THE VASSAR

CHRONICLE
Vol. XXVII, Issue 3

March 8, 2016

Commonweal Magazine

‘Berning’ and The Dangers of Boundless Political Optimism
J.D. Nichols ’17, pg. 6

pg. 4
pg. 11

Kate Hennessy ’16, on Midwifery and
the Modern American Medical Field
The Failure of the War on Drugs
and a Way Forward, by Sam Lehn ’18

March 8, 2016

Pages 8-9: Office Hours

Pres Candidates’ Foreign
Policy with Prof. Brigham

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HigherEdJobs.com

Partial job listing for the position of Dean of Students at Vassar

Student Input a Must in Admin Hirings
Letter from the Editor

D

ean of Students D.B. Brown is
retiring. Vice President for Finance
and Administration Bob Walton
is retiring. Director of the LGBTQ and
Women’s Centers Judy Jarvis retired at the
end of last semester. While we think about
the presidential election, it is important for
us here at Vassar to remember that there
are much closer vacancies of power to be
our lives and those of the class years to
come. I have heard a tremendous amount
of talk about the presidential election
(an election which the 2,400 students at
,
at all about the ways in which we Vassar
students are going to demand the hiring
of administrators who will shape campus
students and other members of the Vassar
community.
I understand that administrative hirings
at a small liberal arts college in midstate New York are considerably less
exciting than the presidential race that
monopolizes all forms of media from CNN
to “Bernie Sanders’ Dank Meme Stash”
on Facebook. And I don’t mean to deny
its importance: the president has a great
deal of real power both domestically and
in the sphere of America’s foreign policy,
and I don’t believe the election should be
ignored. But at the same time, Vassar’s
Dean of Students and VP for Finance
and Administration have a great deal of
campus power, and their power is more

directly felt by students than POTUS’s is
by most individual American citizens.
As has been seen by many students even
just over the few years I’ve been here at
Vassar, the Dean of Students in particular
has an incredible amount of power over
individual students’ lives. From informing
the semester starts that they would not
be allowed to come back to campus that
semester to the involuntary removal of
,
has no check to its ability to protect the
college’s liability by further endangering
students who are going through crisis
and trouble. We need to push for a Dean
of Students who addresses the needs
students have. We need a Dean who will
seek to prevent student harm, self-harm,
and suicide, not simply ensure that they
liable.
These are, of course, not democratically
elected positions, and even getting “good”
people into these positions will not
suddenly cure all of Vassar’s ills. Students
will have to continue to push for the
prioritization of student life at Vassar over
the College’s image to the outside world.
We and our successors here will need to
continue demanding that the particular
needs of black students, students of
color, queer students, transgender
students, mentally ill students, poor
students, and the struggles particular to
the many intersections of those identities

www.facebook.com/TheVassarChronicle

2

are considered and addressed. As with
national politics, pushing for better people
in these administrative positions will
not eliminate the need for communitylevel organizing and support structures:
that need will always be present. What
student activism and participation in the
selection process will do, however, is push
the selection committees towards a more
thorough understanding of the qualities
that Vassar needs in those positions. It
will not solve all of the ills that plague
Vassar, but it might reduce the burden and
strain of collegiate existence on those in
our community who already must reckon
with so much in their everyday lives. A
new Dean of Students might preside over
a kinder era at Vassar, where students are
cared about for more than their perceived
liability to the College. A new VP for
Finance and Administration might oversee
budgets that prioritize residential life
and support structures for marginalized
students. These are things we must keep
in mind as Vassar’s administrators retire.

Editor-in-Chief
J. D. Nichols

Business Manager
Joshua Sherman

Editors
Maggie Donolo
Spencer Virtue
Sam Lehn
Copy & Style Editor
Macall McQueen
Copy & Style Assistants
Abigail Buhrman
Madeline Lansbury
Rebecca Weir
Production Assistant
Cece Bobbitt

Advertising Policy: All advertisements
will be clearly demarcated as such.
Contact chronicle@vassar.edu for rates.
All material is subject to the discretion of
the Editorial Boards.
Nota bene: The opinions published in
The Vassar Chronicle do not necessarily
represent those of the editors.

@VassarChronicle

www.vassarchronicle.com

March 8, 2016

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A Statement by the Editor-in-Chief on the
Threat by the Administration and Board of Trustees
To
Remove
Funding
from
the
VSA

A

s students at Vassar College, we are told to think, to
grow, to learn. We are taught to exert ourselves as moral
agents: this much is demonstrated both by the myriad of
courses and departments in which professors bring to light the
struggles of the historically and currently marginalized and by the
the many incredibly valid critiques about the school’s motivation
encouraging students to pursue knowledge and a sense of justice
,
Social Justice academic requirement has been an ever-present topic
at the College throughout the entirety of our time here, and has been
delayed on logistical and not ideological grounds. Vassar claims,
therefore, to value an engaged community and student body who
inform themselves and use that information to pursue what they
view as right.
In recent days, however, it has become evident that the emphasis
on students’ living informed and active public lives carries with it a
just thing to do, provided that it is also the same thing which the
Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, the President, and the Dean
of the College think is the just thing to do. Any view which is out of
line with their ideologies is apparently inherently morally corrupt
and worthy of the strongest retribution which any of their positions
is empowered to rain down on those beneath them.
On February 24th, the Vassar Student Association Executive
Board was informed, by the Dean of the College, of the weight of
over actions which the VSA was about to consider. A resolution and
amendment to the VSA Bylaws had been presented to Council by the
student organizations Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish
Voices for Peace. The resolution called for the VSA to align itself
with the BDS movement, a trans-national Palestinian liberation
movement named after the core tenets of its plan: to boycott Israeli
companies, divest from Israeli organizations and institutions, and

the injustices experienced by Palestinians at the hands of Israeli
state and state-sanctioned violence. Council had been aware of the
impending proposal all academic year, and had been engaging in
,
on the parties involved, and on the various movements related to
it. It did all this in order to honor the guiding principles to which
Council bound itself at the beginning of the year: in short, that it
would actively seek to be an anti-oppressive body in all ways. The
two pieces of Council legislation, which were formally proposed on
February 28th,
ideologically aligned the VSA with the BDS movement and called
for the College as a whole to take a similar stance, the amendment
laid out various manufacturers whose products would be prohibited
from purchase with VSA money. Days before the VSA Council was to
vote, the administration made it clear that the wholesale defunding
of the VSA would be a likely result if Council passed the amendment.
This piece is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of
the BDS movement or the SJP/JVP resolution and amendment
in alignment with it. This transcends opinions of whether or not
the BDS movement is something with which Vassar should be
aligned. This has developed into a spectacle in which the Vassar
administration and Board of Trustees have blatantly demonstrated
would permit those unfortunates under their collective thumb to

March 8, 2016

deviate from what they have decided students’ moral compasses
should be.
The VSA provides almost the entirety of student programming
and community at Vassar. Campus events are almost completely
student-run, and are funded entirely by money from the VSA. Clubs
and student organizations provide a sense of community and, in
some cases, become vital support structures for students. Funding
disbursed to the campus organizations associated with the LGBTQ,
,
,
virtually nonexistent and they would be near powerless if it were
not for collaborations with student organizations. Defunding the
VSA would mean the collapse of the identity-based support spaces
on campus. Put simply, student life would cease to exist in any
meaningful way should the President and the Board defund the
VSA. It is concerning to me that those making these threats either
do not understand or do not care about these considerations, and I
worry about the motivation.
The President of Vassar has the power, as per the College’s shared
,
use of College money. The amendment in question certainly falls
within that category. A veto of the amendment would solve all of
the problems which the administration and Board claim to have
with it. However, instead of simply promising to veto, the President
and Board have threatened more extensive actions: actions which
would disrupt and destroy student life on campus. It seems to me,
therefore, that the administrative action is not simply a prevention
of the moral and legal problems which it claims to see. It is instead
a vindictive assertion of power over students who are acting
according to the dictates of their consciences. Whenever an entity,
empowered to simply veto something of concern, chooses instead to
seek out ways to destroy those with whom it disagrees, that entity
is no longer acting to address concerns: it is acting to reestablish
a position of complete and unquestioned moral supremacy. The
,
however, in threatening to instruct the Treasury to freeze all
Congressional budgets should a particular bill be passed. While
Vassar’s administration would certainly be quick to point out that it
has not stated unequivocally that a complete defunding of the VSA
,
fact that defunding is still mentioned as a possibility indicates that
the conditionally forthcoming administrative action carries more
than just a passing note of vengeance.
Vassar College, on the surface, encourages its students to think
and study deeply: to not simply accept prepackaged views wholesale
and uncritically. Lucy Maynard Salmon’s line “go to the source” is
a common slogan in both the Department of History and across
campus. I regret that Vassar has established the Board of Trustees
morality and ethical thought must be drawn. It is an insult to every

cannot consistently claim to develop deep thinkers and proponents

President and Board have decreed ex cathedra. I do not recognize
the President or Chairman of the Board as the moral arbiters of
students, and strongly object to their threat to dismantle student
life at Vassar should students presume to think for themselves.

3

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Resurgence
Kate Hennessy
Contributor

Author’s Note: While I acknowledge
that not only cis-women get pregnant,
in this article I will use the language
of pregnant women and mothers, as
cis-women’s health was at the core
of the literature I used for my thesis
[which the article is adapted from]. By
no means do I intend to represent the
experiences of all pregnant people.

B

oth midwives and obstetricians
care for pregnant and laboring
women, but the fields of
midwifery and obstetrics approach
the care of expectant mothers in
significantly distinct ways. Midwifery
emphasizes the normalcy of pregnancy,
spotlighting the importance of the
woman’s birthing experience, while
obstetrics focuses on the potential
problems and difficulties of pregnancy
and labor, underscoring the concern for
the safety of the fetus. These differences
do not signify a midwife’s disregard
for safety, nor an obstetrician’s apathy
toward a mother’s experience; rather,
they convey the distinct focal points
in the contrasting models of childbirth
under which each field practices: the
social model, practiced by midwives,
and the medical model, practiced by
obstetricians.
These models embody the difference
in care administered by a midwife and
by an obstetrician in a manner that
reflects the historical origins of each
field. Midwifery arose from the social
support women have traditionally given
to one another during childbirth. The
genesis of midwifery resulted from

of

a ar hr
Midwifery

women assisting friends and family
during childbirth. These informal social
beginnings of midwifery are indicated in
the very meaning of the word midwife,
which in Middle English means “with
mother.”
In
contrast,
obstetrics
developed from the rise of modern
anatomical research, surgery, and
birthing technologies. These distinctive
origins reflect the resulting divergent
ideologies and conceptual practices of
midwifery and obstetrics.
Although midwifery was historically
occupied by women and the only field
responsible for uncomplicated normal
pregnancies, by the eighteenth century,
men began infiltrating the midwifery
sphere in the United States and attending
uncomplicated births. Up to that point,
men only became involved in childbirth
as male physicians when complications
arose and surgical intervention was
needed to save the life of the mother or
baby. The inclusion of men in the field
of midwifery manifested in the creation
and gradual domination of obstetrics,
as well as the subsequent subordination
of midwifery in the United States. At
the start of the 20th century, midwives
attended approximately 50 percent of
all births in the United States, and by
1930, that number dropped to less than
one percent.
This upward trend in the use of
obstetricians in the United States
has been coupled with an overuse of
birthing technologies and the overall
medicalization of childbirth. Although
only 17 percent of U.S. births are highrisk pregnancies, and obstetricians
are specialists trained for high-risk
deliveries, obstetricians attend over
90 percent of U.S. births. This lies in
deep contrast to Europe’s model, in

New York State Association of Licensed Midwives

New York State Senator Kemp Hannon, Chair of the Senate Health Committee, was recognized in
2015 for his dedication and support of midwifery.

in

c
the

United

which midwives attend over 80 percent
of births. Under the current childbirth
model dominated by obstetricians
in the United States, there has been
an increase in the use of cesarean
sections, drugs, and other technological
interventions in childbirth. This overuse
of obstetricians, and consequently
that of obstetrics technologies, has
contributed to the rising costs for U.S.
hospitalization related to pregnancy and
childbirth, which amount to $86 billion
a year. Despite the fact that these costs

“In 1975, midwives attended
less than one percent of
births; by 2013, however,
midwives attended
approximately nine percent
of all U.S. births. Certified
Nurse-Midwives (CNM)
account for approximately
95 percent of midwives
in the United States. A
CNM is a registered nurse
(RN) who has a master’s
degree in midwifery and
certification, according
to the requirements of
the American Midwifery
Certification Board
(AMCB), through a
certification exam.”

are the highest medical costs out of all
areas of medicine in the United States,
according to Amnesty International,
U.S. women have a greater risk of dying
of pregnancy-related complications
than women in 40 other countries.
Although a large portion of the
literature that explores the state of
childbirth today spotlights the historical
role that obstetrics had in minimizing
the midwife’s role in U.S. childbirth, in
order to obtain a full picture of the factors
that shaped the history of maternity
in the United States, it is critical to
examine how women’s expectations of
birth have impacted birthing practices
over the course of history. During the
early 20th century, as the obstetrics
field continued to expand, women
began to call for obstetricians as their
birth-attendants, because they wanted
the analgesic drugs, or pain relievers,
that were administered by obstetricians
and promised to greatly reduce the pain
of childbirth. The expectation of a less
painful labor resulted in the movement
of pregnant and parturient women from
drug-free home births with a midwife to
hospitals with obstetricians and medical

States

interventions. Therefore, the success of
hospitals came, in great part, as a result
of the desire of women.
The hospital, however, began to be seen
as an unnerving and strict environment.
Some women recounted stories in which
they had their wrists, legs, or shoulders
strapped to the table or to stirrups
because the hospital was worried about
the mother contaminating the “sterile
field.” Additionally, women began
rejecting the aggressive use of analgesic
drug combinations that they had once
called upon to obliterate memories of
pain during labor, as their reduction
in pain evolved into a feeling of loss
of control and agency. Horror stories
such as these, in conjunction with the
feminist, homebirth, and natural birth
movements around the 1960s and 1970s,
led to many women wanting to escape the
literal binds of birth in a hospital. These
women-centered movements resulted in
the creation of birth centers, the role of
,
notably, the revival of midwifery.
In 1975, midwives attended less than
one percent of births; by 2013, however,
midwives attended approximately nine
percent of all U.S. births. Certified
M
M
approximately 95 percent of midwives in
the United States. A CNM is a registered
midwifery and certification, according
to the requirements of the American
M
M
,
through a certification exam. As CNMs
make up a majority of the midwifery
profession, only five percent of midwives
are other types of midwives, with various
training levels. The principal difference
between CNMs and other midwives,
besides the variations in training, is that
CNMs practice in hospitals and birth
centers, while other types of midwives
attend home births.
This increase in the use of CNMs has
raised many questions about the values
upheld by the CNM and their role in
childbirth. These questions have arisen
because the CNM represents the carrier
of obstetrical knowledge as a nurse and
midwifery knowledge as a midwife.
In order to explore the position of the
CNM, it is crucial to investigate its role
in both the obstetrics and midwifery
spheres.
CNMs are required to have state
mandated practice agreements with
obstetricians to approve and review the
practice of the CNM. These mandates
are in place to ensure that CNMs
have obstetrics backup for obstetrical
emergencies; they affect the autonomy of
the CNM, however, because the practice
agreements give obstetricians the ability
Continued on Page 5

4

March 8, 2016

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M

c
M

,

Continued from Page 4

to limit CNMs’ access to the healthcare
market. Since there has been an increase
in the cost of malpractice insurance
premiums nationwide, and having a
practice agreement with a CNM results
in even higher insurance premiums for
obstetricians, many obstetricians are
hesitant to take on this extra financial
burden and liability. These mandatory
agreements can greatly limit the number
of practicing CNMs, therefore making
birth-attendant costs uncompetitive
and access to childbirth care limited.
Another dimension of the CNM
to explore is its position within
collaborative hospital models. These
models
consist
of
obstetricians,
obstetrics residents, and CNMs working
together in a practice or working closely
across separate practices. These models
have been shown to make communication
easier between obstetricians and CNMs,
making transfer of care seamless in cases
of obstetrical emergencies. In addition,
these collaborative models augment
the possibility of a CNM attending lowrisk pregnancies, as a CNM’s position

in an established relationship with an
obstetrician, who is seen as the default
birth-attendant in the United States,
makes the option of midwifery care
more visible to the expectant mother.
As mentioned earlier, the field of
midwifery is fragmented into multiple
positions with varying certifications.
One type of midwife is the DirectM
M
M
typically trained as midwives through
an apprenticeship with a midwife for a
number of years. DEMs are paid in cash,
as they are not covered by insurance in
most states, to attend home births. These
varying certifications in the midwifery
field, as demonstrated by the difference
in the CNM and DEM, have created
divisions between the more formally
educated and less formally educated
midwives. DEMs see apprenticeship
training as a confirmation of the
midwives commitment to embodied
experiential learning and a trust in
women and in birth. Many DEMs
believe that professionalizing the field
of midwifery would mean recognizing

a knowledge system based on women’s
experiential and embodied knowledge;
however, they believe the field of
obstetrics, under which CNMs function,
does not appreciate this knowledge,
and therefore, many DEMs believe the
knowledge of midwifery is lost in the
professionalization of CNMs.
Although the concerns raised by
DEMs are crucial in our investigation
of childbirth, I believe they highlight a
systemic problem within the structures
of our medical system as opposed to a
problem singular to the CNM. This is to
say that the continued medicalization
of childbirth cannot be reduced to a
problem with the ideological approach
of the obstetrics model nor of the CNM’s
position in a hospital. Rather, the
issue is with the larger organizational
structures and the constraints put in
place to avoid malpractice claims. CNMs
do not attend homebirths because they
are not covered under insurance due to
malpractice insurance regulations; it is
not because they do not support home
birthing. In addition, the skyrocketing

rates of medical interventions in birth
cannot be reduced to the misapplication
of the obstetrics interventionist model,
but rather in large part can be attributed
to hospital administrators’ fear of
malpractice litigation that is imposed on
the obstetrics practice.
The CNM maintains an opportune
position to influence the practice of
childbirth and infuse midwifery’s
ethical and ideological frameworks in
hospital birthing practices. The CNM
may not present an immediate solution
to the high maternal mortality rates and
the high usage of obstetrics technology
and procedures. However, the values
of nurse-midwifery put a spotlight on
these issues in childbirth within the
facilities in which obstetrics is practiced.
Although working in a hospital sacrifices
some of the values of midwifery, such as
attending homebirths, this remains to
be an issue of the system in which all
medical professionals exist regardless of
whether they practice under the social
or medical model of childbirth.

