March 2020


By Ashley DeLeon

Contributing Writer

On behalf of the Martin Luther King Jr. Society of Saint Michael’s College, we would like to publicize our outrage and disapproval of the use of a derogatory racial reference during the campus-wide Day of Reflection.

On Tuesday, February 18, during the second workshop hosted by the Center for Peace and Justice located in Burlington, Vermont, a staff member used a deeply offensive epithet to a crowd of hundreds gathered in the gym of the Ross Sports Center. This occurred minutes after facilitators outlined the parameters of acceptable and prohibited language for the duration of the workshop. When the staff member uttered the racist term, there was an underwhelming response.

Many students of color have been deeply and emotionally wounded by this incident. Moreover, the disappointing response and lack of intervention worsened its magnitude and manifested angry reactions from many organizations within the Center for
Multicultural Affairs & Services.

This action is antithetical to our mission of promoting racial equity and inclusion within our campus community. We recognize the gravity of this incident and are taking onward action to ensure that students of color are properly represented when the issue is addressed by the College administration. We do not promote, accept, or give credence to this act of racist behavior, and more broadly, any acts of
racism, hatred, and inequality. Furthermore, as students of color are continuously targeted for acts of hatred and racism on campus, we are using this incident as an opportunity to pressure administrative forces to prioritize our exigencies. Paired with the demands of the Student Government Association, we collaboratively strive for equity on this campus and will not cease our demanding pressures until definitive actions are taken to justify this incident.

As stated by the president of the MLK Jr. Society, Jaron Bernire ‘21, “One of MLK Jr. Society’s goals is to have students interact with problems discussing race alienation on our campus; to speak up for someone who doesn’t feel like their voice will be heard is what we enjoy doing the most, and to make every race feel equal on this campus. Bernire further emphasizes that ceasing efforts to work towards equality would represent a failure. However, the campus must worry not, as our efforts will never cease to exist. Vice President, Kayla Erb ‘22, recognizes the profundity of this incident and is actively guiding the response of the MLK Jr. Society, never settling for less than the rightful means of justification.

On behalf of the MLK Jr. society, we would like you to understand that we are emphatically responding to this issue and are taking forceful actions to justify this injustice. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Lightning makes no sound until it strikes.”

Ashley DeLeon ‘22 is a member of the MLK Society at St. Michael’s College.

Dear SMC,
I went into this event with high expectations. Unfortunately, they were too high. The whole day felt chaotic, unorganized, and rushed. People didn’t know where they were going, what they were doing, and why they even bothered to show up in the first place. I knew this event was going downhill when the first group left to go to Alliot…and when I say left I mean go to their townhouses or dorms.

I was expecting to talk about the acts of racism on our campus…to have a dialogue between the students and the administrative staff. There was no conversation, no mention of the stickers, posters, and racist slurs incidences on campus, and no reassurance of future actions the administrative plans on taking, which was a missed opportunity. Students of color are angry and fed up with this negative campus climate. What is it going to take for students and staff to directly address the needs of our students of color?

What I want to happen going forward:

• Required curriculum within all departments that deals with social justice and critical theories such as race theories and anti-oppressive practice

• Improving campus safety by updating security cameras around campus

• Increase efforts to recruit students from diverse areas around the U.S.

• Implement annual anti-racism training during student orientation

Sarah Donahue ’20

Dear SMC,
The day of learning and diversity brings with it some questions as well as answers!

I feel as though many minorities were missed that could easily have been included and also struggling with many of the same issues!

I also feel that we have grown complacent with the status quo to the point that there were many that left early or didn’t participate at all.

I am proud of Saint Michael’s college for returning to its roots, being a community leader in diversity and equality. We have been reminded that this battle for equality is never over.

I think some guilt should lie in those that we’re able to participate and chose not to.

I think we can do better! There are so many voices that need to be heard!

As a minority, I say thank you to the Saint Michael’s community for giving me a place where I feel safe (safer). Thank you for reminding me that I can do better!

A very special thank you to Mohammed Soriano-Bilal for inclusion!

-Kinsey Whitford, HVAC/R technician

Dear SMC, I apologize To those who felt or feel hurt from the effect of the event on Tuesday, Jan. 18th; the day, which has gone by the names: Day of Reflection, The Day, Feb. 18th, and distastefully Diversity Day.

I, like ones similar to me, in terms of my presentation and what it affords me to, turned away from the undeniable systemic issue at hand–racism on our campus and within our systems.

