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College makes progress on multiple construction projects

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On Wednesday, Sept. 6, members of the college administration held a press briefing to address recent and ongoing construction projects on campus.

The briefing focused on six major projects, which included renovations to existing buildings and spaces as well as the construction of new buildings or the repurposing of old ones.

This past summer, Papazian Hall was torn down to make room for its replacement, a new building slated for completion in 2020 that will be named the Biology, Engineering, and Psychology (BEP) building. According to material prepared by the office of Vice President of Finance & Administration Greg Brown, BEP will serve as an interdisciplinary space to strengthen connections between academic departments across campus.

While construction will be performed year-round over the next three years, Brown said the college aims for the work to be as least invasive as possible.

“We try to do things as quickly as possible and we try to do the busiest and noisiest work in the summer months when [students are] not here,” Brown said.

In the final phase of the building’s construction, Hicks Hall will come down while the faculty offices and common spaces of the new building will inhabit Hicks’ footprint.

Whittier Hall opened in spring 2017 as a tentative placeholder for BEP while it is under construction. It presently houses psychology department offices as well as the engineering shop, though after the opening of BEP, it will transition to its designated use as a studio space for the art department.

“It is a very flexibly designed building so that it can fulfill multiple purposes over time,” Brown said.

Whittier is one of the first buildings on campus to adhere to the college’s new sustainability framework. It includes a variety of features such as solar power, aggressive storm water management, ground source heating and cooling, and a high-performing envelope.

Along with academic buildings, the PPR Apartment construction project, initially slated for completion before the start of the fall semester, was delayed by 6-8 weeks due to a failed steel subcontractor. According to Brown, the project remains under budget despite delay.

“There are a few things that still have yet to be finished and we are working on those,” said Brown. He noted that the furniture that will be in the living rooms has been back-ordered, and that the building is still being commissioned.

The apartments are also designed to have a variety of sustainability features. In the construction of the building, the baseball outfield was dug up and then replaced again in order to put in a geothermal well field. In addition, the rooftops have easily identifiable solar panels.

“They’re probably the most obvious solar panels on campus,” observed Brown. “One of the things we try to do in our construction is think about the educational component, so being able to see the solar panels I think reminds everybody that we’re actually committed to sustainability and we’re working on it.”

Several renovations were performed in Palmer and Pittenger over this past summer, such as bathroom renovations. In addition, a link is being built between the two buildings that will be accessible from the courtyard by a ramp.

ADA Program Coordinator Susan Smythe noted that the project was not completed in conjunction with the opening of the apartments so that construction efforts could be focused on the more extensive project.

“We made the triage decision to finish New PPR rather than keep the link on the same schedule. We’re now putting full attention over there,” said Smythe.

Sproul Hall is in the process of being repurposed into a shared space for the Intercultural Center, religious and spiritual life, and International Student Services. It will be renamed the Hormel-Nguyen Intercultural Center after the two alumni donors who financed its renovation.

“From the Deans’ office and the college’s perspective, we think this is going to be a wonderful way for students to get together and really so that there can be cross group communication and collaboration,” said Brown.

The telescope also came out of the roof this summer, and was donated to Supporting STEM and Space Inc. to be relocated to a community in Northwest Arkansas.

Janet Semler, the Director of Capital Planning & Project Management, believed that the repurposing of the telescope would inspire the members of the Arkansas community.

“It [ignites] all these young people’s interest in astronomy, and that’s what makes it so cool, that they’re using it as an educational tool,” said Semler.

Swarthmore’s recent renovations and ongoing construction projects will create new spaces for the campus community and in some cases bring new purpose to old ones.

You’ve Been Saving Water and You Didn’t Even Know It

in Campus Journal by

Throughout this school year, you probably saved around 1,122 gallons of water. And chances are you, you didn’t even realize it.

This past summer, I worked on behalf of the Office of Sustainability and the engineering department to research ways that resources, particularly water, could be conserved on campus. After preliminary investigations into water uses on campus such as irrigation, food services, and laundry, I found a large potential for feasibly saving water in shower water usage.

In the spring of 2016, a Green Fund proposal by Shane Loeffler ’16 jump-started a trial run of low-flow showerheads in the field house. After winter break, several low-flow showerheads were installed in the men’s and women’s locker rooms to gage student response. The main concern with the project was student complaints against the reduced flow. The relatively quiet response paved the way for a broad scale implementation of low-flow showerheads in the rest of the athletic facilities and in dorms throughout campus.

