A Hostile Political Climate Disappoints Lutes


This piece was originally published on mastmedia.plu.edu here

This year’s presidential election has been a rollercoaster of emotions and for many Lutes, this tumultuous presidential election will be the first they vote in.

“I expected it to be a more traditional presidential election, rather than the [mess] that is,” sophomore Ellie Campbell said. This is the first election she is old enough to vote in. “It seems like the candidates of this year are becoming larger and larger inflations of the far left and the far right.”

Other Lutes said this election has differed from past elections and has been an embarrassment to the country.

“I’m so disappointed. I’m so disappointed, and I’m embarrassed,” senior Theo Hofrenning said. “It’s been engaging, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s like you’re passing a car crash on the road and you can’t look away.”

“I expected it to be a little less messy,” first-year Jasper Cantrell said. “It’s really heated. There’s a lot more attacks on each other than I’ve seen in previous elections. With Obama and Romney, it was a lot more about who they were and what they represented. But Hillary and Trump are more like ‘They’re worse! They’re bad for this reason!’”

First-year Nicholas Peranti called this year’s election “dumb and comedic.”

“It doesn’t seem formal at all,” he said. “It’s just like, slinging words and talking bad at each other.”

“This election is a lot more hostile than it’s been in the past,” said Ron Berg, a junior and military veteran who has been voting since 1984. “There’s always been some mud-slinging that’s gone on, but this particular election seems to have taken it to a whole new realm.”

The Mast asked Lutes to share their thoughts on this presidential election and found Pacific Lutheran University is home to folks from all over the political spectrum.

Some students, like first-year Tim Gothier, spoke passionately about their opposition to Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary literally screws over our country. She has before, she will keep doing it,” Gothier said. He also commented on his distaste for both candidates but desire to vote for an outsider. “Both of our candidates are idiots. I mean, all people are idiots, especially people from the Hill. At least Donald’s not from the Hill.”

Junior Megan Galacga and sophomore Ellie Campbell disagreed. They told The Mast they were voting for Clinton.

Galacga said, “She just seemed like the better option than Trump. I agree with her plans, I think she planned for more environmental and green energy, and also getting rid of private prisons.”

Other Lutes decided to branch out and vote third-party this year.  

First-year Braden Schmunk said, “As of right now, I’m not really confident in either candidate running,” he said. “So, I’ll be voting third party Gary Johnson.”

Many Lutes said this election isn’t what they expected their first presidential election to look like. Schmunk said it’s “not even close.”

“I have conservative views, so I was expecting to go with the Republican candidate,” he said. “But just morally I couldn’t feel myself voting for Trump. Professionally and personally, he rubs me the wrong way, in terms of his views and the way the country should be run. I still believe in a lot of his values, but I believe more along the lines of Gary Johnson.”

Berg said the best thing Lutes can do to voice their political opinions is vote.

“Do it. It’s extremely important who gets voted in. Really, this is the only way we have to voice our opinion,” Berg said. “You can have your protest and things like that, but when it gets down to it, you casting that ballot is your only real say.”


Lutes cut loose at LollaPLUza

Otieno Terry’s performance was powerful, to say the least. Terry has played multiple fests in the Seattle area and was accustomed to performing in front of a large crowd.

This piece was originally published in Mast Magazine via mastmedia.plu.edu
Photos by McKenna Morin.

   Lutes cut loose at LollaPLUza 2016, just two weekends before the end of the semester. Students and community members sprawled across the golf course on the uncharacteristically-warm day in early May; dancing, singing or listening to the live bands the LollaPLUza team had booked for the event.

     At 1 p.m., the gates opened and student band Head Portal started the day off strong with a set of classic covers to get the crowd going. Caleb & Denae followed them up on the B stage while seattle locals Prom Queen set up. Runaway Satellite, an acoustic rock duo,  played between Prom Queen and Otieno Terry.

     Terry’s music is a charming mix of many different genres.

     “My biggest influences were video game soundtracks, and a lot of orchestral stuff,” Terry told the Mast after his set. “Eyrkah Badu, Little Dragon, Kanye West, Outkast, Crying Baby Ray. R&B, electronic music, and hip-hop.”

     “Last year, we did Madaraka festival at the EMP, we did Sasquatch, we did Capitol Hill Block Party, Bumbershoot, and the Homeskillet festival in Alaska and the John Coltrane Festival in North Carolina,“ he said. With a history of performing for large crowds, it’s no wonder Terry was a natural on stage at LollaPLUza. He credits some of his success to winning Sound Off! 2014 at the EMP, an all-ages music competition that helps artists showcase their music and launch their careers.

     “Sound Off kinda set things off a little bit,” Terry said. “Sound Off got me that Bumbershoot performance and Block Party, kinda opened the door to my name, people just started booking me. Also, it was cool to hook up with other people from the sound off, and the people from the EMP are really nice. Super down to earth.”

     The following hours saw sets from Navvi, Dave B., and the PLU Dance Team.

     This year’s headliner, Pickwick, blended sweet dancing melodies with driving guitars and came into a sound all their own on stage.

Pickwick’s vocalist Galen belts out a high one over their groovy rock sound. They’re new album is scheduled to come out in fall.

     “I’d call our music rock and roll, but it’s fun to go disco at times, be chill at times, it’s been fun to try different things,” said Pickwick vocalist Galen Disston.

     Pickwick’s been hard at work recording their new album with producer Erik Blood. Blood also produced albums for Seattle artists Shabazz Palaces and Tacocat.

     “Here’s what I’ll say about it: It’s the best experience I’ve ever had making a record, we made [Can’t Talk Medicine], but it was kind of like a compilation, some songs we’d done two times already by the time we got here,” Disston said. “It felt fresh, some of [the songs] we had written right before we went into the studio. I don’t know how to describe it, but the record made this place that I want to be in […]  not the studio, just this place, metaphorically, that we were at when making it, and that i go to when i listen to it.”

     Throughout the day, a number of non-musical activities were available for participating Lutes as well; the rock wall, the obstacle course and food trucks were all hits.

Friends of 88.5 FM propose cheaper sale

This piece originally appeared in The Mast at mastmedia.plu.edu

JEFF DUNN; News Editor: dunnja@plu.edu

Friends of 88-5 FM released a letter of intent last Tuesday asking Pacific Lutheran University to lower its asking price for KPLU from $7 million to $6 million, citing the $1 million the university would save by not paying severance and unemployment benefits.

Additionally, the letter of intent proposed to let KPLU continue operations on-campus in the Martin J. Neeb center, rent-free, provided that they would consolidate all of their operations to the first floor.

Former chair of KPLU’s advisory council and current chairman of the Friends of KPLU governing board Stephen Tan called the deal “substantially similar” to the offer to KUOW.

“We’re saving them over $1 million, so we’re asking for a $1 million reduction in the cash to be paid,” Tan told Current the day of the announcement.

“They are ignoring costs to the university of allowing the six month fundraising period that has already more than offset those savings.” Allan Belton; Vice President of Finance and Administration

Vice President of Finance Allan Belton said that they had received the proposal last week and are currently analyzing it. Belton also pointed out that the cost of allowing the community group effort has reached $1.5 million, which far exceeds the savings indicated by their offer.

“They are only counting what they estimate as perceived savings to the university for accepting their offer,” Belton said. “They are ignoring costs to the university of allowing the six month fundraising period that has already more than offset those savings.”

The Save KPLU campaign just passed $5 million at press time, meaning that if PLU agrees to the new proposal, Friends of 88-5 FM would only need $1.3 million more to prevent the impending sale to KUOW. Tuesday was also #GiveBIG Day, a donation holiday ran by the Seattle Foundation. Friends of 88-5 FM received so many donations through #GiveBIG, the Seattle Foundation’s website actually went down for several hours, prompting the Seattle Foundation to extend the donation time period another 12 hours.

Lutes Take Back The Night

70 students marched, yelled and brandished signs to raise awareness of sexual assault. Led by Yadira Avendano and Marisol Espinosa, the group rallied for an hour around campus.

This piece was originally published through The Mast and at mastmedia.plu.edu
Around 70 students, staff and faculty met in Red Square for Take Back the Night, an annual rally to raise awareness of sexual assaultm on April 21.

     “We here at PLU [Pacific Lutheran University] want to be heard loud tonight. It’s an opportunity for survivors, for friends, for allies, to stand up and take back what’s theirs,” said Jennifer Childres, the women’s basketball coach, who emceed the event with Harstad’s Resident Director Melissa Williams. “This night is about our empowerment.”

Melissa Williams (left) and Jennifer Childres (right) shared stories as they emceed the event.

     The group marched its way around the campus for about an hour, yelling chants of solidarity at full volume, led by cheerleaders junior Yadira Avendano and sophomore Marisol Espinosa: “I wish I may! I wish I might! Free our lives! Take back the night!” “Wherever we go, however we dress, no means no and yes means yes!”

     Before they marched, survivors and allies shared stories and anecdotes of sexual assault. Vice President of Student Life Joanna Royce-Davis shared her story.

      “I belong to a group of student-first educators who’ve experienced sexual assault. Somehow, we have a hard time naming it,” Royce-Davis spoke to the crowd. “The group recognizes that our stories open the doors to action, along with the stories of our students and our communities. We begin to disclose, to remove the protective covers, to shine the light.”

      Not only sexual assault survivors spoke in front of the crowd, but also allies. Assistant Professor of Religion Seth Dowland addressed the crowd as an ally, bystander and supporter.

     Finally, Associated Students of Pacific Lutheran University President Ellie Lapp spoke. She addressed the question of “If these acts of violence haven’t affected you, why should you care?”

     “My answer […] always has been ‘Actually, I have been. We all have’ This space is full of people who have had experiences where their gender, sexuality, race, class, ability or other aspects of their identity have been used against them, used to maintain systems of power and oppression,” Lapp said. “These acts of aggression don’t have to be grand or severe.”

      After all the speakers, the attendees started off around campus to the tune of “Respect! Equality! That’s the way it’s gotta be!”

Wang Center hosts bi-annual symposium for resilience in education

Note: This piece was originally published in The Mast, Pacific Lutheran University’s student newspaper

For 14 years, the Wang Center for Global Education has hosted a symposium every other year with wide variance of topics. This year, Director Tamara Williams focused on the topic of “resilience,” and what that looks like in different scholarly fields.

“The idea of the symposium from the very beginning was that we have a major event on campus that focused on a world issue that would bring together people from many different disciplines to think about something from a broader holistic perspective,” Williams said.

Pacific Lutheran University is widely recognized for it’s many study away programs where students can learn to participate in a global discussion. Through the symposium, the Wang center brings those global discussions to campus.

The last symposium, called Legacies of the Shoah, focused on the horrors of genocide. In attendance were psychologists, political scientists and survivors of genocides.

“From that, the question was raised; ‘How do these people bounce back from these experiences?” Williams said. “We broadened it to not just political devastation, but also natural disasters […] What is in human nature that gives us the ability to bounce back?”

Enter: Resilience, from the Latin resilire, meaning to rebound or recoil. The word was first used in the 17th century to describe the ability of materials such as wood, iron and bronze to withstand severe loads without breaking. Now, it comes to PLU in the form of selected panels and speakers covering a wide range of topics.

“It’s been a very hot topic in the global development arena,” Williams said.

On the agenda to speak is Juan Villoro, a prize-winning author and political commentator from Mexico.
“We have people coming from different disciplines talking about how a country bounces back after a devastating period of violence,” Williams continued. [Villoro is] a major public intellectual speaking about how people continue to live in a country like Mexico where over 75,000 people have been victims of the drug war.”

Another panel, titled “Resilience in Disaster Relief Practice,” will feature Dan Lee, Vice President of Advancement at PLU. Lee is a former executive at Lutheran World Relief, a disaster relief organization.

Lee will frame that session under the lens of Lutheran commitment to disaster relief, and why disaster relief is an important topic to PLU.

In addition to the professional speakers, there will also be a panel led by current and former Lutes entitled “Lutes in the World: PLU Students and Alumni Reflect on their Research and Work on Resilience.” Senior Courtney Lee and junior Angelica Maria Martinez Estrada will be on the panel, among other Lute graduates from previous years.

The 7th Biennial Wang Center Symposium will take place in the Anderson University Center on Feb. 25-26. A full schedule of the event, and it’s associated panels and lectures, can be found on the Wang Center’s website, plu.edu/wang-center.

Women’s Center opens ballot for name change

Note: This piece was originally published in The Mast, Pacific Lutheran University’s student newspaper

A ballot to change the name of the Women’s Center will go live on their website from Feb. 22 until March 4.

