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An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
COLLEGIATETIMES Features, page 2
Sports, page 6
Classifieds, page 4
Sudoku, page 4
Since Darwin's original publication 150 years ago, the theory
O V E U L IN T
see DARWIN / page ﬁve
Darwin releases On the Origin of Species. The book is considered to be one of the formative works in the field of evolutionary biology.
Decision made on case of Scopes v. State. John Scopes was charged with teaching evolution in violation of the state's Butler Act.
of evolution's rise has provoked controversy.
US Supreme Court ends a state prohibition of the teaching of evolution in public schools in case of Epperson v. Arkansas.
Evolution Revolution in the United States
aculty recognizes the evolution of thought over a century and a half has done nothing to calm the academic fervor over Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and Tech will host more of the debate next week. Virginia Tech’s faculty is preparing to recognize the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s seminal work, “On the Origin of Species,” in a Nov. 4 conference. First published in November 1859, Darwin’s book is considered one of the formative works in the field of evolutionary biology. Darwin’s
Opinions, page 3
In Edwards v. Aguillard, the US Supreme Court ends a Lousiana policy forbidding the teaching of evolution unless accompanied with creationism.
News, page 5
106th year, issue 106
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District officially ends the presentation of intelligent design as a specific method in schools.
JOSH SON/COLLEGIATE TIMES
Police pursue student cases As the community search for missing Tech junior Morgan Harrington continues with a reward of $150,000 for her return, the family of Heidi Childs has issued a new statement to generate leads in the case. The Harrington family and Jefferson Area Crime Stoppers have set a reward of $100,000 to anyone who returns Morgan Harrington or has information regarding the people responsible for her disappearance. Metallica has also added an additional $50,000 to the reward value, making the total reward $150,000. In a separate statement, Don Childs, father of Heidi Childs, who was slain along with sophomore David Metzler two months ago in Jefferson National Forest, urged the community to come forward with tips. “I ask each of you who live in the area of the murders to think back and try to remember anything you can about that night,” the statement read. “Any small amount of information may be the key to locating who committed this act, which has forever changed our lives.” He said the pain is still tangible in his family and in the family of David Metzler. “The past two months have been very difficult for my family, as well as the Metzler family,” the statement read. “My wife and I have had to take painstaking steps to attain some form of resolution to Heidi’s life. We have had to do things that no parent should ever have to do. We have had to clean out her apartment, a very emotional undertaking; close her Virginia Tech accounts; as well as cancel her cell phone service, a very emotional event, losing forever the sound of her voice on the recording, which we have called just for some form of comfort.” Childs and Metzler were found dead in the Caldwell Fields area of Jefferson National Forest on Aug. 26. Anyone with information related to the Childs and Metzler case is asked to call the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at 540-382-6900 or Virginia State Police at 800-542-5959. The statement said a reward of $68,000 is offered in the case. In the Harrington case, police are asking anybody who has information to immediately contact Jefferson Area Crime Stoppers, Virginia State Police, or the UVa Police Department. The Jefferson Area Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization designed to assist police with solving crimes. The group assists departments including UVa Police Department, Charlottesville Police Department, Virginia State Policez and Charlottesville Sheriff’s Department. by news staff
Robotics professor named in ‘Brilliant 10’ ALLISON SANDERS news staff writer Virginia Tech associate professpor Dennis Hong’s advancements in robotics and mechanical engineering have landed him a top spot in Popular Science magazine’s 2009 “Brilliant 10” under-40 young geniuses list. Hong is only “young genius” who made Popular Science’s list for robotics. Some of Hong’s most famous innovations include STRIDER, an android that walks on three legs, DARWIN, a purely autonomous creation that can play soccer and CHARLI, a project in the works that will eventually become the first full-sized humanoid robot. His work is done in ROMELA, one of the country’s largest laboratories, located in the basement of Randolph Hall. Unsure if he, himself believes that he fits the mold of a “genius,” Hong said his work ethic significantly contributes to his achievements. “I work extremely hard, and I immensely enjoy what I do. My job is my hobby thus it’s not work, and that’s probably the secret of my success,” Hong said. Ping Ren is a graduate student working toward his doctorate degree in mechanical engineering. “Most of the robots’ concepts come
COURTESY OF VIRGINIA TECH
Dennis Hong showcases three-legged android STRIDER in the Randolph based Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory. from his mind so he is the dominant force behind this lab (ROMELA),” Ren said. “We firmly believe that if he couldn’t come up with these interesting ideas from the beginning, we would not have such a brilliant lab.” Inheriting a love for science and mechanics from his family, Hong said that his environment, discounting his boyhood fascination with Star Wars, played the biggest role in his interest in robotics. “I don’t believe in the gene thing. I really
believe the environment that you grow up in, the people that you interact with as you grow up,” Hong said. The “bioinspiration method” in robotics means taking a trace of something living, then creating a robotic model based on the biological species, Hong said. For example, in constructing a jumping robot, one might use a frog for inspiration. Hong uses bioinspiration to create something more than just a mimicry of a living being, and he pre-
dicts he was selected for the top ten because of this pioneering take on construction. Take a trace of something real and use imagination to create a model for it. “The innovative robots that I create are based on nature,” Hong said. “Not just simply copying nature but by being inspired by nature and studying the underlying scientific principles and applying that to robotics.” Hong said that it is important to make this differentiation between humans and nature because humans have things that nature cannot produce, as does nature in regards to humans. “Your robot needs to have the size and shape of a human being so that it can live together with us in the environment that is created by us, for us,” Hong said. Hong began his college career at Korea University before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to finish his undergraduate degree. He earned a master’s degree and a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University. So will robots one day rule the world? Even Hong isn’t sure. “I wish!” Hong said. “The more you learn, the more you know, the more research you do. You become a skeptic.”
