Last week Carleton’s Dining Task Force announced its recommendation that Bon Appétit replace Sodexho as the college’s dining services provider for the next five years. The contract will take effect on July 1, 2008. The selection of Bon Appétit rested on the company’s commitment to fresh, locally grown food sources, chef-driven menus, and a sense of alignment between Carleton’s values and Bon Appétit’s approach to food selection, preparation, and nutritional philosophy.
“The decision was made,” said Fred Rogers, Carleton’s Vice President, Treasurer, and co-chair of the Dining Task Force, “on the quality of the dining experience offered.” He added that “the task force did a remarkable job focusing on verifiable facts, not rumors, in making its selection,” dismissing the possibility that rising student displeasure with Sodexho in past years influenced the decision.
The replacement of Sodexho with Bon Appétit will end a forty year relationship between Sodexho, Inc. and Carleton.
The search for next year’s roommate may be stressful, but a policy that will be released this Tuesday by Residential Life will lift one of the foremost constraints on finding that perfect roommate: gender.
Following a campus-wide e-mail from President Rob Oden, students, faculty and staff are being asked to complete an online survey regarding campus climate. In the e-mail, President Oden said the survey is meant for members of the college community to reflect on individual experiences and perceptions of Carleton. Available online, the survey is composed primarily of numbered statements asking participants to rank how much they agree or disagree with each statement.
Senior Michael Duyzend, Chemistry and Mathematics double major and biochemistry concentrator will soon add the Gates Cambridge Scholarship to his resume. The Gates is a full scholarship opportunity for students from outside the UK to pursue graduate study at the University of Cambridge in England. It is awarded annually to approximately 100 students worldwide, around 40 of whom are from the United States. Each year over 1000 students apply.
There was a moment in Tuesday evening’s talk, “Africa-China Relations,” in which Howard French tried to describe his book, “A Continent for the Taking.” The words that came out – memoir, journalism, political science, travelogue – give an idea of the eclecticism of French’s interests and the span of material he covered during his visit this week to Carleton College.
In her convocation last Friday entitled “The Future of Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith,” Irshad Manji made the preposterous claim that she may have more Muslims mad at her than George W. Bush. The reason for their anger? Manji, a self-proclaimed faithful Muslim, wrote a book published in 2003, “The Trouble with Islam Today.”
Before Tibetan monk Za Rinpoche commenced his lecture, his co-author Ashley Nebelsieck passed out promotional postcards for their new book that flashed the slogan, “There might not be a shortcut to your dreams, but there is a Backdoor!” This seemingly hackneyed phrase gained meaning as Rinpoche delved into the idea behind his book, “The Backdoor to Enlightenment,” during a lecture in the Carleton Bookstore on Monday.
A low budget for varsity sports equipment is affecting competitiveness and safety, according to some varsity athletes and coaches.
Kurt Ramler, head football coach at Carleton, claims that “since I’ve been here, I’ve been fighting for a budget comparable to that of other teams in the MIAC, so that my team can compete.” He adds that though “Carleton does a great job emphasizing its priorities – and they value the right things – I'd be lying if I said I was convinced that our budget is at a point where we can compete with the level of opponents in our conference. Our competitiveness is limited by our budget, which is significantly less than that of other teams in the conference.”
Scott Bierman, Dean of the College, advises the Administrative Council about “broad athletic department financial issues,” as he calls them – such as renovating the arboretum tennis courts and hiring new coaches. Bierman speaks to the claim of varsity teams being under-funded, saying, “if you looked at the Carleton athletic department budget as a whole, you would probably see that it is significantly higher than the MIAC average. If, on the other hand, you looked at the portion of the budget concerning specific equipment, you might find it less. That is a decision we have made to provide the best personnel possible for out athletes.” Bierman states that “our students will have the best athletic experience if we provide the best coaches we can get. I am convinced that our students are receiving the best athletic education from the best coaches in the country.”
Full-time coaches at Carleton receive several privileges, not least of which is enjoying faculty status, which gives them the title of professor and a salary reflecting it. (Incidentally, for Ramler, “being a faculty member is a great honor,” and that “on a personal and professional level, Carleton does a fantastic job with its staff.”) Bierman admits that “hiring a coach full-time represents a significant financial decision, as does giving coaches faculty status.” But according to Bierman, “we are willing to trade cutting-edge equipment for the best personnel – with the exception of safety.” When it comes to safety equipment, Bierman says “I talk with Leon [Lunder, Athletics Director at Carleton] on a regular basis to make sure we are not skimping on safety.”
Yet, Ramler argues “if we don’t have state-of-the-art equipment for football, often we are putting our players at risk.” The issue of lacking and out-dated safety equipment extends into sports beyond football – particularly baseball. Geoff King ’10, a pitcher for the Knights baseball team who describes the current array of baseball equipment as “essentially some bats and balls,” states that “we don’t have very good L-screens, which are important for pitcher safety when throwing for batting practice,” and that “the cage we use for outside batting practice definitely could be replaced.” Cam McDonald-Hyman ‘09, outfielder for the Knights, seconds King. “I can think of six or seven times,” McDonald-Hyman says, “when one of my teammates has either been struck or come very close to being struck by a baseball that passed through a hole in a net.” Also, according to McDonald-Hyman, “the surface of the outdoor batting cage is AstroTurf laid over gravel, not cement or a composite surface as it should be.” As a result, “the uneven surface causes balls to ricochet at odd, possibly dangerous angles.” He says “this equipment is dangerous and not even close to the state-of-the-art equipment that a school like St. Thomas and St. Olaf have.”
Carleton’s hockey games have come to represent a classic case of town-gown relations,this time, with a breathalyzer added into the mix.
The hockey game on February 15 crystallizes these interactions and the implications of tensions between students and the police force in Northfield. At the game, eight Carleton students were cited for underage drinking at the Northfield Ice Arena, the home venue of Carleton’s ice hockey team.
In an email to students early last week, Director of Campus Activities Robin Hart Ruthenbeck announced that the Division of Student Life has decided not to renew her contract this year. Ruthenbeck ended her nine-year career at Campus Activities last Thursday. Reasons for Ruthenbeck’s dismissal are unknown due to the Division of Student Life’s privacy policies and Ruthenbeck’s own desire that her departure not create too much of a disruption.
Along with the upcoming closure of the dining hall contract by spring term, the Sayles Hill space may be facing modifications, according to Fred Rogers, Vice President and Treasurer.
“Preliminary plans have been drawn for renovating the snack bar,” Rogers said. Proposals about these possible renovations have been included in the dining hall contracts. “The two companies [Bon Apppetite and Sodexho] have very different proposals for what could be done with the snack bar,” Rogers said.
The Minnesota state legislature began its 2008 legislative session just two weeks ago, but already it has passed a controversial transportation funding bill that failed to pass in 2003 and again in 2005. This Monday, after a weekend long vote scramble, state politicians overrode Governor Tim Pawlenty’s veto to pass the Transportation Funding Bill, House File 2800.