Colby Disorientation Guide 2019


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Colby Disorientation Guide 2019




Waterville, Maine


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This is an effort to counterbalance the onslaught of "yay, Colby is great" one gets upon their
arrival as a first-year. Aside from being unrealistic, an orientation approach that dwells only
on positives is detr imental to student health.
You have come to Colby, presumably having bought the wonders of a "liberal arts
institution. " We want to show you that Colby's image is meticulously curated, and far from
the truth. This guide seeks to defamiliarize the frilly version of Colby and lay it raw. You can
either question and work against the dominant perspective, or risk slowly and monotonously
becoming disillusioned by it.
This guide does not cover nearly everything, countless narratives are missing, and ultimately,
the guide itself was put together very last minute. But the stories that did make it in are
powerful and valid, and we hope you learn from them.
The narratives are meant to orient you to the ways you might experience oppression on
this campus, and how to deal with it. They also cover the many ways in which you can
challenge yourself, question your privilege, and use it to take action against the systems that
it operates within.
The college often boasts its social justice endeavors and accomplishments, but these
only come about because of students who relentlessly push for them. We urge you to
get in contact with the people and groups featured in this guide, and look at Colby more
critically; We promise it will help you in the long run. We invite you to join us in our shared
dissatisfaction that longs for more, and yet appreciates what is already there.
* Not everyone who wrote for the disorientation guide is responsible for all the words in it,

but we all stand behind the guide as a whole.

Statement of Land Acknowledgement (by Spanish Professor Michael Martinez-Raguso)
We acknowledge that Colby College occupies the lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy,
the ancestral home of the Wabanaki people. We pay respect to elders, custodians of the
land past and present. We acknowledge that colonization is an ongoing process that takes
many forms. Let us consider the many legacies of violence, displacement, migration, and
settlement that bring us here together today, and let us act accordingly.

Do you ever wonder where you or your friends ' tuition money disappears to , or that hefty gift the
Goldfarbs gave last year? Every wonder why it's not used to pay for your books or a new water
fountain in East? Most of colby's money ends up in its endowment. By the end of the fiscal year
2018, colby reported that its endowment had a market value of $828 million. And these millions
don't sit in a dungeon deep under Eustis. They are busy propping up corporate giants so that colby
can get large returns on investments.
Colby discloses how $126,050,644 of its money is invested in the Endowment Annual Report. Here
are some corporations that Colby has publicly disclosed investing in: -- colby publicly invests $1 ,535 ,160. A software company with a contract with
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), the agency within the Department of Homeland Security
responsible for enforcing the Trump Administration 's zero-tolerance immigration policy.
Facebook -- colby publicly invests $1,270,331. The social media platform that has been widely
criticized for its censorship policies, dodging responsibility for hate speech on its websites ,
mishandling and sale of user data , involvement in the United States PRISM surveillance program ,
and use of dirty energy in its offices.
Amazon -- colby publicly invests $2,026,276; The corporate giant that resist unionization for its
workers , exposes its employees to dangerous working conditions and long hours , and gentrifies
neighborhoods across the U.S.
col by is complicit in the actions of all of these corporate giants , and more, like Starbucks, Monster
Beverage, Visa, and numerous pharmaceutical companies. The rest of colby's money is in hedge
funds and likely linked to much more sinister operations. We cannot know what the remaining
millions are invested in unless we ask. The endowment 's purse strings are controlled by the chief
investment off icer, a man named Hugh J. O'Donnell whose office is Eustis 003.
The buildings and infrastructure we directly benefit as colby students from comes from ethically
questionable sources. For example , Bob Diamond made his money as the former group chief
executive of Barclays Bank. Among many other scandals , Barclays is known to have helped fund
President Robert Mugabe's land reforms in Zimbabwe, which drove more than 100,000 black
workers from their homes. Bob Diamond himself is responsible for tax scams and resigned from
Barclays after his involvement in the Libor scandal.
colby benefits from corporate giants. Use the education you get here to work against that.

Students begin campus
devision of Students
Organized Against
Racism (SOAR)and
soon has over 100

Students protest lack of student
representation in the administration
during trustees meetings in
Roberts Union.


A group of students of color, in
coalition with a group of queer
students, organized a silent protest
against institutional racism and
heterosexism at Colby during the
spring Board of Trustees meeting.
Calling themselves the "Coalition for
Institutional Accountability" (CIA).

The Posse
begins at

Students of Color United
for Change demand
multicultural housing
and better treatment
for students of color on

After an insensitive Cinco
de Mayo party invite on
Facebook and a Hawaiian
Lu'au theme party. Students,
faculty, and staff occupy the
Pulver Pavilionto protest
racial insensitivity at Colby.

Uzoma Orchingwa ' 14
premieres his new film,
"Black on the Hill," which'
documents the experienc
of students of color at

,i A team of students

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premiere the film
"Bicentennial," which
explores race, social
class, and learning
differences at Colby.

