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TRUTH AND TWO STAPLES

APRIL /MAY 2012

binghamton review

John Stossel coming to Binghamton University See inside for details

Inside Reslife: Marcy Hall Semester Report: NYPIRG


Binghamton Review

P.O. BOX 6000 BINGHAMTON, NY 13902-6000

EDITOR@BINGHAMTONREVIEW.COM

FOUNDED 1987 • VOLUME XXV NUMBER 7 • MAY 2012

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Aaron M. Ricks

Contents:

Managing Editor Mark Soriano Copy Desk Chief Eric Larson Associate Editors Chris Formisano Ari Greenberg Nick Fondacaro William Obilisundar Editor Emeritus Rachel Gordon Contributors Will M. Griffin, Dan Milyavsky, Nick Valiando, Daniel Rudder, Michael Hickey, Bridgette Cook Secretary Marissa Beldock Patriarchs of the Review Louis W. Leonini Adam Shamah Friends of the Review Dr. Aldo S. Bernardo The Leonini Family Mr. Bob Soltis WA2VCS The Shamah Family The Grynheim Family The Menje Family The Leeds Family The Lombardi Family The Packer Family Mr. Michael O’Connell Binghamton Review is printed by Our Press in Chenango Bridge, NY. We provide the truth; they provide the staples.

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The Review Phenomenon by Mark Soriano

8

A Letter to the President about Greek Life by Lee Gadsen

9

Transferring to Binghamton by Dan Milyavsky

13

The Man and the Mustache by L. B. Johnson

15

Campus Political Spectrum by the Editors

18

The Wolf Takes a Bite Out of ResLife by The Wolf

22

Proportional Representation by Nick Fondacaro

23

Conservative- Libertarian Alliance by Dan Milyavsky

25

SEMESTER REPORT: NYPIRG

Departments 3 4 5

EDITORIAL CAMPUS PRESSWATCH WHAT YOU MISSED

Be on the lookout for our Summer 2012 issue!

General Staff Meetings: Every Tuesday at 7pm in UUW-B05


EDITORIAL This will probably be my last editorial as Editor-in-Chief of the Binghamton Review, and I can honestly say no matter the other obligations I have had while at Binghamton, nothing has brought me more joy than being editor of the Review. And while I have switched offices from the dungeon of the New Union into the Student Association’s Vice President for Academic Affair’s office, I continue to believe whole-heartedly that the Review is one of the campus’ most important resources to protecting students. I can only hope that the Review’s position within the Student Association is a sign of the campus’ confidence in our belief in the issues that most pertain to this campus, namely the rights of students and the autonomy of the Student Association from University administration. I implore readers to check out Mark Soriano’s article on page 6, and I look forward to representing all Binghamton students next year. Good luck with finals. - Aaron M. Ricks

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK! Direct letters to editor@binghamtonreview.com. Our Mission Binghamton Review is a non-partisan, student-run periodical of conservative 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 understand 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. www.binghamtonreview.com

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CPampus resswatch by The Editors

Pipe Dream March 23, 2012 “SA Endorsements” Pipe Dream’s editors make great choices in a well written and insightful editorial... “We feel that Soriano has a strong enough personality to get what’s possible done, that he would be a proud voice for this student body and that he is less of a politician than he is a problem solver.” Finally seeing reason, Pipe Dream. “Larson has been a factor in improving office efficiency this year, and we feel he is the best choice for going forward [as VPF].” Too true. “[Aaron] Ricks’ reasonable goals and commendable experience might be the concoction we’ve long waited for in the VPAA office.” You don’t have to wait any longer. The editors of the Review would like to thank Pipe Dream for showing that the future of the SA transcends petty rivalries. However, this does not mean that we will stop insulting you. Pipe Dream April 20, 2012 “How I Tricked Myself into Thinking I was Happy” Jillian Kermani makes us sad trying to explain how we can become happier...

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BINGHAMTON REVIEW

“Better question: Why aren’t you always happy?” Because we aren’t lunatics, Jillian. “I know, now you’re wondering what type of bullshit I am going to try and sell you. Worry not, I’m selling nothing. My bullshit is free.” Opening Pipe Dream and not expecting bullshit would be like opening Prospect and not vomiting in rage. But go on... “if I’m feeling sad, I should act happy; angry, I should act calm; fat, I should act like Kate Moss...there is plenty of research to demonstrate that people feel happier simply by acting like they already are.” Counselling a person to not only ignore the fact that they are overweight, but also pretend that they are thin, will only lead them to experience extreme confusion about the source of the severe health problems they encounter later in life. Perhaps advising people to ignore their problems is not the best route we should take. “Even sitting by yourself and laughing for five minutes... is shown to make you feel better.” The next time you see someone sitting alone and laughing out loud to themselves, don’t worry, they may not be clinically insane. They may just be desperately trying to repress their emotions.

Pipe Dream April 20, 2012 “Where’s the Weirdest You’ve Done It” Jake Lewis explains what the preferred location for sex means about a person with the expertise we’ve come to expect from Pipe Dream’s sex columnists... “Location, location, location - it’s all that matters when buying a home. Who would’ve thought that it applies to baby-making, too?” Seems like Mr. Lewis is pretty interested in conceiving a child. We are not certain how many college students refer to “sex” as “baby-making,” although we may be out of touch. “This is the person who needs to ease into sexual deviancy.” Perhaps suggesting that someone become a sexual deviant is not a good idea. “Their kinkiness is restrained to an extent, so these people are hard to make assumptions about.” Yeah, it is common knowledge that the most unpredictable people are the ones who keep their kinkiness under control, right?

MAY 2012


WHAT YOU MISSED SA Elections Binghamton University students elected next year’s SA E-Board. The results: Mark Soriano as President, Derek Gumb as Executive Vice President, Eric Larson as Vice President for Finance, Aaron Ricks as Vice President for Academic Affairs, Briana Friia as Vice President for Programming, and Daniel Adeyanju as Vice President for Multicultural Affairs. Take some time to compare the list above with our masthead. Speaker Election Nick Fondacaro was elected Speaker of the Student Assembly, edging out his rival by four votes. However, less than 5% of the student body was able to correctly identify what the Assembly is, and few shits were given. Night of the Living NYPIRG Members of NYPIRG, a defunct and budgetless former student group, attempted to regain a budget for their group. Needless to say, they did not succeed. A Badass in Binghamton Neil deGrasse Tyson, renowned astrophysicist and badass, came to Binghamton on April 23rd, to much acclaim. His arrival on campus was finally able to settle this age-old question: who is more popular, a middle age physicist or a twenty year old coked up pumpkin*? *see Snooki Pledging Ends Early this Year Sunni Solomon, the outgoing Assistant Director of Greek Life, announced that all fraternity and sorority pledging would be cut short for the remainder of the semester, citing complaints from pledges about www.binghamtonreview.com

hazing. Solomon’s actions appear to be a bizarre way to reward students who have already spent more than seven weeks as pledges, by banning them from reaching the finish line. Romney Triumphant Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich bother dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for president, after a string of primary losses, leaving Mitt Romney the presumptive nominee. President Obama framed his soon-to-be opponent as an out of touch billionaire. Romney replied “I take offense to that statement, I am not a billionaire, I am only a multimillionaire.” Profiting from Failure The US Treasury Department announced that the government made a profit of some $2 billion from its investments and loans during the bailouts of banks and auto-makers. President Obama heralded this news as part of his strategy for reducing the nations massive debt. In a press conference, Obama announced “we’ll simply push the country into a constant cycle of recessions that force companies to seek bailouts.” Death to Death Connecticut abolished the death penalty, in a move that Governor Malloy called a “historic moment” for the state. Malloy went on to say “this legislation has been a long time in the making. Our inmates have been dying for this change to take place for years now”.... get it? See what we did there? Huge Embarrassment Some Secret Service agents stationed in Colombia to prepare for an upcoming visit by President Obama

were found to have requested the services of prostitutes. Several of the agents were subsequently fired. Had similarly draconian policies been observed in the past, it seems likely that every American soldier who fought in WWI, WWII and Korea would have also been fired. Titanic Centennial April 15th marked the 100th anniveresary of the sinking of the Titanic. Relatives of victims and survivors of the wreck embarked on a memorial cruise aboard the M.S. Balmoral. The trip’s planners, in an attempt to make a historically accurate reenactment of the Titanic’s maiden voyage, removed most of the lifeboats from the Balmoral. J.R.R. Dickens The grandson of Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkein and the greatgrandson of Victorian novelist Charles Dickens announced that they would be collaborating on a new children’s book. The book will be called A Tale of Two Towers, and will follow a plucky young Sauron during his escape from poverty in 1840s London. The Real Sudan Conflict along the border between Sudan and South Sudan continued, as the newly independent southern state clashed with its northern neighbor over a variety of pressing issues. On top of the agenda. South Sudanese leaders claim that the north does not have the right to use the name “Sudan.” Instead, the north should pick from a variety of alternatives, including “North Sudan,” “Less-south Sudan,” or “South Sudan’s Hat.” Opinion in the north is divided, although the latter option seems to be the favorite to win. 5


PHENOMENON

The Review Phenomenon Explaining our presense on campus by Mark Soriano

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on-Review readers likely heard the name of the publication much more than usual this year, for a number of reasons. We raised the number of issues we print back to normal levels, got our name in Pipe Dream a few times, attempted to distribute more frequently to broaden our audience, and were more active on social media. However, all of these things do not fully explain our increased presence on campus. Instead, the secret to our success can be explained by something I call “the Review Phenomenon.” Over the past four years, the Binghamton Review has been able to boast the election of two Assembly Speakers, two Vice Presidents for Finance, three Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs (one of which served two terms), a Vice President for Multicultural Affairs, an SA President, an SA Treasurer, and countless Assembly and Financial

