On & Off Campus
A House to Call Home
Before January, if you wanted to swing by Bates and visit the alumni office, you needed to hike three flights in Lane Hall and wind your way down a hallway filled with busy College staff members.Since the start of the year, however, alumni and friends visiting Bates can stop at 67 Campus Avenue — across from Muskie Archives — and enjoy traditional Bates hospitality in a decidedly more comfortable setting. The beautifully refurbished two-story stucco building, graced with cathedral windows, hardwood floors, exposed brick, and stained-wood wainscoting, is the new Bates alumni house.
Besides the physical amenities — such as a two-story balconied living room, office space for four Alumni Office staff members, kitchen, conference room, and basement space for housing yearbooks, Reunion materials and office supplies — the house is also a symbolic presence on campus. “It’s how the College welcomes alumni visitors,” said Scott Steinberg ’86, director of alumni relations. “Alumni can stop by to make dinner reservations, read a newspaper or call for accommodations. Before this house, they didn’t have anywhere to go.”
Bates bought the Campus Avenue property several years ago from the family of the late John and Nellie Bourisk. The couple had lived there since the early 1950s and recently passed away in their mid-90s. “The Bourisks were wonderful College neighbors all these years, and it’s nice that their home has become a home for Bates alumni,” said Bernard Carpenter, recently retired College treasurer (see related story).
The last alumni house at Bates was at 31 Frye Street, a building the College purchased in 1971. The Office of Career Services moved into the second floor at 31 Frye Street in 1974 and took over the entire house in the 1980s. The alumni office, meanwhile, remained in Lane Hall, its office location since the 1960s.
The new alumni house on Campus Avenue required extensive renovations and updates, yet the College’s own carpenters, electricians, and other skilled workers handled most of the work themselves, with results that would do This Old House proud. Besides the high quality, completing the work in-house saved the College about 25 percent of what outside contractors would charge, Carpenter said. The renovation began in late summer and was finished by mid-January, in time for an open house for Trustees and the Alumni Council.
At the open house, Council president Geri FitzGerald ’75 looked around the sparkling new digs and was amazed. “When we visited in the fall, we didn’t have hard hats but we probably needed them –there were holes everywhere.”
Besides the visual impact of the new house, FitzGerald also sees the big picture of what the new house means for Bates. “It’s always been a goal of the Alumni Council to dedicate a new house for Bates alumni. An alumni house is one way Bates celebrates its alumni and the role alumni play in the vitality of the College.”
(See the Alumni Council column for more information on the new alumni house and what it means for Bates alumni.)
A Different Light
With Maya Angelou scheduled to speak at the annual Founders Day Convocation on April 3, the audience expected to be captivated and charmed.
Little did they know, however, that a Bates student, not Angelou, would do the wowing.
Late the previous afternoon, Angelou postponed her Bates appearance. Moving into the spotlight were other luminaries of the Bates community, including Trustee Helen A. Papaioanou, M.D. ’49, a retired physician and national chair of the recently completed Bates Campaign (see related stories this issue), who received an honorary doctor of science degree.
President Harward, in conferring the degree, catalogued her varied and valued life roles: “Physician, teacher, leader, persuader, colleague, sentinel, comforter and healer, wise counsel, and unflagging champion, you carry our pride and exemplify the meaning of a Bates education.”
Students offered readings from Angelou poems, and then Tasha Hawthorne ’97 of Shawnee Mission, Kansas, approached the lectern and sang, unaccompanied, the spiritual “Wade in the Water,” a song she had never performed before. For a few minutes, her voice carried the audience far away from Merrill Gymnasium.
With Angelou postponing late Wednesday afternoon, Hawthorn had only Wednesday night and early Thursday morning to prepare. “Even an hour before Convocation, I had some hesitation whether I could pull it off,” said Hawthorne, who also performs with Merimanders, the a capella women’s singing group.
The Founders Day Convocation, celebrating the 142nd anniversary of the College’s founding, was part of a series of weekend celebrations, including the inauguration of Carl Benton Straub as the Clark A. Griffith Professor of Environmental Studies, the conclusion of the Bates Campaign, and groundbreaking for the new academic building.
Race on (the) Line
It’s called a finger command on the Bates computer system: after logging on, you type the word “finger” and a list of online students, faculty, and staff appears on the screen. But after a Latina student used the finger command to flip “the finger” in the vulgar sense, the campus came alive with racial discussion and debate that culminated in a three-and-a-half hour, standing-room-only forum in the Chapel on February 12.
Just after midnight on February 4, a student attached a brief comment to her campus computer user name, so when users typed “finger” after logging on, they saw her name, her e-mail address, and the words “f*** all white people.” (Students often add random comments to their user names, ranging from witty to boorish.) Later that night, the message was changed to another vulgar phrase. Neither comment could be accessed from outside the Bates computer system.
The next day, the incident was brought before the campus Hate Crimes and Bias Incident Committee, an eleven-member group that includes the College deans, other administrative officers, and two students. The committee typically investigates hate or bias incidents that impact the whole College community.
Two days later, the committee issued a statement that condemned the language as “offensive and divisive.” The committee did not, however, classify the statement as a hate crime (a potentially criminal offense), nor did it recommend that the Student Conduct Committee take up the case for punitive action.
After the incident was related in The Bates Student, discussion engulfed the campus. Considerable attention focused on the difference between a bias incident and a hate crime.
“An incident of bias involves only words and no threat,” said Joanna Lee, the College’s affirmative action officer and a member of the Hate Crimes and Bias Incident Committee. “A hate crime involves words and a perceived threat,” which could result in criminal prosecution. For example, the posting of a swastika on a dorm room door would be a hate crime: the real, historical threat of death associated with the symbol cannot be mistaken.
The Bates computer incident — found to be an angry, frustrated, and unfocused outburst in one corner of Bates cyberspace — was more along the lines of “words, no threat,” said Lee. The comments did not threaten harm and they weren’t targeted at an individual. Lee said her office also sought legal advice from the College’s lawyer, who told her that the comments were protected speech.
In the end, the Hate Crimes and Bias Incident Committee concurred, regarding the incident not as a hate crime, but as free speech — however obscene, offensive, and hurtful.
The committee’s decision angered some students, who believed a double standard exists on questions of race. They argued that if a white student posted a comment about a minority racial group, punishment would be swift and harsh. College officials disagreed, but that didn’t stop Thomas Ito ’99 from e-mailing his thoughts to several hundred alumni whose addresses he culled from the College’s Web site. In addition to suggesting a double standard, Ito also argued that by not punishing the student, “Bates is giving license to racism…. Bates is teaching me that racism and hate-mongering is socially acceptable.”
The February 12 open forum in the Chapel allowed a more productive side to emerge. The sight and sound of eight hundred and fifty Bates students gathered in the Chapel, in the midst of midterms, to discuss a racial issue
underscored a hopeful fact: Bates students still believe that through community discussion, they might start making things better. Some Bates students expressed initial apprehension about attending the open forum, fearing it might turn chaotic. “I didn’t want to be part of a shouting match or a riot,” said Melissa Young ’97.
By attending the open forum, students overcame their natural aversion to confrontations that make them intellectually uncomfortable. Indeed, issues of race are among society’s most forbidding intellectual territory, and people don’t venture there easily. In a recent Art Journalessay on teaching (published prior to the Bates incident), Assistant Professor of Art Erica Rand wrote that she tries to “challenge the notion, present among some students and faculty, that they have the right to be comfortable wherever they go…. At Bates, for instance, it’s usually white people who say that talking about race makes them uncomfortable, with the implication that this is enough reason not to engage.”
What Young and others found on the early evening of February 12 was a Chapel filled with students willing to engage. They sat shoulder to shoulder in the pews, lining both sides of the building and filling the organ balcony above. “At the beginning, the atmosphere was very tense and quiet for the most part,” said Young. “People looked tired, angry, hurt, and frustrated.”
After an introduction by Dean of Students Celeste Branham, students lined up in front of a microphone, waiting their turn to speak. At any given time during the evening, the line of students waiting to speak numbered about a dozen.
“I’m not sure if people changed their minds about the incident afterwards,” said Kari Jorgensen ’98. “But getting people to talk about it was important.”
