St. Olaf College is removing the name of a once-beloved professor from a campus building because of what it calls “credible evidence” of sexual misconduct over the course of several decades. Yesterday, St. Olaf President David Anderson announced on the College website, that Reidar Dittman’s name will be removed from the Art and Dance Center building. In 2002 the building
was named in honor of Dittman, a Holocaust survivor who taught art and Norwegian at the college for more than 45 years. He died in 2010 at 88. In Anderson’s announcement he says, “This past year has been a time of healing and growth in our community, as we have been addressing the difficult issue of sexual abuse and misconduct. Last year the college created a Title IX working group to take on the issue both present and past. They conducted interviews with multiple individuals who provided credible information about their past experiences of faculty and staff sexual misconduct. Anderson told the Star Tribune, “You reach a point where you have a sufficient degree of evidence that’s credible and verifiable and comes from multiple sources,“Then you’re in a tough spot. Are you going to say, well, because the alleged perpetrator is deceased, we’re not going to take any steps, even though we have this very high degree of certainty of what happened? Or, knowing what we know now, we can’t go forward with that name on the building.” The Dittman family released a statement saying, in part, We abhor sexual misconduct without exception, but we are also devastated by the impossibility of due process for the person we knew and loved. The College will hold a service of Lament on March 27th in Boe Chapel at 5pm.
Owatonna man busted with over 200 gr. of Meth
An Owatonna man was busted this week with over 200 grams of methamphetamine. Faribault Police. 34 year old Aaron Winkelman was charged with 1st degree sale, 1st degree possession and 5th degree drug possession. The Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force, working with other agencies, arranged a buy with Winkelman at the Dollar Tree Store in Faribault. The deal went down on Monday with a sale of 58 grams. A search of his vehicle revealed another 206 grams of meth and 7 pills. The most serious charge carries a sentence of up to 40 years. His initial court appearance is March 20th. Chief Andy Bohlen chairs the Violent Crime Coordinating Council. He commented recently that, “methamphetamine is really off the charts in the State of Minnesota. We’ve really never seen this kind of influx of meth into the State”. Bohlen said, they’ve seen a rise in large amounts of meth after shutting down the “mom & pop” meth labs, “but now what’s happening is Super Labs outside of our country are mass producing this stuff and they’re smuggling it in”. It’s pretty much a straight shot up I-35. Sheriff Dunn reported last week that Rice County is seeing fewer crimes such as burglaries and thefts. Much of that is attributed to the full staffing of the Drug Task Force.
Arcadia students represent at Poetry Out Loud Finals
Two students from Arcadia Charter school competed Wednesday in the Minnesota State Poetry Out Loud Finals held at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Sophomores, Bella Callery and Anna Kochever represented Arcadia and Northfield. Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition in which high school students build self-confidence and master public speaking skills. Student Logan Wells reports that both Anna and Bella did a fantastic job representing. Anna was awarded the State Championship trophy and will compete in the Nationals, which will be held in Washington D.C. in April.