Fordham YouTube Sensation. PAGE 14
Drying hands. Destroying eardrums. PAGES 8
THE OBSERVER www.fordhamobserver.com
MARCH 8, 2012 VOLUME XXXI, ISSUE 4
Rally and Responses to Graffiti Incidents By LAURA CHANG and HARRY HUGGINS News Co-Editors
Following three separate incidents of racist and homophobic slurs found around the Lincoln Center and Rose Hill campuses, the Fordham community responded in strong support of those affected. In addition to security’s ongoing investigations and letters condemning the acts from multiple senior members of the administration, United Student Government (USG) held a Rally for Solidarity on Thursday, March 8 and is forming a task force to address student’s requests for action voiced in a series of town hall discussions. The most recent incident involved a racial slur found in a bathroom in Rose Hill’s Goupil Hall on Friday, March 2. Fordham’s immediate response consisted of a mass-email sent by Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Jeffrey Gray, who announced student-planned vigils at Rose Hill and Lincoln Center for March 8 and condemned the recent events. “As a Jesuit university, we rightly hold ourselves to elevated standards of speech and behavior,” Gray said. “The individual or individuals who have committed these acts fall woefully short of those standards.” President of Fordham University Fr. Joseph McShane, S.J., sent a university-wide statement shortly after. “Each of these despicable slurs is a stain on the Fordham community, and on each of its members,” McShane said. see GRAFFITI pg. 4
AYER CHAN/THE OBSERVER
This week’s Photo Feature explores the ever-changing architectural landscape of New York City, including the new law school building. The photo above reveals renovations that are occurring at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Open to the centerfold for more photos.
Professor Publicizes Resignation Letter After Slurs By LAURA CHANG News Co-Editor
Former Rose Hill professor, Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo, released her letter of resignation to Fordham members on Facebook, after February’s racist and homophobic incidents. Two were found in February and one in March. Although Maldonado-Salcedo sent the letter on Nov. 17 to her department chair, the silence of her departure was broken after she asked her former student to repost the information on a Fordham group on Facebook.
In response to recent racial activities, Maldonado-Salcedo said on her Facebook page, “Given all that is going on in Fordham—I am posting my resignation letter—which speaks to all this...It is ridiculous that Fordham is trying to turn a blind eye to something that is pervasive and unacceptable.” On Feb. 24, her statement was made more public when Vincent DeCesare, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’12, reposted his former sociology professor’s resignation letter on the “Fordham University 99 Percent Club” Facebook group, al-
lowing all its members to view it. DeCesare said, “I posted on the 99 percent Facebook group because I know the members are sensitive to social justice issues and would thus be receptive to what Melissa had to say.” DeCesare took Maldonado-Salcedo’s Social Change in Latin America course during the spring of 2011. He said that he was disappointed when he first heard about her decision to depart from Fordham, but knew she had been having problems at Fordham. “I really think Fordham lost a
great professor,” DeCesare said. “Maybe if there would have been more communication between her and her fellow faculty members or adminstration, then maybe things could’ve been smoothed out.” The Observer asked MaldonadoSalcedo for comments, but she said, “All I have to say concerning my resignation is in the letter.” In her letter, Maldonado-Salcedo said, “It is not my job to teach students how to ‘undo’ things that are see RESIGNATION pg.5
ARTS & CULTURE
Harry Potter class gives unique learning experience. u PAGE 16
Excercise and entertainment for a great date. u PAGE 19
SEPARATED FROM HEAT
“I used to count our children / along his spine.” u PAGE 17
Economics Major Trades in Numbers for Notes By OLIVIA PERDOCH Asst. Arts & Culture Co-Editor
“The only thing is that it was very, very dark so I pretty much couldn’t see anything…but I didn’t mind,” John Venditti, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’13, laughed as he recalled his first time playing bass at his favorite place to perform—West Village concert venue, Sullivan Hall. “Roomy stage, good equipment and great sound—it was just fun to play there.” Venditti may be an economics major at FCLC, but his dreams (and resume) include just as many beats and bass lines as they do stocks and statistics. He is currently the bass player for New York-based “rock infused with soul” band, The D-Rich Project, and is also a music minor at Fordham. I sat down with Venditti to talk about the band and his aspiration of a career in the music business. OBSERVER: When did you start playing music?
JOHN VENDITTI: I started playing bass in 2006
after listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers album, “Stadium Arcadium.” When I first got into music I wanted to learn guitar, but when I really started listening closely I realized that what makes a song really exciting to me is the bass. There’s so much you could do with a bass that I didn’t know you could do until I started playing. I took lessons at the local music school near my house in the Bronx. A year into playing bass, I picked up the guitar. All my guitar playing has been self-taught. OBSERVER: How did you get involved in The
J.V.: About two years ago, I put myself on this
website called BandMix.com, which connects local musicians, just for fun. I wasn’t entirely serious but I got a couple of messages asking if I was interested in joining bands, and one of them was from Damien Richards [front-man of The
THE STUDENT VOICE OF FORDHAM COLLEGE AT LINCOLN CENTER
D-Rich Project]. I learned two songs that he had on his website and we met up for an audition. I became the bassist. He already had a guitarist. The drummer came later. OBSERVER: What kind of songs do you guys
J.V.: We actually play a lot of covers. My favorite
song we cover is Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe.” We do some Bob Marley stuff, some Marvin Gaye, but we always put our own flavor into it. As far as originals go, we’ve written two songs from scratch together in rehearsals. But for a majority of the songs, Damien writes the lyrics and chords, I write the bass part, the guitarist writes the lead guitar part and the drummer plays a beat. Then we adjust accordingly until we hear what works.
see BAND pg. 12
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Local Building Owner Charged With Massive Health Fines A owner of a building in Chelsea located at 22nd Street has been charged with city violations ranging from garbage in the hallways to failure to maintain the exterior. According to NY1 neighbors say there is a now huge rat problem because of the building. “Someone has a cigarette or whatever, this place is going to go up in flames in a minute,” Ellen Levin said. “It’s a complete disaster waiting to happen.”
MTA to Install Intercom Help Points Throughout City Subway Platforms On March 6, the MTA plans to start building intercoms in various subway stations. The MTA installed the machines at a couple of stations last April in a pilot program and now the agency will install one on every platform at every subway station citywide. The intercoms, which will be called “Help Points,” will be able to provide help to anyone with a push of a button. According to the NY 1, it will connect users to a dispatcher who knows where the machine is. Though the MTA refused to give the full price of the intercom, the pilot costed about $300,000. NATIONAL
The Resurgence of Deep Sea Drilling After nearly two years, BP has stated that they will once again restart deep sea drilling and take it to new heights. According to the New Yorktimes, BP and other oil companies drilling will expand to waters near Cuba and Mexico. “We need the oil,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, associate director of the Rice University energy program. Because of the last major accident, various people are fearful of drilling due to the potential dangers it has on the environment. Despite the concern, 40 rigs are drilling in the gulf today compared with a of 25 one year ago.
Shooting Takes Place in Florida High School On Tuesday, a fired employee from Episcopal High School in Jacksonville shot the headmistress of the school and then shot himself. According to CNN, the gunman, who was terminated earlier in the day, carried an assault rifle in a guitar case and went to the office of Headmistress Dale Regan where he opened fire. Authorities said Regan had worked as the dean for nearly 34 years. INTERNATIONAL
Iran Agrees to Open Nuclear Sites to Inspections According to the NY Times on March 6, Iran agreed to inspections of its nuclear sites. While Iran is suspected of manufacturing nuclear weapons, Iran claims that their purpose is peaceful. Iran also agreed to reopening talks about their nuclear program. Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign-policy chief, opened doors again by responding to their letter. Countries involved include the U.S., Britain, France, China, Germany, and Russia.
Ballot Stuffing in Russia According to the NY Times, on March 5, despite a warning against stuffing ballot boxes, Vladmir V. Putin still received 1,482 votes despite only 1,389 people being registered in Chechnya. Many voters said that even though they hate Putin they still were forced to vote for him. More ballots were casted by people who were only temporarily living in the precinct, but lacked proper documents.
Compiled by Richard Ramsundar and Rex Sakamoto
Haroon Moghul: “Islam Meets America” By RICHARD RAMSUNDAR Asst. News Co-Editor
On March 5, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC) welcomed Haroon Moghul to speak at an event titled “Islam Meets America: Working Toward a 21st Century Community.” The event was held in the South Lounge and visited by numerous FCLC students. It focused on the role Muslims played in early history leading up to modern America. According to The Huffington Post, Moghul graduated from NYU with a B.A. in Philosophy and Middle Eastern Studies. He also has an M.A. and M.Phil. from Columbia University in Middle East, South Asian and African Studies. Moghul began his talk by setting the tone of a classroom with the usage of a white board and self-illustrated map of the Middle East and Asia. He covered various points in history, emphasizing the birth of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, the growth of the Muslim empire as well as the different effects Muslim people had on Europe and America. Moghul honed in on various misconceptions of Islam such as the common belief that Islam is puritanical and lacks individuality. He contends that Muslim people are much more than what the media portrays them to be; they are representatives of both their faith and community. “Muslims had been present in America during colonial times, however, the largest wave of Muslim people entered America around the 1960’s. In fact, the most ethnically diverse Muslim community is in New York City,” Moghul said. Moghul said that Islam is not
“ Islam has come
a long way and the challenges through history...push Muslims to improve their relationship with each other and other people outside the community.” –
HAROON MOGHUL, M.A. and M.Phil. in Middle East, South Asian and African Studies, Columbia University
CHARLIE PUENTE/THE OBSERVER
Speaker Haroon Moghul in the Student Lounge discussing Muslims’ role in history connecting to modern America on March 5.
what the media construes it to be. “Islam has come a long way and the challenges through history leading to the present day only push Muslims to improve their relationship with each other and other people outside the community. As well
as that, many Muslims are making the change from careers like doctors and becoming journalists and public speakers to make others more aware of the issue.” Despite the misconceptions construed by the media, FCLC stu-
dents said that they felt confident that Fordham’s community has played a significant role for them. Mohamed Wahba, FCLC ’13, said “At first I didn’t think Fordham would be welcoming, but after getting to know the Muslim community, I felt it was accommodating.” Mariam Tenzilla, FCLC ’14, said “FCLC does a good job at making us feel welcome. Campus Ministry and Carol Gibney let us use the chapel on numerous occasions.” Other students like Nusrat Jahan, FCLC ’13 and president of MSA, said that she felt FCLC as a whole is not the source of acceptance, but instead the feeling is due in part to student clubs like MSA. “Though Fordham didn’t do much about the NYPD surveillance on MSA groups, the group still holds events like this one and aims to make students feel welcomed here.”
Adderall at Large, Dangerous Presence With Students By HARRY HUGGINS News Co-Editor
Adderall has grown to become a major presence as an illegal substance in the Fordham community. As a prescription drug mainly used to treat people with forms of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), most students who use Adderall do so for its focus-increasing effects. Because of its popularity, Adderall is now one of the most expensive controlled substances at Fordham, according to Dan Downs, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’13, and other students. Downs experienced Adderall’s popularity firsthand. “I have many friends who illegally purchase prescription drugs to better do homework,” Downs said. “They say it’s useful when cramming for midterms, but I’ve heard people complain that it’s the most expensive drug on campus.” Although it is illegal to use any prescription drug without having a prescription, such use of stimulants like Adderall has risen greatly in recent years. According to Dean of Students Keith Eldredge, 17.3 percent of students surveyed by the spring 2011 Core Alcohol and Drug Survey had used prescription stimulants that were not prescribed to them or for reasons other than intended in the last year. According to Eldredge, self-reporting is really the only way Fordham has of knowing how prominent drugs like Adderall are. “We get some information from that survey,” Eldredge said. “Otherwise it comes up in conversation students have with RAs and student leaders. We have a sense that it’s out there, it seems to be rising, but it’s hard to get a solid grasp on it.” Downs says it is hard to figure exactly how many students use Adderall “because it isn’t a social drug; everyone does it in private while working. It’s more like getting a cup of coffee at a cart on your way to work,” Downs said.
“ Adderall has side-
effects, and taking something that has side-effects without medical need is dangerous.”
CELIA FISHER, Director of the
Center for Ethics
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY SOFIA ALVAREZ
When school work piles up, many students look to drugs to help focus.
Stephanie Chase, FCLC ’13, has also seen students use Adderall without a prescription. Two of her roommates when she was a ffreshman (who have since transferred to different schools) used Adderall regularly. According to Chase, one used it to do homework and focus, but the other had purely social reasons. “She really wanted to seem cool in front of her friends and boyfriend,” Chase said. “She really bent to peer pressure on that.” Chase also believes that Adderall usage is higher among students than what she has experienced. “People talk about it openly. I know people can get addicted to it, but the people I saw weren’t abusing it. They were just really focused.” Whether or not students are using
abusive amounts of non-prescriped drugs, the Student Handbook’s policy regarding illegal use of prescription drugs prohibits their possession, use and distribution, as they violate the University Code of Conduct and federal laws. Director of the Center for Ethics Celia Fisher understands why Adderall and similar drugs are outlawed. “Adderall has side-effects, and taking something that has side-effects without medical need is dangerous,” Fisher said. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Adderall’s side effects are many and range from restlessness and nausea to seizures and changes in sex drive and ability. In addition, Adderall is known to be abused and can cause addictions. But Fisher sees other reasons for discouraging Adderall’s use. “There
is a myth that kids come in to school thinking they are at a disadvantage if they don’t use Adderall,” Fisher said. “It can increase attention, but it won’t make them smarter; they still have to learn the material. We have to break some of the myths that it’s an academic advantage to be on this.” Downs, however, does not believe there is a problem with Adderall usage at Fordham. “I think we as humans have set a bar for permissibility for things more dangerous, such as alcohol. Given the continuingly accelerating pace, things like Adderall come to the fore.” But Fisher would remind people of the other implications of using these drugs without prescriptions. “In terms of social responsibility, these students using it for something they don’t need, are creating a shortage for people who need it.” Fordham has various outlets students may go to if they feel they or someone they know have a problem with any drugs. According to Eldredge, Fordham’s medical amnesty policy places a student’s health above any punitive reactions. Eldredge encourages students to come to see staff members of the Office of Residential Life or the Office of Student Leadership and Community Development (OSLCD) with any concerns.
