Tag Archives: Community

Same-sex marriage debate sparks 
students’, community’s interest

samesex_ONLINE

Samantha Sigler/News editor
Pamela Karlan (left), the Kenneth and Montgomery professor of public interest law and co-director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School, argued during the same-sex debate why Oregon voters should allow same-sex marriage.

A debate was held discussing whether Oregon should recognize same-sex marriage Nov. 26 in Ice Auditorium. After Oregon voted to approve Measure 36 to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in 2004, the topic often leads to heated debate.

The debate featured Pamela Karlan, the Kenneth and Montgomery professor of public interest law and co-director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School, and Justin Dyer, assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri.

Karlan began the debate by stating that yes, she believed Oregon law should recognize same-sex marriage.

“We’re talking about Oregon law,” Karlan said. “I think that’s important to understand that what we’re talking about here is not whether particular religions have to recognize marriages that they don’t want to solemnize.”

She also explained that the decision to recognize same-sex marriages might come before Oregon has the chance to vote again. At the moment, the Supreme Court is being faced with cases dealing with same-sex marriage in California and if the federal government should have to recognize marriages that states recognize, even same-sex marriage.

“I think it’s important to understand what it means to say that the law recognizes marriages,” Karlan said.

Karlan emphasized the idea that the issue during the debate is whether the people of Oregon should democratically recognize marriages, regardless of the sex between the two people in the marriage. In this aspect, she stressed that it is imperative to understand what recognition means in regard to marriage.

“It’s important to understand the consequences of treating a relationship as a marriage versus treating it as something else,” Karlan said.

Since the ’50s, Karlan explained that people have viewed marriage as a romantic relationship between two people. However, she also explained that marriage is more than just romance.

Karlan referred to marriage as an “economic relationship,” as there are many economic benefits that come along with marriage.

Karlan also discussed the importance of marriage law in cases of divorce, as half of marriages in America end in divorce today. The marriage law helps protect the spouse when the marriage dissolves, Karlan said.

Although Oregon does have civil union laws, Karlan explained that it doesn’t provide recognition in all other ways that marriage does. For example, the federal government is forced to recognize marriages but not civil unions.

Karlan also argued that it is difficult to explain to people what exactly a civil union is.

“It doesn’t have the same resonance. It doesn’t tell people the same thing,” Karlan said.

Karlan referenced the Supreme Court’s case, Loving v. Virginia, a case in which an interracial couple went to the Supreme Court after being denied the ability to get married. The Supreme Court struck down the law and allowed interracial marriages to be legalized.

“At the time the Supreme Court struck down that law, Americans were just as divided about interracial marriage as they are today about same-sex marriage,” Karlan said.  “It’s about equality.”

Karlan also discussed that marriage is not always about children, a common argument of why marriage should remain restricted to opposite-sex couples. She pointed out that even a few Justices on the Supreme Court have no biological children of their own.

“Marriage is not just about children. It’s also about a life with a spouse,” Karlan said.

In contrast to Karlan’s argument, Dyer began his argument by stating that as someone from Missouri, he felt uncomfortable telling Oregonians that they should vote yes or no on same-sex marriage. Instead, he
wanted to give the audience a few things to think about in regard to same-sex marriage.

“I agree with [Karlan] wholeheartedly, I don’t think this debate is about religion,” Dyer said. “I think primarily the debate is about marriage, and what marriage is.”

Dyer agreed that marriage is changing in American society, and stated that marriage has become something that does not live up to its purpose.

“What we’re saying is not what marriage has become, it’s something that doesn’t fulfill its public purpose well,” Dyer said. “A lot of people on the traditional side have been saying for years that we need a stronger marriage culture, a better marriage culture.”

Since the ’60s, divorce rates have increased, Dyer said. This leads to children growing up in broken households, which Dyer said is an issue in today’s culture.

“Regardless of what happens with this debate, I would like to see marriage strengthened in American society today,” Dyer said. “I think that the logic of same-sex marriage is against that and would lead us to different places.”

Dyer pointed out that the traditional public purpose of marriage is to unite a set of social goods that lead back to legal and social support. Those goods include sex, procreation and childbearing.

