Author: Emma Whitford

Petition shows student desire for a sanctuary campus

Over the past few weeks, students have been tabling outside of Stav Hall, petitioning to make St. Olaf a sanctuary campus. Similar to a sanctuary city, a sanctuary campus would refuse to cooperate with and/or assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents if they were to come onto campus. At press time, the print petition had close to 700 signatures and an online version of the petition was expected to have a couple hundred signatures.

“We ask that St. Olaf refuse to allow ICE agents from conducting activity on St. Olaf property as allowed by a 2011 U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement memo,” the proposal read. “We ask that St. Olaf protect all individuals in the St. Olaf community, including its students, faculty, and staff … doing so will demonstrate that St. Olaf takes the safety and wellbeing of the St. Olaf community seriously,” the proposal read.

Samantha Wells ’17 is the go-to student contact for the petition. The organizing students’ intent is not to demand that administration make policy changes, but rather to bring to administration a proposal that already has significant student support. Wells plans to share the proposal first with Student Senate and then with college administrators. Wells has been in contact with President David Anderson ’74, who connected her with General Counsel Carl Lehmann ’91 for assistance in understanding the legal details surrounding current college policies. Anderson said that he is supportive of protecting student privacy and would be interested in supporting students in any way that is legal and appropriate. As of Dec. 2, the petition and proposal had not yet been brought to St. Olaf administration.

The definition of “sanctuary” is flexible; there is no legal definition for a sanctuary city or sanctuary campus, but most often it refers to a city or institution that refuses to cooperate with ICE officials. For a city, this could mean limiting how extensively government employees and law enforcement will work with federal immigration officials. For a campus, it often means refusal to disclose private student records and limiting the access that federal immigration officials have on campus.

College campuses across the country have been pushing to become sanctuary spaces. Unlike cities, campuses have special privileges under a ICE memo that allows them to refuse to cooperate with ICE officials in some circumstances. A memo issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office on Oct. 24, 2011 states that ICE agents are not allowed to perform actions including “(I) arrests; (2) interviews; (3) searches; and (4) for purposes of immigration enforcement only, surveillance” on “sensitive locations.” The memo defines a college campus as a sensitive location.

That being said, immigration agents are still able to do some things, including “obtaining records, documents and similar materials from officials or employees, providing notice to officials or employees, serving subpoenas, engaging in Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) compliance and certification visits or participating in official functions or community meetings.”

St. Olaf already has student privacy policies in place that protect student information from being handed over to federal agents.

“Under our current policies, we do not disclose information about students – except in very limited circumstances – and that would include a student’s immigrant status,” Lehmann said. “So if a government agency came to campus and said ‘we want to know the names of students who are not legally authorized to be in the United States,’ that’s not information that we would voluntarily provide without a subpoena or a court order, or if there was some emergency.”

One of the biggest bargaining pieces in the sanctuary city debate is President-elect Donald Trump’s threat to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities. Because St. Olaf isn’t a public institution, it doesn’t necessarily have a horse in this race. Whether or not federal aid for St. Olaf students would be included in this threat is unclear.

“Our students certainly receive a lot of federal aid, and our ability to participate in Title IV programs, grants and student aid, is something that all our students should be concerned about,” Lehmann said. “We would want to continue to participate in federal financial aid programs.”

Lehmann is still waiting to see the final proposal but is encouraged to determine how administration might be able to work with students to soothe some of their immediate concerns.

“If students want assurances that their right to privacy are going to be respected, we can certainly provide those assurances,” he said. “If the initiatives are aimed at defying federal law or a court order or something like that, I think that would be something that the college wouldn’t be interested in being a party to because we have to abide by court orders and the law. In the proposals that I’ve seen with other colleges, that’s pretty consistent with the positions that other institutions are taking, too.”

The sanctuary campus petition comes after the Northfield city council decided to further discuss making Northfield a sanctuary city. At the Nov. 16 city council meeting, members agreed to further research sanctuary cities and the council will likely begin discussions on the topic at its Dec. 13 meeting.

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Student film festival features single movie

Who would have thought a film festival could happen within the span of six minutes? The 24 Hour Film Festival, featuring a single film titled, “Reach,” proved this possible.

