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Breaking down the Cassell doors.

LUKE MASON/SPPS Students lined up from Cassell Coliseum to Kent Square for free admission to the men’s basketball game last Saturday.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

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‘Going away party’ bids Morgan farewell “

GORDON BLOCK news reporter ROANOKE — The memories and goodwill of a community turned what could have been considered a funeral into a celebration of life for recently deceased Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington. Standing at the front of Roanoke’s St. Andrews Catholic Church, Gil Harrington spoke about the wild ride she and her husband faced in the search for their missing daughter Morgan, which took them from “Dr. Phil to Capitol Hill and everywhere in between.” “We went to a heavy metal concert,” Harrington said, “you got your papa on Facebook and me writing a blog. Who would have ever imagined such a thing?” Gil Harrington said she and her son, Alex, were looking into getting a tattoo to commemorate Morgan. “We did check it out, but so far we’re still testing the concept out with sharpie. It’s coming,” Harrington said, holding up her left wrist, dotted with the family’s “2-4-1” logo, standing for “I love you too much, forever, once more.” The service brought out several hundred to the church from locations as far as West Virginia and Ohio, despite the dangerous road conditions and icy weather that Morgan’s father Dan Harrington would call “frozen tears from the heavens.” Harrington said it was “not the day we would’ve liked.” “I kind of thought I’d be coming to celebrate Morgan’s graduation, or perhaps her marriage, or perhaps the baptism of her children,” Dan Harrington said. “But no, we’re here to celebrate the end of her life.” Following the Friday afternoon Mass came a reception at the nearby Hotel Roanoke. Despite the circumstances, the reception had a cheery atmosphere. A mix of upbeat pop and country music set the tone for the evening, with two projectors beaming into the corner of the room a montage of family photos and home video of Morgan. Attendees were greeted to the reception with a downpour of bubbles from a machine hanging over the entrance. Gil Harrington, who celebrated her birthday Feb. 1, said the reception’s tone was intentional. “It’s important to end Morgan’s life with a smile, seeing that she brought smiles to so many people,” Harrington said. “We wanted a real celebration of her life and a going away party.” The reception hall was stocked with artifacts from Morgan’s life. A table on the side of the room displaying some of her favorite belongings touched on the many aspects of her life. A red dress she wore for prom. A pile containing at least 100 CDs. An essay assignment that she completed about a family vacation when she was 10 years old, for which she received an A-minus. Several small pieces of jewelry, including a watch based on the cartoon character “Hello Kitty.” A black trunk situated to the left of the table was decked with several bumper stickers, with a pair of red Converse sneakers hand-marked with small flames placed on top. Behind the table was a clothesline featuring T-shirts from Virginia Tech, her high school volleyball team and a black shirt made for the Metallica concert she attended in Charlottesville the night she went missing. Gil Harrington said while she had some ideas for what to put on display, she eventually had a family friend make the final decisions. “Everything (at home) speaks of Morgan,” Harrington said. see FUNERAL / page three

I kind of thought I’d be coming to celebrate Morgan’s graduation, or perhaps her marriage, or perhaps the baptism of her children. But no, we’re here to celebrate the end of her life. ... She was a good daughter, and we loved her. DAN HARRINGTON FATHER

Harrington’s service, held at St. Andrews Catholic Church in Roanoke, commemorated SAM DEAN/ROANOKE TIMES Morgan’s life and memories.

Hokies take down Tigers, 70-59 RAY NIMMO sports reporter Despite a horrid first-half shooting performance, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team played suffocating defense and made clutch free throws to defeat the Clemson Tigers, 70-59, Saturday at Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies improved to 18-4 overall and 5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The win also marked Tech’s 1,300th win in program history. “It was a typical Clemson-Virginia Tech game,” head coach Seth Greenberg said. “Not aesthetically attractive, but obviously great intensity and a great sense of urgency on the defensive end.” Junior guard Malcolm Delaney played all 40 minutes and finished with 30 points, five rebounds and two steals. He was 20-for-23 at the free-throw line, which tied the school record for free throws made. In total, Tech shot 46 free throws and made 38. The Hokies’ ability to draw fouls and create mismatches undoubtedly propelled them to victory. “I guess the practice facility paid some dividends,” Greenberg said, “because we were 38-for-46 from the line, and we probably shot more free throws this year than we’ve ever shot.” Greenberg requires each player to make 100 free throws at practice. “We actually have baskets,” Greenberg said. “It’s hard to have everyone make 100 free throws when you practiced in the Cassell and you had two baskets. It’s pretty easy when you have eight baskets. You can get through that in about 20 minutes.” One of the mismatches was Delaney versus Clemson forward Trevor Booker. Booker, considered one of the best players in the ACC, struggled with foul trouble — two fouls were caused directly by Delaney’s fake shot. “I know they’re an aggressive team and like to block shots,” Delaney said. “I took it upon myself to get Booker in foul trouble. I know he likes to block

MICHAEL MCDERMOTT/SPPS

Tech forward Cadarian Raines attempts to block a shot Saturday. shots. I shot one and he jumped from almost the free throw line to block it, so I said, ‘Next time I’m going to pump fake him.’ He jumped. I just outsmart people.” The Hokies held Booker to just seven points, which is eight points fewer than his season average of 15.4. “We made a choice,” Greenberg said. “Pick your poison. Obviously (David) Potter had a pretty good game, but we didn’t want Booker to get going because he’s such an emotional leader for their team. Guarding him for 23 minutes sure is a lot better than having to guard him for 40 because that guy is a beast.” “Coach Greenberg’s strategy

