Daily Archives: May 2, 2009
As the current H1N1 Flu, commonly known as swine flu, pandemic alert rests precariously at a level-five status, and while more cases are being confirmed globally, 10 Linfield students and their professor are being brought home from the Oaxaca, Mexico, study abroad program 12 days early.
Victoria McGillin, vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty, was among several Linfield administrators who made the final decision to bring students home. She said the group began evaluating the situation when the World Health Organization released suspected and confirmed cases of swine flu in Mexico late last week.
“[Through IPO] we were immediately in touch with the folks in Oaxaca, determining their current situation,” McGillin said. “We are continuing to monitor the WHO page several times a day.”
In addition to following the WHO updates, Michele Tomseth, International Programs assistant director, study abroad coordinator and January Term coordinator, said the International Programs Office and administrators started communicating with Violeta Ramsay, associate professor of Spanish, and the director of the institute in Oaxaca
As the number of confirmed flu cases in Mexico increased during the weekend, the college tried to address several concerns with bringing students back. One of the primary concerns was where students were as far as completion of the academic portion of the program, McGillin said. Students in the program said this was also one of their concerns, as they still had work to complete in two of their courses.
“As for course completion, we still have at least two more tests and two more projects to complete along with closing up our two remaining courses here, archeology and our culture class,” junior Allison Chappell said in e-mail correspondence April 28.
While this was a concern, Tomseth said the students would not be penalized and that Ramsay, along with the other professors, would determine how students will complete final coursework. “Even though we were confident that our students were safe where they were, we did not want them to potentially be quarantined inside Mexico,” McGillin said. “For their well-being the decision was made, particularly because the academic programs were complete.”
Students interviewed said they understand the college’s concerns about safety, but that they are devastated they have to leave early.
“I can see the reasoning, which is concern for our safety and well-being, especially since the warning levels are only increasing by the day, but the logic cannot cover up how disappointed I am,” Chappell said. “I do not want to leave Oaxaca, and I cannot help but feel robbed.”
As the week has progressed, concerns have grown globally with more reported cases and deaths related to the swine flu.
According to the WHO Web site, there are 109 confirmed cases in the United States as of April 30 and has spread to 11 countries. These are laboratory-confirmed cases and do not include probable and suspected
cases of the flu strain that have also been reported in 13 probable cases in Washington state and one case in Oregon, with three additional individuals being tested as well. In the United States, there has been one reported flu-related death.
Western Oregon University announced April 30 it was canceling all classes and activities until May 4, awaiting test results for a student who may have contracted the flu. According to a report from KATU.com, students are not being quarantined, but they are being asked to stay in their residence halls to avoid possible exposure.
The strain of the flu, which is not contracted from eating pork products, was first reported in Mexico late last week. According to a Washington Post article, there are 300 confirmed cases of swine flu in Mexico, and 12
individuals have died. These numbers are in addition to the 1,300 individuals currently hospitalized with probable cases of the flu and another estimated 159 probable swine flu deaths.
Most of the cases have been centered near Mexico City, located six hours north of Oaxaca. At the time of the outbreak, students were even farther south of the epicenter, traveling in Chiapas, Mexico.
With details and concerns constantly changing, students said they have been disappointed with the communication between themselves and IPO.
“Everything we know about the influenza is a result of our own personal research through the internet,” Chappell said. “IPO has given us absolutely no information and has not bothered to inform the students our semester abroad will be cut short two weeks, that there may be possible border closures, that the warning level has been raised to five, that the world is rushing to contain and control this illness or even that swine flu is present in Mexico.”
Communication between IPO and students has gone through Ramsay.
“Violeta Ramsay has done an absolutely amazing job of talking us through all the changing plans and has had to run around like crazy the past couple of days trying to adjust everything so that we are as comfortable as possible,” junior Charlotte Trowbridge said.
Tomseth said students will leave Oaxaca on May 7 and are flying into Houston, Texas, before continuing to Portland. Students were originally supposed to return May 19.
“Although the International Programs Office is acting to protect our safety, I can’t help but feel slightly blindsided by this,” Trowbridge said.
While the origin of the disease is far from Linfield students, faculty and parents are concerned about precautions the college is taking to protect the well being of students.
“The [Oaxaca] students will be going directly home, they will not be coming back to campus,” McGillin said. “We encourage them as soon as they come back to meet with a family physician so they can get a clean bill of health and no one will be anxious around them.”
In addition to this, McGillin and administrators are also asking students to honor a one-week incubation period and to avoid coming back to campus.
While no one is down playing the seriousness of the swine flu, administrators and students also stress that the regular flu has killed more than 13,000 people since January and that there are 16,000 confirmed cases of tuberculosis in the United States.
McGillin said the college has an emergency preparedness plan in place that was developed in 2005 to address pandemic planning process.
The college is taking complete precautions and is preparing to move into level two of its own emergency preparedness. All students and parents have been e-mailed ways to remain healthy and where they can get accurate information about swine flu updates. Posters and more information will also be posted around campus in the coming days, McGillin said.
“We tend to be on the cautious side because we have 1,700 students’ and 500 or so faculty and staffs’ well-being in mind and we don’t want to endanger [them],” McGillin said.
As far as the Oaxaca students are concerned, they will have roughly three days to say goodbye to their host families and friends before journeying back to the United States.
“I am absolutely devastated about coming back, and I feel like these two lost weeks will not be easily replaced,” Trowbridge said.
Because of the rapidly changing nature of this article, information may differ from other reports. All of the information in this article is up to date as of the morning of May 1. For recent updates, visit cdc.gov or who.int.
As the economy forces business closures across the country and more people lose their jobs, many
students are pressured to transfer from Linfield to lessen the high cost of tuition they can no longer afford.
“We have seen a slightly higher number of job losses than we normally experience,” Dan Preston, dean of enrollment services, said, referring to Linfield students’ parents.
When a student ultimately decides to transfer, the Registrar’s Office and Registrar Eileen Bourassa make sure the student is making the proper choice.
“There are students leaving for financial reasons, and, if that is the case, I direct them to financial aid to see if there is any additional aid Linfield could give them so they can continue here,” Bourassa said. “With the increase of tuition at state schools, I’m not sure if they’re really going to come out better.”
Sophomore Brett Archer is transferring to the University of Oregon next fall.
“I am transferring because of financial reasons,” Archer said. “Mainly because my dad lost his job last October. It wasn’t fair for [my parents] to pay for [my tuition] with the little money they have.”
Archer said he will have to give up football, and he is going to miss openly interacting with Linfield professors. He said the 200-student-sized lectures at U of O are not appealing, but it is what he has to do.
“I have to put on hold a lot of things I wanted to do to help my family,” he said.
Archer receives an academic scholarship. He said he thinks the dollar amount of the scholarships should continue to increase as tuition increases; otherwise, they lose value after the first year.
“It has gotten unrealistic for a student to pay their own tuition without working jobs and having multiple scholarships, grants and loans,” he said.
Preston understands Archer’s opinion, but to make the guarantee that students will receive their academic scholarships each year with the only requirement being to remain an eligible student, scholarships can only be guaranteed at the entering amount.
“In my experience, if cost and financial aid are the only reasons a student would leave, we’re not perfect in solving these problems, but we do give students and families some options they can consider,” he said.
Preston said that when students are filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, they are filling it out with income information from 2008.
“If there are changes, there are opportunities to have financial aid collect more information,” Preston said. “But we don’t know about it unless the student lets us know.”
The Office of Financial Aid is taking new measures to ensure students are receiving the most financial aid they can. For instance, it identifies families that may not be completely aware of their aid options, Preston said. Families who pay monthly may not be aware that they can apply for loans so they don’t have to use their current income to pay tuition.
“When things get better [financially] or they have exhausted what they can do at community college, we welcome them back to Linfield,” Bourassa said. “I’m willing to work with them to make progress toward whatever their goal may be.”
This progress includes Bourassa helping students register at the institutions they are transferring to, so, if they decide to return to Linfield, they will have taken classes that transfer credits.
Bourassa said the process to re-apply to Linfield after transferring is simple. She suggested contacting the Office of Admission or herself for more information about the one-page re-entry form.
Editor in chief
Riding in helicopters, repelling off football stadiums and winning thousands of dollars are what movie plots are made of. For senior Cassie Torres, these once-in-a-lifetime experiences became reality, and she has $50,000 to prove it.
On April 28, Torres was a contestant on a new MTV reality competition, “The Phone.” According to the MTV Web site, “In each episode, four strangers will get a call. Soon after they answer, they’ll be paired off to create two teams that will go head-to-head as they race to survive a potentially deadly game.”
Torres auditioned for the show in August after a friend told her about it.
“She told me they were looking for athletic, college-aged people from the Seattle area, so I auditioned,” Torres said.
It wasn’t until January, almost five months later, that Torres discovered she was selected to participate on the show.