The 24 Hour Film Festival is an event hosted by the St. Olaf Film Production Society that gives student filmmakers the chance to team up, conceptualize, shoot, edit and produce a film together. Though the film premiere may have been brief, the production process was not. Beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, filmmakers had the entire day to produce their films. The final product was screened in Viking Theater on Sunday, Nov. 20.

The festival pulled a decent crowd, though significantly fewer viewers than the Production Society’s Halloworst Film Festival in October. The festival didn’t quite deserve its festival title, however. The group of ten students produced only one, nearly-three-minute film.

The film, “Reach,” totaled two minutes and 57 seconds and struck me as a creative combination of the Slenderman online game and the viral mannequin challenge. It was produced by Adam Kaiser ’19, Austin Krentz ’19, Zeos Greene ’18, Paige Dahlke ’18, Grace Fogland ’19, Kalpit Modi ’17, Chen Zhenghui ’19, Jack Schoephoerster ’19, Cookie Imperial ’19 and John Beckman ’17.

Though I couldn’t quite understand the film’s purpose, it was definitely creepy. It seemed to portray a student’s dream while they slept soundly on a couch in Regents. For the duration of the dream, characters were standing still and facing away from the camera, while a hand would occasionally reach out from the audience and attempt to grab the frozen characters. The music and camera perspective made it appear as if the audience was moving with the dreamer.

“We had no idea what it would become, but as each shot was taken, new ideas and concepts were discovered and implemented. In our last scene, we finally found some sense of resolution – at least as much resolution one can get when sending their viewers into a trippy dream world,” Dahlke said.

In the future, I’d hope that the production team might split into two or three groups to give the festival a bit more length.

The St. Olaf Film Production society is a student-run organization that encourages student film making and pursuit of the film studies concentration.

“We facilitate networking among students in all aspects of the movie making process, including acting, composing, screen writing, editing, producing, directing and filming,” their website reads. “We do our best to provide means for student filmmakers to gain experience through competition, workshops and group projects.”

If you’re interested in filmmaking, participating in next year’s 24 Hour Film Festival, or another of the Production Society’s film festivals, feel free to chat with the student organization’s co-presidents, Dahlke and Schoephoerster.

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Oles win nine straight, claim first round bye


I played God when I was little

I turned crab apples into cherries

and sand into pie crust

I drowned ants with a hose

and built them tiny castles

I pulled my first bible from a sticky hotel room drawer

Read one column and remembered nothing

At Thanksgiving I bowed my head but did not close my eyes

I felt my palms sweat in my grandmother’s hands because I was sinning

I refused to say “amen”

Once, I prayed when a boy didn’t like me back

I told God I would never ask for anything else

I used to apologize to the sky

I wished on birthday candles

I knocked on wood

I held my breath as I passed graveyards

so I never breathed in ghouls

I clung to lucky things: stones, charms, keys, combs

I’m terrified of death.

I jumped over every crack in the sidewalk

I broke a mirror seven times

I worshiped him

I threw salt over my shoulder

I screamed Oh, God

I spit

I ate six pieces of communion bread

and sat in empty chapels waiting for revelation that never came.

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Oles win nine straight, claim first round bye

St. Olaf announces Hall of Fame inductees

This spring, the St. Olaf Athletic Hall of Fame will welcome four new, exceptional members to its legacy: volleyball coach Cindy Book, Nordic skier Kelly Underkofler ’05, running back Manuel Spreigl ’02 and catcher Dan LaManna ’02.

To be considered for the Hall of Fame, athletes are either nominated or chosen by the Athletic Department to be added to a list of eligible candidates. Athletes must wait at least 10 years after graduation before they can be considered for selection. The Hall of Fame committee, made up of Athletic Director Ryan Bowles, Associate Athletic Director Mike Ludwig and current and former coaches, selects the inductees.

“We are extremely excited about this year’s class,” Bowles said. “We feel that they represent some of the best Ole athletics has to offer. Their accomplishments in their respective sports truly are outstanding, and [we] feel that they deserve to stand among the other Ole greats in the Hall of Fame.”