Town council heads to Gillie’s Town council candidates Michael Sutphin (left) and Susan Anderson (right) and the remaining seven campaigning candidates meet interested citizens at Gillie’s on Sunday in anticipation of next week’s Nov. 3 gubernatorial and Blacksburg elections. Nine candidates are actively campaigning for four spots. Paul Lancaster will also be on the ballot.
photo by niels goran blume/spps
2Mockfeatures Rock ‘n’ roll: Alpha
editors: topher forhecz, teresa tobat email@example.com/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES
Band Russian Circles creates Chi Omega jams for charity bleak, rewarding album ‘Geneva’ LENISE PHILLIPS features staff writer There are few reasons one can have for dressing up like Cyndi Lauper in her heyday, and for the sister’s of Alpha Chi Omega, one of them is charity. Every year, the sisters and others get in touch with their inner rockstars through Mock Rock, an annual three-day event that raises money and collects food donations to support victims of domestic violence in the New River Valley. The event kicked off yesterday with a RockBand video game competition, which will be followed by a wing-eating contest tonight, and ends with the Lip Synch competition finale tomorrow. Sororities and fraternities across campus attend each of these events and receive points based on overall attendance and performance. At the end of the event, Alpha Chi Omega will tally the scores and announce two winners. Katie Curran, a senior interdisciplinary studies major and the internal philanthropy co-chair, helped organize Mock Rock and believes it to be one of the largest philanthropies on Virginia Tech’s campus. Though the two winners of this event don’t receive a tangible prize, Curran says the title is a source of pride when it comes to recruitment. To her, nothing gets people excited like a little bit of friendly competition among brothers and sisters.
check it out
What: Mock Rock Details: Today at 6 p.m. at the Alpha Chi house, tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Burruss Auditorium
The event kicked off with a battle of the mock bands, where fraternities and sororities flocked to Squires Colonial to compete against each other in a RockBand competition. Each team consists of four people, dressed in rock star attire. Teams pick out one song and have approximately four minutes to make a lasting impression. The fraternity and sorority with the highest scores win. Tonight Alpha Chi Omega will host Wing Warrior, a chicken wings-eating contest at its sorority house. Each fraternity and sorority nominates one member to be the wing eater, then contestants have three minutes to eat as many wings as they can. The sorority sister and fraternity brother who clean out the most wings are crowned the wing warriors. Mock Rock will come to a close with the Lip Synch competition. Groups get a three-minute time slot in which they have to incorporate lipsyncing and dancing. Since this competition is the last chance for fraternities and sororities to win points, they
usually go to creative extremes and try to outdo last year’s performances. Particpants continue to feel the heat during the final round of Mock Rock, but they never forget to enjoy themselves. “It’s been so much fun practicing,’’ said Agnes Chang, a senior human development major who is dancing with her sorority. “It’s a great way for us to come together and show people (that women) are strong. And it’s a good way to get to know other girls better.” While Mock Rock is fun for particpants, they also have to remember that it ultimately benefits a charity. Claire McKinney, a junior international studies major, didn’t attend Mock Rock last year, but she is excited to participate in all of the events this year. “I’ve been to other philanthropies like this last spring, and they’re just so much fun,” McKinney said. “The performances are hilarious to watch, and I love to support them because it’s for a good cause.” Alpha Chi Omega raised over $16,000 during last year’s Mock Rock, but it has no set goal for this year’s donations. “If we only get a little bit over $16,000 dollars, we’re fine with that,” Curran said. “We’re just trying to top (what we made last year). We’re just trying to set the bar high for the next group that does it.”
’m almost certain the members who comprise Russian Circles are not mammals. Listening to the Chicago-based instrumental band’s latest release, “Geneva,” it’s easy to imagine the many flailing tentacles of octopi performing the complex tunes. The group manipulates guitar, bass and drums to craft seven exhaustively layered tracks, with its sounds ranging from gentle lullaby to merciless assault. Considering the music’s intricacies, one might expect a Russian Circles concert stage to be cramped with numerous contributors. But just three men are responsible for the colossal composition. “Geneva” does, however, host the periodic appearance of orchestral musicians. The first track, “Fathom,” opens with the harmonization of several stringed instruments as though they are preparing for a symphony. Drummer Dave Turncrantz soon interrupts with three deep hits to his kit, and then three more — their resonance feels like heavy knocks on a door. Russian Circles has arrived, it seems to suggest. Soon Turncrantz is galloping over the entirety of his setup while guitarist Mike Sullivan and bassist Brian Cook counter the pace with slow, gritty strums of their axes. The orchestra eventually reappears to fade out the song, which is one of the shortest on the album, clocking in at five minutes. At more than seven minutes, “Melee” is an initially somber song that shifts over its long life into something of celebration, its final pocket of aggression a release of prior sorrow. Sullivan utilizes guitar loops to help build such atmospheres. Using special foot pedal equipment, he’ll play a certain riff and effectively record it. As that riff is automatically cycled, Sullivan is free to perform atop it. “Malko” is the only track that doesn’t incorporate a lot of rolling ambiance. It’s a full-throttle effort that
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“City of Echoes” by Pelican Also from Chicago, this quartet delivers very heavy songs with guitars tuned to growl.
“All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone” by Explosions in the Sky Explosions in the Sky “All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone” — Listening to its spacey epics is akin to ﬂoating on clouds. But beware: Sometimes beautiful things make you cry.