Students affiliated with "Reclaim Colby." unexpectedly
step up to the microphone in Lorimer Chapel following
President William "Bro" Adams' Bicentennial Address on
February 27th.
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A student physically harassed in a homophobic encounter in the
Alfond Apartments, alleged rape goes unpunished, and three
students of color are assaulted on an off-campus party bus - all
leading to an unprecedented number of students and faculty
taking to the civil discourse to voice their opinions on the chain
"Beware What You Practice... "

Colby students hold a
Students hold a "Colby
Stands Against Hate"

A student demands more
accountable language from
SGA concerning offensive
Halloween costumes and
cultural appropriation.


Students and faculty hold a
sit-in organized by SOBLU
in the Spa as a response to
"Akon Day" incident, in which
white students dressed up as
convicts and wrote "Africa"
on their bodies.

Students circulate a petition
demanding the Administration to
make amendments to the student
handbook that detail disciplinary
action taken againt bias incidents.
The petition gained over 900

With demands aimed at fighting
institutional racism, Colby students
stage a sit-in at President Cotter's

A series of anti-Semitic crimes sparks a
Pugh Center Opens
large rally against hate crimes on campus.
as a result of the 1994
protest by Students
of Color United for

Two male students of color are assaulted by
Security in the Pugh Center. The incident sparks
a week of protest, dialogue, and an official

Students at Colby formed the
collective called United for Better
Dining Services, which aimed to
"oppose structural violence and
demand justice with the Sodexo

Push for a gender, sexuality
resource center. Mules Against
Violence (MAV)is established
by students to raise awareness
and promote conversation
about sexual violence and
masculinity at Colby.

First SOBHU, now
called SOBLU,
organized die-in
takes place Pulver in
October, in response
to police brutality
throughout the

"Hate is Not a Colby Value" protests in
Spring of 2011 - in response to homophobic
vandalism. , \



Students and faculty come together in response to a number
of racist posts on Yik Yak concerning a Black Lives Matter

Students organize
Melanin March in April
Maine March for
Racial Justice takes
place in October,
organized by Colby

Student posts on Civil Discourse
about their experience being
recruited by an underground frat,
EA, which implicated the then
president of SGA, adding to the
pressure to impeach him.

A Very Relevant Story

Students hold a "Colby Enough"
Walk Out in March
All five students of color
drop out of a poetry class
in response to racism in the
classroom in Spring.

Student4Change create an online
portal to solicit information about
the underground frats, and later
release a zine with the details.
Student posts on Civil Disourse accusing
a member of SGA for engaging in sexual
misconduct. That member resigns.


Every once in awhile , people are going to think you got into the
school for your skin color.

Know you got into this school because you are capable . Imposter syndrome can be a real hurdle.
I know I felt it, even though I came into Colby at 18 with a high school GPA of 4.0, two associates '
degrees earned with honors , as president of my school's student council, and an athlete with over
100 hours of volunteering. You will encounter racism and have to deal with things that your other
classmates will not notice, but know that you can make it through this. You deserve your spot.

People are going to confuse you with every other black girl/boy

1nyour year.
If they can tell the difference between the infinite Katies, they can tell you from that other black girl
that's half a foot shorter.

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People will assume they know more than you.
This is my least favorite part of labs. More often than not, your partner will assume that they
understand the material more than you. I once had a partner tell me that my part of the lab should be
printing out the graphs and cutting them out for the notebooks because he "thought I'd be good at
that." I'm not sure what that means, but I do know that every calculation he made was wrong .


Upperclassmen can be a treasure trove of information and

No one is exempt from bias or prejudice. I have found that upperclassmen have been able to expose
new perspectives to me that have changed the way I view topics such as race, gender, and sexual
orientation. Your professors aren't the only ones who will provide you with an education (but always
interrogate the ideas presented to you.)

Science classes will be sparse
As a science major, I can say that even in the big lecture halls, people of color representation
is sparse , but that should never deter you from a pursuit of knowledge!

You WILL be asked to speak for the whole African Diaspora
(which is impossible to do.)
You can try, but it's not your job.


The diversity and complexity of your blackness will get erased.

Mixed people will be considered black . The complex histories of the plethora of countries and
experiences of blackness will be condensed into one universal false identity.

For black women: you may be seen as less romantically desirable
than your non-black counterparts.
This is bull-shit and racist.

People will say/do bias things and refuse to acknowledge it.
Shockingly , it's not cool to be racist anymore, and people will resist admitting to their biased
actions or words. Don't doubt yourself. Know that the feelings you have are valid and if you feel
offended, it was probably offensive.

