We’re Grateful, but We Still Have No Heat

Barbara Walters ’51 poses with President Karen Lawrence at last year’s commencement Ceremony on the North Lawn via  sarahlawrence.edu  

Barbara Walters ’51 poses with President Karen Lawrence at last year’s commencement Ceremony on the North Lawn
via sarahlawrence.edu 

In the midst of the Internet’s crisis over “The Dress” (for the record, I still see it as white and gold), the Sarah Lawrence community had its own social media crisis to contend with: Barbara Walters’ $15 million donation towards the brand new student center that President Karen Lawrence has been so adamant about.

One might think that this is not something to complain about—darn, $15 million is a nice chunk of change. But, in typical SLC fashion, there is always something wrong with everything. Students took to Facebook almost immediately after the e-mail announcement to denounce the allocation of the money, reasoning that it is silly to put $15 million towards the construction of a brand new building on campus when their are so many other things on campus that require financial attention.

For example, many quoted issues like the lack of attention given to handicap accessibility on campus, the abysmally poor heating in the new dorms, and the school’s ever-increasing debt—and for good reason. These are all probably much more fiscally responsible routes for the school to take.

Jake Rickman ‘16, who is studying abroad at Oxford this semester, was one of the first to critique the school’s usage of the money: “I am concerned about the long-term efficacy of such a donation, especially as it relates to the more structural issues of our college’s financial situation” he said. Specifically, that our debt rating is at a BBB- right now, and a $15 million donation could do a lot to help alleviate that situation.

But, what most students do not understand is how huge donations work. It is not up to the school to decide what to do with the money—it is up to the donator. So, even if the school wanted to (which we are pretty sure it does not), it could not reallocate the funds to, say, buy the kids in Garrison some space heaters. Furthermore, $15 million does not even cover half of the projected $35 million that it will cost the school to build the student center.

While many lament the aches and pains of their dorm lives, most are in agreement that SLC could use a community center. Ricksman added, “I look forward to the future classes of SLC having a community center in which they can hang out and get to know each other. I do think SLC is in dire need of such a place.”

There were a few posts where students wrote things that were specifically antagonistic towards Barbara Walters herself. Oliver Kinkel ‘17 was pretty vocal on Facebook for his distaste for the student body’s reaction on the date of the formal announcement: “It’s not that I think a student center is our highest priority, I don’t. I just don’t think it’s productive or appropriate to complain about a donation. Barbara Walters isn’t obligated to donate at all, let alone to a specific fund that the students feel is most beneficial,” he explained. He went on to add, “Students should be outspoken about how the school organizes its money, not what celebrity alums choose to donate it towards.”

When big names donate money, it helps convince more alumni to also donate. If the school receives more donations from alumni, it could become eligible for more federal funding (you know the smoking ban that everyone is so vehemently against? SLC will receive money from the government for going smoke-free so good luck trying to get that overthrown). Compounded, these sources of money could potentially solve a lot of the school’s problems a few years down the line. 

Do not get us wrong: we are so, so grateful for Walters’ commitment to improving the community at Sarah Lawrence, and the financial gift that she has given us. The student center is going to be amazing! Regardless, given the state of the school’s dorms, the unwillingness of the administration to increase the wages of operation workers, and the state of the school’s debt, spending money to build a fancy new building feels inappropriate, even if it is a ploy to attract more donations. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig—and the new student center feels a lot like lipstick.

by Wade Wallerstein ‘17

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Letter to the Editor: G. Tod Slone of The American Dissident

Last week, I received a rather curious Letter to the Editor from a G. Tod Slone, aka P. Maudit, who is the founding editor of The American Dissident, "a journal of literature, democracy, and dissidence." In it, he asked me to publish a political cartoon that he originally published on wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com that depicts SLC professor Marie Howe. The cartoon, his letter, and a second cartoon that he sent me afterwards are below:

P. Maudit

P. Maudit

One of your professors, Marie Howe, is lampooned in a P. Maudit cartoon (see http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2014/08/marie-howe.html).  The message in the cartoon is a clearly stipulated pro-democracy one that should be of value to students at Sarah Lawrence.  Thus, publish it… or get off the journalist track and find another profession or activity!  Journalism is rotting away in America, as PC becomes more and more favored by journalists over truth, fact, and reason!  Hopefully, your minds have not been infected. 

Moreover, how can any journalist or student journalist accept without question or challenge the existence of a college literary journal accepting student submissions only if of a particular race?   “Dark Phrases is an annual literary publication featuring the artistic work of students, faculty, and staff of color.”  So, if I were a student, white, Asian, or autochtonous, at Sarah Lawrence, my work would be rejected on the simple basis of my skin color.  Bravo!  How does that possibly jive with MLK’s desire for a color-blind society?  Is it not mind-numbing… or perhaps rather a question of fully numbed minds? Now, why not help calm MLK, who’s evidently rolling in his grave at the notion of a race-based literary journal, by exposing it for what it is:  racist!  Wow, has it really gotten that bad in higher education?  Well, apparently it has at Sarah Lawrence! 