Dyer also brought up the idea of same-sex marriage undercutting norms surrounding marriage. About 50 years from now, Dyer believes that people may potentially be debating marriage and monogamy altogether.

To make his point, Dyer brought up the court case Baker v. Nelson in which two men were the first to apply for a marriage license in Minnesota and were denied.

According to Dyer, the dictionary definition of marriage is the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex. Although he said that definitions could change, he stresses that it’s important to understand why that definition was created in the first place.

Dyer went on to say that marriage is a sexual union, and procreation plays a large role in why marriage is between opposite sex.

“When children don’t have moms and dads that are connected to each other, that’s a huge social problem,” Dyer said.

Toward the end of the debate, the two participants were allowed to ask each other questions to further explain their own points.

Karlan began the questions portion by asking Dyer whether he thought it was odd that the main argument against same-sex marriage was that straight men are “rogues” who can’t be trusted to stay around their children, thus marriage provides them a foundation to stay.

“It’s not about who’s worthy and who’s not worthy,” Dyer said. “The case is that straight men are rogues who may not stick around their kids without having good legal and social support. And that might be a good reason why we have marriage, and why it may not apply in the same way to same-sex couples.”

In response, Karlan pointed out that same-sex couples only have children if they both agree on having children, in which case they would be more willing to stay around than “rogue” straight men.

Dyer then asked Karlan why monogamy and sexuality play a part in marriage, referring to the idea that by allowing same-sex marriage today, it may lead to more changes to marriage in the future.

“There’s always the slippery slope argument,” Karlan said. “And I think that you can’t give an answer in the abstract, because where you draw the line is always going to in that sense be artificial. And I think what we can say is that in our culture today, [with] the idea of pair-bonding that is connected with sexual expression, that you can draw the line where we draw it.”

After the debate had ended, the audience had mixed opinions on how the debate had gone.

“The affirmative side was simply brilliant,” sophomore Lindsey Anderson said. “While her opponent struggled to distinguish his position on same-sex marriage, [Karlan] had an aura of unshakable confidence.”

Samantha Sigler

News editor

Samantha Sigler can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.

Senior gives back to deaf community

Senior Erika Helm-Buckman had the unique opportunity to reach out to a deaf community in the Bahamas during her 2012 January Term class that sought to research and educate the people on Type 2 Diabetes. The course, “Island Health Care: Type 2 Diabetes in the Bahamas,” was led by Janet Peterson, associate professor of Health and Human Performance, along with Jay Swenberger, diabetes educator and adjunct professor.

Helm-Buckman, an exercise science major, was one of 12 Linfield students who traveled to South Eleuthera, where they stayed at the Cape Eleuthera Island School. The group organized visits to elementary and high schools to give presentations on diabetes management and prevention.

Helm-Buckman knew that she wanted to reach out to the deaf community before the trip.

“I gave Janet the heads up that I was interested in it and she was very open to the idea,” Helm-Buckman said.

The impromptu visit to the main island, Nassau, where The Center for the Deaf is located, was made possible by a coincidental connection.

“Luckily it worked out,” Helm-Buckman said,  “If our tour guide wasn’t a good friend of the principal of the deaf school, I don’t know how we would have done it.”

The tour guide contacted Tess Nottage, the principal of the center, and arranged for the change of plans.

“This was not initially scheduled for the class…but I wanted to share my interest in health and what I learned about Type 2 Diabetes in the Bahamas with a community that is very close to my heart,” Helm-Buckman said.

The January Term group traveled by bus to the deaf center and made instant connections at their arrival.

“I had just gotten off the bus and a little girl ran up to me and she signed to me,” Helm-Buckman said. “When I signed back she became so excited and ran to tell her friends. Then all the kids wanted to talk to us.”

Several other students were also able to interact with the children as well.

“There were four or five of us who knew sign language,” Helm-Buckman said.

Helm-Buckman was presented with a wide range of age groups at the center from kindergartners to teachers. It was a situation that proved challenging for giving an informative presentation, but Helm-Buckman was enthusiastic about the outcome.

“The presentations were very interactive,” she said.

