The Daily Free Press Year xliii. Volume lxxxiv. Issue VIII FUR A CAUSE Store puts donated fur toward helping animals, page 3. [ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 The Independent Student Newspaper at Boston University INDIE READ Independent bookstores maintain charm, page 5. ] www.dailyfreepress.com ONE FOR ALFORD Alford leads America East in Player of the Week honors page 8. WEATHER Today: PM showers/wind/High 56 Tonight: Heavy rain/wind/Low 51 Tomorrow: 51/28 Data Courtesy of weather.com Kerry confirmed by Senate as Secretary of State BUSM research assistant robbed, stabbed near BU By Jasper Craven Daily Free Press Staff The U.S. Senate confirmed John Kerry as Secretary of State Tuesday, offering the Massachusetts Democrat the job of chief foreign minister for U.S. President Barack Obama. The Senate voted 94-3 to confirm Kerry to the post, ending what has been a relatively smooth process after Obama’s first nominee, United Nations ambassador Susan Rice, faced stiff opposition when she made confused comments regarding the Benghazi attacks in Libya that killed U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. “John Kerry’s exhaustive experience and selfless service as a veteran, a senator and a statesman will help him to step seamlessly into the role of Secretary of State,” said Sen. Robert Menendez in a statement Tuesday. “ I am confident that his vast experience and his relationships with the world’s political and military leaders will serve the president and the nation in furtherance of American foreign policy.” Kerry was approved by a voice vote Tuesday morning by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a committee he currently chairs. Once voted out of the Committee, the full Senate confirmed Kerry Tuesday afternoon. Kerry, a Vietnam veteran and Massachusetts senator for 28 years, first came on the political scene in 1971 when he testified before the Foreign Relations Commit- By Margaret Waterman Daily Free Press Staff forever,” Kantrowitz said. “The borrower isn’t able to discharge debt.” Due to a split Congress, the legislation is unlikely to achieve immediate approval, Kantrowitz said. “I can only see the pressure on Congress to do something about bankruptcy discharge growing as more and more students take on greater amounts of debt to pay for their college education,” he said. “More of the burden is shifting onto students and that manifests itself in a couple ways — one of which is increased debt in graduation and another is shifting enrollment from higher cost colleges to lower cost colleges.” Kantrowitz said it is ultimately up to students to make sure the legislation is pushed through, as young voters have been largely important in the past two presidential elections and will be crucial in upcoming congressional elections. A Boston University School of Medicine research assistant was robbed and stabbed Tuesday night near Browne Street and Pleasant Street in Brookline, according to a BU Alert Service message. Two suspects stabbed and punched the victim before stealing an iPad at about 8:30 p.m. The suspects are described as two males, about 6 feet tall, both wearing knit caps covering their faces, fleece pullovers and jeans, according to the alert. The victim was a 30-year-old BUSM post-doctoral research assistant, said BU spokesman Colin Riley in an email. He was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. BU sent out an alert message to students at about 9:15 p.m. The incident occurred about a half of a mile away from BU’s School of Hospitality Administration, located at 928 Commonwealth Ave. BU and Brookline Police Department officers responded and are searching for the suspects. Riley said police patrols in the area have increased. “BU Police are assisting Brookline Police in their investigation, and they put out an alert about the incident and to be careful in that area,” Riley said. “It’s just amazing that this incident occurred, but we want to make sure students take precautions and that’s why we put that alert out as soon as possible.” This marks the eighth robbery or attempted robbery on or near BU’s Charles River Campus during the 2012-13 academic year. BU students were among the victims in a string of three armed robberies and one attempted armed robbery in September and October. On Jan. 18, two suspects approached a BU student and robbed him of his cell phone at 1065 Commonwealth Ave., next to the Shaw’s Supermarket at about 11 p.m. At about 12:15 a.m. on Jan. 19, three people, one of whom was a BU student, Loans, see page 2 Robbery, see page 2 John Kerry was confirmed as Secretary of State Tuesday. tee in support of ending the Vietnam war. His career in the Senate has been marked by work on issues of foreign policy. Kerry acted as a leading voice toward the ratification of an updated START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia in 2012. He voted in favor of the war in Iraq in 2002, but has since come out against it. In recent years he has also traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Egypt as a diplomat for ABBIE LIN/DAILY FREE PRESS FILE Obama. David