Student Newspaper of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts North Adams, Mass.
For more content, visit online at: Beacon.MCLA.edu Volume 77 ◆ Issue 12
Th u r s d ay, D e c e m b e r 1 2 , 2 0 1 3
Holiday sweets for the shelter
Is state initiative too industry focused? Vision Project may have unfair standards By Gabriel Kogel Staff Writer
Photo by Kayla Degnan/The Beacon
Celia Norcross sets up an annual event sponsored by Peer Advisors and Alpha Lambda Delta to decorate holiday cookies to donate to the Louison House in Adams.
Bowman upgrade coming soon By Nicholas Swanson Staff Writer
The renovations on Bowman Hall are scheduled to begin in spring of 2014, and are now expected to conclude in one year. “About four years ago, this was planned as a packaged deal, and now that the science building is complete, Bowman can be focused on,” said James Stakenas, vice president of Administration and Finance. According to Stakenas, Bowman went through a gutting-out phase this semester, where everything was removed from the building so a full renovation process could commence. A construction trailer and other machinery involved in the renovation will occupy a small amount of parking behind Bowman throughout the upcoming year. When Bowman opens, it will contain new accommodations for various areas of study and expertise, such as mathematics, computer science, and the visual arts. “The mathematics and computer science departments are planning to work on robotics,” Stakenas said. He also stressed how important it is for Bowman to remain as a classroom and student-oriented building. As part of the renovations, art galleries where students can dis-
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Photo by Jess Gamari/The Beacon
Bowman rennovations are expected to conclude in one year. play their artwork will be created in the lobby and other designated areas of the building. In addition, windows and furniture will be replaced, as well as outdated classroom and laboratory resources. “The Science Center was the start of our technology advancement, so we will keep it the same in Bowman as much as possible,” Stakenas said. A new computer operating system called “voice over IP,” which connects phones, computers, and other systems, has already been implemented in the Feigenbaum science center and will be featured in the renovated Bowman. Campus members can look forward to the eventual reopening of the café in Bowman, with a new food prep and display station and seating area. According to Stakenas, deter-
mining the budget for this project was a long process which was evaluated and reevaluated to ensure that the amount of resources the College could provide would be able to sustain the overall goal. “This happens in every budget, and it is a negotiation that is necessary between the College and state architect,” he said. “We really want to improve all of our instructional spaces. After Bowman, we will continue to look at what we can do next in Venable Hall, Mark Hopkins Hall and the Church Street Center,” he said. The funding arrangements for the Bowman renovation were first announced as a part of Sowing Seeds for Success: The MCLA Campaign for the Future. The Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation was also part of this project.
The Vision Project, a Department of Higher Education project, has accrued controversy on whether or not it’s going about achieving its goals in the right way. The project, a statewide initiative launched in 2010, was intended to “create the best-educated citizenry and workforce in the nation,” according to the second annual Vision Project report. A joint initiative, the Vision Project is led by the DHE, Governor Fitzpatrick, the state legislature, and private industry leaders. It focuses on seven goals ranging from improving research to creating knowledgeable citizens. One goal is to get more high school graduates into college; another is to increase the number of students who complete their degrees. Since the legislature is responsible for allocating funds, achieving project goals is tied to increased financial support. In addition, each year, the legislature funds seed projects at the campus level through the Vision Project Performance Incentive Fund. However, the Vision Project has generated criticism for being overly focused on the requirements of industry and having unfair standards of assessment. One vocal critic of the project is Daniel “Dana” Rapp, president of the MCLA Faculty Association. “It’s a top-down model,” he said. “Ideas are generated at the Board of Higher Education, funneled down and faculty members are seen as implementers.”
The corporatization of public higher education? One of the most contentious goals of the project is “workforce alignment,” preparing graduates for careers and jobs in growing sectors of the economy. According to Rapp, the metrics used to assess progress toward goals and an undue focus on worker training represents a corporate influence in the Vision Project. “You can see the language of corporations in how we evaluate ourselves—numerically. We’re expected to think of students as customers, or as human resources to be developed, to meet the needs of labor trends,” he said.
Student loan debt reaches $1 trillion
Sing along at the Church Street Center
Men’s Basketball loses close game
Debt climbs alongside college costs.
The Sweetback Sisters will play the holiday concert.
Women’s basketball drop last two.
Arts & Entertainment, page 6
Sports, page 8
News, page 4
Cynthia Brown, vice president of Academic Affairs, questioned whether that was the role of a four-year institution.
“We’re expected to think of students as customers, or as human resources to be developed” -Dana Rapp Workforce alignment is primarily the mission and function of two-year colleges,” Brown said. “That’s less true of four-year institutions, and that’s one of the places where we and other four-year institutions have offered some caution,” she said. The caution took form in a letter sent to Richard Freeland, commissioner of Higher Education in July of 2012. Written by Vincent Pedone, executive officer of the Council of Presidents of the Massachusetts State University System, the letter is a compilation of comments, critiques and suggestions made by four-year university presidents. “This is a constant source of tension for our system as the premise suggests that STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields are more important than a solid liberal arts education,” read the section of the letter dealing with workforce alignment. “In some cases, a liberal arts degree may not align perfectly with a job. However, it provides a person with a wellrounded education, communication and critical thinking skills, and creates a more resilient future job candidate.” In September 2012, the state’s faculty union, the Massachusetts State College Association (MSCA), released a five-page critique of the Vision Project. It addressed the emphasis placed on STEM fields in education and research for the benefit of business and industry by the Vision Project, suggesting it undervalues the importance of other curricula. “The Vision Project defines the function of higher education as that of providing a more qualified workforce—in particular to meet directly the perceived, ar-
VISION, continued on page 4
News 2-5 Arts & Entertainment 6-7 Sports 8 Campus Opinion 9-10 Local Events 11 Photo Essay 12
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Weekend Weather Thursday, December 12
Mostly Sunny High: 22° Low: 14° Precip. Chance: 10%
Friday, December 13
Cloudy High: 25° Low: 13° Precip. Chance: 20%
Saturday, December 14
SAC launches “Lions Den” for fans By Ryan Flynn
Senior News Editor
Monday, Dec. 9 SAC forms “Lion’s Den” Members of the Student Activities Council (SAC) addressed SGA on the launch of their student fan section for sports teams, known as “The Lion’s Den,” in hopes of boosting school spirit among students. Headed by Nicole LoGiudice and three of her fellow freshman, the newly formed SAC subcommittee “The Lion’s Pack” will have a Lion’s Den banner as well as Trailblazer face paints and tattoos ready for the Men’s and Women’s games vs. Fitchburg State on Jan 14. SGA President Jake Powers noted that there will be a welcome back gift basket raffle at the game. The basket will include a couple of bookstore items as well as items from the P.O.D. store. Executive Vice President Brendan Peltier condoned the four freshmen for having the ambition to spark this initiative. “I think that what you’re doing is unbelievable,” he said.
$26,000-27,000 with insurance costing around $1,200. The question of purchasing the vehicle sparked a long debate, until Senator Stephan Rochefort made a motion to charge the Senate Chair, Taylor Krowtiz, with forming a committee to investigate and discuss not only the possible purchase of the van, but also the matter of investing and spending the available $144,000 from the reserve budget. The motion was passed 9-3.
Committee formed for reserve budget spending After meeting with the Transportation Committee, Secretary Christopher Cozzaglio announced that SGA would essentially have three options for van purchases: a 15 passenger van, a seven passenger SUV, and a seven passenger crossover. The cost for the vehicle would be
In addition, Cozzaglio reported that the Transportation Committee will be looking to add a day during the week for shuttle services to and from town after hearing complaints from students that shuttles now only operate during the weekends. In addition, as opposed to just going to Wal-Mart,
◆ 6:00 p.m. - Public Safety responded to a call regarding suspicious activity at the Freel Library. The call was investigated. Monday, December 2 ◆ 9:48 a.m. - Public Safety responded to a motor vehicle accident on Church Street. The incident was referred to an outside agency.
Tuesday, December 3 ◆ 9:12 p.m. - Public Safety responded to a supervisory alarm at the Flagg Townhouse Complex. The alarm was determined to be accidental.
◆ 8:01 p.m. - Public Safety responded to a call about a drug offense at Hoosac Hall. The call was unfounded. Friday, December 6
◆ 11:35 p.m. - Public Safety responded to a medical call at the Campus Police Building. Services were rendered.
◆ 10:03 p.m. - Public Safety responded to a call about unwanted guests in the Amsler Campus Center. No action was required.
Wednesday, December 4
Saturday, December 7
◆ 7:45 p.m. - Public Safety responded to a medical call at Hoosac Hall. The subject was transported to the hospital.
◆ 12:51 a.m. - Public Safety responded to a disturbance call at Flagg Townhouse Apartment 77. The subject
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the shuttle would do a round trip to popular businesses in town where students can shop. Cozzaglio also said the College will be providing shuttle transportation to and from the Pittsfield Amtrak station after senators highlighted a lack of holiday shuttle transportation to the station as an issue. Cozzaglio said the committee really took their opinion to heart and thanked them for their hard work. “The Transportation Committee really heard your complaints,” he said. The Shuttle will arrive to the station on Saturday, Dec. 14 and Tuesday Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. for student taking the 3:36 p.m. departure for New York City and the 4:29 p.m. departure for Boston. The shuttle will be picking students up at 3:45 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12 & Monday, Jan. 13. The cost for roundtrip is $10.
Canadian studies, local/ public history removed
Coordinating Vice President Hannah Sterrs announced that with the help of History Professor Anthony Daly, the Curriculum Committee cleaned up the history major package, removing Canadian studies as well as the local and public history minors from the program. Students interested in these minors can still pursue an independent study on these topics. In addition, the committee created a subcommittee in order to evaluate the Tier III Capstone classes. The committee will be creating an E-Portfolio website as well as a campus open forum, encouraging students to voice their opinions on the matter, after it was previously brought to the attention of the committee that many of the capstone classes have very little to do with several student’s majors.
Campus Police Logs Sunday, December 1
Sunday, December 15
Photo by Kayla Degnan/The Beacon
SGA meets for the last time this semester in the Amsler Campus Center.
Transportation Committee looks to improve holiday travel and shuttle trips
The week of 12/1-12/7
Light snow High: 19° Low: 12° Precip. Chance: 70%
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was warned. ◆ 11:29 a.m. - Public Safety responded to a medical call at the Freel Library. Services were rendered. ◆ 1:16 a.m. - Public Safety responded to a disturbance call on Porter Street. No action was required. ◆ 2:57 p.m. - Public Safety responded to a call about unwanted guests in the Amsler Campus Center. No action was required.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT… Sponsored by Health Services
The U.S. military have many uses for condom -besides the obvious one. Condoms keep sand and dirt out of guns, stop bleeding,can be used as an emergency water carrier and also as a surgical glove to prevent infection
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Veteran student finds Students honored relief in English classes at commencement By Adam Larson
Staff Writer and Videographer
Ed McCormick comes through the back door at The Parlor Café, casually greeting the owner, Jason Morin, behind the bar. He moves to a small table, setting down his bag and a stack of books, joking under his breath about how this place is like his locker, as much as a second home. His leather Triumph Motorcycle Jacket and weathered Converse All-Star shoes do little to reveal his identity as a United States Army Veteran. He looks like any ordinary college student, surely not someone who would endured two separate four year contracts with the Army. “The only way you would really know I am a veteran is the license plates on my car,” McCormick said with a grin, sipping his coffee in a recent interview at The Parlor Café. “And to be honest, I only got those so I wouldn’t get pulled over for speeding.” McCormick enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1992 after he graduated from high school, a decision he says he made in part due to pressure from his father. At first, he was required to report to training exercises one weekend a month, something he was not fond of. Eventually though, he says he adapted to the military lifestyle, and spent the next four years trying to balance college courses at Russell Sage College in Albany with his enlistment. Ten years after the end of his first contract, McCormick was starting a family. Meanwhile, the wars in the Middle East were well under way, and he says he began to feel an obligation to re-enlist and put his abilities as a soldier to good use. “I had a girlfriend and a baby, and I needed the money,” he says, remembering why he decided to re-enlist ten years after his first contract. “I needed to get my life together, and I felt guilty just sitting on the sidelines.” Beyond the idea of doing what was right for his country, he was also thinking ahead for the benefit of his family, and his future. He says he knew that the only way he would be able to afford college was through the GI Bill. After fulfilling his second contract and
Photo from MCLA.edu Photo by Kayla Degnan/The Beacon
McCormick is a Brown Lake N.Y. native. being honorably discharged, he immediately started looking into options for getting a degree. He looked into SUNY Albany, but it would not accept many of his transfer credits, and the college was too big for his taste. He said MCLA looked like a better fit. “MCLA had a better student to faculty ratio than the other options,” McCormick said. “The school also seemed more fitting for a non-traditional student.” McCormick is now settled in at MCLA as an English/Communications major, with a concentration in Journalism. He says the College has proved its claims as a welcoming environment to non-traditional students. He even went as far to say that taking courses here has been therapeutic for him. “In some of my English classes, I’ve written assignments on things that happened while overseas, and about the people I met there,” he said. “It helps to get it off my chest and out of my head.” McCormick says he is looking forward to graduating this year, finally completing the college education he started over twenty years ago. So far, he said his post-graduation plans remain local. He currently works at the North Adams Transcript as a weekend reporter. “I would like to get a [permanent] journalism job in the area,” McCormick said. “I like it here.”
Several graduates were honored on Monday, Dec. 9 at the winter commencement ceremony in Murdock Hall. The College celebrated 67 students who will complete their degrees this month and in August at a reception held on Monday, in Murdock Hall in 218. The recent graduates included those who earned a bachelor’s degree, a Masters of Education degree, or a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Leadership.
Speakers at this event included President Mary Grant and Cheryl Boillat ’79, M.Ed. ’97, Vice President of MCLA’s Alumni Association, who welcomed the graduates to the Alumni Association. In addition to Monday’s event, all students are encouraged to attend commencement this spring, which will
Photo by Kayla Degnan/The Beacon
Murdock Hall was filled with faculty, staff, parents and friends in support of the recent graduates’ accomplishments.
Berkshire Towers residence director settles in By Nicole L’Etoile
Special to the Beacon Sitting behind her desk in the Berkshire Towers residence director’s office, Chelsea Stokes looks over at her SUNY New Paltz bachelor’s degree. She has come a long way in a very short time, having only begun her job this fall. Stokes took over the position from Heather Quire, the former RD of Berkshire Towers. Stokes said she likes working at MCLA because it is small in size and she gets to know each student closely. “I love everyone who I work with: my RASMs (Resident Area Security Monitors), my RAs (Residence Advisers), my co-RDs, and my supervisor, Dianne Manning,” she said, counting everyone off on her fingers. “Everyone hit it off very well in [RD] training in August, and that showed me what it would be like for the rest of the year.” Stokes got along well with Nicole LeBlanc, residence director
Photo by Emily Boughton/The Beacon
Before MCLA Chelsea Stokes of the Townhouse complex, from the start. They go to Zumba together downtown every week. “Zumba with Nicole is fun. We’re very uncoordinated and make fools of ourselves,” Stokes said. She also enjoys spending time
with the Hoosac Hall RD, Griffin Labbance. They ran the 5k Sam Gomez race together in October. Before coming to MCLA as a residence director, Stokes was an RA for two and a half years at SUNY New Paltz, which she graduated from just a few months ago in May 2013. During her time there, she also traveled to Wales to study abroad. Over the summer, Stokes was an RA at Oxford University in Oxford, England, for their Summerfuel program. She returned from England just two days before making the move to MCLA. She says her current role as an RD is very different from her former one as an RA, because of the responsibility she has each day and the number of students she is in charge of. “It hasn’t hit me yet that I’m an RD; I was just an RA. The good thing is that I get to know what my staff goes through, since I was just there a few months ago,” she said. Her quick transition means
that being an RD is still a learning process. Stokes has had a strong support system to assist her in the transition. She said that she learned a lot during RD training about how to take control of situations without being too aggressive. Jesse McMillan, an RA in Berkshire Towers, said that Stokes is adjusting quite well for being so new in the job. He formerly had Quire as a supervisor for two years and sees differences between the two, but is able to work easily with Stokes. “I think for a first-year RD, Chelsea is handling the building quite well,” he said. As an RA, he works closely with Stokes and has gotten to know her through RA training and National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), of which Stokes is the advisor. He feels that having her as a new RD is a learning process for everyone, because styles are changing from the previous system. In addition to being the advisor
for NRHH, Stokes oversees meetings for Berkshire Tower’s Advisory Board, which plans events for the building and for the community, such as the Halloween party and Boo Bash. Ashley Bushey, secretary of Advisory Board and a resident of Berkshire Towers, said that Stokes is adjusting well to both her job and her role in Advisory Board. “As the new RD, Chelsea is keeping a solid footing. She hasn’t let the job push her around, and I give her kudos for that,” Ashley said. Just three months in, Stokes has made a name for herself at the school. When she is not in her office, she can be found at any of the various buildings on campus and is almost always available to students. “The transition has been pretty seamless and easy, and we are all learning how to keep some old ways and incorporate some new ways of doing things,” Stokes said.
News 4 Student loan debt climbs College costs rising Total college debt reaches $1 trillion in United States far beyond inflation Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Jesse Collings Staff Writer
Senior Rebecca Pike is looking forward to graduating from MCLA this spring; however, she isn’t looking forward to paying back her student loans. “I have approximately in $75,000 in student debt,” Pike said. “I will end up paying for 100 percent of this, although my parents do put some money down on the interest, every now and again.” According to statistics from America Student Assistance (ASA), an organization helping students finance their education, a student who graduated in 2011 owed an average of $26,000 in student loans. That is a five percent increase in debt compared to that of students who graduated in 2010, owing an average of $25,350.
