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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

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

COLLEGIATETIMES The Collegiate Times will cease publication until Tuesday, Jan. 19. 106th year, issue 126

News, page 3

Features, page 4

Opinions, page 5

Sports, page 10

Classifieds, page 8

Man gets jail for DUI that hurt two


Revised report, suits stir April 16 debate BROWN

GORDON BLOCK news reporter







Acheiving goals to be costly for UUSA LAURA JENSEN






ZACH CRIZER nrv news editor Next week’s initial hearings in identical lawsuits from two families of April 16, 2007, shooting victims will determine whether the university officials named as defendants are covered by Virginia’s sovereign immunity. The families of Julia Pryde and Erin Peterson, who were shot and killed by Seung-Hui Cho in Norris Hall, filed the suits in April seeking to “reveal truths” about the shootings and its aftermath. The suit’s first hearings are scheduled for Dec. 14 and 15 in Montgomery County Circuit Court. The sovereign immunity statute protects state employees from being sued, but a judge can disregard it. It also does not apply for actions taken outside the scope of the employee’s job position. Each family is seeking $10 million in damages. Eight university officials are named in the suit, including President Charles Steger, former Executive Vice President James Hyatt, Provost Mark McNamee and Vice President for University Relations Larry Hincker. Additionally, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum, five employees of the Cook Counseling Center and two members of the New River Valley Community Services Board are also named as defendants. Robert Hall, attorney for the Peterson and Pryde families, said the defendants have filed two motions seeking to dismiss the suits. “The general theme for the hearings is that the defendants contend everyone gets off on sovereign immunity, and that even if they don’t there was no reason to anticipate the criminal misconduct of a third person,” Hall said. “Even though there are some earlier Virginia cases that give them the basis for their arguments, the judge is going to have to decide whether those are applicable.” Hall said another defendant motion will claim the officials were not responsible for anticipating the violent acts. “I don’t anticipate that the cases will come to an end on these motions, but they’re serious motions,” Hall said. He said what the motion calls “high-ranking state officials” should not be protected by absolute immunity, and pointed out less than a quarter of Steger’s compensation package comes from state funds. see APRIL 16 / page three

news staff writer In response to a recent evaluation by outside consultants, University Unions and Student Activities will examine possible renovations on Squires Student Center, with plans to utilize student activity fees for a second consultation. Representatives from the Association of College Unions International were voluntarily brought to the Virginia Tech campus in October by UUSA to evaluate all of the current student unions that are in place and address top areas of concern. The evaluation looked into all of the student unions that exist at Tech, including Squires Student Center, Johnston Student Center, the Graduate Life Center and War Memorial Chapel. The ACUI study, which cost the university over $7,500, led to the idea for a new study on possible renovations to Squires Student Center. The new study carries an initial budget of $400,000. ACUI’S EVALUATION SUGGESTIONS The primary recommendation from the ACUI was the need to renovate Squires Student Center, the largest of UUSA’s operations, as soon as possible. Consultants, all selected from peer universities, said Squires was not up to date with current advances of the technology-driven university, as it was last renovated 20 years ago. “We need to see how we can serve the students of today instead of the students of 1989,” said UUSA Director Julie Walters-Steele. Johnston Student Center was also described as needing renovations for some of the similar reasons. “Our biggest concerns are Squires and Johnston’s major renovations, which cost major dollars to

Sudoku, page 8

adequately fix,” Walters-Steele said. “When it rains, Johnston leaks. As does the roof on Squires; it’s in need of pretty much replacement.” Other issues of replacement exist within smaller rooms and departments within Squires and other UUSA buildings. “If Facilities Use Agreements are designed primarily for cost recovery, other more modest renovations (e.g., Haymarket, GLC spaces) are unlikely without alternative sources of institutional funding or a more aggressive, market-valued, square footage revenue approach,” the evaluation said. Many of the additions, renovations, and much needed changes might not be occurring anytime soon, because of the necessary funding that UUSA does not possess. “UUSA’s FY09 financial deficit has clearly caused stress upon the organization’s staff, services, brand, and mission; and a credibility concern for others at Virginia Tech,” the evaluation said. The evaluation also noted, “Students, faculty, and staff generally attribute any frustrations they might have with the condition of facilities to the lack of resources available. Consequently, the lack of financial resources appears to be the major impediment to facilities.” Currently, all full-time students pay an activities fee of $162.50 each semester to UUSA. This year, UUSA gave $900,072,705 to student organizations through its student budget board. Guy Sims, assistant vice president for student affairs, told of just how desperate UUSA is at times with its budget cuts. “We have a custodian that goes around with a sewing needle and sews up our furniture himself,” Sims said. “Our student population is rising and we’re crunched for space, you do what you have to do.”


see UUSA / page three

ACUI Study finished in october cost between: $7,500 - $9,500 Spring Feasability Study to be completed in spring: $400,000


The driver of a car that hit two Virginia Tech students last year will face an 18-month jail sentence. Ryan William Wresch, a native of Cold Springs, N.Y., pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of maiming while driving under the influence along with possession of marijuana. Wresch was charged after hitting Tech students Amanda Tyus and Kellsye Pitsenbarger in the early morning of Sept. 6, 2008. Wresch, who at the time of the incident was a senior human nutrition, food and exercise major, was originally sentenced to three years in prison for both Tyus and Pitsenbarger’s injuries along with an additional 12 months for the DUI. Circuit Court Judge Bobby Turk suspended the sentence, with the exception of the one year and six months. Tyus, also a HNFE major, and Pitsenbarger, a human development major, were hit while walking west on Progress Street by Wresch’s 2001 Honda Civic. Tyus, thrown onto the car’s hood during the crash, was carried through a chain link fence before the car stopped after hitting a tree. Both Tyus and Pitsenbarger sustained major injuries from the crash. Following the crash, the then 20-year-old Wresch’s blood alcohol content was measured at 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit for a driver 21 or older. Wresch’s car had been traveling at least 36 mph, while the speed limit for the area is 25 mph. Police also found a small amount of marijuana with Wresch at the time of the crash. In addition to his jail time, Wresch will be on probation for three years after his release. His driver’s license has also been suspended indefinitely. Joe Tyus, Amanda’s father, said that despite a miscommunication about the length of the sentence given through the plea deal, he looked forward to moving past the incident. “That boy is gone for a long time,” Tyus said. “He’s ruined his life for quite a while.” He added that his daughter might face lifelong pain in her legs as a result of injuries stemming from the crash. While the case has seen its conclusion in criminal court, the family also seeks to claim damages in civil court. Tyus said the most that could be won would be $50,000, which would come from Wresch’s insurance. “My daughter’s hospital bills are three times that, and that’s at last count,” Tyus said. “We haven’t got all the bills in yet.” Tyus said that both her daughter and Pitsenbarger, who were seniors at the time of the incident, are scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2010. “It’s a little disheartening,” Tyus said, referring to the more than yearlong delay in their graduation. “Hopefully they’ll be able to put this all behind them.”

