The idea behind Scripps Presents is fantastic, and I truly appreciate that the college has brought so many influential and interesting people to the campus for students to meet and listen to. These events give students the amazing opportunity to interact with our role models in a more intimate setting and learn from them directly.
Unfortunately, these events have not been as effective as they could have been due to the poor choices in interviewers and questions asked. Rather than learning new things geared specifically toward them, students have had to hear the same information about the guests that they could have learned on the internet because the interviewers have been inadequate.
Angela Davis: January 28th, 2016
The conversation with Angela Davis was an absolute mess, as most people know first-hand or via the many campus articles about it. The interviewer was very disrespectful because they continuously pushed Davis to answer strange, overly personal questions and would not stop interrupting her until students finally protested this rudeness.
Moreover, many of the questions she asked pertained to information about Davis that anyone could have found on Wikipedia. Rather than ask about general biographical information, the interviewer should have asked about topics that the students could relate to, such as student activism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and prison reform, since everyone in Core 1 was required to read the speaker's book, "Are Prisons Obsolete?"
Luckily, Davis made up for the interviewer's failures with her own wisdom and intellect. If it had been anyone other than the magnificent Angela Davis, the event would have been a complete disaster.
Nancy Pelosi: February 18th, 2016
The conversation with Nancy Pelosi was actually quite decent, although I wish there had been more student questions. Moreover, I wish that the interviewer had been a bit more politically radical. That way, the interviewer could have challenged Pelosi more and made the event exciting rather than focus on generic questions about her policies.
A spiced-up dialogue would have been interesting, especially if the interviewer had called out Pelosi’s emphasis on equating women with family and her overall fixation with all things familial. However, overall, this event was okay and the outside protests added some drama. I did enjoy the tidbits where Pelosi struggled to not directly support any Democratic candidate.
Anita Sarkeesian: March 10th, 2016
I had high hopes for the conversation with Anita Sarkeesian, yet once more I was disappointed. The majority of it was Sarkeesian’s presentation on sexism in pop culture, particularly in action films and video games. This part was alright, but the majority of the information I already knew. After all, this is Scripps College, a school filled with many educated young feminists.
The presentation felt too much like Feminism 101, and the audience was already beyond that level. The interview was an absolute mess. The professor interviewing Sarkeesian kept asking her strange, vague and convoluted questions that the guest couldn’t even answer properly. The system the interviewer was using in terms of questioning was very confusing to both the audience and Sarkeesian.
The whole thing became suddenly quite boring and superfluous. The interviewer took her sweet time with her strange questions, leaving only a few minutes for student inquiries. The whole thing would have been much better if there had been questions about Sarkeesian’s personal experiences, her situation with Gamer Gate and her advice to college feminists.
Also, the interviewer asked very little about Sarkeesian's work for Feminist Frequency and her upcoming projects. Moreover, the students felt robbed since only a couple of their questions, which should have taken priority, were answered.
Overall, these events have not met students' expectations, and Scripps needs to do better in terms of finding decent interviewers. These conversations were meant for students, yet there has not been enough student involvement.
It would be interesting to have one or a few of our students -- especially one involved with journalism -- interview the guests, because the questions would be more likely to pertain to student interests. More importantly, emphasize the student Q&A session and answer more audience questions! This will create a stronger connection between the guest and the students, which will only be beneficial to both parties.
Scripps Presents needs to do more to involve students in these events and find better interviewers in order to create a worthwhile learning experience.