The Miscellany News
Volume CXLVII | Issue 10
December 5, 2013
Since 1866 | miscellanynews.com
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
Four dead Dones elected new VP for Student Life in MTA T derailment Emily Hoffman rEpOrtEr
Maggie Jeffers & Anna Iovine rEpOrtErs
Jacob Gorski/The Gorski/The Miscellany News
n Sunday, Dec. 1, a Metro-North train from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Terminal derailed in the Bronx. Many members of the Vassar community had trouble returning to campus after Thanksgiving break. Four people on board were killed while 63 others were injured. This is the first Metro-North accident with passenger fatalities in the rail’s 30-year history (The New York Times, “Focus Turns to Investigation in Fatal Bronx Train Crash.” 12.1.13). The train was moving too fast to safely perform a turn; preliminary reports show that the train was going around 82 mph when it should have slowed to 30 mph to round the curve. National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener said at a news conference, “This is raw data off the event recorders, so it tells us what happened. It doesn’t tell us why it happened” (CNN, “‘Extreme speed’ eyed in fatal Bronx crash,” 12.3.13). According to a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) official, the train operator reported that he had to perform an emergency braking maSee DERAILMENT on page 4
uesday, Nov. 19, former Vice President for Student Life Genesis Hernandez resigned from his position. In an emergency Vassar Student Association (VSA) Council meeting, the VSA voted to fill the open position through a special election. In order to have a new representative by Thanksgiving, the election featured a combined filing and campaigning period which resulted in Danny Dones ’16 being elected the new VP for Student Life. According to the President of the Class of 2014 and Board of Elections co-chair Connor Martini ’14, “The Board of Elections and the VP for Operations worked together to assess the situation and decided that holding a special election was the best solution.”
Martini continued, “It was definitely an imperfect system that we had to throw together all at once. Since there is no set process for special elections, it was all up to the Board of Elections.” President of Raymond House Ramy Abbady ’16 also weighed in on his views of the special election. “The Special Elections process was not nearly as smooth as it could’ve been, but given the circumstances, I think the Board of Elections did the best they could have. The problems arising made it clear that the VSA needs to look at special election procedure, which we will be doing in Operations Committee,” he wrote in an emailed statement. Abbady also spoke about his feelings for the future of the VSA and Student Life Committee. He said, See STUDENT LIFE on page 4
Danny Dones ‘16 was elected as the VP for Student Life to join the VSA Exec. Though Dones was a student fellow, he petitioned in order to run for office.
Smoking ban leaves questions unanswered Bethan Johnson EditOr in ChiEf
fter half a decade of debating the implementation of a campus-wide smoking ban, the Administration announced just prior to Thanksgiving break that by July 2015 Vassar would be both a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus. President Hill wrote in a campus-wide email, “The time has come…By enacting
this initiative Vassar is underscoring its commitment to a healthy environment for all members of the college community.” Despite the Administration’s definitive declaration of the policy, aspects of the policy, such as the implementation process, remain somewhat unclear; administrators involved in the ban categorize this time as a transition period with new information being presented every
dayy. Moreover, despite the College’s assertions that this ban will foster a healthier campus due to the scientific studies linking smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke to a variety of ailments, not all members of the campus share the Administration’s enthusiasm. Although the new policy has commonly been referred to as the “smoking ban,” the stipulations of Vassar’s
new policy encompass more than smoke-producing products. According to Vassar Smoke Free, a website launched by the Administration along with the all-campus email, effective July 1, 2015 the College will apply “all tobacco and smoking products, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco and non-FDA-approved nicotine delivery See SMOKING BAN on page 8
Women’s rugby to Student-curated exhibition brings compete in Final Four Native American art to forefront Chris Brown spOrts EditOr
fter suffering a hard loss against Marist College 0-53 early in the semester, the women’s rugby team at Vassar College sought to fight back and perform well in the season. They recently ended their regular season after winning a spot in the Final Four to be held in Florida on December 7. The team ended up with a strong record of ten wins compared to two
loses, and looks to continue their success at the finals. The loss against Marist did not shake the team, according to senior Rachel Thompson. It only drove them to perform even better. “We started out slow, with a huge loss to one of our big rivals. That was a wake-up call for us,” explained Thompson in an emailed statement. “We knew we had to step up our game if we wantSee RUGBY on page 19
courtesy of Vassar College Admissions
Kenojuak “Ashevak’s Animals Out of Darkness,” shown above, is one of many Indigenous artworks that will be on display in the student-curated exhibit: Decolonzing the Exhibition. The show will be on view through Feb. 2, 2014. courtesy of Matthew Choe
The women’s rugby team has made it to the Final Four, and will travel to Florida to compete against Notre Dame College this Saturday and Sunday.
Inside this issue
Biology department struggles to keep up with demand
Margaret Yap Arts EditOr
any scholars believe that Native American culture currently finds itself in a troubling situation: too many people think of it only in the past tense. Vassar’s new course Decolonizing the Exhibition: Contemporary Inuit Prints and Drawings from the Edward J. Guarino Collection seeks to rectify this.
Amazon Prime Air delivery service not OPINIONS feasible
The course will culminate in an exhibition preceded by a panel presentation in Taylor Hall 102 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. today. The reception will be open until 9 p.m. in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, and the exhibition will be on view through Feb. 2, 2014. “One of the stereotypes is that all Native people are dead—that they no longer exist,” said Assistant Pro-
fessor of English and Native American Studies Molly McGlennen, who teaches the course. Therefore, in an effort to deconstruct this stereotype, the exhibition focuses mainly on contemporary art. “When many people think about Indigenous art, they imagine displays of artifacts in cabinets of antiquated curiosities,” wrote Logan See DECOLONIZING on page 16
Latest Spears’ album doesn’t deliver, lacks signature energy
The Miscellany News
December 5, 2013
Holidays bring a part of home to Ireland Rebecca Shubert
fAr And AWAY BlOGGEr
Daylight savings, for me, has had the curious effect of compressing time. In the last few weeks, the hours of sunlight in Ireland have shrunk, so that I wake up to blueishgray dawn, and leave the community school in the pinkish-purple of dusk. Time itself seems to be slipping away faster than usual, too; recently it occurred to me that I have less than four weeks left in Ireland, and this came as a genuine shock. When I relayed this information to the students with whom I have become quite close, they responded with an aghast, “No, Miss!” Leaving them will be bittersweet in the extreme. With the shortening days comes the sense of the holiday season fast approaching. Already the windows of shops and houses lining the streets of Clifden are collecting tinsel
and other such decorations–walking around, I overhear chatter about Christmas shopping and visiting relatives. Being abroad for the holidays is strange. It makes me miss my own friends and family, of course, but it also draws me closer to the web of the Clifden community, as many families offer me a place at their dinner tables. Only now do I realize how much dinner with my family at home and with my friends at Vassar has meant to me. Over the clinking of cutlery, the stories, and the laughter, we share our days with one another. Meals are one of the first things that pop into my head when I think about “family.” I’ve had the good fortune of meeting two lovely Oberlin graduates here–one of whom happens to be Jewish, like me. The fact that we celebrate both Hannukah and Thanksgiving while no one else in Clifden does has
drawn us together, and we have spent many happy hours making and eating food, reminiscing about the things from home that we miss and wish we could have taken with us. It’s funny what ends up becoming important to us when we travel. Usually, I put so little thought into celebrating Jewish holidays because, well, it just happens around me, whether I think about it or not. In Clifden, where the Jewish population, including me, is two people, I suddenly find that I care very much about lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and eating delicious latkes (potato pancakes). Doing these things feels like sending a tiny message across the ocean, a little connection to those in the U.S. who are celebrating together in ways I’ve taken for granted. Read about the rest of the Rebecca’s foreign holiday experience on the Far and Away blog at miscellanynews.com
courtesy of Rebecca Shubert
Clifden’s skyline is picturesquely nestled in the beautiful and unique greenery of Ireland. Rebecca Shubert ’15 has spent this past semester teaching in Clifden, Ireland as a part of her JYA experience.
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LETTERS POLICY The Miscellany News is Vassar College’s weekly open forum for discussion of campus, local and national issues, and welcomes letters and opinions submissions from all readers. Letters to the Editor should not exceed 450 words, and they usually respond to a particular item or debate from the previous week’s issue. Opinions articles are longer pieces, up to 800 words, and take the form of a longer column. No letter or opinions article may be printed anonymously. If you are interested in contributing, e-mail email@example.com.
December 5, 2013
Walton elucidates college finances, SLD claims at Council Noble Ingram nEWs EditOr
Walton also expressed a lot of enthusiasm for working with the college’s labor unions. At one point, he retold the story of how he had organized a meeting with one of the unions on campus, the Communication Workers of America (CWA). When the CWA offered to meet with Walton once a semester, Walton suggested meeting once a week. Dones commented on this willingness to work with the unions on campus, saying, “[Walton] is highly qualified to deal with union issues and he understands that Vassar does not have the same resources as other institutions when it comes to meeting staff’s needs. I believe that he intends to do the best that he can with the limited resources we have and, in this economy, I unfortunately do not feel that it is realistic to meet union demands and fully fund financial aid for students.“ Many students in attendance expressed grat-
itude for Walton’s enthusiasm for working with students as well as the clarity with which he explained the College’s finances. As Dones stated, summing up his views of the forum, “Bob was helpful in comparing Vassar’s financial situation with other institutions he has worked with or researched. I do feel that this forum was informative for the VSA and that these forums are excellent opportunities for the general student body to come to address issues and get their questions answered.” Kpulun echoed this sentiment. She said, “I feel like we, the students, can use this opportunity to learn about the counter arguments, no matter how much we disagree with them. And hopefully, with the information given at this meeting, we can find a way to work on a better form of action where the majority, hopefully everyone, can go home happy at the end of the day.”
courtesy of Vassar College
n Sunday, Dec. 1, Chief Financial Officer of Vassar College Bob Walton came to the Vassar Student Association (VSA) Council meeting to hold a forum with the VSA in attempt to clear up questions about the College’s finances and respond to some of the claims made by the Student Labor Dialogue (SLD). Walton has only been in his position at Vassar for a few months but has already met with several administration and student groups. Before Vassar, Walton worked with the Claremont College Consortium in Southern California. He also has a background in the technology industry and Silicon Valley. Walton began the forum with an explanation of his job description and the people and organizations he works with. The discussion then turned to Walton’s interactions to the SLD recently. Walton made it clear he was more than willing to meet and converse with the SLD but that if he disagreed with something they demanded, he would say so. He will also allow a small group of students to attend and observe a forum between the administration and employees in order to make these negotiations more transparent to the student body. Tewa Kpulun ’15 attended the VSA forum and reflected on Walton and the SLD. She wrote in an emailed statement, “I think that he is trying to get to know [SLD] on a personal level which is a good thing, because the college has to work with them. If not a personal relationship, at least a respectful one where both parties know to be respectful to each other.” Kpulun continued, saying, “Also, it can be a great way for the SLD concerns to be brought up to union leaders. Maybe it’s just me and my optimistic mind, but I believe that Bob can and will stick to his word about helping the SLD.” Walton finished the discussion about SLD optimistically, hoping to turn down the tension between groups on campus over this issue. The conversation then moved to focus on the financial priorities of the College. Walton explained that for Vassar, financial aid marks the most important priority for the budgeting. VP for Student Life Danny Dones ‘16 re-
sponded positively to Walton’s outlook on the college’s financial priorities. He wrote in an emailed statement, “As a student on financial aid, I do believe that it is the proper first priority because, when it is carried through at more than a surface value, it helps ensure increased access to human capital for more than the wealthy.” Kpulun echoed this sentiment, speaking to Walton’s priority to financial aid and Vassar’s need blind statues in general. “As much as I’d like to see everyone in all levels receive the maximum benefit from our finances, it is also hard to request that need blind aid should not be 100 [percent],” she said. She continued, speaking to the value she gives to Vassar’s financial aid offerings. She said, “I was also glad that the college’s top priority is need blind aid, because without that I wouldn’t be here and I think it’s safe to say that the 60 [percent] of students on campus who receive this aid are very grateful for it.” Walton also compared Vassar’s finances to the financial organizations of many of Vassar’s peer institutions. He made the point that Vassar’s endowment is much smaller than many other liberal arts colleges. Furthermore, Vassar’s commitment to remain need blind puts it in a minority of colleges. Some members of the VSA expressed concerns at the forum for making the College accessible to students with greater financial needs once they have already arrived on campus. Walton acknowledged that challenges still exist for many students and that the College is still working to fix problems in the system. Walton also clarified that since he has only been at Vassar for a few months, he has a lot left that he wants to do. President of South Commons Rebecca Bauer ’14 gave her reactions to Walton’s discussion of the College’s endowment. Bauer reflected, “He is very committed to remaining need blind and recognizes that, because we have a much smaller endowment than other schools that are need blind, sometimes that means we need to make sacrifices.” She went on, “I was very appreciative of how dedicated he was and how eager he was to work with and hear from students.”
Chief Financial Officer for the college, Bob Walton, visited a VSA Council meeting in order to respond to questions from Council members and to clarify his interactions with the Student Labor Dialogue.
Faculty, administrators acknowledge privileges in display Debbie Altman & Noble Ingram GuEst rEpOrtEr & nEWs EditOr
their artist statement and image statement.” The decision to open with Vassar faculty and staff voices before working with students created the opportunity to present the issues in a new way. Jarvis continued, “[Burgos-López], [Inoa] and myself felt it was important that employees step up and show the ways in which we experience privilege and how we negotiate our many different identities. We wanted to show Vassar administrators and faculty in a different light than students usually see us.” On Tuesday, several administrators and faculty members, including Jarvis, spoke in a panel discussion about the goals of the campaign and the process through which the photos were made. One student who attended the event was Alejandro McGhee ’16. He spoke to his own re-
Sam Pianello/The Pianello/The Miscellany News
n Monday, Dec. 2, faculty and administrators unveiled the Privilege Campaign, a show of portrait photographs of faculty and administrators detailing the privilege that each of these individuals experience. The show is located in the faculty commons and a panel discussion took place on the following day, Tuesday, Dec. 4. Each photograph in the show depicted a close-up image of the face of an individual. Superimposed over these faces were words the individual had written, explaining the privileges that each of them benefited from. The photos were taken by ALANA Center interns Alisa Prince ’14, Sieu Nguyen ’17 and Giselle Sanchez Huerta ’16. The editing was done by Vassar photographer Monica Church and Assistant Director of Campus Activities Dominique Waldron. The photos are accompanied by written statements made by the individuals who were photographed. Many of these statements dealt with the same themes of individual privilege. One such image, written by Dean of the College D.B. Brown stated, “I am increasingly aware that in almost all social dimensions (sex, race, social class, sexual orientation, age), I have enjoyed tremendous privilege for a long time. The discussions generated by the Privilege Campaign have really been thought provoking and I realize that privileged status can bring with it a lack of awareness to that status. This has definitely been true for me.” Another statement was written by Assistant Director of Campus Activities Dominque Waldron. She wrote, “Whether or not intentional, participating in the Privilege Campaign forced me to realize that I do not consider myself to be very privileged. Coming from a low-income background, I’ve had to work tirelessly to prove that I was worthy of assimilating out of the ‘ghetto.’” The statement went on, “ I have two degrees
from prominent institutions, but I am burdened with student loan debt. Although I am an educated and determined young professional, I will always be black first and woman second; leaving my real achievements unrecognized.” Director for the Campus Life LGBTQ Center and Women’s Center Judy Jarvis ’07 explained the development of the event. “The idea developed from the Bias Incident Response Team wanting to do some proactive and educational work on campus around issues of bias and privilege,” she wrote in an email. “The Campaign itself was designed by Luz Burgos-López, Luis Inoa and myself, a sub-team of BIRT. We three have been working since August to design the Campaign, recruit participants, take photos, and lead workshops in which participants wrote
The Privilege Campaign features images of faculty and administrators dsiplaying accounts of their privileges across their faces. The show is open to all and is located in the faculty commons.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
actions to the event. “ I really like that the event created a vulnerable space for the participants and attendees to talk about the complexities of their privilege,” he said. Though the opening of the show enjoyed a large turn-out, fewer students were in attendance for the panel discussion. As McGhee said in a written statement, “The turnout was definitely less than I expected. I know that Tuesday during that time slot is a difficult time for people to show up but still I think conversations like this should take priority over a lot of other things if we do agree that these moments need to happen.” He continued, “I think that it is one thing to talk about the administration being very reactive to incidences of bias and/or hate speech but the effort needs to be put in by the VC community to be active participants in these proactive processes of dialogue.” The campaign aimed to raise awareness and focus on community building. Jarvis wrote, “The Campaign hopes to promote both introspection and thoughtfulness about the climate of our community. We wanted both participants and viewers of the gallery to think about their daily experiences of privilege or lack of privilege.” Overall, their was a largely positive reaction to the campaign. Jarvis explained, “It was exciting that around 150 people came through during the Gallery Opening on Monday; that, to me, is a great success. The Gallery is up through Dec. 20th, so I hope many more folks will stop by and take a look.” The campaign will continue in the spring; however, this time it will include students. Jarvis notes, “The real test of the success of the Campaign will be in how many people participate in the spring installment, which is open to students and all employees.” She concluded, “I hope that having seen the installation in December, it will inspire may different people on campus to get involved.”
Outside the Bubble
Derailment disrupts travel back to Vassar DERAILMENT continued from page 1
This weekend in Geneva, Iran and six world powers, the US, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, reached a deal to limit the Teheran nuclear program. President Obama claims that this deal has “opened a new path toward a world that is more secure” (Al Jazeera, “World powers reach nuclear deal with Iran at Geneva talks,” 11.23.2013). There are four key provisions raised from the deal. The first is that there will be no enrichment of uranium above 5 percent U-235, meaning that any materials that contain more than 5 percent must be blended down or be changed to a form not usable for weapons. The second is that no more centrifuges, which play an important role in enriching U-235, can be installed or produced. The last provision is full access of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect nuclear facilities, which includes daily visits to Natanz and Fordow, two top-secret plants, and continuous camera surveillance (Forbes, “Iranian Nuclear Deal is a Good One,” 11.30.2013). For agreeing to these provisions, Iran is relieved of some of their sanctions to help their economy. They are going to be paid $7 billion, which has been frozen abroad by the sanctions. However, most of the assets, around $100 billion, will remain frozen abroad (Global Post, “Iran, World powers to discuss Geneva deal on weekend,” 12.3.2013). The Geneva accord is an interim deal and will be reviewed in six months. Meanwhile, the deal has caused strong reactions from nearby countries. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal a “historic mistake” and is worried about the safety of Israel as a result. US Secretary of State John Kerry responded that Israel has actually been made safer from the deal because “we are going to have insights to their program that we did not have before” (Al Jazeera, “Iran Nuclear Deal: Mixed Global reactions to Geneva accord,” 11.24.2013). In addition, Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi has claimed that Tehran will never completely abandon the heavy-water reactor at Arak (Reuters, “Iran says to continue building at Arak nuclear site despite deal,” 11.27.2013).
neuver called “dumping” the brakes. Dumping the brakes is seen as a last resort effort, typically utilized to stop a train collision. The maneuver, however, was done too late to prevent the derailment (The New York Times). An investigation has been opened to determine the cause of the accident. Weener said at the conference that authorities would be looking into the engineer, William Rockefeller Jr., as well as his recent work at Metro-North and his mobile phone records (CNN). Rockefeller has been a Metro-North employee for about twenty years (The Wall Street Journal, “New York Derailment Kills 4,” 12.2.13). “We’re looking more towards the operation of the vehicle and the speed of the train, and that can either be an equipment failure or it can be an operator error,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a news conference, “We don’t really know at this time” (The Wall Street Journal). “The curve has been here for many, many years, right, and trains take the curve every day, 365 days a year,” Cuomo added, explaining how this accident is a unique incident. “We’ve always had this configuration. We didn’t have accidents. So there has to be another factor,” he said (CNN). As a result of the accident, Metro-North suspended service between Tarrytown and Grand Central Terminal, while Amtrak suspended service between Albany and Penn Station. Those who needed to get to Poughkeepsie from Grand Central had to take the Harlem Line to White Plains, then take a bus to Tarrytown. From there, passengers took the Hudson Line to Poughkeepsie. President Catharine Hill sent a school-wide advisory email the day of the derailment. Because of some students’ reliance on Metro-North and Amtrak to return to campus, Hill stated, “Faculty should expect that some students will be late in returning tomorrow.” “Luckily I was able to return before Monday, but I still had to endure hours of travel,” said Samantha Smith ’16, one student affected by the derailment. “I arrived at Penn Station from Philadelphia and was scheduled to get on an 11:20 Amtrak train to Poughkeepsie. But once I got to Penn I saw that trains to Poughkeepsie were ‘delayed indefinitely.’ I had no idea how I was going to get back to Vassar,” she continued. “I freaked out for maybe a half hour. I contacted friends who I knew were getting rides
Black Friday sales create opportunities for people to buy goods they would usually not be able to afford and for businesses to have a booming start to the holiday shopping season. Black Friday originated in Pennsylvania due to the number of people the police had to deal with the day after Thanksgiving. The police department coined the term due to the mayhem created by the traffic jams, the crowds and the brawls that occur over cheap products. This day is known for the violence it causes: last year, two people were shot in Florida in a fight over a parking spot outside of a Walmart. In addition, black ink is used by accountants to signify a profitable day when recording profit entries, so it is also interpreted as a successful Friday for retailers across the country. Annually, the National Retail Federation releases shopper counts after Thanksgiving weekend. The number of shoppers this year was the highest it has ever been: an estimated 248 million shoppers from around the world participated. The estimated profits made in sales were around $57.4 billion, which is a decrease from last year’s $59.1 billion (USA Today, “Thanksgiving shopping becomes social, but spending down,” 12.2.2013). All the hype that is built up toward Black Friday sales inevitably leads to accidents and violence. This year’s Black Friday caused one death and almost 20 injuries. On Friday morning, a car of teenagers driving back at 7:24 a.m. from a night of shopping got into an accident after the driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a gas sign. The driver died from the crash while the four passengers were all injured and are currently at CaroMont Regional Medical Center (Gaston Gazette, “Teen returning home from Black Friday shopping killed in wreck,” 11.29.2013). Although this accident did not directly occur at a Black Friday sales site, it is still considered a related incident. Other incidents included a shopper getting pepper-sprayed and arrested by police for disorderly conduct and arguing with the store manager (NBC, “Shopper pepper sprayed, arrested in argument over TV,” 11.29.2013) and the trampling of an 11-year-old girl at a Walmart. —Shelia Hu, Guest Reporter
courtesy of ABC News
Nuclear Deal for Iran
Huge Crowds for Black Friday
December 5, 2013
On Sunday, Dec. 1 a Metro-North train traveling southbound derailed killing four individuals and injuring a total of 63 people. Metro-North and Amtrak suspended some of their services as a result. back to school, and eventually my roommate said she would drive me. I had to wait until 5:30 until her uncle was available so I got back to school a lot later than expected,” Smith said, “But once I knew I wasn’t going to be stuck at Penn forever, everything was fine.” “I was planning on taking Metro-North back sometime Sunday afternoon,” said Smith’s roommate, Kristell Taylor ’16, “and then I saw what happened on the news. My uncle agreed to drive [Smith] and me back to Vassar, but since he works on Sundays we had to wait a bit.” “My travel plans were changed by the derailment,” said Colette Fletcher-Hoppe ’15 in an emailed statement. Fletcher-Hoppe explained, “Metro-North re-routed its Hudson Line customers onto a train from the Harlem Line, which stopped in White Plains. From there, we took a shuttle to Tarrytown, a station on the Hudson Line North of the derailment. From Tarrytown, we had a forty-minute wait for another train, which took us back North to Poughkeepsie.” Students agreed, however, that being inconvenienced was a minor consequence of the derailment. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited injured passengers at Montefiore
Medical Center and at St. Barnabas Hospital and spoke on their behalf, remarking on the tragedy of the event. He said, “The tragic thing is four people who aren’t going to come home. I think at this point most, if not all, of those that were critical look like they will be okay, eventually” (The New York Times). “The detour was two hours out of my way, and after waking up at 7:00 a.m. and spending all day traveling, I was not happy to get back to campus late at night,” Fletcher-Hoppe said. She continued, “However, I’m sure the situation was much worse for Metro-North and its employees, who had to manage customer complaints and the post-Thanksgiving travel rush, not to mention the victims of the crash and their families.” “Reading about the fatalities really put things into perspective,” Smith said. “Yeah, I couldn’t get back to school as early as I wanted to, but if that’s my biggest problem coming out of this then I shouldn’t be complaining.” Fletcher-Hoppe agreed, saying, “For me, this was a hassle, but for some it meant a hospital visit, and for others, a funeral to attend. It’s really upsetting to think of the families who lost their loved ones right after Thanksgiving, during Hanukkah, and just before the Christmas holiday season.”
Dones to focus on repairing campus climate STUDENT LIFE continued from page 1
“I’m very excited that [Dones] was elected. We were in the same Fellow group last year, and we’ve been on House Team together this year. He seems to be very in tune with the issues students are experiencing, so I think he’s very well-suited to be the VP for Student Life.” The VP for Student Life is the primary liaison to the Dean of the College division, executes projects and responds to student concerns and ideas that are related to any of the non-academic aspects of Vassar. Responsibilities of the position include working with resources on campus including Residential Life, Campus Dining, Security, the Campus life offices and student organizations. The position also represents the student voice on several committees including the Committee on College Life, Orientation Committee, the Bias Incident Response Team, and the Committee on Inclusion and Excellence. In addition, the VP for Student Life facilitates the Student Life Committee which meets once a week. When Dones initially filed for the position he was told by the Board of Elections that he was ineligible to apply for the position because he held the post of a Raymond House student fellow. Dones challenged the ruling and requested a judicial board hearing but it did not end up happening because the parties involved—the VSA, Dones and the Office of Residential Life—were able to come to an agreement. The VSA was worried that holding both positions would be a conflict of interest, while the Office of Residential Life worried that both positions would be too much of a time commitment to occupy together.
Ultimately, the compromise all parties came to was that if Dones won the election, he would have to step down from his position as Raymond student fellow. Dones said that after winning the election, leaving his fellow group was a difficult decision to make. At the same time, Dones is extremely excited about fulfilling his new position. Dones is Latin American and Latino/a Studies major and music and culture correlate, which he became interested in during his involvement with the African American/Black, Latino, Asian/Asian American, Native American Center (ALANA) Center, and more specifically, Poder Latina/o, for which Dones served as president until recently. According to Dones, “After coming to Vassar I had to put into context my identity in relationship to everyone else’s identity around me. I was able to attend more in-depth conversations about identity, including the ALANA Center leadership retreat.” He continued, “During the past year and a half, a lot of things I have faced in my personal life at Vassar made me feel like Vassar was not my space and it encouraged me to try and make it my space and to try and understand the voice and concerns of other people who felt the same way which is why I was extremely interested in the position.” Dones expressed his excitement for the semester ahead and hopes to continue a lot of the projects that Hernandez was working on in the past few months. Some of these projects include creating more accessible gender-neutral bathrooms, finding funding for students who are unable to go home over break, discussion on academic spaces, work on the
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Sexual Assault and Violence Prevent (SAVP) process. Dones talked about his own vision for improving student life at Vassar, saying, “I would like to focus on the beauty Vassar already has within and work on how to improve that as well as student’s lives who are affected by their identity on campus. I want to facilitate more dialogues on campus to include conversations that aren’t solely focused on race.” Dones went further, emphasizing his interest in working with Vassar’s peer institutions. He said, “I also want to look into approaches used by other schools, such as Skidmore [College] and Brown [University], to deal with similar issues that Vassar encounters.” He continued, “I was also thinking of some sort of disorientation manual, which is something other schools use to orient freshmen—a list of terms and concepts they might not be familiar with that make it easier for them to question the social norms they have been raised with when adjusting to the new environment and climate at their school.” Dones also spoke about his feelings toward starting the position mid-year: “It is a little daunting, there is a lot of relationship building that needs to be done in order to fulfill the job but I’m very good with change so I’m not too worried about that. My biggest worry is that what has gone on in the last few weeks regarding the former VP of Student Life has shattered people’s views on the VSA and the Bias Incident Response Team. Reestablishing the credibility of my position and the VSA in the best way is a concern of mine. I do also admire [Hernandez] and his intentions so they will be big shoes to fill.”
December 5, 2013
Winter at VC: inclement weather always on the radar Aja Saalfeld
Katie de Heras/The Heras/The Miscellany News
fter a few false starts it has become clear—winter is finally coming. As the days grow shorter and the weather colder, so too do budding dreams of weather related class cancellations and the snow days of high school. But colleges, and particularly Vassar, do not usually let weather get in the way of classes all that easily. Especially in the Northeast, it takes a certain type of bad weather to cause a College-wide shutdown, though professors are generally free to make their own decisions regarding class cancellations. According to Associate Vice President for Human Resources Ruth Spencer, any sort of delay or shutdown for the College involves working with a variety of administrators and other employees to come to the best decision for a particular weather situation. “The Grounds manager monitors the weather and consults with the Vice President for Finance and administration to determine whether their will be a delay in opening or closing of the school,” wrote Spencer in an emailed statement. Since not all procedures involve a wholesale shutdown of the school, Spencer went on to explain the benefits of delays, which work to make the campus more accessible for students and employees alike. She said, “A delay allows for the grounds crew to address parking lots, walkways, roadways, if necessary…before the general population of employees arrive.“ An unavoidable part of winter in Northeast is the potential for an abundance of snow, ice and hail, as well as subfreezing temperatures and biting wind chills. But ice and snow aren’t the only weather events that can shutdown the school and make dreams of delayed—or cancelled—classes come true. Wrote Spencer, “Since I have been here there usually are a few delays in openings during the winter. We haven’t closed for a whole day more than a couple of times in a single year. There have been wind/rain storms
Vassar has seen its share of inclement weather in recent years. As in the case of Hurricane Irene 2010 and Sandy in 2011, a severe storm can disrupt classes, cancel events and confine students indoors. that required delays.” In fact, normal winter weather is usually not the cause for any large-scale cancellations. Two weather events that had significant impact on the College community in recent memory were the Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, both of which caused at least partial shutdown of the Vassar campus, in addition to carving wide swathes of wind and water damage throughout the entire Northeast. Hurricane Irene had an impact on a smaller number of on-campus students than Hurricane Sandy did, since it occurred during Freshman Orientation and fewer students were on campus, while Sandy happened later in the year when the entire student body was on campus. Both of these storms spurred administration and some House Teams into action to keep students safe and comfortable while they weathered out the storms. According to Jewett House President Tewa
Kpulan ’15, Jewett House had a procedure in place during Sandy, providing food and entertainment for the House. Kpulan was on Jewett House Team at that point as well, working as a Student Fellow. She said, “We got everyone within Jewett to come downstairs with a card that had their name, ID number and phone number. We advised that everyone stay indoors until further notice. Food was brought to us and we told everyone that board games were available if anyone got bored.” While Hurricane Sandy certainly had a bigger impact in terms of sheer number of on-campus students affected, Irene was the storm that continues to have an effect on the College to this day. Since it was specifically freshmen and House Teams that were stuck inside during this storm, it inspired a type of freshman orientation event that House Teams have implemented these past two years—
House Love Lockdown. Being forced to stay inside the dorms during Irene, when everyone in the Class of 2015 was still new to the College and had not yet formed solid friend groups, according to Kpulan, helped bond some people to their Houses and fellow groups. “It was a good experience for me, because I got closer with my fellow group and the other members on our floor,” said Kpulan. However, she does not believe that the House Love Lockdown is necessarily right for everyone. She went on to say, “I think that it’s a great idea metaphorically, however no one should be forced to be in their dorm for five hours if they don’t want to. I, speaking as a regular Vassar Student and not as Jewett’s President, think that it should be up to the House Teams if they want to do a [House Love Lockdown] or not.” Not every storm results in as intense preparations as a hurricane, but there are procedures in place for almost any potential severe weather situation—and it does need to be taken on a case by case basis according to Spencer. “Each situation has to be assessed on an individual basis and directed accordingly. Any decision is made by the President Senior Officers of the College in consultation with Safety and Security, Human Resources, Communications, local law enforcement and emergency authorities, [Building and Grounds], Dining, [the] Health Clinic and any other key departments in the College,” wrote Spencer. While there are many possibilities of shutdown inducing weather, ultimately, the primary goal of severe weather procedures are to keep students comfortable and safe during the inevitable quirks of atmosphere that result in hurricanes, wind storms and the infamous nor’easter snow storms that are always a wintry possibility in Upstate New York. Said Spencer, “The College does review our crisis management system annually and there are crises exercises that are conducted periodically. Keeping students safe and comfortable is the College’s number one priority in emergency situations.”
VC homepage photos help reveal aspects of student life Eloy Bleifuss Prados fEAturEs EditOr
far in advance, deciding which photo will appear and when. “Ideally, I try to stay a couple months ahead with prepped homepages, if I can. But I often plan the schedule farther ahead than that,” she wrote. Occasionally the office will design a special homepage. Examples of this include the annual Halloween digital illustration. One homepage that proved enduringly popular, Guyer said, was the 2008 April Fools page, which took on the appearance of a mid-1990’s webpage complete with brightly colored font and spinning GIFS. “This site requires Netscape Explorer 3.0 or later,” reads a scrolling bar of text, while another proclaims “Best of the Web 1996.” Web Developer Chris Silverman created the page, and he was also the one responsible for
the past eight annual Halloween pages. This year his page featured an “Architectural rendering for the future Center for the Study of Dark Arts.” A moving graphic of a castle-like building that, from its appearance, shoots lightning bolts and is home to the Eye of Sauron and a giant womp-womp—though Silverman intended it to be a squirrel. As Silverman wrote in an emailed statement, ”Each project gives me a chance to try something I’m interested in, or explore a new approach, so I’m proud of all of them for different reasons. That said, the Halloween pages are high on the list of the coolest things I’ve worked on at Vassar.” Every homepage dating back to January 2011 is available in a digital archive found underneath the week’s current photo.
courtesy of Vassar College
oogle “Vassar College,” click on the first hit and you will be directed to a page featuring a wide horizontal photo. The College’s main website—www.vassar.edu—contains the links to resources and directories to every section and level of the institution, but its central display is a photograph detailing some aspect of campus life. The image constantly changes and is replaced with a new one by the Office of Communications every two or three days. Collected together and viewed in full, the homepage image offer a sweeping tableau of Vassar history and life, as told through a careful selection of some of its more intriguing and beautiful photos. Director of Web Development at the Office of Communications Carolyn Guyer oversees the homepage. She works with the office’s web developers and said she has the final decision over which photos make it online and when. When the homepage updates, two photos are ever the same. In the past month photos appearing on the website homepage have shown a portrait of the women’s rugby team; Vassar’s production of Way of the World; an alumnus from the class of ’89 who was named teacher of the year by People Magazine; a detail from a painting on loan in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center; and Tasty Tuesdays. The wide selection of photos, according to Guyer, aims to showcase to the general public what she describes as the eclectic range of interests and topics on campus. “[T]he range is quite diverse, and is intended to cumulatively convey the breadth and nuance of the college’s character,” wrote Guyer in an emailed statement, adding, “We cover student life, the full range of academic life, alums, athletics, etc.” Vice President For Communications Susan Dekrey said that her office is responsible for promoting college information not only to those affiliated with Vassar but also to the outside world.
“The college homepage serves as an entry point for many people who are interested in Vassar. The stories we tell about the college through the photographs, captions and related links on the homepage can give people a sense of the college,” wrote Dekrey in an emailed statement. Guyer echoed that the website is the public face of Vassar College. “The homepage has an extremely broad audience, including prospectives, campus community, alums, families, local region, other colleges, the media, and basically anyone else in the world who might be interested in Vassar,” she wrote. The new homepage began in 2011 with the 150th anniversary of Vassar’s founding. Guyer told how the rest of the Office of Communications designed a new homepage, whereby a new image appeared daily on the website in honor of the milestone. The photos were taken from the archives that showed different points in the college’s history. Each day brought new snapshot of the college in a particular moment in time and in the world, from its time as an all women’s school up to its coeducational present. “However, changing the homepage daily is almost impossible given our staffing and workload, so for that one year, it was a gift to all who love Vassar and were celebrating our sesquicentennial,” said Guyer. After 2011 she continued to change the homepage, instead of less frequently than once a day. “Changing the image and story three times a week is still a very high challenge, but so far, we’ve been able to meet it,” added Guyer. Today, nearly three years after the sesquicentennial, the homepage’s backdrop focuses more on the college’s present history: current art installations, features on alumnae/i and student projects. Accompanying each photo will be an explanatory caption and often a link to a story written by a staff member of the Office of Communications. Guyer said that she plans the homepage
Updated at least twice a week, the Vassar’s website homepage displays photographs of campus culture, special events and notable community members.
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December 5, 2013
Biology students grapple with registration frustration Bethany Terry
courtesy of Alumni Hub
n the next few years the science industry is expected to grow at an incredible rate. The Bureau of Labor predicts that between 2010 and 2020, life science jobs will rise 20.4 percent (Occupational employment projections to 2020, 2012). With this projected increase, it seems that many Vassar students are on the right track. Over the last few years the number of Vassar students studying science has risen, creating a problem. Has the number of science students outgrown what Vassar can offer? Currently, 60 students remain on waitlists, hoping to get into a biology class next semester. Acting Dean of the Faculty Stephen Rock notes that this is a trend occurring in several different departments. “In addition to Biology, we are also seeing increasing student demand for courses in Chemistry, Economics, and Mathematics, among others,” he noted, writing in an emailed statement. The Biology Department is working to open more seats in classes, but not everyone will be able to get in. For a variety of reasons, adding enough new sections and seats for everyone is not possible. Chair of the Biology Department John Long says that size of the lab section, space limitations, staff limitations and faculty limitations are all problems that prevent everyone from getting into a class. Biochem major Jenny Nguyen ‘14 shared what she thinks is the source of registration trouble. She wrote in an emailed statement, “The department is really understaffed, and this problem is exacerbated when professors are on sabbatical, especially those who are the only professors known to teach a particular subject, because that often means that certain courses are unavailable for an entire year.” With a limited number of technicians and faculty, adding classes is difficult, as more people would have to be hired, which the budget may not be able to support. But Long believes that these are not the most pressing issues. Said Long, “Foremost here is safety: too many students in a laboratory might quickly lead to unsafe conditions.”
Students in the Biology Department have been growing frustrated at a lack of space in classes and the number of professors away from the College. Other departments are witnessing similar problems. Space is another issue, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem that will be addressed anytime soon. Although the demand for biology courses is expanding, the department is actually losing space in the coming year. Long noted that in 2014, when the department moves back into Olmsted Hall of the Biological Sciences after vacating it for the summer, the department will have less space than before. To make room for the addition of the Psychology Department to Olmsted, the Biology Department will lose a microscopy suite, a stockroom and several laboratories. While the Biology Department seems to need more space, Acting Dean of the Faculty Rock believes that this won’t be too much of an issue. Admitting that he might not be the best person to ask about space concerns, he wrote “[W]e don’t anticipate any detrimental impact on Biology students.” While the department has added new hires
each year, in her seven years here, Director of the Biochemistry Program Jodi Schwarz notes that they all have been replacements. While there’s been more demand for biology classes, the department actually has one less professor than it did seven years ago. “However, we are currently hiring an Animal Behavior position that will bring us back to the same number of tenure track lines that we had when I started here,” wrote Schwarz. For Milee Nelson ’16, not taking a biology class next semester would complicate he plans for the future. Currently Nelson is waiting to get into Biology 238, Genetics. But because she has the time to make up for it in the coming semesters, she is optimistic. “I’m not going abroad, so it’s not a big problem for me personally, but it is for many,” she said. Biology major Maya Khatri ‘15 has also had troubled registering for biology and biology-chemistry classes in her Vassar career.
As Khatri wrote in an emailed statement, “Last year I joined a new class taught by a professor as her first teaching job, because I couldn’t get into anything else and they created the class after so many people were wait listed for biology classes.” She explained that although the class proved productive, she still faced challenges specializing within her major. “It was a good class but it’s hard to have a focus in anything with requirements and the difficulty of getting into small lab classes.”The current status of the waitlists may be promising for some. Wrote Long, “As of today, 2 Dec 2013, we are waiting for CCP (Committee on Curricular Policies) to consider our request to teach a new section of Molecular Genetics (Biology 238), on Wednesday. CCP needs to rule if we can use this illegal teaching time, and they meet on 5 December 2013. This extra laboratory was made possible by additional funding from the Dean of the Faculty, Steve Rock. The new section will add 18 seats at the 200 level. This will allow about half of those on the Molecular Genetics waitlist to take the course, but ultimately leave 42 students without a biology class next semester. What will happen to those students vying to meet their major requirements is unclear. Nguyen does not consider providing additional sections after preregistration a viable solution.“The problem with resolving the issue this way is that by the time the new section opens, people who were unable to get into the class have figured out an alternative schedule, so it seems like interest in the class has declined,” wrote Nguyen. Wrote Rock, “It’s my hope that every sophomore who wishes to do so, will be able to enroll in a 200-level Biology course next semester. It’s also my hope that the enrollment situation in that department will improve in the fall with the addition of new faculty members.” Said Schwarz, “We wish that every student could take every course that they wanted, in the semester that they want it. However, this is not realistic. Given the enrollment pressures that we are working under, we work very, very hard to try and accommodate students who are wait listed for courses.”
Palace Dumplings worth a departure from Arlington Aja Saalfeld
courtesy of Palace Dumplings
wo years ago I was invited to go along to what my then-friends called an “off-campus dining adventure” to a restaurant they simply referred to as “Dumpling.” Being that I was a naive, campus-bound freshman, and they had cars, I decided to go along, despite the fact that all but one of them were intimidating upperclasspeople and that I do not do awkward social interactions. While I do not really move in the same circles as those people anymore, let me tell you, I am glad I went along that fateful night, because I found my favorite off-campus, out-of-the-bubble restaurant, Palace Dumplings. Hell, I found my favorite restaurant, period. The almost absurdly tiny restaurant next to a generic pizzeria with an identical floor plan and a Smokes 4 Less changed my life forever. When I say the place is tiny, I mean it—there are maybe seven tables and I have had the same waitress every time I have been there since that first off-campus dining adventure. The atmosphere works for it though; it is not the most bustling of eateries and the small venue affords the dining experience a sort of intimacy one might not get in a significantly larger restaurant. When the menu consists of, you guessed it, dumplings and a begrudging concession to a few drinks and appetizers, I don’t feel the need for intense mood lighting and a fleet of grinning waitstaff in color-coordinated outfits. I just want my dumplings, and the understated atmosphere certainly lets the dumplings speak for themselves. In addition to a chill ambiance that makes for a low-key dining experience, one of the big draws is simply the wide array of choices on their menu. While they might not have a great diversity in types of food, they more than make up for it with their specialty, dumplings. Under the pork section alone are almost a dozen
choices, from traditional pork and cabbage to more creative options featuring mushrooms and eggs. I don’t eat pork, so I go in for their chicken and onion dumplings, steamed, or sometimes lamb and mushroom. If I’m feeling particularly indulgent I might pay up the extra dollar and extra calories to have them deep fried, because there is almost nothing better than deep fried carbs and meat. Where else can I get a pick of seven different kinds of lamb dumplings? Certainly not at any of the restaurants near Vassar—it’s all pork or veggie, or maybe, if I’m lucky, a seasonal option for chicken. I also go for the tea. I’m a huge tea fan, and for a dollar, it’s unlimited hot jasmine tea at Palace Dumplings. If I’m left to my own choices, I can cheerfully polish off at least two pots while I’m there, and more if my friends don’t kindly encourage me to stop before I burst, or worse, I get to full to eat dumplings. And nothing should come between me and the three dozen dumplings I am likely to order while I’m there with my friends/co-conspirators in dumpling related adventures. If the menu has a wide variety, then their sauces certainly do as well. When dumplings are the main draw, and not just relegated to the side menu, a variety of toppings is important, and Palace Dumplings delivers. On each table sit a variety of little pots with sauces of various colors and labels, some of which I still can’t identify. But here’s a secret: they are all delicious. You can’t go wrong. Unfortunately, something is rotten in the state of my access to delicious pockets of dough and meat—my favorite restaurant is not conveniently located on Raymond Avenue within walking distance, and it doesn’t deliver. Honestly, if Palace Dumplings delivered, I would never leave Arlington, Vassar or my dorm. If I could get them to bring it up the elevator, I might not even leave my suite. But as it stands, neither delivery nor never-leaving-my-
Palace Dumplings, a tiny restaurant that boasts a big personality and a bigger menu, gives students an opportunity to get out of the Vassar Bubble for some quality dumplings. suite-again are options that Palace Dumplings offers, so I have to settle for only getting my need for dumplings satiated a couple times a month. And so while I do thoroughly enjoy breaking out of the bubble, I’m not sure if my friends appreciate my constant insinuation, begging, pleading and encouraging to use up a not insignificant amount of gas and time to get dumplings. Trip to the mall? Better stop for dumplings on the way back. Just went out to Wappinger’s Falls for a new piercing? Definitely need some dumplings to get my blood sugar up again. Driving from one parking lot to the other on-campus? Still probably at least a bit of a justification for driving 15 minutes off-campus
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for dumplings. While I might have a bit of a problem with how often I want—supposedly “need” is too strong of a word here, but I argue that I would sooner go without water than dumplings— to make the trek out to dumplings, I have no regrets and do my best to share the love for dumplings with everyone I know. With vegetarian options as well as the more traditional meat fare, it really does serve a wide audience with its diversity in dumpling choices, and for that, I recommend Palace Dumplings with zero reservations. Plus being a regular means I know exactly how to mix my sauces—splash of soy sauce, swirl of purple dumpling sauce, and a scoop of pepper flakes. Give it a try sometime.
December 5, 2013
Women’s Health Center provides essential services Julia Cunnigham GuEst rEpOrtEr
he Women’s Health Center at Baldwin Hall is a resource for individuals seeking information, diagnosis and treatment for or about gynecological and breast health issues. The clinic is located on the second floor of Baldwin, separated from the general health area to make visitors more comfortable with seeking treatment. According to its website, the Women’s Health Center provides a wide variety of services including sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, birth control prescription, HPV immunization, care for menstrual and hormonal disorders, contraception, pregnancy testing and referral and health and access education. Health Center Nurse Practitioner Anne
Dadarria said, “As far as the routine visit, I’d say the birth control pill maintenance, and as far as problem visits probably yeast infection, and a lot of things in-between.” Confidentiality is a key factor at the Health Center. “I always ask a student if I can contact a parent and usually they’ll let me. But certainly, if they say no and I’m worried about their life, then yes I would [breach confidentiality]” said Dadarria, adding, “Hopefully confidentiality is not an issue.” Doctor Irene Balawajder estimated their clinic has about 1,200 to 1,300 visits a year. Balawajder also explained the distribution of the student patients that come into the Health Center. “In terms of business we see a fair amount of mix across the board of years. We probably tend to see more seniors because they’re more comfortable; they need their
Spencer Davis/The Davis/The Miscellany News
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The Women’s Health Center, located in Baldwin Hall, provides resources for those individuals seeking information, diagnosis and treatment for or about gynecological and breast health issues.
Pap smears and less juniors because they’re abroad. But we still have sophomores and freshmen equally, so we have a lot of people who just come and utilize us the first time around and by the time they’re seniors, when they’re 21, they’ll have their [Pap] exam.” The Women’s Health Center is able to work with students even if they’re off-campus. “Some of them still chose to get their contraception through us because of convenience,” Dardarria said. “We can give quantities of pills at a time to get them through the summer or through junior year abroad or something. Which they can’t do this as easily at the pharmacy, but more and more of students are taking prescriptions out.” The Women’s Health Center was not always so separated from the general health center. “I was here in the early ‘80s and [the Women’s Health Center] was separate but it was downstairs and then we moved it up,” Dadarria said. The new location was designed to enhance access and ensure confidentiality. Dardarria continued, “We have the Women’s Health Center on the second floor so when women are in the waiting room they’re not with the rest of the population. I think that’s made it easier for them so they feel more comfortable.” The Women’s Health Center works with Metcalf occasionally to help patients. “We have integrated health would be health education, and mental health care, and then medical health care, and we work together and refer back and forth and communicate on a regular basis. We do inservice on a regular basis. And also with women’s health we work with the Sexual Assault and Violence Program,” Dardarria said. Occasionally, according to Dadarria, students will call and say they are worried for their friend. Shared Dadarria, “I’ve had some students come in concerned about friends with the number of issues including sexual assault, or relationship violence, or people feel-
ing threatened. I wouldn’t say it happens a lot, but it does happen and we encourage that.” Dadarria said that she judges a situation on a case by case basis before she can determine the best course of action. She explained, “It depends on what they’re worried about. If they’re worried about something [and] I’m really concerned that they might do something to really hurt themselves, then I usually reach out myself. Otherwise I would try to work with their friend to convince them to come in.” She added, “Other times, no exams, just talking, sometimes that’s a good introduction to the system.” The Center must also keep up with recent developments in the nation’s insurance law. Dardarria explained, “Just to mention, with the Affordable Healthcare Act, contraception, again, which is a lot of our visits is for contraception, most contraception now is no cost. There’s no copay at the pharmacy for most insurances including the Vassar student insurance. So that’s made a big difference. Also the NuvaRing which is a birth control method also is no charge.” Even the type of health care needed has changed over the years. “Women don’t need as much health care at this age than they used to. It used to be we did exams every year. And they came in for birth control pills and things. A significant number of women [choose] not to be sexually active and so don’t have the need for birth control. The medical consensus regarding certain gynecological procedures has also changed over the years. Said Dardarria, “You don’t have to do Pap smears until you’re twenty-one now. If you’re sexually active, and don’t have any new sex partners, you don’t necessarily have to have sexually transmitted disease testing. Women don’t have to have pelvic exams every year anymore unless they have problems. The evolution of women’s healthcare especially in this age, it’s just going to be less need for those types of exams.”
Fatty fried foods feature in the Festival of Lights Joshua Sherman OpiniOns EditOr
anukkah will have come to its end by this evening, and like many Jewish holidays it comes with a host of Jewish dishes to celebrate the occasion. Since the miracle of Hanukkah revolves around the lasting of oil for eight nights when there was only enough for one, suffice it to say that there are a number of wonderful, oil-fried dishes to celebrate the miracle with. In fact, almost anything battered or covered in dough can be fried. What better way is there to celebrate than frying dough itself? Israeli donuts, or sufganiyot, are an awesome, simple and sweet treat that get you into the holiday spirit and allows you to eat donuts at the same time. Who could turn away the opportunity to eat donuts as part of a celebration? If you’ve ever made any pastry or bread recipe, then making sufganiyot will probably give you flashbacks to the last time you handled a stand mixer with a dough hook. If you’re new to making a bread or pastry recipe, making sufganiyot is a great start since they’re so easy and only require a few ingredients. Although this recipe calls for a specific amount of flour to make your dough, you’ll want to use your judgment to ensure you have supple and sticky dough that will turn into sufganiyot without much fuss. If it appears your dough is not “coming together” into a sticky, but still cohesive dough, add a bit of flour and let it stir in the stand mixer for another minute. Only once the dough has achieved its perfect consistency should you let it rest for an hour to rise. When it has roughly doubled in size, then roll out the dough over a flat and surface liberally dusted with flour. The biggest thing to keep in mind when frying anything is the choice of oil you want as well as the risks involved. You can fry these donuts in any cooking oil of your choice – even butter if you’ve got a lot of it. Still, cooking with hot oil will certainly end in a less-than-stellar way if you’re not careful. Most recipes call for a Dutch oven over a hot
stove at around 350 degrees F and several inches of oil. Placing a pot full of burning hot oil right in front of you is a dangerous idea. When it also means wasting at least a quart of oil then it’s unnecessary too. Instead, consider frying in a large pan with an inch or so of oil, allowing you to use just a few cups of oil and to still ensure that crisp outside, but soft and tender inside, which is the trademark of fried foods. The donuts may need to be turned over a few times to ensure an even frying, front and back. Sufganiyot are also filled with jellies, preserve, custards of your choice, ranging from grape or strawberry jam to even chocolate pudding – pretty much anything you can fit inside of your donuts. Although many recipes call for adding the filling after frying, I would recommend that you add the filling before frying. Frying the filling and dough at the same time heats up your jelly or custard, adding a much better texture to the final product. However, remember your sufganiyot will puff up will frying, and if you don’t seal your donuts well enough they will open and spill filling while frying. Want to literally spice things up? It’s easy to put a personal spin on the classic donut hole. If you’re a fan of the colder weather and the fall season, then consider adding some typical autumnal seasoning to your sufganiyot. Try experimenting pumpkin spice, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg, to name a few such spices. Add a little extra sugar for a sweeter and more decadent recipe, or even add cocoa powder right into the dough for an even richer experience. Remember that adding any puree will result in a soggier dough, which means will have to add flour to compensate. Whether it’s to celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah or not, the next time you have a craving for donuts, I recommend you skip the Tim Horton’s or Dunkin Donuts and instead fry your own. You can certainly make them in a couple of hours from start to finish, and the result is a fresh, delicious treat with a crispy crust, tasty warm filling and fluffy texture.
The Recipe Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra on hand 1/3 cup of sugar 1 packet of active, dry yeast 2 large egg yolks 1/2 teaspoon of fine salt. 1/2 cup of tepid milk. 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter 2 cups of oil, or enough for 1-2 inches of oil in a cast iron pan. Powdered sugar for dusting finished donuts Directions:
1. Mix in stand mixer bowl: flour, salt, and sugar. Add milk and egg yolks, and then attach dough hook and stir for 1 minute on medium-low. Chop and toss in small cubes of butter. Mix on medi-
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um-high for five minutes until sticky and supple. Add more flour if mix appears too wet. 2. Move dough into a large, oiled bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. 3. Roll out dough onto a well-floured surface to about a 1/8 inch thickness. Use a 2-inch round cutter and stamp out as many dough rounds as possible, re-rolling the scraps of dough. 4. Seal filling in dough round with the aid of either an egg wash or melted butter. 5. Heat frying pan or cast iron skillet with about 1 to 2 inches of oil to 350 degrees F on medium to medium-high heat. Fry donuts for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. 6. Garnish with powdered sugar and serve.
December 5, 2013
Tobacco ban justifications remain clouded in controversy SMOKING BAN continued from page 1
services such as e-cigarettes.” This policy will apply to all individuals on Vassar’s campus, including vendors and visitors. According to Smoking and Tobacco Action Research Team (START) in Spring 2013, the majority of students of Vassar students do not vote. The data shows that 5.25 percent of students smoke or use tobacco products on a daily basis. Although smokeless e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco have not been proven to cause negative health affects in bystanders, the college’s decision to incorporate them in the ban underscore a more expansive goal for the policy. According to President Hill’s statement, “There is overwhelming evidence on the dangers and addictive nature of smoking; further, secondhand smoke affects everyone. By enacting this initiative Vassar is underscoring its commitment to a healthy environment for all members of the college community.” Director of Health Services Dr. Irena Balawajder, who co-chairs the Smoke Free/ Tobacco Free Task Force, the College hopes that this policy will prevent students from adopting the habit of smoking or using other tobacco products. Balawajder noted that many students transition from social smokers to more addictive smokers while on Vassar’s campus. She said, “We hear a lot from students, particularly sophomores, that they started smoking when they got here...In some sense it is a public health prevention policy of trying to prevent people from becoming addicted to nicotine.” While the decision to have a smoke free and tobacco free policy has been made in spite of student concerns, administrators have reiterated their goal at easing the transition. For example, the College will soon host cessation classes. According to Smoke Free/ Tobacco Free Task Force co-chair Sarah Bakke, “We have someone on site who went to smoking cessation trainer class, so she is able to give the classes on site to all students and employees that are interested. She is going to start the first set of classes after we get back from the holiday break and she’ll continue to due them
throughtout the 18 month period until the actual July 1 date.” Currently, students will be charged $10 for the informational materials. Students who would prefer to go off-campus will be able to find classes in the local community through the Vassar Smoke Free website. Due to its ban on e-cigarettes, Vassar’s smoking ban will also prove more expansive than smoking policies in other areas of New York. Although New York City already prohibits smoking in public areas, the New York City Council committee plans to consider a piece of legislation that would ban electronic cigarettes in restaurants, bars and other indoor public areas. When the College unveiled its smoking ban policy, President Catharine Bond Hill and Vassar Smoke Free both indicated that Vassar is thus becoming part of a national trend. Vassar Smoke Free states, “By [adopting the ban] Vassar joins more than 1,100 other colleges and universities nationwide with similar policies.” President Hill cited the same statistic in the body of her email. While technically accurate, this statistic shows that Vassar’s decision to institute a smoking ban had different motivations and will use implementation strategies than a significant portion of the colleges counted by statistic. The statistic Vassar Smoke Free utilizes derives from data collected by The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF), which compiles a list of smoke-free or tobacco-free institutions of higher education. In the data provided to students, the Smoke Free Vassar program fails to acknowledge the difference between a smoke-free and a tobacco-free policy. While Vassar’s policy will be both smoke-free and tobacco-free, not all of the over 1,100 institutions President Hill referenced have similar policies. The ANRF states that, while there are 1,127 smoke-free campuses in America, only 758 are tobacco-free campuses. Another factor when considering the statistic in relation to Vassar’s motivations for the ban is the causes of the national trend of smoke-free colleges. In some instances, colleges counted in the
over 1,100 figure were subject to laws limiting the presence of smoking. Four states, through either executive order or legislative means, approved making state-owned properties smoke-free: Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas and Louisiana. Colleges within these states, which total roughly 150 institutions, are counted among those schools creating a smoke-free campus, in spite of the fact they were established due to external policies. Finally, the ANRF estimation relies heavily upon policies for community colleges which rarely utilize the residential structure employed by Vassar. Most two-year colleges consist of commuting students who live off-campus, whereas almost all Vassar students both study and live within the boundaries of the ban. Although the Administration officially published their plans for the smoking ban policy, aspects of enforcement have yet to be decided upon. According to Director of Safety and Security Don Marsala, who organizes the officers who will regulate the policy, the College remains hopeful that non-punitive means of compliance can convince community members not to smoke on campus. Marsala said in an emailed statement, “The specifics of how the penalties will change hasn’t been determined yet. We’re hoping that security will only intervene if necessary.” Class of 2015 President Casey Hancock noted in an emailed statement that he believes that eventually the college will eventually replace this peer-based regulation with other enforcement policies. He wrote, “Eventually the College will likely implement some kind of sanction. During discussions, administrators seemed interested in a fine, despite student opposition to that.” Similarly, students have historically voiced concerns about the potential problems with enforcing the smoking ban. In data collected by START in Spring 2013, which was also used by the Committee on College Life when it recommended a smoking ban policy to the President, 89 percent of students indicated that they believed any ban would be difficult to enforce.
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Following the College’s announcement, many students have expressed their opinions on the upcoming smoking ban. Hancock explained, “The Student Body generally seems to be not in support of the policy and feel that they have not have well represented by student leaders on the issue, despite the fact that [the ban] was a top down decision made by the College long before VSA elected students voted on the issue.” The Vassar Student Association’s VP for Operations Ali Ehrlich ’15, who also serves on the Smoke Free Implementation Committee that helps plan the transition period, presented a more equitably distributed picture between positive and negative feedback. Ehrlich wrote in an emailed statement, “Student sentiment has been generally been fairly mixed.” Students have historically been in opposition to the creation of any smoking ban. In data collected by START, 55.32 percent of students responded that they either opposed or strongly opposed to a multi-step process that results in a tobacco and smoke free campus. In an earlier poll conduct by the VSA a year earlier, 65.3 percent of surveyed students opposed a ban. Although campus-wide polling opposed the creation of the smoking ban, the Administration maintains that this policy also partially occurred as a byproduct of community pressure. Dean Roellke explained, “The College was strongly encouraged by the Dutchess County Department of Health to make this policy change.” Although the smoking ban will be put into effect in July 2015, student leaders believe their constituents still have some role in the transition process. For example, the Smoke Free Implementation Committee focuses on granting students representation in the final planning and transition process. Elrich explained, “I strongly encourage students to contact myself or any other student representative on the implementation committee with their thoughts and concerns. Though the administration is unlikely to reverse their decision, it is important that we know what would make this transition the least unpleasant for all students.”
December 5, 2013
THE MISCELLANY NEWS STAFF EDITORIAL
College must maintain constructive dialogue after incidents
ollowing the Town Hall meeting on Nov. 18, Dean of the College Chris Roellke notified students that the Vassar College Administration apprehended two students who were behind some of the recent bias incidents. These students subsequently withdrew from the College. Although those behind the bias incidents have left the College, their actions left many members of the Vassar community both hurt and confused. Some members of the Vassar community have found the support they needed through the efforts of Residential Life, as well as through the recent Privilege Campaign, which was sponsored by the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) and the Campus Life Response Group (CLRG). However, these efforts have not reached all students affected by these incidents. We at The Miscellany News strongly encourage the Administration to extend further support and resources to students. The conversation cannot end here. For many students, the timing of the events—from the discovery of the culprits to the Town Hall meeting and the notification of the student body—was disorienting. Thanksgiving Break began the week after, pausing any official discussion of the bias incidents. But we cannot let the conversation wane in the aftermath of the break. Important conversations about privilege and identity need to continue into the next semester. Addressing these problems is an ongoing process. This is not the first time that hate speech caused discomfort at Vassar. Last semester, when the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) published a flier announcing a protest at the
College, the administration responded with unwavering support for any students harmed by their presence. The Administration donated a large sum to the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department money for their efforts in monitoring the WBC’s presence at the College, and consistently reminded students they had access to counseling through CARES. It is illuminating to compare the Administration’s response in these two situations. While the Administration offered all of these options when hate speech was directed at the College, their response lacked this vigor and immediacy when the hate speech occurred within the campus. The campus community has come together after other instances of hate speech caused discomfort. The CLRG’s annual All-College Day event began as a direct response to a student comedy group’s racist sketch, which sparked a number of discussions about race relations on campus. The event still continues to this day, sustaining necessary conversations about race, gender, sexual orientation and class. The CLRG, a primarily student-run committee, runs the Day annually. All-College Day provides a useful model for the Administration to consider. It is effective because students have the power to organize the event and are directly offered a board to share their thoughts. In regard to the most recent biased incidents, the College should model its response off of its prior responses to the aforementioned events. First, like with the WBC’s protest, the College should remind students of the
many resources it has to support those who feel disempowered or hurt. Second, the College should also encourage the creation of student events focused on healing. These events should be made by students and for students, similar to the CLRG’s All-College Day. At the Town Hall meeting, some students expressed concerns about feeling unsafe in the current campus climate. Although there are many reasons for this, the Administration could address the discomfort caused by the biased incidents by providing students with greater access to counseling and support groups. Additionally, at the Dec. 1 VSA Council Meeting, Dean Roellke offered to support students by scheduling one-on-one lunches with him to discuss recent events. However, these offers of support did not go far enough. For some students, distrust of the Administration’s intents rendered his offer ineffective and lukewarm. We must acknowledge that it is early yet to deem the administration’s response completely adequate or not. However, we encourage the Administration to further their offers of discussion and student support. Finally, these events have called attention to the roles of the BIRT and the Vice President for Student Life roles. How BIRT will continue is unclear to students; one of the students behind the bias incidents was on the team, and students already expressed some dissatisfaction with how it handled the events. We strongly suggest that BIRT open up a dialogue with the student body at large to determine where the organization should go from here. The VP for Student Life position, meanwhile,
has been in a surprising amount of flux. Four students have taken the position within two years. Although many who held the position stepped down for personal reasons, the high rate of turnover suggests a larger structural problem associated with the role. We ask that the VSA investigate the duties of VP for Student Life and, if needed, consider changing it. We do not condone what happened. But in its wake, students are engaging in conversations that require further support from the Administration. We encourage students and the Administration alike to remember how we, as an institution, have worked through past incendiary events. The goal now is to heal, and to discuss and learn from what happened. Assigning blame or re-treading the news is not productive. We call on the Administration to extend new resources to anyone at the College—and to remind students of any current resources. We also encourage students to engage in these conversations with each other, however informally. BIRT must also engage in a dialogue with students to address the future of the organization, while the VSA must assess a possible, more basic, structural issue in regard to the role of the VP for Student Life. Most importantly, the college must look to more positive responses from the past, including its offers of counseling in the wake of the WBC protest and a student-run resource such as All-College Day. —Staff Editorial represents the opinions of at least 2/3 of the Editorial Board.
Amazon’s new drone tech Caffeine usage affected by shows little actual promise complex hormone processes Joshua Sherman
his past Thanksgiving weekend has seen the aforementioned holiday, the beginning of Hanukkah, Black Friday, and also Cyber Monday. This merging of holidays and consumer shopping days marks the beginning of our holiday shopping season, and one company that’s looking to impress the world this season is Amazon. For those who caught the video online or perhaps on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Amazon is looking to take the idea of drones—often iconic as tools for military and police surveillance—and transforming them in octo-copter gift droppers for delivery of Amazon goods in less than 30 minutes. (“Amazon unveils futuristic plan: Delivery by drone” 11.30.13) The idea is ambitious, cool, but also unsustainable and likely impossible—though for our own good. In all honesty, the idea of getting the millions of items available on Amazon.com faster than the average Domino’s delivery order is quite tempting. Let’s face it, many of us have had those late-night hunts on Amazon searching for the little things we want (but probably shouldn’t get) and the idea of getting it in a matter of minutes is too tempting to turn down. Amazon isn’t just about books anymore, and being able to get clothing, food, toys, games, and myriad other products by personal courier is just awesome. However, despite how cool and great it is, in reality Prime Air is not an effective way to deliver products—and I’m really thankful it is too. Amazon can’t do Prime Air since it just doesn’t make any sense. Maybe I can’t see far ahead into the future and understand the logistics of air-to-home delivery, but what we’re dealing with here is a 10 mile radius for any under five pounds. Even if, as Amazon states on “60 Minutes,” the majority of packages are under five pounds, the majority would not fit in the tiny shock-proof box that is attached to each Prime Air device. I’m also not too sure the handful of fulfillment centers that Amazon has in the U.S. would allow Amazon to effectively manage the 10 mile limit of Prime Air without building one outside every major town and city. This isn’t even beginning to touch the
safety, security, or insurance issues of having octo-copters worth thousands of dollars carrying goods either, and really there’s hardly any chance we’ll see it widespread or even in any real markets over the next few years. So it can’t be done, and the reason why you should be happy, rather than sad, has to do with the ongoing craze about drones. Sure, Amazon’s octo-copter has a limited range of just 10 miles, and won’t even be in the field by no earlier than 2015, but there is already such a pressing debate about the usage of drones and surveillance devices that anything by any firm—whether corporate or government— that utilizes drone technology should be at the least taken with skepticism. Sure, Amazon’s intentions, at best, could be to deliver goods to the masses, but we have to be cautious about how much we want to see drones or octo-copters all over the skies. Google itself has gotten a lot of flak when its Google Maps cars were caught sniffing WI-Fi data while taking images of our streets and homes. (Wired, “Google’s WI-Fi Sniffing Might Break Wiretap Law, Appeals Court Rules” 09.10.13) If we let Amazon start flying octo-copters all over, it will certainly be a green light for other businesses, and then local governments to do the same. At the very least you should not be completely okay with that concept. I’m not a libertarian, and I personally believe in a government that ought to look out for human rights and security. That said, I also believe that we should be very aware of our civil liberties and our entitlement to some amount of privacy. I’m not saying Amazon, Google or any other tech company has bad intentions when they do crazy stuff like this, but we as a society ought to remain cautious. Amazon’s idea is interesting, and I hope they continue to be a creative and innovative company—after all that’s what being a good company is really all about. That said, I’m not quite ready for Prime Air, and i don’t think you should be either. Perhaps if we see more clear potential for legal regulation about these tools it could become possible, but in the present I sincerely hope this idea doesn’t get off the ground. —Joshua Sherman ’16 is an English major.
Delaney Fischer COlumnist
inals are coming up and everyone is starting to get stressed, including myself. There is too much to do and not enough time—honestly, I feel an all-nighter or two may be in my future. So what is it that many Vassar students will turn to for support? You’ve guessed it: coffee! That extra caffeine can come in handy during times of need, such as study week and finals, but at what time of day should we drink coffee? Well, according to Steven Miller, a neuroscientist at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, the most effective time for students to drink coffee is between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. It is between these times that natural cortisol levels drop. Cortisol is a steroid hormone and its production is strongly related to alertness. Therefore, it is ideal to consume caffeine when cortisol levels are low. (NeuroscienceDC, “The best time for your coffee,” 10.23.2013) The peak levels of cortisol in our bodies, or rather the times that it is not best to consume coffee, are between 8 and 9 a.m., 12 and 1 p.m., as well as between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. An article published in The Daily News on these findings by Miller also warns that drinking coffee while cortisol levels are high can produce a tolerance to caffeine. Miller also later adds in that article, “One of the key principles of pharmacology is to use a drug when it is needed. Otherwise, we can develop tolerance to a drug administered at the same dose” (“Best time to drink coffee isn’t first thing in the morning: researcher,” 11.7.2013). As a regular coffee drinker, this may explain why when I am looking to pull an all-nighter, I need at least three espresso shots in my coffee to feel any effect. However, when examining Miller’s findings in depth, there may be flaws present in his conclusions. To determine that the time between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. is the most effect time to drink coffee, Miller used concepts of chronopharmacology, or the study of the biological rhythms within our body. This biological clock is an internal 24-hour clock, similar to our circadian rhythm. This clock is important because it controls one’s alertness throughout the day. (The Frisky, “Science figured out the best times
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of day to drink coffee,” 11.13.2013) What Miller fails to fully acknowledge, as pointed out by other neuroscientists, is that not everyone is on the same internal clock and therefore not on the same cortisol cycle. Lizette Borreli, a writer for Medical Daily, points this out in a recent article, saying, “Early birds will commonly experience a drop of cortisol levels earlier than those who sleep in.” For example, a late-night worker’s cortisol levels and biological clock are probably very different from, say, someone who works the normal 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift. Essentially, Miller’s findings are not to be discredited by any means, but should be taken with a grain of salt. It is best to consume caffeine during the times that natural cortisol levels drop is not in question, but rather when those times are for each of us. (“What’s the best time to drink coffee?” 11.08.13) Great—so you should drink coffee when your cortisol levels are low; but when exactly is that? Honestly, you probably won’t be able to tell on your own without a doctor running tests on you. I am guessing this is why Miller gave what I would call a “best guess” on the times when cortisol levels may be low. So what should you do? How will you know when it is the right time to consume your coffee? I drink coffee every day. It is very rare if I show up to my 9 a.m. classes without a to-go cup in hand. Even though Miller’s results may not be perfect, he does have evidence to back up his findings. When I drink coffee, I feel more alert, probably because my cortisol is low. According to Miller, if I had peak cortisol levels at the time of my coffee consumption, I would not feel more alert or focused. While the timing of my coffee consumption may be off by 15 minutes or so from that “best time to drink coffee,” maybe my internal clock is just a tad bit off from others. So the best advice I can give is to pay attention when you drink coffee and see if it actually makes a difference in your alertness. If not, maybe try consuming coffee at a different time. I would suggest trying Miller’s ideal times first and slowly expanding from there. Either way, enjoy your caffeinated experience! —Delaney Fischer ’15 is a neuroscience major.
December 5, 2013
Ukraine continues to seek support of EU in recent times Zoe Ripecky Guest Columnist
kraine means “borderland.” Throughout history, the country has fallen under a variety of powers and has often found itself split between east and west. For hundreds of years, eastern Ukraine was dominated by Russia and western Ukraine by Lithuania, Austria and Poland. The legacy of this divided history is that now this country of 46 million people with its rich and historic identity is split between a Ukrainian-speaking, European-oriented west and a Russian-speaking, Russian-oriented east. However, over the past month active dialogue has gone on between Ukraine and the European Union in the hopes of signing an Association Agreement that would bring Ukraine closer to the EU both politically and economically. This comes at the same time as extreme pressure from Russia to join in its own Customs Union. Russia has historically kept an overwhelmingly strong hold on Ukraine, controlling most of its territory since the 1600s until Ukraine’s declaration of independence 22 years ago. Due largely to hostile warnings and sanctions imposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainians, even in eastern, Russian-leaning areas, have grown more supportive of strengthening relations with the EU. Polls are now showing that more than 60 percent of Ukrainians are in favor of signing an Association Agreement with the EU. (Alaska Dispatch, “As protests boil, EU keeps arms open to Ukraine” 12.03.13) Consequently, it is not surprising that this past week in Ukraine, masses of people have taken to the streets in protest of President Viktor Yanukovych’s surprise refusal to sign this agreement with the EU, an accord that could have been an historic move towards Western economics and principles and a step away from the Russian sphere of influence. Numbers of protesters in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv’s Independence Square have reached as
high as 350,000. Almost exactly nine years ago, the Ukrainian people took to the streets in a similar fashion during the Orange Revolution to protest the rigged election of Viktor Yanukovych and successfully replaced him with the pro-western candidate Viktor Yushchenko. After little improvement, continued corruption, and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness under Yushchenko, Yanukovych came to power once more. In 2004, the Ukrainian people were protesting for fair elections and against a corrupt government. Now the people are back in the streets, demanding European integration as the only step toward a freer democracy and more favorable economic conditions. Ukraine was one of six Eastern European countries asked to participate in the EU’s summit in Vilnius, Lithuania last week. The topic of the summit was the Eastern Partnership project, championed by Poland and Sweden in 2008 to form closer ties with the EU’s eastern neighbors. Ukraine is by far the largest and most strategically important country of the six countries involved, holding a crucial energy transit route and a critical geopolitical and economic position. In the weeks leading up to the summit, Yanukovych showed signs of wanting to work with the EU despite qualms about preconditions involving required government and judicial reforms (including the release of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko from jail, whose imprisonment was seen as politically motivated). With his rash decision to decline the EU’s offer of association, Mr. Yanukovych has gone from being seen as the man who could have led Ukraine to social and economic prosperity to a thug who robbed his country of a successful future in pursuit of his own gains. This sudden suspension of negotiations with the EU is attributed to intense economic and political pressure from Russia, upon whom Ukraine heavily relies for energy as well as for other trade. Losing Ukraine to Europe has
China Moonshot revives ethical spaceflight debate Lily Elbaum COlumnist
ather than discussing the hot topic of the moment—Thanksgiving and cultural appropriation—I’d like to talk about China, which has been out of the news a little bit lately. It has been pushed aside by the crisis in Syria and Black Friday. That a day devoted to rampant consumerism and mass consumption dominates American media surely says something about the state of the United States, but I imagine that none of what it says is particularly flattering. In other news, China sent a rover to the Moon. It is a landing rover, the first to ever be sent by them. It is named “Jade Rabbit” after an old Chinese legend of a rabbit that lived on the Moon. This is a big step for China’s fledgling space program to take. The rover contains equipment that could lead to a manned mission. If China eventually sends a manned mission, it would be the first since Apollo 17 in December 1972. One of the main difficulties in launching a manned mission to the Moon seems odd: that the capability to do so has been lost. Though technology has advanced significantly, no one remains at any space agency that worked on a moon landing. It’s basically starting from scratch as far as the creation, particularly since China has never sent anyone to the Moon, unlike the United States, China has nothing to look back on for examples save for the work of other countries. The rover is designed to serve as a test for the possibility of establishing a base or colony on the Moon. It has been suggested that the Moon be used to harness solar power since there is a much thinner atmosphere and lots of empty, lifeless space in which to put the solar panels. It sounds wonderful in theory, but the logistics of doing such a thing are prohibitive, not only in cost but also feasibility. Solar panels are delicate and need maintenance. In addition, the infrastructure to actually harness that energy and get it back to Earth would be complicated, difficult and expensive. It’s not
exactly possible to string a wire 238,900 miles long and transmit the energy that way. The population of the Moon also brings up ethical questions, which so far have not been addressed. First and foremost, do humans have a right to populate and irrevocably alter something because it is unoccupied and therefore unclaimed? It seems that we barely manage keeping the Earth in check, what gives us the right to go and try to do the same elsewhere? The Moon may be dead and lifeless, but I prefer that infinitely to looking up at night and seeing a gray circle in the sky ablaze with lights and logos. After all, once one country lays claim to property on the Moon, what’s to stop everyone else from doing it too? No country has addressed the rights of space. Humans have been littering our solar system with space trash for years—leftover bits from rovers, satellites and probes, to name a few. After all, once a satellite dies or goes out of range it doesn’t disappear; it just keeps flying off through the depths of space until it eventually collides with something. Are we eventually just going to send ships out into space to dispose of the massive amount of trash that humans are producing when all our landfills and recycling centers are full? There is no law to stop it or regulate it. Space is just a wide-open vacuum where there are no limits. It is, after all, the final frontier. China didn’t create these concerns; it only brought them to the forefront. What happens now is up to science and our governments. A manned mission to Mars has been mulled over for some time now, and the idea of sending people even farther into space to explore and conquer is always there. For now, all we can do is congratulate China on its successful launch and wait for the rover to land. If it does deem the Moon capable of sustaining life or energy, well, God save the Moon.
long been a Russian fear, a move that would officially crush hopes of restoring an empire of lands the government sees as traditionally and rightfully Russian. Ukraine declared its independence 22 years ago, but Russia has never truly accepted it. Russian president Vladimir Putin recently said of Ukraine, “We have common traditions, common mentalities, common history, common culture. We are…one people.” Many Ukrainians as well, particularly in the East, continue to hold ties to Russia and rely on their business. Putin has also referred to the breakup of the Soviet Union as the biggest tragedy of the 20th century. With this in mind, he hopes to create a Eurasian Union that can rival other world powers in which Ukraine would fill a vital role. (The Economist, “Charlemagne: Playing East against West” 11.23.13) Putin’s aim for this union is to unite economies, legal systems, customs services and military industries. Putin’s plan has caused a fear in the west of re-sovietization of the region. Russia has already imposed sanctions on Ukraine and other countries seeking ties to the EU like Moldova and Georgia. In the months of closer talks with the EU, Ukraine has seen its exports to Russia drop by 25 percent. Though Russia may advertise lower prices and economic easing, countries that enter into such a union would lose a great amount of sovereignty and bargaining power in the international sphere. These events have caused a war of words between the EU and Russia. One of the points of discord in the initial agreement was that President Yanukovych was required to release former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from jail before signing the agreement, as EU countries saw her imprisonment as politically motivated and an example of selective justice. Tymoshenko announced last week through her daughter Eugenia that she would rather stay in jail than see Ukraine go towards Russia, and urged Europe to drop the precondition of her release.
The protesters are largely made up of a growing educated, young middle class, many of whom comprise the first generation to have grown up free of Soviet rule. They were disappointed by the failure of Viktor Yushchenko, the hero of the Orange Revolution, to bring about change and democracy. Now they look towards closer ties to Europe as means of bringing about change. The biggest obstacle to democratization and integration with the West is not even Russia but Ukraine itself, whose government is plagued by chronic corruption and dysfunction. The people of Ukraine have spent years disenchanted and hopeless by the seemingly unfixable condition of Ukrainian governance. The protesters have insisted on the independence of demonstrations from political parties and affiliations. With this exclusion of politics, they hope to separate themselves from the corrupt and defective institutions they live under. Ukraine suffers from what Ukrainians often call “brain drain” or the loss of educated people who either run up the ranks of corrupt power or leave the country entirely searching for a better life. So many young Ukrainian students have hopes of studying in the West. In official polls, people under 35 are the most supportive of European integration. With closer European ties and the help of EU institutions, more opportunities could be given to students, which could advance Ukraine’s path to a more stable democracy. Ukraine’s future is murky if not bleak, but the hopes of a young, politically active generation are very real. However, as the protests become increasingly more violent and larger in numbers and force, it is hard to predict Ukraine’s future. One thing is for sure: Ukrainians want a better life, and they are looking hopefully towards Europe to give it to them. —Zoe Ripecky ’14 is an international studies major.
Join us for our ﬁrst annual penny social and bake sale honoring Sydnee Marie Wallace! The event will be taking place on Sunday, December 15th at 12 noon at the American Legion Hall, 50 Legion Road, Poughkeepsie, NY. Sydnee was born on July 20, 2011 with several life-threatening conditions. During her short life she has had four major open heart surgeries. During her hospital stays at Westchester Medical Center, her parents, Tracy and Charles Wallace, were guests at the Ronald McDonald House in Valhalla, NY. All proceeds will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House.
—Lily Elbaum ’16 is a prospective independent major.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
December 5, 2013
Conservative ideas continually stifled on Vassar’s campus, deserve to be heard Julian Hassan
veryone knows there are Republican and Independent students on campus. Who are they? What do they believe? Until now, these students were only an abstraction. Here I will attempt to paint a picture of them. Some admire the Koch brothers. There are others who believe that laissez-faire capitalism is the ideal social system. There are students who love fossil fuels. There is a core group who study the philosophy of Ayn Rand. There are many who do not blame the “system” when they fail. There are fans of Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. Most are interested in alternative ideas but feel consistently pressured into silence on a daily basis. Why don’t we hear from them? They bristle when they see a poster asking in scare-quotes, “Is Your Halloween Costume Racist?” They resent that Student/Labor Dialogue pamphlets go under their private bedroom doors. They blame the activists for creating tensions on campus over non-issues like “able-ism.” They are tired of the Vassar Administration sounding the alarm bell at every stray activist’s urging. They complain to friends, but they are too bewildered to publicly protest. Today the atmosphere is dire for everyone, not just campus conservatives. After the recent town hall, Dean Chris Roellke commented, “Regretfully, these venues sometimes don’t yield a lot of divergent perspectives and I think we still have more work to do on how to engage more voices and to engage them productively.” (The Miscellany News, “Town Hall incites disagreement,“ 11.20.13) He’s right, but it’s the voices that are heard that’s telling. There is no cultural oppression at Vassar College. Our administration and faculty have failed to teach us that shared governance has to be based on both values and facts. Tom Bridegroom ’06 and his partner were
oppressed; the LGBTQ Center is not. If these loud voices continue to demand that students who have different values than them should not be admitted into the college, we do not have to hear it. If they continue to call for a “Social Consciousness” requirement, we will call it what it is: indoctrination. In June, the New York Post reported the allegedly false rape accusation that resulted in the expulsion of former MICA leader and proud Republican Peter Yu. Now, The Daily Caller reports that Genesis Hernandez allegedly committed and falsely reported bias incidents in order to prevent honest discussion. (“Shocking discovery in hoax bias incident at Vassar College,” 11.27.13) If you subvert facts, you do not achieve your values; you become a fake. How can anyone expect an effective dialogue from this? In December 2010, libertarian alumna Kelley Shortridge ’12 wrote an op-ed in the Misc entitled “Chronicle to further marginalize conservatives.” Three years later we can assess her claim. In September, the MICA lecture “Fossil Fuels Improves the Planet” was mentioned in Rolling Stone. Last semester, The National Review Online (NRO) reported that the night before the lecture Chronicle editor Will Serio ’13 admitted he pressured MICA to use VSA funds to bribe Alex Epstein not to speak so that they could censor conservatives and make up a story to blame the VSA for it. Current Chronicle editor Zack Struver was present that night and verbally supported Serio’s plans. (“What’s the matter with Vassar?” 04.04.13) Today the VSA blames MICA for alienating students with this lecture and refuses to help fund another MICA lecture. This contrasts with the 80 distinguished intellectuals who have supported the educational value of the lecture in a national open letter against divestment published in Forbes, the National Review and top college syndicates. Meanwhile it’s business-as-usu-
al for the Vassar Greens and the Chronicle. In hindsight, the allegations against the Chronicle in the NRO just seemed to speed up The VSA’s decision to authorize it as an official VSA organization. Do you deserve the company they keep? The novel Atlas Shrugged describes what happens when intelligent people go on strike. It’s also a metaphor for the low town hall attendance. Students shrug because they object to values and demands without evidence: “There have always been men of intelligence who went on strike, in protest and despair, but they did not know the meaning of their action... the man who is defeated by revulsion, the man who renounces before he has started, the man who gives up rather than give in, the man who functions at a fraction of his capacity, disarmed by his longing for an ideal he has not found— they are on strike, on strike against unreason, on strike against your world and your values. But not knowing any values of their own, they abandon the quest to know...as lovers who never discovered their love.” This passage is realistic because most students on campus have never read the three women who inspired the modern pro-liberty movement: Ayn Rand, Isabel Paterson and Rose Wilder Lane. They are just tired of activists who are surprisingly unconscious of social repercussions. No, John Galt does not go to Vassar but many honest people do. As a member of the Class of 2014, I have decided to abstain from being in the college yearbook in order to protest the grievances of conservatives I have sketched here. “Love Conquers All” hid an elaborate deception. Love cannot be faked. It has to be real. Values and truth do move the world, but only together. —Julian Hassan ’14 is a cognitive science major. He is President of the Moderate, Independent, Conservative Alliance (MICA)
VSA continues efforts in campus projects Deb Steinberg
e have almost made it through the fall semester! Congratuations! I wanted to take this opportunity to update you all on the Vassar Student Association’s (VSA) projects thus far this term, some of the recent discussions that have been occurring on our campus and how the VSA has been involved in the college’s affairs since our last update earlier in the semester. First, I am honored to welcome Danny Dones ’16 as the new VSA Vice President for Student Life. Thank you to everyone who participated in the election and voted—we’re really excited to continue the Student Life projects from the beginning of the semester, develop new projects and initiatives, and work towards creating a more inclusive and accepting campus for everyone.
The VSA Student Life Committee has continued to promote inclusivity by advocating for the installation of more gender-neutral bathrooms in academic buildings that can be accessible to all students. We have been working with the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources and the Dean of the Faculty to try to make this project a reality, especially in the buildings currently under renovation and in the new science building. We hope to have some concrete changes by the end of the academic year. Assisting student organizations:
Last month, the VSA hosted students from Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith and Wellesley College for the annual Seven Sisters Conference. 75 students participated in the conference, where we all discussed ideas for encouraging students to collaborate on our own campuses, shared some of our schools’ strengths and weaknesses so we could learn from one another, and began several different projects that we can work on together throughout the rest of the year and beyond. The conference reaffirmed our shared values with the other Seven Sisters Colleges and also celebrated the things we do well here as well as challenged us to explore other things we could be doing better.
The VSA Activities Committee has also worked on multiple projects this year to make it easier for students to create various organizations, expand membership and achieve their missions. After creating a way for student groups to get some of the privileges of VSA organizations while still growing and demonstrating their sustainability on campus, the VSA Council approved 20 “Preliminary Organizations” for the semester that now have access to VSA funding and spaces on campus. The process is now much more straightforward and objective for groups to become VSA Certified Organizations. Additionally, we ordered three new wireless V-Cash machines so that more student organizations will have access to convenient fundraising. We are also moving V-Cash machine reservations and College Center table reservations to the online event management system for the spring semester, so that from now on all of the resources that organizations might need will be in one single location.
Improving social awareness:
Peer advising pre-registration party:
The VSA Student Life Committee and Academics Committee are continuing to explore how we can improve the discourse on campus related to identity and social consciousness. We will continue to work with administrators and committees on various projects to celebrate different student identities. We will also challenge our notions of privilege and increase awareness and education about these issues as early as first-year orientation.
Last month, the VSA Academics Committee hosted an event in the Aula for students to come and talk to upperclassmen about pre-registration and classes. There were peer advisors from over 25 academic departments who could speak to their experiences juggling various course and majors with extra-curricular activities, JYA programs, managing major requirements, and different research and internship opportunities. Over 150 students attended the
Seven Sisters Conference:
event and we received a lot of positive feedback, so we look forward to holding similar programs in the future.
on the street
99 Nights is this Friday, what do you want 99 of?
“Fucks to give.” —Lily Sloss ’14
“Job offers.” —Allison Crook ’14
“Pages of written assignments that are already done.” —Laura Webber ’15
Communication and recent bias incidents:
The VSA Council has spent a significant amount of time and effort over the past few weeks to provide students with the opportunity to respond and react to some of the recent communications from Vassar Administration and the bias incidents that have taken place on campus. The Board of House Presidents organized a venting session for students in the LGBTQ Center last week to provide a space where we could talk about our feelings and reactions, and many Houses have also held dormwide meetings in their common spaces to give students more opportunities to come together and reflect. The VSA is committed to creating more of these opportunities for students throughout the year, both as a response to events that occur and proactively to prevent future bias incidents. We will also be working with Administration to make sure there are additional forums for students to voice their concerns productively. We want to take this opportunity to continue to advocate for the projects and initiatives for which students have been working that will make this campus a safer and more welcoming place. This has been a challenging semester for our community, but I am committed to continuing these conversations and following through with the projects we have begun, while still making sure we have the resources available for all of us to come together and heal. It has been wonderful working with so many of you this semester, and I’m so excited to continue to make progress on each of these projects and more. As always, If you have any questions, ideas, or concerns regarding the VSA, or you would like to get more involved in any of these initiatives, I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact me at vsa�@vassar.edu. —Deb Steinberg ’14 is a psychology major. She is the President of the Vassar Student’s Association.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
“Meal swipes.” —Avery Lord ’17
“Headbands.” —Marcos Castro ’14
“Dollars.” —Michael Kim ’17
Lily Doyle, Humor & Satire Editor Spencer Davis, Photo Editor
December 5, 2013
Origins of holiday cheer not entirely unique to the season Angela Della Croce Opinions Editor
t’s that time of year again. With the year’s most popular holidays all falling in the span of just a couple months, the holiday season takes the country by storm as the winter air rolls in every year. We have holiday-themed sales, foods, parties, movies, and more to look forward to before year’s end. It’s no surprise that we also strongly associate this time of the year with happiness. We prepare for these holidays months in advance while waiting impatiently for their arrival; it’s certainly an exciting and widely anticipated time of the year for most. Yet why exactly is this time of year seen as such a happy one? We spend an obscene amount of money on items we don’t need in a short window of time; we’re bombarded with advertisements and by crazy shoppers; it’s cold and crappy out; illness is in the air; and the foods associated with the holidays are not exactly friends to your waistline. These observations are no secret, and yet the season is still a quite happy and cheery time of year. Upon searching the Internet, I came across two TED videos that may at least partially explain holiday cheeriness. Both were centered on the very general notion of happiness and how to achieve it. One featured Michael Norton, an Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard, who spoke of the relationship between money and happiness. When we think of happiness, a dichotomy often emerges. Some think of a luxurious lifestyle, filled with riches and expensive toys, while others view that life as corruptive and fake, clinging to the popular thought that money cannot buy happiness. Both are wrong, claims Norton. Money can actually buy happiness; it just depends on how we spend it or, rather, who we spend it on. Norton describes how recipients of large sums
“Mssng Somethng?” ACROSS
1 Poughkeepsie on the Metro North, e.g. 4 Sacred song 9 Butcher’s scraps 14 Online giggle 15 Cowboy’s entertainment 16 Berry who played Catwoman 17 “Brokeback Mountain” director Lee 18 Bull on glue bottles 19 *Name for an old professor? 20 Draws nigh 22 Common field trip destination 24 From the U.S.: Abbr. 25 *Exciting developments? 28 Saul’s uncle and grandfather 29 Memo 30 Wrap up 32 Western mil. alliance 35 Solemnly swear 38 In unison
of money, like the lottery, have a tendency to spend it all too quickly and on luxurious or expensive items for themselves.
“The holiday season takes the country by storm as the winter air rolls in every year.” The money also seems to ruin relationships with people because everyone harasses the recipient for money. The person begins to think that their friendships are predicated on their ownership of money, which leads the desire for seclusion and isolation. Thus, if the goal is to attain happiness, perhaps we are spending our money the wrong way. Norton states that spending money on other people increases our happiness as opposed to spending it on ourselves. He conducted multiple experiments that demonstrated how spending money on other people created a pro-social environment that fostered greater interpersonal cohesion and happiness for the giver. It didn’t matter what the gift was, whether it was a small trinket or life-saving malaria medication. What mattered was that we used our resources on someone other than ourselves (“How to buy happiness,” 04.24.2012). Hence, having a pro-social mindset and changing our spending habits to focus more on others than ourselves—even if it is in small ways—will increase our own happiness level. The other video presented Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, who also spoke of the key to happiness. His method was
the holiday season, spending these times with friends and family and using the opportunities provided to make each other happy. Thus, what these two compelling speakers had to say about happiness can be seen in the holiday season. In addition to what was highlighted in the TED videos, there is also a sense of rebirth with the emerging new year. We make resolutions and feel like we have new opportunities awaiting us, leaving behind the past year’s misfortunes. Starting fresh could certainly lead to an increased level of happiness and hopefulness.
“If spending money on others leads to higher life satisfaction, the holiday season must surely be one happy time...” Yet why does the happiness involved with holidays have to stay with the holidays? The sources of holiday cheer described above aren’t specific to a certain time of year; they can be a part of every-day life. Every day is a new beginning that gives us infinite moments of opportunities for which to be grateful. We have the ability to give our time, money, or other resources to others at any point of the year. By pinpointing some of the sources of holiday happiness, we can extend and maintain that level of cheer year-round. —Angela Della Croce ’15 is an economics major.
The Miscellany Crossword
42 Track meet component 44 Center of a storm...or, phonetically, the one alphabet character missing in this puzzle−−and a hint to the answers of the starred clues 45 On the same level 46 Senegal’s capital 47 Singer McEntire 49 Impulse 50 Candy that is dispensed 52 Indigenous Yucatán people 54 Xam ___, Laotian capital city 57 *Struggling to laugh since you woke up? 63 Old target for 32− across 64 “Wheel of Fortune” host Sajak 65 Welsh songwriter born
Answers to last week’s puzzle
unsurprisingly less materialistic, highlighting gratefulness as the driving force behind happiness. Some are under the impression that happy people are grateful, yet he claims that grateful people are happy. He defines gratefulness as the feeling experienced when we are truly given something of value. Grateful living is the key to sustainable happiness. Steindl-Rast states that every moment, with its opportunities, is a valuable gift and thus a source of gratefulness. Yet we rush through life and overlook these opportunities, missing out on the feeling of gratitude and thus happiness. He emphasizes slowing down and ‘building stop signs’ in our lives to fully realize the opportunities provided in each given moment (TED.com, “Want to be happy? Be grateful”, 11.27.2013). That way, we can appreciate what we have, act in ways that maximize our sense of gratitude and be happy. So what do these general beliefs about happiness have to do with the holiday season? A lot actually. If spending money on others leads to higher life satisfaction, the holiday season must surely be one happy time, with all of the gift giving and emphasis on generosity, helping those who are less fortunate and expressing other acts of charitable behavior. We can even broaden Norton’s argument further to cover not just money but resources in general, like time, effort or other tangible donations. If there is ever a time for a mass-giving of our resources, it is during holiday season. Furthermore, the holidays can be seen as a time of ‘grateful living’ as Steindl-Rast would say. It may not seem like it, but the holiday season is our stop sign to look back at the year behind us and appreciate everything we have achieved. The season places an importance on thankfulness and gratitude for what we have—the source of happiness, according to the monk. The given moments of value are realized during
by Jack Mullan, Crossword Editor Eric Martin 66 *Commercial on a GPS? 68 Andean wool source 71 Slumber party attire 72 Summer refuge 73 Nickname for Louis Armstrong 74 Looooong time 75 County on the Thames 76 Watchdog org.? 77 Pair
34 Shatner’s “___ War” 36 N.O.R.E. hit “___ Mi CAnto” 37 Online health info site 39 Your and mine 40 Kvetch 41 He, to João
43 30% of dieci 48 “That hit the spot!” 51 Microwave 53 Japanese keyboard and motorcycle maker 54 Surgeon’s assistant 55 Tallinn natives
1 Informal speak 2 Copier need 3 Pond buildup 4 Magic word 5 Extinct Vassar band 6 Naval V.I.P. 7 Radio host Gibbons 8 Dimwit 9 Unit in a physics textbook 10 *Description of a distant cube? 11 Olympic stadium centerpiece 12 Writer Horatio 13 Grills 21 *Sprinted past the Thanksgiving Day floats? 23 Sugar ending 26 Child support, briefly 27 Prying tool 31 Not from a Scot 32 “Game of Thrones” protagonist ___ Stark 33 Palindromic girl name
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
56 “___ directed” 58 Raft material 59 Rand McNally publication 60 Pulled a Lance Armstrong, so to speak 61 Pear type 62 Kind of question on a
survey 67 Jazz saxophonist Gordon, familiarly 69 Org. for Isnerand Nadal 70 1200, on a monument
December 5, 2013
HUMOR & SATIRE
From the desk of Lily Doyle, Humor & Satire Editor
Toxic buckets of sludge found by Olmsted discovered to be unicorn blood; Lord Voldemort’s arrival expected imminently
My name is not Tabitha: The Ask Lily: Canadian Lovers Misc’s guide to transparency and weird amounts of turkey Chris Gonzalez Editor in Chief
o my fellow Vassar elite? Vassholes? Vass-classmates? Vassaridianites? To whatever it is we pretentiously call ourselves: Hi. In case you didn’t know, classes are almost over. We’ve reached the point of the semester where students are crawling to a finish—that time of year when stress levels reach scary highs as everyone locks themselves up in the library, their bedrooms, their friends’ bedrooms and the bedrooms of their student fellows (who aren’t really their friends even though they pretend to be until about the day before Thanksgiving when they finally come to the realization that they don’t want to be friends with people who drink Crystal Palace out of necessity and have put actual effort into learning how to play a ukulele), under the guise of pounding out papers and cramming for exams. But we all know they’re just sending staged snapchats (nobody needs or owns that many syllabuses) and watching that recent Sharkeisha video on loop. Logically, I thought this would be a perfect time to formally introduce myself to the VC community: Hello, my name is Tabitha and I’m taking...wait, no...my name is Christopher Gonzalez and I am the new Editor-in-Chief of The Miscellany News (if you stop what you’re doing, close your eyes and become one with your surroundings, breathe in the world around you and listen really, really closely, you might hear the sound of a lonely slow clap off in the distance… that’s probably the only person in my family I’ve yet to disappoint, no one). To use YouTube sensation Shoenice’s word, I’m “basically” here to participate in what every member of this campus loves to talk about: transparency. People often wonder about what goes on behind the scenes of this here newspaper and rightfully so. Once a week a couple thousand printed issues of the paper make their way around the campus and people respond by either smiling in delight or rolling their eyes (my mommy tells me that everyone expresses their excitement differently; at least that’s what she used to say those times my family would leave the room whenever I tried to provide an answer other than “fine” to the age-old question, “How was school?”). But who actually produces the material? Who dedicates their time and mental state to the newspaper? Those students snoozing quietly in the backrow of your 9 a.m. Wednesday class? I
mean, it is a possibility. (Sidebar: People actually take 9 a.m. classes, like they wake up early on purpose? Weird. Pretty sure my body can’t physically respond to the blaring of an alarm until at least 9:30 a.m., and even then it’s only reaction is to slap my phone onto the wall until the “snooze” button is hit.) Anyway, perhaps more important, what’s it like to actually be a part of this newspaper? Not just any college newspaper, but specifically the Misc. Well…I mean, I guess it’s like being a part of any weekly college newspaper. So instead of answering that question, let me fill you in on what will happen next semester for any newcomers: All students interested in starting off as reporters will reach out to us in any way possible. If you want to slip a letter or note written in maroon crayon underneath our door at 3 a.m., by all means, Crayola away. You could also choose a more direct method such as throwing pebbles, garbage, the odd brick or maybe even balled up old copies of the newspaper at any one the editors, yelling, “Pick me! Choose me! Let me make you happy!” which is extremely similar to something Juliet Roberts once said in a movie she starred in when she was still relevant, so maybe don’t. Honestly, if you really wanted to, I would accept a 6-pack of microbrews delivered directly to my door. I’m not saying you have to bribe me with beer, but I will not give you this job unless you do. I expect that the more daring individuals out there, the ones who will risk it all for the name of journalistic integrity, who will leave no question unasked, no source untapped and who will, above all, dig down deep into the seething underbelly of Vassar College...they’ll probably just send an email expressing interest or something. THEN, after those brave few step forward, we’ll blindfold them (with their consent of course!) and lead them down into the basement of Main. There, hidden in the dark passageways of Vassar’s past, will stand an altar surrounded by candles and other things that usually surround creepy altars. The new reporters (or the more technical “noobz”) will then be sworn in by chanting “Never an Oxford comma will I use” as they spill blood over our prized possessions: our two Pacemaker awards that Wikipedia tells me exists. I joke, I joke. We do not condone or participate in hazing at The Miscellany News. Someone would have to write an article about it and that would just be awkward for everyone. Kind of like this ending.
Lily Sloss Columnist
s evidenced by the masses at the Deece rocking leggings as pants on Sunday evening, Turkey-Week (or, let’s be honest, halfweek) may have rounded up the Freshmen fifteen to the Senior 22. What to do? Because I am the piss-poor Vassar equivalent of Dear Abby, I will respond to your trials and tribulations post-Break, because I am a stellar person and all-around winner. Q: I got a haircut over break, and my crush didn’t notice. What do I do? A: Sorry, Captain Obvious, but everyone got a hair cut over break. It would have been more beneficial to not do anything to your hair. I’ve heard that is the new hip thing. Or, alternatively, you could have come back tan like those bitches on my Instagram who went to Puerto Rico for break. Q: Do I keep trying to hook up this semester or do I write it off and actually do the work that’s built up like the soap scum in the shower my house has refused to clean all semester? A: Well, pumpkin pie, you might consider that if your shower is “scummy” a hook up might not be in the cards. A terrifying reality, but something you need to come to terms with. What is more frightening: handling a sponge and some Comet, or spending another Saturday night cradling your computer and tissues? (Don’t make this weird.) Q: This Thanksgiving sucked because my 16-year-old half-Latino cousin is going through an ultra-right conservative phase. A: That’s not really a question, but I’ll do my best to soothe your pain. First, take pity, because being 16 sort of blows. Second: send him ultra-liberal links from an anonymous e-mail with a “conservative-friendly” username, like Palin♥ or WWBushDo. Third: barring the success of the previous two methods, whisper dirty liberal thoughts into his room at night when he’s sleeping. Subliminally, he will convert. Next Thanksgiving should be a blast! Q: My Canadian lover is sending me mixed signals ever since the break. Gack! A: Bite the bullet, and send those mixed signals right on back. When you see “Canada,” ignore at all costs. When “Canada” turns their back, throw maple syrup sausage links at them. If your lover asks: deny, deny, deny. This way, “Canada” will be forced to either reconcile or spend the last three weeks of the semester smelling like my breakfast.
Q: I’m turning 19 on Friday and I want to host an inappropriate themed partay. Can you recommend any? A: Edward Roséhands and Sloppy Seconds (involving sloppy Joe’s and alcohol sharing) are personal favorites. Q: My Grandma sent me back to school with so much turkey. WHAT TO DO!? A: Turkey makes you sleepy. There’s a natural sedative in it called tryptophan (Science Lesson). First off, feed some to the chickens behind the Co-op (just kidding, sickos, that’s cannibalism... the poultry version). Second, incorporate it into all meals. Oatmeal with turkey milk. Yogurt parfait with craisins and turkey. Protein shake minus the powder, plus the turkey meat. Etc. Thirdly, follow the lead of all great literary criminals and “hide it in plain sight.” Aka bring it to the Deece and put it in the salad bar. Or throw some in with bagels. Or the cups. Q: Should I use my last paycheck to buy weed, groceries or Xmas presents for my parents? A: Combine wherever you can! Buy weed and flour mix, and sustain yourself on brownies for the next few weeks. It might make classes and functioning like a human being a bit difficult, but it will be hilarious. Or, buy your parents Christmas presents that double as groceries. Nothing says happy holidays like a half-used bucket of egg beaters or the foot of a gluten-free loaf. Last case resort, buy yourself groceries, start selling weed and write your parents a loving note for Christmas that ends with a request for an “allowance” because you’ve been working super hard in your sociology class. Like, so so hard. Q: If my Thanksgiving gut can keep me insulated during Winter, is it really worth losing? What a fantastic question! To answer the initial concern: What about the Senior 22? Don’t bother exercising or watching your dietary habits: this is crunch time. You need that Nilda’s to power you through your Film Seminar paper. How can you finish your screenplay without mainlining Deece Donuts? I’ll answer that for you, you can’t. You earned it, Sister. Don’t lose the gut, wear it with pride. We’ll reconvene our discussion when the season reverts to crop top weather (God forbid).
xxx email me at PalinBiddiesonBushBiddies@ yahoo over Winter break if you have any more questions. <3
Traveling becomes instantly less fun when I punch you in the face (sorry, guy on crutches) by Lily Doyle, Humor & Satire Editor 5:55 a.m.: My flight from Portland lands in
Newark. I inexplicably got upgraded to first class, where they served me wine in a plastic cup before the plebs in economy had even gotten their luggage up. I like to think the reason I got upgraded is because I’m pretty and have a dazzling smile combined with a winning personality, but considering I printed out my ticket at one of those Kiosk things it MAY be because of a system error. 6:10 a.m.: I walk off the plane, walk into a Star-
bucks, and promptly fall asleep on the bench in there.
which my shoulder angel tells me it is morally wrong to lie to this kind old woman and take her money just so that I can buy 12 cupcakes to see if I can break my personal how-manycupcakes-can-i-eat-in-an-hour record. My shoulder devil tells me that if she assumes a girl in a North Face jacket and leather boots is homeless, she deserves it. 6:28 a.m.: Unnerved by my unwavering eye contact and mutterings to my shoulder companions, the old woman leaves without giving me money. I count it as a win for my shoulder angel, and assume that is one less bag of coal I will be receiving this year.
I HATE mouth breathers. What is with the elderly in Newark?
hunger demon just told you to plunge your face into those cheesy depths.
12:30 p.m.: While waiting for Penn Station to
6:00 p.m.: My housemate and I head to Ad-
announce the track my train will be on, I accidentally elbow a guy using crutches in the eye. No, this really happened. I straight up hit a handicapped guy in the face. With my elbow. I took away one of his main remaining faculties, vision. With my totally functional limbs. Yeah, I’m the worst. If you still like me after reading this far, I applaud you and would like to add you to my will so that when I die you are responsible for dividing up everything I have hoarded in my basement. You’re welcome.
am’s in order to purchase what is DEFINITELY NOT a 8 foot Christmas tree that is now illegally in my living room. I figure, I wasn’t really that offended by the smoking ban, so I should find some other Vassar rule to get absurdly upset by and then violate. CHRISTMAS TREES. WHAT’S NEXT, VASSAR? NO RED MEAT? NO VIRGIN SACRIFICE?
6:25 a.m.: I am gently shaken awake by an el-
derly woman who informs me that if I need any money or a place to stay, she knows places that could help me. 6:26 a.m.: I have an internal battle during
9:00 a.m.: I wake up with a cramp in my left butt cheek and a feeling of extreme panic. Turns out that panic is not from having overslept, but is from the elderly Japanese man sitting far too close to me. He’s a mouth breather.
2:30 p.m.: I finally arrive back at my TH and
put my face directly into a medium-sized Bacio’s pizza. Surprise, kids, don’t try this at home, because all it will do is get buffalo sauce in your eye without at all satiating whatever
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
6:05 p.m.: I realize that I have been illegally
drinking since freshman year so why does another rule that isn’t going to be followed matter? Wait, is there a statute of limitations on this? Can I get in trouble because of a humor article?? Lily Doyle is a pen name!!! My name is CATHARINE BOND HILL. I repeat, Catherine Hill. Spelled with a C. Oh no.
December 5, 2013
The Limit hosts famed improv comedy troupe UCB Emma Daniels & Jack Owen rEpOrtEr & Arts EditOr
he traditionally cheeky publication The Onion called the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) “witty, irreverent, and conceptually ambitious.” For once, readers should know that The Onion was serious. UCB is a renowned New York City- and Los Angeles-based sketch comedy and improvisational theater group. It is known for its frequent, affordable and high quality comedic performances and its comedy classes. This Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Taylor Hall 203, the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company (UCB TourCo) will perform a show. The comedy troupe will perform following a short opening set by another comedy troupe, Vassar’s very own The Limit. The show will be a little over an hour long, with the The Limit’s set lasting fifteen min-
utes before the UCB TourCo begins performing their style of long-form improv. In their opening sketch, The Limit plans to use material that they have featured in previous shows. “The Limit is a sketch comedy troupe that really stretches the definition of what is traditionally considered humor,” wrote member Roman Mohr ’14 in an emailed statement. “As a new member this year and a Limit fangirl for three years prior, I can say that I love how absurd and innovative the Limit can be with their humor, it’s great.” UCB was founded in the late 1990s by Amy Poehler—widely known for playing Leslie Knope on NBC’s Parks and Recreation and for her work with Saturday Night Live from 2001 to 2008—Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh. The group is also chock-full of notable alumnae/i, including 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer, The Office’s Ellie Kemper, The Daily Show
courtesy of Upright Citizens; Brigade
Upright Citizens Brigade members gaze longlingly into the distance. The New York City-based comedy group will be performing after a brief skit by The Limit on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Taylor Hall.
with Jon Stewart’s Rob Riggle, and Saturday Night Live’s Bobby Moynihan. Upon moving to New York City, the troupe quickly rose to prominence when they were worked as regular sketch comedians on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. In the late 1990s, the UCB also worked for three seasons with Comedy Central on a weekly, half-hour sketch comedy television show. The troupe also established a theater. James Dwyer, one of the UCB comedians coming to perform this weekend, reflected positively upon the experience of being a part of the troupe. Dwyer explained, “It’s amazing…it’s fun and has been a very positive experience being at a place like UCB where I can work in a collaborative atmosphere.” Dwyer described his comedy as grounded in reality. He said, “I love to have grounded characters with big emotional reactions. I think that there’s a lot of comedy to be had in real reactions, not dark material. Comedy doesn’t always have to be based on some crazy, out there idea.” President of The Limit Lucia Rieur ’14 helped organize the event. She wrote in an emailed statement, “The Limit has worked with UCB in the past, bringing TourCo and a stand-up comedian, and were really interested in setting up something again this year.” Rieur went on to explain, “I took classes at UCB this past summer and expressed interest to my teacher who then passed along my contact info to the TourCo coordinator. The coordinator reached out with me in the beginning of the semester and we’ve been working on it ever since.” Despite its national fame, members still hope to garner a large audience. Dwyer noted, “We’re just excited to do the show at Vassar and hope lots of people come.” “Long-form improv is more scene-based than short-form improv (like Whose Line is it Anyway?). One of the great things about the structure (or almost lack thereof) is that anything can happen within the scenes and the only way to really know is by seeing the show,”
Rieur also noted. Dwyer elaborated on the spontaneity of the form. He explained, “When it comes to improv, deciding what we will perform is a little bit of a game time decision.” Dwyer went on to explain, “Sometimes we’ll do an interview with an audience member and other stuff based on that...That’s what I love about improv; we just do whatever we feel like as we’re inspired during the show and go from there.” Rieur emphasized that, despite the impulsiveness of improv, UCB’s work is relevant for a sharp humor of Vassar audiences. She said, “UCB will appeal to a Vassar audience because they are not only funny, but incredibly bright and quick.” “They pride themselves on playing at the top of their intelligence and not resorting to an easy laugh. This dedication leads to incredibly rich shows, with unexpected twists and constant laughter. Students at Vassar appreciate hard work done well, and that is exactly what UCB delivers,” Rieur added. The show may prove especially pertinent for Vassar students who are aspiring comedians. Dwyer reflected on the struggles of being a comedian in New York. He said, “More than anything, if you want to do comedy in New York, you just have to hustle and be critical of yourself without being self defeating.” Dwyer continued, “And find other people who are interested in what you’re doing. Improv is very community based and everyone is very supportive of each other. As long as you’re trying to constantly build on what you have, I think anyone who works hard enough can succeed in this arena.” Mohr expressed his excitement about the upcoming performance. “UCB was founded by Amy Poehler, one of the comedic greats. Over the years they’ve had a lot of other funny people come from there as well,” Mohr wrote. “It will be exciting to see some of the up and coming people in comedy, and it’s unique for Vassar to get such high caliber performers. It should be hilarious.”
Restoration-era England a vehicle for Kushner farce Isabella DeLeo & Margaret Yap GuEst rEpOrtEr & Arts EditOr
Critiquing capitalism is huge at Vassar and growing around the country, and with socialist leaders like Kshama Sawant gaining political power and local socialist organizations gaining stronger ties with students on campus, these politics are only becoming more relevant,” said director Tyler Fultz ’15. Samantha Guss ’17, an actor in the play, spoke to the novelty of putting on this show at the College. “I play Dr. Thomas Browne’s Soul, and spend 4 of the 5 acts chained to his bed,” she wrote in an emailed statement. “[Vassar students will have] the opportunity to see a unique and rarely performed piece of theater. Hydriotaphia is a failed attempt at a masterpiece, but there’s a lot of genius in it if you know where to look. I’ve seen the play performed (because I’m literally chained to it) 20ish times, and I discover something new
Spencer Davis/The Davis/The Miscellany News
hilaletheis, a Vassar student theater organization, will soon be producing the five-act play Hydriotaphia, or The Death of Dr. Browne, a modern-day farce loosely based on the life of Sir Thomas Browne, a 17th-century writer, scientist and capitalist. In drama, a farce is a comedic performance that strives to entertain its audiences through the use of hyperbolic scenarios and exorbiance. The plot of a farce is often convoluted, and therefore highly unrealistic. The title of Tony Kushner’s show is taken from Browne’s essay of the same title in which he argues that God does not grant mankind immortality, an idea that Kushner uses as a creative springboard. The play runs from Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Susan Stein Shiva Theater. “Sir Thomas Browne is an intelligent, ambitious writer who is facing the prospect of his own death,” wrote Derek Butterton ’15 in an emailed statement. “He’s wronged a great many people in his life, and his actions are finally coming back to haunt him.” The play is set during the Restoration, referring to the restoration of the English monarchy by Charles II. “The show uses the economic conditions of the Restoration to ask about why the gap between rich and poor is so severe and so enduring. And it shows the emotional damage of accumulating wealth does to everyone involved,” wrote Butteron. Browne sits in bed, awaiting death, accompanied by a preacher, witches, a gravedigger and eventually an embodiment of his soul and death herself, who help make up the cast of 15. Each visitor is intently focused on her or his goals, and is able to transcend the divides between heaven and Earth. As the story takes place during the Restoration, it explores themes of transition and how society manages large shifts in political and economic systems. Ultimately, Browne suffers an ironic death, the result of conspicuous consumption and dis-
regard for others. “The show raises questions about the fear of death, the nature of love, and the seductive power of wealth. Also, it’s pretty funny!” explained Butterton in an emailed statement. According to Kushner, it is a tale that sweeps beyond the mundane and into the ethereal world and is deeply fascinated by death. The play features a vernacular that draws from Brooklyn and Yorkshire dialects and from the language of Krazy Kat, an American comic strip by cartoonist George Herriman, all of which aims to further complicate the narrative. “One of the most relevant themes in the play is that of primitive capital accumulation, a Marxist term that refers to the act of accumulating recklessly without concern for all the people you throw under the bus along the way.
Cast members of Philaletheis’ production of Hydriotaphia, or The Death of Dr. Browne rehearse. The play is a modern day farce, and addresses issues of capitalism, consumption and mortality.
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during every run.” While Hydriotaphia focuses on capitalism and overconsumption, it also deals with more universal themes, including ableism, fear of mortality, religion and overcoming past indiscretions. The play is a true intellectual journey, prompting audiences to both laugh and ponder deep philosophical and societal issues. Fultz is excited about the experience of putting the play together, and said, “Every time that we all sit down to talk about our discoveries of the play, we constantly discover new things, leading one of our actors to even say that we shouldn’t talk about the play anymore because the breadth of discoveries that we have made thus far have started to scare him. There are several well-developed storylines throughout this show, which only serves to make the play...epic. Anyone that comes to see it will have a ton of fun.” Fultz expressed another reason to come see the play. “While there is tons of theater done on this campus every semester, it has been rare in my three years at Vassar to see a farce produced on campus, particularly modern farces.” He continued, “Philaletheis is dedicated to providing a space and opportunity for all sorts of theater to be produced on campus, and this opportunity will allow audiences to see that farce is an underestimated and amazing means to get across very important messages.” In the play, life and death are but a farce. Fultz discussed his personal assessment of the show, saying, “Hydriotaphia is a weird show. I mean, it is actually the weirdest thing. The play may start normal enough, but it very clearly dwindles out of control in the most entertaining of ways. It is super high energy and over the top, and the writing of the play is absolutely brilliant.” Butterton is excited to see how audiences react to the show. “Everyone working on the show is absolutely fantastic! I couldn’t have asked for a better group. I hope you have as much fun seeing the show as we had making it!” he wrote.
December 5, 2013
Junior year experiences make Rieur a stand-up veteran Samantha Kohl rEpOrtEr
Elizabeth Berridge/The Berridge/The Miscellany News
or most Vassar students, the idea of a Junior Year Abroad (JYA) would not include spending a semester in the Midwest. For Lucia Rieur ’14, however, spending her JYA in Chicago was life-changing. “I studied abroad with air quotes,” said Rieur. Before going abroad, Rieur spent the summer working as an intern at the prestigious New Group Theater Company, a New York based contemporary theater organization whose first production, Avenue Q , became an instant hit. At New Group, Rieur was able to gather a behind-the-scenes view of production and marketing. Rieur then participated in a program at The Second City in Chicago, where a list of renowned comedians—including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Jack McBrayer, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and others—began their careers. “It was all comedy, all the time, and I got school credit for it which feels like a joke—the joke was on me that it managed to work out. It was a really great experience,” Rieur said. Rieur is the acting president of The Limit, a sketch comedy troupe at Vassar. She said, “We do our own shows, but we are bringing outside groups too this semester, which is really exciting.” Apart from her involvement with The Limit, Rieur participates in works of student theater on campus that tend to be comedic. That being said, Rieur considers The Limit to be her main activity on campus. While Rieur’s program at The Second City focused on performing comedy, Rieur was expected to produce research papers as well as laughs. The program offered classes on the history of comedy as well as a how-to class on using current events for satire à la Colbert, another Second City alum. This angle brought levels of academia to the
program in its own way. At The Second City, Rieur was trained in the arts of both improv and writing comedy. Rieur was even required to perform a set of stand-up in front of her peers. Rieur reflected on the experience and her stand-up material positively. She explained, “Everyone had to go up and watch each other do a stand-up set, which was a really safe environment to do it in, so that was good. I want to develop my stand-up into more narrative but right now it is more intentionally awkward, uncomfortable and includes a lot of one liners that are also all really awkward. It’s all so awkward.” On her experience doing her set, Rieur said, “It’s so scary. I have so much respect for people who can do it and not show any fear... which I guess is one of the good reasons my stand-up was awkward, because it covered up just how nervous I was.” While doing the set scared Rieur, she described the environment in which she performed: “[It is] definitely the safest environment I could have done it in, because people at open mic scenarios are not going to be as nice as 20 of my peers.” Overall, she felt that her frightening experience doing stand-up was also a beneficial one. Rieur said, “It was really nice because I knew how much effort people had put into them. There were some people who had done standup before and seemed like pros and knew exactly what they were doing. People who hadn’t done stand-up were maybe not as skilled as the ‘vets,’ but they still produced really great material and you could see what in their personal life was integrated into their stand-up.” The Second City also offered practical workshops for their participants such as “How to Audition for The Second City” so that students could hopefully become a part of the prestigious company upon graduating college. Renowned alumnae/i from the program also
Comedian and President of The Limit Lucia Rieur ’14 spent her Junior Year Abroad at The Second City in Chicago, IL, where household names Tina Fey and Amy Poehler kicked off their careers. came in to talk to the participants about the kinds of work they have been doing, which included a plethora of experiences, such as working on Conan. One of the alumnae who made a particular mark upon Rieur was Susan Messing, a Chicago-based stand-up comedian. “She really wants everyone to own every decision they make and that if you commit to it, it’s going to be good. You just have to take that final jump and do it. She would say, ‘If you fart, own that you fart and know that you ate three bean burritos and extra fiery hot sauce.’ She has no filter. It’s perfect—she is perfect,” said Rieur. All in all, Rieur’s experience at The Second
City changed the way she approached comedy and her work with The Limit at Vassar. “It made me realize what I had been doing at Vassar before, that maybe I thought, ‘This is how comedy is supposed to be done,’ with The Second City going, ‘No, you’re wrong. You may have thought you knew what you were doing, but you really don’t.’ It was good,” Rieur noted. She continued, “I also learned how to better structure shows and ways to do sketch shows and earn the audience’s trust. Know that you’re working together, so you can start off with something not as insane but finally get the audience to go all the way with you to crazy town. It’s fun for everyone in a way.”
Kids enter into Gordon Ramsey’s Masterchef mix Palak Patel
Masterchef Junior Gordon Ramsey Fox
here’s nothing I love more than good reality television. It’s basically my bread and butter. With some of my favorite guilty pleasures winding down, though, I soon found myself in serious need of that reality fix. Enter MasterChef: Junior. Any fan of Gordon Ramsay or MasterChef can tell you that this was just a disaster waiting to happen: kids...in the kitchen? Horrifying. Yet, when I sat down to binge watch the mere seven-episode season, I was surprised to find I loved every minute of it. Twenty-four of the best home cooks in America entered the MasterChef kitchen, and all of them were under five feet tall. With ages ranging from eight to 13, these kids meant business. In the first episode alone I saw children half my age make sushi, macarons and a variety of fresh pastas. Watching MasterChef: Junior was both an entertaining and stressful experience; I found myself wringing my hands with worry at these tiny children handling large knives with such vigor. The kids themselves were completely adorable. In the first episode, all of the competitors were happy to compete just for the MasterChef Junior Trophy. In the next episode, Ramsay introduced the $100,000 cash prize, which left the kids awestruck and unable to comprehend exactly how much money that entailed. A favorite moment of mine was the talking head that featured the kids ruminating about what they could do with the money, including “throw a party” and “go to an amusement park.”
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After the first eliminations, the youngest in the competition was nine-year-old Sarah and the oldest was 13-year-old Alexander. Don’t let age fool you, though, these kids could wipe the kitchen floor with you. Ramsay was not pulling any punches with his young competitors. He had the children face Mystery Box Challenges, create a perfect beef Wellington and even compete in the Restaurant Takeover Challenge. While Ramsay’s trademark acidic persona was toned down for the kids, the judges were never anything but truthful with the competitors, letting each kid know what worked and what didn’t. When the kids seemed to be overwhelmed, a judge was always nearby to provide a little bit of support. In fact, the show was filled with a variety of sweet and touching moments where the judges helped teach the kids and push them to grow as chefs. What really held the show together, though, was the sheer camaraderie among the competitors. Reality competition shows are fun because we get to watch adults devolve into bickering children, but there was none of that in MasterChef: Junior. Instead, I was on the verge of tears at almost every elimination just because the rest of the competitors were so sad to see their new friends leave. The show itself is obviously still predictable, as are all reality shows nowadays, but the sincerity and appreciation each competitor had for their rivals helped to pull away from what could have easily been a disaster. These kids truly supported each other and that was refreshing. Reality shows, in their essences, are basically just a bunch of adults yelling at each other. MasterChef: Junior, which I am happy to report was renewed for a second season, was able to transcend that trope and deliver a strong show.
Panel to discuss Inuit works
Biopic bland despite strong performances Max Rook Columnist
Dallas Buyers Club Jean-Marc Vallée Focus Features
DECOLONIZING continued from page 1
Woodruff ’14, a student of McGlennen’s class, in an emailed statement. “Far too many museums and institutions present Native Peoples as absent, conquered and historicized within a dominant narrative. This colonial museology fails to acknowledge the contemporary existence of Indigenous Peoples and the dynamic and sophisticated ways in which contemporary Indigenous artists are unsettling this narrative.” Similarly, Kristina Arike ’14 wrote in an emailed statement, “Few exhibitions celebrate thriving, contemporary Native art the way that [Decolonizing the Exhibition] does. I hope that audiences leave this exhibit with a heightened interest and awareness of the work being done by Native artists, as well as a more critical lens with which to evaluate what they see in natural history museums that continue to pervade the colonial agenda.” Before viewing the pieces, the exhibition visitors will be informed by a panel. Decolonizing the Exhibition: Four Perspectives on Indigenous Visual Culture in the Museum Space will feature Chitimacha/Choctaw artist Sarah Sense, art collector and donor Guarino, art history major and Native studies correlate Pilar Jefferson ’15 and McGlennen herself. The panel is a discussion of the traditional interpretations of Native American art as well as an exchange of perspectives. “[Guarino’s] perspective on collecting and donating is quite different than my perspective as an academic... who studies these pieces to understand more about Native visual culture,” she said. The student-curated exhibit will display eight Inuit prints and drawings. “How [the Inuit] started printmaking was from these art cooperatives created by the Canadian government in the 1950s,” McGlennen said “So that, in and of itself, is a relationship that can be vexing.” “Citing that historical relationship...is something we’re really interested in in the class,” she continued. “And while we’ll have the wall labels for the pieces in the exhibit itself in the Loeb, we’re also going to have a website that will show more pieces with extended virtual wall labels. It’ll give a sort of fuller story to what we can’t necessarily have room for in the Loeb.” To highlight the fuller story, the course title is a play on words. “We do hope to unsettle the exhibition, meaning…that non-Native peoples [have] a perception of what Indians should look like, what their art should be–symbols and signs that quintessentially identify Indianness for Americans,” said McGlennen. “In that way, there is...this idea of tourism or [exhibitionism] that Americans perceive that they have access to [and] have complete knowledge about.” In order to more critically analyze Native art and the way it is understood, the 15 students of Decolonizing the Exhibition have been researching and creating wall labels for the exhibited pieces. McGlennen said, “I was giving them constant encouragement to find out more, to say it better, to think critically about: ‘Is this coming from an outsider’s perspective, or is this coming, do you think, from an Inuit perspective?’ So we really had to think hard about what…it [means], then, to say that we’re attempting to create a Native American studies perspective when you yourself are not Native.” McGlennen continued, “I think of contemporary art as a continuation of Native storytelling, and I think that the image—visual culture—is so powerful because it seeps into so many areas of our life...So just think of that kind of symbol of an Indian again, that someone who thinks they understand Indianness in these really reduced symbols—the visual culture produced by these Native people speaks right back to that and right through it. It breaks it down. This visual culture is, in a way, Native people telling their own stories in their own terms.” Reflecting on this visual culture, Woodruff wrote, “The prints and drawings in the exhibition are extraordinary. Each time I return to one of the works I see something that I had missed before; they grow more and more complex and magnetic. Everything that I thought I understood about the work is unsettled by each new discovery.”
December 5, 2013
allas Buyers Club tells the story of Ron Woodruff, a man who was behind one of the “buyers clubs” which arose in the late ’80s to provide medication for AIDS patients before they were approved by the FDA. Popular culture has apparently gained enough distance from the initial AIDS epidemic that our media has begun to explore it from a historical perspective, be it by looking at individual stories like this film does or by examining the larger context as last year’s documentary How to Survive a Plague did. I cannot speak to this film’s historical accuracy—I am sure there are some who would dispute the story’s implication that the FDA was basically controlled by the pharmaceutical industry—but there is still something troubling about the fact that this film finds it necessary to recount an important moment in gay history from the perspective of Woodruff, a straight man. Certainly, the film’s events are based on actual occurrences, but by focusing so much on Woodruff’s narrative, Dallas Buyers Club becomes a conventionally heartwarming biopic, despite hints of something more. I can understand why director Jean-Marc Vallée felt compelled to feature Woodruff so heavily once the role was given to Matthew McConaughey. After spending years trapped in mediocre romantic comedies, McConaughey has had a remarkable career resurgence in the last few years, from 2011’s Bernie to Mud earlier this year, and his work here continues that trend. The first fifteen minutes of the film do everything they can to make Woodruff unlik-
able, depicting him as an angry, homophobic man who spends all his time gambling, taking drugs and sleeping with prostitutes. It’s a remarkable gambit for a movie to try so hard to make its hero hateable, but it works here through the sheer force of McConaughey’s charisma, which always manages to keep Woodruff just within reach of audience sympathy. He lost quite a bit of weight for the role, but this Woodruff still has a well of inner strength, and all credit goes to McConaughey. I wouldn’t say his performance here quite tops his magnificent work in Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, but it comes close. Despite McConaughey’s performance, the first act of the movie is a bit of a slog. When Woodruff is first told by doctors that he has tested positive for HIV, he refuses to believe them. It’s a moment that communicates an important point, that most of the public at this time believed HIV could only be transmitted through gay sex, but it isn’t exactly dramatically compelling. The plot picks up once Woodruff starts researching the disease and discovers that the drug administered by hospitals to AIDS patients, AZT, is just as likely to hurt them as help them. He begins taking a regimen of largely unapproved vitamins and supplements which are more helpful, and he discovers that his fellow patients are willing to pay for his plan, which kickstarts his business idea. Woodruff partners with Rayon, a transwoman he met in the hospital’s AIDS clinic, and the film’s main plot begins. Rayon’s presence in the movie brings a much needed shift in tone to the proceedings. Where Woodruff is gruff and irritable, Rayon is upbeat and joyful, and Jared Leto gives a remarkable, soulful performance. Unfortunately, Rayon’s plot is largely irrelevant to the main narrative. One of the film’s most powerful moments comes when Rayon has to plead with her disapproving father for money, but it could easily be cut without the movie losing any-
thing in terms of plot coherency. And if you are at all familiar with how Hollywood tends to treat its gay side characters, you can probably guess where Rayon’s story ends up. Suffice to say, she leads a difficult life, and things don’t often go her way. When tragedy strikes, the film frames that moment as a motivating incident in Woodruff’s life, rather than treating it with the respect Rayon deserves as a character. In fact, the entire film would certainly have been more engaging had it told its story from Rayon’s perspective. I’m sure some viewers will see this film and not care about the sexual politics on display. By the standards of the historical biopic that seeks to both educate and inspire, it is generally successful. It’s certainly entertaining, and its explanation of the importance of buyers clubs to the gay rights movement is effective. Unfortunately, it does so in Hollywood’s typically boring fashion: a “normal” figure, in this case a straight white man, enters a world of outsiders, and becomes a hero to them. The prevalence of that style of story in today’s movies is based on the assumption that audiences won’t be able to relate to a story if the main character is in any way different from the stock default protagonist. Beyond the fact that this assumption ignores massive chunks of potential audience, it is also insulting to the “default” audience it attempts to cater to. Still, it’s a widely held belief by the people who make today’s movies, so we get films like Dallas Buyers Club which ostensibly are about gay history, but manage to feature numerous straight sex scenes without once exploring a gay relationship. In fact, the film’s treatment of women as a whole is fairly gross. Beyond Rayon, all the female characters are either nameless sex objects for Woodruff to enjoy, or Jennifer Garner’s bland love-interest character. McConaughey and Leto are good enough to salvage some of the film’s weaker moments, but on the whole this is a disappointingly standard movie.
Catching Fire further alienates protagonist Lily Sloss Columnist
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Francise Lawrence Lionsgate
fter my first viewing of the second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy, I felt emotionally assaulted. For the majority of the film, your eyes and ears endure an onslaught of complex and vivid imagery and oftentimes grating sounds. I left feeling wary.As my friends and I walked to the car afterwards, we were silent. It seemed hard to scrape together the exact sentiment left by the movie. Was it intriguing? Certainly. Was it exhausting? Assuredly. It is, in the words of many a clichéd artist, “an emotional roller coaster.” The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens with our equally nervy but distinctly better prepared protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, one of the winners of the previous year’s Hunger Games—a competition pitching 24 random young adults from the 12 districts against each other and forcing them to fight to the death. As Katniss crouches in the outskirts of District 12, she seems enraptured by something we cannot quite make out. The glossy facade of her interior remains intact throughout the film, an impermeable membrane which prevents both the audiences in the Capitol and theaters from becoming privy to her thought process. This is not to say that we do not witness her emotional experience of the games, because on the contrary the audience is inundated with close-up images of Katniss sobbing, screaming or exhibiting an “intense” look that we learn to associate with determination. However, the combination of the stilted dialogue which Katniss delivers and the multiple ways in which she is manipulated by the men around her often make it hard for the audience to discern how Katniss really feels. As the complicated plot progresses, Katniss
realizes the revolution of the districts against the Capitol has begun. Districts are turning on their oppressors and Katniss is recognized as the symbol of the rebellion. She is their “mockingjay,” the hero who the districts’ citizens have idolized because of her defiant behavior in the Games the previous year. She, however, does not want the title. She fears the Peacekeepers who “keep the citizens in line,” wants desperately to keep her sister Prim and her mother away from President Snow (played with terrifying contempt by Donald Sutherland), and, at one point, attempts to make a break for it, explaining to Gale, “We’ll never be safe here.” What kind of a hero tries to run away? Gale insists she stay in her district, and ultimately she is sent back to the Quarter Quell Hunger Games to fight to the death once more. While there is little debate that Katniss is a strong, moral character, it seems harder to label her behavior in this film as revolutionary. She is courageous to the point that she will throw herself in the line of fire to save a friend or family member, but she wants no part in the backlash against the Capitol. Instead, she finds herself unwillingly proffered as the symbol of hope for a nation of suffering people and entirely unable to free herself from the revolution’s clutches. What frightens me about The Hunger Games series, beyond, merely, the terrifying nature of the competition, is Katniss’ nature. The series, supposedly, features a female heroine, a protagonist for children to idolize. However, Katniss is remarkably unaware, especially in the second film. The men around her are constantly manipulating her to meet their needs and wants, and although she might struggle against their demands, she ultimately fulfills them. Why can’t the protagonist be in on the game? Why can’t she be calling the shots and controlling her own destiny? Within the diegesis of the film, Katniss often seems to be the pawn. Reflecting on Catching Fire after a second viewing, the narrative seems less of a human story. The scale is simply too big. Katniss is
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not fighting President Snow or the other Victors in the arena; she is fighting “authority.” The impact of the film is, at times, reduced because of its inability to supersede the themes driving the narrative. The people in the districts must be oppressed, in order to revolt. Katniss must be forced to hunt to eat, or she could not succeed at the Games. It is a necessary cycle for the narrative, but can sometimes feel too heavy or “preachy.” The story has a few light moments to lessen the high-stakes Quarter Quell and to relieve the anxiety driven by Peace Keeper attacks and surprise visits from President Snow. Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) is delightful every single moment he is on-screen. Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) is a new character in the series, a victor from a previous year. She is fantastic. Angry, vulgar, opinionated, intelligent, brutal and strong, she seems a far superior heroine to Katniss who either yells or simpers, terrified, but so be it. The movie fulfills its genre and matches the caliber of the previous film, and I certainly enjoyed it. The shaky cinematography of the first Hunger Games was reduced, and every aspect of the mise-en-scéne that could be amplified, was. Effie (Elizabeth Banks), in particular, looks even more fabulous in each scene than the last, but the vast expanses of the Hunger Games world are positively delectable. The movie, if anything else, is a fun viewing experience. The acting is rich, sometimes enhancing banal dialogue or driving scenes along more quickly. I am glad that I saw the film and remain (mainly) unembarrassed that I have seen it twice. All the things that bothered me about the film are, unfortunately, telling of its genre and the industry, not its makers in particular. These shortcomings of the film have amped up my excitement to see the upcoming Maleficent (2014) to see Angeline Jolie portray the infamous villain of Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent’s character, I would argue, truly deserves idolization. The power, the horns! A villain worth rooting for.
December 5, 2013
Britney Jean not as personal as promised Jack Owen Arts EditOr
Britney Jean Britney Spears RCA
ince Britney Spears exploded onto the music scene in 1998 with her wide smile and sharp dance moves, the former Mouseketeer has remained an American pop cultural mainstay. But after her heavily publicized struggles with mental illness in 2007, and her father’s subsequent conservatorship over her business affairs, critics have argued that Spears is now only an echo of her former self on her own albums, with her over-synthesized Southern huskiness drowned out by heavy dance beats. Nonetheless, Blackout, Circus and Femme Fatale, her three albums since checking into a mental health facility, have been the most innovative of her career, introducing avant-garde EDM elements, slick production and dizzying vocal distortions to mainstream pop. However artificial, Spears asserted a captivating persona who was brazenly confident and fully aware of the media fascination that surrounded her. In response to the criticism of Spears “phoning in” on her recent albums, she and her team have marketed Britney Jean, released on Dec. 3, as her “most personal album ever.” She has writing credits on every track, some of which delve more into darker territory than we’ve seen on her past efforts. Nevertheless, Britney Jean mostly plays it safe, and the result is a disjointed album with a few glimmers of promise. Some tracks take on more “personal” material and deviate from the dance music Spears is now famous for. The rest, unfortunately, are forgettable EDM smashers, with cheesy production by will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, that sound like they could have been thumping in a European nightclub three years ago. The opening track, “Alien,” produced by William Orbit, is the highlight of Britney Jean. “There was a time I was one of a kind / Lost in the world of me, myself and I / Was lonely then like an alien,” Spears sings in the opening verse. Orbit’s production is severe, and Spears’ low vocals, while still recognizably Britney, are processed in a way that creates a distant, dreary
effect. “I tried but I never figured it out / Why I always felt like a stranger in a crowd,” she sings. The track touches on the loneliness Spears has experienced as a pop icon, as she has openly lamented her superstardom. “Alien” remains eerily constant throughout; no barrage of dubstep or EDM interrupts. The track doesn’t soar like a typical Britney dance hit, but mesmerizes through its simplicity. Next comes “Work Bitch,” the album’s campy first single. Spears revives her pseudo-English accent, first heard on “Scream and Shout,” and acts as an uncompromising motivator: “You want a hot body? / You want a Bugatti? / You want a Maserati? / You better work bitch,” she commands. Though not her best experiment in EDM, “Work Bitch” just might be the ultimate workout song. And it’s the only will.i.am produced EDM piece on Britney Jean that’s not a total snooze. If the mantra “You better work, bitch” doesn’t get you running a little faster on the treadmill, I don’t know what will. In “Perfume,” the third track, Spears drops the English accent and tough exterior to convey a more vulnerable side. “Perfume” is a mid-tempo ballad penned by Spears and the talented Sia Furler that, unlike most recent Britney songs, actually focuses on the vocals rather than the production. Listeners may be surprised. Spears’ raw voice, which we haven’t heard in about a decade, sounds surprisingly strong. “So I, I wait for you to call / And I try to act natural / Have you been thinking ’bout her or ’bout me?” The emotion in Spears’ voice is clearly evident as she shakily belts the chorus, revealing a sad vulnerability; she expresses paranoia that her lover is being unfaithful. As longtime fans will be delighted to hear, Spears sings in her natural lower register. Her signature enunciations and guttural notes that distinguished her from other pop singers in the late ’90s are in full force. The only issue with “Perfume” is the production. will.i.am layers on some corny ’80s beats that detract from the emotional resonance of the lyrics, and make an otherwise lovely song sound outdated. Luckily, in the deluxe version of Britney Jean, listeners can find a remix of “Perfume” with stripped down production that’s actually better than the original version. Of course, it’s no “Everytime,” but it’s pretty stunning. After the promising first three tracks, Britney Jean takes a turn for the worse. Skeptics of
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will.i.am (honestly, most Britney fans cringed when they found out he was the executive producer) will find “It Should Be Easy,” the excessively synthesized duet between Spears and Mr. Exec Producer, to be horrendous. Both voices sound more auto-tuned than ever, and the cookie-cutter synths are dizzyingly dull. The song sounds like a Femme Fatale reject. EDM bangers “Til It’s Gone” and “Body Ache” are entertaining enough. They’ll get you dancing. But juxtaposed with Spears’ vocal presence on “Perfume” and “Alien,” she sounds like a nearly unrecognizable idea of “Britney.” The second half of Britney Jean somewhat redeems itself with “Passenger” and “Don’t Cry.” “Passenger,” a pop-rock ballad with some EDM peppered in, is catchy and showcases Spears’ trademark vocal melismas and ticks. Co-written with Katy Perry, “Passenger” features lyrics about giving over your fears to another. “I’ll let you lead the way now, ’cuz I want you to take the wheel,” Spears professes. The sentiment is poignant and relatable. “Don’t Cry” showcases stronger vocals by Spears, but resonates no more than any generic breakup song. For those hoping to hear a more candid Britney Spears, don’t expect to find it on Britney Jean. Fans wanting to know more about how she has overcome the many challenges in her life will be disappointed, and perhaps that’s for the best. Spears should not have to recount the painful events of her past if she doesn’t feel comfortable doing so. Nevertheless, Britney Jean is trying to have it all—personal Britney and party Britney—and for this reason it is the pop icon’s weakest album. Jarring club bangers mix with vulnerable ballads, and the result is a collection of songs that feel loosely connected. Spears has done little to promote the album, instead gearing up for her two-year Vegas residency. After being awarded the esteemed Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in 2011, it seems that she is now comfortable leaning back on her pop throne without focusing much on making chart-topping new material. The high-energy Britney of the new millennium who took the world by storm hasn’t been present for a while, likely for a multitude of reasons (let’s remember that several news outlets had already written her obituary in 2007). And while the result is disappointing for fans, more power to her. She deserves to put her feet up at this point.
What TV show are you going to watch instead of studying for your finals?
“Rocket Power.” —Ethan Cohen ’16
“Star Trek.” —Ben Lehr ’16
“New Girl.” —Jo Barnett ’14
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“The Mighty Boosh.” —Brittany Hill ’16
This is a painting in oil on primed paper made after sketches of an abandoned house in the Aran Islands in Ireland. The concrete walls and roof were crumbling but the surrounding green vegetation had crept in and trees and plants had completely covered the room; it was something out of a fairytale or ancient myth. Unable to get the color down in my sketch, I invented it back in the studio with the hopes of endowing some of the amazing liveliness and light of the house to the clunky and firmly delineated space depicted.
“The O.C.” —Luke Dowker ’17
“Bob’s Burgers!” —Zoe McNichols ’17
—Maddy Morris ’14
Jack Owen, Arts Editor Margaret Yap, Arts Editor Spencer Davis, Photo Editor MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
December 5, 2013
Death threats Draft rules hurt NCAA program stability mar legendary T rivalry matches Zach Rippe Columnist
ivalry Week in college football: it is probably the most exciting week of the season, excluding some bowl games and the national championship game. In fact, Rivalry Week often produces games that are more exciting than their postseason counterparts. This year was a perfect example of this. The Civil War, the game between Oregon State and Oregon, came down to an Oregon touchdown with 29 seconds left in the game, concluding a 3635 thriller in the Ducks’ favor. The Michigan-Ohio State game was equally exciting. Just having scored to pull within one point of Ohio State, Michigan Coach Brady Hoke asked his players whether they would rather go for a two-point conversion and the win, or kick the extra point, which would surely have sent the game into overtime. Hoke and the Michigan players went for the win but failed to convert the two-point conversion, losing to Ohio State 42-41 in an instant classic. The game of the weekend, and maybe of the decade, belonged to this year’s Iron Bowl, the annual match-up between the University of Alabama and the University of Auburn. With one second left in the game, Alabama Crimson Tide tried to kick a 57-yard field goal in order to break a 28-28 tie to beat Auburn, all but solidifying the Tide’s chances of playing for a third consecutive national championship. The kick was short and was subsequently returned 109 yards for a touchdown, ending Alabama’s undefeated season. It also ended its hopes for the proverbial three-peat, and capping the most sensational ending to a college football game since the Cal band stormed the field during a last-second kick return against Stanford in 1982. People are still talking about this 31 years after it happened. People will talk about the 2013 Iron Bowl and its ending as one of the greatest college football games ever played. It was the stuff of legend. That is why people watch sports: to see something spectacular. Furthermore, Cade Foster is the place kicker for the University of Alabama; he is twenty two, majoring in business, and a two-time national champion. At 6 ft 1 in and 221 lbs., he is a huge kicker. Alabama usually uses Foster to kick field goals longer than 44 yards. But after missing three field goals against Auburn, Foster was benched in favor of freshman Adam Griffith. Griffith’s charge: kick a 57-yard, game-winning field goal. Factor in the pressure of beating arch-rival Auburn, in Auburn, and that field goal must have been pretty daunting. Griffith missed, and Auburn won on a freak play for the second time in three weeks. After the game, many Crimson Tide fans directed their anger and frustration at Foster, taking to Facebook and Twitter to send Foster death threats. No one should ever receive a death threat. Not because it is against the law and considered a criminal offense, but because that kind of violent psychological coercion is traumatizing, malicious, and inherently wrong . But it happens to athletes all the time. Both the 2013 Iron Bowl and the 2012 49er-Giants playoff match-ups were competitive, entertaining games. Both had memorable endings spoiled by the stupidity of fans that forgot a few key things: football is a game, and the people who play it are human and make mistakes. Even if football players at schools with high-level programs are increasingly like professionals, Cade Foster is a college student and an amateur football player. Any fan who threatens a player, especially a collegiate athlete, with death cannot call him or herself a fan. They can call themselves cowards and idiots, and hopefully the state will soon call them criminals. Hiding behind the anonymity of a Twitter account and saying belligerent, murderous things about members of a “favorite” team doesn’t add inches to one’s fan-hood. It makes one pathetic. It is shameful. What other professional can you think of where the people that claim to love you turn around and threaten your life at your first slipup? Politics, maybe? There really aren’t very many. It does make one question the culture of sports as it stands. Athletes aren’t people anymore in American society. They exist to play games for the audience’s pleasure, no longer for their own. They exist to unify alumni and sympathizers of certain regions of the US. Football players, especially, are gladiators, and when they fail, certain pockets of fanatics clamor for their death.
his year’s NCAA Division I Men’s College Basketball class is looking to be one of the most exciting in recent history. With players like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle, next year’s draft class looks to be loaded. Notice how I automatically assumed “next year’s draft class.” Going off of what Coach K stated last week about the culture of the “one-and-done” rule and the culture it is clear that this is helping create in the world of college basketball. Instituted in 2005, this “one-and-done” rule makes it so players have to wait one year after leaving high school before they can become eligible for the NBA draft. This means that those who believe they are good enough for the NBA right out of high school must wait and will most likely eventually sign to play college ball. Thus, players are going to college with the intent to leave after a year. College is not college, but it is instead a stepping stone straight to the NBA. Some players, like Brandon Jennings, forwent college altogether and instead played a year overseas before joining the league. Part of the 2005 collective bargaining agreement, the league felt as though this switch would help minimize the risk of teams selecting players who looked incredible in high school, yet were not nearly ready or skilled enough for NBA competition. Teams would have almost nothing to go by if a player did not play against significant competition in college. College can be seen as a sort of training ground or development league (never mind the NBA Development League). While players like LeBron James, Tracy McGrady and Dwight Howard were able to successfully make the leap and become NBA superstars, other players right out of high school have not followed this exact same path as others. Thus this year gap could hypothetically provide athletes with an opportunity to grow
and mature before entering the league. Yet this “one-and-done” rule has not only impacted the NBA, but the entire world of college basketball as well. Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University is one of the most accomplished and respected college basketball coaches of all time and his comments regarding the effect this new rule is having on his world of college basketball have been spot on. Coach K made the observation that changes are happening in college basketball. For example, and as expected, players are looking for a way to get to the NBA as soon as possible, rather than trying to build a strong team and truly be committed to the college program itself. There is more chatter about where this group of freshmen will land on draft day than there is about how they are impacting their schools and teams right now. Again, for casual viewers, the emphasis of the sport has completely shifted towards these superb freshmen and the majority of the college basketball world can thus seem obsolete at times. It seems as if coverage of these players is becoming intrinsically linked to NBA coverage. Krzyzewski acknowledges that college basketball is its own business, which itself is unnerving and uncomfortable, yet he strives to keep it separate from the NBA. Aside from how players and fans view college basketball, changes from within the institution may also have a lasting impact on the future of the game. Coaches will have to change how they scout and build teams, banking on being able to gather enough “star” freshmen for a single year to be able to put a competitive and “marketable” team on the floor. The scariest thing is that college basketball has no influence over this rule. It is the NBA that has instituted this policy for its future players rather than the NCAA? There is nothing college basketball can do to stop or help change this trend at the mo-
ment. With all of this criticism, would a revert back to the original rule be beneficial? High school players definitely seem to think so. From their standpoint, who can argue? If someone feels as though he or she is ready to make the leap, who should say that he or she can’t without a rational reason other than, he or she “may not be ready.” Arguing that players should be able to do what they want without restrictions is completely justifiable. However, the NBA is rough. It isn’t like baseball where high school stars who get drafted almost always go to the minors to develop and ease into a starting spot on a Major League team. No. In the NBA, these Jabari Parkers and Andrew Wigginses will be thrust into the spotlight of an NBA franchise. They will have endless amounts of money thrust upon them along with the endless hopes of fans and commentators. The pressure to succeed and do so right away is tremendous and failure can be destructive, especially for a kid who has been nothing short of “the man” his entire life on the court. Could the rule be extended to two years, perhaps? Someone within the realm of college basketball would certainly say yes. It would help bring stability back to the college game and allow teams to build programs. Maybe, and this is definitely a maybe, it would encourage more players to stay in school for three or four years rather than rush out right away. College would certainly seem more like a destination and an experience where players could not only hone their skills and learn the game better, but work for something special, helping to build the reputation of their schools and gain some personal and school pride. Yet the truth is, not every player will welcome or want this change. The question is really up in the air for now. I wonder: Coach K, what would you do?
NFL ignores players’ long-term health Eli J. Vargas I Columnist
ootball is one of America’s favorite sports, and during the holiday season there always seems to be a significant game scheduled. This serves to put the sport of football in the forefront of the nation’s consciousness and functions to further entrench it into the national culture. Such strategy by the NFL has lead it to become the most profitable professional sport league in the United States, with a revenue of $9.5 billion last year. But in the process of creating such profits, the league has trampled upon the safety of its current and former employees. The NFL and National Football League Players Association have largely failed in areas where other sports have succeeded. NFL retirees are often left with debilitating injuries or show signs of brain damage, and are swept to the side, because the league does not want to take care of them. The NFL seems to go by the mantra of out of sight, out of mind.” Helmets have not proven to be as effective as they should be in preventing concussions, and the league knows this — but they discredit and cover up anything that says otherwise. There have only been nine players that have made over $100 million dollars over the course of their careers in the NFL, while there have been more than 40 players in the MLB that have made over $100 million. There are currently four players, Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols, who have signed contracts for over $200 million. The NFL is the United State’s largest sporting draw, and it is sickening that the NFL can make so much, yet care so little, about their players. They are able to draw players from college and use this system as their own farm system, in which they have to invest no effort whatsoever. Many players coming into the league have come from lower-class backgrounds in the inner city, have dreams of playing in the NFL to support their families, and make sure that their chil-
dren won’t have to struggle like they did. But the NFL preys on these athletes, shattering their hopes with non-guaranteed contracts and the threat of a serious debilitating injury at the onset of every play. Despite this, people are willing to put up with this because it is all that they have ever known, and in it is the promise of more money. So, over the course of their careers they will face the possibility of multiple surgeries and numerous concussions that can leave them with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease, and a largely decreased levels of lifelong happiness. The National Football League must surely know the dangers that their employees face, but they also realize that there will always be someone ready to take their place if they can’t deal with all of this. Compared to the MLB and NBA, where players are respected by franchises and often play enough for more than 15 years, the NFL grossly mistreats its players. Yes, the NFL is more of a contact sport, so it does make sense that careers will be shorter, but this does not mean that players should not receive more support after they retire with medical bills and retirement plans. Players should receive even more medical treatment for this reason. Football is one of America’s most favored and watched sports, but the way that the NFL uses and throws away players as if they are nothing ruins the experience for me. One of the first steps that can be taken by the NFL is to release their studies on the effects of concussions on retired players, as well as to cease impeding studies on concussions that are conducted by others. The NFL knows that the helmets that players use are not adequate; therefore, some share of the profits should be devoted to creating better safety equipment for the players. Concussions in football lead to long term health risks and are a more serious issue than the NFL has shown them to be in the past. Many players have suffered so many concussions of one form or another that they
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have lost count of these injuries, and this has lead to a vast number of former NFL players that have been diagnosed with CTE. There are a variety of factors that contribute to the prevalence of concussions in the NFL other than the fact that it is a contact sport. The nature of the sport cannot be eliminated, but concussions should be minimized as much as possible. There are many factors that can be changed to decrease head injuries, so there is no excuse for the NFL to continue putting their employees at risk. To start off with, the NFL can put forward as much energy as possible into diagnosing concussion symptoms so that players can be further protected, even if they don’t want to come out of games. As I previously stated, more money can be put forward into producing safer helmets, which will do nothing but help decrease concussions. One of the largest contributing factors to undiagnosed concussions may be the fact that players do not want to come out of the game to get help. They are afraid of being labeled as injury-prone and having to miss out on playing time, which is so hard to come by and is also never guaranteed. If the NFL gave them more job security and benefits, then these players would think less of keeping a hold on their jobs and more about their own long term health instead. However, many players do not realize the extent of the damage that repeated concussions and head trauma can cause later on in life, because the National Football League has attempted to cover it up so that the sport avoids negative publicity. The NFL is not leaving anytime soon, which is a good thing for fans of the sport and a bad thing for the people who are taken advantage of at various levels of the game. This does not mean that fans should not hold this business accountable for its actions and its treatment of its employees. The NFL is nothing more than a business, and the sooner that people realize this, the easier it will be for them to realize that they can make a difference as the consumers.
December 5, 2013
Men’s basketball achieves four-game winning streak Tina Caso
spOrts EditOr Men’s Basketball
courtesy of Vassar College Athletics
On Monday, Dec. 2, the Liberty League named sophomore guard Erikson Wasyl to the league Honor Roll. Wasyl recently earned a career-high in points at the team’s game against Western Connecticut State University. Fifteen of those points were earned during the second half, finishing the game 7-for-11, 3-for-five behind the arc and 9-of-12 on the line. The Connecticut native averaged 7.1 points per game last season, ending the season with a total of 157 points. He was second on the team in 3-point shots. In high school, Wasyl played four years on the Varsity squad, earning All-Shoreline Conference and All-State honors twice. He also was named Academic All-State and earned 1,000 points during his high school career. Vassar Athletics named junior forward and co-captain Alex Snyder as a featured athlete this week. Snyder aided in the team’s 78-70 win over Western Connecticut State University last week, and recorded his third double-double this season for the Vassar College team. He racked up 10 points by the end of the game and also had a game-high of three blocks. Last year, Snyder received All-Liberty League honorable mention three times, averaging 5.8 rebounds and 7.9 points per game. He also led the team in scoring with an average of 11.1 points per game. On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the team competed against the Drew University Rangers at 7 p.m. in the Athletic and Fitness Center. The team won with a final score of 63-53, improving on their already strong record for the beginning of the season. Junior forward Luka Ladan had a standout game, going 5-for-10 from the field and five-for-seven from the free throw line. Ladan had a career-high 13 rebounds, 11 of which were defensive. Snyder earned his
fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds, seven of which were offensive. Senior forward co-captain Evan Carberry and junior guard Curtis Smith each had five points. This is the first time that the Brewers have had a four-game winning streak since the 2007-08 season. The Brewers now stand at 4-1, while Drew University is 3-2. The men’s basketball team will next compete against the Connecticut College Camels next Tuesday, December 10. The game will take place at home at the Athletic and Fitness Center at 7:00 p.m. Women’s Basketball
On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the women’s basketball team received their first ever national ranking. The USA Today Division III Top 25 Coaches Poll placed 25th on the list with 10 votes. The team was also noted on DIIIhoops.com, but this is the first time in history that the team has it to the top 25. Senior guard Cydni Matsuoka from Sacramento, California was named to the Liberty League Honor Roll for the fourth time this season. Junior guard Allyson Pemberton was named a featured athlete this week by Vassar Athletics, helping to create a 12-point win over Wesleyan last weekend. She scored six points on three-on-three shooting and had three assists in only 14 minutes. So far this season, Pemberton has averaged 4.3 points. Last season, Pemberton averaged 2.6 points per game and 1.2 rebounds per game. In her freshman year, she had a career-high of 10 points and six rebounds in the team’s match against Bard College. In high school, Pemberton earned Dual County All-Star honors both her junior and senior year. The team currently stands with a record of 4-0, going undefeated thus far. They will next host No. 3 Montclair University at home next Tuesday at 7 p.m. The team will also travel to
Senior Andrew Adkins is one of the co-captains of the men’s basketball team. The Brewers’ currently have won four games so far this year, its first four-game winning streak since the 2007-08 season. Las Vegas, NV on December 28 to take part in the Vegas Hoopla Tournament, playing against No. 4 Amherst College. Women’s Tennis
On Monday, Dec. 2, the women’s tennis team reached out to the community, serving dinner at the Lunch Box, a soup kitchen located in the local area of Poughkeepsie in the Hudson Valley area. The team also plans to participate in the Dutchess Outreach Adopt-a-Family Program this month to provide holiday gifts to local families. The team looks to continue this tradition next semester as well, as part of their three-year participation with the organization Dutchess Outreach. Next semester, they will
conduct an on-campus food drive for the food pantry at Dutchess Outreach. The women’s tennis team will compete against Muhlenberg College later in the month of February in Walker Field House at 12:00 p.m. On Tuesday, Dec. 2, the Liberty League released the Fall 2013 season’s All-Academic Squads for the current season. 51 Vassar College student-athletes from various fall sports teams were named to the squad. Men’s cross country, women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s soccer and women’s soccer each had nine student-athletes named to the All-Academic team, while women’s volleyball had six members. Student-athletes must be a sophomore or above to qualify for the Liberty League All-Academic squad.
Final Four match to be held in Lakeland, Florida RUGBY continued from page 1 ed to play at a national level. After that first loss, we got back to the basics of rucking and tackling. We spend the majority of our time at practice doing those drills, and it started paying off almost immediately as we started keeping possession of the ball for the majority of the games — that really disheartens the teams we play, and makes it difficult for them to score.” Head Coach Tony Brown echoed the sentiments of Thompson. “The Marist game was the second game of the year and we were not really experienced enough to compete well and coupled with some poor performances we were crushed,” wrote Brown. Yet the team has improved vastly in his opinion. “We have become more comfortable with our systems and pressured opponents into mistakes. Our big realization moment was when we beat Marist in the playoffs. The players realized that they could compete.” Brown has been the Head Coach of the rugby team since 1995, and was the first full time Head Coach in the programs history. He is joined on the coaching staff by Assistant Coach Mark Griffiths, who has been a part of the Vassar community for the last 12 years. Thompson stressed the importance of the coaches in terms of the team’s success. “The coaches are unquestionably important,” Thompson expressed. “We would be nowhere if we didn’t have them. It’s so important to have someone who knows the game watching us play and being able to tell us where we need to improve. During games, they always know when we need a little criticism or revving up.” Senior player Dallas Robinson added, saying “Mark and Tony are really knowledgeable about the sport. I think that the team often does not realize how the drills we run in practice make our play so sharp. With Mark being a former professional and Tony being a player since his ‘school boy’ days, there is no question that they know what they are doing
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when teaching us our sets.” Vassar rugby is a unique sport on campus in that it is one of the few sports that does not require any background in the sport in order to join. Many of the teammates joined the rugby team for various reasons. “I wanted to continue playing sports in college and became interested in rugby after meeting girls that played here my freshman year,” described junior Margaret Kwateng. “I was scared at most of the practices and in most the games for a while but in the end I grew to love the game. It’s amazing how many different types of people can play this sport and the quick decision making, aggression, and not-yet-developed bad habits played to my strengths as an athlete. The team has some of the most friendly, fun, and overall driven girls at the school and it was a great group to join as a freshman.” Kwateng’s story resonates with a lot of the players. “I was supposed to run cross country and track here, but at the all-athletics meeting I found myself surrounded by a group of rugby seniors,” explained freshman Nathalie Freeman. “They made rugby seem so inviting and fun that I decided to talk to the coach and just sit in on a practice. After that first day I knew that rugby was what I wanted to play and the rugby team were the people who I wanted to be associated with. Every day I’m thankful that I made the decision to play Vassar Rugby because it has already made my freshman year something that I’ll never forget.” In terms of the upcoming final four match, the team expressed their desire to win. “I’m nervous, of course, but I’m looking forward to it,” Kwateng expressed. “I can see the drive to win in just about every player on this team and it’s exciting because I have confidence that whatever happens we will be fighting until the end. It is going to be about doing all of the small things right consistently; we have the talent, we just need to show it when it counts.”
December 5, 2013
Matsuoka earns place in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Jonathan Saﬁr rEpOrtEr
Elizabeth Berridge/The Berridge/The Miscellany News
wo matches into the season, the women’s basketball team stands undefeated. Senior co-captain Cydni Matsuoka has played a large role in the team’s success for three years. Both Women’s Division III News and DIIIhoops.com named her Fourth Team All-American, while the Liberty League has already coined her Player of the Year. In addition to this, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association has named her Division III All-American. Just this year alone, she also earned Four Liberty League Honor Roll titles, three Liberty League Performer of the Week titles, Eastern College Athletic Conference Upstate DIII Player of the Year, Liberty League All-Academic Team and Liberty League All-League First Team. The All-American also had her jersey hung in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Matsuoka wrote, “Both being an All-American and having my jersey hung in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame are honors that I do not take for granted. Ever since day one, I have challenged myself to become the best player I can be regardless of other’s expectations for me.” She continued, “But to get recognition from some of the highest organizations in women’s basketball leaves me speechless.” Matsuoka began playing basketball in the first grade, learning skills from her grandfather. “My grandfather was a junior high school basketball coach,” she explained, “[he] would teach me how to shoot on a mini playmate basketball hoop.” She spent elementary and middle school working for the goal of reaching her high school varsity team. After making the team, she also made the Delta Valley Conference First Team her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. She was a Sacramento Bee Newspaper All-Metro Honorable Mention both her junior
and senior years. “Once I did that, I realized I needed a new goal. I started playing in out-ofstate AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] recruiting tournaments my freshman year in order to have a shot at playing in college,” she wrote in an emailed statement. “And then I chose Vassar because I was recruited by Coach Brown and the campus was absolutely gorgeous and the academic reputation was top notch.” Despite her achievements, other schools passed her over. “Coming out of high school, I was turned down by several coaches during the recruiting process for either being too small for a shooting guard or not athletic enough as point guard. I think more than anything I wanted to prove to myself that I could be an impact player at the college level.” Now that she is a senior co-captain, Matsuoka fully understands that many are depending on her, including herself. “I definitely feel pressure to live up to the high expectations people have,” she wrote. “I am probably my own worst critic but I have gotten better at not beating myself up over losses or bad games.” Matsuoka also realizes that the women’s basketball team at Vassar is a team to watch. “The intensity level makes every game feel as if it were a championship game,” she wrote. Fellow senior Hannah Senftleber touched upon Matsuoka’s dedication to the team. “[She] is not only my basketball teammate, but is also one of my best friends here at Vassar. We both have been here while watching this basketball program go from being ranked 7th in the preseason poll to being a consistent contender every single season,” she wrote in an emailed statement. “Her commitment to the team is unmatched and she would do anything that would help the success of the team.” The team only has eight players, and their dynamic is important to Matsuoka. “Our team
Senior co-captain Cydni Matsuoka recently earned a spot in the women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She has also earned a series of other accolades this season alone, including DIII All-American. is coming together very nicely. Having a smaller team has meant this season has brought its challenges, but every single player has done a tremendous job thus far expanding their role and stepping up,” Matsuoka explained. “Even though we are 4-0, I know we have a lot of work ahead to prepare for league play.” Matsuoka continued, “The beauty of a small team is that we rely on each other much more, making our team chemistry stronger than ever.” She continued, “Personally, I worked hard in the offseason to improve some of my weaknesses and I need to trust that it will pay off in the end. Three of the teams left in our preseason schedule are
Top 25 teams and so I know it is imperative I sharpen up on my game and cut down on the turnovers.” Matsuoka has always had a propensity for success and passion for the game. When asked about Matsuoka as a player, Senftleber raved about her game. “I have been playing alongside Cydni for the past 4 years, and every year she always comes back better than before. Her ability to run the point guard on our team and be such an offensive threat is uncanny. She makes everyone around her a better player. She makes the game of basketball, which is hard for most, look extraordinary easy.”
Eisner embraces campus atmosphere, rigid academics Amreen Bhasin rEpOrtEr
he 2013-2014 men’s basketball team has started off a successful season. They’ve gone 3-1 so far, with their only loss 62-65, coming in a hard fought battle against a strong Clark University team. The Brewers quickly rebounded and have since defeated Roger Williams University, The State University of New York at New Paltz, and Western Connecticut State University. After going 7-18 last year, statistics have definitely shown strong improvement this year already. In an attempt to create a competitive coaching staff, part of this year’s improvement has been the addition of strong assistant coaches. An important part of this staff is new assistant coach Seth Eisner. Coach Eisner came to Vassar from Oswego State University in New York. At SUNY Oswego, he handled the program’s recruitment and was the academic coordinator. He also dealt with administrative duties, scouting, game preparation, video exchange and on-court instruction as well as working on his Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Eisner spent
two years at Oswego with a 45-12 record. He was a part of their first undefeated conference season in school history and their second NCAA tournament appearance. He was named the top assistant to the 2011-2012 SUNYAC Coach of the Year and the National Association of Basketball Coaches East Region Coach of the Year. Eisner graduated in 2011 from Allegheny college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Managerial Economics with a minor in Religious Studies. While at Allegheny he was a part of the men’s basketball team for all four years. When Vassar College Basketball Head Coach Dunne called to offer Eisner the job, Eisner was thrilled to accept. The Vassar atmosphere was exactly what he was looking for. Eisner explained, “I chose to come to Vassar because I really wanted to work at a highly academic and prestigious institution. So when Coach Dunne called me and asked me to come work for him, I took the offer.” Vassar has been a very different but positive change of pace for the young Coach Eisner as compared to his last job at Oswego, but he indicated that he is incredibly happy and excited to
Jacob Gorski/The Miscellany News
Seth Eisner, newly appointed men’s baskbetall Assistant Coach, comes from a strong program at SUNY Oswego. He came to Vassar for its strong academics, coaching staff and athletic department.
be a part of Brewer Athletics. He said he is particularly impressed with the way in which the department treats its student-athletes as well as the facilities available and the rest of the coaching staff he works with. “There’s a great appreciation for the whole idea of the student-athlete rather it just being focused on nothing beyond sports. I feel that we have incredible facilities and everything here is top of the line so we’re able to care of our guys,” Eisner explained. He continued, “I really enjoy being a part of such a complete athletic department with such a legitimate administration. It’s amazing how we have such great young and motivated assistant coaches to work with as well. It really provides a great atmosphere.” The men’s basketball team itself as well as the Vassar student-athlete in general has been a high point for Eisner since joining the Brewers. “I have a lot of respect for the student-athletes here. Just the workload they handle on top of practice and everything else and I feel they’re all very intelligent which is so beneficial while coaching them,” said Eisner. Another positive note Eisner has found in coming to Vassar has been the coaching staff he’s able to work with. Head Coach Dunne and the other assistants have created a strong, confident atmosphere to work and play in. “One of my favorite things about Vassar and the men’s basketball team is the ability to work with one of the youngest and best up-and-coming coaches in the country. As well as being able to teach and learn from some of the smartest, young basketball minds in the country.” Eisner has dove right in, making himself an invaluable part of this coaching staff already. His duties and responsibilities are numerous. He said, “I’m very active in recruiting and very involved in the every day, on-the-court coaching. I thoroughly enjoy working with and for Coach Dunne. I think he does a great job in keeping me involved and coming from a successful program like I did, it’s something our players really respect.” This year, Eisner has many goals for the men’s basketball team, but in his opinion the most important thing is creating a lasting culture to surround the team. “I want to help rejuvenate a successful basketball culture and to help our program contend for the league title every year and reach the NCAA tournament.
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I also hope to bring in future Brewers that are not only good basketball players, but also good people all around.” The commitment to culture and future recruiting is reflected in Eisner’s views on Vassar College as a whole and he wishes to uphold the values he feel espoused by the school. “My favorite thing about Vassar is the prestigious feeling I get from being here and being able to represent a college with such tradition and academic focus as well as integrity.” In terms of changing the culture surrounding basketball at Vassar, Eisner feels he and Coach Dunne have so far had remarkable success. “We’ve taken really great steps in the past month and a half. Our guys are really buying into what we’re trying to teach. I feel like they want to be a part of a successful culture and that’s what will make the difference. The concept of culture is really important in college basketball and that’s important for me and Coach Dunne to establish for years to come.” Beyond the culture, one of the reasons Eisner feels the team has already found success is due to their togetherness. “We have 13 guys and from number one to number 13, each are equally important. Establishing a concept of togetherness and watching us all come together as a group is the most important thing right now. Our success is going to be obtained together, not by any single one of us.” Looking forward Coach Dunne and Eisner hope to establish one of the best high academic basketball programs in the country. Eisner knows this isn’t going to be easy but holds immense optimism for his team. “We have a lot to accomplish and I feel like we’re really going to be a contender in the Liberty League. Our guys have been learning and growing together very well and that will continue to progress into a successful, winning season.” More explicitly, the team has high hopes for this season. First off, they really believe they have a chance to make the Liberty League tournament this year and, more importantly, they have a chance to contend for the title. Eisner is ready to lead his team forward. He’s fully optimistic about their chances this year. “We hope to make the tournament this year to have a chance to contend for the title and from what we’ve shown so far, we really believe that’s possible,” he concluded.