The Distance

Saturday, April 18, 2020 | Week Two
Welcome to the fourth edition of the Carletonian’s newsletter, The Distance. This week, we're digging into how the mandatory S/CR/NC decision was made, how student orgs are adapting to their new online environment, and how some of Carleton's staff members have been impacted by the pandemic. We've also got a great couple of Q&As—one with Tuscaloosa director (a movie filmed on campus) and one with Stevie P. Then, enjoy a thoughtful Viewpoint from our trusty Jacob Isaacs, a few excellent satire pieces (if we do say so ourselves), and a return of one of the Bald Spot's most beloved sub-sections: Arb notes!

And as always, if you want to write a Viewpoint, we want to publish it! Reach out to us and let's talk ( & 

Be well,
Sam and Katy, Editors-in-Chief

Meet our team

Each week, we'll introduce you to a new handful of Carletonian all-stars.

Naomi Lopez '22

Bald Spot Editor

Hey folks, my name is Naomi Lopez (she/hers). I'm a sophomore political science major from Mankato, MN. I joined the Carletonian my first year when I decided to publish the satire I usually reserve for my diary. I guess it was funny because now I'm the editor of the Bald Spot, the satire section of the Carletonian. Jokes aside, I like stress cleaning, running, and drinking a good cup of Abuelita. 
check out her work >>

Felipe Jimenez '21

Features Editor
Hello everyone. My name is Felipe. I use he/him and I am a junior English major. I joined the Carletonian because I wanted to be more connected to the campus community, and have loved being a part of the paper. I have learned so much more about Carleton and how it works, and it made me love the community even more. Speaking of Community, it’s on Netflix and I have been rewatching it lately. It really is such a fantastic show and everyone should check it out. My dream is to have a steamboat someday, or maybe a cottage in the country.
check out his work >>

Lieberman '20

Editor-in-Chief Emerita
Hi there! My name is Sarah (she/her) and I'm a senior American Studies major from Bethesda, MD. I joined the Carletonian my sophomore year and haven't looked back since. I love how the Carletonian gives me unique opportunities to engage with and contribute to the Carleton community. Lately, I've been enjoying baking, Dua Lipa's new album, and Downton Abbey. 
check out her work >>

This past week

First, here's the latest in News:
Tracing Carleton’s decision to adopt mandatory S/Cr/NC for Spring term
Amelia Broman and Zoe Pharo

Carleton has adopted a mandatory Satisfactory/Credit/No Credit (S/Cr/NC) grading policy for Spring Term 2020 due to the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new policy was announced to students, faculty and staff in an email from Dean of the College Beverly Nagel on April 3, the Friday before the term began. 

The grading policy issue was discussed informally among faculty members as soon as other institutions announced new policies, but formal discussion did not begin until halfway through Carleton’s Spring break, according to Professor Dev Gupta, Chair of the Political Science Department and Co-Chair of the Education and Curriculum Committee (ECC). 

The first public discussion took place on Friday, March 27—ten days before the beginning of Spring term—when department chairs, along with directors of academic programs such as FOCUS, convened for a previously scheduled meeting.
Grandparents now welcome: student clubs adapt to online environment
Zoe Pharo

Next Wednesday from 5 - 6 p.m. and Friday from 6 - 7p.m., over 60 students will be dancing simultaneously to the song “Boss Bitch” over Zoom.  Some students may be accompanied by siblings, others by grandparents. Two weeks into online classes, Synchrony II—a student-run dance company—is just one of many student organizations that are having conversations about how to navigate this spring, or have already had their first virtual meeting.
“There is something to be said for maintaining some amount of normalcy through the different organizations on campus, which can just be really helpful, as a sort of opt-in, opt-out type of situation,” said Siena Leone-Getten ’21, president of the Carleton Democrats.
Dozens of Bon Appétit, Barnes and Noble employees furloughed
Ellie Zimmerman

By the first day of spring-term classes on April 6, most of Carleton’s dining hall and bookstore staff members had been placed on unpaid leave until further notice. While Carleton has assured all employees that their jobs are not in danger, these workers are employees of Bon Appétit and Barnes and Noble, respectively, meaning that Carleton leadership did not have control over their employment.

Over 75 Bon Appétit employees have temporarily lost their jobs as a skeletal staff of about 20 workers continues to serve students on campus, said Director of Operations Eric Rasmussen. The understanding between Bon Appétit and furloughed employees is that they will eventually be able to return to their jobs at the rate of income they'd had when they left. “Bon Appétit is prepared as well as anyone in our industry to weather this storm," said Rasmussen, "but no one can predict the future in these uncertain times.” He did not rule out the possibility of a more permanent downsizing. 
Now, three of our seniors sit down (virtually) with Stevie P to discuss this challenging moment.
Hopeful words in a wrenching moment: Q&A with President Poskanzer
Katy Gilbertson, Natalie Sainz,
and Sarah Lieberman

On Friday, April 10, President Steven Poskanzer announced that Carleton would continue with online learning for the remainder of the term. Along with this announcement came the news that Commencement would not be held in June.

For myriad reasons, seniors are acutely impacted by the loss of spring term. Senior spring is often anticipated as a time to cherish friends and revel in togetherness before walking across the commencement stage and transitioning into a new phase of life. 

Three of the Carletonian’s senior staff members sat down with the president—over Zoom—to discuss how college leadership navigated such a decision, Poskanzer’s specific role, and the college’s plans for the future.
“The PR communication piece is never the driver of what you do. You make the decision that is right on the merits first. Then, you figure out once you've made the right decision, how best to explain that in a clear way, in an honest way, in a transparent way."
- President Steven Poskanzer
Next, our Features editor chats with the director of Tuscaloosa, filmed at Carleton three years ago:  
A shot from Tuscaloosa, starring Laird Hall.
“70s Alabama in modern Minnesota”: Q&A with Tuscaloosa director Philip Harder
Felipe Jimenez

If you were on campus during Fall term 2017, you may have noticed that for a couple weeks there, Carleton seemed to have been turned into a Hollywood film lot. Cameras were everywhere: crews capturing vintage scenes in front of our beloved Laird, old-fashioned cars loitering around the Weitz and Alumni Guesthouse. Wonder no more what mystery film was being shot on the grounds of our campus that golden autumn. The film, directed by Philip Harder and starring Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things), Devon Bostick (Okja), and the rapper YG, is called Tuscaloosa and centers around a coming-of-age story set in 1970s Alabama.
Here's what's on students' minds:
Coronavirus coverage ignores US' structural flaws
Jacob Isaacs

This is not yet another coronavirus thinkpiece. I promise.

Well, it is, and it isn’t.

The Carletonian’s Editor-in-Chief, Katy Gilbertson ’20, reached out to me about writing a political article for my column this week, bemoaning the noticeable drop in political coverage since Washingtonian Sam Kwait-Spitzer ’21 was kicked upstairs from the Viewpoint section. That remark, in tandem with the sheer amount of coverage COVID-19 has received, at Carleton and far, far beyond, made me think more broadly about our news cycle.
"In newspapers of record around the world, emphasis of coronavirus has often revolved around its immediate effects on individuals. This is critical, to some degree. But I worry about a trend of divorcing these individual practices from the political realities that have put us in this situation in the first place."
And now for the Memo: Check out episode three!

The Memo
Part II: Party Scene? What Party Scene at Carleton?

In the third episode of the Memo, hosts Zoe Denckla '20 and Grace Rubin '20 continue their exploration of Carleton's party culture and the ways it's evolved. After speaking with current students in Part 1, Zoe and Grace talk to an alum, a security officer, and the president of the college in order to understand what led to such changes.
Now for a few laughs:
The Bald Spot
Adapting to distance learning: How to make sure everyone still knows you’re really busy
Katy Gilbertson

As we are all painfully aware, Spring term is quite unlike anything we’ve experienced before. Carls are scattered across the globe, confined to their living quarters; classes, meetings, and even socializing now occur exclusively online. The unprecedented situation leaves Carls with many questions: will I be able to engage as deeply with my coursework? How will I stay connected to my social networks when I feel so isolated? And most importantly: Now that I have an emptier calendar, how will I maintain my identity as someone who’s Very, Exceedingly, Uniquely Busy? 

Some say that if a tree falls in a forest, it doesn’t make a sound. As such, I wonder: if you have two club meetings tonight and then a prefect session and then another club thing, does it even count if you didn’t tell anyone? 
Carleton student has first kiss over Zoom
Naomi Lopez

The COVID pandemic affects our lives in so many ways, and our love lives are certainly not immune. Couples on campus who were practically married are now separated, living hundreds of miles away from their bou. Students with crushes lost their opportunity to shoot their shot in person and tell their amors “I… like your…… mom jeans. Sorry for objectifying you.”

Thankfully, love always finds a way. 
Finally, our beloved Arb Notes series makes a triumphant return!
The streets are empty, but not the Arb
Walt Li ’22 for the Cole Student Naturalists

Sunlight, chirping birds, the greening earth and the new spring air. The outside suddenly seems particularly delicious when we lose the freedom to it. Fortunately, the Arb is still providing the locals and remaining students with a safe and convenient access to enjoy the delightful (well, most of the time) Minnesota spring.

And people are no doubt taking full advantage of it—joggers, families, dogs and dog owners are always on the trails; regular fishing spots along the Cannon River in the Lower Arb are hardly ever vacant; in the best afternoons, hammocks are out in the Upper Arb, barbecues happening on Mai Fête. 
That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and stay well!
- Sam & Katy
"Revolution is not a one-time event."
- Audre Lorde
"I have learned not to spread my Vegemite so thick."
- Tom Hanks
Connecting to computer audio since 1877
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Photos by Isaac Crown-Manesis '23.

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