An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903
Friday March 5, 2010
COLLEGIATETIMES 107th year, issue 28
News, page 2
Features, page 5
Opinions, page 3
Sports, page 6
Classifieds, page 4
Sudoku, page 4
April 16 induces change at Cook Counseling This is the final installment of a two part series about Cook Counseling Center’s endeavor to earn accredation.
BY CLAIRE SANDERSON| news staff writer Cook Counseling Center seeks accreditation from the International Association of Counseling Services, the effects of the April 16, 2007 campus shootings have altered nearly all of the center’s operations. Yet despite concerns that have been brought up by lawsuits and investigative reports, it may turn out that changes made to the center in the shootings’ aftermath have improved the center’s chances at accreditation. Accreditation was a goal of Cook Counseling Center before the shootings, director Chris Flynn said. “Literally we were looking at it a week before the shootings,” said Flynn. “That process began before the shootings occurred.” The center had been preparing to send an application to the International Association of Counseling Services in the spring of 2007, but when the shootings occurred on April 16, the process was delayed. “In an event like 4/16, which was traumatic for so many people across campus, business as usual was secondary, and what we were trying to do was make sure the students who
are distressed can get the help they need,” said Rick Ferraro, associate vice president of Student Affairs and head of Schiffert Health Center. The center finally submitted the application on December 4, 2008. If the center passes, it would achieve accreditation for the first time since the mid-1990s. IACS is a nonprofit group that reviews university counseling centers worldwide. The Board of Accreditation is made up of directors from IACS-accredited counseling centers, meaning that the review is a professional peer-review, as opposed to a state or federally based inspection. “I wanted us to be accredited not because we knew that there was something flawed, but because we wanted Cook Counseling Center to represent the best of the profession,” Flynn said. The evaluation that IACS performs does not look as intricately into the center’s past, but will focus its scrutiny on Cook’s present state. “We’re looking at the center as it looks now — that is what is relevant, not what it looked like five years ago or even two years ago,” said Nancy Roncketti, executive director of IACS. The positive recognition that could come
Director Chris Flynn has overseen implementation of many changes since 2007. from being accredited is especially important for Cook, which has been subject to intensive outside review in the months and years following the April 16 shootings. Shooter Seung-Hui Cho was a patient at Cook Counseling Center in December 2005, and was once ordered into a mental health hospital by a judge. After thorough investigations, the Governor’s
news staff writer A House and Senate companion bill to allow Virginia Tech to lease or rent land obtained through donation or purchase was stricken from the docket last month before making it to the house floor. Delegate Glenn Oder of Newport News patroned House Bill 43 in the General Assembly, while Senator John Edwards of Roanoke patroned companion Senate Bill 434. “It was determined that the bill was not necessary and it was never presented to the House of Delegates,” Oder said. “It was simply a concept that the university was considering regarding trying to encourage public and private partnerships and how land leasing can be affected by that.” The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia said it approved the bill, and would have been satisfied with its passing. “SCHEV did not have a problem doing it,” said Kirsten Nelson, director of communication and government relations for SCHEV. “They wanted to be sure there was consistency between the source of the funds used to acquire the property and the use of the lease proceeds. For instance, if the property was acquired through educational funds, the leased funds should go to educational programs.” All parties agreed the bills were introduced as more of a precaution than anything else, with Tech seeking some sort of clarification on the present governances. After further discussion, Oder said, it was determined that Tech already had the authority it was seeking. The legislation for HB43 and SB434 came to fruition through a plan to expand the Oak Lane Greek community. “We’ve always had a plan for expansion out there, and we are now planning a partnership with house corporations,” said Ed Spencer, vice president for student affairs. “House corporations are alumni of undergraduate chapters who manage property or look to acquire property for their undergraduate chapters.” Spencer said the university is currently looking at a “phase four plan.” “There would be an additional five houses, and then further parts of stage four would add up to 12 houses,” Spencer said. “There are 17 lots that we are looking at expanding on to. The first five would not intrude on the golf course, but once we reach lot six and beyond — well, we would be looking at shutting down the golf course.” Spencer said Sigma Pi Epsilon, Sigma Kai and Beta Tau Pi are the only three groups that have submitted applications or letters of commitment to the new commu-
see COOK / page two
University tests feasibility of future projects CALEB FLEMING
Panel Report on the shootings concluded, “The Cook Counseling Center and the university’s Care Team failed to provide needed support and services to Cho during a period of late 2005 and early 2006. The system failed for lack of resources, incorrect interpretation of privacy laws, and passivity.” In addition, families of two of Cho’s victims,
Julia Pryde and Erin Peterson, filed matching lawsuits for negligence against Cook officials and other Virginia Tech officials. While the lawsuits are ongoing, plaintiffs have dropped charges against several Cook officials, including director Chris Flynn. Currently, only former director Robert Miller is named in the suit. Cho’s records from the center were found in Miller’s house in July 2009. In the aftermath of the shootings, investigators were told the files had been lost. In legal statements, Miller said he accidentally removed the files when cleaning out his office at Cook Counseling Center in early 2006. Flynn became director in 2006 after Miller was reassigned. Cho’s records were among three files found in Miller’s possession, according to Flynn. “Of the three files, one of them had to be Mr. Cho’s,” said Flynn. “Nobody would have noticed if they had not been Cho’s.”
The golf course is the last piece of land contiguous to the main campus to which we can expand. ED SPENCER VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT AFFAIRS
nity. The closing of the nine-hole Tech golf course is still nearly a decade away, though the first stage of phase four could be completed within two to three years. Spencer noted the university has been avoiding expanding onto the remaining nine holes of the golf course for as long as possible. “The golf course is the last piece of land contiguous to the main campus to which we can expand,” Spencer said. Spencer outlined the university master plan, which includes the Oak Lane expansion, as well as a parking garage and academic and student support buildings on the land currently occupied by the course. Laura Fornash, director of state government relations for Tech, noted the university has a considerable amount of authority when it comes to restructuring with capital outlay. In order for Tech to pursue legislation, Fornash said the university must simply find a patron to introduce the bill. “We just ask a legislator and usually if it’s a concept they understand, they are willing to patron the bill,” Fornash said. “Timing is important as to when you get the concept to them. It varies on their load, if they have a lot of bills that will be demanding on their time.” Specific to HB43 and SB434, Fornash referenced three levels of autonomy in capital outlay, a system that governs the freedom a particular university has in project development. Tech has level three clearance, granting it the most freedom possible for a state university. “There is a lot of red tape cut between the institutions and state government so we don’t have to go to Richmond on certain things,” Fornash said. In addition to Tech, William and Mary and the University of Virginia also both have maximum flexibility. Virginia Commonwealth University is currently in the process of applying for level three autonomy. On a given year, Fornash said Tech can track upwards of 150 bills in the House and Senate relative to higher education that include capital outlay, human resources, and finance, among other things. In the 2010 session, Fornash highlighted HB1189, dealing with a restructuring of retirement plans state employees. The bill was rejected on March 1.
Blacksburg Fire Department personnel take part in Thursday’s training exercise. More than 100 members of multiple agencies participated.
VT RESCUE SQUAD DEMONSTRATES EMERGENCY REACTION PROCEDURES IN TRAINING EXERCISE LIANA BAYNE news reporter As some students played Ultimate Frisbee on the Drillfield during one of the first sunny days this semester, others practiced saving lives. The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad and the Blacksburg Fire Department hosted a training exercise Thursday night on Drillfield Drive that simulated a head-on crash caused by a drunk driver. The two goals of the exercise were to provide the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad with experience assessing a major accident and to educate the public about the dangers of drunk driving, said second Lieutenant training officer Chris Rossi. “We just want to make people aware,” he said. About 50 Virginia Tech Rescue personnel along with about 25 Blacksburg Fire employees participated in the exercise, which lasted for roughly an hour. Rossi said the event took about two months to plan. Two partially destroyed cars with live “victims” were placed at the end of Drillfield Drive, positioned to mimic a head-on crash. When the call was given over a closed-circuit dispatch, two fire trucks, two ambulances and three SUVs replied to the scene. After assessing the patients’ conditions and extracting them from their cars via the roofs, one was taken away in an ambulance and the Carilion Clinic Life Guard helicopter was dispatched for the other, although the live “victim” was not actually placed inside the helicopter.
Spectators were able to listen to the dispatch calls through speakers located near the perimeter of the crime scene. Rescue squad members occasionally narrated to the audience what kinds of actions emergency medical technicians were taking as they assessed the situation and stabilized the patients. Many of the spectators were students of an EMT training class offered by Virginia Tech, like freshman biology and pre-med major Valerie Wolf. “I would like to be able to save people’s lives,” Wolf said. Students of that class were required by their professor to attend the simulation. Rescue squad president Jeffrey Russin said hosting the simulation was a good way to involve the larger Tech community in what the rescue squad does. “About two years ago, we expanded our capabilities to respond,” he said. “It gives the public an opportunity a chance to see what we do and raise awareness about alcohol and driving.” Part of those capabilities includes a partnership with the Carilion Clinic Life Guard medical helicopter unit. Robert Youher, who works with the Life Guard helicopter, was on-site during the training exercise to help coordinate and monitor the helicopter’s landing in the grass near the Duck Pond on West Campus Drive. “We have a great partnership with VT Rescue,” Youher said. Life Guard will frequently assist the rescue squad with covering the campus area during the holiday season.
Participants exhibit the proper method of removing a model victim. Susan Smith, who also works with Life Guard, said it is important for VT Rescue to practice working with the helicopter unit so procedures will flow smoothly in the event of an actual emergency. “It takes 40 minutes to drive to the nearest trauma center, but only about 15 to get there by helicopter,” Smith said. Youher said Life Guard had been called to the Blacksburg area about five times in the past year. Virginia Tech Police reported 54 cases of persons driving while under the influence of alcohol in the past year. Although Smith estimated operating costs for the helicopter at around $2,000 per hour, the unit participated in the training event free of charge due to Carlilion’s support of the rescue squad’s activities. “There’s a great training ethic with the Tech squad,” Youher said. He said the Life Guard squad also
conducts a classroom style with VT Rescue to train them on working together with the helicopter staff. Rossi said the entire event cost a little under $250. VT Rescue members like senior biology major Elizabeth Rogers appreciated the opportunity to practice their skills in a non-emergency situation and demonstrate to the public the realities of drunk driving. “You can watch what we do on YouTube, but seeing people getting pulled out is different,” she said. “You have the potential to hurt someone.” Russin said the rescue squad enacted the same training event in 2009. “We’re trying to make it annual,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for people to realize the dangers when alcohol and driving are combined.” Any interested Tech student can join the squad. For more information, students can visit rescue.vt.edu or search for the squad on Facebook.
The CT has ceased publication during Spring Break. Our next issue will come out March 16.
new river valley news editor: zach crizer university editor: philipp kotlaba email@example.com/540.231.9865
march 5, 2010
nation & world headlines
House committee approves Armenian genocide resolution WASHINGTON — The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday narrowly approved an Armenian genocide resolution over last-minute objections by the Obama administration. After an extended debate that awoke many old ghosts, the committee approved the resolution 23-22. The measure would put the House of Representatives on record as applying the word “genocide” to a man-made catastrophe in which, by some estimates, 1.5 million Armenians died from 1915 to 1923 during the final days of the Ottoman Empire. “I don’t pretend to be a professional historian,” said committee Chairman Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., “but the vast majority of experts agree that the tragic massacre of Armenians constitutes a genocide.” by michael doyle, mcclatchy newspapers
CORRECTION The graphic accompanying “Cook center in line for peer approval” (CT, March, 4), the explanation should have said the percentage of Tech students seeking counseling is three percentage points more than the national average, not three percent higher. The Collegiate Times regrets this error
JUSTIN GRAVES -Contact our public editor at publiceditor@ collegiatetimes.com if you see anything that needs to be corrected.