“At the Soundless Dawn” by Red Sparowes Its songs are as long as its names (“Mechanical Sounds Cascaded through the City Walls and Everyone Reveled in Their Ignorance”), but man it is great for studying.
begins with Sullivan rapidly tapping a high-pitched melody on the neck of his guitar. Turncrantz adds dizzying quickness with his sticks, and Cook chugs furiously on his bass. It’s like they’re in a musical sprint, desperately evading a pursuing captor. Words do find their way into the record on “When the Mountain Comes to Muhammad,” but it’s only a faint audio sample of what might be an old news broadcast. It’s an eerie clip, however, and it frames what is the most depressing song on the album. And that’s what is so compelling about the music Russian Circles produces. The absence of voice doesn’t detract from the music’s emotional impact; a singer’s lyrics aren’t imperative to establish meaning. Like other bands in its genre, Russian Circles pushes the capabilities of its instruments to deliver stories — or rather templates, maybe, because the listener ultimately decides how he relates
Album: Geneva Bottom line: Instrumental band Russian Circles makes a dark and dreary, but ultimately provocative and rewarding album. Just don’t go into it looking for a new favorite singer.
to the musical auras, whether it’s by imagining the artist’s intended narrative or finding his own lives reflected in the notes. “Geneva” is an impressive 45 minutes of instrumental prose, although it demands patience from the listener with its inflated song lengths. It’s not the best soundtrack for a quick dart across campus, but given proper attention it can transport listeners to a more thoughtful realm (even if it’s a predominantly dreary one). With this being its third full-length release in only three years, Russian Circles must want you to hear what it has to say.
RYAN ARNOLD -features reporter -senior -communication major
Michael Jackson’s second career really takes off this week with ﬁlm ‘This Is It’ STEVE KNOPPER mcclatchy newspapers Like Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain and Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson is just beginning his career as Pop Star Who Will Never Really Die. His movie “This Is It,” based on rehearsal footage for the tour he was supposed to begin in July, comes out Tuesday night, and his first posthumous album, the movie soundtrack, is also out. Four months after his death, he’s one of the most active performers in the music business, and he’s up for five American Music Awards, too. MORE MUSIC “This Is It,” a lovesick ballad — cowritten with Paul Anka — with slinky funk guitar and strings, is Jackson’s first “new” song since he died. And it just happens to share a title with the movie. The song is actually one of the hundreds of unreleased tracks he left in the vaults, according to estimates from Sony Music executives, and surely just the beginning of a flood of new releases. Before his death, Jackson recorded with R&B star Akon and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, among other hot producers, but it’s unclear when that music will reach the public.
THE FILM A 12-minute clip for the film was previewed for the media last week, showing Jackson practicing and singing in fine form, according to The Associated Press. Though the King of Pop looked frail, he playfully danced with a woman as he sang “The Way You Make Me Feel” and was shown warming up during a performance of “Human Nature.” REALITY SETS IN Before Jackson’s death, ex-Jackson 5 singers Jackie, Jermaine, Tito and Marlon were filming the A&E reality show “The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty.” It’s still supposed to air in December — and is likely to be a bigger ratings bonanza than it was before June 25. The preshow drama: Will Jackson’s three children — Prince (12), Paris (11) and Blanket (7) — appear? A&E reps first said “no” but later pleaded toosoon-to-tell. MARK YOUR CALENDAR Speaking of Jermaine Jackson, the singer is still planning a tribute show, “In Memory of Michael Jackson,” in London next June. “Several leading artists” will participate, Jermaine writes on thetribute2010.com, and the still-tobe-announced venue will hold 70,000 people. If this thing actually comes
together, here’s hoping Pia Zadora will show up to revisit “When the Rain Begins to Fall,” her smash 1985 duet with Jermaine. ESTATE BATTLE The battle for Jackson’s estate remains in limbo. On one side, his court-appointed executors, attorney John Branca and music-business veteran John McClain, have made massive deals worth $100 million, much of it from the “This Is It” movie. On the other, Jackson’s mother, Katherine, has been complaining that her family lacks “a seat at the table,” and has been shuffling attorneys to help her gain more control in L.A. courts. DEATH CAN’T STOP HIM Jackson has sold 5.9 million solo albums since his death — provoking sad flashbacks to 1982, when “Thriller” all but pulled the record business out of a recession. “Without a doubt, (Jackson’s death) helped the music industry,” says Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard’s charts director. “But the lifeblood of the music industry is new acts, and you can’t rely on these kinds of occurrences to sustain an industry.” Jackson is likely to be the best-selling artist of 2009; album sales overall are down 20 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
editor: debra houchins firstname.lastname@example.org/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES
october 27, 2009
The Collegiate Times is an independent student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903
Your Views [letters to the editor]
Class of ’59 gave Ad depicted more than plaza coal pollution
hile I’ll leave it to others to address the many unfair criticisms levied against the Virginia Tech president and university leadership in Burke Thomas’ recent column, “Steger distracts the masses with bread, circuses” (CT, Oct. 22), I feel obligated to correct some serious misconceptions regarding the generosity of the class of ’59. The GLC Plaza project — something cited as evidence of the “general disregard for students” — was, in fact, cosponsored by students. Funds for the project, as clearly stated on the Campaign for Virginia Tech Web site, came not just from the class of 1959, but from the class of 2009 and the Hokie Parents Fund as well. Still, even though the response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive, I suspect the author and I may disagree about its value. But to suggest that renovating such a high-traffic area that connects the growing arts district and downtown with the lower campus demonstrates a disregard for students seems to be quite a stretch. Also, the opinions piece asked how much money could have been raised for scholarships and academics. Perhaps the author intended this as a wry rhetorical question, but the answer is anything but rhetorical. Money for scholarships? Well, in addition to the plaza project, the class contributed more than $300,000 for scholarships, namely the Emerging Leader Scholarship Program of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. Support for academics? The class raised more than $225,000 to endow a university-wide undergraduate research fund, the proceeds of which will benefit students for generations to come. Finally, I think it’s worthwhile for both you and your readers to know that the funds raised by the class of ’59 for these specific class projects — the plaza, scholarships and undergraduate research — are but a very small fraction of its generosity. In addition to that amount, the class has donated nearly $5 million to the university it loves in just the last five years. These funds have been invested in programs and facilities all across campus, and it’s likely that many of your readers may have already benefited from their thoughtfulness. There’s more that could be said here that might add some much needed clarification to the opinions piece. I could explain how class gifts are gathered over several years and directed toward goals that the class agrees on at the beginning of the fundraising campaign. I could explain how those of us who are responsible for securing private support of this university work very hard to match donor wishes with both current and future university needs. What’s more, I could explain just how much this university has benefited from private philanthropy over the years. However, it might be simpler if your readers took a few moments to visit the university fundraising campaign Web site at www.campaign.vt.edu. There, I think they’ll find a pretty clear picture of how the tremendous generosity of our friends and fellow Hokies benefits them and ample evidence of our donors’ high regard for both today’s students and the generations just like them that are sure to follow.