Finally, why not get your librarian to subscribe to The American Dissident (only $20/year), which DOES NOT have a race-based submission acceptance policy.  Look forward to hearing from you, though I’m quite used to the deafening silence. 

G. Tod Slone. 

P. Maudit

P. Maudit

Well, Mr. Slone, the 'deafening silence' is over now I guess. You got your wish, I published your cartoons. As an editor, I'm definitely interested to see how Dark Phrases responds to his remarks.

Wade Wallerstein


Letter from the Editor: Welcome to Sarah Lawrence College

Hello Sarah Lawrence Students, new and old, and welcome to the website for The Phoenix: Sarah Lawrence’s official newspaper. We aim to provide you with up-to-date news and community information, serving as a sounding board for campus conversation—the public forum that SLC always hoped and dreamed for but never had.

All summer, the Phoenix editors have been working hard to make some major changes to the way that we report, edit, and publish the news. Expect to see updates every week online, as well as daily posts on Twitter and Facebook. We have added a new section to the paper—Sports. There you will find game scores, rosters, team updates, and more. Many thanks to the Campbell Sports Center for their continued help and support on this project in order to provide the most accurate and comprehensive sports coverage possible.

This current web issue is dedicated to new students at Sarah Lawrence. Whether you are a member of the class of 2018 or a transfer student looking to make a fresh start, these articles are for you. On our Home Page and in our features section, we have guides to make your transition into SLC life as easy as possible. Learn how to interview and register for classes, double check that you only pack essentials to make sure move-in day runs smoothly, see your new dorms, and find out about all of the student organizations on campus.

Moving to a new place is hard, and having to move-in to a college dorm and be on your own for the first time is even harder. We, the Phoenix staff, want to welcome you to our community with open arms and ensure that you have all of the tools and resources that you will need to be a success at our school. If our guides are not comprehensive enough for your inquiries, always feel free to contact us, your RA’s, or SLC faculty.

Finally, I want to remind everyone that we are ALWAYS looking for contributors to our publication. We need writers, photographers, artists, and web/graphic designers and would love to show off your talents! Whether you have years of journalistic experience or none-whatsoever, we can definitely teach you all that you need to know to be a valuable member of our team. Our paper is a place where young professionals can come and learn and grow together. If interested, please contact myself or shoot an e-mail to phoenix@gm.slc.edu. You can find our full staff roster here if you have more specific inquiries. Also, be sure to check out our table on Club Day, September 6th, on the North Lawn!

We, the Phoenix Staff, will always work tirelessly to bring you all the news that’s fit to print.


Wade Wallerstein

ig: boyratchet
twitter: b0yratchet



Welcome to The Phoenix, your newest online news source

Hello Sarah Lawrence College,

If you are reading this, then you have successfully navigated to The Phoenix Online. Welcome! We are absolutely stoked to be here and to be delivering you up-to-date news about our campus. After much ado we have finally stepped into the 21st century and upgraded our webpage, because there is way too much to talk about for just one bi-weekly newspaper.

Our goal is to publish accounts of campus events as well as to have individuals voictheir opinions and perspectives on issues spanning everything from school politics to popular cultural trends. We are not only an onlinenews source but also a space for discussing, questioning, celebrating, discovering, and exploring everything that comprises Sarah Lawrence culture and beyond.

Anyone who attends or is employed by Sarah Lawrence College may write for this publication (subject to our editing). We host meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesdays in the North Room at the pub where anyone can come to contribute content, share ideas, or just see what we're all about. We are always looking for new voices and new viewpoints.

In recent years, our print publication has fallen beneath an acceptable standard of publishing, both in terms of timeliness and presentation. Don't worry, we know—which is why all of that is about to change. This site is our first step in re-conceptualizing and restructuring a publication that the entire community can be proud of.

Other platforms have been created to fill the void that existed in a school without a proper news source. SLCspeaks is an incredible publication that allows students' stories to be shared in a way that has never before been done at this school. Its creators, managers, and writers have brought this school a sense of community that is invaluable. They redefined our notion of what it means to have a voice here. Let it be clear that we are not SLCspeaks, nor would we ever try to be.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about anything that we present or should be presenting, definitely let us know. At the bottom of each piece, there is space for you to put in your two cents and speak directly to our writers and editors. We implore you to let us, and each other, know what you think.

We want to be as transparent and accessible as possible for you. We want to start more open dialogues with you so that we can become the best we can be. All letters to the editor that we receive will be addressed timely and honestly. 

We admit that we have a long way to go before we will be the publication that this campus deserves, but think of this as The Phoenix rising out of the ashes.

Wade Wallerstein '17
Online Editor
twitter: @b0yratchet @SLCPhoenix #tweetSLC

You can communicate directly with us by visiting our Staff page 

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.