The search for a new Muslim Chaplain News, p.4
Meet Prof. Christine O’Connell Features, p.5
New year, new WMCN: what to expect Arts, p.7
Macalester’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1914
Does Mac support gentrification? Opinion, p.8
Vol. 126, No. 2 Sept. 20, 2019
Halftime protest calls out sports culture Major changes coming to Mac’s sustainability office By HANNAH CATLIN & ESTELLE TIMAR-WILCOX News Editor & Staff Writer
13th Street dance crew protests at Macalester football game. Video screencapped courtesey of Bonnie Hoekstra ’21.
By MATT GLOVER & MARGARET MORAN Sports Editor & Associate News Editor Please be advised, this story contains discussion of homophobia, transphobia and sexual violence. On Saturday, Sept. 14, Macalester hip-hop dance crew 13th Street performed at halftime of the football team’s home opener against Hamline. After the dancers finished their routine, they gathered on the Dayton Track and read a 4-minute statement to the crowd addressing what they described as recent instances of homophobia, transphobia and predatory behavior on the football team. “Over the last couple of weeks, we
heard that members of the football team were making homophobic and transphobic remarks,” 13th Street member Bonnie Hoekstra ’21 said at the demonstration. “As a dance group with many queer members, this was extremely disappointing to hear.” Members of the football team told 13th Street that those comments were made at practice, while a football player also sent a meme in a players-only email chain advocating the predation of firstyear women early this semester. “After these instances happened, the individuals who said those things and sent those things were addressed by members of the team, by seniors specifically,” defensive lineman Ethan Levin ’20 said, referring to the bigoted comments and predatory meme.
The individual who sent the meme later apologized in the email chain. During their statement to the crowd, 13th Street member Cathy Truong ’22 spoke about members of the football team participating in sexual violence prevention trainings but continuing to perpetuate a culture tolerant of sexual violence. “These trainings mean nothing if the underlying culture of these teams support the very same attitudes we are trying to prevent,” Truong said. After Truong spoke, crew member Laura Botero ’21 asked athletes to step forward and take responsibility for the offensive actions of some. Football, cont. on page 6
When Macalester first created its sustainability office over a decade ago, there was no on-campus composting, no pig feed program, no monitoring of the college’s carbon footprint and little cohesive support for sustainability efforts. Sustainability Manager Suzanne Savanick Hansen has been at the helm of the office since its inception in 2008, leading its initiatives and teaching one class per year on campus sustainability. But this will likely be her last semester at Macalester. On Sept. 9, Provost Karine Moe and Vice President for Administration and Finance David Wheaton announced via the Mac Daily that the college is making several major changes to the sustainability office’s operations. First, the office will be moved from the operations reporting line to the academic line. This means that representatives of the sustainability office will report to Moe instead of Wheaton. Second, the sustainability manager position — Savanick Hansen’s position — will be dissolved. In its place, the college plans to hire a new Director of Sustainability, who will start in January 2020. This reorganization follows a comprehensive 2017 external review of Macalester’s campuswide sustainability initiatives. The final report included a list of recommendations to the college as it continues to develop its programming. The report praised the college’s “excellent sustainability office” and broad engagement from the student body.
Under Savanick Hansen’s leadership, Macalester has decreased greenhouse gas emissions by upwards of 30 percent, increased the waste diversion rate from 17 percent to over 70 percent and sent students to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference — the meeting at which the Paris Agreement was negotiated. However, it also concluded that sustainability should be more deeply integrated into curricula — calling on the college to address “a grey cloud of tension” between the sustainability office staff and Macalester faculty. While the review’s suggestions did not include a restructuring of the sustainability office, Wheaton cited the report as one of the most prominent inspirations for these changes. “I think the [external] review… actually implies going to the next place, doing the next thing, ramping it up,” Wheaton said. “We took that as a guide for saying ‘what do we think that means from the point of view from internal college leadership?’” According to Wheaton, the decision to restructure came from the “senior staff” at Macalester — administrators including himself, Moe and President Brian Rosenberg. When Wheaton told Savanick Hansen in mid-May that her position would be dissolved by the end of the year in favor of hiring a Sustainability Director, she was surprised. “My job description and the one that is being proposed are very similar if you actually look at them,” Savanick Hansen said. “It’s a little shocking — quite shocking, actually — to change the focus of what we’ve been doing.” “I’ve never had a bad performance review, ever,” she continued. Sustainability, cont. on page 3
Presidential search committee to give recommendation by year end By ABE ASHER Editor-in-Chief Macalester’s presidential search process is moving quickly ahead — with the college’s search committee hoping to submit a candidate or candidates to the Board of Trustees before the end of the calendar year. The search committee’s co-chairs, Carrie Killoran ’94 and Michael Huber ’90 told The Mac Weekly this week that there are currently between 12 and 24 candidates under consideration for the position. The committee plans to cut that number of candidates down to single digits before it conducts its first round of interviews this fall and expects to ultimately submit between one and three names to the Board.
This search, which began in earnest last spring, is Macalester’s first on the presidential level in nearly two decades. Brian Rosenberg has served as the college’s president since 2003 — one of the longest-tenured college presidents in the country. Rosenberg’s departure was originally supposed to coincide with the conclusion of “The Macalester Moment” capital campaign next spring, and while the college met its $100 million goal ahead of schedule last April, Rosenberg is slated to stay through the end of May 2020. Then, for the first time in 17 years, there will be a new person in charge. The 13-person search committee, which was formed four months ago, is co-chaired by two members of the Board of Trustees and includes four professors and representatives
from the office of student affairs, the athletic department and the current student body. The committee first met in late May and held listening sessions on campus during the summer. By August, the college’s Chicago-based search firm Spencer Stuart had begun identifying potential candidates for the position. Select members of the search committee held a meet-and-greet on Tuesday afternoon in the Campus Center, fielding questions from faculty and staff members, before meeting to discuss its next steps. During that meeting, and in feedback from the community over the summer, a few concerns surfaced. Chief among them is diversity. Macalester has never had a nonwhite or non-male president — a
circumstance that is becoming rarer and rarer among small liberal arts colleges, and one that members of the committee are well aware of. “One of the clear themes that we heard coming through,” Killoran said of the feedback they have received, “is the critical importance of [having] a leader who is going to be able to help Macalester further its journey to truly being a place that recognizes diversity, equity and inclusion.” One piece of feedback stands out. Over the summer, a group called Alumni for Expanding Educational Opportunities (EEO) sent a memo to the search committee and the Board of Trustees calling declining student of color enrollment “concerning,” and urging those involved to “recommit to the goals of the EEO Program and to hire as the next President the
candidate to translate those goals into the 21st century.” The EEO program, which ran from 1969 to 1984, was a scholarship program designed to increase the enrollment of domestic students of color at Macalester. To move towards accomplishing those goals, and to ensure that the search process both includes and treats fairly candidates of color and non-male candidates, the committee has taken several steps. “The committee itself is quite diverse, certainly,” Huber said. “I haven’t done an ethnography of the committee, but I think I might be the only white male. There was a real intentionality regarding who is on the committee.” President, cont. on page 2
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Diversity a central issue as presidental search moves forward President, cont. from pg. 1 The search committee approached building the candidate pool with this same intentionality. The group directed Spencer Stuart, which has also helped lead presidential searches for Pomona College, Williams College and Brown University, for a unique, diverse set of candidates. “They have a track record of placing diverse candidates into senior leadership positions, including the presidency,” Killoran said of the search firm. “They bring a network that already has significant relationships with diverse candidates.” The committee has also engaged Dean of Multicultural Life Marjorie Trueblood and Dean of the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship Donna Maeda as informal advisors on diversity and inclusion. Huber said that both Trueblood and Maeda have spoken at length with the co-chairs, as well as the committee at large, about how to design interview questions and construct its processes of evaluation so as not to disadvantage particular candidates. “We have spent quite a bit of time thinking about how to run a process which is fair and minimizes inherent biases to the extent that we can,” Huber said.
