Female conflict in pop culture taken too far

Tabloid media makes it seem as though when two women of equal talent, skill and popularity reach the peak of their careers, they have no choice but to become enemies. Unlike their male counterparts, who each have room at the top without a blatant competition, females are forced to be perceived as enemies, even when no such competition exists.

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We Believe, We Vote doesn't make sense

As the midterm elections are approaching for the region, it is important to consider many of the different perspectives the candidates are bringing to light through their campaigns. We Believe We Vote is a recently-founded organization that claims a non-partisan, Biblically-founded evaluation of candidates running for political offices in the greater Spokane area.

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Editorial: Why "Masks" was retracted

On May 14, The Whitworthian published a story in the opinions section called “Masks: one student’s story of discrimination on campus.” This story was published anonymously. While publishing anonymously is not ideal in most situations, The Whitworthian’s policies allow for anonymity when there is evidence that revealing the identity of people represented or quoted in an article may cause undue harm, emotional, physical or other, and when an editor determines there is sufficient verification of the facts, events, quotations, etc. present in the anonymous account.

In the case of “Masks,” editors felt the article both earned anonymity and could be verified. Anonymity was granted because the intent of the story was not meant to target specific individuals, but to bring to light the fact that despite Whitworth’s efforts to be supportive and inclusive, some students do not feel it is as welcoming as it seems. Identifying figures in the account may have caused readers to instead focus on individuals rather than the larger problem outlined in the story. As it was published in the opinions section, the story was not intended to be taken as a news account, but as the perspective of one student.

After much thought, the editors have decided to take “Masks” down. We appreciate the author’s perspective and respect people who share their experiences, but believe there are reasons the article should not remain posted. This is not a response to any pressure from administration or other outside parties.

First, while it is mentioned above we believe that “Masks” deserved anonymity, its anonymous status has caused some readers to try to guess who the author is, or who other people in the story might be. The Whitworthian is responsible for protecting the anonymity of such sources, and not protecting anonymity could be harmful for people involved. Second, the editors feel there are more effective ways this story could be told. There are always many sides to each situation, and since the publishing of “Masks,” the editors have heard differing perspectives on this issue.  “Masks” in its current state, with its combination of anonymity and a singular source, may not provide the most accurate information to enter this complex conversation as it could if told in a different form. Finally, according to the May 15 statement by Lorna Hernandez Jarvis, chief diversity officer and associate vice president for diversity, equity & inclusion, the university is still continuing its formal inquiry into the issue. The publication of “Masks” could interfere with this investigation.

It is for these reasons that “Masks” was removed from thewhitworthian.news. The Whitworthian editors appreciate the bravery of the “Masks” author for coming forward with their experience, and hope that for those that read it, it served as a catalyst for necessary dialogue on campus. Based on the online response, it’s clear that fighting discrimination and injustice is something Whitworthian readers take very seriously. We hope to continue to bring a voice to these issues in the future.

Editorials in the "In the Loop" section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

 

So You Feel Overlooked? Let’s Talk: A Response to "Conservative opinions overlooked"

Josiah Van Wingerden, '17

I am writing this letter to respond to the article titled, “Conservative Opinions Overlooked at Whitworth,” published in the Whitworthian Opinions Section on March 21.

The purpose of my response is not to shame or condemn the author or school newspaper; rather, my hope is to start a constructive conversation about political opinions, affiliations and the environment of Whitworth. To anyone who may read this letter, I ask that you read carefully and thoroughly.

I’ll respond to each major point made in the article, so I apologize if the letter is a bit lengthy. But it’s so important.

In the first paragraph of the article, the author states that he is a proud conservative, that he loves this country, its laws and guns, that he does not support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation and that he will not apologize for his race (or gender)— Caucasian and male.

Let me be clear that I have absolutely no issue whatsoever with him being conservative or with what he believes. We have the right as people to express our views. And I’m actually glad that he is. It just may be the spark that starts conversations and inspires us to listen to one another.

However, I believe the author is gravely mistaken on multiple fronts. It is because of this belief that I felt compelled to respond to the article and offer a difference of perspective and values.

Universities and colleges are supposed to be places where people come not only for education, but also to be exposed to different people, beliefs, values and views. So that people can be more thoughtful and compassionate. So people can think critically about our society and thus, be better equipped to “serve humanity.” And that means all of humanity. I hope the author understands that.

Regarding the idea of apologizing for race, no one asked him to. As a person of color who attended Whitworth the same time as the author, I never asked him to. The thought of that never even crossed my mind.

The color of a person’s skin is determined biologically during development, influenced by the genetic makeup of the parents. This means that a person has literally no control over what he or she will look like.

We have no control over what color our skin will be, what our body can and cannot do, what socioeconomic class we’ll be born into, where we’ll be born or if we’ll even be born at all.

On the other hand, “race” is a man-made historical construct designed to categorize people and to falsely “define” what it means to be black, brown, tan and white.

People of color are not asking white people to apologize for being white. Trust me, we don’t want it. Why would we ask someone to apologize for something they have no control over? That does not make sense.

Rather, it has been white people who have been asking people who are not white to stop talking about how their races have affected the way we interact in this country. But we are not going to stop talking about it.

It seems like the author is playing the victim throughout the whole article— saying that he as a conservative, middle-class, white male— feels that he cannot adequately articulate himself without fear of ridicule.

However, since the inception of the United States, white men have never had to apologize for being white. White men have never been unwelcomed in this country or at colleges. White men have always had the power in this country and thus, the ability to enact legislation and place systems and structures that benefit them.

White men are the only major people group that has not experienced some form of marginalization based on race or biological predisposition. Almost every other major race of people has.

This is called “white-privilege.” This is all people of color like myself want you and others to acknowledge. We do not want pity or apologies, but a desire to learn about others and an attempt to reach a mutual understanding of history.

Acknowledge the fact that white people, heterosexual men specifically, have had and still have the upper hand and more opportunity to succeed in this country. And they’ve had it for a long time.

This country was founded by white men and for white men, to promote ideas and enact laws that specifically benefited them and no one else. Including educational institutions like Whitworth.

In the second and third paragraphs, the author states the theme of the whole piece—that he feels unwelcome at Whitworth because he is a conservative and Whitworth is a “liberal” institution that pushes for diversity. He also says he disagrees with the student government’s decision to support DACA.

First, supporting DACA does not mean that Whitworth is a liberal institution. Or that the majority of its students are liberal; let’s not get confused. I’d actually suggest the opposite and so do recent decisions made by administration and faculty members, which were supported by its students just last year.

For example, the administration of Whitworth cut ties with Planned Parenthood last year. Beck Taylor stated that the university would no longer offer experience or internship credits for its students through the organization.

Additionally, the Students for Life and Young Americans for Freedom clubs, both outwardly rooted in conservative beliefs, have a significant presence on and off campus.

Those two clubs are also affiliated with the national organizations. And both were chartered by the student government with support from their peers.

Conversely, the “pro-choice” student club, Generation Action, was not allowed to have affiliation with any national organization. It was not chartered due to lack of support.

So no, Whitworth is not a “liberal” institution, as the author claims. It is still rooted in and supports conservative beliefs and ideas, like other institutions before it.

And, I truly mean no disrespect to anyone when I say this—especially David Garcia, Shawn Washington, Lulu Gonzalez or Beck Taylor for their efforts—but Whitworth is not a diverse institution.

While it is true that the number of underrepresented students has jumped significantly in recent years, Whitworth still has a long way to go to achieve its diversity goals.

Black, Hispanic, Asian and LGBT faculty, staff members and students are still underrepresented at Whitworth and in Christian Higher Education in general, as are people with varying levels of physical and mental abilities.

Whitworth students, staff, faculty and administration members are all still predominantly white, conservative, Christian and middle-to-upper class.

So, I guess I am having a hard time understanding why the author feels so unwelcome at a place that was made for him.

In response to loving guns and opposing stricter regulations, gun control does not mean taking all guns away. Gun control does not mean changing the Second Amendment.

It is the idea that we as a society should make it harder for a person to abuse gun ownership by running more thorough background checks and comprehensive gun safety courses. Gun violence has to stop. I think we can all agree on that.

It seems like the author randomly throws a jab at DACA, saying he doesn’t support it, but doesn’t give a reason why. I am not saying that he has to necessarily, but it’s a cheap shot. Does he want members of the Whitworth community to be subject and vulnerable to deportation? If so, why?

DACA is not a political issue— it is a human one. That is why it is “preached” in the chapel.

By the way, the forum on Planned Parenthood when Beck made his statement was held in the chapel and I didn’t hear conservative or liberal students complain about that. Liberal students actually showed up to the forum.

Many families leave their countries because of political unrest, oppression, violence and turmoil. They are constantly told that “America is the land of opportunity,” and they just want those opportunities, hopes and dreams for a better life here.