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-Audre Lorde

Last fall, I was sitting in my Asian American Studies class when my phone buzzed. One of my
classmates was presenting on research she'd been conducting throughout the semester, so I didn't
dare look down at my screen. I tapped my pen against the table, as my classmate progressed
through her slides. My phone buzzed again . This time , I checked the screen to make sure it wasn't
something urgent.
My eyes glaze over and my heart drops, as
I come to terms with the words I'm reading
on the screen. There are two texts - one
from my mom and one from my friend
Grace .

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My mom's text reads "a boy from your
high school was shot."

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Grace 's text reads "Tom is dead. "


I look around the room and I feel a lump
starting to form in my throat. I pack up my things as quickly as I can and speed-walk to my car. I
can feel the tears form ing as I pull my hoodie over my head . I pass an acquaintance in the spa. They
offer a quick "hey", slowing their pace to indicate their intention to pause for a quick chat. I brush
past them. I don 't have the energy to code-switch today.
When I get to my car, I turn on the heat and lock the doors. Putting my head against the wheel, I
begin to cry. Tom was 22 years old when he died. He was driving home from work when he was
fatally shot . In my country, people get shot everyday. Before Tom was shot, one of my little sister's
classmates Jamahri was shot before starting her freshman year at college. Before Jamahri was shot ,
my grandfather was shot twice .
I pull out my phone and email my professors. I call my internship boss and let her know why I can 't
come in. I drive to my apartment. I cry for Tom. After a few hours, I wipe the tears off my face and
drive to the grocery store to pick up Tessa's cake. Today is Tessa's birthday and I'm in charge of the
party. That evening , I feel like a shell of myself, while I watch my friends drink , celebrate , and sing
happy birthday . Afterwards , I go back to my room alone . I choose to keep the pain to myself and I
don't tell anyone. On this day, a friend was born. On this day, a friend was murdered.
I don 't tell this story to receive pity and I don 't tell this story to depress anyone. I tell this story to give
an example of what not to do. How not to react when you face pain. How not to isolate yourself. I
can promise you that there will be times at Colby when you will feel like the carpet has been pulled
out from under you. You will feel like screaming and punching a wall. Don't suffer alone. That only
makes it worse . Look to the ones closest to you and lean on them. Let them help you. Better yet ,
ask for help. If you think ignoring a problem will make it go away, you 're wrong. I've made that
mistake at Colby more times than I care to admit, but I'm learning. It's my hamartia. Don't let it be

Dear Colby Students,
I hate Colby. Yup, I said it. I hate the ivory tower that has opened up many doors for me and allowed
me to see and travel parts of the world I would have never dreamed of. I hate Colby , and that is
okay. I think a lot of the time WE (students of color , LGBTIQ + students, low-income students) are fed
this weird narrative of what college will be like. We come in as first-years with so many expectations
and hopes for what our college experience will be , and , to be frank , many of those expectations will
not be met. I wasn't prepared for the classism , rac ism , or whiteness that came with Colby. In my first
semester here I had written in a journal "Colby is toxic" about five times , I lost 15 pounds , and I was
pretty sure I forgot what proper seasoning (other than excessive amounts of cumin) on food tasted
Colby College lacks the proper distribution of resources to keep Students of color and LGBT IQ+
students on this campus . Watch how many Students of color or LGBT IQ+ students either drop
out, or take a semester or year(s) off if you don 't believe me . This campus is not easy to exist in as
someone like me . I decided to take a year abroad as a way to escape this school.
The classists will call me ungrateful. The racists will tell me to leave. And the Homophobes will just
call me a F*g. The truth is, I'm at Colby because I still need an education . I am still trying to break out
of the cyclical nature of poverty my family is trapped in. I have been given the opportunity to roam
this campus with students who don 't give a fuck about me (or people like me) but I am gonna use
this time to take EVERYTHING I can from this institution. And if you decide to stay- like I did- then I
advise you do the same . Love yourself.
Basically, what I want y'all to know is that its okay not to love this school or this place. We all gotta
make it in this world , and you DO NOT have to be grateful to an institution that isn't wel l-equ ipped to
see you thrive. I have made the most amazing friendships at Colby.

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None of this means Colby is a place where students of Color and LGBTIQ+ students can excel. It is
okay if you hate Colby. I hate Colby.
Juan Luna

