The Daily Free Press [ Year xliii. Volume lxxxiv. Issue II LAY DOWN THE LAW New LAW tower under construction, page 3. Thursday, January 17, 2013 The Independent Student Newspaper at Boston University TUNE IN MUSE suggests the concerts and movies not to miss, page 5. ] www.dailyfreepress.com HATS OFF Lefort’s hat trick earns women’s hockey a win, page 8. WEATHER Today: Partly cloudy/High 41 Tonight: Snow showers late/Low 15 Tomorrow: 26/20 Data Courtesy of weather.com MBTA fare evasion citations increase by 40 percent BU Admissions By John Ambrosio Daily Free Press Staff Although overall crime committed in the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority system has diminished, the MBTA reported a 40-percent increase in the number of citations given for fare evasions in 2012. MBTA transit police officers issued 4,753 citations in 2012, compared to 3,428 in 2011, MBTA officials said. Transit Police Superintendent-in-Chief Joseph O’Connor said the evasion fine has also increased. “On July 1, the fine for fare evasion was increased from $15 to $50 for a first offense,” he said. “And we felt that, at that time, it was a good time to put more resources into the issue, which resulted in a 40-percent increase in the number of citations.” The MBTA instituted “Operation Fare Game” in July 2012 to crack down on fare evaders. O’Connor said the MBTA Transit Police Department’s increased efforts were influenced by customer demands. He said customers complained about an inordinate number of fare evaders at a public meeting in November. “Last year during the fare increase hearings we heard loud and clear from customers that they had observed people fare evading and their displeasure with that,” O’Connor said. O’Connor said most Bostonians believe fares should be fairly enforced. “The vast majority of people realize the importance of public transportation and fares are sees 20-percent increase in apps. By Brian Latimer Daily Free Press Staff ports are available for people in need.” Mass. Sen. John Keenan said he is pleased with many of Patrick’s proposals, including the push to increase funding to mental health programs. “I also hope that this will be only the beginning of a serious conversation about the status of our mental health system,” Keenan said in a statement. “The Governor today takes an important step towards promoting public safety, but there is a need for broader conversation.” These legislative measures come after a wave of mass shootings accross the country. On Dec. 14 a shooting occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. where 20 children and six adults were fatally shot. In July, a shooter in Aurora, Colo. took the lives of 20 people and injured 58 others at a movie theater. The National Rifle Association, issued a Boston University received about 20 percent more applicants for the fall 2013 semester than it did the previous year, BU officials said. BU received a record-breaking 52,532 applications, of which 51,036 were regular decision and 1,496 were early decision, said BU spokesman Colin Riley in an email. There were 44,006 applicants for the fall 2012 semester, 8,526 fewer than this year. This reflects a 19.3 percent increase from application for fall 2012 admission, Riley Said. Despite the number of applicants, the incoming Class of 2017 will not be larger than previous years, Riley said. “Based on a projected incoming class of 3,800, we will be more selective,” he said. In 2012, BU accepted about 45 percent of applicants. 634 students were offered admission early decision for the Class of 2017. Riley said the majority of applications were to the College of Arts and Sciences as it is the largest school. While final statistics regarding where applicants are from have not been computed, the majority of applications came from New York, New Jersey, California and Massachusetts. Riley said more widespread knowledge of BU’s quality contributed to the spike in applications. “The quality of our programs, our international reputation and the global experience our students receive are factors,” he said. “Our outreach to high schools and our social media efforts contributed as well. Applications from international students increased significantly, and the diversity of our applicant pool grew with notable increases in applications from African American and Hispanic/Latino students.” Violet Walsh, an applicant from Kamiak High School in Mulkiteo, Wash., said she was attracted to the quality of education at BU. “When I visited, I met with people at the School of Education and I liked the facilities, such as the daycare and the area around SED,” she said. “I like the research going on there and the SED offers great programs.” Walsh said she learned about BU through relatives that attended the school and by visiting Boston. “I fell in love with the city so I started looking at east-coast schools and BU always came up,” she said. “If I get into the program and decide I do not want to be a teacher, there are a Gun control, see page 2 Admissions, see page 2 SARAH FISHER/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF MBTA T fare evasion citations in 2012 are up 40 percent from 2011. part of the funding source for the MBTA, and that anyone that truly cares about public transportation would not be involved in that type of campaign,” O’Connor said. A number of customers said they are happy the MBTA Transit Police Department is cracking down on fare hoppers. Aurora Case, a frequent rider of the T, said she was annoyed by the number of people who do not pay for public transportation. “It never really seemed fair to me that some people would just circumvent the rules like that,” she said. “I am glad the MBTA Transit Police have started to go after fare hoppers more. It makes me feel like I’m finally being rewarded for following the rules.” Jennifer O’Neill, 37, a Boston resident that rides the T to work regularly, said she agrees with the increased penalty for evaders. Fare evasion, see page 2 Gun control legislation offered on a state and national level By Regine Sarah Capungan Daily Free Press Staff With the gun control debate eliciting reform in Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts, a number of individuals welcome the new restrictions and want to see more control on firearms, whereas others fear drastic alterations to their second amendment rights. On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a series of 23 executive actions as well as a legislative plan to decrease gun violence. The provisions include a mandatory background check for all gun owners to ensure that criminals and mentally ill people do not have access to guns, a ban of high-capacity magazines and a ban of assault weapons. In a press conference Wednesday morning at the White House, Obama said the majority of the American people support his proposal. “I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale,” Obama said. “I believe most of them agree that if America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown.” Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick also filed gun safety legislation for the Commonwealth on Wednesday, seeking to close loopholes and require gun purchasers to go through background checks at gun shows, reduce access to high-powered rounds of ammunition and give more funding to mental health programs. “Both proactively, and in the wake of too many tragedies, I have filed legislation to tackle the problem of gun violence and illegal firearm possession,” Patrick said in a statement. “Today, we do so again, along with an important investment in mental health programs. Mental illness is a disease that can be treated, and our communities are safer when the appropriate services and sup- Mayor Menino to cut down on panhandling in Boston after many complaints By Clinton Nguyen Daily Free Press Staff To the displeasure of local panhandlers, an ordinance restricting panhandling in potentially dangerous sections of Boston will be proposed next week in front of the city council, officials said. Sheila Dillon, director of the Department of Neighborhood Development, said City Council will hold public hearings for the proposed ordinance, and if it passes, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will sign it. “The ordinance will limit aggressive panhandling and it will place some limitation on where panhandling will take place, based on safety concerns,” Dillon said. Jauvhon Price, a panhandler who opens doors for customers in front of the Kenmore Square 7-Eleven, said he hopes panhandling is not restricted in the city. “At least I’m doing something for someone,” Price said. “I’m not robbing or stealing. I’m only asking, and the person I’m asking can say yes or no. I’ve got no shame in my game.” Price said in his year-and-a-half of panhandling, he usually gets nominal amounts of money — typically a few cents or a dollar. One day before Christmas, Price said he got a $100 bill. The timetable for when this ordinance could go into effect is hazy, and the legislative process could mean passage will not occur for a few months, Dillon said. This proposal came after an influx of complaints about aggressive panhandlers during 2012. The mayor’s 24-hour constituent service line received 787 calls about panhandling between January and November of 2012, Dillon said. These numbers spurred Menino’s office to set up a task force several months ago to address the problem, she said. Through aggressive action by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, panhandling has been largely held up as a constitutional right. Dillon said Menino is not looking to impede rights, but simply looking to ensure Panhandling, see page 2 JACKIE ROBERTSON/DAILY FREE PRESS FILE Boston Mayor Thomas Menino plans to create zones for panhandling after complaints.