That is why they are called “DREAMers.” DREAMers go to Whitworth. They pay the same amount of tuition and fees every year as you. They are there for the same reason as you are: education.

They grew up in this country. They have jobs. They pay taxes. They contribute heavily to society. They are talented. They do not attack, harm or hurt you in any way.

They were not brought here of their own accord; they had no choice. Neither did their parents and families. Why should we punish them for that?

Their fear of being deported and having their lives fundamentally changed because of that is real. I want you, the author, to understand that fact.

I understand that you, the author, will believe what you want to and that my response is not going to fundamentally change those beliefs. I get that. I respect that. I just hope you take the time to read this and understand the point of view that I’m coming from.

The author asked for others to be more considerate and thoughtful at the end of his piece, so I am asking something of him to end mine.

Before he says he feels unwelcome again, I’d ask that he consider who and where he is, what he believes, what he can do and where he comes from, and what that means for him, not only at Whitworth, but also in society as a whole.

His voice has always been heard. He is welcome at Whitworth and anywhere he goes. He has been for the longest time.

 

Female autonomy rooted in Christianity

Abby Nye

Last week, President Trump made the decision to allow employers to choose whether or not they would provide free birth control through insurance for female employees. This decision was made to accommodate for employers’ religious beliefs, according to ABC News’ article, “Women’s health docs say Trump ignores birth control science”. What employers decide to do will say a lot about how the church views female autonomy. If many employers decided to take away that right to free birth control, it will be a nod toward the controlling tendency of a few church members over women’s rights. Autonomy is defined as acting on reasons that are one’s own, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Trump’s recent act provides employers with the right to take away a woman’s choice of contraception, and therefore her autonomy.

The decision is related to the one Whitworth President Beck Taylor made last spring to end Whitworth’s affiliation with Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood provides free and accessible birth control to women without insurance. Both the national and school decision are reflections of how the church views female autonomy. President Taylor claimed that making the Planned Parenthood decision didn’t reflect the school’s opinion on female autonomy, but was a reflection of the church’s popular view against abortion.

Degrading a medical center that caters to the independent choices of women speaks to the underlying sexism pervasive in the Christian church. Similarly, Trump’s decision potentially prevents women from being able to make an independent and personal decision on the basis of religious beliefs. Both decisions reveal the popular fear the church has of female autonomy. If free birth control is one aspect of female autonomy, we must look at what it would mean to take it away, especially within a church context. To me, this decision is a direct refutation of the way that Jesus viewed women.

In Genesis 1:27 we are given the image of the creation of man and woman, both created equally in the image of God. In John 8, we see Jesus defending a woman who committed adultery. In John 4, Jesus calls a Samaritan woman to go and preach his word. In Luke 8, Jesus heals a woman who is debilitated with a reproductive ailment, and raises a young girl from the dead. Time and time again, we are provided examples of female equality, empowerment and autonomy supported by Jesus himself.  

Before any decision is made on behalf of all women on the basis of religious beliefs, it is imperative to understand where these beliefs come from. If it were really a decision made to accommodate for the church, then women should be provided with the choice of all medical decisions, especially her own birth control option. This decision seems to have been made to give more control to male government officials, and out of fear for female autonomy. Let us not forget that Jesus himself was the divine advocate for female autonomy and empowerment, and our decisions as Christians should be modeled after him.

Contact Abby Nye at anye19@my.whitworth.edu

Guest column: Excluding Planned Parenthood diminishes campus conversation

Nicole Sheets, faculty

 

In the mid-1990s, a few weeks into my first semester at a big state school, I joined a handful of other students from our campus pro-life club and held a giant poster of an aborted fetus. It was one of those big, gory color photos, the kind favored by street preachers or demonstrators along the Bloomsday course. We stood near a cluster of historic buildings to face the crawling Friday traffic. I felt the rush of doing something bold for God, proclaiming a truth that was unpopular, even unpalatable, but necessary. It was only afterwards, sitting in my friend Sarah’s dorm room, that we considered the usefulness of what we’d done. I experienced a sort of a spiritual indigestion. Even if our message was right, I thought, the delivery was all wrong.

About a year and a half ago, my spouse and I attended a demonstration in Spokane in support of Planned Parenthood. Instead of holding a sign, I wore our four-month-old daughter in one of those cumbersome wraps. I stood with this group not least because, when I was a graduate student in the 2000s, I went to the Planned Parenthood closest to campus for their affordable care. My experiences of pregnancy and motherhood have made the conversation about access to health care, particularly women’s health care, much more real for me. 

I was surprised and disappointed at the administration’s recent decision not to allow students or clubs to partner with Planned Parenthood. One of the features of Whitworth that I most cherish, that won me over from the start, is that this place doesn’t mandate that you live your faith according to one mold (and for students, of course, it doesn’t require that you have a faith at all). This leaves open room for all kinds of uncomfortable and, one hopes, healthy disagreement. It would be so much easier to have everyone sign a statement of belief and be done with it. I’m grateful for a university willing to ask, again and again, what this open-ended approach to faith looks like, and that this question is approached with prayer and careful thought.

Many concerns about this decision regarding Planned Parenthood have already been well expressed in the opinions section of “The Whitworthian” and by students and faculty at the recent community forum. One of my biggest objections is that for a university that prides itself on “courageous conversations,” this move mutes important conversations before they can even begin. 

We have a lot to learn from people involved in Whitworth’s pro-life student groups. There are many different ways to be pro-life, and I’m interested in the diversity of ideas and actions in that movement. Also, I imagine it’s changed quite a bit in the last 20-plus years (surely the posters are more tasteful and compassionate). 

The reverse is also true: those who identify as pro-life can learn from other views. 

Labels like “pro-life progressive” or “prayerfully pro-choice” would not have made sense to me as an undergraduate, but there’s middle ground between the poles of “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” For example, for those of us who would like to reduce the number of abortions, regardless of where we fall on this spectrum—why not join forces to make health care more readily available, including contraception? 

Generation Action supports Planned Parenthood’s mission to make reproductive health care more accessible for everyone and to promote fact-based education about human sexuality. If our existing pro-life clubs are discussing issues like this, then please turn up the volume. If not, then it’s even more obvious why Whitworth should welcome—officially and with equal resources—groups that would like to get us talking.

 

 

Nicole Sheets is an associate professor of English. She can be reached at nsheets@whitworth.edu.

 

Thank you to retiring Whitworthian adviser Jim McPherson

Journalism professor Jim McPherson accepted a temporary, one-year position upon coming to Whitworth 17 years ago. For the next two-and-a-half weeks before retirement, he will continue to occupy the basement of Lindaman, enter battle on Twitter, teach all aspects of media, using neckwear to illustrate his points, and, most relevant to us on the editorial board, advise The Whitworthian. We on the editorial board could not ask for a better adviser.

Jim has a story for everything: teaching at an all-women’s college, misadventures from his small logging hometown in Idaho, living in a renovated school bus for a year and being a migrant farmer, among others. His stories provide a wide range of life experiences that teach and assist in any situation.

As one letter to the editor in this week’s issue said, Whitworth professors are notoriously kind and generous to their students. Jim extends that sentiment to providing a space for students in his office, complete with candy, to discuss academic difficulties, personal problems or the seemingly never ending hurdles that come with an undergraduate degree. Aside from the time spent hiding from colleagues and students in his truck, trying to catch up on the day’s paper and eat his lunch, Jim never turns away a student who has a small question or a large crisis.

Jim teaches and exemplifies what it is to be a caring and loving spouse. Everyone who has taken a class from him probably feels like they know Jim’s wife Joanna. He exudes his love for her by praising her ability to raise and support her children alone. His feminist streak comes out as he proudly describes Joanna’s journey from a high school dropout to working in a male dominated technology field to earning a college degree.

Those lucky enough to be in his classes know that Jim is, one might say, not an easy grader. He is the first to admit this, proudly. His classes are challenging in the best way. He gives the grades students deserve, with a genuine desire to help students improve and to find out what they want to be.

Jim has been a committed, supportive and thoughtful adviser to The Whitworthian for the past 17 years, minus a sabbatical or two. He understands the value of learning throughout the process of creating a newspaper. This year’s Editorial Board, and editors throughout the years, faced many controversies and tough decisions. With cliffs and obstacles lurking ahead, Jim would often point out the missteps in judgment that led to problems, but let editors and the paper as whole fall and experience failure. He encourages us to take on tough issues and challenges rather than play it safe. And when we do fall, he is there to pick us up and steer us in the right direction.

Jim allows The Whitworthian to function as a true student newspaper, offering assistance when the paper needs it, but emphasizing student ownership. He exemplifies how the position of “adviser” should look.

