The Miscellany News
Volume CXLIX | Issue 10
December 1, 2016
Since 1866 | miscellanynews.org
Pro-Trump hate speech shocks, saddens Vassar Laurel Hennen Vigil Reporter
Trigger warning: hate speech, antisemitism, violence
VFR tracks a dinner’s food waste Jakob Eckstein Courtesy of ©Vassar College/ Karl Rabe
ollowing Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election on Nov. 8, a wave of hate crimes and hate speech has swept across the nation. On Tuesday, Nov. 22, Vassar became one of the latest sites of these incidents. An anonymous student reported to Vassar’s Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) that they had found graffiti of a swastika and the words “Heil Trump” in a men’s bathroom stall on the ground floor of Sanders Classroom, which houses the Departments of English, Chinese and Japanese, and Greek and Roman Studies. Safety and Security quickly removed the graffiti and students were alerted about the situation on the morning of Nov. 23 by an email from Chair of BIRT and Associate Dean of the College Edward Pittman. The graffiti was blatantly antisemitic, as it featured both Holocaust iconography and a reference to the Nazi salute of “Heil Hitler.” President of the Vassar Jewish Union (VJU) Abigail Johnson ’17 reflected via email, “I felt strongly disappointed and disheartened when I [found out about the graffiti]. It felt like another extension of the grief I know many people have been carrying since Trump was elected. This kind of imagery and
hate speech is not just an attack on Jews but an attack on many marginalized groups.” Chair of Jewish Studies Peter Antelyes commented in an email, “[I am] sad but not surprised. Anti-Semitism isn’t new, not in the world outside Vassar nor within our walls. Nor should we see this incident as separate from the public acts of racism and misogyny encouraged by the Trump campaign.” Indeed, in just the first 10 days after the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has been tracking post-election hate crimes nationwide, collected reports of 867 instances of hateful speech, harassment and violence against people of color, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, women and members of the LGBTQ+ community (Southern Poverty Law Center, “Ten Days After: Harassment and Intimidation in the Aftermath of the Election,” 11.29.2016). 140 of these cases occurred at universities and colleges. SPLC has thus far only released data concerning incidents occurring from Nov. 9 through Nov. 18, but the number has almost certainly grown in the two weeks since, as we have seen firsthand here at Vassar. What’s more, a Kenyan crisis-tracking startup called Ushahdi has created an interactive map of reports of 279 post-election hate crimes in the United States, as well as eight abroad. See BIAS on page 4
Students attending and organizing the Thanksgiving dinner hosted at the Meade family’s home pose together for a photo in the midst of the festivities.
Meades and students throw annual dinner Andrea Yang Reporter
hort and nail-bitingly close to finals, Thanksgiving break is seldom festive for students spending the vacation on campus. International students and those who don’t want to spend half of their break traveling are often left without a way to celebrate. To remedy this, Director of International Services Andrew Meade and
his wife, Lila Meade, open up their home every year, hosting a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for as many as 50 to 100 students and alums. Meade said of the event, “This is our family’s favorite day of the year! All four of us–Lila, Kristen, Lily and me–look forward so much to this day. It is a unique and special opportunity for members of the international See THANKSGIVING on page 7
Student art flourishes in Competition foiled by FWA’s “Grey Gardens” undefeated VC fencing Kaitlin Prado
VSA Town Hall provides forum for student issues
“Grey Gardens: The Musical” was performed in the Mug last week. The show depicts the dysfunctional relationship between Big and Little Edie, relatives of Jackie Kennedy.
assar men’s fencing has started the season incredibly strong, beating all 14 opponents handily. 12th-year Head Coach Bruce Gillman attributes their success thus far to the equal balance between the three weapons: foil, sabre and epee. Gillman stated, “Last year’s team was strong in epee and sabre, but we were missing strength and depth in foil. All three squads now have five starter quality fencers. We are a tougher, more complete and talented team.” Concurring with Coach Gillman’s statement on balance, junior Eric Lee said, “The major difference this year seems to be a more cohesive team that can split the burden of winning bouts more evenly. With more skills in each squad, there’s less pressure on each individual person and more leeway for mistakes. It really lets everyone fence the best they can and worry less.” The team did not lose any starters in epee or foil but Coach Gillman noted that the addition of freshmen Noe Berger, Jack Holmes, Aaron Choi, Roman Guglielmo and Nicholas Williams added necessary strength and depth for both squads. As for sabre, the team will miss Elam Coalson and Zach Wilson, who graduated as members of the class of 2016. However, Coach Gillman re-
Cuban-American community reacts to death OPINIONS of Castro
marked, “[freshman] Graeme Mills, [freshman] Ethan Levine, [senior] Campbell Woods and Eric Lee have stepped up to fill their roles and support last year’s Fencer of the Year [junior] Eli Polston on that squad.” With regard to the team goals this season, Coach Gillman explained, “I think that they [the team] can finish first in the NEIFC [New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference Championships] this year. We had a few people close to qualifying for NCAA Championships. I would like to see someone qualify.” Believing that these goals are attainable, Lee stated, “It seems like we have a really solid chance of winning our conference this year. We managed to finish third last year and we’ve only improved since then.” The team looks to captains Woods and junior Tom Racek in order to lead them towards their goals of winning the NEIFC this year and sending individual fencers to the NCAA championships. Both Lee and Berger believe that the captains have done an exceptional job leading the team so far. “The captains this year have really stepped up to lead the team in more conditioning and more focused practices. They have all really worked hard to make sure we all stay focused and have the resources we need to See FENCING on page 19
assar Food Rescue (VFR) describes itself as a group of students dedicated to eliminating food insecurity by reducing food waste. Starting last year under the name “Just Food,” the org renamed themselves after shifting from social justice issues to a more practical goal of food rescue and donation. VFR’s mission statement reads: “Cut down food waste at Vassar by increasing awareness and transporting leftover excess food from college and org events, to shelters, soup kitchens and other places in need; and by increasing awareness of the problem.” Considering that 40 percent of all food in the U.S. goes to waste and a quarter of landfills are devoted to food waste, VFR’s efforts focus solely on solving the problems of food waste and food insecurity in the United States. Locally, VFR is committed to helping feed the 26 percent of people in Poughkeepsie who are food insecure, meaning that they lack reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. Last week, VFR carried out a project called “Weigh the Waste” to raise awareness of food waste and the organization’s efforts, which are still largely unknown to the student population. Catherine Belleza ’18, a member of the organization, says, “Weigh the Waste [was designed]...to bring food security awareness, especially right before Thanksgiving.” VFR members asked Vassar students who ate dinner at the ACDC on Nov. 22 to dump their food scraps into a large barrel before placing their dirty plates onto the conveyor belt. When the last diner deposited their uneaten food, VFR weighed the contents of the barrel with the help of Deece staff and a large, commercial scale. They found that students threw out 174 pounds of uneaten food that night, after just one dinner. Fortunately, Vassar established a compost disposal system with Greenway Environmental Services, a for-profSee WASTE on page 5
Charlotte Varcoe-Wolfson/The Miscellany News
Inside this issue
Courtesy of Lindsay Matheos
rtists experience life on this campus in a way that is unique. Their work is involved, intensive and more often than not, it’s informed by ongoing collective efforts. While we are quick to hear about a victorious sports team here at Vassar, for instance, goings-on within the art community can be sometimes overlooked. The idea of a student-artist is sometimes forgotten by the campus community. Watching Unbound’s production “Grey Gardens: The Musical” last week reaffirmed my view of the stakes of artistic performance and the rigor of being a student-artist. As if academic and personal life at Vassar wasn’t already a handful, artists all over campus add another responsibility by choosing to participate in productions and presentations. “Grey Gardens” director John Rezes ’18 shared his understanding of what it means to be a student-artist: “I think it means knowing that my passion is creating theatre with lovely people and understanding that at Vassar there has been a shift away from the fun of student art to a sense of near obligation to create. With ‘Grey Gardens,’ I really wanted to reclaim the fun and the ‘whatever happens, happens’ mentality.” While actor and musical accompanist George Luton ’19 does not have a set See THEATER on page 17
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
Student org VFR, founded last year, is working to cut down on food waste at Vassar events. VFR determined that students wasted 174 pounds of food at the ACDC on a single night.
Documentarian bursting at seams with critique of fashion industry
The Miscellany News
December 1, 2016
Editor-in-Chief Rhys Johnson
Senior Editors Zander Bashaw Emma Jones Elena Schultz
Contributing Editors Elizabeth Dean Yifan Wang
News Features Opinions Humor and Satire Arts Sports Design
Eilis Donohue Emily Sayer Nick Barone Evelyn Frick Noah Purdy Olivia O’Loughlin Talya Phelps Charlotte VarcoeWolfson Online Kelsey Quinn Copy Jackson Ingram
Courtesy of Kayla Miron
Kayla Miron spent the weekend after the election “creating a mural whose message was maybe to the world, maybe to those hurting, maybe to ourselves. Our art wasn’t going to make anyone safer or cause policy action, but it reminded us that there is an international community grieving and fighting with us.” To read more about Kayla’s exciting adventures, you can visit farandaway.miscellanynews.org.
The Miscellany News 17
Centering the Lives of Black Women and Girls: Jasmine Syedullah Talk 5:30pm | Villard Room | RSL
CAAD: Jane Hirschfeld
6:00pm | Taylor 203 | Dean of the Faculty
Open Women’s Soccer
6:00pm | Kenyon Gym | Athletics
Student Poetry Open-Mic and Performance with Tariq Luthun 7:00pm | Rocky 200 | SJP
We Got You: Class & Socioeconomic Status 7:00pm | Main MPR | Main & Lathrop
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 8:00pm | Martel Theater | Drama Dept.
Follow-Up to Trigger Warning Discussion
Telling Our Stories: A Zine Workshop
FlyPeople Work’s In Progress Show
Bare: A Pop Opera
6:00pm | Rocky 300 | VCLU
7:00pm | Kenyon Theater | FlyPeople
Vassar College Jazz Ensembles
8:00pm | Skinner | Music Dept.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 8:00pm | Martel Theater | Drama Dept.
Big Night In
8:00pm | CCMPR | Big Night In
Bare: A Pop Opera
1:00pm | CCMPR | MBSA
1:00pm & 8:00pm | The Shiva| FWA
Chamber Music Recital
3:00pm | Skinner | Music Dept.
Basketball (W) vs. Ithaca College
Squash (M/W) vs. Bard College/Tufts University
11:00am | Kenyon Squash Courts | Athletics
Senior Recital: Zhanwen Phil Chen, piano 1:30 | Skinner | Music Dept.
Reporters Sasha Gopalakrishnan Saachi Jain Sieu Nguyen Sabrina Oh Laurel Hennen Vigil Clark Xu Andrea Yang Columnists Jimmy Christon Jillian Elkin Jesser Horowitz Steven Park Kirk Testa Design Scarlett Neuberger Maya Sterling Yoav Yaron Copy James Bonanno Gabriela Calderon Leah Cates Diana Henry Sumiko Neary Jessica Roden Laura Wigginton
Mahagonny Presents: Seasons 3:00pm | Villard Room & CCMPR | Mahagonny Ensemble
3:00pm | AFC 102 | Athletics
SASA Fall Dinner
6:00pm | UpC | SASA
FlyPeople Work’s In Progress Show
9:30pm | The Shiva| FWA
7:00pm | Kenyon Theater | FlyPeople
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
10:15pm | Taylor 203 | VCVI
Assistant Arts Patrick Tanella Assistant Copy Claire Baker Laila Volpe Assistant Social Media Hannah Nice Web Designer George Witteman Web Master Andy Carrera
8:00pm | Martel Theater | Drama Dept.
Bare: A Pop Opera
CORRECTION POLICY The Miscellany News will only corrections for any misquotes, resentations or factual errors for ticle within the semester it is
8:00pm | The Shiva| FWA
Pub Trivia Night
9:00pm | Aula | Vassar Quiz Bowl
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
accept misrepan arprinted.
December 1, 2016
Jewish Studies Program revives subversive literature Clark Xu Reporter
Courtesy of Marc Epstein
earning and sharing the stories of various cultural traditions is integral to the formation of a community. The Jewish Studies Program pursued this vision by inviting Maggid Books editor and Talmud teacher Gila Fine to speak at Vassar on Nov. 17, when she discussed the ancient dichotomy between good and bad women in the story of Heruta. Anticipating concerns about the contemporary relevance of a literary commentary on the story of Heruta, Fine began, “I teach Haggadah or Talmudic narrative. And one of the reasons why I particularly love Haggadah is that Haggadah is quite often surprising—it’s surprisingly relevant. The issues and concerns of the stories of the Talmud have remained pertinent to our day. It’s also surprisingly unorthodox in places. Scholars will claim that while in Halakhah, the legal passages of the Talmud, the rabbis have to be very unequivocal and authoritative because they are laying down the law, in the stories they go wild. They can afford to be playful. And so you often have stories that are quite unorthodox, so as to say subversive.” The story describes Rabbi R. Hiyya b. Ashi’s troubled marital relations with his wife. They are unable to consummate until the wife masquerades herself as the prostitute Heruta and meets the rabbi in a garden on the outskirts of Babylon. Professor of Religion Ágnes Vetö explained, “The text we read together taught us that sexuality is one of the strongest, most basic human drives. In the story, we encountered an unhappy relationship, communication issues, repressed sexuality, a proactive woman and issues of depression and suicide. The unhappy ending certainly spells out one message very clearly: if we repress sexuality, it can devour us.” The study of Haggadah points to a literature that campus discussions frequently overlook and ignore. Professor of Religion Marc Epstein suggested, “Within the humanities, student interest has been shrinking to a presentist focus: students are almost exclusively interested in what is happening to them, now. Under such circumstances, it can be difficult to explain to students why they should care about texts written by Jews in what is now Iraq in the 6th century C.E.” Epstein argued for the importance of deep historical perspective, continuing, “I think the lecture demonstrated how Jews—as a diasporic, multi-ethnic, demographic minority that has been sometimes despised, occasionally persecuted, often misunderstood— have been grappling for thousands of years with
questions of identity, race, gender, difference and oppression that are of concern to students today, and articulated in the platforms of movements like Black Lives Matter.” Vetö agreed that the story will resonate with students, saying, “The [Jewish Studies] Program invited Fine because her interpretation of Talmudic texts resonates with the interests of our student body, and her presentation style invites her audience—whether students, faculty or community members—to accompany her on her quest of deciphering stories that turn out to have relevance for their lives—in spite of their antiquity. Everyone who came to listen to her had the satisfaction of becoming interpreters themselves.” Considering the issue of interpretation, Jewish studies major Olivia Zane ’19 corroborated, “My best friend is a physics major and often asks why I enjoy dissecting texts from thousands of years ago. I typically reply that I enjoy studying them because they are brand new. The Torah and other Jewish texts are living documents being reinterpreted and argued over everyday. Like all living documents, they have a profound effect on contemporary issues. We must read these texts closely to understand why communities affected by them behave the way they do. Currently, Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities still subscribe to more traditional gender roles due to their readings of the text.” The story ends when the rabbi returns home and the wife reveals to him that she had disguised herself as the prostitute Heruta by showing him a pomegranate from the garden. The rabbi punishes himself for attempting to commit adultery by sitting in a burning oven until he dies. Over the course of the lecture, Fine discussed three different interpretations of the story of Heruta endorsed by scholars in the past. While classical commentators argued that the story described the renewal of sexual desire in elderly people, other scholars suggested that the story in its literary context represented the corruption of an illustrious man by a seductive woman. A third scholarly interpretation held that the story in its historical context reflected the hostility of Talmud writers to the rising popularity of Christian doctrine. Fine focused on the dichotomy between good and bad women—often referred to as the Madonna-whore paradigm—and encouraged audience members to think for themselves . Zane considered this range of interpretations, continuing, “I think communities and academic scholars have a duty to study these texts and derive more liberal and in this case feminist readings to challenge older elucidations
At a recent lecture, Maggid Books editor and Talmud teacher Gila Fine discussed the Jewish story of Heruta and its relation to societal views of women and morality. that promote the kyriarchy. Only by opposing interpretations made by more conservative rabbis can more progressive ideas penetrate and affect Jewish communities and result in social and political change.” Epstein appreciated Fine’s open, dialogical approach to discussing the text. He added, “Classical and formative Jewish texts and traditions are, as the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss put it, ‘good to think with’ about many matters of concern to Vassar students today.” An example of a contemporary topic that engages students is the treatment of queer lives in different countries around the world, including China. Wenxuan Guo ’20 reflected, “My worldview is constantly changing because the discussion of queer religions, sex, sexuality and gender was something very new to me as I’m from a very conservative background where there are so many social taboos. I’m sure in my country many old people never heard of the term ‘homosexuality’ throughout their lifetime because gender binary is well ingrained and cannot be challenged in any way. Therefore, I’m just extremely grateful and happy to be in this supportive community at Vassar which embraces diversity so much and helps me open my mind.” Another discussion sparked by Fine’s lecture centered on the role that identity groups and identity studies play in students’ lives. Zane elaborated,
“Coming from the South where there is a tiny Jewish population and attending Vassar, which is consistently voted one of the least religious schools in the country, it is really great to come together with other students who view Judaism and their Jewish identity as an important part of their life. I love the community and having spaces to discuss Jewish texts and wider culture.” Zane continued, “I would love to see more lectures like Gila Fine’s on campus that incorporate progressiveness and ancient texts. I think the Jewish Studies Program and the Vassar Jewish Union are doing a great job at showing that being religious does not equal being backwards.” Vetö summarized, “This talk made me feel some hope that if we can demonstrate what we do in Jewish Studies, how we deal with Judaism’s formative and classical texts and traditions, students will realize what a fascinating microcosm this world is, and how, in so many ways, it reflects their own. There is certainly value in studying the contemporary world around us. But there is more than one entry point to understanding that world.” Describing Haggadah as a text that can spark thoughtful discussions, Vetö concluded, “There’s a reason that these stories have survived so long and are so important for the Jews. It is because the Jews are a part of humanity, and these stories are, more broadly, humanity’s stories.”
VSA centers student activist efforts in Town Hall Eilis Donohue News Editor
he Vassar Student Association, the College’s student government, has a Senate meeting every Sunday night which is open to the public, but attendance by non-Senate members is notoriously low. On Tuesday, Nov. 29, the VSA held a Town Hall meeting, a more casual conversation between the Senate and community members. According to the VSA’s bylaws, the governing body is required to host a Town Hall at least once each semester, but they are open to the idea of increasing the frequency, as need and opportunity arise. Vice President Apoorva Natarajan ’17 explained that they hope to serve as a more reactionary body, allowing for more inclusive discussion of important issues as the year goes on. President Calvin Lamothe ’17 opened by outlining a brief schedule of topics to be discussed, including changes to campus dining plans, the Title IX mandatory reporting statute and the campus sanctuary petition recently circulating. However, he clarified that the goal of the meeting was not to adhere to a strict agenda, but rather to have an open, fluid discussion among the attendees, a chance for constituents to make their voices heard to their representatives—which the students took to heart, leading to an unexpected but enlightening series of dialogues. VSA Senators and Executive Board have the advantage of close interactions with administrators, particularly in sessions of joint student-faculty committees. The information they learn and discuss in those meetings is normally reported back to the Senate at the weekly meetings, but some of the most important issues were recapped at the Town Hall. Chair of Residential Affairs Esin Asan ’17, who sits on the Committee on College Life, up-
dated the group on recent conclusions about the responsible reporting mandate issued earlier this year, to go into effect in 2017. The understanding until now has been that faculty members in whom a student confides about an issue related to Title IX will be required to report that conversation to the Title IX Office, after which point the student will be contacted by the Office. The student is not obligated in any way to take further action. However, Asan clarified, “It’s not necessarily 100% a mandate but is more...a very strong recommendation, that all employees of the college are responsible employees.” She explained that students should be aware of their rights, saying, “One very important thing to keep in mind is that professors cannot ask you for more information than you give them.” This alteration to student-faculty confidence will take adjustment, on both sides. “Know that there is a lot of backlash from faculty that I’ve seen, where they don’t necessarily understand why this is happening, and don’t want it to happen,” remarked Asan, especially in light of the reduction in peer confidential resources this past semester. A number of curious first-years peppered the Town Hall, and VSA members took some time to explain essential changes that have happened between this year and last, including the restructuring of the former VSA Council into a Senate. Other VSA members gave updates on projects happening around campus. Chair of Equity and Inclusion Cecilia Hoang ’18 spoke to the group about the proposed versus actual renovations to the All Campus Dining Center. Originally the plan was budgeted at $9 billion, but the College has been unable to meet that goal, even including a $5 billion loan from new food supplier Bon Appetit. “Basically, one or two months into the semester we had a meeting with
some upper level admins who said that...we might not have enough money to renovate the dining hall as per the plan, because the price tag was too high and the Trustees weren’t willing to OK that,” Hoang explained. The VSA also has more access to the Board of Trustees than most students, meeting with them during their handful of yearly gatherings to discuss crucial issues that affect students, such as these upcoming changes to the dining plan. “One of the biggest things about this plan, which actually the Trustees didn’t know was a problem with the current plan, is that it completely does away with meal swipes, and you can just go in anytime and get a small amount of food in the morning, and then come back however many times [you like] during the day,” noted Chair of Academics JD Nichols ’17. On the other hand, there are drawbacks to the open-access plan. Natarajan pointed out, “The system [doesn’t work] with co-ops, and is kind of a grey area with senior housing.” Students have expressed their desire to cook for themselves in those locations, but it would not be economically feasible with the new system. “Specifically with co-ops, there’s really no discussion on how to reenvision those spaces; Ferry potentially would become obsolete in this system.” Asan countered, “There is discussion, but that discussion does not involve students, which is sad.” As the topic of conversation turned to the campus sanctuary petition, and more broadly the concept of student activism, VSA members expressed their desire to hold each other accountable as leaders. “[E]ach person who holds a position on VSA has a responsibility to use their power in favor of justice, and I don’t think all of us know exactly what that means yet,” Hoang observed. “[H]aving this position comes with power that we don’t even
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
know the full extent of.” The bulk of the discussion centered around the VSA’s responsibilities as a political body tasked with representing students’ views. The VSA became political only two years ago, after a realization that such a public and powerful organization cannot be truly neutral. “Our philosophy generally has been that the VSA is widely perceived by students as kind of part of the administration in a way, or closely tied to it, so we don’t always want to try to create our own programming or activism on top of what students are already doing,” Lamothe said. Natarajan continued, “In terms of us spearheading more programming, there’s no real reason we haven’t been doing it. If it’s already happening, of course we don’t want to co-opt it, we don’t want to step in and say, we’ll help you and put our name on this thing too.” However, she expressed hope that the VSA can take some of the burden off of students where possible, and break out of the more passive role of providing financial support. Maya Enriquez ’17, who took on and later cancelled the student protest organized after the election results, explained that many people contacted her saying that they feel student activism needs to be more considerate of and centered around people of color. The discussion turned to the burden that politicization can place on already overtasked identity orgs, and how the VSA might use its power to encourage the administration to provide outside sources for support and education. Several students were adamant that a concrete solution for moving forward be established before the Town Hall dispersed, and there was talk of organizing anti-oppression and whiteness workshops for org leaders. Hoang concluded, “These [meetings] are the fledgling stages of what leadership committed to justice looks like.”
December 1, 2016
Disturbing graffiti continues nationwide wave of hate BIAS continued from page 1
detailing his decision to endorse on behalf of the College a letter addressed to Trump. He explained, “Late last week, I joined a group of more than 100 college and university presidents in writing to the President-elect urging him to condemn the hate speech and acts of violence being perpetrated across our country. It is a first step, one I know will be followed by continued debate, discussion, and activism on the part of our students, our faculty, and our staff.” He added in an interview via email, “I was deeply concerned that some of the hateful post-election graffiti and vandalism that we have seen nationwide has come to our campus.” Pittman added, “Hate incidents have occurred on other campuses and we certainly don’t want that to become a phenomenon at Vassar. I like to think that we are a different kind of community, and so an important response to hate speech is good speech: responding quickly and encouraging members of the
community that [this is] not the kind of speech we value at Vassar.” Director of Safety and Security Arlene Sabo explained Vassar’s policy on hate speech in an email: “Our campus has strong and effective policies barring discrimination (and discriminatory harassment) on the basis of race, color, religion or religious belief, citizenship status, sex, marital status, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, military service or affiliation, genetic information, age or any other characteristics protected by law. When hate speech crosses the line into harassment or a hate crime, it is no longer protected speech.” Despite that, Sabo cautioned, hateful graffiti secretly left in a bathroom stall is almost impossible to attribute to a specific individual. Dean of the College Christopher Roellke added via email, “I believe our policies [are] strong and are intended to promote safety and
Courtesy of The Southern Poverty Law Center
Each point on the map gives details of the report when selected. The map can be viewed here: USAElectionMonitor.ushahidi.io/views/ map. According to Ushahdi’s map, racist and Islamophobic graffiti was found in a bathroom stall at the nearby State University of New York at New Paltz, and similar incidents have occurred at dozens of other colleges and universities all over the United States, including Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley and Arizona State University, among others. Many of these episodes have escalated to physical violence, some even resulting in death. On Nov. 12, Will Sims, an African-American musician, was robbed, beaten and shot to death in El Sobrante, CA. Daniel Porter-Kelly, a resident of the nearby Richmond, CA, has been arrested and charged with robbery, murder and a hate crime, and local police are currently searching for two suspected accomplices, Ray Simons and Daniel Ortega. All three men are white, and police have stated that their motivation for killing Sims was racial (NBC Bay Area, “Musician Killed in El Sobrante Was Targeted Because of His Race,” 11.23.2016). On college campuses, in addition to hateful graffiti and derogatory epithets, students and faculty who are primarily not white, male, heterosexual, cisgender or Christian have been shoved, spat on, and otherwise physically attacked (The New York Times, “Campuses Confront Hostile Acts Against Minorities After Donald Trump’s Election,” 11.10.2016). According to Ushahidi’s post-election monitor, for instance, a young woman at the University of California at Santa Cruz was reportedly hit on the head with a rock and called anti-LGBTQ+ slurs for ignoring several men’s advances. Furthermore, a Muslim student at San Jose State University was choked with her own hijab (CBS SF Bay Area, “Assailant Chokes Muslim San Jose State Student With Victim’s Hijab,” 11.10.2016). On Nov. 23, Interim President Jonathan Chenette sent an email to the student body
The above map, which was compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, shows locations of post-election incidents of hate speech and hate crimes from Nov. 9-18.
inclusivity for all members of the campus community. Anonymous hate speech, including on social media, is exceptionally difficult to manage and adjudicate. Having said that, I think it is important that the College continue to be diligent in its enforcement of policies in an attempt to eradicate this behavior.” Pondering whether there’s anything more Vassar can do, Johnson said, “I think that the administration needs to start preparing for how a Trump presidency will hurt Vassar students and what actual steps they can start taking. One concrete example that has been on my mind is that it is long overdue for Vassar to hire an advisor for Muslim students. From personal experience as a Jewish student at Vassar, I have leaned on our advisors over the years and I think that in next four years students will need even more support. Sending emails to the entire campus is fine, but hiring people who can and will develop personal relationships with students is even better.” Antelyes detailed another proactive move Vassar could make. “The Administration as well as the faculty should seek to provide avenues in classes and meetings and informational sites for subjecting [incidents of hate speech] to critical analysis: for placing them in context, linking them to other forms of hatred and articulating the underlying social forces at work, and for exploring models and modes of activist response,” he said. Chenette expressed a similar sentiment as Antelyes, commenting, “We should have teachins, guest lectures, residencies and other events where we can reflect collectively on [ways students can respond to hate speech].” He added, “The President’s Council on Diversity would welcome proposals for such events under the ‘Dialogue and Engagement Across Differences’ initiative. Email ideas to email@example.com.” As for the Vassar community, “[It’s up to us] to hold each other accountable for our actions and our speech, to be on the alert, to report and also to support to each other,” Pittman concluded. “As a community, we have to pull together in moments like this and make it clear that this is not speech or behavior we will tolerate.”
News Briefs Experts advocate for election recount, audit
On Nov. 17, a group of respected voting rights attorneys and computer scientists alerted Hillary Clinton’s campaign team that they believed that an audit of votes cast in the Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan could possibly turn up evidence of a cyberattack on electronic voting machines. If this hacking occurred, it would have been instrumental in turning the tide of the election in Trump’s favor. The group, led by University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society director J. Alex Halderman and voting rights lawyer John Bonifaz, has found indications that Clinton may have received seven percent fewer votes in Wisconsin than she should have in counties that used electronic voting machines. The potential cyberattack is thought to have been perpetuated by Russian hackers who either virtually hacked voting machines or infected them with malware. Russians are also believed to be responsible for the hacking of Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign emails, as well as the dissemination of fake news stories (The New York Times, “Clinton Being Pushed to Seek Vote Recount in 3 States,” 11.24.2016). If these speculations are proven correct, it could change the result of the election; the seven percent of votes the group believes Clinton lost due to fraud in Wisconsin would be 30,000, 3,000 more than she would have needed to win the state. Clinton also lost Michigan and Pennsylvania by razor-thin margins. Though there is currently no definitive evidence of tampering and though Clinton would need to be declared the winner of all three states in question in order to retroactively win the election, the group pushed Clinton’s campaign to formally file for both a forensic voting machine audit and a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania (New York Maga-
zine, “Experts Urge Clinton Campaign to Challenge Election Results in 3 Swing States,” 11.22.2016). Clinton and her team did not initially move to call for a recount in Wisconsin, the state whose deadline for filing was first on Nov. 25, but former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein raised over $6.5 million to pay for the audits. Stein officially requested the recount in Wisconsin last Friday, the final day to do so (CBS News, “Jill Stein files for a recount in Wisconsin: What you need to know,” 11.25.2016). The following day, Nov. 26, Clinton’s general counsel, Marc Elias, announced on Medium that while her campaign had not moved to initiate a recount themselves, they would participate in and support the audit (Medium, “Listening and Responding To Calls for an Audit and Recount,” 11.26.2016). Donald Trump, despite claiming that the election was rigged when Clinton was leading in the polls prior to election day, voiced his anger about the recount on Twitter. On Nov. 26, he tweeted, “The Green Party scam to fill up their coffers by asking for impossible recounts is now being joined by the badly defeated & demoralized Dems.” The following day, Nov. 27, he added, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” The popular vote has not yet been called, but Clinton is currently leading by more than two million votes and Trump has not cited any evidence of this alleged voter fraud (NPR, “Trump Makes Unfounded Claim That ‘Millions’ Voted Illegally For Clinton,” 11.27.2016). All recounts must be completed and suspicions of hacking must be substantiated with concrete evidence by the federal government’s deadline of Dec. 13 in order to have an effect on the election results. Furthermore, the Electoral College will cast its votes on Dec. 19, so any evidence of fraud discovered after that date will have no impact on the results (USA Today,
“What you need to know about the election recounts,” 11.28.2016). —Laurel Hennen Vigil, Reporter Plane carrying Brazilian team crashes
On Monday, Nov. 28, a chartered plane carrying 77 passengers crashed south of Medellín, Colombia. Of the 71 that did not survive the crash, 19 were players of Chapecoense, a Brazilian football club in the midst of its best season since its establishment 43 years prior. 20 sports journalists were also reported among the dead. Both the country and world have been left numb in the wake of Monday’s tragedy. Intending to pay their respects to the Chapecoense players lost in the crash, the São Paulo soccer club intends to wear the team’s uniforms during a future game. Top Spanish clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid had a minute of silence before their respective practices during the day. In Brazil, the entire country observed three days of mourning, and in Chapeco, Brazil–the home of the team–thousands flocked to the city’s chapel and stadium to grieve together (The New York Times, “Thousands Squeeze Into Church, Stadium to Mourn Tragic Crash,” 11.30.2016). Meanwhile, the news has made waves across the globe—moments of silence were observed both in Boston at the Consulate General of Brazil, as well as during international soccer games on Tuesday (Boston Globe, “Framingham mourns Brazilian soccer players killed in plane crash,” 11.29.2016). Chapecoense’s is currently in ninth place in Brazil’s Série A division, the top club league in the country with a rich footballing history. Their plane crashed while transporting the team to their biggest match in club history, the Copa Sudamericana final, the second biggest annual club clash in the continent. ESPN reports CONMEBOL, South American foot-
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
ball’s governing body, has suspended the final of the Copa Sudamericana and all federation activities until further notice in response to the event (ESPN, Brazilian club Chapecoense’s plane crashes, leaving 71 dead, six survivors. 11.29.2016). The tragedy is heightened by continued reports of the growing success of this club with humble origins. The group had made a recent surge into the first division in Brazil, having been as low as the fourth tier of football as recently as 2007 (CNN, “Chapecoense: Football team’s fairy-tale rise ends in tragedy,” 11.29.2016). This incredible recent success has brought joy to their small fanbase. Comparisons have been drawn between Chapecoense and Leicester City, who had a similar underdog story leading up to their 2016 Premier league title. For Chapecoense, the tragic crash prevented them from being able to achieve at the highest level in their club’s history. “The dream is over,” said Plinio David de Nes Filho, chairman of the club’s board. (CNN, “Chapecoense: Football team’s fairy-tale rise ends in tragedy,” 11.29.2016). In the wake of this upheaval, the focus turns to the survivors and the lasting legacy of the team built by those who lost their lives. ESPN praised the legacy of the humble club on it’s quest for glory, describing them as “the mouse that kept on roaring” (ESPN, “Chapecoense were the mighty mouse that roared right up to the very end,” 11.29.2016). Chapecoense as a team represented what the sport is all about, and their loss will be felt across Brazilian and world football alike. Chepecoense’s acting club president assured, “We will fight back when it’s time. Now it’s time to take care of our families.” (The New York Times, “Thousands Squeeze Into Church, Stadium to Mourn Tragic Crash,” 11.30.2016). — Zander Bashaw and Elena Schultz, Senior Editors
December 1, 2016
Professor of English remembers students, courses fondly Iris Li
Courtesy of Vassar Alumnae/i Hub
first-generation college student, editor of “Poetry 1945 to Present” section of “The Norton Anthology of American Literature,” a contributor to the Columbia History of American Poetry, a poet herself and the Professor of English on the Mary Augusta Scott Chair at Vassar, Patricia Wallace never imagined going to graduate school. Her college professors, however, supported her, challenged her and inspired her to become a college professor. “I like to think that my own teaching is a way of passing on their gifts to me,” said Wallace. With the help of her great professors, Wallace later made her way to the University of Iowa and received a PhD in English. In the summer of 1976, Wallace began working at Vassar College. The first couple years here were challenging. Not only was she a female assistant professor striving for a tenure in a male-dominated academe, she was also a single mother of two young children. At the time, there was no full-time nursery school or childcare, and it was very difficult for Wallace to balance her role as a teacher and a mother. However, she holds deep love for her students. She praises them as “imaginative, brave, curious, smart, funny, dedicated, challenging in the best way.” She would feel upset if she could not find a way to reach and support them. During the 1980s, she saw many of her students agonizing over the AIDS crisis, so she tried to address this issue by designing a course called The Literature of Aids. As she recalls, “There was an especially urgent feeling in those classes but everyone devoted themselves to the material and discussion. It helped me to feel I was doing something when I had felt powerless ... I try to think about how to support my students both as minds and as hearts.” While performing the role as a teacher, Wallace also actively learns from her students. For many years, Wallace has been the editor of the “Poetry 1945 to Present” section of the “Norton
Professor of English on the Mary Scott Chair at Vassar Patricia Wallace, who will retire at the end of the semester, reflects fondly on collaboratinig with students and faculty alike. Anthology of American Literature.” Constantly, she needed to seek out new poets to include in the anthology. Some of those poets’ works were taught in class, and she would take notes of how her students evaluated, identified with or got fascinated by these poets. She considers her works indebted to what she learned from her students, and feels grateful to be able to work with “such talented young people.” Her current work, an essay on J.D. Salinger, is also partially inspired by her students in the Salinger Seminars. Rachel Ludwig, a junior currently in the Salinger seminar with Wallace, comments that Wallace has a very interesting approach to literature and education. Besides the take-three-
breath ritual ceremony that starts the class, in most days, everyone comes in with a memorized quote from the readings and spontaneously speaks out their quotes, says Rachel: “It’s very theatrical. [Wallace] will start...and then whoever wants to say the next, just does it. [Sometimes] we awkwardly interrupt each other a little bit, but I think it works out very smoothly.” Wallace encourages other experimental classroom practices. Once, a student in her Modern Poets class made fortune cookies that contained lines from T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” In her Verse Writing class, each student designed and made a chapbook of their own poems. Wallace also enjoys the collaborative re-
lationship with colleagues both within and outside the Department. She recalls a story of team-teaching Documenting America with Professor Cohen in the History Department: “[The class] combined art, history and politics from 1920s to 1940s. We did a big section of the course on Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographers and both of us loved combining our interest around those fascinating images. Our students did curatorial presentations of individual photographers and they were amazing. Thanks to Professor Cohen, I now know all about the FSA and the resources of the Roosevelt library. For their final experience, our students did a scavenger hunt at the Roosevelt library involving course materials. We then all went to lunch at the Apple Pie Cafe at the CIA...” Matthew McCardwell ’17, a senior who was in this class, deems the scavenger hunt the most memorable moment he spent with Wallace, as well as “an excellent coda to a semester of study and growth as a seminar of about 12 students.” The work they did during class also gave him more insight on his thesis. Wallace plans to retire at the end of this semester. She intends to keep writing, combining creative and critical writing and researching. She also wants to explore teaching in other ways. Her current interest is in finding ways to enhance creativity by collaborating with, possibly, public school teachers or hospital works. Wallace also wants to pass on a gift to current Vassar students on how to dwell poetically: “Take a walk, learn a poem by heart so that you will always have it with you and available as nourishment (even if you think you don’t like poetry you can find a poem you love). Learning by heart is a form of indwelling because it takes the poem into the body and there is a level of knowing beyond the mind. It is a very deep experience. One student once told me, ‘Don’t never do this!’ To dwell in a poem is to dwell in mystery and deep understanding you might not be able to explain, but simply saying the poem from your heart is the true understanding.”
VFR raises awareness of food insecurity, excessive waste WASTE continued from page 1
it company that specializes in sustainable waste management and large-scale composting, between 2000 and 2002 that is still in place. Greenway picks up food waste from the Deece, the Retreat and Ferry House five times a week and composts it using biological processes. Greenway’s founder Shabazz Jackson is enthusiastic about the partnership and the precedent it sets for other local colleges. Jackson says, “Vassar, Marist, New Paltz, Sienna, they all have the same system. Exactly the same. And that system was developed at Vassar.” Thus, what “Weigh the Waste” attempted to impart to Vassar students is that Vassar’s problem isn’t the proper disposal of food waste, it’s that the student population is producing large amounts waste that could be used to feed the needy. Next week, VFR is continuing its campaign to garner awareness among Vassar students with a food drive. Huy Nguyen ’17, another VFR member, explains, “It’s the end of the semester and people will start going home, so there’s a lot of leftover, throwaway food that we want to collect and donate to Dutchess Outreach. We’re planning to place boxes in the TAs, THs and the College Center starting next week.” This food drive works
to raise awareness of waste-creating habits while promoting VFR’s primary purpose: food rescue and donation. The organization’s modus operandi is to collect uneaten food from events on and off campus like the weekly farmers’ market, the Vassar Asian Students’ Alliance’s (ASA) Night Market, weddings and occasionally from the Deece. They store this food in two medium-sized refrigerators like those found in the Retreat, according to VFR member and founder of the Hudson Valley chapter of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine Siennah Yang ’18. After the food is stored, VFR volunteers drive it out to organizations like the Salvation Army, Dutchess Outreach, a food pantry and soup kitchen in downtown Poughkeepsie that served 368 families in August according to Associate Director Tara Whalen, and Hudson River Housing homeless shelters. Belleza says the organization is rarely able to rescue food that is slated to be thrown away, even if they know about it. These difficulties are part of the reason VFR is trying to raise awareness among students. As a pre-org, VFR is allotted less funding than official orgs. They currently make up for this gap in budget by sourcing materials like boxes, pans
and trays from off-campus organizations like Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, but they still need all the help they can get. Nguyen delineates what the organization needs to keep up with demand, and how it would use additional funding from the college, saying, “We would like to have bigger fridges, more room, bigger facilities for the food. We also need carts to collect and transport food when we have big events. And also we’d like to have a driver who can take the food to Dutchess Outreach because we don’t always have volunteers to take our food, so we’d like to use funding to pay somebody to get the food where it needs to go.” VFR also hopes to use additional resources to continue its education campaign, as many Vassar students are simply unaware of the intense need for food in Poughkeepise. Yang blames the “Vassar Bubble” for this disconnect. He elaborates, “The Vassar-Poughkeepsie divide makes [the problem] worse too, because you don’t really see how much hunger and poverty there is in Poughkeepsie.” Nguyen agreed, and suggests potential solutions involving education reform. “Incorporating [food insecurity education] into the freshmen orientation would be great ... If we get more funding then we can organize more field trips in order to break
the Vassar Bubble and see the scale of food insecurity in Poughkeepsie.” In the fall of 2017 Vassar is switching food service providers from Aramark to Bon Appétit. According to an April 5 school-wide email from Dean of the College Chris Roellke, this transition will include a change in the meal plan format from an all-you-can-eat system with a set number of swipes to an all-access plan, in which a blanket fee will cover unregulated access to the Deece and other campus dining locations. This new plan is controversial because it may fail to accommodate students who rarely use the meal plan or abstain from campus dining entirely, but there is a silver lining. The current all-you-can-eat system encourages food waste because students feel the need to fully “use” each swipe, and therefore often serve themselves more than they can eat. An all access plan may eliminate some of this waste. VFR members are undecided about whether they agree with this switch, but they are excited by the provider’s attempt to reduce food waste in campus dining. Regardless, the efforts put forth by the College and students are likely to push waste management to the forefront of the school’s priorities going forward.
Emily Sayer/The Miscellany News
Emily Sayer/The Miscellany News
The sign pictured above reminds students as they leave the All Campus Dining Center of the consequences of food waste, quantifying waste in terms of turkey dinners.
On Nov. 22, the pre-org Vassar Food Rescue (VFR) separated and measured the total poundage of food leftover at the All Campus Dining Center after just one dinner.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
December 1, 2016
Call For Papers The Vassar College English Majors’ Committee is proud to announce the launch of the Vassar Critical Journal, a student-run publication sponsored by the English Department that publishes critical works on literary topics from Vassar undergraduate students. The goal of the Journal is to stimulate public intellectual discourse among students on literary topics, to acknowledge the high quality of the written work created by Vassar literature students, and to provide opportunities for Vassar students to learn about the academic publishing process. For the inaugural 2017 issue of the Vassar Critical Journal, the English Majors’ Committee would like to invite the submission of papers on literary topics from all current Vassar students. Students from all disciplines are invited to participate, as long as their work focuses on some literary work or aspect of literature. The papers should be academic in content, style, and tone, and should adhere to MLA guidelines for citation and formatting. In order to encourage the inclusion of underclassmen writers, the Journal will not be accepting full theses. However, thesis chapters which are edited to stand alone are acceptable. Papers will be read and evaluated by a volunteer editorial board from the English Majors’ Committee, under the guidance of English Department faculty. Works will be selected for publication based on the originality of ideas, strength of argument, and effectiveness of academic techniques in the paper. Submission guidelines: All papers should follow MLA style, focus on a work or works of literature or engage theoretical approaches to literature, and should be literary/critical in content, form, and style. Submissions should be at least five pages double-spaced, and no more than 20 pages (excluding Works Cited). All essays must be submitted in English, and any essays that analyze a text in a language other than English should provide translations for quoted material. Each student may submit up to two papers for consideration. All materials should be submitted online via the Vassar Critical Journal website no later than February 20, 2017. For papers that focus more on philosophical ideas than the analysis of literature, we recommend that students submit to the The Vassar College Journal of Philosophy instead. We encourage students focusing on literature relating to Jewish Studies to consider submitting to Neshama, Vassar’s Jewish Studies journal, as well. If you are submitting the same piece to more than one journal, please indicate this on your submission. No identifying information should appear on your document. Members of the The Vassar Critical Journal editorial board may submit their own work for consideration, but the Editor will ensure that any board member’s anonymized submission will be reviewed only by a different member of the board. Visit pages.vassar.edu/VassarCriticalJournal for more information.
December 1, 2016
Family tradition invites international students to give thanks THANKSGIVING continued from page 1
sides Andrew, but the amazing thing was by the time we were all cooking together like an hour later, we were laughing and talking like best friends! It was just such a warm environment, and felt so much like a home.” Moreover, Meade acknowledged that one of the special factors of this tradition is that international alums come every year. He reported, “This year we had an alum from the class of 2006, one from 2009, one from 2011, one from 2014 and three from 2015. It’s an opportunity for current students to connect with their slightly older peers, and it also sends the message (to us as well) that it is possible to return!” Alumna Manning Wu ’14 noted, “It was really good to see the Meades, who I have been close to in the past years since freshman year. It is always a good time with them and the rest of the Vassar community.” The Meades not only open their home and share this special holiday with international students, but also extend their welcome to domestic students, as well as their friends and loved ones. Phuong Pham came from London to visit her boyfriend at Vassar. She also found home at the Meades. She said, “I was first a stranger to the Meades, but that feeling only lasted a short while. Andrew and Lila welcomed me and everyone else as parts of the family. Their kind hearts made us all immediately feel at home. By the afternoon of the day we were friends who had known each other well enough to make jokes out of each other and to feed each other what we had proudly made.” Pham, who assumed the role of the head chef, reported that she thoroughly enjoyed working with other volunteers. “Undeniably certain that we all just first met for a few hours, however, by miracle, food brought us together. We failed and achieved together as we went from one adventure to another, from googling how many teaspoons of ground sage equaling 12 leaves, to stuffing six turkey breasts, to an unimaginably early morning wake-up call by Biso, the adorable house cat.” She continued, “The most unforgettable moment to me is the time I spent with everyone in the house, the emotions I shared with them, the gratefulness we brought to the others and
Courtesy of Vassar College/Karl Rabe
community to create a feast, and most importantly, to create community for one another (and guests). It is a day of love and joy, plus an awful lot of hard work. It is a day that can create spaces of ‘home’ for internationals.” Together with volunteer helpers, the Meade family presented their 11th Thanksgiving dinner this year on Nov. 24. Meade explained the history of this annual event, saying, “The first year  we had friends come over to help do the cooking, and I think we had about 30 international students come. The next year, these friends had all moved away but we decided there was no way we weren’t inviting internationals!” So it became a tradition that students would arrive at their house early to prepare the feast along with the Meades. Being part of the “Early Early Bird team,” Xiaoting Hu ’20 of Wuhan, China, and several others arrived at the Meades on Thanksgiving Eve. They labored until 2 a.m., preparing exquisite hors d’oeuvres, entrees and 19 different types of desert. Hu cheerfully explained, “One of my favorite parts of the preparation is when the cooking teams (all great chefs!) gathered around the kitchen table in pairs, making all kinds of desserts.” She reminisced on their hard work and the sense of accomplishment they all felt. “The sweet fragrance of cranberry sauce filled the air, soon joined by the homey scent of pies. After one dessert was done, chefs moved on to the next one on the menu; time escaped [us] while we chatted and the oven beeped. We were tired but so, so happy.” Meade commented, “[It] is an evening of creation, as the few in the room imagine together making so much yummy food and joy with everyone who is to come the next day.” The Meades’ home, elegantly decorated with Haitian art, has a magical power of bonding everyone within. Hu recounted, “At first we felt a bit timid and nervous, but such feeling dispersed quickly; the house was brimming with so much love and warmth that it made you feel most welcome and feel at home.” Ally Fernandez ’18 from Puerto Rico shared the same feeling, saying, “I was in the van with a bunch of people who I didn’t really know be-
Pictured left to right: Phuong Pham, host Lila Meade and Yunhao Cai ’20 prepare the turkey for the annual Thanksgiving feast at the Meade family household. the love we believed and built together. There are billions of people on this planet, I am lucky enough to meet everyone [here in this room].” Meade concluded, “[It’s] a co-creation. It is about a whole lot of people coming together to make something special for one another, to work really hard so that others will benefit.” Guests all showed gratitude towards the hospitality of the Meades. Hu expressed, “I feel so lucky that I spent my very first Thanksgiving at the Meades; it is definitely one of my best memories so far at Vassar. Seeing all the people enjoy their food and have fun chatting with each other, I could not help but feel thankful towards my life, family, friends and all the people who had made a beautiful difference in my life. I was so happy that I was there.” An important part of the evening was when the entire house gathered in the living room, sharing genuine emotions of love and appreciation. Meade described these precious moments: “Our hour of sharing between dinner and dessert is special in that it gives everyone (all 60 of us) a chance to hear from everyone
else. Everyone gets a voice, and has the chance to offer appreciations.” Guests were inspired by the Meades’ spirit of generosity and kindness. Tissues were passed around the room as many shed tears of joy. Fernandez commented, “It was really amazing, because I had a hard time with the concept of Thanksgiving because of the violent history of the holiday, but that was acknowledged and we made it all our own, which was so beautiful. “My home is so far away, and I spent a lot of time leading up to Thanksgiving feeling sorry for myself about it, but when the day came around I really had the opportunity to meditate on my blessings and how truly lucky I am to have these kinds of people in my life. And the thought of being able to come back after years and years just fills me with so much hope and joy.” Pham summarized the Thanksgiving spirit: “Crazy amount of carbs and protein were loaded into our bodies but who cared—Thanksgiving is only once a year while the gym opens mostly every day.”
This eggless vegan cake is a worthwhile whisk to take Brooke Thomas Guest Reporter
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
ne of the questions I’m asked most frequently when people try something I’ve baked is, “What did you use instead of eggs?” Most of the time I don’t know what to say because I didn’t take a non-vegan recipe and make it vegan; I took a vegan recipe from the multitude of those on the internet and made it. Also eggs, although a common ingredient in baked goods, are not a necessary ingredient almost all of the time. Although I prefer to find other ways not to use them, reliable egg replacements do exist. There are a few store-bought varieties such as Ener-G Egg Replacer and the Neat Egg. I’ve never used either of these personally, but I have heard good things. If I am going to use an egg replacer, I’m going to use something more simple. For example, you can use flax meal or ground chia seeds in the same ways you would use the others. I don’t particularly like they way either of these things taste, so I also tend to pass on them. The next option is a fruit puree. I don’t know the science of this, but a mashed banana, some pumpkin puree or applesauce really helps things like muffins and cake. The cake recipe I’m sharing today calls for some puree. I like this method because applesauce is pretty inexpensive, easy to come by and not something you have to go to a health food store to find. But this method is not foolproof. Sometimes I will make muffins with ample applesauce and they will not rise. I would still eat these but it isn’t the kind of thing I would offer up to omnivores in order to spread the word about how great vegan food is. This is where leavening comes in. Vegan recipes tend to use more baking powder, as well as some kind of acid, like vinegar or lemon juice. When the baking powder and the acid touch you’ve got a fifth-grade science fair volcano on your hands. This is where the fluff comes from.
As an example of all this I’m going to share one of my favorite cake recipes from the wonderful blog called Minimalist Baker. This cake uses the leavening method in combination with a fruit puree to *replace* those pesky eggs and the result is dense, moist and fluffy like a cake should be. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and mixing the non-dairy milk with white or apple cider vinegar. You could substitute lemon juice here if you don’t have vinegar but the cake will taste a little like lemon. Let the milk and acid mixture sit for a few minutes. Next, add in the applesauce or another fruit puree. Add the coffee (or more non-dairy milk), vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Mix well. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking soda and salt. Mix well and incorporate into liquid mixture. This recipe will either make one rectangular cake or two circular cakes so plunk the batter into whichever pan you’d like and bake for around 2530 minutes. Poke a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean it is done! The original recipe includes a frosting recipe but I have a super secret vegan tip for you. Most store bought frosting is vegan. Check the ingredients to make sure there is no lard (honestly why is that in some, I don’t get it) but most mainstream brands should be good! And that includes the cream cheese kinds. This frosting has some drawbacks, such as the use of palm oil and non-fair trade chocolate, but we all have to pick our battles. So there, did I answer your question? I don’t have the simple answer that I feel like people are searching for but I can say that there are many ways to replace eggs in a baked good, the main one being don’t try to adapt a non-vegan recipe unless you know how to do that, just find a good vegan one where someone has already done it. Be sure to check out the original recipe from Minimalist Baker at minimalistbaker.com/onebowl-vegan-chocolate-cake.
Ingredients 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk 2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar 1 1/4 cups applesauce or other fruit puree 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (or sub milk) 2/3 cup vegetable oil 2 tsp vanilla extract 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour 1 1/3 cups organic sugar 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt
December 1, 2016
The Miscellany News Staff Editorial
Administration must adopt Sanctuary Campus Resolution
uring his candidacy, President-elect Donald Trump made frightening statements about proposals to deport millions of immigrants. In addition to employing highly racist rhetoric that referred to Mexicans immigrants to America as “rapists and criminals,” he has offered plans for deportation throughout his campaign. On his campaign’s website, there is a list of Trump’s 10 point plan to “put America first.” This list includes the request for an impenetrable wall, funded by Mexico, on the southern border of the United States, a call to move out “criminal aliens” on “day one,” and the immediate termination of President Barack Obama’s executive amnesties (Trump Campaign website, “Immigration”). Now that he has been elected, the jury is out as to whether these suggestions were merely bloviating incendiary rhetoric, or genuine assertions of plans that could, and will, be implemented during his presidency. The wall will likely be scrapped since, as many experts have pointed out, it is economically unfeasible. However, the resolution to remove Obama’s executive amnesty—which could effectively remove “criminal aliens” from the American landscape—may well be put into place. When asked to follow up on these ideas on “60 Minutes,” Trump doubled down, saying, “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records — gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million. We are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate” (The New York Times, “What Donald Trump’s Vow to Deport Up to 3 Million Immigrants Would Mean, 11.14.16). These plans and propositions, if enacted, would have drastic and traumatic effects on members of our nation and, more specifically, members of the Vassar community. Recently
there has been a circulating draft for a Sanctuary Campus resolution written for professors including Dr. David Tavárez, calling for Interim President Jon Chenette and the Board of Trustees to support the sanctuary resolution. The Miscellany News would like to urge the trustees to adopt this resolution to oppose the President-elect’s xenophobic policies in whatever forms they may take, and to take swift steps to protect our community members. On Nov. 20, VSA President Calvin Lamothe ‘16 sent the petition to make Vassar’s campus a sanctuary to the student body. The Sanctuary Campus Resolution, drafted by Vassar faculty members, addresses Trump’s declarations and proposes action from the College. The resolution mentions President Obama’s immigration reform, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and explains how Trump’s actions will reverse such protection and progress. Trump plans to abolish such legislation and appoint task forces, including members from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to find and deport these immigrants. The resolutions asks Vassar Administration to restrict such task forces from entering campus by establishing Vassar as a sanctuary campus. As a sanctuary, the College would ensure the safety and protection of all members of the community, especially those vulnerable to immigration enforcement. To do so, Vassar will refuse to submit information about community members or participate in any action to assist ICE action or deportation. In solidarity with the sanctuary campus resolution, a total of 2056 signatures have been submitted, including 800 alumnae/i and 1005 current students. Many colleges and universities across the U.S. have adopted or are in the process of adopting similar resolutions. On Nov. 18, President of Reed College John R. Kroger announced that Reed is officially a sanctuary, and
will support students and faculty regardless of immigration status. Colleges and universities across the country are joining in the movement to implement comparable sanctuary resolutions. 28 colleges in total have officially declared themselves sanctuaries and students from over 100 schools have signed petitions asking that their campuses become sanctuaries (Remezcla, “28 universities that will offer sanctuary to their undocumented students,” 11.22.2016). The California State University system, comprised of 23 schools in total, reaffirmed its commitment to remain as safe a space as possible for undocumented students. More concretely, the University of California at Davis has designated a space to provide resources and legal support to undocumented students, while Trinity College is building a similar network of alumnae/i willing to provide legal help. Similar to Vassar’s Sanctuary Campus Resolution, many colleges and universities are asking their administrations to refuse immigration officers access to campuses, but the demands of student bodies are varied and the legal implications of these proposed resolutions can often be arcane and byzantine. Unsurprisingly, then, there seems to be, both on campus and throughout the country a great deal of misunderstanding about the legality of sanctuary campuses. To be clear, implementing such a policy in itself does not carry any tangible legal clout; indeed, on a basic level, the resolution is simply a refusal to implement practices that will actively harm immigrants. Many sanctuary resolutions--including the one proposed to Vassar’s Board of Trustees and administration—leave it unclear how far the college or university would go to protect members of the community who are in danger of deportation. As a college that does not rely on state funding, Vassar seems, at the moment,
to have little to lose; the only concrete repercussion for the resolution to protecting immigrants is the potential loss of federal funding or support. Many schools have raised concerns about the possible effects of sanctuary campuses on undocumented students. To begin with, while sanctuary cities have police forces and other forms of civic protection, most institutions of higher learning do not have the resources to prevent immigration officers from entering the campus. The University of Wisconsin at Madison released a statement clarifying, “University of Wisconsin Police Department and Madison Police Department officers have full authority from the state Legislature to enforce laws and applicable rules on campus without seeking permission of the university” (The Atlantic, “Campus push raises questions after Trump,” 11.22.2016). In spite of these possible limitations, we feel that the adoption of the resolution is paramount in expressing solidarity with students further marginalized by Trump’s hate speech and to ensure that Vassar endeavors to be a safe and protective space for all students, regardless of their documentation status. We at The Miscellany News support the immediate implementation of the Sanctuary Campus Resolution, and hope to see the College take all necessary precautions to protect undocumented students and faculty. We encourage the trustees to seriously consider the promises made to admitted students to make their education affordable, secure and meaningful, and believe that adopting the Sanctuary Campus Resolution is essential to showing that Vassar stands by its principles. — The Staff Editorial expresses the opinion of at least 2/3 of The Miscellany News Editorial Board
Castro’s controversial life necessitates informed critique Sylvan Calko Perlmutter Guest Columnist
nlike most Cuban-Americans, I did not greet the news of Fidel Castro’s death with joy. Instead, I experienced a vague sense of disbelief. In my imagination, Fidel had been more of an impersonal historical force than a mortal man; the very personification of the revolution that forced my grandparents and young father into exile. To hate him seemed as futile an expenditure of emotional energy as cursing a hurricane for destroying your home. And so when I saw the crowds of Cuban exiles flooding Miami’s Calle Ocho to celebrate over the weekend, I experienced a strange mixture of discomfort and sympathy. Discomfort because I have always considered it somewhat perverse to celebrate anyone’s death, even that of an enemy. I viewed the celebrations of Osama bin Laden’s assassination with similar aversion. Sympathy because I understood all too well the roots of the deep pain and sense of loss for which these Cuban-Americans held Fidel Castro responsible. My grandparents were not the rich plantation owners and casino magnates of Communist Cuban propaganda. My grandfather Arturo was a chemist and my grandmother Esther was an instructor of biology at the University of Havana. The final catalyst for their flight from the island was not any nationalization of property, at the time, the nationalization effort was just beginning, but rather a threatening exchange between a local party official and my grandfather. My grandfather had publicly disparaged the new regime and was told as a consequence that if he did not get in line he would be sent to cut sugar cane for the rest of his life. He left the next day, and my grandmother and father soon followed. It was 1960. My family was not overreacting to an idle threat. Over the past 50 years, thousands of Cubans have been executed without a fair trial and thousands more have been imprisoned arbitrarily for lengthy if not indefinite periods of time. In 1965, prison work camps were established to silence “undesirable” elements such as members of the LGBTQ+ community and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even after the camps closed later in the ’60s,
openly gay people were barred from official employment and joining the Communist Party. Only in 2010 did Fidel recant his views on the LGBTQ+ community. Fidel might have been committed to socialist revolution, but he still based his public appeal on the same chauvinistic Latin American machismo as dictators on the right.Socialism in measure has many virtues, but the authoritarian interpretation of socialism advanced by Fidel created a new corrupt aristocracy of high-ranking generals and bureaucrats who can hardly claim to represent the will of the people and who use violence to quell dissent.
“Fidel might have been committed to socialist revolution, but he still based his public appeal on the same chauvinistic Latin American machismo as dictators on the right.” This system has more or less endured under the reforms of Raúl Castro. So many dissidents have been locked up that the most internationally prominent opposition movement in Cuba, Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White), is made up of the wives and other female relatives of the jailed. Who knows what would have happened to my family if they had remained? Fortunately, the worst occurrence was that when my grandmother left behind her coveted position at the University to rejoin my grandfather, she was profiled in the paper as “una traidora de la revolución” (a traitor of the revolution), as if she had chosen to participate in the revolution in the first place. But enduring such invective is the common lot of the Cuban exile community. As hundreds of thousands of Cubans abandoned the bleak economic and human rights situation on the island for the United States, Fidel Castro and his government branded them with the label gusano (worm). This
slur has also been used against Cuban-Americans by non-Cuban Latinxs sympathetic to revolutionary Cuba. And yet, despite the ordeals that my family and other Cuban-American families underwent, I still cannot bring myself to totally condemn Fidel. For all his grievous misdeeds, he accomplished much that I deeply admire. Under his leadership, revolutionary Cuba sent tens of thousands of soldiers and doctors to aid in the anti-imperialist struggles in Africa. Cuba’s successful intervention in Angola against South Africa helped bring about the liberation of Namibia and hastened the end of apartheid. In Latin America, Cuba provided crucial support for socialist movements seeking to overthrow U.S.backed dictators and for socialist governments battling against U.S.-funded reactionary insurgencies. One of the revolutionary government’s first actions was to abolish legal racial discrimination in Cuba, and throughout the Civil Rights and Black Power eras, Fidel granted asylum to radicals like Robert F. Williams and Assata Shakur who were fleeing the false justice of a white supremacist judiciary and police apparatus. Racism still endures in Cuba, but that it took such vast strides against discrimination while Jim Crow still ruled the South is a stunning accomplishment. Furthermore, Cuba has created free high quality systems of health care and education for its citizens. When I see so many members of my generation taking out massive student loans, and when I read that 20 million of my fellow citizens might have the health care provided to them under the Affordable Care Act gutted by the Trump administration, I can not help but feel jealous of certain aspects of Fidel’s legacy. The health and education systems in Cuba are often strapped for resources, but the right of Cubans to use them is unconditional, unalienable. In that way, the Cuban population has a sense of security that Americans, subjected to the vicissitudes of the market, lack. The knee-jerk reaction of many anti-Castro Cuban-Americans is to dismiss Fidel and say that a Cuba reorganized in the manner of the U.S. would be an immeasurable improvement. This is not only an inaccurate assessment of Fidel Castro’s legacy, but also shows a course disregard for the millions of Cubans whose lives improved in many ways as a result of the revolution and who
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contributed their tireless labor in the effort. This disconnect between the Cuban diaspora and Cubans on the island is what troubled me the most when I observed the celebrations in Miami. While Cuban exiles were singing and dancing in the streets, the Cuban government declared nine days of mourning. This has been respected by the people because although not everybody loved Fidel, he was such a presence in the life of the nation that they could not imagine Cuba without him. If they do not mourn Fidel, they at least recognize the need to reflect on the start of a new era in Cuba. For the whole duration of the period of mourning, alcohol sales will be restricted and live music will be banned. Cuba without music (or rum for that matter)... who ever heard of such a thing? I fear that as long as Cuban-Americans seek to push their diasporic conception of Cuban history and cubanidad (Cubaness) wholesale on those actually living in Cuba, the pan-Cuban identity that we share will be impoverished. The Cuban-American community will continue to support the embargo as long as they refuse to acknowledge the triumphs and failures of the revolution as part of their story as well.
