Friday, November 15, 2002

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The Daily Gazette
Swarthmore College
Friday, November 15, 2002
Volume 7, Number 50

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Photo of the day:

Today’s issue:


1) College community begins addressing broader issues of diversity
Halloween weekend incidents

2) Westphal leads Mertz meeting about menacing messages

3) College Corner: Renee Willemsen-Goode ’03

4) Weekend roundup

5) World news roundup

6) Campus events


1) Upcoming contests


Today: Partly cloudy. High around 62.
In honor of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” opening tonight, I
wonder what Swat would look like if it were a school of wizardry and

Tonight: Cloudy early with showers developing. Low near 45.
Members of each dorm wearing color-coded scarves, ghosts floating around
Parrish, taunting the administrators.

Saturday: Cloudy with some showers. High around 49.
And it might be nice to stress over making a potion rather than writing a
seminar paper.

Sunday: Possible showers. High near 48.
But the crucial question is, which would be bigger: Quidditch or ASSassins?


Lunch: Crunchy cod, macaroni and cheese, El’s black beans, cut green beans,
stewed tomatoes, specialty salad bar, bar cookies

Dinner: Sweet and sour chicken, jasmine rice, pasta saute, stuffed peppers,
broccoli, cut corn, taco bar, baker’s choice


1) College community begins addressing broader issues of
diversity after
Halloween weekend incidents

by Pei Pei Liu
Co-Managing Editor

In the weeks following the incidents of offensive costumes at the Halloween
party and a threatening email targeting three African-American Muslim
students, the discussion among the college community has shifted away from
the events themselves to a broader view of the issues they raised.

The first responses to the incidents were a SASS-organized screening of
Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled” and a collection last Friday that showed the
documentary “Ethnic Notions,” followed by a discussion session between
students, faculty, and staff.
Dean of Multicultural Affairs Darryl Smaw, however, emphasized the
importance of taking time now to step back and re-evaluate the situation
and its impact on the college community.

SASS board member Shavaugn Lewis ’05 agreed with that sentiment. “We have
been pleased with the campus’s overall response to the film showings,” she
said, but also expressed a desire to see the larger issues further explored.

“The immediacy of the events does not allow us to present twelve or fifteen
events right away as solutions to the particular incidents,” Smaw said.
“[Instead], we want to help groups to respond not only to the specific
incidents, but also to the responsibility of students to understand and
respect diversity.”

“It’s important that we tie things in to refer back to these incidents,” he
added, “but we need ongoing and continued dialogue. Most of all, we need to
point to opportunities in place for students, faculty, and staff to attend

Acknowledging the need to continue the dialogue that was curtailed at the
collection, Smaw said that the Dean’s Office will fund student, faculty, or
staff initiatives to bring together diverse groups to discuss the broader
issues of living in a diverse community. Last night’s The Ring discussion
on race relations at Swarthmore was the first student event to take
advantage of these funds, while Smaw said the Religion Department has also
requested money to bring in speakers and sponsor events about the month of

While these and other events in the upcoming semester will continue to
offer community members the opportunity to come together in discussion,
Smaw also discussed his idea for “modular workshops” as an umbrella
structure for addressing issues of multiculturalism and diversity. The
workshops, as Smaw sees them, would be “similar to the Winter Institute,
but smaller, to accommodate students’ busy schedules, and more focused on a
particular topic.” Each workshop would take place over a period of two to
four weeks and would include a reading list for students to continue
learning about the issues raised in discussion with the other participants.

“The idea is to bring diverse people together to dialogue not only about
being different,” Smaw said, “but also to determine what we have in
common.” He added that this is a problem that many colleges and
universities are facing, as they begin exploring ways to work with the
diverse populations they have brought to the school. “Phase one is
diversity through numbers,” Smaw said. “The second stage involves the
development of issues around diversity. It’s challenging in a different
way–how do we foster communication beyond the surface level?”

Lewis added that SASS “would like to encourage people to not focus so much
on the Blackface issue that it overshadows the other racial issues because
we feel they are just as important and also show the ignorance on this
campus. Everything is not always black and white.” Although SASS is not
currently planning any other major events, she said, they are glad to see
individual students voicing their opinions.

Smaw also emphasized the importance of student and community initiative in
working through these issues of diversity. “My office can be the catalyst,
facilitator, enabler, or the intentional place by which work gets done,” he
said, “but all of us bear the responsibility for making it work because
this is our community. There’s no one way to continue to address the
issues. We want to work with [student] ideas.”

With regards to a possible permanent structure being implemented to address
these issues, Smaw said, “One issue that surfaced for me was the fact that
we need to have a series of ongoing dialogues, leading up to the Winter
Institute and then following after.” He explained that his “modular
workshops” could fit this purpose, and also raised the possibility of
implementing a program within or similar to the first-year diversity
workshops currently held at the beginning of each academic year.

“The more we can conduct and fine-tune those,” Smaw said; “they lay the
groundwork for additional opportunities for students to engage in these
issues. Multiple opportunities need to be created for dialogue and discussion.”

Lewis feels that this may be a step in the right direction. “Most of us [at
SASS] feel that academics here should include a multicultural class or a
race awareness class or better diversity workshops so offenses like this do
not happen again in the future.”

Smaw added, “We hope to provide an opportunity to each incoming class that
reflects the values of Swarthmore and raises awareness of how to live and
learn and be part of an intentionally diverse community.”

Look for the Gazette’s coverage of The Ring discussion in Monday’s issue!


2) Westphal leads Mertz meeting about menacing messages

by Nelson Pavlosky
Gazette Reporter

In the wake of several anonymous threatening messages posted outside an
RA’s room, the Mertz RA’s invited Assistant Dean Myrt Westphal and Officer
Leon Francis of Public Safety to lead a dormwide meeting on Wednesday night
to discuss the events.

The chain of events may have been related to an incident at about 1:00 a.m.
on October 30, when Ayanna Butler ’03, the Residential Advisor for Mertz
1st South, scolded an unidentified group of people for being excessively
loud in the lounge during quiet hours. Later that morning, a threatening
message appeared on the whiteboard outside her door. The message read,
“<expletive> you conceited <expletive>, I hope you die.” Butler reported
the message to Assistant Dean Myrt Westphal but took no other actions.

A week or so later, on November 10, more threats appeared on Butler’s door.
Somewhere between 4:30 and 9:00 a.m., the sign informing hall residents
where she could be found was ripped apart. A large kitchen knife was also
embedded in her bulletin board sometime between 10:25 and 11:30 a.m. Butler
reported these developments to Westphal once again, and took the dean’s
suggestion that she take the case to Public Safety.

“It’s understood that people do stupid things when they’re intoxicated,”
said 3rd North RA Chris Keary ’03 at the dorm meeting, “but the second act
occurred on a Sunday morning. The person who did this was probably quite
sober, which is really disturbing.”

“When we met to discuss this, we were all in shock,” added 1st North RA
Chris Milla ’03. The Mertz RA’s decided that as the incident affected the
entire dorm, they would call a dormwide meeting, which convened this past
Wednesday, November 13.

“The reason we wanted to have this meeting was to raise awareness,” Milla
explained to the Mertz residents gathered in the first floor lounge. “Since
we are the Swarthmore community, we should back each other up, you know?”

The first part of the meeting was lead by Westphal, who summarized the
events briefly and then examined the administration’s role in the case.
“Whenever something like this happens, we always go to the written policy,”
she said. These incidents are being classified by the administration as
“Intimidation,” which is defined on pages 24-26 of the Student Handbook as
“threats of violence or threatening behavior.that leads the person to fear
for their physical well-being.”

Westphal seemed somewhat frustrated with the lack of forthcoming
information from the student body. Though the strange times of the events
perhaps make it difficult to find witnesses, Westphal also saw this as part
of a greater problem at the college. “There seems to be a code of silence
among Swarthmore students; they don’t like to tell on other people,” she
said. “The goal is not to punish somebody, but to find out why this
happened, and if the person is identified, to explain why such behavior is
so abhorrent. Our goal is education.”

Officer Francis then spoke a few words about the legal repercussions of the
threats, which could be classified at different levels if brought to
prosecution. Harassment, for example, is a misdemeanor, while a crime
classified as stalking could be a felony. “The crimes code states basically
the same thing as the Handbook,” said Francis. “As a victim, a person has
certain rights.”

