January 7, 2008

Volume 2, issue 19
January 7, 2008
The Fountain

Windstorm wreaks havoc

A huge limb of a tree on the north side of Memorial cracked off and slammed into the sculpture. Click for more photos shot by Chris Bishop.

In addition to the 50-plus trees that could not weather Friday's storm, the sculpture "Joined Together, Let No Man Split Asunder" was a startling casualty of the reported 78-MPH winds. Physical plant staff were pressed into action to clear trees and debris as well as work with Pacific Power crews over the weekend. Power was restored on campus at about 4 p.m. on Saturday. There was minimal damage to buildings, and no reports of injuries to campus community members. The college is looking at the possibility of repairing the sculpture, which, ironically was indeed split asunder.

2007 politics major’s research results in real political change for Sunnyside

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported in an article Wednesday that political representation of Latinos in Sunnyside, Wash., is about to change, largely as a result of research conducted by Ian Warner ’07 for a class taught by Associate Professor of Politics Paul Apostolidis.

Each student in Apostolidis’ politics seminars in 2005 and 2006 wrote a “chapter” that explored the social conditions that exist for Washington’s Latino population. Warner’s contribution to “The State of the State for Washington Latinos 2006,” which can be read in its entirety at www.walatinos.org, was a section on voting rights in Sunnyside. One of his conclusions was that the city’s system of representation was in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

According to the Yakima Herald-Republic, scrutiny from the Justice Department began near the end of 2006 after the newspaper published several articles about Warner’s research into the city’s at-large elections. His findings indicated that the election process was in violation of the Voting Rights Act because its at-large system produced racially polarized voting patterns that in effect kept Hispanics (who represent 73 percent of the city’s population) off the council. Last summer the federal Department of Justice notified the city that Warner’s findings were correct.

The city intends to change its at-large system to a system of three at-large seats and four seats representing specific geographic districts. Whether this change is enough to make a difference remains to be seen, said Apostolidis. The results need to be studied, and students in his spring politics seminar may be doing just that.

He and Assistant Professor of Sociology Gilbert Mireles are co-teaching a special edition of the seminar that will focus exclusively on voting rights. They will partner with the League of United Latin America Citizens (northwest regional and Washington state chapters), one of the oldest civil rights groups in the country. Starting in January, their work will be supported by a Learn and Serve grant that the “State of the State of Washington Latinos” project received last spring.

December “Art for Heart” fundraiser nets $3,500 for Heart to Heart

An art auction/fundraiser for Heart to Heart was generously supported by members of the Whitman community who not only donated but bought most of the items for sale, according to Robert Tobin, Cushing Eels Professor of the Humanities.

The Dec. 12 event, which was held at the restaurant Luscious, raised $2,500; but late buys pushed the total dollars raised to $3,500. One of the pieces sold was by Alexander Herzog, assistant professor of art. His piece was purchased by Zahi Zalloua and Nicole Simek, assistant professors of French and general studies. Jackie Wood, lecturer of music, purchased a painting by Leslie Williams Cain.

In addition, Dawn Forbes, interim director of Sheehan Art Gallery; Mare Blocker, visiting assistant professor of art; and students Lara Mehling, Jayson Brain and Lauren Holt contributed art to the event. Purchasers from Whitman included Tobin, Jed Schwendiman, associate to the president, and Paea LePendu; and Jonathan Thompson and Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson.

Other Whitman people who work extensively for Heart to Heart include Alberto Galindo, assistant professor of Spanish, Parke Thomas, visiting instructor of theatre and Wood, both of whom serve on the Heart to Heart board of directors along with Tobin. Suzanne Morrissey, adjunct assistant professor of anthropology and gender studies, is a past executive director of the organization. Many other Whitman students, faculty and staff have volunteered for the agency since its inception, said Tobin.

Heart to Heart was also the recipient of the 12 boxes of food donated at the Whitman faculty-staff Winter Party, said Schwendiman.

“Macbeth for Murderers” topic of NPR interview with Roberta Davidson

Roberta Davidson, associate professor of English, was recently interviewed by KUOW 94.9 FM, a Northwest Public Radio station in Seattle. Davidson and John Kerwin discussed their book, “Macbeth for Murderers,” published by Xlibris Press in 2005.

The book chronicles Davidson’s time behind the walls of the Washington State Penitentiary teaching Shakespeare’s plays to convicted murderers. It includes interviews with the inmate students and tells of Davidson’s experiences in the classroom, her experiences with a prison stalker and her time spent inside the prison during an inmate riot. The interview was aired Friday, Jan. 4, at 2 p.m.; more information about the book and its authors is available on the KUOW Web site. The interview also will be posted on the Whitman Web site's In the News page.

“Macbeth for Murderers” is available at the Penrose Library, the Whitman College Bookstore and at www.xlibris.com.

Clear your calendar for Symposium on Diversity
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 21

“Unfolding Identities,” Whitman’s second Symposium on Diversity and Community, is set for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 21, 2008, and will be similar to last year’s symposium in format.

President Bridges will welcome members of the Whitman and Walla Walla communities to the plenary session, which runs from 10 a.m. to noon. This open-to-the-public event will feature presentations by Whitman students, faculty and staff, and Whitman’s Chamber singers will perform.

The afternoon schedule, which is for Whitman community members only, will offer more than a dozen workshops by professors, students and staff on topics that include “Dialogues on Racial and Class Stereotypes,” “The Whitman Missionary Identity” and “Under-represented Groups in Science.”

The traditional Martin Luther King, Jr. Day March will be followed with a lecture by Patricia Williams, law professor and author of the monthly “Diary of a Mad Law Professor” for Nation magazine. She will discuss “Seeing a Color Blind Future,” and her talk will be followed by a performance of the Whitman Jazz Ensemble. Free tickets will be available at Reid Campus Center and at the door. More information will be available at a later date.

Faculty Profile: Mary Anne O’Neil
Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures – French

  • Birthplace: New Orleans, La.
  • Education: B.A. in French, University of California, Berkeley, 1966; M.A. in French, Middlebury College French School in France, 1968; K-12 teaching credential and B.A. in Spanish, University of Houston, 1973; Ph.D. in Romance Languages (French and Spanish), University of Oregon, 1979
  • Years at Whitman: 30
  • Courses: Over the years I have taught all levels of French language; 17th, 19th and 20th-century French literature; first and second-year Spanish; Italian; English composition; world literature in translation; Great Works; Core.
  • Favorite book/film/music/play/art/etc: Since I have always been a big reader, I don't have a favorite book. But, one work I would recommend to all college students is Sigrid Undset's trilogy “Kristin Lavransdatter.”
  • Favorite sculpture on campus: Styx, especially as a unicorn.
  • Best travel experience: Our family trip to Taiwan in 2005; and my husband's and my trip to Israel last summer.
  • Interests/pleasures: Reading, walking, cooking, knitting, gardening.
  • Recent accomplishment: It has taken me 12 years to write a book on the poetry of Pierre Emmanuel. I finished last July.
  • What people don’t know about me: It has taken me my whole life to learn to speak French well.
  • Why I teach: Learning foreign languages transformed my life. I would like to help my students have that kind of experience.
  • Favorite aspect of Whitman: The students.
  • What I’ve learned here: How to teach.
  • Quote: Live in the present.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Politics class gets results
“Art for Heart” Fundraiser
“Macbeth for Murderers”
Symposium on Diversity
Faculty Profile:
Mary Anne O’Neil

Past issues

The Fountain is published by the Office of Communications. Send news to Editor Lenel Parish at thefountain@whitman.edu. Photos are accepted. Submissions are due by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the following week's issue. Editorial Assistant: Marcy Manker ’10. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: www.whitman.edu/fountain