Michael Kiser Director of development communications
n Thursday, the Collegiate Times published a letter to the editor entitled “Ad misrepresents coal issue on campus” (CT, Oct. 22). Ironically, this letter is woefully inaccurate and misrepresents both the Sierra Club’s Oct. 20 advertisement in the CT, as well as the issues surrounding our own coal plant here on campus. Contrary to the author’s claim, the advertisement depicts a typical utility-scale, coal-fired power plant, with both cooling towers and smokestacks clearly in view. The author makes this argument in order to inaccurately imply that coal plants are somehow less than dirty. Let’s be clear: Coal-fired power plants are massive polluters. All coal plants, including the Virginia Tech cogeneration plant, emit toxic pollution such as mercury, arsenic, sulfur dioxide, as well as global warming-causing gasses such as carbon dioxide. In fact, coal fired power plants are the single largest contributor to global warming in the United States, accounting for over 30 percent of all U.S. CO2 emissions. Global warming threatens to devastate our planet with severe drought, extreme weather and global sea level rise. Though he seems to overlook the true costs of coal, the author is right about one thing. If polluted water is too dirty for you, coal should be too. That’s because coal pollutes our water supply here in Virginia and around the world. A recent U.S. Geological Survey study tested fish from 291 streams and rivers across the U.S. for mercury contamination, primarily from coal plants. Every fish tested, in every body of water, came up positive. Mercury causes brain damage and other developmental problems in unborn children and infants. Thanks, king coal. Here in Appalachia, we should know better than anyone that coal is too dirty for campus. Coal mining in the form of mountaintop removal is devastating our Appalachian forests, blowing the tops off our mountains and filling our streams with rubble and waste from coal extraction and processing. To date, the coal industry has destroyed over 500 mountains and filled over 1,200 miles of streams. Here in Virginia, more than 25 percent of the total land area of Wise County has been strip mined for coal. I don’t speak for the Sierra Club, but I work with fellow students at Beyond Coal at Virginia Tech, and we strongly agree that yes, coal is too dirty for our campus. We don’t want to see our taxes and tuition spent on a power source that pollutes our air and water and jeopardizes our collective future by causing global warming. That’s why we are working to help make Tech a leader on renewable energy and the environment by calling upon our administration and faculty to make getting off coal a top priority. We know that we can’t just switch off our coal plant tomorrow. The technical challenge is substantial, but who better to lead the world to clean energy than the talented faculty and students of Tech?
Alex Darr Sophomore Coalitions coordinator, Beyond Coal at Virginia Tech
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VP for student affairs talks campus in open forum L
ast week I had the opportunity to “take the student pulse” during the first “The VP is In” session I was able to hold. We have begun these sessions at times when the SGA has offered me space in its Squires office to “hang out” and provide students with the opportunity to stop by and talk, ask questions, make suggestions, etc. Between 15 and 20 undergraduate and graduate students stopped by for last Thursday’s session, and we covered a variety of topics. There is keen interest in the environment and sustainability, illustrated by questions about why we are cutting trees down (some are diseased and dying), recycling efforts, how we can infuse environmental sustainability into the curriculum, ideas on saving energy, and even ideas about new forms of energy generation. We talked about the programs underway at some colleges whereby the power from student fitness center cycling is harnessed to help supply the energy needs of the campus. I hope that we will eventually be able to do this in our own McComas Hall. Financial issues were also at the forefront of the discussion. We talked about shrinking support from the Commonwealth of Virginia and how that will force Virginia Tech both to reduce budgets and to increase tuition and fees. The students presented concerns about those on tight budgets
and receiving financial aid. I also noted that the university is planning to use a portion of next year’s fee increases to generate more financial aid funds, and there was strong support in the group for doing so. I was impressed by the concern and compassion students were really expressing for other students. We even dealt with very specific questions: Why wouldn’t the Schiffert staff see me for medical consultation last summer? (You have to have paid the Student Health fee for the academic term during which you seek to be seen.) There were two very positive things I heard in the realm of academic issues. We talked about the opportunities for undergraduate research and there was a strong consensus: All you have to do is ask. Students told me of their successes in getting involved in this research and of how anxious faculty members are to give them a chance to participate. This was encouraging to hear! It was also good to hear one student ask me how he should go about telling someone that a certain faculty member was really an outstanding teacher and person. (Answer: Write a note to the faculty member’s department head.) The fourth and last area seemed to be quality of student life issues. I heard about SGA efforts to work with the Blacksburg Transit folks on installing GPS signaling systems in the buses so that potential riders could know
exactly where their bus was at any moment in time. Some who stopped by expressed concern about the need to address facility and furnishings issues in Squires and, as one student put it, the need to “liven up” the building (and we have plans to do this). We had conversation about how the Division of Student Affairs’ efforts to strengthen fraternities and sororities are sometimes misperceived as our “being out to get” these groups. The recent alert notice about the threatening YouTube page prompted a discussion of threat issues and when a notice versus a note is appropriate. Finally, one student proposed a specific way for him to partner with Recreational Sports to extend the season for tennis lessons. For our community, this is a glimpse into student concerns and issues these days. I’ll be providing more after the next session at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18. I hope you’ll attend or send me an e-mail in the meantime. See you around campus!