The editors may have made mistakes, but with Jim’s hands-off style, editors and writers were allowed to understand the ramifications of their mistakes and learn how to manage the aftermath. No matter the gravity of the situation or amount of faculty or administrators upset, Jim remains a calm and steadfast advocate for the paper and supports the staff’s ability to produce the paper each week. His support means everything to us.

In the days before Jim retires from Whitworth, we wanted to use this page space and opportunity to thank him. For the time spent in his office crying or laughing or listening to his stories. For passionate and fascinating lectures on media history and feminism. For the innumerable AP style corrections he has provided. For a story to go with every tie. For the hours and hours he spent with us and 17 years of previous editors in the media office reading and editing copy, and eating candy. Most of all, for teaching us how to be better writers, editors, media critics, ethical journalists and people.

Editorial: The implications of Beck Taylor’s decision

The administration’s decision last week to end the university’s formal relationship with Planned Parenthood created a passionate stir across campus, social media and Spokane, and reached national news organizations. As the administration and the Whitworth community move forward to contemplate the ramifications and later effects of the separation, the educational goals and student life activities of students should be closely examined.

The problem with this decision is not necessarily the fact that the university took a side, although many would and have argued that this is a problem. The university is constantly pressured to make decisions like this one, in which both sides of the argument believe firmly that they have the moral high ground. Sometimes the administration takes a side and sometimes it doesn’t; in this case it did.

The problem we at the editorial board feel is most significant to students is the infringement on their rights as students that this decision presents. The decision to disallow the club from associating with national organization Planned Parenthood, and to prevent students from interning at the organization, involves the university’s stance on a matter in students’ lives, which is not OK.

The Students for Life club, which was chartered about five years ago, receives brochures, educational tools, support and speaker opportunities from their national organization partner, Students for Life of America. Generation Action, a pro-choice group, attempted to charter in December but was denied by Student Life due to the club’s desire to partner with Planned Parenthood.

Once a club proposal is approved by club chartering committee it is sent to Rhosetta Rhodes, vice president for student life and dean of students, for approval before the ASWU assembly votes to charter the club.

“It’s almost always a rubber stamp, but it goes to [Rhodes] for approval. Generation Action was passed through ASWU [club council] originally, it stopped at the administration,” said ASWU financial vice president Jeff DeBray in last week’s ASWU meeting.

Student life and administration’s intervention in the chartering process raises questions over the breadth of the administration’s power over ASWU and student activities. The ASWU Bylaws state the vice president of student life “must also agree with the proposed charter before moving on to the assembly for a vote.” However, the Bylaws do not outline why student life, an entity outside ASWU, has approval or veto power over clubs.

Aside from providing a “rubber stamp” for club charters, Rhodes has little involvement with ASWU and student organizations. A position more closely tied with students, such as the assistant dean and director of student activities, that attends ASWU meetings, works closely with the student government members and oversees student events and clubs would be able to make more informed decisions about the best route for student groups.

ASWU has devoted time in multiple meetings this year to discussing constituency reports and reports from senators that address a range of groups on campus feeling pushed aside, unheard or unaccepted on campus. It is the job of ASWU execs to relay those issues to Rhodes and other administrators who were not present at the meetings, but someone present during those discussions may have made a more informed decision on the chartering of a club looking to promote more conversation on campus.

ASWU Club Chartering Committee’s approval of Generation Action signaled that the group was not in violation of the university’s “standards of conduct, or conflict with the mission, policies, practices, or goals of the university,” which ASWU outlines in its club chartering policy. 

The administration’s decision last week to end the university’s involvement with Planned Parenthood communicates the “policies, practices, or goals of the university” needed to be altered in order for Generation Action to be in violation of university standards and not be chartered. While President Beck Taylor branded the announcement as Whitworth becoming neutral on a politically charged topic, the choice pushed the university’s beliefs toward one side of the debate.

ASWU also maintains that approval of a student organization “no way implies consent or endorsement of the positions or points of view espoused publicly or privately by members of the organization.” While ASWU was able to make the distinction between chartering a club and making an endorsement, the administration failed to examine how student organizations provide opportunities for dialogue and student involvement, not political statements.

“The idea that a Christian university would partner with an organization that provides, among other things, abortion-related services is understandably difficult for some to reconcile,” Taylor wrote in the email announcement last week. However, the choice to pull away from one side while continuing to support SFL’s affiliation with their national organization communicates Whitworth’s allegiance with one side of the debate.

Creating the space for a diversity of opinions and experiences, which Taylor expressed the university will continue to do despite the decision, would allow for students to interact with both sides of an issue and make an informed choice about their personal views. Stopping a club from providing resources and a platform for students to experience new ideas diffuses the possibility for that diversity. Even if the university itself holds one position, should that mean all its students and student groups should as well? Of course not. That is where the diversity of opinions comes in. ASWU exists to serve the student body, not the university donors.

“We talked about equity in my political science class today,” freshman Lacy Nguyen said in last week’s ASWU meeting according to the meeting minutes. “The Young Americans for Freedom and Students for Life [clubs] are affiliated with national organizations. Generation Action is not allowed to be affiliated [with Planned Parenthood]. I wonder, and heard from students, what is equitable? There is a question of what clubs can get what? Should we cancel all associations with national organizations?” 

A chartered club has the ability to request funding from ASWU, reserve campus facilities, post flyers and banners on campus to advertise meetings and events, advertise on Whitworth.fm and The Whitworthian at a reduced rate, take part in club fairs and be included in ASWU club mailing lists and information for students. Unchartered clubs cannot use Whitworth or ASWU’s name, equipment, grounds or funds.

The news of Generation Action’s denial led many within ASWU to suggest the club rename, rebrand and recharter. While Generation Action regroups, SFL continues to receive the benefits of being a chartered club and its partnership with Students for Life of America. SFL’s relationship with and support from their national organization allows SFL to provide students with brochures, flyers, club members with information about their goals and values, along with bringing in speakers and events to campus.    

SFL will welcome Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, on May 9 to present a speech advertised as “Feminism and Planned Parenthood.” While all advertisements posted on campus must be approved by the Info Desk, the ASWU club manual does not specify if Rhodes or ASWU approves speakers, brochures, handouts, table tents, banners, events or social media posts. ASWU’s club manual requests all clubs comply with university policies and standards, but regulation of those guidelines appear lax when national or regional organizations’ material are passing through campus without oversight.

The issue comes down to this: Despite claiming to desire a diversity of opinions, the university not only gives preference to groups with certain opinions, but prevents other groups with differing opinions from forming and having access to the same benefits. This in itself undermines the very concept of a diversity of opinions.

Editorials in the "In the Loop" section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

Contact Katie Shaw, the opinions editor, at

kshaw17@my.whitworth.edu

Dropped credit ceiling? Dropped potential

Karlin Andersen
Editor-in-Chief

 

A reduction in the maximum allowed credits from 17 to 16 may be moved to a tier two priority based on student feedback, Carol Simon, provost and executive vice president, said in last week’s ASWU town hall meeting that addressed the budget prioritization process. However, this proposal should not be delayed until the university needs the estimated $200,000 in savings, but omitted altogether due to its adverse effects on students across disciplines.


Tier one of the budget proposal, if approved by the trustees, will be implemented in the next few years. Tier two is a contingency plan if tier one is not effective.


As outlined in the budget prioritization plan, if the credit ceiling were to be reduced in fall of 2019 it would not only help the university monetarily but aid students whose “academic performance and learning outcomes” are “arguably, compromised” when they exceed 16 credits.


Students taking 17 or more credits may experience an increased amount of stress compared to their peers taking below 16 credits. However, each semester students pick their classes based on a graduation plan and their load is approved by one or more advisers who are tasked with aiding that student in graduating and monitoring their credit load to assure the student can complete their courses.


A student can always choose not to take more than 16 credits, but often their major(s) is designed in such a way that requires overload or near overload. Of the nine students who spoke at last week’s ASWU meeting, five addressed the credit ceiling and several were involved with music or the performing arts. Their concerns had a similar thread— limit our credits and we cannot participate in classes our major requires, including multiple ensemble groups, mandatory lessons or theory classes.


Senior Denin Koch, majoring in music, expressed a worry that pressing students to take only necessary courses would limit them from experiencing classes outside their major including language classes that are vital to singing and reading lyrics in different languages.
Others argued credit limits would deter prospective students who may attend community college to gain general education credits before coming to Whitworth to focus on their major.


Before student comments, Simon presented statistics that showed Whitworth provides 92 percent of credits toward graduation within three years, which is 2-17 percentage points higher than other schools in Washington. Neither the statistics nor Simon addressed how courses rotate in and out of department catalogues, are offered at intervals or in specific semesters or are only taught by one professor with limited class sizes. A well-organized student who knows his or her major their first day at Whitworth, and does not change his or her major, may achieve 92 percent of classes toward graduation within three years, but it is unlikely every student will.


The biggest reason for lowering the credit ceiling is not the threat those last few credits brings to student mental health or academic retention, it is the cost to the university. Currently Whitworth loses $500,000 to students who graduate a semester or year early, or transfer from a community college.


The cost of early graduation scares Whitworth. A student like me scares Whitworth.
I brought in 32 credits from high school and had a sophomore standing, which allowed me to take only two of the three Core classes and skip many of the general education requirements. Those high school credits and Whitworth’s high credit limit allowed me to pick a major with a high credit requirement for graduation, two minors, still take some history classes I was interested in and graduate a year early.


Taking 17 credits per semester allowed me to graduate from Whitworth. Not just graduate early, but graduate. Every semester my family struggled to pay tuition and with my brother entering college next year, I would not be able to afford a fourth year. At taking an average 17 credits each semester I would have had to make the choice to either pay the overload charge or take the cheaper option of leaving Whitworth to finish my final year at another institution.


I understand Whitworth’s worries for its future financial security and its desire to maintain an institution for students for another 125 years. But students should not be limited or discouraged because they want to graduate early, need a large number of credits to sit exams such as the CPA, the MCAT or teacher certifications, need to take more credits because of their major requirements, need room in their semesters to fit in classes that are not offered consistently, or just want to take something outside their major— a feature a liberal arts university flaunts.


Other tier two changes the prioritization proposal floated included phasing out language and coaching minors if they could not increase enrollment or cut costs. In the ASWU meeting Simon encouraged those concerned about the minors to tell their friends to take the classes within the minor and even register for the minor—an option that may be closed if students can take fewer credits.


The 16 credits per semester and four credits in Jan Term proposed limit would allow students to take a maximum of 144 credits over four years. Currently, only 15 percent of students who graduate in four years have taken that maximum. Students may not be achieving the full 144 credits en mass, but students often take fewer classes as upperclassmen to balance out 400 level courses or to allow time for internships and off-campus jobs. However, the option to take 17 credits, which could allow a student to take an entire class if they were at 14 credits, should not be closed off because on paper the university does not see students taking advantage of the extra credit.


This May I will graduate with 146 credits, a B.A. in English and two minors, because of the freedom of 17 credits; I only earned 114 of those credits at Whitworth. Since I am placing a deep strain on the university maybe I should stay an extra year and boost my journalism minor to a major and get the history minor that evaded me. After all, I only have one more year of 17 credits.

Contact Karlin Andersen at
kandersen18@my.whitworth.edu

Whitworth takes positive steps toward protecting all students

Katie Shaw

Opinions Editor

 

“We at @Whitworth stand in solidarity with our international and undocumented students. They are us. We are Whitworth.”


Those words, posted on Facebook by President Beck Taylor on Jan. 30 were neither written nor taken lightly. To some, they were an affirming mark of Whitworth’s administration’s stand with its students. Others took the post and the stance Taylor’s administration has taken as resistance to the Trump administration and to the government. This is precisely why this action was so brave.


Taylor must have been aware of the consequences, both negative and positive. Whenever universities take a stance on anything, there is bound to be consequences, both in terms of image and reputation, and actual finances. Several comments on Taylor’s post implied that the stance would sway the writers from donating to or even attending Whitworth.


Deciding whether or not to align with one position or another is an ongoing struggle for universities, particularly for religious institutions like Whitworth, which has to consider the position of its associated church.


Taylor was right when he called the issue “personal” in an interview for The Whitworthian (see story here).


When the issue is as simultaneously personal and politically contentious as immigration, it makes sense that the notion of a “sanctuary campus” has become a common topic of discussion and deliberation. Gonzaga administration, for instance, is “determined to protect undocumented students,” according to The Gonzaga Bulletin. Trustees at EWU, meanwhile, responded to a petition from students by reaffirming commitment to students, but declining the official label of “sanctuary,” according to KREM 2.


Taylor and the administration did not necessarily choose the easy path, but they made a decision that was both noble and smart.


They could have accepted the term “sanctuary campus,” which a petition signed by 1,117 members of the Whitworth community called Taylor to do. However, Taylor makes an excellent point in the official statement titled “Statement on Recent Events Affecting Undocumented and International Students at Whitworth”: “The term “sanctuary campus” is vague and highly charged. It seems to have more utility in making political statements than in ensuring any real and meaningful protection for undocumented persons.”


He goes on to say that he is eager to implement policies protecting the rights of undocumented students, effectively making Whitworth a sanctuary campus without having to say so. He shouldn’t be blamed for this; the term “sanctuary campus,” referring to a campus with any amount of protective policy, is vague, and frequently misunderstood. Instead, Taylor defined his intentions in a well-written statement, while avoiding any misunderstandings or misguided conclusions.


On the other hand, Taylor and his administration could have declined to take an official stance, although the pressure for universities to do so must be intense.


This action shows a dedication to studentsrather than to its image, and is a noble one. Through this action, Whitworth exemplifies its Christian mission, and acts as an example for other universities to be just as welcoming.

 

Contact Katie Shaw at kshaw17@my.whitworth.edu

Home for the holidays? Bring a friend!

Emily Goodell
Columnist

Everyone should bring someone home for the holidays. Not a romantic someone per se, but a friend or an acquaintance. Many people do not have anywhere to go for the holiday season. Either they have no family, are estranged from their family or cannot afford to go home. Many other reasons exist besides these, but the fact remains that many do not have somewhere to go.

Regardless of faith background, religious practices (or lack thereof) or what holidays one celebrates, there is a general consensus that the winter time in the U.S. is the “holiday season” in which people celebrate love, joy, hope and peace. By that logic, it is safe to assume that being without people during this time can be difficult.

Some are hesitant to bring someone new into an intimate holiday setting, and while that is understandable, it is much less so if one weighs the issues on a scale. If one is more worried about the potential consequences of bringing a friend into their family than the mental and emotional consequences for one’s friend being alone instead of being in a place where they are affirmed and provided for, therein may lie a problem.

This is not to say that there are not circumstances in which one should not bring someone home with them for the holidays. If one is not financially able or the familial environment would create unnecessary harm or stress for family or friends, this would possibly be a reason to decline to bring a friend home.

Rainier Emerick | Graphics Editor

The benefits that come from bringing someone into one’s home are not only for those coming into the home, but those hosting as well. There is a kind of joy that comes from giving others joy that can be found in adopting a friend for the holidays as well as the benefit of getting to know said friend better.

However, the fact is that people deserve people. They deserve people to share moments with. And if one person is able to make a profound difference in another’s holiday, doing so is a necessity.

Contact Emily Goodell at
egoodell18@my.whitworth.edu

Post-election thoughts: To my fellow Whitworthians

Katie Shaw

Opinions Editor

In the last week, you have probably read dozens of iterations of some variation of the following opinion on Facebook, or heard the essence of the arguments in person. I know I have.

All of these posts and opinions have one thing in common: they come from a perspective, a mind and an experience completely unique from every other.

It has been theorized that the pre-election predictions of Clinton’s win were so skewed because Trump supporters were reluctant to admit to the pollsters that they were voting for Trump. Although this may indicate the poorness of his candidacy, it could also reflect the polarizing nature of the rhetoric not only from the candidates themselves, but from supporters on both sides.

Despite our generation’s limited experience in presidential elections, it’s safe to assume that no election in recent history has been as divisive or aggressive. Hateful comments by and toward both Trump and Clinton supporters have been a standard part of the campaigns. Admitting publicly to be in favor of either candidate, but especially Trump, was and is stigmatizing.

This is a problem.

Liberal friends: The fear you feel, the anger you feel, I feel it too, although as a white woman, I cannot understand the extent of the fear and marginalization that people of color, Muslims, and other marginalized groups currently feel.

Protest peacefully, make your arguments, use your anger as constructively as you can and rely on support from your allies to express the remaining anger. However, consider remembering that people vote for a candidate for many reasons. Some hated Trump and his rhetoric, and voted for him still. I have seen too many posts denouncing Trump and every single one of his supporters. To write off almost half of those who voted as hopeless seems both close-minded and unproductive.

Conservative friends: Please protect those who have been harmed by this election. Most of you do not share the hateful sentiments of Donald Trump, and hopefully, his harmful comments against women, Muslims, Mexicans, etc. during and before the election will not carry too negatively into his policies. However, whether or not his voters support that, that rhetoric has been affirmed by his election, and people who subscribe to those negative thoughts have had their hate validated.

Everyone: Respectful consideration and conversation on both sides has never been more important. Regardless of your political opinions and your background, please consider that each person is not a member of one “side,” but an individual who has formulated an opinion. Remember the signs in the HUB reminding minorities they are important; listen to opinions that differ from your own, even if they are harmful. Opinions can be changed, but only if the barrier of “the other” is not limiting the conversation.

Contact Katie Shaw at

kshaw17@my.whitworth.edu

 

Also read:

"To my fellow conservatives"

"To my fellow liberals"