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SAO Hosts Asian American Curriculum Panel

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On Nov. 29, the Swarthmore Asian Organization hosted an Asian American Curriculum Panel. The panel lasted almost an hour and a half, spanning a wide range of topics, including the lack of institutional support for Asian American Studies programs, the need for and the meaning of Asian American studies, and the various identities encompassed by Asian American studies.

The panelists included professors David Eng, Fariha Khan, and Josephine Park from the University of Pennsylvania and professor Kalyan Nadiminti from Haverford College. Co-president of SAO, Josephine Hung ’19, and former co-president of SAO, Sonya Chen ’18,  moderated the panel. Both Hung and Chen were impressed by the turnout, estimating that around 80 people attended the event.

Hung and Chen framed the event as part of the long history of student and faculty advocacy for Asian American studies, and Ethnic studies more generally, at Swarthmore and at other colleges.

“The struggle at Swat, the push for Asian American studies as well as other ethnic studies, has been happening for at least two decades, and even today there are many groups working on this,” Hung said. “We’ve definitely faced a lot of pushback… Some things that we’ve heard are, ‘You don’t have enough people to show the interest,’ ‘There are not enough professors to teach it,’ ‘Why don’t you go to another campus to learn some of these courses?’”

According to Hung and Chen, professor Lei Bryant’s Taiko and the Asian American Experience course is the only Asian American studies course offered in the Tri-College this spring. Professor Bakirathi Mani, who is on leave this semester and regularly teaches courses on Asian American literature, has been the only faculty member working in Asian American Studies at the college for the past couple of years.

The panelists presented various definitions of Asian American studies.

Kahn, the director of Asian American studies at Penn, portrayed it as a “part of the larger story” that is often neglected in American history but “should be embedded and part of the larger discourse” rather than a separate area of study.

Nadiminti, a history professor, brings an interdisciplinary lens to Asian American studies, combining law, sociology, literature, and history to examine postcolonialism, American empire, and the impacts of global events on Asian American culture and identity.

“Asian American studies is a discipline that’s very much about change, and it’s about an evolution of Asian America from being one kind of entity to a multiplicity of Asian Americans,” he said.

Park, an English professor, said that Asian American identity and Asian American studies originally formed in reaction to a shared history of anti-Asian racism that united the disparate groups of Asian immigrants to the U.S.

The panelists also emphasized the necessity of Asian American studies as a discipline at institutions of higher education.

Park described how she organized her Introduction to Asian American Literature course at Penn into three sections: exclusion, relating to the 19th century attempts to exclude Asian immigrants from the U.S.; colonial incorporation, and how, as a result of exclusion, immigrants came through the Philippines, then an American colony; and denationalization, focusing on Japanese internment during World War II.

“At this moment of immigrant exclusion, colonial incorporation, and wartime dehumanization, this is the moment that we’re living in right now, and it’s hard to overstate the significance of Asian American studies for comprehending the history of that crisis and our present moment of rampant, shocking nativism: these are all patterns that we’ve seen, and Asian American studies provides a critical and really necessary, presently really understudied set of theoretical and political imperatives,” Park said.

Eng, also an English professor, noted the vital contribution of Asian American studies to Ethnic studies in our multicultural society. He said that Asian Americans are often not seen as racialized and that Asian American identity in our society is predicated on color blindness because the model minority myth depends on Asians not seeing themselves or being seen as racialized subjects. But for Eng, Asian American identity brings necessary complications to America’s paradigm of race as black/white and victim/perpetrator.

“When you throw in Asian Americans, suddenly that whole dynamic of victim and perpetrator disappears. When you talk about Asians and affirmative action, are Asians victims or perpetrators in that dynamic?” Eng said. “What I find really interesting globally for instance, to move this to a much larger frame, is our entire regime of human rights and reparation, it was reinvented in the postwar period. It was reinvented because of two signature events, which were the Holocaust and the atomic bombing of Japan … As far as the question of the Holocaust is concerned, the historiography is complete: Jews were victims and Nazis were perpetrators. There’s zero historical consensus on who’s a victim and who’s a perpetrator in the aftermath of the atomic bombing in Asia and the Cold War.”

Despite the longevity of Penn’s Asian American studies program, which began in 1996, the professors emphasized its fragility and argued that the level of representation of Asian Americans was unfair.

“Yes, we’ve been there for 20 years. But it’s a struggle to stay alive every year,” Kahn said. “And how did it come about? It wasn’t the benevolence of Penn’s administration saying, ‘Hey, you guys really deserve this!’ No, it was student protest.”

Eng agreed with Khan.

“The creation of Asian American studies programs has always been from the bottom up, and if you guys want to do this, you will, and I feel that you do,” said Eng.