Council Representatives, and even a Community President or two who were all on our masthead. No other group on campus has been able to achieve such a high level of involvement in the positions that matter on campus. But what does it mean? You may feel like saying “who cares, they don’t do anything anyway,” which is a fair, but misguided view. Every semester you pay around $90 in Student Activity Fee money that pays for concerts, programs and events, the Blue Buses, Harpur’s Ferry, and loads of other services that you enjoy on a daily basis, and members of the Review have had an important hand in shaping the way that money is spent and the way the Student Association operates. You may also feel like saying “I still don’t care, I have better things to do than worry about the SA,” which is another fair, though even more misguided view. Trust me, we have better things to do than worry about

Want to join the Review? Of course you do...

the SA too, but we still do worry. The SA controls millions of dollars, provides essential services to students, protects your rights on a daily basis, and creates fun, memorable experiences that you will remember after you graduate. In addition to running an awesome, totally infallible publication, Review editors and members have also been running the Student Association in various roles, working to make your time at Binghamton better. There are criticisms of the influence that Review members have been able to accrue. When I was running for SA President, an individual from Hinman accused me and my fellow Review editors of attempting some variety of coups to take over the SA. This view is idiotic. There is no “Review Party,” there are no schemes to dominate the SA, and there are no evil intentions. I cannot remember a time where Review editors past and present gathered in conclave to scheme the future of the

Introducting: Skeptical Thatcher Oh, you call it “Humans vs. Zombies”?

Email editor@binghamtonreview.com for meeting times and opportunities for involvement. Join the movement while you still can.

We used to call it “being an asshole.” Collect them all!

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BINGHAMTON REVIEW

MAY 2012


PHENOMENON

Student Association, and I don’t expect such an event will ever occur. Even more importantly, Review members don’t get their positions by stealing them, we all face elections just like everyone else. If you want us to stop winning these elections, stop sucking. Maybe the voters will notice. The reason so many of our writers and editors end up in important SA positions is that we as a publication attract motivated, ambitious and dedicated members. Our staff is not very large; we manage to pump out an issue every month with a skeleton staff of between five and ten members, but the result is usually great, regardless. I would never say that the Review is inherently amazing, and that the publication creates leaders. Instead, our leaders create the Review, and often move on to bigger and better things, as the next generation of editors takes over. So, back to my original point, the reason that the Review has a higher profile in recent years than in the past is because Review members are going on to do great things. It has become an expectation that involvement in our publication is matched by involvement elsewhere on campus, ensuring that our staff is well rounded and up to date on campus events. This does not only mean involvement in SA politics, it also means involvement in clubs, campus organizations, and even ResLife (we currently have two RAs on staff). Everyone on our staff, through their campus involvement, spreads awareness of this publication, what we do, and what we stand for. What does this all mean to our average reader? First, it means that the Review should be looking like a much better option for future involvement. We always welcome new writers, editors, graphic designers, and staff to help us run the paper. Some people are turned away by what I’ve heard called our “extreme” conservative viewpoint. www.binghamtonreview.com

When it comes to state, national and international politics and events, we do position ourselves right-of-center, and I am proud of it. However, we believe in logic and reason before all else, and we are primarily non-partisan. I am personally not very conservative politically, and I do not associate with either party; however, sensible moderation is acceptable, and even encouraged, we have had our fair share of “Review Democrats” in the past. But our main focus as a publication is on student rights, campus issues, and University policy, which is what matters most to students, and have no party affiliation. Second, it means that the next time you hear someone call the Review any number of adjectives that can amount to “control freak, obsessive Fascists” (I’ve heard it), you will know not to believe it. Take our involvement in the SA with a grain of salt, we are students, just like you. The only difference is that unlike most people on campus, our editors and writers are dedicated to

You say you’re a writer for Prospect?

I wasn’t aware the definition of “writer” had changed... working hard in service to the student body, often without recognition or praise. Don’t worry about defending us to people who are going to criticize the Review. There are people who are going to read this and laugh, and tell their friends how we are all delusional lunatics. All I have to say to them is that haters gon’ hate, but we’re gon’ keep winning. B

Binghamton Problems, Binghamton Solutions

Problem: Missing doorknobs

Solution: Replace one knob Solving our problems under serious budget constraints 7


GREEK LIFE

A Letter to the President The State of Greek Life

by Lee Gadsden

I

would like to start this letter by congratulating you on your promotion. After reading this Springs issue of Binghamton University Magazine and seeing you picking up trash in the quad, among many other things, I have developed a great deal of respect for you. You are however, making one terrible mistake. The current onslaught of frivolous hazing investigations undermines the true value of Greek Life on our campus. Similar to most college campuses in America, our Code of Student Conduct so broadly defines hazing, that its ambiguity gives the administration the ability to prosecute organizations on a whim. I will obviously concede that irresponsible individuals who take hazing too far are not only a liability to themselves but also our peers, our organizations, and of course our school. These specific individuals should be prosecuted; but you are not prosecuting any specific criminals. In fact, you are punishing an entire system that is overwhelmingly innocent. According to April 17th edition of the Pipe Dream the “hazing investigation is being conducted through the Greek Life office, not the 8

BINGHAMTON REVIEW

UPD.� If there is no evidence of any criminal activity why is the school getting involved? The Greek Life office is plainly overstaffed. The cease and desist order is eroding the integrity of all Greek organizations on our campus. The longer and more complicated you make this petition process, the weaker the whole system will become. Please do not let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch. I at first must assume that the reasoning behind your letting this fiasco of an investigation occur on our campus is because you have never known or misjudged the value of these organizations. The synergy that fraternities and similar organizations have the potential to catalyze is incalculable. The essence of being a part of an organization such as a sports team or fraternity is that it encourages its members to productively compete against one another in a manner that promotes the best results for everyone. College is supposed to be a time of transition for young people to mature into adults. Throughout our undergraduate years we are supposed to evolve into more responsible people. A

big part of this process is having the ability to increasingly make more independent decisions. For athletes this is much less of a decision, however the same principle of institutionalized camaraderie remains and choosing where you want to put your effort is what being a student is all about. This is how becoming a part of such an organization is supposed to be: step one, a freshmen decides what organization best suits his or her interests, step two, the individual goes through a process where they make a sacrifice to prove their willingness and worthiness to contribute to the greater good of said organization, step three, the individual becomes a recognized member and is better off for it. You were in a fraternity at Cornell and therefore you must have some sense of this synergy. As a student with many friends in Greek life, myself not included, I can tell you that this is the life blood of all of the organizations I have come in contact with. This is something that I regret not taking advantage of, because I did not fully appreciate what it had to offer. I come from a region of the country where fraternities are so overregulated that they have become almost exclusively NOVEMBER 2011


TRANSFER EXPERIENCE about job boards and lack the camaraderie that exists here in Binghamton. I’m sure you know the current president of your alma mater has recently had to deal with much greater hazing problems than Binghamton has ever seen. Despite the death of a student, President David J. Skorton defended Greek Life identifying its fundamental elements: “the Greek system is part of our university history and culture, and we should maintain it because at its best, it can foster friendship, community service and leadership.” There are the values of a Greek system, and you are making it impossible for them to thrive here at Binghamton. You present yourself as a leader who has been enlightened by the quality of this University’s staff as well as students. Our Fall 2012 class of incoming freshmen is projected to have a higher average SAT score than Cornell’s. If we have proven to you that we are worthy of being seen in a high regard and have the statistics to back it, then why don’t you respect our capacity to make our own decisions? The anti-hazing regulation in the Code of Student Conduct has a curiously low regard for our decision-making capacity. According to section seventeen on page five the “definition of hazing applies whether or not the participants consent to such activity or perceive the behavior as voluntary.” So basically, federal and state law holds all majors legally responsible for their actions, but Binghamton University doesn’t believe its exceptionally bright students have the capacity to their own behavior as being voluntary. It is through sacrifice and even a bit of discomfort that we can grow, gain confidence, learn and attain the respect of our peers. Denying young people these opportunities because a few may abuse them is very shortsighted. Since childhood, I have always been a huge fan of Batman. This juxtaposition of the rules you impose and the way you present yourself in your magazine makes me think that you have more in common with Harvey Dent than just your first name. B

www.binghamtonreview.com

Transferring to Binghamton A Comical, yet Heartwarming, Experience by Dan Milyavsky

I

was sitting on a bench at the courtyard outside the Hunter College residence hall, with my mother on the phone. My mother happens to be Jewish, so this was an unpleasant experience all on its own. However, it was about to get even worse. “I’m going to transfer to Binghamton, Mom.” “What?!” she cried it in Russian. “Absolutely not!!! Not a chance!! I do not allow it!! It’s not happening!! Don’t even think about it! It’s impossible! Forget about it!” When Josef Stalin received the news that the Soviet Union was being overrun by a surprise attack by its former ally Nazi Germany, he could not possibly have had an outburst even a tenth as enraged, shocked, and yes, even vicious. My mother went on like this for quite some time, but it was of no use. I had made my decision to transfer out of Macaulay CUNY Hunter, a school that a friend of mine recently likened to a “spiraling dungeon.” I was no longer going to be going to college for free, and I was no longer going to be in New York City so that she could guilt trip me into visiting her whenever she felt like it. “What will happen,” she began to ask, “if you get there and you have no friends and you hate it and it ends up being a terrible mistake?” How does one answer such a question? It reminds me of that question that kids used to ask each other when I was younger: “Do your parents know that you’re gay?” Whether you say yes or no, you’re still gay! Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Anyhow, I say all this to illustrate how much crap I had to go through to finally transfer here. And – I’m going to be completely honest here, even though you, the reader, will still think I’m lying

– it was absolutely worth it. In high school, I found the very idea of school spirit atrocious and repulsive. Here at Binghamton, I’m cozying up to it. I’m proud to go here. I like it here very much. And I’d like to write this article to explain why. George W. Bush (hold on a second – this does have to do with this article) was a terrible President in most respects, but I do very much like the title of his autobiography, Decision Points. So, I will write article in a way that I would like to call Random Points. A couple of days after I received my dorm assignment here at Bing, I hung out with my brother, who went to school here about 15 years ago. He asked me which community I was placed in. “Umm, I think it’s called Hillsdale.” “Hillsdale? What the fuck is Hillsdale?” “How the hell should I know? I’m only transferring there.” “Are you sure it wasn’t Hillside? “Oh, it might’ve been.” “They placed you in Hillside? For your first semester? Do you have any idea how long your walk to campus is gonna be?” “Again, how the hell should I know?” “It’s going to be long. You should try to switch communities.” Although I did

You’re a transfer student?

