applicants like our future children deserve their place in their respective universities,” the letter stated. “It is about ensuring that all students have equal footing in the admissions process regardless of whether or not their parents attended

a certain university.” Leah Gordon, professor of education studies, noted that the immense value placed on admissions letters for elite institutions highlights the growing inequalities that stratify higher education. “I think the story reminds us of the economic and cultural capital that elite higher education produces for those lucky enough to make it through, and the premium put on that kind of capital in an era of growing economic inequality, rising achievement gaps that we know start before kindergarten and declining state support for higher education,” she said. For many students, particularly those who identify as first-generation and low-income, Varsity Blues only

“ Twenty percent

of students hail from the top one percent of the income bracket, meaning that their families make over $630,000 per year.

Shawna Chen ’20 and Natalie De Rosa ’21 Editor-in-Chief and Managing News Editor

magnified issues that already seemed apparent in their everyday lives. The scandal wasn’t surprising at all for diversity intern Rachel Kang ’21. She referenced a recent event at the college with Anthony “Tony” Jack ’07, Harvard professor of education and author of “The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students.” “Tony Jack was talking about how this is a really, really small part of getting in,” Kang said. “The front end is the network that helps you get in — what kinds of extracurriculars you are in, what people you know in high school, which is linked with what resourceful kids with rich parents do you know, who did you grow up with.” All of these networks, she said, provide opportunities that are not granted as often to people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

“This kind of admissions scandal is happening behind the media scandal and will continue to happen, … and Amherst can’t be isolated from that,” she added. Elinton Lee ’20, who identifies as low-income, also found the scandal unsurprising, emphasizing the vast amount of resources wealthy students have to inflate their college applications. “It’s so annoying that [those involved in the scandal] have all the opportunity in the world,” he said. “They literally have all of the money, the ability to have enough resources, to go to great high schools, they can put whatever they want on their resume, and they still have to give bribes to get into these colleges.” Maya Hossain ’21, another diversity intern, noted that outrageous scandals like Varsity Blues allows those in privileged positions to undermine their complicity in the system. “Everyone knows they have some privilege — it’s kind of built into the definition of it, but it goes back to these legal ways of cheating,” she said, referring to assets like legacy admissions and private tutoring, among others, that wealthy students take advantage of during the college application process. “It’s hard to understand that when it doesn’t seem like cheating. Because it’s legal, because everyone’s doing it, because it’s almost encouraged. With this scandal, it’s really easy to point at it and say ‘that’s not me, that’s not my family, we did it in all of the ways we had to.’” Eden Charles ’19, president of the Council of Amherst College Student-Athletes of Color, was similarly unsurprised when she heard about the scandal over spring break. “I think it’s a fact of the way America is and how stratified it is socioeconomically that people with privilege will do things to keep their family privileged,” Charles said. “Colleges obviously need donations and funding; they have people who want to go there. I don’t think the athletics piece is that surprising either.” At the same time Varsity Blues details the extraordinary pursuit of the wealthy to gain entry into elite universities, Gordon added that this same pursuit appears justified for

low-income students. Chetty’s report describes that while an affluent graduate of an Ivy-plus school — a consortium including all eight Ivy League Schools plus Duke, MIT, Stanford and the University of Chicago — ends up in the 80th percentile of the income bracket, low-income graduates of the same schools fall within the 75th percentile, nearly on par with that of their wealthy counterparts. “If you think about some of the work by Raj Chetty, especially for many less affluent students, the aspiration to get into an elite college is completely rational,” Gordon said. “We know that the diversity of elite colleges is important because we have pretty good evidence that elite colleges are often reliant producers of social mobility for the small number of low-income students who are lucky enough to get there.” The number of low-income students at elite schools, however, remains small. Because of these schools’ selectivity, Gordon cautioned against examining Varsity Blues exclusively through the lens of these institutions. Instead, she found that the issues permeating the rest of the higher education landscape hold more pertinence. Citing the work of Temple University professor Sara Goldrick-Rab, who researches the barriers in place for low-income students at public universities and community colleges, Gordon said that “the scandal is obscuring much of the inequality and experiences of higher education between elite institutions featured in these scandals and the institutions that the vast majority of American post-secondary students attend, which are not residential, where students, as they do throughout the higher education landscape, are struggling with out-of-control costs and crippling debt and where many students are not traditional college age and are balancing work, family and educational commitments.” “It’s not an either-or, it’s just that we need to think about how to effectively and fairly diversify elite institutions at the same time that we also think about what is best for students in the full range of higher education institutions that they attend in the United States,” Gordon added.



A Response to the CLD



Last week, the college experienced somewhat unprecedented turmoil following the release of the Common Language Document (CLD) by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Later that same day, President Biddy Martin retracted the published document under the guise of protecting free speech and thought at Amherst. The Common Language Document aimed to foster community by increasing awareness of certain terms used by a variety of marginalized groups in our society. Although it was clearly not a document endorsed by the administration or Amherst College in general, it was quickly denounced as a mistake and made inaccessible to the student body. We believe this was not an appropriate or productive reaction. The introduction of the CLD was not perfect. Without warning, students, faculty and staff were sent a document filled with unfamiliar terms that people may have been uncomfortable with. To many people, the rollout was too sudden, too jarring. Furthermore, the document included some definitions that many on campus found questionable or just plain wrong. Many students on campus questioned the document on definitions like capitalism, which was said to foster “exploitative labor practices.” In her second statement emailed to the Amherst community, President Martin claimed that the document, despite its noble goals, had infringed on the freedom of expression of those who opposed the document and its goals. It was this reasoning, she claimed, that led the administration and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to remove the document from the college’s website. To the college, the freedom of expression was absolute and the CLD infringed on this right. It must be made clear, however, that there was no attack on free speech within the CLD. There was no clause indicating that students were required to adhere to the language and definitions presented. Furthermore, the Common Language Guide itself insisted that it was not a “comprehensive document” and that it was susceptible to change pending input from the student body. Members of Amherst’s community clearly had the option to submit revisions so that the CLD itself could cater to the needs of the community. In no way was it an absolute document, as many “free speech” advocates

claimed. Instead of using this opportunity to foster dialogue within the community, the administration shut down the CLD, using freedom of expression as a simple scapegoat. The claims made by opponents of the Common Language Document, who stated that it was policing language, were unfounded and wrong. The fact that our own president invoked similar rhetoric at the expense of marginalized groups on campus clearly sent the wrong message to our student body. It was clear to the majority of the student body that President Martin’s actions set a terrible example of what Amherst values in its community. To the delight of the conservative media, our administration has decided to take the side of proponents of “free speech” and threw the most vulnerable members of our campus under the bus. While trying to reduce blowback from many of the more privileged members of the Amherst community, the administration sent the wrong message to those who continue to face barriers on campus. President Martin’s letter incorrectly assumed that the Amherst community is a paradise of diversity. A recent report written by Shawna Chen ’20, titled “A Flawed System,” has shown that faculty of color continue to face systemic barriers on campus, including roadblocks to tenure approval. It can be hard to share about one’s experience as a socioeconomically disadvantaged student to a peer who has a substantial amount of economic privilege. Amherst’s campus till bears major barriers to becoming the “paradise” that our administration claims exists. President Martin’s letter, however, only served to cater to the privileged members of our campus while ignoring the experiences of the marginalized. Diversity brings with it many burdens that fall upon the most marginalized members of our campus. The Common Language Document attempted to increase a greater awareness and understanding of our collective differences, and the administration’s actions sent a clear and unproductive message. Amherst must rethink their actions against the Common Language Document and make it accessible again. Unsigned editorials represent the Editorial Board (assenting: 9; dissenting: 0; abstaining: 4)