(helped us win),” junior forward Terrell Bell said. “He always comes up with something new and good for us. We work on it in practice as hard as we can. Double down on Booker and get a feel for what he’s going to do. Once he started passing out, we adjusted to it. I think that helped us, and we got big rebounds.” Things didn’t start out as well as Tech would have liked. Clemson bolted out to a 9-1 lead on the strength of good in-the-paint defense and Tech foul trouble. It took Tech almost eight minutes to score its first field goal, and it finished its first half 4-for-26 in shooting. With that kind of poor offense, most teams would buckle and be

blown out, but the Hokies know how to play defense and know how to win close games this year. “That’s the type of team we have,” Delaney said. “We can win games shooting 15 percent in the first half. That shows what type of team we are. Not many teams can do that and get stops. A lot of teams probably would have been down 15 to 20 (points). We’re going to fight regardless. We were diving on the floor. JT (Thompson) took a charge today — that’s like his first career charge. We just do all the dirty work.” Delaney converted two free throws with 1:10 left in the first half to give Tech its first lead of the game, and it went into halftime with a 29-27 lead. The second half featured back-andforth action for the first five minutes as both teams were unable to string together a run. Booker took his fourth foul with 13:14 left. That allowed Tech’s offense to open up and defense to clamp down. The Hokies went on a 9-2 run after that and never looked back. “In the second half, we decided we couldn’t run the offense because they were so aggressive,” Greenberg said. “We were just going to spread the court, set some spread-ball screens and try to drive.” The Hokies put the final nail in the Tigers’ coffin when Bell chased down Demontez Stitt on a breakaway and blocked his layup. This energized the Hokies to close out the game with swarming defense. Junior forward Jeff Allen had key steals late in the game. He finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four steals. Clemson could no longer win battles in the paint, and the Hokies improved to 12-0 at Cassell Coliseum. “He’s got such long arms,” Greenberg said. “He made two great plays. (Allen going for steals) is sometimes feast or famine, but today we’re eating well.” Tech travels to North Carolina State on Wednesday for a bout with the Wolfpack. Tip-off is at 9 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPNU.

Super Bowl breaks viewership record RUSS BRITT mcclatchy newspapers LOS ANGELES — Sunday’s Super Bowl, in which the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts, broke a 27-year-old viewership record set by the comedy series “MASH,” CBS executives said Monday. The network said the Saints’ 31-17 victory beat the record set in 1983 with the “MASH” series finale, also broadcast by CBS. Sunday’s game in Miami was seen by 106.5 million viewers, the network said. The last “MASH” episode drew in just under 106 million viewers. Super Bowl XLIV was the first NFL championship game to crack the 100million viewer mark. Thanks to an interception late in the fourth quarter in Sunday’s game by New Orleans cornerback Tracy Porter, the Saints thwarted a drive by quarterback Peyton Manning and the Colts that could have tied the contest. Porter ran back the interception 74 yards for a touchdown, putting the Saints ahead by two touchdowns with just a few minutes left to play. As a result, New Orleans won and its quarterback, Drew Brees, took MVP honors for the game. The victory completed the Saints’ long quest for their first championship; the team entered the league in 1967 as an expansion franchise. The Saints had endured decades of futility as one of the NFL’s leastrespected franchises, in which fans at one point wore bags over their heads to games. Adding to the drama was New Orleans’ struggle to recover since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and flooded three-fourths of the city. Team members, including Brees, have been rallying to the city’s cause in helping with the rebuilding efforts.


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february 9, 2010

blacksburg headlines

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new river valley news editor: zach crizer university editor: philipp9,kotlaba february 2010 newseditor@collegiatetimes.com/540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

‘Midwinter’ safari

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Jackson’s doctor pleaded not guilty

Burruss tunnel closed for repairs

LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson’s personal physician entered a plea of not guilty Monday afternoon at a standingroom-only arraignment attended by Jackson’s parents and several siblings. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Keith L. Schwartz set bail for Conrad Murray at $75,000 — three times the standard for involuntary manslaughter cases. The judge also forbade Murray from prescribing heavy sedatives, including propofol, to his patients. Earlier Monday, prosecutors charged Murray with involuntary manslaughter in connection with administering a combination of surgical anesthetic and sedatives blamed in the music legend’s death last summer. by harriet ryan, victoria kim, jack leonard and richard winton, mcclatchy newspapers

The pedestrian tunnel under Burruss Hall is closed for repairs until Mar. 19. According to a campus notice, University Planning, Design, and Construction shut down the tunnel on Feb. 6 to demolish the tunnel area’s concrete. Both entrances remain open, but two sets of gates in the center section and yellow caution tape on the side facing McBryde seal off the remainder. The CNS switch room and Preventative Maintenance office are the two areas primarily affected by the renovations. by ct news staff

At collegiatetimes.com Answer the question to our new poll: “How well has the area around your home and car been plowed?”

Iran’s uranium enrichment

And here are the results from our old poll: How much money have you donated to Haiti? -Spare change: 36% -$1-25: 43% -$26-50: 11% -$51-100: 4% -more than $100: 7%

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CORRECTIONS JUSTIN GRAVES -Contact our public editor at publiceditor@ collegiatetimes.com if you see anything that needs to be corrected.