Vassar Trustees, Admins Conflate Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism
Zack Struver
Former Editor-in-Chief

R

eading recent reports of “antiSemitism” at Vassar — with
sensationalized
headlines
like
“Majoring in Anti-Semitism at Vassar” and
“Hatred on the Hudson” — one would expect
every classroom, Schweineschnitzel und
Rotkohl und Spätzle daily specials at the
Retreat, and an active branch of the Hitler
,
walking in goose step and shouting “Sieg
Heil!” on the residential quad.
acclaimed scholar Jasbir Puar, who made
unsubstantiated claims about the actions
of the Israeli government; the outcry over
“anti-Semitism” is a cover for alumnae/i
to pressure Vassar’s administration to
condemn and censor any anti-Zionist voices
on campus.
201 ,
I’m not going to pretend that Vassar is the
Promised Land for Zionist Jews. There is
something to the accusation that some
Jewish Vassar students feel uncomfortable
when they are confronted with the fact that
Bibi Netanyahu would rather have Israel be
the land of blood and bombs than the land
of milk and honey. But, the interpretation
of “anti-Semitism” that some in the Vassar
community have chosen to adopt and use

March 8, 2016

as a tool of censorship is so broad as to
,
opponents of trigger warnings are so fond
of saying, “College is supposed to — their
italics, not mine — college is supposed to
,
Uncomfortable.”
They are indeed correct — College is
supposed to make you Feel Uncomfortable —
but they’ve got the wrong audience. Victims
of sexual assault and domestic violence, those
who have struggled with serious psychiatric
disorders and addictions, and people who
have dealt with racism, sexism, and other
forms of discrimination and oppression do
not need to be made more uncomfortable.
On the other hand, white, privileged Jewish
students at Vassar — people like me —
from Westchester and Long Island and
LA should be made to feel uncomfortable
about the policies and practices of the Israeli
government.
To suggest that we can never criticize
Israel because Zionism is Semitism is to use
the serious accusation of “anti-Semitism”
as “a weapon to silence political thought,”
according to Mira Sucharov, a political
science professor at Carleton University. In
an op-ed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz,
Sucharov rightly argued that not all criticisms
of Israel are motivated by anti-Semitism.
She wrote that “consideration of divestment
from weapons companies is not antiSemitism. Criticism of Israeli policy is not
anti-Semitism. Criticism of the occupation

is not anti-Semitism. Criticism of violence
— whether it is state-sponsored violence or
violence carried out by individuals or groups
— is not anti-Semitism.”
Indeed, even members of the Israeli
Knesset have criticized Israeli policy towards
Palestinians. In an interview with Haaretz,
Zahava Gal-on, leader of the Israeli Meretz
Party and a Member of the Knesset, argued
that the current situation in Israel is akin to
apartheid:
In the territories there are two
systems of law: one for the superior
race, which is comprised of the
religious Jews, and one for all
,
,
foreigners, journalists and anyone
else who dares to butt in. The
army has become the servant
of the settlers and authorizes
every despicable action, be it the
building of illegal outposts on
stolen land, the beating and abuse
of Palestinians, blocking access to
and destroying farmland, drying
up water sources, and any other
unlawful action you can think of.
And it’s clear that what the settlers
are doing to the Palestinians in the
territories they would love to do to
the secular public inside the Green
Line. The ideology of being the
masters isn’t applied to the Arabs
alone, but to anyone who is not a
part of the pure religious messianic

race.
And yet, the WASPy Vassar administration
and Board of Trustees have decided that
they are the arbiters of “anti-Semitism.”
Just under two weeks ago, Cappy told a
conference call of alumnae/i and parents
Last week, Cappy threatened to take control
of the Vassar Student Association budget if
Constitution to institutionalize BDS.
Cappy: your willingness to censor students
and censure speakers shows that you value
the ideologies of wealthy alumnae/i donors
,
,
academic freedom of current Vassar students.
Those alumnae/i and their powerful allies
they admittedly do not understand, as is
evident by the willfully ignorant editorial in
a recent edition of the New York Daily News,
which called Puar a “raving crackpot” who
relied on “impenetrable language as faux
intellectualism.”
According to the faculty union at Rutgers,
Professor Puar is being threatened with rape
and murder on social media, and that is
far worse than whatever she may have said
about the Israeli government.
This shit needs to end right now: Cappy
needs to apologize to the student body,
students need to stop yelling past each other,
and the Vassar community needs to begin to
seriously reevaluate its priorities.

5

The Vassar Chronicle
Sen. Sanders' "Political Revolution" Needs Rethinking
J.D. Nichols
Editor-in-Chief

I

f one were to believe the hype that
has swept among the vast majority
of millennial college students, they
would view Senator Bernie Sanders as
almost a sort of demigod. His political
prowess is, in the popular conception,
matched only by his understanding of
what is truly wrong with America and
his ability to connect with (and speak
for) people whose experiences he doesn’t
even come close to sharing. Doubts about
his electability are increasingly being
silenced as he draws larger and larger
crowds, and his primary showings are
strong. In addition, concerns about his
ability to get anything done as president
are often either simply dismissed as being
completely unfounded (“his very election
would be a sign to Congress that the
American people want what he offers!”)
or answered by vague notions of a
“political revolution” that has apparently
either happened or will happen with his
election. I think it would be appropriate
here to quote Kate McKinnon’s SNL
Hillary Clinton: “Allow me to pop an ice
cube in that scalding hot soup [Sanders]
just served you.”
It is true that, of presidential candidates,
Sanders does come the closest to my
political positions. However, I am
worried by several aspects of both his
campaign and his following (and, through
that, his following’s culture). Simply put,
I think the message that Senator Sanders
promotes encourages his followers to
disregard the realities of the American
political system in favor of a somewhat
romantic belief that a good, wellintentioned president can overcome any
barrier to fixing pretty much everything.
And I believe this message is setting the
Democratic Party up — and through it
the presence of liberal, progressive, and
otherwise left-of-center elected officials
in the federal government — for great
future failure.
It is perhaps redundant to point out that
in the American “checks and balances”
system of government, Congress acts
as a check on the president’s ability to
act with impunity. Therefore, I think
that the assumption on the part of some
that Congress would simply bow to the
legislative will of a hypothetical President
Sanders is quite out of the question. A
Bern-feeler might counter this by saying
that Senator Sanders’s election would
bring with it a revolution in the House and
Senate: establishment shills who care only
about personal power would be replaced
by honest representatives of the people,
big money would forever be banished
from the marble halls of the District, and

6

American politics would begin to more
resemble The West Wing than House of
Cards. It is here that I would invoke the
much-disdained word “feasibility,” but
not in a way that dichotomizes Secretary
Clinton and Senator Sanders as opposite
sides of a spectrum, as is often done,
with Clinton being labeled “practical”
and Sanders “impractical.” Instead, I
would invoke it in such a way as to point
out that political revolutions do not just
happen, and they do not happen in a
legislature simply by electing a particular
executive. The unstated attitude which I
have often felt in Bern-feeling rhetoric
is that, by focusing so hard on getting
Senator Sanders elected, individuals
could justify not caring so much about
Congress because it would just naturally
come around.
A Congressional revolution cannot occur
if there are no Congressional candidates
who challenge the status quo. From a
realistic standpoint, these candidates
would have to go through the primary;
the only non-incumbent member of
the U.S. House of Representatives to
be elected on a third party ticket for 45
years was Bernie Sanders himself. The
Senate has seen more members who are
neither Democrats nor Republicans, but
Senate races have become increasingly
more expensive and thus dependent on
support from the established parties.
Any potential Congressional candidates
would furthermore have to go through
the Democratic primary, as there is
absolutely no chance that a Sanders-style
candidate would get a significant portion
of any Republican vote.
Where are these candidates? Who is
the candidate running in your district
or state who will boldly follow Sanders’s
lead? If Bern-feelers can’t answer or come
up with any, then that spells trouble for
them, for the simple reason that the filing
deadlines for Congressional primaries
are coming up fast. Many have already
passed. Six of them were last year: a list
which includes the crucial states Ohio and
Texas. Without primary challengers to
every moderate Democrat and candidates
ready to challenge every incumbent
Republican, the political revolution
which is invoked ad nauseam has no
chance of coming to fruition. By focusing
so much on Senator Sanders’s spot on the
ticket, his followers are taking the easy
way forward and refusing to engage with
the frankly much more involved — and
just as important — ground game of more
local politics. While Sanders preaches a
message which is certainly motivating,
on another level it is incredibly pacifying:
it convinces his followers that they need
not engage with their districts’ and states’
Congressional politics in any meaningful
way because he will single-handedly take

care of everything. What he doesn’t do
himself will simply happen organically.
Senator Sanders is somewhat of an allor-nothing candidate. If he were elected
president with a friendly Congressional
majority, I believe many of the policies
he would craft would be wonderful and
beneficial. However, if he becomes the
nominee and loses the general election —
or even if he wins the general election but
faces an unfriendly Congress — he spells
trouble for the Democratic Party and for
progressivism.
Parties who nominate an “extreme”
candidate who ultimately loses inevitably
run hard to the center in ensuing
elections. If Senator Sanders wins the
nomination and loses the general, the
2020 Democratic nominee will be to the
right of Secretary Clinton. His loss would
reinforce the narrative that nobody
outside the political mainstream will
be able to win the presidency. While
a moderate would be able to just run
again four years later, somebody who
deviates this far from the Democratic
norm would not have that same chance.
His performance in the general election
would be viewed by the party as a
nationwide referendum on his views. If
the public disapproves of his views, the
party will in four years gravitate toward
somebody who is more in line with the
majority of Americans.