What might the hire of a non-white president do for the college? Huber said that while “it’s not my place to speculate about what people may think,” he acknowledged that such a hire might well be “galvanizing and energizing.” Associate Director of Alumni Relations Daymond Dean ’91, who is also a member of the football coaching staff, agreed. “Just being able to see somebody who reflects diversity in a high leadership position means a lot,” Dean said. “[Vice President of Student Affairs] Donna Lee coming here was huge. When I saw her, I just had to smile. “We went to Kenyon and Oberlin,” he said of a recent college trip with his son. “Two African American presidents there. So I don’t understand, from the top down, why, outside of student affairs, we can’t have more leaders of color. Executive leaders of color.” The committee seems to grasp that point. But the selection of Stuart Spencer, and the genesis of the search process as a whole, was not without controversy. “Finding the next leader of Macalester College ought to be an enterprise in which the participation of the faculty and the participation of other constituencies on campus are invited from the outset,” anthropology
professor Arjun Guneratne said. “Instead, we had a process where basically, in the same breath in which Brian announced his retirement, we were also told what the process was that was going to find his replacement,” he continued. “We didn’t have input into that process. We were presented with a fait accompli.” This initial displeasure around the setup of the search process led quickly to several changes in the spring. Faculty and staff were each granted an extra seat on the search committee, while faculty were given the right to appoint their members of the committee themselves through a nomination process. Meanwhile, at the end of the spring semester, Guneratne helped lead an effort to re-establish a Macalester chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which Guneratne said has roughly 20 members and will likely add more in the coming months. He pointed to the search process at Reed College, which hired Audrey Bilger as its sixteenth president in April, as one that he would have liked to have seen Macalester emulate. “Right at the very outset, faculty were part of the process that went out to look for the new president,” Guneratne said of Reed’s search, “and they began by laying down
the parameters of the search and describing what kind of person they wanted before they went looking for the firm to actually conduct the search.” In Macalester’s case, the Board of Trustees was responsible for vetting a number of search firms and ultimately selecting Spencer Stuart — a firm that the college has not worked with before, but one that several members of the Board have interacted with in other professional capacities. “In the case of Reed… the search firm that was hired is one that was owned and run by women and people of color,” Guneratne said. “So an outfit like that probably has a different kind of network and is going to throw up different kinds of candidates than other firms might. “Both firms might still throw up good candidates and good people, but it would be nice to have these conversations and have a discussion about the search process before we actually commit to a particular course of action,” he continued. “But we weren’t given the opportunity to do that.” Both Huber and Killoran stressed that they want the process to be as accessible as possible for Macalester students, faculty, staff and alumni over the course of the coming months. The co-chairs left open the possibility that finalists for the
position may visit the college, as Rosenberg did before he was hired in 2003, but stressed that any kind of candidate visit would be discreet in deference to candidates’ privacy. In addition to various community members, the committee has consulted Rosenberg about the challenges that the next Macalester president will face. “Clearly there are myriad challenges facing higher education that Macalester is not immune to,” Killoran said. “Those are things that a president has to be versed in navigating and thinking about — how do you stay committed to the liberal arts in an industry that is rapidly evolving and changing?” “We’re looking to hire a leader, not a follower,” Huber said. “We’re looking for people that are thought leaders.” Guneratne, citing his desire for the next president to focus on sustainability and the climate, sounded a slightly different note. “I hope we get a president who is in tune with the campus’ values,” he said. Over the next three months, the committee is hoping to find someone who is both. • firstname.lastname@example.org
: LB renews New York Times subscription By HANNAH GOLDFARB Staff Writer This week, MCSG’s Legislative Body (LB) heard student organization travel requests, renewed the college’s New York Times subscription and expressed support for a new creditearning internship opportunity. Usually, decisions regarding travel grants would be directed to the Travel Grant Committee. Presently, however, the committee is empty — requiring the full LB to hear requests. Climbing Club requested $1,240.50 of the $15,000 available for travel across all student organizations, but frustrated several members with a lack of detail in their application.
The LB voted to table the issue until next week, at which point Climbing Club will be invited to submit a new application. “My primary concern with this is the precedent that we would be setting,” said Hannah Gilbert ’21. “Having it be very clear that people need to submit full, fleshed out proposals for them to be approved is a good way to start off the year.” The LB voted to approve two travel requests: an Outing Club request for $164 and a High Power Rocketry request for $144. MCSG then discussed continuing to fund a complementary digital New York Times subscriptions for students. Since the 2017-2018 school year, the college has offered an electronic
subscription for all students with a Macalester email address. Previously, physical copies were delivered to the campus center each morning. MCSG covers the entirety of the expense, roughly $9,800 for a 12-month subscription. The cost accounts for 5 percent of the MCSG operating budget. Some members were hesitant to approve the expense, wondering if students took advantage of the service. “I would personally feel more comfortable if we did a comprehensive survey of Macalester students to determine if its still being used before we spend the money on it,” Katie Brown ’22 said. “I’ve never heard of anyone using it, so I’m just curious if it does have a high usage
rate and I’m just not aware of it.”. Joe Bentley ’21 offered his personal experience as evidence that Macalester students use the service. “I think we should definitely fund it. I use the account everyday, I read the New York Times everyday. All my friends use it as well,” Bentley said. “If it’s an issue of usage, then we can just advertise it. I think people would use that, I think the problem is that people don’t really know.” Em Hayward ’21 agreed, adding a few advertising suggestions. “We should continue funding it, with the caveat that we do work on making it more known,” she said. “We should all, individually, make a concerted effort to share that. I can put it on the (MCSG) social media,
we can put it in the Mac Daily. If we are going to support it, we need to be clear that this is a resource for the student body has.” Jason Kohn ’20 voted in favor of the funding, but suggested MCSG look to distribute the cost in the future. “I absolutely agree that we should renew this now,” Kohn said, “but because it’s a service not just for students, I think come February we should try to split the cost with some academic department or someone on campus, since it benefits everyone.” The LB voted to approve funding for The New York Times subscription, vowing to advertise the service more and explore other revenue sources in the future. • email@example.com
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Sept. 20, 2019 • Page 3
Macalester seeks new leadership for sustainability office Sustainability, cont. from pg. 1 “So to not have a bad performance review and to have your job end is challenging.” Between May and August, Savanick Hansen kept the announcement largely to herself, sharing it only with Sustainability Project Coordinator Tamara Will — a temporary employee who was only hired to work in the office in June. Even after a few months of processing, Savanick Hansen said telling her students in August was one of the most difficult things she has had to do. “It’s harder once it becomes all public here and I have to tell my students,” Savanick Hansen said. “I have students who have been working with me for a long time, so I did wait to find out if they still had jobs in the spring, I had to figure that out too before I said anything.” As she recalled these conversations, Savanick Hansen became choked up. “It’s been really hard,” she said. “Particularly telling my students.” Other members of the sustainability office were similarly shaken by the announcement. “The [new Sustainability Director position], as described, fits Suzanne,” Will said. “Her qualifications and her experience fit the description perfectly, so there is some confusion as to why her position is being eliminated.” Student employees in the sustainability office also voiced their confusion. “We’re worried and we’re confused and a little bit disappointed that the college would just blindside everyone and change everything,” Student Sustainability Office Coordinator Lydia Sulik ’20 said. While office employees grappled with the news, the announcement also surprised staff, faculty and students on the Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC) — who were told about the restructuring at roughly the same time as the student body. “We on the Sustainability Advisory Committee had no knowledge of this at all until it came down,” anthropology professor Arjun Guneratne said. “It happened without any input from us, it happened without any consultation with us, and yet we are the Sustainability Advisory Committee. “I felt, as a faculty member,” he continued, “that this was not appropriate.” Guneratne was formerly co-chair of the SAC and had served the committee since its inception in 2008, but decided to resign in response to the restructuring announcement. “I decided there was no purpose