Excerptfrom Cat Ledue's Thesis, "WeTakeCare of Our Own": Stories from the South End
I once arrived at the South End Teen Center soaked from a winter rainstorm . My umbrella had taken a harsh
beating from the wind . As I would find out in embarrassment later, I had mascara running down my face . The
SETC coordinator was surprised to see me. Showing concern , he asked , "Is it safe [to walk in this weather]? "
Before I could answer, the teen specialist interjected , " No!" She told me we needed to exchange phone numbers so that she could start giving me rides . According to her, it was no trouble because , "here, we take care
of our own. " That statement was probably the fi rst thing I jotted down in my fieldnotes after departing . She
said it with such conviction.
My time at SETC has exposed me to a number of ways that the South End Teen Center (SETC) and the South
End Neighborhood "take care of their own." Whereas poor people are often imagined as in need of care,
South End kids challenge such simplistic understandings of low-income communities. They, along with their
families and SETC staff , engage in care work as they negotiate their circumstances and make meaning in their
My central argument is the conventional depiction of the poor as "impoverished, " in "survival mode, " and
stuck in a "poverty mindset " is, at best , only a fraction of the story. Focus ing on low-income people exclusively as v ictims of structural inequality , for example, elides the ways such ind iv iduals exercise agency and
pursue lives of pleasure and meaning . At the South End Teen Center, teens, along with staff, co-construct an
atmosphere of caring - an atmosphere saturated with humor, play, complex conversations , and acts of solidarity . The kids critique, negotiate, and resist dominant ideologies - challenging hegemonic depictions of the
poor with both their voices and actions .
In mainstream discourses , these insights about the South End are often overlooked. Colby College's relationship with the neighborhood is constrained by the idea that local people need help to restore an economically
and culturally robust past. In 2015, the Colby Echo published an article entitled "Waterv ille's South End Gets
a Makeover ." The piece outlines how the community "boasts a vibrant past" and is "working towards a bright
future" (DiNicola 2015) . After the Lockwood Company established a cotton mill in Waterville in 1873, new
ethnic communities migrated to the area - most notably, Franco-Americans and Canadian farmers - to find
work . As of 1900, Lockwood was providing some 1,300 jobs to the city . According to the article , the South
End "emerged as a cultural hub with scores of business, a bilingual parochial school and a theater ;" at that
time, the neighborhood was referred to as the "Plains " (DiNicola 2015) . To quote Jackie Dupont, a Colby alum
and leading member of the South End Neighborhood Association, the South End was once "a proud, working-class neighborhood; " since then, " ... the neighborhood has fallen into disrepair and a stereotype and stigma have overshadowed a rich and vibrant commun ity ... " (DiNicola 2015) . While Dupont's goal is to "change .. .
the narrative " and foster grassroots leadership (DiNicola 2015) , the article 's rhetoric sends an insidious message: the South End, in its current state, reflects loss and decay. Accordingly , its history is supposedly its
most valuable asset.
In 2017, the portrayal of the South End as dirty and downtrodden was vivid when Colby swooped in for a
(part ial) day of trash pickup . Costs were complete ly covered by the college ; and, Colby faculty and students
vo lunteered to provide a labor force (Harlow 2017) . " Life at Colby" webpage published a piece called , "Co lby
Community Joins South End Residents for a Monumenta l Cleanup. " Emphas izing , just how "monumental " the
cleanup was, the author writes: "Working together , in under three hours, volunteers filled six 30-yard dumpsters with old furniture, toys , and garbage" (Baker 2017) . The Morn ing Sentine l echoed this point reporting (in
"Colby volunteers , others haul discarded items away from Waterville's South End) that there was a "massive
cleanup of Watervil le's gritty South End neighborhood" (Harlow 2017) . On the Colby Merit Pages (2017), the
phrase "gritty South End neighborhood" appears yet again.

