Female peers work together against sexism

Rachel Amoroso

Before I delve into the main focus of this piece, I would like to briefly address my personal thoughts regarding The College of Wooster’s philosophy department. As a senior philosophy major who feels a deep loyalty to her area of study, I do not want there to be any ambiguity throughout this article regarding the way I think about my professors and peers. For me, the philosophy department has always served as somewhat of a “home base” amidst all the chaos during college years. I consider myself very lucky to have professors who continue to challenge me yet meet any of my concerns with the utmost support and insight. Furthermore, when in the company of my peers (male and female) I feel a unique sense of pride in the coalition of wildly sharp minds I have the privilege to debate and collaborate with on a daily basis. Have I still been faced with sexist remarks and experiences akin to what Melissa Griffith’s article tackled?  Absolutely.

Sex-based discrimination from male peers in the philosophy classroom is something I have struggled with alongside many of my female peers, and what is important to note is the professors’ urgent desire to end it. Following the publication of Melissa’s article, “Female Students Disrespected in the Philosophy Classroom,” the department held a meeting led by two professors for female philosophy majors/minors to discuss their individual experiences with these sexist issues as well as to create a plan to combat them. Unfortunately, the opinions expressed in this meeting are strictly confidential, so I am hesitant about how much of the meeting I actually want to address; however, I think it is appropriate to acknowledge this meeting’s productive outcome. Because of this meeting, a pact was made among female students to reinforce an ethic of sex-inclusive classroom etiquette.

To give an example of this practice at work, let’s say I would raise my hand and, upon getting called on by the professor, begin to give a lucid account of Cartesian skepticism, only to have a male peer raise his hand after me and reiterate what I said. With the ethic of classroom etiquette in mind, one of my female classmates would then politely speak up and remind this student that I had already made that point and perhaps try to direct the discussion in a more time-efficient direction. This is not to say that the philosophy classroom will turn into an intellectual bar-fight, with people arbitrarily taking sides based on gender; rather there will simply be no tolerance for disrespectful participation. Hopefully by having each other’s backs even more than we already do, my female peers and I can reestablish Wooster’s philosophy classroom as an equal playing field and enlighten our male counterparts on what constitutes sexism.

Discrimination in question

Danielle Aviles and Rhishav Choudhury

This is in response to a recent viewpoint related to female philosophy students being disrespected in the classroom. First off, we think it’s important to accept the reality that sexism remains pervasive in the world and demands significant attention in the public sphere if it is to be eroded and debilitated over time. This is due to unfortunate historical circumstances and trends that have affected norms and mores for millennia and will take time to dismantle. Additionally, it is a fact that women in philosophy, along with minorities, are poorly represented, although there is a movement of quasi-affirmative action throughout educational institutions to try to rectify that. In turn, there have been incidents over the years at several prominent universities in which serious allegations of harassment and discrimination towards women from faculty members and students have led to overall shakeups in the departments and in the pursuit of justice. So yes, there is no dispute that sexism remains a grave problem globally and that it has had a tenuous relationship with academic philosophy.

Now, however, we come to the issue of sexism and disrespect towards women within this particular department. We do not agree with the view that there is a hidden aggression aimed at women in the philosophy department at The College of Wooster. Together we have taken over a dozen classes in the department, with the entire faculty, and are confident that none of them has a sexist fiber in their body. That does not mean that they do not have differing personalities, eccentricities and relationships with their students, but their manner in class with their students and in their teaching methods is not guided by any gender-based prejudice. Now, when it comes to students, it is true that some students speak out more in class than others and some are more boisterous in their manner of discussion than others. We have been guilty of becoming too animated ourselves while in discussion in the past and have seen it from students of both genders. We have witnessed numerous circumstances where female students have participated in a similar manner, as far as speaking over others and voicing their disagreements strongly. This does not seem to stem from gender discrimination, but from the nature of philosophy itself. At times we are probing and asking each other questions that sometimes fundamentally are at odds with our worldviews, and so this can sometimes lead to tension and misunderstanding. We think the latter is key; sometimes situations and intentions are misunderstood, and it’s important to seek clarification and understanding before jumping to conclusions.

We will not speak of the individual cases that were brought up, aside from saying one of us  was present in one of them and do not think that there seemed to be any discriminatory agenda. We will also not assert that there have not been sexist male students who have taken philosophy classes. But, we think that the claim that there is a pervasive atmosphere of disrespect and discrimination in our department is mistaken and unnecessarily tarnishes the image of a department that is committed to an ethos of respect and equal consideration. There are all kinds of characters in the world, but before jumping to conclusions, we think it is pertinent to clarify the matter and discuss it amongst the other parties before generalizing a few cases to represent an overall pattern. To avoid similar situations in the future, we believe that speaking in an open manner with the respective parties involved might be a more fruitful way of diminishing these sorts of misunderstandings. The faculty members always have their doors open to whomever might wish to discuss certain class decorum or behavior that they feel might have a discriminatory basis.

Independent minds not working together

Emilio Vargas

“Independent Minds Working Together” is the philosophy ingrained in all those who occupy the College of Wooster. It is an ideology that Admissions, Campus Life and most of all, our beloved President Grant Cornwell, takes pride in. However, I would like to pose the question: How often do those who take pride in such a philosophy actually embody it?

I raise this question because, as a senior, it would appear as of late that those in the administration have forgotten what it means to work together with students. The most recent example is the crafty way party policies have been imposed on students. Now, you may be asking yourself, how is all of this relevant? Well, it’s quite simple. The College should practice what it preaches.  Many of you may recall the front-page article last week that highlighted that the Fall Break housing fee has been waived. Let’s do some math. Fall Break begins next month on Oct. 3 and ends Oct. 11. Students were informed that they could stay on campus for free barely two weeks in advance of the start of Fall Break. As a student, my grievances lie with the lack of communication and consideration shown by Campus Life. How many students were forced to purchase plane tickets that their families could not afford? How many students had to sacrifice studying for a test, doing homework or even I.S. work in order to earn the funds needed for their anticipated travel plans because Wooster originally would not house them?

To further emphasize the lack of communication, or miscommunication if you will, Amber Zifzal, associate director of Residence Life, was quoted saying that the fee has been waived because “it’s the first year and students weren’t necessarily prepared, so we wanted to be mindful of that and educate them about what would be happening in future years,” implying that Res Life/Campus Life is always taking students into consideration. Yet, a few weeks ago, Rachel Messenger, assistant director of Campus Life, revealed to students who attended P.L.A.I.D. Weekend that Wooster students would be charged for Fall Break only after a student inquired about a rumor he had heard. As students responded in frustration, her response was that students were notified during the housing selection process that a fee would be charged. This raises questions about the level of disconnect amongst faculty and staff and in turn, the disconnect that they have with students as a whole. My purpose is not to offend or insult, but to raise awareness about a flaw in our system. Whether this flaw is systematic or simply how the system is enforced, I do not know, but it is something that we as a community must look into. This viewpoint has been about my opinion, but I leave you with one final question to answer for yourselves: are we independent minds working together or are we just independent minds living together?

Dougie disappoints after dark

Ben Taylor

The Party Monitor Policy has been commented and reported on by the Voice almost ad naseum. I recognize this, but I would still like to add to the mix a discussion on a very particular part of the policy that, as far as I know, has not been addressed to this point. Specifically, this viewpoint will argue that it is unfair to the residents of Douglass, Gault Schoolhouse and Luce that the common areas of their  buildings have been designated as rentable party spaces without their approval. This means that parties required to register (i.e. ones with 35 or more people where alcohol is served or which are advertised in advance) can now be hosted in those buildings.

The main thrust of my argument is as follows: When the Greek groups moved into Bissman, they knew ahead of time that there would be partying in the building and that there would be a space designated for partying. The UG is a space that is not within the confines of a residential area (by which I mean that you cannot reach it from inside Compton, even though it is in the same structure as Compton). Douglass, Luce and Gault Schoolhouse, though, are residential buildings with common spaces right in the midst of the residential space, and residents did not know ahead of time that their common spaces could be rented for the types of parties that can now be held in them. This, I argue, is unfair to these residents.

Of these three halls, I have a particular problem with allowing parties to be hosted in Douglass. Many expect Luce to be a site of partying, and the space in Gault Schoolhouse is largely removed from the residents’ rooms, but neither of these is true of Douglass.

This year, Douglass houses transfer students and first years. They had little to no say on where they would be living. Instead, we put them into a building, presumably designated the lounges as “dry” because it was full of first-year students, and then for some reason abandoned this principle in deciding to allow hosted parties in the basement. This was done without consultation of the students and without giving them any choice ahead of time about whether they would like to live in a building where outside groups could come in and host parties.

I have recently spoken to students who live in Douglass and who were at a discussion with members of Residence Life addressing the policy. It is my understanding that some residents raised points similar to mine. They feel that their building has had a different atmosphere than they expected when they chose to live there (for upperclassmen) or has been unwelcoming first hall (for first years). Douglass is no longer what they expected.

Now, I realize that an assumption underlying this viewpoint is that forcing students to live in a building that allows for college-sanctioned partying to occur even if the students do not want to be in such a building is unfair to those students. I assume that the consent of the students is necessary to make the policy legitimate. This is a contestable assumption, and I do not have the space to defend it here, but I did want to acknowledge that it underlies my argument.

Essentially, my argument is simple. If there are going to be loud, large, alcohol-fueled events occurring in residential halls, those events should only occur in halls where the residents had some sort of say whether (or, at a bare minimum, an expectation that) such events were going to occur in those halls. Any other policy, including the one we have, is unfair to the residents of those halls.

