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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903

www.collegiatetimes.com

COLLEGIATETIMES 106th year, issue 121

News, page 2

Features, page 5

Opinions, page 3

Sports, page 6

Classifieds, page 4

Sudoku, page 4

Local youth reach out to Fort Hood KATIE ROBIDOUX news staff writer

Charges filed in Firehouse Pizza robbery case Blacksburg Police have charged a Radford man in connection with the Nov. 16 robbery of Firehouse Pizza. Michael Terry Mark, 25, has been charged with one count of robbery and one count of attempted robbery. The attempted robbery charge resulted from an incident on Sept. 25 at the same store. Firehouse Pizza, located in the 800 block of University City Boulevard, reported an armed robbery on Nov. 16, when a man allegedly threatened the clerk with a handgun. The clerk was unharmed in the incident. by zach crizer, nrv news editor

The office of Blacksburg’s Kipps Elementary School is lined with boxes upon boxes of teddy bears, each with an attached note of support for children near Fort Hood, Texas. The bears have been brought in by students and faculty members and are being sent to comfort chil-

dren in schools surrounding Fort Hood, where multiple people were recently killed and wounded in a shooting on the large army base. The bears were first sent when children affected by the Oklahoma City Bombing were comforted with teddy bears sent from all across the nation. After Sept. 11, children from around Oklahoma City sent teddy bears to children

New program to educate cyclists cyclists on the road and that they are allowed to be there, and for news staff writer cyclists it’s a real responsibility to be Virginia Tech has partnered with aware of their surroundings,” Freed Yield to Life, a non-profit organiza- said. The university plans to put up tion that aims to bridge communication between cyclists, motorists and information cards in Blacksburg Transit bus interiors about proper pedestrians. The work with Yield to Life has ways to bike. Yield to Life also wants launched an educational campaign to to share information through a remind cyclists of common courtesies, bus advertisement that will wrap such as using reflectors and hand around the entire vehicle. It hopes to signals according to the guidelines set have the bus wrap running before January. by Tech. Brochures explaining cycling “We are trying to create, I guess, a sort of community and a cycling etiquette are already present in attitude on campus as well as among Squires Student Center and the motorists that is one of mutual Graduate Life Center. Tech hopes to respect,” said Deborah Freed, alter- shortly place them in the residence native transportation manager halls. According to Freed, the camat Tech. Freed said that Tech plans to record paign is funded entirely by Yield a podcast with David Zabriskie, a to Life. The organization has given world-class cyclist and founder of the university the brochures Yield to Life, on cycling guidelines and ads as a part of the on the Tech Web partnership. This campaign is the result site. “For motor of the creation of a recently v e h i c l e approved campus cycling policy drivers that that allows cyclists to use the m e a n s sidewalk. “When (the cyclists) were in the being alert and aware roadway they had to operate as a that there vehicle, and that was the end of the a r e story,” Freed said. “With Virginia Tech trying to promote cycling on campus ... we decided that we need a more inclusive policy that addressed the way bikes were being used and should be used on the Virginia Tech campus.” A history of injury is not the cause of the new policy and campaign on campus, Freed said, but because of the need for a change of culture to one of mutual respect between cyclists and others. “I think any attempt to improve the coexistence of bikers and drivers is a good idea,” said Andy Mueller of the Blacksburg Bicycle Cooperative. “Creating more awareTRAVIS CHURCH/SPPS ness among bikers and drivers about ways to improve their visibility, following of traffic rules, and use of bike lanes or crossings is very important as a first step in getting more bikes on the road more safely.” Fellow member Ritchie Vaughan also praised the initiative, noting that current motorist awareness of cyclists on and around campus is lacking. “My roommates and I have all been grazed by inattentive drivers pulling out of driveways or merging into turn lanes ... but we have all escaped safely,” Vaughan said. “An educational campaign would be a great benefit to cyclists and drivers alike.” Cyclists don’t know “whether to bike in the straight lane or the turning lane at the West Campus Drive/Prices Fork stoplight when biking down Prices Fork,” Vaughan said, “and I see lots of bicycle commuters neglect to signal when they turn.”

KRISTEN DOPIERALSKI

Tech grad faces child pornography charges Blacksburg Police arrested a Virginia Tech alumnus last week on more than 50 felony charges related to child pornography. Samuel Fenton Denning, a 26year-old Huntington, W.Va., resident, was arrested on Nov. 25. When the investigation began, Denning was a Blacksburg resident. Denning has been charged with two counts of producing child pornography and 50 counts of possessing child pornography. He was released on $40,000 bond and is due in court for trial on Feb. 5, 2010. by zach crizer, nrv news editor

Traffic delays slow many return trips to Blacksburg Over the Thanksgiving holiday, numerous traffic incidents plagued drivers. In the Roanoke and Montgomery County area, 1,326 tickets were given for speeding. There were 231 drivers cited for reckless driving, eight DUIs, 77 safety belt violations and 27 child seatbelt violations. In addition, 1033 tickets were given for “other” violations. Across the state, 13 people were killed in 13 separate crashes during the five-day holiday period between Wednesday and Sunday. Alcohol was a factor in at least four of the incidents. Statewide, there were 10,459 speeding tickets, 2,657 reckless driving cases and 132 DUIs. Corrine Geller, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, said that the violations came from “pure volume” of drivers. “The roads were congested,” she said, citing travelers commuting for Thanksgiving as well as the high number of college students going back to school over the weekend as the chief causes of traffic incidents. Tech students traveling back to Blacksburg Sunday evening experienced numerous delays. Several multi-car pileups, one involving around 20 cars, delayed the traffic flow even further. by liana bayne, news reporter

in New York City affected by the attacks on the World Trade Center. After the shootings at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, the same children from New York who were sent bears after Sept. 11 forwarded the comfort they received to children in Blacksburg. Now, Blacksburg’s elementary school is forwarding the support it was given after April 16 to the children of

Fort Hood. “It’s a representation of this kind of friendship circle,” said Chris Widrig, Principal of Kipps Elementary School. “Our goal is to send one to every child down there. There are about seven schools, and we have a goal of collecting 700 bears.” Although the project does not have an official name, the students and faculty at Kipps have referred it to as “Care

“Kids take a while to adjust and understand what’s happening in hard times. The bears came to us at a perfect time. It helped a lot, and we know how nice it felt like to know that someone somewhere else in the country was thinking of us.” Local businesses have also been cooperating to help Kipps achieve its goals for the project.

Bears.” Over 500 bears have already been shipped to Fort Hood. One of the goals of the project is also to send the bears in a timely fashion, so the children get them as soon as possible. “We got the box at Kipps about 10 days after the shootings at Tech,” said Stephanie Johnston, a teacher at Kipps Elementary and one of the leaders of the bear project.

see FORT HOOD / page two

In-state students not out of luck Budget struggle to have no effect on admissions LIANA BAYNE news reporter Although there is a concern that Virginia public universities are admitting fewer in-state applicants in order to increase revenue, university officials said that is not the case at Virginia Tech. On Nov. 14, the Washington Post published “In-state students’ admission obstacle: their home address” which stated that in-state students are having a difficult time competing with out-of-state students. The article went on to theorize that many colleges offered admission to a higher ratio of out-of-state students “simply to shore up their numbers.” Mildred Johnson said it is not the case that in-state students are being displaced in favor of those from other states. Instead, she said that out-of-state students accept offers of admission at a lower percentage, so more are given those offers. “We are looking to take students,” she said. While Johnson said that “there are no quotas” in place at Tech, incoming freshman classes generally try to preserve about 70 percent in-state students and 30 percent from out-of-state. University spokesman Larry Hincker noted that consistently since 2005 only approximately 47 percent of students accepted to Tech have been non-Virginians. In a statewide

In-State and Out-of-State Freshmen Admissions

virginia g tech

ACCEPTED FOR ADMISSION In-State Out-of-State % Out-of-State ENROLLED In-State Out-of-State % Out-of-State

Fall2009

Fall2007

Fall2008

6,871 6,158

7,278 6,205

7,493 6,547

47%

46%

47%

3,585 1,537

3,689 1,771

3,632 1,418

30%

32%

28%

Institutional Research & Effectiveness; Data Sources: Student Census Files

LINDA NGUYEN/COLLEGIATE TIMES

view, a consistent 22 percent of students accepted to four-year public institutions have been from out-of-state. Last year, 62 percent of instate applicants were accepted, while 72 percent of out-ofstate applicants were accepted. Noteworthy, however, is the far greater volume of in-state students who submitted applications: nearly 3,000 more. Hincker said that while outof-state applications have been growing at a slow, steady rate, “in-state have been up 10 percent over the last four years.” Johnson said schools could not be compared. The article focused mainly on the College of William & Mary. However, Johnson stressed that each university uses its own methods of selecting applicants. Hincker said that more students are applying to college than ever before. “If more students are applying and the number of seats are constant, the admission rate is going to go down,” Hincker said. Hincker noted that the ratio of in-state versus out-of-state students has remained steady. “We’ve even increased the number of in-state students,”

Hincker said. In 2005, only about 6,800 in-state students were accepted out of about 10,600 applicants. In 2009, about 7,500 in-state students were admitted out of nearly 12,000. Enrollment in four-year public institutions went up as well. In 2004, only about 149,000 in-state students were enrolled, while about 161,000 were enrolled in 2008. Johnson said that students are admitted based on their overall criteria, not their hometown. She said fears among parents are the chief cause of misconceptions like the ones presented by the Washington Post. “You don’t know what’s behind that 4.0 GPA,” she said. “Most of the time it’s parents assuming things they don’t know.” “All the kids who were on the waitlist are good students,” Johnson said. While out-of-state students’ tuitions do subsidize costs of instate students, Johnson said that Tech “fights all the time” against negative assumptions about the admissions department stressing that the admissions department continues to work to accept qualified students.

Evolutionary expression

REBECCA FRAENKEL/SPPS

Actors perform in “Singing Darwin,” a live performance and new media event that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species.”


2Fortnews Hood: Elementary school, Virginia restaurants go smoke-free new river valley news editor: zach crizer university editor: philipp kotlaba newseditor@collegiatetimes.com/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

college students offer comfort from page one

FedEx Kinko’s covered all shipping costs to send the bears to Fort Hood, according to Johnston. Other businesses helped find the bears. “We had some gently-used bears come in, and Valley Cleaners actually offered to clean the bears for us for free, so that was a great help,” Widrig said. In addition to Kipps sending comfort to the children of Fort Hood, Hokies United collected signatures on two banners to send to the people of the Fort Hood community.

It was comforting to know that someone in the country cared about us ... It’s nice and comfortingto know that someone is thinking of you.

STEPHANIE JOHNSTON KIPPS ELEMENTARY TEACHER “It is really about remembering the help and support we received after April 16th and providing it to others that are in need,” said SGA President Brandon Carroll. In the case of Kipps sending bears,

it is about giving back in the same way that help was given to them, and it is an effort to continue the chain of friendship and support. “It is important to us because when we received the bears, it was comforting to know that someone in the country cared about us,” Johnston said. “When something terrible happens you feel so alone, and it’s nice and comforting to know that someone is thinking of you. Children are often so forgotten in times like this, but they’re so much affected by it too, just as much as adults are. It’s important for us to remember that.”

