Tuesday, September 22, 2009
An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903
COLLEGIATETIMES 106th year, issue 88
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Features, page 3
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Humanoid robot to Keeping Tech safe give campus tours PRIYA SAXENA news staff writer The Department of Mechanical Engineering is working to create Virginia Tech’s most wanted tour guide, CHARLI, a humanoid robot. Dennis Hong, director of Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory, also known as RoMeLa, said CHARLI should be nearing completion in November. CHARLI follows the previous robotics endeavor, DARwin. PHOTO COURTESY OF DENNIS HONG “CHARLI is just like the DARwin CHARLI is set to compete in the RoboCup 2010 games. robots despite the fact that it is can do this, we can become more taller in size,” Hong said. “We Lahr said. Lahr has been working long hours variable, such as focusing on culstarted about a year and a half ago on CHARLI, but we started the on CHARLI this summer. He said ture. It makes me more human. It he worked 12 hours a day, five or six could make me free from a daily DARwin series in 2004.” routine job.” CHARLI stands for Cognitive days a week. Han works self-imposed 12 hour “It’s about the same now, but I’ve Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence. It is also got my master’s thesis,” Lahr days and is as a doctoral student designed to be a human-like robot said. “I work more on CHARLI, who spends more time on CHARLI than he does studying. He wants to standing 1.3 meters tall and will be though.” The main work area for the go further with robotics than just the first of its kind in the United project is RoMeLa. Much of Lahr’s CHARLI, hoping to work on a taller States. According to Hong, there are only work is done in front of a computer robot in the future. According to Hong, CHARLI is a handful of human-sized robots in in MatLab, which is a programthe world and very few in the U.S. ming and computer-aided design set to compete in a robotic soccer program. The CAD program is match titled RoboCup 2010, where because it is “difficult to do.” it will be the first U.S. entry in the “Technology-wise we have to where 3-D parts are designed. Jea-Kweon Han, the other gradu- humanoid adult division of the use a different approach from DARwin,” Hong said. “There are ate student overseeing the project, competition. It may be demonstrated in a lot of technical issues involved in is working on CHARLI L. He had been working on humanoid robots Engineering Expos and shown to order to make a taller robot.” There are two versions of CHARLI for several years in South Korea and students in grades K-12 so younger in the making: CHARLI H, or came to Tech last year to work on students can get excited about the field of engineering. CHARLI Heavy, and CHARLI L, CHARLI. Tech placed third in the Defense “I work on fabricating the lower or CHARLI Light. The one that will be giving campus tours in the near body,” Han said. “I have 13 seniors Advanced Research Projects future is CHARLI Light, named for working on the upper body. They’re Agency Urban Challenge in 2007, working on cameras, arms, hands, which helped mark the university as its lighter weight. “If it’s heavy, it’s much more diffi- the neck and such. I advise those one of the top three robotic research universities in the U.S., according to cult to control. Our goal is to make seniors on how to make them.” Hong. Han said he hopes that CHARLI it as light as possible,” said Hong, “light enough to lift it with one will not only assist in giving campus arm.” Hong said the team develops tours, but can be used in more clever mechanisms that use cable humanitarian efforts such as guiding the visupulley differentials, which will ally impaired make the robot lighter and easier or elderly to control. people Two graduate students are curusing a rently working on CHARLI, one for GPS Light and one for Heavy. In addition, there are many undergraduate volunteers who are working on the project. “The project is driven by our students,” Hong said. “We have very talented and motivated students that are excited about our projects. We have students who eat, sleep and breathe robotics. But we don’t navisleep.” The Virginia Tech Student gation Engineering Council gave $20,000 system and to the RoMeLa to initiate its proj- satellite to determine its location. ect. “Many people are scared Derek Lahr, a graduate student working on CHARLI H, said there of robots because of movies are three main areas where the team such as Terminator or Matrix. But is trying to mimic humans: propor- I believe the robots will be able to enrich our lives,” Han said. “It can tion, motions and muscles. “The hardest part of making a help physically-challenged people COURTESY 0F humanoid walk is designing the and do useless things instead of DENNIS HONG software that controls the motion,” us, like housekeeping. ... If robots
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY LUKE MASON/SPPS
Tech reﬂects on peace, violence BY PHILIPP KOTLABA | university news editor s the university community reflects on the murders of two fellow students last month, some may review their perceptions of Virginia Tech’s learning environment, and how to make it safer. The double homicide of Heidi Childs and David Metzler occurred in the Caldwell Fields area of Montgomery County, about 15 miles from Tech. Even though the crime occurred off-campus, on-campus safety is frequently questioned as a result. As with tragedies of the past, the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention has been intimately involved in promoting campus safety and preventative measures to avoid such crimes. The center was established in the aftermath of the April 16, 2007 shootings. Former horticulture professor Jerzy Nowak, whose wife Jocelyne Couture-Nowak was among the victims in Norris Hall, was installed as its director. “I still want to believe that these were random cases. I would not link it to the university climate,” Nowak said. John Welch and Melissa Lyden lead the center’s student-led spin-off, the Students for Non-Violence Club. “There’s really been a black cloud over this town,” Welch said. “All eyes are still on Virginia Tech, so anytime something bad is going to happen, it’s going to be all over the place.” The Tech Police Department is all too aware of such perceptions, but officers are quick to voice approval for its security situation. “To me, VT looks well positioned and prepared to deal with a wide range of issues related to community safety and well-being,
