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Friday, February 19, 2016


Five-year plan wont fix the Oscars


Elephant Graveyard: a play to remember


Vandalism forces race to the forefront

Volume 129, Number 10



Interim class affords

firsthand experience

Left: Student interns for former Democratic candidate Martin OMalley made calls to New Hampshire voters alongside the Governor. Right: As part of their interim class
in New Hampshire, students attended class at St. Anselm College in Manchester. Pictured from left to right: Eden Faure 17, Rhea Rajan 18, former Maryland Governor
Martin OMalley, Emma Whitford 18, Rose Byrne 18, Lindsay Mattei 18, Lily Ansel 16, Eleanor Anderson 16 and Genevieve Akins 18.

By Aidan Zielski

Contributing Writer

very four years, presidential election season rolls back around,

bringing with it both political
chaos and excitement. Since 2004,
it has also brought about an Interim trip to
New Hampshire led by Professor of Political Science Dan Hofrenning.
This year, 20 St. Olaf students accompanied Hofrenning to Manchester, N.H. in order to live, breathe and sleep politics. They
worked on campaigns for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin OMalley and
Marco Rubio. According to Hofrenning,
the goal of the course is to combine the
academic study of the American process of
nominating presidents with the experience
of observing candidates and working in a
Phone calling, door knocking, volunteer recruitment, campaign rallies, stump
speeches and town hall meetings characterized the experiential aspect of the trip,
while morning class, blogging for the Star

Tribune, writing journals and reading textbooks characterized the academic side.
Why New Hampshire, one might ask?
The state holds an important position in
presidential primary elections because it
holds the first primary of the season and
thus can be a critical make or break moment for a campaign. Victories and losses
coming out of New Hampshire can shape
a campaigns momentum for the remainder
of the primary season.
For a long time, no one became President without first winning the New Hampshire primary, Hofrenning said in a blog
post for the Star Tribune.
Will Seabrook 16 describes New Hampshire voters as indecisive and proud.
They often would boast in your face
that they didnt have to tell me who they
were voting for and proceed to shut the
door in my face, Seabrook said.
He was not alone in that experience.
Rhea Rajan 18 worked long hours for Martin OMalleys campaign, going into the office at 10:30 a.m. every morning and work-

ing until 8 p.m., even on the weekends. She

recalls call time, which lasted for three
hours every night. In that time, the campaign staff would each make around 200
calls. With a 15 percent contact rate, Rajan
says it was a pretty inefficient method.
Despite the long hours and freezing cold
days knocking on doors, the students got
a lot out of the experience. Eden Faure 17
noted that she became more receptive to
other ideas by engaging with and critically
thinking about other candidates platforms
while working for the Bernie Sanders campaign. Seabrook commented on the people
he met in New Hampshire who have been
in this process for their whole life and are
not even bothered by the aspect that strangers will flock to their door ready to preach
to them about a certain candidate.
Everyone took different experiences out
of the process. Faure recalls her two favorite
moments of the trip, the first of which was
shaking Sanders hand. She was thrilled to
actually get to meet him and have him say
thank you for all youre doing. The second,

which she described as representing the

entire New Hampshire experience, was the
morning when she went to the hotel lobby
and heard Ted Cruzs voice. Thinking it was
coming from a television screen, she looked
around and locked eyes with Cruz himself.
This kind of incident wasnt unusual in the
day-to-day retail politics atmosphere of
New Hampshire, where the candidates were
constantly touring the state.
Rajan reminisced on the many Martin
OMalley stump speeches she heard during
her time in New Hampshire.
We were quoting what he would say before he said it, she said.
This program took political science students away from the theory they hear in
class and read in textbooks and plunged
them into the depths of the intense process of campaigning in New Hampshire.
In another four years, it will hopefully do
the same with another group of St. Olaf students.

