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INSIDE WHITMAN’S CLOSET
by JOSH GOODMAN Web Content Editor
Despite a disappointing 5-34 season, Whitman baseball made strides in its quality of play and look forward to a more experienced returning roster. Photo contributed by Lehman
Baseball finds hope in tough season by KYLE HOWE
arly in the semester, Whitman’s baseball team had high hopes of improving upon last year’s record of 4-20, with many players returning. Those hopes were dashed, however, as the team finished 5-19 in the Northwest Conference with an overall record of 5-34. The men finished just above Lewis & Clark College, 4-20; Whitworth and Pacific University shared the NWC title, both with records of 19-5 in conference. Regardless, the team moves forward with hopes of a better upcoming season. While many players expressed disappointment with the season’s results, they also recognized that the team has made significant improvements. “I would be lying if I didn’t say I am disappointed. I believe most of the team would agree with me on this; however I would also be lying if I said that we didn’t improve,” said sophomore pitcher Dakota Matherly. “It is tough to go through three seasons and acquire only five wins in each . . . it also makes it seem as if the program is at a standstill, but that’s truly not the case. If you were to go and look at the stats for the past three years, you would see a large degree of improvement, it just hasn’t yet shown itself in regards to wins. However, we are now competing in almost every game we play in and in no way are we an easy win for any team that we play,” said Matherly. The team has only one senior this year; most of the players are sophmores and first-years, many of whom helped the team make strides this year. “Our full roster is probably one of the, if not the youngest Division III team in the nation. Our freshmen and sophomores play the bulk of the innings. We are to the extreme very young,” said Coach Holowaty, who is currently in his third year as coach. With more returning players than last year, the team had high hopes of improving their record, yet the team became downtrodden with mounting losses through the season. “The season started with high expectations, but as it progressed, we became less and less engrossed in the season because of our poor play. We are hoping that for next year we can show some significant improvement,” said sophomore pitcher and catcher Aaron Cohen. Despite the setbacks that the team faced this season, Coach Holowaty has nothing but respect for his players. “The toughest thing for me is you want to see these young men succeed– they work so hard, and I really wanted them to win because of their effort. I can’t say enough about their hard work to play every day each inning each out at 100 percent. I have nothing but admiration for these guys,” said Holowaty. The team looks to build off of the past seasons experience and apply it towards next year, as this year a majority of players will be returning. “We are only graduating one senior and are returning our entire starting lineup and all our starting pitchers. The difference between this recruiting class and the last two is that we have the bulk of our team and instead of just trying to get large numbers of players we are now focusing on getting players to
AN ONEER PI
unior Marcos Garza* is in many ways a typical Whitman student: he’s studious, a member of a fraternity and active in campus clubs. Yet there’s a part of him that only a small number of his friends know about: “Iguess,to tell you,I’mgay,”he sayshesitantly. Garza’s experience of being in the closet at Whitman may not be as atypical as it seems. While Whitman is a purportedly accepting campus—one of only 33 colleges in the country to earn a perfect five-star rating from “Campus Pride”’s 2011 rankings of LGBT-friendly colleges—there are also many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students who do not feel comfortable coming out. Given that closeted students are not out, it is hard to know exactly how many are at Whitman. Three spoke with The Pioneer for this article, all on the condition of anonymity. Several people wrote of their private struggles with being gay or questioning their sexuality for last November’s PostSecret wall in Reid Campus Center. And three came to the counseling center in the 201011 school year with sexual orientation or gender identity issues as their presenting problem, though Associate Dean of Students and counseling center director Rich Jacks cautions that students may wait until after a few sessions when they trust a counselor to bring these topics up. Closeted students said they often experienced subtle cues that held them back, such as seeing a friend be surprised when two guys made out at a party or hearing jokes that call into question people’s masculinity. Jack Pikes*, a first-year student who knows he is not straight and thinks he is