Cook: Accreditation not based on past from page one
The Virginia state law regulates the confidentiality of medical files. However, after investigation by the Virginia Tech Police, Montgomery County commonwealth attorney Brad Finch concluded that “Miller does not appear to have acted with criminal intent in removing the files.” “Clearly we did not want the records to be missing, and I think we did the right thing,” Flynn said. “To my knowledge there is no wrongdoing by any of the counselors at Cook. All we can do is be honest with them, and as far as I’m concerned we have nothing to hide.” Roncketti and other members of IACS were unable to comment on whether this discovery would affect the center’s chances of becoming accredited. The IACS standards state that “records must be secure and kept in a central area,” and that “all case records are the property of the counseling service.” Because the application was submitted in December 2008 but the files were not found until July 2009, the matter is not mentioned in the application. “I talked to the president about the suits and will continue to update her,” Flynn said. Nonetheless, because that incident itself occurred so long before December 2008, it will likely not be a significant factor affecting the IACS review. “It is a historical matter that does not pertain to the review that would be done here,” Ferraro said, noting while the mistake was important, it was not relevant to the accreditation process. “If somebody was not working for you, and it happened years ago, what would be your assumption?” Another suit also is pending against the center. The parents of Daniel Kim, a Tech student who committed suicide on December 9, 2007, filed a suit alleging negligence against the center. They claim that the university did not respond appropriately to a warning sent by Kim’s friend that Kim may be suicidal. Proceedings have still not yet begun in that case. Flynn said the intense scrutiny directed at Cook in the past few years may have strengthened Cook Counseling Center. “I suspect that no counseling center has been looked at more intently, and
Cook Counseling appointments in 2008-2009 academic year MONTH August September October November December January February March April May
NEW PATIENTS 103 272 262 155 83 143 190 143 175 74
TOTAL TOTAL RETURNING PATIENTS PATIENTS APPOINTMENTS 178 376 547 560 584 364 533 588 662 459
281 648 809 715 667 507 723 731 837 533
486 1364 1768 1252 1037 764 1512 1452 1845 864
I would hope that students would not feel that it needed it, but be reassured that it meets the standards of the profession,” Flynn said. In the hectic years since the original application was prepared in early 2007, the inquiries that were made into the events of April 16 led the center to make several major changes to its operations. “Our counseling center has been through significant challenges since 2007,” Flynn said. “We updated to make sure that our policies were in congruence with IACS standards.” Prior to 2007, the center had a policy of refusing to accept court-ordered involuntary referrals. “All clients who are served at the Center must be willing to receive services and must come voluntarily,” the old policy stated. The center now accepts referrals. According to the 2009 National Survey of Counseling Directors, only nine percent of counseling centers across the country refused to accept mandatory commitment orders, as Tech did before 2007. The majority accepts mandatory cases only for an initial assessment but not for long term counseling. “Counseling is not discipline, and we don’t want to be confused with that,” Flynn said. Virginia state law can require that a person receive outpatient treatment from a counseling service, but prior to 2007 there was no system in place to determine which area service would provide that treatment. It was also unclear about who had the responsibility for confirming that the patient continued attending counseling. This was an especially unclear distinction on college campuses. There was no policy dictating whether fol-
lowing up with Cho was the responsibility of Cook or the New River Valley Community Services Board after he was hospitalized at St. Albans. The findings of the Inspector General’s report state that prior to 2007, “It was the policy of the Cook Counseling Center to allow patients to decide whether to make a follow up appointment. According to the existing Cook Counseling Center records, one was not ever scheduled by Cho. Because Cook Counseling Center had accepted Cho as a voluntary patient, no notice was given to the CSB, the court, St. Albans, or Virginia Tech officials that Cho never returned to Cook Counseling Center.” “The law was very unclear about who had the responsibility for those patients,” Flynn said. Cho was one of the patients who fell through the cracks in the legal system. The Inspector General’s report therefore recommended that “university counseling centers develop a written policy regarding whether or not the center will accept referrals for court ordered involuntary treatment.” In November 2009, a follow-up report was issued which confirmed that the center had indeed tried to implement these changes. Cook had developed and signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the local New River Valley Community Services Board that outlined how the two mental health facilities would coordinate and implement referrals for involuntary treatment made by the courts. The 2009 report stated that this change “indicates an openness on the part of the Cook Counseling Center
to accept involuntary referrals.” In spite of the legal changes, Flynn said that the center has not actually dealt with any mandatory outpatient commitment orders since 2007. The community services board is also responsible for confirming that the person receives counseling, and for notifying the courts if he or she does not comply. Officials of the Community Services Board were also named as defendants in the April 16 lawsuits, but were dropped from the suits in preliminary proceedings. “We are not the ones responsible if the student refuses to come in,” Flynn said. “Now it is clear that the community services board has that responsibility.” IACS does not wish for counseling centers to be involved in administrative decisions, but recognizes that in some cases mandatory commitment may be the best solution, according to Flynn. Another important change at the center was the addition of six counselors to the staff. In 2007, only 10 counselors were employed at the center, meaning each counselor was responsible for almost 3,000 total university students. There are now 16 counselors, with a counselor to student ratio of roughly 1:1,800 students, according to Flynn. “So far, the administration has been very sensitive to the issue of mental health counseling and so the cuts have had no affect on our budget,” Flynn said, noting that the center, which has also seen a 60 percent increase in caseloads since 2007, can always use more counselors. “We don’t anticipate losing any positions; in fact, we’ve asked to add another position this year,” Flynn said. Flynn also said he and provost Mark McNamee have discussed adding one new position per year for the next four years. The staff additions will help the center to more closely approach IACS’s recommended ratio of one counselor to every 1,000-1,500 students. The center has also expanded to open a satellite clinic, originally located on 400 Turner Street until it was moved to East Eggleston Hall in November 2009. The information on the application includes thorough descriptions of the center’s roles, its policies, its ethical standards and its staff. According to Roncketti, the entire process can take more than a year.