EDWARD F.D. SPENCER -guest columnist -vice president for student affairs
Racism, sexism still prevalent today despite what many think I
t becomes exhausting to read comments like, “ ... you should take a hint from white people on how to deal with bigotry,” or “... blacks complain too much,” and “Gay people need to quiet down.” As someone who bridges the gap between agent and target groups, garnering all the privilege of race and gender but none concerning sexuality, I find myself at odds with my white and heterosexual friends. I am told that I either have a chip on my shoulder or that my struggle is nothing compared to that of black Americans. It leads me to wonder, why are white people so blind to privilege, and why do heterosexuals refuse to close ranks with the LGBT community? The most obnoxious comment made by heterosexuals is the one concerning gay activism. The claim is that if gays weren’t so loud and obstreperous about their civil rights and discrimination, heterosexuals wouldn’t feel the need to be so invidious. Interesting claim — especially when one considers the climate of America for the LGBT community sixty years ago. This was a time when the terms “pedophile” and “homosexual” were synonymous and videos were shown to students to teach them how to avoid “transients” such as vagrant gay men. And despite what science has debunked, such as the myth of the prevalent homosexual pedophile, we still find accredited universities such as Liberty teaching scores of students that gays, as a community, rarely experience legitimate relationships and women still need to submit to the will of their husbands. All of this is backed by the Bible, of course. On the other end of the spectrum, this frightening and bizarre denial of racism at Virginia Tech forces me to ponder what the experiences of my white counterparts have been abroad in America. I have witnessed comment after comment stating that racism is near its death and that black Americans are the true racists. Or even worse, “Black people use the N-word, why can’t we?” — as though somehow, if one group of people is doing something, it is a complete justification for another group to follow in its steps. I suppose that was the rationale for slavery at the time. Wasn’t everyone doing it? People confuse anger with racism. I also believe that communities as wellbonded as that of black Americans irk white people. All groups in power find themselves disturbed by the notion that those they have been stepping on are gaining agency. It is the same reason heterosexuals have become so nervous about the rising voice of
LGBT people. The clarion call of an empowered group concerned for its majority is one in which comfiture is involved. This group or that group is making things uncomfortable for said crowd in power. Women, for example, are often the scapegoat for male lust. Phrases such as, “She was asking for it,” and “Well, look at how she was dressed,” say enough as it is. When you can’t wear a skirt without conjectures of your promiscuity arising, there is a problem. Reticent homophobes jump on the opportunity to comment on the strident nature of today’s gays, stating all too unanimously that “they make things/us” uncomfortable or that “a little discretion would go a long way.” Ethnic minorities never fail to have foisted upon them the title of victim when a complaint of race is made, all the while being told by one person or another what a credit to their race they are. Forever marginalized to their racial identity and never a consummate human being, it can sometimes seem the only people allowed to have a multi-spectrum identity are white people. I find the social ills of bigotry everywhere. Just this last summer I was using the restroom of a movie theater and someone washing their hands next to me asked me if I thought the (insert any number of racial slurs for black people) were being too loud. I realized he had assumed a kind of camaraderie with me based on our white heritage, and that I therefore shared his racist values. Needless to say I made for the exit. Recent events on campus are more telling, such as white boards in residence halls that are commonly drawn with not only racist terminology, but a variety of homophobic and sexist commentary as well. The issue of politically correct speech has become a growing one in this country, and I find the only people against it are often white and heterosexual — though it is little wonder when one ruminates on the matter. With the power and representation white people enjoy in this country, there is little reason that strongly pejorative terms would have developed for their group. Though some would claim, as one such anonymous white person did in a comment on the Collegiate Times Web site, that white people “don’t allow themselves to be offended by such commentary,” I have to wonder if these people have ever considered the fact that maybe it is because no words truly denigrate white identities. The historical context of the N-word and the vehemence of the word “faggot”
make them particularly nasty monikers when handled negatively. In fact, the word “faggot” cannot even be used positively since no affirmative connotation for it exists. When people claim that words are no big deal I quirk an eyebrow, because if such a statement were true, the Nobel Prize for Literature wouldn’t exist and language — words being the unit by which it is measured — would be utterly meaningless. Such slanted wisdom is professed by those who have never experienced harassment at the hands of a word, stripping you of your humanity and reducing you to a stereotype. We live in a country that, despite the best professional advice of the American Psychiatric Association, allows Christian institutions to perform reversion therapy instead of solving world hunger and homelessness. How can anyone, with the climate that exists today, make the claim that bigotry is a dying attitude? Often times when I am speaking to someone who denies privilege I ask if they have taken a women studies course. The usual answer is no, but despite having never experienced such a class the general feeling is that it is one that bashes both whites and men. As someone who has taken two classes and is both white and male, I can say that is not the case. The call here is not that white people and heterosexuals throw their hands up in apology and surrender but that we recognize the privilege of our identities and work against such unmerited benefits. Men recognize the power they have over women just as heterosexuals and white people need to recognize heterosexism and white privilege. As a nation we need to realize that when one person’s rights are threatened, all of ours are on the chopping block. Instead of pointing the finger where it doesn’t belong, accountability and responsibility need to be the name of the game. Only through this kind of shared recognition and cooperation will any greater understanding of America’s social dynamics be had. When we can do this, a resolution will be fast in acting and maybe then such identities as “black” or “gay” will no longer define an entire human being.