What this day created was a splash in a pool that was still rippling. I said I would drop off, and not continue if administration decided there would be “a day.”

Instead, I felt unknowingly woven into an ugly bandage our administration keeps putting back on–repairing it, however each time it loses a bit of what made it function best before the damage. I apologize for the impact my work on the Steering Committee had on my friends, community members, campus, and beyond.

– Mallory Bauer ’22

By Abby Gallagher

Staff Writer

St. Michael’s College has big shoes to fill after Moise St. Louis has moved onto a new job. Moise made his mark as an influential and inspiring professor, colleague, mentor, and friend of many.

After 15+ years teaching at St. Michael’s, St. Louis accepted a new position at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. St. Louis had a huge impact bringing our community closer together.

He served as the Associate Dean of Students as well as Director of the Center of Multicultural Affairs and Services (CMAS). St. Louis organized a variety of activities that allowed students and faculty to explore diversity and inclusion, not only on our campus, but for life after college. “He was always willing to give his time, always willing to have a conversation and always willing to help. I would say students appreciated his guidance and looked to him for help when times were not as optimistic,” said Kayla Erb ‘22, Co-President of the MLK Jr. Society. The Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation week is one of his well-known set of programs he has organized as advisor of the MLK Jr. Society.

“He not only introduced the prevalence of social injustice in our society but created a safe environment to explore and discuss problems and solutions of today’s world,” said Molly Clarke ‘21, a student of St. Louis. It is clear how St. Louise had a strong passion for teaching and was talented at what he does.

With the leaving of St. Louis, there are some concerns of what will come of the Center of Multicultural Affairs. St. Louis played such a vital role as Director. “Sometimes he would stay in the center until 7-8 p.m., often leaving his family at home to make sure that us, students of color, were taken care of,” said Erb. This position is extremely important, CMAS is now left without a leader, which is very stressful for students deal with problems on campus. Sophomore Felicity Rodriguez, member of CMAS stated, “Our fear was, “Is CMAS going to be taken away?” “Students of color need guidance and deserve to have a quality replacement of these in order to get the most out of the resources we already have on campus,” Erb stated. I spoke with Rodriguez in the now empty office of former Director, St. Louis. The CMAS council has been meeting and discussing what is the new image for CMAS is going to be, not only for themselves, but for future students. “From the moment Mo left, this space was filled and is now constantly filled with students, we are making this space a home to us again,” said Rodriguez ‘22.

Vice President of Student Affairs/ Dean of Students, Dawn Ellinwood, informed me that Andrea Rodriquez Trochez and Daviah Lawrence, both resident directors, are working increased hours in the center to help. As well as Kerri Leach now managing the student workers in the center and advises SMC 1st generation. The goal is to support students during this time of transition,” Ellinwood assured me. Margaret Bass, who is a former faculty member, agreed to help support students in CMAS. Ellinwood also said there is going to be a “nationwide search” for a new director very soon and the CMAS council made it clear they wanted to be part of the process. Finally, Rodriquez added, “we knew without a doubt we had each other to support, and each other to fall back on. Because we had that bond, this space is not going anywhere.”

By Minqi Kong

Staff Writer

At a time when St. Michael’s College is undergoing budget concerns and the likelihood of declining enrollment, the Board of Trustees has appointed a new chair– Rev. Marcel Rainville, S.S.E. from the class of 1967.

Around campus he’s better known as Father Marcel, and many students know him as the coordinator of LEAP spiritual retreats. In his new role, he will also oversee the 26 member board. They act as caretakers that help us to get another view of how Saint Michael’s is able to move forward, Rainville said in a recent interview in his office on the second floor of Alliot. The room is small, with a book shelf, computer, and a sofa, and it looks out to trees near the chapel.

Rev. Marcel Rainville ’67, the new chair for the Board of Trustees, poses for a photo in his office on Mar. 4, 2020

One duty of the board of trustees is to approve a budget for the upcoming year to help raise money for the college. Trustees often become major benefactors and they work with the rest of the faculty and staff, Rainville said. For instance, there is a learning committee to gather information about the particular needs of the college. There is also another committee called “Operation Embodied” that works with the administration in overseeing the financial well being of the college.

“June is important,” said Rainville. “By then we will know how many students are coming to St. Michael’s next year. Many budgetary concerns will be addressed after May 1, the deadline for enrollment. That will shed light upon some of the more important decisions that need to be made.”

