WTF Is Wrong
With Binghamton University?
Tuition hikes, Unhinged multiculturalism, censorship, lefty professors, failure to cooperate, paternalism, Campus Parking, SA BS, zoning laws, lois, and more! Truth and two staples Binghamton Review, April 2005
Table of Contents Founded 1987 o Volume XXII Number 5 o February 2009
Departments Letters 4
SA Bullshit, s as the slimy communists they are.s as the slimy communists they are.s as the slimy communists they are.
The New Student Code of Conduct
BR exposes the other campus publications as the spineless commies they are.
A former writer places blame for the whole “Binghamton sucks” thing and suggests some policy changes.
Articles Failure to Change 5 to Cooperate 10 Adam Shamah outlines the new Randal Meyer has something to Student Code of Conduct. say about the university’s disMassena Update 7 regard for our constitutional rights, Randal Meyer reports on the Here’s
new developments in the Andre Massena case.
Time for a Refund 8
Adam Shamah goes through all the problems with the student activity fee.
Concealed Carry 14
Robert Menje packs some heat and explains why it’d be better if you did too.
FIRE Interview 17
BR Sits down with Adam Kissel of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Binghamton Review, February 2009
My Solution 21
Jason Birriel on how to solve the state’s budget crisis.
Club Gitmo 23
Alex Paolano thinks Barack Obama should rethink his Gitmo policy.
Political Hacks 24 Nick Valiando on the Obama team.
Israel v. Gaza 26
John Jensen proposes change in the Middle East
Where the Real Racism Lies
acist, xenophobic, against culture. These are just a few of the terms that campus multiculturalists have been using to describe me, my views, and my publication, Binghamton Review, since I got involved in campus politics. The current SA Vice President for Multicultural Affairs called me racist last semester (and then denied that that’s what she meant), saying of my VPMA amendment, “I am aware of the racism that exists with some of the propagators of this move. As a representative of the underrepresented, and as a person of color and a member of an objectified sex, I can say that there is an undertone that we have constantly dealt with and one that is easy for us to spot…Do not mistake my saying that it is possible to be against this without being racist or prejudice as a claim that all who support this are in fact innocent of this accusation.” Last week, the SA Treasurer, who is also the former director of the Rainbow Pride Union, compared my future run for VPMA to a KKK grand wizard running for NAACP president. Not to mention the dozens of cultural groups members who cried racism when the VPMA position was questioned. If the VPMA and her supporters, which make up Binghamton’s multicultural movement, want to rid our campus of racists and racism, they should start by ridding Binghamton of themselves. That’s right. The source of racism and division on our campus does not lie with those of us at the Review, or with the thousands of students who agree with our views; it lies with those who claim to promote multiculturalism. Let’s look at the term racism. Racism is the belief that one’s character is defined primarily by his or her race or ethnicity. One does not necessarily have to believe that his or her race is superior to someone else’s to be considered racist. So what do the multiculturalists believe? For one, they believe that the Student Association should have an Executive Board member (the VPMA) whose job is to represent those
whose racial groups are “underrepresented.” They believe, as many stated quite clearly during last semester’s VPMA controversy, that a white e-board member cannot possibly represent the views of the cultural groups. They believe that the best way to categorize a person is by his or her race, and not by his or her personal identity. The individual means nothing to the multiculturalist. Individualism is only an obstacle. Furthermore, why is it that it is assumed that the VPMA stands for all people of color on this campus? Do all of them think the same? I don’t think so. But those on the left look down on minorities who don’t toe the liberal line. They’ve shown this nationally when they categorize people like Clarence Thomas and Condoleezza Rice as “sellouts” for not conforming to the liberal mantra. On campus, there have been members of L.A.S.U. who have written articles for the Review describing the ridicule they faced for not conforming to the ideas of the group. In no way, shape, or form, are the campus multiculturalists here to “bring us all together.” When a conservative commentator, Daniel Pipes, came to campus last year, David Redbord, the VPMA at the time, organized and led a walkout that disrupted his speech. Rather than bringing the groups with different views on the issue at hand to a forum to discuss those differing views, he chose to shut out one side entirely. Just last semester I was kept off the Multicultural Resource Center’s listserv because I did not fit the description of the typically underrepresented student of color that the MRC claims it usually works with. Shouldn’t the MRC want to bring together as many students as possible if its aim is to promote multiculturalism? No, because it represents an ideology whose goals are to divide us, not unite us, and promote race-based group think over individualism. It represents an ideology that is the true source of racism and division on our campus.
Binghamton Review is a non-partisan, student-run periodical of con- servative thought at Binghamton University. A true liberal arts education expands a student’s horizons and opens one’s mind to a vast array of divergent perspectives. In that spirit, we seek to promote the free exchange of ideas and offer an alternative viewpoint not normally found on our predominately liberal campus. It is our duty to expose the warped ideology of political correctness that dominates this university. We stand against tyranny in all its forms, both on campus and beyond. We believe in the principles set forth in this country’s Declaration of Independence, and seek to preserve the fundamental tenets of western civilization. Finally, we un- derstand that a moral order is a necessary component of any civilized society. We strive to inform, engage, and perhaps even amuse our readers in carrying out this mission. Binghamton Review, February 2009
Binghamton Review Volume XXII, No. 5 • February 2009 Founded 1987
Editors-in-Chief Adam Shamah Robert Edward Menje Managing Editor Randal Meyer Associate Editor Rachel Gordon Business Manager Alex Paolano Treasurer Daniel Rabinowitz Contributors Nehemia Stern, Samantha Mickle, Eugenio Campos, John Jensen, Theresa Juergens, Matthew Hassell, Stephen Herman, Ariel Levin Waldman, Nick Valiando, Jason Birriel Godfather of the Review Louis W. Leonini Friends of the Review Dr. Aldo S. Bernardo The Leonini Family The Powell Family Mr. Bob Soltis WA2VCS The Shamah Family The Grynheim Family The Menje Family The Leeds Family The Lombardi Family The Packer Family Binghamton Review is printed by Our Press, in Chenango Bridge. We provide the truth; they provide the staples. Binghamton Review Binghamton University PO Box 6000 Binghamton, NY 13902 4
To the Editor, I noticed the Review has been crusading against the administration and in support of Andre Messena. Andre Messena, on Facebook, is a member of “groups” such as: Student Action Collective, Binghamton Political Initiative, IWW Wobblies, and This is What a Feminist Looks Like, just to name a few. He seems to be active member in EMO and the GSO. I believe he is a socialist. My question is, why are you guys, who claim to be conservatives, standing up for this socialist who goes against your principles in almost every way? (Name withheld at request of author) Thanks for the e-mail. What you must understand is we believe in the idea of liberty and will ALWAYS fight for students whose rights have been trampled on, regardless of said student’s political persuasion. Voltaire once said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” This is a philosophy that we at the Review hold dear. We noticed that Mr. Messena’s liberties were being violated by an oppressive administration and were more than happy to step in to defend him. Free speech is free speech, no matter if it is a conservative or liberal who is exercising it. -BR To the Editor: Congrats on your 21st birthday issue. I had a beer in your honor. I really liked how you guys reached out to the Editor’s of yesteryear. It was a great way to celebrate such an important anniversary. Also, thanks for providing me with great political commentary for the past three and a half years and I hope you guys continue the good work long after I’m gone. I am graduating in May and am wondering how will I be able to read the Review after my tenure here ends? I noticed the website is offline.
