Category Archives: News

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

4/20: The Bizarrest of Days

This 4/20 very well be one of the most bizarre days in history, with reason for celebration, mourning, reflection, and rebirth.  Today marks the first legal 4/20 for Colorado and Washington residents to smoke pot without consequence, a truly monumental event in the history of marijuana laws in the United States.  It also marks Hitler’s 125th birthday, the 100th year anniversary of the most violent labor conflict in U.S. history in Ludlow, Colorado (I know, ironic), the 15 year anniversary of the Columbine Massacre (thanks Little), and the day Jesus rose from the grave to save all sinners.  For those heading to Palmer and the Otters today, it just may be the highest form of enjoyment on yet another beautiful Vermont spring day.  Milk Boat will be going straight to the dome at the Joint concert, and the Otters will surely provide dank nuggets of uproarious laughter.  Don’t miss out.  But there’s more to today than just a toke frenzy.

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Living in the Adderall Generation: Part 2


For those of you that picked up the newspaper today and started reading only to realize that several pages were accidentally reprinted from last week, here’s a link to Living In The Adderall Generation: Part 2.  You can see the rest of the Campus’ content online.

If you didn’t read Part 1 last week, it’s worth starting there before reading this week’s article.  Like I said last week, this is a pretty top-notch piece of journalism on a fascinating and important issue.

An excerpt from the article by Kyle Finck ’14:

The problem with living in the Adderall Generation is that you cannot just divorce yourself from these drugs altogether. As Ben learned, there is no such thing as cold turkey for students taking psychostimulants at the College. But you can learn to use the drugs responsibly and come to terms with their role here. For better or worse, from 30mg extended-release Adderall pills with breakfast to Saturday nights driven by neon blue and orange lines, we are living in the Adderall Generation.

Lunar Eclipse Tonight!

There will be a total lunar eclipse tonight!  It will begin at 12:54 and continue until 6:38 am, with the total eclipse lasting from 3:07 am to 4:25 am - during this time, the moon will appear sunset red. If you can stand to stay up a bit late, it’s worth watching this spectacular phenomenon.  If you’re like me and have no idea what a lunar eclipse really is, here’s some info lifted directly from Wikipedia:

lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow). This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned (in “syzygy“) exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon. The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon’s location relative to its orbital nodes.

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Middlebury’s Fading Honor Code in the New York Times

Yes! We’ve made it to New York Times!


“The campus tour for prospective Middlebury students stops in a corridor outside a much-frequented eatery at the student center. Here, the guide directs their attention to a glass case exhibiting signatures of every freshman who has signed the honor code, a pledge made during orientation. To high school students fresh out of the SAT and A.P. grind, these signatures suggest that the competition for high scores is over; learning would now be fuller and more meaningful. Lowering their gaze, however, they might notice three trash bins lined up under the display. This juxtaposition looks to be a fitting metaphor for Middlebury’s attitude toward its honor code.”


at least we recycle…

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Living in the Adderall Generation: Part 1



If you haven’t heard the buzz about this article in the Middlebury Campus today, you’ve probably noticed people with the paper open to a spread full of pictures of people snorting lines of adderall. Kyle Finck ’14 has been working on this multi-part piece since last March and has been following six students and their experience with the drug as well as a number of experts in the field, both on campus and off.  This is arguably one of the best journalistic pieces that the Campus has presented in years, not to mention it tackles a major issue on College campuses around the country in a very personal and accessible way by providing both the facts and the opinions and challenging many common misconceptions.  

Definitely read the article and keep an eye out for more in the coming weeks – it’s guaranteed to open your eyes to the scale of prescription drug use on campus and might make you reconsider your own use of the drug.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this coverage makes it to the national news given it’s importance on a broader scale and relevance outside this college, but I’m ever the optimist.  In any case, major props to Kyle for his hard work on this.