Her mission: to complete a series of challenges with her assigned teammate, Joey Malloque, to potentially win a few thousand dollars for each task. The first thing they had to do was locate pieces of a banner in Seattle’s Westlake Square and assemble them together to decipher the first clue.
“There were normal people all around us wondering what we were doing,” Torres said. “But we couldn’t tell them, and we were on a time limit.”
After winning the first challenge, Torres and her partner won $5,000.
“It was surreal,” she said.
Little did Torres know, this was just the first step, and that tougher challenges and more money would soon follow.
The contestants had to run to the Washington Park Arboretum where water planes were waiting to take them on a quick air trip that would lead the teams to their next mission.
“I wish they would have shown our faces when we saw the planes,” Torres said. “That moment made it real — I was about to get on a plane to compete in this challenge.”
After solving a riddle while in the sky, Torres and Malloque went to the University of Washington campus where they had to decipher another clue.
The two had to untangle a rope and measure its length, but the rope was in knots and the clock was ticking, Torres said.
“The time was up, and we only had about half measured,” she said. “So I made an executive decision — I guessed.”
Lucky for Torres, she guessed correctly. A helicopter took the two to Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, to wait for further instructions.
“When I was standing there I was thinking, ‘I go to games and watch this, I shouldn’t be standing here,’” Torres said.
After Malloque chose to have Torres do the next task, she found herself walking on top of the stadium outfitted with a harness, preparing to repel from the edge.
“I’m scared of heights, and I was level with the Seattle skyline,” she said.
Torres said she wasn’t too nervous until she arrived at the edge.
“My legs were wobbling, and the initial steps were so hard,” she said. “But after I got over it, it was fun. I felt like I was flying.”
Torres then had to have her partner help her gain momentum to swing over and pull a flag that would let down a banner, completing the mission, but all under a time limit.
“I had no idea how close we were to not making it,” Torres said.
After the thrill of completing the challenge and earning $50,000, she said the competition changed when she had to compete against her partner.
Torres said she knew it was time to make the final stretch for the prize.
“I had been paying attention to everything I’d seen, like they’d told us to from the beginning,” she said.
After answering three questions about the competition correctly, Torres was given directions to a suitcase in the stadium with $50,000 inside.
The tables turned again when “the operator,” the show’s host, told her she could opt to split the money with Malloque or keep the $50,000 for herself.
“In my head I was splitting up the work we had done,” Torres said. “I wanted to split it a different way, but it was 50/50 or nothing. Joey was a nice guy, but he was a stranger to me 24 hours before. I thought about all the people in my life who could benefit from this money.”
At decision time, Torres kept the winnings, which totaled $50,000, but will be much less after taxes.
For Torres, the biggest challenge of all came in the form of keeping the secret that she had won money for the four months before the episode aired.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” she said. “Money is tight as it is.”
Senior Ashlee Smith said she kept trying to get Torres to give her a clue, but she wouldn’t tell her. Smith said she is proud of her friend and thinks she deserves the winnings.
Torres said she hopes to invest half of the money and spend the rest on traveling, her family and her future.
“I want to take my dad and my boyfriend to visit our family in Mexico and take my mom and Grandma to Germany where she was born,” Torres said.
She said after the show aired she received several messages of congratulations from friends and family, and “hate mail” from strangers who watched the show condemning her for not splitting the cash prize.
For Torres it has been hard getting criticism on the Internet and in the blogoshpere for her decision, but she said her parents are really proud of her for the choice she made. and she is confident and happy with her decision.
“Money is nothing without family,” she said. “It’s all about being able to spend time and do things with the people you care about.”
For the Review
Don’t be surprised to see a mariachi band, Ballet Folkorico and the Asteca dancers, a disc jockey and tables with free food from Tequila Grill in the Oak Grove May 2 from 2 – 7 p.m. No, it’s not a fiesta for Cinco de Mayo; it’s Linfield’s first Hispanic Heritage Day.
“Hispanic Heritage Day is a day to share Hispanic culture with the Linfield community and other local communities,” said sophomore Maria Sandoval-Perez. “We want to raise awareness about our culture and show that there are Hispanics at Linfield.”
Sandoval-Perez said she is part of a mentoring program for Hispanic freshmen called Linfield College Latinos Adelante. Mentors, Sandoval-Perez, sophomore Hilda Escalera, Denisse Chacon and senior Pedro Nuñez, have worked with freshmen students and faculty advisers Keri Burke and Barry Tucker to plan the event.
This is LCLA’s first year as a program on campus. It began when President Thomas Hellie asked faculty members to brainstorm ways to connect with the Hispanic community, Tucker said.