Francis presented Public Safety as a supportive environment contained
within the College, as opposed to the external criminal justice system. “We
could go the police route and take fingerprints,” he said, “but that’s not
Swarthmore. It’s unfortunate that this even happened.” He explained that
the Borough Police are not called in unless the victim so desires, and that
anyone who gives information about an incident can do so in strict
confidentiality. “The college likes it to be handled within the college.”

In closing, the RA’s urged anybody with information to come forward, and to
remain vigilant in case of future incidents of the sort. “For those of you
who might have seen [the knife] this morning,” said 2nd North RA Claudia
Sell ’04, “Ayanna was really freaked out by it. Imagine that happening to
you. It’s a scary thing, and it shouldn’t happen to anybody.”

In Milla’s words, “Let’s prevent this from happening again. We’re good
people, we’re intelligent.keep an eye out; if you see any suspicious
behavior or suspicious characters, come tell us, please.”


3) College Corner: Renee Willemsen-Goode ’03

by Charlie Buffie
Gazette Reporter

Upon meeting Renee Willemsen-Goode, you might easily assume that she is
just another one of your garden variety, run-of-the-mill Swatties. But upon
closer examination, it soon becomes apparent that she is among a very rare
and select group of Swatties: The Residential Associates. In this edition
of College Corner, we delve into the legend and the mystery of the RA
mythos, as well as the quirks of the best RA on Mertz 3rd South.

Charlie Buffie: How long have you been an RA?

Renee Willemsen-Goode: Two years, last year in Dana, this year in Mertz.

CB: Why did you want to become an RA?

RW: [As an underclassman] there were always things I wished my RA’s would
do to provide more of a sense of caring and community in hall life. I
wanted to facilitate gathering and provide a caring atmosphere.

CB: What is the most bizarre experience you have had as an RA?

RW: In Dana, someone once registered a complaint because of a really bad,
mysterious smell in the hall. Thanks to an anonymous tip, we found it was
from somebody burning Dana-bugs on their halogen lamp. It smelled really
awful. There’s also the “tiny toilet incident,” AKA “Poopgate,” but I won’t
go into that.

CB: What is your favorite part about being an RA?

RW: Watching residents look out for each other–seeing them support one
another when someone is in need. Really, just seeing a community function.

CB: What is your favorite color?

RW: Maroon. I don’t know why, though–it’s just everything I own is
maroon–no joke.

CB: That shirt you’re wearing isn’t maroon

RW: Shut up

CB: If you were a fruit, which fruit would you be?

RW: Hmmm. A kiwi–not only is it tasty, but it’s fun to say.

CB: What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

RW: Streak from Mertz to Sharples.I might not actually do it, but it’s
actually not that far.


4) Weekend roundup

by Evelyn Khoo
Living & Arts Editor

With the crisp red leaves of fall, come nightmarishly long research papers,
mind-boggling examinations.heaps of leaves and heaps of work.

Thankfully, SASA (Swarthmore African Students’ Association) will be holding
a movie study break this Friday to ease your aching minds. Head out to
Upper Tarble at 8:00 p.m. where you will get to watch “Ta Dona” (“Fire”), a
film directed by Adam Drabo and set in Mali in 1991. There will be also be
refreshments (African food) served. If a movie still requires too much
concentration for you, head out to the Lang Music Building at 8:00 p.m. for
the Wind Ensemble concert. All you need is a willing pair of ears.

It’s Saturday, and being a good Swattie, you know Saturday afternoons are
prime study time. Get inspired for a paper topic at this Saturday’s Alumni
Panel on Economic Justice and Labor, 2:00-3:00 p.m. in Kirby. Wowed and
want more? There will also be a series of simultaneous workshops from 3:15
to 4:15 p.m. after the panel discussion. Progressive Economics in Trotter
201, Labor Organizing and Racial Justice in Trotter 202, take your pick!

It’s Sunday, and being a not-so-good Swattie, you’re lolling in McCabe
looking for some worthwhile procrastination. Stop bothering the hardworking
denizens of the library and head out to Kirby at 2:00 p.m. to catch the
Cricket Club movie, “Lagaan.” Be warned–it’s four hours long.


5) World news roundup

* Despite a warning from the State Department of possible retaliatory acts,
a Pakistani man was executed on Tuesday night. The man, Mir Amal Kasi, died
by lethal injection at 9:07 in Virginia. Kasi was accused of killing two
CIA employees outside of agency headquarters in 1993.

