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

Thursday, April 15, 2010

COLLEGIATETIMES 107th year, issue 48

News, page 4

Features, page 2

Opinions, page 5

Sports, page 7

Amid critical language shortage, Arab Fest a first step in expansion strategy PRIYA SAXENA news staff writer “Arab Fest,” an opportunity to learn more about Arabic culture will be presented today in honor of Reema Samaha, a passionate dancer and one of the victims in the April 16, 2007 shootings, one day before Virginia Tech’s third Day of Remembrance. An array of cultural activities related to the Arab-speaking world, including musical and dance performances, will be held at the event, which takes place from 12 to 4 p.m. in the Brush Mountain Room in Squires Student Center. Arab Fest is what the department would like to be a first step in the creation of a Center for Arab Culture and Language. This strategy is a response to demand from students as well as government for higher levels of proficiency in foreign languages—particularly nontraditional but critical tongues. Many of Virginia Tech’s foreign language classes have seen slow growth, particularly due to a lack of funding. In August of 2007, the department commissioned a task force to make recommendations on actions it can take to enhance the language aptitudes of faculty, staff, and students at Virginia Tech. According to this Task Force on Language Competency report, American universities, including Virginia Tech, are giving “far too little attention to foreign language languages, culture, and area studies.” It also cites that although 53 percent of students at 24 peer institutions graduate having taken one or more foreign language classes, only 31 percent of Virginia Tech students do the same. Associate professor of Russian Nyusya Milman-Miller is all too aware of this deficit through her frequent contact with agencies on the prowl for recommendations of foreign language speaking students. “Unfortunately, since we have just

necessary courses to fulfill minors, I’m not able to teach more sophisticated courses which I taught in other schools,” Milman-Miller said. In order to bring the university program up to par, the report recommends that over six years, Virginia Tech raise its number of foreign language majors and minors offered from three and four to nine and 10, respectively. Richard Shryock, chair of the department of foreign languages and literatures chair, explained how shortages of foreign language classes is inhibiting the existence of additional majors. There are historical reasons involved with matters of why Virginia Tech focuses on Spanish, French and Russian, Shryock said. “Traditionally, language departments in the United States have been focused on European languages,” he said. Shryock added that in many universities across the U.S., there are very few that offer majors in Chinese, Japanese and Arabic, languages that are becoming more widely spoken now than in the past. “Our language offerings here are really behind that of our peers, and that’s one of the things that the provost is trying to change through all these extra positions that he would like to give us,” Shryock said. The task force report encouraged the addition of what are known as “strategic languages,” such as Pashto, Farsi, Turkish, and others, as well as the expansion of existing languages. Shryock predicted there would be more students studying languages in the future. The number of those studying languages such as Spanish and French wouldn’t go down, but there would be an increase in the number of students studying Chinese and Arabic, he said. “As things stand right now, I think it’s probably fair to say the entire administration is in favor of increasing language offerings,” Shryock said. “It’s not a controversial point,

it’s just a question of funding.” The three top languages that the department would focus on are Chinese, Arabic, and Italian, partly based on the military’s demonstrated interested in Arabic and Chinese from the task force report, as well as requests from students. “You need people who can read the language to understand the culture and to have a sense of what’s going on there on the ground,” Shryock said. “It’s more (of) just basic research. That’s one dimension of these kinds of jobs that people are not always aware of.” Shryock said it would take time before staff is hired and the department gets the amount of students it needs to teach some of those upper level classes. He compared student enrollment to a pyramid, with more students at the lower level and fewer at the higher level. “You have to really build the base of that pyramid so that you have enough students to justify the enrollment of those advance courses,” Shryock said. Amy Liu, president of the Chinese American Society, encouraged learning Mandarin Chinese, especially for Chinese-American students. “When I found out that it (only) went up to intermediate I was kind of upset,” Liu said, indicating it could affect other students’ interest in taking the course. “Tech doesn’t have that opportunity, so (others wishing to major in Chinese) have said that they wanted to transfer or try to get more involved into learning more Chinese past the intermediate level,” she said. “I hope that Tech can soon in the future have another level.” However, students may have less time in their schedules for higherlevel language classes if they are not already part of a major or minor, Shryock said. “There are several (new languages) involved, not just one or two. With the resources, the money starts getting spread out,” he said. see LANGUAGES / page eight

Hands on with Microsoft Kin: Ain’t nothing like it

Classifieds, page 6

Sudoku, page 6

Tempers flare over hot West End working conditions GORDON BLOCK news reporter Air conditioning has returned after a broken unit made things toasty for student workers at West End Market dining hall. The air conditioning unit, which broke down Sunday, was responsible for controlling temperature for the West End Market, Dietrick Hall and several office spaces and residence halls. The resulting rise in temperature made working conditions sweltering for student employees. One employee working Sunday, who asked for anonymity to protect his job, measured temperatures of more than 90 degrees in his work area of the dining hall. “Everybody was pretty hot on Sunday,” the employee said. To get out of the hot work areas, the employee offered to grab supplies from the dining hall’s fridge area. “I’d volunteer and take a few extra minutes to cool off,” the employee said. The employee also reported that managers advised employees that the air conditioning was not broken, but rather it was not set to turn on until May 7. Additionally, the employee said that student managers warned employees to stay at their stations. “He said to me, ‘You can go home if you want, but we’ll probably fire you,’” the employee said. Leaving the dining hall following an approximately four-anda-half-hour shift, the employee experienced a nosebleed. “As soon as the colder air hit me, my nose started gushing,” the employee said. Rick Johnson, director of housing and dining services, said that his office sometimes struggles with properly gauging dining hall temperature. Johnson said that while the ideal temperature for the dining halls is about 74 degrees, levels are set a little lower to allow for variations in heat levels. “If we get up to 75 or 80 degrees, which is what happened Sunday ... that’s a sign to management that something isn’t working right,” Johnson said. Steve Garnett, unit manager senior at West End, added that the air conditioning has been on for more than two weeks in the dining halls. Garnett, who was not at the dining hall Sunday, said supervisors should observe employee work areas. “While we allow for supervisors to run their shops as efficiently as possible, the health and wellbeing of our employees as well as our customers are taken into effect,” Garnett said. Garnett said he was surprised to hear about the high heat levels, as none of the closing notes for the day mentioned the rising heat levels. Garnett only learned of the heating issues after speaking with maintenance officials. While he was not aware of specific confrontations, Garnett apologized for his manager’s comments when the Collegiate Times brought them up. Garnett said that temperatures were normal when he went in Monday morning, and that tests Tuesday showed temperature levels ranging between 70 and 73 degrees. While noting the negative health effects of heat stress on its Web site, there are currently no state or federal workplace regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for monitoring workplace temperature.