I’ll get you the number of the suicide hotline, you’ll need it during orientation. 9


TRANSFER EXPERIENCE

have to hassle the Residence Life office a bit (and by a bit I mean a lot), they did switch me into an available room in College in the Woods. As I got out of the Greyhound bus I took up to Binghamton from New York City, I looked around for a taxi and entered one. “Um, I’m going to Binghamton University,” I told the cab driver moronically. He was in his fifties and had long, disgusting hair going down to his lower back. He might as well have had “Townie” tattooed on his forehead. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. “Which community? Which building?” the seasoned taxi veteran replied. “Um, College in the Woods? Oneeda?” “You mean Oneida?” “Yeah, that one.” At orientation, they assigned fellow transfers into groups based on their communities. I liked the people in my group, which included two fellow Russians from New York City. (I’m kidding about the “fellow” part, by the way. I’m Russian, so I know that Russians absolutely suck.) We hung out for pretty much the entire day, exchanged phone numbers, and went to the pointless orientation events together. Being as cynical as I am, during a conversation I observed: “I bet we’re not even gonna be talking to each other a

Have fun on Birthright.

Thanks in advance for clogging my newsfeed with pictures of you on a camel.

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BINGHAMTON REVIEW

week from now.” “Naw, I’m sure we’re still gonna be friends,” replied one of the people in my group. We were both wrong. It took about five days. But we still wave when we see each other around campus! For my first shower at Binghamton University, I discovered what it’s like to shower without adequate water pressure. Let me tell you: it sucks. Since I transferred into Bing for the Spring semester instead of for the Fall, I was a bit worried that everyone on my floor would already be friends and it would be hard for me to meet people. Fortunately, I ended up being wrong: everyone on my floor was very friendly to me, and seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me (or, at the very least, they faked it incredibly well). There was just one problem – I was meeting so many new people so quickly, I couldn’t remember half of their names, and after the third conversation or so with people, I thought it was no longer appropriate to ask to be reminded of their names, fearing that they would find such a question offensive. So, since then, I have been starting conversations with everyone on my floor, including my roommate, with the phrase: “Hey man.” Just kidding. I do know my roommate’s name. But not anyone else’s. The weekend after orientation, I went downtown with some of the people from my orientation group. Somehow, one of the people in the group knew that there was a party going on at one of the frat houses, but did not know that you could take a bus to get downtown. Life is strange like that. When we got to the frat house, we had to pay a $5 cover. There was a guy smoking a joint at the entrance. I remembered him: he was my tour guide when I visited Bing. When I told him this, the pothead replied with the most insightful and earth-

shattering statement I have ever heard in my entire life: “I do give campus tours.” Maybe weed does make you stupid. We didn’t know anyone there, and the punch had so much sugar in it I thought I was stepping closer to becoming a diabetic with every sip. After about a half hour and leaning awkwardly against the wall and trying to fit in and pretend we weren’t having a miserable time, my friends and I left for the bars. After what seemed like an endless trek through the tundra that Binghamton becomes in winter, we finally arrived on the dilapidated and pathetic excuse that is known as “downtown.” And I really had to urinate. I didn’t have a fake ID, so one of my friends passed back the one he used. Aside from the fact that the guy in the picture had the haircut of a skinhead, whereas I have the haircut of a pothead (true story: a couple of days ago, a friend of mine was very surprised to hear that I did not smoke pot, and did not want to. “You’re not a pothead?” he cried in disbelief. “Then why the hell do you look like that?!”). However, even worse was that upon examination, the ID split into two layers. I kid you not, the thing split in fucking half. For a while I wasn’t sure whether I should just try showing the front part of the ID to the bouncer, or whether I should try to keep the two layers together and hope he didn’t notice. I took the latter option, but it mattered not, as the ID was swiftly rejected. Now, by this point, my urge to piss was overwhelming, and the parking garage across the street seemed my only hope. I found a corner in the basement, and, after relieving myself, found a cab to take back to campus, by myself. I was just happy that I made it back with my bladder intact! I’m now going to fast-forward a bit. Since that incident, I have had much more successful trips downtown, but I won’t write about them, since they’re not particularly interesting. The week my MAY 2012


TRANSFER EXPERIENCE

first trip downtown was the first week of classes, and I joined a bunch of clubs, especially political ones. At this point, I can probably credit College Libertarians with introducing me to at least half of my friends. Hey, vigorous political debate may look like senseless shouting and arguing to the uninitiated observer, but it’s fun. Speaking of fun, you know what’s decidedly not fun? Having the fire alarm ring after midnight for the fourth time this month because someone can’t be bothered to remember about their popcorn, or because some asshole gets a thrill by setting a flier aflame. Sometimes, it’s a shame we don’t have medieval style punishments anymore. On the way back from seeing Ron Paul speak at Cornell, five of us College Libertarians were discussing what we should get for dinner. “Definitely not fast food,” concluded one of us. “What?” replied someone in outrage. “That is the www.binghamtonreview.com

most liberal thing I have ever heard you say!” “How the hell is not wanting to eat processed and low quality meat liberal?” “As libertarians, we believe in capitalism, and we should absolutely not buy into this moronic, hipster anti-corporate message.” “Anti-corporate? I just don’t want to have dinner at McDonalds!” And so forth. It was epic. Well, that seems like a good enough selection of anecdotes from my time here. I want to note that although I’m poking fun (perhaps it’s more like stabbing at times, but friendly stabbing nonetheless) at Binghamton University, I am actually fantastically grateful for the way that the community here welcomed me with open arms. My entire life, I have always thought school spirit was moronic and had a visceral reaction in opposition to it, but here at Bing, I’ve somehow dropped that attitude, and I’m actually developing a bit of it myself. This is really the first time that I’m proud to be a student at

the school I’m in. The education that I have received so far is absolutely first-rate, with the professors being knowledgeable and competent. Most of the students I encounter are friendly, intelligent, and intellectually curious. Back at my old college, I felt like I was going to night school; or going to school part time. I would just go in, go to class, and leave. It’s much different here. I have something new to do every day. There are so many opportunities here for students to make something of themselves, and of their mind. I know this all sounds like cheesy bullshit, but I believe it to be true. And you can trust my judgment, because ordinarily I’m incredibly cynical and I certainly did not regard my previous college and my high school this way. So, although Bing might be a little rough around the edges, it’s sure as hell worth appreciating. B

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Binghamton University College Republicans in conjunction with College Democrats, College Libertarians, and the Binghamton Review

Present...

- Economist - Former Co-Anchor of 20/20 - Host of Stossel on Fox Business Network

Stossel will also be signing copies of his new book: No They Can’t!

Sunday, May 6 at 2:30pm Doors Open at 2pm Mandela Room

Admission is FREE Q&A from the audience will follow 12

BINGHAMTON REVIEW

MAY 2012


JOHN STOSSEL

The Man and the Mustache John Stossel is coming to Binghamton University by Dennis Thatcher

T

he Binghamton University College Republicans (BUCR) bring you the legendary John Stossel. Mr. Stossel, an educational yet incredibly entertaining celebrity guest speaker (i.e. not a “Snooki”), is coming to campus Sunday, May 6, 2012 of Spring Fling weekend. Stossel is a libertarian economist and columnist, host of “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network, and former cohost of 20/20 on ABC News. He has won numerous awards for his popular television programs, including 19 Emmy Awards. He is also the author of several books, including Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel – Why Everything You Know Is Wrong. Off air, Mr. Stossel is very active in philanthropy work and has three charities: the Central Park Conservancy, Student Sponsor Partners, and the Doe Fund. With that said, the College Republicans are very enthusiastic

www.binghamtonreview.com

about having worked so diligently to book an event with such a prominent man. The club’s all-star Executive Board has turned a long-standing goal into a reality. Tara-Marie Lynch, Executive Chair of the Binghamton University College Republicans, said, “We’ve been working tirelessly to make the most out of this event, most notably through an aggressive marketing campaign. It seems that some of our ideas, such as the ‘Stossel ‘stache’ giveaway, are being very well-received by the student body and we’re excited about that. We look forward to seeing everything come together on May 6.” Although most credit is owed to the College Republicans for making this event happen, the club has worked closely with several other organizations. Members claim that the event would not have been possible without the contributions and sponsorship provided by various groups both on and off campus. Sponsors include Young America’s Foundation (YAF), Off- Campus College Council, Financial Council, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Convocations Committee, College Democrats, Binghamton Review, Hillside College Council, Hunter Hall, Hinman College Council and College Libertarians. Furthermore, BUCR worked alongside Barnes & Noble to ensure that copies of Stossel’s recently released publication No They Can’t would be available for purchase. Marissa Beldock, Vice Executive

Chair of the College Republicans, said, “We would not have been able to host a speaker of Mr. Stossel’s caliber without the assistance of Young America’s Foundation. Young America’s Foundation is an organization that, amongst many other functions, helps conservative college students bring distinguished conservative speakers to college campuses around the country. YAF has worked with us every step of the way to help bring Mr. Stossel to Binghamton this year and we are extremely grateful for all of their help and guidance.” On top of securing such a prominent speaker this academic year, BUCR has organized a number of other commendable events – which is most likely the reason why the College Republicans were recognized in the latest Student Group Spotlight as being one of the most active groups on campus. To start, the club is responsible for the 9/11 Flag Memorial each fall semester, an annual debate between the College Democrats and the College Republicans, political forums

You keep telling me how hard engineering is...

and I tell you how much I don’t give a shit.

