The Middlebury Campus

Benjy Renton

Benjy Renton, Editor at Large

Benjy Renton ’21 is Editor at Large.

He has previously served as digital director, local editor, sports editor, arts and sciences editor, features editor and a staff writer.

Renton is studying East Asian Studies and Geography at Middlebury. His studies concentrate on society, culture, history and geography. He spent the month of January studying abroad in Beijing, China.

His coverage at The Campus has previously focused on local elections, Vermont’s higher educational landscape and the gender wage gap in Vermont. Recently, Renton has been focusing on reporting on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the past few summers, Renton has spent time conducting research and working in China, focusing on the environment, travel and U.S.-China relations.

Twitter: @bhrenton

All content by Benjy Renton
Bochu Ding ’21 is a four-year member of the men’s crew team. He’s also the editor in chief of The Campus.

[Photo] Siefer’s Scoop Episode #18: Bochu Ding ’21, rower and editor in chief

May 6, 2021

Bochu Ding ’21 is a four-year member of the men’s crew team. He’s also the editor in chief of The Campus.

The BIPOC vaccination clinic will take place at the Athletics Complex tomorrow.

[Photo] News in Brief: College to host BIPOC vaccination clinic tomorrow, April 28

April 27, 2021

The BIPOC vaccination clinic will take place at the Athletics Complex tomorrow.

President Biden ordered that flags be lowered to half mast following the March 16 Atlanta spa shootings that left eight dead.

[Photo] Asian affinity groups process grief, anger after Atlanta shootings

April 15, 2021

President Biden ordered that flags be lowered to half mast following the March 16 Atlanta spa shootings that left eight dead.

Students eat dinner outside on March 9, 2020 — the day before Middlebury announced the suspension of on-campus classes because of the national Covid-19 outbreak.

[Photo] Breaking: College plans to return to majority in-person teaching, normal operations this fall

March 25, 2021

Students eat dinner outside on March 9, 2020 — the day before Middlebury announced the suspension of on-campus classes because of the national Covid-19 outbreak.

A flock of crows speckle the sky near Voter Hall.

[Photo] The murder on McCullough: Middlebury’s new avian neighbors

March 18, 2021

A flock of crows speckle the sky near Voter Hall.

In-person Language School students will follow many of the same health protocols as were in place for Middlebury undergraduates during the fall and spring terms.

[Photo] Language Schools bring eight programs back to Vermont after summer online

March 18, 2021

In-person Language School students will follow many of the same health protocols as were in place for Middlebury undergraduates during the fall and spring terms.

 Forest Hall, which currently houses upperclassmen and first-year Febs, is where Isabeau Trimble ’24.5 had their whiteboard vandalized with a homophobic slur.

[Photo] First-year Feb’s whiteboard defaced to display homophobic slur

March 4, 2021

Forest Hall, which currently houses upperclassmen and first-year Febs, is where Isabeau Trimble ’24.5 had their whiteboard vandalized with a homophobic slur.

The town of Middlebury held an informational meeting on Feb. 22 via Zoom to explain each article on the ballot and field any questions before voting on March 2.

[Photo] Addison County races to administer vaccines under evolving guidelines

March 4, 2021

The town of Middlebury held an informational meeting on Feb. 22 via Zoom to explain each article on the ballot and field any questions before voting on March 2.

Though it normally only spans one weekend, Winter Carnival will feature a full eight days of events in order to make activities accessible despite gathering size limits.

[Photo] Board of Trustees approves tuition hike, takes steps toward balanced budget

March 4, 2021

Though it normally only spans one weekend, Winter Carnival will feature a full eight days of events in order to make activities accessible despite gathering size limits.

All Covid-19 testing for students takes place in Virtue Field House.

[Photo] Breaking: Three students test positive, 16 contacts in quarantine

February 26, 2021

All Covid-19 testing for students takes place in Virtue Field House.

All Covid-19 testing for students takes place in Virtue Field House.

[Photo] Arrival-day testing finds one positive case

February 24, 2021

All Covid-19 testing for students takes place in Virtue Field House.

Karen Duagay of the Better Middlebury Partnership hopes to hold more in-person events in 2021, such as the Very Merry Middlebury event pictured here in 2019.

[Photo] Better Middlebury Partnership and Neighbors Together aid community distressed by pandemic

February 4, 2021

Karen Duagay of the Better Middlebury Partnership hopes to hold more in-person events in 2021, such as the Very Merry Middlebury event pictured here in 2019.

Campus survey finds split opinions on the fall, widespread Covid-19 violations and mental health struggles

Campus survey finds split opinions on the fall, widespread Covid-19 violations and mental health struggles

January 23, 2021

Although two-thirds of students said they did not regret their Fall 2020 enrollment decision, 76% of students said their mental health was worse during the fall semester than during a typical semester...

The Middlebury Snow Bowl opened this week without limitations on the number of skiers but with substantial changes to base camp operations.

[Photo] Despite restrictions, Snow Bowl stays positive heading into winter

December 3, 2020

The Middlebury Snow Bowl opened this week without limitations on the number of skiers but with substantial changes to base camp operations.

The college reported one new positive Covid-19 case in its second day of exit testing.

[Photo] Breaking: One student tests positive for Covid-19 on second day of exit testing

November 18, 2020

The college reported one new positive Covid-19 case in its second day of exit testing.

2 students tested positive for Covid-19 after 506 people were tested on Monday, the first positive results among students since the beginning of the semester.

[Photo] Two students test positive for Covid-19, 17 quarantined

November 17, 2020

2 students tested positive for Covid-19 after 506 people were tested on Monday, the first positive results among students since the beginning of the semester.

Spring modalities: Proportion of in-person classes to double this spring

Spring modalities: Proportion of in-person classes to double this spring

November 12, 2020
A Campus analysis of teaching plans for the spring semester found that 241 of the 518 courses — or 48% — will be offered completely in either “scheduled online” or “flexible online” modalities, with no in-person components at all. 67% of classes will be taught online in some capacity.
With election day in the rearview mirror, BIPOC students reflect on feelings of apprehension, fear, discomfort and anxiety that characterized this election and continue to define the nation.

[Photo] Students of color face increased fear as presidential election comes to a head

November 12, 2020

With election day in the rearview mirror, BIPOC students reflect on feelings of apprehension, fear, discomfort and anxiety that characterized this election and continue to define the nation.

Student participants in the Wednesday rally, including group coordinators identified by green duct tape armbands, walked from McCullough lawn to the town green carrying banners and signs.

[Photo] Middlebury residents, students mobilize in support of counting every vote

November 12, 2020

Student participants in the Wednesday rally, including group coordinators identified by green duct tape armbands, walked from McCullough lawn to the town green carrying banners and signs.

Middlebury residents cast their votes at the local polling center

[Photo] Incumbents in Vermont government largely prevail amid historic election turnout

November 12, 2020

Middlebury residents cast their votes at the local polling center

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[Photo] Election Day

November 3, 2020

The Sunderland Language Center typically houses Middlebury’s study abroad offices, but this year staff are working remotely to help students pursue language and cultural experiences virtually.

[Photo] Behind the Mead Chapel bells, carillonneur George Matthew Jr. plays for passion and protest

October 22, 2020

The Sunderland Language Center typically houses Middlebury’s study abroad offices, but this year staff are working remotely to help students pursue language and cultural experiences virtually.

All students will be invited back for the spring 2021 semester, according to an Oct. 8 announcement from the college. J-Term will be remote, and the spring semester will have a delayed start, with classes beginning March 1.

[Photo] Middlebury to hold delayed on-campus spring semester, remote J-Term

October 8, 2020

All students will be invited back for the spring 2021 semester, according to an Oct. 8 announcement from the college. J-Term will be remote, and the spring semester will have a delayed start, with classes...

Over 500 students gathered in protest at College Park last Friday.

[Photo] Can you hear us now, President Patton?

October 1, 2020

Over 500 students gathered in protest at College Park last Friday.

MiddView student leaders prepare for the arrival of new students.

[Photo] College fumbles approach to racial bias conversations during Middview

October 1, 2020

MiddView student leaders prepare for the arrival of new students.

Students held hand-made signs and marched down the road toward town.

[Photo] Students protest grand jury verdict for officers who killed Breonna Taylor

October 1, 2020

Students held hand-made signs and marched down the road toward town.

Students throw a frisbee, masked and socially distanced.

[Photo] No coaches, no contact, no competition: Club teams play on

September 24, 2020

Students throw a frisbee, masked and socially distanced.

Atwater residence halls, the site of the two gatherings Thursday night.

[Photo] College bars 22 students from campus for Covid-19 policy violations

September 22, 2020

Atwater residence halls, the site of the two gatherings Thursday night.

Waste bins outside of Proctor Dining Hall overflow with to-go containers and other dining waste.

[Photo] Sustainability concerns pile up amid packaged meal protocols

September 17, 2020

Waste bins outside of Proctor Dining Hall overflow with to-go containers and other dining waste.

Happy Valley Orchards, a popular fall spot, is one of the places students will have access to in Phase 2.

[Photo] Phase Two start date pushed to Thursday, Sept. 17

September 15, 2020

Happy Valley Orchards, a popular fall spot, is one of the places students will have access to in Phase 2.

MiddView orientation leaders greet arriving students on August 26.

[Photo] Unsure of what to expect, first years grapple with a college experience marred by the pandemic

September 10, 2020

MiddView orientation leaders greet arriving students on August 26.

Members of the Mail Center staff work to help students pick up packages.

[Photo] Staff, cautiously optimistic, face increased workload as students return

September 10, 2020

Members of the Mail Center staff work to help students pick up packages.

Will Jernigan ’21 is one of many athletes who chose not to return to campus this year. Jernigan is pictured above in the October 12, 2019 game against Colby.

[Photo] Life looks different and so does the student body: Athletes on leave

September 10, 2020

Will Jernigan ’21 is one of many athletes who chose not to return to campus this year. Jernigan is pictured above in the October 12, 2019 game against Colby.

Erin Nicholas '21 competes against Amherst last season.

[Photo] Athlete of the week: Erin Nicholas ’21

September 10, 2020

Erin Nicholas '21 competes against Amherst last season.

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[Photo]

September 7, 2020

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Middlebury's Covid-19 testing center in Virtue Field House.

[Photo] Second on-campus student tests positive for Covid-19

September 4, 2020

Middlebury's Covid-19 testing center in Virtue Field House.

Middlebury's testing center is located in Virtue Field House.

[Photo] After delays, Aug. 28 testing results show no new Covid-19 cases

August 31, 2020

Middlebury's testing center is located in Virtue Field House.

Middlebury's Main Street for MiddView Orientation last year.

[Photo] Businesses report quarantine violations as first round of students return

August 20, 2020

Middlebury's Main Street for MiddView Orientation last year.

Upon their arrival to campus, all students will undergo Covid-19 testing at Virtue Field House.

[Photo] Following entry testing, Middlebury to test 750 people per week for Covid-19 this fall

August 11, 2020

Upon their arrival to campus, all students will undergo Covid-19 testing at Virtue Field House.

Members of the Middlebury Selectboard hold their July 28 meeting.

[Photo] College presents reopening plan at town selectboard meeting

July 30, 2020

Members of the Middlebury Selectboard hold their July 28 meeting.