whether it’s issues of violence, suicide prevention, early intervention with people experiencing emotional difficulties,” said Gene Deisinger, deputy chief of police at Tech. Deisinger, came to Tech from Iowa State University in August, said there is intense pressure on the university to create a safe environment. “It appears to me that there is a very high level of scrutiny by the media and maybe some members of the public that I don’t think reflects all of what VT has been doing over the years,” Deisinger said. For the center, however, the ultimate goal is shifting beyond simply reacting to violence to building a capacity to prevent such crimes from occurring in the first place. “My personal mission is to foster creation of a safe school environment, and I believe strongly that this is an obligation of any society,” Nowak said. “People cannot learn when they are stressed and afraid, and that comes from kindergarten to the doctoral studies.” A student support network is a vital component. “It is very difficult to find the right person to pay attention and to hear you,” Nowak said. The center will hold several workshops this semester in an effort to engage students in this way. “Violence prevention is not only preventing people from being exposed to violence, it’s definitely focusing more on people who need help,” Nowak said. Nowak mentioned student orientations, especially those for international students, as vital for integrating the student community more tightly. He pointed to the January murder of 22 yearold graduate student Xin see CAMPUS SAFETY / page two
Zombie Walkers ‘twist and shout’ way down Blacksburg DAN WAIDELICH features reporter The living dead invaded Blacksburg this past Friday as gangs of zombies stumbled through downtown calling for brains and blood. The participants of the Blacksburg Zombie Walk were not out to initiate the zombie apocalypse or whip the town into a flesh-eating frenzy, but instead hoped to add some flair to the town with an unusual piece of guerilla theater. Zombie walks, which have taken place all over the world, feature regular people costumed as the popular horror creatures parading through urban spaces. The phenomenon began in the late ‘90s in California, said senior geosciences major Jessica Sigman, the event’s primary organizer and lead zombie. Zombie fans took notice, and walks quickly sprang up in different locations around the world. “I did the first one in 2006,” Sigman said. “We had a surprisingly good turnout for as small as Blacksburg is. About 30 zombies showed up.” The popularity of zombie walks is on the rise. The message board ZombieWalk.com was a key resource for Sigman when she was starting to put together the Blacksburg event. The site allows the many zombie fans to interact with one another. “There is kind of a revival of horror culture, plus there are a lot of zombie movies coming out,” Sigman said. “It
There is kind of a revival of horror culture, plus there are a lot of zombie movies coming out. It could really explode and we could have a lot of people. JESSICA SIGMAN ZOMBIE WALK ORGANIZER
could really explode and we could have a lot of people.” Like the 2006 event, this year’s walk also attracted about 30 zombies. The publicity for the event was limited to fliers around town, a Facebook group and word-ofmouth. “There was a sign outside of Moe’s with one of those ‘Lolcats,’” said Ryan Coe, a graduate student ocean engineering. The signs for the walk, which featured a zombie kitten asking for brains, were popular among the attendees. “How could I pass it up?” Coe asked, laughing as he smeared fake blood on his chest. The Blacksburg Zombie Walk is mostly a spontaneous event. While Sigman held an organizational meeting, it was not clear how many zombies would actually appear until right before the event began. “It’s improv theater, kind of like a flash mob,” Sigman said. “A lot of people tend to show up on their own, already ready. If they show up earlier I’ll help them get ready with trauma make-up and things
ROY T. HIGASHI/SPPS
Using materials such as corn starch and clothes purchased from local thrift stores to make their costumes, participants in the Blacksburg Zombie walk paraded down Main Street this past Friday. like that.” Zombies at the walk ranged from simply blood-spattered young adults to creatures with vicious neck wounds and shredded clothing. The walkers got creative with their looks. A clever use of eye shadow and dried glue became the dead
and peeling skin of one participant. Several others rolled around in grass and leaves to appear as rough as possible. “For me, it’s all just Goodwill and corn starch,” said Adam Ressa, a senior theater and industrial and systems engineering double
major who sported a torn up business suit. Ressa was joined at the event by senior theatre and history major Clay Tolbert and senior theatre arts major Will Quinn. Quinn completed the walk with his pants around his ankles, wearing
ripped shorts and carrying a bloody roll of toilet paper. The walk’s route was chosen specifically to pass through the heart of downtown Blacksburg. The zombies were thrilled when they realized that they had chosen the day of the Downtown Merchants of Blacksburg’s Downtown Tailgate event. Locals and visiting Nebraska fans were bewildered and amused by the zombie horde marching their way, yelling for zombie rights and the freedom to eat brains. “I think it’s great,” said T.J. Elmore, a recent graduate in mechanical engineering and tailgate attendee. “It is hilarious, but still kind of creepy in a good way.” At the intersection of College Avenue and Draper Road, the tailgate’s DJ played the Beatles’ cover of “Twist and Shout” right as the zombies stumbled through. The walk halted as 30 zombies stopped to boogie in the middle of the street. The spontaneous dance party was a crowd-pleasing finale to the walk. As quickly as they descended on Blacksburg, the zombies disappeared. Whether there will be another walk in the future remains to be seen. Sigman plans on pursuing a master’s degree, so unless the torch is passed, the event may not happen again. “If I were to (stay) here I would probably do it,” Sigman said. “But if I’m not here I’ll have to teach someone else.”