bisexual, was hanging out with two close friends earlier this year when one of them expressed frustration at Whitman’s atmosphere of political correctness. “Basically he was talking about making racist or gay jokes, and how he’s had to cut back on them, especially because there’s a gay guy in my section,” he said. “These are supposedly the people I should be comfortable around and that if I told them ‘I’m gay’ or ‘I’m bi’ that they would love me for who I am.” The attitude of mere political correctness is also part of the problem. Assistant Professor of Politics and GLBTQ advisor Susanne Beechey said that Whitman students often tolerate sexual orientation and gender diversity rather than embrace it. “There may not be a lot of homophobia or overt slurs, although there’s still some, but that’s not the same as acceptance,” she said. “That may create another barrier for folks in that they may not feel accepted [by roommates or communities on campus], so they have to push against the idea that Whitman is accepting when that doesn’t match the experience they’re having.” Junior Jake Thompson* is transgender and prefers to dress in female clothes, but only does so about twice per week in the privacy of his own room, as he is not out to anyone—including his girlfriend—about his gender identity. For one night a year, though, during Dragfest, Coalition Against Homophobia’s annual cross-dressing dance, Thompson feels comfortable enough in public. “You don’t have to be afraid, and nobody assumes that that’s what you do,” Thompson said. “I found out that it was an event before I came here. I’m not going to say that it was something that swayed me to go here, but I definitely perked up.” Thompson, who has known that he is transgender since he was 12, fears that a reaction would be markedly different any other day of the year. “A lot of people have slip ups,” he said. “I think coming out would spread really quickly; it’s a small campus. I think people would talk; I think it could be pretty nasty.” Garza also found himself being cautious. “I try not to put myself in positions where, you know, you have to identify yourself as gay or straight. Like when guys talk about girls and stuff like that,” he said. Pikes found himself being careful in
a different way. Even though he knows he is not straight, he wants to be sure of exactly what his sexual orientation is before coming out, especially since friends and family do not suspect he is anything but. “It’s almost like if I brought it up, they’d think I was kidding,” he said. “I kind of just wish I could talk with someone on my floor, in my section. I just feel like if I were to tell . . . friends or family, I’d want to be more sure about it.” Pikes said he does plan to come out while at Whitman, and has taken steps toward that goal by meeting with a GLBTQ student intern and going to the counseling center. Thompson said he does not think he will come out at Whitman. Garza had started to come out at Whitman by going to a few GLBTQ and Coalition meetings and telling half a dozen of his fraternity brothers. However, he felt tension with his cultural upbringing and ultimately halted the coming out process. “I feel like I still need to struggle a little bit in order to come out,” he said. “I came from a place where it’s not okay to be like this, and to come to a place like Whitman where it’s O.K., it kind of twists feelings, and I really don’t know how to deal with it.” The way he has dealt with it thus far is to focus more on academics and avoid thinking or talking about his sexual orientation—he said he hadn’t talked about it in almost a year-and-a-half. Though he hopes to eventually come out to his family, he no longer plans to come out at Whitman. Beechey wonders whether students in the closet have the institutional support they need in order to come out. “There’s not a clear infrastructure for students who may be struggling to know where they might go . . . I think one of the places where Whitman could be better is that we don’t have a staff person in student services who is dedicated to LGBTQ issues,” she said, noting that some students may be reluctant to talk about these issues with a professor. Sophomore Molly Simonson can attest to the lack of guidance. She came out as bisexual last fall, but wasn’t aware of resources such as GLBTQ or the counseling center during her first year. “I [di]dn’t really know who to talk to at Whitman,” she said. “There’s also this idea that going to the counseling center is for serious problems, and I don’t know that I would have felt that it was a big enough psychological issue, and I didn’t know that you could go there for anything.” Sarah Gremer, assistant director of residence life and housing, is looking to improve resources for LGBTQ students. She is spearheading a Trained Ally program to provide the skills to be a resource about LGBTQ issues. About 35 people are expected to come to the first training