Editors-in-Chief Shawna Chen Emma Swislow Managing News Natalie De Rosa Ryan Yu Assistant News Zach Jonas Managing Opinion Jae Yun Ham Camilo Toruno Managing Arts and Living Olivia Gieger Seoyeon Kim Managing Sports Connor Haugh Henry Newton Managing Design Julia Shea S TA F F Publishers Joseph Centeno, Emmy Sohn, Mark Nathin Digital Director Dylan Momplaisir

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Opinion 8

Critique of the Common Language Document Michael Barnes ’21 Contributing Writer Many parties had much to say about the Common Language Document (CLD), a document released and then quickly taken down by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion with the stated purpose of helping the college community “come to a common and shared understanding of language” and bringing about “effective communication within and across difference.” President Biddy Martin referred to the guide as “anathema” and incompatible with the values of free-

dom of thought and discussion in a statement released on March 20. The statement replaced the document on the college website. Let us focus on the response of the CLD’s opponents, who took swift action to see it condemned. An article published on March 21 by the Boston Herald reported that senior members of the Amherst College Republicans complained to the college’s administration over the document. The AC Republicans seem to have reached out and given formal statements to another news website, The Daily Wire, just hours after the release of

the guide. Individual members of the group are also quoted in statements to these press outlets. I find it ironic that the AC Republicans argued, in the mode of conservative campus groups across the country, that the CLD stifled free speech even while countering it in a deliberately indirect and clandestine way. The Herald reported that the CLD was deleted after the Republicans “howled in protest.” This is false. Rather than approach the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, (ODI) which called the guide “a living document,” with their

complaints — which I assume they did not do since no news piece about the incident said anything about communications with ODI staff — and rather than seek any public forum within the college community to discuss their opinions, they immediately sent copies of the guide and gave statements to the right-wing trash press, hoping to start a partisan furor. They aired their complaints not to students who felt differently about the guide, nor to the office that created it, but directly to the college administration, and it is obvious they knew that their side had

the kind of leverage that overrides free discussion: in today’s political climate, any college or university administration is understandably fearful of being at the center of a bitter, publicized reckoning on free speech in higher education. The AC Republicans may object to the CLD with the guide’s stated purpose containing definitions of political concepts that are not apparently linked to shared understanding of racial/ ethnic, gender or sexual identities. They should make their complaints known using the free speech they want to protect.

terim president of the University of Southern California, claimed she did not believe admissions officers were aware of the scheme, describing the university as a victim. But can the university really claim itself as a victim when, as Singer described, there has always existed a “back door” for the wealthy in the admissions process? There are lessons to be learned from the scandal. We need to acknowledge that “equal opportunity” and “meritocracy” are concepts which exist only in theory. We should reconsider our obsession with the elite (obsession which can result in toxic, abusive environments like the

T.M. Landry College Preparatory School in Louisiana) and reevaluate the tools we use to determine merit. We should be concerned about the fact that we constantly hear complaints of reverse discrimination and see fingers pointed at black and Latinx students, but rarely ever talk about institutional privileges given to the wealthy. Our conversations should go beyond the ridiculous details of this scandal, to discuss systemic inequalities which consistently favor certain groups of people over others. Our amusement should turn into anger as we continue to have these discussions, and continue to ask for change.

The Fallacy of Meritocracy Seoyeon Kim ’21 Managing Arts and Living Editor “I do want the experience of like, gamedays, partying … I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know” says Olivia Giannulli, YouTube star known as Olivia Jade and daughter of actress Lori Loughlin, in one of her videos. When news first broke of the recent college admissions scandal, I was unsurprised by the information that the college admissions process is rigged for the rich. The question I kept returning to, however, was why? The children involved in the investigation (known internally as Operation Varsity Blues) were enormously privileged, and in the case of Giannulli, already semi-famous. Giannulli clearly had no interest in getting an education. So why did these wealthy parents go to such lengths to guarantee admission for their children? I’ve realized that the answer has to do with meritocracy. Yes, the children involved in this scandal could probably maintain their wealthy status without having to go to college. However, their parents were aware that this kind of success is publicly frowned upon, and that their children must at least appear as if they earned their place. Meritocracy in America was invented in order to legiti-

mize a new kind of elitism. The very concept of merit favors the privileged, but getting into an elite college is so competitive nowadays that a simple donation won’t guarantee admission anymore. To combat this, wealthy parents — ranging from high-ranking executives to CEOs to actresses — turned to William Singer, the founder of a California-based college preparatory business called Edge College & Career Network, otherwise known as The Key. When Singer appeared in federal court and pleaded guilty to counts of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice, he reportedly described his business as a “side door.” He was making the claim that in college admissions, there already exists a front door, through which deserving students are admitted, and a back door, through which students are admitted because of legacy status or extravagant donations (for instance, Jared Kushner was accepted at Harvard after his father pledged 2.5 million dollars to the school). Singer envisioned his organization as a side door through which students would be guaranteed admission based on fabricated athletic profiles and bribery, a door which was much easier than

earning your way in and much cheaper than multimillion-dollar donations. In a country where there is no narrative for downward mobility, anxieties about class preservation and mobility run rampant. Wealth is so stratified in America that most of the 33 parents indicted in the investigation are actually considered to be within the bottom rung of the top 1 percent. Therefore, they could afford to pay $400,000 to Singer’s organization in exchange for a doctored application, but perhaps did not have the means to donate millions of dollars like Jared Kushner’s father did. It is easy to dismiss Operation Varsity Blues as the ridiculous headline of the week. It is easy to think of what happened as simply hilarious. We can mock Gianulli for her vapid videos on “college life” and laugh at the antics involved in the scandal, from photoshopping students’ faces onto photos of professional athletes to parents flying their children across the country to take their entrance exams with bribed proctors. The situation quickly becomes less funny when we start thinking about the scandal’s implications and about educational inequality in America as a whole. The New York Times reported that, in a letter to the college community, Wanda M. Austin, the in-

1IPUP DPVSUFTZ PG Wikimedia Commons

The University of Southern California campus, which was implicated in Operation Varsity Blues.



What “Assimilation” Means to Me Sofia Belimova ’22 Contributing Writer As I took shelter from the rain at the PVTA bus stop in front of Converse Hall on my way from town, a damp piece of paper taped to the glass caught my eye. The page asserted the following in bleeding ink: “ASSIMILATION: Distancing or dropping of one’s culture, language, values, politics and/or traditions in order to advance and seek to assume the culture and characteristics of the dominant group. This often happens as a response to forms of oppression including but not limited to: xenophobia, racism, cis-heteronormativity and religious oppression, among other types of oppression.” At this point, I was somewhat aware of the Common Language Document that proposed this definition. Both proponents and opponents of the document had vocalized their views rather audibly over the course of the week. The reason I was particularly drawn to this term “assimilation” was that it applied to

me. As I reflected on the word, a host of different feelings and thoughts flooded my mind. My family immigrated from St. Petersburg, Russia in 2009. At the time, I spoke no English, but was eager to learn. I even wanted us to speak English at home. Though somewhat confused by the blunt patriotism preached by my school, I was indeed excited about American history, so I memorized the preamble to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I quickly picked up pronunciations and idioms (who would have known that the way I said the word “bread” could be wrong, but go figure). I was so deeply immersed in a new lingua-cultural environment that, at some point, as I was penning a handwritten letter to a friend in Russia, I mistakenly wrote an English “P” instead of a Russian “П.” The word looked off. My mother looked over my shoulder and lovingly exclaimed, “You’re Americanizing!” Yet the process of assimilation ran deeper than language and cul-