“Without primary
challengers to every
moderate Democrat
and candidates ready
to challenge every
incumbent Republican,
the political revolution
which is invoked ad
nauseam has no chance of
coming to fruition.”
If Senator Sanders wins the primary
and goes on to win the general election,
the scenario actually gets even worse.
Because of the reasons outlined above,
he will get absolutely nothing done. The
Republican Party will adapt the vitriol
and hatred which have been simmering
for 8 years and focus it on him. They
will use his self-proclaimed label of
“Socialist” to justify opposing every
measure he supports, and their base will
applaud them for it. Consequently, his
first two years will be an abysmal failure.
Because of the tendency of Democrats
to not show up to midterm elections
and because of public disillusionment
with him, the Republicans will win an
even greater majority in both houses of
Congress. He will take the blame for the

economic failures which will inevitably
come as a result of the gridlock, and all
of the independents and centrists on
whom he relied to get elected will look for
somebody else to succeed where Sanders
failed. And there will be somebody waiting
in the wings, ready to welcome them into
his camp: somebody who can disentangle
themself and the Republican Party from
the aspects of the “Culture War” which
have been already decided (namely samesex marriage) and bring the focus back
on strict fiscal responsibility. And that
person is Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
Senator Portman is uniquely positioned
to beat a failed incumbent President
Sanders because of the combination of
his Tea Party views and his popularity
due to his sincerely held belief in samesex marriage, fostered by the influence
of his gay son. He conveniently “came
around” on the one issue which is
suddenly, more than any other issue,
marking GOP candidates and the GOP
as a whole as being “stuck in the past”
by younger voters, and he did so before
it was politically expedient. Nobody
can dispute the sincerity of his belief.
He would be elected and be able to
get more done than President Sanders
(partially because anybody, even a
randomly selected Vassar womp-womp,
would be able to get more done than
President Sanders facing down a hostile
Republican Congress), and would win a
second term in a landslide, increasing
the Republican majority of Congress in
every election. True, they might be more
socially progressive Republicans in some
ways, but they would still be married to
the economic and foreign policies that
have exploited and devastated so many
groups in the United States and abroad.
President Sanders’s lasting legacy, in the
eyes of the vast majority of the American
public, would be to show America that
Socialism doesn’t work.
While I disagree with Senator Sanders
on many things, I recognize that his
political views are the closest of any
candidate’s to mine, and to those of many
others as well. It is important, however,
to remember that good things will not just
happen if we elect a president with good
politics. This is not an appeal to give up on
“Feeling the Bern” so much as it is a plea
to remember the depth of work needed
to make the American political system
any less unjust, and not to let Sanders’s
aura of impending revolution distract us
from all of the work that needs to be done
on a local and state level regardless of
whether or not he is elected. It is easy to
get involved in the highest level of politics
and assume that everything beneath it
will just sort itself out. It is not, however,
a good way to move forward.

March 8, 2016

The Vassar Chronicle
On Solidarity: A Rainbow of Footprints Dimly Shines on My Back
Matt Ford
Contributor

L

ast semester, a handful of ALANA
Center interns organized a campus
action in support of “Black
Students and other Students of Color
at Mizzou,” adopting the language of a
status circulating Facebook. In response,
I posted a status challenging non-Black
readers to be honest about their antiBlackness and to explicitly say “Black
students” rather than “Black students
and other Students of Color” when we’re
talking about Black people.
The next morning, I prepared to attend
the action, an occupation of Main Lobby,
by making posters with a friend group
that consisted of one white person and
several NBPOC (non-Black People of
Color). I posted another status urging
as many students as possible, especially
non-Black Students of Color, to attend
the sit-in, expressing that non-Black
people need to see themselves collectively
and visibly in order to efficiently resist
anti-Blackness, particularly in the age of
#AllLivesMatter.
Most
non-Black
groups
were
underrepresented in the Lobby but one
racial group in particular has been the
center of many recent conversations
about interracial solidarity — Asians/
Asian-Americans,
particularly
East
Asians as the Asian identity, contrary
to what white supremacy tells us, is
not monolithic. Some Asian-American
friends could not attend because it
would have been too emotionally taxing
an event, which I respect and support
because said friends publicly fight antiBlackness at other times. Three AsianAmerican friends with whom I made
posters repeatedly asked me whether
they should occupy space at the sit-in
given that they are not Black, to which
I replied, again, that it collective, visible
interracial solidarity is important.
Thinking back to that day, there are
many things that could have been done
differently — how to properly center
Black students in the space, where to
place white people and NBPOC, whether
Cappy and other administrators should
be allowed to occupy space. But I recall
this day several months later not to
say, “Woe is me, I’m so oppressed”: I
want to uphold institutional memory

and document what was happening on
campus during the time of Mizzou and to
open up a conversation on Black student
solidarity in this momentous time of
political action across U.S. campuses.
On Monday, Feb. 8, I read the students’
letter to the VSA with glee until a Black
friend reminded me immediately after
reading the email that this was yet
another instance in which NBPOC are
heard and the concerns raised by Black
students, “oversensitive” by nature, are
routinely ignored. I have internalized
anti-Blackness to the extent that I
sometimes forget my silence. The next
day, I posted a status critiquing the swift
action to support Asian/Asian-American
students’ complaints about the name of
the new space (or what one friend calls
“The Void”), writing that I am onboard
with the name change but am critical of
the lack of support that Black students
receive from Asian/Asian-American
students and of “Asian” as a false
umbrella term that consciously excludes
South and Southeast Asian peoples.

“In a country whose soul
rests in the construction of
race and whose primary
source of nourishment
is anti-Blackness, and
at a school whose spirit
oftentimes proves to be
adversarial to interidentity understanding
and collaboration, we must
recognize that we inherit
white supremacy and that
decolonial work does not
happen overnight.”

Some Asian-American friends have
been verbally antagonized and silenced
on Facebook because they called out
their peers who have not in any way
publicly shown solidarity with Black
students on campus. Anti-Blackness is
insipid, so ugly as to turn us against one
another and leave us hanging out to dry
in the cotton field, the bones of our backs
brittle from the generations of NBPOC
using our bodies as bridges to their own
liberation. And when conscious, humble
attempts to do decolonial work are made,

those collaborators are told that they are
not standing on the correct side of the
movement.
Following
the
second-degree
manslaughter conviction of NYPD
Officer Peter Liang for his Nov. 20, 2014
murder of 28-year-old unarmed Black
man Akai Gurley, my expectations on
commentary were proven. Many AsianAmericans cried foul over the fact that
an Asian-American man was convicted
whereas most white officers are not.
However, as other Asian-American
collaborators (the term “ally” does not
explicitly require action) have already
mentioned, this is an anti-Black thought
that I’m not interested in debating. Of
course, I am aware of the anti-Blackness
of other NBPOC but I want to discuss
specifically the anti-Blackness of Asians/
Asian-Americans.
On Monday, Feb. 29, I attended a small
conversation dinner with Professor
Scott Kurashige of the University of
Washington Bothell concerning the
history of Asian-American social justice,
Black-Asian solidarity, and Peter Liang.
I was the only Black Student present
with eight Asian-American Students. The
end of the conversation led into lively
discussion of the reasons that Black-Asian
collaborative action does not happen at
Vassar — from mismatched schedules
and
miscommunication
to
failed
attempts of hosting ALANA organization
executive board mixers and ultimately a
fear of harm and commitment.
Professor Kurashige interrupted these
excuses, quoting the late ChineseAmerican philosopher and activist Grace
Lee Boggs, a vivid figure known for her
political collaboration with Blacks in
Detroit starting in 1953. She simply
said, “Human beings are not schools of
fish.” In a country whose soul rests in the
construction of race and whose primary
source of nourishment is anti-Blackness,
and at a school whose spirit oftentimes
proves to be adversarial to inter-identity
understanding and collaboration, we
must recognize that we inherit white
supremacy and that decolonial work does
not happen overnight.
Kurashige told us through the example
of the United Farm Workers that some of
the most effective interracial movements
began by organizing around one issue
and that usually one group initiates
collaboration with other group(s). To

be a collaborator is to be wholly honest
about your actions and emotions, allow
mistakes but consciously work to avoid
them, and own your intersectional
racism. Political organizing emerges from
“learning from one another,” “growing
together from struggles,” and “working
with people in other movements.”
The racial triangulation theory that
you may have learned in Education
courses here tells us that the model
minority myth is a constructed reality
that situates Asian-American/Native
Hawaiian Pacific Islanders below white
people and above Black people in the
U.S. You must acknowledge the higher
position of racial privilege that you hold
even though you did not give yourself
that privilege. In the U.S., your skin
affords you wealth that was and is built
on the backs of my people on stolen land.
Ending intertwined violence requires us
to recognize that neither of us can be
free unless we all resist white supremacy,
thereby resisting anti-Blackness. Black
people are routinely asked to perform
labor without compensation and to put
our issues on hold for others. This is
not simply “checking your privilege,” a
phrase that is lazy and uncritical. This is
decolonial work that requires reflexivity
and resistance.
As a Black junior at Vassar, I often feel
that any attempt at political organizing
is futile at a place like Vassar so my
solution since returning from a semester
away last year has been to melt into the
background of this institution. And for
what reason? Am I punishing myself for
speaking out too much and striving to be
heard, convincing myself that in order to
preserve positive mental health, I must
disengage completely? Who or what told
me that preserving stability required a
defenselessness disposition?
I am not the voice of all Black students
so I will speak for myself: I stand in
solidarity with Asian/Asian-American
students on the accord of mutual
collaboration. Being complicit in antiBlackness is expressly supporting Black
death and I deserve to be bitter about
that. I have been having wonderful,
mind-stretching
conversations
with
Asian/Asian-American friends at Vassar
about doing some explicit Black-Asian
solidarity work on campus this semester
and am excited about what these talks
will become. I’m ready when you are.

Interested in Having your Voice Heard?

