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

A Letter to Spacetime by Shashank Sule ’20

Dear spacetime,

I was going to write separate letters to space and to time but someone told me that your addresses were the same. I have never written to you. You don’t really know me. My role in your grand existence is that I cause little distortions. Very tiny distortions. In the spacetime where I exist, I am always told to believe that everyone starts by creating equal distortions. Equally little, or equally large. They bend you, stretch you, causing you to spiral in towards or away from them. That has been my existence so far: Being pulled and, on occasion, pulling others. But I also get pushed and sometimes nothing happens at all. It is all in your fabric.

Continue reading A Letter to Spacetime by Shashank Sule ’20

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

Asking For It (Review by Sara Schulwolf ’17)

Both on our campus and in the national news, “rape culture” has become a recent buzzword, catapulted into the forefront of our thoughts and conversations. When reading news articles, it’s easy to feel enraged about Donald Trump and “pussygate,” or fume over Brock Turner’s grossly expedited jail sentence and marvel at how anyone might question the integrity of his victim. And while these are unquestionably serious—and awful—examples of the prevalence of rape culture and minimization of sexual assault that pervades our country, they can sometimes distract us from how we conduct ourselves in everyday life. Peel your eyes away from the headlines for a few moments, and it becomes evident just how insidious rape culture is, how it’s not merely possible but also likely that ordinary, well-meaning people will become complicit in perpetuating a society that’s hostile to survivors of assault, and to women in general. Continue reading Asking For It (Review by Sara Schulwolf ’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

Top 8 Val Tips For Freshmen by Jake May ’19

We here at The Indicator like to make sure that all members of our community, especially those of us who are new here, are taking full advantage of what our great dining hall has to offer. There are a lot of tips and tricks that can take you from Traditional-Line-Every-Day shmoe to Valentine Dining Hall Sage. Here are the top 8: Continue reading Top 8 Val Tips For Freshmen by Jake May ’19