Reed students dress as Greek gods outside humanities lecture in 2012. Nudity at a similar event in 2013 prompted a Title IX investigation. Copyright Reed College.
The students who play the part of Greek gods and greet freshmen on their way to the first humanities lecture—collectively known as the Pantheon—will keep their robes on next fall, organizers declared at a community forum held by the Honor Council last week.
“No one will be naked next year,” said environmental studies major Elaine Andersen ’16, one of the HumPlayers, the student group that puts on the Pantheon.
The event, which has been staged for the last five years, typically involves male and female sophomores and upperclassmen who dress up as Greek divinities on the steps of Vollum Lecture Hall and welcome freshmen to their first Hum 110 lecture. The gods ask for libations, and freshmen respond (if they’ve done their homework) by spilling a few drops of coffee or water on the ground, re-enacting an ancient Homeric tradition. “It’s supposed to be fun and silly,” one student explained.
Dancers perform "L'esprit de l'escalier," choreographed by Heidi Duckler ’74, to ring in the new Performing Arts Building. Photo by NashCo
Reed’s performing arts just got an 80,000 square-foot, glass-paned, light-filled, no-holds-barred, swanky new home. Years in the making, the Performing Arts Building is finally ready to take center stage. Classes are already being held in the building and its myriad rooms and performance spaces are beginning to hum.
The building opened Friday, September 20, amid pomp and circumstance, shiny red ribbons, and several gargantuan pairs of scissors.
The ceremony began with Blast!, a fanfayre for trumpet and synthesizer, composed by Prof. David Schiff [music 1980–]. Then, standing on the grand staircase that graces the atrium, President John Kroger welcomed students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests, giving thanks to the many people who ushered the building into reality.
Eliot Stempf ’11 works to aid the victims of Syria's civil war from Gaziantep, Turkey.
When surgeon Muhammad Abyad was killed in Syria on September 5, as he did humanitarian work for Doctors Without Borders, it was hardly an isolated incident. Hospitals are routinely bombed in the chaos of current-day Syria, and so far over 20 staffers for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have perished while responding to disasters. On Monday, 50 medical professionals from across the globe united to publish an open letter in the Lancet saying that the Syrian health system is at a breaking point.
Somewhere in southern Turkey, Eliot Stempf ’11 knowingly nodded his head—and shifted in his low-rent desk chair as he contended with a glacially slow internet connection. Eliot lives in Gaziantep, Turkey, roughly 20 miles from the Syrian border, and is currently masterminding the launch of a humanitarian startup, SERA (Special Emergency Response and Assistance), which specializes in prehospital care and has so far trained roughly 50 Syrians to become emergency first responders.
SERA was founded in late 2012 by Peter Kassig, a 24-year-old Army Ranger and Indiana native who returned from Iraq intent on mitigating the carnage of war. Kassig, who’s an EMT, lives with Eliot in Gaziantep and frequently forays into war-torn Syrian towns like Deir Ezzor to lead training sessions, distribute supplies, and provide basic medical care. Eliot, meanwhile, remains in Turkey, hunched at his computer, networking with care providers, such as the Red Crescent, and conferring with two Syrian doctors who advise SERA on, as Eliot puts it, “how to deliver aid in a way that’s sensitive, without exacerbating political tensions.”
Dr. Beth Robinson ’82 at Senate confirmation hearing
Stalwart correspondent Ed Mills ’80 drew our attention to a lighthearted exchange that took place this week during a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, chaired by Senator Ron Wyden [D-Oregon]. The committee was meeting to consider several of President Obama’s nominations—including Dr. Beth Robinson ’82 to the post of Under Secretary of Energy.
Committee hearings not exactly famous for their levity. When they aren’t immobilized by partisan wrangling they tend to be--how shall we put it?--less than riveting. Approximately two and a half hours into the hearing, however, the session was enlivened by a surprising geographic issue:
Dr. Robinson to Senator Cantwell [D-Washington]: "Yes, the issues at Hanford are very complex and very important, and as you mentioned, I grew up in Seattle, which is--"
CSO trading cards hark back to a venerable Reed tradition.
Beat it, Babe Ruth. Pick up your deck, Pikachu. Move over, Magic: the Gathering. A new medium of rectangular exchange is about to hit campus—Community Safety Trading Cards.
Starting Friday, Community Safety Officers (CSOs) will carry trading cards as they make their rounds, handing them out to students as a way to build relationships. “As a team, we talked over the summer about what we wanted to accomplish this year, and our first priority is to develop relationships with individual students,” says Gary Granger, director of Reed’s office of community safety. “We hit on the cards as a fun way for CSOs to establish a personal connection.”
Each trading card includes a photo and a handful of fun facts about a CSO, from hobbies to favorite epic poems to potential superpowers (“atmokinesis” is one.) “The CSOs choose their own pictures,” says Granger. “And they decide who and when to give them out.”
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (which amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964) protects people in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance from discrimination based on sex. Title IX states that, “No person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
The spirit of Title IX is to ensure gender equity and equal opportunity for all students, and as such Reed is committed to honoring its obligations under Title IX.
“The law comes from a spirit of fairness,” said Michelle Valintis, Reed director of human resources. “It exists to guide colleges to become more open, safe, and inclusive places to learn.”
Though much of the early press around Title IX was centered on balancing athletic opportunities and scholarships, it was intended to be more far reaching. In 2011 Vice President Biden sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to all educational institutions receiving federal financial aid that explained the expanded interpretation of Title IX enforcement to cover issues of sexual harassment and assault. The letter instructed colleges to do what is necessary in order to ensure a safe and supportive environment for every student. Additionally, colleges were instructed to
• disseminate a notice of nondiscrimination to students, parents, and employees;
• designate a Title IX coordinator—at Reed it is Ed McFarlane, vice president/treasurer;
• adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of student and employee sex discrimination complaints.
“The national statistics describing how few survivors of sexual harassment and assault report to authorities are truly discouraging,” said Mike Brody vice president and dean of students. “I believe that it’s incumbent upon college leaders—students, faculty, and staff—to help create an environment in which people feel safe to report, and can be confident that the college will respond in a meaningful and effective way. It is of course our ultimate goal to eliminate sexual assault and harassment though our education and preventions efforts, but in the meantime, Reed remains committed to removing obstacles that might prevent people from reporting.”
Title IX complaints can be filed with Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights, or with the institution where the alleged offence took place. It is the institution’s obligation to swiftly respond to any Title IX complaint by conducting an investigation and taking appropriate remedial action. If an offense is found, either the institution’s administration can take action to remediate the situation, or it can refer the case to the appropriate internal adjudicating body. If the latter option is taken, the Title IX coordinator oversees the process to ensure compliance.
Jamie Isenstein ’98, last seen on campus in 2011, inhabiting an armchair (The Lady Vanishes) returns to the Cooley Gallery for a public reception, beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 19, 2013. This mid-career survey is curated by gallery director Stephanie Snyder ’91, who admires Jamie's drawings, mixed-media sculptures, and installations as pieces that "engage the artist’s body as an artistic medium—a subject of humor, theatricality, and historical representation." A studio art major at Reed, Jamie became intrigued with Northern Renaissance art and considers her own work to be an update on many of the themes popular then, such as the Vanitas and Momento Mori. At Art Basel in 2011, she staged an "anti-concert" in which she spent two weeks weaving a rug onto a harp, compromising its strings and thereby removing music (dampening sound) vs. making music (video). You can see her at her harp once again on Thursday evening.
In an essay for the catalog of the exhibition, Jamie Isenstein: Will Return, Graham Jones ’97, MIT anthropologist and an expert on the subculture of entertainment magic, suggests that the magician's craft relies upon an audience that is aware of the deception and desiring of it. He has great appreciation for the ways in which Jamie uses her half-hidden body to evoke curiosity and desire; she is gently teasing her audience with the deferred possibility of interaction, which is in itself the physical manifestation of her "intermission" and "will return" conceits. Just as she provokes a kind of awe when confined to motionless poses, we are forced to pause and consider new ways of perceiving art in spite of our own constraints.
Artist Lucinda Parker ’66 adds the finishing touches to the installation of "Our Solo Round Star Squeezed Between the Sky and Sea" in Reed's Performing Arts Building. Chris Lydgate ’90
Reed has received a grant of $28,000 to acquire the painting Our Solo Round Star Squeezed Between the Sky & Sea by celebrated Portland artist and Reed College alumna Lucinda Parker ’66. This acquisition was made possible with the assistance of the Ford Family Foundation through a special grant program managed by the Oregon Arts Commission (OAC). “The college is thrilled to acquire such a substantial work of art by a distinguished alumna during an era of profound growth and innovation in the arts at Reed," says Cooley Gallery director Stephanie Snyder ’91. "Lucinda Parker is a visionary painter, and an integral part of the Reed community. Her work chronicles the living history and vitality of the Northwest with unmatched vibrancy.”
Our Solo Round Star Squeezed Between the Sky & Sea, completed this year, is a monumental acrylic on canvas painting, measuring 91 x 153 inches. Its particular subject matter and the circumstances of its creation are unique within the artist’s oeuvre. Parker created the work while an inaugural artist-in-residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Residency Program at the late artist’s Florida studio complex. During the residency, Parker spent an entire month observing and making small gouache studies of the sunset. Concurrently, she began working on this encompassing vision of natural rhythm and spiritual transformation. In her words: “The painting explores death and renewal—the mystery of where the sun goes when it disappears into the ocean—old myths.”
Lucinda Parker is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most significant and enduring painters. She is associate professor in painting and drawing, emerita, at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, where she studied fine arts in a dual-degree program with Reed, and an MFA graduate of the Pratt Institute. Her work has been shown at numerous institutions, including the Portland Art Museum, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, and Marylhurst University. Her work is represented by the Laura Russo Gallery in Portland.
History major Christian Acuña ’14 demolishes flimsy board of mediocrity in South Korea
Congratulations to history major Christian Acuña ’14, who won a spot in the U.S. State Department’s prestigious Critical Language Scholarship program last summer, spending eight weeks studying Korean at Yonsei University Wonju Campus in South Korea.
Around 610 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students were selected to participate in the program. Each participant spends seven to ten weeks in the country whose language they are studying enrolled in intensive language courses and taking advantage of the culturally enriching experiences the CLS program offers. For Christian, such excursions included a Korean archery lesson, a traditional wedding ceremony with tea tasting, and a Taekwondo lesson. Scholarships are offered in thirteen languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu.
Christian went into the program never having spoken a word of Korean and considers the program to be an effective and comprehensive way to learn a language without prior experience. For him, the most rewarding part of the experience was the weekly volunteer work at a local orphanage. He was grateful for this opportunity because it gave him a chance to give back to a community that was welcoming to him. For the first week of the program, he stayed with a Korean host family and in the weeks following continued to visit them on weekends for dinner.
Snapshot of the ForeverScape by Vance Feldman ’05
The universe of Vance Feldman ’05 explodes with jumbled houses, bridges and aqueducts, businessmen shaking hands, dolphins jumping out of rivers, and spacemen kicking their feet back in lawn chairs. To call his work monumental would be something of an understatement. Modestly titled the ForeverScape, his drawing rivals some of the longest art pieces in the world. Spanning roughly 650 feet from left to right—the equivalent of two football fields—the ForeverScape is assembled out of 700 sheets of letter-size paper and grows longer by the day.
The ForeverScape started in September, 2009, when Vance was in between jobs and found himself sitting in a bar with a ream of paper. He started aimlessly sketching a landscape and when the first page ended saw no reason to stop. The first couple hundred pages, drawn in ballpoint pen, feature a smoggy, industrial landscape littered with crowded buildings twisting into each other and spilling onto the road and barbed wire fences about to snag innocent hummingbirds. These give way to apocalyptic scenes of civilization being swallowed by the sea. Squid and clownfish lazily swim above a submerged city whose buildings are wreathed in slimy weeds and whose skyscrapers are tickling the belly of a whale. One scene depicts several men attempting to subdue and photograph what appears to be the Loch Ness monster. Later, after Vance switched to using a Sharpie, the sea becomes the sky and we zoom into a psychedelic rendition of outer space, filled with boats and clams and astronauts playing badminton in reclining lawn chairs.
The chairs pay homage to Prof. Michael Knutson [art 1982–], who once told Vance that all he painted for several years were lawn chairs. Prof. Knutson likes the piece so much that he shows it to his art classes every year. The ForeverScape demonstrates, he says, “an incredible imagination, focus and energy.” In a subtler way, it also evokes a childhood loss and a lesson Vance learned at Reed.
Meaningless arrows, questionable data.
The Atlantic published a great article today about the hollowness of the college rankings compiled by US News and World Report. Written by retired Boston College professor John Tierney, the piece highlights the problems that plague the US News system—dubious data, arbitrary rules, and a one-size-fits-all approach, to name a few.
Of course, these were the same problems that persuaded Reed’s then-president Steve Koblik to pull out of the USN rankings back in 1995. It’s a shame to see that matters haven’t gotten much better.
Reed still doesn’t participate in USN, although the magazine insists on ranking us anyway. Which is too bad—as Tierney points out, the USN system remains surprisingly popular, despite an unrelenting stream of criticism through the decades. On the other hand, the last several years have witnessed the rise of more comprehensive alternatives. Perhaps one day they'll supplant the USN juggernaut. In the meantime, USN has released its latest report. Like Tierney, I’ll probably peek at the rankings, but—as they say in the ads for the Oregon lottery—for entertainment purposes only.
Reed College is pleased to welcome 19 new and visiting faculty members, including three alumni.
Rebecca LaLonde ’01 returns to campus as an assistant professor of chemistry. After earning her BA in chemistry at Reed, she obtained a MS in chemistry from Stanford and a PhD in chemistry from UC Berkeley. She has worked as an associate scientist at Dow Chemical and as a research associate in medicinal chemistry at Genetech.
Renowned physicist Dr. Kip Thorne will give a lecture at Reed on “The Warped Side of Our Universe: From the Big Bang to Black Holes and Gravitational Waves” on Tuesday, August 27, 2013—which may be tomorrow, today, or yesterday, depending on your frame of reference.
Dr. Thorne, a retired professor of theoretical physics at California Institute of Technology, is one of the world’s leading experts on gravitational waves, black holes, and wormholes—hypothetical “shortcuts” in the space-time continuum that give rise to the theoretical possibility of time travel.
Dr. Thorne is on campus to receive the 2013 Howard Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology. The award was created as a tribute to the late Howard Vollum ’36, a Reed trustee, and a lifelong friend of the college.
Margaret Balk ’13 has won a Fulbright grant to do research at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. She will collaborate with Professor Olivier Luminet, examining how emotional competence affects the quality of life in children with Type I diabetes.
Emotional competence refers to the ability to pay attention to one’s bodily sensations, confront one’s emotions, and communicate them to others. Quality of life can be measured by how much the illness limits activity, the frequency or severity of the physical symptoms, and to what extent the disease causes negative emotions.
Luminet’s findings show that Type I diabetic children with lower emotional competence have worse glycemic control, which is an objective measure of patients’ management of their diabetes.
Linguist Margit Bowler ’11 doing fieldwork with Warlpiri elder in Australia.
Margit Bowler ’11, Quinn Langdon ’11, and Christina Porter ’13 all won fellowships from the National Science Foundation this year as part of the NSF’s prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships Program.
The program grants each fellow $32,000 a year for three years to pursue a specific research proposal, plus $12,000 a year to the individual's institution. Students may apply to the program their senior year or during their first two years of graduate school.
Margit Bowler ’11 will do fieldwork in the language of Warlpiri, spoken solely by approximately 3,000 indigenous people in central Australia. Her project represents a continuation of the research she began thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship she won in 2011; she is thankful to NSF for the opportunity to continue her research, as she believes Warlpiri should not be studied without a longterm commitment to its speakers and their communities. She is currently at UCLA researching Warlpiri semantics and syntax although she occasionally delves into Warlpiri phonology.
Prof. Jack Dudman ’42, legendary dean of students
Prof. Jack Dudman ’42 played many roles at Reed—often simultaneously. Student leader, proud graduate, inspiring teacher, patient mentor. But he is probably best remembered as dean of students, an office he held from 1963 to 1983—during which time he helped hundreds of students through some of the most difficult times of their lives.
John Almon Dudman was born in Iowa in 1920 and majored in mathematics at Reed, where he made a deep impression on Prof. Robert Rosenbaum [math 1939–53]. “Jack was the best of the group,” Rosenbaum wrote later. “Not just in seriousness and diligence, although he clearly held his own in these qualities—but in the imagination that he brought to his study, and in the evident pleasure that he took from beginning to see the roles that mathematics plays in human culture.”
Dudman was elected student body president and became an active student advocate. During that time, two male students were involved in a homosexual relationship which somehow became public; college administrators were determined to put an end to it. Dudman argued that the students’ relationship was a private matter and that the college had no business meddling in their affairs. Sadly, his arguments fell on deaf ears and the students were expelled.
As everyone knows, Steve Jobs did not graduate from Reed College. (He may, in fact, be one of the most famous “non-graduates” in modern history). Nonetheless, his experience at Reed left a profound impression on him, as he reiterated on many occasions.
This week, the biopic Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs (and James Woods as Dean Jack Dudman ’42), is being released to theaters around the world. In light of the enduring fascination with all things Steve, we decided to pull together some information about his time on campus. Visit our page on Steve Jobs at Reed for more details.
Visionary. Iconoclast. Rebel. Even though Steve Jobs was officially enrolled for just one semester, he was the quintessential Reedie.
It is far beyond the scope of this obituary to trace his protean career at Apple or assess his accomplishments and failures (and there were many of each). Classmates hardly need to be reminded of how he transformed the personal computer, the cell phone, and the music player, and how those devices in turn revolutionized a dozen industries.
But it is worth taking a closer look at Steve’s time on campus, because Reed was a much deeper part of him than one might think from his official transcript. In his crystalline intensity, his obsession with big ideas, his hunger for perfection, he personified the classic Reed archetype.
COURTESY OF JEREMY STONE ’99
In the winter of 1996–97, a band of Reed students including Justin Campbell ’99 and Colin McCluney ’99 took the Doyle Owl on a road trip to California. On a whim, they stopped by Steve Jobs' house in Palo Alto and rang the bell. They were floored when Steve emerged, admired the Owl, talked about Reed, and posed for this photo in Justin’s parents’ minivan. “He was really nice about it,” Justin says.
(From Steve Jobs' Convocation speech on August 27, 1991, at which he was given the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology.)
Thank you very much for this. It means a lot to me. I’m a peculiar Reed alumnus, as many of you know. I never graduated from Reed—although that doesn’t make that unusual, I suppose.
But maybe more unusual: I ran out of money after one semester here at Reed, so I dropped out, but then I dropped in for another year-and-a-half. So, I was actually here by choice. This is somewhat more unusual. And I had some experiences here that I’m sure many of you will have as freshmen and throughout your years here, that have stayed with me my whole life. I was thinking of some of them to recount to you.