in my serving on this committee anymore and so I resigned,” Guneratne said. “I happen to believe the whole business of climate change and sustainability is probably the most significant issue that confronts all of us at the present moment,” he continued. “We have to get all the various constituencies on campus on board… It’s not the kind of thing that can happen with edicts from on high.” Wheaton said he hopes that moving the office to academic affairs will open up new avenues for educational programming, as well as create opportunities for collaboration between the sustainability office and faculty. Associate Dean of the Faculty Paul Overvoorde feels similarly and sees the restructuring as a natural next step. “This isn’t something that’s just come out of the blue,” Overvoorde said. “There’s been some momentum, there’s interest from faculty who are on campus… [the sustainability office] is something that’s going to get some support because it’s now housed in a different part of campus.” Guneratne worries that won’t be the case. “You can create as many offices as you want on campus to bring about curricular change,” he said, “but the curricular change actually happens when the faculty decides to make it happen.” “A staff person in this new office could be a sort of cheerleader, for sure, but… whoever is in that job would have to be someone who can persuade the faculty to go in this direction rather than another direction,” Guneratne continued. “I can’t make any sort of prediction about how that would work.” The external review does highlight Macalester’s struggle integrating sustainability into curriculum, and called on the Provost’s office to find “supplementary support” for professors who want to adapt their syllabi. Environmental studies department chair Roopali Phadke echoed this need for a shift in how the college approaches sustainability in its classes. “Suzanne has tried to make that happen, but part of the challenge has been her position is not within the academic program,” Phadke said. “She’s done amazing work, and we’re way farther than we were a decade ago, but I think some of the opportunities and challenges are different now than they were in 2005.” Savanick Hansen said she agrees that sustainability needs a stronger place in curriculum, and after
Sustainability Manager Suzanne Savanick Hansen. Photo by Kori Suzuki ’21
teaching and co-teaching ten classes at Macalester and attempting to work with faculty, she’s well aware of the practical challenges anyone trying to do that work faces. “We’ve been doing curricular support since we got here, but we didn’t have a lot of support for it,” Savanick Hansen said. “We [did] what we could do, but it wasn’t a priority.” Will sees a need for more support from the administration as well. “Having that overt support of leadership, I think, is something that’s been missing from this office — having the leadership of the college say ‘Zero Waste by 2020’ and really get on board,” Will said. “There’s only so far you can go from the ground up.” But the impending changes are far from the support that Savanick Hansen thinks the office needs. “The key is to include the operational pieces, the co-curricular pieces, and the curricular pieces so that you have a comprehensive sustainability program,” Savanick Hansen said. “If you don’t, then you’re missing something, and in some ways you’re going backwards. “There’s a lot of work in this office,” she continued, “and you’re going to take a whole other major focus, and change the focus of what this office does, something’s gotta give.” Will has similar concerns regarding what might be lost in this shift. “Working here long enough, I
know that this is more than a full time job,” Will said. “So, when the position was described as focusing more… on the curricular and cocurricular, what I thought was: what’s going to happen with the rest of it?” The answer to this question is unclear. Wheaton recognized that as the role of the office shifts, some of its programming may change or dissolve. “Realistically, there will be some reprioritization of what we have done,” Wheaton said. Wheaton and Moe’s Mac Daily announcement acknowledged that “some evaluation of priorities in these areas will likely be required.” Members of the sustainability office have raised concerns about what work may or may not be deemed important. “I don’t think [administration] really understand what we do,” Sulik said. “I think everything that we do is important.” It is also unclear how the shift toward academics will affect current sustainability initiatives and projects, with the clock ticking on multiple sustainability goals including Zero Waste by 2020 and the race to be carbon neutral by 2025. “It’s all just kind of up in the air,” Will said. The search for the new Director of Sustainability will begin in earnest Oct. 1, when the portal for applicants closes. At that point, a search committee — chaired by Overvoorde — will convene to discuss what the
college is looking for in their ideal candidate. Alongside Overvoorde, the committee will consist of Moe, Wheaton, three faculty members — including Phadke — two staff members and one student. Ideally, Overvoorde would like to see the student representative be MCSG’s sustainability officer, but nobody currently holds that position. Overvoorde hopes to bring candidates to campus to meet with students by early November. “Certainly, the student input will be important,” Overvoorde said. “Whether it will be open to the entire campus or to a targeted audience like the sustainability student workers or some of the student orgs that have particular ties.” Wheaton is particularly excited to see a candidate bring a fresh perspective to the office as Macalester enters the next chapter of its sustainability programming. “In the end, what we’ve decided as we’re thinking about this shift in the role and the position, we want to see what opportunities there are to see what kind of skill set we can bring to this redefined role,” he said. One of those applicants will be a familiar face. “I am going to apply,” Savanick Hansen said. “I think I’m the bestqualified person for the job.” • firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com
This week on themacweekly.com Unlearning White Supremacy replaces White Anti-Racist Identity Collective By LINDSAY WEBER
Building Bridges: new org explores restorative justice on and off campus By MARGARET MORAN
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The Mac Weekly
With Vajid’s departure, college searches for new Muslim chaplain By HANNAH GOLDFARB Staff Writer For the first time since the summer of 2016, there is no Muslim Chaplain on Macalester’s campus. After nearly four years in the position, Ailya Vajid, the Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life, left the college in August for a position at the Hadi Initiative, which supports Muslim life on college campuses. She will also serve as a chaplain at the University of Virginia. Vajid began working at Macalester as a consultant and was later hired as a part time employee in the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL). She became Macalester’s first-ever Muslim chaplain. “The hire was two-part, meant to really be a direct support for our Muslim community around practice, observance, questions they might have about their own identity,” College Chaplain and Associate Dean of the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL) Rev. Kelly Stone said, “[and] also to be somebody who could be present within our community to speak about Islam, so we weren’t asking students always to do that.” Vajid didn’t take her decision to leave Macalester lightly. “In this kind of work, the students really become your community,” Vajid said. They’re like family. It’s such a relational campus that you feel so deeply connected to everyone. It was a really, really tough decision to leave Macalester.” Transitioning from a small liberal arts college to a public university with a student population ten times Macalester’s poses its share of challenges. “On the one hand, I was hired as a Muslim chaplain at UVA,” Vajid said. “On the other hand, I’m not officially affiliated because it’s a public institution and separation of
church and state.” The Hadi Initiative, based in Washington, D.C., models itself after Hillel in the Jewish community. Vajid’s work there will deal with expanding Muslim chaplaincies to colleges and universities across the country. “They’re [the Hadi Initiative] seeking to create more support systems and professional networks for Muslims in college and at that stage in life,” Vajid said. The field of Muslim chaplaincy has expanded and evolved greatly over the past 20 years. In 2005, according to Stone, there were just five Muslim chaplaincies around the country. Now, there are roughly 70 — split between colleges, prisons and hospitals. “There are efforts to train folks here in the United States, which is different from most training programs for Immans, w[ho] are leaders in mosques,” Stone said. “The skill set they’re building helps equip them for the audiences they’re working with.” Stone believes the growing field and the draw of Macalester itself will make it easier to find Vajid’s replacement. “Macalester is a great place to work where we have a strong interfaith program, a strong pluralistic understanding and orientation of our office,” Stone said. “[That] is incredibly attractive to people who are going into the field and want to work not only with a particular community, but also a diverse community like Macalester.” Understanding the multi-faith orientation of Macalester is especially important, but there are other requirements too. “It’s important for this person to be a good listener and super approachable,” Stone said. “You want someone who you feel comfortable walking in their door and sharing a
piece of your life story or a really tender question that you’re holding.” Aliya Mahmoud ’21 came to Macalester unsure about how she would fit in with the Muslim community. Once she arrived, with Vajid’s help, she became more comfortable with her faith. “I was a little worried to join MSA (Muslim Student Association), and what the community would be like,” Mahmoud said. “But [Vajid] was so welcoming and just so open and encouraged me to meet with her and talk with her whenever. She introduced me to a lot of other students who I connected with.” Ultimately, Mahmoud believes open-mindedness is the most important quality in a college chaplain. “I hope that they find someone who is open about any kind of faith, and is just this welcoming presence,” Mahmoud said. “I know for someone like me who isn’t as traditional or isn’t as practicing, I still felt so accepted.” Stone also stressed that chaplains are available to any student, regardless of religious affiliation. “We know that there is a multitude, in any religious tradition, of identities people hold,” Stone said. “It’s important for that person to be
The Jewish and Muslim chaplains’ office in the CRSL. Photo by Kori Suzuki ’21.
