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Archives to Activism: Vietnam War Protests at Grinnell

The most recent demonstration on our campus, Divest Grinnell, has prompted conversations about the history of student activism and its relationship to social justice at Grinnell. The college claims on its website that

From the beginning, our commitment to social responsibility has been a large part of our College history. Grinnell was a center for abolitionist activity before and during the Civil War. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Grinnell alumni to positions in his ‘New Deal’ administration. Today, our commitment to social justice continues with the strong philosophy of self-governance and personal responsibility, as well as programs and initiatives that encourage students to learn about the world beyond campus and to create positive social change.

Indeed, nowhere in its narrative of social justice does our institution mention the activism of its students.

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Leaving San Luis Obispo

i wanted to hear the ragged
miyazaki engine hum
through a rusted-out windpipe,
but we drove up here in a lexus
with working windows and an intact radio.
instead, we listened

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Power, Values, Tradition & Memory

Note: While writing this article, I used the online S&B Archive as a source for my information.

Why are things the way they are? What were they like before?

These questions plagued me at the start of my second year at Grinnell. The first time I saw a new student I immediately thought to myself how only one year apart, this student’s experience at Grinnell would already be so different to mine.

This is due in part to the fact that Grinnell, like many other college campuses nationwide, has a problem with institutional memory. Knowledge is continuously lost as students graduate and leave, weakening student power and making the already slow crawl of creating positive change on this campus — at an institutional level — transform into a trudge.

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bubble of humans presents LOVE.

featuring Simonne Carlton, Sam Burt and Lauren Toppeta.

Don’t Let Our Action Be Overshadowed

I want to start off by saying I appreciate and support the work that [antifa] and other progressive activists on campus have been doing. The campus political climate, like that of the United States, is becoming increasingly divisive. In my opinion, this is in part due to the reemergence of the Grinnell Republican Club and their refusal to denounce our new president and his administration.

I’d like to respond to an article the GUM recently published, titled “Cut the Liberal Pablum: The Right is Not Your Friend.” I agree fundamentally with the ideas presented; I think conservatism inherently marginalizes groups of amazing people. However, this article, which reflects the sentiment of numerous other people on campus, criticizes the Scarlet and Black for its Features article about the Grinnell Republicans Club, while failing to mention three other stories published last week: “Anti-fascist art vandalized, criticized;” “Immigration ban sparks response from students and administration;” (both of which criticize Trump and/or fascism) and “Grinnell community speaks on President Trump’s Executive Order.”

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Cut the Liberal Pablum: The Right is Not Your Friend

Editor’s note: The S&B article mentioned below has since had its title changed to “Grinnell Republicans Form New Campus Organization.”

Grinnell College is getting demonstrably worse on a micro-sociopolitical level. The college’s shameful relationship with POC, the whining of campus reactionaries, and most groan-inducingly, the ever increasing tepid liberalism of the south campus intelligentsia, have all shown to be disconcerting examples of the college’s steadfast decline into a blasé Princeton Review institution alongside Oberlin and Macalester.

Recently, the Scarlet and Black, a usually laudable outfit, published a farcical piece entitled “Grinnell Republicans Bring Balance Back To Campus Narrative.” Historically, draconian ideologies designed explicitly to divide and disenfranchise are what liberals have deemed “balancing.” It is an unfortunate fact that campus conservatives feel empowered enough to voice themselves in our Trumpian America and it is even more disheartening that so-called campus progressives feel the need to support and advocate for their platform.

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Calling for Climate Justice

In response to President Kington’s Campus Memo on Divestment:

My name is Rachel Buckner, and I am a third year at Grinnell College. I am currently studying off-campus in San Francisco, Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia, studying climate change and the politics of food, water, and energy. As I journey around the world, learning about the state of our climate, I cannot sit back as my home institution disregards divestment as a critical step in curbing climate change and ending climate injustice.

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A Ghost

the voices coming
through the floorboards
tell you there is no
underlying rationality and
you know this to be true.

you open doors and
closets to find the darkness
but whenever you do light
cannot help but flood
in.
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