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nation & world headlines

Students make the most of the 117th annual Midwinters Dance on Feb. 6. The event, themed “An African Adventure” and sponsored by the German Club, preserves many of its original traditions, including a live band — this year, the Dickens — and an invitation to every Tech student. photo by johnathan pippin/spps

WASHINGTON — Iran told the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog Monday it will begin producing purer uranium, a step experts said could bring Tehran significantly closer to having the fuel for a nuclear weapon. Iran plans to enrich uranium at its Natanz centrifuge plant to nearly 20 percent purity, a much purer form of the metal than it’s achieved thus far, it informed the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency. If Iran follows through, “it’s a really bad development from a proliferation point of view,” said David Albright, who closely follows Iran’s nuclear development. Iran’s leaders insist the country’s nuclear work is for peaceful purposes, and even if the country had bomb-grade fuel, it would need to fashion a nuclear warhead and a means to deliver it to become a nuclear power. by warren p. strobel, mcclatchy newspapers


february 9, 2010

page 3

Funeral: Gathering celebrates Morgan Harrington’s life from page one

The room featured several pieces of artwork Morgan had completed in her lifetime, including a self-portrait on the outside of the room and a plate she had painted for her mother. “She was a very talented artist,” Dan Harrington said. One set of friends, who along with Morgan went by the unofficial nickname “The Nine,” came out in full force. Two of the friends, Maggie Herrick and Jordan Fitzgerald, sported new tattoos in memory of their lost friend, which they got Wednesday in Norfolk. “I’velostfriendsbefore,”saidFitzgerald, a junior psychology and criminal justice major at Old Dominion University. “Losing a friend like this is different.” Fitzgerald sported the digits “241” on her right wrist and said she was in the process of getting a second tattoo to commemorate her friend, which could come in the form of a replica of Harrington’s artwork. Herrick, who had been friends with Harrington since she was six years old, remembered her friend’s unique personality on display when the two played on a soccer team together. “She ran up and down the field making rocket ship and laser sounds,” Herrick said. “Everybody was laughing so hard they almost couldn’t play.” Herrick’s wrists featured “241” and “MDH” in a large swirling black font. “Everybody who knows Morgan has a story to tell,” Herrick said. “Knowing Morgan ... we can’t not be upbeat.” Others came to the reception to share in the Harrington family’s grief. Connie Miller, a family friend who lives in an adjacent neighborhood to the Harrington family, said she knew the family through her two children, who graduated from high school at the same time as Morgan and her older brother Alex. Miller, whose oldest son, Kevin, committed suicide in April 2007, said she had met with the family earlier in the week. “Losing people you love does not discriminate,” Miller said. “No matter what the circumstance, losing a child pains the same.” Stephen McNally, who led the day’s Mass service, said faith was critical in moving past tragedy. “For people of faith, life is changed, not ended,” McNally said. “There’s something beyond life.” McNally, who came for the service from Transfiguration Catholic Church of Fincastle, Va., said Morgan’s memory would touch others. “Morgan in her own way lived very authentically,” McNally said, noting her community service efforts with the youth and the mentally disabled. “She had the grace to do things that were very mature for her age.”

SAM DEAN/ROANOKE TIMES

More than 600 people attended a memorial Mass for Virginia Tech student Morgan Dana Harrington on Friday, Feb. 5 held at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Roanoke. Dan remembered that Morgan had not enjoyed her first year while at Tech, saying she was frequently homesick. “I knew the Smart Bus schedule pretty well,” Harrington joked, referring to the shuttle that drives from Blacksburg to Roanoke. However, Harrington said his daughter’s enjoyment of school increased over time, especially after moving off-campus, where she shared an apartment in the Foxridge community. “She started to like Tech a lot more,” he said. Dan Harrington mentioned that he was impressed with his daughter’s rising maturity. “She grew a lot to the point where we had an adult relationship,” said Harrington. With Morgan Harrington receiving what Gil called a “proper burial,” many questions remain concerning how Morgan died. The remains of 20-year-old

Harrington, a junior education major, were found Jan. 26 by a farmer at Anchorage Farm property, approximately 10 miles from Charlottesville’s Copeley Road Bridge, where she was last seen alive. Virginia State Police confirmed Wednesday that Morgan’s death was a homicide. There has been no determination on a cause or time of Harrington’s death. Dan Harrington said he frequently checked Internet blogs along with a Facebook memorial page made for his daughter for updates on Morgan’s case. Harrington said his daughter’s death had left him “numb.” “How could somebody murder this?” Harrington asked, pointing to the large projector screen displaying a picture of Morgan. “She was a good daughter and we loved her.” Gil Harrington said her main goal was to find her daughter and less to seek revenge.

“He’ll receive his punishment,” Harrington said of her daughter’s unknown assailant. “I’m confident they will find him.” Dan Harrington also spoke highly of the newly formed scholarship in his daughter’s name for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, along with a charity drive for Orphan Medical Network International (OMNI). Gil Harrington, a nurse, had been to Zambia several times to assist with the group’s medical efforts. OMNI recently announced that it would rename a portion of the George Compound near Ndola, Zambia the “Morgan Harrington Educational Wing.” For the time being, those who knew Morgan will find solace in her memory. “She was so unique, words fall short of describing her,” said friend Maggie Herrick.

SAM DEAN/ROANOKE TIMES

Attendees recieved ribbons with the Harrington family motto, “2-4-1.”


