Think back to the year before you came to Reed, to finding those glossy brochures in the mail and pushing aside your Stanford and Berkeley applications to learn of that strange and wonderful liberal arts college nestled in the heart of Portland. Recall the education they promised, an education “characterized by close interaction between students and faculty in an atmosphere of shared scholarly concern and active learning.”
Reed has a lower percentage of its student body living on campus than most small liberal arts colleges, many of which house 90% of their student body or more. As housing in Portland has become increasingly difficult to find and afford, student demand for on-campus rooms has escalated sharply in the last few years. “We’re at a point of scarcity where every bed we give is taken away from someone else,” said Mike Brody, Dean of Students. “Reed has a relatively low graduation rate, and most of the attrition is happening in students’ first two years.” In response, Reed will be building a brand-new dorm with the intention of increasing on-campus housing capacity and seeing more students graduate.
Reed College will always celebrate its activists in hindsight. The popular history of Reed activism rarely acknowledges the bureaucratic opposition to activists that occurs behind closed doors, allowing the school to quietly silence dissenters even as it places them on promotional materials as champions of institutional progress. Any official statement regarding Reed in the 1960s will be quick to emphasize the success of the Black Student Union protests of 1968 and 1969 and highlight the peaceable establishment of the Black Studies Center in 1971. This narrative belies the powerful coalition of faculty and administrators who worked in opposition to the Center and played an active role in its collapse.
“routine - a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program”
We all follow a routine, whether we realize it or not. Perhaps your daily routine arose from the environment you were immersed in. Maybe you get up at 9 a.m. because that allows you just enough time to prepare for class. Maybe you do homework at night because you put it off and class is fast approaching. Maybe you hang with friends when you run into them, and you eat sporadically, because you remember to eat when you are hungry. A routine of “no routine” is itself a routine. Perhaps you’ve noticed that we (humans) seem to run in loops; we do the same things, we think about the same things, we make the same mistakes, over and over. Who we are is made up of what we do consistently; we are created by routines.
Forest fires have always been a familiar part of my life. As a kid growing up in Northwestern Montana, I had a comic book about Smokey the Bear detailing his entire (tragic) life story and ending with the familiar maxim, “Only you can prevent forest fires.” Later, sports seasons were interrupted by air quality concerns, and the end of August always marked a time of blazing red sunsets due to smoke. I got a bit closer to fire than I would have liked two weekends ago, when a canoeing trip to Lost Lake was abruptly cut short by an evacuation due to concerns about the Eagle Creek Fire.
I’m writing you this letter to ask a favor. I know I have a lot to thank you for already, since you’ve given me so much to reflect about. I don’t know if it’s unreasonable or not to ask for even more help as if I were saying: “what difference is one more favor going to make after you’ve already given up so much?” I don’t think it’s too unreasonable though, because I am asking as your classmate, and as your equal. We are all students, now part of an academic world. This sets us apart from say the world of workers, government, business, etc. Even though some of us play a part in multiple worlds, we do all share a place at Reed. We are the community of students, within the community of Reed, within the community of academia, within the U.S.A., within the world. Being part of this academic community is a great privilege, whether we got here by sheer luck (myself), or through effort, or maybe both. In the end, it really doesn’t matter how we got here. What matters is that we’re here together, for better or worse.
As a freshman coming to Reed I was fascinated and excited by Fetish Club. I went to their BDSM 101 Paideia class and had a mystical experience: tying and being tied, struggling to escape, being jerked around, and being caressed, too. That was their last Paideia class to date, because the previous signators of Fetish Club graduated, and the kinky events faded away with them. My curiosity didn’t die out so easily, however, and last weekend I decided to venture beyond the Reed community to KinkFest, a festival held in the expo center on the edge of town.
“IS TAKING A LEAVE ONLY FOR RICH STUDENTS?” the anonymous posters in the GCC hallway screamed in all caps. While the initial reaction to the news of the changing refund policy has quieted in the last several months, many students are still disconcerted and uncertain about how the changes will affect future students who take mid-semester leaves from the college. Why is the policy changing? And more fundamentally, why do Reedies take leaves in such high numbers in the first place?
Ana Maria’s (name changed) lips tremble as she tells me about her seven-year old daughter who asks where her mother is every night. A couple of years ago, Ana Maria’s husband was deported and now, her daughter’s worst fear has come true: her mother is in detention and will probably be deported as well. Ana Maria has been living in Arizona for over ten years and her only criminal charges are two DUI’s. If she were an American citizen, these DUI’s may have meant that she would have gone to jail for a few months and then returned to her life. However, as an undocumented person, these charges make her a priority for deportation and separation from her daughter.
The Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, nestled inside the library, has been a fixture of the Reed campus for decades now. The gallery was established in 1988 by a gift from Sue and Edward Cooley and John and Betty Gray, and hosted its first exhibition in 1990. The gallery aims to underscore Reed's rich academic program, particularly in the studio art and art history fields, by offering a variety of exhibitions, lectures, conferences, and presentations. Recently, there have been fascinating discussions concerning whether or not the Cooley Gallery will remain in the same location and about what work is being done to build a new space for it.
Perhaps you’ve heard the story about the Eliot Circle cherry blossoms. Maybe you’ve been told that they came from a thesis project involving grafting the flowering branches from one species onto the trunks of another species, creating the spectacular burst of light pink blossoms that showers down upon us in the springtime every year. Unfortunately, the origin of the beloved Eliot Circle trees and the spectacle they produce is not so grandiose. There is no record of such a thesis in the library’s database, and the grounds worker who has been at Reed longest, Ed McFarlane, remembers planting the trees but has no recollection of student involvement.
Rebeca Willis-Conger was initially attracted to Reed because of its reputation as a “weird little community of learners.” Generous financial aid convinced her to enroll, and in the fall of 2014 she moved from her Portland apartment into a dorm room in MacNaughton.
Just like for any student entering Reed, O-week is tough for transfer and non-traditional students, though not necessarily for the same reasons. For students coming from other colleges or working full-time jobs, especially older students, many of the Orientation workshops are simply not tailored to their needs. For Rebeca, Orientation at Reed was difficult more because of age differences than the fact of being a transfer. “People confused me for a parent a lot. It was a weird time,” she said.
Executive orders have been prominently featured in the news lately, given Donald Trump’s highly controversial series of orders that characterized his first few weeks in office. During the Obama administration, executive orders received similar treatment—the opposing party constructed a narrative that the executive order once created holidays and was now a way for the President to act unilaterally; that executive orders offset the balance of power among branches; that they are unconstitutional. But after a long news week, in which a large part of the Republican rhetoric was borrowed by the Democrats, I got curious: what is the legal precedent for executive orders? How constitutional are they? Where does the Supreme Court draw the line? Get ready: we’re in for a long series of grey areas and power grabs.
I feel I should not have to say this to make my feelings valid, accepted, or listened to, but if I don’t, the automatic assumption is that I, the anonymous contributor, am white, upper-class, and a voice of those who history has usually represented. For the record, I am a low-income, first-generation American person of color. That being said, I feel that the protest of Hum 110 is missing the point and making it harder for me to learn.
This is what I remember from a couple days with my family on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. This region was colonized by the English and the population is mostly indigenous and afrocaribbean, so people speak a mixture of Caribbean English, Miskito, Garifuna and Spanish. I am sorry if there are mistakes. If it’s not because my memory fails then I probably never knew what was going on in the first place.
It’s sunset. The long-since blown-out shocks of my vehicle float around the city of Boulder, Colorado. I’m looking for a place to park and sleep in my car for the night. Turn after turn, the traffic pulls the energy from my mind. I hate driving―especially in the city. Perhaps a back-road out of town will yield a pull-out with some privacy. I cruise out of town, breathing the slightly fresher air. The road winds up a canyon, the twilight breeze rushing through the windows as I drive upwards. Floods have washed out large sections of road. Uprooted trees, rocks, and various forms of Nature’s destructive force strew the land, beautifying the road. My lungs suck breath after exhilarating breath, my ears take in rushing wind and water, and my eyes dart from rock to rock with clarity. I see a large dirt pullout created by the force of pure Nature. The car reaches a halt and I hop out to take in the inspiring solitude. Write. I need to sit down and bleed on a page.
Throughout its 49 year history, Paideia has faced two major dilemmas: low attendance and lack of organization. Paideia was originally conceived by a freshman named Michael Lanning in 1967. Lanning proposed a six week hiatus from normal classes, and proposed that students be able to request academic credit for the projects they carried out during the “Unstructured Independent Study.” 850 students signed a petition in support of Lanning’s proposal, and in 1969 a month between winter break and spring semester was set aside for an experimental program known as “Independent Activities Period.” This month long program embodied a very different vision than the week of fun classes held over Paideia today, focusing on bringing administrative and faculty resources to serve student interests beyond the traditional curriculum.
“I think the future of Paideia is an open question,” Chris Lydgate, a Reed alumnus (’90) and the editor of the Reed Magazine, says, leaning back in his chair. He has had a lot of experience with Paideia; he has put on a Reporters’ Bootcamp during Paideia week for the past ten years more or less. This year was a particularly ambitious year for Lydgate’s Bootcamp. Planning a dozen events ranging from a class taught by Zach Dundas, editor of Portland Monthly, on how to write for a magazine, to special workshops on radio news taught by NPR extraordinaire Robert Smith, these events drew the greatest participation in the Bootcamp history yet.
On Friday, January 20th, a coalition of groups, coming together under the auspices of the new Direct Action Alliance, rallied in Pioneer Square and marched through downtown Portland in protest of Donald Trump’s inauguration. The rally began early in the day, with a student walkout and march leaving from PSU at 2 p.m. and meeting up with members of an anarchist block in Pioneer Square who were burning US flags.
No matter where you come from or where you stand, this semester has been an intense one. Political tensions over issues such as institutional racism, a disturbingly divisive election season, and sustained demonstrations on campus have scattered the community and made it difficult to keep track of events and their nuances. At The Grail believe it’s critical to do our part in reestablishing constructive dialogue and making sure a variety of voices and perspectives are represented and heard. How have this semester’s political events, demonstrations, and tensions shaped our community? We asked student protest organizers, staff, faculty, administrators, and students currently taking Hum 110 in an attempt to find an answer.