new river valley news editor: zach crizer university editor: philipp kotlaba email@example.com/ 540.231.9865
september 22, 2009
Campus safety: Groups stress importance of prevention from page one
Yang as the inspiration for international student programs. “(After) the homicide that occurred in the Graduate Life Center before,” Nowak said, “we shifted our priorities and interests to the creation of this student support network, an environment of students taking a significant role in the development of campus safety and security.” Living in Canada for 18 years, Nowak conducted orientations for foreign students and noted how different societal backgrounds heavily influenced how students coped with and became comfortable in their new environment, or potentially became at-risk. He found that, for example, Chinese students opened up in more individualized sessions. “They are very much more used in this culture to one-to-one communication. They don’t respond well to the large group orientations,” Nowak said. Nowak recalled coordinating efforts as a student activist, and said student involvement is the only way to build
support systems. “With students’ participation, it has to be a student-driven, and in the community like that with almost 30,000 students, I think students have to have a key role in developing a safe school environment,” Nowak said. “The average student doesn’t know where to go, and not only the average student but the faculty or even the department heads. Because the center has been created quite recently ... people just don’t know.” Yet despite “full cooperation” from the university administration, a problem persists: The movement is not yet driven by students. “I think that it needs improvement, that’s how I will phrase it,” Nowak said. “I think these things are still quite fragmented.” In one of many initiatives, Nowak hopes to establish an official minor in peace studies, consisting of three interdisciplinary courses. The university has hired Lakshmi Jayaram, a professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University, to coordinate the effort.
Postgraduate certificates in transformative leadership, organizing a consortium of universities to address violence prevention and other projects are all coming together as part of the center’s vision. If both the reactive and preventative capacities are needed for a safe school environment, how developed are both at Tech, and how do they compare? “It has to be both. I would say that the capacity to respond in my opinion is here. The question is, will the response be quick enough?” Nowak said. The community’s perception of those capacities is a much harder concept to grasp. “How the community feels safe or doesn’t feel safe is very difficult to measure,” said Geoffrey Allen, Tech police officer and crime prevention specialist. “We still have, for example, females who go out to exercise at two o’clock in the morning. And you still see the same foot traffic at the same times, doing the same thing. So it doesn’t seem like there’s as much of an impact from that level. We’re not seeing a flood into
our self-defense classes as compared to last year.” Allen has done over 150 presentations in residence halls, trained receptionists on how to identify suspicious mail and respond to potential terrorist attacks, and organized regular outreach events such as August’s “Beer Olympics.” “Part of this is soliciting feedback from the community about their perceptions, because their perception is their reality,” said Wendell Flinchum, chief of police at Tech. “So if they think an area’s not safe, to them it is (unsafe), even though our statistics will prove it’s not.” Because many off-campus crimes affect the university, Tech police regularly keep in touch with the Blacksburg Police Department, or, in this case, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. “We have a very good relationship with them. The supervisors work very closely from each department. We’re notified of instances that happen in the town,” Flinchum said. Discussions on campus safety often raise the enduring issue of guns as means of self-defense, inspiring strong words from all sides. Nowak pointed out Virginia’s lax gun controls relative to other states. Additionally, policemen in Canada or Britain do not generally carry firearms. “I think it’s a myth ... you cannot cre-
Correction -In the article “Two appointed graduate deans” (CT – Sept. 19), the new associate deans were incorrectly described as “chiefs” of the graduate school. They are, in fact, associate deans working under Dean Karen DePauw. The Collegiate Times regrets this error.
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ate a safe school environment if you carry a gun,” Nowak said. “Look at the crime statistics.” He pictures a society that educates students on a different form of safety. “I think as a society we have to reflect and say, where should the resources go?” Nowak said. “Incarceration, or rethink this entire process of providing safety to the society, and try working as early as kindergarten, and transforming the type society away from violence and gun culture.” Not everyone agrees with that assessment. The university has equally passionate proponents of gun rights within Tech and elsewhere. “Let’s be honest: What we really need to control are things like murder. If you try to control where I can carry my gun or where I can’t, it doesn’t change who I am,” said Ken Stanton, vice president of leadership at Students for Concealed Carry on Campus at Virginia Tech. “I am still the same person whether I’m on a campus or off campus. So regulating the gun or where I can possess it really doesn’t do anything.” “You have to be 21 to get a permit, so we’re talking about seniors and up. Secondly, only about three percent of Virginians (over 21) have permits anyway,” Stanton said. “It’s not like we
would expect all of a sudden thousands of people (would carry on campus). We’re looking at maybe a two or three hundred at most, but currently, those few hundred people are actively denied their rights.” “If someone is able to pass the background check, goes through the training,” Stanton said, “that’s the best we can do to ensure someone’s going to be responsible.” Ultimately, despite divergent views in the university on how to achieve the goal, all aim for safety. “We want to serve as an organization that can show you that you can stop things before you need to call 9-1-1, that you can end the situation earlier and on the flip side that if you need help to make sure that you do call for help,” Lyden, of Students for NonViolence, said. Deisinger said his former department at Iowa State admired Tech’s responses to prior instances of violence. “As a fellow campus law enforcement professional, I was struck by the thoroughness of the response during the two crises that the institution has had over the past couple of years,” Deisinger said. “We raised questions in my previous department about whether we were as prepared as what VT appeared to have been.”