Counterterrorism Expert to Speak at Graduation
Calendar WED., MAR.7
By FAITH HEAPHY AND LAURA CHANG Editor-in-Chief and News Co-Editor
Fordham alumnus John Brennan will address the class of 2012 in a commencement speech on May 19. A 1977 graduate of Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH), Brennan currently works with the Obama administration as the deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security. According to a release posted on fordham.edu’s eNewsroom, Brennan was appointment to his post with the Obama administration in 2009, after working for 25 years in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). For four of those years, Brennan was stationed in Saudi Arabia. In addition, Brennan works with United States federal military and the government’s intelligence agencies on global counterterrorism. He was named director of the National Counterterrorism Center in 2004. Upon hearing about this announcement, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) students shared varied reactions. Ryan O’Toole, FCLC ’12, said that overall he thinks Brennan is a good choice. “As a political science major, I think it is exciting to have someone from the leadership of the Obama administration speak at commencement.” However, O’Toole said that he disagrees with a lot of the decisions Brennan made during his time in the Middle East. “I don’t think we need to agree with everything our commencement speaker does, but I think if it provokes a healthy debate at Fordham, then some good can come out of it.” For other students at FCLC, it is Brennan’s career and alleged involvement with the infamous Abu Ghraib prison that sparked emotional responses. Two students, Sogand Afkari, FCLC ’12, and Alaleh Kimia, FCLC ’12, will be starting a petition on March 9 in protest against the speaker. “He is a blatant contradiction to Jesuit ideals. It’s puzzling why they would choose him as commencement speaker,” Afkari said.
THE OBSERVER March 8, 2012
NYC Trip: Tenement Museum
11:30 a.m-12:30 p.m. 97 Orchard St. New York, NY
Lunch Outing to Greek Kitchen 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. Greek Kitchen MON., MAR.19
West African Festival 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Student Lounge
MESA and JSO present a Mediterranean Lunch 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. Student Lounge
TUES., MAR. 20
RISE presents Peanut Butter On Steroids Party 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. Student Lounge THUR., MARCH 22
CSA Coffee Break 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m. Student Lounge ASTRID RICKEN/MCT
John Brennan has been selected to be the commencement speaker for the May 2012 graduation ceremony.
“The reason we started the petition was that this commencement speaker is a perpetuation of Fordham’s culture of silence,” Afkari said. “They’re disregarding his professional history. He is allegedly linked to Bush-era CIA torture and prisoner abuse.” In addition, Afkari said the petition against the speaker will be distributed online through change.org. As president of FCLC’s Amnesty International, Afkari said she is waiting for potential Amnesty International sponsorship of the petition. Other students said they felt similarly, and expressed surprise that a Catholic institution would choose a speaker with such a controversial
history. “I think we as a community need to think about what kind of image we’re producing by having someone connected to these activities as our speaker,” Ojala Naeem FCLC ’12 said. “Fordham has always been about making decisions based on how they will affect our image. Based off of that, I don’t understand how they came to choosing John Brennan.” Brendan Foo, FCLC ’12, agreed with Naeem. “I am entirely disturbed that Fordham University, a Jesuit school, is choosing to tacitly condone the actions of a man who, over the last decade, has made it his career to publicly support torture, a
decidedly un-Catholic action,” Foo said. Other students said that they think the university should have chosen a more prominent figure. “Nobody knows who he is,” David Wall, FCLC ’12, said. “All I hear about is how people know him as ‘the torture guy.’ I would rather have someone famous than infamous.” Vincent Tang, FCRH ’12, agreed with Wall and said, that he does not know who Brennan is. “I think students would want somebody more well known, like a celebrity or something like that. I would personally want someone who is shown in a more positive light, or has a bigger name.”
Rainbow Alliance: Question the Q All Day Indoor Plaza
FRI., MARCH 23
MESA’s Sultan’s Soiree 6:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. TBA
MON., MARCH 26
Senior Countdown Event # 3: Karaoke Night 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. Student Lounge
CAB March Concert 7:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. Atrium TUE., MARCH 27
Lent: A Time of Preparation and Spiritual Renewal By LOUISE LINGAT Staff Writer
Fast. Pray. Serve. You’ve seen the signs all around the campus. At the bottom of each sign, it says, “Lent at Fordham.” Some students may have only heard about what Lent is from their friends while other students may have only heard about Lent since they entered Fordham. Lent is considered an important season for the church. The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which was on Feb. 22, and ends on Holy Thursday, which is on Apr. 5, making Lent last for a total of 40 days. Fordham, with the help of Campus Ministry, has organized a series of Lenten reflections and discussions to help students and faculty understand the Lenten season a little bit better. One of the discussions is called “Women of Faith.” These discussions took or will take place on some of the Mondays of Lent. (Feb. 27, Mar. 5, Mar. 19, Mar. 26). Each discussion is about how faith informs life with a different women from history. After each discussion, Lenten soup and bread is provided. According to Fordham’s “Fast, Pray, Serve” pamphlets, the season of Lent has a three-fold purpose. For one, this season is a time of the church’s preparation for the upcoming season of Easter. It is also a time for those people who are seeking Baptism to be purified and enlightened. Lent is also a season of spiritual renewal for all the faithful. In this season of preparation, the Christian community comes together in voluntary fasting, praying and serv-
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY HARRY HUGGINS
Campus Ministry’s “Women of Faith” discussion series included a screening of the film “Vision” about nun Hildegard von Bingen’s life.
ing. The first “Women of Faith” discussion was held on Feb. 27. There was a screening of a movie called “Vision: The Story of Hildegard von Bingen.” According to the movie’s description, von Bingen is a 12th century Benedictine nun who is also known for being a Christian mystic, composer, philosopher, playwright, physician, poet, naturalist, scientist and ecological activist. She was the first female rebel who retransmitted her visions to the world for the greater glory of God and mankind. The movie portrayed von Bingen as a
significant and important woman who was a great influence during her time. The Lenten season also allows people to prepare for the season of Easter in their own spiritual way. For many people, this means giving up something for the duration of the Lenten season. Michael Macalintal, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’15, has chosen to give up two things during this season of preparation. “I chose to give up cursing and soda,” Macalintal said. Another student, Sofi Muñoz, FCLC ’15, also chose to give up two things. “For Lent this year, I decided to
give up sarcasm and sweets.” For other people, the season of Lent is about doing something more than what they normally do. Aside from giving up sarcasm and sweets, Muñoz has also decided to visit the Stations of the Cross on Fridays, something extra she chose to do. Dorie Goehring, FCLC ’13, also decided to do something extra rather than give something up. “I’m trying to be more present and deliberate in my actions,” Goehring said. Paolo Perez, FCLC ’15, normally chooses to do something extra during the season of Lent. “I used to never give up anything that is physical. I would do something extra, such as try to do all my homework, or try to be a better person,” Perez said. “This year, I’ve decided to give up food from halal carts.” Why do students decide to do Lent and either give something up or do something extra? “My parents had told me it’s the right thing to do; but now I believe it’s something I have to do,” Macalintal said. “It feels like it’s something I have to do for self-improvement. I’m trying to be more mature; cursing is too elementary. As I got older, I realized that there are better ways to say certain things.” For Perez, his parents also played a valuable part in choosing to participate in Lent. “My parents raised me to do it, and now I do it by choice,” Perez said. “I gave up halal cart food because I love it and think that giving it up now is a good time to reflect and consider the sacrifice of the Lord in the desert and during the Paschal Mystery.”
It’s Elementary 2 - Movie Showing 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Student Lounge
Compiled by Rex Sakamoto
Crime TUES., FEB. 21 At 12:45 p.m., a student reported a grand larceny. Her roomate took her Citibank card from her nightstand thinking it was hers and made a purchase. It was returned later that night and no charges were pressed. WED., FEB. 22 A resident in McMahon Hall reported fraud. The student had responded to a job listing on Craigslist. A few days later he received two USPS packages directing him to send a money order. No money was sent. Parcel authorities are investigating the incident. SUN., MAR. 4 A guest of a McMahon Hall student tried to get in the building with another resident’s I.D. card at 4:30 a.m. The guest was not allowed into the building.
Compiled by: Richard Ramsundar
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Community Reacts to Racial and Homophobic Slurs SLURS FROM PAGE 1
“Disgust, in fact, is what I feel in contemplating these attacks. This behavior is—or should be—far, far outside the range of acceptable expression at a Jesuit institution.” McShane concluded with a request, saying, “I know you will join with me in keeping those hurt by these senseless acts in your thoughts and prayers. I likewise hope that you join me in praying for the damaged person or persons who authored such hatefulness, that they might come to understand the pain they’ve caused, and be moved to help mend those they have hurt.” After hearing of the third event, USG president Ryan O’Toole, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’12, started planning for Lincoln Center’s Rally for Solidarity. Coordinating with Rose Hill’s Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice, O’Toole and his USG colleagues planned for student speakers to share their experiences with discrimination on campus from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Immediately after the rally, USG and the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) held a town hall-style debriefing to invite students’ reactions and thoughts on what they wanted to see changed. Along with the rally and debriefing, USG made available strips of light green fabric on which students could write openended messages to wear and display their solidarity with those affected by recent acts of discrimination. “The general message is that we want to foster solidarity and have a physical manifestation of that by providing a space for students to come together and express solidarity with those affected or offended by recent acts,” O’Toole said. Following the discovery of a homophobic slur written in a McMahon Hall stairwell on Feb. 27, Fordham held a town hall discussion where students debated a proposed mandatory diversity program for future students. The administration also condemned such acts as inexcusable, promising punitive acts toward any student found linked to the crime. According to Jenifer Campbell, director of Residential Life, the words “gay” and “loser” were written in the B stairwell on the 11th f loor of McMahon Hall. She said that after a student discovered the offensive language, a staff member was contacted who alerted maintenance, facilities and security. There are no cameras in that stairwell.
“ Disgust...is what I
feel in contemplating these attacks. This behavior is–or should be–far, far outside the range of acceptable expression at a Jesuit institution.” –
FR. JOSEPH MCSHANE, S.J.,
president of Fordham University
CHARLIE PUENTE/THE OBSERVER
FCLC students gathered together for the Feb. 27 town hall meeting after the discovery of a second slur.
Campbell described the immediate actions of the security staff. “Security took a photograph of what was written: the word ‘gay’ on the standpipe, and on the signage it said ‘loser’ and ‘gay’ in writing akin to the sign there,” Campbell said. “So they were able to wipe it off, and then procedurally, we’re doing an investigation and follow-up.” The McMahon Hall incident was the second offensive slur to happen at Fordham in a month. On Feb. 7, a Residential Assistant (RA) found a racial epithet written on her door in Walsh Hall at
Rose Hill. As a result, Dean of Students at FCLC Keith Eldredge gathered the FCLC community during a town hall meeting on Feb. 22. Since the homophobic slur hit this campus, Eldredge said that the behavior on both campuses is unacceptable and that it was important to hold this second town hall meeting. “It’s not appropriate; it’s not part of what it means to be a Fordham community member,” he said. “We had a conversation about what happened at Rose Hill… about what we can do to make Fordham a better place,” Eldredge
said. “Now that we’ve had something on our campus, we need to do more than what we’ve planned [to do].” The conversation continued at a town hall meeting hosted by Campbell and Residential Life on Feb. 28 in McMahon Hall’s eighth f loor lounge, three f loors below where the incident occurred. Much of the discussion at the meeting, which was attended by students and administrators from a wide range of clubs and departments, focused on whether or not there should be a mandatory diversity training for incoming students.
In response to these suggestions, USG is forming a task force made of students, administrators and faculty to move any changes forward into next year and beyond, according to O’Toole. The group’s goal is to figure out how to take the student responses to the town halls and rally and make sustainable changes. Other topics discussed in town halls included the responsibility of students, especially student leaders, to encourage and enforce an accepting environment for all Fordham community members. Administrators and students alike echoed this message of peer responsibility, as well as the need to ensure that Lincoln Center students feel safe at their college homes. Although some students complained about a lack of communication between administrators and students, others applauded the quick reactions to this second incident. FCLC’s USG tweeted about the incident on the day the incident occured at Lincoln Center: “Any form of bias or slur is absolutely unacceptable at Fordham. We stand against the homophobic slur in McMahon Hall.” “We as students must always remember to never accept any acts of prejudice, bias or hate,” O’Toole said. “I strongly condemn these acts and I promise that USG will do everything it can to promote a community of love and respect amongst all students at the Lincoln Center campus.” In addition, Campbell said that she wants students who feel “marginalized” or out of place in the community to reach out to Residential Life so that they are aware of these feelings. “All of the offices—Counseling, Mission and Ministry, Residential Life, Dean of Students, OSLCD—are here to help students having difficulties with these issues,” she said.
Former Professor Posts Resignation Letter on Facebook RESIGNATION FROM PAGE 1
deeply embedded in the social fabric of their lives. I’m prepared to face discrimination, but I will not be ‘politically correct’ about racism, anti-immigration, sexism, homophobia and classism.” She continued, “It is not oversensitivity that fuels my decision, but rather a desire to run towards (and not away from) a place of inspiration, creativity and love/social justice.” Dr. Allan S. Gilbert, chair of the sociology and anthropology department, who received MaldonadoSalcedo’s letter, and said that she sent an “abrupt email” in late November just before Thanksgiving break. “Although we planned a class for her to teach this spring semester, she said that she was not going to do it and the fall semester would be her last,” Gilbert said. “It seemed like she was very well liked by students and her student evaluations were very good,” Gilbert said. “So [the email] was entirely unanticipated and without explanation.”
“ ...It is ridiculous that Fordham is trying to
turn a blind eye to something that is pervasive and unacceptable.” MELISSA MALDONADO-SALCEDO, former sociology professor at
He was able to meet her in person after receiving the message so that he could understand her decision to depart. However, even then, he said that she did not reveal all the details behind her resignation. He said that there were two main reasons for her decision. “First, a student, either making a comment or giving a report in class, said that minority women from a particular Caribbean location simply had babies in order to get more welfare money.” He said Maldonado-Salcedo was insulted by the comment. “If that was a well-meant statement, then first off, it is misinformed, politically incorrect
and very derogatory,” Gilbert said. “She took offense to that and I don’t know what went on in class because I am not sure of the sense in which the statement was made.” Secondly, Gilbert said that certain statements written on a Fordham blog disappointed Maldonado-Salcedo. The specific blog and her comments to what was written on the blog were not mentioned, but Gilbert said that Maldonado-Salcedo’s reaction may have been an exaggeration. “My experience is that when you ask the public to comment on a topic that is controversial, you frequently get a lot of controversial statements,” Gilbert said. “I
don’t always take them seriously because it isn’t like they are making the comments in the classroom.” In addition, Maldonado-Salcedo told DeCesare that there was another reason why she was disappointed with Fordham. DeCesare said, “A faculty member called her ‘teacher’ and would not acknowledge her as a professor.” DeCesare said that she has her own “casual and unconventional style of teaching,” that some faculty may have viewed as unprofessional. Both DeCesare and Gilbert asked Maldonado-Salcedo to reconsider her decision to resign. “I talked with her and told her it could be great for her to stay and try to work through these issues because there’s always going to be those sorts of issues anywhere you go, but I guess she felt that she would be more receptive at Hunter College and I respect her decision when it comes down to it,” DeCesare said. Gilbert also asked her to “think about the possibility that she as a teacher could make a difference to
[the students she was offended by].” Although she is still a graduate student and a new teacher, he said that in the context of the classroom, these are learning opportunities for her to turn things around. “Where is the line in the sand where someone is going to confront those ridiculous notions and explain why they are bogus if someone in anthropology or sociology doesn’t do it,” Gilbert said. He said that he understood Maldonado-Salcedo is a Hispanic woman representing a minority group, so he could imagine that she faced discrimination in her lifetime. “I am very sympathetic to that, but I think as a teacher you need to get a backbone and you need to devise strategies to confront bigotry.” Maldonado-Salcedo currently teaches at City University of New York (CUNY)’s Hunter College. “She feels like she’s more wanted at Hunter College and she just feels more comfortable with the students there,” DeCesare said.