Palmer, a professor of international relations at Boston Univeristy, listed several major issues Kerry is likely to encounter as Secretary of State. “Key issues Kerry will face will include Iran, continued Middle East turbulence and especially relations with Israel. [Other is- Kerry, see page 2 Proposed legislation allows students to declare bankruptcy By Margaret Waterman Daily Free Press Staff While proposed legislation would provide loan forgiveness for students who have no way out, it could also cause credit problems, Boston University professors said. “The advantage of defaulting on your loans is you’re out of debt — you don’t owe the money any longer and you don’t have to make payments,” said economics professor Kevin Lang. “The disadvantage is the effect that prior default can have in a variety of situations where people check your credit history.” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island unveiled legislation Wednesday that would effectively reverse a 2005 decision making it impossible for students to default on their loans. “Young Americans are being hamstrung by record debt levels, forcing them to delay other important investments in their futures, includ- ing purchasing homes and saving for a secure retirement,” Durbin said in a Wednesday press release on his senatorial website. Student loans are by far the largest source of consumer debt, accounting for $1 trillion of the total figure, according to Durbin’s release. Lang said while there are serious downsides to defaulting on loans, it could not be disadvantageous for students to simply have the option. “You can have a catastrophic financial situation through no fault of your own,” Lang said. “And that’s what bankruptcy was designed for.” One who defaults on their loans has to work his or her way through the legal system and might also be denied other types of loans down the road due to the previous default, Lang said. Mark Kantrowitz, financial aid expert and FinAid.org publisher, said the legislation would force lenders to provide more options to students looking to take out loans. “Right now the legislators don’t have much pressure on them to compromise with borrowers because they know they have this loan Menino focuses on gun control, education and pay equity in state of city address By Amira Francis Daily Free Press Staff Boston Mayor Thomas Menino gave his annual state of the city address at Faneuil Hall Tuesday, surprising a number of citizens with strong rhetoric directed toward issues such as education, pay equity and gun control. Menino made his way to the stage with the aid of a cane as the song, “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” by Kelly Clarkson played in the background and viewers applauded his arrival. He began his speech by thanking all of his supporters for standing by him during his recent spell of poor health and continued by assuring all of Boston’s progress. “I stand before you a grateful mayor,” Menino said. “The outpouring of concern and support was truly incredible, but the truth is those cards said more about Boston than me. They are full of pride for our city, and they should be. Because from Orient Heights to Dorchester Heights, we contin- ue to make great strides.” Menino was out of office for more than eight weeks in two medical centers fighting a series of ailments. He was officially released from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Dec. 23. Some Boston residents said they were no longer worried about his health. Derek Lumpkins, 38, executive director of Discover in Roxbury, said Menino’s apparent strength surprised him. “I was actually surprised by how strong he was. He delivered very well and he was very strong, very articulate,” Lumpkins said. “He walked very sturdily through the halls, so no, I don’t have any concerns anymore.” Patricia Amend, editor of Club Business International in Back Bay, said she no longer has concerns about Menino’s health. “He was vital, he was positive,” she said. “It seems like he’s back.” In his speech, Menino said education programs in the city need improvement. “Let us stay focused on moving forward with that process and on improving quality in all of our schools,” he said. “This year I will include in my budget new ‘quality improvement funds.’ They will support great teaching, leadership training, extended time, partnerships and upgraded facilities at our schools that need higher levels of support.” Menino said he planned to allocate $30 million to enriching schools. He also said he wanted to make Boston the leading city for working women by launching the “Women on Main” forum to open new fields of business to women, make it easier to find quality child care and to help women negotiate for fair pay. To the same end, Menino said he would create a Women’s Workforce Council. “Among other steps, we will make Boston the first city in the country to achieve pay equity for women, “ he said. “The most powerful way to unleash a person’s talent State of City, see page 2 AUDREY FAIN/DAILY FREE PRESS FILE Boston Mayor Thomas Menino gave his annual State of City address Tuesday night.