nation & world headlines
Baghdad bombed as voting begins BAGHDAD — Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi security forces voted in early elections Thursday throughout the country, as bomb attacks near polling stations killed at least 12 people and wounded 45. Thursday’s voting was restricted to police, the military, detainees, hospital patients and other Iraqis who are unable to reach polling stations Sunday, the general Election Day. A Katyusha rocket landed near a closed polling station in Baghdad’s Hurriyah neighborhood, killing five people and wounding 10, police said. Two suicide bombers wearing explosives vests struck in separate incidents in Baghdad. One, in Mansour, killed at least three people and wounded 25; another, in Bab al-Muatham, killed four and wounded 10, according to police. Both attacks occurred outside polling stations where Iraqi security forces were voting. Apart from the violence, the early voting highlighted some of the variables that could blight the polls this weekend. Security officials in the mostly Sunni Muslim western Anbar province complained that the names of thousands of police officers and military personnel were missing from polling stations or were registered at voting sites up to 250 miles away. The flap only solidified the doubts that many Sunnis harbor about an electoral process that Shiite Muslims and Kurds are overseeing. To avoid a controversy with sectarian undertones, Iraqi election officials quickly announced that security forces who couldn’t find their names on voter rolls would be allowed to cast provisional ballots. Voting hours also were extended in some areas where the disputes occurred, as election officials scrambled to get the correct rolls. by hannah allam, mcclatchy newspapers
editor: debra houchins firstname.lastname@example.org/540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES
march 5, 2010
The Collegiate Times is an independent student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903
Your Views [letters to the editor]
Letter from Greenberg
would like to thank each and every one of you for your tremendous support this season. It was a season unparalleled in my past seven years at Virginia Tech. Your support, encouragement, perseverance and energy were no doubt a deciding factor each and every time we took the court in Cassell Coliseum this season. A special thanks for all that arrived early for Senior Night. I couldn’t be more proud of both Paul and Lewis on that very special night. I told our players prior to the game that we wanted to work for our seniors to create a lasting memory of their time here at Virginia Tech. Part of that memory will be the renewed
Hokie bird image appropriate?
eeing how this is women’s month, please take time to consider the Rocky Horror Picture Club’s version of the school mascot dressed in a bustier and leggings to promote their club. The picture was approved for use in 1994, but apparently the rights to use the mascot for the Rocky Club are not going to be re-approved by the university. The Rocky Club wants the image to be reapproved. I recommend getting in contact with them to supply the image. Regardless of the use of the image, I have found it very unsettling that the university would approve an image to be used like this. In the post April 16 atmosphere I can see
enthusiasm and ownership of our student body toward our basketball program. For all that took the time to attend our Chalk Talks, I hope that you found them both enjoyable and informative. It is a tradition we look forward to building upon in the coming years. I’d like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Spring Break. We have a huge game this weekend at Georgia Tech. Any good wishes and karma would be greatly appreciated. Then, it’s off to the ACC Tournament, as we continue to work toward earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Thanks again for your support and Go Hokies!
Seth Greenberg Head Men’s Basketball Coach why the university may have underwent a change in heart. Unofficial uses of the mascot following the tragedy generated both positive and negative uses of the mascot. It is good for the school to be open-minded and allow such connotations to exist, but at the same time one cannot help but feel the image is a mockery to the university’s mascot. Even when considering what the image promotes, it almost feels like something an opposing university would hoist at a big sporting event. Regardless of what gender the Hokie Bird is to be perceived as, I believe an interesting dialogue would ensue if this were to be brought into the mainstream of campus.
John Sperry 2008 Graduate
Feedback welcomed by CT, betters our service G
reetings, from your friendly neighborhood public editor. We have had a lot of dialogue with several different groups lately about different topics of our newspaper. Seeing as we are a journalism publication, the most popular thing students and faculty like to engage with us about is the content of our paper, and what can be changed to better and diversify our content. In order to be as transparent as a student newspaper can be, we hold almost-monthly meet and greets, giving the student body a great opportunity to talk to us. As public editor, I take great pride in organizing these events as a fairly convenient way to engage with members of the public, and better our relationship with them. We even reward them with free stuff. We issue surveys while the students meet our staff, and the feedback that we get from these surveys is very valuable. With each meet and greet we have, our feedback becomes better. With almost 200 surveys gathered in a four-hour period, I’ve spent hours upon hours flipping through what people had to say about our newspaper and the content that’s in it. Good, bad, ridiculous and all that’s in between, I love to provide our faithful readers with tidbits about what others had to say about our paper. We use this information to try and assess what could be better about the Collegiate Times. For example, those surveyed claimed that they would read the CT more if they were not as busy or lazy, if the CT were more accessible, or they knew more about our online content. Although we can’t help people
time manage or lighten their schedules so that they have time for the CT, we certainly can add more racks around campus, potentially move our existing racks into more convenient locations, or focus on our Web site content at www.collegiatetimes.com more often. A majority of those surveyed read the CT two to three times a week, whether online or in print. If they didn’t read it as often, the most likely reason was because of their hectic schedule. One student even suggested having a “watered down” version of the CT: one that is more direct and to the point than the full newspaper, similar to the weekly papers that we put during the summer sessions when the entire student body isn’t here. These are all ideas I’ll suggest to our management and see if they’re feasible, seeing as they are ideas that at least some students would like to see happen. Although the location of our meet and greet this time (immediately in front of Dietrick Hall) may have skewed results with a concentration of on-campus inhabitants, it surprised me that almost 70 percent of those surveyed lived on campus. As you might know, a little more than 9,000 of our 28,000 students live on campus. There is a slight disconnect here, and proof that we need to more actively advertise our content and receive feedback from offcampus students.
As far as what people would like to see more in our paper, these topics included world news, sex talk, Virginia legislative news and comics. On a scale of one to 10, our average ranking was an 8.2. Additional comments that were noteworthy included, “need better people to write for you,” “very good paper,” “good coverage”and“more comics needed.” Our campus likes comics, I see. As moderator of our online commenting forum, I am also responsible for reviewing more examples of informal feedback in the form of anonymous commenting. While online commenting will be the topic of my next column (look for it soon after spring break), the content that I see is hard not to mention in this piece. Concerns that we sometimes receive about being biased, skewed, or unprofessional are contrasted with what we hear at these meet and greets. We want you to come out, give us your opinion, and let us know how you think the paper could better inform our community. I would like to personally encourage every single person who has ever made an anonymous comment to come to our next meet and greet, which will be conveniently held on the Drillfield in April. Hope to see you there.
JUSTIN GRAVES -public editor -sociology major -sophomore
Remember the anniversary of the Salman Rushdie fatwa D
if you’re interested in writing for the opinions page, please send an e-mail to opinionseditor@ collegiatetimes.com
E-mail your public editor at publiceditor@collegiatetimes. com
ue to a law universally unpopular amongst college students in America, one must reach 21 years of age before being deemed responsible enough to consume alcohol. Consequently, the event of turning 21 is usually a grand, if not foggy, affair. One such noteworthy but not well enough known birthday has just recently passed, although this anniversary is not of a person’s birth. This past February, Salman Rushdie’s fatwa turned 21 years old. Disappointingly, many non-English majors may not know who Salman Rushdie is. Rushdie is an IndianBritish writer and public intellectual who is considered one of the best novelists of the modern age. In 2008, Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children was awarded The Best of the Booker prize, essentially naming the book the best English novel written in the past 50 years. Salman Rushdie has also been knighted by the Queen of England and has dated supermodels half his age like Riya Sen and Padma Lakshmi. Perhaps even more disappointingly, too many non-Religious Studies majors do know what a fatwa is. A fatwa is a religious edict issued by a Muslim cleric that all devout followers of that mullah are supposed to respect. Historically, a fatwa pertains to social behavior, diet, relationships, etc., but they are not always so benign. On Feb. 14, 1989 Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa announcing that all pious Muslims needed to murder Salman Rushdie. That is certainly not the kind of gift one expects on Valentine’s Day. Grand Ayatollah Khomeini was no trivial figure to be ignored. Apart from being a high-ranking religious authority, he was also the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a nation of tens of millions. The Ayatollah’s proclamation quickly became a controversial issue and today can be considered one of the opening shots on our current battle with radical Islam.
It should also be noted that Iran is the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world right now. The 1989 fatwa was issued as a direct response to Rushdie’s then-latest novel, The Satanic Verses. In the book, a main character has a detailed dream that is based on the life of the Muslim prophet Mohammad. The prophet was presented in an unfavorable and blasphemous view. For instance, the names of the prophet’s wives were used by prostitutes. For the infraction of authoring a well-written piece of fiction, Rushdie was given the death sentence from a major country. He has since been forced to spend many years in hiding and must always travel with security. Even though Ayatollah Khomeini died a few months after issuing the fatwa, the religious order to kill Rushdie still stands. In a Mafioso type rule, a fatwa can only be revoked by the mullah who issued it. Iranian religious leaders stand by the edict and renew their dedication to the fatwa every year on the anniversary. It was not until 1998 that the Iranian government stated that they would no longer actively try to assassinate the author, but they wouldn’t mind if someone else did. Even today, the government-run Martyrs Foundation still offers a $2.8 million prize to whoever does the deed. Contemporary Islamic leaders are not the only ones that get in a fuss over works of fiction, but some of their leaders do tend to take their criticism to unwarranted levels. After Dan Brown authored The DaVinci Code in 2003, the Vatican denounced the book and added Dan Brown to the list of things Catholics are not supposed to like. Luckily the condemnation from the pulpit ended there, but imagine for a bit if it didn’t. Imagine if the Pope was also the president of Italy, and then offered $3 million to whoever killed Dan Brown. This hypothetical insult
to our Western values would not be taken with a grain of salt and would not be forgotten for decades to come. Surely no one would try to seek common ground with such a madman. Yet these madmen are the very people with whom we must deal, one way or another. Many agree that Iran is shaping up to be the toughest foreign policy issue we Americans will face in this new decade. If someone believes that assassination is an appropriate response to a disagreeable novel, then there is no limit to the inane delirious demands they will make. The ambitious, egocentric, apocalyptic, pious thugs who run the Islamic Republic today have not fallen far from the original Supreme Leader. Last month, 21 years after the fatwa, Iranian “President” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that his country is now a nuclear state. Uranium enrichment is reportedly going “very well,” and every day that passes is a day closer to a successful nuclear blast in the Persian desert. There is no foreseeable common ground on which we might be able to enter negotiations. There is no sensible way to reach an agreement with the non-sensible. If worst comes to worst, it is not out of the question that some of our own Cadets might be able to add Tehran Street Patrol to their future resumes. Rumor has it that Sir Salman Rushdie’s drink of choice is Johnnie Walker Black Label. So pour your favorite Scotch over some ice, raise your glass, and give a toast to a littleknown but not-soon-forgotten anniversary. Well, only if you are 21 of course.