Landline phones to remain in dorm rooms LAURA JENSEN news staff writer While other universities are beginning to ditch dormitory landline telephones, Virginia Tech stands against the norm, pledging not to get rid of these phones anytime soon. “What’s the real problem leaving them there?” asked Jeff Kidd, public relations manager for Tech’s Communication Network Services. And though there might not be a real issue with leaving the phones in the on-campus dormitories, it is also true that that the application and utilization of the phones themselves continues to decline. “Based on a meeting with the student advisory Residence Hall

You can rest assured that anything that has to do with safety is right at the top of the list. JEFF KIDD PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER COMMUNICATION NETWORK SERVICES

Federation, the students indicated that they don’t use dorm phones,” said Michelle Czamanske, assignments coordinator for Tech’s Student Program Administration. According to Kenneth Belcher, associate director for occupancy management, the decline is a result of increased cell phone use, and other communication

protocols. Kidd said that even though the number of students using mobile telephone services exceeds approximately 90 percent at many schools, he believes in the need to keep Tech’s specialized telephone system. “The basis for deciding to remove dorm phones depends very much on the set of circumstances for each university,” Kidd said, noting that CNS saw specific benefits in keeping the current system in place. Some of these benefits over cell phones include saving users money on local calls, consistent signal strength, voicemail and integration of the dorm numbers into local 911 emergency grids. One occurrence that many members of the Tech community

remember is the phone service that erupted during the events of April 16, 2007. Popular cellular phone services, such as Verizon and AT&T suddenly went out of service. Virtually no calls could be placed out that day from the Tech campus. Dorm landline phones were a savior that day, Kidd said, since they remained the only stable communication link between students and worried family members. “4/16 has been a game changer for us,” said Kidd. “Other universities have since been looking to us from then on. If anybody should respond to this in the best possible way it should be Virginia Tech, so in that way we kind of have to be the benchmark.

“You can rest assured that anything that has to do with safety is right at the top of the list,” he said. However, the current phone system is constantly being reevaluated. “The university constantly evaluates emerging communication technologies to ensure students, faculty, staff and visitors have access to appropriate safety-related communication services,” Kidd said. Stressing that there would be no benefit in removing the phones from dorms, Kidd said landlines remain an essential part in every on-campus dorm room. Whether or not the landlines will be used, of course, still remains up to individual students.

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december 9, 2009

news 3

new river valley news editor: zach crizer university editor: philipp kotlaba 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

Virginia Tech's Fifth Annual Martin Lither King Jr. Celebration Sunday, January 17 3:00p.m. - The NAACP Community Celebration will be held at Unitarian Universalist Church located at 1301 Gladewood Drive in Blacksburg. Rev. Glenn L. Orr of St. Paul AME Church and the president of the local branch of the NAACP will be the speaker in a celebration honoring the life of Martin Luther King Jr. For more information, contact Deborah Travis at (540)382-6751.

Monday, January 18 9:00-10:00a.m. - The Martin Luther King Community Breakfast will be held in the Commonwealth Ballroom in the Squires Student Center. Attendance is free but registration is required, and can be done online. For more information, contact the Office for Equity and Inclusion at (540)231-7500. 6:00p.m. - The Fifth Annual Martin Luther King Celebration will be held in Burruss Auditorium. The keynote speaker is Cornel West, the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. Tickets to the event are free and are available at the University Unions and Student Activities ticket office in Squires Student Center. For more information, contact the Office for Equity and Inclusion at (540)231-7500.

Tuesday, January 19 7:00p.m.-9:00p.m. - A panel discussion about The Public Intellectual will take place in the Graduate Life Center Auditorium. The discussion is will be conducted by the Center for Africana Studies and Race and Social Policy Research and will be facilitated by Ellington Graves. For more information, contact Silvia Ramos-Cotton at (540) 231-7500.

Wednesday, January 20 7:30p.m. - The Alpha Phi Alpha Student Cultural Showcase, a series of one-act performances, will take place in the Haymarket Theater in Squires Student Center. The event is sponsored by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. For more information, contact Eric King.

Saturday, January 23 9:00a.m. - 2:00p.m. - Community Service - Teams are being formed to participate in the Daycare Facelift Project to work on improvements at local daycare facilities. For more information, contact Karen Gilbert. 9:00a.m. - 2:00p.m. - Community Service - The Love By Choice Project lets volunteers provide assistance to local families who are caring for foster children. The event is sponsored by the Blacksburg Christian Fellowship Church. Contact Karen Gilbert for more information.

Friday, January 29 2:00-5:00p.m. - The 13th Annual Diversity Summit, will conclude the celebration in the Commonwealth Ballroom in Squires Student Center. The event is sponsored by the Commission on Equal Opportunity, the SGA, and the Alliance of Concerned Students. Attendance is free, but registration is recommended. For more information, contact Ross Edmonds.

April 16: Hearings to begin Monday from page one

In 2007, Steger was paid $169,339 of state funds, but received $270,000 from “private sources,” according to the Chronicle for Higher Education’s executive compensation database. Steger also received $200,000 in deferred compensation and a $21,973 performance bonus. “I have trouble with a high-ranking government official getting that kind of money from private sources and still being called a government official,” Hall said. On the second motion, Hall counters that the university had previously anticipated potential violent situations and locked down the university. He specifically cited William Morva’s escape from a nearby prison in August 2006 as an instance where the university sent a warning to students of potential danger and locked down the Tech campus. A recently released addendum to the Governor’s Panel Report on the shootings featured an expanded timeline of the day’s events. The report, added to and corrected by independent information systems company TriData following requests for a corrected report by victims’ families, is still not a complete account of the shootings according to Michael Pohle, whose son Michael Pohle Jr. was killed in Norris Hall. Families asked Gov. Tim Kaine to reconvene the original panel following the discovery of Cho’s mental health records at the home of former Cook Counseling Center Director Robert Miller. Kaine refused to reconvene the panel, but collected suggestions from family members and university officials to be compiled by TriData. “We were allowed to submit corrections,” Pohle said. “There was no opportunity to review a draft of what they were planning to send out.” Pohle said even the revised report omits discussion of the emergency preparedness policies that were in place at the time.

“Neither the original panel report, nor this addendum adequately, or even barely at all, assessed the university’s adherence to procedures they had in place,” Pohle said. “The panel report focused far more on changing laws, which is good, but they failed to cover in any detail existing law.” Hall also plans to address university policies that he said should have governed the school’s response to the first two shootings in West Ambler-Johnston Hall. “There were policies in place,” Hall said. “But originally we were told there weren’t any.” He said they later located the policies governing the university’s response to an emergency that had been published in the 2005-2006 faculty guide. Hall said the document had been deleted from Tech’s Web site in the days following the shootings. Pohle said the revisions also failed to clarify other conflicting accounts of the events. The revised report said Hincker attempted to send an alert to the university community at 8:50 a.m. It said the failed attempt, which would have informed students of the shootings in West Ambler-Johnson Hall, was caused by technical difficulties. Pohle said the report leaves out some inner workings of the university policy group, which included several of the defendants in the suits. He said during an October 2008 meeting between victims’ families and policy group members, the officials said they decided to delay the alert until after the next class session. During that class session, Cho killed 32 in Norris Hall. That information is not reflected in the revised report. Another point of controversy involved the revised report’s claim that two “policy group” members informed family members of the West AJ shootings before the university community was alerted. A statement from university spokesman Mark Owczarski said “two University staff, who were not Policy Group members, did have conversations with

family members in which they made mention of a shooting on campus.” Pohle said the language in the university’s statement was misleading, claiming the staff members who made the phone calls were privy to policy group information and were paid more than $100,000 per year. Hall, after extensive discovery research, said the revised report did not offer much information they had not already encountered. He also said Miller, who was unknowingly in possession of Cho’s records until July, offered differing explanations of the universities mental health policies. In a discovery response to the plaintiffs, Miller, who is a defendant, said he did not fill out a triage form after speaking to professor Lucinda Roy about Cho’s behavior because of confidentiality concerns. However, in an inspector general’s report on the discovery of the documents, he said it was customary to fill out a triage form when consulting faculty about a student. Pohle said he and other families still consider the report to be incomplete and plan on publishing their own addition. “Several of the families are currently discussing it, and we are probably going to publish a supplement to that addition,” Pohle said. The victims’ families have been invited to the final meeting with current Gov. Tim Kaine guaranteed by a settlement signed following the shootings. Only the Peterson and Pryde families did not sign the settlement. Pohle said he hopes the pending civil suits can shed more light on the events of April 16. “I wish them the absolute best and we hope they proceed,” Pohle said, “Because it appears that’s going to be the closest we ever get to finding out the complete truth.”

UUSA: Study of Squires’ future to be funded by student fee from page one

After seeing the report, Walters-Steele said the consultants reinforced her idea that UUSA simply needed a bigger operating budget. “It’s our hope that we’ll be able to lobby for more money,” Walters-Steele said. “As we look at our peer institutions we really are behind the times as far as our facilities meeting the need of today’s students.” She said the buildings have suffered because of a lack of funding. “I think we haven’t been able to maintain the facilities as needed because we haven’t had the money to do that,” Walters-Steele said. SQUIRES Squires, the largest union and most often used throughout the day by students, was noted as being in “very poor condition and people with whom we met reported that the center is an embarrassment for Virginia Tech.” Facility issues are numerous, the report said. The report continued further to call the exterior of the brick building, “unsightly.” In addition, the student union of Squires is unlike many other university unions throughout the country in the fact that it serves as a building for multiple purposes. Sims agreed with the report’s statements and said, yes it is true that “UUSA is possibly spread too thin in too many locations.” The multiple purposes that the report cited and executives of UUSA agreed that occur just in Squires alone include holding classes for various departments, special theaters and venues, recreational facilities such as the Break Zone and Venture Out, art galleries for public art, meeting places for clubs, offices, lounge areas, and large food venues for Au Bon Pain and Sbarro. The report also more specifically looked into the theater located within

the student union of Squires. Tech’s theater department rents Haymarket Theatre from the UUSA. According to Patty Raun, the department head and associate professor for the Department of Theater and Cinema, UUSA staff members consistently attempt to make the facility work for her department. “Haymarket’s location in the student union has advantages. Everyone knows where it is and we have wonderful colleagues who oversee the management of the space.” On the downside, she also admits that Haymarket has “fallen into disrepair over the years.” It is unlikely that Haymarket will be renovated on its own, since the report notes once again that renovations are unlikely without alternative sources of funding. JOHNSTON STUDENT CENTER Walters-Steele noted the final student union, Johnston Student Center, as the most troublesome and questionable of the student unions. The report said that the 24,556-gross square-feet center had a “very small footprint and few services or comfortable lounge spaces. It offers little destination value beyond the convenience of its location. Moreover, its location offers little expansion opportunity and poor service access.” The few services that the report noted included Subway and Seattle’s Best food services and study areas. Currently the UUSA is struggling with the question of whether to continue operating Johnston or build a new facility. “Is it wise to continue to move more money into Johnston, that doesn’t have as much space as you would typically want in a student union?” Walters-Steele said. “Or would it be better to build another student union? You would need more staff, so those are more expenses, but it could also build in opportunities for revenue.” for

A NEW UNION UUSA employees say a new union building a has been a topic of discussion for quite some time. This new student union, North West, has been on the master plan and was supposed to come before the Board of Visitors in 2012, although now, with budget cuts and other more prominent problems needing to be addressed in the immediate future, North West has been moved to the backburner. One major proposition that came with the idea of North West was the creation of some type of retail service. No student unions on Tech’s campus have retail, which is one of many reasons UUSA lacks funds, according to the report. “Once attracted to the facility, customers have few opportunities to make the type of additional discretionary purchases (e.g., bookstore, convenience store, electronics store) that traditionally support auxiliary college unions,” the report said. Sims agreed with the report’s suggestion. “Retail, oh we would love that,” Sims said. “We’re currently in conversation with the book store to make it happen.” SPRING FEASIBILITY STUDY As a result of ACUI’s study, UUSA is conducting a second type of evaluation that will serve as a feasibility study, forming a UUSA advisory board and appointing a new director for student activities. “In the spring, a capital project team will come in to look at the studies done thus far and put together a plan and cost estimate for what a wholesale renovation of Squires would cost,” Walters-Steele said. “The budget to bring in the team is $400,000 to do the study for the projects to prepare a preliminary plan.” This sum would include paying for the team to come in to access and eval-


uate the unions and give suggestions to the UUSA board, but does not in any way allocate funds to start the possible renovation project. Vice President for Student Affairs Ed Spencer estimated that the possible renovation project had the potential to be a multi-million dollar project. He said the large sum of money that would pay for the project would come out of the student activity fee. “If we have to engage in this project, then we would have to probably engage in the sale or revenue bonds through the UUSA student activity fee in order to raise money to pay for the new group to come in and do their evaluation,” Spencer said. The feasibility study “could eventually lead to a major project that might be impertinent to the renovations,” Spencer said. NEW STAFF POSITIONS UUSA also appointed a new student activities director, as the report recommended. Monica Quarles Hunter was appointed from her old position, associate director of campus programs, and is now the interim director of student activities. Hunter’s new job responsibilities include working with student clubs and organizations, as well as activities that utilize the student union facilities. Though the ACUI report did give much needed information to UUSA, employees stress that they are not yet finished with their search of how to properly deal with the current issues. Major changes remain on hold, as UUSA wants to conduct further research with the spring feasibility study before jumping into permanent projects. “We don’t want to put more money in there before we tear it all up,” Sims said.

