I am often questioned or teased for not seeming comfortable enough at this school.
“You always seem to be in another world” they say or, “How come you don’t talk much?” (I get that one a lot). The answer is simple: I don’t feel comfortable.
Partly this is because I am an introvert at heart, but the main reason is that I am uncomfortable at Earlham.
Since I have been here, I have been asking myself , “Why?”
Why do I feel weird here? Why do I feel not like myself?
When I came to Earlham, I felt like I had left half of myself at home. I thought this would change after freshman year because, let’s face it, freshman year is difficult.
I was constantly asking myself what was missing. However, it wasn’t until I had an interaction with another student at a house party my spring semester of freshman year that I had an inkling of what it was.
“In governance of the educational institution around which our community exists, most groups and committees use a consensus process. At times an individual is charged with making a decision. In either case, those responsible should invite input, consult broadly, and listen carefully especially to those who have deep understanding of the situation or who will be affected by the decision.” 1
It is hard not to notice that our campus is missing a vital part of our community.
On January, 2nd 2014 the Earlham student body was informed in an email from Laura Hutchinson that the contract of Trayce Peterson, beloved director of Multicultural Affairs, was not renewed. This decision deeply saddens us; however, it does not shock us.
The decision to not renew Trayce Peterson’s contract reflects a greater trend away from transparency within the administration. It is our strong belief that this decision does not reflect the needs or wants of the student body. It is important to point out that Trayce’s dismissal strongly diminishes the diversity of the office of Student Development, and renders them increasingly unable to represent and support our diverse student body.
By Greg Hagenbuch
(An excerpt of this article was published in the last issue of the “The Word” titled incorrectly, however)
Does neutrality claim to simply hold no position? Claims of objectivity, neutrality, and omnipresence flourish in the positivist “culture” of the “West.” As I have seen during my time at college, the academy – yes, specifically Earlham College – has in no way transcended the proclivity to worship such flawed positivist concepts. Although it is high time we interrogate all claims of truth circulating in “academic” discussions – for example, former President Bennett’s claims of “legitimate” protest – I would like to call into question the concepts of neutrality and consensus preventing the BDS Earlham movement from reaching success.
Does neutrality claim to simply hold no position? The concept seems to describe two different meanings in Earlham politics: the idea of a neutral topic, decision, idea, or truth, and the idea of a neutral platform or setting in which to speak. In Earlham’s unending aim to reach consensus, the idea that a neutral space is needed to reach consensus runs alive in the debate over BDS. Because of a lack of opposition present at the various information sessions on BDS throughout this semester, I will not argue against the need for a BDS discussion to be hosted by the “neutral” ESG. However, because the issue of BDS itself was not deemed “neutral,” it could not be the topic of discussion. We are thus being provided will the platforms “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Past and Present” and “Israel/Palestine: How do we engage on our campus?” The two senses of neutrality are being run together: the idea that in order to have a neutral space of discussion (which I do not celebrate as ever fully present), the topic of discussion itself must be “neutral.” This conflation can be seen in tweets by Eli Richman, Earlham’s representative at large: “My view: Why prop up failed #BDS policy? Let’s do a forum for Israel/Palestine discussion without incorporating this divisive policy” (@Eli_at_large tweet 10/21/2013) and “How would folks feel about a neutral space to discuss Israel/palestine more generally, not necessarily in the context of #BDS?” (@Eli_at_large tweet 10/22/2013). The topic of Israel/Palestine is no more neutral than the topic of BDS. This new topic is a deflection from the goals of BDS. BDS Earlham recognizes the power discrepancy between Israel and Palestine, recognizes the role that certain corporations have in occupation and seeks to strip Earlham’s investment in these corporations. BDS Earlham does not claim that it will resolve the conflict. The alternative topic for the forums indicates that mutualistic dialogue between various campus groups will provide us with the best answer on how to achieve peace for Israel and Palestine. This mimics the historic, unending call for Israel and Palestine to just “talk it out.” I need not cite how far this has gotten the two parties in resolving the conflict. The stance has been taken that dialogue surrounding Israel/Palestine is a more appropriate topic of discussion. Thus, the call for a forum explicitly on the topic of BDS has been disregarded. Thus, the topic of discussion is not (and will never be) neutral.
Trigger Warning: The following two articles directly pertain to the accident last November in which two of our dear friends, Tracey Heymann and Lenore Edwards, passed away.
The following is a letter, originally published in the publication “Orange Square: notes from the student fossil fuel divestment movement”. Put together by Power Shift 2013, the publication features writing from leaders of the movement including Earlham’s very own Adam Fred Moskowitz and Sally Bunner. This letter is a call to action from front lines community representatives and submitted by Earlham’s Responsible Energy Investment campaign, (REInvestment). The complete publication can be found at Facebook.com/EarlhamREInvestment.
We write to you from the front lines. Some of our communities have been fighting the fossil fuel empire for generations. Others have only recently joined this struggle. We send our support and gratitude for leading this fossil fuel divestment campaign. This is a mighty cause you are joining: challenging some of the biggest threats humans have ever seen and committing to what must become a global movement.
We support your mission to hold your universities accountable. Institutions of learning must challenge systems that endanger the future of younger generations. We believe that colleges and universities divesting from fossil fuels and reinvesting in clean energy will deliver a powerful political message. And yet, we—as frontline and indigenous leaders—encourage you to dig deeper. We encourage you to understand your campaigns as part of a much longer struggle, one that has been going on for generations, for justice and health, and the environment.
By Adam Moskowitz
What would you do if Earlham had security cameras? Would you feel any safer? Or do you think that given Earlham’s Quaker history and values, our administration would never subject the campus to a twenty-four hour surveillance system? Unfortunately, security cameras are definitely in the question for the future of Earlham. And, given the trend towards security culture both on the campus and across the nation as a whole (see: PRISM), it seems likely that someday security cameras on our campus may become a reality. But how can students know if this is the direction we’re heading?
I’ve got to hand it to Earlham- as bad they are at being outwardly transparent, sometimes the students just need to dig a little deeper into publicly available information. If any readers of this publication don’t know how to access “Community Docs” via moodle, now is the time to learn. All you need to do is log on to moodle, scroll down to the link that says “Campus”, and then scroll down to the link that says “COMDOCS: 2013 Community Documents ”. Here, you’ll find the publicly available minutes and documents from various campus bodies, including the Campus Life Advisory Committee (formerly known as the Committee on Campus Life), the Welfare Committee (which discusses healthcare plans for the faculty and staff), and the Earlham Student Government.
By Sara Lepkoff
Many Earlham students are familiar with the kind of notoriety that one can gain on a small college campus, but you may not know that one of your peers was arrested this summer due to her activism surrounding “extreme extraction.”
She prefers to have her name withheld, but her words and stories are her own.
Student X was arrested on a misdemeanor charge along with five other activists on May 24, 2013. She served a total of 4 days in jail from July 25th to July 29th, and spent one day awaiting a $5,000 secured bail bond on May 24th.
The non-violent direct action involved a blockade of the Alpha Mountain Resources Headquarters in Raleigh County, West Virginia. Alpha Natural Resources, formerly known as Massey Energy, is one of America’s main coal suppliers, with coalmines and coal preparation plants across West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania.