Tuesday, February 24, 1998

The Daily Gazette

Swarthmore College
Tuesday, February 24, 1998
Volume 2, Number 87

NEWS IN BRIEF

1)  Beyond the Box conference discusses issues of diversity

2)  Iraqi Peace Action Group organizing on campus

3)  Farai Chideya speaks on African-Americans in the media

4)  World news roundup

SPORTS IN BRIEF

1)  Swim teams take second in Centennial Conference Championships

2)  Badminton hosts Northeast Intercollegiate Tournament

3)  Today’s and tomorrow’s contests

WEATHER FORECAST

Today:        Raining and rather windy. High of 41.
               Weather got you down?
Tonight:      Still raining. Low of 37.
               That’s nothing; you haven’t met your Screw date yet.
Wednesday:    Mostly cloudy. High of 53.

NEWS REPORT

1)  Beyond the Box conference discusses issues of diversity

More than 70 students from other schools were on campus over the weekend
for the Beyond the Box conference, said Amy Albert ’98, a member of the
planning committee. Nine liberal arts colleges were represented, including
Smith, Wesleyan, Wellesley, Williams, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Carlton.
About 60 Swarthmore students attended Saturday’s workshops.

The goals of the event were to provide space for discussion specific to
diversity at small colleges, for administrators to come together to
exchange ideas, and for staff and students to take a look at their own
schools and see what could be done to increase diversity. “People talked
about what problems existed on their campuses, and how schools are
addressing different issues. It gave people ideas to implement in their own
schools,” said Albert.

Swarthmore students came up with several plans to work on issues of
diversity at the College as a result of the conference, according to Anita
Chikkatur ’00, a member of the planning committee. One idea was to make the
results of Swarthmore’s exit survey (filled out by seniors) public, in
order to see if students of color consistently differ in their ratings of
the College. “Carleton students at the conference said that students of
color rated Carleton lower on issues like faculty-student relations.” said
Chikkatur. “We would like to see if this is the case at Swarthmore too.”

Another suggestion was to hold monthly meetings for all those actively
involved in support groups, in order to increase communication between
groups working on diversity issues. “We would also like to encourage
Student Council members and candidates to talk about issues of diversity
more,” said Chikkatur, “and to see what work they can do in this area.”

The participants also plan to network with the other schools represented at
the conference, in order to continue to exchange dialogue and ideas about
issues of diversity.

Members of the conference’s steering committee included Albert, Shirin Ali
’00, Marialuz Castro ’98, Chikkatur, Assistant Dean and Director of the
Intercultural Center Ana Cobo, Laura Cohen ’01, Eric Freedman ’99, Tina
Gourd ’99, Supriya Kota ’00, Assistant Dean and Director of the Black
Cultural Center Tim Sams, Rumki Saha ’98, Lis Swim ’99, and Maurisa
Thompson ’98.

*****

2)  Iraqi Peace Action Group organizing on campus

Some thirty to forty students crammed Parrish Parlors Monday evening in an
organizational meeting of the Iraqi Peace Action Group. The group hopes to
draw attention to United States policy toward Iraq in light of the recent
conflict that brought the U.S. to the brink of war over issues of weapons
inspection. The crisis appears to have been defused in the last two days
following negotiations between Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein and U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Baghdad.

Tara Schubert ’98 organized the meeting. “The developments of the past
several weeks came as a surprise to many people and caught us off guard. I
heard about peace movements at other campuses around the country and
thought that, of all places, Swarthmore should have some kind of a
movement,” said Schubert.

The group made tentative plans to speak with various members of the faculty
with expertise in Middle Eastern studies and peace and conflict studies. A
teach-in for the college community, possibly in the form of a collection,
is also on the agenda. In addition to hearing about the immediate crisis,
the group also plans to focus on the effects of U.N. sanctions on Iraq
generally and to seek diverse perspectives on the conflict from members of
the faculty and students.

“The purpose of the group is to inform ourselves and others about the
situation in Iraq, and to be prepared to respond to U.S. policy. We want to
start forming coalitions and network with other people who share our
concerns,” says Schubert.

*****

3)  Farai Chideya speaks on African-Americans in the media

Political analyst, journalist and writer Farai Chideya spoke on the
misrepresentation of African-Americans in the media Monday night. The
lecture was sponsored by, among others, the BCC, William J. Cooper
Foundation, and Theatre Studies. Chideya, a Harvard graduate, has been a
reporter for Newsweek, MTV, CNN, and ABC. She is the author of “Don’t
Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African-Americans.”

Chideya mentioned various causes of misrepresentation of minorities in the
media. Foremost is the staggering lack of non-white employees in many news
organizations: 45% of newspapers have no non-white reporters. This affects
what is considered newsworthy, Chideya said. Chideya made the point that
while the text of a news report is checked carefully for errors, images
often misrepresent the facts. When a journalist needs a picture of drug use
or poverty, he or she is much more likely to use images of
African-Americans than whites, she said.

