‘Ignorance is bliss’ mentality will worsen woes

A campus-wide email that went out a couple of weeks ago reminded students that actions of hate have no place at Whitworth.

With many students and others in denial that hate even takes place at Whitworth, this email also served as a reminder that our community is not immune.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had conversations with students who say that sexual assaults don’t happen at Christian colleges.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had someone tell me that gay students don’t face hate speech here.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a student say Whitworthians are never judged for their religious beliefs.

The problem is, those things do happen at Whitworth. I have known victims of hateful speech and action, and have been on the receiving end of hateful speech a few times myself.

The problem grows deeper each time we turn a blind eye. Ignoring the shortcomings of our campus simply allows hate to proliferate in our community.

Part of the liberal arts learning experience is engaging with people who don’t share all of your values. This can create an environment in which we can safely question our commitments, explore and seek truth and learn to respect our fellow man.

Ultimately, diversity within our educational community allows us to gain a broader understanding of our world.

When we allow violence and anger to usurp that role of education, we bastardize our education. Verbal and physical violence threaten the safety of our community, and make questioning and exploration much more difficult.

When members of our community are made to feel inferior, their voices are silenced and our education becomes narrower. If we intend to preserve our education and our institution, we must first acknowledge our imperfections.

We must acknowledge that sexual violence happens at Whitworth.

We must acknowledge that minority students face adversity and hate speech.

We must acknowledge that people are judged and cast aside because of their faith at our institution.

We must acknowledge that, as a campus with various diversities, we also have various disagreements that have the capacity to help or harm our community.

We must become aware of the possibility of educational value in our disagreements.

I’ve heard the argument that awareness doesn’t solve anything but I disagree. Awareness solves the issue of ignorance, and we can only begin to seek solutions to bigger problems when our ignorance has been cured.

If we never realize the issue at hand, how will we ever begin to remedy the situation?

Awareness will serve as a catalyst for solutions to the problems our campus faces.

Once we learn to acknowledge our shortcomings, we will be able to begin to brainstorm ways to combat our problems.

If we refuse to admit that our campus isn’t perfect, then we will never feel the urgency to solve the problems that plague our institution. Lindsie Trego

Trego is a junior majoring in journalism and mass communication and English. Comments can be sent to lwagner14@my.whitworth.edu.

Too much TV time poses dining distraction

By most accounts, the remodeled dining hall and HUB expansion are significant improvements in décor, food quality and variety.

The goal to give the dining hall more of a “restaurant feel” was successfully achieved. If anything, the refurbished dining hall may be too much like many modern restaurants in one respect: the proliferation of TV screens.

To be sure, the menu and announcement displays are great, quickly and very visibly displaying the meal’s options. It is the giant screen showing sports with every meal that is the problem.

Students’ lives are already crammed with electronic media. Apparently we just cannot get enough football.

Brian Stelter of the New York Times reported three years ago that the average American spends 8.5 hours a day exposed to screens of some kind.

There are several reasons to preserve 30 minutes of dining space from being encroached by more TV.

For starters, not everyone wants to watch. Anecdotally, most students I have spoken to have agreed that they would rather not have the TV on during dinner. For some students, dinner is a time to tune out for a little while and relax from studying.

Some students like to be able to get a little reading or studying in. Others would simply like to be able to enjoy a hall dinner or a quiet conversation with a friend.

Indeed, the constant TV provides an all-too convenient escape from conversation.

While there are obviously those who appreciate TV, is it necessary to force everyone to have to deal with the giant screen for the sake of a few?

Well, you might say, just because the screen is there does not mean you have to look at it; just try.

On multiple occasions I have found myself distracted from a lovely meal with my fiancée by a touchdown or particularly painful-looking tackle. To add insult to injury, I do not even like football.

Unless you are willing and able to find refuge at one of the handful of tables beneath the screen, it is nearly impossible to avoid being attracted to the constant motion and flashes of the TV. It is simply too distracting to avoid. Even if you are able to restrain yourself from watching, chances are one or more of the people you are eating with, and presumably talking with, will not be. With that said, there are those who really appreciate being able to watch sports during their meal.

There are a few ways that reasonable accommodations could be made for both sides. One solution could be limiting the number of nights the screen is shown to once or twice a week.

