Page 1


thursday february 14, 2008 blacksburg, va.


The Vagina Monologues are making their fourth appearance at Tech, performing both Friday and Saturday. page seven

news BILL WOULD OUTLAW WATERBOARDING WASHINGTON — Setting up a showdown with the White House, the Senate on Wednesday passed an intelligence bill that would forbid the use of the widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding. President Bush promised to veto legislation that included such language after the House incorporated a provision prohibiting waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques when lawmakers passed the conference report authorizing the intelligence bill in December.

CUSTOMS OFFICIAL ADMITS DETAINING CITIZENS WASHINGTON — A top Immigration and Customs Enforcement official acknowledged Wednesday that his agency has mistakenly detained U.S. citizens as illegal immigrants, but he denied that his agency has widespread problems with deporting the wrong people. Gary Mead, ICE’s deputy director of detention and removal operations, testified during a House of Representatives subcommittee hearing that U.S. citizens have been detained on “extremely” rare occasions, but he blamed the mixups on conflicting information from the detainees.

weather SUNNY high 49, low 25

corrections “Q&A with Jason Sarfati, student event organizer,” (CT, Feb. 12) was incorrect. Jason Sarfati interned on the Hillary Clinton campaign last winter. The Collegiate Times regrets this error.

coming up TOMORROW’S CT We’ll have a preview of Saturday’s conference basketball game against UNC in Chapel Hill in tomorrow’s CT. Check out our new database breaking down the demographics of the professors on campus.

index News.....................2 0pinions................5 Features................6

Sports....................8 Classifieds..............9 Sudoku..................9

An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903 105th year • issue 19

still stuck


University donor privacy questioned KATIE MCLAUGHLIN

A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE DEVELOPERS of a potential big-box site was stalled yesterday during a hearing of the Town of Blacksburg Board of Zoning Appeals, after the standing of the three appellants was questioned. The fourteen-day delay is just another step in the saga of big-box stores coming to Blacksburg. story by caleb fleming, ct news reporter

The BZA met yesterday afternoon to determine the validity of an appeal made by three Blacksburg residents regarding the approval of the First & Main Phase I site plan for a “big-box” store. However, the Board ultimately decided to defer the hearing for two weeks until the issue of the appellant’s standing was determined. The decision, attractive to both the appellants and Llamas, a regional division of Fairmount Properties which owns the land, came after two preceding motions failed to pass. The hearing stalled immediately, with objections posed by each party. The first of the two was filed by

Llamas, stating that the appellants were not aggrieved by the court’s decision, and thus had no standing to appeal. In response, the appellants objected to the company’s objection. The appeal was filed after Montgomery County Circuit Court declared that Fairmount Properties, the company developing the bigbox retail store, was within its legal boundaries to proceed with the development. The opposition claimed that the developers were not following through on an ordinance declaring that all commercial construction must be complimented with residential construction. see STALL, page two

ct news reporter The House General Laws Committee passed a bill last Tuesday that would permit donors to public colleges and universities to remain anonymous if they wish to do so. House Bill 407, sponsored by Sen. Edward Houck (R-Spotsylvania) and Delegate Glenn Oder (RNewport News), passed the committee on an 18-3 vote. The measure, which came at the request of the University of Virginia, would grant Virginia’s colleges and universities an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act to withhold a large amount of personal information about donors. UVa officials argued that the policy is necessary to protect the privacy of donors. UVa currently has an internal fundraising database that provides personal information about potential donors. The database includes more than 2,000 fields of information. The donor’s Social Security number, marital status, estimated net worth, contact information, employment history, birth date, and other sensitive information is available in the database. The database of information aids the university in its ongoing $3 billion fundraising campaign. If the bill is approved, UVa could deny Freedom Of Information requests for its whole database. The school would only be required to release small pieces of information such as for what the donation was designed or the size and date of the contribution, not personal information that donors wish to keep private. Robert Sweeny, senior vice president for Development and Public Affairs at UVa, said it is very important to the school to protect its donors. “A good example is a young UVa alumnus who comes from an extraordinarily wealthy family and just donated a million dollars to the school,” Sweeny said. “But this alumnus is determined to build a life for herself that is not built around wealth and wishes for her gift to remain anonymous. With information like this being public, she feels that this would really have an impact on how she is trying to live her life.” UVa currently has more endowment and gift income than state support, with only 8 percent of the operating budget for UVa coming from the state of Virginia. “Philanthropy at UVa is very, very important to us,” Sweeny said. “It is the driving force in what we do here. Being able to keep faith with our donors, which is about 1 percent that want to be kept anonymous, is key to us. As far as Freedom of Information goes, not only can the press ask for Freedom of Information requests, but anyone can. We must protect our donors from having their highly personalized information go public.” Moira Kavanagh Crosby, founder of MKDM, a fundraising consulting practice in Charlottesville, agreed with Sweeny. “Among the ethical standards that good development professionals follow is a commitment to a donor’s right to privacy,” Crosby said.

see DONOR, page two

Tech creates digital memory bank for April 16

Sister Act


ct staff writer Collections of articles, poems, blogs, and pictures are being compiled to create a digital database for April 16 in the effort of healing and expression. Two weeks after April 16, the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture realized that not much was being done to organize all the pictures, articles, interviews and poems that expressed the sentiments of students and community. The group started working with GMU’s Center for History and New Media and the Tech University Libraries to pull together materials. Using Omeka, a new web platform, they were able to share their collection online. This Internet database is supported by the Liberal Arts and Human Sciences department and is under the normal operating budget. There are now 1,400 objects in the archive. The stories and photographs are displayed at “This is a site where people can pause to reflect on the tragedy and heal,” said Brent Jesiek, the manager of CDDC. The archive is completely online, and is currently accepting items that are in digital format. There are submissions from the Dave Matthews concert, VT Engage and of the memorial. Also, international stories (still in their native languages) from Japan, Romania, Mexico and South America are displayed on the Web site. The archived materials are available to everyone, unless the author asked for their story to be private, if they lack sufficient ownership rights, or if the material is offensive. Students, along with staff, helped over the summer to bring together as much information


Seth Powers looks through piles of April 16 related materials currently in storage. as possible. But it was no easy process. “Students struggled with the emotional part of this project,” Jesiek said. “For some it worked as a coping strategy, but for others it was still very traumatic.” There is also the issue of authenticity and copyright infringement. The staff is working to ensure that the photos and stories put on the online database are authentic, reliable and not copied. Similarly, the Library of Congress is working with University Libraries in dealing with the


Sister Tanellah of the Harlem Gospel Choir sings “I Can Fly” during Tuesday’s performance in Burruss Hall. The Harlem Gospel Choir was one of two gospel groups to visit Tech as part of Black History Month.

see DIGITAL, page two

have a news tip? want to see something in the CT? e-mail

Thursday, February 14, 2008 Print Edition  

Thursday, February 14, 2008 Print Edition of The Collegiate Times