My freshman year dorm room overlooked the front lawn from the third floor of Winch. O-week was unusually gorgeous, with the sun beaming, and from my perch I watched the hacky sack and frisbee circles that I was barred from being part of. The doxycycline confined me from sunlight (see last week’s “Ben There” at reedthegrail.com) so I either paced my room or took solo walks through the canyon. The roommate of my divided double was a junior who, being abroad, had missed out on the housing lottery. When he arrived after O-week he vetoed democratic process and usurped the mutually desired inner room. “I didn’t want a roommate but they were out of singles,” he told me.
When current Director of Community Safety, Gary Granger, came to Reed, he had a difficult task ahead of him. Reed was lurching in the wake of the deaths of two students due to heroin doses and was being forced to reevaluate how its drug and alcohol policy provided for the safety of the students.
“After the second death, which happened just before I got here,” says Granger, “Colin Diver and Mike Brody were summoned downtown to talk to U.S. District Attorney and the Portland Police Chief. The attorney said, ‘we can help you out with that drug problem at Reed.’” Diver responded that he believed Reed had the problem under control and could continue to be semi-autonomous while remaining inside the law and providing for the safety of its students. Many of the changes Community Safety has made over the years have been to demonstrate that Reed takes the law seriously and is committed to providing students with a safe environment where they can succeed.
On Thursday, April 10th, a group of faculty and students gathered in Vollum Lecture Hall to discuss changing the Reed curriculum. At this semester’s Reed Union, Questioning the Curriculum: Gender Studies, and Ethnic and Race Studies at Reed, a panel consisting of two students and three staff members presented their opinions on this matter and took queries and comments from impassioned community members. The question remains, though: has this event had a serious impact on Reed, and will it lead to changes in the curriculum in the future?