Another possibility would be leaving the flat screen TVs in the expansion on continuously, but discontinue use of the projector in the main dining hall.

That way, students would be able to choose where to sit based on whether they want to watch sports or not. Until that happens, however, in our media-saturated society, the last thing we need is continuous football in the dining hall.

 

Story by Maxford Nelsen Columnist

Nelsen is a senior majoring in political science. Comments can be sent to mnelsen13@my.whitworth.edu.

Intramurals provide alternative community

Whitworth is known for its community; the community in the dorm, the community in the coffee shop and elsewhere. However, the community provided by intramurals is often overlooked. It is so easy for people to skip over sign-up emails or not want to talk to people about forming a team and then miss out on an awesome aspect of Whitworth.

My freshman year, I joined an ultimate Frisbee intramural team and had a blast getting to know other people in my dorm beyond a surface level exchange of hellos in the hallways. Some of those friendships grew deeper due to a friend of mine deciding to spread the word about starting a team.

Now, this year, I was asked to join a new team for ultimate Frisbee intramurals and went into it knowing two people. Now, I have had the chance to form friendships with teammates whom I may have never met, had I not decided to join.

Frisbee is not the only place where community within intramurals takes place. While playing a Frisbee game, I often see football and soccer teams on the other side of the field laughing, high fiving and coming together as a team. There are also intramural teams for volleyball, basketball, soccer, dodgeball, tennis and other sports.

An intramural team allows you to take an hour break from homework for friendly competition. It allows you to get active without the seriousness of a team, practice and training.

After joining a team, you will notice teammates, or competition, all over campus and you will see your community here expand.

I have a teammate whom I met because we play on the same team, and now we notice that we always pass each other on campus and frequently do homework in the coffee shop at the same time.

Before, I did not notice how often our paths crossed and didn’t even know his name. My challenge to you is to stop making excuses.

You will always too feel busy, uninterested, too cool or not good enough until you try it out.

Whatever the excuse is, it shouldn’t stop you from wanting to have an amazing experience, meet new people and expand your community.

Haley Williamson Columnist

Williamson is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communications. Comments can be sent to hwilliamson15@ my.whitworth.edu.

Loving thy neighbor: WU acts early in response to past complaints

As each new semester starts, moving vans and pickup trucks roll into Whitworth’s surrounding community to fill empty houses with college students. Some of these off-campus students save money on rent by packing as many people into one small house as possible. Many students also look forward to being exempt from the “Big Three” and living without adult supervision. While some of these off-campus students quickly adjust to this freedom, others have difficulty realizing that there are certain rules of the neighborhood that they must abide by in order to maintain healthy relationships with their neighbors.

“As we’ve grown to over 2,250 students it affects the neighborhood as our off-campus student housing grows too,” said Brian Benzel, vice president of finance and administration.

Benzel said that within the last 10 years, he has watched the number of rentals increase west of Waikiki, drawing more parties, noise and alcohol to the area. Within the last year, there have been at least three complaints by community members who have become increasingly concerned by the noise levels and partying, he said.

“Last spring we had a meeting with the neighbors,” Benzel said. “One guy had a college-aged kid on his roof. He took the time out of his day to come talk to me because he was concerned.”

Benzel said that Whitworth gets complaints every year about off-campus partying, noise levels, trespassing and property damage caused by students leaving parties. However, Whitworth does not have the jurisdiction to call the police about its off-campus residents. Benzel also said he is not completely persuaded that the noise levels and damages are all caused by Whitworth students.

“We kind of get tagged and unfairly labeled,” Benzel said. “But I’m not entirely convinced that all those kids leaving the parties and causing damage are necessarily our kids.”

Off-campus senator Ryan Charlton said that he has heard complaints of people leaving parties around the Whitworth Terrace area, the stretch of housing between Hawthorne and Holmberg Park. The complaints have been in regards to property vandalized by students who cut through neighbors’ backyards.

Charlton said the biggest issue that stems from the complaints is that of respect for Whitworth’s surrounding community.

“As Whitworth students, we need to be respectful and accountable for what happens in our community,” Charlton said. “Pause, think and be aware of your surroundings.”

Benzel said that while the most recent complaints were voiced last May, Whitworth is trying to problem solve in advance.

