In his 1906 dedication speech to the new U.S. House of Representative’s building, President Theodore Roosevelt addressed a budding concern he had with the media climate. Invoking the 17th century Christian allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, Roosevelt described a man in the mud “who could look no way but downward with [a] muck-rake in his hands.”
Roosevelt wasn’t as interested in the process of raking as he was in the state of affairs in journalism at the time, a climate which included, among its ranks of writers, a type of biased ‘yellow’ journalist that relied on sensationalism and scandal.
Although Roosevelt admired the works of many of his contemporaries in the field, he drew a definitive line between investigative reporting and the leading of a story with false or exaggerated information. In the contemporary era, we might identify cable news networks and biased bloggers, magazines and even popular newspapers as hotbeds of sensationalism and shoddy reporting.
The journalists of the early twentieth century proudly adopted the moniker of ‘muckraker,’ but many modern news outlets and consumers of news hardly know the difference between reliable reporting and news-like ‘entertainment’ programming.
In 2015, overloaded with innumerable sources of news and information, it can be daunting to wade through coverage for reliable information, and many readers simply don’t. It is as important in the modern era to be an educated consumer of news as it is to be an unbiased reporter of it. A gullible public that ebbs and flows with the schizophrenic media tide, unable to identify reliable sources or speculate without bias, handicapped in the act of questioning and barely literate, cannot demand a reliable new media; they don’t even know what it would look like.
Journalism, like scientific discourse, must rely on facts, must be subject to review, must be scrupulously analyzed and picked apart. And journalism, more than scientific discourse, can and should describe the contours of our social and political world- the one in which most of us live.
At the College Media Association conference in New York this month, Dr. John Latta of the University of Alabama taught a session on the art of the interview, but it delved into some of the principles of journalism itself.
Latta, a Doctor of Philosophy in the Journalism department of UA, condemned “relying on people’s reactions as the equivalent as news.”
The black man’s reaction to the non-indictment of Darren Wilson, the enraged rich white man’s perturbation of a reaction to the “loss” of family values in America; a distraction, and a farce. Points of view that can help inform a story, supplicate the need for one, but do not a piece of journalism make.
But does news work if no one cares? Does it educate and inform? Is education and information necessary at all levels of society?
The muckrakers of the early twentieth century believed so. Upton Sinclair helped reform the meat industry with his famous investigative work, The Jungle. Nellie Bly feigned insanity to write her scathing review of the treatment of mental disorder patients in asylums. Ambrose Bierce uncovered corruption within the Central Pacific Railroad.
All of these journalists changed history with their work. By exposing truth, they were harbingers of justice and reform. This makes journalism a powerful tool.
This column will focus on journalism, in all its forms, and try to get to the bottom of the meaning behind it all, and what can be done to make it better.
As students pour into the less than 200 square foot mailroom eager to pick up their packages, they all but pile up on top of each other mimicking the box-like formation under them.
“It’s like Christmas morning except I don’t get to open any of the presents!” says Jim Markle, Director of the Mailroom. He watches a student pick up a box and shake it, and shouts “No! That’s my job!”
Jim Markle is known by the students as the mailroom guy. But what they don’t know is that Markle also has a career as an environmental photographer, he’s spent time as a college instructor, he’s worked as a House Coordinator for the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare festival in the summer and he’s an avid outdoorsman. Since he started working at Sierra Nevada College last winter, he’s posed several solutions to make the mailroom services more efficient.
“I’ve always been service oriented. Maybe it goes back to when I was a college professor. My goal was to help students get through their program and make the best of what they had. It’s a teacher mentality sort of thing, to provide a service that somebody can benefit from. I don’t make a killing doing this, but my wife is here!” Markle said.
Born and raised in West Virginia in the Northern tip of the Shenandoah Valley, Markle received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. Right out of school he spent several years in the military before enrolling at Wheaton College Graduate School in Illinois. There he received his Master of Arts in Communication, majoring in journalism.
“I realized that to make it as a designer, it was important to learn how to write for clients, using that knowledge to leverage the design aspect,” Markle explains
He worked for six years as an advertising manager in publishing as well as teaching courses in advertising and graphic design at College of DuPage outside Chicago. That’s when he decided to start his own advertising design business.