nation & world headline
More US troops to ﬁght in Afghanistan? Barack Obama is caught in a political vise WASHINGTON — With the military and Republicans publicly pressuring him to send more troops to Afghanistan soon and his own administration now deeply divided about how to proceed there, the eight-year war against al-Qaida and the Taliban has become an increasingly urgent policy and political dilemma for President Barack Obama. He can escalate an unpopular and open-ended war and risk a backlash from his liberal base or refuse his commanders and risk being blamed for a military loss that could tar him and his party as weak on national security. Several defense officials who requested anonymity said much, but not all, of the uniformed military lined up behind Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. McChrystal and other proponents of committing more troops argue, as his memo does, that success in Afghanistan is “still achievable” but without more U.S. troops soon, the war “will likely result in failure.” The internal debate behind closed doors comes as the American people increasingly oppose the war. In one recent CNN poll, 58 percent said they opposed the war. by steven thomma, jonathan s. landay and david lightman, mcclatchy newspapers
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Susan G. Komen tour bus takes awareness on the go LENISE PHILLIPS features staff writer Most people would assume that at any event featuring a large tour bus, an assemblage of fans and a parking lot full of cars that sport bumper stickers reading “I love my tatas” would be more suited for a Motley Crue concert. But this Tuesday, Squires Plaza will serve as a stop on a different type of tour. The Susan G. Komen Education “On the Go” tour bus will be parked on-campus to provide students and members of the community with essential information about breast health and breast cancer prevention. The bus has been traveling to community events and universities along the East Coast since the tour began last May. It focuses on educating college-age students about general breast health and the importance of self-awareness. “The goal is to reach people early, to do prevention work,” said Jon Fritsch, a health educator at Schiffert Health Center. “Right now, we want to get (college students) in the habit of seeing doctors, understanding what’s going on, learning their family history and watching out for breast cancer.” The bright pink bus is equipped with eight computer stations that give students essential information about breast health awareness and the breast cancer prevention movement. In addition, the event will include instructions on doing a breast self-exam, inspirational videos, an eight-foot graffiti wall for sharing memories or for declaring support for the cause, and information on ways to get involved in the movement both locally and nationally. Kim Kirchhoff, a Komen “On the
COURTESY OF SUSAN G KOMEN ON THE GO
Students at La Salle University use the bus’ interactive media. Go” staff member, emphasized that it is important to get involved in the movement early and spread the word about breast health because it is relevant to everyone. “The thing that ties everything together is that everyone knows at least one person who’s been affected by breast cancer,” she said. Julie Terrell, a junior statistics major and former member of the Relay for Life executive committee at Tech, has played a small part in supporting the cause. Currently she is a American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network advocate for her hometown in Maryland and believes that college students can have a tremendous influence on the cancer movement if they choose to get involved. “I think that college students especially need to get involved in awareness because we’re going to be the next generation of researchers, of doc-
tors and then of patients even,” Terrell said. “We’re going to be the ones that are going to see the change that’s going COURTESY OF SUSAN G KOMEN ON THE GO to happen when new cancer drugs are made.” Earlier this September, the On the Go bus stopped at Ryder University in Lawrenceville, NJ. The bus has The Komen “On the Go” edu- been touring last May and has made several appearences at community events on the East Coast. cational bus will provide Virginia Tech students with all the information they need to get them involved in the breast cancer movement. Representatives from Schiffert Health Center, the Women’s Clinic and the Roanoke Susan G. Komen affiliate will also be at the event to answer questions and provide details of their respective organizations. If getting healthy isn’t incentive enough to stop by the event on your way to class, all students will leave the event with a pink drawstring bag, and there will be a chance to win a free iPod Nano for all students who participate in a quick survey at the interactive learning center.
