Not who we are, but what we do: Bruce Jenner, Laverne Cox and trans activism

2015 has been a tipping point for transgender visibility and media representation. With TV shows like “Orange is the New Black,” “Glee,” “Transparent,” “The T Word” and “Becoming Us,” transgender actors and characters are entering more American homes than ever before. But arguably the two most public figures of this new branch of media are actress Laverne Cox and decathlon champion-turned reality TV star Bruce Jenner.Both celebrities were assigned male at birth and must face the spotlight every day while trying to succeed in life as the women they truly are. They also represent the diversity within the transgender community; they are famous in part because of their shared identity, but the lives they lived before the spotlight could not have been more different. Cox came from a traditionally marginalized group—poor, black, gay men—while Jenner grew up in the height of privilege as a white, healthy, straight male.

Bruce Jenner

  It is easy to think about privilege as a one-dimensional issue. For instance, we may claim that “all transgender people will face discrimination” or that “all white people have it easy.” However, these claims are false because of the many nuanced layers of intersection that each of us carries within our identity. These intersections of identity could not be more crucial in distinguishing how the Jenner and Cox speak up about transgender. Seventeen million people watched Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer just on the day that it aired, according to USA Today. Laverne Cox has had an even greater impact this year and became a household name after she was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine, awarded a daytime Emmy and named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2015. Jenner and Cox carry an enormous degree of power and influence in improving the lives of those in their community—a responsibility as enormous as the task itself. Transgender Americans (an estimated 2 percent of the population) have staggering disadvantages in our country today. The average life expectancy of a transgender American is 36—transgender women of color are 16 times more likely than the average American to be murdered, and transgender suicide attempt rates are 20 times that of the overall population. The poverty and unemployment rates for transgender adults are double that of the national average. You can legally be fired for being transgender in 32 U.S. states and an estimated 97 percent of transgender people report experiencing discrimination or harassment at work. For the rights of this community, there is nowhere to go but up. Cox has used her celebrity to increase the visibility and understanding of transgender people, in part because of her experience with marginalization in the past. Jenner, on the other hand, has been fairly silent about the important work that needs to be done—the potential product of a past full of privilege. There is no doubt that the country is watching these and other transgender public figures—we must all hope that they will use their influence to fix society and its mistreatment of transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

Ashton Skinner

Guest Columnist

Contact Ashton at

Student Success Center helps struggling students

Two weeks ago, the Whitworthian polled 100 students asking them to rate the helpfulness of the Student Success center. Of the respondents, 47 percent rated the Student Success center as helpful while 13 percent rated the center as unhelpful. Curious as to what strengths and weaknesses of the program may have resulted in such figures, I investigated.The Student Success Team (SST) is a vastly underutilized resource on campus. Whitworth does a phenomenal job supporting its community and the Student Success program is a major component in providing that support, both in academic and personal arenas. It fosters a supportive environment for students in need no matter the need and the success stories of the program are many in number and kind. Even so, there are important improvements that need to be made.

ASWU Survey3 Before delving into SST further, we must first address a simple question: what is the SST? In short, the SST is a peer-model program that helps students with academic or personal difficulties. Students who utilize the program are assigned a fellow student to work with, a student success coach, who will help them with whatever struggle they are facing. Its mission is to meet every student where they’re at. The SST should not be mistaken for a tutoring service. Instead, student success coaches are trained to teach good study habits, from time management skill to prioritizing one’s activities. Coaches can connect students to helpful resources, such as specific tutor programs, but their primary duties are to provide personal support, guidance, counseling and accountability. Prior to the SST’s creation, students who had GPAs lower than a 2.0 had little structured support from the university, Director of Student Success Landon Crecelius said. Students were told they need to raise their grades, but then it was left entirely up to them to figure out how to do so. Naturally, many student struggled to raise their grades without much guidance. Whitworth already had plenty of reactive measures in place, such as academic warnings, probation and suspension. What it needed was a proactive arm, a program that would work with students and help them recover in the early stages of the struggle, rather than tiered consequences after the worst had already come to pass. The SST was the answer. The program is still relatively young, only now finishing its third year, but the success stories of the students who have utilized the program are impressive. Seth McDermott, now a senior, is a prime example of how impactful SST can be in a student’s life. McDermott was a student athlete during his first two years at Whitworth and the time and energy football demanded of him detracted from the time he could commit to academics. His grades suffered and he was put on probation at the end of fall semester his freshman year. Spring semester came and went, and his grades stayed the same. McDermott was assigned a student success coach for fall semester of his sophomore year, and although his grades remained low during the time, by Jan Term he was earning As and Bs. “My student success coach taught me study techniques. I didn’t have any good study techniques, I didn’t learn any during high school,” McDermott said. “They showed me how to study and  gave me a sense that I could be successful in the classroom.” SST taught him how to adapt to new professors, strategies for good time management and how to prioritize his activities, all of which he had previously struggled with. Even so, McDermott came perilously close to being suspended from Whitworth. Due to his low grade point average, he was brought before the Education Review Board to make an appeal. “I called Landon before I called my parents,” McDermott said. “The [SST] was there for me. They fought for me and helped make sure I could stay.” SST advocated for him, and with his Jan Term grades reflecting his progress, McDermott was allowed to stay. Since then, McDermott has successfully utilized the habits SST taught him, and he looks forward to graduating this year. Kiersten Signalness, a junior who utilized the program in the past, received similar support from the SST for different reasons. During her sophomore year, one of her professors was unable to effectively teach his class due to medical reasons which severely hindered his ability to communicate with his class. Signalness made every effort to compensate for the ineffective instruction. “I had near perfect attendance, turned in all of my homework, saw tutors and studied for every test,” Signalness said. Despite her efforts, Signalness and the majority of her classmates (those who had not already withdrawn, that is) failed the class. She went to the SST in search of academic help, and although they were unable to meet her needs as she had hoped, the SST worked with her. They listened as she shared the details of her case and agreed that the circumstances warranted action. The SST advocated for Signalness when she sought a repeal of her grade, and, because of their support, the grade was repealed. Signalness spoke highly of her experience with the SST, citing three key strengths of the program which make it exceedingly helpful: emotional support, provision of crucial resources and different ideas. Each of these strengths was present in the SST’s response to her situation. In addition to meeting academic needs, the SST was also created to confidentially support students’ personal needs. Prior to the SST’s inception, students undergoing difficulties of a personal nature were assisted by the vice president at the time. A success story of that type can be found in sophomore Allison Pheasant. Unlike McDermott, Pheasant sought help with student life instead of academics. Pheasant’s student success coach has helped her tremendously, encouraging her to pursue extracurricular interests that she would have otherwise let slip by. Pheasant has become more involved with the community at Whitworth and attributes that being made possible to the support of the SST. Pheasant is aware of the negative stigma that may come from seeking outside help, but she says it is unmerited. “People don’t want to have a coach because it seems like you need a lot of help in guiding yourself,” Pheasant said. “Really, your coach is learning too. It’s a learning process for both of you . . . I don’t see them as coaches. They’re just really genuine people, they genuinely care. They’re here to help. They’re more like friends—they support you.” The many stories of success from SST come in all shapes and sizes—academic assistance, student advocacy and personal support are just a few ways the SST can benefit students. Ultimately, the SST is in place to support students however it can. McDermott’s, Signalness’, and Pheasant’s cases all demonstrate that fact. The SST has filled high needs areas that were once largely unattended to, and it has done a truly praiseworthy job. Even so, the SST still has an enormous amount of untapped potential. The program is still maturing, and there is much to be done before it reaches its full capability. Before all other needs, the SST must promote greater publicity. The SST values students’ well being above all else, even before their affiliation to Whitworth. They want what is best for the student as a unique individual. If a student is in need of academic or personal assistance, the SST is the place to go. They will put students in connection with the resources they need. Staff, faculty and other students can refer students to the SST via the online Student Concern Form, but the majority of submissions currently come from professors. Landon Crecelius and the Student Success program can be found in the Lindaman Center. “A lot of people have a misconception [about the SST]. They think, ‘Oh, I’m in trouble. I have to go see Student Success.’ Really, we’re here to be a guide and work with students,” said senior Jaclyn Jordan, a student success coach for the past three semesters. Unfortunately, the misconception is common. Few students know of Student Success, and those who do often have a cloudy understanding of it at best. Other suggested and hoped for improvements relate to interdepartmental coordination. If the SST can open lines of communication with other resources on campus, it can become more effective in its assistance of students. Communication between SST and tutor programs, professors, coaches and other support services on campus will make each more effective in helping students. Crecelius said that he would like to see the SST continue to implement more proactive strategies. He pointed out that the men’s soccer coach and one of the men’s football coaches have received some components of Student Success training so that they may better help their players. They have also hired and trained several athletes to become student success coaches, enabling them to further help and support their team and campus community. The SST needs to publicize itself more on campus. This proactive arm of Whitworth is changing lives, and expectations for further growth are high, so long as it gets the attention it needs and deserves.