Book coached volleyball at St. Olaf for 22 years in addition to two seasons at Keene State and eight at Bethel University, collecting 473 of her 716 career victories during her time with the Oles. She retired last fall, finishing eighth in total wins among all Division III coaches in history, carrying the second largest active total at the time of her retirement. Throughout her career, Book coached seven players to All-American honors while earning a .669 career winning percentage, ranking 35th in Division III history. She led her teams to six MIAC regular season titles, including a four-year reign atop the conference from 1993-1996 in which St. Olaf volleyball went a combined 43-1 in conference play. Under Book, the Oles made it into nine NCAA tournaments, most notably six consecutive appearances from 1993-1998, with her 1996 squad advancing all the way to the Final Four.

Along with her credentials on the volleyball court, Book was always commended for her respect towards St. Olaf’s opponents and her uncanny ability to bring the Oles together to play with inspired teamwork. Whether it was giving roses to graduating Carleton players in addition to her own team whenever they squared off on senior night or motivating the Oles with positive reinforcement born from a pure love of the game, Book embodies the best of St. Olaf athletics, and is more than worthy of being selected to headline an exceptionally talented 2017 Hall of Fame class.

During his football career at St. Olaf, Spreigl ranked second in career rushing touchdowns (36) and third in career rushing yards (3,122) in school history. He led the Oles to a 7-3 record in 2000, their best finish in a decade, posting 1,304 rushing yards, second most in St. Olaf history within a single season, along with 16 touchdowns. Spreigl decimated Carleton on Nov. 11, 2000, setting the MIAC record for most points scored in a single game with 36.

“My time at St. Olaf was special, and this accolade helps to shine light on what made my time there so transformative: the people that I played with, the coaches that we had and the opportunities that were available to me,” Spreigl said. “My life is so rich, and if I were to trace back what I felt were the ingredients to allow me to have such a sweet setup, today it would be those faces that I saw daily, the coaches that took interest in me as a person, and the faculty [and] advisors at St. Olaf that helped me navigate my four years on the Hill.”

After being born without the under portion of her left arm, Underkofler started Nordic skiing at the age of four, quickly developing a natural feel for the sport despite a disability that would have discouraged most other athletes. After racing competitively in high school, she continued her inspiring success by representing the United States in the 2002 Paralympic Games at the age of 17. After graduating from St. Olaf in 2005, she began training full-time, eventually participating in the next two Paralympics in 2006 and 2010.

LaManna made St. Olaf history as a three-time All-MIAC catcher for the St. Olaf baseball team, with which he played in three regular season MIAC championships. He ranked fourth in St. Olaf history for career hits (176), second in career doubles (47) and sixth in RBIs (119). LaManna led the Oles to three consecutive first-place finishes from 2000-2002, posting an incredible .449 batting average in 2000 and a .697 slugging percentage with 19 doubles the following season, the latter of which is a St. Olaf single-season record.

“I’m lucky to join a few of my teammates in the St. Olaf Athletic [Hall of Fame], and would fully expect to see others from the late ’90s to early 2000s teams join as well,” LaManna said. “It goes to show you the depth of our baseball teams and work ethic of my lifelong friends. My family and I have fond memories and reminisce of those most enjoyable four years on the Hill.”

In previous years, the induction ceremony has been hosted during Homecoming weekend, but this year’s ceremony will take place during reunion weekend on June 3, 2017 in an effort to give these accomplished athletes the proper spotlight they deserve.

“We feel this gives us an opportunity to attract a better audience and to recognize some of our other outstanding student athletes and championship teams,” Bowles said.

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The liberal bubble pops

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, students were greeted on campus with side walk chalk messages, yard signs and even a handshake with congressional candidate Angie Craig, all asking students to do one thing: vote.

Students who live on campus – within Ward 4, Precinct 2 (W4, P2) – cast their ballots in the Black and Gold Ballrooms in Buntrock Commons. Minnesota offers same-day voter registration and it couldn’t have been easier for students. All they needed was their St. Olaf ID.