4Novelfeatures chronicles famous Russian page 4

december 9, 2009

writer Tolstoy’s last year of life Leo Tolstoy is one of history’s most renowned novelists and intellectuals, and his lasting effect on Russian culture cannot be ignored. Author Jay Parini examines Tolstoy’s contributions and the followers who supported him in the book “The Last Station.” The novel is the story of Tolstoy’s final months as he is caught in a bitter conflict between fanatical supporters and his longsuffering wife. Tolstoy, renowned for his novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina,” was also an important social leader who advocated hard work, piety and chastity. The writer was also a member of the Russian noble class and had 13 children. The contradictions in his teachings and his lifestyle are the backbone of “The Last Station.” Novelist Parini thrusts the reader into Tolstoy’s complex world through the eyes of Valentin Bulgakov, a young intellectual who secures a position as secretary to the famous author. Throughout the novel, Bulgakov is torn between the manipulations of the slimy Chertkov and Tolstoy’s vindictive wife Sofya. Chertkov and his cronies want Tolstoy to end life as a martyr for the cause of the people and to make themselves famous for being his associates while Sofya wants her old husband back and the rights to his works. Bulgakov gets caught in the middle of the fray when he is made to spy on both sides of the issue. “The Last Station” is filled with fascinating characters that exhibit fully realized motivations and passions. Parini shifts the storytelling to another character every chapter and spends time exploring several viewpoints of the legendary Tolstoy. Parini uses Tolstoy’s own words throughout the book to further clarify the impact


Perfect for ‘Up in the air’ role, except actress was six months pregnant STEVEN REA

DAN WAIDELICH features reporter

december 2009 editors: topher forhecz, teresa9,tobat 540.231.9865

mcclatchy newspapers

you might also like... “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy Tolstoy’s famous novel is the love story between the married Anna and the dashing Count Vronsky, set against the backdrop of Moscow’s aristocracy.

“Master and Commander” by Patrick O’ Brian The adventures of Jack Aubrey begin during the Napoleonic Wars. Aubrey escapes pursuing creditors and takes to the high seas to battle the French with his trusted friend Stephen Maturin.

The Last Station: A Novel of Leo Tolstoy’s Final Year. by: Jay Parini

“The Idiot” by Fyodor Dostoevsky Good-natured Prince Lev Myshkin finds himself caught in intrigue and danger when he agrees to marry Natashya, a woman with a shady past.

the man had on tsarist Russia. Letters and anecdotes from Tolstoy intersperse the narrative at exactly the right moments, shedding light on the plot. While “The Last Station” is a fascinating character study, the plot moves along at a slow burn. The first 100 pages are almost purely focused on establishment of the conflicts in Tolstoy’s home. The slow unfurling of the plot is not necessarily a weakness of the novel, but for readers who may be expecting a narrative full of intriguing situations, “The Last Station” is not that book. It does give vivid insight into early twentieth century Russia and the sharp divide between the aristocracy and common people that gave rise to communism. While Tolstoy was not a communist himself, he advocated equality among men and the value of hard work. He did not allow followers to use his noble title and often used his influence to help out com-

moners. The conflicts in “The Last Station” are a direct result of this rejection of the aristocracy. Tolstoy leaves behind his wife and their former circles to become a hero of the people. The beauty of Parini’s book is that these conflicts are handled by allowing each character to relate his or her own opinions and feelings. The management of the large cast is reminiscent of one of Tolstoy’s own novels and elevates “The Last Station” to something greater than just a biography of Tolstoy.

DAN WAIDELICH -features reporter -communication major -occasionally enjoys wearing kilts

Cool, complicated and impossibly sexy, Alex, the business traveler played by Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air,” is a role to die for. She spars with — and seduces — George Clooney’s corporate downsizer (his job: to lay people off). She has collected nearly as many frequent-flyer miles as he has — and prides herself on the efficiency with which she crisscrosses the land, briskly navigating hotel check-ins, airport security lines, rental-car agencies, and chain restaurants. She knows who she is, what she wants. But when Farmiga met last year with writer/director Jason Reitman (Oscar-nominated for “Juno”) to talk over the job, the actress couldn’t have been less in the mindset of the character she hoped to play. She was six months pregnant — and “Up in the Air” was set to start production a mere 60 days after her due date. “I thought, ‘Aw, forget this,’ and I really thought, instead of meeting with Jason, I could just make my own audition tape, and keep the camera very close up,” she says, with a laugh. But she went ahead and kept the appointment with Reitman, whom she had met a few years earlier when he was casting “Thank You for Smoking.” “And I couldn’t find anything to wear that day, as often happens in your sixth month of pregnancy. My feet were swollen, I just felt so huge, and I sat down with him, and he immediately started to talk about every single role I’d done since our first meeting — very specifically, so he really had been following me.” But even Reitman, a huge fan of her work in “Down to the Bone,” in Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed,” and in the unsettling thrillers “Joshua” and “Orphan,” wasn’t sure Farmiga could be ready in time, physically or emotionally. “When it came to this role

... I could not think of another actress,” recalls the filmmaker, in a separate interview. “She was perfect. And then I try to get ahold of her, and I find out that she was in her second trimester. ... I was nervous. I was legitimately nervous. I was like, ‘You can’t do this’ — I went as far as saying that. And she just came at me strong, and with confidence. And in a weird way, it was her confidence that she knew she could do it that let me know that this woman is so perfect for the role.” Reitman says Farmiga’s emotional maturity, and the toughness she projects, make her a rare commodity. “There are a lot of girls in Hollywood, but there are very few American women,” he says. “And Vera doesn’t judge her characters, and that’s another thing you never find. Usually, when you watch a performance, you can kind of tell what the actor thinks of the character they’re playing.” In “Up in the Air,” Farmiga simply — or not so simply — inhabits the part of Alex. On a certain level, it’s a comic, casual role, and the actress’ repartee with Clooney recalls the crackling romantic screwballs of the 1930s and ‘40s. But there’s more to the character than first meets the eye. “Sure, their initial attraction starts off over bonus points and frequent-flyer miles,” she says of the relationship between her Alex and Clooney’s Ryan. “You could interchange their names. They are two birds of a feather. ... And then slowly she becomes the gal who really does make him sit back and reinvestigate his ideas about life and love.” Farmiga, 36, grew up in northern New Jersey and studied theater at Syracuse University. She has been working steadily since the day she left college, moving from stage to screen, from little indies to bigger, more commercial fare. Her husband is a carpenter and a musician. They live on

a small farm in Upstate New York. Their son — the one she carried leading up to “Up in the Air” — will have his first birthday early in the new year. “I had my first costume fitting for “Up in the Air” two weeks after I gave birth, and I was enormous,” she says, smiling. “There was a lot of pressure, but everything panned out. “I was tired. I had absolutely no sleep. And it was difficult to get into Alex’s head space, who was very confident, very sexy, very at ease with herself, at a time when, hormonally, (I was) adjusting to the estrogen levels, and all of that. “But I was blessed with a joy of a child and a husband who’s an ace father and a real nurturing partner for me, so it was as easy as it could have been. But still tough: going back to work, pumping in between takes, having them courier the breast milk to the hotel, but having a good sense of humor about it. “I took a lot of cues off George,” she adds. “He can laugh at himself very easily.” As for the darker themes in “Up in the Air” — and the scarily timely one of unemployment and a shrinking job market — Farmiga, like most of us, has a personal connection. Her father, a computer systems analyst, has been the “victim of age-ism and corporate downsizing,” she says. When she saw the finished film at the Toronto Film Festival in September — and its opening sequence, with its documentary testimonials from the laid-off and the letgo — Farmiga realized that she was sitting in the theater crying. “It does put a face — many a face — on unemployment,” she says of Reitman’s movie, her movie. “And it’s very real to me in my own family. I wish that I could just take my frequentflyer miles and exchange them, instead of flights, for health insurance for my parents. For my dad, who has been laid off several times. ... “It’s very emotional for me, this film.”