He argued that with the high percentages of Asian American students at both Penn and Swarthmore, the percentage of faculty working in Asian American Studies was unrepresentative. According to Eng, approximately 1 percent of Swarthmore’s 187 professors are working in Asian American studies, while 17 percent of the student body are Asian American and 13 percent are international, many of whom are Asian.

“In any scheme of liberal democracy and representation, it’s scandalous,” he said.

Later, the panel moved to a discussion of the pushback from administration and students.

Khan noted how Penn’s administration doesn’t understand the distinction between Asian studies and Asian American studies and expressed her frustration when Asian American students don’t take Asian American studies courses.

Eng again touched on the lack of representation both among faculty and administration, saying that the the problem isn’t a lack of interest, but a lack of courses, and that it’s the administration’s responsibility to provide opportunities.

Nadiminti said that he was at first surprised by the small class sizes he had.

“But I realized that one of the amazing things that was happening is that the students who were in my class were very angry about how Asian American studies is treated, how there’s not enough courses, and we mobilized that anger,” Nadiminti said.

Audience questions focused largely on Asian American identity, with attendees asking about the intersection of Asian American identity with class, Hindu nationalism, queerness, the dangers of the model minority myth, mixed-race Asian American identity, and the divide between first and second generations of Asian Americans.

A Haverford College alum also asked the panelists how not to “burn out” when doing anti-racist work.

“I have this little Angry Asian doll,” said Eng. “And I think that any time you’re doing an  anti-racist or an anti-subordinate project, and I think the thing is that you have to know your own limits, because if you burn out, you’re not really of any use to yourself or of any use to others…In any kind of movement you need to know when to step in and when to step out and take a pause.”

“It’s particularly hard for women to say no,” Khan added. “And at certain times you have to just say ‘I cannot do that.’ And it’s hard when you’re on the fast track to a career and you want to achieve success and you’re already minoritized within this particular frame of being the Asian American woman that will be subservient and that will say yes and be quiet.”

Both Eng and Khan said to not apologize for your actions.

Hung and Chen expanded on the lack of representation after the panel, addressing more of the arguments people mde against having an Asian American Studies program. In response to the argument that interested students can take classes in Asian Studies, both Hung and Chen, like the panelists, emphasized the distinction between Asian American Studies and Asian Studies. In response to those who say that students can take classes at Tri-Co or Penn, Hung said that the burden shouldn’t be on Asian American students to travel far and pointed out that Tri-Co has few Asian American studies courses. To those who say they can take courses that focus on race more broadly, Hung said that many courses discussing race omitted Asian Americans from the curriculum.

Hung also said that the argument about low student interest was hypocritical, because many other courses at the college have low enrollment.

“With the numbers thing, there’s a lot of departments on classes where they actually don’t have that many students taking it as a major or in certain classes. For example classics can have a class with only four people but it still stands because people think that’s a traditional study that is needed there,” Hung said. “So why can’t the same be applied to Asian American Studies? Why do you have to use the same argument that there’s not enough people if that class can continue with only four people?”

Chen believes that the turnout proved student support for Asian American studies. The Scheuer Room where the panel was held was almost full.

“We didn’t really expect the turnout, which was really nice, because there was a lot of support from within the community as well as from other allies,” said Chen. “I feel like we have a lot of material from this event … because with the turnout and a lot of the conversations I feel like it proves the demand.”

Kieran Huang ’21, who considers himself a member of SAO but does not attend many SAO events, heard about the panel from a friend. He expected the low representation of Asian American faculty and courses at the college, but he was surprised at the degree. He also expressed cynicism about the administration’s attempts to address the issue.But he found the panel itself to be empowering.

“I think the panel did a great job of having a wide variety of voices within the Asian and Asian American community at Swarthmore. Something that surprised me is that they talked about multiraciality, class, and international identity. Being able to recognize all those different identities is so crucial,” Huang said. “There needs to be these spaces for all these different types of people who still fit under this Asian/Asian American experience but don’t fit under one course.”

William Gardner, the program coordinator for Asian studies, attended the panel and said he would work with Hung and Chen to continue the conversation as Asian American Studies evolves.

“Asian Studies will continue to include the study of Asian diasporas in its curriculum, and to support Asian American Studies at the college,” Gardner wrote in an email. “Nevertheless, the exact framework of the relationship between Asian Studies and Asian American Studies is open to further discussion as we, as a community, consider the demands for Ethnic Studies and the structure of our interdisciplinary programs.

Hung and Chen emphasized that they want to work in dialogue with those working to expand Black studies, Latinx studies, Indigenous studies, and ethnic studies. The fight for Asian American studies is part of a larger struggle for representation in curriculum that seems like it will only intensify in the coming year.

Winter Recap

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Men’s basketball beats Haverford

Last night, the men’s basketball team faced Swarthmore’s infamous rival Haverford and emerged with a well-fought victory, 76-75, in an intense game that went into overtime and saw eight lead changes. Chris Bourne ’17 led the team with 20 points and 12 rebounds. The team was buoyed by a balanced scoring attack, as four players recorded double figure point totals. The win saw the team improve to a 3-6 record within the Centennial Conference and to a 7-9 record overall.

This past winter break ended early for the men, as January 2 marked their return back to the court as well as their first winter break win against out-of-conference Eastern University. The men followed the Eastern victory with a thrilling, double overtime win over Roanoke College, 81-79, to win the Roanoke Tournament.

The team played a total of six games during the break, four of which were against teams ranked in the top five in the Centennial Conference. The men defeated both out-of-conference teams but fell to all five of those in-conference, including 11th nationally-ranked Franklin & Marshall. “We faced some good competition this winter break,” commented Luke McCartin ’17. “Our goal is to get better each and every day.”

Women’s basketball makes big strides

The women’s basketball team competed in seven games during the winter break including two games in the NYU tournament against ninth nationally-ranked New York University and first nationally-ranked Fairleigh Dickinson College at Florham. The team fell 69-49 against NYU and a whopping 108-64 against Fairleigh Dickinson. “The competition that we faced at the NYU tournament was unlike anything else we had previously seen this semester,” Elle Larsen ’15 said. “Despite what the scores reflect, I think we made some big strides as a team as a product of facing such excellent competition.”

Learning from their experiences in New York, the team returned home and went on to win two out of their next five in-conference games. The team’s most recent win came Saturday, when Swarthmore staged an impressive second half comeback, defeating Gettysburg, 69-66. The duo of Larsen and Melanie Ackerman ’18 combined for 41 points, with Larsen leading the way with 24 points, eight rebounds and two assists.

Swarthmore was defeated by Haverford on Wednesday night, 63-55. Haverford’s team led throughout the entire game. Though the Swarthmore women came back stronger for the second half and closed the gap, they were not able to catch up to Haverford. Larsen led Swarthmore’s team with 14 points. Jessica Jowdy ’16 trailed closely behind with 12 points, but with an additional eight rebounds and two assists.

Track and Field team members qualify for ECAC

The men’s track and field team competed at the New York City Gotham Cup at the end of winter break and competed with Division I, II and III athletes in addition to professional runners. The non-scoring meet was a chance for the men to prepare themselves for the onslaught of invitationals looming in the February distance.

Paul Green ’16 just missed qualifying for an Eastern College Athletic Conference time as he finished the 3,000-meter run in 27th place in just a few seconds short of nine minutes.

The ECAC-qualifying performance went to the women’s distance medley relay team, with Indy Reid-Shaw ’17, Anis Charles ’17, Katie Lin ’16, and Sarah Nielsen ’17. Their time of 12:32:86 earned them the fastest mark ever in the country among Division III schools. “I was really proud of our performance at the Gotham Cup because it demonstrated all the hard training we’ve put in over break,” Nielsen said. Nielsen was also named the Centennial Conference Women’s Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week this past Monday.

Osazenoriuwa Ebose ’15 also qualified for ECAC at the tournament, placing ninth overall in shot put. “Placing is usually not something I think about, just because these are non-scoring meets,” Ebose said. Instead, she focuses on throwing a mark as close to her personal record as possible in the hopes of eventually improving and setting a new personal record. “The perfect meet would have a PR,” Ebose continued, “but that is not as easily done as said, so for me growth and improvement is what I aim for, always!”

Aiming for new PRs all around, both the men’s and women’s teams will compete in the Tiger Invitational in Princeton, N.J. this Saturday.

Laverne Cox stuns raving Tri-Co crowd

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Photo by Bobby Zipp
Photo by Bobby Zipp

Last Friday, Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox made a highly anticipated appearance at Haverford College with an hour-and-a-half long talk about her life as an openly transgender actress.

When Laverne Cox appeared onstage, and was greeted by enthusiastic applause that lasted for several minutes and was unable to speak over the volume of the applause.

“Oh my gosh … oh my … Wow! I should come here more often,” Cox remarked as the applause began to die down. She thanked the various groups that made the talk possible, such as the Haverford Speakers’ Committee.

“I stand before you this evening a proud, African-American, transgender woman,” she began, beaming.

“From a working class background, raised by a single mother, I stand before you an an artist, and an actress, a sister, and a daughter, and I believe it’s important to name the various intersecting components of my multiple identities because I’m not just one thing. And neither are you,” said Cox.

Cox explained her various intersecting identities to the audience, describing her experiences as a child in Mobile, Ala. She spoke of the emotional and psychological stresses of being gender non-conforming during her formative years. Cox recalled her third grade teacher telling her that she would “end up in New Orleans in a dress” if she continued to act effeminately, as well as the guilt that she felt growing up in a devoutly Christian household while being attracted to men. Cox also highlighted the moving and transformative experiences she had in the New York City transgender nightclub scene while she was a student at Marymount Manhattan College, and noted the powerful effect that gender theorists, such as Judith Butler and Simone de Beauvoir, had on her over the years.

In addition to recounting her own life story, Cox’s talk was a call to action in the battle for transgender rights and equality. She called the current state of affairs for transgender and gender-nonconforming people “a state of emergency.”

“It is my belief that one of the biggest obstacles facing the transgender community are points of view which disavow our identities, points of view that suggest that no matter what we do, we are always and only the gender we were assigned at birth, points of view that suggest that no matter what I do, I will never be a woman,” Cox explained.

“Yet, ain’t I a woman?” she asked the audience, which responded with more thunderous applause. Cox told the audience how they could help to further improve the lives of transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals.

“I think if we are serious about ending the bullying of our LGBTQ youth and all of our youth, in fact, we have to begin to create spaces of gender self-determination for all of our kids and for ourselves, as well,” she said. Cox also expressed discontent with the current societal norm of the gender binary, where the only two accepted identities are cisgender men and women.

“The flawed logic of the gender binary model conflates [the problem]. It basically states that if you are born with a penis, you should be masculine and attracted to women, and if you are born with a vagina, you should be feminine and attracted to men,” Cox explained. She told the audience that the gender binary is enforced through a process she called “gender policing.”

“I often imagine what it would be like if each and every one of us decides for a day, a week, a month, that we’re not gonna be the gender police —that we’re just gonna let people express themselves in an authentic way that’s special to them and not judge it, or say that they’re not man enough or woman enough,” Cox said.

Responses to Cox’s talk were generally positive. Niyah Dantzler ’18 thought very highly of the event.

“The atmosphere was fun, and if it hadn’t been cold, [the wait] would have been ok. I’m very impressed with the amount of people. It’s cool that this many people are interested in seeing her speak,” said Dantzler.

Some in attendance expressed a desire to get to know Cox better than with just a lecture. Nyasa Hendrix, a freshman at Bryn Mawr College, had hoped for more at the event.

“I loved [the talk], it was amazing. I just wish she had time to spend with us a bit more outside of [the] speech,” Hendrix wrote in an e-mail. She also expressed concerns about the impact that the talk would have on the greater Tri-Co community.

“I think, unfortunately, enough people weren’t there to really let it reach the Tri-Co community,” she wrote.

Despite the possibility of not reaching the Tri-Co community at large, several individual audience members felt that the talk had a profound impact. Barbara Taylor ’18 is one of these individuals.

“I thought she was inspiring because her message can touch so many people: Trans people, black people, people who have been bullied, women, queer people, and many others who are marginalized,” Taylor wrote in an e-mail.

“She has a way of making the people feel confident and proud of who they are in the midst of any discrimination they may face,” she continued. Taylor was not alone in her support of the impact that Cox’s presence made. Gabriela Key ’18 felt that Cox’s impact was substantial.

“She’s bringing trans rights and being trans into the public eye, which helps to educate the public about an underrepresented group,” Key wrote in an e-mail.

“[Her] most powerful impact was her tenacity and persistence in being herself in the face of all the criticism and hate she’s been faced with,” she explained.

24-Hour Comix Challenge comes to campus

in Around Campus/Campus Journal by

As demonstrations kicked off across Philadelphia on Saturday, October 5, Patricia Gutierrez ’15 sat quietly at a desk, buried in sheets of loose-leaf paper. The Latin American Studies major had planned to participate in the marches taking place on the National Day of Organization for Immigration Reform; instead, she found herself in Haverford’s Ryan Gymnasium, working — not on homework, but on a comic.

The 24 Hour Comix Challenge, part of the Tri-Co Mellon Creative Residency series, entailed much of what its name implies: one day — and one day only — of condensed comic creation. The concept began as a private dare between cartoonists Scott McCloud and Steve Bissette in 1990,  garnering attention as the comics circulated amongst friends and peers. Fourteen years later, the first inaugural 24 Hour Comic Day was held as a publicity stunt for the publication of “24 Hour Comics,” an anthology composed of McCloud’s personal favorites. By 2007, organizers in eighteen countries were hosting the event.