Student Success


Matthew Boardman


Contact Matthew Boardman at

Jenny Adams: The lone freshman

Being the only freshman on a collegiate sports team is never an easy task, and Jennifer (Jenny) Adams had her share of troubles, but with the help of her coach and teammates, she was ultimately able to have a successful season on and off the tennis court. “Jenny was a great addition to the team this year. She had a great first season and I expect she will only get better and better each season,” Coach Rachel Aldridge said. “It can be tough as a freshman not knowing anyone, but Jenny has really become part of the team and our little tennis family.”

The Whitworth women’s tennis team had an unexpected start to the season, as Jo Wagstaff, the person who recruited Adams, decided to retire after being the head coach of the program for 30 years. This came as a shock to the players, who were not expecting Wagstaff to retire in December before the spring season.

Aldridge, a former Whitworth tennis player and assistant coach, was soon named the new head coach of the program. This coaching change left a lot of doubt in the mind of Adams, who had not even started her first season before the coach who had confidence in her decided to retire.

“I was definitely frustrated because the offseason was really poor in communication and teamwork,” Adams said. “Having both our main coach and one of our assistant coaches retire made me feel uncertain of why I even came here originally. However, our assistant coach Rachel took over and it turned out to be a great season with great coaching.”

In the end, Jenny enjoyed having Rachel as a coach and had a phenomenal freshman season- starting almost every match she was healthy in at singles and doubles. Adams would typically start at the No. 4 spot in singles, and usually play in the No. 1 doubles match partnered with junior Taylor Peña.

Adams is currently a nursing major, who chose Whitworth not only for it’s good tennis program, but also for the strong academics. She is originally from Renton, Washington, and is happy her parents are not too far away when she needs some support dealing with tennis issues or her busy academic and social life off the court.

“Several people helped me adjust to Whitworth. My parents were great when I felt nervous about my tennis game or school, and everyone on the team was supportive of me,” Adams said. “Coach Rachel sat me down several times to refocus, and it has been helpful.”

Jenny’s success on and off the court as a freshman not only came with the help of her parents and coach, but also came from her “amazing” teammates. Jenny went through some difficulties during the season, from adjusting to the new coach, dealing with “nerves” during matches and even suffering an injury near the end of the season.

In addition, according to Adams, her teammates really stepped up and made this season a good experience for her- which showed in her achievement on the court and in the classroom. Peña, Adams’ doubles partner, was someone Adams found influential.

“I loved playing doubles with Jenny because we moved well on the court together and our game styles (my consistency and her volleys) complemented each other really well,” Peña said. “Jenny has such a welcoming and hardworking spirit. I was able to help her with encouraging her as my teammate and calling out strategies, like where/how we should serve or return.”

Senior Saryn Mooney was also a player Adams said really welcomed her as a freshman and had a positive influence on her first year. Mooney only got to play alongside Adams for one year, but she has a few memories about her that she says will be hard to forget.

“Each girl is assigned an animal their freshman year over spring break and has to wear a special shirt during the warm ups for a match,” Mooney said. “The shirt is quite embarrassing, but Jenny was a champ about it. It was rough for her to do by herself, but she was willing to laugh.”

Adams’ season was cut short with a couple weeks to go due to an injury to her rib area. Even though Adams was not able to help her team win the Northwest Conference Tournament, she is optimistic about her next three years as a Buc.

“After spring break I injured my serratus anterior and intercostal muscles on my side. Mentally, I feel a lot better, but ending my year with injury was not what I would have wanted. However, I am excited for next year and ready to start fresh again.”

  Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer

Coach of the Year: Cristal Brown

Head coach Cristal Brown led the Whitworth softball team to their first conference title in the history of the program in the 2015 season. The fifth head coach to take charge of the team, Brown took up the role in 2011 and has led the team to improvements every season since. Brown’s previous softball experience includes lead-off batting in high school and college, becoming the Western State Junior College Player of the year in 1998. From 2008 to 2011, she was the head coach at the Kingsburg High School in California. She held an impressive 101-29 record over her four seasons of coaching. The team won four Central Sequoia League Championships, a Central Section crown in 2008 and were the Central Section runners-up in 2009. She was a Central Sequoia League Coach of the year honoree three times. She was also assistant varsity coach at Valencia High School for two years and assistant coached at The Master’s College.

“When I was young, I grew up without a whole lot of opportunity,” Brown said. “Softball gave me the opportunity to go to college and get my life on the straight and narrow path. I believe we have established a culture and a tradition that will continue to exist and that we can continue to achieve every year.”

At the beginning of the season, Randy Clark, long-time mentor from her time playing at The Master’s College and current softball assistant coach, suffered from a heart attack shortly before beginning the season. Brown said this occurrence caused the Whitworth women to “pull together for him” and led to the season being different than the others.

Indeed, the road to the successful season was marred by moments of discouragement; however, Brown served as a calming and inspirational force for the team, all the while providing the energy and confidence necessary to drive them along and make school history in spite of Clark’s health.

“During one of our games against George Fox, we were losing in the last inning,”  junior catcher Megan John said. “Coach brought us together and told us that she trusted us to have her back. We came out that inning, and we won the game.”

The victory at George Fox was a crucial point of the season, as the victory placed them in first place for the conference tournament.

“She just spoke with a kind of energy that made us want to go out there and win,” sophomore utility player Shannon Wessel said. That game ended with Wessel hitting a grand slam that resulted in a Bucs victory.

The team ended up breaking the season record for wins and won a conference title—putting themselves on the map for years to come. The team was drawn together by a strong sense of both camaraderie and family, all due to Brown and her emphasis on team-building. During the season, Brown would call players aside numerous times to not only discuss strategy, but to inspire a sense of self-confidence needed in order to ensure victory.

“Just her saying those few words helped us get our act together and win,” freshman outfielder Chesley Hayes said.

The idea of family and holding each other accountable for actions is a strongly promoted ideal by Brown that is echoed across the team.

“She really has challenged us to live out being a family and supporting each other through everything we’re facing, softball or not,” John said.