ture — it was, in fact, political as well. For the first time, we felt proud of our president. Whenever President Barack Obama gave an interview on the news, my mother and I would sit in front of the TV and admire his crisp, laconic rhetoric. Comparatively, we had nothing more than contempt and disgust for the corrupt, authoritarian government in our home country. We saw (and still see) Russian President Vladimir Putin as a criminal and a slimy, vile human being. Being able to feel proud of the government was part of our assimilation, a value we could not — morally and logically — access at home. We also embraced the notions of human rights and progress. In Russia, two men cannot walk down the street holding hands because they will get attacked; the “n-word” is just the standard way to address black people. Generally, disabled and elderly people cannot count on the compassion and support of the general populace. The idea that diversity among human beings deserves to be embraced was wild to us. Of course,

as our time in the U.S. passed, we discovered that this country is also responsible for some of the most horrific abuses of human rights. But at the very least, many American people have a vision of progress and work tirelessly toward a better society fueled by the existence of democracy, unlike the Russians. The relative optimism that comes with living in a democratic country was, in essence, another aspect of our assimilation. Assimilation has given me many good things. It has made me bilingual, proud (until more recently) of the government under which I reside and faithful in the use of legal and legislative institutions for good. It has been challenging to learn to be American and adopt the mannerisms of Americans around me, but this process has ultimately made me resilient and open-minded. I recognize that, for other people, assimilation is not all rainbows and sunshine. I can only imagine the difficulty of coming from a culture you love into a society that rejects

that culture in favor of its own. This experience is not one that I can empathize with, but it is one I have great sympathy for. As much as I admire American society for its belief in progress, I remain vastly critical of significant aspects that reinforce exclusion and oppression. What troubles me about the definition of “assimilation” I encountered is the second sentence. It does not trouble me because I find it discreditable — in fact, I agree with the idea that sometimes, assimilation takes place under the pressure of institutional forms of oppression. I am uncomfortable with the thought that people might assume I am a victim of “xenophobia, racism, cis-heteronormativity and religious oppression” when I say that I have experienced assimilation. In reality, assimilation was the process by which I learned about different forms of oppression and became aware of the ways I am complicit in them. This makes me hesitant to identify with a struggle I have never had, making me rethink what assimilation means for me.

quirement for precedent, we can change — for the better — the court’s powers. The court should continue to decide specific cases even when the justices split 5-4. However, these opinions shouldn’t become precedent. Instead, in order for a decision to become the official interpretation of the Constitution, the court must rule 6-3, 7-2, 8-1 or unanimously in favor of the decision. In 80 percent of cases, nothing would change. But in the 1,212 decisions in the last 50 years where a single vote made a difference, the court would correctly acknowledge the issue’s controversy and refrain from establishing precedent. This will change the stakes of the court and make it more difficult to politicize a single seat. Of course, the ideological balance of the justices still matters, but no longer can a single conservative justice change the entire jurisprudential direction of the country — nor can any single liberal justice. Many of the court’s most iconic decisions, including Brown

v. Board of Education, McCulloch v. Maryland, Gideon v. Wainwright and United States v. Nixon, were unanimous and should clearly be precedent. Even more decisions split the court 8-1, or 7-2, or 6-3. But no precedent would be set by the most controversial of cases. It’s true that this reform would make the court less able to change how the Constitution is interpreted. And it’s also true that some important cases — such as Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage across the United States — wouldn’t have the effect they do now. However, the court also wouldn’t set precedents in favor of voter roll purges and Trump’s travel ban. It’s time that we reform the Supreme Court of the United States to make it fairer, less partisan and yes, less powerful. When coupled with other reforms, like staggered term limits or adjustments to the number and composition of justices, setting a higher bar for precedent will change the court’s powers for the better.

Transforming Our Judiciary Cole Graber-Mitchell ’22 Contributing Writer The Supreme Court is immensely powerful: it has the power to change the meaning of the Constitution with a simple majority vote of nine members. And since the Constitution is the “supreme law of the Land,” according to article Six, clause Two — and centuries of jurisprudence — this means that the Supreme Court has incredible power over state and federal law, despite its passive nature. Thankfully, the justices on the court are some of the best legal minds in the country. Whether or not you agree with their ideology, it’s hard not to acknowledge their qualifications: every justice has a law degree from the nation’s most prestigious law schools and many clerked for the federal judiciary, served on a lower federal court or taught law. However, despite their expertise on law, justices don’t always agree. Often, the opinion of the court — the one that sets precedent — is followed

by one or more dissents. This becomes problematic when many of the justices disagree with the majority vote. From 1967 to 2017, 19.5 percent of cases were decided by a single vote. Just last year, the Supreme Court decided that a California law requiring anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers” to notify women about abortion was unconstitutional in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. Five justices voted to block the law and the other four voted for it to stay in effect. Now, that decision is legal precedent for lower courts across the nation to apply. However, the opinion of the court was opposed by four of the most qualified jurists in the nation. If we were to “rerun” the court’s proceedings with one justice swapped for another equally-qualified candidate, the decision could reverse. About a fifth of the precedents set by the court in the last 50 years could reverse as well. At the same time, the court isn’t as divided as it might seem: it unan-

imously rules on a whopping 41.3 percent of cases, and 79.4 percent of the time, the opinion is decided by more than a single vote. That is, on the vast majority of decisions, America’s leading jurists agree across ideological lines rather than voting on a simple conservative/liberal divide. Therefore, when the court rules 5-4 on a case, it’s proof that the interpretation of the Constitution is too disputed to become a precedent. It’s the close, controversial cases, like “National Institute,” that drive the politicization of the Supreme Court, an institution intended to be apolitical. They’re why Senator Mitch McConnell famously refused to hold hearings on Merrick Garland’s nomination during the last term of Obama’s presidency. And they aren’t controversial simply on political grounds: justices have important, jurisprudential arguments in favor of particular opinions. Something about the court needs to change in order to reflect this disagreement. By switching to a stronger re-


Punk Iteration of “Dr. Faustus” Transforms Elizabethan Play

Photo courtesy of Derek Fowles

Set in 1980s Berlin, the recent production of “Dr. Faustus” at Amherst explores the life of its titular doctor, who sells his soul to the devil in a fit of ambition. Olivia Luntz ’21 Staff Writer What happens after someone sells their body and soul to the devil? Although an unusual question, it is one the cast and crew of the college’s production “Doctor Faustus” had to consider. “Doctor Faustus,” written by Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe and first published in 1604, follows the tragic fall of its titular character after he promises his soul to the devil. However, this adaptation of the tragedy was in no way stuffy or outdated. Rather, it drew on a variety of distinctly modern elements in its costumes, set design and script alterations, which provided a refreshing and playful contrast to the play’s Old English dialogue. The play was the product of Wesley Guimarães’ ’19 senior honors thesis in theater and dance. His thesis advisor, Ron Bashford, joined as director. Bashford explained this attention to modernizing the old work, as he noted in an email interview that in the scene after Faustus sells his soul to Lucifer, the script calls for “devils [to] arrive with a banquet” so there needed to be “some kind of spectacle there.” Rather than performing a banquet, the devils in this production — all with aggressive red mohawks and clad in leather jackets adorned with patches, safety pins, spikes and torn fishnets — dance to Eurythmics’ iconic 1983 single “Sweet Dreams

(Are Made of This).” It’s a hilarious moment, when all of the tension of watching Faustus summon Satan dissipates immediately at the instantly-recognizable opening bars of the song. Although the concept of the scene is bizarre, it nevertheless fits perfectly. Perhaps this was because, as Bashford noted, “our costume designer [Sarah Woodham] had come up with Mephistopheles’ [a devil sent by Lucifer to serve Faustus in return for his soul] look from Annie Lenox in the video of ‘Sweet Dreams.’” Walking into Holden Theater for the final and completely sold-out showing of “Doctor Faustus” felt like entering another world. The entirety of the theater had been tiled in pale green and blue subway tile, with signs in German placed over various entrances and exits for the actors. In the back of the stage, a large screen advertised different departing trains and their destinations, some seemingly arriving in 10,000 minutes or from different circles of hell. I had walked out of Amherst College and into a subway station from 1980s East Berlin. Bashford elaborated that “the idea of the train station was the set designer’s, Dedalus Wainwright. But I came up with the idea of communist East Berlin in the 1980s … Wainwright has been living in Berlin recently, and he did quite a bit of research. He pointed out that in communist East Berlin, certain subway stations were blocked off to prevent people escap-

ing to the West: they were called ‘devil stations.’ He also liked the idea of a train station being a place of destinations and arrivals, people coming and going, a liminal kind of space. Building the set was a major accomplishment for our technical manager, Jeff Bird, who was assisted by a crew of students.” Sebastian Son ’21, a member of the show’s acting ensemble, said he was most impressed by the “incredible amount of thought put into every decision.” He further explained, “The song played during the Sin Scene uses the phrase ‘white horse,’ which references colonialism but also was a slang for cocaine that ties in with the overarching theme of punk. All involved [in the production] did an enormous amount of research, and there were a thousand nuances ready to be examined on each night of the show.” As the show began, around a dozen people emerged on stage dressed in long black trench coats and sunglasses, rushing in and out of the “entrances” to the train platforms. Bashford stated that the punk influence on the costumes was the brainchild of Woodham. “It was the younger generation [in Berlin] who was interested in the West. We thought that if the state controlled religion and personal thought, then the West (punk) could represent both liberation and transgression, the world of the devil,” said Bashford. Another striking element of the production was the comedy that ran

through it. Even though the play is a tragedy, the audience was regularly roaring with laughter. Whether it was having a group of cardinals follow the pope while blowing into golden kazoos or having the pope talk in a baby voice, Bashford encouraged the actors to add their own comedic improvisations to the lines. The comedic breaks brought a needed levity and wit to a play that is frequently dark and foreboding, they also helped with establishing the modern and fresh feel. When asked over email why he chose “Faustus” for his thesis, Guimarães stated that he was looking for a piece that would both challenge him personally as an actor and also allow him to bring in a large team of artists. “‘Doctor Faustus’ really checked all those boxes. When I first read the play, I fell in love with the way Marlowe’s verse is so bold and demanding, and with how the story balances a dense and heavy plot with a lighthearted spectacle of characters and events. It was the perfect show to engage a lot of people in and to build a community of artists around it.” For Guimarães, playing a character who literally sells his soul to the devil presented a unique opportunity to dive deep into what is redeeming about the character. He said that “it was a marvellous experience to find out that Faustus was a lot more relatable than I’d thought. In fact, I think every one of us has a bit of Faustus inside — especially here at Amherst

College. He is a man of honor and prestige, he holds imporant degrees and his knowledge is valued and renowned all over the world — almost like the profile of an Amherst alumnus, isn’t it? Yet for him, none of that is enough ... When I think about it, selling my soul to the devil could mean taking a job I hate for the sake of immediate stabillity, or going against my principles and convictions for the sake of my ambitions.” However, unlike Faustus, Guimarães is not selling out — he shared that in the fall he will be pursuing an MFA in acting at the American Conservatory Theater, one of the top acting MFA programs in the country. All of those involved stressed that the production would not have been possible without the dedication and passion of all those involved. This unity was vividly on display in the last scene of the play, in which all of the cast members are gathered in a circle, once again in their black trench coats and sunglasses like the opening scene, around a platform that displays the bloodied and tattered clothes of Faustus, who was dragged to hell by Lucifer’s devils the night before. In one moment, they all whip off their sunglasses, and look into each others’ eyes before the stage goes dark. In that moment the connection between the cast felt palpable, and it was clear that great works of art are not created in a vacuum but are rather refined and improved upon by everyone involved.

Arts & Living 11

The Amherst Student • March 27, 2019

Reed’s “Against Doom” Installation Sparks Conversation Olivia Henrickson ’21 Staff Writer “Against Doom,” an exhibition by Amherst’s Artist-in-Residence Macon Reed, is currently on display in the Eli Marsh Gallery in Fayerweather Hall. The gallery where the exhibition is held is filled with neon color and contains prints, a video and an interactive installation aimed at addressing the current political and social climate. The contrast between the playful color and Play-Doh-like texture of each piece and their underlying social, political and cultural message is striking. The exhibit forces the viewer to expand their imagination and consider the content of each piece in a different light.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is an installation titled “A Pressing Conference.” The installation is a replica of the press briefing room in the White House and contains the podium with microphones, flags and chairs labeled with the names of White House press correspondents. However, rather than a simple navy backdrop and wooden podium, everything in Reed’s construction of the space has a colorful cartoon-like feel. According to Reed, the subtle shifts in size and form are intended to allow for an “other-worldly shift” in the role of the press briefing room. A stack of laminated papers along the side of the room detailing violence against journalists and attacks

on the free press worldwide reveal the motivation behind the piece. In her artist statement, Reed writes, “Authoritarian states throughout history often begin their consolidation of power by discrediting the press, spreading propaganda that leaves people unsure about what is real and creating distrust. Bringing together performance artists, organizers, historians and others — ‘Pressing Conference’ is a vibrant platform focused on providing truth in a world of fake news.” Through the interactive aspect of the piece, Reed aims to facilitate dialogue about the issues that are most important to members of the Amherst Community. The gallery’s visitors are invited to step up to the podium and share sto-

ries and thoughts about what matters most to them. The installation was originally shown at Amherst in March 2018 and has been traveling to galleries and art shows around the country over the past year. Participants are invited to share their interactions on social media by tagging #apressingconference to add their voice to the network of people who have participated in the project. With its brightly-colored, imaginative aesthetic and meaningful content, “Against Doom” creates a space that is simultaneously sobering, contemplative and full of hope. As Amherst’s artist-in-residence, Reed works in the classroom as well as the studio. She taught a course called “Installation, Site, and the Embodied Spectator” in the fall and

her current course is called “On World Making: Context, Narrative, Myth, and Truth.” According to Reed’s artist statement, her work is “motivated by human relationships within evolving queer and intersectional feminist frameworks” and based in a firm belief that “aesthetic form and social engagement are not mutually exclusive, but rather deeply intertwined.” Much of her recent work takes the form of traveling interactive installations like “A Pressing Conference” and involve intentional community engagement across the country, which she views as an act of creative resistance. “Against Doom” will be open in the Eli Marsh Gallery during working hours until April 5.