13


JOHN STOSSEL with faculty members, roundtable discussions, local VFW visits to honor U.S. veterans, and an annual BUCR Relay-for-Life fundraising team. The College Republicans have also been successful in pioneering what they refer to as the “flag project”; they collected over 600 signatures supporting a mission to erect an American flagpole on campus where it can be seen and appreciated. President Harvey Stenger immediately endorsed their idea and even suggested a threetiered flag system – a U.S. flag, a New York state flag, and a BU flag – to be placed on the traffic circle berm. In addition to communitywide recognition, the Binghamton University College Republicans have managed to attract national media attention. This year, 13 club members traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Though their trip to CPAC has been a tradition for many years now, two members of the Executive Board (Kevin Greer and Tara-Marie Lynch) were chosen for an interview and were later featured in a USA Today article. On the subject of the club, Lynch adds, “I’m extremely proud of how far this club has come. This year’s Executive Board works great together as a team and we are thrilled to announce that Binghamton University will be a destination on Mr. Stossel’s agenda this May.” Mr. Stossel will be speaking on Sunday, May 6 in the University Union Mandela Room. Doors open at 2:00pm. The event begins at 2:30pm. He will speak on a variety of issues, including current events, the economy, and education – each

14

BINGHAMTON REVIEW

of which the College Republicans feel are relevant to the student body, faculty, and members of the greater Binghamton area. Another special feature of the event includes a Q&A session. Even more exciting is a personal book-signing session to close the event; Mr. Stossel will be signing copies of his most recent book, No, They Can’t, which will be available for purchase at the front door.

Additionally, $1 custom-made photos will be available for purchase for Mr. Stossel to sign as well. Admission is FREE for the event and is open to all Binghamton University and Broome Community College students as well as the general public. Refreshments will be provided and complimentary “Stossel ‘staches” will be distributed to the first 100 people to arrive. B

MAY 2012


CAMPUS POLITICAL SPECTRUM

Left and Right

The campus political spectrum broken down by The Editors INFLUENTIAL

Binghamton Review Notice any similarities between our masthead and the SA Letterhead? That, reader, is influence.

College Libertarians Anarchists, Tea Partiers, and Freedom-Lovers alike flock to the College Libertarians. Relatively unknown for most of the year, the Libertarians put on a great event promoting the lowering of the drinking age using root beer and brown paper bags. Chabad and Hillel We get it, there are a lot of Jews on campus, and they are really well organized. Thank God Chabad and Hillel don’t get along well, imagine what they could do if they worked together? Thankfully for us nonHebrews, it seems unlikely that the two will heal their rift any time soon, so we are safe for now.

Hillel

Chabad College Republicans College Libertarians

LEFT

RIGHT

College Democrats Prospect

College Democrats Who? Oh, that’s right, the five students who sit in a room talking about social justice. They represent how apathetic/lazy the average liberal college student is. The Democrats only notable accomplishment this year was contributing money to bringing John Stossel to campus.

IRRELEVANT

College Republicans The College Republicans are one of the most active groups on campus, putting on large-scale events like the 9/11 flag memorial, and recently, bringing John Stossel to campus. A large group, the Republicans encompass a large swathe of rightleaning students ranging from libertarians to social conservatives. Through weekly discussion sessions and campus outreach, the Republicans are really making their presence known.

Binghamton Review

Prospect Once a voice for extreme leftwing thought, Prospect has slid into mediocrity and irrelevance. The Left should be embarrassed to have such a useless outlet representing them. NYPIRG See page 16. B

NYPIRG www.binghamtonreview.com

15


PEOPLE

THE ENEMIES LIST See Who’s Been Condemned

Humans vs Zombies We made fun of you for being virgin nerds back in September and we see no reason to take that back. Please stop sending us pictures in an attempt to prove us wrong. NYPIRG A lobbying organization posing as a student group. See our semester report for details. Brenden Colling He is the lowest form of scum you can find at Binghamton University, Colling is the Campus Coordinator for BU’s NYPIRG chapter. He answers exclusively to his handlers at NYPIRG Central in Albany, and is the person really running things in BU’s NYPIRG. He uses and manipulates the students that join NYPIRG who are just looking to make a difference, and views his recruits as pawns for NYPIRG Central’s gain. And we’re pretty sure that the students in NYPIRG hate him too. Oh yeah, and Wiz Khalifa would love the color of his teeth. BTV Sorry, we mean “TheNewBTV™©.” This year they have continued their proud tradition of sucking up thousands of dollars in Student Activity Fee money, “relaunching” every few months, and providing zero content to the university body. We eagerly await your inevitable Fall 2012 launch with its promised news shows and biting exposés on the Binghamton Bro population. Brian Rose The University’s Vice President for Student Affairs is still scheming. His entire job consists of trying to convince students that they have less power on this campus than they actually have. In private, he is vehemently hostile to students and the Student Association. This year, he has continued to randomly show up to your community government meeting on an epic ass-kissing campaign to prove to his new boss, 16

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President Stenger, that he still comprehends the plight of students that he’s supposed to work for. In Brian Rose’s perfect world, students wouldn’t actually exist, they would just be tuition-paying serfs. Opponents of Rational Tuition They are also opponents to rational thinking. They do not seem to understand that things cost money. They also do not understand that schools need to pay for things besides communist professors. The Rational Tuition plan has tuition prices going up gradually instead of one large hike. They bitch and moan about students not being able to pay for school but the plan says schools and financial aid sources MUST make up the difference. NYSR Heav yuo hared of spel chek? We would critique the entitled, narcissistic, rent-seeking, world-view of the authors of the New York Students Rising pamphlets if we could actually read the damn thing. If you are going to attempt to make a legitimate attack on SUNY’s $11 billion budget, you should at least spell correctly. Office of Student Conduct The OCR-Mandate assholes. Their purpose is to make you a second class citizen on this campus. Apparently, the national and local laws governing you are not enough, so Binghamton has their own legislators as well. By coming to this university, you agree to their policies, which can stifle free speech and unjustly convict students for harassment on little evidence. Hey OSC, are we harassing you? No, then fuck you. Does that now count as sexual harassment under your new rules? ResLife It is no longer the drunk-with-power RA you have to worry about. It is the RDs that landed ResLife on the list this year. Their sights are not only on their residents but on their own Residential Assistants. See page 16 for more details. MAY 2012


PEOPLE Binghamton Sound, Staging, and Lighting (BSSL) This is perhaps the most corrupt and unethical organization on campus. They overcharge unknowing student groups for simple services like a microphone and a speaker in addition to habitually cancelling their contracts with student groups with a mere 48-hours notice. They once charged College-in-the-Woods $200 when the BSSL staffers lost a small wooden cart used to wheel around their speakers. There are plenty of businesses off-campus that charge less and provide better services. Not to mention no one knows where the money you collected from your Binghamtronica tickets went... GSO The Graduate Student Organization. They are some of the most incompetent group of people on campus, and do not understand how government works. They are easily perplexed by how well ran the SA is.

ON NOTICE Step Yo’ Bit Up

Kate Flatley Ms. Flatley tops out “On Notice” list for the second year in a row mostly because we fear what she will be capable of once she has her law degree. Her ego is already big enough, who knows what Fordham Law School will do to her. Will Madeira Stick to your day job at Paradigm. Imaging you as a BU Council Representative is just terrifying. Binghamton Tour Guides Apart from being run like an Italian Mob Family, the tour guide organization here at Binghamton is just annoying. We feel like tour guides get a sick pleasure from dragging a fifty person tour through a dining hall at noon on a Saturday morning. President Harvey Stenger He seems like he’ll be a great university president. We like his plans for the university and the Binghamton area. He also seems like he’s the most student friendly president we’ve had in decades. He made this list www.binghamtonreview.com

because it’s in our nature to be a little bit skeptical of someone that seems so perfect. #teamevp Using Twitter hashtags to distinguish your office from the rest of the Student Association is the dumbest way to prove your usefulness to the Binghamton campus community. Neil deGrasse Tyson You’re on notice until you come back to Binghamton for another show. Spring Fling It is still basically a fried dough stand, a couple of rides, and free sunglasses. But now you have to pay to see a once-free concert. Binghamton Prospect Magazine We feel like the only reason you decided not to do the “Top 50 Most Influential Students” is because the shame you felt when you realized that members of the Binghamton Review would take up a majority of the list. Chabad We believe this is the only fraternal organization left on campus which still performs strange historic rituals, has an exclusive clique of friends, promises inter-sex mingling, and will only feed you after you listen to their propaganda. Also, never trust an organization that uses an obscene amount of balloons to advertise their dinner plans. HAYES4LIFE. Binghamton Memes After making fun of handicapped Sodexo workers and proving how uncreative the average BU student really is, this Facebook page has thankfully been deleted and hopefully the internet fad may remain at rest. tl;dr gb2 /b/, mootles is waiting. Homophobic Protesters We don’t hate him because he’s opposed to “alternative lifestyles,” we hate him because he provides an excuse for flamboyant students to flaunt their junk in banana straps in the open air. Oops we wrote “flamboyant”, is that intolerant? B 17


THE WOLF

Wolf

The

Returns...