Thanks for the Birthday wishes. It says something when a conservative newspaper can thrive on a college campus for more than 21 years. Here’s to the next 21. As for reading BR after you graduate, the new website is up. Not only will you be able to read old and current issues, but also there will be exclusive online content and daily updates. Check it out at www. binghamtonreview.com -BR Letters should be sent to email@example.com and be less than 300 words. Binghamton Review, February 2009
Here’s to Change
The Good, the Bad, and the Questionable in the New Student Code of Conduct
by Adam Shamah ‘11
ne of the issues that we at Binghamton Review have taken extremely seriously over the years is the system of Judicial Affairs and the University Code of Conduct. Policies like failure to cooperate (see article on page 10), and parts of the harassment code have landed Binghamton University a “yellow” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for maintaining policies that may threaten free speech. This being said, there is good news: in April, the Binghamton University Council is set to deliberate and vote on an overhaul of the student code of conduct and judicial affairs system. A look at the proposals shows that many of them are in fact very student friendly, though there are some that we look at with moderate skepticism. Perhaps the biggest victory for students is the upping of the standard of evidence. Under the current system, Judicial affairs uses what is called the “preponderance” standard, meaning that a student
can be convicted if his or her hearing board believes that he or she is more likely than not to be in violation of a rule. The judges are allowed up to 49% doubt. The changes proposed include raising this standard to “whether it is substantially more likely than not that the student charged violated the rules of student con-
duct,” or what is commonly known as the clear and convincing standard. If a number had to be assigned, you can describe “clear and convincing” as 75% certainty. A second victory for students present in the proposed changes is the removal of the “transferred culBinghamton Review, February 2009
pability” clause that is present in the current code. What this means is that, under the current system, one can be charged simply for being present at the time a violation occurs. For example, if a student is present in a dorm in which there is underage drinking taking place, that student can be charged simply for being there, even if he or she is in no way partaking in the underage drinking. Under the new system, that student would be safe. Only those who actually actively participate in a violation will be forced through the judicial affairs process. A recommendation that has us less excited is one that concerns the handling of cases. Under the current system, the flow chart of the judicial process can be described as follows: after an incident occurs, a report is sent to the Judicial Affairs office or Reslife administrator. The student involved is then sent a letter to meet with an administrator. At this meeting, the administrator will determine whether or not formal charges will be
filed. If he/she decides that they will not, the incident is resolved and not heard of again. If charges are filed, however, the student then is given what is known as an administrative agreement, which is essentially the equivalent of a plea bargain (without the plea). The student can either sign the agreement and accept the sanctions, or reject it and go to a hearing in which his or her case is heard either by a board made up of two students
tor will make a determination as to whether the student charged violated the rules of student conduct and assign sanctions if appropriate.” What this essentially means is that if the administrative agreement is not signed, the student conduct administrator (usually an administrator or RD) will determine whether or not to impose sanctions—without the student going before a full hearing board as he or she would now.
sial “Harassment 3” section has been removed. This was the section that FIRE considered a possible threat to free speech which read, “Communicating or causing a communication be initiated with such person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, electronic mail, mail or any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm” is prohibited as “harassment.” However, failure to cooperate still
What this essentially means is that if the administrative agreement is not signed, the student conduct administrator will determine whether or not to impose sanctions—without the student going before a full hearing board. and one administrator, or, in certain cases, one made up of three administrators. Under the proposed changes, cases are split into two categories, Level I, and Level II. Level I cases are the less serious ones, those that “do not include disciplinary probation until graduation, final probation, suspension, expulsion or a change in housing status.” Level II cases are those that do include such sanctions. Under the proposed new system, Level II cases will be tried as all cases currently are, using the process described above. Level I cases, however, will follow a different procedure. Level I cases will be “assigned to a student conduct administrator for resolution… The student conduct administrator may conduct an investigation to determine if the charges have merit and/or if they can be handled administratively by mutual consent of the parties involved...If the charges are not admitted and/or cannot be resolved by mutual consent, the student conduct administra-
The intent of this change seems to be to alleviate Judicial Affairs of its heavy hearing load. Vice President for Student Affairs Brain Rose mentioned at various meetings last year that the university he used to work at, Rutgers, has more students than Binghamton does yet conducts fewer judicial hearings. Because it has not yet been implemented, it obviously remains to be seen what effect this will have on students who are accused of committing Level I offenses. Will they have as great of a chance to defend themselves? Will more be given sanctions? Will judicial affairs be given a lighter hearing load at the expense of students? We would like to keep an open mind, but these are all questions we must keep in mind next year when the new process is implemented. Beyond all of this there are several other victories for student rights contained in the new code. The Rules of Student Conduct section has been greatly simplified, with only 24 rules under that section. The controver-
Binghamton Review, February 2009
remains, as does this potentially dangerous section of the preamble: “All member of the university community are expected to…continue the tradition of exercising First Amendment rights keeping in mind that while encouraged and protected, the expectation is that one’s rights are practiced with respect and responsibility. Abusing the rights of any one person or group ultimately endangers the rights of all. Obscene speech or conduct — which appeals to prurient interests, is patently offensive and lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value — is not protected by the First Amendment.” Then there is also the questionable new hearing process. All in all, the new code represents many great victories, but we must still keep a watchful eye out next year to be sure that student rights are being protected. -Adam Shamah is a sophomore Management major. As a management major, if the economy doesn’t pick up in the next few years, you’ll find him working at 5 Guys.
The Saga Continues Reports of Retaliation Against Andre Massena by Randal Meyer ‘11
ast month, Binghamton Review reported on the case of Andre Massena and his persecution by the Masters of Social Work department. For those who don’t remember, Andre was levied several charges by the Social Work Department for his distribution of anonymous (he wrote under the pen name “JUSTICESPEAKS”) posters objecting to the hire of David Tanenhaus as a professor in the department. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) came to defend Andre’s right to anonymous free speech. The day after Lois DeFleur received a letter from FIRE, the charges were dropped due to “procedural misunderstandings.” Many hoped that Andre’s troubles would end there, and that the university would act rationally and allow Andre to continue his education undisturbed. However, our Masters of Social Work (MSW) Department, apparently, is full of anything but rational people. Various professors in the MSW department have been retaliating against Andre for overcoming their attempts to challenge his speech rights. Two professors, Nancy Frank and Deborah Oliver, have distinctly and reprehensibly made outrageous strides in order to fail Andre in their classes. First, let’s discuss the quality of Andre as a student. Andre was given over $18,000 in scholarships from the MSW program and received only one grade below B-. The University has even gone so far as the have Andre pictured in their brochure for the MSW program. Some professors keep the “class participation” clause in their syllabi so they
can justify giving the annoying nerd in the middle of the lecture who wont shut up an A- instead of an A. Some have it as 10%, some as 40%. Professor Frank, however, chose to use this incredibly ambiguous section to fail Andre. Frank claimed that Andre “…did not participate, slept in class, etc.” Normally, this would justify giving a lower score to a student. The problem is that these claims appear to be fabricated. According to several classmates of Andre, he regularly participated in class, asked insightful questions, and never fell asleep in class. The best place for a professor to get at a student is when grading writing assignments. Almost anything can be used to justify a lower score. What usually happens is students have their papers compared to older papers to prove the grammar and quality are the same. Professor Oliver showed her true colors much more distinctly. According to Massena and several of his classmates, following the JUSTICESPEAKS and F.I.R.E. event, Professor Oliver began ignoring Andre in class and outside of class. A classmate of Andre said it best, “I noticed this during the last three or four classes. Although Andre continued to raise his hand in order to participate in class, Professor Oliver no longer called on him. It was obvious that she was purposely avoiding calling on him. It was also obvious, based on comments that I overheard in class, that other students in the class noticed the drastic change in the way that Professor Oliver behaved toward Andre…there is a tenminute break. During this time students often approach the Professor to
ask her questions. During the break at the last class Andre, along with a couple of other students, approached Professor Oliver to ask her questions. After speaking to the other students Professor Oliver ignored Andre, turned her back to him and walked away.” Professor Oliver’s professional misconduct didn’t end there. Before the free speech incident, Andre received no grade below 90 on any paper for Professor Oliver. However, Andre’s final paper was graded as a 28. When Andre received his grade he was concerned about how his final grade would turn out so he e-mailed Professor Oliver asking if he had passed. Professor Oliver replied that he had indeed passed, but then a failing grade was posted on BUBrain. What makes all of this worse is that the University administration is doing nothing to rectify this. Andre has filed, to date, fourteen grievances for professional misconduct against various professors, administrators, and deans. Unfortunately, the MSW department sticks together and protects their own, so all grievances that Andre has filed have been struck down in unrecorded hearings (against MSW bylaws) or by different deans. President DeFleur has declined to intervene on the behalf of Andre. We can only hope that some day, free speech will truly be free and not cost some of us our futures.
Binghamton Review, February 2009
-Randal Meyer is a sophomore majoring in Philosophy, Poltics, and Law. After writing this article, his G.P.A dropped from a 3.8 to a 2.1. Thanks Professor Oliver.
