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OCTOBER 1, 2013

NEWS

The Basics of Polity, and Why the Proposed Changes Are Not a Naked Grab for Power

By Preston Camp

Where does the funding for our clubs come from? It comes from a mysterious, shadowy syndicate known as Polity, which does many other things and may even create internet. Attending Polity meetings is an excellent way to stay in touch with everything that’s happening at the college. Any student can come and voice his or her opinion at a Polity Meeting. To attain voting rights, a student must attend three sessions in a row. Polity meets in the Junior Common Room (upstairs in the Petersen Student Center) at 5:30 P.M. on Tuesdays. I sat down with Joey Lanuti, Polity’s Vice-Chairman, to talk about Polity and this year’s changes to its constitution. PC: What does Polity do? JL: Polity is practically involved in everything that is extracurricular to the program. We finance school clubs and organizations, we finance dances, and we are a liaison between the students and the administration. If there is a major issue on campus, we are the ones who attempt to mediate it by getting the groups together or holding a town hall. I’d just like to say that I was never interested in politics nor student council when I was in high school. The Polity Council at St. John’s College is a unique experience. It’s professional and the best thing is, it only consists of Johnnies. What constitutes a club at St. John’s? A club at St. John’s is any group of people getting together for a common purpose. I doubt there is an easier place to start up a new club than at this school. I’ve seen everything from Kung Fu Club to Equestrian Club. What requirements must a club meet to receive money from Polity? Polity is only involved in a club if they want our continual financing or want to be placed on the budget throughout the year. A club just has to be open to all the student body and to submit a charter. People get anxious when they hear the word charter, but it’s really a very simple document. All it

entails is a statement of general purpose, a list of officers, a way to gain and lose membership, and some simple bylaws (such as people can’t hit people with nunchuks). What is your reasoning behind removing class representatives this year? My rationale is in the email I sent to the student body: While the Class Representative elections draw attention to the existence of Polity, they provide the false assumption that the Class Representative has far greater duties and responsibilities than it actually has. The main duty of the Class Representative is merely to connect Polity to the students. This role coheres well in Annapolis because they have a closed council and every student is not able to attend Polity meetings and vote. However, here in Santa Fe, we have open meetings where anyone may attend and anyone may gain voting rights by attending three consecutive meetings. Also, Polity sends out to the student body what transpires in every meeting in the Minutes to establish a further link to the student body. As a result, the Class Representatives very quickly realize that they are a non-essential cog in the Polity machine and many lose interest and stop attending meetings. Thus, they lose their voting rights and Polity must hold another class wide election. It is practically inevitable for a class to lose one, if not both of their Class Representatives by the end of the year and holding multiple elections is a large burden placed on Polity. Therefore, if you look at the cost benefit analysis, we have many costs (ie. tedious class wide elections & political disillusionment) and little to no benefits. We are a small school and have direct democracy. One can see how needless it is to have representatives in such a system.

Preston Camp is a Senior at St. John’s College, Santa Fe. He can be reached at camp.preston@ gmail.com

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More Than the New Hilary Stim: Katie Widlund Talks About Santa Fe, the School, and Her New Job

By Thomas Conroy

“Upon looking up, I am instantly hit with the magnitude of beauty.” Hailing from Orange County, after a short stay—and a desire to linger—in San Francisco, Katie Widlund found herself drawn to Santa Fe for the Eastern Classics Program at St. John’s in 2010. In her new position as the Assistant Dean’s Office Manager, she now provides customer service for the school. Katie is no stranger to this role, having worked as a concierge in spas back in California. The nature of this new position, as an office manager for Mr. Walpin, places Katie at the hub of student life on campus. She helps to oversee, organize, and facilitate meetings and the goingson at the gym, the health center, and at non-academic events: something she calls administrative tetris. “We are there to support the students and to be a first resource for them to find answers and/or figure out where they can go for help.” Prior to this new appointment, Katie served as an assistant for graduate admissions for a year and a half, and she also did a commendable job with organizing and seeing through to fruition the new Homeric Greek Intensive Course for summer of 2013.

