Report on Athletics Raises More Questions Than It Answers by Sam Wohlforth ’17

“The place of athletics at Amherst is fucking ridiculous.”  I was halfway through my interview with a professor about faculty concerns with the recent report on the place of athletics at Amherst when she blew my hair back with this line.  I looked up from my notebook.  I expected professors to be frustrated with the failures of the athletic and admissions departments–the report itself points out some real problems with athletics at Amherst, and recommends several reforms–but not to this degree.  “The report is vague and biased,” she said, and the letter from Biddy appended to the beginning of the report is “even more of a gloss of something vague and biased to begin with.”  

Continue reading Report on Athletics Raises More Questions Than It Answers by Sam Wohlforth ’17

Houses of the Future: Balancing Luxury and Utility by Monica Diaz ’20

To many, the idea of home automation belongs to the realm of science fiction. Nevertheless, this technology is appearing all around us. “Home automation” refers to the use of one or more computers to control basic home functions and features. These technologies have the capability to revolutionize the way in which we function in our natural environments, providing ease and luxury in our daily lives. On a more pressing note, these technologies also offer utility. With some work, the “smart home” may soon be adapted to provide more efficient and practical care for those who require assisted living.

Continue reading Houses of the Future: Balancing Luxury and Utility by Monica Diaz ’20

Deplorable Common Spaces by Siya Chauhan ’20

Another day, another pile of crusty plates and bowls and spoons to scrape the scum off of. I head down to the first-floor kitchenette, and what do I find? Counters covered in mysteriously sticky substances. Dirty dishes left in the sink for days on end. A bottle of Smirnoff, empty (the latter trait irking me much more than the former).

Continue reading Deplorable Common Spaces by Siya Chauhan ’20

Letter from the Editor by Sam O’Brien ’18

This June, as the New Jersey primary loomed before me, I compulsively deactivated my Facebook page not once but eight times. If anyone were to have asked what, exactly, was the motivation behind these pseudo-grand gestures, I would have probably said something noncommittal about this election “stressing me the fuck out.”

In hindsight, I’ve been able to refine what it was that so bothered me, and the best way that I can think to describe it is as the un-nuanced, monolithic political opinions of elite liberal college culture, and in particular, the way in which social media perpetuates these tendencies.

Continue reading Letter from the Editor by Sam O’Brien ’18

Harry Potter and the Cursed Trump by Dustin Tran ’18

On September 1, 1998, a protection charm was placed on America without any of us knowing. It was also the release of the first installment of the Harry Potter series. This spell has had an effect on the minds of millions over the last eighteen years, transfiguring an entire generation of millennials, and consequently, the course of American politics.

Continue reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Trump by Dustin Tran ’18

Ex-Varsity by Rebecca Ford ’18

If you’ve ever wondered what Amherst athletics has to say about its program, here it is:

“Amherst College has the oldest athletics program in the nation, dating back to a compulsory physical fitness regimen that was put in place for all students in 1860. Today, over a third of the student body participates in varsity sports with eighty percent involved in intramural and club sports teams.”

Now, these are just words on a web page, but the words manifest themselves in a tangible way on campus through what is known as the “student-athlete divide”. It is felt by everyone, though the degree to which people are affected varies. People on both sides of the divide have plenty of feelings about it.

Continue reading Ex-Varsity by Rebecca Ford ’18

Academics Anonymous: A case for anonymous grading at Amherst by Logan Seymour ’19

 

It seems odd that a college which has just opened an office for diversity and inclusion, one which makes such concerted efforts to combat discrimination, has not yet implemented a system of anonymous grading. Setting aside one particular idealism of a liberal arts education—a haughty presupposition that grades do not really matter anyway and that they do not adequately reflect the potential or virtue of a student—and meeting the cold eyes of fellowship requirements or postgraduate applications, one is struck by an alarming fact: grades matter. Continue reading Academics Anonymous: A case for anonymous grading at Amherst by Logan Seymour ’19

The Long Life of Names by Sam Wohlforth ’17

In protesting the racist Lord Jeff mascot, student activists often cite his record of approving of genocidal tactics against the Native tribes his British army was trying to suppress.  They rightly quote his letter to a subordinate in which he wonders “Could it not be contrived to send the Small Pox among those disaffected tribes of Indians?”  In other letters, it becomes quite clear that Lord Jeff saw the Native American tribes whose rebellion he was violently suppressing as contemptible, as barely human: in one, he writes, “for their commencing hostilities against us and persisting therein might be attended with the [illegible] of our inferior posts and a few of our people but must inevitably occasion such measures to be taken as would bring about the total extirpation of those Indian nations.”  Blaming the Native tribes for resisting British expansion into the hinterlands of the Northeast demonstrates Lord Amherst’s gallingly short memory and legitimized the colonialist violence the British would soon dispense on the heads of the Native tribes of the Northeast.

But the Lord Jeff is not our only symbol that dates from the days of Old Amherst, the old-boys network of white Amherst men who attended and ran the College for its first century and a half.   Continue reading The Long Life of Names by Sam Wohlforth ’17

Taking Up Space at Amherst by Julia Pike ’19

On Thursday, the 20th, the Women’s Group held a Val-Sit and discussion in the back room of Val. We put up pieces of paper and markers on several of the tables. Questions were written on the paper like, “How do the social spaces on campus make you feel?” “What spaces belong to women on campus” “What spaces belong to men” and “Where do you feel unsafe on campus?” to name a few. We also put up papers so people could free write anything they were thinking. Continue reading Taking Up Space at Amherst by Julia Pike ’19