Changing of the SGA guard

BRIEN DUDLEY mcclatchy newspapers Microsoft made some bold decisions with the “Kin” phones it unveiled Monday. The handsets coming out in May are aimed at avid users of social networks, the kind of people who live in Facebook and would rather text their closest friends than call or e-mail them. It’s also the first phone with the Zune entertainment software built in, giving it the ability to play and stream content. In designing a phone/message/Web device for this set, Microsoft created a radical interface that wallpapers the screen with profile pictures of users’ contacts. The screenplay constantly changes as the contacts update their social networks and share information. To share photos or Web snippets with contacts, you click the item and drag it to a green button called the “Kin spot” on the bottom center of the screen. It’s a nice concept, but it took some getting used to. During a brief tryout at Microsoft, the button I used the most was the hard key to return to the homescreen and start over. It also took me a bit to figure out how to move backward in the menu, and to move away from the contact wallpaper to the “normal” list of phone features. It turned out I only had to swipe my finger to the right to call up that list, and tap the home button to move back. I made a phone call and it sounded fine. Although the Kins have physical Qwerty keyboards, you dial with the on-screen keypad, which buzzes the phone a bit with each tap. Of the two models shown to reporters, the small Kin One is more striking. It’s the size of a makeup compact with a slightly textured back and welldesigned buttons that blend into the


case. It’s also remarkable to have such a small device with so many capabilities. It’s not only a 3G phone, but also a Web browser, social media manager, news reader, camcorder and a 4-gigabyte music and video player with streaming capability. The Kin Two has a 720p camcorder and 8 gigs of storage, but it’s more of a standard slider phone. Where the Kin may have the biggest influence on other phones may be the companion Web service, the Kin Studio. It’s basically a personal Web page provided for each phone, where users can bring their Kin experience into a computer’s browser, and the Kin content and activity is automatically synchronized with the online service. The Studio pages can be used to see, store, download and manage photos and videos taken with the Kins’ primo cameras. They also display contacts’ information and a timeline to browse what’s been done with the phone. Buyers of Kin automatically get the Studio service — plus unlimited online storage — when they go through the

mandatory registration process with Windows Live and enter the world of personal cloud services. No software has to be downloaded to a Kin users’ computer to access Studio — it’s all through the browser — and it’s equally accessible to Mac users. Although the phone is aimed at younger buyers, a Verizon executive let on that the device could also appeal to parents who take and share lots of photos and videos of their kids. The Kin’s video quality is “better than the Flip,” John Harrobin said during the launch. Strangely, Microsoft and Verizon declined to reveal the price at today’s launch. Maybe they’re waiting until they figure out what Apple and AT&T will charge for the new iPhones expected to surface this summer. Other questions remain unanswered. For instance, there is no word on if or how developers can produce Kin applications, and no word on whether the Kin will work with Verizon’s upcoming LTE wireless service, or how it might work with Xbox Live.

The new SGA executive officers, headed up by president-elect Bo Hart, are inaugurated on the steps of Burruss Hall. photo by daniel lin/spps

2 features

editor: topher forhecz 540.231.9865

april 15, 2010


Breakthrough female architects honored in ‘Glass Ceilings’ SIX TECH ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS CONTRIBUTE TO COMMEMORATIVE EXHIBIT BY REVIEWING PAST LIZ NORMENT features reporter This past fall semester, six female Virginia Tech architecture students spent hours on end searching through the International Archives for Women in Architecture at the Newman Library. This time was spent in order to create the exhibition that is currently on display at the Virginia Center for Architecture in Richmond. The display is called “Glass Ceilings: Highlights from the International Archive of Women in Architecture” and was assembled by Donna Dunay, the G. T. Ward Professor of Architecture. She said that it represents an effort to combat the perceived limitations for women to excel in a field historically dominated by men. Fifth-year architecture student Lexie Phelan, who was part of the independent study led by Dunay and also helped to create the exhibit, gained an even better understanding of the impact of her work after hearing a speech given at the opening of the exhibit by Milka Bliznakov, founder of the IAWA. “Milka said that through her whole experience in the profession, including in Bulgaria in the first half of the 20th century, she had never experienced this alleged ‘glass ceiling’ of women in architecture until she came to Tech in the 1970s,” Phelan said. Although she admits that this situation has improved since Bliznakov’s experiences, Phelan hopes that the exhibit will help bring light to the perceived imbalance in the field. “It is still a huge issue that needs to be dealt with in our curriculum and general attitude toward the historical figures we idolize in this school, which are mostly male,” she said. Despite the injustice Bliznakov felt, the exhibit itself is meant less to contest past gender perceptions and more to honor those women who have made a strong impact on the field. “I hope that the exhibition will expose some amazing designers who, regardless of sex, have made some amazing contributions to the discipline, and have so far gone almost entirely unrecognized,” Phelan said. The contribution of the six female students to the “Glass Ceilings” exhibi-