Volleyball falls to nationally-ranked Wittenberg

Megan Zerrer

Contributing Writer

The Wooster volleyball team lost to one of its toughest rivals, Wittenberg University, last Saturday. While the ladies were dealt a 3-0 setback, there were certainly some bright spots throughout the sets. The Scots were able to take their first lead of the match during the third set. Although the Tigers rallied to gain the lead once more, the Scots tied it up at 9-9 with Ksenia Klue’s ’18 service ace.

After the Tigers broke the 9-9 tie, the Scots were unable to regain the lead. They refused to fall too far behind, keeping the score at 16-18 later on in the set.  The Tigers have  not lost an NCAC match since the 2010 season, making them a challenging opponent. Witt limited the Scots to 13 kills throughout the match. Savannah Moore ’16, Megan Mey ’17 and Klue each recorded two of the 13 kills, while Lydia Webster ’17 claimed seven. The Scots attempted to counterbalance Wittenberg’s attack, with six players recording three or more digs. Rachel Sell ’15 led the defense, recording six digs.

As with any sport, tough opponents give the team a clear idea of what needs to be refined in order to succeed, as well as motivation to work hard and play better the next time around.

“Overall, I think consistency is our biggest issue,” commented Sell. “We play extremely good volleyball at times, but other games we play very poorly.  If we can figure out how to play consistently throughout a match, as well as start off strong, the wins will hopefully start to come our way.”

Sell was responsible for one of Wooster’s three service aces, which means that she has achieved at least one service ace in seven of her last eight matches.

With quite a few new players on the court, the women are continuing to work together to find their balance. Six of the 14 players are first years, and finding the team dynamic is difficult and can take some time. Sell commented that the team has made significant strides in gaining experience working together as a team and acclimating the first years. The team remains optimistic about their goals for the season with hopes to place second or third in their league.

By increasing their consistency and remaining focused, the team is well on their way to achieving success in the rest of their season. The Scots played against Franciscan University on Sept. 24 after press time. Their next match is Homecoming weekend against rival DePauw University, on Sept. 28

Goodell is no good for the NFL

Sheamus Dalton

In a press conference concerning the Ray Rice situation last Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, “I got it wrong on a number of levels.” Mr. Goodell, you most definitely did get it wrong.

In recent weeks, the NFL has plunged into a domestic violence freefall. Five players are currently facing domestic violence charges, including Rice and 2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson. Questions have been raised about the league’s actions and policies, specifically in its response to domestic violence allegations and the consistency and appropriateness of the corrective measures it has taken in the past against convicted players.  Just think — Ray Rice was suspended for two games after knocking his fiancé, Janay Palmer, completely unconscious. Two games. Anyone else have a problem with that? Apparently not Goodell.

So, I think that one of the most poignant questions I have heard, one that speaks to heart of this situation, was raised by Grantland Editor-in-Chief Bill Simmons who asked, “HOW THE HELL DOES ROGER GOODELL HAVE A JOB?”

How does Roger Goodell have a job? Surely, the way he has dealt with the Ray Rice situation and the unanswered questions about whether or not he saw the Ray Rice elevator video in its entirety should serve as suitable grounds to call Commissioner Goodell’s job into question (for those unaware, originally, video evidence of the Rice altercation was unclear until a new tape discovered by TMZ Sports revealed the full incident in whcih Rice knocked Palmer unconscious). According to the Associated Press, the NFL had the full Ray Rice video in April. The details of the AP report are yet to be verified, but, if they are true, Goodell and the league chose to suspend Rice for only two games with  the full video and are now denying they ever saw it. What’s more, Mr. Goodell took 10 days after the full video emerged to address the situation publicly. I know Goodell doesn’t hold all the administrative power of the NFL, but he is at its heart and has handled this situation horribly.

And I would argue that his dealings in player-related problems and controversies as commissioner have been less than adequate more than just this one time (for example, how are Le’Veon Bell and Legarrette Blount still playing while Josh Gordon is suspended until week 11? I may be biased as a Browns fan, but look at the facts).  This time his oversights have been made into national news.

So again, how does Roger Goodell have a job? How has he survived the past few weeks amidst this controversy that has shaken the NFL? Well, one thing that Goodell has done well, exceptionally well during his tenure as commissioner has been to make the NFL money.  Mr. Goodell’s individual net worth is 45 million dollars but he makes the NFL and its unbelievably wealthy owners billions each year.  Goodell is the head of the most wealthy sports media enterprise in the world and he is awfully good at fattening the pockets of the people who invest their money to make it run.  So, if the owners who hold the power to remove Goodell were to strip him of his position they would likely lose a chunk from their pockets, but that’s not the attitude they have.

Owners and fans can’t think, “Well, Goodell may not have actually seen the Rice video and he has made the NFL into one helluva sports show, so we’ll just let him deal with the situation.”  No.  We must look at Goodell as part of the problem.  Yes, he has done a good job in promoting the NFL, but the problems that exist with player conduct and discipline, ones that emerged under his watch, are much bigger than the game or money