Nature Outings At Bates College Are Denounced As “White Privilege”

300px-Seal_Bates_College.svgBates College is one of the oldest colleges in New England (and the first to grant a degree to a woman). It has a great legacy and reputation.  As is unlikely to surprise many on this blog, one of my favorite things about Bates is its annual AESOP experience, or the Annual Entering Student Outdoor Program.  The Outing Club takes first-year students into the gorgeous Maine wilderness for a 4-day, 3-night trip.  I was saddened therefore to see an editorial by Justice Geddes in The Bates Student, where he attacked the tradition as an exercise of “white privilege.  The article has caused a backlash among conservatives.

The program as billed as an introduction to Bates and the environment that is so closely associated with the school and graduates.

However, in an article entitled “Aesop and the Outing Club Are Made of White Privilege,” Geddes took exception.

An outdoor expedition that’s part of Bates College’s freshman orientation, and the student group that runs it, recently came under fire from one student critic who accused them of perpetuating “white privilege” and “prehistoric policies regarding gender.”

Geddes, the layout editor of the The Bates Student, authored a piece in which she condemned the annual AESOP experience, or the Annual Entering Student Outdoor Program, and the group that runs it, the Outing Club.

“Many of us have heard AESOP horror stories; friends and peers had AESOP experiences they wouldn’t care to relive, and in my experience, many of those friends are those who inhabit marginalized identities. Women of color on white-majority hiking trips that are entirely made of microaggressions, queer first-years surrounded by straight people making eyes at each other across canoes, or simply geeks forced into a beach camping trip despite social anxiety–these experiences, while not at all equatable, are somewhat parallel.”

The column further asks “Why couldn’t there be an AESOP dedicated to anti-racist activism in Lewiston? Why isn’t there a trip focused on queer identity formation in tabletop role-playing games?”

The objections suggest that somehow nature outings are white-oriented or exclusionary events.  The opposite is true.  We can all find common ground in nature — connecting to something that transcends identity politics and divisions.  Indeed, hiking has been embraced as a transformative experience by minority groups, women, and urban kids.  Moreover, as we have previously discussed, hiking has been found to have tremendous psychological benefits.  The Japanese called it “forest bathing” and as a lifelong backpacker and hiker, I can attest the impact of being in nature can face on stress and mood.  With schools dealing with rising levels of depression, hiking has been found as effective or more effective than medication.  It appears to have a lasting impact on brain operations with a pronounced impact on depression.

I truly hope that Bates does not yield to such misplaced characterizations and continues this wonderful tradition.  Indeed, I could not read Geddes’ column without thinking “Geez, this person needs a long hike in the Maine woods.”  That is not to say that nature resonates with everyone, but, for those who vehemently oppose such excursions, the problem often rests not within Nature but the nature of the critic.

113 thoughts on “Nature Outings At Bates College Are Denounced As “White Privilege””

  1. The student making all this fuss has lost their mind and has no sense of reality. Bates is a College in Maine that’s over 85% White, and hiking is a popular activity. Hell, they have a small mountain top on campus (Mount David).

    I’d love to give this student a pair of boots, a rucksack and hike them up into the White Mountains for three days and nights and then ask them how ‘privileged’ they feel at the end of it.

    And if this student wants a “queer identity formation in tabletop role-playing game” student group, all the more power to them. But they should stop whining, get off their ass and start one. If there’s enough interest, I’m sure Bates have enough cash to fund the dice and rule books.

    Whiny crap like this makes me embarrassed to be from Maine. People in New England, of all races, sexual orientations and creeds, aspire to be accepted to Bates. If someone doesn’t like going to Bates, I’m sure they can go to any other College or University they like anywhere else in the country.

    1. Whiny crap like this makes me embarrassed to be from Maine.

      The perpetrator is from Montana and has spent about 12 months living in Maine.

        1. Her father is from Oregon. Her parents moved from Bozeman to Eugene to Seattle and then back to Bozeman. She was born on one side or the other of the move from Bozeman to Eugene and was four when they returned to Bozeman. I’d wager the family was pretty impecunious until she was school age.


    The student’s name is Justice Geddes. The commenters are not adverse to roasting her. She’s not the most perspicacious of young women. It’s not merely that she doesn’t understand the difference between affluence (fairly common among college students) and privilege (not common). It doesn’t seem to occur to her that if she finds the presence of the children of the professional-managerial bourgeoisie and the children of the patriciate to be ‘revolting’, enrolling at a private college with a certain amount of cachet is rather unclear on the concept.

    It should be noted that this girl is the daughter of Devlan Geddes and Dusti Borsheim. Devlan Geddes practices law in a small partnership he founded in Bozeman, Montana. Bozeman’s a college town. It’s a reasonable wager that about 40% of Bozeman’s population are stakeholders of Montana State University: students, employees, pensioners, and family members thereof, along with a few alumni like Devlan Geddes and Dusti Borsheim. College towns are pleasant places (except for the post-adolescent vomit on the sidewalk), because the sort of people who work in higher education (who to be sure have many shortcomings) are the sort who build and maintain pleasant places. It’s a reasonable wager Justice had a pretty congenial upbringing. Her mother and father gave her their youth (they were 24 and 27 when she was born) and gave her two younger siblings, and gave her a life about as far away from an urban slum as you can get. Then she enrolls in college in Lewiston, Me.