Before recommending the relatively small, but nonetheless significant, investment in purchasing low-flow showerheads, I wanted to confirm that low-flow showerheads could indeed save water. There was a concern that lower water pressure would cause students to take longer showers, thus rendering the low-flow showerheads ineffective at actually saving water.

If you lived in Willets over the summer, this might sound familiar to you. I attempted to quietly change half of the showerheads in Willets (as discretely as a girl in a dress with a wrench can get in the men’s showers of Willets). The new 1.5 gallon per minute (gpm) showerheads replaced old 2.5 gpm showerheads, therefore ideally saving 1 gallon of water per minute of shower use.

To test how much water was actually being saved, I first manually measured the flow rates of 1.5 and 2.5 gpm showerheads throughout campus (it turned out that 2.5 gpm labeled showerheads actually delivered an average of 2.22 gpm and 1.5 gpm labeled showerheads delivered an average of 1.32 gpm).

I also asked Willets residents to time their showers over the course of a week in July and record the times on slips of paper. Despite a few minor setbacks (someone stole my homemade data collection shoe box, along with the data, on Day 5 in Willets 2nd North), I was able to collect 111 shower times and determine that there was not a significant difference between students’ average shower times of the two types of showerheads. Therefore, I concluded that the low-flow showerheads could indeed save water.

I spent the next few weeks installing over 200 low-flow showerheads in dorms across campus. I ran into some fairly legitimate challenges to being able to install low-flow showerheads in all showers on campus, like construction in ML, a different showerhead type for handicapped showers, as well as some less impressive obstacles. Despite breaking a sweat, I simply could not get off a handful of the 2.5 gpm showerheads in Mertz and Worth – I like to blame the wrench for that one. Also, I had thought that no one was living in some of the smaller dorms over the summer, but an awkward encounter with a German exchange student in Woolman proved me wrong and prevented me from installing low-flow showerheads in some of the smaller dorms in use over the summer.

With over 200 out of the total 318 showerheads in Swarthmore’s dorms  replaced with lower flow showerheads, as well as all of the showerheads in the field house and Ware Pool locker rooms, chances are, you’ve cut down on your shower water usage without even realizing it.

Much more can be done, though, to promote Swarthmore’s conservation of water. I chose to save shower water through low-flow showerheads because it involved no behavior change on the part of the student. However, behavior change could further save water. I found that the average shower time for Willets residents was 7 minutes and 27 seconds. I understand that the stress of Swat can make standing under a hot shower seem like a daily necessity, but quickening the pace of a shower or reducing the time allowed for the water to warm up can lead to substantial water savings.

There is also room for energy conservation by reducing the temperature of showers. Last year, more energy went to heating showers in Willets than actually heating the dorm. Not only would taking shorter showers work to save energy, but sacrificing a few degrees can further save resources.

Being aware of the environmental footprint of your shower is the first step in working to conserve resources. Even though you’ve been saving water without even realizing it, a shorter shower or reduced temperature can further contribute to the conservation of water and energy that you have already unknowingly been contributing to. It is important for Swarthmore’s campus and students to take responsibility in a global effort to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Pride planning committee hosts events to educate on sexuality and gender

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Between March 13 and April 13, the Pride Planning Committee is hosting a series of events to celebrate and honor LGBTQ identities and history. The committee is composed of a group of students who work closely with the Intercultural Center. While it is not specifically affiliated with any student organizations, many of its members are leaders in Swarthmore Queer Union, Colors, and Persuasion, three prominent organizations for LGBTQ-identifying individuals on campus.

Pride Month stems from a decades-long tradition of commemorating the progress of LGBT activists and the struggle for equal rights, and is celebrated nationally in June to coincide with the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. At Swarthmore, Pride takes the form of a month of events to highlight marginalized voices in the LGBT community and to create spaces for queer and questioning students as well as faculty.

Gretchen Trupp ’18, a board member of SQU and one of the organizers of the Pride

Month MAZE party, expanded on the purpose of Pride Month.

“It’s about showcasing the variety that comes with the queer experience. I think there are a lot of stereotypes and conceptions that aren’t always true for everyone [in the LGBTQ community], and so lifting up all kinds of voices, especially the ones that are the most marginalized and misrepresented, is a way to dispel those,” Trupp said.

As part of its initiative to lift up marginalized identities within the queer community, the Pride Planning Committee kicked off its month of events on March 13 with a panel discussion entitled “Queering the Gender Narrative,” which was composed of students who identify as transgender or non-binary. In addition, on April 11, there will be a panel discussion for queer and transgender people of color.

The Director of the Intercultural Center Jason Rivera believes that an important objective of Pride Month is to facilitate discussion of issues relevant to the LGBT community.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge … that there are very intentional opportunities to engage in dialogue about issues germane to the LGBTQ populations. I think this is an incredibly important and often unacknowledged outcome of Pride Month,” Rivera said.

Nyk Robertson, the LGBTQ Fellow in the Intercultural Center, emphasized the balance of opportunities Pride Month offers with regards to education and community building.

“We want to make sure that we create a space for community for those within the LGBT community, but also [we want to provide] education both for allies and for people in the community who identify differently and don’t necessarily have the chance to connect and ask questions,” Robertson explained.

The committee has planned several lectures and presentations to give speakers the chance to educate and speak on LGBT matters. Guest speakers include Malcolm Lazin, the executive director of the Philadelphia-based LGBT organization Equality Forum; Jonathan D. Katz, the first artistic director of the National Queer Arts Festival; and Andre Perez, the director of the transgender-themed documentary “America in Transition.” Among the events aimed at building community, one standout is an LGBTQ+ faculty, staff and student dinner to connect members of the community across campus.

“We’re trying to give more time and space for talking and [for] hopefully finding people for mentorships, where that’s not something that necessarily faculty or staff share on a regular basis when you’re in the spaces with them that you’re in, because it’s not the time or place. But this will hopefully create some communication,” Robertson said.

In the past, Pride Month was held between National Coming Out Day on Oct. 20 and National Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20. According to Margaret Hughes ’17, a member of the Pride Planning Committee and a board member of SQU, Pride Month had to be moved this year due to administrative reasons.

“My hope is that in future years people will do the work to start planning [Pride Month] in September, so we can go back to that October 20th through November 20th date,” Hughes said.

Until 2014, the college held a queer- and transgender-themed conference every spring for LGBT students, faculty and staff to connect over issues relevant to the community. According to Hughes, Pride Month is especially important in the absence of such an opportunity.

“I think that it’s more important than ever that Pride Month try to do some of that work of uplifting the voices of more marginalized queer and trans people, just because there isn’t this big symposium that happens every year to do that,” Hughes said.

Planners of Pride Month have traditionally began the month of events by chalking sidewalks around campus to advertise events. However, since the ’80s, the chalkings have been met repeatedly with negative counter-chalkings, according to a 2014 article in The Phoenix. Two such messages were “Gays can’t make kids w/o a petri dish” and “For true equality, let the women rape the men.”

Hughes believed the homophobic messages are a reminder that Swarthmore is not separate from national issues and anti-LGBT rhetoric.

“The fact that it happens every year leads me to say it’s not just a random person from the ville — this is a manifestation of real feelings at Swarthmore. Don’t be surprised if there are counter-chalkings. Swarthmore is part of the real world and is not separate and exempt from the homophobia and transphobia that exists in the real world,” she said.

Pride Month offers LGBT students, faculty and staff the opportunity to gather and discuss matters relevant to the community. Although the events have been met with anti-LGBT messages in the past, Pride Month at Swarthmore continues as a tradition three decades in the making.

Editorial: We won’t be fake news

in Opinions/Staff Editorials by

Browsing the news and current events this past week, it was nearly impossible not to cringe at the many comments and actions made by our new president. In less than a week in office, he has managed to issue executive orders stopping federal dollars to organizations that offer abortion services and ordering a faster approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone Oil pipelines. He has tweeted comments that called for a further investigation of voter fraud and claimed National Security will have a “big day tomorrow … building that wall.” He has even made false claims, such as “millions of people voted illegally,” and was defended by Kellyanne Conway, his senior aide, as providing “alternative facts” rather than false information.

While cringe-worthy to many liberal students on campus, one could argue that most of these comments and actions are a matter of differing political views and, to conservatives, possibly even a preferred course of action; one could claim that students need to keep a more open-mind when it comes to these policies and not jump to conclusions about what the consequences may entail. Perhaps one could argue that Trump honestly believes he is spouting alternative facts, rather than false information.