Faculty votes to revise MCD requirement

Issues of power, privilege and inequality addressed in new intended learning outcomes

By Amy Mihelich
Managing Editor

On Thursday, Feb. 11, St. Olaf faculty

passed a resolution that will change the expectations for the Multicultural-Domestic,
or MCD, General Education (GE) requirement.
The new Intended Learning Outcomes,
or ILOs, call for students to gain not only
[familiarity with] cultural differences and
their contributions to a multicultural society, but also a clear understanding of
how these differences have been shaped by
power, privilege, and inequality. Students
will continue to learn about contrasting
cultures in the United States, but now they
will also consider how race and ethnicity
manifest themselves in U.S. institutions and
intersect with other forms of structured
inequality such as gender, religion, sexual
orientation, and social class.
Not only will students learn about these
topics, but they will also use concepts and
tools of inquiry from at least one discipline
to critically analyze race and ethnicity in
the United States and develop the ability to reflect critically on how race, ethnicity, power, privilege, and inequality shape
their own experiences and the experiences
of others. The complete list of ILOs can be
found online at
Discussions about changing the GE have
been going on for over two years. In October 2014 the Student Government Association (SGA) passed a resolution calling the
faculty to reconsider the MCD and MCG
(Multicultural-Global) GE requirements.
Specifically, the resolution requested curriculum revisions that would help students
better understand, communicate, and
interact with people from different backgrounds and experiences. Additionally, the
resolution suggested that the revised classes
should equip students to understand how
structural inequalities, power, and privilege
impact our everyday relationships and interactions.
The faculty formed an ad hoc commit-

tee to discuss the revision of the MCD. This

committee included two faculty members:
Associate Professor of English Jon Naito
and Assistant Professor of Sociology Ryan
Sheppard. Three students, Sam Adams 15,
Sasha Mandle 16 and Sophia Mickman
16, made up the rest of the committee. Together, the committee members conducted
research, talked to other faculty members
and drafted a new resolution to present to
the faculty.
Throughout the process the majority of
faculty who teach MCD courses have been
clearly in support of the measure, Naito
said. There were some questions about
how individual classes might fit within the
discussion of power, privilege and inequality, but once faculty learned more about it
they were largely on board.
After several drafts and revisions, they
presented the resolution at the faculty
meeting in December and held a vote on it
this week. After some discussion, the resolution passed with a majority vote.
The initiative and success of the resolution was heavily driven by students. Drawing on the original resolution passed by
SGA, the committee drafted a document
that addressed the concerns of the student
We felt we had to be true to the resolution. When we think about power, privilege and inequality we need to have a clear
sense of what we are talking about. We were
trying to create a clear and common purpose for MCD courses, Naito said.
SGA Curriculum Senator Andrew Parr
16 pointed out the importance and influence of student voices.
Frankly, the student body is the reason
this change happened at all. I am not sure
that many current students were fully aware
of how quickly this change happened, Parr
Sheppard expressed similar sentiments.
The students provided the initial impetus for the change, and they brought passion and creative ideas, Sheppard said.

Support from faculty was also crucial in

the drafting and revision process.
Jon [Naito]s leadership was crucial,
Sheppard said. Hes focused and collaborative, and hes gifted at listening to input and
objections and responding thoughtfully.
We ended up with a revised MCD that we
can embrace as a step forward for the college.
Many faculty members agree that these
changes will help students engage more
critically with class material. Associate

We felt we had to be
true to the resolution.
When we think about
power, privilege and
inequality we need to
have a clear sense of
what we are talking
about. We were trying
to create a clear and
common purpose for
MCD courses.
Professor Jon Naito
Professor of Political Science and Asian
Studies Katherine Tegtmeyer Pak explained
that the changes will lead to a more rigorous curriculum.
When we have a program that encourages people to study material in a broad
way, we need to make sure the way we go
about that is still rigorous, she said. We
have to find that sweet spot between appropriately broad and also having intellectual
rigor. This change is a nice move in that
Naito agrees that the revised curriculum
will encourage new ways of thinking.

The MCD is taking out a clearer position on our institutional values and is saying that studying cultures beyond the dominant culture is not merely a question of
thinking about these cultural differences in
a vacuum but recognizing these differences
these issues of power, he said.
The changes will take time to implement
and will not retroactively affect GE credit
for current students. Students who have
taken an MCD course need not worry.
I hope students understand that just
because courses bearing the MCD GE as
of Fall of 2016 will have to meet a new set
of requirements, this will not remove any
credit for MCD courses they have already
taken, Parr said. I think if students compare the old Intended Learning Outcomes
with the newer ones, they will find more
detail and conceptual connections in the
revised ILOs.
Sheppard is looking forward to the next
set of challenges.
We now move to the next phase of this
change, which is to provide support for faculty members as they adapt to the revised
MCD requirements materials, workshops, etc., Sheppard said. At this point,
its all about implementation.
The ad hoc committee will now begin
compiling resources to assist faculty in the
reimagining of old classes and the creation
of new ones. Workshops will be available
during the school year and the summer for
faculty to receive support during the curriculum transition process.
Over time, we hope this work alone will
change the conversation around race, ethnicity, sexuality and gender on campus so
that students wont think of these as things
they can study or not study as they choose,
Naito said. Rather, they will be able to
think of them as necessary to study as part
of a larger system as having a relationship
to present day life in the U.S. as well as in
the past.