ERIC WOOD -regular columnist -mechanical engineering major -graduate student
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two seconds later...
SAID JAIME MARTYN/COLLEGIATE TIMES
He said: Show your peers, She said: Restoring faith in humanity with a thank you teachers some more love M I
confuse one of my English professors for a paramedic. Each Monday he shuffles into the Shanks classroom toting a paper bag that might as well be a cooler full of vital organs. He overturns the bag on a table, forming a delicious puddle of treats: chips, pretzels, peanut butter cups and other chocolates. It’s 5:30 p.m., and he seems to understand the next two-and-a-half hours are rather torturous. The food is an encouragement for our patience — possibly more so a plea for us to stay upright with open eyes. It’s really how we survive. Yet when the prison gates eventually open, I simply sky-hook my trash and slog into the halls with atrophied legs. Only this week did I really consider his gesture. The man drives from his Roanoke home to teach a group of semi-zombies, and somehow he’s compelled to make a pit stop in order to feed the cult. It’s spring break, and I finally paused to extend my thanks. And I was just acknowledging the candy; I forget he’s ultimately helping me make a salary one day. Now I never placed an apple on a teacher’s desks as a tyke, but I know I recognized him with an equivalent expression, whether it was a warped crayon drawing or otherwise. Do you give your instructors the nod they likely deserve? But, this notion of appreciation moves beyond our textbooks. There are plenty of contexts in university life that create moments of gratitude, yet we often overlook them — or worse, actively ignore them. With an extra pinch of awareness, our interpersonal dealings might be more flavorful. We swarm dining halls every day to conquer hunger but sometimes neglect the source of our meals. The endless, snaking lines embitter us so we take the burrito like an Olympic baton and sprint for the exit. The folks behind the counters and registers (wearing hats they probably hate) usually have name tags. Take a peek and personalize a sincere “thank you.” I work at a campus gym, and I’m startled to hear my name as part of a courtesy. That same gym currently hosts intramural basketball playoffs. If you’ve ever been on the sidelines, you’ve witnessed the insane amounts of grief athletes
spitball at student referees (I’m guilty of it). Those with striped shirts hopscotch over a minefield of F-bombs. But they’re just trying to make quick cash; the Department of Recreational Sports needs them to even give us the outlet. Their training might be hasty — and you may know your block was all ball — but they might deserve props for taking your talk. How about your stride, after all? We stroll over numerous crosswalks between classes, during which we might text or give the asphalt a good stare. It’s nice to catch someone dishing a wave to the idling vehicles. Granted the law requires they yield, but it’s conceivable someone could bowl for a few pedestrian pins out of spite. If anything, it shows you’re grateful they aren’t a crazy person. And don’t think I’m nuts; I’m not trying to frame Virginia Tech as a callous community. Despite some missed opportunities, you see a lot of reciprocal kindness. Some suggest chivalry is dying, but I think we’re great with door holding — guys as well as girls. At the Squires entry next to Newman Library, for example, when one person motions, “After you,” the same is usually returned moments later. We’ve also got the big stuff right such as, well, the Big Event. Thousands of students visit area homes hauling rakes and shovels to complete small projects, essentially thanking residents for letting us crash their little town. I don’t think everyone’s actions are based on the expectation of praise, but it’s tough to argue with how good it can feel when it’s given. So consider being mindful of where more of it could fit into your days. Now that my English professor knows I’m indebted to him for a full stomach, I’ll watch for what’s next. I’m pretty sure I’ve contributed to my apartment’s electric bill twice. But it’s doubtful that “I appreciate it” will cover the costs. I’d better prepare an apology and a check.
RYAN ARNOLD -features reporter -senior -communication major
ost people, no matter how nice they might actually be, do not say “thank you.” Around campus, I at least try to show some appreciation. When somebody holds a door open for me, even when they’re walking in front of me, I make sure to always give a nod and say something positive loud enough for them to hear. Since I’m from a town of 400 people in rural West Virginia, my small act of gratitude seems, to me, normal. Saying “thanks” to a kind stranger makes my day seem a little sunnier. For the many who were raised in a constant bustle and cluster of people, I’m weird for saying anything at all. But when the tables are turned and I find myself holding a door for someone else, I expect a “thank you” or at least some acknowledgment. And if I don’t receive one, a storm cloud grows above my head. Nothing busts my mood worse than someone not saying “thank you.” I’m not holding the door for you because you’re entitled, you little grub. I’m holding it open for you because maybe I can restore someone’s faith in humanity — even
if you just shattered mine. Of course, in this instance, spoken gratitude is the central issue. In college, there are many instances where we feel gratitude, but say nothing at all. And sometimes, that’s OK. For a total of three years, I’ve worked in dining halls. Flipping burgers and shoveling out salads is a pretty thankless job, exacerbated by the fact we have to wear unflattering uniforms and work with the public. We dining services workers are not the merriest people on campus. A lot of students — underclassmen in particular — are pretty horrible about being grateful for the service we provide. They think it’s OK to leave their crusty sandwich wrappers everywhere because “someone is getting paid to clean it.” When we strive to be friendly, our only response is a slack-jawed, vacant stare. It’s annoying. But sometimes, good people forget to give thanks in the moment. While working at Leaf and Ladle in West End, a girl ordered a Greek salad and chatted me up about how “outrageously excited” she was to
devour the thing. Although she never directly said “thanks,” I was more than happy to help this girl out because she was giddy about the food. For a minute there, I felt like less of a student wage employee and more like a Top Chef. While speaking to my good friend Tracy — a French instructor here — about this issue, she also had some insight. Though she has had few students who have explicitly thanked her for being awesome (and she is), Tracy revealed that she feels gratitude from students even when they simply ask if she’ll be teaching a different section of French. “I know I’m doing a good job when they ask me this,” Tracy told me. “They don’t have to say thanks.” And although she may not need any affirmation of her teaching skills, we college students do have someone we especially need to thank: our parents. I’ve realized that throughout the years, I’ve never thanked my parents for a lot of the things they’ve given me — and probably a lot of kids are in the same boat.