Five College PoetryFest Gives Platform for Students’ Voices Kalidas Shanti ’22 Staff Writer

Last week the Five College PoetryFest ran for its 17th year in the college’s Center for Humanistic Inquiry (CHI). Two poets from each college, chosen in a earlier contest, read at the event. For Amherst, guest judge Franny Choi, a professional writer and poet, picked Eliza Brewer ’22 and Aqiil Gopee ’20. Upon entering the CHI, audience members were given booklets containing poems from each poet, a pleasant addition that allowed attendees to see how the poems existed on the page. Despite the physical copies, many of the poets decided to read poems other than those provided so they could present something more recent. After bringing more chairs to accommodate the larger-than-expected audience, Writer-In-Residence Shayla Lawson commenced the event by speaking on the roles of writers and readers. “I cannot know anything without first recognizing I am a student,” she said, adding, “I hope you continue writing to the ear of your professors. I hope you feel seen.” Brewer took the podium first, reading three poems. The first poem, titled “Hoarder,” used a conceit relating the physical objects of a house to familial love and the

often unspoken difficulty revolving around the love of a mother and her child. In Brewer’s second poem, “Pool,” she crafts an engaging narrative through the struggle a girl can have with the culture of sex. One line asks “Can you ever teach a child about sex without teaching her about violence?” For her last poem, Brewer read a heart-wrenching piece about how marriage becomes a dominating and destructive aspect of a woman’s life. In performing all of her poems, Brewer brought a deeper level of emotion to them, allowing the audience to visualize the vivid images she was describing. The next speaker, Gopee, read three narrative poems. He titled his first poem “On swimming in the red sea,” and it slowly moved through the event of diving into the water as an exploration of and devotion to one’s faith. It captured the calm washing over, the lull one can find in faith, saying “but as if caught in worship, / there is minutiae in their movement, / a lingering.” Gopee’s next two poems were both untitled and captured particular moments of time. The second poem focused on a speaker fixating on the simple pleasure of cookies as a way of distracting himself from an inevitable force. In the third poem, Gopee moved

from the distance the speaker felt from his family to the closeness he felt with a romantic partner, before finally moving to the separation from his partner. The next poets were Olivia Caldwell and Blue Keller of Hampshire College. Speaking first, Caldwell started with the striking and tragic poem “from umass memorial medical center,” which imbued the audience with the raw fear of being in a perilous condition, saying “the fibers of my muscles are becoming solid bone and / i feel them crack with every step, shifting and sliding / against worn out joints.” Caldwell’s next poem was “Self-portrait as Ovarian Cyst.” It was a raw and imaginative piece with measured pain, one line stating, “I am pushing the life out of you.” Keller read four poems, starting with “I like my face.” Despite its title, the poem took the audience through the speaker’s inability to accept themselves, evoking the paralyzing nature of such anxiety in the lines “I can’t breathe / I can’t breathe / I can’t breathe.” Keller’s next poem, “Wednesday,” put the audience in the state of lethargy and defeatism with lines like “I’ve been in bed / for two days now.” But gave a sort of resolution when followed with “But / when I move my fingers … I feel something / like a poem.”

Afterward, the two Mount Holyoke students — Mars Early-Hubelbank and Ariana Sarmiento Fielding — presented. First, Early-Hubelbank read the poems “Black is” and “you are an artist.” In “Black is,” Early-Hubelbank crafted a beautiful poem and used the titular phrase as a refrain to reflect on a variety of different problems that black people face while living in the U.S. Early-Hubelbank’s next poem “you are an artist” was a tonguein-cheek poem, where the speaker deliberates on the roughness of life by focusing on our freedom to make erroneous choices while being stuck in a depressed frame of mind. Sarmiento Fielding read multiple poems, the first being “Be Gentle,” a poem that builds up the love of two people to undercut it with the inevitable pain one will bring to the other in the final lines. Her next poem “Closet romantic got game,” offered a critique of the dating scene and how it damages people in relation to their identity. Ava Goga and Lucy Liu from Smith read next. Goga presented an untitled poem and one titled the “The Ladder.” In the untitled poem, she used the word “field” as a refrain to carry the poem rhythmically along, strengthening the significance of the word to its meaning. The form of “The Lad-

der” replicated their desire to be free of consciousness. Liu read two poems: “Memento Mori” and “In The Rye of Pondering.” “Memento Mori” took listeners through people’s tendency of “peeling open” things to understand them, but warned that peeling too far can ruin something beyond recovery. “In The Rye of Pondering” reflected on the writer’s experience with electrocompulsive therapy and dealt with the loss of memories. From UMass Amherst, Courtney Janes and Vanan Phan concluded the symposium. Janes read “siren” and “motherland.” “siren” was a tragic poem, dealing with the pain of someone leaving you through the loss of their voice. “motherland” brooded on the feeling of loneliness in a family, with the promise that someone will be free of that perpetual feeling. Every poet reached into a space of themselves to create the material they performed. As Virginia Woolf once said, “When all the practical business of life has been discharged, there is something about people which continues to seem to them of overwhelming importance, in spite of the fact that it has no bearing whatever upon their happiness, comfort, or income.” These poems allowed us to approach that in the poets and in ourselves.

Arts & Living 12

The Amherst Student • March 27, 2019

Julia Jacklin Tackles Pain and Desire of Love in “Crushing”

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Julia Jacklin, performing here at the End of the Road Festival in 2016, is a Sydney-based indie artist who just released her newest album “Crushing.” Julian Raiford ’21 Staff Writer Since her 2016 debut, conservative chord progressions and moving vocalizations have marked the style of Sydney-based singer Julia Jacklin. The intonation she carries feels kin to that of fellow dreamy altfolk singer Angel Olsen. However, unlike Olsen, Jacklin has recently found more edge in her lyrics and a shocking level of vulnerability. In her debut album, “Don’t Let the Kids Win,” Jacklin crafted a comingof-age tale that is memorable for its stripped-back ballads that recount outgrowing her childhood environment. Now, following the release of her sophomore album, “Crushing,” Jacklin’s work has shifted to be more intimate than before, as it recounts a recent breakup. Her lyricism is more biting and reads as near diaristic in its explicit nature. She sounds more wary of her relationships and attempts to break free from the grips of nostalgia while dealing with bouts of confusion, fear and desire. The album opens with “Body.” The track details incidents with her former lover, including him getting in trouble with the police for lighting a cigarette in an airplane bathroom, that lead Jacklin to be frustrated with how he treats her. She paints her lover as immature and sings, “You’re more kid than crimi-

nal … I’m gonna leave you, I’m not a good woman when you’re around.” The attitude of her unhealthy partnership continues to grow and her vulnerability stings in the second half of the song when she tells of a time her partner took a picture of her body to embarrass her. She questions whether he still has the picture and whether he would use it against her. In an interview with NPR Music, Jacklin claimed that this incident “happened, in a way,” and later said that the song “speaks for itself, but … it’s just a very long and exaggerated sigh.” As the narrative slips into Jacklin repeating the lines “I guess it’s just my life, and it’s just my body,” the long sigh Jacklin references is truly felt. Her intention to share her hurt and accept her situation becomes the backbone of the album, rendering “Body” a painful welcome into the vulnerability that will follow. However, the album is not without its more upbeat, alt-pop-centric singles such as “Head Alone” and “Pressure to Party.” Jacklin plays to her familiar acoustic riffing, producing tracks which will likely be the more successful ones and define the alternative sound of spring. Because of the sunnier sound, the poetry of her lyrics can be washed out in the first listen. Ironically, “Pressure to Party” is a complete manifesto against going out after a breakup, but is the most