Write for the Chronicle!
chronicle@vassar.edu

March 8, 2016

7

The Vassar Chronicle
Repub. Candidates' Foreign Policy Debate Rhetoric
Office Hours
Spencer Virtue
Editor

In this month’s Office Hours, Chronicle
Editor Spencer Virtue talked with
Robert K. Brigham, Professor of
History on the Shirley Ecker Boskey
Chair of International Relations, about
the military and foreign relations
rhetoric espoused by some Republican
presidential
candidates.
Brigham
is an expert in the field of historical
American foreign policy, and an
award-winning teacher and professor.

Spencer Virtue, ’16: Looking at what
the historical background is for the
2016 election rhetoric so far, where
do a lot of these ideologies and policy
principles come from? So if we look at
the refugee crisis and at the will to help
them in Syria contribute to the effort
but not to have them in the United
States, this sort of attitude toward
refugees, what would the parallel be
for you? Would you go back to World
War II? Would you go back to Korea or
Vietnam? What seems most apt?
Professor Bob Brigham: Yeah, I
wouldn’t say Vietnam. Vietnam might
be the one outlier to this issue. But I’d
say certainly World War II. The United
States did very little to up the quotas
of refugees. That was what the State
Department hid behind, in not taking
in very obvious refugees, in the USS St.
Louis. I would say there’s been a long
history of having open borders and
closed borders at the same time. And
election year politics hasn’t shied away
from that. Historically, politicians have
always played that: I mean immigration
is an issue. But what makes it seriously
interesting is that there is a very
deliberative process in place in the
United States – an 18-month process
of vetting each individual immigrant.
Europe is struggling with it in a
different way because of its proximity.
The refugees aren’t in camps, they’re
there now. And to make political hay
out of it is nothing new at all.
SV: It’s been going on for ages. With
regards to dealing with the Islamic
State, you have Ted Cruz saying that
he wants to carpet-bomb the entire
region, Donald Trump saying he wants
to go after the families of the folks, and
it just seems to me that there’s this
vehement anger on the Republican side
that’s fueling the public anger in a way.
And so I have two main things to ask

you about that. One is: in the election
year, how does this sort of rhetoric play
in and what are the parallels in the past
for election year rhetoric? I guess 2004
would of course be one. And then also
just about the general foreign policy of
inverventionist nature, which I’m sure
has a long, long history. But if you start
with the election year question–
BB: You know, it’s interesting, I think
that most of the examples for this
probably go back to the 19 th Century,
actually. The Mexican War, the war with
Spain, where people who clearly had
very limited foreign policy knowledge
and limited military experience were
advocating for these kinds of large-scale
interventions. And in many ways, both
were pretty destructive. When Ted Cruz
talks about carpet-bombing, it’s clear
that he knows absolutely nothing about
the application of military force. And
it’s a sort of knee-jerk reaction – it’s
unfortunate I think, that something as
serious as sending American troops in
harm’s way is used in such an emotive
way. That’s not what you want out of a
Commander-in-Chief, it seems to me.
But Cruz is not the first. These debates
have been around, I would argue, and
even have been a major feature in
foreign policy since the 19 th Century.
Using a potential intervention to
harness the emotions of the American
people has been a standard feature of
American politics. But the specificity,
or rather the lack of specificity, when
Cruz says “carpet-bomb” – that is at
a level of irresponsibility which I just
can’t fathom. It’s just unhinged for U.S.
foreign policy.

“But this kind of
grandstanding is a sad
feature of American politics.
It’s unfortunate, people in
uniform deserve better, and
you want someone who’s
deliberative and considered
,
just really sad.”
SV: Do you see any parallel, perhaps,
with the Soviet Union and furthering
ideas of nuclear superiority, and those
sorts of rhetorics?
BB: To me, Cruz sounds a lot like Barry
Goldwater before the election. That
we’re gonna bomb Vietnam back to
the Stone Age. Curtis LeMay, the VicePresidential candidate, that was his
line. And it’s interesting that Johnson,
who will get waist-deep in this thing, ran
as the peace candidate in ’64, and won

Professor Bob Brigham

overwhelmingly in a landslide. But this
kind of grandstanding is a sad feature
of American politics. It’s unfortunate,
people in uniform deserve better, and
you want someone who’s deliberative
and considered in this office, and so
this is just really sad.
SV: I was hoping you’d say Barry
Goldwater. I didn’t want to give you a
leading question, but I was hoping.
BB: [Laugh] There’s a lot in common.
Barry Goldwater wasn’t as socially
conservative as Cruz is, but the
inexperience that Cruz has – I
mean none of the candidates on the
Republican side are experienced in
foreign policy in any way: you’ve got
two first-term senators and somebody
who’s never held any kind of elected
office or responsibility (he went to
the New York Military Academy, but
that’s not the same thing as actually
serving the country) – it’s a lot more
complicated than these soundbyte
debates.
SV: I want to ask you a little about
China and the rhetoric regarding it.
Trump has been really hard on China,
especially in wanting to implement
different tariffs and import duties
and those sorts of things. Now in my
memory, these sorts of debates go back
all the way, and I don’t know if you
want to touch on the really early history
or even the end of the 19 th Century –
BB: These tariff debates have been,
again, very present. The media pretend
like these are all new things, but the
tariff debate, as you suggest, is as old
as the United States. Trump takes it
probably to a new level, and I don’t
think he has a lot of support from
economists who study international
trade at a serious level. It might make
sense for individual businesses that

Vassar Office of Communications

he’s dealt with, but it certainly doesn’t
make sense as far as macro policy. And
this is part of the debate. His economic
views on China don’t worry me as much
as his views on China in the world. He
sees them in adversarial terms: almost
every speech about China is pejorative,
it’s just to me a real lack of foresight.
He doesn’t say that China is a real
rising power and the United States has
the responsibility to check that power,
and so we will partner with regional
states and conduct regional military
exercises with Vietnam and Thailand,
and we’ll try to help Japan develop a
peacetime military, you know, and do
all that. Those are the types of things
that professionals talk about. They
don’t talk about it in this kind of rude,
unsophisticated level. Superficial.
SV: I could move from there, I suppose,
to Russia. It’s interesting, to talk about
Trump again, that Trump treats Russia
much different rhetorically than others
do. He seems rather fond of Russia in a
lot of ways.
BB: It is a strange romance between
he and Putin. Who knows what’s
inside Trump’s head, but there might
be a fascination with Putin, who does
what he wants from a foreign policy
standpoint regardless of its longterm consequences on the state.
He’s internalized foreign policy, he’s
personalized foreign policy, and it
seems to me that Trump likes that.
He identifies with that. It doesn’t
necessarily mean that it’s the best thing
for Russia. I think that Russia’s position
on Ukraine is untenable. My own view
is that the Obama administration has
gone too far in trying to work the ceasefire agreement with Russia: that they’re
allowing too many things to happen that
aren’t best practices simply in order to
Continued on Page 9

8

March 8, 2016

The Vassar Chronicle
Shift Towards Domestic, Away From Foreign, in Fed. Gov't
Continued from Page 8

try to get negotiations up. But I think
that the part that Trump’s attracted to
is this “it doesn’t matter, I’m doing it.”
And that should make us worry as well.
SV: Exactly. Considering there’s no
military experience there at all, that
too seems to be a trend. How many
candidates over the past 30 or 40 years
have had no military experience at all?
BB: It’s getting decreasing. The Bush
administration had relatively little
outside of Powell. But they did have a
lot of foreign policy experience, if not
a lot of military experience. But usually
you have a better mix than you’re
seeing now. And that concerns me as
well: that you don’t have a balance here
among candidates.
SV: Do you think that has to do with
the public’s perception of the role of

the President in American society?
I think perhaps in the ’40s, ‘50s, and
‘60s there was a lot more of a focus on
foreign policy, a lot more of a focus
on war and those types of things, as
opposed to a domestic policy, which
people associated more with the state
governments.
BB: It’s an interesting question, and I do
think there’s a shift here. Kennedy ran
as a foreign policy president. Nixon ran
as a foreign policy president. Domestic
politics to them were fixing potholes
in Peoria. But now if you see the way
that the national resources are divided,
domestic politics really swings much
larger than it used to. The other thing
too is that now we have a professional
military, the numbers are different. I
mean entering politics from the world

of World War II, wasn’t antithetical to
society because there was a draft. But
now that we’ve moved to a professional
army where less than one percent of
the people actually are serving, that
shared common experience can’t be a
litmus test anymore because it’s not
a common experience. So there’s that
societal shift, and then there’s this
resource allocation shift as well. There
are so many more resources now in
domestic politics. And if you spend any
time in Washington, they’ll tell you that
politics is domestic now. To the tenor
of your question, no it didn’t use to be
that way. It scares the hell out of me
actually, because this is what you end
up with: foreign policy debates that
have absolutely no substance.
SV: And the Constitutional role of

the President being mostly militaryinformed, these debates show very
little actual substance on those issues.
BB: It’s becoming increasingly difficult
to debate foreign policy, because
it’s increasingly removed from the
experience of ordinary Americans,
outside of the refugees and immigrants,
which even still aren’t necessarily direct
“foreign policy” experiences. And so the
average American just doesn’t have the
Cold War in their head like they used
to. That’s part of it as well, I’m sure.
SV: The world’s a’changin’.
BB: Or not! Or not, and that’s the scary
thing. If it’s not, and we just don’t
have the expertise and we don’t have
the well-trained force, and there’s the
sequestering, that makes me nervous.

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March 8, 2016

9

The Vassar Chronicle
Poetic

Reflection

Nick Mennona
Contributor

I

wake up every morning in
Raymond House. Not exactly
the nicest place to live,

but it is sufficient.
I go to the Deece. I had a terrible
day yesterday—I was not feeling too
hot. Might
as well go for the French toast with
syrup. How about that oatmeal? I
love those
sweetened coconut flakes. And
why don’t I go for those donuts as a
breakfast desert? I
have not been treating myself well
enough lately, and those donuts
look fantastic.
After classes, I need to go to the
retreat. I’m still growing (and
getting wider by
the day)! I need to eat! Should I go
for the pizza, the Vassar Club with
extra bacon, or the
Philly cheese steak? Heaven forbid
I go for the ham, egg, and cheese on
a plain bagel.
That’s
excessively
unhealthy.
Let’s go with the Philly cheese.
Hopefully, they cook this
quickly. I need to bring this
sandwich back to my room; I’m in a
rush! I have so much

on

a

Typical

Vassar

little.
I go down. Sour cream and onion—
check. A Vitamin water? Sure. I
need
something to help these chips go
down. Also, after I’m done with
Mad Men I need to go
to Krafted to get a cappuccino.
How else am I going to study?
After my cappuccino, I’m feeling
a little exhausted. I’ve done a lot
today. Should
I read a paperback to relax my
mind? No, scratch that. I need to
take a catnap—to ensure
I’m functioning at optimum levels,
obviously.

I’ll start at 185. Actually, I don’t
have a spotter. What if all of that
weight falls on
me? I’ll go down to 165. No. I
should probably go down to 155 just
to be safe; I pump

know I shouldn’t because I always
fall asleep when I lie down past 9
p.m. This time it
will be different though. I’m not
going to fall asleep this time. I’m
just going to have Siri
set a 3 minute timer.

one rep less than I had hoped. Oh
well, I still need to squat—that will
make up for it.

My 8 o’clock alarm sounds. Oh
well. I’m way ahead of schedule
work-wise. Let

What a punishing workout. Deece
or a chicken roll from Bacio? Well,
I did run a

me play some Lukas Graham
before I start my day. Let me get
these lovely tunes rolling,

5K today. Chicken roll it is.
Wow—that chicken roll was
fantastic. I’m feeling a little bloated
though. After an

An hour and a half later, I start my
homework. I finish a solid amount
of work—I

hour or so of work, I should
definitely hit the hay.

was also able to play a little @
fbchess simultaneously. Might as
well work out now to

A half hour goes by. I got some
good work done. Let me just lie on
my bed. I

relax my mind and body from all
of this work.

Day

you know, so I’m ready to
conquer—vini, vidi, vici style—this
day.

ADVERTISEMENT

I prepare myself for running at the
gym. I take off my pants I wore to
brace the
impact of the cold. I take off my
warm jacket as well, and place both
articles of clothing
into a locker. I step into the gym
wearing a great pair of shoes, a nice
fitting Nike shirt

work that needs to get done!
I take off my backpack and my
coat. I need to eat Philly quickly! I
have a ton of

and a pair of shiny shorts. I look
phenomenal—more so than usual.
I’m going to destroy
this workout.

work that needs to get done, as
I’ve mentioned. Obviously, I can’t
work with messy
hands—I need some Mad Men
time on Netflix. Half and hour? No.
I should probably
finish a whole episode. Fifty
minutes is not that long anyway.

I step on the treadmill. I know
they say I should put it up to 2%
incline to account
for air resistance, but I’m just not
feeling it today. Besides, I’m still
going to get a great
workout in.

I finish my sandwich fifteen
minutes in. Pause Netflix. I’m still
hungry

I come up short on the 5K. I
needed to run .37 more miles to
finish it. Doesn’t

though…Of course! The vending
machine downstairs!

matter though, I’m drenched in
sweat and I’ll just bench or squat a

10

March 8, 2016

The Vassar Chronicle
War

on
Sam Lehn
Editor

T

he war against drugs has been a
terrible disaster for everybody
involved. Why? And can we do
something differently?
Over forty years ago, US President
Richard Nixon declared drug abuse
public enemy number one, starting an
unprecedented global campaign: the War
on Drugs. Today the numbers are in.
The War on Drugs is a huge failure, with
devastating unintended consequences.
It lead to mass incarceration in the US;
to corruption, political destabilization
and violence in Latin America, Asia, and
Africa; and to systemic human rights
abuses across the world. It has negatively
affected the lives of millions of people. All
of this while we waste billions of dollars
every year only to create and fuel powerful
drug cartels. And so the goal of the War on
Drugs — a world without drugs — seems
less achievable than ever.

Drugs

Failed

effect is to encourage production of more
drugs and recruitment of more traffickers,
which increases availability. This is also
known as the balloon effect: even if drug
production or a major supply route is
destroyed, the supply for the end user is
not reduced.
A perfect example of this effect is crystal
meth. The US government tried to stop
the production of the drug by strictly
regulating the sales of the chemicals used
to manufacture the drug. This forced
big meth producers out of business,
but the unintended consequences were
that thousands of small scale operations
started all over the country, mostly in
small towns and rural communities, using
chemicals that were not regulated. In
response to this, some US states wanted
to reduce the supply of home-grown meth
by regulating even more chemicals, which
reduced small-scale meth production
drastically. However, the supply of meth
still stayed the same. Mexican drug cartels
immediately took over and opened big
production operations. Their meth was

and

and inside the US.
For many minors around the world,
it is just as easy to get illegal drugs as
it is alcohol. But the consequences of
prohibition do not stop here. It may
prevent a certain amount of people from
taking drugs, but in the process it causes
huge damage to society as a whole. Many
of the problems we associate with drug
use are actually caused by the war against
them.
For example, prohibition makes drugs
stronger. The more potent drugs you can
store in as little space as possible, the more
profit you will make. This trend was the
same during alcohol prohibition, which
led to an increased consumption of strong
liquor over lighter alternatives such as
beer.
The prohibition of drugs also led to more
violence and murders around the world.
Gangs and cartels operate extra-legally, so
they use violence to resolve conflict. This
led to an ever-increasing spiral of brutality.
According to some estimates, the homicide
rate in the US is over 25% higher because
of the War on Drugs. And in Mexico, the
country on the frontline, an estimated
164,000 have been murdered between
2007 and 2014. That is more people than
in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan in
the same period, combined.
But where the War on Drugs might do the
most damage to society is the incarceration
of non-violent drug offenders. For example,
the United States, one of the driving
forces of the war on Drugs, has 5% of the
world’s total population, but 25% of the
world’s prison population — largely due
to the harsh punishments and minimum
sentences given for low-level drug crimes.
Minorities suffer because of this especially.
African Americans make up 40% of all US
prison inmates. And while white kids are

Failing

more likely to abuse drugs, black kids are
ten times more likely to get arrested for
drug offenses.
So is there actually something we can do
differently?
The answer is yes.
In the 1980’s, Switzerland experienced a
public health crisis related to heroin use.
HIV rates skyrocketed and street crime
became a problem. Swiss authorities,
therefore, tried a new strategy: harm
reduction. They opened free heroin
maintenance centers, where addicts would
be treated and stabilized. Here people
would be given free heroin of high quality,
they would get clean needles, and have
access to safe injection rooms, showers,
beds, and medical supervision. Social
works help them find housing and deal
with other problems in their lives. The
results were a sharp drop in drug-related
crime and two thirds of the people in the
centers got regular jobs, because now they
could focus on getting better, instead of
financing their addiction. Today, over 70%
of all heroin addicts in Switzerland receive
treatment. HIV infections have dropped
drastically. Deaths from heroin overdoses
have dropped by 50%. Drug-related street
sex work and crime have been reduced
enormously.
Therefore, there are methods that are not
only cheaper, but actually more effective.
They address the true needs of individuals
instead of creating more problems. Drug
prohibition led to a system that bulldozes
human rights, costs vast sums of money,
and creates a lot of human misery, all in
pursuit of an unobtainable goal. After
forty years of fighting, it is time to end the
War on Drugs. It is time to move on to
something better.

The Independent

How could this happen?
The core strategy of the War on Drugs is
“no drugs, no problems.” Therefore, almost
all of the efforts in the past few decades have
been focused on eradicating the supply of
drugs and incarcerating drug traffickers.
But this ignores the most fundamental of
market forces: supply and demand. If you
reduce the supply of anything without first
reducing the demand, its price goes up.
This might lower consumption for many
products but not for drugs. The drugs
market is not price-sensitive. Drugs will be
consumed no matter what they cost. So the

March 8, 2016

even better than it was before, and they
had a lot of experience in smuggling. So all
of these government efforts actually made
meth production more professional and
the drug more potent, all the while failing
to reduce supply at all.
It is not possible to win the drug war on
the supply side. Not only are drugs widely
available, demand unbroken, and (in the
case of some drugs) increasingly more
purer, the US Drug Enforcement Agency,
with a budget of around $30 billion, has
an efficiency rate of less than 1% when it
comes to stopping the flow of drugs into

11

The Vassar Chronicle
Bernie,

Hillary

Marty Ascher
Contributor

A

s we work our way through the
primary season, watching both
parties’ candidates debate each
other internally makes it easy to lose sight
of the implications of this election. When
the candidates are not debating members of
the opposite party directly, some perspective
is always missing, and looking at Facebook
or cable news would indicate that there is
a massive gulf between the views of Hillary
Clinton and Bernie Sanders. This is simply
not true. There may be some genuine
differences in policy priorities and the
approaches that Hillary and Bernie would
take in leading this country, but those
differences pale in comparison to the much
larger gulf between either one of them and
the Republican nominee, whoever that may
be.
Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton
support women’s access to reproductive
health care and federal funding for Planned
Parenthood. All of the Republican candidates
have promised to block this funding should
they win. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary
Clinton support same-sex marriage. All of
the Republican candidates claim to support

Both

“traditional marriage.” Both Bernie Sanders
and Hillary Clinton want to raise taxes
on the wealthiest Americans. All of the
Republican candidates would decrease taxes
on the wealthiest Americans, putting more
of the tax burden on middle- and lowerincome families. Both Sanders and Clinton
support investment in clean and renewable
energy; immigration reform, including
a path to citizenship; equal pay for equal
work; campaign finance reform; voting
rights; gun safety; protection of civil rights;
and regulating Wall Street. Both would
nominate justices to the Supreme Court who
would defend all of these positions as well.
The Republican candidates oppose all of
these ideas and would nominate justices to
the Supreme Court who share their views.
If President Obama is unable to
successfully fill the open seat on the
Supreme Court before leaving office in
January 2017, there will be at least one open
seat. With several justices in their 80s, it is
likely that the next President will get at least
one appointment to the court during their
term, even excluding this open seat. In the
past few years, the Supreme Court has made
significant decisions including Shelby v.
Holder, which stripped key portions of the
1965 Voting Rights Act, and Citizens United,
which deemed money equal to speech and

Better

Than

corporations equal to people with only a
5-4 majority. These decisions indicate that
a switch of even one seat could lead to very
different political and policy realities in
the United States. From campaign finance
reform, to the protection of voting rights
and affirmative action, to the protection
of Roe v. Wade, to the continued existence
of collective bargaining rights for workers,
there are massive issues in front of the court
on a regular basis. A court with a 5-4 or 6-3
liberal majority would allow progress to
occur on all of these issues and more, even
if Congress remains gridlocked, but a court
with a 5-4 or 6-3 conservative majority could
have disastrous implications for the country.
The 2016 presidential election will be
extremely close no matter who is nominated,
as will many of the Senate races taking place
in swing states. If you are not sure whether
your vote will matter, simply take a look at
the 2008 congressional election results (a
year with high voter participation) versus
the 2014 congressional election results (a
year with low voter participation). The 2008
election brought 257 Democrats to the House
of Representatives and eight Democrats
to the Senate, bolstering majorities in
both of these chambers. The 2014 election
brought only 188 Democrats to the House,
and Republicans gained eight seats in the

Repubs

Senate, which was enough to take majority
of the chamber. Looking at these results,
it quickly becomes clear that a non-vote
is equivalent to voting for the Republican
Party. The Republican base consistently
turns out to vote and will therefore certainly
not be staying home on Election Day in a
year when they believe they are likely to take
back the Presidency.
No matter who wins the Democratic
nomination, it is imperative that the winning
candidate is fully supported by all those who
voted in the primary. Bernie Sanders’ enemy
is not Hillary Clinton, and Hillary Clinton’s
enemy is not Bernie Sanders. This is crucial
to remember in a primary season that grows
tenser every day. Again, Bernie Sanders is
correct in saying that when voter turnout
is low, Republicans do better electorally,
and we cannot allow small but amplified
differences make this prediction come true.
Staying home on Election Day because
we are not 100 percent satisfied with the
Democratic nominee would play right into
the Republican Party’s hands. With Donald
Trump having a real chance at winning the
Republican nomination, and Ted Cruz and
Marco Rubio close behind him, this is not
a time to sit on the sidelines in an attempt
to retain moral superiority or ideological
purity. The stakes are too high.

Criminal "Justice" System Violent Towards Women
Maggie Donolo
Editor

T

he problems that plague the prison
system are the same problems that
exist in the rest of society, magnified
to a horrific degree. This is particularly
true for women’s issues. The population
of incarcerated women is different than
that of incarcerated men because 70
percent of women in state prisons were
convicted of nonviolent crimes relating to
drugs, property, or petty financial crimes,
whereas the percentage of incarcerated
men who were convicted only of
nonviolent crimes is much lower. Because
the criminal justice system is designed
in such a way that people can use money
or information as leverage in sentence
negotiations, the people that get the worst
sentences are those who are disadvantaged
in society, such as women. So even though
women do not commit as many serious
crimes as men do, they still suffer long and
harsh sentences. Like men, women face
injustices in prison related to their health
and general welfare, but there are specific
concerns that only, or overwhelmingly,
affect the female incarcerated population.

12

One such concern is sexual abuse, which,
like virtually all problems in the criminal
justice system, is even more problematic
for women of color.
According to Amnesty International,
anywhere between 48 percent and 88
percent of women inmates in the U.S.
have experienced physical or sexual abuse
before entering prison. Many more go on
to be victims of sexual abuse in prison.
Even those who do not are subject to
invasive and traumatizing bodily searches.
Seventy percent of the guards in women’s
prisons are men — men who frequently
sexually abuse and harass incarcerated
women, and then retaliate against those
who report them. Most of these cases go
unreported or uninvestigated.
Even in the rare situations when women
have hard evidence of abuse, they are
treated with disgusting disrespect. Lucy
Amador, for example, was forced to perform
oral sex on a guard and then used a semen
stain on her shirt as evidence of the assault.
The guard was fired and prosecuted,
but Amador also faced punishment by
being placed in solitary confinement and
denied access to psychiatric treatment. If
this was the treatment of a survivor of an
assault that prison officials acknowledged

and confirmed, there is no telling what
gross atrocities other women who are not
believed must experience.
There is also the issue of coercive, rather
than violent, sexual abuse. Incarcerated
women have virtually no power. They are
working within the context of not only
societal gender power dynamics, but also
the unique and extreme power dynamics
that exist between an incarcerated person
and a guard. In this situation, the only
currency that a woman has is sex, and she
may partake in sexual activity with a guard
to get favors or to avoid punishment. While
these relationships might seem consensual
to some, the power dynamic renders
consent impossible. Nothing takes away
a woman’s agency, sense of self, desire
to live, or self-respect more than sexual
abuse, and nowhere is it more prevalent
than in the criminal ‘justice’ system.
Some people may look at these instances
of abuse and acknowledge that, though
they are tragic, they are emblematic of
an enforcement problem rather than an
institutional one. They see sexual abuse as
a problem with individual guards, rather
than as a system that exists around the
idea that hundreds of powerless women
are under the complete control of a handful

of men. Those people are incorrect. It is
the system that is to blame, and it is the
system that must be changed.
There are several policy changes that
could help address the atrocities that
women face within the criminal justice
system. In order to combat the epidemic of
sexual assault in prisons, there should be
no male correctional officers in women’s
prisons. Furthermore, survivors of sexual
assault must have access to resources like
therapy and advocacy to help them through
such difficult times. These survivors must
be allowed to get no-contact orders against
their attacker through the course of the
investigation, which must be conducted
speedily and by a panel of sexual assault
experts. Additionally, in order for women
to be able to utilize their own networks
and support systems, they should be
incarcerated within a reasonable distance
from their homes. Of course, the injustices
of the criminal ‘justice’ system are so vast,
and so varied, that these policy changes are
really only the tip of the iceberg. In order
to achieve actual justice — for incarcerated
people of all genders — a complete
overhaul of the system is necessary.

March 8, 2016

The Vassar Chronicle

Thoughts from
The Seven Sisters
Why is Black History Month Important for Everyone?
Sunnie Ning
Contributing Writer at The Smith Sophian

Isn’t Black History Month about
celebrating the great accomplishments
of black people? What does it have to do
with me?” I don’t know how many Smithies
hold this opinion, but I did encounter it on my
Facebook newsfeed. It’s shocking to me how
many people think black history is irrelevant
to this day. In 1988, the Smithsonian
Institution surveyed 10,000 Americans
on slavery. Ninety-two percent of white
respondents felt slavery had little meaning to
them, responding “my family did not arrive
until after the end of slavery.” While statistics
might be different now, this is exactly why
Black History Month is important: to learn
why black history matters to all of us.
How did Black History Month come to
exist?
In 1926, the great black historian Carter G.
Woodson and the Association for the Study

of Negro Life and History announced that the
second week of February would be celebrated
as “Negro History Week.” During this time,
most history books simply omitted any African
American history and the central role black
Americans played in the birth of America. In
1976, the U.S. government expanded Negro
History Week to Black History Month. Black
History Month continues to recognize the
legacy of black history in American history.
Why is Black History Month still important
in today’s context?
We can tell a great deal about a country
from what it chooses to forget. Black history is
definitely an important piece of our history that
is left out or distorted. After all, maintaining
status quo is way easier than addressing the
problem. To take current events out of their
historical context is an efficient way to mask
the white supremacy in our society and
dismiss the Black Lives Matter movement
as “sensitive,” “irrational” or “misguided.”