Time constraints also play a factor, Chideya suggested. Non-white crime is
right outside the office in urban areas, while white poverty and crime is
more often found in rural areas; thus, under deadline pressure, it is
easiest to shoot photos outside your door, Chideya explained.

Looking to the future, Chideya sees “national panic” about “what it means
to be an American.” Her upcoming book, “What Color is the Future?”
discusses the consequences of predictions that within 50 years there will
no longer be a racial majority in America.

Chideya believes that the people must “hold the media accountable” to
document reality correctly. The more we do so, “the better chance we have
of moving forward and not backward.”

In response to a student question, Chideya said that “unfortunately, very
little [stereotyping in the media] is conscious” on the part of the
reporter, “very few people go out of their way to perpetuate racial
injustice.” There are no specific people causing misrepresentation. “The
problem is much deeper and more ingrained,” Chideya said.

*****

4)  World news roundup

MID-EAST PEACE CONFERENCE BEGINS IN BRUSSELS

Beginning on Tuesday, Brussels will be the site of the Conference for the
Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, a joint
project by the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference,
and the Arab League, in an attempt to reestablish peace talks about the Middle
East. Peace talks stalled in March of last year when Israel began new Jewish
settlements in Arab East Jerusalem; reaction by Islamic militants and a
disagreement over the extent of a promised Israeli withdrawal from Arab
territory have kept the process at a standstill.

TORNADOES SLAM FLORIDA

Several tornadoes swept through central Florida on Monday, killing at least
38 people, with 13 reported missing. The storms came from the Gulf of
Mexico at around midnight on Sunday, affecting areas from Tampa to Daytona
Beach, and closing schools in Georgia because of excessive rain. Power
outages affectedm more than 135,000 people in central Florida. Federal aid
has been given to 14 central Florida counties.

IN OTHER NEWS…

A bomb exploded in Algiers under a train, killing 18 people and injuring
25; the attack was blamed on Islamic militants, though none claimed
responsibility. … Dr. Jack Kevorkian dropped the body of a Connecticut
woman off at a hospital, claiming to have assisted in her suicide.. … The
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the air bag
systems on several models of GM car. Responding to complaints that the air
bags are too easily triggered, the Administration is studying 1996-1997
Chevrolet Cavaliers and Pontiac Sunfires and 1995 Dodge and Plymouth Neons.
… A new English edition of Aesop’s Fables, reaching the U.S. on Tuesday,
features sex-changing hyenas and defecating camels. The translators claim
that they are true to the original, and that Aesop has been censored in
other translations.

*****

SPORTS UPDATE

1)  Swim teams take second in Centennial Conference Championships

Both the men’s and women’s teams concluded the three-day Centennial
Conference Championships on Sunday in second place. The men finished with
633 points behind Gettysburg’s 824. The women also finished behind
Gettysburg: Gettysburg 754, Swarthmore 545. Fred Gerson ’99 won the 200 yd
breaststroke and broke both the school and conference record for the event.
His time earned him an NCAA B qualifying cut. Andy Robbins ’98 also made an
NCAA B cut in the 200 yd backstroke, winning the event for the third year
in a row. On the women’s side, Kris Robertson ’98 defended her 200
backstroke title. Robertson finished in 2:11.54 with an NCAA B cut.

*****

2) Badminton hosts Northeast Intercollegiate Tournament

The badminton team hosted the Northeast Intercollegiate Tournament on
Sunday. Swarthmore finished in third place with 27.5 points behind Bryn
Mawr’s 37.5 points and Albright’s 35.5 points. Tam Doan ’98 and Wendy Kemp
’99 were runners-up in the doubles team competition. They lost to Albright
College’s first and second singles players in the final round for women’s
doubles: 4-15,15-12, 2-15. Doan and Kemp qualified for the National
Championship that will take place in April. Also in the doubles
competition, the team of Jennifer Chen ’99 and Erika Johansen ’99 made it
to the semi-finals. In the singles competitions, Doan made it to the
semi-finals and Siobhan Carty ’01 made it to quarter finals.

*****

3) Today’s and tomorrow’s contests

TODAY
No contests are scheduled for today.

TOMORROW
No contests are scheduled for tomorrow.

*****

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The Daily Gazette
Board of Editors
Mary Elizabeth Alvarez
Ross Bowling
Massey Burke
Fred Bush
Steve Dawson
Lorrin Nelson
Cathy Polinsky

Staff Writers
Josh Bess
Aarti Iyer
Jennifer Klein
Tamala Montgomery
Nathanael Stulman
Elizabeth Weber

Temporary Weatherman
Steve Dawson

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This concludes today’s report.

Copyright 1998 by The Daily Gazette. All rights reserved.


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