sports 4 Leaser a star since first set RAY NIMMO sports reporter From reading Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” to rooting for Green Bay Packers, Erin Leaser certainly has a wide spectrum of hobbies. Only one of those hobbies ends up helping with her favorite thing to do, playing volleyball. Leaser, a sophomore from Allentown, Pa., plays setter for the Virginia Tech volleyball team. Reaching her potential by studying an ancient book on military tactics probably doesn’t make sense at first, but after delving deeper, the connection materializes. “I will test her on ‘The Art of War’ things,’” head coach Chris Riley said, “like chapters, what she thinks and how that relates to what we do. Everything is a competition. Everything is a battle and how does it relate to how (she) gets better.” Reading about tactics and strategies in the military relates to volleyball when looking at the fundamentals: the object is to outsmart the opponent, use teammates to your advantage and ultimately defeat your competition. Leaser’s drive to learn more about all aspects of being a setter and the game of volleyball is what sets her apart from others. “Setter is your quarterback and point guard,” Riley said. “They don’t always get the notoriety, but to perform well, that second touch has to be consistent and tactical. She does a very good job at both.” What setters lack in notoriety, they make up for in pressure. For Leaser, she goes through a regular stream of consciousness during a point. “My first job is to make sure that no one is out of position, overlapping or anything like that,” Leaser said. “My second job is calling the plays for the girls to run in servereceive. “I think about who is the best scorer in this rotation or who is the weakest blocker on the other side. The last thing I think about is blocking and defense, which should be on the top of my list, but it will come with time.” Tech was not on the top of her list either. Leaser also considered Notre Dame, Georgetown and Towson
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Miracle drive leads Tech over Huskers
(I loved) the support that is given to us with our academic advisers, tutors and study hall making sure we get everything done. That’s basically why I chose here, and I felt like I belonged here. ERIN LEASER SOPHOMORE SETTER
University. Riley and assistant coach Shelbylynn McBride started recruiting her at 15 years old when they were still coaches at Towson. “There was no question (about) her ability level and how well she could play the game,” Riley said. When Riley and McBride moved to Tech, Leaser asked if they were still interested in her, so she came down to visit the campus. “I loved the campus. I loved the Hokie togetherness and Chris, Shelby and Jayme (Gergen),” Leaser said. “(I loved) the support that is given to us with our academic advisers, tutors and study hall making sure we get everything done. That’s basically why I chose here, and I felt like I belonged here. I went to Georgetown and other places and didn’t feel like I fit in there.” Leaser racked up 1,084 assists her first year, which ranked fifth all-time among Tech freshmen. She also earned ACC AllFreshman honors and received Rookie of the Year from the Virginia Sports Information Directors of America. It’s a tough season to top, but Leaser is already on her way to a stellar year. In nine games, she recorded 326 assists and ranks second in the ACC in assists per set with 10.87. Riley wants Leaser to refine her setting skills and continue to develop as a complete player. “She needs to be a little more consistent with her outside placement,” Riley said. She can learn to use the back row more while we have the attackers to do it, and I think she’s got to be a little cleaner defensively.” Whenever Leaser hears skills she needs to improve, she goes right to see LEASER / page eight
Tech tailback Ryan Williams runs by redshirt freshman linebacker Sean Fisher Williams ﬁnished the game with 107 yards and a touchdown.
HAIL MARY PASS TO DANNY COALE HIGHLIGHTS IMPROBABLE GAME-CAPPING OFFENSIVE SERIES ED LUPIEN sports reporter With an 11-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Dyrell Roberts, junior quarterback Tyrod Taylor and the No. 13 Hokies defeated No. 19 Nebraska 16-15 at Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The score was set up through an 81-yard Hail Mary pass from Taylor to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Danny Coale, who missed reaching the end zone by three yards. “I was just trying to find a hole and stay open for him because (Taylor is) going to keep the play alive as long as he can,” Coale said. “His throw was on the money — it was perfect.” On the following play, a sack put the Hokies eight yards back, but on the next play Taylor connected with Roberts with 21 seconds left for the go-ahead score. With little time remaining to answer, the Cornhuskers, starting their drive at their own 15-yard line, were penalized five yards for an illegal formation on their first play, which took nine seconds off the clock. On the following play, Nebraska quarterback junior Zac Lee threw an interception to Tech redshirt junior
cornerback Rashad Carmichael that signaled the end of the game and the victory for the Hokies. “It was a great team win,” redshirt junior defensive end Jason Worilds said. “Defensively we made some mistakes, and I can’t speak for the offense, but they came through when we needed them to.” “This win shows a lot about our character and how well we play as a team,” redshirt freshman running back Ryan Williams said. “I hope we don’t get games like this for the rest of the season, but if we do, we know now that we’ll never quit.” The Hokies drew first blood in the game with Williams rushing for a one-yard touchdown with 11 minutes, 15 seconds in the first quarter. Nebraska answered with three consecutive field goals by junior kicker Alex Henery who earned the Cornhuskers a 9-7 lead with five minutes, 23 seconds to play in the first half. The Hokies responded on the following drive, regaining the lead on their own field goal by redshirt senior Matt Waldron, who knocked it through from 39 yards out. Not to be outdone, Henery and the Huskers hit their fourth field goal with 18 seconds left in the half and carried
