Category Archives: News

Border of Lights Vigil for Parsley Massacre in DR & Haiti

unnamedThis Friday, from 8-9 pm there will be an ‘electronic’ vigil just outside McCullough in remembrance of the Parsley Massacre, a government-sponsored genocide that took place in 1937 in which Dominican president Rafael Trujillo ordered the execution of the Haitian population living in the borderlands with Haiti. Though as many as 20,000 people are thought to have been killed at Trujillo’s order, the Parsley Massacre went almost completely unnoticed by those outside Hispaniola, even by thousands of Dominicans kept ignorant by Trujillo’s henchmen. Though this event has been horrendously ignored by our histories, this vigil provides the perfect opportunity to educate ourselves and “honor a tragedy long forgotten, and unknown to many people,” as the international Border of Lights site explains.

For more information on the Parsley Massacre and Border of Lights vigil, be sure to check out this NPR’s article, “Remembering to Never Forget: Dominican Republic’s Parsley Massacre,” featuring audio in which writer, Middlebury professor, Middlebury graduate, Julia Alvarez (daughter of Dominican parents and raised in the DR) reflects on the Parsley Massacre and what it means today.

This vigil is open to the entire community, and we urge everyone to participate.

Date: Friday, October 3
Time: 8-9pm
Place: McCullough Terrace

 

You Can’t Be Outraged at Your Own Convenience: A Critical Look at the Consequences of Apathy

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It’s Thursday, September 25th at Middlebury College, and everyone’s p*ssed about the new tailgating policy. We certainly made some (read: virtual) noise: Middbeat’s former post, “Just When You Thought Social Life Surveillance Couldn’t Get Any Higher: Alcohol Now Banned at Middlebury Tailgates” generated 95 substantial replies. As of 9 pm on September 24th, the We the Middkids petition entitled “Reverse Changes to the New Tailgating Policy” received 2,508 votes. As the Middbeat article “Fight For Our Right (to party). Then Fight for Our Other Rights too” would suggest, perhaps the Middlebury community could be equally engaged when it comes to other issues facing the college (rising tuition rates, divesting from fossil fuels, et al). But needless to say, a policy concerning alcohol (or a pointed lack thereof) got our collective attention.

We complained, we petitioned, we wrote. We had angry conversations over paninis in Proctor and we sighed as the Middlebury Panthers lost to Wesleyan on Saturday. We voted, using the appropriate platforms provided by the SGA. We spoke up.

And then we dropped the ball. The SGA gave our intangible anger a tangible forum, provided the Middlebury community with the opportunity to speak directly with Erin Quinn (Director of Athletics) and Katy Smith Abbott (Dean of Students) to demand an explanation for this infantilizing and poorly-conceived new policy. The We the Middkids petition would indicate that at least 836 students voted against the tailgating policy (and, by extension, against a lack of meaningful communication between students and the administration). But how many students showed up to the Senate meeting? Not many. 

One of Erin Quinn’s arguments, as indicated by Middbeat’s Live Feed, suggested that he did not believe the changes to the tailgating policy affected many students. When precious few students show up to a forum designed to discuss that very policy, students unwittingly substantiate his claim. Our apathy gives him permission to be right, permission to cast us aside, permission to treat us like the disobedient children the new tailgating policy would suggest that we are.

The meeting was a success on the part of the SGA. Their resolution passed, indicating that Katy Smith Abbott is willing to discuss future policy changes with SGA President Taylor Custer ‘15 and Student Co-Chair of Community Council Ben Bogin ‘15. But where were we to support them, to validate the claims of students we elected to fight on our behalf? Speaker Michael Brady ‘17.5 remarks, “I was definitely hoping there would be more people there. I tried to make an effort by emailing [constituents], and about a 60% majority wanted the new policy appealed.” However, this display of initial enthusiasm did not eventually correlate with physical attendance at the Senate meeting. Brady describes the turnout as “definitely disappointing. We didn’t have the numbers show up that we would have liked. I don’t think there’s going to be substantial change if kids don’t back up the outcry.”

It’s true that our schedules are busy, and that most of us are bound to the Sunday night homework grind. We elect SGA members to have these very sorts of policy conversations on our behalf – can’t we just step back and let them do what they do best? Tempting, but the answer is no.

“I would have loved to stand up against this policy through civil disobedience,” says Brady. “However, due to my position in the SGA, I can’t take that particular avenue. In order to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the administration, it was more productive and appropriate for me to write and discuss legislation than to picket outside an administrator’s office. It’s within everyone’s best interests if the SGA maintains an amicable relationship with the administration – [that relationship] cannot be ruptured to a point where the SGA is longer functional.”

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Photo Gallery: Midd Kids Join People’s Climate March in NYC

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On Sunday, Sept. 2014, an estimated 311,00 people filled the streets of mid-Manhattan to “demand action on climate change”  by participating in the People’s Climate March. According to last week’s edition of the The Campus, about 120 Middlebury students went to NYC to join in the demonstration. Here are some photos of the event and a handful of the Midd kids who took part, collected by Marney Kline ’17.5, a lovely middbeat contributor who attended this march.

Ferguson Teach-In this Afternoon

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably been following the protests, rioting, and dialogue surrounding the events in Ferguson, MO where an unarmed, Black 18 year old Michael Brown was fatally shot by white police officer Darren Wilson on August 9.  The tragedy has sparked a nationwide debate about racial inequality, police militarization, and social justice, and is perhaps the most significant domestic discussion the nation has had in recent years.  While it is easy to forget that the discussion continues outside of the Middlebury bubble, a group of professors, administrators, and student organizations have organized a teach-in to continue this dialogue on campus. Roberto Lint-Sagarena, director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, writes:

Im writing to extend an invitation to a CCSRE Teach in on events in Ferguson, MO this Wednesday the 17th at 4:30-6:00 in Axinn 103. The structure of the event will be fairly informal – We will cover some information that helps to contextualize up front and then hold an open discussion for members of the Middlebury community. This event came together quickly in the first week of the semester so please forgive the rather sudden notification. I hope you can make it for even a part of our conversation. Word has gone out to a number of student organizations so we are looking forward to a good turn out.

Hope to see you there.

When: Wednesday, September 17 4:30-6:00
Where: Axinn 103
Cost: N/A

Just When You Thought Social Life Surveillance Couldn’t Get Any Higher: Alcohol Now Banned at Middlebury Tailgates

Few activities signify fall more than a good tailgate.  Bundled up, grilling, kicking it with friends and family, talking about the game (or not), and cracking a beer (or two) is one of the most familiar and enjoyable activities of the season. While we at Midd can continue to enjoy the first four of that set, the fifth has been eliminated by a new Public Safety Policy banning alcoholic beverages at tailgates, the latest in the increasingly strict regulation of campus party life.

And, to make matters worse, it’s not just alcohol that’s been banned. Brace yourselves: even music is no longer allowed. Laughing? You’re not alone. While many valid arguments can be made for and against alcohol consumption, banning music, arguably the least harmful social lubricant, is humorous. Innocent Tswamuno’s ‘15 response boldly resounds most students’ opinions on this matter: “With no music, what’s the point of tailgating at all? You’re sucking the love out of it all. Just let us have fun.”

While we will work to be objective in our discussion of this new policy, We can’t help but think “What. The. Fuck?”  Why take alcohol and music out of the equation for students over 21 at an age old tradition that takes place in broad daylight with readily accessible food right before attending a game at which alcohol is prohibited?

It’s unlikely we’ll receive an answer regarding these newly implemented alcohol and music bans straight from the horse’s mouth, but we can at least pick apart why this policy is a little, well, over the top. We’ll gauge student reactions in hopes of stirring discussion yet again about the increasingly omnipresent administrative surveillance of student social life at Middlebury College.

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New Student Blog: Centering Transmissions

centeringtransmissionsMiddbeat’s always looking to promote new student blogs, and we’re super pumped about this new endeavor, titled Centering Transmissions. Basically, this blog is a new space for students to educate and enlighten one another about anything and everything “international,” be it time abroad, foreign policy, international arts, etc. Hubert Adjei-Kontoh ’14, program and outreach fellow for the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, is spearheading Centering Transmissions, and writes in to tell us what it’s all about:

Do enjoy writing about international affairs, have a passion for world news, or spend time reading books in translation? If any these activities sound up your ally, or if you’re interested in what happens at the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, then you should write or edit for the blog Centering Transmissions. We hope to become a place for in-depth discussions of topics covered in the news, reviews of international film and literature, and intriguing journals of time abroad. 

The new blog can be accessed here, though, as you’ll see, it doesn’t have too much on it… yet. You intellectual, well-spoken and internationally-oriented folk are the only way to fill it up, so be sure to contact Hubert Adjel-Kontoh ’14 at hadjeikontoh@middlebury.edu if you’re interested in participating. And, on the same note, be sure to check out “Crisis and Confusion,” the Third Annual International Politics and Economics Symposium this Friday.