page A7


February 19, 2016

Manitou Messenger

Vandalism prompts race discussion

By Owen Witte
Contributing Writer

A poster display put up by the

Cultural Union for Black Expression (C.U.B.E) was vandalized twice
on Monday, Jan. 18, Martin Luther
King Jr. Day. After the posters were
taken down once and re-hung, a student took them down again, this time
damaging the posters.
The vandalism caused a heated discussion among students and St. Olaf
community members, culminating
in an apology from the student who
vandalized the display. Dean of Students Rosalyn Easton-Neeb emailed
the anonymous apology to St. Olaf
students and staff on behalf of the
According to the email, the student misunderstood the posters,
which depicted white protesters
holding signs that said Stop the
Race Mixing and a defaced Black
Lives Matter slogan, to be attacks
on civil rights movements. In actuality, the display was intended to draw
connections between the racism that
has opposed civil rights movements
throughout history.
Much like the student involved,
Easton-Neeb feels that there is a larger racial issue on campus.
I felt sick to my stomach. My
initial thought was it was someone
who saw something commemorating [Martin Luther King Jr.] Day
and they felt they needed to pull
down the pictures, Eaton-Neeb said.
When I found out what the student
felt, I got it.
St. Olaf is continually trying to
find ways to become less racially
fragmented, with initiatives and organizations such as C.U.B.E. and
Sustained Dialogue, which address
different identity issues on campus.
St. Olaf prides itself in being a community of learning and growth, and
the display was intended to challenge



C.U.B.E. put up a poster display on MLK Day that intended to draw

connections between civil rights movements thourghout history. The
posters were misunderstood by a student and torn down.

This is reality, it happened in the
60s, and, yes, it happened in the 50s
and the 40s, but guess what? Its still
happening now, the pictures may
look a little different, but not very,
Eaton-Neeb said.
The intent of the student vandal
was widely misunderstood.
We are allowed to disagree here,
Eaton-Neeb responded, but being
destructive is not okay.
Ultimately, the response to the incident was positive. Email responses
to the students apology were kind
and understanding.
The student that tore down the
posters, who wishes to remain anonymous, reflected on the difficulties of
being a student of color at St. Olaf.
We arent surrounded by people
like us, the student said. We just
dont get the support we need.
For many students at St. Olaf, ra-

cial issues arent present in everyday

life. But for students of color, being
outnumbered almost 42 to 1 by their
white counterparts is intimidating.
It is not an integrated campus,
the student said, after listing many
statistics about the racial and ethnic
makeup of the St. Olaf student body.
Feeling outnumbered has only amplified the tensions students of color
The student remarked that there
are problems with St. Olaf s racial
People are intimidated, the student said. People are scared of us.
The student wished to issue the following statement. I am sorry for the
misunderstanding and my destructive actions. But I still feel that they
should not have been put up, no matter who put them up, no matter what

Senator Dahle on education

By Maddy McGuffin
Contributing Writer

A local drivers education teacher,

a Minnesota state senator, an Iowan:
Senator Kevin Dahle is many things. On
Tuesday, Feb. 9, Dahle, who represents
an area including most of Northfield
in the state senate, addressed students
in the Black Ballroom, speaking about
what happens behind the scenes of the
Minnesotan education system.
A teacher for upwards of 32 years,
Senator Dahle started off at a school
in Sebeka, Minn., where the principal
coincidentally had the same surname.
Dahle joked that it is how he got his first
job, as his boss wanted to have some
kind of lasting legacy.
In his talk, Dahle first addressed the
issue that a starting wage of $37,500 a
year, coupled with student loans, is not
attracting many young people to start
teaching in America. For this reason,
he hopes to enact various strategies to
encourage young teachers, such as loan
forgiveness, low interest loans and tax
incentives. Another major key to Dahles
strategy lies in abolishing the Minnesota
teachers licensing exam.
We need to draw people into the
state, not send them elsewhere, Dahle
said. We need to try to streamline testing.
He claimed that Minnesotas brutally
strict licensing exams are not always
necessarily applicable depending on
the type of teacher. For example, some-

one interested in teaching kindergarten

should not be required to know how to
do advanced calculus.
Abolishing the teachers licensing
exam in Minnesota would also encourage ethnic and socioeconomic diversity
of teachers within the state, which has
a primarily privileged, white and welleducated class of teachers. There are also
several obstacles in teaching at different
school districts. The complexities of the
process overall are discouraging to aspiring teachers, which Dahle claims is
the root of the teacher shortage that the
state is currently experiencing.
The replacement of No Child Left
Behind (NCLB) by the Every Student
Succeeds Act of 2015 also ties in deeply
with Dahles perspective on the antiquated education system in Minnesota.
The teachers licensing exam itself was
in fact born out of the NCLB, and the
recent replacement considered Dahles
critique. With this new program, there
will be increased flexibility within Minnesota as to who is qualified to teach.
The low federal government involvement in funding on a state level that
existed under the NCLB Act created
many unforeseen problems. As almost
all the funding for schools was supplied through the state system, the states
themselves were pitted against each other in competition for the best teachers.
While the goals of the NCLB Act were
admirable, Dahle agrees that its goals

were not applicable on a state-to-state

The father of a fourth-grade girl,
Dahle has fascinating opinions on the
topic of the gender division within the
Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Math (STEM) fields. The difficulty of
drawing young women to and retaining
them within the STEM realm is a major
issue at all levels of education. On a state
level getting women into the STEM field
is difficult, and Minnesota is no exception.
Dahles panel was highly educational
and chock full of riveting tidbits on the
current state of our local school system.
While he is closely linked with the community around Northfield High School
in his role as a teacher, his election to
state senate has forced him to take a national perspective.
If you go into teaching, I dont think
youll ever regret that. It builds an excellent foundation for the community and
the future, Dahle said.


Senator Kevin Dahle spoke to students in the Black Ballroom on Tuesday, Feb. 11 about the future of education in Minnesota and the nation.


By Danny Vojak
Contributing Writer

Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing Jennifer Kwon-Dobbs is well regarded not only by her students but
also by the literary community at large. Her educational background is a hybrid of literature and Asian American studies
as well as capital adoption history. Kwon Dobbs obtained her
Masters of Fine Arts degree in poetry from the University of
Pittsburgh, she earned her Masters and her Ph.D. in literature
from the University of Southern California.
Kwon-Dobbs is Program Director for the Race and Ethnic
Studies program at St. Olaf. She teaches an Asian American
literature class and an advanced poetry writing class, and she
collaborates with Professor Timothy Howe in teaching a class
titled The Soul of Stuff: Arts, Culture, and Ethics.
Kwon-Dobbs was born in Wonju, South Korea and grew up
in Oklahoma (the state which she claims has the best barbeque
in the world). She currently lives in St. Paul and remains active in the Twin Cities literary scene by holding a position on
the Board of Directors for Coffee House Press.
She has written a plethora of highly regarded anthologies,
essays, individual poems and other works. For example, her
lyrical essay titled Nothing to Declare appeared in Crazyhorse magazine. In addition, she has received the White Pine
Press Poetry Prize and the New England Poetry Clubs Sheila
Motton Book Award for Paper Pavilion. One of her works,
Notes From a Missing Person, can be viewed in its entirety
Kwon-Dobbs is working on a number of projects at the moment. She was recently invited to Vancouver to participate in
the Art Song Lab, a program that pairs poets with composers.
The song resulting from the program will debut at a music festival this summer. She is also working on a poem for a dance
project with Professor Janice Haws Roberts.
One of her largest undertakings is her work on her second
book, Three Legged Bird. The book focuses on different ways
to imagine Korean reunification. While writing the book, she
has drawn upon the history of the Korean diaspora, the Koryo
dynasty, cosmology and the Samjoko (the three legged crow)
for inspiration.
Outside of the classroom, Kwon-Dobbs loves cooking and
considers herself a foodie. When she travels, she inevitably
ends up bringing back suitcases full of food, such as ham and
red pepper.
Kwon-Dobbs loves the learning possibilities that a classroom environment presents. She appreciates that the classroom is one of few places where one can test out new ideas
and concepts creatively and critically. She finds teaching to be
a real gift and an opportunity to explore alongside students.
She explains that she is really happy here at St. Olaf, and she
has found that folks here really care about their work and
that both the students and classes at St. Olaf are so distinctive. Upon returning from speaking at other academic institutions, Kwon-Dobbs always remembers how striking it is
that the students at St. Olaf are unique in their commitment to
learning and seeking to truly understand material.