Money money Money
Time for a Refund
As Budget Season Rolls Around, The SA Should Keep A Few Things In Mind As It Allocates OUR Money by Adam Shamah ‘11
e, as students at Binghamton University, are required, each semester, to pay $86.50 ($173 per year) in what is known as the Student Activity Fee. This fee is transferred directly from the university to the Student Association, whose Financial Council (Finco) and Assembly decide what it will be spent on. We are getting to that time of the year when Finco begins the budget process for next year. With that, there are
of funding for their movement. They ran for student government and began using the activity fee to fund their pet causes. Because of the political/ideological leanings of most campus activists, students were often forced to pay to support groups that promote things like abortion, feminism, and environmental issues. Ralph Nader’s Public Interest Research Group (PIRG, NYPIRG in New York) is perhaps the most clear-cut
The problem with this system is tyranny of the majority. Students would get elected and then impose on everyone fees which would go to fund causes that many students disagreed with. Pro-life students are forced to fund groups that promote abortion, Muslims are forced to fund groups that promote Christianity, and so on. Students who objected to the mandatory activity system argued on the basis of freedom of conscience: no one
In the 1960s and 70s, campus activists realized that the activity fee could be a source of fund ing for their movement. They ran for student government and began using the activity fee to fund their pet causes. some things we all must keep in mind. First, a brief history of student activity fees. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), activity fees began appearing on college campuses nearly a century ago and were used to fund campus-wide services that all students would utilize—OCCT and Harpur’s Ferry may be the closest examples to this on our campus. Then in the 1960s and 70s, campus activists realized that the activity fee could be a source
example of this. PIRG, which lobbies for various left-wing causes including “consumer advocacy” and environmentalism, used its influence to convince student governments (often using the referendum process) to allow a majority of students to impose a fee on themselves and everyone else to fund PIRGs across the country. Funding for PIRG soon spread to funding for groups of various ideological and political leanings.
Binghamton Review, February 2009
should be forced to fund views they find objectionable. Some began filing lawsuits, and two cases formed the legal basis for the rules governing student activity fees. First, in Rosenberger v. Rector of the University of Virginia (1995) the courts ruled in favor of a Christian group that was denied funding because of its religious views. Second, in Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth (2000), the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory
SA budget fees are constitutional, but only if they are distributed in a viewpoint neutral manner. This means that the ideas that a group espouses cannot be taken into consideration during budget processes. If a student government decides to fund a group of one ideological persuasion, it cannot deny funding to another group of the opposite persuasion. A student government also cannot deny funding to groups just because they are religious or political in nature. Binghamton Review was, until 2004, a victim of viewpoint bias. The Student Association refused to fund us until then, despite funding a variety of left wing publications and student organizations quite heavily. Even today, there are still whispers in the SA office about certain SA types who plan to use the financial council to target BR. While there have been several victories at Binghamton with regard to student group funding—BR getting its fair share and NYPIRG being on its way out, for example—the student activity fee is still distributed rather unevenly. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent to fund the overrepresented multicultural movement while next to nothing is given to conservative organizations. College Democrats receive more money than College Republicans. Last year, a member of the Student Assembly tried to not only deny funding, but also an SA charter, to a group solely because its mission was “too religious” in nature. What is equally problematic to the amount of money that goes to groups with objectionable purposes is the amount of money that goes to groups that
benefit very few students at all. In other words, wasteful spending. Let’s start with groups like J.U.M.P. Nation, which does great work mentoring inner-city youth from New York City. J.U.M.P. Nation receives $12,000 annually from the SA, more than Chabad, the Muslim Student Association, Haitian American Student Association, and any of the many Christian groups on campus. Now, like I said, J.U.M.P. Nation does do great work, but should students be forced to fund it to the tune of $12,000? I don’t advocate defunding it entirely. After all, its members pay their fair share of the activity fee too, but the SA should not be used as a tool for transferring students’ money to charity, no matter how altruistic the cause may be. There are groups like Speech and Debate, which you and I are funding at around $17,000 every year. Yes, our school’s debate club is one of the nation’s best, but how many students are actually involved? Is it enough to justify spending 17 grand? Probably not. Then there are the services and groups that are heavily subsidized by the SA. The campus preschool, for example, is given $6000, despite the fact that almost no undergraduates utilize its services. The SA Programming Board is perhaps the SA entity most deserving of funding, as its only purpose is to put on programs that all students can enjoy. That being Binghamton Review, February 2009
said, however; ticket prices for concerts and other events are heavily subsidized. SAPB could do the students better if the price of tickets were raised to reflect market value. SAPB would be held accountable to bring popular, profitable programs to campus and students who don’t enjoy concerts would not be forced to help pay for the tickets of those who do. The fairest way to remedy all of this would be a voucher system. Allow students to allocate their portion of the activity fee to whatever groups they want. Group membership and funding would correlate almost perfectly—the way it should be. Students would no longer be forced to fund groups whose views they find objectionable. If a student chooses not to be involved in a group, he/she can allocate money to campus charities/ causes he/she supports, or that money could be put back in a general fund that would be allocated through a process similar to the current one. Another option is for the SA to cut out a lot of this wasteful spending and then give students back some of their money by lowering the activity fee. Cut as much of the $120,000+ that goes towards SA internal accounts, including the more than $40,000 used for stipends. Lower the funding of groups whose activities don’t benefit enough of campus to justify their current budgets. Stop subsidizing services that no one uses. I don’t advocate voting against the mandatory activity fee (it is required to go to referendum every two years), but something must be done to remedy the injustices of the current system. Finco can begin this month when budget season starts. -Adam Shamah is a sophomore Management major. He is no longer welcome on OCCT buses, the SA office, or any campus event that serves free pizza.
Failure To Cooperate
And the University’s Disregard for Our Privacy and Due Process Rights by Randal Meyer ‘11
Last year, Binghamton University Council (BU Council) expanded a rule in the Student Code of Conduct book known as Failure to Cooperate 3. This charge states that “A Failure to Cooperate occurs when…3. Fails to exit his or her room, suite, or apartment at the request of a University Official.” Immediately after the Student Association found out this rule was going to be enacted by the Council, a resolution condemning it was unanimously passed by the Assembly. This year a new Student Code of Conduct was drafted for BU Council’s approval. I am disappointed to see that the Failure to Cooperate 3 charge is still in the Code of Conduct. In a practical sense, this policy is beyond unreasonable. Let’s take a hypothetical situation. An RA hears loud music down the hall during quiet hours. The RA proceeds down the hall and knocks on the door. No Answer. Knocks again. No answer. The RA then walks back to his room and charges the kid with Failure to Cooperate 3. The only problem is that the kid, who the RA charged with not exiting his room to speak to the RA, was not in his room. He was in a bathroom. Frown town for Johnny from Digman, he now has a judicial record because he couldn’t prove he wasn’t in the room and it’s more likely than not that he was. 10
Additionally, this creates a nice prisoner’s dilemma for a resident. Let’s say that Timmy from Marcy is in his room drinking scotch with a few of his track buddies listening to Jack Johnson on full blast after quiet hours. The RA comes up and knocks on the door. Timmy knows that if he responds as directed then the RA is going to smell the potent odor of Johnnie Walker Black. Timmy knows that he will then be sent to Judicial Affairs for drinking and hosting a party, for which the penalty is removal from the dorm and various other things. Timmy knows that he can explain an RA giving him a bullshit charge while he “wasn’t in his room” better on a law school application than hosting an underage drinking party. Timmy decides to not respond and just take the lesser charge of Failure to Cooperate 3, and get rid of any evidence while the RA is out calling UPD. Imagine if there was someone in Timmy’s room with alcohol poisoning who needed immediate medical attention? Or, what if someone was having a diabetic emergency, or some other medical condition? Giving students this prisoners’ dilemma makes it so that we are actually less safe than we were before. Legally, the University is also putting itself at risk for civil rights violations. In a nutshell, a student suing the school over this would need to establish the following: (1) State Binghamton Review, February 2009
University Officials are State Actors operating under the color of state law, (2) Students have a reasonable expectation of Privacy within their dorm rooms, (3) As this is a substantive rights case, strict scrutiny must be applied, (4) “Opening up a dialogue” is not a compelling state interest, (5) The charge is not the least restrictive means, (6) The charge is inherently unconstitutional in all circumstances. State University Officials are inherently State Actors operating under the color of state law. Jonathan L. Long v. Commonwealth of Virginia, et al. established clearly that, “…there can be no doubt that the University officials are state actors operating “under the color of state law.” So the first burden of evidence is established. Students have the same reasonable expectation of privacy in their dorms that they have in their own house. “For purposes of constitutional privacy protections, student dormitory rooms constitute private residences,” Houck v. Univ. of Wash (1991). Certain administrators at this university have claimed that students do not have that reasonable expectation of privacy, so, to make this a bit more clear: “There is no legitimate reason to distinguish between privacy expectations reasonably enjoyed by college students in occupying dormitory rooms with those experienced by tenants occupying houses or apartments. Col-
failure to cooperate
lege students do not have less protection from unreasonable searches and seizures in their dorm rooms than occupants have in their hotel rooms. The physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of U.S. Const., 4th Amend., is directed. A dormitory room is a student’s home away from home, and a defendant’s dormitory room is his or her house and home for all practical purposes, and he or she has the same interest in the privacy of this room as any adult has in the privacy of his or her home, dwelling, or lodging.” Walker v. Santa Clara. The third burden is inherently strict scrutiny, this is a civil liberties claim against illegal search and seizure, and the court must apply strict scrutiny. Strict scrutiny means that any law infringing on liberties that are constitutionally guaranteed must pass his test: the state action must have a compelling state interest, must be the most narrowly tailored means, and must be the least restrictive means. VP for Student Affairs Brian Rose, one of the propagators of this new charge, stated that the point of it was to “create a dialogue” between students and university officials so that the “number of judicial charges may be lowered.” This policy would “make parents happy” and “increase the safety of the overall campus climate.” Unfortunately, creating a dialogue is not a compelling state interest. Not speaking to an RA or anyone I do not want to for that matter is a prerogative and a right that I enjoy. No state law or action can compel me to speak to someone I don’t feel like. The state does, however, have an interest in our safety. This policy can be presented under the guise of increasing the perception of safety in the campus climate. However, the previous policy (university officials may enter a room in a perceived health or safety risk) addressed that same issue. The old policy was
the least restrictive means, state action overrides privacy and search rules only in the circumstance that a health or safety problem has occurred. The new policy raises questions of unreasonable search, questions of privacy, and questions of fundamental rights. No one would question the right of the university to enter our rooms if we were having a seizure or if there was a fire and we were asleep or unaccounted for. However, a reasonable person would question the right of the university to compel someone to exit their private residence when a health or safety risk isn’t necessarily perceived or probable to have occurred. Thus, this charge is not the least restrictive means and fails that prong of the strict scrutiny test and meets the fifth burden. As this policy is enacted and enforced by state actors under the color of state law in a manner which puts them in opposition to residence privacy rights in a dormitory (which has been respected under common laws since the 1850s) and this policy is not the least restrictive means nor represents a compelling state interest, it is facially invalid. Ask yourself this, as per State v. Houvener (2008), students have the same reasonable expectations to privacy they would if they were in any house. Would a state actor be allowed to compel someone to exit their home by means of threatening them with a charge if they don’t? The answer is no. Therefore, there is no question this policy is unconstitutional. -Randal Meyer is a sophomore majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Law. He was so caught up writing this article, he didn’t hear his RA knock on his door. He is now going through judicial proceedings.
By The Numbers Campus Parking
Total tickets issued by UPD in the 2006-2007 academic year
Total tickets issued by UPD in the 2007-2008 academic year
Percent of total tickets in 2006-2008 that were issued to people who parked in tow away zones
$196,298 Total amount collected by BU in 2006-2007 from parking citations
$217,859 Total amount collected by BU in 2007-2008 from parking citations Source: Department of Public Safety, NYS University Police
Binghamton Review, February 2009
Pr esswatch pressor, remember. If this way of thinking doesn’t make sense to you, then you have more in common with us “conservatives” at Sam Reidel’s inflammatory anti-Semitism BR than you think. continues as he goes for the record for most Pipe Dream times featured in BR’s presswatch, which is currently held by EMO’s Adam Friedman, January 30, 2009 who had a decade of undergraduate experience to work with… A sensible quote from Pipe Dream’s editorial board. WHAT?!? [W]hat Israel claims is ‘self defense’…always winds up looking like “reactionary, The country’s cultural, and by extension, oppressive tactics that do no good in the journalistic response to Barack Obama, long or short term and only add to the both the person and the presidency, vicious cycle of misery and death that plague the holy land…There are reasons Israel has more enemies than the Klan at this point, and many of them revolve around the fact that the country has made some pretty dick moves in the past. Pipe Dream January 27, 2009
Fellow students, a short list of what it takes to be a Pipe Dream columnist: a complete and utter misunderstanding of history, a pompous attitude, a unique inability to fact-check, a deep-seeded envy of Binghamton Review, Free Press, and any other publication that is not Pipe Dream, ‘daddy’ issues, and a horrifying photo of yourself that you insist on displaying next to every column you write. Now, to the factual arguments. Israel withdrew from Gaza (unilaterally) in 2005, giving the Palestinians a chance to coexist with them freely and peacefully. Hamas decided that a good way to coexist peacefully was to launch thousands of rockets per year at Israeli towns on the Gaza border. Calling for the Israel’s destruction and refusing to recognize its right to exist are also among its top peacekeeping initiatives. Israel has the right to respond. Readers, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a great example of the liberal worldview. Israel is the rich, powerful, nation-state while Gaza/Hamas is poor and weak. That automatically makes Israel the oppressor. What, facts get in the way of this logic? Liberals have an answer for that. It’s the Israelis’ fault that Hamas resorts to radical means. After all, Israel is the powerful op12
leaves doubts as to the depth of enamor. Are we in love with the policies or the image? Blind faith in political leaders has proven disastrous time and again, and while we’re not expecting a dictatorship in the future, there are disadvantages to extremism, no matter how uplifting it may seem.
The rest of this space is left empty because Pipe Dream and the other campus publications refuse to take a stand on, or report on, any controversial issues. We will not presswatch editorials on “failing an exam,” or “globalized communication.” Start taking a stand, Pipe Dream and Free Press. Binghamton Review can’t be the only publication on campus with a backbone.