One pressing issue facing the board is that the number of new students who will come to Saint Michael’s has been decreasing every year. “The major reason for the declining number of students is that there are many fewer students of college age particularly in the northeast after 2008,” Rainville said. “The economic recession caused parents to have fewer children, which is the ultimate reason why there are fewer students applying, so with the enrollment, the admissions here at Saint Michael’s is working very, very hard to get more students to come,” Rainville said.
The board of trustees will have a dialogue with the admission department about recruiting more students. In person, Rainville himself will be visiting a school in Connecticut at the end of March. He has a sister there who is a nun who used to live in a home that was recently sold to a man who started a special high school for foreign students to learn English. “We need to learn if some of their students would be interested in coming to Saint Michael’s College to learn English,” Rainville said.

He said he will also be available as a support to the president of the college to help her be successful in her job. Rainville will also continue as part of Saint Michael’s College Edmundite Campus Ministry. Most recently he worked with students to offer a LEAP spiritual retreat in late February at Saint Anne’s Shrine where 50 students joined him.. “There is no time conflict between the meeting of the trustees and the retreat, because the meeting of the trustees will be two weeks from now,” Rainville said. “I felt a very heavy responsibility,” Rainville said when he learned of the new appointment. “ I will do my best and we will work hard for the best possible future for Saint Michael’s College.”

By Meghan Power

Staff Writer

At the beginning of the school year, public safety and facilities had mentioned an idea for a new and improved plan for removing snow from student parking lots. Students would be given a specific period of time after a snow storm to move their vehicles to a different location. This would allow for snow to be plowed from the spaces quickly and efficiently. What sounded like a great new idea never took place, leaving students with misunderstandings and snow covered parking spots.

Student parking outside of Alumni Hall remains unplowed, as a students car is engulfed in icy remains of the snowfall on Feb. 17, 2020.

Although this idea is new to some, the proposed new way of removing snow is old news to Senior Associate Director of Head of Facilities Joel Ribout.

“[The plan has been discussed] basically every year that I’ve been here, which is going on five years and probably even before that,” Ribout said. “ “To my knowledge it had never been done before, we do talk about it often, and it is a very challenging thing to implement. The idea would be that we would start with the Ryan lot, which is Alliot and move all of those cars into Tarrant, plow that area, get it good and clean, then bring those cars back and start shuffling spots around,” Ribout explained.

Student clears the snow off their car outside of Cashman Hall on Feb. 28, 2020

“But, it is very challenging with kids being gone, especially on winter breaks or weekends, so it’s never been implemented,” Ribout said.

“I can understand that it’s hard to get everyone to move their car out of the spot ,” said Timothy DeCosta ‘20. “I don’t think it is a huge deal because at the end of the day it is up to the students to dig their cars out, if you have a shovel it’s not that hard to do. I think [the proposed plan] would be a good idea, it’s just how well they would be able to implement it and get people to actually move.”

Public Safety must also be involved in these decisions of how to remove the snow in a safe and effective way that poses the least risks to students. Director of Public Safety Doug Babcock supported the idea of the new plan, but also acknowledged the difficulties involved, while assuring students and staff that what is currently being done is not endangering to those involved.

“Ice is a natural concern during winter, there are some places that haven’t been fully cleaned where we have risks of slipping, but that is Vermont winters, and I don’t think we have anything in place that is out of line,”
replied Babcock.

Despite the safety of the current
snow removal tactic, students still have non-safety issues with removing the snow from their cars during the long Vermont winters.

“My biggest problem is on a heavy snow day getting my car out of my spot.” said Mariah LeVangie ’22, in an email. “Cleaning my car off can be hard, but that’s our job as car owners on campus. After the heavy storm I was late for a meeting because I couldn’t get out of my space and didn’t have a shovel in my car at the time. I think it would be a great idea for us to move our cars. The only downside is where we would move them to!” Tyler Santos ’22 has also had challenges with snow in the parking lots. “The hardest thing is my tires just get no traction because of all the ice, so I can’t pull out of my spot,” Santos said. “If facilities did anything to help with the snow in the parking lots that would be a huge help.”

While facilities has been considering this plan for many years now and ultimately decided not to do it due to many different challenges, such as having to judge if it is worth it or not for small snowfalls, or finding a way to get all cars moved (whether the owner is on campus or not), it seems at though the consensus for students is that they would all be up for the challenge and willing to cooperate, should this plan be proposed in years to come.