THE OBSERVER March 8, 2012
Rise in Music Majors Calls for More Resources By FAITH HEAPHY Editor-in-Chief
There are 24 students in the music major this year, which is double the amount of last spring, according to Mark Mattson, associate dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC). As the major gains popularity on campus, many students interested in music are frustrated with what they feel is a department that lacks adequate resources for musicians. Among the primary concerns raised is lack of space for music practice. There are two private, soundproof practice rooms with pianos located near the visual arts wing. In order to use a room, students must sign out a key with the security guard in McMahon Hall. As studying and practicing music become more popular on campus, however, students feel that two rooms are not enough to support the growing music interest. “I think there should be more practice rooms and better pianos,” said music major Chelsea Gizzi, FCLC ’14. She said she usually goes to the music room after midnight to ensure that one will be free for her to use. “I don’t like singing in my room because my roomies are like, ‘Why are you singing in German?’’ said Gizzi, who sings in Fordham’s Liturgical Choir, Chamber Singers and Women’s Choir. Sevin Yaraman, lecturer of art history and music, said that last spring she worked with security to develop a new system for the private practice rooms. Students registered to take private music lessons with an instructor hired through the Fordham music department could leave their name with security in McMahon to reserve the room. “If you go [to the practice rooms] and both of them are full, you have the privilege to use that room—you get priority,” Yaraman said. She said that currently
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY AYER CHAN
Due to the scarce number of music rehearsal rooms available at FCLC, students wait outside the room.
eight students at FCLC are registered for private music lessons. While the system benefits those taking private lessons, other musicians must wait until a room becomes available before they can practice an instrument or sing. According to one McMahon security guard who wished to remain anonymous, students who need to wait for keys to the practice rooms is common. “It happens a lot,” the security guard said. In addition to limited practice spaces on campus, some music students are also frustrated with the music classroom in Lowenstein. Music majors at FCLC typically take classes in room 523 of the Leon Lowenstein building, where, according to music major Sara Ingle, FCLC ’12, the piano is out of tune. “The pianos are a big joke,” Ingle said.
“They’re always out of tune.” Gizzi agreed. “The piano in room 523 isn’t tuned very often, which defeats the purpose of having a quality piano.” Music majors at Fordham are required to take four semesters of music performance through one of the following venues: Concert Choir, Women’s Choir, Liturgical Choir, Concert Band, Orchestra or the Chamber Music Ensemble. While the choirs are located at both Rose Hill and FCLC, students who play instruments must travel to Rose Hill twice a week to participate in an instrumental group. “I’ve talked to people who haven’t joined orchestra at Rose Hill because they don’t want to travel to the Bronx to take a 1.5 hour Ram Van ride during rush hour,” Ingle said. Faith Brancale, FCLC ’14 and a visual arts major who has been play-
ing the violin since she was three, said she travels to Rose Hill for orchestra rehearsal even though she’s not a music major or minor. “I spend double the amount of time on the Ram Van than the actual practice,” Brancale said. “[FCLC] doesn’t have an orchestra, which doesn’t make any sense considering our placement and the possible connections we should have with Lincoln Center and music schools in the area.” Brancale said that she knows a lot of students on campus who would be interested in performing if the opportunity became available on campus. According to Yaraman, the decision to have one orchestra located at the Rose Hill campus had to do with space and commitment. “Lots of kids are committed up there,” Yaraman said. “We don’t want to split
the orchestra.” She said that in the future, as the major grows and there are enough students to support the program, they would consider an orchestra. “An orchestra is a very big enterprise—you need at least 25 to 30 students,” Yaraman said. In addition to commuting to Rose Hill for orchestra or band, many music students travel uptown for music classes as well. “I’m frustrated because a lot of the music classes are at Rose Hill in Faculty Memorial Hall,” Gizzi said. Ingle said she’s taking half of her classes at Rose Hill this semester and that while the music classes at FCLC are “really great,” there aren’t enough offered every semester. As a cello player, she also feels that having a classical musical class to put on her transcript would be helpful in terms of eventually applying to grad school. Alex Mitchell, FCLC ’12, and music minor, said part of the reason he opted out of the music major at FCLC was because he realized he was going to have to go to Rose Hill for most of his classes. New, full-time music faculty member at FCLC, Daniel Ott, teaches courses at both Rose Hill and Lincoln Center. He said he’s seen an increase in enrollment in his Lincoln Center classes and attributes that partly to FCLC’s location. “Being here at Lincoln Center, which is one of the major hubs of musical activity in the world, will no doubt attract some students,” Ott said. He said that having an outlet for musical performance at FCLC would be a great advantage to students interested in music. “To have more resources available would be wonderful—whether that comes in the form of additional practice rooms or a space that’s specifically designed for music performance would be great especially as the schools continues to grow,” Ott said.
Think Summer, Think Fordham Summer Session 2012 Session I: 29 May–28 June Session II: 3 July–7 August • Advanced and core classes in every discipline • Air-conditioned housing at Rose Hill or Lincoln Center • Special topics courses, including the 13th annual Sports Communication Institute and the new Musical Theatre Workshop • Visitors Welcome
Learn more at fordham.edu/summer or call (888) 411-GRAD
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
FORDHAM CAMPUSES BONDED BY HATE CRIMES
n a university where principles of social justice, tolerance and solidarity are upheld alongside its mission to educate, racist and homophobic hate crimes have tainted its wholesome brand. The hate crimes first occurred when Rose Hill senior and Resident Assistant Melissa Wright came home on the evening of Feb. 7 to find the N-word written on the door of her Walsh Hall apartment. The next event occurred at Lincoln Center on Feb. 27, in which the words “gay loser” were painted in graffiti in a stairwell between the 11th and 12th floors of McMahon Hall. The third most recent incident occurred on March 2 in which another racist slur was scrawled in a Goupil Hall bathroom at Rose Hill. Students, school officials and faculty have all responded against the discriminatory attacks. Town hall meetings hosted by the administration have been held on both campuses for students to dialogue about the attacks. According to the article “Rally and Responses to Graffiti Incidents” by Laura Chang on pg. 1, student groups like Rainbow Alliance have held workshops for students to
“It has taken devices of separation and shame to bring our campuses together in disgust.” open up conversation about the recent events, even conducting exercises to make students think critically about the biases they have against one another. In another article, “Professor Publicizes Resignation Letters After Slurs,” written by Laura Chang on pg. 1, one faculty member, Professor Melissa MaldonadoSalcedo, has publicized her resignation from teaching at Fordham in direct response to the hate crimes, frustrated with the racism, classism, sexism and homophobia she encountered from students within her classes. The issues our university is now facing have even made headlines in some of the metropolitan area’s top news sources, detailing the hate crimes on the websites of CBS, the New
York Daily News and WNYC. The Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses have historically remained distinct from one another, divided by stigmas and stereotypes of their students, almost developing a rivalry between the two groups. However, we have come to the startling realization that it has taken hate to bring the two Fordham communities together. Ironically, it has taken devices of separation— discriminatory language against certain groups for superficial differences—and shame over people within our own communities to bring our campuses together in their disgust towards prejudice. With the rapid and continuous rate at which these hate crimes have been occurring, we are left to question what this will mean for the future of Fordham. Will other hate crimes such as these happen again? How can we continue to think critically about the prejudices we have against one another? As two distinct campuses, we remain united in our quest to combat hate crimes and we hope that tragedy will never again have to be the force that brings us together as one.
Rick Santorum: Alienating Voters, One Stance at a Time COLLEEN THORNHILL Opinions Editor
A year ago, I was mildly interested in politics. Now, though, I’m not sure I can get enough. Week after week I read about some politician who doesn’t think before he speaks and then see him parodied that weekend on Saturday Night Live.
I’ve only had 21 years’ experience as a woman, but Santorum’s 53 years as a man must give him superior knowledge.
My new favorite is Rick Santorum. And by favorite, I mean in a laughable, not at all serious way. He is my favorite in the sense that everything about him leaves me either chuckling or annoyed. There’s no fine line with this man. He’s too extreme to ever merit a passove reaction. Last week Santorum left quite an impression on me during his tour of Michigan while trying to win that state’s primary. His speeches had more than a few notable moments, but the line I’ll never forget included the following: “President Obama once said he wants everyone to go to college. What a snob.” That’s right, a snob. I understand if Santorum doesn’t think students should feel entitled to a free ride to college, but is it really an outrage that Obama wants the future of America to go to school? I guess the idea of everyone receiving an education, getting a better job, and a higher paycheck that enables them to contribute to our consumer society is bad in the Republican candidate’s eyes. Wait, what? I thought Republicans liked money. I am so confused. Santorum continued on with
SHARI LEWIS/COLUMBUS DISPATCH/MCT
Rick Santorum’s speeches have been more than memorable, whether he intends for them to be or not.
his riveting speech, explaining how all college professors are liberals trying to “indoctrinate their students.” He then went so far as to say that students are being “rema[d]e in Obama’s image” while at college. In the mind of Santorum, my past four years at Fordham have been nothing but a lesson in the pros of Obama. That’s hilarious, since I definitely didn’t even vote for Obama in the 2008 election. But come 2012, I guess I will because I’ve been brainwashed after four years of college. Santorum has left me puzzled in other ways. A couple months back, he made headlines when a gay soldier asked him if he would reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military if elected. Santorum replied that he believes sexuality has no place in the military and if soldier were allowed to be openly gay, it would lead to trouble, since they’re sharing sleeping quarters,
bathrooms and meals with people they’re attracted to. Does Santorum realize women serve in the military? It would probably be a heck of a lot safer for women if straight men had to repress their sexuality, but there’s no “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for them. Yet women aren’t first on Santorum’s totem pole, unless he’s talking about their contraceptive rights, in which case, he’s all about the ladies. Basically, Santorum believes women shouldn’t have access to contraceptives. I don’t think Santorum realizes that the more women there are who don’t use birth control, the more kids there’ll be floating around. And the more kids around, the less likely their parents will be able to send them to college. Oh, but wait, Santorum isn’t worried about that. These families want to limit the amount of kids they have so they can better afford to take care of
them? Ulgh, what snobs. Seeing as how he’s a man, Santorum obviously has every right to debate this women’s rights issue. I’ve only had 21 years experience as a woman, but Santorum’s 53 years as a man must give him superior knowledge. Santorum also doesn’t think it’s a good idea for women to seek fulfillment in the work place. That second-wave feminist movement? According to him, that completely undermined the American family. He doesn’t believe a woman needs to find happiness outside of raising a family. Santorum’s own mother worked throughout his childhood. I guess the scars of not being raised by his mom are so deep that Santorum would rather never see women work outside the home again. I wonder if he realizes how unflattering this mama’s boy tendency of his is.
In an article from The Daily Beast, “Rick Santorum’s Weakness with Women Helped Him Lose Michigan Primay,” writer Patricia Murphy points out that Santorum lost in every category of women polled in last Tuesday’s Michigan primary. That means working women, single women and married women. Perhaps it’s time for Santorum to evaluate his stance on some issues. He’s certainly trying. Suddenly after realizing quite a few female voters don’t like him, Santorum decided to praise his mother and his wife in his concession speech. He certainly knows how to play to his (lacking) audience. If Santorum plans on winning over female voters, then he should stop pretending he knows what it’s like to be one. I look forward to seeing what other memorable things he has to say in the coming weeks. I imagine they’ll make his mother proud.
THE OBSERVER March 8, 2012
Campus Slurs Require Equal Condemnation SOGAND AFKARI Staff Writer
THE OBSERVER Fordham College at Lincoln Center 113 West 60th Street Room 408 New York, New York 10023 Tel: (212) 636-6015 Fax: (212) 636-7047
Editor-in-Chief Faith Heaphy Managing Editor Monique John News Co-Editors Laura Chang Harry Huggins Asst. News Co-Editors Richard Ramsundar Rex Sakamoto Opinions Editor Colleen Thornhill Asst. Opinions Editor Sara Azoulay Arts & Culture Co-Editors Mike Madden Katie Lockhart Asst. Arts & Culture CoEditors Brian Bruegge Olivia Perdoch Features Co-Editors Mario Weddell Darryl Yu Asst. Features Editor Clint Holloway Literary Editor Matt Petronzio Asst. Literary Editor Salma Elmehdawi Literary Staff Zoe Simpson Bianca Leggio Sports Editor Randy Narine Asst. Sports Co-Editors Jasper Chang Joe Sporacio Copy Editor Matt Petronzio Asst. Copy Editor Anna Luciano Copy Staff Jessica Cheung Juhi Patel Layout Editor Amanda Fimbers Asst. Layout Editor Tayler Bennett Layout Staff Jewel Galbraith Amanawil Lemi Ariella Mastroianni Ian McKenna Photo Editor Sara Azoulay Asst. Photo Editors Mario Weddell Ayer Chan Online Editor Ariella Mastroianni Asst. Online Editor Ian McKenna Business Manager Natalia Ramirez Faculty Advisor Prof. Elizabeth Stone
On Tuesday, Feb. 28, I attended the Lincoln Center emergency town hall regarding the homophobic slur found in McMahon Hall. There were well over 30 people in attendance. A week prior at the Lincoln Center town hall regarding the first racist slur found at Rose Hill, however, there were approximately less than ten people. The racial remark received less than a third of the attention the homophobic slur did. Lincoln Center students managed to come together in defiance of the homophopic slur, yet we somehow let the racial one pass us by, hardly acknowledged. Once again, just last week, we discovered a third time that prejudice persists at our school. We received an email from the administration telling us that a second racial slur had been found at the Rose Hill campus. Yet such racism isn’t just a factor at Rose Hill. It exists heavily at Lincoln Center as well. I acknowledge that Lincoln Center and Rose Hill are two different campuses. Regardless, we all wear Fordham insignia, take the core and are taught Jesuit ideals. We’re a Ram family and we need to stand up for everyone regardless of their campus, sexual orientation or race. As a Christian institution, Fordham advocates radical inclusivity. As a Jesuit institution, Fordham highlights the whole person. Why then is there a glaring amount of passivity regarding racism at this school? The racial aspect of our respective identities should be just as important and respected as our sexual orientation. Bigotry is wrong and there is not one form of it that is more appalling than the other. I am proud of how many students, faculty and administrators appeared
CHARLIE PUENTE/THE OBSERVER
Students gather at the town hall to voice their concerns over the homophobic slur found in McMahon Hall.
in solidarity at the town hall against heterosexism and homophobia. As a student leader, I look at Rainbow Alliance as a model of how to run an empowering and inviting club. I am a staunch advocate of LGBTQ rights, and the first protest I joined in was the anti-Proposition 8 rally in New York. I am not belittling the seriousness of heterosexism at Fordham University. I am just trying to highlight the absence of solidarity in our community against racism. The lack of reaction at the first racial slur found at Rose Hill by Lincoln Center students shows that we do not take this problem seriously enough. Fordham University is not a diverse institution. As an alumna (three month countdown till my May graduation), I will not prospectively donate on the premise that Fordham cultivates tolerance. From the top down, bigotry pervades this institution. I recognize that there are revered components of the Fordham institution that educate, organize and
advocate social justice issues. I applaud Global Outreach trips, the Dorothy Day Center’s volunteer opportunities and the Office of Multicultural Affair’s dialogues. However, not enough students partake in these activities. I’m shocked that some think our country has completely overcome racism. The Civil Rights Movement happened only fifty years ago. The Jena 6, the Louisiana trial of six black students that sparked a national outcry, was only five years ago. The execution of Troy Davis, a black man convicted of a murder in a case that was later considered corrupt and rigged, was only a year ago. And just weeks ago we learned that the NYPD conducts surveillances on Muslim student organizations as potential terrorists. Even still, cities across the country persecute and exploit illegal Latino immigrants. Racism continues to exist in the United States, whether it be regarding black, Latino, Muslim or any other ethno-religious group. New York City and the Fordham community is no
exception to this prevailing discrimination. Within our largely white, heterosexual Fordham community, forms of prejudice, whether consciously or subconsciously, still permeate our lives. The first racial slur was infuriating. The homophobic slur was equally so. Yet the racial slur was somehow overlooked by the Lincoln Center community, if only proven by the lack of people who decided to take a stand against it and show up at the emergency town hall (in comparison to the higher number who joined in the dialogue regarding the homophobic slur). I hope that this second racist slur leaves no doubt in any one’s mind that racism is present at this university and that it merits our attention. I expect students, administrators and faculty to unify behind Father McShane and his “disgust” for these hurtful bigoted attacks. We should be a radically inclusive force to be reckoned with. At least that is what I would expect from what I have been taught here.
Reaction to School Shootings Must Focus on Victims SARA AZOULAY Photo Editor & Asst. Opinions Editor
On Feb. 27 in Chardon, Ohio, a student named T.J. Lane came to Chardon High School with a gun and killed three of his peers and injured two others. This news sets off a chain of reactions within me. Before I knew it, I was reading everything I could on the tragedy. Who was the shooter? Why did he commit this crime? It’s an unhealthy reaction, and the media only helps to encourage my habit. Rather than read about the story as cold, hard news, I read it more like a movie script or the plot of a crime show. I can’t be alone in this reaction. School shootings have always piqued curiosity among the media, psychologists and everyday Americans. The media’s fascination with serial killers and school shootings leads to dramatization of these events and puts the spotlight on the perpetrators rather than the community or victims. We ask who it is who killed these
people and why, when we should be asking what we can do to ease the pain of a community that has just been shattered. Reporters often generalize the tragedy, creating villains, T. J. Lane, and heroes, in this case Frank Hall, Assistant Football Coach, who ran after the shooter causing him to leave the building. For example, in the New York Times article, “Teenager is Charged in Killing of Three at a School,” Sabrina Tavernise wrote, “As a profile of Mr. Lane emerged, the mystery surrounding his actions seemed to grow deeper. Friends and neighbors described him as a good listener, a skilled skateboarder [and] a kind young man who loved to be outside and cared diligently for his dog, Bowser.” A friend was even quoted explaining that Lane had raised his grades and loved school. These descriptions make it seem like Lane was just a normal kid before something radically changed in him. The article continues detailing the life of Lane but not the victims. Disturbed that the media would put so much attention on the shooter
first and the victims second, I did a quick search for more news on Google to hopefully allay my annoyance. Instead, I discovered similar results: articles that detailed the life of the killer. I find it hard to believe that the friends and families of the victims do not want to share memories of their loved ones. Yet it seems the media forgoes their stories in favor of the more dramatic character, the shooter himself. Rising action is necessary before the climax of the story is presented. The media feels the need to give the shooter some sort of back story, almost victimizing him in a way as they recount tales of bullying or other challenges. However, school shooters aren’t always the outcome of some horrendous storm. They aren’t always the conclusive result that comes from mixing several negative ingredients together. I used to believe we could prevent school shootings by focusing our time on preventing bullying. I still believe that bullying is something to be on the lookout for; but I don’t think that bul-
lying is directly connected with every school shooting. Take Columbine, for example, one of the most famous school shooting atrocities to happen. The two teenagers weren’t bullied or ostracized. I understand the media has to look at a story and make it appealing to the masses. I also understand that in order to properly tell a story you need all sides of the story and that’s why we did hear T.J lane’s life story. But why must we dive into these tragedies with zeal? We cannot allow the dramatization of a community’s tragedy and loss to be put into a news story that is written like a plot summary of a “Criminal Minds” episode. The truth of the matter is a teenage boy made a terrible and horrific decision that day when he chose to murder his classmates. Journalists and reporters can try all they may to turn this tragedy into a movie script, but the cold hard facts are there. We shouldn’t be devouring endless amounts of seedy information about the killer. Instead, we should be thinking of the victims and the community that will never again be the same.
Faculty Layout Advisor Kim Moy Faculty Photo Advisor Amelia Hennighausen PUBLIC NOTICE No part of The Observer may be reprinted or reproduced without the expressed written consent of The Observer board. The Observer is published on alternate Thursdays during the academic year. Printed by Five Star Printing Flushing, N.Y
To reach an editor by e-mail, visit www.fordhamobserver.com
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES • Letters to the Editor should be typed and sent to The Observer, Fordham University, 113 West 60th Street, Room 408, New York, NY 10023, or e-mailed to fordhamobserver@gmail. com. Length should not exceed 200 words. All letters must be signed and include contact information, official titles, and year of graduation (if applicable) for verification. • If submitters fail to include this information, the editorial board will do so at its own discretion. • The Observer has the right to withhold any submissions from publication and
will not consider more than two letters from the same individual on one topic. The Observer reserves the right to edit all letters and submissions for content, clarity and length. • Opinions articles and commentaries represent the view of their authors. These articles are in no way the views held by the editorial board of The Observer or Fordham University. • The Editorial is the opinion held by a majority of The Observer’s editorial board. The Editorial does not reflect the views held by Fordham University.
BLOGS KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THE BLOG! NEWS ENTERTAINMENT CAMPUS INTERNSHIPS To read these blogs and more, visit lcradar.com
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Fordham’s New “Airblades” Slash the Need for Paper Towels CATHERINE MENTA Contributing Writer
I just went to the funeral for an old friend, the paper towel. Yes, that’s right, the paper towel. Apparently, Fordham University has kicked the paper towel to the curb. I discovered this a few weeks ago when I had to use the bathrooms in the Lowenstein lobby. I am not one to frequent public restrooms, but I was in between classes doing some reading in the cafeteria when nature called. I reluctantly went down to the lobby and, well, took care of business. I washed my hands like any normal, hygienic person would do, but when I went to dry my hands, a sudden wave of panic came over me. “Where are the paper towels?” I thought to myself. Instead of ripping a clean paper towel from a shiny, metal canister, I was now staring at two white, modern Dyson hand dryers. Yes, Dyson, the king of vacuums, makes hand dryers; I was thinking the exact same thing. I stuck my hands in the machine and stood there for a good minute until my hands were completely dry. As the sophisticated, technologically-advanced vacuum was sucking up the water molecules from my hands, I read on the machine that these Dyson driers were more sanitary and environmentally friendly than other driers. “Now, how can that be?” I said out loud. The older woman washing her hands gave me a
concerned look. “She will know what I’m talking about once she tries one of these things,” I said to myself. Dyson can’t be more sanitary than other hand dryers. They all blow hot air. If anything, you will get germs from the Dyson because you have to stick your hands in it. I am sure people have touched it with their skin. I left the bathroom practically enraged. With no friend to vent to, I did the next best thing, I tweeted my frustrations: “New fancy Dyson dryers in the Lowenstein Lobby bathroom. Gee those must’ve been pricey. Is this why tuition went up? #fordhamproblems.” Shortly after, I learned Fordham was replacing all of the paper towels with hand dryers, though not all necessarily the Dyson kind, in the rest of Lowenstein. (Well, at the very least in the ladies’ rooms. I can’t say what goes on in the men’s restrooms.) My exasperation grew into distress. You’re telling me I have no option but to use the hand dryers that sound like a small jet taking off and leave my hands damp? Not only will my hands suffer but also what happens if I spill my coffee in class? I can’t pull a hand dryer off the wall and bring it back to class. I need the wonderful absorbency of a paper towel. Leaving spilt liquids on the floor is a hazard! And don’t tell me to use toilet paper. I’d have to use half a roll in order to clean up my spilt coffee. We need paper towels. Because I couldn’t let this go, I had to do some research. I paid a visit to
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BYKATHERINE FOTINOS/THE OBSERVER
The new Dyson “Airblade” claims to dry hands, but it does a better job of terrifying the user with its sound, which is akin to a jet taking off.
Dyson’s website. They call their hand dryers the “airblade.” That is not name you want to give to a product that dries hands. I think it is time to get a new marketing staff. I found that the white airblade could cost anywhere from $900 to $1,000. I guess you could call it the
Society Turns Blind Eye to Abuse as It Welcomes Back Chris Brown MICHELLE TALIS Contributing Writer
Three years ago, I saw Chris Brown go down in flames as a once smug R&B star who brutally abused his equally famous girlfriend Rihanna just before the 2009 Grammys. He went from ruler of the dance floor with his infectious beats to the most hated man in show business. But even then, I knew his fall wouldn’t last long. No one can deny the compelling power of a story of repentance and redemption to American audiences. I figured he would return a hardened thug who now had legitimate street cred. Instead what arose was a Dennis Rodman lookalike with some star-studded collaborations that made us forget why we crucified him in the first place. I hate that this performer has made a full and successful career comeback. I would have very gladly washed away the ashes of his burned-out career from the pyre. Yet it isn’t Chris Brown who I hate most. It’s society for letting his unsettling past actions remain uncomfortably hushed while it welcomes him back with open arms. Brown’s narcissism is overwhelmingly apparent. He is, in fact, his own biggest groupie. He has deluded himself into believing he was the victim in the whole situation. He thinks he has actually repented for his actions. Because he issued a very public apology, in an orange shirt slightly reminiscent of what a Buddhist monk might wear, he believes he is holy again. He entitled his Grammy-winning album “F.A.M.E,” which is an acronym for “Forgive All My Enemies,” as if it isn’t he who should be seeking forgiveness but instead the one who should be distributing it. This is insanity. Brown has plenty of enemies and rightfully so. The night he won for best R & B album, he tweeted, “HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That’s the ultimate F*** OFF!” You’re right, Chris Brown, that is the ultimate f*** off. It’s the biggest f*** off to us as a society that I can think of. We’ve let this nonsense happen. We tell people that if they say that had discovered one of the two “R’s”—rehab or religion—all is forgiven, all is forgotten. I don’t understand why the train wreck becomes top-selling tabloid fodder, and the abuser becomes idolized. Why, in our skew-
ered society, do these people become our heroes? Shouldn’t we posses more rationality than that? Maybe we all need to take a look at the pictures of a brutalized Rihanna that emerged after the Grammy’s incident three years ago. A few catchy radio hits shouldn’t so easily erase such horrific images. I understand that Rihanna was the victim in all of this. But the insanity grows as she continues to victimize herself. With her collaboration with Brown on the new song “Birthday Cake,” she’s practically made it acceptable to love your abuser. In the song, she tells Brown that, “I’m going to make you my bitch,” but that doesn’t mean she’s now the one in the position of power in their newly rekindled relationship. Just because she got a tattoo of a gun under her ribcage does not mean she has become a stronger, more independent woman. By collaborating with Brown, Rihanna has made it seem that his less-than-remorseful public behavior is acceptable or redeemable. While none of us know the private interactions the pair has shared, Brown has been nothing more than a child in the public eye as he loses his temper with those who dare to suggest he should perhaps be a little more penitent about his actions. Rihanna’s newfound relationship with Brown has somehow made it okay for a slew of girls to beg for him to “give it to them in the worse way.” That sentiment, along with “Dude, Chris Brown can punch me in the face, as long as he kisses it afterwards,” were just a couple of the mind-bending tweets sent out on the evening of this year’s Grammys. I’m not sure how Rihanna, a mediocre singer with a penchant for dying her hair, became a role model, but she did nonetheless. Now it’s time she took some responsibilities for her actions. She shouldn’t be pandering herself for a multi-platinum single. She could collaborate with anyone besides Brown to get the money that’s she looking for, if that’s all she’s seeking. Rihanna needs to learn how to actually be the strong independent woman, as opposed to play-acting one on stage and in raunchy music videos. It’s never been about the music, regardless of Chris Brown’s Symphonic Love tattoo splayed across his chest. I don’t blame Chris Brown’s tired dance moves or his egotism. I blame us for welcoming all of it with open arms. He has risen again, and he has only brought the darkness back with him.
Cadillac of hand dryers. There are plenty of other hand dryers that cost a mere $200 to $400. Granted it’s a one-time cost to buy and install a hand dryer, compared to purchasing multiple packs of paper towels per year. I get it. However, don’t dispar-
age my friend the paper towel, who is quite efficient. I read on Dyson’s website that their eco-friendly dryers will efficiently dry my hands in 12 seconds. If Dyson’s definition of efficient is “wet hands,” then that is what 12 seconds will get you. Hand dryers may be more ecofriendly, but paper towels can be, too. There are such things as biodegradable paper towels that are made from recycled products. That helps the environment as well. I think it is safe to say that we cannot rely entirely on technology. The hand driers will break at some point. It happens. Are we just supposed to walk around with sopping wet hands? Change is hard to accept. I guess in the long run, Fordham’s obsession with going green will eventually pay off. Still, that initial $2,000 investment bothers me. Perhaps Fordham University may pass some of its savings onto its students in the form of additional financial aid. Maybe Fordham University is trying to make a statement to people who use the lobby bathrooms. Personally, I don’t think people care what brand name is drying their hands; they just want to use the bathroom. They’re not checking the toilets and sinks to make sure they are made by Kohler. Toilet paper will be next. You laugh! Watch. The next time I walk into the bathroom, there will be newly installed toilets that can blow the hot air up, well, you know where.