able to meet people where they are, and walk alongside them as opposed to leading them to a particular destination.” To get more student input regarding the hire, the CRSL held open listening sessions throughout the week. “It’s been really important to us that we are able to hear feedback from current students, particularly our Muslim students, since this person will be the primary point person to support that community,” Stone said. MSA President Shireen Zaineb ’20 has been involved in the selection process. She attended the first listening session and hopes to be on the student search committee. “We had our first listening session this past Friday,” Zaineb said. “We shared back what was important to us personally and what we felt would be important for first-years, for the general student body, to have in someone who would take Ailya’s role.” At the listening session, students discussed qualities a future chaplain should have — from academic credentials to personality traits. “People seemed to really want someone kind and caring and warm,
and a lot of that comes from what they saw in Ailya,” Zaineb said. “It was nice to see how she has shaped this image of what a good chaplain is in a lot of people’s minds.” Vajid was heavily involved with MSA, and had a major impact on the group. “Ailya started at Macalester my first year, so we were sort of getting used to college together. I’ve been really close to her since the first semester of my first year,” Zaineb said. “A big part of this year is figuring out how to be without a chaplain, while still making the first-years feel supported.” The CRSL hopes to post the position by the end of September and begin the interview process in the late fall. “I think it’s really important to have a chaplain in the lives of religious students, and especially in the lives of Muslim students here at Macalester,” Zaineb said. “It’s a really small community, it’s really tightknit and it’s pretty diverse. Because of that, we tend to band together around a lot of things — and Ailya was always really essential to that.” • firstname.lastname@example.org
Caribou Coffee robbed at gunpoint, no injuries By REBECCA EDWARDS News Editor The Caribou Coffee opposite the Campus Center at 68 Snelling Avenue was robbed at gunpoint early on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 12. While there were no injuries, the police report indicates that approximately $900 was stolen from a safe in the back room. The St. Paul Police Department’s (SSPD) investigation is ongoing. Sam Hopkinson ’20 arrived at the store at roughly 5:00 a.m. the day of the robbery to work the opening shift. Standing in the parking lot, he saw a man he didn’t recognize get into a car and drive away while his manager exited from the back door of the store. “My manager came to the front door to let me in and said, ‘so, I was just robbed at gunpoint’,” Hopkinson said. “I called the police.”
While Caribou does use security cameras, Hopkinson said that the individual in question had a bandana covering their face and may not have been identifiable on video. Hopkinson said that despite the drama of the situation, the store has largely recovered from the shock. “I think that people are for the most part not super fazed by it,” he said. “I haven’t thought about it too much since, and I don’t really think people are especially worried about it happening again. “I don’t know where that dude got that gun,” Hopkinson continued, “but that’s mostly what worries me; that it’s so close to a college campus. It was a handgun, so it’s not like he had an assault rifle, but I don’t like people walking around with firearms.” SSPD provided extra security for the shop during opening and closing hours for several days after the attack. Sydney Bailey, the store manager
present at the robbery, declined to be interviewed by The Mac Weekly while the investigation is ongoing, but noted that having extra security helped people at the store feel safer in the immediate aftermath of the robbery. Caribou district manager Rianna Matter added that Caribou’s safety protocol requires that no employee ever be alone in the store, and that adherence to that policy may help prevent further crime. As a whole, though, according to SPPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Michael Ernster, robberies in St. Paul are down significantly this year. “I can tell you that we have had approximately 379 robberies in St. Paul this year and this number is down 6.7 percent from last year at this time when we had 406,” Ernster wrote in an email to The Mac Weekly. “This is out of 173,000 calls for service so far this year in Saint Paul.
“Any robbery is one too many,” he continued, “but they are a small percentage of overall crimes.” Ernster wrote that the SPPD recommends that anyone in an armed robbery situation comply with the demands of the burglar. “Do not do anything that would jeopardize your safety,” he wrote. “Call 911 immediately. If possible and safe to do so, watch the route of escape the suspect took and document anything you see (vehicle description, clothing desc, direction of escape... etc).” In an email to The Mac Weekly, Associate Director of Security Bill Collumbien wrote that Macalester security is “actively patrolling campus and investigating suspicious activity reports” in order to diminish the likelihood of gun violence or armed robbery on campus. Collumbien also suggested students “walk in groups or [with] se-
curity escort services” if they feel unsafe. Macalester SAFEWalk employees are available for escorts from 9 p.m to 1 a.m. seven days a week. Ernster noted that while there is no way to completely nullify the possibility of a robbery at any given location, there are a few preventative measures businesses can take. “I wish there was a foolproof way to prevent these crimes,” he wrote. “Many employees are very busy going about their business when working and don’t pay close attention to who is coming and going. “An alert employee may be able to notice [a] customer who is acting peculiar or is asking inappropriate questions about the business,” he continued. “In theory, the more a suspect thinks the employees are paying attention, the less [likely] they are to follow through with the crime.” • email@example.com
The Mac Weekly
Sept. 20, 2019 • Page 5
Macalester wrestles with prospect of ‘violent incident’ By LIAM MCMAHON & ESTELLE TIMAR-WILCOX Editor-in-Chief & Staff Writer From high school students to presidential debate stages, conversations around how to address America’s gun violence epidemic and have risen in prominence and urgency in recent years. The specific problem of mass shootings in schools has forced Macalester’s students and administration to grapple with this question as well. On Sept. 9, Macalester security emailed an online “violent incident training” module to students, faculty and staff to be completed by Oct. 1. It is the first time the college has mandated such a training. The training, which takes between 15 and 25 minutes to complete, asks people to watch a sequence of videos detailing how to practice situational awareness and explaining ‘run, hide, fight’ — the college’s policy regarding violent incidents. To complete the training, students, faculty and staff must get at least 10 of 12 questions right on a quiz. While the email announces the link as a ‘violent incident’ training, the module itself is titled “Active Shooter: Run, Hide Fight for Students” and focuses on responding to active shooter situations. It lists warning signs indicating that someone may commit a mass shooting and primes people on how to respond if they encounter such a situation. Associate Vice President of Facilities Nathan Lief and Associate Director of Security Bill Collumbien, along with the rest of the college’s incident management team, decided over the summer to implement the training. According to Lief, the decision
to call it “violent incident training” rather than “active shooter training” is an acknowledgment that violence in the United States extends beyond guns. Before settling on the training module, Lief and Collumbien reviewed several other options. They ultimately chose the SafeColleges module because it matched Macalester’s run, hide, fight terminology, and decided to require students, faculty and staff to take it online, which allows them to ensure all students complete it. While security and facilities are trying to educate the campus community about how to respond to a violent incident on campus, Joe McMurtrey ’22, Charlotte Melrose ’22 and Pierce Hastings ’22 are trying to keep those incidents from happening in the first place. All three are founding members of the Macalester chapter of Students Demand Action (SDA), a gun-violence prevention group allied with Moms Demand Action that became active on campus last spring. Macalester’s Incident Management Team (IMT), which includes people from across different campus offices, decided to implement this training module without consulting the Macalester SDA or soliciting any other student input. But SDA leaders were unbothered by IMT’s edict, acknowledging that, given the scourge of gun violence in the United States, addressing preventative safety is necessary. “I’m not angry at facilities for creating a program because frankly, [gun violence] is something that, unfortunately, we have to address,” McMurtrey said. “It’s the new tornado warning.” All three have engaged in state and nationwide lobbying efforts as well as organizing storytelling nights on