In the weeks that followed, racial discussions continued on the Bates campus, particularly through e-mail, where a specific discussion list, initially established for students to discuss proposed changes to general-education requirements, moved toward discussions of racial issues.Bodacious No More?
When he heard the news, Waldoboro breadmaker Jim Amaral ’80 probably wanted to bang his head against something hard, like the crust of his tasty sourdough bread. The founder of Bodacious Breads, in trying to trademark his bakery’s funky name, learned last summer that a California baker — Bodacious Buns — already had dibs on the name.”It’s not easy” registering a trademark, sighed Amaral, whose breads have enjoyed growing, rollicking popularity in Maine. Securing a trademark is fraught with peril. When Coca-Cola tried to trademark its new high-caffeine beverage, Surge, the company ended up settling out of court with a company that markets a Surge line of products — for the dairy industry. And a trademark can backfire: When Reebok debuted the Incubus running shoe for women, the company only later figured out that an incubus is an evil spirit that, in medieval times, was thought to molest sleeping women.
The California bakery didn’t want to give up its bodacious name, so Amaral ran a contest to rename his bakery this past winter. After sorting through the duds (“Yummy Yummy Bread Company”) a winner rose to the surface.
The winning name — Borealis Breads, submitted by two contestants — was announced in February. Amaral says a few other potential winners, like Grateful Breads or Buckaroo Breads, didn’t make it through the trademark search. “We did what’s called a full trademark search on the new name,” says Amaral. “That includes federal and state listings, including business telephone listings, corporate registration in each state, and Web sites on the Internet.”
Besides a similar syllabic emphasis to the old name, the new name provides an accurage image of the bakery. “Given our geographic location, it’s a very appropriate name — `of pertaining to the north’ — in terms of where we’re coming from.”
Amaral’s decision to license his bakery’s name reflects the company’s rising popularity. Three years ago, he and his wife were baking and delivering 125 loaves per day from two renovated pizza ovens in a Waldoboro village basement. Today, the bakery employs twenty-two people and puts out twelve hundred loaves a day, up to a holiday peak of twenty-seven hundred loaves. In March 1995, Amaral moved the bakery above ground to a former auto-parts store on Route One.
A second bakery, projected to produce twenty-five hundred loaves per day, will open in the south-coastal Maine town of Wells to serve the Portland-south market.
Amaral, who put himself through Bates by working in a series of small bakeries, retains a specific vision of his product and why it’s successful. For example, he doesn’t want Borealis Breads in a mammoth supermarket chain alongside several few hundred loaves of white bread priced at 99 cents each. “Our bread is not a commodity, and it can’t compete on price,” he says of his loaves, which run between $2 and $4 each. The bread does, however, compete on its upscale image and high quality. Displayed unwrapped on a rack in a fine-food store, his baguettes and loaves of French peasant, olive, and rye appeals to buyers whose bread-buying decisions aren’t determined by the lowest unit price.
Right now, Amaral’s bread can be found in southern Maine restaurants, specialty stores, some Bookland cafés, and business cafeterias, including L.L. Bean’s. It’s also featured in the Bates Den on lunchtime specials and served in the dining room.
Even without going into a large supermarket chain, Amaral thinks there’s still room for market expansion. “I think 70 percent of the people who might buy our bread don’t go where it’s offered now, such as specialty shops,” he says. “My challenge is to present the bread to these people.”
New Professorship Honors Straub, the Teacher
It’s no coincidence that the wall behind Carl Straub’s desk features a poster of a Robert Doisneau photograph. The print, prominent in Straub’s Campus Avenue office, shows a classroom of small boys seated at ink-stained wooden desks. One student stares heavenward, a quizzical expression painted on his face. Straub bought the black-and-white image at Blackwell’s in Oxford, where he was a visiting scholar in theology and modern history in 1981-82.
In 1992, after seventeen years as dean of faculty, Straub returned to his first love, teaching. “During my years as dean I very much missed knowing students and having the opportunity to learn from them,” said Straub, a Bates faculty member in religion since 1966. “It has been refreshing to be in the classroom again, to be asked questions for which I have no easy answers.” No doubt, the photograph serves as a constant reminder of that pleasure.