Markle and his wife, Betts, moved to Incline Village in 2007 when she became the Library Director at SNC. For a couple of years he taught at Lake Tahoe Community College located in South Lake Tahoe, California. Not completely enthralled, Jim immediately began working as a volunteer with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) where he also worked as a photographer and script writer on the award winning 3D presentation “Lake Tahoe in Depth.” In addition, he also produced a time-lapse video documenting a wetland restoration near Tahoe City, California. He’s been working with TERC for the past seven years, as well as volunteering for organizations such as Project Mana, and The Tahoe Rim Trail Association.
For 22 years, Illinois was home for Markle and his family. With new job offers in Atlanta, the couple moved south and Jim began teaching at Bauder College as a graphic design instructor. He taught classes in advertising, art history, computer graphics, and photography. As a photographer, he also worked on assignments for Conde Nast Publications covering events in and around Atlanta.
It wasn’t until just last year that Markle began working for Sodexo at Sierra Nevada College.
“The reason I ended up in the mailroom…the person working here needed help. I agreed to work ten hours a week, which has since turned into about 30 hours a week. So you could say I stumbled into it,“ Markle said.
Brian Schultes, director of facilities for Sodexo, explains that “The mailroom volume is increasing, so we’re running on a six day operation and going to the post office on Saturdays now…Thanks to Jim, he has really systematized how packages are received, processed, and distributed, and that makes the world of difference. It’s not an easy job, but he does a great job managing to keep students faculty and staff happy..Sometimes he’ll send me an email saying, ‘mailroom disaster!’ And I will come down and help him sort on the busy days and do pickups, because he’s just got so much to do.”
Markle began doing research in the fall term of this year by contacting a handful of small colleges to see how they ran their mailing operations. From there, he drafted some policies and procedures that have not yet been accepted, but are in the works for future changes.
“Now that we are a bookstore and everyone has discovered online shopping, we have four times the mail we had prior to the 2014 fall semester. I get the frustration that comes from the students because there is a limit to the hours of operation. I am here from 9a.m.-3p.m., but I’m also not here since there is more to this job than sitting in the mailroom. Most people are appreciative, and some people, I understand, are frustrated but I’m only one person,” Markle said.
Markle laid out several possible solutions. First, is the option to lease mailboxes that include bins for larger packages. They could be installed in the hallway for students to access with a punch code at any time the building is open.
Second, is a postage machine. This could be a station for stamps, weighing items, packaging items, etc. This would speed up the transactions and the packaging process with charges made to a credit card.
Third, is creating more space. The ideal would be to claim Room 216 next door, which was the original plan. The single set of double doors would be far more convenient for shipping and receiving, and far less disruptive for classes.
Fourth, utilizing students for work-study jobs. Markle has had numerous students ask to work in the mailroom, but he and Brian can’t say yes until the college supports the idea. Utilizing student help to service a new “mailroom window” would be helpful in preventing people from taking packages that do not belong to them.
“I know for a fact that students come in here when its crazy busy and grab stuff to take out, probably for a roommate, but I’ve also had students come to me looking for packages they never received,“ Markle said.
Last but not least, the software. Endorsed by the post office, it’s embarrassingly cheap, being only $99 dollars per month to serve a campus of up to 1,000 students. With a purchase of a $35 dollar scanner, boxes come in, they are scanned by barcode, and the student would automatically be notified by email.
Lizzie Thibodeau, Director of Student Affairs and Housing, explains that, “We get mail here from students that have been gone for ten years. We have to come up with a better solution. A lot of past students haven’t taken care of their accounts, so we get a lot of mail that is return to sender, and sorting through that is difficult.”
There are ways to improve this system. The question is then when will the school, contracted under Sodexo, be willing to implement these new actions?
“I think the first thing that I’m looking at is making the mailroom manager a full time position, and the second thing I’m looking to do is to bring in student help for at least 10 hours a week. I think those two things in and of themselves will give Jim some breathing room,“ Schultes said.