In addition to portraying the South End as a dump, the articles relay another message: clean ing up was
Colby's way of building a meaningful relationship with the South End. Dean of Students, lgne-Lise Ameer, is
quoted , explaining her hope that the project "will lead to a student group getting really involved in the South
End" (Baker 2017). The Morning Sentinel echoed this point: "The rubbish collection, financed by Colby College, was intended to help the neighborhood and get students more involved with the community in which
they go to school. " Students interviewed emphasized the importance of " popping' the "Colby Bubble" (Harlow 2017). Although the South End Neighborhood Association was involved in the project , other local inhabitants were simply informed that the cleanup was going to happen. As a leading association leader explained, "
.. .We knocked on doors to tell people what was happening at no cost to them. Colby has donated the cost of
everything " (Harlow 2017).
The discourse that constructs Colby College as a benevolent investor in the city resonates with the college 's
current project to "revitalize" Waterville. Downtown apartments have been built to house faculty and students
outside of the 'Colby Bubble ;' a hotel as well as an "arts and innovation center " are in the making; 'highend' restaurants have been brought to the area; and, the administration has heightened its focus on civic
engagement and building community partnerships (Colby College 2019a; 2018; Calder 2017). Living in the
new apartments has provided me with ample opportunities to hear how members of the Colby community
talk about local people. Security has repeatedly reminded us to lock our cars to prevent theft . I have heard of
young women who believe they are in greater danger downtown than on campus. At downtown community
meetings , the idea that revital ization will "benefit everyone " in the end is used to portray local contestation
and mistrust of Colby as irrational. The vice president of planning once explained away and belittled parking
disputes by saying, "Mainers don't like change ." In my civic engagement meetings with fe llow residents, we
have often talked of Waterville as a "nostalgic " place - full of people who want to return to some imagined
past. Some of my peers have claimed they have the skills and ideas to make Waterville "better." Instances
in wh ich loca ls have "harassed" Colby students have been dismissed as acts of irrationality and/or jealousy.
While none of these claims are ill-intentioned or completely unfounded, they shore up the sentiment that Watervil le lacks complexity , imagination, and legitimate values of its own.
The Co lby discourse also disguises the college 's role in (re)producing class inequalities . For example, according to Rhea Cote Robbins' memoir (1997), which describes her experience growing up on the South End's
Water St. in the 1960s, the College has historically provided jobs to South End residents as staff (1997: 4950). This trend seems to have persisted; during my fieldwork , I heard of SETC kids whose parents currently
work at Colby. Therefore, the economic status of certain South End residents is directly shaped by the pay
standards Colby adheres to . Cons idering my old dorm 's janitor worked two jobs to support himself, I am
doubtful that the college provides livable wages to all its staff members. Likewise, it remains unc lear how
"revitalization " will impact the price of housing in the city. Yet, in discussions of revitalization , Colby gets to be
the hero of the story while Waterville is backward and nostalgic. The concrete , material repercussions of the
college's actions are swept under the rug. And , the discontent of locals is a result of their (mis)understanding
of what is happening . Dissenters , apparently, do not know what is "good " for them.
To be clear, my thesis is not about Colby. It is about the South End Teen Center and what I learned from the
people I met there . It is about their systems of care , their seemingly endless supply of jokes , their creativity,
their negotiations, and their theorizations. By focusing on life on the South End, I am attempting to send a
message that I think is relevant to the Colby administration: poor people do not need benevolent "help." They
are very capable of making meaning in their lives and taking care of their communities . Rather than making
assumptions about what will make places like the South End "better, " those who want to "help" should be
thinking about what it wou ld take to address the system that allows for an institution to have millions upon
millions of dollars in a town where many people live paycheck to paycheck .

When my friend approached me to write this article, they said "you could write about why you took
time off, or your time abroad; your experience matters." I laughed- "you want me to write about
how the best part about Colby was being away from it?".
As I write this, I am 10 days away from returning to Colby as a rising senior; after a two year hiatus. I
took time off, a year, for my mental and physical health after my sophomore year. For the year after,
I went abroad to the UK to study at University College London . I am still thinking- How much would
have Colby changed?
You will soon realise that Colby's predominant demographic comes from 20 min outside BostonWhite/wealthy/suburban or all of the above. I'm sure suburban Boston is perfectly lovely, and if you
are reading this as someone from the above demographic, this article is not a cheap jab at you. But
for some of us, many of us, who do not come from this world, we can feel terribly isolated at a place
like Colby; four years of what we hoped would be some of the most meaningful and cherished years
of our life.

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There are ways to address issues of privilege on this campus- in discuss ions in your classes,
getting involved in the Pugh centre, through art in the museum or in the theatre, talking to
your advisors or deans. As minority, 'diverse', students, this is important for us- to dec lare
our grievances, to take up space that wasn't created for us, and now only painfully tries to
accommodate us. At the same time, the weight of ident ity politics on this campus is not ours to
constantly hold.

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For allies and those with privilege, look out for your peers in kindness, be careful of the space you
take. Do some of the work of addressing privilege on this campus that we might get so tired of
doing. On how to do this, I hope you find time for conversations throughout the year.

But of course, our college experience need not be entirely burdened by identity politics . I want to
talk about how my time away from Colby was important and cherished, but not as a bitter critique of
Colby itself.

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I always complained of the cold and I was very ill for most of my time here. In my two years away
from Colby, first at home in India and then at study abroad in London, I realised a few things- First,
I was terribly homesick and was scared that I was missing out on important politics/people/work
at home. Along with my health , my year off put all those anxieties to rest. Secondly, London made
me realise that I need to be at a large university in a big city . I thrived there, to say the least, in the
anonymity and the chaos of the concrete jungle.
What I am trying to conclude is, that intense academic semesters, back to back on a small campus
in the middle of (a rather beautiful) nowhere , take away the perspective that Colby is not , and will not
be out entire lives.

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But no place can offer everything, and for what Colby lacks on it campus , it tries to make up by
things like enabling time off , or with a variety of options for study abroad. If you feel like Colby wasn't
the right fit for you , reach to people who might help you make choices to fulfill more of what you
need. And in the mean time , try to engage, as much as you are able, with what this campus does
have to offer ; I'll be there this year, for the last time, trying too.

excerpted from thesis
It's not even that whiteness makes you more attractive , or allows you more social capital or that it
allows you to hook yourself into different social webs. Being white means you don 't experience racial
violence. Being white means you can interact with whiteness as "amorphous and indescribable "
(Frankenberg 1993: 82). Being white means you can live an unexamined life in a white supremacist
system. I've already said it again , and again ; the less you can feel in this system of hookup culture ,
the easier it is for you to move through. Being white in hookup culture at Colby means that you
experience embodied violence less so you don 't need to speak up as much. It 's a white blindness.
To be successful as a POC in hookup culture , you have to assimilate into that blindness. But, no, it's
not a becoming blind, it's a staying quiet.
Much of what I see and have seen for this research is because of the intentional choice to look , not
because it is something that I have experienced in my body. There are spaces on this campus and
in this community that I could access easily because of my whiteness and wealth , and others that I
could not access really, at all. In so many ways , Colby is a segregated campus. There are kinds of
violence , namely those rooted in racism and classism , that I will never experience. And , even if I see
or hear about them , I will still process the violence through the lens of my own experience, through a
white, wealthy body. In many cases , I will be on the other side of that violence , a part of a community
that allows this violence to occur.
And , in that moment, my return to depression makes more sense. Doing ethnographic work of my
own everyday life has been a mind-splitting experience. The way I see rooms around me, my own
body, my own actions and words and thoughts , has shifted. It 's like suddenly , there are a million little
strings coming from everything, connecting to everything. I recognize that the series of questions I
have been forced to ask of myself and the spaces around me are questions that some others already
have to ask. Maybe the clearest way to say this is that I started asking questions that I never had to
ask because I am white, because I am wealthy. It's been a bursting open of my subjectivity , a shift in
how I understand myselfand my impact. I think, really, at the root of this depression is a waking up to
the world that I have always lived in. A world that I have been blind to in many ways. A violence that I
have been complicit in without feeling.
I won 't lie. I am ashamed . I feel guilt. Neither are productive emotions when left alone but they
can be catalysts. This whole year, I have been trying to make sense of how the ritual ized nature
of hookup culture obscures the social processes and larger systems that inform students ' desires
and in so many ways , I have failed in my ability to see beyond myself, beyond my whiteness .
Again , I won't lie. For almost half of this year, I thought I was the one being wronged . And , in many
ways, I am. I have experienced violence, violence that straight white women on this campus will
never feel. At the beginning , I think I was asking questions about pleasure because the sex I was
having in hookup culture made me feel unseen, unimportant. It was a dulling ofconnection. To use
Jensen 's terms , I wanted to feel fully human. I thought I could do that by embedding myself more
in the system , by fucking more socially powerful men, by becoming more attractive , by beating the
system. Yet, Jensen argues "to be fully human is to reject a system that conditions your pleasure on
someone else's pain" (Jensen 2005: xx). Literally, my pleasure , my sexual pleasure is contingent on a
system that further perpetuates white supremacy.

To pull it all together , in a lot of ways , this thesis is a call to white women , especially white straight
women. While I do not identify as straight or as a cis-gender woman , I still loop myself into this
category of white woman because of the way that my body is perceived on campus. I've spent all
year shifting through their stories, our stories and I have seen experiences of violence, often terrible
violence. Yet, there is also extreme silence . There is a fear to speak up for ourselves and for others.
Look , I'm not trying to argue that the blame for all of the violence that is a result of hookup culture
falls on white women . No. This is a system , we are merely a part ofit . However, we can and have to
do better. We are centering our own narratives, not questioning beyond our own embodied experiences . There is an imperative to think beyond the self, to understand our own culpability.
There's something I hear all of the time from other white women that usually goes something like
George is kind ofracist (or involved in an organization that puts Xanax in the punch or may have
sexually assaulted someone or isn't nice) but there are so few men to fuck , so I'm gonna fuck him
anyways. I say it too. We think that by sleeping with men who do violent things, we are only hurting
ourselves . This isn't true. All of our actions within this system have a larger impact . Foucault writes ,
"where there is power , there is resistance , and yet , or rather consequently , this resistance is never
in a position of exteriority in relation to power " (Foucault 1975: 95). To resist, push back , disrupt the
system , we shift where power sits, we shift even our culpability in violence.

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For me, th is all comes back to what my professor said to me, this fall: You students think it's about
you, but it's not about you . Or, it is about you and it's also about something bigger than you. In
finishing this work, I come back to the night last April that sparked this whole process . That night
where I sat, waiting without understanding why I didn 't leave. What would it have done for me to
have pushed back? To have left that night? In terms of my life, very little. I maybe would have felt
proud , probably still hurt . But, realistically , very little. However, small transgressions are still transgressions. It would have, maybe even a little , destabilized the system, opened space for more destabilization. I'm not saying this man in himself was an overt racist , classist person, but what I am
saying is that the same system that made it normal for him to treat me as he did had tendrils in, was
a part of , a larger violence.