The team notably donated a refrigerator toward the alternative school in Mead, as well as spent time with the students. Brown’s commitment to the team and the school is another factor that plays into her leadership style.

“I love Whitworth’s welcoming culture; it’s a great institution, and I feel like I can coach without conflict toward it’s academic mission,” Brown said. The team’s season has come to an end, as they will not be advancing to the NCAA tournament. For more information on Brown, visit


Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Male Athlete of the Year: Kenny Love

Sophomore Kenny Love was chosen as Northwest Conference’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Year after a dramatic season. However, earning this award was not an easy task. Love helped the Pirates make it to the second round of the NCAA DIII Tournament before losing by a single point to Emory University. Due to starting the season out on the bench, Love had to prove his talents by earning his way into the starting lineup and into NWC recognition.

Before Love took the guard position, sophomore Kionte Brown was in the starting lineup. However, when Brown suffered a knee injury, Love had proven himself worthy of stepping into the starting guard role.

Head coach Matthew Logie said Love’s play on the defensive end of the floor was what held him back at the beginning of the year. However, Love took his coach’s instructions to heart and improved his defensive skills.

“[Love] grew a tremendous amount as the season progressed and got to the point where we just needed to have him on the floor all the time,” Logie said.

Many of Love’s teammates have noticed his determination to the sport and his willingness to grow. Love said that during the offseason, he would dedicate 10-15 hours a week to practicing basketball.

“Kenny is a really hard-working guy. He’s always in the gym, before and after practice,” junior George Valle said. “I think it’s really showed his improvement from his freshman year to sophomore year.”

On Jan. 2, Love started as guard at an away game against Willamette University. From then on, Love played in the starting lineup. On top of that, Love proved his value to the team and helped the Pirates progress to the DIII Tournament. Of the 22 games Love started in, the Pirates lost only two.

“I was getting used to coming off the bench,” Love said. “It was nice to start at the beginning of the game and feeling the flow of the game right from the beginning.”

Love helped lead the team to some of its most impressive victories. On Jan. 9 during a match against Linfield University, Love made eight shots from the field, three 3-pointers and seven free throws, resulting in a total of 29 points. The Pirates won that match—79-66.

“His confidence on a whole went up along with the playing time,” sophomore Gabriel Carter, Love’s roommate and teammate, said. “I’m glad he got the opportunity, because obviously he’s really good at it.”

By the end of the year, Love had made an impressive 42.6 percent of shots from the field, 45.1 percent of his three-pointers and 85.1 percent of his free throws. On Feb. 24, Love was announced as the 2015 NWC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.

“It’s nice to know that throughout the school, you guys saw me as someone who had a really successful year,” Love said. “I just hope that moving forward I could keep up the work ethic and standard for myself as well as my teammates and other athletes here at school that people would be proud of.”

Love’s teammates and coaches  are comforted in the fact that he is only a sophomore and has two more years still ahead of him. Love’s fellow athletes have also seen a sense of leadership in him that is expected to grow in the coming years.

“He does a lot of stuff for us statistically,” Carter said. “That type of leadership and work ethic and help that he gives the team doesn’t show up numerically, but it helps the team a lot more than people think.”

Love said one of the things that helped him improve was the team’s motto for the year—“Bigger Than Us”—and that his attitude and preparation for his sport helped his performance.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m starting or not,” Love said. “Just being able to bring whatever I could, whether it be from a vocal leadership standpoint or being able to lead from example. Staying focused, staying ready and staying with a positive attitude is probably one of the most important things.”

Love will continue playing basketball next season and hopes to play outside of college as well.

“The future is really bright for Kenny,” Logie said. “I think he’s very excited about the challenge in front of him in terms of continuing to take our program to new heights.”


Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

Female Athlete of the Year: Maddye Dinsmore

The Fieldhouse was taken by storm last fall as the new court was broken in by the volleyball team. Throughout the team’s success, there was one player who stood out: junior and team captain Maddye Dinsmore. After the season the Pirates put together on the court, taking a share of the Northwest Conference title and the automatic bid to the NCAA National Tournament, Dinsmore was awarded with personal accolades as well. Dinsmore was crowned as the NWC Player of the Year and named to the First Team All-West Region.

“I was so proud of her [for winning NWC Player of the Year] because I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving, and I was thrilled that all of our opponents in the conference noticed it as well,” coach Kati Bodecker said.

However, according to her teammate, junior Izze Ginley, Dinsmore doesn’t like to talk about the awards she won.

“I’m not shooting for the accolades,” Dinsmore said. “As a setter, I want to become more consistent. The accolades I received this last year were not because of me, but rather because of my team around me.”

Even though she has already been dubbed ‘the best player in the NWC,’ Dinsmore is still hungry for more. It is her work ethic that sets her apart from the rest of the competition.

“All of her accomplishments are absolutely because of her work ethic,” Bodecker said. “All coaches say you can’t be successful without the right work ethic, but with Maddye it’s especially true.”

Not only has her coach noticed her work drive, but her teammates have as well. They frequently are pushed by Dinsmore.

“She has a stronger work ethic than anyone I’ve seen,” sophomore Brenna Bruil said.

Along with the determination, Dinsmore has created a level of trust with her teammates that is irreplaceable. As the setter for the team, everyone is reliant on Dinsmore being able to get the second touch and set up the hitters to put the ball away.

“We know that Maddye will get the ball, she’s so fast. We know she’s going to chase down every ball, even if the pass isn’t the greatest,” Bruil said.

Dinsmore is quick to point out that even though she touches the ball almost every play as a setter, that’s not where the play starts.

“I can’t give my hitters a good set without a good first pass. It’s truly a full team effort,” Dinsmore said.

However, it is not just on the court that Dinsmore is an inspiration to her teammates. Over the past year, she has taken her leadership abilities and applied them off the court as well.

“When you’re a captain, you kind of have that extra pressure to reach out to people, and I see her reaching out to everyone on the team to foster relationships,” Ginley said.

Dinsmore, an elementary education major with hopes of becoming a kindergarten teacher, will return for her senior season next year and will try to lead the Pirates back to the NCAA tournament.

“We want to get back to the tournament this next year and make some noise,” Dinsmore said.

With Dinsmore leading the Bucs, and most of the team returning, the Pirates will aim to be even better next season.


John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Students flock to Springfest for a quick study break

Springfest, Whitworth’s annual pre-finals festival, is attended by hundreds of people. The question is not whether it is fun, but what the purpose of it is. Many students have strong opinions about what Springfest is and what it means to them. Some emphasized relaxation as the purpose.

“The importance of [Springfest] is to relax at the end of the year and get ready for summer,” freshman Daniel Whitmore said.

Other students, as is the traditional Whitworth standard, reflected on the value of community in Springfest. Some said that they saw many friends they usually didn’t see and interacted with people that usually don’t come to on-campus events.

“Its a good way to build community and come together at the end of the year,” junior Mikaila Lenderman said.

Another purpose expressed by students was the importance of club recognition and interacting with the clubs on campus. Some of the clubs that attended include the Heritage of Latino Americans club (HOLA), International club and Swing and Ballroom Dance club.

“It is an awesome opportunity for the campus to come together and also for the campus to find out about the different clubs that are going  on...and have unbridled fun together,” senior Becca Seideman said.

Simon Puzankov, Photographer

The strongest purpose that came up again and again  was the value of Springfest as a pre-finals stress reliever. Many colleges across the country have pre-finals rituals, the most important being Dead Week, a week of silence, lack of tests/quizzes and sometimes lack of classes, that falls just before finals to give students adequate time to study.

