March 31, 2008

Volume 2, issue 31
March 31, 2008
The Fountain

Journalist Salim Muwakkil connects with students in alternative voices class

Salim Muwakkil, senior editor of In These Times, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, radio talk show host and professor of urban studies, visited Associate Professor Julie Charlip's alternative voices class last Monday as part of his Hosokawa Journalism Lectureship visit to campus.

The students, who had been assigned some of Muwakkil's columns as preparation for the class, were at first hesitant to ask questions, but in a short time Muwakkil's openness and his obvious passion for subjects of discussion, including race, politics, hip hop, the injustice of the justice system and the media, won them over. The students, said Charlip felt a real connection to Muwakkil.

The 2008 Hosokawa speaker then participated in a workshop with the staff of the Pioneer and presented an impassioned lecture on politics, race, gender and the media to a standing-room-only crowd in the Young Ballroom, where he received a standing ovation.

VOIP = Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it's coming soon

On April 7, WCTS will start replacing telephones in staff and administrators' offices with new VOIP units. The VOIP system, which has been in the planning for several years, allows campus telephones to use the same cables and equipment as the college data network. The project is expected to be completed by the end of August 2008, at which point WCTS will have replaced 1,272 telephones in 36 campus buildings.

Pictured: Two versions of the new VOIP phones, which include emergency notification features.

The new phones offer more features than the existing system. But please note one short-term inconvenience: During the transition period while office phones are being replaced, old phones calling new VOIP phones require pressing 9+ the full seven-digit number as opposed to the usual four-digit extension. When the entire campus has been switched over, four-digit extension dialing will be functional again from all phones to all phones. Here's a guide to four- or- eight-digit dialing during the changeover process:

New to new = four digits
New to old = four digits
Old to old = four digits
Old to new = 9+ the full seven digits

The WCTS staff also reports several very important changes:

  • To reach an outside line, the new VOIP phones will require you to press 7 (instead of 9) and then the number. Until your phone gets switched, continue to use 9 for an outside line.
  • On the new phone system, you can press just 9-1-1 to reach the emergency operator. The old phone system required you to press 9-9-1-1 from offices/academic buildings or 7-9-1-1 from residence halls.
  • Along with a new phone, staff and faculty also will get a new voice mail account. You will be walked through the process of setting up a voice mail box automatically the first time you access your voice mail account. For starters, to check voice mail from off-campus dial 527-5788 if you are in the Walla Walla area or 1-509- 527-5788 if you are elsewhere. Then press star (*) and then enter your four-digit campus extension, followed by the pound key (#).

FAQs and a schedule of when offices will get their new phones can be found here.

Volunteers wanted to help test new Penrose Library Web site

The Penrose Library Web site is undergoing a major redesign, and the staff is looking for volunteers to participate in a critical phase – user testing. The test will take less than 30 minutes to complete, and the responses will be extremely helpful in determining the "user-friendliness" of the layout and navigation, reports Beth Hoppe, reference and information literacy librarian, who has led the redesign effort including creating the design and building the navigation. In the coming months, e-mail requests will be sent with all relevant details each time a new phase of testing begins. "Keep your eyes open for the e-mails, and we hope you will come in and help us out!" Hoppe says. For more information, contact her at

New art installation in Memorial; opening reception April 4

The walls on the second and third floors of Memorial have been brightened with a new installation of colorful paintings by Ben Bloch, visiting assistant professor of art. For a sneak preview, see The "genus" paintings capture large, fragile, carnival-esque characters passing through the canvas in an imagined parallel universe. The work will be on display in Mem through the end of May.

All campus community members are invited to join the Sheehan Gallery staff and the Office of the President at an opening reception for Bloch's show on Friday, April 4, at 4 p.m., in the third floor foyer area.

Faculty Profile: John Cotts
Assistant Professor of History

  • Name: John Cotts
  • Birthplace: Near Chicago.
  • Education: BA, Oberlin College; MA, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.
  • Years at Whitman: 4
  • Courses: Medieval and early modern Europe, intellectual and religious history.
  • Favorite
    • Book: A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov.
    • Film: "Fletch."
    • Music: The Good Ol' Grateful Dead, Wilco, Stones, Richard Thompson, Magnetic Fields.
    • Play: "Richard II."
    • Painting: Two Followers of Cadmus Devoured by a Dragon, by Cornelius van Haarlem.
  • Favorite sculpture on campus: The one that looks like a paper clip – after the tree fell on it.
  • Best travel experience: Learning to play cricket with a bunch of sloshed Australians at a city park in Bruges, Belgium.
  • Interests/pleasures: Hiking, guitar, making my dog feel useful, telling children that their allergies are all psychosomatic.
  • Recent accomplishment: Book contract.
  • What people don't know about me: I was an All-American gymnast in high school.
  • Why I teach: The Big Money.
  • Favorite aspect of Whitman: They hired me.
  • What I've learned here: Urban centers represent an unnecessary anachronism.
  • Quote: "Something Shakespeare never said was 'you've got to be kidding.'" – Robyn Hitchcock

Coming Events
All events are free unless otherwise noted

Monday, March 31
Lecture: "Claiming Space at the Mall: The New National Museum of the American Indian" by Professor Pauline Stone, University of Texas Anthropology Department. 7 p.m., Olin 130.