Haverford’s take on the tradition included oversight by Mellon Creative Resident Pato Hebert — the man behind McCabe Library’s “The building exhales” and the word search overlooking LPAC from the second floor of Kohlberg. He plans to return to Haverford in December to create an installation featuring the comics produced during the Challenge.

Of the thirty participants who popped in throughout the day, only the Swatties — four students from Professor Erica Cho’s “Asian/American Media” — crashed on couches overnight. For Christopher Chalaka ’15, the experience was a major highlight of the fall semester.

“The differences in experience disappeared,” Chalaka said. “It didn’t matter that I’d only drawn one comic before […] It was kind of like we’re all in this together and we’re all starting from scratch.”

Unlike Chalaka, Gutierrez has a long history in the medium. Growing up, comics were an object both of personal fascination and familial bonding: introduced to the form by her older brothers, she remembers crawling into bed with her siblings to page through X-Men or a favorite Marvel comic book.

On Saturday, Gutierrez knew she wanted to incorporate immigration reform into her project, a field she hopes to enter into post-graduation. Initial plans included a discussion of national patterns and concerns. Sixteen hours later, her completed comic told a slightly different story: hers, one of family, history and migration — and a love of comics.

Natalia Choi ’15 is new to comics like Chalaka; the process of creating panels for a class assignment and her experience at the challenge has given her a new appreciation for the medium.

“It’s powerful because it combines text and image,” Choi said. “If I just wrote about something really heavy and deep, writing it might just feel a little too dense or a little too hard to really get through to the depth of everything that I’m feeling. Being able to play around not only with words […] gives you a lot more tools to experiment with and think about whatever is inside you.”

Choi’s comic from Saturday explores her developing relationship with her mother.Chronicling a close adolescent relationship as it splintered into separately formed identities, her panels tell of immigration, moving away from her family to attend boarding school and coming to college after her family returned to Korea.

With the events of last spring in mind, Choi chose the course not only for its content but its professor: Cho is the first educator she’s had in America who shares her cultural background.

“I realized [inclusivity and diversity] are problems in my own educational experience. Ever since I left Korea, I haven’t really seen people of Asian descent as my teachers,” Choi said.

Studying comics in an academic setting has given Gutierrez a different sense of affirmation: one that recognizes different skills and talents within the classroom. Coming from one of the poorest-performing high schools in California left the self-described introvert feeling unsure of her ability to contribute to class discussion in her first years on campus. For Gutierrez, Cho’s class provides a space for forms of knowledge often left uncelebrated in more traditional classroom settings.

Chalaka, Choi and Gutierrez all described the intimacy and support inherent in a class based on creative projects. Sharing their comics with one another in the week leading up to the Comix Challenge fostered a sense of community as students trusted one another with sensitive stories and experiences.

“There were personal things and funny things, and I think we just got a better sense for each other as human beings,” Choi said.

On a campus comprised of human beings, their experiences seem to reinforce the sentiment behind Chalaka’s motivation for joining the class.

“Part of it is trying to figure out my identity, but part of it is feeling like art is really important, and feeling like it’s not as big a focus as it should be.”

Haverford Exhibit Asks, What Can A Body Do?

in Campus Journal/Columns/I On the Arts by

Haverford’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, located on the first floor of the Whitehead Campus Center, is a wholly different kind of space than Swarthmore College’s own List Gallery.  Where the List Gallery is brightly and warmly lit, with golden wood paneling and a pretty, light atmosphere, the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery is a more intense, crisp, almost industrial space, with a molded concrete ceiling and a sharper black, white and gray color palette.This exhibit is a collection of works in all media from various artists with disabilities. Some artists in this exhibit created works that deal directly with physical handicaps, while other artists chose to channel their disability into their art-making process. Overall, this excellent exhibit made me acutely aware of my own senses and challenged me to stretch them to understand the artists’ points of view. This exhibit did not simply present itself. It directly interacted with the viewer, demanding attention and thought, forcing the viewer to seek its rewards.

One highlight of the show is the collection of works by Joseph Grigely, a hearing-impaired artist. His contribution was three large reproductions of New York Times clippings about the singers Eartha Kitt, Faust’s female opera singer, and Sekou Sundiata. The clippings in question all featured large photos of the singers singing. What Grigely did was ingenious: he removed the captions under the photographs, compelling the viewer to take a really good look at the three singers singing. This particular set of works forced me, in a sense, to see the sounds the singers were making when the photographs were taken. It made me focus on using my imagination, combined with the poses and facial expressions of the singers in the photos, to create an idea in my head of what the music must have sounded like. According to the blurb about the works, Grigely aimed to create the sense of “music with the sound turned off.” He succeeds marvelously.

Another highlight of the show is the display “An Eye for An Eye” by Artur Zmijewski, which is comprised of three large color photographs and a video. This series displays abled bodies working as limbs for a disabled body. Two of the works depict one disabled man with his missing leg filled in by the body of one of the abled subjects, and a third depicting the three subjects bent over, the abled ones supporting the body of the disabled one in a (literally) nakedly beautiful way.

The accompanying video shows the abled subjects helping the disabled man walk down stairs and do other tasks. This series depicts snapshots of genuine human connection and support that are quite moving and skillfully arranged.

The works of Christine Sun Kim, another hearing-impaired artist, also are truly noteworthy in this exhibit. Titled “Speaker Drawings #1-10,” they are ten wooden circles splattered with colored inks. The process behind these works is truly interesting. According the blurb about this display, these works were created during a sound performance at the exhibit’s opening in October. The vibrations caused by the sounds caused the inks to move in different patterns on the wood circles, creating ten unique works. Like the Grigely display, this work challenges the viewer to see the sound, stretching the limits of the senses.I have only discussed a few of the excellent works in this show. By engaging not only my eyes but also my ears and my imagination, this exhibit made me acutely aware of myself and of my presence in the space.

This outstanding, challenging exhibit is an important display of works by people who often lack representation, especially in the art world. It shows a range of abilities that are often overlooked. It should not be missed. I plan to return to see future shows at the gallery this year. Their lineup looks thought-provoking and will likely be worth the trips off-campus.“What Can A Body Do?” runs through December 16. The Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery is open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, and 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. on weekends.

Students, Professors Examine Climate Change At Tuft University Conference

in Around Campus/Campus Journal by

“I haven’t experienced such a dangerous time since the nuclear arms race in the late 1950s,” said Peace and Conflict Studies Professor George Lakey.

He was speaking about the precarious state of the Earth’s climate and he’s hardly the first or only person to suggest a need for alarm.

The complicated issues surrounding climate change and resource allotment were discussed at length this past weekend at a climate justice conference held at Tufts University outside Boston. Eight Swarthmore students, Lakey, and Swarthmore sociology professor Lee Smithey attended the conference along with six others from Bryn Mawr and Haverford. The conference, entitled “Anticipating Climate Disruption: Sustaining Justice, Greening Peace” was a weekend of speeches and panels that ran from Thursday to Friday. Speakers came from all across the spectrum of academia, but all spoke to the same point: current enviromental practices are not sustainable and something needs to be done.

A panel held Saturday evening used energy consumption figures to show that the Earth is at its peak level of energy production and will not be able to support rising levels of energy consumption. The speakers said that without significant investment in sources of renewable energy, there will soon not be enough to meet consumption needs and competition over resources will become fierce.

“That was the most shocking speech,” said Kanayo Onyekwuluje ’13, a peace and conflict studies minor. “I guess I’d just never thought about that reality or stopped and thought, maybe we do need more energy.”

Another talk that struck with students examined the issue of food sovereignty, asserting that food shortages will only be solved when those who are in need are able to assert that current models of food charity will be inherently ineffective.

“In a way,” said Zoe Cina-Sklar ’15, “there seemed to be a lot of pessimism. A lot of people had plans, but pointed out their pitfalls and perceived them as possible to fail.”

“Conferences can be rather intense,” said Professor Lee Smithey, “but by going there we got to expose students to lots of ideas and academics they wouldn’t get otherwise.”

Students encountered academics coming at the issues from every discipline. Economists, sociologists, political scientists, and a broad swath of natural scientists looked at the challenging environmental issues that face the planet.

“In a sense,” said Onyekwuluje,” I do feel optimistic knowing that so many bright, amazingly talented people were coming up with so many great ideas.”

Students said that parts of the conference sometimes made them feel that problems were insurmountable, but that optimism prevailed.

When asked about the conference’s optimism, George Lakey asked, “Have you ever been in a dappled grove where the sunlight just comes through the tops of the trees? That’s what it was like. A little bit here, a bit there. It’s not all dark.”

Ultimately, the students who attended came away from the conference and feeling more informed about the climate issues activists must confront.

“Being tucked away in academia can sometimes make these issues feel very intangible. Going to this conference really helped energize me and remind me why I find activism so important.”

Olympic Star John Carlos to Speak at Haverford

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As the last strains of the Star-Spangled Banner lingered over the Olympic stadium, the United States 200-meter dash medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos were met with a salvo of jeering.They stood with their heads bowed, black-gloved fists extended upwards in a symbol of solidarity with the Black Power movement sweeping through the states. Their feet, donning black socks in a gesture towards Americans living in poverty, are planted outside the frame of what has become one of the most iconic photographs in the history of the Games. Smith’s black scarf and Carlos’s rosary beads, representing black pride and the victims of lynching, have also faded from public collective memory. These details are overshadowed by the resolute lines cast skyward in support of a struggling civil rights movement.