Muslims at Fordham Face Both Challenges and Rewards OJALA NAEEM
The recent disclosure of the NYPD’s surveillance of members of the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) on various campuses sparked much anger and outrage throughout the country. Some consider the NYPD’s surveillance as racial profiling; others consider the surveillance as a cautionary act of protection. I find myself in the middle of both ends of the opinionated spectrum. Controversial discussions over the subject will continue, and there will never be a definite answer to questions regarding the appropriateness of the NYPD’s actions. However, there is a definite rise in emotions for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. While I understand why the NYPD’s actions instigate anger and outrage in the Muslim community, I have a hard time accepting some of the outbursts and actions taken by my fellow Muslims. Recent discussions with fellow Muslims, specifically at Fordham, frustrate me and conflict with my beliefs as a Muslim living in the United States and attending Fordham University. Upset with the actions of the NYPD, I have heard some students make statements about Fordham embedding anti-Islamic beliefs within the school’s curriculum and practices. Some students I’ve spoken with have even suggested that army veterans who are now students must have hateful and hawkish views about Muslims since they have fought against other Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. They seem to think the government is targeting Muslims in a sort of hate campaign. I myself, a Muslim who was born and raised in the United States, who witnessed
the horrific events of Sept. 11, who faced real prejudice and hate because of my identity, believe these statements to be completely radical and unwarranted. I ask my readers, specifically my fellow Muslims, to consider what I have to say about these statements and to keep an open mind. I have found Fordham University to be very open and accepting of Muslim students and respectful of Islam as a religion. We need to remember that Fordham University is a Catholic, Jesuit University. As such, it has the right to implement Catholicism in all aspects of its education. Instead, I have found the University incorporates faith in all its forms and aspects, not just the Catholic version, within the core. We have the option to take classes on Islam that develop an understanding of the religion. When our professors ask us to think about faith, we are not required to think about faith from a Catholic perspective— our perspectives as Muslims are valued. For me, the greatest evidence of this was at our campus’ Sept. 11 memorial service last semester, where MSA was invited to read a prayer from the Quran and join in union with members of different faiths. While we all may have been of different religions, we were united under our goal for peace. Claiming that army veterans hate Muslims since they kill them in Afghanistan and Iraq is the strongest unwarranted statement I have heard. Many army vets that I have spoken with as colleagues, fellow classmates and faculty actually seem to me to have become more open minded about Muslims and Islam after going overseas. Their time abroad allowed them to experience the culture of Muslims and understand it far better than they could in the United States.
We also forget that there are many Muslims in the United States military. They go overseas to fight for our country. We need to stop thinking the wars the United States takes part in are about one religion against another. By making it seem so, we force people to hold a negative view of American Muslims and force ourselves to be segregated in society. Yes, incidents exist where fellow citizens have used hateful words and actions against Muslims, but not every non-Muslim engages in such activities. We cannot allow the actions of the few to define the actions of the whole. If we equate the hateful actions of the few to the opinions of all nonMuslims, how are we different than those who use the actions of the few hateful Muslims as seen through the Sept. 11 attacks to define all Muslims worldwide? I believe these judgments make us hypocrites more than anything else. I appeal to my fellow Muslims, and everyone for that matter, to think carefully and thoroughly about the comments we make and the actions we take. Islam is a peaceful religion. It does not teach us to fight fire with fire or hatred with hatred as our anger and frustrations sometimes lead us to do. Let us open our eyes and our minds. We live in the United States of America where Muslims are still a minority. We attend Fordham University, a Catholic Jesuit institution. It may not be easy for us as Muslims to be accepted completely, and it will definitely not be easy for us to accept some injustices that we may face. However, if we open our minds to our surroundings and learn to live peacefully in unison with members of different religions, those outside of our religion will be able to understand and accept us.
Arts & Culture
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Weegee/Courtesy of International Center of Photography. Anthony Esposito, booked on suspicion of killing a policeman, New York, January 16, 1941.
The Man Who Followed
By BRIAN BRUEGGE Asst. Arts & Culture Co-Editor
He was known as the “official photographer of Murder Inc.,” a gang of hitmen that haunted the streets of New York City during the 1930s. Arthur Fellig, better known by his pseudonym, Weegee, became one of the most infamous and influential photojournalists of all time through his gritty black and white photographs of murder, crime and all else hidden in the dark underbelly of Depression-era New York City. His work as a freelancer fed all of New York’s tabloid newspapers as well as a number of national publications with the sensational images that made him so riveting. Now the International Center of Photography (ICP) is putting many of these images back on display with
a new exhibit titled “Weegee: Murder Is My Business.” The name comes directly from a self-curated exhibition that Weegee held at the Photo League in 1941. ICP channels many of the elements of that show into its own exhibition, even including some of the pictures that Weegee took of the gallery. What you get to see is quite extensive, as it should be given the tens of thousands of Weegee photographs and negatives that the ICP holds in its collection. The work of Weegee is dark, vivid and personal. He preferred to capture sensational subjects, and manages to do so in a way that is utterly captivating in its genuineness. Weegee brings us to murder scenes, brawls, courthouses, bars and tenements capturing all of it in his signature dark style. In a sense, Weegee preempted the noir aesthetic through these stylis-
Weegee/Courtesy of International Center of Photography. Police officer and lodge member looking at blanket-covered body of woman trampled to death in excursion-ship stampede, New York, August 18, 1941.
tic elements. Especially in his staged photographs, such as his 1944 selfportrait, darkness becomes an enveloping presence. In the photograph, Weegee sits in his car at night and the only light visible is from the dim glow of headlights and a washed out silhouette of his face. The subject matter is equally shadowy. There are several photographs of bloodied corpses sprawled onto the street. Weegee once bragged that he was paid $35 by LIFE Magazine for covering two murders— a little extra for the one with more bullets. Another print is an image of the police pulling an ambulance and its driver up from the bottom of the East River. While the exhibition also features newspapers, films and interactive displays, the focus of the show remains on the photographic work of Weegee. In particular, it is mostly a documen-
tation of the first ten years of his rise to prominence, much as the original “Murder Is My Business” exhibition was. During this period, Weegee worked at night from a small apartment across from the police headquarters. He spent these evenings listening to crime reports on his shortwave radio. Whenever news arrived of something worth capturing, Weegee would set out to be the first one covering it, often arriving before the police did. It was also at this time that he made ties with many of the biggest criminals in the city including Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano and Legs Diamond. This connection sealed Weegee’s association with coverage of crime, desperation and murder. He claimed that dead subjects were the easiest to capture: they never moved. From the mid 1940s until his death
in 1968, Weegee branched out, experimenting with writing, film and more avant-garde styles of photography. However, it is for these early images of urban scenes that he will be most associated with. By focusing on this period, ICP pays homage to these formative years, and to the world of news photography that it inspired. IF YOU GO
Weegee: Murder Is My Business WHEN: Now through Sept. 2, 2012 WHERE: International Center of Pho-
tography, 1143 Ave. of the Americas (at 43rd St.) PRICE: $8 with student ID; voluntary contribution Fridays from 5 – 8 p.m. HOURS: Tuesday & Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. ; Thursday & Friday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. ; Closed Mondays
Q&A: ELLIOT OLSHANSKY
Fordham Graduate Student Turned Published Author By CHRISTOPHER ROBERTSON Contributing Writer
Elliot Olshansky (Fordham University Graduate School of Business, 2014), published his first novel, “Robert’s Rules of Karaoke,” on Feb 5. The book is about a serious karaoke fan, Robert, and his ongoing struggle to strike a balance between his pastime and his romantic life. Karaoke is something of an institution for Rob and his best friend, Chuck, who meet every Friday night to sing at a karaoke bar on 42nd Street. There are a couple of outside threats to Chuck and Rob’s karaoke idyll, though. The first is Chuck’s long-term, sharp-tongued girlfriend, Gia, who has given up Friday nights with her boyfriend but doesn’t like it very much. The second is Rob’s mother, who wants to see her eldest son married and with children and doesn’t believe that he will meet a suitable companion in a karaoke bar. The basis of the book’s psychodrama is that Rob needs to learn to let go, to pursue things
for his own sake, and finally to regard himself as worthy of all the things—love, happiness, acceptance—that he so badly wants. The Observer sat down with Olshansky to talk about his new book.
working at CSTV at the time. So I spent some time there, got to know the bartender and some of the regulars. OBSERVER: How did you go about getting your book published?
OBSERVER: What was the first
E.O.: The first draft I had finished
spark of inspiration for the novel, what got it going for you? ELLIOT OLSHANSKY: I started writing the book in 2007. I was still working for College Sports Television (CSTV), and I was covering college hockey for them and spending a lot of time on the road, travelling around. OBSERVER: To what extent is this
autobiographical? It does seem like some of the subcultures you’re writing—the major one being the karaoke—are dealt with from a perspective that does suggest some degree of personal familiarity. E.O. : Rob is not me, but we have
a lot of the same DNA, I’ll put it that way. The bar in the book, the one that shows up the most, is Keats, which is on 45th and 2nd, I started going there whenI was
in November of 2008 and I started pitching it to agents. I got a little interest from one who made some suggestions for some edits to make, and I incorporated some of that. She ended up ultimately passing because she felt like she couldn’t get behind it; so I continued pitching it around and then finally found the Write Deal, a new e-publisher that got started in November of 2011. I submitted my book to them and had a great editor to work with, and they helped me somewhat with marketing and promotion. She really worked with me to finish the book. There was some serious work done with characters and the book itself wasn’t really finished until two or three weeks before it went on sale.
COURTESY OF ELLIOT OLSHANKSY
Fordham graduate student, Elliot Olshanksky, publishes first novel.
Arts & Culture
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Occupy Naked: Erotic Artand Social Change at the Museum of Sex By JACKSON GALAN Staff Writer
“Fuck Art: A Street Art Occupation” at the Museum of Sex brings together the work of 20 artists with the intent to create a dialogue around sexuality and visual provocation in public. With 20 contributing artists, the styles of the work within the exhibit vary. The street art claimed by the exhibition title is there in the form of piece-style graffiti, “Hello, my name is” stickers and wheatpaste signage. There’s a painted mannequin displayed in a mock storefront and a cartoon bear with eight breasts displayed on the f loor like a sidewalk chalk drawing. There are canvas paintings, acrylic-on-plexiglass, and multi-media including wood, cardboard and velvet. The work is what we do see, what we could see and what we can’t see in public. As the style varies, so does the tone. The work can be shocking (a graffiti mural of a penis streaming semen spelling “LUSH” before landing on a woman’s tongue), silly (DICKCHICKEN’s ScoobyDoo with a penis protruding from the dopey hound’s cranium in “Dreams of Childhood”), sensual (impressionist crayon-on-cardboard renderings of mid-coital figures in Mode2’s “Urban Affairs Extended”), or surreal (Patch Whiskey’s mannequin with a hypnotist’s spiral on one breast, a nuclear hazard symbol on the other and a gaping, drooling mouth beneath the two). Where much of the Museum of Sex’s exhibits contain historical objects like early erotic film or common erotic imagery contextualized by placement and theoretical exposition, the work in “Fuck Art” — including that which plays with real-life eroticism — is blatantly artistic.
JACKSON GALAN/THE OBSERVER
The Museum of Sex opens its latest exhibit “Fuck Art: A Street Art Occupation” featuring different forms of art from 20 different artists.
The museum handles this work much in the same way it does the non-artistic work of porn directors, burlesque dancers and the like — it places the work in context. The punning title of the exhibit both blasts (“Fuck art, let’s
fuck!”) and claims (“Art, Fuck Art”) artistic quality, situating the work in both artistic (or private) and everyday (or public) spheres. They up this ante by introducing the idea of the show as an “occupation”, thereby prompting social
change through erotic art. “Fuck Art” isn’t pedantic, or even explanatory; the work — like a tent outside the capital — is simply there. The exhibit serves to remind us that in the matter of sexual freedom we must remain
both critical and receptive. “What do you think of that?” giggled one museum-goer, pointing to the six-foot-long, ejaculating graffiti penis. “Doesn’t faze me,” replied the museum guard.
Q&A: JOHN VENDITTI
Breaking Bands: John Venditti Talks About The D-Rich Project and A Career in Music BAND FROM PAGE 1 OBSERVER: Is this the first band
you’ve been in?
J.V.: This is my first “official” band. I
played with some guys at Fordham freshman year and we performed at “Fordham’s Got Talent.” I played in high school as well but nothing was ever really official until I got involved in The D-Rich Project. OBSERVER: What’s it like being a
music minor at Fordham?
J.V.: It’s a far more classical style of
learning than what I’m used to. But I love classical music also and now that I’m studying it, I understand the complexity of it a lot more. OBSERVER: Is music something you
want to pursue in the future?
J.V.:Hopefully. I want to be a music
producer. There are so many things that you can do as a music producer; there really isn’t any set job description. That’s what I really want to do. And of course, I would love to always continue playing.
OBSERVER: Any advice for other
J.V.: I think it’s important to play with
other people. It’s hard to play alone and I think that if you want to bring more color to what you’re playing you need to play with other people. Find people at Fordham that play. Even if you play the flute and someone plays the guitar; they might seem like completely different instruments but play together anyway. At some point, it’s going to sound good. And even if it doesn’t, you’ll still experience something different with your music by listening to someone else play. OBSERVER: How can we listen to
J.V.: We don’t have a full record out
yet; that’s what we’re working on right now. You can hear some of our songs on DamienRichards.com, as well as his Facebook, Myspace, SoundCloud— pretty much every music website that unsigned artists use to get their music out there.
COURTESY OF JOHN VENDITTI
John Venditti (far right) plays bass in The D-Rich Project, blending the genres of rock and soul.
For more, visit www.fordhamobserver.com
Arts & Culture
THE OBSERVER March 8, 2012
My Experience at Bonnaroo: Social Climate of Selflessness and Community By AMANDA SERVER Staff Writer
Bonnaroo is an epic music festival where parades of people travel to Manchester, Tenn., and camp out for four days straight in order to listen to their favorite artists and bands perform live. The party is four days, jam-packed with the potential to establish life long friendships while unforgettable performances play simultaneously. According to Metropulse, a website dedicated to promoting live music, approximately 80,000 people attended the extravaganza in 2011. The show’s attendance has been consistent since its inception in 2002, which demonstrates the dedication of the followers of this festival. And dedication is a must because participants of Bonnaroo have to endure much adversity for three nights. Participants are subject to an array of obstacles because they are often exposed to drug solicitations, insect attacks and unpredictable weather conditions. When I went to Bonnaroo, there was a severe thunderstorm on the first night and it left the campsite muddy and our tent filled with water for the majority of the trip. To make things worse, my phone was the only remaining one with battery life and it ended up getting soaked. Campers are also exposed to a life with limited technology. Since the festival is held in the great outdoors, attendees do not have access to electrical sockets and the like. And, even though electronic batteries have long lifespans, which can last for more than 24 hours, Bonnaroo lasts for more than 60
ALEX MARSH/MCCLATCHY INTERACTIVE/MCT
Bonnaroo, whose lineup was recently released, will feature bands such as The Shins, Phish and Radiohead.
hours. The lack of technology coupled with the harsh elements of the outdoors, requires that one be prepared to enter a primitive society where happiness relies less on advanced technology and other accustomed comforts and more on social climate. The social climate at Bonnaroo can be defined as communal and self less. The Bonnaroo community is mainly composed of open-handed individuals who are always willing to help others. For example, my three lady friends and I struggled when setting up
our tent, but thanks to our neighbors, we set up the tent in twenty minutes. Our neighbors noticed us struggling and quickly offered help without a request from any of us. Bonnaroo, however, is not a one-dimensional society. All walks of life come to Tennessee and exchange more than pricey T-shirts, smoking devices and self-made albums. There, the congregation also exchanges ideas amongst themselves. In combination, these factors make the festival a “mecca” of diversity.
One way Bonnaroo’s event staff accounts for the diverse audience is by providing a diverse lineup of musical guests for the entertainment of its listeners, which perhaps kept the festival’s attendance consistent throughout the past ten years. The year’s lineup will include, but is not limited to the following musicians: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish, The Shins, Radiohead, Dispatch, Skrillex, Ben Folds Five. Apart from the musical performances, there are also comedic performances at Bonnaroo. The
headline comedian performing standup this year is Aziz Ansari, who is the most hilarious comedian currently in showbiz. Due to the combination of all these factors, that is, the crowd of 80,000 plus people, camping for three-nights, and limited technological capabilities, a music festival is an opportune place for people to forge a unique relationship in an awesome environment. Try to experience Bonnaroo for yourself this year June 7- 10. It’s sure to be a time you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Think Summer, Think Fordham FIND YOURSELF ABROAD Internships> Liberal Arts> Language> Science> Engineering
Summer Session 2012 Session I: 29 May–28 June Session II: 3 July–7 August • Advanced and core classes in every discipline • Air-conditioned housing at Rose Hill or Lincoln Center • Special topics courses, including the 13th annual Sports Communication Institute and the new Musical Theater Workshop
• Visitors welcome
Learn more at
fordham.edu/summer or call (888) 411-GRAD
Financial aid is available.
An equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.
Arts & Culture
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
MARIO WEDDELL/THE OBSERVER
SOFIA ALVAREZ/THE OBSERVER
SARA AZOULAY/THE OBSERVER
SARA AZOULAY/THE OBSERVER
CHARLIE PUENTE/THE OBSERVER
MARIO WEDDELL/THE OBSERVER
THE OBSERVER March 8, 2012
Arts & Culture
CHARLIE PUENTE/THE OBSERVER
HARRY HUGGINS/THE OBSERVER
SOFIA ALVAREZ/THE OBSERVER
AYER CHAN/THE OBSERVER
KATHERINE FOTINOS/THE OBSERVER
HARRY HUGGINS/THE OBSERVER
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Jaunita John Sings Her Way Toward YouTube Stardom By IAN MCKENNA Asst. Online Editor
In less than a month, Jaunita John, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’13 has accumulated 100,000 YouTube views of her video “‘Nadia’ - Shankar Tucker ft. Jaunita John.” With all the sudden focus on her video John is simply shocked by the attention she has received for her singing. “I just have to say I am taken aback by all of it,” she said of her recent musical collaboration with Shankar Tucker, a clarinetist and who specializes in fusions of Indian classical music and Jazz. “I had been listening to this guy [Shankar Tucker] music for about a year and I loved his stuff, so I just decided I would try to contact him,” John said. “I didn’t expect a response or anything because he has had millions of views, but he e-mailed me back saying “I would really like to work with you.” Posted on Feb. 8, John’s collaboration with Tucker on the video has received over 200 comments, with seemingly unanimous praise for John’s voice; “The voice is so clear and pristine,” “what a mesmerizing voice!” and “seasoned voice at such a young age!” are just samplings of the comments John has received. When asked about comments like these, John responded with humility. “I have to say, to be honest, I am really humbled by this whole experience. I didn’t know how to take such positive compliments. I still don’t know how to take it in. I am just so thankful for all these nice comments,” John said. The music from the video, which incorporates John’s singing and Tucker’s clarinet skills, is an example of Hindustani classical music, originating in northern India. “The style I have been trained in is a south Indian singing called
KATHERINE FOTINOS/THE OBSERVER; COURTESY OF THESHRUTIBOX/YOUTUBE.COM
Almost 100,000 people have watched Jaunita John’s, FCLC ’13, video of her singing with famous clarinetist Shankar Tucker.
Carnatic singing,” John said. “I just wanted to try something new.” Her training in Carnatic singing began at the age of 4, when her parents, prompted by John’s love of singing aloud and popular Indian music, signed her up for lessons. “They sent me to classes. I loved it and the teacher liked me. We clicked,” John says of her teacher, Saavitri Ramanand, president of Mukthambar Fine Arts Inc. “I go back on weekends to take classes and learn. I also take Indian dance lessons back with my teacher as well,” John said. “There were a lot of commu-
nity competitions that my teacher sent me for when I was little. I was competing with kids my own age, singing the basic Carnatic music songs. And I guess I ended up with a couple of prizes, which was nice,” John said. After completing her Carnatic singing program when she was 13, John has focused more on community performances. “I have been in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, the Children’s Chorus, and the Youth Choir in high school and middle school. We just performed at different places; performing at Carnegie Hall was a great experience. I was singing
with a huge group of people and we were singing classical music. It was really fun; I love English classical music,” John recalls. In addition to English classical music and Carnatic singing, John has also been trained in opera, jazz and Broadway-style singing. While no longer competing, John still performs in many of her vocal styles. With a double major in political science and music, John has many options for the future. “Maybe in the future I’d teach private lessons, and I’d love to keep performing, but at this time, I have no idea.”
For the time being, John is very happy that her YouTube video is being recognized and she’s looking forward to working with Tucker. “I would love to [collaborate with him again]. I know he is busy and I know he likes to try out new artists so I’m not sure if that would be possible. But in the future, that would be great, or I would keep looking for new things to try.” In any case, keep your eyes on YouTube for John’s inevitable return. For more about this story, visit www.fordhamobserver.com
Nerdy by Nature: Growing Up as a Girl in the Math World By Jewel Galbraith Staff Writer
It’s Women’s History Month and like most “history” months, that doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing every year. There’s usually some sort of timeline of female achievement in the newspaper, some sort of program on the History Channel. Maybe a history-themed Activia yogurt ad. Still, there’s one constant—the shout outs to Marie Curie and the pictures of smiling women wearing lab coats—the discussion of women in the sciences. Full disclosure: I can’t truthfully say that I’m an expert on the history of women in the sciences, or really anything related to science or women’s history at all. But I am female and I am very much an expert on saying things like “Wow, I’m really excited for this calculus test.” So I like to think I have some authority on the subject. Each year, Women’s History Month gives me a chance to appreciate how normal (ok, relatively normal) I felt growing up in the apparently rare intersection of “girl” and “math nerd.” I’m not sure which to thank most—my incredible parents, my supportive teachers, or my especially progressive hometown— but I was at least a preteen before I realized that women have never had much of a presence in the world of math and science. All through elementary school I was pretty confident that it was a girls’ world. The fact that, in my classrooms, males were the ones getting singled out again and again for heading “to Jupiter to get more
HARRY HUGGINS/THE OBSERVER
As a child, Jewel was not aware that math and science were not stereotypically considered women’s fields.
stupider” had not escaped me. I had a sort of reverse-sexism mentality where girls were neater, better organized and generally more intelligent than boys. I assumed that the star student in any given class would be a Hermione Granger type, not her bumbling idiot friends, Harry and Ron. So I never thought it was strange when my parents spent long afternoons trying to get me to listen to them explain averages and number lines, or when I tapped into my competitive side by giving obnoxious, Hermione-style answers to nearly every question in fifth grade math
jeopardy. A majority of the kids in my class who were into math were girls, and that seemed totally natural to me. By middle school, after living a few more years and a few more Women’s History Months, I was familiar with the basic realities of gender inequality. On average, women don’t get paid as much as men and there are few female CEOs. But those were just abstract facts about some “real world” I was not a part of, and for me math and sciences were anyone’s game. Most of my math and science teachers were women. With those role models at
my school every day, I couldn’t lose interest in math simply because of the gender issue. And I didn’t. I still thought that the word “cool” applied equally to the music of Green Day and to geometric postulates. The geekdom only increased in high school where, just like in elementary school, the kids who stayed in during lunch to practice math problems and took extra math courses for fun happened to be predominantly female. We watched a lot of calculus YouTube videos. We didn’t think twice about gender. So I was lucky. I grew up in the kind of egalitarian math environ-
ment that the people who produce Women’s History Month TV specials must dream about. Still, the only female scientists I can name off the top of my head right now are Marie Curie and Clara Barton. It’s 2012 and in my mind, the last time women made any significant contribution to the worlds of math or science, they were wearing floor-length, frilly-collared dresses and couldn’t vote. I can blame myself at least partially for not knowing more about modern female scientists. But I can’t shake the feeling that there is still some fundamental gap between men and women in most quantitative fields. Take my family for example: My brother and sister went to the same math and science program in high school. My brother studied computer science in college and now works in web design. My sister took one multivariable calculus class in college and now holds an MFA in poetry. I went into college thinking about studying math, and now I’m leaning toward English. Maybe that’s just my family. I still worry, though, that despite my math-focused childhood, I live in a world where girls won’t (not can’t, but won’t) do all that men do in the fields of math and science. Thankfully, I do have some female friends who are beginning their studies in maledominated fields like biology and engineering. I just hope that if I do sell out to the English side, my math/ science friends can go on to set an example for gender equality so that all young girls may someday have the right to choose—that is, to choose to be huge math nerds.
THE OBSERVER March 8, 2012
I Can See Clearly Now, the Pain Is Gone Mario Weddell Features Co-Editor
I got a paper cut in my eye in the first grade. That means a piece of paper wounded me by creating a small incision in my eyeball, when I was six. I repeated my statement to assure you that I am fully aware of how serious a claim this is. Paper cuts are terrible because they hurt in so many ways. Obviously, there’s the physical pain of having something razor-like slice through your nerves. But there’s also the sorrow of realizing how pathetic you are, a flesh-and-bone Goliath humbled by a paper David. And there’s the two-week paranoia that follows, when you turn all pages very slowly. All in all, paper cuts are the ultimate everyday injury, because they are so subtle and shameful (I’m sure there are other injuries involving genitalia that I’ve chosen to ignore). I was sitting at my cubby (or whatever the cute name for child desks is), and another student, Michelle, was walking around, handing out classwork. Because I was sitting and she was standing, her hands were at my eye level. The classwork she was holding was made of paper. I hope you see where this is going. She handed me my assignment, but she didn’t let go. I tugged on it, and she tugged back. I tugged harder, and she let go, causing me to propel the sheet of paper into my own face and across my eye. It was her fault. And then the pain came. All the pain of the outside world, this universe of trial and error, disappointment and death, sensed an opening in my defenses and flooded into my eye. I let out a tea-kettle-whistle sort of moan and grabbed my face. I couldn’t even open my uninjured eye, because the light was hurting my brain. I was hyperventilating very quietly. Another student alerted the teacher that I was hurt. Thinking it was nothing too serious, she told me to go to the nurse. She realized it was serious when I tried to run out of the room with my eyes
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY MARIO WEDDELL/THE OBSERVER
In first grade, a piece of paper sliced through the eye of Mario Weddell, FCLC ’12, and he had to wear an eye patch for a while.
covered, but instead ran into a desk and fell over it. The rest of the story I experienced blindly. I felt strong arms lift me and cradle me like a belly-up kitten. Powerful strides pounded down the hallway, and then up the stairs to the second floor, to the nurse’s office. We entered the office, and the nurse asked me to open my eye. I guess that makes sense, but when it’s your eye it feels like the stupidest request she could have made. I summoned all my strength and attempted to raise the two-ton steel defense wall I had clamped down to guard the breach, but my eyelid refused. I told her that Michelle had cut my eye with a piece of paper. I made sure to repeat
Michelle’s name several times in the hopes that she would be drawn and quartered by the time my eye healed. Then the nurse told me to go lay on the little bed behind the curtain until my dad arrived. I had always dreamed of lying behind that curtain, so it wasn’t too bad. A half hour later, I heard the footsteps I knew so well, echoing down the hall. I felt my breath slowly return to normal. In my head, I could see his black work shoes stepping into the nurse’s office, and her directing him to where I lay. He opened the curtain. “Hey, Tiger.” He hugged me and I was engulfed by my favorite smell in the world. His deodorant mingled
with light perspiration and the hints of shaving cream from earlier that morning. I could feel the warmth coming off his shirt, from driving in the summer heat of his green Toyota Tercel, and I knew everything would be okay (as long as Michelle was appropriately punished). I sat in his car with my hands over my face. Even the slight glow of the sun coming through my eyelid was excruciating. We went to the eye doctor. The doctor forced my eye open and poked around. He put those nasty dilation drops into both of my eyes, magnifying the pain. It was not fun. He made some dumb jokes about how painful school is for little boys. I loved school. He said something about
Michelle having a crush on me. I hated him. He sent me home with a patch over my eye. I did love pirates, so I felt like the universe was finally showing remorse. I tried to open my eyes. The dilation drops made it impossible to see, so, using the mental map I had of the house, I wandered over to the TV and turned it on. I had the channels memorized so I switched it to some cartoon station. I tried to open my eyes again. No go. I decided to just listen. Bugs Bunny was on. He said, “Eh, what’s up, Doc?” and I chuckled. Then he said it again. And again. I never realized how weak the dialogue is on Looney Tunes. I sat there and moped for two weeks.
Internship Spotlight: Human Rights Advocates Find Real World Experience By CLINT HOLLOWAY Asst. Features Editor DYAN CORTEZ, FCLC ’13
International Human Rights Funders Group This past semester Dyan Cortez, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC)’13, interned at the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG). An organization that works in human rights, it is a resource for nonprofit organizations “It [IHRFG] allows them [non-profits] to communicate with each other and be updated on each others work,” Cortez said. Cortez had an interest in this area, so the internship was right up her alley. “I’m an International Human Affairs minor,” Cortez said. “So I’m very interested in human rights and definitely wanted to explore that field in my internship.” It was with Fordham’s help that Cortez got an internship. “I found it through Fordham’s Career Services online database,” Cortez said. With the wealth of different organizations that are operating in the city, Cortez found it difficult to select the place he wanted to intern at. “The number of nonprofit organizations I could apply for in this city is insane,” Cortez said. “So having to find one and choose one from them all was hard.” While the responsibilities of the internship were often monotonous, the work she did was also extremely informative. “It varied from day to day. Sometimes I would be sitting in my cubicle and doing a lot of research,” Cortez said. “But it definitely kept me up-to-date on human rights. Also, I got to sit in on great conferences and hear a lot of great human rights defenders.” The group’s New York City location gave it a great advantage in working with other organizations. “A lot of what the organization did had to do
COURTESY OF MARGARET BARNARD
Through her internship Sophia Gurulé, FCLC ’12 developed a greater interest in the legal field. SOPHIA GURULE, FCLC ’12 AYER CHAN/THE OBSERVER
Dyan Cortez FCLC’ 13 was able to make lots of contact through her internship
with the United Nations and other embassies,” Cortez said. “So we had really easy access to all of these places.” On top of that, Cortez also met a lot of interesting people through her internship, “I was able to make a lot of great contacts,” Cortez said. “My boss is actually writing me recommendations for other internships right now.”
The Innocence Project
Sophia Gurulé FCLC ’12 is no stranger to the world of internships. “I’ve been doing internships pretty much my entire undergraduate career,” Gurulé said. She is currently interning at the Innocence Project, an organization that helps people that were wrongfully convicted until proven innocent. “It’s the most prominent organization that’s helping the exonerated,” Gurulé said. The fact that The Innocence Project has had its share of involvements in such high-profile
cases such as the Englewood 5 only highlights the importance and effectiveness of what Gurulé is doing. “It’s nice that the work I’m doing is actually changing peoples’ lives in a way and on a real basis,” Gurulé said. “It definitely makes you feel better about not being paid.” Through working at the organization, Gurulé has found further incentive to pursue a career in the legal field. “I get a lot of shit for wanting to go to law school, but I want to go to law school for organizations like this,” Gurulé said. “I’m interested in helping those that are disadvantaged and underrepresented.”
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
WORD OF MOUTH
BonChon, the Korean Answer to Traditional Fried Chicken By DARRYL YU Features Co-Editor
When someone mentions Korean food, the first thing that always pops into their heads is of course Korean BBQ or kimchi, but there is a certain place out there that hopes to change this general belief of Korean food and that place is Bonchon. Known for its unique style of Korean fried chicken, Bonchon even rivals the famous American buffalo chicken. Found in various different locations around the greater New York City area, Bonchon is slowly becoming a popular eating destination for many New Yorkers. Already receiving many eatery prizes such as the 2011 Craved Restaurant award for best game day food Bonchon is certainly a place Fordham College at Lincoln Center students will enjoy going to. Located throughout the New York City area, the nearest Bonchon in relation to the FCLC campus is located on West 38th between 7th and 8th Avenue. It’s only a 30 minute walk from campus or a 10 minute train ride from the Columbus Circle station. Venturing to the West 38th Bonchon just a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised with how classy and hip ambiance. With plasma screens spread out everywhere showing sports varying from basketball to soccer, Bonchon looked more like a stylish sports bar than an actual restaurant. Aside from the nice cool surroundings Bonchon also had an interesting assortment of chicken dishes in its menu. On top of having the typical chicken sandwich and chicken salad, Bonchon also
DARRYL YU/THE OBSERVER
Bonchon looks to impress its customers with its Korean fried chicken dishes.
had a number of special combos. Containing a mixture of its wings and drumsticks with a side order, these combos were definitely a value for money deal. If combos aren’t your thing you could place an order wings or drumsticks from small to extra large servings. However, choosing what chicken you wanted was only the first step, you also had to choose what
kind of sauce you wanted. There were a number of choices such as soy garlic, mild spicy, hot spicy and BBQ sauces. In the end I would suggest not sticking to one kind of sauce but mixing it up for the full experience of Bonchon. We ordered a large combo one (a mixture of 14 wings and four drumsticks; half soy garlic and the other half hot spicy). We were
very hungry and excited to get our hands on some Korean fried chicken, little did we know that it would take a while. Waiting almost 20 minutes for our chicken, we were all starving! Watching the kitchen door with much anticipation, I was left disappointed when every dish that came out wasn’t ours. I was about to complain to the waitress then
our meal arrived. Presented to us in two large brown baskets, were golden glistening drumsticks and wings. So hungry, I instantly lunged for the soy garlic f lavored wings and was met with wonderful soul satisfying crunch. The soy garlic wings had a nice clean cut taste to it and didn’t try to overpower your taste buds. The light addition of the soy garlic sauce mixed with a pinch of salt and pepper was a great compliment to the base f lavor of the chicken. But the feast didn’t stop there; we also got spicy f lavored drumsticks and just like the soy garlic wings it didn’t disappoint. The nice hot and spicy blend of the drumsticks like the soy garlic had a nice non-overpowering aspect to it. Instead of being in your face spicy it had a nice subtle scorching blend that was nice and slow. Although the food in Bonchon took a while to arrive the meal was definitely worth it. The amount of food for the price we paid was too good to be true. For under $25 we had a feast that would be fit for a king. This place is perfect if you’re looking for a quick casual meal with a couple of close friends or if you’re looking for a place to watch a game.
IF YOU GO bonchon
$$ out of $$$$$$ Where: 207 W 38 th St, New York NY 10018 Darryl’s Recommendation: Mixed batch of spicy and soy garlic wings and drumsticks
Tabloids or Textbooks? Popular Culture in the Classroom By PIYALI SYAM Contributing Writer
Last year, a course called “Harry Potter and Philosophy” was offered at Rose Hill for spring 2012. This is part of a countrywide trend of colleges integrating popular culture with education. Rutgers University has a class titled “Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé,” which explores issues of gender, race and sexual politics through the lens of Beyoncé’s career, music and videos. University of Virginia similarly uses Lady Gaga to discuss feminism and gender and sexual identity in “GaGa for Gaga: Sex, Gender, and Identity.” Rutgers’s “Vampires: From Sin and Exile to Sex and Salvation,” capitalizes on the Twilight phenomenon to explore world religions and The Old Testament. Columbia’s “Zombies in Popular Media” rides the wave of TV’s The Walking Dead and films like Zombieland, and CUNY Brooklyn’s “South Park and Political Correctness” picks apart war, religion and assisted suicide. “Harry Potter and Philosophy” is grounded in philosophy, using the books as a base point from which spring discussions about empathy and otherness, ethics, power, love, the nature of mind and self and metaphysics. Students read classic philosophical texts by authors ranging from Nietzsche and Machiavelli to Arendt and Aristotle, and then relate the readings to events, people and ideas in the Harry Potter books. The emergence of pop-culturebased courses has prompted a discussion of their value. Those who support the trend say that grounding education in topics like Harry Potter can be a powerful and valuable way to teach and learn. Rebecca Etzine, Fordham College Lincoln Center ’12, says it provides an avenue into serious education: “It can be a way to make it
Pop culture icons like Harry Potter are being integrated in the curriculum of college classrooms.
more accessible and relatable. There’s a sort of myth that pop culture automatically dumbs things down when in fact it can elevate your thinking when you draw connections.” Drawing these connections can be an antidote to the frustration that academia is too removed from students’ daily lives and too often descends into abstract intellectualizations. Pop culture provides a common ground for students and, as something they are already inherently interested in and care about, has the potential to make a subject more relevant and engaging to students. This argument is part of Professor Jones’s motivation: “I think people feel a sense of convergence of different aspects of their lives in the course. For me, that’s what education is about—life coming together with the aid of a variety of focal points. Education can’t be mechanical.” There is also, however, the opposite concern: that pop culture top-
ics are too shallow to merit serious academic consideration. Will students really walk away with as deep an understanding of the meaning of life from studying Keeping Up With The Kardashians as they would from studying Dostoyevsky? Part of the issue with popular culture, perhaps, is rooted in some sort of elevated regard for the past. Popular culture is part of our present, but many topics of academic discussion hail from a comfortable temporal distance of at least 30 years. English Professor Mary Bly, who teaches a graduate course on Shakespeare & Popular Culture, says that even Shakespeare was not taken seriously in his own time. “It definitely would have been thought absurd to study Shakespeare academically during his lifetime,” Bly said. “He was an enormously popular author, but he wasn’t considered in the top rank of literary authors by any means…he was writ-
ing in a denigrated genre—drama was considered too low to merit consideration from serious scholars.” In many cases, pop culture and academia simply have different goals: academia is oriented toward intellectual enlightenment, while film, TV and music moguls are often driven by nothing more than a desire for money, which can result in the deterioration of pop culture to nothing more than simplistic entertainment. Still, it would be too easy to dismiss all entertainment as pointless to study. Zach Dorado, FCLC ’12, thinks that the specific academic discipline to which pop culture is applied affects its legitimacy: “Pop culture can be studied in a sociological way, as it affects how people see themselves and the world, and how they interact with it. To study certain works of popular culture as literature is to insult the intelligence of students. It’s like saying that they cannot handle reading
and studying literary work which has nuances, depth, or something to say about humanity or the universe.” Instead, popular media can be used as a barometer for understanding a society. Mark Naison, who teaches a history course called, “Rock and Roll to Hip Hop: Urban Youth Cultures in Postwar America,” said, “You can learn a great deal about a society by studying popular culture, but only if you connect your analysis to a society’s political, economic and social development.” His course, for example, deals less with contemporary hip hop and more with popular music’s historical value in connection with “broader trends in American society in areas ranging from the labor market to gender relations, to race issues and questions of war and peace” and how it became “a powerful narrative of the America urban condition.” Pop culture has to be applied carefully to the classroom, and when done right, can be enlightening. Dean Mark Mattson, for instance, finds the value in pop culture to be in its potential for interdisciplinary study: “I have learned a tremendous amount from interacting with sociologists, philosophers, archivists, writers, musicologists, musicians, business professors, etc. as we try to understand a complex real-world phenomenon.” And after all is said and done, maybe the most obvious appeal is that these courses make learning fun. Professor Judith Jones, who teaches the “Harry Potter and Philosophy” course, warns that “Too much education is Voldemortish--disparaging of things it does not care to understand, like children’s stories, house-elves, imagination and love. A course about something the students and the professor equally love…allows learning to be about imagination and joy, which in the end make us human.”
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
SEPARATED FROM HEAT By SALMA ELMEHDAWI Asst. Literary Editor
He cannot be separated from heat. His crimes have become a masculine womb within him, carrying our child. The doctor warns us of miscarriage. The damage is thicker than blood, he says. Despite red flags, our child grows rapidly. A flower entwined with weeds, the most painful breed. He cannot be separated from heat, his back sturdier than banister I used to count our children along his spine. Now, the doctor’s thermometer bursts his tongue heated with ambiguities. The charts dance, a diagram of mountains and concave. The nurse faints trying to monitor his love. His fingernails, dirty, each smiling like a different person practices holding my hand again. We await the child blindly, his pregnant stomach displayed like a swelling heartbeat. While my own heart in need of its delivery, a bible for fanatic lovers needs to see it in print to believe. He cannot be separated from heat. His unfaithfulness, like a worm regenerates when cut open. It rescues itself, dragging its food back to the nest. The doctor warns us our child’s skin may crack and peel off-an illusion. Its blood might be a sea of red ants crawling. Prepare for the shock, the doctor whispers in my ear. The nurse prepares a kit of tranquilizers and a flask of vodka. For the heartbreak, she says. He cannot be separated from heat, he massages oil onto his round belly until it glistens like a diamond. For you, for you, for you he says aloud until he falls asleep rolling onto his stomach, crushing our child.
ALEKSANDRA “SASHA” GEORGE
MEMORY By KATE COYNE Contributing Writer
I am a cricket chirping in your basement in August Cerulean sweatshirts piled on your end table I remember garlic, butter White wine sauce cooking on the stove I hide in old Volkswagen convertibles from the 1960s Underneath the sidewalk grates in New York City Stick to your shoes as you strut through Central Park I’ve forgotten the sound of the elephant trunk, The acoustic guitar, rumbling in its throat Floating through the breeze between the cherry tree leaves
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Swimming Ends Season With a Strong Burst By RANDY NARINE Sports Editor
The Fordham men’s swimming team will have a burst of momentum to build upon for the 20122013 campaign after a very strong finish to this season. The Rams finished fifth at the Atlantic-10 (A-10) championships, five points out of fourth place, and had many stellar performances, taking gold in the 50m freestyle, 100m butterf ly and the 200m freestyle relay. “We’re a very young team and I’m proud of the way guys finished season,” Coach Steve Potsklan said. “We broke more records than we had in 15 years. For the first time since 1996 we had two individual champions and also our first relay win since 1996.” These performances come after a regular season in which the Rams finished with a record of 2-8. “The record doesn’t ref lect too much,” Potsklan said. “It’s not that we don’t want to win but we want to do what’s best for the kids. We want them to perform their best at championship meets.” The success of the Rams is even more remarkable considering how young the team is. The team lost many seniors due to graduation and this season, only four of the 25 athletes were seniors. “We really shined and it showed,” Shintaro Noguchi, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’14, said. “No matter how much the team f luctuates with talent, because of graduation, there’s always hidden talent. It will show when everyone’s under pressure and everyone’s cheering for each other.” Noguchi capped off the season as one of Fordham’s strongest swimmers. He took gold in the 100m butterf ly, silver in the 200m butterf ly, and was part of the gold medal freestyle relay team, along with Devon Morris, FCRH ’13, Patrick Militti, FCRH ’15 and Patrick Mulligan, FCRH ’15. Noguchi’s performance earned him First Team All A-10 in the 100m butterf ly and Second Team All Atlantic-10 in the 200m butterf ly. Noguchi’s gold medal 100m butterf ly swim came in at a new
BRIAN JASINSKI/THE OBSERVER
Fordham swimming had a stellar meet, breaking both Atlantic-10 and Fordham records.
Fordham record time of 48.86 seconds. His time broke the 15 year old record held by Akira Kosugi, FCRH ’96. “Last year I missed the record by a few hundredths of a second,” Noguchi said. “It made me frustrated because I was so close but couldn’t make it. It stuck in my head and I trained really hard this offseason. I worked on my turns, my underwater kicks and every aspect of my stroke. I did everything to make sure I’d break the record and finally be ahead of everyone in the A-10.”
Junior Devon Morris was the other Fordham athlete with a phenomenal meet. Morris won gold in the 50m freestyle and silver in the 100m freestyle. Morris was named First Team All A-10 in the 50m freestyle and Second Team All A-10 in the 100m freestyle. Morris set an A-10 record with a time of 20.28 second in the 50m freestyle and set a Fordham record with a time of 44.98 seconds in the 100m freestyle. “Devon did amazing summer training,” Potsklan said. “He got a lot stronger and really burst out of
the pack.” Noguchi added about Morris, “Devon was phenomenal; he was always performing well. Every time he touched the water he was consistently posting amazing, ridiculous times. He’s a good role model; he’s funny, nice, fast and a hard worker. One of the key strengths to this Rams team was great team chemistry. “We’re all best friends,” Noguchi said. “ We love to hang out and we spend so much time together we’re a family. We do a lot of weird things that brought
us closer, like we made the word ‘ramtastic.’ When someone had a great race we’d say, ‘Dude that was ramtastic!’” With the Rams just losing four members to graduation, expectations will be high next season. Potsklan wants the returning members of this year’s squad to look positively on their success this season. “I want them to have good memories of a lot of fast swimming, how much they’ve improved and that they can take that into next year,” Potsklan said.
Manpower vs. Horsepower By DARRYL YU Features Co-Editor
For ages there have been many questions that have plagued mankind over many centuries. Why are we here? Is there any meaning to life? But in the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells, the burning question remains: Who will win, the man or beast (or in this case horse)? Set in the middle of Wales, the Man Versus Horse marathon is one of the weirdest sports out there that hopes to answer the question of whether man or horse has better stamina. Maria Markoulis, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’12, said, “I think that it’s a little bit silly that they would do this in the first place. Everything is measured in horsepower; cars are measured in horsepower. I don’t why they would want to race against a horse. I wonder what came across them when they decided to do this.” In this annual 22-mile race, runners compete against riders on horseback. Founded in the 1980’s, the sport was a result of a conversation overhead by local landlord Gordon Green between two men at his pub, the Neuadd Arms. One of the men suggested that over a certain
distance across the country, “man was equal to horse.” Green decided to end the problem by creating an event, and as a result, the first and only Man Versus Horse event was created. “I don’t think that it evens merits a real competition. Horses have been used for centuries to carry people based on the fact that they have better stamina compared the humans,” Charlie Puente, FCLC ’12, said. “They have more legs than us so it doesn’t make much sense to race against them.” This annual June event has seen its share of historical moments over its 32-year history. In 1981, the first woman, Ann King, competed in the race and in 1985, cyclists were allowed to join the marathon. During the 25th race in 2004, Huw Lobb became the first man to ever beat the horse. He finished in a time of two hours and five minutes; he beat the horse by over two minutes. Being first man to finally beat a horse Lobb, was rewarded with a handsome prize of just over $31,000. Despite being a very amusing and unique sport to say the least, some students on campus were puzzled by the Welsh sport. “I think that it’s really weird and that the horseback riders get an unfair advan-
tage,” Chelsea McLaughlin, FCLC ’12, said. Others found the sport unusual but fun. “It sounds very interesting, I’ve never heard of a sport like that before,” Sia Tsolas, FCLC ’12, said. With the Man Versus Horse marathon open to 50 horses and hundreds of local and international runners, some FCLC students are thinking about joining the marathon just across the pond. “If I knew the horse was going to die then maybe I would try it,” Puente said. “Why not, I may lose but I don’t mind,” David Wall, FCLC ’12, said. But most people were not too keen about going toe to hoof against a horse. “I wouldn’t race a horse because I believe that it needs to carry you and not race against you,” Tsolas said. “I would never do it because I think I would have a heart attack by running so fast,” McLaughlin said. Some decided to try to competition but only under one condition, “If I got to be the one riding the horse I would join the competition” Markoulis said. So, if you ever want to test yourself against a horse or have an awesome dream to run alongside some horses, then look no further than the Man Versus Horse competition to satisfy your dream.
COURTESY OF JOTHELIBRARIAN/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
This participant takes the challenge, seeking to prove that two legs are better than four.
THE OBSERVER March 8, 2012
Row Your Way Into Your Date’s Heart By JASPER CHANG Asst. Sports Co-Editor
Need a good back workout? Or just looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon with friends or a date? In preparation for spring, try boat rowing in Central Park! It’s a romantic opportunity for couples, dates or anyone in an undefined relationship, to leave the artificial city of skyscrapers and enter into a natural world of old trees. Take a paddle each and try to row in sync with each other or you may end up rowing in circles. Instead, you could give both paddles to your date and leave him or her to do all work while you sit back, enjoy the cool breeze and hear the faint splashes of water. Or you may just feel them on your face since your date is doing all the work and you’re just lounging around. Since the boat allows a capacity of four persons, why not go for a double date? It’s also a fun opportunity for friends. Create two teams and challenge each other to a race around the lake; the losers have to pay for lunch. Take a few candid shots of an epic win or fail in paddling, or capture the scenery that surrounds the lake. Trees, much smaller than the tall buildings, obstruct the view of these tall buildings, offering a view of green and blue, Mother Nature and the clear blue sky. That is, of course, if you go on a clear sunny day. In addition to these romantic and fun opportunities, boat rowing offers a great back muscle workout. You get to have a great time with your date or friends, enjoy the scenery of Central Park and burn some calories rowing. Rowing with a moderate effort for one hour can burn up to 500 calories. Sit with the tip of the boat behind you as it will make the boat’s movement flow with the waters and not against it. Grasp both paddles with arms extended and pull them into
AYER CHAN/THE OBSERVER
Above is one of many beautiful sights you’ll encounter throughout your rowing trip in Central Park.
towards your chest. Lift the paddles and move them away from you so that your arms are extended and repeat. If you plan to paddle with a partner, the same movement applies, but you’ll have to row at the same time. Going in circles or twirling around can make you dizzy. Rowing is a simple movement and sounds easy, but since it
is an endurance workout for your back muscles, it’ll be quite a challenge for first-timers. However will be a great chance to impress your date, or win a free lunch from your friends. The Boathouse is located in the center of Central Park, just a short stroll from Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street. There are 100 rowboat and
3 kayaks, so plenty to go around. Rowboat rentals are open from 10 a.m. until dusk, and only when the weather is permitting, non-rainy days. Cash is the only acceptable form of payment. There is a $20 deposit and the first hour is $12. Afterwards, every fifteen minutes is $2.50 and only four persons are allowed in one boat. The Boathouse
does provide life jackets, so any non-swimmer can join in without worry. Lastly, bring a few snacks or something to drink as you’ll most likely spend the hour on water. And make sure you use the restroom before you start rowing! For more information, visit http://thecentralparkboathouse. com/sections/boats.htm
Adrenaline-Pumped Students Seek Rush in Paintball Club By MAX WOLLNER Staff Writer
Now in its third year, the Lincoln Center Paintball Club (LCPB) has grown from a small group of students looking for an adrenaline rush to one of the most successful clubs on campus. The visionary behind LCPB is Charlie Puente, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’12, who has been playing paintball since 2003, occasionally at the professional level. “Back in high school paintball was an obsession,” Puente said. “I went once or twice a week for a long time until I started college, then I stopped playing for a while.” Puente took matters into his own hands and founded the paintball club in the fall of 2009. “I wanted to take paintball with me and establish something that would allow me to share the sport that I am so passionate about with others,” Puente said. Just like most new clubs, LCPB had difficulties getting started. Their first event was held in March of 2010 when the club went to NYC Paintball in Long Island City, Queens, New York’s only indoor paintball area. They only had 10 attendees at the time — a respectable number, but certainly not a crowd. “Most of the people in attendance were people mostly just friends of the members in the club or people we tricked into coming with us,” Puente said. However, soon after the event word spread that LCPB’s events were a new high-intensity way to have fun and meet new people. As a result, attendance at these events
KATHERINE FOTINOS/THE OBSERVER
The Paintball Club events are a becoming increasingly popular, so make sure to sign up on time.
has skyrocketed. “The sign-up sheet in 408 fills up fast. It’s great to see,” Puente said. “I’m really proud of how the club has grown over the years. We have some experienced members, but about half of the people who attend our outings at NYC Paintball, it’s only their first or sec-
ond time.” For those of you who do not know what paintball is, it’s a very easy sport to understand. Usually for indoor games, there are two teams in the area, each consisting of about five or six players. Each player has standard equipment consisting
of a mask, some body armor or pads and a paintball gun. The objective is to hit the opposing team with paintballs while at the same time trying not to get hit by their paintballs. When a player is shot, they must show the other team and walk off the playing field. But players can
hide behind paintball bunkers for cover. The game is over when all the players on one team are shot. Indoor games, also called speedball, usually last about five minutes and they are characterized by fast and furious action. However, LCPB also plays outdoors when they take trips to Pennsylvania. Those games have more people per team and usually require much more strategy and teamwork. “The strategic element of the game requires that we work together as a team,” Vice President and President-Elect Louie Sullivan, FCLC ’13, said. “Paintball is a great way to build camaraderie, bond with teammates and a great way to let off some steam.” Excursions to NYC Paintball usually happen once or twice a month. The next event is scheduled for March 23. Usually the cost for a day at the area is $10— cheaper than an average dinner at The Flameand they will provide you with the necessary equipment. Outdoor excursions, called skirmish, cost close to $20- 25 dollars to cover transportation, but Puente says it’s worth the money. “The Pennsylvania outings are incredibly fun,” Puente said. “I’m trying to get Rose Hill involved in our next skirmish scheduled for April 22. That way the two campuses have an event where they can bond, and maybe one day Rose Hill will have a paintball club of their own so we can work together in the future.” If you are interested in joining LCPB, check the sign-up sheet in Lowenstein room 408 for events or email Charlie Puente at LCBPclub@ gmail.com.
March 8, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Yanks Soon to be World Series Favorite By MIKE MCMAHON Staff Writer
At the end of the 2011 MLB season, the New York Yankees were handed their fourth first-round exit in seven years, their second by the Detroit Tigers. For some franchises, this would hardly be much to worry about, especially with a 2009 championship under their belts. However, the Yankees expectations are always much higher. While the breakout season from Robinson Cano, an MVP caliber second baseman, is certainly something the Yankees want to build on, it was clear that the team would need a little help in the coming year. Perhaps somewhat quietly, the Yankees made a big stride towards their goal of consistent RBI production by picking up former Phillies fielder Raúl Ibañez. Skeptics point to Ibañez’s age (he turns 40 this season) as a detractor, but the facts remain: Ibañez has driven in no less than 83 RBIs in each of the last seven seasons, a considerable improvement from the 44 delivered by last season’s designated hitter Jorge Posada, who retired in the offseason. Ibañez also has the ability to field when called upon to do so, which is something the Yankees lacked from their designated hitter position last season. What has really made waves this offseason has been the major improvements made to the Yankees pitching rotation. By adding pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda, the Yanks have taken COURTESY OF JOHN DUNN/NEWSDAY/MCT what was once a suspect part of an Robinson Cano is going to be one of the most pivotal players on the team this coming season. otherwise strong team and made it deep and intimidating. While Kuroda, 37, is coming off a season season, Kuroda looks to build on a younger addition, with the po- be working on his changeup with in which he gave up an unusually great season. His biggest strength tential to be a big player for the the veteran Sabathia. The acquisihigh number of home runs, his is his ability to consistently create Yanks for years to come. He went tion of Pineda is a testament to the 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in his rookie dedication of General Manager ERA really tells the story. Allowing ground balls. Pineda, 23, is obviously a much season of 2011 and is reported to Brian Cashman, who is known for only 3.07 earned runs per game last
inquiring about players that others would assume to be off the table, a process he calls “exorcising the demons.” Pineda rounds out a rotation that could find itself with five pitchers over ten wins by season’s end. While the Yankees have made great additions to the pitching staff, the team got did make one major deduction to the pitching staff, shipping A.J. Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates. This ends a wildly erratic Yankee career for the 35-year old pitcher. Burnett never lacked the talent but always lacked consistency. His Yankee career peaked with his wining a gem of a performance in the 2009 World Series. However, since 2009, Burnett posted two straight seasons with an ERA over five, with 15 losses during the 2010 campaign. The pitching changes aren’t the only moves the Yankees made this offseason. The club has exercised its options on two of its best players from the previous season, Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano. In fact, it is the foundation of some already excellent veterans and young breakout players, a strong balance of familiar and new that makes this team seem poised for a deep playoff run. Though they play in baseball’s toughest division, facing the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox many times each season, the Yankees have strengthened a roster that bested both teams last season. Moreover, an additional spot now exists in each league, with MLB having added an extra wild card team in each. Certainly, the issue of the oneand-done playoff trips hangs over the head of these New York Yankees, but that’s no reason to become superstitious. This team is experienced, talented, deep, and never ready to settle for less than a World Series title.
Rooney Ready to Return Next Season By RANDY NARINE Sports Editor
With the women’s basketball season officially over, junior guard Erin Rooney’s, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCLC) ’13, long wait for eligibility to play has ended. Rooney, a transfer student from Monmouth University, had to sit out the 2011-2012 season as per National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. At Monmouth, the junior guard was one of the leaders on a young successful team. Rooney was named a team captain her sophomore year and did not disappoint, finishing second on the team in scoring (11.1 points per game). She was a driving force on the team that fell short to St. Francis University 72-57 in the Northeastern Conference Finals. Rooney’s efforts earned her the Northeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year award. Hailing from New Zealand, Rooney began playing basketball at the age of 10. “I started playing basketball because it was one of the sports offered in my school,” Rooney said. “I played every sport: netball, cricket, touch rugby, track and field and soccer.” Rooney continued to be a multi-sport athlete until midway through high school. “I had to choose one sport and basketball was the one I had the most fun with, playing and training,” Rooney said. Because of her strong play, Rooney was added to New Zealand’s Under 19 women’s basketball squad. After gaining recognition, she played in an American Athletic Union basketball tournament in Las Vegas. Rooney’s play in Vegas caught the eye of Coach Stephanie Gaitley, which led to her recruitment to Monmouth. “I loved Monmouth basketball-wise and I loved the coaches,” Rooney said. “It was hard being away from home, but basketball kept me here. If it wasn’t for basketball I would’ve gone home. I was really homesick, but there is so much more opportunity here than at home.” Rooney’s decision to leave Monmouth came after Gaitley decided to coach at Fordham. She
wanted to transfer to a school that had a basketball program and good academics. Gaitley’s choice to coach the Rams gave Rooney the extra incentive to transfer to Fordham. “I feel like Fordham has more to do because of the city,” Rooney said. “Also it’s great because I get to stay with coach Gaitley. The academics are good and I need that because I like to challenge myself.” Gaitley has been a huge part of Rooney’s life and is the person she considers her greatest inspiration. “I was really close with family but now they’re thousands of mile away,” Rooney said. “Coach Gaitley has been great stepping into that role. On and off the floor, I can go to her for anything.” The decision to transfer left Rooney on the Fordham bench for the duration of the season. “I knew I was going to have to do it and I mentally prepared myself,” Rooney said. “But after more and more games on the bench, I really wanted to be on floor. It got really tough and it was hard to watch close loses. Eventually I embraced it and took the time to train and work on other aspects of my game.” Next season Rooney is hoping to step into a role similar to her role at Monmouth. “ I want to continue being a leader,” Rooney said. “It’s important because in a championship game you really need someone to hold everyone together.” This offseason Rooney will return to New Zealand to play in qualifying games for the Olympics. It was playing for her national team that Rooney had her greatest basketball memory. “I was on the senior team and my first game was in my hometown,” Rooney said. “There was a full crowd and when I got into the game, everyone went crazy. That was my favorite basketball moment.” When Rooney isn’t playing basketball one of her hobbies is surfing. “The house behind us was on the sand dunes, so we lived right on the beach,” Rooney said. “I would surf with my sister and friends. I love just being out in water and the feeling of being on my own. Surfing when the sun rises makes you feel like nothing can get you down. It’s a great way to start my day.”
Alice McDermott 2012 D’Angelo Endowed Chair in the Humanities
he two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and National Book Award winner joins the English faculty of St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences this spring semester. Professor McDermott’s visit engages and inspires students through on-campus events including a fiction-writing workshop, individual meetings and public lectures. Established in 2007, the Peter P. and Margaret A. D’Angelo Chair in the Humanities promotes excellence in teaching and scholarly exchange.