In recent months, Amherst College has hosted a highly impressive list of speakers, among them Scott Brown, Michael Steele, Frank Warren and Shaukat Aziz are especially notable. These speakers each carry with them a distinguished life’s work, and they impart much of their respectability upon the College when they choose to speak here. They bring prestige and accolade to our small college when they travel long distances to our rural Massachusetts campus and take part in events that leave a permanent mark in the memories of students and a physical print on other regional newspapers.

Once upon a time, a peasant invented the game of chess. The king was so enthralled by the game that he offered the peasant to name any reward of his choice. The peasant responded with the humble request that the king place a grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard, two grains on the second square, four on the third, and so forth, by continually doubling the amount until he had reached the 64th and last square of the board. The king readily accepted, laughing at the peasant’s naïveté. The king never arrived at the last square.

The recent report of the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct at Amherst contains some good suggestions on how to improve the disciplinary system and the delivery of psychological and medical care to victims of rape, recommendations that are already being implemented. But in one important respect, the report is seriously flawed.

A couple of days ago, a friend asked me if Puerto Rico should have statehood or not, and for me the answer was quite simple. With the progression of our communications technology, the world has become a much smaller place, and I believe that sometime in the future, though maybe not the near future, Earth will be united as one country; it is for this reason that Puerto Rico should become a part of America.

Last week two public meetings were held to address the content of the report released by the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct (SMOC). On Tuesday Feb. 5, President Carolyn “Biddy” Martin hosted a meeting in Johnson Chapel with Prof. Margaret Hunt, Chair of the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct, and Gina Smith of Ballard Spahr LLP to discuss the Oversight Committee’s report with the broader campus community.

Biology Prof. Alexandra Purdy grew up in Cape Cod, Mass. She attended the College of William and Mary for her undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry. She then took a year off and worked in Arcadia National Park in the summer before working in the Jackson Labs as a research assistant. She then completed her Ph.D. in marine biology at the Univ. of California, San Diego. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Last Friday, Winter Storm Nemo dumped snow on New England when two low-pressure systems combined to create heavy precipitation and hurricane-force winds. Amherst received 20 inches of snow between Friday night and Saturday morning, closing all college offices after 12:00 p.m., canceling many athletics games and leaving students snowbound after the 4:00 p.m. travel ban.