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News from the Reed College public affairs office

OGs triumph in March Madness

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The NCAA has nothing on Reed's March Madness, which showcased fierce players, close games, and an overtime nail-biter that ultimately yielded victory last week for the Older Griffs (OGs), the elder half of the Fighting Griffins. Each spring Reed hosts its own version of March Madness. For one glorious evening, students, faculty, staff, and alumni play in a single-elimination basketball tournament. The teams are a combination of amateurs, serious amateurs, less-serious amateurs, old amateurs, and croquet enthusiasts who mistakenly wandered onto the wrong court.

The tourney got off to a quick start with the first game, between the Leftovers, composed of professors, staff, and alumni, and the Title 9ers, a women's team with two "token males." Bruce Smith, associate dean of student services, had a sweet steal for the Leftovers, and, as he launched into a breakaway, teammate Scott "Travis" Grice '90 yelled, "take it slow, you're old." Though the Leftovers had a few years on the 9ers, they were genuine competitors and it was a hardscrabble match. It was nice to see the friendly faces of former faculty members like Eddie Cushman, Randy Hicks, and Chris Zinn, alongside current staff members like Bruce and Dan Hyde, maintenance specialist, not to mention my colleagues in college relations, Kevin Myers and Jeff Wright. The 9ers team made a great run and banked some impressive shots, yet the power of age and wisdom won out 28 to 14.

Fiercely Feministing

Samhita.pngWho needs credit cards when you have a junior vagina? read one of the slides in Samhita Mukhopadhyay's talk, arranged by the Multicultural Resource Center on March 21. Mukhopadhyay, who is the executive editor of feministing.com, emphasized in her stirring talk why feminism is still needed in today's world.

She highlighted the case of the panties sold in Walmart's junior section with the phrase "Who needs credit cards . . ." printed on the crotch and "when you have Santa" on the derriere. After spotting the undergarments in the juniors department of a Walmart in Cary, North Carolina, a horrified reader alerted the blog, which broke the story, triggering an uproar from parents that ultimately forced Walmart to pull the offensive underpants from shopping aisles.

"The message broadcast to adolescent girls was that they don't need to worry about finances since they have their very own moneypot between their legs," said Mukhopadhyay.

Through Hell and Lunacy

Love, loss, and lunacy forged a powerful combination in the Eliot Hall chapel this semester with a production of The Balance, directed by Elizabeth Dinkova '13 and written with Jane Doerflinger '13.

The play is adapted from Hans Christen Andersen's fairytale "The Story of a Mother," interwoven with the eerie ramblings of a patient in a lunatic asylum. Although Andersen is most famous for his children's stories such as "The Little Mermaid" and "The Ugly Duckling," many of his characters are dark and complex and seldom enjoy happy endings.

Reed Gripped by March Madness

basketball20dribble.jpgSpring is sprung, the cherry trees in Eliot Circle are blooming, and Reed is gripped—gripped, we say—by March Madness. We refer not, of course, to the obscure proceedings of the NCAA but rather to the world-famous 24th annual Reed Basketball Tournament, held Friday, March 23, at the Watzek Sports Center.

No fewer than eight teams have registered for the prestigious tournament this year. Here's the bracket:

Title IXers vs Leftovers
Amateurs vs Lil Grifs
Right Bank vs Ya B-Ballers
Beserk vs OGs

Bridging the Disability Divide

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At Reed's first-ever Working Weekend, it all came together for Gabriel Forsythe-Korzeniewicz '12, an economics senior. The career-focused event, which was held February 3-5, was designed to help students and newer alumni get a jump-start on internships, contacts, and careers. Alumni organized and led panels in 10 different subject areas and participated in a three-day StartUp Lab, where they served as entrepreneurs and led teams of students through the presentation and marketing of their original ideas to investors. On Sunday, the Lab culminated with final pitches to a live panel of Angel, Venture Capital, and Incubator investors.

Gabriel, whose brother has Down syndrome and is a self-advocate in their hometown in Maryland, has always been very active in the disability community. In high school, Gabriel mentored disabled kids and volunteered during his junior summer at Reed with the Northwest Down Syndrome Association in Portland. He also won the prestigious McGill Lawrence Internship award in 2011 and used it to work for the Autism Centre in Accra, Ghana. He has been focusing his academics on disability related themes besides doing other non-profit work related to disability outreach in Portland.

Obama is no King

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Brown University economist
Glenn C. Loury

Brown University economist Glenn C. Loury delivered a rousing talk at Reed on Monday titled "Obama is No King: Reflections on Presidential Politics and the Black Prophet Tradition." (audio recording)

Professor Loury did not mince words in stating his thesis that while President Barack Obama's ascent to the Oval Office is historically significant, it is by no means the fulfillment of Martin Luther King Jr's legacy as a social critic and moral witness. He is skeptical of such claims because he thinks it is foolish and unrealistic for us to expect that Obama is on a "sacred mission of prophetic criticism." Though Obama the candidate rose up from a background of good works and activist sensibilities, Obama the president has little leverage for creating change when sustaining forward progress (e.g., "profits for the shareholders") is his primary charge. The role of commander-in-chief-must be viewed pragmatically; the office has its own imperatives, Loury maintains, one of them being the advancement of "the great imperial project" that is US government. He suggests that Obama is aware of the imperfections of democracy and that taking a stand on issues of racial inequality and poverty, as he did with conviction on the campaign trail, is no longer an option.