How many times have you thanked your parents for paying tuition? For bailing you out of the mire of your overdrawn checking account? For letting you make decisions as an adult? For spring break, I’m spending the week with my parents (whom I see usually only twice a year), and I’m finally going to thank them for all my crap they’ve had to deal with. From consoling me about breakups to paying for medical bills to letting my friends have a free stay in Hilton Head – my parents have been better than the best. So the next time you receive your London broil from a dining services worker, meet with your professor or talk to your parents on the phone, make sure to prove you’re nice — tell them “thanks,” because it’s better to speak up than have your gratitude go unnoticed.
LAKEN RENICK -features staff writer -senior -English major
editor: alex jackson firstname.lastname@example.org/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES
march 5, 2010
Hokies seek win number 10 Saturday GARRETT RIPA sports reporter
ACC Standings TEAM
The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team will look on Saturday for its first 10-win season in Atlantic Coast Conference play since 2007 when it takes on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Atlanta, Ga. After picking up a 71-59 win on senior night over NC State on Wednesday, the Hokies will look to spoil the Yellow Jackets’ senior night on their home court. If the Hokies (22-7, 9-6) want to virtually lock up an NCAA tournament bid regardless of their performance in the ACC tournament, which begins Thursday, they will need to win on Saturday. “We don’t want to live on the bubble like the last two years ... We just want to control our own destiny,” said Tech junior guard Malcolm Delaney. In addition to NCAA implications, a Hokies victory secures a first round bye in the ACC tournament. A bye would be extremely beneficial to Tech for two reasons. For one, the Hokies won’t have the opportunity to damage their resumes by slipping up against a much lesser team, such as Miami, in the first round. Secondly, with Delaney seemingly getting knocked around every game along with guard Dorenzo Hudson’s recent ankle injury, it will give a banged-up Hokies squad a day to relax. “With some guys being beat up on our team, we might need the extra day of rest,” Delaney said. The Yellow Jackets (19-10, 7-8), who have been ranked as high as No. 17 earlier this season, have shown signs of fatigue in recent games. The Jackets have lost four of their last six conference games but could seal an NCAA tournament berth with a victory against the Hokies. Georgia Tech has had a huge turnaround from last season in which it compiled a 12-19 record and earned only two regular season conference victories. Their dramatic rise has been fueled by a recruiting class ranked seventh nationally by ESPNU that arrived on campus this past fall. However, it seems that the Yellow Jackets’ youth is catching up to them as the grind of the ACC schedule
1 DUKE 2 MARYLAND 3 VIRGINIA TECH 4 CLEMSON 5 FLORIDA STATE 6 WAKE FOREST 7 GEORGIA TECH 8 BOSTON COLLEGE 9 VIRGINIA 10 NORTH CAROLINA 11 MIAMI (FL) 12 NC STATE
12-3 12-3 9-6 9-6 9-6 8-7 7-8 6-9 5-10 5-10 4-11 4-11
Q&A: Tech head coach prepares for postseason
25-5 22-7 22-7 21-8 21-8 18-9 19-10 15-14 14-14 16-14 18-11 16-14
has continued. As Georgia Tech’s head coach Paul Hewitt pointed out, Maryland and Duke, the teams atop the conference, are the most experienced. This will be no easy game for the Hokies as the Yellow Jackets are 141 this season at their home court, Alexander Memorial Coliseum. “We could play really well and lose or we could play really well and win,” said Hokies head coach Seth Greenberg. The two biggest factors for the Hokies will be Hudson’s health and forward Jeff Allen’s foul situation. Hudson was a game-time decision Wednesday against NC State and had his leg in a boot for the three days before the game. He still managed to tally 21 points and four assists against the Wolfpack. “It just shows the toughness of our team. He didn’t practice or shoot around this morning. He begged to play,” Delaney said about Hudson after Wednesday’s game. A similar effort against the Yellow Jackets would be a real boost for the Hokies. Meanwhile, Greenberg has made various attempts throughout the season to deal with Allen’s foul issues but may have found something that works. “Once he picks one up I just sit him for two or three minutes, let him get a deep breath, and then I put him back in,” Greenberg explained. This prevents teams from going right back at Allen, trying to get a second foul on him and send him to the bench for the rest of the half. Allen’s presence will be especially crucial against Georgia Tech’s talented post players. The Hokies will have to pay special attention to junior forward Gani
sports staff writer In the newly built basketball facility, men’s basketball head coach Seth Greenberg is busy game planning for the Hokies’ final regular season game against Georgia Tech. Greenberg was a collegiate athlete for four years at Fairleigh Dickinson and has been in a head coaching position for 20 years. He is in his seventh season coaching at Virginia Tech. The Hokies’ vocal head coach took a quick break from his game planning to sit down with the GREENBERG Collegiate Times. COLLEGIATE TIMES: Wednesday was senior night for the team and it celebrated with a win over NC State. What is it like every year to lose seniors with whom you have spent so much time? SETH GREENBERG: It’s emotional. I’m an emotional coach. I love my players. It’s a culmination of four years of hard work and growth of a relationship. To see Lewis and Paul, and especially Lewis who has been with us for four years, and see him grow and mature, not just in basketball, but as a person, and to see him have such a special night. I’m so happy for him. AUSTEN MEREDITH/SPPS
Jeff Allen throws down a dunk during Tech’s win Wednesday.
on the web
Video: The Cassell Guard. Leonidas, Orange Mann and the homecourt defense.