Marcy Hall’s Inner Demons: A Tale of Injustice and Incompentency in ResLife

O

n Wednesday March 7th, 2012 a beloved RA in Marcy Hall (Mountainview Community) was terminated. The firing of Francis “Frank” Cinque was the culmination of a quiet chain of events starting before the academic year began in August of 2011. Frank’s story is a tale of incompetence, inappropriate work behavior, deception, and hypocrisy that surrounds the Reslife hierarchy, the Resident Director (RD) of Marcy Hall, and the Assistant Director of the Mountainview Community. It’s no secret to Binghamton University students that ResLife isn’t exactly a well-liked institution of our campus. Many view the RAs in their building as the Gestapo patrolling the halls looking for trouble. But not too often do we think of the ones pulling the strings of the RAs, who we often forget are our fellow students. Everyone has a boss, and in a RAs case, it is his or her RD. ResLife’s Residential Hall Directors often pride themselves on being part of the family that they call their building staff. RAs are chosen and trained to be leaders in their building and community. They are to always maintain a professionally 18

BINGHAMTON REVIEW

respectable image and they are told and taught to lead by example. Anything that would compromise this image and leadership is often deemed termination worthy. Frank was considered by many residents and peers of Mountainview to be a model RA. When asked, residents of Marcy only ever responded with positive words saying that he was integral to making their home in Mountaiview a great place to live. Speaking on the case of anonymity, one of Frank’s old freshman residents said “he’s done more for me and this hall than anyone I thought could and has made me feel welcome and safe. He’s awesome.” One individual living in Mountainview said, “Marcy residents lost a personable, helpful, enjoyable RA in Frank. We lost a member of our family and an integral part the identity of the Marcy community. There’s no way Frank was fired for being a bad RA. He’s an amazing RA.” Frank Cinque was fired for what his superiors saw as exhibiting a “pattern of incompetency of completing administrative tasks.” It would appear that RD’s are not held to the same standards as the RAs that they are leading. Upon termination Frank was given a list of all of his wrong doings since

the onset of the academic year. The list includes very specific dates and times of all of his failures to complete administrative task such as failure to submit weekly reports on time. A weekly report is a way for an RD to get a feel for how their RA’s week has been going and how they can prepare for their one on one weekly meetings. On Tuesday, October 11th 2011, he was late to RA duty by 20 minutes. On November 21st 2011, he failed to respond to an e-mail scheduling a meeting for an end of semester evaluation. On February 12th 2011, he failed to submit another weekly report. And on Febuary 15th 2011, Frank was 10 minutes late to a staff meeting. Now Frank admits that he was wrong in committing these offenses. He was only available to make this comment, “Yes I understand what I did was wrong and I will take responsibility for my actions, however I did not believe that it was egregious enough to warrant me being removed, and if that is the case, then I believe Reslife needs to correct its inconsistencies. It should have a problem with knowing that there are others who have done much worse and continue to do worse without repercussions.” Tanyah Barnes, the RD of Marcy MAY 2012


THE WOLF

Hall, (and Frank’s former boss) since RA training of August 2011, has exhibited much more egregious offenses. These wrongdoings have displayed a hypocritical pattern of outrageous ineptitude when it comes to completing her administrative responsibilities as an RD at Binghamton University, as well as creating an uncomfortable work environment for those in Mountainview and Reslife. An anonymous source had this to say; “No matter how bad this article may make Tanyah sound, it’s not half as bad as what the RAs on her staff and the 300 plus students of Marcy hall have experienced since August.” And so, just as Frank was given a list of his offenses, this is a list for Tanyah Barnes and her offenses. During August 2011, Fall RA training, RAs are constantly reminded to silence their cell phones and cease from texting so as to respect the various presenters and speakers. Those RAs found using their phones during presentations are scolded reported to their respective RD. Tanyah was giving a presentation on Social Justice to RAs during

training. Her phone went off a total of five times during her own presentation. She halted the lecture all five times to check the phone. Note this was her personal cellular device. On Friday August 19th, 2011, (still during RA training) Tanyah instructed her RA staff to meet for mandatory breakfast at 10am the next morning at the Hinman Dining Hall. Every RA was awake and waiting for Tanyah at exactly 10am. After a few minutes they assumed she must have already gone down to the dining hall without them. They arrived for breakfast at 10:05am at which time they discovered that the dining hall would not be open until 11am. The entire staff then received a text from Tanyah saying “Hey all! Don’t forget breakfast at 10:30! Meet at Marcy!” On August 25, during the “meet and greet” with all the very impressionable freshmen of Marcy Hall, she was giving a speech when her own personal phone rang. She proceeded to stop the speech and answer her phone and talk while everyone in the room waited silently. Note: this was not the

RD on Duty phone (which RD’s are required to answer at all times). During fall semester move in period (from August 25th to August 29th), Tanyah demanded that her RAs post their personal cell phone numbers on the doors into Marcy (as opposed to posting room phone numbers) claiming it was her right to demand that. Her staff expressed that they were extremely uncomfortable with this breach of privacy. Furthermore, residents of Marcy have also said that she has an inappropriate habit of standing “uncomfortably close” to people while talking to them and has a fixation with “flicking, fondling and tugging on people’s ears without their consent.” Tanyah instructed that her RAs check their mailboxes every day and are reprimanded if they fail to do so. Tanyah has very often failed to do the same. Her mailbox is often full of papers including work orders from residents. On several occasions, RAs on her staff have said that they will place something in her mailbox on time, and then receive texts from her saying that they have to make sure they stay organized and on top of administrative tasks, when in reality 19


THE WOLF

it is her own disorganization that prevented her from finding what she asks of her RA staff. She has tendency to do the absolute minimal amount of physical labor asked of her. For example during preparation for a blood drive on September 14th, 2011, the Marcy staff was asked to help move furniture around in APP111. She proceeded to move exactly one chair and then stand and watch the rest of her staff move the heavy furniture for forty-five minutes. When approached by a resident on September 17th, 2011 during King of the Mountain, Tanyah was asked a question about the events for the day. She was sitting on a bench holding the schedule of events for the day, looked up at the student and said “I’m busy, ask someone else.” On September 21st 2011, Tanyah sent a text at 9:28pm informing her staff that they were late to their weekly scheduled 9:30pm staff meeting. Upon arriving at (on time) 9:30pm, Tanyah was not yet present. In September of 2011, during monthly fire inspections of the building, RDs and two RAs go through a selection of random

You live in UP?

Good choice, none of the fun of living downtown, and only twice the price. 20

BINGHAMTON REVIEW

rooms to check for any fire code violations. If residents of the room are not present, the RD and RAs are granted access by way of a master key that grants access to every single room of the entire building. Tanyah at some point dropped her master key while checking the rooms. Tanyah had no idea this key was lost until a good hearted resident returned the key. RAs are given a similar master key and are told at the beginning of the year that losing this key is grounds for immediate termination. In December of 2011, a suite of girls in Marcy Hall was having roommate conflicts and approached Tanyah about having her help solve it. They reported that during the meeting Tanyah let the two sides insult each other viscously and they felt she acted unprofessionally and made everyone feel extremely uncomfortable. On January 23rd 2012, Tanyah sent an email out to her staff during an RA training session. At the same time, RAs are reprimanded if they use any of their technological devices during such sessions. She has time and again displayed a pattern of using her personal devices during staff meetings and work related presentations at inappropriate times. In February of this year, residents of Marcy Hall reported that their showers were not producing hot water and were in fact at dangerously cold levels during the month of February. When reported to Tanyah, she suggested that a work order be filled out for the showers that didn’t appear to be functioning properly. When it was explained

to her that this was a building wide problem, she said that she would take this into account and go through the proper channels. She reported that by February 29th the problem had been resolved, but residents of Marcy recall that the showers did not work properly again until the uncharacteristic warm spell we had in mid- March. Residents of Marcy have reported many other more general tendencies that Tanyah displays. For example she is extremely disorganized to the point where she will arrive at meetings unprepared and demand that students give her the supplies she neglected to bring or halt the meeting until she can retrieve the items she’s forgotten. One resident recalls Tanyah stopping a meeting for ten minutes while she retrieved “snacks,” from her office. Then, in the same meeting, reprimanded a student for forgetting to bring a calendar. Her hypocritical nature is just as evident in the demands she makes of her staff. She is extremely strict and unrelenting when it comes to bulletin boards and door tags deadlines, chastising her RAs when they ask for an extension on their boards or door tags saying they should plan for the future and unforeseen events (such as test prep or funerals) while failing to complete her own “Marcy Welcome Board” (that is supposed to be completed by the beginning of the semester in January) until the month of March. When asked to make general comments about Tanyah Barnes, students living in Marcy Hall had very little good to say. People dread being around her, she makes individuals feel extremely uncomfortable. Residents of MAY 2012