Bates has recognized Straub’s invaluable pedagogic talents by naming him the inaugural Clark A. Griffith Professor in Environmental Studies. The new professorship was funded by a $1-million Bates Campaign gift from Clark A. Griffith ’53, a Trustee of the College, and his wife, Geraldine. A cranberry farmer from South Carver, Massachusetts, Griffith has said he made the gift, in part, to encourage faculty and student discussion of the complex relationship between people and the environment.
“I have always been interested in the relationship between culture and the natural environment since the beginning of my teaching career,” Straub said, “long before it became fashionable in undergraduate curricula.” More than twenty years ago, Straub co-taught an interdisciplinary upper-level seminar in culture and nature with colleague Robert Chute, now professor emeritus of biology and director of the Bates Morse Mountain Conservation Area. “It was the first attempt at Bates to integrate environmental concerns with the humanities,” Chute said.
As a representative of the humanities — not the sciences — Straub carries weighty credentials to the new endowed chair. He teaches a well-subscribed course on environmental ethics, reflecting his interest in how “human values and religious world views help to give shape and meaning to the natural world.” Looking ahead, he wants to continue to design courses that help students appreciate and value a humanistic approach to environmental studies.
“When I first started teaching I had great students. Now that I’ve returned to teaching, I also have great students,” reflects Straub. Yet he yearns to make another point, as well: “Fewer and fewer students seem to have any real familiarity with the great traditions of Western culture. I continue to find students asking important questions about the meaning of things — the moral questions — but I don’t find them at all familiar with what’s been proposed by past civilizations as answers to those questions.”
Bates students tend to be more sophisticated and better-educated before coming to Bates, says Straub, but they sometimes lack religious nurturing. “They search around, but they don’t stand in any one particular tradition. They don’t have the resources of the great books of the past. I’m not an advocate of the `great books’ idea. I just wish students were more familiar with the world’s great cultures. Cultures radically different from our own have some answers to questions students are asking.”
The College celebrated Straub’s appointment to the Griffith professorship, as well as the generosity of the Griffiths, on April 4 at the College, in conjuction with a series of events celebrating the conclusion of the Bates Campaign.
Tiné Talks His Way Through Europe
Named to the U.S. national debating team for its tour of Great Britain last winter, Bates powerhouse debater Chris Tiné ’96 proceeded to take the British Isles by storm.
Tiné was selected by the Committee on International Discussion and Debate (CIDD) of the national Speech Communication Association. As the third Bates student ever selected for a U.S. team, Tiné continues a distinguished Bates debate tradition that began with Charles Radcliffe ’50’s selection to the first U.S. team in 1950 and William Norris ’68’s appointment to the 1968 U.S. squad. “Chris is among the most talented debaters I have coached at Bates,” said Professor of Rhetoric Robert Branham. “He’s a very compelling speaker with real presence and insight.”
Tiné teamed up with partner Richard Pineda, a graduate student at the University of Texas, El Paso. Branham, director of debate at Bates and Eastern states representative on the CIDD, served as coach for the U.S. team, working with the pair in tuneup debates on the Bates campus before their departure for London.
The pair debated approximately two dozen times on a variety of topics at universities throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, with an unexpected invitation to Portugal scheduled at the last minute. The events, hosted by the English-Speaking Union, included London appearances at University College, King’s College, and Gray’s Inn (a law school for barristers).
English-Speaking Union event organizer Richard Chambers dispatched a transatlantic report on the U.S. debaters’ performance: “The team went up to Scotland, where they took part in the Marquis of Bute debating championships at the University of St. Andrews, whose debating society is reckoned to be the oldest in the world, established in 1794. The team reached the final, where Chris won Best Speaker. Everyone tells me they should have won, but a Scottish-dominated judging panel gave it to the only Scottish team taking part. They won bottles of vintage port and parcels of gourmet food.”
