Response to "Masks"

Courtney Murphy | Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday, the Whitworthian published an online opinions article where the author discussed a personal experience with discrimination on campus.

This morning, the office of diversity, equity & inclusion issued a statement via Whitworth Advisory email called "Whitworth Committed to Safe Learning Environment" responding to the article and stating their commitment to "creating and sustaining a learning community that provides a safe and constructive environment for all students."

Contact Courtney Murphy at cmurphy18@my.whitworth.edu.

Read the statement in full below.


Dear Whitworth Community,

In a recent online article published in The Whitworthian, an anonymous Whitworth student details an alleged experience with racial discrimination in the classroom. The university became aware of this situation in the middle of Jan Term, and it began a timely and formal investigation pursuant to its antidiscrimination and harassment policies. As part of the initial inquiry into these allegations, and before any formal investigation was initiated, the student, the professor, and other individuals familiar with the allegation were interviewed multiple times. In addition to myself, the university provost, associate provost and members of the office of student diversity, equity & inclusion were deeply invested in discovering the truth. After those initial conversations, the student declined to file a formal complaint and has refused to participate in a formal investigation. Despite the student’s refusal to participate, the university has continued its formal inquiry, and no determination of racial discrimination has been made to date.

The university takes any such allegation seriously, which is why a formal and thorough investigation was launched even after the student decided against filing a formal complaint. The university has been, and continues to be, very invested in this matter. Whitworth’s faculty, staff and administration agree that there is no tolerance for the mistreatment of students, either inside or outside of the classroom, based on race, gender, nationality, ableness, sexual orientation, or any other dimension of human difference. Additionally, the university remains committed to creating and sustaining a learning community that provides a safe and constructive environment for all students. Any behavior that devalues another human being is not consistent with the university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, a commitment grounded in the university’s Christ-centered mission.

Sincerely,
Lorna Hernandez Jarvis, Ph.D.
Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Whitworth Universit

ASWU executive-elects speak on their hopes for the future, campaign experience

 ASWU president-elect Tersa Almaw wants to get students involved with events on campus.

ASWU president-elect Tersa Almaw wants to get students involved with events on campus.

Cambria Pilger | Staff Writer

The results from the recent election resulted in junior Tersa Almaw as president, sophomore Andrews Boateng as executive vice president and sophomore Chelsea Shearer as financial vice president. Each elect had a different experience during the campaign process and looks forward to working in ASWU and developing new relationships within the Whitworth community.

Almaw wants to better unite Whitworthians in order to give them a shared experience as well as to find new ways to get more students involved in events, she said. She also hopes to spark conversation about the issues in our community.

Boateng desires to help Whitworth students become more service-oriented both on and off campus. He plans to make ASWU more inclusive through brainstorming how to incorporate different groups that do not feel like their voices are being heard currently.

One of Shearer’s goals is to make the responsibilities of the financial vice president role more known and present at Whitworth. She plans to meet with club leaders frequently and to create a comfortable environment for students to talk with her. Along with clubs and club leaders, Shearer will continue meeting new people on campus, she said.

 EVP-elect Andrews Boateng hopes to make ASWU a more transparent organization.

EVP-elect Andrews Boateng hopes to make ASWU a more transparent organization.

“I think next year there’s going to be a lot of changes,” Shearer said. “I think there were so many more people voting in this election because they want change, and so I think that Teri and Andrews and I are going to implement a lot more of what students have been asking for.”

As president, Almaw also hopes to integrate intersectionality because it is very important to her, she said. Since she is taking fewer credits next semester than she usually does, Almaw said she will have more time to serve and give all that she can to the community.

One of Boateng’s goals is to make ASWU more transparent. He will work alongside Shearer to communicate with students about how their money is being used.

During the campaign, balancing work, school, campaigning and time to be alone was a challenge, Almaw said. Meeting up with new people, encouraging them to vote, and being surrounded by people for long periods was overwhelming at times, she said. It was exciting to meet new people, however, and taught her to push herself out of her comfort zone and genuinely talk to people. She learned to interact with people more and reach out to others, she said.

 FVP-elect Chelsea Shearer wants to create a comfortable environment for club leaders.

FVP-elect Chelsea Shearer wants to create a comfortable environment for club leaders.

Boateng said he is glad that students were able to experience democracy on campus during the election and to get involved. The campaign period was not long enough to fully campaign, he said. He wishes there had been more time to meet one-on-one with students and to hear everyone’s voices.

“I want us to put whatever happened in the election behind us and work towards a common goal of making this campus a better place,” Boateng said. “My message is we can coexist despite our differences. I want us to be united no matter what you believe; no matter who you are.”

For Shearer, the campaign gave her time to relate to others on campus, she said. It was challenging to manage time, especially when balancing door-to-door visits, campaigning, and talking to others.

The elections were a stressful time for all the candidates, Shearer said. It was a lot of work but very fun. The candidates each grew together and realized that students want change and new ideas, she said.

Contact Cambria Pilger at cpilger21@my.whitworth.edu.

President Taylor leads blessing ceremony for new Beeksma family theology center

Cambria Pilger| Staff Writer 

As the new Beeksma Family Theology Center construction is underway, president Beck Taylor held a blessing ceremony for the new space. The ceremony took place in the chapel on April 12 with attendees from the board of trustees as well as Whitworth students, faculty and staff.

Breaking ground on a new project is always exciting at Whitworth, Taylor said. It is a tradition to gather and pray for safety of those working on the project as well as for successful completion, he said.

 Ian Busik|Photographer   President Taylor giving a speech at the blessing ceremony of the new Beeksma family theology center 

Ian Busik|Photographer 

President Taylor giving a speech at the blessing ceremony of the new Beeksma family theology center 

During the ceremony, Taylor introduced another gift for Whitworth’s campus ministry. The donors, who wish to remain anonymous, gifted $3 million to establish an endowed dean of spiritual life position. This gift will allow for expanded campus ministry programs and increased chapel staff. It is believed to be the first of its kind among the nation’s Christian colleges and universities, according to a Whitworth press release from April 12, 2018.

“I think one of the main focuses and part of why this is happening is to keep Christ in the center, and this ceremony is a good way to bring everybody together and reaffirm that and just to pray over everything to come and to continue to keep Christ in the center,” sophomore Andrew Beeksma said.

Campus pastor Forrest Buckner said the ceremony was a time to acknowledge God as the giver of all gifts and to take time to receive this gift from God. It is also a chance to thank the amazing people who have given these gifts to make the project possible, he said.

It is a celebration of where the university is headed and a chance to get excited about what campus ministry and life in the chapel will be like next year, junior Tom Dale said.

There have been many supporters and sponsors for the project. The biggest contribution came from the Beeksma family, primarily Barney and Joyce Beeksma, for whom the project is named. The family donated $1.5 million in total.

 Ian Busik|Photographer   Crowd gathered to attend the blessing ceremony of the Beeksma family theology center 

Ian Busik|Photographer 

Crowd gathered to attend the blessing ceremony of the Beeksma family theology center 

Along with their donation, Barney and Joyce Beeksma charged Whitworth with the task of keeping Christ at the center of all that happens on campus, Taylor said.

Whitworth’s mission is to expand God’s kingdom through higher education. The recent gifts and chapel expansion contribute to that mission of honoring God, following Christ, and serving humanity, Taylor said.

“I love creating new spaces for students to congregate, to relate to one another, to grow in relationship, to walk through life together,” Taylor said.

Buckner said the new space will also allow more students to engage in campus ministry and have natural connection with other faculty, staff, and students.