Everytime I come back home from break, I tell my mom all the foods that I want her to cook -adobo, seafood , lumpia, pancit , sinigang. I want to eat pompano , whole, non-filleted so that none of
the fish is wasted . I want the sinigang, with tamarind, ginger, tomatoes , and lemongrass in the broth
to give it a sharp kick . I want all the Filipino food , and I eat heartily, knowing that I won 't have access
to those foods at Colby. Even now as I write this article , I'm emotionally preparing myself for the lack
of seafood , the lack of spices , the lack of tropical fruit, and the lack of authentic Asian food at Colby.
Food is just one of the daily reminders of how I don 't belong at Colby. Dining etiquette at catered
dinners makes me miss eating at my family parties, where everyone is free to eat with their hands
and be intimate with the food and each other. When I am sitting in a class of white-majority students,
I can already assume that most people their don't understand what it means to be a FilipinoAmerican from a low-income urban city, and the burden falls on me to educate everyone .
I wonder if I'm supposed to belong at all.
I think back to the history of this college. Colby College was built in the early 1800s in
Waterville, Maine. It has, since its founding, focused on providing education to rich, white men from
Massachusetts, and then in 1873, opened its doors to providing education to rich, white women.
At Colby's core, from the decision to build the college on a hill away from the townspeople who
were not of the same elite class , from its function to serve mainly rich, white students not local to
Waterville , to the destruction of the land to cut down trees and make way for an obnoxious amount
of lawn-cut grass , to the fact that most of the native Watervillians at Colby College are not of the
administration or the student body, but the workers, the dining hall staff and PPD -- are deeply
rooted issues of classism and racism.
I think about the measures I would have to take in order to "fit in" at Colby. I would have
to buy a two thousand dollar Canada Goose coat . I would have to play a sport or be interested in
sports . I would have to learn racism enough to be able to write about it in an essay but not actually
be able to apply it to my daily life. I would turn a blind eye to how Wall Street colonizes the Global
South and dream of working at JP Morgan.
Or, I could have a conscience . I can care about how queer, POC, disabled , low-income,
international folks lack support and join students organizations that are giving that support. I can
push my peers to think deeper about racism , classism , and imperialism and to imagine a life that is
better for them than what Colby has to offer.

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An Open Love Letter to my fellow Queer and Trans students of color
Hello my lovelies,
So you 've decided to come to Colby. First of all, I'd like to say congratulations in the most sincere
way. You've broken down walls and have combated institutions that weren 't to hold people like you
and I. And you 've landed here, at Colby College . However, as a queer student of color , there 's much
more to surviving Colby than just showing up and going to classes.
Those institutions that you've overcome so far still exist and at Colby , it's like they 're on steroids.
The reality is that this school doesn 't provide enough resources for its students , specifically POC ,
and specifically queer and trans POC. They bring in innovative and hopeful students like you , who
have amazing potential , but then fail to follow through to ensure your safety and well-being. There 's
something wrong with an institution when you have individuals from the administration advocating
for a new cobblestone pathway in front of Marylow, but there never seems to be enough funds for
access to basic necessities like clean drinking water in East and West.
I can keep ranting about Colby forever , but I wanted to take this time and space to acknowledge
your presence and let you know that community IS out there , it exists somewhere in this frozen,
white wonderland that you've entered . You'll find it in the randomest of places , you 'll find it in
professors, and you'll find it in your friends. When you see it, make sure that you hold on it and foster
it. During the times that you feel small and invisible, know that others have come before you and are
rooting for your success ; I know I am.
You deserve to be here, just as much as everyone else. Your spirit knows no bounds so never let
anyone stifle your flame. Make sure to take up space, laugh the kind of laugh that takes your breath
away, and never shy away from yourself.
Even though this institution doesn 't hold a space for you , carve your name on that shiny, new
cobblestone pathway.
The question that we ask ourselves coming in is, can we have it all? Can we survive those
unforgivably homophobic winters , sashay up Miller Steps in 6-inch stilettos , while fanning ourselves
with a $280,000 degree ... AND still have perfect hair?
Yes, we can.
I'm about to , and I never thought that I would.
Let 's paint this Ivory tower because who the fuck said white was a primary color?
With much love,
Ya girl Kris <3
I wrote this piece for the Black and Brown femmes before me who have paved the way for me to be
here, to the ones that currently hold me up , and to the ones who will eventually be in my place . I see