A

statewide ban on smoking in restaurants will go into effect today. The ban, signed into law by Gov. Tim Kaine in February, includes “any place or operation that prepares or stores food for distribution to persons.” Restaurants may still allow smoking, but only in walled-off areas that have separate ventilation so that air from the section does not circulate to non-smoking areas. However, the smoking ban does

not apply to private clubs. Examples of private clubs include those run by organizations such as Veterans of Foreign Wars. As a part of the ban, officials from the Virginia Department of Health will place no-smoking signs throughout restaurants and remove ashtrays from smoking-prohibited areas of restaurants. Compliance to the ban will be assessed during regularly scheduled health inspections. Gary Hagy, director of the VDOH

Obama faces high stakes in new Afgan policy WASHINGTON — With eight years of blood and treasure already spent and perhaps his presidency hanging in the balance, President Barack Obama will tell the world Tuesday how he will escalate the war in Afghanistan — and how he hopes his risky decision will lead finally to a path home for U.S. forces. The stakes of his decision, ordered into effect at 5 p.m. EST Sunday in the Oval Office, are enormous, and the challenges of making it work are daunting. He’ll speak at 8 p.m. EST Tuesday from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Perhaps his toughest task will be balancing his plan to send 30,000 to 35,000 more American troops with talk of new benchmarks for success and the strong signal that U.S. troops

will turn over Afghanistan’s security to Afghan forces and get out. His expected talk on the end of the war is meant to spark Afghans to take charge of their own country, and to soothe anti-war Democrats here. Yet it also could suggest to the enemies that all they have to do is wait out an impatient United States, and to Pakistan, Iran, India and others that the U.S. lacks the stomach for a protracted battle. Beyond that, he has to explain how his new plan can root out the Taliban, deny al-Qaida and its allies a sanctuary, straighten out a corrupt Afghan government so that people have an alternative to the Taliban and get neighboring Pakistan to fight terrorists who have fled there. “It’s probably the most important

division of Food and Environmental Services, said that the department would work to educate restaurant owners of the law before referring them to local law enforcement. Hagy added that most restaurants he had spoken with expressed excitement about the smoking ban. “We think most of the restaurants are going to comply and be courteous to their patrons,” Hagy said. by ct news staff

[

nation & world headlines

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decision in his career,” said Karin Von Hippel, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a center-right research center in Washington. “There are so many moving parts that need to be aligned. ... I think we can do it, but it’s a huge challenge.” Obama on Sunday summoned the members of his top military and security team to the White House to give them the final go-ahead on his plan. As McClatchy Newspapers first reported on Nov. 7, it would bolster the current 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan with another 30,000 to 35,000, to be deployed starting early next year. by steven thomma and nancy a. youssef, mcclatchy newspapers

Family health insurance to rise sharply without COBRA subsidy WASHINGTON — A new study estimates that the end of a hefty government subsidy could force millions of laid-off workers to pay more than 80 percent of their monthly unemployment checks to keep their job-based family health insurance coverage intact. An estimated 7 million jobless workers and their dependents are thought to have received the temporary subsidy, which pays 65 percent of their health insurance premiums under a law known as COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. However, the nine-month subsidy expired Monday for those who first began receiving it in March

through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Estimates vary, but COBRA subsidies pay an average of $722 per month toward the average national cost of family coverage, which runs about $1,111 per month, according to Families USA, a liberal consumer health advocacy group. Without the subsidy, however, COBRA family coverage would eat up a whopping 83.4 percent of the $1,333 average monthly national unemployment insurance benefit, according to a Families USA report issued Tuesday. Congressional Democrats are pushing to include some type of COBRA

subsidy extension in a major jobs bill that’s being crafted. Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., and Sen. Sherrod Brown, DOhio, have introduced stand-alone legislation to extend the subsidies in the House of Representatives and the Senate, but it’s unclear how soon any new funding can be secured. In the meantime, many jobless Americans may be left with the difficult choice of paying higher rates at a time of dire financial struggle, going without coverage or looking for cheaper coverage through government programs or the private market. by tony pugh, mcclatchy newspapers


opınıons 3

editor: debra houchins opinionseditor@collegiatetimes.com/540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

december 1, 2009

The Collegiate Times is an independent student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903

Your Views [letters to the editor]

JMU has chance to make a name

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he talk at the beginning of this season was how many Football Championship Subdivision (the lower level of Division I football) schools from the Colonial Athletic Association could end up beating teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision’s Atlantic Coast Conference. We heard a lot of the pundits talking about how the CAA was catching up to the FBS ranks and how it may be as good as the ACC. Well, any sane individual would have noticed that the bottom rung of the ACC was the teams that lost (or almost lost) to the ranks of the CAA. However, I am a Hokie graduate, and I happen to have a younger brother who is a senior at James Madison University. Over the past few years since Virginia Tech and JMU met on the football field (43-0 Hokies in 2003 and 47-0 in 1999) JMU has won a FCS National Championship, held high FCS rankings, and progressed deep into the FCS playoffs. Since that 2003 meeting, JMU fans have been touting their program and trying to muster up all of the logical reasoning they can to say that JMU could somehow take down Virginia’s powerhouse — the Hokies. Interestingly, there hasn’t been any proof as to why that may not be the case. Has JMU football surpassed the University of Virginia? Could the Dukes compete on a good level with Virginia Tech? Do the JMU fans have a reasonable argument that they could fit in the ACC just as well as Maryland or UVa? We’re about to find out in 2010. The Hokie in me says that Tech taking the field next season will be as good as the 1999 season and better than the 2003 season. The Duke in my brother says that it may compete with the Hokies and stay within a score (referencing our horrible performance against Furman in 2008). JMU is building an elite football facility — perhaps the best in the nation for an FCS program. JMU is pushing its athletics to be on par with some of those in the FBS ranks. It’s time for both schools to “put up or shut up.” I’m glad to see this match up. I just hope our Hokies show up and prove why we’ve been ACC Champions so frequently. Alternatively, this is also JMU’s chance to show UVa and the college football world that perhaps it is bigger than the CAA, bigger than the FCS, and perhaps deserving of a spot in a prime FBS conference. Tech’s little brother up I-81 has learned a lot from Tech’s past and passion for football. Let’s just make sure it stays our “little brother.”