Yet, the tendency of Donald Trump to condemn specific news outlets as “fake news” actually discourages this claim to keep an open-mind and prevents discussion. This continuously expressed view by Donald Trump directly ignores the views of those outside his political spectrum. Donald Trump continues to claim that most media outlets are “fake news” and even tweeted, “congratulations to Fox News for being number one in inauguration ratings. They were many times higher than fake news CNN.” He persistently congratulates Fox News, a traditionally conservative news outlet, yet condemns CNN, a news outlet that sometimes leans on the liberal side of the spectrum.

What Donald Trump fails to acknowledge is that accurate news represents multiple perspectives; it provides credibility to both sides of the argument, even if they don’t necessarily agree with all perspectives on an issue. Fox News is notorious for ignoring the liberal side of an argument, dismissing it as naive or just plain wrong. CNN is also guilty of this mindset at times and disregards some of the valid perspectives and concerns of the conservative side of an argument. Yet, just because outlets tend to take different angles on an issues does not mean that the one representing an individual’s views is right and that the one opposing their view is wrong. Rather, accurate news represents multiple perspectives and acknowledges that the arguments on each side of the spectrum are valid through providing reliable evidence and sources. Since news is inherently biased since it is written by a human being with their own thoughts and positions, this is as close to accurate news as can be achieved.

Finally, it is important to recognize that just because a news outlet reports a story from an angle does not mean that it is more biased or “fake.” Rather, as long as all views are acknowledged and represented, it is serving its job of presenting an issue and pursuing its intended message to get across to its readers.

Donald Trump’s metric that one article is “true” because it represents his view while another is “false” because it doesn’t represent his same view is particularly problematic. Neither view is “true” just because it represents the views of an individual. Just because Fox News tends to align more with Donald Trump’s conservative position does not mean that it is true and that CNN is lying whenever it argues against these conservative claims. Furthermore, the elitism that this can encourage, by leading people to claim that one view is made up of “stupid people” who are “lying” or “ignoring the facts,” further destroys any chance of discussion or compromise on various topics.

In the face of a federal government that does not seem interested in both exposing and listening to all sides of an argument, we at the Phoenix have an even greater mission to present real, accurate news that represents all student voices on campus. While we recognize that Swarthmore is often criticized for being “too liberal,” we believe it is more necessary than ever to reveal the diversity of views that exist on campus and in the real world. Even if some stories are presented with a particular angle, we commit to these stories acknowledging as many viewpoints as possible without ostracizing members of the community.

We cannot do it alone. In representing the community and all sides of a story, we need you, the Swarthmore community, to share your knowledge and voice with us. We need you to work with us to accurately represent a story with as much information as possible and to truly represent the concerns of the community. Whether it be through sharing your own voices in your own article or being willing to interview “on the record” to avoid censorship of issues happening on campus, we ask all of you to work with us in portraying accurate, effective news from which everyone can learn and benefit. With the misunderstandings and blast of the media by the federal government, it is more vital than ever that we work together to ensure our campus does not fall victim to these claims and that we continue to be a model for accuracy, collaboration, and compassion.

Dinner with Strangers program launches with first event

in Around Campus/News by

On March 23 President Valerie Smith introduced a new program, Dinner with Strangers, to the entire Swarthmore community. The dinner consists of twelve randomly selected people, composed of  staff, faculty, students, and alumni come together to have dinner at the president’s house. The dinners started with people being invited to the dinner by Smith as a sort of trial run. Now the program is opened up to the entire campus to sign up.

Smith experienced a similar program while working at UCLA. The event, called Dinner for 12 Strangers is now 48 years old. Each year there are around 350 dinners, often hosted by alumni around the country. Smith saw the value of the idea and thought a similar program would benefit the Swarthmore community.

Once she arrived on Swarthmore’s campus she enjoyed meeting so many new people and thought the dinner would help others do the same.

“I brought this idea to Swarthmore because I wanted to share that joy with other members of the Swarthmore community,” said Smith.

The program aims to connect people who would not otherwise meet and to help increase the sense of a campus community. Smith believes that the program will allow students to feel a deeper connection to different parts of the Swarthmore community.

So far the program has been successful. Over 200 people have attended a dinner or expressed interest in attending since the original email was sent, and the guests have been excited and enjoyed meeting new people

Associate College Librarian for Research and Instruction Pam Harris attended one of the early dinners. She received her invitation in the mail to attend a dinner in March.

“I just happened to [check my mail] and there was an envelope and it was clearly different than [sic] usual catalogues and interoffice orange offices that I get. It was a proper envelope. So I brought it upstairs to my office and opened it up and it was this great invitation with this mystery dinner, or dinner with twelve strangers but my imagination immediately went wild,” said Harris.

The mystery and excitement added to Harris’s enthusiasm about the night. Smith says that excitement about what the evening will be like and who ‘their’ strangers will be is something many guests have in common, but once at the dinner the conversation flows naturally.

Harris was excited but went into the evening with few expectations. When she arrived she was warmly greeted by Smith.

“Val opened the door and greeted me by name as if we were best friends like ‘hi Pam’ so that was really so welcoming and gracious,” said Harris.

Harris said the conversations at her dinner ranged from what books people are reading to interesting hobbies. Harris enjoyed getting to know people on a more personal level, outside work and the academic world that is more common in the workplace. Since the dinner, Harris has enjoyed seeing ‘her strangers’ around campus.

“Now we greet each other by name and we smile at each other with a knowing little smile and it’s really nice,” said Harris.

Harris recommended this experience to other people, saying that the anticipation and excitement is a nice way to break-up everyday life at Swarthmore. Smith encourages students to sign up, even if they expect some awkwardness.

“Each guest is a little nervous about meeting new people. But we’re just getting together to have fun and enjoy a relaxed evening.” Said Smith,  “And they will get a good meal in a homey environment.”

As the program grows, Smith hopes to include dinners around the country at alumnus’ homes. Harris also sees the advantage of including alumni in the event

“I think that for alumni I can see this being a really meaningful way to engage with Swarthmore as it is right now. What’s happening now and what’s important to those of us who are on campus. I can’t think of a better way for them to be involved,” said Harris.

Students who are interested in participating in the dinner can email Presidential Fellow Bruce Easop

Five years later, Hobbs still brewing strong

in Around Campus/Campus Journal by

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“That’s the secret — love and butter.”

Just a few minutes into our interview, William Randall, chef and owner of Hobbs Coffee, reveals his guiding principle. It’s not hard to imagine former Food Network star Paula Deen preaching this same maxim from behind the television screen, the words drizzling through her teeth, soaked in her syrupy drawl. But coming from Randall, the words ring simple and true, reflecting his overall approach to his now five-year-old business. While consistently playful and quirky, Hobbs remains at its core a place that focuses on creating high quality food in an easygoing, friendly atmosphere.

Since opening its doors in December 2009, Hobbs has been a mainstay of the Swarthmore community, equally popular among students and local residents. Despite having known that Hobbs’ Park Avenue storefront carried a history of failed businesses, Randall does not remember worrying that his location was cursed.

“I heard that [the former business-owners] were just socially rude people … I knew that if nothing else, we weren’t going to be rude,” said Randall.

Randall started the enterprise with two other partners, both of whom have since left the business on less than amicable terms. One partner was fired before Hobbs even opened, and the other made an exit a few years later. “My partner was crap and stole a lot of money from us three years ago,” said Randall.

Though Hobbs quickly found popularity in a community devoid of any other cafés, it took Randall a few years to find the right balance between meeting the practical needs of running a business and satisfying his creative ambition. “Originally the problem was that we were just doing so much and getting burnt out,” said Randall, “and then we started seeing things that worked out, got our hours down, got our menus down, got our brunches down.”

The creation of a weekend brunch menu was a game-changer for Hobbs, giving Randall more opportunities for culinary experimentation while building a pack of loyal customers. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, the usually relaxed mood at Hobbs becomes slightly less amiable as students, families and even a few professors vie for empty tables. Despite what appearances would suggest, Randall doesn’t keep his audience in mind when constructing his brunch menu, and relies instead on his culinary instinct.

“I know [the food] I like isn’t pompous and isn’t going to be weird and offensive to people,” said Randall. “Sometimes I do things that I think are funny but nobody else finds funny. We did lamb bacon on a Twinkie and I thought that was hilarious, but everyone hated that.”

Not quite a restaurant and not merely a coffee shop, Hobbs occupies unique territory both in Swarthmore and in comparison to the offerings of downtown Philadelphia. Randall maintains that it was never his intent that Hobbs would join the ranks of the sleek hipster-magnets that populate the city. “I don’t really like the modern coffee scene in general,” said Randall. “I find it dull and kind of up its own ass.”

However, not everyone agrees that Hobbs is entirely removed from the hip and trendy. Leah Gallant ’15 offered, “[Hobbs is] about as close as Delaware County gets to being Williamsburg.”