Lawal, who is averaging 13.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game and freshman forward Derrick Favors, who is averaging 11.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. As a whole, Georgia Tech has a balanced scoring attack with six players averaging between five and 10 points per game. The Yellow Jackets are fifth best in the ACC, scoring 74.5 points per game. “When we take care of the ball like
we’ve done the past couple of weeks, we’re pretty efficient offensively,” Hewitt said. The Hokies must play tough defense and pressure the ball to prevent the Yellow Jackets from finding a rhythm. “We’re going to have to figure out how we’re going to defend them in the full-court and the half-court and try to be as fresh as possible,” Greenberg said. “We’re going to go to Georgia Tech and play hard. We know it’s their senior day but we like playing on the road and that’s a game we can win,” Delaney added. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the game will be televised on Raycom Sports and ESPN360.
CT: During the NC State game, you actually had to pump the crowd up. How weird was it for you to actually have to get Hokie fans loud for a change? GREENBERG: I do that, I don’t know. I have these out-of-body experiences every once in a while. I just want to try and get them involved in the game and get them to take ownership in the game. I know our players feed off of that and it’s just something every once in a while that I seem to do, and most times they respond pretty favorably. CT: 85 percent of Tech’s points were split up among three players Wednesday night. Does it bother you that a few players make up so many of Tech’s points? GREENBERG: That was just one game; we had five guys in double figures against Maryland. It was just one of those games where we were extremely unselfish but certain guys were getting shots and knocking them down.
We continued to go back to some hot hands and that was just that situation, but we’ve had pretty good balance overall. CT: The team played almost flawlessly at home this season. How much of a difference does a friendly crowd make in big games? GREENBERG: It’s huge. Our home court, Cassell Coliseum, is one of the best home courts in all of the ACC and maybe in the country. The ownership our fans have in our program and the energy they create, they keep us engaged. Cassell Coliseum is a great home court and a huge advantage to our program. CT: Many of the ESPN’s “bracketologists” are currently saying Virginia Tech is a bubble team for the NCAA tournament. What do you think the team has done to earn a spot in the big dance? GREENBERG: We just have to win our next game. We are 22-7 and 9-7 in the ACC. We’ve got only one loss at home, won games on the road, and we have a chance to finish fourth in the ACC. We can’t get caught up. Bracketology is great because it creates interest and sells sponsors, but we have to get caught up in how we are going to beat Georgia Tech. CT: You recently stated that you would be in favor of a 96-team NCAA Tournament. Can you explain why you would think an expansion would be better? GREENBERG: There might not be many great teams, but there are so many good teams. To give these student athletes an opportunity to have that experience — you talk about student athlete welfare — I think it makes sense. Look at the percentage of teams that play Division I basketball in relation to the percentage of teams that get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. It’s out of whack. I just think it would be better for the young people. CT: After the game, you said you would see (the media) at the ACC Tournament. In your opinion, will we be seeing the Hokies at the NCAA Tournament? GREENBERG: That’s our goal. That was our goal at the start of the season and coming into the last game of the season we continue to work towards that goal.
Club men’s ski team shreds to Nationals NATALIE MANK sports staff writer As the 2010 ski season winds down, the Virginia Tech club men’s team is not leaving the slopes just yet. For the first time in the team’s almost 30-year history, it has qualified for the National Championships. Five of the team’s fastest skiers have joined 20 teams and 700 racers from across the country in Sunday River, Maine to compete in the U.S. Collegiate Skiing and Snowboarding National Championships, which will last until Saturday. Prior to the competition, Tech’s best skiers were ecstatic to have the opportunity. “I’m really excited to ski at the national level and see how we stack up against the competition,” said junior Taylor Pence, from Harrisonburg, Va. Pence is a ski instructor and has been on the team for three years. He never competed in high school but got into racing when he joined Tech’s club ski team. Most of the teams Virginia Tech will compete against at Nationals are Varsity teams. Tech, however, is a club team and the athletes coach themselves. They compete in the Southeastern
on the web
The Coaches’ Lounge with women’s tennis coach Terry Ann Zawacki-Woods
Collegiate Ski Conference along with Virginia, James Madison University, East Carolina University, Appalachian State and seven other schools. Ben Walker, a senior from Ohio and President of the team, said this season was special for the Hokies. “A lot of things just fell into place for us this season,” Walker said. “It has been smooth but intense. We have gone back and forth with UVA for second and third place. “The team has dramatically improved in the last three to four years. Just to put things into perspective for you, about four years ago we didn’t even make it to Regionals.” To qualify for Nationals, Tech first competed in the Mid-Atlantic Regional competition. Teams from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic compete in the competition. The top five from each go on to Nationals. Virginia Tech placed third in the Regionals. The team is young, with one senior, three juniors and one freshman. There
is no racing experience required. Three of the five athletes competing never raced prior to college. Peter Johnson, a junior from New Hampshire, has a different story. “I grew up racing and I have friends from other schools who will be competing in Nationals, so I’m excited to see them,” Johnson said. Johnson has been skiing since age one and racing since age six. He was a junior downhill racer but came to Tech to be an engineer. Peter was on his high school racing team and when he came to Tech, he decided to join Tech’s club team. Tech’s club team has been around since 1981. It includes men’s and women’s A and B teams and a developmental team. Many of its racers started out as just recreational skiers. The team allows for a chance to enhance abilities and qualify to travel and compete on the regional and national levels. “What a great way to end the season and my senior year!” Walker said. “I’m just so excited, and competing on the national level opens up a lot of doors for sponsorship.” For results and more information on the Virginia Tech ski team, visit www. alpineski.org.vt.edu