Markle feels that it won’t be until the new budget year until anything is changed, but that he will have his proposal ready. Until then, Jim Markle, you’ve got mail!
JIM MARKLE, an avid photographer, has occupied a vast number of different jobs at and around the
college since moving to Incline Village in 2007.
All students attending Sierra Nevada College are required to take the class Core 101. Core 101 is a class that is supposed to help students understand the core themes of this school and how to prepare to be a college student. From what I have gathered from the class so far, it is a complete and utter waste of time.
The class begins at 9 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and ends at around 11:15. While the first class talked about all the themes, it seems that we have veered off course into learning how to make PowerPoint presentations and write value propositions (value propositions are taught in the Entrepreneurship class that is also a required for all students to take).
I have been in college on and off for about four years now. In that time, I have found things that work and things that do not work for me.
As a freshman, I had time to mold my educational path and discover what I wanted to study. So now, as a junior with a goal in mind and a direction set, this Core 101 class is neither helpful to me nor interesting at all. From my time in middle school to my first couple of years in college, I have had to give many speeches, set up a variety of different presentations and was even taught how to study and use time wisely.
For a while I understood Core 101 to be for incoming freshman with little to no college experience whatsoever. Other schools offer classes that help you prepare students with better study habits, scheduling and various other things to keep them on track.
Not only is Core 101 not doing any of this, it is also taking students educational drive to dismal levels. One professor offers up far too much of a homework load on the already large load of work from other classes. The other barely seems to put much effort into the structure of the class.
I have yet to really “learn” the core themes of this school. But I know them. I have heard them, read them, and understand them: liberal arts, professional preparedness, entrepreneurial thinking and sustainability. All these themes were discussed on the first day. Now our time is used for learning about how to present using a PowerPoint, things that all high school students should have already done many times.
The current class curriculum seems like a complete waste of time. An idea I have for this class is to teach these themes during a weeklong course held before school begins for incoming freshman. This allows students to focus on the classes they need to take and not one that takes away from their educational journey.
Another idea I had is to change the Interdisciplinary 250 (INTD) class to the Core 101 class. Currently taking both classes, I see that the INTD 250 curriculum is a great class for incoming freshman for several reasons.
The main focus is on majors that the school provides. During the first couple of weeks, students get to hear several professors from different departments here on campus talk about their respective courses and their educational journey. After being asked what they thought of the speakers, the whole class was in agreement that they would have much rather had this information their freshman year. With most of the class already knowing what they are majoring in, the speakers did not have the same effect that they might have on undeclared majors.
Students pick a major to research. Each student must research the topic and present their findings to the class. Most of the students picked their respective majors. But for an undeclared major, this would be a great opportunity to find out what they want to study by researching it in depth.
Opportunity to see connections of different majors. While this class is only for those pursuing an interdisciplinary study, this class could be rebuilt to provide all majors here on campus and allow students the chance to see how each study is connected. One student from the current INTD class stated that after hearing one of the professors speak, they felt more confident in their decision to change majors.
So here’s what conclusions I have come to: while the current Core 101 class does not provide the proper support for new students, taking the curriculum from INTD 250 and switching it into Core 101 would have a profound effect on incoming freshman. But let me make one thing clear: this would be great for incoming freshman, but not transfers. Those of us on our junior or even sophomore year as transfer students have already had time in school to make a decision on what field to pursue. It feels like a slap in the face to have to take these classes as a transfer student. But these changes can be made. Talk to your supervisors or administration if you feel these issues resonate with you.
A students time in college should leave them feeling fulfilled and accomplished, not lost and unmotivated.
There is no straight definition for Ecofeminism, just how there is no straight definition for Feminism. They are both extremely complex.
Once you fully understand the reason behind why we won’t reach environmental justice, until we reach gender justice; that’s when you will understand Ecofeminism.
My interpretation of Ecofeminism is, environmental issues are also gender issues. We need to learn how to live with the Earth, not against it.
Meaning, we have to treat the Earth equal to us and not simply just dominate over it.