4YMCAfeatures hosts alternative

editor: topher forhecz featureseditor@collegiatetimes.com/ 540.231.9865

february 9, 2010

spring breaks for students looking for service projects CHELSEA GUNTER features staff writer While some students are planning beach vacations or even a full week of home-cooked meals from mom, 20 Hokies are preparing for hurricane reconstruction and a hike up the Appalachian Trail. Virginia Tech’s YMCA was founded in 1873. Since then, the organization has formed “alternative service breaks,” a program where students pay their way to give back to communities over their fall, winter or spring breaks. These alternative service breaks are traditionally led and coordinated by students. “Students are capable of leading these programs and put their own strengths to the test by managing group dynamics and safety,” said Sandy Wirt, associate director of YMCA Student Programs. The programs generally include eight to 10 students, including two student leaders. Originally launched in the 1980s, the program has included trips to the Gulf Coast, South Dakota, Florida and the Dominican Republic. “Students got to see really diverse organizations with a variety of needs from the homeless to only Spanishspeaking communities,” Wirt said. “The point is to push people’s boundaries beyond the comfort of our own experiences we have on a day-to-day basis.” This spring break offers two service trips. The first opportunity is a reconstruction service in Galveston, Texas, an area that is still recovering from Hurricane Ike, which hit in September 2008. Sarit Cliffer, a junior mechanical engineering major, is one of the leaders for this trip. Cliffer, who has now led several trips, is a student representative on the YMCA Board of Directors as well as the YMCA council. “I love volunteering,” Cliffer said. “It’s construction based projects that show the difference you’ve made.” This year’s service project hits particularly close to home for Cliffer. “I was born in Galveston and have wanted to go back,” said Cliffer, “and this opportunity has provided the chance.”

Though the trips are focused on service and hard work, they have their lighter moments. On Cliffer’s first trip as a leader in Waveland, Miss., the homeowners did not inform youth coordinator Kenny Mills what colors to paint a closet, so the group jokingly suggested maroon and orange. “The next day, the guy comes in with maroon and orange paint and we made a Tech logo in order to leave our mark,” Cliffer said. While 10 Hokies plan to reconstruct in Texas, the other all-female trip involves a hike on the Appalachian Trail. These Tech students will partner with women’s shelters along the trail in order to pay a tribute to a Tech alumna who was killed on her adventure up the mountain. The book, “Eight Bullets: One Woman’s Story of Surviving Anti-Gay Violence” by Claudia Brenner, inspired the trip. The story is about Brenner and her partner, who was killed as a result of anti-gay violence during an Appalachian Trail adventure they took together. “The story struck a chord with me because I want to hike the Appalachian Trail one day,” said trip leader Ayla Wilk, a junior chemistry and biochemistry major. “I always hear people asking me if I’m going by myself, and I feel like it’s because I’m a girl.” Wilk is looking forward to the trip because it combines her passion for the outdoors and her desire to motivate women. “I see that girls are more cautious,” Wilk said, “and I want an answer and a way to challenge that viewpoint so women can overcome that stigma and fear that surround us because of stories like ‘Eight Bullets.’” While the upcoming spring break trips are full, Wirt urges those students interested in volunteering to contact her. “These opportunities will change your life,” Wirt said. “It sounds really cliche, but when a trip is done right and the work is meaningful, and not necessarily meaningful to you but meaningful to the organization, you really come to respect how much of a role you can play in a short period of time.”

COLLEGIATETIMES

Beer culture in Blacksburg is brewing LIZ NORMENT features reporter For most college students, little more thought is put into purchasing beer than what case is cheapest at Kroger. Although the more economical beers may be more compelling for shotgunning and beer bongs, Blacksburg offers many diverse options for students interested in seasoning their beer-drinking palate. Caitlin Cox, a senior history major, never had much of an interest in different types of beers. After hearing about the free beer tastings at the Vintage Cellar every Friday, Cox now rarely misses the weekly event. “I never realized there were so many diverse options,” Cox said. “Just coming here every week I’ve been able to try so many different beers and really appreciate the complexity of each.” The Vintage Cellar, primarily a wine store, has been hosting weekly beer tastings for more than 10 years. The store offers more than 800 different types of beers from rich lagers to hoppy pale ales. Trent Crabtree has been working at the Vintage Cellar for two and a half years and is a certified sommelier, a French term for a wine, beer and cigar expert. He also hosts most of the beer tastings. Originally from Kansas City, Crabtree came to Blacksburg on a whim and has since been charmed by the town’s avid beer culture. “This is a beer town if I’ve ever seen one,” Crabtree said. “I’ve never been in an area where so many people brew their own beer and brew extremely well.” One of the more popular local brews, Shooting Creek, is an example of how prosperous the beer culture has become. “I think the people at Shooting Creek really had no idea how good they were when they started or that they would become as popular as they are,” Crabtree said. Shooting Creek brewery is located in Floyd County and distributes exclusively to the New River Valley. One of the most unique things about this microbrewery is the use of fresh, organic ingredients, with almost all ingredients used in the beers on a farm beside the brewery. Aside from large-scale local endeavors, brewing in Blacksburg takes place in a much smaller capacity. Senior Ryan Flynn is among many locals who brew their own beer at home.

“My roommates and I have been brewing for the past couple of years,” Flynn said. “We just look up recipes online and try to make different ones every time.” Flynn gained more of an interest in the malted beverages after traveling to Colorado and seeing the passion people have for beer. “Each trip I took, I probably tasted 50 beers. It made me realize how many different flavors there are,” Flynn said. Part of his attraction to Blacksburg’s beer culture is its laid-back atmosphere. “It’s a really open, fun culture compared to wine,” Flynn said. “People aren’t really judging the beers, they just like drinking it.” Since graduating in December, Flynn now devotes much of his time in Blacksburg to developing an idea that will hopefully help to unite fellow beer aficionados in the area. Working with a group of five sophomores in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Flynn is creating a social networking Web site for beer enthusiasts. “The idea for the site is basically taking what Facebook has done and making it for more of a niche type of market,” Flynn said. The site, which the group hopes to have running by April, will connect beer drinkers and provide information on all aspects of the culture. Many restaurants in the area produce their own unique types of beers such as Bull and Bones, which has six types of beers brewed in the back of the facility. Combined with the

MARK UMANSKY/SPPS The Vintage Cellar is one of the places locally that holds regular beer tastings.

many wallet-friendly watering holes available, Flynn believes there’s no better time to experience the area’s beer scene than now. Or at least at 5 p.m. “People need to start expanding their horizons on beer and they’ll be

really surprised at how amazing and diverse the options are,” Flynn said. “And after all, lots of them have a much higher alcohol percentage than the cheap ones, so you get just as drunk off of a six pack as you would on a 12 pack.”


opınıons 5

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

february 9, 2010

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

Your Views [letters to the editor]

America needs no mandate

W

hy is it that so many people use the argument that America is the only industrialized nation that does not have universal health care? Since when did America, or Americans, start caring what the rest of the world is doing? Our Founding Fathers did not want their new nation to follow the mold of all the old countries in Europe. It is not by chance that America remains a beacon of freedom in the world. It is not by following others that America became the wealthiest nation in the world. The fact is that Americans have never wanted socialized medicine, nor do they want it now. This is displayed throughout our history. To name a few failed attempts: Teddy Roosevelt in 1912, Harry Truman in 1947 and 1949, and Bill Clinton in 1993. This same opinion is displayed today in the stunning victories of the Republicans in New Jersey and Massachusetts. President Barack Obama often speaks of the reform America demanded of him and that is exactly what we wanted, not a government takeover. There is talk of making health insurance cheaper for everyone, but no talk of how that is going to happen. It is as if by magic that costs will suddenly drop when

the government gets its hands into the matter. What is often left out of the debate is that the U.S. government is already the nation’s largest insurer, and billions are lost to waste and fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. I challenge you to find any example of when a government program has reduced the cost of anything. To those that say the current bill is not a government takeover, listen to what the politicians themselves have said. There is a number of them that wants to eventually get to the so-called single payer system (Obama included). This bill is seen by that group as a foot in the door toward their goal. There are two easy solutions that should be tried before such drastic measures as a comprehensive bill. These are putting insurance on the free market, and capping what lawyers can make in medical malpractice suits. Washington is too busy playing politics to do what is really best for the country. America shouldn’t jump off the bridge just because its friends have. We should continue to be the world leaders by following the principles that got us here.

Kyle Kelley graduate student mining engineering

[sga] Hokie Day has huge impact Last week on a very chilly Wednesday morning, more than 50 Virginia Tech undergraduate and graduate students made their way up an icy hill to a building that served as the offices of some of the greatest men and women in the history of the state of Virginia — The Richmond Capitol. Students had devoted an entire 24 hours away from classes, from studying, and from friends to represent the student body of Tech. The students pled with their legislators asking them to think about higher education and what it means to the state. What does higher education mean to Virginia? Virginia is the home to eight United States presidents, one of which made education for everyone his dream. In a letter to Joseph Cabell, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “A system of general education, which shall reach every description of our citizens from the richest to the poorest, as it was the earliest, so will it be the latest of all the public concerns in which I shall permit myself to take an interest.” Now Virginia ranks 40th in the nation in per capita student spending for higher education funding, making it much more difficult for the richest to the poorest students to have an opportunity at receiving a college education. The state cannot expect the public universities we have in Virginia, especially Tech, to maintain their positions as high ranking institutions without adequate funding. One of the great things about our state is the high quality public higher education we have to offer college students. Students graduate high school from all over the country and come to Tech, and we still manage to maintain a good retention of Virginia residents. Without the state doing its part we can’t stay competitive with other major institutions. Why should Tech receive more state funding and why do we lobby for it? The latest edition of VT Magazine contains an article written by Laura Fornash and Ralph Byers about the importance of Hokie Day and its impact on the university. In fact, Tech was founded on legislative advocacy. In 1866, Virginians urged the General Assembly to create a new agriculture and mechanical school to use funds allocated from the Morrill Land-Grant Act. After six years of fighting, legislation was finally passed in March 1872 allocating the land-grant funds to two colleges, one-third to the Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute and twothirds to the Preston and Olin Institute, which reorganized to create the new Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, which we now know as Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. If you’ve ever wondered why you see “a land grant university” on letterheads and stationery, this is why. Through these same efforts of what our school was founded

on, we still fight for that same funding. A college cannot be funded by the state and then be expected to fend for itself; Tech receives only 33 percent of its funding from the state with the rest being made up by tuition, and the funding from the state will only decrease leading to a significant increase in tuition. Ten years ago Tech was receiving $190.1 million from the state, and today it only receives $135.6 million, even though our enrollment has increased. You might ask, “Why should I get involved, no one listens to the youth voice?” Wrong. College students carry some of the strongest messages when they visit the General Assembly. On Hokie Day we didn’t go shooting off these numbers to our representatives in hopes that they would see the big picture — that is President Charles Steger’s job. We showed them the big picture. Students came from all parts of the state to tell their stories of fewer class offerings, classroom shortages, fewer university part time jobs, standing-room only in classes, tuition increases turning into part-time and full-time jobs for students, and how all these are having a negative impact on families. While families already struggle to put their kids through school, tuition increases are just another burden put on their shoulders. What is so great about the Virginia General Assembly, unlike other state assemblies or congresses, is that it is a citizen legislature, which means it only convenes session for two months a year at most, and the rest of the year the elected officials go home and resume their lives as normal citizens instead of working year-round. This is important because they have a real connection with those they represent and they know their demographic and concerns from constituents are that much stronger. Fifty students cannot represent the more than 25,000 who are enrolled at Tech. We all have our stories about how the shortfalls of the general fund have affected us and they need to be shared. Write a letter to your representative while he is in Richmond, call, or visit. After session, go to his district office to talk to him about higher education; some of these men and women have not been in college for 15-30 years and if they were at a public university their school was receiving a lot more funding than is the case now. It is important to carry the message that higher education still holds an important place in the commonwealth of Virginia. Tech produces the most high demand graduates in the state and our instate enrollment goes up every year. Tech is doing its part to produce the most educated college graduates along with some o0f the best opportunities a school can offer. Now it is up to the state to do its part and invest in education.

Brittany Anderson SGA Director of Government Affairs

MCT CAMPUS

Pilot Street helps refugees, gives families new hope O

ne of my greatest experiences while being at Virginia Tech happened one day when I joined a friend to volunteer for the Pilot Street Project in Roanoke. She rented a van and we took four young children to see “The Princess and the Frog.” So? You might wonder, “What was so special about that?” The answer is that the children were refugees from an African country and they had never been to a movie theater. Besides plodding through school, adjusting to American life in Roanoke and the interaction with my friend who sees them every week, I think it is safe to say that they don’t get to see the bright side of a privileged life very often — even the simple privilege of going to the movies. Roanoke has become home to more than 5,000 people in similar situations from Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Iraq, Bhutan, Nepal, and Myanmar — to list a few countries (Court Reporter 2009). They are refugees trying to adjust to American life, cross the language barrier and learn to pick up the pieces from the circumstances they have come from. I was surprised to learn that Roanoke is one of the places that receive the most refugees from relocation programs, especially larger families, since the cost of living is relatively low. You would think there would be a network of resources for people to get on their feet. However, the stark reality is that there are no such networks. Refugees who arrive in Roanoke do fall under the wing of Refugee and Immigration services, but are cut off from the system after only one

year. This means that before being familiar with English and mundane tasks such as navigating a grocery store, the families are on their own with little knowledge of the cultural terrain. There are no other agendas that will help them and no government aid programs. This is where the Pilot Street Project comes in. This program is a partnership between Refugee and Immigration Services, the Virginia Tech Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships and the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority. As listed on its Web site (http://www.vtserves. vt.edu/Pilot/main.aspx), it provides intergenerational English language and literacy programming and cultural transition support for refugee and immigrant families. For children, there are book-lending programs, homework help sessions and summer programs. Unfortunately, the condition of the economy has made it harder and harder for the Pilot Street Project to function. Since it is sustained through donations and small grants and not through official funding, there was question last semester of whether it could stay in existence at all. Out of the more than 5,000 refugees in the New River Valley, Pilot Street only has the resources to help a maximum of 500. If equipped with adequate resources and locations, Pilot Street would be able to reach more people. But that is a big if; with the way things are now, Pilot Street is still struggling to provide its essential services. What can you do? Anything is appreciated, and for complete information, refer to the Web site listed above. Simple things

you can volunteer for are helping with some of the English as a Second Language classes, taking a family to the grocery store or the doctor’s office, helping a family fill out paperwork, or like I did, spending time with children who are desperate to get out of their homes for a little while. You can also donate money, household items, children’s books, or your time in simply telling other people about Pilot Street. What is desperately needed now are winter clothes for adults and children, especially warm shoes. Some mothers only have flip-flops to wear in the snow as they struggle to provide for the rest of their families. But why should you care? We take things for granted. Many of us have cars and we can drive to the grocery store to get what we need. We know how to call our doctor’s office to make an appointment. We know how a refrigerator works and most of us have the necessities to live. The Pilot Street Project seeks to help the people trying to support their families and rebuild their lives who do not have many of those skills. There are simply not enough volunteers to help them. Help the members in our community within the New River Valley and find out how you can become involved with the Pilot Street Project.

NICOLE FAUT -regular columnist -sophomore -political science major

Current death penalty standard bad for prisoners, taxpayers N

early 50 years ago, as concern grew in the country about the fairness of death penalty laws, the American Law Institute published a “model statute” aimed at helping state lawmakers draft laws to ensure that death sentences were meted out fairly and consistently. Last fall, the institute withdrew its support for the model death penalty law. The decision was a striking repudiation from the very organization that provided the blueprint for death penalty laws in this country. The institute, with a membership of more than 4,000 lawyers, judges and law professors of the highest qualifications, is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify and improve the law. In the decade after the institute published its law, which was part of a comprehensive model penal code, the statute became the prototype for death penalty laws across the United States. Some parts of the model — such as the categorical exclusion of the death penalty for crimes other than murder and for people of limited mental abilities — withstood the test of time. But the core of the statute, which created a list of factors to guide judges and jurors deciding when to sentence someone to death, has proved unworkable and fostered confusion and injustice. Now, after searching analysis by our country’s top legal minds, the institute has concluded that the system it created does not work and cannot be fixed. It concluded that we cannot devise a death penalty system that will ensure fairness in process or outcome, or even that innocent people will not be executed. I am speaking for myself, not as a representative of the institute, but I can say with certainty that the institute did not reach these