campus. Melrose and Hastings were both drawn to activism through personal experience with gun violence. “A family friend of mine, his daughter was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Oakland, California,” Melrose said. “It definitely had a tough effect on our community because we just didn’t expect something like that to happen.” Hastings, too, lost an aunt in an anti-Semitic mass shooting at a Jewish nursing home. “[He] was a neo-Nazi, white nationalist, Grand Dragon of the KKK, he was an ex-felon as well,” Hastings said of the shooter. “He made several threats on the life of the leader of the Southern Poverty Law Center, so he was on the no fly list — on all these lists that should have disqualified him from purchasing a weapon.” In addition to spurring their political action, that personal experience also affects how these students approach the violent incident training. Hastings noted that active-shooter trainings are often written for people who don’t “really care about gun violence... or [who don’t] think that a shooting is ever going to happen to them,” which overlooks the possibility of triggering survivors — a growing group of people in the U.S. The IMT acknowledged the concern around triggering survivors, and Lief said it was a part of their decision-making process. In the past, Macalester used a video provided by the Department of Homeland Security that made some people affected by gun violence uncomfortable, according to Lief. With the new module, the team tried to find a balance that would get people the information they need without triggering them. “This is a serious subject matter, and we certainly didn’t take this lightly either as we developed the
Macalester seeks more than signage to prevent gun violence. Photo by Kori Suzuki ’21.
program,” Lief said. Collumbien informed first-year students of the module during an orientation session, and the rest of the campus community found out via the Sept. 9 email. The email told students that they “will receive follow-up reminders” until they complete the training if they have not by Oct. 1. Outside of further reminders, there are no consequences for students who do not complete the training. Even with the lack of repercussions, Lief noted the importance of asking all students to take the training — with a specific focus on international students who may not have grown up with the same lockdown and active-shooter trainings as domestic students. While international students may not have been raised in countries with frequent mass shootings and lockdown drills, Roan O’Neill ’20, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, said that international students are aware of the problem, and he expressed a certain amount of frustration with the online nature of the module. “We know when we’re coming to the U.S. there’s people [who] can
buy guns and… they’re not regulated or they’re hardly regulated,” he said. “People know the consequences of that.” In the three weeks since students returned to campus, those consequences have come increasingly close to Macalester. On Labor Day, three people were shot outside of State Fair Park in Saint Paul. A week and a half later, a gunman robbed the Caribou Coffee on Snelling Ave., where multiple Macalester students work — though none were on duty at the time. That same day, a pizza delivery driver for the Toppers on Grand Ave. was robbed at gunpoint. Three days later, a man died in an officer-involved shooting in Midway-Hamline. The resonance of the four violent incidents close to campus underscored a point made by Hastings. “I think the training module as a whole should be seen more as a symptom of the societal epidemic of gun violence than it should be seen as a solution by any means,” he said. • firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com
New professor Christine O’Connell explores rainforest ecosystems By BERGEN SCHMIDT Features Editor Christine Sierra O’Connell, a new assistant professor of environmental studies at Macalester, has a passion for studying tropical rainforest ecosystems. O’Connell is an ecosystem ecologist. “[Ecosystem ecologists] look at how ecosystems function holistically,” O’Connel said. “So what I study is how tropical forests are changing in a globally changing planet. I’m a tropical forest and global change ecologist.” O’Connell received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in earth systems with a biology focus and her Ph.D. in the department of ecology, evolution and behavior from the University of Minnesota. After receiving her Ph.D., she completed her postdoctoral research at the University of California Berkeley in their interdisciplinary environmental studies department. O’Connell was drawn to Macalester’s strong focus on
internationalism and the opportunity to work with undergrads at a small liberal arts college. O’Connell conducted all of her research outside of the United States, so she wanted a school that values global research. “Macalester has a really long history of really focusing on the internationalism side of its mission, so that felt like a really natural fit too between my research interests and, in general, student mentorships interest here,” O’Connell said. “Coming to a place where there’s a big focus on looking outside the US felt like a really natural connection.” The widespread optimism O’Connell felt from the students on campus was another factor she considers to have brought her to Macalester. “My impression was that students are very optimistic at Macalester, and I study climate change,” O’Connell said, “I think it’s hard to study climate change without being surrounded by people who really feel like they can make a difference and they want to make a difference.” O’Connell’s research focuses on
tropical rainforest ecosystems in Central and South America. “[My research] looks at two big areas.” O’Connell said, “Which is deforestation for agriculture, and I have mostly worked in the Brazilian Amazon in that arena. The other half of my research looks at, as the climate is changing, what does that mean for tropical rainforests? Most of my research there is done in Costa Rica.” O’Connell’s travel partner in the tropics is her dog Luquillo, who is named after one of O’Connell’s long-term research sites in Puerto Rico. O’Connell calls him her “rainforest dog” because he loves to run and hike in rainforests with her. There are many factors that led O’Connell to study tropical rainforests. The tropics are beautiful and enjoyable to hike and explore, but they are also a traditionally unappreciated academic discipline. “In terms of the tropics, they are historically understudied because of a lot of factors like systemic inequality across the globe, and that it’s very logistically difficult
to do work in tropical rainforests, especially in comparison to grassland,” O’Connell said. These circumstances make it difficult for scientists to study the tropics, but tropical rainforest studies are becoming increasingly more important in the wake of global warming and climate change. “[Tropical rainforests] are ecosystems that are extremely vulnerable to climatic change and global change and that means that it’s very important that we study them and not many people do,” O’Connell said. At her research site in Brazil, there is little boundary between rainforest and agricultural land (usually soybean fields). In the soybean field where O’Connell worked, she encountered many wild animals. O’Connell said her favorite animal sighting was a tapir “[which] sort of look like a warthog with a bad elephant snout. All of the time, they are chilling out in the soybeans fields because soybeans are relatively nutritious.” In addition to the tapirs, O’Connell
also saw some animals that people more commonly associate with the rainforest. “I once was at a place where a jaguar had attacked and killed a porcupine. There were porcupine spines all over this tree with all of these gouges on it [as well],” O’Connell said. O’Connell is excited to teach agro ecology and ecosystem ecology in the environmental studies department next semester. “Agro ecology is the science side of agriculture and the environment. Ecosystem and ecology is a bigtime, upper-level science class,” O’Connell said. O’Connell has only been a professor at Macalester for approximately three weeks, but she had a quick response when asked about her favorite part of working at the college. “So far? That’s easy,” O’Connell said, “getting to know the students.” • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Mac Weekly
13th Street statement prompted by serious allegations, concerns levied against Football team Football, cont., from pg. 1 “Authority figures in athletics within our community,” Botero said, “You must recognize your responsibility in fostering a culture that keeps our community safe and accepting.” Botero believes that the Macalester football team knows that it has a negative reputation, but has not meaningfully addressed the problematic behaviors that have earned it that reputation. “[A lot of male athletes] don’t feel like Mac likes them and Mac supports them,” Botero said in a later interview with The Mac Weekly. “I honestly think that a big part of Mac doesn’t. But I don’t think they have ever stopped to think about why.” The halftime demonstration raised a number of questions about the culture of the Macalester football team — which the team’s Twitter account describes as “the most progressive football program in America.” Athletic Director Donnie Brooks said that Macalester football players regularly discusses bigotry as a team. “I’ve been a Division-III player, I’ve been a coach, I’ve been in several schools,” Brooks said. “[The Macalester Football team] ha[s] the tough conversations. But I can’t claim that they’ve got it figured out either. The thing that I’m excited about is a door has opened now [for future conversation].” For Levin, 13th Street’s statement provided an opportunity to evaluate Macalester football’s culture.