    If this ‘privilege’ is so disgusting to this child of a college town’s professional class, WTF is she doing at Bates College instead of enrolling at one of Montana’s excess population of state schools (like, you know, the one her parents attended?)? What’s she doing in college at all? Go to Boise, find a roommate, get a crummy service job, and see if you can land a service job at a local hospital and work your way up. Hospitals often have tuition benefit programs, so you can take course at a local school and learn bookkeeping. That’s a path which will keep you away from privileged people. What do revealed preferences say about Justice?

    1. DSS – Bozeman is a town with a university, unlike Tempe, AZ which is a university with a town attached (ASU). There are several ‘private’ colleges she could go to in MT if she wanted. The real problem is that all these SJW moved into Bozeman and Missoula (the two university towns) from other states. They have no ‘feel’ for the West. No one who went to my high school in Miles City, MT would have written that editorial, they would have led the hike.

      1. Where were you yesterday, Paul? You have to check in with the blawg at least once a day. Otherwise people start in to worrying.

        P. S. So you took a hike yesterday; did you?

        1. Diane – you are capable of seeing if I was here yesterday. I would posit that you are not being attentive.

          1. Dr. Benson would posit that I wasn’t paying attention. Paul C. Schulte would simply say so. If you were here yesterday, then you must’ve been on one of the older threads. It’s about the same as taking a hike.

              1. Two PCS posts on the GoFundMe thread from yesterday. One PCS post on the D’Amato thread from yesterday. The remainder must have been on threads older than yesterday.

                1. Diane – wasn’t much to say on either of those threads as far as I was concerned.

      2. Her father grew up in a little town outside Eugene, Oregon. Eugene’s the locus of the University of Oregon, but it has a life apart from it. Her father has a hard-science degree and her mother studied agriculture. I’ll wager they’re mainstream bourgeois.

    2. Nii asked, “What do revealed preferences say about Justice?”

      Uh . . . I’m guessing the correct answer is . . . dilettante? Maybe she should start a Bates College Chapter of The Hasty Pudding Club.

    3. Laura Ingraham’s advertisers have bailed- portends the future.
      How much are the Russian people willing to sacrifice for their oligarchy to disrupt the U.S., when those citizens have to spend 50% of their paychecks on food? Their government tells them the solution to the problem is to eat less. American conservatives share Putin’s sentiment, agenda and Republican politicians.

      1. How much are the Russian people willing to sacrifice for their oligarchy to disrupt the U.S., when those citizens have to spend 50% of their paychecks on food?

        Uh, Linda, Russia’s gross domestic product in nominal terms is about $1.3 tn dollars. I don’t think the Russian consumer is going to miss piddling sums spent on internet trolls.

  3. Professor Turkey, as a GW grad, all I can say is, thank God you’re on the faculty there. A voice of reason among all the nonsense that occurs on the campus these days.

  4. This sort of idiocy would be of no consequence (and not even offered) if it did not reflect the views of the student affairs apparat. The trustees and the college president own this situation. All they have to do is can some of the office plankton in the student affairs apparat and tell the dean of students that this stops or you’re next. Of course, they will do nothing.

          1. Why not re-learn spelling? I’m sure one of the less far gone residents can help you.

  5. Seems like Geddes doesn’t want to end the AESOP tradition as segregate it – one outing for women, one for LGBT, one for geeks, one for whatever other minority wants one, and one for white males. I wonder what Geddes’ position would be if Greek societies on campus (or any other campus organizations) were similarly segregated.

    1. She’s on Twitter. From her few tweets, I’d wager she fancies herself a tribune of the homosexual population (or, she’s taken up lesbianism as an avocation).

    1. Of course that’s when a man and a woman had no problem being a man or a woman, they weren’t afraid and needing of a “safe space”, they didn’t kneel when the flag and national anthem played, they were able to take their lumps in life and still rise above, didn’t blame the NRA or second amendment for their peers action’s, respected law and order, respected a duly elected president regardless of his party, a time when illegal aliens were shipped back and knew very well how dangerous Socialist and Communist. I could go on and on but I think your link say’s it all.

      1. Like the conservatives treated Obama per Mitch McConnell, we won’t let the duly elected President (winning both public and electoral vote) achieve anything and we will dismantle everything he did while in office.
        Concentrated wealth is destroying the economy and the oligarchy corrupting the political process to favor the richest 0.1% e.g. carried interest for hedge fund managers and extended patents for the tech tyrants..

            1. We’re all protected from the tenacious tyranny of Russian internet trolls. Viva Mueller!

  6. When these nitwits are going to leave campus someday, will they need counseling to help them cope with the real world?