tonight; she hopes to offer trainings every semester. “The training . . . probably makes [closeted students] feel good, makes them feel like they have people who they can go to and want to support them,” she said. Little touches like these can go a long way. Pikes was encouraged by the dialogues from the first-years’ gender and sexuality workshop and the recent publication of the “Queering” zine, while Thompson was thankful for the school’s initiative for gender-neutral bathrooms, and said he used the bathrooms whenever convenient. Simonson said she saw more of these little touches after coming out. “I did become more aware of other people who did identify as GLB and who do have experience talking to people who do identify as that,” she said. “It’s not that visible, ‘cause most people don’t go around saying ‘I have a gay best friend, talk to me!’” Thompson noted that, while he wishes he had more role models, and often feels guilt about his gender identity, he still finds the support at Whitman to be encouraging. “I have a really solid support group, even if I didn’t tell them, even if I just said I’m having a bad day, they’re there with me,” he said. “The future’s still pretty uncertain with what I choose to do, but I feel better about it, definitely, since coming here.” * Name has been changed
ISSUE 13 | May 3, 2012 | Whitman news since 1896
ILLUSTRATION BY BERFIELD
Dance opus unites diverse media forms
by ALEX HAGEN Staff Reporter
n Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5, Whitman Dance Theater will present “Mysterium,” its final show of the school year. “Mysterium,” a modern dance production featuring choreography by Adjunct Instructor of Dance Vicki Lloid and senior Rhya Milici, also integrates elements of music, poetry, film and art into an hour-long, seven-movement dance performance. Inspiration for “Mysterium” came from Lloid’s close friends Phoebe Neville, a choreographer and dancer with whom Lloid worked in New York, and poet Tess Gallagher. The three artists have each undergone similar traumatic circumstances and events in their lives, and each have responded to these events in different artistic ways. “Mysterium” as a whole deals with the idea of trauma and how we react to it. Lloid said that “Mysterium” ultimately takes an encouraging view of tragic events. “All three of us very much believe in somehow taking those traumatic events and trying to find a resolution that’s hopeful,” said Lloid. “We share the belief that optimism is your only hope.” The various multimedia elements of “Mysterium” each work together to create a cohesive whole. The choreography and music were both inspired by a piece of art by Aislinn Adams, which appears on the “Mysterium” posters and programs. Music Assistant Kristin Vining, who composed the show’s music, will perform it during “Mysterium” alongside Whitman music students. Vining discussed the cooperative nature of the different media. “Just like the dance draws inspiration from the poetry and the art, so does the music, so that’s a good way to connect all the things together,” she said. “I’ll be playing music during the film segments, even when there’s not other dancing going on, so that’s definitely the thing that connects the whole show.” Vining also discussed the musicians’ freedom to improvise within her compositions. “There’s a lot of room for improvisation, so the other musicians also get to improvise with me,” she said. “So there’s a framework, but we have a lot of freedom to respond to what the dancers are doing in that framework.” Milici, who has danced and worked alongside Lloid for four years, described their tight, consistent collaborative style. “Normally, if you had two choreographers, it would have the feeling of, ‘A, B, A, B,’ and instead we’ve come together for a ‘C,’ and everything just weaves together,” she said. “Vicki and I have gotten to the place where we can’t remember who came up with what originally because we’ve edited and revised each other’s work so much, and pulled motifs from each other’s work throughout.” see MYSTERIUM, page 3
fill spots of the team,” said Cohen. Many players will be involved with summer leagues, striving to improve their abilities over the summer. Some will participate in collegiate leagues. Players will be participating in leagues across country, ranging from Pennsylvania to Hawaii. “These outside competitive summer leagues help add experience not only from more playing time against stiff competition but also the knowledge that is gained from those coaches as well. By the start of next season . . . the only thing that should be of concern for our team will be the season at hand,” said Matherly. Despite the setbacks that the team has suffered over the past few seasons, the team remains optimistic about the future. “I look forward to seeing a renewed dedication to winning next year, and I hope that we can bring the name of Whitman Baseball back to respectability,” said Cohen.