He said the group has met several times throughout the year and has planned events such as a reception during the fall, an alumni dinner, a rope-climbing activity, a trip to Portland to see a play in addition to several other social gatherings. Hispanic Heritage Day will be its final event this year.
HHD is a combination of outreach and fun, Escalera said.
“People, especially Hispanics, tend to think that there’s a bubble around Linfield, and they can’t get in,” Escalera said. “We want to open it for them.”
However, she said the day promises to be fun for both community members and Linfield students.
“There will be music and dancers and free food,” Escalera said. “We will have a section for the kids with games: lotería [Mexican bingo], pinatas, soccer, Frisbees and balloons.”
She also said that there will be a booth for the LCLA mentoring program.
Freshman Pattie Vazquez is a part of the LCLA program. She said LCLA has made her transition to Linfield easier.
“This program has helped me find a place in the Linfield community,” Vazquez said. “I don’t think my freshman year would have been as successful or as fun if I hadn’t had LCLA.”
Tucker said he believes that the group is already making a difference.
“I think at least three of our [freshmen] would have transferred if they hadn’t had LCLA,” Tucker said.
Escalera said the program’s freshmen come to her for advice and to ask questions.
“We can’t always help them ourselves, but we can point them in the right direction,” she said. “I can’t tutor my students in math, but I can help them find a tutor.”
Assistance from the upperclassmen has helped the freshmen develop academically and socially, Escalera said.
“McMinnville has a large Hispanic population, but the students choose not to come to Linfield,” Sandoval-Perez said. “We want to show people that we can do it. It is possible to be Hispanic and come to Linfield and be successful.”
She said LCLA went to local high schools to invite students to HHD. She said she hopes they will not only learn about Hispanic cultures in general, but that they will also witness the Hispanic culture at Linfield and learn about the college.
“I think this is a great chance to get more people on campus,” Sandoval-Perez said.
Vazquez also said she sees HHD as a forum to break down stereotypes.
“A lot of high school students see Linfield as an all-white, rich-kid school,” she said. “We want to prove that we aren’t.”
LCLA plans to make HHD an annual event to promote outreach and cultural diversification.
Sandoval-Perez said that in the event of heavy rainfall, the festivities will be moved to the Rutschman Field House.
Deborah Olsen, professor of history, received the Oregon Historical Quarterly’s Joel Palmer Award April 18 for her essay on women’s separatism in 20th century Oregon.
The Oregon Historical Quarterly, a peer-reviewed journal, presents the award to the author of the journal’s best article that year.
In 2005, Tom Love, Linfield professor of sociology, received the award for an article he co-authored about the origin of Oregon’s name.
“It just came out of the blue and was very exciting,” Olsen said about her award.
Olsen’s article, “Fair Connections: Women’s Separatism and the Lewis and Clark Exposition of 1905,” explained how women used the World’s Fair in Portland to publicize their work.
While women worked independent of men, they embraced the separatist model to advance their interests, Olsen said. Two women in particular, Sarah Evans and Eva Dye, were successful in creating the Sacajawea statue using this model.
Olsen also discussed how women of the period created the National American Women Suffrage Association’s
Olsen said she is grateful to have made time to conduct research. As the former director of academic advising, professor of history and competitive scholarships adviser, Olsen said she had to squeeze in time for research during the summer.
“For a biologist or a chemist, working in a lab is exciting; for me, working in a musty room full of archives gets me excited,” Olsen said.
And that is exactly what she did. Olsen said she mulled over primary documents, relying on correspondence letters between women working on these projects, minutes from women’s clubs of the period, early articles from The Oregonian and archives from the Oregon Historical Quarterly. For Olsen, primary documents are her livelihood.
“I was interested in becoming an historian when I was introduced to primary sources,” Olsen said.
Rather than teaching history as facts and dates, Olsen said she prefers to paint historical scenes using primary sources.
Sophomore Brooke Bekkedahl, a history major, said Olsen has an active style of teaching that trains students to analyze primary documents.
“She’s so excited about history and incorporates all different sources,” Bekkedahl said.
Freshman Brandon Akerman, who is minoring in history, said he appreciates Olsen’s enthusiasm about history as well as her willingness to help.
“If you have any trouble learning history, she will spend the extra time with you,” Akerman said.
Senior Laura Ansari, a history major, has worked closely with Olsen both as a student and as a Fulbright scholarship candidate.
“She really stuck with me all four years of college,” she said. “It was nice to have a professor that kept me in mind.”
In her multiple roles as professor, researcher and adviser, Olsen manages to pursue her passion for women’s history as well as inspire students to find their path.