Peter Wadsworth ’02. "He was like our Dumbledore—our wise wizard."
We are sorry to report that Reed alumnus Peter Wadsworth ’02 perished in the catastrophic fire at the Oakland warehouse known as the “Ghost Ship” on December 2. The blaze claimed 36 lives.
The fire broke out during a party at the warehouse, which served as an artists’ collective. Neighbors had complained of people living in the building illegally, with trash piling up, and other unsafe conditions.
Bob Mule, Peter’s roommate in the Ghost Ship, told reporters that Peter had broken his ankle while trying to escape from the loft of his space. The oppressive heat and smoke forced Mule to abandon his attempt to pull Peter from the flames.
On November 11, 2016, at a public event on campus, Kimberly Peirce, the director and writer of Boys Don't Cry, was met with signs bearing profanity-laced slogans, and her talk was disrupted by a small number of Reed students.
John Kroger, Reed’s president, in response to the event, stated, “expressing dissenting viewpoints is central to intellectual debate, as is made clear in Reed’s dissent policy. All views, however, must be expressed in a way that does not deliberately obstruct others from sharing their ideas. Such conduct has no place at Reed College.”
Reed’s dean of the faculty, Nigel Nicholson, was present at the event and issued a statement to the campus community in the student newspaper, Reed College Quest (full text below). He stated, “[t]he principle that a speaker, any speaker, should be treated with respect was explicitly rejected.”
Nicholson also said of Peirce, “she was very gracious in the face of considerable hostility” and “did a remarkable job respectfully and patiently addressing the concerns of the protesters.” He said, “Many speakers would not have hosted a discussion under such pressure, but the resulting Q&A led by Peirce proved to be genuinely productive.” Nicholson called for the community to “reflect on what happened and make a determination not to repeat it.”
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.
"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.”
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.
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].
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.”
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.
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 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,
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Pain has deep philosophical implications, according to Prof. Troy Cross, especially when it comes to Hum 110.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: