President Brad Mortensen acknowledged the difficulties of this school year so far and showed appreciation to student organizations that have carried on in spite of restrictions during a Town Hall meeting Oct. 28.

Brad Mortensen and other Professors hold a town hall to address student concerns and announce exciting news. (Steven Clift / The Signpost)
Brad Mortensen and other professors held a town hall to address student concerns and announce exciting news. (Steven Clift / The Signpost)

Mortensen mentioned the positive reception of this year’s stay at home homecoming, in particular the socially distanced movie night on the football field, with gratitude towards those who planned and organized the event.

Mortensen highlighted the department of performing arts and their efforts to continue in spite of the inability to conduct performances in person. The department is currently working on “Crushing the Curve,” an online series exploring avenues of virtual performance.

On Oct. 15, the department presented “Crushing the Curve: Behind the Curtain,” a behind-the-scenes look at work done in preparation of the planned spring musical “Pippin.” The virtual presentation contained interviews with the performers and crew, pre-pandemic rehearsal footage and some scenes of the show being performed with stylized costume-matching face-masks.

“Pippin” was originally planned at WSU for April 3 to April 11.

The next presentation will be “Crushing the Curve: Alice,” a dark comedy radio play offered via live stream Nov. 5, 6, and 7. Orchesis Dance Theater will present “Dancing in the Stream” via livestream on Nov. 21. Tickets are free on the performing arts page at the WSU site.

“Instead of scrolling through whatever streaming service you might have,” Mortensen said. “Students should explore what fellow students at the performing arts center has to offer.”

The president also addressed another challenging part of 2020 beyond social restrictions: anxiety surrounding the election. He reminded students, faculty and staff that there is a ballot drop box outside of the Stewart Library if anyone needs to drop off a last-minute vote.

“This is a very divisive time in our country, for a lot of reasons,” Mortensen said. “Regardless of who is selected to be president for the next term, there will almost certainly be considerable unrest on one side of the political aisle or another.”

He urged mutual respect between opposing political views on campus.

“As an institution of higher education, if we can’t find constructive ways to talk about our democracy, I don’t know who we expect to do that,” he said.

The next Town Hall will focus on the university’s strategic planning and will be held virtually on Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. Student voices at Town Hall meetings are welcome and encouraged.

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