Over half of fall courses to be offered completely remotely, Campus analysis finds

Over half of fall courses to be offered completely remotely, Campus analysis finds

July 27, 2020
When Middlebury announced its reopening plans on June 22, the college estimated that roughly a third of classes — approximately 175 of 530 courses — would be taught remotely in the fall. Based on a Campus analysis of the most recent version of the course catalog, that figure is actually over 50%.
International students' orientation in August 2019. Trump administration visa regulations could force international students at schools holding online-only classes to leave the country.

[Photo] ‘Pure Xenophobia’: New ICE policy evicts international students taking only online courses

July 14, 2020

International students' orientation in August 2019. Trump administration visa regulations could force international students at schools holding online-only classes to leave the country.

Some dining workers, many of whom interact closely with students, are skeptical that students will adhere to health and safety requirements.

[Photo] Staff brace for an uncertain on-campus fall semester

July 6, 2020

Some dining workers, many of whom interact closely with students, are skeptical that students will adhere to health and safety requirements.

International orientation leaders welcome new students in August 2019. International students are facing tough decisions with regards to the fall semester.

[Photo] Should I stay or should I go? International students deliberate the fall

July 6, 2020

International orientation leaders welcome new students in August 2019. International students are facing tough decisions with regards to the fall semester.

The Luso-Hispanic department, where Professor Marissel Hernández-Romero served as a visiting professor, is located in Warner Hall. In an email titled “Sent Without Permission: A Farewell from an Unwelcome Hire,” she describes allegations of racist behavior in her department and at the College.

[Photo] ‘Sent Without Permission: A Farewell from an Unwelcome Hire’: Departing visiting professor alleges incidents of racism

July 1, 2020

The Luso-Hispanic department, where Professor Marissel Hernández-Romero served as a visiting professor, is located in Warner Hall. In an email titled “Sent Without Permission: A Farewell from an Unwelcome...

The faculty voted overwhelmingly in support of an on-campus fall semester, although many chose not to vote after a proposal tabling the motion failed.

[Photo] Faculty vote in favor of students returning in the fall

June 21, 2020

The faculty voted overwhelmingly in support of an on-campus fall semester, although many chose not to vote after a proposal tabling the motion failed.

As fall approaches, students are still waiting to hear the college’s outline for next semester.

[Photo] What could a mid-pandemic semester at Middlebury look like?

June 18, 2020

As fall approaches, students are still waiting to hear the college’s outline for next semester.

Developing: Middlebury Schools Abroad announces fall program cancellations

Developing: Middlebury Schools Abroad announces fall program cancellations

June 16, 2020

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect study abroad and international travel, Middlebury Schools Abroad has announced the suspension of several fall programs. This story will be updated with the...

From cluttered homes to an uncertain fall, survey lays bare students’ pandemic struggles

From cluttered homes to an uncertain fall, survey lays bare students’ pandemic struggles

June 4, 2020
From our Covid-19 student survey, we discovered key insights on the Middlebury student body's experiences of the remote spring semester, summer plans and thoughts on the fall.
BENJY RENTON
Middlebury trustees promise to match charitable contributions of any amount with $100 in personal donations.

[Photo] Trustees to match any college donation with $100 through the end of June

May 30, 2020

BENJY RENTON Middlebury trustees promise to match charitable contributions of any amount with $100 in personal donations.

Vermonters show trust in state’s response, support extended social distancing, poll shows

Vermonters show trust in state’s response, support extended social distancing, poll shows

May 14, 2020
A vast majority of Vermonters show a desire to delay the reopening of the state’s economy and continue social distancing restrictions, even as 26% surveyed have been laid off or lost a job, according to new polling data from a nationwide survey.
In the last two months, relations between administrators and staff have become strained as the global health crisis puts financial and logistical strain on the college.

[Photo] Admin-staff relations tested by health crisis

May 14, 2020

In the last two months, relations between administrators and staff have become strained as the global health crisis puts financial and logistical strain on the college.

Work has restarted on Middlebury Bridge and Rail Project, as crews continue to install minipiles this week after being shut down by the state since March 25.

