friday april 4, 2008 blacksburg, va.
sports WASHINGTON PLACES SIXTH
No lawsuits expected against NIU Students
prepare for Meeting of the Minds
Virginia Tech’s Deron Washington was eliminated in the ﬁrst round of the Vegas.com Washington College Slam Dunk contest last night. Washington missed his initial dunks on both attempts in the ﬁrst round; he eventually made one in the time allotted in the ﬁrst attempt, but did not make one in the second time period. Since he completed one attempt, he ﬁnished in sixth place after the ﬁrst round. Sonny Weems of the University of Arkansas won the contest.
ct news reporter
news OBAMA CAMPAIGN RAISES $40 MILLION DURING MARCH CHICAGO – Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama continued to display his unrivaled prowess for fundraising by raising more than $40 million in March, about double the amount Obama raised by Sen. Hillary Clinton, to bring the overall take for his White House bid to more than $200 million, aides said Thursday. Though Obama’s totals for March were down from the record $55 million he raised in February, the fundraising numbers starkly reveal his ability to pour huge resources into his bid for the Democratic nomination against a Clinton campaign that largely ﬁnds itself in the underdog role, unable to match the Illinois senator dollar-for-dollar and ad-for-ad in the ﬁnal nominating contests. –Chicago Tribune
STACEY WESCOTT/CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Northern Illinois University police officer Cassandra Filler rolls up the police tape surrounding Cole Hall following the campus shooting .
TORT IMMUNITY PRINCIPLES MAY PREVENT LAWSUITS FROM BEING FILED AGAINST NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY FOR THE SHOOTINGS ON FEBRUARY 14 CALEB FLEMING
ct news reporter With lawsuits against Virginia Tech and the town of Blacksburg looming, Illinois attorneys have said that they do not expect a similar situation with Northern Illinois University. Among the differences in the two cases are the ideas that there were no security failures or communication lapses in the NIU event, contrary to what many feel happened on the Tech campus. On Feb. 14, 2008, a former graduate student opened fire in a lecture hall at NIU, killing five students and wounding 16 others before killing himself. This came less than a year after the shootings at Tech on April 16, in which a gunman killed 32 others before killing himself. Chicago attorney Kathleen Zellner noted that the principles behind tort immunity could make
ct new river valley editor
corrections “Court rules in favor of alcohol ads,” (CT, April 2) was incorrect. Judge M. Hannah Lauck is a Magistrate, not a District Court Judge. “Diversity thought to decline in next 20 years,” (CT, April 3) was incorrect. The headline should read “Diversity thought to increase in next 20 years.” “Bubble tea, meat on a stick: Taste the ﬂavor of Street Fair,” (CT, April 3) had a mistake, Asha will not be selling Sarees, but there will be a training session on how to properly tie a Saree and pictures taken in a Saree, for $3 together. The Collegiate Times regrets these errors.
see NIU, page two
Emergency personnel respond on April 16. With a one-year window for lawsuits to be filed, negotiations of a settlement are underway with families of victims.
SGA ballots not offering write-in option KEVIN ANDERSON
high 70, low 46
it difficult for the families of those deceased in DeKalb, Ill., to make a case of wrongful death against the university. “It gives immunity to schools unless you can show there was willful and wanton behavior on the part of the university for failing to prevent the event from occurring,” Zellner said. Similarly, the lawsuits at Tech focus on wrongful death and personal injury, two concepts that S. D. Roberts Moore, a member of Roanokebased law firm Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, views as identical. “A wrongful death case is no different than a personal injury case,” Moore said. “The only difference is that the personal injury caused death.” Moore said that the basis for suit remains the same. “The whole issue, in any case such as this, is
With the Student Government Association elections coming to an end, students and other members of the university community have taken note of the absence of a write-in option on the election ballot and have met it with mixed feelings. The ballot this year changed from past years with a missing write-in option because of a new ballot redesign. Rather than a list of names and a check box, the new ballot had pictures of the candidates and the option to check a box. Aaron Bock, chief justice for the SGA, said that the addition of a write-in option would only make the ballot look confusing. “We wanted to make it an easy ballot,” Bock said. Bock went on to say that when the ballot was made through www.survey.vt.edu, the write-in
option was consciously not included. However, Billy Brubaker, chief justice of the undergraduate honor system, and wa junior civil engineering major, said that when he called the SGA office to address the issue after he saw the ballot, the person he spoke to said that it was a mistake and it was simply an oversight. Brubaker paraphrased what the person told him, saying it was an “honest mistake.” In addition, Bock claimed that he and the co-chief justice authorized this amendment to the ballot, which must be done according to the SGA’s constitution. If this requirement wasn’t met prior to the elections the election would be considered fraudulent. Nevertheless, Brubaker stated that when he had called the SGA no one was available to speak and no one knew what the policy was. He also said there were no copies of the constitution in the office for reference. “I’ve tried to get in contact with their chief justice and nobody had access to a current
constitution,” Brubaker said. Brubaker said that he was told there are only four people in the SGA who have access to the constitution, and those four people only have it on their personal computers. These include the chief justice, the associate chief justice, and the speakers of the house and senate. Bock said traditionally this space on the ballot is reserved for “Mickey Mouse” or some other joke and that the elimination of this space would allow for a more effective election. Also, it would allow for someone who went through the process to be elected to win the election. “This was more accurate,” Bock said. “To win you have to get petitions signed and go through a specific process.” Students so far have met this with opposing thoughts. “I think it’s better if they have the write-in because it allows for us to give our opinions,” said Qi Li, a junior computer engineering
ct staﬀ writer
TUESDAY’S CT See how the softball and baseball teams ﬁnish in their matchups this weekend in Tuesday’s CT. Not heading to campus? Get the CT in your inbox — sign up for headline e-mails.