Debate organizers in Portugal, eager to develop parliamentary debating in their country, invited the two Americans — funded by the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Information Service — along with two of the best British debaters, to stage a series of exhibition debates, including a couple of “Yanks vs. Brits” encounters. “This is a very exciting development for the tour,” said Chambers. “We are all very pleased with it — Chris, especially so, as the temperature in Lisbon is considerably warmer than London at the moment.”
Is Bates Barneyland?
Much to the amusement of the assembled audience in Chase Hall, several metaphoric references to Barney, the love-him-or-hate-him purple dinosaur, crept their way into a lighthearted Quimby Debate Council debate last semester.
The debate’s proposition — “Should Bates have an honor code?” –grew from a recommendation within the recent report issued by the College’s strategic planning committee, known as Goals 2005.
The Goals 2005 Report (paper copies of which are available through the President’s Office) offers a wide-ranging discussion of Bates strenghts and aspirations. At its conclusion, the report also offers more than seventy “action steps” — practical suggestions Bates might implement to support a vision of Bates by 2005, the College’s sesquicentennial.
It was action step 2d — that the College “initiat[e] processes for consideration and adoption of an honor code” — that caught the watchful eyes of the Quimby Debate Council. “It’s only one line in a long report,” said debater Rebecca Goetz ’00, “but the implications are huge.”
Goetz and fellow students Mark Boudreau ’99 and Jason Hall ’97 represented the Opposition in the debate. Representing the Government’s pro-code position was Corey Norton ’97, Susanne Bines ’98, and Tamara Bucknell-Pogue ’99.
Norton opened the debate by suggesting that an honor code would instill greater personal responsibility and accountability among Bates students, thereby strengthening the campus community and the trust students have in one another. (While the Government didn’t explicitly define the features of a possible Bates honor code, throughout the debate the central element of such a code was assumed to be unproctored take-home exams.)
Goetz was first up for the Opposition. She chided the Government for presenting a “warm-n-fuzzy” view of college life. “The function of college life is to prepare you for the real world,” she said. “And the real world demands more than a loosey-goosey” approach to deadlines and the like. “The pressure of a proctored exam in a classroom is a learning tool itself,” she said.
Goetz poked fun at the Government’s contention that an honor code would create more trust at Bates. “That sounds Barneyesque: I trust you, you trust me,” she sang, parodying Barney’s greatest hit. “There’s already a huge amount of trust at Bates. An honor code won’t improve that.”
She also raised the specter that cheating might increase under an honor code, which would only destroy the trust among students. “That will only cause resentment among students,” she said, to which the Government Suzanne Bines ’98 offered this rejoinder, continuing the pop-culture references: “Bates is not Melrose Place. It is Barneyland. We are trustworthy. We will not cheat.”
Bates Welcomes New Treasurer
In mid April, the College welcomed only the fourth Bates treasurer of this century when Peter C. Fackler began work as vice president for financial affairs and treasurer.
Fackler comes to Bates from Alfred (New York) University, where since 1986 he served as treasurer and vice president for business and finance. He also has held financial-management positions at West Chester (Pennsylvania) University and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. A 1967 graduate of Duke University, Fackler earned his M.B.A. at Michigan in 1974.
As Bates’s chief financial officer, Fackler will provide strategic leadership for the College’s financial and administrative systems; he also will exercise fiscal and budgetary oversight over all areas of the College.
Fackler’s direct management responsibilities will include the personnel office, Facility Services, the controller’s office, dining services, and the College store.
His fiscal responsibilities include oversight of the College’s annual budgeting process, management of financial operations, and custody and control of the College’s assets in conjunction with the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees.
Fackler also will coordinate and oversee all major capital projects undertaken by the College, on and off campus.
Fackler succeeds Bernard R. Carpenter as College treasurer (see related story) and becomes just the fourth Bates treasurer in this century and tenth in the College’s 142-year history. This select twentieth-century group also includes Norman Ross ’22 (assistant bursar 1924-28, bursar 1928-64, treasurer 1964-69), George Lane, Jr. (1918 to 1964), and Franklin Drew (1894-1918).
Tuition Up, But…
The cost of attending Bates during 1997-98 will be $28,650, an increase of 4.5 percent over the current comprehensive fee of $27,415.
