Thursday, November 18, 2004

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
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Volume 9, Number 54

Interested in writing for Swat’s only daily newspaper? Join the Daily Gazette! Email the staff
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1) Students debate living wage merits at town hall meeting

2) Lang Center transportation budget feels the squeeze

3) Blackhorse Mitchell shares Navajo songs and stories

4) World news roundup

5) Campus events


1) Upcoming contests


Today: Mostly cloudy. High of 59.
I’ve been trying my hardest to avoid all the sickness going around, taking vitamins and the like.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Low of 53.
But then I’ve noticed that all of my sick friends have been getting extensions and sleeping all day.

Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy. High of 64.
And I have to wonder: am I really doing what’s best for myself?


Lunch: Chicken and dumplings, buttered noodles, baked tofu, pierogies, broccoli, cauliflower, seafood chowder, pasta fagioli, Asian bar, angel food cake

Dinner: Chicken parmesan with pasta, eggplant parmesan, greens and white bean saute, zucchini italiano, broccoli, caesar bar, ice cream bar


1) Students debate living wage merits at town hall meeting

by Ken Patton
Gazette Reporter

Approximately 30 students gathered Wednesday evening at an informal town hall meeting hosted by Student Council to discuss the current living wage proposal. Students trickled out as the meeting progressed to attend other obligations, but a few of those who could stay debated the topic even past the official end of the meeting.

Student Council Co-President Andrew Gisselquist ’05 and Student Life Representative Heidi Fieselmann ’06 began the meeting with a brief history of the living wage and a summary of President Bloom’s proposal. The current proposal, which will be presented to the Board for a vote in December, provides an increase in the minimum wage to $10.38 an hour while leaving employee benefit banks intact. The benefit bank provides the equivalent of roughly $0.88 an hour over base pay and would result in a total compensation of roughly $11.26 an hour. In addition, the proposal also intends to make additional money available to help employees who wish to further their education by taking classes either at Swarthmore or elsewhere. Overall, the proposal is estimated to cost between $70,000 and $130,000 a year.

After the introduction students began discussion by asking questions such as where the college would get the money and how sustainable the proposal would be. Student Council and a few members from the Living Wage and Democracy Campaign tried to answer all the questions, but could not precisely say where the money would come from as that is up to the Board of Managers to decide. However, commenting on the sustainability of the proposal Gisselquist mentioned that “they [the board] do not want to lock future boards into a living wage,” for which reason the proposal is specifically not called a “Living Wage”.

For the bulk of the time remaining students debated whether the proposal should adopted and how students play into the factors influencing the Board’s final decision. From one perspective, Arthur Chu ’06 said that “[a living wage] is an involuntary carving out of part of everyone’s tuition rather than a voluntary fund” and raised issues with the proposal about employee over-qualification, since higher wages attracts more qualified employees. However, other students mentioned that it is part of the college’s mission to educate students to become socially responsible adults.

Near the end of the meeting debate focused on why supporters of a “Living Wage” are a vocal minority of the campus. While there are few vocal opponents of the issue, the majority of the campus has not yet voiced support for a “Living Wage”. Students ventured reasons for this such as the fact that most students do not know much about the issue, or possibly because people against the living wage have nothing to rally for yet, but will once they know where the money will come from.

After the meeting, Jacob Wallace offered a different opinion from some of the other students, “[t]he issue of the living wage at Swarthmore is for me an issue of priorities¬ä for those concerned with the fiscal impact of the proposal ask yourselves whether the purchase of several 50 inch televisions screams of a tight budget.”


2) Lang Center transportation budget feels the squeeze

by Greg Leiserson
Managing Editor

Caught between rising prices for gasoline and reduced income from the Center’s endowment on one side and the increasing number of Swarthmore students participating in service activities on the other, the Lang Center transportation budget has drained at rapid pace this semester. As a result, student associates at the Center have begun an audit of the transportation expenses to date this year. Wee Chua ’06, who is working on the audit, estimated that at the current pace the transportation budget for the year will be exhausted midway through next semester, if not before.

According to Pat James, Associate Director for Training and Student Programs, transportation funding is central to the Center’s “mission, and to the values of the College that all students should have equal access to college-sponsored activities…we wouldn’t want these programs to be available only to students who can afford train fare every week.”

Since no similar audit of transportation funding has been conducted in the past, there is no basis for comparison with the current work. Yet the hope is that “the audit will help us to plan for future years, and to assess how many Swarthmore students require transportation to undertake their social change activities,” according to Debra Kardon-Brown, Assistant to the Director and Programs Coordinator.

In addition to conducting the audit, staff at the Center are examining the possibility of purchasing one or two vans for use in transporting students to community service activities. James noted that “for several years we’ve had conversations with Student Council and SBC about how they define groups and how they fund student service groups. It’s a bit frustrating that so many students come to Swat because of its commitment to social justice, but that little of that commitment is reflected in how students use their own funds to support individuals and groups who are taking action.” She continued that since “community service is sort of a hybrid activity that includes student activities and co-curricular student life” the Center gets caught in a “weird game about who should pay for what.”

While the Center’s transportation budget is getting squeezed this semester, James explained that transportation has always been one of the Center’s biggest costs. Furthermore, she predicted that any college campus with a commitment to social action would pick transportation as their biggest logistical challenge as well.


3) Blackhorse Mitchell shares Navajo songs and stories

by Maile Arvin
Gazette Reporter

Last night, Navajo author and teacher Blackhorse Mitchell treated the audience in the Scheurer room to an intimate introduction to his music and writing. Ernestine Chaco ’07, a member of the Native American Student Association (NASA) which sponsored the event, introduced Mitchell as a talented artist who practices sand-painting, a musician who experiments with different forms of Navajo blues, and a writer best known for his autobiographical novel Miracle Hill. Mitchell went on to welcome the audience by speaking about the power an audience has to pass on energy and “make me grow a little taller.”

Mitchell spent the rest of the night sharing songs, poems, personal stories, and the beginning of a screenplay. He explained how he “fell in love with English” as a young boy listening to his grandmother say hello to a cowboy. “Ever since, I wanted to know that word ‘Hello’ was,” he said, and spoke of his attempts to remember it by singing it. Speaking of his travels to Austria, he related, “They don’t say ‘Hello’ like they do in America. They say ‘Hallo?'” Recognizing in the Austrian pronunciation his early attempts to say it, he jokingly said, “Maybe I’m part Austrian.” He sang several songs in Navajo, explaining their stories first, including “Sheep Herder’s Blues,” “American Bar,” and “Jambalaya.”

The audience was put to the test a few times as Mitchell asked them to join him in a song and even a dance. Six audience members were paired and instructed to dance both a love dance and a two-step social dance and Mitchell sang, pausing now and then to correct their swaying. “It takes a lot of training,” he explained.

After the stories, songs, and dancing, Mitchell answered a few questions which allowed him to elaborate a bit on his achievements. He has a Masters degree from the University of New Mexico and explained his studies involving “Americanism” saying, I want to know what you are if you want me to be like you.”

Blackhorse Mitchell teaches at Shiprock High School in New Mexico and said of his future plans that he might pursue a doctorate degree in the future, but is currently just “enjoying his Masters.” His book, Miracle Hill, is available through Tripod.


4) World news roundup

* K-Mart announced on Wednesday that it would buy Sears for $11 million. The deal is aimed at uniting the two companies in order to better fight Wal-Mart, the nation’s top retailer. Combined, K-Mart and Sears wil be the nation’s third largest retailer with an annual revenue of $55 billion, just behind Home Depot. Both K-Mart and Sears said that they expected the stores to retain separate identities, at least at first, but they will start to sell each other’s wares. Edward Lampert, the chairman of Sears, said the move was ultimately about profit, as “I don’t think any retailer should aspire to have its real estate worth more than its operating business.”

* House Republicans revisited an 11 year old rule on Wednesday when they voted to not require a member of their leadership to step aside if indicted. The rule was first established in 1993 when the Democrats were in legal trouble. Now the House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay of Texas, is in danger of being indicted for using corporate money in state races in 2002. Mr. DeLay said that he had no expectation of being indicted, but the change in rules “has nothing to do with whether I was going to be or not going to be.”

* In Washington on Wednesday, President Bush nominated one of his close advisors, Margaret Spellings, to serve as secretary of education during his second term. Ms. Spellings had previously served the administration as the chief adviser on domestic issues. In announcing the appointment, the President said “Margaret Spellings has a special passion for this cause. She believes that every child can leran and that every child can succeed.” During the next four years, the President hopes to expand the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law to high schools.


5) Campus events

Rebecca Rutstein lecture: “Canopy Adventures, The Crum Woods Through Time”
Beardsley 318, 1:15 p.m.

Muslim Students Association
Kohlberg 226, 4:30 p.m.

Wheels of Justice Tour
Science Center 199, 6:30 p.m.

Film screening with director Q&A: “North Korea: Beyond the DMZ” by Hye Jung Park
Science Center 101, 7:00 p.m.

Swarthmore College Bowl
Kohlberg 202, 7:00 p.m.

Jewish Attitudes Towards Sex
Mephistos, 7:30 p.m.

French Film Festival: L’amant
LPAC Cinema, 7:30 p.m.

Swarthmore Massage Sessions
Bond Memorial Hall, 10:00 p.m.



1) Upcoming contests

There are no contests scheduled for today.

Women’s basketball hosts Immaculata, 6:00 p.m.
Men’s basketball vs. Connecticut College at Haverford, 6:00 p.m.



“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”
–Franklin D. Roosevelt


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Managing Editor: Greg Leiserson
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Anthony Orazio
Chris Caruso
World News Roundup: Roxanne Yaghoubi
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