Breaking News: Midd Graduate Peter Theo Curtis Freed After Being Held Captive in Syria by Qaeda Affiliate For Two Years

Today, breaking news revealed that after being held for nearly two years in a prison run by an affiliate of Al Qaeda in Syria, American freelance writer and Middlebury graduate Peter Theo Curtis was unexpectedly freed on Sunday after emissaries from Qatar’s government won his freedom on humanitarian grounds. While Curtis‘ relatives are not aware of the exact terms of the release agreement, they were told that no ransom was paid, in alignment with the US government’s long-standing policy not to negotiate with terrorists. This incredible event is undoubtedly a blessing to Curtis‘ family, the Middlebury community, and our nation at large, though it stands in a stark contrast to the brutal decapitation of fellow war correspondent James Foley last week, which must not, and cannot, be forgotten.

Curtis, now 45, wrote freelance journalistic dispatches under the name Theo Padnos and authored two books: “My Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun,” a memoir about teaching literature to young offenders at a correctional facility in Vermont, and “Uncovered Muslim,” investigating Islamic extremism in Yemen. Curtis was taken near the Syrian border in October 2012 by Al Nusra Front, one of the groups seeking to overthrow President Bashir Assad of Syria that also has ties to the Al Qaeda terrorist network. His 22 month captivity was kept private, at his family’s request.

After graduating from Middlebury College, Curtis, an Atlanta native, went on to earn a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Massachusetts. He is fluent in French and Arabic, and also speaks German and Russian, according to his family.

Middbeat, as well as the entire Middlebury community, extends its relief, and love, to Curtis and his family, while continuously mourning the loss of James Foley and remaining hopeful for the many other journalists presently held captive over seas. Significant information on Curtis‘ release, captivity, and career is available — be sure to read up here, or at your preferred news source.

Also, stay tuned for exclusive Middlebury Magazine coverage of Curtis‘ release.

New Resource for Gap Year Students at Middlebury

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Stumble upon go/gapyear and you will find yourself caught up in the midst of a gap year student mecca, a brand new resource for gap year students. “Get together with Midd kids on campus who have recently returned from gap years. Reflect, ponder, and talk about poop,” one of the blurbs reads. The statement accurately portrays the collectively humorous and down-to-earth voice of one of Middlebury College’s newest student organizations: “Gap Year Students at Middlebury”—a voice that I became acquainted with during my recent chat with some of the group’s founding members, including co-president Megan Sears, ‘17.5, Jeremy Vandenberg ‘17, Kelsey Lee ‘17 and Azalie Welsh ‘17.

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What to do if you see a Bear

Public Safety sent out an email yesterday to let us know of a black bear sighting:

Early this evening, Public Safety received information from the Middlebury Police Department that a black bear cub was observed near the College’s compost area on South Street Extension (the backside of the Golf Course near the College’s jogging trail).    If there is a cub, a mother bear could be nearby.   If you are in this area and see a bear, please stay away from it.   Do not get in between a bear and its cub.

So if you see a bear, don’t follow the safety tips from the video above but check out these guidelines from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, summarized below. Continue reading

Go/Vote…or not.

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The voting period began today at noon and will continue until tomorrow at noon.  Go/vote to participate. You might be disappointed by your inability to choose.

As you may or may have heard, there’s only one person running for the position of SGA President this year.  This leaves us with two options – vote for Taylor or don’t vote at all.  That’s it. Don’t get me wrong, Taylor seems like a decent candidate, but I would like an opportunity to vote showing my dissension, otherwise known as a protest vote. Submitting a protest vote is stronger than abstention, it suggests a need for more options or a lack of confidence in the choices available.

Zee takes a stance: “There is no point to vote here because we don’t have a choice. There is no option to show dissent to the candidate or to the way the SGA is run. If this were truly a democratic vote there should be a vote for no-confidence that would allow students to show dissatisfaction with the status quo, or perhaps a write-in option.”

The lack of opposition may be the result of any number of things, but the outcome of this election has already been decided and now the responsibility to make change falls on us. Here’s Taylor platform, according to the Campus (I was unable to find anything else about the candidate you can read all about his platform here):

Taylor’s platform is significantly scaled back, looking to extend Thanksgiving Break, provide access to syllabi to give more information when we are picking courses, and partnering with local restaurants to create a revamped system of the MiddKid card.

Macslappy: “Last year, we had three candidates, Rachel Liddell ’15, Nathan LaBarba ’14, and Killian Naylor ’14.5, each of whom had extensive platforms, engaged in a debate, tabled in front of dining halls, and Liddell even went so far as to bake cookies, which admittedly won me over. Continue reading