THE WOLF

Marcy feel neglected and that Tanyah cares about no one but herself. Reslife prides itself on helping residents to grow, learn and live in a safe helpful and comfortable environment. Tanyah has failed to provide this setting and therefore Reslife is worse for it. But, there are larger problems here besides just Tanyah’s poor performance as a Resident Director. It is a well-known fact that RDs are in short supply, (it’s part of the reason that in Hinman and Dickinson there is now a system where RDs are in charge of two buildings) and as such, it would appear that the quality of RDs has decreased. However, this cannot justify the actions of Tanyah Barnes. There has been a massive failure of oversight (bet you never thought you’d read those words in the Binghamton Review) by the Reslife Central Office. For too long now Tanyah has been allowed

to consistently under perform, and Frank Cinque paid the price. He has become another victim of a system that rewards poor performance by administrators, and removes students with minimal wrongdoing. An RA (who will not be named for the sake of his or her job security) said that “being a resident assistant is among the most important jobs on campus, yet they are forced to operate within a system that is designed against them. We can’t change the system because nobody cares about us, we are cycled out as we graduate. We can’t adequately raise concerns for fear of retribution. We feel voiceless.” Reslife is not properly watching out for its RAs. Tanyah’s continued employment is clear evidence of that. This is a problem indicative of the Binghamton Reslife system. Frank was an unfortunate casualty of this. This injustice

was brought upon him after what many considered an extremely effective and irreplaceable RA tenure. Frank was removed for displaying an apparent ineptitude regarding trivial administrative tasks; he was not the first victim, nor will he be the last. And yet, RDs such as Tanyah Barnes will continue to be employed, despite mounting complaints from within Reslife itself as well as within the Mountainview Community. RAs are a crucial and positive component of this campus and will continue to be despite too often feeling under appreciated and voiceless. “Resident Assistants may be battered, but we still love what we do. We still would do anything to look out for our residents. It’s just an awful shame that no one is looking out for us." B

Binghamton Review is a monthly, independent journal of news, analysis, commentary, and controversy. Students at Binghamton University receive one copy of the Review free of charge (non-transferable). 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 submission become property of the Review. The Review reserves the right to edit and print any submission. Copyright © 1987-2011 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, Kethryn 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, Robert E. Menje, Adam Shamah, Rachel Gordon, Mike Lombardi

www.binghamtonreview.com

21


PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

Proportional Representation

The Benefits of Single Member Voting Districts by Nick Fondacaro

I

n today’s political climate the two parties in the American system, Republicans and Democrats, are under fire. A debate has arisen about how representative a two party system really is. Many feel that minor parties are being drowned out; people are being disenfranchised, and unrepresented. An argument is being made for America to which from Single Member Districts (current system) to a Proportional Representation system. This type of system will allow for the minor parties, like the Libertarians and Greens, to gain more power and actually gain seats in congress. The reasoning for more parties is the belief that the more parties present in a legislator the more representative it is, this is not the case. Better representation comes down to how accountable representatives are to their constituents. Accountability is key to a proper representative government. In countries that choose proportional representation systems they believe that PR allows for more of peoples interests to be represented. The reason for this belief is because in a PR system voters don’t vote for a candidate they vote for parties. Seats in a country’s legislature are allocated to the party based on the percentage of the vote they get. To equate this system to American politics it would be like if in a Senate election (if Senate elections worked like House elections) Democrats won 10 percent of the vote then they would be allocated 10 seats. Because parties win seats based on percentage of votes this type of system is like Miracle Grow for parties. But 22

BINGHAMTON REVIEW

the big difference between SMDs and PR system is that the party gets to decide who will be sitting in those seats. In PR systems parties don’t represent the people, they represent what they believe are in their party member’s best interest. Examples of this would an agriculture party will only represent farmers not the people of Pennsylvania district 11 per say. This leaves the government open to a whole host of ways for it to become a corrupt mess of just legislative chaos. So in other words they’re looking to pass legislation that will only benefit members of their party, if that. Since each little party has its own focus on some part of the country’s policy that the parties can’t get their agenda’s pasted, something interesting occurs. Since PR systems have an over abundance of parties these parties tend to form “coalition governments”. These coalition governments are made up of multiple parties that have to work together to get legislation passed. Not all of the interests of a party are met; some have to settle for being a part of a coalition that leans their way; thusly not fully representing the members of their party. These coalitions also come together to vote for the country’s Prime Minister. Unlike in the United States the legislator votes for the head of state. In this scenario parties that may or may not be looking out for the general population are electing for a Prime Minister that may or may not be doing the same. In contrast to the PR system is the SMD. In the America the governmental system was set up in order to bust up the power of parties. In America’s past the idea of factions was feared. It was feared because of

the worry about the tyranny of the majority. Factions were thought of as vessels for human passions to work to oppress others. But in order to crack down on factions they would have to take way the liberty that they fought to attain. So the founders of the Great American Experiment put in a series of checks and balances in order to break up the power of government and make it harder for factions to take hold. The way that parties operate in the United States is quite different from the way parties operate in PR systems. In order to run for a districts seat, the person running needs to live in that district, this is in order to have the representative be accountable to a constituency. The parties hold their own elections within the party in the form of a primary election. In primaries the people that make up the party vote for the person who they want to go up against the person from another party. After primary elections comes a general election where the parties go head to head of their districts seat. Parties in the U.S. do have their preferred candidates in congressional races but it’s the people who decide who will represent them. The way that people view their representative is as their direct representation, i.e. they vote how they’re told by the people of their district, and as a trustee for their interests. In countries that have single member districts there are a small number of parties, in the United States there are two major parties Republicans and Demarcates with some minor parties like the Libertarians and Greens. Some may see this lack of parties as people’s voices being drowned out, those concerns are moot. Since MAY 2012


CONSERVATIVE-LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE

representatives are chosen directly by the people they have to handle the concerns and interests for their constituents. The parties themselves pick up issues that the minor parties campaign on. With these major parties taking on these issues no bodies voice is really drowned out. In a PR system people just vote for basically faceless parties were corrupt politicians select the members who will be getting seats. The representatives don’t represent the people directly. This type of system lacks the major component of proper representation, accountability. In SMDs parties don’t really have the power to control who’s sitting in the legislative seats. The people vote directly for their representatives, they know who they are, and where to find them (for the most part). This type of system is build around the all important goal of accountability. Good representation is not quantitative it’s qualitative. B

Join or Die The Case for a Conservative- Libertarian Alliance by Dan Milyavsky

I am a right-wing libertarian, so naturally an alliance between conservatives and libertarians is something that I would push for. However, many in both of these groups find the idea of such an alliance repulsive. Many libertarians are disgusted by conservative support for nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan, while some conservatives find the libertarian idea that open borders are the way to go to be akin to national suicide. These may seem like tough differences to conquer, but I’d like to lay out the case for www.binghamtonreview.com

why conservatives and libertarians are natural allies. First off, a bit of humility is in order: this idea of a conservative-libertarian alliance is certainly not original to me, and it isn’t even new. In fact, this blend is known as “fusionism,” and was developed during the 1950s by William F. Buckley’s National Review. For those who don’t know, National Review has been the most influential journal of conservative thought since its founding in 1955. Its influence is so ubiquitous that practically every single conservative college paper (including this one) has the word “Review” in its name. Anyhow, Frank Meyer, an editor at National Review, is regarded as the father of fusionism. In the 1950’s, liberal thought dominated intellectual circles in the United States, and conservatives were rare and far between. Frank Meyer formed the coalition that is known as modern conservatism by combining three groups of people: traditionalist conservatives, libertarians, and antiCommunists. Today, these groups are known as social cons, fiscal cons, and national defense cons, and their alliance seems natural, but at the time combining these three groups was a novel idea. If you think about it, most Republicans do not have these three credentials in equal measure. Rick Santorum is obviously a staunch social con, and is also perhaps the last true neocon remaining (he genuinely believes that if we don’t give aid money to Africa, the continent will be consumed in a huge war and America will get dragged in). However, he is an unabashed supporter of earmarks and voted for Medicare Part D – he is by no means a fiscal con. Ron Paul is a fiscal con and a social con (since the New Hampshire primaries, he has actually been the only Protestant

running in the Republican primaries), but certainly not a national defense con. During the Clinton era, libertarians and conservatives got along well, and many libertarians even voted for Republicans without a second thought, as back then the GOP, which balanced the budget despite Clinton’s shenanigans and political tricks, was genuinely fiscally conservative. Then George W. Bush happened, and the size of the federal government exploded. The budget surplus quickly turned into a deficit. Even worse for the coalition, Bush’s foreign policy, especially the War in Iraq, sharply divided libertarians and conservatives. Many libertarians agreed with liberals that the war was a huge mistake, and in 2006 the horrible sounding label liberaltarian (this is true!) was coined. Of course, since Democrats want the government to be involved in every economic aspect of American life and trust bureaucrats to make decisions for us all, individual liberty be damned, liberaltarianism never caught on. Those of you who have been paying attention to politics know that Obama’s budget deficits make those of Bush look puny. Under Obama, the United States experienced its first trilliondollar deficit, and our national debt has now reached a staggering 100% of GDP. We have more government debt per individual than Greece. While George Bush bravely tried to save Social Security by introducing market reforms, Obama demagogues any changes to entitlement spending as akin to Social Darwinism. In this context, a renewed alliance between conservatives and libertarians made sense, and the Tea Party embodies the new face of this coalition. Groups such as Tea Party Patriots very consciously avoid campaigning on issues that divide conservatives and libertarians. Instead, 23


CONSERVATIVE-LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE

Tea Party Patriots prefers to focus on purely fiscal and regulatory matters, leaving social and foreign policy issues alone. In fact, many Tea Party groups have actually split off from national defense conservatives by opposing the curtailment of civil liberties that is being justified by the War on Terror. So, that’s the history and the current scene. But aren’t libertarians fiscally conservative and socially liberal? Why should they partner with conservatives rather than liberals, or rather than remaining independent? First of all, libertarians are not socially liberal – a more accurate term would be socially moderate, or really socially laissez faire. We oppose affirmative action on moral grounds and on the grounds of individual liberty. Libertarianism has no position on abortion, since libertarians believe that the initiation of force against another human being ought to be prohibited – so if an eighth month old fetus is a human being (if we’re going to be honest about this, it most certainly is. It is a child that has not yet been born, but can survive outside the womb. I cannot say the same thing about a fertilized egg) than abortion ought to be illegal. Libertarians are against the government forcing insurance providers to cover birth control. We are sympathetic to the religious conscience argument, but that doesn’t even matter, since we’re against the government mandating insurance companies to cover anything. That is simply not the way a market operates, and with all the government

