Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed

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.

Reed Run Raises Cash for Public Schools

More than six hundred dashing locomotorists took part in Reed’s annual 5K Fund Run, which raised more than $41,000 for local Portland public schools.

Undeterred by the gloomy sky, the runners set off from the Old Dorm Block, huffed and puffed their way up Woodstock Boulevard, recovered their breath on Cesar Chavez Avenue, and then raced back down Steele Street. All proceeds from the event went to local elementary schools Duniway, Grout, Lewis, Llewellyn, and Woodstock.

First across the finish line was Ethan Linck ’13, who posted the blazing time of 17:09. (The last time we wrote about Ethan, he set a record for circumnavigating Mount Rainier!)

Student Body President Apologizes for Email

Reed’s student body president has apologized for a mass email he sent to Reed students under an anti-Semitic subject line.

The student body president, who is a senior, sent the email at 10:55 p.m. on September 21, under the subject line “SB Info: Hasidic Jews are like the Jewish version of ISIS.”

The subject line was unrelated to the content of the email, a twice-weekly newsletter known as SB Info, which contains routine information about campus events and committee meetings. Indeed, it is not unusual for SB Info to carry surreal or nonsensical subject lines.

Protest Amplifies Discussion of Race on Campus

Student organizer Addison Bates ’18 leads protestors in a march across campus inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

A day of student protest inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement amplified the ongoing discussion about race on campus last week.

More than four hundred Reed students boycotted classes Monday and joined a campus demonstration to protest police brutality, black lives lost, and racial inequality in the wake of Isaiah Washington’s call for a nationwide boycott to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Students organized a peaceful but boisterous “Noize Parade,” complete with drums, kettles, pots, pans, and pails. Chanting “Black Lives Matter, Black Reedies Matter!” they marched through campus (briefly disrupting a Hum 110 lecture) before rallying in the Quad.

Reed Welcomes Two New Trustees

Reed recently welcomed two new trustees, Mo Copeland ’82 and Amy Madigan, who bring experience from the fields of science, education, and the performing arts.

Mo Copeland, who graduated from Reed with a B.A. in physics, has been an educator for more than 30 years. "I am thrilled to have an opportunity to give back and support Reed as an alumna trustee," she says. "I chose Reed as a school I knew would engage me in an intellectual conversation with fellow students and professors—and it did."

She is the head of the Oregon Episcopal School (OES), a private, preK-12 college preparatory school in Portland that has a boarding program for grades 9-12. Prior to her work at OES, she was the head of Saint George’s, a non-denominational K-12 school in Spokane, Washington, and she served as dean of faculty at Lakeside School in Seattle. Mo has extensive experience as a teacher of physics and math and has taught at the Moses Brown School in Rhode Island as well as the Putney School in Vermont. She has served on numerous advisory boards and accreditation committees such as the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools Board, where she was president from 2007-09. Mo’s husband Chris is a stay-at-home dad with an interest in book collection, and they have two children: Daniel, who graduated from Reed in 2011, and Nick, who graduated from Lewis and Clark. Mo served as an alumni admission volunteer at Reed for 22 years and says, "Reed holds a unique place in higher education in terms of its commitment to genuine, deep learning through engagement. I hope that by serving the school as a trustee, I can be a part of preserving that into the future."

Riggs Hailed for Working Weekend

Adam Riggs ’95 brandishes the Babson Award, presented by Alice Harra, Director of the Center for Life Beyond Reed, at the Volunteer Recognition Dinner last week.

Digital entrepreneur Adam Riggs ’95 was honored with the Babson Society Outstanding Volunteer Award last week for his leadership in establishing Working Weekend, an annual conference that connects Reed students to alumni with similar career interests.

Alice Harra, Director of the Center for Life Beyond Reed, presented Adam with the award, hailing Working Weekend as an inspiring event that helps Reed students connect with alumni mentors and explore career fields and paths. The success of the program was echoed by student testimonials and has proven so popular that it has now spawned a series of focused events such as Mindstorm, TechFayre, and the Winter Shadows.

The presentation took place at Reed’s annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner, which honors alumni volunteers who, through their generous contributions, help advance Reed and support student success. Trustee Dr. Deborah Kamali ’85 recognized many other individuals and groups who make a significant impact, including

Foreign Correspondent Looks Beyond Plato’s Shadows

Foreign correspondent Matthew Brunwasser ’94 has filed stories from more than 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

It seems safe to assume that few Reedies are familiar with Dinko Valev, a hulking, bearded semi-professional wrestler-slash-amateur vigilante who now styles himself a folk hero in his native Bulgaria.

Have you seen Dinko’s proud emblem of his allegiance to the Bulgarian Orthodox church, a pectoral tattoo that’s as big as a T-bone steak?