In a February letter to Bates parents and students, President Harward credited the College’s fund-raising efforts for helping to keep recent fee increases to less than 5 percent for the fifth year in a row, compared with double-digit increases — some as high as 16 percent — in the 1980s. By increasing annual gift and endowment revenues (two successfully met goals of the recently completed Bates Campaign), Bates is less dependent than ever on income from the comprehensive fee.
“In 1989-90, the College depended on the comprehensive fee for 86 percent of its revenues,” wrote President Harward. “We have steadily reduced that percentage by increasing other resources and by reducing costs wherever possible.” In 1997-98, less than 76 percent of Bates revenue will come from the fees charged to students and their families.
For the coming year, Bates has allocated $11 million in financial aid. For the current academic year, 43 percent of Bates students receive need-based, College-administered scholarships and grants, with an average award of nearly $13,000. The average financial-aid package, including loans and campus employment, is $18,477.
While working to remain accessible and affordable, the College also has continued to invest in itself. Among other projects, a $1.1-million library renovation this year has improved access to electronic information sources and improved student study areas. This spring, Bates has broken ground on its most ambitious building project, the new academic building, pegged at $18.5 million.Lewiston Native (Again!) Awarded Ruggles Prize
“I’m not traditional. I never do things by the book,” declared Lewiston native Tracy Gregoire ’98, recently named the 1997 Ruggles Scholar, a fellowship awarded annually to a junior for academic excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. She especially prizes a refrigerator magnet imprinted with the credo: “Don’t go where the path leads. Go where there is no path and leave a trail.”Gregoire’s less-traveled path has included a self-designed interdisciplinary major in environmental studies, inspired in large measure by work with her mentor Pete Blaze Corcoran, associate professor of eduacation. She’s also a high-profile environmental advocate on campus who has helped to implement several “green” programs for the College and the local community.
Gregoire’s academic and extracurricular work has focused on the relationship between Bates and the Lewiston-Auburn community. Her senior thesis considers the College’s waste stream, its impact on the surrounding L-A area, and how members of the Bates Community can work together to reduce waste. Her research will examine environmental, economic, and ethical issues.
“I’m a Batesie and a townie at the same time,” said Gregoire, the second L-A resident in three years to earn the Ruggles distinction. “It’s a really neat perspective and has helped me to realize what I know and don’t know about Lewiston.” Wearing two hats, said Gregoire, “has driven me to learn more about what’s myth and what’s fact, to learn about history and local issues, and to help improve relationships between Bates and the local area.”
Gregoire earns raves from the Bates faculty. “I am most impressed with her indefatigable efforts to promote environmental concern in all aspects of life at Bates,” said John Smedley, associate professor of physics and a coordinator of the college’s environmental studies program. “I can’t think of a better example of a student who has so thoroughly combined her life’s passion with her education.”
Gregoire will use her $1,000 fellowship to attend a number of conferences focused on environmental education. She plans to complete her teacher-certification training in the physical sciences with a student-teaching position in earth science at Lewiston High School, her secondary school alma mater, in 1997-98. Eventually, she wants to work with students of all ages.
The Ruggles Scholar Program was established in 1995 through a gift from Robert T. and Francine Paré Ruggles, the parents of Anne Ruggles Parisier, M.D. ’83. The program recognizes exceptional undergraduate achievement and offers encouragementand incentive to further cultivate this record of merit.Thrill of Collaboration
For Robert Feintuch, lecturer in art, and William Matthews, professor of music, the joy of collaboration on the innovative project MINE subsumed any proprietary instinct. “I never worked with collaborators on that level who were that obsessive about detail,” Matthews said with delight. Feintuch agreed: “It was thrilling. Absolutely thrilling. I would love to work collaboratively again. There were lots of possibilities I hadn’t considered before, and we learned a lot.”The project got started when artist Rona Pondick – acclaimed for her provocative sculpture and site installations – was commissioned by the cutting-edge Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) to participate in its 1996 Next Wave Festival. In its second season, the festival enables visual artists to create work for the stage using theater, music, and dance. Feintuch, Pondick’s husband of twenty-one years, soon joined the project as a codirector. Pondick and Feintuch, both masters of innovation who explore psychological themes in their work, then widened their creative circle by soliciting the talents of composer Matthews, among others.
After more than twenty months of planning and rehearsals, the artists staged four forty-five-minute performances of MINE at the Brooklyn Museum last November for what Matthews called “sold-out houses of very critical audiences.”
For the performance, the museum expanded its majestic, Beaux Arts Grand Lobby into a theater space. Accompanied by a pianist and recorded music, six dancers – one miked as a singer – performed on a set filled with Pondick’s work, including a thirty-foot-high door and a twenty-two-foot bed covered with the words “I want.” Larger-than-life ears (Feintuch has worked for seven or eight years exclusively on the theme of ears) and a set of larger-than-life chomping teeth complemented the vista.
So what was the production about? “The impossibility of romantic love, infantilism, and gender difficulties … all those great New York things,” Matthews said.
Portions of Matthews’s music were based on avant-garde composer Spike Jones’s “You Only Hurt the One You Love” and “None but the Lonely Heart.” Using a computer, Matthews time-stretched one of Jones’s chords and “swirled it around the audience, with eight channels of sound. I did a lot of manipulation,” he said. “It sounds like Spike Jones going down a long tunnel.”
Matthews then used the language of the Jones music for inspiration to compose two original works, “The Tango of Self-Abuse” followed by “The Toilet Opera,” replete with bathroom noises.
Come on Batesies Light My fire
You can’t say that Bates students hold their candles under a bushel — not after a ban on candles sparked student protest on campus.
The controversy began with the announcement of a new policy last fall — similar to those instituted at colleges like Connecticut, Bowdoin, Williams, and Colby — that bans open-flame candles from College housing.
The new policy touched off a firestorm in The Bates Student, with articles and editorials week after week discussing students’ “sacred” right to burn candles. Night after night, students sat outside Commons gathering signatures for a petition to alter the policy, and the Representative Assembly discussed the policy and student reactions in their weekly Monday-night meetings.
Eric Germain, director of safety at the College, half-joked that students might protest the policy with a candle-light vigil outside his office.
For some, the policy struck an in loco parentis nerve. The Student editorialized that the policy “is patronizing, unnecessary,… and a serious violation of privacy.”
In case you missed it, candles are the lava lamps of the mid-1990s (and even those ’70s icons are making a comeback). “Candles are becoming a bigger business,” says Daniel Aubut, owner of The Grateful Earth, a small specialty store on College Street.
Candles have always been a part of religious observances, said John Strong, professor of religion. A candle is also a “symbolic offering of the seasons,” he added, especially during the depths of a Bates winter. He says the candle promises the “return of light” that people might seek on a dark, snowy evening. “The candle is a symbol of “life, the renewal of life, and the self.”
Students use candles for many purposes. Jessica Cheney ’97 burns candles after a long day of classes and work. “I burn them to relax. Candles are very soothing.” Some students burn scented candles and say the aroma has a calming effect on the body. Max Dawson ’98 uses candles for meditational purposes. “It gives a nice, soft lighting to the room and allows my mind to focus.” Dawson says that the effect of the candle is calming and the lighting of it becomes a ritualistic moment for him.
However, other students say the candle controversy has gone to far. “I really don’t care, except when it comes down to an issue of safety,” said Michael Ferry ’97. Indeed, candles have already been the cause of minor fires on campus, and a room in Parker Hall recently sustained $1,000 damage as the result of fire started by an unattended candle, though no one was hurt.
David Soley ’80 Challenges Maine’s `Scarlet Letter’ Law
Maine voters last fall passed one of the most unusual Maine referendums ever — and one of the most confusing and unconstitutional, according to constitutional lawyer David Soley ’80.
The citizen-initiated referendum, now Maine law, requires a ballot label to appear beside the name of any incumbent candidate who does not support the specific wording of a proposed U.S. constitutional amendment on term limits for U.S. representatives and senators. This ballot label will read “violated voter instructions on term limits.”
That’s not all. If challenging candidates don’t sign a pledge
to work toward the term-limit amendment, a label will appear next to their names that reads “refused to support term limits.”
Though the labels won’t be in red, the new rule has been called the “Scarlet Letter” law for its similarity to the public censorship and humiliation endured by Hawthorne’s Hester Pryne.
Soley, a partner with the Portland law firm of Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, believes the referendum passed because of its misleading name, “The Maine Congressional Term Limits Act of 1996″ — which implied that the referendum would limit the terms of elected officials (it doesn’t). As it was worded on the ballot, the referendum question did not mention that labels will appear next to the names of political candidates who do not support term limits. “It was impossible to understand,” said Soley. “When I tried to explain to people what they were actually voting for, they were amazed.”
Citizen-initiated referendums have grown in popularity in Maine in recent years, but have been criticized for oversimplify complex issues. With little explanatory language included, the referendums typically boil down major public-policy questions into a tight, one-sentence question.
Soley is challenging the Scarlet Letter law on a pro bono basis for the League of Women Voters of Maine and two Maine legislators.
If you ever lived in Rand Hall, you noticed him in early morning, walking from his home on Mountain Avenue to his office in Lane Hall, slowing only to scoop up the rare piece of trash.Though not a familiar face, retiring College treasurer Bernard R. Carpenter has played an important role in the look of the Bates campus over the last three decades. A treasurer is a college’s chief financial officer, and within that wide-ranging job is responsibility for all building projects. Though he has managed some of the most important campus improvements in College history, “Bernie” Carpenter says the best part about Bates is the people: “They’re absolutely the best in the world,” he says. “There’s nobody better.”
An approachable, hands on-sort, Carpenter is as comfortable patrolling a dusty College construction site as he is sorting through blueprints and computer printouts in his Lane Hall office, where every day is busy — except at 10 a.m., when the pace slows for a cup of hot chocolate. “No particular brand,” laughs longtime secretary Jacqueline Grenier, who retires this spring alongside her boss. “He’s been great. When people can’t find what they’re looking for, they land here on his doorstep, and he’s just as welcoming as possible.”
For Carpenter, working with Grenier for twenty-three of his thirty years at Bates “has enabled me to accomplish so much more than I would have otherwise,” he said. “I joke about Jackie letting me work here, but there’s more truth than poetry in that.”
More often than not, Carpenter has the information people seek. In the back of his date book, for example, he has a hand-written note with all the recent Bates building projects and their costs and square footages. In his office, rising impressively from a sheaf of papers on a nearby table, is the document that lists every specification for the new academic building, from where the front door should be to the location of every electrical socket. “Three inches thick,” he estimates.
Carpenter’s unassuming office decor hasn’t changed much over the years. One of the chairs is a Ladd Library prototype he tested out for a few months before ordering for the new library in 1973.
“Thorough and prepared,” is how Trustee Richard Coughlin ’53 of Cape Elizabeth describes Carpenter. When the Trustee Executive Committee meets in Boston, Coughlin would sometimes catch a ride with Carpenter. “It takes two hours to get to Boston from Exit 7 on I-95,” said Coughlin. “Bernie always allowed for three hours. That’s the way he is.”
Carpenter arrived at Bates in 1967 as business manager and assistant treasurer.
The building projects he’s overseen at Bates have addressed some of the most pressing needs in the College’s history, including Ladd Library in 1973, Merrill Gymnasium in 1980, Olin Arts Center in 1987, the Carnegie Science Hall renovation and addition in 1989, the Residential Village in 1993, Underhill Arena in 1994, and the proposed new academic building, whose groundbreaking was this spring.Carpenter will remain involved with this project after his retirement.
Just recently, Bates held a “pre-bid” conference on the academic building project, where potential contractors meet with College officials to clear up any questions about the project or plans. “It was a very quiet pre-bid conference — as it should be,” said Coughlin, who chairs the Trustee Committee on Grounds and Buildings. “That’s Bernie’s style, and it’s the sign of a pretty good start.”
Coughlin gives credit to the team that Carpenter assembled over the years, which included Phil Meldrum, plant engineer, and recently retired Director of Facility Services Walter Wood.”We had a good family and we worked together well,” said Wood. “Bernie has high standards — Bates standards. He always said that we should build everything to last at least a hundred years.”