They stepped from the medal podium into the heat of 1968 Mexico City and the wrath of the International Olympic Committee. Immediately expelled from the Olympic Village, they returned home to stinging backlash, perhaps best captured by a Time Magazine headline parodying the motto of the Games — “Harder, Faster, Stronger” — with the words “Angrier, Nastier, Uglier.” The athletes, founding members of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) established in 1967, received hate mail and death threats from an outraged public.

Carlos, whose activism has continued long after the shutter closed in 1968, will be speaking at 7 p.m. tomorrow in Stokes Auditorium at Haverford College. His discussion, which will include Haverford Associate Professor of History Alexander Kitroeff, aims to address questions on the intersecting responsibilities of public figures and activists through the retelling of his path to the ’68 Olympic Games and the trajectory his life took afterwards.

A major cause of contention following the Games in 1968 arose from a feeling that national problems did not warrant an airing on a venue as publicized as the Games. The conflicting visions of the Games as a celebration of international camaraderie and a repression of internal disputes continue to surface in modern times. Leading up to the 2008 Beijing Games, rumors circulated of athlete boycotts over the troubling human rights abuses inflicted on the Tibetan people by the Chinese government; in Mexico, conflicts between private and state interests are already surfacing over preparations for the 2016 Games.

“[The Olympic Games] function as a venue of inclusiveness and understanding among different nations as well as take patriotism to nationalist extremes,” Kitroeff said in an e-mail. “As we speak, there are ongoing protests in Rio de Janeiro in some of the favelas, the poor neighborhoods which may be razed to make way for the infrastructure of the 2016 Olympics.”

Kitroeff remembers watching the infamous medal ceremony as a young boy in Greece, and cites the increasing emphasis on profit and the media frenzy surrounding the Games with heightening audience obsession with its athletes. One need only recall the coverage of London to recognize the scale of the world stage set by the hordes of news agencies and their loyal contingents of viewers. The 1968 Games marked the beginnings of this consumption-based coverage, and Carlos and Smith recognized their opportunity to send a message.

“My premise for going to the games was to make a statement,” Carlos said in a 2012 interview with The Root. “It was the first time the Olympic Games was televised worldwide. The first time the Olympic Games was televised in Technicolor. The first time that anyone even cared to step up and make a public statement about humanity.”

But for the IOC’s lackluster response to an OPHR petition in 1968, Carlos and Smith may not have participated in the Games at all. The petition called for a restoration of Muhammad Ali’s title as boxing champion of the world, which had been stripped from him following his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War; the removal of white supremacist Avery Brundage as head of the United States Olympic Committee (Brundage was additionally infamous for his role in securing the 1936 Olympics for Hitler in Nazi Germany); and a ban on South Africa and Rhodesia from the Games in solidarity with their black communities struggling for equality. Athletes prepared to boycott the games if the IOC refused to meet their demands. However, when the IOC leveled a ban on South Africa and Rhodesia without addressing the petitioner’s’ other concerns, the boycott lost its teeth, and sprinters Carlos and Smith recognized their greatest chance at making a statement was in participating — and medaling.

Rhodesia and South Africa’s participation in Mexico City would have produced a different narrative of the 1968 Games — a less powerful one, in Kitroeff’s opinion. “I sympathize with protests by athletes, but individual boycotts of [the 1968] Games would have not been very effective,” he said. “Nation-based boycotts, such as those of the US during the Moscow 1980 Games and of the Soviet Union of the Los Angeles 1984 Games, are both considered to have failed in their goals … as John Carlos and Tommie Smith showed, it’s better to be there and protest than to stand outside.”

Carlos has continued his activism in the public sphere despite the challenges he faced after the 1968 Games. He served as a torch-bearer for the 2008 Human Rights Torch, which travelled parallel to the Summer Olympics torch relay to raise awareness of China’s human rights record. He spoke at the Occupy Wall Street movement, telling audiences, “Today I am here for you. Why? Because I am you. We’re here 43 years later because there’s a fight still to be won. This day is not for us but for our children to come.”

Event Coordinator Stephanie Zukerman “The bridge between sports (public figures) and social justice seemed particularly relevant in an Olympic year. That moment when John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised black-gloved fists on the Olympic medal stand was not only one of the most famous moments in Olympic history, but incredibly controversial at the time, and inspirational to so many black-Americans at the time. Dr. Carlos suffered for many years as a result of racism after those Olympics, but has become a hero to so many people. That event was so significant to so many people, and I wanted his story to be shared with the younger generation who did not live through it.