conclusions lightly. It commissioned a special committee and a scholarly study, heard various viewpoints and debated the issues extensively. A strong consensus emerged that capital punishment in this country is riddled with pervasive problems. The death penalty cannot balance the need for consistency in sentencing with the need for individualized determinations. Its administration is unequal across racial groups. There is a grave lack of resources for defense lawyers. The law is distorted by the politics of judicial elections, and it consumes a disproportionate share of public resources. California’s death penalty exemplifies these problems. Parts of California’s law were copied from the institute’s model statute. The system now is on the verge of collapse. There are about 700 people on death row in California, and it can take 25 years for mandatory appeals to be completed. Since 1978, California has executed 13 prisoners, while 72 have died of old age or other causes. Resources are woefully inadequate. More than half of the people on death row don’t have access to a constitutionallyrequired lawyer. A statewide commission found that there remains a serious risk that the state will execute an innocent person. And then there is the cost. Housing a prisoner on death row costs taxpayers $90,000 a year more than if that prisoner were held in another type of high-security prison. The total additional cost for housing all of California’s death row inmates is more than $60 million a year. These problems are entrenched in the death penalty system, both in California and nationwide. The cumulative result: Executions remain as random as lightning strikes, or more so, and that is the very problem the institute’s model statute

intended to fix. In addition, across the country, at least 139 individuals have been released from death row after establishing their innocence. The institute’s action comes at a time of widespread re-evaluation of capital punishment. Fifteen states have abandoned capital punishment, including three in the last three years. In 2009, the country saw the lowest number of death sentences since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. We now have decades of experience, which the institute lacked when it proposed its model statute almost 50 years ago. Life without the possibility of parole, now an important alternative in nearly every state, was then virtually untried. To the extent that society needs to punish murderers severely, it can do so far more effectively using tough yet fair prison sentences rather than through an ineffective and extravagant death penalty. The American Law Institute could have chosen to do nothing. But having laid the intellectual and legal groundwork for the modern death penalty, it concluded that it had a responsibility to act now that the system’s fatal flaws have fully emerged. The withdrawal of the model death penalty statute recognizes that it is impossible to administer the death penalty consistently and fairly, and it therefore should not remain a punishment option in this country. The institute could no longer play a role in legitimizing a failed system. How much longer can any of us?

MICHAEL TRAYNOR -mcclatchy newspapers

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sports 7

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

february 9, 2010

Bowden and Florida State forfeit 12 Tech tennis team finds success across the globe wins in aftermath of academic scandal ANDREW CARTER

GARRETT RIPA

mcclatchy newspapers

sports reporter Virginia Tech men’s tennis senior Yoann Re had quite an illustrious junior career before his arrival at the university in January 2007. Re, a native of Quebec, culminated 15 years of training with a 2006 under18 Canadian National Championship, as well as a berth in the 2006 U.S. Open Junior Championships. At the games, Re racked up upsets over one of the top U.S. players, in addition to the ninth-ranked junior in the world. Re’s success dates back to when his father made him pick up a racquet at age three. By age 10, Re was training in France, where he would spend the next five years. Upon his return from France, Re headed to a small tennis academy in Florida, practicing for three to four hours a day over a six-month span. Re’s game began to take off and he started to compete in international junior tournaments. However, when it came time to look at colleges, Re was uncertain of where he would end up. “I was in contact with other universities, but they weren’t as good as Virginia Tech because I didn’t know anything about college tennis in the U.S.,” Re said. “I just talked to any college that would talk to me and offer the right scholarship for me.” In fact, he knew nothing about Tech until he met current teammate and fellow Canadian Sebastian Jacques while competing at a tournament. Jacques, who had been in contact with Tech head coach Jim Thompson since he was 15, was already planning to play for the Hokies when he met Re. “I knew I was coming here and I knew Yoann was a player,” Jacques said. “It’s tough with Jim when you don’t see a guy play, but I knew Yoann would be a good attribute to our team.” After Jacques put in a good word, Thompson became interested in Re but still had never seen him play. That opportunity came at the 2006 U.S. Open. After witnessing Re’s string of upsets, Thompson was sold. “I knew we were going to sign him when he went up to the U.S. Open and played amazing there,” Thompson said.

LUKE MASON/SPPS

Tech senior Yoann Re competes in Tech’s Hokie Challenge in January. Re was first encouraged to play tennis by his father. Despite the challenges of recruiting international players, the Hokies currently have seven international players on their roster, including Re and Jacques. “The Internet has made our world really small,” Thompson said. “Tennis is an international game and there are organizations that do really good rankings in each country. We use all kinds of contacts that we’ve had such as past players.” In his freshman year, Re received the Northeast Region Rookie of the Year honors, and then compiled 26 singles and 26 doubles victories his sophomore year. During his junior campaign, Re played the No. 1 singles position for the Hokies, defeating five nationally ranked players on his way to qualifying for the prestigious field of 64 at the NCAA singles championships. “He had a lot of trouble from the baseline (early in his career), but his game has completely changed,”