“An important step in how Cuban-Americans can foster a more enriching relationship with the Cuban community is in how we appraise Fidel.” An important step in how Cuban-Americans can foster a more enriching relationship with the Cuban community is in how we appraise Fidel. We must set aside our pain and rage for a moment and commit to remembering him fully and honestly, acknowledging that many of the island have feelings of affection and gratitude towards Fidel that we need to respect. Only the passage of time can reveal if history will absolve him.
December 1, 2016
Electors ought unconditionally reject Trump presidency Jesser Horowitz Columnist
n Nov. 8, the American people made a decision to elect Hillary Clinton President of the United States; yet, due to an outdated, archaic system designed in the late 1700s by men who feared the full impact of democracy, Donald Trump won the election. The following is a real email that I plan to send to the electors in an effort to correct this error. To Whom It May Concern, In 2008, John McCain centered his campaign on the motto “Country First.” Not “party first.” Not “state first.” Country first. While he may have lost that election, his message ought to stand as a reminder of what all Americans should strive for, a reminder that the security of the nation comes first. Today, I ask you to follow John McCain’s example and put country first by voting to elect Hillary Clinton to the presidency. I understand that this decision will not be an easy one. It requires voting for a candidate that you might not like, who doesn’t belong to your party, who didn’t receive the majority of the votes in your state. However difficult that decision may be, I believe that one day people will thank you for it. Not only is this vote necessary to preserve the sanctity of the democratic process, sending a message that the candidate who receives the most votes nationally should become president, but it is necessary to ensure that Donald Trump does not ascend to the presidency, thus preserving the nation. As you are likely aware, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of over two million. In any fair system, she would win. A majority of United States citizens do not want Donald Trump to be the President, a majority of United States citizens did not vote for Donald Trump to be the President and thus Donald Trump should not be allowed to become President. In casting your electoral vote for Donald Trump, you may have been led to believe that your responsibility is to act in the interests of your state and political party before conscience. I ask you to realize that we have reached a point where we can
no longer think of ourselves through political and regional divisions, but rather as one nation. This December, I ask you to reject regional and political divisions and cast a vote for the person that the American people elected to the presidency, or at the very least reject Donald Trump, who they didn’t. The will of the nation matters most. I understand your reservations in terms of ideology. Hillary Clinton is a Democrat, which you are most certainly not. Hillary Clinton was a member of the Obama administration, which it is very likely you had strong disagreements with. I imagine we may share some of those disagreements. But I urge you not to fear another Clinton presidency. With a Republican Congress in power, her first two years would at worst be a period of stalemate, in which very little gets done. In the meanwhile, America’s reputation around the world would be safe and we can sleep well at night knowing that no matter how much we may disagree with the President, we have someone who is experienced, intelligent and pragmatic at the helm. And, in four years time, the Republicans can try again for the presidency and hopefully nominate a candidate with a far better temperament than Donald Trump, one who appeals to the values of tolerance and fiscal responsibility that represents the best of what the party can be. But if the virtues of Hillary Clinton do not sell you, please understand the full consequences of allowing Donald Trump to take office. Throughout his campaign, many have raised concerns that his behavior has been less than presidential. He appeared to have a complete inability to think before speaking. I can admire a candidate who is straightforward and honest, who doesn’t apologize for what he believes in and stands up against political correctness, but Trump oftentimes appeared to be tactless, immature, petty and rude. We were assured that once Trump won the nomination, his attitude would change. It didn’t. We were then assured that once Trump won the election, his attitude would change. It hasn’t. We are now assured that once Trump becomes Presi-
dent, his attitude will change. It won’t. Let’s for a moment excuse everything Trump said during the campaign. Let’s assume that anything we didn’t like was just rhetoric, intended to get votes and nothing more. Let’s assume that nothing he said prior to election day that upset us, that disturbed us, that gave us pause, that by every measure should have disqualified him will be at all indicative of his performance as President. Let’s just look at how he’s acted since he’s stopped having to care about getting votes. While we’re at it, let’s ignore all the appointments he’s made. Let’s give Steve Bannon the benefit of the doubt, although as a proud Jew I am more than a little disquieted. Let’s pretend that he hasn’t made any appointments. Let’s only look at how he’s spent his time and where he’s directed his attention these past few weeks. It hasn’t been attending intelligence briefings, as he hasn’t had one since the election. Instead, according to his former campaign manager, as reported by The Independent, Trumps gets his information through “a number of other sources.” Clearly, national security is not vital enough to attract the attention of our President-elect. Instead, Mr. Trump has spent his time getting into a feud with the cast of “Hamilton,” an incident as trivial as it is disturbing. You might agree with Trump’s assessment that the cast’s treatment of Mike Pence was unfair, although you should know that Mike Pence didn’t mind it. Regardless on the fairness of the matter, it is concerning to see the leader of the free world so worked up, so irritated over a Broadway musical, because a group of actors with no political influence wanted to express their concerns, however unfair you may believe their methods to be. In addition, Donald Trump has gotten into a feud with Alec Baldwin and the producers of “Saturday Night Live” over their impersonation of him. Can you imagine Ronald Reagan calling up Phil Hartman to complain about their impersonations of him, let alone publicly ranting about it? And what evidence do we have that this attitude will change when he is President? Maybe
RealTalk has got your back, believes you Emmett Weiss & Sophie Kaplan Guest Columnists
fter the Take Back the Night rally against sexual violence on Oct. 28, RealTalk has a message for sexual assault survivors (trigger warning: sexual assault): We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. Furthermore, we hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We will continue to hear, see, and believe you, and we always will. Please join us on Friday, Dec. 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Villard Room for the gallery opening of Uplifting Voices: Identity, Empowerment, and Equality, hosted in collaboration with YES (Yes for Equality and Safety for All Bodies), the Vassar College Women’s Center and CARES. We will come together as a community using art to show that we believe victims/survivors of sexual assault, and it is never their fault. We encourage all student groups on campus to exhibit their own art pieces by contacting dsiegel@ vassar.edu and to come on Dec. 9 for the opening ceremony. Please join our movement to eliminate sexual assault on our campus and make Vassar a community of love and respect for all bodies.
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we can buy that he will start getting intelligence briefings after inauguration day, he likely won’t have a choice, but why should we believe that he will delete his Twitter account, that he will stop picking fights with celebrities, that he will be able to hold his tongue in order to engage in needed diplomacy. How would it look to the international community if our sitting President caused an international incident because of some tweet about some perceived slight? We often dream of a President who is not a politician and that’s what we got in Donald Trump, but we didn’t elect a businessman either. We’re getting a celebrity, with all the downsides that come with it: the feuds, the nonsense conspiracy theories about vaccines, the rants on twitter, the adultery, the multiple marriages, the constant bragging about his sex life and the size of his genitals, obsession with material possessions and abhorrently inappropriate behavior towards women. Donald Trump is everything wrong with Hollywood celebrity culture, and yet he is slated to be the most powerful individual on earth. He is unable not to respond to anyone who mentions his name, and yet come Jan. 20, he will control an arsenal of nuclear weapon large enough to end humanity. He has failed to attend a single intelligence briefing since election day and yet he is expected to be our Commander-in-Chief. He bragged about the size of his hands and genitals during a debate and yet he is expected to uphold American values. In closing, I ask you to confront the reality that Donald Trump would be the least qualified President in the history of the country, not just in terms of experience but in terms of morality and emotional maturity. I ask you to do what is right, not for the Republican Party political establishment, but for the United States of America, for its people, for the world and the for the preservation of the greatest nation on earth. Country first. All the best, Jesser Horowitz
December 1, 2016
VSA should officially condemn Donald Trump’s bigotry Andrew Solender Guest Columnist
he President-elect is, as the country has been made painfully aware throughout this election cycle, highly controversial. He is opposed by the vast majority of Vassar students. Just look at the empirical evidence; in addition to the barrage of anti-Trump posts on Facebook and the general air of sadness cast upon campus after the election, students have been mobilizing by the dozens to go to NYC and protest Trump with a rare vigor. I marched with some of these students, who took time out of their busy schedules to oppose a man who stands for things that would, in many cases, directly harm their safety and quality of life. Trump has invigorated their passions and created new fears for them. Then there is the statistical evidence. I took a rough poll among Class of 2020 students, and more than three quarters of respondents said that they oppose Donald Trump, with about 13 percent saying they do not oppose him and about 10 percent saying they are unsure. While this is not an airtight poll (some called the question leading), and I am not by any measure a statistician, it is at the very least a representation of the general opposition towards Trump at Vassar. One might argue that it is not the job of a student government to take a stand and be a force for activism. I would refer them to the mission statement on the VSA website which says, among other things, the VSA “shall represent the opinions of the student body, serving as a communications conduit to the Faculty, Administration, Trustees, Alumnae/i, the local community and beyond.” It is the VSA’s job to represent the opinion of the student body: a student body that fears and opposes Donald Trump. This can and should be done through legislation. There is precedent for this kind of action. One particular example, still fresh in the minds of upperclassmen, is the Boycott, Divestment,
Sanctions–or BDS–resolution. According to the BDS website, the resolution “encourages the reconsideration of Vassar College’s economic contributions to human rights violations worldwide,” specifically referring to those violations by Israel on the Palestinians (“What is BDS,” BDS Movement website). This resolution was passed by the VSA and it, along with its amendment counterpart (which would have “prevented VSA funds from being spent on products listed on the resolution because of their ties to human rights abuses”), and voted on by a school-wide referendum. They both failed to pass. According to The Miscellany News, “The resolution received 573 ‘no’ votes and 503 ‘yes’ votes, while the amendment garnered 601 ‘no’ votes and 475 ‘yes’ votes.” This means that not only was it a divisive issue, but a majority of the students actually opposed it. Yet the VSA went ahead with it despite heavy opposition. So why would this resolution be more successful? Well for one, it would be supported by a vastly larger majority of students. It would also be taking a stand on an issue that touches many more Vassar students than those highlighted in BDS. Few of us are the victims of human rights violations in the Gaza Strip, but many of us have witnessed racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and other forms of hate firsthand. This is in no way an ethereal matter, it is a physical one that affects us all in our day-to-day lives. The denunciation of Trump may also do a lot to help Vassar’s image in the world. BDS, despite the support it received, damaged Vassar’s reputation. The Wall Street Journal, in an article about BDS, stated, “A number of events over the past two years have transformed a prestigious institution into a parody ripe for ridicule,” referring specifically to BDS and the pro-Palestine movement. BDS’s defeat was applauded by the Administration, as well as by alumnae/i, many of whom saw it as a misuse of the VSA’s power. One alumnus described the defeat as “a watershed moment.” The resolution I am proposing
would help reaffirm Vassar’s place as one of the most politically active schools in the country, while focusing on issues that actually touch many Vassar students. It could just be the cure for the Vassar’s ailing post-BDS reputation. There are those who may argue with this resolution for various reasons. You might believe that this ignores the minority, but still valid, opinion of the Trump supporters and may foster an increasingly hateful environment for them. They may argue that we shouldn’t be quick to judge Trump before we’ve seen his performance in office (though, winning the presidency is not a big “reset” button, and I will get to that in a moment). They may say he has already started to roll back many of his more radical proposals and reverse his stance on controversial statements he made during the campaign. The importance of this resolution is the nuances that go into it. I’m not telling the VSA how to do their job. They can do this how they feel best. What may be best is to craft it in a way that denounces the ideas he stood for in both the recent and more distant past such as misogyny, racism, homophobia (choosing Mike Pence for VP), antisemitism (appointing Steve Bannon) and Islamophobia to name a few. On the other hand, one must focus on his present actions too. Trump promised to “drain the swamp” and end government corruption. That will be awfully hard to do with the countless Washington insiders, members of Congress and former lobbyists that Trump is stacking his administration and Cabinet with. That’s just the hypocrisy. What about the lies? Just recently he took a settlement on his Trump University case, a case he said he would never settle because of his undeniable innocence. Not to mention the lies about Black crime rates, trade causing jobloss, immigrants taking our jobs and committing more crimes, etc. Donald Trump has made the issues of white supremacy, misogyny and hate such easy ones to oppose. Hate has a face now. That face is Donald Trump. He has made it easy to oppose
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racial discrimination, sexism and homophobia because he has brought it in front of cameras, to massive rallies and now to the doorstep of the White House. He made Steven Bannon, an actual white supremacist and antisemite, one of his top strategists. He is in the same powerful position that Karl Rove, often referred to as George Bush’s puppet master, was in. What better way to tell the world that Vassar College denounces hate than by denouncing its posterboy? There isn’t one. That brings me to my next point. This proposal would have a measurable effect: it would send a message to students and the world. The aforementioned VSA Mission Statement states, “The VSA shall serve, represent, and promote the interests and welfare of the students of Vassar College.” This resolution would do exactly that. This is in the best interest of the Latinx or other foreign student who is concerned about criticism about their residence here in the United States. It can show them that Vassar is a sanctuary for those from outside the U.S. or those who are undocumented. It’s in the best interest of Jews who want to know for sure that VSA opposes antisemitic forces such as the aforementioned Bannon infiltrating our government. It is in the best interest of women who are victims of, or are concerned about, sexual assault by showing them that the VSA stands against champions of misogyny and sexual assault. It is in the best interest of those LGBTQ+ students who feel concerned about homophobia and hate crimes. I would be proud to introduce this resolution to the VSA myself if necessary. I will form an org, hold rallies, lead groups to protests in New York. This would be not only good for Vassar’s image, but more importantly for the many students who feel threatened by the future Trump administration. Take a stand, VSA. Don’t acquiesce. Show the world that this is not an institution that will tacitly accept hatred and ignorance.
December 1, 2016
Mental health care will suffer under Trump Emma Jones Senior Editor
rump’s victory has already spurred an uptick in the need for mental health care nationwide, and yet, the President-elect’s stance on health care implies that we will soon see a decline in accessible mental health services. Crisis hotlines such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and the Trevor Project’s suicide hotline both reported a sharp incline in calls following the election, and the Trans Lifeline received a record number of calls on the night of Tuesday, Nov. 8 (Market Watch, “Trump’s win is causing a surge in demand for mental health services,” 11.12.2016). Crisis response centers across the country have begun reaching out to their respective communities in an effort to expand their staffs. This is not the first time an escalation of crisis hotline calls has been attributed to Trump: in October, RAINN, an organization offering support to sexual assault survivors, experienced a 33 percent increase in calls following the release of a tape in which Trump was recorded bragging about his sexual assault of various women (Market Watch). And yet despite the increased mental strain placed on the country as a whole, a Trump administration will most likely mean dwindling mental health resources. Aside from the President-elect’s evident lack of empathy for minorities and others whose well-being may be disproportionately at risk, the most concrete way that Trump will likely limit resources is reversal of the Affordable Care Act. The Republican Party has frequently made its dissatisfaction with Obamacare clear, and Trump has repeatedly promised to get rid of it or significantly limit its coverage. A few days after the election, Trump asserted, “I would absolutely get rid of Obamacare. [But] I want to keep pre-existing conditions. It’s a modern age, and I think we have to have it” (Forbes, “Donald Trump is right: you can repeal Obamacare and still cover everyone with pre-existing conditions,” 11.12.2016). While he has agreed to cover “pre-existing” physical afflictions–although his plans for doing so remain hazy–Trump’s proposed
mental health coverage is almost nonexistent. His campaign website only vaguely gestures to mental illness, stating, “There are promising reforms being developed in Congress that should receive bi-partisan [sic] support” (donaldjtrump.com, “Healthcare reform to make America great again,” 2016). The threat of shrinking mental health resources means that it is all the more crucial to facilitate sufficient care on college campuses. Vassar students have consistently called for improvements in Vassar’s mental health services: in February 2014, the VSA requested the addition of a post-doctoral fellow position in Metcalf; last winter, Vassar Students for Mental Health petitioned for general improvements within Metcalf; shortly after, the VSA wrote a letter endorsing the petition (The Miscellany News, “Health services lack access, especially when classes end,” 12.02.2015). And yet, mental health services remain inadequate to meet student needs. In the face of a Trump presidency and the subsequent loss of Obamacare–which at this point seems fairly likely–it is all the more crucial for Vassar to focus on mental health care. Much of the College’s shortcomings in terms of mental health care can be attributed to Metcalf’s lack of visibility on campus, as well as its limited hours and staff. Additionally, many students attest that counselors frequently encourage them to look to off-campus services within their first few visits to Metcalf. Seeking outside counseling is an unrealistic option for most students considering the unreliable and costly transportation services available in Poughkeepsie; furthermore, not all healthcare providers cover therapy and counseling. Although the College has begun to address the issue–Metcalf welcomed three new counselors this fall–Vassar’s mental health services continue to lack the depth and comprehensiveness necessary. The addition of more staff members has already decreased the wait time for an initial appointment to under a week, and yet, for some students, a few days can make a significant difference. Scrapping Obamacare will only complicate the process of seeking help for students who require mental health services–and the number is steadily
growing. According to an American College Health Association survey, the number of students who were diagnosed with or treated for depression has increased 10.7 percent since 2011, while 11.6 percent more students have been diagnosed with depression (The Wall Street Journal, “Students flood college mental-health centers,” 10.16.2016). As treatment for those with mental illnesses becomes more scarce, the number of people who land in the emergency room for mental health problems is bound to increase significantly. Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at Brown University Dr. Thomas Chun explains, “We are the wrong site for these patients ... Our crazy, chaotic environment is not a good place for them” (NPR, “How gaps in mental health care play out in emergency rooms,” 10.17.2016). Emergency rooms are often cramped and insufficiently staffed to deal with an escalation in mental health emergencies, which hurts patients, a disproportionate number of which are young people. Dr. Lindsay Irvin, a pediatrician in San Antonio, states that undiagnosed depression has frequently already progressed to suicidal intent by the time young patients end up in the ER (NPR). She adds that this can be attributed in part to the dearth of psychiatrists who specialize in treating adolescents and young adults. After leaving the hospital, the resources for outpatient care simply are not in place: the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry estimates there are only 8,300 such specialists in the U.S., for more than 15 million young patients (NPR). The proportion of students requiring mental health services is steadily increasing both nationwide and within Vassar’s campus, and the number is not likely to decrease anytime soon, particularly considering the current political climate. Although Vassar is first and foremost, of course, an educational institution, it is impossible for students to take full advantage of all that the College has to offer while battling a mental illness. This campus is not only a collection of classrooms, but also a home; Vassar owes it to its students to provide care, to the best of its ability, that will allow them to thrive both academically and otherwise.
Research on regeneration proves beneficial Steven Park Columnist
ut of all the various superpowers found in comic books and video games, regeneration is among the most astonishing. The idea of being able to regrow an arm or a leg whenever one is lost in an accident exemplifies a sort of uncanny magical ability straight out of science fiction. However, ability serves as an adaptive trait for several different animals around the world. While notable examples include sea stars and certain species of lizards, the most prominent kinds of animals known for their regenerative capabilities are salamanders, a species known for its ability to regrow entire limbs and regenerate parts of major organs like their heart, their eyes and their spinal cord (ScienceAlert, “Limb regeneration in humans: salamanders may hold the key,” 06.22.2014). They possess such impressive regeneration abilities that immunologist James Godwin of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University in Melbourne calls them “a template of what perfect regeneration looks like” (LiveScience, “Missing Parts? Salamander Regeneration Secret Revealed,” 05.20.2013). One specific salamander species that deserves special attention is the axolotl, also known as a Mexican salamander (Ambystoma mexicanum). This amphibian in particular has a one-of-a-kind capacity for regeneration and is known for being able to regrow multiple structures like limbs, jaws, skin and even parts of its brain without evidence of scarring throughout their lives (Scientific American, “Regeneration: The axolotl story,” 04.13.2011). The sheer amount of damage that an axolotl can recover from is absolutely extraordinary. “You can cut the spinal cord, crush it, remove a segment, and it will regenerate. You can cut the limbs at any level–the wrist, the elbow, the upper arm–and it will regenerate, and it’s perfect. There is nothing missing, There’s no scarring on the skin at the site of amputation, every tissue is replaced. They can regenerate the same limb 50, 60, 100 times. And every time: perfect,” remarked Professor Stephane Roy at the University of Montreal. As a result, the axolotl is widely used as a model organism for studying regeneration. But this begs the question: can this amazing regeneration ability be somehow
transferred to humans? If human beings had the same regenerative capacity as axolotls, the benefits would far surpass that of regrowing an arm or a leg or a finger. People would be able to repair or regrow their internal organs whenever an organ failure occurs without having to rely on intensive surgery. For instance, victims of car accidents may end up with major injuries to their backbone, their ribcage and all the soft major organs within, but a regeneration ability equivalent to that of an axolotl may have them walking normally after a mere few months. Not only that, the axolotl is over 1,000 times more resistant to cancer than mammals (Scientific American). Finding the source of this salamander’s regeneration capabilities could lead to unimaginable developments in modern medicine. However, while the idea sounds fantastic, the execution is much more difficult than it looks. Compared to amphibians, humans have very limited regenerative capabilities, restricted primarily to their skin. So far, research into salamanders have led scientists to pinpoint the blastema, a mass of immature cells typically found in the early stages of an organism’s development, as the key to regeneration (Futurism, “Human Limb Regeneration: How Close Are We To The Finish Line?,” 08.29.2016). Essentially, when an adult salamander limb is amputated, the outermost layer of skin covers up the wound and sends signals to nearby cells, which prompts the mature cells to form the blastema. From there, the immature cells start to divide and differentiate into specific muscle and nerve cells until a different signal or some form of memory tells the cells to stop regenerating (NCBI, “Developmental Biology, 6th Edition,” 2000). For scientists to replicate this effect in humans, they use stem cells, which are also cells that can also differentiate into any type of cell in the body and divide to produce more stem cells. These cells are also known as pluripotent cells since they are capable of developing into several different cell types. However, the blastema that salamanders produce are not completely embryonic. Instead, scientists have found that the cells used for regeneration become slightly less mature versions of the cells they’ve been before (Wired, “Salamander Discovery Could Lead to Human Limb Regeneration,” 07.01.2009). This means researchers don’t have to
force adult tissue into becoming pluripotent, making the task a little easier to implement in humans. The latest development in this field has come from a group of scientists from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), who have designed a new stem cell repair system based on the method used by salamanders to regenerate limbs (UNSW, “Medical scientists develop ‘game changing’ stem cell repair system,” 04.04.2016). According to haematologist John Pimanda, the new technique involves reprogramming bone and fat cells into induced multipotent stem cells (iMS), which can be used to regenerate muscle, bone and cartilage. The team first extract fat cells from the human body, treat them with various growth factors and compounds like 5-Azacytidine (AZA) to turn them into stem cells, and then inject them back into the body to heal tissue. “This technique is a significant advance on many of the current unproven stem cell therapies, which have shown little or no objective evidence they contribute directly to new tissue formation,” stated Pimanda (UNSW). So far, the new technique has been successful in mice, and human trials are expected to begin by late 2017. But several obstacles still stand in the way. One primary challenge is preventing the cells from becoming cancerous as they go through regeneration. Salamanders typically don’t face the risk of malignant tumors whenever they regenerate tissue, and as stated earlier, the axolotl is in fact 1,000 times more resistant to cancer than mammals, despite how often it regenerates body parts. Right now, Pimanda and his team are making sure that the technique leads to controlled tissue repair and that cell regeneration doesn’t spiral out of control. With progress being steadily made in regenerating bone and muscle, it may be only a matter of time until we reach the regenerative capabilities of salamanders and have self-repairing organs in the future. A revolutionary development like that would certainly save lives and help all types of patients from those suffering from third-degree burns to those who desperately need an organ donor. Until then, researchers will continue to study salamanders and their incredible regeneration abilities to help guide them towards their goal. Who would have thought that these tiny amphibians could spearhead such miraculous changes in medicine?
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Word on the street How do you spell Massachusetts? “M-A-S-S-A-CH-U-S-E-T-T-S... was that correct?” — Sharika Hasan ’19
“M-A... ASS... S-E... “chew”... S-U-T-S” — Amanda Su ’19
“I don’t.” — Holden Jacobs ’20
“M-A-S-S-A-CU-T-E-S... I think there’s an “h” in there too” — Kylan Macleod ’19
“M-A-S-S-A-CH-U-S-E-T-T-S... I can spell that. I was in a spelling bee recently.” — Theresa Law ’18
“M-A-S-S-U-C-HS-S-E-T-S... that’s close enough” — Kevin Ruiz ’19
Evelyn Frick, Humor & Satire Editor
HUMOR & SATIRE
December 1, 2016
Breaking News From the desk of Evelyn Frick, Humor & Satire Editor In an unsurprising turn of events, Donald Trump selects a racist and sexist vat of carbon dioxide to lead the EPA Advice for college from your In time for finals, check out weird younger bro Thaddeus these places to cry at Vassar Zander Bashaw Master Dabber
s a junior in college, you would think that I am prepared to handle the conclusion of my fifth semester, but over Thanksgiving break, I found myself more stressed about academics than I have been my entire “career” as a student. This semester, I foolishly elected to take five classes and three labs, which gives me simultaneously a lot to do and a lot to complain about. Thanksgiving break thus proved to truly be a calm before the storm. I engaged in healthy behaviors such as sleeping without setting an alarm, taking walks with my dogs at a leisurely pace (as opposed to my class-startsin-two-minutes-canter) and drinking only enough coffee to avoid withdrawal symptoms. In addition to the reduction of my resting heart rate, my time spent away from Vassar helped me connect with my family, specifically my 14-year-old brother. Jumping back into life with a high school freshman is truly a change in perspective. To adequately explain this, I have to elucidate a couple key aspects of Thaddeus’s personality (yeah I don’t have the weirdest name in the family). Firstly, he is the Vine app incarnate. At one point this summer, my grandmother had to wrest a water bottle from his hands to prevent him from continuing to toss it on her counter. He dabs on average bi-hourly. He also has injected his rhetoric with the lingo of British gaming YouTubers, including phrases like “No scope,” “You mad?” and “I rate that.” Despite all the evidence pointing to the contrary, I truly and unequivocally love spending time with my brother. Not surprisingly, he further reveals my already glaringly obvious immaturity. While we were playing “Mario Kart” over this break, my mom had to come upstairs and tell us to stop screaming so much. In the past my brother served as a way for me to trickor-treat and play with Legos for far too long. When I trick-or-treated at age 16 as Superman, I used my boyish looks and the horrendous pun of “Supervising” Thad to obtain absurd amounts of chocolate.
This break however, Thad drew on the maturity he has learned from almost half of freshman year of high school to give me some advice about how to approach my finals. As I stepped out of the car at the train station to return to Poughkeepsie and my responsibilities as a student and an editor, he gave me a priceless piece of advice: “Find time to dab every day.” This sentiment was very helpful. The injection of a celebratory gesture such as the dab into collegiate life would serve as a way to reward yourself for work well done. Turn in a prelab? Hit the dab so the security staff can see it on the bridge building camera. Dab when you feel the vibration of the email confirmation for a submitted Moodle assignment. In reality, the advice to dab every day can be interpreted as “find something to obnoxiously celebrate every day.” If something as menial as flipping a water bottle warrants this type of celebration, surely a well executed footnote deserves acknowledgment via this type of gesture. Other aspects of early high school culture could be useful for finals completion as well. For example, for me one of the highlights of early high school was an utter lack of a social life. Why not revert to that reclusive lifestyle now? This follows along with the lack of social life idea, but back in early high school, I had an exemplary, DARE-approved attitude toward drugs and alcohol consumption. If only I could see that lion mascot in my head every time I felt the temptation to switch to irresponsible behavior when an assignment is going slowly. Next time I find the word count of my paper is 420, I won’t start thinking about narcotics, but rather follow in my brother’s footsteps and audibly make the sound of an air horn before returning to my studies. Overall, in a time of the year where we are forced to finish so many tasks as quasi-adults, it is best to let off steam in brief, immature outbursts, as opposed to long periods of procrastination. I hope that I and all of you can find something worthy of a dab at every stage of your preparation for finals.
Larissa Archondo Kleenex Specialist
o you like winter because it means everyone is as sad as you are year-round? Are you stressed out about finals? Cuffing season not going as you’d planned? If crying sessions on your bed aren’t cutting it anymore, we’re here for you! Carefully curated with your best interests at heart, here are some of the best places on campus to just let it all out. The Small Side of the Deece – You can convince yourself that you’re getting more privacy because it’s the small side, but really we all know there’s something extremely satisfying about the public spectacle of a Deece Cry. Let yourself have that moment. Rose Parlor Bathroom – Even though the couch is gone, it’s still perfect for a dramatic Snapchat Story. Enjoy the tasteful wallpaper and go for that mirror selfie. Bonus points if you’re hiding from a Villard Room event. The Pool – If you’re struggling to get the tears out, making the trek to Walker and then passing by people with the self-discipline to actually work out will get a solid flow going. Plus, when you’re underwater, no one can see your tears. Basement Bathrooms in Cushing – They’re single-stall, and there’s no company quite like cobwebs and desperation. You’ll also get a nice sense of accomplishment once you make the decision between the West and East basements. Philosophy Lounge in Rocky – If you’re willing to go up the three flights of stairs, it’s not hard to get to, but you still feel like you’re secluded from the rest of campus. Also a great place to flex your superiority complex (it’s a philosophy lounge) while looking over everyone scrambling around the Quad. Bonus points if it’s on the fire escape. Sex Tree – This location is especially great when you’re feeling masochistic and looking to exacerbate feelings of loneliness and horniness. Just make sure that it’s unoccupied. Metcalf – Works best if you already know
you’re gonna be sad next Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. Don’t worry if you didn’t get an appointment though, the stress balls, pamphlets and candy will help tide you over until the feelings of neglect have passed. Studios in New Hackensack – By the time you get there, you’ll either be feeling a lot better or a lot worse, so this one might be a gamble. Great for when you realize that no one takes your work seriously and that your degree isn’t gonna get you anywhere. Not just for art majors! Practice Rooms in Skinner – These are about as private (and vaguely soundproof) as you’ll get. Take advantage of the aesthetically grated windows and pretend you’re in a music video. Don’t be afraid to bring your friends–there are plenty of rooms to go around. The Stage of the Martel – The perfect spot if you’re looking to take your petty drama to the next level. Get into it by dressing up a little and draping yourself across the grand piano. It really is your world, we’re just living in it. Quiet Meditation Room in the Library – Definitely one of the most peaceful and aesthetically pleasing spots on campus, complete with a beautiful view. You can decide if you want to hug or punch the cushions, just don’t forget to wear nice socks and take your shoes off. Anywhere in Raymond – The only way to take full advantage of the stellar facilities! Check out the basement if you’re feeling spooky, the elevator if you’re feeling brave or the bathrooms if you’ve lost all hope. Bridge on the TH Path – Nothing good ever happens there anyway, so you might as well go for it. Also works well if you throw up when you cry. Bonus points if it’s not a weekend night and you don’t live in the TH’s. Library 24-Hour Room – Sometimes, you just have to be practical about your cry sessions. No shame in handing in a paper with a few tear/ snot/unidentified fluid drops on it. Note: Most of these locations also work well for having sex. Whatever gets you through the semester.
Take our personality quiz: how ready are you for winter break? by Evelyn Frick, A Personality
hanksgiving break is always such a tease. You go back home for a few days, fill yourself with food and pretend that the historical implications of this genocide... I mean holiday, don’t bother you. All the while you lull yourself into a false sense of security. “Oh the semester’s nearly over!” you whisper whilst wrapping yourself into a blanket burrito thicker than a Crunchwrap Supreme. “I’ll write my eight-page paper and read The Waves after this nap! I have time...” WRONG. Sure you feel safe now, but you’ll get back to campus only to remember that after Thanksgiving break, as finals begin to loom, Vassar essentially becomes a war-zone; people are milling about aimlessly, completely shell-shocked and others are weeping on the ground, wishing to be taken out of their pain. It’s truly a magical time of the year. In fact, you’re probably only reading the Misc because you’re procrastinating on even thinking about any of your end-of-term assignments! I feel that. While you’re here, why not take our newest personality quiz: How Ready Are You for the End of the Semester? 1. Have you made winter break plans already?
A. Are you kidding? I’m considering staying on campus! I’d be super pumped to freeze my ass off and live in someone’s room in Noyes! B. I’ve started to think about it...although I’ll probably just end up sleeping a lot. C. I’ve already moved out of my room. I’m counting down the days. 2. What assignments are you working on right now? A. I’m just putting the finishing touches on a final paper! I had so much fun working on it with the research librarians. B. I keep pivoting between a 300-page reading, a 10-page paper, an oral report and baking cookies in order to suck up to my professors. I have hope that I can finish everything in time...I think. C. Every time I look at my syllabuses (syllabi??), I know it’s judging me. 3. Favorite late-night study snack? A. Oh, I don’t have one. Since most of my work is done, I’m in bed by 9 p.m. B. A latte with a few shots of espresso ... Okay, it’s 10, 10 shots of espressos C. Five Hot Pockets 4. What’s the state of your social life?
A. I’m just off to have a wholesome night of playing Scrabble in Lathrop with some friends, actually! B. I’ve been missing a lot of org meetings recently so I haven’t had much human contact. But sometimes I have awkward interactions in the bathroom with my fellowees...so that’s something! C. Yesterday my roommate texted me from the room asking me where I was. I was in my bed but I had been covered in pillows for so long she had to help excavate me. Like an archaeologist. 5. Have you asked any professors for extensions? A. Heavens no! B. I don’t know if I’ll need to, but I’ve been considering it. C. At this point, my entire life is one long extension 6. What’s in your recent search history? A. My LinkedIn profile! Since I have so much time on my hands, I might as well start shaping up my public image. B. I just typed my entire problem set into Google C. Netflix only
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Okay, now tabulate your results! Hey! No! Don’t use a calculator. I know it’s the end of the semester but have some dignity, my sweet dude. If you have a majority of A’s... Amazingly, you’re not only still afloat this semester, you’re tanning atop a flamingo-shaped floatie in your private pool, sipping on pink lemonade. You could go on for weeks without winter break! Whatever you’re smoking, I would like some too. (Seriously...tell me your ways...) If you have a majority of B’s... You’re at the same place as basically everybody else; you’re super ready for break but somehow are still ahead of the work curve. You got this homeboy! If you have a majority of C’s... You were ready for winter break in August. Just keep plodding along, champ, the semester will be over soon enough. If you don’t have a majority of any letter, I really don’t know what to tell you. I made this quiz based on the assumption that humans are simple enough to sort neatly into categories. You’re the exception that proves the rule, I guess.
HUMOR & SATIRE
December 1, 2016
Kylie Jenner given deserved award for the first time Lily Horner
Jenner’s medal ceremony. Many people were thankful to Jenner for putting into words what they themselves could not articulate and they all had stories to tell. Adam, 42, from Wisconsin, finally realized where the remote had been hiding for two years: inside his remote-holder shaped like the book Moby Dick. Diane, 67, from Arizona, realized that her sister had not just been living with Joan for 30 years, but that they were a lesbian couple. The most touching story came from Tracey, 24, from Miami. She used to go by “Trixii” from 2007 to 2015, but realized this year that that name was stupid and went back to her given name. These were only some of the touching stories I had the privilege of hearing on Saturday. Many people told me that they realized their partners were cheating, or that their bras were not the
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today I witnessed the first-ever presentation of the Presidential Medal of Fortune Telling. The recipient of the medal was none other than Kylie Jenner. She was praised for her prediction that 2016 would be the year of “realizing stuff.” Ms. Jenner specifically said: “I feel like every year has a new energy. And I feel like this year is really about... like, the year of just realizing stuff. And everyone around me, we’re just like realizing things. 2016. Looking good.” And while 2016 might not be looking good for the rest of us, it has in fact been a banner year for the young Jenner. She has that lipstick line out, I think it’s called “Kylie”; she has been perpetually in the news for her relationship with musical artist Tyga and her obviously made-up feud with her brother, Rob Kardashian, and his Baby Mother, Blac Chyna. (Dream was not present at the ceremony. Allegedly she was in Los Angeles working on her own line of emojis.) It is true that there is no such thing as bad publicity for Jenner, and she has come out the winner of 2016 with this latest commendation. The path to greatness was not easy for Ms. Other Birds to Pardon Jenner. When the 30-second video came out through her app on Jan. 20, people dismissed Jenner for being vapid and using the word “like” too much. However, once 2016 got underway, ACROSS we understood her message. The lesson of Realiza1. Small bird, also a fruit tion has spread rapidly throughout the world. 5. Pikachu's best friend We realized that people care more about 8. When you make an emoji in real life the death of a gorilla than the death of the guy who played Snape; we realized that Americans 13. Country with largest natural gas would rather vote for an orange with a toupee supply than a woman who is qualified; we also realized that everything is pointless because we are14. all Cease! Desist! Quit it! slowly dying (though some of us knew that 16. for Make something sloped a while already). 17. Add a slight color to Some realizations, however, have been more 18. A tiny amount personal. The intrepid reporter that I am, I went and interviewed some people who came out19. to A Greek mountain nymph
right size. Each and every person at that ceremony was thankful that Kylie was able to help them through this trying year. President Obama told the audience that he realized many things as well. “2016 has been a hard year for many of us,” he said. “I realized that people like Joe Biden more than me, and that I am not memeable like he is,” he remarked. The quip drew many laughs as Joe Biden proceded to put on his aviator sunglasses and shot his finger guns playfully at the audience. It is clear Ms. Jenner has created hope for millions, both in the private and public sector. I was given the chance to talk to Jenner after the medal ceremony. When I asked her if she anticipated this kind of reaction to her video, Kylie answered, “Absolutely. It was like, not a surprise for me at all that people reacted the way they did.”
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The Miscellany Crossword
22. Spanish Renaissance painter, sculptor, and architect SDOWN 26. “Nah, we didn’t go out for dinner, we ____ P __” (2 words) 1. American Girl Kittredge E 27. Flock of smallon seagulls 2. People kissed St. Patrick's Day N 29. Dutch oven, like the cookware D3. "____be" - Spice Girls, 1996 30. Text response to something intended to be 4. First appointment amusing, but isn’t with a doctor or D therapist 31. Even, if you’re running out of syllables E 32. Pineapple or Maple Leaf 5. Disbelieving phrase popularized by S 33. Jesters, alternatively also humans to super
T R E KClueless
Courtesy of Samana Shrestha
6. Ancient Greek portico 7. Excuse for drinking and interrogation thinly veiled as party game (2 words) 8. Static Shock antagonist voiced by Gary Sturgis 9. Smallest, like humans to super villains 10. When you guess too high on The Price is Right? 11. A drink with jam and bread 12. Not as elder 15. Plate that holds the Eucharistic bread 20. Commonly holds shoes or pockets 21. Roman "peace" together (2 words) 22. Spanish Renaisaance painter, 23. Traditional Maori dance sculptor, and architect 24. That's a moray 26. "Nah, we didn't go out for dinner, we 25. Big bucket, probably of chemicals, by Kim Carlson and Mackenzie Little ____ __" (2 words) maybe chocolate ACROSS 50. Chinese concept of life as it is lived 27. villains Flock of small seagulls 28. $1 US = .94 Euro (2 words) 51. Architectural half-dome 34. American character encoding standard (abbr.) 29. Dutch oven, like the cookware 33. US group that monitors flight (abbr) 1. Small bird, also a fruit 54. Getting the government’s hands out of there 35. Specific job of Dr. Perry Cox on Scrubs 30. Text response 36. Mix with honey for an okay cereal 5. Pikachu’s best friend 59. A few cavities in a gland 39. Left-wing (abbr.)to something intended 8. When you make an emoji in real life to be but isn't 61. Foster who plays herself in Barely Famous 40. amusing, “All These Things That ___ Done” - The 37. More legit 13. Country with largest natural gas supply 62. Way of habitual 31. Killers, Even,2004 if you're running out of 38. Land animal withlearning largest eyes 41. What you do to dogs, when they’ve been good 14. Cease! Desist! Quit it! 64. Greek spelling of Orpheus’s brother syllables 41. Batman villain that isn't actually a 43. Cleaned excessively 16. Make something sloped 65. Network of blood vessels 32. 46. Pineapple or Maple Leaf bird 66. A thing! Just one thing Excited beavers 17. Add a slight color to 42. Latin for "in eighth" 47. Commonly eaten by 67-Across 18. A tiny amount 67. The America bird 19.A Greek mountain nymph 8. Dampens grass 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 43. Holds ink, eggs, balls, etc. 20. Commonly holds shoes or pockets together (2 69. Driving destination for food 44. Ensign, shortened words) 13 14 45. Fib finders (2 words) 23. Traditional Maori dance DOWN 49. Breaking your pinky promise with 24. That’s a moray 17 18 25. Big bucket, probably of chemicals, maybe God 1. American Girl Kittredge chocolate 2. People kissed on St.of Patrick’s 50. Chinese concept life asDay it is lived 28. $1 US = .94 Euro (2 words) 20 21 3. “____be” - Spice Girls, 1996 51. Architectural half-dome 33. US group that monitors flight (abbr) 4. First appointment with a doctor or therapist 54. Getting the government's hands out 36. Mix with honey for an okay cereal 5. Disbelieving phrase popularized by Clueless 23 24 37. More legit of there (2 words) 38. Land animal with largest eyes Ancient Greek in portico 59. A6.few cavities a gland 28 29 30 41. Batman villain that isn’t actually a bird 7. Excuse for drinking and interrogation thinly 61. Foster who plays herself in Barely 42. Latin for “in eighth” veiled as party game (2 words) Famous 33 34 35 36 43. Holds ink, eggs, balls, etc. 8. Static Shock antagonist voiced by 62. Way habitual learning 44. Ensign, shortened Gary of Sturgis 45. Fib finders (2 words) 9. Smallest, like humans to super villains 38 39 40 64. Greek spelling of Orpheus's brother 49. Breaking your pinky promise with God 10. When you guess too high on The Price is 65. Network of blood vessels Answers to last week’s puzzle 66. ARight? 42 43 thing! Just one thing Crossword Kitchen 11. A drink with jam and bread N O W S O A S T G U R U67. The America 12. Not as elder bird 45 46 A N O A F I E R I O N E S68. Dampens 15. Plate thatgrass holds the Eucharistic bread S U R F T R A I N O D D S 21. Roman “peace” 69. Driving destination for food A S S A M S T A G E D O O R
Gracious and humble, Ms. Jenner was not going to take full credit. “I want to thank the people around me, though,” she added. “If they hadn’t realized stuff too, I would’ve never predicted that 2016 would be the year of realizing stuff.” I also asked Jenner what exactly she realized in 2016, but she declined to comment. Some of the people to which Jenner was referring were in the audience. Her sister Kendall Jenner was there, looking sullen and somewhat bitter at the realization that her brand is not as successful as her sister’s, even with her new lip job. Her mother, Kris Jenner, was beaming because she realized how much publicity this would garner. The rest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan was absent, but Caitlyn did Skype in to boast how proud she was of her daughter. “I could never really see Kylie as a predictor,” Jenner explained. “But that’s why she’s getting the medal today, instead of me!” Obama and Jenner seemed very friendly during the photo-op. I assume that they had met before Kylie and Malia went to Coachella or something together. Whether or not they had met before, the two were buddying around. Obama pretended to blame Jenner for the outMackenzie Little while and she Kim Carlson come of the election laughed along. When Obama told Jenner she could put Nate Silver out of business, Jenner merely laughed 33. Jesters,and alternatively humans to awkwardly plugged her also new sterling silver jewelry line, coming out February 2017. super villains (It will be called “K” and it will be distribut34. American character encoding ed by Kay Jewelers. It was obvious she does not standard know who(abbr.) Nate Silver is, but honestly I don’t reallySpecific know exactly who he Perry is, either. I’mon a celebri35. job of Dr. Cox ty reporter, not Rachel fricken Maddow.) Scrubs I must admit I still have more realizing to do. 39. Left-wing (abbr.) Thankfully there’s about a month left for me and 40. Things That ___ Done" the"All restThese of the world to get it done. Thanks-to Kylie Jenner,2004 this has been a year of Realizing The Killers, Stuff, and hopefully 2017 will be the year we take 41. What you do to dogs, when they've those Realizations and put them to good use. been Only good time (and Kylie) will tell.