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editor: debra houchins COLLEGIATETIMES

december 9, 2009

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would like to take this opportunity to thank all the students who came out in full force and showed us such tremendous support in our win over Georgia on Sunday. The Maroon Monsoon was a rousing success, and it once again showed that our students are the best in the country. Your Hokies are 6-1 so far this season and on a three-game winning streak. After four straight road games, it was great to get back into the familiar and supportive confines of Cassell Coliseum. The sound that erupted from the student section when we came through the fog and out from the locker room could only be described as electric. What a way to welcome us home! Please mark this Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. on your calendar. The Hokies will be facing VMI in what promises to be another exciting game in the Cassell. Our team thrives off of your energy and without you there, loud and proud, none of our success is possible. Your

ownership and passion for our program is second to none and as you proved in great numbers on Sunday, you give our team the home-court advantage that we need to win. I know that the end of the semester is an extremely busy and challenging time for all of our students. I hope that our game on Wednesday night can be a welcome two-hour break from your studying and preparation for exams and that the excitement generated by you will lead us to another victory. We will be having another Chalk Talk in D2 on Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. These sessions have been a great deal of fun. For those who have not been able to attend, we try and make it an interactive program where you can learn exactly what we are teaching the players for the upcoming game and allow you to gain insight and ownership in our program. Best of all, its free! So make sure to stop by, grab some great food, and become a part of this experience. It’s a great day to be a Hokie!

SETH GREENBERG head coach mens basketball


Public relations often relies on deception, lies I

Holiday greetings reflect our values A

s we all begin to get into the spirit of the season, chances are most of us will once again fall into the same annoying fallacy that dominates our minds this time of year. Whether it’s courtesy in the checkout line or a last farewell to a professor, many of us tend to leave with the words, “merry Christmas.” There are reasons for this. Modern culture has certainly taken hold of our conception of Christmas — whether that is for the better or worse depends on your viewpoint. Many atheists and agnostics celebrate the Christmas season by focusing on the secular aspects — family dinners, seeing old friends and renewing our thanks through charity. These are certainly good things; poverty-stricken children do not care about the religion of the people whose kindness helps put food on their table. It is somewhat ironic, however, that so many gestures wishing others a merry Christmas often ignore the more important part of the exchange: what holiday the other person celebrates. During the Christmases of yesteryear, I often wished many a stranger a “merry Christmas,” in part out of frustration in seeing the phrase nearly become taboo. In “Tech community spirit overshadows tragedies” (CT, Dec. 8), I even committed the same fallacy in ending by wishing the state trooper who had pulled me over a merry Christmas. I have no clue what and how he chooses to celebrate; I instead projected my own beliefs and culture onto him. While it’s certainly not the worst thing I’ve ever done, I can understand the frustration of others that stems from this. The thought had crossed my mind earlier this week to respond to any merry Christmas wishes from strangers with a “happy Hanukkah,” in spite of the fact that I am a Catholic.

Or maybe, “happy Festivus.” Either way, it should get the point across that while the majority of Americans are Christians, there are many Jews, Muslims, Hindus and atheists, all of whom celebrate their own holidays. In anticipation of being denounced as a “secular humanist liberal atheist,” I would like to redirect those people back to my earlier disclaimer; this is certainly not an egregious offense. I recoil at the thought of being identified with the “religion Nazis,” as one might call them, who challenged the legality of a child presenting the Bible during show-and-tell as his favorite book. Perhaps our persistence in delivering politesses reflecting our own values says something about our minds. I’d be willing to wager I could find the paper of an ethics professor exploring the role of egocentrism in how we share holiday cheer. Still, I wouldn’t go that far. We may be a very egocentric culture and even species, but the secular, cultural role of Christmas is likely more at work here. It seems more likely to me, though, that we really see the true reason for our casual seasonal greetings on January 2nd. When the celebration ends, there is always a refreshed, rejuvenated feeling in the hearts of most people. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza as a cultural device are simply just another way to elicit the goodwill toward men that this world can always use a reminder of.

SCOTT MASSELLI -regular columnist -sophomore -economics major

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t seems more often than not that columnists produce material by denouncing the things that infuriate them. Being in a generally cheerful mood, I was just beginning to write a good-natured column about the holidays when I realized what infuriates me beyond all else: public relations. I’m sure many before me have grown tired of the phenomenon so if I’m not the first to express my disgust, I apologize for the redundancy and hope that my vented angst will provide more interesting reading than another dose of holiday stuff. I can’t seem to think of a single area of life in America that has not deteriorated as a result of the pervasive emphasis on public relations. Schools care more about maintaining test statistics than expanding their curriculum, politicians align their powerful financial backers before considering constituents, and universities care more about legal liability than human life. It’s as if every significant social change becomes a shiny, waxed apple, enticing until you bite into the taste of paper and used candles. Even the food available at the grocery store can attribute its poor quality to public relations. As soon as World War II started, a large complex of nonperishable processed food producers had arisen to feed American soldiers. After the war ended, the companies launched huge advertising campaigns to persuade civilians to buy the food, but met with little success. One big breakthrough for their public relations campaign was achieved through making cake mix that only needed an egg added. Originally, the mixes were sold in ready-made batter, but leaving the egg out filled a homemaker’s psychological need to contribute to the baking. Demand was adjusted instead of adjusting to demand.

