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RAR Demands—December Progress Report

Dear Reed Community,

Just over a month ago I sent an email summarizing progress on the concerns students raised with President Kroger as part of the September 26 campus Black Lives Matter demonstration. Since that time a great deal has happened at Reed and beyond. Most notably, as a divisive election season came to a close, many people across the country as well as members of the Reed community have expressed their deep sense of anxiety about the prospect of a Trump presidency. Some students, staff, and faculty from historically marginalized groups have made it very clear that they fear for their safety. Incidents like the hateful graffiti found in the Reed library and anonymous threats made against students in social media amplify these fears.

At times, such incidents provide the impetus to bring the community together, as was the case when students, staff, and faculty gathered in the library lobby and in the student union on November 14 to express support for and solidarity with those who had been targeted. Seeking additional assurances that the college would do everything in its power to support students of color, members of the group Reedies Against Racism (the name recently chosen by the students who organized the September 26 demonstrations) and others occupied the admission office that day (November 14), expanding their demands and staying in the office around the clock for a week.

One thing has become clear over the past month: despite the emails sent and articles written, some members of the Reed community seek more information about these issues and incidents. To address this concern, along with the fact that updates like this one end up being both incomplete as well as extremely long, we are considering building a website where we can archive documents and communications over time, and offer additional detail that would exceed the scope of email text. We welcome your input regarding this idea.

Finally, and most importantly, we encourage members of the staff, student body, and faculty who have been directly involved to discuss these issues with their colleagues on a regular basis. Because you care about Reed, many of you will want not only information but also the opportunity to talk about the events, to understand your roles, and to ask questions. I encourage you to create and make the most of opportunities to do just that, so that we may all move forward together.

Summary of Progress on Student Demands

Health and Counseling Center (HCC)

The HCC has explored opportunities for training staff with the local Center for Equity and Inclusion (CEI). In November, most of the HCC leadership team participated in CEI's 2.5 day workshop, with opportunities for the remainder of the HCC staff to engage in the training in the coming months. The HCC is discussing ways that CEI may provide further consultation and guidance around hiring practices and clinic culture. In collaboration with and the support of the Dean for Institutional Diversity, the HCC has developed a plan for hiring that will improve the ability to attract and retain staff of color. The HCC has invited students to participate in the upcoming hiring process for the psychologist residents. Reed’s president and vice presidents have provided significant support to the residency position, which will allow the HCC to be nationally competitive as a residency site, further advancing the goal of building a more diverse staff capable of meeting the needs of all students.

Financial Aid

In response to requests from students and families for more transparency regarding financial aid, the college now provides information regarding how Reed determines financial eligibility on the Financing Reed webpage. Students also have a variety of resources available for understanding financial aid and addressing changing circumstances, including financial aid counseling appointments, requests for reconsideration of financial aid, requests for emergency funds, and requests for emergency loans. A more detailed description of these and many other services can be found on the Key Support Resources page, or by contacting the financial aid office at 503/777-7223 or financial.aid@reed.edu.

The financial aid team is hosting two listening sessions in the very near future, one December 15 and the other early in the spring, to better understand student concerns. These discussions will help inform the work of a newly formed group that will address individual students’ financial issues as they arise. This group includes staff from financial aid, student services, and the multicultural resource center.

Safety

In response to recent concerns about student safety, Community Safety Director Gary Granger sent the following on November 22:

“To All Students:

The safety and security of our community is our highest priority. Safety is a prerequisite for the accomplishment of Reed's mission; teaching, learning, and working at the highest levels can only happen in an environment where we all feel safe. At the most fundamental level, our care and concern for every member of our community, and in particular for those who have been historically marginalized, compel us to act when people feel unsafe. In response to recent events targeting members of our community, we believe it is important to expand the safety services provided by the college.

In addition to existing safety services, including community safety officer (CSO) escorts, campus emergency phones, the Night Bus, and more, we will immediately take the following step.

Free Off-campus Safety Transportation for Students

Beginning immediately, and at least until the end of the fall semester, the college will provide free transportation from the Reed campus for students who live off campus. When a student's residence is in close proximity to campus, transportation may be provided by CSOs as a routine safety escort. When the distance is greater, however, or when CSOs are not readily available, Community Safety will contact a taxi, Uber, or other reputable service to transport the student from 28 West to their home. Students may come to 28 West, or request a CSO transport to 28 West in order to access this service.

Additionally, Community Safety is collaborating with the Dean of Student's office, the Community Wellness program, and students to develop a plan for expanding the Night Owl program and to offer other enhancements to the safety services provided by Reed, including self-defense courses as requested by multiple students.

Please contact Community Safety Director Gary Granger with questions and suggestions.”

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Students have raised concerns about Community Safety patrol and Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) engagement practices. In addition to the annual August review that Community Safety normally undergoes, there will be an additional review over the winter break, using recent student concerns and AOD data from this past year as part of the process. We will provide information derived from the review in the spring, along with updated demographic data on AOD violations. We are also collaborating with the Office for Inclusive Community and the Dean for Institutional Diversity to provide contracted training to all Community Safety staff focusing on issues of unconscious bias in enforcement practices.

Priority Housing

This year, students who feel that living off campus would represent a hardship were invited to apply for priority housing prior to the room registration process (formerly referred to as the housing lottery). Priority applications were reviewed earlier this month and every student with demonstrated financial hardship was approved for on-campus housing for 2017–18. In addition, many of the priority-housing applicants identified as international, as first generation to attend college, or as having a history of housing instability. Several students with disabilities were referred to the Disability Support Services (DSS) office to pursue on-campus housing as a disability accommodation; DSS has separately approved the vast majority of these students to live on campus through a process that is new this year.

Peer Mentor Program and Multicultural Resource Center Staffing

In response to student interest in strengthening support systems in the Peer Mentor Program (PMP) and Multicultural Resource Center (MRC), the Office for Inclusive Community recently hired two additional MRC interns to focus on racial justice and support for first generation to college students. The MRC has posted a new position for a black student outreach and support intern, and will complete the hiring process early in the spring semester. Dayspring Mattole, assistant dean for inclusive community, is working with Bruce Smith, dean of students, the MRC staff, and other students on a proposal for a new full-time professional staff position in the Office for Inclusive Community. This position would work directly with the Black and African Student Union and other marginalized student groups on campus. The proposal has been submitted to President Kroger and others on the senior staff for budget review. We are working to expand the capacity of the Peer Mentor Program (PMP) by hiring additional mentors for the 2017–18 academic year to accommodate a greater number of incoming first year and transfer students. We are also strengthening partnerships with alumni who were involved in PMP and the MRC, with the goal of facilitating mentoring and networking relationships between current students of color and first generation to college students and alumni with shared experiences.

Academic Probation

The faculty has approved a revision to the policy on academic probation; henceforth, students on academic probation are no longer prohibited from holding elective or appointed office in student government. In addition, the committee on administration has been considering alternatives to the term “academic probation,” as some students see the term as pejorative. The registrar's office reviewed comparator schools and found the use of the term to be almost universal. The administration committee reviewed alternative terms such as “academic notice” and “concern,” but did not find these to fully capture the meaning intended. The committee invited additional suggestions from the faculty during their discussion of this and related issues at the December faculty meeting and will consider proposals.

HUM 110 and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies

A committee of six Humanities 110 faculty and six members of RAR has met several times over the past few weeks to discuss concerns about the course and potential changes. This spring, working with various college offices and committees, the Humanities 110 faculty will begin a major review of HUM 110. As part of that process the Hum 110 staff will seek input about the course from current and former students, alumni, and non-Hum 110 Reed faculty, among others. In the meantime, the faculty committee on academic policy and planning (known as CAPP) and the student version of that committee (SCAPP) are in the process of considering a Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies proposal. CAPP has reconstituted a prior ad hoc committee to examine the possibility of an accelerated or immediate start for the program if it is approved.

Tutors

In response to concerns about the number of students of color who work as peer tutors, staff in the DoJo reviewed relevant data and have begun to explore ways to increase diversity among peer tutors. Academic Support Services sends a request three times a year to all faculty members to nominate students to serve as tutors: in January, May, and August. As a first step toward building a more diverse peer tutoring staff, future requests will encourage faculty to nominate students from populations underrepresented in the current tutoring pool. With support from faculty, staff will also encourage students who are interested in becoming tutors to speak with faculty about recommendations, rather than waiting to be nominated.

Food Security

A working group comprising staff, students, and faculty has been meeting throughout fall semester to better understand student needs regarding food security, and to research successful programs at comparable institutions. The group is working closely with Bon Appetit, the Office of Financial Aid, the Office for Inclusive Community, Student Senate, and others to ensure that all students have access to reliable and healthy food sources.

Hiring a More Diverse Faculty and Staff

The faculty committee on advancement and tenure (CAT, which oversees faculty searches and hiring processes), the dean of the faculty’s office, Human Resources (which coordinates staff hiring processes), and the Office for Institutional Diversity have been engaged in a multi-year, multi-pronged, program to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of our faculty and staff. The effort includes building networks and partnerships locally and across academia to actively build robust and diverse candidate pools, writing job ads and position descriptions in such a way as to attract qualified candidates from myriad backgrounds, and continually examining and refining our search procedures to minimize the deleterious effects of unconscious bias in candidate evaluations. Members of the community can help in the effort to create more diverse candidate pools by regularly checking the open faculty and staff positions and passing opportunities on to your personal networks.

Presidential Anti-racism Statement

President John Kroger has worked with Dean of Institutional Diversity Mary James and others in drafting a statement that will be sent to the community by December 15 and posted thereafter on the college’s website. 

Sanctuary College

President Kroger declared Reed a sanctuary college on November 18.


—Mike Brody, Vice President for Student Services

RIP Ernie Bonyhadi ’48, Faithful Friend of Reed

"He had a sort of effervescence. He always spread light when there was darkness."

Prominent attorney, generous philanthropist, and steadfast Reed trustee Ernie Bonyhadi ’48 died on Thanksgiving Day while visiting family and friends in Australia. He was 92 years old.

Ernie lived an astonishing life. He escaped the Nazis as a boy, fled to the United States, then returned to Germany with the US Army to search for war criminals. After graduating from Reed, he pursued a long and distinguished legal career, arguing before the Supreme Court, and became a stalwart Reed trustee, serving on the board for more than 25 years and remaining an active trustee emeritus until his death.

“He was not a typical lawyer,” says longtime friend and legal partner Charles Hinkle, who argued several cases alongside him. “He had a sort of effervescence. Nothing discouraged him. He could see the good in everyone. He always spread light when there was darkness.”

Biology Prof. First Winner of Prestigious New Award

Involving undergraduates in award-winning research: Prof. Sarah Schaack (right) was recently honored by the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust.

Congratulations to Prof. Sarah Schaack [biology 2011–] who is the first ever recipient of a new award from the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust: the Lynwood W. Swanson Promise for Scientific Research Award.

"It is truly an honor to be recognized by something like this—an award unheard of in the sciences, especially for early career faculty," Prof. Schaack says. The foundation noted that Prof. Schaack “was chosen for her research in the nature of mutations, particularly those caused by mobile DNA, and for deeply involving her undergraduate students.” Named in honor of Dr. Lynwood Swanson, a prominent scientist, entrepreneur, and trustee for the Murdock foundation for 30 years, the annual award recognizes an emerging professor's scientific research.

"I have appreciated the Trust's financial support for my work as a scientist through their grant programs, but to be recognized by the Promise award not only for my work, but the work I endeavor to share with undergraduate and international collaborators, is more than a compliment-- it is motivation to do more," says Schaack.

RIP Prof. Frank Gwilliam

Prof. Gwilliam mentored generations of Reed students.

We are sad to report that Prof. G. Frank Gwilliam [biology 1957–96], who mentored generations of students for the better part of four decades, died on Sunday. He was 91 years old.

Prof. Gwilliam was born in 1925 and grew up in Salt Lake City. His father died of influenza when he was 11 years old. Following the outbreak of WWII, he joined the US Navy at the age of 17 and served as a hospital corpsman aboard the USS Doyen, an amphibious personnel assault vessel, which took part in numerous island invasions in the Pacific theater, including Kiska, Tarawa, the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Guam, Leyte Gulf, Lingayen Gulf, and Iwo Jima.

After the war, he earned a BA and PhD in biology from UC Berkeley and did a Rockefeller Postdoctoral Fellowship in marine biology. He was recruited to Reed by Prof. Lew Kleinholz [biology 1946-80].

Religion Major Named Rhodes Scholar

Rhodes Scholar Pema McLaughlin ’16 wrote their senior thesis on American Buddhism. Photo by Tom Humphrey

Religion major Pema M. McLaughlin ’16 was named a Rhodes Scholar on Sunday, becoming the 32nd Reed grad to win the prestigious award.

Pema compiled an impressive track record at Reed, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and winning the Class of ’21 Award for their senior thesis, “Pointing at the Moon,” which traced the development of Buddhism in America and posed deep questions about the nature and definition of religion.

Pema has also conducted research on Daoism, the Nation of Islam, and studied Chinese, history, humanities, and Japanese sword arts. Prof. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri [religion], who served as their thesis adviser, called Pema “an extraordinary student.”

President Kroger Responds to Reedies Against Racism

On Wednesday, November 16, President Kroger responded formally to the demands of the student group, Reedies Against Racism. While discussion of the demands are fluid, we want to share with you his formal response and his follow up email to the community yesterday.

Kroger Declares Reed a Sanctuary College

We steadfastly support all members of our community regardless of their immigration status.

President John R. Kroger today declared Reed to be a sanctuary college.

I hereby declare that Reed College is a sanctuary college for the purposes of immigration. We steadfastly support all members of our community regardless of their immigration status.

As a sanctuary college, Reed will not assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the investigation of the immigration status of our students, staff, or faculty absent a direct court order.

Reed Calls on Trump to Condemn Harassment, Hate

Reed has joined scores of other colleges around the nation to urge President-elect Donald Trump to condemn the episodes of harassment, hatred, and violence that have erupted on college campuses, including Reed, since the election.

President John R. Kroger signed on to an open letter to Trump that reads thus:

Dear President-elect Trump,

Lewis & Clark Students Issue Message of Support

In the wake of hate-filled graffiti discovered in the Hauser Library, we wanted to share this supportive message received from students at Lewis & Clark.

Dear Reed Student Body,

The Lewis & Clark community stands in solidarity with all of your students who today feel like targets of discrimination and violence. We stand with you in fighting and condemning any act of racial discrimination, sexism, homophobia, or anti-semitism that happens on your campus. Last year our community faced similar hardships. Prejudice​-​based violence continues to threaten students on our campuses. We must stand together to fight a climate of discrimination that is impacting individuals nationwide.

RIP Roger Hobbs ’11, Bestselling Novelist

Novelist Roger Hobbs streaked like a comet across the literary firmament. Leah Nash

Bestselling crime writer Roger Hobbs ’11, whose debut novel Ghostman became an international hit, died in Portland this week of a drug overdose. He was 28 years old.

A precocious storyteller, Hobbs demonstrated a passion and talent for writing even as a child. He streaked like a comet across the literary firmament, producing two thrillers that won numerous awards and critical acclaim.

He once described the experience of coming to Reed as “stepping into sunshine after four years in the dark. I could start fresh alongside hundreds of others who were ripe to shed their high school selves.”

Reed Rallies Against Hate

Prof. Kelly Chacón [chemistry] writes a message of support for students after hateful graffiti was discovered in the Hauser Library.

The Reed community came together Monday to stand against hatred and bigotry as hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and alumni converged in the lobby of the Hauser Library, which was the target of hateful vandals over the weekend.

Reedies wrote their own messages of love and support in a defiant response to the bigots. Penned on yellow sticky notes and posters, the messages sprouted through the lobby like daffodils after a winter storm. See a selection of notes, and add your own to the collection.

“We will not stand by silently when hate or bigotry occur,” read one.

In Response to Campus Graffiti Incident

Graffiti was found on Reed's campus late Saturday night. The college responded swiftly to remove the graffiti and the following email was sent to the campus community by the Dean of Institutional Diversity Mary James and VP of Student Services Mike Brody:

Dear Reed Community,

Members of the Reed staff were informed on Saturday night that racist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-semitic graffiti was found in the second and third floor library bathrooms. Maintenance crews were dispatched to removed it immediately. We do not know if the perpetrator was a member of the Reed community. Regardless of who committed this heinous act, such behavior is antithetical to Reed’s mission and values, and will not be tolerated. Anyone seeking to cause fear or harm to members of the Reed community should expect a vigorous response.

RAR Demands— November Progress Report

It has been over a month since several hundred Reed students, staff, and faculty participated in a day of events organized by students of color. Throughout the day on September 26, members of our community expressed their deep sorrow over black lives that have been lost, as well as their hope that Reed will do more not only to support our students of color, but also to make Reed truly inclusive as our campus becomes increasingly diverse.

As a culmination of the September 26 events, student organizers presented President John Kroger with a list of demands. The list includes more than twenty items ranging from enhanced financial aid and support services to ideas about potential changes to the curriculum.

Since September 27, staff and faculty have been engaged in a collaborative effort with students to address the demands. The following represents a summary of progress to date. This summary is not exhaustive, and it is important to understand that for some, and especially for some students of color, the pace of change remains a source of frustration. I do hope you find the following informative as we continue to do this important work.  

The Philosophy of Pain

Pain has deep philosophical implications, according to Prof. Troy Cross, especially when it comes to Hum 110.

Pain.

We all feel it. Most of us avoid it. Some of us dread it.

But as Prof. Troy Cross [philosophy] pointed out in a startling and memorable Hum 110 lecture on October 31, pain is a fundamental fact of existence that has deep philosophical implications for education and for the current debate over Hum 110.

Profs vote to accelerate Hum 110 review

In the interest of keeping colleagues, students and staff informed about events initiated by the Black Reedies Matter movement that have specific bearing on the Humanities 110 course, we would like to share the following.

1) In the spring of 2016, pursuant to SCAPP’s survey of student satisfaction with Hum 110 and its own survey of Hum 110 faculty opinions, the Hum 110 faculty charged two sub-committees to work on revisions to the Hum 110 syllabus over the course of the summer of 2016. The work of the first committee, proposing more explicit study of gender, class and race in the ancient world, will be presented to and discussed by the Hum 110 staff during the first week of November. The work of the second committee, proposing the addition of the study of Islam, will be presented to and discussed by the Hum 110 staff during the second week of November. In the short term, the staff is discussing changes to the spring syllabus (in no way intended to foreclose on long term solutions).

2) At the conclusion of an open meeting between the BRM student leaders, the Hum 110 faculty, and many concerned students in the Student Union on October 6th, it was agreed that a committee of at least six volunteer Hum 110 faculty and six volunteer BRM students would meet regularly to discuss the best process for Hum 110 syllabus revision. Meetings will start in the first week of November.

Oregon Biotech Leaders Descend on Reed

Looking to the Future: bioscience leaders seek to grow Oregon's bioscience landscape

Fall break is typically a quiet week at Reed: the rain has set in, many students have gone home, and others are holed up in the library and dorms getting caught up on coursework and sleep. But over break this year, more than 300 leaders in Oregon’s biotech industries convened at Reed to talk about topics ranging from lifesaving technologies to supporting diversity and inclusion, biomedical research, and investing in the Oregon bioscience field.

Campus became the hub of an annual effort to strategize and support the regional bioscience community, and many Reedies took part. The annual conference—Oregon Bio 2016—is not only a professional development and networking opportunity for the bioscience community, it's an important chance for industry professionals collectively to look to the future and set goals. Senator Ron Wyden addressed the conference, emphasizing the need for industry growth, enhancing Oregon's research climate, and attracting talent and companies to the state. 

Reed students, professors, alumni and staff also participated in the conference. Morgan Vague ’17, a biology major, was one of 10 researchers selected to participate in an opportunity called Research Fast Pitch. She competed against associate professors and PhD candidates with a timed, three-minute presentation about her research on plastic-eating bacteria. While she didn’t win, she was thrilled with the result of the experience: she drummed up interest and even potential funding offers for her work.

KRRC, Dirigible of the Airwaves, is Punctured

A trove of high-end audio equipment worth approximately $7,000 was reported stolen from the KRRC studio on October 13, 2016.

KRRC is the fiercely independent student-run radio station that has been broadcasting on-air (and now online) since 1954. It is entirely funded by the student senate and operates in facilities provided by Reed, namely the Student Union.

In response to the theft, the students set up a crowdfunding appeal to replace the stolen equipment, which included an iMac, mixers, turntables, and microphones. Generous alumni have stepped up to support the effort.

Spirited Debate Breaks Out Over Hum 110

Athena ponders the eternal question... is it time to update the Hum 110 syllabus?

In masterful fashion, Prof. Lena Lenček took the lectern last quarter and delivered a classic lecture on the ancient Greek poet Hesiod before an audience of 300 students in Hum 110. Ranging from the myth of Prometheus to the songs of Bob Dylan, Prof. Lencek zeroed in on the central issues posed by Hesiod’s epic Works and Days. Is toil a virtue? Are the gods just? Is it acceptable to use guile in pursuit of justice?

Sitting in the back of the lecture hall, I couldn’t help but marvel at her dazzling dissection. It reminded me of everything I loved about Hum 110 when I was a student in the ’80s, frantically scribbling notes and smoking Camels.

But times change, and Hum 110 has emerged as a campus flashpoint this semester. As racial tension in the United States has been ratcheted up by police shootings and ongoing racial inequalities, some students have called out Reed’s signature humanities course as an example of institutional racism. Following a campus demonstration last month, student critics have unfurled a lengthy catalogue of problems they perceive and proposals to fix them, such as this one printed on the front page of the Quest:

Prof. Paul Gronke: Just in Time for Early Voting

Paul Gronke  Early Voting Expert

Prof. Paul Gronke [poli sci]

As the last debate of the 2016 presidential election cycle approaches, we asked Professor of Political Science Paul Gronke, "what should we be looking for?"

Gronke strongly hopes the moderator Chris Wallace and candidate Hillary Clinton “push Trump on his accusations that the election is being rigged,” said Gronke. “His unfounded claims are threatening to the legitimacy of the system.”

Balls in the Air—Jugglers Converge on Reed

A focused performer gives the pins a spin at the Portland Juggling Festival Adam Brewer

It’s the ultimate balancing act. Poised ever-so-precisely on an overgrown skateboard that wobbles atop a rolling cylinder, Cate Great draws ooohs from the audience when she crowns her act with an eye-popping stunt—juggling no fewer than six balls while spinning in a circle.

Welcome to the 26th Portland Juggling Festival, a weekend of workshops, live shows, and community-building held at Reed College. Jugglers from around the world flock to the event, whose mission is not only entertainment but also education.

Since 1992, when the festival was founded, the highlight of each year is the Juggling and Vaudeville Extravaganza Show, featuring local professionals alongside national and international acts. Twelve acts graced the stage last week, with Anni Küpper from Bonn, Germany, bringing down the house with a dazzling performance art/juggling fusion.

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