tion is a display called “100 Postcards,” where each 4-by-6-inch postcard commemorates a different architect. The independent study called for students to spend time researching one architect’s work each week, helping to create a bridge for students that crosses time and spatial boundaries to connect with those who have contributed to the field’s rich history. The archives, which feature the work of more than 300 architects dating back to the 1930s, not only show models and drawings but also more personal artifacts to give students an insight into each architect’s life beyond their work. “Some of the women included all of their business correspondence, as well as personal correspondence and other artifacts from their lives and travels,” said Candice Davis, a second-year interior design graduate student. Davis was especially touched by a story about one of the women she researched, who began to adopt a curious trade in addition to her work as an architect while living in Colombia. “In researching about Virginia Currie, I came across a story about her and her son, who began to miss peanut butter because it was unavailable when they were living in Colombia,” Davis said. “Virginia gathered all the necessary ingredients to make some for him, but pretty soon all of the neighborhood kids caught on. Because of the demand she began to manufacture and sell peanut butter in her home there.” It was stories like this that made students in the independent study appreciate the archives as a resource for inspiration and a window into how past female architects thought and lived. “When you’d come across a story that really connected you to a person, it was so uplifting,” Davis said. “Their work is beautiful, but what made it real is to know that they’re people too.” Fifth-year architecture student Marisa Brown agrees with this personal aspect of her semester through research in the archives. “It was great to see more than the professional side of the architects through all of the personal artifacts,” Brown said. “I found that so many of them had such spunky personalities, even in a



The exhibit is housed at the Virginia Center for Architecture in Richmond. time that the field was so dominated by men. That was an inspiration for me.” The idea behind “100 Postcards” was to produce a media representation of their research, which would then be compiled to create a modern display of the diverse and unique work in the archives. After traveling to Richmond to help put the display

together in March, Brown felt how powerful the postcards were when shown together. “It was amazing to see all of our display of cards in its entirety, and to step back to see what all of our hard work was able to produce,” Brown said. Brown said that the postcards help visitors to take more away from the exhibit than just walking around and viewing the displays. “After they view the works of the architects, they can come up and get more information that you can’t find from some of their drawings,” Brown said. “It was a great experience for us to see how people can take away something more with the postcards.” Davis also recalled feeling inspired

by how the display was able to come together after visiting. “Our cards compile all of our work together as a modern display of the historic work in the archives,” Davis said.


Although some of the students researched the same architects, Davis was surprised to see that virtually no postcards were alike. “Some of us chose the same architect but came up with completely different representations of her work,” Davis said. “That’s what’s so beautiful about architecture: You can give the same project to 30 different students and each has a different take on it. There’s always something unexpected.” Despite archive founder Bliznakov’s feeling of figurative “glass ceilings” at Tech 40 years ago, both the independent study and exhibit in Richmond show the university’s commitment to retaining a balance among architecture students. According to Brown, the exhibit shows that despite a former lack of recognition for these contributions, the school of architecture is making an effort to look back with honor and move forward with no boundaries. “The exhibit was produced by faculty and students here, so it shows that they have brought the attention where they felt it was needed,” Brown said. “It’s not only our styles of thinking and our designs that we should display, but it also shows the importance that students and faculty see in celebrating women in architecture.”

april 15, 2010

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‘Haiti Day’ celebrates culture while raising support LIZ NORMENT features reporter When members of the Virginia Tech community got word of the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti on Jan 14th, it wasn’t long before multiple organizations and community members combined their efforts to reach out to the devastated country. “Our support after the earthquake has shown that Hokies are united,” Josh Gambrel said, Community Liaison at the Cranwell International center. Four months later, the focus on supporting Haiti is still very much a priority for many of the organizations around campus. “The university has been involved not only with fundraising, but also with multiple agricultural projects and building educational facilities,” Gambrel said. In recognition of these efforts, Raymond Joseph, Haitian ambassador to the United States, will be visiting campus on April 15 to meet with university students and faculty as well as Blacksburg community organizations that have taken part in educational and disaster-relief efforts for Haiti. Joseph will be the keynote speaker for a program entitled, “A Tribute to Haiti and Ut Prosim” in Burrus Auditorium at 7p.m. The ambassador’s talk will focus on Tech’s motto “That I may serve.” “It’s such an honor that the ambassador is coming, and it’s also important that we honor him,” Gambrel said. To honor his visit, multiple organizations have coordinated to organize “Haiti Day,” a day of events to commemorate the country and to offer continued support for its people. “The idea is to create a day full of activities to educate the community as well as to continue the ongoing support process that has already started,” Gambrel said. “We want people to gain an insight into how culturally rich Haiti is. It’s more than just an earthquake country.” Senior political science major Lindsey Francis has been involved with the planning of Haiti Day through the Caribbean Student Organization. Unlike a lot of the other events that were strictly about exposing the devastation and gaining support for Haiti, Francis said that Haiti Day will shed a different light on the tragedy. “We want to celebrate Haiti while still bringing recognition to what happened there,” she said. As president of CaribSO, the organization was in charge of booking Pan Masters Steel Orchestra, a steel drum band from Maryland, to play a free show after Joseph speaks. “We were in charge of getting the band, which we felt was the best way to welcome the Ambassador, with music,” Francis said. The day’s events will begin at 10 a.m.


Members of Hens for Haiti raised money this weekend at the International Street Fair in an effort to build an egg-laying facility in the Haitian town of Gros-Morne. The group will be present on Haiti Day along with several other fundraising organizations. The day will feature different events from performances to a speech from the Haitian ambassador. at the Library Plaza, where students will be able to visit tents to buy Hokies for Haiti shirts as well as show support for Hens for Haiti, a group founded by Tech who’s motto is “feeding the poor, one egg at a time.” Hens for Haiti, who also had a booth at last weekend’s International Street Festival, is working toward developing more sustainable agriculture in Haiti by establishing an egg-laying facility in the city of GrosMorne. The day’s events from there will include “Faculty Perspective: Insight into Haitian History” a talk by history

HAITI DAY EVENTS — 10:30 a.m.: “Faculty Perspective: Insight into Haitian History,” a talk by history professor Dennis Hidalgo — From noon to 1 p.m.: the Cranwell International Center will be hosting a Haitian Benefit Lunch (minimum donation $5) of traditional Haitian cuisine — 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.: Barefoot Soccer Event: Students and community members will be able to play pick-up barefoot soccer games. The games will be held on the turf practice fields across from Lane Stadium, and participants are asked to bring both a dark and light shirt to make teams.

professor Dennis Hidalgo at 10:30 a.m. From noon to 1 p.m. the Cranwell International Center will be hosting a Haitian Benefit Lunch (minimum donation $5) of traditional Haitian cuisine; an event that Gambrel is looking forward to. “We had a group of Haitian students helping us plan everything, so I’m excited to eat some real Haitian food,” Gambrel said. Following the lunch, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. there will be a Barefoot Soccer Event, where students and community members will be able to play pick-up barefoot soccer games. The games will be held on the Turf practice fields across from Lane Stadium, and participants are asked to bring both a dark and light shirt to make teams. The games, which will be organized mostly by Tech’s Haitian students, were an idea that came about just by asking the students what they would be doing in Haiti. “In planning, we asked the Haitian students on the advisory committee what games they’d be playing at home with their friends, and they said they all play soccer, just without shoes,” Gambrel said. Following the events, there will be a showcase of student projects in Haiti in the Burruss Hall Lobby area, lead-

ing into the Ambassador’s speech at 7 p.m. Following the speech there will be a question and answer period with Joseph, followed by student presentations and performances. “The tribute event will be an opportunity to hear from the ambassador and also showcase different student and faculty perspectives on Haiti,” said curriculum and instruction doctorate student and opinions writer for The Collegiate Times, Ray Plaza. Plaza,

who has been heavily involved with the planning of Thursday’s events, is most looking forward to Joseph’s speech. “It will be an opportunity to give a broader insight into the whole Haitian culture,” Plaza said. According to its organizers, the aim of Thursday’s series of events is to bring the Tech community together to learn more about Haitian culture while continuing to raise support for the country. One day before the anniver-

sary of April 16th, Gambrel feels that Tech has been especially supportive of relief efforts in Haiti because of the shared feeling of compassion after the Blacksburg tragedy. “We’ve had tragedy in the past and have seen others come together to help us in our time of need,” Gambrel said. “I think Hokies have a lot to contribute because we know how important it is to rise up as a community and help each other heal after suffering a great

4 news

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

april 15, 2010


nation & world headlines


] Loop

Gates criticizes leaks group for war video on YouTube LIMA, Peru — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Tuesday took a swipe at the Web site that released secret military video footage of a 2007 incident in which civilians were killed. Gates said the videos released by the group WikiLeaks were out of context and provided an incomplete picture of the battlefield, comparing it to war as seen “through a soda straw.” “These people can put out whatever they want and are never held accountable for it,” said Gates, speaking to reporters while in route to Lima. “There is no before and no after. It is only the present.” The Web site last week released classified video of a 2007 incident in Iraq in which two Reuters news agency employees and several other civilians were killed or wounded by an Apache helicopter whose crew mistook them for insurgent fighters. Gates told reporters that the videos were akin to looking at war through a narrow lens and said that millions who have viewed it on YouTube and elsewhere could not understand what was going on before or after the airstrikes incidents. “That is the problem with these videos,” Gates said. “You are looking at the war through a soda straw and you have no context or perspective.” by julian e. barnes, mcclatchy newspapers

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

[Thursday, April 15]

Wondering what’s going on around the ‘burg? Check out the events of the upcoming week. [Saturday, April 17]

[Monday, April 19]

What: Addressing Hunger in the NRV Where: Fieldstone United Methodist Church in Christiansburg When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost: Free

What: Big Event Where: Around Blacksburg When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Note: Check out for more information

What: English Spring Faculty Colloquy — Dan Mosser When: 12:15 p.m. Where: Shanks 370 Cost: Free

What: Arab Fest — A Celebration of Arab Culture Where: Squires Brush Mountain A & B When: Noon to 4 p.m. Cost: Free

What: Virginia Tech Jazz Ensemble Where: The Lyric When: 3 p.m. Cost: $3 for students/seniors, $5 for general admission

What: Womanspace Meeting Where: Women’s Center When: 5:30 p.m. Cost: Free

What: Bench Dedication in Honor of the Survivors of April 16, 2007 Where: April 16 Memorial When: 4 p.m. Cost: Free

What: Concert — Maya Renfro Where: Gillie’s When: 7 p.m. Cost: Free

What: Concert — Fort Vause Where: Gillie’s When: 7 p.m. Cost: Free What: Dance Party Where: Attitudes Bar and Cafe When: 9 p.m. Cost: $8 for ages 18-20, $5 for 21+; Ladies free before 10 p.m.

[Friday, April 16] What: April 16, 2007 Day of Rememberance Note: Check out What: Seminar — Violence, Memory & Justice between Religion & Culture Where: 1040 Torgersen Hall When: 4 p.m. Cost: Free What: Concert — 4/16 Benefit Concert Series Where: Attitudes Bar and Cafe When: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cost: $5 Note: Proceeds go to Hope for Haiti What: Concert — Tim Wave Zero Where: Gillie’s When: 9:30 p.m. Cost: Free

What: Concert — Dave Matthews Tribute Band Concert Where: Drillfield When: 7 p.m. Cost: Free What: Progeny Film Festival Where: The Lyric When: 7 p.m. Cost: $5 What: Third Annual Bob Duncan Memorial 5K Run and Walk Where: The Lyric When: 7 p.m. Cost: $5 What: Show — Belly Dance Raqs Where: Awful Arthur’s When: 8 p.m. Cost: $5 Note: Ages 18-20 must enter before 9 p.m.

[Sunday, April 18] What: Fundraiser — International Women in Need present Zumbathon Where: Y-Center at 1000 N. Main St. When: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: $10 What: Showcase — A Community of Leaders, a Legacy of Achievement Where: Newman Library When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: Free

[Tuesday, April 20] What: CLAHS Faculty and Student Awards Recognition Reception Where: Owens Banquet Hall When: 4 p.m. Cost: Free What: Concert — Dashboard Confessional Where: 7 p.m. When: Burruss Auditorium Cost: $20 for students, $25 for general admission; prices increase $5 day of show What: Concert — The Bridge Where: Attitudes Bar and Cafe When: 9 p.m. Cost: Cover

[Wednesday, April 21] What: Poetry — Under the Radar: John Casteen Where: GLC Room F When: 12:15 p.m. Cost: Free What: Play — Our Town Where: Squires Haymarket Theatre When: 7:30 p.m. Cost: $7 for students, $9 for general admission What: Comedy Club featuring Ed Fox Where: Attitudes Bar and Cafe When: 9 p.m. Cost: Cover

[All Week] This week, the Lyric is showing “The Ghost Writer” starring Ewan McGregor. Check out for showtime information.