The dancers of ‘Mysterium’ rehearse a movement. The production features choreography from Adjunct Instructor of Dance Vicki Lloid and Rhya Milici ‘12, and incorporates a multitude of art forms, including music, film and poetry. Photo by Bergman
OPINION 2 Americans Environmental degradation has now worse replaced classic imperialism at in-person MAY
ILLUSTRATION BY JOHNSON
by WILL WITWER ‘13
f you’re reading this column, the chances are good that you’ve also read Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” at some point in your life. We first-years just finished this novella, which—if you can get past what, on the surface, appears to be racism—has the last word on one of the darkest times in history. During the 19th century, the nations of Western Europe radically expanded their territories; this rampant imperialism led to the exploitation of peoples across three continents. Fast-forward to 2012, and the majority of those empires have disintegrated as nation after nation gained the power to determine its own fate. Now, it’s not the political map that presents an issue of justice, but the geographical: the land is being logged and mined flat, while the oceans are acidic, over-fished and strewn with garbage. Historians have no shortage of heinous events to study, but environmental degradation is equivalent most to imperialism, in an uncanny number of ways. First, the motive for both boils down to economics. The seizure of Africa, the crucible of imperialism, began when European powers noticed Great Britain expanding its influence on the continent. In order to prevent Britain from outpacing them in trade, France, Germany, Belgium (as related in “Heart
of Darkness”) and others decided that the solution was to carve out their own holdings to use as exclusive markets. In short, the takeover was economically prudent. Today, what we’re doing to our environment is just as prudent. Oil, coal, timber and fish are valuable commodities, and perpetuating the dirty-energy infrastructure that is warping the climate all sorts of bizarre directions is easier than searching for more efficient energy. Viewed through this lens, we did the right thing in both cases. This, however, ignores one of the most significant concepts in environmental economics: the exter-
Political Cartoon by Julie Peterson
nality. An externality is any result of a transaction that is not reflected in the price of that transaction—for example, the sale of Amazon timber ignores the effect of the carbon dioxide released in the cutting. Looking at externalities, we can see that these two events—exploitation of the global south, exploitation of the planet Earth— are equivalent not just in motivation but in degree of immorality. Powers frequently used deception to acquire African territory. A common trick was to offer aid to one faction against another, defeating one and dominating the other before either realized what was
Tablets will surpass personal computers BLAIR FRANK Junior
uring Apple’s quarterly earnings call in April, one of the major announcements was that the iPad now brings in more money in revenue than Mac sales. Personally, I don’t see that trend reversing itself anytime soon.
Letter from the Editor This is the last regular issue of The Pioneer, but it isn’t my last letter from the editor. I’ve saved my nostalgia for the graduation edition of The Circuit, out next week. Here, I would like to recognize the wonderful team of people that have made this a truly standout year for The Pioneer. First, Production Manager Ted Hendershot, who saluted me on the night of my very first editors’ meeting and has been unfailingly faithful to The Pioneer ever since. His design chops guided us to our first print edition award at the Associated Collegiate Press national media convention in March, and his leadership and training skills have fostered an outstanding team of Production Associates, all of whom blow me out of the water every single week. And Managing Editor Cara Lowry, the girl who is responsible for my sanity and at times my self-esteem. Cara is able to predict my weaknesses and step in with
happening. Once their feet were in the door, these nations would perpetuate all manner of atrocities— King Leopold II made no secret of the fact that he saw the Belgian Congo as his personal fiefdom, to bleed dry like a village of medieval serfs. In the 21st century, we are once again making a purchase with a whole swath of civilization as its externality. I’ve stated before, and will again, that when we warm the Earth, poison its oceans and strip bare its resources, we as the perpetrators will not be the first ones to suffer. It will be others, less well-situated and less wellfunded, who will bear the brunt.