Men’s basketball defeats Haverford on Senior Day

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Easy? No. Nothing has been easy for men’s basketball this year. The 0-6 start. The head coach’s resignation mid-season. The 14-game losing streak where it seemed like the breaks would never go the Garnet’s way. None of it was easy, and while there’s no one who would say that this is the way they wanted or expected this year to go, it’s hard to imagine that everything the team has been through didn’t add up to make their last victory that much sweeter.

The clock ran down in Tarble Pavilion on Saturday afternoon, after two free throws from Will Gates ’13 — his final two points in a standout season — put the Garnet up by 14 over Haverford. A meaningless three from the Fords, and it was all over. Swarthmore 91, Haverford 80 on Senior Day. The first time in this Senior Day tradition that the Garnet came out on top and the first time in eleven games that

Swarthmore (3-22, 3-15 in conference play) has beaten Haverford (9-15, 7-10 in conference play).

“Ending the season like that was all we could have asked for,” Gates said. “It was such an emotional victory. With the frustration from the rest of the season, it was only fitting to beat Haverford for the first time in five years. It really felt great to send the seniors out with their first win over Haverford.

“Everybody has worked so hard this year that it sucked to not really have that show up in our record. I’m glad people finally got to see what kind of a team we are, especially because our win was such a team effort. It was by far our best game this year and really was well deserved.”

As the Swarthmore Athletics website noted in the run-up to Saturday’s game, this is the 162nd time, or the equivalent of a full baseball season, that Swarthmore and Haverford have played each other in men’s basketball. Swarthmore now holds a 91-71 edge.

After being honored before their last game in a Swarthmore uniform, seniors Michael Giannangeli and Marc Rogalski showed why the team will miss them next year. Rogalski recorded his second career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Giannangeli’s 19 points were a career-high. He also added 11 points in the second half to ensure that he, Rogalski, and the team would go out on a high note.

Maybe it would sound like a better story if the Garnet won this one on a last-chance three or mounted the type of furious comeback they haven’t been able to all year. Instead, the Garnet led virtually the entire game, taking a 4-2 lead two minutes in and never looking back. At last, at long last, what the team showed in fits and starts during the season came together for 40 minutes. The 91 points the team put up was the most they had scored in four years, since the end of the 2007-2008 season, when a whole different team was playing in Tarble Pavilion.

Those 91 points meant that there was room for players besides Rogalski and Giannangeli to shine. Forward Davis Ancona ’14 played the best game of his Garnet career on Saturday with career highs in points (19), blocked shots (6) and rebounds (8). Jordan Federer ’14 added a team-high seven assists, and finished the year ranked sixth in the conference with 2.8 assists per game. Off the bench, Joe Keedy contributed four points and three rebounds, while Jay Kober added three points and two boards.

Gates’s 20 points and 11 boards put the finishing touch on a season that has solidified his place among the conference’s elite players and remained a bright spot for the Garnet throughout. His 18 points per game ranked fourth in the conference this season, his 6.7 rebounds per game ranked sixth.

This Tuesday, he was named to the All-Centennial Conference Second Team.

Gates, when asked about his performance this year, stressed areas he felt continue to warrant improvement.

“I don’t think I attacked the basket as much as I have in the past, sometimes settling for the outside shot a little too much,” Gates said.

“[The team is] more effective when we attack the basket, so I really hope I can do a little more of that next year.

“I also did not get to the free throw line as much as I should have. Going into next year we should have a lot of confidence that we have the parts to be a tough team and hopefully that shows. I am definitely going to do my part this off season to prepare myself for next year and will do my best to make sure that everyone is prepared for next year.”

Despite losing to Swarthmore for the first time in nearly five years, Haverford played a resilient game, staying with the Garnet until the final minutes.

As it has all year, Haverford’s backcourt was able to put up the points; guard Ian Goldberg led all scorers with 30 points, while Cam Baker added 20 of his own. No other member of Haverford reached double digits.

Following the conclusion of the game, the seniors expressed nostalgia for what they had just finished.

“Senior Day was really a mix of emotions for me,” Rogalski said in an email. I could not believe this was the last time I would take the floor with my teammates, but at the same time I was extremely focused and determined to beat Haverford. It’s one of the few things I had left to accomplish in my career at Swarthmore, and I feel very fulfilled. To have all of my family and friends present just made the victory that much better.”

There’s no denying it: the final numbers don’t look good. On Saturday, it didn’t matter.

“The most important thing is this,” Rogalski said. “When I look back on my career at Swarthmore, I won’t remember all the losses and difficulties I faced along the way. I’ll remember how a great group of guys came together and finished the season with a victory.”

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