Didn’t think so.

Have you beheld the jacked four-wheeler that Dinko rode out to the Bulgaria-Turkey border in February, to subdue 16 Syrian migrants (12 men, three women, and a child), forcing them to lay prone on the dirt as he likened them all to “dogs”?

Well, journalist Matthew Brunwasser ’94 has watched the video of Dinko’s assault numerous times, along with the clip of the Bulgarian TV news anchor calling Dinko a “superhero.” He’s also interviewed the thuggish grappler—in Bulgarian. And in his recent profile for the BBC, he unraveled the nuanced import of Dinko, tracing Bulgaria’s nationalism back to the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, when the Bulgarians were ruled by Muslims and Christian Balkan states were clamoring for independence. He talked to an anthropologist who said they were “programmed,” he writes, “to view every representative of the Islamic world as a potential rapist and terrorist.”

Assembling the Freshman Class, One Student at a Time

Dean of Admission Milyon Trulove bears the awesome responsibility of assembling the freshman class.

School is back in session. First-year students roam the Quad clutching copies of the Iliad, frisbees arc across the Great Lawn, and Commons echoes with talk of teleology and telomeres. No one revels in that sense of exuberant possibility more than Milyon Trulove, vice president and dean of admission, who shoulders the formidable responsibility of assembling each year’s crop of new Reedies.

So how do you go about selecting students for one of the most rigorous and distinctive colleges in the nation?

When Trulove first arrived on campus two years ago, he asked his student tour guide how she first heard about Reed. Back in high school, she had been talking about her college search at a restaurant. The waitress overheard her conversation and wrote a suggestion on a paper napkin. It was Reed, of course.

Econ Major Wins Meier Award for Work on Preference

Sarah Brauner ’16 Won a Meier Award for Distinction in Economics for her thesis on preference theory.

“My thesis was a bit unorthodox for a math-econ thesis in that it was more 'mathy' than 'econ-y'—usually it's the opposite,” shares Sarah Brauner ’16, one of two winners of The Gerald M. Meier Award for Distinction in Economics. After receiving this distinction for her exceptional senior thesis, Sarah is now headed to Smith College's Center for Women in Mathematics for a yearlong post-baccalaureate program.

In her thesis, Sarah used sophisticated mathematical modeling to analyze preference theory, the decision-making rationale that is the backbone of microeconomics. Preference theory evaluates how individuals “make decisions based upon an underlying set of preferences for certain goods,” explains Sarah.

“Suppose that you are trying to learn how I would rank apples, bananas and oranges. You know that I prefer apples and oranges to bananas, but you don't know if I favor oranges over apples or vice-versa,” Sarah demonstrates. Imagine you want to find out her 1st, 2nd, and 3rd favorite of the three; then imagine trying to decipher her ranked preferences with even more types of fruit. Only allowing two fruits to be compared at once, Sarah considered the question-asking process as a sorting algorithm using a “partially ordered set, or poset.” Ultimately, Sarah examined the question-asking processes required to learn an individual’s complete preferences.

Alumni Talk Elementary Education

The Alumni College focused on the subject of elementary education at Reunions ’16. Photo by Leah Nash

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer,” said Albert Camus.

For many alumni, Reunions week is a time to rediscover that invincibility as they gather to reminisce, recall their comrades in the quest, and take part in stimulating programs and activities.

Jim Kahan ’64 has long organized the Alumni College, which focuses on one topic in depth during the course of the reunion. This year’s focus was elementary education, attracting an array of professors, teachers, students, and parents.

Economics Grad Pursues Doctorate at Yale

THE WAYS OF FINANCE: Ahyan Panjwani ’16 won the Gerald M. Meier Award for Distinction in Economics

“Indeed, the Bard knew his macroeconomics well!” declares Ayhan Panjwani ’16, an economist with a predilection for Shakespeare and a winner of the Gerald M. Meier Award for Distinction in Economics. Ahyan will begin his doctoral studies in Economics at Yale this fall after receiving recognition for an exceptional senior thesis.

Referring to The Merchant of Venice while describing his research pursuits, Ahyan muses on the deal between Shylock and Antonio for “a pound of flesh and no blood,” highlighting that the character's concern lies within the collateral rather than the interest rate. Similarly, Ayhan will examine collateral and leverage as sources of systemic risk within the economy, moving beyond simply lowering interest rates during a financial crisis.

“Generally, my research interests lie in Macroeconomics with a bend towards finance,” he says. While at Reed, the mathematics-economics grad focused on finance in Brazil for his thesis. “The idea was to determine whether Brazil's current monetary policy is a feasible one given all their troubles in the past few years,” Ayhan details. Citing their failed efforts to maintain inflation, he proposed alternative policies for their economy. At Yale, Ayhan will continue to explore the ways of finance.

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