“We’ve been thinking about it for several years,” said Jen Smith, the current director of the Women’s Center. “We just felt like it was a time to think about how we can revise our name so that it more accurately encapsulates the work that we do.”

The ballot will include a few names the Women’s Center has come up with, including “The Gender Equity Center,” “The Gender Justice Center,” “The Center for Women and Gender Equity” and “The Center for Gender, Sexuality and Justice.” Voters will also have the option to write in any suggestions, an option that Smith said could reveal interesting options to consider.

“We wanted to move away from something that was strictly identity-based, to something that was more mission-focused and concept-focused, so that people could find themselves in the work that we do,” Smith said.

The Women’s Center’s mission is to “empower women and their allies to become advocates for gender equity and social justice.” Even though their mission statement has the word “women” in it, the Women’s Center wants the name change to more clearly communicate the gender equity and social justice part.

“We have found (and this isn’t unique to [PLU’s] Women’s center) that if people don’t automatically resonate with the category of ‘woman,’ then they don’t see themselves here,” Smith said. “While we would love for people to see themselves in gender equity work even if we’re named the Women’s Center, we wanted something that more people could see themselves being involved in immediately.”

“Unfortunately, it creates a hurdle for some people to be involved in the work,” she said. “We want to be in a position that we can more readily engage them.”

Smith hopes that the name change will draw more people to engage with the Women’s Center in the events and programs it runs, like “The Monologues,” an annual reimagining of Eve Enslers’ “The Vagina Monologues.”

Smith hopes the Women’s Center can take more of a leadership role on issues of intersectionality at PLU.

“I think for us, [intersectionality] is looking at gender through the matrix of other identities, thinking about how race impacts gender, or class, or sexuality, or ability, or nationality […] we look at all of these things with gender as an anchor,” Smith said.

Currently, the Women’s Center engages mostly with students who strongly identify as feminist. The hope is, though, that with the name change comes a new wave of students are interested in feminism not as a “women’s rights” issue and as an issue of human rights and social justice.

“We’re hoping to bring more people into the conversation that have social justice as a foundational frame and not solely feminism,” Smith said.

The voting will be live on the Women’s Center website from Feb. 22 through Mar. 4. The new name will be announced on March 17, at the Annual Celebration for Inspirational Women.

Lutes Show Silent Solidarity

Note: This piece was originally published as breaking news on mastmedia.plu.edu

Several dozen Pacific Lutheran University students and faculty stood outside the steps of the Karen Hille Phillips Center in silent solidarity with the University of Missouri during Chapel break Friday.

Attendees wore all black and stood in the near-freezing morning air for an hour, just as students left their 9:15 a.m. classes and walked through Red Square to the University Commons.

“Here, we worry about the cold. In Missouri, they worry about safety,” said senior Jonathan Adams.

The silent protest caught passing Lutes’ attention, and some dropped their things to stand with the group.

“Silence is powerful, silence gives space and it gives time for reflection and to think,” Adams said. “We can speak all day but critical reflection is key to any movement.”

“It was a great turnout,” said sophomore Quenessa Long. “Literally we started organizing it at twelve yesterday, so for not even 24 hours [of planning] it was an excellent turnout.”

The University of Missouri has been the site of several protests this year, beginning in September and happening fairly regularly until black football players at the university announced Nov. 8 they would not practice or play until the university’s president, Timothy Wolfe, resigned. The following day, Wolfe resigned.

If you missed the protest but still want to be involved, a meeting is being held on Monday, Nov. 23 in the Diversity Center at 10:30 a.m., where the Diversity Center team will be discussing representation on campus, and creating a list of goals and ideas they plan to pitch to President Krise and the Board of Regents.

In addition to the meeting, students can be involved in their daily lives by “not staying silent,” said sophomore Yadira Avendano. “This was a silent protest, and that’s how we chose to convey the message, but there’s also situations where we need people to speak up.”

“We want to hear other people’s voices and what they’re coming up with and how we can implement that into a strategy of making PLU a better place for everybody,” Avendano said.

“There is power when communities who share the same passion, dream, and goal come together to make a stand,” Adams said after the protest. “There is power in student voices.”12273566_10153075350871891_5803103123029402540_o-620x264