Slavery, segregation and the Civil Rights
movement – these important events should
not just be a page in our history books. The
impact of historical events extends way
beyond their time, it is reflected in our
behavior, thought, public opinion and laws.
We imagine that time erases the connection
of history to present, but this is nothing but
a naïve dismissal. Black History Month is an
opportunity to relearn our history through
black historical perspectives, create awareness
for the struggles and the challenges faced by
our black peers, and understand the bigger
picture of the Black Lives Matter movement.
It is important to understand that black
history month is not just a celebration of the
black community but a way for everyone to
engage in the imperative effort of thinking,
acknowledging and promoting racial justice.
What’s our role in Black History Month?

respect. In essence, it is us asking our black
peers, “What is your story?” and responding
by active listening and embracing. It is about
throwing away that apathy, nuances and
unease and really devote time to learning the
story of our black peers in a respectful way.
It is not about being argumentative, critical
or judgmental; it is about compassion and
awareness. It is not about being silent, guilty
or afraid; it is about discovering a different
facet of the same story that we have already
heard. Black History Month is also a chance
to self-educate. It is about siding with our
black peers by lifting their weight of having
to face our unawareness. It is about creating
a space for them, handing the microphone to
them and talking to our friends about them.
Sunnie Ning is a sophomore at Smith College
and a contributing writer for The Smith
Sophian. This piece was originally published
in The Smith Sophian

As non-black students, I believe that it
is critical for us to listen, self-educate and

Doing Feminism Wrong: Goodman and White Feminism
Isabella Nugent
Staff Writer at The Bi-College News

B

eing a poor college student on
the Main Line has always been a
strange juxtaposition of wanting
to buy microwavable Easy Mac, yet I’m
surrounded by violin shops, pet boutiques
and Ferrari dealerships. I am complaining
honestly about tremendous privilege right
now. I want to convey the oddity of living
within a bubble of wealth while unable able
to afford any of it. It’s like the Prince and the
Pauper scenario: living as if you are a part
of Main Line’s old money when in reality
you’re wondering why you haven’t been
thrown out yet.
I had one of those strong, I-don’t-belonghere moments at a Planned Parenthood
Benefit event earlier this November. Invited
by my cousin, the benefit was held to raise
funding for the Planned Parenthood of
Southeastern Pennsylvania. As a fan of
both women’s reproductive rights and free
invitations, I graciously accepted.
I didn’t expect that I would feel out of place
because, even though a benefit does sound
bourgeois, I thought I would fit in with other
feminist supporters. However, I was quickly
the least classy and youngest person in the
room. Although we were seated with a group

March 8, 2016

of hyper-intelligent black women, who told
us about their theories of otherworldly
life and this upcoming election (excellent
dinner topics for strangers), the rest of
the room was composed of older, smartly
dressed white liberals. I was generations
behind the rest of the crowd, and being halfFilipino, not entirely white. When musical
comedian, Katie Goodman, took the stage,
she certainly didn’t try to challenge the
audience.
Katie Goodman had a self-deprecating,
soccer mom brand of humor. She conveyed
a hysterical, hapless look that tried to
play on people’s insecurities–the feeling
of “I have it bad, but at least I’m not her!”
It was truly impressive that each of her
jokes was delivered through song, always
accompanied by her own piano-playing or
guitar-strumming. Some of her biggest hits
of the night we’re, “Sorry Babe, You’re a
Feminist,” “Probably Gay, the Homophobia
Song,” and, “I Didn’t F— it Up.” Goodman
was playing on really powerful, relevant
topics, but instead of speaking something
new, she recycled white liberal rhetoric.
In each of her songs, she was pushing
forward a positive message. She attacks
corrupt politicians who aim to defund
Planned Parenthood or ban gay marriage.
She criticizes celebrity women who insist

they’re not feminists because they, “love
men,” and even calls for some kind of shared
understanding between conservatives and
liberals.
However, even though the crowd in
the room was slapping their knees and
spilling their wine from laughing so hard,
I didn’t think anything she was saying was
actually controversial or revolutionary.
It’s easy to support gay marriage. It’s not
easy to criticize to recognize how achieving
gay marriage still leaves the struggles
of the majority of the queer community
in the dark. Goodman was quick to
criticize Republicans for fighting against
reproductive rights, but didn’t recognize
how Democrats often ignore the black
community’s constant fight, disregarding
any topic on race completely. You can call
out celebrity women for denying feminism,
but I would like to see Katie Goodman
promote intersectional feminism instead.
Planned Parenthood itself has an ugly,
white feminist history as Margaret Sanger
was a white supremacist and eugenics
supporter. Similarly, we cannot ignore our
own college’s white supremacist past under
M. Carey Thomas, and others, as Bryn Mawr
was initially an institution to educate and
groom white women only. Katie Goodman’s
songs reminded me of how easy it is to say,

“I’m pro-life, I’m pro-gay marriage. I’m a
feminist.” What’s harder is to examine the
institutions you’ve supported and recognize
how they’re rooted in hateful pasts.
What’s harder is to speak out and support
communities beyond your own.
After the silent auction ended and the
raffle winners were announced, the room
thinned out and people went on with their
daily lives. What’s disappointing is that
even though Katie Goodman was given
the platform to say something important,
she chose to spoon her audience the same
safe messages they told themselves before.
Everyone in the room was doing something
important that night by donating to
Planned Parenthood and coming out to
support reproductive rights. However, I
can’t help but think about what was unsaid
and unsung on Goodman’s guitar.
Isabella Nugent is a student at Bryn
Mawr College and a staff writer for The
Bi-College News. This piece was originally
published in The Bi-College News under
the title “Doing Feminism Wrong: Katie
Goodman Brings White Feminism to
Planned Parenthood.”

13

The Vassar Ironicle
Reflections On Writing and Publication Deadlines
Pieter Block
Stressed Vassar Student

F

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March 8, 2016

Humor & Satire
Vassar

I

College

Spencer Virtue
Musician? I think?

n a historic move for student performers
everywhere, the good people of the
Vassar College Orchestra and Choir have
announced this week that they will be the
first college musicians to officially unionize.
According to a member of the orchestra who
wishes to retain their anonymity, this comes
in the aftermath of a series of “abuses” and
“usurpations” that “we simply could not
ignore.”
I spoke this week with the contra-bass
clarinettist of the orchestra, who blames
conductor Eduardo Navega on his inability to
provide for his family. “When Maestro Navega
hired me I thought I had made it. But I am
not paid unless I perform, and in the 4 years
since my hiring, Navega has yet to program a
piece scored for contrabass clarinet. I haven’t
been able to provide for my family, and child
protective services is threatening to take away
my child.”
Later this week I spoke with Vassar College
Choir bass Phil Chen, who despite repeated
auditions and pleas to join the Women’s
Chorus, has not secured a position. Maestra

March 8, 2016

Music

Howlett offered Phil a spot, but only if he
sang in the alto range. He refused, asking why
he couldn’t stick to his bass voice register.
According to Chen, “when I spoke with
Maestra Howlett about simply singing the alto
part an octave down, or the soprano part two
octaves down, she was highly unenthusiastic.”
I don’t understand why basses cannot have a
role in SSA repertoire. The Choir’s Union has
promised me reparations on this issue and I
look forward to being redeemed and joining
the Women’s Chorus after all. Let’s just say
that the Maestro had better have a good
lawyer, because we will show no mercy.”
Perhaps the most shocking of all the stories
involves first Cellist David Toto, who bravely
shared his tale. “I was so shocked,” wrote
Toto, as he shook his head disapprovingly
from side-to-side. “Sometimes when I sit for
long periods of time, like during a concert, all
the blood rushes to my feet. Because my dress
shoes are too small, it starts to feel really funny
and I can feel my heartbeat in my toes, you
know? And all I want is to be allowed to play
my cello standing up during concerts but the
maestro refuses. I am so shocked. Hopefully
with the help of the orchestra’s union I will

Groups

to

finally be able to play my cello in an upright
position.”
Choir soprano Sarah Rodeo says that
Vassar Madrigals Conductor Drew Minter
isn’t open to student’s opinions. “I thought
a cornerstone of a Vassar education was
being allowed to engage openly with our
professors on issues, even contentious ones.
I am entitled to my opinion, and so is the
Maestro. So when Maestro Minter claimed
that I was singing a perfect fourth instead of
a perfect fifth, I disagreed. But he refused to
respect my opinion and instead claimed that I
was absolutely wrong. If it is my opinion that
the interval I was singing was a perfect fifth,
who is he to shut me down? The world is full
of opposing opinions, all of which deserve a
place for discussion and engagement on this
campus. Hopefully with the help of the Choir’s
Union, the Maestro will be more open to
engaging with students on issues of tonality.”
I heard from an orchestra violist that
Maestro Navega has been misinterpreting
dynamic markings for years: “So, you know if
you have like one f, that’s like, one forte right?
But like, if there are two of them, like ff, then
its even louder, right? And then like… three or

Unionize

four of them… or like ten f’s is really louder?
Which totally makes sense because it’s like
there are more of them and when you see
all those letters you just want to play louder
because it’s so exciting. But it’s also like, the
same for p, right? Like p means piano. That’s
really really quiet. Like it doesn’t get quieter
than that. Then two p’s is a little louder than
that, then three is even louder, so technically
if you had like, 20 p’s it would be the same as,
like, an f, right? It totally makes sense. But I
think Maestro Navega has it mixed up because
he never does this. But every time I ask about
it he just blows me off.”
Among all these specific issues which will be
addressed by the new unions, the two groups are
also petitioning for three bathroom breaks per
rehearsal, sick pay, maternity/paternity leave,
and Queen. Tenor Nick Ruggeri told me “the
choir has been trying for years to get Maestro
Howlett to program a choral arrangement
of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but she
refuses. This is authoritarian. We want a say
in the repertoire we sing. It’s like no taxation
without representation, except instead of
representation we just want Bohemian
Rhapsody, and no taxes.”

15

The Last Page
“Wake me up when [Scalia] stops talking.”
-Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Help President Obama Fill That Ninth Seat!
In light of the recent and unexpected death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, The Vassar Chronicle has prepared a shortlist to guide President Obama through the nomination of a confirmable candidate.

Judge Judy
Judge Jeanine
USA Today

bizpacreview.com

Just give RBG two seats and two votes
Politico

A medium to commune with
the spirits of the Founders and
determine their original intent
insideedition.com

Some boring old white guy named
“Rutherford” or some shit like that
Alamy

Circle the one whom you think would make the best Supreme Court Justice, and submit this page to Vassar
College Box 1 to make sure your voice is heard.
November 3, 2015