“The success of the protests and the true progressiveness of Macalester’s football team will be [revealed by] how it moves forward in dialogue with 13th Street and the rest of campus,” Levin said. Levin found the parts of the statement that addressed sexual violence especially impactful. In 2018, Levin founded Athletes Against Sexual Violence (AASV), a peer-learning program that sends college athletes into high schools to teach consent and sexual violence prevention. Many of Levin’s teammates have helped facilitate the programs at schools in the metro area. “The work was never going to stop there,” Levin continued. “This protest is really going to push us to keep moving forward with that work.” In addition to leading sexual violence prevention efforts at local high schools, members of the football team participate in Green Dot Bystander Intervention training — an interactive workshop first brought to campus in 2014 to increase students’ ability to recognize potentially violent situations and how to de-escalate them. Levin believes the team will work to address bigotry and sexism and is disappointed that the campus community became aware of the offensive content. “It’s very unfortunate that it got out and other people heard it and [were] harmed [by] it,” Levin said. Members of 13th Street said that while they appreciate the football team’s efforts to address statements of hate and instances of sexual violence, they want the team
to hold their players accountable for bigoted statements and sexual misconduct. “The problem isn’t Green Dot training, or [that] Mac doesn’t do enough to talk to these students about consent,” Truong said. “They try their best, and they program it into curriculum… the thing is accountability. No one knows about the stuff that happens.” Brooks is hopeful. He believes the protest will make space for team leaders to gather and speak on the team’s culture. “I think how you build [a forum is] from a format where you get solution-oriented leaders together, to really truly define the problem,” Brooks said. “So that we know what the problem that we’re fighting actually is, and that we’re working towards solutions and things that we can and will all do to make our community better.” Brooks sees engaging in conversations about sexual violence and talking about “mistakes” generally as a means to reduce the number of incidents of bigotry and sexual misconduct. “I don’t think accountability looks like doing nothing,” Brooks said. “I don’t think accountability looks like kicking the student out for that first mistake that they make either. I do think, though, that there are some standards of behavior that we talk about [in] community. From the moment students walk in that we tell everybody, this is how we want to live.” In addition to ceasing any bigoted commentary on the field or over email, members of 13th Street also hope that Macalester football will further examine their contribution
to negative campus party culture. In part because Macalester has no Greek life, members of athletic teams host many of the college’s well-attended off-campus parties. Anael Kuperwajs Cohen ’21 likened the athletic party culture to that of fraternities — suggesting that the connotation breeds more instances of rape and sexual assault, as well as creates a generally unsafe atmosphere. “[Sports teams and parties] just need to somehow be separated from the idea that they are our Greek life, right?” Kuperwajs Cohen said. “Because that association allows for certain behavior from everyone. “And that party culture needs to start being one where safety is prioritized for the people,” she continued. “And that’s not to say that [parties] can’t be fun, right? There’s nothing out there that means we have to get rid of the parties. But they can be done in a way that’s safe and doesn’t replicate, or attempt to replicate, Greek life.” Levin, who was named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works team for his leadership of AASV, hopes that the 13th Street protest will make a lasting impression on members of the team. “We, Macalester football, have been active in addressing these elements in our culture in the past,” Levin said. “That being said, we are not perfect individuals, our team [is] not perfect.” Macalester Head Football Coach Tony Jennison declined to comment. • email@example.com • firstname.lastname@example.org
Macalester Athletics Numbers of the Week
Shots for Men’s Soccer in their upset victory over #23 ranked Augsburg on Wednesday night.
Team score of the Men’s Golf Team in a triangular with St. Olaf and Carleton. Alex Johanson ’22 and Jason Shi ’23 both finished in the top-10.
New inductees for the M Club Hall of Fame. The four inductees are Bob Berquist ’58, Nick Adams ’96, Anna Bacho Flory ’00 and Kaela Schramm ’07.
Kiwa Anisman ’22 shot a 164 (+22) at last weekend’s St. Mary’s Invitational. She won the tournament.
Saves for Women’s Soccer goalkeeper Kayla Togneri ’21 through the Scots’ first five games.
Eliza King ’23 led women’s volleyball with 11 kills in the team’s loss to Carleton on Wednesday.
Average yards per game of the Macalester Football team through two weeks.
Average goals per game for the Men’s Soccer team through the first seven games of their season.
11 308.5 1.38
THIS WEEK IN MAC SPORTS Volleyball
• Defeated Crown College, 3-1 (9/14) • Lost to Carleton College, 1-3 (9/18)
• DNF; Kiwa Anisman ’22 finished in first place, followed by Tenley Smith ’22 in fourth and Emma Iverson ’22 in fifth (9/14)
• Finished third @ the St. OlafCarleton-Macalester Triangular (9/14-15)
• Defeated Carthage College 2-0 (9/15), defeated #23 Augsburg University 4-1 (9/18)
Composite Schedule: (home events in bold)
Friday, September 20th • Women’s Tennis @ ITA Regional, St. Peter, TBA Saturday, September 21st • Women’s Tennis @ ITA Regional, St. Peter, TBA • Men’s XC @ Running of the Cows, Northfield, 10:30 AM • Women’s XC @ Running of the Cows, Northfield, 11:30 AM • Women’s Golf @ St. Catherine University Invitational, Prior Lake, 11:00 AM • Men’s Soccer @ St. Olaf College, Northfield, 1:00 PM, • Men’s Golf @ Saint John’s Invitational, Sartell, 1:00 PM • Volleyball @ Martin Luther College, New Ulm, 3:00 PM • Women’s Soccer @ St. Olaf College, Northfield, 3:30 PM Sunday, September 22nd • Women’s Golf @ MIAC Championships, Becker, TBA • Men’s Golf @ Twin Cities Invite, 11:30 AM Monday, September 23rd • Women’s Golf @ MIAC Championships, Becker, TBA • Men’s Golf @ Twin Cities Invite, 11:30 AM
The Mac Weekly
Sept. 20, 2019 • Page 7
WMCN managers unveil remodeled office and semester of events By KAY RICHTER Staff Writer With a new semester starting, organizations all across campus are gearing up. However, one organization has been hard at work over the summer. WMCN 91.7 FM, Macalester’s student-run radio station, went through a major revamp in the past couple of months and is ready to reveal the changes along with their line-up for this semester. Located in the basement below 30Mac, WMCN is lead by three managers — Pheobe Mol ’20, Vivian Bauer ’21 and Sophie Gleason ’21 — who organize the schedule, work on outreach and community events and make sure that there is always something playing when you tune in. In addition to the managers, there is a 20 person staff of volunteers who will take on specific roles to help the station run more smoothly. The student-driven factor of the space is what makes it most appealing. It gives students an opportunity to explore and develop their ideas in a unique setting. “There’s not many student-run creative spaces on campus, and it’s a problem at Macalester, but I feel like it’s really special that WMCN still exists. It has existed for a long time, and it sticks to its mission of having it be free-form and studentrun,” Bauer said. However, not every radio show is put on by students. Anyone who
lives in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood is welcome to apply. “Some of our long-standing DJs and our most eccentric and appreciated shows are from people that don’t go to Macalester,” Mol said. The managers spent all of last Sunday piecing together applications to create a complete schedule. Mol said it “usually takes hours to fit together this huge puzzle, with notecards and tape on the walls. It’s very fun to figure out when everybody can get their show in and who’s willing to do a 2:00 –
another one. There’s no two shows that we get that are the same, because every applicant that we have is a student who wants to do something different. Since our station is free-form, it’s not hard to get a variety of things,” Gleason said. One particularly exciting feature of the schedule is the live music on Saturdays, called “Live from Garth’s Living Room.” Gleason is in charge of finding bands for these times, and the task is easier than it seems. “The Twin Cities has one of
The outside of the WMCN office. Photo by Malcolm Cooke ’21.