JOHN DRIESSNACK -regular columnist
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october 27, 2009
[news in brief] Schiffert offers ﬁrst seasonal ﬂu vaccines today The first of three flu shot clinics will be held Tuesday in Squires Student Center. Tuesday’s clinic, to be held for students in the Commonwealth Ballroom of Squires Student Center from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., will administer only the seasonal flu vaccine. The H1N1 vaccine is not yet available through the university. Students insured through GM-Southwest Inc., which is the school-sponsored health insurance plan, have coverage for the seasonal flu vaccine as well as the H1N1 vaccine. An arrangement between GMSouthwest and Intravene allows certain students to receive the vaccine without having to pay any
out-of-pocket expenses. Students insured through GM-Southwest need to present their insurance card to receive this benefit. Students with medical insurance through other providers can still to obtain the vaccination, but will be asked to pay up front. Students can pay with cash, credit card or check. The student will receive a statement that will allow reimbursement from their individual insurance company. Additional clinics are scheduled for Monday, Nov. 16, at McComas Hall Gym from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 2, at McComas Hall Gym from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The seasonal flu vaccine will cost
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$24.99. University wage employees can receive the seasonal flu vaccine on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the McComas Hall Gym from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The vaccine will be free of cost for members covered by COVA health care. Employees need to have their Hokie Passport with them. There will also be a clinic on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. Additional vaccine clinics will be posted on the university’s flue season website. For more information contact the Schiffert Health Center at 540-231-5313. by hope miles
Reid includes opt-out public option in latest health care bill WASHINGTON — The Senate will consider whether the government should run and fund a health care plan to compete with private insurance, but states could choose not to participate in the so-called “public option.” However, the compromise plan announced Monday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, DNev., may not win enough votes to break Congress’ deadlock over how to overhaul the nation’s health care system. Reid unveiled his compromise after nearly two weeks of closed-door negotiations with top White House officials and key senators. His bid to give states the power to opt out of the government plan was aimed at winning support from up to 12 moderate Senate Democrats and one Republican, Maine’s Olympia Snowe, who have
expressed reservations about a more sweeping, nationwide public option. But Snowe said flatly: “I am deeply disappointed with the majority leader’s decision to include a public option as the focus of the legislation.” Democrats control 60 of the Senate’s 100 seats, and it takes 60 votes to overcome procedural hurdles there, so the defection of even one moderate could doom any plan. However, reluctant moderates could vote with the Democratic leadership to overcome procedural blocks, then oppose the legislation on a final vote, which would allow it to pass with only a simple majority. Senate Health Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has estimated that there are at least 52 Senate votes for a strong public option, while the House of Representatives is seen as close to
having the 218 votes it needs to pass one. The “opt out” provision is a compromise between lawmakers who want a government alternative and those who don’t. Details of how it would work were still sketchy, but states would get a year after the 2013 phase-in of the new health care plan to decide whether to participate. It’s likely that once the Senate debate begins, probably in a week to 10 days, several variations of the public option will be debated and subject to votes. President Barack Obama, spokesman Robert Gibbs said, is “pleased that the Senate has decided to include a public option for health coverage, in this case with an allowance for states to opt out.” by david lightman, mcclatchy newspapers
Children rescued, hundreds charged in child prostitution crackdown WASHINGTON — Federal officials announced Monday that 52 children had been saved and nearly 700 people had been arrested and charged over the past three days in a nationwide crackdown on child prostitution. Officials of the FBI, along with representatives of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and police agencies throughout the country, said the
arrests were the results of investigations in 36 cities. The sweep, dubbed Operation Cross Country, is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, started in 2003 to address child sex trafficking in the U.S. The arrests are “extraordinary, almost historic,” said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in an interview. “It’s an incredible
model. I think it’s working. We’re having an enormous impact on this business.” To date, the initiative has rescued nearly 900 children, led to the conviction of 510 pimps, madams and their associates, and seized $3.1 million in assets, according to the FBI. by joe markman, tribune washington bureau
Google adds social-network results to Web searches SAN JOSE, Calif. — Google launched a new product Monday that will allow users to find recently updated public online postings by a person’s network of friends, colleagues or media sources. The goal of “Social Search,” which came Monday afternoon at http:
//www.google.com/experimental, is to find relevant postings on Twitter, in blogs or other public Web content published by a user’s circle of online colleagues. Social Search would highlight content posted by those people every time a user does a Google search.