    1. There might not be a “real” world if this jack*#* and some of those truants in DC have their way.

    2. They are going to change the real world to their reality. Simple as that. It’s the plan.

    3. They already do, they see therapists while at school. A great many of them are on medication, too. It appears to be mainly an affliction of the bourgeoise class of students, as well. It’s yet more of the fragility and entitlement phenomenon. It goes beyond simple naivite or youthful arroggance, a lot of these kids are straight-up damaged goods. The real world will eat them alive.

    1. It’s clear that if some of Turley’s commenters went along on the outings, their behavior would be as thuggish as the young man described.

      1. Linda – if you and I both went, it would be my pleasure to show the ways of the wilds (such as they are on the East Coast).

      2. It’s clear you don’t understand non-pathological people, or know many of them.

          1. No, just being observant. Those of us not addled by dementia can still do that.

    1. She. She isn’t a racist. I’ve doxxed her. The smart money says she’s been as carefully nurtured as anyone in this very affluent country in this child-centered age. Yet, somehow, what germinates is not an appreciation of the world around her but recrimination against it.

  7. Like I have said many times bring back the draft. Let’s see how 4 or 5 days living in a bunker take care of all his BS. Most those attending college today have no idea why they are there, hence the reason there are no jobs for them.

    1. First to sign up- Cadet Trump (Jared Kushner and Mnuchin), whose bone spurs and million dollar inheritance did nothing to stop him from conning America for himself and Russia.

      1. Cadet Trump (Jared Kushner and Mnuchin), whose bone spurs

        He received a perfectly ordinary I-Y deferment. About 12% of those who reported for induction physicals received them, or over 200,000 young men a year. He was sent to the back of the queue. You could be recalled for another physical in as little as 90 days. A year-and-a-half later, the draft lottery was instituted, and he drew number 356, and nobody with a number that high was ever going to be called in for another physical.

        and million dollar inheritance

        His father died in 1999. Donald Trump was already megarich and had been for some time. His net worth surpassed his father’s some time prior to 1982. His father contributed the capital for his foundational real estate developments in 1974.

      2. Linda-What about you, or did you run off to Canada. I love you weenies who hide behind their keyboard criticize, talk, take and wouldn’t lift a finger for this nation.

        1. One thing I”ll mention I don’t cheat on my federal taxes. I pay willingly for the country to be a beacon of democracy. The dimming of that light is worth fighting against. What do Trump’s tax returns show?

    2. She’s female. Not a proper candidate for compulsory military service.

        1. Nothing ‘happened’ to it. It never existed and no one wanted it.

        2. David Benson – yes, what happened to it? And in an effort to equal things out I think more women than men should be drafted until the numbers are equal.

  8. I was out there in the same woods and heard some guy say, quite loud: Where da White women at?

  9. This is more ridiculous nonsense that doesn’t deserve the “ink” that it takes to type it out here. This type of folderol has no more staying power than a pansy fart, and even less impact on the real world. I suspect it’s posted here to keep the mouth-breathers in hyperventilization mode.

    1. Feeds the base like the conspiracy sites that are now blanketing the fake news cycle with a story about Tom Malloch. Malloch’s pattern of lying (Wikipedia) explains why Trump chose him for campaign advice.

    2. I suspect it’s posted here to keep the mouth-breathers in hyperventilization mode.

      He hyperventilates.

    1. From The Free Dictionary:

      (in South Africa) n
      (Government, Politics & Diplomacy)
      a. (during apartheid) an Afrikaner Nationalist who opposed any changes toward liberal trends in government policy, esp relating to racial questions

      b. (as modifier): verkrampte politics.
      Compare verligte
      [C20: from Afrikaans (adj), literally: restricted]

      1. verligte in British (fəˈləxtə)

        noun (in South Africa)

        a. (during apartheid) a person of any of the White political parties who supported liberal trends in government policy

        b. (as modifier) verligte politics

        Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

  10. Rather than the Maine wilderness, perhaps the next nature outing should be a safari in Africa. Then the “marginalized” people of color would feel right at home!

  11. White liberals eventually are going to learn that minorities usually aren’t into organic food, bike paths or going to the symphony. They are strictly into the “gibs”.

  12. Can I just say that Stupid is as stupid does. There is no logic to the author’s argument.

  13. Wow!, All these fool’s cheese has slide off the collective crackers. It’s far past time for them to finest their lobotomy.


      1. Okay 1’s photo reflects the tyranny of the minority who currently run the country- America’s richest 400 families. The U.S. is the most incarcerated population in the world-the result of the Koch’s ALEC. For the same crime, Black people receive sentences 20% longer.
        The plot of both Russians and conservatives is to destabilize the country. The Kochs, in their 80’s, who are nearing death want to take America down, which matches Putin’s goal. The Kochs’ rejection of a founding national principle- majority rule, minority rights proves they are unAmerican.

Comments are closed.