The Linfield senior’s connection to the deaf community is a personal one because American Sign Language is her first language.  As the daughter of two deaf parents, Helm-Buckman has been involved in the deaf culture since she can remember.

“I don’t know anything different,” Helm-Buckman said.

Growing up, she played the role of interpreter.

“Responsibility wise, you have a larger burden in the family,” she said. “But my parents never put me in that position, I felt like I should be doing it.”

Her role as interpreter grew into an appreciation for American Sign Language and the deaf community. Helm-Buckman has participated in the Camp Mark 7 summer camp for five summers, working with Kids of Deaf Parents. She has also been an American Sign Language tutor since she was a sophomore and holds a conversation class two times a week.

“People come by all the time to talk or if they’re curious about it,” Helm-Buckman said.

Helm-Buckman and her peers documented their experiences in a class blog called the Bahamacats.

“I have come away from this trip with an even stronger want to contribute to the deaf community in the future,” Helm-Buckman said in the blog. More information can be found at bahamacats.wordpress.com.

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Chrissy Shane/
Staff reporter
Chrissy Shane can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com

Composting enriches the community

We’re all on a search for community, whether it’s discovering ways to engage in our cities or trying to understand how people work in groups and teams.

Usually, this investigation of community is a subconscious decision, such as navigating your way through a group project or chatting with a vender at the farmer’s market. But, if we want to be active participants in the world, it’s crucial to take a step further and engage on more intentional levels.

My latest, unexpected discovery is that something as mundane as creating compost for a garden is another window into the lives of people and communities.

It started last Saturday, when a small group of Linfield students—clad in rubber boots, old pants and sweatshirts—stood inside the gates of the community garden, learning the ins and outs of creating compost.

The students received buckets to bring home to their kitchens, and they learned how to deposit their coffee grounds, fruit peels and egg shells into a composting bin in the community garden.

Composting is easy. You just collect biodegradable garbage and let it run its course, until it eventually breaks back down into soil.

After some brief instructions, the students were sent off with the promise that they would be positively impacting the earth and spurring improvement in Linfield’s little garden.

Triggering this natural cycle of composting is simple, but its benefits are far-reaching and complex.

In fact, I think the benefits extend past the usual pamphlet-style list of reasons to compost, such as soil enrichment, natural fertilization or soil remediation.

Engaging in community projects like composting can help us understand people on a deeper level, adding another string to the web of our communities.

Even if you aren’t passionate about the environmental impacts of something like composting, it’s still valuable to participate in projects like the community garden at Linfield.

Novelist Barbara Kingsolver said, “Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. The daily work—that goes on, it adds up.”

Simply watching and helping people complete an everyday aspect of their lives, like disposing of coffee grounds, is one of the richest ways to engage them.

Although participating in large fundraising projects or one-time community events is helpful and necessary, I believe that Kingsolver was right when she said the daily work adds up.

Spending a few extra minutes of your day to do something like composting for the community garden shows that you care about a group’s vision and interests enough to engage in the mundane and behind-the-scenes aspects of their lives and goals.

And that work does add up, eventually, creating opportunities to build relationships in unexpected places and participate in larger, long-term goals and projects.

It sets the stage and gives context for deeper conversations and questions.

If you’re interested in the community garden or composting, contact Rachel Codd at rcodd@linfield.edu.
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Joanna Peterson
/Managing editor
Joanna can be reached at  Linfieldreviewmanaging@gmail.com

ASLC sponsors Community Safety Forum to address students’ concerns

Ron Noble, chief of the McMinnville Police Department, talks about how McMinnville police will be assisting College Public Safety in keeping students safe during a community forum Nov. 2 in Riley 201. Joel Ray/Photo editor

Dawn Graff-Haight, professor of health education, facilitates the safety forum in which students expressed their concerns about their safety after the latest assaults. Joel Ray/Photo editor

Students, faculty and staff voiced concerns and asked questions regarding campus safety after the latest campus incidents during a Community Safety Forum sponsored by the Associated Students of Linfield College on Nov. 2 in Riley 201.

Apart from ASLC, Dawn Graff-Haight, professor of health education; Jeff MacKay, associate dean of students; Robert Cepeda, chief/director of College Public Safety; Ron Noble, chief of the McMinnville Police Department; Dan Fergueson, director of College Activities; and the school’s area directors and residence advisers (RAs), were also present at the discussion.

The forum, which was facilitated by Graff-Haight, opened the floor for students to express their feelings and concerns about the student assaults that occurred last month. Students were encouraged to ask questions about the incidents, as well as about the college’s response, Graff-Haight said in an email.

One issue that students raised during the discussion was that the email sent out to parents about the assaults was not clear enough.

ASLC Vice President senior Bradley Keliinoi said that the emails about the incidents could have been sent earlier. Students heard about the assaults through word-of-mouth before the administration had sent anything.

Other students agreed and said that the information in the emails was confusing and vague.

Some of the RAs in attendance said that when approached by students in their dorms, they did not have enough information to give them about the incidents.

Another concern students brought to the forum was a lack of lighting on and around campus.

Keliinoi said that the street leading to the new development area is pitch black at night, and many students have to walk home.

MacKay addressed this by saying that the school does not control the lighting off campus. But, he and Cepeda maintain a good relationship with the city and have sent a request to check if Davis Street is up to standards. He also clarified that anyone with lighting concerns can send a request to the city.

CPS also offers rides to students. Cepeda said the service has been underused so far, and he clarified where CPS’s boundaries are.

Students also suggested creating a cab service for students who go off campus. ASLC President senior Rachel Coffey said that ASLC is looking into it and that students would probably have to pay a small fee.

In the meantime, Noble said that Davis Street is being closely watched, and officers are on overtime patrolling.

Noble also said that students should contact the McMinnville Police Department when they see things happening.

“I think an interesting point brought up during the forum was that there has not been much information provided to the police about the incident,” Graff-Haight said in an email. “[Noble] encouraged students who witnessed the incident to come forward so the police have more information with which to investigate. He acknowledged that students might have been reticent to come forward out of fear of being cited for a MIP. Chief Noble was quite clear that there is no chance that students could be cited, so they should definitely call police if they were there.”

Noble said that although it is up to the discretion of the officer, it is often a matter of priorities. He said that officers often are in the area for other calls, unrelated to students drinking on campus.

Noble stressed that the McMinnville Police Department is not out to get Linfield students. And, calls can be anonymous and confidential.

“It is my hope that the assaults nearly two weeks ago were isolated incidents,” Graff-Haight said. “I’m pleased about the increased presence of police on Davis Street, and I encourage all of us to look out for each other, to be a little more vigilant and if any of us see something that is questionable, we call CPS on campus and the Mac PD when we’re off campus.”

For more information about what was discussed during the Community Safety Forum, visit www.linfield.edu/linfield-review/?p=8560

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Jessica Prokop
/Editor-in-chief
Jessica Prokop can be reached at linfieldrevieweditor@gmail.com

Students should engage in the community

More than 80 first-year students gathered at various organizations around McMinnville on Sept. 17, spending three hours on different community service projects. Laura Kushner, the volunteer coordinator at Yamhill Community Action Partnership food bank told me that she viewed community service as a chance to prepare.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about how I’m taking time to see what the world I’m supposedly preparing myself for actually looks like. While I have a full schedule of classes and extracurricular activities, most of my interactions are limited to Linfield’s campus. This seems kind of silly when I step back and look at the situation, because after this Spring, I’ll graduate and move into the world that I spend so little time being engaged in.

There is value to embracing your college years and the activities that Linfield offers. You will only be here for four years so live fully as an undergraduate. Yet, I think that part of living fully means reaching out to the community and to the world. This can be a lot of things like studying abroad, volunteering at the food bank, attending open-mic nights at Corner Stone Coffee, meeting the people who grow your vegetables at the Farmer’s Market or even just checking out books from the public library.

Even if you don’t have hours to spend on volunteering, spending some time in the community will allow you to collect a picture of how cities and large groups of people work and what they need.

This year, during my final year as an undergraduate, I’m going to immerse myself fully in my college experience- which will definitely involve checking out some good books from the community library and drinking some coffee at a public open-mic night.

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Joanna Peterson/Managing editor
Joanna Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewmanaging@gmail.com.