Ava Cotlowitz ’16, a part-time employee, describes that Hobbs has a “chill, cozy vibe,” which easily accommodates a diverse clientele. “How [Hobbs is] decorated and its décor isn’t so overbearing that it forces you to commit to one type of customer. So I think people can make of it what they want,” said Cotlowitz. Of course, it does help if you’re a fan of the indie heavyweights of the ’80s and ’90s. It’s not rare to hear Ian Curtis’ melancholic croon emanating from the Hobbs’ stereo, or to feel Stephen Malkmus’ jangly guitar puncture the air.

Hobbs’ unique atmosphere and off-campus location set it apart from other study spaces, and it has become an absolute essential to many a Swattie’s homework routine. “There are times when I really need a space that’s not Sci Center or McCabe or Cornell,” said Victoria Stitt ’16. “Everything is so monotonous and gray after two months here that to take away one of the study spaces that is a little bit not gray would be terrible.”

Swatties need not fear that Randall will be packing up shop to move Hobbs elsewhere anytime soon. In fact, Randall would like to eventually buy the property behind Hobbs in order to expand its kitchen, which would allow him to experiment more with in-house baking. “The stuff we do right now is out of a kitchen the size of a [Hobbs] table,” said Randall. “It’s insane what we do, and it’s totally masochistic, but I dig it.”

Randall is also hopeful that one day he will be able to expand his menu to include alcoholic beverages — currently an impossibility given the Swarthmore borough’s dry status.

“I think it’s a crime that there’s no drinking in this town,” said Randall.

Randall expects the college’s Town Center West project — a planned inn, restaurant, bar and bookstore that will be operated by the college, but open to the public — to make it more difficult for other borough businesses to acquire a liquor license. “I think the inn project is a stupid idea,” said Randall. “I think it’s going to be executed so poorly that it’s going to slow down the process of potentially getting a liquor license in town, which would probably go to [Hobbs].”

Randall expressed that if he were able to acquire the license, he wouldn’t take the responsibility lightly. “I will make [the community] proud,” said Randall. “I will do something for everyone that we can all enjoy, and nobody’s going to come down here and make an asshole out of themselves.”

But for now, Randall is sticking to what has made Hobbs such a success. On any given weekend, he’s sharing with you whatever he feels like eating — even if that means something a little weird.

 

Chopp Meeting Draws Hundreds as Administration Faces Student Ire

in Around Campus/Breaking News/News by

Following weeks of heated debate, chalked messages, and controversial posters, President Rebecca Chopp sent out an e-mail last Thursday in an effort to remind the community “What Swarthmore Stands For.” In the “spring of our discontent,” as she termed it, administrators and students alike have been participants and spectators to polarizing confrontation over issues like Greek life, administrative handling of sexual assault policies and commencement speakers, leading many community members to question what it really is that Swarthmore stands for and how the college can move forward amidst differences so important and divisive.

Last night, Chopp and Dean of Students Liz Braun held a meeting in Eldridge Commons to continue this “important conversation” about community, giving students an opportunity to voice their concerns about the various debates and the administration’s responses. The commons was filled to the brim — approximately 200 students, faculty and staff were in attendance.

Chopp started with a minute of silence, in line with Quaker collection traditions. She then said that this meeting was more about listening, rather than speaking for the administration.  The floor was opened to students. Joyce Tompkins, Interfaith Adviser, acted as moderator.

Sexual assault and the college’s response to such incidents were at the forefront of issues raised. Survivors of assault on and off campus shared their experiences with those in attendance, presenting concerns over the culture Swarthmore is building and perpetuating.

Camille Robertson ’13 expressed desire that future conversations around sexual assault at Swarthmore focus more on rape culture. She was inspired by and paraphrased her friend Yin Guan ’13, who earlier in the week had emailed Rebecca Chopp expressing the need for education about rape culture, and calling for “creating a campus culture in which we teach and demand people not to rape , rather than not to get raped.”

Mike Hill, director of Public Safety, has indeed led “Rape Aggression Defense classes several times during the year,” according to the college’s website, in order to help students defend themselves in dangerous situations. The Acquaintance Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP) workshops, which freshmen are required to take part in during orientation, also focus “on issues concerning the nature of sexual assault, prevention of and safety from sexual assault, and related on-campus resources,” according to the college’s website. And while consent workshops, a series of which took place this past week, do address sexual assault and rape prevention, students, StuCo co-President Gabby Cappone ’14 among them, agreed that there needs to be “increasing education” and that a one hour workshop once a year “won’t get the job done.”

Concerns weren’t only raised about rape culture on campus, but also about the way in which administrators have dealt with sexual assault and the campus’s victims. One student, in fact, said that with the exception of Beth Kotarski, director of Worth Health Center and SMART Team advisor, she had heard horrifying stories about every single administrator in the room that had in some capacity or another dealt with victims, and that if they continued to put blame on victims, if they continued to make Swarthmore a hostile environment for its survivor community, allies, and the school at large, any change in policy would be meaningless.

This meeting, however, was not the first time students revealed perturbation over administrators’ inadequate responses to stories of assault and rape. One student insisted that she had yet to hear the administration respond to victims who said their experiences had been invalidated time and time again.

“If we can’t go to those in power, who can we go to?” she asked.

Lisa Sendrow ’13, a SMART team and College Judiciary Committee (CJC) member, for this reason, wished to see the CJC enact changes “to make people feel more comfortable about how this campus deals with sexual assault.” Acknowledging that students have voiced serious concerns over the committee’s insensitive proceedings, like having to face perpetrators or members of the administration who delegitimized their experiences in the room, she encouraged the campus to share with her thoughts about changes that need to be made within the CJC.

“I want to figure out how to lower barriers to pursue CJC action,” Braun added. The CJC process, which has been under amendment for the past few years, now starts in a confidential place and has trained investigators collect information about the incident, even before action is decidedly taken through the committee.

Chopp also mentioned that the college launched a sexual misconduct resources website earlier yesterday and that it would be hiring an outside consultant to review the current policies and then educate an internal task force accordingly. She admitted that she and Braun had been waiting for the right moment to bring in such a consultant, or group of consultants, to campus.

“Our community has decided that this is the right moment,” she said. The team, which Chopp hopes will be chosen this spring, will be composed of managers, faculty, students and staff. Policies will be reviewed over the summer and the external review will begin next year.

Rebecca Ahmad ’13 also made clear on multiple occasions that Swat Survivors, which she runs, is and will continue to be an open resource students can and should take advantage of.

The administration’s response to recent debate on campus was also a contentious issue during the meeting. Anna Stitt ’13 specifically brought up the e-mails Chopp sent to the campus community both regarding Robert Zoellick’s rejection of his honorary degree and more recently, regarding “the spring of our discontent.”

“In trying to support all communities, the administration has stayed neutral,” Stitt said. “But when there are uneven power distributions, neutrality is taking a stance. It’s not necessarily against any particular group of students to think about marginalized groups on campus.”

Chopp apologized for the letter, saying that she had “conflated a lot of issues.” The administration’s neutrality, however, was not addressed by her response.

Another student, echoing Stitt, said that as a queer man of color he had only felt comfortable and respected in spaces created by students. During his time at Swarthmore, there has been no “administrative, institutional support.”

Dilcia Mercedes ’15 also felt that the administration’s lack of concern and action regarding the violation of the Intercultural Center (IC) a few weeks ago showed a lack of interest in protecting certain communities on campus.

Talk regarding the definition of community and respect, how disrespect may be related to anger and its expression, accountability, transparency, spaces for victims to talk safely, and the way in which community members have engaged one another in conversation took up a large part of the 90 minute-long discussion.

In the end, Chopp expressed her wish to proceed with similar conversations and smaller ones in different venues.

“I think many of us, maybe all of us, learned that we need to do this more, that we need to do this in places where we can speak honestly,” she said. “I think we definitely have a lot to work on, a lot of issues to address, a lot of opportunities to realize.”

Braun agreed, adding that she “was really moved by how many community members took the time to be here.”

Sam Sussman ’13, echoing Braun, said he was impressed by the “courage and devotion to building a better community by students who were able to share personal stories in a way that spoke to the problems we have to fix as a community.”

“That Dean Braun and President Chopp were willing to listen for 90 minutes to a wide variety of students voicing their concerns I think shows at least the beginning of the sort of commitment we need from the administration to build a better Swarthmore,” he said.

Others did not leave the meeting equally as satisfied.

“This is just another talk,” Mercedes said. “I have no idea how they’re going to proceed in addressing most of these issues. To make progress we need to stop talking and start acting.”

Chopp and Braun encouraged students to e-mail the administration with further questions and concerns and continued to stress that last night was the first of many meetings to come.

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