Category Archives: Administration

Ron Liebowitz’s Invitation for Discussion: A Translation by an of-age Middlebury student

Liebo XX

A particularly cunning student recently sent middbeat a satirical translation of Ron Liebowitz’s recent invitation to the student body to discuss campus social life.   While a magnanimous gesture from our President, students have been doubting how much this discussion will actually do to change the social atmosphere at the college.  The author wanted to preface the piece with the following:

The intention of this piece is not at all to personally attack President Liebowitz, whose invitation for discussion has been extremely well received and deserves respect.  I am caricaturizing and satirizing his very reasonable words in order to provoke students to think critically about the actual issues at hand – and hopefully inspire a laugh. After reading this, I hope students will consider the social motivation of students to perform certain behaviors, the motivations of the administration to implement certain policies, and the various effects thereof.

That being said, let’s get to the bottom of what Liebo was really getting at here:

Dear Students,

Ron Liebo: I am keenly aware of the frustration surrounding student social life on campus, and how the behavior of a few has unfortunately, but predictably, shaped our policies that limit social options for the responsible majority.

Translation: I am keenly aware of your recent complaints surrounding social life on campus, and how the inability of a few of your asinine peers to hold their liquor has ruined it for the rest of you. In response, we’ve implemented policies that make socializing within two miles of an open container more trouble than it’s reasonably worth. Don’t point the finger at us, though; clearly upperclassmen haven’t been fulfilling their responsibility to properly haze their underage peers, an age-old social practice that forces individuals to rapidly learn their limits of consumption, or die. Despite our best efforts, you assholes continue to try to “host parties” and “socialize” and “get wasted”. It’s almost like the more we try to control you, the more you try to rebel. Da fuck.

Continue reading

OP-ED: Hit WHO Where it Hurts? A Response to The Campus’ “Hit ‘Em Where it Hurts”

In response to a recent opinion piece in the Middlebury Campus titled Hit ‘Em Where it Hurts, which addresses student protest and avenues for change at Middlebury, student activist Adriana Ortiz-Burnham ’17 writes in with her opinion on the issue and her reaction to the article’s claims:

In The Middlebury Campus, (Oct 09) Luke Smith-Stevens, in “Hit ‘Em Where It Hurts,” characterizes Middlebury students as “a captive market.” He claims we “are left with few options for student protest” because “there are basically zero avenues to create change…” Given that the “nouveau-activists” to whom he refers are students irate about tailgating policy, my question is whether those avenues at Middlebury are appropriate for the tailgating issue.

Smith-Stevens suggests a student worker strike as an effective way to gain the attention of the administration. He admits “there are flaws in this idea…the lost income it would mean for student workers.” Why, yes. I have two jobs at Middlebury and one at home, which contribute significantly to the costs of my education. I would be expected to sacrifice my ability to pay for my education while being subsidized by those with “no skin in the game.”

Perhaps approaching the administration was not effective in the tailgating effort; I am not privy to those details. Smith-Stevens says the strike should be a “response to a truly unacceptable administrative policy, the likes of which we haven’t recently seen.” I can name at least one policy which is in fact “truly unacceptable,” that of AAL. Several of us have spent months trying to change it.

The aim of MiddIncluded, of which I am a founding member, is to broaden the cultures and civilizations requirement from Comparative; Europe; North America (excluding Mexico); and Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East; to Comparative, North America (including Mexico); and a choice of two of the following: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Europe. Why? Because “AAL” elevates the significance of Europe, the U.S.A., and Canada, while lumping the rest of the world into the category of “other.” This requirement is outdated, anachronistic, and fundamentally discriminatory.

Continue reading

Liebowitz to Host Discussion on Campus Social Life

Leibowitz_portrait

This semester has proven a tumultuous one with regards to student reactions to administrative policies regulating, some would say killing, student social life.  Aware of this widespread sentiment, President Ron Liebowitz will host a discussion regarding the relationship between the administration’s commitment to student safety and the student body’s desire for a vibrant social life in hopes of finding common ground. The meeting will be in the McCullough Social Space at 8:00 PM on Sunday, November 2. Read below for President Liebowitz’ invitation to the event. middbeat will liveblog the discussion next Sunday.

From President Liebowitz:

Dear Students,

I am keenly aware of the frustration surrounding student social life on campus, and how the behavior of a few has unfortunately, but predictably, shaped our policies that limit social options for the responsible majority.

I would like to hold an open meeting to air as many issues and concerns any and all of you have related to social life and related College policies and practices.  I would like to better understand how we might find some common ground and work to improve what is not a satisfactory situation.

I would also like to share what might be called “the other side” of the issue—the constraints within which we work in approving, or not, activities on campus, as well as provide some history of the efforts made in the past that brought some short-term success.