her incredible strengths. She’s a copy editor when you need it, a source of wisdom when difficult questions arise and a laugh when it’s late on production nights. Though I can’t give them the space they deserve, I owe a huge thank you to all of my editors and managers: to News Editors Shelly Le and Karah Kemmerly for handling enormous responsibility with grit and with grace; A&E Editor Caitlin Hardee for never needing my help; Sports Editor Libby Arnosti for her unfathomably cheerful disposition; Opinion Editors Kyle Seasly (fall) and Alex Brott (spring) for knowing how to go with the flow; Feature Editors Kelsey Kennedy and Alyssa Fairbanks for their creativity and ingenuity; Humor Editors Adam Brayton (fall) and Cari Cortez (spring) for the laughter; Chief Copy Editors Erik Larson (fall) and Jean Marie Dreyer (spring) for their voices of sanity; Web Editor Sara Rasmussen for ending the sentences
that start with “I don’t know . . .” with “. . . but I’m working on figuring it out”; Web Content Editor Josh Goodman for his initiative; Illustration Editor Binta LoosDiallo and Photography Editor Ethan Parrish for style and beauty; and all the other incredible people who give their time, energy and tears to this publication. And finally Senior Reporter and next year’s EIC Rachel Alexander, for always saying, “I can do that,” for pursuing journalistic excellence, for always believing in the power of the paper and for never giving me a single reason to worry about next year. You’re going to do incredible things, Rachel. Thank you for the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life,
For the vast majority of consumers, their primary needs as far as a computer goes are fairly simple: They need to check their email, perform basic office software tasks like building presentations and editing documents, and browse the web. Maybe they’ll listen to some music. For those people, tablets like the iPad are going to become more attractive as their one computing resource. Personal Computers—from laptops to desktops, Macs to Windows—are designed to be workhorses, and back in the day when keeping multiple Word documents open was a small feat, having the latest and greatest in processing was worth the money. Now, that’s not so necessary. Most people don’t even need the processing power in a MacBook Air in order to do their jobs effectively. As it stands, laptops and desktops provide a few key advantages like physical keyboards that tablets cannot yet provide, but the writing is on the wall. The future seems to hold a smaller role for the workhorse personal computer, which is just fine with me. I want a computer that allows me to stream video, edit large image files, check my email and play a game of Tetris all at the same time. Playing my favorite video games is something that I value. But not everybody needs a screaming-fast processor, a massive hard drive and tons of RAM. Not everybody needs the latest and greatest anymore, and perhaps having a portable tablet with long battery life will be more important than having a computer that can work harder than anything else on the market.
Correction to Issue 12 The infographic accompanying “Culture of colorblindness: Privilege hinders discussion of diversity” on page 1 should have reported the percentage of international students at Whitman in 2012 as 2.4.
Editor-in-Chief Patricia Vanderbilt
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n the context of whitmanencounters.com, an all-caps encouragement of “DO IT!!” is clearly meant in earnest. However, in context it entirely misses the point of the original post, and indeed, of the complicated social landscape behind it. The website allows Whitman students to post anonymous flirtations without restrictions. The site is more than that, but the most frequent kind of post, the kind that the uppercase missive above is responding to, reflects a larger issue than Whitman’s sexual frustrations. That is, as technology has created more and more spaces for communication, our generation has gotten worse and worse at communicating, especially when it comes to relationships. The typical Whitman Encounters post describes a person the poster finds attractive, but has not actually met. The poster only knows their face and can’t bring themselves to introduce themselves or ask the person out. Often the posts wish that the object of their affections would just talk to them, or express anxiety about initiating a conversation themselves. The true denizens of the site, who spend the time to comment on potential strangers’ posts, enthusiastically encourage the poster to ignore their hang-ups and “DO IT!” But these energetic responses, of which there are many, don’t understand why people use websites like this in the first place. In describing their crush from afar to an audience, the ambivalence towards building a relationship with a real person is fairly obvious. The majority of contributors don’t think anything will come of their written words, but simply seek listeners. The anonymity of the site is the crucial ingredient for this odd relationship between timid, daydreamy posts and outsized, carpe diem comments, yet the anonymity often makes posting on the site a form of withdrawal from the rules of everyday life. Indeed, our generation’s orientation towards computers makes us fundamentally comfortable withdrawing into the social isolation of technology, which might be deemed a way of being “Alone, together.” In a recent New Yorker article, sociologist Richard Sennett paints a grim picture of a future where people increasingly live alone: “A distinctive character type is emerging in modern society . . . who can’t manage demanding, complex forms of social engagement, and so withdraws.” In the context of in-theflesh romantic relationships, Sennet’s point hits right on the mark. Dating certainly qualifies as a demanding, complex form of social engagement. The need to post on Encounters instead of actually pursuing the person in question is unequivocally a form of withdrawal, motivated by the need for an anonymous voicing of hope or heartbreak. Before dating culture shifted, having a date or two every weekend was an important and manageable goal. Today, we have transfigured the already tricky act of making the “first move” into something beyond difficult, a Sisyphean task not even worth attempting, just worth complaining about. I’m not suggesting we try to go back to the ‘50s. Nor do I mean to scapegoat Whitman Encounters, a site which I read with an odd brand of devotion and keen interest and which might occasionally lead to the “bold and meaningful” encounters its mission statement suggests. Nor am I demonizing those of us who withdraw instead of confront—in fact, withdrawal almost seems like my basic mode of being. I empathize; I’ve been there. But it is important to understand that withdrawing into technology instead of really interacting, instead of dealing with the messy, complicated business of life is hugely counterproductive and a troubling prospect for our generation’s social future.