Danny Coale after catching an 81-yard pass in the ﬁnal two minutes. a 12-10 lead into halftime. Both teams were then kept scoreless in the third with Nebraska reaching the Hokies’ 6-yard line on a drive late in the quarter. Lee then threw to junior tight end Mike McNeill in the endzone and appeared to give the Cornhuskers an 18-10 lead. The six points were retracted from the scoreboard seconds later when the offensive line was called for holding on the play. After a false start penalty on the very next play that pushed his offense to its opponent’s 16-yard line, Lee threw into the endzone again — this time to senior wideout Menelik Holt who, by diving, was able get his hands on the ball, only to lose any chance of possession when his body hit the ground. Two more penalties — another holding and false start — on the following two plays made it third and goal on the Hokies’ 36-yard line. After Lee rushed for a loss of a yard, Nebraska was forced to punt. “Obviously, that hurt us,” Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said. “That was a key point in the football game. I thought if we scored there, we’d be in pretty good shape, but it didn’t happen.” With four and a half minutes left to play in the game, Nebraska increased its lead to five points when Henery hit from 38 yards out. The Hokies could get little going on the following drive. With two and half
minutes left on the clock, and facing the possibility of not getting another drive, Taylor and the offense were forced to go for the conversion on fourth and nine with the ball on their 46-yard line. Tech’s attempt was unsuccessful as Taylor threw his third consecutive incomplete pass — a 15-yard liner that went through the hands of Roberts. “It was very frustrating,” Williams said. “Tyrod was very frustrated with himself, and Dyrell was sitting down having mixed emotions. We knew we had to pick ourselves back up.” Nebraska, automatically taking over on downs, was able to put together a drive that lasted all of 23 seconds, with the Hokies killing the clock three times with all of their remaining timeouts. With one minute, 51 seconds left, the Cornhuskers punted on fourth and one at Tech’s 37-yard line, giving the Hokies new life and the opportunity they seized for the win. “When you have great players on the field and have worked as hard and care about each other as much as this crowd does, that is what makes this possible,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. Nebraska’s Lee, who came into the contest ranked seventh in the country in passing efficiency, completed 11 of the 30 passes he attempted, throwing for 136 yards and two interceptions. see HUSKERS / page eight
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september 22, 2009
The Collegiate Times is an independent student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903
Your Views [letters to the editor]
Hokies’ reaction after game not appropriate I’m trying to figure out why the fans stormed the field and tore down the goal post after beating a lower ranking team. I’m a former Kansas State student, so I have no love for the “Big Red.” My team lost to Nebraska for 30 straight years, and when we finally beat them, that was a reason to tear down the goal posts. Think about it, Hokies. Was that the right thing to do?
Dave Graham Topeka, KS Kansas State 1998
Nuclear engineering graphic bombs Last week, the CT released an article covering the recent grant from the NRC for a nuclear engineering program at Virginia Tech. The students at Tech are some of the best and brightest in the country, and well deserving of this challenging educational opportunity. However, at least one person made the mistake of placing a picture of a mushroom cloud in the background of a “Virginia Tech’s Nuclear Energy History” timeline. Although this is probably more of a minor oversight by someone at the CT, it does raise a larger issue that is prevalent in today’s society. The relationship between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy are all too often confused, mostly because of a lack of education on the subject. It seems that in today’s world it is becoming easier to demonize something that isn’t understood, instead of attempting to understand it. No one at Tech will be taught how to engineer nuclear weapons. A nuclear engineering program is focused on an energy technology that creates clean, safe and reliable energy. Just as a bottle of petroleum
jelly cannot explode while sitting in your bathroom cabinet, a nuclear power reactor cannot possibly explode like a nuclear bomb. Although the two technologies share the same name, they are very different. Put simply, fuel for nuclear power is enriched 25-30 times less than that of weapons-grade material. Although this new nuclear engineering program is wonderful news for the university, unfortunate inaccuracies like this can cause severe damage to the future of clean baseload energy in the United States. Nuclear power currently accounts for 74 percent of clean energy production in the U.S. and helps the country avoid almost 700 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. The second and third closest clean energy competitors are hydro and wind energy with 200 and 27 million metric tons of CO2 avoided, respectively. Nuclear power is also the most reliable clean energy that we have available today. It produces clean energy 100 percent of the time, compared to wind (30 percent), hydro (27 percent) and solar energy (19 percent). Not only is nuclear power clean and reliable, it is safe. According to the Department of Labor, the U.S. nuclear power industry has a workplace accident rate lower than that of the U.S. education and communication industries, which includes the entire faculty and staff of Tech and the CT. Hokies, please take this opportunity to learn more about nuclear power and support the new nuclear engineering program at Tech.
Eric Danner Alumnus, Aerospace engineering Charlotte, N.C. J. Carrington Dillon Alumnus, Civil engineering & economics Charlotte, N.C.