Monday, March 31
Lecture: "Collecting and Cultural Power in Song China" by Patricia Ebrey, professor of history, University of Washington. 7:30 p.m., Gaiser Auditorium, Hall of Science.

Tuesday, April 1
Lecture: By Alina Fernandez, daughteer of Fidel Castro, 7:30 p.m., Cordiner Hall, presented by Whitman ASWC Speakers. Please no food, drink or bags.

Wednesday, April 2, through Sunday, April 6
Play: Harper Joy Theatre opens Anne Washburn's "Apparition: An Uneasy Play of the Underknown" at 8 p.m. on the Freimann Stage on Wednesday, April 2. Peopled by demons, lonely ladies and wandering denizens of the Scottish play, "Apparition" explores the prickly feeling that something is out there and waiting for you. Additional performances on: Thursday, April 3, through Saturday, April 5, at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6, at 2 p.m. For tickets or reservations call x5180 or fax to x4406 during Box Office hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, and/or 45 minutes before each show.

Thursday, April 3

Art Talk: Video games as art will be discussed Thursday by visiting art educator Jane Pinckard, a business development analyst at Foundation 9 Entertainment, a video game development studio. "Art and the Language of Interactive Systems" will be presented at 7:30 p.m., Olin 245. 

Thursday, April 3
Lecture: Robert Yuong, a Cambodian-American who survived the massacres carried out in the 1970s by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, will talk about his experiences at 7 p.m. in Olin 130. Sponsored by the Intercultural Center and the Asian Cultural Association.

Friday, April 4
Recital: Fridays at Four presents Lee D. Thompson, piano, and Diana Chamberlain, soprano, at 4 p.m. in Kimball Theatre, Hunter Conservatory, corner of Park and Boyer, Whitman College campus.

Friday, April 4
Opening reception: Join the Sheehan Gallery staff and the Office of the President at an opening reception for Ben Bloch's show in Memorial on Friday, April 4, at 4 p.m. Ben's work will be on display in Memorial from April to the end of May. The "genus" paintings capture large, fragile, carnival-esque characters passing through the canvas in an imagined parallel universe. More information is available at

Friday, April 4, and Sunday, April 6
Film: Whitman's Cinema Arts Series presents "Caché" (Hanke 2005, France) at 7:30 p.m. in Kimball Theatre, Hunter Conservatory.

Saturday, April 5
Concert: Whitman Chorale and Chamber Singers Spring Concert, Robert Bode, conductor, at 7:30 p.m. in Cordiner Hall.

Save the dates:

Monday, April 7
Lecture: "Indigenous People and Island Conservation," the annual Rempel Lecture, will be presented by Paul Alan Cox, founder and chairman, Seachology, Berkeley, Calif.; director, Institute for Ethnomedicine, Jackson Hole, Wyo. Cox, who was named one of 11 "Heroes of Medicine by Time Magazine in 1997 for his work in ethnobotanical drug discovery, is currently focusing on neurodegenerative illness with the goal of discovering new therapies for ALS and Alzheimer's Disease. 7:30 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium.

Saturday, April 19
Celebration with music, food, booths: Imagine Celebration, an annual celebration of diversity in the Whitman and Walla Walla communities, on the side lawn of Reid Campus Center from noon to 5 p.m. Dance, music and performances by members of Whitman and Walla Walla communities will be available as will booths and activities for all ages. Featured performance by Andy-O, a Seattle musician whose work combines reggae with Caribbean Calypso.

Thursday, April 24
Lecture: "The Potential of Trees" will be presented by Sandy McDade '74, senior vice president and general counsel of the Weyerhaeuser Company. 7 p.m., Gaiser Auditorium, Hall of Science. His talk, the 2008 William M. Allen-Boeing Lecture, will be a business/economics talk that will touch on the nature of working forests as a long-term investment versus the market's short-term focus.

Parting Shot

Talk about a contradiction – lovely cherry blossoms like these captured by Sarah Abdurrahman, communications officer/photographer, should signal milder weather, certainly not the case last week in Walla Walla, where conditions included hail.

Whitman College
In This Issue
Salim Muwakkil
New Phones
Library Web Site
Art at Mem
Faculty Profile:
John Cotts
Coming Events
Parting Shot

Past issues

The Fountain is published by the Office of Communications. Send news to Editor Lenel Parish at Photos are accepted. Submissions are due by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the following week's issue. Editorial Assistant: Marcy Manker ’10. Managing editor: Lana Brown. Director of Communications: Ruth Wardwell. Online: