T H E I N D E P E N D E N T D A I LY AT D U K E U N I V E R S I T Y
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2011
ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTH YEAR, ISSUE 70
Jackson urges consideration Duke: NC Med Board ‘inaccurate’ of environmental issues University says board misstated Duke’s conclusions about Potti
by Matt Barnett THE CHRONICLE
A leader in environmental policy highlighted pressing concerns facing the Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed more than 500 people about environmental policies and challenges the EPA faces, particularly given the economic downturn and political climate. Jackson leads an 18,000-person department in an effort to protect and enhance the environment and public health. Deemed the 2011 Duke Environment and Society Lecture, Jackson’s talk was sponsored by the Nicholas School of the Environment and took place at Reynolds Industries Theater. Jackson commended the Obama administration’s stance on environmental issues, discounting the notion that economic productivity and environmental health are mutually exclusive. “President [Barack] Obama knows and has said the choice between the economy being healthy and the environment being healthy is a false choice,” Jackson said. She noted that both economists and industry groups recognize that regulations are almost never the cause of economic problems or layoffs. The opposite is often true, as regulations encourage innovation and often result in a net increase in job creation, Jackson said. Environmental health has traditionally been a bipartisan issue. The EPA, which SEE EPA ON PAGE 6
by Julian Spector THE CHRONICLE
TORI POWERS/THE CHRONICLE
Duke is disputing a state agency’s characterization of the University’s findings regarding the credentials of Dr. Anil Potti. The North Carolina Medical Board formally reprimanded the former Duke oncologist late last month for unprofessional conduct. The medical board investigated Potti after learning of allegations that he misrepresented his qualifications and may have committed research misconduct. In the reprimand, the board wrote that Duke Medical Center, after reviewing Potti’s credentials, had concluded that the errors “were largely the result of carelessness and honest errors with Anil Potti no clear intention to mislead.” This statement prompted the objection from Duke. Duke’s Associate Counsel Ann Bradley sent a letter of complaint to Medical Board President Dr. Ralph Loomis Monday, refuting the board’s description of Duke’s conclusions following an investigation into Potti’s curriculum vitae and biographical sketch. The letter calls the board’s description “incomplete” and “inaccurate” and refers back to a statement from Provost Peter Lange issued in August 2010 where Lange noted that “issues of substantial concern were identified” regarding Potti’s CV and biographical sketch, adding that investigators later deemed the errors in these documents as “serious concerns.”
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson speaks at Reynolds Industries Theater to a crowd of more than 500 people Tuesday afternoon.
SEE POTTI ON PAGE 5
Researchers receive funding to develop HIV vaccine by Lucy Hicks THE CHRONICLE
Duke University Medical Center researchers have received grants totaling $37.2 million to continue work developing an effective HIV vaccine. Duke researchers are working to develop a vaccine that is designed to prevent recipients from contracting HIV, which can cause AIDS—the syndrome that results in the progressive failure of the David Montefiori human immune system. Last week, researcher David Montefiori, professor and director of the Laboratory for AIDS Vaccine Research and Development, received a five-year $24.6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—the largest of the three awarded grants. Montefiori’s research
Sidewalk becomes Hootli, Page 3
largely focuses on identifying the varying effectiveness of antibodies against different strands of HIV in hopes of developing a vaccine. “One of the crucial aspects of the work that we do is look at the ability of the antibodies to block the many different strains of HIV... [which] allows people to identify the more promising candidates and to weed out the weaker vaccine candidates so more work can be done in the more promising approaches,” Montefiori said. One of the major issues in prevention of HIV has been developing an effective vaccine that protects against the variations of the virus around the world, Montefiori said. There are nine major genetic variations of HIV, and when a patient becomes infected with two different types, they can combine into circulating recombinant forms, which make the vaccine development process
much more complicated. The World Health Organization has estimated that 34 million people worldwide are infected with HIV as of 2010, a number that has been steadily growing for years. The Gates Foundation grants will fund the Medical Center’s HIV and AIDS prevention work in the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery program, which is an international network of researchers attempting to develop vaccines and clinical trials. The program was created by the Gates Foundation in 2006 and has awarded grants that support 94 institutions in 19 countries. Duke researchers joined the collaboration in 2006, when it received a $31.5 million grant that allowed the Medical Center to establish the Comprehensive Antibody Vaccine Immune Monitoring Consortium, which is led by Montefiori. Another recipient of a Gates Foundation grant is Dr. Barton Haynes, director
“Look—a lot of people are insensitive, insufferable bigots and that’s just the way they are.” —Indu Ramesh in “No offense, but...” See column page 11
of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute and the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Frederic M. Hanes professor of medicine and immunology. Haynes, who received a three-year $11.7 million grant, focuses on developing the next generation of HIV vaccines based on previous trials by examining immune cells from vaccinated people in order to determine which antibodies are effective. Haynes said he is currently analyzing antibodies from a vaccine trial carried out by the U.S. Army and the government of Thailand in 2009. Of 18,000 Thai citizens, 30 percent of participants were protected against the virus. Although that ratio of success was not high, the study contained important implications for vaccine development, he said. “The trial gave us hope that indeed a vaccine could be made,” Haynes said. SEE HIV ON PAGE 6
Blue Devils look to bounce back from loss, Page 7
2 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2011
Congress debates bill to ban lawmakers’ stock trades
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A deeply divided House committee debated Tuesday whether to pass a high-profile bill that would prohibit members of Congress from buying and selling stocks based on non-public information they learn about through their work on Capitol Hill. Several panel members, backed in part by the testimony of a Securities and Exchange Commission official, said the measure is not needed because existing laws and congressional ethics rules ban such action. They also said the bill, known as the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, could be used to unfairly tarnish members. The hearing struck a very different tone from one held last week on two similar bills. Members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs said the bills should be retooled and quickly passed to restore the public’s confidence in Congress.
GoPass Distribution Event Marketplace, 6-8p.m. Duke Parking and Transportation and Students for Sustainable Living is distributing GoPass, which provides free riding on Triangle Transit and other regional transit routes.
Screen/Society: Duke Student Film Showcase Griffith Theater, 6-10:30p.m. The two-day event screens final projects in Duke film classes this semester.
Influenza vaccination rates Emir dissolves assembly to increase among children defuse protests in Kuwait Influenza immunization rates in children are up this year compared with last, with 36 percent getting the vaccine by the middle of November, government officials reported. This year, Hispanic children have been vaccinated at a higher rate than black children or white children.
KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait — Kuwait’s ruler dissolved parliament and said elections should be held after a dispute over corruption allegations sparked anti-government protests. The standoff between Kuwait’s opposition and the government has put the political system under growing strain.
Duke Men’s Basketball vs. Colorado State Cameron Indoor Stadium, 7p.m. Duke (7-1) is playing its first game in seven days against Colorado State (5-3).
Duke Symphony Orchestra Reynolds Theater, 8-10p.m. The Duke Symphony Orchestra, directed by Harry Davidson, presents “Three Tributes and the Heir of Beethoven”.
TODAY IN HISTORY 1941: Japan bombs Pearl Harbor.
“Just one week ago, Duke was No. 3 in the AP Poll and received multiple firstplace votes, but after being dominated by Ohio State on the road, the Blue Devils fell to No. 7 this week. Prior to the loss in Columbus, Duke had one of the strongest resumes in the country.” — From The Blue Zone bluezone.dukechronicle.com
America is a nation with many flaws, but hopes so vast that only the cowardly would refuse to acknowledge them. — James Michener
Earthquake Memorial Day Armenia
Good Neighborliness Day Turkmenistan
National Day Ivory Coast TYLER SEUC/THE CHRONICLE
Nourish International held its final Hunger Lunch of the semester. Donations go to programs designed to combat poverty globally.
International Civil Aviation Day International
stuck inside studying for finals? find out what you’ve been missing. the chronicle archives on-line: anytime, any place, emerging from Perkins not required.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2011 | 3
Duke student’s start-up NC unemployment rebranded as Hootli rate falls in October by Kotoe Oshima THE CHRONICLE
A student-founded discount site exclusive to deals in the Durham area has rebranded itself after the threat of a lawsuit. Hootli—a Duke alumni and student-led venture that advertises discounted group deals for 35 local restaurants and bars, including some on-campus vendors—is regaining traction after avoiding a potential legal battle in August. Formerly known as Sidewalk, the small company changed its name after the owners of the website Sidewalk.com—another business associated with the restaurant industry—claimed infringement upon its identical name. “We decided to move forward,” said Hootli President Andrew Joiner, Fuqua ’11. “The best course of action was to start fresh and use everything we learned, use our technology, use existing relationships and use our marketing study to relaunch under a new name.” Although the company’s attorney anticipated that Hootli would win a legal battle if charges were pressed against them, approximately $500,000 in legal and attorney fees was difficult for the small start-up company to dispense for a legal response, Joiner said. Keeping the well-received owl figure as the company’s logo, the name Hootli was chosen for its uniqueness to try and avoid any future legal issues with website domain names as well as with Twitter and Facebook. “We learned our lesson the first time, we want something catchy, something simple that’s also something that is completely different from anything that’s in the market
right now,” said senior Daniel Bingyou, Hootli vice president of sales. At one Hootli hosted event at Devine’s Restaurant and Sports Bar Nov. 10, senior Doug Dellinger won a two-night trip to Las Vegas with a $500 credit at a casino. The prize, co-sponsored by Hootli and Devine’s, was part of Hootli’s special launch events that they hosted as various bars and restaurants near campus. “It’s cool that they’re trying to do something entrepreneurial and also trying to help out local businesses,” Dellinger said. “It’s a good cause [because] they’re [making] students aware of more local businesses.” Hootli partners with local restaurant and bars to drive customers through its doors during off-peak hours, using time-sensitive deals and draws support from those in the Duke community. The Duke Student Publishing Company, publishers of The Chronicle, provided $8,000 in a convertible note as seed money for the company’s startup costs last Spring and is a marketing partner selling the Hootli service. The Hootli business model is distinct from other deal-of-the-day websites such as Groupon, Joiner said, with a more focused target demographic—college students— rather than the international breadth offered by Groupon. With approximately 3,000 active users and plans to include restaurants in Chapel Hill next January, Joiner said he is confident that the rebranding process has not set the company back. “We’re in a stronger position now based on our traction than ever before,” he said.
By Joel Luther THE CHRONICLE
The latest state unemployment data reveals that the number of residents filing unemployment insurance claims has increased while the unemployment rate has dropped. According to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, the unemployment rate for Durham County was 7.7 percent in October—a decrease from 8.1 percent in September. The county rate is lower than the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 10.4 percent in October, which has held fairly steady over the past several months. Larry Parker, acting public information director of the N.C. Employment Security Commission, noted that the state’s job market is on the recovery, though progress has been slow. “We’ve lost a lot of jobs since the recession, so it’s going to take a lot of time to get back,” Parker said. “It’s a slow gain, but we’re getting there.” North Carolina added 5,500 jobs in October, 700 of which were located in the private sector. At the same time, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance increased by 3,327 since September, and the number of people making claims increased by 480. Due to the fact that more people are entering the labor force, the unemployment rate may see a decrease even though the total number of unemployed people actually increases, said Seth Sand-
ers, professor of economics and public policy and director of the Duke Population Research Institute. The N.C. unemployment rate of 10.4 percent is greater than the national average of 9 percent. Since November 2010, North Carolina’s rate has been higher than the national rate. Duke—which employs approximately 33,000 people across the University and health system—is weathering the trend fairly well, Vice President for Administration Kyle Cavanaugh said. Job applications have steadily increased since the economic downturn—averaging approximately 13,000 per month, he added. “In general, since the economic downturn, the hiring numbers at the University have essentially been steady,” Cavanaugh said. “We do expect and project that we will see some hiring increases in the health system, predominantly driven by the new Cancer Center and the Duke Medical Pavilion.” Cavanaugh attributed the University’s success to the increased demand in its necessary and relevant services for the community. “The demand for higher education has remained strong, and the demand for health care has not only remained strong, it has continued to grow,” he said. Sectors such as government, professional and business services and education and health services experienced the SEE UNEMPLOYMENT ON PAGE 5
4 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2011
Clinton meets with Syria opposition by Karen DeYoung THE WASHINGTON POST
GENEVA — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met here with leading members of Syria’s opposition Tuesday amid a fast-moving escalation of international pressure to force the departure of the country’s President Bashar Assad. After nearly two hours of talks with top officials of the Syrian National Council, an umbrella organization that came together this summer, a senior State Department official said Clinton deemed them a “leading and legitimate representative of Syrians seeking a peaceful democratic transition.” As the meeting took place, around a table decked with white roses in a small hotel conference room, there were new reports of violence in the central Syrian city of Homs. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights quoted witnesses as saying 34 bodies were dumped in the streets Monday night. One resident of Homs, who declined to give his name because of safety concerns, said dozens of people had been arrested and executed in a public square in the city. Also Tuesday, the Arab League said it would maintain sanctions against Syria, after the Assad government said it would reject a proposal for military monitors and observers unless the league lifted suspension of Syria's membership. The United States and Europe have imposed economic sanctions.
The Geneva meeting was the most high-profile encounter to date between the opposition and the Obama administration. The State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the private session, said Clinton had asked about the council’s transition plans and its recognition of the need to reach out to Syria’s myriad minority groups and had come away impressed. The council leaders did not ask for a public U.S. endorsement or recognition, the official said, and indicated that they saw a continuation of Arab League efforts as the best way forward. But “what’s new here, and fairly significant,” the official said, “is that the secretary of state had this meeting.” Council leaders had previously met with Clinton's counterparts in Britain, France and Germany. In a statement to the seven council leaders before reporters were ushered from the room, Clinton said, “We certainly believe that if Syrians unite, they together can succeed in moving their country to [a] better future.” She said the United States was “committed to helping... make this transition.” The meeting came as the U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, was returning to Damascus, a month and a half after leaving for “consultations” in Washington following what the administration said was a government-backed campaign of intimidation against him, including an attack on his home in the Syrian capital.
Mine owner to pay record $209M penalty by David Fahrenthold and Kimberly Kindy THE WASHINGTON POST
The owner of a rogue coal mine in West Virginia where sparking machinery and built-up gases led to an explosion that killed 29 men last year has agreed to pay a record $209 million penalty and make historic changes to protect miners from harm, federal prosecutors said Tuesday. The settlement with Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources, which bought the parent company of the mine, Massey Energy, is more than 40 times larger than any previous fine for a coal disaster. It came 20 months after the blast at the Upper Big Branch mine, the worst U.S. mining disaster in 40 years. Also Tuesday, a new government report detailed the world inside the mine April 5, 2010, where modern men went underground to face problems out of the 19th century. Miners worked amid pockets of neck-high water and buildups of explosive methane and coal dust. Their bosses kept two sets of safety logs, a real one and a fake one to show government inspectors. “If basic safety measures had been in place,” said the report, from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, “there would have been no loss of life.” The settlement requires Alpha to pay $1.5 million each to the families of 29 dead and two injured miners. It also requires the company to spend at least $80 million on measures intended to prevent another disaster—better air
monitors inside mines and new devices to provide oxygen for suffocating men. “You can’t trade lives for money,” was the message to the coal industry as a whole, said Davitt McAteer, a mine-safety expert who led the state of West Virginia’s inquiry into the disaster. “You have to make it hurt enough, and try to make them pay attention.” McAteer said that the Upper Big Branch disaster was a reminder of how little had changed in mining since the days of canaries and dynamite. The Upper Big Branch miners were killed by the same unsolved safety problems that caused the country’s worst mining disaster, at Monongah, W.Va., in 1907. “It was coal dust. It was ventilation” problems, McAteer said. “Same [stuff], 104 years later.” Tuesday’s agreement will end the threat of federal prosecution for Alpha, as a company. Its penalties also include $48 million, to be placed in a trust for mine safety research, and $34.8 million to pay off Massey’s outstanding fines for safety violations. “What I hope they get from it is that they can’t just write a check and make an investigation go away,” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said in a telephone interview Tuesday night. “They have to have a commitment to incorporating... real, tangible safety measures.” The agreement would still allow Massey SEE MINE ON PAGE 6
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2011 | 5
POTTI from page 1 “The bottom line is we disagreed with the characterization of the results of Duke’s investigation as portrayed in the consent order that was executed by the North Carolina Medical Board and Dr. Potti,” Bradley said in an interview Tuesday. Whenever the board receives information regarding a possible misconduct by a physician, it investigates that information, Medical Board Legal Director Thomas Mansfield said. If the medical board determines misconduct occurred and pursues public disciplinary action, the investigation frequently results in a settlement between the board and the physician in question before going to trial. The agreement is then documented in a consent order signed by the physician and the board. The passage in question—paragraph 10 of the consent order—states, “Duke Medical Center has investigated Dr. Potti’s curriculum vitae and Duke Medical Center biographical sketch concerns and concluded that, while there
UNEMPLOYMENT from page 3 largest growth in employment—a .7 percent increased in employment from September to October. According to the ESC, the changes may be due in part to seasonal patterns, especially in the government sector. Some employers in North Carolina have not needed to make major changes in their hiring practices. Duke Energy, which has headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., has maintained a steady number of employees and currently employs 18,000, noted Duke Energy spokesman Dave Scanzoni. Duke Energy’s steady employment numbers is partly due to the nature of its product—electricity is necessary regardless of the economic situation, Scanzoni said. Even so, usage patterns of both industrial and residential customers have changed, he added. “We’re seeing reduced operations of major industrial facilities, some of which have closed down,” Scanzoni said. “There is usually—year to year—a small increase in our residential use, but that hasn’t been happening over the past couple of years. Those customers have pretty much been flat.” Sanders noted that the economy appears to be improving, though pinpointing the precise moment of recovery is difficult. “The problem is that a recession is backwards looking,” Sanders said. “We really don’t know if we are in a recession—we only know that we have been in a recession. As far as we can tell, it looks like we are in a recovery.”
He got game
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
Spike Lee was on campus Tuesday to make a surprise visit to ENG-189: “The Films of Spike Lee.”
were some inaccuracies on the biographical sketch and curriculum vitae, they were largely the result of carelessness and honest errors with no clear intention to mislead.” The wording of the board’s consent order reflects a process of negotiation between the medical board and the physician after the board prepares an initial draft, Mansfield said. “The physician is always going to be motivated to negotiate language that puts him in the best light possible,” he said. “From the board’s perspective, we are going to rely on information we gathered in our investigation, and we will always try to insist that consent orders will be objective and factual.” Bradley said she believes that the information about Duke’s investigation included in the consent order came from the research misconduct report—a different investigation from the investigation into Potti’s credentials— regarding Potti’s research methods. This report was completed by a standing committee during the second stage of Duke’s research misconduct investigation. The medical board would not have access to this report unless Potti
shared it with them, she added. “What I believe these comments [in question] were taken from was that initial inquiry report,” Bradley said. “It contained similar language that you could pull out, but nowhere in the inquiry report will you see those words or in that grouping.” Mansfield confirmed receipt of Bradley’s letter and said the medical board is in contact with Duke’s counsel and Potti’s attorney, James Maxwell, who is also a senior lecturing fellow at the School of Law and Law ’66. “We are aware of [the letter] and considering [Bradley’s] comments—more communications will occur,” Mansfield said. Maxwell, a partner in the Durham law firm Maxwell, Freeman and Bowman, P.A., declined to comment. Mansfield declined to comment on any specific information not included in the public consent order, citing a state statute legally prohibiting the board from such disclosures. Duke expects the medical board to amend the consent order, Bradley said.
6 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2011
EPA from page 1 was created by Republican former President Richard Nixon, saw some of its greatest advances under Republican administrations, Jackson said. “People of all parties and opinions want swift action whenever they see a threat in their communities,” she said. Jackson outlined some of the EPA’s recent works, including steps to reduce toxic air pollution and cross-state air pollution, as well as investments in water infrastructure and community cleanups. She noted that the Obama administration was the first to recognize the adverse effects of greenhouse gases.
Nicholas School Dean Bill Chameides introduced Jackson, adding that environmental health is deeply connected with human health. He also noted the EPA’s importance globally. “The myth that the environment is an issue for greens… is just that—a myth,” Chameides said. “Anyone who questions the value of the EPA should spend a week in China or India.” In an interview after the event, Jackson said many people do not remember what it was like before the establishment of the EPA, which may lead to uninformed criticism about the environment. Jackson said she wants to remind people about the environment’s impact on public health.
HIV from page 1
MINE from page 4
The final grant recipient is Dr. Michael Frank, a professor of pediatrics and immunology, who was awarded a three-year $892,000 grant to study the HIV antigen for vaccine development. Duke’s work to combat HIV does not end with development of this HIV vaccine, Montefiori said. It is part of a broader effort on campus to combat HIV/ AIDS and raise awareness around the issues, especially given that December is HIV/AIDS Awareness Month. Programs such as “Know Your Status”—a student campaign that sponsors HIV testing with the Student Health Center—encourage awareness about HIV and offer free testing every Monday on campus. “Our goals are twofold—to increase awareness of HIV on campus, as well as decrease the stigma around HIV testing,” said senior Ijeoma Agu, co-director of Know Your Status.
executives and managers to be charged as individuals. So far, only one has been prosecuted—mine security chief Hughie Elbert Stover, who was convicted last month for lying to investigators and trying to destroy mine records. Miners’ families can still pursue lawsuits against Alpha. But prosecutors said that, if a future judge awards them more than $1.5 million, Alpha can subtract that amount from their settlement. The chief executive of Alpha Natural Resources, Kevin Crutchfield, said in a written statement that, “we're particularly pleased that a substantial portion of the settlement is going towards furthering miner safety, which has always been Alpha's guiding principle.” Despite the record size of the penalty, some mine-safety experts said they worried it would not be enough to make serious changes. Alpha owns more than 80
“There’s just no incentive in our system that’s built in to price pollution or deal with it or minimize it,” she said. “EPA has protection in its name—it’s not unlike a police force or a defensive unit of our government.” Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, said he is thrilled that Jackson came to Duke and commended her skills as the EPA administrator. “We aren’t moving backwards on environmental protection, but we are moving backwards on political will,” Profeta said. “She’s the perfect administrator for this time—her ability to be pragmatic and to really roll with the punches in the middle of a political maelstrom has been essential coal mines, which means the money for safety upgrades would be just $1 million per site. “Although it sounds dramatic, it may not effect meaningful improvements” because the equipment is so expensive, said Judy Rivlin, associate general counsel with the United Mine Workers of America. Mine safety experts also said the settlement addresses the physical safety issues, but does little to fix a corporate culture that often seeks to skirt safety rules. “Doing more research to determine how a mine blows up doesn't get at the real problem,” said Celeste Monforton, a former federal mine-safety official. “What do you do to address the organizational pressure on the ground every day to place [coal] production over safety?” The new federal report, which ran more than 1,000 pages, described an operation where rampant safety problems were hidden from federal inspectors. The mine’s ventilation system, in which giant fans push in fresh air and vent flam-
for her to allow the agency to continue to function.” Profeta said Jackson’s talk has widereaching effects beyond the University. “[The talk] was a strong and forceful defense of the agency’s actions,” he said. “It’s not any surprise she came to this state and to this campus to make her voice heard, given the importance of the state in the politics of 2012.” Justin Garland, a first-year Master of Environmental Management student at the Nicholas School, said he is impressed by Jackson’s talk. “She was inspiring,” Garland said. “It was the first time I’d ever seen her, and I was surprised to come away feeling pumped up and excited about environmental work.” mable gases, was not working properly. Flammable coal dust was allowed to build up despite requirements that it be covered with inert rock dust. The government said the mine kept these problems out of the books shown to inspectors. When inspectors arrived, officials stayed a step ahead, warning miners underground to either clean up or shut down. Massey officials intimidated their employees, according to the report—When one miner stopped to address a safety concern, he was told “if you don't start running coal up there, I’m going to bring the whole crew outside and get rid of every one of you.” That miner, Dean Jones, died with 28 others when a spark from a faulty machine set off a pocket of methane. That explosion set off another and much larger one in the coal dust. The government said flames whipped for miles through the mine's tunnels, followed by suffocating gases called “afterdamp.”
>> BLUE ZONE
WEDNESDAY December 7, 2011 www.dukechroniclesports.com
DUKE vs. COLORADO STATE Wednesday, December 7 • Cameron Indoor Stadium 7 p.m. • ESPN2 Colorado State (5-3)
QUINN COOK 3.1 ppg, 1.0 apg, 8.4 mpg SETH CURRY 14.1 ppg, 40.7 3PT% AUSTIN RIVERS 15.4 ppg, 65.2 FT% RYAN KELLY 12.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg MASON PLUMLEE 12.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg
The Rams’ tallest starter is only 6-foot-6, though 7-foot Trevor Williams will likely see minutes off the bench. Still, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly should have the opportunity to put up career numbers. Elkmeier, Carr and Green have led Colorado State to the second-best 3-point shooting percentage in the country this season, but the trio will be helpless on defense against the Blue Devil guard trio.
G G G F F
No. 7 Duke (7-1)
With Pierce Hornung, the Rams’ leading rebounder, expected to be out recovering from a concussion, the Rams are extremely thin in the frontcourt. Miles Plumlee will likely see increased minutes as a post mismatch.
G G G F F
WES ELKMEIER 17.5 ppg, 41.7 3PT% JESSE CARR 8.8 ppg, 47.6 3PT% DORIAN GREEN 12.4 ppg, 51.7 3PT% WILL BELL 7.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg GREG SMITH 10.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg
PPG: PPG DEF: FG%: 3PT%: FT%: RPG: APG: BPG: SPG: TO/G:
A deeper look at the stats behind Austin Rivers’ emergence in Columbus. A recap of major movement in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
77.4 69.6 46.9 41.0 68.6 37.5 12.8 3.3 7.8 15.4
70.9 70.6 45.7 45.6 75.6 30.6 10.5 1.9 5.1 12.5
The Breakdown The Rams have a quality win over in-state rival Colorado and a near-miss against 2010 NCAA Tournament bracket-buster Northern Iowa, but they simply don’t have enough size to stay with the Blue Devils. Unless Elkmeier, Carr, or Green put up a Jimmy Baron-esque 3-point shooting performance, this one will get ugly in a hurry. OUR CALL: Duke wins, 98-55
Rams feature trio of top 3-point shooters by Brady Buck THE CHRONICLE
Coming off a lopsided 85-63 loss to No. 2 Ohio State last Tuesday, Duke will look to regain its groove at Cameron Indoor Stadium as it hosts the Colorado State Rams (5-3) tonight at 7 p.m. After going through a gauntlet of eight games in just 19 days to start the season, the No. 7 Blue Devils (7-1) have had seven days since their last game, which has allowed for a much-needed period of consistent practice time and the opportunity for players to reflect on a tough loss. “We have been practicing the past five or six days with no games and hard practices,” freshman shooting guard Austin Rivers said. “We’ve learned and I think we’ve gotten better even since the Ohio State game. Sometimes games like [Ohio State] can actually help a team.” Rivers was one of Duke’s few bright spots in Columbus, Ohio, finishing with a career-high 22 points against the Buckeyes. The two-time ACC rookie of the week established himself as one of the best drivers in college basketball from day one, but as the season has progressed Rivers has become more of a complete player. “I think [Rivers] is a much better defender. He has cut down on his turnovers and he is playing a more well-rounded
game,” associate head coach Chris Collins said. “We have been encouraged with how he has improved.” For the Rams, an upset win against a top-10 team would be a huge NCAA Tournament resume booster for a program hungry to make the 64-team field for the first time since 2003—when it fell to the Blue Devils 67-57 in the first round. Colorado State returns a majority of last year’s squad that for most of the season was on pace to earn one of the final NCAA Tournament at-large bids. A few costly losses down the stretch, however, prevented the Rams from ending their tournament drought, leaving them with a fifth-place finish in a tough Mountain West Conference that saw its top two teams—Brigham Young and San Diego State—make the Sweet Sixteen. In order to make the upset a reality, Colorado State will need its best performance yet from its prolific perimeter attack to compensate for the team’s lack of interior height. So far this season, the Rams have had the second highest three-point shooting percentage in the country at 45.6 percent, which nearly led them to road wins against NCAA Tournament-caliber teams Stanford SEE CSU ON PAGE 8
Robbed Sportsmen from Blue Devils past On Monday, head coach Mike Krzyzewski was named a co-Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated. The esteemed honor, given every year to the “athlete or team whose performance that year most embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement,” is the latest in a long number of accolades for the coach, who has won an Olympic gold medal, the Andy FIBA World Championship, a national championship and the Division I win record over the past three years. He’s also bowled a 300, won “Dancing With the Stars” and notched two holes-in-one during this run—I think. Monday’s honor not only represented K’s first time winning the award, but also the first time any Dukie has won the honor. This got me thinking—with the long, illustrious history Duke athletics has produced, surely there have been some Blue Devils who have been robbed of Sportsman of the Year. Right? 1942. Sports Illustrated champion: N/A. Robbed Blue Devil: Wallace Wade I’m cheating a bit here. Sports Illustrated began publication in 1954, so there was no real robbed Dukie in 1942
(although one has to think Joe Dimaggio would be doing the robbing that year). Wade still deserves to be on this list for saving a major college football bowl game, the 1942 Rose Bowl. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Dec. 1941, Rose Bowl event organizers were skittish about playing the Rose Bowl on the West Coast, a region of the country that seemed poised to become a battleground at any moment. Wade and Duke offered then-Duke Stadium as a setting for the game against Oregon State, allowing the game, a 20-16 Duke loss, to be played. Without this invitation, it’s assumed the game would have been cancelled. Oh, and there’s this—after the loss, Wade signed up for military service at the age of 49. He ended up seeing intense action on the European theater, fighting at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge and winning a Bronze Star. You didn’t screw with Wallace Wade. 1961. Sports Illustrated champion: Jerry Lucas. Robbed Blue Devil: Art Heyman Heyman is getting the nod here for two reasons. First, he was indirectly responsible for kicking off the Duke-Carolina rivalry on Feb. 4, 1961, when, after fouling Tar Heel Larry Brown, Heyman started a 10-minute brawl that included the combined rosters CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO
SEE SPORTSMEN ON PAGE 8
Gerald Henderson deserved an award for doing this to Tyler Hansbrough in 2007, Moore writes.
8 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2011
SPORTSMEN from page 7 of the Duke and North Carolina teams and several cheerleaders. This is widely considered the moment when Duke and North Carolina’s intense rivalry extended from football to basketball. And it makes for one hell of a way to start the rivalry. The second reason why Heyman deserved to win? He punched Larry Brown! How many Knicks fans want to do that? 1979. Sports Illustrated champions: Terry Bradshaw and Willie Stargell. Robbed Blue Devil: 1979 men’s basketball team On Feb. 24, Duke and North Carolina played each other in a game that Duke led 7-0 at the half. That is not a typo—Dean Smith ran a four-corners offense throughout the entire period, not allowing the superior Duke team to take possession except on several rare plays. In the second half, the Tar Heels thankfully abandoned this approach, allowing a real basketball game to occur. Duke won 47-40. The abysmal game led to two positive developments. It spearheaded the charge to install a shot clock in collegiate basketball, allowing basketball fans to not have to contemplate leaving the sport forever during interminable first halves like that one. And, it led to this quote by Duke coach Bill Foster: “I thought Naismith invented basketball, not Deansmith.” Coach burn! 1984: Sports Illustrated champions: Edwin Moses and Mary Lou Retton. Robbed Blue Devil: Tom Butters Without Tom Butters, there might not be a K. In 1980, Butters, the athletic director, went out on a limb to hire Coach K, and after three seasons, it didn’t look like his experiment was going to work out. Duke had gone 38-47 in Krzyzewski’s first three seasons, Iron Dukes were calling on the athletic director to fire the young K and even Krzyzewski himself was worried for his job when Butters called him into his office on the morning after a 31-point loss to Wake Forest in 1984. Instead of firing the coach, though, Butters offered him a five-year contract extension. The rest is history. 1989. Sports Illustrated champion: Greg LeMond. Robbed Blue Devil: Steve Spurrier If the past 20 or so years were any in-
dication, winning an ACC championship with the Duke football team is one of the toughest achievements in sports. Kudos, Ol’ Ball Coach. 1992. Sports Illustrated champion: Arthur Ashe. Robbed Blue Devil: Christian Laettner Laettner had quite the year. He cemented his legacy as one of college basketball’s all-time greatest players with his fourth straight Final Four, second straight national championship and the greatest shot in basketball history. He also made the Dream Team as the only collegiate player on the squad. (Now would be a good time to put that I am not discounting the achievements of any honoree—especially Ashe.) 2007. Sports Illustrated champion: Brett Favre. Robbed Blue Devil: Gerald Henderson Tyler Hansbrough had it coming.
CSU from page 7 and Northern Iowa. Wes Elkmeier and Dorian Green spearhead a potent backcourt averaging 17.5 and 11.4 points, respectively. “Hopefully, we can do a good job with our perimeter defense, take away the open shots and not let them get in their comfort zone,” Collins said. Colorado State will be at even more of a disadvantage on the boards with their leading rebounder Pierce Hornung—who averages 7.3 rebounds a game—likely unavailable tonight due to a concussion. Duke should be able to use its size advantage to overpower the Rams inside, especially given Mason Plumlee’s high-level play as of late. The 6-foot-10 junior has asserted himself as one of the premier big men in the ACC,
averaging a near double-double with 12 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. “The fact that he has added a low-post scoring game with his jump hook and ability to attack the basket—now he is becoming a complete player and somebody that presents a lot of problems for the opponent,” Collins said. The Blue Devils will need stronger contributions from Ryan Kelly and Andre Dawkins against Colorado State after the two juniors were each held scoreless last Tuesday against Ohio State. With a return to form from its veterans, Duke will look to get out to a quick start, control the glass and use its talent to overwhelm a scrappy Colorado State squad to start the month of December stronger than it finished November. “We aren’t going to show up to a game like we did for Ohio State,” Plumlee said. “It doesn’t matter who you play, you can always get beat if you show up like that.”
TYLER SEUC/THE CHRONICLE
Mason Plumlee has emerged as a scoring threat this season, averaging 12 points and 9.8 rebounds through the Blue Devils’ first eight games.
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The Independent Daily at Duke University
10 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2011
Dangerous liaisons Yesterday’s editorial ar- Engage partners with can and gued that the rapid expansion do have interests separating of DukeEngage could under- them from the communimine the program’s ability to ties that they operate within. best realize its mission—to NGO employees are just transform students and work people—people who need to with communiwin grants to editorial ties. Today, we pay their salaargue that one ries and who crucial constraint on DukeEn- may have personal histories gage’s size should be its ability —angry ones—with members to audit partner nongovern- of their communities. This mental organizations. can effect Duke students. DukeEngage is not by it- In one now infamous Duself imperialistic. Duke has keEngage horror story, Lisa nothing to gain from creat- Ma, Trinity ’10, describes a ing spheres of influence in Trinidad and Tobago NGO the communities that Duke- more concerned with featherEngage works with. DukeEn- flashing than working with gage aims to avoid fostering the surrounding community. dependence and to promote DukeEngage can only ensure community self-sufficiency, that student energy is not coand we think the program is opted by misguided partner true to its word. organizations by rigorously But the NGOs that Duke- vetting these organizations.
Knee-jerk responses, which result in real damage to those falsely-accused, need to be resisted. —“Melendez-Rios” commenting on the story “Administrators reinforce sexual misconduct policies.” See more at www.dukechronicle.com.
LETTERS POLICY The Chronicle welcomes submissions in the form of letters to the editor or guest columns. Submissions must include the author’s name, signature, department or class, and for purposes of identification, phone number and local address. Letters should not exceed 325 words; contact the editorial department for information regarding guest columns. The Chronicle will not publish anonymous or form letters or letters that are promotional in nature. The Chronicle reserves the right to edit letters and guest columns for length, clarity and style and the right to withhold letters based on the discretion of the editorial page editor.
This is no small beer. Community elites—which frequently include NGO brass—are often the easiest to talk to. It is much easier for a DukeEngage staffer to audit a site by talking to the English speakers in a community, those familiar with western cultural practice and who know how to hob-knob with westerners. But talking to community elites—the low hanging fruit—misses the point of an audit: to figure out how an NGO impacts the people it aims to help. The best way to audit an NGO is to visit it. Last year, the DukeEngage staff visited 14 of the 30 group project sites. Visiting less than half of the sites is not enough. If limited resources prevent a visit to every site, then DukeEn-
gage should downsize. But even visiting every NGO isn’t enough—they must be evaluated effectively, and to do this, the program needs objective evaluative criteria and experts to conduct the evaluations. DukeEngage staff can only conduct limited evaluations if they don’t know the language and culture of the areas they visit. Meanwhile, Duke has a hidden cache of experts on language and culture: its faculty. Why not have relevant faculty travel with auditing teams to evaluate partner NGOs? Faculty speak the language and know the historical and cultural trends in an area. Who better to evaluate an NGO’s impact on a community and to tease out the selfish interests of partner NGOs?
Evaluation cannot stop at community impact. DukeEngage’s first constituency, by its own admission, is student participants. If an NGO cannot provide the sort of experience that transforms a student—and that DukeEngage considers integral to its impact on individual students and the campus—then DukeEngage should not partner with it. Because students can self-report their own experiences, we are not too worried about evaluating this factor. But those factors, too, should figure into evaluation. Bigger is not better, especially when we risk helping the wrong people by expanding unnecessarily. DukeEngage should curb its growth until it can properly audit partner NGOs.
Education needs a Peace Corps
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each for America does numerous positive If TFA is being honest with itself, it should realthings, but its structure is flawed. It’s that ize that its incentive structure does not match its simple, really. main ideology. Throughout my research, the one Obviously, Duke is a big Teach thing that popped up was how often for America feeder as the Class of TFA compares itself to the Peace 2011 had 53 students accepted into Corps, especially when asking for the program, ranking 4th for midgovernment grants. And, honestly, sized schools after Harvard Univerwhy wouldn’t the program utilize a sity, Boston College and Georgesimilar structure to the Peace Corps? town University. Approximately 16 Currently, the Peace Corps offers percent of last year’s senior class, or a stipend based on the location of 250 students, applied. antonio segalini volunteers and then gives a minimal But there’s one number that has allowance (approximately $8,000 musings always struck me about Teach for pre-tax) after the 27-month stint. America: The number of alumni There are other options—travel pay, who donate time or money is currently 50 percent. student loan deferment and even two vacation days This is a drastic increase from past years, but it still per month of service—but the main idea is that it shows that TFA is a pit stop, rather than a destina- is a volunteering opportunity. Members get health tion, for most who decide to enter the program. benefits, but again they are essentially working for And Duke feeds students through this pit stop, the idea of helping others while simultaneously getthough they leave en masse after two years, leav- ting some serious experience and resume help. ing many school districts without a sense of contiPaying $45,000 is a lame attempt to try to pernuity. These young teachers—who are lauded for suade others that this is more than just a very suctheir successes inside the classrooms—often move cessful volunteering opportunity. Instead of denying on to law or business school, fields that are more tens of thousands of willing and able young people, lucrative. A 2010 Wall Street Journal article cites why not restructure the program for volunteering, 500 TFA alumni work in government (presumably remove a vast majority of the pay (i.e. stipend strucwith many working in education-related policy). ture) and place many more students and make a There are, however, those who move on to higher much larger impact on the education system? positions in the field of education. There are now 450 Would the number of applications decrease? TFA alumni working as principals and school super- Definitely, but the Peace Corps has survived, and intendents. There are stories of alumni who turned it would ensure that TFA chooses people who around school districts once they got to higher powers, want to teach. Even if applications were cut in and TFA lauds the idea of making serious change. half, there would be approximately 20,000 people But still, TFA faces the challenge of retaining willing to work. The stipends would be higher for more of its corps members as teachers. A critical TFA members due to higher standards of living, New York Times article on TFA cited Dr. Heilig and but the number would come in below the averSu Jin Jez of California State University’s compila- age salary for TFA teachers. Further, a change in tion of various studies on the program, including terminology would change incentivizing strucone that stated by the fourth year, 85 percent of tures. The move would make the TFA experiTFA teachers had left New York City schools. TFA ence entirely altruistic (volunteering) as opposed responded by citing a 2008 Harvard doctoral the- to a paid job. Then, the schools should take the sis, which, though stating 61 percent stayed beyond money saved from salaries for every young person two years, cited that “few people are estimated to for two years and put it in a pot. Use this money remain in their initial placement school or the pro- to go aggressively at the best teachers—the ones fession beyond five or six years.” with the best scores or best reviews or some sort of And, to be honest, why would they stay? With method—and try to retain them at higher salaries. the average TFA salary for a Dallas-area teacher Good teachers would get paid higher salaries by hovering around $45,000, there aren’t incentives schools. It makes sense. Let those that go on to be for students to stay beyond a brief resume boost. principals, be principals or those that want to go Why would you accept less than the median start- do policy, do policy, but be competitive at retaining salary (just under $60,000 for Duke graduates) ing good teachers for beyond four or five or six two years after starting—especially if you were a years. TFA has helped start the education revolutop student, someone TFA recruits? tion. Now it’s time to take the next step. That’s why the ground level is in constant flux. And the only way to change this problem is to figAntonio Segalini is a Trinity junior. This is his final ure out where TFA should go in the future. column of the semester.
Why I still love Duke
ast year, my final article of the semester was titled “Why I love Duke.” In many ways, it was a very fitting end to freshman year and to a semester’s worth of Chronicling with the blissful naivety that only a first-year student could possess. I went on and on about why Duke was the best place on Earth and why I loved virtually every aspect of this university, often ignoring the abounding flaws scott briggs in our Gothic Wonderland. as i see it This semester, my column has taken a much harsher tone. I’ve criticized the administration at length for its lack of transparency and refusal to seriously consider student input. Not surprisingly, I was condemned for being too negative. Go figure. First, let me be clear about something: I’m still mad. I’m mad that the administration has decided to make my sophomore year a transition year. I’m furious that a “transition year” means a year’s worth of social engineering experiments in a worthless attempt to change the social scene at Duke. I’m livid that the new house model will give students less control over their housing options under the guise of building community. And I’m pissed as hell that every transition is executed with the transparency of a brick wall. Yet, beyond all that, I’m hopeful. I’m optimistic because I still know I chose Duke for all the right reasons. When it comes down to it, it isn’t the administrators or the professors that make a school. I chose Duke for the students. For years, the student voice defined the culture at Duke. Certainly, that culture is far from perfect, but allowing students to take an active role in shaping their surroundings created a palpable enthusiasm at this University. It was that enthusiasm that I felt when I first came to Duke. Unfortunately, I’ve seen that passion wane over the last few months. I’ve heard so many students say that, as much as they used to love Duke, they would now tell prospective students to look elsewhere. Students no longer feel that the administration has their interests at heart, and many have given up on having their voices heard. For a student body as bright and opinionated as Duke’s, this kind of apathy just isn’t acceptable. I sometimes write scathing articles because I can’t stand idle knowing that I let my school change for the worse. Many students are afraid of public dissent: The idea of challenging the administration is terrifying with possible implications. I’m just some guy who writes an article twice a month; administrators can easily turn the other cheek. I would be flattered if they cared enough about my opinion to try to stifle it. In the end, though, I am just one student and they can ignore my columns. But when enough people sound the alarm, people start to take notice. The proposed Merchants on Points modifications from the beginning of this semester are a good example. When Duke Dining Services restricted the delivery options before 7 p.m. on food points, the backlash was enormous and the decision was quickly rescinded. At a certain point, ignoring your detractors’ opinions just isn’t an option anymore. I’m not asking students to storm the Allen Building with torches, but we can’t let Duke become a place where students are afraid to voice their concerns. Our actions shaped Duke University’s past, and they will be integral to its success in the future. So I’m making a special plea to every unsatisfied student. Join a focus group or committee. Write a letter to The Chronicle. Write a letter to the Board of Trustees. Do something to make your voice heard, because I know the enthusiasm that first brought me to Duke isn’t dead. It might just be dormant. In the end, loving this school and criticizing it aren’t mutually exclusive. Pointing out its flaws and being part of the solution make it stronger. Tailgate may be a thing of the past, but I refuse to believe that the students’ fighting spirit has gone with it. Here’s how I see it: It’s time to make the administrators sweat. It’s good for them, and it’s good for Duke. Scott Briggs is a Trinity sophomore. This is his final column of the semester.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2011 | 11
lettertotheeditor A message from Pi Kapp On Nov. 19, the Mu Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi hosted an HDRL-approved party that was intended to celebrate Thanksgiving. We chose the theme of Thanksgiving because of the close proximity of our event to the national holiday. At the time, we didn’t realize that such a theme would offend so many of our classmates and the Native-American community as a whole. We were in no way attempting to glorify a history of atrocities committed against Native Americans. Regardless of our intentions, we sincerely apologize to our peers and the members of the Native-American community who were offended by the theme and our portrayal of Thanksgiving. As a fraternity, we will always welcome constructive criticism in the interest of fostering a better University community. In addition, we apologize to the student body for reflecting poorly on the school. A single day in which the achievements and good intentions of the students at this University are overshadowed by negative attention is one day too many. Further, the
brothers of Pi Kappa Phi hope that the issues raised by this unfortunate incident will give rise to a larger discussion within the Duke University community. It’s clear from the discussions that have emerged since our Thanksgiving party that this issue pertains to more than just our group of 68 young men. It is undeniable that there is a need for a dialogue between the Native American community and the larger Duke community. For that reason, we encourage anyone who is concerned or curious about this issue to join the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi and the Native American Student Association Wednesday at 12 p.m. in the Center for Multicultural Affairs in the Bryan Center for “Culture Clash.” This event will be a learning opportunity for everyone and a chance for our fraternity and any other interested parties to learn more about a culture that we admittedly don’t know enough about. Sincerely, Tyler Donahue, Trinity ’12 President, Pi Kappa Phi Mu Chapter
Visit www.dukechronicle.com for an additional Letter to the Editor: “Online Chronicle poll an affront” by Erica A. Scott
No offense, but...
hey say that opinions are like a—holes. EverySo when someone’s poopy opinion offends you, body has one... and some of them are poopy. you take offense to years of ingrained beliefs fostered So what do you do when someone confronts by family, social order and pesky neurons. However you with an insensitive, misinformed much you complain and tell the world opinion or belief? You get offended. how offended you are, changing some(They also say that being offended is one’s opinion is a daunting task that something that white people like, but could take years. You have to persist, luckily, in my experience, that enjoyment to educate others on a variety of levhas transcended racial boundaries. Small els with a variety of examples and evichanges!) Don’t get me wrong—there’s dence. Let’s be real—neither of you plenty of stuff out there to take offense has the time. to and justifiably so. Racism. Sexism. HoWhen you consider that, somehow indu ramesh mophobia. Stereotypes. That Pi Kapp being offended doesn’t seem to be the party, apparently. And that’s just a few. right way to solve the problem of crappy hooked on Look—a lot of people are insensiopinions. And maybe crappy opinions information tive, insufferable bigots and that’s just aren’t even the real problem. Why do the way they are. It’s excruciating. All people even have these opinions? Probwe can really do to deal with it is become, well, of- ably because they were raised or somehow influenced fended. What’s interesting is that much of the time to think that way. And why is that? we spend getting offended is for the sake of others. Well, for starters, the United States has a veritable We’re offended when states pass laws against same-sex ocean of examples of historical intolerance. Crappy marriage. We’re offended when a girl is raped and opinions expose things like cultural misunderstandsomeone says, “Her clothes were slutty; She was ask- ings, prejudice, conflict and sheer ignorance. It’s uning for it.” And rightly so. When people are unfairly comfortable stuff. victimized, we take it personally. Offense is not a mutual process. It’s a static conSo, we tell racist bigots that we are offended at their struct, one where you simply acknowledge the perpeturacist bigotry. And then, maybe, somehow, that person ation of the problem, but do not actively try to solve will be a non-racist non-bigot! And the world will be a it or understand how it became so enduring. So hey, happy place again! Yay idealism! Consider this, though: maybe being offended is a little overrated. It’s pretty difficult to change someone’s opinion. It’s acThe next time someone alerts you to their poopy tually really, really hard. And even if it does happen, it opinion, instead of letting them know how offended takes forever. I mean, even if we limit our discussion to you are and what a racist, masochistic, insufferable just the brain, every time you change your mind, there’s bigot they are, maybe take a different approach. Don’t some rewiring of neural pathways that must take place. take it personally. Calmly ask why they think that. Ask When you remember something like a fact, many little them to present personal evidence of what led them to neurons help cement it into your long-term memory. believe such things and why they continue to maintain So when you start doubting those facts, memories and those beliefs. Ask questions. Probe. And then, do the perceptions, a whole can of worms opens and develops same for yourself. into the long-term potentiation that your brain worked In short, have a discussion. Do it in person or onso hard to arrange. Many little neurons have to dance line; it doesn’t matter. At worst, you will have kept an the conga in order to stabilize your new opinion. And open mind and encouraged someone else to do so as that’s got to take some time. well. At best, your discussion will incite others to join Let’s talk in a more social context. Say you admit in, and more and more people will confront these isyour opinion is wrong. Well, it’s not as simple as that. sues and try to understand why and how they are perYour confession implies that everyone who has influ- petuated in today’s society. And if enough people join enced your education and the environment in which in, it becomes a lot easier for examples and evidence you were able to develop these opinions is also wrong— to be presented on a variety of levels, for neurons to your parents, your teachers, your mentors, your friends. start dancing, and for (other people’s, if not your own) It’s pretty tough to believe that your entire moral, po- opinions to slowly start changing. litical and social education was flawed. So you don’t And hey, maybe then there really will be fewer poopy do it that easily. Oh, at some point, you’ll have to tell opinions in the world. Unfortunately, I don’t think the everyone that you changed your opinion. It could get same logic applies to poopy a—holes. awkward. At worst, you could be called a hypocrite, and denounced as weak in your beliefs (think: politicians). Indu Ramesh is a Trinity junior. This is her final column Reputations could be ruined. And that’s no fun. of the semester.
12 | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2011