at Saint John’s was a natural flow from that.” Katie claims one of her former Soka professors to be worthy of “Venkatesh” praise. More formal studying may be/is/will be on the horizon, and Katie would like to approach Buddhist thought philosophically. When asked to list her best of Santa Fe: “I am in love with it. The landscape inspires creativity in the depth and layering of the mountains and the breadth of the sky. Upon looking up, I am instantly hit with the magnitude of beauty.” When she is not on campus, you might find her at the Mountain Cloud Zen Center where she is a student and also assists with calendar and event planning. Other favorites (obsessions) include New Mexico cuisine, especially red and green chile (at Maria’s, of course). In the office of grad admissions, she would welcome and meet with prospective students. Now in the Assistant Dean’s office, her concerns are with current students and their current needs. Her take on this move from the latter to the former: “It went from encouraging people to come here to doing my best to make sure that the people already here are happy.” Katie, thank you for all that you do. You are appreciated by many.

“We are there to support the students and to be a first resource for them to find answers and/or figure out where they can go for help.” eastern philosophy, her own undergraduate experience, at Soka University of America, located in Aliso Viejo, California, prepared her well for her graduate work here. The meaning of soka, roughly, is create value or value creating. This intention and the broad curriculum and liberal arts focus of the school gave Katie the forum to study Art History, Asian Literature, and Japanese. “The EC program

Thomas Conroy is a Liberal Arts GI at St. John’s College, Santa Fe. He can be reached at tconroymusic@gmail.com

Sophomore Challenges Ptolemaic Worldview with Math Essay

By Ben Holme

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That said, her interactions with undergraduate students have been continuous since her arrival in 2010. From seeing them on a dayto-day basis when working out at the SAC and participating in various college trips, she has gotten to know the undergrads in the context of fun and seriousness. During a van ride back from a ski trip in 2011, she partook in reading aloud with the undergrads as they prepared Dante’s Inferno for their upcoming seminar class. “There is something about the “Johnny Thing,” some sort of fundamental connection. I want to share that with the undergraduates, but at the same time, I am jealous of them. I would love to have that four-year experience.” Along with her passion for

The College’s Math and Science departments were thrown in to confusion Monday after a paper challenging the Ptolemaic model of the solar system was posted on the ESL bulletin. Signed “A Studious Sophomore”, the essay (a full ten pages with diagrams) rested its argument on a series of ingenious thought experiments involving ferris wheels. “I don’t even know what’s real anymore,” said head of labs William Donahue. “If Ptolemy was wrong, then who can we trust? Aristotle? Who’s to say we won’t find out tomorrow that he’s been misleading us about the mechanisms of reproduction, or that there’s actually no such thing as a natural slave? What would we do for lab assistants? This is a catastrophe.” One tutor, who asked to remain anonymous, said she wasn’t surprised. “I’ve always

had my doubts about the Freshman Lab and Astronomy segments of Program. There’s so much in there that doesn’t seem quite right. I’ve got a Humanities background, so I could never be sure, but I had my hunches. Take the theory

“It’s an outrage,” said Aaron Soushill, ‘17. “How can we expect to be competitive in the workforce after St. John’s if what we’re learning isn’t even true?” One student, Michael Touleban, ‘15, said he felt cheated by the College: “Here’s how I see it. As a student, I’m a customer of the college, and I’m buying knowledge. Three years at a hundred grand each. Now I find out that the knowledge they’ve been giving me isn’t the truth I paid for. It’s bad business. I think I’m owed a tuition refund at least, and maybe more for damages. I’ve been telling people about Ptolemy at dinner parties for years now—my reputation is going to be ruined.”

“I’ve always had my doubts about the Freshman Lab and Astronomy segments of the Program.” of Phlogiston, for example. There’s no way something with a name like that could be real, is there? Then again, the arguments make sense, so who knows?” By late in the afternoon on the day of the posting, a student group had already formed to complain about the misleading material.

Ben Holme is a Junior at St. John’s College, Santa Fe. He can be reached at bb.holme@gmail. com


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