[Photo] Hope in Middlebury for derailed construction project

May 14, 2020

Work has restarted on Middlebury Bridge and Rail Project, as crews continue to install minipiles this week after being shut down by the state since March 25.

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

May 7, 2020

A project of this size and scope cannot be accomplished with many individuals whose insights, guidance and assistance were invaluable to our process. In its second year, Zeitgeist was made possible...

Methodology

Methodology

May 7, 2020

In designing this year’s survey, The Campus’ Zeitgeist team reviewed questions from last year’s survey (both those that were on the survey itself and others that were submitted but did not make it...

Students define

Students define “hook-up,” discuss romantic scene at Middlebury

May 7, 2020

The Campus asked Middlebury students to participate in the second annual Zeitgeist survey in November, looking to gain insight into campus culture by asking the questions that are often not discussed....

Zeitgeist 2020

Zeitgeist 2020

May 7, 2020
At times, students' concerns at Middlebury can feel amorphous. Through the second annual Zeitgeist survey, we hope to bridge the gap between data analysis and journalism.
At the conclusion of the performance, members of the cast of “Julius Caesar” wave goodbye.

[Photo] The show must go on: ‘Julius Caesar’ on Zoom

May 7, 2020

At the conclusion of the performance, members of the cast of “Julius Caesar” wave goodbye.

Hannaford Supermarket in Middlebury last November. Grocery store employees, healthcare professionals, first responders and other essential workers were the focus of the “COVID-19 Essential Employees Hazard Grant Program” bill, which recently passed in the Vermont senate.

[Photo] Considerations from the (figurative) capital: Legislating amidst the Covid-19 crisis

May 7, 2020

Hannaford Supermarket in Middlebury last November. Grocery store employees, healthcare professionals, first responders and other essential workers were the focus of the “COVID-19 Essential Employees...

College to receive 1.8 million in CARES Act stimulus

College to receive 1.8 million in CARES Act stimulus

April 30, 2020
The funds will be used to cover student emergency financial aid grants and offset Covid-19 related expenses that have already been paid.
The college announced on April 8 that it would adopt a test-optional admissions policy for the next three years.

[Photo] With decision day on horizon, high school seniors try to get a sense of Midd, remotely

April 30, 2020

The college announced on April 8 that it would adopt a test-optional admissions policy for the next three years.

This year, seniors took to the Proc bulletin boards in March — two months earlier than usual — to pin up their lists before vacating campus.

[Photo] Who started Proc Crush Lists, anyway?

April 22, 2020

This year, seniors took to the Proc bulletin boards in March — two months earlier than usual — to pin up their lists before vacating campus.

The stroll up Chipman Hill is a timeless classic, one that I’m sure many of us miss as we sit in quarantine. For friends and couples alike, it offers a sunset that is only rivaled by Snake Mountain’s vista. Although enjoying the outdoors with a significant other is something hard to do virtually, we’ve got a full list of our own ideas below.

[Photo] Replicating Middlebury dates, from home

April 22, 2020

The stroll up Chipman Hill is a timeless classic, one that I’m sure many of us miss as we sit in quarantine. For friends and couples alike, it offers a sunset that is only rivaled by Snake Mountain’s...

Zeitgeist takes on love

Zeitgeist takes on love

April 22, 2020
The Campus asked Middlebury students to participate in the second annual Zeitgeist survey in November, looking to gain insight into campus culture by asking the questions that are often not discussed. This year’s survey included an exploration of love, relationships and the ever ill-defined “hook-up culture.”
The new system was approved in a vote with 309 members of the faculty, even though initial decisions were made by a smaller ad hoc academic continuity group.

[Photo] Faculty reject universal credit/no credit grading model, vote ‘yes’ on opt-in system

April 17, 2020

The new system was approved in a vote with 309 members of the faculty, even though initial decisions were made by a smaller ad hoc academic continuity group.

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Benjy Renton