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


nation & world headlines


Mexico threatens to cut off millions of cell phone users to fight extortion MEXICO CITY — Millions of cellular telephone users across Mexico face the threat that their service will be cut off as soon as Wednesday for failing to register their telephone numbers with the government — a requirement aimed at curbing a rash of telephone extortion attempts. A gradual suspension of unregistered numbers would begin Wednesday, said Hector Osuna, a top telecommunications official. Some private analysts doubted that the government would carry through on its threat to force cellular companies to suspend service on a massive scale, saying the economic effects would be too heavy, including in lost federal tax revenues. “It is very difficult to quantify, but it would be severe,” said Ernesto Piedras of the Competitive Intelligence Unit, a telecommunications consultancy in the capital. The major mobile providers alone stand to earn 4 billion pesos (about $300 million) less each month if service to all unregistered phones is suspended, Piedras said. Last year, Mexico’s Congress mandated that cellular phone users list their names and other personal data with a national registry as a way to cut down on runaway extortion schemes, some of them operated by gangs within prisons using cellular phones. Criminals carried out more than 120,000 attempted extortions by telephone last year, according to an advocacy group, the Citizens Council for Public Security. by tim johnson mcclatchy newspapers

opınıons 5

editor: debra houchins COLLEGIATETIMES

april 15, 2010

Parking garage takes us a step back T

he Collegiate Times article “Parking pass prices to rise with garage construction” (CT, April 13), highlights a rise in parking permit prices as a controversial topic among students. It seems to expect a future outcry from commuters who travel by car, complaining about the newly planned fees that will come with the construction of new garages. Instead I ask, as I’m sure other environmentally aware and farsighted individuals do, what about the indirect costs associated with these construction plans? As pointed out in the letter, “Parking garages wrong for Tech” by Lyndsay McKeever (CT, April 13), the construction of parking garages will only encourage more vehicle travel. In the same way that adding lanes to a highway does nothing to alleviate traffic in the long run, making parking more convenient for drivers does not eliminate the problem of excess of vehicle commuters where it first originates. A parking garage is merely treating an unfortunate symptom of our population’s dependency on the personal automobile. More vehicle travel to and from campus means more pollution in our community, and to reiterate McKeever once more, this is a step backwards for Virginia Tech and an outright violation of President Steger’s Climate Action Commitment. Furthermore, with more cars on the road, increased traffic congestion will follow. This will inevitably lead to road expansion and increased road upkeep, all coming out of

university and town budgets. These costs will be passed on to us, the students. As does almost every large infrastructure project, these parking garages will have unforeseen social consequences. By encouraging driving, we are taking more pedestrians off of the street and placing them into their own private steel containers, away from any interaction within the public realm. In large numbers, the effect that this trend has on community unity and individual lifestyle is astonishing. The recent plan to include a small plaza at the garage entrance as a gathering location for future garage users is, to me, a classic oxymoron. To plan a type of community center in accordance with and next to a parking garage is not only a poor band-aid approach, but it is also one that may not be successful. Garage users will drive to campus because they want to get to and from school as quickly as possible. They will beeline straight to their cars, with keys in hand, and will not be looking for a bench to relax on. With these thoughts and others in mind, I hope that university officials and, most importantly, the student body will reconsider the proposed parking garages and begin to calculate all costs associated with them. We will not simply be facing higher parking pass fees but also a lower quality of life.

LIDA ALJABAR -sophomore -public and urban affairs major

Increase tuition for all students C

ollege tuition is already at a point where it’s surpassing any other point in history. With fees increasing every year, people are having a hard time paying for school. Students who attend public universities outside of their home state are in a terrible situation since they are paying almost double, and in some cases, triple the amount that in-state students pay to attend the same university. Being an out-of-state student here at Virginia Tech, I can attest to the fact that it is really tough to pay $30,000 a year in order to attend this great university. Since coming to Tech was not my sole decision to make, as I was not going to be the one footing the bill, it was really hard to convince my parents to let me come here. However, since it is a better university for engineering than the best engineering school in my home state of Maryland, the only reason that my parents could come up with for not letting me attend Tech was the financial part of the deal. I would have paid $20,000 less a year in order to attend the University of Maryland, which is five minutes away from my house. Recently, Tech has decided to raise the tuition for out-of-state students even more in order to compensate for the lack of funds to the university. There are not that many out-of-state students here at Tech to begin with, and increasing the tuition is not going to help this number increase. I know that my parents would not be happy to be paying even more money for me to attend Tech when in-state students are paying less than half of what out-of-state students are paying. I don’t necessarily disagree with the increase in tuition, but it doesn’t

make sense that they would increase tuition for out-of-state students and not increase for in-state students. If they want to increase tuition, it should be for everyone and not just a small portion. The only reason I was allowed to attend Tech was because it was the best situation for me, but if I have to pay more money for the coming years, I don’t think my parents would have made the same decision. With families like mine that are already having a hard time paying the tuition, taking out loans and getting money from wherever we can, it could affect future numbers of prospective students. Tech is spending so much money on random projects that are not required in order for the campus to run efficiently, such as another dining hall, expanding McComas Hall and building new parking garages around campus. They could be using the funds for the areas where change is needed, instead of using them on the unnecessary items listed above. Raising tuition is going to help them for the moment. Over time, however, as the number of out-of-state students decrease because of the higher tuition rates, it is just going to hurt the university’s funds, as it is going to lose more students who don’t want to pay the extra fees. Instead of providing a temporary fix today, the university needs to find alternative solutions that will be sustainable long into the future.

ALEX GOMES -freshman -aerospace and ocean engineering major

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Tackling inequality makes Virginia really ‘for lovers’

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hile researching an end-of-term communication project last fall, I came upon the Implicit Association Test — an online game that has users correlate images and words at a rapid pace to measure “automatic preference.” Essentially, an IAT reveals what we might never say or think aloud, but what we subconsciously prefer. Using the IAT to measure black or white racial preference was integral to my research project, but my penchant for procrastination led me to take the IAT for gay or straight preference. I found I have an automatic preference for “straight” rather than “gay,” which didn’t surprise me entirely — except for the fact that I am gay. My exposure to gay culture has been mostly through knowing my uncle, who has always been open and honest with me about his sexuality. We love to talk about everything — and usually end up agreeing— but at a fundamental level I am obnoxiously more optimistic in my outlook for gay equality. His tone is more measured and doubtful than the rhetoric I employ. I have tremendous unyielding faith in my generation, and that equality will happen. But how do we measure equality? Marriage? End-of-life benefits? Adoption? The details are fuzzy. This past Tuesday, I attended the panel “Sexuality and Human Rights in Virginia,” held by the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at the Graduate Life Center. The panel had only been organized a week prior, undoubtedly to address the controversy brought about by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s letter urging state universities to eliminate any policy that banned discrimination

based on sexual orientation. The Tech professors, activists, students and a state senator in attendance were all in unanimous agreement that Cuccinelli overstepped his authority with his directive. However, the discussion on the state of gay rights in Virginia was extremely sobering. For Virginia, right now, we’re discussing whether institutions should have policies on the books to merely protect gay people from discrimination in their schools and workplaces — a far cry from marriage and adoption rights, the allowance of happiness I expect for my own future. May 2, 2008 marked the passing of civil rights heroine Mildred Loving, who along with her husband, Richard, were arrested from their home for violating Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act in 1958, five weeks after their wedding. She was black, and he was white. The Lovings had the option to leave the state or face one-year prison sentences for their unlawful union. They left Virginia, but Mildred wrote to President John F. Kennedy arguing her civil rights had been violated, and the ACLU built a case. The Lovings case was finally decided by the Supreme Court, where a unanimous ruling on June 12, 1967 declared, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.” The Lovings weren’t gay, but they were too queer for Virginia. This week, my optimism in future gay equality seems a little silly given the low bar set by our state’s attorney general with regard to civil rights discourse. But I know social justice movements grow in leaps and bounds. In America,

what one day seems inconceivable becomes next week’s reality. My IAT score, however disappointing, reveals a challenge. Appealing to higher moral ground is never convenient — it requires a commitment to living bravely. Our collective relegation of equality as “tomorrow’s problem” is embarrassing. If Virginia is for lovers, let’s make it so. In June 2007, on the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, Mildred Loving issued one of the few public statements she’d made since the ruling: “I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life,” she wrote. “I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.” I have taken for granted my generation’s tolerance, and I’ve used it as a crutch for my inaction. Civil rights stories end with laws and made-fortextbook quotes, but they begin with subjugated people standing up for themselves — and their allies standing up for them as well. My IAT needs some work done if I am to respect myself, or the community that I love. This does not happen by swatting away gay equality as a “nobrainer.”

CHRISTOPHER COX -regular columnist -senior -communication major

Why we should be worrying about violent political rhetoric T

he recent spike in violent political rhetoric coupled with last week’s arrest of two men who threatened the lives of two Democratic House members has a lot of commentators worried about a surge in domestic political terrorism. Those fears are misplaced. Not because there won’t be violence, but because politically inspired violence won’t necessarily be aimed at politicians. A few months ago, Ohio State University historian Randolph Roth published a groundbreaking book, “American Homicide,” that offers something like a unified theory of why Americans kill each other at such a high rate and what can be done about it. After meticulously tracing trends in violence and political power in the United States from colonial times to the present, Roth concludes that high homicide rates “are not determined by proximate causes such as poverty, drugs, unemployment, alcohol, race, or ethnicity, but by factors ... like the feelings that people have toward their government and the opportunities they have to earn respect without resorting to violence.” Roth’s analysis in fact puts politics at the very root of the highest homicide rate of any First World democratic nation. He points to the Civil War as the genesis of even peacetime unrest. It was not simply a case of violence begetting violence. Rather, high homicide rates were the symptom of low overall political confidence. The Civil War, Roth says, was “a catastrophic failure in nation building,” when a large percentage of the population lost faith in government and eyed their countrymen

with distrust. “Our high homicide rate started when we lost faith in ourselves and in each other,” he says. Conservative writers like to argue that distrust for government is part of our birthright as Americans. And they’re right. It’s built into the system and can be found in the writings of Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. But there’s a difference between distrust and disdain. The tradition of truly hating government began with the Civil War and a nation literally torn apart by contrasting visions and mores. Roth essentially believes that that antagonism plays out today when elections leave half the nation feeling empowered and the other half feeling disenfranchised. The more people who feel empowered, the lower the homicide rate. If people feel their government shares their values and acts on their behalf, they have greater trust and confidence in their dealings with others. Conversely, those who feel out of power and mistrustful of government carry those attitudes into e veryday relationships with murderous results. As Roth sees it, even activists and politicians — from the right or the left — who sew bitter disdain for government are indirectly encouraging the mistrust that breeds violent behavior. “The extent that people feel dispossessed affects how they deal with other people,” Roth told me. “They carry that anger ... to a discussion in a tavern or a property dispute. That anger can cause us to lose our temper

more quickly.” Roth’s research compares the trends in “political trust” and murder statistics. For example, white homicide peaked in 1980, the final year of the Carter administration, when people angry over school busing, the Iran hostage crisis, and the defeat in Vietnam were unhappy in large enough numbers to bring white trust in government to its post-war low. Does this suggest that Barack Obama’s election will cause a shift in rates of violence? Absolutely. According to Roth, FBI data released in December bear that out. In the first six months of 2009, urban areas that Obama carried saw the steepest drop in the homicide rate since the mid-1990s. During that period, the states with the largest percentage of counties that voted more heavily Republican in 2008 than they did in 2004 saw an 11 percent rise in homicide in cities of more than 100,000 residents. I asked Roth to speculate on what could happen if the right continued its violent rhetoric and didn’t gain seats in November or 2012. He suggested looking back at the 1960s and 1970s, when left-wing activists were preaching their own disdain for government. As trust of government evaporated, the murder rate doubled. As my grandmother would say, “God Bless America.”