party-friendly track on the album. Despite being fantastic compositions, both “Head Alone” and “Pressure to Party” feel a bit out of place when compared to the general tone of the album. If anything, the two songs ensure a certain market success to members of Jacklin’s audience who may not be ready to fully absorb the melancholy of a breakup album. However, it could be argued that Jacklin is trying to reify the mélange of highs and lows that accompany the wreckage of a breakup. Regardless of intention, Jacklin peels away from the safety of this familiar pop and introduces piano into her work on “When the Family Flies In.” For those familiar with Jacklin’s work, this is quite the shock given that the vast majority of her sound is guitar-centric. The piano addition serves the track well and becomes another voice to guide the narrative. Perhaps unironically, the track introduces new voices and characters as it is about her family coming from out of town to check on her wellbeing. The track is a depressed lullaby with a tongue-in-cheek way of illustrating that you’ve obviously got to be doing pretty bad if your family feels the need to travel to see you. Jacklin attempts to recreate this tinge of dark, self-aware humor in the following track “Convention,” but is undermined by the stolen riff

that opens the track. The unique plucking that defines “Convention” unmistakably made its debut on Father John Misty’s 2016 album “I Love You, Honeybear” in the song “I Went to the Store One Day.” However, Jacklin manages to redeem this slip-up with the originality of her closing tracks, “Turn Me Down” and “Comfort.” The two represent the culmination of Jacklin’s hurt and confusion, followed by acceptance of the painful romantic dissipation. Initially, “Turn Me Down” appears to not be an entirely remarkable track, carrying the lull of Jacklin’s stream of consciousness. The song seems to end after about two minutes, but she brings it back with a pleading coda. It swells as she begs her lover to spare her the pain of remaining if he doesn’t see a future with her, longingly repeating, “Oh, please just turn me down / why won’t you turn me down?” The beat punches under Jacklin’s feverish crooning, until she pauses and then emerges from the silence with a sigh of acceptance. “Maybe I’ll see you in a supermarket sometime,” she whispers as the instrumentation fades out. In under three minutes, Jacklin captures the anguish, self-destructive thinking and longing that so often perfume a breakup. Her hurt is so palpable that her acceptance is something she is convincing herself

she needs, whether or not she can admit she is far from moving on. “Crushing” closes with Jacklin telling herself that both she and her former lover will be okay, yet it is unmistakable that she has not fully bought into this reassurance yet. Her desire to leave has transformed into the confession of missing her past. She asks, “Are you thinking of me too? I was so happy all those years with you.” Scolding herself for forgetting that she was the one who left, she sorrowfully continues, “Don’t know how you’re doing, but that’s what I get. I can’t be the one to hold you when I was the one who left.” The song and the album conclude as she sighs the last word, and there is no sense of resolution for Jacklin or the listener. Jacklin’s wrestling with romantic waste and regret on “Crushing” is not for the faint of heart, but it is quite moving in its simple sincerity. Bearing the trademark honesty of Leonard Cohen, Jacklin offers a new generation with her acoustic-centered, poetic authenticity in summing up her heartbreak. There may be confusion and pain, but there is also hope. Closing “Crushing” with “Comfort” is a promise to the listener that both Jacklin and the audience will heal in their respective times regarding their personal pains.


No. 7 Men’s Tennis Defeats No. 6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Thomas Woodville ’21 Staff Writer The matchup between the men’s tennis team and the No. 6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags (CMS) team came down to the last match this past Friday. First year William Turchetta faced down his opponent on the sixth singles court with everything to play for, handling the pressure of a match with national ranking implications, and defeating his op-

ponent in straight sets. The contest began with an impassioned conflict in doubles. The duo of Sean Wei ’21 and Jason Fung ’20 on the first court took the match eight games to five after being tied at five a piece. Jesse Letvin ’19 and Oliver Kendall ’19 took their match on the third doubles court after losing the first two games, but CMS won on the second doubles court. The event then moved to the singles competition where Wei,

playing first on the singles ladder, dominated his opponent in straight sets. Kevin Ma ’21 lost two close sets on court two, 6-3, 6-3. The teams again traded wins on odd and even courts, as Jayson Fung ’21 downed Julian Gordy and Zach Bessette ’19 lost on court four. Daniel Park of CMS, however, dominated Harris Foulkes ’21 in the second set during their following match — Foulkes never won a game.

This set the stage for Turchetta’s victory, and the Mammoths moved their sights to a Sunday morning clash with Swarthmore College. The competition against Swarthmore, however, had none of the drama of their match against CMS. Only the pair of Kendall and Letvin, after their crucial win on Friday, fell to the Phoenixes. Amherst swept the singles courts in resounding fashion, winning 47

more games collectively than their Swarthmore opposition. Amherst also never dropped a set across all six matches. After the match, Amherst’s two best players received upgrades in their singles rankings. Wei now holds the 18th overall ranking in DIII singles, while Ma holds the 25th spot. Amherst, now ranked seventh in the nation, returns to action against Tufts in their home opener on Sunday.

Men’s Lacrosse Remains Undefeated with Three More Wins, Moves to 8-0 Cale Clinton ’20 Staff Writer The No. 2 men’s lacrosse team followed up their win last week over then-undefeated Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with two more victories, moving to a perfect 8-0 record (3-0 NESCAC) this spring. The Mammoths began their week trading goals back and forth with the Endicott College Gulls, ending 14-12. Amherst then traveled to Clinton, New York and took care of NESCAC opponent Hamilton, closing that game out 20-8. Following such a monumental victory over RIT, it is common for a team to ride the high of vic-

tory and overlook their next opponent. That may have been the case on Tuesday when Amherst hosted the 1-4 Endicott Gulls on Pratt Field. The first quarter saw the Mammoths match the pace of the RIT game, going on a fourgoal run after conceding the first goal of the game. Matt Solberg ’20 sparked the run at the 10:22 mark off of a great feed from Brogan Mahon ’19, followed by a pair of Colin Minicus ’20-to-Evan Wolf ’19 goals. The run ended off of a second assist by Mahon, this time buried by Jon Coffey ’20. All that high-flying offense came to a halt when a pair of Amherst players incurred holding penalties, eventually lead-

ing to an Endicott two man-up goal to close out the quarter. The four-goal flash in the first quarter would prove to make a difference in the match, as the next three quarters were played nearly dead-even. Over the next three quarters, Amherst barely won the ground ball battle 29-24, and only outshot the Gulls at a pace of 3228. Amherst and Endicott essentially traded goals for the final three quarters. The second quarter saw Solberg and Coffey each notch their second goals, but were both answers to goals by the Gulls. The third quarter featured a goal by Jack Wolff ’19 and Ethan Kazmierski ’21. The fourth

Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios

Juan Gonzalez ’22 has been sensationial on faceoffs for Amherst, winning 56 percents of his draws.

quarter actually saw some more dramatic action: a 3-1 run by the Mammoths featuring two goals by Solberg and one by Jack Norton ’19 was swiftly countered by a 3-1 run by Endicott in the last two minutes of play. The theme of the game was staying patient. Despite taking 48 shots throughout the game, Amherst’s 12 goals made it the lowest outing of the season. In a backand-forth game where shots are consistently failing to land, it is imperative that the team does not get frustrated so they can continue creating those opportunities. Little things, like Amherst’s ability to control faceoffs in the second half and executing nearly perfect clears in the last three quarters, allowed the team to keep the ball on offense and continue generating scoring opportunities, resulting in a 12-10 victory. Amherst took the field again that following Sunday to take on the Hamilton Continentals. Outside of a game with Springfield College on Tuesday, this is the beginning of a long list of matchups against NESCAC opponents. The first few minutes of the game echoed some of the same themes as last time, and a failure to pressure on defense led to two goals for Hamilton in the first three minutes. However, those worries would soon fade as the Mammoths countered with

a massive 6-1 run. Amherst saw great success all day inside, as early goals by Coffey, Wolf and Solberg were all able to find success and midfielders Chase Yager ’22 and Norton proved no one could stop the Mammoths. The second quarter proved to be the most competitive of the game, as the Continentals answered Wolf ’s three goals and PJ Clementi’s ’22 two assists and a goal with a 3-1 run of their own to close the half. After Hamilton opened the third quarter with two goals, making it 11-8, Amherst started to create distance. Amherst outshot Hamilton 16-5 in the third after their pair of goals en route to score nine unanswered goals to close out the game. Norton and Trenton Shore ’19 each notched a pair of goals in the run, while Mahon, James Crovatto ’21, Clementi, Wolf and Jack Hutchinson ’21 all notched one apiece. This massive second half resulted in a 20-8 final score over Hamilton. Amherst then defended their undefeated record this week with a game against Springfield Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. on Gooding Field, which they won, 22-8. Amherst plays next at the Headstrong Foundation Game and Alumni Appreciation Day on Saturday against Middlebury at home.

The Amherst Student • March 27, 2019

Sports 14

Baseball Beats Dean College in Team’s Highest-Scoring Game Since 2015 Henry Newton ’21 Managing Sports Editor

Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios

Joe Palmo ’21 is currently batting a team-leading .455 through the team’s first nine games, registering 15 hits in just 33 at bats. Palmo also leads the team in OBP with .571.

“Sunday was a really, really, weird game,” said outfielder Joe Palmo ’21. After a doubleheader against Wheaton College was postponed on Saturday, the Amherst College baseball team traveled to Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts to play a non-conference matchup. Dean came to play, and the Mammoths started slowly and ended up down several runs. Right-hander Davis Brown ’19 got the start for Amherst, but lasted only two innings, giving up three earned runs. By the end of the third inning, Amherst found itself down four runs. The Mammoths would fall farther behind after more poor pitching allowed for a fifth inning run for the Bulldogs, who extended their lead by four to a scoreline of 13-5. “In a game where you get down early, especially against a non-conference opponent, it’s easy to get down on yourself and give up. We, however, showed some real fight. Early in the season, that’s a great thing to see,” said Palmo. After the seventh-inning stretch, Amherst came to life offen-

sively to dig itself out of the eightrun hole they had dug themselves. Palmo doubled to right center, sending Kai Terada-Herzer ’21 home. Steven Burke ’21 reached first on a fielding error, Kyler Kopacz ’21 and Will Murphy ’20 got on base and then Severino Simeone ’19 came up to the plate. The first pitch was wild, and Burke scored a run to make it a tie ball game. Burke, despite his heads-up baserunning, could have conserved his energy since Simeone blasted the next pitch down the first-base line and out of the park, putting Amherst ahead by three runs. From there, Dean fell apart. Amherst would score twice on balks by the Dean pitcher. Second baseman Daniel Qin ’22 ended the game with a bang, launching a three-run homer over the left field fence in the ninth to seal the victory for the Mammoths. Brandeis College, however, proved a more worthy non-conference opponent than Dean. Amherst fell 6-4 after taking the lead 4-0 in the second inning. Amherst’s defense improved, however, only making one error on the day. Amherst begins conference play against Wesleyan at 4 p.m. on Friday in an away contest.

Women’s Lacrosse Victorious in Close-Fought Contest Against Hamilton Nat De Jonge ’21 Staff Writer This weekend, the women’s lacrosse team fought a close match against Hamilton. The day began with a brief celebration of the athletes from Harlem Lacrosse who attended a game. Harlem Lacrosse is a non-profit lacrosse program based in Harlem which provides access to top-tier coaching, tutoring and recruiting tournaments at colleges and prep schools to young people in Harlem. The contest certainly was worth the journey from the beginning. Amherst took the lead out of the gate with a goal by attacker Claire Dunbar ’21, and then proceeded to go on a fourgoal run. The Continentals then scored three goals in less than

four minutes, but Amherst snuck in one of their own in that window as well. Isabelle Sennett ’21 scored her second of the afternoon, and Amherst finished the first half how they started it — with a four-goal run. This included a pair of unassisted goals by Dunbar, who put on a clinic with two spectacular goals. Once she ducked underneath to the goal line, and the next time took the top side and hitting the nylon from close range. Becky Kendall ’22 scored her first collegiate goal off of an assist from Hannah Fox ’20 to open the second half, and Amherst extended their lead to 12-4. The Continentals, however were not completely finished. Against a mixture of first and second string players, Hamil-

ton scored six goals to Amherst’s one in the remaining 27 minutes of the game. Amherst, however, never allowed the scoreline to fall past a three-goal lead, and emerged victorious. In net, Talia Land ’20 made 12 saves, but Amherst cleared the ball well, and retained possession on most draws. With the win, Land moved her own personal record between the pipes to 5-1. Also of note, Senior captain Sabrina Solow nabbed two ground balls, which gave her 100 career ground ball pickups during her collegiate career. The win gives Amherst its second NESCAC victory. They return to action on Wednesday at 6 p.m. for a non-conference home matchup against Westfield State University.

Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios

Claire Dunbar ’21 leads the Mammoths in scoring, having registered 13 goals and 10 assists on the year.

The Amherst Student • March 27, 2019

Men’s Swim & Dive Places Ninth at NCAAs Connor Haugh ’21 Managing Sports Editor This past weekend, Amherst crowned seven All Americans at the DIII National Championships. On day one at the bustling Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro North Carolina, Scott Romeyn ’22 competed in the 50-yard freestyle race. In his preliminary swim, Romeyn finished eighth with a time of 20.26 seconds, a finish just fast enough to book him a spot in the finals later in the day. In that race, Romeyn bettered his time by about a tenth of a second, which catapulted him to touch the wall two places higher than his seeding. With the sixth place finish, Romeyn earned All-American accolades. The quartet of Ang Li ’21, Sean Mebust ’20, Jack Koravos ’20 and Romeyn also competed on the first day in the 200-yard medley relay. In the qualification heat, the squad finished the four-discipline race with a time of 1:30.53, but shaved a full half second off of their time in the finals, securing a ninth place finish and All-American honors. The team of Craig Smith ’20, Mebust, Koravos and Romeyn finished in eighth place in the 400-yard Medley Relay on day

two, while Bennett Fagan ’20 finished eighth as well on the one-meter board event. Day three and four saw more success. On Saturday, Amherst’s Eric Wong ’20, Li, Tristan So ’21, and Charles Seltzer ’19 finished eighth in the 800-yard freestyle relay to receive All-American selection. In addition, Mebust took 15th in the 100-meter breastroke race. On Sunday, the Mammoths competed in five events, placing All Americans in three of those events. Craig Smith ’20 captured seventh in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of just under two minutes. Then, Mebust captured the highest place of any Mammoth over the weekend. After an impressive preliminary swim in the 50-yard breastroke, Mebust shaved moments off his time to place fifth and receive the second All-American nod of the day, and his third of the meet. Finally, Fagan placed fifth in the three-meter diving competition. The Mammoths’ stellar performance across events and team events demonstrates their strength this season. Their efforts were rewarded with a stellar ninth place finish, a mark they certainly will look to improve and build upon next season.

Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios

The 400-yard freestyle relay team finished the meet in 11th place at the NCAA DIII National Championship Meet.

Sports 15

Views From The Sparrows Nest: Five Tips For Your Bracket Matt Sparrow ’21 Columnist Matt Sparrow gives his readers a guide on how to pick a winner in the NCAA March Madness tournament, taking into account the always-dangerous upsets that characterize the tournament. As the first weekend of March Madness comes to a close, many people escaped with their brackets still intact. 7-foot-6inch Tacko Fall and the University of Central Florida Knights provided the biggest scare by almost breaking millions of hearts nationwide, but NCAA poster child Zion Williamson poured in 32 points to help Duke avoid a massive upset. With all No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds still alive, the tournament hasn’t provided as much “madness” as usual, but there’s still plenty of basketball left to play. As someone who’s been making brackets since the age of six (even predicting North Carolina’s title run in 2005), I feel I might be an expert. While it’s too late for this year, I’m willing to share my secrets about how to win your bracket pool so that you can dominate next time out. Whether you spend hours researching each team or go by which school has the better mascot, this guide will ensure bragging rights over your friends, at least until the following March. 1. Don’t pick the overwhelming favorite to win it all I can’t stress this enough. If there’s one nugget of knowledge that you take away from this whole column, this is it: DO NOT PICK THE FAVORITE TO WIN IT ALL. Plain and simple. A whopping 39.2 percent of brackets have Duke winning the tournament this year. To put yourself in the running, you’ll have to be almost perfect on your earlier picks because there will probably be someone who has more points than you and picked Duke. If I had to guess a winner, I’d probably say Duke. However, I’d rather choose a different No. 1 seed, like University of North Caro-

lina or University of Virginia. Given that No. 1 seeds have won 21 of the last 29 championships, the smart money is on the second or third most popular team, not the favorite. 2. When it comes to upsets, be bold, not stupid No! you shouldn’t have picked No. 16 Gardner-Webb University to upset No. 1 Virginia (and if you did, I pray that you never become a gambling addict). And quite frankly, I wouldn’t pick a No. 15 seed over a No. 2 either. No. 16 seeds have only won a single time since the tournament expanded to its current format in 1985 (In 2018, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County became the only team to do it when they won against Virginia). No. 2 seeds have only won eight times in 140 games, a percentage of just 5.71 percent. Go ahead and throw in a No. 14 over a No. 3 or a No. 13 over a No. 4, as one of those two has happened every year since 2008 (besides 2017). But have at least three No. 11 or No. 12 seeds in the Round of 32. Since 2012, No. 12 seeds have won 44 percent of games against No. 5 seeds. No. 11 seeds have won 53 percent of their first-round games since 2011. And make sure to have a double-digit seed in the Sweet 16, as that’s happened every year since 2008. 3. Don’t have all No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Final Four While it’s very tempting to send the highly ranked teams to the Final Four (they were seeded that way for a reason!), have at least one of your Final Four teams be a No. 3 seed or lower. Each of the last 10 Final Fours have featured a team seeded outside of the top two.

I wouldn’t necessarily have them hoisting the trophy, as a No. 1 or No. 2 seed has won the last four championships, but there will be an unexpected team amongst the last four standing because, after all, this is March. And for those of you who want to see all four No. 1 seeds survive, keep dreaming: 2008 is the only time that’s happened in tournament history. 4. Do your homework Even if college basketball isn’t your thing, a little research can go a long way when it comes to brackets. Perusing expert articles about which teams are on “upset alert” is an excellent starting place because they know what they’re talking about (they get paid to do it). Take it a step further and investigate which players are bound to dominate, which dark horses to look out for and who is being vastly overrated. 5. Follow your heart Above all, always remember to trust your instincts. I’ve been following college basketball all season, and yet I find myself behind my dad, who admittedly spends less and less time on his bracket each year. As if it can’t get any worse, it’s in a pool with my friends back home, so I may never hear the end of it. What do the experts know anyways? In the end, they’re just guessing like anyone else is. So do what you want. Pick Duke to win it all. Pick Gardner-Webb to win it all. Pick Amherst to win it all! Just know that with every bracket that’s filled out and every game that you watch, you’re helping promote the horribly corrupt institution that governs collegiate sports, the NCAA. But that’s a topic for another day.

Sports 16

The Amherst Student • March 27, 2019

Ruderman ’21 Captures Two Diving Titles at Nationals Connor Haugh ’21 Managing Sports Editor Most everyone expected a national champion to be crowned at Amherst this winter, but many observers probably would have put their bets on the women’s basketball team. An informed observer, however, would have noted the meteoric rise of an athlete, who in her own right has become as dominant as any of women’s basketball Head Coach G. P. Gromacki’s squads: Lindsey Ruderman ’21. Ruderman claimed both individual diving national titles at the DIII Championships this past weekend, in the one-meter and three-meter events. Unsurprisingly, given her complete sweep of the national titles, Ruderman was also named the DIII women’s diver of the year These titles, however, have been a long time coming. Last season, Ruderman finished fifth and sixth at the national championship meet in the one- and three-meter dives respectively, second in the regional tournament, and was named NESCAC Diver of the Year for 2018. This season, she has won every meet she entered, except for the regional tournament, where she was bested by Deborah Wen of MIT. That achievement, in and of itself, is extraordinary. At the Championships this past weekend, Ruderman bested Wen by 10 points in each event, and finished just half a point behind her personal best re-


cord in the one-meter dive in the finals. It is worth mentioning at this point, on the subject of records, that Ruderman has set every single Amherst college record in diving events this season. The national championship, it seems, was the icing on the cake of an impressive season for the sophomore. Ruderman also became the first Mammoth since 2016 to capture multiple national championships in a single season, and the first to do so as a sophomore. Ruderman said in an email to The Student: “The other divers I was competing against push me to be my best— it was a tough competition and there were points during the meet where I was very far behind first place after not doing well on several dives. I knew I had to do the rest of my dives as well as I possibly could, and my teammates, coaches, and the training I had put in throughout the season gave me the confidence and ability to do so.” Ruderman looks forward to adding more complex dives to her repertoire in preparation for next season in an effort to repeat her national championships and perhaps attempt to capture a national record in the process. On the back of Ruderman’s impressive performance, the Mammoths were propelled to an eighth place finish at the championship meet. In addition to Ruderman’s title, Nina Fitzgerald ’21 placed seventh in the 200-yard breaststroke and Briggette Quong ’19 placed 13th in the 200-yard backstroke.

Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios

Lindsey Ruderman ’21 was in second after the qualifying rounds, but rebounded to place first in her final six dives in both events




Softball vs. Worchester Polytechnic Institute, 3 p.m.

Baseball @ Wesleyan, 4 p.m.

Men’s Track and Field @ Outdoor Snowflake Classic, 9 a.m.

Softball vs. Worchester Polytechnic Institute, 5 p.m. Women’s Lacrosse @ Westfield State University, 6 p.m.

Softball @ Wesleyan, 5 p.m.

Women’s Track and Field @ Outdoor Snowflake Classic, 9 a.m. Softball vs. Wesleyan, noon. Baseball vs. Wesleyan, 1 p.m.

Men’s Lacrosse vs. Middlebury, 1 p.m.

Women’s Lacrosse @ Middlebury, 2 p.m.

Men’s Tennis vs. Tufts, 1 p.m.

Baseball vs. Wesleyan, 3:30 p.m.

Women’s Tennis @ Trinity, 1 p.m. Softball vs. Wesleyan, 2 p.m.

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