index Sports....................7 Classifieds..............9 Sudoku..................9
An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903 105th year • issue 44
see ELECTIONS, page two
see MINDS, page two
Aaron Rudd, a junior in HNFE, works on his research on skeletal muscle tissue at the Corporate Research Center. Rudd will present his research at Meeting of the Minds.
Adjunct professors experience more freshmen drop outs
News.....................2 Features................4 0pinions................5
Four Virginia Tech students will be representing the university at the 3rd annual Atlantic Coast Conference Meeting of the Minds at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. At the conference, which will be held April 18 and 19, students from each college in the ACC will attend and present research projects in the arts, humanities, sciences and engineering. The selection process for choosing the students who will represent Tech in the conference was highly competitive and twofold. Each college called for undergraduate research projects, and up to three research projects from each discipline were placed in front of the university review committee. From many applicants, only four were chosen to attend the conference. The four Tech students chosen to attend the conference each represents a different university discipline: Lizzy Carraway of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Aaron Rudd of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Andrew Lucas of the College of Science and Tyler Haak of the College of Engineering. For the conference, Carraway, a senior English major, expanded on research she had done for a paper in professor Fritz Oehlschlaeger’s modern American literature class titled “Fitzgerald and Anderson on Lovers, Wives and Mothers.” “It started out as just an exploration into what the authors were saying about the modernist idea of the new woman through their characters,” Carraway said. “I submitted it to the English department’s undergraduate research conference and presented it there, and then I was contacted about expanding my research and sending it to a national conference.” However, having the English undergraduate conference under Carraway’s belt didn’t make expanding her research any easier. “I found through expanding my research just how varied and controversial these characters were even within feminist scholarship,” Carrway said. “So my paper has definitely evolved and changed over the past year to encompass a lot more than when I started out with just a literary analysis.” Andrew Lucas, a junior biology and chemistry double major, found his way into the Meeting of the Minds by spending most of his time working in a Derring lab. Since the spring of 2006, Lucas has been studying protein ligand interactions and protein stability. “I’m pretty much always in the lab,” Lucas said. “What I’ve been studying is what happens when a ligand, a small molecule, binds to a protein. We think that when that happens, it starts to degrade.” Lucas said that his time spent in the lab hasn’t been the most difficult aspect of his research; rather, it’s been keeping his research a secret. “It’s sometimes hard to talk about because you
Professor Roger Chang goes through an example during his physics lecture on Wednesday.
Freshmen students are significantly more likely to drop out of the basic area classes they are required to take to graduate if they are taught by part-time adjuncts, according to the findings of a study from the American Educational Research Association. An adjunct professor is a professor employed by a college or university for a specific purpose or length of time, often part time. The study finds that freshmen in particular are more susceptible to dropping out of their classes if taught by adjunct or part-time professors. The reason is that students are not finding the help they need from those professors, whether trying to contact them through e-mail or going to see them in person before or after class. Freshmen are required at Virginia Tech to garner credit in seven areas of expected curriculum to be able to graduate. Courses required include the basics of science, math, cultural learning and writing. Many do not finish all areas in their first
year, but most try to get as many introductory courses complete in that year in order to move on to courses required for their major. To accommodate all of the freshman who have to fulfill requirements, Tech uses large lecture halls that can seat 500 students or more to a class. Many freshmen have never experienced that type of learning environment and some find it difficult to learn with so many people around. Getting in contact with the professor, either adjunct or full time, can also be a barrier for students trying to receive extra help. Julie Hopkins, junior merchandising management major, said that she doesn’t personally find lecture halls to be a problem. She said that in large classes she has never had trouble getting in touch with her professors or student assistants via e-mail if she had a question about the lecture. “But I don’t think big classes are good for freshman because they don’t know the ropes yet and how to study for things,” Hopkins said. In addition to teaching students, full-time professors have other responsibilities, such as required
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see ADJUNCT, page two