Binghamton Review, February 2009
Do you think Diversity is a way to manage a stock portfolio, not a university? Sick of your commie professors going on rants about Halliburton, white racism, and the Zionist conspiracy? Join
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Concealed Carry on Campus by Robert Edward Menje ‘09
hat would you do if someone came onto the Binghamton campus with a gun and the intention to pump round after round into you, your friends, your classmates, and your professors? You would probably get shot because you would have no way of protecting yourself. Events like this have occurred in the past, not at Binghamton, but at schools like Virginia Tech. In the past two years, 42 people have been killed, and 34 wounded, on college campuses across the country in four separate college shootings. Could the tragedy that happened at Virginia Tech have been avoided? The answer, quite simply, is yes. Restricting access to guns in the past has not prevented tragedies before. After the shooting at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson called for stricter gun-control policies. After the massacre at Columbine High
School in 1999, a call for more gun control was also made. After Virginia Tech, more calls for gun control were made. If someone wants to acquire a weapon, they will, whether through legal or illegal means. So how could Virginia Tech have been avoided? By allowing students to exercise their Second Amendment rights on college campuses. In Virginia, citizens over the age of 21 who can pass the National Instant Criminal Background Check System can purchase a handgun. No license is needed to own or possess a gun, and without a concealed carry permit, a gun can be carried openly. If students were allowed to possess handguns on campus, a would-be assassin would be less likely to commit a crime if he knew that the rest of the student population would, in an instant, be able to take him out. The handguns carried by the average student would be the deterrent. What Seung-Hui Cho, the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech massacre, knew on that April morning was that all of his victims would be unarmed. Want proof that this is the solution? On January 16, 2002, at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, a 43year-old former student from Nigeria named Peter Odighizuwa open fired on students and faculty. In the end, three people were killed. What went virtually unreported by the media was that this rampage ended when two students, Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges, went to their cars to retrieve their pistols that were stored there. They approached the attacker with their pistols drawn and ordered him to put down his gun. The assassin complied and was quickly detained. Noted scholar of crime and gun
laws, John R. Lott, Jr. wrote regarding this incident, “Mikael was outside the law school just returning from lunch when Peter Odighizuwa started his attack. Tracy was in a classroom waiting for class to start. When the shots rang out, utter chaos erupted. ‘People were running everywhere,’ Mikael said. ‘They were jumping behind cars, running out in front of traffic, trying to get away.’ Mikael and Tracy did something quite different: Both immediately ran to their cars and got their guns. Along with Ted Besen (who was unarmed), the two men approached Odighizuwa from different sides. As Tracy explained it, ‘I aimed my gun at him, and Peter tossed his gun down. Ted approached Peter, and Peter hit Ted in the Jaw. Ted pushed him back and we all jumped on.’” The media’s response was typical. Lott found that out of 280 separate news articles that came in the weeks following the attack, only four mentioned that the students who stopped the attack had guns themselves. Out of the major media outlets, only the Richmond TimesDispatch and the Charlotte Observer mentioned that the heroes were armed. The Washington Post simply mentioned that the heroes “helped subdue” the murderer. If colleges did not restrict the rights of their students, especially in shall-issue states, where the average college student has the ability to attain a concealed carry permit, massacres like Virginia Tech could be avoided in the future. -Robert Edward Menje is a senior majoring in History. If you are planning to shoot up his classroom, keep in mind that he is armed at all times. (See picture)
Binghamton Review, February 2009
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FIREâ€™s Adam Kissel on How to Be Proactive About Student Rights Wed February 18th, 7pm UU-Susquehanna Room Speech and Q&A sponsored by Binghamton Review, College Libertarians, SA VPAA, College Republicans
BR Sits Down With
FIRE’s Adam Kissel This Wednesday, Adam Kissel, of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), will be lecturing BU on Student Rights. Prepare yourself with this pre-event interview... BR: What is FIRE? When was it found- policy and does not depend on how the ed/what is its purpose? policy is applied. A “yellow light” institution has some policies that could ban or FIRE: The Foundation for Individual excessively regulate protected speech. If Rights in Education was founded in FIRE is unable to find a policy that seri1999 and is celebrating its ten-year anni- ously imperils speech, a college or univerversary. The mission of FIRE is to defend sity receives a “green light.” A green light and sustain individual rights at America’s does not indicate that a school actively colleges and universities. These rights in- supports free expression. It simply means clude freedom of speech, legal equality, that FIRE is not currently aware of any due process, religious liberty, and sanc- serious threats to students’ free speech tity of conscience—the essential qualities rights in the policies on that campus. of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE’s core mission is to protect the unprotected BR: How would you rate Binghamton and to educate the public and communi- University compared to other public ties of concerned Americans about the universities in terms of free speech and threats to these rights on our campuses student rights? and about the means to preserve them. FIRE: As a yellow light institution, sufBR: Can you explain FIRE’s speech fice to say that Binghamton is not as bad as the worst public schools and not as code ratings? good as the best, in terms of the univerFIRE: FIRE defines a speech code as sity’s commitment to freedom of speech any campus regulation that punishes, and other student rights. However, this is forbids, heavily regulates, or restricts a not exactly a laudable result, since Bingsubstantial amount of protected speech, hamton University is required, as a pubor what would be protected speech in so- lic institution, to guarantee and uphold ciety at large. This basic definition is nec- the constitutional rights of students and essary because colleges rarely label such faculty on campus. restrictions as “speech codes” in their handbooks. A “red light” institution has BR: In 2005, FIRE’s Torch blog deat least one policy that both clearly and clared Binghamton “close to a green substantially restricts freedom of speech. light [rating].” What has changed A “clear” restriction is one that unam- since then? biguously infringes on what is or should be protected expression. In other words, FIRE: It is precisely because of the lack the threat to free speech at a red light of change since 2005 that Binghamton institution is obvious on the face of the continues to be rated as a yellow light in-
stitution. As Samantha Harris detailed on The Torch back in 2005, “SUNY Binghamton maintains a harassment policy that does not live up to the university’s own commitments to the free speech rights of its community members.” Specifically, Sam pointed out that the policy was overbroad because it provides that “communicating or causing communication to be initiated by…any mechanical, electronic or written communication in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm is prohibited.” This policy remains essentially in effect, as the language now reads: “Communicating or causing a communication be initiated with such person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, electronic mail, mail or any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm” is prohibited as “harassment.” As Samantha pointed out then: “As the university itself has explicitly recognized, the state cannot prohibit speech simply because it causes annoyance or alarm. Rather, to constitute harassment, the speech must be so severe, pervasive or persistent that it unreasonably interferes with an individual’s opportunity to obtain an education or that it creates a hostile work or educational environment.
Binghamton Review, February 2009
Continued on Page 28
More of the Same
Ricky Da Costaâ€™s VPMA Platform
Exit Question: Did Maryam Belly fail miserably in accomplishing her plan, or does Ricky Da Costa have no original ideas of his own? 18
Binghamton Review, February 2009
An ICA Agenda Outlines Current VPMA Maryam Belly’s Plan for the position
Follow up: Puppet Candidate? Binghamton Review, February 2009
To Solve the Budget Crisis A
by Jason Birriel ‘09
lot has been said on campus of the recent statewide tuition hike approved by SUNY. At Binghamton University, the tuition for an undergraduate semester has increased by $300. Now, $300 is painful, and I acknowledge that many students like myself, with two recently laid off parents, will bear an even heavier financial burden this upcoming semester. However, I am looking past my immediate reaction to cry foul and protest this decision, because upon closer examination of the hike, I believe it is warranted and necessary. Even the most oblivious students on our campus are aware of the current economic crisis that is affecting our country and much of the world. The federal government and many state governments, including our own, are projecting massive budget deficits. In New York State’s case, we have a state constitutional amendment requiring that the budget be balanced. Aside from the legal requirement to balance the budget, there is general obligation to ensure that we not laden future generations with billions of dollars in debt. Simply put, I support the SUNY tuition increase because I believe it is long over due. Now, before my fellow students jump down my throat, I want everyone to first examine the idea of the value you receive at a state school compared to a private institution. Private schools routinely charge upwards of $40,000. This is because that is what an unsubsidized education genuinely costs. Hiring professors, administrators, janitors, funding for research, athletic departments, capital costs related to construction, and the need to keep the school’s operating budget in the black make all the costs of attending a private university upwards of $40,000 a year. With this in mind, the overall cost of attending Binghamton University, including tuition, is highly beneficial to low-income, middle class students such as myself and anyone else who might have to bury themselves in a mountain of student loans to attend a non-state subsidized school. Couple this with the TAP program, Federal Aid, and other programs like the Education Opportunity Program, the overall cost of at-
tending Binghamton University and the rest of the SUNY system is well under the market value and actual cost of attending college. Now, with New York State’s budget, let me first dismiss several ideas put forth by many Democrats in the state legislature and my fellow students on Binghamton’s campus. First, we cannot spend our way out of this recession. The idea that we run our budget into the red until the economy strengthens is irresponsible and will not work. Instead, we will simply pass on billions of dollars in debt to future generations. Upon checking the New York State Comptroller General’s Office, I found that we already have $48.5 billion in state debt and nearly $80 billion in Public Benefit Corporation Debt (ie. the Metropolitan Transportation Authority or the Dormitory Authority, which is building the new Dickinson and Newing housing community). Our
Binghamton Review, February 2009
debt is nearly equal to our budget. If we default on this debt, which is not improbable, the state will be unable to qualify for loans and not be able to receive money for service workers’ salaries.
which many on the left and right view as socialist, have already privatized assets like highways, airports, postal services, hospitals, etc. Assets that could be auctioned off include the New York State Thruway, John
a politician who actually plans ahead seems strikingly alien in our state, but they do exist. We already pay the highest taxes in the nation. Instead of a controlled sell off of state assets to shore up our budget, pay down our
The prudent course of action to handle the budget crisis would be to sell state assets and cut back on services as much as possible without abandoning our basic responsibility to our states’ populace. The prudent course of action to handle the budget crisis would be to sell state assets and cut back on services as much as possible without abandoning our basic responsibility to our state’s populace. I am not advocating abolishing Medicaid or Family Health Plus or education aid. Doing so will only add more flames to the fire and potentially deepen our economic crisis. Instead, what I am advocating is the selling off of state assets that should have been sold years ago. Several European countries,
F. Kennedy International Airport, and New York City’s Parking Meter System. The privatization of all these assets would not be new to the U.S. as the Democratic mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, has privatized the Chicago Skyway toll highway, Chicago Midway Airport, and downtown Chicago’s parking meter system. All of these sales have helped pay down debt, strengthen the city’s pension system, and build a rainy day fund for an economic crisis. Yes, I know
debt and leave the running of facilities, like airports and parking systems to the private sector. That is how we can solve this budget crisis. -Jason Birriel is a senior majoring in Political Science. The recession is hitting him hard. He just sold one of his kidneys on E-Bay for $41 dollars.