“No one wants to be denied fun, but there are a lot of really cool people in our neighborhood that are trying to sleep at night,” Benzel said. “It’s a general college responsibility to see what can be done to bring people together.”

Junior Seth Owens, off-campus representative, said that ASWU is trying to prevent the problem now so that they don’t have to solve it later.

“We are trying to hop on the issue now and promote conversations with neighbors rather than doing clean up duty in the future,” Owens said.

Owens said that right now he and Charlton are trying to get a pulse of what is going on so that they can find a way to best address this issue. Owens said that the first step toward solving this issue is well underway. Owens and Charlton sat down with a few members of the administration as well as a few concerned neighbors Monday, Oct. 15.

Both off-campus representative and senator agree that the next goal is to bring students and community members together directly to allow an open conversation for all who are concerned.

“The most we can do is encourage communication,” Owens said. “If you just talk with your neighbors, you will create a new relationship built on consideration for those on a different schedule than you.”

Owens said that as Whitworth students, he hopes that students will take responsibility for the people they might become after leaving the pinecone curtain. He hopes this will set an example so that others might step up too.

“This is a preventative gesture, not a gesture of reaction. Let’s keep it that way,” Owens said.

Jennifer Ingram Staff Writer   

Contact Jennifer Ingram at jingram13@my.whitworth.edu.

In the Loop: Whitworth ought to be grateful in the midst of first-world problems

How much time do you spend complaining about lack of sleep, overabundance of homework or internet connection problems? UNICEF New Zealand, partnering with UMR research, surveyed New Zealanders about their “First World Problems” and the results were striking. Although New Zealand is far different from the United States, we share a commonality: we don’t realize how good we have it. Some of the biggest problems from the survey included slow internet speed, the barista not making good enough coffee, getting a bad haircut and an uncomfortable couch. Most of us can relate to some of these and even think of some of our own. Whitworth’s “First World Problems” may be annoyance with Blackboard not working, not being able to access email, not being able to access the Internet in our dorm or our cell phone service not working in certain buildings around campus.

As students today, technology and internet are increasingly part of not only our entertainment world, but also our academic endeavors. We rely heavily on technology throughout the day. Fast internet can be the difference between finding three great sources for your next essay in fifteen minutes, and spending an afternoon waiting as each page loads at a painfully slow rate. If you can’t access Blackboard, it can mean not having access to materials you need for an assignment, or not being able to turn in an assignment on time. And, let’s be honest: Slow internet means it’s difficult to stream your favorite TV show via Netflix when you don’t have ready access to a TV. While some of these challenges are valid, it’s important to look at the bigger picture.

We often consider our community to be within the “Pinecone Curtain” of the Whitworth pine trees and are encouraged to get involved outside of campus in the Spokane community. We should also take time to consider our situation in the “Pinecone Curtain” as it pertains to the situation we are blessed with at Whitworth. On campus, we have campus-wide internet access and are constantly building and improving facilities to state-of-the-art measures. These blessings  among others create an exceptional living and learning environment, even by first world standards.

It is important to be grateful that we have these options available to us. Our “First World Problems” are incomparable to those of other countries; we are well-equipped with a great community that surrounds us, clothes on our back, food prepared for us, fresh, clean water at our disposal and an opportunity for education that will help us in the future. Not many people have the opportunity to have what we do -- we are privileged to be in the situation and place we are currently in.

Not every college student’s problems are all trivial. Some students manage a chronic illness, balancing their school work and other responsibilities with trips to the doctor and all of the things they have to do to manage their illness. Many work multiple jobs to pay for school and living expenses, and still will come out of school with debt. Figuring out what path to take after graduation is a serious issue that everyone has to deal with at some point as well. Others may be dealing with family issues, struggling to make it through a day without the weight of those issues bearing down on them, causing them stress.

Still, the fact that you are here means that somewhere along the way you received some pretty incredible advantages. This board is not saying people should never complain, but advocates putting things into perspective. Let’s face it, we all have those days where we need to vent, but it shouldn’t allow us to focus strictly on ourselves.

When your “First World Problems” arise, perhaps you can use it as an opportunity to think about the many ways in which you have it good.  Or, even go further into finding a way to help out those whose problems are a little more serious than your own.

Whitworthian Editoral Board

Contact the editorial board at croach14@my.whitworth.edu