“Nothing Unites Like a Common Enemy:” Scripps replaces NSPO with stoning of random first-year


Happy inauguration day to Amy Marcus-Newhall! As part of her welcome speech today, Scripps College announced it will overhaul its current New Student Programming and Orientation to promote further bonding and unity between the incoming class of 2027: community stoning.

Scripps College asked the question that has been on all our minds: What is a blueprint for a strong community? And was it Shirley Jackson’s 1948 short story about randomly stoning one member of the community, “The Lottery”? So this afternoon, instead of movie nights and ice breakers, NSPO officers gathered all incoming first-years and randomly chose one to stone. It is one of Amy Marcus-Newhall’s first initiatives as the new college president and signals the change she is bringing to the college. 

The President, however, understands that this decision was a controversial one. “I know that violence is sometimes considered a ‘mixed bag,’ but I think if you look at the sheer power of the unity it fosters, you’ll see that this is a stroke of genius. People can call it unhinged or, to be crass, ‘majorly fucked-up in the most fucked-up kind of fuck up and not even ‘ha ha’ fucked-up but ‘oh no’ fucked-up,’ but people are always afraid of new ideas, especially when they come from strong women.” 

Before the stoning, when we asked Marcus-Newhall how incoming first-years and their families should feel about this, she said, “It’s one student out of two hundred; what’s the big deal? A real Scripps student should be a leader—courageous, strong, and able to understand that 1/200 is not a high probability that they will be killed.” 

In a world where women are expected to be caregivers in any role, including leaders, it’s refreshing to see Marcus-Newhall skip over the concerns surrounding sacrificial stoning and get down to the real business: uplifting women (or at least most of them). 


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