Dead Week is “a time of reduced social and extracurricular activity preceding final examinations. Its purpose is to permit students to concentrate on academic work and to prepare for final examinations," according to Stanford’s official Dead Week policy.

Dead Week is not a part of Whitworth's academic schedule. Instead, Whitworth has Springfest.

“I think around the time of finals, you’re stressed out and you need something fun to get your mind off of it," sophomore Naomi Guidry said. "Most colleges have a dead week and we don’t have that time to kind of get a break but also have solid time to study. I think this is our replacement for that.”

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Voice students perform jazz and classical repertoire

Whitworth’s vocal arts were in full swing this week as the music program hosted a classical voice area recital on Monday, April 27. The jazz department put on a vocal jazz concert on Thursday, April 30. Both events were held in the Music Building Recital Hall. The classical voice area recital featured students from all classes of the voice studio performing solos while accompanied by piano. Selections ranged from Renaissance music to 20th century poems set to music. Even included was a re-imagined show tune mocking the exotic tendencies of contemporary classical composers. The hour-long performance showcased a large variety of vocal talents from the music department.

Senior voice major Lise Hafso found the recital to be an enjoyable departure from typical solo recitals.

“It’s cool because you get to hear so many voices,” she said. “People are coming from different studios and are doing such a wide range of style. It’s really cool to see what all of your peers have been working on.”

Hafso is drawn to voice performance because of how easily she feels she can express herself, she says.

“It’s just the best way that I can express myself, through singing and performing,” she said. “It’s just a powerful experience for me.”

The concert was the culmination of director of jazz studies Dan Keberle’s vocal jazz class, which featured classical singers and musicians who chose to expand their schema. The singers were accompanied by an all-star combo of jazz faculty and professional musicians from the Spokane area. All of the music performed came from standard jazz repertoire. In several songs, the singers were joined by faculty trumpeter Keberle and saxophone professor Chris Parkin for improvised call and response.

The class is all about “teaching people who have a good voice and an interest in jazz how to sing in a jazz style,” Keberle said. “With talented students like we have at Whitworth, they all improve.”

Keberle said that the vocal jazz concert has a special energy.

“I like all the enthusiasm,” he said. “I love having the professional rhythm section there. I love having the enthusiasm that is always there.”

Senior voice major Sarah Nadreau said she enjoyed the unique experience of learning and singing the jazz style, which varies from her classical background.

“I liked it a lot,” she said. “I think the hardest part was not thinking so much about technique because in classical singing it’s all about how you take your breath and how you release it and in jazz it’s more about the feeling.”

Nadreau elaborated on communications between musicians, a hallmark of jazz that is less prevalent in classical voice performance.

“I tried to make eye contact [with pianist Brent Edstrom] and we interacted a lot more,” she said. “In classical singing your pianist is behind you so you can’t typically interact that way, but that kind of interaction is a priority in jazz.”

Freshman Travis Widmer, who attended both events, expressed excitement about the future of Whitworth’s vocal program.

“I thought they were both fantastic,” he said. “We have some really fantastic singers at Whitworth. It’s very cool to think that a lot of them are underclassmen. It’s going to be fun to see what they do in the next few years at Whitworth.”

Denin Koch

Staff Writer

Students discuss tough theological topics

This semester, theological conversations between students and faculty took place outside of the classroom as part of the Overflow theology project. The discussion series, which culminated April 27 after two preceding meetings, covers topics which are seen as too broad or too difficult to tackle in most classes but are still relevant for students to understand and talk about. The series was first conceptualized last December when theology professors determined that students wanted them to be more involved in discussions on campus, said theology professor Will Kynes, who has been heavily involved with Overflow.

Senior Heidi Biermann has been integral to the success of the series. Although she is a political science major and only a theology minor, she feels the professors in the department deserve to be listened to about different issues that impact Whitworth students daily.

“When people have questions about different issues and current issues, the theology department isn’t where they tend to look for guidance and information and we wanted to change that,” Biermann said.

“The truth is we all love doing that kind of thing,” Kynes said. “We all love interacting with students, we all believe that theology shouldn’t be restricted to the classroom, that theology affects all of life.”

The first discussion dealt with the question, “What does it mean to be a Christian in a secular world?” Professor-led, the meeting was attended by 12 students and featured six professors from the theology department.

After the success of the first discussion meeting, the faculty decided that the following discussions should be student-led, with professors acting more like guiding moderators than lecturers. Biermann and fellow theology minor senior Kevin Glover were asked to take charge and facilitate conversation in future meetings.

Attendance continued to grow during the following to meetings, which discussed the questions, “What does it mean to be a Christian university?” and “Do I have to sell everything? When is a Christian radical enough?”

Ideas for discussion topics were discussed by theology faculty and student leaders Biermann and Glover, collected from other students in the department, and generated by Overflow attendees. Because of the wide variety of students from differing majors and professors from departments other than theology, the ideas discussed were diverse and applicable to many students.

Reactions to the series has been positive and the department plans to continue and expand Overflow meetings next fall.

“Students were definitely piping up, sharing their opinions, sharing their ideas,” Biermann said, about student participation in the discussions.

Next year, the department plans to discuss some possibly controversial topics where students may need more guidance, such as sex and marriage, social justice and what a Christian perspective on environmental conservation might be. They also want to expand the Overflow leadership team so that students of different majors will be represented.

Overflow also offers professors the chance to converse with each other and learn more about their colleagues’ views on certain topics in order to work through them, which is a valuable thing for students to see, Kynes said.

“We think there’s a great value of us getting together, putting our heads together and thinking about how we might be called to pour into various issues that we face in life,” Kynes said.

Biermann hopes that through the Overflow series, students will see that the theology department is a place where meaningful discussions are constantly unfolding and where students can go for advice about the Christian faith.

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Artist Spotlight: Dana Stull speaks for the voiceless

“My first serious writing project was a comic strip in third grade about my hamster, Speedo. I’ve always liked writing little stories and things,” junior Dana Stull said. Although she has moved away from comics, Stull still writes. She is the assistant poetry editor of Rock & Sling, Whitworth’s national literary journal and majors in English on the writing track. Her chapbook—a small collection of poetry, often with fewer than 40 pages— “the girl who says nothing,” won Whitworth’s chapbook competition this year and will be published in a limited run.

It was after a creative writing class her freshman year that Stull found herself drawn to writing as a serious discipline. Stull then began working with Rock & Sling, which she credits with teaching her how to write and discuss poetry.

“[There], it mattered that you looked carefully at things and considered what was happening and [put] personal preference aside," Stull said. "That’s when, I think, it shifted from like, ‘reading poetry is kind of fun and neat’ and ‘I took a poetry class in high school’ to it being a serious field of study.”

There have been opportunities at Whitworth that she may not have encountered at other schools, Stull said. She comments that it is special to be in a town with a thriving literary scene where people are creating a community of writers. She has worked with professors here, especially Thom Caraway and John Pell, who have inspired her and shaped her understanding of what it means to be a poet.

“They’re all great … I would say especially Thom … and I think John Pell too [because] I think developing a rhetorical foundation is actually really important when you’re looking at and writing poetry, and critically that has helped and influenced me,” Stull said.

Stull is invested in what poetry writing means, noting common misconceptions that students often have about the craft. She says that the study of poetry is more intellectually rigorous and applicable to other areas of study than people may generally believe.

“I think in general … poetry just has this weird aura. [The perception is] you can’t talk about poetry because it’s just the way that people feel … [but] just looking at all of the things you should be learning about writing in college, like, the argument [and] the audience you’re writing to … you learn all of those things in a poetry class, and I think that’s useful,” Stull said.