......radio for

everyone

Jacques said in describing Re’s game. “He’s a big hitter from the baseline. ... His timing is absolutely ridiculous and he can hit it from anywhere and with a lot of spin.” Re’s accomplishments, which came after he broke his collarbone last March, landed him a fall 2009 preseason national ranking of 35th in singles. Re has also been playing doubles with Jacques, posting a 7-3 record so far this season. He said he would like to go out on a high note, both as a team and individually. “It would be really good to make the sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament as a team,” Re said. “Individually, I would like to play in the NCAA tournament in singles. ... I did it last year already.” Winning his first two matches in the tournament is a lofty, yet attainable, goal for Re if he can stay healthy and continue to fine-tune his game.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Bobby Bowden will lose 12 victories from his career coaching record because of Florida State’s academic fraud scandal, the university has determined. The Seminoles will also lose the 2007 national championship they won in men’s track and field. FSU sent on Sunday to the NCAA a list of records that will be vacated in 10 sports as penalty for a widespread academic fraud scandal. Florida State last month had lost its appeal of the NCAA Committee on Infractions’ ruling that the university must vacate those records. The 12 football victories FSU is vacating are spread over two seasons. The Seminoles are vacating five victories from the 2006 season, including their Emerald Bowl victory against UCLA. FSU is also vacating seven regular-season victories from the 2007 season. Bowden, who retired last month after concluding his 34th season at FSU with a 33-21 victory against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl, finished his career record with 389 victories. Now, though, his “official” count will be 377 victories. Bowden has insisted that he will count all of his victories, regardless of the vacation penalty. The NCAA’s investigation into the academic fraud scandal concluded that neither Bowden nor any other Florida State coach played a role in the misconduct, which involved 61 athletes and three former university employees. Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach who has won 394 games, is the most victorious coach in major college football history. Bowden, who finished his career five games behind Paterno, is still comfortably in second — 37 games ahead of Amos Alonzo Stagg — without those 12 victories. After the Seminoles won the Gator Bowl against West Virginia, giving Bowden a celebratory sendoff, Bowden made a plea that his 22 victories at South Georgia College count on his coaching record. Bowden coached at South

STEPHEN M. DOWELL/MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS

Former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden greets former Florida head coach Urban Meyer after their game on Nov. 28, 2009. Georgia College from 1956-58. “How about them 22 wins I got at South Georgia College?” Bowden asked after the Gator Bowl. “Now, how come that don’t count? I know it don’t count in NCAA. I know it don’t count NCAA. But will somebody mention please that I do have 400 wins (laughter) during a lifetime, although they don’t count with them sweet old NCAA people...” Technically, even with those 22 victories at South Georgia College, Bowden would finish his career with 399 victories. The vacation penalty erases FSU’s 33-year streak of winning seasons, but it won’t affect the Seminoles 28-year streak of playing in a bowl game – the longest active bowl streak in the nation. Florida State began determining which records to vacate after learning on Jan. 5 that it had lost its appeal. The NCAA mandated the university must determine on its own which records to vacate in the

10 sports in which implicated athletes competed. In addition to the 12 football victories, FSU also lost its 2007 men’s track and field national championship. Instead of finishing first in the national meet, the official record will reflect that FSU finished second. In sports that use individual results to determine team scoring, like track, FSU removed the points that ineligible athletes earned and then readjusted the team total. Florida State also vacated 22 men’s basketball victories from the 200607 season, and 22 women’s basketball victories — 16 from 2006-07 and six from 2007-08. FSU vacated four baseball victories from the 2007 season and 32 softball victories from 2007. The university’s athletic media guides will reflect the adjustments and FSU will return all trophies representing championships that have been vacated.


See how long the line is?

february 9, 2010

page 8

Tech women’s hurdlers take seven events at VT Elite Meet SHANNON CRAWFORD sports staff writer Virginia Tech women’s hurdlers burned up the track in Rector Field House this past Friday and Saturday in the VT Elite Meet. Tech conquered seven events overall and senior Queen Harrison continued to dominate her competition. In the women’s 60-meter hurdles preliminary, Harrison crossed the finish line in less than eight seconds, becoming the first ever Hokie to garner that bragging right. She later improved upon her already recordbreaking time during the finals of the event, clocking in at 7.96 seconds. “Surprisingly, it felt really smooth,” Harrison said when asked about the feat. “I can’t lie, I was really excited. I couldn’t believe it for about 30 minutes afterwards.” Assistant coach Charles Foster had nothing but compliments for his squad on Saturday, especially regarding the senior leadership. As the team approaches the Atlantic Coast Conference championships, which begin on Feb. 25, Foster discussed his training strategies. “We’re going to convert to speed work,” he said. “We’ve been doing strength work, and I actually got a let-

look down.

pick up.

LUKE MASON/SPPS

Tech freshman Funmi Alabi (left) and sophomore Ogechi Nwaneri (right) run in the Hokie Invitational. ter from the team saying, ‘When are we going to start doing some speed work?’” Even though the team is off to a solid start, Foster continues to challenge his runners. “We’ve broken records every single time we’ve hit the track,” Foster said. “Who’s going to be the next one?” Kristi Castlin, fellow senior

and teammate to Harrison, also looked to the future. As she posed with the other runners for pictures, she was all smiles, but when asked about the team’s future plans, she didn’t hesitate to comment. “Getting ready for ACC’s, that’s our next big championship,” Castlin said. “We can dramatically improve those times.” While broken records may

have been the theme of the meet, Harrison believes there are more to come. “I think so,” Harrison said. “Not just from me — my teammates, too.” The team will be back in action for the Virginia Tech Challenge LUKE MASON/SPPS on Feb. 19 and 20, and Harrison is optimistic; as she said to fans, “We’ll Tech redshirt freshman Lauren Pinkston runs in a relay race for the put on a show.” Hokies at the Hokie Invitational on Jan. 22 in Rector Fieldhouse.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010 Print Edition