That’s the thing about successful PR campaigns: They employ psychologists to design the hypnosis to get you craving what you don’t even want, most often with misleading promises. It’s the same with presidents. Nobody cares what a presidential candidate can feasibly do for the public, only what age group he can appeal to with what banter. Politicians and political pundits don’t even get called out on their nonsense anymore. Anyone that disagrees with one opinion is automatically lumped in the opposite category, and anyone that disagrees with both options is ignored. It’s like we’re repeatedly getting sold a wrestling match with two lame contestants (I know I don’t want that). So that’s how we get incessant TV news specials about what the president will do for the economy, never mentioning the lack of control that the president has on the economy (despite projecting confidence). Congress gave the power to control money circulation and by extension value to the Federal Reserve in 1914. President Woodrow Wilson received campaign support for promising to sign the bill into effect and it was pushed through Congress on a holiday. Unfortunately, this fact won’t stop former President Bill Clinton from bragging, former President George W. Bush from blubbering, or President Obama from acting like he knows everything. The truth is, even the bills “for the people,” such as healthcare, actually receive tremendous PR support from corporations in the insurance and pharmaceutical sectors. The lack of regulation of these companies had led to troubles of the present system, now we’re ready to have the rules rewritten to be even more favorable to them. To that end, passionate speeches are made in Congress, using the testi-

monial technique from commercials, and by the time the bandwagon effect sets in, the heavily-lobbying conglomerates are so happy with the legislation that they’ll contribute even more to their favorite politicians. Such money will be undoubtedly spent on getting re-elected (more PR). We are repeatedly being sold ideas that make no sense. We fought World War II while U.S. Standard Oil fuel additives kept Nazi planes flying. We fought the Cold War in the ’50s, while the Rockefeller family of Standard Oil owned rights to half of Russia’s oil reserves. We’ve been in Afghanistan, while the CIA has funded one-third of the Taliban’s effort and donated millions to President Hamid Karzai’s brother. Now, we’re sending tens of thousands of soldiers to quell rebellion against a government we know is corrupt. I heard Obama’s strategic mentor, Zbigniew Brzezinski give a speech about this Afghanistan situation. Even he says it’s a bad idea, but Obama and his financial backers say they know better. Without public relations, would there ever have been a bill introduced to invade a country that only represents a fraction of the nationalities of the Sept. 11 hijackers? I think the average American would have as much a desire to do so as to invade Sri Lanka. However, when you hear about a devastating event on TV, and the nice people on the news say Afghanistan is to blame, I guess the least you can do is believe them, right?

MIKE BOGACKI -guest columnist -junior -economics major

Light after dark a blessing that can become a curse I

had a week freshman year much like the week I’m currently engaged in. I wasn’t eating regularly and, more importantly, my sleeping patterns were completely different from what my body needed. I felt overwhelmed by academic stress and decided to sacrifice my mind and sanity for whatever points I could gain on whichever assignment was due next. It was in this harried state that I decided, rather than to take a desperately needed nap, to attend a guest lecture for my American Indian studies class. Our lecturer spoke on how it was difficult for native peoples to grasp European concepts — the difficulty had less to do with language barriers and more to do with worldviews. After a brief pause he asked us how different our lives would be without light bulbs. Other than camping, it was hard for me to recall a time without light bulbs — I remember only learning to appreciate neighborhood blackouts as a child after discovering they were perfect excuses for flashlight tag, but even then, I was using artificial light. Our lecturer explained that only recently within evolutionary history have humans stayed awake past nightfall. For tens of thousands of years our species relied on the sun to know when to begin collecting food and when to rest. Research on bimodal sleeping patterns suggests that brief interruptions in a night’s sleep evolved to help groups avoid predators, but only within the past few hundred years

have technological advances altered what constitutes a night’s rest. The changing pattern has also changed expectations, when light bulbs started illuminating our workspaces we suddenly had more hours to do work — often at the expense of our personal wellbeing. We’re in a constant battle to mitigate the dissonance derived from this situation — our physical needs don’t align with the current paradigm that asks us to get more work done than daylight allows. This dissonance is for me especially apparent when I see people asleep in the library drooling over a book, or resting their head on their laptops in Torg Bridge watching “It’s Always Sunny” reruns while fingering a stack of blank index cards. It’s not totally our fault we’re not managing our time well. Surely there must be someone else to blame! My roommates and I decided early on in the semester to blame Thomas Edison. Emblazoned on our living room wall in black block lettering, we painted, “Thomas Edison is the Devil!” The experience of creating our domestic graffiti was instantly cathartic, and our mural serves as a daily reminder to take care of ourselves, and each other. I can recall many days as an overstimulated youth when my mom would tell me to relax and go to bed early. I saw it then as cruel and unusual, but now I would love nothing more than for an authority figure to interrupt my work and demand I go to sleep.

In some cultures, time to relax is informally embedded into the workday, like with the Spanish siesta, and sometimes formally as in France, where citizens in full-time positions are legally required to receive eight weeks of paid vacation per year by their employer. The “demands” are societal, which means they can change. Our adherence to the extra time beyond sundown the light bulb now allows is a cultural phenomenon, and culture is infinitely malleable. My roommates and I rely on our light bulbs — in fact, they illuminate our mural, but we also make each other English-muffin pizzas and decide when it’s time to put down our work and watch “30 Rock.” We’re not bucking the system, but acknowledging its imperfections is necessary to get by, even if we unfairly blame a beloved historical figure. Thomas Edison clearly isn’t the devil. The inventor applied what he new to what he wasn’t yet sure of. Continue to study hard and imbue your academic rigors with curious wandering, but allow yourself to relax. We’ve not evolved to stay awake past sundown, and mindless studying might just leave us in the dark.

CHRISTOPHER COX -regular columnist -senior -communication major

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6Bluesman features returns to Gillie’s DAN WAIDELICH features reporter Matt Walsh’s six-inch orange pompadour is coming to Blacksburg on Friday and he is bringing along his blues with him, too. The musician will play his tunes at Gillie’s as part of its Late Night music series. Walsh, a singer and songwriter form North Carolina, has toured the country with his Chicago blues style that harkens back to music from the 1950s. Walsh spoke with the Collegiate Times over the phone about his influences, the blues and his attention-grabbing haircut.

CT: How did you begin playing the blues? WALSH: I started out listening to all kinds of music and just came across the blues when I was a young kid because it was real accessible. I got into it because of my uncle and he turned me on to Muddy Waters and Lightnin’ Hopkins, all those kinds of guys. I listen to all kinds of music, anything from blues to hip-hop. It’s just that blues has been the only one I really yearned to play. (What) I really get off on playing more than anything is old, nasty Southside Chicago blues from the ’50s. It’s no frills, heavy, emotional kind of music. CT: Gillie’s isn’t exactly Blacksburg’s biggest venue. How do you deal with playing in smaller places like that? WALSH: Well, I think in the past I’ve just gone in there and done it with an archtop (guitar) and a little amp. I’ll just play my archtop or maybe a Les Paul and turn down the amp to do some medium volume stuff. I’ll probably do some original stuff as well as old blues stuff like Muddy Waters or Little Walter. CT: How long have you been writing


Get decked out before hitting the town: Party primped in less than 10 minutes “ FAUZIA ARAIN

mcclatchy newspapers

COLLEGIATE TIMES: Have you been to Blacksburg before? Matt Walsh: Yeah, I’ve been up there before. It’s a real fun town. The first time I played up there about two years ago my granddad had just died a few days before. I came up early and just spent the day there. It was a really refreshing little getaway for me. It’s kind of always been for me ever since. CT: How do you feel about the college town environment? WALSH: Well, I’ve played college towns across the country. When folks come in you just know what kind of town it is.

december 9, 2009 editors: topher forhecz, teresa tobat 540.231.9865


Musician Matt Walsh, who sports a six-inch pompadour modeled after ’50s artists, is bringing his blues music to Gillie’s on Dec. 11.


check it out

Who: Matt Walsh Where: Gillie’s When: Dec. 11 Time: 9:30 p.m. Cost: Free


original music? WALSH: Oh, I’ve been writing stuff ever since I was a kid, you know? Songs, stories, all kinds of stuff. Everything I record, I write. I never record covers because I don’t really see the point. If I’m going to put something on record to be immortal or eternal I’d rather it be my own stuff. I don’t want to do “I’ve Got My Mojo Workin’” because a blues cover like that has been done like 50,000 times. CT: You’ve toured all around the country. Do you find yourself playing to crowds that really want to hear the blues? WALSH: I’ll put it this way. I don’t know if folks go into a bar hungry to hear blues music or if it’s even on their

mind. A lot of times I play the whole gamut where people are coming to see me or places where I’m just a friendly guy at the bar, and then sometimes folks don’t know who I am. One thing I’ve found is that no matter where they are is that folks like blues music and just don’t know it. They don’t know what to call it or they have heard it some other time in their life, and it sticks with them. It’s kind of instilled in us in a way, like a primitive feeling. Folks just kind of connect with that. CT: There aren’t too many people sporting six-inch pompadours these days. Where did the hairstyle come from? WALSH: I’ve had it for the last eight years or so, but it kind of preceded that. When I was about five or six I was really into the band Sha Na Na. I just always liked things from the ’50s. I basically started wearing it like that because I didn’t have anything to do with my hair, so I slicked it back and it just got higher and higher. I saw some photos of Muddy Waters and Little Richard and just started modeling it after that.

Holiday party season is in full swing, whether your sights are set on one special soiree or your calendar is flush with festivities. But in all the rushing between the office and your celebration destination, putting your best face forward can easily fall off your priority list. Don’t fret, because professional makeup artist Shannon O’Brien ( has your back ... and face. “When I think of holiday makeup, two things come to mind — metallic eyes and bold lips,” says O’Brien, who specializes in beauty makeup (weddings, head shots, fashion) and does makeup for ESPN shows “Around the Horn” and “Pardon the Interruption.” “The smoky eye is changing; the shape has become more catlike and angular,” she says, explaining her fresh take on old standbys. “I decided to steer away from the classic holiday red lip and go for a more high-fashion version. A dark wine is so sexy, any woman who wears it oozes confidence.” O’Brien says to avoid feeling flustered and overdoing your face because you’re in a rush, pick a focus — eyes or lips — and then

When I think of holiday makeup, two things come to mind — metallic eyes and bold lips. SHANNON O’BRIEN PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP ARTIST

follow her easy instructions. Either look can be done in a few snappy steps that clock in at less than 10 minutes each, and both pack a glam, festive punch. HOLIDAY EYES 1. Sweep silver from Too Faced Eye Shadow Duo in “Ooh & Aah” ($17) all over the lid with a blending brush. 2. Use an angled brush to work the black shadow into the lash line, from the center of the eye to slightly above the outer corner of the eye for “cat eyed” look. 3. Use the blending brush to blend the black shadow into the crease and sweep out past the outer corner of the eye toward the end of your brow. 4. Fill in your brow with the Anastasia Go Brow ($21) pencil and trace the highlighting end across your brow bone just under your brow. Blend with your fingertips. 5. Trim a strip of fake lashes to

match the length of your lash line. Apply a dental floss-width of adhesive to the lash band with a Q-tip. Allow adhesive to get a bit tacky and place directly above the lash line. 6. Finally, bronze your cheeks and apply nude lipstick and shimmery gloss.

HOLIDAY LIPS 1. Prep your pout with a balm or primer and line your lips with Mac lip pencil in “Currant” ($13). You can follow your natural lip line or, to create fuller lips, trace just outside your natural lip line. 2. Now that you have the perfect shape, fill in the lip with Mac Cremesheen lipstick in “Hang-Up” ($14). This lipstick has a patent leather finish, so there is no need to gloss. 3. To complement, but not distract from your lip, sweep a shimmery, sand-colored shadow across your lid. Blend a warm midtone brown into the crease extending toward the end of your brow. 4. Use Mary-Lou Manizer AKA “The Luminizer” ($22) to highlight the center of the eyelid and the high points of your cheeks, creating a golden holiday glow. 5. Add your favorite rosy blush and black mascara, and you are out the door.

94-year-old fitness legend alive and kickin’ BARBARA GLASONE mcclatchy newspapers SANTA ANA, Calif. — Agile and upbeat, fitness fanatic Jack LaLanne is still tossing lifelines to those he says are “exceeding the feed limit.” His advice has outlived diet and exercise fads promoted long before America was declared an obese nation. Remember, he’s the guy who, at age 60, swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf towing a 1,000pound boat. Ten years later, he wore handcuffs while pulling 70 boats with 70 people in them 1.5 miles in Long Beach Harbor. OK, maybe his biceps don’t bulge as much today. But at 94, who’s measuring? LaLanne and his wife of 54 years, Elaine, traveled from their Morro Bay, Calif., home to Fullerton College this month to motivate the staff to stress a healthy lifestyle in the classroom. Meeting first in an administrative office, the guests were greeted by balloon hobbyist Jack Mattson’s blow-up rendition of the legendary bodybuilder. “Holy cripes,” said LaLanne, squeezing the pumped up balloons. “These muscles are soft. He’s got to put on a lot more weight. But he looks a heck of a lot better than I do.” That’s debatable when you learn the 5-foot-5, 150-pound nonagenarian still exercises twice a day in his home gym and swims a half hour daily. “I tell people, in the morning Jack rolls out of bed, and I roll over,” Elaine LaLanne interrupted. The couple enjoys throwing their wit around, but at the same time they are dead serious about keeping humanity fit.


Balloon artist Jack Mattson created a likenss of 94-year-old fitness great Jack LaLanne, which includes his toned physique and muscles. For the most part, it’s Jack LaLanne who takes control of a room, soliciting questions, and then diving into his litany for life. He subscribes to a daily breakfast of four egg whites with three pieces of fruit. The whole egg, he says, is 70 calories; the egg white is 15 and holds all the protein. He only eats at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. with no between-meal snacking. And his juicer regimen has survived seven decades from the time he had to use a press type for ground-up fruits and vegetables to today’s version with a high-output induction motor still sold at major department stores. “People should exercise a half hour, three times a week,” LaLanne said. “And when you work out, don’t take a rest.” He changes his routine every 30 days to avoid monotony. “For one month, exercise real fast,

and then the next month slow down,” he said. It’s hard to imagine the San Francisco Bay-area native was a sickly child with acne, headaches and an uncontrollable temper. His mother sculpted a “sugarholic” when she regularly rubbed her toddler’s teeth with a blend of cornstarch and sugar to keep him happy. At age 15, LaLanne met a lecturer, Paul Bragg, who would change the teenager’s devil-may-care lifestyle. The gangly kid learned that the food one eats does the walking and talking for life, that exercise increases circulation to the brain. LaLanne went on to devise some of the nation’s first health equipment, to open the first health studio and to stay a course of helping others “obey the laws of nature.” In his hourlong talk to the college staff, LaLanne said it is sad many schools are eliminating physical education classes. “Every high-end hotel has a gym; P.E. should be compulsory in the schools,” he said, drawing the attention of campus athletic trainer Scott Giles. The instructor said he has gone back to teaching the same basic weight-bearing exercises LaLanne initiated years ago.

december 9, 2009

page 7

LooP In the

If you would like an event featured in our calendar, e-mail with event details, including cost.