Stull says that she does not necessarily have a preference for a genre of writing or any particular subject that she draws inspiration from.

“I just like writing things,” Stull said. “I think there are things I end up writing about more than things I like writing about.”

In “the girl who says nothing,” Stull focuses on her experience working in a childcare program with a 6-year-old girl who was selectively mute. After the program lost funding and closed, ending Stull’s relationship with the girl, Stull began to write about her observations.

Stull has not decided on her definite plans post-graduation, but hopes to incorporate writing and editing into her future work.

“I think I would really like doing the things I am doing now," Stull said. "I really enjoy the editorial process.”

Stull’s chapbook will be published in a short run this semester, but selected poems from the work can be read below.


the girl who says nothing

needs to sit at the table

with everybody loud and stacking

cheese squares that are for snack

that need to be eaten or

at least given a no-thank-you

bite or no leaving the table no

moving on to blocks, if

Fuzzy eats it does not count

because he is pretend

and does not have a real throat


The girl who says nothing

cannot hit the ground with her fist,


it can mean all different things

it is not the way we use our hands

our hands are not our words


incident report #3

child & Fluffy brought cardboard fort and reading lamp into bathroom & plugged lamp in & went (w/ lamp) into fort & told to keep the fort & lamp in the classroom & made a choice to not listen & locked the door & the assistant teacher says she listened for a while & heard voices coming from the inside & we want a safe space for her to talk but not here & not alone


Kelli Hennessey

Staff Writer



Selection of senior speakers controversial

Questions are being raised about whether the commencement speaker selection process was redone to right a procedural irregularity or to keep a transgender person off the stage. “The committee took many factors into consideration,” said Richard Mandeville, vice president of Student Life. “No one was removed from consideration by the committee based on their sexual identity.”

However, Mandeville refused to disclose what criteria was used to choose the commencement speakers  because the inner workings of the committee are confidential, he said.

The end result is a transgender student is no longer the choice to speak at commencement.

During the original speaker selection in April, finalists were told via email they would present their proposed speeches to a panel of peers. However, when they arrived, they instead found a panel of one, Ashton Lupton, senior class coordinator.

“I asked four or five people to participate in the process who replied back with ‘maybes’ but ultimately everyone was busy and I was told I had to choose the speakers before Spring Break,” Lupton said.

Soon after hearing each finalist’s speech, Lupton consulted with assistant dean of students Dayna Coleman and student activities graduate assistant Rachel McKay.

Following Whitworth tradition, Lupton chose a female and a male to speak at commencement: Sarah Streyder and Ashton Skinner, a transgender male who has declined to comment in this article.

During spring break, President Beck Taylor received complaints from several members of the Whitworth community, including students who had wanted the chance to speak at commencement, Taylor said. They felt the selection process was unfair because it didn’t follow the original plan calling for a panel of peers.

They had “legitimate grounds to be disappointed,” said Taylor, who asked Mandeville to intervene if necessary to ensure a fair process.

Days later, Streyder and Skinner each received an email from Mandeville, saying the invitation to speak at commencement was rescinded.

This is the first time in at least five years the administration has intervened in the commencement speaker selection process. Last year there was also controversy about the selection process. Challenges were made in regard to the fairness of allowing people to vote multiple times.

“I was very sad because, while I got to reapply, there was this sneaking concern that whoever got the selection process reversed must not have been happy with those of us who got picked, so, we are less likely to get picked the second time around,” Streyder said about this year’s process.

The week immediately following spring break, Mandeville appointed a committee to re-select commencement speakers. The committee members included not only student peers as previously promised by Lupton but faculty and staff members as well.

The committee consisted of Vice president of Student Life Richard Mandeville; two students, senior class coordinator Ashton Lupton and senior Phillip Moore; two staff members, chief of staff Rosetta Rhodes and campus pastor Mindy Smith; and two faculty members: history professor Dale Soden and communications professor and speech and debate team coach Mike Ingram.

As a result of the new selection process, Streyder was re-selected as the female speaker but Ashton Skinner was replaced as the male speaker by Sam Director.

Some seniors such as Alma Aguilar have challenged the necessity and fairness of the second selection process.  Aguilar sent a letter to Mandeville contesting the way the selection process had been executed.

“I think from the bottom of my heart that if Ashton [Skinner] wasn’t a transgender male there wouldn’t have been an uproar about needing a panel number two,” Aguilar said.

Streyder also wrote a letter to the committee requesting that Ashton Skinner replace her as a commencement speaker. She said she believed that would be a more just outcome than what had been decided.

Mandeville responded that the selection of commencement speakers was the role of the committee and by giving her spot to Skinner she would be selecting one of the speakers.

Seniors have also questioned whether Skinner’s transgender identity played a role in the selection of commencement speakers.

“We are not proposing that there was discrimination done—we can’t prove that, unfortunately, but if there is any possibility or doubt that is what happened we would like to see some action being taken,” Aguilar said.


Hayley O’Brien

Staff Writer

Contact Hayley O’Brien at

Launching Social Finance Club

Whitworth has launched a new program called the Social Finance Club (SFC) with a $2,000 grant provided by the Whitworth 2021 Strategic Initiatives Fund to the Whitworth Rural Microfinance Initiate. Although located within the School of Business, the SFC is a campus-wide initiative that will provide financial support to projects and organizations both locally and worldwide.

At first glance, the SFC may appear to function much the same as the already existing School of Business Investment Club; however, the Investment Club is limited in what it can invest in.

“The School of Business Investment Club cannot invest in small-scale privately held organizations, they can only invest in publicly traded stocks, whereas the Social Finance Club can invest in private entrepreneurial projects,” said Vange Ocasio, an assistant professor of economics at Whitworth.

For this year, the main focus of the club will be to utilize Kiva, a non-profit organization that works with microfinance institutions across the globe to provide loan opportunities to people who do not have access to traditional banking systems.

According to the Kiva website, the organization has lent over $700 million since founded in 2005 and has a repayment rate of 98.72 percent.

Ocasio hopes the SFC will expose students to other parts of the world, she said. Through lending with Kiva, the students will learn about the country is going to as well as the individual. For example, some of her students are doing a research paper on a specific country and borrower of their choice.

Because the club is still relatively new, it will use the already established organization of Kiva. However, once the club gains more financial support, the members hope to expand.

“In the beginning, the club will focus on investing abroad,” said David Sloan, a visiting assistant professor in the School of Business. “The goal later on is to have the students create socially minded projects that they can implement here in Spokane.”

The newly appointed president of the SFC Joel Silvius also voiced his intention of expanding the club by focusing on issues closer to home.

“Next year, we will explore ways for the club to invest locally,” Silvius said. “We will look into what kind of development Spokane needs and how Whitworth can help.”

Silvius’ duties as president are still tentative, but he imagines he will work closely with Ocasio and Sloan on projects including planning events to build the investment fund and analyzing lending practices and organizations, he said.

The SFC is a not-for-profit club, but profit can be measured in other ways besides monetarily.

“Percentage and dollars is how profit is normally calculated, but the social impact is how you measure your profit,” Sloan said. “It’s a good dream and aligns with Whitworth’s mission. The idea I like about the Social Finance Club is that it can destigmatize the negative connotations people have with business because there is a shadow and light side to any kind of tool that you use in the world, and this program is the light side of business.”