David Anderson returned as St. Olaf’s head election judge. Anderson has been an election judge since 2002 and was assigned to St. Olaf in 2010. This is his fourth election on campus. Despite a rocky set-up, voting began on schedule at 7 a.m.

“We had a problem that the doors weren’t opened … so at seven o’clock we were still counting ballots and doing things that we shouldn’t be doing at that time when we opened, so it was kind of chaotic,” Anderson said. “But, we got it open.”

Anderson was optimistic about student turnout. Mid-afternoon, students had already casted 900 votes. In the end, the total for W4, P2 rose to 1,094 ballots. Despite the promising turnout rate, Anderson hopes to see more students engage in the electoral process, particularly during the midterms.

“What I’d like to see is in the off years, will we have 300 [students]?” Anderson said. “A lot of people think that if it’s not presidential it’s not important, but congressional is very important. The House controls the budget. The Senate confirms judges. The House and the Senate make the laws and the president only signs them or vetoes them. So if you don’t vote in the off years you’re not getting represented in the years that the House and Senate are being elected.”

For months leading up to Nov. 8, the St. Olaf Political Awareness Committee (PAC) encouraged students to turn out and vote. They organized debate watch parties, helped students register in Minnesota and conducted a straw poll to gauge who St. Olaf students were planning to cast their ballot for.

“We had a small election subcommittee formed at the beginning of the semester who’s in charge of planning three substantial events for voter registration and voter awareness,” PAC Coordinator Eden Fauré ’17 said.

Though voting in Buntrock is convenient for students, it comes with complications. According to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, “No one can campaign inside the polling place or within 100 feet of the building. If the polling place is on public property, no one can campaign anywhere on the property, even beyond 100 feet.”

Buntrock Commons is St. Olaf’s student center, so in order to regulate campaign materials, worn and otherwise, PAC recruited a number of “election helpers” who were posted throughout Buntrock to help students find the ballot booths and to ensure that no one was campaigning in or around the building.

Professor of Art and Associate Dean of Fine Arts Mary Griep was one of the election helpers and enjoyed seeing students out and voting.

“It’s really fun to see everybody, there’s lots and lots of stickers,” Griep said. “I think people are a little on edge, it will be good when it’s done.”

And soon it was. At 8 p.m. polls closed in Minnesota and the election judges left in the ballrooms began counting open ballots, roster signatures, and registration forms – a process that requires great attention to detail with little rest for the election judges.

“We have to count everything except ‘I voted’ buttons,” Anderson said. “The whole problem with that is, if you’ve been here the whole time, you started at seven in the morning, probably got up at 4:30 or 5 [a.m.], it’s now 10 o’clock, you pull together these numbers and you’re off by three. That’s not acceptable, so you have to count over again.”

In W2, P4, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine won 82.18 percent of the vote, while Donald Trump and Mike Pence took 10.33 percent.

PAC hosted a watch party in the Lion’s Pause for students to gather and wait for the election returns. By about 11:30 p.m., it was clear that Republican nominee Donald Trump had the presidency locked up.

To say that students were shocked by the results is an understatement. Almost all national polls – including poll aggregator Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, a student favorite – predicted Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to win by a wide margin. Fauré noticed a shift in mood in the Pause after key swing states began to turn red.

“The trend is usually that those middle states go red and some of the southern states go red, and so initially, people who are rooting for Hillary [Clinton] weren’t worried because it was going the way it was supposed to, but once Florida started to go red, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin … those are all key states that went red and a lot of them have been historically blue and that’s when people were just in shock,” she said.

While the Trump campaign and his supporters celebrated their victory, the left-leaning side of campus began to put the pieces back together. Student organizations have been reaching out to campus to lend a shoulder for their peers to lean on.

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, The Diversity Awareness House hosted a “Family Connection” gathering for people of color, where they could come together at the house, react to the election and show support for one another. Students also organized a non-denominational prayer service in Boe Chapel, SARN hosted a support group for sexual assault survivors at Wendell Berry House and Margaret Jacobson ’17 organized a rally called “Speak Out for Change” for Thursday, Nov. 10, where students could gather in the Buntrock Commons Crossroads to share their thoughts on the election and speak about how to move forward.

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Oles win nine straight, claim first round bye