To be clear, this is an experience I went through mostly alone, and the details I know are stuck in the time of my short exposure
to EA (in the very beginning of November 2017, my sophomore fall).
In the last few days of October 2017, a friend of m ine who I tru sted , began to let me know about a group on campus ded icated
to 'chang ing Colby for the better.' He thoug ht I would be a good addition to this group . He told me the group was secret and he
couldn't te ll me m uch more about it; I just had to go to a meeting. Stupid me, I should have put the pieces toget her the n. I asked
why it was a secret. My friend said that the group believed it was beneficial to be able to take a step back from commotions on
campus to focus on robust solutions for our entire campus community.
I was intri gued by this group, although quite suspicious. I thought it would be something invo lving folding chairs in a low-key
room on campus. As directed by my frien d, I followed the directions of a text I got from an unknow n num ber to be behind
Diamond at 10pm (maybe 9, maybe 8, sometime at night). I was picked up by someone I knew and was take n on a long drive
(asked to reflect on my Colby expe rience in the back seat in silence), with a unnerving stop for about 10 m inutes at a parking lot
somewhere to the west of campus. I was the only one besides my peer 'd river' in the car. The dr ive ended on a dirt dr iveway in a
heavily fo rested area, I didn't know where I was, and at that point I was gett ing kind of scared. After the person who got me into
this came to my car seat and wa rned me that I was going to be blindfolded, I was blindfolded and led dow n the dirt driveway
into a cabin. On the way, I only heard the voices of what I perceived to be cis-men, which I was righ t about. During that walk, I
realized that I had made a grave mistake. Once in the cabin, I was sat down on a couch. There was so meone also sitting next
to me. We were (the people on the couch) addressed as "Ge ntle men," and we were told to take our bli ndfol ds off and stare into
the fire that was in front of us. By the fireplace was a man sitting on a chair w ith his back t urned to us. This man (who was a well
know n campus 'leade r' in the class of 2018) continued to give a dramat ic and om inou s speech about how we were "the light "
that was carrying this campus forward, a group of gentlemen dedicated to bettering thei r community (somet hing along those
lines). It was so pathetic, I almost burst out laughing, but I was also pretty scared of w hatever was going on. We were told that,
if we accepted th is offer to be a part of "E rosop hian Adelphi" (EA for short), we should light the candle that was placed in our
hands earlier with the fireplace fire. Although we were offered an out with no questions, I was too scared to make a scene, so I
lit my candle with my fellow recruitees, telling myse lf that I would get out of whatever this was as soon as I got back to campus.
Once we lit the light that we supposedly were, a group of men (probabl y around 15 of them) w ho we re standing behind the
couch we we re seated on the entire time, revealed themselves by beginning to clap and cheer. They introduced themselves as
the men of "Ero sop hian Adelphi." We we re meant to mingle and meet our fellow 'gen tlemen.' There was cheese, champagne,
orange juice, and maybe crackers. Usually I am the one to inha le any food at a social event, but this t ime I didn't eat that much.
Maybe like one slice of cheese. As I looked around nervously while all the men mingled, I realized I was in the COC cabin. I was
informed by my new frat members that the re wou ld be a retreat in two weeks time at whic h alumni of EA would also be present.
We we re told to begin making up lies to tell our friends about w here we would be going that weekend . I was also introduced to
the really mean ingfu l custom of intro ducing fellow EA men in public by saying, "this is _, he's a really great guy!" The event
eventually wrapped up, and we were driven back to campus (to my utte r relief).
Over the next week, I spoke respectf ully with the person who got me into this about w hy I didn't want to be a part of it. He
continued to try and convince me, asking me to think about it more, and give it a litt le t ime. He reasoned w ith the benefits of
having a great alumni netwo rk for jobs , having a safe space to unpack healthy mascu linity, and just having a group of "really
great guys." Each group member was also meant to ta ke on a project each semester dedicated to changing campus/the
comm unity for the "bette r." During this week, I was sent the informat ion for a secret email address I wo uld hold to communicate
all things EA (I never logged on). After about a week I think, th is person finally gave up , and swore me to secrecy on the
existe nce of Erosophian Adelphi. I haven't had any exposure since, so I don't know anything about the current state of the
I stayed silent for a long ti me out of an unco nfirmed fear that if I were to say something, the members of EA woul d do something
to me. I think the y are pathetic, but many of the people I saw in that room or found out were a part of it held positions of power
on campus. I apologize that I did stay silent, I'm done with that now.
This group of tox ic men thought they were the saviors of this camp us. They have the privilege to remove themselves from the
issues of campus into a literal frat, in whic h they believe the y can forge healt hy masc ulinity safe from th ose who challenge
them. In which they completely disregard the hard work that so many members of campus are already doing so that they can
congratulate the mselves and build even more tox ic egos that are dangerously present in structures of power on campus. In
which they refuse to see themselves as part of the problem and continue to elevate themselves. They are pathetic but they hold
powe r that the y shouldn't.
(a Civil disc ourse post fro m Feb. 2019)

Civil Discourse is an important resource for the members of the Colby community to
discuss and respond to events that are happening on campus.
Students recount instances of bias, racism, sexism, homophobia , and ableism.

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There is a rich history of Colby students and faculty using this platform to speak out
and incite change.

At the moment, you can find the civil discourse on the bottom of the Colby Now
emails, and also online:
for a detailed history of activism and student-made student records, also check out:

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