Lee Morgan

Staff Writer

Contact Lee Morgan at

Whitworth alumna experiences Baltimore protests

Riots make for great television. Freddie Gray’s death on April 19 sparked weeks of peaceful demonstration, protests and outcry across Baltimore. But after his funeral on Monday, April 27, a confrontation between a large group of young people and city police, which ended in over 200 arrests, caught the attention of the world media; “thugs” looted and burned a CVS and several stores in west Baltimore and other communities, according to both the mayor and the country’s president.

“Before anyone classifies us as thugs, well this is what happens when youth are always placed on the back burner,” said Jazmine Brooks, who graduated from a West Baltimore high school in 2012. “The riots are not acceptable, when no one wants to help create a solution to issues that run back decades. You can’t be too surprised.”

Outside of Baltimore, it might be logical to watch this week’s coverage and assume residents are only expressing their anger through violence. The past week has been filled with peaceful marches, some organized and led entirely by youth, and neighborhoods across the city are cleaning up and coming together in support.  But many news outlets still seem to be watching and waiting for the next brick to fly at an officer or through a corner store window.

As residents, community leaders and elected officials work for peace, Baltimore City youth are raising their own voices not just for justice, but for the real Baltimore to surface in the midst of the television glare.

“Baltimore is like a diamond in the rough, but with both parts. We’ve got beautiful parts but also some really tough problems,” 17-year-old Denis Bauerschmidt Sweeney said, who has been active in the peaceful protests all week. “People turn on television and say ‘Oh, no, that city is on fire and there are riots in the street’, and can’t see past that to the good things.”

Sweeney said he thinks that although protests had the potential for small victories, the violence of a small group is overshadowing the larger positive movement.

“We had probably 10,000 people marching Saturday [April 25], but the media treated us like a footnote,” Sweeney said.

Travoye Joyner, age 16, said he asked his mom if he could participate in the peaceful protests last week. But because of the potential clash with police, his mother turned him down and he abided by her decision. Joyner said his mom felt he would stand out to police as more potential trouble than white protesters because he is African American.

“There’s a difference between wanting to protest and wanting to destroy, but those kids were just in a pressure cooker,” Joyner said. “(Gray’s) killing just made them explode but there are a lot of other issues going on.”

The mayor declared a state of emergency, which came with an almost week-long 10 p.m. curfew and 4,000 National Guard troops. (Note: As I sat with students for this interview, a large National Guard vehicle drove down the street and we encountered two other guards on foot.)

On Friday, after the announcement that Gray’s death had been ruled a homicide and the Maryland State Attorney filed charges against six police officers, Joyner said he realized the event would stand out in his mind as the exception to his other experiences with police.

“I didn’t think the system would change because it’s always been this way,” Joyner said. “It’s sad that this will stay in my mind as breaking a pattern of injustice. It’s progress, but I shouldn’t have to remember specific isolated instances of justice.”

The hashtag #therealBaltimore circulated on social media all week as well, though, from teachers and community members trying to emphasize the peaceful, cooperative mindset of the city. While some pictures focused on classrooms of youth engaged in science labs or food drives, others showed people’s positive interactions with law enforcement, including casual conversations or deliveries of food and water to both city police officers and the National Guard.

Brennan Colson, 18, lives in Halethorpe, Maryland, and commutes into the city to attend a pre-professional performing arts school each day. He tries to educate himself about police interactions and his rights, but said because he is white, he will not have to interact with them as much as his black classmates, he said.

But what happened in Baltimore isn’t simply a matter of individual racism; three of the six officers involved are African American, and the city’s mayor, police chief, and state attorney are all black.

“People like to use black politicians as an excuse and say, ‘Well we have a black president so how could there still be discrimination?’ But we still see the problems with prejudice happening,” Colson said.

Colson, Sweeney and Joyner all said the protests are in response to Gray’s death, but also represent a call for change to several problems facing the city, including the education system. Joyner said he was lucky to be in an honors track at his middle school in west Baltimore, but his classmates identified as less motivated were not given the same chances to learn. Sweeney also pointed to their current high school as an outlier in an otherwise struggling school system.

Sweeney said that as people in other parts of the country watch the coverage of Baltimore, he wants them to realize that they should get involved in conversations and activism in their own communities.

“Not taking a side in a situation of oppression is supporting the oppressor,” Sweeney said.

As the justice system moves forward with potential trials for officers, the city has a long road ahead with possible conflicts and continued protests. But Sweeney and Joyner both said they represent their city with pride.

“Baltimore will come back from this strong,” Joyner said. “And hopefully we will be better for it in the long run.”


Joy Bacon

Guest Writer

Joy Bacon graduated from Whitworth in 2009 with degrees in Journalism and English and holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. She is a high school English teacher in Baltimore City. She interviewed current and former students for this commentary piece.

Softball knocked out of NWC tournament after Linfield and George Fox losses

The Whitworth Softball team lost two of three games in the Northwest Conference tournament last weekend, playing a total of three games against Linfield, Pacific, and George Fox. The losses proved to be the end point for the Bucs’ tournament run despite winning the first NWC title for the program. Practices will continue, as an opportunity for regionals is still a possibility to be decided on May 4. First-place Whitworth was upset in the first game by the fourth-seated Linfield Wildcats.

In the top of the second inning, the Wildcats landed two runs against the Pirates. In the bottom of the third, Whitworth managed to earn a run through freshman outfielder Chelsey Hayes bringing junior outfielder Alyssa Hall in with a hit to left field. The Wildcats added another run to the board in the fourth inning, but the Bucs came back with another run of their own in the bottom of the sixth.

With the score at 3-1 during the seventh inning, the Bucs impressively managed to shut down Linfield’s offense, putting themselves in position to take the lead at the end of the game. After two outs, however, the suspense continued to grow as the crowd fell silent. Then, the crowd and dugout erupted into chaos when junior catcher Megan John struck out to end the game. With Whitworth losing, they moved on to play Pacific later that day.

The Bucs fared better in the second game with a final score of 2-1. Both teams scored in the first inning, with sophomore utility player Shannon Wessel landing a hit that brought Hayes home. The game kept this score until the bottom of the eighth, when senior outfielder Peyton McMahon landed a hit that resulted in her making her way through all of the bases and back home, winning the game for the Bucs.

The final game of the weekend was a 3-0 loss against George Fox, removing Whitworth from the tournament. Despite the way things ended, the Wessel and Hayes had positive things to say about the season as a whole.

“We are the first team ever in Whitworth softball history to win a title, and that is something that is really special. I am so excited and thankful to have been a part of it,” Wessel said.

“I think the team grew the most in California. It was our first trip of the season and the team had to rely on each other because that is when our coach Randy had his heart attack,” Hayes said.

The Bucs continue to remain optimistic of future prospects for the season.

“We’re continuing to assume that we’re still going [to Regionals] and will rest up, but continue to practice until we find out for sure,” John said.


Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Golf teams take second and fourth at NWC Tournament

The Whitworth men’s and women’s golf teams both competed in the Northwest Conference tournament on Saturday and Sunday. The men ended in second place and the women in fourth at the end of the first day. The second day ended with the men taking second in the tournament, but due to positioning established beforehand, ending with a first-place ranking in the conference. The women finished in third, placing them in third for conference. Willamette led at the end of the first day on the men’s side with Whitworth and Pacific Lutheran tied for second place. Willamette’s first place golfer for the day was Clark Wilson, with a score of 71. Juniors Samson Martinez and Oliver Rudnicki of Whitworth trailed with a score of 77, tying with two other golfers for fourth place. The overall standings of the match placed them in second for the day- a goal they needed to achieve in order to reach the coveted NWC title. The final tallies for the day saw Willamette at 299, Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth at 315, and George Fox at 317.