MATTHEW T. BOLLING tech alumnus ‘06 computer engineering

Defending the youth of today

W

ho among today’s college student generation has not heard a sentence from their parents or grandparents like the following: “Back in my days, everything was better,” or “When I was young, we were much better behaved,” or even “There’s no respect and values in today’s youth”? I guess everyone knows these kinds of “the youth of today” statements. However, I do not feel like these statements are true, especially not at Virginia Tech. Often such statements imply that “everyone” cares a lot less about other people, would rather party than study, drinks and smokes a lot more than previous generations and is in general less responsible. Let’s look at the facts instead of generalizations now. The number of volunteers is exceptionally high at Tech. Last month’s search for missing Tech student Morgan Harrington, for example, shows how much the community cares and takes responsibility by the number of volunteers registered — 1,667 (CT, Nov. 10, “No revelations in massive Harrington search”). Also, Tech has as many as 65 fraternities and sororities. Many take great pride in community service and development of leadership skills. The stereotypes connected to these fraternities and sororities, for example, as shown in many college movies, are not true. I’m not saying fraternities and sororities do not party at all, I’m just saying that when they do, it is often to raise money. Tech’s online alcohol abuse

prevention program — that all incoming freshman students have to do — indicates that only a small percentage of all students drink and smoke regularly. Most people (77 percent) will have two drinks or fewer on the weekend. Not only are Tech students involved in community service and responsible when it comes to alcohol, many students also honor traditional values that are associated. The university motto is “Ut Prosim” — “That I may serve.” Wouldn’t that be a motto our ancestors would also have been proud to follow? What about the War Memorial with its pylons propagating traditional values such as honor? One might argue these values are only empty phrases no one at Tech would actually follow. To verify that in fact people do care about these principles, I asked around and talked to some of my peers and fellow students. In fact, a lot of them try to live up to the high principles the university sets for its students. Considering all of this, is it true that the youth of today are lacking values? I certainly do not think so. I challenge those who make such claims to think twice and differentiate. True, some college students today might not live according to higher principles. But not every one of our ancestors did, either. A vast majority of Tech students, however, is very responsible and caring, thus taking great pride in honoring the values Tech offers.

MANUEL WILHELM senior mechanical engineering major

TV reflects what society accepts

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fter coming across the Collegiate Times article “Vulgar entertainment does not represent our community” by Brooke Leonard (CT, Nov. 2), a question immediately popped into my mind. The column discusses the entertainment industry and how it has begun to influence society in a negative way. Leonard claims that this degradation affects the reputation of American culture on an international scale, but there is always another way to look at it. This backwards slide Leonard mentions might not be an issue if people would stop to consider that it is our responsibility as individuals to decide what is right and what is wrong for us and those around us. There exists a famous quote that bluntly states, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” As college students, we should be able to comprehend the weight of responsibility we have in regard to “vulgar entertainment.” Take an example from the eve of Halloween on campus: The Rocky Horror Picture Show was played on a projector screen and performed (live re-enactment of the movie) simultaneously at the Commonwealth Ballroom in Squires. The movie revolves around a newly engaged couple that stumbles upon a castle that belongs to a Frank N. Furter. A celebratory feast is to be held as Dr. Frank has just created the “perfect being,” which is a parody of the science fiction movie Frankenstein. The movie is centered on passion and lust. A friend of mine down the hall, being brought up in a conservative family, left the show five minutes into it because she felt highly uncomfortable, whereas the rest of us stayed throughout the movie. The thing to be noted here is that there will always be a difference in opinion, but one must know what he finds acceptable and act accordingly if it does not cause discomfort to him and the people around him. As both high- and low-grade material will always have some degree of an appreciable audience, we as educated individuals must be cognizant of what we let influence us from this point on in our lives. One must also consider that content played by readily accessible mediums such as television and the radio is censored for curse words or scenes considered as inappropriate by today’s societal standards. It is thus reasonable to conclude that those with exposure to questionable content have to some degree brought an intellectual or cultural downslide upon themselves. If this is the case, movies, books, magazines and most forms of entertainment thus cannot be held responsible for the way an individual or a society behaves.

APOORVA MISHRA freshman biological sciences major

MCT CAMPUS

Moderating comments an ongoing concern of the CT B

efore we left for break, the Collegiate Times management and I took some time out for a lunch meeting with a few figures around campus. Present were representatives from undergraduate and graduate organizations, as well as administration and the Women’s Center. We all had a constructive conversation about what exactly should be appearing alongside the online version of the CT. What’s the problem, you might ask? Well if you ever get a chance to glance at comments that readers put on our stories, you’d understand a bit more. We were trying to get to the bottom of the primary concern several people in our community have about our online commenting system: whether it is destructive or harmful to the climate of Tech’s campus. To give you an idea of our readership, I’ll give you some numbers. Our Tuesday through Friday print circulation is currently 12,500 copies. Online, our traffic this semester has ranged from 20,000 to 30,000 visitors a week depending on the week. Our Web site gets traffic from all over the world, but 50 percent of traffic is from the state of Virginia. Further, 50 percent of the Virginia traffic is in Blacksburg. In other words, 25 percent of the overall Web traffic comes from people in Blacksburg. Of those who read our online content, 55 percent are returning visitors. These numbers have shown a steady increase in past years. That being said, since only 25 percent of our online readership is actually part of our Blacksburg community — as opposed to alumni, parents, and others invested in Virginia Tech — one could debate if the online community is representative of Tech and the surrounding areas. While it says right on our print version that we are serving the Blacksburg community, it is necessary to be reminded that the CT is part of a non-profit called Educational Media Company at Virginia Tech, which encompasses student media at Tech. We, of course, still try to work with the university, as there are countless individuals who work with us, in order to provide the community the very best newspaper possible.

However, when we cross the line into the online version of the CT, areas that are otherwise clear become fuzzy. When it comes to online commenting and anonymity, the CT staff has engaged in long debates with our advisers and others around the university as to whether our current system is, in fact, the best system. Currently, users are not required to register in order to comment on our stories. We intend to keep it that way. While some would say that making people register would eliminate many of the hurtful, degrading, vulgar, racist and deconstructive comments that anonymous users submit, it wouldn’t be a perfect system. We also believe it would eliminate a number of constructive yet critical comments that students or other community members may not want their name attached to. In order to meet somewhere in the middle, we have begun to turn the wheels as far as moving toward a community moderation format for our Web site. As it stands now, I, the public editor, am the sole moderator. Abiding by the candidates of deletion, I am responsible to delete comments from our Web site. I was hired in this position because my judgment was trusted, and our paper follows firm candidates of deletion so that there is a standard of what should be deleted and what is permissible. It’s also important to send a message of freedom of speech and the availability of an open forum since we are a local newspaper. You, as a reader, don’t often get a chance to be so close to the content of a newspaper. The paper is very local so we don’t want to take away the constructive comments of readers who are uncomfortable attaching their name to an opinion. Even if they were to have their name known by our staff, an individual might not want to trust us — a group of students — with his identity in connection to a critical comment. It’s also necessary that we make it clear that my duty is to moderate after it appears on the Web site. Our staff does not edit comments, thus we are not liable for any of the content that you see on the boards. However, we do believe that as a service it is necessary to moderate the offensive comments that can

sometimes be posted. So we sat down and created more specific guidelines as to what would be buried by moderation, and these are now posted above the comment form on the Web site. Also, per CT policy, we do not allow staff to write comments on any material, be it their own or that of a colleague. We are not partaking in the discussion because it is an area that is reserved for the readers. While that rule hasn’t been made as clear in the past, we are certainly working on reestablishing that. While we do not plan on making individuals register, we’re looking at improving the format of online commenting at CollegiateTimes.com. After we introduced the buried-by-moderation feature with the redesign this year (burying the degrading comments as opposed to permanently removing them from the page), we began to think of incrementally moving toward community moderation, and trying to bridge the gap between print and online content. If you look at an article, you can now see the option to send a letter to the editor, in addition to leaving a comment. With this form, we hope to encourage more readers to send a letter to Debra, our opinions editor, as opposed to just leaving a comment. This will allow more readers to see the opinion in print as well as online, and it’s just as simple. In addition we’re looking at possible options to create a community-moderating system similar to Reddit.com or Digg.com. What are your thoughts? Would you use these features? If not, what would be your ideal moderating system? Send us a letter to the editor, shoot us an e-mail, or come by our table on the Drillfield on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to let us know what you think. Any questions? I’m available at publiceditor@collegiatetimes.com.

JUSTIN GRAVES -public editor -sophomore

Moving ‘Beyond Coal’ must be cost efficient for future students R

ecently I have been hearing quite a bit from the group Beyond Coal at Virginia Tech. It’s committed to getting rid of Tech’s on-campus coal plant and working to run completely on clean, renewable energy. I think this is a great idea. However, as I hear more about what it is working toward I wonder how much these plans will cost students now and in the future. Beyond Coal is asking Tech to end its dependency on coal by the year 2020. When I first think about it, the demand seems reasonable. Then I remember that 2020 is just 10 short years away. Ten years ago global warming and CO2 emissions were hardly political issues, and they were not at the forefront of the minds of many college students as they are today. I am not saying that global warming and reducing our carbon footprint are not serious issues that need a solution, they are just issues that need a practical and carefully thought out solution. The solutions to these problems are sure to cost a lot of money, and I wonder if what Beyond Coal is suggesting is practical with the current budget cuts and economy. I am sure that at least some of the cost of the proposed changes will be reflected in higher tuition rates and budget cuts in other important areas. Some people I discussed my concerns with have argued that my

tuition will not be affected by the proposed changes because I will have graduated by the time they will cost the university money. These people also mentioned it just has to be done whether we have the money or not. However, it is a moot point that the proposed changes will not cost me anything. Say I intend to earn my doctorate from Tech. If I am a sophomore now, then I will be in school for at least the next seven to eight years, and that is a low estimate. That means these changes would indeed cost me money, and my younger brother who is hoping to come to Tech next year would have to pay as well. With the state of the economy, Tech needs every dollar it can get. However, in October, Gov. Kaine announced another round of statewide budget cuts. Also, with the election of Bob McDonnell, there are further concerns over budget. Governor-elect McDonnell said during his campaign that, if elected, he intends to take money from the general fund (where money for universities comes from) and use it to fund transportation advancements. This means that it is likely budgets for universities will be cut even further. I am worried that with the proposed cuts now and possible budget cuts in the future there will be little money for the drastic changes to our power infrastructure that are potentially

proposed. In reality, 10 years is a very short period of time, and it seems even shorter when you think about what is proposed. I wonder how much time, money and space on campus it will cost to change how the university is powered in just 10 short years. It is bad enough having the East Ambler-Johnson and commuter lot construction during classes (although I am well aware they are totally necessary); it seems that changing our energy source would cause the same kind of trouble, possibly even to a larger extent. Beyond Coal says it wants Tech to explore the costs and possibilities of changing our dependence on coal. But what happens after the estimates come back? What if the estimates are quite high and the university is facing further budget cuts? Will Beyond Coal continue to push for these changes so soon, even if Tech may not be able to afford them? I know that the university is committed to “Invent the Future,” and that is one of the great parts about Tech, but we still have to think about cost and practicality.

GABI SELTZER -regular columnist -sophomore -philosophy major

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Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Lewis ACROSS 1 Puzzle with blind alleys 5 Prepared, as hash 10 Some blue birds 14 “Tosca” tune 15 __ worse than death 16 Beekeeper played by Peter Fonda 17 Family guys 18 1948 Porter musical inspired by “The Taming of the Shrew” 20 Hose reaching to the patella 22 Race of Norse gods 23 Numbers to crunch 24 007 et al.: Abbr. 26 1925 musical that spawned the unsuccessful “Yes, Yes, Yvette” 30 Auto speed letters 33 One way to read 34 Maned Oz visitor 35 It’s often framed 36 Make cents 37 Lifts with effort 39 Casanova 40 First mother? 41 Atmospheric prefix 42 Christmas song leapers 43 Stage scenery 44 1953 musical with the song “No Other Love” 47 Auction calls 48 Eye, in Paris 49 Comparably large 52 Fraternal group, familiarly 56 1964 musical starring Carol Channing 59 Excellent 60 Furry “Star Wars” critter 61 Typeface type 62 Some watch faces 63 Texting exchanges: Abbr. 64 Wisdom unit? 65 Ill-gotten gains

By Fred Jackson III

DOWN 1 Identity hider 2 Elvis __ Presley 3 Fan mag, e.g. 4 Let go tactfully 5 1860s-’80s territory on the Canadian border 6 “... assuming it’s doable” 7 Port container 8 Aliens, for short 9 Obama or FDR 10 Football feints 11 “Unhappily ...” 12 Rumored Himalayan 13 One dealing in futures? 19 Gobbled up 21 Hourglass flow 24 Bickering 25 Pontiac muscle cars 26 Tom, Dick and Harry, e.g. 27 Martini garnish 28 Sextet plus three 29 Fairylike 30 Native New Zealander 31 Fuddy-duddy 32 Explosive ’50s trial 37 Obey

12-1-2009 5/26/09 Friday’s Puzzle Solved Monday’s

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38 Pitchers’ stats 39 Attendance check 41 Cisco, to Pancho 42 Hall of Famer Aparicio 45 Register single 46 Stevenson’s ill-fated doctor 47 Swindles 49 Interrupter’s sound

5/26/09

50 Puts in stitches 51 Online journal 52 “East of Eden” director Kazan 53 Nuts or crackers? 54 Reverse, on an edit menu 55 Cream of the crop 57 Skip, as stones 58 Miners dig it


features 5

editors: topher forhecz, teresa tobat featureseditor@collegiatetimes.com/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

New book brings challenges of surviving suburbia into the ‘light’ DAN WAIDELICH features reporter The most profound, life-changing moments of suburban life often pass quietly and quickly, leaving behind a lasting emotional response. Monumental changes in lifestyles and relationships often grow from the most miniscule events. Andrew Porter illuminates these moments in his superbly written collection of short stories, “The Theory of Light and Matter.” Vintage Books is reprinting “The Theory of Light and Matter,” which was met with considerable acclaim, including winning the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award for short fiction.

The book will hit shelves during winter break on Jan. 5, 2010. “The Theory of Light and Matter” is a varied selection of emotionally-charged stories with the common theme of the perceptions and trials of average suburban American. The stories leap across the country, each dealing with a unique protagonist trying to understand the importance of the particular situation he is narrating. In the book’s title story, and one of its strongest pieces, readers are invited to examine a college student’s emotional affair with her professor. The short story is a page-turner as vivid characterization, clearly defined setting and high emotional stakes drive readers to

discover how things will end. Porter is a gifted storyteller, and he manages to imbue the narrators of each story with a different personality and voice. In “Azul,” the hero is a Houston advertising worker who finds out he may be much more uptight than he thought. The narrator of “Hole” looks back on his childhood in Virginia and the accidental death he might have caused. In a collection as thematically unified as this, these characters could have easily blended together, but each one shares with the reader a different perspective or quirk that distinguishes their story. “The Theory of Light and Matter” carries a significant amount of emo-

tional weight in its exploration of life-changing moments, but Porter manages to keep the readers going with a clear, concise and almost poetic style. Porter uses his words and sentences to construct what reads like an easy conversation with the protagonists. The occasional descriptive flourish heightens each setting, but Porter also draws a vivid picture of suburban sprawl with his simple language. “Connecticut” is a bleak tale of a father’s mental illness and his wife’s hidden indiscretions, but it reads clearly enough to almost seem like a bedtime story. This universally accessible quality elevates “The Theory of Light

and Matter” to a higher level. What could have been a collection of hugely depressing and off-putting stories about flawed characters becomes an open, honest and unpretentious look at difficult memories. Porter writes his stories as snapshots of complicated lives and leaves readers to draw their own conclusions about the meaning or point of each story. It is only when readers consider “The Theory of Light and Matter” as a whole that the point becomes clear. Porter is making the case that the challenges and choices that confront a person on a given day will have a lasting effect, no matter how bland they may be. “The Theory of Light and Matter” is

“The Theory of Light and Matter” Andrew Porter’s “The Theory of Light and Matter” is a collection of short stories that chronicle the less-than-perfect underbelly of suburbia.

worth reading purely to enjoy Porter’s skill with words, but it will stick with readers because of its honest look at the difficult parts of modern life.

Q&A: Woodbridge woman loses 340 pounds through self-structured diet plan LINDSEY BROOKBANK features staff writer Amy Barnes from Woodbridge, Va., dropped 340 pounds all on her own. She didn’t have cameras following her to publicize her weight loss, nor did she have plastic surgeons, personal trainers or nutritionists. Barnes created her own weight-loss plan, set her own goals and succeeded. Her success has given her new opportunities. She now owns her own fitness facility, Inside & O.U.T. Fitness, which was featured on the front cover of Oxygen magazine, she competed in a muscle-fitness competition, and she appeared on many major news shows such as the “Today Show.” COLLEGIATE TIMES: If you don’t mind me asking, what was your starting weight before you lost 340 pounds? AMY BARNES: 490 pounds. CT: Again, if you don’t mind me asking, how did you get to this original weight and what was the cause? BARNES: I’ve been overweight all my life, never morbidly obese, but I had my first child when I was 21, put on weight after that pregnancy and never really took it off. I don’t ever remember not being on a diet. As long as I can remember from 17 or 18 years old I have been dieting. Then, I had my second child when I was 24, put on more baby weight and didn’t take it off. I really attribute all of my weight gain to a very abusive relationship I was in from 2000 to the end of 2004, so almost five years. I put on almost 200 pounds in that relationship.

CT: Why did that relationship cause your weight gain? BARNES: It was both physically, emotionally, mentally and sexually abusing, and I used food as my comfort. I treated my addiction just like some peoples’ addictions to alcohol or drugs. During the course of that relationship, food was the only thing that I had control over. In hindsight and looking back, I realized that food really controlled me. But it was really at the time of my life when that was all I had. CT: Have you tried to lose weight in the past and failed? BARNES: Oh my God. I’ve tried every diet. I’ve tried every diet pill, both prescription and non-prescription diet pills, I have tried it. I didn’t care what it did to my insides. If somebody told me I was going to lose weight by taking a pill, I was going to do it. You really lose weight momentarily, but you don’t really get a long-term change. They lose weight, and then they tend to gain it all back again. And so, I did that all my life, and nothing ever really worked. And it just really got to the point where I would try everything, and everything continued to fail, and I just got to the point out of desperation. CT: When did you truly realize that you needed to lose the weight? BARNES: Really my wakeup call was about five years ago in 2004. I woke up in a battered women’s shelter with no home, with no car and no job. The state had taken my kids away from me because my abuser had abused my kids. The judge told me in order to get my children back, I needed to get mentally healthy for them. I figured

that if I needed to be mentally healthy accomplishment. So, it was starting small. It was exerfor my children, then I also needed to cising three days a week. It would be be physically healthy for them too. one weekly goal for exercising and one CT: How did you go about losing weekly goal for nutrition. And, it could weight this time if you had tried every- be as small as I’m going to drink 64 thing in the past? What did you do this ounces of water each day this week. Or, I’m going to start eating breakfast. Or, time to lose the weight? BARNES: I called it a toolbox. It wasn’t I’m going to count my calories, and I’m one diet. It wasn’t one specific thing. only going to eat 1,800 calories. I think The first most important thing is to at the ending point of my struggle with identify the root causes. I have my obesity, I was eating anywhere from own company now, and I have what I 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day. That’s call the four foundations of — I mean what most people eat in about a week. whether it’s losing weight, whether it’s And for me it was the small realistic battling some other form of addiction goals. — it is first identifying the root causes CT: How did you feel emotionally, to why you’re overeating. If you don’t identify what that is and why you’re as well as physically, during the entire doing it, you’re going to continue to process? BARNES: You’re exhausted. I was fail over, and over, and over. For me it was abuse. For some people it’s stress, almost 500 pounds. Honestly, in the some people it’s a bad marriage, for beginning, all I could do was walk some people it’s boredom. But it’s first around the block. One block, that’s it. identifying why I was overeating. And And a lot of people think that one block the second piece is I set realistic, attain- is really nothing. But for me, that was able goals. So many people that do this physically all I could do. So yes, there are New Year’s resolution people. They were times when I was completely start January first. They join a gym. exhausted. There were times when They think they have to go 100 miles every muscle and joint in my body per hour; they have to go two hours a hurt. And mentally, my kids were my day, six days a week; they’ll never eat first motivation. potato chips again. CT: What’s your weight right now? So for me, it was just that small, realistic goal. I set one big goal, and my one Do you plan on losing more weight in big goal was to be able to compete as a the future? BARNES: I’m currently at about 154 body builder on stage. At 500 pounds that seems so completely impossible, but I wanted to make it a big goal. After that I worked at small weekly goals because once you have that sense of accomplishment of achieving that goal each week, then you reset additional goals because you feel some sense of

COURTESY OF CARLA GRANI, ALLEN THOMPSON

Amy Barnes turned to food to cope and gained almost 200 pounds. After setting realistic diet goals, she now wieghs 154 pounds. pounds. ... I’ve actually just competed in my first competition this past weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. For me, it wasn’t about winning. It was just really to be able to say that I got on stage. CT: I understand that you were on the cover of Oxygen magazine. How did that come about? BARNES: My girlfriend submitted my weight loss story to “Oxygen” ... and I got a call from them the first of July, and they said that they were so inspired by my story that they would love to have me come to Toronto and do a photo shoot. The photo shoot was very overwhelming because I’ve never worn

shorts in public. I have never worn a bikini in public. So, during the photo shoot I was not only in shorts, but also a bikini on stage, in front of 35 different people, with a camera. It was the greatest experience I’ve ever had, very outside my box of comfort. A couple weeks later the editor called me and said that I was going to be on the cover. Honestly, my initial response was what clothes did you put me in. We must have had 20 to 30 different clothing changes during the day. And she said the one with the pink top. And I realized the one with the pink top was the one that went with the little, tiny shorts. So, it was a phenomenal experience.


6 sports

editors: joe crandley, alex jackson sportseditor@collegiatetimes.com/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

december 1, 2009

Hajnal making a name in Tech’s pool Be thankful: As Groh leaves, Tech’s Beamer still succeeds F

NIELS GORAN BLUME/SPPS

Sophomore swimmer Erika Hajnal competes for the Hokies during Tech’s meet against Penn State on Oct. 31 at War Memorial pool.

TECH’S HARD-WORKING HAJNAL CONTINUES TO FIND SUCCESS IN POOLS ALL OVER THE WORLD SARAH FIORITO sports staff writer Until Erika Hajnal was six years old, she was afraid of the water. Now 20 years old, the Budapest, Hungary, native holds the Virginia Tech swimming school records in the 500-, 1000- and 1650meter freestyle competitions, and also in the 400-meter individual medley. She was also the first Tech distance swimmer to earn All-American honors. “I started swimming because I was afraid of water,” Hajnal said. Once she tried it out, she immediately knew she had found her passion. At nine years old, Hajnal began swimming competitively. She had always wanted to come to the United States of America. When Hajnal was about to graduate from high school, she talked to her friend from Tech who told her about the school and its swimming program. She then e-mailed head coach Ned Skinner about the possibility of swimming for him. With Skinner’s eagerness and Hajnal’s determina-

tion, she soon packed her bags for Blacksburg. In her first year at Tech, she qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship, finishing 13th in the 1650 free, 22nd in the 400 IM and 30th in the 500 free. At the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, she placed second in the 500 free, third in the 400 IM and third in the 1650 free. She set her season-best 200 IM time at a meet against the University of Pittsburgh while also taking first in the 200 free. Because of these accomplishments, Hajnal was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Swimmer of the Week and Rookie of the Year. “Even though she is from a foreign country, she has immediately embraced Virginia Tech and wants to make this program succeed,” Skinner said. Hajnal’s successes extended even further when she represented Hungary at the 25th World University Games, participating in the 400 free, 800 free, 1500 free, 400 IM and 200 fly. In 2003, Hajnal swam at the European Youth Olympic Festival

where she won the 400 IM and captured first place in the 10K race. “She is incredibly gifted and is a natural distance swimmer,” Skinner said. “She just keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny.” Coming from Hungary to the U.S. took some adjustment. Hajnal’s family has not been able to see her swim collegiately and, unfortunately, may never see her swim while she is at Tech. She is able to speak to her family overseas through Skype, and she is improving her English. Although being an international student has been challenging, she has grown more comfortable during her time at Tech. “My team is my second family now,” Hajnal said. One tradition she upholds lies in her game-day attire. Hajnal always wears two caps when swimming because it makes her feel more secure. With four records already displaying her name on Tech’s record board, Hajnal hopes to make that number grow. Seeing her name is an honor and gives her inspiration. Though she has records, she still finds room for improvement. “I need to improve on my turns,” she said. “I also need to use my legs more.”

While she is a competitive athlete, she is the first to warm up and cool down, and she does so with a smile on her face. Her eagerness lifts the team’s spirits. “She is just a happy person, a kind person, and that more than anything is what makes it so enjoyable for us,” Skinner said. Hajnal has a true love for her coaches and teammates. “She is really positive and never gets down,” said junior swimmer Lauren Ritter. “She’s a great person to train with.” If a swimmer disobeys a rule or is ever late, they must swim with Hajnal during practice. Everyone immediately moans. Her natural ability and pretty strokes give her the speed and endurance that leaves others struggling in water behind her. While the mile competition is her favorite race, she loves all distances. When she isn’t swimming in the pool she likes to watch movies. “Mostly comedies and action,” she said. At the end of the day, however, Hajnal says she owes her accomplishments to her coaches. “They get me mentally ready,” she said. “It wasn’t just me placing in the ACC Championship, it was my team and my coaches as well.”

or one half, the University of Virginia football team appeared to be up to the task of taking on instate rival Virginia Tech, but then the Cavaliers showed their true colors and fell apart once again. Cavaliers senior linebacker Aaron Clark put it best after the game, summarizing more than a decade of struggles by UVa into one sentence. “We battle hard all game, and were able to go toe-to-toe for a half,” Clark said, “but in the end, it didn’t all add up to what we were looking for.” After fumbling in its own territory, UVa rolled over for the Hokies at home shortly into the third quarter and allowed 28-straight unanswered points, falling to Tech, 42-13. The second-half disaster for UVa was representative of what Cavaliers fans have been forced to endure at the hands of Tech in recent years, losing 10 of the last 11 matchups. With the game beginning to get out of reach late in the third quarter, UVa fans were greatly outnumbered in spirit and intensity. The chants of “Let’s Go Hokies” reverberated throughout Scott Stadium once again, and some UVa fans even booed the home team throughout the game. If anything, the beating the ’Hoos suffered at the hands of the Hokies may serve as a godsend to UVa fans as head coach Al Groh was fired the next day without controversy and was bought out of his contract for $4.33 million. During his press conference, Groh read a poem to reporters titled “The Man in the Glass” while the visiting Hokies could be heard loudly celebrating their victory in the locker room. The final stanza of the poem reads: “You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years And get pats on the back as you pass But your final reward will be heartache and tears If you’ve cheated the man in the glass” After reciting the poem, Groh ended the conference with a final statement. “When I visited the guy in the glass, I saw that he’s a guy of commitment, of integrity, of dependability and accountability,” Groh said. “He’s loyal. His spirit is indomitable. And he is caring and loving. I’m sure I will always call the guy in the glass a friend.” This bizarre statement truly puts a worthy end to what has been a difficult time for Virginia fans during the

Groh era. For any game, one team has to lose, but the discrepancy displayed between the two programs seems to grow greater and greater each year. The end-of-the-season finale against Tech only accentuates the complete and total opposite directions the teams are headed in when the head coach for Virginia ends his conference with a poetry jam and Frank Beamer barely seems content with the prospect of 10 wins. Tech fans may grow more and more frustrated with every season that goes by without a national championship, but the turmoil currently present in Charlottesville should provide some much needed perspective for those taking 10-win seasons for granted. Fans of the Cavaliers simply want to reach a bowl game, beat bottom feeders like Duke and avoid embarrassment by Colonial Athletic Association teams, while Tech fans keep hoping for that undefeated season now that the Hokies have qualified for 18 consecutive bowl games. Not too long ago, Tech fans were thrilled to make a bowl game while UVa reigned supreme in Virginia. Now, the Hokies continue to reel in the top talent in the state. And with Groh on the way out, Tech should continue to dominate at least for a little while longer. However, Tech supporters may want to savor these days of dominating the Wahoos each year after Thanksgiving as a coaching change can only be good for the hapless Cavaliers. Unless the UVa athletics department completely botches its coaching search, Cavaliers fans won’t be spending too much time breaking down Groh’s ridiculous poetry session meltdown so much as they will be examining their new coach’s X’s and O’s while eyeing a win in the future against the muchreviled Hokies. Just as Beamer has proven at Tech, the tide can turn quickly with the right coach, and instead of scoffing at 10 wins, in the near future, Hokies fans may be reminiscing about the days where they used to occur.

JOE CRANDLEY -sports editor -communication major -political science minor


Tuesday, December 1, 2009 Print Edition