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interference in medicine that we have, it should come as no surprise that there are so many inefficiencies in our system that result in exorbitantly high costs. Anyhow on social issues, conservatives and libertarians can agree to live and let live. However, when it comes to foreign policy, things become more complicated. Libertarians do not favor the use of force unless vital US interests are being threatened. We do not believe the US government should be involved in spreading democracy. Many conservatives do. However, many liberals also do, so it’s not like libertarians have much in common with them on this issue. I will have to admit that it is not possible to bridge the divide between conservatives and libertarians on national defense. However, libertarians can acknowledge that the most pressing issues right now are economic. The War in Iraq is over and the one in Afghanistan is winding down. After over ten years of protracted military conflict, Americans have an aversion to putting any “boots on the ground.” Unlike foreign wars, economic issues aren’t fading away. Economic growth and a return to prosperity are being hampered by an overzealous federal government. Although the intention of liberal statists and socialists may be good (they genuinely believe that the government can help the economy recover) the policies that are enacted as a result of this anti-capitalist ideology distort the market and impede growth. Libertarians and conservatives need to join together in order to form a broad coalition to explain to the American people the benefits of letting the private sector flourish. I have had a libertarian tell me that I worship the state because I am not an anarchist. I’ve had conservatives tell me that protectionism is in the national

interest and that my support for drug legalization would result in the entire country being constantly high. I have had a libertarian tell me that my support for the initial invasion of Afghanistan makes me complicit in the killing of innocent civilians. I have heard conservatives say on TV (I don’t think many young conservative think this way now) that pulling the troops out of Afghanistan or refusing to intervene in conflicts that are none of our business is a sign of cowardice and that those who advocate such a policy are not truly patriotic. These are emotional issues, but once again conservatives and libertarians are in broad agreement on fiscal matters, and as Clintonista James Carville famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” I also believe that success for the Republican Party lies in courting young voters who are less likely to be socially conservative, but more likely to resent the harm that is being done by Democrats to the economy. These young voters may not self-identify with the term libertarian, but they have basic libertarian instincts: they want the government to stay out of their lives. Mitt Romney is certainly not the best person to make the case for small government, but he should damn well try, or otherwise Obama will be reelected in a landslide. Perhaps Mittens doesn’t have to convince skeptical voters like libertarians that he’s really a small government guy – maybe just making the case that he’s the lesser of two evils will be sufficient. Anyway, if libertarian influence within the Republican Party is strengthened, hopefully in the future we will have more mainstream libertarian-leaning Republicans and will be able to avoid the debacle that the 2012 Republican primaries have been.B

MAY 2012


Semester Report:

Inside: -What do they even do? -Where does their money go? -NYPIRG’s J-Board grievance www.binghamtonreview.com

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YPIRG made headlines this semester, after a renewed attempt by their members to regain a budget. In the end, the attempt failed, and NYPIRG was again rewarded with no budget. Readers who have not followed the NYPIRG saga for very long may feel sympathy for this group. The point of this Semester Report is to show that NYPIRG’s budget is exactly what they deserve.

What is NYPIRG? by Nick Valiando

T

he New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). For those of you who have glimpsed the Student Association who serves you or for those who have the misfortune of looking to the Pipe Dream for news on this campus you have likely heard the name NYPIRG. To begin with we must understand NYPIRG. NYPIRG is the New York chapter of an environmentalist/liberal lobbying and advocacy group which largely spends their time lobbying state legislators on behalf of their causes. While some readers of the Review likely disagree with their motivations, it is not their liberal bias which is the cause of so much enmity between the Review and other sensibly minded members of our student government and the student group NYPIRG. Ultimately the issues with NYPIRG lie with its structure and the way in which it spends its funds. These issues have been so long standing that in the very first issue of the Binghamton Review, writers called out them out back in 1987.

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The first issue raised with the student group NYPIRG is how is structured in a de facto actual manner. While nominally a student group with a president and a treasurer according to their group constitution, however the group runs much differently than that would imply. In practice, the student group NYPIRG is controlled and coordinated by a non-student professional staff member assigned by NYPIRG’s central offices in Albany. This places NYPIRG in a limbo between outside organization and student group. The students in the group work closely under the direction of the staff member Campus Project Coordinator Brenden Colling. This has manifested itself in a number of ways. Firstly, NYPIRG has trouble maintaining Executive Board stability as members quickly pass through the positions of President and Treasurer more often and in mid year than most groups. These positions are incredibly important to maintain some semblance of order in as they are responsible for representing the group and managing its finances. Last year, NYPIRG did not even have a treasurer nor did they attempt to fill the vacancy until they were forcefully instructed of its necessity. Individual members of NYPIRG have expressed confusion and displeasure with the way in which they deal with the Student Association and its officers. Additionally, NYPIRG members are directed on how to act in their dealings with the Student Association, its parent group and the organization responsible for it, its members, and the insurance which allows student groups to operate. For instance, when this year’s NYPIRG leaders came to their annual budget with a pre-written letter which railed against perceived grievances in the past. When the members of the Financial Council attempted to ask questions to help with their decisions, members gave only short answer begrudgingly. Afterwards those members were reportedly berated for going “off script” by answering simple budget questions (such as how many members do you have and how much do your events cost among others). With all this direction by NYPIRG central, there must be something more tangible for NYPIRG the state organization here at Binghamton University. The answer is funding, the creative use of the Student Activity fee by NYPIRG in SUNY schools all over New York. During the 1980’s and 1990’s NYPIRG was at the height of their power receiving a budget that is incomparable to other Student Groups. Looking back the money they received is unfathomable. In

Semester Report: NYPIRG

MAY 2012


those days, the group received nearly $142,000. For reference this is more than four times as much as even the largest of current student groups. They achieved this level of funding by the addition of a small line in the Student Association Constitution which directed a certain portion of the Student Activity Fee directly into their coffers. Students were automatically obligated to contribute money to a groups whose purpose and politics they did not necessarily agree with. These types of overly massive budgets were instituted in SUNY campuses all around New York by NYPIRG. In 1992 students at SUNY Albany had enough of this gross injustice and filed a legal action against NYPIRG to fight this encroachment on students political freedom. The NY State Court of Appeals held that an ideological group can be funded by the Student Activity Fee but money could not be constitutionally mandated to go to any Student Groups. Additionally the money could only be spent on activities on campus. It took Binghamton quite a few years to catch up but in the early 2000’s Student Association leaders removed the offending section from the Student Association Constitution. During the Financial Council’s budget hearings they were given a still exorbitant budget of $72,000. NYPIRG had lost its status as a privileged Student Group, and now had to be budgeted like any other. The Financial Council, the elected body of students which budgets and distributes the Student Association’s funds now had the ability to investigate the use of funds by NYPIRG. What they found was disturbing. Much of the money given to the group was spent on a full time non-student staff person who was paid a salary of $30,000. Additionally a significant portion of their money found its way off campus going to professional lawyers and accountants employed by the state organization of NYPIRG. Barely any of the money was being spent on students. The Student Activity fee was being stolen from students and outsourced to lobbyists in Albany. The Financial Council was unimpressed and began a long process of downsizing NYPIRG to keep Student money on campus. The money freed from NYPIRG’s grasp allowed other groups to flourish. If you are a member of a student group your group’s budget is roughly 25% higher than it would be if NYPIRG received its original budget. The Financial Council warned NYPIRG repeatedly that the use of its money was not in line with the purpose for which it was being given it. They were advised that their continued

www.binghamtonreview.com

exportation of Student Activity funds to their state organization would lead to the further slashing of their budget. Yet the warnings and advice was ignored. The exportation of funds and the slashing of their budget continued. This is the manner by which the student group NYPIRG arrived at their current budget allocation of $0. So what is the problem with NYPIRG? Why are they incapable of operating like any other group? Certainly there are other environmental and political advocacy groups on campus which receive funds from the Financial Council. Why is NYPIRG different? The truth is that NYPIRG is not a true student group. It is not a collection of students who gather together with similar goals and ideas who wish to spend their nonacademic time on something they feel strongly about. Rather NYPIRG is a shell group used by the state organization NYPIRG to get access to student funds and be allowed to operate on a public campus. The state organization relies on student activity funds in order to operate. It is for this reason which NYPIRG despite their current budget situation refuses to request a normal amount of money. In this fight, although Albany stuck the first blow, Binghamton University has been leading the fight against wasteful spending of student money and in Student Associations around the state more and more student are standing up and questioning this worrying use of their money. In this we can be proud, but we must remain ever vigilant for groups that would use our money in ways beyond our control. B

I hear you’re in SOM.

Did I forget to say how impressed I’m not?