* House Democrats elected Nancy Pelosi as their leader on Thursday. The
election made her the first woman to lead a party in either house. With a
margin of 177 to 29, Pelosi easily beat her opponent Representative Harold
E. Ford Jr. of Tennessee.

* Hu Jintao was appointed general secretary of China’s Communist Party on
Thursday. The little known Hu also serves as vice-president, and it is
expected that he will replace President Jiang Zemin next year.

* Valor Corporation, a gun distributor, was ordered to pay $1.2 million in
damages on Thursday. The award came after a jury had decided that the
corporation was 95 percent responsible for the death of a teacher gunned
down outside of a school in Florida two years ago by a thirteen-year-old
student. The award marks the first time a gun corporation has been held
responsible for a shooting death.


6) Campus events


Slide presentation and informal discussion
Eurhi Jones, Philadelphia Mural Artist
Beardsley 318, 5:00 p.m.

Shabbat services and dinner
Bond Memorial Hall, 5:30 p.m.

Film: “Wayne’s World”
Kirby Lecture Hall, 7:30 and 10:00 p.m.

SASA Tri-Co film and study break
Upper Tarble, 8:00 p.m.

Swarthmore College Wind Ensemble
Michael Johns, conductor
Lang Concert Hall, 8:00 p.m.

International Club Movie
SCCS Lounge, 8:00 p.m.

“Out to Space” party
Paces, 10:00 p.m.


Alumni Panel on Economic Justice and Labor
Kirby Lecture Hall, 2:00 p.m.

Alumni Panel Workshop: Progressive Economics
With alums Mike Meerepol and Gerry Epstein
Trotter 201, 3:15 p.m.

Alumni Panel Workshop: Labor Organizing and Racial Justice
With organizer alums Paul Booth and Betita Martinez
Trotter 302, 3:15 p.m.

Sixteen Feet concert with The House Jacks
Friends Meeting House, 7:00 p.m.

Film: “In the Bedroom”
Kirby Lecture Hall, 7:30 and 10:00 p.m.

Swarthmore College Jazz Ensemble
John Alston, director
Lang Concert Hall, 8:00 p.m.

Rhythm N Motion After Party
Upper Tarble, 10:00 p.m.

“Six Degrees of Madonna” party
Paces, 10:00 p.m.


Breakfast and Meeting for Worship
Friends Meeting House, 9:30 and 10:00 a.m.

Celebration of Mass
Bond Memorial Hall, 11:00 a.m.

Cricket Club Movie: “Lagaan”
Kirby Lecture Hall, 2:00 p.m.

Sri Lanka: Causes of Conflict, Possibilities for Peace
A conversation with Mithran Tiruchelvam
IC Big Room, 4:00 p.m.

Protestant Worship
Bond Common Worship Room, 5:00 p.m.

Local premiere of a new work by George Crumb and local premiere of the
Round Midnight Variations
Emanuele Arciuli, piano
Lang Concert Hall, 7:30 p.m.

SAC meeting
Trotter 303, 10:00 p.m.



1) Upcoming contests


There are no contests scheduled for today.


Men’s ultimate frisbee tournament, 10:00 a.m.
Cross country at Salisbury for NCAA Regional, 11:00 a.m.
Men’s basketball v. Eastern (Scrimmage), 2:00 p.m.
Women’s basketball at Neumann (Scrimmage), 2:00 p.m.


There are no contests scheduled for Sunday.



“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”
–Roald Dahl

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Managing Editors: Pei Pei Liu
Jeremy Schifeling
News Editor: Alexis Reedy
Living & Arts Editor: Evelyn Khoo
News Reporters: Charlie Buffie
Mary Harrison
Lola Irele
Ben Kligfield
Greg Leiserson
Megan Mills
Nelson Pavlosky
Kent Qian
Aude Scheuer
Siyuan Xie
Roxanne Yaghoubi
Sports Writers: Jenna Adelberg
Saurav Dhital
Sarah Hilding
Holice Kil
Pat Quinn
Photographers: David Bing
Liz Bada
Elizabeth Buckner
Casey Reed
Webmaster: Jeremy Schifeling
World News: Roxanne Yaghoubi
Campus Sports: Pei Pei Liu

The Daily Gazette is published Monday through Friday by an independent
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notably the Associated Press (,
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This concludes today’s report.

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