Health care not a ‘clear cut’ debate I
’d like to respond to the opinion piece written by Patrick Butler titled “We need to be conscious of what we accept as truth” (CT, Sept. 15) regarding President Barack Obama’s speech and the outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson. In Mr. Butler’s article, he states, “ ... So who was actually lying last week? Well, it seems to actually be a pretty clear-cut situation. Checking both the sites above we find that Obama is telling the truth and that Representative Wilson was in fact lying. It seems that in this case many of the bills being debated are very explicit about not providing health care for illegal immigrants, and this is also true of the version that the Obama administration is backing. Even if you were on the side of health care reform in this debate, the point is worth verifying.” First, I resent your implication that anyone against the president’s plans is not “on the side of health care reform.” I happen to be a conservative in favor of health care reform. However, I am against some of the methods the Democrats have for implementing it (and their opposition to malpractice reforms). Who was lying was, in fact, not clear-cut. What is conveniently left out of this analysis is what is in the bill by omission of specific language. True, most bills circulating in Congress do state that benefits are not available to illegal aliens, but does that mean in actual practice this will be so? The truth is a little more difficult and is “worth verifying” from more than two Web sites — perhaps from a read of the actual bills? Nowhere in any of the bills were written provisions to allow for point-of-care identity verification when
receiving health benefits. So, similar to the elections and voter registration issue, it’s convenient for politicians to say they are against provision of benefits for illegal immigrants when the lack of identity verification legislation provides for it in practice. If we can’t verify someone’s legal status in this country, how can they be denied access to the system? Interestingly enough, after Rep. Wilson’s outburst, specific language that provides for identification verification was, in fact, added to some pending bills. In a similar way, the president states that everyone who has health care and wants to keep it can do so. However, when the economics of employer-provided health care are analyzed, what happens when a company decides it’s cheaper to pay the government penalty than to provide benefits to their employees? Many analyses have concluded this is a likely scenario, particularly for small businesses. So while the president is technically telling the truth that government will not mandate a move to the “public option,” in reality employees may be forced to if their employers opt for the penalty instead of benefits. So perhaps when we are debating where the actual truth lies in the health care debate and elsewhere in written legislation, we need to not only analyze the impact of the written legislation, but more importantly, what is provided for (or not) by omission.
LESLEY LEE -guest columnist -alumnus, M.S. ‘95 -Houston, Texas
Political correctness can be hinderance for free speech T
he insidious cloud lies dormant and mostly invisible amid our more urgent threats of nuclear attack and biological warfare. It permeates the homes of millions, an energy that chokes out the breath and threatens the tongue. Those who have fallen victim often remain oblivious to its effect. As it garners strength, it creeps through schools, churches, universities and corporations and imbeds itself firmly into your life until suddenly, it sits staring at you at your own dinner table. How can we combat this enemy that is so powerful yet remains so elusive to detect, target and repel? It seemed benign enough in the beginning. Perhaps it even appeared to bring about greater social harmony and universal understanding. As it mutated and took on its current form, most failed to see the danger that it posed to our American way of life. Political correctness now threatens our freedom of speech in a way that is difficult to challenge. After all, how can we argue with aggressive accusations that we are endorsing insensitivity, intolerance and discrimination by not speaking in the manner insisted by the elitist far left? What we must understand is this: Those that purport the politically correct model utilize it in a manner that is self-serving rather than altruistic in nature. Thus, refusing to yield to compliance with this doctrine ultimately leads to unleashing the unbridled force that is the politically correct tsunami. The far-left has adopted a clever
weapon to combat overwhelming criticism of its latest agenda. It does not take much investigation into the current social situation to find fault with the current administration’s policies and even less probing to pinpoint much of its source. Yet time and again, critics are silenced by the threat of being labeled any number of liberal buzzwords like homophobic, sexist, Islamophobic, unsophisticated and the big one, racist. Rather than debate issues of substance, liberals have sought to undermine the discourse between political parties by assigning the persona of conservatives as politically incorrect — which has come to mean primitive and devoid of compassion. So what’s the big deal? So what if the liberal talking heads have resorted to name-calling as a distraction to avoid accountability for their multitude of transgressions against core principles so many Americans hold near and dear? America’s media and government, with a tremendous liberal influence, have indoctrinated a fear of politically incorrect commentary in America. The unchecked power these people possess directly imposes artificial boundaries on each citizen in his or her everyday life. This issue reaches far beyond the simplicity of calling the blind “visually impaired” or a stewardess a “flight attendant.” Instead, it encroaches on what it means to be American. Day after day, our soldiers fight to protect our right to free speech; all the while, the media
and the government work covertly to destroy this liberty. The sinister ploy of the loud, unbridled hysteria of the far-left utilizes the concept of political correctness to silence critics and stomp out resistance. Labels are waved and used to threaten the opposition in order to gain compliance. So, we must ask ourselves: Has political correctness led to a kinder, gentler America? In a nutshell: Absolutely not. If we have learned anything from political correctness, it is that giving a sector of our society the right and power to control the content and the use of our language only limits our constitutional rights and social liberties. The greater the potential for blocking implementation of proposed liberal policy (i.e. government-controlled banking system, automobile manufacturing, healthcare, etc.), the more aggressive liberal politicians become when casting their labels against the opposition. Let’s take a moment, collect our thoughts, and have a rational, intelligent discourse on the issues and its merits. I hope one side is tired of throwing the “politically correct” curveball. I know the other side is tired of ducking.