Words of Wisdom:
“Never be afraid to stand with a minority when it is right, for
a minority that is right will one day be a majority.”
-William Jennings Bryan 22
Binghamton Review, February 2009
Gitmo is for Lovers by Alex Paolano ‘10
ell America, change has been brought by our new president. President Barack Obama, just hours into his presidency, has already made the United States less safe. The change is coming, and the people benefiting most are not American citizens, but suspected terrorists being held at the United States detention facility located in Cuba. When Mr. Obama signed an executive order to look into closing the facility at Guantanamo Bay, his dangerous plans were unveiled. This order, if followed through, will send a message that our policies are degenerating back to Clintonian era pacifism in which we simply handle terrorism like just another issue facing our nation. Terrorism is not simply another issue. Despite ideas that the economy is the biggest danger to our nation, people need to remember that just because our stock market has receded does not mean the terrorists have decided we have enough on our plate and plan to give us a break. The terrorists are planning daily to hit us, and hit us harder than they ever have before. People must understand that the Gitmo facility is not for the run of the mill criminals. These are not petty thieves we are talking about here. They are trained terrorist suspects, many of whom were caught fighting American soldiers; the idea that they are simply innocent bystanders is silly. It makes very little sense that the United States would go through
the trouble and cost of shipping Ahmed from the Afghan mountains to Cuba because they saw him stealing a goat. A major problem also lies when these detainees are released from Gitmo. They do not suddenly feel rehabilitated and settle down to run a fast food restaurant; these people are returning to the mountains and killing our soldiers. In 2005, a Kuwaiti man, Abdullah Saleh al-Ajm, was held and then ultimately released from Guantanamo Bay. Upon his release he and a fellow terrorist blew themselves
up in Mosul, Iraq, causing the death of six people including two Iraqi police officers. According the Pentagon, at least 61 former detainees, who have been released, returned to the battlefields. Why do we send our brave men and women into harms way to have them kill and capture people they have already captured? This is absolute lunacy. Under the Obama administration, this will continue to happen because there is no real plan as to what we will do with the people who are Binghamton Review, February 2009
currently at Gitmo after the facility closes. It is my suspicion that many of these NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard) liberals will want to send these detainees back to their country of origin, where they will face a “trial,” be acquitted, and set free. Once these people are set free, they will return to their previous employment of trying to kill Americans at home and abroad. Sending Islamic terrorists back to the Middle East is like sending a child molester to be a teacher’s aide at a preschool. Change has come to America, but unfortunately the first thing compromised is our safety. America has not experienced a major attack on our soil since September 11, 2001, due mainly to the actions of former President Bush. The detention of terrorists and surveillance of terrorists through such techniques as wire-tapping have been indispensable to the ongoing protection of this nation, and Obama plans to get rid of these tools. As Obama signed the executive order that will lead to the closing of Gitmo, he said the following; “We intend to win this fight. We’re going to win it on our terms.” This is a very gallant and poetic thing to say, but as Mr. Obama will soon learn that the terrorists don’t always fight on our terms. -Alex Paolano is a junior majoring in History. He spent some time in Gitmo and to this day raves about the “cockmeat sandwich.” 23
Political Hacks A.K.A. The Obama Administration by Nick Valiando ‘11
arack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America. Though he talks of postpartisanship and bi-partisanship, Barack Obama is without a doubt a hyper-partisan liberal with an agenda. Don’t take my word for it? I don’t blame you, with the three Obama 24/7 propaganda channels (ABC, CNN and Pravda, oh no, wait, that’s not it, I meant MSNBC) blasting you with pro-Obama nonsense. By now you would think that Obama is the messiah here to save us all from ourselves. He isn’t, he won’t, and I’m here to give you a glimpse of the real Obama, the most liberal US Senator of 2008. First, Obama selected Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. Many liken him to an attack dog, one that is dedicated to the liberal agenda. Apparently, the message sent here, one of hyper liberal loyalty, was not clear. Obama went on to choose Leon Panetta as Director of the CIA. Now, before I explain the complete lack of qualifications of this man, I should discuss the ramifications of this position, which I hope the more astute of you readers have realized. We are, at this very moment, fighting an unconventional war in two countries. Enclaves of terrorists, like those who committed 9/11, have it as their sworn duty to destroy our country. Radical Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise in the Middle East and elsewhere, and it shows brazen hostility, not only to the United States, but also to the ideals that we as Americans hold dear. This is not the time for politics
to restrain the abilities of organizations like the CIA, which are vital to our security at home, and our safety abroad. So it should come as a harsh blow to any Obama aficionado, who is for some reason reading this, to learn that Leon Panetta, Obama’s choice, is a political hack. Panetta, former manager of President Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget (Another Clinton retread that Obama’s gone with, where is the… change?) and former congressman is probably qualified for some position in Obama’s administration, but Director of the CIA? As far as experience, the only thing he can boast of is that he knows as former manager of the budget, how it is funded. Other than that, it is way out of his depth. He has absolutely no experience in running an agency as important as the CIA. We need our best people on the frontlines, the ones who are tried and true at such operations in the key defense positions such as the CIA. We need people with insight and ideas based on experience, not political loyalty. Either the President doesn’t recognize this (a gross neglect of the public trust), or he cares less about our national security than he does about politics. America deserves the benefit of experience and wisdom when it comes to a CIA director. But President Obama wasn’t done, and he went on to appoint Tim Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury. There are just a few problems with this appointment. For one, he failed to pay $34,000 in self-employment taxes and to top it off was actually reimbursed
Binghamton Review, February 2009
for taxes he never paid. That’s right; our new Secretary of the Treasury (the department that oversees the IRS by the way) is a tax cheat. If you or I had failed to pay $34,000 in taxes to the IRS, we would probably be in prison. In fact, he only fully paid these owed taxes once tapped to become Treasury Secretary. You might be asking, what are his qualifications to be the Secretary of the Treasury? He was Chairman of the New York Fed, the institution that was supposed to oversee and prevent financial meltdowns among the financial sector in New York. Financial meltdowns similar to the one that we are having RIGHT NOW! Under his supervision, Citigroup (the very same company that just used $50 million of taxpayer money from the “financial bailout” to buy a new corporate jet) went into the toilet. I think we should be asking ourselves how the man who led us into the current economic situation through inaction is supposed to come up with a plan to get us out. This seems to be another appointment where Obama cares more about political concerns (i.e. loyalty to Obama), than about the well being of the United States that he is charged with defending. We have still more political hacks to fill the halls of President Obama’s White House. Eric Holder has been tapped for the position of Attorney General, the man in charge of the Justice Department. I’d like you to take a second and remember the liberal media outcry against former Bush At-
torney General Alberto Gonzales when he was implicated in the firings of several Justice Department officials for alleged political reasons. They argued that the Justice Department should be an impartial organization dedicated to enforcing the laws as written. Eric Holder, former Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton was one of the instrumental people involved in the FALN pardons. He ordered the staff at the Justice Department’s Pardon Office to drop their objections to the proposed commutations of a group of violent Puerto Rican terrorists. Holder was responsible for seeing sixteen terrorists convicted of setting off bombs in New York and Chicago, set free. The irony is overwhelming. The presidential race is now long over and we now need to keep a watchful stern eye on our new Commanderin-Chief, and a clear eye on the White House leads to only one conclusion. Barack Obama is saying one thing loud and clear to the American people: “I make the rules and I will appoint anyone loyal to me, without regard to their qualifications, methods, or character, to important positions with no thought to the damage they can do.” For a President who has called for postpartisanship, there sure are a lot of old Clinton officials and political allies filling the halls of Barack Obama’s White House. -Nick Valiando is a sophomore majoring Political Science. By Obama’s standards, this qualifies him for a cabinet position.
The Blacklist In November, Binghamton Review’s Steve Herman exposed 3 BU professors who signed a petition in support of terrorist Bill Ayers. Since then, several more have added their names to the list. Take a look at this to see if your professor supports an unrepentant domestic terrorist.