“Finishing well at conference and going to Nationals is our goal every year,” head golf coach Warren Friedrichs said of the weekend. “Which, of course, is difficult, as we end up playing until finals week.”

The next day, the men managed to successfully hold their position through the tournament, finishing in second place and claiming the 2014-2015 Conference title. The points from the Spring Classic added to their score posted from the the most recent tournament, elevating them from second place over Willamette, who won the NWC tournament overall. Martinez finished tied for sixth place after shooting a 152 cumulative score. Junior Andrew Dodge finished in eighth place with a 153- hitting a 73 for the second day. Rudnicki ended up finishing 16th with a 158. Whitworth’s totalled 618, trailing Willamette’s 613, but pulling ahead of Linfield’s 621 and George Fox’s 624. Willamette was outshot by the Pirates at the Spring Classic earlier this season, which resulted in the Bucs claiming the conference title.

“Making it to nationals was definitely our motivation,” Martinez. “We want to put Whitworth on the map. I am so excited to represent Whitworth at nationals and hope everyone knows this win was for the Whitworth community.”

On the women’s side of things, the team finished the first day in fourth, shooting a score of 335, with Whitman’s 333, Pacific Lutheran’s 325, and George Fox’s 319 all leading. Paige Henry of Pacific Lutheran led the individual scoring of the day, but Whitworth senior Nicole Lomax managed to tie for second with George Fox’s Loreece Magsanide, both boasting scores of 77. Other notables included sophomore Michal Schuster tying for 12th with a score of 83 as well as junior Yvonne LaCoursiere and freshman Katie Ochoa tying for 25th with scores of 90.

The second day yielded an even greater performance for the Bucs with the women finishing in third place in the tournament and in the conference. George Fox claimed first place with a score of 622, Whitman landed in second with a score of 653, and Whitworth finished with a score of 657.

“I think we were peeved after our performance the first day and we came out with some fire,” junior Chelsea Bayley said.

Lomax finished ninth with a score of 162, with Bayley and Schuster finishing in a four-way tie for tenth with scores of 163.

The men’s team will be moving on to Nationals, which will be held May 12-15 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.


Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Hawaiian Club Lu'au brings island culture inland

The sounds of ukuleles and the smell of pineapple filled the Fieldhouse on the night of Saturday, April 25th as the Hawaiian Club held its annual Lu’au. The event began at 5 p.m. with a Polynesian buffet. Guests were treated to Hawaiian dishes such as kalua pork, chow mein and lomi salmon. Several student performers provided live Hawaiian-themed songs as background music during the dinner. At 7 p.m., a show of traditional Polynesian dances portrayed folk tales from the Polynesian islands, entertaining the Whitworth audience. The night also included a raffle.

The Lu’au celebrated its 45th anniversary on Saturday night. First celebrated in 1970, the lu’au is put on by Na Pu’uwai O Hawai’i (the heart of Hawaii), the official name for Whitworth’s Hawaiian Club. Over 35 students danced as part of choreographed dances, and several audience members (including President Beck Taylor) were also invited onto the stage to dance.

Sophomore Hawaiian club president Asa Arhelger says that the lu’au is an important cultural event for students and Spokanites with and without Hawaiian heritage.

“It’s meant to give people a feel for what the Hawaiian culture is because it’s not really accessible in Spokane,” he said. “I think on average maybe about 20 students come in (per year) from Hawaii. Even some of the staff have ties to Hawaii.”

Arhelger hopes that the event sparks a deeper appreciation and understanding of world cultures on campus, Hawaiian and otherwise.

“Diversity is really a whole bunch of other things, not just what people would normally think,” he said. “There’s not a lot of diversity in what people see and experience on campus, and so the Lu’au, and I hope the Hawaiian Club in general, is one of those things that can be seen as unique and an experience that you might not get necessarily anywhere else.”

Many of the dancers performing in the event were student volunteers who signed up for the experience. Sophomore Dustin Dillon was one such student.

“I decided to do it because I had friends that were doing it so I thought it’d be cool to do it with them,” he said. “I liked the fact that there were a bunch of people who came together to entertain other people.”

Dillon remarked that the experience of performing was particularly exciting for him.

“It was kinda nuts,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting there to be as many people as there were. I was kinda nervous but it was a good kind of nervous. It was surreal.”

Several styles of Polynesian dance were performed, not just Hawaiian. Maori chanting, Tahitian hip dancing, poi ball twirling and others were included in the festivities. Each of the individual dances served as part of a larger narrative illustrating a Hawaiian cultural folk tale. The stories included themes of forbidden love, the creation of the world and spiritual journeys. One of the legends presented at the lu’au was that of the daughter of a great chief, Hinemoa, who fell in love with a commoner, Tutanekai. Forbidden by the chief to see each other, the two were separated by a great lake. Tutanekai played his flute so that Hinemoa could canoe across the water to him. When her people pulled the canoes ashore to make them impossible to use, Hinemoa strapped gourds to herself and swam across the lake to her love. Through dance, the separation of the lovers was portrayed by hula dancers, and Hinemoa’s love for Tutanekai was shown through poi ball twirling, a dance that involves weights at the end of a string being twirled through the air in various ways. Two other folk tales were told throughout the night.

The Hawaiian Club also honored its officers with leis and its seniors with a final dance.

Above all, Arhelger emphasized a desire for people to try new things.

“Whitworth likes the whole challenging your worldview thing,” he said. “The only way you challenge your worldview is to go out and do something different, something that puts you out of your comfort zone. You don’t really grow if you don’t do that.”


Wind Symphony presents civil rights themed concert

The Wind Symphony channeled some of the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr and other reformers at their spring concert on April 26 in Cowles Auditorium Main Stage. They played pieces by various composers, but the final piece “New Morning for the World: Daybreak of Freedom” by Joseph Schwantner, was the focus of the concert. The piece featured narration by Dr. Larry Burnley, who read selections from Martin Luther King, Jr’s work, including portions of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Richard Strauch, Wind Symphony director, first heard the piece, originally arranged for orchestra, on the radio several years ago on Martin Luther King, Jr Day. He liked the piece immediately, and soon found a similar arrangement for winds. Burnley was his first choice for the narration because of his love for MLK, Strauch said.

“I knew nothing about it, I’m not even familiar with the piece,” Burnley said. “He just contacted me, came up to the office and said he had something [he] wanted to ask [me] about, and he came and presented it. I was honored, and really didn’t know quite what I was getting into in terms of the depth of this piece.”

The various aspects of the piece complement each other, and give each other deeper meaning. Burnley described the impact of the narration and music as the music in church, because it resonates with people.

“The [music and narration] together takes you to a place of both memory, in terms of history, in terms of connecting to the struggle of my predecessors, my ancestors if you will,” Burnley said.

Freshman Amanda Sheller, who has been playing the oboe since she was in 7th grade, had never performed a piece like “New Morning for the World” with narration and such a serious message before.

The piece left a significant impact on Sheller, who feels that it is important to remember that civil rights issues are not only events in history books, but still exist to an extent today.

“I can empathize with people and I can remember the history and I can work to change it, but I didn't live it, my parents didn’t live it, my grandparents didn’t live it,” Sheller said.

As part of the Wind Symphony, Sheller appreciates the self-motivation and drive of her fellow musicians. Although the ensemble is much more difficult than any she has participated in before, being involved is worth it, Sheller said. She juggles the responsibility of being both a Wind Symphony member and a biology major, which both take extreme commitment and dedication, but do not overlap in other ways.

“I’ve gotten used to just being constantly frightened,” Sheller said. Although delegating attention between her two time-consuming interests is difficult, it is completely worth it, Sheller said.

The Schwantner piece, though technically and musically difficult, was also emotionally charged and impactful.

Burnley, Strauch, and the members of the Wind Symphony hoped to convey a sense of remembrance for Martin Luther King, Jr. and the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement through their performance.

“I hope it arouses curiosity and I hope on some level [audience members] can connect personally to this, and they want to know more, that it inspires appetite of wanting more,” Burnley said.

Courtney Murphy

Staff Writer

Professor becomes associate dean of College of Arts and Sciences

John Pell, an assistant professor of English at Whitworth, will assume the duties of associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences effective July 1 of this year. The Whitworth College of Arts and Sciences was established in 2012 and its dean, Noelle Wiersma, has been operating without an associate dean since it was created.

“When the College of Arts and Sciences was first established, the plan initially was to have an associate dean to help run things; but there was wisdom in waiting to see what it was that the dean actually needed an associate dean to do,” associate provost of instruction Randy Michaelis said.

The exact roles of the associate dean have not been finalized, but tentatively, Pell will be assisting in planning around enrollment, needs analysis and scheduling, with specific attention to general education courses. He will analyze multiple factors, including admissions and assessments, and will make recommendations to dean Wiersma based on his findings.

Professor Vic Bobb discussed his approval to the appointment of John Pell as the associate dean.

“I believe one of the reasons John has been chosen is because he is so effective with the University Writing Program,” Bobb said. “He is good at it, and has brought energy and ideas to the job. I’m assuming that it is his performance there that has led them to say he is an excellent choice because he is well organized and great at getting things done.”

In a press release on Pirate Port, dean Wiersma also expressed her confidence in Pell.

Wiersma is deeply encouraged by the demonstrated gifts and promise John brings to this position, she said. Pell’s research, thoughtfulness and persuasive influence is well illustrated in his recent general education forum presentation, and he emphasizes how the plans for liberal education and any related gen ed revision must begin with a clear sense of who we currently are.

In an e-mail interview, Pell described his research and how he hopes to apply it to his newly appointed position.

“My dissertation and subsequent research focuses on how the types of orientations we have toward others determines our ability to effectively collaborate in order to solve shared problems,” Pell said. “In other words, our views toward another person, even prior to our interactions with them, says a lot about how we will work together. In my work, empathy is the term I use to describe an openness toward others, a position that makes collaboration possible.”

Pell’s hope is that by being open to sharing and collaborating with others, we might be able to solve problems in ways that does justice to the needs of all of those involved, he said.

“This, it seems to me, is one of the central challenges to the healthy growth and maintenance of any large institution--holding others in high regard and engaging with their ideas and concerns with a collaborative spirit,” he said.

In congruence with Pell’s research, Michaelis believes collaboration to be a strong point in his character.

“John’s leadership style is collaborative. The position requires a lot of collaboration and John has already shown that ability,” Michaelis said.


Lee Morgan

Staff Writer

Contact Lee Morgan at

Students challenged to use gender-neutral bathrooms

Harper Lee once wrote, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” This week, senior Cultural Diversity Advocate Sarah Streyder is taking a page from Lee’s book and challenging the Whitworth community to live in the bladder of someone who feels uncomfortable using a gendered restroom. The bathroom challenge is an event urging students to only use gender neutral bathrooms Monday, April 20 through Sunday, April 26 when urinating or defecating.

“The primary purpose is to encourage students to cultivate genuine empathy for a demographic here on campus.”

There are plenty of students who do not feel comfortable using gendered bathrooms on campus, Streyder said.

“If they are focusing on holding their bladder in class because they don't have that option [to use a restroom they are comfortable in], they aren't going to be filling their greatest potential nor are they going to feel welcome in our buildings,” Streyder said.

Rainier Emerick | Graphic Artist

Currently, 13 out of 37 of the buildings on campus have at least one gender-neutral bathroom Streyder said.

Senior Ashton Skinner and Dr. Richard Mandeville, vice president for student life, are planning to increase the percent of single stall, locking, gender neutral restrooms on campus to 51 percent next fall and the bathroom challenge is meant to start creating awareness of these changes, Streyder said.

The challenge will allow participants to realize the scarcity of gender-neutral bathrooms and provoke students to find out where gender-neutral bathrooms will be added on campus next year, Streyder said.

For students who want to participate in the challenge there are no sign up lists or incentives. The challenge is meant to be voluntary and personal, Streyder said.

Including prizes or incentives for the challenge would make the experience into a game and cheapen the experiences had by students who deal with these issues every day, Streyder said.

“This is meant to be something for the earnest of heart,” she said. “Not for the people who are trying to be popular.”


Hayley O’Brien

Staff Writer

Contact Hayley O’Brien at

Student symposium lecture: Call for Sex Education Reform

On April 22 senior Megan Hinzdel urged Whitworth students and church communities to actively support comprehensive sex education during the last student symposium lecture of the year. Today’s church culture, where sex is not openly discussed, has created two issues: a focus on female purity and abstinence only education, Hinzdel said.

The emphasis on female purity is evident by the prevalence of purity balls and purity rings in American culture Hinzdel said in her lecture. In both instances a daughter pledges her virginity to her father until marriage.

“This places such a heavy burden on the female alone, although  in the Bible it is really the male and the female that are supposed to stay pure until marriage,” Hinzdel said. “Our society has placed the burden on the female.”

Putting the burden to stay pure on girls alone is problematic because we live in a culture where rape exists, Hinzdel said.

Sixty-eight percent of sexual assaults are unreported and the top two reasons females don’t report rape is because of self doubt, shame and embarrassment, Hinzdel said.

“I truly think this is because our society places the burden on females to stay pure,” Hinzdel said.

In addition to the emphasis on female purity abstinence only education is an issue that has arisen from the lack of conversation about sex in churches, Hinzdel said.

A study done by the House of Representatives in 2004 found that of the 13 commonly used curriculum in abstinence only education only two curricula were scientifically accurate, Hinzdel said. Some of the false claims taught include that condoms fail 31 percent of the time, HIV can be spread through sweat and tears and a person can get pregnant by touching another’s genitals.

In her lecture, Hinzdel went on to correlate the absence of comprehensive sex education in a state to higher rates of teen sexual activity, pregnancy and HIV.

“Obviously, I can't change the church's stance on sexual purity, nor do I want to, but I think what we can do is make sure those inside and outside of the church community are educated so they feel they can make safe, informed and logical decisions about sex,” Hinzdel said.

The best way to encourage people to make the informed decisions and stop society’s emphasis on female purity  is to provide students comprehensive sex education, Hinzdel said.

Sophomore Jenna Hulse attend Hinzdel’s lecture.

“I think education, especially sex education, is important to empower people to make their own decisions about their body and values,” Hulse said.

According to the Advocates for Youth website, comprehensive sex education is education that “teaches about abstinence as the best method for avoiding STDs and unintended pregnancy, but also teaches about condoms and contraception to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy and of infection with STDs, including HIV. It also teaches interpersonal and communication skills and helps young people explore their own values, goals, and options.”

“I really like that last part because I feel like it's something Whitworth also values,” Hinzdel said. “When we educate each other on our beliefs and our ethics and our values we are more informed to create our own worldviews and to act upon our own ethics and I hope that we can give that privilege to teenagers as well.”


Hayley O’Brien

Staff Writer

Contact Hayley O’Brien at