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37 41 44 47
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December 1, 2016
Documentary exposes hidden side of fashion industry Kirk Patrick Testa Coluknist
Courtesy of Bullfrog Films via Alistair Hall
n Wednesday, Nov. 16, the Office of Sustainability and Contrast Fashion Magazine co-sponsored a film screening and clothing swap. The film, screened in Taylor Hall 203, was “The True Cost.” In spite of a meager audience and the fact that the clothing swap did not occur, the film was highly informational and is definitely one to be watched by all consumers of clothing. “The True Cost” is a 2015 documentary directed by Andrew Morgan. The film focuses on the fast fashion industry and the ethical concerns raised by the unfair labor system that exploits people all over the world while also harming our environment. In the film, it is stated that in the 1960s, the American fashion industry produced 95 percent of the clothes its people wore, while now only three percent are produced in the United States, with the rest produced in developing countries. Many of today’s clothes are produced in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Cambodia and China. The reason for this discrepancy is that major brand manufacturers are able to minimize costs and maximize profits by forcing companies in those countries to compete against each other. The international brands pressure the factory owners by threatening to close the factory and move production to another country if the clothes are not cheap enough. As a reaction to this, the factory owners pressure their workers to produce as cheaply and quickly as possible. Sustainability Director Alistair Hall explained why this film was chosen to be screened. As he stated, “We wanted to tell a sustainability story that centered on the human and social impacts of business as usual, rather than the traditional environmental issues. The Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 killed more than one thousand people. This tragedy was and is connected to our ever-increasing collective demand for new, trendy and inexpensive clothing.” Though the garment manufacturing industry
is estimated to be worth three trillion dollars by Morgan, the film emphasizes that the working conditions in the countries that fuel the industry are poor. In addition to poor working conditions and low salaries, garment industry workers have a difficult time demanding their rights. For example, the movie provided evidence that in the event of worker protests and the demand for better working conditions and wages, Bangladeshi workers in Dhaka are beaten by their employers while Cambodian workers are shot by police. In Dhaka, workers must work in hot and chemical-ridden environments and structurally unsound buildings. The film shows the events of the 2013 Savar building collapse, when an eight-story commercial building named Rana Plaza collapsed. I asked Lucas Kautz ’17 about his thoughts on the film. He replied, “In my opinion, ‘The True Cost’ successfully addressed the vast collection of problems we are facing due to today’s growing fashion industry. It did so through its comparison of multiple sides related to over-consumption.” The film also highlights the negative impacts of the fashion industry on the environment. It interviews activists and workers in India and Texas about the rise in the use of genetically modified cotton and the negative repercussions this entails for the environment, especially many innocent lives forced to labor and live with harmful chemicals. Perhaps the most shocking piece of information from the film was that it stated that the garment industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. This is not being ameliorated by the fact that there has been a 500 percent increase worldwide in clothing consumption compared to rates from the 1990s. Despite this, clothes are quickly disposed of. For example, an average American wastes 82 pounds of textiles a year! And though the thought of thrift shops may be nice, only 10 percent of donated clothes actually go to thrift shops—the rest go to landfills. In addition to the weakening of local industries by
Vassar’s Office of Sustainability, along with the student-run fashion magazine Contrast, sponsored a screening of “The True Cost,” which exposes conditions behind the “fast fashion” phenomenon. this constant disposal of clothes, land and water are polluted since most clothing is made from non-biodegradable materials. After watching the film, the concept of personal style came to my mind. Many lovers of fashion express their personal style by often buying new clothes. Kerry Ann Millin ’19 shared her thoughts with me regarding style and consumption. She said, “I don’t see that it is truly detrimental to one’s style to be less consumptive ... There is no reason to have the high levels of waste that we have in order to be fashion forward. Buying second-hand, having hand-made clothing, specifically for you or having smaller wardrobes can all contribute to stylish, environmentally friendly fashion.” Regarding in what ways Vassar students can do more to spread awareness of the “True Cost”
of the fashion industry, Hall remarked, “The holiday season is the height of consumption and consumerism in the U.S., through buying local and second-hand or by giving experiences rather than things we can support brands and organizations that match our values. After the film screening a small clothing swap was organized in coordination with the Vassar Greens Free Store and with the student campaign mobilizing support for the #NoDAPL water protectors. Each year our SWAPR program diverts and donates more than 5,000 pounds of clothing at the end of the year. More clothing swaps could be organized on campus to reduce this amount.” Overall, the screening of “The True Cost” showcased an important and pervasive—though often overlooked—issue facing modern clothing consumerism.
Acclaimed poet explores depth of human experience Lucy Ellman
n a 2015 interview for NPR, poet Jane Hirshfield expressed, “Compassion, in a way, is one of the most important things poems do for me, and I trust do for other people. They allow us to feel how shared our fates are” (NPR, “‘Windows’ That Transform the World: Jane Hirshfield on Poetry,” 03.15.2015). In times like these, when our campus feels the weight of all our combined fates, compassion for others is more important than ever. Art is oftentimes the key to understanding, and Hirshfield’s public lecture this Thursday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. in Taylor Hall 203 may offer us some new perspectives on our shared experiences. An award-winning poet, essayist and translator, Hirshfield received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, graduating in the school’s first class to include women. She is the author of eight collections of poetry, including
“The Beauty” (2015)—a finalist for the National Book Award—as well as “Come, Thief” (2011) and “After” (2006), both shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot prize. Her collections of essays, “Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World” and “Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry,” are considered to be seminal works in their field. After working to co-sponsor this event with the Creative Arts Across Disciplines (CAAD), Professor of English Patricia Wallace spoke of her excitement for the poet: “Jane Hirshfield is a wonderful, accessible poet, a beautiful essayist and a translator ... I have admired her work for many years and wished we could bring her to Vassar.” Professor Wallace immediately thought of Hirshfield when the Mellon Foundation provided a grant to support an interdisciplinary faculty seminar entitled “Coming to Our Senses: Creativity, Attention and the Contemplative Arts,”
Courtesy of Steven Barclay Agency
Award-winning poet, essayist and translator Jane Hirshfield visited Vassar to give a talk about and reading of her work on Thursday, Dec. 1, sponsored by the Creative Arts Across Disciplines.
for which Hirshfield is now one of two speakers. As Wallace remarked, “I immediately thought of Jane as a guest for one of the seminar sessions, since she has written beautifully about creativity in her two essay collections (‘Nine Gates’ and ‘Ten Windows’) and since her poems are such careful acts of attention.” Hirshfield is not only a prolific writer, but is also an ordained lay practitioner of Zen Buddhism who put aside her writing to spend eight years studying at the San Francisco Zen Center. Hirshfield explained, “I felt that I’d never make much of a poet if I didn’t know more than I knew at that time about what it means to be a human being. I don’t think poetry is based just on poetry; it is based on a thoroughly lived life. And so I couldn’t just decide I was going to write no matter what; I first had to find out what it means to live.” Due to her focus on “life,” her poetry often ranges in subject, from the metaphysical to the political and scientific, and even to the simple events of the day to day. Her careful attention to detail makes the poet stand apart from the crowd. Professor Wallace emphasized this skill, stating, “As Jane’s poems often demonstrate, paying attention asks what else, what next, what more, what deeper, what hidden?” Now is certainly not the time to turn away from the uncomfortable, and Professor Wallace praises Hirshfield’s, saying, “[She has an ability] to call on the creative power of attention, which makes visible what is otherwise hidden, ignored or silenced.” Interdisciplinary Arts Coordinator Tom Pacio was excited to hear these words from the source, stating, “I think it is a great gift when an artist can share their work directly with a group of people. How wonderful to hear these words being read by the person who wrote them.” Poetry is oftentimes a vehicle by which we can find common ground through the unexpected subtleties of prose. Pacio commented: “Personally, I think that in any time it can be a struggle to be truly present in a moment, to be present with others and even to be present with ourselves.” “I think recent events offer an increased
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challenge to our attention,” he continued. “I look forward to discovering for myself how Ms. Hirshfield’s work will address this.” Kayla Schwab ’17 is also eagerly anticipating the upcoming reading and is interested in how poetry can help illuminate the world around us. She said, “I’m hoping that people will use the election results to fuel their artistic expression via poetry, for so much can be said in so few words and much change can take place through art.” Poetry is the perfect medium for Schwab, and she praises how it is “open in that it allows for people to express whatever they want however they want.” Thursday’s lecture will invite attendees to participate in a new, shared experience, one where the inadequacies of everyday language is set aside for something more unique. As Professor Wallace illustrated, “In the midst of a political discourse that flattens out human experience and offers us inadequate ‘explanations,’ poetry provides another kind of language, one which presses to open a deeper understanding, where the thinking of heart, mind and body can come together.” Our minds can no longer be narrowed, and Professor Wallace highlighted Hirshfield’s unique ingenuity in this regard, stating, “I think enlarging the capacity to pay attention—to see others and the world around us deeper than our narrow habits of seeing—is the source of compassion.” On expressing grief, award-winning poet Hirshfield stated, “The poem is broken off in exactly the way a life is broken off, in exactly the way grief breaks off, takes us beyond any possible capacity for words to speak.” In such strange and confusing times as these, it is important that we begin to understand one another and learn to seek common ground in the midst of tragedy. Compassion for others, and the struggles that those in our community and across the nation will face in the years to come is more important than ever and is the starting point from which we will move forward. Hirshfield’s lecture and reading in Taylor 203 on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. will search for this understanding.
December 1, 2016
The 1975 showcases their talent in Connecticut show Patrick Tanella
Assistant Arts Editor
Fall 2016 Tour
The 1975 Dirty Hit
emerged onto the stage and everything went black before the stage erupted into bright pink for the band’s leading single off their newest album, “Love Me.” The crowd was ecstatic and as lead singer Matty Healy said “What’s up Connecticut” in between verses, the sounds of teenage girls losing all of their shit could be heard vibrating throughout the arena. The band effortlessly transitioned into “Ugh,” another signature track off of “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” the band’s mouthful of a sophomore album. The show primarily played songs from it, but also included popular tracks from their first album, “The 1975,” and a collection of ambient tracks from their four EPs. The first third of their massive 22-song playlist was filled with dance-heavy jams that kept that crowd going insane. “This Must Be My
Courtesy of Markus Hillgärtner via Wikimedia Commons
here is usually a large discrepancy between how an artist sounds in the studio versus at a live show. Singers such as Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Selena Gomez have to lip sync to sound the same, and other artists just aren’t as good live. However, this is the opposite case for English alternative pop/rock band The 1975. Their instrumentals and vocals are accentuated in each live show they play, and they continue to astound me with how beautiful their music sounds when it is right in front of you. After the last notes dwindled in Asbury Park, NJ, where I saw The 1975 live last summer, I immediately thought to myself that I needed to see this band again. When I found out that they would be playing a show in Connecticut, I jumped at the opportunity and grabbed some friends to come with me on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The ride there was blissful, and as I was the only person that had seen them live before, I could sense the excitement coming from everyone as we stopped at a rest stop for food. We arrived at Mohegan Sun Arena, an immense, secluded casino close to New London, CT. The crowd was the most varied I had ever seen at a show. There were grandmothers that looked like they were lost, tired dads who were hating their lives, dragged to the show by their teenage daughters and then 20-somethings like us who were willing to drive over a hundred miles to see this band. Unlike the previous time I saw them, I was not in general admission, but rather in a seat fairly close to the stage. As the lights went down, the crowd screamed as a DJ appeared on the stage. He reminded me of DJ Khaled by continually cutting off a song once the audience would get into
it and repeatedly asking if everyone was ready for The 1975. A couple of minutes in, a man with dreadlocks came onto the stage and started moaning different sounds into his microphone. At first I thought that it was a random guy who hobbled onto the stage, but the DJ then announced him as the opener, 070 Shake. Shake melodramatically complained through about 20 minutes of music and reminded me of a moody Fetty Wap. I’ve heard bad music before and sat through terrible DJs and bands. However, this had to be the worst. Thankfully Shake was over as quickly as he began, and the crowd became excited again. At 10 minutes to 9:00 p.m., a buzzing sound began. As the clock creaked towards 9, the sound became louder and smoke appeared on the stage, and finally, the opening notes to the title song, “The 1975,” began to play. As it began to finish, the band
After a rocky opening act, British rock band The 1975 showed off their upbeat jams and unique style of stage design in an outstanding concert in Connecticut a few weeks ago.
Dream,” “M.O.N.E.Y.” and “Robbers” were personal favorites, yet I was confused as to what happened with the second third of the setlist. While the most surprising play was “Undo,” a mellow EP track, the rest of that part of the setlist was a mixture of pop dance tracks and relaxed instrumentals that tended not to blend well. Songs such as “She’s American” would hype you up, but then a 15-minute interlude of “Please Be Naked” and “Lost My Head” does not necessarily kill the vibes, but definitely brings you back down. I love the instrumental tracks just as much as anyone, but I always come to shows to dance and hear Healy’s unique vocals. The encore consisted of a surprising play of “Medicine,” a laid-back track released in the interim period between the two albums. It’s my least favorite song by the band, but it was still interesting to see live. Following that, a beautiful rendition of “If I Believe You” left the crowd speechless before erupting for the classic “Chocolate.” Finally, they closed with “The Sound,” and everyone was jumping as the final chorus played and Healy thanked us for being one of the best shows they had ever played. I was left voiceless and just stared at my friend, incredulous at the beauty we had just witnessed. Songs such as “You” and “fallingforyou” were taken off of the playlist for some strange reason, and I cannot fathom why. While the concert was absolutely stunning and each second of the almost two-hour set blew me away, I was still disappointed that some of my favorite songs weren’t played. The 1975 is not just a band you can listen to on an iPhone. Their songs are expanded live, as each note is accentuated and the sound feels more complete. Everything that you cannot capture in a studio is apparent on that stage. My favorite aspect of their show is always the visuals, and I find myself excited to see which bright colors and themes that will appear as each song begins to play, whether it be the bleak blacks and grays for “Undo” or pink/ lime green for “Somebody Else.” This band continues to astound me, and I cannot wait to see them again in the future.
Common returns to rap scene with soulful, poetic album Jimmy Christon Columnist
Black America Again
asily one of my favorite hip-hop groupings has to be the Soulquarians. It wasn’t a big rap collective or anything like that, nothing like the A$AP Mobs or Wolf Gangs we have today (RIP 2011-2015). The Soulquarians were just a bunch of hip-hop and R&B artists that came together to collaborate on projects. You’ve probably heard about some of these people before. The Soulquarians aren’t some super-underground pretentious group of coffee-house rappers. No, the Soulquarians were people like Questlove, D’Angelo, Q-Tip and the late J Dilla. If the names aren’t ringing any bells, Questlove is the drummer for the Roots, so think Jimmy Fallon, and Q-Tip is from A Tribe Called Quest. It’s on you, though, if you don’t know who J Dilla and D’Angelo are. One member of this group was the man himself: Common. Common’s been in the game forever and has some classics under his belt (“Be,” “Resurrection”) and some under-appreciated albums (“Like Water for Chocolate”), and he’s come through again with his “Black America Again.” Common has always been one of my favorite members of the Soulquarians because he seems to embody all the best aspects of the group. Common has an ear for smooth, soulful and jazzy beats that complement his thoughtful lyrics. Along with this, Common might be the only successful rapper I can think of that has made his faith part of his music without either 1) sounding like Lecrae and 2) making his faith a selling point of his music (Chance and Kanye). At the same time, I’ve always had a problem with Common: He’s awkward. Common can make great, heartfelt tracks that seem to touch my soul. He can also makes songs where he’s as stiff as a
Courtesy of Mika Väisänen via Wikimedia Commons
Common Def Jam
board. You can tell that Common has struggled trying to balance his faith with speaking for the streets. Some of his best tracks, however, balance these things beautifully. Thankfully, “Black America Again” is Common at his best. This album has it all: the jazzy production, the faithful lyrics and the awkwardness is at a minimum. This is Common’s strongest project since his “Be” from 2005, and it is definitely in the running for one of my favorite projects of the year. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to “To Pimp a Butterfly” in conversations about this album, but I can’t agree with that. Common does his own thing on this album and delivers a biting commentary of the society around us. If you can’t tell by the title, this is another socially conscious hip-hop album, and more in the style of East Coast conscious hip-hop than West Coast styles. “Black America Again” pulls from the tradition of acts like The Roots, Mos Def, Blackstar and Common’s older works. Common’s commentary on “Black America Again” is wordy, lyrical and thoughtful. What this means is that this album is more verse than it is hook, and some tracks remind me of Def Jam beat poetry more than hip-hop music. And that’s fine. It’s great, actually. Common delivers some of his best tracks in ages here. It’s just that if you aren’t into that style of hip-hop, this album might not be for you. “I pass life like I been here before,” Common states on the Old Dirty Bastard sampling track “Pyramids.” This is an apt statement for this album. This style of hip-hop isn’t anything new for Common. He’s always been “conscious,” he’s always been lyrical and he’s always been able to craft excellent songs. What’s different this time around is how heated Common is. Common was always one of the cooler heads in the hip-hop scene. When Kanye was on TV declaring that George Bush didn’t care about Black people, Common was making songs like “It’s Your World” off of “Be.” This time around however, Common is blatant in his declarations, and he is angrier than he’s ever been. The Stevie Wonder-featured track “Black America Again” is most indicative of this aspect of
The rapper Common’s new album, “Black America Again,” combines a lot of elements from his former group, the Soulquarians, such as soulful beats and an alternative hip-hop style. the album. The track is also one of the many high points for me. Common is depressingly hopeful as he questions the nature of freedom in America and who writes history for Black America. His rhyme scheme is also off the charts. The track really sets the bar for the rest of the album. And how is the rest of the album? Does it live up with the bar this sets? I’d say that for the most part, it does. The only real lull in the album that I can think of is the track “Love Star,” which is the album’s poppiest cut. If you didn’t understand English, this song still wouldn’t be that bad. It has this cool, bass-heavy production, and the hook by PJ has a nice rhythm to it. But unfortunately for the track, Common decides to get sexual—uncomfortably sexual. Sexual lyrics have their place and are pretty popular among the Soulquarian artists, but there is a huge difference between Voodoo-era D’Angelo and what Common says on this track. It’s just cringe-worthy, and it takes me out of a track that is otherwise pretty smooth. Other than this one lull, however, I don’t really
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have anything bad to say about this album. The album almost immediately picks up after “Love Star” with the track “Red Wine,” which I think is just a better version of what Common was trying to do on “Love Star.” Then there is the last stretch of the album. The last three songs are perfect as an ending to the album and perfect for the style of music that Common is trying to craft. “Little Chicago Boy” in particular has an absolutely stellar closing by Gospel musician Tasha Cobbs. When the organ kicks in at the end of this track, I get goosebumps. Seriously, it’s one of the more surprising high moments from this album. “Black America Again” is not an upbeat album by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s a sense of optimism that pervades throughout the tracks that I absolutely love. The optimism has always been what’s drawn me to the Soulquarians. It’s refreshing to see someone with an optimistic outlook on what’s to come in America when there’s so much to be critical of.
