ASWC resolution to expand studenttaught class offerings
tudent-taught classes such as yoga, Zumba and salsa have proven increasingly popular on campus, and legislation passed at the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC) senate meeting last Sunday, April 14, will allow would-be studentteachers to apply for funding for similar classes with less hassle. Through the resolution, ASWC plans to actively seek students with particular skills and interests and to provide a standardized salary and budget for eight courses selected by the Finance Committee and approved by the senate. “What I wanted to do with the [student-taught classes] act is create a more formal process [to al-
by sarah cornett Staff Reporter
tudents, faculty and community members packed Olin Hall 130 to hear historian Samuel Moyn describe what he believed to be the origin of human rights. Moyn, a professor of history at Columbia University, provided historical context for the progression of our definition of rights, which is a definition he considers malleable. His thesis argued that our modern conception of human rights is an important shift from other definitions we have seen in history. “While they seem an incredibly familiar idea, they’re new. We need to focus not on any of the earlier history, but on this moment when the idea took off,” he said. This idea about rights “took off” during the French and American revolutions in the late 18th century. Those involved with both of these movements used the term “rights of man,” a change in language that points to the change in meaning it entails, he argued. “My suggestion is, the idea has changed. It wasn’t just a change in language,
vious years has been how much to pay student-teachers for every class. In the past, each student-teacher’s wage was determined individually, but the new resolution sets the standard wage for student-teachers at $15 per hour. Though this is less than the $80-per-class wage Friedman would earn for teaching salsa in Seattle, it is still a higher wage than the minimum wage earned by most student workers on campus. “It’s really important for the campus to be funding these things. Students should value [studentteachers] as professionals in their own sense, because most of us have either a ton of experience or professional training and certification, and that occupation should be valued higher than other occupations on campus,” said Friedman. In order for a new class to be
by Maegan nelson Staff Reporter
ou might see a few more bikes next time you walk downtown. In honor of Earth Week, community organization Sustainable Walla Walla is gearing up for its fourth annual Green Travel Competition for local businesses, agencies, schools, churches and organizations. Participating organizations will be eligible for awards for the best green travel programs in a variety of categories, including riding a bike or walking. The grand-prize-winning organization will have its name engraved on a traveling trophy. Green Travel programs encourage people to look for low-energy ways to get to and from work, school, worship, meetings and other errands in order to help make communities more sustainable. Barbara Clark, a member of Sustainable Wal-
Gillian Friedman ‘16
approved, it must apply for funding from the ASWC Finance Committee. The instructor must prove he or she has sufficient credentials to teach the subject in question, suggest a curriculum and prove that there is interest for such a course among the student body. The full senate can then approve funding with a majority vote. “This new act is planning to expedite the process [for approving classes] and makes it easier for students to teach their skills to the student body as a whole,” said ASWC Finance Chair senior Sam Sadeghi. “We don’t know how this will end up working, but hopefully it [will make] student-run classes less bureaucratic.” Salsa, Zumba and yoga, the three classes funded by ASWC in previous years, have all focused on exercise and social opportunities. In coming years ASWC hopes to fund a greater variety of classes. Any student able to demonstrate interest among their peers and sufficient credentials is eligible to apply for funding. “Obviously we’re hoping to keep yoga and Zumba, but hopefully we’ll be having [classes on] things like Photoshop skills ... [and other] things that will complement the Whitman curriculum,” said Diaz Mejia.
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because the meanings and the political implication of the idea changed,” said Moyn. He stated that the political implication was different because of the motivations for the promotion of rights. “This older idea embraced violence if necessary, and the central goal was to construct the nation-state, not to contain or support it. In our day, human rights are linked to the subordination of sovereignty. Their goal was statehood, nationhood,” he said. He presented a graphic chronicling the mention of the term “human rights” in the public record since the year 1700. A spike occurred first in the 1940s, then more dramatically in the 1970s. According to Moyn, our idea of personal rights and statehood have evolved in relation to historical events surrounding us. “World War II led to the discovery and adoption of sovereignty,” he said. This discovery contributed to the development of our modern conception of what human rights mean. He used the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a United Nations declaration implemented in 1948, as evidence for this point that our current idea of human rights evolved to focus on the rights of others we see as persecut-
la Walla, has high hopes for this competition. “Our hope is that a contest may provide the motivation for people to try out an alternative to an SUV for moving around town for a week. Ideally, some of them will continue to walk, bike, bus or carpool even after the competition’s over,” said Clark. According to Daniel Clark, secretary-treasurer of Sustainable Walla Walla who has been working with Barbara Clark in developing this program, Sustainable Walla Walla began developing the idea for the competition in 2007. The first Green Travel Competition was in 2010. For the past two years, the Walla Walla Joint Community Development Agency has won first place. Organizations that want to participate in the competition must submit a report describing their green travel practices to Sustainable Walla Walla at sustainableww@
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charter.net by Friday, May 3. In the past, Whitman has participated directly in the competition, but this year the Student Sustainability Committee has decided to focus on a different approach to encourage green travel methods on campus. Senior Natalie Jamerson, sustainability coordinator, hopes to encourage better record keeping of green travel practices on campus in order to establish a baseline for future student sustainability committees. In the future, Whitman could use this data to enter the competition. “In the past, participation was limited and not that much has happened. We tried to organize a department competition but now we are taking a different approach to do better. We will be surveying [to] determine a baseline for green travel and that way in the future we can determine a rate of change and have better record keeping,” she said.
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ed. In this case, the declaration was created in part because of the atrocities of the Holocaust. “The outcome of World War II was not to mourn victims, but to dream of a new state for ourselves,” he said. In the 1970s and ‘80s a new form of human rights emerged, one that most people are more familiar with. This consciousness made it possible for Americans specifically to continue to think about unnecessary discrimination in the world. “No longer did it mean our citizenship and our welfare, but other people’s atrocities,” said Moyn. His talk allowed students to better conceptualize how our notion of human rights evolved to be what it is today. “I did some of my senior thesis about some human rights, so it was really informative and in some ways clarified some of the questions I’ve been continuing to have and raised other ones,” said senior Ethan Robertson. In one of the last questions posed at the end of the talk, Moyn responded by reinforcing that our idea of human rights could keep changing with time. “The idea of human rights is very malleable. History can be a powerful tool [with which] to examine ourselves.”
Businesses gear up for travel contest
“Deciding to take it upon yourself to teach and lead and design a class that’s really successful is a difficult task ... Even if [ASWC] can’t always grant every request, there should be a feeling of support and encouragement which I didn’t always feel.” low] for more students to take advantage of this opportunity, to increase the number of classes we currently have and [to increase] the breadth and scope of what those classes could be,” said ASWC Vice President senior Marcial Diaz Mejia, who penned the resolution. ASWC plans to use its communications department to solicit students interested in sharing a skill or interest with the community in hopes of doubling the number of studenttaught courses available. In previous years, students wishing to be paid to teach a course had to take the initiative to apply to the Finance Committee themselves during the semester in which they taught. Under the new system, classes will be approved the semester before they begin so teachers have time to prepare and so that teachers are sure about funding before they begin to teach. “Deciding to take it upon yourself to teach and lead and design a class that’s really successful is a difficult task ... Even if [ASWC] can’t always grant every request, there should be a feeling of support and encouragement which I didn’t always feel,” said first-year Gillian Friedman, who teaches salsa classes this semester. A point of contention in pre-
Samuel Moyn redefines human rights
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