GREGORY RODRIGUEZ -mcclatchy newspapers

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april 15, 2010

16 teams set to lace up skates, chase Stanley Cup through June RAY NIMMO

Former Tech softball star continues career as coach

sports reporter It’s that time of year again for 16 teams to lace up their skates and compete for the most coveted trophy in sports: the Stanley Cup. No postseason compares to the NHL playoffs — the speed, the excitement, the will to win it all. The Eastern Conference features a lot of the same faces this time around such as Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Washington. The Western Conference showcases some fresh faces with Phoenix, Los Angeles and Colorado entering the mix. Pittsburgh and Detroit have faced off in the Finals the last two years, and a three-peat isn’t quite out of the question. Series by series, here are the matchups and predictions.

HATTIE FRANCIS sports staff writer

EASTERN CONFERENCE No. 1 Washington Capitals vs. No. 8 Montreal Canadiens The Capitals put up 121 points and 54 wins this season and are bulldozing through their opponents. If Alexander Ovechkin didn’t miss time from injuries and suspensions, he would probably have won the races for goals and total points. But this team is going to need a goalie to lead them to the promised land. On the heels of a stellar comeback-type season, goalie Jose Theodore will get an easy first matchup against Montreal. Montreal will wish it had never made the playoffs. Washington in four.

No. 2 New Jersey Devils vs. No. 7 Philadelphia Flyers Has there been a more confusing team this year than the Flyers? Pegged by many to reach the Stanley Cup Finals, they’ve been in disarray throughout the season. Starting goalie Ray Emery didn’t pan out and ended up injured and out for the season. Captain Mike Richards is going to need to put the team on his shoulders once again. It’s no surprise the Devils are here. Last season, the Devils were ousted by an upstart Carolina team, but it’s hard to see that happening again. It will be a tough series though. New Jersey in seven.

No. 3 Buffalo Sabres vs. No. 6 Boston Bruins It’s hard to believe it was just last year when Boston made it to the Conference Finals. Since then, its traded Phil Kessel and lost Marc Savard to injury, which put its offense in a serious grind. It didn’t help that goalie Tim Thomas struggled mightily, but now the team has 23-year-old Tuukka Rask, who suffocated opponents with a 1.97 goalsagainst average and a .931 save percentage. The goalie on the other side is no slouch either — Team USA starter Ryan Miller. This series depends on which team can put the puck in the net. Buffalo has 12 players with 10 goals or more, and Boston’s leading goal-scorer has just 22. Buffalo in six.

No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 5 Ottawa Senators The Penguins, the defending Stanley Cup champions, find themselves facing a somewhat surprising Ottawa team. With all the talent Pittsburgh has, it’s a mystery as to why it never competes for a top seed. But the regular season doesn’t matter anymore, of course. This is where the Penguins excel, having been to the Stanley Cup Finals two years in a row. The Senators were already overmatched and now, after losing Alexei Kovalev for the year from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the Sens are the dead horse preparing to be beaten. Pittsburgh in five.


WESTERN CONFERENCE No. 1 San Jose Sharks vs. No. 8 Colorado Avalanche If there’s any NHL topic that’s been exhausted, it’s the playoff woes of the Sharks. San Jose dodged a bullet in not having to face a red-hot Detroit team. The Sharks shouldn’t have any problem taking out the Avalanche early. The Avs haven’t played well since the Olympic break. Goalie Craig Anderson’s massive workload has caught up to him, and key players Peter Mueller and Matt Duchene are recovering from injuries. With that being said, the Sharks still don’t have the confidence to sweep a team in the playoffs or beat them in five games. San Jose will take the series but not without shooting itself in the foot a couple times. San Jose in six.

No. 2 Chicago Blackhawks vs. No. 7 Nashville Predators This could get ugly really fast. Chicago must be disappointed with blowing a golden opportunity in the last game of the season against Detroit. If it had won, it would have meant a No. 1 seed and home ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. That puts Nashville right in the crosshairs of an angry team led by seemingly always-disgruntled coach Joel Quenneville. The Predators have heart, though, and they never quit. Despite the high probability of being skinned alive, Nashville will give it all it has. Chicago in five.

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No. 4 Phoenix Coyotes vs. No. 5 Detroit Red Wings Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t a typo. The Coyotes really are in the playoffs and enter as a fourth seed no less. Phoenix shocked the hockey world after being in fire and brimstone for the last several years. Ownership questions, gambling scandals and relocation considerations bogged down this franchise. But with new coach Dave Tippett, Phoenix got revitalized and finished with 50 wins and 107 points. Their reward? Competing against the hottest team since the Olympic break. Near the midpoint of the season, the Red Wings were out of the playoffs dealing with a stockpile of injuries. But they’re back to Stanley Cup form and are once again dangerous. The Western Conference can only hope Phoenix can pull a miracle and oust Detroit. But let’s be real. This is Detroit and these are the playoffs.

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Former Virginia Tech softball pitcher Angela Tincher can add another title to her list of accolades. Along with her current position as an alternate on the United States National softball team, she has also become an assistant coach for the Syracuse Orange. When Tincher left the Hokies after spring 2008, she went to pitch for the Akron Racers. Then in summer 2009, Tincher took her TINCHER career overseas, traveling to Japan to play for LeoPalace 21. “I finished in Japan in November, so I was just kind of trying to decide what to do,” she said. “Our team in Japan actually is owned by a corporation, and with the economy and everything they decided to cut

softball even though we did really well.” According to Tincher, her team finished third in the league. The Japanese Professional League is owned by a group of Japanese businesses and each team is paired with a company. “I couldn’t go back to Japan and that team,” Tincher said. “So, I was trying to decide if I wanted to go somewhere else or stay here, and I am just a mutual friend with coach (Leigh) Ross at Syracuse.” “I found out she was looking for a pitching coach, and my boyfriend is actually going to grad school there,” she said. “It was just perfect timing and just somewhere I wanted to be.” Because Tincher arrived shortly before the start of the season in midJanuary, she had to take extra time out to get to know her new team and how they function. “Usually, as a pitching coach you would have all fall to work with pitchers and make changes, and I

didn’t really have time to do that since it was so close to the season,” Tincher said. “I guess my role right away was just more kind of (giving) advice,” she continued. “You know I’ve been in their position, letting them know things from my experiences, making little changes, but nothing too drastic.” Tech softball coach Scot Thomas believes Tincher’s attitude will be the key to her coaching success. “Hopefully she can take that winning, and the things we did here on her run, and that type of winning attitude,” Thomas said. The Orange is currently 19-16 on the season. As for her future, Tincher is still unsure where she will continue to coach. “This is my first year full time coaching ... but I do enjoy it,” she said. “I enjoy the team, and whether I’m going to do it here or somewhere else, or in another position, I’m not sure yet.”

april 15, 2010

page 8

Languages: Classes added despite budgetary challenge from page one

“That’s not all that bad since you need to build slowly,” Shryock said. “If the university were to give us five professors of Chinese right now, I don’t know if we could fill the classes.” One of the first languages that the department would like to upgrade to having a major is Russian, as there is currently only a minor in that language, Shryock said. A focus on Russian is the fastest route that the department can take to expand the total number of languages in which it offers majors. “We have very strong demand. We have actually some of the highest enrollments in the country in beginning Russian,” Shryock said. Eight years ago, there were only seven students minoring in the Russian language, according to Milman-Miller. There are now 70. Although last year Virginia Tech was ranked No. 2 in states in all 84 universities that teach Russian and the amount of students in the first year, Russian needs at least one more professor for a major, according to

Milman-Miller, who said some students have accumulated up to 40 credits in Russian; to have a major they need only 30. “That’s why I feel not as happy as I could be if we have a major. I have dedicated students,” she said. However, it will have to compete with demands for new faculty of languages already offered as majors, she said. On one hand, the department is making efforts to expand languages such as Japanese, which will offer four sections in the fall from the original one. At the same time, other languages being taught, such as Spanish, French and the classics are in need of more staffing, according to Shryock. In addition to staffing difficulties, there’s a problem with the funding of summer courses, Shryock said. “We’d like to have faculty-led programs abroad,” Shryock said. The department plans to set up and staff study abroad programs, including one to go to Senegal West Africa in 2011, as soon as it gets more personnel, Shryock said. “It’d be nice to expand in some other directions, like Farsi or Hindi

as well, (but) one of the problems for those languages is finding someone who is qualified to teach and move to Blacksburg,” Shryock said. “No one is going to move here for the part-time wages,” he said, noting that if only one or two courses a semester are offered, qualifying as part-time work, then somebody who is already in Blacksburg is needed. According to Shryock, in fall semester the average rank for new teachers as well as seasoned teachers in the department was 3.74 out of 4.0 from all of the classes. “Our department has shown that we can bring in very high-quality faculty here. We just need the money to do it.” The department has made some new foreign language instructor hires despite budgetary difficulties. For example, a new instructor in Italian started teaching this school year. Additionally, the department will be adding two more upper division instructors in Spanish in the near future to address the strong demand for courses on the 3000 level, particularly for Spanish minors and

As things stand right now, I think it’s probably fair to say the entire administration is in favor of increasing language offerings. It’s not a controversial point, it’s just a question of funding.” RICHARD SHRYOCK FLL DEPARTMENT CHAIR

majors. “The higher the level, the more credentials and background experience tend to be necessary to teach the course, and therefore that person is going to cost more. We want those people to be as qualified as they can be,” Shryock said. “I would hope that we could at least add minors in three more languages at least in the next five to seven years,” Shryock said, “and majors in at least three languages in the seven to 10 year range.” Shryock said that the strategy for the department is to first set up a minor in languages such as Chinese, Arabic, Italian, and Japanese. If fund-

ing were available, the department would then like to have majors for those languages. “I think that once the university and the state get off of this budget crisis, that we are likely to see a significant increase (in language courses),” Shryock said. Nevertheless, Shryock said there had been two years of increases in foreign language faculty before the budget crunch hit. According to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Sue Ott Rowlands, an estimated dozen new hires have been made in the past two-and-a-half years, which was a time of budget reductions. “Each year we’re trying to do a little bit more in those areas. But with budget reductions (from the recession) we haven’t been able to move as fast as we would have wanted to,” Ott Rowlands said. “The state funding is being reduced every year. In order to hire more faculty, we have to have base funding ... and that just takes time to build those dollars up,” she said. “There are some initiatives that we’re moving ahead with, but when we ... are still hiring in

foreign languages, I think that’s pretty significant.” In fact, since fall 2005, foreign language faculty members have increased from 31 to 43, an increase of almost 39 percent. However, she said that the foreign language is hiring when “hardly anyone else is.” The actual budget for foreign languages at Tech is contingent on a myriad of different sources, including salary funding, operating funding, funding that comes from the Curriculum for Liberal Education courses that are taught, technology funding, and so on. Growth in funding over the past two-and-a-half years allowed the hires to happen, Ott Rowlands said. Shryock said that the money trickles back up to the state. “The state’s in a very tense situation now and we’re facing large deficits,” Shryock said. “It’s not that people are opposed to this kind of thing. It’s just that the money’s not there.” “We’re just not getting the kind of support from the state that we would like to have to be able to offer some of these courses,” Shryock said.

Thursday, April 15, 2010 Print Edition  
Thursday, April 15, 2010 Print Edition  

Thursday, April 15, 2010 Print Edition of The Collegiate Times