December 1, 2016
“Moana” breaks Disney norm with strong female lead Evelyn Frick
Humor & Satire Editor Moana
Musker and Clements Walt Disney Pictures
maid” or “Aladdin,” the moral I got time and again was that princesses, no matter how independent, needed a male counterpart. And further, this male counterpart often acted as a liaison to the real world or the savior for the princess. With “Moana,” I saw a young woman with a strong sense of self presented with a substantial task and fulfilling it without needing a man to help her. And she was complete at the end of the movie without love. Another aspect of the movie I loved was the fact that the filmmakers did not just use another culture as a backdrop for this story, but rather, the movie was immersed and foregrounded in Polynesian culture. As someone who came to the movie with very little knowledge of the history and culture of the South Pacific islands, I appreciated that, after Disney’s limited and often flawed forays into representations of other groups, i.e. “Pocahontas,”
Courtesy of Disney via The Daily Beast
or those Disney fans who still can’t get over “Frozen,” I would suggest taking a hint from the soundtrack and “let it go” because Disney Picture’s latest animated film “Moana” deserves praise in every category. “Moana” is the story of a teenage girl, the character, whose destiny is one day to take over for her father as the chief of a small Polynesian island. (Yes, you read that correctly. Moana is unquestioningly presented as a leader among her people, no husband necessary.) But Moana is fascinated by the sea, and when her island begins to die, she has to save her people. With her pet rooster Heihei and the demigod Maui in tow, they take to the sea to return a pounamu stone to the goddess Te Fiti, which will bring life back to the islands. What ensues is a great adventure, interesting for all ages, filled with drama, comedy and some great music. I ended up seeing “Moana” on a whim when I went home for Thanksgiving. As a childhood lover of all things Disney, I grew up revering Disney Princesses like Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Jasmine and Belle. In the past few years, I haven’t kept up to date on watching Disney movies. But I’m so glad my sister suggested this movie for the the simple reason that Moana stands apart from her predecessors as a clear, intersectional feminist figure. From the beginning of the movie, Moana is presented as a strong, independent woman of color. Moreover, throughout the movie in songs like “How Far I’ll Go,” “I Am Moana” and “Know Who You Are,” it is reinforced that Moana is cut from the same cloth as her brave, intelligent and compassionate ancestors. And while Moana is eventually paired with Maui, the male demigod character,
their pairing is of necessity more for Maui than Moana. For, in a reversal of the Western mythology of the Garden of Eden, Maui lost Te Fiti’s pounamu stone, was banished to a stone island for a thousand years and needed the extra push from Moana to correct his mistake. Even more refreshing is that not only are Moana and Maui never romantically linked (or implied to be romantically linked), there is no “Prince Charming” character in the entire film. In every Disney Princess-type movie, the prince or the princess finding a mate is the crux of the entire film. At this point, that movie structure is formulaic and predictable. But even more important is what message the choice to deviate from that troupe sends to young viewers. As a young viewer myself once, watching movies like “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Little Mer-
Disney’s new film “Moana”—a beautiful exploration of the Polynesian culture—is a refreshingly yet unfortunately unique film in its depicted hero, an independent woman of color.
“Moana” told a beautiful and authentic story, inextricable from its roots, that was not watered down for a (presumably) mostly white audience. Rather, using Maui, a Polynesian cultural hero, created an aura around the film, as if it were telling the oral history of another canonical icon, Moana. The animation and music also play a great role in creating a colorful and vivid image of island life. The ocean, a character in its own right, is constructed almost anthropomorphically; the bright turquoise sky, reflecting against the clear sea water, was almost distracting at times. It seemed to move of its own volition. At the same time, the water rolling onto the beaches which erupted into verdant mountainscapes, and other fecund flora, kept the viewer rooted in the South Pacific. The music had the same effect. Familiar with Disney’s usual repertoire, I expected the movie to have a never-ending soundtrack of Broadway-esque showtunes. It did not. The music consists of a few, memorable themes. Songs like “Where You Are” and “You’re Welcome” are playful and light. In other songs, like “We Know the Way” and “How Far I’ll Go,” passion is incarnated in melodic choruses and harmonies. In almost all the songs though, there are instruments and song lyrics which nod to the South Pacific culture of the story. I think another strength is that the music supplements an already great story. One could remove the music from “Moana” and get wonderful standalone music, but one wouldn’t feel as though the story was incomplete either. But in addition to the skillfully written plot, the music acts as an agent which only heightens the drama and adventure. All of these qualities stand as tribute to the virtuosity of the composers, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa‘i and Mark Mancina. Overall, I would highly recommend this movie to anyone. From the intriguing story to the engaging music to its feminist undertones, I was impressed with the entire production. One can only hope that Disney will continue producing movies that lean in the direction of telling girls of every culture that they are strong and smart, with a solid accompanying soundtrack and beautiful animation.
A Tribe Called Quest back after a two-decade hiatus Josh Ramirez
We got it from Here… Thank you 4 your Service
A Tribe Called Quest Epic Records
erhaps with the least foreseen release in a year, already riddled with unpredictability, A Tribe Called Quest managed to reemerge from an 18year creative slumber. And good god, did we miss them. If it weren’t already difficult enough, a near two-decade hiatus was only a single obstacle amongst many that the Tribe faced while working on this project. To the misfortune of many, the legendary emcee, producer and seminal founder of the group, Malik Taylor, the rapper known as Phife Dawg whose nimble, clever rhymes helped launch A Tribe Called Quest to both commercial and critical success died due to complications from diabetes earlier this March.
But, once in a blue moon, an album arises that defies the commonality and makes use of all its talent.
Besides overcoming that wait, it is easy to understate (or even fail to acknowledge) the array of accomplishments that come with this album. With “We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service”, A Tribe Called Quest cements its legacy as a timeless hip-hop group. It is a solid comeback album, it balances with delicacy the hybrid of a posthumous/tribute work, it remains true to the original Tribe spirit by tapping into the ’90s, but not relying on mere nostalgia to deliver, and most importantly: it sounds great in 2016. The task of creating a great album in different decades inside an ever-changing genre is, all by itself, rather miraculous. A special shout out to Kamaal Ibn John Fareed aka Q-Tip is an absolute necessity. His impact is incalculable, as he served as the primary producer for the first three A Tribe Called Quest albums
along with the responsibility of delivering some of the most memorable verses of all time. One might even argue that despite the long list of guests, this final album is, in fact, his brainchild. Take for example what Busta Rhymes said of Tip’s role on the new album: “He was great at being the director for all of us. He was great at conducting the whole picture.” Technically speaking, Tip’s flow has only evolved and become better overtime. As the late Beastie Boy MCA said, “My rhymes age like wine as I get older.” Same is true for Tip. Appropriately and remarkably, then, Q-Tip’s flow is at its finest when delivering his closing remarks regarding Phife: “We gon’ celebrate him / Elevate him / Papa had to levitate him / Give him his and don’t debate him / Top dog is the way to rate him.” Rest In Peace, Phife. A Tribe Called Quest is forever.
Courtesy of atcq on Instagram
This detrimental loss resonates within the album as the theme of tribute is developed and delivered beautifully. Phife Dawg’s posthumous verses carry the weight only achievable by the few whose souls are intertwined, encapsulated and at one with the spirit of hip-hop. As Busta Rhymes, a frequent collaborator and legend in his own respect put it best when he rapped on the closing track, “The Donald”: “Phife Dawg / you spit wicked every verse / Them no say / respect Trini man first.” And respect, people and artists alike, shall.
A Tribe Called Quest’s sixth (and final) album, “We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service” retains the classic jazz-influenced, afro-centric funk alongside clever but subtle rock sampling (most notably of Black Sabbath’s “Behind The Wall Of Sleep”), all topped with conscious rap via political contemplation. This political rhyming is tied directly to the unraveling election in which Phife raps about the urgency to unite: “It’s time to go left and not right / Gotta get it together forever / Gotta get it together for brothers / Gotta get it together for sisters / For mothers and fathers and dead n—-s / For non-conformists, one hitter quitters / For Tyson types and Che figures.” This idea of unity is attributable not only in the macroscopic sense, as in the Tribe’s message to the outside listeners, but also to the group’s internal turmoil as it attempts to find consolidation. For the need to unite is merely bolstered by a death in the family. Once upon a time in hip-hop, high-profile collaborations provided the perfect platform for rappers to showcase their chemistry through clever interplay, call-and-response exchange and capture a spectacle akin to flying trapeze artists who boast agility, finesse and raw talent. The mellow track “Dis Generation” does just that plus one. A tradeoff of bars between four rappers (Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Jarobi, & Phife) is smoothly delivered with such seamless interplay and such fluidity that even the Beastie Boys would commend. This impeccable unison is also evident in the broader scope of the album. Boasting vocals from R&B artist Anderson .Paak, an original outro by the great Elton John, an uncredited hook courtesy of Kanye West, unmistakable guitar playing by The White Stripe’s own Jack White, another tongue twister from the elusive Andre 3000 (who is rumored to join ATCQ), frequent collaborator Busta Rhymes, Jarobi (of course), Talib Kweli, Consequence and another legend in the making, Kendrick Lamar. With all of that star power, it is all too easy for an album to lose its coherency and fly off the tracks into becoming yet another forgettable, cluttered misfire. But, once in a blue moon, an album arises that defies the commonality and makes use of all its talent. This year’s exception was thankfully delivered, despite an 18-year wait.
A Tribe Called Quest’s new album, “We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service,” features jazzy tracks with afro-funk influences, a smooth combination that makes for a great listen.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
December 1, 2016
Musical illustrates fall of American royalty THEATER continued from page 1
Courtesy of Lindsay Matheos
definition of what it means to be a student-artist, he shared: “What I do know is that being an artist on this campus seems to be a way of life—a nonstop way of life ... My work is never complete, and there is always something coming up.” Because artists are most often validated by their participation, many feel constant pressure. This idea was not news to actress Daisy Walker ’18. She agreed, “Being a student-artist is definitely an all-consuming thing, or at least something that verges on all-consuming.” A rehearsal and performance schedule calls on an incredible amount of physical and emotional energy. Balancing this alongside academic performance is a given, and yet it is a constant struggle for many artists. Walker explained, “Often the art I’m working on is not at all connected with academics. While working on a Drama Department show is technically a class, student theatre is an extracurricular.” She continued, “I often wish I could responsibly prioritize my creative pursuits more than I feel I am able to, or that they had more acknowledgment as a really all-consuming activity, but ah well.” In spite of the frustrations intrinsic to being invalidated by multiple academic communities, artists persevere and stick with their craft. Walker added, “We do it because we love it, even when it’s exhausting and stressful, and there’s something really great about that!” Designers and actors involved in the creation of “Grey Gardens” displayed an impressive level of commitment to the challenging piece. Speaking to the level of responsibility required in maintaining the integrity of the characters’ lives, Rezes remarked, “In light of recent political events, it became more important than ever, in my mind, to show an honest representation of family and love and femme power ... From day one, I knew that I wanted to reclaim the story of ‘Grey Gardens’ from the vices of the male gaze and the vicious grasp of objectification. The mere production of this musical risks furthering the sensationalism surrounding very real pain. I did not want to contribute to that. We wanted to give Edith and Edie a fair portrayal ... The least we could do was show how truly real and daringly transgressive they were.”
Pictured above, Little Edie (played by Becca Slotkin ’18) receives the news that her father will not attend her engagement party, to the dismay of her family and future husband. This director was not alone in his challenging responsibility to honest portrayals. As an actor and musician, Luton also struggled with the unique nature of his role in the show. He explained, “I’ve been in many situations that required singing and playing simultaneously. However, this particular role was challenging because it required staying in character through the entire piece. I was more than just an accompanist in view of the audience. I very much enjoyed exploring my character’s presence, both as a human being and as a ghost, trapped in an old house, his voice playing through a dusty record. Staying in character was an effort to play from my own mind.” The piece did not appear to be easy for anyone involved. Walker admitted, “‘Grey Gardens’ is probably the most challenging of any other show I’ve worked on before. Being onstage for so long, and switching between characters at intermission was definitely exhausting. Especially because we did four shows within 24 hours, by the end of the weekend I was basically asleep, but it was very rewarding and really cool to just live
in the world of ‘Grey Gardens’ so intensely for that period of time. A lot of physical and mental stamina definitely has to go into a show like this!” There is no exaggeration here. This two-and-ahalf-hour piece had people crawling on the floor as cats, playing instruments, tearing up exorbitant amounts of newspaper and singing plenty of songs. A musical like this does not come together on its own. It takes a kind of creative grit to sing a solo number as if there is a full band and chorus behind you. It takes a special kind of stamina to tell a story as sad as “Grey Gardens” in a way that energetically engages a full audience throughout the most serious moments. At the end of a production, it is important to look back and give attention to some of the highlights of the overwhelming process. In this light, Rezes remarked, “[In rehearsal] empathy and honesty would illicit the most extraordinary reactions in my mind. We were constantly exploring and experimenting with the characters, and some things would last, some were extremely ephemeral. But, like I always say, true theatre is just as transient.”
A weekly space highlighting the creative pursuits of student-artists
Excuse me, What arguments did you get in over Thanksgiving?
“Who had the better fantasy football team” — Jimmy Christon ’19
“I had an argument with myself as to whether or not I should get out of bed” — Dakota Lee ’19
“Whether to use cooked green beans or canned for casserole” — Sheng Lim ’17
submit to firstname.lastname@example.org
God Grant Me the Serenity
“The f irst one was about the election...” — Kevin Fernandez ’20
by Kimberly Nguyen
God, grant me the serenity
the courage to change what I can
I see the way you look at her, the way your eyes gently caress her fragile body and nestle her close to your heart, the same way I look at you.
I’ll tell you I’ll be okay, that the hole I carved out in my heart so that you could fill it will slowly fill in with my own blood and scar while you leave unscathed.
to accept the things I cannot change,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
It is 2 AM and I am begging for peace the entire way to the university chapel to ask God what to do when love is not enough
I bow my head at the chapel doors, the stained-glass window flickering the image of the cross that I will bear then let go the same way I’ll let you go: reluctantly and then acceptingly.
“I stayed here... so no arguments” — Edgar Lozano ’20
“No arguments, my family is pretty functional” — Tahsin Oshin ’20
Kimberly Nguyen ’19 is a poet and photographer originally from Omaha, Nebraska. She is a sophomore English major, and she hopes to be Michael Joyce when she grows up. In her free time, she writes and maintains a strong Instagram game. She is currently working on her third published work, which is set to be released early next spring.
Evelyn Frick, Humor & Satire Editor
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
December 1, 2016
Rugby powerhouse heads to Final Four championships Fiona MacLeod Guest Reporter
worked really hard this season to organize a better defensive line and to come up quickly when the opposition brings the ball out of the ruck,” Elson explained. Improving upon these faults, Vassar dominated the game against the University of Albany in the Sweet 16 of the championships. Winning the match 34-5, the Brewers secured advancement to the Final Four. While the points scored by the Great Danes remained low, the team brought an intense, competitive game to the Vassar Farm. Although snow was covering the ground, the Brewers showed up to the match eager to take home a win. The first try of the game was scored by Vassar’s senior prop Mariah Ghant, which was almost immediately returned by Albany, but was narrowly avoided with crucial tackles and
Courtesy of Carlisle Stockton
hough the women’s rugby team defeated the University of Albany twice prior in the current season, the third win proved to be the charm for the Brewers. This past Sunday, as Vassar pulled away with a 34-5 win over the Great Danes at home, the Brewers secured a spot for themselves in the Final Four of the USA Rugby National Fall Championship. The Brewers have dominated their scheduled games for this season, winning 11 out of 12 matches. Their one loss came against the Golden Rams of West Chester University in the midst of October. But the players did not allow this defeat to atrophy their determination and fortitude. They instead restarted their winning streak, accumulating another mass of victories. Within these 11 successful games, Vassar has held their opposing team scoreless on four different occasions. Moreover, with the exception of the match against West Chester, the crew has not allowed a team to score over 12 points on any single occasion. Though the team graduated seven seniors from last season, the experience that the team retains is helping them to offset the loss of these players. “The entire team has compensated amazingly for losing seniors and having several important players off the roster due to injury,” explained sophomore fullback Rachel Elson. “We have worked extremely hard to fix our weak spots and improve the bigger aspects of our game.” In spite of the graduated seniors, the team maintains eight sophomores, 12 juniors and nine seniors. These players continue to provide masses of skill and game comprehension to the team’s winning efforts. “We still have a lot of experience on our team. Four of our current seniors have played in the Final Four when we were freshmen,” recalled senior flanker Nathalie Freeman. “With such a large number of upperclassmen starters, I feel confident in our knowledge and ability.”
Although their experience and grit have certainly propelled them towards success this season, Head Coach Anthony Brown and his players recognize their shortcomings. Moving forward into the intense stages of the championships, they will focus on strengthening and solidifying their defensive efforts. “The team must produce much better defense,” acknowledged Coach Brown. “We need to get organized more quickly, come up with good line speed and tackle. All players need to not only make solid tackles, but also go forward in the tackle.” Continuing in these playoff games, the Brewers will encounter difficulty while attempting to beat opponents without minimizing this porousness. Since pinpointing this weakness, the players have exerted significant energy to improve this aspect of their game. “We have
Senior Flanker Nathalie Freeman runs down the field in Sweet 16 match against Albany. After 34-5 win, the women’s rugby team will head to the Final Four against Davenport on Dec. 3.
a turnover. As the match continued, multiple players racked up points for the Brewers. The try earned by Ghant was accompanied with two successful tries by senior center Laila Blumenthal-Rothchild. Elson, Freeman and sophomore Kate Sworden each contributed one try as well, while senior flyhalf Mary-Margaret McElduff earned two conversions for the team. The University of Albany scored one try before time ran out, but did not make a comeback quickly enough to move on in the championships. “The University of Albany gave us tough physical games, but to be perfectly honest, the game we lost this year was our biggest test,” admitted Coach Brown. Instead of letting this upset slow their progress, the Brewers are learning from the match and using the experience to improve their game. “We’re used to having possession of the ball for the majority of games, so we can’t break down when better teams that we play have possession and test our defense. It’s important to capitalize on every opportunity we have.” In the Final Four, the Brewers will play teams that prove to be more physical and confrontational in contact situations than teams that they have played in season so far. Therefore, they will need to defend for larger portions of the game and therefore must advance these aspects of their guard. Though the Brewers have made it to the Final Four three times in the past four years, they have yet to make it to the final game, which only amplifies the craving for success. “We’re really trying to push constructive criticism and camaraderie right now,” Freeman pointed out. “As captains, we have made it clear that we are going into the Final Four with the intention to win.” The women’s rugby team will compete against Davenport University in Greenville, SC at Furman University in this round of the championships. The match will take place on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 1 p.m.