KRRC Forsakes Terrestrial Broadcast

Two semesters ago, I was DJ at KRRC. Broadcast on Friday afternoons, "Get Naked Radio"--a showcase of electronic dance music that my friends and I put together every week--was slotted between several hours of dead air. This came as a bit of a surprise to us, as we initially believed Friday afternoons, sandwiched between my last class in Eliot Hall and dinner at Commons--was "prime time" for KRRC. Right.

As the semester unfolded, we began to grasp the hard truth that no one was listening. Even on days when the transmitter was functioning properly, our broadcasting radius barely extended beyond the library. And those who would hypothetically listen to Get Naked Radio--our friends--were usually sitting on the beat-up couches strewn across the radio station.

So I was sad but hardly surprised when KRRC terminated its 100-watt terrestrial broadcast last year. In fact, November 30, 2011 marked the last day that KRRC broadcast on the FM dial. Reed has since donated its FM license to the non-profit grassroots group Common Frequency.The move came at the heels of a year-long saga that ultimately ended in KRRC losing its frequency (97.9) to KRNQ, a commercial alternative rock station owned by Cumulus Media. This was the third time KRRC had been bumped from its frequency by a commercial station. (For context: commercial stations can essentially "overtake" KRRC's frequency because of their high power broadcasting license. KRRC's broadcasting license, a secondary-service license phased out by the FCC in 1978, only allows for a broadcast radius the size of campus, if not smaller.)

Reedie Wins Gates Scholarship

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Elizabeth Honor Wilder '11 has won a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship, recognizing exceptional academic achievement and the capacity for leadership.

The award will allow Elizabeth to spend a year at Cambridge pursuing Victorian ideas about wardship, education, the family, and the individual.

Remembering Professor Pock

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John Pock, emeritus professor of sociology, passed away at the age of 86 on Saturday, February 18. A long-time member of the Reed community, he served as a faculty member of the sociology department from 1955 to 1998.

John came to Reed College from the University of Illinois, where he earned his PhD and taught for several years. Though he had been hired to teach at Reed for only one year, he stayed on, delighted to work with undergraduates who behaved like students in graduate seminars.

Chem Major Shatters Track Record

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Chem major Paul Whittredge '12 (right, black vest) shattered a longstanding Reed track record on Saturday, running two miles in 10:21.7 seconds, and demolishing the previous time, which had stood since 1956, by almost 17 seconds. His training partner, Jack Flowers '15, also beat the old record, finishing just four seconds behind Paul.

With the mercury reading a brisk 45 F, and the sky the texture of a wet towel, the two runners set off at noon on the track at Cleveland High School. (Unfortunately, the old Reed track that used to encircle the tennis courts is no more.) The official timekeeper was professor David Latimer [physics 2010-]; the cheering section included running enthusiast Johnny Powell [physics 1987-] and a representative of the fourth estate. The small turnout was no accident-- Paul did not want a lot of pomp and ceremony for the occasion. "I was feeling really anxious about it over the last several days," he admitted. "But when I woke up this morning I felt awesome."

"Thinking Reed" hits bookstands

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Given Reed's proud tradition of intellectual fellowship between students and faculty, it seems only fitting that two professors chose to commemorate our centennial by honoring the careers of an amazing group of alumni. To coincide with Reed's big centennial bash, Roger Porter [English 1961-] and Robert Reynolds [physics 1963-2008] have put together Thinking Reed: Centennial Essays by Graduates of Reed College, available from Reed's bookstore for $19.95.

"Our graduates have carried something of the college with them wherever they've gone," write Roger and Robert in their introduction to the collection, "Reed is known to the world largely because of them."

Synaesthesia and the Great War

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"Today's dissonance in music and painting is merely the consonance of tomorrow," wrote Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky in a 1913 letter to Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg. At the dawn of the 20th century, artists like Kandinsky and Schoenberg broke free from the norms of their medium--and subsequently, their era--by creating music and art that was atonal and abstract. But one year later, the entire movement was uprooted, and the daring avant-garde was replaced by the traditionalism of yesteryear.

What explains this artistic retreat? The Great War, according to author and musicologist Olivia Mattis, who visited campus Saturday as part of ROMP (Reediana Omnibus Musica Philosopha), Reed's annual symposium on music and the liberal arts. "The high modernism of the pre-World War I avant-garde was displaced" after the war, said Mattis. "War called for a return to traditional values."

Listening to 1912

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Reed's first students embarked on their college career during a period in Western music as momentous as any, with the crumbling of systems of form and harmony, influences from far beyond Europe, and an impending flood of new genres that would soon push the old ones into side channels and backwaters. It was ever thus, you could argue, but like the political upheavals going on at the time, the transformation put paid to the past in radical fashion and set the course for the last century right up to now.

Game ON

Good news. The women's rugby team is alive and well and planning its first home game of the season against Lewis & Clark tomorrow.

Although not a league game, the contest against L&C is expected to feature the good clean fun for which the sport is justly famed. (I can't believe I just wrote that.)

The women's team is currently seeking a coach who can lead them back to league play after the previous coach raised safety concerns with the side, which prompted Dean Mike Brody to withdraw the team from league play until he was satisfied the team could safely play competitive rugby.

Welcome to the Working Week(end)

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The campus pulsed with energy Feb 3-5 as scores of alumni traveled across the country to participate in Reed's first ever Working Weekend, a giant career-focused event that featured speakers, panels, and synergy designed to help students and newer alumni get a jump-start on internships, contacts, and careers.

Alumni organized, led, and participated in a day of panels in ten different subject areas on Saturday. One panel was Non-Profits: Changing Lives, where alumni doled out expert guidance and advice on working in the non-profit sector. The panel was lead by Jan Liss '74, Emily Corso '10, Sarah Costello '95, Nell Edgington '95, Craig Mosbaek '83, and Jeremy Stone '99. Together the panel debated and discussed a range of issues, such as the merit of having a law or an MBA degree in the non-profit sector, and how to make yourself the most viable candidate for a coveted job or internship.

Bio Prof Bequeaths Fortune to Reed

stafford and dog.jpgWhen President Colin Diver announced last week that Reed's Centennial Campaign had passed the $185 million mark, he also revealed that the late Helen Stafford [biology 1954-87] had bequeathed an astonishing $8 million to Reed in her will. The bulk of the gift will provide financial aid to students otherwise unable to attend Reed, and $1 million will support the biology department.

When news of Prof. Stafford's gift reached her niece Anne Scarff in Amherst, Massachusetts, she was gobsmacked.

"We received a magnanimously generous gift from your aunt this week," we told her.

Campaign Tops $185 million

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President Colin Diver announced last week that the Centennial Campaign has surpassed $185 million toward its $200 million goal.

"We are grateful for the very generous support from more than 7,000 alumni and an additional 4,000 friends," Diver said.

The campaign supports priorities that were defined by the collective work of campus planning completed during a faculty retreat in 2005 and launched by the trustees later that year. It received early momentum in November 2007 through a $10 million commitment by trustee Dan Greenberg '62 and his wife, Susan Steinhauser, who were already significant supporters. A second leading gift was received in 2009 with $20 million from the estate of famed fantasy/science fiction writer David Eddings '54.

Women's Rugby: Welcome to the Scrum

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The internet has been abuzz over the last few days with breathless rumors that Reed is getting rid of women's rugby. The reports sparked a veritable inferno of outrage from alumni who played the game at Reed, many of whom instantly leaped to the conclusion that dark forces in the administration were bent on Evil And Nefarious Deeds (and presumably fulfilling a lifelong quest to rid the world of oblate spheroids).

But as Mark Twain once said, "the reports of my death have been much exaggerated." Reed is not, I repeat, not terminating women's rugby. However, Dean Mike Brody has decided to withdraw the team from league play after a conversation with its coach.

Year of the Dragon

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Reed ushered in the Year of the Dragon last week with dancing lions, dueling Tai Chi masters and delicious dim sum.

Soothing strains of the two-stringed erhu (that's the Chinese violin) drifted out from Kaul auditorium on Sunday, January 22nd, at a celebration organized by the Chinese House. The room was bathed with crimson light from the oval paper lanterns that hung from the ceiling. Couplets and calligraphy festooned the walls, conveying blessings and prosperity to the occasion.

The Fierce Urgency of Now

photo4.JPGThe two Reed vans idled in the light snow outside 28 West as 30 Reed students readied themselves for a day of service. It was Martin Luther King Day and schools, post offices, and banks across America were closed to celebrate the birth, life, and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Every year Students for Education, Empowerment, and Direct Service (SEEDS) offers a service trip so Reedies can make a difference. This year 43 Reed students, professors, and staff joined more than 800 other college students from across the Portland area to volunteer at Roosevelt High School, explore education as a civil right, and respond to what Dr. King called "the fierce urgency of now."
Roosevelt High School hosted this year's rally and service projects. Once labeled a failed high school, the North Portland institution is on the rise. Last year 89 percent of its senior class graduated, its highest rate ever.

Anthropology major Amina Rahman '14 has been working with students in Northeast Portland this year. MLK day has traditionally been associated with service and this struck a chord with her. "I felt motivated to use the day in a productive way that would benefit kids like me, who live in my city but face different realities," she says. "School is very much about support, and the idea of bolstering a high school with the help of anonymous college students is super cool, and I think, effective."

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