4:00 a.m. slot.” The schedule that they came up with is a mix of music and talk shows. “I feel like every show that we have, every application that we get, is completely different from
the best small venue music scenes anywhere in the country. Our house show scene is super vibrant,” she says. It’s really up and coming,” Gleason said. As for WMCN’s contribution, hosting live music
“connects us to the broader musical community that’s in the Twin Cities,” Gleason expressed. Over the summer, Bauer worked with the other summer manager, Freddy Barragan ’22, to give the station an update. In the broadcasting room, they painted the walls a fresh white and put up records and album covers. They also changed the lighting to give the space a cozier and more inviting feel. The live session room was painted from black to a pale blue to make the room less “dungeonesque” as Bauer described it. The goal of all the renovations is to create a more inclusive and welcoming space. The largest aesthetic change of the summer was made to the hallway. The timeline of WMCN history, via newspaper clippings, is now grouped by decade and paired with an iconic album cover from the same years. Then, in the newly freed wall space, Mol and Daniel Westhoven ’21 painted an abstract mural. The hallway now acts as a gallery of sorts, displaying how the station has changed through the years and the creative mission that it embodies. Physical changes are not the only thing that the managers have been working on. They also created a new shadowing program to better help students learn how to host a show. Formerly, training involved a single session for all hosts, however, this was often not specialized enough. Bauer, one of
the developers of the new system, said, “That’s a big problem that we’ve had, where DJs kinda just go in right away… We’re trying to have more of a mentor and mentee kinda system, so that new DJs can feel more confident in their abilities.” The managers hope to focus more on outreach this year. They will continue “The Big Gig,” an event which premiered last fall and features live music from local artists in the basement of the library sometime in mid-November. The Big Gig is not the only event that the station puts on. Another series the station puts on are open movie nights, where they show arthouse films, which are usually independently produced and experimental. These are every two weeks, usually on Saturdays and Sundays. Since the station’s space is closed to non-staff, these film nights are a great opportunity for students who aren’t involved to check out the space and learn more about WMCN. “We have events that happen pretty much every week that not a ton of people know about, so our goal this year is to get the word out there that WMCN exists and that we’re here, and we want [students] to engage with us,” Gleason said. Other ways to get involved with the WMCN radio station include checking their blog at www.wmcn. fm/blog, applying for your own show next semester, and of course, tuning in to listen at 91.7 FM. • email@example.com
Macalester alum speaks on art, research and resistance By IZZY GRAVANO Arts Editor Last Wednesday, Macalester alum Heba Y. Amin ’02 came back to campus for the first time since she graduated. Since her time as a student, she has made waves with her performance art and research. Most famously, Amin took part in the graffiti work done on the set of the TV series “Homeland.” With two other artists, Amin critiqued the show itself with subversive language. The episodes aired months later causing the show to unknowingly criticize itself. After the story broke, it went viral and was reported by media all over the world. Her talk, entitled “Female Subjectivities & Technological Dystopias,” began with an examination of photographs taken on the African continent in the 18th and 19th centuries. The images, Amin argued, highlight how Europeans portrayed romance and sexual fantasies in their constructions of geography and women. For example, in many of the sketches, the African landscape serves as the background with a naked, sexualized woman in the foreground. Women became colonized like the settlers “claim[ed] the land,” Amin said. “The body of
the woman is equated with the mapping of geography. The idea of the woman is implied through voyeuristic gaze.” The Europeans romanticized both women and the land and turned them into “propaganda of sexual desire,” Amin said. Colonizers “imagined [the soon to be conquered land and women] becomes the neurotic image.” This investigation brought Amin to the conclusion that art and media have the capacity to normalize misconceptions. In 2014, she embarked on a mission to unveil the similar dynamic of media fetishizing immigration crises happening all over the world. “I wanted to critique the media’s ‘refugee porn’ kind of narrative,” Amin said. She traveled from Lagos to Berlin along contemporary migration routes to try to understand the experiences migrants face. Amin herself called the project “problematic” because of the privilege she has in contrast to the rights and abilities of migrants. “Where does that put me as an artist in retelling this narrative?” Amin said. The journey was taxing and expensive. Amin had to apply for 14 visas without a clear idea of what kind of art she would end up with.
In preparation for her trip, Amin researched the geography and history of the land, most of which she found was documented by colonizers with romanticized and racist descriptions. The reality of mapping and photography is an inherently intimate and controversial conundrum, Amin found through her research. The first comprehensive text describing West Africa under the Islamic empire — compiled by historian and geographer Al-Bakri in the 11th century — was an anthology of firsthand accounts of geography. Amin found that through these accounts of geography the respondents associated women’s bodies with sexuality, novelty and land, much like the sketches of Africa. With this realization, Amin decided to retrace the steps of different photographers and artistic endeavors along migrant routes. In order to properly replicate geographers’ historical actions, Amin used an old kind of camera; a theodolite. Theodolites have the capacity to zoom incredibly far with a telescopic lens. With this piece of equipment, which was a predecessor to military technology, Amin was struck by the invasive ability to create a public narrative off of people’s lives — similar to how the media features the intimate stories of
displaced people. “It felt like I was setting myself up to shoot somebody,” Amin said on using the theodolite, as it has cross hairs in the lens. This powerful and potentially violent act of preserving history is what Amin has shifted the focus of her work towards. One way in which history and its study has remained narrow is through the actions of dictators, who created distractions and reshaped history. To combat this, Amin performed the aesthetics of fascist movements with photographs and recreations. Pulling language from famous dictators, their speaking tendencies, physical attributes and even their flower arrangements, Amin staged a speech in Malta in 2018 where she attempted to convince an audience that she was going to drain the Mediterrean Sea — something many geographers (and even the CIA) had advocated for up until the 1950s. The performance was advertised to the Maltese people as authentic, and Amin held a question and answer portion at the end. She found that turning herself into a megalomaniac and studying megalomania was a kind of research that she never thought she might undertake. But, as is the case with most performance art, according to Amin, “you’re
understanding [the art] as you’re putting it out into the public.” Amin’s work is located at the convergence of academia and art — two professions that overlap but have very different resources and execution. Amin spoke about her privilege in this way as she can access academic archives and also gain fame and funding as a public artist. She enjoys putting these tools against each other and sees this as necessary while the media becomes increasingly problematic and lacks legitimacy. Amin believes that artists and academics fill these gaps, when journalists can’t be as outwardly critical. It is clear that Amin will continue to do work that will push the boundaries of research, academia and resistance. Amin currently serves as a professor at Bard College in Berlin, is a doctorate fellow in art history at Freie Universität and is a current Field of Vision fellow in New York City. To learn more about Amin and her current exhibition at the Minnesota Museum of Art, visit www.hebaamin.com/. • firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mac Weekly
Food & Drink
Page 8 • Sept. 20, 2019
French inspired brunch and pastries at Bellecour in Wayzata By MAYA SISKIN-LAVINE Staff Writer In the mood to treat yourself? Do you enjoy delicious food in a lovely atmosphere? Are you interested in having a wonderful dining experience? If you answered yes to any of those questions, look no further. Bellecour, located in Wayzata, is just what you are looking for. When my friend asked me if I wanted to join him for brunch last weekend, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. While Wayzata is a ways away from St. Paul, the food definitely makes up for the trek. A lovely French inspired bistro and café, Bellecour is certainly a great spot to dine. Located right on
Lake Minnetonka amongst an array of shops and restaurants, Bellecour is a great spot to head with a group of friends, family or a significant other. Thankfully, my friend and I seemed to beat the Saturday rush and were seated quickly. Being in a celebratory mood, we both ordered mimosas to start, as well as fresh brewed coffee. The drinks came right away and were a delightful start to the meal while we perused the brunch menu. Both of us had noticed the beautiful array of pastries in the bakery as we entered the restaurant, so it was a must that we include the pastry basket with our meal. The pastry basket, which came with six assorted pastries, was a great choice, and a very reasonable price for the quality and quantity of
the dish. The pastry basket we were given came with a fruit bread pudding, a raspberry danish, a plain croissant, a chocolate croissant, a ham and cheese croissant and a zucchini muffin. Being a vegetarian, I didn’t taste the ham and cheese croissant, but my friend said it was a delicious balance of savory flavors accompanied by the buttery and flaky croissant. As for the other five pastries, all were exactly what I hope for in a freshly baked sweet. Neither the bread pudding nor the danish were overly sweet, and the zucchini muffin was the most unique and addicting flavor combination I’ve had in a long time. After many guesses as to what the secret ingredient might be, we finally asked the waitress, who revealed it
was cinnamon: nothing as decadent as we had expected. For a main dish, I went with the watermelon salad with toasted almond cream, chèvre and pickled watermelon. My friend ordered the croque-madame tartine, with jambon royal, sauce mornay, a fried egg and french fries. I was not able to taste the croquemadame tartine, but my friend said it was incredible. The dish was soft, rich and decadent, and the smokey flavors of the ham with the creamy sauce and the crunch of the fresh bread created an exceptional flavor palate. However, because of all the rich flavors in the dish, it is a heavier meal, and would not be recommended for someone looking for light flavors. If that is what you look for in a
dish, the watermelon salad is a perfect choice. The pickled watermelon had a sweet and tangy flavor that, combined with the crunch of the fresh snap peas and the creamy chèvre cheese created an incredible combination of flavors that wasn’t like anything I had before. Overall, I would give Bellecour a 10. The dining experience, customer service, ambiance and the food itself all exceeded my hopes and expectations, and I will definitely dine there in the future. Bellecour is located at 739 Lake St E, Wayzata, MN, and is open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. • email@example.com
Macalester’s gentrification paradox By FINN ODUM Contributing Writer Somewhere at Macalester, there is a disconnect between what we claim to be and what we actually are. We claim to value civic engagement and community justice — concepts integral to Macalester’s identity as a liberal arts college. We do this in class by learning about structural inequalities and gentrification. We take this commitment into the world by fighting for what we believe in, standing up against oppression. We protest. We host forums. We take action. An opportunity for this kind of engagement arose with the construction of Allianz Field and its future plans to redevelop Midway neighborhood. We took advantage of it by hosting a number of events surrounding the ethics of stadium construction. Last spring, for example, we had a youth forum to discuss the impacts of gentrification in urban areas. Months before this in 2018, the urban studies concentration held a panel discussing the positives and negatives of stadium development. Going even further back to the fall of 2017, geography professor Dan Trudeau’s qualitative research class built an in-depth report about how residents in Midway perceived the stadium’s development. While some were hopeful that it would go well, even more listed concerns with being pushed out of business by the new development. At Macalester, we used the stadium as a teaching tool, an example of how a large development can damage a low-income community. We told the stories of Midway’s residents to paint a portrait of the people who will get hurt by the construction. So why, then, are we openly promoting discounted student tickets to a Minnesota United game? Sure, it was the first week back, and we wanted to give the first-years a taste of what the Twin Cities have to offer. Allianz is accessible, just two stops north on the A-Line. And the discount is pretty reasonable, as the cheapest tickets are often $24 or more. From the standpoint of a college trying to help students have a good time, it makes sense. What frustrates me about this is that Macalester is so willing to go back on its values. This wasn’t the only time we’ve supported sending students to soccer games
at Allianz Field, and the first instance even occurred close to the youth forum. How come we’re talking about the dangers of gentrification one minute, and then giving our money to an establishment that’s built to gentrify the next? Perhaps the more reasonable question is, why aren’t we more aware of this issue? Macalester students are usually vocal about issues of injustice. I believe that this is, in part, based on the perception that gentrification does not affect us. It is not our immediate neighborhood at risk of a negative change, nor are we the ones who are going to be hurt. This realization came in the late fall of 2018. I participated in a research project on the community engagement with urban stadiums. During that time, I became aware of the negative effects of the stadium. I learned this through firsthand engagement with concerned business owners and youth organizers, who all told me the same thing: Allianz Field and its future development, if it went unregulated, was going to hurt their neighborhood. When I spoke with other students about my research, many responded with disinterest. “It’s not like anyone shopped at that Rainbow,” I was told time and time again. It might be true that Macalester students didn’t shop there, but then again, Macalester students aren’t the residents of Midway. The businesses being demolished in favor of the stadium’s development weren’t the Whole Foods or Target that Macalester students frequent to meet their needs. When the rest of these businesses are removed in favor of high-rise apartments and retail boutiques, the most we’ll care is if there’s a movie theater that plays more shows than the Grandview. What won’t affect us will be the rise in rent, pushing some small businesses out of their storefronts. What won’t affect us will be the increase in residential car traffic, forcing community members to park on their front lawns or protect their parking places on game days. What won’t affect us will be the massive loss in jobs that will come when the Midway development is bulldozed. But what will be affected will be our socalled commitment to community justice. What is the value of giving a voice to the youth of Midway, if we’re just going to give our money to the force they’re trying
to fight? What is the value of discussing the negatives of gentrification, when we’re sending our first-years to the stadium, the gentrifying entity, for entertainment? What is the value of even saying we’re committed to supporting the community, if we’re not going to support one that’s just a 10 minute bus ride north of us? We’re profiting off of Midway’s trauma
to appear socially aware. We’re looking the other way when lower income communities are hurt so that we can have a good time. We’re not acting on the values that we claim to care about. And if we continue promoting Allianz Field, then we at Macalester need to reconsider what we really stand for. • firstname.lastname@example.org