BROOKE LEONARD -regular columnist -sophomore -economics major
Library needs to extend hours to meet the needs of students W
ith the first round of major tests and quizzes of the semester upon us, I have noticed that many more people, including myself, are spending more time in the library than usual. However, as college students, we are very busy and sometimes we do not get around to major homework assignments or studying until the evening, or even the late evening. This can pose a problem because Monday through Thursday the library is only open until midnight and Friday night until 8 p.m. On the weekends, it is only open until 8 p.m. on Saturday and midnight on Sunday. The library should be open all night, at least on weeknights, to afford students more time to spend studying in a quiet and productive environment. The library is one of the few places a student can go where he is ensured peace and quite if he so desires. There are study lounges in dorms, but many times those are used for study sessions or homework groups, which can be noisy and distracting. Students can also study in their room or apartment, but sometimes
roommates, or just the familiarity of their surroundings, can be very distracting. The library is a great place to get work done, with no parties, friends or other distractions. However, studying can be seriously interrupted if a student only gets a few hours to study at the library and then has to relocate at closing time. If a student is to go the library at 8 p.m., and she has to work or study for three classes, she is unlikely to finish her work in the four short hours that the library remains open. I have seen my engineering friends spend one to two hours on one homework problem, which is one of five or six, and that is for only one class. Also, the other day, a friend of mine who is a junior math major was very excited to have finished three homework problems in one hour. As a liberal arts major, I know the reading required for many classes is quite heavy and papers can be very time-consuming to write. The hours that the library is open are not sufficient for the average college student to finish his work. The later the
library is open, the more likely many people are to get important work done. It can be difficult to concentrate after having to move to another location to finish work, after it has already been started. There are many universities across the country that keep their libraries open all night or at least all night during finals. Libraries have staff around at night to help people with searching the catalogs, but nothing that requires many late-night workers. The cafe that is currently under construction does not have to remain open either. It is the quiet and focused environment within the library itself that would be the most important and is what many students need to get work done. This feature would make the library a more convenient place to study and hopefully make for more productive students.
GABI SELTZER -regular columnist -sophomore -philosophy major
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september 22, 2009
Huskers: Almost too much for Hokies to handle from page four
Saturday’s contest was Nebraska’s first in its past twenty in which the team failed to pass for at least 200 yards. Junior running back Roy Helu, Jr. carried the ball 28 times for 169 yards. Four of his rushes were for 20 yards or more. Defensively, much-heralded senior defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is currently projected by NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper to be the fifth player selected overall next April, recorded eight tackles, including one for a loss and 0.5 sacks. He set a new program record for most pass breakups by a defensive lineman in a game with four. “I take my hat off to Virginia Tech,” Pelini said. “It was a hard-fought football game. In the end, we had plenty of opportunities to put that football game away, and we didn’t do it. And they made the play at the end.”
In addition to his one score in the first half, Williams rushed 21 times on the day for 107 yards. “I’m very comfortable at the starting tailback position now,” Williams said. “Once my ankle gets to be 100 percent, I feel like I’ll get even better. I’ll be able to show what I’m really all about as a running back. I’ll bring more excitement and bigger plays to the table.” Taylor completed 12 of 27 passes, throwing for 192 yards, 92 of which came on the final drive. “There’s always a chance if you’ve got a Tyrod,” Beamer said. With the win, Tech, now 2-1, moves up two spots to No. 11 in the AP Top 25 poll. Nebraska, also now 2-1, falls six spots to No. 25 with the loss. Tech’s opponents do not get any easier next week as it faces the No. 9 University of Miami Hurricanes in Lane Stadium at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.
Leaser: Tech the right fit for setter from page four
the court to work on them without hesitation. “As a person, I’m very driven,” she said. “I don’t really like waiting until the last minute to do everything. I’m always nervous, and it bothers me, so I like to get things done.” Besides her skill set, Leaser continues to work on her communication with her teammates. Riley stressed being vocal during the preseason, and Leaser has stepped up. Kirsty Blue, a sophomore middle blocker, noticed the change. “I think she’s opened up more this year,” Blue said. “And that’s helped her on the court to push people because she knows they’ll respond well to her pushing them. She’s not afraid to. I think that’s helped in making us a better team.” Leaser combines her focus and determination on the court with a relaxed persona off the court.
“Erin’s really laidback, and she laughs all the time,” Blue said. “She’s always smiling when you meet her, and she’s funny.” “I’m very approachable,” Leaser said. “I think people can come up and talk to me. I think I walk around campus with a pissed-off look on my face, and people think I’m mean, but I’m not. I’m starting to come out of my shell more. I’m quiet with people at first, but then I’ll open up.” Leaser and Riley joke around about each other’s height. Leaser is 5-foot-10-inch, and Riley always says he is taller, which Leaser denies. “She is a solid half-inch shorter than I am, so it’s important that finds its way into the story,” Riley said. Riley has said before he is 5 feet 8 inches tall, so whether the discrepancy is a real one may remain a mystery.
Erin Leaser attempts to deny a Norfolk State attack on Sept. 5.
BOX SCORES Men's Soccer Sunday Sept. 20, 2009 1ST 2ND F (2-2-2) (1-0 ACC)
(0-5-1) (0-2 ACC)
VIRGINIA TECH CLEMSON
Women's Soccer Sunday Sept. 20, 2009 1ST 2ND F
(6-2) (0-0 ACC)
Volleyball Friday Sept. 18, 2009 1ST SET
2ND 3RD 4TH SET SET SET
(10-0) (0-0 ACC)
(6-4) (1-0 ACC)
Saturday Sept. 19, 2009 1ST SET
(10-1) (0-1 ACC)
2ND 3RD 4TH SET SET SET
Saturday Sept. 19, 2009 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH 5TH SET SET SET SET SET F
(10-2) (0-1 ACC)
LINDSEY BACHAND/COLLEGIATE TIMES
Tuesday, September 22, 2009 Print Edition of The Collegiate Times