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No Swimming
College pulls plug on senior "tradition" of swimming across Johnson Pond; two students take the plunge.
   
 

New at the Helm
Colby's Randy Helm takes over presidency at Muhlenberg College.

   
 

Game Face
Colby and President William Bro Adams figure prominently in Reclaiming the Game, a book about the impact of sports on Division III colleges.

   
 

On Dry Land
Linda Greenlaw '83, swordfish boat captain and bestselling author, speaks on books and boats., a book about the impact of sports on Division III colleges.

   
 

One for Kasser
Jeff Kasser (philosophy) receives the Bassett Teaching Award.

   
 

Kasser's Speech
Read Professor Kasser's speech to the Class of 2003.

   
 

C3 Project
Environmental Studies project takes hard look at College's emissions, finds solutions in "offset" system.

   
  Wit and Wisdom
What we're saying, and where we're saying it.
   

care package: janice kassman immersed in students triumphs and tragedies

By Stephen Collins '74

Janice Kassman
Members of the Class of 2002 turn the shore of Johnson Pond into a morass on the last day of classes their senior year. The accompanying swim across the pond was banned by the College this year, though the scene on the shoreline was comparable to years past.

The last-day-of-classes celebratory swim by seniors across Johnson Pond, which had gained popularity in recent years, got cold water poured on it this May. Two seniors were fined $1,000 each for swimming across the pond on May 9 during revelry associated with last classes and a champagne toast on the library steps. The pair defied a notice from Vice President for Student Affairs Janice Kassman, who warned seniors in April that swimming across the pond had become too much of a safety concern.

As punishment for lesser infractions, mostly being in the water without swimming across, eight other students were assigned community service work, helping the Physical Plant Department prepare for graduation.

In each of several recent years, a hundred or more seniors had made the swim, many after having consumed alcohol and some seriously intoxicated. Each year the Health Center records a spike in admissions for lacerations and intoxication on the day of the event, and some students who made the swim in past years went to the Health Center later with symptoms of swimmer's itch. This year one student was transported to the local emergency room after breaking her arm in a fall, and five others were treated at the Health Center for cuts or for intoxication. Environmental damage in and around the pond is a secondary concern.

Kassman's primary reason for outlawing the swim, however, was danger of drowning, she said. With the likelihood of scores or hundreds of students in the pond, some impaired, and with the muddy water opaque with sediment churned up by foot traffic, there was simply too much risk of loss of life to permit the swim to continue, she said.

Seniors spent a long time cheering, spraying champagne and toasting their imminent graduation before more than 200 headed for the banks of the pond. All but a few made a false charge at the water. Some used the opportunity to wallow and wrestle in the mud.

Kassman said some students expressed their appreciation for the ban, but others were miffed at the new restrictions. "For the last three years at least I have been treated like a child. I have not been treated like an adult at all," Dan Parise '03 told the Waterville Morning Sentinel.

"On balance," said Kassman, "I was pleased with the students' response. Aside from a handful, they were respectful of the changes and understood the need for them." She says she will work with class leaders and security on alternative celebrations for future classes.

 


FEATURES:

Going Places
The Colby College Museum of Art has grown steadily in stature over the
past four decades. Lynne Moss Perricelli '95 looks at the museum's past,
present, and future.

Pride and Prejudice
Gay Colby students are demanding more visibility and inclusion in the
College community. Colby details their concerns, and those of
students who think the gay community has gone too far.

Colby Green
Construction begins for The Colby Green, the centerpiece of the
College's most significant expansion in a half-century.

All that Jazz
Vinnie Martucci '77 composes and improvises to make a life in music

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