I believe if we better understood the issues that are getting in the way of social life on campus, as well as the challenges we as administrators face in maintaining a safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff (and neighbors), we could make great progress to improve social life here at Middlebury.

I invite you to a discussion on Sunday, November 2, at 8:00 p.m. in Wilson Hall (McCullough Social Space).  I hope to see many of you there.

Best,

Ron

When: Sunday, November 2 8:00 PM
Where: McCullough Social Space
Cost: N/A

One Small Step… Party Assistants for Hire

brett_stimson_2_square_dance

Social life surveillance has been a hot topic preoccupying many minds over the last couple weeks, middbeat’s included. The student body’s principle complaint has been the shady ways in which the administration goes about making these decisions, without any apparent student input.  Alas, there seems to be some progress on that front, heralded in by the recent announcement of a newParty Assistant position for students.

Anyone who has been to a party in Palmer or its ilk knows that Pub Safe usually rolls through halfway through the party, monitoring adherence to things like fire codes and party procedures, and, more often than not, they were forced to shut parties down due to noncompliance. A conversation began last year about how students could work with Public Safety and the administration to maintain a safe party atmosphere while keeping these parties going.  The administration paid attention to this discussion, and this year, a solution has been announced: Party Assistants.

An email slipped through the cracks a while ago, announcing that the “Party Assistant position is posted for hiring”. These party assistants are students who are paid to work with party and event hosts in Social Houses.  They receive training (different than Crown Manager training) that “will allow them to help hosts stay in compliance with fire codes and party procedures, identify potentially risky situations, effectively request help, support event attendees who have questions or require assistance, and most importantly support party host in hosting safe and enjoyable events.” Being a party assistant entails, among other things, providing the food and non-alcoholic drinks that party procedure requires, arriving before the event to speak with the hosts and do an initial walk-through, and staying through the event and its wrap-up and providing feedback.

The presence of these Party Assistants means that Pub Safe will no longer have to walk through mid-event; instead, the party host and the assistant will meet them at the door for a quick consultation.  This will most definitely be a welcome change for party-goers and Pub Safe alike.

While we should definitely continue the discussion about social life restrictions that has been recently set afire by the new tailgate restrictions, it is important to acknowledge when positive steps are taken.  Students expressed dissatisfaction about the status quo and the administration was willing to work with us in finding new solutions.  Let’s prove that this was the right move and make this step successful: Party Assistant positions are posted on the SEO website and hires will take place on a rolling basis.  Anyone willing to spend a couple nights a year benefitting the greater good, get involved.  Party-goers will thank you.

Pub Safe Meet and Greet LiveBlog

For the next hour or so, students will have the opportunity to openly discuss the relationships between public safety and students.  The event is hosted by the Distinguished Men of Color, and is taking place in the Ross B11 seminar room.

The room is set up like a panel discussion with the officers in the front of the room and students in the back.  For now there’s about fifteen students, and five public safety officers.  Taylor Custer, SGA president is present, along with a number of members of DMC.

The leaders of DMC, Taylor and Ola explain that this discussion is part of DMC’s goal of bringing society wide problems, in this case the role of the police force in the events that transpired in Ferguson.

The DMC presidents introduce an exercise where everyone in the room says their name, year, and the first word that comes to mind when they think of PubSafe.  People’s answers range from alcohol to mystery to Battell to contrast between PubSafe and the Middlebury police to citations.

The answers continue to roll out, such as thankful, privilege, and protection.  Largely varied the responses demonstrate both confidence and positive feelings about PubSafe to negative feelings oriented towards the department.  The officers introduce themselves, emphasizing honor, safety and multitasking in their answers.  The director of public safety has been here 14 years, and most of the other officers have been here for some time, ranging from 4 to 16 years.

Continue reading

DMC Presents a Meet and Greet with Public Safety

The Distinguished Men of Color are hosting a conversation about Public Safety’s role on campus and ways to improve the relationship between the student body and the people who keep us safe.  DMC writes in:

Tonight from 8pm-9pm we will be having a Meet and Greet with Public Safety in our usual meeting room of Ross B11 seminar room below the cafeteria. We aim to actually get ourselves familiar with the people on campus who’s job it is to provide us with a safe environment. Our ultimate goal is to ask any questions we may have about what their job’s entitle and strengthen our relationship with them instead of seeing them as an adversary (5-O, PoPo, The Doughnut Squad, The Fuzz etc.). So come out, bring questions, and gain an alliance on campus!

In addition, middbeat will be live-blogging the event, and we hope to see you there and hear your thoughts about an increasingly important conversation on campus.

When: Tonight 8-9 PM
Where: Ross Seminar Room B11
Cost: Nope

Op-Ed: The Middlebury Dilemma

(An environmental perspective)

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 12.58.25

A middbeat contributor weighs in on the People’s Climate March from a few weeks ago where more than 130 students travelled to New York to protest the UN’s 2014 Climate Summit, and speaks to the culture of environmentalism at Midd.  Feel free to share your thoughts below and join in on the conversation.

“Shoulda, Coulda, Didn’t”, was the call to arms for the 400,000 other people marching across New York City in arms against the global climate change crisis at the People’s Climate March two Sundays ago. Mass demonstrations like the PCM are often points of conflict in our generation—radicals want to burn down all industrial institutions while the opposition continues to lobby in favor of fracking, fossil fuel excavation and emissions. Efforts to change the culture of our current energy investments and security are numerous and strong, but bureaucracy for change is slow and often painfully ineffective.

Middlebury College has branded itself as a big leader on the environment nestled away in an idyllic Green Mountain setting. The decorous history of our institution seems to speak for itself: in 1965 we were the first college to offer an environmental studies major, more recently in 2007 we pledged to go carbon neutral by 2016, and we were the cradle of the international climate change movement 350.org.  At the PCM, 130 Midd students turned out to put pressure on the 2014 UN climate summit. The issue of global warming isn’t a new item on Middlebury’s agenda. A few weeks ago Middlebury scholar and leading environmentalist Bill McKibben, Middlebury Physics Professor Richard Wolfson, and student activists stood in front of a standing audience in St. Stephen’s chapel, exposing the dangers of rising temperatures: acidification of the seas, drier and more frequent droughts and the increased intensity of hurricanes—we all can think back to Hurricane Irene that swept chaos across Vermont in 2011.

Yet there is a kind of darkness that breeds a strong sense of discomfort in Middlebury’s current environmental agenda. The college’s support for the Vermont Gas Pipeline, which will be used to transport fracked gas across Vermont, having fossil fuel firms in our endowment portfolio, and the obstinate lack of transparency in the administrative rings exposes a destructive inconsistency between Middlebury and its green mission – or rather, its pseudo-green one. The Middlebury mission statement reads:

Continue reading

Live Blog of Tailgate PSA

We’re up. Live blog after the jump.

Here’s the final resolution from my perspective (last paragraph of the live blog):

“Moral is, there will likely be a change in how the policy procedure is implemented, namely that President Custer and Co-Chair Bogen will be informed of all potential changes and inform the student body about those we care most about before they are implemented. However, the tailgating alcohol policy will absolutely not be reversed, and is, according to Quinn, namely based on the inconsistency between NESCAC and Midd policy saying they don’t allow alcohol at sporting events and promise to provide a hospitable environment, and our previous allowing of alcohol and allowing the “dangerous and inhospitable” tailgating environment to persist. He doesn’t think it makes sense to allow alcohol at football events and not any other sporting events, and hopes that the positive crowd environment at events like field hockey or basketball can transfer over to football, without alcohol. Also, they hesitate to confirm that their lack of communication was disrespectful, as it was not grounded or motivated by disrespect.”

Additionally, worth sharing this recently found video of the 2012 Middlebury Homecoming Tailgate. Watch for yourselves and decide whether this is totally out of control. Granted, it’s only from one student’s perspective, but looks like harmless, well-deserved fun, to me.

Over Exposed: Homecoming 2012 from Benjamin Kramer on Vimeo.

Continue reading

Middbeat LIVE BLOG of Tailgate Policy PSA at 7 PM

As you know, tonight at the RAJ House there will be a meeting about the newly implemented tailgate policy with Athletic Director Erin Quinn, Dean of Students Katy Smith Abott, and the SGA, led by President Taylor Custer ’15. All students are invited, and everyone should come.

Middbeat wil be live blogging this event tonight, starting at 7 pm, on middbeat.org. Make it over to RAJ if you can, and if you can’t, we’ve got you updated. For more information on the meeting, click here.

Tailgate Policy PSA

AlumniStadium-FootballIf you’re a student here, chances are you’re pissed about the new tailgating policy. At the RAJ (Robert A. Jones Conference Center) at 7 PM tomorrow night there will be a meeting about the policy with Athletic Director Erin Quinn, Dean of Students Katy Smith Abott, and the SGA, led by President Taylor Custer ’15. All students are invited, and everyone should come. This is a chance not only to make your feelings about the tailgating policy felt, but support the SGA in giving students a voice. It’s great to make noise on the internet (thank you, we the Midd Kids!), but even better to take action. It’s a lot harder for the administration to ignore us when we actually show up to meetings like this to make ourselves heard. So 7 PM tomorrow night, RAJ Conference Center. See you there.

 

If you want to see what specific bill will be discussed, here it is: Continue reading