The same goes for women. Once society realizes that us, women, deserve to be treated equal as everyone else, we will be able to start solving environmental issues.
Why and how are women connected with the Earth, more so than men?
Women are often thought of as ‘nurturing’ and nurturing meaning to care for, help or encourage development and cherish one another.
Just like how ‘Mother Nature’ encourages growth and development of the natural world.
Nature understands that we are all interconnected and should be working together equally. There should be no hierarchy or domination. But in reality there is, and how do we solve that?
That’s where Ecofeminism comes into play.
Often female gender roles coincide with environmental issues in ways male gender roles do not.
There is a clear interconnection between the oppression of women and the domination of nature.
For instance, if the area where the woman lives is contaminated, so will be her body. If her body is contaminated, so will be her womb. If her womb is contaminated, so will be the baby that lives inside of it.
Once the women gives birth to the baby, the baby will therefore also be contaminated. And since the mother’s body is contaminated, so will be her breast milk. And if her breast milk is contaminated, so will be the child who drinks from her breasts. It’s a downward spiral that needs to stop.
We all come from our mothers, whether we speak to them or have them in our lives or not, we all came from her womb. But if the womb is contaminated, so will be the children and then their children, and soon we will have thousands of contaminated citizens because we let other people pollute our environment.
As Julia M. Mason says, “The social mentality that leads to the domination and oppression of women is directly connected to the social mentality that leads to the abuse of the environment.”
That is true Ecofeminism.
Out with the old and in with the new. Lynn Gillette has left his post and the highest leadership position of SNC and the six-figure salary that accompanies it is currently vacant.
This transition is occuring at a period of great growth for SNC, and the previous leadership advocated for great expansion to our college. But is that what we really want? Do you want to see this beautiful campus slowly crowd with more students as the master plan is completed?
The presidency has historically been filled by people of very dynamic views. Sustainably minded men like Ben Solomon once led this small liberal arts school in a relatively humble manner, while our last president viewed sustainability with a strictly economic mindset. Odds are that the the SNC Board of Trustees will lean toward the latter end of the spectrum in its current search. Growth is good, apparently.
The board should pay special attention to the backbone of this institution in their search for a new president. This backbone is made of of the students and faculty who give SNC its soul and personality.
We need a president who can keep SNC out of the red and at the same time maintain the simple qualities that make this college so unique: Its small size, beautiful campus location, enthusiastic teaching staff, and mindfully progressive attitude.
We need a president who can raise funds without constructing a house on campus, and knows how to use those funds to benefit the students first.
We need a president who can spearhead more equitable wages for our professors, who are currently overworked and under paid.
We need a president who embodies all four core themes of SNC equally and values every department and opportunity this school has to offer.
BY JOHANNA TIKKANEN
Before preparing for regionals at Sierra at Tahoe ski resort, the Sierra Nevada College Ski & Snowboard team competed on Jan. 24- 25 at Squaw Valley. The last years USCSA National Champions defended the title by winning every single USCSA race they attended.
On Saturday Jan. 24, Jaka Jazbec and Andri Arnason were the only two men competing for the SNC mens alpine team. Jazbec took a victory over teammate Arnason who placed second before Stanford’s Evan Eyuboglu, who placed third. The Women’s alpine team took places 1-5. Melissa Daniels took an impressive victory ahead of Emilie Lamoureux and Johanna Tikkanen who placed second and third respectively.
”The team has been working hard for months, and it is starting to pay off.” ski coach Branko Zagar said. ”The lack of snow hasn’t stopped us from training.”
The team practices at home mountain Diamond Peak, six days a week. ”Training at Diamond Peak has been good, except that sometimes we really have to be careful where we set the gates since there is not always enough snow to cover the ground.” Freshmen Mihaela Kosi said.
The snowboarders continued SNC dominance by winning in both men’s and women’s races on Saturday Jan. 24. at the Squaw Valley. slalom race. Junior Marco Gooding placed third right after University of Nevada, Reno athlete Reed January, who placed second. Ian Wieczorek, Cory Rudolph and Adam Lechner followed close behind at fourth, fifth and sixth spot. On the women’s side, Brooke O’Neill dominated the race by winning with almost ten seconds in front of UC Berkley’s Kimberlie Le, who finished in second place, and UC Davis’s Lauren Uchiyama, finishing in third.
The momentum kept going the next day when both the men’s and women’s teams dominated the giant slalom race. Jazbec and Arnason placed first and second beating the rest of the skiers with multiple seconds. The women also dominated the race by having all five skiers in top 5. Johanna Tikkanen took the victory in front of teammate Caroline Klaesson and Emilie Lamoureux. Melissa Daniels and Twwea Palic followed close behind in the fourth and fifth spots. The Alpine team travels on Feb. 4 to Snow King, Wyoming for the FIS Elite series competitions before focusing on regionals and nationals.
The next day the SNC men’s snowboard team filled the podium with Frederick McCarthy, Macky Leal and Marco Gooding placing first, second and third. A total of eight SNC athletes placed in Top 11. SNC athlete Brooke O’Neill continued her winning streak by also winning the women’s race. ”We have a lot of talented athletes on the team and I have no doubt that we are going to be more than ready for this years nationals,” snowboard coach Jon Cherry said.
A couple of SNC snowboard team athletes competed at a USASA slope style and rail jam competition on Jan 31- Feb 1 at Boreal. The first competition was slope style in which SNC athletes took top 3. Austin Smith took the victory in front of teammates Adam Lechner and Brian Walther who placed in second and third. Second competition was a back-to-back rail jam. Austin Smith won the first competition and Adam Lechner the second one.
The USCSA National Championships will be located at Mt. Bachelor, Oregon on March 1-7 where the SNC Ski & Snowboard team will be defending their title. Go Eagles!
The forum that was held on October 15th was a disgrace in many ways. We left without any feeling of resolve, or any hope of a resolution. Our questions were deflected without any solid answers being put forth to satisfy the restless student body. As a senior here I am appalled by the lack of communication from the administration to the students, concerning issues that affect the future of this school.
Our college is not for profit institution. As such, the bottom line of Sierra Nevada College should be providing a well rounded education, not creating a turn over of the students for their money. Of course we understand the need to court donors to keep the institution running, we accept this fact as evidenced by the above average tuition we pay. What we don’t understand is how a donation, for the President’s house, from a former member of the board of directors, gets steamrolled into SNC’s piggy bank without due consideration. During the Oct 15th forum, it was stated: “The donation was brought to us the day before our board of directors’ meeting. We went ahead and accepted it.” There are a few things missing from that statement. One, why was it accepted so quickly? Two, why did it take the administration so long to communicate with the student body? Three, why are plans for the president’s house not on display for the students to see the proposed use of the funds?
The rapid acceptance of this donation belies the character of the people who claim to be looking out for our “strategic interests” and long-term goals. For example, in the school’s haste to build, they overlooked a necessary permit from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) regarding the movement and grading of land. This haste has already cost the school around $1,000 in fines from TRPA. Not to mention the fact that TRPA is an organization entrusted with the protection of the environment in and around Lake Tahoe, and a joint effort should have been made to ensure that sustainable building practices were taking place. This just goes to show how little the administration concerns itself with sustainability, one of the core values this school espouses.
By Marina McCoy
Sustainability: Green Council
Over the past month, students had the opportunity to apply to be on the SNC Green Council.
I am so overwhelmed with joy from all the positive feedback and support from the students, faculty, staff and community members. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.
What is the SNC Green Council?
The SNC Green Council is a dedicated group of SNC students, who want to make SNC more sustainable!
We will be getting involved in the community, working closely with SNC staff and faculty, setting up a composting system on campus, along with a bike share, running the SNC LNT campaign, improving the recycling and trash and so much more!
If you have a question or suggested project for the SNC Green Council, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are here to serve you, the school and the community.
Now announcing Sierra Nevada College’s first ever Green Council Team! (Drum roll please….)