Wondering what's going on around the 'burg? Check out the events of the upcoming week.

[Thursday, Dec. 10] What: Old Sledge Where: Gillie's When: 7 p.m. Cost: Free

[Friday, Dec. 11] What: Roanoke Symphony Holiday Picnic at the Pops Where: Roanoke Civic Center When: 5:30 p.m. Cost: $20-$42

[Saturday, Dec. 12] What: Student Soloist Competition Where: Squires Recital Salon When: 2 p.m. Cost: Free

State police to establish scholarship for slain student LIANA BAYNE

[Monday, Dec. 14] What: Tai Chi Where: Art Pannonia When: 7 p.m. Cost: $35 per month

[Tuesday, Dec. 15] What: Advanced Art Classes With instructor Peter Garbera, Virginia Tech graduate and artist-in-residence Where: Art Pannonia When: 5:30 p.m. Cost: $40 per month

[Wednesday, Dec. 16]

What: Wednesday Garden Walk — Greenhouse Tour and a look at Easy Indoor Plants What: The Nutcracker Presented by the Southwest Virginia Ballet Where: Garden Pavilion Where: Roanoke Civic Center When: Noon When: 7 p.m. Cost: Free Cost: $15-$38 Exercise your body while you exercise your What: Blacksburg Master Chorale: Messiah and More mind. Stop by a group exercise Where: Blacksburg Presyterian Church class in McComas Hall during exam When: 7:30 p.m. week and take a break from studying. Cost: Free All group exercise classes, from abs to zumba, are free for students during exam week so you can relieve some [Sunday, Dec. 13] stress and boost your energy for exams. What: Traditional Bluegrass/Mountain Music Jam Where: Floyd Country Store When 2 p.m. Cost: Free for


news reporter The American Association of State Troopers Scholarship Foundation will award more than 170 college scholarships totaling nearly $115,000 this school year in memory of slain Virginia Tech sophomore Heidi Childs. Childs, who would have turned 19 today was found dead in August along with her boyfriend, sophomore David Metzler, in a forest area in northern Montgomery County. Childs’ father, Sgt. Donald Childs, is a member of the AAST. Last July, Childs had applied for a scholarship toward her pre-med major through the AAST’s scholarship foundation. Because Childs had been approved to receive the money before August, the AAST awarded the $500 scholarship to her family to help offset costs associated with her death. AAST executive director Ken Howes said that the board of directors felt it would be “appropriate considering what had happened” to posthumously award the scholarship money to Childs’ family. “It was very sad to see her name on the check,” Howes said. All scholarships awarded by the Association’s scholarship foundation this school year will be given in Childs’ memory. Recipients of these scholarships are children of members of the AAST.

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december 9, 2009

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december 9, 2009

page 9

10 sports

editors: joe crandley, alex jackson 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

december 9, 2009

Diaz quietly making his mark on the mat for Tech wrestling MICHAEL BEALEY sports staff writer

Most first-graders are content with going to school and playing with their friends. But Chris Diaz decided to ditch the sandbox for the wrestling mat. “I started wrestling in first-grade, one of my friends was doing it, and so that’s what got me into it,” Diaz said. The junior from Camden, Del., in the 141-pound division, went 33-12 and finished second in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament last year. Diaz also qualified for his first NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Round of 12. Diaz was mentored by the father of current Oklahoma State wrestler Alex Meade. Both Meade and Diaz graduated from Caesar Rodney High School where Meade won three state-championships and Diaz won two. Meade’s father “pretty much was like my second dad, whatever he did I did,” Diaz said. “That’s what really got me to the level where I was at to get recruited.” As a true freshman, Diaz started in the 141-pound division and finished the season 14-17. “Transitioning to college my first year here it was so much different

than high school wrestling,” Diaz said. “Everyone can wrestle, day in and day out it was tough. You got to keep your mind focused wrestling a tough guy each time.” “He made a big jump from his first year to his second year,” said head coach Kevin Dresser. “I think just in terms of toughness, if Chris has a chink in his armor, sometimes he takes the bottom position and takes a break down there and that’s what kind of got him beat.” Diaz had a breakout season in his second year and nearly qualified for All-America status last year, but fell just one win short. “We talked, and all summer his goal ... and my goal for him too is to be top three in the country,” assistant coach Nate Yetzer said. “I think anything less than that, I know me and him too are going to be a little bit disappointed if he gets anything less than that,” Yetzer continued. “He’s definitely capable of placing that high — it’s how he performs out there and a little bit of want to.” While Diaz and his coaches have set the bar high, Dresser said it all comes down to preparation. “I think his preparation has to get better if he wants to be top eight in the nation because there’s a fine line

between top eight and top 16,” Dresser said. “He has to prepare. He has to get it done during the week a little bit more.” “He’s making those strides, but he needs to continue to do that,” he added. “He’s definitely skill-wise and ability-wise, has that in him. But there’s a lot of work to be done between today and March 1 to make that happen.” Diaz’s quiet persona contrasts the intense nature of wrestling. While toughness and physicality permeate the sport, Diaz takes a completely different approach. He opts to outwit his opponents and use the wrestling knowledge Dresser has been impressed with since his arrival at Tech, which isn’t surprising considering Diaz was a three-time academic All-State selection in high school. “Some kids you can show some technique and it might take years to sink in, but for Chris, things sink in real fast and he’s able to execute,” Dresser said. Even though Diaz may excel individually, but Dresser feels he could improve on his leadership skills. “As far as a team guy, he’s kind of a quiet leader,” Dresser said. “I wish he would get more involved with the team at times. I think he does a good job leading, especially when he competes.” After establishing himself as a top performer in the ACC last season, Diaz didn’t take his past accomplishments for granted. Instead, he trained


Virginia Tech junior wrestler Chris Diaz attempts to make a move on an opposing wrestler during Tech’s meet Nov. 7 when it hosted Chattanooga and Kent State in War Memorial Gym to begin the year. harder to continue his success. “He’s put in a lot more time, his wrestling has gotten better and so has his strength,” Yetzer said. “He came in and he was kind of a small 141-pounder. I

think the time he put in the summer was the biggest thing. He’s just grown into it more.” Given the expectations and added pressure, Diaz believes he can rise to

the occasion this season. “I want to keep on getting better, and I want to separate the gap between me and my competition ... by going after guys that are ahead of me,” Diaz said.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 Print Edition  

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 Print Edition of The Collegiate Times