BE 304, PLSC 380F, 391, 397
Ravi Arvind Palat SOC 100A, 397, 497
ARTH 297, 397, 491, 498
Charlie Wesley ENG 283F
William V. Spanos COLI 497, ENG 564C
Jenny Gordon EDUC 697, 698, 699
Agree with us? Disagree?
Write us! Email letters to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org Binghamton Review, February 2009
THE SANDs OF TIME
Israel, Gaza, and Peace in the Middle East by John Jensen ‘09
s a history major focusing on the Middle East, it would have been impossible for me not to notice the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room: the Palestinian Israeli Conflict. The recent war between Israel and Hamas has been one of the most profound moments in the history of the crisis and might help to determine the future status of Israel and a Palestinian state. Without looking into the history that has brought us to this moment in the Middle East crisis, it will be im-
possible to ever end this major threat to global peace and stability. I ask you to take your emotions out of the situation for a moment and look only at the facts I will present. The key to dealing with this problem is removing ourselves from the realm of emotion, and entering the realm of common sense. Only then can we make an accurate determination of what must be done. Northern Ireland, Kashmir, East Timor. There have been many such hotspots of international strife that have periodically boiled over into
Binghamton Review, February 2009
open warfare and civil unrest since the end of the Second World War, but few have so captivated the minds of Western citizens as the crisis in the Middle East. This began with a massive defeat of invading Arab armies by the fledgling Israeli defense forces in the 1940’s after an overwhelming invasion from three sides by several Arab states. With the war for Israeli independence in 1948, came the expulsion of thousands of Arab refugees from contested areas, many of who were hostile to Israel and in support of the Jordanian, Egyptian, and Syrian aggressors. At war’s end, the refugees were not permitted to return to their homes, in what would become one of the most tragic population displacements of the twentieth century. It was the invasion of Israel by the Arab armies coupled with the Israeli expulsion of Arab residents of the land between Jerusalem and the sea which would spark a six decade cycle of conflict know today as the Middle East crisis. Palestine, as a state, never actually existed prior to the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. In fact, the land known as Palestine and Israel today was, much like most of the Middle East, under Ottoman Turkish rule for centuries prior to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War. Under the Ottomans, Pales-
tine was divided into states and ruled by Ottoman governors. A large Jewish population had actually remained in Israel through the ages and is commonly called the Old Yishuv. Roughly 25,000 Jews inhabited the land of Palestine when the first Aliyah began in the 1880’s. Gaza became the center of conflict with the Israeli occupation of this area and the Sinai Peninsula in 1967. Massive Egyptian military movements began on the Israeli border at this time and the threat of imminent invasion became a reality. The Egyptian military struck first and in six days, columns of outnumbered, but better
from Iran, Hamas has built a substantial capability to wage guerrilla warfare and launch thousands of rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel, directly threatening the lives of over one million Israelis. The United States, much like Israel, has acknowledged that Hamas is a terrorist organization and cut off all contact with the organization that supported celebrations after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. Israel has instituted a blockade of Gaza in hope of weakening Hamas. The blockade however has been un-successful due to the high quantities of supplies and weap-
try claimed that roughly 70% of the tunnels had been destroyed. According to a recent report from the BBC, many Palestinians have already begun rebuilding the tunnels, prompting Israeli threats of renewed military actions in Gaza. So what can be done to end the crisis and restore peace to the long bloodstained sands of the Middle East? In short, restraint and common sense is needed on both sides to solve the crisis. Israel acted well within its rights when defending itself from a constant hail of Hamas rockets last month. That said, had Hamas not broken a cease-fire by beginning the
It must be made clear that any attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians is an act of war on the part of Hamas. As the elected government in Gaza, Hamas’s actions are by default representative of the people of Gaza, whether or not the majority of the people actually support all of Hamas’s policies. equipped, Israeli tanks laid waste to the Soviet supplied Egyptian army and pushed deep into Egyptian held territory. While the ensuing peace process would result in the return of the Sinai to Egypt, the Gaza Strip would remain in Israeli hands through the 1987 Palestinian uprising and the strife continued until the mid part of the current decade. In 2004, Israel returned the Gaza strip to Palestinian control. Hamas was elected to power in 2006, driving out the secularists and nationalists of the Fatah Party founded by the late Yasser Arafat. Hamas, a terrorist group with a political wing, has seized complete control of Gaza, instituting Islamic rule and severely limiting the individual rights of its’ citizens in Gaza. With a military wing numbering roughly 15,000 men and a steady flow of arms
ons being passed through the tunnels from Egypt. It is for this reason that Israel launched the recent invasion of Gaza. Constant rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israeli towns has resulted in deaths and constant terror among the Israeli inhabitants. Hundreds of Hamas militants have been killed in the fighting and it is believed that large numbers of civilians, used as human shields by Hamas, have also been killed and injured. Israel dropped leaflets warning of bombing raids and contacted the residents of buildings which they planned to target in advance to limit collateral damage, but in a place as small as Gaza with such a high population density, it is nearly impossible to limit civilian casualties. Israel has pulled back to a holding position after its foreign minisBinghamton Review, February 2009
bombardment, the invasion and preceding bombing campaign would not have been necessary. I am encouraged by President Obama’s choice to deploy a special envoy to the Middle East in order to ease the tensions, but there are a few things that this envoy must focus upon if our efforts to make peace and ensure the security of our staunch ally, Israel, are realized. Firstly, it must be made clear that any attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians is an act of war on the part of Hamas. As the elected government in Gaza, Hamas’s actions are by default representative of the people of Gaza, whether or not the majority of the people actually support all of Hamas’s policies. Gaza is a de facto state and therefore must be accorded certain rights and held to certain standards. Israel should end the blockade on 27
Gaza, but this must be done through a process in which there are inspections by an international observer. Gaza must be demilitarized and there must be a buffer zone put in place along the Israel Gaza border to prevent the launch of rockets into Israel. Fatah and other moderate parties must also be allowed back into the Gaza strip as a condition of any permanent cease-fire. Hamas has effectively developed a one party dictatorship, which in turn has radicalized all of Gaza. The West Bank, currently controlled by the Fatah party, has seen dramatic improvements over the past decade and is on the fast track to
statehood. The Israelis must, as hard as it may be, work to limit civilian suffering in Gaza. If Israel hopes to achieve lasting peace, they need to improve their image in the Muslim world through reason and generosity towards the very people who have sworn to eliminate Israel as a nation. Violence breeds violence, and as a modern, secular democracy, Israel must break the chain of violence and set an example for the region. While it cannot allow threats to its own national sovereignty, the Israeli government must act in pragmatic and proportionate ways. As seen in the recent Gaza conflict and
Continued from Page 17 SUNY Binghamton knows this—it has adopted the EEOC’s definition of harassment in its sexual harassment policy and has acknowledged its obligation, as a public university, to fully respect the First Amendment rights of its students and faculty. SUNY Binghamton is very close to being a “green light” university, and FIRE would love to be able to turn it over to “green light” status since it seems so committed to the First Amendment rights of its community members. So long as this unconstitutional policy is in place, however, we cannot do so.” BR: Since FIRE’s founding, what progress has been made? What is still left to be done? FIRE: To date, FIRE has secured 136 victories at 110 colleges and universities whose total student enrollment exceeds 2.3 million. In addition, since 28
FIRE’s inception we have successfully changed or ended 69 unconstitutional or otherwise repressive policies affecting nearly 1.5 million students. Unfortunately, 77 percent of public universities still maintain unconstitutional speech codes. BR: Why do universities, which are supposed to be liberal bastions of free thought, so often maintain policies that are anything but liberal (in a classical sense anyway)? Some universities mean well but go too far in trying to shield other students from real problems like harassment. Others are simply coddling students and calling them weak by trying to protect them from feeling offended. Other colleges are actually trying to change campus culture by enforcing particular standards of “civility” or “tolerance” guided by a particular political point of view, Binghamton Review, February 2009
the Israel-Hezbollah War of 2006, the massive conventional military might of the Israeli Defense Forces is unable to totally eradicate a guerilla force of indigenous radicals capable of blending into the civilian population without amassing huge civilian casualties and garnering negative opinions from the other nations of the world. Only these steps can lead to a real chance for peace in the Middle East. -John Jensen is a senior History/Middle East and North African Studies Major. He may or may not get caught in the crossfire on his next trip to Gaza.
not really understanding how much damage they are doing to free speech and free thought on campus. BR: What are some things students can do to make sure they are protected? FIRE: See lots of advice in the Guides to students’ rights (http:// www.thefire.org/index.php/guide/). Understand your First Amendment rights—what counts as protected speech is often much broader than people think. Understand your due process rights. Make written records of oral conversations (especially with administrators), and ask the participants in the conversation to verify your recollection of what was said. Contact FIRE immediately if you believe your rights have been or are being violated.
Binghamton Review, February 2009
Flash backs GRAY SKIES, BINGHAMTON LIES Adam Smith
ou’ve heard it before. It’s an old story. Some students pen an editorial or make a public statement to the effect that “Binghamton sucks.” Then cometh the howls from the student activists who scream that the real enemy is “student apathy” (but interestingly, don’t disagree with the assertion that Binghamton does in fact, well, suck.) It’s a tired dance, I agree. But let’s us examine it and come to some conclusion once and for all. Why does Binghamton “suck”? More appropriately, what does Binghamton seem to be lacking that gives us such a sense of permanent malaise? The answer is clear: spontaneity.
november 2006 ous mushroom binge. Or perhaps you forgot last night when you traveled downtown and noticed that most of the girls need to get it through their heads that the mere fact that they are wearing very little does not make them attractive. The thought that none of us want to see their freshman fifteen (or fifty) on grand display rolling over their beltline at the Rat while we guzzle pitchers of nameless beer never occurs to them. You know, the king of ugly that makes you want to scream “earth to downtown kissing-slut: Hunny, not even copious amounts of this nameless beer is gonna put me anywhere near under your sheets tonight! You may be
to get at the heart of the matter. There is a fundamental governing philosophy at the highest levels of this university which will always ensure that all things fun, imaginative, and spontaneous are rather impossible. Quite simply—it’s not that Lois and Co. want us to suffer, it’s just that their policies make it impossible for us not to. Lois and Co. make every effort to stifle spontaneity on campus by placing obstacles all over the place. Ever wonder why there are empty shops in the New Union? No one in their right and sober mind would open there, that’s why. The University Union places so much burden on its tenants that profit,
The Union has so much red tape it makes the ghost of Che Guevara giggle like a giddy catholic schoolgirl on her way to be fondled by her groping public school boyfriend. There is nothing out of the ordinary about Binghamton University. We have a good enough reputation; students generally attend class and go out on weekends. Many of us form friendships that last a pretty long time. Ok, maybe we’re uglier than other campuses, maybe it snows a bunch every year, and maybe our professors are a bit wacky and unrefined. Most of us generally agree with all theses assertions, especially the ugly one. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Perhaps you haven’t noticed the parade of shapeless, unmanly, and slothful Long Island boys in sweaty, stained flip-flops in 20 degree weather flopping to class after just waking up from a poison30
wearing Gucci, Prada, and Coach, but the size of your ass has its own brand name—Mack truck! Why don’t you go show your rolls to the pizza delivery guy that delivers your dinner rolls every night at 4pm after I’ve already rejected you!” But I digress… In regards to spontaneity, Binghamton University lacks it. Many of us may already realize this when we criticize the administration for an unimaginative alcohol policy, or when we oppose the add/drop deadline. These fights have been raging for a few years now. They both have produced a wealth of crying and screaming, not to mention editorials, proclamations, and letters (all in vain), but neither of these issues seems Binghamton Review, February 2009
and thus the normal execution of daily business, is impossible. “Profit” is a dirty word on this campus. This is so much so that you need a “contract” to do business. One of the commonly perceived villains on campus is Sodexho, our fine friends who serve us quality meats and veggies in numerous locations on campus. They seem to have cornered the market for symbols that represent why Binghamton sucks so much. The common image for Sodexho, at least among our more liberal friends on campus, is one of a low quality, corporate punk whose desire for our cash is unyielding and immoral. This is a ridiculous perception. Of course they want our cash,
monopoly! they are a business. Without cash they cannot operate. Whatever “evil” comes from their existence on campus is not wholly their fault, but can be blamed on the administration. Why? One word—contracts. Lois and Co. love to screw us through their exercise of negotiating contracts. When the bidding for food contracts began on campus a couple of years back, it was made plain by the administration that restrictions and requirements would be placed on whatever entity decided to be stupid enough to do business on our campus. First—they had to maintain and operate a dining hall in every community, regardless of whether it operated at a loss. Secondly, certain dining halls would have to remain open, even during vacation or times when there are few students on campus. These are rather extreme. No wonder Sodexho was the only business that bid on the contract. We should be thanking them, not vilifying them. This self destructive behavior follows a pattern for Lois and co. Binghamton’s administration loves to create a chilly climate for growth, and then stand idly by while everyone complains about the businesses, but not the underlying problem. The problem is not the Sodexho people, or the M&T people, or the Coca-Cola people…it’s the Lois people. Now with this in mind, is it any wonder that our University Union is barren? It should come as no surprise if you’ve read to this point or if you
have taken an economics class or two. The Union has so much red tape it makes the ghost of Che Guevara giggle like a giddy catholic schoolgirl on her way to be fondled by her groping public school boyfriend. According to the “rules,” the only for profit enterprise currently allowed in the Union is the barber. That is only because of history—back in Binghamton’s heyday there was a barber and a bar in the Union. Now that both are gone, the Union is full of prison furniture and unshaven philosophy students constantly “discovering” themselves in the publication wing or that strange,
smelly connection between the Old and New Union, perhaps. Either way, I think you get the point. It’s boring. It needs life. What is the solution? Something close to “free trade” in the Union would help. The university can open the doors of the Union to competition. This would mean that we would no longer have to deal with the hassle of going off campus for food, or having it delivered by questionable characters in the dead of night. The administration’s opposition to this proposal is actually very odd. They would stand to benefit
from the rent or lease fees and could wind up using that money to hire or retain quality instructors. In fact, it’s plausible that if this measure is taken, the Union could actually stay open longer, and make more money and offer more choices for students. Anyone who truly cares about students and about their happiness would not deny them an environment full of choice in the building on campus that was built specifically to serve their whims. The only variable in this is Sodexho, who could rightly complain that this would be a violation of their contract. They have a monopoly granted to them, unfortunately. But the solution to that is simple as well. Renegotiate the contract. Don’t make them open and maintain dinging halls they don’t want to, and let them charge fair market price for their product. Let Sodexho compete, and everyone wins. In short, Binghamton University need not be a place only for snow lovers and non-happenings. But let’s be clear where the blame needs to be directed. It’s the policies of our campus administration that disallow fun, not anything else. BU could be a cool place if Lois tried harder. Or, more appropriately, tried less. It is often with the most utopian vision that our leaders render the most third-world results. A little more Laissez-faire, and a little less paternalism seems to be just what the doctor ordered.
Binghamton Review is a monthly, independent journal of news, analysis, commentary, and controversy. Students at Binghamton University receive two copies of the Review free of charge (non-transferrable). Additional copies cost $1 each. Letters to the Editor are welcome; they must be accompanied by the author’s current address and phone number. All submissions become the property of the Review. The Review reserves the right to edit and print any submission. Copyright © 2009 Binghamton Review. All rights reserved. Binghamton Review is distributed on campus under the authority of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Binghamton Review is a member of the Collegiate Network and is a Student Association-chartered organization. Binghamton University is not responsible for the content of the Review; the Review is not responsible for the content of Binghamton University. Binghamton Review thanks the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Past Editors of Binghamton Review: John Guardiano, Yan Rusanovsky, Kathryn Doherty, Ephriam Bernstein, Michael Malloy, Paul
Schnier, Adam Bromberg, Bernadette Malone, Michael Darcy, Nathan Wurtzel, Amy Gardner, John Carney, Paul Torres, Jason Kovacs, Robert Zoch, Matthew Pecorino, Michael O’Connell, Louis W. Leonini, Joseph Carlone, Christopher Powell, Nathaniel Sugarman 31 Binghamton Review, February 2009
for Illegallly Entering the United States
$5,000,000 reward for deliverance of this undocumented superhero to the INS. Additional reward for information leading to the arrest of the Kent family, who is believed to be harboring this border jumper. Don’t be fooled by “Clark,” his American alias.