Recent win puts VC basketball back on path to success Kelly Pushie
he Vassar College men’s basketball team returned to its path of success with a close 85-82 win against Waynesburg University this weekend. After starting their season with a program-best 3-0 record, the Brewers faced a minor rut, losing against Maritime College and Elmira College. Looking to turn things around, the team was able to leave Rochester with a win and get back on a high note while preparing for Thursday’s big game against Williams College. Defeating the Yellow Jackets of Waynesburg University was not easy task however, as the Brewers gained the lead were a mere 1:36 left in the game. As Waynesburg committed last minute fouls, junior captain Jesse Browne and freshman Mattie Mrlik were put on the line for foul shots. As Browne and Mrlik sunk two points each, the Brewers sealed their victory. Browne was an influential member of the
squad throughout the game, posting a team-high 26 points. Behind Browne, sophomore Mason Dyslin tallied 21 points while fellow sophomore Alex Seff added 11. Against Waynesburg, freshman Kyle Kappes had the game of his career as he totaled 10 points from three three-pointers and a foul shot. In addition to individual performances, the Brewers’ win can be attributed to the improved shooting percentages of the whole squad. Vassar shot 48 percent from the floor and 41 percent from downtown. With this win, the team improved its record to 4-2 Head Coach B.J. Dunne is happy with the way the team is shaping up this year. He noted, “I am very pleased with the way we have started. We are still working to find our identity but wins generate confidence.” Wins certainly generate confidence not only for individual players, but for the team as a whole. This confidence in the team is evident in the wide range of players that
Courtesy of Carlisle Stockton
Senior captain Mickey Adams takes jump shot in home game against Lehman College on Nov. 19. The team will return to the court on Thursday, Dec. 1 against Williams College.
take the court each and every game. With each grade comes differing levels of maturity and skill and Coach Dunne is incredibly pleased with the way some of the younger players have stepped up to help out the team. He mentioned, “We have played eight underclassmen in our rotation and I have been happy with their growing maturity.” To help lead the newcomers, Coach Dunne appointed senior Mickey Adams as captain for the 2016-2017 season. Adams has been a key component for the men’s basketball team over his four years here at Vassar. An explosive player, Adams has shown strength on both ends of the court, finding himself among the team leaders in both scoring and rebounds, an impressive 33 and 22 respectively. In terms of how the season has started off, Adams stated, “We’ve had moments of brilliance, but also a lot of moments where things haven’t looked quite so good. For us right now we just need to focus on those good moments and how we can build on them.” As the only senior captain, Adams takes pride in the leadership role that he has and he takes his job as captain very seriously. Adams commented, “We have a lot of long days and it is a grind with such a massive commitment to both academics and basketball, but I’ve been working hard to make sure everyone is locked in each and every practice.” Adams continued, “We get two hours a day where nothing else matters besides basketball, and as one of the captains I think it’s important to make sure we maximize those two hours as a team.” In addition to this hard work, sophomore Steve Palecki believes that the team’s resilience will lead to future success. Palecki noted that the squad has made an effort to improve upon what caused them trouble in their two losses against Maritime and Elmira College. Palecki pointed out, “One thing that has plagued the team so far has been our free throw percentage but guys have been getting in the gym to work on that and it has shown. Against Waynesburg College, we went 24/30 from the free throw line.” This improvement proved crucial for the team as it came down to last minute
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
foul shots to determine the outcome of the game against Waynesburg. In regards to the team’s motivation and improvement, Palecki noted, “Our youth and energy has been helping drive the team. Our relentless effort has helped us get back into games and at the same time put teams away. The energy our team has is infectious and it is a great motivator.” Palecki hopes that the team can continue this high energy and intensity throughout the season to achieve even more success. Looking forward, the team expresses excitement while also noting the importance of their upcoming games against Williams College and Wesleyan University. “It will be important for us to have two strong showings against these talented squads so we can continue to build on some of our early successes as the season progresses,” explained Adams. The Williams and Wesleyan men’s basketball teams both participate in the New England and Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), a historically competitive conference. Therefore, the team looks to bring lots of energy and enthusiasm to the court against these tough competitors. Leading up to these contests, the Brewers will also work on their weaknesses. After facing their NESCAC opponents, the Brewers will head into Liberty League play on Dec. 30. Although conference games are a few weeks away, Palecki explained, “To prepare for our first league games against Skidmore and Union, our team will continue to sharpen the offense and defense sets we run. The better we execute the different offense sets we have, the better shots we can get, and thus giving us more scoring opportunities. Again, we will also continue to work on free throws as they have been a problem through the non-conference games so far.” The team shares Palecki’s sentiments and looks to continue improvement while developing as a unit in non-conference play over the next few weeks to prepare for league competition. The Vassar men’s basketball team will look to defeat the Ephs of Williams College on Thursday, Dec. 1.
December 1, 2016
NFL needs to change OT New ‘modern’ font creates rules to preserve viewership controversy among athletes Robert Pinataro Guest Columnist
he Sunday Night Football installment on Nov. 27 was a thriller from start to finish. With just 12 seconds left in the Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs game, the referees were called to review a critical play. As the officials confirmed the pass completion to Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill in the end zone, the Chiefs decreased their deficit to 22-24. With their backs against the wall, the Chiefs then successfully attempted a two-point conversion to tie the game and send it into overtime. While both teams scored three-point field goals in extra time, the game eventually ended as Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos banked a 37-yard field goal attempt and the Chiefs walked away victorious. This overtime win was a thrilling one to watch, but in a number of scenarios, the game could have ended in a very different fashion. Had the Broncos scored a touchdown on the opening drive of overtime play, they would have won automatically, according to NFL rules. This means that the Chiefs never would have had possession of the ball or a chance to score. Ending in a tie is another unfortunate possibility in the world of the NFL. If the clock reaches the end of the 15-minute overtime period, the game ends regardless of score. So if the Santos missed the field goal, the game clock would have expired and the game would have ended in a 27-27 tie. Both of these rules have been subject to much scrutiny ever since they were introduced. Many players and fans agree that both teams should have possession of the ball during overtime. Perhaps, the rule could be changed so that both teams get a chance to score, and if one scores a touchdown and the other does not, then the team that scores wins. As far as the rule on ties, it is understandable
that the NFL limits regular season overtimes to one 15-minute period. The NFL’s 16-game season is grueling for the athletes, and the constant blows that the players take need to be limited as much as possible. If not, teams would not play as well in the playoffs due to an increase in injuries. That being said, no football fan wants to see a tie. Fans want to see the last second, dramatic endings to games that make the game so exciting. As of late, the NFL is losing viewership at an alarming rate, and the possibility of a o tie cannot be helping. So far, there have already been two games that ended in ties this 2016 season. The NFL needs to consider both of these rules not only in order to slow the loss of viewers, but also to keep players happy. Star quarterback Russell Wilson has taken a stance on the issue, proposing that the NFL take a lesson from hockey and soccer and have a field goal “kick-off” of sorts. In this overtime system, the winner of the coin flip would get the ball at the 35-yard line in opposing territory. They would make a field goal attempt and then take turns attempting field goals at this distance with the other team, until one team eventually scores a field goal. Not only would this solve the issue, but it would also add a new element of excitement that could lead to an increase in viewership. Although NFL football is still the most watched professional sport in the United States, it is not watched as much as it used to be. One of the main complaints is that the NFL’s current rules make it not as fun to watch as it used to be. While the overtime rules are not as big of a detractor as the rules against certain types of contact and celebrations, they certainly do not increase viewership. The NFL must reevaluate their rules and regulations, including those regarding overtime, in order to retain the viewers they are losing so quickly.
Mack Liederman Guest Columnist
ame school. Same teams. New look. This year the Vassar Athletic department has created a new font and wordmark to be used by all varsity athletic teams for uniforms, apparel and promotion. The new wordmark features bold burgundy block letters, at a slight right slant and with a white finish. Although Vassar has never had an official font before, most old lettering for varsity teams featured thinner, more Gothic characters. Vassar’s Athletic Communications Director Jamie Chagnon shared, “I’m very happy with the new design, and I think it helps coaches, staff and the apparel companies we work with as we try to build continuity throughout the department. I believe it’s a strong mark, which represents the strength that we have and are building throughout our 27 teams at Vassar.” According to Chagnon, the design was created by the collaboration of the Athletics Department and the Communications Department after three years of work. “The Athletic Department was looking at a way to bring our teams together under one cohesive mark,” Chagnon said. “The addition of the new Vassar Brewers wordmark will connect all of our teams, helping to further the brand of Vassar Athletics as a whole. We are very happy with the results and are excited about the future of our department with the new wordmark as a strong representation of our brand.” Chignon also noted that even with the addition of the new wordmark, the historic “Interlocking VC” will still remain as one of the primary logos. Believe it or not, athletes are even competitive about the new font. A few have shared sentiments about the ground-breaking decision of the Athletics Department that will affect generations to come.
“I love the new font, it looks much more professional and sophisticated than years prior,” said sophomore basketball player Steve Palecki. “I really like the way it looks on the new gear, we are blessed by the amount of gear we get and how good we look. We are all so lucky.” Other athletes, however, have been more hesitant about the new design. “I definitely like the old design better. It matches the character of Vassar’s architecture,” said freshman fencer Noe Berger, who was last week’s male featured athlete of the week. “The new one looks like it’s trying too hard to be modern.” Junior cross country runner Michael Scarlett jokes, “The men’s cross country team has decided not to take an official position on the new font.” “A pro is that it is easy to read,” said Scarlett. “A con is that my cousin could have used Microsoft Paint to make the same thing.” Scarlett hints that himself and the rest of the cross country team are on the fence over such a change. Freshman cross country runner Will Dwyer said that he also prefers the old design better. “When we went to cross country meets, we were the only team with that Gothic font, and it’s so Vassar,” Dwyer said. “And now it’s not the same, and we look like a lot of the other teams out there.” Vassar differs from other colleges nationwide in a variety of ways, but has this new wordmark made us just like the others? Hoping to not split up teams over such a change, Chagnon placated, “As with any transition, there is an adjustment period, but I think as time goes by, this mark used alongside our already historic ‘Interlocking VC’ will serve us very well for years to come.” Only time will tell the future of Vassar’s athletic teams after the introduction of this new “modernized” look.
Unrivaled to date, fencers prepare for season’s biggest test FENCING continued from page 1
to another win. Arguably, the Brewers’ biggest win at the Vassar Invitational was their 17-10 defeat over Stevens College. Coach Gillman explained that this was the team’s first win over Stevens in several years so the entire team was elated with this accomplishment. Following their match against Stevens, the Brewers competed in their closest match of the day against Haverford College. Even in this close match, VC did not falter and claimed a 1611 victory over the Fords. The foil squad pulled Vassar through this match as they won seven of their nine matches, led by Homes, who went 3-0. Fellow freshman Mills helped by going 3-0 in sabre as well. Vassar defeated Lafayette in round five with a convincing 20-7 victory, followed by the team’s biggest win of the day against the Black Knights of West Point. Vassar won a whopping 25 matches while West Point only earned two. The Brewers then closed the day with wins over the University of Incarnate Word and Drew University and scores of 19-8 and 21-6 respectively. Reflecting on his first-ever team fencing tournament, Berger said, “College fencing has been quite a new experience for me. I’ve actually never been on a team before, having only represented a club in local-, regional- and national-level individual events. The main thing to get used to is fencing a long day of short bouts.” He compared it to his past experience as he continued, “In the individual format, there is a direct elimination table of 15-touch bouts, but in college it’s five-touches all day, and we fence up to eight schools in one meet, substituting from about six fencers per squad.” As a freshman, Berger’s long days of fencing are just beginning. For the next few months, every weekend will be filled with many hours of fencing for Berger and the rest of the squad. The very next weekend, Nov. 20, the Brewer’s remained in Poughkeepsie as they hosted the Matt Lampell Hudson River Invitational. In the invitational, Vassar picked up its seventh straight win and celebrated its four seniors Clayton Marr, Farley, Dammann and Woods
prior to the matches. Vassar defeated all of their opponents of the day, earning a 6-0 record for the invitational and improving to 14-0 overall. The Brewers picked up wins against RPI (25-2), Drew (24-3), Vassar B (24-3), RIT A (22-5), the University of Florida (20-7) and RIT B (23-4). The foil team was arguably most impressive as they won a combined 51 bouts over the course of the whole day, only losing three. Racek went 16-2, Holmes went 17-1 and Berger had a perfect day, winning all 18 of his matches. Alperstein also had a perfect day winning 15 matches at epee and three at sabre. Alperstein along with his teammates helped the epee team to a 44-10 record and the sabre team to 43-11. For the structure of this invitational, the Brewers had to split into team A and team B. While Vassar A placed first in the meet, Vassar B finished at third. Lee, a sabre fencer helped Vassar B to the high finish by winning a
team-leading 13 matches on the day. Berger reflects on the young season and believes that the Brewers are prepared to face any challenge thrown at them. His positivity stems from the exceptional leadership of Coach Gillman, the coaching staff and the captains as well as unparalleled work ethic. Berger explained, “My favorite thing about Vassar fencing so far is how motivated everyone is to improve. Practice ends at 7:15, but there are usually still a number of people fencing much later.” In agreement, Gillman remarked, “It is fun to work with this talented and dedicated group of athletes and I can’t wait to see what happens as the season goes on. All are willing to learn and learn quickly.” The Brewers will next face their biggest test of the season as they travel to Fairfield, CT on Dec. 4 to compete against NYU, Sacred Heart, Princeton, Penn State, Harvard and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Courtesy of Carlisle Stockton
keep improving,” said Lee. Berger reiterated this as he stated, “Our captains have been excellent leaders so far. Tom Racek from the foil squad has done a particularly great job of looking out for everyone on the team and sending somewhat odd motivational emails.” The season started on Nov. 5 as the team traveled to Smith College in Southhampton, MA to compete in its first tournament. The Brewers competed in “The Big One,” an annual fencing tournament held by the NEIFC that serves as a precursor for the conference Championships held in February. Being an individual tournament, the results of the day are not factored into the team’s overall record thus far. Nevertheless, VC had a strong showing in all three weapons and freshman highlighted the day. In foil, four Brewers placed in the top 15. Taking fifth place, Berger ended the day as Vassar’s highest finisher. Berger was followed by Racek in ninth, Holmes in 10th and sophomore Michael Skolnick in 15th. Berger, Holmes and Racek went undefeated in pool action with perfect 5-0 records. Vassar also had four finishers in the top 15 in the epee category. Junior Jonathan Alperstein shared Vassar’s highest honor of fifth place with Berger. Junior Daniel Swerzenski, seniors Ry Farley and Jackson Dammann came in 11th, 13th and 15th, respectively. For the sabre squad, Levine and Mills were Vassar’s top performers as they came in 14th and 16th place. Three other teammates placed in the top 25 as well. Next up, the Brewers fired on all fronts in the annual Vassar Invitational on Sunday, Nov. 13. Vassar defeated all eight opponents they faced in Walker Field House. The day started with a big win over the Maccabees of Yeshiva College. Vassar outscored Yeshiva 20-7 as seven Brewers won both of their matches. To lead the team, the sabre squad beat the Maccabees with an unscathed record of 9-0. After this victory, Vassar went on to defeat Hunter College 21-6 as foilists Skolnick, Choi and Racek went 9-0 together to steer the team
Junior Eric Lee prepares for match during the Matt Lampell Hudson River Invitational. With undefeated record, the fencing team next competes in Sacred Heart Multi-Meet on Dec. 4.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
December 1, 2016
Despite big turkey dinners, Brewers hungry for success Olivia O’Loughlin Sports Editor
The Brewers ended their 4-0 winning streak as they fell to both Connecticut College and Haverford College on Saturday, Nov. 19. Both teams defeated the Vassar men’s squash team with scores of 1-8. Although multiple Brewers fought hard and
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Coming in as underdogs, the women’s squash team surprised ranked No. 29 Connecticut College and Haverford College. These wins boosted the Brewers to a record of 5-1. For the first match of the day, the women defeated the nationally ranked Connecticut Camels 7-2. To lead the Brewers, junior Kelly Rissman, sophomore Cherylann Mucciolo and senior Isabella Bertram all swept their sets to claim early victories. Senior Diana Howland grabbed another win for VC as she finished her sets with scores of 117, 11-7 and 11-5. With Howland’s win, the Brewers only needed one more to claim dominance over Connecticut. Not settling with just one more win, junior captain Hannah Nice and freshmen Sydney Nemphos and Alessandra Pilkington all nabbed wins on the day. With continued intensity and enthusiasm, Vassar dominated Haverford 8-1 later in the evening. To top the Fords, multiple Brewers earned second sets of victories on the day. At the top of the roster, No. 1 Nice tallied three more sets with scores of 11-3, 11-1 and 11-3, while No. 3 Bertram gained her second win as she ended 11-1, 9-11 and 11-5. Nemphos also continued her success as she dominated three more sets, while senior Carly Scher clinched the win with sets of 11-3, 11-5 and 11-3 at the No. 5 spot. Two more Brewers posting double wins on the day were Mucciolo and Pilkington. Howland earned another victory at No. 8 as Rissman showed prowess in her sets at No. 9. With these wins in the bag, the women’s team captured its 40th win on the season. While the team has a collective record of 40-14 this season, a few individuals have posted 5-1 records, which are program-bests since 2004. Next up, the women will play Tufts University at home on Sunday Dec. 4 at 12:30 p.m.
tested Connecticut’s prowess, senior captain Vincent Mencotti was the only Brewer to earn a win in the match. Mencotti earned a win against the Connecticut Camels with set scores of 11-3, 9-11, 11-4 and 11-7. The Camels then went on to win the next seven sets and clinch the 8-1 win. Then facing the Haverford Fords, Mencotti continued his dominance as he went undefeated in his set 11-4, 14-12 and 11-9. Freshman Viraj Nadkarni also came ready to fight and defeated Haverford’s Tate Miller in the first set, but later fell in the next three sets. After Nadkarni’s battle, the Brewers fell in the remaining matches against the Fords. The Vassar men’s squash team will next compete against Bard College and Tufts University at home on Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. Men’s Swimming
On Nov. 19, the men’s swimming and diving team competed in the United States Merchant Marines Academy Memorial Invitational. At the invitational, the Brewers faced the United States Merchant Marines Academy, Adelphi University, Queens College, Stevens Institute of Technology and SUNY Maritime. For the first event of the day, seniors Chris Cerutti and Anthony Walker, junior Jonah Strand and sophomore Lukas Harries collectively swam a 1:42.50 to claim fifth in the 200 medley relay. To prove underclassmen talent, freshman Jordan Kalina then nabbed a ninth place finish in the 500 free with a time of 5:14.65. Next up, Strand proved dominance as he clinched Vassar’s only win of the day in the 200 breaststroke and a second place title in the 200 IM. Fellow classmate Walker also earned a second place finish as he swam the 200 butterfly in 1:58.81. The Brewers then went on to claim multiple 10th-place finishes, including junior Luke Morrison in the 200 IM, Cerutti in the 100 backstroke and sophomore Ian LaBash in the 200 freestyle. In the diving pool, junior Connor Martin earned eight in the one-meter diving event as he scored a 134.75. The men’s swimming and diving team will now have a few weeks of training before jumping into the Liberty League Championships on Dec. 2 and 3 in Rochester, NY.
Freshman Sophie Nick looks for teammates in battle against William Paterson University on Nov. 28. VC looks to improve its record in Wednesday Nov. 30 game against Drew University. Women’s Swimming
The Brewers had a strong showing at the United States Merchant Marine Memorial with senior Julia Cunningham and sophomore Sammy Stone at the reins. For the first race of the day, Cunningham along with sophomores Kael Ragnini, Meg Harrington and Stone to earned a second place finish in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:57.89. Stone then continued her success in the 500 freestyle and 200 free as she earned two first place titles with times of 5:18.14 and 1:58.57, respectively. Ragnini also placed in the top for the 500 freestyle as she grabbed third place with a time of 5:25.81. With a second place under her belt, Cunningham next dominated the 200 IM as she finished in 2:14.98, at least seven seconds ahead of each of her competitors. Cunningham then took home another first place finish as she flew through the 200 fly in 2:09.08, finishing with a 13-second lead. VC then went to earn two titles in the 200 IM as freshman Sarah Boese took home eighth place and senior captain Kayla Schwab soon followed for ninth. Harrington then claimed another victory on the day as she was titled sixth for her 59.30 second finish in the 100 freestyle. Lastly, the 400 free relay team tapped in at third place with a collective time of 3:55.12. Vassar will next compete on Dec. 2 and 3 at the Liberty League Championships. Women’s Basketball
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On Nov. 19, junior Kelly Rissman dominated Connecticut College and Haverford opponents in home matches. Brewers hope to continue success in Dec. 4 matches against Bard and Tufts.
On Monday, Nov. 28, the women’s basketball team dropped to William Paterson University 62-64. Although Vassar had multiple handsome leads throughout the game, William Paterson narrowed the margin and ultimately took the lead, and the game, late in the fourth quarter. Starting the game with strong momentum, VC built up a 17-6 lead within the first nine minutes. This success is contributed to multiple Brewers, including senior captain Ariella Rosenthal, freshmen Sophie Nick and Isa Peczuh. Rosenthal earned her first double-double of the season as she grabbed 14 rebounds and scored 20 points against the Pioneers. Right behind Rosenthal, Nick led the team with 11 points. She also tallied four assists and
nine rebounds. Proving herself early in her Vassar career, Nick holds the second seed for total points with 61 and is third in line for free throw percentage with 92.3 percent. Due to these strong performances, Nick has earned conference accolades, picking up Rookie of the Week for two consecutive weeks. Commanded by Rosenthal and Nick on Monday night, the Brewers entered halftime 31-25. VC then continued its lead in the third quarter, but wavered a bit towards the end as the margin dwindled to one point. With 1:33 left in the match, the atmosphere changed as the Pioneers tied the match-up at 58. Scoring a few more points, William Paterson then sealed the Brewers’ fate as the clock ticked to zero. Vassar will next host Drew University on Wednesday, Dec. 30 in the AFC. Men’s Basketball
After starting its season with a program best record of 3-0, the men’s basketball team faced a string of tough competition on the road. After playing Maritime College, Elmira College and Waynesburg University, the Brewers now hold a record of 4-2. On Nov. 26, VC headed to the University of Rochester Thanksgiving Tournament to face Elmira College in the first round. After an early 0-8 deficit, the Brewers were unable to gain the lead and faced their first loss of the season with a score of 67-76. Nevertheless, seven Brewers were able to make it on the scoreboard against the Soaring Eagles. The team’s scorers included junior Jesse Browne, sophomores Alex Seff, Mason Dyslin, Chris Gallivan and Steve Palecki, and freshmen Mattie Mrlik and Owen Murray. Ready for revenge, the men then defeated Waynesburg University in a very close battle 8582. Throughout the match, the lead changed seven times, with the final lead change in Vassar’s favor with 1:36 left. The Brewers’ leading scorer of the day was Browne, who netted a total of 26 points. Another strong performer was freshman Kyle Kappes, who posted a career-high 10 points, going threefor-four on the three-point line. VC will next face Williams College on Thursday, Dec. 1 in Williamstown, MA.
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