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What do they do with the Money? by Aaron Ricks

L

ast year, NYPIRG requested $85,000 from the Student Association for their operating budget for the 2011-2012 academic year. The members of the SA Financial Council had the honor and the privilege of hearing NYPIRG’s request for an seemingly unrealistic and ridiculous budget compared to most groups the Financial Council had previously heard. $85,000 would actually give NYPIRG the single largest student group budget at Binghamton University. When asked by members of the Financial Council what NYPIRG had planned to do with the money, their response was “I do not see how that is pertinent.” And therein lies the problem with NYPIRG: It’s not their politics, it’s their structure. You see, NYPIRG is actually not a regular SA-chartered student group. Of the $85,000 requested, we can be sure a vast majority of that money would be used to pay the salary of NYPIRG’s full-time campus coordinator(s). Instead of operating like a legitimate student group and using their budgeted money to buy supplies or host antifracking speaking events on campus, Binghamton’s chapter 28

BINGHAMTON REVIEW

of NYPIRG exists solely to funnel money from the students at Binghamton into the pockets of the NYPIRG offices in Albany. Instead of using budgeted money to provide for events on and promote environmental causes on campus, NYPIRG exists to take money from universities throughout New York state and redistribute it to professional employees and their lobbying office in Albany. To put it simply, NYPIRG is essentially not a student group under the Student Association at Binghamton University, it is a professional lobbying organization. While members of the Review certainly have an ideological opposition to NYPIRG, most of the editors and writers here actually believe it is a pity that the student leaders of NYPIRG are consistently ordered by the state organization and their professional staffers to make unreasonable demands of the Student Association. Perhaps NYPIRG’s greatest accomplishment over the past decade is their successful attempt to manipulate the media and campus opinion to represent themselves as the victims of right-wing discrimination against NYPIRG’s left-wing agenda, and the Review has certainly been in the middle of the controversy. Review alumni such as the infamous Adam Shamah have been responsible for the successful slashing of NYPIRG’s budget in the mid-2000’s from over $140,000 to the zero that they currently have. And thus the public perception of the Student Association’s relationship with NYPIRG is that conservatives and Review members only want to de-fund NYPIRG because of the apparent political feud. This is something that the Review will continue to utterly and publicly refute. Left-wing groups such as Prospect, EMO/ SAC, College Democrats, Campus Climate Challenge, and Democracy Matters continue to operate and abide by Student Association financial policies and regulations. The problem with NYPIRG is not a problem of its stance on political issues, it is a problem of the group’s legitimacy as a student organization. The other groups listed here all have similar goals and agendas as NYPIRG, but none of those groups exist in the same fashion that NYPIRG does. None of those groups have lawyers in Albany and more importantly, no one can doubt that any of those groups that these groups use their budgeted money to provide services to students at Binghamton University. In 2010, NYPIRG spent $165,004 in lobbying the state government for a variety of causes: consumer protection, hydraulic fracturing awareness, mass transit advocacy, and social justice. None of these sound like particularly absurd causes, but it still does not remove the fact that money given to NYPIRG from the student activity fee would directly fund a noted lobbying organization and their employees. No other organization on campus would ever receive that type of money if they had to explicitly admit that

Semester Report: NYPIRG

MAY 2012


Photo by 350.org

the majority of their budgeted money would go towards paying a full-time “campus coordinators” or to fund their attorneys in Albany. Three years ago, in the May 2009 issue of the Review, former Editor-in-Chief and Student Association Vice President for Finance, Adam Shamah, wrote a lengthy editorial describing the history of NYPIRG’s finances within the Student Association: “NYPIRG here at Binghamton has held several events on campus in recent memory—the energy contest and voter registration drives come to mind—but the majority of the funds allocated to them by the Student Association are shipped off-campus to pay professional staff and lobbyists in Albany. Accountability has always been an issue with NYPIRG when it reports back to the SA; it usually cannot explain exactly how much of its money is being spent on what, so it’s tough to say how much of the budget the SA allocates to NYPIRG each year goes to pay the salaries of ideological lobbyists. Leave it to say that on their budget request form from last year, over 80% of the request was for professional staff services... Rather than continue to facilitate the gradual cuts, I decided to go for a large chunk. I motioned to further cut NYPIRG from FinCo’s allocated $50,000 to $14,200. I derived that number from NYPIRG’s budget request form. After subtracting out professional staff expenses from the $85,000 they asked for, $14,200 was what was left.” Shamah went on to write: “From the very start of the www.binghamtonreview.com

year, NYPIRG [had] maintained the position that they will not spend the $14,200 that we give them unless it is transferred to NYPIRG central, something that cannot happen without Landau [former SA President] signing the contract, going as far as to pay in cash for copies from Cold Copy [now SA Ink] rather than charging them to their account. So, the $14,200, to which each and every undergraduate student contributes, has sat unused, wasted, in SA account #0457, where NYPIRG refuses to touch it.” NYPIRG certainly has the right to exist, but its structure does warrant it being funded by a mandatory fee. Despite their “good” intentions, student money should be spent on students at Binghamton University, which NYPIRG has in the past shown unwilling to accept. Until that changes, NYPIRG will continue to be the largest albeit poorest criminal organization on campus. “The battle to rid BU of NYPIRG has been a long one. Only in recent years has there been any success at all, though that success has snowballed and drained NYPIRG of any support they ever had on campus.” B

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NYPIRG vs. Reason

So, you’re with NYPIRG?

by Nick Fondacaro

O

n March 21, 2012 the Judicial Board of the Student Association heard the grievance of NYPIRG v. The Elections Committee. The grievance was about perceived unfairness in the way in which the Elections Committee handled NYPIRG’s petitions to get their questions on the ballot. Their plan was to use hearsay, irrational feelings, and conjecture to have to J-Board rule in their favor. They also tried to use their plants in campus media to sway the student body. They put on a false facade of being a student group that is victim of SA tyranny. NYPIRG does not let facts get in the way of reason and law. There is a clear reason the J-Board ruled in favor of the Elections Committee. We used reason and law and they tried to manipulate people by playing the victim. What really happened with petitions and the reason they were not allowed onto the ballot is something that NYPIRG does not what you to know. On March 12 NYPIRG turned over their 294 page petition, containing roughly 1500 student signatures, to me in the SA office. They had their contacts in Pipe Dream there to make sure the event was a media circus. Their petition was to have two questions added to the ballot. The first wanted to have $3.50 per student per semester to come out of the Student Activity Fee and to go towards their budget. The other wanted to raise the activity fee from $92.50 to $96.00. What NYPIRG petition collectors were saying to signers was that they wanted to reinstate their budget. I knew in the past NYPIRG used to get their money from the activity fee in this fashion, but I have not seen a student group activity pursue this line of action. I had also heard numerous stories, from people asked to sign, and almost each one had a different description about what the petitions were about. Acting on a mixture of caution and suspicion I handed the petitions over to the SA Attorney for review. I also took it upon myself to do some research and ask for help doing so. Through my research I found that it is against SUNY Board of Trustees’ Policy for a student groups to be funded in such a manner. According to SUNY’s policies on mandatory fees C. 1. b. sentence two “While referenda of the student body may not be used to help determine specific allocations to particular student organizations, mechanisms such as polls

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Tell me more about how much you like robbing from students. or surveys may be used to ascertain student interest and participation in programs or events.” This policy took effect on September 28, 2004. At the end of the policy document it says that changes were made to this set of policies after the New York Court System made rulings on cases that dealt with these policies. Alumni of the Review, who are attending law school, contacted me with more information on these court cases. Surprisingly enough one of the court cases has NYPIRG at its heart. In 1992, in the case of SUNY Albany v. NYPIRG the state was ruling on the same thing that our NYPIRG branch wanted to do. I forwarded this information to the SA Attorney. There is no way that NYPIRG was unaware of this court case. NYPIRG is a lobbying organization that has teams of lawyers backing them up. Not to mention that the case was centered on them. I know that they have teams of lawyers because I was told so by our lawyer. On March 19, the SA Executive Board, SA Treasure, Rules Committee Chair, and I met with the lawyer, in a private meeting, in order to ascertain his opinion. At the meeting he said he was getting nearly daily calls from a lawyer representing NYPIRG. After the meeting I brought the lawyer’s opinion to the Elections Committee, in a public meeting, for a vote on whether not to allow NYPIRG’s questions on the ballot. The election committee voted 5-0 not to allow it on the ballot. Later that night at the Student Assembly meeting NYPIRG contested the election committee’s decision. After a rigorous debate, the Assembly confirmed the committee’s decision with a vote of 32-3. NYPIRG would not respect the Assembly’s decision.

Semester Report: NYPIRG

MAY 2012


NYPIRG filed a grievance with the J-Board on March 20 and the hearing was held later that day. In their grievance they complained that the committee did not handle their petitions the same as they did with candidates’ petitions. What NYPIRG seems ignorant of is that they are not running for an E-Board position. They want to put questions on the ballot that is very different from a regular candidate. Ballot questions can be binding or nonbinding, and both look to compel the Student Association to do something. The NYPIRG questions were both binding questions which is why the SUNY policy comes into play. NYPIRG was also claiming that the committee did not invalidate the petitions properly. They wanted us to go through the signatures before we heard back from our lawyer and they said seeking counsel was not validating the petitions. The committee had a good feeling that the lawyer would advise us not to place the questions on the ballot. The committee viewed checking the signatures before being advised would be a waste of time. The SA Constitution says that the Elections committee must “determine the validity of all petitions.” there is no set way in order to do that.

www.binghamtonreview.com

At the hearing I and a few other members of the Student Association defended our reasoning for not allowing the questions on the ballot. We cited the SA Constitution and Bylaws while NYPIRG was trying to use their feelings as a case against us. When members of the J-Board would ask them to cite where, in the Constitution and Bylaws the Elections, Committee made violations they could not. Even though NYPIRG went through the proper channels they were still in the wrong. They still try to play the victim and manipulate students at every turn. NYPIRG is desperately grasping at straws in an effort to secure funding and not just at Binghamton University, every chapter is doing the same. As stated above in “Where Does That Money Go?” NYPIRG central is running low on funds. The juvenile fit they are throwing statewide is, hopefully, the final death throes of a corrupt, student manipulating, shell organization. B

Semester Report: NYPIRG

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Think being a Greek Life pledge is tough? Try joining the Review...

“You try writing an article about how terrible NYPRIG is while being waterboarded!�

-Anonymous BR Pledge

Either Cross, or sprend the rest of your college career in the worst torment possible... being on the staff of Pipe Dream.

May 2012 - Binghamton Review  

Enemies List, and the Wolf Returns

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