57 percent have loans
In the United States, approximately 20 million college students are in school right now, according to the ASA. Approximately 12 million of those students have student loans. In addition, approximately 18 million former students are in debt because of student loans. In 2010, 57 percent of public university graduates were in some form of debt because of student loans. Out of those students, according to the ASA, approximately 14 percent of borrowers have at least one past-due payment. The lack of employment opportunities for recent college graduates has only increased the burden felt by college students and their hefty monthly loan payments. Pike has tried to reduce the amount of her debt as much as possible, but she has to work hard to keep her debt from increasing. “I could be in more debt, but
I chose to live off campus this semester, meaning that I do not have to pay Room/Board which is the most expensive part,” Pike said. “What it does mean is that I have taken on two jobs to secure I can pay for my rent. I work part time at Big Y and part time at The Pitchers Mound Pub. I work approximately 24-30 hours a week combined.” Students in the Writing and Reporting the News II class conducted a survey among 70 MCLA students: 55 students, or about 78 percent, said they have student loans. The average current debt of those 55 is $19,250. Their projected debt after graduation is $32,700. The unscientific survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent. Attempts to interview MCLA administrators for this story were unsuccessful. More troubling perhaps, is that the United States government may be profiting off of student loans. According to a story published Nov. 25 in USA Today, the U.S. government turned a profit of $41.3 billion from student loans during the 2013 fiscal year. Only two companies in the world, Exxon Mobil and Apple, can claim profit margins as high, showcasing the growing concern in student loans and debt for recently graduated students.
More than credit card debt
According to USA Today, the estimated student debt for the United States is now over $1.2 trillion, which is greater than the cumulative credit card debt owed by Americans. The amount of money that Americans owe, coupled with the high profit margins, have sparked a controversy over how efficient the student loan system is in the United States. “The administration has
taken steps to improve college affordability, and thanks to collective efforts, students and families are paying lower rates on their loans today than they would have otherwise,” Stephen Spector, U.S. Department of Education spokesman said in an e-mail to the Detroit Free Press, as reported in USA Today. “More must be done to bring down the cost of college, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress, institutions, borrowers, and other stakeholders to make college more affordable.”
“Profits don’t exist”
However, there is much debate of the validity of the numbers issued by USA Today. Depending on what methods are used to calculate the financial numbers, the amount of profit or cost the government receives under the student loan program varies greatly. “The profits don’t exist,” wrote Jason Richwine of the National Review. “The federal government projects $184 billion in student-loan profit over the next ten years only because it ignores the market risk inherent in expecting a given amount of loan money to be repaid. When the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) instead applied fair-value accounting methods to the student-loan program, the $184 billion profit became a $95 billion cost. Furthermore, if it were not for the government’s ‘ruthless’ attempts to collect from delinquent borrowers ... the cost to taxpayers would be even greater.” A study completed by the Department of Education in August showed that 41 percent of all undergraduates have taken out at least some form of loans, which is up from 35 percent just four years ago.
By Rachel Fitterman Staff Writer
Tired of hearing your parents tell you about their tuition costing less than $1000 “back in the day?” When MCLA was still North Adams State College in the 1980s, its tuition and fees were only $776. Ten years ago in 2003, tuition and fees rose to $5,398, according to the state Department of Higher Education (MDHE). Today, tuition and fees are $8,526, more than 10 times what it was 30 years ago “The world was a different place back then,” said James Stakenas, vice president of Administration and Finance. “Now we are seeing more financially dependent students.” This increase is not specific to MCLA or Massachusetts alone, but is a nationwide issue that is plaguing new generations of students. This has resulted in student loan debt of over $1 trillion, surpassing Americans’ total credit card debt. “The government does not understand how challenging student debt and loans are today. Everything has become privatized instead,” Economics Professor Ben Kahn said. Kahn noted that going to college has become something every high school student is expected to do, increasing a demand that schools must accommodate. In order to be nationally ranked and academically competitive, schools “have gone beyond the call of duty” and increased their faculty and student services. The burden of most of that increase falls on students when the government fails to provide sufficient funding. “In Canada or Europe, they consider higher education as infrastructure and a way of providing capital [in educated students being able to work higher level jobs] at an affordable cost to students,” Kahn added. One of the major issues is that income has not risen the way that college prices has. “Parents have to work harder. Students have to work harder. Minimum wage in the U.S. has stayed at $7.25 since the 70s. Income has remained steady, while the cost has gone up,” Kahn said.
Yet there was a significant jump in cost of public schools in the late 1980s when then-Governor Michael Dukakis, cut state budget in 1988-1990. Public schools were forced to cut their budgets or raise the money on their own as part of the tuition. Individual state schools can raise their fees, but tuition is set by the state. Raising fees became a way for schools to continue to balance budgets as costs rose and state funding leveled off or was cut. Reduced state funding is directly related to the rising cost of tuition and fees, according to Michael Freeland, commissioner of Higher Education . “Over the past 10 years, as the state has struggled with its own fiscal challenges, funding for our public colleges and universities has simply not kept up with growing enrollments and rising costs, which has resulted in a steady shift of the cost of education from the state to students,” Freeland said to the Lowell Sun in an article published in October 2013. Various studies and reports point to state funding not keeping pace with rising costs and enrollments. For example, tuition as a percentage of income for higher education nationwide rose from 23.3 percent in 1987 to 47 percent in 2012, with Massachusetts at 53 percent, according to the report “State Higher Education Finance 2012,” by the non-profit State Higher Education Executive Officers. Massachusetts’ spending on higher education appropriations per student decreased 37.3 percent from 2007-2012, which encompasses the economic recession of 2008-2010. The state also ranks 45th out of the 50 states in per capita spending on higher education. However, state funding remains a source of revenue that allows MCLA to be a cheaper option for many students than the cost of private colleges, even in light of rising tuition. “Our cost is 50 percent lower [than it would be] because of state funding,” Executive Vice President Denise Richardello said. Public colleges in Massachusetts not affiliated with the UMASS system are allocated $211,442,060 in total annually, according to MDHE.
Main asset of Mass. in global market is brainpower VISION, bring more industry into Massacontinued from page 1 chusetts.
industry… Other functions of the [educational] system are not to be measured within the framework of the Project and are then, at best, subordinated,” the critique read. According to Rapp, college administrators are in a position where they must enforce policies they may not agree with, but the DHE has suggested there are no alternatives. “The administration must ask whether to accept these policies and move forward, or ask faculty to determine their own course,” he said. According to DHE spokesperson Katy Abel, associate commissioner for External Affairs, the reason for the Vision Project’s workforce alignment goal is to
“Our state cannot offer business and industry low taxes and lax regulation or balmy weather. Why would any company want to locate here, as opposed to Mexico or North Carolina? Our main asset in the global marketplace is our brainpower and skilled workforce,” Abel wrote in an email.
Do the numbers add up?
This year’s Vision Project report, “Within Our Sights,” highlighted MCLA for its “30-in-3” program, a seed project funded by the Performance Incentive Fund. The program is meant to keep students on track for graduation by making sure they earn at least 30 credits by the start of their second year. Based on data collected in the two years since the program began, “MCLA has
increased the number of students earning 30 credits before the start of their second year from 30 percent in fall 2010 to 63 percent in fall 2012,” the report reads. Using data to track student retention and completion provides a framework for measuring academic success across the state; however, the Vision Project has been criticized for using metrics that fail to address student learning in a meaningful way. Rapp says basing accountability for student learning on artificially imposed metrics is a “pretty intense example that the vast majority of the Vision Project will do more harm than good. Faculty becomes alienated from the curriculum, the meat and potatoes of our lives,” he said. While Brown said the DHE is working to improve the way goals are measured, she acknowledged
the Project’s metrics have been inadequate. “There’s concern about how goals are being measured, whether the data that’s available to be collected really reflects every type of institution equally well,” she said. The MSCA’s critique of the Vision Project addressed the use of metrics when applied to the variables at play in student learning. “Complex and sophisticated forms of measurement are costly. Because funding is short, evaluators inappropriately fall back on readily quantifiable aspects of education and relatively simple measurements,” the report reads. “[This] subordinates, if it does not ignore entirely, those aspects of education that are not readily quantifiable, but are often more important—students’ ability to critically analyze complex
problems, their ability to work in teams, or their ability to communicate.” The presidents’ letter to Freeland urged caution when using metrics for assessment, insisting faculty judgment should take precedence. “As you know, faculty has the responsibility for the assessment of student learning outcomes measures. This is a governance issue. We suggest that the DHE should be cautious about getting too far out in front of the faculty on this issue,” the letter read. According to Abel, the concerns of faculty and administrators have been heard by the DHE. “It is the faculty who are leading the effort to develop new ways to assess student learning without a standardized test. This work is drawing national attention,” she wrote in an email.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Nelson Mandela’s “long walk” was over. His state memorial service Tuesday began with rousing cheers, and the words “Comrades! Long live the spirit of Nelson Mandela! Long live!” in the style of the liberation struggle meetings of the African National Congress going back decades. “In many ways we are here to tell Madiba (Mandela’s clan name) that his long walk is over, that he can finally rest. His long walk is over but ours is only beginning,”
Zimmerman’s girlfriend wants to fix relationship ORLANDO George Zimmerman’s girlfriend who authorities said accused him of pointing a shotgun at her no longer wants him to be prosecuted and wants to resume their relationship, according a new motion. -Orlando Sentinel
16 year old went into cardiac arrest on Delta Air Lines
Morsi insists the Egyptian legal system has no authority over them CAIRO A group of high-ranking members of the Muslim Brotherhood were brought before an Egyptian court on Monday and promptly emulated their deposed leader, Mohammed Morsi, by insisting that the Egyptian legal system had no authority over them. Morsi’s courtroom appearance in November, his only one to date, was a chaotic affair, ending with the court case being postponed until January. Monday’s trial was also adjourned, until February. -The Los Angeles Times
Crowds mourn the death of Nelson Mandela
National and World News Briefs
SEATTLE The 16-year-old boy who died Saturday morning aboard a Delta Air Lines flight bound for Atlanta from Seattle had a previous medical condition and went into cardiac arrest, Spokane Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said Sunday afternoon. -The Seattle Times
said South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, opening the memorial. Thousands filed into the 94,000seat soccer stadium in Soweto. Low gray clouds and misty rain cast a somber mood, but South Africans stunned the world with a ceremony bursting with joyful music and celebration, paying tribute to Mandela’s sacrifice of 27 years in prison, his fight against apartheid, his triumph in negotiating a peaceful end to the system and his emergence as leader of his nation.
The mourners sang rousing liberation struggle songs, danced, ululated, whistled and blasted vuvuzelas, the plastic trumpets that South Africans blow at soccer matches and joyful occasions, waiting for the service to begin. Outside the stadium, shaped like a great calabash, or African bowl fashioned from a gourd, flags flew at half-staff and the crowd pressed forward, wearing ANC regalia in the party’s colors of green, gold and black. Women were clad in ANC clothing, many with dresses bearing Mandela’s face.
MCT Campus Photo
Mourners hold up posters of Nelson Mandela at his state memorial service in Soweto.
Obama gets worst rating in presidency MCT Campus WASHINGTON The American public is unusually pessimistic about the direction of the country and increasingly fed up with Washington gridlock, a sour mood reflected in the worst disapproval ratings for President Barack Obama since he took office nearly five years ago. People give elected officials unusually low grades 31 percent rated them “D” and 38 percent gave them an “F,” according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. Obama’s disapproval rating climbed to 53 percent the worst in 29 polls since he took office in January 2009 while 43 percent approved of his job performance. The disapproval number was up sharply from the 47 percent reading in September and tops the previous high of 52 percent in September 2011. Obama retained strong support among Democrats 77-18 percent approval and disdain from Republicans 90-8 percent disapproval. Independents disapproved 56 percent to 41 percent. Obama’s personal ratings were also down.
Syrian government opens main highway BEIRUT Syrian government troops supported by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah took control of a strategic crossroads Monday in far western Syria and reopened the country’s main highway to the coast, according to state-run Syrian media and rebel activists. -McClatchy Foreign Staff
By 52 percent to 46 percent, people had an unfavorable impression of him, the first time since November 2011 the negative number was higher. The unfavorable number was also the worst he has endured. Obama in recent weeks has been battered by turmoil over his health care program. The highly touted website where people could sign up for coverage proved to be a dysfunctional embarrassment, and Obama had to backtrack from his assertion that people could keep their plans if they wanted. Obama gets low marks for his handling of the economy. Fifty-eight percent disapproved of how he’s dealing with it, while 40 percent approved. More people blame Republicans for the budget mess 48 percent said it’s their fault while 38 percent named Obama. Voters have mixed views about how all this will translate in next year’s elections. Equal numbers 43 percent said they would vote for a Republican or a Democratic candidate. Independents preferred Republicans, 41 percent to 34 percent, while moderates favored Democrats, 49 percent to 35 percent.
MCT Campus File Photo
A poll on President Obama’s presidency.
Apple asks Samsung to pay $22 million in fees MCT Campus
SAN JOSE, Calif. Putting another hefty price tag on the smartphone wars, Apple Inc. on Friday asked a federal judge to order rival Samsung Electronics Co. to pay about $22 million in legal fees and costs for fighting their patent feud over iPhone and iPad technology. In court papers, Apple called the nearly $16 million in legal fees “conservative,” saying it amounted to less than one-third of the $60 million it spent on lawyers in the current legal battle that led to a jury verdict last year concluding Samsung had violated Apple’s
patent rights on the iPhone and iPad. Apple is entitled to recover attorney fees against Samsung for violations of the Lanham Act, the federal trademark law invoked in its claims. Apple is also demanding Samsung pick up $6.2 million in costs for a variety of expenses, much of it for reproducing materials for the case. A federal jury in August 2012 found Samsung had violated Apple’s patent rights and trademark protections by copying iPhone and iPad technology in its older products, including the Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets.
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“The court should award Apple fees in this exceptional case,” Apple said in court documents. “Awarding fees to Apple ‘flows quite naturally’ from the jury’s willfulness verdict as well as Samsung’s extensive record of willful, deliberate and calculated decisions to copy the iPhone, in blatant disregard for Apple’s (intellectual property).” Meanwhile, the billing meter is still ticking. Apple and Samsung are set for trial in March in the second patent case between the two rivals involving more recent versions of their smartphones and tablets.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Dispatch from Disney
Arts & Entertainment
Students and alumni offer diversity through art Graduates and undergraduates collaborate on an extremely diverse compilation of recent works
Review Raanan Sarid-Segal Arts and Entertainment Writer
Photo courtesy of Candice Crow
Graduation day Candice Crow
Disney World Correspondant As the semester comes to a close so does my time here in Disney. When I left Massachusetts in August, I thought that December was so far away, but the time has flown by. Yesterday I attended my College Program graduation, which was held down the road from my housing complex. The temperature was a warm 85 degrees, but all I could think about was the snow storm that is predicted to hit New England Saturday, just one day after I come home. Nothing says welcome home like 4-5 inches of snow! As I was handed my Mickey Mouse ears, adorned with a gold tassel, I felt myself choke up. I attended the graduation with two of my closest friends, Devin and Chelsea, who were also my co-workers here at Disney. They are also on the college program, and will leave soon. “I feel proud of myself,” said Chelsea. “It was a lot of hard work, and I cannot believe it’s coming to an end so soon!” Chelsea attends University of Memphis in Tennessee. She plans to come back and work for Disney once she obtains a diploma. In line to get my diploma, I heard people talking about how they are coming back to Disney to do a professional internship, something I considered myself. A professional internship at Disney can be virtually anything you want it to be. For your first three months on the job, you are training. The next three months are spent taking the lead. It is a very aggressive internship that could lead to a Disney career. Suddenly I was next in line. A women with gray hair wearing a black Disney t-shirt asked my name. I told her, and she shuffled through a file folder. She pulled out my folder, and as she smiled, she congradulated me. “That was it?” I thought to myself. “Is my program really over?” My friends Devin and Chelsea, who had already recieved their diplomas, stood behind me, and motioned for me to come with them to take a picture. I grasped my diploma and walked toward them.
The 2013 Student/Alumni Show included an interesting mix of art forms and styles. Though it did not always seem to gel together as a whole, the pieces it offered made attending the show a good use of time. All of the artists, whether graduates or undergraduate students, performed admirably in producing one of the more diverse shows that I’ve seen this year. Jason Peabody, a recent graduate, did some of the most unusual work at the show with his multipart pieces, each of which uses some of its parts to put one of the others in a different light. Of particular interest is “the mind tends to wander, a lot,” comprising an ink print and a brick with the drawing pasted to it. Each piece gains additional meaning from the other, as their significance becomes more clear and yet more distant the more one appraises the piece. On the level of pure curiosity (and some humor), his sculpture “your guess is as good as mine” also stands out in his already highly original portion of the show. The sculpture, resembling twisted bone, is defiant in its presentation and lack of immediate meaning. Meanwhile, Christina Stott affects both classic and modern
styles with “rat hat” and “bear-oness,” which use line shading along with what looks like traditional ink to draw vaguely uncanny images of women wearing animals. Also by this artist are portrayals of nude ape women in stereotypical female “stripper” poses. These later pieces are significantly less friendly than the “noble portrait” parodies that her other work seems to be. Caleb Hiliadis is the most traditionally modern presenter, with his works made up of metal, paint and wax. A scene he seems to be building around the commentary on traditional art forms, three of his pieces mimic the look and feel of other paintings and then add layers of paint, melted candles and other means of covering up the original work. As he covers what looks like a Renaissance-era painting with splatters of seemingly random paint, we get a sense of a certain kind of control at work, though at times it feels distant. Ben Mancino offers much more traditional photography, setting him apart from the other contributors. He is perhaps the most prolific of the contributors and offers a great deal of stylistic variety. His work ranges from naturalistic photos to the stylized contrast of black and white photography; the variety of photos that he offers shows encouraging depth of skill with his medium of choice.
The Sweetback Sisters return for holiday fun
Photo by Kayla Degnan/The Beacon
Senior Ben Mancino has a display of prints for sale. Rebecca McBrien also uses photography, though her style is less naturalistic and more free-form. Her work includes carefully composed “realistic” shots, right up alongside almost wholly artificial departures, which overlay images and colors to the point that the piece could more easily be called a work of composite digital art. Her willingness to experiment behind the camera gives the contribution a sense of infectious energy. The centerpiece of the whole room is Nicholas Fahey’s joke, “the Sasquatch,” which seems to be intentionally mimicking the look of kitschy Americana souvenirs. The display is made up of
silly busts presented as if for sale, a sign-up sheet, a plaque and a “Bigfoot Bank” asking for the audience to insert money. The signup sheet is a request for one’s own bank. The whole piece is tied to a kick-starter campaign, which at the time of writing may or may not be a joke. The show altogether contained some quality work, and some fun but basically college-era excesses. The biggest consistent problem with the show is that it rarely offered adequate information about any of the participating artists. Though one could complain, it was still a decent way to spend an evening.
By Nick Arena
Managing Editor MCLA Presents! is rolling in its annual Holiday Concert to send students off at the close of the semester. Tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Church Street Center, The Sweetback Sisters will headline “A Honky Tonk Holiday Sing Along.” We had the pleasure of presenting them [a couple of] years ago and fell in love with them,” Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at Gallery 51, said. “I’d seen them a couple of times. They’re just this wonderful blend of old school bluegrass mixed with a Williamsburg hipster sensibility. I think the genre is called retro grass, or retro bluegrass, maybe even retro country. They’ve taken this old school style and put a really fresh face on it.” According to the group’s website, Emily Miller and Zara Bode, while not actually sisters, bring family style country harmonies back to the stage. Secor continued that the night will be full of holiday spirit with decorations, hot chocolate, singing, and more importantly the spirit of giving. There will be a bake sale fundraiser at the concert to benefit the Philippines. “My performing arts management class is all working on it, so
they’re decorating the space,” Secor said. “The Sweetback Sisters are bringing decorations as well. Then they actually give out lyric books, like if you were going to see the Messiah, but it’s not the Messiah. It’s more fun!” The three opening acts for the show include the Allegrettos, the jazz band, and a group of high school musicians from Charlemont that call themselves Dragon Parking Only, said Secor. “Overall, I think it’s just a good time,” he said. “There are shows that we do that challenge us, that push us to the left or push us to the right. This is just a feel good, forget that there are finals happening kind of event.” Secor says he is looking forward to a very exciting night of music and cheer. “What I’ve learned about MCLA is that there are very few wallflowers here,” he said. “We encourage students to come out and be ready to laugh and shout. This is not a quiet night of baroque, it’s a honky tonk sing along.” Tickets are $10 to general public, $8 to alumni, $5 to faculty and non-MCLA students, and free for MCLA students. For information, visit www.mcla.edu/presents.
Photo courtesy of the BCRC Flickr
The Sweetback Sisters return to the College tonight at 7:30 p.m. for their traditional holiday concert and sing-a-long.
Spires hosts art and poetry show
Photo by Kayla Degnan/Photography Editor
Nikki Kratounis reads multiple short poems at Spires’ open mic. Students enjoyed various snacks and hot beverages as they listened to students read their original works.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Arts & Entertainment
Dance Company offers variety in annual fall show Despite a shortened set, the College’s dance company brings a diverse selection of lyrical, hip-hop, and contemporary styles to Venable Theater. Review by Shannen Adamites Arts and Entertainment Editor The crowd was roaring as Dance Company’s annual fall performance took off in Venable Theater Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Though this year’s show was significantly shorter than in the past, there was most certainly not a lack of variety. Choreographers diligently prepared for last weekend with an extensive rehearsal process, despite the shortened academic year. Dancers exuded massive amounts of energy, which resulted in the audience responding with enthusiastic applause. New to the stage were emcee’s Cory Flood and Jackie Coughlin, who introduced each scene with their quirky humor sketches and welcoming stage presence. Their improvisation received a great deal of approval from the audience, as they chuckled and clapped over their silly dances and commentary. The show mainly consisted of energetic hip-hop pieces, but each of them maintained a certain uniqueness that set each number apart. Emily Dessingue opened the show with a piece inspired by 1940s icon, Rosie the Riveter, with a mash up of
various popular songs that expressed confidence and fun with their lyrics. The predominately female cast performed exceptionally well; Dessingue deliberately chose a variety of cute, feisty moves that reflected the dancer’s skills and femininity in a way that was not risqué or cliché. The one male dancer, Giovani Dulcio, played really well opposite the female cast, and enhanced the overall “girl power” theme. Danielle Sansoucy choreographed a traditional belly dancing routine that was sensual but never crossed the line into being raunchy. Her dancers moved gracefully about the stage and transported the audience into a magical and exotic world. Following this, Deanna Boucher’s mime-inspired dance combined elements of creepy makeup and quirky expressions into an overall beautifully rendered lyrical piece. Olivia Bailey and Gabriel Levy featured a taste of the islands at the start of the second act with a “Caribbean Rave,” highlighting a selection of various highenergy soca reggae songs. The cast was constantly performing difficult, spirited moves but never once ceased on bringing the energy. Their determination to provide an excellently
invigorating and unique take on island culture, and brought a sense of warmth to the winter chill of the Berkshires. Alexa Hebard choreographed an innovative lyrical piece to “Titanium” by Madilyn Bailey that expressed overcoming struggles and hardships in order to become stronger. Her dancers were clad in very minimalist costumes–only leggings and a grey t-shirt–but this is by no means a draw back, as it made the audience focus strictly on the dancing without being distracted. It is imminent that Hebard really knows how to organize dances that highlight certain individual’s skills, but also put an emphasis on group effort and creating imagery with bodily expression. Hannah Ewing’s lyrical dance was very similar in that she also expresses a great deal of knowledge pertaining to organizing choreography, but took on themes of social awareness regarding various forms of abuse, suicide, and self-harm prevention and support. Her take on the traditional lyrical form was bold, but very effective, as the song’s lyrics adequately matched the themes she was trying to convey and her story was expressed in an accessible, but still creative, manner.
Photo by Emily Boughton/Beacon Staff
Dance Co. concludes a succesful show during the curtain call. Throughout my time viewing Dance Company’s performances, I have yet to see one that is lacking in enthusiasm, skill, or passion. My only complaint was that the audience became almost too rowdy at times, and I constantly worried that dancers were going to get distracted or thrown off by the borderline excessive cheering. However, all of the dancers remained composed and extremely professional throughout the duration of the performance,
which must be commended. Dance Company once again proved that the arts could unite everyone from all cultural backgrounds and interest levels. The amount of avid support from the audience just goes to show that this is one of the most anticipated events of the academic year. The dancers and choreographers are very much aware of this, and therefore, never cease to deliver a performance that is less than fantastic.
“Sherlock” premiers on PBS in January
By Shannen Adamites
Arts and Entertainment Editor
Photo courtesy of Mass MoCA
A viewer gazes upon Patkin’s ghostly represntations of Middle Eastern conflict at Mass MoCA.
Israeli artist makes American debut at MoCA By Ryan Flynn
Senior News Editor “The Wandering Veil,” an exhibit of artwork by Israeli-born artist Izahr Patkin, offers insight to his influential career and features a recent project “Veiled Threats,” shown in its entirety for the first time in the United States. Entering the gallery, the first visible structure is Patkin’s 1987 statue “Don Quijote Segunda Parte.” With the statue’s rear end comically in front-view, the piece welcomes guest to explore the gallery. Standing in the center, “Veiled Threats” is a series of mural-sized paintings that were painted on tull, a canvass similar to netting
fabric. The veils hang on stage sets, allowing viewers to enter into temporary rooms. One of Patkin’s motives, said curator Susan Cross, is to challenge the conventions of pictorial space, which causes the veils to have a daunting effect. “They’re very ghostly,” she said. “First you see them, and then you don’t see them. They kind of create this maze in the gallery.” Patkin believes that the evolution of pictorial space has been dictated by religious doctrines, according to Cross. From representation, to abstraction, to manifestation, Patkin’s artwork shows the flaws and beauty of these visual codes. The veil works are inspired by an American-Muslim poet who once
collaborated with Patkin, and all of his works on display touch on social and political events, particularly in the Middle East. The gallery also features work commenting on the AIDs crisis in the 1980s. His work deals with themes of memory, devotion, loss, and exile. “There are definitely references to the conflict in the Middle East,” Cross said. Born in 1955, Patkin has been living and working as an artist in the United States since 1977. Earning fame for his work in the 1980s, his work is now featured in renowned art museums like the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of Modern Art.
inally, after two excrutiatingly long years, BBC’s “Sherlock” is making a return. On Jan. 19 at 10 p.m., following an episode of “Downton Abbey,” the third series premier will be aired on PBS. I cannot contain my excitement. This critically acclaimed series has caught the eye of mystery lovers and British television fans alike. I discovered “Sherlock” after being active with the “Doctor Who” fandom, and a fellow fan suggested I get around to watching it. To this day, I vastly prefer “Sherlock” to “Who” for a variety of reasons, but ultimately, it is impossible to compare the two. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat adapt various classic “Sherlock Holmes” stories and intergrate them into a modern storyline full of plot twists, critical analyses, and wonderful acting on behalf of Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Freeman (Watson). For the most part, the writers
adhere to the original stories pretty well, and make them extremely accessible for modern audiences to enjoy. Everything takes place in the present day, and there is a great emphasis on technology. Texts, e-mails, passwords, and information that would normally be impossible to show is displayed on screen so viewers can try and solve the mysteries from the comfort of their livingrooms. Along with beautiful cinematography and a clever soundtrack, Cumberbatch and Freeman stay true to their updated characters and exhibit wonderful, professional chemistry. Yes, sometimes Cumberbatch can be absolutely ridiculous, and Freeman has tendencies to be a total stick in the mud, but overall these are just character flaws that end up providing for two extremely welldeveloped characters. Versimilitude, or a similarity to our reality, in some cases, is nice, as audiences like to be able to relate to certain situations and characters, but departing from that provides more of an escape. “Sherlock” is the kind of show where you get absolutely immersed in its witty banter and gorgeous visuals. I’m not going to spoil any major plot points: the entire series is on Netflix. Conveniently, it’s winter break, so you should be able to spare an hour and a half a day to get caught up in the mystery.
Thursday, December 12 2013
Chris’ Corner Kick
Women drop two James Hunter Sports Writer
Chris Oxholm Sports Editor
Celtics for draft pick… you’re wrong. Rumors about the Boston Celtics aiming for a higher draft pick by losing have been floating around fans and the media since pre-season. These assumptions just don’t make any sense. For one, it is illegal in the NBA to throw games for any reason. The NBA would already be investigating every team in the eastern division right now. That being said, the Celtics are number one in the division as of right now, with Toronto in second, three wins short of the Celtics. If the Celtics were racing only the division for a draft pick, then they still wouldn’t be close to the first. Celtics Coach Brad Stevens probably does not want to get a higher draft pick for a simple reason: his career. If Boston came in that low on his first year as head coach, the Celtics administration would probably fire him. Everyone remembers Jeff Green’s three-point buzzer beater over Lebron James to lift the Celtics over Miami 111-110. Giving the Heat one of their six loses so far proves Boston isn’t throwing games. If anyone in the NBA is throwing games, it’s more likely to be the Knicks. The New York Knicks are like the Los Angeles Laker of last year. They have all the talent necessary to be a champion team, but they don’t have a rhythm. With new player and AllStar (formerly known as) Ron Artest, Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemier, J.R. Smith and plenty of other muscle to bring them to victory, they still sit at a low 5-15. The Celtics are fortunate to be doing as good as they are now. Factors like a rookie coach, no All-Stars, and Rajon Rondo’s absence could be bringing them down, but it doesn’t seem to be. The Indiana Pacers stormed through the play-offs last year with people still going “who’s on this team again?” Maybe Boston can pull off that kind of season as well.
The Women’s Basketball team came up short last week losing to University of St. Joseph 64-61 and Utica College 68-49. The Trailblazers were led by senior captain Kaitlyn Chenevert with a team-high 13 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Mariah Brown added 10 points of her own. The University of St. Joseph Blue Jays were led by junior Heather Framski who had a double-double with 10 points and one rebound. Blue Jay Lindsey Dionee had a career high 13 points; Devon Diliberto and Brianna Ferraro added 10 points each. The Blue Jays finished the first semester run with a 5-4 record overall. In the second half, MCLA had a 12 point advantage at 52-40 after a layup from Mariah Brown with 7:36 left to play in the game. However, USJ came back and scored 15 unanswered points. Framski scored six of those 15 points, including a steal and a fast break layup from Dionne which put them up 53-52 with 3:33 left. In the closing seconds of the game, two free-throws put USJ ahead 63-57.
Down six points, the Trailblazers attempted a closing surge with 18 seconds and no timeouts. Danielle Scolpino hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 63-60 with 11 seconds left. Each side made on free-throw before the game ended in USJ’s favor 64-61. Scolpino had a team-high 18 points off the bench. Freshman Ashley Clawson finished with 10 points. Utica was led by senior Sarah Greenwald and freshman Kelsey Cowell, each had a double-double. Cowell finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Greenwald had 14 and 14. Sophomore Mary Miceli finished with 13 points off the bench. Christy Traglia had 8 points and 7 assists off the bench. MCLA fell behind early in the game, letting Utica g et to a 6-0 start in the opening minutes. MCLA lessened the gap later with eight unanswered points. Led by Scolpino, the 8-0 run brought the Trailblazers within three points of Utica. Utica responded with an 18-4 run. Into the half, Utica led 35-23. Utica went on a 19-3 run in the first eight minutes of the second half, taking a commanding 54-26 lead. Utica remained on top, taking the game 68-49. The Trailblazers are back in action on Dec. 30 at New York University.
Close... but no cigar Trailblazers lose 83-81 to Castleton
Jesse Collings Sports Writer
The Trailblazers capped off a disappointing home stand with a heartbreaking 83-81 loss Tuesday to Castleton State. “We are not executing on defense, which is a big problem,” Coach Jamie Morrison said. “We can’t go on runs because we can’t get stops on defense.” MCLA trailed by as many as 16 in the second half, but rallied back to tie the game at 81. With 14 seconds remaining, the Trailblazers had possession and a chance to win the game. Senior guard Ruben DelRosario was stripped of the ball by a swarm of Castleton defenders, and Castleton forward Carnelius Green picked up the loose ball. Green dribbled down the court and sunk and easy basket as the buzzer sounded. Castleton improved to 3-3 on the season and MCLA fell to 2-7. MCLA never had the lead at any point in the game, trailing 42-35 at the half. Castleton opened the second half with fire, pushing the lead to 59-43 with 14 minutes to play. Despite the deficit, MCLA saw strong play from junior guard Anthony Barbosa, who finished with a career-high 17 points. Barbosa hit a three-pointer to cap off a 10-0 run that brought the Trailblazers within six at 59-53 with 12 minutes to go. Castleton nursed a 10-point lead until a DelRosario three-pointer cut the spread to 72-67 with 5:10 to go. Senior forward Ramon Viches kept the lead at five while the scores pushed to 76-71, prompting a Castleton timeout by a very animated Coach Paul Culpo. Two John Jones free-throws brought the lead down to three, but a Castleton basket by junior guard Steve Rosemond pushed the lead back to 5. Viches then hit a three-pointer, and after a Castleton free throw, converted a lay-up to bring Castleton’s lead to just one point at 79-78 with only 1:35 remaining. At 81-79 and 1:07 remaining, Jones showcased his defensive prowess, blocking a Rosemond attempt, which resulted in a fast break basket for DelRosario, who tied the game at 81 with 42.5 seconds left. Castleton brought the ball down the court, but senior Tyshawn Mcgee tied up Green, forcing a jump ball, and with the possession arrow in the Trailblazers favor, MCLA got the ball back. Green stripped the ball from DelRosario on route to his game-winning shot. MCLA was led by Jones, who paced the team in both points with 22, and rebounds with 18. Barbosa had 17 and DelRosario and Viches each had 12. Green led the way for Castleton, finishing the game
Scores Dec 6, 2013 Men’s Basketball Vs. Rensselaer, L 110-100 Women’s Basketball @ St. Joseph (Conn.), L 64-61 Dec 7, 2013 Men’s Basketball Vs. St. Joseph’s, L 97-89 Dec 10, 2013 Men’s Basketball Vs. Castleton, L 83-81
Standings Men’s Basketball Westfield St. Framingham St. Salem St. MCLA Bridgewater St. Worcester St. Fitchburg St.
6-2 4-4 4-4 2-7 1-5 1-8 0-8
Women’s Basketball Bridgewater St. Westfield St. Framingham St. Fitchburg St. Salem St. Worcester St. MCLA
5-2 4-3 5-4 4-4 3-5 3-7 2-6
Schedules Dec 30, 2013 Women’s Basketball @ New York U. 6:00 p.m. Jan 2, 2014 Men’s Basketball @ Frank. & Marsh. 7:30 p.m. Jan 4, 2014 Women’s Basketball Vs. Southern Vt. 1:00 p.m. Jan 9, 2014 Women’s Basketball @ Bridgewater St. 5:30 p.m. Men’s Basketball at Bridgewater St. 7:30 p.m. Photo by Kayla Degnan/The Beacon
Senior Rashard Taylor aims the ball towards the basket. with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. MCLA dropped both of their weekend games at home. As hosts of the Tri-State Shootout tournament, MCLA finished last out of the four teams. MCLA dropped the opening contest Saturday to the previously winless Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110-100, and the consolation game Sunday, to College of St. Josephs, 97-89. A bright spot for MCLA over the weekend, however, was the inspired play of DelRosario. DelRosario scored 40 points over the weekend, in route to being named to the all-tournament team. 30 of those points came against St. Joseph’s, where DelRosario was on fire beyond the arc, going seven for seven on three-pointer attempts. “It has been a combination of both practice and confidence,” DelRosario said of his improved outside shooting. “I have put in a lot of practice, and now I have the confidence to take and make the shot more frequently.” MCLA is off for the rest of 2013. The Trailblazer’s first game in 2014 is Jan. 2 on the road against Franklin and Marshall College.
Jan 11, 2014 Women’s Basketball @ Worcester St. 5:00 p.m. Played @ WPI Men’s Basketball @ Worcester St. 7:00 p.m. Played @ WPI Jan 14, 2014 Women’s Basketball Vs. Fitchburg St. 5:30 p.m. Men’s Basketball Vs. Fitchburg St. 7:30 p.m. Jan 16, 2014 Women’s Basketball @ Western Conn. St. 5:30 p.m. Men’s Basketball Vs. Sage 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
More parental involvement needed Children would benefit from more parent or guardian interest in elementary education
By Jesse Collings
Staff Writer In the growing crisis that American education is becoming, a simple and reasonable solution is right within arms-reach of most citizens; increased parental involvement. While most parents are readily willing to say that they are very interested in their child’s educa-
tion, there is a large chunk of parents that are not very involved in their child’s education. According to a survey conducted by Public Agenda, a non-profit organization that uses research to help people navigate complex issues, 65 percent of parents say that they wish they could be more involved in their child’s education. Only 35 percent of parents said that they were satisfied with their current involvement in their child’s education. Some parents do not have the same amount of time to have a big part in their child’s education. Many parents work long hours, and are often not available to play that big of a role in their child’s education. Despite these obstacles, parents need to realize that their children’s future is the most important thing in their lives, and by investing an interest in their education, they can have a much greater impact on their childrens’
future than if they were not a large part of their child’s academics. The minimal educational standards in the United States have been much publicized. According to a study conducted in 2012 by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, just 31 percent of fourth graders are deemed proficient in reading for their grade level, and that number barely climbs as the students progress further in school, with just 33 percent of eighth graders rated as proficient. There are plenty of possible explanations for why the educational system in the United States is inefficient: like the government for not investing enough money in education, the collegiate system for not properly training teachers before entering the workforce, or American culture in general, for putting too much focus on athletes and entertainers as opposed to scientists or engineers.
Shoot the messenger: How not to report news
By Gabriel Kogel
Staff Writer In October, journalist Isaac Avilucea’s employment with the North Adams Transcript was terminated after a sports feature he wrote about Cheyanne Alcombright, a 15-year-old soccer player, came under intense criticism from parents and school officials. What landed Avilucea in hot water was his focus on the reasons the young athlete transferred from Mount Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown to McCann Technical High School in North Adams. In the article, Avilucea wrote that McCann Tech was “somewhat inferior in athletics and academics” to Mount Greylock. He quoted Alcombright in saying that Mount Greylock had a social atmosphere right out of the movie “Mean Girls,” with infighting, cliques, and drama. On his blog, Avilucea defended himself as an uncompromising reporter, titling his article “I Got Fired for Being a Journalist.” Avilucea wrote that his story was not only cleared by the sports editor, Josh Colligan, but that Colligan “even sent out a tweet the next
day praising the story,” according to his blog. Although Avilucea is upset about being the controversy’s sacrificial lamb, his termination is just, since he was unwilling to take responsibility for the harm his article caused. “I’m not here to filter what people say, I’m here to report what people say,” he said. Yet Avilucea is not a babe in the woods; he knows that filtering is what journalists do. Reporters worth their salt rely on multiple sources, filtering information to get at the whole story. This is even more important when the subject of a story may not see the harm their remarks will cause. Avilucea claims he was fired because the superintendent of one of the schools barred him from campus, and the editor in chief, Mike Foster, told him he couldn’t have a reporter working under those restrictions. It’s a shame that this was the reason given for Avilucea’s termination, as it sets a dangerous precedent. A superintendent should not have the authority to bar a reporter from campus for exercising his First Amendment rights. A better reason for firing Avilucea was his refusal to accept his mistakes and realize that reputations were harmed as a result. In his conversation with Foster, Avilucea said: “I vigorously defended my work, which only irritated Foster, who said he got the impression I wasn’t ‘getting it.’” And in truth, he never got it. Not once in Avilucea’s blog did he accept responsibility or express remorse for reporting the ill-chosen remarks of a minor, insulting two high schools, and embarrass-
ing the newspaper. Rather than facing what he did, Avilucea blamed “reactionary politics,” stating that the controversy would have “blown over,” according to his blog. After being fired from the Transcript, the controversy was picked up by the Poynter Institute, a national non-profit journalism institute. In the Poynter article, written by Andrew Beaujon, Avilucea said the ‘somewhat inferior’ line was paraphrased from something Alcombright had said, and that he should have attributed it to be safe. What he doesn’t mention is why he went there at all. She’s the star soccer player—why not keep the story focused on her game? Not long after leaving North Adams, Avilucea was hired by the Register Citizen newspaper in Torrington, Conn. The management agency responsible for managing the parent companies of both the Transcript and the Register Citizen, Digital First Media, kept him in the family, as it were. It’s ironic that although Foster was told by management to fire Avilucea, the reporter now works at the sister publication to the Transcript. Foster resigned shortly after this incident, and now is a news editor at the Peninsula Daily News in Port Angeles Wash. Hopefully, Avilucea has learned from the experience and will choose his angles with more caution at his new beat, covering courts and schools. In the final analysis, Foster was right when he told Avilucea he “needed to be discerning about quoting sources since [he] was the ‘adult’ in the situation.”
While an individual parent cannot do that much about the government not investing in education, or changing the way colleges train teachers, they can do a lot about instilling a sense of academic responsibility in their child. If a parent makes education seem important to their child, than they can overcome obstacles like bad teaching or poor educational federal investment. Despite most parents proclaiming that they are interested in their child’s education, many of them are complacent with the way children are being educated in the United States. In the same study conducted by the NAEP, only 50 percent of parents think that their children need to take more difficult courses. 47 percent of parents think that their children are already busy enough with their studies, and therefore do not need anything more challenging. The remaining 3 percent did not re-
spond. Although it is a frequent topic on news programs and is covered in the media, some parents still remain unmotivated to seriously invest in their childrens’ education. A study conducted by Stanford University indicated that the average voter-turnout rate for school board elections in California is somewhere between 12-17 percent over the last 15 years. Despite parents wanting to become a figure in their childrens’ educational activities, only a small amount of them bother to show up and vote to elect the people who make the decisions concerning their childrens’ education. Parents typically have the greatest impact on their children’s lives. It is their responsibility to make sure that their children have a bright future, and that starts with instilling the value of an education inside their child from an early age.
Residence Advisors are here to help you
By Rachel Fitterman Staff Writer
Appreciate your resident advisors. They’re here to help. Apart from being is a full-time paying job, becoming an RA allows for college students to get a hands-on leadership role. Overseeing—and often becoming responsible for—a large group of peers is an invaluable experience to apply to future jobs and other leadership positions. “I personally chose to become an RA because I love being a student leader, and in my opinion becoming an RA would be one of the most rewarding student leader experiences,” said junior Rhea Werner, an RA for the Townhouse complex. The downside of assuming so much responsibility, however, is being faced with difficult situations, such as disruptive residents or the presence of drugs or alcohol. It can often be hard to remain calm or assume a position of authority, especially when the residents themselves are older than their RA. “It’s hard to remain calm during incidents like those, but what we learned in training is that we have to be confident in the rules
we are enforcing and follow our gut. It may seem like we are being the bad guy, but we have to make the residents know that we are not doing it to be mean, but to ensure their safety,” Werner said. After all, what would a world without RAs look like? Without supervision, students have total freedom—something that sounds much better in theory than it would be in practice. RAs implement rules without seeming as overbearing an authority figure as an older adult would, and being students themselves, they understand the struggles their residents are facing. One of the other, and arguably most important, parts of being an RA is community building. MCLA’s RAs are required to plan an event for their residents each month. Often these events aim to de-stress students, and for advisors in Hoosac Hall, where there is a higher amount of freshmen, allow for incoming students to get to know one another and get comfortable at the College. Attendance to these events, however, is often hit or miss. “Attendance for any RA is really hard because a lot of times we put on events, it’s during a bigger campus event, or it’s on a day when people are leaving to go home. For me personally, I have had many successful events, and a few events that have flopped,” Werner said. Yet these events can only serve to foster a greater sense of familiarity with other students, and can even be a source of fun on an otherwise boring day. Whether or not you think about them, your RAs are thinking about you— whether it be safety, guidance, or simply acting as a helping hand through four years of your life.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
What are you looking forward to next semester? “I’m looking forward to advancing to the next tier of continuous learning.”
“My alternative spring break to Belize.” -Ellie Farrell, 2014
-Brett Guest, 2014
The Beacon The Beacon is published Thursdays during the academic year and is distributed free to the College community. The Beacon is funded by the Student Government Association, the English/Communications department and from ad revenues. Contact information: News desk number: 413-662-5535 Business number: 413-662-5404 E-mail: Beacon@mcla.edu Web site: beacon.mcla.edu Office: Mark Hopkins Hall, room 111 Mission Statement The Beacon strives to provide timely and accurate news of campus and local events.
“The warmer weather.”
“Going to Hawaii over spring break.”
-Juliana Correria, 2014
-Meghan Robertson, 2015
Editorials Policy Unsigned editorials that appear on these pages reflect the views of The Beacon’s editorial board. Signed columns and commentaries that appear on these pages reflect the views of the writers. Letters Policy The Beacon welcomes Letters to the Editor. Deadline is noon on Mondays for that week’s newspaper. Letters should be kept to 500 words or less and are subject to editing for grammar and content. The Beacon will not publish anonymous or libelous letters.
“Dance Co. I really liked the show they put on this semester, so I’m excited to see what they’ll do next.”
“I am excited that it will be my last semester of college.” -T.J. Pellerin, 2014
-Tawana Venus, 2014
Letters must be signed by the writer and include a phone number. Letters may be dropped off at the office or e-mailed to Beacon@mcla.edu. Contributions Policy The Beacon accepts stories, photos, and opinion pieces for publication. Submissions should be dropped off at the office by Monday at noon or e-mailed to Beacon@mcla.edu. Advertising Policy The Beacon reserves the right not to publish any advertisement it deems to be libelous, false. or in bad taste.
Photos compiled by Sam Thomson
Birth control vs. God
By Nick Arena
Managing Editor A recent study by the Guttmacher Institute showed that due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the number of privately insured women who are no longer paying for oral contraceptives has increased from 15 percent to 40 percent. This is a good step in the right direction for reproductive rights for women. But–there’s always a but–it’s adding more fuel to the fire for religious groups that are opposed to the ACA. One example is the court case Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. The issue of the case is to determine whether or not the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, “which provides that the government ‘shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion,’” should allow the Hobby Lobby corporation the right to deny female employees health insurance coverage, according to the Supreme Court Blog. Currently, employers who do not provide the minimum health
care coverage for their employees will face a fine. So for those of you still wondering why Hobby Lobby won’t provide health coverage for their female employees, the answer is simple: they just can’t! “One of those standards is preventive health care for women; that includes contraception,” The New Yorker reported. “And that, Hobby Lobby’s owners say, would make them ‘morally complicit’ in the ‘death of an embryo.’ They can’t pay for insurance and be good Christians, they say, and the fine would cost them a lot of money.” Obviously separation of church and state only works in one direction here: the government can’t control the church, but the church can still control everybody else. If we were to consider this for a moment, would we assume that all of Hobby Lobby’s employees are Christians? The answer: no. I’m all for religious freedom. If someone doesn’t want to take birth control for religious reasons, they obviously have the right not to. However, no CEO should have the right to deny their female employees health insurance because of their personal, religious beliefs. The figure 40 percent is a good number, and hopefully it will continue to increase. For everyone so opposed to this idea: if your god does not approve of birth control, don’t take it, but stop trying to control the reproductive systems of every other free woman in the country. It’s not your problem.
Editor-in-Chief Jess Gamari
Each week, look for a local place to visit in the area
Managing Editor Nick Arena Photography Editor
Sports Editor Christopher Oxholm
A&E Editor Shannen Adamites
Web Editor Michael Dahlroth
Copy Chief Marc Latour
Senior News Editor Ryan Flynn
Staff Staff Writers
Jesse Collings Candice Crow James Hunter Gabriel Kogel* Raanan Sarid-Segal Hannah Sterrs Nick Swanson
Emily Boughton Gabriel Kogel* Amy Modesti Sam Thomson Design Team
Shannen Adamites* Nick Arena* Jess Gamari* Nicole Ngoon
Avery Finnivan Rachel Fitterman Advisers
Jenifer Augur Gillian Jones Jim Niedbalski
Adam Larson Aloysius Street Advertising
*Holds more than one position
Photo by Kayla Degnan/The Beacon
The Mount Williams Reservoir in North Adams.
From downtown North Adams, head west onto Route 2 toward Williamstown. Continue on Route 2 until you come to Notch Rd. on the left. Turn onto Notch Rd. until the end as it leads into Pattison Rd. Mount Williams Reservoir is located along Pattinson Rd.
Online at: Beacon.MCLA.edu
Thursday, December 12, 2013
A honky tonk holiday sing along Back for their second appearance in North Adams, The Sweetback Sisters will help the College and the greater community ring in the holidays with their honky tonk music, set to some holiday favorites on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium. In addition to the Sweetback Sisters, MCLA’s Jazz Band and choir, directed by composer/ musician Jeff Link of the College’s music department, as well as MCLA’s award-winning Allegrettos, and – for the first time – students from The Academy at Charlemont also will perform at this event. This MCLA Presents! singalong event started as a tradition three years ago. Students and staff at the College will transform the
MCLA Church Street Center into a holiday oasis for the evening, with free hot chocolate and cookies to be provided at the performance. “This annual traditional holiday sing-along has become one of my favorite events of the year,”said Jonathan Secor, director of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center. “What is better than having great talent on stage and the opportunity to sing your favorite holiday songs with them? The event connects MCLA with our neighbors through a good old fashion sing-along.” Sweetback Sisters Emily Miller and Zara Bode may not be blood relations, but their precise, family-style harmonies recall the best of~country~music from the 1950s and ’60s, according to Secor. The band takes their in-
spiration from the Davis~Sisters~and Louvin Brothers, as well as the spirited honky tonk energy of Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn. In 2010, they brought the singalong to North Adams, filling to capacity what was then Taylor’s (now Public Eat and Drink). Miller was Photo from BCRC Flickr first inspired to host a The Sweetback Sisters will perform sing-along while partonight in the Church Street Center. ticipating in a Christdents, and members and students mas charity event in Chicago are free. called “Songs of Good Cheer.” Tickets may be reserved by Ticket prices to MCLA Pres- calling MCLA Presents! at (413) ents! performances are $10 for 662-5204.~For more information, general admission. Tickets for (413) 664-8718, or go to www. MCLA alumni are $8, $5 for staff mcla.edu/presents. and faculty and non-MCLA stu-
MCLA’s Annual Art Sale: ‘99 and Nine: We Are Mused!’ Gallery 51 will present its annual affordable art show beginning on Thursday, Dec. 5, which will feature artwork in a range of styles and mediums from local and national artists. All pieces are priced to sell from 99 cents to $99.99. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5, 5-7 p.m., for “99 and NINE: We are Mused.” The show will be open every day through the end of December, with all art to be sold on a “cash and carry” basis. Gift wrapping will be available. According to Gallery 51 Manager Julia Morgan-Leamon, “99 and NINE: We are Mused” lowers the price point while giving a nod to artist inspiration and whimsy. “The 99 cent show has become a North Adams tradition. We’re bringing many wonderful
artists’ work into the gallery at one time. It’s not only an opportunity to enjoy the art, but it’s a shopping opportunity not to be missed,” Morgan-Leamon said. In the gallery, nine MCLA students are creating larger-than-life silhouettes of themselves - or “muses” - to be displayed throughout the exhibition. During the show, the students will be present to help gallery visitors and answer any questions they may have. The nearly 30 artists will include MorganLeamon, as well as Peter Boudreau, Michael Vincent Bushy, Danielle Christensen, Laura Christenson, Andrew Davis, Sara Farrell, Claire Fox, Richard Harrison, Sara Haze, Jennifer Huberdeau, Wendy James, Thamar JeanFedestin, David Lachman, Amrita Lash, Jake Margolin, Barbara May, Melanie Mowinski,
Welcome the Beacon Staff for Spring of 2014 Editor-in-Chief Nick Arena
Managing Editor Jess Gamari
Senior News Editor Gabe Kogel
Arts & Entertainment Editor Shannen Adamites
Sports Editor Jesse Collings
Staff Writers Nick Swanson Makayla-Courtney McGeeney Alexander Moore
Arts & Entertainment Writers Raanan Sarid-Segal Jenna O’Connor Rachel Fitterman
Sports Writers Kaleigh Anderson Kelsey Marini James Hunter
Richard LaRocque Nathan Buchanan Amy Modesti Andrew Ricketts
Rominda DeBarros Nicole L’Etoile
Page Designers Nicole Ngoon
Have a great winter break!
Dina Noto, Hideyo Okamura, Rich Remsberg, Wilma Rifkin, Ben Ripley, Christina Rosati , Josh Simpson, Christina Stott, Diane Sullivan, Nick Vaughn, Ven Voisey, Dan and Mary Weissbrodt, Colleen Williams and Cathy Wysocki. “99 and NINE: We are Mused!” will be on exhibit through Dec. 30. The gallery is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is at 51 Main St. in North Adams. For more information, (413) 664 8718, or go to www.mcla.edu/Gallery51.
Check it out!
Upcoming events on campus
Today, Dec. 12 MCLA Presents! Sweetback Church St Center Founder’s Room and Auditorium 6:30- 8:30 p.m. The Write Stuff Amsler Campus Center 3 -5 p.m. Good Vibes Yoga amsler Campus Center 8 - 9:45 p.m. The Write Stuff Amsler Campus Center 3-5 p.m. MCLA Alumni Berkshire Holiday Social MCLA Church Street Center, Founders Room 6-7 p.m. MCLA Presents! The Sweetback Sisters Church Street Center 7:30 p.m. MCLA Presents! brings a holiday sing-a-long with the Sweetback Sisters, also featuring the MCLA Jazz Band and the Allegrettos.
FINANCIAL AID ANNOUNCEMENT IT’S TIME TO GET READY FOR 2014-2015 FINANCIAL AID! The 14-15 FAFSA is available online after January 1! Apply early so you don’t miss out on aid! March 1 priority deadline! FREE FAFSA HELP Need help completing the FAFSA? Stop by the Murdock 108 Computer Lab on Monday, Jan. 27 from 6 – 8 p.m. for free help with the Financial Aid Office. Don’t forget your tax information and FAFSA pins! Any questions? Call (413)-662-5219.
Scholarship Opportunity USBundles Hometown Pride Scholarship Applications due by December 18, 2013. http://www.usbundles.com/college-scholarship
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Ceremony Photos by Kayla Degnan Children bundle up as they wait for Santa Claus to appear.
Young children tower over the crowds, carrying glow sticks and candy.
Santa hands out gift bags to the kids after the tree was lit.
Main Street is lit up by decorative lights.
Scan this QR Code to see a video of the Christmas Tree lighting!
Drury high school band starts off the tree lighting ceremony by performing for locals downtown.