“We want to return a lot more relevant results to users, results that are either offered or linked by their social circle,” said Google Fellow Amit Singhal. by mike swift, san jose mercury news
Darwin: Scientific theory continues to inspire, divide from page one
writing was crafted centrally around Darwin’s travels to the Galapagos Islands, located off the west coast of South America. Ron Lewis, associate professor of animal and poultry science and chair of the organizing committee, first developed the idea for the conference in 2006. “If you think of these great scientists, many put them on a pedestal,” Lewis said. “I think I could sit down with Darwin and have a beer with him.” Lewis became worried when in discussions with graduate students he saw a decline in focus on Darwin’s work. “It wasn’t being read anymore,” Lewis said. “It wasn’t seen to be relevant. I knew we had to do something about this.” The conference was born, forming a committee across four schools around Tech. The conference will feature a variety of speakers coming in from as far as Germany, France and Canada over the course of the day. “It’s really neat. The people who are giving the papers are really well known,” said Eileen Crist, associate professor of Science and Technology in Society and member of the conference’s organizing committee. “We’re exceptionally lucky to have these people here.” Frank Sulloway, a visiting scholar in the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, Berkeley, will make a keynote presentation during the morning entitled “Darwin and the Galapagos: What Darwin Would Have Liked to Have Known.” Sulloway’s interest was piqued when he raised $30,000 as an undergraduate to make a film based on Darwin’s voyage on the HMS Beagle. “Darwin had more influence on my career than anyone else,” Sulloway said. “I owe him a lot. I should be paying him dividends.” While there is much excitement for the conference, Darwin’s work remains one of the most
contentious topics in American society. A 2009 study from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press showed that while 87 percent of scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science believed humans and other living things have evolved as a result of natural processes, only 32 percent of the general public accepted that same statement. “The big issue here is essentially the perception among many religious Americans that evolutionary biology supplants the need for God in the universe,” said David Masci, senior research fellow of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. “When scientific theory runs into religious beliefs, (for many people) the religious beliefs trump the scientific view.” Mike Ellerbrock, an ordained Catholic deacon and a professor of agriculture and applied economics at Tech, has found common ground between his religious beliefs and scientific study. “Mainstream religion, our scholarly religions, believe there is a lot of common ground between science and theology,” Ellerbrock said. Ellerbrock, who has studied the Bible for more than 20 years, said it was important to recognize the challenge in looking at the topic of evolution from a religious angle. “It’s a challenging topic because it creates fear to consider human origins, how did we come about,” Ellerbrock said. “It’s always been important to people to understand not only whether there is a God, but what kind of God,” Ellerbrock said. “The image of God is important to any believer.” Ellerbrock noted toward the end of his book, Darwin said his findings were consistent with the work of a creator. “To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinc-
tion of the past and present in habitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual,” Darwin wrote. Sulloway noted the challenges Darwin had in presenting his ideas to the religious community. “Evolution was a very heretical doctrine in the 1830s, like supporting the existence of UFOs, even worse than that,” Sulloway said. Ellerbrock noted the timing of the writing of the Bible presented certain scientific limitations. “You’re asking something from the Bible that it wasn’t meant to convey. It was written thousands of years before modern science,” Ellerbrock said. “Give the writers a break.” Ellerbrock said that the lack of hard evidence of creation did not mean the Bible was lacking as a spiritual guide. “The Bible will not mislead us on what we need to know to get to heaven,” Ellerbrock said. Many of the scientists stressed the agreement within their ranks on the issue of evolution. “The evidence is unambiguous, that’s simply how the world works,” Lewis said. Ellerbrock said that Darwin’s work has been able to remain relevant, even in modern times. “Darwin’s contribution was pioneering,” Ellerbrock said. “His basic outline stands strong,” However, Sulloway added there was more research to be done on some of the specific mechanisms of evolution. “We’re going to be learning about evolution for centuries,” Sulloway said. “We’ll never stop investigating this material.” The conference will take place Nov. 4, at the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. Registration is from 7-8 a.m., and the event will continue through the day.
k c o m
by news staff
editors: joe crandley, alex jackson firstname.lastname@example.org/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES
october 27, 2009
Cross-country aims high for ACC Championship
BOX SCORES Catch up on Hokie weekend action
GARRETT RIPA sports staff writer Virginia Tech’s cross-country teams enter this weekend’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championships fostering confidence and momentum. The team is looking to build on their impressive performance on Oct. 17 where they finished fourth out of 30 teams at the Chili Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Ark. The Festival is considered one of the top collegiate cross-country meets in the nation, and if its high finish there says anything, it’s that it is ready to compete when they hit the ground this weekend. “This meet was the first test of the season for Devin (Cornwall) and Paul (LaPenna), two of our top guys,” said head coach Ben Thomas. Cornwall and LaPenna, both seniors, will be key factors to a successful appearance at the ACC Championships. Cornwall is coming off a 15th-place finish out of 243 runners at the Chili Pepper Festival and placed third individually at the ACC Championships last year. Earlier this season, LaPenna won the Dual in the Elk in Banner Elk, N.C., recording a 6K time of 20:26. The team will also count on a solid race by sophomore Will Mulherin. Mulherin finished 16th at the Chili Pepper Festival, less than a second back from his teammate Cornwall. “For us to get top three, Will and Devin are gonna have to be top five,” Thomas said. Coach Thomas would be content with a top-three finish in the conference. However, Mulherin has other things in mind. “We want to win the (ACC) Championships,” Mulherin said. “I always just look at it as you’re as good as your last race. Anybody can be the best runner any race.” After the ACC Championships, the team has its sights on a top-three finish at the NCAA Regionals. Two solid performances in their two upcoming meets should be enough for a berth at the national championships — the team’s ultimate goal. “This is the best team I have been
Men's Soccer Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009 1ST 2ND
North Carolina VT
(10-2-2) (4-2-1 ACC)
(4-9-2) (2-4-0 ACC)
Women's Soccer Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009 1ST 2ND
(12-5) (5-3-0 ACC)
(7-6-4) (3-3-2 ACC)
Virginia Tech’s cross-country women get off to a quick start at the VT Alumni Invitational on Sept. 18, where the women placed third. The ACC Championships will be held this weekend in North Carolina. on in my whole life,” Cornwall said. “(We want) nothing else other than nationals.” The women’s team is also showing promise. While they are much younger and less experienced than the men, the women have shown potential during their season thus far. On Oct. 16, the team finished second out of 15 teams at the Blue Ridge Open in Boone, N.C. Junior Jessica Trapeni and sophomore Sammy Dow led the way for the women, placing 14th and 18th respectively, out of 133 runners. Dow ran the 5K at the Blue Ridge Open in 18:33, a personal best for the young star. While looking ahead to the ACC Championships, Thomas said the expectations aren’t as high for the women, but he expects the team to prove that its young age doesn’t define its talent. “I’ll be thrilled if we’re in the top half.
It’s such a young group and it’s such a competitive league on the women’s side,” Thomas said. Finishing in the top half of the conference entails placing in the top six at the championships. In order for the women’s team to do so this weekend, Trapeni and Dow will have to come up big. Last year, Trapeni placed 74th in the conference while Dow placed 59th. Both of them, however, have made great strides over the past year because of a combination of their skill level and work ethic, according to coach Thomas. “I’ve gotten better throughout the season, so hopefully that’ll continue into next week,” Dow said. Thomas wants Dow to place in the top 30 runners. “That’d be a really good finish for her,” Thomas said. “I know Trapeni can be there too.” Thomas is confident in both his
men and women’s teams heading into the weekend. Other players that Thomas noted could have successful weekends included sophomores Brian Welch, Michael Hammond and junior Matt Kroetch on the men’s side and junior Lindsey King and sophomore Lauren Pinkston on the women’s side. “They’re a great group to coach,” he said. “They’re doing everything they can to put themselves into a position to do well. That’s really all you can ask for as a coach.”
Friday, Oct. 23, 2009 1
(16-5) (6-4 ACC)
24 25 25 15 15 3
(11-20) (1-9 ACC)
26 16 23 25 7
Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009
Cross-country will compete in the ACC Championship this weekend in Cary, N.C. The event will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday.
(16-6) (6-5 ACC)
25 15 25 23 13 2
Maryland (3-8 ACC) 18 25 16 25 15 3
Adding Carden in goal gives women’s soccer stability MELANIE WADDEN sports reporter Last season, the Virginia Tech women’s soccer team made its first-ever appearance in the ACC Championship game and received its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2004. Part of that success can be attributed to the consistent play of then-freshman goalkeeper Kristin Carden. This summer, Carden’s name, however, disappeared from the women’s soccer roster. Then, around Sept. 13 in the middle of the team’s season, her name reappeared. So did her play. Carden has started all 10 games since her return and has a 7-3 overall record in those games with a 41-14 save-togoal ratio. “As a mentor, to any player, I have such joy that she is enjoying herself,” head coach Kelly Cagle said. “She’s a great leader by body language on the field for us, not just in her height, but when she makes a mistake she hits her chest and says, ‘my fault,’ and I think that’s empowering to the players
around her.” Tech ended last season 10-9-4 overall and 4-4-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Carden played in 19 of the Hokies’ 23 games last season, starting in 18 of them. Along the way, she led the Hokies, netting shutouts against No. 5 Florida State and No. 12 Virginia and playing in goal during five of Tech’s school-record nine shutouts. Carden ended 2008 with 76 saves and 24 goals in 1,664 total minutes of play — not bad for a freshman. With only a few players lost and eight incoming freshmen, the Hokies looked to surpass their 2008 season accomplishments with experienced players in 2009. As the season quickly approached and the time commitment became more abundant, Carden reevaluated her place on the team. The team did not comment on the exact reason for Carden’s unexpected leave, but she was removed from the official roster over the summer. The Hokies quickly rallied to find a goalkeeper, recruiting junior Rebekah Brook from far-off New Zealand. Through the first few games, Brook served as a solid keeper for the team. Cagle made the decision shortly thereafter, however, to intervene and
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move senior forward Robin Chidester between the posts. Chidester, who had briefly played in goal for Tech in 2007, rose to the challenge. Unfortunately, it was a catch-22 for the Hokies because what Chidester brought to the team in terms of goalkeeping abilities, the team also lost in her attacking prowess. Sometime around Sept. 13, after the Hokies beat the College of Charleston 3-0, Kristin Carden reappeared on the team’s roster. “Different girls on the team had been talking to Carden, informally, and then Kelly and her talked formally,” Chidester said. “Kelly then spoke with the captains. She wasn’t going to just let her back on if it was going to throw off our chemistry. So she talked to the captains, and we just discussed it with her and decided that it was a good thing for our team for her to come back.” Cagle, emphasizing a team-mentality, is excited to have Carden back and already sees improvements in the sophomore compared to her play last year. “I think one of the biggest differences that I’ve seen with Kristin is her true enjoyment of being back, of playing, of leading — you can see it on her face,” Cagle said. “I think she’s just so much
more coachable, so happy to be here, enjoying what she’s doing, and that’s only going to allow her to shine.” Carden immediately proved to the team, especially to her new teammates, why she was back. “We actually watched some film from our ACC championship last year when Carden was in goal, and (the new players) just saw her and saw her presence and how awesome she did in that game,” Chidester said. “That made them trust the team’s decision to have her back right away.” “Kristin is back because she wants to be back, and she is also here because I want her here,” Cagle said. “There were no phone calls of me or her begging. There was a conversation about an opportunity for her to be able to play, flat out. Mutuality, at its absolute, is communication and trust. The way it happened, I couldn’t be prouder or happier that she’s back. It’s all very positive; there is zero negativity, not one thing.” Before Carden’s return, the Hokies were 5-3-0 overall and had yet to play a game in conference. Since her return, the team has moved up to No. 12 in the country and has surpassed last season’s win total with at least three games to go at 12-5 overall. “My whole thought is that any decisions that are made here, if they’re best for our team, they’re no-brainers,” Cagle said. “Kristin is so good in her position, but the best thing is that she’s a part of our team. We will absolutely stay together as a team, and Carden is a big part of that, but not bigger than anybody else. Those are the conversations she and I had, and to me that is the epitome of using everyone’s strengths and letting them shine, but molding them into one common desire as a team.” Just a sophomore, Carden could easily have a great future with the program. For now, though, while her future and the program’s future’s remain undecided, the 2009 season remains the focus. “I am committed to this season, and I’m committed to what we’re doing now, where we are for the next game and for the rest of the season,” Carden said of her future with the team. “After that, we’ll see. I’ve really been enjoying it though, it’s been a great opportunity to be back here, regardless of anything in the future, it’s been great.”