This past August I had the fortune of taking Brennan’s Holistic Sustainability class that traveled to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and immersed us in real world issues. After our trip we wrote letters to President Obama requesting the preservation of area 1002, the coastal region that oil companies want to drill, because protecting the area is vital to the way of life of the Native Americans living in the region, and a delicate ecosystem that is felt around the world. You can imagine my excitement then when I saw a news video on www.youtube.com/user/whitehouse Sunday from President Obama calling for protection of ANWR with a comprehensive plan put forth by his department of interior.
He isn’t just requesting to designate the sensitive coastal region as wilderness, but the entire 19.8 million acre refuge of ANWR. This is huge environmental news because it is the first time since 1974 that a president has proposed wilderness status for the refuge, and it is in the face of heavier than ever threat to open the area to drilling. By locking up oil reserves along the coastal region, to me (a student majoring in Ecology), this marks a huge leap toward increasing renewable energy production as well as acknowledging climate change and the ecology of our planet. I also see this as a major win for Native American people everywhere, because President Obama recognized that ANWR supports “Alaska native communities” of which the Gwich’in were the ones our class visited in August.
This move by the Obama Administration isn’t without resistance however. Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski (who clearly doesn’t speak for all in her state) went as far as saying that President Obama is “declaring war on Alaska” and “We will fight back with every resource at our disposal.” Even though congress must pass the plan for it to be formally designated as wilderness, which is unlikely in the republican controlled congress, a formal presidential wilderness recommendation being filed along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s formal Record of Decision, means the area will be managed with wilderness protection none the less.
In America just as many of our holidays are centered on the memorialization of dead men as are centered on the celebration of present life. A small percentage of us enjoy the ability to take these days off to ruminate on the irony of Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledged in a federal holiday only a few months away from Christopher Columbus, who is somehow still held in just as great of esteem by most first grade classes.
But this year as I scrolled through my Facebook feed, presented with an array of MLK quotes and photos, I got a queasy feeling in my stomach. The same individuals who, only months earlier, railed against the population of Ferguson, Mo for “overreacting” to one of their young adults being executed in the street without due process or a trial, were publicly displaying the more politically correct, pacifistic words of an activist who only fifty years earlier, in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” reprimanded the line of thought that led people to “prefer a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”
Many white Americans believe that racism is a phenomenon relegated to the history books. Their frame of reference being as limited as it is, it is not hard to understand why, but as I found myself lying still on the linoleum floor of the University of Nevada Reno’s Knowledge Center this past December, in a “die-in” protesting the non-indictments and deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, with a student attempting to spit on the protestors from the balcony above, I realized what the racial justice movement is to most white Americans; unimportant. A joke.
According to the Center for Global Policy in their 2014 report ‘Beyond Broke,’ the racial wealth gap is staggering. An African-American family will, on average, only make seven cents to every dollar a white family makes. One in three African-American men will go to jail at some point in their life, a rate that is over five times that of white incarceration. Ferguson, Missouri, in the news recently because of the shooting of Michael Brown, is a predominantly black town with a population of 21,135. In 2013 32,975 arrest warrants were served in Ferguson for nonviolent offenses, generating $2.5 million dollars in legal revenue for the city.
Statistics like these exist outside of the frame of reference for most white Americans. Even acknowledging their truth can be a stretch of the imagination to some.
They seem like a reality that is far off, distant, happening somewhere else. Something that couldn’t possibly be true, or traceable to a pervasive dynamic of political and societal racism that we have a hand in perpetuating.
On Martin Luther King Day I did not see my friends and family members talking about or even acknowledging these well-researched statistics.
I found them regurgitating quotes from King such as “I have decided to stick to love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” and “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” without possessing the background knowledge required to understand the context and significance of these quotes in their relation to the fight for social justice that King championed.
It is for this reason that I do not believe Martin Luther King and his teachings should be limited to a day of instruction in our public and private schools, or used as a reason to post another quote on Facebook.
This day is a marker, and a challenge, for white America to educate itself on the ramifications of the actions of our ancestors.
To teach African-American studies in our schools. To address the overwhelming racial wealth gap. This is why Ferguson’s fight is our fight. Whether we like it or not, we perpetuate the legacy of those who came before us. It is up to us to lift our blinders and set about the hard work of building a more just society.