The Whitman College Pioneer is a weekly student-run newspaper published under the auspices of the Associated Students of Whitman College. The purpose of The Pioneer is to provide pertinent, timely news and commentary for Whitman students, alumni, faculty, staff and parents, as well as the Walla Walla community. The Pioneer is dedicated to expanding open discussion on campus about the issues with which students are most concerned. We provide coverage of Whitman-related news as well as featured local and regional events, and strive to maintain a standard of utmost fairness, quality, and journalistic integrity while promoting freedom of the press. In addition, The Pioneer strives to be a learning tool for students who are interested in journalism. The Pioneer welcomes all feedback and publishes weekly Letters to the Editor in print and online.
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‘Trelawny’ whirls into Harper Joy with love, intrigue, hoop skirts by CLARA BARTLETT Staff Reporter
rom Thursday, May 3 through Sunday, May 6, Harper Joy Theatre presents “Trelawny” on the Alexander Stage, adapted from Sir Arthur Pinero’s “Trelawny.” The performance will be repeated again during Commencement Weekend, from Thursday, May 17 through Saturday, May 19. After attending rehearsal, with much singing, choreography and hoop skirts, The Pioneer sat down with director and Garrett Professor of Dramatic Art Nancy Simon for an interview. Simon explained the play’s dramatic arc. “It’s about a theatre company in London in the 1860s,” said Simon. “The young woman who is the stir of the theatre company comes and falls in love and becomes engaged to an aristocrat. It’s about the conflict of the gypsies of the theatre and the limitations of the aristocracy.” Dealing with a large ensemble cast has presented both difficulty and support. “It’s a huge, huge show,” said Simon. “We’ve got 24 people in
The cast of “Trelawny” rehearse on the Alexander Stage in Harper Joy Theatre. The production incorporates historical English milieus and fashions with a large ensemble cast to deliver a triumphant and self-referential portrait of theatre. Photo by Felt
the cast, lots of scenery, 55 costumes. So it’s just the scope thing that has been an enormous challenge. They’re very much a company—the play opens with a
song called “Pull Yourself Together” and they have pulled together. Lately we’ve had illness and conflict—and someone always steps in and takes
over when someone’s missing. They all help each other out.” “‘Trelawny’ is a love letter to the theatre,” added senior theatre major Caitlin Goldie. “This
cast is very different from those of most Harper Joy plays. There are not only students, but faculty members, Whitman alums, and children of faculty. As a result, we started as a more disparate group than other shows I’ve worked on. Now, I think we’ve really come together as a company. The play is about a theatre company including members of all ages, and I think our cast suits it well!” First-year cast member Kathryn Bogley mirthfully reflected on her biggest obstacle with the play. “The most challenging part of ‘Trelawny’ is trying to figure out how to move in the huge hoop skirts. It makes it much more difficult to dance from point A to point B, but they are also really fun!” Simon elaborated on her approach as a director for coordinating such a diverse cast and intricate play. “You know what Steven Sondheim says, ‘bit by bit putting it together’—that’s what it is,” said Simon. “You start at the beginning, you continue hacking away at it and keep trying new things and hopefully you finally find things that communicate, coalesce and entertain on opening night.”
Music department hiring decisions, curriculum shifts concern students by EMILY LIN-JONES Staff Reporter
he academic year may be winding down, but some endof-year hiring decisions and curriculum changes in Whitman’s music department have still managed to cause a stir among students. Whitman Orchestra members were perplexed by the decision not to rehire Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Jeremy Mims as orchestra conductor and by a general lack of transparency in Whitman’s hiring process. The two candidates for the position of orchestra conductor were reviewed by a faculty committee and a student committee before a final choice was submitted to the Dean of Faculty for approval. Junior Rachel Ramey, a member of orchestra, expressed the desire for the college to reach out to students more for feedback, especially after students were invited to attend trial lectures and rehearsal sessions conducted by both candidates. “What was frustrating was that we spent three rehearsals playing for these candidates and . . . I feel like I didn’t get the input I would have liked,” she said. First-year Mary Welter, another orchestra member, agreed. “I think that a written evaluation would have been really nice,” she said. “We were told that evaluations at the end of the year were still important and really determined a professor’s standing, but they didn’t give us an opportunity to fully articulate our thoughts on Professor Mims again before hiring a new candidate, which was an interesting discrepancy.” from MYSTERIUM, page 1
Both choreographers strongly encouraged the Whitman community to attend the performance. “There aren’t a lot of opportunities to see dance in Walla Walla of this caliber and this scope,” Milici said. “The music that Kristin Vining has created is really extraordinary because so much of it, you can tell, is motivated from movement energy, whereas oftentimes music, for me, sits in the air and is pretty—this music moves through the space beautifully,” she added. “I think it’ll be a very powerful and moving performance,” said Lloid. “I think just overall it’s going to be visually and emotionally very very compelling and very moving.”
Students who worked with Mims observed that he has made a noticeable commitment of effort to the music program during his time at Whitman. In February he took the orchestra to a statewide convention for the first time in recent memory. “The thing that stands out to me the most about him is that he’s so connected to the students,” said Ramey. Though Mims has been rehired as conductor for Whitman Chorale and the Whitman Chamber Singers for the next academic year, some students point to the situation as an example of the lack of openness around decisions made in the music department. Additionally, many students are dissatisfied with the dwindling number of tenured music faculty in recent years, especially in conducting positions. “When I decided to be a music major, the music department was very stable. It has been upsetting to be in a department that has gone through a lot of really difficult changes,” said senior music major Carissa Wagner. Sophomore Kristi Von Handorf, a music major and member of Chorale, pointed to the fact that Whitman’s largest musical ensemble has been directed in recent years by a visiting professor. “The chorale is such a big group, and this person influences so many people over the course of their time at Whitman that it doesn’t really make sense that [the position of conductor] is going to change so often,” she said. Catharine Gould Chism Chair of Music Susan Pickett explained that the lack of tenured professors in the department is set to change in the future, but that the process of hiring long-term faculty is a slow one. “It would certainly be ideal for the choral position to be one of our tenure-track positions, I just don’t know how all the change is going to shuffle out in the future,” she said.
Concerns have also been raised over the perceived attempt to shift the department’s focus away from performance and put more resources toward teaching theoretical and historical aspects of music. “There are definitely a lot of improvements to be made [to the department], but I don’t think one of them is reducing the size of the performance part of it,” said Wagner. Pickett explained that an external review of Whitman’s music department, led by music educators from other universities, called for the department to place less emphasis on performance and more on theory. Currently the department strives for a compromise between the two. “The Whitman administration and music department came to an agreement that a balance between performing and non-performing courses was desirable,” she said. “Maybe we don’t always agree exactly what that balance should look like . . . but that is our philosophical goal.” Alumnus Stephen Beus ’04, a graduate of Whitman’s music program who is now a professional concert pianist, emphasized the importance of performance within music curriculum. “I think it is a tragic mistake to shift emphasis away from performance in a music department. The study of music history and theory is essential but loses a great deal of value when it is divorced from performance,” he said. Music students expressed a general desire for more transparency from faculty and administration, especially in hiring professors and choosing a future direction for the department. “You always have more confidence in the system when it’s completely clear, where there’s a deliberate attempt to make things as clear as they can be . . . Transparency is always good,” said Welter.
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Whitman, Walla Walla University partner in 2012 summer reading by ALLISON BOLGIANO Staff Reporter
his summer, students at Whitman and Walla Walla University will share a summer reading book. “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” by Pulitzer Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson will be read by both entering first-year Whitman students and WWU students. WWU has been involved in selecting the summer reading in the past, but this year Whitman and WWU partnered to bring the author to Walla Walla. The book, described as “narrative non-fiction” by The New Yorker, chronicles the migration from 1915 to 1970 of black citizens out of the South to northern and western cities. The book details the Great Migration through the stories of three people to illustrate what Wilkerson garnered through interviews with thousands of individuals. Although the book is shared, it will be read by different groups of students at each school. At WWU, incoming students have the option of reading the book and joining a threeday discussion group. This year these students will attend the author’s presentation at Whitman and meet with her at WWU. According to Dan Lamberton, professor of English at WWU, first-year honors students of many disciplines will relate their summer research to the book. “We’ve got various engineering students considering the book from the perspectives of their mechanical or civil or bioengineering engineering disciplines, biology students talking about the coincidence of insect infestations, the great droughts and the migration of failed farmers to the cities, and music students writing about the Funk Brothers,” said Lamberton. Whitman, which began a summer reading program in 1998, incorporates the required summer reading into orientation week discussions in first-year sections and presentations by faculty members. This year, an interdisciplinary faculty panel comprised of Assistant Professor of Music Doug Scarborough, Associate Professor of Sociology Hel-
KWCW SHOW OF THE WEEK
en Kim and Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology Jim Russo will give presentations relating “The Warmth of Other Suns” to their fields on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 2:30 p.m. in Cordiner Hall. Wilkerson will give a public lecture, followed by a question and answer session on Monday, Oct. 1 in Cordiner Hall. On Oct. 2, she will visit the WWU campus. Whitman also hopes to expand the conversation around “The Warmth of Other Suns” by hosting lectures and musical performances. Stewart Tolnay, sociology professor from the University of Washington who specializes in the Great Migration will deliver a lecture on Oct. 8 on the broader implications of the Great Migration. The book was chosen by committees from both schools. Whitman selected its top three choices, and then that list was sent to a WWU community, who voted for “The Warmth of Other Suns.” “One reason [WWU] favored ‘The Warmth of Other Suns’ was that the pastor of the WWU Church had used the book in a series of sermons he gave on social justice, and a number of people were reading the book because they heard about it in church,” said Lamberton. Mara Sorkin, event’s coordinator at the Office of the President, who helped facilitate the selection process, believes the book covers information that is new to many incoming students. “A lot of the students coming to Whitman might not be familiar with this period of history. It’s something that might not be covered in their high school history classes, and it’s sort of a neat chance for them to explore something about their own nation that they’re not so aware of,” Sorkin said. According to Sorkin, the narrative style of the book made it more than a history book. “What Isabel Wilkerson did is she interviewed thousands of people about this. She spent 10 to 20 years working on this book. This was an extensive sort of lifelong project for her. I believe that the author herself, her family was part of the Great Migration, so this had a very personal bent for her, and a lot of that comes through in the writing.”
‘I Hung Around In Your Soundtrack’ From Bowie to Interpol, Velvets to Cure—everything from nearly underground to totally below the radar. Tune in to hear the true meaning of “left of the dial”!
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Hard hits on wheels ignite derby crowd
by PETER CLARK
his past Saturday night, Walla Walla’s roller derby team, Crush Town Mafia, squared off against the visiting Rodeo City Rollergirls. The
women put on a 60-minute show for a crowd that came close to filling the Walla Walla YMCA gym. When the night was through, Rodeo City came out with the victory 160-150, but the score alone does not give justice to the type of thrill that Crush Town Mafia ADVERTISEMENTS
Walla Walla’s roller derby team, Crush Town Mafia, is one of the newest additions to the city’s sports scene, getting its start in November 2009. Photos by Felt
SCOREBOARD UPCOMING BASEBALL
v. Whitworth University April 28: L 7-4, 13-2 v. Whitworth University April 29: L 8-7
Women’s NCAA Division III Championships May 8-11: AWAY
View the following articles online at www.whitmanpioneer.com/sports
Whitties climb, kick to kill stress
Last weekend, the largest-ever Sweet Onion Crank hosted 150 climbers from 10 different colleges; 20 teams played in the women’s varsity volleyball Doubles Grass Tournament while the women’s soccer team held the Barefoot Soccer Tournament to raise funds for their programs.
Varsity teams bound for Nationals After a weekend flurry of NWC Championships, the Whitman men’s tennis, women’s tennis and women’s golf teams are preparing for NCAA tournaments in May.
provided for their loyal fan base. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to ever watch a roller derby live or even on television, it is hard to describe the sheer physicality of the sport.
More roller derby online at: