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News from the Reed College public affairs office

Reed Biologists Divide and Conquer

The eye of the zebrafish peers into your soul.

There’s a definite buzz around the Griffin Biology Building these days, and it’s not just the fruit flies. Like cells that keep dividing, the students, professors, and staff in the bio department keep generating news.

Prof. Derek Applewhite and Wick Perry ’13 published a paper in the Journal of Cell Science on a protein known as PIGS that has a dramatic effect on cytoskeleton organization. What, you ask, is the cytoskeleton? It’s the network of filament that gives a cell its shape and allows it to move. Prof. Applewhite’s research is focused on these fundamental structures.

Prof. Kara Cerveny and five of her former students published a paper in Development on the growth of the eye in zebrafish, and the role played by a mutant gene and retinoic acid in regulating the timing of this fiendishly difficult feat. The students were Terra Vleeshouwer-Neumann ’13, Amanuel Tafessu ’14, Audrey Williams ’14, Will Horner ’15, and McKenzie Givens ’17. Also on the author list: bio lab manager Dayna Lamb.

Reed to Students: “We Stand With You.”

Dear Reed Community,

The news over the weekend of the Trump administration’s Executive Order calling for an immigration ban has caused widespread confusion and concern. We know that for some in our community, these developments are particularly troubling. 

We do not currently have any members of our international student community on visas from the seven countries subject to the immigration ban. Nonetheless, we know that for some students, as well as staff and faculty, and especially for those who identify as Muslim, this is a time of great fear and uncertainty. We want you to know that we stand with you.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates for our international students. In the meantime, I hope that we will focus on doing everything we can to come together as a community. Reed is undeniably and immeasurably enriched by the diversity of people who live and learn, work and teach here, together.

With hope and in gratitude,

—Mike Brody

Vice President for Student Services
Title IX Coordinator
Reed College

Dublin, Sligo, and Gort: See Ireland with Reedies

Join Prof. Jay Dickson and a merry band of alumni on the adventure of a lifetime—a trip to the  Ireland of James Joyce and W. B. Yeats during June 12-21, 2017. We’ll examine the Dublin of Joyce and experience the city on Bloomsday, June 16. But we will also enjoy special access to historic manuscripts, including the Book of Kells. Our trip will take in the Irish countryside as we explore important megalithic sites and stop to admire the miles of stone walls and learn to describe their different styles. On the west side of the country, we will be in Yeats country. And we will explore the areas that inspired his descriptive poetry including Rosses Point, Glencar Waterfall, and Thoor Ballylee. And for those wishing to explore other aspects of this great country, the program includes optional activities so travelers can take nature walks, ride bikes, or tour distilleries.

For details or to sign up, please visit Eventbrite.

Cost:

Reed Alum Perishes in “Ghost Ship” Fire

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.

Response to Kimberly Peirce Protest

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.”

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.

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.

Prof. Frank Gwilliam, Biologist with Backbone

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.

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