The Seeley G. Mudd chapel was first constructed in 1978. Increases in the theology department caused the department to recenter to Westminster. Theology professor Jerry Sittser originally presented his idea for the expansion to Taylor. He had a vision to re-center the theology department back into the chapel.

The renovation will be finished by the beginning of fall 2018, and there will be a formal dedication of the completed project on Oct. 11, 2018.

The theology center expansion will bring new offices for more than 20 faculty and staff as well as new student spaces. There will be a new audio and video system, more restrooms and increased seating.

The ceremony ended with a prayer of dedication from Buckner and a congressional sing of “Amazing Grace”.






 

ASWU holds annual executive debates

Cambria Pilger| Staff Writer 

Whitworth students and staff gathered to watch the ASWU executive candidate debate in Lied Square on Tuesday, April 10. After an introduction from each of the six candidates, the candidates answered general questions, positions-specific questions and questions from audience members.

Each candidate ran for one of three ASWU positions: president, executive vice president, and financial vice president. The candidates for ASWU president were juniors Tersa Almaw and Hunter Smit. The candidates for executive VP were sophomore Andrews Boateng and senior Ethan Clardy, and sophomores Chelsea Shearer and Bakari Green were running for the financial VP position.

Each candidate spoke on the issues they believe need change and the change they want to implement. They all said that they hope to represent students more.

Each candidate also said they have learned how to manage their time well through being involved on campus in academics, clubs, work, and relationships.

Almaw said she wants to create a space in which students can talk, come together and discuss important issues without being separated by differences. The ASWU president should lead others toward positive moral change and invite all students to respect one another and come together, she said.

“Listening allows understanding. Listening allows engagement in the conversation,” Almaw said.

Smit said he hopes to make ASWU more transparent and open and to become friends with people to make himself more accessible as president. In ASWU it is important to ask hard questions, seek the truth, and look at issues in a more binary way without letting personal agenda and personal political beliefs get in the way, he said.

“Leadership in general, when you can inspire people to do the best work possible, is great,” Smit said.

Clardy said it is important to ask questions and learn other perspectives. As  EVP, the main role is to reach out to senators and make sure ideas are addressed. He wants to input more clubs, bring ASWU members to more casual events, and take all voices into consideration when voting on topics, he said.

 Ian Busik| Photographer  From left to right sophomore Andrews Boateng, senior Ethan Clardy, juniors ersa Almaw and Hunter Smit, and sophomores Chelsea Shearer and Bakari Green.

Ian Busik| Photographer

From left to right sophomore Andrews Boateng, senior Ethan Clardy, juniors ersa Almaw and Hunter Smit, and sophomores Chelsea Shearer and Bakari Green.

Boateng said he wants to work closely with senators to make sure they represent the residents and to be open and available so people can reach out to him. People want more transparency and inclusion and want their voices to be heard, he said. Whitworth has come a long way, but it is time to begin moving in the right direction, he said.

Beside international students, there are also many other minority groups such as first-generation students, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities. Boateng said it is important to listen to all voices and not downplay or lift up one over another. He said he hopes to do so by going to different meetings and fostering communication.

Shearer said she wants to implement clear expectations of what’s going to happen throughout the year with ASWU and the Whitworth community. ASWU is the main thing that ties Whitworth together and presents a strong sense of community, she said.

It is important to work one-on-one with the clubs and leaders as financial VP, she said. If elected, she hopes to bring communication and compassion in the role.

Honest communication is the best policy, Green said. Through his experience, he said he has noticed that some clubs feel left out on campus, and he hopes to pursue a relationship with clubs and their leadership.

Executives should be reaching out to people on campus, regardless of position, Green said. It is important to empower the LGBTQ+ community to have its own voice as well as to learn from and support them from a basis of self-determination rather than his own actions.

Many of the candidates were asked questions regarding the international students on campus, because of recent discussions regarding the addition of an international student representative position in ASWU.

Almaw said the international student representative position is a way to advocate for those students and include them. International students are considered a minority and need to be better represented, she said. For this to become possible, ASWU needs to immerse itself in the community of international students, she said. It’s important for ASWU to be intentional about what it is doing and to include and join those students, she said.

Smit thinks international students and students that don’t fit the typical Whitworth “vibe” are underrepresented, he said. If elected, he plans to have personal conversations with students who do not feel like they fit in and work with them to allow them to feel more connected and accepted across campus to the best of his ability, he said.

The general elections will take place Thursday, April 12 and Friday, April 13. The results will be announced over the weekend.

Beeksma Theology Center breaks ground

Ezekiel Pagaduan| Staff Writer

Whitworth University officially announced a $ 1.5 million chapel expansion last Oct. 25, 2017. The remodeled Seeley Mudd Chapel will become a new home for the theology department, office of church engagement and campus ministries. The money for the expansion was donated by Barney and Joyce Beeksma, and it will be named The Beeksma Family Theology Center.

The new facility will provide a bigger worship space and new offices for the theology department. “The university has been planning to do this renovation,” said Forrest Buckner, dean of spiritual life and campus pastor.

There are going to be three major elements. The first is the addition of offices for the theology department and office of church engagement, next is renovation and update of existing chapel. The goal is to have a new wing for students and faculty to use for meetings, Buckner said. This will also help to clearly distinguish between campus ministry and the academic department of theology. The new renovation will also provide more workable space for the office of church and engagement

Buckner said, the university has been planning for a chapel renovation for several years.      

“It’s going to be great for the experience of students who will take theology classes and who are involved in theology, as well as the church engagement. The new offices of church engagement will help Whitworth connect with the broader church community around the world and this has been beneficial to many students,” Buckner said.

This new addition will help the chapel be accessible to a lot more people, Buckner said.

 Illustration courtesy of Forrest Buckner

Illustration courtesy of Forrest Buckner

“The purpose of building and renovating the place is to make a more warm and welcoming space for students, ministry staff, and people that will visit Whitworth,” Buckner said.

The extension to the chapel will be in front of Ballard and McMillan hall.

“I am happy for the theology department that they will get to have more space. However, I am a chagrined that construction is going on during the pre-frosh visiting that is happening because normally when they are visiting they see the natural beauty of  BMac, ... and the Ballard boardwalk will also be blocked for the moment,” junior Ballard resident. Chloe Taton said.

Barney Beeksma is a Whitworth alum and three of his grandchildren currently attend Whitworth.

“To my knowledge, my grandfather Barney Beeksma wanted to donate money toward the theology department because he wanted to see more of Jesus in our campus and he made the donation last year and now the construction has started,” senior Stuart Beeksma is resident assistant in Macmillan Hall, said.

“I have heard from a couple of people from the BMac community some complaints that because they love to frolf that this might interrupt their frolfing, but it is a worthwhile disruption other than the view disruption,” he said.

 The renovation project will continue through the summer and will finish fall of 2018 before classes start.




 

Help-a-Pirate teams up-with Sodexo

Ezekiel Pagaduan| Staff Writer

After receiving its full funding from One Pine Day, the Help-a-Pirate Meal Assistance program will provide meals from Sodexo to students experiencing food insecurity. Meal Assistance Program  (MAP) is an expansion of the Help-a-Pirate program which provides funding for students in the event of personal emergencies.

MAP will allow students to focus on their studies rather than hunger and will ease their worries about meeting this basic need.

Tim Caldwell, director of residence life, meets with students and helps connect them to MAP’s benefits.

“This program was started in 2015 and it seeks to find creative ways to help students in need of assistance. This assistance won’t affect their financial aid. For example, the assistance can take the form of a gift card that is being donated by faculty or staff who wants to help,” Caldwell said.

If a staff or faculty member notices or identifies a student, they can reach out to the program for help, Caldwell said.

James O’Brien, general manager of food and services at Sodexo works with Caldwell to help identify and provide meals to students who would benefit from the program.

“Recent studies have reported that approximately 20 percent of all college students at four-year universities will experience some form of food insecurity during their time in college,” O’Brien said.

Students have donated meals to help fellow students. Faculty and staff have also been a major support to the program,  O’Brien said.

“I think that off-campus students would benefit from this because they are the ones that struggle the most in terms of getting meals,” O’Brien said.

“Help-A-Pirate was started  by Whitworth aiming to pay attention to student needs, but  we needed to be creative in order for the “help” to not impact student’s financial aid in a negative way, so a committee of student life, academic affairs, and administration created a process for faculty and staff to provide gift cards for students in need,” director of student success Landon Crecelius said.

The MAP program had a goal of $3,500 for One Pine Day and received $4,281. In the future when the program is more structured and is more established,  many people can donate or benefit from this program, O’Brien said.

 

The “Arguing Bucs” win first place

Abebaye Bekele| News Editor

The Whitworth forensics team won first place in the National Christian College Forensics Association National Tournament(NCCFA).

The 21st national Christian College Forensics Invitational was held from March 8-10.

This tournament, held at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, CA, included 19 Christian schools from 14 states who are members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) or have a similar Christian commitment, according to the forensics team press release.

“The way that the scoring works, you really have the opportunity to add up everybody’s points, so all 13 Pirates contributed to the team victory,” said Mike Ingram, professor of communication studies and director of forensics.

Sophomore Jessie Lewis took second place in junior varsity.

“It is really a unique competition because it is nationals for one, and for two, because it is the Christian college event and so when we get to all sit down with all of those other Christian students. It is really cool because we get to have fellowship time and it is not as ruthless as the rest of other tournaments,” Lewis said.

The tournament’s theme verse is Colossians 4:6: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

“You actually get to talk with your opponents more afterward; they are more willing to talk to you. It is just nice knowing that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and that we are all working toward the same goal; to have intellectual conversation about things that matter and not tear each other down,” Lewis said.

 Photo courtesy of Mike Ingram 

Photo courtesy of Mike Ingram 

Sophomore Tucker Wilson won the national championship for After Dinner Speaking.

“The people that go there (NCCFA) go very intentionally because it is the national tournament, it is a big stage. It is a very prestigious thing to do well there because everyone there is really talented,” Wilson said.

Freshman Brendan Thompson won the national championship for novice informative.

Thompson is an engineering major who has participated in debate and speech since the age of 12.

“I have always been passionate about math and science and a lot of math concepts people just push off and science concepts people say it is too complicated for me. I have been really passionate about explaining different math and science concepts to other people,” Thompson said. “My speech this year was on gravitational waves, how they work and how they were discovered. My favorite part was how I was able to explain that to any person or any judge that came by. So, I really want to be able to take that into whatever career I go into.”

The team this year is composed of two-thirds freshmen and male which is unique because usually, the majority of the members are female, Ingram said.  

“I am really proud of them for having stepped up to the plate and creating so much success this year because they are freshmen and some of them did not have any experience coming in this year,” Lewis said.

The next debate tournament, International Public Debate Association (IPDA), will be hosted at Whitworth University from March 24-27.

“IPDA has its roots in the American South and it has only been out of the South twice. It was at Boise State in 2015,” Ingram said. “It is the first time on the West Coast, the first time in Spokane and the first time on our campus.”

The team hopes people will be able to attend the IPDA tournament despite spring break.  

Thirty to 50 schools are expected to take part in the upcoming IPDA tournament.


 

Students walk out in support of gun control

Cambria Pilger| Staff Writer

Students across the country participated in a national walkout in support of gun control on March 14. The demonstration took place at Whitworth University as well as many other high schools and colleges in the United States. Whitworth attendees gathered at the campanile at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes, each minute to honor a different victim of the recent Parkland shooting in Florida.

 Photo courtesy of Maria Smith 

Photo courtesy of Maria Smith 

After the students, faculty, and staff met at the campanile sophomore Darian Kagawa-Burke spoke in remembrance of the many recent shootings across the country. Kagawa-Burke was one of the students leading the demonstration at Whitworth.

Around 10:07 a.m. the participants took a moment of silence to remember those who have been affected by shootings and those who continue to be affected.

Sophomore Kirsten Speer, another student who organized the event, shared statistics about the mass shootings that have taken place this year and last year. She encouraged the participants to start open discussion in town halls, classes, or residence halls and to reach out to legislators or congressman to voice their opinions.

“If you want change, you can’t be idle,” Speer said.

The national walkout was an attempt “to protest Congress’ inaction...in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods,” according to the #ENOUGH National School Walkout website.

Speer and Kagawa-Burke organized the demonstration at Whitworth University after hearing about the national event. They created a Facebook event and invited students, faculty, and staff to participate, Speer said.

“I think the biggest message is just that we can all come together as one and stand in solidarity for something so important, no matter what your political beliefs are,” Speer said.

 Photo courtesy of Cambria Pilger 

Photo courtesy of Cambria Pilger 

There has been both positive and negative feedback in response to the walkout, Speer said.

Alina Sunoo, one of the students at the demonstration, said she has not heard many responses either negatively or positively but rather neutral reactions to her involvement.

Senior Madison Artis said that some of his co-workers thought his participation was great while others found it “laughable.”

“Others questioned the motivation of participating in the walkout as they did not realize it was purposely planned for one month after the Florida shooting,” Artis said.

Looking back in history, all the people that have been looked up to for advocating rights participated in events like this, and that is why it was important to get involved, Sunoo said. The number of students that participated exceeded expectations, but she wished even more people had showed up.

“Part of this act of expression is an act of protest; it’s an act of dissonance,” journalism professor Erica Salkin said. Salkin went to the demonstration to witness and be a part of the students’ involvement.

What made this walkout stand out from others is the inclusion and influence of social media, Salkin said. Students are using social media to continue the narrative of the demonstration and give it more voice, she said.

Speer said she hoped the walkout sent the message that students, faculty, and staff can come together, disagree with one another, work together, and make change.

“Whether you agree or disagree on gun control, then it’s still something that we can stand together for,” Speer said.

Just participating in the demonstration isn’t enough, Salkin said. If there is no follow-up to the protests, others may dismiss it as “novel”.

“It is important, both in the country and at Whitworth, for the lives of those lost to be remembered and honored, but a walkout without action thereafter will likely be forgotten,” Artis said.

Speer encourages others to have difficult talks with one another and to stand in solidarity, regardless of personal beliefs, about important issues like gun control.

 

 
JoinUS.jpg

ASWU passes a resolution in support of DACA

Abebaye Bekele| News Editor 

ASWU passed a resolution that affirms its support of undocumented students and immigrant communities.

The resolution states our support of a bipartisan DREAM Act or similar legislation offering a path to citizenship for undocumented youth without causing harm to other immigrants or undermining family unity; and calling on our members of Congress, including representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Senator Patty Murray to take leadership on this issue and sponsor legislative solutions that protect our fellow students, according to Resolution 2017-2018.

Senators, coordinators, and ASWU executives held a discussion with regards to the advantages and disadvantages of passing the resolution.

The importance and value of a resolution is that it does not happen often, and shows where the student government stands on important issues. The resolutions are posted on the ASWU website and it will be on the record so that people 10 years from now can see where the student body is standing, president Jeff DeBray said.

In the  ASWU meeting, Warren hall senator Ethan Clardy said that he had a prime time where he talked about the resolution with his residents. Students came and expressed their thoughts on the resolution, it was mostly positive. he also printed out the resolution and people came up and signed the resolution to show their support for DACA recipient.

 Ian Busik| Photographer   Cultural Events Coordinator M. Kamau Chege, Duvall & Oliver Hall Representative Jacob Seo. Oliver Senator Hannah Underwood.

Ian Busik| Photographer

Cultural Events Coordinator M. Kamau Chege, Duvall & Oliver Hall Representative Jacob Seo. Oliver Senator Hannah Underwood.

Arend senator Amber Van Brunt said that her residents are pleased with ASWU’s decision to pass this resolution. One resident, in particular, said that they feel proud to be a part of this inclusive community.

Various questions were asked at the meeting.

ASWU PR coordinator Hunter Smit said he has been asked about how ASWU chooses which national issues to take part in. Smit is in favor of the resolution.

“I believe that this topic is one that directly affects and impacts our students. Whenever there is something that comes up that puts our fellow Whitworthians at risk it is our responsibility as a student organization and student leaders on campus to be an ally and stand up for them whenever we can,” DeBray said.

Students also expressed their views on the resolution.

“Everybody wants to be proud of leadership that is in touch with their community is in touch with the social issues at large on a national scale and I think a lot of us are happy that ASWU that is standing for something that is very clear cut and very beneficial for the entire Spokane community,” sophomore Cat Corvalan said.

The resolution solidifies that ASWU stands with DACA recipients on campus, DeBray said. “So, it is both sending a message to the Whitworth community where the student government stands and to the Spokane community too where Whitworth is.” 

“Personally, I see Whitworth standing up as a pillar of support in the community and this will obviously be great help for the incoming first-year students that are looking at colleges that may be undocumented or may have family that doesn't feel safe I think Whitworth is starting to become an institution that is truly committed through action for their community,” Corvalan said.

ASWU passed the resolution on Feb. 23 and it was sent out to students through their senators. It can also be found on the ASWU website. The last resolution passed by ASWU was in 2014. It was in support of adding sexual orientation to list of protected identities for faculty and staff.

 

 

Students share their stories alongside activist Aisha Fukushima for the Diversity Monologues

Cambria Pilger | Staff writer 

Nine Whitworth students will share their stories alongside singer, speaker, educator and 'RAPtivist,' Aisha Fukushima, as part of the Diversity Monologues. The theme of the Diversity Monologues this year is beauty and how one comes to know beauty throughout their life. The event will take place on Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. in Cowles Auditorium.

“This is an opportunity for us as a Whitworth to write a new story of what it means to be...radically inclusive,” said assistant dean of student diversity, equity and inclusion, David Garcia.

The Diversity Monologues follow Whitworth’s mission of mind and heart, Garcia said. More than 100 people are involved in the planning and producing of the event, from Whitworth Composition Commons consultants to theater performance and tech assistants to sponsors. Forty-three students will be published in the Diversity Monologues publication, designed by junior Meghan Foulk.

“I never thought stories could be so powerful,” sophomore Utsal Shrestha said. Shrestha will be performing his monologue, called “Beauty of a Companion” at the event. “Even if you don’t go through that experience, a monologue is something where you can listen to someone, try to feel how they feel, and learn something from it, hopefully [bringing] some positive change.”

 Designed by Meghan Foulk 

Designed by Meghan Foulk 

When you first hear someone’s story, you both start on different tracks, but as you get to know it more, you find similarities between one another and eventually end up on the same track, Shrestha said.

Freshman Ribenson Darcy, one of the student performers, said he hopes the audience will keep an open-mind, listen well and try to find experiences or feelings that they have in common with the speakers.

“You get from it what you choose to get from it,” Darcy said.

Senior Hannah Howell, another student performer, said that she encourages the attendees to lean into what they hear and embrace the vulnerability of those sharing as well as those attending. It may be challenging for both the presenters as well as the audience members to learn about and relate with other students’ stories, she said.

“It’s open to everyone, really, to just tell their story, whatever it is,” sophomore Karen Sobtafo Alambong said. Sobtafo will also be performing at the event.

Garcia hopes that students come to hear narratives from fellow undergraduate, graduate, and continuing studies students and recognize that the performers will share “narratives that have been historically silenced and contain solutions to life’s most complex questions.”

Diversity Monologues is about the process bringing many people together to work with one another and share narratives, Garcia said.

“The Diversity Monologues is one way in which [Whitworth is] doing more to show...students, specifically of color or underrepresented students in general, that we are interested in their stories and we value them as students here,” Howell said.

At last year’s performance, students shared about issues that are not often openly talked about like living up in a different country before coming to America, being an orphan or growing up in a violent family, Shrestha said.

Shrestha attended the most recent Diversity Monologues and developed a new sense of the performers and what motivates and has shaped them. Last year’s performance gave him hope to share his own story and reasoning to make it worthwhile.

Michael Benitez Jr. started the Diversity Monologues at Penn State in the 1990s and later spread it to other universities. Garcia has led the event at Whitworth for three years. The theme of Whitworth’s first Diversity Monologues in 2015 was “community,” and Benitez Jr. joined the students during the performance. The second annual Diversity Monologues took place in 2017, focusing on the idea of hope, with spoken-word poet and actress, Yazmin Monet Watkins, as the guest. The theme for the third annual Diversity Monologues is beauty, and the event will feature Aisha Fukushima.

ASWU discusses a new international student representative position

Cambria Pilger| Staff writer 

ASWU members are discussing creating a new representative position for international students. The idea came from international students and is being filtered through ASWU senators, Baldwin-Jenkins senator Alex Mowery said.

“Right now, there isn’t any guarantee that international students will have a voice at all [in] ASWU, and this provides that guarantee,” Mowery said.

Results from a survey of Whitworth international students suggested that the majority of the students felt they did not have sufficient voice in ASWU, Mowery said. Ideally the position will require three hours each week and work closely with international students to represent their voices.

“I think someone in these groups should be able to better represent them than I probably could,” Warren senator Ethan Clardy said.

Clardy said the job will allow ASWU to reach out and connect better with international and minority students.

“I’m kind of shocked that it’s just coming up now,” said Pernilla Faranda, an international student from France studying at Whitworth for only one year. “International students have been coming for a long time...It should have been done before.”

Mowery said that the creation of the role will contribute to ASWU’s mission of providing a platform for all voices to be heard.

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“As international students, we can’t really get involved in decisions,” Faranda said. “I think if I was here for four years I would be more involved, and it would be different.”

Since the international population is diverse and people come for different duration of time two representatives would be better, Faranda said. It’s difficult to participate in student government if you only attending Whitworth for a couple of semesters because you’re still getting used to the campus, she said. International students choose whether to attend Whitworth for one semester, one year or four years.

ASWU strives to represent more voices with the addition of the position, Mowery said.

“International students make a really huge part of Whitworth, and it’s really unfair that they just have to sort of blend in with everyone else. Their needs are very specific, and their representation should be just as specific as well,” said BMac CDA Theresa Chowa, an international student from Zimbabwe.

Chowa said sometimes international students get grouped together with minorities, but this position will give them more of a voice and encourage them to get involved in student life.

“The way I saw it, there should be one for international students, one for minority groups, and then they work side-by-side to get what those two groups need together,” Warren CDA Darian Kagawa-Burke said. “If it stays for just international students, I think that the minority groups might feel a little left out.”

The position will help integrate different viewpoints from both international and minority groups, Kagawa-Burke said.

“It’s going to give international students a chance to choose their own representation,” Chowa said.

ASWU members are willing to work with students on campus to decide whether one or two positions is better, Mowery said. Since the conversation is still fairly new to ASWU, however, there are no finalized plans for the representative position right now.

Lisa Factora-Borchers gives a lecture on intersectional feminism

Cambria Pilger| Staff writer 

Lisa Factora-Borchers, editorial director of Bitch Media (a non-profit feminist multimedia organization), visited Whitworth on March 5 to teach students and faculty about intersectional feminism and what it means to her. The purpose of her presentation was to offer the audience reflection and let them think about what kind of a campus culture they want to have, she said.

After a brief introduction from senior Austriauna Brooks, Factora-Borchers spoke about the history of feminism (more specifically the three waves of it), from the original fight for equal contract and property rights to the broader debate about rights that continues today.

Kimberlé Crenshaw first coined the intersectionality theory. It focuses on how factors like race and class shape women’s experiences and influence how they interact with other genders.

    Heidi Thom| Photographer  Lisa Factora-Borchers speaking

   Heidi Thom| Photographer

Lisa Factora-Borchers speaking

Factora-Borchers referenced the quote, “Give people more grace,” by Evette Dionne, senior culture editor at Bitch Media. She explained the importance of the quote in relation to intersectional feminism.

We experience intersectionality in multiple layers and dimensions, Factora-Borchers said. Intersectionality is a lens, not a state, she said. It is about finding a way to approach and give grace to people of all backgrounds, not about finding a way to be right.

Mainstream media began catching onto and applying these ideas of intersectional feminism with Cosmopolitan magazine and other new feminist newsletters and editors.

“The gift of being able to write and say what you want is rare,” Factora-Borchers said.

In many institutions, it might be hard to write about prominent topics like the wage gap, but Bitch Media tackles those issues without sugar-coating them, sophomore Daniel Miller said.

The presentation focused on the importance of listening well and being open to talk about one’s past. It is beautiful that it is becoming normal for people to share their stories and relate with others’ stories, Brooks said.

After Factora-Borchers spoke about different feminist icons and their impact in culture, she opened the floor to let audience members ask her questions.

During the question-and-answer portion, she paused after each question and thought about her response before responding, just like she encouraged the attendees to do, professor Nichole Bogarosh said.

“How do you even identify if you have privilege?” Miller said. “Even asking that question feels very privileged...at least in my mind.”

What is important is recognizing that you have privilege, taking advantage of it, and thinking about how you can use it to help others, Miller said.

Miller’s question for Factora-Borchers was very honest, and some people do not always think about that, Brooks said.

“We need to listen to understand, and that’s how we are going to progress as a community,” Brooks said.

When you find a common ground with others who either do or do not think similarly to you and work with them, you can make change, Brooks said.

Bogarosh said that Factora-Borchers’ presentation was a very good introduction to intersectionality and how one must approach it. Hopefully, students who attended the presentation now have a better understanding of intersectional feminism and, “the start of a way...to talk about it with other people,” she said.

Whitworth has a small, but active, student feminist population in terms of the ones who are active on campus, Bogarosh said.

Factora-Borchers said that it is important to apply intersectionality to every moment that has the power to shape views, especially interactions with others. Intersectionality can be learned through talking with those similar and different from oneself and through reading books by feminist authors.

“I really like that we have the kind of community where we can have speakers like this come and speak on these topics,” Miller said.

There are a lot of mixed views on the term “feminism”, but no matter what one’s feelings toward that word are, it is important to educate themselves on it and get evidence to back their opinions, Miller said.

The Women’s & Gender Studies faculty committee has been bringing speakers in for multiple years to present on certain subjects. The theme for this year is gender and pop culture.

“We also really wanted to hit on intersectionality and really start to talk about how different identities overlap, because oftentimes that’s missing from the discussion,” Bogarosh said.

In order to bring Factora-Borchers to Whitworth, Bogarosh helped coordinate with Bitch-on-Campus, Bitch Media’s college-visiting program, and a Washington organization that assists with bringing speakers to college campuses.

Around mid-April, the women’s and gender studies department will bring in another pop culture speaker to talk about another current women and gender studies issue in relation to pop culture, like Lisa Factora-Borchers did. On April 27, they will hold the annual Take Back the Night event, an event that aims to end sexual, relational, and domestic abuse.

Senator advocates for windows in Stewart to be replaced

Cambria Pilger|Staff Writer

Stewart (often called Stewville in collaboration with the Village) is a small, tight-knit community, Stewville senator Shelby Krug said.

Krug has noticed issues such as items coming in and falling out, the lack of locks, and other safety matters due to the age of the windows and hopes to change the situation, she said.

Krug has lived in Stewart which is one of the two all-first-year residence halls on campus, for two years.

As part of her principles of service and leadership class, in which the students were asked to create proposals for problems on campus that they would like to fix, Krug drafted an outline focused on the problems she was experiencing. The proposal is an attempt to update the old-fashioned windows and, as a result, fix multiple issues: pillows falling out, bugs flying in, lack of insulation, no locks on the windows, students throwing objects through the open windows and overall safety concerns, Krug said.

  Photo courtesy of Cambria Pilger    Stewart Hall was built in 1963. It is named after Whitworth’s second president Rev. Calvin W. Stewart, Whitworth president from 1890-98. Stewart is one of the two all-first-year residence halls on campus.

Photo courtesy of Cambria Pilger

Stewart Hall was built in 1963. It is named after Whitworth’s second president Rev. Calvin W. Stewart, Whitworth president from 1890-98. Stewart is one of the two all-first-year residence halls on campus.

“People enjoy being able to throw things out when [they] forget it or people have enjoyed the snowball fights in and out, but then we have to stop those because it’s a safety concern,” Krug said.

One of the biggest concerns is that the windows downstairs are held shut by a wood plank, and if removed, the window can be slid open to allow someone to climb in, Krug said.

Chris Eichorst, director of Facilities Services, was informed about the window situation at the ASWU meeting in Jan. 2018.

“There’s a lot of factors with windows: energy, aesthetics, maintenance issues. Typically what we try to spec for window replacement is something that’s going to be energy-efficient and low-maintenance,” Eichorst said.

The windows in Stewart are old and single-pane, and window replacement for Stewart has been on the radar for years. However, because of the large cost estimate of the project and need to complete more time-sensitive tasks, it is a lower priority on the Facilities Service’s to-do list, Eichorst said.

“Generally a lot of our projects are focused on HVAC systems, which are quite complicated. That directly affects the comfort of classrooms, residence halls, and those would be the biggest things that you would notice as a student,” Eichorst said.

There are certain issues (like a leak in the Fieldhouse, for example) that fall higher up on the list due to their “deferred maintenance” status, Eichorst said. These tasks are ones in which something has failed or is not performing the way it needs to and in which the problem should have already been fixed; it is easier to give these projects more attention because they are critical and immediate.

“I would put the windows at Stewart on that list as deferred. It’s overdue to replace them. I don’t argue with that. It’s just the funding and the priority compared to other projects. That’s been the biggest issue,” Eichorst said.

The project is estimated to cost over $400,000 to replace all the windows in Stewart, Sommerville said.

“You can kind of see why this would drop down on the list when competing with the Fieldhouse where a leak is causing direct damage to the building. It needs to be fixed right away, whereas this is causing an inconvenience to the occupants, but it’s not causing damage,” said Aaron Sommerville, manager of facilities maintenance.

“If  the  windows in Stewart were to be replaced, it would most likely be for aesthetic purposes more than anything else,” Sommerville said. “They present an inconvenience to students rather than a safety threat,” he said.

“The window sill is tall enough that it is unlikely a student will fall out, and in order for that to happen, they would need to intentionally move themselves out the window,” Sommerville said.

Since Sommerville began working at Whitworth, Stewart has not had screens in the rooms. It is possible that in the future, temporary screens could be implemented to relieve the issue with bugs and other objects flying in and out, but Facilities Services would need to look at the “big picture” (how many days there are where a window needs to be opened for cooling, how much it costs, etc.), Eichorst said.

“Stewart is just overlooked a lot. It’s one of the lesser-known or lesser-appealing buildings,” Krug said. “There are people living there now that are having these safety and security risks, and (in or out of my position) I’m still just someone that always looks for ways to improve where we are now for the benefit of the future. I think if we add this improvement it would appeal to certain students that are looking to come to Whitworth so it would be beneficial to that population as well as current students.”

Krug has been talking with the Facilities Service team to try to get progress made on the windows, but there is no definite plan to begin action at the moment.

“We fix what we can see, but we don’t always see everything, and we don’t always hear about everything. So if there are some issues that haven’t been brought to our attention, we are totally open to hearing them,” Eichorst said.

Whitworth wins the Chartered Financial Analysis competition

Ezekiel Pagaduan|Staff Writer

Five Whitworth students from the Whitworth Investment Group won first place in the Chartered Financial Analysis [CFA] Research Institute Challenge annual competition was held Feb. 9 at Eastern Washington University. After winning the local-level competition, the team is now headed toward the regional competition.

The CFA research team from Whitworth competed against Eastern Washington University, Washington State University, Gonzaga University, University of Idaho, Whitman University and Montana State University.  

  Photo courtesy of Tserenlkham Tsogbadrakh    The Whitworth Investment Group with their award from the CFA tournament. Pictured left to right, the team consists of senior Nathaniel Segarra, Zane Coble, `17 , senior Marika Witt, senior Tserenlkham Tsogbadrakh and junior Tanner Stepp.     

Photo courtesy of Tserenlkham Tsogbadrakh

The Whitworth Investment Group with their award from the CFA tournament. Pictured left to right, the team consists of senior Nathaniel Segarra, Zane Coble, `17 , senior Marika Witt, senior Tserenlkham Tsogbadrakh and junior Tanner Stepp.


 

The CFA Research Institute holds an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company — sometimes even meeting face-to-face with company management. Each team writes a research report on their assigned company with a buy, sell or hold recommendation and may be asked to present and defend their analysis to a panel of industry professionals.

“It’s been a great experiences for them and they have spent a thousand hours doing research and the commitment to the process,” said Duff Bergquist, finance professor. “We have competed in it six or seven years from now and we have won the last four years.”

The CFA local competition is a two-part contest.

“In the local CFA research challenge, Whitworth was one of eight schools competing. All of these schools are tasked with researching and providing an investment recommendation on the same publicly-traded company: Red Lion Hotels. The scoring for the competition is divided into two parts, a written report and a presentation. Whitworth’s team produced a 30-page report on Red Lion and then showcased their research through a presentation in front of a panel of CFA charter holders and analysts,” senior Nathaniel Segarra said.

After the local-level competition, the winners will proceed to the regional competition which will be held March 18.

“The top school goes to the regional competition in Boston, where the top 55 teams from North and South America compete,” senior Marika Witt said.

The team is comprised of people with different majors and backgrounds.

“I was worried about being the only one on the team who was not a finance major, but it really satisfying to see how I could apply my math and econ skills to make our evaluation unique,” Witt said “Even though the process got really challenging for all of us at times, I  learned a lot through my experience. It was incredibly rewarding at the end.”

The team conducted research throughout Jan Term. Conducting the research as a team was hard because she was in Mongolia the entire Jan Term but we still managed to do it. We had to be in constant contact with each other so I was on the phone a lot, senior Tserenlkham Tsogbadrakh said.

“It was really special for me because I am an international student that faced a lot of challenges but, it was an adventure for me and has given me the chance to meet friends,” Tsogbadrakh said.

If victorious at the CFA Americas Regional Competition the team will represent the country in Malaysia.

The international competition will have two representatives from America, one from Europe and one from Asia.

Whitworth University tuition increases

 

Joshua Worden|Staff Writer

Tuition will increase for the 2018-2019 academic year by 3.5 percent in response to rising operating costs. The decision was made by the board of trustees, advised by an administrative cabinet. Greg Orwig, Whitworth’s vice-president for admissions and financial aid, sat on the cabinet.

“There are lots of different lenses and voices at the table. Mine is probably most directly related to trying to represent the student voice, because they’re the ones that I’m responsible to recruit,” Orwig said.

While the costs of running a university rise every year, the cabinet’s recommendation to the board was focused on making the least possible tuition increase in order to maintain Whitworth’s quality of education, Orwig said.

“We were able to, this year, absorb that enrollment shortfall without any layoffs or limiting departments, and it really did not influence the tuition increase decision for this year,” Orwig said.

Rather than below-expectations enrollment, this tuition increase is largely the result of inflating costs.

The tuition increase has been a source of bafflement for students, many of whom are unclear about the cause.

There is a need for more transparent communication about increases in tuition, sophomore Andrew Brown said.

“I would have liked to have heard more explanation,” said Brown.

Orwig explained the reasons for tuition increase.

“We are a personnel-heavy enterprise,” Orwig said. “Certain fields that depend on a highly-educated labor pool, like dentistry, medicine and education are always going to have above-average inflationary costs.”

Healthcare benefits and technology, in particular, represent significant yearly increases in operating costs, Orwig said.

In an attempt to counteract rising costs, Whitworth will increase its financial aid budget for next year by 12 percent, Orwig said.

Tuition has been gradually increasing in proportion with rising inflation rates.

“At this point, [after] three years here I’m not surprised because [tuition] goes up every single year,” Junior Mikayla Coglas said. “As a student, I don’t really have any control over it, but I just want to be in the know about why this is happening.”

“While we know we probably can’t ever stop incrementally raising tuition, we know that it has real impacts on families, and we want to do everything we can to try to minimize that,” Orwig said.

 

Can one disagree Without Being disagreeable?

Cambria Pilger | Staff Writer

President Beck Taylor created the President’s Colloquy series to discuss complex issues such as if one can disagree without being disagreeable while exploring the cognitive and psychological characteristics that influence them. The second discussion in the civil discourse series took place on Feb. 19. The keynote speaker for the discussion was professor Nathan King, philosophy, and speaking alongside him were professors Patricia Bruininks, psychology, Nicole Sheets, writing/storytelling, and Fred Johnson, American literature/media and film studies.

  Heidi Thom | Photographer   Discussants during Q&A session (left-right); Fred Johnson, Nicole Sheets, Patty Bruininks, and Nathan King

Heidi Thom| Photographer 

Discussants during Q&A session (left-right); Fred Johnson, Nicole Sheets,
Patty Bruininks, and Nathan King

“Sometimes it’s appropriate to be disagreeable,” King said.

Civil discourse is conversation aimed towards achieving knowledge and understanding about others, King said.

After president Taylor introduced the discussion, King spoke about his perspective on the issue, saying that one can disagree without being disagreeable; however, there are common fallacies of disagreements that must be worked past and characteristics that must be developed if one wants to improve their civil discourse, he said.

Following King’s presentation, Bruininks spoke about the Triangular Theory of Love and the negation of intimacy that comes with being disagreeable. Sheets then spoke about how judgment is easier than investigation but good questions lead to good stories that make it easier to not judge another. The final speaker was Johnson who ended the discussion portion by presenting questions to consider when having deep conversations with others.

Most of the professors used Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “I don't like that man. I must get to know him better,” in their speeches. That is the kind of mindset one should have when discussing complex issues with others, King said.

Since it is easier to judge someone before you get to know them, it’s important to ask good questions in good faith, Sheets said.

Although it is harsh, disagreement could lead to dehumanization, Bruininks said.

“It’s important that we’re having this discussion,” junior Kalani Padilla said. Padilla attended the second colloquy but was not on campus for the first.

Being intentional about having good conversations with other students after class or in the coffee shop is valuable, Padilla said.

The event concluded with a question portion where attendees could anonymously ask questions to the panel of professors.

Each colloquy so far has examined the quality of communication in a modern context. Each night, the panelists tell us how they believe we could all improve our ability to communicate with one another, junior Nicholas Bratt said. Bratt has attended both of the colloquies.

“I think it’s really interesting to hear messages that the president and the staff have to say here at Whitworth about things beyond just Whitworth,” freshman Chloe Casady, another student attendee, said.

  Heidi Thom | Photographer   President Beck Taylor opening the discussion

Heidi Thom| Photographer 

President Beck Taylor opening the discussion

Hearing Bruininks’ speech about how people cognitively and socially deal with disagreements and learning about the philosophical perspective from King was very interesting, Casady said.

The range of topics covered and the variety of disciplines represented has contributed to a rich discussion, Bratt said.

“I felt like I was able to see their individual personalities… not just what they’re studying or what their profession is but [also] their hearts,” Padilla said.

It was interesting that each professor got to prepare their ideas separately and share their own perspective on the matter, Padilla said. Sheets’ message touched on a significant idea that there are nine other stories to explore rather than just the one story that is overprivileged.

“We all strive to be intellects and have greater knowledge and wisdom about the world. Engaging the opposite view of an issue and of someone else’s differing opinions is going to get you more wisdom and help you to see the issue from all different angles,” Casady said.

In the final part of the colloquy series on April 16, 2018, Whitworth professors will discuss the idea of how much free speech is too much, Taylor said.

Students and faculty share their experiences from the Hawaii missile threat

Cambria Pilger| Staff Writer

On Jan. 20, 2018 at around 8:05 a.m., an Amber Alert was sent out across Hawaii detailing a ballistic missile attack headed towards the state. At the time a group of 27 students and two faculty members from Whitworth were in Mokulēʻia, O’ahu for the month of January. They received the message while they were eating breakfast and preparing for an exam later that day. At the time of the receival, the professors took cautionary action, informing all the students about the warning and asking them to gather important items from their rooms before quickly heading to an emergency site. The group loaded into their van, pausing for a moment to pray before driving to the local high school. The professors were trained on the protocols for many emergency situations and knew the high school would be the best location to go in case of an attack. Once the students and faculty arrived, they awaited further confirmation of the missile. Some students contacted parents, friends, and relatives to say goodbye while others debated whether or not to.

“How do you react if you have thirty minutes to live?” freshman Chris Roberts said.

About 38 minutes into the alert, the group received another message: “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.”

Upon returning to the camp after the false alarm report, the professors gathered the group together to debrief, inviting the students to talk about what they were dealing with or share how they felt throughout it all, said multiple of the students. Some students offered to listen and help others work through their responses.

One of these students, freshman Rachel Coy, said that she felt calm throughout the incident, more concerned for how her fellow classmates were dealing with it than herself.

“I was so proud of our students because they were so composed. Nobody freaked out. They cared about each other very well and made dealing with that situation about as positive as it could be,” said Ron Pyle, professor of the month-long interpersonal communications course.

Pyle said that he did not think about calling his kids until after the threat ended because he was focused on what he needed to do for the students.

“What flashed through my mind was, ‘If this is real, I’m living a [fundamental] turning point in world history,” Pyle said.

Without the support of professor Terry McGonigal and his wife, the experience wouldn’t have been the same for Pyle, he said.

Pyle said the group took time to pray again after the debrief, and the students were allowed time to reflect and respond to the event in whatever ways they needed to. Freshman Laura Waltar said she watched the waves and called her family after the event, and Roberts said the professors allowed the students the rest of the day to take their test without stress.

“It was all super fast. We got back to camp, and we just went right back to breakfast. Our food wasn’t even cold yet,” freshman Justin Li said.

He sent a few messages to his parents during the evacuation and another when the threat had been disproved. Li’s parents did not see them until after the alert had settled, leaving them more relieved than concerned, he said.

Li said multiple students explained that their friends and family heard about the circumstance after the threat had been settled, but many others contacted their family throughout the incident.

Freshmen Kristopher Seumanutafa-Noa and Faith Kahulamu, both native Hawaiians, were also in Hawaii when they were woken up by the Amber Alert message, they said. The students were in one of the families’ homes when Kahulamu’s phone vibrated. Immediately she woke Seumanutafa-Noa, telling him to call his parents and showing him the notification. They gathered with the rest of the family and waited.

 Photo courtesy of Ron Pyle  The interpersonal communications students pose after their hike to the western-most tip of O’ahu, Ka’ena Point. Top row (left to right): Kiana Pieli, Jacob Howe, Justin Li, Andrew Wiebers, Ben Crews, Alyssa Peterson, Jacqui McPeck, Abby Burnett; Bottom row (left to right): Anna Rajala, Erica Sung, Laura Waltar, Sarah Sugano, Madi Binyon, Kaeden Schmidt

Photo courtesy of Ron Pyle

The interpersonal communications students pose after their hike to the western-most tip of O’ahu, Ka’ena Point. Top row (left to right): Kiana Pieli, Jacob Howe, Justin Li, Andrew Wiebers, Ben Crews, Alyssa Peterson, Jacqui McPeck, Abby Burnett; Bottom row (left to right): Anna Rajala, Erica Sung, Laura Waltar, Sarah Sugano, Madi Binyon, Kaeden Schmidt

“What you have to do is just stay inside the house and wait until something happens,” Seumanutafa-Noa said. “That was the longest thirteen minutes of my life, and we just sat there; just waited until something happened.”

After checking in on his parents Seumanutafa-Noa described reaching a point of acceptance, faithfully believing that, “No matter what, we would just see each other again.”

Kahulamu’s response was similar: “So many people were getting prepared to die...The entire world was different for [thirteen] minutes.”

However, Kahulamu said she would rather have been in Hawaii with her family than anywhere else, knowing they were all doing whatever they could and getting to talk to each person one final time.

“It gives you a new sense of things...You look at everything differently...You realize what’s important, and things that used to stress you out are nothing,” Kahulamu said.

There was a wide range of responses from students throughout the entire incident; some felt emotional while others remained calm, said Roberts. Many agreed it was an experience that brought the group closer together and gave them a new perspective on the rest of the trip. When asked to select three words to describe how they felt during the experience, the responses were all different.

Li described it at surreal, tense, and scary. Waltar, on the other hand, described it as caught-off-guard, peaceful, and reflective.

Pyle said he felt very proud of the group and relieved when the threat settled.

“That sense of togetherness has never been there at any other point in my life in a similar situation,” Sanjay Philip, a freshman on the trip, said.

Waltar saw the missile threat as an unexpected, humbling circumstance that brought many close together and allowed one another to think more reflectively about life. The professors, Ron Pyle and Terry McGonigal, encouraged their students to think about certain questions such as, ‘Where do you find security in an unsecure world?’ and, ‘What ultimately matters?’, and students connected with each other through prayer and conversation, Pyle said.

“If I were going to go with a class and have that happen to me again, I would choose those same people, and I would be so glad that we’d taken that amount of time, and we’d bonded so much,” Philip said. “Everyone’s come back with a new piece of them, and they’ve brought that to their friends and their family, and that’s been really important.”

Whitworth Counseling Center participates in Annual Healthy Minds survey

Michell Marufu| Contributing Writer 

In April 2017, the Whitworth University Counseling Centre participated and administered the Healthy Minds Survey to determine the health of undergraduate student in the school.

The Healthy Minds Survey is an annual web-based survey which examines mental health, service utilization, and related issues among undergraduate and graduate students. Through its involvement with the JED Campus foundation, the Counseling center embarked on a process of comprehensive systems, program and policy development to build on existing student mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention efforts. Founded by Donna & Phil Satow in 1998, the JED foundation is a non-profit
organisation that partners with colleges and high schools to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for the nation’s teens and young adults.

The survey found that only 52 percent of the participating Whitworth students scored positive for psychological well-being. Psychological well-being is measured by the Flourishing scale, an eight-item summary measure of respondents’ self-esteem, sense of purpose and optimism. The scale was authored by seven psychological scientists in 2009. The scores range from 8-56, where 48 is the threshold for positive mental health. 32 percent of the students scored positive for mild depression, 14 percent for moderate depression, and 11 percent for severe depression. 49 percent of the students scored positive for some level of anxiety, and a devastating 36 percent had either thought of or engaged in either suicidal or non-suicidal self-injury. Four percent of the students had made a suicide plan and one percent had made a suicide attempt in the past year.

The results of this survey brought into center stage some very serious issues about the experiences of students on campus. Seven hundred and
thirty seven Whitworth students, the majority of whom were 18-22 years old, non-athletes, permanent campus residing students, religious, heterosexual and Caucasian participated in the survey. Seventy percent were female and 30 percent male. Apart from the gender discrepancy, these demographics were taken as representative of Whitworth’s position.

Whitworth will participate in the survey again in 2020 to assess the effectiveness of the methods to improve mental health by determining the new percentage of students with positive mental health, confidence, and utilization of support services.

Mental health .jpg

Executive vice president of AWSU Dylan Reyes said that as a student leader, he understood how some of these numbers could come to be.

“As a student, workload is definitely a factor for poor mental health, but I don’t know if it’s the major factor,” Reyes said. “I know that home life, financial situations, and social pressures are also very significant in depression and anxiety. Especially at Whitworth, the stress of school just heightens already existing stress, which leads to these numbers that we are seeing. Students have to deal with a lot of things at the same time, and it can be difficult.”

This study determined that 87 percent of the students felt that they had a good support system for students going through difficult times, yet only 12 percent reported to have been seeing a counselor either on or off campus.

“This discrepancy between students’ opinions of the campus’s support system and their involvement with it is largely caused by the social stigma and stereotypes surrounding mental illness and receiving help for mental health. I know a lot of students who have the information about the resources that we have on campus, but don’t go because they are worried about what their peers will think of them. Some of them do eventually go to the counseling center after struggling to deal with things themselves and hurting themselves for a long time,” sophomore Utsal Shrestha said.

Having participated in a student panel to address mental health issues on campus, senior Connor Bruce said he recognized the benefits of the time they provide for worried students. He complimented the panels as a way for students to voice their concerns and ask questions which they might not otherwise have the space to ask, as well as learn about resources that they can make use of on campus.

“I think that many students are not aware of the specific type of help that they can receive through the counseling center,” Bruce said.

This help includes 10 free individual counseling sessions, group counseling sessions as well as assistance with academic and planning issues through the student success team other academic departments.

In a discussion about the effects of Whitworth’s “happy culture” on the students, Bruce said that the expectation of happiness contributed to students’ hesitation to talking about negative mental states.

“I think that by hiding your emotions all the time, you suppress some things that are detrimental to your health. People have to realize that you don’t have to be happy all the time, and you can ask for help when you need it,” Bruce said.

Happiness and positivity are some of the descriptors of Whitworth as a community and it makes sense that some students feel the pressure of having to appear happy so as to avoid criticism from their peers. However, this severely reduces the number spaces for those students who are in difficult mental states to voice their struggles, Bruce said

“Information about campus resources should be highlighted and covered more in the course syllabi that students receive at the beginning of the semester,” Bruce said. “This information is definitely alluded to, but nothing to the effect of how exactly students can receive help is described, and most students do not follow through on finding out information that is not covered in the syllabi.”

The Whitworth Counseling Center is located in Schumacher Hall, and student appointments can be made by email, phone and on-site.

Second annual Yule Ball ushers in the Christmas season

 

Jordan Coleman | Staff Writer

The second annual Yule Ball was combined with the Deck the Halls event hosted by Arend Hall. The connected event is one of the first to kick off the winter holidays.

The Yule Ball, on Saturday, Dec. 2, was created last year by senior Eugene Bell who is the swing and ballroom dance club (SBDC)president.

“I had a dream of it happening and so I made it happen,” Bell said.

The ball was created to add another dance to the event calendar. Bell originally promised prospective freshman, while he worked for the admissions office, that the dance existed before it was officially established.

Last year the Yule Ball and Deck the Halls were on the same day, but were not associated, causing students to have to choose which event they would attend. This year, the organizers of the two events decided to work together to promote each other’s event.

“We are basically working together so that it can be on the same night,” Arend senator junior Amber Van Brunt said. “Since Deck the Halls is a short event, only being a 15-minute experience, and the Yule Ball is a long event, we thought it would be better to work together to do it on the same night instead of competing.”

Both functions are Christmas-themed, yet they created different experiences. The Yule Ball was Harry Potter themed, providing a semi-formal holiday dance.

“We have a house cup competition where each guest drops a colored marble into their Hogwart house,” Bell said. “We also have Harry Potter themed refreshments like butter beer which is cream soda with butterscotch syrup and marshmallow cream on top.”

Compared to the ball, Deck the Halls was “an interactive Christmas experience,” Van Brunt said. It involved recreations of scenes from the movies “Home Alone” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Grinch. Arend’s hallways reflected special scenes using decorations and student actors.

The Yule Ball is special to Whitworth’s campus as Bell believes that one cannot find anything else like it.

“It’s a Christmas party unlike other Christmas parties on campus because you won’t have the same feel like you will have at a social dance with swing dancing and live music with special refreshments,” Bell said. “There’s nothing like the Yule Ball.”

Some people think the theme of Harry Potter brings people together through the love for the story.

“I had a good time because it created a community that I wouldn’t necessarily be exposed to at Whitworth,” junior Gina Marzo said.

The ball incorporated student musicians, to promote student talents. Last year, the musicians were from Jazz I and II. Junior Shaun Fisher and senior Melia Deters sang a variety of Christmas tunes at the event such as classics like the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Blue Christmas” and “Let it Snow.” Along with Fisher and Deters, a Whitworth jazz combo of five men called Puddle of Blorp performed instrumental jazz music. With the music, Bell offered swing dance lessons before the event for students who wanted to learn.

“I loved the live jazz music and the ambiance of the dance,” junior Bordeaux Milette said. “It was a great way to start celebrating the holidays.”

Fisher performed at the Yule Ball the previous year with the vocal jazz club. From his experience with the dance, he felt like this year’s combination with Deck the Halls was a good idea and the event is always a good time.

“I really enjoyed that they [did] a collaboration with Arend with Deck the Halls,” Fisher said. “I think that is a great idea and will draw more people to both events. I like how it is Harry Potter Themed…and the SBDC always puts on fantastic events and are very educated about swing and ballroom dancing.”

The Yule Ball and Deck the Halls event was a way to connect the Whitworth community during the holidays.

“It [was] a really great way to get excited about the holiday season and see other students demonstrate what they are good at and care about,” Van Brunt said. “A lot of people get really into it. It’s just fun.”

This year’s event brought in 175 people dancing and enjoying the music provided by their peers, while also participating in some of Harry Potter’s favorites.

 

Contact Jordan Coleman at

jcoleman20@my.whitworth.edu